Books and Documents

Islamic World News (10 Oct 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Masood urges Ulema to promote tolerance, interfaith harmony

Photo: Beijing has denied it is systematically violating the rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims.


China launches anti-halal campaign in Xinjiang region

Saudi Arabia's World Center for Dialogue launches Islamic-Jewish council to fight extremism in Europe


Muslim Teen Wins Quiz On Gita, Says "Don't Like Fights Over Religion"

Free to call ourselves Muslim in India, say minority Ahmadiyyas

President Ram Nath Kovind lauds Tajikistan's fight against radicalisation

Four Hizbul Mujahideen overground workers held with Rs 10 lakh in J&K: Police

Delhi school divided: Hindu and Muslim students assigned to separate sections

Terrorists are pushing limits..even their underpants to hit aviation sector: Rajnath Singh

Missing from Dehradun college, Kashmir youth joins militants

26/11 accused continue to enjoy Pakistan patronage

In riot-hit UP village, man on a mission to bring Muslims back



Masood urges Ulema to promote tolerance, interfaith harmony

PM wants NAB not to harass civil servants

US special envoy holds talks on Afghanistan with Pakistan officials

US envoy on Afghan peace takes his mission to Pakistan

Curbing power theft through edicts: Clerics criticize Pakistani government move

Opposition assails govt for seeking IMF assistance

Nawaz slams ‘political victimisation’ disguised as accountability

Policeman’s killing case registered under terror law

Opp to protest against Shehbaz’s arrest outside Parliament House on Thursday

NCHR voices concern over Punjab police’s human rights violations

Afghan court convicts two army officers for allegedly spying for ISI

Qureshi assures Khalilzad of Pakistan’s cooperation in fostering Afghan peace


Southeast Asia

China launches anti-halal campaign in Xinjiang region

Minister: Oktoberfest? Yes, if held in controlled area, no Muslims attending

Case management for Khalid Samad’s suit against GMIM president Oct 30

China’s Urumqi takes aim at ‘extremist’ religious practices


Arab World

Saudi Arabia's World Center for Dialogue launches Islamic-Jewish council to fight extremism in Europe

Largest Mass Grave in Raqqa Includes over 1,500 Bodies of Victims

Senior Terrorist Commander Killed by Unidentified Attackers in Northwestern Syria

Syrian Army Uncovers Terrorists' Large Cache of Weapons in Eastern Dara'a

US Army Forwards More Military Equipment to SDF in Northeastern Syria

Turkish Army Resettles Over 200 Family Members of Terrorists in Northern Syria

Turkey Setting up Large Military Base at Border Point with Syria's Lattakia

Lebanon’s Hariri says concessions made, hopes for govt formation soon

Most heavy arms out of planned Syria buffer zone, monitor says

Role in Qaeda operatives’ release returns to haunt Qatar Attorney General

Missing Saudi journalist killed on order of Riyadh regime, Turkish officials say

Religious leaders gather in Karbala to denounce spread of sectarian propaganda

Syrian President Assad grants amnesty to army deserters, draft dodgers

Egypt security forces kill 10 militants in ‘pre-emptive’ Sinai raid



Over 8,000 Yemeni dialysis patients on verge of death: Health minister

Israeli troops arrest some 400 Palestinian civilians in September: Rights groups

Netanyahu: Israel must continue Syria strikes despite S-300 delivery

Qatar accused of ‘undermining Palestinian Authority’ through fuel move

20 Houthi militiamen killed in Yemen’s Baqim, including two commanders

Two Yemenis sentenced to death by Houthis following ‘sham’ trials

Erdogan advisor hints ‘deep state’ behind Khashoggi case, denies Reuters report

Israeli strikes in Syria to continue despite S-300 delivery, Netanyahu says

Erdogan urges EU to be sincere about Turkish membership

Turkey detains 90 for alleged links to Kurdish militants



Nigeria: Education, Antidote to Extremism, Terrorism - Buhari

Somalia's al Shabaab executes five men accused of spying

Smuggling trade through Iran earns Al-Shabab militants $7.5m a year

Details of Buhari’s meeting with Muslim leaders emerge

UN urges Algeria to stop expelling migrants: report

Report says Al Shabab militants run tax system to rival Somalia's federal government


North America

Israel arrests US student for supporting Palestinian cause

Scholars on Islam, Judaism and Christianity share core beliefs

US professor urges release of student held in Israel

Toronto-area 'public' event was 'only for Muslims'

Trump: I do not know anything about Khashoggi disappearance

Saudis, authoritarian leaders inspired by Trump: Sanders

Pompeo calls on Saudi Arabia to back ‘thorough investigation’ into missing journalist

Syria: Turkey, US training for joint patrols in Manbij



UK imam fired from Saudi-funded mosque for criticising Saudi royal family

UK minister warns of chemical, biological terrorism

Amid Increase in Antisemitic Attacks by Muslim Extremists and Far-Rightists, German Government Launches New Reporting Hotline for Victims

Norway moves on Rushdie publisher attempted murder case

UK media curiously silent on Saudi journo fate: WikiLeaks

Russia planning to turn Libya into ‘new Syria’: UK intelligence

Turkish, Greek Cypriot leaders likely to meet soon

Erdogan hails Turkey-Hungary cooperation

Saudi ambassador returns to Berlin after 1-year absence

Fiancée asks Trump to help Post's missing Saudi contributor

Why halal meat generates so much controversy in Europe

British Army probing meeting between military personnel and Tommy Robinson, anti-Muslim activist


South Asia

Bangladesh tense over 2004 grenade attack case verdict today

Myanmar 'unwilling' to probe Rohingya abuse, UN must act: Rights envoy

Ghani responds to Taliban threats for attacking elections

Afghan election candidate among eight killed in suicide attack

Taliban kill 15 Afghan security officers

MoI reacts at Taliban’s threats for targeting elections

5 Taliban militants killed while planting IED on a roadside in Farah

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indian-muslims-and-the-meccan-period-of-islam--an-analogy/d/116597


Masood urges Ulema to promote tolerance, interfaith harmony

October 10, 2018

Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has said Sufis and saints spread teachings of Quran and Sunnah through their exemplary conduct and by demonstrating tolerance and interfaith harmony.

Talking to a delegation of Ulema and Mushaikh from United Kingdom (UK) and headed members of Azad Jammu and Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Peer Ali Raza Bukhari, the president said untiring, selfless and incessant struggle of ulema and Sufis resulted into spread of Islamic teachings in all four corner of the world and bringing 1.6 billion human being in the fold of Islam.

The delegation comprising Peer Tayyub-ur- Rehman Qadri, Allama Syed Dazail Raza Atari, Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed Makki, Moulana Yousaf Saleem Atari, Sahibzada Hassan Raza and Khalifa Aftab Sarmad called on called President at Jammu and Kashmir House on Monday. Praising the role of Muslim Ulema and Mushaikh in British society, President Masood stressed the need of removing misconception prevail in the western society that terrorism is linked with the religion of Islam.

“There is a need to present true teachings of religion based on love and respect and unveiling real face of Islam before the world to remove the misconception that Islam and terrorism are interconnected. The fact of the matter is that tolerance, interfaith harmony and love to humanity remains basic tenets of Islam since its advent,” President Masood emphasized. Urging the Ulema to highlight Kashmiri peoples’ struggle for their right to self- determination and repression of Indian forces against innocent people, President said Allah has ordained the support of the oppressed and deterrence of the oppressors.

He said that Ulema should also endorse the national narrative on terrorism and extremism and promote ideology of Pakistan adding that our adherence to ideology of Pakistan is guarantee to the protection of Muslims in India. Informing the delegation about the steps taken by AJK government to protect basic Muslim creeds and promote Islamic values in the society, President Masood said that recently AJK government and state legislature approved and enforced the laws regarding the finality of the prophethood. Describing reverence and love to prophet as essential part of Islamic creed, President said that no Muslim can even imagine to use profanity against the most revered prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

President Masood said Indian government backed by extremist organizations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal is engaged in extermination of Muslims in Occupied Kashmir forcing Muslims to either change their religion or migrate from IOK. He said 62% majority of Muslims in Jammu back in1947 has now been reduced to 32% mainly because of the persecution of Hindu extremists’ organization.

Speaking on the occasion, Member of AJK Legislative Assembly and head of the delegation, Peer Syed Ali Raza Bukhari said he is carrying forward national narrative on terrorism and message of love and national unity as mission of his life. Raja Javaid Iqbal another Member of AJK Legislative Assembly assured the president that plights of Kashmiri people and their struggle for right to self-determination would be highlighted in UK and Europe.



China launches anti-halal campaign in Xinjiang region

Oct 10, 2018

The capital of China’s Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, has launched a campaign against halal products to stop Islam penetrating secular life and fuelling “extremism”.

In a meeting on Monday, the Communist Party leaders of Urumqi led cadres to swear an oath to “fight a decisive battle against ‘pan-halalisation’,” according to a notice posed on the city’s official WeChat account.

Everyday halal products, like food and toothpaste, must be produced according to Islamic law.

China has been subject to heavy criticism from rights groups and foreign governments amid reports of a punitive crackdown that has seen the detention of as many as 1 million mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Beijing has denied it is systematically violating the rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims, saying it is only cracking down on extremism and “splittism” in the region.

The official Global Times said on Wednesday that the “demand that things be halal which cannot really be halal” was fuelling hostility towards religion and allowing Islam to penetrate secular life.

As part of the anti-halal campaign, Ilshat Osman, Urumqi’s ethnically Uighur head prosecutor, penned an essay entitled: “Friend, you do not need to find a halal restaurant specially for me”.

According to the WeChat post government employees should not have any diet problems and work canteens would be changed so that officials could try all kinds of cuisine.

The Urumqi Communist Party leaders also said they would require government officials and party members to firmly believe in Marxism-Leninism, and not religion, and to speak standard Mandarin Chinese in public.

Chinese citizens are theoretically free to practice any religion, but they have been subject to increasing levels of surveillance as the government tries to bring religious worship under stricter state control.

The Communist Party in August issued a revised set of regulations governing its members behaviour, threatening punishments or expulsion for anyone who clung to religious beliefs. Reuters




Saudi Arabia's World Center for Dialogue launches Islamic-Jewish council to fight extremism in Europe

October 10, 2018

JEDDAH: The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz World Center for Dialogue has announced the formation of what it called an Islamic-Jewish council aimed at promoting coexistence and fighting extremism.

The King Abdullah Center for Dialogue among Followers of Religions and Cultures said it launched a European dialogue platform that brings together members of Islamic and Jewish institutions in Europe.

The platform aims to contribute to consolidating coexistence and combating intolerance and hatred in European societies, by promoting safe living under a common citizenship, a statement by the Saudi Press Agency said.

A meeting held under the auspices of the King Abdullah World Center for Dialogue took place on Monday with participation of the European Council, the Municipality of Amsterdam and a number of international institutions.

It was co-opened by the Secretary-General of the Center Faisal bin Muammar and Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, the Deputy Secretary-General of the European Parliament.

Muammar praised Amsterdam's long-standing commitment to diversity and co-existence, in his address to the audience.

He hailed the participation of Amsterdam in this Council, saying it fills a large gap in European relations between followers of different religions.

The step comes within the framework of the King Abdullah World Center for Dialogue to launch platforms, in different parts of the world to build bridges of communication between individuals from diverse religions.

The Center is an international organization established by Saudi Arabia, with the participation of Austria and Spain, as well as the Vatican, as a founding member of the Observatory, in 2012. It aims to foster dialogue and coexistence, respect for diversity, building of bridges of cooperation and understanding among diverse communities.

The Center's work is organized by an administrative board of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu executives.






Muslim Teen Wins Quiz On Gita, Says "Don't Like Fights Over Religion"

October 09, 2018

BENGALURU: When a branch of ISKCON in Bengaluru organised a quiz on the Bhagavad Gita, a Muslim youngster took home the first prize. Shaik Mohiuddin, a Class 9 student of Subhash Memorial English High School, believes all religions are equal.

His teachers say he won a lot of prizes in inter-school competitions, but winning this quiz was special.

"They asked questions on Krishna's life and his teachings. I knew the answers. The Bhagavad Gita gives guidance in life. Every holy book teaches you how to respect your parents, teachers and ways to lead a peaceful and happy life. I am glad I made my parents proud," Shaik Mohiuddin told NDTV.

Sahiba Mohammadi, his mother, said, "We are very happy. We wish the best for him. He should know about all religions."

His school played a great role in shaping him and other students, Shaik said. Bahar-e-Jahan, principal of the school, told NDTV, "Everyone should respect each other's value system, customs and traditions. A Muslim boy winning this quiz is a precious moment for us. I am very happy for the boy. God bless him."

Shaik wants everybody to follow the path of peace and respect each other's beliefs.

He said, "I don't like people fighting because of religion. Every religion is equal. Before Independence we were a peaceful country and people of different religions lived in harmony."

The holy books are treasures of knowledge and one should read them to find the right path, he advised. "Whether it's Gita, Bible or Quran, every book teaches the same thing. We should not discriminate based on religion, caste, or social status. Everybody is equal," he added.




Free to call ourselves Muslim in India, say minority Ahmadiyyas

OCTOBER 08, 2018

Facing persecution back home in Pakistan, members of the minority Ahmadiyya sect have sought refuge in their founder’s birthplace in Qadian, Punjab. The Hindu reports on the community’s long struggle to preserve their religious freedom

Tayyab Ali, 92, lies on a rusty cot in a large house with a courtyard full of plants. Clad in an off-white kurta, he peers intently through thick glasses as he says, “I moved here in 1946 to protect our heritage. I am still doing the same thing.”

Tayyab Ali Bengali, as he likes to be called, had migrated from what is now Bangladesh. He was one of the 313 Ahmadiyyas who, at the time of the Partition, had chosen to stay back in Qadian in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was here that the sect’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, had established a religious community in 1889.

The Ahmadiyyas believe that their founder was the “promised messiah” of the Muslims, meant to propagate the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. But the majority Sunni Muslims believe the Prophet to be the last messiah. This fundamental difference in religious belief has meant that the Ahmadiyyas are a persecuted minority in every Islamic state.

In Pakistan, where over 4 million Ahmadiyyas reside, an ordinance passed by the government in 1984 declared them as “non-Muslims”. It also made it a criminal offence for members of this community to practise Islam or claim to be Muslims.

As for the Ahmadiyyas, they call themselves a “revival movement in Islam”, one that rejects “terrorism” and believes in the “jihad of the pen” as opposed to a “jihad of the sword”.

Mr. Ali is proud to be a ‘Darvesh’, the title given to each of the 313 who chose to stay in India after the 1947 Partition, leaving their families in Pakistan. He recalls attending a few sermons given by Ahmadiyya leaders in 1945, after which he decided to join the sect. He moved to Qadian the following year.

“My parents were Sunnis. They stopped me but I didn’t listen to them. After Partition, my father sent me a money order and asked me to come back. But I sent the money order back,” he says. He last travelled to see his family over 50 years ago, in what was then East Pakistan, but returned in four days. “The environment was hostile. My parents didn’t treat me well. I came back,” he recalls. In India, he says, he wakes up for fajr, the first of the five prayers through the day, rests, eats, and goes to watch kids play football in the evening.

The only tough time, he recalls, was the year following Partition. “We lived like prisoners, with a bare minimum of food, for over a year. We couldn’t get out of Qadian. A year later, I started playing football and volleyball, and that became a reason for me to get out of Qadian sometimes for tournaments,” Mr. Ali says.

India’s Ahmadiyya population is about 1.5 lakh, About 6,000 of them live in Qadian in a settlement spread across 1,500 acres. It has a residential colony, two mosques, State board-affiliated schools for both girls and boys, a religious college, a few manufacturing units, including a chapatti-making unit, playgrounds, community halls, and religious monuments.

Self-sustaining community

Modelled as a self-sustaining township of sorts, the community enjoys its own administration, known as the ‘Secretariat’, with separate departments for expenditure, construction, audit, general affairs, information technology, waseehat and jaidaat. All the department heads are appointed by the ‘Khalifa’, or fifth successor of the founder, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Khalifa is based in London, which has now become the headquarters of the community.

“Most of the money to run the community comes from donations by our members across the country. A significant part of it is generated by a system wherein those who pledge allegiance to the community donate 10% of their property and monthly salary to the administration,” says Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s (AMJ) spokesperson Tariq Ahmed. Many members of the community live in houses owned by the sect, pay a nominal rent, and work at the Secretariat.

Nasir Waheed, who handles accounts at the Secretariat, says that he gets a salary of just ?7,000 a month but is grateful for the peaceful life. “My children study in the community school where the fees are low. And because I work for the community, there are a lot of benefits,” he says, adding that his father was a Darvesh. “He worked for free in the initial years and started with a salary of ?5”.

Mr. Waheed’s wife, Swalehah Waheed (37), says the women are mostly occupied in religious programmes scheduled through the year. The entire settlement is divided into 13 sub-areas, each headed by a woman who is responsible for the ‘religious guidance’ of the women of her subdivision. “They give us books of our Khalifa to read and there are regular discussions around it. Every now and then, religious programmes are organised where women and minor girls share what they have read,” says Ms. Waheed, who has a master's degree in political science from Panjab University.

While there are many like Ms. Waheed, there are also women like Tahira Maqbool. Ms. Maqbool is now an Indian citizen but was a Pakistani until two years ago. The 34-year-old mother of three recalls life back “home” in Faisalabad and the pain of living there.

‘Home’ truths

“I was born in Faisalabad and stayed there till I got married in 2003. It’ll always be home because I’ve spent my childhood there. But in Pakistan we are treated worse than animals,” she says. Recalling an incident, she describes how her brother was once stopped on the street for particular reason, slapped around, and asked to change his faith.

Tehmida (29), also a Pakistani born and brought up in Karachi, got married in India in 2013. She, too, has experienced persecution. “I was a bright student in college and my teachers loved me. But the day they came to know that I was an Ahmadiyya, their attitude towards me changed completely. They even asked me to leave the college. I said I’ll only leave if you make a formal complaint.”

Unfortunately, for the married Pakistani women in Qadian, the ordeal doesn’t end even after they leave their home country. In India, life without citizenship is not easy either.

“Sometimes, I feel like a prisoner because I have to renew my visa every year. I got married here and my four-year-old son is also an Indian. But I can’t leave Qadian. To travel out of this town, I need a No Objection Certificate from the Indian government. This remains a huge problem,” says Ms. Tehmida, adding that her friends from Pakistan often ask her if she has visited Mumbai or the Taj Mahal. “What could I say?”

