certifired_img

Books and Documents

Islamic World News (24 May 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Indian Liberal Muslims Need To Watch Out For a Dangerous Strain of Islam Terrorising S. Asia








Indian Liberal Muslims Need To Watch Out For a Dangerous Strain of Islam Terrorising S. Asia

Saudi Arabia Studying Plans To Criminalize Racism, Religious Hatred

Iraq Weighs Captives' Rights against Fear of New Islamic State

In Letter, 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh Said ISIS 'Doing a Spectacular Job'

Leading German Politicians Call For a More Progressive Form of Islam

Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

Sudanese Protesters Plan Mass Rally As Talks Stall With Army

S. Korea Seeks Malaysia’s Expertise for Its Muslim-Friendly Hospitality

Suspected Indonesian Rioters 'Pledged Support' For Islamic State: Police

 

India

Indian Liberal Muslims Need To Watch Out For a Dangerous Strain of Islam Terrorising S. Asia

After huge win, PM Modi responds to Imran Khan’s congratulatory tweet

Zakir Musa, Jammu and Kashmir’s most wanted militant, killed in encounter: Police

No Ramadan ceasefire for India's Jammu and Kashmir

--------

Arab World

Saudi Arabia Studying Plans To Criminalize Racism, Religious Hatred

Iraq Weighs Captives' Rights against Fear of New Islamic State

Iraqi tribes seek to heal enduring wounds of IS legacy

Egypt refers 6 death sentences to religious authority

Terrorists Fear Losing Strategic Hill in Lattakia

Iraq weighs captives’ rights against fear of new ISIS

Explosion targeting Hashd al-Sha'abi forces kills 2 in Iraq’s Anbar

Russian air defense thwarts missile attack on Syria’s Hmeimim airbase

Bahraini regime contributing to liquidation of Palestinian cause: Opposition

Syrian army shoots down bomb-laden drone near Hama Airport

--------

North America

In Letter, 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh Said ISIS 'Doing a Spectacular Job'

Trump says willing to consider sending more troops to counter Iran

Pentagon to present plans for 10,000 more troops to Mideast

Iran's supreme leader chastises country's leaders amid US tensions

--------

Europe

Leading German Politicians Call For a More Progressive Form of Islam

Senior German diplomat in Tehran for nuclear deal talks

Swiss Propose House Arrest, Including For Teenagers, To Curb Extremism

Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

Romanian princess meets Syrians in Turkey

--------

Mideast

Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

Iran Newspaper: Houthis Are Capable Of Reducing Saudi Oil Exports To Zero

Japan PM Abe considering visit to Iran as early as mid-June

Samer Shaban’s family worries he may meet same fate as Zaki Mubarak

Iran will not surrender even if it is bombed, says Rouhani

Iran, US tension is a “clash of wills”, says Guards commander

Saudi Air Defense destroys drone launched by Houthis on Najran

UNRWA rejects US call for dismantling UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Seven Turkish journalists jailed for ‘terrorist propaganda’

--------

Africa

Sudanese Protesters Plan Mass Rally As Talks Stall With Army

Libya Coast Guard Rescues 290 Migrants Off Eastern Coast Of Tripoli

Suicide car bomb kills at least 9 in Somalia’s capital

Islamic State West Africa claims killing and execution of 29 Nigerian soldiers

Nigeria: Boko Haram Expands Terror outside Nigeria

Amaechi speaks on Buhari’s refusal to convert him to Islam

--------

Southeast Asia

S. Korea Seeks Malaysia’s Expertise for Its Muslim-Friendly Hospitality

Suspected Indonesian Rioters 'Pledged Support' For Islamic State: Police

China’s Alarming AI Surveillance of Muslims Should Wake Us Up

Malaysian Officials Go Undercover To Spy on Fasting Muslims

Malaysia will reap rewards if kids can discuss religions in primary school, groups suggest

Two Members of Islamic State-Linked Group Arrested During May 22 Rally

--------

Pakistan

Imran Khan Congratulates Modi; Expresses Desire To Work With Him for Peace in South Asia

Pak Successfully Test-Fires Ballistic Missile Shaheen-II Capable Of Hitting India

Muslim World League celebrates World Orphans Day in Pakistan

Pakistan Christians Beaten By Mob after Mosque Accuses Them of Blasphemy: Report

PM thanks Saudi govt for helping Pakistan ‘in this difficult time’

Pakistani prime minister to attend OIC summit in Makkah

--------

South Asia

Haji Delawar, an Adviser to Senate House Arrested For Supporting Terrorist Groups in Kabul

Buddhist Monks in Bangladesh Offer Iftar to Needy Muslims during Ramadan

Two air strikes kill 14 Afghan civilians

Nationwide drive to generate donations for Rohingya refugees

Ghani congratulates Modi for landslide victory in India’s elections

Security forces kill Taliban’s suicide attacks planner in Kapisa province

More ISIS militants killed in Special Forces operation in Kunar

Taliban militants killed, weapons and IEDs destroyed in Kandahar, Helmand operations

5 Taliban militants killed in Zabul and Uruzgan airstrikes

Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Wardak air, ground operations

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indian-liberal-muslims-need-to-watch-out-for-a-dangerous-strain-of-islam-terrorising-s-asia/d/118696

--------

 

Indian Liberal Muslims Need To Watch Out For a Dangerous Strain Of Islam Terrorising S. Asia

Sameer Yasir

May 24, 2019

One of the most wanted militants in the Kashmir Valley, the Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) chief, Zakir Musa, was killed by security forces in a brief encounter in Dadsara village of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday. Following his death, the state government decided to shut school till Sunday in view of the volatile stuation.

A joint team of army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu and Kashmir Police cordoned off the Dadsara village on Thursday evening as people were busy preparing to break the fast as the Muslim holy month of Ramzan is going on. The forces knew exactly which house the militants were hiding in.

“The forces vehicles just zoomed through the streets and reached one neighbourhood,” Hilal Ahmad, a resident of Dadsara village, said by phone. “Then the firing started. It is still going on.” Dadsara is also the village of Ansar Gazwatul Hind chief Zakir Musa.

A police team initially tried to contact the militants holed up inside the house and persuade them to surrender, however, police said the militants fired towards a team of security forces. Local media said two militants whose identities were not known immediately have been killed during the gunfight. But the rumours about Musa's killing had started much before the actual encounter ended.

The state government has shut all the schools and colleges across Kashmir till Sunday, fearing widespread protests. The divisional administration in Kashmir has ordered closure of all schools and colleges across the Kashmir division till Sunday. Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan said the decision has been taken as a precautionary measure.

The name of Musa, who became a household name in Kashmir after parting ways from Hizbul Mujahideen and subsequently being nominated as the head of the Kashmir Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir, is often invoked in protests and slogans are raised in his favour on almost every other occasion.

Musa was named the head of Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, for the Valley in late July 2017, after he parted ways with the Hizbul Mujahideen, comprising mostly of local Kashmiris, and threatening to behead the Hurriyat leaders in the main city centre of Srinagar, Lal Chowk, who described the ongoing crisis in Kashmir as a political struggle.

Musa had once said in a video message that most of the people in Kashmir were involved in a fight for a secular state which was 'haram' in Islam and threatened to behead Hurriyat leaders at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

A resident of the Noorpora area of Awantipora, Musa, was studying at the Ram Dev Jindal College in Chandigarh. During a vacation home, he was charged with stone-pelting by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. He was hiding in Jammu when, after persuasion by the police of going lenient against him, his father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, an assistant engineer, made him appear in a police station.

Musa was attending court cases when, in July 2013, he disappeared, leaving a note behind telling his parents not to look for him. The young boy whose passion was once Yamaha motorcycle is now a category A++ militant. Musa, however, has fallen out with the separatist leadership after he recently threatened them and said that militancy should not aim to create a new nation of Kashmir but for the supremacy of Islam.

As the news spread there were clashes across south Kashmir and in some parts of the Srinagar. Musa had come to his home, police sources said, but he fled before the forces cordoned off the area. “He was later killed in nearby woods,” a police officer said.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/isjk-chief-zakir-musa-shot-dead-but-no-official-confirmation-yet-reports-emerge-after-encounter-with-forces-in-tral-6692501.html

--------

 

Saudi Arabia studying plans to criminalize racism, religious hatred

23 May 2019

Saudi Arabia has announced it is studying new draft legislation to criminalize racial discrimination and religious hatred, according to a speech delivered at the UN.

The Kingdom said that intolerance based on ideology and race has emerged as a major threat to global peace and security. Dr. Abdullah bin Fakhri al-Ansari, an adviser to the Saudi Interior Ministry, noted this during a speech on Tuesday at the 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held at the UN Center in Vienna.

He said that relevant Saudi authorities were currently considering a new draft law criminalizing racism and hatred, as well as prohibiting the formation of organizations that racially discriminate. The draft law would also prohibit attacks on places of worship, insulting religions, and abuse of religious sanctities.

Al-Ansari also called on the UN and all regional and international organizations to strengthen international efforts to combat crimes against religions and condemn and prevent intolerance and discrimination. He said that Saudi Arabia also urged others to continue issuing laws to restrict sermons preaching hatred against other religions.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/05/23/Saudi-Arabia-studying-plans-to-criminalize-racism-religious-hatred.html

--------

 

Iraq weighs captives' rights against fear of new Islamic State

MAY 23, 2019

AL-HOL CAMP, Syria (Reuters) - Iraqi farmer Shaker Salih says he feared Islamic State, but feared its defeat even more. His problem is persuading people to believe that he did not support the jihadists.

When Iraqi forces drove Islamic State from his home town in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, Salih left with the Sunni Muslim extremist group, known to its detractors as Daesh. He then stayed as long he could in its shrinking, self-declared caliphate.

“We thought militias would kill us for living under Daesh, so we fled,” said Salih, 49, referring to Shi’ite Muslim paramilitaries that helped defeat IS. “That’s why we stayed with Daesh. We were used to them and knew what to do to survive.”

He now lives in the sprawling, guarded al-Hol displacement camp across the border in Syria, where among 70,000 fellow Iraqis, Syrians and others, there are thousands of die-hard IS supporters.

Some are passengers in his car, which he uses as a taxi to make a living by charging one dollar a trip.

“If God allows, the caliphate will return,” one Syrian woman at the camp, who gave her name as Fatima, told Reuters.

Iraq is preparing to bring home its citizens from al-Hol, who number more than 30,000. But it is struggling to decide what to do with them - and how to identify those with genuine IS links and those simply caught up in its caliphate.

The difficulty of distinguishing those groups, sometimes from the same clans and communities now in al-Hol, means that many like Salih face long-term detention under plans the government is weighing up.

Baghdad recently abandoned the idea of building a separate internment camp for those coming from al-Hol after aid agencies on which it relies to support hundreds of thousands of displaced people opposed it, rights and aid workers say.

The latest Iraqi proposal is to put them in buildings and more permanent structures in isolated areas guarded by security forces, according to officials, aid workers and rights groups.

“Camps are temporary, people can’t live there forever. The only solution is to designate areas monitored and protected by the state and provide services and work on reintegrating these people,” said Ali Bayati, a member of Iraq’s semi-official High Commission for Human Rights.

Aid agencies have said they will not provide support for a new internment camp or detention zone, according to several aid workers, due to the risk of rights violations. They are seeking instead to put people who pass security screening into existing displacement camps, according to a plan seen by Reuters.

Iraq’s immigration and displacement ministry and the prime minister’s office declined to comment on current plans for the al-Hol captives.

GLOBAL ISSUE

Since most of those in al-Hol emerged from the last sliver of land held by Islamic State in eastern Syria, it is not easy to sort those with extremist views from non-radicalized people and ensure the latter do not change their views.

If Baghdad gets it wrong, global security could again be at risk, Western officials have said, as it was when Islamic State - a reincarnation of al Qaeda groups that had taken years to suppress - took hold in Sunni areas of Iraq among communities that felt persecuted by the Shi’ite-dominated government.

Iraqis with clear links to IS, such as militants and their families, have mostly been detained and some of them have been transferred to Iraq to face trial.

Many other residents in the camp, which is controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, say they did not back Islamic State but survived its brutal rule by keeping a low profile.

Salih and other Iraqis from his region live separately from the suspected fighters in al-Hol, and call the foreigners, who are held in a different area, “extremists”.

When they return to Iraq, the government says keeping them away from existing camps and the general population will protect them from vigilante attacks by people who suffered under IS and help avoid the spread of extremist ideas.

New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says al-Hol residents deemed a threat may be housed in abandoned or half-completed building projects or shipping containers converted into housing rather than in camps.

“What they are now thinking of creating is more permanent. It means they foresee holding people there for longer,” said Belkis Wille, a senior HRW researcher.

HRW has said such plans would violate international law which forbids arbitrary detention without trial.

Baghdad wants to avoid a repeat of Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run detention center where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is still at large, expanded a network of radical Islamists during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said earlier this year there was a “difference between families which were trapped by Daesh as hostages and families who accompanied the terrorists.

“We will respect human rights but ... there need to be careful security measures so (IS supporters) cannot leak back into society.”

Existing displacement camps already host some 450,000 Iraqis, and aid groups say even there they are sometimes denied documentation and face the prospect of never returning home for real or alleged affiliation with IS.

Whether in camps, guarded housing complexes or at liberty, the longer Sunnis who lived under IS are marginalized, the more likely they are to be exploited by militants seeking to regroup and expand an insurgency, Western officials say.

PARAMILITARIES

Most Sunni communities welcomed the defeat of IS, which they had quickly discovered persecuted all those it deemed enemies, regardless of sect. But they fear alienation and arrest if they return to areas of Iraq where Shi’ite paramilitaries now have the upper hand.

Some Iraqi Shi’ite militias have been accused of revenge attacks against Sunnis who lived under Islamic State, which had carried out mass killings of Shi’ites, calling them apostates.

The militias deny carrying out such attacks, saying any incidents were isolated and not systematic.

Salih and his family left their native Salahuddin province as Iraqi forces drove the jihadists out in 2015, moving to Mosul for two years, then Qaim, IS’s final Iraq stronghold. “When Qaim was attacked we paid smugglers to get us to Syria,” he said.

“We want to go home, but won’t do that as long as the militias are in control there. They’ll kill us or lock us up. They destroyed my farmland - I saw a video of them setting it on fire,” Salih said, an account Reuters was unable to verify.

