demonstrator holding a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a
protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 5,
2018. (Photo: Reuters)
On From Jamal Khashoggi, Let Us Do Business: Saudis to Davos
Ruling Party 'Disowns' Islamist Group
Association Aspires To Reorganise Islam in France
Letter, Palestinian Authority Asks US to Drop All Remaining Aid
Deafening Silence Over China's Persecution Of Uighur Muslims
Are Deciding Extent of Muslim Autonomy in Philippines
FM: We can teach Washington, London how to run a country without budget
Al Futtaim Boss: ‘We’ll Be Everywhere’ In Saudi Cinema Expansion
Al-Sham's Second in Command Killed in Failed Attack on Syrian Army in Idlib
Sends More Military Convoys to Eastern Syria to Reinforce Military Bases
despite Trump's Pullout Call
Civilians Killed in US Airstrikes on Residential Areas in Deir Ezzur
Receive Severe Blow in Failed Attacks in Idlib
bomb kills soldier near Iraq’s Kirkuk
warns of attack on Tel Aviv airport if UN fails to halt Israeli aggression
Ramps Up Education Efforts in Rohingya Refugee Camps
of militants killed in Afghan, Coalition Forces operations
runs Bangladesh Awami Ulama League?
senior Taliban leaders killed in Faryab operations
Reviews Counter-Terror Strategy to Alleviate British Muslims
convert to Islam held on inciting terror charge
copycatting US on Syria pullout: Analyst
snubs US ‘counterproductive’ anti-Iran summit in Poland
says ‘arbitrary’ Israeli airstrikes on Syria must stop
bankers ‘lied’ to hide Qatar payments
pledges ‘lethal’ response to Gaza violence after blocking aid
groups condemn detention of Iranian broadcaster
kills Hamas militant, delays Qatari cash after Gaza flare-up
Khalid: Stockholm Agreement between Yemeni parties being violated
prisoner swap terms expected in coming days, govt delegate says
jets launch 13 strikes targeting Houthi training camp near Dhamar
court temporarily halts Mumbai attack case hearing
seeks economic assistance package from Doha
takes united stance on military courts
reserves order in defamation suit against PM
CGS General Faiyad acknowledges Pakistan Army’s professionalism
ready to form judicial commission to probe Sahiwal killings
to promote NU, Muhammadiyah for Nobel Peace Prize
sons, followers disappointed over cancelled release
back BN because it served us well, say some Cameron Highlands voters
of Najib Affairs’ Kit Siang denies tabling removal of Malay, Islam from
Muslim Cop Plays Cupid, Helps Hindu Couple Tie Knot inside Police Outpost
including 17-year-old arrested by Maharashtra ATS for ‘ISIS links’
raids 8 places across 5 states over terror funding
arrests: Mosque staff, families shocked
Panel Members Want Madrasa Docs To Be Recorded In Hindi Too, Write To Yogi
Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani to be posthumously conferred with Ashoka Chakra
escape: Hunted down by Al-Shabaab in Nairobi attack
town under attack by Boko Haram
warns Sudan to free protesters, probe deaths
officials hold talks in Syria on resuming flights
meeting with Bashir, Qatari Emir says supports unity in Sudan
bill to sanction regime backers passes US House of Representatives
in reverse gear on anti-Iran summit as international boycott widens: Report
Concern for 'Arbitrary' Force In Sudan
by New Age Islam News Bureau
on from Jamal Khashoggi, let us do business: Saudis to Davos
you somehow missed the news about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by
Saudi agents and the global outcry that ensued, you might think Saudi Arabia is
the darling of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
kingdom has sent one of its strongest delegations ever to the Swiss mountain
resort and packed its top executives' agendas with meetings with international
has even managed to secure top Western businessmen for a panel debate on 'Next
Steps for Saudi Arabia', where French oil major Total’s chief executive Patrick
Pouyanne and Morgan Stanley’s boss James Gorman will be sitting next to the
Saudi finance and economy ministers.
Davos gathering in the Swiss Alps is a chance for the Saudis to try to put
behind them months of intense criticism over the murder of Khashoggi, a critic
of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in
killing by a team of Saudi operatives provoked widespread revulsion and
tarnished the image of the crown prince, previously admired in the West for
pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing
women to drive.
Davos, the signs are that the damage control is working.
President Ueli Maurer said on Wednesday his country has moved on, and wanted to
build strong relations with Riyadh, a rich, oil-producing kingdom that is
itself a major global investor.
have long since dealt with the Khashoggi case...We have agreed to continue the financial
dialogue and normalise relations again," Maurer told Swiss news agency
allies including some US politicians have called on Riyadh to hold those
responsible for the Khashoggi murder accountable. The Saudi public prosecutor
is seeking the death penalty for five suspects, as the kingdom tries to contain
its biggest political crisis for a generation.
there had been doubts about Saudi Arabia's status at Davos. After all, a number
of A-list global investors stayed away from the Crown Prince's annual Future
Investment Initiative conference in October, overshadowed by the Saudi
at a summit of the G20 big economies in Buenos Aires, leaders appeared to
ignore Prince Mohammed on stage during the "family photo," even if
many went on to have closed-door bilateral meetings with him afterwards.
at Davos, the Saudi delegation had dozens of meetings and no Western investor
pulled out, Saudi economy minister Mohammad Al Tuwaijri told Reuters on Wednesday.
a day-to-day basis in Saudi Arabia it is business as usual. Our job as
government is to make sure infrastructure, legal in particular, is stable. This
transformation journey hopefully will attract investors," Tuwaijri said.
said the probe into the killing needed time. The message he would take back to
the crown prince was to "listen to the investors' feedback".
minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told CNBC it was "very unfortunate, what
happened to Jamal" but also suggested to wait for the probe's results and
the trial. He also said the fact that a $7.5 billion Saudi bond was heavily
oversubscribed earlier this month showed investors were regaining confidence.
Saudi data will show new foreign direct investment licences doubled last year
from 377 in 2017, a Saudi government source said. The World Economic Forum has
chosen two state Saudi companies Aramco and Sabic - to be among its 100
strategic partners in 2019.
giant Aramco also plans to issue a mega bond this year and is looking to
acquire gas assets in the United States, its chief executive told Reuters.
the future, Aramco still plans to list its stock sometime in 2021 in what could
become the world’s largest initial public offering.
panel on press freedom in Davos discussed the murder of Khashoggi but no Saudi
officials were seen attending it.
Browder, a critic of Vladimir Putin, who successfully pushed through some of
the harshest U.S. sanctions against Russia for the killing of his lawyer, known
as the Magnitsky Act, said the same sanctions should be applied to Saudi
Mohammed bin Salman bears responsibility for this crime, there cannot be
business as usual with Saudi Arabia," Browder told Reuters.
ruling party 'disowns' Islamist group
ruling Awami League (AL) is denying any association with a radical Islamist
group that has made a series of controversial demands recently, including calls
to ban NGOs targeting child marriages.
a statement issued to the media on Jan. 21, AL office secretary Abdus Sobhan
Golap said the party was disturbed to read reports of the Awami Ulema League's
singled out the group's calls to ban local and international NGOs and cancel
the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), one of the most popular T20 (20
overs) cricket leagues in the country.
want to clearly state that the Awami League does not have any associated body
called the Awami Ulema League, or any committee at any level, and there is no
relationship between the reports published and the Awami League," the
statement read, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune on Jan. 21.
said the Awami Ulema League's activities were both unethical and illegal, and
threatened legal action against it for conducting such activities, which he
said are in no way aligned with AL policy.
Jan. 21, the Islamist group and 13-like minded organizations held a rally in
Dhaka calling to oust NGOs fighting against child marriage, a practice still
widespread in the country.
also insisted on the repeal of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017, which
makes marrying a minor a punishable offense.
group of demonstrators said the activities of agencies such as UNICEF, UK-based
Save the Children, and Switzerland-based Terre dos homes were
"anti-Muslim" and "anti-Islam."
has made notable progress in curbing child marriages in recent decades but it
still ranks fourth in the world among countries that sanction this.
2015, roughly six in 10 weddings involved a bride under the age of 15. However
within two years this had dropped to two in 10 marriages, according to figures
supplied by UNICEF.
the percentage of marriages featuring women under 18 fell from 66 percent to 59
percent over the same period, the statistics show.
Awami Ulema League also branded Bangladesh's child marriage law as kufri
(disgraceful) in a Muslim country.
has also taken issue with cricket, demanding the BPL be axed immediately as it
is "a den of gamblers and fixers."
kabbadi is the national sport, cricket and football are the country's most
Islamist group also warned the government against drafting new laws or
commissions to protect minorities, which it said could sow "the seeds of
communalism" in the country and promote allegiance to religious and ethnic
Fariduddin Masoud, president of Bangladesh Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Clerics),
said the group's demands were not realistic.
group does not have a good base or following in the country, and it does not
represent the majority of Muslims," Masoud told ucanews.com.
demands are totally unacceptable. It's time to find out how they have gathered
the courage to put forward these demands, and who is backing them," he
Anthony Sen, a member of the Catholic Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission,
also criticized the group for its extremism.
group has made ridiculous demands in the past and now their voice is growing
stronger," he said.
oppose the culture and further development of Bangladesh, and their demands go
against people's constitutional rights," he added.
government needs to take action against the group and its backers."
Khan, a Dhaka-based rights activist, had one word to describe the group's
policies and ideology: "medieval."
sane person in this modern world cannot tolerate the absurd demands of such a
group," Khan told ucanews.com.
we have seen a shaking-up of politics and religion in the country in recent
times, and the rise of groups like this poses a threat to our longstanding
culture of peace and harmony."
Awami Ulema League was formed in 1996. It courted controversy in 2016 by trying
to ban celebrations of the Bangla New Year, popularly known as Pohela Boishakh,
and rallying to stop broadcasts of Indian television channels. The group
considers the celebrations "un-Islamic" based on the argument they
derive from Hindu traditions, and holds Indian TV responsible for
"polluting Muslim culture" with Hindu ideology and culture.
2017, the organization teamed up with other Islamist groups to demand the
removal of the Lady Justice statue from the Supreme Court compound. It said
having a Greek statue in front of the country's top judicial body was also
"un-Islamic" and tantamount to worshipping false idols.
Association Aspires To Reorganise Islam In France
President Emmanuel Macron sets himself the challenge of reforming the
relationship between the state and the country’s Muslims, a grassroots
initiative has been launched in response to his vision of an “French Islam”.
organisation launched this week by prominent intellectual Hakim El Karoui is
part of a set of proposals from the Franco-Tunisian author to Mr Macron that
aims to inspire Muslims unite to together in a new direction.
to the banker turned author, the Muslim Association for a French Islam (AMIF)
has the objective of fostering a “serene integration of Islam in France” and
countering the discourse propagated by “salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
acting as a middle man between the government and the worshippers, AMIF intends
to cast itself as a trusted interlocutor for both parties and hence promote
transparency and accountability.
offering a gateway for services for Muslim citizens, the organisation could
bolster confidence within the wider society. “There are different aspects to
this, for example the issue of the pilgrimage [to Mecca],” Mr El Karoui, who is
senior fellow at the French think-tank Institut Montaigne, told The National.
“It has to become compulsory for example that a travel agency offering the
pilgrimage to obtain an authorisation by an organisation like AMIF. If this is
unavoidable, then you have the chance to regulate the market and put an end to
all unsuitable behaviours.”
vetting specialist agencies and enterprises that are devoted to aspects of
Muslim life – from travel agencies to halal meat suppliers and Imams – Mr El
Karoui said he believed an organisation like his would be able to improve
transparency and channel the worshippers’ donations and investments towards
institutions that commit to transparency.
French state remains heavily dependent on grassroots organisations like AMIF to
come up with solutions to the problem of murky foreign funding and the
extremist threat. Given its secular constitution, the state cannot regulate
Muslim religious activities or build mosques or employ Imams to compete with
foreign countries using these practices to expand their influence in the
Macron called for reform of Islam in France multiple times since becoming
President in May 2017 and committed to giving Islam "a framework and
rules" to discourage insular Muslim communities and combating extremist
strands. A reform package was promised last year but put off until 2019 after encountering
institutional resistance. Reports in the country’s media suggest it may include
a proposal to amend the 1905 law separating church and state. The clear
dividing line is a distinction cherished in the country’s secular republican
number of French presidents have unsuccessfully tried to reform France’s
relationship with Islam. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy tried, as interior
minister, to establish a representative council for French Muslims. But
divisions between Muslim groups from different countries sunk the initiative.
Mr El Karoui himself admitted, the success of his proposal is hinged on the
participation of the Muslim community and the adherence of Muslim
organizations. “We don’t have a coercive power, we cannot be an mandatory
conduit,” he said.
similarly to universities who voluntary seek accreditation that attest the
quality of their services, Mr El Karoui believes AMIF will push a broad front
of Islamic organisations to develop “best practices” as well as promote the
voices of that silent majority of Muslim believers who share an inclusive
interpretation of Islam.
we see some trying to spread the idea that there is only one interpretation of
Islam, which is the political and reactionary one” he said. “[Countering this
narrative] requires organisation and institutionalisation.”
is one of many similar initiatives calling for an umbrella organisation uniting
the moderate factions. One survey by group that also seeks to make the voices
of moderate Muslims heard, found that a large majority among the 24 thousand
respondents to an online questionnaire is favourable to a national organisation
leading and representing the Muslim community.
objective is to give voice to the Muslim community which is often silenced
ether on the media by people who do not represent us, or by politicians who
don’t know anything about the realities of Muslim communities in this country,
“ Naziha Mayoufi, founding members of L.E.S. Musulmans, told The National.
