First Lady Bushra Imran
Clerics: Ram Janmbhoomi - Babri Masjid Case Is a Land Title Dispute Not a
Matter of Faith
Jihad: We Will Eliminate You One by One, Say the Goons in UP Policeman’s
People, Religious Followers Equal before Shariah, Says Saudi Justice Minister
Fortunate to Have Leader Like Imran Khan,' Says First Lady
Revokes Honorary Citizenship of Aung San Suu Kyi
Muslim Ban Proposal Receives Enormous Backlash
Jamaat-e-Islami A Bar To 'Greater National Unity'
Ayodhya Case, AIMPLB Says It Sees ‘Some Positive Movement’
declines to refer to larger Bench issue whether mosques are integral to Islam
in hearing (Babri case) impacted Hindu-Muslim relations: VHP working president
an important religious place for Hindus, for Muslims it is Mecca: Uma Bharti
to dismantle support infrastructure of terrorist organisations: India
militants, soldier killed in separate encounters in J&K
al-Islam ‘reorganizing and rearming’
US-Backed SDF Forces Killed in Raqqa
in Deir Ezzur Hold Protest Rallies against US-Backed SDF
envoy pushed on drafting post-war Syria constitution
coalition admits another 53 civilian casualties
Sisi urges peace talks restart at meeting with Israel’s Netanyahu
State Security: Three wanted in terror related activities killed in Qatif
Islamabad sign three deals on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
Religious Scholars to Discuss Joint Stance against Violence
terrorists killed, two troops martyred in Kalat operation
Kuwait fail to reach accord on lifting visa curbs
government is being vindictive against us: Justice (r) Iftikhar Chaudhry
Saudi Arabia have signed three agreements: Fawad
chief calls for comprehensive response to security threats
only shook hands with FM Qureshi, no informal meeting, says US
Sharif leaves for Lahore after appearing before NAB court
Nations Urge UN to Draft New Syrian Constitution
Turkey, US to overcome ‘turbulent period’
thanks Turkey for helping avert Idlib assault
launches program to detect terrorists travelling between countries
accusations against Iran at UN speech were lies: Analyst
stepping up efforts to form Arabic alliance against Iran
Human Rights Body Creates Team to Document Myanmar Abuses
Labour seeks to stop Israel expansionism with ban on arms sale: Expert
arrested in Denmark on suspicion of attempting to ship drones to Daesh
lecturers, students gain better understanding on Islam in Russia
injured as car ploughed into worshippers in ‘terror attack’
terrorist attack foiled in the Netherlands
detained in Libya are drinking toilet water to survive
hopeful for London Mayor embroiled in new Sadiq Khan Islamophobia row
Hasina to OIC: Find Out Reason behind Repression of Muslims in Myanmar
militants killed, wounded during Qahr Silab operations in Kapisa
warns Afghanistan risks repeat of Syria scenario
urges regional countries to act against the terror safe havens
hit Ghazni during President Ghani's visit
Is Here to Stay in Indonesia’s Aceh
Architect of China's Muslim Camps Is a Rising Star under Xi
in Jambi closed over rejection by Muslim residents
calls on UN to act on Rohingya atrocities
Clear U-turn, Israel Says Ready To Reopen Golan Crossing With Syria
1,000 Israeli Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Al-Quds
UN speech, Netanyahu accuses Iran of having ‘secret atomic warehouse’
refugee agency UNRWA gets $118 mln in new funding
detains ‘ISIS-linked Palestinian’ over poison plots
Islamic Jihad movement selects new leader after 20 years: Official
president addresses UN, slams Trump's Quds policy, racist Israeli law
UN, Iran, Russia, Turkey FMs exchange views on Syria crisis, Idlib situation
ballistic missiles hit targets in Saudi Arabia’
State Shifts from Provinces and Governance to Global Insurgency
soldiers and one civilian killed in Mali bomb attack
Beef Up Unity to Protect Islamic Identity, Says Security Expert
troops fight off Boko Haram attack
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Clerics: Ram Janmbhoomi - Babri Masjid Case Is A Land Title Dispute Not A
Matter Of Faith
DELHI: With the Supreme Court hearing daily hearings in the Ram
Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case set to start from October 29, the
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Muslim clerics from minority
organisations are hoping that justice will be delivered on the basis of kanoon”
(legal position) and not “aastha” (faith).
AIMPLB’s Babri Masjid Committee was holding onto the hope that the Supreme
Court would refer the matter “whether mosque is integral part of Islam” to a
five member bench. When the SC decided against it the Board’s members admitted
they were “not expecting it”. However, they do not see this as a “set-back”, as
the Court has made it clear that the observation about mosque and Islam in the
1994 Ismail Faruqui judgement will have no bearing on the title suit.
Ulama -i- Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani said, “I am very hopeful over
the Court’s assertion that the decision on the title dispute will be on the
basis of law and not faith. This is most important to uphold the sanctity of
rule of law and justice in India. Whatever will be decided by the Court based
on legal position should be accepted by all.”
to TOI, AIMPLB, Babri Masjid, joint convener, SQR Ilyas said, “We were
expecting that the Court would refer the matter to the five member bench as it
would have been good if once and for all the questions arising out of the
observation in the 1994 judgement that mosque is not integral to Islam would
have been settled.” He pointed that even though the SC has made the position
clear that the observations made then were limited to that case and would have
no bearing on the title suit yet in the future the observations of 1994 case
can be cited to trigger a debate again.
made it clear that the SC’s decision not to refer the matter to a bench “was
not setback as the Court has made it clear that the observations of 1994 have
no bearing on the title suit.”
eyes are now on the hearing which will commence later next month. Over the last
year the SC has been repeatedly emphasising that this is a land dispute and we
hope when the hearing starts the matter will revolve around the legal aspects alone
like the land and revenue records,” Ilyas said.
-e- Islami Hind President, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari reiterated the need to
focus on the legal position. as far as the observations in the 1994 judgement
regarding the mosque, Umari held that there should be no ambiguity over the
status of a mosque in Islam. “A mosque is part of Islam and there should be no
dispute about it,” he asserted.
beating and shaming a Hindu medical student in Meerut for being friends with a
Muslim boy, the Uttar Pradesh police is once again under the scanner as a new
video has emerged showing a group of men thrashing the Muslim youth in the
presence of a policeman.
the video clip, which has gone viral on the social media, the Muslim youth is
seen being cornered by a group of unidentified youth while a policeman
questions him about his background. The alleged right-wing group members then
kick and punch him. They are also heard threatening him with dire consequences.
kar raha hai ya love jihad kar raha hai...? Chun-chun ke marenge abhi.... [Are
you here to study or for love jihad? We will eliminate you one by one],” says
one of the men while others film the incident on their phones.
O.P Singh said it was “an act of gross imprudence” by few errant policemen.
“Irresponsible and insensitive behaviour by U.P. cops will not be tolerated. A
job of a policeman is to maintain the highest standards of probity which must
be upheld at all times. Corrective action is being taken,” he said in a
female medical student has said
and the boy were at his house studying on Sunday when members of the Vishwa
Hindu Parishad barged in and locked them in.
asked the girl to show her identity card and upon confirming that she was a
Hindu, asked her how she expected to marry a Muslim boy, she said.
a video that surfaced on Tuesday, four constables were seen on camera beating
the female medical student and making offensive communal remarks after the VHP
activists handed her over to them.
erring constables, including a woman personnel, were suspended.
Police said on Thursday said that a case had been registered at the Medical
police station against 18 known and 25 unknown persons.
people, religious followers equal before Shariah, says Saudi justice minister
Saudi Arabia’s Justice Minister Waleed Al-Samaani met the delegation of the US
Commission on International Religious Freedom in Riyadh on Thursday.
delegation, led by John Moore, is currently visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss
cultural cooperation and joint interests that serve the Kingdom’s message on
interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
delegation praised the Kingdom’s interaction with international organizations
in the field of religious freedoms.
briefed the delegation on the approach in the Kingdom’s judicial hierarchy,
derived from Saudi legislation and regulation, founded on Islamic Shariah
values that treat all people, social classes and religious followers equally,
without discrimination or prejudice.
talked about the procedural application of these principles, ascertaining that
the general, criminal, commercial and labor courts deal with the proofs, acts
and arguments of all parties equally, regardless of their religion.
said that the legislature guarantees personal freedoms to all religious
followers in choosing any culture and religion, and the Kingdom has welcomed
workers of different religious and denominational backgrounds without imposing
any criteria related to religion.
the context of the positive transformation the Kingdom has witnessed since
adopting Vision 2030, the justice minister clarified to the American delegation
the developments on rights in the Kingdom.
delegation showed interest in the reforms in empowering women and young people,
and granting women the opportunity to occupy prominent positions in the justice
ministry as lawyers, counselors or employees, along with granting them
“verification” licenses allowing them to carry out some of the services of
notaries for the first time.
said: “The interreligious dialogue aims to bring a better understanding of how
religious differences should not lead to disagreement. Dialogue should not be a
means to condemn others and try to change them ... it is very important and
vital to establish the culture of respect for the other and acceptance of
diversity and plurality. People are different and trying to change that will
not lead to peace, the only thing that will is accepting the differences
said that the Kingdom has always made sure to preserve peace and security and
create healthy relations among peoples. It has also made sure to respect human
rights and freedoms according to the principles in the Islamic Shariah and
international covenants and instruments ratified by the Kingdom, thus enabling
the institutional work to protect human rights and freedoms in the country.
delegation’s visit comes in the context of the special cultural and political
relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US, and coordination
among organizations working in the two countries.
Fortunate To Have Leader Like Imran Khan,' Says First Lady
Lady Bushra Imran, in her first interview to a media channel, has said that
Pakistanis are fortunate to have a leader like Imran Khan.
first lady made the remark in a wide-ranging interview conducted by HumTV's
Nadeem Malik for his programme Nadeem Malik Live.
God wants to change the fate of a nation, He gives them a leader instead of a
politician," First Lady Bushra said, adding that the prime minister had
the country's best interests at heart.
asked about how she felt about her transition from spiritual guide (pir) to
first lady, Bushra Bibi quipped that: "In my past life, people used to
come to me to get close to God and his messenger; now they come to me to get
close to Khan sahab."
is important to worship and pray, but it is more important to serve
humankind," the first lady said. "This is something I've learned from
also credited the prime minister for helping her gain a greater appreciation
for life. "People say that I have changed him, when the truth is that we
have changed each other," she said.
taught him that worship brings you closer to God, and he taught me that loving
His creation brings us closer to Him."
of her husband's simple lifestyle, the first lady said that he is not
particular about clothes or food.
wants nothing," she said.
does not get any clothes stitched for himself. When I first married him, I
asked one of the housekeepers to take out his summer clothes and was told that
he does not have any," she said, narrating an incident from the early days
of her marriage.
housekeeper told me that he only wears clothes if someone gives them to him. He
never gets them stitched," she recalled.
recalled that, "someone came and gifted him a few stitched sets of shalwar
kamiz, which he wore throughout the season."
have never seen a simpler person. He is free of any wants or desires," she
also termed her husband a "leader" and "not a politician."
was a leader. Khan sahab is a leader, and [in the current era] only [Recep
Teyyip] Erdogan is a leader. The rest of these people are just
politicians," she said.
of a shift in PM Khan's temperament post the election, the show's host
commented that the firebrand leader seems to have mellowed down in the past few
months. To this, the first lady said that this shift can be attributed to his
increased religiosity. She mentioned that PM Khan makes it a point to fulfill
his religious obligations despite his busy daily routine.
to a question, the first lady rubbished reports published in some sections of
the media that she had been divinely inspired to marry Imran Khan.
cannot conceive of how or why people choose to circulate such lies," she
remarked in exasperation.
brushing aside another controversy surrounding her marriage to Imran Khan which
was pushed in certain sections of the press, the first lady said she had
completed her iddat before she even left her former husband's house.
could have married someone the day I left my former husband's home, but I
waited some six or seven months before I did so," she said, mentioning
that her former husband had been very particular about fulfilling religious
also regretted the controversy speculation over the timing of her marriage had
stirred, saying it caused her distress.
of the causes she plans to champion during her time as the first lady, Bushra
Imran said that she had been deeply moved when she visited an old people's home
pain [I felt] was such that I could not eat or pray for the next few
days," she recalled. "Some of the people I met had nothing [...] some
asked me for a small stipend, just so that they could spend Rs10 on something
on their own. That jolted my soul to the core. I just wanted to leave that
place quickly and do something for them."
spoke in a similar vein about her desire to help orphans and the
differently-abled, recalling anecdotes from her visits to various facilities
and promising to do something for their welfare as the first lady.
Canadian Parliament voted Thursday to revoke the honorary citizenship of
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
move follows a recent Canadian motion to designate the Myanmar military crimes
against the Rohingya minority as genocide and to back a UN mission to map out
the crimes against humanity committed by the military.
a report, the UNHCR refugee agency said nearly 170,000 people likely fled
Myanmar in 2012 alone.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
a recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA
raised the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (± 881) from a
Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and
girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police. Over 115,000 Rohingya houses
were also burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children
and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young
children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state
forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted
crimes against humanity.
countries, including Canada, have criticized Suu Kyi for not doing enough to
prevent the persecution and bloodshed.
has only bestowed a handful of honorary citizenships in its history, including
to Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and to Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai
in 2014, bringing the number to six.
Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, received the Canadian honor in 2007.
her silence as the Rohingya were slaughtered despite urging from Canada and
others to speak out provoked Canada to take action.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was present in the House of Commons when the
motion passed, had said Wednesday “Parliament granted her the honorary
citizenship” and could certainly revoke it.
Senator, Fraser Anning, was heavily criticised for delivering a highly
Islamophobic and racist maiden speech to Parliament. He vocalised his plan for
a Muslim ban in Australia, claiming that the majority of the Australian
population shared his views.
his speech on August 14, Anning used the phrase “final solution” in proposing a
Muslim ban, and an elimination of immigration from developing countries. These
words hauntingly echo its previous use by the Nazis on Jewish people during the
speech also included restoration of the ‘White Australia Policy’ also known as
the Immigration Restriction Act in 1901, which ceased all non-European
immigration. This law was passed after the fear of the ‘Asianisation’ of
as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here
predominantly reflect the historic European-Christian composition of Australian
society,” the Katter’s Australian Party Upper House MP said.
of the evidence used by Anning to slander Muslims is inaccurate. He claimed
that there were “black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne,” when in
fact these people are Australian-born and South Sudanese. The predominant
religions of South Sudan is Christianity and African Traditional Religion.
a live television interview following his speech, Anning defended his comments
about Muslims, saying that “we can’t take the risk of bringing people into this
country that commit crimes like the Bourke Street massacre.” However, this
remark is not factually correct as the man convicted for that incident is
Australian-born and of Greek descent. He is neither Muslim nor has any connection
has been made extremely clear that the Senator’s views are not reflective of
the Australian public. Several politicians have spoken out, publicly condemning
Senator Anning’s words.
Cricketer and Queensland Bulls Captain, Usman Khawaja, tweeted, ‘Technically
Aboriginals were here first. There’s so much wrong with this statement. I’d
have to write 20 tweets.’
the leader of the anti-Islam ‘One Nation’ Party, Paula Hanson, was shocked by
Anning’s speech, saying that it was “straight from Goebbels’ handbook from Nazi
Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, rejected Anning’s “racist, hate speech” and
emphasised Australia’s reputation for being the “most successful multicultural
society in the world”.
Members of Parliament also spoke out on this issue. Anne Aly, the first Muslim
MP, gave an emotional speech about her own experience, saying, “I’m tired of
having to stand up against hate, against vilification, time and time and time
again.” The image of Parliament uniting over this matter moved her to tears.
