- This combination of 2018 photos shows then-Representatives-elect Ilhan Omar,
Democrat-Minnesota, left, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat-Michigan, in Washington.
Losing Sway over Youth Because Of Online Sermons, Study Shows
to Visit Moroccan Imam School to Boost Moderate Islam
‘Weakening Arab States,’ Arab Parliament Forum Told
From Pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam Kingpin Ahmad Shafi Gets The Courage Of Making
Audacious Statement Against Ahmadiyyas?
Lawmakers’ Criticism of Israel Pressures US Democrats
Investments To Aid Cash-Strapped Pakistan
among OIC Muslim States 'Easily Achievable'
in the Spread of Radical Islam in Africa: The Case of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo
Urges China to Respect Uighur Rights, Close Camps
Free Water? Help Build Our Caliphate, Hizbut Tahrir Tells Muslims
sees US$1.6 billion windfall from halal labelling rule
joins Indonesia's ruling party PDI-P
may ease strict secularism laws to tackle radical Islam
hope for French families awaiting returns from Syria
to visit Middle East to brief on economic component of peace plan
Syrian Army Ready for Imminent Operation Against Terrorists
Syrian force launches ‘final battle’ against ISIS
strongly protests airspace violation by Bahrain
could trigger new Israel-Lebanon conflict: Russian envoy
airstrikes claim 3 more civilian lives in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr
in Syria, foreign terrorist suspects may face trial in Iraq
From Pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam Kingpin Ahmad Shafi Gets The Courage Of
Making Audacious Statement Against Ahmadiyyas?
Coalition Forces Kill 30 Taliban, ISIS-K Militants in Past 24 Hours
Special Forces rescue 7 civilians from a Taliban prison in Helmand
intelligence arrest 3 HQN members in connection to deadly Kabul bombings
forces repulse Taliban attack in Sar-e-Pul province
of militants killed as Afghan, coalition forces ramp up operations
lawmaker says airstrikes kill 21 civilians
warned against peace deal without Kabul’s consent
steps up airstrikes on Taliban to gain leverage in peace talks: Reports
security measures sketched for Bishwa Ijtema
military commission chief killed in Ghazni airstrike
US hold small-scale joint war game
receives life sentence for Quebec mosque shooting
US form joint working groups on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
ignores Senate deadline on Khashoggi killing
Khan, IMF chief meet today in Dubai to speed up bailout talks
PPP react sharply to Imran’s latest diatribe
alerts Pakistan as US hopes to reach Afghan peace deal in July
activists arrested for protesting released on bail in Quetta
to confiscate Palestinian land for sewage network in central West Bank
bury 14-year-old killed during Gaza protest
coalition denies supplying US weapons to Iran-backed Houthis
arrests Palestinian suspect in teenager’s killing
opposition group calls for regime change in Paris march
gunfire kills Gaza teens during border protests
strikes target al-Feel oilfield in southern Libya
court sentences seven terrorists to life for deadly 2015 attacks
Haram: from Islamist sect to armed threat
killed in fire at camp for Boko Haram displaced
Arshad Madani Addresses Inter-Religious Symposium In Austria
ATS: 10 held with ‘IS links’ planned big attack to seem ‘credible recruits’
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PM Imran Khan’s statement on minorities an ‘insult to Indian citizens’: MEA
Shutdown in Valley on Afzal Guru’s death anniversary
by New Age Islam News Bureau
centuries, mosques have served as places where Muslims deepen their knowledge
of Islamic teachings. The influence of mosques, however, is waning as a result
of social media-based preaching.
2018 study by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) at Syarif
Hidayatullah Islamic State University (UIN) Jakarta has revealed that young
Muslims are losing interest in studying religion in mosques.
study, which surveyed Muslims aged between 17 and 24 in 18 regencies and cities
across the country, also found that social media-based sermons had reduced the
influence of religious education in family, organizations or other formal
Muslim Fitria Jamal, 25, said she was more likely to use YouTube to learn about
Islam than go to a mosque to join a kajian (learning forum).
YouTube, I can choose topics and preachers that I want to learn and listen to,”
said the bank staffer, who said social-media savvy preacher Abdul Somad, dubbed
the preacher with 1 million viewers, was one of her favorites.
said it was challenging to find a forum that catered to her preference of
discussing fitrah (original nature) of women in Islam.
curious Muslim, Faridah Zahra, 25, said she liked to watch Abdul Somad and
other famous young preachers like Adi Hidayat and Hanan Attaki on YouTube and
Instagram because they provided her with “interesting sermons”, such as the
relationship between Islam and science.
I was exposed to such scientific knowledge, I became increasingly curious,”
said the account manager who lives in Bandung, West Java.
said she liked the idea of visiting mosques more but maintained she would only
do it if the mosques presented engaging topics.
and Muslims gathered in Jakarta recently to discuss how to attract the youth to
mosques amid the increasing influence of social media in the proliferation of
lecturer at UIN Jakarta, Masdar F. Mas’udi, said abandoned mosques were prone
to being used by radical groups to disseminate their views.
least that’s what’s happening in some mosques in Bogor, West Java, where I
studied the phenomenon some years ago,” he said recently.
said mosques needed to enliven themselves to stop the spread of radicalism. Recent
reports disclosed that a number of mosques in the country had been infiltrated
by groups affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) movement to recruit members
for the terrorist network.
don’t want this to happen again so we need to empower our mosques,” Masdar
CSRC UIN Jakarta director Irfan Abubakar said millennials needed to go to
mosques to get a thorough understanding of Islam.
times, Irfan said, low religious literacy leads to absolutism, which he defined
as an attitude of regarding one’s own beliefs as the absolute truth.
is a threat to the country’s pluralistic society,” he said, adding that Muslims
with good religious literacy were likely to be open-minded, tolerant and have a
positive perception of diversity.
Amalee, a founder of Peace Generation and activist, said a transformation at
mosques was needed to attract millennials. Changes, he said, could take place
through fresh and relatable sermon topics, the retraining of mosques’ takmir
(managers) and preachers and the renovation of mosque buildings to create a
fresh ambiance and inspire ideas.
shall use new and innovative approaches to create a magnet effect at our
mosques,” he said, citing several mosques in Bandung that found success in
bringing in worshipers by providing free Wi-Fi and developing Instagrammable
to visit Moroccan imam school to boost moderate Islam
CITY — Pope Francis will meet with migrants in Morocco and visit a training
institute for imams that seeks to be a bulwark against Islamic extremism during
his March 30-31 visit to the North African nation.
Vatican on Saturday released the schedule for the pope’s trip to Rabat, the
capital of Morocco.
comes on the heels of Francis’ recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, where
he signed a landmark “fraternity” document with a leading Sunni imam and sought
to encourage moderate Islam and interfaith ties.
his visit, Francis will meet with King Mohammed VI as well as the country’s
priests and religious sisters and celebrate Mass for the Catholic community.
His meeting with migrants will take place at the Vatican’s Caritas charity.
Francis is also planning a visit to a social center outside Rabat.
has long considered itself a key ally in the fight against Islamic extremism
and the king routinely criticizes jihadism and the discourses of radical Islam.
imam training institute, named for the king, draws Moroccan, sub-Saharan and
European preachers. Opened in 2015, it now receives over 700 students a year
and is part of government efforts that began in 2004 to counter terrorism and
Moroccans have made up an unusually large number of Islamic State fighters. The
government for decades has sought to supervise the religious teachings of its
communities abroad, where some of the Moroccan-born foreign fighters were
El-Masaiti reported from Rabat, Morocco.
‘weakening Arab states,’ Arab Parliament forum told
Extremism and terrorism have led to a “weakening of the social fabric” in Arab
states, an Arab Parliament conference in Cairo has been warned. The
Parliament’s speaker, Dr. Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, told the high-level forum
that political militancy and terrorist activity had paved the way for external
interference in some states, particularly by neighboring countries.
of these countries have been able to establish groups within Arab states that
owe them allegiance ... and benefit from inter-Arab conflicts,” he said.
made his remarks while presiding over the “Achieving Peace and Stability”
conference at the Arab League’s headquarters on Saturday.
forum was attended by former and current Arab heads of government and
ministers, including Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal
Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
his opening statement, Al-Salami praised Saudi Arabia for its “pivotal role in
maintaining Arab security” and called for greater solidarity among Arab states
to deal with external interference.
should be based on a thorough and comprehensive vision that strengthens the
Arab states and protects their sanctities,” he said.
holding this conference, the Arab Parliament is acknowledging the great
challenges facing our region today. This move is in line with our people’s
urged Arab leaders to reject conflict, saying: “This will enable us to thwart
(those) targeting us and our Arab national security.”
conference promotes “Arab solidarity and cooperation, allowing Arab states to
confront current and future challenges and threats,” he said.
welcomed the Kingdom’s support for the Yemeni people and the establishment of
the Arab coalition to support the legitimacy of Yemen.
coalition will “restore the institutions of the Yemeni state, which were seized
by the Iranian Houthi group by force,” Al-Salami said.
also praised King Salman’s efforts to achieve peace and historic reconciliation
between Ethiopia and Eritrea and between Djibouti and Eritrea to improve
security in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa.
highlighted the Kingdom’s Neom project, launched with Egypt and Jordan, as an
example of Arab economic integration that will also strengthen national
from pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam kingpin Ahmad Shafi gets the courage of
making audacious statement against Ahmadiyyas?
Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
February 8, 2019 issue of Dhaka’s front-ranking Bangla daily Jugantor has a
most disturbing report. According to it, Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh has
decided to hold an Izteema (religious congregation) in Panchagarh district,
which has already come under extreme opposition from the pro-Caliphate group
named Hefazat e Islam (HeI) which consists of thousands of madrassa teachers
and students. Executive editor of madrassa mouthpiece named monthly Moinul,
Sarwar Kamal has circulated a statement from HeI kingpin Ahmad Shafi stating,
“Deniers of Khatmey Nabuwat (last prophecy), feet-licking slave of the British,
nefarious enemy of the Muslim ummah, Golam Mohammad Kadiani had denied acknowledging
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as the last prophet. He [Golam Mohammad Kadiani]
proclaimed false prophethood with the agenda of deceiving Muslims, being a
lapdog of the British. Golam Mohammad was the agent of those British
imperialist traders who had ruled Indian subcontinent for 190 years, and had
falsely proclaimed himself as the prophet and had participated in anti-Islam
Shafi has also called upon Bangladesh government to “immediately declare
Ahmadiyyas” as “non-Muslims” and has asked the government to stop the Ahmadiyya
religious congregation in Panchagarh district [in Bangladesh].
said, “Despite the fact of being non-Muslims, Qadiyanis are claiming themselves
as Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and has been booting the world’s prophet [prophet of
Islam]. If such things are not stopped forthwith, Hefazat e Islam by joining
‘Khatmey Nabuwat Movement’ will go into massive anti-Ahmadiyya movement in
Bangladesh. Ahmadiyyas should be declared non-Muslims and their naked
exposition of audacity [against Islam] should be immediately stopped.
Otherwise, any conspiracy will be foiled by the hundreds of millions of
towheedi janata [masses of faith]”.
this extremely disturbing news in Jugantor, I personally tried to reach the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat in Bangladesh. But most possibly they were
non-responsive out of fear of any extreme consequence and further hostility by
pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam and the radical Muslims in Bangladesh. Then I
tried to check with an website named Persecution of Ahmadis to get further
details of this latest threat by HeI. Unfortunately, there also is nothing,
save some old contents of November 2018.
I contacted Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa, editor-in-chief of The Eastern Herald
in India and drawing his attention to the latest threat by HeI in Bangladesh,
sought his comment, as I have been observing him to be extremely outspoken and
a genuine defender of Ahmadiyya rights. In a voice mixed with extreme grief and
anger, Muzaffar Ahmad said, “What Mr. Ahmad Shafi of Hefazat e Islam has said
is unacceptable, unfortunate and certainly a matter of grave concern. He
clearly has attempted to incite fresher persecution on the Ahmadiyyas in
Bangladesh. What I want to say here is – we are a peaceful community who always
promote peace and harmony admixed with spirituality that denounces religious
hatred and extremism. With extreme worries, I am further worried seeing this
pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam now picking up Ahmadiyya issue taking full
advantage of its recent romance with the Bangladesh’s ruling party. There is no
doubt about Hefazat e Islam enjoying silent patronization from the ruling
elites in Bangladesh and a possible cruelty, persecution and violence on the
Ahmadiyyas can only be stopped for good through international intervention. I
am calling upon the international community, particularly the US President
Donald Trump and his administration to this extremely disturbing issue”.
Ahmad further said, “We Ahmadis believe in Khatmey Nabuwat as perceived by Imam
Mahdi who is claimed to be the same promised Messiah of later days. We
definitely are true Muslims and we believe in Islam of our holy prophet
trying to take revenge of 2013 actions:
my personal opinion, Hefazat e Islam, taking undue advantage of its recent
relations with the ruling Awami Leage is not only trying to implement their
pro-Caliphate agenda in Bangladesh but it also is trying to put Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina into an extreme odds. Whatever may the Bangladeshi Prime Minister
has been briefed by her advisers and aides about HeI, she needs to remember,
this notorious group denounces democracy and aspires of establishing Caliphate.
Ideologically, there is no difference between Hefazat e Islam and Islamic State
(ISIS). Ahmad Shafi is clearly a clone copy of ISIS kingpin Abu Bakr al
Baghdadi. But the most disturbing fact here is – Hefazat’s ‘human force’ is
many fold more than that of ISIS. While Islamic State might have some hundred
thousand members and supporters till date, the number of pro-HeI people stands
at few millions.
Hei kingpin Ahmad Shafi openly has threatened of joining hands with Khatmey
Nabuwat Andolan (KNA), the fact is – KNA already is affiliated with HeI as KNA
too mainly consists of madrassa teachers and students. Now the question is –
should Bangladesh ban Hefazat e Islam? The reply is – YES, and it should be
done right now, before it grows into an unstoppable monster.
persecuted Ahmadiyya community:
are not only facing persecution in Muslim-dominated Pakistan or Bangladesh but
very surprisingly, they also are facing continuous threats, intimidations and
persecutions in India as well. Almost on a regular basis, we get news of
persecution and injustice on the Ahmadiyyas in India. Very unfortunately, the
secularist or even radical Hinduist government in India feel extremely shy in
taking any steps in saving Ahmadiyyas from such notoriety. Instead, in some
cases, the state machinery play the role of an abettor.
record of the persecution of Ahmadiyyas in Bangladesh:
to the Human Rights Watch website: “The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (the
official name of the community) is a contemporary messianic movement founded in
1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1839–1908), who was born in the small village of
Qadian in Punjab, India. The Ahmadiyya community is also referred to
derogatorily by some as the “Qadiani” (or “Kadiyani”) community, a term derived
from the birthplace of the founder of the movement. In 1889, Ahmad declared
that he had received divine revelation authorizing him to accept the baya’ah,
or allegiance of the faithful. In 1891, he claimed to be the expected mahdi or
messiah of the latter days, the “Awaited One” of the monotheist community of
religions, and the messiah foretold by the Prophet Mohammed. Ahmad described
his teachings, incorporating both Sufic and orthodox Islamic, Hindu, and
Christian elements, as an attempt to revitalize Islam in the face of the
British Raj, proselytizing Protestant Christianity, and resurgent Hinduism.
Thus, the Ahmadiyya community believes that Ahmad conceived the community as a
revivalist movement within Islam and not as a new religion.
of the Ahmadiyya community (“Ahmadis”) profess to be Muslims. They contend that
Ahmad meant to revive the true spirit and message of Islam that the Prophet
Mohammed introduced and preached. Virtually all mainstream Muslim sects believe
that Ahmad proclaimed himself as a prophet, thereby rejecting a fundamental
tenet of Islam: Khatme Nabuwat (literally, the belief in the “finality of
prophethood”— that the Prophet Mohammed was the last of the line of prophets
leading back through Jesus, Moses, and Abraham). Ahmadis respond that Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad was a non-law-bearing prophet subordinate in status to Prophet
Mohammed; he came to illuminate and reform Islam, as predicted by Prophet
Mohammed. For Ahmad and his followers, the Arabic Khatme Nabuwat does not refer
to the finality of prophethood in a literal sense—that is, to prophethood’s
chronological cessation—but rather to its culmination and exemplification in
the Prophet Mohammed. Ahmadis believe that “finality” in a chronological sense
is a worldly concept, whereas “finality” in a metaphoric sense carries much
more spiritual significance.
exact size of the Ahmadiyya community worldwide is unclear, though there are
concentrations of Ahmadis in India, Pakistan, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Gambia.
have lived in what is present-day Bangladesh since the early 1900s. Roughly
100,000 Ahmadis live in Bangladesh today. Violence towards the Ahmadiyya
community in Bangladesh has occurred for almost two decades. The recent upsurge
in the persecution of the Ahmadis can be understood as part of a gradual trend
in Bangladesh away from the country’s secular roots toward more blending of
religion and politics. This Islamization of government can be explained
partially by examining the history of Bangladesh.
