Francis and Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque and
university, sign documents during an interreligious meeting at the Founder's
Memorial in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 4, 2019. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Ulama-e-Hind Strongly Opposed Tawhidi’s Arrival in India and Urged Home
Minister to Put a Ban on His Future Programmes
Imran Khan for Including Islamic History, Iqbaliat In Curriculum
Catholic Officials Welcome Catholic-Muslim Document Signed By Pope
Got Cheated. All of Us Got Cheated’: Captured German Isis Member Says He
Regrets Joining Terror Group
Stars Heading For Saudi Arabia In Latest Entertainment Boost
Muslim Region Takes Shape as Headwinds Blow
Presidential Spokesman: '60 Percent of Conflicts Are In Muslim Countries'
at Arth Speak On the Importance Of Inter Faith Interactions
Ram ancestor of both Hindus and Muslims: Baba Ramdev
sends note verbale to Pakistan in protest against Hafiz Saeed’s rally
convicts, all Muslim get life imprisonment in Muzaffarnagar riots case
leader lays stress on Muslim unity
to submit evidence against Kulbhushan Jadhav in ICJ
Pakistanis who registered as Afghan refugees detected
freed Baradar at US request, says Khalilzad
looking for legal ways to remove Shahbaz from PAC
‘forced’ Taliban to talk to US
Executes Muslim Who Requested Imam Support at Death Chamber
Demands Democrats Treat Two Muslim Members As Bigots Like Steve King
radical Islam led one man from atheism to Marxism to Catholicism
calls for ‘tougher international restrictions’ on Iran
mosque shooter gets life, no parole for 40 years
says won’t attend US’ conference in Poland
eyeing Guantanamo for Daesh detainees: report
Plans To Blacklist Saudi Arabia For Failure In Fighting Money Laundering: FT
FM says situation in Syria’s Idlib ‘very dangerous’
says won’t move Israel embassy to al-Quds
government complains to UN over Taliban trip to Moscow
maintains demands for credible probe into Khashoggi
in Bosnia to re-open 27 years after demolished
Study: Millennial Extremist Fighters Educated, Not Outcasts
Arabia’s efforts in spreading moderation lauded
Foreign Affairs: Saudi Crown Prince ‘Did Not Order Khashoggi Killing’
ISIL Reviving Operation in US-Controlled Areas in Northern Iraq
SDF Blocks Civilians' Move towards Army-Controlled Regions
delegation secretly visited Israeli-occupied territories last week: Report
Join Protest Against 'Blasphemous' Nike Shoe
NU radical in its fight against colonialism? Maybe not, NU says
sexual violence bill sparks conservative opposition
Reject Invitation to Attend US Mideast Meeting In Poland
used ‘Death to America’ slogan directed at Trump, Iran leader claims
of Houthi militiamen killed in coalition strikes in Yemen’s Hajjah
Palestinian teens killed by Israeli live fire during Gaza border protests
blasts Houthis for disregarding Hodeidah ceasefire and blocking Yemen aid
Haram: From Islamist Sect to Armed Threat
airstrikes in Somalia kill 15 al-Shabaab militants
general says strikes in Somalia won’t stop Shabaab
official says beatings led to iconic protester’s death
authorities reportedly arrest suspected al-Qaeda leader
court sentences seven terrorists to life for deadly 2015 attacks: prosecutors
Stops Rohingya Trying To Get To Malaysia
Catholic Church celebrates 500 years
leaves local ISIS-K commander dead in Kunar province
envoy ‘hopeful’ a peace deal could be finalized with Taliban before elections
shadow intelligence chief killed in Helmand
Special Forces kill 2 senior Taliban leaders in Nangarhar province
villagers flee fresh Rakhine State fighting, enter Bangladesh
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Ulama-e-Hind Strongly Opposed Tawhidi’s Arrival in India and Urged Home Minister
to Put a Ban on His Future Programmes
Majlis Ulama-e-Hind expressed its disapproval over the arrival of controversial
Muslim preacher Imam Tawhidi in India. It wrote a letter to Home Minister
Rajnath Singh to express its disapproval on his visit. The organisation also
slammed Zee TV network for inviting such an irresponsible person.
a unanimous decision taken by all Ulema, the Majlis Ulama-e-Hind strongly
opposed Tawhidi’s arrival in India and urged home minister Rajnath Singh to put
a ban on his future programmes.
letter written by Maulana Kalbe Jawad Naqvi, general secretary Majlis
Ulama-i-Hind, stated that the so-called leader has been invited by a channel to
India. This man is masquerading as a scholar while he is not related to Shi’ism
or Islam, because his photos, videos, books and speeches all are against the
teachings of Islam and Shi’ite belief.
that inviting such a person is like disrupting the peace of India, Maulana
Jawad urged the government to put a ban on all his programmes.
who claims to be a Shia Muslim is often seen criticizing Islam and Islamic
countries like Iran.
Imran Khan for including Islamic history, Iqbaliat in curriculum
Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said philosophy of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal
gave depth and height to human imagination and free thinking.
said this while chairing a meeting regarding the steps taken to enlighten new
generation about Islamic History, especially the philosophy and thinking of
national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
meeting was attended by Minister for Federal Education and Professional
Training Shafqat Mahmood, Information Minister Chaudry Fawad Hussain, Prime
Minister’s Spokesperson Nadeem Afzal Chan, Special Assistants, Iftikhar
Durrani, Yousuf Baig Mirza, Punjab Education Minister Murad Ras Khan,
Educationist Raza Hamdani and Dr Raza Gardezi.
prime minister said in consultation with the provincial governments, Iqbaliat
and Islamic history should be included in the curriculum so that the new
generation could be enlighten about Islamic history, rise of Muslims and
greatest thinker of Muslims in the subcontinent Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
said the principles of State of Madina were as much universal today as its
importance was universal in early period of Islam, and by following that golden
principles the Muslims in a short period of time ruled the world.
can regain our past glory even today by following the basic principles of State
of Madina,” he said.
said the religion taught moralities and before any economic and social
degradation, moral destruction occurred.
said corruption was manifestation of moral destruction.
Minister Imran Khan said non-understanding of history and realities provided
chance to the opportunist elements to distort the history and realities and
used them for their personal benefits.
said some politicians were using religion of Islam for political gains like
those elements who were exploiting the problems, faced by the people of tribal
areas due to ongoing war against terrorism.
Catholic officials welcome Catholic-Muslim document signed by pope
— The declaration signed by Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand
imam of al-Azhar, during the pope's trip to the United Arab Emirates "is a
clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace," said the Catholic
chairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue and the chairman of the U.S.
bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
our increasingly hostile world in which violence too often predominates between
Christians and Muslims — violence that has led to tragic consequences for the
most vulnerable humans — we welcome with great joy this historic joint
statement on human fraternity," said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and
Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Francis and Sheik el-Tayeb, a leading religious authority for many Sunni
Muslims around the world, signed "A Document on Human Fraternity for World
Peace and Living Together" Feb. 4 in Abu Dhabi.
who believe in God and in the final meeting with him and his judgment, on the
basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this document,
call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of
international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the
culture of tolerance and of living together in peace," the document said.
also urged religious and political leaders to "bring an end to wars,
conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the
world is presently experiencing."
the centerpiece of the declaration was a call on Christians and Muslims to
recognize and respect one another and work together for the good of humanity.
on the document Feb. 8, Cupich and Bambera urged "all people of goodwill,
especially leaders of nations and religious groups," to read and study the
declaration "in the hope that it might serve as a resource to overcome
division through a renewed commitment to dialogue and the establishment of
got cheated. All of us got cheated’: Captured German Isis member says he
regrets joining terror group
Glass had not long finished school when he decided to join Isis. In the summer
of 2014, shortly after the terror group declared its global caliphate, he left
his home city of Dortmund and set off with his wife to start a new life in
Syria. He was just 19 years old.
I knew about Isis was that they were establishing Islamic law and fighting
Bashar al-Assad,” he says, cutting a solemn figure under the watchful eye of
his captors at a military installation in northern Syria.
came to practise my religion. I thought I would find what I wanted here, but
actually it was very different.”
a German citizen, now 23, is one of thousands of foreigners who came to this
country in the throes of a brutal civil war to live under the strict
interpretation of Islam that Isis promised its followers. That is not all they
did, however. Many played a key role in the group’s reign of terror, acting as
soldiers, executioners and recruiters.
the past few months, as the caliphate nears its end, hundreds of foreign
nationals have been detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces as they leave the
ever-shrinking territory of Isis. But their capture is just the start of a
complex process which has no clear end in sight.
countries do not want to take back those citizens who left to join the
caliphate, fearing they would be a security threat if they returned.
Prosecuting them is extremely difficult due to a lack of evidence of what
individuals did during their time living with Isis.
leaving the caliphate know this, and the majority claim they had nothing to do
with the group or were not fighters. They say they were cooks, doctors or
humanitarians who simply found themselves in the caliphate by accident.
all say the same thing,” a Kurdish intelligence official responsible for
handling suspected Isis members tells The Independent. “We don’t believe them.”
is not one of those people. He admits to being a member of Isis, and to working
for its police force for two years. But he claims he was duped by its
propaganda, and did not discover the group’s true nature until it was too late.
story gives an insight into the inner workings of one the most feared groups in
the modern world, and the disillusionment of many of its followers as its
fortunes started to decline.
an exclusive interview with The Independent, he recounts the tale of how he
came to join Isis, and how it all fell apart.
can compare it with a US soldier who wants to join the army,” he says of his
motivation for joining the group, speaking in accented English. “Why is he
ready to join the US army, and go to Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria to sacrifice
his life for the sake of democracy? We heard that they announced an Islamic
State, this is what we came for,” he says.
converted to Islam in 2010, some 10 years after his mother had done the same.
He had been familiar with the religion for most of this life, but it wasn’t
until he got older that he discovered his faith. But he says he felt Germany
did not afford him the space to live the religious life he wanted to.
July 2014, Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued a call to Muslims around the
world to come to Syria and Iraq to build an Islamic state. “Rush O Muslims to
your state. Yes, it is your state. Rush, because Syria is not for the Syrians,
and Iraq is not for the Iraqis,” he said in an audio message.
words hit home with Glass. He felt it was his duty to go. He married his German
wife, and a month later they traveled to Turkey, where he paid a smuggler to
take him across the border into Syria. Shortly after, he found himself enrolled
at an Isis religious school.
were 400 of us in one camp. People from Germany, France, Belgium, Britain,
north African countries,” he says.
wanted to fight for the group, against the Syrian government, but an injury
meant he was unfit for the frontline. Instead, he was assigned to the police
force in Aleppo province.
main work was manning checkpoints in the streets. I would stop cars and look
out for cigarettes and drugs,” he says. “I never pointed my gun at another
human,” he insists.
did this job for two years, he says. Life was as close to normal as it could be
for a German living in an active warzone. But by 2016 Isis had gained enemies
on all sides in Syria’s civil war, and began to lose ground in Aleppo to the
Syrian opposition. Its fighters withdrew from Aleppo to Raqqa; Glass and his
family, which now included children, went with them.
the time Glass was a member of the Isis police force, the group carried out
some of its most heinous atrocities. In August 2014, Isis fighters overran the
Iraqi town of Sinjar, where it massacred Yazidi civilians and kidnapped
thousands of women to keep as sex slaves. Shortly after, Isis members killed
the American journalist James Foley. Then in September they released videos
showing the beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, and then
the execution of British aid worker David Haines. All of these were designed to
maximise publicity, shared on Isis propaganda channels, and aimed at shocking
the world and instilling fear in its enemies.
continued to do his job, manning checkpoints for Isis while the group wrought
havoc across the region. He insists he did not know these crimes were being
committed, despite their widespread publication. It wasn’t until 2016, in
Raqqa, that he says he had a change of heart.
had seen some stuff going on in Isis which I don’t accept, which I thought was un-Islamic,”
of the propaganda videos of Isis, burning people, drowning them. I got shocked
when I saw these things. This is not allowed in Islam. These were things I
don’t accept,” he says. “After that, I decided to leave.”
the time Glass says he realised the truth about the group, Isis was carrying
out deadly attacks far beyond its borders. In France, the US and Tunisia,
Isis-inspired attacks killed hundreds. But Isis was also on the back foot in
Iraq and Syria, losing ground in both countries. The US had entered the
conflict and was bombing intensively across Isis’s self-declared caliphate.
just asked to leave,” says Glass. “They give you a paper and you get stamps
from the people who are responsible for you. From this day I lived as a
civilian,” but still within the caliphate.
didn’t want to be a part of Isis anymore. I wanted to be innocent of these
things,” he adds.
says he tried to escape once with his family but was caught by the Isis secret
imprisoned me for one and a half months. They released me under the condition
that if I tried to leave a second time they would kill me,” he says.
that moment on, as he tells it, he was a prisoner of Isis, and was forced to
retreat as they retreated, from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor. The Isis caliphate got
smaller and smaller, its fighters faced defeat after defeat. Eventually, a
string of villages along the Euphrates became the last holdout of the group.
