Dhabi's first Hindu temple will be inspired by temples like the Akshardham
shrine in New Delhi. Getty
of Horrors Shocks Tunisia into Realising It Faces A Problem
Article by Activist, Manzoor Pashteen, Critical Of Military
Stone Ceremony to Be Held for UAE’s First Hindu Temple
Chief Altaf Hussain Urges Indian Citizens to Help Mohajirs
Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Are In the Crosshairs of the Saudi-Israel Axis
US Peace Plan Should Include Palestinian State Based On 1967 Borders
Induct Senior Leaders in Negotiation Team Ahead Of Talks
Leader Asks Ex-Muslim Rebels to Help Battle IS-Linked Militants
Warns Iran That Its Missiles Can Travel ‘Very Far’
Militants’ Deadly Resurgence Threatens Nigeria Polls
ISIS-linked children must be brought home: HRW
releases footage of violence, abuse in Sudan
military will break Boko Haram, ISIS alliance — Buratai
Voices Concern over Human Rights Situation in Sindh
Govt Returns Temple Operating As School since 1993 To Hindu Community
govt forms advisory committee to hold dialogue with PTM, other groups
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Minister of State: Pope Francis's Message Can Counter Extremism
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govt. swaps prisoners with militants as part of Astana Process
resistance front will free all Syrian territories from terrorism: Mekdad
Faces Backlash over Invited Speaker’s Anti-Muslim Comments
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Bench to Decide Minority Status Of Aligarh Muslim University
Conspirator in Lashkar-e-Taiba Militant’s Escape Killed
Two militants killed in encounter with security forces in Budgam
Omar apologizes after US House leaders condemn comments as anti-Semitic
introduce resolution to block Saudi from developing nukes
Omar should resign for anti-Israel comments
is a paper tiger with steel claws says Saudi's Prince Turki Al Faisal
committee on arms sales ignores Saudi arms deals, Yemen war in key inquiry
victory ends long asylum battle of Afghan interpreters
constitution body should be inclusive: Germany
Injured As Islamist Groups Attack Ahmadis in Bangladesh
seeks safe zone for Rohingya refugees
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Special Forces arrest 2 Jaish-e-Mohammed members in Nangarhar province
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threat to national security, PAS youth wants probe into DAP’s alleged foreign
warns of divided Indonesia ahead of April elections
Telling Banks to Stop Working With Palestinians
violations of Yemen’s Hodeidah truce lead to 76 civilian deaths
King: We stand by the Palestinians’ right to establish their own state
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
of horrors shocks Tunisia into realising it faces a problem
- What seemed like an extremist-style madrasa in central Tunisia was closed
after it was suspected of subjecting children to mistreatment, sexual abuse and
government, political parties and the public expressed shock when learning of
the alleged horrors taking place at the self-professed Quranic School through a
report by an independent Tunisian television channel.
footage broadcast by El Hiwar Ettounsi television showed the school, near the
village of Regueb in rural Sidi Bouzid province, housed children and adults in
was not clear what the school was teaching but there was suspicion the students
were exposed to a radicalisation process.
was later disclosed that nine students had been sexually abused at the school
and that dozens of children were forced to work at construction and farm sites
and kept in grossly unsanitary conditions as part of survivalist training. Some
of the children were said to have contracted disease or infestation, including
scabies and lice.
Hammadi, the government’s official in charge of child protection, told a
parliamentary committee that the children suffered “many abuses” and had been
deprived of an ordinary childhood.
have blisters on their feet soles from beatings. They have been also forced to
do heavy farming work,” Hammadi said.
government fired the governor of Sidi Bouzid province and another local
official. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed vowed to prosecute the
school’s owner and others responsible for the abuses.
is a civil state. It does not accept the brainwashing of children or their
exploitation in any form,” Chahed said after visiting the children, who had
been transferred to a shelter near Tunis.
and educators at the shelter provided medical and psychological assistance for
the children, who said they had been taught to avoid material pleasure and
undergo hardship training to prepare for the “hard time,” which was understood to
are all famished. They pounced on the food as if they had never eaten,” said
Lilia Bouguira, a doctor who visited the children.
said the students told her: “They gave us rotten food filled with earthworms to
prepare us for ‘the hard time,’ as the sheikh told us.”
“sheikh” is the owner of the school whose house next to the school reportedly
had luxuries rare in Regueb, including a swimming pool, internet access and
other modern technology.
calluses hardens the heart” is part of the narrative repeated by radical
Islamist leaders and preachers as they prepare young followers for so-called
Tunisians said what surprised them most was the reaction of the children’s
parents, who urged authorities to return them to the madrasa, claiming the
“government has kidnapped our children.”
relatives of the children, protesting separately from male relatives, held a
sign reading: “Only good comes from learning the Quran.”
children’s relatives complained that the school’s saga showed that Muslims in
Tunisia are becoming a minority.
issue released bottled-up anger of many Tunisians, political parties and
liberal elites against Islamists and attempts at radicalisation in society.
particular issue for concern was the uncertainty whether there were other
similar schools in Tunisia. MP Sahbi Ben Fredj, whose bloc backs the Chahed
government, said after meeting with the children: “Senior officials told me
that dozens of schools similar to Regueb’s exist across Tunisia in
working-class and wealthy areas in many cities.”
asked: “Why did local authorities, whether they are government representatives,
heads of police and national guards and intelligence officials, look the other
way when those responsible for Regueb’s school were recruiting and brainwashing
children from almost all the regions of the country?”
school was a real terrorist training centre: brainwashing, isolation from
society, family and education system environments, paramilitary training and
ideological radicalisation. Why didn’t the authorities react during all this
and other deputies said the state might be too late to save children under the
sway of radical Islam in Tunisia.
Houda Slim said she asked one of the children why they were in bare feet and
the boy answered: “Only a few days remain before we climb the mountains.”
is a term for jihad among radical Islamists in Tunisia. Jihadist groups, such
as al-Qaeda and Islamic affiliates, have been active in the mountains and
rugged areas in north-western Tunisia.
analyst Zied Krichen said the main question the case brought up was: “Is the
Regueb school an isolated case or are we in the presence of dozens or perhaps
hundreds of such schools spreading jihadist Salafism?”
Tunisia, we have yet to draw a line between religious conservatism at the root
of political Islam on the one hand and radical Islam that leads to violence and
terrorism on the other,” he said.
have not succeeded in thinking out how to seriously fight extremism, not only
on the security level but in the social, cultural and ideological aspects,
especially when we see that our children are lured to be fodder for wars that
ruin nations and destroy the humanity of human beings.”
of the Islamist Ennahda Movement, part of Chahed’s coalition government,
denounced the school for failing to respect the law but urged more Islamic
education at state schools.
we experience now with such schools is the result of the blow dealt to the Zitouna
mosque,” said Ennahda leader Abdellatif Mekki.
was referring to the education system that was replaced as part of reforms by
Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba and continued by his successor Zine
el-Abidine Ben Ali.
An opinion piece in the International New York Times criticising Pakistan's
powerful army was censored by its local publisher
replaced by a blank space in a country where it can be dangerous to reprimand
article by Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of a movement which calls for an end
what it says are enforced disappearances and extra-judicial murders of ethnic
Pashtuns by security officials, was widely available online, however.
was headlined "The Military Says Pashtuns Are Traitors. We Just Want Our
it, the former veterinary student detailed how the impoverished northwest,
along the Afghan border, has been "desolated" in Pakistan's long
fight with militancy.
described his group, the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM), as
held numerous sit-ins and protests and continued to hope that Pakistan's
leaders would try to address our concerns.
they responded with intimidation and violence," he wrote.
every major protest, police arrests and charges PTM activists and supporters
with rioting, treason or terrorism," he continued.
also accused the security establishment of ensuring that "almost nothing
is reported about our movement in the mainstream Pakistani newspapers and
piece was "removed for print by our publishing alliance in Pakistan.
New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal," a note
at the bottom of the empty-single column on the front page said.
New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.
paper is printed in Pakistan by the local English-language Express Tribune,
which regularly censors NY Times articles, including a 2017 piece on an
anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya and a piece from 2016 entitled "Sex Talk
for Muslim Women".
Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report last year that the army had
"quietly but effectively, set restrictions on reporting" in Pakistani
week, the country's top court warned the military and intelligence agencies to
stop manipulating the media.
PTM has rattled the military since it burst onto the scene early last year,
unleashing festering anger over the alleged abuses against Pashtuns, who
account for roughly 15 percent of Pakistan's population.
movement remains peaceful, but has been notable for its direct verbal attacks
on the armed forces in a country where such criticism is largely seen as a red
military warned PTM last year that its patience is wearing thin.
realise their grief, their hardships, but (they) should not cross those lines,
where the state has to use its force to control the situation," spokesman
Major General Asif Ghafoor said in December.
week, over a dozen PTM protestors were detained including prominent rights
activist Gulalai Ismail.
was released a day later, but several others remain in detention.
Dhabi, Feb 12, 2019: Thousands of worshippers from across the Middle East and
beyond will turn out in celebration as the foundations are laid for the UAE’s
first traditional Hindu stone temple.
foundation stones ceremony for the shrine in Abu Dhabi will take place on April
20, launching the countdown to the start of work on the 10.9-hectare site this
ritual of Shilanyas – or foundation laying – will involve the stones being
blessed by Hindu priests.
ceremony will be held at the site in Abu Mureikha, near Al Rahba, by Baps
Swaminarayan Sanstha, the religious and social organisation building the
shilanyas ceremony is a sacred Hindu ritual where the first foundation stones
are sanctified and fixed in the ground as the base of the Mandir [temple],” said
Swami Brahmavihari, a senior Hindu priest responsible for international
relations at the Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha.
mandir’s foundations will be on these sacred stones.”
Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of the group, will preside over the ceremony
and representatives from the UAE will attend, he said.
will be encouraged to sprinkle flowers as part of prayers on the site from 2pm
at the ceremony.
organisation said that people will be able to register to attend the event from
next week, by visiting the temple website, www.mandir.ae
can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about how they can contribute
to building the temple.
of the foundation stone ceremony, prayers will be held in Dubai for 12 days
from April 18. The location in Dubai will be announced later on the temple’s
work will begin soon after the foundation is laid. Architects have selected the
material for intricate hand carvings that will be a distinctive feature of the
from Macedonia has been chosen and will be sent to sculpting sites in western
India for craftsmen to begin work.
sandstone for the pillars and outer structure was selected from the state of
final design is being worked on for the temple that will showcase seven spires,
to represent each emirate of the UAE.
temple will be built according to ancient Sanskrit scriptures and its elaborate
engravings will be inspired by nature.
the carvings are complete, tonnes of sandstone and marble will be shipped to
the UAE to be assembled on site.
organisation thanked the UAE government for recently granting additional land
to the temple for parking space.
love and kindness shown by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu
Dhabi, and the UAE government, cannot be expressed in words. Time and time
again they have encouraged us and gone out of their way to aid us on this
project,” Swami Brahmavihari said.
ensure the temple premises can serve the Hindu and wider community effectively,
they have graciously given an additional 13.5 acres of land for parking
is in addition to the 13.7-acre plot granted in 2017.
licences to raise funds from the community were obtained last year by Mandir
Limited, a company registered to build and manage the shrine, that will be
located off the highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
experts and international consultants have helped to devise the layout of the
temple, that will also include a cultural complex to welcome people of all
faiths and nationalities.
Architects Planners and Engineers, a Singapore-based architectural firm, were
appointed last year as lead consultants and designers.
temple space will boast a visitors’ centre, exhibition and prayer halls, sports
and play areas for children, gardens, a food court, books and gift shop.
temple planners have said the shrine will promote harmony between the people of
the UAE and India and foster humanitarian values.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha manages about 1,200 temples in India, the US, UK,
Canada, Australia and Africa.
temple is a key part of efforts to promote interfaith harmony in the UAE. Swami
Brahmavihari was one of the speakers at the Global Conference of Human
part of the historic visit to the country by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of
Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, it was announced that a new mosque and church are
to be built in Abu Dhabi.
[UK]: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain appealed to the Indian
citizens to help Mohajirs in Pakistan.
Mohajirs are Urdu-speaking people who had migrated to Pakistan after the
Partition in 1947.
his message to Hindus, Sikhs and Christians of India, Hussain said that
Mohajirs were Indian citizens. “Pakistan was not founded by Mohajirs of
Pakistan but they were their forefathers who did it. Mohajirs are facing
genocide in Pakistan since 1947 and their children are a victim of sheer bias
and discretion at the hands of the military establishment,” he asserted.
said that Pakistan is being sold to China and Pakistani military would stand
the ultimate beneficiary instead.