Faruqi, the first female Muslim Senator, spoke out about racism in politics in
her maiden speech. She revealed how institutionalised racism has made it
difficult for people of colour and Muslims to climb up the social ladder.
are subject to rules white people will never be. We don’t have the luxury of
mistakes out of slipping up, because as soon as we do we become a case study to
validate existing stereotypes,” Faruqi said.
politicians call us cockroaches. Some say we are a disease for which Australia
needs vaccination. Some, if they had their way, would ban us from making
Australia our home,” she said, perhaps in response to Anning.s proposed Muslim
said that Senator Anning “has spat in the face of our successful multicultural
society”, but she maintains her belief that this situation has allowed the
nation to become even more united and culturally aware.
to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census Data: since 1945 more than
7.5 million people have migrated to Australia and 49 per cent of Australians
were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Also, apart from
English, the most common languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese,
Italian, Greek, Tagalog, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi.
Jamaat-E-Islami A Bar To 'Greater National Unity'
longstanding ties with Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has emerged as an obstacle to
its move to forge a greater unity with other political parties, aimed at
realising its demands ahead of the national election, likely in December.
Bangladesh (BDB), a potential partner in the unity process, has already made it
clear that BNP must cut its ties with the Islamist party before the BDB build
any sort of unity with the BNP.
BDB, led by former president Prof AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury who is a former BNP
leader, has also asked other parties not to share the stage with BNP if it does
not sever its relations with Jamaat, which opposed the country's independence
from Pakistan in 1971.
alliance of eight left political parties is also against any unity process if
Jamaat is directly or indirectly involved.
issue also came up at a 20-party alliance meeting at BNP Chairperson Khaleda
Zia's Gulshan office last night.
response, Jamaat leader Abdul Halim said they wanted the unity to happen at any
cost and that the BNP could make any decision to make that happen.
we are an obstacle, keep us aside from the unity process. But we want unity at
any cost,” a source quoted the Jamaat leader as telling the meeting.
the meeting, alliance members requested BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul
Islam Alamgir to complete the unity process at the soonest.
Fakhrul did not make any comment at the meeting participated by members from
all the alliance partners, according to two sources who spoke on condition of
BNP-led four-party alliance was formed in 1999 where Jamaat was a key partner.
Jamaat is with the BNP since then. Jamaat was also in the 2001-2006 government
led by the BNP. In 2012, the four-party alliance was expanded to a 20-party
a programme at Mahanagar Natyamancha on Saturday, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal
Hossain and BDB President Badruddoza Chowdhury announced that they would work
together to have the greater unity with other political parties.
top leaders of the BNP and its allies (other than Jamaat) also shared the stage
along with representatives of some small parties and civil society members.
in a joint meeting of Juktafront and Jatiya Okiya Prokriya (national unity
process) of Dr Kamal on Tuesday, the BDB made its position clear that there
cannot be any direct or indirect alliance with any anti-liberation party or
by the BDB, Juktafront is a four-party alliance, which was formed late last
year. Other members of this alliance are Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Janata
League, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) of ASM Abdur Rob and Nagorik Oikya of
Mahmudur Rahman Manna, who quit the Awami League in 2009 as its organising
to The Daily Star, BDB Joint Secretary General Mahi B Chowdhury, who is
Badruddoza Chowdhury's son, said they wanted to join force with BNP, but for
that to happen the party had to leave the Jamaat.
Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim gave a similar view.
Dr Kamal, who quit the AL in the 1980s and formed Gonoforum in 1992, and the
other partners in the Juktafront said they had no problem to be in the unity
process with the BNP.
are now trying to forge a greater unity and Jamaat will not be a barrier to the
unity process. The important issue now is the greater unity among the people
and also the political parties. This is why we are focusing on it,” Dr Kamal,
also convener of Jatiya Oikyo Prokriya, told The Daily Star.
convener of Nagorik Oikyo, echoed this view. “Jamaat is not a big deal at all
for our unity process.”
BNP leaders said Jamaat was not a registered political party. So Jamaat does
not exist as a party and therefore it cannot contest elections under its
banner. As a result, Jamaat is not an issue here.
20-party combine is a separate alliance and that the greater unity process,
whose objectives are totally different, should be seen as such, they added.
focus is to forge a greater unity and we are working to achieve that goal,”
Fakhrul told The Daily Star earlier in the day.
to the demands of other political parties for polls under a nonpartisan interim
government, Fakhrul said the left leaning political alliance and some other
parties have been calling for a greater unity to restore democracy in the
civil society members and other social organisations raised the same demands.
So we are trying to form a greater unity with all the political parties and in
this case Jamaat is not an issue,” Fakhrul added.
leaders said they were keeping distance from Jamaat for the moment to make the
greater unity a reality.
party has been criticised at home and aboard for its relations with the Jamaat.
a Jamaat leader said, “We also want greater unity. We are in the 20-party
alliance and we want to keep it intact. If the BNP wants to forge a separate
alliance with other parties, they can do it and we welcome it.”
this backdrop, the BNP is expected to hold a rally in the capital tomorrow.
Other leaders in the unity process said they would set their next course of
action, including formation of a liaison committee for the unity process, after
this in mind, the BNP has decided to hold the programme under its own banner,
and not under the banner of the 20-party alliance.
the rally, the party will place a seven-point demand for the government to meet
before the election.
Kamal floated his Jatiya Oikya Prokria on August 2016, about a year after the
formation of Juktafront.
in July this year, eight left leaning political parties formed an alliance
styled “Left Democratic Alliance”.
all demand polls under a nonpartisan government, dissolution of parliament
before the election schedule is announced and deployment of army during the
election, among other things.
the Awami League, and also party chief and prime minister Sheikh Hasina
welcomed the unity process.
the ruling party started to come down hard on the leaders of the unity process
in recent weeks after they shared stage with the BNP and spoke of forging a
“greater national unity” against the AL.
DELHI: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said it saw "some
positive movement" in the Ayodhya land case after the Supreme Court
verdict Thursday in a related matter.
said the verdict indicated that the hearing in the case will not be done on the
basis of faith.
in the day, the top court had declined to refer to a five-judge constitution
bench the issue of reconsideration of its 1994 observation that the mosque is
not integral to Islam.
AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani said, "We honour the court order and see
some positive movement regarding the Ayodhya case."
AIMPLB member Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali said, "We respect the court
Mahali said the AIMPLB had wanted the Supreme Court's 1994 observation that the
mosque is not integral to Islam be put before a constitution bench "so
that the matter is resolved permanently."
positive things have come from this verdict," he added. "First, the
Ayodhya matter will not be heard on the basis of faith and will be heard as a
title suit," he told PTI.
he said, the 1994 observation by court "will not make an impact" on
hope that the final hearing of Ayodhya will be completed soon. The Ayodhya
hearing should not be linked with the elections," he said, referring to
next year's Lok Sabha polls.
issue whether the mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when a three-judge
bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a batch of appeals filed
against the Allahabad High Court's 2010 verdict.
that judgment, the high court had ordered that the disputed Ram
Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area should be divided among three parties -- the
Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority opinion of 2:1 on
Thursday, declined to refer the question if a “mosque as a place of prayer is
an essential part of Islam” in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid appeals to a
majority view by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered
that the hearing in the main Ayodhya title suit appeals should resume in the
week commencing from October 29. With Chief Justice Misra retiring on October
2, a new three-judge Bench would be constituted.
bone of contention here is an observation made by a Constitution Bench of the
Supreme Court in the 1994 judgment in the Ismail Faruqui case. It had stated
that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of
Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open”.
S. Abdul Nazeer, in a stinging dissent, observed that the question of what is
essential or not in a religion cannot be hastily decided. He held that the
question raised on the essentiality of offering prayers in mosques should
indeed be examined by a seven-judge Bench before the Ayodhya suit appeals are
Nazeer said the questions raised during the Ayodhya appeals’ hearing about the
comment made in the Ismail Faruqui judgment require a “comprehensive
examination” by a seven-judge Bench.
is essential or not in a religion can be decided only after studying tenets,
beliefs, and doctrines. Justice Nazeer held that the comment has to be examined
in the background of the fundamental right against discrimination under Article
15 and the protection guaranteed to practice, profess and propagate religion in
Articles 25 and 26 under the Constitution.
the hearings progressed in the appeals, the Muslim appellants had pressed that
the place of a mosque in Islam and the importance of the practice of offering
prayers inside a mosque should be first decided by a five-judge Bench.
order in context of acquisition'
for the majority judgement of himself and the Chief Justice on the issue of
referring the question “if a “mosque as a place of prayer is an essential part
of Islam”, in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid appeals, to a seven-judge Bench,
Justice Ashok Bhushan said references cannot be made to a larger Bench merely
because of “questionable observations” made in an earlier judgment.
observations cannot be treated as “governing factors” for a reference, he said.
Bhushan said the statement made in the 1994 Faruqui verdict was in the context
of whether the mosque, which was acquired by the Ayodhya Act of 1993, had
immunity from acquisition.
statement meant that no place of worship, be it a temple, church or mosque, is
immune from acquisition. It merely wanted to convey that mosques had “no
special immunity from acquisition”. The context had nothing to do with the
essentiality of the practice of offering prayers or namaz in a mosque, he said.
Justice Bhushan observed, is a sovereign power. The power of acquisition is
available for a mosque like any other place of worship. Places of worship of all
religions are liable to be acquired by the government under the Doctrine of
advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for the Muslims appellants, had argued that the
observation in the Ismail Farooqui judgment has affected the status of mosques
in Islam. The majority view also dismissed Mr Dhavan’s exception to the
observation made in the Faruqui judgment that Ayodhya, being the place of birth
of Lord Rama, has “particular significance”.
working president Alok Kumar tells Lalmani Verma that the impeachment motion
against CJI Dipak Misra was part of a process to delay the Supreme Court’s
hearing in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit. Excerpts:
are your expectations from the hearing beginning October 29?
really do not know. We are very tired of the court process. The appeals were
filed in 2010. Therefore, we can only hope and expect that this time they would
expeditiously hear it and decide. But I do not know if we can depend on it.
said there was undue delay in the hearing. What is the impact of that?
delay impacted Hindu-Muslim relations. I believe if this matter had been
resolved, it could have gone a long way in creating amicable relations.
you see the delay as a deliberate attempt?
will not impute deliberateness to the judiciary. But in recent days what has
happened in Supreme Court…like a senior counsel openly demanding adjournment of
the matter until after the General Election, the impeachment notice (against
CJI Dipak Misra) which had no substance, the press conference by certain people
(four most senior SC judges)…these were deliberate.
the impeachment motion against CJI Misra also part of that delaying process?
Supreme Court on Thursday declined to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench
the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a
mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of Ayodhya
a majority verdict of 2:1, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak
Misra said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the
previous verdict has no relevance on it.
Ashok Bhushan, who read out the judgement for himself and the CJI, said it has
to find out the context in which the five-judge had delivered the 1994
Union Minister Uma Bharti told ANI: “This isn't a matter of religious dispute,
as Ayodhya is an important religious place for Hindus because it is the Ram
Janambhoomi but for Muslims, it isn't a religious place, for them it is Mecca.
This matter was created and it finally got transformed into a land dispute.”
Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Thursday said it is for the country's
benefit that the Ayodhya issue is resolved quickly.
majority of this nation wants a solution to this at the earliest," he said
hours after the Supreme Court delivered a verdict related to the hearing of the
Ayodhya land dispute.
apex court had declined to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of
reconsideration of its 1994 observation that the mosque is not integral to
appeal that this matter is resolved as soon as possible," Adityanath told
media persons in Varanasi.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday asserted that
after today?s verdict of Supreme Court his appeal for ?fundamental right to
pray at Lord Ram?s birthplace will prevail paving way for construction of the
temple?.Swamy had filed a separate petition in the Supreme Court stating that
he had a fundamental right to offer hassle-free prayer at the birthplace of
on the Supreme Court’s verdict in which it declined to refer the Ram Mandir-
Babri Masjid case to a larger Constitution bench, Swamy told ANI, “I have
contested that I have a fundamental right under Article 25 to offer worship at
the place where Lord Ram was born.
Court has now cleared the way for me to press for the fundamental right and
that will prevail because now with this Ismail Faruqui judgment being upheld,
Sunni Waqf Board has no fundamental right and only ordinary right to appeal for
the property, so my superior right will prevail and I hope before Diwali, Ram
Mandir construction starts.”
RSS welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on Ayodhya and expressed confidence that
a just verdict on the case will be reached at the earliest.
the Supreme Court has decided to hold hearing on the Shri Rama Janmabhumi case
from 29th October by a three member bench. We welcome this decision and are
confident that a just verdict will be reached over the case at the
earliest," the Sangh said in a statement.
Supreme Court has declined to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench the
issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a
mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of the
Ayodhya land dispute.
a majority verdict of 2:1, an apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak
Misra said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence, adding
that the previous verdict has no relevance on this issue.
apex court said now the civil suit on land dispute will be heard by a newly
constituted three-judge bench on October 29 as Justice Misra will retire on
October 2 as the CJI.
to the verdict, RSS leader Indresh Kumar said he is confident the judiciary
will decide the Ayodhya issue in a speedy manner and alleged that the Congress
was against its swift resolution as it wanted to keep "problems
in the case of triple talaq in which India and the world is congratulating the
court and the judges for liberating 8.5 crore Muslim women from the clutches of
injustice, they will solve this problem and create history in 2018 like they
did with triple talaq in 2017," Kumar told Times Now news channel.
added that he was confident that people's faith in the judicial system will be
about Congress leader Kapil Sibal earlier seeking delaying of the verdict till
after polls, he said the party wants the "problems to stay alive".
is working as a 'Pakistan agent'. There have been so many killings, so many
atrocities on our soldiers, but Rahul (Gandhi), Sibal, Congress did not condemn
Pakistan, did not demand strict action against Pakistan," he claimed.
Congress should leave the "wrong path" and adopt the path of
democracy and patriotism, he said.
DELHI: It is incumbent to dismantle the support infrastructure of terrorist
organisations as their access to funds, finances and technology enables them to
carry out attacks with "impunity", India has said as it called for
making the UN counter-terrorism mechanism efficient in listing terrorists and
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's remarks came at the 9th IBSA (India, Brazil,
South Africa) Trilateral Ministerial Commission meeting held Thursday on the
sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
non-state actors, and illicit financial flows undermine the very cause of
development and prosperity. Terrorist organizations use sophisticated
equipment, weapons, and ammunitions that are financed through illicit and
illegitimate sources," she said.
them access to funds, finances, information, weapons, and technology enables
them to carry out attacks with impunity. It is incumbent therefore to dismantle
their support infrastructure," she said.
IBSA meeting was convened by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Aloysio
Nunes Ferreira Filho and attended by South Africa's Minister of International
Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu.
said India's proposal on Comprehensive Convention against International
Terrorism (CCIT) will fill in the significant vacuum to combat the scourge of
Nations' counter-terrorism mechanism should be made efficient in listing
terrorists and their outfits. Implementation of FATF (Financial Action Task
Force) standards, across all jurisdictions, will strengthen international
efforts in addressing terrorism," she said.
to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis on reforming global institutions and
his call for "reformed multilateralism”, Swaraj said IBSA countries have
been at the forefront on initiating reform of global institutions.
above all these, we three have to ensure that our collective voice is heard
clearly in BRICS and other groups on UN Security Council reforms, since if we
don't speak up for our own interest, no else will," she said.
also reiterated India's willingness to contribute more to Africa, both in
security and development cooperation.
are deeply concerned with continuing tensions on the border between Gaza Strip
and Israel. India firmly believes that the dialogue is the only viable option
to effectively address the issues in that region," she said.
ministers reviewed IBSA cooperation over last one year and exchanged views on
various issues of global significance, including peace, security, countering
terrorism, Development Cooperation and South-South Cooperation.
said the values of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism, tolerance,
social-inclusion, rule-based international order, UN reforms, and shared
commitment to 2030 agenda are enshrined deeply in IBSA cooperation.
militants and a soldier were Thursday killed in two gunfights in Anantnag and
Budgam districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the Army said.
forces launched a cordon and search operation in Qazigund of Anantnag district
after receiving information about the presence of militants in the area, an
army official said.
search operation turned into an encounter when the militants opened fire at the
security forces, he said.
militant has been killed so far. A soldier laid down his life fighting the
ultras, the official said.
another operation in the Panzan area of Budgam district, security personnel
killed two militants during an encounter, the official said.