SDF, with US backing, launched its offensive on this last stronghold in
December. The caliphate was surrounded, and battered by daily airstrikes, as
Isis made its last stand.
remember a few times, me and my family and my children we went to the market,
and there was bombing next to us, and I saw in front of my eyes women and
children, gone, arms gone, head gone,” he says. “You didn’t know what would
happen tomorrow. Every moment you expected to die.”
the past months, an exodus of people have fled the Isis-held areas. The group’s
usually tight control over who comes and goes has seemingly collapsed.
Thousands of women and children were among those fleeing, many of them believed
to be the relatives of Isis fighters.
says there was a sense of abandonment among Isis supporters and fighters when
the group’s leaders were suddenly nowhere to be found.
was asking this question. Where are they? Why don’t they show themselves? They
claim to be responsible for us, for the Muslims, why don’t they help us? The
majority of people in Isis areas, even the majority of Isis fighters, hate
them,” he says.
was eventually captured as he crossed the front lines east of the town of Susah
on 6 January. He was separated from his family and remains in detention to this
day. His wife and children are currently being held with thousands of other
families of suspected Isis members in a holding camp.
comes next for him, and the thousands of other foreign prisoners held by the
SDF, is unclear. The Syrian Democratic Forces is calling on foreign countries
to take back their citizens who came here to join Isis. So far, France is the
only European country to say it will bring them back. The US has also said it
will try citizens suspected of Isis membership at home. The UK, meanwhile, has
refused to allow its citizens to return. Defence secretary Gavin Williamson
said last year: “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from
this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.”
Germany has so far taken the same position.
hope Germany is going to take me back, but I don’t expect they will,” he says.
“I expect they will hand us over to the Syrian government.”
is likely he will face prosecution for belonging to Isis no matter where he
ends up, even if he was not directly involved in killing, as he claims. But
there will be many who don’t believe his story.
is simply not plausible to suggest that there was any doubt over Isis’s true
nature in 2014. Indeed, by the end of January in that year the group was
drawing heavy criticism from even other rebel groups for its barbarity,” says
Shiraz Maher, an expert on foreign fighters in the Syrian conflict, and
director at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and
Political Violence at King’s College London.
is true that individuals within Isis sometimes performed specialised roles,
serving as doctors, engineers and so on, but interviews I conducted suggest
that they did this in addition to holding combat roles. A prominent Australian
doctor, Tarek Kamaleh, was revealed to be doing just that in Isis propaganda,
alternating between his work as a doctor and serving on the front line,” he
will not be long before Isis loses the last of its territory, bringing an end
to the caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Already, many here are preparing for what
comes next. Isis has already begun to transform back into an insurgency, and
has demonstrated its ability to carry out attacks.
according to Glass, who once held the group in high esteem, it will never again
be able to muster the same support it did four years ago.
the beginning, when they announced their caliphate, thousands of Muslims came
to Syria to support it. But now we know the reality of Isis. They will not find
any supporters anymore in the Muslim world. All these things Isis did, and all
these crimes, made Muslims all over the world hate Isis. So it will never be
able to find any supporters anymore,” he says.
got cheated. All of us got cheated. All of these foreigners, thousands of
Muslims who came to join Isis got cheated.”
stars heading for Saudi Arabia in latest entertainment boost
In a further boost to the entertainment sector in the Kingdom, a wide range of
Egyptian productions, stars and events are coming to Saudi Arabia, including
plays, concerts and film screenings.
Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh signed a number of memorandums
of understanding with producers and promoters during a visit to Cairo on
Friday. It comes just days after the announcement of similar agreements signed
during a visit to London this week.
highlights include six performances across the Kingdom of Shakespeare’s “King
Lear,” starring Yehia Al-Fakharani and Farouk Al-Fishawi, as part of a theater
deal with Cairo 21.
Group will present six family-friendly plays featuring the actress Sherihan,
who recently came out of retirement and is returning to the stage after an
absence of 25 years. They will be staged during the Riyadh Festival in October
and November this year, and in Jeddah in June and July 2020.
actor Mohamed Henedi will appear in six performances of the play “3 days on the
Coast,” beginning in March. Actor and comedian Ashraf Abdul Baqi’s Work Shop
production company will stage a number of Egyptian plays, including four
performances of “Crime in Maadi,” directed by Baqi. Actor Mohammed Saad, star
of the 2002 hit comedy “El-Limby,” will also take to the stage in the Kingdom.
and director Rami Emam, of True Motion Media Production, signed a deal for an
appearance by his father, veteran actor Adel Emam, as a guest of honor at a
special event produced by the company. The United Group Company will organize
screenings of a number of films, featuring appearances by some of the stars,
and stage outdoor concerts. The Sabah Group will produce a number of movies
that will features Egyptian, Arab and Saudi actors and premiere in the Kingdom.
Amir Taima and Ayman Bahgat Qamar will write new stage plays to help to revive
Saudi Arabia’s theatrical heritage.
of Egyptian music can look forward to performances by Hani Shaker, Amr Diab and
Mohammad Hamaki. In addition, there will be stage shows featuring the music of
Egyptian legends Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez. Other
musical stars who will perform include Walid Mansour, Hakim Abdulsamad, Oka Wa
Ortega, Hamada Helal, Ahmed Sheba, Ahmed Adaweyah, Saad El-Sogyahar, Moustafa
Hagag, Mahmoud El-Leithy, Amr Diab and Abdel Basset Hamouda.
Muslim region takes shape as headwinds blow
-- As the Philippines begins the work of creating a new Muslim autonomous
government in the southern island of Mindanao in 2022, the peace process faces
an uphill battle in the face of opposition from hardliners calling for outright
final of two rounds of voting was completed Wednesday, giving a rough outline
of the region that will be included in the arrangement. In January, the current
five provincial members of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,
plus Cotabato City, voted to participate in the new arrangement. This resulted
in the so-called Bangsamoro Autonomous Region legally coming into existence.
was followed by Wednesday's vote in Lanao del Norte Province and portions of
Cotabato Province on the island on whether to take part in the autonomous
region. Final results for that vote were pending as of Friday evening.
current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has been deemed a failure because
of its undeveloped institutions and high levels of corruption. President
Rodrigo Duterte signed a law last year to create the new autonomous region in
hopes of making peace with separatist Muslim rebels who have fought the
national government for decades.
should be good, effective governance," Carlito Galvez, the presidential
adviser on the peace process, quoted Duterte as saying earlier this month.
"We must have sincere public servants with no record of corruption."
transitional government will run the region through 2022. Duterte will soon
name 80 members to the transition authority and, pending parliamentary
approval, a government of 15 ministers will be formed. Murad Ebrahim of the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest Muslim rebel group which
signed the peace process deal with Manila, is expected to lead it as chief minister.
the peace process appears to have passed a critical juncture, hard-line groups
pushing for outright independence on Mindanao and nearby islands remain opposed
to the arrangement. After the January referendum, two bombings in the Sulu provincial
capital of Jolo, located on an island near Mindanao, killed 23 people.
transitional government may also have its share of troubles. The Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao is to be dissolved at the end of June, with a portion
of its 6,000 or so staffers to be absorbed by the Bangsamoro arrangement. But a
long delay for the second referendum has left little in the way of a transition
period. With the region home to more than 4 million people, it puts the
transitional government with an almost complete lack of administrative know-how
on a course to turmoil, analysts say.
many past presidents have given up on a final peace agreement for the region,
Mindanao native Duterte has pushed it to where it is today. But there are many
more hurdles to cross before the process is finished.
Turkish presidential spokesman said Friday that 60 percent of conflicts
globally are occurring in Muslim nations.
percent of conflicts in the world today are happening in Muslim countries. This
must be a hard lesson for all of us," Ibrahim Kalin said, speaking at a
seminar held at the Statistical, Economic and Social Research Center for
Islamic Countries (SESRIC) in Ankara.
center is part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
said most of the Muslim countries are becoming a playground for political proxy
wars. "Why? Because we lack the unity we need."
presidential aide said there are plans and schemes to divide Muslim countries,
however, blaming others for Muslims' own problems is very easy to do.
really have to address our own issues," he added.
went on to say there is a lot that can be done under the OIC umbrella.
"Muslim countries need political leadership... they need unity more than
added that the Muslim world is not as poor as many people think.
said Muslims have "enormous" natural resources and the youngest
population in the world.
to Europe and the U.S., the Muslim world is much younger, he added.
we have tremendous human resources that we have to tap into," Kalin said.
"The problem is that we are not dealing with these resources in a smart
went on to say the current global order is not giving justice or fair
distribution of wealth.
said the gap between the rich and the poor was narrower in the past than it is
today and that raises the issue of justice.
is no peace without justice. There is no sustainable peace without justice and
fairness. Whether you talk about the Palestinian issue or you talk about
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar or poverty in Africa," Kalin added.
General of SESRIC Ambassador Musa Kulaklikaya, also speaking, hailed the
plenteous principles of peace and tolerance the Islamic religion came with.
is a religion of peace and tolerance, constantly taking the side of world peace
and global justice,” he said.
went on to note that the OIC has so far proven itself as one of the most
successful projects in the Islamic World, but, “this project has faced
difficulties in responding to the increasing security challenges of the 21st
the main aim of the seminar, he said, they target to address these difficulties
by reflecting on some recent SESRIC research studies focused “on achieving
peace and security in OIC countries".
talk on the topic of faith was organised at Arth. The topic of discussion was,
"Importance of inter-faith dialogue". The talk was between Iranian
born Australian Imam Twahidi and American Indian author Rajiv Malhotra. It was
moderated by Vishwa Alduri. Imam Twahidi is an Iranian born Australian Imam and
Rajiv Malhotra is an American Indian author, who has written acclaimed books
like The Battle for Sanskrit.
Twahidi enlightened the audience about Islam. He said that, "Quran is the
word of God and it can't be amended like the Bible where Christians don't
believe that every word is from God."
are of two kinds — Shia and Sunni. Humans should be free to read whatever they
feel like and speak and question for bringing around advancement in the society
on social and scientific fronts. Muslim women have a great role to play in
Islam. This has been enforced right from the wife of Prophet Muhammad Aisha.
Twahidi also said, "The West has nothing to give to India. In fact they
have a lot to learn form India".
cleared the assumptions made over the eating habits of Muslims.
holy book of the Muslims, Quran, does not direct Muslims on what to eat but, in
Islam, consumption of any intoxicant is generally forbidden.
also said," I have not eaten any non-vegetarian food in the past two
years. Muslims have a lot of options to eat from. Nigerian Muslims eat Snails.
Muslims can change their eating habits for the betterment of the society".
(Gujarat): Yoga guru Ramdev appears to have stirred a possible controversy by
claiming that Lord Ram was an ancestor of not only Hindus but also Muslims.
the sidelines of a yoga event here on Friday, Ramdev told media persons, “The
Ram Temple must be constructed. If not in Ayodhya will Ram Temple be built in
Mecca-medina or the Vatican city? It is an undisputed truth that Ayodhya is the
birthplace of Lord Ram and Ram is not only the ancestor of Hindus but also
Muslims. This is not a political issue and nor a vote bank.”
on February 2, he had said that there would be a risk of “law and order” across
the country if Hindus march towards Ayodhya for the construction of the Ram
respect the Constitution, either Parliament should find some way or the Supreme
Court should find some way out. If marching towards the Ayodhya is required
then Hindus can collectively march and build the Ram temple, but in that case
there will be a risk to law and order across the country,” said Ramdev.
Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case has been pending before the apex
court for the last eight years. For a long time, parties in the case and
various right-wing organisations have been seeking for an early or day-to-day
hearing in the matter.
Delhi: India has taken a strong note of 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz
Saeed’s recent rally in Lahore on the occasion of so-called ‘Kashmir Solidarity
Day’ and sent a note verbale to Pakistan in protest against the Jamaat-ud-Dawah
(JuD) chief’s gathering, sources said on Friday.
added that India registered a strong protest against the continued use of
Pakistani soil by extremist and terrorist elements to freely propagate and
promote violence against New Delhi.
further said that the Indian government once again called upon the Pakistani
government to fulfill its international obligations and abide by it bilateral
commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for
terrorism against India, in any manner.
February 5, Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist, had taken part in the rally in
Lahore as part of the so-called ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day.’
has, time and again, protested against Pakistan for harbouring Saeed, who is
widely believed to have plotted the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. New Delhi’s
stand on Saeed has been supported by the international community.
has strongly condemned JuD chief’s free movement in Pakistan and raised the
matter with Islamabad several times.
October last year, India lodged a strong protest against Pakistan Minister for
Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Noor-Ul-Haq Qadri for sharing dias
with UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed at a public programme, sources said.
that month itself, the JuD and FIF were no longer mentioned in the list of
banned outfits after an ordinance by the Pakistani government that prohibited
them under a UN resolution lapsed.
