of happy Santa Claus waving at children in a private celebration in Jeddah.
Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis Discuss Coexistence
Electoral Irrelevance May Soon Be a Thing Of The Past in India
Islamists Develop Networks in US
Rumi Zenith of Islamic Mysticism: Minister
over Umno-PAS Ties Behind Exit of Sabah Leaders, Say Analysts
Expats Celebrate Festive Season in Jeddah
To Afghan War 'Never More Real': UN
with Muslim Names Are Not Jailed For Longer, Study Finds
peacekeepers say two tunnels at Israel border breached UN resolution
Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts
Vying for Top Job Want India Islamic Cultural Centre Turned Into Think-Tank
Triple Talaq Bill Introduced In Lok Sabha
School Principal Beats Up Students for Not Wishing Him ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’,
Leaders Detained In Jammu And Kashmir’s Srinagar, March Against Civilian
Is Like Medicine, One Doesn’t Suit All: Dalai Lama
met with U.S., Pakistani, Saudi, and UAE officials in Abu Dhabi
Condemns Bangladesh Election Violence
Commission Calls for Evidence of Rohingya Abuse
Taliban leader killed in Herat drone strike
Brings US and Taliban Face-To-Face In UAE
Minister Vows to 'Protect' Hafiz Saeed and His Party
Khan Asks Fatyana to Draft Bill Aimed At Making Pakistan Welfare State
will support Pakistan’s efforts to increase forest cover: envoy
chief, Egyptian military leaders discuss security cooperation
Reasserts Indonesia’s ‘Non-Interference’ Stance on Uighur Issue
to Champion the Malaysian Agenda, Says Academic
on Muslim Speakers Appearing On Radio, TV
Negara observes one-minute silence to honour fireman Adib
mob kills South Sulawesi student
Expats Celebrate Festive Season In Jeddah
Politician: Kurds Sold by US to Ankara
Fighters Vow to ‘Finish Off’ Daesh In Hajjin Operation
Forces Trying to Deploy Iraqi Kurdish Peshmarga at Syria's Border with Turkey
Fails to Prevail over Syrian Army Positions in Deir Ezzur Province
Assad Staying In Syria – But Won’t Give Aid
parliament speaker: Saudi support helped in expelling ISIS
between pro-government forces and Houthi militia in Hodeidah begins
coalition wants durable peace in Yemen
Netanyahu's Son Suspended From Facebook for Anti-Muslim Comments
Asfour: Arafat Was Killed for Believing Solomon’s Temple Was In Yemen
Yemen legitimate government will take control of Hodeidah ports soon
reported soon after truce takes force in Yemen
Palestinians injured in Israeli attack on Gaza naval march
settlements undermine peace prospects, warns Jordanian FM
Turkey to launch East of Euphrates operation 'any moment'
sentences Palestinian teen to 35 years in prison over alleged stabbing attack
may work with Syria’s Assad if elected fairly
Senate Resolution Angers Many Arab, Muslim Organizations
Didn’t Commit to Extraditing Turkish Cleric, Official Says
prosecutors charge two involved in Flynn’s Turkish lobbying
FM Claims Freed US Pastor Is A ‘CIA Agent’
Arms Maker Warns Canada against Stopping Sales To Saudi Arabia
coalition spokesman apologizes for Turkey tweet
Kill 62 Al-Shabab Terrorists in Somalia
explains Muhuri accounts freeze in Al-Shabaab probe
flee after Boko Haram burns Nigerian village
killed as Boko Haram attack Borno village
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis discuss coexistence
Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb, discussed
coexistence and mutual respect in a telephone conversation on Monday.
El Tayyeb greeted the pope and the world's Christian community in light of the
upcoming Christmas holiday. The Sunni cleric also congratulate the pontiff on
his 82nd birthday.
strong ties between the pope and the Egyptian imam saw Dr El Tayyeb in Italy in
October, for an interfaith forum in Bologna.
Francis thanked the Grand Imam for the call, saying he was looking forward to
meeting him in Abu Dhabi in February, where the Christian leader will celebrate
a historic mass for the one-million strong Roman Catholic community in the UAE.
Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of
the UAE Armed Forces, said the Pope is a symbol of peace and tolerance.
look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the
peaceful coexistence among peoples," he said.
the BJP's defeat in its strongholds Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan
signal the reversal of a recent trend of marked Muslim electoral irrelevance?
If the BJP's tally falls in 2019, this is a likely outcome, say observers.
recent Madhya Pradesh election saw many “Hindus” swing towards the Congress not
on religious grounds but because of rural discontent. The losses being faced by
farmers resulted in a slender Congress victory. While the BJP won almost 23 of
the 37 urban seats (or close to two-thirds of seats with more than 50% urban
population), the Congress won 52% of the remaining 197 rural and semi-rural
seats, thus beating the BJP that won just 44% of these seats.
shifts on grounds of material concerns are likely to affect the dominant language
of cultural politics too, feel observers, making Muslim sensibilities a
political factor once again after the coming Lok Sabha polls.
success can ride only on general material well-being. Once material concerns
rise, cultural politics begins to fade away and material politics becomes
important, as these Assembly elections have shown,” says political analyst and
author Sajjan Kumar.
the BJP may cover some lost ground in its slipping strongholds in the Lok Sabha
polls when it fights for Prime Minister Narendra Modi returning to power, the
2014 sweep is unlikely, political analysts feel.
2014, the party won all seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and
Uttarakhand and most seats in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana,
Jharkhand and Maharashtra. These Atates together account for over 250 seats and
steered the party past the majority mark.
moderate losses in any of these States and a grand opposition alliance in Uttar
Pradesh can make the BJP fall well short of a majority.
scientist Manindra Nath Thakur, who teaches at the Jawaharlal Nehru University,
says losses for the BJP in 2019 would automatically translate into Muslims
becoming more relevant to alliance decisions for regional parties.
2014, Mr. Modi's BJP had been able to garner enough support from various social
segments of Hindus to be able to win elections irrespective of how Muslims
vote. This had made the biggest minority electorally irrelevant and regional
parties with a local Muslim constituency could easily flock to the BJP. Once
the BJP's tally falls, regional players will have to factor in Muslim
sensibilities in their post-poll political decisions. Else, they will risk
losing Muslim support in their state to the Congress,” Mr. Thakur told The
Hindu. “Such calculations would also impact their alliance decisions as also
who becomes the acceptable Prime Ministerial face of the NDA once results are
out,” he added.
on the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh crunched by Ashoka University's
Trivedi Centre for Political Data offer a peek into how the BJP offered enough
representation to different Hindu caste groups to sail through with no appeal
was a two-fold jump in upper caste representation in the State assembly, with
44% upper caste MLAs. While the OBC representation remained unchanged, Yadav
presence fell to 17% of OBC MLAs and Kurmi presence rose from 11% to 38%. The
representation of lower OBCs also went up.
representation at a mere 6.2% of MLAs was the lowest since 1991. Muslims,
numbering 19% in the State, had a 17% share of MLAs in 2012.
2017 trend suggests a major lower OBC outreach of the BJP and growing Muslim
irrelevance. This is likely to change in 2019, as the BJP stares at a fall in
its individual tally in 2019.
recent years, Bangladesh has become an economic success story in South Asia,
but its future may be threatened by the rise of radical groups and political
parties, particularly Jamaat-e-Islami, as national elections approach on Dec.
30. The growing prominence of these radical groups is of concern for the United
States, which finds an assortment of organizations with ties to Bangladeshi
were the concerns discussed at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Dec. 13 by
a panel of policy experts and Congressman Jim Banks (R-Ind.).
opened the event describing a “booming, democratic country” whose population
has an “overwhelmingly positive view” of the United States, citing a Pew survey
attributing 76 percent of its population with this view.
the political threat represented by Jamaat-e-Islami led him to introduce a
resolution in the House of Representatives on Nov. 20 directing USAID and the
State Department to “refrain from any partnerships or funding arrangements from
any organization affiliated with radical Islamic groups in Bangladesh.”
Oldmixon, the founder of Liberty South Asia and an expert in the region,
explained the history of Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh as an Islamist group
that had been co-opted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in order to
broaden its popular appeal. Unfortunately, while being politically expedient to
the BNP, its radical theocratic philosophy actually undermines democracy and
pluralism in Bangladesh, he argued.
Jamaat-e-Islami is by no means limited to Bangladesh. Founded in India, there
are groups related to Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, Kashmir, Britain, and
quoted Jamaat-e-Islami’s founder, Abul Ala Maududi, as saying: “The truth is …
Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program which seeks to alter the social
order of the whole world … Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments
anywhere … which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam regardless of
the country or the nation which rules it.” This captured Maududi and
Jamaat-e-Islami’s founding objectives, he said, and has provided the basis for
its supremacist Islamic agenda since.
other panelists, Sam Westrop and Abha Shankar, supported Oldmixon’s point,
describing Jamaat-e-Islami’s ties to an assortment of charitable and
educational groups that promote its agenda in the United States and
the director of Islamist Watch for the Middle East Forum, compared
Jamaat-e-Islami to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, but whose operations in the
United States and globally he found to be much less coordinated with its
Central Guidance Bureau in Egypt than those of Jamaat-e-Islami with its
counterparts worldwide. “There is no separation between the political activities
of Jamaat[-e-Islami] internationally and the charitable activities. It is all
part of one network.”
a senior intelligence analyst for the Investigative Project on Terrorism,
outlined the specific ties between Jamaat-e-Islami and two U.S. groups: the
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim Umma of North America.
the groups “clever at hiding their true Islamist agendas,” specifically as
civil rights and advocacy groups, she said they employ “doublespeak,” rather
than calling publicly for jihad (holy war), or Islamic supremacy (as called for
by ICNA’s charter).
spoke in detail about a charity that emerged from ICNA, Helping Hand for Relief
and Development, which he called “the overseas arm of the American
Jamaat-e-Islami movement.” Saying it provides the “theological and political
justification for violence” outside the United States, it is promoting the
Jamaat-e-Islami alliance with the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party in the upcoming
because it does not endorse or foment violence in America, U.S. journalists and
policymakers have ignored its openly declared Jamaat-e-Islami leadership,
occasionally even winning “praise from the State Department.”
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Islamist agenda poses a threat to the political and economic
progress of Bangladesh, it also represents a serious shortcoming in U.S.
policymaking that requires attention. Shankar summarized this concern: “Instead
of government officials, law enforcement, and interfaith groups engaging with
Islamists groups … they need to reach out to mainstream Muslim voices that more
accurately represent the interests of the American Muslim community.”
Rumi zenith of Islamic mysticism: minister
Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan has said,
"Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi is zenith of Islamic mysticism.
was a great personality and his discourse of Sufism has inspired the Poet of
the East Dr Allama Iqbal. Sufism is not such a discourse which eggs on a person
to go to desert or jungle for leading an isolated life. However, the concept of
Sufism is rather different that teaches us to recognise ourselves by diving
into the ocean of mysticism". The minister was addressing a ceremony to
mark the death anniversary of the renowned Sufi poet Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
held by Persian Department of Lahore College for Women University, here Monday.
He said that Maulana Rumi was a great personality of Persian literature and his
poetry in Sufism for lapse of 800 years was remembered among Sufi poets and
lovers of mysticism. "If we act upon the teachings and discourse of
Maulana Rumi in Sufism, we may create such a world which ensures peace and
tranquility. The discourse of Maulana Rumi teaches us that noble personalities
do not die but they resort to Allah Almighty for seeking His blessings after
their death," added the minister. Lahore College for Women University Vice-Chancellor
Dr Farkhanda Manzoor, Iranian Consul General Reza Naziri, DG Iranian Consul
General Rezai Fard, Head of Persian Department Dr Faleha Zehra and large number
of girl students were present. However, a documentary based on teachings and
thoughts of Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi was also shown to the participants at the
on, a well-known film artist Mira called on the minister in his office chamber
and informed him that she intended to make a film for the uplift of film
industry, for which, she sought financial cooperation from the Culture
Department. The minister assured of all-out cooperation from his department in
In Lahore General Hospital, nurses have started their preparations to celebrate
Christmas with full enthusiasm and for this purpose Christmas Trees are being
decorated. Nurses have a number of plans regarding 25th December for which in
different sections of Lahore General Hospital arrangements are in full swing.