MQM founding leader also called upon the Indian parliamentarians to step
forward for the help of Mohajirs in the name of humanity. “India and Mohajirs
are of same origins and hence the Indian parliamentarians should recognise them
as their own family,” said Hussain.
expressed hope that the Indian parliamentarians would ultimately raise their
voice for the Mohajirs.
Indian parliamentarians should also raise their voice at the UN for the
oppressed communities in Pakistan like Pashtuns, Balochs and religious
minorities like Shiite, Hindu, Ahmadi, Parsi and others,” he added.
asserted that Mohajirs had been duped in the garb of Islam, adding they chose
to migrate to Pakistan while leaving their homes and graves of their
forefathers, their culture and traditions behind in India.
accused the Pakistani military of treating the Mohajirs like “animals”, saying
that the military “crossed all limits of cruelty.”
the Partition as a “vast blunder”, the MQM chief asserted that the break-up
divided the Mohajirs of both India and Pakistan.
urged the Mohajirs in Pakistan and across the globe that they should approach
their relatives in India and inform them of the “devastating situation” they
are passing through in Pakistan.
Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are in the crosshairs of the Saudi-Israel axis
anything has been more disruptive to geopolitics as usual in the Middle East
than the newly flourishing relationship between the Saudi monarchy and the
state of Israel.
the newfound coziness between the two states is built largely on shared enmity
towards Iran, the normalising of ties comes at the expense of the Palestinians,
who have become, once again, all but ignored in the world of Arab politics.
disruptive is the election of the first Muslim women to the US House of
Representatives, with both Rashida Tlaib, the daughter to Palestinian
immigrants, and Ilhan Omar, the daughter to Somali refugees, being sworn into
the US Congress with their respective hands atop Islam’s holiest book - the
there are a total of 535 members of the House and Senate, with a total of 98
freshmen taking their place in the country’s respective legislative chambers,
no two rookies have caused as much of a backlash as the two Muslim
have been falsely smeared for "putting their allegiance to the Quran over
the constitution”, placing the United States into "civilizational
decline", conducting "spiritual warfare", and for percolating
makes congresswomen like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar…so dangerous is that they
are not simply talking to an outfit that I think is properly described as
Hamas, doing business as [the Council on American-Islamic Relations], but that
they fully share the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and ambitions to achieve the
triumph of Sharia in our country too," said Frank Gaffney, who’s long
considered the godfather of anti-Muslim activism in the US.
phony and scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism have been levelled at the two
Muslim women representatives, despite the fact that neither has advocated for
the oppression or discrimination against Jews anywhere in the world, including
smear attacks from those aligned formally and informally with the Israel lobby,
like Gaffney, are to be expected, it’s the way in which the Saudi propaganda
machine has come after the pair of them so venomously that has turned heads.
media outlets, and commentators close to Persian Gulf governments have
repeatedly accused Omar, Rashida Tlaib…of being secret members of the Muslim
Brotherhood who are hostile to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the
UAE," observed Foreign Policy in an article titled Saudi Arabia Declares
War on America’s Muslim Congresswomen.
Saudi monarchy also fears that progressive American voters and sentiments will
pull the pair towards undermining the uncritical and unfettered US support it
has received and enjoyed courtesy of the Donald Trump administration.
his presidency, the kingdom has received continued military support for its war
in Yemen, has been shielded from US criticism and punishment regarding the
brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and watched on
gleefully when Trump rescinded US commitment to the Obama-era Iran nuclear
explains why the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya website published an attack piece on
Omar by tying her to Saudi Arabia's arch-nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood,
because of her association with Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour, while
also describing her as "hostile to the Gulf".
this is where we are today, with the fledgling Saudi-Israel nexus working in
tandem to smear and blunt the impact of two progressive Muslim women in the US
Congress, with the former concerned with protecting its strategic interests, and
the latter concerned with protecting and entrenching its illegal occupation of
the Palestinian territories.
first two months of their respective congressional terms have been nothing
short of a baptism of fire, with smears and attacks coming in from all
while the US Senate has advanced a bill that takes aim at the boycott Israel
movement, otherwise known as Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS), the intense
pressure and scrutiny on congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is about to become ever
more focused and vicious.
Tuesday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of the bill that
encourages states to cut off contractors who boycott Israel. Essentially, the
Senate's bill aims to protect Israel from private US citizens and corporations
who wish to boycott Israeli-owned businesses and goods. BDS is a means to
pressure Israel into ending its more than 50-year long occupation and
mistreatment of the Palestinian people.
that the Senate’s bill has moved to the House, however, where Democrats hold a
sizeable majority, internal debate regarding Israel threatens to drive a wedge
between stalwart Democrats and the more progressive and pro-Palestinian voices
within the party, including Tlaib and Omar.
that end, the pro-Israel establishment, backed by Republican Party leaders, has
signalled its intention to target the two Muslim congresswomen, and will
attempt to paint them as anti-Semitic in the hope that such phony accusations
the Israel Lobby hopes it can push enough Democrats to vote in support of the
Senate’s anti-BDS bill.
Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tried to conflate Tlaib and
Omar’s expressed support for BDS with anti-Semitism, while also mischievously
equating their respective criticism of Israel’s policies with the rabid racism
and white supremacist rhetoric of Representative Steve King (R-IA), who has a
long history of denigrating racial minorities.
took action on our own side [by rebuking King]. I think when they [Democrats] stay
silent, they are just as guilty,” McCarthy said, in reference to Tlaib and
Omar. “I think this will not be the end of this."
response, Tlaib described Republican attacks as “nothing more than an attempt
to discredit my position as a member of Congress and distract from the real
hate within their own party - including from the president himself."
a statement to The New York Times she said: "I will never support the
criminalisation of any form of speech protected under our First Amendment.
respect for free speech does not equate to anti-Semitism. I dream of my
Palestinian grandmother living with equal rights and human dignity one day, and
would never allow that dream to be tainted by any form of hate."
the attacks, Tlaib and Omar have already established themselves as moral
leaders in their party, championing universal human rights and equality for the
doing so, they place themselves in line with the more progressive and
enlightened views of the next generation of this country’s leaders, which
scares the daylights out of two of the most illiberal and repressive regimes in
the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Israel.
US peace plan should include Palestinian state based on 1967 borders
US-proposed “deal of the century” on the Middle East peace process is not
enough to guarantee a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
United States proposes or rather deliberately pushes forward new approaches to
solving the problem. It has been promising to propose the so-called deal of the
century for more than two years,” Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
statement came amid a three-day intra-Palestinian meeting which began on Monday
in Moscow aimed at unifying 12 different Palestinian movements and
to Lavrov, the US proposal does not include the establishment of a Palestinian
state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
like most countries in the world, are fully committed to the criteria of
resolving the Palestinian issue, which came through Security Council
resolutions, the United Nations General Assembly and the Arab Peace
Initiative,” Lavrov said.
Russian diplomat said that Moscow views Palestinian unity is an absolute
priority for any progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
leaders have said in the past that any initiative short of a sovereign
Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 boundaries with the entire East
Jerusalem as its capital would fail.
information we have enables us to assess this future deal of the century as
something undermining everything that has been achieved so far,” Lavrov added.
the ‘deal of the century, the plan is being spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law
Jared Kushner and US envoy Jason Greenblatt.
plan is meant to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian
leaders, with the status of Jerusalem and the ongoing expansion of the illegal
settlements in occupied territories of Palestine being the main obstacles to
reaching a final deal.
the Palestinians, the deal is being seen as a non-starter if their demand for
East Jerusalem is not part of any negotiations.
and leaks about the deal of the century, as well as ongoing attempts to find
regional and international parties that would cooperate with this plan, are
failed attempts that will reach a dead end,” Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for
the PA presidency in Ramallah, said back in January.
will travel to at least five Arab countries in late February to brief diplomats
on the economic portions of the deal. Joined by State Department envoy Brian
Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz, they are not expected to brief the
diplomats on the “political component” of the peace plan, which covers all core
issues of the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
induct senior leaders in negotiation team ahead of talks
before a new round of talks, Afghan Taliban on Tuesday inducted several senior
leaders in the negotiation team for political dialogue with the United States,
the Taliban spokesman said.
move by Taliban supreme leader Sheikh Haibtullah is being seen as very
significant which aims at sending message to the US that Taliban are taking the
ongoing negotiations very seriously and to the Taliban military commanders and
foot soldiers that the leadership is now giving importance to the political
process, according to several Taliban leaders.
of the 14-member political team are now from the Taliban powerful leadership
council or ‘Rehbari Shura’, which is high-ranking decision making body of the
leaders, freed from the infamous US prison at Guantanamo Bay in 2014, are now
part of the team. Sher Abbas Stanekzai will be leading the team with new
members announced by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar after approval by the supreme
leader, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. The Taliban
leadership has tried to accommodate leaders from key sides that also include
Anas Haqqani, the brother of Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani. Anas is still in an Afghan
prison. Mujahid said Anas is a ‘student, not military commander, so should be
released to enable him to attend the negotiations’.
spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri was quick to write on Twitter that Anas is in jail
and no decision has yet been taken to release him. He said the Afghan
government will follow laws to deal with those who have ‘committed crimes’
against the people of Afghanistan.
was detained by US security agents after he visited Qatar in October 2014 along
with another Taliban leader, Hafiz Rashid, who had gone to Qatar to meet five
Taliban leaders who had been freed from Guantanamo prison.
January last year, the Taliban offered to release two foreign hostages,
identified as American University of Afghanistan’s professors Kevin King from
the US and Timothy Weeks from Australia in exchange for Anas and other Taliban
prisoners in Kabul. King and Weeks were kidnapped in August 2016 in Kabul.
Taliban leaders, who were released in exchange for US Army sergeant Bowe
Bergdahl, including Mullah Fazil, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, Maulvi Noorullah
Nuri, Mualvi Nabi Umari and Maulvi Abdul Haq Waseeq are also now members of the
negotiation team. Taliban founder Mullah Omar’s brother Abdul Manan Omari, who
is currently in-charge of a commission on complaints about civilian casualties,
has also been made part of the political team.
Khan Muttaqi, secretary of Taliban chief Sheikh Haibtullah, has also been
included in the political team. He has served as information minister in the
ul Haq, son of Mujahideen leader Younas Khalis, has also secured membership in
the team, in a move by the Taliban leadership to keep the support of Khalis
Latif Mansour, a member of the leadership council, who has previously served as
head of the political commission and governor of Helmand, has also become
member of the team. Mansour was part of the Taliban team in the peace talks
with the Afghan government in Murree in July 2015.
Taliban spokesman said the new team will continue talks with the US and will
take the process forward in accordance with the mandate given to them.
President Rodrigo Duterte asked former Muslim rebels to fight alongside
government soldiers against Islamic State-linked militants in the south, two
weeks after a deadly bomb explosion in Jolo island, according to the
presidential palace Tuesday.
a visit to the southern town of Buluan in Maguindanao province Monday evening,
Duterte rallied the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to the government’s
side and said a breakaway faction – the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
(BIFF) – knew nothing except to kill.