1971, Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, fought a liberation war to secede from
its union with Pakistan, in order to protect its own Bengali language and
culture. After a brutal nine-month war, the newly independent Bangladeshis
created a constitution founded upon four guiding principles: nationalism,
socialism, democracy, and secularism.
with Prime Minister [Sheikh] Mujibur Rahman in 1972, however, the role of Islam
slowly began to increase in Bangladesh’s civil society and state apparatus. In
1977, the government replaced Article 12 of the founding constitution, which
provided that the principle of secularism should be realized by the elimination
of communalism in all its forms, with the assertion that the Muslim faith would
be one of the nation’s guiding principles. In 1988, Bangladesh moved a step
further away from its secular heritage when Islam officially became the state
religion through an amendment to the constitution, Article 2-A, which reads:
“The state religion of the Republic is Islam, but other religions may be
practiced in peace and harmony in the Republic.”
these constitutional amendments have set the tone for Bangladeshi society, the
reversal of the constitutional prohibition on religious parties allowed for the
reemergence of the Jama’at-e-Islami and for the formation of extreme religious
parties, such as the Islamic Okye Jyote (IOJ). The religious parties were able
to return to power despite arguing that nationalism is un-Islamic and the
secession from Pakistan was unwarranted.
attacks and threats against Ahmadis became more systematic in the early 1990s
as Bangladesh returned to parliamentary government. The attacks began in
earnest during the BNP government (1991-96), continued through the period of
Awami League rule (1996-2001), and acquired renewed vigor as the BNP returned
to power in 2001, this time in coalition with the J.I. and OJI.
December 27-29, 1991, the Khatme Nabuwat (K.N.), an Islamist organization
dedicated to safeguarding the sanctity of the finality of the Prophet Mohammed,
held a conference to organize activities aimed at banning Ahmadi religious
practice and identity in Bangladesh. As one Bangladeshi Ahmadi explained to
Human Rights Watch, “the K.N. want the Ahmadis to leave Bangladesh. They have
threatened that they would attack us if we do not surrender, if we continued to
be Ahmadis.” On February 5, 1992, Mahfuzur Rahman, the president of the
Khilafat (“Caliphate”) Student Movement – an Islamist student group—led a
public protest in the Noakhali district demanding that the Ahmadi community be
anti-Ahmadi conferences held by Khatme Nabuwwat and the Khilafat Student
Movement sparked fresh attacks on Ahmadis. On February 29, 1992, several
hundred people under the leadership of the Imam Council, a group of Imams from
the Helatala and Niral mosques in Khulna, attacked an Ahmadi mosque and mission
house on the Nirala Housing Estate in the city. The group attempted to set fire
to the buildings, stole and destroyed Ahmadi books, including Ahmadi copies of
the Qur’an, and inflicted property damage on a charitable medical dispensary
nearby. The police near Khulna arrested eight of the group’s members, who had
also planned to disrupt an Ahmadi congregation under the direction of a local
imam. The imam and members of the Jama’at-e-Islami Bangladesh condemned the
October 30, 1992, a procession of more than 1,200 people launched a massive
attack on the main Bahshkibazar Ahmadiyya complex in Dhaka. After ransacking
rooms, burning hundreds of books, including many copies of the Qur’an, and
looting the building of all valuables, the attackers detonated some thirty-five
crude bombs in the building and set it on fire. At least twenty Ahmadis were
injured in the attacks and a total of twelve people were admitted to the Dhaka
Medical College Hospital with serious wounds. Police lobbed at least twenty-five
tear gas canisters to drive the mob away from the burning complex. The Dhaka
police held the student wing of Jama’at-e-Islami Bangladesh, Islami Chhatra
Shibir, responsible for the attack. On November 27, 1992, a group of
anti-Ahmadi protestors attacked and demolished an Ahmadi mosque under
construction in Rajshani. The mob looted all construction materials, including
sand and bricks. No police relief was provided for the Ahmadiyya community in
December 24, 1993, K.N. Bangladesh held a conference in Dhaka to pressure the
government officially to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims, to ban Ahmadi
publications, and to remove Ahmadis from high-ranking government posts. Prior
to the conference, Maulana Ubaidul Haq, spokesperson for the organization,
informed media outlets of the forthcoming visit of several prominent Ulema
(religious leaders) from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and India. He also indicated
that Abdur Rahman Biswas, President of Bangladesh, would inaugurate the
conference formally. Professor Golam Azam and Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami (the
incumbent State Minister for Industries), the President and the Secretary
General of J.I. in Bangladesh at the time, formally expressed their support for
the conference, stating their hope that the government would declare Ahmadis
non-Muslims in order to show respect for the sentiments of the Muslim
populations of Bangladesh.
conference was held in two sessions with imams from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and
India presiding over each session as scheduled, and representatives from J.I.,
the BNP, participating in the sessions. Leaders at the conference announced
that January 1, 1994 would be “demand day” in Bangladesh whereby all conference
participants would press the government to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim.
anti-Ahmadi organizations emerged on the scene in 1994-95. On March 30, 1994,
The Bangladesh Times reported that the Bangladesh Khilafat Andolen and Islami
Shasantantra Andolen, two extremist Islamist organizations, had joined J.I. in
supporting a four-hour sit-in demonstration organized by K.N. to take place in
Dhaka. The demonstrators, many of them carrying placards and sticks, raised
slogans against the Ahmadis, calling them “kafirs” (disbelievers).
March 1995, a group of demonstrators attacked a central Ahmadi mosque in Dhaka.
This time, secular activists and members of civil society strongly condemned
on tour in Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia, on February 28, 1997, the Chief Imam
of the Masjid-e-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, Saudi Arabia, Allama
Dr. Shaikh Ali Bin Abdur Rahman Al Huzaifi, condemned Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and
his followers as “traitors…misleading others by their self-made and false
Quranic commentary.” On May 22, 1997, the K.N. once again held a large-scale
public meeting, this one at Children’s Park in Dhaka. Participants reiterated
their demand to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. The meeting ended with a
collective resolution making fresh demands on the government, including a ban
on all uses of Qur’anic passages and Islamic terminology on Ahmadi mosques, a
ban on the burial of Ahmadis in Muslim graveyards, and, for the first time, a
ban on and confiscation of all Ahmadi publications, including Ahmadi copies of
the Qur’an. On July 7, 1997, members of Khatme Nabuwwat marched to the
Parliament House in Dhaka to submit a formal memorandum of these demands.
against Ahmadis in major cities outside of Dhaka began to appear in the late
1990s. On July 23, 1998, members of Touhid Jonota, another anti-Ahmadi group,
attacked and destroyed a new Ahmadi office building inaugurated by the local
government in Zhinaigati. Three police officers were injured in the attacks. On
January 7, 1999, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, members of
the Jama’at-e-Islami attacked an Ahmadi mosque in the Koldiar-Majdiar village
of the Khushtia District. Over fifty Ahmadis were injured in the raid, eleven
of them critically. Nearly a month after the Khushtia mosque attack, over a
hundred Ahmadi families were forced to leave the surrounding villages after
they were not allowed to pray in their mosque. The families did not return to
their village in Kushtia for six months. The U.S. State Department reported
that an Ahmadiyya mosque in Kushtia was forcibly occupied by Sunni extremists
in 1999 and remained under police control for about three years, preventing
Ahmadis from praying in it. In August 2002, the Ahmadiyya community regained
control of the mosque.
October 8, 1999, a bomb killed six Ahmadis and injured severely several others
who were attending Friday prayers at their mosque in Khulna. In November 1999,
Sunni Muslims ransacked an Ahmadiyya mosque near Natore, in western Bangladesh.
In subsequent clashes between Ahmadis and Sunni, thirty-five people were injured.
Ahmadis regained control of their mosque and filed a criminal case against
thirtypeople allegedly responsible for the conflict.The case, however, was not
pursued by local authorities.
April 15, 2000, villagers at Kodda and Basudev, spurred by the twin attacks in
Kushtia and Kulna, threatened to attack all Ahmadi homes in the area. Over
fifty Ahmadis evacuated their homes and took refuge in the nearby Akhaura
district after some thirty five Ahmadi homes were looted and vandalized. On
April 25, 2000, anti-Ahmadi activists burned down several Ahmadi homes,
destroyed crops of Ahmadi farmers, and threatened the lives of the remaining
Ahmadis in the village. They also took over the Ahmadi mosque in the area,
burning furniture and books, demolishing the structure, and flooding it with
water as a symbolic gesture to “clean out the Ahmadis” from the village.
June 24, 2001, members of K.N. attacked an Ahmadi mosque under construction in
Jamalpur. The mob destroyed the mosque’s walls and foundation as well as the
house of an Ahmadi next door. It then proceeded to attack the person who had
sold the property upon which the Ahmadiyya mosque was being constructed. Police
arrested three members of the mob. On October 15, 2002, a brawl broke out
outside the Upazila Parishod courthouse in Gajipur where a case was being filed
against members of the Ahmadiyya community. Twelve Ahmadis were arrested and
questioned in the incident for allegedly distorting verses of the Qur’an and
certain Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) in the translation of their
texts. Shortly after the arrest of the Ahmadis, a mob destroyed an Ahmadi house
in the area.
January 2, 2003, the K.N., led by its president, Maulana Ubaidul Haq, held
another international conference in Dhaka. Prominent speakers from Egypt,
India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom introduced new fatwas calling for the
excommunication of the Ahmadis in Bangladesh. Leaders of K.N. vowed to
introduce a bill in Parliament to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. One Libyan
leader at the event, Dr. Abdur Razzak, accused Ahmadis of being part of a
British colonial conspiracy.
after the conference, Bangladesh Khilafat Andolen (Bangladesh Caliphate
Movement) organized a protest procession led by Maulana Jafrullah Khan, who
demanded that Parliament declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslim or risk future
litigation and disturbance. On February 1, 2003, the newspaper daily Inqilab
reported that, at a gathering in Cumilla, Member of Parliament Maulana Delawar
H. Saidee [Delwar Hussain Saidee is a leader of Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh and
is now a convicted war criminal serving imprisonment until death in Bangladesh]
declared Ahmadis non-Muslims and called for a complete halt on all Ahmadi
activities, describing the Ahmadiyya community as “satanic.”
recent ban on Ahmadiyya publications also has a lineage: since at least the
1970s, Bangladeshi governments have frequently banned publications deemed
offensive to Muslims. Such determinations have usually been made to appease
extremist groups. For instance, in 1985 [during the rule of military dictator
Hussain Muhammad Ershad], the government issued an order banning a book
published by the Ahmadiyya community on the basis that it contained passages
highly offensive to Muslims, who believe that the Prophet Mohammed is the last
prophet of Allah. The order was unsuccessfully challenged before the High Court
appeal to the international community:
latest case of threats on the Ahmadiyyas in Bangladesh is a matter of grave
concern and it needs to be immediately attended. With my past experience, I
know, the so-called mainstream media in the world are not sensible or
responsible enough in covering such crucial issue, for reasons best known to
them. Under such realities, unless the United States in particular initiates
some tougher steps in forcing Muslim and non-Muslim nations in ensuring rights
of religious freedom to the Ahmadiyyas, sooner or later, members of this small
community may face a similar fate of those Kurdis in Iraq or Rohingyas in
support for a boycott of Israel by the first two Muslim women in the U.S.
Congress has opened a breach in the Democratic Party and threatens to create a
fissure in the ironclad U.S.-Israeli alliance.
Omar and Rashida Tlaib made their debut in the House of Representatives in
January openly declaring their support for the Palestinian-led Boycott,
Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS.
movement, launched more than a decade ago and modeled on the 1960s movement to
pressure South Africa over apartheid, calls for people and groups to sever
economic, cultural and academic ties to Israel, and to support sanctions
against the Jewish state.
for Israel partisans, including many Democrats and Republicans in Congress, BDS
smacks of anti-Semitism and poses a threat to Israel.
42, has Palestinian roots and represents a district of suburban Detroit,
Michigan, that is home to thousands of Muslims.
argues that BDS can draw a focus on “issues like the racism and the
international human rights violations by Israel right now.”
37, is the daughter of Somali refugees who was elected to represent a
Minneapolis, Minnesota, district with a large Somali population.
accuses Israel of discrimination against Palestinians akin to apartheid, but
denies that she is anti-Semitic.
remarks in January to Yahoo News however sparked anger among the large
pro-Israel contingent in Congress, the powerful, largely Democratic U.S. Jewish
community, and Israel itself, where BDS is seen as a national threat.
I see Israeli institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not
recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still hold it as a
democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle,” Omar told Yahoo News.
I know that if we see that in another society we would criticize it — we do
that to Iran, any other place that sort of upholds its religion.”
and Tlaib sparked the BDS controversy during a period when Donald Trump’s
administration has strengthened relations with Israel and slashed aid to the
Republicans saw their support for BDS as both a threat to Jews and an
exploitable rift among Democrats.
have made it clear that hateful, bigoted rhetoric toward Israel is not confined
to a few freshman members. This is the mainstream position of today’s
Democratic Party and their leadership is enabling it,” Republicans said in a
statement Jan. 29.
worry about the small but growing support for BDS in the United States predates
Tlaib’s and Omar’s political rise.
number of states have passed or proposed constitutionally questionable
legislation and policies that would penalize supporters of the boycott movement.
the arrival of Tlaib and Omar in Congress was greeted with the first proposed
federal law to fight to that end, in the Senate.
Marco Rubio argues that BDS aims to eliminate the state of Israel, and said his
legislation would protect states’ rights to exclude from public contracts any
supporters of BDS.
the majority in the Senate, along with more than half of the Democrats approved
a significant number of Democrats opposed it, because, they said, it violates
constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
has left Democrats vulnerable to charges of anti-Semitism.
fight that, in January prominent party members formed the Democratic Majority
for Israel, touting themselves as “The Voice of Pro-Israel Democrats,” which
for some came across as a rebuke of Omar and Tlaib.
Omar joined the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to The
New York Times, Jewish committee Chairman Eliot Engel privately made it clear
that he would not ignore any “particularly hurtful” remarks she might make.
hope that when people are elected to Congress, they continue to grow,” he
reportedly told her.
is obviously a serious fight going on within the Democratic Party with respect
to how to deal with BDS and some within their party who advocate for it,” said
Alvin Rosenfeld, who directs the Institute for the Study of Contemporary
Anti-Semitism at Indiana University.
the party swing to the far left and appear to be way out of line with America’s
traditional ties to one of its strongest allies, Israel, the party will surely
suffer at the polls,” he told AFP.
Elman, a political science professor at Kalamazoo College, said anti-Semitism
should not be used as a “political football by any party.”
should care less where the charges of anti-Semitism come from. What matters is
if the accusations are valid,” she said.
investments to aid cash-strapped Pakistan
A record investment package being prepared by Saudi Arabia for Pakistan will
likely provide welcome relief for its cash-strapped Muslim ally, while also
addressing regional geopolitical challenges, analysts say.
the heart of the investment is a reported $10 billion refinery and oil complex
in the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, the ultimate destination for
the massive multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which lies
not far from the Indo-Iranian port of Chabahar.
Saudi sources have confirmed to AFP that heir apparent to the Gulf kingdom's
throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will visit Islamabad shortly, without
giving a date.
a number of major investment deals are expected to be signed during a visit,
officials from both countries have told AFP.
and Islamabad, decades-old allies, have been involved for months in talks to
hammer out details of the deals in time for the high-profile visit.
outcome of the talks so far has been very positive and this is going to be one
of the biggest-ever Saudi investments in
a Pakistani senior finance ministry official told AFP.
hope that an agreement to this effect will be signed during the upcoming visit
of the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan," said the official, requesting
Wall Street Journal reported last month that both Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates, Islamabad's biggest trading partner in the Middle East, have
offered Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan some $30 billion in investment and
investments are expected to provide a lifeline for Pakistan's slumping economy
which was downgraded in early February by S&P ratings agency from a B to a
B- Saudi economist Fadhl al-Bouenain said.
investment to Pakistan comes within an economic aid package aimed at relieving
the stress of external debt and a shortage of foreign currency, besides
boosting the sluggish economy," Bouenain told AFP.
OPEC heavyweight also aims to achieve strategic and commercial goals with
investments in infrastructure and refinery projects, he said.
Arabia and its Gulf partner, the UAE, have already deposited $3 billion each in
Pakistan's central bank to help resolve a balance of payments crisis and shore
up its declining rupee.
have also reportedly deferred some $6 billion in oil imports payments as
Islamabad has so far failed to secure fresh loans from the International
has already visited Riyadh twice since taking office in July and in October
attended a prestigious investment conference widely boycotted by other
political and economic figures after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
also visited Saudi rivals Qatar and Turkey, as well as China seeking
of the goals for Saudi Arabia expanding investments in refining worldwide is to
secure market share and sustainable exports in the face of international
competition," Bouenain said.
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih visited Gwadar in January and inspected the
site for the proposed oil refinery at the deep sea port, just 70 kilometres (45
miles) away from its Iranian competitor, Chabahar.
was quoted by local media as saying the kingdom was studying plans to construct
a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in Gwadar.
most oil suppliers, the world's top crude exporter has been investing heavily
in refinery and petrochemicals projects across the globe to secure long-term
buyers of its oil.
pipeline from Gwadar to China would cut the supply time from the current 40
days to just seven, experts say.
as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative with investments worth some $60
billion, Gwadar is being billed as a regional industrial hub of the future,
easily accessible for Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa.
needs a rich partner to enter as a third party besides China, capable of
injecting needed cash," Bouenain said.
so far China has rejected other partners for the corridor that seeks to connect
its western province Xinjiang with Gwadar, including Saudi Arabia and UAE, said
James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of
is despite calls by Khan "for the Chinese investments to be restructured
to include agriculture and job-creation sectors and not only in
infrastructure", Dorsey told AFP.
Saudi investment in Gwadar will also have geopolitical dimensions, Dorsey said.
late last year inaugurated Chabahar which provides a key supply route to
landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass its historic enemy Pakistan.
has seen Chabahar as a key way both to send supplies to Afghanistan and to step
up trade with Central Asia as well as Africa.
