Ram Sita Temple Serves Iftar Meals to Muslim Devotees on Premises, Wins Hearts
Are Our Slaves’ Says Saudi Defence Minister
Advises Fazl to ‘Focus on Islam, Not Islamabad’
Preacher Al-Qaradawi Gets ‘Best Seat In House’ At Qatar Emir’s Banquet
Is Our Priority But the World Must Take A Stand against Iran, Says Saudi
Quran Reading in Malaysia to Mark Sacred Date, the 17th Day of Ramadan
Reveals How Houthis Turned Food Aid into A Weapon Of War
Haram Adopts 'Hearts and Minds' Strategy In Nigeria – Inspired By Isil
Swaraj Hold 'Informal Dialogue' On Sideline Of SCO Meet In Bishkek
Hizbul militants killed in a gunfight in South Kashmir
attack fortified India’s war on terror’: Sushma Swaraj
a first, NIA files chargesheet against operatives of Islamic State in J&K
Lanka, Pulwama attack steeled our resolve to fight terror: Sushma Swaraj
authorities identify Afghan national as suicide bomber at Lahore shrine blast
legislators ask govt to help ease Pakistan crisis
wants to give PTI govt more time to expose itself: Maryam
Arrange Iftar Dinner To Promote Interfaith Harmony
activist booked under anti-terrorism law over seditious speech
Arabia to start $3.2bn deferred payment facility for oil from July
Is Our Priority But The World Must Take A Stand Against Iran, Says Saudi
killed as rebels launch counterattack in Syria
IS militants killed in operation in central Iraq
Whistle-Blower: MbS Mad at Saudi Intelligence Bodies' Failure in Yemen Drone
Several Ankara-Backed Militants Killed in Kurdish Offensive in Afrin
refers six Muslim Brotherhood death sentence cases to Grand Mufti
raids kill 12 civilians in a market in Syria’s Idlib, says a monitor group
reveal Syrian government crackdown on dissidents
troops thwart major terrorist attacks in Syria’s Hama
leaders meet Dr M to convey situation, struggles in Palestine
Philippine city a tool for jihadist recruitment
dead in Indonesia riots, government restricts social media
celebrates Ramadan with bazaars and biryani
Reveals How Houthis Turned Food Aid Into A Weapon Of War
Slams UN For Consorting With Hezbollah
Officials Work to Convince Divided Congress of Iran Threat
seeking extradition of UK lawyer over 'terrorist propaganda'
stopped buying Iran oil out of ‘respect’ for US sanctions
nation united in rejecting deal of century: Hamas official
July hearing on possible indictment delayed to October
Nations Urge Swift Sudan Accord To Install Civil Rule
PM attends iftar with Muslim community
car bomb kills at least nine in Somalia’s capital
Haftar tells Macron necessary ceasefire conditions not in place
military wants to hand over power quickly: General
among six killed in car bomb attack in Somalia's Mogadishu
least 20 people killed by bandits in northwest Nigeria
Taliban' Lindh to be released as Afghan war still boils
considering request to send 5,000 troops to the Middle East: Officials
sympathizer threatening to blow up Trump Tower arrested
grants sanctions waiver for Iraq to import energy from Iran: Official
First Eco-Mosque Invokes God to Fight Climate Change
strikes a happy balance for Muslims living in the birthplace of Islam in
Opinion leaders condemn Muslim headscarf ban
learn more about Islam in Islamic museum
claims will attack London, New York soon
State in Afghanistan Growing Bigger, More Dangerous
Elements Are Seen In Parts Of Afghanistan: Miller
forces' fresh crackdowns kill 42 militants in eastern Ghazni
Sri Lanka’s Bickering Leaders, Election Hopes Dim After Terrorist Attack
kills 2 Muslim villagers in Myanmar's Rakhine
forces clear 5 villages in Balkh district, inflicting casualties on 23 Taliban
Special Forces kill 7 key ISIS group members in Kunar province of Afghanistan
forces kill 12 Taliban militants including 5 of their IED makers in Helmand
urges international community not to leave behind another bad legacy in
Special Forces bust dangerous gang of armed robbers in Kabul city
Bank inaugurates new building in Kabul, signalling strong commitment to
by New Age Islam News Bureau
the month of Ramzan underway, Muslims around the world are fasting to
commemorate one of the holiest festivals of Islam, believed to mark the first
time that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad. And the festival has
brought forth some much-needed moments of amity between Hindus and Muslims in
India's Ayodhya - a town historically rife with communal tensions for decades.
per reports by news agency ANI, a temple in Ayodhya conducted an Iftar party
for devotees of all faiths to come and enjoy delicious Iftar dishes —
fast-breaking food consumed by fasting Muslims post sundown during Ramzan —
inside the premises of the temple.
Iftar party was held inside the Shri Ram Sita temple and according to the head
priest of the institution, the temple has been hosting Iftar parties for the
third year now.
month of Ramzan ends with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr which falls on the
June 4 this year.
is not the first time that a Hindu temple has hosted iftar party for their
Muslim brethren. A similar incident occurred in a Hindu temple in Kerala's
Malappuram last year when the temple hosted vegetarian delicacies within
premises as part of an iftar feast.
gesture won many hearts on social media. Many quipped that such tolerance was
the hallmark of any religion.
year's Ramzan celebrations coincided with the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, the
results of which are expected to come out on Thursday, May 23. While most exit
polls have favoured a sweeping victory for the incumbent BJP, the real numbers
would reveal the next Prime Minister of the country on Thursday.
Arabia has always believed that it was the true land of Islam. However even
though they consider other Muslim nations inferior, they still believe they are
the direct descendants of Muhammad. Saudi Prince Muhammad Bin Suleiman had made
a controversial statement humiliating Pakistan.
prince believes that Pakistanis are the slaves of the Arabs. The prince’s
statement suggests that Saudi’s look at every other Muslim country with the
‘converted-Muslim country perspective. Saudi’s call Muslims who come from
Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, ‘Hindu-Muslims.’
consider Muslims from these particular nations to have converted to Islam from
Hinduism. The Bangladesh, Indian and Pakistan Muslims are also known as ‘Al
Hindi-Muskeen.’ Referring to them as second-grade Muslims. Arabs are always
‘preferred to ‘Hindu Muslims’ be it any job or top post.
top posts are always reserved for the Saudi Arabians. Muslim Citizens from
other nations are considered to be inferior. Which is why they are given
insignificant posts in their army.
Pakistani journalist posted a letter, which showed the Saudi Defence minister
referring to Pakistanis as slaves.
Arain is a renowned Pakistani journalist who works for Dawn News, which is
Pakistan’s English newspaper.
Arain posted a quote on Twitter, which shows the Defence minister referring to
Pakistan as a slave country and saying that it will continue to remain a slave
of Saudi Arabia forever.
quote also said: “Indian & Pakistani Muslims grow beards to look good like
us, but they look like they’ve come straight from the forest.”
advises Fazl to ‘focus on Islam, not Islamabad’
PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on
Wednesday criticised Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) Fazlur Rehman over his
announcement to organise a ‘million-man march’ after Eidul Fitr.
Ashiq took to Twitter saying, “Maulana should keep an eye on Islam, not on
innocent children of the nation a tool to defend the corrupt elite will never
be a service to Islam or democracy,” she added.
are gripped with hatred towards Imran Khan,” she further said.
is a great responsibility upon your shoulders as a religious scholar and you
should promote peace, unity, and brotherhood among masses rather than spreading
chaos,” she concluded.
in the day, Fazl announced to organise an All-Parties Conference (APC) and a
national level ‘million-man march’ after Eid.
per details, in a statement, the JUI-F chief revealed that his party will host
an all-parties conference to evolve consensus with allies over the
anti-government campaign. A jointly agreed course of action will be decided
after that APC.
also announced to organise a ‘million-man march’ to protect the national
identity of Pakistan, its Islamic values and the tsunami of inflation and
invited all the coalition parties to take part in their rallies.
preacher Al-Qaradawi gets ‘best seat in house’ at Qatar emir’s banquet
A notorious hate preacher has been pictured at the top table at a Ramadan
banquet thrown by Qatar’s emir, pictures on state TV show.
Al-Qaradawi — who is known for his extreme views, including justifying suicide
bombings and attacks on Jews — was pictured at the iftar reception hosted by
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar.
lengthy footage of the reception, Qatar Television shows Al-Qaradawi as
apparent guest of honor, sitting next to Sheikh Tamim and chatting cordially
with him. Sheikh Tamim apparently kissed Al-Qaradawi, who was sitting in a
wheelchair, on the forehead. Al-Qaradawi’s appearance at the iftar came in the
same 24 hours in which he published a vile anti-Semitic rant in a Qatari
quoted claims that “the straight path is a separate way (for the Muslims); it
is not the path of the Jews,” according to the Middle East Media Research
A. Weinberg, Washington Director for international affairs at the
Anti-Defamation League, flagged Al-Qaradawi’s appearance in a tweet.
In the same 24 hours extremist preacher Yousef Al-Qaradawi published his latest
dehumanizing slander against the Jewish people, he was also kissed on the
forehead by #Qatar’s ruler and given the best iftar seat in the house, by
Tamim’s side & ahead of all other preachers,” he wrote.
has been a guest at such events for several years running, Weinberg said.
in Arab News’ series “Preachers of Hate,” Al-Qaradawi has justified suicide
bombings, especially in Palestine, has repeatedly spoken out against Jews as a
community, and has issued fatwas (religious edicts) that demean women.
Al Jazeera Arabic in January 2009, he said: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the
enemies of Islam … Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God,
count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none.”
such hate speech, Al-Qaradawi continues to be based in Qatar, where he is given
a platform by the government, said a member of the Counter Extremism Project
(CEP), a non-profit organization that combats extremist groups.
Al-Qaradawi remains a vociferous purveyor of Islamist propaganda and bigotry.
Rather than condemn his vile rhetoric, the Qatari government continues to
provide Al-Qaradawi with a platform and hold him in a place of esteem,” Josh
Lipowsky, senior research analyst at the CEP, told Arab News.
is incumbent on the Qatari government to recognize Al-Qaradawi’s hateful
propaganda and cease providing him with a safe haven and media platforms.”
is our priority but the world must take a stand against Iran, says Saudi
The Saudi cabinet on Tuesday said that while the Kingdom believes all people in
the region have a right to live in peace, including the Iranians, the
international community must take firm action against the regime in Tehran to
prevent it from spreading destruction and chaos.
a meeting of the Council of Ministers at Assalam Palace, presided over by King
Salman, Turki Al-Shabanah, the minister of media, told the Saudi Press Agency
that the cabinet reviewed reports on regional and global development, and the
king invited GCC leaders to hold Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30. The
invitation reflects the Kingdom’s desire to work with other nations to boost
security and stability in the region, the minister said, especially in light of
the Iran’s continuing aggressive actions. The regime’s recent activities
threaten regional and international peace and security, and the supply and
stability of international oil markets, he added.
reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to peace and said it will make every effort
to prevent war. The nation’s hand is always extended, he added, in the belief
that everyone in the region, including the Iranians, has the right to live in a
secure and stable environment.
the cabinet called on the international community to shoulder its
responsibilities by taking a firm stance against the actions of the regime in
Tehran, to prevent its disruptive and destructive activities throughout the
world. It also called on Iran to halt the reckless and irresponsible behavior
of its agents, to save the region from the dangers they pose and potential
cabinet also expressed the Kingdom’s hopes and expectations that the 14th
Ordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, will encourage unity of
response to ongoing events in the Islamic world. The summit, chaired by King
Salman, will be held in Makkah on May 31 under the title “Makkah Summit: Hand
in Hand toward the Future.”
heard that the Kingdom has sent $250 million to the Central Bank of Sudan as
part of a previously announced package of assistance in partnership with the
United Arab Emirates. This latest demonstration of support from the Kingdom to
the Sudanese people aims to help stabilize the country’s economy, and
strengthen the Sudanese pound in particular, to help improve the lives of the
cabinet also welcomed the decision of the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial
Committee to monitor an oil production reduction agreement concluded in Jeddah,
which was headed by the Kingdom and Russia, and affirmed its commitment to
balancing the oil market and stabilizing it on a sustainable basis.
to local affairs, the Council of Ministers confirmed the generous support of SR
100 million ($26.7 million) from the king, and SR 30 million from Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman to the Jood Housing platform. Launched a day earlier, and
supervised by the National Housing Development Association, it aims to accelerate
the development process through the introduction of a new model of social
solidarity, in which government, charities and commercial entities work
together in accordance with regulations designed to provide support for those
council also discussed the results of the 26th meeting of the region’s
governors, and praised the king for his directives designed to preserve
security and help people throughout the Kingdom.
- Dressed in robes and chanting in Arabic, scores of Malaysian Muslim children
read the Quran aloud in a mosque to mark a special date in the Islamic
80 people, mostly Islamic school students, gathered near the town of Bentong to
observe Nuzul Quran, when Muslims believe the beginnings of the Quran were
revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
date falls during the holy month of Ramadan, when followers of Islam fast from
dawn to dusk.
word 'Nuzul' means 'to come down'," said the students' teacher and
principal Roslan Mohamad Esa as he led them in reciting on Wednesday.
Prophet (Mohammed) received the Quran, Allah sent down the Koran... to the
Nurul Atikah Syazwani Risyadi added: "The day of Nuzul Quran is an
important day where it shows that we are confident in the revelation of the
is celebrated in Malaysia on the 17th day of Ramadan, the anniversary of a date
in the seventh century when the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to
Mohammed in a cave near Mecca and started revealing the Quran to him.
to Muslim beliefs, Mohammed continued to have revelations over a period of more
than 20 years.
sixty percent of Malaysia's 32 million population are Muslim, although the
country also has significant Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities.
reveals how Houthis turned food aid into a weapon of war
United Nations, primarily the World Food Program, has been providing aid to
millions in need of proper nutrition in Yemen but according to a new report, a
significant part of this has been stolen by the Houthis.
CNN report says that the Houthis have stolen around 1,200 metric tons of aid in
the form of food in the capital alone.
to the report, this trend has been around for a while, with the UN releasing a
report in 2018 claiming that 1 percent of its aid was not going to their
allocated areas. But in reality, many families are not being helped.”
Houthis control the aid agency that was appointed by the WFP to distribute the
aid. The stealing is only adding to the misery of a country struggling with
poverty and conflict.
UN suspects that the aid is stolen in order to be diverted from children to
fighters or Houthis supporters.
said that Issham and the people of Bani Qais did not receive any aid “ they
have received no grain, cooking oil or other aid supplies” for many weeks.
Arab Coalition in Yemen has repeatedly said that Houthis have been blocking the
passage of aid ships.
the Coalition has said that the Houthis were not pulling out from Hodeidah and
its port, and were obstructing the work of the UN mission in Yemen and also
blocking the passage of vessels carrying aid to the country's ports.
asserted in many statements that Houthi militias deliberately disable ships and
unload their cargo in Hodeidah and Salif ports.
theft that took place
diverted aid was initially shielded from the WFP by the use of fake records and
false thumbprints confirming the handout of the aid, which was being sold in
the city rather than being given to those villages in need.
Saleh, a woman whose name has been listed for aid and was even said to have
received $440 has claimed that she did not receive any aid for half a year.