ISIS has violent ideology. It’s not Muslim. Their interpretation of Quran was
corrupt. They know nothing but to kill. They will teach us how to kill? What
will happen to our children?” Duterte said, referring to the other acronym for
the Islamic State (IS).
the ideology of Arabs. Not ideology of Maguindanao. Our only commonality is
Islam. But Islam does not say we should kill each other,” he said, according to
transcripts of his speech made available to reporters Wednesday.
made the appeal after the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which
created an autonomous region known by its local acronym as BARMM, the final
step in the 2014 peace agreement between the Manila government and the MILF.
law aims to give the impoverished south an expanded autonomous area, offering
self-determination to the nation’s four million Muslims by empowering them to
elect their own parliament.
month, two bombs exploded at the Catholic church in Jolo, killing 23 people and
wounding more than 100 others. The attack was blamed on another group, the
Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf, and was launched as thousands of troops had
been deployed to Jolo to crush them.
days after the blast, unidentified men lobbed a grenade inside a mosque in
nearby Zamboanga city, killing two Muslim religious leaders and wounding four
has blamed “suicide bombers” for the Jolo blast, and local police said the Abu
Sayyaf had worked with two foreigners to launch the attack.
military also blamed Abu Sayyaf commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan as the
mastermind. Sawadjaan has been tagged by the United States as the likely next
leader of the Islamic State in the country, after the death of Isnilon Hapilon
in Marawi city two years ago.
will have to fight the ISIS. They would create hell for us,” Duterte said. “We
are not here talking to destroy the future and our family. We are here planning
for what we can do to them, so that by the time they are the father and mothers
of the community, they would know what to do and make it more comfortable for
Sunday, police arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf member who was believed behind
the bomb explosion that killed seven people and wounded dozens at a bus
terminal in southern city of Kidapawan on Oct. 10, 2002.
police director chief Oscar Albayalde said the suspect, Abdurahman Mataud
Daiyung, who was also accused of involvement in the beheading of five
plantation workers on June 11, 2001, in nearby Basilan island, was arrested in
Capital Region police chief Guillermo Eleazar said Daiyung has been in Manila
for only a few months and has been working as a welder.
are not clear yet as to his purpose here, but clearly he is one among the
suspects and responsible in the bus terminal bombing,” Eleazar told reporters
in a news conference in Manila Tuesday.
in the early 1990s, Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and
beheading in southern Philippines over the past decade. The group was
blacklisted by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.
is the smallest, but considered the most brutal, of several armed groups that
operate in the restive south. The BIFF, meanwhile, broke away from the MILF
after the latter decided to negotiate peace and a Muslim autonomy in the south,
dropping its bid for independence.
warns Iran that its missiles can travel ‘very far’
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran Tuesday that Israeli missiles can
travel “very far”, on the eve of a conference in Poland about peace and
security in the Middle East.
during a visit to a naval base in the northern port of Haifa, Netanyahu said:
“The missiles you see behind me can go very far, against any enemy, including
Iran’s proxies in our region” -- an apparent reference to Lebanon’s powerful
are constantly working according to our understanding and the need to prevent
Iran and its proxies from entrenching on our northern boder and in our region
in general,” Netanyahu added.
are doing everything necessary,” said Netanyahu, as he inspected Israel’s Iron
Dome aerial defence system.
has repeatedly said Israel would not allow Iran and its ally Hezbollah to
entrench themselves in neighboring Syria where they are backing the Damascus
regime against rebels and militants.
has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria in the past few years against
Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
conference in Warsaw
Wednesday, the Israeli prime minister is set to take part in an international
conference in Warsaw co-organized by the United States and Poland.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month announced the two-day conference
saying it would focus on the “destabilizing influence” of Iran in the Middle
the conference US President Donald Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner,
who has been putting final touches on a “deal of the century” for peace between
Israel and the Palestinians, will make a rare speaking appearance.
may offer hints of the US peace proposal but is not expected to unveil the full
deal until after the April 9 election in Israel.
militants’ deadly resurgence threatens Nigeria polls
Inuwa was pleased to move back to his vegetable farm in Nigeria’s northeast,
encouraged by the military’s offensive against Boko Haram, the country’s homegrown
Islamic extremist rebels and by President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that the
insurgency had been crushed.
thought all was over and Boko Haram can never return,” Inuwa said. He joined
thousands of others in leaving displacement camps to return to their homes.
then last month the extremists rolled into Inuwa’s hometown, Baga, firing into
the air, hoisting flags and claiming it as their own. Suddenly residents were
on the move again, fleeing with little more than the clothes on their backs. On
a punishing two-day march through the arid Sahel, some pregnant women
miscarried and other elderly people died.
government now acknowledges an extremist resurgence, this time by a Boko Haram
offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province, the IS group’s largest
presence outside the Middle East, estimated to have more than 3,000 fighters.
Their near-daily attacks have many traumatized Nigerians questioning whether
they can vote for Buhari as he seeks a second term.
question how the elections can be held in the troubled northeast region. The
National Assembly has approved a record $147 million for election security but
some polling workers in remote areas have rejected their posts in fear of being
attacked. The opposition objects that voting will be held in
government-controlled camps, which in “liberated” communities are the safest
a former military dictator, returned to power in 2015 with an election victory
in which he promised to tackle insecurity, corruption and the economy in
Africa’s most populous country with 190 million people. While he still has
support in most states of his native north, enthusiasm has dimmed as it becomes
clear that the decade-old extremist insurgency — killing more than 27,000,
abducting hundreds of schoolgirls, displacing millions — is far from over.
against Atiku Abubakar, a fellow northern Muslim and former vice president,
Buhari could end up like former President Goodluck Jonathan, who lost in 2015
after his failure to stop extremism.
first, Nigeria’s military appeared to deliver on Buhari’s inaugural vow to
eliminate Boko Haram, pushing fighters out of many communities. Residents were
urged to return home.
late last year the Islamic State-linked extremists roared back, attacking military
bases, resupplying and causing a rare government admission of dozens of soldier
deaths. Shaken, officials said the extremists had begun using drones,
indicating links with ISIS fighters fleeing collapsing strongholds in Syria and
now has a strong foothold in West Africa, with Nigeria in the forefront of the
battle,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed declared last week. The fighters are
more worrying than Boko Haram and at least triple its size, the U.S. Africa
Command chief has said.
59,000 people have fled attacks since November, the U.N. migration agency says.
The now-deserted border town of Rann was hit twice last month, with
humanitarian centers vandalized or burned. Aid workers fled. Five hid in a
septic tank and survived.
many as 39 attacks were recorded in Borno and Yobe states last month, the U.N.
refugee agency says.
early January the extremists captured Baga, near shrinking Lake Chad. They
overran the nearby military camp and announced that people who wished to stay
in peace could do so. Many residents, remembering past attacks, didn’t buy it.
felt all was not well,” Inuwa, the farmer, told The Associated Press. He now
shelters again in Maiduguri, Borno state’s capital, which already hosts more
than 1 million displaced people.
extremists still hold Baga, he said, citing residents who went back to retrieve
their valuables. Fighters searched them at the edge of town before allowing
them to enter.
said he was not impressed with the president’s performance on security but
might support him anyway: “I’d rather vote for him so that he can build upon
the foundation he has already laid.”
Baga resident, Abba Mustapha, said the extremists’ arrival met little
resistance, reflecting concerns about government support for troops.
were running for our dear lives and the soldiers who were armed to protect us
were even ahead of us fleeing,” he told AP.
Mustapha is back in Maiduguri, seeking aid and finding little. Frustration is
high. The spike in arrivals was so sudden that some people last month slept on
the streets, finding no space in camps.
Modu said she was happy she grabbed her voter card when she fled Baga. She
voted for Buhari in 2015. Not this time.
still cannot overcome the pain of running with some of my grandchildren who
were crying for water and asking why we were in the bush,” she said. “It is sad
that I could not answer.”
in Tunisia have been “dragging their feet” on efforts to repatriate Tunisian
children of ISIS group members from camps in Syria, Iraq and Libya, Human
Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
rights group, quoting Tunisia’s ministry of women and children, said about 200
children and 100 women claiming Tunisian nationality were being held in
“squalid” camps abroad.
of the children are six-year-olds or younger, the rights groups said, adding
that most were being held with their mothers while at least six were orphans.
2,000 children and 1,000 women from 46 nationalities are being detained in
prisons in Iraq and Libya and three camps in northeast Syria for ties to ISIS,
HRW said, and Tunisia has “one of the largest contingents”.
officials are dragging their feet on helping bring (them) home.”
of civilians, including ISIS-linked family members, have been fleeing a
US-backed offensive against the terrorist group’s last holdout in eastern
said it has interviewed family members of women and children detained in Libya
and Syria, as well as government officials, human rights activists, lawyers, UN
representatives and Western diplomats for its report.
watchdog had also visited three camps in northeast Syria controlled by
US-backed Kurdish forces and cited what is said were “rare calls and letters”
to family members by mothers of some children.
security concerns are no license for governments to abandon young children and
other nationals held without charge in squalid camps and prisons abroad,” said
Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at HRW.
children are stuck in these camps with no education, no future, and no way out
while their governments seems to barely lift a finger to help them,” Tayler
response Tunisia’s foreign ministry said it was “strongly attached to the
values of human rights” and that authorities would not turn back Tunisians seeking
to return home.
to authorities in Tunis, 3,000 Tunisians have gone abroad to join militant
organizations, while the UN puts the figure as high as 5,000.
return has been a cause of concern in Tunisia, which has been under a state of
emergency following a string of ISIS-claimed terrorist attacks in 2015 and
Rights Watch (HRW) has released footage of Sudanese government forces
committing “shocking” acts of violence and abuse against protesters over the
past weeks, calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to probe the
footage, released on Monday and authenticated by the HRW, showed security
forces running over people with vehicles, firing live ammunition and teargas at
unarmed protesters, including in hospitals, brutally beating demonstrators and
bystanders with sticks and gun butts, and arbitrarily arresting protesters.
rights body said the footage “shows
gruesome, bloody injuries from gunshots; evidence of harsh beatings and
torture; and the effects of raids by security forces on hospitals, filling
emergency rooms with teargas and hindering medical care.”
is irrefutable evidence that Sudan is using ruthless violence and brutality
against peaceful protesters and critics of the government,” Jehanne Henry, the
associate Africa director at the HRW, said.
said the violent tactics had to end and those responsible be held to account.
has been the scene of demonstrations since December last year, when the
government decided to triple the price of bread. The public display of anger
has escalated into calls for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.
protests — which are viewed as the biggest threat to Bashir’s 30-year rule —
have so far led to the deaths of 30 people, according to official figures.
Sudanese activists estimate that over 50 people have died.
groups say hundreds of people have been arrested since the protests began,
including opposition leaders, activists, and journalists as well as
has acknowledged economic difficulties but has said allegations of a crisis in
the country are exaggerated.
HRW also called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently respond
to the unrest in Sudan at its March session and ensure that an independent
investigation would be carried out into the violations committed since the
beginning of the protests.
Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has vowed that the Nigerian military will
break the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State
West Africa or ISWA.
Buratai, a lieutenant-general, spoke on Monday in Abuja when he declared open a
two-day maiden “Career planning and management’’ seminar for senior officers.
maintained that the army was making gains in the counter-insurgency operations
in the North-east.
am glad to note that we are making strides against the Islamic State West
Africa or ISWA in our bid to unhinge the unholy union between them and remnants
of the Boko Haram terrorists,” he said.
is, therefore, imperative that we maintain the momentum while motivating our
officers and men through an efficient and responsive career planning process.’’
by Aliyu Nani, a major-general and the Chief of Policy and Plans, Mr Buratai,
however, noted that the army was being “stretched’’ by its involvement in many
operations nationwide, particularly in the North-east.
said such large scale involvement raised the need for good leadership and
career planning and improved approach to human resource management to get the
best from the officers and men.
career planning and management seminar is designed to avail you with
contemporary approaches to human management.
would also be exposed to human resources management in a world of `Volatility,
Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity’ (VUCA),’’ he said.
to him, the VUCA concept originated from attempts to develop strategic leaders
at the US Army War College as a response to fourth generation warfare which is
army chief said understanding the concept would help the officers anticipate
issues that shape events and give them a fair understanding of the consequences
of issues and actions.
expressed hope that at the end of the seminar, they would be better equipped to
manage security challenges confronting the nation and provide effective
leadership that take into cognisance career planning of all personnel.
army chief again used the occasion to warn personnel to remain political during
the February 16 and March 2 general elections.
efforts have been put in place by way of sensitisation lectures and briefings
to ensure the conduct of our officers and men before, during and after the
election remains professional and above board.
voices concern over human rights situation in Sindh
Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from Sindh have expressed serious
concern over the human rights situation in the province, alleging that
“influential people” are patronising and protecting criminals.
at a news conference at the National Press Club here on Tuesday, parliamentary
secretary for human rights in the National Assembly Lal Chand Malhi and
secretary general of the party’s Sindh chapter and MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh
accused the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Sindh of using police “to
crush political opponents”.
to the honour-killing of 13-year-old girl Ramsha Wassan in Khairpur and the
suspicious murder of nationalist leader Irshad Ranjhani in Karachi, Mr Malhi
said the two incidents had created a sense of insecurity among the people of
rights are being snatched. We have very serious concerns over the situation in
Sindh. The people of whole province are in a state of mourning over the two
recent murders,” he said.
Malhi alleged that main accused Zulfiqar Wassan, who had allegedly killed
Ramsha, was a professional criminal and was already facing 19 cases on murder,
robbery and Hudood charges. He alleged that Zulfiqar Wassan had been carrying
out criminal activities in the area for the past 22 years, but police had not
been able to put hands on him.
MNA, who belongs to Umerkot, called for formation of a joint investigation team
(JIT) to investigate Zulfiqar Wassan and to find out those people who had been
patronising and protecting him for the past 22 years.
a person had been allowed to commit crime continuously for 22 years? Who
provided him protection? Who were the police officials who did not take any
action against a criminal? All these people must be exposed so that in future,
no Ramsha-like case can happen,” Mr Malhi said.
claimed that Ramsha’s mother had told them that she was feeling insecure in the
area and wanted to move to a safe place. He alleged that PPP MNA from the area
Dr Nafeesa Shah could not visit the place for one week due to the fear that had
gripped the whole area after the incident.
Malhi also criticised the role of the Sindh police in handling the Irshad Ranjhani
murder case. He said Mr Ranjhani, who was a nationalist leader, was taken to
the police station instead of a hospital after he received multiple bullet
wounds due to the firing by a politician. He said the police claimed that
Irshad Ranjhani was a criminal and he had died during a robbery attempt. He
said that even if he was a criminal, he should have been provided medical aid.