Mr Macron will concede official backing to any of these initiatives, however,
is still unclear. It is also unclear if Mr El Karoui, who was an adviser to the
regime of ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali can reach across
political and social divides to rally the support he needs from the Muslim
Macron – whose popularity has fallen since the beginning of a series of violent
street protests in November – is preparing for the European Parliament
election, where he faces his strongest challenge from conservative and
hard-right groups urging or tougher policies to oversee Muslim clerics, mosques
and schools. Embracing a grassroots initiative could be one way to silence
those who criticise his inability to effectively address the roots of Islamic
letter, Palestinian Authority asks US to drop all remaining aid
Palestinian Authority (PA) says it will refuse American aid in its entirety
after Washington cut humanitarian funds to Palestinians, adding that accepting
such help could carry unwelcome legal consequences for the Ramallah-based
Authority “sent an official letter to the US administration requesting it stop
all aid to the PA, including assistance to the Palestinian security services,”
senior negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump has already pledged to cut almost all humanitarian aid
to Palestinians. American-funded projects are being phased out gradually.
further said the decision was made due to concerns over the so-called
Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), approved by President Trump in October 2018, which makes
it possible for US citizens to sue foreign entities that receive US aid.
may prompt US families to start exposing the PA to “costly” lawsuits over
alleged “past Palestinian attacks,” AFP said.
authorities have, in the past, blamed Palestinians for “political violence”
targeting American interests inside and outside the occupied territories. This
is while Washington provides an annual military aid of around $3 billion to
Israel, which engages in routine deadly acts of aggression against
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah wrote in the letter sent to US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo back on December 26, 2018 that “as of January 31st, 2019, it fully
disclaims and no longer wishes to accept any form of assistance referenced in
US aid features roughly $50 million in annual support for Palestinian security
services, including support for security coordination with the regime in Tel
Aviv. Israel claims that the coordination is “crucial” for maintaining calm in
the occupied West Bank, where Israeli acts of aggression are a daily
between the PA and the US, already strained due to Washington’s unwavering
support for Israel, took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington
recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” in the face of the Palestinians’
internationally-recognized claims to the occupied city.
PA, in response, stopped recognizing any mediation role by Washington in the
decades-long conflict with the Israeli regime.
deafening silence over China's persecution of Uighur Muslims
a recent interview with Turkey's state-run TRT World, Pakistani prime minister
Imran Khan, when asked about China's deplorable treatment of Muslim minorities,
chose instead to focus on Beijing's economic benevolence.
almost reverential, Mr Khan called China's growing economic support for
Pakistan "a breath of fresh air" amid the "doom and gloom".
recent years, China's crackdown on those who practice, or even identify with
Islam, has reached horrifying levels. Under the guise of preemptive measures
against terrorism, in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang, up to a million
Muslims, mostly ethnic Uighurs, remain in detention inside what the Communist
Party propaganda maintains are "education and training centres".
testimonies of detainees who have passed through these centres, that Amnesty
International claims are being run like wartime concentration camps, are
replete with reports of torture including waterboarding and force-feeding.
According to eyewitnesses, the situation is so horrific that some of the
detainees have even committed suicide.
Chinese state has incarcerated everyone from professors, journalists,
comedians, editors and poets to nursing mothers, children, the elderly and even
the terminally ill inside these detention centres.
Muslims are being subject to invasive surveillance, with Communist Party
workers being placed inside Muslim households to observe and report on their
daily activities. Mosques have been demolished and restaurants serving halal
meat forcibly shut down.
this month, the government announced a five-year plan aimed at
"Sinicising" Islam to make it "compatible with socialism".
Activists however warned that this campaign would gradually lead to a total
eradication of the religion - with which 23 million Chinese identify - in the
some experts have called Beijing's ferocious anti-Muslim scourge the
"country's most intense campaign of coercive social reengineering since
the end of the Cultural Revolution", others maintain that it amounts to
outright ethnic cleansing.
this repugnant campaign is set to expand, as the regional governments with
sizeable Muslim populations across the country are dispatching officials to
detention centres in Xinjiang with the explicit aim of learning to and adopt
the same measures.
this grim situation, the premier of a neighbouring Muslim-majority country and
a professed "Islamic Republic" appearing to give a free pass to
Beijing, should raise a few eyebrows.
addition to Mr Khan, Pakistan's President Arif Alvi went a step further and in
a recent interview, expressed full support for Chinese actions vis-a-vis its
Muslims while calling the increasing concerns about country's crackdown on
Islam a false "bogey" to "pressure China".
comes as no surprise, as China, now Islamabad's largest trading partner, has
pledged to invest around $US62 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC), a vital project in its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative.
project, already riven with accusations of arbitrary land-confiscation from
local communities in Pakistan, is now implicitly buying Islamabad's silence in
the face of grave human rights abuses against the Chinese Muslims.
Beijing has chosen to extend its repression of Uighur Muslims beyond its
borders into Pakistan. According to some reports, in an effort to appease its
powerful neighbour, Pakistani security agencies have shut down Uighur
businesses, repeatedly detained Uighur activists residing in the country and
closed down schools teaching Uighur language.
dozens of Uighur women married to Pakistani citizens have been separated from
their children and held in Xinjiang's detention centres.
Beijing as its strategic regional ally against arch rival India, and a vital
partner that could play a central role in reviving the country's fledgling
economy, Islamabad has conveniently chosen to remain silent on China's
extensive abuses. This is in stark contrast to its vocal positions on human
rights abuses in places such as Palestine, Myanmar and Indian-controlled
ruling class remains convinced that even the slightest criticism could prove to
be disruptive for its special relationship with Beijing, and possibly even
derail the flagship CPEC project. The reality, however, presents a far more
staggering 85 per cent of China's oil imports pass through the Strait of
Malacca, a narrow shipping corridor connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Experts point out that Beijing's crippling dependence on the corridor, policed
jointly by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is set to be substantially
alleviated by the CPEC.
the countries policing the Strait largely enjoy warm relations with China, both
Malaysia and Indonesia are parties, at varying degrees, in the hotly-disputed
South China sea.
the fact that India has recently made serious overtures towards exerting
control over it, the necessity of ending its over-dependence on this corridor
becomes even more pressing for Beijing.
this scenario, rather than viewing the project as an inhibition, Pakistan has
the potential to see it as a point of strategic leverage, and encourage Beijing
into compliance with international human-rights norms. That said, as long as
Islamabad faces a hostile administration in Washington, the country is hardly
in a position to bargain on its standing with China.
now, Beijing appears to have the upper hand and will likely even get away with
its awful treatment of Muslims, but a concerted effort by the international
community, and particularly Pakistan, could force China to change tack and
alleviate the continued suffering of its Muslim minorities.
than 50 years of Muslim rebel violence, which has killed 121,000 and attracted
the terrorist group Islamic State, came down to the ballot box this week.
Voters in two cities and three other regions of the southern island Mindanao
combined on Monday to ratify a law that creates the country’s strongest ever
semi-autonomous Muslim region.
province and seven more towns will cast votes February 6 to finalize
ratification and help set the region’s boundaries.
the region of roughly 4.3 million people won’t keep its own army or restrict
entry by other Filipinos, the government is expected to give it enough local
control so that Muslims get a sense of the autonomy they have fought for since
the 1960s. Proponents of the move hope the sense of self-rule might in turn
stop fighting between armed rebels and government troops, battles that
sometimes catch civilians in their net, and let the population develop
will help our lives, for as long as the leaders are committed to peace and
development, I think this is a major stepping stone for peace and tranquility,”
said Monara Maruhom, assistant dean of the King Faisal Center for Islamic,
Arabic and Asian Studies at Mindanao State University. “At least we will give
peace a chance for our future generation.”
stage for new region
voting so far has effectively upheld the law approved in July by Congress and
signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to form the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao. Vote counts will also determine which cities and provinces
will join the region. In one surprise turn, the hub city of Cotabato voted
59-41 percent to join the region.
will replace an existing 12,536 square-kilometer tract carved out for Muslim
groups in Mindanao 29 years ago, but widely considered ineffective at offering
outcome of the plebiscite is crucial not only to the establishment of the
future political structure of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao,
but more so it would determine how people in the defined areas think about
themselves as a group belonging to a new political structure,” said Henelito
Sevilla, assistant international relations professor at University of the
resources and control
half-year-old Bangsamoro Organic Law, which authorizes the new region, calls
for the central government to give its local leadership grants equal to 5
percent of national tax and customs revenue. Leaders of the old region had to
apply for funding. The central government also will pay $95 million annually
over 10 years for the rehabilitation of conflict areas.
from locally extracted coal, gas, oil and uranium will be equally shared with
the Philippine government.
have lived in Mindanao’s west and its outlying islands for more than 500 years.
Many resent the Christian majority's control of minerals and fossil fuels from
their resource-rich part of the archipelago. The last large-scale violence
erupted in 2017 as troops battled Islamic State-backed rebels in the city of
Marawi, which would be in the new region.
told a 7,000-person assembly in Cotabato last week that ratification would
“pave the way for fair and just distribution of land and resources,” on the
surrounding, largely impoverished island of Mindanao, the presidential office
Bangsamoro Organic Law will “lead to better governance, inclusive political
empowerment, and enhanced systems for transparency and accountability,” Duterte
wins from the polling victories Monday, said Maria Ela Atienza, a University of
the Philippines political science professor. The president had campaigned for
change in Mindanao before his 2016 election. The Mindanao native also advocates
a federal system of government giving provinces around the country more local
personally would also see this as an opportunity to test whether a semi-federal
setup can work, because the power given to the (Bangsamoro Organic Law) is
vast,” said Antonio Contreras, political scientist at De La Salle University in
once heavily armed rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will find
the vote “beneficial” in the short term, Atienza said, because it had advocated
setting up the region since signing a peace deal with the government in 2014.
The front is expected to take a lead role in governing the region.
voters may fear the Bangsamoro region will further divide rival Muslim groups
or split Muslims from Christians who now co-exist, Philippine media reports
say. In the offshore province of Sulu, where the violent Abu Sayyaf kidnapping
outfit has a stronghold, voters rejected ratification.
20 Muslim rebel groups still operate in Mindanao. One splintered off from the
front and another has competed with the front in the past for influence in
Mindanao. Those excluded from Bangsamoro leadership might turn to Islamic
State, scholars said last year.
also a challenge for the government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation
Front) because they have to prove that they represent not just the MILF, they
can work with different sectors, because even if this gets approved, there are
also significant political elites both Muslims and Christians as well as other
groups who disagree with this law,” Atienza said.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said on Tuesday that Washington and London
should maybe learn from Lebanon how to run the country without a budget.
should maybe teach them how to run the country without a budget because Lebanon
gets adapted to every difficult situation,” Bassil told CNN’s Becky Anderson on
the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos.
think we will be able soon to form a government and get out of this situation,”
Lebanese parliamentary elections were held in May last year but Prime
Minister-designate Saad Hariri has not been able to finalize a cabinet
formation since then.
country, which has the world’s third-highest ratio of debt to GDP, has also
been suffering from low economic growth.
June, the International Monetary Fund urged Lebanon to make “immediate and
substantial” fiscal adjustments to improve the sustainability of public debt.
the past few months, there have been several warnings of the deteriorating
economy, as well as calls to speed up cabinet formation to help improve the
country’s financial situation. On December 30, Finance Minister Ali Hassan
Khalil warned that the economic crisis has begun to turn into a financial
crisis, and voiced hope that it does not transform into a monetary crisis.
when asked about the economy and reports that it was on the “brink of ruin,”
Bassil told CNN: “I can’t describe it as such that our economy is so bad. It’s
a small economy, (and) the Lebanese people have great initiative.”
noted that despite the current economic situation, Lebanon “is resourceful.”
have countries that still believe in Lebanon and people who still believe in
the need of the Lebanese model to counter all what we are facing,” he said,
adding that a collapsed model of Lebanon would result in more terrorism,
extremism and violence.
Qatar’s pledges of large cash injections for Lebanon, Bassil said the Qataris
are “good investors.”
statements come after the Arab Economic Summit was held in Beirut on Sunday.
Most Arab states dispatched lower-ranking officials to represent them and
Mauritania’s president and Qatar’s Emir Tamim were the only heads of state to
Qatar’s Emir Tamim, Bassil had wrote on Twitter: “Qatar’s Emir broke the siege
on Qatar in a move to break the siege on the Arab (Economic and Social)
are) in the process of buying Lebanese bonds and I invite others to do the same
because it is safe and with good return,” he said during the CNN interview,
adding that Riyadh was welcome to invest.
said that Lebanon encourages the Saudis and other countries to help Lebanon
stay stable as the “world cannot allow a Lebanon that is collapsing.”
on Moody’s cut of the country’s credit rating to Caa1, Bassil said: “Knowing
Lebanon, we went through worse situations, and we get out of them.”
A leading foreign investor in Saudi Arabia signalled his confidence in the
Kingdom’s economy and investment prospects with a multibillion-dollar expansion
program and a rollout of innovations in leisure and retail.
on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Alain Bejjani,
chief executive of Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), unveiled the latest
stages of a $4 billion investment plan.
includes the first Vox cinema in Jeddah — part of a rollout that will see 300
new screens in the Kingdom within 18 months — and a plan to introduce
Saudi-only workforces in the Carrefour chain of supermarkets that MAF operates
in the country.
Saudi Arabia has gone through in the past three years is unparalleled. It has a
great story to tell. It’s a country dealing with its issues, and these won’t
derail what’s happening,” Beijani said.