Other women said that the aid that they were entitled to was denied to them due
to lack of records that they had left behind in the cities they had fled. This
was another excuse that the Houthis used to divert the aid, selling it to gain
a local NGO worker in Sanaa was questioned by security after speaking to CNN
without the presence of the government minder.
UN is concerned with the lack of aid reaching the citizens that require it.
they agreed on a new system of aid distribution, this system has not yet been
put in place. The UN has also insisted on monitoring the situation largely
because the villages that are set to receive aid are in Houthi-controlled
territories, such as Saada.
Al-Ezzi, the deputy foreign minister of the rebel government in Sanaa, said
restrictions on visas for NGO workers have been removed.
the beginning, we had some reservations” about some of the international aid
workers, he told CNN.
happen sometimes, but this doesn’t mean or doesn’t represent policy on our
side. We are happy with whatever aid reaches citizens because these citizens
are our strength and support. They are our capital in this war,” he said.
said that in Hodeidah, a “low-level government functionary” threatened to
detain its team if he did not sit in on a meeting with UN officials.
a local NGO worker in Sanaa was questioned by security after speaking
WFP switched to a different local NGO in Bani Qais, where Issham lives, but
humanitarian and local sources said that aid was now being held up because
local tribal leaders associated with the Houthi government were blocking its
a result, the WFP said it is considering suspending aid distribution in areas
controlled by Houthi militias for fear of misappropriation.
executive director of the WFP threatened to stop sending aid to Houthi-backed
workers in Yemen are being denied access to the hungry, aid convoys have been
blocked, and local authorities have interfered with food distribution,” the WFP
said in a statement. “This has to stop.”
highly unusual threat from the UN agency, which is feeding more than 10 million
people across Yemen, reflected what it said were “obstacles that are being put
in our way.”
face daily challenges due to the unrelenting fighting and insecurity in Yemen.
And yet, our greatest challenge does not come from the guns, that are yet to
fall silent in this conflict – instead, it is the obstructive and uncooperative
role of some of the Houthi leaders in areas under their control.”
Haram adopts 'hearts and minds' strategy in Nigeria – inspired by Isil
a motorbike convoy of Boko Haram fighters invaded Baga in north-east Nigeria
last December, residents feared the very worst. Watching the gunmen roll in,
they recalled Boko Haram's last seizure of the town in 2015, when hundreds of
their men were slaughtered and their women kidnapped as “bush wives”.
time, though, the Hells Angels' style motorcade did not bring the usual orgy of
rape, murder and pillage. "They
didn't beat anyone, they just said that we should stay where we were,"
said Mansour Yusuf, 44, a father of
nine. "But they also said we were free to leave if we wanted to."
Yusuf took no chances, fleeing along with thousands of other Baga residents to
the better-defended town of Monguno, where Nigerian troops have dug a
protective trench around the town.
he is alive to tell the tale, however, does not speak of any new tender-heartedness
on Boko Haram's part. Instead, the
"hearts and minds" strategy is all part of the long-term game being
played by the new Isil-allied faction of Boko Haram.
officially as Islamic State's West Africa Province, or ISWAP, the group has
gained a firm foothold in the past year, confounding claims by President
Muhammadu Buhari that the insurgency is facing defeat.
on military rather than civilian targets, they have mounted devastating,
well-organised attacks on isolated army bases, including one last November in
which up to 100 soldiers died.
group declared fealty to Isil in 2015, splintering from the rival Boko Haram
faction led by Abubakr Shekau, the man notorious for the Chibok schoolgirl
kidnapping in 2014.
Shekau revelled in indiscriminate brutality – he boasted of slaughtering people
"like chickens" – ISWAP has tried to build turf by courting rather
than cowing the civilian population.
of entire villages have been avoided, as has the use of women and children as
suicide bombers. To sweeten the pill of its religious dogma, it tries to
present itself as a force for equality and social justice.
they came into Baga, they promised that they would take the food stocks from
all the influential men in the community and share it with us," said
Abdullahi Mohammed, 42, another fisherman who fled to Monguno. "They said:
'the government does nothing for you, we are here to relieve your
are limits to the group’s charm offensive, however. Captured soldiers and
civilians suspected of spying can still expect torture and execution. Last
year, the group also kidnapped and murdered two Nigerian Muslims working as
nurses for the Red Cross, describing them as "apostates".
man in Monguno showed the Telegraph an ISWAP propaganda video, showing two
relatives who had been kidnapped by the group during the attack on Baga. “They
were working for the civilian joint task force (an anti-Boko Haram vigilante
group,” he said. “They’ll probably be killed now.”
how close ISWAP’s links are to Isil’s core leadership in the Middle East is
unclear: most experts doubt it gets much logistical help. But with Isil now in
disarray in both Iraq and Syria, Nigerian army commanders claim that foreign
jihadists are already swelling its ranks.
have battle encounters where some of the corpses we have seen on the ISWAP side
have been either white or North African - I've seen a couple myself," one
senior Nigerian army officer told The Telegraph. "There seems to have been
influx of non-locals into this sect, and we think it may account for some of
the ambitious attacks they have carried out."
Mohammed and Mr Yusuf now live in tents in a vast aid camp in Monguno, along
with nearly 150,000 other people made homeless by the crisis. Many have fled
towns that the Nigerian army had previously declared safe.
Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, said more landed
was needed to build shelters and sanitation facilities. "This is crucial
ahead of the upcoming rainy season, as many people are without shelter or
living in overcrowded conditions that could lead to serious disease outbreaks
Monguno itself is guarded by a Nigerian army garrison, the empty desert that
surrounds it is no-man's-land. For aid workers, the town is only accessible via
a UN helicopter service.
six-foot-deep trench that runs round Monguno's perimeter does not stop Boko
Haram trying to attack. The night before The Telegraph visited, two local boys
were reported to have been abducted.
you go across that trench and walk for just half an hour, you will start to
meet Boko Haram fighters," Mr Yusuf added.
to US government estimates, ISWAP now has around 3,500 fighters, mostly around
the Lake Chad basin, compared to around
1,500 for Shekau's faction, which are based in the Sambisa Forest.
strength of the two groups shows just how deadlocked the conflict has become,
after a decade in which an estimated 27,000 people have been killed and two
million forced to flee their homes.
crisis is a sore point for Mr Buhari, who was re-elected in February despite
criticism of his record against Boko Haram.
Frontline Nigerian troops complain that vast amount of the money
allocated to the war budget is siphoned off by corrupt officers, leaving them
undermanned and outgunned.
a visit to Nigeria earlier this month, the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt,
warned that Nigeria was being "massively destabilised" by the
conflict, and that Isil would be "looking to make their presence felt now
they have lost their territory."
hinted that Britain would offer extra military help if the Nigerian army could
improve its human rights record - a view that is unlikely to have gone down
well with his hosts.
International has repeatedly accused troops of brutality and arbitrary
detentions - much to the irritation of the government, which claimed last year
that the rights group seemed to care more about Boko Haram than its victims.
That frustration is shared by those manning the frontlines up at Monguno.
people who criticise us aren't up here doing the fighting, losing their lives
or seeing how brutal Boko Haram are to civilians," said the Nigerian army
officer. “This is a vicious war, and it isn’t fair to say that we are as bad as
Swaraj hold 'informal dialogue' on sideline of SCO meet in Bishkek
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj held an
informal dialogue on the sideline of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.
[I] met Sushma Ji. She had a complaint that we sometimes talk in a bitter
manner. She brought sweets today so we could also speak sweetly," Qureshi
was quoted as saying by the Foreign Office.
made it clear to her that we want all the matters resolved through dialogue,
and that Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in his very first speech that if
India takes one step forward, we would take two steps forward."
today we are ready for a dialogue," he added.
two foreign ministers' interaction came at the end of a two-day SCO Council of Foreign
Ministers' meeting. They were initially scheduled to meet on the sideline of
the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last September.
New Delhi had scrapped that meeting just a day after agreeing to it, and had
cited "unclean intentions" on Pakistan's side as the reason for doing
calls for SCO members states to meet present day challenges
today, Qureshi called for collective efforts by SCO member states to meet
present day challenges and achieve sustainable development, Radio Pakistan
foreign minister described the SCO as an important platform for the creation of
linkages between countries in the region. He said Pakistan is determined to
implement the SCO charter.
said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would help promote further
linkages in the region.
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the foreign minister stressed
the need for addressing the root causes of the problem. He informed
participants that Pakistan is among the few countries that have been able to
successfully counter terrorism and invited SCO members for a discussion on
Pakistan's experiences and expertise in defeating the scourge.
foreign minister said that Pakistan would continue to facilitate the Afghan
peace process, emphasising that it is an initiative owned and led by the people
stressed the importance of conflict resolution for peace and stability in South
Asia, and said that Pakistan had delivered a message of peace by opening the
Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims.
along with foreign ministers from other SCO member states met Kyrgyz President
Sooronbay Jeenbekov in Bishkek.
Kyrgyz president welcomed the foreign ministers and said it was matter of pride
for his country to host the SCO meeting.
Russia against weaponisation of space
and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov signed a joint statement against the
first placement of weapons in outer space.
statement, signed on the sidelines of the moot, was described by the Foreign
Office in a press release as a reflection of the convergence of views between
the two sides.
and Russia share a common position on the prevention of arms race in outer
space and work collectively in various international fora towards that goal.
The signing of today’s joint statement on 'No First Placement of Weapons in
Outer Space' is a reflection of convergence of views between the two
sides," the FO said.
and Russia have reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use
of force in outer space activities. We encourage other responsible space-faring
nations to follow this example," the FO said.
FO said Pakistan had consistently highlighted the risks from weaponisation of
outer space as it threatens the long term sustainability of peaceful space
use of force against space-based objects, the development and deployment of
anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems and their integration into space assets
have added worrying dimensions to the issues relating to outer space," the
further pointed out that there is an urgent need to address the gaps in the
international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space.
world needs to ensure "that no one threatens peaceful activities and
applications of space technologies for socio-economic development," the
meets Chinese FM
on Wednesday, Qureshi met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on the sidelines of
the Council of Foreign Ministers' meeting.
to Associated Press of Pakistan, both sides exchanged views on bilateral
relations, the security situation in the region and other important issues of
Foreign Office statement said Qureshi described China as Pakistan's dearest
friend and strongest ally in the meeting, and said that friendship with China
is a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy.
it's a matter of Pakistan's national security, or regional peace and stability,
China has always played a significant role," Qureshi told Yi during the
also congratulated the Chinese foreign minister on the success of the second
Belt and Road Forum, saying that it was evidence of the international
community's confidence in China's policies.
bilateral trade to increase'
and Kazakhstan also agreed to enhance the volume of their bilateral trade to $1
billion, Radio Pakistan reported.
understanding was reached during a meeting between Qureshi and the Foreign Minister
of Kazakhstan, Beibut Atamkulov on the sidelines of the Council of Foreign
the Foreign Ministers agreed to further expand their bilateral relations in
Hizbul militants killed in a gunfight in South kashmir
Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces on
Wednesday in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the police said.
encounter took place after a joint team of the army, the Central Reserve Police
Force and Jammu and Kashmir police launched a cordon and search operation in
the Gopalpora area of DH Pora town in Kulgam.
militants, who were in hiding, opened fire on the search team, which
retaliated, killing the two men, a police spokesman said in a statement. The
slain militants, from whom the police seized arms and ammunition, were
identified as Irfan Manzoor Bhat of Poniwah in Kulgam and Zahid Ahmad Mantoo of
Ferripora in Shopian.
spokesman said Bhat and Mantoo were wanted for complicity in terrorist crimes
including attacks on security establishments and civilians.
was involved in planning and executing a series of terror attacks in the area
and many other civilian atrocities,” the spokesman said, adding he was involved
in an attack in which three policemen were killed in Batgund, Shopian, last
police said Bhat had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen recently and was part of a
group involved in the killing of Abdul Majeed Dar of Sholipora, Kulgam. Dar,
who was elected sarpanch after quitting the People’s Democratic Party, was
killed by gunmen on April 3.
February 14 suicide terror attack in Pulwama and the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka
have strengthened India’s resolve to fight terror and boost security
cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), external
affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.
is also committed to support any process that allows Afghanistan to become a
united, peaceful and stable country, Swaraj said in her address at the meeting
of the Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO states in Bishkek, the capital of
held talks with several leaders on the margins of the meeting, including her
Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. She exchanged pleasantries with Pakistan foreign
minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi but there was no bilateral meeting, people
familiar with developments said.
heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka, who have recently
witnessed the ghastly act of terrorism. Our wounds of Pulwama attack were still
raw and the news from the neighbourhood has made us more determined to fight
firmly [and] resolutely against this menace,” Swaraj said.
suicide bombers struck three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on
April 21, killing more than 250 people.
Islamic State claimed the attacks while the government blamed a local group,
National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ), for the bombings. The attacks came almost two
months after a suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) at
Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 Indian troops.
said India wants to strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework for
comprehensive and sustainable security and is open to ideas for making the
Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) of SCO more effective.
will back any process that helps Afghanistan emerge as a “united, peaceful,
secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation with guaranteed
gender and human rights”, she said. Swaraj underscored the importance India
attaches to SCO’s Afghanistan Contact Group and called for the early conclusion
of a draft road map for further actions by this group.
his meeting with Swaraj, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi expressed his
country’s desire to work with India’s new government, people familiar with
developments said. The focus of the India-China meeting was on implementing
goals agreed on at the 2018 informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and President Xi Jinping, the people added.
meeting with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov focused on expanding
bilateral ties and preparations for the SCO Summit in Bishkek in June.
and Pakistan became full members of SCO in 2017 and Swaraj said in her speech
that New Delhi is committed to measures aimed at boosting economic and trade
cooperation with the members of the grouping.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) has for the first time filed a chargesheet
against alleged operatives of the Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), an
outfit whose presence and influence in the Valley has been a matter of dispute
within the security establishment.
agency filed a chargesheet against four accused in a Jammu special court on
chargesheet identifies three suspected militants, arrested by a joint team of
Delhi Police and Srinagar Police in November last year, as members of ISJK, “a
Kashmir-based terrorist affiliate of proscribed International terrorist
organisation ISIS”. According to the chargesheet, the probe revealed that
accused – Tahir Ahmad Khan, Haris Mushtaq Khan, and Asif Suhail Nadaf – were
“active cadres” of ISJK.
December last year, the case was transferred to the NIA, and the agency
subsequently arrested a fourth accused – Asif Majid – from Srinagar for
allegedly “harbouring the other co-accused persons”. One illegal 12-bore
single-barrel gun without number and two KF-12 cartridges were recovered from
Asif, the NIA had stated.
unearthed a larger conspiracy of these terrorist elements propagating
pan-Islamic ideology of ISIS by recruiting and radicalising Kashmiri youth
towards Jihad and targeting security forces,” the NIA said in a statement.
Haris and Asif Suhail were arrested on November 24, 2018, based on inputs
provided by the Delhi Police. At the time of arrest, Haris was studying MA at
Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia.