Nurses are also decorating their wards and reception in traditional style and
especially nurses of Christian community have more sentiments in this regard.
Talking in this regard, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute Prof Dr
Mohammad Tayyab has said that Christmas is equally sacred for all of us.
over Umno-PAS ties behind exit of Sabah leaders, say analysts
KINABALU: Two political analysts here have attributed last week’s exodus of
Sabah Umno leaders to the party’s cooperation with Islamist party PAS.
Shah Abd Karim of UiTM Sabah said the state had always prided itself on being a
tolerant and multiracial society. Because of this, he said, Sabah Umno was
likely concerned when the party’s central leadership began to get “cosy” with
is a genuine concern among Sabah Umno members that Umno will be more
conservative in terms of its approach.
with PAS would certainly make it difficult for Sabah Umno to attract the
majority of Sabahans, who have shown PAS that its brand of politics does not
suit them,” he told FMT, citing the overwhelming rejection of PAS by Sabahans,
including Muslim Bumiputeras.
Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah agreed, noting that Umno’s central body
had been perceived as working more with the Islamist party in the peninsula
than with long-time Barisan Nasional (BN) allies MCA and MIC.
said Umno’s collaboration with PAS had raised concerns that Umno was no longer
keeping to the party’s original struggle.
used to be seen as a moderate Malay party that worked together with all ethnic
now, some see it as championing Malay and Muslim rights only. Umno appears to
be spending more time with PAS than MCA and MIC.”
said Umno had spoken of rejuvenation after the May 9 polls but none had been
forthcoming. This caused members to become disillusioned, he added.
Umno is a multiracial party. There are Kadazan Dusun Murut members and Christians,
think this is what put Sabah Umno in a dilemma, when suddenly you feel like you
no longer share the same political ideology.”
cited the opening statement by former Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor in
announcing the group’s departure last week, saying Hajiji had made clear their
concern for non-Muslim members of the state chapter.
said the group’s decision to leave took into account the fact that Sabah Umno
had over 100,000 non-Muslim members, and that any shift in the party’s political
direction would jeopardise their support for Umno.
week’s exodus began with the departure of four MPs, nine assemblymen, two
senators and dozens of division heads from Sabah.
was followed by six other MPs in Peninsular Malaysia, reducing Umno’s
parliamentary seats from 54 to 37.
and Lee warned in August, following developments in the peninsula, that it
would be a big mistake if Sabah Umno partnered with PAS in the state for any
said Sabahans would reject the politics of race and religion.
the time, Lee suggested that the state chapter consider its position in Umno if
its central leadership continued working with PAS.
worked with PAS in a series of by-elections in the peninsula, striking an
electoral understanding in order to avoid clashes.
decided to give way to BN to allow its Umno candidate to contest the Sungai
Kandis seat. However, Lokman Noor Adam was defeated by PKR’s Mohd Zawawi Abdul
deputy president Mohamad Hasan subsequently said BN would return the favour by
sitting out the Seri Setia by-election to let PAS contest the state seat.
also hinted that it might not contest the Balakong seat, which was eventually
contested by MCA. Pakatan Harapan won all three by-elections.
Umno also rallied together with PAS against the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the nation’s capital.
told FMT the main reason for the exodus of Sabah Umno leaders was also
knew that Sabah Umno is crumbling with the series of defections in Sabah, and
they knew there was no guarantee that the numbers would stay.
order to stay relevant, they needed to decide whether to continue being with
Umno or to pursue other platforms,” he said, adding that the lack of funds was
another big factor but nothing unusual.
hear this all the time… switching sides so that they can serve their
constituents because being with the government means they can have full access
in terms of funding and assistance.
the flaw with this argument is that there wouldn’t be any opposition party left
in the world if all of them thought along the same lines,” Rahezzal said.
meanwhile predicted a major development in the Sabah political scene soon.
GE14, there have been lots of rumours that Umno might leave Sabah to give way
to a Sabah-based local party. Well, this could be it.
easier for a small party or mosquito party to make decisions but not for the
biggest party in Sabah.”
expats celebrate festive season in Jeddah
Images showing Santa Claus giving out presents to happy children could have
been shot anywhere in the world, possibly except in Saudi Arabia. This is why
when a recent Snapchat video emerged showing a festive season celebration
occurring in the Saudi city of Jeddah it immediately went viral and raised questions.
it is true… Santa Claus did come to town and the private celebration took place
in Jeddah on Saturday as a group of Christians came together to celebrate this
religious occasion before they went on annual leave.
small gathering portrayed the Christmas spirit, where children were sitting
happily as they anticipated a smiling Santa’s calling. Santa Claus sat around a
pile of gifts where each present had a child’s name written across it to be
given to them individually for the Christian annual celebration.
video was shot by a Saudi presenter Hashim Abdullah, who was invited to MC the
event. His Snapchat account is dedicated to covering events across the Kingdom.
The Kingdom has been encouraging peaceful coexistence and interfaith tolerance
as of late, especially after King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
initiated interfaith dialogue with Lebanese Maronite Christian Patriarch in
visit was followed by many; the king met with the chairman of the Pontifical Council
for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican earlier in April, while Crown Prince
Mohammed met with Archbishop of Canterbury during his UK visit.
the video of the Christmas celebration went viral, a minority misunderstood the
contents of the video and criticized it, causing Saudis to step up to defend
the celebration, calling it a normal occurrence and stating that it makes them
happy to see celebrations of other faiths.
to Afghan war 'never more real': UN
negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year-long conflict "has never been more
real" than it is now, the top UN official in the country said Monday.
Yamamoto, the UN secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan,
cited several efforts underway to end the war, including a peace plan developed
by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and ongoing engagements being conducted by the
U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.
told the Security Council his agency is "encouraged by these
understand, however, that they are at a delicate stage where political space
must be allowed for the main actors to formulate their positions and how to
react to recent developments," he said.
hope that the current momentum will bring these parties together so that they
can begin to explore how they would address the multitude of agenda points
needed for arriving at a peaceful settlement."
the latest development ahead of presidential polls in April, Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar, the Hezb-e-Islami party chief in Afghanistan, urged the Taliban on
Sunday to join him for the forthcoming elections in the war-ravaged country.
Taliban have so far not responded to Hekmatyar’s call. However, the Taliban had
reportedly asked Khalilzad to postpone the polls, according to local Azadi
this year, Hekmatyar, a former Afghan Mujaheddin leader, floated the idea of
providing “safe zones” to the Taliban in a bid to encourage them to join the
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed termed the idea “an act of practically
Yuruk contributed to this report from the United Nations
with Muslim names are not jailed for longer, study finds
who have Muslim names do not appear to be receiving unfairly long sentences
from crown courts in England and Wales, according to criminology research.
study by academics at Leeds, Oxford and Edinburgh universities questions the
extent of discrimination in the criminal justice system and calls for
publication of official data.
findings, published on Tuesday, seem to run counter to the Ministry of
Justice’s published statistics on race in the criminal justice system and the
2017 Lammy review that found higher use of custodial sentences and longer
sentences for certain black and minority ethnic defendants than for white offenders.
feature the Lammy report identified was the reluctance of black defendants to
plead guilty early in proceedings because of distrust in the system, which
resulted in them losing the opportunity for reduced sentences.
latest report in the British Journal of Criminology exploits what the authors
say are “pioneering data-scraping techniques” based on 8,437 hearings between
2007 and 2017 involving defendants deemed to have traditional Muslim names.
offenders received custodial sentences that were 9.8% longer than the rest of
the sample, according to the report, but that difference disappeared once a
more detailed breakdown by individual offences and key case characteristics
such as the plea were taken into account.
variables assessed by the researchers also included whether a victim sustained
injuries, whether there were mitigating factors or multiple offences.
disparities in sentencing between ethnic groups are due to genuine
discriminatory practices or to differences in the types of crimes committed is
therefore uncertain, the report says.
findings should not be taken as conclusive proof of a lack of discrimination in
sentencing against Muslim offenders,” cautioned the authors, Dr Jose
Pina-Sánchez from Leeds, Prof Julian Roberts from Oxford and Dimitrios
Sferopoulos from Edinburgh. Roberts, a professor of criminology, was formerly a
member of the Sentencing Council, which publishes sentencing guidelines for
a law lecturer at the University of Leeds, said: “Our findings are not
conclusive evidence [either] of equal treatment [but] they do highlight the
importance of considering case characteristics before claiming discrimination
analysis found that the observed differences in sentence length between Muslim
and non-Muslim offenders were explained by the characteristics of the cases.
is therefore essential to replicate our analyses across all offenders processed
through the magistrates and crown court … That data has not been fully disclosed
to the public, but there are various data sharing strategies that could be put
in motion to facilitate the data to independent researchers in a secure manner.
the principle of fairness is the idea that we are all treated equally, and if that
is not the case we should consider serious reforms in the system to tackle this
peacekeepers in Lebanon said on Monday two of four tunnels found close to the
border with Israel crossed the frontier demarcation between the two countries,
violating a UN resolution that ended a 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it had so far confirmed the existence
of four tunnels which the Israeli army discovered in the vicinity of the border
demarcation, known as the “Blue Line”, adding the finds were of “serious
says Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful armed group, dug the tunnels with the
aim of launching attacks into Israel with backing from its regional sponsor
Iran. Hezbollah has yet to comment.
at this stage can confirm that two of the tunnels cross the Blue Line. These
constitute violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” the statement
UN peacekeepers said they would continue their technical investigations,
describing the recent discoveries as “a matter of serious concern,” requesting
“urgent follow-up actions” by the Lebanese authorities.
and Hezbollah have avoided major conflict across the Lebanese-Israeli border
since 2006, though Israel has mounted attacks in Syria targeting what it said
were advanced weapon deliveries to the group.
United Nations and the Palestinian Authority on Monday appealed for $350
million in humanitarian relief for Palestinians next year, saying that they
needed more but had to be realistic in the face of “record-low” funding.
2019 Humanitarian Response Plan outlined 203 projects to be carried out by 88
different groups, including UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.
plan prioritized 1.4 million Palestinians most in need of food, healthcare,
shelter, water and sanitation, said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian
coordinator in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
actors are facing unprecedented challenges, including record-low funding and a
rise in attacks to delegitimize humanitarian action,” he said in a joint
statement issued on Monday, ahead of the appeal's launch in Ramallah in the
Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“much more assistance is needed”, McGoldrick said, the plan was “reflecting
what we can realistically accomplish in this highly constrained context”.
the past year, the United States has slashed its funding to the Palestinians,
including to the U.N. agency that provides services to 5 million Palestinian
United States promised $365 million to the agency in 2018, but paid only a
first instalment of $60 million before announcing in August that it would halt
all future donations.
move was widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to
enter peace negotiations with Israel.
Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East
Jerusalem - territories that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle
peace talks between the sides collapsed in 2014 and a bid by US President
Donald Trump to restart them has so far showed little progress.
77 percent of the funds sought in the 2019 plan would go to Gaza, the appeal
organizers said, because the densely populated coastal strip faced a “dire
humanitarian situation” after years of an Israeli-led blockade, internal
Palestinian political divisions and casualties from demonstrations and
Delhi: The events calendar of India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) for the
month of December is packed with ghazal nights and poetry readings — just the
kind of cultural concoction one seeks during winter evenings in the capital.