Vox cinema will open in the Red Sea Mall later this month with 12 screens, of
which three will be “gold” luxury venues, complementing existing Vox screens in
the capital’s Riyadh Park. A further three locations will be opened elsewhere
in the Kingdom in March.
promised we’d be everywhere in Saudi Arabia, and we’re keeping our promise,” Bejjani
has been at the forefront of opening leisure facilities in the Kingdom, in
support of the aims of the Vision 2030 strategy to reform the economic and
Saudi government and its people will see fast that the reforms have a reality
in their everyday lives,” Bejjani added.
also revealed that MAF, as the leading cinema operator in the Kingdom, is
considering plans to get more involved in the film-production side of the movie
industry, and is in discussions with Saudi producers.
important is that people come up with great ideas. We’re helping lay the ground
for a viable movie industry,” he said.
part of Vision 2030 is to increase employment opportunities for Saudis in the
private sector, and MAF’s plan to increase the proportion of Saudis employed in
its Carrefour chain is a further example.
in Madinah and Al-Jouf in the northwest already have 100 percent Saudi
workforces, and Bejjani said the scheme will be rolled out across the rest of
its 18-strong chain.
requires a big commitment in training, but Carrefour believes in a culture of
merit. It will take more effort and it will have a cost, but you have to be
serious about the plans to make any difference,” he added.
was at Davos for bilateral meetings, and to take part in panel discussions on
subjects ranging from the strategic outlook for the Middle East to the
“experience economy,” in which consumers pay for unique leisure experiences
rather than physical goods.
backed calls by Saudi policymakers for closer integration and trade relations
between the UAE and the Kingdom, a structure that he hoped could spread to the
rest of the Middle East.
believe the region needs more frictionless trade — more harmonization of norms
in business,” he said.
flows, mobility, payments and free movement of people are all areas where we
could benefit from closer integration.”
he stopped short of calling for a common currency, partly because the fact that
many regional currencies are pegged to the US dollar means they are already
ideally we’d have a common currency, but that’s quite a sophisticated thing and
there are complications to that,” he said.
Middle East would benefit greatly from greater economic integration, and could
rival big trading blocs such as the EU, he added.
we want to really drive growth in the Arab world, we have to have scale. The
total market of the region is 500 million people, but the individual economies
are comparatively small,” he said.
reason American startups are so successful, for example, is that they can do
business across the whole country.”
called for a reduction in regulation in the Middle East, both within and
Arab market can do better by doing less. There are historic reasons for the
regulation and some legacy issues, but the relationship between Saudi Arabia
and the UAE is a fantastic model,” he said.
is behind some of the biggest retail, leisure and tourism ventures in the UAE,
and Bejjani said the Emirati economy is “very strong.”
an attack by Tahrir al-Sham and their allied militants on the Syrian Army's
military positions near Abu Dhuhour Military Airport in Southeastern Idlib,
senior commander of Ajnad al-Kavkaz, nom de guerre Abu al-Bara Qafqazi, was
killed," the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik news agency
quoted local sources in Idlib province as saying.
report noted Qafqazi's proximity with Abu Mohammad Jolani and that he was
second-in-command of Tahrir al-Sham who had taken part in worst possible crimes
in Northern Syria.
sources were also quoted by Sputnik as saying that al-Qafqazi also in
cooperation with Jolani played an important role in facilitating passage of
terrorists from Central Asia and Caucasus via borders with Turkey.
a relevant development earlier on Wednesday, the Damascus army fended off new
offensives by Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the
Al-Nusra Front) and other allied terrorist groups in the demilitarized zone in
Southeastern Idlib and near Abu Dhuhour military airport, inflicting heavy
damage and tolls on them.
Syrian Army units engaged in heavy clashes with the terrorists of Tahrir
al-Sham and militants of Haras al-Din and Ajnad al-Kavkaz who attacked the
Syrian Army's military positions to the West of Idlib military airport in
Southeastern Idlib from the two directions of al-Katibeh al-Mahjoureh and the
town of Tavil al-Halib, killing and wounding several militants.
sources pointed to the dispatch of massive military convoys by terrorist groups
to Southeastern Idlib, and said that the Syrian Army pounded the supply lines
of the terrorists with missiles and heavy artillery shells, killing and
wounding tens of terrorists as well as destroying a large number of their
military vehicles and equipment.
the Syrian army units in Northern Hama launched heavy artillery and missile
attacks on military positions and movements of Tahrir al-Sham terrorists and
their allied militants in the towns of al-Boyezeh, Lahaya, Mourek, Kafar Zita,
al-Latamanieh and Kafar Naboudeh as well as Zizoun and Bab al-Taqeh in
Northwestern Hama, destroying several military positions of terrorists,
inflicting heavy losses on them.
a relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army warded off new offensives
by Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at and other allied terrorists in the demilitarized
zone against their positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, inflicting
heavy damages and tolls on them.
Syrian army units in Northern Hama launched heavy artillery and missile attacks
on Jeish al-Izza terrorists in regions near the town of Hasraya who intended to
infiltrate into the army-controlled regions, destroying militants' strongholds
and killing and wounding several of them.
the army troops stationed in areas near the village of Zalin in Northern Hama
targeted terrorists' positions in the town of al-Latamineh in response to their
attacks, inflicting heavy damages and casualties on them.
Syrian army forces also repelled an offensive by Tahrir al-Sham from al-Katibeh
al-Mahjoureh region against military points in Eastern Idlib, killing and
wounding several militants.
Sends More Military Convoys to Eastern Syria to Reinforce Military Bases
Despite Trump's Pullout Call
Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper quoted informed sources as saying that new
US military convoys comprising military vehicles and equipment have entered
Syria via the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
daily noted that the US forces are planning to set up a new military base in
al-Sabheh region in Eastern Deir Ezzur overlooking the Euphrates River.
local sources said that several massive US military convoys have arrived in
Hasaka province from Iraq's Northern regions via areas under the control of the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
noted that the US military convoys also contained military and logistics
equipment sent to the US-led coalition bases in Eastern Euphrates region.
sources reiterated that fortification of the US military bases in Eastern Syria
is still underway even after Trump's decision to pull out forces from Syria.
a relevant development earlier this month, the SOHR said the US had dispatched
hundreds of military trucks comprising weapons and military equipment to Deir
Ezzur province in Eastern Syria since President Donald Trump declared his
decision to withdraw troops from the country.
SOHR said that a military convoy comprising a sum of 150 trucks carrying cars
and logistic military equipment has been dispatched to the regions under the
control of the Syrian Democratic Forces specially on Eastern Euphrates from the
Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
SOHR noted that it was the third US military convoy sent to Syria after Trump's
decision on exit of the American troops from Syria, and said that a total
number of 500 trucks containing weapons and military equipment have been
dispatched to Eastern Syria so far.
the SOHR reported that withdrawal of the US heavy military vehicles from
Eastern Euphrates towards Iraq has not yet been monitored officially.
SOHR reported that the Turkish media reports sating that the US has withdrawn
its forces from a base at the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border were related to the
US forces' traffic between Syria and Iraq.
SOHR had also reported on Sunday that a long convoy of almost 200 US army
trucks, carrying weapons, munitions and logistical equipment, left the US bases
in Iraq on Saturday and arrived in coalition bases in Raqqa, Manbij and Ein
Issa in Northeastern Syria.
the meantime, the Kurdish militia reported that the trucks arrived in the town
of Amouda and left then for the US-run bases in Northeastern Syria, adding that
the arms and ammunition cargo is to be delivered to the SDF.
US-led fighter jets targeted and hit a convoy of civilians who were trying to
move from the ISIL-controlled region in the town of Baghouz in Southeastern
Deir Ezzur," local sources in Eastern Syria were quoted as saying on
sources noted that most of the vehicles of the convoy were destroyed in the air
raid, adding that the attack has also left several casualties mostly women and
a relevant air raid on Sunday, the US-led airstrikes killed at least 31
civilians in the village of al-Baghouz Foqani.
number of civilians killed in the US airstrikes on people's houses in the
village of al-Baghouz Foqani has reached 31 so far," the Arabic-language
al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources as saying.
daily noted that the victims belonged to three families who came under the US
air raids as they were fleeing the ISIL-controlled areas in the region.
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian government called on the United
Nations Security Council to put an end to airstrikes being carried out by the
US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group,
saying the aerial assaults are targeting civilian and critical infrastructure
in the Arab country.
Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two separate letters
addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president
of the Security Council, Francisco Antonio Cortorreal, on Saturday, censured
the latest US-led coalition strikes against al-Baghuz al-Tahtani village in the
eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, saying the US-led warplanes had targeted
dozens of families, who were fleeing from areas controlled by Daesh.
ministry then condemned in the strongest terms the US-led coalition’s continued
attacks against Syrian people and the conflict-plagued country’s critical
infrastructure, energy facilities and public and private property.
sources pointed to the dispatch of massive military convoys by terrorist groups
to Southeastern Idlib, and said that the Syrian Army pounded the supply lines
of the terrorists with missiles and heavy artillery shells, killing and
wounding tens of terrorists as well as destroying a large number of their
military vehicles and equipment.
car bomb killed one soldier and injured at least two in a northern Iraqi town
near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, the military and a security
military said in a statement that a member of the security forces was killed. A
security source told Reuters that at least two others were wounded.
suicide bomber drove the rigged car into a security checkpoint at the entrance
of the town of Riyadh, 40 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, the military said.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but ISIS extremists
are active in the area.
declared victory over ISIS in December 2017 after two years of fighting.
However, the group has continued to carry out insurgent-style attacks on
security forces across the country.
has warned that it could use its right to respond in self defense to recent
Israeli air raids against a civilian airport near Damascus by striking Tel
Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport if the UN Security Council fails to shoulder its
responsibilities and act against the regime’s aggression.
UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari said on Tuesday that “the unlimited support”
provided by some permanent members of the Security Council, namely France,
Britain and the US, has encouraged Israel to continue its air raids on Syria,
preventing the entire UN body from assuming its responsibilities.
at a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Ja’afari said that if the
15-member body fails to adopt measures to stop Israel, Syria would practice its
“legitimate right of self-defense” and retaliate against the regime's attacks.
time now for the UN Security council to stop the Israeli repeated aggressions
on the Syrian Arab Republic territories?” he asked.
is it required to draw the attention of the war-makers in this Council by
exercising our legitimate right to defend ourself and respond to the Israeli
aggression on Damascus International Civil Airport in the same way on Tel Aviv Airport?”
this week, Syria wrote protest letters to the United Nations, urging the world
body to take a decisive step against Israel after the regime launched fresh air
raids against targets near Damascus, including an airport.
frequently attacks targets inside Syria in what is considered as an attempt to
prop up Takfiri terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats at the
hands of Syrian government forces.
a recent interview with The New York Times, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot,
the Israeli army’s outgoing chief of staff, said that the regime had carried
out “thousands” of aerial assaults in Syria in recent years.
a separate interview with The Sunday Times, he also confirmed long-running
reports of Israel's collaboration with anti-Damascus militants, admitting that
it had provided weapons to them.
in his remarks, Syria's UN envoy stressed his country's firm and non-negotiable
right to wrest control over the occupied Golan Heights, urging Israel to completely
withdraw from the region.
U.N. children’s agency says it is making gains in the effort to provide
education for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children who fled violence in
Myanmar, but much work remains to provide adequate services in the world’s
largest refugee camp.
said Thursday that more than 145,000 Rohingya children living in refugee camps
in Bangladesh are now attending “learning centers” supported by the agency as a
new school year gets under way. Humanitarian workers have so far built around
1,600 such centers throughout the camps.
scale of the Rohingya refugee crisis demanded a rapid response,” Edouard
Beigbeder, UNICEF’s representative to Bangladesh, said in a statement. “This
year we are scaling up services to reach more children than ever before, while
focusing on improving the quality of education each child receives.”
than 920,000 Rohingya, a mostly stateless Muslim minority from western Myanmar,
currently live in camps and host communities scattered across Cox’s Bazar, a
district of southeast Bangladesh. Most of them — upwards of 700,000 — arrived
since August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on the
group in response to insurgent attacks.
U.S. has labeled the ensuing violence “ethnic cleansing,” while U.N.
investigators have called for Myanmar military leaders to face charges of
genocide. Myanmar denies committing atrocities despite widespread allegations
of arson, sexual violence and killing of civilians. The International Criminal
Court has launched a preliminary examination into Myanmar’s “deportation” of
the Rohingya, considered a crime against humanity.
workers estimate that about 60% of the refugees who fled in recent years are
children, while more are born each day in the squalid encampments.
children have suffered trauma injuries from gunshot wounds and extreme
violence, restricting their mobility and access to services,” said Iffat
Farhana, an education officer for UNICEF based in Cox’s Bazar, adding that
physical and learning disabilities further hinder education efforts.
aims to reach 260,000 children with education services this year by extending
its network of learning centers to about 2,500. The agency is also increasing
efforts to provide vocational and other training to adolescents, as there is
currently no secondary education available. According to UNICEF, 97% of
Rohingya refugees aged 15-24 receive no education at all.
been coming to class for almost a month now,” said Minara, an 11-year-old
refugee who stopped studying after arriving in Bangladesh because the
conditions in makeshift educational centers were dirty and hot, according to
UNICEF. “It’s nice here,” she said of the new facilities, with approval. “It
doesn’t have a muddy floor.”
of anti-government armed militants have been killed during separate operations
conducted by the Afghan and Coalition Forces in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, a coalition air strike in support of Afghan
Special Forces killed 4 Taliban fighters in Qaisar district of Faryab province.
sources further added that Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Baraki
Barak district of Logar province while a coalition air strike, in defense of
soldiers on the ground, targeted and killed 4 Taliban fighters.