AL-BAB, Syria: Syrian rebels forced from their towns when government forces
retook eastern Ghouta near Damascus are starting over in the far north, aiming
to build hundreds of homes for displaced fighters and civilians on
opposition-held land near the Turkish border. Jaish al-Islam, one of Syria’s
most prominent rebel groups, likens the project to a new town for people from
eastern Ghouta who have been living in camps since President Bashar Assad
recaptured their area in April.
project near the city of Al-Bab points to preparations for a long stay in
northern Syria, though Jaish al-Islam insists that the people displaced from
eastern Ghouta will return. It is part of a wider effort by the group to
recover in the north.
al-Islam commander Issam al-Buwaydani told Reuters in an interview that his
group is reorganizing and rearming.
arriving in the north, it is operating under the “National Army” umbrella a
Turkish-backed effort to unify numerous factions.
civilian affairs are also a top priority: Buwaydani said a mall, a school, a
mosque and a clinic would also be built at the construction site some 15 km
entire combat group is working today in construction,” said Abu Jaafar
al-Khouli, 25, one of the Jaish al-Islam fighters working at the construction
site. “I took part in many battles in Ghouta against the regime and the Nusra
Front. Now, I have returned to my original profession,” added Khouli, a
carpenter before Syria’s civil war.
site, where the goal is to build around 1,400 homes, is part of an arc of territory
in the northwest that forms the last major opposition-held area in Syria.
eastern Ghouta rebels defended their stronghold on the Damascus outskirts
through years of government siege until earlier this year, when Assad took back
the area in a ferocious Russian-backed offensive.
it fell, thousands of people opted to take safe passage to the northwest rather
than live under government rule, a pattern seen elsewhere that has left the
northwest crammed with anti-Assad fighters and dissidents from all over Syria.
al-Islam headed to the area north of Aleppo rather than Idlib because of
long-standing hostility towards Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which has a strong
housing project is being built on land that officially belongs to the Syrian
state. Permission was granted by the opposition-run council in Al-Bab,
Buwaydani said. Financing is being provided by Ghouta merchants with no foreign
funding, he said.
noted that some displaced Syrians had been living under canvas for three or
four years, adding: “Our view is that living in tents has a negative impact on
first phase of the project will lay foundations for homes. These will then be
handed free of charge to Ghouta residents who will complete the construction
with financial support from relatives who live outside of Syria, he said.
this does not signal any acceptance that they will not return to Ghouta. “We
will go back to our towns. We will liberate them and topple the terrorist
tyrant,” Buwaydani said, referring to Assad.
says his fighters are getting financial aid from Turkey in the form of
salaries. He said the group is ready for new battles against the Syrian
government or other enemies, including the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that
controls much of northern Syria. Turkey views the YPG as a national security
threat, and its intervention in northern Syria has been driven largely by this
Assad has crushed many areas of rebellion, Buwaydani still believes he can be
toppled. “It is not impossible that Assad falls, especially given that the
opposition forces are gathered today in one place,” he said. “This is a source
sources in Raqqa reported on Thursday that 6 SDF fighters were killed and
wounded after several grenades were thrown by unknown attackers at a vehicle
carrying them in Mafraq al-Jazrah region in Raqqa city.
SDF forces surrounded the region after the attack, detaining a number of
a road-side bomb was detonated by unknown parties on the way of a vehicle
carrying the SDF forces near al-Adnaniyeh farm in Northwestern Raqqa, killing a
number of the US-backed militants.
against the SDF gunmen have increased in the past few weeks in regions occupied
by them in Raqqa.
a relevant development on Wednesday, the SDF forces and civilians in Raqqa
engaged in heavy fighting due to continued suppression by the SDF, media
sources said that tens of residents of al-Rahman Street in Raqqa city's
al-Ramileh district revolted against the SDF, while chanting slogans in support
of the Syrian army.
reiterated that the SDF's security forces arrested several protesters after
sources in Western Deir Ezzur reported on Thursday that residents of the two
villages of al-Jai'eh and al-Hessan in Western Deir Ezzur held the rallies to
protest at the SDF for killing a young civilian from al-Jai'eh with bullet
to the report, the Arab forces affiliated to the SDF have also supported the
rallies in the two regions.
a number of SDF forces were killed after a bomb was detonated in their vehicle
near al-Azraq oil field in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
a relevant development on Wednesday, two SDF gunmen were killed in a fresh
round of fighting with civilians in Northern Deir Ezzur.
SDF fought with residents of the small town of Abu al-Nital East of Deir Ezzur
city that left two SDF gunmen dead and a civilian injured.
clashes came after the SDF attacked a group of civilians that were protesting
against the SDF's arrest operation near the town's pharmacy.
United States along with several Arab and European countries called on a UN
envoy Thursday to urgently set up a committee on drafting a post-war
constitution for Syria and report on his progress by October 31.
foreign ministers of the seven countries met on the sidelines of the UN General
Assembly to discuss steps to advance the political process in Syria, now in its
eighth year of war.
a joint statement, they backed the “urgent convening” of the committee by UN
envoy Staffan de Mistura that would begin work on drafting a new constitution
and lay the groundwork for elections.
seven countries asked De Mistura to report back to the UN Security Council on
his progress no later than October 31, setting a deadline for action, according
to a joint statement.
Germany, Jordan, Britain joined the United States, France and Saudi Arabia in
warning that “those who seek a military solution will only succeed in
increasing the risk of a dangerous escalation.”
diplomats say a recent agreement between Russia and Turkey to avert an all-out
military assault on the rebel-held province of Idlib has created an opportunity
to jump-start political talks.
Mistura told the council this month that there were ongoing disputes between
the Syrian government and opposition over the composition of the committee,
first announced at a summit convened by Russia in January.
the envoy said he hoped that the committee could begin work in the coming
US-led coalition fighting the ISIS group in Syria and Iraq has acknowledged the
deaths of an additional 53 civilians, bringing the official toll to 1,114.
coalition said in a statement on Thursday that it had conducted a total of
30,008 strikes between August 2014 and the end of August 2018.
said they had examined 60 civilian casualty reports last month, and found eight
of them to be “credible,” resulting in the 53 deaths.
each of eight incidents, the investigation assessed that although all feasible
precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of
armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred,” the
the deadliest of the incidents, in May 2017, a strike on ISIS positions and a
bomb factory in Mosul, Iraq, resulted in the unintentional deaths of 20
group Airwars says the number of civilian deaths acknowledged by the US-led
coalition is well below the true toll of the bombing campaign, estimating that
at least 6,575 civilians have been killed.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a resumption of Israel-Palestinian
peace talks when he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the
sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Sisi’s office said on
writing on Twitter, said his talks with Sisi late on Wednesday focused on
“regional developments”. He did not elaborate.
the meeting at his hotel in New York, Sisi “stressed the importance of resuming
the negotiations between the two sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, to
reach a just and a comprehensive solution based on a two-state solution and in
accordance with the international treaties,” according to a presidential
has also been working to broker a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the
Gaza Strip’s dominant Hamas Islamist movement amid frequent violence along the
Israel-Gaza border, where Palestinians have been holding weekly protests.
peace talks have been suspended since 2014 and efforts to revive them have not
and Sisi convened for their previously announced talks several hours after US
President Donald Trump said he wanted a two-state solution to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in what had appeared to be the clearest
expression yet of his administration’s support for such an outcome. Read full
later on Wednesday Trump told a news conference he would be open to a one-state
solution if that was the preference of the parties themselves, a position he
had previously stated.
a right-wing politician who rarely utters publicly the words “Palestinian
state”- a concept he conditionally endorsed in 2009 but which far-right
coalition partners oppose- said he was not taken by surprise by Trump’s initial
a statement, Netanyahu said he was confident a promised US peace plan would
back Israel’s demand to maintain security control of the West Bank, territory
it occupied in a 1967 war and which Palestinians seek as part of a future
are boycotting Washington’s peace efforts after Trump broke with long-standing
US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the American
Embassy to the contested city.
leaders say that a state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, must be based on
the pre-1967 war borders and see any future Israeli military presence as a
violation of sovereignty.
and Sisi met in public for the first time in 2017. Israeli media reports last
month said they had held a secret summit in Egypt in May to discuss a truce in
neighboring Gaza, which is under tight Israeli and Egyptian border
was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognize Israel under a 1979
peace treaty and the two countries maintain close co-ordination on security as
well as energy ties.
Arabia state security stated that three wanted in terrorist related activities were killed in
Qatif province on Wednesday, after clashes with the security forces.
Spokesman for the kingdom’s State Security said that after a monitoring and
surveillance operation, the three wanted in casese linked to terror were
detected in a house located in the neighborhood of al-Qouikeb in the center of
spokesman added that clashes erupted when the terrorists found that they are
surrounded by the security forces, refusing to surrender and opening fire which
prompted the security forces to retaliate and killing .
three are Saudi nationals Mohamed Hassa Ahmad al- Zayed, Moufeed Hamza Ali
al-Alwan and Khalil Ibrahim Hassan al-Muslim.
Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced on Thursday that
Islamabad and Saudi Arabia have signed three major investment deals for
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
told the media: “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have inked three agreements for
grants. The first delegation from Saudi Arabia, comprising the chief of its
investment and petroleum ministers, will be arriving in Pakistan on Sunday.”
Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, said that Islamabad and
Riyadh have shared grief and joy together, and that the bonds of bilateral ties
will be further strengthened through CPEC.
made his remarks as a chief guest at a ceremony organized by the International
Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 88th National
Day on Monday.
thanked the management of IIUI for arranging the ceremony and hoped the
university would soon get positive news from Saudi Arabia.
religious scholars to discuss joint stance against violence
and Afghan religious scholars will hold talks in Islamabad on Friday to discuss
a joint stance against the violence in the war-shattered Afghanistan, official
and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.
seven member Afghan delegation led by Atta-ur-Rehman Saleem, deputy of the High
Peace Council, will lead the delegation in the talks with Pakistani scholars at
the Foreign Office on Friday, they said.
say the “ulema” meeting is part of the bilateral understanding under
Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity and both sides are of
the view that religious scholars have to play an important role in restoring
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Afghan officials had agreed this month on a
meeting of scholars and officials in capital Islamabad to discuss agenda for a
join conference of the scholars to issue a joint declaration about the violence
had long been urging Pakistan to seek help from the Pakistani scholars, who
have influence on the Taliban, to reduce violence and encourage them join peace
sources, aware of the consultations for the conference, told Daily Times that
Afghan scholars will suggest names of Pakistani counterparts whom they believe
have influence on the Taliban in the meeting.
May Pakistani scholars joined Afghan and Indonesia scholars at a trilateral
conference in Indonesia that declared suicide bombings against Islam and also
called for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. A
15-member Pakistani delegation had forced the Indonesian and Afghan scholars to
remove the Taliban name from the declaration.
wants Pakistani scholars to issue a similar edict against the suicide attacks
which nearly 2000 Pakistani scholars had issued in January this year, which had
declared suicide bombings in Pakistan against Islamic teachings.
ambassador in Islamabad Omar Zakhilwal had been active to persuade Pakistani
religious leaders to use their influence on the Taliban. He had meetings with
chiefs of Islamic parties like Maulana Sami ul Haq, Maulana Fazal ur Rahman,
Siraj ul Haq and Fazal ur Rahman Khalil to seek their role in reconciliation
with the Taliban.
July, Saudi Arabia hosted an international conference of Islamic scholars, who
declared Taliban war as “forbidden in Islam” in a declaration.
clerics had stayed away from the Saudi conference after the Taliban dismissed
the conference as an “American plot to justify their invasion of Afghanistan.”
scholars had earlier told Daily Times that were upset at the language the Saudi
authorities had used in the invitation letter in which all groups fighting in
Afghanistan were declared terrorists. Saudi embassy had also failed to
coordinate with the Pakistani authorities to convince the scholars to attend
the conference. Some clerics like Fazal ur Rehman Khalil, who is very close to
Saudi Arabia, had also refused to travel to Saudi Arabia for the conference.
Taliban has sent letters to the Pakistani scholars, urging them to ‘avoid
participation in such conferences as the U.S. wants to weaken the ongoing holy
war through conferences of the scholars’.
Taliban’s letter says the ‘US wants to make Afghanistan as its subservient
state’ and to establish military and intelligence bases to use Afghanistan’s
strategic location for its objectives and weaken the Muslim world.
the U.S. succeeds in this sinister designs there is no doubt it will increase
difficulties for Pakistan, India, Central Asia, and Arab countries,” the letter
ambassador in Kabul Zahid Nasrullah Khan on Thursday hosted dinner in honour of
the Afghan delegation, at the embassy.
ambassador told the delegation that Pakistan fully supports the Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process in Afghanistan.
terrorists killed in Kalat security operation and two soldiers were martyred on
Thursday, as security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in the
Mangochar area of Kalat district, said a statement from the Inter-Services
Public Relations (ISPR).
forces killed four terrorists during the security operation and recovered a
cache of arms and ammunition. Two soldiers were also injured in the exchange of
on September 13, three soldiers of the Pakistan Army were martyred in an
exchange of fire with terrorists in North Waziristan.
forces launched an IBO in North Waziristan against terrorists involved in an attack
on security forces on 12 September as well as an ambush on security forces
convoy during December 2017, which resulted in the martyrdom of Lieutenant
Moeed,” announced the army’s media wing.
Pakistan and Kuwait have ended talks without reaching a major breakthrough in
dispute over visa restrictions, which has hampered cordial relations between
the two Muslim countries.
fourth meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) ended in Islamabad on
Thursday without signing of an agreement on lifting visa restrictions on Pakistani
nationals. The huddle was co-chaired by finance ministers of both the
said the issue of oil supply on deferred payment was not discussed in the JMC.
Getting oil on credit from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the options
Pakistan is considering in order to tackle external-sector problems.
officials revealed that Finance Minister Asad Umar emphasised the need for
lifting visa restrictions on Pakistani nationals, which has become a major
hurdle in the way of bilateral trade and economic relations.
Kuwaiti delegation promised to consider some practical measures to lift the
embargo only on business visa requests, according to officials in the Ministry
of Finance. However, there were no clear commitments to remove the restrictions
on all types of visas.
promised that it would inform Pakistan about the practical steps by the end of
next month. However, similar commitments had also been made during a visit of
former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Kuwait in March last year.
side expressed serious concern over the continued visa curbs since 2011. Kuwait
was once among the main destinations for expatriate Pakistanis. However, both
the sides agreed to form a working group that would look into labour market
requirements of Kuwait aimed at receiving skilled workforce from Pakistan.
offered Kuwait the benefit of trained workforce in the fields of agriculture,
automobile, construction, health and textile, the officials said.
urged the oil-rich Gulf Arab nation to give its assent to a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) for the recruitment of Pakistani professionals through the
public sector. The Kuwaiti delegation promised response to that issue in the
next two months.
sides also discussed bilateral economic and trade relations, noting that the
current level of bilateral trade did not fully reflect the potential. The
Kuwaiti side expressed its interest in enhancing shipping service between
Gwadar and Kuwaiti ports. Pakistan invited Kuwaiti investors to invest in the
Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Gwadar Port Free Zone and establish
country-specific free zones to enhance bilateral investment. The JMC stressed
the need for early implementation of the agreement for the Encouragement and
Protection of Investment, which was signed seven years ago but had not yet been
implemented, the sources said.
authorities again expressed the desire to increase agricultural goods and
textile exports, but visa restrictions remained the key bottleneck,” officials said.
also expressed the desire to sign an agreement with Kuwait’s private sector to
increase rice exports.”
commission agreed to implement provisions of the Protocol of Cooperation signed
17 years ago to cement relations between chambers of commerce of both the
countries. However, no major milestone could be achieved.
also proposed the setting up of Pak-Kuwait Joint Business Council and Joint
Working Group on trade and investment between the two countries. However, the
future roadmap was left to be decided through diplomatic channels.
said Pakistan sought Kuwait’s help for early finalisation of a free trade
agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Pakistan. Both the sides
also discussed the possibility of making joint investments in the fisheries
sector of Pakistan.
chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Iftikhar Chaudhry on Thursday rejected
reports of alleged involvement of his son-in-law in the Eden Housing or Bahria
Housing scams, claiming that his son-in-law was arrested by Interpol, and not
by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as the government had earlier said.
has nothing to do with the case,” he said.
on Wednesday, Justice (r) Iftikhar Chaudhry’s son-in-law Murtaza Amjad was
arrested from Dubai in a case regarding the multi-billion Eden Housing Society
scam, which was termed as a “breakthrough” by the Information Minister Fawad
Chaudhry insisted that Amjad had nothing to do with the Eden Housing scam as
“he holds Canadian citizenship and does not come to Pakistan”. He alleged that
the PTI government was “spreading propaganda” against him because he had
challenged Prime Minister Imran Khan’s election in court.
former chief justice further said that the high courts in Islamabad and
Peshawar had already issued notices to PM Khan and he was also considering to
file a disqualification case against the premier in an election tribunal.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
have signed three grant agreements, adding that the country is bringing a major
investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
was addressing a press conference following the cabinet meeting chaired by
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday.
also said that an important Saudi delegation, comprising energy, petroleum
ministers as well as the country’s investment chief, will reach Pakistan on
Sunday for talks. “Saudi wants to bring a major investment in CPEC and this has
begun,” he added.
minister further said that the federal cabinet has decided to devise a comprehensive
policy on Afghan refugees before the next extension of their stay in June 2019.