Police’s DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwah had then said, “They are residents of
different places in Jammu and Kashmir. They were arrested from Srinagar’s Kothi
Bagh area on a specific input. When police teams intercepted their motorbike
near the Tourism Reception Centre, they tried to lob a grenade at the police
loaded pistols, three grenades, four cellphones and Islamic State flags were
recovered from their possession, Kushwah had said. While a few attacks in the
Valley in the last couple of years have been attributed to operatives who
identified themselves with ISJK, opinion has been divided on whether the group
has any real strength to be a major source of worry for the security
establishment. Intelligence sources deny the group has any structural links
with the IS in Afghanistan.
on Wednesday said the bombings in Sri Lanka at a time when the wounds of the
Pulwama terror attack were still raw in people’s mind have made it more
determined to resolutely fight against terrorism.
the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign
Ministers in Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek, External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj said India is determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within
the SCO framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka, who have recently
witnessed the ghastly act of terrorism. Our wounds of Pulwama attack were still
raw and the news from the neighbourhood has made us more determined to
resolutely fight against this menace,” Swaraj said at the meeting, also
attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
said India is open to ideas on how we can make the work of Regional
Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating
to security and defence, more effective.
spite of a turbulent global scenario, SCO member states have been steadily
expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in various spheres, including
political, security and development, Swaraj said.
said that India is committed to continue working for a favourable environment
for the SCO member countries’ economic activities and to intensify work on the
relevant SCO documents dealing with economic and trade cooperation.
subscribes to a rule-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive
multilateral trading system, centred around the World Trade Organisation, and
firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism,” she said, amid the trade war
between China and the US.
said science and technology-led innovation and the digital economy are the key
areas which could play an important role in the long-term inclusive and
said India is committed to regional connectivity which is evident from its
involvement in the International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port,
Ashgabat Agreement and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.
have also operationalised air freight corridors between Kabul and Kandahar and
New Delhi and Mumbai in 2017. We welcome regional connectivity initiatives,
that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of
sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Swaraj said, apparently referring to
India’s objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through
said India supports initiatives for capacity building, human resource
development and fostering greater interaction among the youth of the region.
India, she said, is ready to share its expertise with other SCO members in such
fields as agriculture, medicine, Information Technology, space and finance.
Pakistani authorities on Tuesday identified an Afghan national as the suicide
bomber who triggered a blast outside a revered Sufi shrine here that killed 13
people, including five police personnel, on May 8.
said Sadiqullah Momand entered Pakistan through Torkham area on May 6 and blew
himself up near a police van at the shrine of Ali Hajvari commonly known as
also claim to have arrested one named Mohsin Khan, who is the main facilitator
of the terror attack .
people, including five police personnel, were killed when a suicide bomber blew
himself up outside the Data Darbar, the largest Sufi shrine in South Asia.
CCTV footage showed a teenage boy wearing black shalwar kameez and a suicide
vest coming closer to the vehicle of an elite police force before blowing
also confirmed that Hizbul Ahrar had claimed responsibility for sending the
teenage suicide bomber to the shrine.
Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab has examined the records of three
terror groups, including the Ghazi Force and Jamaatul Ahrar.
Ahrar is a splinter group of Jamaatul Ahrar headed by Muqarram Shah from
Afghanistan. It separated from Jamaatul Ahrar due to internal rifts.
said that the blast facilitator, Mohsin Khan moved to Lahore a couple of weeks
before the blast and rented a house at Bhati Gate, a residential area near the
received the suicide bomber Momand on May 6 and took him to his target on May
suspect identified as Tayabullah is at large.
US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to help Pakistan overcome the
current economic crisis while asking Islamabad to focus its attention on
creating more opportunities for its people.
the annual bipartisan Iftar of the Pakistani American Political Action
Committee (PAKPAC) on Tuesday evening, the lawmakers also advised the Trump
administration not to go to war with Iran as it would destabilise the entire
Sheila Jackson Lee, the founder chairperson of the Pakistan caucus in the US
Congress, while highlighting the need to revive the once close relationship
between the United States and Pakistan, emphasised the need to help Pakistan
overcome the current economic crisis.
should do whatever we can to ensure that there’s an improvement in the lives of
Pakistani people,” she said. The Pakistani government, she said, should also
focus on providing “education and development opportunities” to its people.
Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, a
Democrat, noted the sacrifices the Pakistani people, particularly its armed
forces, had made in this war.
me it (America’s relationship with Pakistan) matters because of the important contributions
you (the Pakistani American community) make here,” said Congressman Jim Banks,
the Republican co-chair of the Pakistan caucus. “And also because the two
countries have had a broad and deep relationship” that has promoted peace and
stability in the world, he added. “I want to make it better and stronger
because it has helped both.”
Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, urged the Pakistani American community to
actively participate in American politics. She said she was elected to Congress
with 50 votes and “this could not have happened without support from the
Pakistani Americans in my constituency”.
Jack Bergman, a former general, advised the Trump administration to avoid
“muscle flexing” and peacefully resolve its differences with Iran.
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice President Maryam Nawaz has said her party
wanted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to stay in power for some
more time so that its “ugly face” could be exposed before the masses.
said this while speaking to party workers here on Wednesday at the residence of
former federal minister Baleeghur Rehman after condoling the death of his wife
and son in a traffic accident last month.
was accompanied by PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, former law minister
of Punjab Rana Sanaullah and other party leaders.
her speech, the charged party workers raised slogans against the government.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said that he had virtually handed over the keys
of country’s treasury to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
deplored that the party [PTI] that had promised change could not give any good
news to people since it came into power 10 months back.
Nawaz said she would call Imran Khan Nalaiq-i-Azam (highly incompetent) instead
of Wazir-i-Azam (prime minister) because a bunch of incompetent people had come
said her imprisoned father, ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, had directed her to join
the suffering people of the country.
rapped the government for unprecedented price hike in the country and said the
poor were being crushed by inflation and could not make both ends meet.
condemned the incident of rape and murder of a 10 year old girl, Farishta, in
Islamabad and demanded strict action against the culprits.
also expressed sorrow over the death of PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira’s son in a
her way to Bahawalpur, Ms Nawaz was scheduled to address a roadside gathering
of PML-N workers at Khanewal.
arrange Iftar dinner to promote interfaith harmony
The Sikh community has restarted arranging Iftar dinner for Muslims to boost
interfaith harmony in the city at places where there is concentration of poor
daily wagers, homeless people and widows.
organisers of the event told this scribe that members of Hindu and Christian
communities also contributed to the cause of interfaith harmony while young
Muslim volunteers were part of the Iftar arrangement.
an effort to promote religious harmony and mutual respect, members of Sikh
community motivated a group of young volunteers to host Iftar dinner at
different places of the city for the Muslims and also make arrangements at
orphanages and hospitals around the city for poor people and labourers.
Sikh community the other day in collaboration with local charity organisation
arranged an Iftar dinner at Fawara Chowk, Peshawar Saddar in which rice, milk,
fruits and cold drinks were offered to the fast keepers.
Singh, a political and social activist, said that his community had been doing
that noble job for the last many years to boost interfaith harmony as
minorities had been living with Muslims for centuries and had been enjoying good
time around we have made a different arrangement and we are going to approach
every deserving family with a Ramazan package and want to make it sure that the
poor people receive our contribution at their doorsteps as most of them including
widows could not walk up to our Iftar points.
delivery makes it easier for such families to enjoy Iftar with us,” said Mr
Singh, a resident of Mohalla Jogan Shah Dabgari in Peshawar city, said that
hosting Iftar dinner for Muslims had been a good spiritual experience as it
helped to enhance the spirit of mutual respect among religious groups.
Khan, a resident of Charsadda, said that he drove a rickshaw and could not
reach his hometown for Iftar. He said that he almost every second day stayed in
Peshawar for enjoying free Iftar dinner with Sikh community. He said like him,
many other daily wagers broke fast on the Dastarkhwan of Sikh brethren in
Singh Tony, another member of Sikh community, said that holding such events not
only promoted interfaith harmony but also gave a message to the world that
Pakistanis stood united and that minorities enjoyed greater freedom there than
in any other country.
said it was not only the month of Ramazan but throughout the year minority
groups had been participating in several festivals and religious celebrations.
Radaish Singh said that beef and other edibles were being purchased and cooked
by young Muslim volunteers for the Iftar dinner.
Singh, also a religious scholar, said that for the rest of the Ramazan, Iftar
dinner would be hosted in Saddar Bazaar opposite to Wadood sons while Ramazan
packages would also launched on Thursday (today) which would continue till end
of the holy month.
also host Iftar Dastarkhwan
promote interfaith harmony among various communities, the Christians in
collaboration with district administration arranged an Iftar Dastarkhwan for
Muslims in front of All Saints’ Church, Kohati Gate on Wednesday.
statement issued here said that the volunteers of Christian Students Fellowship
(CSF) and youth of different churches of Peshawar participated in serving Iftar
to the poor and needy brethren.
said that the gesture would not only help in bridging the gap between the two
communities and bringing harmony but would also promote tolerance.
A first information report (FIR) was filed against Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
(PTM) activist Gulalai Ismail under the anti-terrorism act for “delivering
anti-state speeches and instigated masses against the state institutions”.
FIR – which was filed on Thursday – read that the PTM leader tried to invoke
anti-state sentiments amongst Pashtuns in connection to the rape and murder of
the minor girl Farishta.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif
Ghafoor had said that Pakistan army is ready to assist in the on-going
investigation into the rape and murder of 10-year-old girl Farishta.
murder of innocent Farishta is highly condemnable. Those responsible must be
brought to justice,” Ghafoor said on Twitter late Wednesday night while adding
that “army is ready to provide any support in this regard”.
chief military spokesperson further added that “we must rise and join to
protect our future generations from vile and despicable elements who prey on vulnerable
Gen Asif Ghafoor
murder of innocent Farishta is highly condemnable. Those responsible must be
brought to justice. Army is ready to provide any support in this regard. We
must rise and join to protect our future generations from vile and despicable elements
who prey on vulnerable children.
- 22 May 2019
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Arabia will extend a $3.2 billion deferred payment facility with Pakistan for
petroleum products from the start of July, PM’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul
Hafeez Shaikh said on Wednesday.
facility will be worth $275 million per month and will amount to $3.2bn per
year for a period of three years, the finance adviser said.
a message posted on social media website Twitter, Shaikh thanked the Crown
Prince of Saudi Arabia for his continuous support for the people of Pakistan.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh
Would like to Thank The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Muhammad Bin
Salman for his continuous support for the people of Pakistan.
PM - May 22, 2019
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said the facility would help strengthen Pakistan’s balance of payments position
as the country battles a current account crisis.
the finance adviser’s post, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar welcomed
the good news and said that it would greatly help Pakistan’s foreign exchange
reserves as well.
in northwestern Syria launched a counterattack on Tuesday against
pro-government positions and fighting killed more than three dozen combatants
from both sides, a war monitor said.
fighting in the town of Kafr Nabuda, in the north of Hama province, killed 26
pro-government fighters as well as 18 rebels, the UK-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said. Syrian forces seized control of the town on May 8.
news agency SANA also said "terrorist groups" - a catch-all term for
opposition armed groups - fired missiles on the west of government-held Aleppo
city, wounding six civilians.
200,000 people caught in the crossfire in northwestern Syria have now fled
intensified fighting between rebels and Syrian and Russian forces.
territory is largely controlled by Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an armed group
that formerly represented al-Qaeda's Syrian wing. The Syrian government has
vowed to remove HTS from the region.
of Syrians are on the move in search of safety, food and shelter, according to
NGO Mercy Corps.
on the ground tell us that their first need is food, yet food prices have
reportedly increased by up to 45 percent during the holy month of Ramadan in
the worst-affected areas of northern Hama and southern Idlib," said Made
Ferguson, Mercy Corps' deputy country director for Syria.
Hurtado, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said
fighting was continuing despite a 72-hour ceasefire, adding at least 200,000
people have now fled southern Idlib and northern Hama provinces since renewed
fighting began at the end of last month.
strikes and ground-based attacks continue to take place in various parts of
Idlib and Hama governorates," said Hurtado in a statement on Tuesday.
"The situation remains volatile and the possibility of renewed clashes is
high, worsening the prospects for some three million civilians caught in the
said at least 105 civilians have been killed - including many women and
children - since last month.
and Russian air raids have hit 18 health facilities and violence has destroyed
at least 16 schools since last month, the United Nations says.
70 aid groups called for an immediate end to the fighting in Idlib, saying
conditions have reached a "crisis point".
groups said violence has forced at least 16 humanitarian organisations to
suspend their operations in the region, adding staff were either displaced
themselves or the facilities came under attack.
fighting marks the biggest upsurge in violence since last summer between
President Bashar al-Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of
territory around it.
battles have forced fleeing Syrians to live out in the open amid the exchanges
of fire as they try to escape the region.
the truck burn'
al-Ahmed and his family fled on foot through the fields when the bombs began
raining down on their house in northwestern Syria, escaping the major offensive
by the Syrian army and its Russian allies.
the early hours of the morning, the artillery stopped. Then, the warplanes and
helicopters came out," said Ahmed, a 25-year-old farmer recalling his last
hours in the village of Habeet, which he fled with his family of five dozen
during their frantic escape from the village, the family are now reunited in a
makeshift shelter in an olive grove near the border with Turkey.
night before Ali's family left the village, they hid indoors or in basements.
They feared to even to check around the village for other still living
hit his small truck, which they had planned to escape in. "The warplane
was flying overhead," he said. "So, we stood there watching the truck
they set off through the fields: some of the relatives ran on foot. Others
hopped into cars with their neighbours. A few stayed behind.
three days, we didn't know anything about each other," Ali said.
family ended up in an olive grove in the border town of Atmeh two weeks ago.
"Our entire lives today are under these two trees," said Ali, who had
already been uprooted twice before during the eight-year war.
May 21 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces killed 11 Islamic State (IS) militants
in an operation in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, the Iraqi military
said on Tuesday.
joint force from the Iraqi army, provincial police and paramilitary Hashd
Shaabi units conducted an operation to clear a desert area in Salahudin
province from IS militants, the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations
Command said in a statement.
the operation, the troops discovered 13 IS hideouts and two car-bomb-making
sites, as well as killing 11 IS militants and destroying two booby-trapped
vehicles, the statement said.
troops also found 16 explosive belts and six containers filled with explosives,
in addition to other supplies and equipment, the statement added.
security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security
forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country in late
bin Salman has questioned the military intelligence unit over the incident and
they have admitted their total ignorance and lack of any intel about the
drones' flights," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Wednesday.
with the MbS' wrath, the military intelligence unit has claimed that most
possibly the drones have flown from a region inside Saudi Arabia and from a
location close to the targets, he added.
imagery revealed the extent of damage to Saudi Arabia's oil facilities in Yemen's
drone strikes last week, which forced the kingdom to stop oil flow in a major
television network reported on Sunday that the attacks had caused significant
damage to Saudi energy giant Aramco's Pump Station 8.
attack reportedly caused a 4-meter rupture in one of the station's main oil
pipes, causing severe leakage over an area of around a thousand square meters.
soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, launched the major
operation last Tuesday against the strategic oil facility in Saudi Arabia in
retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression and siege
of the impoverished country. Following the attack, Saudi Arabia stopped pumping
crude oil on the major pipeline across the country. The retaliatory attack also
led to the rise of oil prices and fall of stock markets in Persian Gulf Arab
attack bears extra significance at this stage of the war because the Yemeni
forces could fly armed drones so far and carry out precision strikes and then
fly them back while evading all Saudi defenses on the way. The long-range
drones open unlimited possibilities for Yemeni resistance forces, which have
already surpassed all expectations by surviving the massive Saudi onslaught and
mounted a potent response with an arsenal of ballistic missiles.