Special Forces conducted a raid in Jaji district of Paktia province killing 2
Taliban fighters, the sources said, adding that Afghan Special Forces conducted
a separate raid in Sangin district of Helmand province killing 20 Taliban
fighters and destroying 23 IEDs, 1 mortar round and a large amount of home-made
explosives. During the raid, 4 pressure plates, 3 remote control initiators and
over 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate were destroyed.
Bangladesh Awami Ulama League, allegedly an associate organization of the
ruling Awami League, is recently getting a lot of attention due to its
reportedly controversial statements and demands.
get a more detailed view of this organization, the correspondent visited Ulama
League General Secretary Maulana Md Abul Hassan Sheikh Shariatpuri at his
office in Topkhana Road in Dhaka on Tuesday.
politics, Abul Hassan also serves as a kazi (marriage registrar), evident on a
signboard outside his political office. The kazi office also acts as the
central office for Ulama League.
with Abul Hasan, party President Maulana Akhter Hossain Bokhari, Office
Secretary Md Shawkat Ali Sheikh and International Affairs Secretary Maulana
Tajul Islam were present at the office.
asked about more details about the Ulama League, Abul Hassan handed over a
number of posters, leaflets and other documents featuring party activities.
a photo of a milad-mahfil (prayer gathering), he said: “Senior Awami League
leaders were present in these programs. The then Awami League general secretary
Abdul Jalil and incumbent General Secretary Obaidul Quader is present in this
Read- AL rejects any connection with Ulama League
have a solid foundation. Otherwise, why would the ruling party leaders attend
our programs, and why would we get invited to their events? Many such events
have been held, but we did not take photos of all of them,” he said.
Hassan stated that he never thought a day would come when the Ulama League
would have to prove its validity as an organization.
was a freedom fighter’
League President Maulana Akhter Hossain Bokhari, who hails from Tangail, said:
“I was a freedom fighter who participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh
in 1971. I became severely ill back in 2014, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
donated Tk1 lakh for my treatment.
the check, I was addressed as the president of Ulama League. Sheikh Hasina gave
me the position in 2001, and we follow her leadership and directives. We also
have committees all over Bangladesh.”
a poster, Maulana Bokhari continued: “These are the images of a strike held in
2001. Ulama League leaders are seen with central Awami League leaders like
that movement, many Awami League and Ulama League leaders suffered torture and
unlawful detention at the hands of police,” he said.
Secretary of the party Abul Hassan also added that the prime minister had made
arrangements for him to perform Hajj under government management in 2014.
further said: “Many notable personalities have attended our events, including
Obaidul Quader, Hasan Mahmud and former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University
AAMS Arefin Siddique.
Read- Ulama League: Ban NGOs working to curb child marriage
central committee of our party is comprised of 101 members.”
asked, Abul Hassan could not provide a list of the names of central committee
members, nor could he say when the most recent council was held.
Hassan also claimed the Ulama League office was previously located on the third
floor of Awami League Central Office in 23 Bangabandhu Avenue.
the Ulama League
to sources, Ulama League is not listed as an affiliate organization of Awami
League. The organization is run by alims (Islamic scholars) supported by the
are also allegations that the Ulama League is suffering from internal tensions
caused by leadership disputes among the senior members.
until 2017, there were two major factions inside the party, one headed by
Maulana Bokhari and Abul Hassan, while the other led by Ilias Hossain Bin
Helali and Md Delowar Hossain.
the death of Helali in 2018, his supporters have become almost inactive.
to queries about Helali, Abul Hassan said: “He was with us since the inception
of this organization. However, Helali declared himself the president of Ulama
League back in 2008.”
the origin of the party, Office Secretary Shawkat Ali Sheikh claimed
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formed Bangladesh Ulama Party in 1969, with
Maulana Abdur Rashid as the leader.
the party was renamed the Bangladesh Awami Ulama League in 1996, with Maulana
Habibullah as the leader.
on the controversial demands and statements recently made by the Ulama League,
Abul Hassan said: “Everything we say is based on the Islamic point of view. We
are not making up anything.”
were there even when the Awami League was not in power. We participated in
their movements and demonstrations. We uphold the ideology of Bangabandhu,” he
Monday, the Ulama League demanded a ban on the operation of non-government
organizations (NGOs) and international NGOs that are working to curb child
marriage in Bangladesh. It also demanded a ban on the Bangladesh Premier League
senior Taliban leaders including the shadow judge of the group were killed
during the operations of the Afghan Special Forces in northern Faryab province
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
Taliban leaders were killed along with 56 other militnts during the operations
which were conducted with the help of coalition air support.
statement further added that the operations were conducted in Chinar Shakh,
Ghoraha, Khwajah Ziaratgah, and Syedabad Turkmenha areas of Qaisar district.
senior Taliban leaders killed during the operations have been identified as
Mawlavi Khan Agha the shadow deputy district chief of Taliban for Qaisar,
Mawlavi Gandom Ali the shadow finance chief of the group for 5 provinces in the
North, Mawlavi Hafizullah the shadow judge ofthe group for Qaisar, and Mawlavi
Nasir alias Faryabi the local leader of the Taliban in Faryab, the 209th
Shaheen Corps said.
government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, is to undergo an independent
review after ministers agreed to address concerns about its impact on British
Muslim communities across the U.K., Ben Wallace, the securities minister,
announcement came after the government accepted an amendment to its
counter-terrorism and border security bill.
have decided that the time is now right to initiate a review of Prevent.
Communities across the country have got behind the policy and are contributing
to it because they want, as we do, their own young people to be protected from
grooming and exploitation by terrorists,” Wallace told Guardian newspaper.
the last two years the Home Office has built on the solid work of Prevent by
releasing annual statistics. They clearly show that Prevent is not about
singling out any particular group or ideology but is similar to other forms of
safeguarding carried out every day by social workers, teachers and police,” he
however, queried critics of the strategy to “produce solid evidence of their
allegations” while at the same time accusing them of using “distortion and
spin” to change the meaning of Prevent.
the strategy institutions -- from schools to hospitals and prisons -- are to
report those who they deem to be at risk of radicalization to authorities.
rights groups such as Amnesty International have long demanded an independent
review, accusing Prevent of erroneously discriminating against Muslim
communities and those who express legitimate criticism of the state.
liberties and faith groups argue Prevent is an affront to the legitimate use of
freedom of speech and expression and endangers vulnerable Muslim communities
that are already exposed to a wide range of social and institutional
Muslim Council of Britain, the umbrella organization representing British
Muslims and institutions, has been one such group that has consistently called
out the strategy.
Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed the acceptance by government to launch
an inquiry into the controversial Prevent strategy, which is part of the
government’s counter-terrorism strategy,” the group said in a statement.
far too long, the Prevent strategy has affected the lives of innocent families,
been criticized for mainstreaming discrimination and lost the trust of
communities around the UK,” said Secretary-General Harun khan.
latest step is crucial for all those who have campaigned for an Independent
Review of Prevent. Everyone committed to developing a truly effective strategy
for tackling terrorism understands that it must be transparent, accountable and
hold the trust of communities,” he added.
— Police in Sicily have arrested a 32-year-old Italian convert to Islam on
terrorism charges for allegedly inciting contacts to participate in a holy war.
news agency ANSA reported Wednesday that the suspect, identified as Giuseppe
D'Ignoti, converted in 2011 while in jail and after his release identified
himself as Moroccan and used Yussuf as his first name.
says investigators allege he tried to manifest his hatred of the West by
calling for more than 100 contacts on Whatsapp to join the Islamic State group
and to carry out attacks in Italy.
American political analyst believes that Britain’s decision to withdraw some of
its air forces from Syria is in line with a similar move in the United States,
where President Donald Trump has been pushing for a total pullout of US
military forces from the Arab country.
Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, told Press TV in an
interview on Wednesday that the UK is totally dependent on the US when it comes
to the military strategy.
(UK) really is totally dependent on the United States with any kind of
substantial military operation and it looks like where we are leading they are
not going to stick around,” said Jatras.
a shadow' of an imperial superpower
expert said Britain has become "just a shadow" of what it was in the
old times as an imperial military superpower, saying the decision to pull out British
fighter jets from Syria, where they have been contributing to an
"illegal" military operation against terrorism, is directly inspired
by Washington’s imminent move to withdraw troops from the Arab country.
not a surprise at all that the British would start withdrawing some of their
air assets from operations over Syria with the impending American withdrawal
from Syria,” said Jatras.
the controversies that have been raised over Trump’s planned pullout from
Syria, Jatras said the US president would finally implement his policy in the
Arab country regardless of the criticism that has been going around.
has opposed an anti-Iran summit due to be organized by the United States in
Poland as “unacceptable” and “counterproductive,” saying Moscow will not attend
the so-called Middle East security forum, which is merely meant to “shift the
international focus” from the real crises gripping the region.
a statement released on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the
event, slated for February 13-14 in Warsaw, as Washington’s latest attempt to
“promote its unilateral geopolitical interests.”
a thorough analysis of the provisional agenda and program of this conference
provided by the organizers, Russia has decided not to attend it for the
following reasons,” it said.
ministry complained that the Warsaw conference will not cover basic problems in
the Middle East, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict and its core element,
the Palestinian issue.
meeting, it added, has been arranged “hastily and behind closed doors,” without
due regard for the opinions of influential states in the region and beyond in a
bid to weaken the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
is an obvious attempt to bring together as many countries as possible on an
anti-Iran platform, to create conditions for the ultimate erosion of the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal, and to shift the
international focus from Syria and Yemen to anti-Iran efforts,” it noted.
year, President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA and
re-imposed “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran.
remaining parties – France, the UK, Germany, Russia and China -- have stressed
their commitment to the accord and pledged to defend the deal in the face of US
pressure and compensate for Washington’s absence.
light of the above, we once again point out that the current US policy of
fostering anti-Iran sentiments and creating new dividing lines in the Middle
East is unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.
further underlined the need to find compromise solutions to problems with the
help of the UN and based on international law instead of promoting unilateral
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the summit during his tour of the
Middle East earlier this month.
claimed the meeting would focus on stability and security in the Middle East,
including the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a
foreign policy chief Mogherini has announced that she will not be attending the
mere attempt to sideline Palestine issue
on Tuesday, Russia’s ambassador to the UN condemned the upcoming anti-Iran
forum, emphasizing the Warsaw meeting would fail to bolster security in the
Middle East due to its “one-country aspect” and disregard for the decades-long
the UN Security Council debate on the Middle East, Vasily Nebenzya said,
“Attempts to create some kind of military alliances in the region by holding
conferences and focusing on having a simplified unilateral approach that is
clearly linked just to Iran are counterproductive.”
has that conference not invited Iran, which is one of the most significant and
large countries in the region?” he asked.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already criticized the event as a
“desperate anti-Iran circus.”
deputy Abbas Araqchi has also said that the Islamic Republic does not allow any
country to build a coalition against its interests during a meeting with his
Polish counterpart, who was in Tehran earlier this week to explain hosting the
Russia said on Wednesday that Israel should stop carrying out what Moscow
called arbitrary airstrikes on Syria, days after the Israeli air force targeted
what Israel said were Iranian forces there.
has repeatedly attacked what it describes as Iranian targets in Syria and those
of allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu describes the effort as an open-ended campaign to push back arch-foe
strikes have long caused friction between Israel and Russia, which apart from
Iran is Bashar Assad’s other major foreign backer.
officials have spoken in the past of an agreement with Moscow under which they
have made clear their strikes on Syria would not threaten Assad, while Russia
has promised to help limit Iranian influence near the Israeli frontier. A
hotline set up since 2015 is aimed at ensuring Russian forces in Syria are not
surprised by Israeli attacks.
practice of arbitrary strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this
case, we are talking about Syria, should be ruled out,” Russian Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, in answer to a question from Russian
news agency TASS about recent Israeli airstrikes on Syria.
said such strikes added to tensions in the region, which she said was not in
the long-term interests of any country there, including Israel.
should never allow Syria, which has suffered years of armed conflict, to be
turned into an arena where geopolitical scores are settled,” TASS cited her as
comments follow Israeli strikes in Syria on Monday. Israel did not immediately
on Wednesday, Netanyahu signaled that the Syria sorties would continue.
executives at British banking group Barclays lied about handing £322 million in
secret payments to Qatar and its ruling family in return for investments to
keep the bank afloat during the 2008 global financial crisis, a court heard on
including former chief executive John Varley allegedly cooked up a fraudulent
plan to pay higher-than-usual fees to Qatar in return for nearly £4 billion of
funding – and then lied about the payments in official documents.
four men – the most senior bankers to face criminal charges in Britain over
conduct during the global financial crisis - hid details of the payments of £42
million and £280 million in “untrue and misleading” financial statements, a
central London court was told.
fees were paid to the Qatar Investment Authority and an investment vehicle
controlled by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani,
a jury was told.
court heard that the payments came after Barclays was “unavoidably” caught up
in the 2008 global financial crisis that had sent British bank Northern Rock to
the wall the previous year.
executives turned to foreign investors to avoid the bank falling into
government hands and potentially costing them “very large bonuses”, Southwark
Crown Court was told.
heard that one of the most significant investors was Qatar, which drove a hard
bargain before agreeing to lend two tranches of £1.9 billion and £2.05 billion
deal saw Qatar Holding – part of the sovereign wealth fund – secure fees based
on 3.25 per cent of their investment.
fees were more than double the 1.5 per cent handed to other major investors
including the China Development Bank, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and
Japanese corporation Sumitomo, the court heard.
the Qataris more than the others was a problem,” said Edward Brown QC,
prosecuting for the Serious Fraud Office.
executives, however, accepted the higher Qatari fees as they were desperate to
avoid the same fate for Barclays as rival UK lenders the Royal Bank of Scotland
and Lloyds, which were bailed out by the British government.
move would have taken Barclays – which can trace its origins back to 1690 – out
of private hands.
executives sought to disguise the scale of the capitulation to avoid the bank
being shown to be “weak and vulnerable”.
bank published a prospectus and other documents which failed to show the extent
of the fees, the court heard. If the documents had shown the true position,
they would have been forced to pay other investors similar amounts, a jury was
reality of the position may have led to the complete failure of the entire
capital raising operation designed to stave off financial crisis and the
prospect of government control, the jury was told.
is no exaggeration to say that Barclays’ future as an independent bank was in
jeopardy in September and October of 2008,” said Mr Brown.