JuD, along with several other terror outfits such as al-Qaeda,
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation
(FiF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is a part of UN Security Council sanctions list.
A local court on Friday awarded life imprisonment to all the seven convicts,
accused of killing two people in Kawal village in an attack which is believed
to have triggered the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
sentence was pronounced by additional district judge Himanshu Bhatnagar.
seven convicts, all Muslims were Muzammil, Mujassim, Furkan, Nadeem, Jahangir,
Afzal and Iqbal – are accused of killing two youngsters named Gaurav and
on Wednesday, a local court in Muzaffarnagar had convicted the seven people in
connection to the incident.
the lifer was handed out to the accused, the court was packed and heavy
security deployment had been made by the local district administration.
said that Sachin and his maternal brother Gaurav were lynched in Malikpura
locality of Kawal on August 27, 2013, which triggered riots in western UP,
leading to an unprecedented communal tension between the Jats and Muslims in
the region. Sixty three people had lost their lives and more than 50,000 people
had migrated to safer places.
father Ravindra had filed a police complaint against the seven accused,
including Shahnawaz, who was also killed in the violence. The accused Mujassim,
Muzammil, Furkan, Jehangir, Nadeem, Iqbal and Afzal have been convicted on
charges of attacking to kill, threatening to murder and gathering against law
of the accused have termed the court’s decision as a “judgement of Allah” while
the families of Gaurav and Sachin have welcomed the judgement.
clashes that broke out in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh
between the Hindu and Muslim communities claimed 62 lives while injuring 93
others and rendering more than 50,000 homeless.
riots took place over a minor altercation between Hindu and Muslim youths at
Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar district.
- Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Liaqat Baloch has said that unity of the
Muslim world can free Muslims from the clutches of the colonial powers.
Ittehad-e-Ummah conferences in Lahore and Renala Khurd on Friday, he urged
Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Qatar to join hands and adopt a
common line of action for liberation of Kashmir, Palestine, Syria and Yemen.
said the situation in Afghanistan and Kashmir had reached a decisive stage due
to the struggle and sacrifices of people. He said the Muslim world, especially
Pakistan, should play a key role in this respect through wisdom, national unity
and without showing any weakness. He said the Pakistani nation and people of
the region had suffered heavily and now they should reap the fruit.
on Aleem Khan’s arrest, he said that both Jahangir Khan Tareen and Aleem Khan
had been spending lavishly for the PTI and their accountability morally weekend
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s position. He said the PTI was also heading towards
failure like the PPP and the PML-N.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that Islamabad
would present evidence in the case of detained Indian national Kulbhushan
Jadhav in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on February 19.
at a reception in Manchester, UK, Qureshi said his country’s legal team would
present its stance in the case. The FM added that Jadav had already confessed
that he was involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
year, the ICJ had decided to hold public hearings in the Jadhav case from
February 2019. The hearings are to take place from February 18 to February 21
at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the ICJ had announced.
according to Pakistan, was arrested on March 3, 2016 from Balochistan’s
Mashkhel area. New Delhi, however, said he was a retired Indian Navy officer
who was abducted from Iran.
secret Pakistan military court which had tried Jadhav on charges of espionage
and subversive activities in Pakistan had sentenced him to death in April 2017.
His appeals against his conviction had been rejected by the military appellate
India’s appeal, the ICJ had stopped Pakistan from carrying out the punishment.
The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has tracked over
10,000 Pakistanis who have registered themselves as Afghan refugees for
dollars, as the UN High Commission for Refugees had set $400 for each Afghan
refugee returning to their homeland under a voluntary repatriation scheme.
was disclosed by Nadra chairman Usman Yusuf Mobeen while giving a briefing on
blocked Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) at a meeting of the
Senate’s standing committee on interior, which was presided over by the
committee’s chairman Senator Rehman Malik.
Mobeen said the cases of fake identities were caught by the Nadra system when
they came to obtain CNICs, as their cards had been blocked. He explained that
CNICs were blocked in five different categories of suspicious cases.
briefing the Senate committee, the Nadra chairman said around one million Afghan
refugees had been repatriated to Afghanistan under the voluntary repatriation
scheme. Each refugee ready to return home was to be given an assistance package
of 400 dollars by the UN High Commission for Refugees. Even for their newborn,
the UN provided assistance that was increased during different times and stood
at the rate of $400 per individual at present.
issue of Nadra’s refusal to issue CNICs to Pakhtuns living in Balochistan had
been raised by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Yaqoob Khan Nasar in the
Senate on a point of public importance.
were 2.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan at one time,” Mr Mubeen
said, adding that 1.5 million unregistered Afghan refugees were also living in
the country. He said that many of those Afghan nationals got fake CNICs posing
themselves to be part of the family trees of Pakistani nationals in connivance
with some government officials. Even those Pakistanis were suspected cases
whose family trees were used to issue these fake CNICs, the chairman said.
However, he added, there were some Pakistani nationals who voluntarily allowed
them to become part of their family.
said the authority had found 156,000 suspected cases during a national
verification drive. He explained said that a parliamentary committee during the
last PML-N government had devised a mechanism to verify the documents of those
people whose identities as Pakistanis were doubtful. In the light of the
recommendations of that committee, the government issued a notification that
deputy commissioner of every district would head a verification committee to
decide such cases. He said the parliamentary committee had decided that every
applicant in question would have to produce at least one of the seven identity
documents before their respective district committee to prove their
Abdol Malek Rigi, former head of an Iran-based terrorist group and his family,
had succeeded to get Pakistani CNICs by intruding into the family trees, the
chairman of the Senate standing committee observed.
Malik said: “Nadra should have clarity between the Afghan refugees and
Pakistanis.” He said the seven documents’ requirement to give proof of
nationality should be reviewed to make the verification procedure easy but
effective. He said laws could be amended to ease the process of registration
for the people who were not literate.
the Senate committee through a unanimously adopted resolution decried and
rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s anti-Pakistan tweets.
resolution moved by Senator Malik said Mr Ghani’s statement was “factually
baseless and a gross interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”. The
committee called upon the government to register a serious protest with
Afghanistan and demand that President Ghani “withdraw his statement immediately
and tender an apology”.
Malik said Pakistan was facing serious security threats, as terrorist groups
were being sponsored and activated from across the border.
Senate committee chairman informed the meeting about the issue of lack of
security due to which hundreds of Pakistani pilgrims returning from Iran and
Iraq were stranded at Taftan, Pak-Iran border.
have been informed that around 1,200 pilgrims were stranded for the last two
weeks in Balochistan due to lack of security needed to escort their buses to
Quetta,” he said.
Malik said that IG FC Balochistan South Region Major General Saeed Ahmed Nagra
and an FIA director had assured him of their complete cooperation in ensuring
safe travel of the stranded pilgrims. He directed the federal and provincial
authorities to make immediate arrangements for rescue of pilgrims and submit a
detailed report on it.
noted that no structural monitoring or standing operating procedure was being
followed for the pilgrims’ travel and safety.
US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday that Pakistan
had released Taliban leader Mullah Baradar at his request to help expedite the
Afghan peace talks.
who returned this week from almost a month-long peace mission to South Asia and
the Middle East, said that he had discussed conditions for the withdrawal of US
forces from Afghanistan with the Taliban, but there had been no agreement on
this issue yet.
at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, America’s chief negotiator for
Afghanistan acknowledged that the US and the Taliban had reached a framework
agreement in Doha last month, but more talks were needed for reaching a
to a question about Pakistan’s role in facilitating the US-Taliban talks, he
said that Islamabad had played a constructive role and released Mullah Baradar
“at my request”.
said that he requested Baradar’s release because he believed the senior Taliban
leader could also play a constructive role in the Afghan peace initiative.
the role Islamabad was playing in promoting peace talks, Khalilzad said,
“Pakistan is an important country and we want better relations with Pakistan.”
also repeated his earlier warning that it would take more than one meeting to
end a 40-year-old war in Afghanistan.
US diplomat said that previous governments in Afghanistan, whether led by the
Taliban or others, had failed because they had tried to impose their views.
difference he witnessed in Doha was the realisation that this approach would
not work, he said, adding that all sides, including the Taliban, were now
willing to accommodate each other.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ruled out the possibility of any “deal”
with the opposition and directed leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf
(PTI) to search for legal ways to remove Shahbaz Sharif from the office of
chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
made these remarks at a meeting of senior leaders of the PTI at Prime Minister
are looking into some legal ways to send Shahbaz Sharif home,” Information
Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn after the meeting.
Sharif was appointed PAC chairman on Dec 22 last year with the consent of the
PTI, but now the party is suddenly demanding his resignation.
PTI leaders also asserted that the government would not make any National
Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)-like deal with any opposition leader.
minister quoted Prime Minister Khan as saying: “No deal will be made with the
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).”
prime minister did not disclose who wanted NRO from him and why he and other
PTI leaders said time and again that no deal was being made with the
Communication Minister Murad Saeed had said on the floor of the National
Assembly a few days ago that seven opposition leaders had approached him for
NRO. However, he too did not disclose the leaders’ names.
Chaudhry said the government believed that Shahbaz Sharif was using the PAC as
a shield against corruption cases he was facing and therefore his decisions as
PAC head were a source of concern for the PTI and its allied parties.
said the meeting was of the view that Shahbaz Sharif had been facing mega
corruption cases and being the PAC chief he was exerting pressure on the
National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “The way Shahbaz Sharif has summoned NAB
officials to committee meetings shows that he wants to be protected behind the
shield of the PAC,” he added.
PAC, the apex parliamentary watchdog that oversees the audit of revenue and
expenditure by the government, is considered to be the most powerful and
important committee of parliament.
the PAC comprised only National Assembly members, but in the recent past
members of the Senate have also been made part of it.
there is no restriction on the government in the rules to give the chairmanship
of the PAC to opposition parties, it has been a parliamentary practice and
tradition that the office is given to an opposition member to ensure
transparency in financial matters.
Pakistan, long at odds with the United States over the war in Afghanistan, has
begun to play a behind-the-scenes but central role in supporting US peace talks
with the Afghan Taliban, including by facilitating travel to negotiations, a
Reuters report quoted US officials and Taliban sources as saying.
Pakistani assistance, which has not been reported in such detail before, also
includes exerting pressure on Taliban leaders who fail to cooperate, including
by detaining members of the militants’ families, the insurgents say.
Pakistani role in the peace negotiations is a delicate one, with Islamabad
seeking to avoid demonstrating the kind of broad influence over the Taliban
that Washington has long accused it of having. Sources caution its help could
Taliban also do not want to appear beholden to Islamabad, which has long denied
US accusations that it provides safe haven and assistance to insurgents as a
way to preserve influence in neighboring Afghanistan throughout its more than
17-year-old war. President Donald Trump has repeatedly signaled his intention
to wind down America’s longest conflict, declaring this week in his State of
the Union address that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”
senior US official, who declined to be identified, said of Pakistan’s role in
the talks: “We know it just wouldn’t be possible without their support.”
facilitated some movement and travel to the discussions in Doha,” the official
administration has accelerated talks for a political settlement in Afghanistan.
US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held six days of talks – perhaps the most
productive to date – with the Taliban in Doha last month and is due to meet
Taliban representatives again on Feb. 25.
sources said Pakistan’s role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table
was instrumental. In one instance, Islamabad sent a message to the militants
through religious leaders that they had to talk to the United States or risk a
cut-off in ties.
detained Taliban members’ families as a way to pressure them, a Taliban leader
haven’t seen Pakistan so serious before,” the senior Taliban leader said.
Taliban leader, who declined to be named, said Pakistan had kept “unprecedented
pressure” on the militants and their close relatives over the past few months.
made it clear to us that we (Taliban) have to talk to the US and Afghan
government,” the Taliban leader said.
General Joseph Votel, who leads the US military’s Central Command, hinted at
some kind of Pakistani assistance in a Senate hearing this week, saying
Islamabad had “played a more helpful role.”
be sure, current and former US officials still are highly skeptical of
Islamabad and do not see any steps by Pakistan that could not be easily
appears for now to be sticking to a total freeze in US assistance to Islamabad
imposed over a year ago over its alleged support to the Taliban. Trump at the
time accused Islamabad of rewarding past US aid with “nothing but lies &
some self-interest obviously involved here … I would be wary of taking that and
extrapolating off that and saying they’re now on board with the peace process,”
said Jason Campbell, who was the Pentagon’s Afghanistan country director until
sources suggest that the driver behind their country’s support for the talks is
not US aid but growing concerns over the regional economic shockwaves that
could follow an abrupt US pullout from Afghanistan.
concerns have been strengthened by Trump’s surprise decision in December to
withdraw completely from Syria, despite objections from the Pentagon.
are only about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan at the moment, but their
presence ensures a continuous flow of US financial assistance to Afghanistan.
running short of foreign exchange reserves and in talks with the International
Monetary Fund over what would be its 13th bailout since the 1980s, says it
cannot afford to see Afghanistan slide into chaos just as Pakistan is trying to
attract foreign investors to shore up its own economy.
is our main worry in all of this,” said a senior official who is closely
involved in cross-border relations.
have enough economic issues of our own to deal with already.”
of the most notable public signs of Pakistan’s willingness to aid the
negotiations was the release of Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
the newly appointed chief negotiator, Baradar is expected to fly from Pakistan
to attend the next round of negotiations in Doha on Feb. 25.