Iraq’s Migration and Displacement Ministry, which deals with returns and camps, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the plans for the displaced or alleged rights abuses.

As tens of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians languish in camps, some say they would accept IS’s return if it meant they could go home.

“I didn’t leave my city because of IS,” said Khalid Fassal, a 30-year-old Syrian man at al-Hol who fled the town of Albu Kamal when Syrian government forces recaptured it. “But when the regime came, I didn’t want to take chances.

“If IS came back, we’d stay,” he said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-syria-displaced-insight/iraq-weighs-captives-rights-against-fear-of-new-islamic-state-idUSKCN1ST0GT

--------

 

In letter, 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh said ISIS 'doing a spectacular job'

By Ken Dilanian

May 24, 2019

John Walker Lindh, the American captured fighting with the Afghan Taliban two months after the 9/11 attacks, is set to be released from prison Thursday amid concerns among U.S. authorities that he remains a potentially violent Islamic extremist, current and former officials told NBC News.

Underscoring those worries is Lindh's 2015 handwritten letter from prison to NBC's Los Angeles station KNBC —revealed for the first time Wednesday — in which he expressed support for ISIS, saying the terror group that beheaded Americans was "doing a spectacular job."

"The Islamic State is clearly very sincere and serious about fulfilling the long-neglected religious obligation to establish a caliphate through armed struggle, which is the only correct method," Lindh wrote.

Lindh expressed that sentiment—in response to a question from the station about whether ISIS represents Islam—after ISIS had beheaded Americans in well-publicized videos, including journalist James Foley in August 2014. It was his third of four letters in a series of correspondence with KNBC.

He did not respond to a follow-up question asking him about ISIS violence, saying in his final letter that he would no longer respond to the reporter's inquiries.

Lindh’s correspondence with journalists and other comments he made in prison formed part of the basis of a 2016 U.S. intelligence document, produced by the National Counter Terrorism Center, saying that he “continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts.”

A memo making a similar point was circulating among authorities last week, according to a U.S. official who read it.

After serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence, Lindh will be released for good behavior, as is standard in the federal system. Judge T.S. Ellis imposed unusually restrictive conditions on him, including mandatory monitoring of his internet usage, banning him from foreign travel and requiring mental health counseling. A U.S. official told NBC News he would live in Northern Virginia, something his lawyer affirmed to KNTV, the NBC station in the Bay Area.

“It is one of the most restrictive sets of conditions I’ve seen in a terrorism case, and it probably speaks to their concerns about him,” said Seamus Hughes, a former U.S. intelligence official who studies extremism at George Washington University.

Lindh’s lawyer and a representative of his family declined to comment to NBC News.

The conditions of his supervised release last three years, after which Lindh will be clear of formal supervision. U.S. officials told NBC News the FBI is likely to keep a close eye on him. It’s unclear whether authorities would have a legal predicate to obtain a national security warrant to intercept his communications.

Lindh expressed remorse during his 2002 sentencing hearing before Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Va., saying he did not support terrorism and he made a “mistake by joining the Taliban.”

In his letters to NBC 4 Los Angeles, he expressed markedly different sentiments, saying he was proud “to take part in the Afghan jihad." In the letters, he signed his name as Yahya.

Concerns about Lindh’s extremist views were the subject of a 2017 article in Foreign Policy magazine, but they have not been widely publicized. Many people, including prominent figures, had urged that his sentence be commuted, portraying him as a misguided young man who was caught up in the heightened tensions of the post 9/11 period.

One expert said Lindh would be wise to clarify his views about ISIS.

"John Walker Lindh served his time. Given the support for ISIS expressed in this letter from four years ago, it would be important for Lindh to go on record declaring his intentions to live a peaceful and constructive life and to renounce terrorism and violence," said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security. "Without that, allegations, confusion and anger will likely continue to surround him."

The conditions of his supervised release don’t satisfy some who are watching the case. Two U.S. senators, Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., wrote a letter to the bureau of prisons questioning why Lindh was being released early, and pointing to a lack of government effort to deal with the many convicted terrorists who will be following Lindh to freedom.

“As many as 108 other federal terrorist offenders are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from U.S. federal prisons over the next few years,” they wrote. “Little information has been made available to the public about who, when and where these offenders will be released, whether they pose an ongoing threat, and what federal agencies are doing to mitigate this threat while the offenders are in federal custody.”

Also disturbed by the release is Johnny Spann, whose son, CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann, was killed during a prison riot in an Afghan holding facility where Lindh was detained. Judge Ellis said there was no evidence linking Lindh directly to the death. Spann sent a letter to Ellis asking for an investigation into the intelligence reports about Lindh’s extremism. Spann could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

He told the New York Times: “We’ve got a traitor that was given 20 years and I can’t do anything about it. He was given a 20-year sentence when it should’ve been life in prison.”

Nick Rasmussen, the former director of the National Counter Terrorism Center and an NBC News contributor, said he could not discuss the intelligence about Lindh.

But, he said, “the looming release of John Walker Lindh highlights in the starkest possible way challenges that lie ahead of us in managing the reintegration into society of extremists who finish their prison sentences."

The criminal justice system is well equipped to prosecute and convict terrorists, he said, “but we are much less well postured to carry out successful rehabilitation and de-radicalization programs. That means that convicted terrorism subjects who finish their sentences like John Walker Lindh could very well pose a security problem once they leave prison.”

Lindh converted from Catholicism to Islam as a teenager, leaving his home in California to study Arabic in Yemen. more than three years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He traveled Pakistan and later Afghanistan, where he spent time at a Qaeda training camp and briefly met Osama bin Laden, according to court testimony.

He was captured fighting with the Taliban even as the fires were still burning under the wreckage of what once was the World Trade Center. His situation provoked outrage in some quarters and sympathy in others.

His father, Frank Lindh, in 2006 called him “a decent and honorable young man embarked on a spiritual quest who became the focus of the grief and anger of an entire nation over an event in which he had no part.”

But U.S. officials say that in an era when ISIS is encouraging Americans to attack at home by driving trucks into crowds, his comments and writings in prison make him someone they continue to worry about.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/letter-american-taliban-john-walker-lindh-said-isis-doing-spectacular-n1008871

--------

 

Leading German Politicians Call For a More Progressive Form of Islam

23.05.2019

Two senior German politicians have called for a more progressive form of Islam in order to align the religion with the European way of life.

Health Minister Jens Spahn and Schleswig-Holstein State Premier Daniel Günther published the appeal Thursday in a guest contribution for the Rheinische Post regional daily.

Read more: Islam on beer mats angers Muslims in Germany

'Preserve our free European way of life'

"Instead of tolerating symbols of a reactionary, misogynistic form of Islam, we must promote the development of a European Islam, which shares our values, in order to preserve our free European way of life," penned the two Christian Democrats.

The topic of burkas is one of particular concern for both Spahn and Günther. "When women and girls appear fully-veiled at universities and schools, then we do not just have the option to resist, we must resist," they wrote.

The pair also spoke about "burdens on the local population" when "deportations fail" before emphasizing that integration was essential for a successful society.

Both men are members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party. Spahn, who failed in a bid to become Merkel's successor, is seen as a conservative, while Günther is on the liberal wing of the party.

The joint declaration also called for the European idea to become tangible in everyday lives of EU citizens.

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-leading-politicians-call-for-a-european-islam/a-48842251

--------

 

Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

by Zachary Keck

May 24, 2019

Deterring regional adversaries from threatening Iran is the primary reason Tehran has amassed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.

The missile program actually began under the Shah, but it was accelerated during the Iran-Iraq War in order to threaten Saddam Hussein with strikes deep in Iraqi territory. Since then, Iran has worked with countries like Libya, North Korea and China in order to develop a large and diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that form one part of its three-leg deterrent strategy. With Iran now using missiles in conflict, it’s worth taking a closer look at the weapons in its arsenal.

Shahab-Series

The backbone of Iran's missile forces are the Shahab-series of liquid-fueled (mostly) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). There are three variants of the missile: The Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3. The Shahab-1 was the first missile Iran acquired and is based on the Soviet Scud-B missile. Iran reportedly purchased these initially from Libya and possibly Syria, but North Korea has been its main supplier. The Shab-1 has a reported range between 285–330 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of around one thousand kilograms. Iran is believed to have three hundred Shahab-1 rockets.

Later Iran acquired Shahab-2 missiles, likely from North Korea. This missile is based on the Scud-C and has a range of five hundred kilometers with a payload capacity of 770 kilograms. Iran first began testing the Shahab-2 in 1998, and it has been operational since at least 2004. Like the Shahab-1, the Shahab-2 is road-mobile, however, the Congressional Research Service has noted that: “Wartime experiences, such as in Iraq, show these missiles tend to operate within a radius of about 100 kilometers or less from their bases because of the need to ensure operational security and to be able to maintain key logistics support.” Tehran only purchased between 100–170 Shahab-2s from North Korea, but can now produce them indigenously (although it relies on some imported parts).

Most importantly is the Shahab-3, also a liquid-fueled, road-mobile missile. The Shahab-3 is the first medium-range ballistic missile Iran acquired, with a likely range of between 1,000-1,300 kilometers depending on the size of the payload. The payloads themselves are said to weigh between between 760 and 1,200 kilograms. The Shahab-3 is widely believed to be based on North Korea's No Dong-1 missile, which itself likely relied heavily on Soviet technology. Unlike the other Shahab-variants, the Shahab-3 is a two-stage missile with an engine and separate reentry vehicle. Iran's version of the missile was first flight tested in 1998. That test was unsuccessful, and a number of subsequent tests also failed. Consequently, the Shahab-3 did not enter into service until 2003.

It is unknown how many Shahab-3 missiles Iran has deployed, in part because Tehran appears to rely mostly on a number of variants of the missile, which go by a number of different names like the Emad and Ghadr. These later editions of the missile incorporate Pakistani technology, have a redesigned reentry vehicle, and improved navigation and guidance systems. It's possible, but unlikely, that some of these variants use solid fuel. They do have an improved range of somewhere between 1,500–1,800 kilometers, and perhaps as high as 2,500 kilometers.

Fateh-Series

The Fateh-series missiles are the solid-fueled counterparts of Shahab missiles. Like the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, the Fateh-110 and Faeth-331 are short-range and road-mobile. The Fateh-110 is a single-stage missile with a range of 210 kilometers. It is likely more accurate than some of the earlier Shahab variants, with some estimates suggesting a circular error probable (CEP) of one hundred meters. Iran began developing the Fateh-110 in 1995, with the first test coming in May 2001. The missile became operational in 2004. The Fateh-313 extends the range of the Fateh-110 to roughly five hundred kilometers, and also has other upgrades such as greater accuracy. It is believed to have entered into service in 2015. The U.S. Treasury has accused Chinese companies of aiding Iran's development of the Fateh series.

Last year, Iran unveiled a new part of the Fateh family, called the Zolfaghar. When Iran first revealed the missile, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan claimed it had a range of seven hundred kilometers. According to IHS Jane’s, “The Zolfaghar appears to be the same shape and size as earlier Fateh-110s, but the guidance system has been redesigned, seemingly so it sits closer to the nose. This may have freed up space for a larger solid-fuel motor, but has come at the expense of payload size, which clearly has been reduced.” Fars News Agency, which is close to the IRGC, reported that the Zolfaghar “is capable of carrying Multiple Reentry Vehicle (MRV) payloads,” although this seems unlikely. Iran claims that it used Zolfaghar missiles to attack Syria last Sunday, but Israeli intelligence believes that was actually a Shahab-3.

Sejjil

The Sejjil medium-range ballistic missile is the solid-fueled counterpart to the Shahab-3 liquid-fueled missile discussed above. According to CSIS's Missile Defense Project, the Sejjil missile has a similar size, weight and range to the Shahab-3. Specifically, the two-stage missile has a range of two thousand kilometers and can carry a warhead of between 500–1500 kilograms. Development reportedly began in the late 1990s, but the first test wasn't conducted until 2008. During a 2009 flight test, the missile flew around 1,900 kilometers. Although the Sejjil missile uses an Iranian design, it likely benefitted from Chinese assistance, with some commentators comparing it to the DF-11 and DF-15. Iran has claimed that it has developed multiple variants of the missile, including a Sejjil-3 missile that some analysts believe will have a maximum range of four thousand kilometers.

Khalij Fars

Last but not least, Iran has developed an anti-ship ballistic missile to enhance its anti-access/area denial strategy against the U.S. military in the Persian Gulf. Appropriately enough, Iran named this missile Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf). Based off of the Fateh-110, the Khalij Fars was first tested in early 2011, and coincided with Iran announcing the completion of a long-range, passive radar covering a 1,100 kilometer-radius. Later that year Iran announced that the missile had entered mass production. In tests since that time Iran has claimed, rather implausibly, the missile registered a 100 percent success rate in hitting ship-like platforms positioned in the Persian Gulf. According to Iranian media outlets, “the supersonic projectile, which carries a 650-kilogram warhead, is immune to interception and features high-precision systems.” An Iranian general has bragged in 2013, "Today, Iran has missiles that can crush U.S. warships like a can and send them deep into water.” Iran has also unveiled two variants of the Khalij Fars: the passive radar-guided Hormuz-1 and the active radar-guided Hormuz-2.

Conclusion

This is hardly a comprehensive list of Iran’s missile arsenal, which also includes a number of cruise missiles. Still, it provides readers with a basic overview of one of the most lethal capabilities of the IRGC. Ballistic missiles are also the most blunt prong of Iran’s deterrent strategy, which also includes the use of proxies and asymmetric naval warfare. Still, it is certainly something that U.S. Central Command has to plan for, especially as Iran and the United States come closer to fighting directly in the Syrian Civil War.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/iran-has-amassed-largest-ballistic-missile-force-middle-east-58882

--------

 

Sudanese protesters plan mass rally as talks stall with army

23 May 2019

Sudan’s protest leaders are calling for mass rallies across the country amid deadlocked negotiations with the ruling military over its handover of power.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded four months of protests that drove Omar al-Bashir from power in April, says it’s also calling for a “million man march” outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

Thursday’s statement, posted on Facebook, says the protesters want to denounce the ruling generals’ resistance to relinquish power to a sovereign council that both sides had already agreed should lead the country during the transitional period.

There are also indications that the SPA, a union umbrella, may call for a general strike.