Minister Imran Khan would be given a comprehensive briefing on the issue.”
said that out of 2.5 million Afghan refugees in the country, two million were
registered while as many as 879,198 had citizen cards of Afghanistan but they
lived in Pakistan.
said that the issues related to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) were being
looked into and Mansoor Hussain Siddiqui had been appointed as the Financial
Monitoring Unit director general. He said the cabinet gave approval for
appointment of Justice (r) Abdul Rauf as Wage Board Award chairman, which would
finalise the award within 120 days to fulfil the longstanding demand of the
cabinet was also informed that next week a big operation would be launched
against 100 big defaulters of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR),” added the info
cabinet also decided that tax exemptions for Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (FATA) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) would be
retained till the year 2023, he said, adding that the prime minister directed
all ministers to promote meritocracy and not give or receive recommendations
prime minister also directed to increase the use of information technology to
save precious resources and move towards becoming a paperless government. He
said that the prime minister told the cabinet that a vibrant tourism policy
would also be introduced and beaches, coastal areas and northern parts of the
country would be the main focus of development for tourism.
to questions of media persons, Fawad said that the committee constituted
regarding electronic media advertisements was meant to check content and it had
nothing to do with the release of advertisements. He said that regarding the
issuance of advertisements, he had sought proposals from All Pakistan Newspaper
Society (APNS) and Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and a policy would be
finalised after receiving their input.
he said, details of advertisements released daily were being put on the Press
Information Department’s (PID) website. “The governments in the past ruined
national institutions like Radio Pakistan, PTV, PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills by
inducting their cronies,” he added.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said the
threats faced by the country demand a comprehensive response from state
spectrum of threat demands comprehensive national response involving all
institutions of the state,” said the army chief while delivering a keynote
address on ‘Security of Pakistan” during a three-day international conference
at Air University Islamabad.
Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army will continue to serve the interests of the
nation to sustain socio-economic progress and lauded the efforts of the armed
forces in the war against terrorism.
has been effectively contained with nation’s support but we need to remain
vigilant and follow the correct course to move from survival to revival,” he
August 6, the army chief addressed internees at ISPR Directorate that the
nature and character of war has changed.
President Donald Trump had a handshake with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi during a luncheon in New York, the White House claimed, but
Qureshi described it as an “informal meeting” when they discussed bilateral
ties, according to a report in the Business Standard.
episode happened on Tuesday at a luncheon on the sidelines of the United
Nations General Assembly meeting.
in an interview with the official Pakistani media described it as an “informal
meeting” with Trump during which, he said, they discussed matters relating to
met with President Trump at the reception where I had the opportunity to
discuss Pak-US relations with him. I requested him to rebuild the cordial
relations that we have enjoyed in the past,” Qureshi told a private news
Pakistani media outlets reported the “informal meeting” citing the PTV report.
to official news agency Associated Press of Pakistan, Qureshi received a
“positive response” from Trump, who said they intend to “rebuild” the bilateral
the White House said only a handshake happened between the two at the luncheon.
was a handshake at a luncheon with other world leaders,” a National Security
Council spokesperson told Indian news agency PTI.
sources in New York tracking Trump’s engagement confirmed to PTI that Trump had
no meeting with Qureshi and that it was never planned.
pool of reporters who follow Trump and report about his meetings with the world
leaders did not mention the US president’s meeting with Qureshi either.
White House pool, which covered the luncheon, also did not mention Trump having
a long chat with Qureshi, which would have had come to the attention of the
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly approached Trump and shook his
hand as Trump stayed seated at the head table just before lunch started,” a
White House pool report said.
(Trump) is shaking hands and mingling,” it said.
luncheon was hosted by the UN secretary general in honour of the heads of state
lunch kicked off at 1:27 pm (local time), with the secretary general offering
the introductory remarks, according to a White House pool report of the
sat with his arms crossed and occasionally nodded. Secretary general offered a
toast and Trump took a sip of what appeared to be a glass of red wine after the
toast. Trump began his remarks at 1:31 pm,” the report stated.
long said the United Nations has great potential…,” Trump said according to the
prime minister Nawaz Sharif left for Lahore on Thursday after appearing before
accountability court, which resumed hearing the remaining corruption references
against him and his family.
court II Judge Arshad Malik was hearing the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship
Investment corruption references against the former premier.
the hearing today, Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Haris continued to cross-examine
investigation officer Mehboob Alam.
Tuesday, Haris completed the cross-examination of Panamagate joint
investigation team (JIT) head and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) star
witness Wajid Zia. The ex-premier was also exempted from appearing in court for
two days on account of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s death and directed to appear
on July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude
all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
and his sons; Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references, whereas,
Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began
last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
nations urge UN to draft new Syrian constitution
U.S. and six other nations called on the United Nations Thursday to convene a
committee “as quickly as possible” to begin drafting a new constitution for
a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the U.S., France, Germany, Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UK urged UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de
Mistura to convene a “credible” and “inclusive” committee to pave the way for
UN-supervised free and fair elections.
group asked de Mistura to submit a progress report on the formation of the
constitutional committee to the UN Security Council by Oct. 31.
and the U.S. will overcome the current “turbulent period” in their relations
through their strategic partnership, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
said late Wednesday.
strategic partnership, which has gone through difficulties so many times, will
overcome this turbulent period," Erdogan said during his address at the
Ninth Turkey Investment Conference held by the Turkey-U.S. Business Council
(TAIK) in New York.
said disagreements with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump on
issues such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the fight against
terrorism, Jerusalem, Syria and sanctions "test Turkish-American
said he believes that Turkey and the U.S. need to come a long way in their relations,
especially with regards to the FETO and PYD/PKK terrorist organizations.
said some circles in the Trump administration assume they can resolve
differences with Turkey through threats, pressure and blackmail.
questioned why the U.S. is protecting FETO leader Fetullah Gulen, adding: “Are
we not strategic partners?”
said FETO is active in 27 U.S. states and has charter schools there.
and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the
defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200
also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the
state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the
military, police and judiciary.
in US exceed $4.6 billion
said the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the U.S. was above $20
billion in 2017. He said Turkey's exports to the U.S. totaled $8.7 billion and
imports totaled $12 billion.
of today, Turkish firms' investments in the U.S. exceed $4.6 billion," he
president said Turkey views the future of political and economic relations with
the U.S. with hope despite Washington imposing sanctions and doubling tariffs
on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.
said there are no winners in trade wars and each unilateral decision will be
met with retaliation.
said Turkey will continue to strengthen the investment environment without
compromising the rules of the free market economy.
President Donald Trump praised Turkey Wednesday for its "big help" in
preventing a military conflict in Syria’s Idlib province.
at a press conference at UN headquarters in New York, Trump credited himself
with averting a bloodbath in Idlib but also commended Turkey’s efforts in
preventing further escalations in the region.
has been a big help. Turkey has been great. Turkey has helped us very much with
that whole situation,” Trump told reporters.
his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey prevented the Bashar al-Assad regime from carrying
out "bloody assaults" against the de-escalation area in Idlib with
the Sochi agreement signed with Russia.
agreement stipulated the establishment of a 15 to 20-kilometer (9.3-12.4 mile)
disarmament zone in Idlib, Syria’s last opposition stronghold.
also noted during his press conference that he would present his peace plan for
the Middle East before the end of the year and that he backs a two-state
think the two-state [resolution] will happen,” he said.
think in one way, it’s more difficult because it’s a real estate deal. It’s a
little tougher deal. But in another way, it works better because you have
people governing themselves.”
also used the same rhetoric early Wednesday when he met with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly
- The United States has launched a global program to catch terrorists who are
transiting between countries by coordinating exchanges of data such as
biometric markers, the Department of State announced in a press release on
Terrorist Travel Initiative will bring together national and local governments,
law enforcement and border screening practitioners, and international
organizations to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective
counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools,” the release said.
initiative was announced on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly
meeting in New York, the release added. One of the most effective ways to counter
terrorist travel is by accessing data bases such as Advanced Passenger
Information (API), Passenger Name Record (PNR), as well as biometric markers,
the release said. The program will be run by the Global Counterterrorism Forum
(GCTF), a multilateral organization founded in 2011 by the European Union and
29 nations, including the United States and Russia.
initiative will convene a series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 to
develop recommendations, to be endorsed by a GCTF ministerial in 2019,
according to the release.
nearly 500 US Army close combat tactical simulators will be modernized under a
$356 million contract, defence contractor Lockheed Martin announced in a press
release on Thursday.
Close Combat Tactical Training (CCTT) Manned Module Modernization (M3)
contract, worth up to $356 million, modernizes training while increasing
sustainability in support of emerging Army training requirements and
systems," the release said.
CCTT system is designed to immerse soldiers, who operate equipment such as
Abrams tanks and Bradley troop transport vehicles, in real-world battle
scenarios through computer-based simulations, the release explained.
President Donald Trump’s hostile comments against the Iranian nation during his
speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday were lies that underscored the US
leader’s “ignorance” about the Islamic Republic, says an American political
accusations against Iran “really shows an ignorance of facts and ignorance of
history,’ said Scott Bennett, a former US military psychological warfare
president was speaking the same lies and corrupt half-truths that his people
[aides] have told him and it very sad because he is dangerously positioning the
United States with a confict against Russia and Iran,” Bennett told Press TV on
launched a scathing attack against Iran on Tuesday at his speech to the UN
General Assembly, accusing Tehran of sowing "chaos, death and
destruction" across the Middle East.
also alleged once again that Iran was “the world’s leading sponsor of
terrorism” and promised hard-hitting sanctions against Tehran while urging the
world to isolate the Islamic Republic.
Wednesday, Trump chaired the UN Security Council meeting which focused on the
non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
the Security Council meeting, Trump threatened that any individuals or entities
that fail to comply with Iran sanctions will “face server consequences” and
stressed that the US will ensure Iran will never get a nuclear bomb.
also said that the US will pursue tougher Iran sanctions, “tougher than ever
before,” and defended re-imposing sanctions on Iran, citing its "malign
withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers,
including the US.
speaking at the meeting was French President Emmanuel Macron who said that
sanctions and containment were not solutions to the Iranian issue.
said that Iran has lived up to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal,
known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and so should other
signatories to the deal.
United States is planning a high-level meeting with Arab leaders in January to
speed up forging an alliance that is mainly aimed at confronting Iran, a senior
US official has confirmed.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Persian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking has
been touring the region over the past weeks in a bid to muster enough support
to form the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a concept similar to an Arab
idea of forming an alliance that comprised the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council--
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman—along with
the US, Egypt and Jordan, and addressed security, economic and political issues
was first floated during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last
year, Lenderking said.
more we have coordinated efforts, the more effective in enhancing stability,”
he told Emirati website The National on Wednesday, calling Iran the “number one
threat” on the MESA list.
other concerns included cyber concerns, attacks on infrastructure, and
coordinating conflict management from Syria to Yemen, according to the US
noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would host meeting with officials
from these countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on
said Washington wanted the groundwork laid by January, when the US would host a
summit to launch the alliance.
[US] would like to agree on the concept of MESA by the January summit,”
Lenderking said, adding that the US was “flexible” on the date given the talks
were still in the early stages.
problem hindering the process, Lenderking acknowledged, was the ongoing rift
within the (P)GCC, where Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt had cut ties
with Qatar over a range of reasons and refused to resolve their difference.
the long term, with the Mesa that we envision, it would be hard to have two or
three countries in this alliance in this kind of confrontation,” he explained.
“We can continue to develop the concept and work on some of the pillars but
ultimately you have to see the rift de-escalated.”
Saudi-led war on Yemen was another key issue that Washington had set its eyes
on, according to the official.
a forbidding climate to make progress,” Lenderking said of the military
aggression that Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the UAE, launched in
war has killed thousands of Yemeni people and put the US and several other
Western nations in hot water for ignoring Riyadh’s atrocities and continuing
controversial arms deals with the Saudi regime.
repeated US claims that Iran has been providing Yemen’s Ansarullah Movement,
which has been the main target of the Saudi aggression, with missiles and other
forms of support.
incumbent on all of us to raise the cost to Iran, and part of our Iran strategy
includes a Yemen element where we see the Iranians playing in this theatre of
operations with relative impunity.”
said that MESA would allow the US to increase its naval presence off Yemen’s
coast to better intercept what he called weapons shipments to the country.
human rights body creates team to document Myanmar abuses
(AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights body agreed Thursday to set up a team to
collect evidence of alleged crimes committed in Myanmar against Rohingya
Muslims and others since 2011, information that one day could be used to
prosecute suspected perpetrators.
47-member Human Rights Council voted 35-3 to create an "independent
mechanism" — in essence, an accountability body — to complement a
fact-finding mission the council previously authorized to help document alleged
rights violations in Myanmar.
the fact-finding mission, the mechanism has securing evidence that could be
used in pursuing criminal indictments as its main purpose.
resolution establishing the new team was presented jointly by the European
Union, led by Austria, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, led by
Pakistan. China, Burundi and the Philippines opposed the measure. Seven
countries abstained from the vote.
accountability body's work, which could begin in coming months, is expected to
cover a massive security crackdown that began in August 2017. Human rights
group say it left at least 10,000 people dead and caused hundreds of thousands
of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.
ambassador in Geneva, Kyaw Moe Tun, criticized the resolution, saying it was
based on a report issued by the fact-finding mission last month that was
"replete with unverified information."
move paves the way for millions of dollars in U.N. funds to go toward
collecting evidence of alleged wrongdoing in Myanmar that U.N.-backed
investigators said could amount to genocide and other war crimes.
of the resolution is likely to raise pressure on military chiefs and others who
might come under investigation for alleged war crimes — making them think twice
before contemplating travel outside Myanmar and their possible arrest.
the Human Rights Council's decision raises the level of scrutiny faced by
security forces and other perpetrators, its potential effect on war crime
prosecutions is uncertain. Possible venues for any such cases include the
International Criminal Court, though some experts view that setting as unlikely
because it would require support from the U.N. Security Council, where China
holds a veto.
options might be an "ad hoc" international court or a national court
that could claim "universal jurisdiction" to prosecute international
rights groups applauded the resolution.
resolution is an important step forward in the fight for accountability in
Myanmar, making the prospect of justice possible for the Rohingya and other
ethnic minorities who have suffered atrocities at the hands of the country's
security forces," said Tirana Hassan, crisis response director for Amnesty
International. "It sends a clear message of solidarity to the victims and
survivors, as well as a stark warning to Myanmar's military that their crimes
will be punished."
upbraided the Chinese government for its opposition, alleging it "comes at
a time when China is committing serious human rights violations against Uighurs
and other Muslim minorities."