Riyadh is not expected to get involved in any Indo-Pakistani rivalry and the
kingdom also has major strategic energy deals with New Delhi, where demand for
oil is growing fast.
in April, the Saudis signed a $44 billion deal to build a huge refinery and petrochemicals
complex in western India.
between members of the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
is "easily achievable", according to commentators who spoke at an
Ankara-hosted forum on Friday.
under the slogan "Achieving Peace and Security in a World of
Turmoil", the forum was organized by the Statistical, Economic and Social
Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), an Ankara-based
subsidiary of the OIC.
event attracted dozens of participants, including politicians, academics and
of the speakers, Ambassador Askar Mussinov, head of the OIC’s Peace, Security
and Conflict Resolution Unit, discussed the OIC’s role in finding solutions to
the challenges now facing the Muslim world.
hailed SESRIC’s many research papers on peace and security, which, he said,
"are of great value, as they include practical recommendations along with
urged Muslim countries to promote their traditional values while also raising
awareness on "how much Islamic civilization has contributed to the
way," he said, "we can also refute the many dangerous misperceptions
pointed to the forum itself as an example of "how cooperation and
collaboration are easily achievable among OIC member-states".
speaker, Dr. Ahmet Uysal, president of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
(an independent Ankara-based think-tank), stressed the peaceful nature of the
is a religion of peace," he said, noting that the word "Islam"
itself was closely related to the word for peace ("salaam") in
went on to point out how Islamic traditions had served to build trust between
Muslims and the adherents of other religions.
the past, especially during the Ottoman era, there was trust among different
religious communities living inside the empire," he added.
to Uysal, the Ottoman model should serve as an example of how trust might be
maintained among the OIC’s current member-states.
asked about mechanisms for promoting peace among OIC members, he said: "We
must build a viable civil society in the region and empower marginalized groups
suffering from unemployment and poverty."
must also encourage national dialogue and trust between states of the
region," he added. "Democratic values and the rule of law should also
be heavily promoted."
Farasin, for his part, a SESRIC researcher, noted that "almost sixty
percent" of the world’s ongoing conflicts seemed to involve OIC
are becoming increasingly frequent in the Muslim world, most of which are
largely internal in nature," he said.
internal conflicts, Farasin added, "are often characterized by popular
opposition to the political, economic or ideological policies of the states
almost 76 percent of all terrorist incidents [worldwide] take place in OIC
member-states," he lamented. "This is a tragedy."
more, Farasin said, millions of people worldwide had become the victims of
he asserted, "almost two thirds of the world's refugee population hail
from OIC countries."
added: "Not only are OIC member-states the main source of refugees, but
they also host vast numbers of refugees themselves."
9, 2019 B
radicalism and extremism are perceived around the world as a major threat to
international security. The Islamists started developing terrorism and took it
to a global level. Today, perhaps, there is no continent where this problem
would not be acute. This is the standpoint of scientist D. V. Trenin who
presents his reasoning in the article Traditional and New Security Challenges
in International Relations [Trenin 2015: 138]. Indeed, one could easily agree
recent times, intrusion and spread of radical Islam has become evident in
African countries, where, as it is, the problems of national and continental
security have not been solved due to the never-ending armed conflicts. The most
prevalent Islamic groups in sub-Saharan Africa are the Wahhabis and the Muslim
Brotherhood. Other widespread groups are the Sheikh Balala sect in Kenya with
an active subdivision in Zimbabwe, the Sunni Muslim Association in Cote
d’Ivoire, the People against Gangsterism and Drugs, and the Islamic Jihad in
the Republic of South Africa (the RSA). In Nigeria, the greatest danger is posed
by the Boko Haram extremist organization imposing the Shariah laws and
extirpation of the Western lifestyle; in Senegal — the Al-Falah Movement for
Salafi Islamic culture; in Burkina Faso, there is Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah
al-Muhammad; in Somalia — Al-Shabaab and Jihad al-Islamiyya, the radical wing
of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (headed by Oumar Ould
Hamaha); Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, that seized control over the northern
territories of Mali and, in October 2012, was holding 9 European citizens as
hostages, 6 of whom were French [Kemal 2015: 156].
revivalists’ backbone is not only Islam coming from Arab countries of the East
and the Maghreb. The African reality has seen some examples of religious
extremism conceiving in the depths of the African society itself. These are
various sects and groups primarily calling attention of disadvantaged
population of the country, striving for a better life. They all differ in terms
of dogmatic principles. Although the majority of them are constituted by Sunni
Muslims, in a number of countries there is also the Shia minority (notable for
bravery in combat, no fear of death, belief in afterlife), which is also
influential due to the financial, organizational and moral support of Iran. The
influence of Shia revivalists is apparent in Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Cote
d’Ivoire, Mali, and the RSA.
should be noted that the term “Islamic revivalists,” which is most often
associated with terrorism did not always bear this negative connotation. If we
look back in history, we will see that it entered the political lexicon in the
late 1970’s/early 1980’s, after rise of the anti-Shah regime in Iran. Russian
diplomat and orientalist A. I. Vavilov asserts that “it is not always
justifiable that Islamic revivalism is applied to fairly broad, vague and, in
many respects, motley religious-political movement standing for return to the
“original, radical values of Islam” (not incidentally, the Arabic word for
“revivalists” means “radicalists”) [Vavilov 2009: 229]. Another scientist,
Africanist A. D. Savateyev, maintains the position that Islamic revivalism is
far from the national spirit, although it “incorporates a range of diverse
outlooks from the spiritual and religious point of view, and reflects the
interests of various social strata and sentiments of many categories of
Muslims” [Savateyev 2006: 201]. He mentions the following classification of
Islamists. The first category is focused on the intrinsic values of eternal
order — justice, equality, and fair work in accordance with Koranic precepts.
The second category does not follow the rules and regulations of the “true”
Islam and appeals to the brothers of the religion with proposals to follow the
prophetic directives. The third one goes beyond the “brothers” circle and seeks
to impose its standards of behavior upon adherents of other confessions. The
fourth category of the Muslims includes representatives of secular
intellectuals, merchants; it stands for connecting Islam to the government,
and, in fact, for the re-establishment of a theocratic state. Although, the
views of the adherents are far from being identical in this case. The fifth
category of the revivalists is the armed jihad, manifested as achieving the
goal (creation of a unified Islamic religious and political entity) by any
means including the fight against “expansion” of Christians and reprisal
against infidels. The basic features of the moral portrait of the revivalists’
extremist wing are cynicism and resentment aimed at breach of native African values.
According to the ideology of Islamic extremism, a Muslim is merely obliged to
fight the non-Muslims, that is, to conduct armed jihad. [Savateyev 2006: 230].
of penetration of Islam and its implications to one of the Central African
countries — the DROC — provides a visual representation of the topic addressed.
In the DROC, Islam has been recognized relatively recently, though islamization
of the country, advancing from the east of the DROC, had been known as early as
before the arrival of the Portuguese to the continent (1482). In March 1972,
the President of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko issued Decree 72/194 on the foundation
of the Islamic Community of the Republic of Zaire (COMIZA), which later
transformed into the Islamic Community of the DROC (COMICO) [Cheik Ali
Mwinyi…La Référence plus. Kinshasa 2014: P. 2]. This organization is officially
recognized and unites only a part of the Muslim community in the DROC. Besides
COMICO, there are other Islamic organizations acting “on a private basis”. In March
2014, from among 12 contenders for the post of the Head of the Islamic
community Mufti Sheikh Ali Mwini Mkuu was elected to a 5-year term — a
politically literate, well-educated person maintaining an active position in
the subregional, continental and international organizations [Les musulmans de
la RDC…L’Observateur. Kinshasa 2014: P.11]. Wide connections and communications
with regional and international colleagues enable the Mufti to collect
information, “keep his finger on the pulse”, and control the situation in the
2012, the Islamic Community of the DROC launched the programme “Peaceful
Settlement of Conflicts, Administration and Efficient Governance,” with the
view to train representatives in the provinces of the country. The initiative
involved 48 regional committees and 288 Islamic centres, which employ about
three thousand activists. According to the Deputy Chairman of the Islamic
Community of the DROC M. Seto-Bagoni, who is in charge of legal issues, trained
specialists will provide indispensable support to the DROC Government in
establishing peace and supremacy of the statute law across the country. In the
provinces, Congolese people are also provided with the necessary legal, expert,
and advisory assistance to settle the internal political situation in the
Republic. With the assistance of local, regional and international sponsors,
about USD 130,000 were allocated for the implementation of the Islamic
should be kept in mind that the role of religious denominations in the social
and political life of the DROC, taking into account the deep piety inherent in
the Africans, is extremely high. The dominant position is held by Catholicism,
which is practiced here by more than 50% of the 80 million population, and by Protestantism
as its branch — 20%. This data identifies the DROC as the largest Catholic
country in Africa and draw special attention to Kinshasa from the Vatican. The
National Episcopal Conference, declaring its position on key issues of domestic
and foreign policy on a regular basis, demonstrates significant interest in
this region. Catholic structures, traditionally involved in political
processes, occupy senior positions in the government. For example, Abbot
Apollinaire Malumalu has been elected as the Chairman of the Independent
National Electoral Commission twice — in 2006 and in 2013. Religious leaders
mediate the processes of settlement of the Eastern crisis, coordinate the
provision of humanitarian assistance, and offer a wide network of higher and secondary
syncretic sects (especially Kimbanguism) also have numerous congregations in a
number of provinces, and, according to their postulates (chosenness of the
Africans and etc.), are characterized by considerable political engagement,
often of separatist or anti-European orientation (about 10%). There are many
various religious sects. As a rule, they are fee-paying, but due to the
preachers’ rhetoric skills and their ability to attract attention, the sects
are very popular among the local population. Orthodox Christianity is
represented thinly (five parishes). It is professed by about 3% of the
population. According to 2015 estimates, 10% of the Congolese are Muslims.
largest number of adherents of Islam is concentrated in the east of the
country, in the Provinces of Orientale, Maniema, and in the north of Katanga.
In the DROC, along with Christian buildings for public worship, there are 70
mosques belonging to different Muslim communities: Pakistani, Iranian,
Lebanese, Indian and others.
by year, the percentage of the Congolese people professing Islam is growing.
This is partly promoted by the presence of Muslim peacemakers in the country,
who serve with the UN Stabilization Mission in the DROC, and by numerous
Pakistani military units that provide financial support for the Islamic
communities, in particular in construction of mosques. The severe internal
political, economic and social situation in the country fosters the spread of
the radical wing of Islam.
one of the author’s conversations that took place in Kinshasa in 2013, Sheikh
Abdalah Mangal told that the Islamic Community in the DROC has nothing to do
with so-called radical, aggressive Islamists. The Community is thoroughly
monitoring manifestations of proselytism with the purpose of nipping it in the
bud; it aims at reconciling hostile ethnic groups, at settlement of conflict
situations including those in the east of the country, and stands for
consolidation of the peoples of various religious confessions. Muslims try to
spread and introduce their culture, open schools and provide humanitarian
assistance to the poverty-ridden Congolese population. However, according to
the Mufti, in spite of the attractiveness of Islam, the Congolese authorities inhibit
the spread of this religion in the “Catholic country”. He gave the following
example. On April 18, 2013, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of the
DROC signed a decree on suspension of the activities of the Islamic Community
for three months (the reasons are not disclosed). The decree was abolished
after the Mufti had argued against it and appealed to the Congolese
Congolese analysts assert, although within the period of 2011–2014 no radical
Islamists’ organizations were detected in the country, still there are certain
fears about penetration of jihadist ideas. According to the experts, the Muslim
influence is, albeit slowly, but moving to the DROC. In the west the “Muslim
wave” is coming from Mali and Nigeria; in the east — from Kenya through Uganda
and Rwanda; in the south — from Tanzania and Zambia; and in the north — from
the Central African Republic (the CAR), subsequent to the coup in March 2013.
is Mali — the “citadel” of Islamism in Africa — which is often named by the
experts an “epicenter of the spread” of radical Islam. They do not exclude that
the conflict between Salafists, who differ dogmatically, ideologically,
politically and culturally, can be brought to the Republic Congo, similar to
the conflict between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda in 1994, which was brought to
the DROC from outside. In this regard, a large Malian community in the DROC,
living by its own laws and having its own mosque, raises certain concerns.
Another threat originates in Nigeria, where ethnic antagonisms between the
“Christian south” and the “Muslim north” pose a real danger, up to division of
the country into two states. Consequences of the conflict may well have an
effect on the central region of Africa where the refugees of different faiths will
rush into. As a result, “foreign” problems will affect the already existing
ethnic and religious contradictions. A serious danger is also posed by crossing
the “unconsolidated” border by militants-illegal aliens from South Sudan, who
partially “settled down” in the DROC. This makes the Congolese society
extremely vulnerable in the face of the permanent terrorist threat.
source of threat of the spread of Islam in the DROC is the neighboring Central
African Republic (CAR) where, as already noted, a coup took place. According to
MONUSCO Russian military observers, on December 5, 2013, near the residential
community of Zongo in the Province of Équateur (the DROC), bordering the
residential community of Bangun (the CAR), armed clashes broke out between the
Muslim Seleka and the Christian Antibalaka organization. By the experts’
assumption, the ethnic conflict escalated as a result of mass activity of
French troops, which deployed the “Sangaris” (which means “red butterfly” in
Swahili) operation in the CAR. It was also reported that about 10 militaries of
the Seleka movement oppositional to the CAR government entered the DROC
territory. Streams of refugees from the CAR were crossing the border and
“dissolving” in the forests of the DROC since they did not want to stay in the
refugee camps because of the unstable situation in the region. The Congolese
people, who lived in the areas bordering the CAR, also responded to the
situation and fled from the country. Generally, the situation complicated
because the civilian population of the DROC was extremely irritated by the
aliens from the neighboring country who provoked conflicts and worsened the
already disastrous conditions in the state. The incomers were not only
“pressing” the local population in the Province of Équateur, but were also
bringing with them Islamic culture alien to the Congolese Christians and to
those, who adhere to the local faiths. According to the UNHCR, in May 2014 in
the DROC, there were about 70 thousand refugees from the CAR and six thousand
Congolese returnees. In addition to the arriving refugees, another problem
arose in the country. The CAR militants started seizing the DROC territory. The
risks of migration processes and the destabilization associated with them are
addressed in details in analytical notes by Russian researchers K. Borishpolets
and A. Babadzhanov [Borishpolets K., Babadzhanov A. 2007: 3-7].
threat of radical Islam in the DROC and other African countries comes not only
from the East and the Maghreb. After the investigations of the terrorist attack
that was carried out in Nairobi on September 21, 2013 (67 people died), the
non-governmental organization Red Cross came to the conclusion that the
militants had also been recruited in Europe. Germans, Scandinavians, Americans
were among them. According to the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
Gilles de Kerchove, “it is necessary to find out how people get there”. In
Belgium, for example, there exists an organization for recruiting mercenaries,
the so-called Sharia4Belgium Organization (L’Organisation de la Chariat pour la
Belgique). European mercenaries were seen in Syria and Kenya [Les
Shebabs…L’Observateur 2013: P. 11].
eastern regions of the DROC are the most vulnerable and susceptible to jihadist
influence. Considerable length and “unconsolidated” nature of borders with 9
neighbour countries, geological and climatic characteristics (mountainous
terrain, multilayer equatorial forest, rainfall seasons) along with the absence
of roads and traffic infrastructure precondition the inefficiency of the border
safety system and create a “back door” not only for cross-border criminality,
but also Islamic revivalists.
growth of terrorism spread by armed groups on the African continent as a whole
is the additional risk factor for the destabilization of situation. For more
than a decade illegal armed groups, the members of which profess Islam, have
been acting in the eastern part of the DROC (North Kivu and South Kivu
provinces, Orientale and the northern part of Katanga) uncontrolled by central
authorities. These were primarily the Uganda Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and
the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) groups. Consequently, flashpoints of
conflict emerge and create opportunities for terrorist attacks. As a rule, the
criminal activity of illegal armed groups is connected with illegal
exploitation of valuable natural resources, being smuggled abroad, and with
uncontrolled cash flow. Leaders of illegal armed groups quite often control the
process of valuable minerals and metals extraction and selling on the black
market, using locals as free labour in the mines. In remote areas civilians
often become victims of robbery, lawlessness and violence inflicted by various
military forces. Local population is tortured and humiliated, often killed,
robbed of cattle; their houses are burned and their crops are destroyed. There
are numerous cases of people being kidnapped into slavery. Some of them are
used for service support of gunmen in the rear, others are forced to participate
in combat operations. Recruiting of child soldiers deprived of education and
prone to psychological traumas remains a painful problem. Gunmen use underage
children as labour force under the threat of bodily harm. It provokes mass
exodus of population into the frontier zones where new centres of tension
of the Republic are gravely concerned by such actions of militants as ransom
kidnappings, including those of foreigners. Thus, in April 2010, in the
province of Équateur the illegal armed group of Enyele rebels took a number of
foreign citizens hostage to draw attention of the international community to
their activity. At the same time they occupied the airport and municipal
buildings of the provincial capital of Mbandaka.
situation is aggravated by the catastrophic condition of social sphere, extreme
poverty of population, non-payment of monetary allowances to the members of
national army. Destitute population, largely comprised of young people, is the
most susceptible to Islamist influence, which promises to improve their living
conditions. They are the people who join armed groups and unwillingly become
carriers of the ideas of Islam.
all the neighbouring counties are involved in extraction and sales of valuable
raw materials on foreign markets. According to experts, over 80% of the DROC
economy remains shadow, and so far nobody sees the way out of this dramatic
situation. Experts state that there are mafia formations in this field having
direct access to offshore centres. Customs Administration of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo intends to fight money laundering, illicit trade and
cross-border criminality at large. On November 21, 2013, they signed the
Memorandum of Understanding with the Judicial Police of the Public Prosecution
Office. This document proposes a programme for enforcement of customs officers’
authority, which is aimed at criminal investigations. Article 2 of the
Memorandum states that “the Judicial Police of Public Prosecution Office is
obliged to provide education for customs officers within the prescribed time
limits and create, with assistance of Interpol, the database of the Customs
Administration aimed at combating theft”[ Lutte contre la criminalité
transfrontalière…Le Potentiel. Kinshasa 2013: P. 10]. In their reports, based
on facts and investigations, human rights nongovernmental organizations like
Human Rights Watch draw special attention to correlation between income from
sales of contraband goods on world market and illegal arms traffic in the eastern
regions of the DROC. Considerable amounts of arms and uncontrolled cash flow
enter combat operation zones. In the context of armed groups activity there
arises a problem of illicit trade in small arms acquired in exchange for the so
called “conflict diamonds” (compact and convenient form of mutual payments).