The two sides have held several rounds of talks since the military overthrew al-Bashir on April 11, ending his 30-year reign.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/23/Sudanese-protesters-plan-million-man-march-as-talks-stall-with-army.html

--------

 

S. Korea seeks Malaysia’s expertise for its Muslim-friendly hospitality

22 May 2019

SEOUL, May 22 — South Korea is seeking Malaysia’s expertise, as well as accreditation for its friendly hospital services to further strengthen the sector which saw one million Muslim visitors arrived in the country in 2016, an increase of 33 per cent from a year before, says Korea Institute of Halal Industry (KIHI).

Its director-general Dr James Noh said currently the sector was operated by Korea Tourism Organisation, a government agency which oversees the South Korean tourism industry.   

“But I think we need some kind of accreditation from Malaysia as it is recognised worldwide (for its halal industry),” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the four-day Seoul Food 2019 that began here yesterday.

Earlier, he witnessed the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and KIHI which will enable knowledge and expertise sharing for the development of Muslim friendly hospitality and halal industry in South Korea.

Noh also noted that South Korea’s Muslim-friendly destinations had resulted in the mushrooming of halal restaurants across the country.     

To-date, there are 130 Muslim-friendly restaurants including 14 halal certified, as well as one halal ski resort restaurant to cater to the high demand of Muslim tourists.

In another development, Noh said KIHI was planning to bring South Korean cosmetic companies into Malaysia.

“They can set up their laboratories or research and development centres, and together with Malaysian cosmetics companies, they could penetrate Asean and other Muslim markets,” he said, adding that KIHI was also hoping to invest in Malaysian halal parks.

Meanwhile, HDC vice president Hanisofian Alias said although Malaysia had a significant number of halal cosmetic players, they were lacking in terms of technology.

“They usually outsource the process, thus by partnering with South Korean experts they can produce better products and eventually going global.

“We are currently working with several domestic industry players to see if they are interested,” he said.

According to HDC, South Korean cosmetics companies have started to notice the lucrative halal market and they are now conducting more studies and test procedures for halal certification for future expansion.

Prior to the MoU signing, Hanisofian gave a 30-minute talk entitled “Effective Entry to Halal Businesses”, which saw a participation of 100 local companies. — Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/05/22/s.-korea-seeks-malaysias-expertise-for-its-muslim-friendly-hospitality/1755357

--------

 

Suspected Indonesian rioters 'pledged support' for Islamic State: police

MAY 23, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Two men detained by Indonesian police for rioting this week were part of a group that had pledged support to the Islamic State militant group and intended to carry out jihad, or holy war, police said on Thursday.

Two nights of rioting and clashes between protesters and police in the capital, Jakarta, followed the release of official election results which showed President Joko Widodo defeated his rival, Prabowo Subianto, in last month’s presidential race.

“They intended to carry out jihad during May 21 and 22 protests,” national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal, said of the two, adding they belonged to a group called Garis, which had pledged support for Islamic State.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-election-militants/suspected-indonesian-rioters-pledged-support-for-islamic-state-police-idUSKCN1ST0UC

--------

 

India

 

After huge win, PM Modi responds to Imran Khan’s congratulatory tweet

May 24, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday responded to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan’s congratulatory message and desire to work for stability in South Asia by saying he had always given priority to regional peace and development.

The exchange on Twitter between Modi and Khan followed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sweeping India’s election. Determining the future course of India-Pakistan ties, which plunged to a low after a suicide attack at Pulwama in Kashmir killed 40 troops in February, is expected to be on the agenda of the new government in New Delhi.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted.

Hours later, Modi responded by tweeting: “Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”

Khan said last month he believed there may be a better chance of peace with India if the BJP won the election. “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” he said in an interview.

Tensions flared between India and Pakistan after the suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in Pulwama on February 14. India responded to the attack by conducting an air strike on a JeM camp at Balakot, deep inside Pakistan, on February 26.

The next day, Pakistan retaliated by targeting Indian military facilities along the Line of Control (LoC). An Indian MiG-21 jet was downed in an engagement on the LoC and its pilot was captured and briefly detained before being handed over to India.

Pakistan has made several peace overtures but India has maintained there can’t be talks till the neighbouring country cracks down on terrorists operating from its soil.

On Wednesday, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj exchanged pleasantries on the margins of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. Qureshi told the meeting that Pakistan had delivered a “message of peace” by announcing the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India. He also emphasised the importance of “conflict resolution” for peace in South Asia.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/lok-sabha-elections/pakistan-s-imran-khan-congratulates-modi-on-election-victory-calls-for-peace/story-wXp3ihHNYKfkB1lxiKZNYM.html

--------

 

Zakir Musa, Jammu and Kashmir’s most wanted militant, killed in encounter: Police

May 23, 2019

In a major breakthrough for the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the Valley’s most wanted militant Zakir Musa was on Thursday killed in a joint operation by the Army, CRPF and state police in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A police official said after having specific information about the presence of Zakir Musa and his associates in Dadsar village of the district, the Army, police, and the CRPF launched a joint operation around 5 pm, as the forces zeroed in on the house where militants were hiding, the militants fired upon forces triggering a fierce gunfight. In the ensuing fight, Musa was killed inside the house.

Scores of youth marched towards the encounter site, and government forces fired tear gas shells, leading to clashes.

The divisional administration in Kashmir snapped internet in south Kashmir and Srinagar as a precautionary measure and also ordered the closure of all schools and colleges across the Kashmir division on Friday.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/zakir-musa-jammu-and-kashmir-s-most-wanted-militant-killed-in-encounter-cops/story-ukTlrPOnEVzl9nddbJ99II.html

--------

 

No Ramadan ceasefire for India's Jammu and Kashmir

May 23, 2019

Ramadan 2019 has been deadly in India’s northern state of Jammu and Kashmir compared to last year’s when the government announced a unilateral truce.

The conflict-ridden region has witnessed six major encounters during the first 15 days of this year’s Ramadan, killing 12 Islamist militants, two army personnel and a civilian.

No killing was reported during the last Ramadan season as the government announced a unilateral truce with militants, saying it was done to respect the sacred month in the Muslim-dominated region.

This year the federal government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP), decided against a truce.

This was because of the national elections and the BJP not wanting to be seen as a party supporting Muslims, say separatist leaders such as Syed Ali Geelani.

But a senior police official told ucanews.com that last year’s Ramadan ceasefire created more problems than solutions. He said the truce provided an opportunity for militants to regroup and devise a comprehensive strategy against government forces.

Official figures reveal that there have been 67 violent incidents this year resulting in the deaths of 17 civilians, 61 army personnel and 87 militants.

The Kashmir region bordering Pakistan, which is almost entirely Muslim, has been witnessing tension since February after a suicide bomb attack killed 40 army men in Pulwama in the state’s south. The attack was carried out by Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaesh-e- Mohammad.

The senior police officer blamed the violence on last year’s ceasefire.

“The Pulwama attack and other incidents of violence were due to the break during Ramadan last year and militants got the buffer to channel their assaults in a proper way,” the official said.

Soon after the Pulwama attack, archrivals India and Pakistan bombed each other and fighter jets fought in the skies. Meanwhile, the BJP projected the action against Pakistan as administrative boldness courtesy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi also gave the army a “free hand” to flush out militants from Kashmir and avenge the Pulwama attack. Since then, there has been no let-up in violence in the region.

However, Ghulam Nahi Lone, leader of a regional political party, said the government was wrong in not declaring a truce with militants this Ramadan.

“In view of the sanctity of this month, the federal government should have stopped anti-militancy operations so that people could have prayed in peace,” Lone told ucanews.com.

Muslims worldwide fast from sunrise to sunset and conduct special prayers to observe the month-long Ramadan, commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Some 70 percent of 12 million people in Jammu and Kashmir are Muslim.

The Kashmir conflict dates back to 1947 when India and Pakistan become separate states after British India was divided. Both countries claim Kashmir in full and have fought at least three wars and countless skirmishes over it.

Full report at:

https://www.ucanews.com/news/no-ramadan-ceasefire-for-indias-jammu-and-kashmir/85258

--------

 

Arab World

 

Iraqi tribes seek to heal enduring wounds of IS legacy

Adnan Abu Zeed

May 22, 2019

The supposedly defeated Islamic State (IS) remains at the center of a circle of violence and retribution in areas of Iraq.

Iraqi parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi is calling for community reconciliation to settle tribal and regional conflicts in Salahuddin and other provinces caused by differing attitudes toward IS. While some tribes battled against the extremist Sunni organization — which invaded western parts of Iraq in 2014 — others supported the organization, and their members even joined its ranks. Such diverging positions have generated a tribal and social divide, leading to murder and acts of revenge that go back for months and continue to plague the area.

A few examples include:

In September, groups launched campaigns to deport families of IS members in southern Ninevah province after an IS attack targeted civilians and an official of the Tribal Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Ashairi) and his family.

According to reports, on March 16, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Tribal Mobilization Forces conducted campaigns to remove IS families from their houses.

On May 6, unidentified people bombed a house owned by the family of an IS member in the center of Heet city in Anbar province.

A security source reported May 9 that eight members of a local official’s family were slaughtered in an IS attack at their house in Mosul.

The bloody vengeance has created a level of fear, leading Sabah al-Mahlawi, leader of the Albu Mahal tribe, to warn May 2 against the random return of IS families, because their members will be killed. “This is due to the availability of weapons and weak law," he said.

The need for reconciliation has reached a peak, not only within the Sunni community, but also between the Sunni and Shiite communities as well. More than three years ago, more than 900 civilians disappeared from the Sunni areas IS held. While their fate remains unknown, the general consensus points an accusing finger at the Shiite PMU factions. (The PMU is an umbrella military organization of mainly Shiite factions, but there are some Sunni members as well.)

This is how the conflict and vengeance between those who supported IS and those who fought the organization have become exacerbated.

"Serious measures are required to bring about peace in the community,” Rafea al-Fahdawi, head of the Anbar anti-terrorism tribal council, told Al-Monitor. "The tribes in Anbar seek to end the tribal conflict, vengeance and retaliation, which has caused a big social divide between IS supporters and victims.”

Fahdawi said it is “a complicated” situation. “Family members were split up between IS supporters and opponents," Fahdawi said. "Killings were witnessed, with a father killing his own son and another killing his brother in the tribal community. This could lead to a series of acts of retaliation, given the customs.”

Calls for community reconciliation aren't new. In August 2017, the Anbar tribes released a document in which they rejected violence and retribution and committed to resolving problems stemming from the IS era. The document bans acts of vengeance, be they physical or moral, individual or collective, without referring to the judiciary or tribal customs.

The reconciliation efforts aren't limited to the tribes. They also involve the Anbar police command, “which witnesses the exchange of killings and retaliation as a result of IS actions,” said Col. Walid al-Mashhadani of the community police. “The police are impartial when dealing with a crime or a displacement. It does not matter whether the perpetrator is with or against IS. This is because the key goal is to end the vicious cycle of vengeance.”

Mashhadani noted that one practical measure includes “setting up community police stations in most of the areas, be they villages or rural, where very high rates of incidents are recorded.”

To promote reconciliation in Sunni areas, the head of the Sunni Endowment, Abdullatif al-Humaim, attended a March 31 community meeting to reconcile al-Fadous and Albu Heshmeh tribes in the Dujail district of Salahuddin province. Moreover, Halbusi, the parliament speaker, discussed this agenda April 11 with the Norwegian Center for Conflict Resolution (NOREF).

Nevertheless, some Sunni political forces call into question the purported humanitarian objectives of measures that seem politically motivated. Speaking to the press Jan. 8, Hamid al-Hayes, chairman of the military faction umbrella group Anbar Salvation Council, warned against the potential revival of terrorism through alleged "community reconciliation" and the subsequent return of IS leaders and Anbar tribal leaders who supported the organization.

Abdullah al-Kharbit, a member of parliament for the Sunni National Axis bloc (al-Mehwar al-Watani), told Al-Monitor, “The reconciliation will not be promoted unless the political parties focus on a settlement of the agenda relating to compensating those affected by and holding accountable the perpetrators of killings.”

He added, "The issue related to IS families is the most complex in the reconciliation dossier. This is because many Anbar residents fear them and fear that they will commit acts of killings and vengeance if [IS returns]."

Attempts to bring about community reconciliation have focused on invitations and conferences. Aras Habib Kareem, secretary-general of the Iraqi National Congress, called May 4 for reactivation of the reconciliation dossier. Also, on April 27, NOREF organized a conference on civil peace in Erbil (the headquarters of the Kurdistan Regional Council), and Minister of Displacement and Migration Nofal Baha Mousa discussed reasons why displaced families are not returning to their hometowns.

Yet such efforts need to be accompanied by practical steps to achieve tangible outcomes, which continue to be limited. They include what Qatari al-Samarmad, commander of al-Baghdadi tribal forces in Anbar, revealed to Al-Monitor: "The tribes in western Anbar agreed to allow the families of IS members to return to their houses after [they are subjected] to a security check and after making sure they aren't involved in any terrorist acts.”

Community reconciliation in the Sunni parts of Iraq has become a pressing need. Yet the reconstruction, return of the displaced and the provision of services depend on the availability of a solid foundation for civil peace to allow for indispensable societal and infrastructure development.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/05/iraq-sunni-tribes-anbar-isis.html

--------

 

Egypt refers 6 death sentences to religious authority

May 24, 2019

CAIRO – An Egyptian court has referred the case of six alleged Muslim Brotherhood members convicted of terrorism to the Grand Mufti, Egypt's top religious authority, for a non-binding opinion on their execution.

The Cairo Criminal Court said Wednesday the six were found guilty of killing three people, including a policeman, among other charges. The case includes a total of 70 defendants.

The verdict can be appealed, and the judge can rule independently of the Grand Mufti.

Full report at:

https://www.foxnews.com/world/egypt-refers-6-death-sentences-to-religious-authority

--------

 

Terrorists Fear Losing Strategic Hill in Lattakia

May 23, 2019

The Arabic-language service of Sputnik reported on Thursday that the Syrian army has sent a large number of forces and military equipment to the regions from Job al-Ahmar hills overlooking Sahl al-Qab to the borders with Turkey in the North.

It added that the Syrian army forces had targeted all the moves and military convoys of the terrorists near Jisr al-Shaqour towards the strategic town of Kabani with artillery and missile attacks, saying that the militants fear losing the region.