Slow citizenship process

Tears roll down the eyes of Ms. Maqbool as she recalls the time her father passed away, in April 2012. She could not go and see him one last time as she had submitted her passport to the Indian government as part of her citizenship application process. “It is a very slow process,” she says. “I received the citizenship certificate only in April 2016.”

Rukaiyya Khalam (52), from Pakistan’s Rabwah, has a similar story. She came to India in 1994 and started her citizenship process right then. “My mother passed away in 1996. But there is a requirement that in order to get citizenship, I should not leave India for seven years after I come here. So I didn’t go. Now, more than 20 years later, I am still not an Indian national,” she says.

Ms. Tehmida, however, is happy in one respect. “I am free to practise my beliefs the way I want”.

Mr. Ahmed, too, dwells on the relief in being able to freely call oneself a Muslim.

In September, the Pakistani government had removed Princeton economist Atif Mian, an Ahmadiyya, from the newly set up Economic Advisory Council because of opposition from the Sunni majority. “In Pakistan, we can’t keep the Koran. We can’t celebrate Id. We can’t publish any of our books or periodicals. We can’t greet with Assalamu alaikum. There is not a single month when our people are not martyred. How would they accept one of us in the national Economic Advisory Council? India and most of the 211 other countries where our people live are extremely tolerant in this matter as compared to Pakistan,” he says.

Members of the community say that they can lead a normal life In India, like any other Muslim, so long as they don’t show that they’re Ahmadiyya.

Full report at:




President Ram Nath Kovind lauds Tajikistan's fight against radicalisation

Oct 10, 2018

Dushanbe: President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday lauded the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan for its fight against the global scourge of terrorism and radicalisation and said that the world should recognise it. Delivering a speech on 'Countering Radicalization: Challenges before Modern Society' at the Tajik National University here, Kovind said he chose the topic for two reasons.

"First, your country has done commendable work to tackle this global menace and foster peace for one and all. And the world must recognise it," he said. "Second, the battle against terrorism, extremism and radicalism must be fought, first and foremost, in the minds of people, between those who believe in peace, love and humanity and those who feed on hatred, death and destruction."

Describing it as a battle of opposing ideas, of humanity on one hand and a make-belief world on the other, Kovind said that "talking to the youth, our future; and scholars, our guide and path-finders, therefore, becomes essential". He said that all religions and thoughts have prospered and blossomed in the land of the Pamir and the Himalayas.

"Today, we are confronted with those who wish to burn and destroy the fabric of our faiths, the embrace of our togetherness," the President stated. "The people of this country have made enormous sacrifice to stop the surge of bigotry and faith-based regressive ideas from capturing centre-stage," he said.

"This not only saved your budding Republic in the 1990s, but also fire-walled your neighbouring Central Asian Republics. They too, were then, struggling with challenges that young nations face. We sincerely hope there is deeper understanding of the geo-political significance of the Tajik civil war."

Pointing out that there are renewed attempts to impose obscurantist thoughts on peaceful societies, Kovind said that this is threatening the very foundation of human civilisation. "Their targets are people and societies, who value progressive life and respect diversity of faiths and cultures," he said.

"Notwithstanding your historic struggle and subsequent victory in the civil war, the long-drawn war is far from over." Emphasising that no religion, whether Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism or Judaism, justifies violence and killing one human being by the other, he said all religions "talk in one language and that is the language of peace, harmony, compassion and kindness".

"The war on terror and radicalisation is not against any religion, and should never be," he stated. "Quite on the contrary, it is against those who believe in destroying the creation of the Almighty." Kovind lauded the leadership of Tajik President Eamoli Rahmon in fighting terrorism and countering radicalisation.

Full report at:




Four Hizbul Mujahideen overground workers held with Rs 10 lakh in J&K: Police

Oct 9, 2018

SRINAGAR: Four overground workers (OGWs) of Hizbul Mujahideen were arrested on Tuesday from Awantipora area of Pulwama district with Rs 10 lakh cash which was meant for carrying out terror activities, police said.

"Police received a reliable information that an active terrorist of banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, Adil Ahmad Bhat, has handed over a huge amount to an OGW Rouf-ul-Islam Wani for distribution among other terrorists and OGWs for carrying out terror activities in the area," a police spokesman said.

He said a case was registered in this regard and Wani was detained for questioning.

During the course of investigation, Wani disclosed that he had received huge cash from Adil Ahmad Bhat for distribution among the other terrorists and OGWs of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit for raising the necessary support structure and also for luring youth towards joining terror ranks.

"The said accused disclosed that the cash amount was handed over to Mohd Maqbool Wani, Shakeel Ahmad Wani and Musaib Aziz Gojree. All the OGWs were apprehended and subsequently Rs 10 lakh cash was recovered at four different places," the spokesman said.

Full report at:




Delhi school divided: Hindu and Muslim students assigned to separate sections

by Sukrita Baruah

October 10, 2018

A section of teachers employed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has alleged that a primary school in Wazirabad is segregating Hindu and Muslim students in different sections.

Attendance records of the North MCD Boys’ School, Wazirabad village, Gali Number 9, accessed and analysed by The Indian Express, as of October 9, show the section-wise break up of students:

* Class IA: 36 Hindus, IB: 36 Muslims

* IIA: 47 Hindus, IIB: 26 Muslims and 15 Hindus, IIC: 40 Muslims

* IIIA: 40 Hindus, IIIB: 23 Hindus and 11 Muslims, IIIC: 40 Muslims, IIID: 14 Hindus and 23 Muslims

* IVA: 40 Hindus, IVB: 19 Hindus and 13 Muslims, IVC: 35 Muslims, IVD: 11 Hindus and 24 Muslims

* VA: 45 Hindus, VB: 49 Hindus, VC: 39 Muslims and 2 Hindus, VD: 47 Muslims

MCD schools offer education only till Class V and according to the Right To Education Act, each section should ideally have 30 students at the primary level.

C B Singh Sehrawat, the teacher put in-charge of the school on July 2 after the principal was transferred, denied deliberately segregating the students on the basis of religion. “Reshuffling of sections is standard procedure which happens in all schools. This was a management decision to try and do the best we can to see that there is peace, discipline and a good learning environment in the school. Children fought sometimes.”

Asked if the fights were on the basis of religion, he said, “Of course children this young don’t know about religion, but they squabble over things. Some children are vegetarian, so there may be differences, and so on. We need to look after the interests of all teachers and students.”

A source in the school, however, said that the reshuffling of sections based on religion began only in July this year after Sehrawat took over. The academic session began in April. “The principal was transferred on July 2, after which a teacher was put in charge until a new principal is posted. He initiated these changes and teachers were not consulted in the matter. When some teachers tried to bring it up with him, he responded with aggression and told them that it was none of their concern and that they should do their assigned jobs,” the source said.

According to the source, some teachers from the school went to the MCD zonal office in Civil Lines around 20 days ago to tell authorities about the matter, but they did not put their grievances in writing for fear of being targeted.

A senior official from the education department of the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi said, “Now that this has been brought to our notice, we will definitely inquire about it. If the allegations are true, strict action will be taken.”

Parents of students studying at the school told The Indian Express that they were not aware of this reorganisation. A mother of a Class IV student denied that such segregation was taking place until her son said, “There are no Hindu boys in my class. We were together until a few months back. A good friend of mine is no longer in the same classroom.”

Full report at:




Terrorists are pushing limits..even their underpants to hit aviation sector: Rajnath Singh

October 9, 2018

Calling for bolstering aviation facilities, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday said terrorists are pushing their “limits” to attack global civil aviation operations. “The civil aviation sector is highly sensitive and high profile in nature. It also gets worldwide attention when hit by any attack. Often these incidents have geopolitical ramifications,” Singh said after inaugurating a two-day seminar on ‘international aviation security’ in New Delhi.

“The case of the shoe bomber in 2001, the use of liquid explosives in London in 2006 and the case of the underwear bomber in Amsterdam in 2009, clearly indicate that terrorists are pushing the limits and even their underpants to hit the aviation sector,” he said, while emphasising that ensuring security of about 40 small airports and heliports in India is a subject that cannot be “ignored”.

On Christmas Day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a botched attempt in blowing up a commercial plane for the al-Qaeda. He was badly burned when a bomb sewn into his underwear failed to detonate fully on-board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Farouk earned the nicknames of underwear bomber and Christmas Day bomber.

Singh also called on aviation security agencies in the country to undertake “perspective planning” to thwart possible terror-like threats to aviation facilities. He said security agencies such as the CISF should undertake “untiring and sincere efforts to maintain fool-proof security” at airports, which are thronged by lakhs of travellers daily.

The seminar is being organised by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), a federal force that guards 60 civil airports at present. It is being attended by delegates from 18 countries and several airlines.

Speaking about the domestic scenario, Singh said: “There are 40 other operational airports and heliports under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) in India, which are guarded by airport security units carved out from the respective state police forces. The strength of any claim is determined by the strength of its smallest unit, therefore the security of the smaller airports should never be ignored.”

He further said it was essential to innovate and think new to meet evolving threats to aviation security. “We have come up with an adequate set of infrastructure at airports which commensurate with the increased number of air passengers. But, there are still many challenges and vulnerabilities. Therefore, we need perspective planing, more international cooperation and better coordination,” he said.

“We should adhere to stricter implementation of internationally agreed guidelines and norms, and induction of updated advanced technology in all airports would enhance our security capabilities, Singh said. “The governments and aviation agencies have to increasingly think about newer methods to tackle conventional and un-conventional threats.”

Full report at:




Missing from Dehradun college, Kashmir youth joins militants

October 10, 2018

NEARLY THREE weeks after a 22-year-old student from Kashmir studying at a private college in Dehradun went missing, Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday said that he has joined militancy.

Family members of the student – Shoaib Mohammad Lone, from Bumrath village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district – said that he has not returned despite an appeal from his mother.

Shoaib was studying BSc (IT) at Alpine Institute of Management and Technology in Dehradun. The institute’s director, S K Chauhan said that he returned to college after a long time on September 19, and left the following day, stating that his mother was not well and he had to visit her.

An uncle, Abdul Khaliq Lone, said Shoaib did not get home and they found his cellphone switched off after he called home on September 20. The family, he said, lodged a missing complaint after failing to contact him.

On Tuesday, Kulgam’s Superintendent of Police Harmeet Singh told The Indian Express, “We received a missing report from the family. We have information that he joined the Hizbul Mujahideen around eight days ago.”

A video of Shoaib’s mother appealing him to return had gone viral on social media recently. In the video, she says that if Shoaib is “with any tanzeem (outfit)”, he should be “sent home”. The video shows her saying, “I will consume poison if he does not return. I have no one else other than him (Shoaib).”

A photo of Shoaib carrying an automatic rifle has been circulated widely on social media.

Alpine institute director Chauhan said that Shoaib took admission in 2016 and was a “good student”. Chauhan said, “He was never involved in any mischief or fights. He completed four semesters of BSc (IT) in May 2018 and never failed any exam.”

But with the fifth semester set to begin in mid-July, Shoaib did not return to Dehradun, Chauhan said. “We sent a letter to his mother in Kashmir, informing about his absence from college. He did not return to the college until September 19.”

According to Chauhan, Shoaib left on September 20 stating that he needed to travel to Kashmir to visit his ailing mother and did not attend any classes either on September 19 or 20.

His uncle Abdul Khaliq said, “Shoaib was home for more than a month before he left for college on September 12. He last called home on September 20 and spoke to his mother, who was unwell. We were not aware that he had left college for Kashmir the same day.”

He said Shoaib’s father, a militant, died in 1995.

Full report at:




26/11 accused continue to enjoy Pakistan patronage

Oct 10, 2018

Shishir Gupta

On October 5, the Narendra Modi government strongly protested the sharing of stage by Pakistan federal religious affairs minister Noor-ul-Qadri with Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed in Islamabad.

“Such endorsement of a UN designated and internationally proscribed terrorist, who is the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack of 26 November, 2008, is in blatant violation of provisions of sanctions regime under UN Security Council Resolution 1267; a further step in its continued breach of its obligations under the sanctions regime; and also breach of Pakistan’s bilateral commitment not to support terrorism against India in any form. Government of India once again calls upon Pakistan to fulfill by its international obligations and abide by its bilateral commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism.”

Still, a decade after the terror attack that killed 174 Indians, Americans, Britons, and Israelis, there’s little to show that Pakistan has acted against the masterminds; the actual attack was carried out by 10 terrorists from Karachi. Nine of them were killed in the hostilities; the sole surviving one, Ajmal Kasab, was captured, and executed after due trial on November 21, 2012.

Saeed remains the most visible among the perpetrators (as evident from his September 30 appearance with the minister) but he isn’t the only one who is active. His chief operation planner Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi met Lashkar cadres on military training centres in Gujranwala on June 2 while on bail and his external operations commander Sajjid Mir continues to operate under the identity of Arshad Awan from Faisalabad after facial surgery post 26/11. While Saeed, who has a $10 million bounty on his head since April 2012, conceptualized and planned the 26/11 attack with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Lakhvi and Mir brutally executed the massacre by directing the gunmen on mobile phones, whose Indian SIM cards were arranged by Omani national Ali Abdul Aziz Al-Hooti. It was Hooti who procured the five SIM cards through his two Kashmiri contacts while he was in Mumbai from November 9-16, 2008.

Full report at:




In riot-hit UP village, man on a mission to bring Muslims back

Oct 9, 2018

Sanjeev Pradhan has a dream. He wants every Muslim family that was forced to leave his village Dulheda in UP’s Muzaffarnagar district to now return home. Of the 65-odd Muslim families in Dulheda — situated in the Shahpur region of Muzaffarnagar — that fled after the deadly riots that shook the area in August and September 2013, Pradhan has persuaded around 30 to return.

Pradhan’s efforts resonate more in the restive region because the 42- year-old had helped save several Muslim families during the riots by not only giving them shelter in his home but also ferociously guarding them at the places where they had taken refuge.

Afsana Begum, who came back to the village after more than four years, recalls, “I remember how he and his men guarded our mosque. He wouldn’t let anyone touch it. He protected us with his life. If he says we should come back, I will trust him without thinking twice.” On his part, Pradhan says he judges people on the basis of their character, not religion. “Mussalman kharab hai? Ya Hindu kharab hai? Insaan kharab hai (Is the Muslim bad, or is the Hindu bad? I will say it is the person who is bad). We need to fight and hope for change. I am only doing that,” he says.

Sticking to his conviction has not been easy though. Pradhan, a former village head, had to incur criticism of the members of his Jat community (who make up most of the population of the village) for “being an obstacle when an opportunity had come for ridding the village of Muslim influence forever.”

Nawab Singh, one of his supporters, says, “Sanjeev Pradhan lost the village head elections in 2015 and one of the primary reasons was his act of saving minority members’ lives in the riots. Some of the Hindus had even started greeting him with Salam-Alaikum in a sarcastic manner, claiming he was now almost a Muslim.”

Looking back, Pradhan says he wouldn’t have done a thing differently. “I vividly remember the day — September 8, 2013. We could hear gunshots in the distance and, later, it became quite evident that the carnage had begun. Since most of the minority families and the lone mosque was near my house on the southern end of the village, we had started guarding their homes ever since the first murders were reported on August 27 in Kawal village, which triggered the riots.”

Located just a kilometre away from Kutba, the village that witnessed the killing of eight Muslims, Dulheda, too, could not remain untouched by the violence that erupted, which eventually led to 62 deaths and the displacement of over 50,000 people from Muzaffarnagar district. However, Pradhan and his supporters unflinchingly resisted all attempts by people from neighbouring villages to stoke communal fires in their village.

Bala Bano, a resident who returned to the village at Pradhan’s insistence, recalls those terrifying days. “We were full of fear and uncertainty. If Pradhan hadn’t been there, we would not have survived. When the situation started to deteriorate in the first week of September (2013), he called up our menfolk who were out of the village to immediately return and took us to the safety of his house, which was being guarded by his men. Even at night, he used to sit outside and keep vigil himself. We owe our lives to him.”

Afsana remembers how Pradhan arranged for more than 300 Muslims to be escorted to the Palhera and Shahpur relief camps.

“He wanted to come with us himself to the relief camps but we told him that could jeopardise his own safety. He, therefore, organised buggies to transport us to the camps. I remember we were extremely scared but his supporters, all Jats wielding arms, walked by our side throughout the way and ensured that nobody was harmed.”

After the Muslim families had moved to the shelters, Pradhan made sure that their cattle were taken care of and their houses protected. Sajid Ahmad, one of those who returned after staying in a relief camp for some time, says, “Muslim families in the village do not have big landholdings and mostly depend on cattle rearing. So, it was a big relief when we came back to find that our cattle were safe.”

Full report at:






PM wants NAB not to harass civil servants

Syed Irfan Raza

October 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday asked civil servants to improve their performance being the ‘backbone’ of the state and said that the bureaucracy should not be harassed by anti-corruption watchdogs.

Addressing a delegation of participants in 109th National Management Course from the National School of Public Policy, Mr Khan said: “I have also asked National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal that his organisation should avoid undue harassment of civil servants so that they can serve the country without any fear and mental stress.”

He said the government’s policy of de-politicisation of institutions, meritocracy and transparency offered a great opportunity to bureaucracy to improve its performance and play its due role in translating political vision into reality. “Being backbone of the state, bureaucracy has a huge responsibility to deliver and come up to the expectations of the nation,” he added.

A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister said NAB should carry out its operations but not affect mega development projects and investment. Mr Khan said the government recently got vacated state properties/land from illegal occupation worth billions of rupees, but now bureaucrats were afraid of giving approval for other utilisation of the vacated land.

Highlighting the country’s huge potential in the form of human capital, mineral wealth, strategic location and other resources, the prime minister underscored the need for better management of available resources, improving service delivery, and most importantly, a commitment and passion to serve the nation to the best of one’s abilities.

Discussing the current economic situation and various other challenges faced by the country, PM Khan said the government was focusing on stabilisation measures and undertaking institutional reforms aimed at improving vital sectors such as education, health and governance.

During the meeting, a participant asked why the government in its ‘mini-budget’ cut Rs10 billion grant allocated for overcoming the problem of stunted growth in the name of austerity measures, despite the fact the premier in his median speech had vowed to address the issue.

In response, the prime minister said the government had inherited worst financial crises and, therefore, such steps were taken. “But we will overcome the situation soon and will meet all our commitments.”

Talking about Pakistan-India relations, the prime minister said he believed in open borders, but now he had realised due to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy that why father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had presented the two-nation theory. “Modi only acts for the supremacy of Hindus and is trying to isolate Pakistan by all means,” he said.