PTI MNA said that the provincial government had already written a letter to the
registrar of the Sindh High Court for holding a judicial inquiry into the
incident, but police and some circles were still propagating that Irshad
Ranjhani was a criminal. Speaking on the occasion, Haleem Adil Sheikh expressed
the hope that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would take notice of the two
incidents after becoming chairman of the NA Committee on Human Rights.
said the PPP had already been turned into a provincial party from a federal
entity and soon it would be restricted to a few constituencies.
govt returns temple operating as school since 1993 to Hindu community
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s education department has directed that a
Hindu temple being used as a girls primary school in Nowshera be vacated and
its control returned to the local Hindu community.
Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, on the advice of Special Adviser for Education
Ziaullah Bangash, directed the local education officers to make arrangements
for the school to be shifted to another location.
letter to the district education officer (female) in Nowshera has said that the
school should be moved to a rented building in the meantime, and that return of
the temple to the Hindu community be completed within a month, and a compliance
report be filed with the education department once the transition is over.
temple is being returned to the Hindu community after 25 years.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday announced the formation of an advisory
committee which will address all social, political, administrative, and
development issues faced by the tribal areas of the province. It has also been
tasked with holding talks with all aggrieved groups in the region including the
Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).
are ready to hold talks with them. The government is ready to accept all
justifiable demands put forth by the PTM," KP government spokesperson
Ajmal Wazir said at a news conference in Peshawar.
are trying to resolve all issues through dialogue," he added.
is a rights-based alliance that, besides calling for the de-mining of the
former tribal areas and greater freedom of movement in the latter, has insisted
on an end to the practices of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances
and unlawful detentions, and for their practitioners to be held to account
within a truth and reconciliation framework.
said the advisory committee headed by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan will be
responsible for holding interactions with the PTM and relay their concerns to
the provincial assembly which will then see how to resolve them.
said the "beautiful thing" about the committee was that it did not
only comprise MNAs and senators of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)
but also those from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), PPP, and PML-N.
to the press conference, a meeting was held at Governor House between KP
Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Khan and National Assembly members and
senators belonging to the tribal areas to discuss matters pertaining to the
recent KP-Fata merger along with all other issues the region is faced with.
no representatives from the PTM were present during the deliberations.
formation of the committee was mutually agreed upon and it was named the
'advisory committee for redressals and development'.
was decided that the body would be headed by the chief minister and will
include senators and MNAs from the tribal districts along with representatives
from various political parties.
asked for a comment on the formation of the committee, independent MNA from
South Waziristan and PTM leader Muhammad Ali Wazir told DawnNewsTV that PTM's
demands are "not limited to the tribal areas. The movement now speaks for
the entire region."
PTM speaks for the entire region, then how can this committee resolve our
issues?" he questioned.
committee has simply been formed for temporary point-scoring," he alleged.
PTM leader claimed that the government had acted in haste to merge Fata with KP
and is now facing difficulties.
The Punjab government has decided to introduce drug testing of students of all
the public and private schools of the province whose reports will be shared
with their parents. This is a part of a campaign that the government would
launch against drug abuse in educational institutes.
details were revealed by Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas during
a press conference at the DGPR office here on Tuesday.
said the government had chalked out a plan with the health department and the
Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) to carry out the campaign under which all the
students would take the drug tests.
minister said the government was receiving reports about the use of ice (slang
for meth or crystal with crystal methamphetamine as its real name) in the
schools and the department would visit all the schools and also getting
affidavits from the chief executive officers (CEO) of the district education
authorities (DEAs) about drug-free schools in their areas.
the authorities are getting affidavits from the CEOs, and if they found test of
any child positive in school of the area of any CEO, action would be taken
against him or her.”
Raas said the education ministry had also written to all the deputy
commissioners of the province to close cigarette and betel leaf (Paan) shops
within the 500 yard radius of any educational institute.
found that most of these shops were selling drugs to the students and are
playing the role of facilitators,” he claimed.
the matter of private schools fee issue, the minister said they would implement
the order of the Supreme Court and its deadline would end today (Feb 13) and
20pc fee would be refunded to the parents. He said the private schools which
were charging more than Rs5,000 monthly fee would have to decrease it by 20pc
fee on the added amount after Rs5,000. He said the government would cancel
registration of such schools and shut them as would fail to implement the court
order till April 12.
parents should submit their complaints on 0336-7251214 if any private school
does not reimburse the additional amount to them. Such complaints would be
resolved on an emergent basis.”
Raas said the private school owners should ensure implementation of the Supreme
Court’s verdict regarding deduction in the fee; otherwise, legal action would
be taken against them.
about other measures to improve education standard, the minister said, “The
latest computer technology would be used to improve the student-teacher ratio
in classrooms. This will greatly help improve the quality of education.”
added under e-transfer policy, transfer of teachers would be made purely on
merit and in a transparent manner and this initiative would help the
authorities curb the mafia which used to take bribe in posting/transfer cases.
minister claimed that for the first time in history of the country, schools
education department was going to introduce teachers’ friendly e-transfer
policy. He said a modern software would also be used for posting/transfer of
teachers and that under transfer policy, initial relief would be provided to
Raas said the new educational year would start from April 1 whereas enrolment
campaign would start on March 1. Similarly, summer vacation would start from
June 1 till end on August 11.
a query about the reshuffling of secretaries in school education department, he
said the PTI government would not bear any person in the department who would
not be ready to work speedily or found involved in malpractices.
worth mentioning that during current government short tenure, five secretaries
of the school education department were changed.
Commissioner Saleh Saeed said the Supreme Court orders would be implemented to
provide relief to the parents and students and the schools which were not
registered with the government would be got registered.
Education Department Secretary Rana Abdul Qayyum were present there.
senior UAE minister has lamented the “tragic” collapse of societies in the
Middle East and blamed the spread of hate-filled ideology.
Nusseibeh, Minister of State, warned that populist movements that fed on anger
and marginalisation risked the fundamental breakup of social cohesion around
in an exclusive interview with The National, he said extremist groups that have
turned to terrorism had fast become an international plague.
of the solution, he argued, was an increased focus on a message of tolerance
and interfaith dialogue, just as Pope Francis had advocated on his recent trip
to the UAE.
the Middle East we have been witnessing the tragic disintegration of states and
the collapse of societies induced by the spread of the ideologies of extremism,
hate and violence,” he said.
also see a process of violent social upheavals internationally – with the
spread of populist movements that often feed on anger induced by the feelings
of marginalisation or neglect.
feeding on extremism has become an international plague. It is vitally
important therefore that we work together in concrete ways to promote the
values of tolerance and interfaith dialogue in our own societies so as to
combat the onslaught of extremism.”
Nusseibeh made his remarks a week after Pope Francis arrived in the UAE for a
landmark, three-day visit.
150,000 worshippers from across the seven emirates made their way to Abu Dhabi
to join a public Mass led by the pontiff. Tens of thousands more watched the
service via live television feeds.
his stay, the Pope met with Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, a
senior cleric, as well as numerous interfaith leaders including the Council of
they signed a human fraternity document, aiming to promote shared values,
tolerance and the search for peace.
believe that this historic visit will have demonstrated globally that
respecting other faiths does not mean undermining our own convictions and
beliefs,” said Mr Nusseibeh.
those who feel insecure in the strength of their own faith fear being open to
other world perspectives and are reluctant to show understanding and compassion
to others who follow different cultures or paths.
is our responsibility to bring up our young generations with the values of
tolerance and understanding, that we teach them the need to have respect for other
cultures, beliefs and religions in the same way that we want others to respect
and value our belief systems and values.”
Nusseibeh, who served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Co-operation at the Foreign Ministry, also broached the ongoing
conflict in Yemen.
war began in 2015 after the Houthi, an armed political movement established in
northern Yemen in the 1990s, violently overturned the country’s internationally
recognised government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Nusseibeh, a University of Cambridge graduate whose daughter is the UAE
Permanent Representative at the United Nations, said the subject had come up in
conversation with the pontiff, among other political issues.
said he had personally been very moved on hearing the Pope say that Sheikh
Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander
of the UAE Armed Forces, discussed politics through the prism of a deep
spiritual and humanitarian outlook.
the Yemen situation, our leadership has consistently expressed a clear
position,” Mr Nusseibeh said.
mission, as underpinned by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, is
to work with the international alliance to bring back peace to that country and
to ensure the safety of the Holy Places in Mecca from missile and drone attacks
launched by the Houthi militias.
are truly hopeful that the United Nations and the international community can
help in bringing about a peaceful and negotiated resolution to this conflict.
cannot but be a peaceful solution to the situation.”
Nusseibeh went on to describe his optimism for the Middle East’s future and its
growing relationship with international partners.
stressed that the Pope’s visit would have “monumental consequences” for the
region and beyond, helping draw Christianity and Islam closer together.
the pontiff’s meeting in the Emirates with Dr Al Tayeb, he said their message
of peace, charity and compassion was one which would help “combat the onslaught
“the two leading spiritual leaders of the Christian and Muslim worlds together
in Abu Dhabi as the capital of Tolerance in the region” would “build long
overdue historic bridges between Christianity and Islam”, he said.
ferocious battle for the Islamic State group’s last bastion in eastern Syria
entered its fifth day on Wednesday, as exhausted families left the
ever-shrinking scrap of land where holdout jihadists have been boxed in by
fled day and night from Baghouz, near the enclave where diehard IS fighters are
making their last stand, as plumes of grey smoke billowed into the sky over the
flat, desolate town.
extremist group declared a cross-border “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq in 2014,
but various military campaigns have chipped its territory down to less than
four square kilometres (one square mile) on the Iraqi border.
a pause of more than a week to allow out civilians, the Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF) declared a final push to retake the pocket of land from the
extremists on Saturday, aided by the warplanes and artillery of a US-led
spokesman Mustefa Bali said Tuesday that 600 civilians had fled the combat zone
overnight and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war
monitor, said another 350 made it out that day.
SDF have built up a pair of sand embankments on a scrubby plateau overlooking
of the neighbourhoods visible along the hazy horizon are under their control,
but the southernmost parts of the small town — from which sounds of a firefight
can be heard — are still held by IS.
Russians and Ukrainians –
black dots appeared on the dirt road that snakes across the plain from the
ruins of the town.
SDF watched them warily at first, but as the group of about 25 people got
closer, members of the Free Burma Rangers volunteer medical group scrambled
down the hill to meet them.
are no other NGOs or UN agencies at the site.
a dozen among the new arrivals were adult men. The rest were women, panting
after their long trudge out of Baghouz, and young children with dirty hair.
half were Ukrainian or Russian women and their children, while most of the
others were Syrian.
34-year-old woman from Crimea tore pieces of bread to give her three children.
She identified herself as Umm Khaled and said she came to Syria five years ago
after divorcing her Tatar husband.
there, she married an Azeri IS member and had two other children. “They are all
fatherless now,” she told AFP in broken Arabic, her voice shaking.
spokesman Sean Ryan said US-backed forces were facing a fierce fightback.
progress is slow and methodical as the enemy is fully entrenched and IS
fighters continue to conduct counter attacks,” he said.
coalition continues to strike at IS targets whenever available.”
‘Six hours? In the cold?’ –
Monday, the Observatory said a coalition air strike killed 16 civilians.
Italian journalist was also wounded as he covered the clashes and evacuated for
treatment, a colleague said on Twitter.
SDF launched the battle to expel IS from the eastern Syrian province of Deir
Ezzor in September, slowly tightening the noose around the jihadists and their
families since December.
the past two months, more than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of IS fighters,
have fled into SDF-held areas, the Observatory says.
figure includes some 3,400 suspected jihadists detained by the SDF, according
to the monitor.
a gathering point for new arrivals, dozens of men knelt on the ground.
and Syrian women and children prepared to make the journey north to a
Kurdish-held camp for the displaced, after spending the night in tents.
very thin child with dark circles around his eyes stumbled onto a truck, as
other children screamed out for water and their mothers asked how long the
drive would take.
hours? In the cold?” shouted a wrinkled Iraqi woman.
SDF on Saturday said up to 600 jihadists could still be inside the pocket,
adding their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was likely not there.
the height of their proto-state, Baghdadi’s followers implemented their brutal
implementation of Islamic law in an area the size of Britain.
the “caliphate” is declared over, the fight will continue to tackle IS sleeper
cells, the SDF and their allies have said.
President Donald Trump on Monday said the coalition may declare victory over IS
in the region within days.
an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Tuesday, acting Pentagon chief Patrick
Shanahan met Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi but the possibility of US
troops in Iraq deploying into Syria for operations against IS “just did not
come up” during their talks, Shanahan told reporters.