Qatari money was essential and those within the bank at the time commented that
without it the consequences would be dire – for the bank and personally,” he
successful fundraising saw Barclays secure more than £11 billion emergency
funds from international investors in 2008.
position presented was that that the Qataris were being paid at the same
commission rate as every other investor… that was not true, say the Crown, and
the conspirators all knew it to be a lie.”
court was told that the Barclays board published two agreements that sought to
provide cover for the payments which suggested they were for “advisory
services” to be provided by Qatar rather than commission payments.
said the documents were designed as a “smokescreen” to hide the true nature of
the fees. The conspirators recognised that it would be “inappropriate” for the
Prime Minister of Qatar to be providing advisory services.
were simply a mechanism of paying the Qataris what they wanted,” said Mr Brown.
“Whilst also hiding that fee from the wider world.”
former executives, including Mr Varley, went on trial on Wednesday accused of
conspiracy to commit fraud by false deception
Varley, 62, from west London, was joined in the dock by Roger Jenkins, 63, of
Malibu, California, a former head of investment banking for Barclays in the
other senior executives, Thomas Kalaris, 63, the former head of its wealth
management division, and Roger Boath, 60, a former European divisional head,
are also accused of conspiracy to defraud.
CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
warned Palestinian group Hamas on Wednesday of a “lethal” reaction to any
renewed Palestinian violence on the Gaza border, after blocking aid to the
strip in response to the wounding of an Israeli soldier.
of relative calm in the Gaza Strip ended Tuesday when Israeli soldiers came
under fire along the border with the enclave in two separate incidents.
officer was lightly wounded when a bullet hit his helmet.
tanks in response struck two Hamas positions in Gaza, killing a Hamas fighter,
while overnight Israeli warplanes struck what the army said was a Hamas
military camp in northern Gaza.
blocked $15 million of Qatari aid that was expected to be transferred to Gaza,
and told Israeli soldiers he would respond with force to any further
there is someone in Gaza who thinks he can stick his head up; I suggest that
they understand that the response will be lethal and very painful,” Netanyahu
are ready for any scenario and escalation,” he said at a military exercise in
southern Israel, quoted by his office.
and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth round remain,
although violence has abated since November under an informal truce.
had seen weekly Hamas-backed demonstrations along the border since March 2018,
with demonstrators calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to
return to their former lands now inside Israel.
accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.
least 244 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, mostly
during border clashes but also by tank fire and air strikes.
Israeli soldiers have been killed.
civil rights organizations have joined press freedom and other human rights
groups in questioning the FBI’s detention of an American-born journalist based
Hashemi, a U.S. citizen who works as an anchor for Iran’s state-run
English-language Press TV, was detained on Jan. 13 at St. Louis Lambert
International Airport, according to federal court documents made public on
Friday (Jan. 18). Hashemi had been in
the U.S. filming a documentary on Black Lives Matter and visiting some
has not accused been accused of a crime. According to court documents, she was
taken to Washington, D.C., and is being held as a material witness until her
grand jury testimony for an unspecified case is done.
join her family and others in asking that Marzieh Hashemi be released
immediately,” Darakshan Raja, co-director of the D.C. Justice for Muslims Collective, told Religion
News Service. “She has been detained under material witness laws, which have
been used post-9/11 to detain Muslims without being charged for a crime, and
represent a clear form of due process and civil rights violations.”
law does permit the government to compel testimony in certain circumstances by
arresting and detaining witnesses. The government must be able to prove that
the testimony is considered “material” to a criminal proceeding and that the
witness will likely flee if subpoenaed.
rights watchdogs have noted, however, that the U.S. has misused material
witness warrants in the past to evade the requirement of probable cause of
criminal conduct, particularly in cases related to Muslims.
Sept. 11, the Department of Justice has “deliberately used the law … to secure
the indefinite incarceration of those it has wanted to investigate as possible
terrorist suspects” and has left the law “twisted beyond recognition,”
according to a 2005 report from Human Rights Watch. Last year, a federal
appeals court ruled that misusing material witness warrants is
family has also said that she is being denied the right to wear her hijab and
is being denied pork-free meals, in violation of her religious rights.
enforcement officials must clarify why they are holding Ms. Hashemi without
formal charges and why they have allegedly denied her religious rights while in
custody,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement. “There can be no justification
for denying an American citizen, or any other person, their basic civil and
in New Orleans as Melanie Franklin, Hashemi changed her name after converting
to Islam. The Iranian government, which also considers her a citizen of Iran
due to her marriage to an Iranian man, has called for Hashemi’s “unconditional”
press freedom groups have also denounced the detention.
US judicial authorities must announce the charges they plan to bring against
this journalist,” said Reza Moini, who heads the Iran desk at Reporters Without
Borders. “The opaqueness surrounding her detention is unacceptable. Marzieh
Hashemi’s fundamental rights must be guaranteed.”
Israeli tank fired into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing a Hamas militant in
what the army described as retaliation for the wounding of a soldier and a
brief incursion during a violent Palestinian border protest.
Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also cancelled a Qatari
donation of $15 million that had been due on Wednesday.
Gaza border has simmered since Palestinians launched weekly demonstrations last
March to press for the lifting of an Israeli-led blockade on the territory and
rights to family lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its foundation.
medics in Gaza said a Hamas militant died and two others were wounded in the
Israeli shelling of a lookout post near the fortified frontier in the central
sector of the enclave ruled by the extremist group.
confirmed the three casualties as its members.
on Tuesday, the army said in a statement, one of its officers was shot at as he
faced Palestinian rock-throwers at the fence. The bullet struck his helmet,
lightly injuring him, the army said, adding that during the incident two
Palestinians also crossed into Israel before returning to Gaza.
health ministry says more than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli
forces in 10 months of protests. Israel says it troops resort to lethal force
to prevent border breaches by Hamas, against which it has fought three wars
about a potential flare-up into full conflict, Egypt and the United Nations
have sought to calm Gaza, while Qatar in November pledged $150 million in
donations, to be transferred via Israel over six months.
Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, has said
that the Stockholm Agreement between Yemeni parties is being violated
repeatedly by the Houthis.
a series of tweets posted late Wednesday evening, he said that the
international community must take necessary action to ensure its full
agreement is an important first step for sustainable peace and offers hope for
millions of Yemenis,” Prince Khalid said.
said that the Coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government has been
committed to implementing the agreement.
Iran backed militia displayed its contempt for peace by attempting to target a
UN convoy, this is a reminder that we are dealing with a lawless militia that
does not care about peace or the fate of millions of Yemenis.
Khalid bin Salman خالد بن
سلمان (@kbsalsaud) January 23, 2019
takes two sides to make it work, so far, the Iran backed Houthi militia seems
determined to uphold the misery and suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people,”
said Prince Khalid.
to him not only did the Houthis refuse to implement the Stockholm agreement,
which they signed to, but they also went beyond that and continued their armed
assault including drone attacks, the shelling of residential neighborhoods
& launching a ballistic missile towards Saudi Arabia.
Iran backed militia displayed its contempt for peace by attempting to target a
UN convoy, this is a reminder that we are dealing with a lawless militia that
does not care about peace or the fate of millions of Yemenis,” he said in the
Khalid said that it is crucial that the United Nations name the party that
failed to uphold basic confidence building measures leading up to the Stockholm
agreement, and clearly identify who is responsible for the attack on the armored
vehicle that was carrying chief UN monitor Patrick Cammaert.
warring parties are expected to agree the terms of a prisoner swap in about 10
days, a representative of the internationally recognized government said on
Wednesday, as part of efforts to build confidence in slow-moving peace talks.
United Nations is pushing for the exchange and a peace deal in the main port
city of Hodeidah to pave the way for a second round of discussions.
prisoner swap was discussed by the Iran-aligned Houthi militias and the Yemeni
government in technical meetings in Jordan last week. Both parties need to
agree on lists of prisoners to be swapped.
expect that in 10 days’ time the final signing will have happened,” the head of
the government delegation to the prisoner-exchange talks, Hadi Haig, told
Reuters by telephone.
13 air strikes were launched on Wednesday by Arab coalition fighter jets
targeting a Houthi training camp near Dhamar province, 100 kilometers south of
the capital Sanaa.
sources said that the coalition supporting Yemeni legitimacy targeted the
training camp in Qaa al-Hoql near the Bani Hatim region, west of the Dhoran
sources added that the Houthi militia training camp in Qaa al-Hoql was located
at a large field. Recruits were trained at this camp before being sent to the
Popular Resistance forces, meanwhile, claimed the operation that targeted
missiles and weapons cache site near Taiz Street south of the capital early on
A Pakistani court has temporarily halted the hearing of the 2008 Mumbai attack
case to let the prosecutor produce more witnesses.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists had sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and
carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 people and injuring over 300 in
trial, underway in an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan against seven activists,
has made little headway in more than 10 years as the Pakistani establishment
has been claiming lack of enough evidence against them.
divisional bench of Islamabad High Court, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and
Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani, on Tuesday conducted hearing on a petition by the
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) seeking stay on anti-terrorism court
Express Tribune reported that the court initially granted one week stay in
trial of the Mumbai attack case to let the prosecutor to summon some of the 19
witnesses for testimony.
the hearing, FIA prosecutor Akram Qureshi appeared in the court.
Kiyani remarked several witnesses were not appearing due to fear and the
whereabouts of some others were unknown.
FIA prosecutor told the bench that many witnesses had been traced out. Justice
Kiyani inquired if those witnesses will appear in the court to which Qureshi
said some of the witnesses have been traced and they are ready to appear before
Amir Farooq inquired about the next date of hearing in the trial court. The FIA
prosecutor replied the case is set for hearing on Wednesday (January 23) in the
anti-terrorism court (ATC), while requesting for a stay on the hearing.
court accepted the request and suspended proceedings of the ATC till the next
week. The court directed the registrar to set the hearing of the case in the
LeT suspects -- Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin
Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum -- are facing charges of
abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attack since
Lakhvi, the other six are kept in the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi
Seeking another bailout package, this time from Qatar, Prime Minister Imran
Khan on Tuesday assured overseas Pakistanis in Doha that he would turn the
motherland into a developed and economically strong country.
his two-day official visit to Qatar that began on Monday, the prime minister
met Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Prime Minister Abdullah bin
Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, business community of Qatar and overseas
Pakistanis, according to the Prime Minister Office.
red carpet was rolled out to welcome Prime Minister Khan at the Diwan-i-Amiri
where a formal ceremony was held in his honour. He was presented a guard of
honour by a smartly turned-out contingent of the Qatari Amiri Guards, and the
national anthems of both countries were played.
one-to-one meeting was held between Prime Minister Khan and Qatari Emir Sheikh
Tamim. They discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral ties and regional and
international matters of mutual interest. The two sides also held delegation-level
Pakistani side asked the Qatari government to reduce the price of liquefied
natural gas (LNG) and make its supplies on deferred payments under the existing
15-year supply contract. Presently Pakistan’s LNG import bill is said to be $4
billion per year.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led government has been criticising the contracts
signed by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for LNG
import from Qatar at a price equivalent to 13.39 per cent of the international
benchmark crude oil price, and two terminals set up by the private sector for
re-gasifying imported LNG.
this, Prime Minister Khan obtained economic bailout packages from Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates.
to the PM Office, during the PM’s visit to Qatar, all issues of bilateral
nature were discussed, particularly the strengthened economic and trade
relations between the two countries.
emir of Qatar hosted a lunch for the prime minister and the members of his
Minister Khan also met Chairman of the Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA)
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al-Thani and Hussain Alfardan, one of the
Middle East’s leading businessmen.
QBA chairman conveyed interest of Qatari businessmen in investing in Pakistan.
The investment areas include hospitality, large-scale manufacturing,
transportation and food production.
meeting was followed by another meeting with Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary
general of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, who briefed the prime
minister on FIFA 2022 World Cup preparations. He promised to focus on
encouraging skilled manpower import from Pakistan.
Nawaf Bin Nasser Bin Khaled Al-Thani, a representative of the NBK group, also
called on the prime minister.
prime minister also met a delegation of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce led by
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al-Thani and including leading importers
of the Gulf state.
meeting concluded with a resolve to increase imports from Pakistan and providing
a bilateral framework of trade which will enhance Pakistani exports to Qatar.
of the Sikh community in Qatar also called on the prime minister and thanked
him for the groundbreaking of Kartarpur Corridor which was the longstanding
desire of the community globally.
addresses public meeting
at a public meeting at Al Wakara Stadium in Doha that was organised by the
Qatari government, Prime Minister Khan said his government would boost tourism
to such an extent that it would help stable the crippling economy of Pakistan.