Referring to Pakistan’s recent initiative to improve relations with the neighbouring country and their disappointing response, he said it was unfortunate that the Indian leadership failed to realise that the biggest challenge confronting this region was poverty alleviation by improving socio-economic condition of the people.

Christian delegation meets Imran

Later, a delegation of bishops from various churches of Pakistan called on the prime minister and assured him that the Christian community would support him in translating his vision for equality into reality.

During the meeting, Mr Khan said the Constitution provided equal rights to all citizens irrespective of cast, colour or creed and the government would continue to protect rights of the minorities and ensure equal opportunities to participate in national life.

He acknowledged and appreciated the services of non-Muslim communities, especially the Christian community, in various fields including education, health and social welfare. The prime minister highlighted the need for promoting inter-faith harmony and working hand-in-hand for the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

The delegation apprised the prime minister of the issues concerning the Christian community and put forward suggestions to promote inter-faith harmony.

The delegation comprised Bishop Irfan Jamil (Lahore), Bishop Alwin Samuel (Sialkot), Arch Bishop Arshad Joseph (Islamabad), Arch Bishop Sebastian Shah (Lahore), Dr Qaiser Tulles (Lahore), Dr Liaqat Qaiser (Lahore), Bishop Leo Paul (Multan), Pakistan Bible Society general secretary Anthony Lamuel, ex-director of Christian Study Centre Jennifer Jaq Jiwan, representative of Penticostal Churches Dr Jamil Nasir and Rubina Feroz.




US special envoy holds talks on Afghanistan with Pakistan officials

Oct 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Senior US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday held talks with Pakistani officials here to help bring the Taliban into negotiations in order to end the over 17-year war in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad, who is the US Special Representative for Afghan reconciliation, arrived from Afghanistan where he had discussions with the top leadership over the issue of peace in the war-torn country.

Pakistan's foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said in a series of tweets that Khalilzad held delegation-level talks with senior officials led by Pakistan foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua.

The US delegation led my Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad , US Special Reprsentaive on the Afghan Reconciliation paid a… https://t.co/x206cGUtcc

— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) 1539082754000

Khalilzad also met foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and discussed various bilateral and regional issues with focus on the Afghanistan unrest.

Zalmay Khalilzad calls on Foreign Minister in MOFA today https://t.co/HkbMelqlbG

— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) 1539073277000

Faisal said that Qureshi "reiterated Pakistan's efforts for achieving peace in Afghanistan".

The foreign minister said Pakistan will continue to play its role for a political solution to the Afghan conflict. He said Pakistan welcomes US efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

Afghan-origin Khalilzad served as a special envoy of President George W Bush following the fall of the Taliban government in 2001. He also served as US ambassador to Afghanistan.

Full report at:




US envoy on Afghan peace takes his mission to Pakistan

Oct 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Washington's newly named point man tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan's 17-year war is in Pakistan to seek help from the new government in Islamabad in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the US Embassy said Tuesday.

A former US ambassador in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan from neighboring Afghanistan. His tour of the region will also include Middle East stops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In Afghanistan, he met with President Ashraf Ghani, a long-time friend.

Khalilzad, who was also born in Afghanistan, first served in Kabul as a special envoy of President George W Bush following the 2001 ouster of  the Taliban, and then later as Washington's ambassador.

But Khalilzad has had a prickly relationship with Pakistan and has often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban. He has even said the United States should declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

Washington and Kabul have both repeatedly accused Pakistan of providing safe havens for Taliban insurgents, a claim Islamabad has denied and countered with charges that its own insurgents have found sanctuary in Afghanistan.

Both neighbouring countries have been brutally targeted by militants. In Pakistan the perpetrators have most often been the region's Islamic State affiliate, as well as the Pakistani Taliban.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, the IS has been relentless in attacks, mostly targeting minority Shiites. The Afghan Taliban say they restrict their attacks to Afghan security forces but thousands of civilians have been killed in their attacks.

Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan has been a strident critic of Islamabad's previous participation in Washington's socalled war on terror.

However, he promised after winning the polls in July that his government would be "partners in peace." It is not clear what that would entail but Pakistan has supported Afghan President Ghani's peace overtures to the Taliban.

In Pakistan, Khalilzad was met by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, who led a delegation that included "security, defense and diplomatic officials," according to a tweet from the foreign office spokesman. There were no further details.

Pakistan's Afghan policy is largely seen as navigated by the military and its intelligence agency, known by its acronym, ISI.

Khalilzad's tour of the region, which was first announced by the State Department as a mission to coordinate and lead U.S.

efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, has been shrouded in secrecy.

One of his stops is Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office. In July, the Taliban said they met there with Alice Wells, Washington's then-top diplomat in the region.

Washington has neither denied nor confirmed the meeting though Wells was in Qatar at the time. It is not known whether there would be a similar meeting with Khalilzad on his visit.

Direct talks with the US have been a persistent demand of the Taliban, who accuse Ghani's government of being America's "puppets." The Taliban have refused so far to comment on Khalilzad's appointment.

The Afghan Taliban have condemned Afghanistan's parliamentary elections later this month and threatened more attacks on Afghan security forces.

In a statement on Monday, which was also released in English, the Taliban also urged Afghan candidates to withdraw their names from the ballot lists. They denounced the polls as an America-designed ploy to further US interests in Afghanistan and warned Afghan security forces that they would be targeted.

Full report at:




Curbing power theft through edicts: Clerics criticize Pakistani government move

By Mansoor Jafar

9 October 2018

The newly elected government in Pakistan has invited ire from religious quarters for a peculiar reason.

The government has suggested exemption of 400 units of electric power per month to mosques where prayer leaders issue edict declaring power theft as forbidden [haram] in Islam and run a campaign in Friday sermons against power theft.

The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has come out with the novel idea to rid the country of the problem of power pilferage, which is particularly rife in the insurgency-hit tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and the rural areas in the other three provinces, causing huge revenue losses.

Though the offer is not yet implemented, it has drawn strong criticism especially from Islamic scholars who dubbed it an “open bribe” to prayer leaders.

“It is shameful that the government which came to power chanting slogans of making the country run like state of Medina, is now offering bribe to Ulema for petty causes which could have been resolved through technical means and improving management,” said Mufti Mohammad Naeem, head of Jamia Binnoria.

Dr. Allama Mufti Raghib Hussain Naeemi, member of Council of Islamic Ideology and head of Jamia Naeemia Lahore, said: “Rulers must stop dragging Ulema for achieving political and administrative aims. Crimes can’t be controlled through edicts.”

He was of the view that the menace of terrorism did not stop despite Islamic scholars using their platform to issue edicts against it.

Clumsy copy

Another noted scholar, Maulana Asim Makhdoom, accused the government of “trying to clumsily copy the example of grand Indian seminary of Deoband which issued an edict few years back declaring power theft forbidden in Islam, but the move failed to stop power theft.”

He advised the government to go ahead with the already considered plans of installing pre-paid meters and replacing old wires with cables to check power pilferage.

Despite having an experienced team, the government has displayed extreme ignorance and disregard for religious feelings of the population whose overwhelming majority is Muslim.

The government was embarrassed in only its second week in power when a London-based Qadiyani’s inclusion as member of Economic Advisory Council drew strong criticism from religious scholars, forcing the prime minister to cancel his appointment.

Qadiyanis were declared non-Muslim by a unanimous legislation of parliament in 1974. In the past, heavily funded campaigns for population control also failed to give desire results in Pakistan because of fierce opposition from religious quarters who considered it against Islamic teachings.

With less than two months in the office, the government of cricketer-turned-philanthropist-turned politician, Imran Khan, has already received loads of criticism for a number of non-serious and half-baked steps under the banner of anti-corruption campaign and austerity drive to support the economy.

The steps included auctioning of eight buffaloes kept in Prime Minister House by previous regime for milk and dairy needs, auction of 61 luxury cars out of a fleet of 102 vehicles, and opening for general public’s sight-seeing the Governor’s Houses in all four provinces which date back to British colonists’ era.

The moves were considered embarrassing for the government, which includes vastly experienced members who have served with previous regimes of General [retired] Pervez Musharraf, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif over the last two decades.

The move also failed to serve the purpose of revenue generation and austerity. Opposition parties mocked the government for the hasty auction of buffaloes, which fetched a price far less than market. Similarly, only those luxury vehicles having market demand were sold out while the rest needing repairs were left behind.

Full report at:




Opposition assails govt for seeking IMF assistance

Amir Wasim

October 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Two main opposition parties — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — on Tuesday lashed out at the government for seeking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on tougher conditions and an unprecedented hike in the foreign currency rates against the rupee.

The leaders of the two parties, which ruled the country in the last decade, warned that the country was heading towards a major disaster “due to incompetence of the rulers” who, according to them, lacked economic vision and had no clue at all about the economy.

PPP senator Raza Rabbani said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had taken another U-turn by deciding to approach the IMF.

He said Finance Minister Asad Umar had given an undertaking on the floor of the National Assembly and the Senate that if such a decision was taken it would first be debated in parliament, but this was not done.

“These actions of the government are condemnable,” he said.

Mr Rabbani said the shortsighted economic policies of the government had put the working classes and the masses under heavy taxation and a sharp rise in all utility bills and in the price of CNG (compressed natural gas). The exchange rate, he said, had taken the dollar and the UK Pound to a new height only a day after the stock exchange came crumbling down.

“It is unfortunate that during the visit of the IMF team, when preliminary negotiations were taking place, on a query raised in the Senate the government again misled parliament that no such decision is in the offing,” the PPP senator regretted.

“The government has already raised the prices of gas by 140 per cent and CNG which is touching Rs100 — higher than petrol for the first time in history. This escalation in prices has created a situation where the backbone of the working class and the middle class has been broken,” he added.

The PPP senator said the IMF team in its report had suggested that there should be a further increase in the prices of oil, gas and petrol, and obviously this would be part of the conditionalities attached to the bailout package.

“The IMF team has also suggested privatisation of public utilities which will entail a retrenchment of industrial labour, which is unacceptable,” he declared.

A spokesman for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, in a statement, said the PTI government had pushed the country towards several crises. He said the prime minister after the failure of donation drive had started a move for price hike and loan from international donor agencies.

“The rulers are totally ignorant of economy and due to their incompetency the country and the people are suffering,” he added.

Speaking at a news conference at National Press Club, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the increase in the dollar rate a “well-conceived conspiracy” to provide benefit to “a particular group of investors”.

“To which investors you want to provide benefit with the increase in dollar price? It will be better if Finance Minister Asad Umar discloses the names himself, otherwise I will do it,” she said.

Recalling that PTI chief Imran Khan in the past had announced that he would commit suicide before seeking assistance from the IMF, she asked the prime minister to apologise to the nation, instead of seeking bailout package from the IMF.

“The PTI promises paradise to the people and put them in the hellfire of price-hike,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb alleged that the present government had no plan to provide relief to the masses and run the affairs of the state. She claimed that it was during the PML-N government that the Pakistan Railways witnessed a massive uplift and an increase in the number of passengers.

The PML-N spokesperson, who had served as information minister in the previous government, asked the government to tell the nation about the conditions attached to the IMF package. She said that in the first 50 days of the government, inflation had reached the highest level and stock market investors had lost billions of rupees.

Ms Aurangzeb also lashed out at the PTI government for carrying out “political victimisation” of the opposition and arresting her party president Shahbaz Sharif, claiming that Mr Sharif had been arrested in a project that had never been initiated and not a single rupee had been spent on it.

She was of the view that the criteria which the government had set for the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak should also be arrested as inquiries against them were also pending in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). She said the PML-N could not be browbeaten by the threats being hurled by the prime minister.

Ms Aurangzeb asked Mr Khan to declare the assets of his sister and other party leaders, including Aleem Khan, Zulfi Bokhari and Chaudhry Sarwar, and announce the date for auctioning of the assets, if he believed in accountability.

Full report at:




Nawaz slams ‘political victimisation’ disguised as accountability

Malik Asad

October 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Former premier Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no authority to make statements regarding arrest of his opponents, and termed the recent arrest of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif ‘political victimisation’ in the name of accountability.

In a brief interaction with reporters after appearing before an accountability court in the Al-Azizia reference, the ousted prime minister said Shahbaz Sharif in his capacity as chief minister had worked day and night to uplift the less developed districts even in far-flung central and southern Punjab.

The PML-N supremo said the company that the Punjab government had rejected to execute the Metro Bus project was given a contract by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and this needed to be probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

In response to Prime Minister Khan’s recent remarks about not sparing the corrupt people, Mr Sharif wondered: “Who has given him (Khan) authority to utter such words that he will arrest 50 people? Do such claims suit the government?”

The government, he added, was politically victimising the opponents in the name of accountability.

In response to a question, Mr Sharif said there was a dire need to revisit and overhaul NAB laws, as well as ‘black’ laws promulgated by former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. He said the PML-N had set a good tradition as it did not use the draconian laws promulgated by the dictators against anyone and promoted a tolerance-based political culture.

According to him, the current economic turmoil was due to targeted operations by the government against the opposition. Such intolerance, he said, had destabilised the country that led to the downfall of stocks and devaluation of the rupee.

Al-Azizia reference

The prosecution in the Al-Azizia reference informed the accountability court that he had neither written any letter to Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani nor sought permission from the competent authority to record his statement.

Full report at:




Policeman’s killing case registered under terror law

October 10, 2018

KARACHI: The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Tuesday lodged an FIR regarding killing of a policeman, who was gunned down in what investigators described as a suspected targeted attack in New Karachi on Monday.

An official said that the FIR was lodged under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 against unknown attackers.

“Police are investigating the murder case from three different angles. It was not a mugging attempt for sure. Therefore we are focusing more on terror and sectarian aspects,” said CTD official Raja Umar Khattab.

Monday’s killing was the second such incident to take place in Karachi in a short span of around one week.

Constable Syed Ahmed Abbas, 42, was posted at the New Karachi police station. On Monday afternoon, armed motorcyclists targeted him when he reached his home in Sector 11-D near Imambargah Karwan-i-Hyderi in a rickshaw along with his father.

Earlier on Oct 3, a traffic police official was gunned down at Karachi’s Matka Chowk by unidentified assailants.

An official privy to the details of the initial probe said that the immediate findings suggested the same pattern of killings adopted by banned outfits in the past.

“For instance, it emerges that a new .30-bore pistol was used for the killing which was not used before in any criminal activity,” he said. “Similarly, the killers were well aware of the routine and travelling route of the victim which suggested that they were following him for quite some time before hitting him point blank.”

Full report at:




Opp to protest against Shehbaz’s arrest outside Parliament House on Thursday

Oct 10, 2018

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has announced that opposition lawmakers will join the PML-N in a protest outside the Parliament House on Thursday afternoon as the government failed to honour their request for calling a National Assembly session to debate the ‘unjustified arrest’ of Shehbaz Sharif the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On Monday, the PML-N central executive committee had decided to launch a protest movement against what it termed political victimisation of opponents by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led coalition government.

On Tuesday, the call for the protest was given by former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq, saying the gathering will be held on Thursday, October 11 at 3 pm at Gate No. 1 of the Parliament House.

However, so far no date has been set for the NA session.

Full report at:




NCHR voices concern over Punjab police’s human rights violations

Oct 10, 2018

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Chairman Ali Nawaz Chohan on Tuesday voiced reservations and dismay over Punjab police’s performance.

He expressed this while hearing a plea of a father, Jalal, whose young son, 22-year-old Tariq, was killed by the police in an alleged encounter.

He said that the police’s attitude is worrisome, especially in terms of human rights violations committed under the thin disguise of police encounters.

Jalal, on this occasion, said, “My son was picked up from his house by authorities in the night and kept for three days and then his body was handed over to the family.”

He claimed that a feudal lord had conspired to murder his son to take revenge after members of Jalal’s family disobeyed him, causing humiliation to him.

Jalal said his family members work hard to earn a livelihood and lamented that he would be treated like a slave by the feudal lord.

“My son paid the highest price for never allowing himself to bow down before anyone,” he added.

Jalal said the incident took place almost three years ago but still the family was being threatened by Khosa for pursuing the case. The police also did not cooperate and instead harassed the victim’s family, he added.

The complainant said when the family protested against this, officials in power registered fake cases against them, as well as, subjected them to torture to muzzle their voice.

“I was detained in police station and tortured for three days for leading the protest with Tariq’s body,” Bilal, Tariq’s uncle claimed.

Full report at:




Afghan court convicts two army officers for allegedly spying for ISI

Oct 10, 2018

An Afghan court on Tuesday convicted two officers belonging to its 201 Selab Military Corps in eastern Nangarhar province against allegations of spying for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), sentencing them to 20 years in prison, a foreign media outlet reported.

The court said that there was sufficient proof that Colonel Shah Mahmoud and Captain Nazir Ahmad were spies for ISI.

According to the court, Mahmoud was commander of a battalion of the second regiment of the military corps and Nazirullah was commander of a battalion squadron in the province.

“Based on article 158 of the Penal Code, you are sentenced to 20 years imprisonment,” Judge Mujiburrahman Nadim said while passing sentence.

“Colonel Shah Mahmoud and Captain Nazirullah took off from their unit and using the opportunity went to Pakistan. In Peshawar city, they met with ISI agents,” Noor Mohammad Saqib, the state prosecutor said.

Footage presented in court showed the two men confessing to having spied for ISI.

The two officers denied the charges against them and said they had not been spies for the ISI.

Full report at:




Qureshi assures Khalilzad of Pakistan’s cooperation in fostering Afghan peace

Oct 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday assured US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad that Pakistan will continue to play its role in finding a political solution to the Afghan issue.

Khalilzad — Washington’s newly named point man tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war — arrived in Islamabad to seek the help of the new PTI-led government in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table.

During the meeting with the US diplomat, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan welcomes the US efforts for establishing peace in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan will continue playing its role to find a political solution to the Afghan issue,” Qureshi told Khalilzad .

Both the leaders agreed to continue cooperation on Afghan reconciliation process.

Earlier in the day, delegation level talks were held between the Pakistani and the US officials at the Foreign Office. The Pakistani side was led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and the US side by Khalilzad.

The delegations from both sides comprised security, defence and diplomatic officials.

Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on a tour of the region that will also include Middle Eastern stops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The trip was announced in a US Embassy statement Tuesday.

The State Department had earlier announced that Khalilzad’s mission is to coordinate and lead US efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. He began his tour October 4.

His mission comes against the backdrop of a Taliban statement issued Monday condemning parliamentary elections later this month and threatening more attacks on Afghan security forces.

Khalilzad and Qureshi had earlier met in New York where the latter had told the United States’ new adviser on Kabul that Pakistan believes peace in Afghanistan is directly and positively related to long-lasting stability in Islamabad.