Arabic-language service of Russian Sputnik news agency reported that the
terrorists attacked Sham al-Hava region in Southeastern Idlib with missiles
armed with toxic gases.
noted that two Syrian Army troops were injured in the chemical attack.
a relevant development in late January, the Russian Foreign Ministry said at a
briefing that Moscow is concerned over the fact that terrorists have not
abandoned their attempts to stage chemical attacks against Syrian civilians.
White Helmets have deployed equipment in several hospitals in the Syrian
province of Idlib to film false flag chemical attacks and blame it on Damascus,
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated, Sputnik reported.
are also serious concerns about reports that terrorists are not abandoning
attempts to fake the use of chemical weapons against civilians. According to
available information, a group of activists, the notorious pseudo-humanitarian
organisation, the White Helmets, have prepared the necessary equipment in
several hospitals of Idlib to film such provocations", Zakharova added.
spokeswoman elaborated that tensions were running high in the Idlib
de-escalation zone, saying that Tahrir al-Sham militants are carrying out daily
shelling of nearby settlments and actively building up their forces near the
contact line with Syrian government forces.
and Damascus have on a multitude of occasions pointed out that the White
Helmets have staged a number of provocations in Syria involving the use of
chemical weapons in order to blame them on the Syrian government and provide
Western countries with justification for intervention in the Arab Republic.
notorious NGO has repeatedly been busted staging and filming false-flag
attacks. last April, the group published footage featuring doctors in Douma
hospitals treating patients that had suffered from an alleged chemical attack
by the Syrian Arab Army.
of the purported use of chemical agents in Eastern Ghouta surfaced in April
2018 in some media, citing militants on the ground. A number of Western
countries, including France, the US and the UK, quickly picked up the claims,
and instantly accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of having dropped a
chlorine bomb on civilians.
vehemently denied the allegations, denouncing the attack as a staged
provocation to justify potential foreign intervention. Immediately after the
purported incident, Moscow dispatched its chemical corps commission to inspect
the site and determine whether there had been an actual chemical attack; the
expert group, however, found no traces of chemical agents in Ghouta.
of the envisaged US withdrawal from Syria, Zakharova added that Moscow had
urged Washington to immediately pull its troops out of the al-Tanf zone and
transfer the area to Damascus's control.
urge Washington to immediately withdraw its troops from At Tanf are and
transfer control over this territory to the Syrian government, which could take
care of its citizens as we see it can do," she stated.
also drew attention to the "plight of the inhabitants of Rukban camp for
internally displaced persons", which is located within the 55-kilometre
security zone set by the Pentagon.
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Barakat al-Issawi, a former
member of al-Anbar provincial council, as saying on Monday that the US has sent
weapons and military equipment from Ein al-Assad airbase in Western al-Anbar to
al-Tanf region near the border with Syria to establish a permanent military
added that the US move comes to balance Russia's military presence in Syria,
which, in turn, means international confrontation between the US and Russia.
said that the US forces are making these moves as the commanders of al-Jazeera
Operations forces and Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) are running final
coordination to impose control over all bordering areas with Syria.
reports had informed on Sunday that the US army had sent a massive military
convoy to its controlled regions in Western Iraq just behind the border with
Syria at al-Tanf crossing.
massive US military convoy comprising military vehicles, artillery canons and
heavy weapons has been dispatched to Iraq's Western border with the
US-controlled al-Tanf region," local and military sources in al-Anbar
province in Western Iraq reported.
Syrian government and the country’s militants on Tuesday swapped prisoners as
part of a peace process brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey, Ankara said.
foreign ministry said in a statement that “many people” detained by the two
sides have been freed in the reciprocal and simultaneous move.
UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said each side had released 20
swap took place near the city of Al-Bab, in Aleppo province northwest Syria.
prisoner swap was part of a peace process brokered by Iran, Russia, and Turkey,
which are working to bring back peace to Syria, where the conflict that started
in March 2011 has left more than 360,000 dead and displaced millions more.
three countries, known as the guarantor states of a ceasefire regime in the
Arab state, have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives from
the Damascus government and opposition groups in a series of rounds held in
Astana and other places since Jan. 2017.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently announced that the presidents of the
three countries will meet in the Russian resort city of Sochi on February 14.
first round of the Astana talks commenced a month after the three guarantors
joined efforts and brought about an all-Syria ceasefire. The three states act
as the guarantors of that truce.
negotiations have helped significantly reduce the violence gripping the Arab
country by establishing four de-escalation zones there. They have also paved
the way for the formation of a Constitutional Committee.
is while a parallel UN-backed peace process in Geneva, Switzerland, has failed
to deliver much.
high-ranking Syrian official says the anti-Israel resistance front has scored
outstanding victories, stressing that such triumphs will continue until all of
Syria is liberated from the grips of foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist
diplomacy does not lend itself to interpretations and media reports. It is
completely independent,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said
in an exclusive interview with the website of Lebanon-based Arabic-language
al-Manar television network on Tuesday.
then condemned the “unlawful” presence of foreign military forces on the Syrian
soil, emphasizing that only Syrian government troops and allied fighters from
popular defense groups are entitled to such a right.
won’t be long when we, God willing, will achieve our goals besides those of the
Syrian nation and the resistance front and will capture the final victory over
all our enemies,” the Syrian diplomat pointed out.
remarks came on the same day that Syrian army units pounded the positions of
Takfiri militant groups in the country's west-central province of Hama.
official news agency SANA reported that government troops struck the gatherings
of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, terrorist group
and its affiliates following intelligence reports that the latter were
preparing to launch offensive against military posts in the area.
report added that Syrian soldiers used light and medium weapons besides snipers
positioned on the hilltops of the al-Janabira town to target the extremists.
Scores of Takfiri terrorists were killed and injured in the process.
faces backlash over invited speaker’s anti-Muslim comments
Mass. (RNS) — Indian-American and Muslim groups are pushing the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology to revoke a speaking invitation given to a prominent
Indian politician over his record of anti-Muslim remarks.
year’s sold-out MIT India Conference, planned for Saturday (Feb. 16) at the MIT
Media Lab, will feature a keynote address from Subramanian Swamy, an economist
and member of the Indian Parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Swamy has drawn controversy for his long history of inflammatory statements
against Muslims, LGBT people, the mentally ill and members of India’s repressed
interviews and public comments, Swamy has said that homosexuality is “not
normal” and a “genetic flaw” and that bipolar people are violent and unfit to
join politics. He has also called Dalit protesters “dogs” and said that
hundreds of Indian mosques should be destroyed.
weeks ago, nine MIT faculty members launched a petition calling for MIT
President Rafael Reif to revoke the university’s invitation.
to diversity and inclusion are fundamental values of MIT and it’s disheartening
to see MIT openly endorsing a person who not only engages in divisive hateful
rhetoric but openly calls for violence against marginalized groups,” the
petition states. “It’s evident that Swamy’s participation in MIT India
Conference is not commensurate with the core values of MIT or with broader
humanitarian values of inclusion, diversity, and respect for life.”
petition, which has gained 1,800 signatures so far, has also been endorsed by
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, the North American Indian Muslim
Association, Boston-based Indian media company BDC TV, Muslim Peace Coalition
USA, the Indian Minorities Advocacy Network and the Indian American Muslim
Council, which led a phone campaign to push MIT to drop Swamy.
has openly called for the disenfranchisement of Muslims in India, and said they
should be second-class citizens,” Syed Ali, vice president of the Indian
American Muslim Council, told Religion News Service. “It’s not about free
speech. It’s about saving lives in India. His party’s hate rhetoric has incited
violence and lynchings of many innocent civilians.”
Muslim chaplain, Nada Miqdadi El-Alami, also wrote a letter to Reif asking him
to rescind the invitation, saying Swamy’s “presence in the conference will make
many groups on campus feel alienated and will question MIT’s commitment to
diversity and inclusion.”
to emails reviewed by RNS, an MIT faculty member who was helping lead the
conference told school administrators that Swamy, who would appear via a video
recording, had spoken at events held by other prominent universities, including
Princeton University and New York University, in the past few years. The
faculty member further said that the conference organizers do not endorse any
and the MIT India Conference organizers did not respond to RNS’ request for
is not the first time Swamy has landed in hot water in Cambridge.
2011, he was teaching summer classes at Harvard University, where he had earned
his doctorate in economics, when he published an op-ed in an Indian publication
calling for Hindu nationalists to stand up against “fanatic Muslims.” The piece
recommended destroying mosques, banning Hindus from converting to any other
faith and barring non-Hindus from voting until they acknowledge Hindu ancestry.
Swamy also suggested Hindu nationalists should be inspired by Jews, who in 10
years were “transformed from lambs walking meekly to the gas chambers to fiery
than 400 students at Harvard responded by signing a petition demanding Swamy’s
dismissal from the school. After the administration supported Swamy on the
basis of free speech, a majority of Harvard’s faculty also voted to stop
offering the economics courses he taught, effectively removing him from the
cannot deny that they know about this,” said Arif Hussain, a Boston political
analyst and Harvard alumnus who co-wrote a column about the controversy for
MIT’s student newspaper. “The people here are familiar with him. How can you
have a person like this on your campus? Hate speech is not free speech, and the
Supreme Court has said so.”
controversy comes just days after MIT drew heat for its decision not to cut its
close ties with Saudi Arabia, an association that brought the prestigious
school $7.2 million last year, even after condemning the country for its role
in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other “brutal human rights
violations.” MIT also hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year despite
student-led protests over the Saudi bombardment and blockade of Yemen.
Truschke, a historian of South Asia based at Rutgers University, suggested that
perhaps MIT could not “see the full bite of (Swamy’s) hateful rhetoric” because
it was not in an American political context.
Truschke said MIT should have nonetheless recognized that Swamy was
unacceptable. “Imagine (if) a white supremacist suggested removing a few
hundred synagogues in America,” Truschke tweeted. “Honestly, it shows a
distressing lack of international awareness that MIT has not rescinded this
invitation already. I think they owe their students, faculty, and donors an
explanation for how it was even issued in the first place.”
Arabia crown prince to visit India on February 19
ARABIA’S Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman will visit India
on February 19 and 20 for his first state visit to the country. Prime Minister
Narendra Modi had visited Saudi Arabia in April 2016.
by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and leading
Saudi businessmen, Crown Prince Salman will arrive on February 19 on his maiden
trip to the country, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement
here. During the visit, the Crown Prince will hold talks with the Prime
Minister on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. He will also call on
President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu.
bench to decide minority status of Aligarh Muslim University
Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a seven-judge Constitution
bench the question whether Aligarh Muslim University was a minority institution
as it would take a relook at 1967 Azeez Basha case that had held that AMU was
not a minority institution as it was set up by an Act of Parliament.
bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice
Sanjiv Khanna referred the matter to the seven-judge Constitution bench as
senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan appearing for the AMU told it that the judgement
in the Azeez Basha case was bad in law and needed a relook.
larger bench would decide on the parameters for granting the minority status to
an educational institution, what a minority institution is, how it is
established and how it would run.
larger bench will also decide whether a university, distinct from a college,
can be treated as a minority institution. The Constitution bench will also
discuss the TMA Pai judgement on a minority institution.
1981 the question of minority institution was referred to a seven-judge bench,
which in turn referred it to an 11-judge bench but the question continues to
seven-judge bench would also look into the amendment to Minority Educational
Institutions. Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan told the court that Central
legislation making AMU a university was just a technicality and this could not
denude the AMU of its minority character.
AMU argued that it was established by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan – long before
Parliament passed the law making it a university. Having said this, Dhavan said
the matter needs to be sent to a larger bench instead of being heard by the
that the matter be referred to the seven-judge bench, Attorney General K.K.
Venugopal suggested that they would frame the questions to be addressed by the
larger bench. However, CJI Gogoi declined the request, saying that the
questions have already been framed in the earlier judgement.
current issue arose in the wake of an Allahabad High Court verdict holding that
AMU being a Central university was not a minority institution.
Conspirator in Lashkar-e-Taiba militant’s escape killed
HIZBUL Mujahideen (HM) militant, who helped slain Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
commander Naveed Jatt escape from a Srinagar hospital last year, was killed in
an encounter between militants and security forces in South Kashmir’s Pulwama
district in the early hours of Tuesday. In the gunbattle, one Army soldier was
also killed, while another sustained injuries, police said.