Iniyan Ilango, the United Nations advocacy program manager at Forum-Asia, noted
that the resolution called on the U.N. to look into its own involvement in Myanmar
since 2011. The fact-finding mission reported last month that the U.N. had
favored "quiet diplomacy" over human rights concerns.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' silence on this observation is
deafening," Ilango said.
UK Labour Party’s recent move to boycott any British arms sale to Israel was
meant to stop the regime’s illegal expansion into occupied Palestinian
territories, a political analyst in London says.
is a historic move, as a result of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement
which is aimed at stopping the Zionist expansion into other lands, at last a
major UK political party, the labor party has agreed to stop supplying arms to
Israel,” Rodney Shakespeare, an author and academic from London, said in a
phone interview with the Press TV on Wednesday.
said the significance of the Labour Part's new move was much greater than the
mere ban on supplying of arms because Israel receives the bulk of its weapons
from the United States.
said Labour, which is expected to form the next UK government, clearly
“realizes that Israel has no intention at all of going for a two-state
solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
would remind you that Israel is in effective annexation of the West Bank with
all its settlements, effective annexation of part of Lebanon, actual annexation
and effective annexation of the Golan Heights and of course effective
annexation of Jerusalem (al-Quds),” said Shakespeare in reference to Israel’s
continued expansion into other territories which is in breach of United Nations
expert hailed Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn for their brave stances
against Zionism and Israeli expansionism, saying pro-Israeli lawmakers in the
party like Margaret Hodge who accuse Corbyn of anti-Semitism are deliberately
leading a smear campaign against him.
in there we are beginning to see that this is about stopping Zionism,” said
Shakespeare, adding, “I congratulate Jeremy Corbyn, I congratulate British
Labour Party, long last!”
promised on Wednesday to recognize a Palestinian state as soon as his party
takes office in case of winning upcoming elections.
order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a
Palestinian state as soon as we take office,” Corbyn said at the Labour Party
conference in Liverpool, northwest England.
received a standing ovation when he made the announcement, and people waved
Palestinian flags from the audience.
police say two people have been detained in the capital, Copenhagen, on
suspicion of purchasing drones bound for the Daesh terror group mainly active
in the Middle East.
arrests were made on Wednesday during raids by police in cooperation with
security and intelligence forces in the Danish capital and its vicinity,
according to a police statement.
detainees are believed to be members of a broader Daesh-linked network in the
Scandinavian country, which ships drones and other military supplies to the
world’s most notorious terror group.
said the pair faces charges of seeking to collaborate with terrorists abroad
and will appear in court later on Thursday, without giving information on their
want the hearing to take place behind closed doors as the investigation is
Danish media have described both suspects as being 29 and residents of
year, a man was arrested in Denmark for allegedly shipping drones, drone
components and infrared cameras to Daesh through Turkey.
began to recruit hundreds of European nationals in 2014, when it unleashed a campaign
of death and destruction in Iraq and Syria and captured swathes of land there.
have been growing concerns in European countries over the return of their
radicalized citizens now that Daesh has lost its territorial rule in the two
Middle Eastern states.
Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) lecturers and students yesterday had the
opportunity to listen to an Arabic public lecture, held in conjunction First
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Muftis Council (RMC) Rushan Abbyasov’s visit to
Rector Dr Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal, Ambassador of the Russian Federation
to Brunei Darussalam Vladlen Semivolos, principal officers, faculty deans and
centre directors of UNISSA were also present at the talk titled ‘Islam in
to Rushan Abbyasov, the indigenous Russian Muslims are concentrated in two main
areas – between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and the middle of the Volga
basin. Other areas with notable Muslim population include Moscow, St Petersburg
and cosmopolitan cities in Siberia, with a majority of Russian Muslims
practising Sunni of the Hanafi School, and most Muslims of the North Caucasus
the mid-7th Century, Islam penetrated the Caucasus region, parts of which were
later incorporated by Russia. The first people converted to Islam were people
of the city of Derbent. Forty companions of the Prophet (pbuh) who entered the
territory of the Northern Caucasus together with the Arab conquerors were
buried in Derbent,” he explained.
Abbyasov also noted that one of the oldest mosques in Russia and CIS is the
Juma Mosque, built in 733. It has withstood the ravages of time, and has been
included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
talk also discussed Islam in Russia during the 13th to 16th centuries. In 1788
the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly (OMSA) was established to supervise
Muslims who resided within the Russian Empire.
the October revolution of 1917, the life of the Muslim community of Russia
changed. By 1937, out of 12,000 mosques functioning before the revolution, over
10,000 were closed. Between 90 and 97 per cent of imams and muezzins were
deprived of the opportunity to perform religious rites and ceremonies.
1943-1944 in the USSR, four spiritual administrations of Muslims were created –
the European part and Siberia (Ufa), Central Asia and Kazakhstan (Tashkent),
the North Caucasus (Buinaksk), and Transcaucasia (Baku). They lasted until the
collapse of the Soviet Union.
the mid-60s, the authorities began to encourage participation of the clergy in
the public life of the country. International conferences for peace were held,
and official imams began to visit friendly Muslim countries,” Rushan Abbyasov
democratic reforms of the 1990s led to an increase of religious activity.
Numerous Muslim communities started to operate legally. Since that time, new
communities have been registered, many new mosques have been built.”
there are several recognised Islamic universities and schools, proving that the
classical Islamic education system is gradually being restored. Islamic
merchandise and religious books are distributed everywhere. Academic, study and
theological books about Islam are published in large numbers. Russia has
traditionally been one of the centres of global academic Islamic studies.
Russian Muftis Council is a centralised religious organisation of Russian
Muslims that unites religious boards of Muslims and various religious Muslim
organisations in the Russian Federation.
its foundation in 1996, the RMC is headed by Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin.
Muslims were injured after a car ploughed into the worshippers near an Islamic
centre in north-west London on September 19. The police refused to treat it as
a terrorist attack instead said it was a hate attack. Head of Operations of the
Hussaini Association Islamic centre, Muhammad Al-Bayati, disagreed with the
police. “I believe it was a terrorist attack. They wanted to cause terror.
According to the stewards, the attack was premeditated,” he said.
of the Association, Mustafa Al-Balaghi, said he was “shocked” at the attacks.
“It was as though we were watching a movie. It was catastrophic. It was a
cowardly attack. We thank Allah that there were not many casualties.”
told the congregation to “have patience and tolerance.”
extend our prayers to the victims and their family.”
to the Hussaini Association Islamic centre spokesperson, three white men and a
woman, in a car, screaming Islamophobic abuse, “dirty Muslims”, ploughed into
worshippers on the pavement, injuring three. One young boy, who might have
suffered severe injuries if it was not for quick thinking by a former police
officer who threw him from the path of the attacking car.
man in his fifties remains in hospital and is being treated for a serious leg
injury. Two men in their 20s suffered minor injuries.
occupants of the car, all aged in their mid-twenties, who were drinking and
allegedly using drugs, were asked to leave the mosque’s car park.
told The Muslim News that the attackers tried to run down the stewards at the car
park and then drove to Oxgate Lane to target the worshippers who were leaving
attackers knew there was a Muslim event taking place, where the cars were
parked. The attacks were not by chance. It was planned from before,” said
attackers were blocking cars at the private car park. One of the patrons of the
Centre asked them to leave but the attackers refused to budge. The driver was
standing near their car and got aggressive and “began his Islamophobic
rhetoric. He threatened to kill all Muslims.”
asked the steward whether he was Shia or Sunni. “It seems they had knowledge
about the different schools of thoughts in Islam.”
shows the attacks were premeditated with the intent to cause harm,” Al-Bayati
driver tried to run over the steward twice. The stewards managed to get out of
the car park. They went to the Oxgate Lane and shouted at the worshippers to
take cover behind parked cars. Two young boys managed to hide behind the cars.
the attacker struck the steward and threw him down. The steward managed to get
up, took a brick and threw at the car to stop it from attacking the
worshippers. The steward was injured on his right side of the body.
former police officer, Ali Mashkour, was standing with a group of people who
were hit. He saw the car approaching. He saw an eight-year-old boy in the path
of the speeding car. Mashkour quickly threw the boy away from the car and he
too moved away. However, an old man behind him took the full force of the car
attack. He was seriously injured and is still in hospital.
were around 1,500 people on the street. If the cars weren’t parked on both
sides there could have been a large number of people killed,” said Al-Bayati.
said no one expected such an attack. “Everyone was shocked and terrified. The
following day people were contacting them whether to come or not. They were
traumatised. It really impacted the community,” he said.
said the response by the neighbours and people of other faith was “amazing.”
Leaders of the two Synagogues nearby visited them. They also had visits from
other mosques to show “solidarity with us.”
attack was sad but it brought us all together.”
incident is not being treated as terror related but the hate crime aspect of
the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor,” said
men were arrested on Thursday in the Netherlands on suspicion of plotting a
large-scale extremist attack that Dutch prosecutors said they think was foiled
following a months-long investigation.
national prosecutor's office said in a statement that heavily armed police
arrested the men in the towns of Arnhem, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south
of Amsterdam, and Weert in the southern Netherlands close to the borders of
Germany and Belgium.
investigation was launched by intelligence suggesting the alleged ring leader,
a 34-year-old man of Iraqi heritage, wanted to carry out an attack at the site
of a large event and cause multiple casualties, according to the statement.
suspects allegedly wanted to use bomb vests and assault rifles to do harm at
the event, and planned to detonate a car bomb at another location, prosecutors
said. An investigation of potential targets is continuing.
said the suspects ranged in age from 21 to 34. Three of them, including the
34-year-old Iraqi, were previously convicted of attempting to travel overseas
to join extremist networks.
men were attempting to obtain AK47 assault rifles, handguns, bomb vests,
grenades and raw materials for bombs and were looking for opportunities to
train with such weapons, according to the statement.
said that the investigation sped up this month because of the suspects'
men were to be brought before an investigating judge on Friday at a
Dutch anti-terror coordinator's office said in a tweet that the alleged plot
fit the current threat profile for the Netherlands, which is at four on a scale
that tops out at five. The office did not raise the level following the
EU’s migration policy has left hundreds of refugees returned to Libya locked in
detention centres close to frontlines drinking toilet water to stay alive or
being forced to move and pack weapons for armed groups amid a new outbreak of
the conflict, according to firsthand accounts given to The National.
the past month, Tripoli has experienced the worst fighting in years, as rival
militias vied for control of the city. Though a ceasefire was announced on
Wednesday, it is uncertain how long it will hold. A previous accord, signed on
September 4, lasted only a few days.
the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) deputy high commissioner Kelly
Clements said the organisation has evacuated most of its own staff and so can’t
offer assistance to migrants and refugees still trapped in the city.
estimated 8,000 men, women and children were being held in Tripoli detention
centres run by the Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM)
before the fighting broke out on August 26. Already the conditions were
criticised by aid and human rights groups for being inhumane. Most were
returned to Libya earlier this year by the EU-backed Libyan coastguard after
trying to reach Italy.
have since been moved to other parts of the city or country while some were
“released” from the centres. Several of those let go accidentally ran into
gunfire because they had no idea which way to head, according to witnesses who
and migrants in three separate centres have told The National they’re desperate
for aid and evacuation and say that fighting meant they had to go up to five
days straight without food over the past month.
are in the middle area of the clash,” one Eritrean man said in a WhatsApp
message. “To tell you the truth we did not even sleep for about six days. Heavy
weapons and gunfire pass over us.”
Eritrean national being held in Abu Salim detention centre in southwest Tripoli
told The National that more than 400 detainees were woken early on Monday
morning to the sound of rockets landing close by. “Everybody was woken from
sleep because we hear the sound of heavy weapons near to us, so the women and
children are crying,” he said.
Tuesday, 10 Eritrean and Ethiopian nationals were taken from Abu Salim centre
and forced to spend hours moving weapons for militias. “They make them work like
putting heavy weapons in a car but they [didn’t] touch them,” the man told The
National explaining they were unharmed. Detainees kept elsewhere in Tripoli
said they had been forced to pack bullets in the early days of the fighting.
Without Borders (MSF), which provides medical care to migrants and refugees in
Libya, has been calling for urgent evacuations since September 7. “Several
detention centres in Tripoli are on front lines and thousands of desperate
people are still trapped inside. There is a real risk of mass casualties as a
result of indiscriminate shelling and artillery fire," said Ibrahim
Younis, MSF’s head of mission in Libya.
from urgent medical, food and water needs, refugees and migrants from countries
including Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, have been pleading to be
registered with UNHCR.
three detention centres where detainees were reached by The National, only
between a quarter and a half of people from seven recognised refugee-producing
countries were registered before the fighting broke out. Some say they’ve
waited up to eight months, and worry they won’t be considered for evacuation
and could be kidnapped by traffickers because there is no official record of
said the dangerous security situation means access is difficult. “Unless we’re
able to expand our reach inside the country it’s going to be hard for us to
continue to evacuate those in need of international protection”, Ms Clements
said from the UN General Assembly in New York.
the extent that we can access them, we’re trying to evacuate them as quickly as
we can, but with the current fighting we’re also conscious that we don’t want
to lose our team members lives, so we have to wait for a lull in the current
conflict in order to recommence”, she said.
week, the last private rescue ship operating in the Central Mediterranean, the
Aquarius, had its registration revoked, meaning dwindling escape routes are
closing down. “This decision condemns hundreds of men, women, and children to
death,” MSF, which operated the boat, said in response. Already, one person was
dying at sea for every 18 that successfully make it to Europe from Libya,
according to a report released by UNHCR earlier this month. The survival rate
is expected to deteriorate.
has become the main Mediterranean departure point for migrants and refugees
trying to reach Europe. Since February 2017, the EU has been funding the Libyan
coastguard to intercept people trying to make the crossing and return them to
Libya. Many are locked in indefinite detention where human rights groups have
documented abuses including rape, forced labour, torture and extortion.
those locked up are women and children. In Abu Salim detention centre, one
woman gave birth two weeks ago and several other pregnant women are close to
640 children are currently being held in “official” detention centres,
according to Unicef. “Given human rights violations reported in official
immigration detention centres, this is particularly alarming, with children
exposed to physical and mental abuse, sexual exploitation and forced separation
from their families and loved ones,” said Unicef special representative in
Libya, Abdel-Rahman Ghandour.
frontrunner to be Conservative candidate for London Mayor is at the centre of
an Islamophobia row, after he shared a tweet that meant thousands of his
followers saw a message referring to Labour’s Sadiq Khan as “mad mullah Khan of
Bailey retweeted a post last year which had shared a picture of Mr Khan and a
racist caption which also branded Labour as “anti-British”.
Conservative Party told The Independent there is “no way” Mr Bailey would have
seen the offensive caption on the picture before sharing the post, as to do so
one must click to open it.
a London Labour MP branded the picture sent to more than 10,000 of Mr Bailey’s
followers as “absolutely disgraceful” and accused the Tory politician of
seeking to wage an Islamophobic campaign against Mr Khan.
Friday the Tories will announce which of three candidates will go head-to-head
with the mayor in the 2020 election, with London assembly member Mr Bailey best
new row harks back to the 2016 battle, which saw Tory MP Zac Goldsmith wage
what even some other Conservatives described as a “disgusting” campaign that
sought to paint Mr Khan as closely linked to extremists.
comes on the eve of the Conservative conference in Birmingham and amid wider
concern over Islamophobia in the party, which flared up in the wake of Boris
Johnson’s recent articles suggesting Muslim women in burqas and niqabs look
like “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”.
this latest incident, screenshots from Twitter show that the original offensive
content was posted by one user and then shared in another post by a supporter
of Mr Bailey, who then retweeted his supporter’s post.
did so in the summer of 2017 amid a row over the cancellation of a bus contract
signed off by Mr Khan’s Conservative predecessor, though the original post
containing the content has now been deleted.
offensive message in the initial tweet showed an image of Mr Khan, a
Routemaster bus and the caption “mad mullah Khan of Londonistan has cancelled
production of British built Routemaster bus and handed the contract to
lower down it reads: “Yet another example of the anti-British Labour party
putting the British worker last”.
spokesman for Shaun Bailey said: “As The Independent’s screenshot shows, these
grossly offensive words were in no way visible in the chain that was retweeted.
was completely unaware of their existence, and as someone who has suffered
racial abuse himself, there is no way on earth Shaun would ever knowingly have
shared something so offensive.”
row sets the scene for what is likely to be a long and gritty fight for City
Hall, with Conservative deputy chair James Cleverly reminding Twitter users on
Thursday that Mr Bailey himself had once been slurred by London Labour MP Emma
Dent Coad as a “token ghetto boy”.