Strengthening of control over illicit trade in small arms, which is detrimental
to relations between the DROC, Rwanda and Uganda, is still one of the sensitive
issues for the whole region.
from illegal armed groups commit terrorist acts not only overland. From time to
time, the mass media reports on piracy on Lake Tanganyika. According to
witnesses, it is highly unadvisable for cargo vessels to appear on the lake
after 6 PM (i. e. at nightfall). Thus, on the night of July 1, 2014, Mai-Mai
Yakutumba rebels attacked a merchant vessel near the City of Uvira (South Kivu
Province). Pirates forced the captain to give them two thousand dollars,
defueled the vessel and stole the board instrument. According to the report,
militants were well armed and trained [Des miliciens Maï-Maï arraisonnent…Le
Potentiel 2014: P. 9]. A similar incident took place in 2011, when armed
combatants hijacked “Maman Wundja” vessel (about 100 passengers and 40 tonnes of
cargo were on board) sailing across Lake Tanganyika from Uvira (South Kivu
Province) to Moba (Katanga Province), and made the captain change the course,
virtually taking him hostage [Les Maï-Maï Yakutumba prennent…APA. Kinshasa
2011: P. 8].
separatists fuel terrorism in the DROC. According to estimates by authorities,
over the last decade the most active was the religious and political movement
Bundu dia Kongo. During the transition period (from 2003 to 2005), this
organization controlled the largest part of the Lower Congo Province,
advocating its complete independence as historical successor of the Great
Kingdom of Kongo. Although after conflicts between the followers of movement
and law enforcement forces in spring of 2008 the activity of Bundu dia Kongo
was officially banned, it has not lost its “audience” and continues to
influence its followers. Formally, the slogans of Bundu dia Kongo seem quite
democratic. For example, in the proclamation of October 8, 2012,
representatives of this organization call for protection of the Bakongo people
[Document de l’organisation réligieuse de la RD Congo «Bundu dia
Kongo»…Kinshasa 2012: P. 3].
of separatist sentiment fostering national differences are constantly observed
in the Katanga Province. In the middle of 2014, Kata Katanga illegal armed
group militants announced that on June 11, on the anniversary of proclamation
of the Republic of Katanga, which existed from 1960 to 1963 but was not
recognized by the world community, they intended to seize its provincial
capital, the City of Lubumbashi. The purpose of seizing the second most
important city after the capital was to proclaim independence of Katanga once
again and plant their flag at the strategic sites of the city. They considered
the monument to Moise Tshombe, “the President” of the Republic of Katanga, as
one of such sites. Although the announcement of Kata Katanga was not
implemented and only frightened the civilians with gunfire, security agencies
including military and police forces were prepared to meet the attack with a
massive array of military equipment [Tensions à Lubumbashi…Agence Presse
Associée. Kinshasa 2014: P. 1].
of the ways for Islam to penetrate the DROC is trading with neighbouring
countries. “Trust relations in business”, a Congolese diplomat said in a
conversation, “create a fertile ground for discussing, among all, religious
topics”. Besides, long distance drivers, for example, from Tanzania and Zambia,
as bearers of Islamic culture are considered here to be spreading Islam in the
eastern and western parts of Congo. As the diplomat emphasized, the National
Committee for the Coordination of Anti-International Terrorism cooperates with
regional and international organizations in this field, and “uses analytical
potential of the CIA”. According to him, this organization traced the activity
of Somalian radical Salafi Ash-Shabaab movement, which was founded in the DROC.
It was created in 2000 (translated from Arabic as “youth”) and is the part of
Al-Qaeda, which seeks to establish strong relations within the DROC. In 2011
Ash-Shabaab emissaries tried to contact Islamic organizations in the eastern
regions of the country, primarily in South Kivu Province, where Pakistani
subunits of MONUSCO were quartered. The Islamic group Ash-Shabaab claimed
responsibility for a terrorist attack in the capital of neighbouring Uganda,
the City of Kampala, on July 11, 2010. The Ugandan authorities stated that
terrorists supposedly entered the country from the territory of the DROC.
Military command of Uganda put forward a public assumption of Ash-Shabaab
connection with Uganda rebel anti-government ADF group, based in the western
regions of the DROC.
counts 7 to 9 thousand militants from various illegal armed groups [Kongo 2013:
P. 12]. The prospect of its penetrating the DROC poses an additional grave
threat to both national security of the country and improvement of conditions
in the central region of Africa as a whole. In the interview to the Potentiel
magazine Congolese researcher of the problems of Islam Valentina Soria
mentioned that Ash-Shabaab aims to adapt to the local African cultures, thus
capturing political and economic space and establishing stable relations [Cinq
questions…Le Potentiel. 10.10.2013: P. 4].
of the documents, which was ostensibly left in the car of Fazul Abdullah
Mohammed from Ash-Shabaab and later got into the Canadian newspaper The Toronto
Star, contains information about special operation performed in Bombay in 2008,
in Nairobi in 2013, and in The Ritz Hotel in London. In the same document it is
also said that such countries as Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi are considered to
be “the enemies of Islam” and are to be fought against by all means. Arming of
the adherents of Islam is also mentioned. They consider Kalashnikov rifle to be
“a bulky weapon” and prefer to arm themselves with guns and hunting knives!
[Cinq questions…Le Potentiel. 10.10.2013: P. 4].
Islam and terrorism are constantly in the focus of Congolese authorities’
attention. Article 52 of the Constitution serves as a ground for banning
terrorist activities. It states: “No individual or group of individuals may use
part of the national territory as a basis for subversive or terrorist
activities against the Congolese State or any other state” [La Constitution de
la Republique Démocratique du Congo 2006: P. 23]. The issues of antiterrorist
and anti-criminal activities as well as of spreading revivalism are among
priorities in the work of the DROC security agencies, as in the eastern regions
of the country there constantly emerge flash points of military conflict, which
are fertile ground for serious terrorist attacks. The National Committee for
the Coordination of Anti-International Terrorism investigates these issues.
This body was established by the Presidential Decree No. 070/2001 as of 26
December 2001. This regulatory act is, in fact, the only internal document
regulating interdepartmental cooperation in this field.
activity of the Committee is controlled directly by the Head of State, while
the Special Adviser to the Head of State on Security is responsible for
coordination. In accordance with the Decree, the tasks of the Committee include
executive decision-making on all the issues in the field of fighting terrorism,
coordination of application of the field-specific international conventions,
development and conduct of national activities, provision of corresponding
cooperation with foreign countries and international organizations. Among the
members of the Committee there are Ministers of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation (the post is currently divided in two), Minister of
National Security (the post was abolished), Minister of Defence, Minister of
the Interior, Minister of Justice, military, political and diplomatic advisers
to the Head of State, and Special Adviser to the Head of State on security. The
latter acts as the permanent Secretary of the Committee and controls the work
of its technical secretariat.
is the member of several international and regional conventions in the field of
antiterrorist protection, including the African Union. It supports similar
initiatives in the network of subregional organizations. In May 2008, under the
auspices of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism the decision
was made about cooperation in the field within the Economic Community of
Western African States (ECOWAS), brought back to life by efforts of the DROC.
the present study has shown, the prospect of radical Islam spreading in the
DROC poses a certain threat to both national security and improvement of
conditions on the African continent as a whole. As of now, Congo still has not
reached the so-called “red mark,” signifying the reign of terrorists. However,
it may happen that tomorrow terrorists’ hegemonic ambitions will spread to this
central African country as well [Des terrorists menacent…Le Phare.Kinshasa
2012. P.2]. “Vacuum” of governmental authorities in the provinces of the
country creates favourable conditions for spread of terrorist attacks. Being
weak, security agencies currently cannot ensure safety in these regions.
Congolese politicians state that if the territory of the country is not
controlled by the authorities, army and the republican police (taking into
account geostrategic situation of the DROC on the African continent), nothing
can constrain the surge of terrorists, who have already set foot in Libya,
Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan. It may
happen that the ideas of revivalists from the “Islamic State” (ISIL) group,
formed in 2014, will also be promoted in the African countries. It will cause
new flash points of religion-based conflicts, which, combined with the
“traditional” conflicts, such as, for example, ethnic ones, will further
complicate political and military situation in some African countries and will
lead to armed conflicts.
into consideration the important role of religious denominations in political
life and shaping of public opinion in African countries, spread of Orthodoxy
and its cultural values can act as a counter-force to aggressive Islam in
Africa, as well as religious extremism at large. Greek communities, which, in
addition to religious worship use religious institutes and local congregation
to address their own political and economic issues, should play an important
role in developing and supporting Orthodox culture.
Zerlitsina, Institute of International Relations and Social and Political
Sciences, Moscow State Linguistic University
K., Babadzhanov A. Migration risks of the Central Asian countries. Analytical
note [Migracionnye riski stran Central’noj Azii. Analiticheskaja zapiska.
Moscow: Institute of International Research (MGIMO), 2007. 32 pp.
Ali Mwinyi, un nouveau représentant à la tête de la communauté islamique du
Congo [Sheikh Ali Mwinyi, a new leader of the Islamic community in Congo] La
Référence plus, Kinshasa. 19.03.2014. P. 2.
miliciens Maï-Maï arraisonnent un bateau sur le lac Tanganyika [“Mai-Mai”
insurgents inspect the ship on the Lake Tanganyika]. Le Potentiel. 11.07.2014.
terrorists menacent les Grands Lacs [Fight against trans-border crimes:
prosecuting police joins the debates]. Le Phare. Kinshasa. 03.07.2012. P. 2.
de l’organisation réligieuse de la RD Congo «Bundu dia Kongo» – Message du
Grand Maître. Le signal fort de la bonne volonté [The Document of the DROC
religious organization Bundu dia Congo. The letter of the Master. The Powerful
Sign of Good Will]. Kinshasa. 8.10. 2012. P. 4.
A. ISIL. The Ominous Shadow of Caliphate [IGIL. Zloveshhaja ten’ halifata].
Moscow: Algorithm, 2015. P. 156.
R. Terrorisme : Les Shebab préparaient des attaques à Londres [Terrorism.
Ash-Shabaab prepares attacks in London] Le Potentiel. 01.10.2013. P. 12.
Constitution de la Republique Democratiquee du Congo [The Constitution of the
Democratic Republic of Congo]. Kinshasa. 18.02.2006. P. 23.
Maï-Maï Yakutumba prennent en otage un bateau sur le lac Tanganyika [“Mai-Mai”
Yakutumba insurgents attack the ship on the Lake Tanganyika] APA. Kinshasa.
28.09.2011. P. 8.
musulmans de la RDC ont un nouveau représentent légal [Newly elected
representative of Muslims in the Democratic Republic of Congo]. L’Observateur.
Kinshasa. 14-16.03.2014. P.11.
Shebabs recrutent-ils en Europe? [Does the radical Islamic group “Ash-Shabaab”
recruit people from Europe?] L’Observateur. 03.10.2013. P. 11.
contre la criminalité transfrontalière : la Police juridiciaire des parquets
associé au débat [Fight against trans-border crimes: prosecuting police joins
the debates]. Le Potentiel. Kinshasa. 22.10.2013. P. 10.
D.I. Traditional and New Security Challenges in International Relations
[Tradicionnye i novye vyzovy bezopasnosti v mezhdunarodnyh otnoshenijah].
Modern Science on International Relations Abroad. Vol. 2. Moscow: NP RIAC,
2015. pp. 136-141.
A.D. The Islamic Civilization in Sub-Saharan Africa [Islamskaja civilizacija v
Tropicheskoj Afrike]. Moscow: Institut Afriki RAN, 2006. pp. 190-270.
à Lubumbashi pour l’aniversaire de la secession katangaise [Tensions in
Lubumbashi during the anniversary of Katanga separation]. Agence Presse
Associée. Kinshasa. 14.07.2014. P. 1.
questions à Valentina Soria [5 questions to Valentina Soria]. Le Potentiel.
10.10.2013. P. 4.
A.I. The US Policy in the Muslim World on the Example of Arab countries
[Politika SShA v musul’manskom mire na primere arabskih stran. M.: Biblos
konsalting]. Moscow: Biblos Consulting, 2009. P. 229.
urges China to respect Uighur rights, close camps
Turkey has called China’s treatment of its minority Uighurs “a great cause of
shame for humanity.”
a statement Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said it’s “no
longer a secret” that China has arbitrarily detained more than a million
Uighurs in “concentration camps.” He said the Turkic Muslim population faced
pressure and “systematic assimilation” in western China.
said Turkey has shared with China its position on “all levels” and urged
authorities to close the detention facilities and respect human rights.
minister said Turkey had also learned of the death in prison of famed Uighur
musician and poet Abdurehim Heyit, who had been sentenced to eight years over
one of his songs.
tragedy has further reinforced the reaction of the Turkish public opinion
toward serious human rights violations committed in the Xinjiang region,” Aksoy
expect this legitimate response to be taken into account by the Chinese
authorities. We respectfully commemorate Abdurehim Heyit and all our kinsmen
who lost their lives defending their Turkish and Muslim identity,” Aksoy said.
was a master of the dutar, a type of two-stringed instrument with a long neck
that is found in Iran and throughout Central Asia. His detention was considered
indicative of China’s determination to crack down on Uighur intellectuals and
cultural figures in an effort some say to eradicate a separate Uighur language
death could not be independently confirmed. China had no immediate response to
the minister’s remarks.
has intensified a security clampdown on Uighurs in the northwestern region of
Xinjiang that was put in place after a bloody 2009 riot. Droves of Uighurs have
fled, many traveling to Turkey, where the language and culture are similar to
that in Xinjiang.
months of denying their existence, Chinese authorities under increasing outside
pressure acknowledged the system of camps, terming them vocational training
centers. They have provided little or no information on how many are interned
within them and how long they are being held.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had once accused China of “genocide” but has
since established closer diplomatic and economic relations with Beijing.
free water? Help build our caliphate, Hizbut Tahrir tells Muslims
Syed Jaymal Zahiid
LUMPUR, Feb 7 — The Malaysian chapter of hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir
said today it will provide all natural resources like water for free should Malaysian
Muslims back its push for an Islamic caliphate, amid reports that Putrajaya
could raise tariffs soon.
spokesman Abdul Hakim Othman said the planned increase in water tariffs was a
form of capitalist oppression on the people, and that government ownership of
the utility was unlawful under Islam.
group said Islam dictates that water is among public properties that cannot be
appropriated by the state or any individuals, and that state ownership of
natural resources was an extension of a system that “is renowned for sucking
the blood of the people for the interest of the capitalists”.
is crystal clear that both the current and previous governments are just
conveyors of the capitalist system which was bequeathed by the infidelic
colonialist to this country,” Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) said in a statement.
will continue to overwhelm the country and the Muslim community if capitalism
is not replaced with the Islamic system.
Hizbut Tahrir has never given up in calling upon all Muslims to join our works
in re-establishing the entire Islamic law under the shade of the ‘righteous
caliphate’ upon the method of the prophethood.”
public will earn their right to enjoy free and quality water facility under the
caliphate, the group added.
month, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said the
water tariff may be increased in stages this year as the government seeks to
restructure the water supply services industry.
discussions about the rate are still ongoing, there is speculation that it
could be capped at 20 per cent.
announcement immediately sparked backlash as voters accuse Pakatan Harapan of
reneging on its promise to bring the cost of living down.
in response said the increase is unlikely to burden consumers despite public
said the government may only act as the guardian of water but Islam prohibits
it from possessing it, arguing that imposing tariffs on water for profit was a
Indonesia is set to make halal labelling mandatory for consumer products and
services this year with the government assuming greater control of the
certifying process from the Muslim-majority nation’s Islamic cleric council.
halal certificates to consumer goods from shampoos to toothpaste and cosmetics
may net the government about 22.5 trillion rupiah (US$1.6 billion) in annual
revenue, said Sukoso, head of the Halal Product Guarantee Agency, known as
BPJPH. The draft regulation on mandatory halal labelling is awaiting President
Joko Widodo’s approval, he said.
is overhauling the halal certification rules as the country’s Shariah economy
is set to swell to US$427 billion by 2022, with halal food alone accounting for
more than 50%, according to Bank Indonesia estimates. Under a law passed in
2014, the country will need to implement compulsory halal labelling latest by
Oct. 17. Halal products and services cater to Muslims by complying with the
wants to be world’s halal goods hub as demand soars
new rules also aim to usher in greater transparency in the certification
process and guarantee a steady stream of revenue for the government, Sukoso
said. The rules require certification for all goods and services related to
food, beverage, drugs, cosmetics, chemical, biological and genetically
engineered products as well as all consumer goods, he said.
the regulation comes into force, the BPJPH will start managing halal
certification requests in partnerships with the Indonesian Ulema Council — the
issuer of religious edicts — and auditors under a so-called halal inspection
agency, Sukoso said.
requirement will be gradually implemented and it may take three to five years
before covering most food and beverage products and five to seven years for
health products, Sukoso said.
will first focus on food and beverage. If some products are still unable to
meet the halal requirements, there is a period of as long as five years for the
producers to fix the issues,” Sukoso said.
Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was recently released from jail,
has joined the political party of President Joko Widodo, just two months before
Basuki said in Bali on Friday that he has joined the Indonesian Democratic
Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the biggest party in Parliament, raising speculation
over whether he would be campaigning for Mr Joko, his close ally who is seeking
re-election in the April 17 polls.
campaigning by Mr Basuki could hamper, not help, the President's campaign. This
is because Mr Basuki, a Chinese-Christian politician, is an easy target for
Islamic conservatives and hardliners, a group largely seen as being against the
re-election of Mr Joko.
Basuki lost in the 2017 gubernatorial election after his opponent played the
religion card, triggering massive street rallies involving tens of thousands of
Muslims protesting against him. Mr Basuki was later convicted of blasphemy
against Islam. He was sentenced to a two-year jail term and released on Jan 24
after getting remission.
senior PDI-P official said yesterday that Mr Basuki, widely known by his
Chinese nickname Ahok, will not be involved in the ongoing presidential
campaign because of personal matters. PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto
told The Sunday Times: "He will not take part in the campaign as he has
his own agenda abroad for 21/2 months."
Basuki, 52, had indicated that he would soon marry his girlfriend Puput Nastiti
Hasto said that as an ordinary party member, Mr Basuki will be given
assignments and undergo processes such as political training.
Basuki's political career is closely watched because of his meteoric rise
before his downfall.
began his political career by becoming a member of the regional legislative
council in his native East Belitung regency in Bangka Belitung Islands province
in 2004, through the New Indonesia Alliance Party. He was also a member of
Indonesia's major parties Golkar and Gerindra. The latter's leader Prabowo
Subianto is challenging Mr Joko in the presidential polls.
the run-up to the 2017 gubernatorial election, Mr Basuki was poised to make
history as the first elected governor of Jakarta who was not only Chinese but
also Christian. But his straight-talking manner and championing of pluralism,
which endeared him to many, also saw his opponents turning that against him.
have pointed out that since his release from prison, Mr Basuki has refrained
from speaking about politics so as not to jeopardise the re-election bid of Mr
incumbent is leading in the presidential campaign against Mr Prabowo, but with
three more televised debates in the next few weeks, the campaign dynamics could
change quickly over the next two months. The debates feature both the
presidential candidates and their respective running mates, senior cleric
Ma'ruf Amin and former businessman Sandiaga Uno.
Arya Fernandes, a political expert from the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies, said that Mr Basuki's role in PDI-P and in politics will
not materialise soon.
party has to assess what will be an appropriate position for Mr Basuki and the
impact he will bring to the party. He also needs to adapt to its political
culture, which is different from that of his previous parties.
grand mosque is an extraordinary sight. Covered by a 40ft wide copper dome and
flanked by soaring wings, it has become a cultural landmark in the city since
its completion in 2012, attracting not just worshippers but also a steady
stream of school groups and tourists.
extraordinary in France, a country where the separation of the state from
religion is rigorously enforced under a law dating back to 1905, public
authorities provided the mosque with a prime riverside plot and put up a third
of the €8.7m budget (£7.6m) to build it.
rules apply here, because the Alsace-Moselle border region where Strasbourg
lies was temporarily part of neighbouring Germany in 1905, and the French
laicité (secularism) law was not applied after it…
FRANCE: After years of waiting for his son to come home from Syria, Jacques Le
Brun is cautiously hoping that day may be nearing — along with the chance to
meet three grandchildren who have never seen France.
certainly go to prison, and he knows that. He probably even deserves it a
little,” Le Brun says at the family home in Labastide-Rouairoux, a village
tucked in a forested valley of southern France.
important thing, he says, is that Quentin makes it home alive after taking his
wife and infant daughter in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria — where he
later appeared in a chilling Deash propaganda video burning his passport.
six weeks ago Le Brun learned that his son, now 30, was stranded near the
Euphrates river in the last pocket of Daesh-held territory, besieged by Kurdish
forces and targeted by coalition airstrikes.
last month reporters from the magazine Paris Match found Quentin and his family
as they were surrendering, raising the possibility they could be among the
roughly 130 French nationals who may soon be repatriated to France from
Kurd-controlled prison camps in northern Syria.
government is weighing the move after President Donald Trump announced in
December that he would withdraw US troops from the war-torn country.
prompted fears of a security vacuum in the north of Syria, in particular if
Kurdish forces abandoned their surveillance of the captured fighters to defend
against a potential assault by Turkey, which considers the Kurds a terrorist
Quentin’s family, along with dozens of others across France, it’s a chance to
be reunited after years of anxiety over his fate.
life has changed,” said his sister, asking not to be identified by name. “Before
we woke up each morning wondering if they were alive. It was hell.”
government sources say 70 to 80 children are among the citizens being held by
Kurdish forces, and around 15 women — half of whom are considered “dangerous.”
additional 250 men, as well as accompanying wives and children, are thought to
be elsewhere in Syria. An estimated 300 French extremists are thought to have
been killed during the years-long coalition fight to eradicate Daesh’s
had long insisted that captured French fighters must be tried locally, either
in Syria or Iraq, a hard-line stance which nodded to fears that returned
fighters could stage attacks on French soil upon their release from prison.
their families, just want them to be able to return to France and be judged
fairly, sentenced only for what each of them has done — and not have to pay for
all the Daesh crimes,” said the mother of a 30-year-old woman now in Syria with
her four children, aged 10 months to nine years old.
calling their potential return “a glimmer in the night,” she worries they could
be killed before any decision is made to bring them back.
heard of at least four French women killed in the past few months, along with
their husbands and 18 children in total” during the coalition bombings, the
several family members who spoke with AFP, she asked that her name be withheld,
fearing harassment or ostracization in a country deeply scarred by the wave of
deadly extremist attacks since the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan massacres of
reports that repatriations could begin in the coming days, Jacques Le Brun says
he has had “no information, no official contact” from French authorities.
58-year-old retired truck driver says he is still trying to understand how his
son, who later took the name Abou Osama Al-Faransi, became caught up in
began attending a local mosque before falling in with the “Artigat” network,
named for a village near the southwestern city of Toulouse.
village was the home Olivier Corel, a Syrian-born Salafist imam suspected of
mentoring several extremists including Mohamed Merah, who was shot dead by
police after he murdered seven people, among them a rabbi and three Jewish children,
in Toulouse in a 2012 killing spree.
Chennouf-Meyer, father of one of Merah’s seven victims, has called on President
Emmanuel Macron to keep the extremists out.
President, you will in the coming weeks (...) bring back 130 French extremists,
some of whom have the blood of our children on their hands,” he said in an open
letter seen by AFP on Saturday.
intend to use all my strength against this criminal decision,” he added.
Brun wants to believe his son wasn’t involved in any violence or killings, but
the release of the Daesh propaganda video has been a heavy burden on his
mother finds it hard to hold down a job, and his youngest brother has been
hounded by high school classmates.
in the village make no secret of their hostility to Quentin’s return.
not necessarily a good idea to bring back these extremists, they might start
again,” said Laurent Montagon, a 53-year-old pizzeria owner in
House senior adviser Jared Kushner will travel to at least five Arab countries
in late February to brief diplomats on the economic portion of a long-awaited
US peace proposal for the Middle East and seek their support, officials said on
and Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, plan stops in Oman, Bahrain,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on their week-long trip, two
senior White House officials said. They may add two other countries to their
and Greenblatt, joined by State Department envoy Brian Hook and Kushner aide
Avi Berkowitz, will not brief the diplomats on the “political component” of the
peace plan, which covers all core issues of the decades-old conflict between
Israel and the Palestinians, the officials said.
they will gauge the level of support for the economic part of the plan, which
is expected to include a combination of aid and investment to help the
Palestinian people, the officials said.
is going to share elements of the economic plan to the region. The economic
plan only works if the region supports it,” said one official who briefed a
small group of reporters.
is a very important part of the overall equation.”
regional support for the economic plan is a step on the way to the eventual
unveiling of Trump’s sweeping proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. The economic plan is widely expected to include international funding
proposals for the impoverished Gaza Strip.
said they realized that the Arab diplomats Kushner meets will want to know
elements of the political component before rendering a judgment on the economic
not going to support the economic plan without making sure they also support
the political plan, and we recognize that. So the support, I’m sure in some
manner, will be conditioned on whether they are comfortable with the political
plan,” one official said.
Syrian Army units stationed in the heights of Eastern Lattakia are waiting for
a final order to kick off the assault on the Islamic Turkistani Party terrorist
group in the Western battlefronts of Idlib, the Arabic-language service of the
Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian Army commander as saying.
source pointed to the dispatch of massive military equipment to Eastern
Lattakia and reinforcing the Syrian Army's military positions there which is
one of the most important battlefronts of Idlib, and said, "The Syrian
Army troops are at the highest level of their military preparedness to conduct
Lattakia battlefront is stretched in parallel to the fronts in Hama and Idlib
from Sahl al-Ghab to the town of Kabani which is the main gate to the positions
of Tahrir al-Sham in Badama and Najieh town as well as Jisr al-Shoghour as main center of Turkistani
and Central Asian militants.
Syrian Army artillery and missile units pounded Tahrir al-Sham's military
positions in the outskirts of town of Talmans, killing a large number of
militants and destroying their military equipment.
Syrian Army attacks came in response to Tahrir al-Sham's attacks on the
government forces' positions in Southern Idlib.
Northern Hama, Syrian Army's artillery units targeted and destroyed the
terrorists' military positions in Tal-e al-Sayyad, destroying several of their
hideouts and military positions.
a relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army's units pounded the
terrorists' military convoys in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib as the latter
attempted to strengthen its positions in the demilitarized zone.
Syrian field source reported on Thursday that the terrorists are strenuously
bolstering their positions in the demilitarized zone in Northern Hama and
Southern Idlib and sending new convoys to the contact lines with the Syrian
added that the army launched heavy artillery and missile attacks on a military
convoy of Horras al-Din militants in al-Tamane'ah in Southeastern Idlib,
destroying a large number of their military equipment and killing several
army forces also targeted a gathering of military vehicles and terrorists in
the town of Jorjanaz in Southern Idlib, inflicting heavy losses on them.
the army troops launched artillery attacks against the military vehicles of
Turkistani terrorists who were separating and stealing parts and equipment of
Zizon power plant in Southwestern Idlib, destroying their military equipment.
in Northern Hama, the Syrian army forces repelled an offensive by terrorists
from the town of Ma'arkabeh towards the military points in al-Zalaqiyat and
late last week, the Syrian army had heavily pounded the military positions and
movements of the terrorists in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib after warding
off their offensive.
Syrian Army attacks came in response to the Turkistani Islamic Party attacks on
their positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.
Syrian Army heavily pounded the terrorists' movements and military positions in
the villages of al-Sarmanieh, Havash, al-Hoveijeh to North and Northwest of
Hama, inflicting heavy losses on them.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian Army also fended off an attack by Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) on their
positions from al-Hobait and al-Kasik.
terrorists sustained heavy losses in the failed attacks on the Syrian Army
Syrian Army units also pounded the terrorists' military positions in the village
of Safouhen in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Southern Idlib, destroying one of their arms
depot and military equipment.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault against the final
ISIS extremist group enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday, aiming to wipe out
the last vestige of the extremist group’s “caliphate” in the SDF’s area of operations.
Donald Trump, who is planning to pull US forces out of Syria, said on Wednesday
he expected an announcement as early as next week that the US-led coalition
operating in support of the SDF had reclaimed all the territory previously held
by the extremist group.
enclave, close to the Iraqi border, comprises two villages. ISIS also still has
territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian-
and Iranian-backed Syrian government.
Bali, head of the SDF media office, told Reuters the aim of the assault was to
“eliminate the last remnants of the terrorist organization” and called it the
later wrote on Twitter that the battle had started and the enclave would “be
told Reuters that in the last 10 days SDF fighters had handled the battle
“patiently” as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged
SDF, spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has driven ISIS out of a swathe of
territory in northern and eastern Syria over the last four years.
leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the group’s “caliphate” in 2014 in
territory stretching across Iraq and Syria. But the group lost its two main
prizes - the Syrian city of Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul - in 2017.
capturing Raqqa, the SDF advanced southwards into Deir al-Zor province,
attacking the extremists in territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates
remaining ISIS territory in Syria is west of the Euphrates.
said in December he was pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, saying the
battle against ISIS there was almost won.
a top US general said on Tuesday the group would pose an enduring threat
following the US withdrawal, as it retained leaders, fighters, facilitators and
resources that would fuel a menacing insurgency.
Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the US military was preparing to
withdraw from Syria by the end of April.
Qatari government has accused Bahrain of violating its airspace in a rare such
reaction since relations were severed two years ago over a diplomatic standoff
between Arab states in the Persian Gulf region.
news agency said on Saturday the country’s envoy to the United Nations Sheikha
Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani had submitted a letter to the UN Secretary-General
informing the authority about a violation of Qatari airspace by a Bahrain Air
Force aircraft late last year.
said Sheikha Alya had strongly protested in the letter Bahrain's act of
violation which took place on December 27, 2018, saying the alleged breach had come
“without the prior authorization of the competent Qatari authorities”.
ambassador also called on the UN to take the necessary measures to put an end
to the “tendentious Bahraini violations” which she said had been repeated in
alleged violation and the subsequent protest is the latest to come from a
diplomatic stand-off between Qatar and Persian Gulf Arab countries allied to
Saudi Arabia. The two sides severed diplomatic ties in June 2017 when Saudis
came up with accusations of Qatar’s support for terrorism.
has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying it has been deliberately isolated
by the Arab alliance because Doha wants to maintain an independent line of
Qatari government has also rejected a series of Riyadh’s conditions for
restoring diplomatic ties, including one that demands the country to reduce
relations with Iran.
behaviour could trigger new Israel-Lebanon conflict: Russian envoy
Russian envoy to Beirut says US actions in the Middle East are aimed at sowing
discord in the region and can trigger a new conflict between Israel and
an interview with Russia's Sputnik news agency on Saturday, Alexander Zasypkin
accused the United States of inciting “new conflicts” that could draw in
countries and actors throughout the already volatile region.
for a conflict between Israel and Lebanon, nothing can be predicted with
certainty because the region is at a crossroads. Peoples are demanding the
settlement of existing crises, the return to a peaceful life, the development
of cooperation," he said. "A negative alternative to this is the
incitement of new conflicts by the Americans, which could involve many
countries as well as ethnic and religious forces."
also said Washington’s policies toward Iran and the Lebanese resistance
movement Hezbollah were further destabilizing the region, hailing Hezbollah for
playing an important role in crushing terrorists in Syria.
events started unfolding in Syria, Hezbollah sided with its lawful authorities,
seeing the fight against terrorists in the region as its duty."
became directly involved in military operations at Syria’s request, alongside
Russia and Iran. The party took a responsible approach to what was happening in
Syria and the region as a whole and contributed significantly to terrorists’
defeat," Zasypkin said.
has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the
Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts
against the terror groups. Hezbollah forces have also been aiding the Syrian
government clear areas bordering Lebanon of terrorist groups.
Tel Aviv regime launches frequent attacks against targets inside Syria in what
is widely viewed as an attempt to prop up the terrorist groups that have been
suffering heavy defeats at the hands of Syrian soldiers.
has been a hike in Israeli strikes since the collapse late last year of the
Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which significantly demoralized other militant
groups operating against Damascus.
has also provided weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical
treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.
forces maintain significant presence in northern Syria, where they back Kurdish
militants operating against the Syrian government.
further described the resistance movement as a powerful political party that is
actively involved in the work of Lebanon’s parliament and government, saying
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was acting as a force of
least three civilians have lost their lives and several others sustained
injuries when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri
terrorist group conducted a series of airstrikes in Syria’s embattled eastern
province of Dayr al-Zawr.
sources told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the aerial attacks hit
al-Tayyaneh town in the province on Saturday.
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are
said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any
authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing
civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of
has on numerous occasions condemned airstrikes by the US-led coalition, asking
the UN to force Washington and its allies to put an end to their military
intervention in the Arab country.
January 19, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two
separate letters addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the
former rotating president of the Security Council, Francisco Antonio
Cortorreal, censured US-led coalition strikes conducted against al-Baghuz
al-Tahtani village in Dayr al-Zawr province a day earlier, saying the US-led
warplanes had targeted dozens of families fleeing from areas controlled by
sources, requesting anonymity, told SANA that 20 people were killed in the raid
when US-led warplanes bombarded residential buildings in al-Baghuz al-Tahtani.
new crime is in line with the criminal acts that the US-led coalition is
perpetrating systematically and on a daily basis against Syrian people, and in
flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the
activities of this alliance are illegal as it has been formed outside the UN framework.
Such acts have only contributed to the expansion of extremist terrorist
organizations, especially Daesh. Cooperation and coordination between these
terrorist groups and this alliance has been documented in numerous letters that
[the] Syrian Arab Republic has sent to the Security Council,” added the
ministry also called on the UN Security Council to shoulder its
responsibilities as regards to the establishment of international peace and
security, and put an immediate halt to crimes against humanity that were being
carried out by this “rogue” coalition against Syrian civilians and
also demanded that the Council take necessary measures to set up an
international mechanism to punish the perpetrators of such crimes.
protest presence of US, French troops in their country
hundreds of people have staged rallies in Syria’s northern and eastern cities
of Raqqah and Dayr al-Zawr in protest against the presence of American and
French military forces there.
demonstrators set US and French flags on fire, and demanded the deployment of
Syrian government troops in areas liberated from the clutches of
foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists.
also reaffirmed their strong objection to the presence of US soldiers and all
foreign troops in the Arab country.