The town of Kabani and the nearby hills are among the highest hills of Lattakia mountain which overlook the towns of Jabal al-Akrad in Northern Lattakia, Sahl al-Qab region in Northern Hama and Jisr al-Shaqour as well as the Lattakia-Aleppo highway to Ariha in Idlib.

Meantime, Tahrir al-Sham claimed last week that the Syrian army has launched chemical attack against Northern Lattakia.

A British-based war monitor said Wednesday it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack in the region.

"We have no proof at all of the attack," Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

"We have not documented any chemical attack in the mountains of Lattakia," he said.

The head of Observatory said that only militants were present at the site of Sunday's alleged attack, making it nearly impossible to objectively confirm the incident.

"There were no civilians in the area," Abdel Rahman said.

The Syrian foreign ministry stated in a statement that media reports about the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army in the Kabani settlement in Northern Lattakia were fake.

"The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry reaffirms the statement of the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces which denied these claims and affirmed that they are completely baseless, noting that Syria had cooperated fully with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which declared Syria free of chemical weapons," the statement said, as cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

According to the document, "Syria has never used such weapons before" and will "not use them now, as it does not possess such weapons in the first place, and it considers the use of toxic weapons contradictory to its moral and international obligations".

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980302000331

--------

 

Iraq weighs captives’ rights against fear of new ISIS

23 May 2019

Iraqi farmer Shaker Salih says he feared ISIS, but feared its defeat even more. His problem is persuading people to believe that he did not support the militants.

When Iraqi forces drove ISIS from his home town in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, Salih left with the extremist group. He then stayed as long he could.

“We thought militias would kill us for living under ISIS, so we fled,” said Salih, 49, referring to the paramilitaries that helped defeat ISIS. “That’s why we stayed with ISIS. We were used to them and knew what to do to survive.”

He now lives in the sprawling, guarded al-Hol displacement camp across the border in Syria, where among 70,000 fellow Iraqis, Syrians, and others, there are thousands of die-hard ISIS supporters. Some are passengers in his car, which he uses as a taxi to make a living by charging one dollar a trip.

“If God allows, the caliphate will return,” one Syrian woman at the camp, who gave her name as Fatima, told Reuters.

Iraq is preparing to bring home its citizens from al-Hol, who number more than 30,000. But it is struggling to decide what to do with them - and how to identify those with genuine ISIS links and those simply caught up in its caliphate.

The difficulty of distinguishing those groups, sometimes from the same clans and communities now in al-Hol, means that many like Salih face long-term detention under plans the government is weighing up.

Baghdad recently abandoned the idea of building a separate internment camp for those coming from al-Hol after aid agencies on which it relies to support hundreds of thousands of displaced people opposed it, rights and aid workers say.

The latest Iraqi proposal is to put them in buildings and more permanent structures in isolated areas guarded by security forces, according to officials, aid workers, and rights groups.

“Camps are temporary, people can’t live there forever. The only solution is to designate areas monitored and protected by the state and provide services and work on reintegrating these people,” said Ali Bayati, a member of Iraq’s semi-official High Commission for Human Rights.

Aid agencies have said they will not provide support for a new internment camp or detention zone, according to several aid workers, due to the risk of rights violations. They are seeking instead to put people who pass security screening into existing displacement camps, according to a plan seen by Reuters.

Iraq’s immigration and displacement ministry and the Prime Minister’s office declined to comment on current plans for the al-Hol captives.

Global issue

Since most of those in al-Hol emerged from the last sliver of land held by ISIS in eastern Syria, it is not easy to sort those with extremist views from non-radicalized people and ensure the latter does not change their views.

If Baghdad gets it wrong, global security could again be at risk, Western officials have said, as it was when ISIS – a reincarnation of al Qaeda groups that had taken years to suppress – took hold in Sunni areas of Iraq among communities that felt persecuted by the government.

Iraqis with clear links to ISIS, such as militants and their families, have mostly been detained and some of them have been transferred to Iraq to face trial.

Many other residents in the camp, which is controlled by US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, say they did not back ISIS but survived its brutal rule by keeping a low profile.

Salih and other Iraqis from his region live separately from the suspected fighters in al-Hol, and call the foreigners, who are held in a different area, “extremists”.

When they return to Iraq, the government says keeping them away from existing camps and the general population will protect them from vigilante attacks by people who suffered under ISIS and help avoid the spread of extremist ideas.

New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says al-Hol residents deemed a threat may be housed in abandoned or half-completed building projects or shipping containers converted into housing rather than in camps.

“What they are now thinking of creating is more permanent. It means they foresee holding people there for longer,” said Belkis Wille, a senior HRW researcher. HRW has said such plans would violate international law which forbids arbitrary detention without trial.

Baghdad wants to avoid a repeat of Camp Bucca, a US-run detention center where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is still at large, expanded a network of radical Islamists during the US occupation of Iraq.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said earlier this year there was a “difference between families which were trapped by ISIS as hostages and families who accompanied the terrorists.

“We will respect human rights but ... there needs to be careful security measures so (ISIS supporters) cannot leak back into society.”

Existing displacement camps already host some 450,000 Iraqis, and aid groups say even there they are sometimes denied documentation and face the prospect of never returning home for real or alleged affiliation with ISIS.

Whether in camps, guarded housing complexes or at liberty, the longer Sunnis who lived under ISIS are marginalized, the more likely they are to be exploited by militants seeking to regroup and expand an insurgency, Western officials say.

Paramilitaries

Most Sunni communities welcomed the defeat of ISIS, which they had quickly discovered persecuted all those it deemed enemies, regardless of sect. But they fear alienation and arrest if they return to areas of Iraq where Shi'ite paramilitaries now have the upper hand.

Some Iraqi militias have been accused of revenge attacks against Sunnis who lived under ISIS, which had carried out mass killings of Shi’ites, calling them apostates. The militias deny carrying out such attacks, saying any incidents were isolated and not systematic.

Salih and his family left their native Salahuddin province as Iraqi forces drove the militants out in 2015, moving to Mosul for two years, then Qaim, ISIS’s final Iraq stronghold. “When Qaim was attacked we paid smugglers to get us to Syria,” he said.

“We want to go home, but won’t do that as long as the militias are in control there. They’ll kill us or lock us up. They destroyed my farmland - I saw a video of them setting it on fire,” Salih said, an account Reuters was unable to verify.

Iraq’s Migration and Displacement Ministry, which deals with returns and camps, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the plans for the displaced or alleged rights abuses.

As tens of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians languish in camps, some say they would accept ISIS’s return if it meant they could go home.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/05/23/Iraq-weighs-captives-rights-against-fear-of-new-ISIS.html

--------

 

Explosion targeting Hashd al-Sha'abi forces kills 2 in Iraq’s Anbar

May 23, 2019

At least two people have been killed and two more wounded in a terrorist explosion targeting Iraq’s pro-government Popular Mobilization Units in the western province of Anbar.

The blast came on Thursday when an explosive-laden vehicle was set off inside a carwash in Anbar's Qaim district, Reuters reported.

One of the fatalities as well as the wounded were identified as members of the Popular Mobilization Units, known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha’abi. An employee at the facility was also killed by the explosion.

Iraq-based al-Rasheed Satellite Channel put the number of the wounded at four.

The PMU played a decisive role in Iraq’s uphill 2014-2017 battle against the Daesh Takfiri terror group.

The Iraqi parliament on November 26, 2016 approved a law giving full legal status to Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters.

It recognized the PMU as part of the national armed forces, placed the volunteer fighters under the command of the prime minister, and granted them the right to receive salaries and pensions like the regular army and police forces.

Iraqi forces retook Qaim, which lies on the border with Syria, in November 2017, after which they declared final victory over the group the following month.

Iraq is still watchful of movements by Daesh’s remnants and sleeper cells.

A US-led coalition began purportedly targeting Daesh in the same year as the outfit launched its campaign in the Arab country and neighboring Syria. The coalition has been found culpable of indiscrimination and keeps its presence in the countries, although they have declared victory against Daesh.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/23/596722/Iraq-Anbar-explosion-Popular-Mobilization-Units

--------

 

Russian air defense thwarts missile attack on Syria’s Hmeimim airbase

May 23, 2019

The Russian Defense Ministry says its surface-to-air missile systems have managed to foil an attack by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants on its main airbase in Syria's western coastal province of Latakia.

The ministry announced in a statement that militants positioned in the de-escalation zone of Syria's northwestern province of Idlib launched four missiles at the strategic Hmeimim airbase on Thursday.

The statement added that Russian air defense systems destroyed all the projectiles before they could strike the site.

The Russian Defense Ministry further noted that the missile launcher, which the Takfiri terrorists had used to fire the missiles at the Hmeimim base, was later detected and destroyed.

The development came only a day after foreign-backed militants fired a barrage of missiles at the same Russian military site.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that eight rockets launched by the extremists did not reach the Hmeimim airbase, while another nine were shot down by Russian air defense systems.

On Sunday, militants positioned in the de-escalation zone of Idlib province fired six missiles at the strategic base at around 8 p.m. (1700 GMT). Russian air defense systems intercepted and shot down all the projectiles.

Russia has been helping Syrian forces in ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country.

The Russian military assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as Syrians continue to recapture key areas from Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist groups across the country with the backing of Russian air cover.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/23/596712/Russian-air-defense-thwarts-missile-attack-on-Syrias-Hmeimim-airbase

--------

 

Bahraini regime contributing to liquidation of Palestinian cause: Opposition

May 23, 2019

Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, says the ruling Al Khalifah regime is contributing to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause through hosting a Washington-led conference in support of US President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.”

“The Manama regime, through hosting a US-Zionist conference next month, is helping the obliteration of the Palestinian cause in favor of the Zionist regime (of Israel), and according to Israeli conditions,” the deputy secretary general of al-Wefaq, Sheikh Hussein al-Daihi, said on Thursday.

He added, “It’s not the first time that the Bahraini regime stabs Muslims and reneges on their major issue of concern, which is Palestine. The regime has rushed to normalize ties with the Zionist entity.”

The opposition figure further noted that the Manama conference scheduled for June 25-26 is a “failed step to establish a new Middle East” according to US standards.

“The hypocrisy of those fooling with the Palestinian cause and Palestinians’ sufferings has been unmasked. Their intentions and schemes aimed at liquidation of the Palestinian cause have now been exposed,” Daihi pointed out.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Hamas resistance movement have called for an Arab boycott of the Bahrain confab.

Hamas, in a statement issued on Monday, also called on Arab countries to provide the Palestinian people with every support to confront and frustrate the US “deal of the century.”

“We are following with great concern the American announcement about holding an economic workshop next June in the Bahraini capital of Manama,” Hamas said, describing it as the first American confab in support of the so-called deal of the century.

The movement also denounced any Arab participation in adopting and executing the deal, saying any attendance in the American-led Bahrain conference would be considered a deviation from Arab and Islamic values.

Trump’s “peace plan” has already been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of the new Israeli cabinet, most likely in June.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/23/596694/Bahraini-regime-contributes-to-Palestinian-cause-liquidation-Opposition

--------

 

Syrian army shoots down bomb-laden drone near Hama Airport

May 23, 2019

The Syrian army has shot down a drone operated by terrorists and loaded with bombs near Hama’s airport, Syrian state TV reported late on Wednesday.

The report said the drone was launched by Nusra Front terrorists, but it did not provide further details.

Syria has repelled numerous drone and rocket attacks by terrorists, with the help of the Russian forces and their missile defense systems.

Earlier this month, Russia’s military said in April it had repelled 12 drone and rocket attacks by terrorists based in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib against a Russian airbase and Syrian positions in Latakia.

The attacks had been conducted against Russia’s Hmeimim airbase and Syrian troops’ positions since early April, said Major General Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation.

Last year, Russia warned that terrorists had acquired advanced technologies on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

"The production of such deadly machines requires superior professional knowledge, practical skills and experience in operating drones," says Head of the UAV department of the Russian General Staff Major General Aleksander Novikov.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/23/596659/Syria-drone-strike-terrorist-hama-russia

--------

 

North America

 

Trump says willing to consider sending more troops to counter Iran

24 May 2019

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was willing to consider sending more US troops to the Middle East to counter Iran.

He said he doubted that the US needs to send additional troops, as he prepared to meet Pentagon officials to discuss it later in the day.

US military leaders have discussed sending some 5,000 troops to the region with tensions running high with Iran. Trump, asked by reporters about the plan, said he did not think they would be needed, but that he was willing to consider it.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/24/Trump-says-willing-to-consider-sending-more-troops-to-counter-Iran.html

--------

 

Pentagon to present plans for 10,000 more troops to Mideast

23 May 2019

The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, US officials said.

The officials said no final decision has been made yet, and it’s not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces. Officials said the move is not in response to any new threat from Iran but is aimed at reinforcing security in the region.

They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been formally announced. Thursday morning’s meeting comes as tensions with Iran continue to simmer, and it wasn’t clear if a decision would be made during the session.

Any move to deploy more forces to the Middle East would signal a shift for President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce America’s troop presence in the region.

US officials have provided few details about possible Iranian threats but indicated they initially involved missiles loaded onto small Iranian boats.

This week, officials said the missiles have been taken off the boats near Iran’s shore, but other maritime threats continue.

Sending more troops could also raise questions on Capitol Hill. During back-to-back closed briefings for the House and Senate on Tuesday, defense leaders told congressional officials the US doesn’t want to go to war with Iran and wants to de-escalate the situation.

In early May, the US accelerated the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the Mideast and sent four B-52 bomber aircraft to the region. The Pentagon also decided to move a Patriot air-defense missile battery to an undisclosed country in the area.

The Trump administration has evacuated nonessential personnel from Iraq, amid unspecified threats the administration said are linked to Iranian-backed militias in the country.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/23/Pentagon-to-present-plans-to-send-10-000-more-troops-to-Middle-East.html

--------

 

Iran's supreme leader chastises country's leaders amid US tensions

May 23, 2019

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticised the country’s president and foreign minister on Wednesday over the implementation of the landmark nuclear accord they negotiated with world powers in 2015.

These comments mark the first time the Islamic republic's most senior religious figure has pointedly called out President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif by name.

In his remarks made at a Ramadan lecture for hardline students, Mr Khamenei blamed the two relatively modern politicians for the slow but sure unraveling of the deal. Hardliners have been ardent critics of the accord for bending to the West's demands.

Mr Khamenei, who wields final say on all state matters, had previously approved of the 2015 deal that lifted economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country’s uranium production.