Labour’s Ilford North MP Wes Streeting warned Mr Bailey against repeating “Zac
Goldsmith’s Islamophobic campaign for London Mayor”.
added: “The picture he shared on Twitter is absolutely disgraceful.”
source at London Labour told The Independent: “Sadiq hopes this mayoral
election will be a clean race based on what the candidates can offer Londoners
– unlike the last.
looking forward to running on his record of delivering social housing in record
numbers, cleaning up London’s filthy air and making transport more affordable
for all Londoners, as well as standing up for our city in the Brexit
the 2016 mayoral campaign, chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum Mohammed Amin
joined other senior Tory figures in condemning the attacks on Mr Khan by Mr
for the ConservativeHome website, Mr Amin said it had risked leading to the
radicalisation of young Muslims in the UK.
over the campaign persists today, with one of the three current individuals
running to be the Tory candidate, Andrew Boff, admitting that the attacks had
been a “mistaken tactic”.
Bailey, a youth worker who became an adviser to David Cameron before being
elected to the London Assembly is yet to go further than a joint statement
issued by himself, Mr Boff and the other hopeful Joy Morrissey, which said that
they “support all efforts to keep our capital open and integrated between all
our communities”. He has also campaigned for, and received political backing
from, Mr Goldsmith.
co-chair of the Conservatives Baroness Warsi has said that Islamophobia is
“very widespread” in the Conservative party and complained that it has been
“ignored” by leaders.
later joined others including the Conservative Muslim Forum, and the Muslim
Council of Great Britain in calling for an inquiry into the problem.
a year has passed by since the Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state of
Myanmar started crossing the border into Bangladesh as victims of 'genocide' in
their centuries-old homeland'
Minister Sheikh Hasina has insisted on the member states of Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play a role in mitigating the plight of the
Muslims across the world and to find the reason behind their eviction,
repression and torture.
on Thursday urged the OIC member states to resolve the problems and discontent
over the issue through bilateral or regional dialogue.
remarks came during a high-level side meeting on the situation of Rohingya
minority in Myanmar, organized by the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia and the
OIC Secretariat at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, US,
Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen was present at the program.
a year has passed by since the Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state of
Myanmar started crossing the border into Bangladesh as victims of 'genocide' in
their centuries-old homeland,” Hasina said.
can't just ignore the plight of the forcibly evicted Rohingyas in one of the
largest displacements in human history. Currently, we're hosting over 1.1
million Rohingyas in Bangladesh.”
said the tragic fate of the Rohingya Muslims was nothing new, and their current
exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh was the biggest one as it had been in three
phases – 1978, 1991-92 and 2017-18.
that the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland was not a sustainable
solution, she underscored the need for collective responsibility and
accountability to ensure the rights and privileges of the Rohingyas by Myanmar.
is the people of Bangladesh who are bearing the brunt of the Rohingya crisis
time and again.”
prime minister said that her government had stood by the Rohingyas by opening
the border and providing emergency support on humanitarian grounds. “Our
resolution to humanity should not be penalised. The prolonged presence of the
Rohingyas in Bangladesh poses serious challenges to our economy, environment
and security," she added.
reiterated that Bangladesh had been engaged with Myanmar in finding a peaceful
solution from the very beginning and signed two instruments for repatriation of
international pressure can only complement the bilateral front to change the
well-planned political position of Myanmar for annihilating an entire
race," she said.
also urged the Muslim Ummah to lead the campaign of mounting pressure on
Myanmar for creating conducive environment for sustainable repatriation of the
Rohingyas and ensuring accountability of the atrocities committed against them.
stressed the importance of the OIC member states' continuation to remain
engaged in the UN system, including in the UN General Assembly and the Human
Rights Council with other relevant international organizations to address the
massive human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims.
all, we need to solve the issue at the earliest," she added.
towards the five-point action plan proposed by her in last September to resolve
the Rohingya crisis peacefully, she said: "It's a matter of great regret
that the repatriation process is yet to start."
also thanked the OIC member states for taking concrete steps on the issue over
would like to reiterate that the Rohingya crisis is a political one and is
deeply rooted in Myanmar. Thus, its solution has to be found in Myanmar,"
the prime minister said.
least thirty five militants were killed or wounded during Qahr Silab operations
in eastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military said Thursday.
to a statement released by 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military, the Afghan
army, national police, army special forces, Afghan Local Police, public order
police, intelligence forces, and the local uprising forces conducted operations
as part of Qahar Silab (3/11) in Tagab district.
statement further added that the operations were conducted with the support of
artillery and air forces and as a result at least 21 militants were killed and
at least 14 others sustained injuries.
Taliban commanders identified as Ijaz Ul Haq also famous as Osama, Qari
Hashmat, and Abdul Rahman were among those killed, the 201st Silab Corps said,
adding that the shadow district chief of Taliban for Tagab Qari Nezafatullah
also been killed during the operations.
201st Silab Corps also added in its statement that one Taliban militant was
arrested and 7 landmines were discovered and defused while several areas,
including Badrab, Ghairat Khel, Almas Khel, Akhund Sahib, Gul Zara, Aka Khel,
Mullah Khel, Sheik u Islam, Loi Jamat, and Laghmani village.
Afghan forces also confiscated a rifle, a hand grenade, a camera, and some
munitions and other equipment during the search operation, the 201st Silab
- International terrorism is a force that causes security in Afghanistan to
deteriorate and should not be written off, as was the case in Syria four years
ago, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council has warned.
has been gripped by a decades-long war. Today its internationally-recognized
government controls only a portion of land, with the rest infested by the
Taliban and Islamic State, a terror group that gained prominence in Syria and
Iraq in 2014 (both banned in Russia).
OF SYRIAN SCENARIO
Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, who attended Wednesday
consultations on Afghan peace in Iran’s Tehran together with counterparts from
Afghanistan, Iran, India and China, cautioned about a repeat of the Syrian
scenario in the war-torn Central Asian country.
said national security chiefs had “the same or similar views of international
terrorist activities in Afghanistan.” He said the IS had not been considered a
serious threat when it emerged in Syria and Iraq four years ago.
have leashed a full-scale terrorist war against authorities and civilian
population. This year has already broken the record of bloody terror attacks,
with thousands of Afghan civilians killed,” he said.
UN Security Council meeting on September 18 confirmed a hike in violence in
Afghanistan, with rising IS insurgency in the country’s north risking a
spillover across the border.
IN TALIBAN VIOLENCE
said clashes were reported almost daily across Afghanistan, with police,
military, national security officers and civilians being killed
pointed to a rise in Taliban might, which is estimated to have a 60,000-strong
presence in the country. The Russian official cited a report by the General
Staff of the Afghan National Army that put Taliban presence in border areas
alone at 15,000 fighters. “It is necessary to note the increased military
potential of the Taliban, particularly, its ability to stage massive and
well-prepared attacks on administrative centers of the Afghan provinces,” he
internationally-backed nationwide political process can yield a lasting peace
in Afghanistan, the Russian official emphasized, adding there was no military
gains are a sign that forcing the traditional Afghan opposition to talks is not
a way forward … One can surely say that this is happening despite more than
17-year-long US presence in Afghanistan,” Patrushev said.
reaffirmed Russia’s readiness to step up police cooperation with Afghanistan in
the fight against drug smuggling and international terrorism. “We are
interested in a continued cooperation. We are ready to conduct a dialogue in all
kinds of formats,” Patrushev said.
year Russia created a Moscow-based mechanism for Afghan security talks based on
a consultation group of special envoys from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran,
and India. Russia repeatedly said it wanted to see the United States at the
meeting in Moscow was set for September 4, 2018 but was called off at Kabul’s
request. The Russian Foreign Ministry is in talks with Afghan diplomats on a
new date and modality of the future gathering. Shabaz Naseri, the chairman of
the defense and security committee in Afghan parliament, told Sputnik earlier
the decision to postpone Kabul’s participation in the talks was made under
pressure from Washington.
miscalculations by US
“erroneous” strikes in Afghanistan are the result of gross miscalculations by
the US leadership and the White House’s stake on military solutions, the
Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
increasing number of civilian deaths as a result of coalition forces’ air
strikes in Afghanistan cause serious concern. Three such incidents were
registered in the past week alone,” the ministry said.
Chief Executive of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan has urged the
regional countries to assist Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and
take decisive actions against the safe havens of the terror groups in their
made the remarks during his speech at the 73rd General Assembly of the United
Nations in New York on Wednesday night.
stakeholders need to agree to treat all shades of terrorism as one, shut down
the breeding grounds and sanctuaries and to prosecute or repatriate the
violators,” Abdullah said.
also added that the response thus far has been sparse and insufficient,
emphasizing that “We are working with all countries near and far to bring about
also added that “We have asked our neighboring states, especially Pakistan, to
help targeted societies – including their own – deal with this menace. We are
looking forward to the timely and elective implementation of the recently
agreed Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APPAPS).”
comes as the Afghan and U.S. officials have long been claiming that the
militant and terrorist groups, particularly the Taliban and the notorious
Haqqani terrorist network, use their safe havens in Pakistan to plan and
coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.
rockets have hit the Afghan city of Ghazni during a visit by President Ashraf
Ghani as Taliban militants ramp up attacks across various parts of the country.
least two rockets landed within 300 meters of the governor’s compound while a
third struck farther off, Ghazni police spokesman Ahmad Khan Sirat said on
attacks took place as President Ghani was holding meetings with security
officials, religious leaders and members of civil society in the building.
deputy police chief Ramazan Ali Mohseni said no one was killed or wounded in
the attack which was claimed by the Taliban.
spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri played down the incident, saying it was far from
the governor's office.
is still struggling to return to normal after it was overrun by militants last
month. It bears the scars of days of heavy combat in August when thousands of
militants stormed the city.
than 200 civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded during the five-day
assault which also left at least 100 members of Afghan security forces dead.
attackers were eventually driven out with heavy losses, but the assault
underlined Taliban's ability to mount large-scale attacks on major cities.
areas of Ghazni Province have been heavily contested by the Taliban in recent
years. The militants had earlier seized the control of the Khawaja Omari
district north of Ghazni and Ajrestan in the west of the province.
this was the first serious attempt by the Taliban to take the provincial
capital, which is located on the main highway linking Kabul with Afghanistan's
attack on the strategic city was the most serious blow to the Kabul government
since the militants came close to overrunning the western city of Farah in May.
the presence of thousands of foreign boots on the ground, Afghanistan has been
rocked by a surge in terrorist attacks, some of them carried out by Daesh
terrorists mainly active in Nangarhar Province.
Indonesia’s conservative province of Aceh, a long-awaited promise to stop
caning criminals in public places lasted only a few months. In April, the
governor of the province, Irwandi Yusuf, had pledged that punishments would be
held inside prisons instead of in front of mosques, as a response to the
international criticism to this practice.
only one caning was carried out away from the eyes of the large crowds that
used to witness the events and take photos of the punishment. In July, Yusuf
was arrested for corruption and, with him, the promise also fell. Public caning
resumed a few days later, on July 13, when two men accused of having gay sex
received 87 lashes outside the Baiturrahim Mosque in the provincial capital,
Banda Aceh. Another nine people were caned for spending time together in a
private space without being married, while one woman was flogged for selling
alcohol, and three other men for consuming it.
is not the only conservative province in Indonesia, but it is the only place
where Sharia or Islamic law has been implemented. This development stemmed from
the reforms that took place in the country after the era of President Suharto,
when more power was granted to local governments to approve some regulations.
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in addition, is a special region, a condition granted in order to end the armed
separatist conflict that raged in the region for almost 30 years, starting in
1976. When the tsunami struck in 2004, the province was in a dire situation.
The need for help to rebuild the area led to a peace agreement in 2005.
Aceh, movies and karaoke are banned. Some posters on the streets remind young
people that they cannot spend time together alone. In early September,
authorities in an Aceh district also banned men and women from dining together
unless they were married or shared a family relationship, arguing that this
would help women be “more well behaved.”
Islamic leaders in Indonesia, inspired by what is allowed in Aceh, are pushing
to implement similar regulations in other parts of the country. In Indonesia
around 88 percent of the population declares themselves moderate Muslim,
although more and more women are modestly dressed and the LGBT community feels
increasingly threatened. The persecution of religious minorities in Indonesia
has also been keenly felt in recent years. In 2017, the Christian governor of
Jakarta was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy against Islam.
politicians and academics in Aceh have spoken in defense of the strict implementation
of Sharia in the province. They have pointed to the tsunami on many occasions,
arguing that it arrived as “a punishment from God” due the lack of faith. In
the same vein, many have warned that a second and bigger disaster will come if
the Acehnese do not follow Sharia.
small civic organizations, such as the Society Network for Islamic Law Care,
have been urging the government to review Islamic laws since 2009. Academic
Fuad Mardhotillah, who is on the board of advisers for that organization,
argues that public punishments are the result of a “misinterpretation of
April, Yusuf promised that canings would be carried out inside prisons, where
adults can still witness the punishment but recording wouldn’t be allowed. But
according to local photographer Hotli Simanjuntak, who documents canings for
the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), four collective punishments have been
carried out to date.
Nur Ichwan, senior lecturer and vice director of the School of Graduate Studies
of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta, explained that the
gubernatorial regulation on meting out caning punishments at prison was not
effective for two reasons.
he said, “legally [the regulation] has not yet been followed with implementation
guidance and technical guidance.” On the other hand, politically, the
regulation “has been considered by many, if not most, local legislators,
regents, mayors, and ulamas, as contradicting Sharia itself.” Ichwan argued
that this opposition “is political and not purely religious,” but this reflects
the conservative views of most politicians in Aceh.
gained his position based on a commitment to develop infrastructure and ensure
that residents of the province can benefit from their natural resources, which
include some of the largest oil reserves in Indonesia. After being re-elected
at the beginning of 2017, he received a lot of pressure from the central
government to maintain investment. The tension increased in May of the same
year, when for the first time two men were publicly caned for having gay sex.
promise to conduct future canings in prison provoked the wrath of some
religious figures. Critics consider it important to keep such punishment in the
eyes of the people, as it serves as an cautionary tale. The most visible
hardline Islamist group in Indonesia, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI),
organized protests in front of the government office asking the governor “not
to ruin Sharia in Aceh.”
explains the logic of Sharia implementation in Aceh is that “it is to be
implemented totally but in a gradual way.” Therefore, Sharia moves toward
totality, and not the other way around. The same month of Yusuf’s announcement,
the provincial government also asked his office to research beheading as a
punishment for murder, even though activists believe this is not going to
the canings to prison could actually be the first step to end this practice, if
it is accompanied with proper democratization and dominance of progressive
Islamic thought,” Ichwan said. “But,
because ending the canings should start with revising the qanuns [laws of
Muslim sovereigns], it is far from not an easy task in the near or long term.”
Afriko, a researcher and analyst of Islamic politics and governance, shares the
same idea as Ichwan. He argues that the announcement of Yusuf’s decree has
caused a major change in the discourse of some ulemas and intellectuals. For
example, a few of them expressed to the press the negative impact of public
punishments among society.
Afriko, “it could be easy to change the canings for a more rational punishment
if the leader wants and does not seek to politicize the Sharia because of his
personal or group political interest.” But he says, for now, he does not see
“that kind of leadership in Aceh.”
architect of China's Muslim camps is a rising star under Xi
(BLOOMBERG) - If one individual sums up the values gap between a rising China
and the West, it may well be Mr Chen Quanguo.
most senior Communist Party official in the far western region of Xinjiang is
the architect behind a crackdown against Muslim minority Uighurs.