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that the Afrin Liberation Forces launched
fresh military operations against the Turkish Army and its allied militants in
Afrin, hitting a military position of al-Jbahat al-Shamia in the village of
Shara which resulted in the death of eight Ankara-backed militants and injury
of three others.
Kurdish fighters also pounded a center of Ahrar al-Sharqieh in the town of
Bastouleh in Shirava region, killing and injuring three others.
Monday, the Turkish Army and its allied militants launched massive attacks on
Kurdish fighters in Northern Aleppo that was followed by heavy clashes between
the two sides.
Xeber24 news website affiliated to Kurdish forces reported that the
Ankara-backed militants attacked military positions of Afrin Liberation Forces
in the surrounding areas Tal Ra'afat in Northern Aleppo.
meantime, pointed to fierce clashes in Harbal and Am Hush regions near Tal
Rafat in Northern Aleppo, and said that the Syrian fighter jets were flying
over the region.
News also pointed to the fierce mortar attacks by the Turkish Army and its
allied militants on Mara'anaz and Malekieh towns in Shara region in
Northwestern Aleppo, and said that the Kurdish fighters have warded off attacks
by the Turkish Army and its allied militants on the villages of Mang and Ain
Daqaneh in Northern Aleppo over the past days.
a relevant development on Sunday, the Turkish Army dispatched thousands of the
Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants from Northern Aleppo to Hama to back up Tahrir
al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front).
News reported that the Turkish Army has sent the terrorists under its umbrella
of coalition to Northern Hama from Afrin and Izaz to support Tahrir al-Sham
terrorists in its battle against the Syrian Army.
noted that a military convoy comprising hundreds of Ankara-backed militants
together with weapons and military equipment have been sent to Northern Hama
via Qazawiyeh crossing in Southern Afrin.
the sources close to the terrorist groups reiterated that hundreds of FSA
terrorists have moved towards Idlib to reach battlefronts in Hama. The FSA
terrorists moved from Izaz, Jarablus, Al-Bab and Afrin in Northern and
Egyptian court has referred the case of six alleged Muslim Brotherhood members
convicted of terrorism to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, for
a non-binding opinion on their execution.
Cairo Criminal Court said Wednesday the six were found guilty of killing three
people, including a policeman, among other charges. The case includes a total
of 70 defendants.
verdict can be appealed and the judge can rule independently of the Grand
Mufti. The Brotherhood won a series of free elections after Egypt’s 2011
strikes by the Syrian regime or its ally Moscow killed 12 civilians in a market
in Syria’s Idlib province, a monitor said Wednesday, as fierce fighting raged
for the militant-held northwestern region.
18 people were wounded when the warplanes hit the militant-held town of Maarat
al-Numan around midnight (2100 GMT) on Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
market was crowded with people out and about after breaking the daytime fast
observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.
strikes came as heavy clashes raged in the north of neighboring Hama province
after the militants launched a counterattack on Tuesday against pro-government
forces in the town of Kafr Nabuda.
fighting on Wednesday took the death toll to 52 - 29 troops and militia and 23
militants, the Observatory said.
said that the militants had retaken most of the town from government forces who
recaptured it on May 8.
militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal,
but the regime and its Russian ally have escalated their bombardment of it in
recent weeks, seizing several towns on its southern flank.
militant alliance led by Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir
al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of
Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.
and rebel ally Turkey inked the buffer zone deal in September to avert a
government offensive on the region which threatened humanitarian disaster for
its three million residents.
Bashar al-Assad’s government has renewed its bombardment of the region since
HTS took control in January.
too has stepped up its air strikes in recent weeks as Turkey proved unable to
secure implementation of the truce deal by the militants.
has designated Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization, according to a
presidential decision published on August 31, 2018.
of documents purportedly collected from abandoned Syrian government offices
during the country’s civil war reveal the reach of President Bashar Assad’s
shadowy, labyrinthine security agencies as they spied on the population at large,
sought to eliminate dissidents at all cost and systematically persecuted the
Kurdish minority even before the onset of protests.
documents were the basis of a report released Tuesday by Washington-based Syria
Justice and Accountability Center, which hopes they can eventually help in the
prosecution of perpetrators of war crimes.
“Walls Have Ears, An Analysis of Classified Syrian Security Sector Documents,”
the report is based on a sample of 5,000 documents and presents some of the
most damning evidence of state involvement — at the highest level — in the
bloody crackdown on protesters, dissidents, and even foreign journalists in
documents show the agencies created a network of informants that ensured the
government kept a close watch of the most mundane of Syrians’ everyday life.
also offer a rare look into the inner workings of the several security agencies
as they sought to eliminate dissidents through detention, intimidation, or
killings and implemented a state policy that singled out the Kurdish minority
for persecution even before the onset in the 2011 uprising against Assad.
of the documents include handwritten notes from top commanders to arrest,
detain, and “do what is necessary” to quell the unrest — a vague directive that
has been found to mean the use of lethal force in some incidents.
agencies and officials even spied on each other. One document is titled:
“Records of what thoughts go through my mind concerning other officers” — a
Kafkaesque 97-page report of what officers think other officers may be
document details how a man informed on his own brother for supporting
anti-Assad protests, prompting a security commander to seek permission to lure
the brother into a trap.
document, from the country’s top intelligence agency, the National Security
Office, identified a French-Lebanese journalist as an “instigator of protests”
and barred her from entering the country.
of the documents identify protesters by name, labeling many as terrorists
without any evidence. SJAC has redacted the names to protect the identity of
those on the wanted list.
documents show clearly that orders were very centralized and came from really
high-level officials, including from heads of the security agency themselves,
and in lots of documents from the National Security Office,” said Mohammad
Al-Abdallah, the director of the Washington-based group.
combined with the nature of the orders — deployment of military units,
surveillance, the use of lethal force, persecutions of the Kurds — all are
proof a systematic state practice, and can be used as evidence to establish
both the Syrian state responsibility and the individual criminal responsibility
for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he added.
protests erupted in March 2011 in Syria — in part inspired by the wave of
uprisings around the region later labeled the Arab Spring — the government
responded with a violent crackdown.
crackdown, in turn, sparked an armed rebellion against government forces,
dividing Syria into government and rebel-held areas.
nine years later, more than 400,000 people have been killed, half of the
pre-war population of 23 million is either displaced internally or refugees in
neighboring countries. Most of the towns and cities lie in ruins.
government, which typically does not comment on security issues nor responds to
reports accusing it of human rights violations, justifies its crackdown by
describing those who rose up against it as terrorists. Assad charges that the
uprising was part of a conspiracy supported by the US and regional foes to oust
him from power.
documents were collected from the province of Raqqa and the town of Tabqa in
eastern Syria in 2013, and from the western province of Idlib in 2015,
following the withdrawal of government forces.
SJAC and investigators from another independent group, the Commission for
International Justice and Accountability, extracted 483,000 government
documents and collectively scanned and digitized them.
groups have already offered assistance to European prosecutors to pursue
criminal cases against Syrian officials.
documents included wanted lists of those who participated in protests, ordering
detentions and even shootings of protesters.
document issued by the National Security branch two months after the protests
erupted in March 2011 calls on security agents to stop firing at protesters in
light of the continued unrest.
said issuing the orders proves killings were already taking place. A “document
saying stop the killing while the killing continued” doesn’t exonerate the
government from the violence, he said, adding that there is no evidence that
the new orders to stop shooting were implemented.
report found documents that offer details of the state’s detention policy —
mostly for protesting and in one incident for cursing Assad at a dinner
gathering — following tips from informants or appearance in critical news
report obtained documents that show the extent of the state persecution of
Kurds — including documents as far back as 2010.
army forces have managed to frustrate a series of attacks by militants from the
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the
country’s western-central province of Hama as they are engaged in joint
counter-terrorism operations with allied fighters from popular defense groups
against the extremists.
May 22 morning, Syrian government forces thwarted three massive attacks carried
out by the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group on the town of Kafr Nabudah. The
attacks involved up to 500 militants, seven tanks, four infantry fighting
vehicles, about 30 pickup trucks with large machine guns mounted on the back as
well as two cars filled with explosives,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in
ministry further noted that Syrian government forces also repelled two militant
attempts to break through defenses near the al-Hayrat district in the northern
province of Idlib, which involved 200 terrorists, four infantry fighting
vehicles and four pickups.
the fighting, Syrian troops killed more than 150 militants of the Jabhat Fateh
al-Sham group, destroyed three tanks, 24 pickup trucks with heavy machine guns
and two car bombs,” it said.
foreign-sponsored Syrian militants positioned in the de-escalation zone of
Idlib fired a barrage of missiles at Russia’s main air base in the western
coastal province of Latakia.
Russian Defense Ministry stated that eight rockets launched by the extremists did
not reach the strategic Hmeimim airbase, while another nine were shot down by
Russian air defense systems.
has been helping Syrian forces in ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued
Russian military assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official
request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as Syrians continue to
recapture key areas from Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist groups across
the country with the backing of Russian air cover.
May 22 — Khalid Meshaal, former chairman of Hamas (the Islamic Resistance
Movement of Palestine), today met with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
to convey the situation and struggles in Palestine.
delegation of eight Hamas leaders led by Khalid, had a discussion with Dr Mahathir
which lasted for about an hour.
by reporters after the meeting, Khalid said Hamas thanked Dr Mahathir for the
warm welcome accorded to his delegation and also conveyed gratitude to the
Prime Minister for his continuous stand together with Palestinians to end
Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
aggression on Jerusalem and their practices to transform the identity of the
Holy City of Jerusalem and what the Gaza
people are suffering from regular Israeli aggression, attacks,
starvation and blockades,” he said.
said Hamas also expressed its hopes that Dr Mahathir, as a senior leader of the
Muslim Ummah (global Muslim community), would play a role in ending the
aggression against the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip.
also spoke about America’s ‘deal of the century’ aimed to end the Palestinian
struggle and settle the Palestinian issue unfairly,” he added.
claimed that the economic part of the “deal of the century” peace plan to be
announced in Bahrain next month was aimed to divert attention from the real
cause in Palestine.
said it was also a good opportunity to tell the Malaysians through the local
media that the Palestinian people are steadfast and resisting occupation, as
well as their standing on the land strongly.
ask for support from fellow friends, leaders of the Muslim Ummah and the rest
of the world in gaining our rights back and ending Israel’s occupation,” he
stressed. — Bernama
Two years after the Philippine city of Marawi was overrun by jihadists it
remains in ruins, with experts warning that stalled reconstruction efforts are
bolstering the appeal of extremist groups in the volatile region.
May 23, 2017 invasion by gunmen waving the black flag of the Islamic State
group sparked a five-month battle that shattered swathes of the southern city.
of blast-pocked buildings has finally begun, but after several false starts the
government does not expect rebuilding to be finished before the end of 2021.
delays have left about 100,000 residents in squalid relocation camps or sharing
homes with relatives, feeding simmering anger among the displaced and providing
a recruiting tool for extremists.
narratives (to join IS) used to be about the Middle East and the plight of
Muslims around the world,” said Mouhammad Sharief, who co-founded a support
group for Marawi’s youth.
it’s closer to our hearts because the narrative is Marawi,” said 32-year-old
Sharief, who was himself displaced by the fighting.
is symbolically important because it is the Muslim capital of the nation’s
south, which has been locked in a cycle of poverty and extremism as separatist
insurgencies have raged for decades.
is all the more significant as IS works to maintain a presence via its global
affiliates following the fall of its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in the Middle
regularly claims responsibility for killings of Philippine government troops
and took credit for the January bombing of a Catholic cathedral during Sunday
mass that was the nation’s deadliest attack in years.
organisation has links to local extremist networks, including the
kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf, that have long operated in the Philippines’
this context, an angry displaced population in Marawi is not a risk that can be
ignored, experts say.
government needs to be concerned about the threats of ISIS attracting young
(locals) because of the ongoing resentment from the failure to rebuild and
general anger over the destruction,” analyst Sidney Jones told AFP.
the city has been repeatedly delayed. A Chinese-led consortium initially tapped
to spearhead the rehabilitation plan was disqualified over legal and financial
clearing of debris, the first step before the actual construction, also hit a
snag due to legal problems and the government hopes it will finally be finished
will be used as an example again of government discrimination against Muslims
and the government neglect for the responsibility of rebuilding Marawi,” said
Francisco Lara, an adviser with peace group International Alert.
government says it is making progress in repairing the city, which was pounded
by military air strikes and artillery as it struggled to dislodge the
are following the guidance and instructions of the president that he will see
to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again,” Eduardo del Rosario, a
retired general overseeing the rebuilding efforts, told journalists this week.
are all undertaking the task given to us as per instruction of the president,”
President Rodrigo Duterte has tried to portray himself as sensitive to the
Philippines’ Muslim minority, he has sent mixed signals about Marawi.
has claimed the city was home to illegal drug activity, a very serious accusation
from a leader whose narcotics crackdown has killed over 5,300 alleged dealers
people have died in election rioting in the Indonesian capital, authorities
said Wednesday, as supporters of the losing presidential candidate burned
vehicles and battled police and the government announced restrictions on social
clashes began Tuesday night when supporters of former general Prabowo Subianto
tried to force their way into the downtown offices of the election supervisory
agency and have continued unabated since then. More than two dozen vehicles
were burned as rioters took over neighborhoods in central Jakarta, throwing
rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who responded with tear gas, water
cannon, and rubber bullets.
a volatile ultra-nationalist politician, has refused to accept the official
results of the April 17 election and instead declared himself the winner. The
Election Commission on Tuesday said President Joko Widodo, the first Indonesian
president from outside the Jakarta elite, had won 55.5 percent of the vote,
securing the moderate technocrat a second term. Subianto, an elite figure from
a wealthy family connected to former dictator Suharto, also lost to Widodo in
2014. He has made four unsuccessful bids for the presidency since Suharto was
ousted in 1998.
the communications and information technology minister, said features of social
media including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp will be restricted on a
temporary basis to prevent the spread of hoaxes and inflammatory content. He
said messaging systems will still work for text and voice messages but photos
and videos will be blocked or slowed.
police chief Tito Karnavian said the people who died in the rioting were hit by
gunshots or blunt devices. Authorities are still investigating the death causes
and are not ruling out the involvement of third parties acting as provocateurs.
are attempts to create martyrs, blaming security officials for building public
anger,” he said.
rioting in Jakarta was planned and not spontaneous, according to police. Many
of those arrested and come from outside Jakarta, said national police spokesman
government had deployed some 50,000 police and soldiers in Jakarta in
anticipation of protests following the official election results. Many residents
have left the city and parts of the downtown are closed to traffic with the
election supervisory agency and Election Commission barricaded with razor wire.
the past week, authorities have arrested three pro-Subianto activists on
suspicion of treason. They included Sunarko, a retired general and former
commander of Indonesia’s special forces who uses a single name. Police allege
there was a plot to seize crucial government buildings in Jakarta.
campaign plans to challenge the election in the Constitutional Court. They
allege massive fraud in the world’s third-largest democracy but have provided
no credible evidence.