“We will generate so much money through tourism that we will have no need to
get dollars from abroad,” he added.
am happy to address overseas Pakistanis in my first public gathering after
become prime minister,” the prime minister said.
said Pakistan had the potential of four types of tourism — historical, beach,
religious and mountains — even then the country was lagging behind in this
field as compared to other countries which had only one type of tourism. “Malaysia
has only beach tourism while Turkey has beach and historical tourism but their
annual income from it is $20bn and $40bn, respectively,” he added.
prime minister did not miss an opportunity to criticise previous rulers of the
country saying they had looted the country with both hands. “The way Pakistan
was looted with both hands no other country could survive if it would have
to the remarks of Imran Khan, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the prime minister
was introducing Pakistan as a “corrupt” state before the world.
prime minister said he had met a number of foreign investors and heads of
renowned firms who had wanted to invest in Pakistan but could not do so due to
“corruption” and “complicated” tax regime. “Now we have reduced number of taxes
from 36 to 16 and as far as corruption is concerned, you should not be worried
about it. Not a single scandal of the incumbent government has come to fore in
its first five months.”
The opposition has taken the unanimous stance that Prime Minister Imran Khan
will have to talk directly to the leadership of the two main opposition parties
— the PML-N and the PPP — for extending the tenure of military courts in the
the government’s spokesperson, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, rejected
the demand and said that the prime minister would never engage in dialogue with
the leadership of these two parties.
PPP, which had initially decided in its recently held central executive
committee meeting that it would not support the extension of the tenure of
military courts, changed its decision and agreed to hold talks with the
government on the issue.
party leader Syed Khursheed Shah demanded on Wednesday that Prime Minister Khan
should directly hold talks with the PPP leadership, otherwise it would be
difficult for the government to have passed any Constitutional amendment in
parliament in this regard.
to reporters at Parliament House, Mr Shah said that the issue of military
courts was quite important and sensitive, and therefore it could not be
resolved at the level of a committee.
issue of the extension of [the tenure of] military courts cannot be resolved at
the level of a committee, but at the level of the top leadership of the
opposition and ruling parties,” he said. “The prime minister should hold
leadership to leadership talks on the matter.” This, he pointed out, would be
no new phenomenon.
PML-N president and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Shahbaz
Sharif, and PPP leaders Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar, also met on Tuesday to
discuss the issue, deciding that the opposition will come up with a unanimous
stance on all matters.
Qamar told Dawn that his party must work with the PML-N on the issue of
military courts and will review its earlier decision to oppose such tribunals.
the PPP remains stuck to its stance, it will weaken the opposition,” he
commented, endorsing the opposition’s demand that Prime Minister Khan should
himself hold talks with the opposition parties’ leaderships “But now Imran Khan
seems to be quite rigid on the issue,” he added.
spokesperson and former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also demanded
that the prime minister hold talks with the opposition on military courts.
am quite astonished at why Imran Khan is silent on such an important issue,”
the other hand, the PTI government’s spokesperson, Mr Chaudhry, said that the
prime minister had no need to talk directly with the leaderships of the parties
in opposition. He explained that there was laid-down procedure in the
Constitution to resolve such sensitive matters, and that was why a
parliamentary committee headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak had been
the presence of the parliamentary body, there is no need for Imran Khan to talk
to opposition leaders,” he added.
minister criticised the opposition for creating pandemonium in the National
Assembly during Finance Minister Asad Umar’s mini-budget speech, and said: “The
opposition always goes against what it commits to and therefore the prime
minister will never sit with their leaders on the issue of military courts.”
two-year term of military courts will end on March 23, but the government wants
their tenure extended further in order to try hardened terrorists at these
fora. Military courts were allowed to try civilians accused of terrorism in
January 2015, soon after the Peshawar Army Public School attack in December
2014, in which 144 people, mostly children, were killed by militants of the
banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Both houses of parliament passed the 21st
Constitutional amendment regarding military courts, with the inclusion of a
sunset clause, despite fears amongst lawmakers that the tribunals would not be
able to ensure due process, and might undermine democracy.
A local court here on Wednesday reserved its order over an application filed by
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s counsel, requesting it to return a defamation suit
filed by former MPA Fauzia Bibi against him as the court lacks jurisdiction in
District and Sessions Judge Shah Waliullah Hamid Hashmi fixed Jan 30 for
pronouncing the order after completion of arguments by both the parties.
advocate Babar Awan, representing the prime minister, had filed the application
under Order 7 Rule 10 of Code of Civil Procedure stating that the press
conference in question addressed by his client was held in Islamabad and not in
Syed Gufranullah Shah, representing the plaintiff, requested the court to
dismiss the application of the prime minister as the court had jurisdiction to
hear the plaint.
former MPA, who was elected on reserved seats for women on PTI’s ticket, has
filed the suit for recovery of damages to the tune of Rs500 million for
defaming her through levelling “baseless” allegations against her by Mr Khan in
a press conference accusing her of selling her vote in the Senate elections.
suit was filed in June last year under the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The only
defendant in the suit is PTI chief Imran Khan, who subsequently became prime
Awan contended that the said press conference was addressed in Islamabad,
whereas the committee for taking action against the plaintiff was also
added that as the cause of action arose there, therefore, it was not in the
jurisdiction of the present court to deal with the case.
Awan cited several judgments of the superior courts in support of his
contentions and requested the court to return the plaint.
Ghufranullah Shah argued that his client was member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Assembly and the statement of Mr Khan was related to her stint as member of the
added that the allegations against her were levelled in connection of Senate
elections for which she had cast vote at KP Assembly.
said that the Defamation Ordinance 2002 was a special law and it had overriding
effect over other laws.
stated that under the said law the Peshawar district court was the relevant
forum for hearing the defamation suit.
contended that in the Senate polls held on March 3, 2018, Ms Bibi had followed
the direction with effect to cast vote in favour of all the candidates of her
party nominated against general and reserved seats for women and technocrats.
Shah said that after the Senate polls, defendant Imran Khan Niazi started
uttering, spreading and resorting to publication, communication and circulation
of maliciously false, baseless and unfounded oral statements and representation
against the plaintiff.
said that the defendant accused the plaintiff for horse-trading by way of
selling her vote for money, through all electronic, print and social media,
which was broadcast on all TV and radio channels, uploaded and posted on social
media and published in all leading newspapers including those in Peshawar.
A delegation of Royal Saudi Army led by Chief of General Staff (CGS), Saudi
Armed Forces, General Faiyad Bin Hamed Al Rowali met Chief of Army Staff,
General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Public Relations, the media wing of the military, said in a statement that
“Geostrategic environment and matters related to bilateral defence cooperation
were discussed in the meeting”.
Saudi CGS thanked Pakistan Army for assistance provided by Pakistan Army
especially towards the training of Royal Saudi Army both at Pakistan as well as
at KSA through bilateral training cooperation.
acknowledged high standards of professionalism of the Pakistan Army.
Bajwa thanked visiting CGS for his expression of acknowledgment and reiterated
that Pakistan Army takes it as a responsibility to extend full assistance to
Royal Saudi Army for their capacity building.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government is ready to
form a judicial commission to probe the Sahiwal shootout in which three of a
family, including minor, and one suspected terrorist was killed in a Counter
Terrorism Department (CTD) operation.
opposition demands to form a judicial commission to investigate the Sahiwal incident,
the government is ready for it,” the premier said while speaking during the
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentary meeting.
opposition can also suggest the names for the members of judicial commission,
the incident was a human tragedy and we will set an example out of this,” he
Saturday, four people – including two women – were killed in an alleged
encounter involving Punjab’s counter-terror police on a highway near Sahiwal.
Imran said that he kept getting updates about the incident while he was on his
official trip to Qatar, adding that, he had advised the Punjab government to
formulate policies to reform the police department at the earliest.
who are responsible for the incident will be brought to justice,” he said.
in the day, the Punjab government presented the JIT report of the Sahiwal
tragedy to the prime minister.
report, which includes the earlier prepared joint investigation team (JIT)
report, held the CTD officers responsible for the death of the family.
Mada University (UGM) plans to nominate Indonesia’s two biggest Muslim
organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), to share the Nobel Peace
Prize, citing their contributions to democratic developments in the country
with the world’s largest Muslim population.
plan was revealed recently by UGM’s Center for Security and Peace Studies
(PSKP) director M. Najib Azca during last week’s launch of the book Dua
Menyemai Damai, Peran dan Konstribusi Muhammadiyah dan Nahdlatul Ulama dalam
Perdamaian dan Demokrasi (Two Peacemakers, the Role and Contributions of
Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama in Peace and Democracy), which was written by
the PSKP’s researcher team.
PSKP UGM is studying the plan. UGM is to make the decision and send the
nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Norway,” he said.
gloomy media reports about the growing clout of hardline Islam in the country,
the university believed mainstream Muslims in Indonesia were, like Muhammadiyah
and NU, tolerant and democratic.
Najib said, wanted to spotlight the profile of Indonesian Islam on the
international stage. “Islam in Indonesia is democratic, civilized and peaceful.
It’s different from Islam in other countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan that
are continuously marred by conflicts,” he said.
was established by Ahmad Dahlan in Yogyakarta in 1912, while NU was created in
Surabaya, Central Java, in 1926 by Hasyim Asy’ari.
Robert W. Hefner of Boston University, who has conducted extensive research on
Islam in Indonesia, said he had sent a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize
committee in Norway to nominate the two organizations.
sent the letter on Jan. 4 and it has been received,” he said.
added that there had been intensive and extensive discussions on the global
level about the role of Muhammadiyah and NU in creating a democratic and
peaceful Muslim community in Indonesia.
in a discussion about the book, Najib said Muhammadiyah and NU deserved to
share the Nobel Peace Prize because of their important role in the democratic
transition since 1998.
and NU are the pillars of democracy in seeding positive peace through various
activities such as in the fields of education, empowerment of the economy,
philanthropy, disaster and health,” Najib said.
he added, was also active in facilitating peaceful reconciliation in the
aftermath of conflicts in Poso and Ambon. It provides education facilities in
the eastern parts of Indonesia, whose majority populations are not Muslim.
NU, through then-president Abdurrahman Wahid, played a big role in creating
peace in Aceh and Papua. NU has many thoughts about gender equality, the
prevention of radicalism and Islam Nusantara (Islam that is Indonesia
Barisan Serba Guna paramilitary arm is also active in protecting minority
said Muhammadiyah and NU played a crucial role in educating people so that the
idea of democracy and Indonesian nationality would be accepted by all parties.
cannot work only by depending on a formal approach. It needs socialization and
to plant norms,” Hefner said.
claimed that Muhammadiyah and NU have succeeded in educating Muslims to
consider democracy acceptable.
education reform that other Islamic countries are dreaming of has been
conducted in Indonesia since a long time ago, especially by Muhammadiyah,” he
UGM professor and political expert Mochtar Mas’oed said Muhammadiyah and NU
were more appropriately called “gentle civilizers” rather than “peace
they are called peace builders, it would be difficult for the readers to find
the empirical data,” Mochtar said, expressing agreement with Hefner who
emphasized the success of the two Muslim organizations in creating a public
sense of ethics.
Mochtar questioned the ability of the two organizations to deal with the
rightwing populism that has fostered a violent politicization of Islam in
perpetrators are a minority, but a well-organized minority can always
outmaneuver an unorganized majority,” he said.
sons of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the radical Muslim cleric who was convicted of
masterminding the Bali bombings, said they were disappointed over the canceled
release of their father and expressed hope that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo
had not changed his mind.
who has been a notorious firebrand cleric since the Soeharto era, has been in
prison since 2011 for funding a military camp to train terrorists in Jantho,
who is campaigning for reelection, made a controversial move on Friday by
announcing the plan for the unconditional release of the 80-year-old cleric
because of his ailing health and advanced age. The President’s lawyer and
campaign adviser, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, visited the cleric at Gunung Sindur
prison in Bogor, West Java, and conveyed that the President had approved his
freedom and exempted him from declaring his loyalty to the country and state
plan was later canceled after protests from the victims and family of victims
of the 2002 Bali bombings, as well as objections from Australia, which lost 88
citizens in the attack.
Rosyid, the first son of Ba’asyir, said he had forgiven the government that had
complicated his father’s release, but expressed hope that government officials
would change their minds.
family prayed that God could open the hearts of those who have complicated his
release,” said Rosyid on Wednesday.
family, clerics and students of Al Mukmin pesantren (Islamic boarding school)
in Ngruki, Central Java, had prepared a celebration to welcome Ba’asyir. A big
tent had been set up on Tuesday as they were expecting Ba’asyir to arrive on
Wednesday afternoon. They had sent out invitations.
of the santri [students] had been upbeat, but it was suddenly canceled. We are
very, very disappointed. [The government] has given false hope,” said pesantren
director Ibnu Hanifah.
youngest son, Abdul Rohim, who was waiting at Gunung Sindur, expressed hope
that the President would speak about the cancelation.
had been sent by the family ahead of the planned release. It was promised that
the cleric would be released on Tuesday.
not the ministers or subordinates who are at fault because the first one to
talk about the release was the President," he said as quoted by Antara.
added that what the family knew so far was that Ba’asyir would be released on
Tuesday, but there had been no more information from Yusril that day.
am communicating with the prison officers, not him. But there has not been any
information [from Yusril]," he said.
Sindur prison warden Sopiana said he was waiting for the government’s
confirmation and therefore he was still unsure about the release.
still waiting for it,” Sopiana said on Wednesday.