Qureshi had also reiterated Pakistan’s pledge for supporting peace in Afghanistan, to which Khalilzad responded by saying he, too, wishes to work with Islamabad for the joint goal of stability.

Khalilzad, who was also born in Afghanistan, first served in Kabul as a special envoy of President George W Bush following the 2001 ouster of the Taliban and then as Washington’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

But, Khalilzad has a prickly relationship with Pakistan, having often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.

Foreign Minister Qureshi on Wednesday had urged the Trump administration’s new envoy to be more sensitive to Pakistani opinion than he has been as a private citizen.

“He’s been given a new role, and I hope, I would urge him to be more sensitive to opinion in Pakistan,” Qureshi had told the US Institute of Peace, a Washington think tank.

Qureshi had pointed out that there had been a negative reaction in the Pakistani press to the appointment because Khalilzad “has made statements in the past which have not been, to be put it mildly, very friendly to Pakistan”.

Full report at:




Southeast Asia


Minister: Oktoberfest? Yes, if held in controlled area, no Muslims attending

09 October 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The annual beer festival Oktoberfest can be held as long as organisers apply for a permit with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and adhere to the guidelines set by the local council.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said the guidelines include holding the function in a controlled area and to ensure that Muslims do not attend the festival.

“If they want to organise the event, they must make an application first. And if they have made an application, then they would need to abide by the set guidelines.

“But first and foremost, we will first verify any news of such events to be held. We will meet with the operators and verify whether it is true,” he told a press conference when asked about two separate beer festivals to be held in Kepong and another at the Mid Valley Megamall here.

Meanwhile, new Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said DBKL had yet to receive any Oktoberfest-related applications.

“We will ensure that any organisers that want to hold the event must apply for a permit, even shops.

“So far, we have not received any applications in conjunction with the festival,” he said.

Last September, the annual Better Beer Festival, which had been held for five consecutive years, was cancelled after DBKL rejected the organisers’ application to hold the event, which would have been Malaysia’s largest craft beer festival.




Case management for Khalid Samad’s suit against GMIM president Oct 30

09 October 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The High Court has set October 30 for case management of the defamation suit filed by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad against Gerakan Muslimah Islam Malaysia (GMIM) president Wan Asshima Kamaruddin over the woman’s action of recording, uploading and/or publishing a video containing words which allegedly defamed him.

Khalid’s lawyer Nurilya Ellyna Nor Azmal said this to reporters after the case was mentioned before Deputy Registrar Rumaizah Baharom today.

Khalid, who is also Shah Alam MP and Parti Amanah Negara communication director, filed the suit at the High Court here on September 13 through Messrs Mohamed Hanipa & Associates, naming Wan Asshima as the sole defendant.

According to his statement of claims, Khalid claimed that the defendant had, on August 18, purposely recorded, uploaded and/or published a video onto her Facebook page, containing defamatory words against him, with his name and position specifically mentioned.

He said the words used easily meant that he, as the federal territories minister, had recognised and acknowledged the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group in Malaysia, and had uplifted and protected the rights of the group by approving the largest gay party in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with the Merdeka month.

Khalid claimed that the video also accused him, in his capacity as a minister, party leader and individual, of having violated not only the human rights of Muslims, but also the Islamic laws and teachings, while at the same time, insulted Islam and Muslims.

He said the defamatory words had caused him to suffer a major embarrassment in terms of dignity, credibility, character and reputation, while being humiliated, criticised, ridiculed and condemned by the society.

He is seeking damages and an order for the defendant to publish an apology in a video on her Facebook page and also on two Malay newspapers, namely Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

Full report at:




China’s Urumqi takes aim at ‘extremist’ religious practices

October 10, 2018

SHANGHAI, Oct 10 : Urumqi, capital of the largely Muslim Chinese region of Xinjiang, will crack down on activities that blur the boundary between religion and secular life and encourage “extremism,” the local government said.

During a meeting on Monday, local Communist leaders said they would also require government officials and party members to firmly believe in Marxism-Leninism and speak standard Mandarin Chinese in public, according to a notice posted on the official Wechat account of the Urumqi procuratorate.

China has been subject to heavy criticism from rights groups and foreign governments amid reports of a punitive crackdown that has seen the detention of as many as 1 million mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.

But Beijing has denied accusations that it is systematically violating the rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims, saying it is only cracking down on extremism and “splittism” in the region.

Urumqi is currently taking action against the so-called “pan-Halal tendency,” a name given to the demands by Muslims that products such as milk or toothpaste comply with Islamic rituals.

The official Global Times said on Wednesday that the “demand that things be halal which cannot really be halal” were fueling hostility toward religion and allowing Islam to penetrate secular life.

Chinese citizens are theoretically free to practice any religion, but they have been subject to increasing levels of surveillance as the government tries to bring religious worship under stricter state control.

Full report at:




Arab World


Largest Mass Grave in Raqqa Includes over 1,500 Bodies of Victims

Oct 09, 2018

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, RT, reported that the largest mass grave of civilians is in Panorama in Raqqa city with over 1,500 bodies of victims killed in the US air raids or in the Washington-backed militants' attacks when the city was under ISIL's rule.

In the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that Raqqa Civil Team has thus far discovered 11 mass graves, adding that excavations have completed in 8 mass graves.

Also, the remains of the victims of the US air raids are being taken out from under the ruined buildings' debris is in the city.

Last week, the Arabic-language website of RT quoted Commander of Raqqa Civil Council Team Yaser al-Khamis as reporting that four mass graves, including 2,800 bodies of civilians, have been unearthed in Raqqa city.

In the meantime, a media activist reported that the bodies of a sum of 50 victims of US airstrikes were unearthed in al-Jamili, Hawar School, al-Amasi, al-Badou and Tejari 2 districts in Raqqa city in the last week.




Senior Terrorist Commander Killed by Unidentified Attackers in Northwestern Syria

Oct 09, 2018

Abu Mas'ab al-Dayeri, a notorious field commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was killed after unknown raiders opened fire at him along a road between Darkoush and Azmarin regions in Western Idlib.

In the meantime, local sources in Southern Idlib reported that Tahrir al-Sham has started arresting people in the small town of Oweid in Jabal al-Zaviyah region, injuring a number of civilians while shooting around.

On Monday, Abu Mojahid, a senior Chechen security commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was killed in a bomb attack near the small town of Darkoush in Northwestern Idlib.

In the meantime, a number of Chechen and Turkistani terrorists of Tahrir al-Sham were killed after a bomb went off in their vehicle in the small town of Zarzour in Jisr al-Shughour in Western Idlib.

Other sources in Northern Idlib reported that clashes are also underway between Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorists of Soqour al-Sham affiliated to the National Liberation Front in the town of Hazanou.

Full report at:




Syrian Army Uncovers Terrorists' Large Cache of Weapons in Eastern Dara'a

Oct 09, 2018

Al-Ikhbariya reported that the Syrian Arab Army seized the large weapons cache while combing through the towns that were previously controlled by the terrorists.

It further said that MLR missiles, several hellfire cannons, mortar shells, IEDs and ammunition boxes were among the weapons found in the large depot.




US Army Forwards More Military Equipment to SDF in Northeastern Syria

Oct 09, 2018

The Lebanese al-Manar TV Channel reported that the US-led collation sent a new convoy of military equipment, including vehicles, arms and ammunition from its bases in Iraq to the SDF regions in Northeastern Hasaka via the Simalka passageway.

In the meantime, sources in in Southern Hasaka reported that a number of SDF militias were killed or wounded in an attack by unknown raiders in the town of al-Shadadi.

The sources further said that the SDF has forced entire schools and institutions in Southern Hasaka to change their names into the SDF's killed militants.   

The London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported last month that the US-led coalition was setting up a military base in a region 3km away from al-Souseh region in Deir Ezzur province.

It added that the American forces also transferred one of their temporary bases to a region near Hajin in Deir Ezzur.

Full report at:




Turkish Army Resettles Over 200 Family Members of Terrorists in Northern Syria

Oct 09, 2018

Hawar news reported that the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants have forced the remaining pockets of local residents out of Mobata region in Afrin and settled over 200 family members of terrorists in their residential units.

Hawar news further reported that the Ankara forces continued suppressing popular uprisings in the region, adding that tens of residents of the village of Tal Salour and in Jandaris region are still homeless.

It went on to say that at least 75 civilians have been kidnapped by the Ankara forces in the village of Mobata, Jandarisah, Bolbolah and Shirawa in the last two weeks to blackmail their family members to pay a hefty amount of money for their release.  

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Saturday that governor of Turkey's Hatay called on Ankara-backed militants in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo to hand over the entire olive crops to the Turkish province.

In the meantime, Salah Ibo, the deputy head of Afrin Agriculture Department, said that Ankara intended to steal $100 mln of Afrin residents' agricultural products.

Also, Hawar news went on to say that terrorists of Ahrar al-Shamiyah and Tajamo'a Adl, both affiliated to the Turkish army, have started fierce clashes in the village of Qajomo in Jandaris region over distribution of looted olive products.

Full report at:




Turkey Setting up Large Military Base at Border Point with Syria's Lattakia

Oct 09, 2018

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that Turkey has started construction operation in Mount al-Aqra (Casius) to pave the way for building a very large military baes in the mount that is the highest point in the region, capable of overlooking Syria's Northern coastal region.

In the meantime, a Syrian military source said that Ankara has also started mulling to build a buffer wall on its soil along the border with Northern Lattakia, adding that Turkey has brought in tens of terrorists via Syrian borders to occupy Northern Lattakia.

The source went on to say that Turkey has set up a base for Turkistani, Azerbaijani and Chechen terrorists in the small town of Yaldha opposite the Kesab border-crossing in Northern Lattakia, adding that the terrorists have already participated in every offensive against the Syrian Army in the region. 

Local sources said in August that Ankara embarked on changing streets' names and numbers in the occupied town of Afrin under fresh attempts to annex the region to its soil.

The sources reported that Afrin Local City Council affiliated to the Ankara-backed Free Army embarked on renaming streets and squares in the town.

The sources said that some of the streets and squares were named after Turkish figures, adding that the names of streets were written in both Arabic and Turkish alphabets.

Full report at:




Lebanon’s Hariri says concessions made, hopes for govt formation soon

9 October 2018

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday all political sides had made concessions and he hoped a new government would be formed after President Michel Aoun returns from a trip abroad.

In the more than five months since a parliamentary election in May, politicians have been unable to agree a unity government that can get to work on badly needed economic reforms.

Lebanon, which has the world’s third largest public debt as a proportion of national output, faces an economic crisis if the political stalemate drags on, politicians have said.

“There are concessions from all sides, including the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM),” Hariri told reporters after a meeting of his Future Movement party.

“We hope for the formation of a government after the return of the president from Yerevan because the economic and social situation calls for a speedy government formation,” he said.

Aoun is expected to return from Armenia on Friday.

Rivalry between the two leading Christian parties - Aoun’s FPM, allied to Hezbollah, and the anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces (LF) - is widely seen as the main obstacle to a deal.

Hariri said his optimism that a government could be formed soon stemmed from a meeting he had with Aoun last Wednesday.

Hariri said on Thursday he believed the government would be formed within a week to 10 days because the economy could not tolerate further delay.

The formation of a new government would allow Lebanon to begin the substantial fiscal adjustment that the International Monetary Fund says it needs to improve its debt sustainability.

It would also likely unlock more than $11 billion worth of infrastructure investment pledged at a donors’ meeting in Paris in April.

Full report at:




Most heavy arms out of planned Syria buffer zone, monitor says

9 October 2018

Extremists and Turkish-backed militants have withdrawn most heavy weapons from territory around Syria’s last major opposition stronghold ahead of a Wednesday deadline, a monitor said.

The weapons pullback is the first major test of a truce deal brokered by government-backed Russia and opposition militants-backer Turkey last month to avoid what the United Nations warned would be the appalling humanitarian consequences of a major government offensive.

Under the agreement, all opposition groups have a Wednesday deadline to withdraw all their heavy weaponry from a 15- to 20-kilometre (nine- to 12-mile) buffer zone along the front line in Idlib province and adjacent areas of the northwest.

By next Monday, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch, and other militant factions must also withdraw their fighters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the heavy weapons pullout was near complete on Tuesday.

“The buffer zone is now almost empty of any heavy weapons on the eve of the expiry of the deadline,” its chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The pro-Ankara National Liberation Front said it finished pulling out its heavy weapons on Monday.

HTS and smaller extremist factions quietly began withdrawing theirs on Saturday in an operation that continued through Monday night, the Observatory said.

HTS, which controls more than half of Idlib, has not given any formal response to the September 17 truce deal.

But a source close to the group told AFP it had come under irresistible pressure to fall into line to avoid further hardship for its stronghold’s three million residents, many of whom have fled previous bloody government offensives on other parts of Syria.

“Everybody has been forced to agree to the initiative, though reluctantly, so that people can enjoy a bit of security and safety after long years of suffering from the savagery of the regime and its allies,” the source said.

The new buffer zone is to be patrolled by Turkish troops from the one side and Russian military police from the other.

The source said HTS was satisfied that the presence of the Turkish troops, whose numbers have been increased in recent weeks, would prevent any Russian-backed government offensive.

Full report at:




Role in Qaeda operatives’ release returns to haunt Qatar Attorney General

9 October 2018

Qatar’s Attorney General Ali bin Mohsen bin Fetais al-Marri continues to make headlines.

After reports of his financial corruption and accounts at the National Bank of Kuwait were exposed, his close relationship with two al-Qaeda leaders has returned to haunt him.

General Ali al-Marri managed to get them released from US prisons and ensured freedom of movement for them going against what was recommended in treaties.

The recent attention prompted by his financial scandals made the media leading to curiosity, which has brought to the fore many neglected stories such as this Washington Post article published in 2007.

This document revealed the Attorney General’s ties with his relative, Ali Saleh Kahla al-Marri, also known as Abdul Rahman al-Qatari.

Saleh al-Marri is not any ordinary mortal. He was arrested in December 2001 in the United States following the terrorist hunt after 9/11.

He admitted to being a very important member of al-Qaeda and that he had planned new attacks, including using chemical weapons.

In his personal computer, federal agents found records called “Jihad Arena or Jihad Stadium” containing information on hydrogen cyanide. During his arrest, more than 1,000 fake credit card numbers and forged identity documents were seized.

Before coming to the United States, Saleh al-Marri worked for more than 10 years as a senior officer at Qatar Islamic Bank and as a senior accountant for the Qatari government.

In addition, an investigation by the US authorities proved that Saleh had been in contact with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. He was finally released in 2015 after 13 years in detention.

Relative connection

Here comes the role of Qatar’s Attorney General Ali bin Mohsen bin Fetais al-Marri. In fact, the decision to release a relative was not an American decision, but it took place after behind the scenes diplomatic action and after lengthy negotiations conducted by a “close friend” of the Attorney General.

According to reports in the American media, Bin Fetais used all his contacts so that his relative can be released. As a last resort, thanks to this assistance, a prominent al-Qaeda member was exchanged against US citizens (a couple) who were arbitrarily detained in Doha. What justified such an exchange isn’t yet known?

Equally surprising is the fact that when he arrived in Doha, in January 2015, Saleh al-Marri received a “hero’s welcome” by the Qatari authorities. He even received a phone call from the Qatari prime minister.

Former Qatari anchor and current board member of Al-Jazeera, Elham Badr, congratulated Saleh al-Marri on Twitter on the return of al-Qaeda member.

The Attorney-General also played an active role in the release of Jarallah Saleh Mohammed Kahla al-Marri in 2008.

He is the younger brother of Saleh al-Yazid, who was arrested at Guantanamo after being caught at an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.

The Attorney-General succeeded in deporting him to Qatar on the condition that Jarallah does not leave Qatar forever. However, in violation of this agreement with the United States, Jarallah traveled and the Qataris did not inform their American counterparts.

According to a confidential memo from the US ambassador in Doha, unveiled by WikiLeaks, there was US resentment over Qatari non-compliance with the agreements reached regarding the conditions related to the release of Jarallah.

Full report at:




Missing Saudi journalist killed on order of Riyadh regime, Turkish officials say

Oct 10, 2018

High-profile Turkish security officials have concluded that prominent Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul last week, was assassinated in the diplomatic mission on orders from the highest levels of the Riyadh regime.

A Turkish official told the New York Times on the condition of anonymity that a team of Saudi agents killed the 59-year-old writer within two hours of his arrival at the consulate, and then dismembered his body with a bone saw they had brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official commented.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said officials from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul must “prove” that Khashoggi made exit from the mission.

“The Saudi consulate officials in Istanbul can't get away with [simply] saying 'he left the building.’ The claimants are obligated to prove their claims. If he left the building, then you need to prove it,” the Turkish leader said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest.

Major American daily newspaper the Washington Post printed a blank column in solidarity with the renowned journalist on Friday.

The daily’s editorial board also called on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ensure the journalist “is free and able to continue his work.”

“His criticism, voiced over the past year, most surely rankles Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to crown prince last year and has carried out a wide-ranging campaign to silence dissent while trying to modernize the kingdom,” the Post editorial read.

It added, “Among those in his prisons for political speech are clerics, bloggers, journalists and activists. He imprisoned women who agitated for the right to drive, a right that was granted even as they were punished.”

Bin Salman said late on Friday that he was ready to allow Turkey to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for the missing journalist.

“The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. We have nothing to hide,” he said in an interview with English-language Bloomberg news network.

The Saudi crown prince added that Khashoggi had left the building not long after he entered.

Asked if Khashoggi faces charges in Saudi Arabia, Bin Salman said it was first important to discover where he was.

Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz said he entered the consulate at around 1 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on October 2, as she accompanied him but waited outside.

The unnamed woman, who is a Turkish citizen, called police when Khashoggi did not emerge at 5 p.m., after the consulate had officially closed.

The rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that it did not dismiss the possibility that Khashoggi's sudden disappearance was an attempt to silence the writer.

The Arab21 news website reported that the author paid a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, but was told by officials at the time to return at a later date to complete an application related to a family matter.

Full report at:




Religious leaders gather in Karbala to denounce spread of sectarian propaganda

Oct 9, 2018

Religious leaders from around the world have met in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala to speak out against religious extremism and the spread of sectarian propaganda by the Western media.

Scholars, journalists and politicians attended the Fifth Tarateel Sajjadiya International Festival, organized by Imam Hussain Holy Shrine from October 5 to 7. The festival aimed at providing a platform for hearing anti-extremism voices, Press TV reports.  Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Karbalai, the representative of Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, which included several plenary sessions.

He talked about the success of Iraqi forces in the fight against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group and how Iraqis of all sects fought side by side against the terror outfit.

“As the Shia gave blood against Daesh, so did the Sunni,” said Sheikh Karbalai, adding, “We have been fighting Daesh since day one. All Iraqis stood together to fight, so we could all achieve victory together.”

Not long after Daesh overran Iraq in 2014, Grand Ayatollah Sistani issued a religious decree, calling on the Iraqi people to “defend the country, the honor of its citizens, and its sacred places.”

The ruling, known as a fatwa, led to the formation of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Forces, also known by their Arabic name the Hashd al-Sha’abi.

The Hashd al-Sha’abi recruited thousands of Iraqis from all sects and religious groups to support the Iraqi army in its fight against Daesh and to liberate captured cities from the grips of the Takfiri group.

Sheikh Karbalai also stressed that scholars must “fight the international media” that seek to divide the Muslim community.

Many Western media giants have regularly referred to the Hashd al-Sha'abi as a Shia militia group.

Another key speaker was Mohammad al-Nuri, a senior Sunni sheikh from the Iraqi city of Fallujah. He passionately defended the Hashd al-Sha'abi and lambasted the Western mainstream media’s lies about the nature of Iraq’s war against Daesh.

“The sectarian narrative is a lie,” he said, adding, “And whoever says Iraqis are sectarian is a liar.”

He went on to say that “the sons of Karbala (a Shia majority city) mixed with the blood of sons from Fallujah (a Sunni majority city). Victory happened because of this blood that we all gave.”

Fallujah was captured by Daesh in 2014 but was later liberated by a joint military operation by the Iraqi army and the Hashd al-Sha’abi.

Sheikh al-Nuri himself fought as a fighter for the Hashd al-Sha’abi during a battle that led to the liberation of his home city Fallujah.

“We gave 300 martyrs in the fight to liberate my city,” he added.

The conference organizers also hoped to educate the attendees about the written evidence which proves Islam is a religion of peace, centering on the Treatise of Rights, written by the fourth Shia Imam and great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Ali ibn Hussain Zayn al-Abidin.

Pearl Emmanuel, an adviser at the French Prime Ministry, also delivered a speech, saying that the rules of the Treatise of Rights correspond with some of the pacts of the United Nations.

Emmanuel also said that religious writings combat violence, noting that rules written as part of the Treatise of Rights ordain that religious minorities must be respected. He also called for religious tolerance.

Full report at:




Syrian President Assad grants amnesty to army deserters, draft dodgers

Oct 9, 2018

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has signed a decree, granting amnesty to those who have either deserted the army or avoided military service, and giving them several months to report for duty.

In the decree issued on his social media feeds on Tuesday, President Assad said the amnesty covered all punishments for desertion inside or outside Syria.

Men inside Syria will have four months to turn themselves in to authorities for investigations while those outside will have six months, according to the decree.

While the amnesty covers desertion, it does not cover fighting against the government or joining the terrorists.

“This decree does not include fugitives from justice unless they turn themselves in within 4 months for those inside the country and 6 months for those outside the country,” Syria’s SANA news agency reported.

Tens of thousands of Syrian men are wanted by the government for not serving in the military or deserting the army during the years-long war waged by terrorists.

Under Syrian military law, deserters could be jailed for years if they leave their posts and do not report for service within a set amount of time.

Full report at:




Egypt security forces kill 10 militants in ‘pre-emptive’ Sinai raid

October 09, 2018

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces killed 10 militants in a   “pre-emptive strike” against extremist strongholds in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday.

Police said they raided an abandoned farm near El-Arish after receiving intelligence that militants had taken shelter there and planned to carry out attacks.

All the militants were killed in the raid and police retrieved two machine guns, two cartridges, three improvised explosive devices and a large amount of ammunition.

The operation was part of an extended military campaign by Egypt against militants in Sinai and to secure the country’s  western and southern borders.

The offensive, which involves both police and army units, was launched in February by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after a series of attacks including a mosque bombing that killed more than 300 people.

Tuesday’s operation came after another on Oct. 1 with a raid on a training camp in El-Arish housing 15 terrorists, all of whom were killed in an exchange of fire.

Investigations revealed that the group was planning to carry out attacks related to the October 6 celebrations of Egypt’s victory over Israel in 1973.

“The conflict between Egypt and the terrorist organizations is not just a local conflict,” said Zakaria Salem, an expert in the fight against international terrorism.

He added that previously missions and raids were just in reaction to terrorist attacks, but now the security forces have moved onto pre-emptive strikes to prevent operations

Salem said this was down to the extent of the operation since February, which involves a lot of monitoring and reconnaissance.

On the importance of pre-emptive strikes, Major General Majdi Al-Bassiouni, a security expert, said the strikes launched by the police forces are also a strong indicator of the security sense of the Egyptian intelligence forces.

“Had it not been for investigations and information obtained by the police, raids of this level would not have been possible,” Al-Bassiouni said.

Full report at:






Over 8,000 Yemeni dialysis patients on verge of death: Health minister

Oct 9, 2018

Yemen's health minister has warned that more than eight thousand hemodialysis patients will lose their lives if the Saudi-imposed blockade on the country persists and medical supplies run out.

Dr. Taha al-Mutawakel told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network on Tuesday that patients with chronic kidney diseases have to undergo three sessions of treatment weekly, but the crippling siege has resulted in the scarcity of dialysis solutions.

“Over the past four months, patients with renal failure were in need of a million sessions of dialysis; but we could not cover more than ten thousand sessions as we were in dire need of relevant solutions,” he pointed out.

Mutawakel further noted that Yemeni medical officials are doing their best to prevent the collapse of the health system in the crisis-hit Arab country.

Also on Tuesday, scores of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi were killed and injured southwest of the al-Durayhimi district in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah, when Yemeni soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Committees repelled the former’s assault.

Elsewhere in the Nihm district of Sana’a province, an unspecified number of Saudi mercenaries were killed and injured when Yemeni troopers and their allies thwarted their offensive.

Yemeni forces shoot down three Saudi spy drones in Jizan

Yemeni air defense units shot down three Saudi reconnaissance drones in flight over a border area in the kingdom’s southwestern province of Jizan.

Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network, citing an unnamed military source, reported that the drones were shot down over the Wadi Jarrah area on Tuesday evening.

Yemeni army forces and Popular Committees fighters also managed to establish control over two observation outposts in the same Saudi region.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Ansarullah movement.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression.

More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian disaster.




Israeli troops arrest some 400 Palestinian civilians in September: Rights groups

Oct 9, 2018

Israeli military forces have reportedly arrested 378 Palestinians, including 10 women and 52 children, during separate operations across the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip in the month of September.

The Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoner Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Society and al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, in a joint statement released on Tuesday, announced that 104 Palestinians were detained in Jerusalem al-Quds last month, while 56 others were rounded up in Ramallah and Bireh.

Moreover, 73 citizens were arrested in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds, another 29 in the central West Bank city of Bethlehem, 30 in Nablus, 13 others in Tulkarm, 23 citizens in the northwestern West Bank city of Qalqilya, five in the northeastern West Bank city of Tubas, seven in the small city of Salfit and three in the eastern West Bank city of Ariha (Jericho).

A total of 16 citizens were arrested across the Gaza Strip as well.

The remaining Palestinians were arrested in different cities and towns throughout the West Bank.

The statement came on the same day that Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians, including siblings of a suspected assailant, during multiple overnight raids across the West Bank.

‘500 Palestinians in prison for social media posts’

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPC) says some 500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons and detention centers over their social media posts.

PPC spokesman Riyadh al-Ashqar said the Israel police cyber unit is closely monitoring Palestinians’ posts on social media networks, primarily Twitter and Facebook, and classifies post that glorifies Palestinian martyrs, discloses Israeli crimes, and supports resistance as incitement of terror.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been sentenced over the past three years to different jail terms on the ground of incitement on social media, Ashqar said.

Scores of others have been placed under house arrest and denied from using social media platforms, he noted.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails.

Full report at:




Netanyahu: Israel must continue Syria strikes despite S-300 delivery

9 October 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he told Russia’s vice premier in talks on Tuesday that Israel must continue to hit hostile targets in neighboring Syria, despite Moscow’s decision to equip Damascus with advanced air defense missiles.

Netanyahu said at a press conference that he told Maxim Akimov in talks in Jerusalem that Israel would continue to fight what it says are Iranian attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and channel advanced weaponry to its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

Despite the delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian military, Israel was committed as a matter of self-defense to continue its “legitimate activity in Syria against Iran and its proxies, which state their intention to destroy us”, Netanyahu said.

It was his first publicized meeting with a senior Russian official since the accidental Syrian downing of a Russian plane during an Israeli air strike in Syria, an incident that raised tensions between Israel and Russia.

Fifteen Russians were killed in the September 17 incident that Moscow blamed on Israel, accusing its pilots of using the larger Russian plane as cover.

Israel disputes the Russian findings and says its jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was downed.

In response, Moscow announced new measures to protect its military in Syria, including equipping Damascus with S-300 air defense systems.

Attempts to solve the dispute

Russia and Israel set up a hotline in 2015 to avoid accidental clashes in Syria, but the new measures have led to concern among Israelis that their strikes will now be limited there.

Netanyahu, who met Akimov on the sidelines of meetings of a bilateral economics committee, said he believed that the current dispute with Moscow would be resolved.

“I think that with common sense and goodwill we can come to a solution that will allow the continuation of the good coordination between the Russian and Israeli militaries,” he said.

At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to discuss coordination.

The leaders have spoken at least three times by phone since the September incident.

Both Iran and Hezbollah -- enemies of Israel -- are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in his country’s civil war alongside Russia.

Full report at:




Qatar accused of ‘undermining Palestinian Authority’ through fuel move

10 October 2018

The Palestinian Authority said that Qatar’s move of bringing in fuel to the Gaza Strip without coordinating with Palestinian official authorities has “crossed all red lines.”

Trucks loaded with Qatari fuel began entering Gaza to supply a power station amid completely ignoring the sovereignty of the Palestinian national reconciliation government.

The Palestinian Authority has often warned of transforming the Palestinian cause into a mere humanitarian cause in which the call for national rights is replaced with humanitarian aid.

These warnings, however, were ignored as Qatar decided to overlook the Palestinian official stance and coordinated with Israel, UN departments and Hamas in order to bring trucks loaded with fuel to Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority says the Qatari intervention undermines its efforts.

"When Qatar pays for the fuel, Hamas in Gaza will collect the bills and put it in its pocket, and this is an indirect financial aid to Hamas," said a PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Palestinian president’s consultant, said those who want to serve the Palestinian cause must first help end divisions.

Full report at:




20 Houthi militiamen killed in Yemen’s Baqim, including two commanders

10 October 2018

Two of Houthi militia commanders were killed during clashes with Yemeni army forces in the Baqim district, north of Saada.

According to a local news site, a field source confirmed that Houthi Commander Abdullah Yousif Hussein Thawra, was killed during a Yemeni forces attack on the militias’ locations behind the al-Udaida Mountains, northwest of the center of the Baqim district.

The source added that Thawra is one of the militias’ top commanders and headsin various battlefronts in Saada, and received training in Iran.

Another field source stated that the second Houthi commander, Abu Ali al-Nawari, was killed during the same attack by the army’s forces behind the al-Udaida Mountains.

The source added that Nawari was appointed by the Houthis 10 days ago as the commander of the so-called “quick intervention forces” in the Baqim front.

On Monday, the army launched a surprise attack on the Houthi militia’s locations, behind al-Udaida Mountains northwest of the Baqim district, during which the militias suffered several losses in militiamen and armed vehicles.

Media sources said that the Yemeni army was able to capture a Houthi sniper from the battalion of the special guards of the militias’ leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi during a battle to liberate Ramdan battle, behind al-Udaida Mountains in Baqim.

Full report at:




Two Yemenis sentenced to death by Houthis following ‘sham’ trials

9 October 2018

Houthi militias in Yemen continue to hand out death sentences against their opponents following what can only be described as sham trials.

A Yemeni Criminal Court under the pro-Iranian militias in Sanaa sentenced two Yemeni citizens to death on charges of communicating with the Coalition, which is backing the legitimate government in the war-torn country.

Yahya Hani Mohammed Thabet al-Areeqi and Ali Abdulellah Ali al-Hashidi were sentenced to death on charges leveled against them by a representative of the Houthis.

The charges against them was that of communicating with Coalition countries and joining the ranks of the legitimate forces.

Executing civilians

Earlier, the court issued similar sentences, executing three civilians for “communicating” with a foreign country.

The sentences were issued after sham trials presided by a Houthi militia prosecutor accused Jamal Abdullah Nasser, Ali Saleh Abdulrab Ahmed al-Obeidi and Murad Hussein Saleh al-Obeidi, of “trying to attract people and send them to Marib to join the national army and to disclose information about military sites with the aim of bombing them.

Full report at:




Erdogan advisor hints ‘deep state’ behind Khashoggi case, denies Reuters report

9 October 2018

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) advisor Yassin Aktay said Ankara did not accuse Saudi Arabia in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with Russia Today, the advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that Turkey was not accusing the Saudi state in Khashoggi’s disappearance, hinting at the possibility of a conspiracy to divide between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

He also hinted at the possibility that Khashoggi was abducted by a third party, or perhaps by members of what he called the “deep state.”

He denied earlier reports that quoted him as saying Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, saying: “What Reuters reported about his killing is not an official statement.”

He also stressed that Turkish-Saudi relations have historical roots, and hopes that they will not be affected by this issue.

Erdogan had said on Sunday that authorities still have expect a positive outcome in Khashoggi’s disappearance, noting that he is waiting for the results of investigations on the Saudi journalist.

The Turkish president said in a speech to members of his Justice and Development Party that he was following Khashoggi’s case himself.

The Khashoggi family confirmed that they are coordinating with the Saudi government to learn about the latest developments in the case. The legal advisor, Motasem Khashoggi, told Al Arabiya English that the family is coordinating with the Saudi government in the case.

Full report at:




Israeli strikes in Syria to continue despite S-300 delivery, Netanyahu says

Oct 10, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has informed Russian officials that the Tel Aviv will continue to hit targets inside Syria, irrespective of Moscow’s decision to deliver advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to the Damascus government.

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem al-Quds on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he had told Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov that Israel would continue to fight what he charged as Iran’s attempts to deepen its military presence in Syria and transfer weapons to the fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.

The Israeli prime minister added that he believed that the current dispute between Moscow and Tel Aviv over the recent downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Syria’s western province of Latakia would be resolved.

“I think that with common sense and goodwill we can come to a solution that will allow the continuation of the good coordination between the Russian and Israeli militaries,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to discuss coordination.

On October 3, Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman expressed Tel Aviv’s discontent over Russia’s delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria, stressing the move will not deter the Israeli regime from military operations in the war-ravaged Arab country.

“I cannot say that we are pleased with the deployment of the S-300. However, this is the very topic where we have no way out. There is no way not to make decisions,” he said.

Speaking at a Russian Security Council meeting chaired by Putin earlier this month, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country had completed the delivery of an S-300 missile system to Syria, irrespective of Israeli authorities’ strong opposition that it will pose a serious "challenge" to the Tel Aviv regime.

“We have embarked on a number of activities aimed at strengthening the air defense systems of the Syrian Arab Republic in order to ensure better protection for our military personnel. We have completed the delivery of S-300 complexes. This includes 49 pieces of equipment: illuminating laser radiolocators, defense priority systems, control vehicles and four missile launchers. The work was completed a day ago. We have delivered the whole system to Syria,” Shoigu said.

The Russian defense minister added that it will take three months to train Syrian specialists to use the S-300 air defense missile system.

Last month, Moscow vowed to bolster Syria’s air defense capabilities by deploying the modern S-300 surface-to-air missile system to the Arab country.

The announcement came in the wake of the accidental downing of a Russian aircraft with 15 servicemen on board by Syria’s S-200 air defense systems which were at the time responding to a wave of Israeli strikes on state institutions in Latakia.

Moscow held Israel responsible for the September 17 incident, saying the regime’s pilots had intentionally used the Russian plane as cover to conduct air raids, effectively putting it in the cross hairs of the Syrian air defenses.

On September 27, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Russia had begun delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.

Full report at:




Erdogan urges EU to be sincere about Turkish membership

Oct 9, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the European Union (EU) to demonstrate sincerity about his country’s accession to the 28-member politico-economic bloc.

“It needs to be clear whether or not the EU will accept Turkey,” Erdogan said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest.

“Turkey has been stalled since 1963. No EU member state has been treated in such a way,” he added.

Earlier this month, Erdogan suggested that he could take Turkey to a referendum over its EU membership bid.

“If the European Union continues wasting Turkey’s time in its accession to the union, then the country could hold a referendum over its membership bid. It is better to see this process faster so that Turkey can determine its way,” the Turkish president said at an international forum in Istanbul on October 4.

On June 27, Ankara slammed the European Union as "hypocritical" and "prejudiced" after the bloc said Ankara was moving further away from Europe.

The reaction came a day after ministers of European affairs said during a meeting in Luxembourg that Turkey's long-stalled accession negotiations -- which began officially in 2005 -- had "effectively come to a standstill,” and Turkey was "moving further away from the European Union."

"Once again it is shown how the EU does not treat Turkey fairly or sincerely," the Turkish foreign ministry responded in a statement, describing the ministers' conclusions as "hypocritical and incoherent."

It added that the ministers' statement also reflected the "prejudiced and unjust attitude" against Turkey.

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Twitter the conclusions showed that the EU was "confused," with statements that "lacked vision" and were "full of contradictions."

Relations between Turkey and the EU have been strained for several years, but especially after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan, which the Ankara government accuses to have been masterminded by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The EU has often criticized the crackdown and attacks on freedom of speech in the wake of the botched putsch, in which tens of thousands of people, including journalists, have been arrested.

Ankara, in return, has accused Brussels of being unsupportive of the multiple terror threats it faces.

Turkey has also rejected any offer of partnership with the EU that falls short of full membership, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its refugee deal with the bloc.

Full report at:




Turkey detains 90 for alleged links to Kurdish militants

October 09, 2018

ANKARA: Turkish authorities detained 90 people on Tuesday over suspected links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, the Interior Ministry said.

The operation across eight provinces was carried out to prevent the activities of PKK members and the operation was ongoing, the ministry said in a statement.

The identity of those detained in Tuesday’s operation was not immediately clear.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had said on Sunday that 140 of its members had been detained over the previous three days, and that the detentions were politically motivated.

Turkey’s government accuses the HDP of links to the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union. The HDP denies such links.

The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. Violence in the largely Kurdish southeast escalated after the collapse of a cease-fire in 2015.

Full report at:






Nigeria: Education, Antidote to Extremism, Terrorism - Buhari

9 OCTOBER 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja urged religious leaders in the country to assist government to overcome forces of destruction by enlightening their followers to guard against religious extremism and terrorism.

Receiving the leadership of Qadiriyya Islamic Movement in Africa at the State House, Mr Buhari noted that Muslim leaders have a duty to promote the principles and tenets of Islam as a religion of peace and justice.

The president said those who indoctrinate children and plant explosives on them to harm innocent people do not belong to any religion but "terrorists who should be identified and fought until they give up their evil ways."

Mr Buhari, who commended the Qadiriyya movement for promoting education, interfaith dialogue and good moral conduct in the society, expressed support for the proposed Islamic Centre in Abuja by the movement.

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the Qadiriyya in Africa, Qaribullah Kabara had congratulated the president on his emergence as his party's candidate for the 2019 election.

He also commended the president on the achievements of his administration since coming into office, stressing the diversification of the economy, increased power supply and food sufficiency.




Somalia's al Shabaab executes five men accused of spying

10 Oct 2018

MOGADISHU: Somalia's al Shabaab Islamists on Tuesday shot five men in a public execution, including a Somali British citizen accused of spying, a sign of the insurgents' control of southern swathes of the country, even as authorities step up efforts to combat them.

Al Shabaab's grip on the Horn of Africa nation has been weakening since it was pushed out of the capital by African Union peacekeepers in 2011, but the government and the U.S. military are beefing up an offensive against it.

"Five of them were publicly shot to death this afternoon after they admitted espionage before the court," said Mohamed Abu Abdalla, al Shabaab's governor for the Jubba regions.

"Awale Ahmed Mohamed, 32 spied for MI6 and he came from Britain to Somalia to establish Islamic State," he told Reuters late on Tuesday.

Three of the men spied for the United States and helped guide drones to carry out strikes in Somalia, while a fourth spied for the Somali government, he added.

The government did not return telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment.

The U.S. drones often carry out strikes against the Somali militants, with the U.S. military saying it killed one militant in an air strike in southern Somalia over the weekend.

Full report at:




Smuggling trade through Iran earns Al-Shabab militants $7.5m a year

October 09, 2018

NEW YORK: Al-Shabab militants in Somalia are funding their extremism with $7.5 million a year from smuggling through transit points in Iran, according to a new UN report.

The group, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, illegally exports charcoal to Iranian ports using fake country of origin certificates from Comoros, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The charcoal is packaged into white bags labeled “Product of Iran,” loaded on to Iranian-flagged dhows and re-exported to Dubai in the UAE. “The charcoal trade continues to be a significant source of revenue for Al-Shabab, generating at least $7.5 million from checkpoint taxation,” according to the report by UN sanctions monitors submitted to the Security Council.

The report estimated the wholesale value of illicit Somali charcoal to be $150 million a year in the UAE, where it is widely used for cooking and smoking shisha.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s new ambassador to the UN, said the country was not complicit in the smuggling trade.

“The UAE is fully aware of all Security Council resolutions and is in full compliance with the sanctions imposed,” she said. “We also reaffirm our continued cooperation with the monitoring group throughout its mandate.”

The monitors track compliance with UN sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea. The Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in 2012 in an effort to cut off funds for Al-Shabab, who are trying to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its own extremist rule.

The council also imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the country into war.

In addition to earnings from charcoal, Al-Shabab is making millions of dollars a year from tolls on vehicles in areas where they run checkpoints, and through taxes on businesses, agriculture and livestock.

“Employing mafia-style tactics, the group is able to levy taxation via a network of hinterland checkpoints, with collection of taxes enforced through violence and intimidation,” the UN report said. Truck drivers risked execution if they tried to avoid the checkpoints.

Full report at:




Details of Buhari’s meeting with Muslim leaders emerge

October 9, 2018

By Wale Odunsi

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged religious leaders in the country to assist the government to overcome forces of destruction by enlightening their followers to guard against religious extremism and terrorism.

The President made the call when he received the leadership of Qadiriyya Islamic Movement in Africa at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to him, Muslim leaders had a duty to promote the principles and tenets of Islam as a religion of peace and justice.

The President said those who “indoctrinate children and plant explosives on them to harm innocent people do not belong to any religion but terrorists who should be identified and fought until they give up their evil ways.’’

Buhari, who commended the Qadiriyya movement for promoting education, interfaith dialogue and good moral conduct in the society, expressed support for the proposed Islamic Centre in Abuja by the movement.

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the Qadiriyya in Africa, Sheikh Qaribullah Kabara had congratulated the President on his emergence as his party’s candidate for the 2019 election.

He also commended the President on the achievements of his administration since coming into office, which he said included the diversification of the economy, increased power supply and food sufficiency.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, who led the delegation to the Presidential Villa, told State House correspondents that the Islamic movement was in full support of the president’s second term bid.

He said the Islamic Centre being constructed by the movement in Abuja was aimed at providing education for the youth, in order to reduce radicalism and other vices affecting the society.

He said: “The group is here to first of all congratulate our President for picking the APC ticket to run for a second term of office.

“The group thanked the President for the development going on in Nigeria, especially the economy, which has improved as well as the improvement in electricity supply and agriculture. The group is in full support of the President’s second term bid.

We also used the opportunity to inform the President of the construction and importance of the Qadria Centre, which is being built here in Abuja.

“It is basically for education; especially for reducing extremism and radicalism in religion and this is the right time that such a Centre; it will help to control the minds of the followers.’’

Full report at:




UN urges Algeria to stop expelling migrants: report

October 09, 2018

NIAMEY: Algeria must immediately stop collective expulsions of African migrants across its border with Niger, a UN report said, after rights groups accused Algiers of rounding up and expelling thousands of people to the desert.

Algeria has sent around 35,600 Nigeriens back to Niger since 2014, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures cited in the report, including more than 12,000 since the start of the year.

“These collective expulsions from Algeria to Niger are in utter violation of international law,” Felipe Gonzalez Morales, UN special rapporteur on human rights for migrants, said in the report, a copy of which was provided to AFP on Tuesday.

“I call on the government of Algeria to abide by its international obligation and halt with immediate effect all collective expulsions of migrants to Niger.”

The North African state has denied abandoning migrants in desolate border areas but said it faces an influx of sub-Saharan Africans crossing over from Mali and Niger.

Niger is a major trafficking route for migrants trying to reach Europe, with the EU estimating 90 percent of West African migrants pass through the country before moving on to Algeria, Libya or elsewhere.

Sub-Saharan migrants have regularly been rescued from the Niger desert — or their bodies discovered — after attempting to cross in soaring temperatures with little food or water.

The UN report said migrants are rounded up from their homes in Algeria often at night without having time to get dressed, or collect their belongings or money.

Some of them have lived and worked in the country for years with children going to local schools, it said.

Others are beaten and held at police stations before being transported by bus to the border, where they are forced to walk through the desert to the nearest town, the report added.

Algeria says it faces “unfounded criticism” and its efforts have stopped thousands of migrants crossing its territory in their attempts to reach Europe.

Full report at:




Report says Al Shabab militants run tax system to rival Somalia's federal government

October 9, 2018

Al Shabab militants in Somalia run a tax system that rivals the federal government in sophistication, according to UN sanctions monitors, with taxation from illicitly exported charcoal and other tolls netting the group tens of millions in revenue annually.

In an unpublished annual report to the UN Security Council seen by Reuters, the monitors add that domestic revenue generation by Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabab "is more geographically diversified and systematic" than that of Somalia's federal government.

Due to the militants' provision of receipts, the taxation system is "accountable and predictable", in contrast to the network of checkpoints manned by the government's armed forces in some parts of the country.

Despite controlling far less territory than it did at the height of a decade-long insurgency, "the group's "ability to carry out complex asymmetric attacks in Somalia remains undiminished", the monitors wrote.

Al Shabab's most lucrative checkpoint is about 160 km north-west of the capital Mogadishu on the road to Baidoa, the monitors said, citing an Al Shabab defector who reported that the location earns the group approximately $30,000 per day – $10 million a year.

"Employing mafia-style tactics, the group is able to levy taxation via a network of hinterland checkpoints, with collection of taxes enforced through violence and intimidation," said the monitors, adding that truck drivers risked execution if they tried to avoid checkpoints.

Earlier this year the monitors obtained ledgers belonging to Al Shabab that were recovered after one of the group's senior accountants was killed in an attack by the Somali National Army and African Union peacekeepers.

They wrote that the ledgers detail Al Shabab's revenue and expenses in one region, Hiran, in central Somalia, from October 2014 to March 2018 and "display a sophisticated accounting system" in which the militants transfer funds using the mobile money system operated by mobile network Hormuud Telecom.

Illicitly exported charcoal, much of which transits Iran and ends up in barbecues and shisha pipes in the UAE, generates millions in revenue.

"The charcoal trade continues to be a significant source of revenue for Al Shabab, generating at least $7.5 million from checkpoint taxation," they wrote.

The UN Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in 2012 in a bid to cut off funds for Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group trying to topple Somalia's Western-backed central government and impose its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam's sharia law.

According to the report, criminal networks are using Iran as a transit point for illicit Somali charcoal exports.

Iran became a transit point for the shipments – which breach a UN ban on Somali charcoal exports – after Oman tightened its customs procedures, said the report.

Since March the main destination for shipments – using fake country of origin certificates from Comoros, Ivory Coast and Ghana – has been ports in Iran, where the charcoal is packaged into white bags labeled "Product of Iran".

"The bags were then reloaded onto smaller, Iran-flagged dhows [boats], and exported to Port Al Hamriya, Dubai, UAE, using certificates of origin falsely indicating the 'country of manufacture' of the charcoal as Iran," the monitors wrote.

UAE Ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh said she could not comment because the report had not yet been published.

"That being said, the UAE is fully aware of all Security Council resolutions and is in full compliance with the sanctions imposed," she told Reuters. "We also reaffirm our continued cooperation with the Monitoring Group throughout its mandate."

The Iranian mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to earnings from charcoal, Al Shabab is making millions of dollars annually via tolls on vehicles in areas where they man checkpoints and through taxes on businesses, agriculture and livestock.

All this "generates more than enough revenue to sustain its insurgency", the monitors wrote.

Under an International Monetary Fund program, the government in Mogadishu is implementing public finance reforms, and domestic revenues have quadrupled since 2012 to the end of 2017 according to the finance ministry.

Reuters however reported last year that the United States had decided to suspend food and fuel aid to most of Somalia's armed forces over corruption concerns.

Full report at:




North America


Israel arrests US student for supporting Palestinian cause

Oct 9, 2018

US citizen Lara Alqasem, 22, has been held in detention in Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport since last Tuesday, for supporting a Palestinian-led boycott campaign against the regime.

Alqasem, who has a valid student’s visa and was registered to study a graduate course at Israel's Hebrew University, was detained by Israeli authorities at the airport for supporting the Palestinian cause.

Alqasem, whose grandparents are from Palestine, is a former president of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Her “crime,” according to Israeli authorities, is that while studying for her bachelor’s degree Alqasem was president of a group that advocates the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement is a Palestinian-led international campaign launched more than a decade ago with the aim of ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

It pursues equal rights for Palestinians by exerting pressure on the Israeli regime via economic and cultural boycotts.

"Israel will not allow entry to those who work to harm the country, whatever their excuse," Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister, Gilad Erdan, said on Monday.

Erdan said Alqasem will remain in detention until she repudiates her past activities.

Her attorney, Yotam Ben-Hallel, who has already filed an appeal to the Tel Aviv District Court which ruled on Monday that Alqasem will remain indefinitely in detention, argued that Alqasem has never actively participated in boycott campaigns.

"We're talking about someone who simply wants to study in Israel … She's not even part of the student organization anymore," Ben-Hillel said.

Alqasem, who is registered to study for a master’s degree in Human Rights and Transitional Justice, has received support from the Hebrew University's 400-strong academia, as well as other university and institutions of higher education around Israel which have also called for Alqasem to be allowed into Israel.

Barring Alqasem from entering the country “could deter foreign scholars and students from coming to Israel,” and “should be taken only for the strongest and clearest reasons – preventing violence and lawbreaking. In Alqasem’s case no such claims were presented,” the Hebrew University senate said in a statement.




Scholars on Islam, Judaism and Christianity share core beliefs

October 9, 2018

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Over the centuries there have been many atrocities committed in the name of religion.

Some think, if people of different religions understood each other better, there would be less conflict and more peace.

A local educational opportunity to that end is available for the next three Tuesdays.

When Catherine Townsend’s girls were little, she read from a children’s book called People, with colorful illustrations of people from other lands. She taught them about the differences between people around the world.

She feels understanding such differences, especially concerning religion, can lessen conflict and promote peace.

“We all live on the same planet, and we all want to get along and live in harmony. All of us were created by God and created in his image and that makes us all brothers and sisters and so, we need to get along, because it’s a mandate of all three religions," Townsend said.

So, she and others who belong to the Welcome Table have organized three sessions to learn more about differences and common ground between Islam, Judaism and Christianity, each of which she calls children of Abraham.

“Tonight, Elfy Shah from the Islamic religion will tell us about her core beliefs, then next week George Bodoin of the temple Sinai will talk to us about their core beliefs and then finally Rev. Boo Kay will present the Christian viewpoint," Townsend explained.

She says coming together will give all a chance to learn from each other.

“We believe very strongly that there’s a richness in our diversity, but we’re also looking for what we have in common. This is not a debate. There’s no proselytizing here. We want people to understand how the other is different," Townsend said.

Full report at:




US professor urges release of student held in Israel


By Michael Hernandez


A professor at the University of Florida appealed Tuesday for the release of a former student who has been held by Israeli authorities for a week.

Lara Alqasem, a U.S. citizen, has been in Israeli custody since arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport last Tuesday with a valid student visa hoping to study law, human rights and freedom of travel at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Israeli officials are denying 22-year-old Alqasem entry based on allegations that she supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which urges businesses, educational institutions and celebrities to cut ties with Israel.

The movement has long been criticized by Israeli officials, and the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, passed a law in 2017 allowing authorities to deny entry to individuals who make public calls for a boycott of Israel.

Dror Abend-David, who taught Alqasem at the University of Florida, said he is "one of many people," including her former professors, who think she should be released and allowed to study immediately.

"Everyone who taught her was very impressed with her," he told Anadolu Agency. "There’s a very active group of professors here on campus who are working for her."

One of the proposals being floated, Abend-David said, is a reevaluation of the university's study abroad program in Israel.

That could effectively make Israel's policy of denying entry to BDS supporters an own goal.

When asked if he thought Israeli officials could ironically be accomplishing BDS' goals for the movement, Abend-David pointed to two works of Soviet-era Russian literature that he said "made the point that bureaucrats don’t see irony".

Hebrew University President Asher Cohen told Israel's Army Radio that Israel's actions could harm the university's anti-BDS efforts and could end up serving the movement instead, according to the Times of Israel.

Israel earlier Tuesday conditioned Alqasem's release on her issuing a public apology for her alleged support of the global boycott.

''If Alqasem comes forward tomorrow morning with her own voice, not with all sorts of lawyers' wisecracking and statements that could be construed this way or another – and declares that supporting BDS, she thinks today, is illegitimate and she regrets what she did on this matter, we will consider our stance,” Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Her first appeal against the Israeli decision to deny her entry was denied last week. A second appeal is expected to be heard in the coming days.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday punted on questions about Alqasem's case, saying it is up to Israel to decide who it allows into the country.

Israeli officials and their supporters have regularly alleged the BDS movement is inherently anti-Semitic. But when asked if he thought Alqasem was anti-Semitic herself, Abend-David was unequivocal in his response.

Full report at:




Toronto-area 'public' event was 'only for Muslims'

October 9, 2018

Laura Loomer is no shrinking violet. Whether it is shaming Democratic congressman Keith Ellison who has recently come out denying allegations of domestic abuse, or disrupting a congressional hearing of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the Arizona woman has become a citizen reporter trying to highlight issues that the mainstream media seems uncomfortable to handle.

Her detractors label her as the quintessential alt-right figure, though not too long ago it was the left that employed her tactics.

This Sunday, Loomer came to Canada and within no time managed to expose blatant religious discrimination by an Islamic group at their event “Carry the Light” that the mainstream dared not cover.

Loomer was here to listen to her polar opposite, the hijabi-wearing Linda Sarsour who had been invited to speak at an event open to “anyone seeking knowledge,” hosted by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).

Along with Sarsour was the Saudi-educated Islamic cleric Siraj Wahhaj, whose sons and daughters were recently involved in the New Mexico compound where it has been alleged by prosecutors children were trained to be school shooters.

Leading up to the event, ICNA made the following announcement on Facebook: “With suggestion from our esteemed scholar speakers at Carry the Light Conversation, we are pleased to announce that Sunday’s entire day is now open free of cost for anyone seeking the knowledge. So please come with your family and friends and gain and spread the knowledge, the cost of the ticket is on us.”

But as Loomer approached the entrance to the ICNA event on Sunday, she was stopped by a man in a dapper green jacket who told her the event “is free only for the Muslim community.”

With Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy by her side, Loomer persisted: “So Christians and Jews are not welcome to this event? Only Muslims allowed?” she asked. Another man standing further back intervened and confirmed to Loomer that the event was “only for Muslims.”

Before the exasperated Loomer could say another word, the man in the green jacket reached towards the camera and tried to stop the recording, insisting “it is against the law.”

Goldy, who had been silent so far, intervened to remind the ICNA official: “It is against the law to discriminate on religious grounds, sir. That’s against the law.”

Flustered and caught on the wrong foot, the official then threatened to call the police.

“The police are right here,” responded Loomer, gesturing to an officer immediately beside them. “Who are you going to call? The Sharia Police?”

In their invitation to the Sunday event ICNA boasted of its “vision … of love, compassion, and caring environment for all.”

Sounds a lot like doublespeak and leads many to worry about what is said and taught behind the closed doors of events open “only for Muslims.”

The challenge now is for ordinary Muslim Canadians to take back the leadership of their community. They should be on guard against the presence of any Islamists who are ideologically linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jamaat-e-Islami.

If we don’t, we will be seen as permanent outsiders in the West. Let’s embrace Western Civilization and demolish the citadels behind which we sulk and curse the very values that allow us freedom of speech and the right to practice Islam.

Full report at:




Trump: I do not know anything about Khashoggi disappearance

9 October 2018

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he does not know anything about Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.

He added that he has not yet spoken with Saudi Arabian officials about the case, which happened a week ago.

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, said he would speak with Saudi officials at some point about the situation.




Saudis, authoritarian leaders inspired by Trump: Sanders

Oct 9, 2018

Saudi Arabia and its de facto leader, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, are among authoritarian entities “clearly inspired” by US President Donald Trump’s totalitarian policies, says senior US Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Vermont lawmaker made the comments during a speech on authoritarian threats at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies on Tuesday.

"While this authoritarian trend certainly did not begin with Donald Trump, there’s no question that other authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the president of the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy is shattering democratic norms, is viciously attacking an independent media and an independent judiciary, and is scapegoating the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society," he said.

The independent senator exemplified Saudi Arabia as “a country clearly inspired by Trump.”

Sanders further cited the recent disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was last seen late last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Turkish officials insist that he was killed inside the facility, an allegation denied by Saudi officials.

"If this is true, if the Saudi regime murdered a journalist critic in their own consulate, there must be accountability, and there must be an unequivocal condemnation by the United States," Sanders said. "But it seems clear that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman feels emboldened by the Trump administration’s unquestioning support."

He also noted that "it's hard to imagine" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be "aggressively undermining the longstanding goal of a two-state solution" if he did not enjoy the New York billionaire’s support.

Full report at:




Pompeo calls on Saudi Arabia to back ‘thorough investigation’ into missing journalist

Oct 9, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on Saudi Arabia to back a "thorough investigation" into the disappearance of prominent Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation," Pompeo said in a statement on Monday.

This comes after the Washington Post urged the US government to "demand answers" from Saudi Arabia about Khashoggi – an opinion writer for the newspaper.

"The United States must now make a concerted effort to determine all the facts about Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance," the newspaper said in an editorial late Sunday.

Khashoggi was known for his critical views on Riyadh. He lived in self-imposed exile in the US since September 2017, when he left Saudi Arabia amid a crackdown on dissident voices.

The New Yorker said in a recent article that the journalist had told it in August that he was worried about his life. Khashoggi also opposed Riyadh's aggression on Yemen.

The 59-year-old was reported missing last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he intended to obtain a document necessary to finalize his divorce from his wife. He reportedly never came out of the consulate. Turkish sources later told the Reuters news agency that the journalist had been killed inside the building. 

An adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that he believed Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate.

The reports of his unconfirmed death have sparked outrage. US President Donald Trump on Monday said he was "concerned" about Khashoggi's disappearance, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was monitoring the case closely.

Erdogan said Saudi Arabia’s consulate must “prove” that Khashoggi made exit from the mission.

In a Bloomberg interview conducted on Wednesday and published on Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman claimed that Khashoggi “entered” the consulate and “got out after a few minutes or one hour.”

Yemeni activist and 2011 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkol Karman said she believed Khashoggi “was kidnapped in this gangster's den that is supposed to be a consulate.”

Full report at:




Syria: Turkey, US training for joint patrols in Manbij

10th Oct 2018

By Sarp Ozer

ANKARA (AA): Turkish and U.S. soldiers on Tuesday are beginning joint training on combined patrols in Manbij, northern Syria, Turkey’s national defense minister has announced. Syrian Government considers presence of US and Turkish troops illegal as they have not been invited by Syria.

“As of today the Turkish and U.S. Armed Forces began joint training on combined patrolling activities, which will be held in the region, as part of the Manbij Roadmap and Security Principles,” Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Underscoring that the first group of U.S. personnel arrived in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey on Oct. 2 for training, Akar said: “Following the completion of training, common united patrolling activities will begin in an effort to establish stability and security in the region and to prevent terrorist activities in the future.”

Turkey’s independent patrolling in Manbij has been “continuing as planned” since June 18, he added.

Citing recent reports of the YPG/PKK terror group surrounding the Manbij district center with trenches and embankments, Akar said: “We have given the necessary warnings to U.S. authorities regarding the matter but have also taken our own measures.”

“The terror group must know that when the time and place comes it will be buried in the trenches it has dug,” he warned.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of the Aleppo province in northern Syria.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken 40,000 lives, including many women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Full report at:






UK imam fired from Saudi-funded mosque for criticising Saudi royal family

9 October 2018

A British Imam has accused the Saudi government of firing him from a London mosque it controls after he criticised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the country's royal family.

Ajmal Masroor, who regularly comments on British-Muslim issues, worked at the Fitzrovia Mosque, also known as Goodge Street mosque in central London, which is run by the Saudi-funded Muslim World League.

The imam led Friday prayers once a month at the Muslim World League's offices and ran marriage counselling sessions there before they were cancelled by the mosque.

Masroor's firing took place just days after he used his personal Facebook page to post a Middle East Eye video and describe the Saudi royal family as being "corrupt, despotic and totally anti-Islamic".

In another post, the imam had also criticised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his campaign to arrest activists and Islamic scholars.

"I am 100 per cent sure that they fired me because of my comments about Mohammed bin Salman where I said he was not a reformer but a conformer," said Masroor.

"When I asked why they were firing me, I was told that it was an order that had come from the top. Which means the Saudi government wanted me out."

He said the mosque management had previously reprimanded him for his vocal criticism of the Saudi royal family, stating that he was permitted to criticise Saudi Arabia online, but not inside Goodge Street mosque.

"In the last five years, I was reprimanded at least five times by the management for my comments about Saudi Arabia," Masroor told MEE.

"They would ask me not to speak about the king or the Saudi regime. I had several heated arguments with the current director on this issue. 

"In the end, we agreed that I would not criticise Saudi Arabia in my sermons, but [I was] allowed to post my views online, which I regularly do."

Masroor, who leads Friday prayers at mosques across Britain, also works as a charity fundraiser, had previously run for political office for the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and was the chairman of the Islamic Society of Britain.

In a statement released online, the Muslim World League said it had "no option" but to fire Masroor from his position at the mosque.

"It was agreed with him that the mosque pulpit is not the place to attack people, governments, group or sector to express certain political views," said the Regional Director of the Muslim World League.

"He (Ajmal Masroor) continued provoking public opinion against the individuals, governments, causing a stir in the society, shaming and accusing falsely, no option was left but to stop dealing with him in any way."

The League also distanced itself from claims made by Masroor that the mosque had only given space to Saudi projects.

Founded in 1962, the Muslim World League is one of many Saudi funded groups established to spread its Wahhabi doctrine. Using the Goodge Street mosque as a base in London, the league ran classes and held regular services for the local Muslim community.

According to the Pew Research Center, the Saudi government had given approximately $13m in 1980 to the Muslim World League. This figure has said to have grown since.

The research centre also notes that the Muslim World League's primary goal is to give "Muslim Youth access to the strict interpretation of Islam advocated by the Saudi religious establishment."




UK minister warns of chemical, biological terrorism


By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


Terrorists “continue to explore ways to kill us in our streets” and will eventually use chemical and biological weapons on British soil, Britain’s Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace warned Tuesday.

The country must face up to the possibility of such attacks, Wallace said.

Speaking at a national security conference, Wallace said he sees plots where “the only limits to the ambition of our adversaries is their imagination”.

“Chemical and biological weapons are marching in closer,” he added.

He said the terrorists “have developed and worked on a better arsenal, and we have to be prepared that might come to our streets here”.

Underlining that there is no doubt over the reality of the threat, Wallace stressed that “our open, liberal and free societies are easy prey to those that fear little and care even less”.

A team of experts last week revealed various response measures in case of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack.

They said they have developed tools to determine casualty exposures through rapid tests, use of drones to measure toxicity in the atmosphere and crisis communication instruments to stop fake news.

Echoing Wallace and speaking at the same event, the country’s top security official, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, said those kinds of weapons “have been used on the battlefield, and what’s used on the battlefield will eventually be adapted to be used on domestic soil”.

Basu said Wallace was “as concerned as I am that these are the kind of threats that we’ve got to take very seriously and we’ve got to make sure that we have the right preparations to actually counter that threat, should it appear”.

In June, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed new counter-terrorism strategy legislation.

The legislation, according to Javid, will have six key points, which are to disrupt threats earlier, to continue necessary support for counter-terrorism policing and intelligence services, to work more closely with international partners, to increase cooperation with key partners and the private sector, to work with technology companies to get terrorist material off the internet and to do more to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

- Terror threat level

The terror threat level in the UK is “severe”, which means that a terror attack is highly likely.

Last year, 36 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in terror attacks in London and Manchester.

The British government has claimed that in the most debated incident in Salisbury last March, two Russian military intelligence agents who were identified as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov used a banned nerve agent called novichok targeting former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

In another incident in Amesbury, which British authorities say involved the same nerve agent, a woman died and a man fell seriously ill.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill on June 30 after handling an item contaminated with novichok and was taken to a hospital, where she later died, while her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the nerve agent and was taken to hospital in critical condition but later recovered.

Full report at:




Amid Increase in Antisemitic Attacks by Muslim Extremists and Far-Rightists, German Government Launches New Reporting Hotline for Victims

OCTOBER 9, 2018

Germany’s government on Tuesday announced the creation of a national hotline to report antisemitic incidents, following the publication of official statistics in August which showed an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of attacks on Jews during 2018.

The hotline is the brainchild of Felix Klein, who was appointed by the federal government as its first antisemitism commissioner last April. Klein has spoken frequently about the pressing need to document antisemitic attacks accurately, particularly when it comes to the identities and motives of perpetrators.

Benjamin Steinitz — director of RIAS, a Berlin-based research institute on antisemitism whose monitoring of antisemitic incidents is the model for the new government initiative — told the news outlet Welt on Tuesday that the “overarching goal is to ensure a nationwide, civil society record of antisemitic incidents.”

As well as RIAS, the Central Council of German Jews is a partner to the new project.

Data on antisemitism in Germany has been compromised by poor reporting procedures in the past. According to police statistics, more than 90 percent of antisemitic attacks are committed by right-wing extremists, in part because of the practice of automatically assigning responsibility to neo-Nazi and fascist groups in cases where the motive is unclear. Over the last decade, however, a growing proportion of antisemitic attacks in Germany have been committed by Muslim extremists.

In an interview following his appointment in April, Klein emphasized that he was hearing “something different from Jews in Germany — above all, that Muslim antisemitism is stronger than is reflected in the statistics.”

The creators of the new hotline are hoping that more victims of antisemitic attacks will come forward than currently do — another loophole in the present reporting system. Experts consulted by Welt also noted that some acts of antisemitism did not carry legal penalties in Germany.

Full report at:




Norway moves on Rushdie publisher attempted murder case

Oct 9, 2018

OSLO: Norway's police on Tuesday charged various people over the attempted murder in 1993 of the Norwegian publisher of Salman Rushdie's bestselling book "The Satanic Verses".

William Nygaard, head of Norway's second largest publishing house, was shot three times outside his Oslo home on October 11, 1993 following a death sentence or fatwa issued by Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini which condemned Rushdie and his publishers to death, Efe news reported.

"I inform all zealous Muslims of the world that the author of the book entitled The Satanic Verses -- which has been compiled, printed and published in opposition to Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran -- and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content are sentenced to death," the fatwa said.

The police said in a statement that they had indicted new suspects to avoid the case going cold given that Thursday will mark 25 years since the crime and technically the statue of limitations would put the case into retirement.

The police went on to say that the case was not out of date and that they were still interested in any information people could supply.

Police officials said that the people who were arrested as suspects were foreign nationals and do not live in Norway.

Full report at:




UK media curiously silent on Saudi journo fate: WikiLeaks

Oct 9, 2018

Whistleblower organization WikiLeaks has raised suspicions about the way the British media have been covering the disappearance and alleged death of a Saudi journalist in Turkey, saying there could be Saudi money at work.

A tweet from WikiLeaks said that despite massive media coverage by mainstream media about the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, there was almost no mention of the story in the media in the United Kingdom since they went on print this week.

“No UK paper today led with the diplomatic crisis over the alleged murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist & journalist #JamalKashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul despite AP and Reuters newswires on the subject. All take Saudi money,” read the post on Twitter on Monday.

Kashoggi has been unaccounted for since last Tuesday when he entered the Saudi diplomatic mission in Istanbul to receive a certificate about his finished marriage in Saudi Arabia. Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but Saudis deny the allegations and say he had left the mission on foot, without providing any evidence to support the claim.

The WikiLeaks criticism of the British media comes amid widespread concerns that Saudi Arabia has been allowed to freely influence certain outlets in the UK. Reports over the past weeks even suggested that the Saudis had spent around $250 million to launch a Farsi television station to spread their propaganda against Iran, a regional rival.

Full report at:




Russia planning to turn Libya into ‘new Syria’: UK intelligence

Oct 9, 2018

The UK intelligence agencies have reportedly warned Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia is sending weapons and troops to Libya in order to turn the North African country into a “new Syria,” an allegation that is likely to further muddy the waters between Moscow and London.

The Sun newspaper reported Monday that “dozens” of officers from the Russia’s GRU military intelligence service as well as its Special Forces wing, Spetznaz, had already been deployed to Libya upon Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order.

The tabloid newspaper claimed that seizing control of the biggest illegal immigration route to Europe was Moscow’s biggest objective.

The report further claimed that the Russian military was already operating two bases in Libya’s coastal towns of Tobruk and Benghazi under the cover of a Russian private military company called the Wagner Group.

Russia is also believed to have deployed batteries of its Kalibr anti-ship missiles and S-300 air defense systems on the ground in Libya, the report stated.

“What Putin is doing in Libya is straight out of his playbook for Syria,” one government source claimed, referring to Russia’s military campaign in support of the Syrian government against terrorist groups across the country.

The official went on to liken Russia’s practices to the 2014 re-integration of the Crimean Peninsula to Russia.

“It is a potentially catastrophic move to allow him to undermine Western democracy, but again we are doing nothing about it,” the source added.

The report caused uproar among members of the UK parliament, prompting senior MPs to call for government action.

“It’s is extremely alarming Russia wants to open up a new front against the West in Libya, but it should also come as no surprise,” Commons Foreign Affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat.

“We need a coordinated government response because the destabilization of a sub-Saharan country is intimately linked to UK national security,” he added.

Russian officials have agreed to meet with Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar in the past. However, the Kremlin denies allegations that it has forces on the ground in the country.

Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army and is considered the de facto military ruler of much of Eastern Libya, was one of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s senior commanders but later switched sides.

Libya has faced chaos since an uprising and a NATO military intervention resulted in the downfall of Gaddafi in 2011.

The oil-rich country has been grappling with insecurity and the emergence of numerous militant groups, including Daesh, since then.

Tensions are already running high between Britain and Russia.

Full report at:




Turkish, Greek Cypriot leaders likely to meet soon


Leaders of long-divided Mediterranean island are likely to meet soon after release of a UN report on Cyprus, said the president of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Tuesday.

A meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades is “possible” after the release of UN's Cyprus report in October, Mustafa Akinci told reporters at the Presidential Palace in Lefkosa.

“We would like to have this [meeting] to happen at a time not too far,” he added.

During the meeting with Anastasiades, Akinci said, he expects to determine the opening date of the Derinya and Aplic border crossings and announce it to public.

“We want a peaceful future on this island,” Akinci said. “We do not want the continuation of status quo in Cyprus,” he added.

In September, following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York, Akinci said the report by Jane Holl Lute -- appointed by Guterres as the temporary advisor to conduct consultations on Cyprus -- was not ready yet.

He said the report was going to be submitted to Guterres in one or two weeks and to the UN Security Council on Oct. 15.

Akinci added that the report would be discussed on Oct. 30.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish people, and Turkey’s intervention as a guarantor power.

Full report at:




Erdogan hails Turkey-Hungary cooperation


By Aynur Ekiz

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday praised cooperation between Ankara and Budapest, describing it as “exemplary".

“We are working hard mutually with Hungary, which we have deep and rooted ties, to improve our cooperation,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter, following his two-day official visit to the country.

“Our cooperation with Hungary within the scope of international organizations such as NATO, Council of Europe and European Union is exemplary,” Erdogan added.

Erdogan said the relations between the two countries boosted after a high-level strategic cooperation council was established in 2013.

The bilateral trade volume between the two countries climbed to $ 2.6 billion in 2017, he added.

“We will move forward with concrete steps to reach $5 billion trade volume,” Erdogan added.

The Turkish president paid the visit to Hungary on Monday and Tuesday upon the invitation of his Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader.

Erdogan was accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

He also met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and addressed a business forum.

After the business meeting, Erdogan officially inaugurated the restored Tomb of Gul Baba in the capital Budapest and paid a visit to the Budapest Turkish Memorial Cemetery.

Full report at:




Saudi ambassador returns to Berlin after 1-year absence


The Saudi ambassador to Germany has returned to Berlin almost a full year after being recalled by Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday.

"Saudi Ambassador to Germany Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan is returning [to Germany] to resume his work," the ministry said in a statement.

Bin Sultan, the ministry added, had since met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, with whom he had discussed "all aspects of bilateral cooperation".

Riyadh recalled bin Sultan from Berlin late last year after Germany’s then-Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel publicly criticized Saudi foreign policy.

Late last month, however, Saudi Arabia said Berlin had “voiced regret” for the “misunderstanding”, calling on Maas to visit Saudi Arabia at the earliest opportunity.




Fiancée asks Trump to help Post's missing Saudi contributor

October 10, 2018

The fiancée of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post on Wednesday asked President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to "help shed light" on his disappearance.

The request on behalf of Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared a week ago while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, comes as Turkey said it was preparing to search the diplomatic post.

While Saudi officials haven't acknowledged the pending search, it would represent an extraordinary development in a case that has Turkish officials saying they fear Mr Khashoggi was killed there. Though Riyadh has dismissed the allegation as "baseless," their possible consent to a search shows the increasing international pressure the kingdom faces over Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

Writing on Wednesday in the Post, Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz acknowledged the writer first visited the consulate on September 28 "despite being somewhat concerned that he could be in danger." He later returned October 2 after being promised needed paperwork so the two could be married.

A surveillance video image surfaced on Tuesday showing Mr Khashoggi walking into the consulate in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighbourhood. So far, there's no public evidence showing he ever walked out, nor any released by Turkish officials about why they believe Mr Khashoggi was killed.

"At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance," Ms Cengiz wrote. "I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate."

She added: "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened."

Saudi's ambassador to the US on Tuesday said said that reports of Mr Khashoggi being detained and killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are "absolutely false and baseless".

Rumours and leaks on what happened to Mr Khashoggi’s fate are “malicious" and “outrageous” Prince Khalid bin Salman said. "Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself, and despite our differences, and his choice to go into his so-called 'self-exile', we still maintained regular contact when he was in Washington."

Mr Khashoggi, who wrote critically for the Post about Prince Mohammed's rise to power, also sought to become a US citizen, Ms Cengiz wrote. He had been in a self-imposed exile in the US since last year, fearful of the prince's low tolerance for criticism. President Trump, who took his first overseas trip as US president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Mr Khashoggi.

"But I will be at some point," he said on Tuesday, without elaborating.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also said on Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched. It's unclear when such a search would take place.

Full report at:




Why halal meat generates so much controversy in Europe

By James McAuley

Oct 10, 2018

LES LILAS, France — There could scarcely be a spectacle more French than elderly matrons and young fathers vying for choice cuts of veal on a weekend morning. But the popularity of Les Jumeaux, an artisanal butcher shop in this Paris suburb, is something of a feat.

All the meat here — from the bison to the boudin blanc to the Wagyu beef — is halal. And the 28-year-old twin brothers who run the shop have managed to attract a diverse clientele and critical acclaim at a moment when there is intense resistance to halal meat in Western Europe.

A regional government in Austria recently proposed that people buying halal or kosher meat should have to register with authorities. There have been periodic “scares” in Britain over customers being sold unlabeled halal meat. Until a constitutional court overturned it, Poland imposed a ban on halal and kosher slaughter. The party platform of the far-right Alternative for Germany includes a similar provision.

The argument in some cases has been driven by animal rights activists. In others, the debate is more about the perceived quality of the meat. And often underlying it all are essential questions of identity and belonging.

For meat to be classified as halal — meaning, broadly, permissible according to Islam — the animal in question must be slaughtered in a certain way: with a sharp incision to the front of the throat, and with a blessing.

It is similar to kosher slaughter practices that comply with Jewish dietary law, although the two religions have different rules about what parts of an animal may be eaten.

The fight over animal rights centers on whether halal slaughter is more or less humane than other practices.

In Europe, there has been a movement — enshrined in European Union law — to require that animals be stunned before they are killed, so that they are unconscious and do not feel pain or distress. Exceptions can be granted, however, for religious practice. And critics charge that halal slaughter causes unnecessary suffering at the time of death.

Halal butcher shops in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis in Paris. (Julien Pebrel/M.Y.O.P./For The Washington Post)

Defenders note that many animals slaughtered according to halal practice in Europe — including more than 84 percent of halal slaughter in Britain — are, in fact, pre-stunned, which is widely considered acceptable if done in a way that an animal can be returned to normal consciousness. (By contrast, kosher slaughter prohibits stunning.)

Islamic traditions also pay specific attention to animal well-being — not only at the moment of death but throughout life. Animals are not to be caged or abused. No animal should have to suffer the distress of seeing another animal killed. And the knife used for slaughter should be as sharp as possible, with the idea that a swift, precise cut minimizes pain.

For some Muslim consumers, halal products signal ethical production that other meats may not have undergone. “It’s understood that they have certain attitudes,” said Bogac Ergene, a historian at the University of Vermont who co-wrote “Halal Food: A History.” “It’s a comfort for a Muslim to see some kind of halal packaging.”

That comfort may in some cases be misplaced. In France, for instance, multiple halal certifiers exist, and each abides by its own practices and standards, although all are based on religious sources. “Any observer can enter the market,” said Yasser Louati, a Muslim community organizer. “We don’t know how they set their standards; it’s unclear even for the consumers themselves.”

As the global market for halal meats has grown, a number of producers have turned to factory farming. And undercover videos have revealed mistreatment at certain halal slaughterhouses.

But halal’s defenders say those cases point to systemic problems within the industry rather than problems specific to halal, and they suggest that animal rights activists are somewhat cynical in their focus on halal.

“They need some victories and the easiest way to get them is to focus on soft targets, i.e., targets which are marginal in terms of volume,” Fetallah Otmani, managing director of AVS, France’s largest halal certifier, said in an interview published this year in the organization’s newsletter. “Besides, it’s an even more interesting target as anything related to Islam is likely to receive greater political and media attention.”

Another line of resistance to halal meats relates to quality. Although there is little about the method of slaughter that should affect taste, there is an impression in some quarters that halal products are inferior — the sort of food you might get from a shawarma cart on the street as opposed to a fine restaurant. In France, insistence on halal meats is seen

by some as a rejection of the centuries-old artisanal traditions that have helped to establish the nation’s gastronomic superiority. Some reports have claimed that the halal market is like a clearance sale, offering “old animals, especially sheep, past their usefulness” and “animals whose physical characteristics exclude them from standard marketing channels.”

These are myths that the brothers who run Les Jumeaux have had to push against.

Slim Loumi, front, and his twin brother, Karim, are the owners of Les Jumeaux (“the twins”), a halal butcher shop in Les Lilas, in the eastern suburbs of Paris. (Julien Pebrel/M.Y.O.P./For The Washington Post)

Assorted cuts of meat at Les Jumeaux. (Julien Pebrel/M.Y.O.P./For The Washington Post)

Carcasses hang inside a cooler. (Julien Pebrel/M.Y.O.P./For The Washington Post)

“I am Muslim. I am an Arab. But I am also producing products of quality,” said Slim Loumi of Les Jumeaux, noting that the shop produces the same kind of brochettes and blanquettes de veau beloved by many French customers. “We are 100 percent halal, but we really are artisanal, and in the French tradition.”

But perhaps most of all, halal has been a source of controversy in Western Europe because, for some, the designation is synonymous with cultural self-segregation and “Islamization.” This is especially the case in France, a staunchly secular society, where dietary restrictions that come from religious dictates are often seen as undermining the ties that bind all citizens.

An employee of Les Jumeaux serves a customer. (Julien Pebrel/M.Y.O.P./For The Washington Post)

Hakim El Karoui, an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron and a proponent of further assimilation, has reinforced this view, arguing that eating halal products is not so much a religious requirement as it is a “social marker” and a sign of “the penetrations of Islamist behaviors.” He further notes that Islamic groups make significant earnings by selling and certifying halal meat, and he proposes instead that France “run the cult.”

Among the most explosive topics are public school cafeterias and whether French republican values permit observant Muslim and Jewish students to skip weekly pork offerings in favor of “substitution meals.”

On the right side of the political spectrum, the answer has been a resounding “non.” This year, Julien Sanchez, the far-right mayor of Beaucaire, in southern France, outlawed alternatives to pork in local schools. “My decision is so that the republic wins, that in France the republic has priority and not religion,” Sanchez told The Washington Post in January.

The center-right Mayor Nicole Goueta in the Paris suburb of Colombes has launched a crusade against halal establishments, insisting that businesses cater to all customers rather than a select few. One small grocery that did not sell pork or alcohol was forced to close.

Rodizio Brazil, a halal churrascaria, has managed to resist the mayor’s demand to start serving alcohol — but has been repeatedly denied a permit for a lucrative outside terrace, according to its proprietor.

“Why do you want me to serve alcohol in this establishment? If I rent an apartment, it would be the same thing as demanding I keep cheese in my fridge when I don’t like cheese,” said Mohammed Boucherit, 36.

For halal butchers and, further down the supply chain, restaurant proprietors such as Boucherit, the halal issue — if there even is an issue — is hardly about identity. In communities with large Muslim populations, it is a basic economic calculation.

In Colombes, Boucherit said, roughly 70 percent of the community buys halal meat. “There’s a very strong demand,” he said. “As a businessman, why would I do something counter to the market?”

If, for some, halal represents an example of the failure of Muslim assimilation, it also contains the potential for greater integration, through products that are available to all.

When it is marketed as “wholesome, healthy, ethical and nutritious, halal can have meaning beyond the Muslim community,” said Febe Armanios, the other co-author of “Halal: A History” and a historian at Middlebury College.

“For us, what matters is quality,” Loumi said. “We are open to everybody.”

Full report at:




British Army probing meeting between military personnel and Tommy Robinson, anti-Muslim activist

October 9, 2018

The British Army has launched an investigation spurred by social media posts showing uniformed military personnel posing with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a far-right anti-Muslim activist better known as Tommy Robinson.

“We are aware of a photograph and video of a group of Army personnel on social media and are investigating the circumstances surrounding this,” an Army spokesperson said Tuesday, British media reported. “Anyone who is in breach of the Army’s values and standards will face administrative action.”

The social media posts were shared through Mr. Robinson’s official accounts this week and showed him meeting several enthusiastic, smiling young men in uniform.

“A moment like this makes it all worth while,” Mr. Robinson captioned a video he shared on YouTube of the military personnel chanting him name.

“Britain’s heroes,” he captioned a similar post on Instagram.

Mr. Robinson, the co-founder and former leader of the English Defense League, or EDL, has gained notoriety in the U.K. and abroad for espousing racist rhetoric denouncing Islam and immigrants. He parted ways with the group in 2013 and subsequently became involved in the British chapter of a German far-right group, Pedgida, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, prior to co-writing a book last year called “Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam.”

“Far right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the Armed Forces,” the U.K. Army spokesperson told British media Tuesday. “The Armed Forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.”

Full report at:




South Asia


Bangladesh tense over 2004 grenade attack case verdict today

OCTOBER 10, 2018

The verdict on the 2004 terror attack on the Awami League leadership to be delivered on October 10 is expected to be crucial as Bangladesh heads for its elections. Opposition BNP maintains that the case is a vindictive move by the Sheikh Hasina government whereas activists described the attack as “State-sponsored terrorism”.

Two cases were filed after the August 21, 2004 grenade attack at a political rally in Dhaka which left 24 dead, including prominent leader of Awami League Ivy Rahman. Ms. Hasina survived the attack with injuries.

Wednesday’s verdict is significant due to the current pre-election season of Bangladesh politics and because of the fact that the acting chairperson of BNP Tarique Rahman is a prime accused in the murder case. Hearing in the case concluded in September and the date to announce verdict was fixed as October 10.

The “21 August case” was extraordinary even in the violent political history of Bangladesh as it was one of the biggest attacks on political class of the country in the last four decades. Prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal Tureen Afroz said that the grenade attack was an attempt to “depoliticise the entire system of democracy in Bangladesh”.

“It is a shame that following the brutal attack, the then BNP Government did not only try its level best to tamper the crucial evidence but also tried to put an end to the process of administration of justice by staging a false political drama. That is why the long-awaited verdict in this case is very crucial to ensure justice and to counter the State-sponsored political terrorism in Bangladesh,” Ms. Afroz said.

The case is crucial as it will determine the career of Mr. Rahman who is the son of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Observers say that the Bench in the fast track court is likely to deliver exemplary verdict in the case against the top level BNP leaders.

Two days before the verdict, speaking to The Hindu, BNP’s general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that his party will go to the people seeking remedy to the charges that he described “politically motivated”.

“In such a situation, we will go to the people and launch a movement for justice because that is all a democratic political party can do in such a situation,” Mr. Alamgir said about the strategy to counter the verdict on Wednesday.




Myanmar 'unwilling' to probe Rohingya abuse, UN must act: Rights envoy

October 10, 2018

YANGON - Myanmar is "unable and unwilling" to investigate its abuses against Rohingya Muslims, a UN rights envoy has said, bolstering calls for the country's generals to be hauled before an international court.

A UN fact-finding mission has called for Myanmar's top brass to be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes over a brutal crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state that forced more than 720,000 of the beleaguered minority to flee the country to Bangladesh.

Myanmar has dismissed the allegations, slamming the UN body as biased, and the government has set up its own committee to investigate the crimes.

But UN special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee - who has been barred from entering the country since December - said the government has shown little capacity for an unbiased probe into the violence, saying it has taken "limited and insufficient steps".

"[Myanmar] is unable and unwilling to discharge its obligation to conduct credible, prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations and prosecutions," Lee said in a report she published via her Twitter account on Monday. Given Myanmar's refusal to hold itself accountable, she added, it was up to international courts to seek justice.

"The onus is on the international community to take action," she warned. "Any delay in instituting justice will only result in more violations."

In her conclusions she recommended the UN should "refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court immediately". The northern part of Rakhine has been on lockdown since the violence broke out last August, with journalists and observers only allowed to visit on short, chaperoned trips.

UN investigators - who authored the explosive fact-finding report - were not allowed into the country while Lee has been barred from entering Myanmar since December for her sharp criticisms of the government's treatment of the Rohingya. Lee said she had asked India for permission to meet Rohingya refugees there but received no response from Delhi.

Myanmar's de facto leader Suu Kyi - once lionised by the international community as a democracy icon - has seen a sharp fall from grace following her refusal to speak out against the military.

The UN fact-finding mission has pointed out that her government's attempts to whitewash facts had worsened the situation for the embattled Rohingya.

Lee also raised alarm over declining press freedom in Myanmar after Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were jailed for seven years each after reporting on the military's role in the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine.

Describing their prosecution as "spurious", she called for the pair to be released immediately.

The military has denied almost all accusations of genocide levelled against it, insisting that "clearance operations" were necessary to fight Rohingya militants.

The International Criminal Court has ruled that an investigation will go ahead as Bangladesh - which has received the Rohingya refugees fleeing across the border - is a signatory of the Rome statute that created the court.

Full report at:




Ghani responds to Taliban threats for attacking elections

Oct 10 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said that the ‘enemy propaganda’ would not create barriers on the way of the Afghan people to participate in the elections, emphasizing that the elections would be secured in a proper way.

He made the remarks during a meeting of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces organized in Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

This comes as the Taliban group had earlier warned that the group would carry out attacks against the election targets, claiming that elections are a conspiracy of the West and the U.S.

In the meantime, the Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the security and defense officials presented their reports regarding the possible threats, security precautions considered for voting centers, and delivery of the electoral materials to the provinces.

Full report at:




Afghan election candidate among eight killed in suicide attack

October 09, 2018

An election candidate was among eight killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said, days ahead of a parliamentary vote that militants have vowed to disrupt.

Another 11 people were wounded when the attacker blew himself up inside Saleh Mohammad Asikzai's campaign office in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, Helmand provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP.

Asikzai, a young first-time candidate, was campaigning on a platform of “positive change”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Helmand has long been a stronghold for the Taliban, which was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and said Afghans who believed in democracy would not allow “terrorists” to stop the elections.

It is not clear how many people were inside the room at the time of the blast, which comes a day after the Taliban warned candidates to pull out of the “bogus” election scheduled for October 20.

Describing the polls as a “malicious American conspiracy” and urging voters to boycott them, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants would pull no punches to disrupt the ballot.

It was the second suicide attack to target a parliamentary candidate since campaigning officially kicked off on September 28.

An attack on a rally in the eastern province of Nangarhar on October 2 killed 13 people and wounded more than 40. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, which the candidate survived.

Violence had been expected to escalate ahead of the poll, which more than 2,500 candidates are contesting. Tuesday's attack takes the number of candidates murdered in targeted killings to at least six.

Hundreds of civilians also have been killed or wounded in poll-related violence in recent months.

Preparations for the ballot, which is a test run for next year's presidential vote, have been in turmoil for months and there has been debate about whether the vote should go ahead.

Bureaucratic inefficiency, allegations of industrial-scale fraud and an eleventh-hour pledge for biometric verification of voters threaten to derail the process, which is three years late.

Some 54,000 members of Afghanistan's beleaguered security forces will be responsible for protecting more than 5,000 polling centres on election day.

But there are concerns over how they will manage as the Taliban and IS step up attacks across the country.

Full report at:




Taliban kill 15 Afghan security officers

October 09, 2018

MOSCOW   -  Taliban carried out an attack in the northern Afghan province of Jawzjan, killing at least 15 security officers and injuring 26 others, local media reported on Monday, citing sources.

The attack took place on Sunday night and targeted check posts in the province’s Qosh Tepa district, according to the Tolo News broadcaster.

However, a security police official, Kamaluddin Yawar, provided another number of victims. He told the media outlet the attack claimed the lives of four security officers and left four others wounded, while at least 30 Taliban insurgents were killed, and 19 others suffered injuries.

The Jawzjan authorities pointed out that without air support the province may fall to the Taliban, stressing that clashes were continuing in the region, the outlet added. A solider told the Tolo News that over 10 security officers had been surrounded by the Taliban at a check post, and were facing risk to be killed or forced to surrender. The Taliban, along with various terror organizations, including the Islamic State (IS, banned in Russia), have long been threatening Afghanistan’s security.




MoI reacts at Taliban’s threats for targeting elections

Oct 09 2018

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan (MoI) reacted at the threats of the Taliban group for targeting the parliamentary and district council elections which are due to be organized in less than two weeks.

MoI in a statement said parliamentary elections is one of the pillars of democracy and the people of Afghanistan are well aware of the democratic and national values.

The statement further added that the people of Afghanistan enrolled their names for the upcoming elections despite the security issues.

MoI also added in its statement that the security forces have stepped up efforts to ensure security of the elections so that the Afghan people could cast their votes in a peaceful environment.

In response to the threats of the Taliban group for targeting the elections, MoI slammed the group for spreading rumors that the elections process is a foreign project and has no links with the people of Afghanistan.

The Ministry also slammed the group for killing the innocent Afghans for the past 18 years to appease their foreign supporters, emphasizing that the group once again attempts to carry out a psychological and war of propaganda against the people.

The statement also added that the Taliban group has announced issued a repetitive statement which has been given by the foreign supporters, insisting that there is nothing new in the statement of the group issued regarding the elections.

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has threatened to carry out attacks against the election targets during the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.

Claiming that the elections are conspiracies of the West and the United States, the group in a statement said “The Islamic Emirate instructs all its Mujahidin to halt this American led process throughout the country by creating severe obstacles for it, while taking extensive and intensive care of civilian Afghan lives and their properties.”

Full report at:




5 Taliban militants killed while planting IED on a roadside in Farah

Oct 09 2018

At least five Taliban militants were blown up by own explosives as they were placing an Improvised Explosive Device on a roadside in western Farah province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Posht Rod district.

The statement further added that five Taliban militants, who were planting an Improvised Explosive Device on a roadside in Nehal Dasht village of Posht Rod, were killed after the explosives went off prematurely.

The Taliban militants and other militants often use improvised explosive device as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials.

However, in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are killed while in some cases the Taliban militants are themselves blown up in premature explosions.

Anti-government elements must immediately end the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of all improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas frequented by civilians, said UNAMA in a special human rights report released few days earlier.

Full report at:



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  • "Indian Muslims and the Meccan period of Islam: An analogy".

    Such analogies are arbitrary and meaningless. We have to assess present realities, adapt within reason and work towards restoration of true secularism. We are probably better off than religious minorities in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We can look at Modi-raj as a temporary aberration.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/10/2018 9:29:14 AM

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