Feldman, a former US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said
he believed Washington was still hesitant to become too hopeful about
Pakistan’s change in posture.
executes Muslim who requested imam support at death chamber
DC: A US Muslim man has been executed after the Supreme Court denied a request
to halt the sentence over his demand to be accompanied by an imam to the death
Ray, 42, was put to death in the southern state of Alabama for the 1995 rape
and murder of Tiffany Harville, 15.
to the nature of his crime, the decision of a jury to condemn him to death and
because our legal system has worked as designed, Mr Ray’s sentence was carried
out,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement.
execution occurred on Thursday after the country’s highest court denied a
request for a stay of execution.
carries out the death penalty by lethal injection.
Supreme Court’s ruling lifted a last-minute stay which Ray had won on Wednesday
from a federal appeals court.
on that lower-level court had argued that Alabama regularly placed a Christian
cleric in the death chamber of Christian inmates “but has refused to provide
the same benefit to a devout Muslim and all other non-Christians.”
in the conservative state appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, which has
a conservative majority under President Donald Trump.
First Amendment to the US Constitution forbids public authorities from
favouring one religion over another, or from preventing the free practice of
converted to Islam while in prison and demanded the right to be escorted to the
death chamber by an imam.
news site al.com reported that Ray’s last words were in Arabic, and his Muslim
spiritual advisor was sitting with his lawyers and journalists in a viewing
chuckled and nodded and otherwise tolerated Steve King’s racist antics for many
years, House Republicans finally got shamed into denouncing the old nativist
recently when he began identifying himself with global bigotry as a sort of
movement of conscience. But now their leader, Kevin McCarthy, is trying to turn
this around via a bold false equivalency claim, as the Washington Post reports:
top House Republican leader slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and
other Democrats on Friday for refusing to denounce what the GOP is characterizing
as the anti-Semitic views of some freshman Democratic lawmakers.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters that he viewed the
situation as being directly comparable, if no “more so,” to the firestorm over
the racially charged comments of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was quoted last
month questioning whether white supremacy was offensive.
attack is without question focused on the first two Muslim women to serve in
Congress, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Their
principal sin, it seems, has been to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and
Sanctions) movement aimed at pressuring Israel into fundamentally changing its
policies towards Palestinians and occupied territories. BDS, of course, is a red
flag to many supporters of Israel, particularly those who identify with the
current Israeli government’s drift toward abandoning any possible two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the idea that BDS equals
anti-Semitism – or even anti-Zionism — is ludicrous on its face. And so those
seeking to go after Ilhan and Tlaib have to toss in random questionable
comments and plenty of guilt-by-association:
2012, Omar sent a tweet saying that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” and
referred to “the evil doings of Israel.” Under pressure last month, Omar
disavowed “the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and
offensive” but stood by her criticism of Israeli policy.
came under fire last month after a Daily Caller report identified a campaign
supporter, Maher Abdel-Qader, as having posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
on Facebook — including to a group that included Tlaib. Another campaign ally,
Abbas Hamideh, also made comments critical of Israel in social media posts,
referring to “Zionist terrorists” and asserting that Israel “does not have a
right to exist.”
here’s my favorite attack on Tlaib:
month, Tlaib attacked the sponsors of a Senate bill that would undermine the
BDS movement by tweeting, “They forgot what country they represent.” That
prompted criticism from Republicans and a few Democrats, who saw in that
comment a frequent anti-Semitic insinuation.
“dual loyalty” is a common insinuation aimed at Jews who go out of their way to
advocate for Israel, though calling it “anti-Semitic” is a stretch
(Irish-Americans, for example, have been legitimately criticized over many
decades for letting their antipathy towards England dictate their worldview).
But since Tlaib was talking not about Jews, but mostly about gentile United
States senators (100 percent gentile United States senators, in the case of the
Republicans taking umbrage at her comments), this criticism seems displaced. I
consider myself a Zionist, but levied the same criticism at Mitt Romney and
other Republicans in 2012 when they went after Barack Obama for failing to
simply outsource his Middle East policies to their friend Bibi Netanyahu.
Anyone in Congress who favors unconditional support for the policies of any
foreign nation has indeed forgotten “what country they represent.”
the height of the brutality of ISIS and Islamic radicalism, Sohrab Ahmari
announced he was converting to Catholicism, a shocking admission for someone
who grew up in an Islamic household in Iran.
33, now an op-ed editor for the New York Post and a contributing editor for the
Catholic Herald, shared his unlikely faith journey from atheism under the
Islamic Republic and Marxism in his teens on "The Story with Martha
MacCallum" Wednesday night. While living in a nominally Muslim home in
Iran, Ahmari said he was pushed away by the hypocrisy and the double-life his
family had to live – acting one way in public but another behind closed doors.
hypocrisy and that sort of sense of living a dual-life I found very repulsive,
so when I was 12 or 13, I just decided that if this is God, I want nothing with
it and he must be something for simple people," Ahmari said.
a teenage atheist, Ahmari moved from Tehran to Utah. He said at first, he joked
that he moved from one theocracy to another, which he now admits is an
"unfair comparison" because in Iran enforcement was through flogging
but in America, it was democratically elected.
pendulum swung from one extreme to another for Ahmari. He was initially drawn
to socialism and Marxism.
discovered Marxism as a way to answer all of life's questions because Marxism
is this totalistic understanding of the world," Ahmari said. "Like
every element from art and culture to economics, it has an answer to
everything. It's a very horrible answer in some ways. It has no sense of human
nature, of the soul. It denies all of that. It says everything is material. At
the same time, Marxism has a religious dimension, so even as I was professing
Marxism, in some ways, I was still looking for God."
it was at the age of 23, after a series of bad choices one weekend, Ahmari
stumbled into a mass in the heart of New York City, and that's where it all
changed -- yet again.
had this astonishing experience that there was a mystery that is underway, in
the process of the holy mass, is the presence of God in a very powerful
way," he said.
for some time, Ahmari went back to living one way internally and another on the
was even while I would say outwardly I'm an atheist," he admitted.
"I'm too smart to be a believer. I'm not one of these people, but
internally the level of my imagination, my emotions, I thought this is true,
and whatever redemptive thing is happening here, I want it. But it took still a
long time to finally ascent to faith."
in 2016, after ISIS took credit for slaughtering a priest at the altar of a
Roman Catholic Church in Normandy, Ahmari had had enough.
act, when that happened, I was so outraged by it, that I thought I have to say
something, and so like most millennials, I took to my Twitter account and I
said, 'this is atrocious and, oh, by the way, I'm studying to become a Roman
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for tougher international restrictions on
Iran following its latest missile launch.
must restore tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile
program,” Pompeo said via Twitter.
appears to have attempted a satellite launch as part of its space program,
according to satellite images released on Thursday.
continue to call upon the Iranian regime to cease immediately all activities that
are inconsistent with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231,
including space vehicle launches,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino
said on Thursday.
EU had said it was gravely concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile tests and called
on it to stop such activity.
this month, Iran’s deputy chief had warned Europe not to force Iran to boost
its range of missiles.
the Europeans, or anyone else, want to conspire to disarm Iran of missiles, we
will be forced to make a strategic leap,” the guards’ deputy commander
Brigadier-General Hossein Salami said on Iranian state TV.
29-year-old who shot dead six worshipers at a Quebec City mosque in the worst
anti-Muslim attack in the West got life in prison on Friday.
Bissonnette will have to wait 40 years -- longer than usual -- before he can
apply for parole.
Francois Huot rejected a prosecution request for a 150-year sentence, which
would have been the longest ever in Canada, saying this would be a cruel and
unusual punishment under Canadian law.
he also noted the killer’s “visceral hatred of Muslim immigrants” in his
Cheddadi, who was wounded in the attack, said the sentence was appropriate in
that he found it unlikely that Bissonnette would ever be released.
killer’s “highly premeditated” attack on the mosque will go down in Canadian
history “written in blood” as one of this country’s worst tragedies, Huot said
actions sought to “undermine our fundamental societal values,” he added.
university student at the time of the shooting, Bissonnette was seduced by
nationalist and supremacist ideologies into committing this “unjustified and
deadly” massacre, Huot said.
the 240-page verdict was read over a six-hour period, Bissonnette sat quietly
in the packed courtroom, gazing at his feet while his parents and several
friends and family of the victims wiped tears from their eyes.
the evening of January 29, 2017, Bissonnette burst into the Quebec City mosque
and unleashed a hail of bullets on the 40 men and four children who were
chatting amongst themselves after evening prayers.
men were killed and five were seriously injured, one of whom is now
victims were all dual nationals who emigrated to Canada over recent decades:
two Algerians, two Guineans, a Moroccan and a Tunisian.
says despite having received an invitation, it will not take part in a
US-sponsored conference on the Middle East slated to be hosted by Poland next
statements that we have been invited, we can say that only today there was some
contact from the Polish side," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
said in a Friday tweet.
position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and
reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine,”
said Erekat, who is also the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation
a separate tweet, Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official,
also rejected the invitation, saying only the PLO could speak on behalf of the
comments came a day after a US official said the Palestinians had been invited
to the Warsaw conference, which he described as "a discussion" rather
than "a negotiation."
on Thursday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry branded the joint US-Polish
conference as “an American conspiracy intended to get the participants to adopt
the US views on issues of the region, particularly the Palestine issue.”
international gathering will take place in the Polish capital from February 13
to 14, the US State Department announced last month, with Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo claiming at the time the gathering would focus on “stability and
peace, freedom and security” in the Middle East.
Palestinian Foreign Ministry’s statement further stressed that the Palestinians
would ignore all conclusions of the conference, criticizing US President Donald
Trump for hailing the relocation of his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem al-Quds in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
in Mideast for Trump’s ‘peace’ plan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo as well as Trump’s senior advisers
Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are among those expected to attend the
late February, Kushner and Greenblatt are scheduled to travel to at least five
Arab countries to “brief diplomats on the economic portion” of the US’
so-called peace proposal for the Middle East and seek their support, officials
said on Thursday.
two advisers plan stops in Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Qatar on their week-long trip, two senior White House officials
said. They may reportedly add two other countries to their itinerary.
between the US and the Palestinian Authority took an unprecedented dip in late
2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of the
since, Palestinian President Mohammed Abbas has refused to talk about any peace
plan with the United States in the wake of Trump's embassy move, but White
House officials hope that will change.
hope Abbas reads the plan, judges it on its merits, and comes to the table for
negotiations after we release the plan," one official was quoted as saying
top Palestinian official said Wednesday the Palestinian Authority will keep an
open mind about Trump’s so-called peace plan if it meets all its demands, even
if the US president doesn’t explicitly revoke his recognition of Jerusalem
al-Quds as Israel’s capital.
the US plan backs a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 boundaries, with its
capital in East Jerusalem al-Quds, “we are ready to sit at the table and
negotiate immediately,” Information Minister and presidential spokesman Nabil
Abu Rudeineh told foreign journalists in Ramallah, Bloomberg reported.
by Abbas’ refusal to engage, Trump cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid
to the Palestinians and called for sweeping changes at the United Nations
agency that cares for Palestinian refugees.
officials are considering the controversial military prison at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba to house captured suspected Daesh fighters as Washington prepares to
withdraw from Syria, according to a report.
partners who have roughly 1,000 Daesh suspects in custody have warned they may
not be able to continue to hold the detainees following the withdrawal.
State Department told The Associated Press they could be transferred to
Guantanamo "where lawful and appropriate.”
Administration’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism makes very clear that
Law of Armed Conflict detention, including at Guantanamo, remains an important
and effective counterterrorism tool,” the department told the AP on Thursday.
President Donald Trump has taken a much different approach to the detention
facility than his predecessor, Barack Obama, who worked to shutter the prison.
was unable to do so amid fierce congressional pushback and security concerns,
but was able to facilitate the transfer to third party countries of hundreds of
detainees who were cleared by an interagency review. In all, 41 prisoners were
at the site when Obama left office.
U.S. has drawn criticism for its use of the prison where inmates are held
without charge, and where a well-documented history of torture has been
chronicled, most notably by a Senate report whose executive summary was published
in redacted form in 2014.
Trump has repeatedly spoken positively of the facility, signing an executive
order shortly after assuming office in 2017 to keep Guantanamo open after
pledging on the campaign trail to "load it up with some bad dudes."
the Trump administration send Daesh detainees to Guantanamo it would mark the
first time the site has received new prisoners in more than a decade.
U.S. has repeatedly called on foreign governments to repatriate citizens
suspected of fighting on behalf of Daesh, and has done so itself, returning a
Texas man accused of fighting for Daesh to the state to stand trial.
Clark, 34, like many of those who were apprehended, insists he never took up
arms on behalf of the terror group.
plans to blacklist Saudi Arabia for failure in fighting money laundering: FT
European Commission is planning to name Saudi Arabia in a list of countries
that have failed to fight against terrorist financing and money laundering, a
is in the final stages of adopting the list, which will include 23 countries
and jurisdictions who failed to combat “dirty money,” the Financial Times cited
European Union officials as saying Friday.
list, which is the first of its kind from Brussels, accuses the kingdom of
“strategic deficiencies” in its efforts to fight illicit cash flows.
the EU law, Europe’s banks will have to carry out “enhanced” checks on funds
coming from these countries.
would be required to act on suspicions by steering clear of dubious
transactions and passing any concerns onto the authorities.
commission is taking the measure against Riyadh despite resistance from
Germany, France and the United Kingdom, the Financial Times reported.
could increase tensions between the kingdom and the EU, which has already
called on its member states to halt arms sales to Riyadh over the murder of
dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in
EU also passed a resolution late last year, calling for an urgent halt to arms
sales to Saudi Arabia over its ferocious war on Yemen.
Saudis have already been blacklisted by the EU for "strategic deficiencies
in their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism
regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union.”
list includes 16 countries based on criteria used by the Paris-based the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned about the current situation in
the militant-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria, describing it as “very
situation in the Syrian province [of Idlib] is very dangerous, and the Nusra
Front terrorist group – which is not part of a de-escalation zone – is
controlling a majority of the province’s regions,” Zarif said in an exclusive
interview with RT Arabic Thursday.
said the situation of Idlib is to be discussed during the upcoming meeting
between the leaders and foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, and Turkey in the
Black Sea resort city of Sochi on February 14.
tripartite summit, whose main purpose is to provide further coordination among
the three countries, will be held before the 12th round of Astana talks in the
Kazakh capital, Astana.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday demanded Turkey do
more to tackle militants in Idlib and fulfill promises it made as part of a
deal with Moscow last year.
and Russia brokered a deal in September to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib
that would be evacuated of all heavy weapons and militants.
at a news conference in Moscow, Zakharova said the situation there was rapidly
deteriorating and that militant fighters were trying to seize control of the
entire de-escalation zone.
the extremely difficult situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, we expect
our Turkish partners to activate their efforts to ultimately turn the tide and
to fully carry out the obligations they took upon themselves,” she said.
militants “continue stockpiling toxic chemicals along the entire line of
contact with the Syrian armed forces. We noted media reports that militants of
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham recently delivered several tanks with chlorine from Jisr ash-Shugur
to Khan Shaykhun in the south of Idlib Province,” she said.
is reported that in transporting toxic chemicals the terrorists again relied on
the help of the notorious White Helmets, whose activists kindly provided their
ambulances this time,” she added.
Russia on 'perfect' terms
his press conference, Zakharova referred to Moscow’s relations with Tehran, and
said “Russia has perfect relations with Iran, and the Iranians well know it.”
made the comments in reaction to a January report by CNN which quoted Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as saying that Iran was not an ally of
Russia, and Moscow’s priority was the security of Israel. Zakharova said CNN
had distorted Ryabkov’s remarks in that interview.
his Thursday interview, the Iranian foreign minister also declared that Iran
and Russia have no disagreement over the political trend in Syria, and will
continue their cooperation within the framework of Astana Process to bring back
peace to the Arab country.
last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Astana peace
talks would be attended by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, as well as observers from
Jordan and the United Nations.
January 2017, Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara 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. The talks are collectively
referred to as the Astana peace process.
is not planning to move its diplomatic mission in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds
despite US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as the new Israeli
Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov told the TASS news agency on Thursday
that Moscow would not breach international law and United Nations resolutions
on Jerusalem al-Quds.
issue of transferring the Russian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is outside
the agenda. Russia is committed to the international legal framework concerning
Jerusalem, including corresponding United Nations Security Council
resolutions," Viktorov said.
December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of
Israel, only the US and the South American country of Guatemala have relocated
their embassies to the holy city.
became the third to move its embassy only to move it back to Tel Aviv after
countries like Austria, Brazil and the Czech Republic have expressed interest
in moving their embassies but have yet to take action.
announcement has sparked grassroots Palestinian resistance and triggered
numerous protests in Arab countries. Palestinians view the city as the future
capital of Palestine after its statehood.
to visit Israel next year'
also said that Moscow was considering possible plans by Russian President
Vladimir Putin to travel to Israel in 2020 after receiving an invitation from
Tel Aviv in late 2018.
Israeli partners hope that President Vladimir Putin's work schedule will allow
him to take part in the commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of
the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army scheduled for 2020," the
corresponding invitation handed over by Israel at the end of last year is being
considered by the Russian presidential administration with due attention,"
the envoy added.
between Moscow and Tel Aviv have taken a turn for the worse as a result of
Israel’s aggressive policies against Syria, where the Russian military forces
have been fighting a foreign-backed militancy upon a request from Damascus.
October last year, Moscow equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300
surface-to-air missiles, days after Israeli fighter jets attacking Syrian
targets used a Russian surveillance plane flying nearby as a shield and misled
the Syrian air defenses to shoot it down.
The Afghan government has made a formal complaint to the UN for allowing banned
Taliban members to travel to Russia for peace talks.
on Friday said that 10 Taliban delegates this week attended a two-day meeting
with influential Afghan politicians at a luxury Moscow hotel, to explore ways
of ending the war in Afghanistan.
two sides agreed on a total pullout of US-led troops from Afghanistan, a key
condition set by the Taliban prior to enforcing a truce.
trip was the second one to be made by the Taliban representatives to Russia
since November. The delegates have also held a series of meetings with US
diplomats in Qatar and the UAE in recent months.
President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which was excluded from previous talks
between Taliban and US officials on the insistence of the Taliban, did not participate
in the Moscow meeting either and openly protested, branding it a useless
from Ghani’s administration confirmed to Arab News that a complaint had been
filed with the UN about the latest Moscow talks, but failed to explain why Kabul
had not objected to previous trips undertaken by Taliban delegates to Russia
and the Gulf.
said that the outcome of the Moscow meeting had no executive authority, but
some analysts and legal experts believe the gathering represented another
political blow to Ghani.
fragile government is facing an internal crisis with some of his former
officials demanding the formation of an interim government with the Taliban’s
latest Moscow meeting was the first major one to see the participation of
members from several past regimes who said that Ghani’s insistence on holding a
presidential poll was because it represented his only chance of remaining in
power through re-election in July.
Satar Saadat, who until recently was an adviser to the Afghan president, said
Ghani felt threatened by the Moscow gathering and that was the reason behind
Kabul’s complaint to the UN.
president thinks that the Afghan dialogue in Moscow is the start of a national
effort for ending his power. Since he feels threatened by the progress of the
conference, he tries to create a blockade for it,” he told Arab News.
delegates who took part in the Moscow talks and pushed for the formation of an
inclusive Afghan government, plan to convene again next month in Doha following
a scheduled meeting between Taliban and US officials, the latter to be led by
Washington’s special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
Taliban and Khalilzad have discussed the withdrawal of US troops from
Afghanistan during past rounds of talks but have not yet announced an official
timetable for the pullout. However, unconfirmed reports say that half of the
14,000 US soldiers stationed there are set to leave the country in the coming
pending military departure, a long-standing demand of US President Donald
Trump, has created concerns among some Afghans about the lack of a plan to
ensure long-term peace in Afghanistan after decades of foreign interventions.
European Union reiterated calls for a detailed and reliable investigation into
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.
EU stance into Khashoggi case has not changed, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson
for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in response to an Anadolu
continue to call for a thorough and credible investigation in line with
everything that we have said on Khashoggi case over the past months," she
special rapporteur Agnes Callamard recently visited Turkey to investigate
Khashoggi’s murder and issued a written statement Thursday.
collected during my mission to Turkey shows prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi
was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by
officials of the State of Saudi Arabia,” Callamard said in the statement.
efforts to apply prompt; effective and thorough; independent and impartial; and
transparent investigations -- in line with international law -- had been
seriously curtailed and undermined by Saudi Arabia," she added.
a contributor to The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in
Istanbul on Oct. 2.
producing various contradictory explanations, Riyadh acknowledged he was killed
inside the consulate building, blaming the act on a botched rendition
of the most important Ottoman mosques in Bosnia Herzegovina will be re-opened
on May 4.
in the city of Foca in the east, the Alaca Mosque was completely destroyed by
Serb forces when the city was ravished during the Bosnian War in the mid 1990s.
as the Pearl of Bosnia, or the beauty of Foca, Alaca Mosque has been under
intense reconstruction since 2014 by Turkey's Directorate General of
Mosque will be opened on the eve of Bosnia's Day of Mosques, according to a
statement from the Islamic Union of Bosnia Herzegovina.
small Balkan country, which survived massive shelling during the war, as well
as massacres and the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, marks May 7 as its Day of
date in a symbolical way reminds us more than a thousand mosques, prayer rooms
and other charitable works, which were destroyed in the war. This year, we marking
the the will have special meaning by reopening the Alaca Mosque," said the
in 1549 in Foca, the Alaca Mosque was among the protected cultural heritages of
Bosnia Herzegovina. It is one of the first mosques built in the country with
classical Ottoman architecture. It was demolished by Serb forces in 1992 by
stones of the mosque were found at two different locations hundreds of meters
away from its present site. The remains of the mosque were deliberately buried.
there were 12 mosques in Foca before the war, all were destroyed.
to Bosnia's Islamic Union, 614 mosques, 218 prayer rooms, 69 Quran course
sites, four dervish lodges, 37 tombs, and 405 pieces of historical heritage
that belong to Muslim foundations were destroyed during the war.
534 mosques in territories controlled by Serb forces were destroyed, while 80
mosques were destroyed in territories under Croat forces.
study: Millennial extremist fighters educated, not outcasts
A study by a Saudi research center is challenging the notion that extremist
fighters are necessarily disenfranchised and lacking opportunity, with its lead
researcher saying that a new generation of Saudi militants are relatively
well-educated, not driven purely by religious ideology and show little
interested in suicide missions.
40-page study, published by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic
Studies in conjunction with the International Center for the Study of
Radicalisation at King’s College in London, looked at 759 Saudi recruits who
joined the Daesh group mostly between 2013 and 2014. That’s roughly a third of
the overall number of Saudis who fought in Syria. The data was drawn from
leaked Daesh group entry documents.
Saudi Interior Ministry previously said that 2,500 Saudis had gone to Syria in
the years before the kingdom criminalized fighting abroad in early 2014. Only
Tunisia sent more foreign fighters. Subsequently, the kingdom was the target of
numerous Daesh group attacks that killed dozens of people, as well as in
Abdullah bin Khaled Al-Saud said the fighters were neither loners nor social
outcasts but appear to have been motivated by the heightened sectarianism that
began to color the 2011 Syrian revolution as it slid into armed conflict.
turning point came when the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah group decisively
committed to join the conflict in May 2013 to defend the Syrian government
against the mostly Sunni Muslim resistance.
actually was the point when the first wave of Saudis travelling to Syria
started to happen,” Al-Saud told The Associated Press. “So, I think
instability, war and violence certainly plays a major role when it comes to the
specific Saudi context.”
contrast, issues of disenfranchisement, poverty and criminal pasts factored
heavily in Daesh fighters hailing from European countries like France, Belgium
and the UK, to name a few.
AP analysis of some 3,000 leaked Daesh documents had found that most of the
recruits hailing from a range of nationalities, or around 70 percent, came with
only the most basic knowledge of Islam — the lowest possible choice on the
forms. This created fertile ground for the indoctrination of recruits in line
with the group’s extremist interpretation of Islam.
Saudi study released this week, however, found that among Saudi recruits a
little more than half said they had basic knowledge of Islam. Much of the rest
claimed to have intermediate and advanced religious knowledge.
was somewhat expected given that all Saudi students are given religious
education in schools, according to the study.
the Saudi contingent’s religious fluency should not be exaggerated: 58 percent
of Saudi (fighters) acknowledged that they had only basic knowledge of the
religion of Islam, and only eight percent claimed to be ‘knowledge seekers,’”
the report stated.
fighters from Europe, where many were high school dropouts or unemployed, the
Saudi recruits were relatively well educated. Close to 340 had a high
school-level education, around 60 had a diploma of some kind, close to 120 had
university degrees and five held postgraduate degrees.
data demonstrates that the Saudi contingent does not consist of educational
underachievers, which can lead to the argument that they were not lacking in
socio-economic opportunities,” the study said.
report notes, though, that “education does not necessarily equate with job
opportunities, and a sense of relative deprivation may still be relevant” with
15 percent of the Saudi contingent in this study stating they were unemployed.
noteworthy, of those who held jobs, 50 had been in the Saudi military or police
and 36 were either members of the religious police, imams at mosques or
considered themselves to be religious preachers.
of the Saudi recruits in this sampling were 20-24 years old, and 22 percent
were 25-29 years old. Just 13 percent were over age 30, and 15 percent were
under 19 years old, with the youngest just 9 years old.
overwhelming majority, at 73 percent, were single. Just 18 percent were listed
as married, with the rest unknown.
the overwhelming majority of these recruits, or 625, volunteered to be
fighters. Just nine percent, or 71, signed up to be suicide bombers.
said this suggests the recruits wanted to contribute to this “exciting project
of a Caliphate” that had promised a life more rewarding than death.
in previous decades of Saudi extremist recruitment, this latest wave saw the
highest ratio of Saudi fighters per the region’s population from the
landlocked, ultraconservative province of Qassim, north of Riyadh.
in raw numbers, the largest numbers of Saudi recruits — more than a third —
came from Riyadh, where 262 fighters of the total 759 originated. The next were
Qassim and Mecca province, at 134 fighters each.