Tuesday, the State Palace confirmed that the government had decided to call off
the plan because of Ba’asyir’s resistance to pledging loyalty to Pancasila and
the Republic of Indonesia – a special requirement for all terror convicts who
seek parole as stipulated in Government Regulation No. 99/2012.
[the plan has been canceled], because the requirements could not be
fulfilled," Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said.
was sentenced to 15 years in prison and has received treatment for chronic
venous insufficiency, blood clots and varicose veins in his leg since 2017.
RATA, Jan 23 — Some Orang Asli and Malay voters here said they will continue to
support Barisan Nasional (BN) because of its past track record in the
denied that their backing of the coalition was racially motivated, pointing out
that past BN Cameron Highlands MPs were Indian.
Idris Mat Intan, 38, from Kampung Tanjung Gahai in Lipis here, told Malay Mail
that he supported BN not because they fielded a Muslim candidate.
or religion has never been a consideration for me in supporting a candidate. If
people accuse the Malays of being racist, that we don’t want to vote for PH
(Pakatan Harapan) because they fielded an Indian candidate, then they are
this while BN fielded Indian candidates for the parliamentary seat and we have
voted for them. Our support is not based on racial or religious background, it
is because of our loyalty to the party,” he said.
also said he voted for the coalition in the last three general elections and
added that all its promises had been fulfilled.
are aware that BN is no longer the government and it might not be able to help
us like before, but our support never changes. We will vote for BN as we
appreciate the help they have extended to us,” he said.
Mohamed Idris’s sentiments, Ahmad Mohd Salleh, 59, said that race and religion
are not an issue as BN has had diverse leaders for the past six decades.
BN was the government back then, we had MPs and assemblymen who were from
different races and religion. And they won because of the Malay vote too.
we are aware the state government doesn’t have federal backup, but that doesn’t
matter. The Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail has contributed a lot
to the constituency and this is why we choose to remain with BN,” said the
pensioner, referring to the Pahang Mentri Besar.
where Cameron Highlands is located, is one of two states still under BN
control. The other is Perlis.
Bahari, 25, from Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Habuk, said that as long as a party
is willing to help the community, they don’t mind voting for the candidate,
regardless of the person’s race or religion.
course, we were happy when BN announced that an Orang Asli will be contesting
the seat, but that was not the reason why we support BN.
know no matter who the candidate is, the party will definitely help us. They
provided electricity to the village and if the villagers can’t pay the utility
fees, they will help us,” she said.
Ibrahim, 22, said that she would support BN because it is the only coalition
that has helped the community there.
don’t know about other Orang Asli villages, but here BN is the only party who
visits us often.
provide education material for the children, fix the houses and roads, and
offer medical assistance too,” she said.
not that we don’t want to support the PH candidate because he is not from among
us, but we are confident that BN can help us even without being in government,”
Orang Asli, Ayan, 80, from Perkampungan Orang Asli Pos Menson, said he would
vote for the PH candidate, if he is better than the BN candidate.
voting for BN not because of PH candidate is an Indian, but BN candidate Ramli
Mohd Noor is a former policeman and a local who understands our issues and
problems well,” he said.
RATA, Jan 24 — DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang vehemently rejected as “slander” today
a viral post alleging he sought the removal of the words “Malay” and “Islam”
from the Federal Constitution in a parliamentary motion.
Iskandar Puteri MP also showed reporters the message that has been shared on
social media platforms on his smartphone after a walkabout in Brinchang with
Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate for the Pahang parliamentary seat, M. Manogaran.
never tabled in Parliament to drop the Malay and Islam words from the
are slander and lies made by the Opposition to win votes in the Cameron
Highlands by-election. They portray us to the voters as though we are
anti-Malay and anti-Islam,” he said.
then held up his smartphone to show the defamatory post written in Malay. The
message read: “Lim Kit Siang tabled a motion in the Dewan Rakyat for the words
‘Islam’ and ‘Malay’ to be dropped from the constitution.”
said he expects such smear tactics to increase ahead of Saturday’s vote and
accused the Opposition of employing slander to gain the upper hand.
advised the public to check the veracity of such claims before sharing them
don’t share the messages or postings you receive in social media without
checking the facts. These are the tactics used by the Opposition to instil
hatred towards PH,” he said.
claimed the Opposition had no other issues to rely on for support except for
racial and religious controversies.
Malay areas, the Opposition via Umno said that DAP is a threat to Malays, and
in the Chinese areas, they said that we are a threat to the Chinese by using
MCA. How can DAP be anti these two races at the same time? Then what are we?”
Muslim Cop Plays Cupid, Helps Hindu Couple Tie Knot Inside Police Outpost
A police outpost in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district turned into a wedding
venue, after a love-couple was married off with great pomp and show, even as
their parents turned against it.
incident took place inside Ramnagar police outpost under Linepar police
jurisdiction on Tuesday late night.
couple - identified as Luvkush Verma (22) and Sonia Verma (20) – of Chharbagh
locality of the town were in a relationship for more than a year.
two neighbours wanted to tie knot, but Sonia’s parents disapproved her
relationship with Luvkush and fixed her marriage with other man.
Tuesday afternoon, the girl escaped from her house and rushed to the local
police outpost for help and met sub-inspector Umar Farooq, the in-charge of
to TOI, SI Umar Farooq said, “The girl narrated her story and threatened to
commit suicide if she was not allowed to marry her beloved. After which I
called her parents and her beloved Luvkush along with his parents to my office
in order to better understand the real situation.”
listening to all the concern parties, we found that girl’s parents were not
ready to wed their daughter with Luvkush, but since the girl was adult and had
legal rights to choose her life-partner, we counselled parents with the help of
their community men including senior citizens and social leaders. Finally, by
evening with mutual consent from both parents of the couple, a wedding ceremony
was organised inside our police outpost premises with Hindu rituals,” he added.
the marriage, a music band, a priest and wedding dress for the bride was
arranged with the help of Ramnagar police. Since the police outpost had a
temple inside its premises, it was chosen as the venue for marriage with mutual
consent of couple.
video clips of the wedding shot by local residents showed the couple taking
oath and accepting each other as husband and wife in front of scores of men and
women from their community and cops.
Savita, BJP general secretary of Firozabad district, said, “We are extremely
happy the way a Muslim cop took care of Hindu community sentiments and arranged
wedding as per our rituals and traditions. The cop also avoided tragedy, as the
couple had threatened to commit suicide if not allowed to live together.”
to police, both Luvkush and Sonia family are in bangle making business.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Wednesday arrested nine persons
including a 17-year-old boy and two brothers for alleged ISIS links. The ATS,
which was keeping a close watch on the nine suspects, carried out search
operations following a tip-off. Raids were conducted at five places including
Mumbra, Thane and Aurangabad.
four suspects were picked up from Aurangabad, five were caught in Mumbra.
to ATS officials, “certain chemicals, mobile phones, hard drives, acid bottles,
sharp knives and SIM cards were recovered from the nine arrested.”
accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code’s Section 120 (B) (criminal
conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
(UAPA) and the Bombay Police Act, the official said.
ATS is now investigating if the youths were working in the sleeper cells. A
neighbour of one of those picked up said, “His mother had to be hospitalised
after he was picked up around 3 am today.” Neighbours of the siblings picked up
by the ATS said, “The brothers had returned from Bangalore on Sunday after
attending a friend’s wedding.”
week, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a 24-year-old man in the
case of ISIS-inspired Harkut-ul-Harb-e-Islam module. On January 5, the NIA
arrested a 21-year-old man for supplying weapons to the module.
December 26, the agency conducted raids after carrying out searches in 17 locations,
wherein it claimed to have seized a huge cache of arms and explosives. The
recovered items included 25 kg explosive material, 150 rounds of live
ammunition, 12 pistols, 112 alarm clocks, mobile phone circuits, remote control
car triggering switch, electric wires, 91 mobile phones, three laptops, knife,
134 SIM cards, and Rs 7.5 lakh as cash.
24, 2019, 0
DELHI: As part of its investigation into the terror funding case involving
Lashker-e-Toiba affiliate Falah-i-Insaniyat (FIF), NIA carried out searches on
Wednesday at 8 locations across five states. The raids in Gonda (UP), Sikar
& Jaipur (Rajasthan), Delhi, Valsad & Surat (Gujarat) and Kasargod
(Kerala) came two days after accused Mohammad Hussain Molani was arrested from Jaipur
airport on arrival from Dubai.
terror funding case was registered by NIA on July 2, 2018. As per the FIR, some
Delhi-based individuals were receiving funds from FIF operatives based abroad
and were using the same to promote terror activities.
Mohamed Thaver, Atikh Rashid
an accused in an alleged terror plot to assassinate a state leader was arrested
from there in 1997, the staff at the mosque in Mumbra’s Almas Colony had taken
several measures to make sure the premises were not used for any wrongful
activity. On Wednesday, however, they were disappointed to learn that some of
the accused arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) allegedly
met each other on the mosque premises.
Amir Hamza (55), who leads the prayers at the mosque, where at least two of the
accused came to pray, told The Indian Express, “In the 90s, there was an
incident where a person was arrested from here by the police. Ever since, we
have been vigilant to ensure our premises are not used for any wrongful
days with the internet the threat of youngsters being wrongly influenced has
gone up. Hence, we especially keep an eye to ensure youngsters do not watch or
discuss things that could lead them astray,” he added.
ATS on Wednesday arrested eight men and detained a 17-year-old youth for their
alleged links with the Islamic State (IS). Four of them were picked up from
Mumbra and five from Aurangabad.
of them, Fahad Ansari and Salman Khan, the eldest of three siblings arrested in
the case, came in touch with each other nearly two years back when they did
“itikaf” — staying in the mosque for a certain number of days devoted to prayer
— in the mosque together during Ramzan. After that, they became friends. “It
has come as a shock to us since they were never heard discussing or behaving in
a way that would arouse any suspicion in and around the mosque,” Hamza said.
Mohsin Khan, the second of the arrested siblings, a local resident said,
“Nearly two years back he married a woman from Aurangabad and moved there. He
recently started a shoe shop there for which he would pick up the stock from
Mumbra and come here often.”
youngest sibling Taqi was studying in college, local residents said. The
residence of the siblings was locked since Wednesday morning.
distance from their residence is Sagar Apartment from where the ATS arrested
Mazhar Shaikh. His family members, comprising elder brother Azhar and mother
Zohra, are in disbelief. Zohra said her son, who was pursuing a correspondence
course in Commerce from Mumbai University and working at a shop in Bhiwandi,
had been framed.
got my son (Mazhar) married more than a year ago. He has a one-year-old son. He
would leave for work in the morning and return late evening. He would then go
to pray in the local mosque. During weekends, he barely ventured out. He has
been framed,” Zohra said.
said his brother was going to Aurangabad on Monday night when he was picked up
by the ATS. “He and his wife have been to Aurangabad before as he has friends
there. This time, he had told us he might go there as his friend’s wife was
unwell,” Azhar said. “It’s true he would watch (religious) sermons in online
videos on his mobile phone but what is wrong with that,” asked Azhar Shaikh,
elder brother of Mazhar Shaikh (21), who was arrested by the ATS from Mumbra.
fifth accused arrested from Mumbra is Fahad. “Fahad kept to his work and you
won’t find anyone who has anything bad to say about him. His arrest is
shocking,” a local resident said.
members of Mushahid-Ul-Islam rejected the allegations made by the ATS, saying
the youth was “100 per cent opposite of what has been portrayed by ATS and
media”. Mushahid-ul-Islam (23), who stayed with her 65-year-old mother in their
Qaisar Colony residence — four brothers live in Saudi Arabia — freelanced as a
graphic designer while pursuing graduation.
Ahmed, his brother-in-law, said, “I have seen him since birth… He is pursuing
graduation and simultaneously worked as a graphic designer from his small house
office. He mostly designed marriage invitation cards, visiting cards… His
father had a small printing business so he knew the craft since he was very
young. He also used to get some freelance designing work from abroad. He was
quite busy in that,” he said.
per him, on Tuesday ATS officers landed at Mushahid-ul-Islam’s house at 3 am.
“Only Mushahid-ul-Islam and his mother stay there. The officers started banging
the outer gate. After some time they broke it open and also broke the door of
the house,” said Mukhtar, who stays a few kilometres away.
panel members want madrasa docs to be recorded in Hindi too, write to Yogi
members of the State Minority Commission on Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister
Yogi Adityanath requesting him to instruct all recognised madrasas to record
all educational details in Hindi apart from Urdu.
the letter, the commission members — Rumana Siddiqui, Sardar Parvinder Singh
and Kunwar Iqbal Haider— claimed that during their recent visits to madrasas in
different districts, they found “several anomalies” in the registers.
Siddiqui, who was the president of state BJP’s minority wing, said, “Urdu
translators are there in the commission, but they do not accompany us when we
letter (in Hindi) read, “This is regarding seeking your cognisance that we
members had visited recognised and aided madrasas in different districts and
found several anomalies in them. We found the names of teachers and students in
the attendance registers were in Urdu and not in the national language Hindi.