But unfortunately, these renderings are not in consonance with the founding
principles of the iconic centre.
only three weeks left in the IICC management elections, the candidates vying
for posts of president, vice president, members board of trustees and executive
committee are promising a shift in the fundamental functioning of the centre —
right from publishing newsletters and journals to engaging in academic
activities with the intention of lending it an image of ‘think-tank’ for the
the helm of initiating a debate on reforms is Arif Mohammad Khan, a former
cabinet member and current IICC presidential candidate. Khan told News 18.com
that while there is no doubt about infrastructural developments in the centre,
there “should be more to it than it just be a club.”
1986, Khan had resigned from the government to protest against a legislation
that sought to reverse the Shah Bano verdict. “Most of the Muslims, even the
progressive ones, had kept silent,” he had complained then. Today he laments
about IICC having deviated from its founding principles.
had registered his protest three years ago when the IICC had called the
televangelist Zakir Naik for a talk. He was unhappy with the event as it
reflected poorly on the judgment of the then IICC members who didn’t act
according to the demands of times. He had decided to not visit the centre
again, but after continuous appeals from his former colleagues, including
Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Anees Durrani and All India Muslim
Personal Law Board member Kamal Farooqui, he decided to contest the election.
contesting for the first time, is pitted against Sirajuddin Qureshi, chairman
and managing director at Hind Industries Limited and managing director and
director at Hind Agro Industries Ltd. Qureshi has also been IICC president for
three consecutive terms and is credited with building infrastructure of the
Foundation president Zafar Mehmood, one of the voters, said that this election
is exciting because of it being Khan’s first poll battle. “This is a very
interesting election term in IICC. We have incumbent IICC president Qureshi
contesting for the fourth time against a former cabinet minister, who brings in
his experience of national politics and other walks of life,” Mehmood said.
said the work on promoting the Indo-Islamic centre and developing it into a
Muslim think-tank has not reached even one fourth and the new council must take
it forward after the polls.
Goal: To Promote Traditional Principles
website of India Islamic Cultural Centre says its key goal is to promote a
mutual understanding and amity among the people and to depict the true face of
Islam as a tolerant, liberal, progressive, rational and forward-looking
religion, besides being based on cardinal principles of human values
irrespective of faith, caste, creed and colour — the virtues which Khan insists
need to be pursued vigorously.
the clauses of the Memorandum of Association of the IICC, Khan said, “The first
objective of IICC is to promote mutual understanding and tolerance among
diverse citizens of India, second is to remove misunderstanding about Islam.
Other points elaborate on these two objectives and see how Muslims along with
compatriots play contributory role in making India a great nation.”
added, “The focal point is to have mutual understanding and the modus operandi
in achieving this objective is very clear — holding seminars, symposia,
conferences, books publishing, newsletters. The whole structure was built to
make it a hub of intellectual and artistic expressions, provide platform to
communicate and also train for competitive exams.”
Papers, Newsletters and Other Poll Promises
wants to revive the training for competitive exams and bring out a newsletter,
the absence of which from a centre of this stature is appalling for him and
other members. “This is the place Obama wants to visit to interact with the
Muslims. This is its importance, we need to have intellectual activities,” he
said, adding: “We need to start the culture of newsletters, focus on bringing
out journals and academic papers.”
other plans include inching closer to academic areas so that interactions
between the members of IICC and university are frequent. He also wants to start
affiliated branches on the centre.
he is not alone in demanding these. Professor Khwaja M Shahid, former V-C of
Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, nods in agreement with
Khan. Shahid is contesting for the post of vice president.
has achieved good infrastructure but now we want to put it to good use. A
centre is not just about brick and mortar but about living by the founding
principles. We have portals like Rekhta to celebrate Urdu, a language that
reflects the essence of Indo-Islamic culture. Our centre should have done
something to promote this culture. We missed it and someone else picked it.
Holding ghazals is not the primary objective of the centre,” he said.
Khan, Shahid also wants to bring out a newsletter and hold seminars and
conferences. Shahid is contesting after a gap of ten years when he stood for
the board of trustees. There are other contenders in the fray such as advocate
HR Khan Suhel, Md Irshad Ahmad, Shehzad Mohammad Khan and SM Yamin Qureshi.
said, “We have a library, which is a mere bookshelf. There is no cataloguing
referencing and no issuing system. If elected, the new office bearers will
start digitisation and make it an information centre in IICC.” He added, “We
need to go back to our fundamentals and they don’t ask us to make IICC a baraat
ghar or food court.”
voting will take place on Jaunary 6, 2018 and the results will be announced the
triple talaq Bill introduced in Lok Sabha
FRESH Bill to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence was
introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday to replace an ordinance issued in
to the Bill, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will
attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, will replace an
earlier Bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha. With the
Bill facing opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the government had cleared some
amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail. But as the Bill
continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an
ordinance in September, incorporating the amendments.
ordinance has a life of six months. But it has to be replaced by a Bill passed
by both Houses within 42 days of the Parliament Session which follows. The
government can re-promulgate the ordinance if the Bill is not passed.
the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said despite the Supreme Court
striking down the practice of talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq) as
unconstitutional, men were divorcing their wives on flimsy grounds and even via
WhatsApp. The Bill would protect “the rights of married Muslim women”, he said.
the introduction of the Bill, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “the Bill
conflates civil law with criminal law by criminalising a wrong form of divorce
and by criminalising an act which is already legally null and void.” He said
the Bill also attempts to create a “class-specific legislation on the grounds
of religion”, and has “no procedural safeguards to prevent its misuse”.
case has been filed against principal of a secondary school here Monday for
allegedly beating up students for not greeting him with “As-Salaam-Alaikum”.
Secretary and nodal officer of the district, Dimple Verma on a visit to the
Bilhari Secondary School in Tilhar area Sunday was told that Principal Chand
Mian was demanding that he be greeted with “As-Salaam-Alaikum” and he would
beat up those wishing him “good morning”, an official said.
is a greeting in Arabic which means “Peace be upon you”. The greeting is a
religious salutation among Muslims.
VI student Priyanshu, who met the officer along with other locals, told her
that since the children were not being able to say “As-Salaam-Alaikum” they
were beaten up. He also showed injury marks on his neck to the visiting
official, Chief Development Officer Prerna Sharma said.
student was sent for medical examination and the preliminary inquiry report has
been handed over to Basic Shiksha Adikari (BSA) Rakesh Kumar.
Chand Mian has prima facie been found guilty of the charges and
suspended…further inquiry is on,” Kumar said.
Chand Mian has rejected the allegations and said that he was being defamed as
part of some conspiracy.
leaders detained in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar, march against civilian
on Monday imposed restrictions on people’s movement, detained separatist
leaders and sealed the roads leading to Srinagar’s Badami Bagh Cantonment to
prevent a march Kashmiri separatists had called to protest against the killing
of seven civilians in south Kashmir on Saturday.
seven were killed after security forces fired on civilians when they gathered
at the scene of a firefight with militants and allegedly threw stones in
Pulwama district’s Sirnoo village. The separatists had called for a three-day
strike and asked the people to march towards the cantonment on Monday in
protest against the killings. Three militants and a soldier were killed in the
leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest when he tried to take out
a protest march from his residence on the outskirts of Srinagar. Jammu and
Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik was detained along with dozens of
his supporters in central Srinagar when he tried to do the same.
Army had called the march call an attempt to sabotage peace at Pakistan’s
behest and advised the people against marching towards the cantonment.
in the Kashmir Valley, a complete shutdown was observed against the killings.
The mobile internet was slowed across Kashmir to prevent mobilisation for the
protests while train services from north Kashmir’s Baramulla to Banihal in the
Jammu region were suspended. All examinations scheduled in the Valley were also
postponed in view of the call for protests.
is like medicine, one doesn’t suit all: Dalai Lama
is like medicine, and there is no single medicine that suits all,” the 14th
Dalai Lama said on Dec. 17.
Dalai Lama was speaking at the Techfest organised by the Indian Institute of
Technology Bombay on Friday.
all religions preach the same things. I never said Buddhism is the best
religion for inner peace, it is up to an individual what will work for them.”
said that India has been secular for thousands of years and it can be an
example of harmony and world peace. “India has a history of 3,000 years of
religious harmony. This country is capable of combining modern education of
science and technology with the ancient knowledge of inner peace, and can be a
significant contributor to world peace,” the Dalai Lama said.
said that for over three decades he has interacted with the best scientists in
neurosciences, cosmology, psychology, and most of them now believe their is a
consciousnesses that guides the human mind. “Modern psychology is at
kindergarten-level in front of the ancient Indian knowledge of psychology.
Modern science is trying to study the ancient knowledge of meditation and
controlling the emotions of a human mind to acquire inner peace,” the Dalai
the need for education he said, “Education is very important. With the help of
education people can control their emotions better.” The Nobel laureate said
that a calm mind is necessary for excelling in life. “It’s only with a calm
that mind we can think clearly, too many emotions hampers decision making, when
we have inner peace only then is the mind neutral and capable of intelligent
20th century saw world wars and civil wars, a time of destruction and violence,
he said. “The 21st century should be one of peace and happiness. If this
generation is educated with a combination of science and technology and inner
values, then the world will see peace,” he said.
Dalai Lama said that one’s action should be Ahimsa (non-violence) and reaction
should be Karuna (compassion). “A mind without consciousness is useless, one
must learn to reduce anger through training,” he said.
political leaders have met with the officials of United States, Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, and United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
the delegation of Islamic Emirate held extensive rounds of meetings with the
high-ranking officials of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates in
Abu Dhabi,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.
statement further added that “Talks revolved around withdrawal of occupation
forces from Afghanistan, ending the oppression being carried out by the United
States and her allies and views were exchanged with the said countries about
peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan. Moreover,preliminary talks were held
with the said countries along with the State Department’s Special
Representative Zalmai Khalilzad at the end of the day. And meetings in this
negotiations process shall continue today.”
comes reports emerged earlier suggesting that a delegation of the Afghan
officials have also visited UAE but the Taliban spokesman has only confirmed
meetings with the U.S., UAE, Pakistani, and Saudi officials.
condemns Bangladesh election violence
church official has joined rights' defenders to condemn political violence
ahead of Bangladesh national elections that has already left at least 10 people
dead and injured many more.
national poll for the 300-seat parliament of the Muslim-majority South Asian
nation is scheduled to be held Dec. 30.
Minister Sheikh Hasina of the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance, in power
since 2008, is seeking a third consecutive term.
opposition alliance, Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) led by
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is vying to return to power after more than
least 10 people, a majority of them supporters of the Awami League and the BNP,
have died in political clashes across the country since electioneering kicked
off Dec. 10. Hundreds were injured and dozens have been arrested, most of them
opposition leaders and activists.
election is a festival for democracy, but we cannot see any mood but
fear," Father Anthony Sen, convener of Justice and Peace Commission at
northern Dinajpur Catholic Diocese, told ucanews.com.
and deaths have instilled panic among people and they fear it will intensify in
the lead up to the election."
sorry state of electioneering is a result of politics of power and annihilation
in the country, as well as failure of the Election Commission, the priest said.
Election Commission is supposed to ensure a peaceful, fair and credible
election, so people can exercise their democratic rights freely and without
fear," Father Sen added.