Chairman of the Hajj Committee of Tajikistan Abdul Ghafoor Yusuf has hailed the
efforts of Saudi Arabia in the service of pilgrims.
issued his statement during the visit by a delegation from the Ministry of
Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance of Saudi Arabia to Tajikistan.
two sides held a meeting in Dushanbe to discuss bilateral cooperation in
different Islamic fields, and especially the promotion of moderation and
rejection of extremism and terrorism.
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Friday that
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the killing of journalist Jamal
know that this was not an authorized operation. There was no order given to
conduct this operation,” Al-Jubeir told members of the US media in Washington.
said he could not comment on a New York Times story on Thursday in which
anonymous sources alleged the crown prince made a threat against Khashoggi in
Arabia late last year indicted 11 people for the killing at the Kingdom’s
consulate in Istanbul in October. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty
against five of them.
minister said it was “preposterous” for other countries to think that they can
dictate what the Saudi leadership should do in handling the case.
said the Saudi judiciary is committed to holding those involved in the killing
of Khashoggi to account.
said he hoped the US Congress would take a step back and await the results of
the investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
Trump administration has said there is no direct evidence of the crown
prince’s involvement, and has stressed
the vital importance of relations between Washington and Riyadh.
met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington late on Thursday.
During the meeting, they discussed the strategic partnership between the two
countries as well as the latest regional developments.
Al-Jubeir affirmed the Kingdom’s ongoing commitment to the objectives of the
Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh in working together to combat terrorism and
country’s government will continue its fight against terrorism and its
sponsoring countries, and pledges to support all international and regional
efforts to eliminate terrorist organizations and the activities of
destabilizing states in the region.”
ISIL terrorists have resumed their activities in the US-held regions in
Northern Salahuddin, Al-Anbar, Diyala and Western Kirkuk," the
Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website quoted Iraqi lawmaker Mohammad Karim
as saying on Thursday.
noted that there is coordination between the US troops and the ISIL terrorists
in Northern Iraq, and said, "The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel
al-Mahdi has not taken a firm stance against the US' meddling and deployment of
the US troops in the different Iraqi provinces and cities."
reiterated that many political alliances have voiced their concern over the US'
interference and its blatant presence in some Iraqi cities as well as meetings
between the US officials and some tribesmen and businessmen in Western and
relevant remarks last month, a senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi in al-Anbar
province warned that the US forces are attempting to provoke the Iraqi popular
forces into starting war against them.
Americans are stirring tensions by spreading rumors of detention of Hashd
al-Shaabi forces, bombing their positions or dissolving the group," Qassem
Moslih was quoted as saying by the Kurdish-language Basnews.
SDF Blocks Civilians' Move Towards Army-Controlled Regions
SDF's move came after thousands of Syrian citizens fled the US-controlled areas
for the regions under the control of the US-backed forces, media activists
said that the SDF forces have fully closed the passageways of al-Salehieh in
Eastern Deir Ezzur and al-Tabaqa in Western Raqqa to the civilians.
media activists reiterated that the SDF's move came after a large number of
civilians and the defected members of SDF started moving towards areas
controlled by the Syrian Army.
said that over 2,000 civilians have been transferred to army-controlled regions
from Eastern Syria while hundreds of defected SDF members have also asked for
a relevant development in later January, hundreds of people were arrested by
the Syrian Democratic Forces in the recent uprisings against the US-backed SDF
in Raqqa's areas under the control of the Kurds.
Syrian Democratic Forces have detained more than 1,300 Syrian citizens, most of
them children, youth and women, in areas stretching between Abu Qabi and
al-Tabaqa, South of Euphrates River, the Arabic-language service of Russian
Sputnik news agency quoted media activists as saying.
noted that a number of Arab members of SDF left the group after the US-backed
militia arrested a number of Arab tribesmen in Raqqa.
media activists in Raqqa were quoted as saying that the residents of Raqqa
hoisted Syria's national flag and printed graffiti against the US occupying
troops and the SDF in several regions, including the town of Kadiran to West of
Raqqa, calling for the Syrian Army rule over the region.
SDF fighters have reportedly severely tortured a renowned tribal leader of
Al-Tarn Tribe in the Western part of Raqqa after he in a statement called for
the presence of the Syrian Army in the areas under the control of the US and
a relevant development also in January, the SDF dispatched a well-equipped
military convoy to Raqqa to confront the heightened tensions between the SDF
and civilians in the region.
Arabic-language service of Sputnik news agency reported that the convoy,
consisting of the US-made Hummer vehicles and other military equipment supplied
by Washington, was sent to the Western parts of Raqqa city to suppress the
tribal people's uprising.
added that thousands of SDF forces have also been stationed in regions near the
towns of Hunaideh and al-Mansoureh, noting that the US forces deployed in
Western Raqqa have withdrawn from the two towns towards Eastern Euphrates for
their fear of popular uprising.
reports also said that the SDF militants have in the past three days attacked
over 600 houses in the two towns, and detained at least 70 people, adding that
the civilians threw stones at the Kurdish vehicles to stop the arrests.
Kuwaiti business delegation has reportedly paid a visit to the Israeli-occupied
territories, amid moves by several monarchical regimes in the Persian Gulf
region to better their relations with Tel Aviv following years of clandestine
Arabic-language Safa news agency, citing a report published by Israel’s Kan
public broadcaster, reported on Friday that the Kuwaiti businessmen arrived in
Tel Aviv last week, and spent several days in the occupied lands.
report added that the merchants had been granted visa issued by the office of
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kuwaiti nationals visited the Baha’i House of Worship and Mahmood Mosque in
Haifa, the University of Haifa, the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the Holocaust
Museum in Jerusalem al-Quds.
this week, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has re-launched a virtual embassy in a
bid to promote dialogue with Persian Gulf Arab nations.
are pleased to announce the re-launch of 'Israel in the [Persian] Gulf' page
which aims to promote dialogue between Israel and the [Persian] Gulf nations.
hope this virtual embassy will contribute to deepen understanding between the
peoples of the [Persian] Gulf and the people of Israel in various fields,” the
ministry said in a post published on Twitter.
“Israel in the [Persian] Gulf” Twitter page was first launched in mid-2013 but
stopped operation after just one year.
in late November visited Oman, where he met Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al
Said at the Bait al-Barakah Royal Palace in the coastal city of Seeb near the
English-language daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that the two men
had discussed ways to advance the so-called Middle East peace process as well
as mattes of mutual interest with regard to the region’s stability.
was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy
agency and his national security adviser.
unpublicized visit to Oman came on the same day that Israeli Culture and Sports
Minister Miri Regev traveled to the United Arab Emirates to accompany Israel’s
judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
arrived in Abu Dhabi on October 26 last year, and she participated in the
opening ceremony of the international event at the Emirati capital’s Zayed
Sports City, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a
Persian Gulf littoral state.
Aviv and Abu Dhabi have no diplomatic ties and the UAE does not recognize
Israel, but the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent
years. There have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and
Israeli officials, too.
main Muslim clerical body, the Ulema Council, has thrown its support behind an
online campaign calling for shoe and clothing giant Nike to withdraw a training
shoe, which many Muslims say is insulting to Islam.
39,000 people, including many Indonesians, have signed an online petition begun
in January demanding the company recall its Air Max 270 training shoe because
it sports a logo on the soles that looks like the Arabic word for “Allah” or
urge all Muslims and everyone who respects the freedom of religion or belief to
sign this petition,” said Saiqa Noreen, who initiated the petition on
urge Nike to recall this blasphemous and offensive shoe and all products with
the design logo resembling the word Allah from worldwide sales immediately,”
she said on the website.
Abbas, general secretary of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) told ucanews.com on Feb. 7 that the logo on
the shoe did indeed resemble the word for Allah.
should not insult and humiliate something which is considered noble by other
people,” Abbas said.
hope Nike recalls its product so that it will not create more problems,” he
also urged Indonesian Muslims to remain calm and not over react.
ransack [Nike stores],” he said.
said in a statement that the logo was “unintentional” and not aimed at hurting
respects all religions and we consider this very seriously," the statement
vendors in Jakarta told ucanews.com that they have not received the
controversial shoes that were scheduled to hit Indonesian stores later this
Yulianty, 46, a Catholic and owner of a shoe store in East Jakarta, said she
would not sell them in her store.
respect Muslims and believe all religious symbols should be respected.”
is not the first time that Nike has angered Muslims.
company was accused of insulting Islam in 1997 and was forced to recall about
38,000 pairs of shoes from all over the world because of the similar logo
week it was also reported that British retail giant Marks and Spencer were the
subject of a boycott call following claims it was selling toilet paper featuring
the Arabic word for God.
Ulama (NU) — the largest Islamic group in the country which is now leading the
war against religious extremism — was once considered a “radical” organization
for its nonconformist attitude toward colonialism.
state-commissioned history book for fifth-grade students describes the Islamic
organization as such, but its current members are apparently irked by the
“radical” reference in a textbook — even when it is used to explain the rise of
Indonesian nationalism in the first decades of the 20th century.
the chapter “The Early Radical Era”, the book Peristiwa Dalam Kehidupan (Events
in Life) classifies NU as a “radical” group along with other revolutionary
organizations such as the Indonesian Union (PI), the Indonesian Nationalist
Party and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
said the word was too loaded to be used now.
group, established in 1926, has filed a complaint with the Education and
Culture Ministry, demanding that the book be revised.
Nahdlatul Ulama executive body deeply deplored the use of the phrase ‘radical
organization’ by the Education and Culture Ministry in the book. This phrase
may give the wrong impression to students about NU,” NU secretary general Helmy
Faisal Zaini said as quoted by Antara.
said the group was aware that the word “radical” was used in the context of
Indonesia’s struggle against colonialism, but there was no guarantee it would
not create misunderstanding if read by elementary school students.
Anam, an editor at NU Online news portal, went as far as accusing the Education
and Culture Ministry of “playing politics” by putting NU and antigovernment
groups in the same box.
is really dangerous,” he said.
concern may not be entirely groundless.
the past decade, Indonesia has seen the rise of radical Islamic groups linked
to global jihadi movements such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. Hizbut
Tahrir, a nonviolent Islamic group that pushes for the creation of a
transnational caliphate, has also gained traction in the country.
which touts itself as a bastion of moderate Islam, has for years been working
to stem the tide of radicalism sweeping the country. It is only natural that it
has described itself as anything but radical.
a meeting with concerned NU leaders on Wednesday, the Education and Culture
Ministry decided to recall copies of the book.
ministry will recall the books as soon as possible and we will make a
correction. The correction will then be published on the ministry’s official
website,” Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said during his visit
to the Muhammadiyah Malang University in Malang, East Java, on Thursday.
minister said the book authors did not intend to equate NU with contemporary
radical groups. The book, he said, aimed to explain the pro-nationalist
movement in the 1920s when Indonesian groups, including NU, were seen as
“radical” in their opposition to colonialism.
if we use the word ‘radical’ for students today, the word could go out of
context and could lead to negative [perceptions],” he said.
book, according to the minister, was first published in 2013 and has never been
revised since then.
teachers said they did not even know the book was problematic.
a teacher at Bandulan 2 state elementary school in Malang, said the school had
received copies of the book in 2017 from the local education agency. “I just
found out about [about the problematic content] after reporters came to the
school asking about it,” she said.
never learn history the right way’
Bonnie Triyana said NU’s objection was unsuitable and deplored the ministry’s
decision to remove the word “radical”.
never learn history the right way. People often use the current understanding
of a word to understand the past. That is wrong,” he said.
argued that in the 192os Indonesian revolutionaries who fought for national
independence were in fact called radicals. “The word radical at the time did
not have negative connotations as it does now.”
radicals at the time were resisting a colonial government that was never
elected by the Indonesian people, he said.
is how we got our independence.”