United Nations says the campaign has placed as many as one million of them -
roughly a tenth of the territory's population - in "re-education
European Union has condemned the mass detentions and US lawmakers have called
for sanctions on Mr Chen and other top Chinese officials, threatening to
exacerbate tensions already roiled by an escalating trade war.
Senator Marco Rubio described the reports out of Xinjiang as "like a
horrible movie". But in China, Mr Chen has been a rising star.
actions in Xinjiang, along with demonstrations of loyalty to President Xi
Jinping, won him a promotion last year to the Communist Party's powerful
Politburo - making him one of China's 25 most powerful officials.
2023, the 62-year-old Chen may be considered for a spot on its supreme Standing
Committee, which has seven members.
Chen's ascendance is bigger than one man. It's fuelling concern among Western
governments about whether Xinjiang is being used to test a new model of
authoritarian rule that could transform the way the country is governed, and
potentially be exported around the region.
risks a new front to growing US-China tensions that already span trade, cyber
security, and a battle for influence across much of Asia-Pacific as Mr Xi seeks
to make his nation a global superpower by 2050.
US move to sanction Mr Chen would stoke fears in China of a foreign plot to
undercut its sovereignty in a region it has struggled to control, a sensitive
subject for a party persistently worried about independence movements in Hong
Kong, Taiwan and Tibet.
than any of China's top leaders currently in power, Mr Chen has been at the
forefront of China's efforts to subdue those restive regions.
we have is a clash of values," said Dr James Leibold, a senior lecturer at
La Trobe University in Melbourne.
policies that have been enacted under his watch in Xinjiang are the leading
edge of a far more heavy-handed coercive form of Chinese governance that some
in the West are starting to realise could have big consequences for China's
position in the world, as well as China's relationship with the liberal
the Communist Party, Mr Chen amounts to a self-made man. Unlike Mr Xi, whose
father was a senior revolutionary under Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, Mr Chen
had no known family connections to help him climb through the ranks.
little has been written about him compared with China's other top leaders, with
only scraps of information appearing on party websites in Hebei, Tibet and
Chen grew up in the inland province of Henan around the time of Mao's Great
Leap Forward, which saw almost one in eight adults in his prefecture die of
starvation, beatings or suicide.
joined the military after turning 18, eventually became a Communist Party
member, and attended college.
Mr Chen graduated when China was opening up to the world, his first job saw him
join a rural commune in Henan, beginning a nearly four-decade journey from
lowly apparatchik to Politburo member.
rising through the ranks, he served at one point under Mr Li Keqiang, China's
Chen received his big break in 2011, when he was appointed as the party's top
official in Tibet - one of the only places in China where foreign diplomats and
journalists need permission to travel.
a prestigious appointment: Mr Hu Jintao headed the region about a decade before
he became president.
the time, Tibet was still reeling from an outbreak of violence against
Chen gave speeches celebrating the Communist Party's "peaceful
liberation" of Tibet, saying its leadership had taken the region
"from darkness to light".
Chen then rolled out a set of policies that would establish him as Beijing's
point man for quelling ethnic unrest.
told the cadres that social stability was their "first
responsibility", instructed them to live in Tibetan villages and assigned
party officials to Buddhist temples.
in Tibet, Mr Chen said, should be adapted to "socialist
civilisation". Temples were ordered to display Chinese flags and images of
Communist Party leaders.
2015, Mr Chen stationed some 100,000 cadres in Tibetan villages and more than
1,700 temples had established party organisations, according to state media.
2011 and 2016, the Tibetan government advertised for 12,313 police-related
positions - more than four times as many positions as the preceding five years
combined, according to research by Dr Leibold and scholar Adrian Zenz.
Meng Jianzhu, the head of China's security apparatus during Mr Chen's time in
Tibet, described it as a "leading example for the whole country" in
Chen also kept a close eye on power shifts in Beijing. In February 2016, he
publicly hailed Mr Xi as China's "core" leader months before his
title was made official, and has described Mr Xi as a "wise leader"
with a "magnificent plan" for China.
of Mr Chen's delegation to China's national legislative sessions that year wore
lapel pins emblazoned with Mr Xi's portrait - the type of adulation common
during Mao's reign of personality.
Mr Chen clamped down on dissent in Tibet, Mr Xi had a problem in Xinjiang - a
region with some 10 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs where Beijing has long
struggled to enforce its rule.
have chafed under Chinese authority, seen by a rise in terrorist attacks and
ethnic violence beginning in 2009.
also sits at the centre of Mr Xi's signature Belt and Road infrastructure
initiative, which has promised more than US$100 billion (S$136.7 billion) to
reconstruct ancient trading routes from China to Eurasia.
Xi needed it under firm control, and in August 2016, he put Mr Chen in charge
of the region to implement a policy to "strike first" against
domestic terrorism and unrest.
Chen immediately set about replicating the system that brought him success in
sent Communist Party officials to Uighur villages, created a network of
checkpoints and facial-recognition cameras, and shuttered mosques in an effort
to "Sinify" Islam in the region.
to one Chinese-language profile, Mr Chen drilled Xinjiang's security forces
using a technique perfected in Tibet: timing police to the second on responding
to emergency calls.
controversially, Mr Chen set up the mass re-education camps that have sparked
an outcry in the US and Europe, as well as barbs from US Secretary of State
fax to Xinjiang's publicity department asking about the camps wasn't
Chen is the only person ever to have served as both party boss of both Xinjiang
and Tibet, according to domestic media reports.
dual strategy of tough security measures and re-education are designed to
"take the ethnicity out of the people and lock them down", said
Professor James Millward of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
members of a church congregation in Jambi city burst into tears on Thursday
upon seeing their house of worship sealed by Public Order Agency personnel.
have been worshiping here for 18 years. Suddenly [the church] is closed. We are
shocked,” Sinaga, one of the leaders of the Kanaan Methodist church on Jl.
Lingkar Barat Tiga in Kota Baru district, told reporters.
said the church leaders had applied for a permit from the city administration
for years but had never been granted one.
said up until now there had been no conflict with followers of other religions
around the location of the church, and congregation members were often involved
in communal activities.
National Unity and Politics Office head Liphan Pasaribu said the sealing had
been conducted because of local residents’ rejection of churches without
on negotiations between the administration and residents, it was agreed to seal
the church,” Pasaribu said, without divulging details on the parties involved.
administration had reportedly planned to seal three churches in the area but
postponed the move on two of them amid opposition from their congregation
called on the United Nations Security Council to establish an international
judicial mechanism to try those responsible for crimes against Rohingya and
other minorities in Myanmar, local media reported.
Jawan, Malaysian Foreign Ministry multilateral affairs deputy
secretary-general, has voiced his concern to the international community over
the atrocities against Rohingya in Myanmar, local daily Malay Mail said in a
to the international laws, Jawan noted that the Myanmar government has a basic
responsibility to act against crimes committed on minorities in the country.
of us should, therefore, use our leverage to urge Myanmar’s Independent
Commission on Enquiry on Rakhine State to bring all perpetrators of gross human
rights violations to justice,” said Jawan, quoted in the daily.
that end, the international community cannot, and should not, stand idle as we
witness the human catastrophe which has besieged the Rohingya unfold before our
very own eyes,” he added.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, entitled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience".
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police, and
over 115,000 Rohingya houses were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children
and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
clear U-turn, Israel says ready to reopen Golan crossing with Syria
a surprising change of tone, Israel has expressed readiness to reopen the
Quneitra border crossing with Syria in the Golan Heights, now that the Arab
country’s armed forces have purged militant groups from there.
are ready to open the crossing as it was before, and now the ball is in the
Syrian court,” Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman told
reporters as he toured the border area on Thursday.
who has a long history of hurling threats of doom and destruction against Syria
and President Bashar al-Assad, added that Israel never wanted conflict with
Syria and was ready to ensure a 1974 armistice agreement between the two sides
is strictly observed.
said from the beginning that we have no interest in meddling in the … war
within Syria and we have never intervened. What interests us is ensuring the
security” of Israelis, Lieberman said.
Golan Heights is a Syrian territory, which Tel Aviv has been occupying since
1967 and claims as its own territory despite international criticism.
August, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) returned to the
border between Syria and the occupied territories, four years after it was
shuttered due to militant attacks.
the crossing is opened from the other side, we will consider everything in
accordance with the security circumstances," Lieberman said.
the humble pie?
has been struggling with foreign-backed militancy since 2011 in a battle that
has left large parts of the country in ruins, destroyed most of its
infrastructure and killed hundreds of thousands of people.
the US and certain governments in the region have been cited as supporters of
Daesh and other anti-Assad militant groups, it is common knowledge today that
Israel has also had its fair share in helping the terror outfits survive.
their battles, Syrian army forces have time and again discovered Israeli
weapons and equipment in large volumes from terrorist hideouts. Israeli
hospitals have also taken in some of the militants injured in Golan areas.
Israeli air force has carried out regular airstrikes against the Syrian army
and government targets across the country, a trend that Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu claims are aimed at pushing Iranian military advisors
helping Damascus in its anti-terror fight out of the country.
Ya’alon, Lieberman’s predecessor, admitted last year that Tel Aviv had formed a
tacit alliance with Daesh, saying the group had "immediately
apologized" to Tel Aviv after firing "once" into Israel.
most telling evidence of Israel’s support, however, came earlier this month,
after the Syrian ministry for military affairs revealed that, since 2016, Tel
Aviv had been providing militants in Syria with light weapons and substantial
amounts of cash—all part of the so-called Operation Good Neighbor.
comments come against the backdrop of Syria’s major victories against
terrorists, drawing an outlook for the country that is far more different than
what Tel Aviv and its allies had hoped for over the past years.
apparent call for de-escalation could also be a product of strained relations
between Israel and Russia spiraled down to historic lows last week, after
Israeli fighter jets pounding Syrian government targets misled the Syrian air
defenses into shooting down a Russian surveillance plane by using it as a
Preston, a political analyst in Virginia, said Israel didn’t want to lose its
strategic ties with Russia and get caught in the ongoing geopolitical standoff
between Moscow and Washington in the region.
I think, Israel is thinking to play the two sides off against one another,”
Preston told Press TV.
in all, the sudden about-face more than anything else shows how the Syrian
government, with the help of its allies, has been able to turn the tide and
convince even the most optimistic Israeli officials that it is here to stay.
1,000 Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied al-Quds
a thousand Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the
Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds amid an escalation of acts
of violence by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.
al-Dibs, spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, which
manages the compound's affairs, told the Palestinian Safa news agency that 924
Israeli settlers forced their way into the holy site through the Bab
al-Magharibah and Bab al-Silsilah under tight protection of several groups of
Israeli soldiers and special police forces.
settlers performed acts deemed provocative by Palestinians at the mosque's
courtyard in commemoration of the biblical Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Feast of
armed Israeli police forces set up iron barriers on the doors and confiscated
identity cards of Palestinians before allowing them to enter the compound.
occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US
President Donald Trump announced his decision on December 6 last year to
recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in
Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis the city triggered
demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt,
Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.
December 21 last year, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted
in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial
recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.”
an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution, Trump threatened reprisals
against countries that backed the measure, which had earlier faced a US veto at
the UN Security Council.
however, rejected the world body’s resolution while thanking Trump for his
decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.
January 18, the United States reneged on a pledge to contribute $45 million to
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA),
which supports more than five million registered Palestinian refugees and their
announcement to cut aid to Palestinian refugees came after the US president
made a threat to cut off aid to UNRWA.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Thursday of keeping a “secret
atomic warehouse” just outside its capital, despite the 2015 deal with world
powers that was meant to keep it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Hours later,
Iran dismissed the allegation.
up a poster-board map of an area near Tehran as he spoke at the UN General
Assembly, Netanyahu told world leaders that Iranian officials have been keeping
up to 300 tons of nuclear equipment and material in a walled,
unremarkable-looking property near a rug-cleaning operation.
disclosure - which he presented as a big reveal on the international
community’s biggest stage - came four months after Israel announced the
existence of what it said was a “half-ton” of Iranian nuclear documents
obtained by Israeli intelligence in the Shourabad neighborhood near Tehran.
Israel said the cache proved that Iranian leaders covered up their nuclear
weapons program before signing the nuclear agreement. Iran hasn’t acknowledged
the alleged seizure.
have to ask yourself a question: Why did Iran keep a secret atomic archive and
a secret atomic warehouse?” Netanyahu asked. “What Iran hides, Israel will
didn’t specify what the material and equipment was, and it was not immediately
clear whether it proved to be a violation of the nuclear deal. The
International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been monitoring Iran’s compliance
with the agreement, had no immediate comment.
the Israeli Defense Forces shared a video on their official Twitter account to
follow up on the prime minister’s speech, showing satellite images and maps
that they said prove that Hezbollah have been “trying to establish
infrastructure to convert surface-to-surface rockets to accurate missiles” in
added that this is another example of Iranian influence in the region as they
support the extremist group.
also said Iranian officials had been clearing some radioactive material out of
the site, which sits a short distance from Shourabad, and “spread it around
Tehran.” He then suggested that residents of the capital might want to buy
said the site contained some 15 kg (33 pounds) of radioactive material that has
since been moved, and called on the U.N. atomic agency to inspect the location
immediately with Geiger counters.
am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in
Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and
materiel from Iran's secret nuclear program," Netanyahu said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that there should be more scrutiny
on Israel's nuclear program.
arts & craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is only regime in our
region with a *secret* and *undeclared* nuclear weapons program - including an
*actual atomic arsenal*. Time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal
nuclear weapons program to international inspectors," Zarif tweeted.
we raided the atomic archive, they've been busy cleaning out the atomic
warehouse. Just last month they removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material.
You know what they did with it?" Netanyahu said. "They took it out
and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence."
added that Iranian officials still had a lot of work to do because there were
some 15 shipping containers full of nuclear-related equipment and materials
stored at the second site.
site contained as much as 300 tonnes - 300 tonnes - of nuclear-related
equipment and materiel," he said.
Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA on Thursday received pledges of $118 million
from donor countries to help it overcome a crisis triggered by US funding cuts,
Jordan’s foreign minister said.
Sweden, the European Union, Turkey and Japan were among the countries that came
forward with extra funds for UNRWA during a meeting held on the sidelines of
the UN General Assembly, Ayman Safadi, who co-hosted the meeting on UNRWA’s
funding crisis, told a news conference.
and the European Union were among the biggest contributors along with Germany,
Ireland and Norway, UNRWA chief Pierre Kraehenbuehl told a news conference.
France said it would contribute next year.
United States, which was by far the biggest contributor to the UN Relief and
Works Agency (UNRWA), announced in August that it would no longer fund the
said the new funds were “a significant step in the direction of overcoming
UNRWA’s greatest and gravest financial crisis ever”, adding that the shortfall
in the annual budget now stood at $68 million.
administration of President Donald Trump has backed Israel in accusing UNRWA of
perpetuating the Middle East conflict by maintaining the idea that millions of
Palestinians are refugees with a right to return to homes in what is now
in 1949, the agency supplies aid to more than three million of the five million
registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian
Foreign Minister Safadi said discussions
were under way on ensuring long-term financing for the agency.
said the international community had a “firm, unwavering” commitment to keep
UNRWA alive and ensure it continues to provide health and education services to
from cutting funds to UNRWA, the Trump administration has also cut $200 million
in bilateral aid to the Palestinians for projects in the West Bank and the Gaza
security forces said Thursday they had detained a Palestinian refugee allegedly
linked to ISIS extremist group over two poisoning plots, one of Lebanese army
water and another of food in a foreign country.
refugee, born in 1991, admitted to links with an ISIS member in Syria “who
tasked him with making explosives and concocting poison”, the General Security
force said in a statement.
prepared to “concoct a quantity of deadly poison along with someone living in a
foreign country” for two planned poisonings.
first was to “poison one of the water tanks from which the Lebanese army’s
trucks fill up on water every day to take it to the army barracks”.
second was to “carry out a mass poisoning in a foreign country” through
“poisoning food during a public holiday”, the statement said, without specifying
Palestinian has been referred to the relevant judicial authority, the security
forces said, and the authorities are looking for other people involved.
has been heavily impacted by the civil war in neighboring Syria since it erupted
in March 2011.
forces have on several occasions arrested suspected ISIS members.
are usually tried by military courts, but their trials have dragged on due to
the amount of cases.
has been rocked by several suicide bombings since 2013, some of them claimed by
Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, which is based in the besieged
Gaza Strip, has selected a new leader for the first time in over 20 years.