Last year, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal that was brokered by then US secretary of state John Kerry under the Obama administration. Mr Trump called the agreement a “horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”.

The deal, which took more than two years to negotiate, is still in place. France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia, the EU and Iran are still signatories.

But since the White House deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region earlier this year, Iran has pushed limits on the atomic accord.

Mr Khamenei’s remarks come as tensions between Tehran and Washington are rapidly escalating as a result of President Trump’s decision to beef up US military presence in the region and slash Iranian oil exports.

Trump administration officials said the sanctions are intended as punishment for Iran’s involvement in supporting proxy groups in Syria and Yemen.

Eight countries received waivers when sanctions were imposed in November 2018. Italy, Greece and Taiwan have halted their oil imports from Iran since receiving waivers which expired on May 2.

Turkey most recently halted its incoming supply. Initially they stood in defiance of US demands to stop Iranian oil imports.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that the sanctions and termination of the waivers "will not serve regional peace and stability".

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

@MevlutCavusoglu

The #US decision to end sanctions waivers on #Iran oil imports will not serve regional peace and stability, yet will harm Iranian people. #Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors. @StateDept @SecPompeo

1,413

8:11 PM - Apr 22, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

648 people are talking about this

Analysts said Turkey is now supplementing the lost supply with oil from Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Iran reported it has bolstered its uranium developments in response to the oil sanctions, quadrupling production efforts. Although Iran is still enriching uranium under the 3.67 per cent limit set by the deal, the increased production will soon cause Iran to pass stockpile limitations.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iran-s-supreme-leader-chastises-country-s-leaders-amid-us-tensions-1.865509

--------

 

Europe

 

Senior German diplomat in Tehran for nuclear deal talks

May 24, 2019

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German diplomat headed Thursday to Tehran to press Iran to continue to respect the landmark nuclear deal, despite the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. and increasing pressure from Washington.

Tensions have soared in the Mideast recently as the White House earlier this month sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceived from Iran.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry sent its political director, Jens Ploetner, to Iran to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi to try to salvage the nuclear deal signed in 2015 in Vienna. The accord has steadily unraveled since the Trump administration pulled America out of the deal, re-imposed and escalated U.S. sanctions on Tehran last year.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that Arghchi demanded that European signatories follow through on their commitments under the deal. According to the report, Ploetner said the European side will continue to work to meet Iran’s demands and save the deal. The report did not elaborate.

The German envoy’s visit follows Iran’s declaration earlier this month that the remaining signatories to the deal — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — have two months to develop a plan to shield Iran from American sanctions.

“The situation in the Persian Gulf and the region, and the situation surrounding the Vienna nuclear agreement, is extremely serious,” the German Foreign Ministry said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “There is a real risk of escalation — including due to misunderstandings or an incident. In this situation, dialogue is very important.”

With Iran’s 60-day deadline, the ministry said there is still a “window for diplomacy to persuade Iran to continue its full compliance” and said Germany remains in close contact with the other nations that have been struggling to keep the deal alive.

The accord, intended to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, promised economic incentives in exchange for restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities. Despite efforts so far by the others to keep the deal from collapsing, Iran’s economy has been struggling and its currency has plummeted after the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.

Iran continued abiding by the stipulations of the deal, according to a February report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, though it expressed increasing frustration with the inability of the Europeans to provide economic relief. A new IAEA report is due out soon.

Then on Monday, Iran announced it had quadrupled its production capacity of low-enriched uranium. Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the nuclear deal, making it usable for a power plant but far below what’s needed for an atomic weapon.

But by increasing production, Iran will likely soon exceed the stockpile limitations set by the nuclear accord, which would escalate the situation further.

Several incidents have added to the crisis, including the sabotage of the oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, as well as a rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The U.S. has blamed Iran for both incidents without publicly offering evidence. America also has evacuated nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq amid the tensions.

Saudi Arabia said Thursday Yemen’s Houthi rebels again targeted an airport in Najran near its southern border with a bomb-carrying drone. The Saudi military said it intercepted the drone, while the Houthis said it struck a Patriot missile battery at the airport. The Houthis have claimed three times in recent days to have targeted the airport, which also hosts a military base. It comes after the Houthis last week targeted a Saudi oil pipeline in a coordinated drone attack.

The Pentagon was to present plans to the White House on Thursday to send up to 10,000 more American troops to the Middle East, to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, U.S. officials said. Iran has watched warily as the USS Abraham Lincoln heads toward the Strait of Hormuz and B-52 bombers began flying missions in the region.

Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said Thursday the military will remain watchful about “deceptions by the U.S. government and its adventurous” president.

“With the finger on the trigger, Iran is ready to respond to any invader strongly and with unbelievable speed,” Bagheri said in a statement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was expected to arrive Thursday in Islamabad as Pakistan seeks to calm regional tensions. He was to hold talks with Pakistani officials on Friday.

“We believe the situation in the region is serious and needs to be addressed through dialogue by all parties,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We expect all sides to show restraint, as any miscalculated move, can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”

Meanwhile, Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Friday told a group of veterans that what he calls the U.S. economic war on Iran is “more complicated” than the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, according to his office’s website. But he said Iranians would resist.

“We do not withdraw from independence and dignity even if our land is bombed,” he said.

https://apnews.com/8c7a4e15b1754e769208f06f8d71c7c9

--------

 

Swiss propose house arrest, including for teenagers, to curb extremism

MAY 23, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government on Wednesday proposed new laws aimed at preventing extremist violence and forcing people including children deemed a threat to be registered with authorities, with house arrest a last resort in some cases.

The measures, due now to be considered by Switzerland’s parliament, are part of an evolving national action plan against violent extremism introduced in 2017.

Though Switzerland has, so far, been spared deadly Islamist militant attacks that hit Germany, France and Belgium in recent years, it is wary and has been tracking hundreds of suspected extremist threats under a national jihad monitoring program.

Federal Police Director Nicoletta della Valle told a news conference in Bern she expects “a few dozen people” could be affected by the expanded measures, should they be enacted.

Such individuals, according to the legislation, could be made to report their whereabouts to police stations. Their passports could be confiscated, to prevent travel abroad, and they could be slapped with no-contact orders.

People slated for deportation who are deemed threats would be incarcerated, while Swiss police would get new powers to covertly track suspected threats via electronic media.

“House arrest is seen as a last resort and would require permission from the Swiss Federal Police as well as approval from the courts,” a cabinet statement said.

Such measures could last six months and be renewed.

Children as young as 12 could be required to register with authorities, placed under surveillance or have passports confiscated. Those as young as 15 could get house arrest, according to the legislation.

The 28-page legislative proposal stops short of allowing so-called “secure housing” for suspected extremists — something Swiss law enforcement agencies had wanted - “because it was determined to have violated the European Convention on Human Rights,” the cabinet said.

Switzerland has prosecuted several extremism-related cases in recent years, including three Iraq men jailed in 2016 for between 42 and 56 months for belonging to or supporting a terrorist organization.

In July, a trial is slated for a 48-year-old Kosovo native accused of breaking Swiss laws forbidding Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Of 92 Swiss “jihad travelers” identified as having journeyed to the Middle East to participate in violent conflicts since 2001, 31 are dead. Another 16 have returned to Switzerland, the government has said.

Full report at:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-security/swiss-propose-house-arrest-including-for-teenagers-to-curb-extremism-idUSKCN1SS24M

--------

 

Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

May 23, 2019

MILAN: Italy’s defense minister says an Italian who had been held hostage in Syria for three years has been released and returned to Italy.

Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta late Wednesday confirmed Alessandro Sandrini’s arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport and thanked Italian intelligence services for their role in his liberation. Details were not disclosed.

Sandrini, who is in his early 30s, disappeared after traveling to Turkey in October 2016, and wasn’t heard from for over a year. In July 2018, a dramatic video showed Sandrini wearing an orange jumpsuit flanked by masked men brandishing automatic weapons, appealing to Italy to help free him as quickly as possible.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1501046/world

--------

 

Romanian princess meets Syrians in Turkey

23.05.2019

Princess Marie of Romania Thursday visited Syrians living in Turkey’s southeastern provinces bordering Syria.

Accompanied by Romania’s ambassador to Turkey Gabriel Catalin Sopanda and Undersecretary Ionel Dumitru, Princess Marie met with Syrians in Gaziantep and Sanliurfa provinces.

Briefed about the living conditions and services offered to the refugees in Gaziantep, she later visited education centers and recreational facilities provided for them suffering from the civil war in Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

The Romanian committee and World Health Organization’s representative for Turkey Pavel Ursu later visited Syrians living in a migrant health and education center in Sanliurfa.

Turkey currently hosts almost 4 million registered refugees -- out of which nearly 3.6 million are Syrians.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/romanian-princess-meets-syrians-in-turkey/1487764

--------

 

Mideast

 

Iran Newspaper: Houthis Are Capable Of Reducing Saudi Oil Exports To Zero

By Tzvi Joffre 

MAY 22, 2019

The Iran-backed Houthis intend to expand attacks on Saudi Arabia to "no fewer than 300 military and other vital targets in Saudi Arabia" and are "capable of reducing Saudi oil exports to zero," wrote Sa'dollah Zarei in an editorial in Iran's Kayhan newspaper, according to MEMRI.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the hard-line editor-in-chief of Kayhan, also serves as the representative of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni, according to the New York Times.

The editorial also claimed that the Houthis' attack drones can "launch a war against Riyadh, because the distance between the two cities is no greater than 230 and 390 kilometers."

The editorial did not go as far as claiming that Iran was behind the attack.

Zarei also claimed that the US's lack of response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities shows that "America cannot defend these two countries [Saudi Arabia and the UAE] and their policy, or that it does not want to continue supporting [them] futilely."

"Everyone must know that America's support cannot guarantee the life of illegitimate and aggressive regimes," Zarei wrote, according to MEMRI.

The editorial stated that this is not only an Iranian request and that it has "the support of all the nations of the region and most of their governments, whether openly or in secret."

"There must be surgery in our Islamic region to remove this cancerous growth [Saudi Arabia] from it," Zarei emphasized.

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-news-agency-Houthis-can-expand-attacks-reduce-oil-exports-to-zero-590432

--------

 

Japan PM Abe considering visit to Iran as early as mid-June

24 May 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting Iran as early as mid-June, NHK national television said on Friday.

The news comes during a tense standoff between Iran and the United States and follows a visit to Japan last week by Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif.

Abe is likely to discuss the possible Iran visit with US President Donald Trump when the US president visits Japan from Saturday and a final decision may rest on the results of that, NHK said. No Japanese prime minister has visited Iran since 1978.

Zarif in Iran

During his visit to Japan, Zarif said that Iran was committed to its obligations under an international nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal from the landmark agreement. He called the re-imposition of US sanctions “unacceptable”.

Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement last year and is ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, aiming to strangle its economy by ending its international sales of crude oil. Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before the sanctions.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/24/Report-Japan-PM-Abe-considering-visit-to-Iran-as-early-as-mid-June.html

--------

 

Samer Shaban’s family worries he may meet same fate as Zaki Mubarak

24 May 2019

The family members of Samer Shaban are now worried that he would meet the same fate as Zaki Mubarak, who died in Turkish custody.

Shaban and Mubarak were detained by Turkish authorities on alleged espionage charges on behalf of the UAE.

The two had pleaded innocence to the charges against them.

The subject of Palestinian detainees had come to the fore again, after the death of Mubarak which was characterized as murder under torture by his family, while Turkish authorities maintained that he committed suicide.

Samer Shaban’s uncle, Abdallah Ramadhan Shaban, spoke to Al Arabiya channel and expressed his worries at the fate of his nephew, maintaining that he was innocent. He also stated that Samer Shaban’s wife had visited him in prison and that he was in good health.

The uncle stated that “the Turkish authorities didn’t press any charges and yet Samer is still in prison, and that no investigation or inquiry has been done.”

He also said that the family of Zaki Mubarak was told that their son will be released and so was Samer Shaban, “yet Zaki Mubarak was killed and we are afraid that Samer will meet the same fate.”

Abdallah Ramadhan Shaban called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to release Samer.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/24/Samer-Shaban-s-family-worries-he-may-meet-same-fate-as-Zaki-Mubarak-.html

--------

 

Iran will not surrender even if it is bombed, says Rouhani

23 May 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that Tehran will not surrender to US pressure and will not give up on its goals even if it is bombed, as tension rises between the Islamic Republic and the United States.

Rouhani was quoted by state news agency IRNA as telling a ceremony in commemoration of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s: “We need resistance, so our enemies know if they bomb our land, and if our children are martyred, wounded or arrested, we will not give up on our goals for the independence of our country and our pride.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/23/Iran-says-it-will-not-surrender-even-if-it-is-bombed-.html

--------

 

Iran, US tension is a “clash of wills”, says Guards commander

23 May 2019

The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills”, a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.

Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.

He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism”.

On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.

Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.

‘No negotiations’

Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”

Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”

He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.

“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/23/Iran-US-tension-is-a-clash-of-wills-says-Guards-commander.html

--------

 

Saudi Air Defense destroys drone launched by Houthis on Najran

23 May 2019

The Arab Coalition’s spokesperson said on Thursday that the Saudi Air Defense intercepted a drone carrying explosives that was launched by Houthis in an attempt to target Najran airport.

Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that Houthis deliberately target dignitaries, civilians, and civil facilities systematically, warning the Iran-backed militia not to continue targeting, otherwise, there will be a strong response.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over reports on the attack, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“The Secretary-General is alarmed by reports of a second consecutive drone attack on an airport in Najran, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility. He condemns these attacks, as well as any attack targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, which violate international humanitarian law,” Dujarric said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/05/23/Saudi-air-defense-destroys-drone-launched-by-Houthis-on-Najran.html

--------

 

UNRWA rejects US call for dismantling UN agency for Palestinian refugees

May 23, 2019

The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has rejected a US call to dismantle the agency, saying it cannot be blamed for the stalemate in the so-called peace efforts.

“I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing needs,” UNRWA's Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a press conference in the Gaza City on Thursday.

His comments were in response to a question about what Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, provocatively had said a day earlier, claiming that the agency had run its course and was no longer needed.

Addressing the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Greenblatt claimed that UNRWA had been a “bandaid” and that it was time to hand over services assured by the refugee agency to those countries hosting the Palestinian Arab refugees.

“The UNRWA model has failed the Palestinian people,” he added.