Khan, a Dhaka-based rights activist, said there was every reason to doubt that
the Election Commission has the capacity to hold a free and fair election.
government had not shown a commitment to creating a level-playing field for
campaigning, he added.
year's poll is regarded as the first participatory election under a partisan
government since Bangladesh returned to democracy in the 1990s.
gained independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a nine-month war. However, it
endured military dictatorships from 1975-1990.
elections of 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2008 were held under neutral and non-party
Ruling Awami League scrapped a caretaker system in 2011, defying protests from
BNP and its allies boycotted the 2014 election after the Awami League refused
to reintroduce a caretaker administration, which saw the Awami League win by a
landslide with more than half of the seats won uncontested.
year's political violence showed Bangladesh has a long way go to democratize,
said Dr. Shantunu Majumder, associate professor of political science at Dhaka
political landscape is still dominated by power grabbing at any cost, so nobody
expected to see an election without any violence," he said.
commission calls for evidence of Rohingya abuse
internal commission of inquiry into rights' abuses in troubled Rakhine State
against Muslim Rohingya has called on people to provide evidence of violations
by Myanmar's armed forces.
groups, witnesses and alleged victims have been called on to submit their
accounts, with supporting data and evidence such as audio and video recordings
as well as photographs and any relevant documentation, no later than Jan. 31,
move has been met with skepticism from a leading rights group and Rohingya
refugees who have little faith in the commission.
commission said in a statement Dec. 12 that it would will arrange a mutually
convenient time and place for meetings and all submissions would be kept
so-called Independent Commission of Inquiry begun its probe in northern Rakhine
Aug.31, a year after a bloody crackdown by Myanmar's military caused more than
700,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.
July 30 established the commission with two international and two local members
to be led by Rosario Manalo, a former deputy foreign minister of the
Philippines, following mounting international pressure over the military's atrocities.
commission is yet to visit to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said the commission has
very little credibility with the international community.
added that it was unlikely that randomly seeking submissions would do much to
increase its standing.
sees the commission as "just going through the motions" rather than
conducting a real investigation.
ironclad guarantees to ensure confidentiality and real systems to protect
people against retaliation, it's likely there will be very few submissions from
victims on the ground, and that's a shame because people are waiting for real
justice and accountability," Robertson told ucanews.com.
20, a Rohingya refugee from Kutupalong refugee camp who arrived there in 2017,
said community leaders have gathered a great deal of evidence that to prove the
military, as well Buddhist mobs and militias, killed people and burned their
did not think a single Rohingya would testify to the Myanmar's Rakhine
I go to Myanmar they can arrest me, torture or kill me," Rezwan told
added that Rohingya would provide documents and evidence if the commission came
Kalam, 35 a Rohingya community leader from Kutupalong refugee camp, cited
comprehensive evidence of official Myanmar atrocities.
he too was afraid the commission would misuse evidence or destroy it.
Dec. 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that
the crimes committed by Myanmar's military against Rohingya constitute
prominent leader of Taliban group has been killed in a drone strike carried out
in western Herat province of Afghanistan, the local officials said.
governor’s spokesman Jilani Farhad confirmed the airstrike and said a prominent
Taliban leader identified as Mullah Ghulam Sakhi was killed in the airstrike
which was carried out in Farsi district.
further added that Mullah Sakhi was the shadow education director of Taliban in
Herat and was also involved in other activities including intelligence related
operations in Shindand and other districts of the province.
to Farhad, Mullah Sakhi was also appointed as Taliban’s shadow district chief
for Farsi district of Herat provnce.
least four accomplices of Mullah Sakhi were also killed in the same airstrike,
the provincial governor’s spokesman added.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not
commented regarding the report so far.
brings US and Taliban face-to-face in UAE
Delivering on its commitment to bring peace to the region, Pakistan on Monday
successfully brought the Afghan Taliban to the table in the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) for the latest round of talks between the militant outfit and US
officials as diplomatic moves toward agreeing to the basis for talks to end the
17-year war in Afghanistan continue.
talks brokered by Pakistan concluded on Monday in Abu Dhabi. In a joint
statement issued by Afghan Taliban and the US, both parties agreed on carrying
forward the peace process. The Afghan Taliban representative said that he will
discuss the peace talks with the Taliban Shura.
with the international community and other stakeholders, Pakistan is committed
to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Talks are being held in UAE. We
hope this will end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region,”
Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal announced on Twitter as talks
went underway in the Gulf country.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that representatives from Saudi
Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE are also participating in the meeting, which follows
at least two meetings between Taliban officials and US special peace envoy
Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.
made the announcement in a statement on Twitter.
meetings come as diplomatic efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict have
intensified, although the Taliban have so far refused to deal directly with the
Western-backed government in Kabul, which it considers illegitimate.
Taliban say the presence of international forces in Afghanistan is the main
obstacle to peace but have said that issues, including mutual recognition with
the Kabul government, constitutional changes and women rights, can be
Saturday, the US said it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a
negotiated solution to the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.
acknowledgement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that
Pakistan had arranged another round of US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban
scheduled for Monday.
US welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation,
including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government,
and other Afghans,” a US embassy spokesperson in Kabul told Voice of America.
has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including the
Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the
Imran’s announcement about the talks came days after US President Donald Trump
made a personal appeal to him to help end the war in Afghanistan.
sent Imran a personal letter asking for his help in pushing the Taliban into
White House National Security Council said that Trump had asked PM Imran in the
letter to lend his “full support” to the deepening US efforts to launch such
the letter, the president recognises that Pakistan has the ability to deny the
Taliban sanctuary on its territory,” said a National Security Council
spokesman.“The letter also makes clear that Pakistan’s assistance with the
Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US-Pakistan
FO said in a statement that Trump had sought Pakistan’s support in forging a
negotiated settlement to the Afghan conflict.
Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end the war in
Afghanistan, US decision is welcomed. Pakistan reiterates its commitment to
play a facilitation role in good faith,” the FO said.
letter came just days after an ill-tempered Twitter exchange between Trump and
mid-November, Trump said on Twitter that “We no longer pay Pakistan the
$Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us.”
Imran responded with a tweet that said, “Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat
for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite
140,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion
spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.”
minister vows to 'protect' Hafiz Saeed and his party
Exposing Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's seriousness on combating
terrorism, his junior interior minister has vowed to "protect" Mumbai
attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his party in a leaked video.
leaked video showed minister of state for interior Shehryar Afridi talking to
the Milli Muslim League (MML) leaders and when his attention was drawn towards
non-registration of Saeed's party by the Election Commission (ECP) as a
political party due to the US pressure and the ECP's plan to declare it a
terrorist organisation, the minister said: "We will not let this
long as we (the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) are in the government all those
including Hafiz Saeed who are raising voice for Pakistan and righteousness, we
are with them," Afridi said, adding "this is our belief."
request you to come to the National Assembly and see whether we are supporting
those who on the right path or not," he told them.
was declared a global terrorist by the US and the UN after the 2008 Mumbai
attack and was put under house arrest in November 2008 but freed by a court
some months later. He carries a $10 million American bounty on his head for his
role in terror activities.
has been demanding Pakistan not only to arrest the LeT founder and try him in
the Mumbai attack case but also punish all those involved in this carnage.
the leaked video, an MML leader said the high court ordered the ECP to register
the MML as a political party but the top election body said that it had come to
know that the US had declared MML a terrorist organisation.
this, the minister assured that "this will not happen in the Imran Khan's
launched the MML in August 2017 with a so-called mission to implement the
ideology of Pakistan in accordance with the 1973 Constitution.
April, the US placed the MML on its list of foreign terror organisations for
its links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
interior ministry had written to the ECP recommending not to register the MML
as it is an off-shoot of Saeed's Jamat-ud Dawah, which has been declared as a
foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is
responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
MML contested general elections on the platform of the "dormant"
political entity Allaha-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which was registered with the
Supreme Court in September last permitted the JuD and its arm Falah-e-Insaniyat
Foundation (FIF) to continue their relief and charity work in the country.
network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and
ambulance services. The JuD and FIF alone have about 50,000 volunteers and
hundreds of other paid workers, according to two counter-terrorism officials.
Khan asks Fatyana to draft bill aimed at making Pakistan welfare state
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday asked Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI)
member of the National Assembly Riaz Fatyana to draft a bill to make Pakistan a
real welfare state, ensure representation of all segments of society in
parliament, improve agriculture and solve people’s problems.
meeting was held amid resentment within the PTI over Mr Fatyana’s remarks in
favour of opposition MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique.
press release issued by the PTI headquarters said the meeting between the prime
minister and Mr Fatyana was held in a “pleasant atmosphere”. The prime minister
expressed “complete confidence” in Mr Fatyana and appreciated his points of
view and suggestions.
PM’s adviser on political affairs, Naeemul Haq, was also present during the
contacted, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said there was resentment in the
PTI over Mr Fatyana’s remarks about Saad Rafique, but “all issues between him
and the party have been settled now”.
a recent TV programme, Mr Fatyana had called for serving justice to Khawaja
Saad Rafique of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the Paragon Housing Society
claimed that he had known Saad Rafique for 30 years and was aware about his
character and nature.
PTI leader had said his call for serving justice to the PML-N leader was his
personal opinion and not his party’s position.
said the masses voted the PTI into power to take action against corruption,
which was the country’s biggest issue in the prevailing circumstances.
Ambassador of China Yao Jing on Monday said the government of Pakistan should
create public awareness to stop deforestation and launch plantation at a
massive level to increase the forest cover in the country.
were also facing the same issue due to which in the 1990s it was decided to
make a green wall in China. As China is a larger country compared to Pakistan,
we had more problems but we addressed them by creating public awareness. I am
hopeful that Pakistan would also address the issue as the government has shown
a commitment,” he said while talking to Dawn after a media briefing held at the
Ministry of Climate Change.
ambassador said it takes time to increase the forest cover but once efforts are
started with a full commitment things are surely improved.
the mediapersons, Mr Yao said Pakistan and China had signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) under which Beijing would support Pakistan to increase its
MoU, which was signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China last
month, is just a start. It is the 40th anniversary of Chinese development and
opening up to the world. We can share a lot for better management of
said the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative was not only possible but can make
a difference. He said China would support Pakistan in all such projects.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the MoU inked
between the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of the People’s
Republic of China and the Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan aimed at
enhancing and strengthening bilateral relations in the field of forestry and
lauded the Chinese government’s environment projects of Eco-Civilisation and
Green Wall of China. He said these projects increased the forest cover in China
from 12pc to 18pc which constituted 500,000 square kilometres. Moreover, the
green wall stopped the spread of deserts.
Aslam said China had supported professionals from Pakistan through
participation in training courses on forestry, wildlife, rangeland improvement,
wetland management and desertification control in the past.
Pakistan is also in the process of implementing massive afforestation projects,
we will get an opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience,” he said.
the recent Conference of the Parties (COP 24), which was held in Poland and
participated by Mr Aslam, he said China took the leading role throughout the
said Pakistan had completed one billion tree tsunami project and was going to
complete the 10 billion tree tsunami project in the five-year tenure of the
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.
has constructed three dams which are being used to recharge the underground
water. We also want to learn from China and get its support in recharging the
underground water,” he said.
of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday called on General
Mohamed Zaki, Commander in Chief of Egyptian Armed Forces and Minister of
Defence and Military Production, and Lt Gen Mohamed Farid Hegazy, Chief of
Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, during his visit to Cairo.
statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that
matters of mutual interest, military to military relations, defence and
security cooperation were discussed during the meeting.
said that the Egyptian leadership highly appreciated the professionalism of
Pakistan Army and the determination of the Pakistani nation in combating
terrorism. Both sides agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in multiple
fields including joint ventures, defence production, training and intelligence.