Armyman who died was identified as Baljeet Singh (35), a resident of Karnal in
security forces launched a Cordon and Search Operation in Ratnipora area of
Pulwama in the intervening night of February 11 and 12 following the presence
of militants in the area.
the searches, the search party was fired upon by terrorists. The fire was
retaliated leading to a gunfight,” a J&K police spokesperson said.
slain militant was identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather, a resident of Begambagh
Kakapora in Pulwama district. Police sources said he had joined the militant
ranks in early 2018.
the exchange of fire, two Army men sustained injuries and were taken to
hospital. However, one of them, Baljeet Singh, succumbed to his injuries.
police spokesperson said incriminating materials, including arms and
ammunition, were also recovered from the site of the encounter.
after the encounter, locals clashed with the security forces near the encounter
to police, Hilal, the slain militant, “had a long history of terror crime
records” and was wanted in a series of cases.
of the cases was an attack at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) in
Srinagar, in which two police personnel were killed and LeT commander Naveed
Jatt managed to escape.
would be killed in an encounter with police on November 28, 2018 in Kashmir’s
militants were killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in
Central Kashmir’s Budgam district early Wednesday morning. This is the second
encounter in the last 24 hours in the valley.
J-K police spokesman said the encounter took place in Gopalpora area of
Chadoora town in Budgam district in the early hours of Wednesday.
on a credible input about the presence of terrorists, a cordon and search
operation was launched in the intervening night jointly by Police and security
forces in the area,” the police spokesman said in a statement.
the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the terrorists.
The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” he added.
the ensuing encounter, police said two militants were killed. “Their identities
and affiliations are being ascertained,” said the police.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar “unequivocally” apologized Monday for tweets
suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are being paid
to do so, which drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy
Minnesota Democrat said she had no intention offending anyone, including Jewish
have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I
expect people to hear me when others attack me about my identity,” Omar
tweeted. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
statement was the latest reckoning among Democrats of intense differences in
their ranks over the US-Israeli relationship, highlighted by criticism from
Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. They are the first Muslim women to
serve in Congress. Pelosi and other Democrats, including leaders and chairmen,
laid down a marker making clear that Omar had overstepped.
a pair of tweets over the weekend, Omar criticized the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she wrote,
invoking slang about $100 bills.
on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel,
Omar responded, “AIPAC!”
sparked Pelosi’s first public rebuke of a freshman lawmaker who had helped flip
the House from Republican control and is part of a record number of women in
Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s
supporters is deeply offensive,” Pelosi said in a statement issued by her
office and signed by other Democratic leaders after a bipartisan backlash
against the Minnesota Democrat. “We condemn these remarks, and we call upon
Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
also was a stark exposure of an increasingly tense split among Democrats over
US-Israeli policy ahead of the 2020 elections. None of the Democratic
presidential hopefuls weighed in publicly as their party’s House leaders
senators have introduced a resolution that would prevent Saudi Arabia from
developing a nuclear weapon.
measure was introduced by Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ed Markey and Republican
Rand Paul on Tuesday, however, it is unclear whether a majority of the
100-member Senate would support it.
resolution requires that any US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with
Riyadh preclude enrichment of uranium or reprocessing of plutonium made in
reactors – both of which are routes to developing nuclear weapons.
Saudi Arabia is going to get its hands on nuclear technology, it’s absolutely
critical that we hold it to the gold standard for non-proliferation,"
Merkley said in a statement. "The last thing America should do is
inadvertently help develop nuclear weapons for a bad actor on the world stage.”
comes as US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been holding secret talks with
Saudi officials on sharing US nuclear technology.
Riyadh, which has said it wants to be self-sufficient in producing nuclear
fuel, has refused to sign a deal with Washington that would deprive it of
year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that the kingdom would
make nuclear weapons if Iran does so. The Islamic Republic, which is a member
of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has always said that it has no
intention of developing nuclear arms.
if the new measure receives significant congressional support, it would be
symptomatic of concern in Congress over the Saudi-led brutal bombing in Yemen
as well as the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul in October.
Trump administration threatened Monday to veto a bid by Congress to end Saudi
Arabia's military support for the onslaught against Yemen.
administration claimed that the resolution was inappropriate, harming the
country’s regional relations as well as efforts to halt “violent extremism,”
according to Reuters.
also ignored a Friday deadline by Congress to determine who had ordered the
assassination of Khashoggi and whether he intended to impose related sanctions
a US law, the president had 120 days to report to Congress about designating
and punishing Saudi officials responsible for the murder.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar should
resign following comments she made that were critical of Israel's influence in
think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from
the House Foreign Affairs Committee," Trump said in a Cabinet meeting.
has no place in the United States Congress," Trump added, calling Omar's
along with Rashida Tlaib, is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress,
said Sunday suggested congressional support for Israel is firmly rooted in
political donations from pro-Israel groups, most prominently the powerful
American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
all about the Benjamins baby 🎶," Omar wrote in a Twitter post that
subtweeted a story about House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy threatening
"action" against Omar and Tlaib for comments critical of Israel.
tweet received hefty criticism from Republicans and Democrats, who called the
is a paper tiger with steel claws represented by its proxy militias from
Hezbollah to the Houthis, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al Faisal said on
kingdom’s former ambassador to Washington and London and previous head of
intelligence said in an interview with broadcaster CNBC that Tehran’s network
of local armed groups across the region had the sole purpose of furthering
their influence at the expense of impoverishing the nation.
leadership in Iran has developed into a paper tiger with steel claws, the steel
claws are the militias that they have established throughout the Middle East,”
main aim of these groups, he added, “is to further Iran's influence and its
domination over the areas in the Middle East.”
Turki is currently chairman of King Faisal Foundation's Centre for Research and
Islamic Studies. He is due to speak at the 2019 Milken Institute Mena Summit in
Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
the massive financial commitment these groups require, the long-serving senior
diplomat said, was taking its toll at home.
are bread lines. There are demonstrations, spontaneous demonstrations in all of
the cities in Iran. We've seen huge protests that have taken place with people
chanting why are we helping Syria why are we helping Lebanon,” he told CNBC's
Turki said he believed it was far too early to say that the regime would
collapse under the weight of US-led international sanctions on Tehran but that
it was important to listen to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he says the
country is facing its worst economic situation in 40 years.
Iranian people are the first victims of this leadership,” he said. “So I hope
that with Mr Trump's sanctions against Iran we're going to see a change of the
of the conduct of the leadership of Iran.”
other issues, Prince Turki said that while he warned against the US-led
invasion of Iraq in 2003, he is also against Washington withdrawing troops
today as Iran’s “malevolent forces” would seek to take advantage.
said he sees international criticism of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen as
“misinformed and misguided”.
pointed out that Riyadh was there to support the internationally recognised
government of Yemen who had requested help repelling the Houthi takeover. He
pointed to UN resolutions that supported the coalition mission to reinstate the
government of Yemen in Sanaa as well as the fact that countries from around the
world are involved in the coalition, not just Middle Eastern states.
war in Yemen was started by the Houthis not by Saudi Arabia and the
humanitarian aspects of that war are influenced by what the Houthis are doing,”
are denying access for example to the grain silos in Hodeidah port that could
be used to help the starving people of Yemen. And the kingdom is providing the
largest amount of humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen.”
to a question from CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on whether foreign firms were reluctant
to invest in the kingdom given the string of negative stories coming from the
country in recent years, Prince Turki said that he believed such investors were
mistaken and that data did not support their view.
the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last year numerous high
profile figures pulled out of the kingdom’s PIF summit in Riyadh, dubbed the
Davos in the Desert. The huge corruption purge carried out by the kingdom’s
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that saw a string of high profile Saudi
political and business figures detained in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton Hotel also
initially worried investors.
Turki said that the corruption purge was a good symbol of steps Riyadh is
taking to ensure accountability and transparency.
the issue of the Ritz Carlton affair, in the kingdom that was a very welcome
step because it showed the people that the government was concerned about
corruption,” he said.
brought in the high and not so high for questioning for accounting for their
actions and literally reach accommodations with some of them and some of them I
think have been transferred to the courts … so that’s a sign of
said the kingdom has come a long way in “providing the right atmosphere for
people to invest in the country not just on issues of accountability but also
on issues of transparency, on issues of rule of law, the fact that we are
members of the World Trade Organisation.”
this, he said, contributed to the rise in foreign investment into Saudi Arabia
in recent years, despite “the negative media hype.”
described Turkish regional policy as “a big puzzle”.
also said Ankara's involvement in Syria had initially focused on helping the
people but was now focused on aligning with the pro-Damascus alliance.
UK parliamentary panel tasked with scrutinizing the country’s weapons sales in
2017 has come under fire for turning a blind eye on London’s extensive arms
deals with Saudi Arabia and their effects on the people of Yemen.
Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launched its inquiry into Prime
Minister Theresa May’s government's latest 2017 Strategic Export Controls
Annual Report in late 2018 and held its first evidence session by inviting a
number of officials and sales experts to the House of Commons last week.
the committee’s agenda seems to be void of any reference to London’s dealings
with the Riyadh regime, which has become the largest purchaser of UK-made
weapons since 2015, the year it launched a deadly military aggression against
its impoverished southern neighbor, Yemen.
inquiry covers both the technicalities of the policy, such as the different
types of arms export licenses issued by the government and its political aspect
to answer questions such as the consequences of a no-deal Brexit on the
country’s weapons sales.
exclusion of the conflict in Yemen has raised questions among activists and
campaign groups, specially since the panel’s previous work on the government’s
2016 policy had raised concerns about the nature of arms deals with Saudi
fact, the previous report was so damaging that many lawmakers asked the
government to end the weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. The growing divide over
the issue eventually led to the dissolution of the CAEC.
controversy continued after the current lineup of lawmakers took over the panel
in October 2017 and made it clear that they were not going to remain neutral
over the matter.
Jones, a Labour MP and chair of the CAEC, said last week that neither the West
nor Saudi Arabia were to blame for the war in Yemen, which has killed over
57,000 people since its onset in March 2015.
went as far as calling “dishonest” campaign groups that bring attention to
Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen.
see it time and time again with regards to airstrikes – there is a gross
exaggeration by NGOs as to what has happened. You just have to pick up the
newspaper. The examples they finally do get to attribute, you suddenly find
after investigating they are inaccurate and grossly inaccurate,” said Jones
comments came days after the CAEC received a highly critical report that
spotted extensive flaws in the British government’s arms sales strategy.
together by Control Arms UK, a coalition of non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), urged May’s government to reduce or altogether halt weapons sales to
Saudi Arabia and other countries that violate human rights.
conclusion is based on copious, authoritative information, and is compelling,”
said Roy Isbister of Saferworld, who contributed to the report. “All of the
warring parties in Yemen are repeatedly in breach of international law. Yet our
voice is ignored by a government that will quote our work as ballast to its own
arguments in other countries when it suits.”
Stavrianakis, a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex, wrote in an
article published by The Guardian on Monday that Jones would ignore such
reports because he is in some ways linked to the Saudi Arabia and its regional
allies – including the United Arab Emirates -- who have been relentlessly
an avid supporter of the Saudi-led coalition, vice-chair of the all-party
parliamentary group on Saudi Arabia, MP for an arms-producing constituency and
recipient of an expenses-paid trip to the UAE, Jones would do well to remember
the edict that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones when castigating
others,” Stavrianakis wrote.
UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and
fighter jets, to Riyadh since the deadly conflict began.
has also been providing combat intelligence and target data to Saudi Arabia
over the course of the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and
put millions more on the verge of famine.
war is being led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de
facto ruler, who wishes to reinstate Yemen’s fugitive former president, Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and destroy the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Saudi-led war has created a cholera epidemic as well as leading the country to
the brink of an entirely preventable famine.
They served the French army on the frontlines in Afghanistan, sometimes bearing
arms during operations by international forces against the Taliban.
for years after the French troops pulled out, many Afghan interpreters were
left exposed to revenge attacks by Islamist fundamentalists and denied asylum
by the country for which they worked.
long fight for protection from France ended on February 1 when a top French
court ordered the state to give immediate protection to all those who had been
previously turned away.
Afghanistan sinks further into violence, those who serve or have served foreign
militaries are particularly at risk from the Taliban, who view them as
Oryakhail, 30, served as an interpreter for a French battalion from 2009 to
2013 — a role for which he was occasionally armed with a French assault rifle
to use in the event of an ambush.
January 7, his long quest for asylum ended when he arrived in France with his
family, a year after he fled his village 38 kilometers (around 24 miles) north
who had been denied asylum by France in 2015, had already survived a drive-by
shooting at his home and then been wounded in a suicide motorcycle bombing as
he spoke to a NATO patrol outside his house.
both attacks were linked to his work with the French military, over which he
had received multiple threats, he moved to a freezing, one-room apartment in a
suburb of Kabul.
survived by doing odd jobs, living in constant fear, until December 2018, when
France’s Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, ordered
he be given immediate protection, along with five other interpreters whose
asylum requests had been rejected in 2015.
the landmark ruling, the court said that the state owed local staff a duty of
a follow-up decision on February 1 the council went further, extending the
protection to all the interpreters whose asylum requests had been rejected,
including those who missed a government deadline to apply.
ruling, which also sets a precedent for local people employed by the French
army in other conflict zones such as the Sahel region of West Africa, comes too
late for some Afghans who sought safety in France.