Their home countries don’t want them and holding trials in Syria isn’t an
option: now suspected foreign terrorists could end up facing tough justice over
the border in Iraq.
countries have suffered for years at the hands of the Daesh group and Iraqi
courts have already meted out hefty sentences to hundreds of foreigners
detained on its soil, often after lighting-quick trials.
the final shred of the once-sprawling terrorists “caliphate” crumbles in
eastern Syria, Kurdish-led forces backed by the US have captured hundreds more
diehard foreign fighters.
American military — which spearheads an international coalition fighting Daesh
— has in the past shown itself willing to hand those captured in Syria to the
authorities in Iraq.
August AFP attended the Baghdad trial of 58-year-old French citizen Lahcene
Gueboudj, who said he had been spirited from Syria to Iraq by US troops.
Wille of Human Rights Watch said the organization knows of at least five
instances in which US forces handed foreign detainees over to Iraq’s Counter
include Australian and Lebanese citizens transported out of Kurdish-controlled
areas, at least one of whom was eventually sentenced to death in Iraq.
justice can be harsh and its courts have doled out death or life sentences to
hundreds of foreigners accused of being Daesh members, including some 100
who come from Syria can expect similar treatment.
are at risk of torture and unfair trials in Iraq,” Wille warned.
fate of foreign fighters in Syria has come into sharper focus since President
Donald Trump’s announcement in December that the US will withdraw its troops
from the war-torn country.
has stepped up pressure on its reluctant allies to bring home hundreds of
terrorists, but the issue is politically sensitive in countries like Britain
have been grappling for weeks with the question of foreign fighters detained by
the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have warned that they may not be
able to guard their jails once US troops leave.
hit by repeated deadly Daesh attacks, has so far opposed returning terrorists.
But since Trump’s announcement, Paris has said it is studying “all options.”
a visit to Iraq this week, French Defense Minister Florence Parly warned of the
need “to avoid some terrorists ending up in the wild and dispersing.”
Al-Hashimi, a researcher on terrorists movements, told AFP that a deal appears
to have been struck with Iraq “at the very highest level and in secret” to
tackle the issue.
a pact allows foreign fighters’ countries of origin to avoid politically
fraught repatriations; in exchange, Iraq will receive “ultra modern arms and
crucial military equipment,” Hashimi said.
can put anyone on trial who passed through its territory, even if they didn’t
fight there and just headed to Syria,” he said.
while such a deal might solve a headache for politicians, it has raised serious
concerns among relatives and representatives of those detained.
lawyer Vincent Brengarth, who is handling the cases of some of those detained,
questioned “how it could be justified that Iraqi courts would have
jurisdiction” over crimes committed in Syria.
officials say Kurdish forces in Syria are currently detaining some 60 adult
Roy, a member of a group of around 70 French families with relatives who went
to Daesh territory, said it would be “tragic” if captives were handed over to
law means that anyone found guilty of joining a “terrorist group” can face the
death penalty and its justice system has been accused of providing scant chance
for a fair trial.
number of foreign fighters have already been sentenced to death in Iraq,
although three French terrorists tried so far have been handed life terms that
equate to 20 years in prison.
coalition forces kill 30 Taliban, ISIS-K militants in past 24 hours
Afghan and coalition forces have killed at least 30 Taliban and ISIS Khurasan
(ISIS-K) militants during their latest operations which were conducted in the
past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, a coalition air strike in Khugyani district
of Nangarhar province killed 2 ISIS-K fighters while 7 more militants were
killed during similar airstrikes conducted in Washer of Helmand and Chimtal
district of Balkh province.
sources further added that a coalition air strike in Qarah Bagh district of
Ghazni killed 4 Taliban fighters.
Afghan Special Forces conducted a clearance operation in Tarin Kot city of
Uruzgan, killing 13 Taliban fighters and destroying 2 roadside bombs.
to the informed sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Marawarah district of Kunar, killing 3 Taliban fighters while 1 Taliban fighter
was killed during a similar operation in Zurmat district of Paktia province.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operation and killings of their militants so far.
Afghan Special Forces have rescued seven civilians during an operation in
southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military said Sunday.
to a statement released by the Special Operations Corps, the Afghan Special
Forces stormed a Taliban prison in Washir district of Helmand on Saturday which
resulted into the killing of Taliban fighter.
statement further added that seven civilians who were kept as prisoners in the
cell were also rescued during the operation.
detention cell was destroyed together with a vehicle during the operation, the
Special Operations Corps added in its statement.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the operation so far.
Afghan Intelligence operatives have arrested three members of the notorious
Haqqani terrorist network in connection to two deadly bombings in Kabul city
which left scores of people dead.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said three Haqqani
Network members have been arrested in connection to the bombings near the
German Embassy and G4S Camp in the city.
statement further added that the three individuals identified as Eng. Sharif,
and Ghulam Mustafa who are originally residents of Syedabad district of Maidan
Wardak province, have confessed their role in planning and facilitating the two
attacks based on their Masters’ orders who are based outside the country.
National Directorate of Security also added that the investigations once again
prove the previous information of the agency that the attacks were planned by
Taliban leadership with coordination of the neighboring intelligence and were
implemented by Haqqani Network cell located in Maidan Wardak province.
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces repulsed a coordinated attack by
the Taliban militants in northern Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said at
least 7 Taliban militants were killed and 9 others were wounded after the
Afghan armed forces repulsed an attack by Taliban in Sar-e-Pul province.
statement further added that the Taliban militants launched attacks against the
security posts in the central parts of Sar-e-Pul province in the early hours of
Saturday morning which continued for one hour.
least 7 Taliban militants were killed and 9 others were wounded during the hour
long clash, the 209th Shaheen Corps said, adding that 3 security personnel also
lost their lives and 4 others sustained injuries.
military sources are saying that the Afghan Special Operations Forces remain on
the offensive across the country against foreign terrorists and those Taliban
who insist on continuing to commit violent acts against their own people.
to the informed officials, a partnered operation killed 31 Taliban and
destroyed their explosives and weapons supplies in Sangin district of Helmand
province while 11 Taliban militants were killed during a partnered helicopter
raid led by Afghan Special Forces in Sayyidabad district of Wardak.
sources further added that Afghan Special Forces conducted a partnered
helicopter assault against the Taliban in Charkh district of Logar, killing 2
Special Forces also conducted a partnered helicopter raid in the Jaji district
of Paktia and captured three men linked to foreign terrorists who carry out
suicide bombings and car bomb attacks, the sources said, adding that Afghan
Special forces conducted a helicopter assault to disrupt Taliban operations in
Suki district of Kunar, killing 1 enemy fighter.
the meantime, the coalition forces struck a Taliban attack planning center in
Tarinkot city of Uruzgan, killing 7 fighters.
Airstrikes in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province have killed 21 civilians,
including women and children, a lawmaker from the region said Sunday.
Hashim Alkozai said 13 civilians were killed in one strike and eight in
another. Both were carried out late Friday in the Sangin district, where heavy
fighting is underway between NATO-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban. Alkozai
said at least five other people were wounded in the airstrikes.
people, women and children, are the only victims of the airstrikes,” he said,
adding that the military operations have stoked public anger.
Zwak, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said insurgents fired on Afghan
forces from a civilian area. He confirmed that airstrikes had killed civilians
but could not provide further information. He says an investigation has been
said he has raised concerns about civilian casualties in parliament and with
government officials, but that they have taken no action.
forces are struggling to combat the Taliban, who hold sway over nearly half the
country and carry out daily attacks on security forces.
a separate development, the Afghan intelligence service said it had arrested
three members of the Haqqani group, a Taliban faction believed to be based in
Pakistan, in connection with two bombings in Kabul that killed and wounded
dozens of people.
National Directorate of Security said the three suspects confessed to taking
part in a truck bombing near the German Embassy in May 2017 that killed at
least 90 people, and a November 2018 attack that killed five security
contractors, including a British national.
There can be no peace deal for Afghanistan without Kabul’s consent, a spokesman
for President Ashraf Ghani told Arab News on Saturday, as talks continued
between the US and the Taliban to end the years-long war.
Chakhansur said the government was willing to negotiate with the armed group,
which has refused to engage directly with Kabul and calls Ghani’s
administration a puppet of the West.
has insisted that the peace process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, but
his officials have been excluded from key meetings in Doha and Moscow.
government of Afghanistan is ready at any moment to engage in negotiations and
strike a peace deal with the Taliban based on our constitutional framework and
the road map presented by the president,” Chakhansur told Arab News, adding
that the sooner a peace deal was agreed upon, the better it would be for the
regarding the peace process is executable unless agreed upon with the Afghan
government. All prospects that lead to sustainable and lasting peace is the
goal. Any possibility that undermines the main objective of sustainable peace
will not be acceptable by the people and government of Afghanistan.
on the Taliban side there are some sticking points that need to be addressed
... if they are sincere about peace negotiations. Hurdles could only be
discovered during the direct negotiation process between the Afghan government
Taliban spokesman said the group refused to comment on the matter when
contacted by Arab News.
Taliban has said it will hold talks with the government once the US fulfills
its promise to withdraw troops from the country.
Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives are
expected to meet for further talks in Doha on Feb. 25.
planned meeting follows last week’s talks between the Taliban and Afghan
delegates in Moscow, where the two sides agreed on a total pullout of foreign
forces from the country.
Friday, Khalilzad said Washington hoped to reach a peace agreement with the
insurgents before the Afghan elections in July. The already-delayed polls would
be held as scheduled if the talks failed to make any headway, he added.
is speculation that, instead of the polls going ahead, an interim government
will be formed with the Taliban’s participation. Ghani, who is standing for
re-election, has objected to the the idea.
President Donald Trump has not hidden his impatience to withdraw troops from
Afghanistan and bring the costly war to an end.
has also sought assurances that Afghanistan will not be used as a base by
terrorists to carry out attacks.
Mozhdah, an analyst familiar with the workings of Taliban leaders and who was
at the Moscow meeting, said the insurgents and Khalilzad may strike a peace
deal in Doha on Feb. 25.
Taliban told me (in Moscow) they have no obstacle and that America has accepted
their main demand, which is the pullout of the troops,” he told Arab News.
said all participants at the Moscow meeting believed there would be no
elections in July and that Ghani would have to give up his seat.
who have earned wealth and power fear the repercussion of any peace deal. They
fear the Taliban may go after them,” the analyst said.
the Moscow meeting the Taliban clearly told the commanders and leaders that ‘we
have to forget the past and move forward because we can’t wash blood with
blood’,” Mozdah pointed out.
analyst, Harris Wadan, explained why there were doubts over the election and
- Washington has stepped up its airstrikes and raids targeting the Taliban*
leadership and militants in Afghanistan in a bid to obtain leverage in peace
talks with the movement, The New York Times newspaper reported, citing unnamed
sources from the US Department of Defence.
New York Times specified that the number of US attacks on the Taliban had
reached the highest level since 2014, with the surge having started in fall.
The Taliban has reportedly complained about the increased number of airstrikes.
United States dropped over 7,000 bombs, missiles, and other munitions on
Afghanistan in 2018 — a dramatic increase compared to 2,365 in 2014, The New
York Times said, citing military data. Since September alone, the Pentagon has
reportedly carried out over 2,000 air and artillery strikes in Afghanistan.
number of joint US-Afghan anti-Taliban raids has more than doubled from
September to February, compared to the same period a year ago, according to
reports come after representative of the Taliban movement Mullah Abdul Salam
Hanafi stated on 6 February that the United States had pledged to withdraw half
of the country’s troops, which have been fighting against the Taliban and other
terror groups in Afghanistan since 2001, by the end of April. However, on the
same day, a State Department spokesperson denied this, telling Sputnik that
Washington and Kabul had not agreed to any timeline for a possible reduction of
US troop levels.
security measures have been chalked out for in and around the Ijtema grounds to
ensure the security of foreign devotees arriving at the Ijtema
government has planned stringent security measures ahead of Bishwa Ijtema, the
second largest congregation of the Muslim community after Hajj, scheduled to be
held from February 15 to 18 on the banks of the Turag River.
security measures have been chalked out for in and around the Ijtema grounds to
ensure the security of foreign devotees arriving at the Ijtema.
law enforcement agencies including Police, RAB, BGB, and Ansar, will remain
deployed at the venue,” State Minister for Religious Affairs, Advocate Sheikh
Md Abdullah, said this after holding a meeting with Tabligh Jamaat at his
office on Saturday. Regarding the conflict between two factions of the Tabligh
Jamaat, the state minister said: “Necessary measures will be taken to avoid any
untoward incident between the two Tabligh Jamaat factions.”
ensure a peaceful and congenial atmosphere at the Ijtema grounds, the
government has taken all-out measures, he added.
time, the work on the ground for smooth holding of the congregation will be
done under the supervision of Gazipur City Corporation Mayor, Mohammad Jahangir
Alam, and State Minister for Youth and Sports, Zahid Ahsan Russell, Abdullah
Zubair Hassan, who leads one of the factions, will supervise the first two days
of the Ijtema, and Syed Wasiful Islam, who leads the other group that follows
Indian preacher Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, will lead the last two days.
year’s Bishwa Ijtema will be held over four days in a single phase from
February 15 to 18 — instead of three days each in two phases.
the last few years, the Ijtema was organized in two phases, dividing attendees
from northern and southern districts, for the sake of maintaining discipline
due to the sheer numbers.
least ten Taliban militants including one of their military commission chiefs
were killed during separate operations in southeastern Ghazni province of
provincial police commandment in a statement said the coalition forces carried
out an airstrike targeting two vehicles at around 5:40pm on Friday.
statement further added that the airstrike was carried out in Qarabagh
district, leaving eight militants dead including one of their military
commission identified as Mawlavi Sahar.
Afghan forces also ambushed militants in Khamari area of Moqor district at
11:00pm last night leaving two militants dead, the provincial police
Israeli regime has been conducting a joint war game with the United States,
simulating a scenario in which Israel needs aerial defense by the US.
so-called Juniper Falcon drill began on Thursday and will continue until
February 15, according to Israeli media.
war game involves 300 American and 400 Israeli forces from various units.
media reports said the exercise is part of an agreement between Washington and
Tel Aviv to hold training drills on a regular basis.
Israeli air force said that the maneuver included “operational orders which may
be utilized in the future.”
March, a similar exercise was held with the participation of more than 2,500
forces from the US European Command and 2,000 Israeli soldiers.
simulates war on Lebanon
on Thursday, Israel completed a week-long military drill in the mountainous
areas of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, simulating war on
Army spokesman Avichay Adraee said the regime’s forces drilled occupying and
burning areas while evacuating casualties under fire.
waged two all-out wars against Lebanon — in 2000 and 2006 — but fell short of
its military objectives in both cases in the face of strong resistance by the
Hezbollah resistance movement and the Lebanese Army.
since the latest military confrontation, the Tel Aviv regime has been
apparently practicing for a future war. Hezbollah says, however, that Israel is
in no position militarily to wage and endure another war.
late January, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, mocked Israeli
military activities. In December last year, Nasrallah’s deputy, Sheikh Naim
Qassem, said there was no spot across Israel that would fall outside the range
of the Lebanese resistance movement’s missiles. And Lebanese Prime Minister
Saad Hariri said at a think tank in London also in December 2018 that previous
Israeli wars on Lebanon had weakened neither Hezbollah nor Lebanon as a whole.
Canadian man, who fatally shot six people in a terrorist attack on Quebec
City’s grand mosque in 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison.
Superior Court Justice Francois Huot handed down the life sentence to Alexandre
Bissonnette on Friday, however, announcing that the convict could be eligible
for parole after serving between 35 and 42 years.
opened fire on worshipers inside Quebec’s Islamic Cultural Center in late
January 2017, leaving six people dead and several others injured during evening
29-year-old French-Canadian pleaded guilty last March to six counts of
first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack,
described as one of Canada's rare mass shootings.
shooting, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as “an act of
terrorism against Muslims,” sparked dispute over the treatment of new arrivals
at a time when a growing number of refugees and asylum seekers crossed from the
United States into the province of Quebec.
judge said while making the ruling on Friday that the day of the murders “will
forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this
Huot also rejected calls by prosecutors to impose six consecutive life
sentences, which would have prevented Bissonnette from seeking parole for 150
years, saying that the request was "unreasonable.”
2011 legal change has allowed Canadian judges to hand down consecutive
sentences in the case of multiple murders since Canada abolished the death
penalty in 1976.
not shooting more'
Quebec Superior Court judge said Bissonnette had previously considered
attacking other targets including feminists, shopping centers and airports.
judge recounted Bissonnette’s remarks to a prison social worker in September
2017, when he expressed a desire for "glory" in shooting worshipers
at the Islamic center and that he “regretted not shooting more.”
to a refugee advocacy group, Bissonnette had been known for his “far-right”
views and had reportedly espoused support for the French far-right party of
Marine Le Pen at that time.
in Quebec have witnessed several Islamophobic threats and anti-Muslim hate
crimes in recent years.
2012 and 2015, hate crimes targeting Muslims increased by 253 percent,
according to Statistics Canada data.