UNRWA was originally set up in 1949 to take care of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war in the Middle East mainly through providing them with humanitarian aid.

It was initially established as a temporary agency, but it has continued to provide support for Palestinian refugees for the better part of six decades.

It currently supports more than five million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, providing them with healthcare, education and social services with funding from international donors.

Most are descendants of the roughly 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled the 1948 war that led to Israel's creation.

Last year, however, Washington cut its roughly $300 million annual donation to the UN agency, claiming that it was flawed as Trump’s administration pressed ahead with work on its so-called peace plan.

The US has accused UNRWA of expanding the definition of the refugee so that it includes all descendants of refugees regardless of whether they have taken citizenship in another country.

“The fact that UNRWA still exists today is an illustration of the failure of the parties and the international community to resolve the issue politically -- and one cannot deflect the attention onto a humanitarian organization,” the UNRWA head further said on Thursday.

The UN agency will host a conference on June 25 at which international donors are expected to pledge financial support.

The developments come as the White House is set to hold an economic summit in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on June 25 and 26 during which the first part of Trump’s “peace plan” which is spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner will be unveiled.

The Trump administration has said that its secret plan would require compromise by both sides.

The plan has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities even before being unveiled. Palestine’s Minister of Social Development Ahmed Majdalani also said early this week that Palestinians would not participate in the economic conference in Manama.

Relations between the Palestinian Authority and the US took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

Since then, Palestinians have shown little interest in discussing a plan that they anticipate will fall far short of their core demands.

The Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, is facing steep aid cuts. Since being shunned by Palestinians, the White House has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, but Israel insists on maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/23/596709/Palestine-UNRWA-refugees-US-Trump-peace-deal

--------

 

Seven Turkish journalists jailed for ‘terrorist propaganda’

22 May 2019

A Turkish court has handed multiple jail terms for editors and journalists from the now-defunct pro-Kurd daily Ozgur Gundem on charges of spreading “terrorist propaganda”.

Seven people, including the newspaper’s editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Huseyin Aykol, were given sentences ranging from 15 to 45 months in prison, the paper said on its Twitter account.

A total of 24 people from the newspaper appeared for Tuesday’s hearing, but only seven were convicted of “disseminating terrorist propaganda,” according to the P24 press freedom website.

The newspaper was accused of running propaganda in favor of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

It was permanently shut in August 2016 following an attempted coup by opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I don’t believe I have committed a crime. I don’t believe the expression of thought is a crime. I request my acquittal,” Keskin told the court.

At least 146 journalists are currently imprisoned in Turkey, according to P24, most detained under the state of emergency imposed after the attempted coup.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/print/2019/05/22/Seven-Turkish-journalists-jailed-for-terrorist-propaganda-.html

--------

 

Africa

 

Libya coast guard rescues 290 migrants off eastern coast of Tripoli

24 May 2019

Libya’s coast guard rescued 290 migrants clinging to inflatable rafts on Friday in two operations near the capital Tripoli, a naval forces spokesman said.

The western coast of Libya is the main departure point of hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing their countries from wars and poverty to reach shores of Italy.

A coastguard vessel rescued 87 migrants off Qarabuli, a town 50 km eastern Tripoli, on an inflatable boat, naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters. The coast guard is part of Libya’s Navy.

Another group of 203 migrants was rescued from two inflatable boats off Zlitin, a town 160 km east of the capital, Qassem said.

“The illegal migrants were found clinging to shabby and broken boats. They were rescued by patrols of coastguards on two different vessels,” Qassem said.

The migrants have been handed-over to anti-illegal migration department after they were disembarked at two cities of Khomas and Janzur, said Qassem. They are from different Arab and sub-Saharan countries, including seven women and a child.

After an Italy-backed deal, the number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 when human traffickers were expelled by an armed group from a smuggling hub of Sabratha city in western Tripoli.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/05/24/Libya-coast-guard-rescues-290-migrants-off-eastern-coast-of-Tripoli.html

--------

 

Suicide car bomb kills at least 9 in Somalia’s capital

By Abdi Guled

May 22, 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya — Islamic extremists exploded a suicide car bomb near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital Wednesday, killing at least nine people, including former Foreign Minister Hussein Elabe Fahiye, who was an adviser to the current president. Capt. Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press that an additional 13 people were wounded and most of the casualties were soldiers.

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the blast in Mogadishu, saying it targeted vehicles carrying government officials.

The car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace as soldiers were conducting security checks on vehicles on the main road. A white column of smoke rose over the seaside city as gunfire rang out and people scattered.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab frequently carries out such blasts in the capital near the presidential compound and at hotels frequented by government officials and foreigners.

“In the past I was wounded in this area, and again today my daughter has been killed in this attack which also destroyed my home. This is terrible,” witness Madey Ahmed told the AP.

Amid the crumpled vehicles and tangled metal roofing, a small corps of yellow-vested workers carried bodies and began sweeping the dusty street.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, Somali Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman paid tribute to Fahiye, saying: “We are more determined to fight the menace of faceless, borderless international terrorism.”

He told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Somalia that “al-Shabab continues to be a threat undermining our efforts to deliver security.”

Full report at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/suicide-car-bomb-kills-at-least-9-in-somalias-capital/2019/05/22/5324531a-7cf4-11e9-b1f3-b233fe5811ef_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0ad06bcc6f1e

--------

 

Islamic State West Africa claims killing and execution of 29 Nigerian soldiers

MAY 22, 2019

ABUJA (Reuters) - Islamic State’s West Africa branch claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a raid in Nigeria two days earlier in which it said 20 soldiers had been killed, and released a video purporting to show the execution of nine other Nigerian soldiers.

A security source and a humanitarian worker, both requesting anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to media, said insurgents struck the northeastern town of Gubio in Borno state on Monday evening, in vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns and on motorbikes.

The insurgents and soldiers exchanged fire for more than an hour before the army withdrew, said the humanitarian worker, who counted the corpses of more than 15 soldiers.

A Nigerian military spokesman said he would send a comment on the Islamic State claim, but at the time of writing had not.

Nigeria has said the insurgency, and its rival Boko Haram, are on the back foot, as the sides engage in a battle of propaganda to show who has the upper hand in the decade-long conflict.

The war has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions more.

The Islamic State branch said in its claim of responsibility, translated into English and published by SITE Intelligence, that its fighters had attacked an army barracks and killed 20 soldiers in Gubio on Monday.

In a separate video also released on Wednesday, Islamic State West Africa showed the execution of nine Nigerian soldiers. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the video.

Before their executions, the soldiers identified themselves by their military service numbers, units and names. Some said where and when they had been captured. For others, it was not immediately clear.

The video also showed Islamic State fighters pledging allegiance to the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, along with artillery, tanks and boats it said it had captured from the military and attacks on Nigerian bases.

Full report at:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-security-insurgency/islamic-state-west-africa-claims-killing-and-execution-of-29-nigerian-soldiers-idUSKCN1SS2DQ

--------

 

Nigeria: Boko Haram Expands Terror Outside Nigeria

22 MAY 2019

By Ahmed Obafemi

Maiduguri — THE Boko Haram terror group is carrying out more attacks outside Nigeria in its violent bid to establish as Islamic state in West Africa.

More attacks have been recorded in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger since the beginning of the year.

In 2019, only half of violent activities associated with Boko Haram factions have been in Nigeria.

The Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset (ACLED) stated that the expansion of the violent activities into neighboring countries, and the types of violence it is engaging in, allude to a resilient and resourceful insurgency.

It warned the increasing violence associated with Boko Haram had dire implications for the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin and stabilisation efforts in the region.

"So far in 2019, nearly half of all violent events involving the group have occurred outside of Nigeria - a proportion that is unusually high for the group," ACLED stated.

The think-tank noted that Boko Haram's geographic pattern of activity in 2019 thus far resembles 2016, when almost 48 percent of the group's activities were outside of Nigeria.

Since emerging in Borno State in northeast Nigeria in 2009, the vast majority of Boko Haram's violent activities have been concentrated in the country.

Over 20 000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced.

Full report at:

https://allafrica.com/stories/201905220494.html

--------

 

Amaechi speaks on Buhari’s refusal to convert him to Islam

May 23, 2019

By Fikayo Olowolagba

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for not converting him to Islam, saying he was misunderstood and criticised for associating with the president.

Amaechi stated this on Wednesday at the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council.

The former Rivers State Governor narrated how he was almost chased out of Christ the King Catholic Church in 2014 for supporting the president, whom they alleged was trying to Islamise the country, NAN reports.

“Mr. President, let me thank you for not converting me to Islam. I say that specifically because in 2014 when I walked into Christ the King Catholic Church, I was literally chased out of the church as a governor because I was accused of supporting a man whose agenda was to Islamise Nigeria.

“And in Rivers state they began to call me `Alhaji Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’. I thank you because they have dropped the `Alhaji’ and back to Mr Chibuike Amaechi,’’ he said.

Amaechi said some persons initially thought that the president would be an autocratic leader only for him to turn out to be an “extreme democrat’’.

“I was told in the course of the campaign that you were autocratic and therefore you would not be democratic.

“Most of us are not happy that you have moved from your autocratic nature to an extreme democrat that everything puts to test of the people, to the extent that the people now feel that the only way things can go on in this country is by the rule of law.

Full report at:

https://dailypost.ng/2019/05/23/amaechi-speaks-buharis-refusal-convert-islam/

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

China’s alarming AI surveillance of Muslims should wake us up

By Tim Weinhold

May 23, 2019

Tight control of civilian populations is the cardinal rule of authoritarian regimes, yet the sheer scale and complexity of those populations makes control difficult. Now, artificial intelligence has made civilian surveillance far easier, and far more invasive. AI is rapidly becoming the new best friend of dictators everywhere.

The most sweeping and stifling surveillance program in human history is being employed against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in northwestern China. A million Uighurs, about 10 percent of their total population, are held captive in what Chinese authorities call “reeducation and training” camps. Uighurs have been sent to the camps for a wide variety of infractions, including for religious practices such as reading the Koran or being caught with religious content on their phones.

At the camps, Uighurs are required to listen to hours upon hours of Communist Party propaganda and engage in rigorous self-criticism. Reporting earlier this year in the Independent said Uighur inmates have allegedly “been tortured, forced to consume pork and alcohol, and ordered to renounce their religion.” Other Uighurs allegedly have “disappeared” into the camps.

One reason Uighurs have a surveillance crosshairs on their collective foreheads is simple sectarian violence. Over the past few decades, China has been resettling members of the majority Han race in Xinjiang. A province that historically had been mostly Uighur is now split 50-50 with Han. In turn, race riots broke out some years back, and people were killed.

But there is another, deeper answer. The Uighurs are people of faith. As such, they are effectively citizens of two kingdoms. They offer allegiance to the government but direct their ultimate devotion to God. To the Chinese authorities, such divided loyalties are necessarily a threat to be dealt with harshly.

This has created a humanitarian crisis for the Uighurs. But two factors make the full implications far wider.

First, AI, especially facial recognition, allows authoritarian governments to surveil target populations to an extent previously unimaginable. This has already effectively immobilized the Uighurs, who are afraid to voice their true thoughts even to their closest family members.

The second factor is that all people of faith share the divided loyalties that unnerve Chinese and other totalitarians. In my Christian faith, for example, the Bible teaches that we are citizens of both an earthly and a heavenly kingdom. As such, we are commanded to obey earthly authorities, except when such obedience conflicts with our ultimate loyalty to God. Totalitarians find such conditional allegiance deeply alarming, whether from Christians, Uighurs or any other faith community.

Religious persecution in the country has often focused on government officials’ treatment of Christians. And, not surprisingly, the automated authoritarianism of the Chinese government is being turned against Christians as well. In Beijing, officials recently banned the 1,500-member Zion church after its pastor refused to install surveillance cameras. Hundreds of unofficial “house churches” have been shuttered, including one of the largest, Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, whose pastor, Wang Yi, and his wife, remain in prison. Other churches have bowed to the inevitable, accepting surveillance cameras as a necessary accommodation to the authorities. The government is working on its own version of Scripture, appropriately edited and annotated to ensure a “politically correct interpretation.”

“What happens in Xinjiang and what happens to house churches is connected,” Eva Pils, a professor of law at King’s College London, who focuses on human rights, told the Guardian.

“Ten years ago, we used to be able to say the [Chinese Communist] party was not really interested in what people believed internally,” said Pils. “[Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s response is much more invasive and it is in some ways returning to Mao-era attempts to control hearts and minds.”

In large part, AI-powered surveillance is proving effective at reshaping behavior. In fact, AI technology has freed authoritarian governments from narrowly focusing on just their high-risk populations. After all, if behavior can be shaped to match the state’s wishes, why not exert that control over everyone?

China is steadily progressing toward that goal. By 2020, analysts estimate the country will have installed nearly 300 million cameras, and police will be spending $30 billion per year on surveillance technology.

At a United Nations hearing in early May, Adrian Zenz, a specialist on Xinjiang, said: “We are really talking here about a humanitarian emergency. . . . This is a very targeted political reeducation effort that is seeking to change the core identity and belief system of an entire people. On that scale it’s pretty unprecedented.”

Recently, reporters from the New York Times visited Kashgar in Xinjiang province. On the one hand, they said, much of Kashgar is still an ancient city, composed of mud and stone and open-air markets. Camels, sheep and goats mingle among the motor scooters and automobiles. But you also have “tremendously powerful facial recognition cameras hanging from a mud-brick wall, and there are cameras absolutely everywhere,” the Times reported.

Halmurat Harri, a Uighur activist now living in Finland, described the psychological impact of this pervasive surveillance, including near-constant police checks. “You feel like you are underwater,” he told Wired. “You cannot breathe. Every breath you take, you’re careful.”

Surveillance extends to the youngest Uighurs. “In the kindergarten, they would ask little children, ‘Do your parents read the Koran?’ ” one woman told reporters. “My daughter had a classmate who said, ‘My mom teaches me the Koran.’ The next day, they [were] gone.’”

Even Uighurs who have escaped to Turkey or to the United States live under the long shadow of Chinese surveillance. Those who have dared to speak about abuses back home have had family members in Xinjiang threatened, imprisoned or disappear. As a result, most Uighurs have stayed silent, even as the basics of human freedom and dignity have been stripped away.

Former president John F. Kennedy famously said in the face of an earlier totalitarian threat that we are all citizens of Berlin. Now, AI increasingly means we are all Uighurs.