They also agreed to improve cooperation for regional peace and stability.
statement mentioned that the army chief also met Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the
grand sheikh of Al-Azhar who also commended the efforts of Pakistan Army in
eliminating the scourge of terrorism from the country.
cleric also appreciated the issuance of Paigham-e-Pakistan fatwa on issues
arising from extremism by religious scholars from all schools of thoughts in
reasserts Indonesia’s ‘non-interference’ stance on Uighur issue
President Jusuf Kalla has reiterated that Indonesia would not interfere in
China’s handling of Uighur Muslims amid pressure from the nation’s ulema
council for the government to step in.
course we reject or [want to] prevent any human rights violations. However, we
don’t want to intervene in the domestic affairs of another country,” Kalla told
journalists on Monday.
circulated that the Chinese government had conducted a massive crackdown on
Uighur Muslims in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang autonomous region.
the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) had condemned China over reports of the
crackdown, saying it was not in line with the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights that guarantees religious freedom for every human around
the world. China signed the covenant in 1998 but has yet to ratify it.
crackdown is an outright violation of basic human rights, as well as
international laws,” MUI advisory council leader Din Syamsuddin said on Monday,
as quoted by Antara.
former chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second biggest Islamic
organization, also demanded that the Indonesian government take firm action to
advocate for the Uighurs.
president of the Asian Conference on Religions for Peace also urged the
international Islamic Cooperation Organization and the international community
to push for the Chinese government to guarantee the Uighurs' civil rights.
to champion the Malaysian agenda, says academic
JAYA: An academic has urged political parties to stop operating along
ethnocentric lines and to begin championing the “Malaysian agenda” instead.
Fauzi Abdul Hamid, a professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, said there was a
need to return to the spirit of the Federal Constitution, specifically Article
said when parties talked about fighting for the Malay agenda, it was usually in
reference to this section of the constitution which touched on the special
position of the Malays.
if we look at the wording of Article 153, which grants the king the role of
safeguarding the position of the Malays, it does not say that this sort of
safeguarding is to the exclusion of other non-Malay communities.
clause of Article 153 is not supposed to be exclusionary,” he said, adding
however that it had been interpreted and understood as such by Umno and other
you agree to safeguard the position of the Malays, for instance the Bumiputeras
and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, it also means that those
parties have to agree to look after the interest of other communities,” he told
was responding to PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, who said the
Islamist party was taking over the fight for the Malay-Muslim agenda from Umno
which had been weakened after the recent exodus of lawmakers.
Article 153 of the constitution, the king must exercise his constitutional
functions and his executive functions under federal law to generally safeguard
the special position of the Bumiputeras, and specifically establish quotas for
Bumiputeras in federal public service positions, federal scholarships, federal
trade or business licences, and tertiary education enrolment.
is also responsible for safeguarding the legitimate interests of other
communities, such as ensuring the impartial treatment of civil servants
regardless of race, and that no one is deprived of federal scholarships already
acknowledged that there were certain clauses pertaining to the special position
of the Malays but cautioned that this did not mean neglecting other communities,
“as if to deprive them of what they also deserve, as citizens of Malaysia in
their own spheres”.
we understand from the Federal Constitution that there are different spheres of
interests which must be acknowledged, and as we understand the history, all
parties have interests.
you agree to Article 153, you have to protect all. So if PAS or Umno thinks
they are looking after the Malay agenda, if they do it without the intention of
looking after the interests of non-Malays as well, then they have gone against
the constitution,” he said.
added that this was one of the reasons PAS and Umno were losing out, as they
were increasingly portraying themselves as only looking after the Malay-Muslims
when in fact there were many such people, especially in the urban areas, who
realised the importance of safeguarding the interests of their non-Malay
Malay-Muslims have realised this. It might be argued that a majority of Malays
voted for PAS and Umno instead of Pakatan Harapan (PH), but things are slowly
changing,” he said.
PAS and Umno keep harping on their ethnocentric agenda, in the long term they
will lose out.”
also warned other race-based parties to avoid merely championing the agenda of
a particular ethnic group, and cautioned PH over recent concerns about Umno
elements entering PPBM.
have to be wary of ethnocentric elements creeping into PH because one of the
reasons for the downfall of Umno was its increasing inability to see the fate
and interests of the people in terms of Malaysia rather than Malay or
there are two parts to Article 153. Look at both. I think some have selectively
chosen the parts that are to their advantage and portrayed it to the population
as being part of an exclusive interest.”
Awang Azman Awang Pawi from Universiti Malaya said PAS and Umno claimed to have
championed the Malay-Muslim agenda during the May 9 polls, claiming they were
more Malay and Muslim than any others.
urged majority Malay-Muslim parties in PH like Amanah and PPBM to step up and
be more vocal on issues concerning Malays and Islam.
the government of the day, Amanah and PPBM should be taking up the mantle, but
they have not utilised this opportunity.
need to address and explain Malay and Islamic issues better, and tackle them in
a wiser way than what the opposition parties are doing.”
also suggested that they hold dialogues or sessions with non-Muslims to foster
a better understanding of the issue.
ban on Muslim speakers appearing on radio, TV
Dismissing a message going viral on social media, Putrajaya today clarified
that it never prohibited any religious speaker from appearing on radio or
in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa advised the speakers to
adhere to the three thrusts championed by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government
if they wanted to go on air.
and lecturers who want to appear on TV in our programmes must understand the
three thrusts we are championing: ‘Rahmatan Lil Alamin’ (Mercy to all
Creations), ‘Maqasid Syariah’ (Five Foundational Goals) and the Malaysian
welcome them so long as the content of their talks or lectures does not
contradict these three matters. It is not that we want to prohibit someone just
because we do not like him; it is more to do with the content,” he told
reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing Amanah National Convention 2018 here.
was commenting on a viral message on WhatsApp and Facebook alleging that
several religious speakers, including Ahmad Dusuki Abdul Rani, Mohd Kazim
Elias, Shamsul Debat, Azhar Idrus and Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, were barred from
making an appearance on radio or TV.
said the matter should not be circulated on social media, adding that it could
raise doubts and provocations against the government.
LUMPUR, Dec 18 ― Dewan Negara today spent a minute's silence and expressed its
condolence to family members of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim who died last
night due to severe injuries after being attacked during a riot at the Sri Maha
Mariamman Temple at USJ25, Subang Jaya on November 27.
Adib, 24, died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) at 9.41 last night.
President, Tan Sri S. Vigneswaran represented the Semate in expressing sadness
at the passing of Muhammad Adib.
fireman had sacrificed his life for the nation. He is a true hero, a national
hero, the sacrifice of this noble being for the nation truly makes the country
proud. May the incident be a lesson for all Malaysians,” he said.
the message of condolence, he also hoped that all family members of the late
fireman and staff of the fire department would be strong in facing the
in Gowa, South Sulawesi, have arrested 10 people for allegedly beating a man to
death on Dec. 10 in the country's latest case of deadly mob violence.
victim, identified as 23-year-old student Muhammad Khaidir, was attacked by a
mob inside a mosque after he was falsely accused of being a thief.
Gowa Police confirmed that Muhammad was not suspected of any felony. He was a
resident of Selayar regency and a student at Makassar’s East Indonesia
University. He was reportedly in Gowa en route to visit a cousin in Jeneponto,
to the police, the incident began when the victim went to the mosque at around
2 a.m. to observe tahajud, a voluntary night prayer, and found it locked. He
then knocked on the door of a nearby resident, identified as YDS, to ask him to
reportedly became angry at Muhammad for knocking on his door and reprimanded
him. Muhammad, the police said, apparently ignored the admonishment and left.
then rushed to the mosque caretaker, identified as RDN, who announced on the
mosque's loudspeaker that a thief was at the mosque, kompas.com reported.
neighborhood residents started gathering at the mosque in response to the
announcement. Muhammad, unaware that he was the accused, also joined the crowd
at the mosque, which immediately attacked him.
video of the mob attack has been circulating on social media.
and RDN are among the 10 people the police have arrested in connection with the
suspects have been charged with Article 170 of the Criminal Code on mob
violence, with a maximum punishment of 12 years in prison,” National Police
spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said, as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
victim's family was shocked by the incident and had asked police to
investigate, Gowa Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Shinto Silitonga said, as quoted
by ntmcpolri.info on Tuesday.
Selayar, a Facebook user who claimed to be a family friend, wrote that the
young man [Muhammad] had no criminal record and had recently started observing
questioned the allegations circulating on social media that Muhammad went
berserk at the mosque before he was killed by the mob, and accused the
allegations as a "false narrative" that the perpetrators had
fabricated to justify their “inhumane” violence.
anything, taking the law into our own hands without tabayyun [seeking
clarification] is utterly forbidden in our country, let alone in Islam,’ he
lynching is not uncommon in Indonesia. In August 2017, Muhammad Azahra, 37, was
killed by angry residents of Babelan in Bekasi, West Java, after he was accused
of stealing an amplifier from a local musholla (small prayer house). The mob
chased the electronics repairman as he attempted to flee on his motorcycle,
beat him and set fire to him.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Ousi as saying on Monday that Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threat of military attack against Eastern
Euphrates is serious and dangerous.
warned that the US has sold the Syrian Kurds to Turkey, adding that Ankara's
threats started after a visit by US special representative for Syria James
Jeffrey to the country and his meetings with the Turkish leaders.
said that "Turkey has received greenlight from its master, the US, to
infiltrate into Eastern Syria," adding that both sides have reached an
agreement in this regard.
said that neither Kurds nor any other groups of the Syrian people residing in
Eastern Euphrates are important to the US, calling on the Kurds to help the
Syrian government to enter the Kurdish-populated regions and cut ties with
Turkish army targeted and pounded the military positions of the Kurdish forces
in Northern Aleppo near Syria's border with Turkey on Saturday as heavy clashes
have intensified between the two sides there.
close to militants in Northern Syria said that the Turkish army's artillery
units pounded several military positions of the Kurds in Zour Moghar and
Shoyoukh Foqani in the surrounding areas of Ain al-Arab in Northern Aleppo and
near the border with Turkey, destroying one of their military positions.
sources, meantime, pointed to the Kurdish forces' attacks on the Ankara-backed
militants' positions from Harbal, Sheikh Issa and Um Khosh regions in Ma'areh
region, and reiterated that intense fighting has broken out between the two
sides in the surrounding areas of Tal Rafat city.
sources close to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also reported that the
Kurdish forces targeted and pounded one of the positions of the Turkish army in
Kimar village in Shirava region of Afrin in Western Aleppo, which resulted in
the destruction of the military point and death of five Turkish soldiers.
Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Thursday that the 'Executive Council
for Autonomous Forces in Northern and Eastern Syria' ordered all troops to go
on alert after Erdogan threatened to launch military operations against Kurds
in coming days.
Kurdish forces in a statement claimed Ankara attempts to support the ISIL,
calling on the US-led coalition, the international community, specially the UN,
and the NATO members to voice opposition to Ankara's aggressive plans.
commander of Ferqat al-Hamzeh, affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army
(FSA) terrorist group, said that nearly 20,000 FSA militants are prepared to
take part in the Turkish army's military operations against Kurds in Eastern
Euphrates, specially the town of Manbij in Aleppo and Tal Abyadh in Raqqa.
fighters vow to ‘finish off’ Daesh in Hajjin operation
Burnt-out cars, craters and collapsed buildings dot the side of a road in the
Syrian village of Hajjin, after US-backed forces expelled Daesh.
sound of mortar fire and flying bullets resounded inside Hajjin on Saturday, as
huge clouds of grey smoke billowed over the outskirts of the large village in
yellow flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) flew above one building,
after the Kurdish-led fighters seized the village from Daesh on Friday.
has come under the control of our forces,” SDF commander Zanar Awaz said.
are now fighting on the outskirts of Hajjin and we are preparing to enter
nearby villages,” he said in Kurdish, a shot of white in his short black hair.
will finish off this terrorist group.”
lies on the east bank of the Euphrates in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor,
about 30 km from the border with Iraq.
village’s capture marks a milestone in a massive and costly operation backed by
a US-led coalition to expel Daesh from eastern Syria.