Indonesia - Government efforts to tackle sexual violence in Indonesia have
triggered a backlash from conservative religious groups and others claiming the
proposed law violates Muslim values, puts too much emphasis on women's rights
and promotes sex outside marriage.
by an aggressive social media campaign, an online petition calling for
parliament to reject the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence has
been signed by almost 150,000 people since its launch two weeks ago.
sexual activities will be chargeable offences [under the law], even if it's a
wife rejecting her husband's advances. Yet consensual sex, even if it's outside
of marriage, will be permissible," Maimon Herawati, the campaign's
creator, wrote in the petition.
draft law defines forms of sexual violence that are not covered under existing
legislation, such as sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and forced
prostitution. It is designed to make the criminal justice system more
supportive of women reporting such crimes.
critics reject the bill saying it implies any consensual sexual activity,
including homosexuality, is acceptable because it does not specify that sex
should only take place within a marriage.
facing a crisis'
proposed legislation has been under development since 2014, led by the National
Commission for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) in
consultation with legal experts, women's groups, academics and government
amid growing opposition, the bill remains unratified, prompting activists'
concerns it might be derailed altogether if it is not adopted before the mostly
Muslim archipelago holds elections in April. In such a scenario, the discussion
process would have to start from the beginning.
Indonesian women, prosperity means being free from all forms of violence,
including sexual violence," the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child
Protection said in a statement last month.
violence is a serious problem, causing trauma for victims and their families.
They need [to be supported] in their rights to truth, justice, and
Perempuan says that of the 13,384 cases of violence against women reported to
its service partners in 2017, more than two-thirds (71 percent) took place in
intimate relationships. One-third of those involved sexual violence. In public
settings, Komnas said, just over three quarters of the cases involved sexual
violence. Rights groups say the number of victims is likely to be much higher
because many women do not report such cases out of fear.
Batara Munti, the coordinator of the Pro-Women's Legislation Program Working
Group, says cases of sexual violence and harassment have been increasing in the
past five years.
is facing a crisis of sexual violence," she told Al Jazeera, citing the
2016 rape and murder of a 14-year-old and the 2018 jailing of a 37-year-old
woman for documenting sexual harassment.
argues that Indonesia desperately needs legislation to prevent and address
sexual violence. She says that the Criminal Code is poorly implemented, adding
that the protection and rehabilitation for survivors is minimal.
of sexual violence are frequently re-victimised and their rights ignored,"
she says. "They are often not believed, their sexual history becomes
evidence, and compensation is rare."
of the draft law, however, is growing. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) says
the bill is "too liberal" and will "promote free sex and deviant
week, the mayor of Padang, a city of one million residents on the island of
Sumatra, also added his voice to those opposing the bill.
reject the current draft of the law," Mahyedi Ansharullah told reporters
on Tuesday. "It has been developed to protect LGBT people, give the green
light to illicit sex and destroy family life."
to the draft has already cut the number of sexual crimes addressed in the bill
from 15 to nine. Even so, critics remain steadfast.
Indonesia, an organisation whose slogan is "strengthening the family for
better civilisation", is leading the charge.
was founded by Euis Sunarti, a woman who previously headed AILA (Family Love
Alliance), an organisation that The Jakarta Post described in 2016 as
"more dangerous than the [hard-line group] Islamic Defenders' Front"
because of its determination to criminalise all sexual activity outside of marriage,
including between members of the same sex.
GiGa is small, its reach has been magnified by social media where its warnings
on the supposed dangers of the draft law have been shared widely.
course, we also want to eliminate sexual violence; everyone does," Sunarti
told Al Jazeera by telephone. "The problem with the draft law on the
elimination of sexual violence is that many of the definitions are very broad,
and this could lead to multiple interpretations."
says the academic study underpinning the draft law does not refer to the 1974
Marriage Law, which regulates the relationship between husbands and wives.
social values are that husbands and wives have not just rights, but also
responsibilities," she says. "But this draft law puts more emphasis
on rights than family stability … Our research shows that the majority of
Indonesians want religion to be the basis of their families."
Fitri, a counsellor and lecturer at the State University of Jakarta, says
conservative groups are targeting the wrong piece of legislation.
draft law is about eliminating sexual violence, so it's not appropriate that
consensual, non-violent sexual activities are also part of it," Fitri
says. "Why should we debate including something that is not a form of
violence - even according to the conservative groups themselves - in a law that
is specifically about violence? All it means is that survivors of violence have
to wait even longer get the rehabilitation services they need."
draft law also makes mandatory a range of physical and mental health services
to assist survivors.
of sexual violence are frequently blamed for what happened to them," Fitri
said. "They might be blamed for their appearance or their activities -
going out at night or with a man - and this is now being justified by
patriarchal interpretations of religion … The draft law is crucial because it
is proof that the government does not blame victims and actually criticises the
dominant narrative that does blame them. By being able to access justice and
services, survivors will be able to reclaim their self-worth."
draft law also proposes to strengthen the criminalisation of marital rape by
reducing the amount of evidence required and expanding the definition of sexual
violence - prompting critics' concerns that it would be easier for women to
accuse their husbands of rape.
Islam, the ideal is that a husband and a wife should mutually understand one
another, but a wife should also be concerned [about her husband's sexual needs]
and serve him with sincerity," Sunarti said. "If a wife says: "I
don't want to, if you force me, that's violence," that's not a harmonic
relationship … It opens up marital disharmony, with the end being divorce or
Perempuan rejects the idea that the draft law on eliminating sexual violence is
not in line with Islamic beliefs. "I think people who have this view have
not read the draft," a commissioner from Komnas Perempuan, Masruchah, told
local media last month.
reject invitation to attend US Mideast meeting in Poland
officials have been invited to a US conference on the Middle East hosted by
Poland next week, a senior US official said on Friday, but top Palestinian
officials said they would not attend.
senior administration official told reporters White House senior adviser Jared
Kushner would discuss plans for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis at
President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the United States to reverse its
recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cuts in aid to the Palestinians,
saying these had undermined efforts to reach a two-state solution to the
noted we have asked the Palestinian Authority to send representatives to this
event,” the US official said.
who is US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, “will discuss the
administration’s efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians
and also take questions from the audience,” the official said.
would very much welcome the Palestinian Authority’s perspectives during the
discussion, but I do want to emphasize this is not a negotiation but a
discussion, and we look forward to fostering a constructive conversation in
Warsaw,” he added.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat quickly rejected the invitation, writing on
Twitter: “Regarding statements that we have been invited, we can say that only
today there was some contact from the Polish side. Our position remains clear:
We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not
mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine.”
another tweet on Friday, Erekat said: “The US administration dismissed itself
from sponsoring the peace process because of its decisions that are
contradictory to the international law.”
a separate tweet, Hussein Al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official,
also rejected the invitation, saying only the Palestine Liberation Organization
could speak on behalf of the Palestinian people.
has been working on a peace plan for more than a year. The Warsaw event will be
one of the first occasions where he will discuss the plan publicly, although he
is not expected to reveal any details.
State Department has said more than 40 countries will attended the conference
in Warsaw from Feb. 12 to 14.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed on Friday that the “Death to
America” slogan widely used since the 1979 Islamic Revolution was directed at
Trump and current US officials.
long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon
‘Death to America’,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday according to
anti-American slogan “Death to America” was first used in Iran in the
Revolution of 1979 by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah
Khomeini, who overthrew the Shah of Iran.
to America’ means death to Trump, (National Security Adviser) John Bolton, and
(Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. It means death to American rulers,” Khamenei
Arab coalition launched three air strikes targeting Houthi militia positions in
the Hajjah Governorate in north-western Yemen on Friday.
of Houthis were killed and several wounded after the first strike destroyed
second strike targeted an ammunition convoy and weapons in the al-Nuzha
district, one of their main supply routes.
third strike destroyed a military site that housed heavy weapons.
siege of Hajour tribes
clashes continued with the Houthi militia using heavy artillery.
siege of Yemen’s Hajour tribes continued for the third week since the beginning
of the clashes.
sources said that a violent attack was launched by the Houthi militia using
heavy machine guns on the area of al-Abysa tribe of Hajour.
Palestinian teenage boys have lost their lives and more than a dozen protesters
sustained injuries during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli
soldiers stationed on the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and the
spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement
that 14-year-old Hassan Iyad Shalabi was fatally shot in the chest during a
“Great March of Return” protest east of the city of Khan Yunis, located about
25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Gaza City, on Friday.
added that Hamza Mohammed Roshdi Ashtiwi, 17, died east of the Gaza Strip after
he was hit in the neck with a live bullet.
noted that 17 demonstrators suffered gunshot wounds, while dozens of
Palestinians suffered excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces sought
to suppress the anti-occupation rallies.
sources said six people were injured while participating in a demonstration at
Malika refugee camp east of the Gaza Strip.
troops also fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators taking
part in a rally at al-Awdah refugee camp east of Rafah city, located 30
kilometers south of Gaza City. The forces targeted an ambulance with a tear gas
canister as well. Palestinians 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.”
also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the
restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza
forces teargas Palestinian protesters in West Bank
on Friday, dozens of Palestinians suffered breathing difficulties when Israeli
military forces fired tear gas at separate groups of demonstrators against the
controversial separation wall on the outskirts of East Jerusalem al-Quds and
the Tel Aviv regime’s policies of land expropriation and settlement expansion.
protests were reported in Jabal al-Risan area of the northern West Bank village
of Ras Karkar, northwest of Ramallah, the central West Bank town of Ni'lin,
located 17 kilometers (11 miles) west of Ramallah, in addition to the village
of Kfar Qaddum.
prisoner dies inside Israeli prison
a Palestinian prisoner died on Friday afternoon inside the Eshel Prison in
Palestinian Prisoner's Society confirmed the death of prisoner Yaser Hamed
Ashtia, 36, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, pointing out that the
circumstances of his death were not immediately known.
was detained by Israeli forces in 2009. He was sentenced to life imprisonment
over alleged killing of a settler.
development came only two days after Palestinian prisoner Fares Baroud died
hours after being suddenly transferred to intensive care from Ramon prison in
the occupied territories.
late 51-year-old was suffering from a number of health conditions, including a
hernia and liver disease, and had repeatedly spoken about medical neglect and
denial of necessary health treatment to Palestinian inmates.
was arrested in 1991, and was supposed to be released in 2013 as part of
negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Tel Aviv regime. Israeli
officials, however, reneged on the agreement, refusing to release the final 30
prisoners, including him.
The UAE has accused the Houthis of disregarding a Yemen ceasefire agreement
after the UN slammed the militants for blocking access to vast food supplies.
Red Sea Mills in Hodeidah contains enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for
a month, but aid officials have been unable to access the stores since
September, despite Yemen’s desperate food shortages.
militants have blocked the UN from
reaching the food and last month destroyed some of the stores with shelling.
Lowcock, under-secretary of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), on Thursday implored the Iran—backed Houthis to
allow access to the stores.
Garagsh, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Friday that
the UN’s plea for access to the stores showed that “the Houthi’s are the real
impediment to peace in Yemen.”
will be clearer with their every move to derail the political process,” Gargash
said on Twitter.
Stockholm Agreement offers us a unique opportunity to end the war in Yemen.
the Houthis are working hard to undermine this opportunity by their obstinate
disregard to their commitments.”
said the way forward for the Houthis is to withdraw from “the ports and
Hodaidah city” as per the agreement signed in December.
militia is dragging its feet & threatening the overall prospects for
peace,” he added.
were held this week in Hodeidah in an attempt to find a breakthrough in
implementing the agreement. Mediators said Friday that talks in Jordan on a
prisoner swap deal had made "important progress."
huge prisoner exchange is seen as a crucial confidence-building measure in the
UN-led push for peace.
city of Hodeidah became the main front in the war, which was sparked when the
Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.
forces supported by an Arab coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE,
had surrounded the city and prepared to retake it last summer.
serves as the country’s main port for aid supplies but the UN and the coalition
accuse the Houthis of blocking those supplies from reaching those desperately
to the mills grows ever more urgent as time passes and the risk of spoilage to
the remaining grain increases,” Lowcock said in his statement.
implore all parties, in particular Ansar Allah affiliated groups, to finalize
an agreement and facilitate access to the mills in the coming days,” he said,
referring to the Houthi’s political wing.
Haram: from Islamist sect to armed threat
Nigeria's Boko Haram started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but
mutated into an IS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency.
is some background about the jihadists, whom Muhammadu Buhari vowed to defeat
when he became president in 2015 but remain a threat as he seeks a second term.
Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria. Its
campaign has cost at least 27,000 lives since 2009 and displaced 1.8 million
name loosely translates from the Hausa language as "Western education is
founder and spiritual leader Muhammad Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria's ills
on Western values left by colonial master, Britain.
also accused the country's secular leaders of corruption and neglecting
development in Muslim regions.
came to the attention of authorities in 2002 when he began to build a following
among disaffected youths in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital in northeast
was killed in police custody in 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri that
prompted a military assault. Some 800 people died in the action, and Boko
Haram's mosque and headquarters were left in ruins.
of its supporters fled the country.