LUMPUR: Singapore’s Sultan Mosque is a focal point for Muslims in the
cosmopolitan city-state and the vibrant Kampong Glam neighborhood comes alive
during the holy month of Ramadan when people from all walks of life flock to
its bustling bazaars.
Glam is Singapore’s “Muslim Quarter” with a mix of Malay, South Asian and
Middle Eastern elements. Around 14 percent of Singapore’s 5.6 million
population is Muslim, according to the latest official data.
Street — an area that includes Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat
Street — is a hub for hipsters, vivid murals, Persian rug stores, shisha bars,
perfumeries and textile shops, as well as being home to the distinctive golden
domes of the Sultan Mosque. There is even an ornate archway welcoming people to
explore the neighborhood and its distinctive shophouses, buildings that were
used for working and living in.
are more like brothers and sisters, rather than businesses. I know most of the
customers and they know me too,” a 36-year-old biryani hawker who gave his name
as Nareza told Arab News as he served a line of hungry clients.
said his stall’s signature dish was mutton biryani, made from a family recipe
handed down through generations from his late grandmother.
biryani is a process of mixing meat and rice together in one pot, so the rice
has a bit of the masala taste while the meat has a bit of the basmati rice
fragrance,” he said, adding that he sold more than 300 portions of biryani a
day. “I learned to make biryani from my father, who used to do charity work in
the mosque. We make our own spices, we do not buy them from outside vendors.
That is why the taste is different.”
bazaar is packed with places selling food, drinks, decorations and homeware.
The fare reflects Singapore’s international status, with eateries and stores
selling kebabs, sushi and local Malay goodies.
Singapore has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the
world and having a fast-paced lifestyle, leading some to focus on preserving
culture and heritage for future generations.
Slams Un For Consorting With Hezbollah
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis met with Deputy
Secretary General Naim Qassem of Hezbollah, Israel officials condemned the
are shocked and disappointed by this meeting with a designated terror
organization’s leader, threatening Israel, Lebanon and the whole region,"
Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted. "One doesn’t
need to read the Naim Qassem book, courtesy of #Hezbollah terrorists, in order
to understand this !!"
Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Danny Danon also shared his
displeasure on twitter.
role of #UN representatives is to promote a stable and secure region and not to
meet with the leaders of a terrorist organization and to glorify incitement
against the State of Israel," Danon tweeted Wednesday morning.
wrote on twitter about the meeting on Monday night, describing the meeting as
"open and substantive discussion."
also mentioned the Hezbollah leader gave him a book, Hizbullah (Hezbollah): The
Story from Within, which Qassem wrote.
IDF retorted to Kubis' interest in the book by saying, "Do you know what
else appears to be necessary reading? @UN Resolution 1701."
Resolution 1701 was an attempt at solving the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
along with the US and the Arab league recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist
Julian E. Barnes, Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane
— Top American national security officials sought to convince a divided
Congress on Tuesday about the seriousness of new threats from Iran as they
defended intelligence that has prompted military deployments aimed at deterring
attacks by Tehran.
emerged from the classified briefings on Capitol Hill with sharp questions
about whose actions ultimately led to the recent escalation: Tehran’s or the
last week, Iran removed some missiles it had stationed on small boats in its
territorial waters — a step American officials said was a sign that Iran was
seeking to ease tensions. On Tuesday, American officials said Iran had
threatened to target those missiles at Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure to
drive up oil prices and disrupt international trade.
intelligence has indicated that Iran was considering such attacks in response
to tough American sanctions against Iran’s oil sector and the administration’s
decision to designate the paramilitary arm of Iran’s government a terrorist
organization, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to discuss the analysis publicly.
they reacting to us, or are we doing these things in reaction to them? That is
a major question I have, that I still have,” Senator Angus King, a Maine
independent who mostly votes with Democrats, said after the closed-door
most immediate concern is the danger of miscalculation,” Mr. King said. “What
we view as defensive, they view as provocative. Or vice versa.”
separate meetings with senators and representatives, Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan outlined the intelligence
that prompted the United States to send an aircraft carrier, bombers and
missile defense systems to the Persian Gulf region this month.
have deterred attacks based on our reposturing of assets, deterred attacks against
American forces,” Mr. Shanahan said after briefing lawmakers. “Our biggest
focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation. We do not want the
situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war.”
meetings did not include John R. Bolton, the national security adviser who is
the fiercest Iran hawk in President Trump’s administration. But lawmakers said
Mr. Pompeo was strident in the meeting, outlining the history of Iran’s
Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told
lawmakers that he had sent a message through an intermediary to Qassim
Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s paramilitary forces, that he would be held
accountable for any attacks on the United States, according to officials who
were in the briefings and described them on condition of anonymity.
a radio interview, Mr. Pompeo said that the United States had not determined
who was responsible for sabotage attacks last week on oil tankers in the Middle
East, but that “it seems like it’s quite possible that Iran was behind” them.
also defended the administration’s steps against Iran and said the United
States would continue to “work to deter Iran from misbehavior in the region.”
made clear that we will not allow Iran to hide behind its proxy forces, but
that if American interests are attacked, whether by Iran directly or through
its proxy forces, we will respond in an appropriate way against Iran,” Mr.
Pompeo told Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio host.
many things in Washington, reactions to the administration’s handling of the
tensions with Iran have fallen along a sharp partisan divide.
Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told reporters that the briefing
made clear that “this was an escalation of the threat stream we have not seen
convinced the threat stream that they picked up is real and the actions of the
Iranians went to a new level,” said Mr. Graham, who sits on the Foreign
Relations Committee. “This is a defining moment for the Trump administration,
the Trump administration needs to let them know that the maximum pressure
campaign will continue.”
Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who sits on both the Intelligence and
Foreign Relations Committees, praised the administration for sending a strong
deterrent message in the face of what he described as “consistent, credible
threats of imminent action.”
a very simple equation. If Iran doesn’t attack, there won’t be any problem. If
Iran attacks, the president is going to go ‘dracarys’ on them,” Mr. Rubio said,
invoking a “Game of Thrones” reference. “He’s going to respond.”
who viewed the same intelligence reports came away with a far more skeptical
view and suggested that Iran has been pushed into its recent moves.
believe there is a certain level of escalation of both sides that could become
a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of
Arizona. “The feedback loop tells us they’re escalating for war, but they could
just be escalating because we’re escalating.”
also criticized Mr. Trump’s handling of the crisis, unconvinced the
administration had a clear strategy to push Iran to the bargaining table. They
raised questions about whether the administration had adequate back-channel
communications to prevent an accidental military escalation.
clear to me after this briefing that the administration’s approach to Iran is
not working,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut,
adding that the American pressure campaign “has pushed Iran further away from
the negotiating table.”
the briefing, Mr. Pompeo was asked if the administration would speak directly
to Iran. “There are plenty of ways that we can have a communication channel,”
Tehran, Iranian leaders showed no hint of softening. In a speech reported
Tuesday by state-run news media, President Hassan Rouhani dismissed any
suggestion of direct talks with the United States. “Today’s circumstances are
not suitable for negotiations at all, as our conditions today are those of
resistance and fortitude,” Mr. Rouhani said.
Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said his country wanted to reduce
tensions between Iran and the United States.
Mahdi said that while Baghdad would not play the role of mediator, Iraq was
conveying messages between the United States and Iran and would “send
delegations to Tehran and Washington to contain the crisis and put an end to
the military escalation.”
Iraqi government, which has ties to both Iran and the United States, has made
clear it fears being caught in the middle and having the two countries fight on
rocket struck near the United States Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday evening. The
United States played down the significance of the attack, no one claimed
responsibility and there were no injuries or damage, but it was a reminder of
the fragility of the situation.
British lawyer is currently facing extradition to Turkey over accusations that
he is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the exiled spiritual leader Turkey blames
for plotting a 2016 coup attempt.
Keles, a UK citizen of Turkish descent, appeared before a London court on
Monday to face charges of spreading propaganda online brought by Turkey.
case is the latest in a series of extradition cases filed by the Turkish
government in the UK against opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
stand accused of supporting Gulen, who Turkey alleges carried out a 2016 failed
of Gulen, a reclusive cleric who has lived in exile in the US for two decades
and held wide influence in Turkey and beyond, are accused of being members of a
secretive terrorist organisation named FETO by the Turkish government.
of the spiritual leader instead term themselves members of the Hizmet (Service)
movement, which they describe as a non-political global civil society and
educational effort inspired by Islamic values.
many, including opponents of Erdogan, say the remarks which forced Gulen into a
self-imposed exile indicate the cleric's desire to take over the Turkish state.
a video leaked 20 years ago, Gulen was heard telling followers to "move in
the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you
reach all the centres of power".
long-time ally of Erdogan before a rupture in 2013 turned the two into mortal
enemies, Gulen and his supporters are widely accused in Turkey of having
infiltrated the country's judiciary, army, education system and government
UK Home Office has a duty to approve extradition requests as legitimate.
being rubber-stamped by the Home Office, past extradition requests from Turkey
in the UK have been thrown out by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis
that they are politically-motivated or that Turkey's prison system allegedly
violates human rights.
who is working on a PhD in sociology at the University of Sussex and is a
non-practicing barrister, is the chairman of the Dialogue Society, a UK-based,
Gulen-affiliated interfaith initiative.
academic has also been a prominent
advocate of Gulen online and in 2016 given evidence in front of the UK
parliament foreign affairs select committee.
papers sent to the UK allege Keles is a member of Gulen's group, citing his
social media activity.
alleges Keles has shared photos and videos of Gulen online it deems as
propaganda it also accuses Keles of having visited Gulen in the US.
the move is successful, he could face up to ten years in prison in Turkey.
UK does not classify "FETO" as a terrorist organisation.
other European jurisdictions, these types of cases have not got off the ground,
presumably because the authorities take the view that they are abusive and they
should not get across the starting line," Hannah Raphael, of BCL
Solicitors, who represents Keles, told The Guardian.
has arrested around 77,000 alleged Gulen supporters since 2016, with a further
130,000 dismissed from public sector jobs.
stopped importing oil from Iran at the beginning of May out of “respect” for
American sanctions despite disagreeing with them, a Turkish official said on
a strategic ally” of the United States, “we respect” the sanctions, said the
official, who asked to remain anonymous, during Turkish Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs Yavuz Selim Kiran’s visit to Washington.
pulling out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal a year ago, President Donald
Trump’s administration has hit Iran with severe sanctions prohibiting the
export of Iranian oil, as well as targeting countries that continue to purchase
was among eight countries, also including China, India, and Japan, that were
initially exempt from the sanctions and allowed to continue importing Iranian
crude, but the exemption ended May 2 and has not been renewed. Ankara initially
appeared unwilling to comply, but according to the anonymous official, Turkey
did stop importing Iranian oil after May 2.
meeting with Trump, the Turkish delegation in Washington discussed the various
points of tension between the two NATO allies, including Ankara’s recent
controversial purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Moscow.
says the deal with Moscow is a threat to Western defense and in April suspended
Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program in a bid to halt the purchase. “It’s a
done deal,” the Turkish deputy minister told journalists in Washington,
reaffirming the country’s stance on maintaining the contract with Moscow.
Turkish government proposed a joint technical working group with the Trump
administration to help dispel any fears on the part of the US, which worries
that the S-400s will be used to collect technological data on NATO military
aircraft, which Russia will be able to access.
high-ranking member of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says the
Palestinian nation vigorously rejects US President Donald Trump’s controversial
proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the
deal of the century.”
will not accept solutions that violate our rights… The deal of century is aimed
at liquidating the Palestinian cause and dropping central issues like al-Quds
(Jerusalem) and return of (Palestinian) refugees,” Izzat al-Risheq said during
a meeting between a Hamas delegation and Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad
al-Hariri in Beirut.
member of the Hamas political bureau, Husam Badran, has described a US-led
conference in Bahrain next month in support of Washington's so-called Middle
East peace plan as a plot in coordination with the occupying Israeli regime to
liquidate the Palestinian cause.
said in a tweet that the Palestinian people are united in their rejection of
the deal of the century as it only “serves the interests of Israel.”
are a nation under occupation, and our cause is aimed at national liberation
and self-determination. Attempts to whitewash the Israeli occupation through
economic solutions will not pass. We will remain loyal to the martyrs and the
suffering of prisoners,” he pointed out.
Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Bahrain confab
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have announced that they will
participate in the June 25-26 conference in Manama.
state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday that the kingdom’s Minister of
Economy and Planning Mohammed Altwejri will attend the event. The UAE Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas have called for an Arab
boycott of the meeting.
in a statement issued on Monday, called on Arab countries to boycott the
forthcoming conference in Bahrain and provide the Palestinian people with every
support to confront and frustrate the US deal of the century.
are following with great concern the American announcement about holding an
economic workshop next June in the Bahraini capital of Manama,” Hamas said,
describing it as the first American confab in support of the so-called deal of
movement also denounced any Arab participation in adopting and executing the
deal, saying any attendance in the American-led Bahrain conference would be
considered a violation of Arab and Palestinian positions, and deviation from
Arab and Islamic values.