Saturday, armored vehicles brought in SDF fighters to reinforce the front lines
outside Hajjin, as coalition planes and helicopters flew overhead.
SDF fighter sitting on the top of a vehicle with fellow combattants flashed a
Kurdish-led SDF launched an offensive in September to expel Daesh from a pocket
including its main village Hajjin, but their advance has been fraught with
been facing a lot of difficulties: Daesh car bombs, suicide attackers. Most of
them are foreign,” Awaz said.
Saturday morning, Daesh launched a counterattack, but the SDF said it succeeded
in repelling them with the backing of coalition air strikes.
the start of the operation on September 10, at least 930 extremists and more
than 540 SDF fighters have been killed, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights war monitor said.
addition, more than 320 civilians have lost their lives, many in coalition
airstrikes, according to the Observatory. The coalition has however repeatedly
denied targeting civilians.
no civilians were visible in Hajjin on Saturday, after thousands fled the
village and nearby areas.
convoy of armored cars ferried in US soldiers, churning up dust along the way.
a hill that used to act as the village cemetery, tunnels and trenches dug by
the terrorists lay covered in sheets and colorful blankets. Bullet and
artillery shell casings covered the ground.
fighter Bahouz, who did not give his last name, remembered first entering the
said he took pictures of the dead terrorists he saw there.
think they’ll go to paradise, but we killed them,” he said, carrying a gun and
hand grenades around his waist.
is their destiny as they destroyed everything.”
swept across large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, implementing
their brutal interpretation of laws in areas they controlled.
they have since seen their dream of a state crumble, as they have lost most of
that territory to various offensives.
Syria, Daesh is still holding out in what remains of the pocket that once
included Hajjin, including the villages of Al-Shaafa and Sousa.
also also retained a presence in the vast Badia desert, but that front is
managed by Russia-backed regime forces.
to the Observatory, a total of 17,000 SDF fighters are involved in the fight to
seize the eastern pocket, compared to around 2,000 jihadists.
Hajjin village, SDF fighter Mohammed Al-Mohammed said his spirits were high.
sources in Qamishli in Northern Hasaka reported that a 50-member military
delegation, including Kurdish Peshmarga commanders accompanied by US army
officers, arrived in Northeastern Hasaka from Iraq on Sunday via Simalka border
sources further said that the delegation arrived in Romeilan region in Hasaka,
adding that the move is aimed at holding a meeting with the Kurdish militia
under the supervision of the US forces over the deployment of Peshmarga gunmen
at Syria's border with Turkey.
the meantime, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
reported that the US-led coalition is attempting hard to justify the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) to agree with the deployment of Iraq's Peshmarga
fighters at Syria's border with Turkey.
Bas News Website, affiliated to Kurdish militia, reported that the US' attempts
to deploy Peshmarga fighters at Syria's border with Turkey came after the SDF
threatened to withdraw gunmen from contact lines with the ISIL in Southeastern
SDF has rejected reports on the deployment of Barzani's Peshmarga in Northern
Turkish Army has forwarded a large number of forces and a large volume of
military hardware to borders with Syria, preparing for a major operation
against Kurds on the Eastern Bank of the Euphrates River.
Saturday, the Turkish Army targeted and pounded the military positions of the
Kurdish forces in Northern Aleppo near Syria's border with Turkey as heavy
clashes intensified between the two sides there.
close to militants in Northern Syria said that the Turkish army's artillery
units pounded several military positions of the Kurds in Zour Moghar and
Shoyoukh Foqani in the surrounding areas of Ein al-Arab in Northern Aleppo and
near the border with Turkey, destroying one of their military positions.
sources, meantime, pointed to the Kurdish forces' attacks on the Ankara-backed
militants' positions from Harbal, Sheikh Issa and Um Khosh regions in Ma'areh
region, and reiterated that intense fighting has broken out between the two
sides in the surrounding areas of Tal Rifat city.
army men engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL and warded off their heavy
assault on the small town of al-Shoula in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists'
movements and positions in al-Shoula and inflicted major losses on the
terrorists, forcing the remaining pockets of them to retreat.
other artillery and missile units of the army opened heavy fire at ISIL's
movements and positions in Albu Kamal region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and
inflicted major losses on them.
this month, the Syrian army repulsed a heavy attack by the ISIL terrorists
against its positions near the town of Albu Kamal in Eastern Deir Ezzur, near
the borders with Iraq.
army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with a large number of ISIL terrorists,
including suicide bombers, who had attacked the army positions in al-Kataf
region of Albu Kamal from Baqouz region.
sources said that heavy clashes erupted between the two sides in parts of
al-Kornish region and farms near the Euphrates River, noting that a large
number of militants were killed and wounded.
accepts Assad staying in Syria – but won’t give aid
United States said Monday it was no longer seeking to topple Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad but renewed warnings it would not fund reconstruction unless
the regime is “fundamentally different.”
Jeffrey, the US special representative in Syria, said that Assad needed to
compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war, estimating
that some 100,000 armed opposition fighters remained in Syria.
want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change --
we’re not trying to get rid of Assad,” Jeffrey said at the Atlantic Council, a
Washington think tank.
that Syria would need $300-400 billion to rebuild, Jeffrey warned that Western
powers and international financial institutions would not commit funds without
a change of course.
is a strong readiness on the part of Western nations not to ante up money for
that disaster unless we have some kind of idea that the government is ready to
compromise and thus not create yet another horror in the years ahead,” he said.
president Barack Obama had called for Assad to go, although he doubted the
wisdom of a robust US intervention in the complex Syrian war and kept a narrow
military goal of defeating the ISIS extremist group.
Donald Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that
Assad is likely to stay.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in October that the United States would
not provide “one single dollar” for Syria’s reconstruction if Iran stays.
also called for the ouster of Iranian forces, whose presence is strongly
opposed by neighboring Israel, although he said the United States accepted that
Tehran would maintain some diplomatic role in the country.
also said that the United States wanted a Syria that does not wage chemical
weapons attacks or torture its own citizens.
Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi said on Monday after his meeting with
King Salman that “Saudi Arabia had a major role in supporting Iraq in its war
against terrorist organizations, especially ISIS”.
added that “Iraq has passed a difficult stage thanks to the support of Saudi
Arabia, which contributed to the expulsion of ISIS from many regions and cities
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz received Halbousi as well as a number of
Iraqi members of parliament in the al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday.
discussed bilateral relations between both countries and avenues of cooperation
between the Saudi Shura Council and Iraq’s Council of Representatives.
meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
bin Nayef, Shura Council President Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheikh and
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
Fighting in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah came to a halt at midnight on Monday
as a UN-brokered cease-fire took hold.
Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government against Iran-backed Houthi
militias “has no intention of violating the agreement ... unless the Houthis
violate and dishonor it,” a coalition official said.
agreement reached after talks in Sweden last week calls for the withdrawal of
both sides’ forces from Hodeidah within 21 days and the deployment of
international monitors. The Houthis are due to surrender control of the port by
midnight on Dec. 31.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to propose a surveillance team
of up to to 40 observers, diplomats said.
Military pressure from the Arab coalition forced the Iranian-led Houthis to
come to the negotiating table, said Col. Turki Al-Maliki.
a weekly press conference in Riyadh on Monday, the coalition spokesman said the
UN and the international community are responsible for the implementation of
the Stockholm agreement. Now the onus lies on the Houthis to implement the
deal, Al-Maliki added.
Sweden agreement emphasizes the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the coalition to
achieve peace in the war-torn country.
said the coalition wants to ensure durable peace in Yemen. Warning the Houthis
against any violation of the agreement, Al-Maliki said there are committees
monitoring the situation in Hodeidah.
said the Houthi militia had violated international humanitarian law by
indiscriminately planting maritime mines that threaten global maritime and
commercial lines in the southern Red Sea. Ninety maritime mines have been
detected and destroyed in the Red Sea since the beginning of a mine-clearing
operation. The Houthi militia violations also included the bombing of civilian
houses in Hodeidah.
Iranian-backed terrorists have fired 208 ballistic missiles toward the Kingdom
between March 26, 2015, and Dec. 17, 2018.
relief ports are open for Yemen (air, sea, land), and the total number of
maritime permits issued by the Joint Forces Command from March 26, 2015, to
Dec. 16, 2018, is 4,944.
air and 1,192 land permits were issued during the same period. Permits and
orders to secure the movement of relief organizations inside Yemen during the
period from Dec. 10 to Dec. 17 reached 281. Humanitarian aid is also flowing
into Yemen as part of the ongoing humanitarian operations.
Yemeni National Army has also made some efforts to take control of the Houthi
militias’ weapons and ammunition depots.
Netanyahu's son suspended from Facebook for anti-Muslim comments
has banned the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 24 hours
after he posted anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian messages.
Netanyahu, 27, confirmed on Twitter that he had been banned from the rival
social media platform for calling for there to be no Muslims in Israel. Arab
Muslims make up around 20 per cent of Israel's population of 8 million.
will not be peace here until: 1. All the Jews leave the land of Israel. 2. All
the Muslims leave the land of Israel. I prefer the second option," he
you know where there are no terror attacks? In Iceland and Japan.
Coincidentally there’s also no Muslim population there," he said in
posts were removed but he continued to post about Muslims and Palestinians.
a shooting attack in the West Bank that left two soldiers dead, he posted for
Israel to "avenge the deaths" of the soldiers. "There will never
be peace with those monsters in the form of men that have called themselves
'Palestinians' since 1964," he wrote.
younger Netanyahu has long been a public relations nightmare for his father,
who is engulfed in several corruption cases. Earlier this year, recordings of
him outside a strip club in Tel Aviv from two years prior showed him making
derogatory remarks about women. The Israeli leader was forced to apologise on
behalf of his son, saying he had made the comment "under the influence of
alcohol and has since apologised for them".
for Mr Netanyahu, his son appeared to point to corruption after he complained
to his friend, the son of an energy millionaire, that he would not lend him a
small sum of money despite his father, the Israeli Prime Minister, arranging
"20 billion dollars for your father and you're crying over 400 shekels for
has also previously called left-wing Israeli "traitors" on his
Facebook page and has even posted a picture of George Soros with the suggestion
that he was secretly in control of the world. Far-right Americans hailed the
post against the Jewish businessman, prompting further criticism of Netanyahu's
Asfour: Arafat was killed for believing Solomon’s Temple was in Yemen
former Palestinian official involved in the Oslo negotiations affirmed that
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had been assassinated because he was convinced
that Solomon’s Temple, also known as The First Temple, was actually located in
Yemen and not in Jerusalem.