Daoudzai, an interpreter for the French military from 2010 to 2012 whose visa
application was rejected in 2015, died in a bomb blast in Kabul on October 20.
left behind a pregnant wife and three children.
Z., another former interpreter who cannot be fully identified for safety
reasons, was severely wounded, and his step-brother killed, in mid-January in a
bomb blast in Kabul, where he remains in hiding.
was the fifth-biggest contributor of troops to the NATO-led mission in
Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, when the last of its soldiers left the country.
the course of its long deployment, the military employed 770 local staff in
positions such as interpreters, drivers and warehouse workers.
total of 224 interpreters received visas to move to France in three waves of
relocations between 2013 and 2018, according to the Association of the French
Army’s Afghan Interpreters, but many were then turned down.
is not the only country accused of failing to provide adequate protection for
former Afghan employees.
British parliamentary committee last year found Britain had “dismally failed”
to look after 7,000 former Afghan staff.
France’s record, a defense ministry source, who asked not to be identified,
said French officials had spent a month in the region in late 2018 to hear new
asylum requests and reopen old cases.
mission was carried out “at the request of the French president, taking into
account the deterioration of the situation during the past 12 months in Kabul
and Kapisa,” the province where most of the French troops were stationed, the
the end of the mission, 218 long-stay visas were granted to former employees
and their families, the official said, adding: “France cannot be accused of
for Quentin Mueller, co-author of a book entitled “Interpreter, a French
Betrayal” (“Tarjuman, une Trahison française“) published last week, France
abandoned those who were its “eyes and ears in the fight” against the Taliban.
treated them like ordinary migrants who would like to take advantage of the
French system,” he said.
book’s other author Brice Andauer denounced the asylum process as
“intentionally opaque and secretive,” saying many applicants had been turned
down with no reason given.
that the French army’s local Afghan staff were routinely subjected to
background checks, he argued there were few chances of extremists slipping
through the system into France.
the Taliban have never advocated global jihad,” he pointed out.
committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria should be balanced
and inclusive of all Syrians, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Tuesday.
to reporters ahead of his meeting with UN special envoy Geir Pedersen, Maas
underlined that Germany, a member of the Small Group on Syria, would continue
to support efforts for the formation of Syria's constitutional committee.
convening of a constitutional committee should be a door opener for further
political changes in Syria. A balanced and inclusive composition of the
constitutional committee is a prerequisite for its success," he
need to build trust'
special envoy Pedersen stressed that there was an urgent need for a new
beginning in Syria to achieve progress in political efforts to find a solution.
need to build trust between the different communities and make sure that we
move forward in parallel with the political process," he said.
also underlined that the beginning of the constitutional committee's work would
play a key role in the process.
injured as Islamist Groups attack Ahmadis in Bangladesh
50 were injured as Islamist organizations coordinated protests against minority
Ahmadiyya Muslims of Bangladesh. Protests led by three Islamist organizations —
Sammilito Khatme Nabuwat Shangrakkhan Parishad, Iman Akida Rokkha Committee and
Touhidi Janata turned ugly Tuesday afternoon as thousands of students from
Islamic seminaries also joined in.
mob vandalized several houses and burned down shops belonging to members of the
Ahmadiyya community in Ahmednagar village of Panchagarh. Local media reported
that at least 50 people, including police, were injured in the Tuesday night
mob attack. Panchagarh Sadar Hospital’s resident medical officer Pradip Kumar
Banik said that at least of 1 of the injured was in critical condition.
protestors demanded shutdown of the annual convention of Ahmadiyya community
and urged the government to declare the community a non-Muslim minority.
Wednesday, in a meeting with local Islamic clerics and police officers
Panchagarh Deputy Commissioner Sabina Yasmin gave her assurance that the Ahmadi
community would not be allowed to organize the convention in Panchagarh.
Azad, additional deputy commissioner general of Panchagarh said that “Additional
police force including paramilitary units of Border Guard Bangladesh have also
been deployed in the village”
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has called on Russia, China and India to help
the country tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis.
an interview with Anadolu Agency on Sunday, Momen talked about a government
proposal to establish a safe-zone in Rakhine State in Myanmar from where the
refugees fled state persecution in late 2017.
a safe zone is created under the vigilance of China, Russia and India along
with ASEAN states, Rohingya people will be encouraged to return to their own land,"
he said, adding that guaranteeing them citizenship upon their return is a
said that India had appreciated the proposal and he hoped other countries
Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children,
have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a
crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young
children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state
authorities are still treating Rohingya as unlawful citizen or illegal Bengalis
based on a controversial 1982 Citizenship Law.
main goal is to repatriate them to their country of origin with due dignity and
safety,” the minister said seeking help from Russia, India and China in this
and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on Nov. 23, 2017 with a two-year
timeframe to return the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
repatriation has been postponed due to global concerns about the safety of
Rohingya in their home country.
the Rohingya crisis a difficult issue, the minister said: “There are 1.2
million Rohingya now staying in Bangladesh. Although we are not a rich country,
we are one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Yet she [Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina] has the benevolence, the big heart to allow them and by
this she has saved humanity.”
offered to send some refugees to friendly countries of Myanmar so that the
living conditions of the refugees improve and together these states can put
pressure on Myanmar to take back the refugees.
top diplomat termed Bangladesh's policy on Rohingya "a role model for
humanity", calling their persecution "the biggest genocide since
World War II".
24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according
to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
foreign minister said the influx of refugees was triggered by Myanmar's policy
and it should be held accountable.
the question is how long we give them temporary shelter. They must go back to
their country of birth. The problem has been created by our friendly country
Myanmar, and they should resolve it.”
Risk of radicalization
warned that Rohingya refugees living in squalid makeshift settlements in the
southern part of the country are at a risk of radicalization.
it lingers for a long period our fear is that there could be rise of
radicalism, instability and uncertainty. This may cause difficulties not only
for Myanmar and Bangladesh but also for the whole region.”
however, assured that the Bangladesh government is dealing with the crisis with
utmost sincerity and watchfulness, resulting in no report of radical activity
Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced that 12 members of the electoral
bodies of the country including the former chiefs of the Independent Election
Commission and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission have been barred
from leaving country.
to a statement released from Attorney General’s Office, a delegation has been
tasked to investigate the allegations levied by the detective institutions
against the members of the electoral bodies including the chiefs of the
Independent Election Commission and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission
regarding the misuse of authority.
statement further added that the Attorney General’s Office has barred 12
members of the electoral bodies from leaving country in a bid to conduct a
thorough investigation into the allegations.
comes as the Office of the President on Tuesday announced that the draft
amendments to election law was passed during the meeting of the cabinet and was
signed by President Mohammad Ashraf.
Ghani also issued a decree late on Tuesday and said the chiefs and members of
the electoral bodies are considered as dismissed with the approval of amendments
to electoral law.
Afghan Intelligence forces have arrested two members of Jaish-e-Mohammad group
during an operation in eastern Nangarhar province.
to a statement released by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) the two
men were deployed to Nangarhar province to carry out suicide and coordinated
statement further added that the detained men have been identified as sediq
Akbar sson of Sahib Zar and Ataullah son of Dost Mohammad who are originally
residents of Pakistan.
the men have confessed that they were recruited in Jaish-e-Mohammed ranks while
they were working in Karachi and Lahore cities and were trained for a period of
two months in the military camps of the group in Balakot area of Mansehra, NDS
said adding that both the men were deployed to Afghanistan to carry out
coordinated suicide attack but were arrested before they manage to execute the
National Directorate of Security also added that the detained individuals are
still being questioned to find more information.
The Taliban have announced a 14-member negotiating team ahead of talks this
month with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been meeting with the insurgents
to try to end America's longest war.
Abbas Stanikzai heads the Taliban team announced on Monday, which includes five
former inmates of the US prison in Guantanamo Bay who were released in 2014 in
exchange for a captured American soldier.
team also includes Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the leader of
the Haqqani network, a powerful Taliban faction.
Afghan mujahideen commander who fought the Soviets and rose to become the country’s
first president after the Red Army retreated has died aged 93, his family said
Mojaddedi, who commanded a mujahideen faction during the decade-long insurgency
against the Soviet occupiers, passed away late Monday in a Kabul hospital after
a long illness.
Afghans, including former president Hamid Karzai, have begun visiting the
Mojaddedi family home to pay their respects.
de facto prime minister Abdullah Abdullah extended his condolences to the
respected Mojaddedi clan.
has played a vital role in all national issues and his legacy will remain part
of Afghanistan’s history,” he posted on Twitter.
candidate and former national security adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar said
Mojaddedi’s passing “leaves a huge vacuum in Afghan politics and public life.”
death comes three days before the 30th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal
Red Army crossed the Amu Darya river into Soviet Uzbekistan on February 15,
1989 having suffered 15,000 losses.
the withdrawal, Afghanistan’s communist regime collapsed in 1992 and Mojaddedi,
who led the Afghan National Liberation Front, was chosen as interim president.
served just two months under a power-sharing deal struck by mujahideen leaders.
These factions later turned on each other and Afghanistan plunged into civil
Mojaddedi continued to play a prominent role in Afghan politics, particularly
after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
2003, Mojaddedi served as chairman of the Loya Jirga -- or Grand Assembly --
that approved Afghanistan’s new constitution for a post-Taliban era.
LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Many people in Pakistan regard Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir
Mohamad as their idol and hail his leadership, according to a journalist from
Ur Rehman, the Kuala Lumpur correspondent for Pakistan’s 92 News television
news channel, said it came as no surprise when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran
Khan extended an official invitation for Dr Mahathir to attend the Pakistan
National Day celebration on March 23 as the chief guest.
Khan, during his first official visit to Malaysia in November last year, had
said that he looked to Dr Mahathir as an inspiration to transform his own
Pakistan cricket legend had become Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister in July 2018.
who has been in Malaysia for almost 10 years, said: “Tun Dr Mahathir is one of
the most popular leaders in Pakistan and we look up to Malaysia as an Asian
(economic) Tiger. We hope for the best.”
said the close relations between Pakistan and Malaysia took a leap forward with
the visit of Imran Khan.
was a visit long-awaited by the Pakistani people to ensure that the good
relations and the solidarity between the two Muslim countries will continue,”
he told Bernama.
said Malaysia was a major focus for the Pakistanis, whether for work or travel,
because they were drawn to the beauty of the environment and admired the
multiracial and religious harmony of the country.
journalist said that during his stay here he had sent about 90 to 100 articles
on Malaysia to Pakistan.
said there was much to write about in Malaysia because the country is one of
the most important hubs in Southeast Asian and an Asian Tiger in economic
also said that Malaysia regularly organises major events such as the Langkawi
International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), Defence Services Asia
Exhibition and Conference (DSA), and international sporting events.
from these, the yearly cultural events have been the main focus to show how
Malaysians live together in this multiracial country, and this can be an
example for the Pakistani people,” he said.
suggested that the two countries conduct student-exchange and cultural-exchange
programmes to strengthen ties, share experiences and learn the cultures of the
invite Malaysians to visit Pakistan so that they can experience its beautiful
culture, people, food and its natural scenery while strengthening the relations
between the two beautiful countries,” he said.
is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner among the South Asian countries.
2017, the total trade between Malaysia and Pakistan was at RM5.76 billion, an
increase of 3.5 per cent from the volume in 2016. — Bernama
LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Hardware store MR DIY has recalled the sale of a footprint and
“thumbs-up car sticker varieties from its store, after the outcry over Arabic
wordings found on the item.
company chairman, Datuk Azlam Shah Alias, said that customers who had purchased
the “affected product” would also be given a refund.
a press statement today, the company again apologised to the Muslim community,
adding that it had also spoken to the supplier of the said stickers, who,
according to the company, had also expressed regret.
DIY wishes to thank our customers for their invaluable feedback. We would like
to assure all stakeholders, especially our Muslim customers, friends and staff,
that MR DIY has no intention of offending the Muslim community, and we deeply
regret the matter,” Azlam said.
have also introduced preventive measures by setting up a new committee and
improved our standard operating procedures, to ensure that this does not happen
who purchased the item can call MR DIY’s customer service at 03-89611338 for
a 27-second video clip showing the footprint car sticker was circulated on
Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM) had last week urged Mr DIY to
host a press conference to apologise for selling the car stickers.
Harian reported the Muslim group’s special assistant Mat Ramlee Buang saying
that the move was necessary to protect Muslims’ sensitivities and at the same
time protect public harmony and national security.
had raided one of the Mr DIY branches in Kuala Lumpur and I was informed that
they have retracted the product.