“peace plan” has already been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its
unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of
the new Israeli cabinet, most likely in June.
in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at the initiative, asserting that it was
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received on Wednesday a three-month
delay, until October, for a hearing to argue against the attorney-general’s
plan to indict him on graft charges.
attorneys had requested a postponement until May 2020 to give them more time to
examine the evidence in three corruption cases, in which he denies wrongdoing,
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s office said.
a letter to one of Netanyahu’s lawyers that was released to the media,
Mandelblit said he was shifting the dates for the hearing from July to Oct.
said a longer delay to a year from now would have “harmed the vital public
interest in deciding as soon as possible” whether to issue an indictment.
office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an
announcement by Mandelblit in February that he intended to charge him with
fraud and bribery, pending a hearing with the attorney-general.
legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul
any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.
legislators have described any attempt to shield Netanyahu or put limitations
on Israel’s highest court as threats to Israeli democracy.
to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in July, the right-wing leader
has called the allegations a political witch-hunt and said he has no intention
of resigning if charged, with a renewed public mandate to govern.
who formally heads an interim administration, is trying to put together a new
coalition with right-wing, ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties that
would give him control of 65 of Parliament’s 120 seats.
law, he has until May 29 to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he has formed a
new government. If he fails — which political commentators say is unlikely —
Rivlin can ask another party leader to try.
a new Parliament already sworn in, members of Netanyahu’s Likud party have said
they will work toward granting him parliamentary immunity from prosecution
while he serves as prime minister.
the hearing with Mandelblit could take some of the pressure off Netanyahu’s
loyalists to rush immunity moves through parliament in the initial days of a
one of the investigations against him, Netanyahu is suspected of wrongfully
receiving gifts, including champagne and cigars, from wealthy businessmen.
nations urge swift Sudan accord to install civil rule
United States, Britain and Norway called for a swift agreement between Sudanese
protesters and generals on installing civilian rule, saying it would be harder
for them to work with any other new authority.
between protest leaders and army generals who seized power after ousting
longtime leader Omar al-Bashir last month have stopped since late Monday
following disagreement about who should lead a new ruling body - a civilian or
Western troika, which has previously been involved in mediation in Sudanese
conflicts, said the country “urgently needs an agreement” to end the period of
uncertainty, according to a joint statement released late Tuesday.
outcome that does not result in the formation of a government that is
civilian-led, placing primary authority for governing with civilians, will not
respond to the clearly expressed will of the Sudanese people for a transition
to civilian rule,” it said.
will complicate international engagement, and make it harder for our countries
to work with the new authorities and support Sudan’s economic development,”
added the statement, which was posted on the Facebook page of the US embassy in
has consistently called for civilian rule in Sudan since al-Bashir was ousted
by the army on April 11 after months of nationwide protests against his
iron-fisted regime of 30 years.
has also suspended talks with Khartoum for removing Sudan from the US list of
state sponsors of terrorism, a key factor which for decades has made foreign
businesses wary of investing in the northeast African country.
protest leaders are now preparing plans to call for a general strike to build
pressure on the generals to cede power.
ruling military council has been pushing for its chairman General Abdel Fattah
al-Burhan to head the new sovereign body but protest leaders want a civilian.
new ruling body when finalized is expected to install a transitional civilian
government for three years after which the first post al-Bashir election would
of Ethiopian Muslims gathered in capital Addis Ababa for an Iftar
(fast-breaking) dinner with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
at the occasion, Abiy said: “The unity of Muslims is tantamount to the unity of
the whole country.”
account for more than 34% of Ethiopia's more than 100 million population. Since
coming to power in 2018, Abiy has allowed them to move ahead with a plan to
institute an elected Majlis (Supreme Council).
iftar was organized at Millennium Hall by the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme
Council to thank the prime minister for winning hearts of his Muslim country
also pledged that his government would support the construction in Addis Ababa
of a grand mosque for Muslims to come together on events such as Eid al Adha
and Eid al Fitr.
said the mosque will symbolize the iconic Abyssinian Emperor Negashi who
treated companions of Prophet Muhammad well when they fled persecution in
also vowed to give all-out support for the establishment of an Islamic bank in
promise that we will work together to establish an Islamic Bank which was long
awaited by Muslims," he said.
extremists exploded a suicide car bomb and killed at least nine people,
including Somalia’s former foreign minister, near the presidential palace in
the capital on Wednesday, police said.
foreign minister Hussein Elabe Fahiye, who was an advisor to the current
president, was among those killed in the blast.
Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press another 13 people were wounded and
most of the casualties were soldiers.
Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the blast in
Mogadishu, saying it targeted vehicles carrying government officials.
car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace as
soldiers were conducting security checks on vehicles on the main road.
white column of smoke rose over the seaside city as gunfire rang out and people
al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab frequently carries out such blasts in the capital
near the presidential compound and at hotels frequented by government officials
the past, I was wounded in this area, and again today my daughter has been
killed in this attack which also destroyed my home. This is terrible,” witness
Madey Ahmed told the AP.
eastern commander Khalifa Haftar has told French President Emmanuel Macron that
an inclusive political dialogue was necessary and he would be ready for it if
the conditions for a ceasefire were in place.
flare-up in the conflict in Libya began in early April, when Haftar’s Libyan
National Army advanced on the capital Tripoli.
and French officials have for weeks repeated their official support for the
Government of National Accord and have called for an unconditional ceasefire.
But some European countries, including France, have also supported Haftar as a
way to fight extremist militants in the country.
distrust we see between the Libyan actors is stronger than ever today,” said
the official after the meeting between Macron and Haftar in Paris.
the question of the ceasefire was put on the table, Haftar’s reaction to this
was to ask: ‘negotiate with whom for a ceasefire today?’” the official said.
(Haftar) considers that the GNA is completely infested by militias and it is
not for him to negotiate with representatives of these militias,” the official
on Euronews television on Wednesday, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj also
appeared to rule out a ceasefire, warning that the fighting would not stop
until Haftar’s troops had pulled back east.
United Nations’ Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, said on Tuesday the current
fighting could be the start of a long and bloody conflict in the country that
could permanently divide it.
military says it wants to cede power to a democratically-elected government as
soon as possible.
April 11, the Sudanese military overthrew and then imprisoned 75-year-old
Bashir after some four months of widespread protests against him over dire
economic conditions and the soaring prices of basic commodities. Bashir himself
had come to power through a military coup in 1989.
Bashir’s ouster, the coup leaders established the so-called Transitional
Military Council (TMC), chaired by Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan,
with the task of running state affairs in the post-Bashir era.
they have failed so far to reach an agreement with an alliance of protest and
opposition groups — collectively known as the Alliance for Freedom and Change
(AFC) — on procedures concerning the formation of an interim government.
alliance, backed by the Sudanese people, insists that a civilian-led sovereign
body, rather than the current military council, be formed to govern the country
during a three-year transition period.
got tired. We want to hand over power today not tomorrow,” said General Mohamed
Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy leader of the TMC, in an interview with Egypt’s state
newspaper Al Ahram published on Wednesday.
comments came just a day after the latest round of talks between the two sides
was adjourned with no new date set for the next round.
Dagalo, who is widely known as Hemedti and leads Sudan’s feared paramilitary
Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said the military was impatient for finding a
solution and a way out of the current impasse.
of the military council are not politicians and we are waiting for the
government to be formed,” he added.
44-year old general, who is the second most powerful man in Sudan right now,
added that judicial proceedings against Bashir and some of his allies were
underway. “Until now, we have arrested 25 regime figures and we are preparing
the files for their charges.”
Tuesday, Sudan’s Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an opposition group
that spearheaded four-month-long anti-government demonstrations, called for a
general strike, saying the military was still insisting on directing the
transition and keeping a military majority on the council.
on Tuesday, however, a video clip of Dagalo was widely circulated on social
media in which he warned that those who go on strike could lose their jobs.
least six people, including a former Somali foreign minister, have been killed
as a car bomb exploded near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital,
Mohamed Hussein, a police spokesman, said most of the casualties were soldiers,
adding that the Wednesday's explosion left more than 13 people wounded.
Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayr said at a news conference that Hussein
Elabe Faahiye, who served as the country's foreign minister in 2007, was among
those killed in the attack.
Takfiri al-Shabab terrorist group has claimed the responsibility for the
attack, saying it targeted convoy escorting officials and lawmakers heading to
the presidential palace.
car bomb went off at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace in the
capital as the Somali troops were carrying out security checks on vehicles on
the main road.
security forces stopped... a vehicle loaded with explosives which was aiming to
target a security forces base," deputy police chief Zakia Hussein wrote on
Hussein put the death toll at five people, saying that 11 other people were
injured in the blast.
was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces in 2011.
However, it still wields control in large parts of the countryside, and every
now and then carries out deadly attacks against government, military, and
civilian targets in the capital as well as regional towns.
terrorist group has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring
governments in Kenya and Uganda.
least 20 people have been killed by bandit gunmen in separate attacks in the
restive region of Katsina in northwestern Nigeria, police say.
state police spokesman Gambo Isah said gunmen on motorcycles stormed into the
village of Yargamji in Batsari district, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the
state capital Katsina, on Tuesday, and opened fire at the residents.
killed 18," he said.
gunfight broke out in the forest after a self-defense militia from another
village chased the thieves.
said two militia members were shot dead during the gun battle, but residents
said the fight claimed the lives of more people.
lost 11 people who went to fight the bandits in the bush," resident Sada
noted that five residents were also killed in other attacks in the nearby
village of Mara Zamfarawa.
state has seen a string of violent attacks in recent months that claimed the
lives of hundreds of people.
gunmen have repeatedly conducted raids on villages, stealing cattle and food,
setting homes ablaze and kidnapping for ransom, prompting rural communities to
take up arms to defend themselves.
May 23 John Walker Lindh, dubbed the "American Taliban" after he was
captured fighting for the Islamist insurgents in November 2001, will be freed
from prison Thursday amid concerns he has not forsaken the radical ideology
that took him to Afghanistan.
as "Detainee 001" in the US War on Terror, Lindh's release after 17
years in prison is resurrecting memories of the September 11 attacks and
underscores the fact that, almost two decades later, the US continues to battle
the Taliban with no end in sight.
of Lindh -- bearded, dirty and disheveled and strapped to stretcher after his
capture -- came to symbolize the country's enemy.
Lindh's family and supporters say he never took up arms against his own
country, others say he remains a committed jihadist and a danger to society.
a letter this week to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, two senators asked how his
alleged threat would be contained, citing unproven allegations that he
"openly" supports extremist violence.
must consider the security and safety implications for our citizens and
communities who will receive individuals like John Walker Lindh," they
on the eve of his expected release, a Los Angeles television station, KNBC,
said it had received letters from Lindh during his incarceration in which he
allegedly praised the Islamic State group and called himself a political
was unclear however why the letters, dating back to 2014 and 2015, came to
light just now.
they could complicate any effort to settle back into American society.
38, is being released from the high-security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana
three years early for good behavior in a 20 year sentence.
quiet son of a middle-class couple who lived north of San Francisco, he
converted to Islam at 16 years old and travelled in 1998 to Yemen to study
returning home for several months, Lindh went back to Yemen in 2000, and then
on to Pakistan to study further in a madrassa, or religious academy.
mid-2001, ostensibly drawn by stories of the mistreatment of Afghans, he
enlisted in the Taliban's fight against the Northern Alliance.
the United States intervened in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001
attacks, Lindh was one of hundreds of Taliban fighters captured by Northern
Alliance forces on November 25.
revealed his American identity to two CIA officers. One of them, Johnny Micheal
Spann, was killed in a prisoner revolt hours after he interrogated Lindh,
making him the first American killed in post-9/11 conflict in Afghanistan.
Lindh had no role in Spann's death, his case became politically and emotionally
entwined with it.
back in the United States, he was branded a traitor and accused of murdering
was charged with multiple counts of terrorism and conspiracy to kill Americans,
with politicians and generals demanding he be given the death penalty.
in July 2002, Lindh pleaded guilty to much-reduced charges of illegally aiding
the Taliban and carrying weapons and explosives in the commission of that
20-year sentence was declared a "victory for the American people in the
battle against terrorism," but raised early questions over how US
officials were physically and legally treating War on Terror detainees.
most accounts, Lindh has clung firmly to Islam throughout his imprisonment.
spent years with a few dozen other Muslim prisoners in the Communications
Management Unit of the Terre Haute prison, where their contacts with outsiders,
media and information were tightly controlled.
internal 2017 report from the US National Counterterrorism Center, obtained by
the Foreign Policy website, said that Lindh "continued to advocate for
global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts." The
claim was not supported by any public evidence.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, a researcher at the George Washington University
Center for Extremism, says that while in prison Lindh became close Ahmad Musa
Jibril, an Arab-American who since his 2012 release has preached an extremely
conservative version of Islam popular among jihadists.
family and attorney remained silent ahead of his release, giving no hint of
where he will go and what he will do.
he will face extremely tough conditions in his three-year probation.
who gained Irish citizenship while in prison, cannot obtain a passport or
can only possess or use an internet-capable computer or phone with official
permission, and the device has to be monitored continuously by authorities.
reports about his still embracing jihadism will increase the pressure on authorities
to maintain a full-time eye on him.
served his time," said Karen Greenberg, head of the Fordham Law School
Center on National Security, who has studied Lindh's case.
would be important for him to go on record declaring his intentions to live a
peaceful/constructive life and to renounce terrorism/violence," she wrote
on Twitter. RS RS
US Department of Defense is considering a US military request to send about
5,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran,
two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the request had been
made by US Central Command but added that it was not clear whether the Pentagon
would approve the request.
Pentagon regularly receives, and declines, requests from combatant commands
throughout the world for additional resources.
of the officials said the requested troops would be defensive in nature.
young man threatening to blow up Trump Tower and the Israeli consulate in New
York was arrested Wednesday in New Jersey, the state’s federal prosecutor said.
found a series of threatening message posted on social media by Jonathan Xie,
20, a sympathizer of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.
originally from the affluent New Jersey neighborhood Basking Ridge, was charged
with two counts of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist
organization – each punishable by up to 20 years in prison – two counts of
making false statements and one count of transmitting a threat in interstate
threat from homegrown violent extremists who self-radicalize remains
persistent,” said US Attorney Craig Carpenito in a statement. “While more
Americans may be familiar with ISIS, we take seriously those who wish to help
any designated terrorist organization.”
December, according to the prosecution’s statement Xie sent $100 via virtual
transfer to an individual in Gaza whom he believed to be a member of the
al-Qassam Brigades. He then bragged about it on Instagram, posting, “Pretty
sure it was illegal but I don’t give a damn.”
said in February he wanted to join the US army “to learn how to kill.” In
April, he posted photos of Trump Tower on Instagram superimposed with text
saying he wanted to plant a bomb there. On one photo, he added a “Yes/No” poll
asking, “Should I bomb Trump Tower?” along with as a bomb emoji.
in the month, he posted an Instagram live video in which he displayed a Hamas
flag and a handgun, stating he wanted to go to a “pro-Israel march” and wanted
“to shoot everybody” there, the statement added.
last attempted attack in New York was in December 2017, when a Bangladeshi man,
inspired by ISIS, tried to detonate a bomb in a tunnel below the Port Authority
bus terminal, not far from the iconic Times Square.
US envoy to Baghdad says Washington has exempted Baghdad from some of its
unilateral anti-Iran sanctions, allowing Iraq to continue importing energy from
charge d’affaires Joey Hood told reporters on Wednesday Baghdad can now buy
energy from Iran, a report by Al-Alam news network said.
waiver will allow Iraq to continue buying gas and electricity from Iran.
administration of US President Donald Trump said in March it was extending a
90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from
US envoy did not explain whether he was referring to the same waiver Washington
gave Baghdad in March or he was declaring the issuance of new exemptions.
imports from Iran generate as much as 45 percent of Iraq's 14,000 megawatts of
electricity consumed daily. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly,
making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.
and Iran share a 1,400-kilometer-long border. For their run-of-the-mill
maintenance, Iraqis depend on Iranian companies for many things from food to
machinery, electricity, natural gas, fruits and vegetables.