Asfour added in his interview with the political program Political Memories,
which will be broadcasted later this week on the Al Arabiya News Channel in a
sit-down interview with Senior Anchor Taher Barakeh, that Arafat informed
Israeli negotiators of his convictions when they demanded him to give the right
of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
said that Arafat rejected the demand and said to them: "For peace I could
give you the right to build a temple in Nablus but not in Jerusalem since the
Jews have been present in Yemen and not in Jerusalem”.
the upcoming episode of the program, Asfour quotes Shlomo Ben-Ami and Amnon
Shahak‘s response: “Arafat denied our history and culture, and whoever does
this can no longer exist among us”.
tells Al Arabiya that these words precipitated Arafat's assassination and
expressing his conviction that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s
leader had been in fact assassinated, regardless of the means by which it was
who spoke with Arafat on the subject, quotes then quotes the latter as saying:
"I cannot give the Israelis sovereignty over the Temple Mount for they
will, later on, find a way in order to bring it down and build a Jewish Temple
in its place, reminding him of an image passed out to the Palestinian authority
in Tunis which depicted a Jewish Temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
Western Wall, in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, is the holiest place at which
Jews are allowed to pray.
believe it is what remains of a supporting wall of their biblical second
temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
above it is the flashpoint shrine known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the
holiest in Judaism, revered as the spot where the two biblical Jewish temples
spokesman for the Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen, Turki
al-Maliki, on Monday confirmed that the legitimate Yemeni government will be
taking over control of the ports of Hodeidah soon.
the Hodeidah agreement, Maliki told journalists at a weekly press conference
that the United Nations and the international community are responsible for
implementing the Stockholm agreement.
said the Houthi militias were now being tested by the international community
to implement the agreement. Maliki also stressed that the Houthis were able to
finally sit at the negotiating table due to the military pressure in all
coalition stressed on Monday that they support all efforts in reaching a
political solution and are committed to those efforts. Maliki pointed out,
however, that there are monitoring committees and any breach of the Hodeidah
agreement would be reported.
clashes have been reported in the western Yemen port city of al-Hudaydah soon
after a UN-brokered ceasefire takes force in the province of the same name.
violence broke out in the city’s eastern areas in early Tuesday minutes after
the truce took effect at midnight, an official allied with Yemen’s Saudi-backed
former government told AFP.
medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) voiced alarm about "the
continuous fighting" in the devastated city. It said its teams were
treating victims of gunshots, shelling, and airstrikes, urging the concerned
parties "to respect the presence of civilians and health
truce was agreed in Sweden on Thursday between the former government’s
officials and Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been
defending the country against Saudi-led air raids aimed at restoring the former
on Sunday, as many as 22 Houthi fighters were killed and a fire erupted in one
of the factories in eastern Hudaydah due to airstrikes, although the two sides
had agreed the truce.
is banked on the deal, brokered three years into the Saudi-led war. The
invasion has claimed thousands of lives in Yemen and pushed the country close
to the brink of outright famine.
Nation chief Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that "much worse"
could happen to the impoverished country in 2019 unless a comprehensive “peace
deal” came about and the humanitarian crisis was tackled.
two sides have agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define
the framework for negotiations on the “peace settlement.”
soldiers have wounded at least 22 Palestinians in an attack on demonstrators
that had gathered along Gaza’s territorial waters to stage a new protest
against the Israeli occupation.
injuries took place on Monday afternoon, when hundreds of Palestinians
participated in the 20th weekly naval march in the northern Gaza Strip against
the crippling blockade of the coastal enclave.
Palestinian Ma'an News Agency said Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber
bullets and teargas bombs at protesters and boats attempting to break the
sources in Gaza confirmed on Monday that 22 Palestinians had sustained
injuries, three of them with Israeli live bullets and 19 with rubber-coated
steel bullets or teargas inhalation.
imposed a limit of three nautical miles on fishing in the waters off the Gaza
shore until August 2014, when Palestinian fishermen were allowed to go out six
miles under a ceasefire agreement reached between the Israelis and Palestinians
following a deadly 50-day Israeli war in the same month.
fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles under the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s to resolve the
May 2017, Israeli authorities increased the fishing area for Gaza fishermen to
nine nautical miles.
the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks
on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip
on March 30. More than 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces.
Over 23,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US
embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi has warned that the Tel Aviv regime’s
persistence on land expropriation policies and settlement construction
activities in the occupied territories have undermined prospects for a peaceful
settlement to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Monday, Safadi condemned Israeli officials’ recent decision to approve thousands
of new West Bank settlement units, warning that the move would most likely
escalate tensions in the region.
building is an illegitimate, unilateral practice that serves to further
entrench the [Israeli] occupation and undermine prospects for resolving the
conflict,” he said in a statement.
urged the international community to “shoulder its legal and moral
responsibilities” by pressuring Israel to stop building settlements on
confiscated Palestinian land.
violations, the top Jordanian diplomat warned, “will only lead to further
tension and violence, which in turn will adversely impact regional security.”
remarks came a day after Israel’s so-called Ministerial Committee for
Legislation approved the advancement of a bill, which would authorize more than
60 Israeli outposts and settlement neighborhoods built in the West Bank over
the last 20 years.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and
completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian
territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this
year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country’s military is possible to start
a new operation against US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria at “any moment.”
said during a speech in Turkey's central province of Konya on Monday that the
army had completed preparations for a planned operation in the east of the
Euphrates River -- a territory held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units
(YPG), considered by Turkey a terrorist organization and an extension of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an
autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
can start our operation any moment now in the Syrian territory at any place
especially along the 500-kilometer border, without harming the US
soldiers," the Turkish president said in his address.
said US President Donald Trump had given a positive response to Ankara’s plans
for the operation in the area and that Turkey would do "what is
necessary" regarding what he described as terror corridors east of the
talked to Trump. These terrorists have to leave areas east of the Euphrates. If
they do not leave, we will dispatch them. Because they are disturbing us,"
possible anti-terror operation, which Turkey's leadership has been suggesting
for months, follows two cross-border Turkish operations into Syria – Operation
Euphrates Shield in August 2016 and Operation Olive Branch in January 2018 –
which were launched with the declared aim of eradicating the presence of
Kurdish militants and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
ended its campaign in northern Syria in March 2017, but at the time did not
rule out the possibility of yet another military offensive inside the Arab
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was quoted as saying earlier in the day that
Washington had tried to hold Turkey back during operations against Daesh and
the YPG in Syria over the last two years.
United States thought it could deter us with the men it has nurtured,"
Soylu said during a visit to Pakistan, state-owned news agency Anadolu
reported. "Now, they will try to hold us back east of the Euphrates.
Turkey did not, and will not, allow that."
has been infuriated by US support for the YPG, which forms the backbone of the
so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of
predominantly Kurdish militants.
has repeatedly criticized Washington for providing military support to the YPG
and threatened to attack areas held by the militant group.
Union’s top foreign policy official, Federica Mogherini, called on Turkey on
Saturday to avoid taking any unilateral action in Syria that could destabilize
the Arab country.
Israeli court has sentenced a Palestinian teenage boy to 35 years in prison on
the allegation of carrying out a stabbing attack in the occupied West Bank.
Ofer military court passed the verdict on 18-year-old Ayham Bassem Sabbah, a
resident of the Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem al-Quds, late on
Sunday, and also ordered him to pay a fine of one million Israeli shekels
and 14-year-old Omar Salim Rimawi were both shot and critically injured on
February 18, 2016 after carrying out a stabbing attack that left one Israeli
settler killed and another injured at the Rami Levi supermarket in the Shaare
Benyamin industrial complex northwest of Jerusalem al-Quds.
police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said at the time that two Palestinians had
“infiltrated” the Israeli settlement and entered the supermarket before
stabbing the two Israeli settlers.
Palestinians were shot and critically injured by an armed civilian present at
the scene, al-Samri noted.
court sentences Palestinian mother to eleven months in jail for “incitement”
an Israeli court has sentenced the mother of a young Palestinian man, who was
killed by Israeli military forces last year, to eleven months in prison on
charges of “incitement on social media networks.”
Mohammad Mahmoud of the Prisoners and Freed Prisoners' Committee said the court
sentenced Susan Abu Ghannam to eleven months in prison after finding him guilty
of posting inflammatory statements on Facebook.
In a potentially major policy shift, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
on Sunday said Ankara will consider working with Syrian President Bashar Assad
if he wins a free and fair election.
had previously called on Assad to step down following the start of the uprising
against him in 2011.
are suggestions that the U-turn may be due to Turkey’s opposition to growing
Kurdish influence on both sides of the border.
can’t solve the (Kurdish) Democratic Union Party (PYD) problem with the US
alone,” said Timur Akhmetov, a researcher at the Russian International Affairs
Council. “A start of dialogue with Assad … seems like a logical step.”
will also be driven by ambitions to install friendly political figures in the
Syrian government, Akhmetov added.
relations between Turkey and Syria will contribute to reconstruction of
(Syrian) cities with Turkish companies and bilateral trade,” he said.
UN-led plan to draft reforms to Syria’s constitution, laying the ground for
fresh elections, is expected to be established within weeks.
the plan, the Syrian regime will choose 50 members of the Constitutional
Committee, with Turkey proposing 50 Syrian opposition members and the UN
nominating a further 50 people — comprising academics, experts and civil
society members — to oversee the reforms.
week, Ankara said it will launch within days a military campaign east of the
Euphrates River against the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG),
whose political wing is the PYD.
may intend that Russia rhetorically supports such a campaign in exchange for a
positive message about Assad’s theoretical chances of staying in power,” said
mistrust between Ankara and Damascus remains a significant hurdle to smoother
month, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad demanded that Turkish
“occupation” forces leave the country.
said Damascus would not count on Turkish assurances because Ankara’s intentions
are “colonial” and “expansionist.”
Lund, a Syria analyst at the Century Foundation, said he does not think
Turkey’s expressed willingness to work with Assad constitutes a big change.
Cavusoglu seems to be saying is that Syria should have a democratic election,
as is called for in UN Security Council resolution 2254, and that the winner —
even if it’s Assad — could be considered legitimate by Turkey,” he told Arab
simply responded to a hypothetical question, Lund said, adding: “For now,
Turkey seems content to continue along the current course of action, working
with Russia to secure its interests in Syria and relaying messages to Damascus
through Moscow and Tehran.”
still refuses to talk directly to Damascus to seek an end to the conflict in
Syria. Sinan Hatahet of Al-Sharq Forum in Istanbul said Turkey’s stance is
conditional upon elections in Syria.
Senate resolution angers many Arab, Muslim organizations
— The Shoura Council, the Arab Parliament, the Council of Senior Scholars, and
the Muslim World League (MWL) joined many others in denouncing the US Senate’s
position based on unfounded allegations and accusations, as well as its
interference in Saudi internal affairs and the distortion of the Kingdom’s role
at regional and international levels.
a statement, read out by Secretary General Muhammad Al-Mutairi, the Shoura
Council said the Saudi people categorically reject defaming their leaders —
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin
Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense — or any meddling in the
Kingdom’s sovereignty or harming its status.
a letter sent to the UN Senate speaker, Dr. Mishaal Al-Silmi, president of the
Arab Parliament, called on the Senate not to interfere in the internal affairs
of the Kingdom and not to prejudice its leadership, sovereignty and position.
the Senate move, the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) stated that harming
the Kingdom’s sovereignty in general and its leadership in particular is a red
line that cannot be crossed as far as Muslims around the world are concerned.
a statement, MWL Secretary General Muhammad Al-Issa emphasized the Kingdom’s
spiritual leadership position among the Muslims as well as its pivotal and
effective role in consolidating peace, security and stability of the region and
the world as well.
a statement by an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the
Kingdom would not tolerate any “disrespect” of its rulers.
position by the US Senate sends the wrong messages to all those who want to
cause a rift in Saudi-US relationship,” the ministry said.
Kingdom hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the US,
to avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that could
have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship,”
the statement said. The statement also emphasizes that the US Senate stand will
not affect the Kingdom’s leading role in the region, in the Arab and Muslim
worlds, and internationally.
Kingdom has and will continue to fulfill its pivotal role in the Arab and
Muslim Worlds, as it holds a special place for Muslims around the world. Such a
status has made the Kingdom a pillar of stability in the Middle East and the
world, and a cornerstone for the efforts to achieve peace and security
regionally and globally,” the statement said.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) alao rejected any attempts to
interfere in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia that disrespect its
leadership, represented by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Salman and
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, as well as to undermine its sovereignty or
diminish its stature.
a statement to Saudi Press Agency, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary general
of OIC, affirmed its full support to Saudi Arabia’s statement denouncing the US
Senate’s recent decision, and upheld the integrity of Saudi judiciary.
OIC chief reiterated that the Kingdom represents a collective voice of the
Islamic Ummah and has a special place in the Islamic world, not just for being
the land of the Two Holy Mosques, but also because of its political and
Donald Trump didn’t commit to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he
would extradite a US-based religious leader Turkey has accused of instigating
an attempted coup, a senior White House official said.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday that Mr Trump had told Mr
Erdogan he was “working on” the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen
at a meeting during the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires earlier this month.