LUMPUR: Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) today called on the government to have a
referendum on whether the death penalty is necessary.
the same time, the NGO stated its stand that the death penalty should be
retained to control crime which it said was “very high” at present.
said in a statement that “precious taxpayers’ money” was being used to keep
criminals, especially those who committed heinous crimes alive, “compromising
the public’s access to funds for other higher priorities and compromising our
rule of law and our safety”.
Ummah said the taxpayers’ consent was “definitely needed” before the government
decided to abolish the death penalty.
government should put the interests of the public, the interests of 33 million
Malaysians, first — not the interests of the 1,281 inmates on death row.
human rights and safety of the majority public should come first.”
said studies showed that capital punishment deterred crime and saved lives, but
it did not give any details about these studies, including who conducted them
said, however, that the death penalty was “ineffective due to weak enforcement
of our laws”.
that the country needed funds, Ummah said money used to house and care for
criminals sentenced to death could be better spent on healthcare, welfare,
education and infrastructure for the majority public.
called on Putrajaya to follow the “good example” of Asian nations such as
Singapore, China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and India in retaining the death
said the majority of Malaysians, being Muslim, followed Islamic law, which
accepted capital punishment.
must not let our country and our laws to be manipulated by criminals or NGOs
backed by criminals on the pretext of meeting international standards of human
rights,” it said.
said there was a conflict of interest in that lawyers who acted in the best
interest of their clients, including criminals, were asking for the death
penalty to be dropped.
urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to probe this conflict of
NGO called on the government to immediately lift the moratorium on the death
wants the government to keep the death penalty and let judges have the
discretion to decide on cases based on evidence and to let the Pardons Board
review cases that may point to elements of miscarriage of justice.
the areas of concern by redrafting the laws for drug-related cases separately.”
Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
LUMPUR, Feb 12 — PAS Youth chief Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi has called for
investigations into foreign funds allegedly channelled to DAP.
a statement today, Muhammad Khalil said the probe is important as no action has
been taken since the allegations surfaced, and neither had DAP denied the claims.
claims made are serious allegations as the alleged agreements were made
discreetly, and this opposes integrity as well as the law and can affect the
issue of governance.
political issue can become a threat to national security, and therefore the
risk at hand must be managed by the authorities,” he said.
several examples, Muhammad Khalil said if the treacherous move, which he
likened to “selling out” the country, is not curbed it would invite dangerous
threats to the people and the nation’s institutions.
of the examples of foreign funding he had cited included the statement by
former Penang chief minister’s political secretary, Mohamad Razali Abdul
Rahman, who said DAP had received RM300 million bribery from Israel, and the
police report lodged by former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) investigating
officer Capt Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff claiming that the DAP Red Bean
Army had received funds from Open Society Foundation, which is owned by
billionaire financier George Soros.
the lead up to the legislative and presidential elections in April, the
country’s second-largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, is set to hold a
leadership meeting that will include addressing the politicization of religion
in electoral contests.
to take place in Bengkulu from Feb. 15 to 17, the meeting is expected to gather
hundreds of Muhammadiyah executives and high-profile guests, including
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his rival in the presidential election,
meeting will carry the theme “Enlightening Way in Religious Life”, as concerns
have grown in the organization that religious practice in the country has been
“unconstructive”, Muhammadiyah secretary-general Abdul Mu’ti said.
issues in the spotlight is the politicization of religion, which has brought
about polarization in the 2019 presidential election, creating the idea that
one candidate pair represented Muslim society better than the other, Mu’ti
feel strong polarization in 2019,” Mu’ti said during a recent visit to The
Jakarta Post, “With the use of religious symbols and forums for political
interests, such religious polarization is very apparent.”
divisiveness, he said, had created the assumption that the incumbent’s camp
represented Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the nation’s largest Islamic organization, of
which Jokowi’s running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, was a senior member, while
Muhammadiyah was associated with Prabowo.
number of Muhammadiyah figures, including former leader and National Mandate
Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais and Muhammadiyah treasurer Suyatno, were on
Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno’s campaign team.
function of religion is to bring peace, but instead what has happened is that
religion has become a source of disunity,” Mu’ti said, “Religion is not supposed
to be a subordinate of politics.”
also aims to address other issues, such as “religious commodification” in which
religion was exploited for profit, and “symptoms of spiritualization”, where
people practiced religion only to receive divine rewards.
true value of religion, which served as guidance for the faithful, has yet to
be institutionalized in social and political practices, Mu’ti said, and
Muhammadiyah aimed to show Muslims how enlightening religious teachings were
through the meeting.
want to assert that a religious person should be an individual who can
contribute positively to society, a person who is able to hearten others with
his or her presence instead of raising fears,” Mu’ti said.
500 participants are set to attend the three-day meeting, including executives
of Muhammadiyah’s central board and leaders of the organization's regional
the meeting, Muhammadiyah is also set to address internal matters, including
preparations for the 2020 national congress, which is held every five years to
elect new leadership.
President Jusuf Kalla is set to open the meeting on Friday and Muhammadiyah
chairman Haedar Nasir will provide the keynote speech.
the previous leadership meeting, however, the upcoming meeting will not see the
attendance of former Muhammadiyah leaders, including Amien Rais, Mu'ti said,
because the event’s schedule was packed.
a supporter of Prabowo in the 2019 election, has been an vocal critic of
Jokowi, and has been seen as a controversial figure in Indonesia’s political
scene, although he is known as an icon
behind 1998 reform, marking the downfall of Soeharto.
and Prabowo, who were invited by Muhammadiyah in their capacity as national
figures, are scheduled to address participants on separate occasions during the
event, Mu’ti said.
two are expected to speak about, among other things, mainstreaming moderate
Islam, and how Indonesia must be more courageous in displaying itself as a
political power in the Islamic world, he said.
as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, has a quite powerful modality,”
Mu’ti said, “We are also accepted by most Muslim countries […] so it should be
a political modality for Indonesia, too.”
denies telling banks to stop working with Palestinians
United States has denied accusations it is pressuring banks to stop dealing
with the Palestinian government, whose relations with Washington have been
Palestinian officials have accused the US of trying to force banks not to deal
with transactions linked to the Palestinian Authority, which has limited
self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
United States has not requested that foreign donors restrict assistance to the
Palestinians, nor has it requested that financial institutions cease transfers
to Palestinian Authority (PA) bank accounts,” a US official told AFP late
are aware of media reports suggesting this has occurred. Those reports are
Sunday, senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh charged that Washington
was launching a “financial siege” on the PA.
international financial institutions and parties have begun to accede to an
American request to impose a tight financial siege on the Palestinian
Authority,” he told AFP.
has asked for financial aid given to the authority to be stopped, and it has
also issued a circular to banks not to receive transfers for the authority’s
foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki has said on local radio that the US was using
“all means to press Arab countries to stop financial support for our people.”
between the US and the Palestinians have broken down since President Donald
Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017.
Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city their capital and have
boycotted the Trump administration since.
response the US has cut more than $500 million in annual aid to the
Palestinians, mostly to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
cuts have worsened long-term financial shortfalls for the PA, which is heavily
reliant on international aid.
Houthi militia have committed 1,112 violations since the Hodeidah agreement
came into force on Dec. 18, 2018, leading to 76 civilian deaths and 492
injuries, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA.
report said the Houthis continued to target civilian homes, public areas and
army positions, using a variety of weapons.
report confirmed the continued escalation of the militia’s activities,
highlighting its targeting of the International Mission for the Implementation
of the Stockholm Agreement, which is responsible for redeployment, and its
recent targeting of United Nations mills used to store wheat, flour and other
Arabia’s King Salman assured President Mahmoud Abbas that Riyadh stands by the
right of Palestinians to establish their own state with Jerusalem as its
Salman’s statement came on Tuesday after formal talks between him and Abbas in
which they discussed the latest developments on Palestine.
his part, the Palestinian president expressed his appreciation to King Salman
and for Saudi Arabia’s support for Palestine.
the Saudi side, the talks were attended by Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal Bin
Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Minister of State and Member of the Council of Ministers
Prince Mansour Bin Muteeb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Adel al-Jubeir and Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan.
the Palestinian side, Abbas’ delegation consisted of Secretary of the Executive
Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Dr. Saeb Erekat, the head of
the Civil Affairs Authority Sheikh Hussein, the head of the General
Intelligence Service Majid Faraj, the Presidential Advisor for Diplomatic
Affairs Majdi Khalidi and Palestinian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bassem
Islamic Revolution four decades ago has been a complete failure for the
country, President Donald Trump said Monday.
a tweet written on the anniversary of the upheaval that was also sent out in
Farsi, Trump said: “40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of
terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure.
long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future,” he added.
Trump’s chief foreign policy advisor John Bolton issued a similar statement,
tweeting that “it’s been 40 yrs of failure. Now it’s up to the Iranian regime
to change its behavior, & ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine
the direction of their country.”
said Washington would support “the will of the Iranian people, & stand
behind them to ensure their voices are heard.”
President Hassan Rouhani told Iranians they should resist a “conspiracy”
involving Washington. The Trump administration has pushed hard to weaken Iran
and what it says is Tehran’s “destabilizing” influence.
Trump administration threatened on Monday to veto an effort in the US Congress
to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen,
continuing a standoff with lawmakers over policy toward the kingdom.
administration said the resolution was inappropriate because US forces had
provided aircraft refueling and other support in the Yemen conflict, not combat
troops. It also said the measure would harm relationships in the region and
hurt the US’s ability to prevent the spread of violent extremism.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said: “I
find it very strange that members of Congress would try to curtail allies like
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates in trying to push back against terrorist
organizations supported by Iran and Hezbollah”.
basically what this legislation is doing is its providing ammunition to the
‘Death to America’ crowd,” al-Jubeir told CBS News’ Face the Nation program on
White House has angered many members of Congress, including some of President
Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, by failing to provide a report by a Friday
deadline on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
United States has supported the Saudi-led air campaign with mid-air refueling
support, intelligence and targeting assistance. Democrats view the war powers
resolution as a way to assert Congress’ constitutional right to authorize the
use of military force in foreign conflicts.
Republican-controlled US Senate passed the war powers resolution in December,
the first time such a resolution had passed even one house of Congress. But
Republicans, who then controlled the House, did not allow a vote in the lower
arrests 729 over ties to US-based cleric Gulen
prosecutors on Tuesday ordered the arrest of 1,112 people, and arrested over
700 of them, over their suspected links to the network of US-based Muslim
cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in
public prosecutor said officials had sent, to authorities in 75 provinces, the
names of 1,112 people under investigation over suspected ties to Gulen and his
the nationwide raids, at least 729 people were arrested, state news agency
operation was among the biggest that have been launched against alleged
supporters of Gulen since the failed putsch.
operation was related to a police force examination in 2010 for those seeking
to become deputy inspectors, and allegations that some of those taking part had
received the questions in advance.
Ankara public prosecutor's office, which leads the coup investigation, said 130
people on the list of suspects were deputy police chiefs still on active duty.
Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday a "big operation" was looming
against Gulen supporters. "Devils would not perpetrate deceptions like
they have," he said. "We will finish them off."
government says his network over decades infiltrated state institutions
including the security forces, judiciary and ministries, often helped by
cheating in exams, to create a "parallel state".
have been regular raids across Turkey in recent weeks against alleged members
of the movement, despite criticism from human rights defenders and Ankara's
Western allies over the scale of the crackdown.
operations show authorities are not letting up on their crackdown
two-and-a-half years after rogue soldiers used warplanes, helicopters and tanks
in a bid to seize power.
than 250 people were killed in the failed putsch, in which Gulen, a former ally
of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement. Gulen has lived in
self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Turkish government is seeking Gulen's extradition from the United States. The
Turkish foreign minister recently announced President Donald Trump of the
United States had told President Erdogan that Washington is working on
of thousands of people have been taken into custody over suspected links to Gulen
since 2016 while over 100,000 -- including teachers, police officers, and
judges -- have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Palestinian teenager has died in the Gaza Strip four days after being hit by a
tear gas canister during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli
soldiers stationed on the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and the
for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement that
Hassan Nabil Ahmed Nofal, 17, died late on Tuesday at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza
City from the wounds he suffered Friday when he hit in the head by the
was hit when the canister was fired several meters from him during a “Great
March of Return” protest east of Bureij refugee camp.
Hassan Iyad Shalabi was fatally shot in the chest during an anti-occupation
demonstration east of the city of Khan Yunis, located about 25 kilometers (15
miles) south of Gaza City.
Mohammed Roshdi Ashtiwi, 17, died east of the Gaza Strip after he was hit in
the neck with a live bullet.
17 demonstrators suffered gunshot wounds, while dozens of Palestinians suffered
excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces sought to suppress the
have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled
from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
than 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since
anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over
26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of the Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year
with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem
June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning the Israeli regime for the death of
Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
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