Trump administration is pressing Iraq to stop buying natural gas and
electricity from Iran, but Baghdad is pushing back against the pressure, The
New York Times reported in February.
his Wednesday remarks, the US envoy also pointed to reports of Baghdad's
efforts to mediate between Tehran and Washington, and said he was unaware of
do not know of the existence of Iraqi mediation" between the US and Iran,
he said, adding that he welcomes the opportunity to consult with the Iraqi
is possible to communicate with Iran directly and the embassy’s objective is to
sustain the stability of Iraq to be strong and stable and protect it from any
tension in the region,” he said.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Tuesday his country is set to send
delegations to the US and Iran to help “halt tension” between the two sides
amid growing concerns over a military conflict as Washington ratchets up its belligerent
rhetoric against Tehran and builds up its military presence in the region.
has high-level contacts (with both parties), and its vision is very close to
that of the European Union, which seeks to settle the crisis in the region,”
Abdul Mahdi said at a weekly press briefing in the capital Baghdad.
and Iranian officials have assured us that they do not want to go to war,” he
first eco-mosque invokes God to fight climate change
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Europe’s first green mosque is hoping to harness
the power of Islam to tackle climate change, urging Muslims who worship in the
British newbuild to do more to protect the planet.
one of the fastest growing faiths in the world, Islam could be a powerful force
if Muslims were stirred to environmental action, climate activists say.
is where Cambridge Central Mosque steps in.
in the world-famous British university city, the mosque opened its doors in May
just in time for the fasting month of Ramadan. It is adorned with latticed
columns, clad in solar panels and surrounded by crab apples, with space for 1,000
and a mission to become a force for climate good.
mosque symbolises the spiritual heart of the Muslim community, it’s the central
locus where the worshipper connects to God,” said mosque trust patron and
musician Cat Stevens.
famous for hit songs “Wild World” and “Morning Has Broken”, became Muslim in
the 1970s and is now known as Yusuf Islam. He told the Thomson Reuters
Foundation that Muslims had an important role to play in tackling the climate
(the mosque) is part of the re-education process, digging deeper into the true
nature of Islam to reveal its harmony with the balance of the universe,” said
Muslims have forgotten this and are not contributing enough to the present
24-million-pound ($30-million) building, funded largely by the Turkish
government, will welcome hundreds of worshippers for night prayers every night,
during this month of Ramadan - following a 18-hour fast from food and drink in
recycled rainwater to irrigate the gardens and energy-harvesting heat pumps,
the mosque says it produces close to zero carbon emissions and boasts better
green credentials than the thousands of other mosques that are scattered across
Koran emphasises the beauty and harmony of the natural world as a sign of God’s
creative power and wisdom,” said mosque trust chairman and Cambridge University
professor, Timothy Winter, also known as Abdal Hakim Murad.
struggle against climate change and the mass extinction of species is not only
a practical question of human survival, but is a battle to respect and protect
skylights illuminate the main prayer hall so no artificial lights are needed by
day, while the rooftop is dressed in panels that turn sun to power.
is not just the building that is green.
mosque follows broad Islamic principles that favour environmental protection,
say Muslim climate experts, be it the stewardship of God’s earth or sacred
teachings on preserving water, planting trees and protecting animals.
could be a powerful force that can be mobilised against climate change,” said
Shanza Ali, co-founder of Muslim Climate Action, a British advocacy group.
this would require us to go back to Islamic teachings and back to valuing the
skills, ideas and respect that communities would give the environment,” she
Ali, a fixed eco-message would not work for the world’s diverse 1.8 billion
Muslims; a pluralistic approach could better “revive the connection” between
Islam and the environment.
like the Cambridge mosque are going to be critical in raising awareness and
showing people that this isn’t just a niche issue that some Muslims have picked
up, but it’s an issue at the heart of our belief,” she said.
2015, Islamic faith leaders came together to urge Muslims to play a more active
role in combating climate change in a declaration that was welcomed by the
declaration lamented the “corruption” that humans had caused and called for
lower emissions, an end to deforestation and greater commitment to renewable
leaders from Pope Francis to the Dali Lama have preached similar eco-messages,
warning their faithful of the dangers of growing climate change.
to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation charity, the world’s big faiths
could galvanise some 5 billion people into climate action, 85% of the world’s
Britain, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams - representing some 85
million Christians globally - endorsed Green Party political candidates ahead
of Thursday’s European elections, saying it was “harder and harder to pretend
that we’re not living in the middle of the most serious environmental crisis in
is home to about 6,000 Muslims, born as far afield as Indonesia and Italy, many
of them students or professionals.
Haseef Ahmed, 27, said the green message chimed with his values and served as a
reminder that the world’s natural supplies were limited.
mosque is the central point of all Muslim communities,” said Ahmed, by
telephone. “It’s the space. So if we’re going to engender more green,
environmentally ethical behaviour into the community, it’s that space that will
have to transform.”
mosque was designed with Islamic and local architectural traditions in mind,
said architect Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, responsible for
iconic structures such as the London Eye observation wheel on the Thames.
building “lifts sprits”, she said, marrying ornate Islamic geometry with
indigenous English materials.
central timber lattice echoes the Gothic vaulting at nearby King’s College
Chapel, she said, while the golden dome punctuates the skyline of lean
is “essential” that more is done to turn buildings green, said Barfield,
adding: “I don’t think there’s any alternative, we’ve all got to do this -
there’s really no option.”
through Liverpool and you will see, among the red flags fluttering in the wind,
Mohammed Salah scarves sold by market traders proud of the city’s new Muslim
while Salah is an established figure in a city renowned for its embrace of
Muslims, Islam in Britain can trace its beginnings to a long-forgotten
Englishman, crowned as the Ottoman Caliph’s representative in the UK, and
responsible for building Britain’s first mosque.
in 1856 in Liverpool and raised there, solicitor William Henry Quilliam grew up
in an educated, aristocratic, Methodist Christian family of watchmakers. But he
was raised in a city where every seventh house was a pub selling alcohol, crime
was high and housing was squalid – conditions that troubled Quilliam.
and a chance voyage to Morocco in 1887, changed his life. While at sea, he was
inspired while watching Muslims praying on the ship’s deck, despite high winds
and treacherous conditions.
was so much emotion in prayer, in silence, despite the dangers. They weren’t
afraid,” Mumin Khan, the chief executive of Abdullah Quilliam Mosque in
Liverpool, tells The National.
converted to Islam and changed his first name to Abdullah, despite there being
no requirement for converts to do so. In the same year, Quilliam opened a
mosque at 8 Brougham Terrace, Liverpool. This tiny, unassuming Victorian
building became the first active mosque in Britain.
also served as a centre to address social needs. By helping non-Muslim, English
orphans on his doorstep – about 200 boys and 300 girls were given day schooling
– Quilliam showed “the beauty of Islam”, Mr Khan says.
did exactly what our Prophet would have done – serving humanity, serving the
poor, serving the needy.”
converted more than 650 people to Islam in his lifetime, and led England’s
first official Muslim marriage in 1891. In one picture uncovered by Mr Khan,
Quilliam officiates at a wedding between an English woman and an Indian man,
sign of an active, cosmopolitan Muslim community in Liverpool.
the layout of Britain’s first mosque, Quilliam retained a traditional English
architectural style – including a piano on an elevated platform that symbolised
his transition from Christianity to Islam.
was very sensitive that Islam is not about hard and fast rules. It’s about how
easy you want to go, as long as you believe in Allah’s message,” Mr Khan says.
this tiny Muslim community was tested from the outset and targeted by those
suspicious of the unfamiliar place of worship.
disseminate information about Islam to the public, that was difficult for him
because he faced a lot of stigma and a lot of Islamophobia,” Mr Khan says.
were outside the gate throwing cow dung. When the muezzin was giving the call
to prayer through the window, the public would say ‘take your song somewhere else,
we won’t have it here in Liverpool’.”
its early days the mosque served 80-90 worshippers, including Muslims from the
Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa who had flocked to Liverpool as
traders and seaman.
overcame the hostility and made an impact nationwide. Using a printing press at
the mosque, he penned hundreds of magazines and newsletters including ‘The
Crescent’, recording Islam in Britain which had attracted subscriptions
globally. Queen Victoria is said to have been a subscriber to his magazine.
mosque’s precarious success didn’t last long. Quilliam left in 1908 to visit
Constantinople, perhaps to visit the Ottoman Sultan who had bestowed him the
title of Britain’s ‘Sheikh al-Islam’ (the only person in the British Isles ever
to have been given that title). He never returned to Liverpool having faced
its early days the mosque served about 80 to 90 worshippers, including Muslims
from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa, many of whom flocked
to Liverpool as traders and seamen.
overcame the hostility and made a nationwide impact. He wrote for hundreds of
magazines and newsletters, including The Crescent, which covered Islam in
Britain and attracted subscriptions from around the world. Queen Victoria is
said to have been a subscriber.
mosque’s precarious success did not last long. Quilliam left in 1908 to visit
Istanbul, perhaps to see the Ottoman Sultan who had bestowed upon him the title
of Britain’s “Sheikh Al Islam” – the only person in the UK ever to have been
given that description. Quilliam never returned to Liverpool.
son closed the mosque and sold it to the local authorities in 1908, who in turn
used the premises as a storage depot for local marriage, birth and death certificates
for the best part of a century.
in itself, Mr Khan says, was a miracle, for the former place of worship was
fireproofed to protect it and in doing so, became “the safest room in the
workers unknowingly referred to the room as “the little mosque”.
modern-day Muslim community reclaimed the premises in 2002 and have been
faithfully restoring it to its former glory since 2014, to the tune of £1.5
million (Dh6.98m) so far.
£750,000 is still needed to finish this restoration and build a hammam, women’s
centre, cafe, library and museum. Proposals are also being drawn up to revive
Quilliam’s Victorian kitchen underneath the mosque, which today holds regular
today’s worshippers is rumoured to be footballer Mohammed Salah, although Mr
Khan says he has not seen the Egyptian star himself.
caretaker of the mosque tells The National that he has seen Salah perform
ablution, but it is clear that although the Liverpool forward likes to keep a
low profile, he has done wonders for changing perceptions.
Salah has made a profound difference in the habitual, the psychological
thinking of the fans,” he says.
he has done in a short space of time, the government would spend millions on,
and what a politician could not do, he has done. He has changed the perception
of people who view Muslims as bad, dirty, sick or a terrorist. All that
negativity is on one side, and Mo Salah is on the other.”
Salah and Quilliam are figureheads in very different ways, Mr Khan hesitates to
put the two on an equal pedestal.
is Muslim, but he’s not preaching it. His act of worship automatically preaches
itself,” Mr Khan says.
reach arguably continued shaping Islam into the 20th century. He inspired
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, a British scholar who translated the Quran into
English in 1930 and who, six years later, was buried near the one-time
solicitor outside London.
did he not influence the 19th-century Muslims to be the pioneers of Islam, for
Islam to progress in the West? Imagine Marmaduke Pickthall didn’t translate the
Quran into easy English,” Mr Khan says. “A lot of our people today, and western
people of that time, wouldn’t have understood Islam at all.”
their defiance against threats remains inspirational.
Victorians that converted were very strong,” Mr Khan says. “I congratulate them
because they stood against an empire.”
Khan fears that Quilliam’s legacy was suppressed by historians. More people
around the world know about Quilliam’s legacy than do today’s British Muslims,
the height of the British Empire, Liverpool was considered to be its second
city and it remains an international hub to this day.
the wind whips in from docks transformed into an arts centre, Chinese and US
students pose near a statue of The Beatles. Third-generation Yemenis and
Bangladeshis can be heard speaking with the Scouse accent.
leaders say the ban in Austria on religious headscarves in primary schools is
clearly discriminatory against Muslims and contradicts with the principles of
equality and freedom of religion.
bill, which was passed in Austria’s parliament on May 15 and only aimed at
Muslim children, is unconstitutional as the Christian crucifix is currently at
every school in the country and Jewish children are allowed to wear the kippah,
a religious head cover, according to Sonia Zaafrani, head of the Initiative for
Discrimination-Free Education (IDB).
far-right government, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the youngest leader in
Europe, introduced a draft law banning headscarves late last year in
parliament, planning to implement it without the support of the opposition.
law bans headscarves for girls under the age of 10 at all primary schools
across the country, including private schools.
stress that the ban violates the basic principles of the Austrian State Treaty
of 1955 and the constitution.
stressed that the headscarf ban, which is a major human rights violation,
violates both children's rights and human rights.
about three years, we have been calling on the Austrian government for the full
implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European
Convention on Human Rights in the education system. However, the government
took a very different path with this law,” Zaafrani said.
law affects children's educational life and education opportunities under equal
conditions in a negative way and promotes discrimination by leading to
marginalization and exclusion.”
the head of the Islamic community in Austria, Umit Vural, also condemned the
ban, describing it as “a black day for Austrian democracy”.
that discrimination against Muslims continues, Vural said: “The headscarf ban
denies basic rights of Muslim girls and their parents.”
is home to around 700,000 Muslims, including 300,000 of Turkish origin. Many of
them are second or third-generation Austrian citizens from Turkish families who
migrated to the country in the 1960s.
widespread fears from the refugee crisis and international terrorism, Austria’s
right-wing parties proposed several controversial measures including strict
controls on mosques and Muslim associations and immediately closing them in the
case of suspicious activity.
Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne provides information on the history,
life and identity of Muslims in the country.
by Australian Muslim businessman Moustafa Fahour with the support of the
Australian federal government, the museum is the first and only Islamic museum
in the country.
opening in 2014, it has hosted more than 50,000 visitors.
six days a week, the museum organizes various conferences and events in
different fields such as calligraphy, historical art, miniature painting,
handicrafts and current events.
want them to experience and learn about the beauty of Islam," said the
museum director, Maryum Chaudhry.
said visitors could learn more about the history of Islam in Australia and in
the world, well-known Muslim scientists, the contributions of Muslims to
Australia, and the basic concepts of Islam.
that they received positive feedback from visitors from Australia as well as
from different countries of the world, she said most visitors do not have any
prior knowledge of the Muslim community in the country.
are so positive on their experience. For many it is the first time they engaged
with the Muslim community," Chaudhry said.
have walked away with new information and were inspired. They want to learn
more and to come back again," Chaudhry added.
Takfiri terrorist group Daesh, now deemed mostly defunct after a series of
defeats in its former bastions in the Middle East, has vowed to launch deadly
attacks on London and New York in the near future.
attacks coming soon” was a caption reading on one of three posters by Daesh
published on Twitter on Wednesday.
poster depicted an attacker in front of a burning Big Ben, a tower viewed as
the symbol of the British capital London, while it included words showing the
terrorists will launch attacks on the city in the coming months.
poster showed a man clad in dash-style outfit brandishing a knife above New
York city, calling to lone wolf terrorists to “fight them in your country”.
Ash Shaff Media Foundation, which is close to Daesh, has created the two
posters along another one which calls on followers not to forget the mission of
the terrorist outfit.
terrorism watchdog known as TRAC, which stands for Terror Research and Analysis
Consortium, has published the posters on Twitter.
threats come following a series of brutal explosions claimed by Daesh in Sri
Lanka, where more than 250 people were killed while praying in churches earlier
attacks sparked fresh concerns about a resurgent Daesh, a group that once
controlled territories in Iraq and Syria.
has still scores of Western nationals as fighters in its ranks. The terrorists
joined the group mostly thanks to lax controls in European countries where
people had been radicalized through internet and other means used by Daesh.
collapse of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq is
doing little to slow down the terror group's branch in Afghanistan.
unclassified intelligence suggests IS-Khorasan, as the group is known, is
growing both in numbers and ambition, now boasting as many as 5,000 fighters —
nearly five times as many as estimates from last year — while turning its focus
to bigger and more spectacular attacks.
officials say the numbers, shared by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan for the latest
quarterly report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom Sentinel,
issued Tuesday, are "low confidence" estimates but that IS-Khorasan
has fighters in Kabul, as well as in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces and in other
parts of northeastern Afghanistan.
worrisome, according to defense intelligence officials, is that the terror
group has been gaining ground, both against the Afghan government and the
Taliban, expanding the amount of territory under its control in Kunar province
since the start of the year.
also appears IS-Khorasan has managed to gain a toe-hold in other areas. The
assessment finds it is "highly likely" IS has smaller cells operating
in parts of Afghanistan under either government or Taliban control.
very concerned about their capability and trajectory," Col. Dave Butler,
the spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, told VOA. "IS-K has made it
clear that they aspire to attack the United States and our allies."
current state of IS in Afghanistan would appear to represent a remarkable
turnaround from the terror group's fortunes in April 2017, when the U.S.
dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, a GBU-43 Massive
Ordnance Air Blast, on an IS cave and tunnel system in Nangarhar province.
series of subsequent U.S. strikes killed the then IS-Khorasan emir and his
replacement, and cut the estimated number of fighters from 3,000 to 600.
recently as late last year, top U.S. military officials insisted IS-Khorasan
was being kept in check.
is not growing," Gen. John Nicholson, the outgoing commander of U.S.