But the US official, who asked not to be identified in order to discuss the
private conversation, indicated Mr Trump’s commitment did not extend beyond
previous assurances to consider Turkey’s extradition request.
Gulen has publicly denied a role in the failed 2016 coup, and US officials have
thus far sidestepped repeated Turkish requests to turn over the cleric. Last
month, Mr Trump told reporters the extradition was “not under consideration.”
reluctance to extradite Mr Gulen is one of several points of tension between
the US and its NATO ally Turkey. The two countries have disagreed on a number
of issues, including the US response to the Saudi killing of journalist Jamal
Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey’s plan to buy a missile-defense system from
Russia, and the US alliance with Kurdish militants in Syria that Turkey
considers a foe.
men involved in a Turkish lobbying campaign led by former National Security
adviser Michael Flynn have been charged with illegally lobbying in a case
related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
indictment unsealed Monday against Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian,
and Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, accuses the two men of conspiring to
“covertly and unlawfully” influence US politicians on behalf of Turkey.
new charges appear to shed light on the cooperation of Flynn, who last year
admitted to lying about several aspects of the lobbying work. In recommending
he serve no prison time, prosecutors said Flynn not only helped with the Russia
probe but also an undisclosed - and separate - criminal investigation.
Documents filed alongside that recommendation spend several paragraphs laying
out the details of Flynn’s Turkish lobbying.
a retired three-star general, also admitted to lying to the FBI about
conversations he had with the then-Russian ambassador. Flynn’s sentencing is
set for Tuesday.
whose full name is Bijan Rafiekian, was arrested and made an initial appearance
Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He is indicted on charges
including failing to register as a foreign agent. Alptekin, a dual
Turkish-Dutch citizen living in Istanbul whose full name is Kamil Ekim
Alpetekin, remains at large.
to the indictment, Kian was vice chairman of Flynn’s business group, the Flynn
Intel Group. The two worked throughout 2016 to seek ways to have cleric
Fethullah Gulen extradited from the US to Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Gulen of directing a failed coup.
Flynn is referred to in the indictment only as “Person A.”
lawyer, Robert Trout, declined comment after Monday’s hearing. Kian was
released on a personal recognizance bond pending an arraignment scheduled for
is also charged with failing to register as a foreign agent and also making
FM claims freed US pastor is a ‘CIA agent’
a surprising statement, Turkish Foreign Minister Meblut Cavusoglu claimed at
the Doha Forum on Sunday that US Pastor Andrew Brunson, who stood trial in
Turkey over terrorism charges, is a CIA agent.
statements have been ridiculed in the US, with some even calling it a joke.
was focusing on this Pastor Brunson, who is also a CIA agent, I am also a very
straightforward person like Erdogan, but it was a minor issue in our relations,
we have more serious problems,” Cavusoglu said.
is known for making controversial statements.
who was freed in October by a Turkish court after two years in detention, was
flown back to the US following his release.
court had passed a 3 years and 1-1/2 month sentence on Brunson, who had been
charged with terrorism offences, but said he would not serve any further time
because he had already been detained since October 2016.
said Brunson wept as the decision was announced. Before the judge’s ruling, the
pastor told the court: “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey.”
case against Brunson, an evangelical preacher from North Carolina who has lived
in Turkey for more than 20 years and was arrested two years ago, had led to US
tariffs against Turkey and drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump.
was charged with links to Kurdish militants and supporters of Fethullah Gulen,
the cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Brunson denied
the accusation and Washington had demanded his immediate release.
witnesses told the court that testimonies attributed to them against the pastor
were inaccurate, heightening expectations that Brunson could be released and
returned to the United States.
arms maker warns Canada against stopping sales to Saudi Arabia
Dynamics Corp, a sprawling American military manufacturer, has warned Canada
against acting on its avowed intention of stopping sales of armored vehicles to
corporation’s Canada chapter said on Monday, "Were Canada to unilaterally
terminate the contract, Canada would incur billions of dollars of liability to
General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada," referring to its subsidiary in
the contract would have a significant negative impact on our highly skilled
employees, our supply chain across Canada, and the Canadian defense sector
broadly," the statement added.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in an interview aired on Sunday, said
that he was looking for a way out of the $13 billion agreement.
himself, had previously acknowledged that there would be “huge penalties” if
Ottawa turned its back on the deal, Reuters reported.
premier, known for his trying to portray himself as a human rights advocate, is
under pressure to scrap the deal inked by the previous government as Saudi
Arabia’s 2015-present war on Yemen continues down its deadly trail.
killing thousands, the war, launched to return Yemen’s former Saudi-allied
officials, has brought the impoverished country close to the edge of nationwide
Perry, defense analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, meanwhile,
called the corp’s warning “unusual,” Reuters added.
said General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada would normally keep a very low
profile. "I can't imagine they are anything other than extremely
worried," he said in a phone interview.
spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition apologized Monday after posting
a tweet critical of Turkey's military from an account believed to be
sympathetic to the PKK terror group.
my official capacity, I accidentally shared content that was insulting to our
Coalition partner Turkey, a key partner in the mission to defeat ISIS. I meant
no disrespect," Col. Sean Ryan wrote on Twitter, referring to Daesh.
have a duty to mutual security, and we are committed to defeating ISIS. Please
accept my apology."
was referring to a since-deleted retweet of a post classifying as
"terrorist" Turkish armed forces.
Special Forces (Green Berets) patrolling the Rojava-Turkey border after
terrorist Turkish army snipers targeted Rojavan civilians, killing a little
girl walking home from school," the tweet said, accompanied by a
photograph of U.S. military personnel and children.
U.S. has been working alongside the YPG-PKK in Syria in its effort to eliminate
Daesh from the region.
airstrikes kill 62 al-Shabab terrorists in Somalia
U.S. military says it has carried out six airstrikes in the Gandarshe area of
Somalia which killed a total of 62 al-Shabab terrorists.
a statement issued Monday, the U.S. military's Africa Command said it carried
out four strikes on Dec. 15 in which 34 people were killed and two more on Dec.
16 which killed 28. All the air attacks were in the Gandarshe coastal area
south of the capital, Mogadishu, it said.
civilians were injured or killed in the attacks, it said.
six strikes were carried out in close coordination with Somalia's government,
it said. The airstrikes were "conducted to prevent al-Shabab from using
remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future
attacks," it said.
uses parts of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terrorist
attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its
operations, and shelter radicals, said the statement.
these attacks, the U.S. military has carried out at least 46 airstrikes so far
this year against al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida. Al-Shabab controls
parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to stage deadly
attacks in Mogadishu and other cities.
African Union peacekeepers and the Somali National Army have managed to push
the bulk of al-Shabab fighters from urban centers forcing them to set base in
U.S. airstrikes have picked up dramatically since President Donald Trump took
office and approved expanded military operations in the Horn of Africa nation.
Airstrikes also target a small presence of fighters linked to the Daesh group.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) did not have evidence that Muslims for Human Rights
had links to terrorism when it froze its accounts, an official told a court on
Monday, in its bid to have the case against it dismissed.
Mugo, Assistant Director of the Bank Supervision Department at the CBK, said it
was not supplied with a copy of the intelligence that allegedly linked Muhuri
Mugo explained that the Central Bank merely acted on orders by the Financial
Reporting Centre (FRC).
actions carried out by the CBK were in strict compliance with directives issued
by State agencies. As a regulator, we carried out our mandate as required,” he
told High Court Judge Dorah Chepkwony.
received communications from the FRC on April 7, 2015, directing the defendant
to freeze the accounts of the plaintiff and other entities on suspicion that
they had been associating with terror groups."
official testified in the case in which the rights organisation and its board
chairman Khelef Khalifa sued the attorney-general, inspector-general of police,
the CBK and the FRC. Muhuri is seeking Sh2.1 million in damages for being
linked to terrorism.
rights group argues that on April 7, 2015, the IG breached his constitutional
mandate by publishing in the Kenya Gazette a list of institutions suspected to
be involved in terror-related activities.
it says, exposed its officers to public odium and injury of character as they
were portrayed as persons who support terrorism and terror organisation in the
Muhuri's lawyer James Orengo asked Mr Mugo why the CBK acted before obtaining
the copy of the intelligence, he said the regulator had "absolutely no
basis" to ask questions since the directive was from a body mandated in
law to issue it.
noted that the regulator has no notice, knowledge or information as to the
substance of the allegations and/or accusations levelled against Muhuri.
CBK never acted on its own motion in issuing the freeze order and neither was
it a participant complicit in the publishing of the list of terror suspects and
in resolving to direct the issuing of the freeze order,” he said
such, the official said, the suit against the CBK is defective and should be
struck out as it seeks to pursue a mere implementing and reporting agency whose
mandate does not extend to the fight against terrorism.
added that his employer remains strange to the offices of the AG, IG and the
FRC as it is only required to comply with directives of these arms of the State
when it comes to the war on terror.
rights activist Maina Kiai told the court that the gazetting of Muhuri as an
organisation that supports terror group Al-Shabaab negatively affected his
interactions with people and their perceptions about him.
Kiai, a Muhuri board member, added that the link to terrorism subjected him to
many questions from international leaders, who doubted character and commitment
to defending human rights.
was stigma and doubt about my credibility as an activist and reimbursements. It
was embarrassing to be a human rights defender accused of funding terrorism. It
is the biggest charge one can ever face ... it lowered my credibility
globally,” he said Mr Kiai formerly served as the United Nations special
rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
went on to say that Muhuri received backlash because it was keen on ensuring a
just war on terrorism, one without extrajudicial killings. He also said that
following the accusations, he unsuccessfully sent money to his daughter in the
US from his account at the NIC Bank in Kenya.
Chartered New York returned my cash to NIC and upon inquiry, I was told that it
was an internal matter,” he said, adding he later learned that it was based on
the claims of terror links.
Kiai said he later managed to transfer the funds through Deutsch Bank, which
does not have branches in Kenya.
fled late on Sunday after Boko Haram burned their homes near Nigeria's northeastern
city of Maiduguri, residents told AFP.
Haram fighters in several trucks stormed Maiborti village, five kilometres
outside Maiduguri, firing indiscriminately and setting fire to homes, they
military officer who did not want to be identified said troops and fighter jets
were deployed to the village and scrambled to push out the militants after
was not clear if there were casualties in the attack which once again
highlighted the fragile security situation in the restive region.
(Boko Haram) came around 1630 GMT and
started firing in the village which made us abandon our homes and flee to
Maiduguri," Maiborti resident Abacha Kaka told AFP.
leader Babakura Kolo said the jihadists were later forced out of the village by
troops with aerial support.
the terrorists succeeded in setting fire to the village and burning it down
completely," he added.
Haram has in recent months launched attacks in a bid to capture Maiduguri, the
birthplace of its founder Mohammed Yusuf.
month, the jihadists attacked Jimmi village just outside the city, killing one
person and stealing hundreds of livestock.
April, scores of Boko Haram fighters launched a gun and suicide attack on
Jiddari-Polo, outside the city.
Islamist group has attacked at least 20 military bases in recent weeks, killing
dozens of soldiers and carting away weapons.
Nigerian Army on Monday said one soldier was killed on Sunday when troops
neutralised four Boko Haram terrorists, who attacked Maibukarti village on
Sani Usman, the Director of Army Public Relations confirmed this in a statement
on Monday, NAN reports.
said weapons recovered from the terrorists include four AK-47 rifles, 45 rounds
of 7.62mm ammunition, 5 AK-47 rifle magazines.
recovered were two motorcycles and one bicycle.
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