The Taliban and the US have formed joint working groups to finalize details of
a draft agreement, including the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan
and a guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for terror attacks
against the US and its allies, a senior Taliban official told Arab News on
negotiations between the US and the Taliban in Qatar last month ended with
signs of progress toward the withdrawal of thousands of foreign troops from
Afghanistan and an end to more than 17 years of war.
hosted peace talks in Moscow between the Taliban and opposition Afghan
Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, told Arab
News that the working groups would meet in a week or two to prepare reports for
the next round of talks in Doha, to be held later this month. The outgoing head
of the Taliban political office, Sher Abbas Stanikzai, said the next meeting
was scheduled for Feb. 25.
have been demanding complete withdrawal of all foreign forces, which was an
important issue for us,” he told Arab News. “The second issue was related to American
concerns that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorism against them in the
sides agreed to form joint working groups. So we are satisfied about the
outcome of the talks in the sense as we will be working on the two issues –
troops withdrawal and to counter the terrorism threat in the future – and the
committees will draft the agreement and explore ways for implementation of the
Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until late 2001 but were ousted by
US-backed Afghan forces for harboring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
group has since been fighting to drive out foreign forces and defeat what it
considers a foreign-backed government in Kabul.
the fighting has spread to most Afghan regions, with thousands of people killed
was asked why the Taliban was not yielding to calls for a cease-fire, and
replied that other matters needed to be resolved first.
are now discussing withdrawal of foreign troops. We have not yet reached any
understanding on this issue. Other issues will be discussed after we reached
agreement on the withdrawal of the foreign troops. When we decide the external
aspect of the problem, then we will focus on other issues.”
Taliban last week rejected a suggestion from US President Donald Trump of a US
focus on counter-terrorism after the troop drawdown.
have clearly stated in our meetings that all troops, which means all categories
and under any name, stationed in Afghanistan, will leave,” Shaheen said.
Taliban spokesman also clarified remarks by senior Taliban negotiator Abdul
Salam Hanafi that the US had agreed to call back half of its 14,000 troops by
the end of April, saying there was no agreed time frame.
said Hanafi had been referring to US media reports which suggested that half of
the troops would be gone by May.
is no agreed timetable for the withdrawal of the American forces. It depends on
the US side whether it withdraws or not ... we are working on options to agree
on a timetable. We will work on it in the near future and we will determine a
timetable.” Shaheen also said the Taliban did not intend to abolish Afghan
security forces, like the national army or police, but would reform them so
they could defend and protect the nation.
asked about the remarks by the Taliban chief negotiator to abolish the
constitution, Shaheen said: “Our opinion is that the constitution was drafted
and approved under the shadow of the American B-52 bomber planes. So we want a
constitution drafted in an environment of freedom. All Afghan ulema and
scholars should debate and finalize a draft and the constitution should be
Islamic as we are 100 percent Muslim in Afghanistan, so we will keep in mind
its Islamic and Afghan values which reflect the values of our society.
do not say that we do not accept the constitution. Our opinion is that the
constitution is a necessity for the society and we accept its importance and it
should be [drafted] in an environment of freedom.”
said all participants in Moscow had unanimously called for the withdrawal of
foreign forces and agreed the system in Afghanistan should be Islamic.
President Donald Trump will not respond to a legally-required Senate request to
determine whether sanctions are warranted against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior
administration official said Friday.
president has until midnight to formally respond to a letter from former Senate
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Bob Menendez which
asked Trump to make the determination under the Global Magnitsky Act within 120
Pachon, a Menendez spokesman, was unwavering, insisting that the deadline is
not up for debate.
law is clear," Pachon said in a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency.
"The President has no discretion here. He’s either complying with the law
or breaking it.”
administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, told
Anadolu Agency that Trump "maintains his discretion to decline to act on
congressional committee requests when appropriate".
State Department updates Congress regularly on the status of actions related to
the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," the official added, pointing to actions
the administration took to pull the visas of 21 Saudis and sanction another 17
accused of being tied to his murder.
those actions have been called insufficient by many in Congress who insist the
journalist's slaying could not have been carried out without bin Salman's
the Global Magnitsky Act, a president has 120 days to respond to a request from
the Senate Foreign Relations chair and ranking member to determine if sanctions
are warranted against a person who has been accused of rights violations.
was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly after he
entered the diplomatic facility on Oct. 2. Riyadh initially denied any role in
the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition
operation being carried out by rogue agents.
Arabia has sought to distance the crown prince from Khashoggi's murder, as has
the Senate Foreign Relation Committee’s top Democrat, introduced legislation
Thursday alongside a bipartisan group of lawmakers to halt U.S. support for the
Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, and which would require the U.S. to
institute sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi's murder.
said the legislation is needed because the Trump administration "has no
intention of insisting on full accountability for Mr. Khashoggi’s
Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have narrowed their
positions on the scale of adjustments over the past few weeks of continuous
engagements, a senior official involved in the negotiations told Dawn on
Minister Imran Khan will also meet IMF Chief Christine Lagarde in Dubai on
Sunday to discuss the conditionalities that have held up the accession to the
Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that the premier will meet Ms Lagarde on the
sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
IMF is asking for an adjustment of around Rs1,600-2,000 billion over three to
four years. Besides, it also wants some corrective measures to put Pakistan’s
economy on the right track after witnessing the highest-ever current account
the stumbling issue in the talks is the pace of adjustments in the current
expenditure. The emphasis on current expenditures comes as a result of a focus
on what is known as a ‘primary balance’ in the parlance of public finance.
to the official, there is some space for cut in certain expenditures where
Pakistan is in a comfortable position. “This agreement in cut will pave way for
accession to the programme,” the official claimed, adding it will be a
politically difficult decision.
cut in the current expenditures still seems to put the government in awkward
position by making adjustments in subsidies and other special grants.
IMF has been demanding that the burden of any expenditure cuts should fall on
current expenditures that include debt service, defence and subsidies. Previous
governments decreased development expenditures when undertaking the Fund’s
adjustment and usually left current expenditures alone (other than subsidies).
the official said there is certain non-development spending which cannot be
discontinued or reduced.
primary balance of a government’s budget is the difference between revenues and
expenditures after removing interest payments. It tests whether the path of
debt accumulation of any country is sustainable or not.
this is in deficit then it means that at least some of the interest payments
due in the given year will have to be made through borrowing.
the primary deficit requires a cut in current expenditures, and usually becomes
necessary when reducing debt-to-GDP ratio is a priority.
Division’s Spokesperson Dr Khaqan Najeeb told Dawn that productive dialogue
continues with IMF on all areas including fiscal, energy, structural reforms
and monetary policy.
two sides continue to exchange views on data and a reform framework to move
forward. Discussions are part of regular ongoing interaction between government
and IMF and will continue in coming weeks as well, Najeeb said.
addition, technical level subject-specific discussions also support the process
of overall dialogue,” he further said.
to the Finance Division official, on the issues of policy measures, the
government has already taken several, including increase in interest rate, gas
and electricity tariffs along with revenue measures.
Ministry of Finance recently announced that the Federal Board of Revenue’s
(FBR) target will not be revised downward following a revenue shortfall of
Rs191bn in the first seven months.
FBR has been asked to take administrative measures including revival of tax on
mobile phone cards to cover up the shortfall in reaching the budgetary target.
Fund has also asked for further monetary tightening as well as a complete free
float of the exchange rate.
are already towards target in these areas,” the official said, adding the IMF
has acknowledged these measures.
to the official, Finance Minister Asad Umar has already conveyed to the IMF
during the recent parleys that only those measures will be taken which are
favourable for country’s economic growth.
government has secured a breathing space from Saudi Arabian and United Arab
Emirates loans, an IMF programme is essential to unlock access to resources
from other multilateral lenders like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,
as well as the global capital markets.
Reacting sharply to the latest speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the
opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party
(PPP) on Saturday declared that they could not be “bullied into silence by
fascist threats” and would continue to highlight what they called the
a statement, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said a meeting of the
leaders of all the opposition parties had been called on Feb 18 in Islamabad to
deliberate on the “fascist and dictatorial actions of the incapable,
incompetent, liar and selected PTI government”.
alleged that the government was intentionally running carefully crafted
propaganda machine to make the Public Accounts Committee controversial so that
the massive theft by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders and the losses by
their incompetence would remain hidden from people.
the prime minister beware, the opposition will neither take dictation from him
nor will it be intimidated by his bullying. The autocratic-minded prime
minister believes that the parliament is answerable to him. Imran Khan needs to
read the constitution to understand that the prime minister is answerable to
the parliament which represents the people of Pakistan,” she said while
responding to Mr Khan’s onslaught on the PML-N in his speech at a ceremony in
Balloki (Nankana Sahib).
Aurangzeb said the PTI was the first political party in the history of the
country which attacked the parliament from outside and now it was attacking the
parliament from inside.
to the prime minister’s statement regarding the opposition striving for a deal,
she said Imran Khan should know that a “selected prime minister does not have
any authority to commit or grant a deal”. Moreover, she alleged that the mother
of all the deals had already been granted by the PM to his sister Aleema
Khanum, who is allegedly ‘Benamidar’ of Mr Khan’s illegal wealth and assets.
said if the prime minister believed that his bullying tactics would silence the
opposition, he was severely mistaken. The opposition, she said, would continue
to ask for the money trail for the billions worth of illegal offshore assets of
asked Imran Khan to stop his “hypocritical rant” of accountability because he
was demolishing people’s livelihood in the name of an anti-encroachment drive
while he used his position to legalise his own encroached Banigala property.
She asked Mr Khan to step down and face the inquiry in the helicopter case,
before asking others to do the same.
said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should be admitted to a hospital
with cardiac facilities as soon as possible in the light of recommendations of
the medical board. “God forbid, if anything happens to Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan
will be responsible for it,” she warned.
her separate statement, PPP’s information secretary Nafisa Shah said the
current government could not mislead the nation by telling tall tales. She said
whosoever had attempted to tarnish Asif Zardari’s reputation had always faced
embarrassment and defeat. She said no case had been proved against Mr Zardari
in the courts of London and Switzerland “whereas PM-select Imran Khan has
inherited the art of corruption from his father who was dismissed from
government employment on corruption charges”.
As the United States hopes to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban before
the Afghan elections in July, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has urged
Pakistan to be ready to protect its interests in the region.
his speech at the US Institute for Peace (USIP) on Friday afternoon, Mr
Bhutto-Zardari noted that President Donald Trump’s recent tweets and statements
on Afghanistan indicated Washington’s desire to leave the war-torn country. He
also quoted from a recent New York Times editorial which interpreted the
ongoing US-Taliban talks as “negotiated capitulation by the international
possibility of a unilateral US withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a new
wave of uncertainty in the region, “which poses yet another challenge to
Pakistan,” he warned. “It is not difficult to visualise the consequences of
Bhutto-Zardari addressed this issue at a meeting with Washington-based
Pakistani journalists as well, urging Islamabad to be ready to deal with both
positive and negative consequences of a US withdrawal.
after his press talk, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation
Zalmay Khalilzad, also spoke at USIP where he declared that the United States
was hoping to reach a peace agreement with various factions, including the
Taliban, before the Afghan presidential elections in July this year.
will be better for Afghanistan if we could get a peace agreement before the
election, which is scheduled in July,” Mr Khalilzad said, adding that there
remained “a lot of work” to do.
are after a peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement. A peace agreement can
allow withdrawal,” he said. But he also admitted that the “elections make the
peace agreement more complicated”.
Khalilzad, who acknowledged that Pakistan had released a senior Taliban leader
Mullah Baradar on his request to facilitate the peace talks, said that Pakistan
could play a very crucial in the reconciliation process with the Taliban.
that Mullah Baradar, now based in Doha, was already facilitating the US-Taliban
talks, the US envoy said that his role had also been recognised by former
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and his successor President Ashraf Ghani.
has been a positive change” in Pakistan’s attitude in recent times, he said.
“The release of Mullah Baradar, which was my request...they (Pakistan)
accommodated that, because Mullah Baradar has a reputation of being more open,
more pro-peace,” said the top American envoy who is leading the Trump
Administration’s efforts to have peace talks with the Taliban.
favours inter-Afghan dialogue including between the Taliban and the government.
So, the release of Baradar is a very positive thing,” he said.
always would like Pakistan, like other countries to do more, but we appreciate
what they have done so far and I have indicated (as did) Secretary (of State),
(Mike) Pompeo and the president that we want to have good relations with
Pakistan, better relations with Pakistan,” he said.
Bhutto-Zardari said that statements emphasising Pakistan’s role in the Afghan
reconciliation process indicated a change in Washington’s attitude towards
he stressed the need for Pakistan to mark the difference between
“reconciliation and appeasement” and “reconciliation and capitulation”.
said that Pakistan should avoid both, appeasing the Taliban or capitulating its
stance on Afghanistan under external pressure.
A sessions court in Quetta on Saturday passed orders for the release six
activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) on bail, a local media outlet
bail application of the PTM activists was accepted by Additional District and
Sessions Judge Najeebullah Khan, who ordered their release against a surety of
Rs0.1 million each.
on January 31, police had arrested the activists from outside the Quetta Press
Club for protesting against a bombing in Loralai which had claimed the lives of
nine people including five civilian employees, three policemen and a candidate.
tear gas was used to disperse the activists.
authorities plan to confiscate thousands of square meters of private
Palestinian land in the central West Bank to construct a sewage network for
settlements in violation of international law and UN Security Council
resolutions condemning the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation policies in the
sources, requesting not to be named, said authorities in Kifl Haris village in
Salfit district were handed on Saturday the blueprint of the sewage network,
which is 2,800 kilometers long and has a width of 8 meters and is planned to be
built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Israeli sewage network will reportedly destroy thousands of square meters of
farming land in addition to dozens of olive trees, and will distort the valleys
running in the targeted area.
activists warn that the villages and towns of Haris, Kifl Haris, Qirah, Dayr
Istiya, Bruqin, Kafr al-Dik, Sartah, Bidya and al-Zawiyah will be bulldozed for
the construction of the sewage network.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the
occupied territories in several resolutions.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to
“immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied
Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying
he would support any solution favored by both sides.
at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very
happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US
president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15, 2017.
took to the streets on Saturday for the funeral of a 14-year-old boy killed by
Israeli troops during Gaza protests a day earlier.
boy was identified as Hassan Shalabi by Gaza's health ministry. Israel's
military said it had opened fire in response to explosives and rocks hurled at
the border fence. Gaza health officials said an 18-year-old was also shot dead
during the protests. Palestinians have been staging weekly protests since last
March at the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the Israeli-occupied
territories. The enclave's health ministry says more than 220 Palestinians have
been killed by Israeli troops during the protests.
The Arab coalition has denied media reports alleging involvement in the
transfer of US weapons to Iranian-backed Houthi militias and Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen.
spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki stressed the coalition’s commitment to
confronting and defeating the Houthi insurgency, as well as Daesh and AQAP.
said that several media outlets had wrongly published and broadcast images of
coalition vehicles damaged in combat that were set to be evacuated as being in
the hands of the Houthis.
added: “155 damaged coalition vehicles had so far been evacuated from Yemen,”
but that “another 55 had yet to be moved.”
a recent UN-brokered cease-fire agreement, between the Houthis and the
coalition around the port of Hodeidah, has repeatedly been breached, AQAP no
longer holds any territory in Yemen as a result of the coalition’s campaign.
Arab coalition has targeted Houthi drone capabilities in a military operation
in Sanaa on Friday.
said that the forces carried out a military operation to destroy a legitimate
target, a location used by the Houthi militia to store and prepare the launch
of drones for terrorist attacks in the capital, the SPA said.
affirmed the commitment of the Arab coalition to preventing access by the
Houthi militia, and other terrorist organizations, to such capabilities, and
taking all necessary measures to protect civilians and vital areas from the
threat of terrorist drone attacks in accordance with the customary
Yemeni army recorded 1,062 violations committed by the Houthis, including
attacks on civilian quarters and Yemeni army positions, in addition to
targeting the International Mission to implement the Stockholm Agreement.
than 72 Yemeni civilians were killed in Hodeidah until Feb. 6, another 469 were
injured, many with critical injuries, a source in the Yemeni army said.
Israeli police said Saturday they arrested a Palestinian suspect in the killing
of an Israeli teenager, as thousands of people in Gaza buried two Palestinian
teenagers killed a day earlier in protests along the perimeter fence.
police said the suspect was arrested in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian
Authority, but originally comes from the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The
police did not say when the arrest took place.
body of Ori Ansbaher, 19, was found in the woods near Jerusalem on Thursday
with stabbing wounds. She was buried Friday in the Israeli settlement of Tekoa
amid calls by hard-line Jews for revenge.
other details of the woman’s killing remain the subject of an Israeli gag
Israeli statements about her murder came only from top diplomats and
400,000 settlers live in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians
want — along with east Jerusalem — as part of their future state.
the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians attended the
funerals of the teenagers.
mother of 14-year-old Hassan Shalabi wailed as mourners brought his body on a
stretcher for a final farewell at their home in the Nusseirat refugee camp.
was everything beautiful at home; his voice, his happiness fills the house.
There is laughter and play when he is home,” said the mother, Fatma, soon after
the body was carried away, wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
two teenagers were standing 50-60 meters (160-200 feet) from the fence at
separate protests when they were shot, according to rights group Al-Mezan.
Gaza City, mourners buried Hamza Ishtiwi. The Health Ministry put his age at
18, but Mezan said he was 17. Footage of Hamza lying on his back the moment
after a bullet struck him in the neck spread on social media.
Hamas rulers have organized mass demonstrations along the frontier every Friday
since March, in part to protest against the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on
the territory, which was imposed when Hamas seized power in 2007. Dozens of
Palestinians have been killed and thousands have been wounded.
protesters frequently hurl rocks and firebombs, and Israeli soldiers respond
with tear gas and live fire. Israel, which has been accused of using excessive
force, says it does what it must to protect its borders.