Forces-Afghanistan, said in September before handing over the command to Gen.
despite losing key leaders and suffering constant setbacks on the battlefield,
IS-Khorasan found a way to maintain its numbers, successfully recruiting
disgruntled Taliban fighters as well as jihadis from further afield.
officials have likewise warned that IS-Khorasan has benefited from surges of
thousands of foreign fighters from Pakistan and Uzbekistan, plus the inflow of
hundreds of IS fighters fleeing from Syria.
increasingly, many of IS-Khorasan's recruits are local, with fewer coming from
the ranks of disgruntled Taliban fighters. And the group has even taken a page
out of IS core's playbook, targeting young men seeking economic opportunity.
does a lot of recruiting in Afghanistan and the region attempting to enlist
disaffected youth and even tech-savvy young people looking for an
alternative," Butler said.
U.S. and Afghanistan are not the only countries voicing concern about the
growing IS-Khorasan presence.
top intelligence official, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, on Tuesday warned
that 5,000 IS foreign fighters, many of whom have fought in Syria, were massing
along Afghanistan's northern border, potentially threatening former Soviet
states in the region.
made the comments while visiting Tajikistan, which has blamed a deadly May 19
riot at one of its high-security prisons on IS followers who were being held
Western intelligence officials and analysts have long been skeptical of
Russia's claims when it comes to IS in Afghanistan, noting Moscow is prone to
inflate numbers to serve its own interests in the region.
US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller has said that
there are some indications about the movements of al-Qaeda elements in some
parts of Afghanistan but gave no details about the nature of these movements.
have seen al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yes, in different parts of Afghanistan. In
different parts of Afghanistan, we can find them, so it’s not one particular
region, it’s across the country,” said Miller.
said the United States will continue its cooperation and partnership with the
Afghan forces and the Afghan citizens.
do believe that intra-Afghan dialogue is going to be very important to the
peace process. Peace is something that all Afghans care about and as we move
forward, that is a process and a journey, possibly that is the will of the
people that peace comes to Afghanistan and certainly our relationship with
Afghanistan which has been longstanding will be part of that process,” said
remain committed to working together with not only your leaders, the forces in
the provinces, but also the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
said the Resolute Support forces are focusing on precision in their operations
to protect civilians.
we look at the current fight, any time a civilian bears the brunt of the
fighting, there is nothing good about that. From a Resolute Support
perspective, we are very focused on precision in our operations and protecting
civilians at all cost,” said Miller.
comes at a time that a new UN report reveals that more civilians were killed in
the Afghan conflict last year than any time since records have been kept.
report documented 3,804 civilian deaths, including 927 children, in 2018.
total, UNAMA documented 10,993 civilian casualties (3,804 deaths and 7,189)
wounded), representing a five percent increase in overall civilian casualties
and an 11 percent increase in civilian deaths compared with 2017.
this report, UNAMA attributes the majority of civilian casualties – 63 percent
– to anti-government elements (37 percent to Taliban, 20 percent to Daesh, and
6 percent to undetermined anti-government elements).
Afghanistan, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Up to 42 militants have been confirmed dead as
government forces launched fresh operations against Taliban hideouts in parts
of the eastern Ghazni province on Monday, provincial government spokesman Aref
Nuri said Tuesday.
air-backed operations, according to the official, launched in the troubled
Andar and Dayak districts on Monday evening which ended on Tuesday morning,
left 42 insurgents dead and wounded several others.
militants are yet to make comment on the report.
Mujib Mashal and Dharisha Bastians
Sri Lanka — Even before the coordinated bombings that killed 250 people last
month, Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister were in trouble — largely of
their own making.
calls for President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe to step aside when their terms are over, if not before, are
mounting from opposition groups as well as from the ranks of their own parties.
member of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s party issued a public letter last week, asking
the prime minister to make way for new leadership. Then, on Tuesday, a small
opposition group in Parliament initiated no-confidence votes against both
leaders, citing their failure to act on intelligence warning that an attack was
imminent as well as their leadership in the aftermath.
calls for accountability coincide with jostling for an upcoming presidential
election, and they seem to have all but crushed the chances for both men,
senior officials, party members and analysts said in interviews.
decline of a coalition that had promised a Sri Lanka free from the shackles of
its long civil war has created an opening for the former ruling family, the
Rajapaksas, who ended the war but did so with a heavy hand. It is a reminder of
how fragile the country’s democracy remains, with the threat of a return to
what had been an increasingly authoritarian regime constantly hanging over the
former strongman president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, saw his attempt to grab power as
prime minister quashed last winter. The presidential ambitions of Gotabaya
Rajapaksa, his brother and the notorious wartime defense chief, faced a major
hurdle this spring: His luck running from accusations of atrocities ended with
court cases filed against him in California.
the former president is casting himself as a unifying leader. And Gotabaya
Rajapaksa recently declared himself just the type of president Sri Lanka needs
as it faces a security crisis.
fear that the Rajapaksas could exploit the opening to return to power, just as
the armed forces have gained sweeping powers, including the authority to arrest
and detain at will, in the aftermath of the bombings. The army has also
reinstated a major implicated in the murder and abduction of journalists, letting
him lead a special team investigating the terrorist networks behind the
tensions remain high following the bombings on Easter Sunday that were claimed
by the Islamic State, with fears of retaliation against Muslims, who make up 10
percent of the population. Intermittent clashes have broken out.
the attacks, Mr. Sirisena had hoped to seek a second term despite becoming
increasingly isolated. Mr. Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, also had
ambitions for the presidency.
Sri Lankans have been angry at both leaders. Members of the president’s and
prime minister’s parties, as well as leaders of minority parties crucial to
their coalition’s victory in 2015, made clear that they would not support
either man as their candidate in an election scheduled to be held this year.
write this not because I am against you, but because I now think your time has
passed,” Rehan Wijeratne Jayawickreme, a member of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United
National Party, wrote in an open letter asking the prime minister to step
Tuesday, a small party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, brought a no-confidence
motion against both leaders. Lawmakers cannot use such a motion to remove Mr.
Sirisena as president, but the party wants to vote on his continuation as
defense minister, a post he also holds.
of them are responsible,” said Gamini Viyangoda, a civil society activist who
campaigned for the coalition of Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe.
Viyangoda said Mr. Sirisena was “completely exposed” after failing to act on
multiple reports from local and international intelligence agencies warning
that attacks on Sri Lanka were being planned. Mr. Wickremesinghe has tried to
deflect blame by saying that Mr. Sirisena excluded him from security meetings, but
Mr. Viyangoda said that was no excuse.
unlikely coalition brought Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe together in the
2015 election against Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had changed the constitution to
allow himself a third term.
Wickremesinghe’s party formed the core of the coalition. In a creative move, it
persuaded Mr. Sirisena, the secretary general of Mr. Rajapaksa’s party, to
defect and run as the leader of the coalition against his boss. The strategy
succeeded, and the coalition won.
governing the country proved much trickier, and the two leaders clashed
immediately. Mr. Wickremesinghe, feeling that he had made Mr. Sirisena
president, rarely missed a chance to remind him. For his part, Mr. Sirisena
felt that the risks he had taken in breaking with his lifelong party were not
fall, their disputes turned into a full-blown constitutional crisis as Mr.
Sirisena, seeking to shore up support, turned to the Rajapaksas, whose party
could nominate him for a second term as president, officials said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe corrupt, Mr. Sirisena swore in Mr. Rajapaksa as prime
minister and then dissolved Parliament when lawmakers denounced the move as
unconstitutional. The country’s Supreme Court ordered that Parliament be reconvened,
and lawmakers voted to remove Mr. Rajapaksa.
Wickremesinghe returned as prime minister, but he and Mr. Sirisena remained at
odds. Critics say the friction between them may have contributed to the
government’s failure to anticipate the Easter Sunday bombings.
episode left Mr. Sirisena further isolated. He had already taken up a fight
with the coalition partner that had brought him to power. Now, he had failed to
deliver on his promise to make his former leader prime minister.
the current situation, the people have rejected the current leadership of the
country,” said Namal Rajapaksa, the son of the former president and a member of
Parliament. “So there is no chance for us to select anyone from this
government, or President Sirisena, as our candidate.”
presidents once again restricted to two terms, Mahinda Rajapaksa is ineligible
to run. Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains a divisive figure among the minority parties
that were decisive in the last election. The Rajapaksa family itself seems also
divided on whether he should run.
the uncertain security situation, and the frustration with the performance of
the incumbent government, has created a much larger pool of undecided voters
among the ethnic majority Sinhalese that the Rajapaksas could easily attract. A
bigger swing vote among the majority could also undermine the minority parties’
ability to anoint the next leader.
Sumanthiran, a leader of the Tamil National Alliance, which played an important
role in the movement that defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015, said fears that
the Rajapaksas could use the moment of crisis to their advantage were palpable.
Muslim man and his 8-year old son was killed by artillery that villagers
believed was fired by Myanmar military in the country’s Rakhine state.
police officer confirmed that an artillery shell hit a home in Muslim-majority
Alekyun village in Kyauk Taw Township on Tuesday, killing two Muslim villagers
and wounding another.
Schaw Bee, his son and younger brother were in home when the shell hit it,” the
officer from Kyauk Taw police station told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, using a
Myanmar honorific prefix (U) for older man.
father and his son died at the spot while brother was just injured,” said the
officer on a condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
death was also reported on Wednesday by the local Narinjara news service, which
mostly covers news from Rakhine, citing village tract administrator Win Hla
report said that Schaw Bee, 38, and his son, 8, was killed while his brother,
15, was injured by the artillery shell on Tuesday.
is still unclear whether Myanmar military or a Arakan Army -- a predominantly
Buddhist ethnic group fighting for greater autonomy of the region -- fired the
artillery shell on the village.
a villager said it was possibly fired by Myanmar military.
shells fired by military frequently hit the villages in the area. So we believe
this time too,” he told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Nay San Lwin, a coordinator of Free Rohingya Coalition, called on Myanmar
military and Arakan Army to stop planting landmines in Rohingya villages or
nearby lands and said that a man and his son were killed in a “bomb blast” in
10-year-old girl was also killed on Sunday when an armed clash between Myanmar
military and Arakan Army broke out near Myauk Taung village in Kyauk Taw
Afghan armed forces cleared five villages in Balkh district of northern Balkh
provinc einflicting casualties on 23 Taliban militants.
209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the Afghan forces cleared Arghandab,
Wazirabad, Salarzai, Naghara Kol and Talwa Villages of militants during the
statement further added that the Air Forces also supported the security defense
forces during the operations.
to 209th Shaheen Corps, the Afghan armed forces killed at least 3 militants and
wounded 20 others during the operations while 7 motorcycles of the militants
addition, the Afghan armed force discovered and defused an improvised explosive
device which was planted by militants in Salarzai village.
Special Forces of the Afghan National Police (ANP) conducted a night operation
in eastern Kunar province killing at least seven key group members of the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Nasrat Rahimi said the raid the Special
Forces of ANP on Tuesday night conducted a raid in Chambel Village located in
Noorgul district of Kunar.
further added that the ANP Special Forces killed seven key members of the group
including Mukhlis who was in charge of a group of 20 ISIS fighters in the
ANP Special Forces also confiscated four weapons, three binoculars, hand
grenades, Pakistani National Identity Cards and some other military kits.
Afghan National Army soldiers have killed at least 12 Taliban militants
including five of their IED makers in an operation in southern Helmand
ANA 215th Corps conducted clearing operations in Marjah district killing 12
Taliban fighters, 5 of which were IED makers and capturing 28 motorcycles,” the
informed military sources said Wednesday.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operation so far.
is among the relatively volatile provinces in South of Afghanistan. Taliban militants
are active in some of the restive districts of the province including Marjah.
militants often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities against the
government and security institutions in this province.
Chief Executive of Jamiat Islami Ata Mohammad Noor has urged the International
Community not to leave behind another bad legacy as he demand the formation of
a transitional government to take over power from the government of national
unity whose term formally ended today as per the constitution of Afghanistan.
61 of the Afghan constitution states that 22nd of May coincides with the end of
an elected presidential term, therefore from today onward national unity
government does not exist anymore,” Noor said in a video message posted online.
that the unity government did not rise into power as per the enforced law but
obtained its legitimacy due to agreements between two electoral tickets and in
agreement with international community, Noor further added that the unity government
will not have a legitimacy based on previous agreement and this will not be
acceptable to the Afghan people anymore.
to Noor, the unity government leaders, attached to power, use supreme court
verdict to prolong their term and compromise with democratic values and laws.
urged the international community not to leave behind another bad legacy by
rebuffing and compromising with the Afghan constitution for the sake of
goodwill, as witnessed in 2014.
also urged the unity government leaders to hand over the power to a
transitional or acting government through a national consensus in a bid to pave
the way for peace efforts to yield positive results and transparent elections,
warning that failure to do so would drag the country towards a crisis.
other parts of his speech, Noor slammed the unity government for the bad
legacies it has left behind, specifically pointing to four years of
illegitimate term of the parliament and controversial parliamentary elections.
Special Forces of the Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security
(NDS), have busted a dangerous gang of armed forces during an operation in
to a statement released by NDS, the NDS Special Forces arrested Obaidullah
alias Raees Obaid and seven men during operation which was conducted in the
10th police district of Kabul city.
statement further added that Obaidullah and his men were involved in looting,
murders, and armed robberies in Kabul city.
detained individuals have confessed that they have robbed at least 50 vehicles
from various parts of Kabul city, NDS added in its statement.
comes as there has been a sharp rise in criminal related incidents in Kabul
city during the recent months.
World Bank on Tuesday inaugurated its new building in capital Kabul, signalling
its strong long-term commitment to Afghanistan.
to a statement released by World Bank Group, the new building was officially
opened by Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Acting Minister of Finance and Chief
Advisor on Infrastructure and Technology to the President of Afghanistan;
Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region; and Nena
Stoiljkovic, Asia and Pacific Vice President for the International Finance
Cooperation, the private-sector financing arm of the WBG.
at the inauguration ceremony, Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for
the South Asia region said “Our new office building symbolizes the World Bank
Group’s enduring partnership with the people of Afghanistan. At this critical
juncture Afghanistan faces deep poverty and economic pressure and the World
Bank’s commitment is crucial to help the country recover and create better
living standards for its people. The World Bank is strongly committed to
continue helping them in their efforts to create a better future.”
new premises, on a plot purchased from the Government of Afghanistan, were
built through a close collaboration between the WBG and Afghan businesses and
workers. Construction work started in November 2016 and was completed in
January 2019.The new building provides an improved and safe working environment
for the Bank’s staff and its partners to better coordinate their efforts to
implement critical development programs.
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