Ziad al-Nakhala would replace Ramadan Abdullah Shalah as the movement’s
secretary general, an unnamed senior official told AFP on Thursday, claiming
that the latter had been suffering from serious health issues for months.
Shalah, who has led the Islamic Jihad since 1995, is reported to be in a coma
following an unknown illness.
65, has been serving as Shalah’s deputy since the 1990s.
movement, which was founded in 1981 to realize the Palestinian cause in
establishing an independent Palestinian state, has not publically confirmed the
the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, a Gaza-based ally, the Islamic Jihad
has defended Gazans against the Israeli regime during three deadly imposed wars
Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007, which has
prevented some two million Palestinians from having free access to the
remainder of Palestine and the outside world. The blockade has also undermined
living conditions in the coastal enclave and fragmented its economic and social
Tel Aviv regime carries out regular attacks on its inhabitants under the
pretext of hitting positions belonging to Hamas, which governs the territory.
coastal sliver has also witnessed a fresh wave of deadly tensions since March
30, which marked the start of a series of protests demanding the right to
return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland.
president has taken the podium at the UN to harshly condemn the US
administration's policy shift on Jerusalem al-Quds, saying there will be no
peace with Israel without the eastern part of the occupied city as the capital
of the future Palestinian state.
Abbas opened his speech to the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly with the
sentence "Jerusalem (al-Quds) is not for sale," drawing the applause
of the audience.
Palestinian leader slammed the US's growing pro-Israel bias under President
Donald Trump, which has seen Washington recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the
"capital" of Israel, cut aid to Palestinians and close the diplomatic
office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on US soil.
all of these decisions, this administration has reneged on all previous US
commitments and has undermined the two-state solution," Abbas said,
adding, "I renew my call to President Trump to rescind his decisions and
decrees regarding Jerusalem, refugees and settlements."
action, he added, has "shocked" the Palestinian nation, stressing
that no peace will come about with Israel as long as the regime fails to end
its occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds, which the Palestinians want as the
capital of their future state.
Trump administration waged a diplomatic war against Palestine in December 2017,
when it first announced that the US would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the
"capital" of Israel.
later, Washington moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city in
defiance of international criticisms.
move angered Palestinians, who said they would no longer accept Washington's
mediation role in their conflict with Israel.
Trump administration has also cut aid to Palestinians and slashed its
contributions to UNRWA – the UN agency that supports more than five million
Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.
also closed the Palestinian Liberation Organization's office in Washington last
further said there will be no peace without "an independent Palestinian
state, with East Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital, and not some place in East
Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital, and with all of its holy sites."
Palestinian president also stressed that Palestinians will not recognize Israel
unless the entity recognizes the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
once again rejected the US as the sole mediator in any future
Israeli-Palestinian talks, stressing that Washington can play a part in the
so-called peace process in the format of the Quartet on the Middle East -- the
EU, Russia, UN and the US itself.
will not accept sole American mediation in the peace process because the US has
lost its eligibility -- they are too biased toward Israel," he stated.
racist law crossed all red lines'
in his speech, the Palestinian president blasted Israel for adopting the
so-called "Jewish nation-state" law, saying the racist law
"legalizes discrimination" against the Arab population in Israel.
law, he added, "crossed all the red line," and will lead to a single
"racist, apartheid state."
diplomats of Iran, Russia and Turkey – which serve as guarantors of the Syria
peace process – have sat down for talks in New York on the latest developments
in the country’s Idlib Province, amid efforts to peacefully rid the area of
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Turkish counterparts,
Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, held a trilateral meeting on the sidelines
of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
Russian Foreign Ministry said the trio had hailed a recent Moscow-Ankara
agreement to set up a buffer zone in Idlib, the last major terrorist-held
bastion in Syria.
sides discussed in detail the situation on the ground, first of all in the
Idlib de-escalation zone, and prospects for the launch of a really sustainable
process of political settlement of the Syrian crisis,” the ministry said in a
in the meeting highly assessed the agreements on the stabilization of the
situation in Idlib that were reached in Sochi on September 17. These agreements
make it possible to protect civilian populations while continuing uncompromised
fight against terrorists,” it added.
this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan and his Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin met in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and announced an agreement
deal stipulates a demilitarized zone of 15-20 kilometers in Idlib along the
contact line between the armed opposition and Syrian government troops by
October 15. It also involves the withdrawal of “radically-minded” militants,
including the al-Nusra Front, from the region.
in its statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Zarif, Lavrov and Cavusoglu
had, during the meeting, reiterated their commitment to the formation of a
constitutional committee aimed at enabling “Syrians to decide about the future
of their country by themselves.”
Russia and Turkey are operating as guarantors of the Astana process, a track of
negotiations which have resulted in the return of a succession of militant
strongholds to the government fold and movement of civilians to safe zones.
latest Turkey-Russia deal has suspended a Syrian military operation to liberate
and Damascus have both welcomed the agreement.
‘unlikely to resist buffer zone withdrawal’
Thursday, militant sources in Syria expressed confidence that their Takfiri
rivals would leave the Idlib demilitarized zone, Reuters reported.
senior militant official said Tahrir al-Sham, the most powerful Takfiri
terrorist group in Idlib, had sent secret feelers to the Turkish army in the
last few days signaling they would comply with the buffer zone deal.
are moving well and Tahrir al-Sham has pledged it is going to implement but
without announcing its agreement,” the source added.
Toma, another militant figure, said that he expected Tahrir al-Sham to honor
the Idlib deal and dismissed risks of a showdown.
foresee it will be implemented within the time set,” he said.
Abdul Salam Abdul Razzak, a leading figure in the so-called National Liberation
Front (NLF), an alliance of militant factions supported by Ankara, stressed
that he did not expected “any hurdles in implementation” of the Idlib
will remain in Syria: Rouhani
say any potential Syrian military operation in Idlib would be Syria’s “final
battle” against terrorists.
to Iranian and Russian help, Syrian government forces have liberated most of
the areas captured by foreign-backed militants across the Arab country.
his meetings in New York, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that Iran
would maintain its military advisory role in Syria for as long as the Damascus
government wanted it there.
presence in Syria will continue for such time that the Syrian government
requests our presence,” Rouhani said at
a press conference in New York on Wednesday.
further noted that Iran was not seeking conflict with the US in the Middle East
and questioned American forces’ presence in the region.
do not wish to go to war with American forces anywhere in the region,” Rouhani
said. “But we ask the United States to adhere to laws and to respect national
sovereignty of nations.”
has been offering military advisory assistance to the Syrian army at the
request of Damascus, enabling pro-government forces to speed up their advances
against terrorist groups.
armed forces have reportedly fired domestically-designed and -developed
ballistic missiles at military targets in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border
regions of Jizan and Asir, in retaliation for strikes by a Saudi-led military
coalition waging war on Yemen.
Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing an unnamed military
official from the missile unit of the Yemeni army, reported that a gathering of
Saudi-led mercenaries in the east of the mountainous area of al-Doud had been
hit with two short-range Zelzal-1 (Earthquake-1) missiles in early hours of
Thursday, without giving the number of potential casualties of the strikes.
added that the Yemeni troops had earlier pounded that same area with artillery
and rocket fire.
Yemen’s official Saba news agency, citing an unnamed military official,
reported that Yemeni army forces had hit another gathering of Saudi-led
mercenaries in the Majaza border area of Asir with the same type of ballistic
missile on Wednesday night.
official added that another Zelzal-1 missile had also struck a group of
Saudi-led military hardware and equipment in the Midi Desert in Yemen’s
northwestern Hajjah Province earlier on Wednesday, inflicting damage.
Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and
Sudan, launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to
reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Some 15,000
Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more injured.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said
that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4
million threatened by severe hunger.
a time when it still controlled large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq,
the Islamic State (IS) released a video entitled “Structure of the Caliphate,”
which detailed the structure of administration and the geographic organization
of its state project. In that video, IS claimed the existence of 35 wilayas
(“provinces”): 19 inside Syria and Iraq, and 16 elsewhere.
the number of wilayas claimed in propaganda appears to have reduced
dramatically in number. For example, IS propaganda portrays Syria and Iraq as
consisting of just two provinces: a Wilayat al-Sham and Wilayat al-Iraq
respectively, with each province consisting of a number of regions. In Libya,
three provinces seem to have been similarly condensed: there now appears to be
just one province in the country that covers three regions.
wilayas still exist as they were when they were first announced in 2014 and
Africa, Sinai, Algeria, Khorasan (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and Yemen, which
still exists as multiple provinces for now. Meanwhile, two areas where IS has
been claiming military operations have now been elevated to the status of
provinces: Somalia and East Asia.
apparent shifts reflect in part the overall collapse of IS as a state project,
which was previously its central claim to fame, and the evolution of a global
IS insurgency. In places where IS propaganda displays a seemingly simplified
provincial structure, the common thread is that they were areas in which IS
once exercised significant control of territory with regular photo series and
videos advertising governance implementation.
in this light, IS is mostly a failure as a state project in Iraq, Syria, and
elsewhere. Yet how successful one views IS as a global insurgency and terrorist
force depends on the criteria one sets. For example, in the Sinai area, IS is
the most powerful insurgent force fighting Egypt’s security forces and easily
eclipses any al-Qaeda-aligned rivals such as Jamaat Jund al-Islam. And yet,
years of insurgency have not given rise to formal control of territory in the
Sinai to implement governance, rather it has proven only to be a continual
headache for the Egyptian government.
the Khorasan province can be viewed as a mixed bag in terms of results,
depending on the angles one explores. IS has managed to carve out a small
enclave of territory in the east of Afghanistan, siphon off some disillusioned
elements of the Taliban, and carry out many deadly suicide bombings targeting
the Afghan capital of Kabul. Even so, its overall position in Afghanistan still
does not compare with that of its “nationalist” rival.
other areas, IS activity seems to be almost completely dormant, most notably in
Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Previously, IS was particularly keen to make its mark
in the latter considering that it is home to the two holiest sites in Islam of
Mecca and Medina (hence the name of “Bilad al-Haramain”). Saudi Arabia’s
security services, then, have proven largely successful in clamping down on an
IS terrorist threat.
the portrayed simplification of the provincial structure in Iraq and Syria and
shift in IS’ overall image, one should still remember that there is a central
leadership for IS and that this leadership is based in Iraq and Syria. Thus,
there is a command-and-control structure between “IS central” and the provinces
outside of Syria and Iraq.
is the case with al-Qaeda and its affiliates though, there are issues
surrounding how effective that command-and-control really is. The clearest
case-in-point is the IS West Africa province. Previously Jamaat Ahl al-Sunnah
lil-Dawa wa al-Jihad (also known as Boko Haram) under Abubakar Shekau, an
allegiance pledge was given to IS in March 2015, creating a West Africa
province with Shekau as its governor. The move seemed to be an apt propaganda
victory for IS at the time, as Shekau’s group controlled some territory in
Nigeria. By August 2016 though, that territorial control had gone and Shekau
was removed as governor. The result is that while one still has the IS West
Africa affiliate, which has been waging an insurgency in northeast Nigeria and
the Lake Chad area, there is also the rival movement led by Shekau and his
followers, with whom the IS West Africa affiliate has clashed multiple times.
recently has the story of the inside trouble in the West Africa affiliate come
to light as the affiliate’s leaders released a long book giving a self-history
of the movement and a lengthy critique of Shekau, who was removed from his
position as governor on account of his disobedience towards the central
leadership. In general, the book is useful for understanding what is seen as
“too extreme” even for IS: for instance, the idea that Muslims who reside in
the “abode of kufr” become non-Muslims simply for residing in such an area. To
be sure, Shekau had espoused such ideas well before he gave allegiance to IS,
something the book portrays as a step he took out of fear that his leadership
position was threatened. In any case, it is clear that the pledge of allegiance
to IS had failed to rein in Shekau’s extreme tendencies.
bigger picture is that IS is far from being “defeated” on the global level
despite the general collapse of the state project, something that should come
as no surprise. Even if IS can never rise again to the level of success it had
in 2014-2015, it will be around as a global terrorist threat and insurgency
problem for decades to come.
Jawad al-Tamimi is a researcher on violent non-state Islamic and Middle Eastern
groups for the Middle East Forum. He has been widely cited in international
media outlets including the New York Times, AFP and AP, and the Washington
Post. He tweets @ajaltamimi.
soldiers and one civilian driver have been killed after two Malian military
vehicles were hit by improvised explosive devices while on an escort mission.
Malian Defense Ministry denounced it as a "cowardly terrorist attack"
in a statement on Thursday as it offered condolences to the families of the
fatal ambush happened as the French military parachuted 120 soldiers in the
north-eastern region of Menaka near the Niger border, French military spokesman
Colonel Patrik Steiger said.
bolstered military presence in Menaka comes after Malian security sources
claimed that unknown gunmen had executed more than 12 civilians in the region
has been in turmoil since Tuareg rebels and loosely-allied militants took over
the northern desert regions from the Malian military control in 2012. The
ensuing power vacuum allowed extremists linked to al-Qaeda to dominate the
forces intervened in 2013 to allegedly fight back the militants, but extremist
forces have since regrouped and now regularly attack Malian and international
attempts are being made globally to erode Islamic identity but these can be
foiled if Muslim countries strengthen their unity, according to a Turkish
Aslan, who teaches at Turkey's Hasan Kalyoncu University, talked about Turkey's
growing relations with Asian countries, rising global cultural clashes and how
countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia can help in developing mechanisms to
promote Islamic unity.
on Islamophobia in certain parts of the world, he said these are organised
attempts to target Muslims in "high-value" geographies, which include
Malaysia's neighbourhood as well as the energy-rich Middle East and Africa.
and Malaysia are located in a strategic region. The Middle East has energy
resources. Others are trying to divide Islamic societies, so we must have a
coordinated strategy to use our geopolitical advantage. We have to mobilise our
resources so that we do not suffer erosion in our identity," Aslan said.
troops have repelled an attack on a military base by Boko Haram jihadists in
the country's northeast, the army and security sources said on Thursday.
attack, in the town of Gashigar, in the Mobbar district of Borno state, is
believed to have been carried out by a Boko Haram faction backed by the Islamic
was the latest in a series of strikes against military bases that have raised
questions about the group's strength, despite repeated official claims they
were on the verge of defeat.
Nigerian army confirmed the attack in a post on its Twitter account late on
(Boko Haram terrorists) met their Waterloo this evening when they attempted to
infiltrate 145 (Battalion) location at Gashigar," it said.
were completely routed by the troops and they fled in disarray due to superior
firepower by the gallant troops of 145 Bn."
were no indications of casualties on either side.
senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP the
jihadists arrived on nine pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and
tried to get into the base.
engaged them in a fierce battle and prevented them from getting into the
base," he said, adding that the jihadists withdrew after air support was
attack follows a pattern that has seen at least nine military bases attacked
since July, mostly in the northern part of Borno state, near the shores of Lake
military has strongly denied reports of heavy troop casualties.
than 27 000 people are thought to have been killed in the nine-year Islamist
insurgency that has triggered a humanitarian crisis and left 1.8 million people
still without homes.
a separate incident on Wednesday, jihadists ambushed a civilian convoy under
military escort heading to the town of Dikwa, 90km from Maiduguri.
convoy came under fire near Kaltaram village, 15km from Dikwa, at about 1200
GMT, resulting in a shootout with the military escorts before the militants
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