Tim Weinhold is the Chief Content Officer (CCO) of AI and Faith, a multifaith nonprofit focused on bringing the values of the world’s great religions into the developing discussion regarding ethical AI.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/05/23/chinas-alarming-ai-surveillance-muslims-should-wake-us-up/?utm_term=.47a9ad1f8d32

--------

 

Malaysian officials go undercover to spy on fasting Muslims

MAY 23, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian officials are disguising themselves as cooks and waiters to catch Muslims who don't fast during Ramadan, with a rights group Thursday (May 23) blasting the "disgraceful act of spying".

Thirty-two enforcement officers from a local council in the Muslim-majority country are going undercover at food outlets as part of the scheme, the New Straits Times newspaper reported.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysian-officials-go-undercover-to-spy-on-fasting-muslims

--------

 

Malaysia will reap rewards if kids can discuss religions in primary school, groups suggest

24 May 2019

BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID AND AZRIL ANNUAR

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 ― Children should be taught to discuss religions openly as this will help pave the way towards a more open society, suggested several civil society groups.

They say there is a definite need to foster interfaith dialogue at the primary school level.

Interfaith activist group Projek Dialog said educating children to adapt and accept cultural and religious differences at an early stage can help create a conducive environment for peaceful discussions on a thorny subject like faith, often at the heart of communal strife today.

“If we have the right syllabus written by the right academics and teachers trained in the right way, it will be a boon to the nation more than anything else,” said its lead programme manager Victoria Cheng.

“I think the earlier we introduce such topics, the better. If we wait till university before we discuss these topics, the harder it is for the young adult to adapt.”

Cheng is among those who disagree with Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s opinion that interfaith dialogue as part of the syllabus for primary school students is unnecessary.

Maszlee was responding to a proposal made by the Malaysian Youth Council that a special subject about religions be introduced in schools and universities.

The minister said his view was consistent with the ministry’s previous suggestion that every school and university should organise more cross-cultural programmes.

Federal religious authority Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) has also publicly backed Maszlee and rejected the proposal.

Its director-general Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim said although Jakim does not agree with the proposal, it nonetheless backs cross-cultural programmes in schools and universities, so as to lessen misunderstanding between the faiths.

Cheng, however, said such programmes have failed to bring the country’s multiracial communities together because they lack the critical foundation needed to encourage students to be more open when discussing their respective faiths.

“Conversation in universities is so basic. It doesn't probe deeper and I think the fault lies in early education,” she said.

“There's no critical thinking or basic philosophy.”

In defending his decision, Maszlee deemed it more appropriate for schools to share about each other’s culture instead of learning about other religions.

He said the ministry feared that the move could yield more negative than positive results.

Like Cheng, Angkatan Belia Islam (Abim) president Mohamad Raimi Ab Rahim felt early stage civilisational studies would only lead to good things, but said perhaps it would be best to start “small” with focus given on identifying and appreciating similar values from various faiths.

“Is teaching different religions to pupils wrong? Absolutely not,” he said.

“It's only right that we learn about others, their religion and culture especially about South-east Asian religions and cultures to know and understand about people around us better.”

But Raimi said other “technical” factors could have prompted Maszlee’s decision.

“I think the main issue among educators is the complication that comes with adding another subject,” he said.

“Students are already complaining that there are too many subjects in schools now, there's a lot of work not just for the pupils but for the teachers as well.”

Raimi suggested that regulators make it seamless for students and teachers by incorporating civilisational study in the existing syllabus, instead of rolling it out as another stand-alone subject.

This way, he added, schools can keep the number of subjects small enough to keep students more focused.

Critics of the government claim the country has become more polarised since Pakatan Harapan took power, an allegation its leaders deny.

The multiracial bloc, albeit comprising one ethnic-based party, said it would put into place key political reforms to bridge the division, starting with freeing education from partisan interests.

Iman Research, a think tank that studies religious extremism, said shaping cultural and religious sensitivities at an early stage at a time of heightened communal distrust is crucial to address faith-based violence.

“In a world fraught with violent extremism ― white nationalists, terrorists et al ― hate has become a powerful cultural currency,” its director Dina Zaman said.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/05/24/malaysia-will-reap-rewards-if-kids-can-discuss-religions-in-primary-school/1755862

--------

 

Two Members of Islamic State-Linked Group Arrested During May 22 Rally

MAY 23, 2019

Jakarta. Police said on Thursday that at least two of the 257 people arrested for rioting in Jakarta this week are members of the Islamic State-affiliated Islamic Reform Movement, or Garis.

"The two suspects actually wanted to commit jihad during the rallies on May 21 and 22. We have very strong evidence," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. M. Iqbal said in Jakarta.

"Garis once issued a statement as an Islamic State group in Indonesia and it has sent its cadres to Syria… This group is affiliated with Islamic State," Iqbal said.

Garis, established in June 1998 by Chep Hernawan, is based in Cianjur, West Java. It reportedly has about 28,000 members, mainly in West Java, Aceh and Sumatra, according to news outlet Tirto.id.

The group seeks to impose shariah, or Islamic law, in Indonesia. It has been involved in several acts of intolerance, including attacks on four Ahmadi villages in Cianjur in 2005 and a joint action with other hardline groups in 2011 to shut down the Yasmin church in Bogor, West Java.

Chep admitted in 2015 that he had spent about Rp 1 billion ($69,000) to send 157 members of Garis to Syria.

Losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto also caused a public stir in March by using Chep's car during electioneering in Cianjur.

Chep claimed at the time that he was no longer affiliated with Islamic State and that he had ordered his followers to leave the international jihadist group.

The authorities apparently know who is behind the violence that broke out during this week's protest in Jakarta by Prabowo supporters against the result of the April 17 presidential election.

"From our investigations, we know the mastermind behind the rally. The security services will use all their means to take firm legal action," Chief Security Minister Wiranto said on Wednesday.

He said law enforcers needed time before they make their findings public.

Full report at:

https://jakartaglobe.id/context/two-members-of-islamic-statelinked-group-arrested-during-may-22-rally

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Imran Khan congratulates Modi; expresses desire to work with him for peace in South Asia

May 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday congratulated his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on his victory in the general elections and expressed desire to work with him for peace, progress and prosperity in the region. Prime Minister Modi led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards what looks set to be a resounding victory for a second term in office.

"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia," Khan tweeted. The results of India's general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the formation of the next government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama terror attack.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi's party BJP wins the general elections.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his country has delivered a "message of peace" by opening the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India as he underlined the importance of "conflict resolution" for peace and stability in South Asia. Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers' meeting in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, also attended by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Qureshi said enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive without good-faith diplomacy and result-oriented dialogue.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-congratulates-modi-expresses-desire-to-work-with-him-for-peace-in-south-asia/articleshow/69465725.cms

--------

 

Muslim World League celebrates World Orphans Day in Pakistan

May 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The regional office of the Muslim World League (MWL) in Islamabad celebrated World Orphans Day as part of the MWL’s humanitarian efforts.

Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, noted the MWL’s efforts to serve orphans, and thanked King Salman and his crown prince for the Kingdom’s efforts in the humanitarian field and the service of Islam.

Saad Al-Harthi, director general of the MWL in Pakistan, said: “One of the accomplishments that MWL in Pakistan is proud of is providing distinguished and comprehensive care for orphans, under the direction of MWL Secretary-General Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa and through its International Islamic Relief Organization, where it operates orphanages that provide more than 1,500 orphans with all necessities of life.”

He added that the organization has many partnerships to help serve orphanages, including Pakistan Sweet Home, which operates the Al-Furqan School for Orphans in Karachi, serving over 1,000 orphans.

The MWL keeps contact with bright orphans after graduation from high school, granting them scholarships to different universities. 

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1501296/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Pakistan Christians beaten by mob after mosque accuses them of blasphemy: report

By Samuel Smith

MAY 23, 2019

A small Christian community in Pakistan is living in fear after they were reportedly attacked last week by a mob of enraged radicals because a nearby mosque accused its members of committing blasphemy following an altercation with a Muslim man.

The London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association reports that two Christian families in the Arif Wala Tehsil district of Punjab province were forced to flee from their homes after the attack last Wednesday by a mob of about 40 Muslim men and children with weapons.

According to BPCA, which is providing financial assistance to the community, the mob was incited by a local mosque that claimed over its loudspeakers that the Christians had insulted Islam.

The mosque allegedly called for Muslim believers to bond together to force the minority Christian community of about seven families out of the village.

Five Christian men from the community are being held in protective custody at a local police station after they were accused by the Muslim man who started the initial altercation of attempted murder.

"Local police from Arifwala police have confirmed that thus far no blasphemy charge has been made which is comforting for the Christian families,” BPCA field officer Mehwish Bhatti said. "However we call on people to pray for this situation to improve as Christian families are not sending their children to school for fear that they will be kidnapped or attacked or worse still killed.”

Bhatti added that a number of Muslim shopkeepers in the community are not selling to Christian families.

“Some families have expressed their desperate plea for help as they have had to go without food on some days,” she explained. "Shukantilla [a 60-year-old mother] was upset because all the earning hands in her family are in police custody.”

The tensions in the community were heightened on May 15 when a Muslim man named Syed Bashir engaged in a phone conversation outside of the home of a Christian family of eight, witnesses told BPCA.

But as Bashir began shouting and using foul language, family members became alarmed. It was then that 25-year-old son Naveed Masih asked the man to kindly move his conversation further away from the household.

However, Bashir responded by calling Masih a “dirty cleaner,” an expletive used to describe Christians who are often given dirty jobs in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Bashir also reportedly threatened Masih with death and stated that he would carry out his phone conversations in front of the Masih home every day from there on out.

Those who spoke with BPCA said that Bashir punched Masih in the eye, which led Masih to defend himself. Then the rest of the family ran outside to pull Masih back into the house. Bashir allegedly threatened the family with retaliation and left.

Because of the threat, Naveed Masih filed charges of trespassing against Bashir at a police station in Arifwala.

Around 7 p.m. that night, the Masih family overheard an announcement coming from the public address system of the mosque calling for Muslims to push the blasphemers out of the community.

"This was a horrifying moment for my whole family and other Christians,” Shukantila Farzand told BPCA. "In our panic, we started to get ourselves ready to flee our homes and get far away from the village, however, we were all too slow.”

She said that Muslims gathered outside her family’s home, which also serves as the church where the seven Christian families and other Christians from surrounding villages worship.

"The violent mob surrounded our home and all of them had weapons including guns — which were being shot in the air, sticks, axes, poles and farming tools,” Shukantila continued, adding that even small children were carrying weapons. "The mob began shouting outside our home, asking for our family to exit our home and receive divine retribution for our sin.”

Members from another Christian family in the neighborhood came out of their home in an attempt to appeal to the mob in peace, BPCA notes. However, that family was beaten. The mob reportedly told the family to leave the area or be burned alive in their homes.

Members of the Masih family then came out of their home to help the other family.

BPCA reports that between the two Christian families, seven men were beaten while some Christian women were also beaten when they came out to help. According to BPCA, the women returned home when they were told by members of the mob that they would be kidnapped or raped.

The Christian families were aided by Muslim women who intervened in the violence and helped the families to escape.

The two families sought shelter in the home of a moderate Muslim lawyer. When the mob threatened the lawyer to release the families, the lawyer called the police and filed a report against the mob. That caused the mob to disperse.

Bhatti confirmed with the local police station that no charges of blasphemy have been filed against the Christian community, a crime that is punishable by death or life in prison.

However, Naveed Masih, his father, his brother, and two other Christian men were accused by Bashir of attempted murder.

While the five Christian men are being held in protective custody, BPCA maintains that their detention is only a ploy to get the enraged radicals to think that they had been arrested.

The charges reported to police are in the process of being investigated.

Although there are evidence and witnesses who can attest to the mob attack occurring against the Christian community, no one who participated in the mob has been arrested, according to BPCA.

BPCA field officer Zeeshan Masih visited with the families after they returned back to their homes. He too reported being threatened by local men for supporting the Christian families.

"Clear crimes have been committed by those who formed the violent mob and the evidence of a prominent local Muslim lawyer will no doubt help bring some justice into the situation over time,” BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry said in a statement. "However, we are fearful of the existing social-tension and have alerted local police of our concerns for other Christians outside of police custody.”

Pakistan ranks as the fifth worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List.

As a Muslim-majority country, Christians make up around 2 percent of the nation’s population and regularly face discrimination.

Religious freedom advocates have long spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, contending that they are often used by Muslims to persecute or settle scores with religious minorities.

Thousands of Pakistani Christians over the years have fled to become refugees in nations like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia in hopes of being given asylum in a safer country.

Full report at:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/pakistan-christians-beaten-by-mob-after-mosque-accuses-them-of-blasphemy-report.html

--------

 

PM thanks Saudi govt for helping Pakistan ‘in this difficult time’

MAY 24, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday thanked the Saudi government for extending generous support to Pakistan at this difficult time.

In a telephonic conversation with Tabuk Governor Prince Fahd bin Sultan Al Saud, the prime minister confirmed his participation in the forthcoming OIC Summit to be held in Makkah al-Mukarramah on May 31.

The Tabuk governor conveyed to the prime minister the greetings of the holy month of Ramazan, which was also reciprocated.

The governor said that he looked forward to the prime minister’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the OIC Summit.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) to provide maximum facilities to the old-aged pensioners by ensuring payment of pension through banks and other cash transfer mediums.

Chairing a briefing on the EOBI, the prime minister instructed to table the pending matters among the Centre and provinces before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for early resolution to ensure employees’ welfare.

Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, EOBI Chairman Azhar Hameed and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

The prime minister was briefed on the functioning of the EOBI and steps being taken to improve its working, and facilities introduced for disbursement of pension to the pensioners.

He was informed that the EOBI would soon hold countrywide Pension Day to encourage the employees and owners for efficiently performing their duties.

The prime minister was told that the registration process for employees and workers was being eased and digitised to get rid of corruption and other malpractices.

He was informed that a data bank of the registered employees would be formulated, while a modern complaint management system would be launched.

The EOBI also presented a proposal to the prime minister for construction of low-cost houses under the EOBI and Pakistan Real Estate Investment and Management Company. Under this plan, 5,500 houses would be built measuring three and five marlas.

Separately, Imran Khan directed the Ministry of Power to expose the gas and power thieves and take indiscriminate action against them.

In a meeting with Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nadeem Babar, he appreciated the successful drive by the power minister and his team to curb the theft of gas and electricity.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/399846/pm-thanks-saudi-govt-for-helping-pakistan-in-this-difficult-time/

--------

 

Pakistani prime minister to attend OIC summit in Makkah

May 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be in Saudi Arabia on May 27-28 for ministerial meetings ahead of the Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Foreign Office said on Thursday, paving the way for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s trip to the Kingdom to attend the summit on May 31.

Saudi Arabia will host the 14th session of the OIC’s Islamic Summit in Makkah on May 31, chaired by King Salman.

The summit, according to the Saudi Press Agency, is titled “Makkah Summit: Together for the Future” and aims to develop a unified stance on events in the Islamic world.

Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammed Faisal confirmed to Arab News that Khan would be participating in the summit, and was expected to address members of the forum.

It is also expected that Khan will use the forum to highlight continuing Israeli aggression in Palestine, and recent developments in Pakistan’s relationship with India.

Israel started building settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in the wake of the Six-Day War in June 1967. During the run-up to elections this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to annex the settlements — built in violation of international law — if he won another term in office.

“Pakistan remains at the forefront of supporting our Palestinian brethren in all OIC regular meetings,” Faisal said.

“We have supported resolutions on Palestine at the OIC which strongly condemns Israeli aggression.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1501366

--------

 

South Asia

 

Haji Delawar, an adviser to Senate House arrested for supporting terrorist groups in Kabul

24 May 2019

The Afghan Police Special Forces have arrested Haji Delawar, an adviser to the Upper House of the Parliament (Senate House) on charges of supporting terrorist groups in Kabul.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed that the Special Unit of the Afghan National Police arrested Haji Delawar during an operation on Thursday.

The statement further added that the police forces have also confiscated some fake documents, fake vehicle registration plates, illegal weapons, 700 thousand Pakistani ruppees, an armored Landcruiser and a Hilux vehicle.

The Ministry of Interior also added that Haji Delawar is in police custody and an investigation is underway.

According to reports, Haji Delawar was an adviser to the chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, Senate House.

https://www.khaama.com/haji-delawar-an-adviser-to-senate-house-arrested-for-supporting-terrorist-groups-in-kabul-03466/

--------

 

Buddhist Monks in Bangladesh Offer Iftar to Needy Muslims During Ramadan

2019-05-23

Buddhist monks at Dharmarajika, a Buddhist monastery in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, are continuing a new annual tradition begun in 2013—serving iftar, the evening meal with which Muslims break their fast during Ramadan, to underprivileged Muslims. Venerable Suddhananda Mahathero, the 89-year-old abbot of Dharmarajika and supreme patriarch of the Bangladesh Bauddha Bhikkhu Mahasabha (the Supreme Sangha Council of Bangladesh), has been joining a team of 15 Buddhist monks to serve boxed iftar meals every day during the religious observation.

Muslims take Iftar at sunset to break the daily fast during the month-long religious festival—a tradition upheld by Muslims to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. Ramadan traditionally takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan began on 6 May and will end on the evening of 4 June with Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast.

The Arab News newspaper quoted a Bangladeshi government official who lauded the iftar initiative at Dharmarajika as an example of social harmony between different religious groups in a country that all too often witnesses religious intolerance and deadly attacks against minority groups.

“It’s a nice initiative from the Buddhist community, especially at a time when the world is experiencing many hate crimes and inter-religious conflicts. It upholds the spirit of religious harmony,” said Abdul Hamid Jomaddar, joint secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.“Our government believes in the coexistence of different religions, which is the beauty of this secular land.” (Arab News)

Venerable Suddhananda initiated the project as a gesture of responsibility to local Muslim community, from whom the Buddhist monastery has received support since it was established in 1951.

“Since the early days of the monastery, we have received tremendous support in celebrating different Buddhist festivals from our Muslim friends. So I thought it’s time to do something in return,” said Ven. Suddhananda. “I have been blessed by the love of the local Muslims. I believe that this is the least we could do to give them back the same love.” (Arab News, Dhaka Tribune).

Since launching the iftar initiative, monks have been handing out meal boxes to hundreds of poor and deprived Muslims during Ramadan. People begin lining up in the afternoon, waiting for the food which is distributed from 5.30pm. The meals consist of beguni (eggplant tempura), chhola-boot (lentils), khejur (dates), muri (puffed rice), potato chips, peyaju (onion tempura), and jilapi (a sweet made with sugar syrup).

“In previous years, our junior monks used to prepare iftar at the monastery. This year, however, we are starting to outsource the items due to the sheer volume,” explained Ven. Suddhananda. (Arab News)

“We feel proud and happy to be doing such an extraordinary thing,” said Prantar Borua, a resident monk at the monastery. “It’s a small contribution to the community, but it’s the best we can do at this moment.” (Arab News)

Muslims in Bangladesh have praised the initiative and thanked the monastery for the iftar distribution. “I have been receiving iftar from the monastery for three years. Since my husband works as a daily wage laborer, this iftar has made our lives very comfortable,” said local resident Asma Khatun. (Arab News)

Sharmin Akter Shapna, another local Muslim, has been receiving iftar at the monastery since the program began. Emphasizing the importance of social harmony, she said it did not matter to her where the meals came from: “We are all human. And that is all that matters.” (Dhaka Tribune)

Sharif Hossian, who lost all his worldly possessions in an accident caused by river erosion, said receiving iftar meals from the monastery was blessing for him and his family. “I moved to Dhaka just a few months ago and started living in a slum. I can finally feed my family with the iftar provided by the monks,” he related. (Arab News)

Full report at:

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/buddhist-monks-in-bangladesh-offer-iftar-to-needy-muslims-during-ramadan

--------

 

Two air strikes kill 14 Afghan civilians

23 May 2019

Two air strikes have killed 14 civilians in Afghanistan in recent days, the United Nations said Thursday, as the US intensifies its air war across the country.

According to the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), five women and seven children were among the 14 civilians killed in Helmand province in the south on May 20, and Kunar province in the east on May 22.

“Civilian casualty toll from airstrikes in Afghanistan continues to rise,” UNAMA said on Twitter.

“Parties must respect international obligations to protect civilians from harm.”

While the Afghan military does have a fledgling air force, most strikes are led or supported by American air power. US Forces Afghanistan declined to comment.

According to US Air Force Central Command, the US dropped 7,362 bombs in Afghanistan in 2018, the highest number since at least 2010.

In April, UNAMA published a report saying Afghan civilians are for the first time being killed in greater numbers by US and pro-government forces than by the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

During the first three months of 2019, international and pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians, whereas insurgent groups killed 227 people, UNAMA said.

The development comes as the US steps up its air campaign in Afghanistan while pushing for a peace deal with the Taliban, who now control or influence more parts of the country than at any time since they were ousted in 2001.

At least eight police officers were killed May 16 in southern Afghanistan during a “friendly fire” strike from US forces.

And UNAMA last week said it was probing allegations of civilian casualties resulting from US air strikes against purported drug-making facilities in western Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/23/Two-air-strikes-kill-14-Afghan-civilians.html

--------

 

Nationwide drive to generate donations for Rohingya refugees

May 23, 2019

Anwar Ahmad

Abu Dhabi: More than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are slated to benefit from the latest humanitarian campaign of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority after it launched a nationwide drive to generate donations for them in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. The humanitarian campaign will also be publicised on local television stations from Friday to invite all residents across the country to participate in assisting Rohingya women and children. The current campaign is entitled, “From the UAE for Rohingya Children and Women”.

There are 1.2 million refugees, in which 720,000 are children, 240,000 women, and 48,000 elderly, and they need food supplies, medical assistance, water, education and housing, according to Red Crescent officials.

International statistics indicate that among 1.2 million people, about 660,000 children lack access to basic health care services, clean water, food and education facilities; over 253,000 women don’t have access to clean water and sufficient food.

The 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis refers to the mass migration of people from Myanmar in 2015, Since August 25, Burmese security forces have been carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape killings, arson, and other mass atrocities. The atrocities committed by Burmese security forces, including mass killings, sexual violence, and widespread arson, amounting to crimes against humanity.

Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of Thursday’s press conference at the headquarters of Emirates Red Crescent in Abu Dhabi, Dr Mohammad Ateeq Al Falahi, Director General of the authority, said: “So far, in Bangladesh, more than one million refugees have sheltered there. We need to benefit all of them especially the women and children.

“We target to reach all Rohingya refugees who have sheltered in different neighbouring countries of Myanmar. Since the trouble started a few years back they have started taking refugees in Bangladesh, at the same time, we also started providing them possible help,” he said.

Public participation

“This time, our government decided to let the UAE people participate in helping Rohingya Muslim brothers and generate their donations. That’s why, this time we allow through this campaign everybody to share,” said Dr Al Falahi.

Before different organisations from the UAE were working there, but now, 20 UAE humanitarian organisations will work together as one team and maximise our reach to needy people,” he said.

There are a number of different UAE organisations working in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Emirates Red Crescent who have so far spent Dh5.5 million alone and more than 700,000 people have benefited from the Red Crescent’s actions alone.

“We build wells, provided them with clean water, medical assistance, plastic sheets, constructed temporary houses and gave food. We also cooperated with Bangladesh Red Crescent,” he said.

The campaign is being launched under directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“We feel proud that the UAE was the first country which started humanitarian efforts in Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees and carried out a number of projects for the benefits of children and women in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Affairs, Saudi Arabia and Malaysian hospitals,” added Dr Al Falahi.

What is the Rohingya crisis?

The Rohingya people are a mostly Muslim minority group (some Hindu) residing in the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar. The crisis refers to their mass migration following ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s majority Buddhist regime.

When it began?

Rohingya have always been a sidelined minority in Myanmar, but this latest crisis started with anti-Muslim riots in 2012. Evidence of human rights abuses surfaced on a much wider scale in 2015, and mass migration into neighbouring countries has continued since.

How many people have been displaced?

Full report at:

https://gulfnews.com/uae/nationwide-drive-to-generate-donations-for-rohingya-refugees-1.64140420

--------

 

Ghani congratulates Modi for landslide victory in India’s elections

23 May 2019

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani congratulated the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the landslide victory in India’s Lok Sabha or parliamentary elections.

“Congratulations to PM @narendramodi on a strong mandate from the people of India. The government and the people of Afghanistan look forward to expanding cooperation between our two democracies in pursuit of regional cooperation, peace and prosperity for all of South Asia,” President Ghani said in a Twitter post.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in 294 of 542 seats with the party doing well in most states, including Gujarat, Delhi, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

According to the trends of the Election Commission of India, the Congress party is lagging far behind with 50 seats.

The Congress is ahead in Punjab and Tamil Nadu, where it joined hands with the DMK.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/ghani-congratulates-modi-for-landslide-victory-in-indias-elections-03461/

--------

 

Security forces kill Taliban’s suicide attacks planner in Kapisa province

23 May 2019

The Afghan security forces have killed a senior Taliban leader who was involved in planning and facilitating suicide attacks in North-eastern Kapisa province.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Nasrat Rahimi said the security forces killed Mullah Abdul Basir, a senior Taliban leader who was involved in planning suicide attacks in Kapisa.

Rahimi further added that the security forces conducted the operation in Nejrab district on Tuesday.

According to Rahimi, the security forces also killed five other militants during the same operation.

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

Kapisa is among the relatively volatile provinces in North-east of Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/security-forces-kill-talibans-suicide-attacks-planner-in-kapisa-province-03463/

--------

 

More ISIS militants killed in Special Forces operation in Kunar

23 May 2019

The Special Forces of the Afghan military conducted a night operation in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan killing at least five ISIS militants.

The 201st Silab Corps in a statement said the Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation with the support of coalition forces targeting ISIS militants in Tetak area of Noorgul district.

The statement further added that the Special Forces killed five ISIS militants during the operation.

Earlier, the Ministry of Interior had announced that the Police Special Forces have killed 7 ISIS militants in the same district.

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

Kunar is among the relatively volatile provinces in east of Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/more-isis-militants-killed-in-special-forces-operation-in-kunar-03462/

--------

 

Taliban militants killed, weapons and IEDs destroyed in Kandahar, Helmand operations

23 May 2019

The Afghan armed forces conducted separate operations in southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces killing at least two Taliban militants and destroying several weapons and Improvised Explosive Devices.

“An Afghan special forces raid in Maiwand district of Kandahar resulted in 2 Taliban fighters killed and 3 detained,” the informed military sources said Thursday.

The sources further added that “In Nad Ali district of Helmand, an Afghan special forces raid to destroy Taliban facilities led to the destruction of weapons, IEDs and illegal narcotic processing equipment.”

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

Both Kandahar and Helmand are among the relatively volatile provinces in South of Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-killed-weapons-and-ieds-destroyed-in-kandahar-helmand-operations-03460/

--------

 

5 Taliban militants killed in Zabul and Uruzgan airstrikes

18 May 2019

At least five Taliban militants were killed in separate airstrikes which were conducted in southern Zabul and Uruzgan provinces.

According to informed military sources, an airstrike in Tarnak wa Jaldak district of Zabul province killed three Taliban fighters.

The sources further added that the security forces carried out a similar airstrike in Tarin Kot district, the provincial capital of Uruzgan province which killed 2 Taliban fighters.

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

Both Uruzgan and Zabul are among the relatively volatile provinces in South of Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/5-taliban-militants-killed-in-zabul-and-uruzgan-airstrikes-03404/

--------

 

Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Wardak air, ground operations

21 May 2019

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces carried out a series of operations with the support of air power in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan inflicting heavy casualties on Taliban militants, the informed military sources said Tuesday. “An Afghan special forces raid to disrupt Taliban use of Nerkh district as a high profile attack staging area resulted in 16 Taliban fighters killed, 13 detained and a weapons cache destroyed,” the sources said.

The sources further added that separate airstrikes were also carried out in Nerkh and Sayyidabad dsitricts of the province leaving 8 militants dead and wounding another Taliban fighter.

“An Afghan National Civil Order Force operation along Highway 2 resulted in 3 Taliban fighters killed and two wounded,” the sources added.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-suffer-heavy-casualties-in-wardak-air-ground-operations-03438/

--------

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indian-liberal-muslims-need-to-watch-out-for-a-dangerous-strain-of-islam-terrorising-s-asia/d/118696

 

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

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-    


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

Content