Haram was broadly peaceful before Yusuf's death.
his successor, his right-hand man Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign
of deadly attacks on schools, churches, mosques, state entities and security
Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.
the group's most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276
schoolgirls from the remote northern town of Chibok in Borno state.
fled in the immediate aftermath, and more than 100 of the 219 who spent years
in captivity have since been released, found or escaped.
mass abduction brought world attention to the insurgency at a time when Boko
Haram was seizing territory across the northeast, which became a largely no-go
area, with the violence spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a "caliphate" in the Borno town of
Gwoza, and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq
violence has destroyed property and farmland in the mainly rural northeast and
sparked a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages.
offensive since 2015 by regional armies -- troops from Nigeria and backed by
others from Cameroon, Chad and Niger --drove jihadists from most of the areas
they had seized.
regular bloody raids and suicide bomb attacks continue.
court action for people suspected of being members of Boko Haram started in
October 2017. Most were released, largely due to lack of evidence, and more
than 100 convicted of belonging to the group and taking part in attacks.
faction led by the son of Muhammad Yusuf, Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi, broke away in
opposition to Shekau's indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
faction, which has the backing of IS, targets the armed forces and has since
July 2018 carried out numerous attacks on military bases.
faction is meanwhile responsible for unrelenting suicide bombings targeting
least 15 al-Shabaab militants were killed in separate U.S. airstrikes in
Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said Friday.
airstrikes were conducted over the past 48 hours against the al-Qaeda linked
group’s positions in Gendershe village and Bariire town, it said in a
said the first airstrike took place on Feb. 6 in Gendershe, killing 11
militants, while the second airstrike on Feb. 7 in Bariire killed four
statement added that the airstrike on Bariire came after the Somali National
Army was attacked by al-Shabaab militants as they conducted an operation to
disrupt the group's efforts to illegally tax and intimidate civilians in the
Mohamed, a Somali National Army captain in the Lower Shabelle region, confirmed
the airstrikes to Anadolu Agency by phone.
US military’s air campaign against al-Shabaab in Somalia will not stop the
militants, a top US general said Thursday as he called on the east African
nation’s army to take more responsibility in the fight.
Pentagon is running an ongoing mission in which US forces work with African
Union and Somali national security forces to fight the al-Shabaab movement. “At
the end of the day, these strikes are not going to defeat al-Shabaab,” the US military’s
Africa Command head General Thomas Waldhauser told the Senate Armed Services
bottom line is the Somalian national army needs to grow, it needs to step up
and it needs to take responsibility for their own security,” he added.
early 2017, the US has increased the number of strikes it conducts, with 35
that year, 47 in 2018 and about 12 so far this year, Waldhauser said. He added
that US strikes were providing the space for local forces to grow.
Union troops pushed al-Shabaab fighters out of Somalia’s capital in 2011, and
subsequently from other towns and cities. But the extremists still hold sway in
large parts of the countryside.
launch regular gun and bomb attacks on government, military and civilian
targets in Mogadishu as well as ambushes on military convoys and outposts. In
one strike last month, Africa Command said it killed 52 Somali militants.
governmental committee probing protester deaths in Sudan says a slain teacher
who became an iconic figure in the recent uprising died of wounds sustained
Ibrahim, the head of the Supreme Investigation Committee, said on Thursday that
forensic reports showed that teacher Ahmed al-Khair was beaten with a “hard
object” on his back, kidney area and thighs causing complications that led to
was detained by Sudanese authorities after protests in the town of Khashm
el-Girba in Kassala.
had previously said al-Khair died from torture while the government claimed
that he died last Saturday of food poisoning.
authorities have arrested a suspected al-Qaeda leader who fled from the eastern
city of Derna, a source in the attorney general’s office said on Friday.
Qader Azuz was arrested in the western city of Misrata and then brought to the
capital, Tripoli, the source said. No other details were immediately available.
was one of the top terrorists in Derna, according to Libyan officials. The city
has been long a hotpot for militants. Many had fled Libya to escape persecution
by Muammar Gaddafi and to fight in Afghanistan, then returned home after he was
toppled in 2011.
military forces allied to Khalifa Haftar, which control eastern Libya, have
seized much of Derna in an ongoing military campaign that officials say is
A Tunisian court has sentenced seven terrorists to life in prison over attacks
at a museum and on a beach in 2015 that left dozens of tourists dead,
prosecutors said Saturday.
separate trials were held over the closely linked attacks which occurred just
months apart in Tunis and Sousse.
stops Rohingya trying to get to Malaysia
Bangladesh security forces stopped 30 Rohingya refugees from being smuggled to
Malaysia by boat, officials said on Friday (Feb 8), as fears rise that calmer
seas may tempt those living in squalid camps to make the journey to Southeast
suspected human traffickers were detained in the operation by Border Guard
Bangladesh (BGB) forces in Cox's Bazar district late Thursday, the officials
740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following a military clampdown in
August 2017. They joined about 300,000 of the Muslim minority already in the
country where they are largely confined to camps, which have strained
Bangladesh's resources to the limit.
17 women, six children and seven men were detained on a beach near the coastal
town of Teknaf, which borders Myanmar's violence-wracked Rakine state, the BGB
is the third time since November that Rohingya have been intercepted while
attempting to reach the more prosperous and Muslim-majority Malaysia by boat.
boats have also been intercepted trying to leave Myanmar.
Colonel Asadud Zaman Chowdhury told AFP the 30 Rohingya were lured by human
traffickers operating in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.
said the Rohingya, who had paid about US$1,000 each for "safe
passage" to Malaysia, would be sent back to the camps.
of the women in the group said she was going to Malaysia "to get
married" to a Rohingya man she had never met.
uncle set me up for the journey and paid for the trip. My husband to be was
meant to meet me once I reached Malaysia," she told AFP, refusing to give
are fears that with improving weather more Rohingya may be tempted by
traffickers to leave the Bangladesh camps and make the dangerous boat journey
smugglers sent tens of thousands of Rohingya from the camps to Malaysia before
Bangladesh launched a crackdown in 2015. This came after Thai authorities
discovered mass graves of refugees and overcrowded boats were intercepted at
Bay of Bengal - which the boats must cross on their way to Malaysia - is calmer
between November and March. But many of the small boats are critically
overcrowded by the owners seeking to make more money.
(AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church of Bangladesh today marks the 500th
anniversary of the arrival of the first Christians, as part of an initiative
undertaken by Card Patrick D'Rozario and Mgr Moses Costa, bishop of Chittagong.
anniversary marks the first settlement of Portuguese Catholic merchants in 1518
and provides an opportunity to remember the origins of a Church that is so far
from Rome but one that has a long and yet mostly unknown history. This includes
remembering its martyrs, the many Christians who gave their life to remain
loyal to Christ and whose blood has seeped into the Bengal soil.
in Diang, in the diocese of Chittagong (recently renamed Chattogram), the event
has attracted more than 8,000 Catholics, 100 priests, 120 nuns and 10 bishops
from all over the country. Mgr Lumen Monteiro, bishop of Agartala (India), is
a full day of festivity, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists gathered in
the evening in the cathedral for an inter-religious meeting, a show of the
harmony and joy that mark interfaith relations in the country. For Mgr Costa
“Christian things” are not just for Christians, but for everyone.
about the Church’s history, the prelate described the first steps taken by
Portuguese merchants when they landed on the shores of Chittagong some 500
pioneers, he explained, “held Christ in their heart and helped Christianity
grow in this land." It took however 80 years before the first priests
arrived. The first Catholic missionary, “Fr Francisco Fernandez came from the
Diocese of Cochin (India) in 1598. The following year he built the first church
in Bangladesh in Diang (Chittagong). In 1600 he built two other churches, in
Bandal and Jamalkhan."
blood of martyrdom marks the origins of Christianity in this fertile land. Fr
Fernandez, "who protested against the domination of the Rakhine army
(currently a state in Myanmar), was captured in 1602, tortured and died in
prison on 14 November. He is the first martyr of Bangladesh. The cathedral of
Chittagong stands on his tomb."
that time, "his evangelising work won the hearts of many people,” said the
bishop. “For this reason, a few years later (1607), soldiers killed 600
Christians by burning them alive in the place where we are now, in Diang, on
the site of the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Miriam Ashram
is also a pilgrimage site, visited by thousands of devotees each year. Many do
not know the history of the origins of our Church. This is why we have carried
out an information campaign ahead of the event."
the eve of the celebration, a prayer was held yesterday. Mgr Sebastian Tudu,
bishop of Dinajpur, stressed that "the Portuguese had a lot of courage.
They were killed for their faith. Let's pay homage to them. We should all learn
to be Christians like them. Let us pray for the eternal rest of their
the Catholic Church has 380,000 members across the Muslim majority country,
33,000 in Chittagong. The local archdiocese runs 16 schools, 125 kindergartens,
17 hostels and 13 medical dispensaries.
local commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) was
killed in an explosion triggered by an improvised explosive device in eastern
Kunar province of Afghanistan.
201st Silab Corps in the East in a statement said a local ISIS-K commander
identified as Najeeb alias Isa Khan was killed an explosion on Thursday.
statement further added that Najeeb was killed an explosion triggered by an
improvised explosive which was planted by unknown individuals.
incident took place in the vicinity of Deewa Gul Valley of Suki district, the
statement by 201st Silab Corps added.
U.S. Special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
has said that he is hopeful to finalize a peace deal with the Taliban group
before presidential elections in Afghanistan.
at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Ambassador Khalilzad said he was
hopeful a peace deal could be finalized before presidential elections.
he emphasized that ‘a lot of work’ still remains to be done to reach to a peace
deal with the Taliban.
are at the early stages of a protracted process,” Ambassador Khalilzad added.
also emphasized that the next phase of peace process should be led by the
Afghans as the role of the United States will decrease.
comes as the Taliban group has so far rejected to meet or hold talks with the
Afghan government officials.
shadow intelligence chief of Taliban Mullah Ahmad has been killed with two
other militants in an airstrike in southern Helmand province.
to the informed military sources “A Taliban intelligence chief responsible for
planning and carrying out attacks against Afghan civilians was killed by a
precision airstrike in Now Zad District, Helmand Province, Feb. 6, 2019.”
sources further added that Mullah Amad was traveling along the roadway with two
other militants when their vehicle was struck by an Afghan Special Security
Forces (ASSF) precision airstrike, killing all three Taliban fighters.
Afghan Special Forces have killed two senior Taliban leaders during a raid in
eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan earlier today.
to the informed military sources “Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Khugyani district, Nangarhar province and killed two Taliban leaders. The lead
weapons facilitator and recruiter for Nangarhar province were killed when they
fired upon Afghan soldiers during an operation in the early-morning hours of
Feb. 7, 2019.”
sources further added these Taliban leaders planned and carried out attacks on
Afghan military personnel and innocent civilians.
dead are just two among multiple Taliban leaders who have been killed recently.
In December, friendly forces killed Haji Manan – a Taliban commander the
militant group said significantly contributed to their violent operations.
Scores of ethnic minority villagers have crossed from western Myanmar into
Bangladesh in recent days amid fighting between the Myanmar military and ethnic
Rakhine rebels, Bangladesh border guards and an activist said on Thursday.
of 38 families said they fled their homes fearing attack from military
helicopters, said Col. Zahirul Haque Khan, the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB)
commander in Bandarban district where the group of 136 people are now living in
between Myanmar’s military and the insurgent Arakan Army, which mainly recruits
from the Rakhine ethnic group, have displaced more than 5,000 people in parts
of Rakhine and Chin states since early December.
leaders have vowed to crush the rebels, who are fighting for autonomy for
Rakhine State, and blocked most aid agencies from reaching the area, raising
fears of more civilian suffering in an area long scarred by complex ethnic
Rakhine State is majority Buddhist, in 2017 attacks on security posts by
insurgents from the Muslim Rohingya minority provoked a military crackdown that
forced 730,000 people from their homes and into camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s
Bazar district, according to UN agencies.
Thein, a member of the nongovernmental Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, said
he had visited the refugees, who are members of the Khumi, Cho and Rakhine
ethnic groups, in their remote jungle camp.
had crossed into Bangladesh on Sunday and Monday after fleeing from two
villages in Chin state’s rugged Paletwa township after they heard gunfire and
saw helicopters nearby, he said.
villagers said they later witnessed Myanmar soldiers looting and setting fire
to homes, he said.
Thein said some of the refugee children were seriously ill and had no access to
are no blankets at all and it is very cold,” he said.
media in Myanmar said on Friday the Arakan Army had “taken about 200 Rakhine
and other ethnic nationals including 38 schoolchildren to Bangladesh
announcement carried in official newspapers said the government was providing
humanitarian assistance to displaced people, and said the insurgents may have
taken the people into Bangladesh to “create misunderstanding between the two
Thu Kha, an Arakan Army spokesman based outside Myanmar, said the armed group
had helped the displaced villagers to reach the border, but did so because the
villagers feared being detained by the military.
government was using “fake news” to cover up military abuses, he said.
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