UN children’s agency condemned the killing of the two Palestinians, warning of
the “significant violence” Palestinian children endure.
thousand supporters of an exiled Iranian opposition group marched through Paris
on Friday, calling for an end to Iran’s clerical regime 40 years after the
Islamic revolution toppled Iran’s monarchy.
Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, widely referred to in the West as the MEK, were joined at
the rally by an array of speakers before the march, from former and current
French politicians to a one-time Algerian prime minister and a Syrian
waved posters of group leader Maryam Rajavi and founder Massoud Rajavi - not
seen since 2003 in Iraq, where the MEK once had a camp and waged war against
Iran before being disarmed by invading US troops.
group bases its headquarters outside Paris with several thousand members in
Albania, extracted in a UN-brokered effort from Iraq. Supporters are scattered
elsewhere in the West as part of the Iranian diaspora.
was tight during the rally and march through Paris’ Left Bank. The group’s
annual rally last year was the target of an alleged bomb plot, which was
thwarted by arrests. An Austrian-based Iranian diplomat is being held in
Belgium, where police found bomb material in the car of a couple of Iranian
long as we’re dealing with the main state sponsor of terrorism, there is a
concern ... But that will never stop us,” MEK spokesman Shahin Gobadi said. The
MEK hones to US President Donald Trump’s hard line on Iran, and supports US
sanctions on Iran.
speaker, former French Sen. Jean-Pierre Michel, said in an interview that “I’m
not a fanatic of Mr. Trump ... but I think the United States is right about
Iran.” He chastised Europeans for what he views as their softer approach to
80, is a long-time supporter of the Mujahedeen, which has drawn around it
numerous US and European parliamentarians and former officials who disagree
with critics’ portrayal of the organization as cult-like.
troops shot dead two Palestinian teenagers during Gaza border protests on
Friday, Palestinian health officials said.
military said it had opened fire in response to explosives and rocks hurled at
the border fence.
have been staging weekly protests since last March at the border of Gaza, an
enclave controlled by Hamas. The enclave’s health ministry says more than 220
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops at the protests. One Israeli
soldier has died.
health officials said one of the youths shot dead on Friday was 18 and the
says it has no choice but to use deadly force at the protests to defend the
frontier from militants trying to destroy the barrier and infiltrate.
Israeli military spokesman said troops had faced off on Friday with more than
6,000 Palestinians, some of whom threw rocks and “a number of explosive
devices, which exploded on the Gaza side of the fence.”
spokesman said soldiers used riot dispersal equipment and opened fired “in
accordance with standard operating procedures.”
is home to two million Palestinians, nearly all of them the stateless
descendants of people who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding in
and Egypt imposed a security blockade on the enclave after Hamas seized control
of it in 2007, which the World Bank says has reduced the local economy to a
state of collapse.
has fought three wars against Hamas in the past decade.
confirmed that four air strikes targeted an airport runaway of al-Feel oilfield
in southern Libya on Saturday, Reuters reported.
Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by the United Nations, said
in a statement that the strike targeted a civilian plane that was trying to
evacuate a number of wounded people from the oilfield to Tripoli.
strikes damaged the oilfield’s infrastructure and its airport runway and “put
civilian lives at risk”, the statement added, without adding details of any
to Reuters who quoted a field engineer, the strikes were carried out by Eastern
Libyan forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar and were considered as warnings
directed at rival commander Ali Kennah who was inside the compound at the time
of the strikes.
is a dominant figure in eastern Libya where his Libyan National Army group
seized the second-largest city of Benghazi in 2017 by expelling extremists and
month, his forces started an offensive in the south to fight militants and
secure its oilfields, and on Wednesday made good on the promise by moving on
the closed al-Sharara field.
the commander of the Sabha military zone who served under former dictator
Muammar Gaddafi, was appointed by Prime Minister Fayez Seraj last week. Seraj
leads the internationally-recognized government based in Tripoli.
oil industry has faced disruption since unrest began, with rival power centers
in the west and east.
which usually pumps around 70,000 barrels per day, was shut down when the
larger al-Sharara oilfield was seized and closed by tribesmen and state
security guards in December.
A Tunisian court has sentenced seven extremists to life in prison over attacks
at a museum and on a beach in 2015 that killed 60 people, many of them British
tourists, prosecutors said on Saturday.
of defendants faced two separate trials over the closely linked shootings, which
occurred just months apart in Tunis and Sousse, but many were acquitted.
were sentenced to life in prison for the shooting rampage at a Sousse tourist
resort in June 2015, which killed 38 people, mostly British tourists.
other defendants in the Sousse case were handed jail terms ranging from six
months to six years, while 17 were acquitted, prosecution spokesman Sofiene
were given life sentences for the earlier attack in March 2015 at the capital’s
Bardo National Museum, in which two gunmen killed 21 foreign tourists and a
Tunisian security guard.
found guilty of links to the Bardo attack were sentenced to prison terms
ranging from one to 16 years, and a dozen defendants were acquitted, Sliti
prosecution will appeal, he added.
of the lawyers for relatives of French victims in the Bardo attack, Gerard
Chemla, expressed “enormous bitterness” that the families had not been given
more input into the proceedings.
said a live feed of Friday’s hearing had brought some degree of comfort but
lamented that the relatives of those killed had not been compensated.
Berger-Stenger, another of the lawyers, said the hearings had not revealed the
full truth of what took place.
page has turned, but this isn’t a trial that can satisfy the victims,” she
said. “There is a taste of unfinished business.”
retains the death penalty for terrorism offenses despite carrying out no
executions since the 1990s.
court heard that the two attacks, both claimed by Daesh, were closely linked.
defendants pointed to the fugitive Chamseddine Sandi as mastermind of both.
to Tunisian media, Sandi was killed in a US air strike in neighboring Libya in
February 2016, although there has been no confirmation.
those who were facing trial were six security personnel accused of failing to
provide assistance to people in danger during the Sousse attack.
shooting was carried out by Seifeddine Rezgui, who opened fire on a beach
before rampaging into a high-end hotel, where he continued to fire a
kalashnikov and throw grenades until being shot dead by police.
French nationals, four Italians, three Japanese and two Spaniards were among
those killed in the Bardo attack, before the two gunmen, armed with Kalashnikov
assault rifles, were themselves shot dead.
showed one of the gunmen, Yassine Laabidi — who was born in 1990 and was from a
poor district near Tunis — had amphetamines in his body.
fellow attacker Jaber Khachnaoui, born in 1994 and from Tunisia’s deprived
Kasserine region, had traveled to Syria in December 2014 via Libya.
suspect questioned in court, Tunis laborer Mahmoud Kechouri, said he had helped
plan the Bardo attack, including preparing mobile phones for Sandi, a neighbor
and longtime friend.
33, said he was driven by a “duty to participate in the emergence of the
caliphate,” that Daesh supremo Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi proclaimed in June 2014
across swathes of territory the militants controlled in Iraq and neighboring
defendants accused of helping prepare the attack said they had only discussed
ideas with friends. Several alleged they were tortured in detention.
and relatives in France and Belgium, who watched the live feed of Friday’s
hearing, said it had helped them to turn the page.
was important for us to see, and especially to hear — to try to understand the
role” of each defendant, said one French survivor.
at the end of the process will help us to turn the page, even if we can never
Sousse attack, which killed 30 Britons, is also the subject of proceedings in
front of the Royal Courts of Justice in London, which is seeking to establish
holding inquests into the British deaths in January and February 2017, judge
Nicholas Loraine-Smith concluded that the response of Tunisian police was “at
best shambolic, at worst cowardly.”
have been significant improvements in security at Tunisian tourist resorts
since the massacre and, in July 2017, Britain lifted its warning against “all
but essential travel” to the North African country.
attacks and resulting travel warnings dealt a devastating blow to Tunisia’s
vital tourism sector from which it has taken time to recover.
Boko Haram started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but mutated into an
ISIS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency.
is some background about the jihadists, whom Muhammadu Buhari vowed to defeat
when he became president in 2015 but remain a threat as he seeks a second term.
Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria. Its
campaign has cost at least 27 000 lives since 2009 and displaced 1.8 million
name loosely translates from the Hausa language as "Western education is
founder and spiritual leader Muhammad Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria's ills
on Western values left by colonial master, Britain.
also accused the country's secular leaders of corruption and neglecting
development in Muslim regions.
came to the attention of authorities in 2002 when he began to build a following
among disaffected youths in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital in northeast
was killed in police custody in 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri that
prompted a military assault. Some 800 people died in the action, and Boko
Haram's mosque and headquarters were left in ruins.
of its supporters fled the country.
Haram was broadly peaceful before Yusuf's death.
his successor, his right-hand man Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign
of deadly attacks on schools, churches, mosques, state entities and security
Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.
the group's most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276
schoolgirls from the remote northern town of Chibok in Borno state.
fled in the immediate aftermath, and more than 100 of the 219 who spent years
in captivity have since been released, found or escaped.
mass abduction brought world attention to the insurgency at a time when Boko
Haram was seizing territory across the northeast, which became a largely no-go
area, with the violence spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a "caliphate" in the Borno town of
Gwoza, and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq
violence has destroyed property and farmland in the mainly rural northeast and
sparked a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages.
offensive since 2015 by regional armies - troops from Nigeria and backed by
others from Cameroon, Chad and Niger - drove jihadists from most of the areas
they had seized.
regular bloody raids and suicide bomb attacks continue.
court action for people suspected of being members of Boko Haram started in
October 2017. Most were released, largely due to lack of evidence, and more
than 100 convicted of belonging to the group and taking part in attacks.
faction led by the son of Muhammad Yusuf, Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi, broke away in
opposition to Shekau's indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
faction, which has the backing of ISIS, targets the armed forces and has since
July 2018 carried out numerous attacks on military bases.
people were killed in a fire at a camp for those displaced by Boko Haram
violence in northeast Nigeria, an eyewitness and a humanitarian source said on
blaze broke out on Thursday at the camp housing some 7 500 internally displaced
persons in the garrison town of Monguno, in Borno state.
displaced people were preparing breakfast when the fire broke out, gutting
people were killed in the fire - three children and two women," an aid
worker with a humanitarian agency in the town told AFP.
fire started from the kitchen around 11:30 am (1030 GMT) and spread all over
the camp," added the worker, who did not want to be identified.
Adam Sheriff said firefighters tried in vain to put out the inferno which
gutted the camp in 40 minutes.
is some 140km northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and houses tens
of thousands of displaced people in sprawling camps.
of them had fled their homes in northern Borno and moved to Monguno to protect
themselves against Boko Haram attacks.
town has seen an influx of internally displaced people from the fishing town of
Baga on the shores of Lake Chad 60 km away, following attacks last December
against a naval base and another for regional forces.
month, the UN said more than 30 000 people fled to seek refuge around
Haram's decade-long insurgency has killed 27 000 people and displaced some 1.8
million in northeast Nigeria alone.
Arshad Madani addresses inter-religious symposium in Austria
President Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Arshad Madani called for a collective
effort to end hate and religious extremism from the world. He claimed that no
religion teaches killing, extremism, violence and hate. He was addressing a
symposium at Austria’s capital Vienna.
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and
Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) is holding the Global Dialogue Symposium on
Neighbors’ Rights in Vienna. Witnesses to violent conflict in Syria and Iraq
shared their experiences at the global forum.
Global Dialogue Symposium on Neighbors’ Rights was held to celebrate the UN’s
World Interfaith Harmony Week.
forum urged people to perform their neighbourly duties, practice respect and
compassion, build bridges for peaceful communication, and celebrate human
Madani is the only religious leader from the Indo-Pak subcontinent to be
invited for the symposium.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which had picked up 10 youths for
alleged links with the banned Islamic State (IS), has said that the accused,
including a 17-year-old, had allegedly planned to cause “mass casualties” in
India before travelling to Syria in order to be received as credible recruits
by the terror organisation.
lawyers of the accused denied their clients were involved in any such plans. In
an indication that the accused were greenhorns, ATS officers probing the case
have alleged that they explored harebrained ideas to carry out attacks, such as
“burning a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and black pepper”, hoping it would
cause an explosion.
to the statements of the accused recorded by ATS, the nine men and one minor
would reportedly hold meetings in Mumbra, on Mumbai’s suburbs, every night
around 9 for the past few months. They allegedly planned to mix a toxic
chemical in the ‘prasad’ at a temple and also in the food at a hospital in
ATS also said they discussed setting off an explosion at the office of an
Indian right-wing organisation. “They were still learning. They would surf the
Internet and with the help of online tutorials, they were trying to make bombs
and toxic chemicals,” said an investigator.
Patel, lawyer of six of the 10 accused, denied the charge. “The ATS is making
several claims… Recently in court, it claimed that one accused had preserved a
dead lizard in a bottle of oil because it becomes poisonous…”
said ATS has little evidence of any attack being planned by the youths. “They
have recovered phenyl, vinegar and rat poison from their houses. Poisonous
substances are readily available in the market, why would anyone make so much
effort to make some toxic chemicals,” Patel asked.
those arrested is Mohsin Sirajuddin Khan, accused of radicalising the others.
The ATS claimed that he had even set the others a target of raising Rs 2 lakh
each to meet travel and living expenses in Syria. “They planned to collect the
sum by selling their house or withdrawing money from fixed deposits. They would
exercise together and were learning hunting methods in preparation for a stay
in a jungle in Syria,” said an officer.
ATS has alleged that Mohsin started radicalising the youths from Mumbra and
Aurangabad, starting with his brothers Salman and Taqi, then scouting for
recruits in mosques and in the vicinity of Muslim organisations.
formed three groups on messaging app Telegram, adding his brothers,
brother-in-law Mohammed Sarfaraz, relative Mohamed Mushahid-Ul-Islam, Mazhar
Shaikh from Mumbra (son of gangster Rashid Marbari), Fahad Ansari (Mumbra),
Jaman Khuteupad (Mumbra), Talha Pudrik (Mumbra) and a 17-year-old teen
said Mohsin was keen to recruit others with technical know-how, and thus
selected Khuteupad, a medical representative with a laboratory in Nagpada, and
Mazhar, the son of a gangster, Marbari. Khuteupad reportedly floated the idea
of mixing chemicals in food served at a hospital.
then reportedly came in contact online with an IS sympathiser, claiming to be
from Afghanistan. He identified himself as ‘Keep Safe Distance’. He reportedly
added Mazhar in a Telegram group where extremist material was posted. While the
ATS has sent cellphones from all 10 youngsters for forensic examination, and
are hopeful of extracting the contents, they conceded that the extremist
material the accused are alleged to have viewed is not available on their
phones. “They deleted it,” claimed an officer.
ATS, having monitored the group’s conversation on cyber platforms for several
weeks, laid a trap and arrested Mohsin, Taqi, Mazhar and Sarfaraz from
Aurangabad on January 23. Their interrogation led to one more arrest,
Mushahid-Ul-Islam, a freelance graphic designer who was pursuing graduation.
Another member of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) was arrested
by the Kolkata Police's Special Task Force (STF) near Sealdah railway station
late on Friday.
STF claimed that Monirul Islam (42) was an associate of JMB top terrorist
Jahidul Islam alias Bomaru Mizan alias Kausar. Monirul was involved in the Bodh
Gaya blasts on January 19, 2018. He hails from Raghunathgunj in Murshidabad and
had joined JMB in 2010.
arrest comes days after the STF arrested JMB terrorist Abdul Sattar from
Mallapuram in Kerala. Sattar was allegedly involved in the Khagragarh blast in
West Bengal's Burdwan district on October 2, 2014.
AFTER Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that India treated
minorities as ‘second-class citizens’, the Indian government replied saying
that Khan’s remarks are an “egregious insult to all citizens of India.”
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday responded sharply to the remarks
made by the Pakistani PM.
Pakistan Prime Minister’s remarks are an egregious insult to all citizens of
India. Pakistan prime minister has demonstrated his lack of understanding about
India’s secular polity and ethos,” the MEA’s official spokesperson Raveesh
has leaders of all faiths who occupy its highest Constitutional and official
positions. Pakistani citizens of non-Islamic faith are barred from occupying
high Constitutional offices. Minorities are often turned away from government
bodies like their PMEAC, even in naya Pakistan,” Kumar said.
was in reference to how Atif Mian, a noted economist in Pakistan, was removed
from Pakistan PM’s Economic Advisory Council since he was from minority
Ahmadiyya sect after pressure from the right-wing groups.
would do well to focus on its domestic challenges and improve conditions of its
citizens rather than try and divert attention. The Pakistan Prime Minister’s
latest attempts to play with minority sentiment in India will be rejected by
the people of India,” the MEA spokesperson said.
is the second instance when Khan has spoken about the condition of minorities
valley on Saturday observed a complete shutdown on the sixth death anniversary
of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The Joint Resistance
Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad
Yasin Malik had called for a complete shutdown on February 9 and 11 to mark the
hanging anniversaries of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Butt, respectively.
Saturday, while business units and shops remained shut in almost all districts
of the Valley, public transport also remained off the road. A senior police
official said that they had deployed security forces in Srinagar and Baramulla
untoward incident was reported from any part of valley. We are hopeful that
Monday will also pass peacefully,” said a senior police official.
said that restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar, as a precautionary
measure and to maintain law and order situation.
of Afzal’s anniversary, Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under
house arrest on Friday. “As Martyrdom anniversaries of #ShaheedAfzalGuru and
#ShaheedMaqboolBhat are being observed on 9th and 11 Feb. authorities have
started crackdown on resistance leaders and activists, I have been just put
placed under #HouseArrest,” Umar said on Friday.
was hanged on Februray 9, 2013 in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
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