In such conditions, we members are facing problems understanding the actual
situation. Because of the details being in Urdu we neither understood the names
of the teachers nor the details of the students. In such a condition,
possibility of names of majority of students and the teachers being fake is
high. We find ourselves unable to take cognizance of the anomalies and resolve
letter further reads, “Given that Hindi is our national language, it would be
better if, in order to bring transparency, all the details in all the madrasas
are available in Hindi also. Therefore, the Uttar Pradesh Minority Commission
requests you to give orders to officers concerned that educational details of
all madrasas are submitted in Hindi besides Urdu.”
a senior office bearer at the commission said, “It is the responsibility of the
Madrasa Board to check this information (in recognised madrasas). For
unrecognised madrasas, there is the Waqf Board.”
of the commission Tanveer Haider Usmani denied having knowledge of the letter.
highest peacetime gallantry medal, the Ashoka Chakra, will be awarded
posthumously to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, who laid down his life during an
anti-terror operation at Batagund village in J&K’s Shopian in November last
Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani exhibited the most conspicuous gallantry in personality
eliminating two terrorists and assisting in the evacuation of his wounded
colleagues and made supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian
Army,” a press release from the President’s Secretariat said.
two-time winner of the Sena Medal was once an Ikhwan (a terrorist who
surrenders and becomes involved in counter-insurgency operations) and
surrendered before the Army and went onto become a highly decorated soldier.
was operating with the 34 Rashtriya Rifles on November 23 when intelligence was
received regarding the presence of six heavily armed Hizbul and Lashkar
terrorists at Batagund village.
resident of Kulgam, Wani and his team was tasked to block the likely escape
route of the terrorists.
danger, the terrorists attempted breaching the inner cordon, firing
indiscriminately and lobbing grenades. Undeterred by the situation, Wani held
ground and eliminated one terrorist in a fierce exchange at close range,” the
38-year-old next closed in on a house where another terrorist was hiding. As
the terrorist tried to flee, Wani encountered him in a hand to hand combat
situation. Despite being wounded, he eliminated the terrorist. However, he
succumbed to his injuries later in a hospital.
think we are going to have to fight these guys", Ashford Maina told his
colleagues, as Al-Shabaab gunmen closed in after chasing them through their office
moment later a gunman flung open the door to the group's hiding place - a men's
toilet - and pulled Maina out.
taken Ashford and we heard gunshots," one of the employees wrote in a
message to colleagues at telecoms firm Cellulant.
36, head of product development at the firm, had been killed.
was one of six staff to be murdered in the attack at the Dusit hotel and office
complex in Nairobi last week.
harrowing tale of Cellulant employees fleeing in terror was recounted by their
chief executive Ken Njoroge at a memorial service in Nairobi on Tuesday.
pieced together the events from staff present that day at the Cellulant
offices, spread over the fifth and sixth floors of one of five office buildings
in the complex.
think sometime about three o'clock the teams heard the first explosion,"
Njoroge said, as a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Secret Garden
restaurant, where at least five of the 21 victims were killed.
second explosion followed shortly thereafter, accompanied by gunfire. Police
have established there were four gunmen along with the suicide bomber.
as they fled
said scores of employees made it out through two exits before the gunmen
entered the building.
think one of the gunmen... realised there were people (going) out of the
exit... he took an elevated position and started to shoot at people leaving the
this time 17 staff members were still stuck inside.
group of six sought refuge on the first floor, hiding in a small room under the
rest of the group ran upstairs to the fifth floor and could feel someone
shooting at them as they crossed from the exit back into the office," said
said that in the offices, "all glass and very open", the only place
of refuge was the washrooms.
think one of the gunmen, maybe two, followed them up, they... broke the glass
door into the office and went into the washrooms, flung open the men's room
(door) and our colleague Ashford was there and they grabbed him and pulled him
shooting Maina, the gunmen tried to force their way into the ladies room, where
those inside strained against the door.
said the women had recounted that one of the gunmen kept saying: "We know
you are in there, open up".
some strange reason they left," after a while, he said.
from the small room under the stairs, the six hiding inside sent messages
pleading for help as gunshots came closer.
could feel the gunman walking the stairs, and described it as if this guy was
walking on their heads, he was running his gun along the metal railing of the
stairs," said Njoroge.
the five men had formed a wall around a female colleague and "tucked"
her at the back "so nobody could see her", he said.
gunman "opened the door, introduced himself as Al-Shabaab, and shot into
women, who survived, said she had smeared blood on herself to play dead, as she
lay among her five dead colleagues waiting for rescue.
was one of the hardest hit companies in the attack, with the Dusit hotel itself
also losing six staff.
town in Yobe State is currently under attack by suspected Boko Haram
to Daily Trust, residents in the town said that the attackers stormed the town
around 5:30pm, and started shooting sporadically.
resident said “The insurgents took advantage of the Market Day to infiltrate
they forewarned residents of their coming days back so the military were not
taken unaware,” he said.
added that two Nigerian Air Force jets have arrived the town to support the
was learnt shootings was still ongoing as of the time of filing this report.
United States on Wednesday urged Sudan to release activists detained in a wave
of protests and to allow peaceful expression, warning that better ties with
Washington were on the line.
statement was the first by Washington after a month of mushrooming protests in
what is widely seen as the biggest threat to President Omar al-Bashir's 30-year
United States said it was "concerned about the increasing number of
arrests and detentions" and urged the government to free "all
journalists, activists and peaceful protesters who have been arbitrarily
Sudan's Information Minister Bishara Jumaa said on Wednesday, in an interview
with Arabiya, that the government has "taken steps" to end the economic
crisis and that "by March, God willing, matters will be completely
minister, however, said that foreign agendas were at play and that non-state
actors were exploiting the young protesters.
aviation officials from Jordan visited Damascus on Wednesday to discuss plans
to reopen Syrian airspace to its commercial flights, Jordanian state media
reported, in another sign that the country’s war is winding down.
mission was “to examine technical issues around the possibility of Jordanian
commercial flights resuming their use of Syrian airspace,” said Haitham Mistu,
the head of Jordan’s civil aviation authority.
the conflict broke out in 2011, national carrier Royal Jordanian operated two
flights a day to Syria – one to Damascus and one to the northern city of
July 2012, it suspended the services as an anti-government uprising escalated
into full-blown war, placing air traffic at risk.
Mistu told Jordan’s official Petra news agency that Wednesday’s meetings were
part of a risk assessment program, to be followed by a technical evaluation.
on that evaluation, the appropriate technical decision will be taken,” he said,
without giving any timeframe.
meeting was the latest in a series of moves by Arab states to rebuild ties with
the Syrian regime as the country’s devastating civil war draws to a close.
reopened its key Jaber/Nassib border crossing with Syria in October.
Tuesday, the foreign ministry announced it had decided to appoint a chargé
d’affaires at the Jordanian embassy in Damascus.
month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab leader to visit
Damascus since the start of the war and the UAE became the first Gulf state to
reopen its embassy in Damascus.
Syria remains suspended from the Arab League.
war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started
in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations.
President Omar al-Bashir has visited Qatar, where Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
Al Thani offered support for the restive African country, which is grappling
with anti-government protests.
arrived in Qatar on Tuesday as protests triggered by rising prices and
shortages of food and fuel have intensified at home. The public display of
anger has now escalated into calls for Bashir to step down.
Bashir briefed the Emir on the latest updates regarding the situation and
challenges facing the country," the court of Sheikh Tamim said in a
statement on Wednesday.
Emir affirmed Qatar's firm stance on Sudan's unity and stability, and they
discussed the latest developments in the Darfur peace process," the
no new financial assistance was declared on Wednesday.
to official figures, 26 people, including two security agents, have lost their
lives since the onset of the unrest on December 19. Some rights groups say at
least 40 people have died so far.
of arrests were also reported at many of the protests held in the past month.
has blamed the protest movement on foreign "agents" and rebels from
the western region of Darfur. The violence-hit region is considered as a
stronghold of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-AW), which has been battling
the government in Khartoum since 2003.
has long played a mediating role in Darfur crisis and was among the first
countries to express support after protests erupted last month, with Qatar’s
emir calling Bashir to offer "all that was necessary", according to
has maintained good ties with both sides of the rift between Qatar and other
Persian Gulf countries.
June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates severed
their diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism but
widely seen to have actually been angered by its independent foreign policy.
The four countries also imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on
has contributed troops to the Saudi-led coalition that has invaded Yemen.
Omar al-Bashir to make his first visit since the protests to Qatar and not to
other traditional allies is big," Ibrahim Fraihat, a professor of
international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies,
obviously needs help and they (other allies) haven't been able to provide it,"
as the United States plans its military withdrawal from Syria, it has taken a
step towards increasing political and economic pressure on the regime of Bashar
US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill late on Tuesday night
that will allow the White House to sanction foreign persons and entities that
engage with the Assad regime or its supporters.
legislation also requires the Treasury Department to decide within 180 days
whether “reasonable grounds exist for concluding that the Central Bank of Syria
is a financial institution of primary money laundering concern”.
bill HR 31, officially called the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, was
introduced by Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House, Eliott
Engel. The bill was named after Cesar, the pseudonym for a photographer with
the Syrian military police who documented those killed by the regime in prisons
and detention centres for death certificates before defecting to the West in
2013 with a trove of 53,275 images showing the scale of the Assad regime’s
31 gives US President Donald Trump the green light to go after foreign entities
and persons that engage in prohibited business with, provide support for or
carry out a significant transaction with the Assad regime or senior political
figures. The bill also targets companies that work with foreign military
contractors, mercenaries or paramilitary organisations “knowingly operating in
a military capacity inside Syria for or on behalf of the Government of Syria,
the Government of the Russian Federation, or the Government of Iran”.
requests the US president to impose sanctions on violators within six months
that include freezing US assets, blocking or revoking visas and barring entry
for those engaged in prohibited transactions.
sanctions also target anyone who is selling or enabling the sale of Syrian oil
and gas, aircraft parts or providing construction and engineering services for
at a time when some Arab governments are considering resuming economic relations
with the Syrian government, HR 31 could give pause for thought.
a recent call with reporters, a senior US official said “our position [is] that
political isolation and political pressure is the appropriate approach to take
to try to press the Syrian regime to make the kind of meaningful changes
necessary both to settle the Syrian conflict in a peaceful way and also to try
to achieve the other US objectives in Syria”.
Engel, commenting on the passage of the bill, struck an emotional tone, saying
that “nothing can undo the horrors they have had to endure for nearly eight
years. Nothing can bring back those who have been lost. But the world owes it
to the living and the dead to try to bring this crisis to an end.”
said the US’s role was to “to push for a political solution that allows the
Syrian people to choose their own future… we simply cannot look the other way
and allow Assad, Russia and Iran to steamroll over Syria.”
Republican congressman Michael McCaul called for a “strategy that moves beyond
Assad’s debilitating stronghold to encourage negotiations and pursue a
political solution to end this conflict.
legislation provides the administration much-needed leverage,” he said.
the Senate approves the same bill, it will be sent to the president’s desk to
be signed into law.
Unites States may call off a controversial anti-Iran summit in Poland scheduled
for next month as Washington is facing a setback due to a widening
international boycott of the gathering, a report says.
Cohen, the acting US ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security
Council on Tuesday that the upcoming meeting in the Polish capital of Warsaw,
jointly hosted by the US State Department, wasn’t a “venue to demonize or
European diplomats said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may be forced to
cancel the conference at the last minute due to “low attendance” or US allies’
refusal to send high-level officials, The Wall Street Journal reported.
went as far as calling the meeting a “global brainstorming session” with an
agenda that revolved around cybersecurity, extremism and humanitarian aid to
people trapped in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
American envoy insisted that Washington had no plans to use the event as an
opportunity to reopen arguments about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal either.
announcing the summit earlier this month, Pompeo said the conference would
focus on issues concerning stability and security in the Middle East, including
the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing
the push to form an international front against Iran was met with cold
from several European Union countries and EU foreign policy chief Federica
Mogherini have indicated that they would skip the summit, which will be held on
also declined the invitation to the Warsaw meeting on Tuesday, with Russian UN
Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia calling the event “counterproductive.”
said Washington should explain why Iran, as a regional power, wasn’t invited if
the conference was really aimed at improving regional stability.
to create some kind of military alliances in the region by holding conferences
and focusing on having a simplified, unilateral approach that is clearly linked
just to Iran are counterproductive,” Nebenzia told the Security Council.
tried to offer reassurances in response to the international criticism, saying
while Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional influence would be discussed,
“the scope of the discussion will be much broader than any one country or set
to some diplomats, the Polish foreign minister discussed the meeting with
European foreign ministers and reassured them that Warsaw supported Iran’s
nuclear agreement and that it planned to give a readout of the meeting to Iran.
foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has denounced the conference as an
“anti-Iran circus” and slammed Poland for co-hosting the event with the US
expresses concern for 'arbitrary' force in Sudan
U.S. concern Wednesday about the growing number of arrests, detentions and
escalating number of those injured and killed following almost month-long
protests in Sudan.
State Department's deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said the U.S. backs the
right of people of Sudan to gather peaceably to voice their demands for
political and economic reform, and "a more peaceful and inclusive
condemn the use of violence, including the use of live fire, and the excessive
use of tear gas by the Sudanese security forces," Palladino said.
"more positive" relationship between the two countries requires
significant political reform and "clear, sustained progress" on
respect for human rights, he added.
urged the Sudanese government to release all journalists, activists and
peaceful protesters who have been "arbitrarily" detained, as well as
urged the government to allow those facing charges full access to legal
on the government to allow for a "credible and independent"
investigation into the deaths and injuries of protesters, Palladino urged that:
"To address the legitimate grievances of the population, the government
must create a safe and secure environment for public expression and dialogue
with the opposition and civil society in a more inclusive political process."
mid-December, Sudan has been rocked by mass demonstrations in several parts of
blame President Omar al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party for their
apparent failure to remedy the country’s economic woes and are calling for his
to government statements, more than 20 people have been killed in clashes
between demonstrators and security forces since the protests began.
groups put the death toll at closer to 40.
power since 1989, al-Bashir has pledged to carry out urgent economic reforms
amid ongoing calls by the opposition to continue demonstrating.
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism