Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the seventh century, was dynamited by the
Pakistani Taliban in 2007. Now it has been restored,
Defeated by the Quiet Strength of Pakistan's Buddha
Arabia Scholar’s Moot Declarers Taliban War in Afghanistan ‘Haram’
Personal Law Board Member Says Bitcoins Are against Islamic Law
Lankan Islamic Centre Condemns Ban on Female Circumcision as ‘Affront’
Group Wants Gov’t to Act Against ‘Religious Provocations’
Mufti: Muslim Who Sells Land to Jews ‘Traitor to Islam’
of Pakistanis Attend Funeral of Anti-Taliban Politician
Says He Will Rid Pakistan of ‘State above State’
Vows To Prevent Forced Marriages of Hindu Girls
against US-Saudi efforts to destabilize Iran: Report
to roll over Peshawar suicide attack
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and Netanyahu meet for Syria-focused talks in Moscow
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
The Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the seventh century, was dynamited by
the Pakistani Taliban in 2007. Now it has been restored, a powerful symbol of
tolerance in the traumatised Pakistani valley.
holy figure, depicted in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff in
northern Pakistan, was severely damaged by Islamist insurgents in an echo of
the Afghan Taliban's complete destruction of its more imposing counterparts at
Bamiyan in 2001.
some, it was a wanton act of vandalism that struck at the heart of the area's
unique history and identity.
felt "like they killed my father", says Parvesh Shaheen, a
79-year-old expert on Buddhism in Swat. "They attack... my culture, my
Buddha sits in Jahanabad, the epicentre of Swat's Buddhist heritage, a
beautiful valley in the foothills of the Himalayas.
the Italian government has been helping to preserve hundreds of archaeological
sites, working with local authorities who hope to turn it into a place of
pilgrimage once more and pull in sorely needed tourist dollars.
decade ago, the militants climbed the six-metre (20-foot) effigy to lay the
explosives, but only part of them were triggered, demolishing the top of the
Buddha's face. Another, smaller fresco nearby was torn to pieces.
Shaheen, the statue is "a symbol of peace, symbol of love, symbol of
don't hate anybody, any religion — what is this nonsense to hate
somebody?" he says.
other Swatis, less familiar with the history and in 2007 not yet traumatised by
the full brutality of the Taliban, applauded the attack and took up the
argument that sculpture was "anti-Islamic".
their counterparts in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban are extremist
insurgents who terrorised the population in the name of a fundamentalist
version of Islam, banning all representation in art and for whom the idea of a
non-Islamic past is taboo.
episode became a marker for the beginning of the Taliban's violent occupation
of Swat, which would only end in 2009 with heavy intervention by the Pakistan
army. By then, several thousand people had been killed and more than 1.5
population of Swat has not always been as it is today, mostly conservative
Muslim, where cultural norms dictate that women wear burqas.
it was for centuries a pilgrimage site for the Buddhist faithful, especially
from the Himalayas. The Vajrayana school even consider it a "holy
land", from where their faith originated.
continued to visit right up until the 20th century, when borders hardened with
the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
the vast majority of Pakistan's population are Muslim, and its religious
minorities — mainly Christians and Hindus — are often subject to discrimination
for its part disappeared from the region around the 10th century AD.
golden age in Swat lasted from the second to the fourth centuries, when more
than 1,000 monasteries, sanctuaries and stupas spread out in constellations
across the valley.
landscape was worshipped in itself," says Luca Maria Olivieri, an Italian
archaeologist who oversaw the restoration of the Buddha.
pilgrims were welcomed by these protective images, sculptures and inscriptions,
arranged along the last kilometres (miles) before arriving," Olivieri
of the site has not been easy, he says. Carried out in phases, it began in 2012
with the application of a coating to protect the damaged part of the sculpture.
reconstruction of the face itself was first prepared virtually in the
laboratory, in 3D, using laser surveys and old photos.
last phase, the actual restoration, ended in 2016. Olivieri says the
reconstruction is not identical, but that is deliberate, as "the idea of
damage should remain visible".
Italian archaeological mission in Swat, which he directs, has been there since
1955 — though it was briefly forced from the valley during Taliban rule.
manages other excavation sites and supervised the restoration of the
archeological museum in Mingora, the main city of Swat, damaged in an attack in
Italian government has invested 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million) in five years
for the preservation of Swat's cultural heritage, striving to involve the local
population as much as possible.
authorities are counting on the Buddha's recovered smile and iconic status to
boost religious tourism from places such as China and Thailand.
after the Taliban were ousted, the valley is largely rejuvenated, though at
times security is still tense, with an attack killing 11 soldiers in February
people in Swat also see the Buddha as a tool for promoting religious tolerance.
Khaliq, a journalist and author living in Mingora, thinks the threat to
cultural heritage has been "minimised" through education and the use
of social networks to spread a "soft, good" image.
"the majority of people who are not young, educated — they still do not
understand" its importance, he admits.
the museum in Mingora now welcomes mullahs "who like Buddhism", says
its curator, Faiz-ur-Rehman.
Islam, this was our religion," he says.
Saudi Arabia scholars, who wrapped up two-day conference in the holy Saudi city
of Makkah, on Wednesday declared the Taliban war in Afghanistan “religiously
prohibited,” urging the Taliban and Afghan government to hold direct talks and
find a solution to the longstanding conflict.
communiqué did not mention the US-NATO invasion and said that suicide attacks,
which had result into the killing of innocent people and infighting among
Muslims, were not permissible under Islamic injunctions.
Times also received a copy of the Pashto-language communiqué that could be seen
a major blow to the Taliban, who had denounced the conference as a ploy of
Americans to justify their war. Almost all Pakistani scholars invited to the
Saudi-sponsored conference boycotted the event. However, Council of the Islamic
Ideology Chairman Qibla Ayaz attended the conference.
government is an Islamic government, its people are Muslims and have a thrust
for peace and their killing is prohibited in Islam. Killing of Muslims is
‘haram’ and whatever is going on in Afghanistan is contrary to Islamic
principles and fundamentals,” the declaration said.
call upon countries, organisations and the Muslims to play a positive role for
peace in Afghanistan while channelising their resources to achieve the goal.”
condemn the on-going fighting in Afghanistan and want all sides to stop it in
line with the Islamic Sharia,” the communiqué said.
scholars urged the afghan government and the Taliban to declare ceasefire and
start direct negotiations as intra-Afghan dialogue was the best way to resolve
the conflict between the two sides.
problem should be solved through negotiations,” the delegates said and declared
support to President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional offer to the Taliban that had
also declared the Taliban war a political movement.
conference urged the Taliban to positively respond to the offer and to stop
violence, come to the negotiation table and solve political differences through
in their reaction said that no prominent scholar from Islamic countries took
part in the conference and most of the delegates were representatives of
governments and that was why they did not dare to mention the American
invasion, military presence and the US bombing.
conference will not harm the Taliban struggle, which has pushed the arrogance
American military to defeat and embarrassment.” Afghans understand that the
Americans military officials, including their commander Nicolson, had floated
the idea of holding the conference to mount religious pressure on the Taliban,”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in late Wednesday’s statement.
said Taliban were confident that the Saudi government would play its role to
end the invasion and that hosting such meetings would harm its position.
Personal Law Board member says bitcoins are against Islamic law
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has asked for the Muslim community
to shun bitcoins as they are un-Islamic.
per a report by Deccan Chronicle, AIMPLB senior functionary Maulana Wali
Rahmani issued a statement on June 29, saying that the financial currencies
must have its roots in Islamic finance model, like the paper currency which can
be exchanged equally for other products like gold and silver.
said, “Bitcoin has no set rules, which is considered as a contract annulment in
Islam. That is why it is forbidden.”
have gained popularity in the past few years and its popularity has invoked
governing authorities across the world to question their legitimacy.
Muslim nations have divided opinions about the digital currency with the UAE
permitting its transaction, while Saudi cleric Shaikh Assim Al-Hakeem
pronouncing it to be haram (forbidden) money.
Egypt and Turkey, Muslim scholars have collectively emphasised on bitcoin
transaction to be against Islam as its value is “open to speculation” and it
could be used in “illegal activities”.
has stopped banks to conduct business with firms involved in cryptocurrency
Lankan Islamic centre condemns ban on female circumcision as ‘affront’
DELHI: Members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim communities on Wednesday condemned a
government decision to ban female genital cutting as an “affront” that
infringed upon their religious rights.
Centre for Islamic Studies in Sri Lanka criticised the government after the
health ministry denounced female genital mutilation (FGM) and prohibited
doctors from any involvement in the tradition, known as “khatna”.
(ban) … not only infringes on our religious rights, but also threatens to drive
the procedure underground,” Asiff Hussein, a senior official with the Centre
for Islamic Studies, said in a statement.
ban was announced in May. Government officials could not immediately be reached
say khatna only involves a harmless nick to the clitoral hood and cannot be
compared to other forms of FGM in parts of Africa, which can involve removing
external genitalia and sewing up the vagina.
consider it an important religious duty and say it improves hygiene, but some
women say they have suffered irreversible damage.
World Health Organization (WHO) says FGM includes any procedure that
intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genitals for non-medical
against khatna – which is performed on young girls – say it can cause
psychological, sexual and physical complications.
are these people making such statements? Predominantly men. How would they know
if it is beneficial? Khatna makes it difficult to deliver, makes sex painful.
It is utter patriarchy,” women’s rights activist, Shreen Abdul Saroor, said.
is a barbaric practice about degrading women’s sexuality,” she told the Thomson
the Centre for Islamic Studies said that associating “the Islamic duty of
female circumcision with FGM was an affront to Muslims who regarded it as an
obligatory religious duty and threatened to undermine the free practice of
khatna is not mentioned in the Koran, it is practised by certain communities in
Sri Lanka, including the Dawoodi Bohra and some Moor and Malay Muslims.
rights lawyer Ermiza Tegal called the practice “an artefact of its time which
has become meshed in certain religious subculture”.
impact on children is real and must be condemned. The state must hold firm in
protecting children from this harmful practice,” she said.
if some believe it is a religious requirement it does not entitle them to make
an irreversible cut on an innocent child’s body when a child cannot give
United Nations, which views all forms of FGM as a violation of women’s and
girls’ rights, estimates at least 200 million have undergone the practice
group wants gov’t to act against ‘religious provocations’
Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM) has expressed concern over the
action of certain individuals who have openly stir racial and religious
provocations in the country.
chief activist Nadzim Johan also wanted the government to take action against
such individuals because it could trigger anger and unexpected reaction from
worry about those with agenda...we don’t want to have this matter get out of
control and action needed to be taken regardless of of their religion or race,”
he said after the launch of the second season’s ’Gerakan Kuasa Pengguna’
programme to be aired on Bernama News Channel.
among others, referred to the statement issued by former Information Minister
Zainuddin Maidin who proposed that tahfiz schools be closed.
Zainuddin on his blog page said the proposal for the tahfiz schools to be
closed was because some of their operations was not on par with those of
national schools and hoped the government would take action against them.
mufti: Muslim who sells land to Jews ‘traitor to Islam’
Muslim religious leader of Jerusalem has issued a decree banning the sale of
property to Jews, or “enemies,” as he referred to them.
Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, on Tuesday issued a
fatwa, an Islamic religious decree, banning Muslims from “facilitating the
transfer of ownership of any part of Jerusalem or the land of Palestine to the
enemies,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
fatwa, according to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, came in response
to a proposed Israeli bill that eases the purchase of land by Jews in Area C of
Judea and Samaria, which is under full Israeli sovereignty, as stipulated by
the Oslo Accords.
fatwa decreed that the “land of Palestine” was Waqf, an absolute religious
endowment in Islamic law, and therefore cannot be sold in any way to
who sells his land to the enemies or accepts compensation for it will commit a
sin,” said Hussein in his fatwa.
also warned that anyone who violates the fatwa will be considered an infidel,
an apostate and a traitor to God, Islam and his homeland, the report said.
fatwa additionally demands that Muslims boycott anyone who violates the ruling
and should therefore refuse to do business with the transgressors, marry them,
attend their funerals or bury them in Muslim cemeteries.
law also prohibits Palestinians from selling land to “any man or judicial body
corporation of Israeli citizenship, living in Israel or acting on its behalf.”
sales to Israelis are considered treason by the Palestinians because they
supposedly threaten the founding of a future state.
who sell land to Israelis can be sentenced to death.
of Pakistanis attend funeral of anti-Taliban politician
have flocked to the funeral of a senior Pakistani politician and a group of
other activists who were killed during an anti-Taliban event in the country’s
estimated that 30,000 people attended the funeral of the local leader of the
Awami National Party (ANP), Haroon Bilour, who was among those killed in the
attack late Tuesday during an election rally.
and businesses were also closed across the frontier hub near the Afghan border
out of respect for those killed in the attack.
in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar went on strike on Wednesday to
protest and mourn the death of Haroon.
bomber struck when Bilour was about to address some 200 supporters in the
volatile city. The powerful explosion left at least 20 people dead and dozens
was one of the ANP's election candidates and belonged to an influential
political family in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the
capital. His father, Bashir Bilour, one of the ANP's top leaders, was also
killed in a bombing in 2012.
bomb attack on Tuesday came hours after Pakistan's military spokesman said
there were security threats ahead of the national election, which is scheduled
to be held on July 25.
disposal chief Shafqat Malik said that the bomber had eight kilograms of
explosives and three kilograms of pellets, ball bearings and other shrapnel on
Khorasani, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group,
earlier claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
is considered a gateway to Pakistan's troubled tribal regions, where many
militant groups operated until the government launched operations to oust them.
have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even
schools over the past few months in Peshawar.
frequent offensives by the Pakistani army, acts of terror by militant outfits
continue to target security forces as well as civilians.
of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks
since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in
Washington’s so-called war on terror.
says he will rid Pakistan of ‘state above state’
As the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) prepares to give a rousing welcome
to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on their
arrival in Lahore on Friday, the party supremo has pledged that he will
liberate Pakistan from “those who are running a state above the state”.
president Shahbaz Sharif, on Wednesday, spent a busy day meeting workers in
various areas of Lahore and mobilising them for the welcome rally planned at
the Allama Iqbal International Airport to receive their leader, come what may.
at a party conference in the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel in central
London’s Mayfair district, Nawaz Sharif said, “Despite seeing the bars of
prison in front of my eyes, I am going to Pakistan.” He said he was returning
to the country so that he could pay back the Pakistani nation for what they had
done for him: making him prime minister three times.
while talking to journalists, the former premier said he wished he could
address his supporters at the Lahore airport.
ask the people, especially women, to come out of their homes like tigers, and
cross all barricades to reach the Lahore airport. No one can stop a mass
gathering of the people,” he said, adding that no one had ever gotten freedom
in a platter, because it demands sacrifice.
and I are coming back to face prison and even if they send me to the gallows,
we know that freedom cannot be won without sacrifice. It is not easy to leave
my wife on a ventilator in a hospital but I am returning along with my daughter
to play our role to rid of this slavery,” he announced.
Sharif further said: “We used to hear about ‘a state within a state’ but now
things have gone to the extent that there’s ‘a state above the state’. We will
have to change this. July 25 will be a defining moment in the country’s history
after August 14, 1947 (Independence Day),” he said, adding that Maryam and he
would hear the election results in jail.
people’s verdict can change the 70-year-old course of the country and ensure
their freedoms. The July 25 polls will be a referendum in which every Pakistani
will have to decide whether they wanted to become a part of this dangerous game
or make Pakistan the country Quaid-i-Azam had hoped it would be,” he said.
former premier said “certain people” did not respect civilian supremacy. “They
have been throwing out elected prime ministers for the last 70 years... Going
by our history, a premier is sent to the gallows (Z.A. Bhutto), another is shot
dead (Benazir Bhutto) and another (Nawaz) is forced into exile. What was their
crime? Had they committed treason?” he asked. On the other hand, he said a
military dictator (Gen Musharraf) who had abrogated the Constitution and sent
judges behind bars was still free. No one had the courage to bring him back and
try him for his misdeeds, he said.
ex-premier said he respected the country’s institutions and greatly admired the
soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country’s future. “But no one
should be allowed to violate their oath,” he added.
that those working behind the scenes wanted to install a ‘government of their
own choice’, he said: “To get the results of their choice in the election, they
(‘hidden hands’) are suppressing the PML-N on all fronts. Today, apparently
there is a democracy in Pakistan but it is being strangulated. The media is not
free. The entire country has been turned into a big jail. The time has come to
turn Pakistan into a civilised country, and for that to happen, the people will
have to give a strong mandate to the PML-N in July 25 polls.”
former premier warned that he could no longer hold ‘secrets’ in his heart. “I
have shown great patience but I can no longer remain silent about those
conspirators as it will be unfair for the coming generations. Those who were
behind conspiracies against me and my government will be exposed,” he said. He
asked who was behind his expulsion from the Prime Minister House, who had
gotten a verdict of their choice against him, who had elected [Sadiq] Sanjrani
as Senate chairman and imposed their will on the people of Pakistan in the
election. Nawaz Sharif said he regretted the loss of his “close friends”.
has been placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list (again). When I
had talked about (taking certain measures) they termed it news leaks,” he said,
and added that ever since his expulsion, the country’s economy had suffered a
lot and Pakistani currency had been devalued.
said returning to Pakistan was the most difficult decision of their (Nawaz and
Maryam) lives. “My mother is on a ventilator and it is not easy to leave her in
this serious condition when we know that we are going to jail and may not see
her soon,” she said. She regretted that in a bid to oust Nawaz, the country’s
institutions had been weakened.
vows to prevent forced marriages of Hindu girls
Pledging to safeguard the rights of minorities if he comes into power, Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khanon Wednesday announced his government
will take effective measures to prevent forced marriages of Hindu girls with
Muslims. “I have received complaints from the Hindu community in Sindh that
their women are forcefully married to Muslims,” Mr Khan said while speaking to
representatives of minority groups at a convention.
PTI chief presented his party agenda for improving the life of minorities in
the country by giving them the basic rights ensured in the Constitution.
said it is the state’s responsibility to provide basic rights to the
underprivileged segments of society.
were given their rights in the welfare state established by Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH) in Medina. However, the weak are deprived of their due rights in
Pakistan,” he said.
Hindu families in Pakistan live in Sindh and according to media reports, some
25 forced marriages take place every month in the Umerkot district.
Khan said the development of neglected areas, where most minorities reside, is
the only way to rid them of the clutches of powerful and rich people.
said the laws in Pakistan were different for the week and the powerful.
American national, Raymond Davis, was freed and allowed to leave Pakistan after
killing two people due to diplomatic norms but if the same incident had taken
place in the US, no one would have cared about diplomatic immunity,” he said.
PTI leader said only those societies are considered civilized where everyone’s
rights are protected by the state.
Khan said the Constitution already safeguards the rights of all communities and
their basic needs such as shelter, education and health.
said he was very sure that the 2018 general elections will bring a significant
change in the country under which people of all classes will be given their
is only two weeks till the polls and I can foresee a revolution in the
country,” he added. Mr Khan said his party had blocked the way of two
mainstream political parties — PPP and PML-N—by exposing the corruption of
Pakistani government has reportedly opposed efforts by the administration of US
President Donald Trump and the Saudi regime to destabilize Iran, a media report
to a recent report published by Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper,
the Trump administration and Saudis would expect Islamabad to back their efforts
by setting up a covert operation room, which could support militants that
operate across the border in the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan.
covert operation room could be employed to escalate an all-out US-led
Israeli-Saudi proxy war with Iran by backing terrorist groups such as Jaish
ul-Adl and fomenting unrest among the Islamic Republic’s ethnic minorities, it
US military assistance to the Saudis was also meant to repeat a Syria-like
scenario, the report said.
Takfiri terrorists were reportedly among the militants initially trained by the
CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government.
June, a report by Huffingtonpost said that the Trump administration appeared to
take a potential step closer to backing anti-Iran efforts plotted by Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
appointment of Michael D’Andrea, a hard-charging, chain-smoking operative,
alternatively nicknamed Dark Prince Mike, suggested that the CIA was likely to
take a more operational approach in confronting Iran in line with President
Trump’s Saudi and UAE-backed hard line toward the Islamic Republic.
to the report by Huffingtonpost, political analysts believe that Iran is
unlikely to stand by idly if Saudi Arabia and the US were to initiate covert
operations against it. “There’s just one small problem: Iran is unlikely to
back down,” said US Naval Postgraduate School Iran expert Afshon Ostovar.
the past years, Iranian border guards have repeatedly come under attack by terror
groups active on Pakistani soil.
April, 11 Iranian border guards were killed in an ambush near Mirjaveh, which
was claimed by Jaish ul-Adl. The assailants escaped into the Pakistani
territory immediately after the attack.
has repeatedly filed protests with Islamabad over its failure to end terror
activities on the Pakistani side of the border.
Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa retired Justice Dost Mohammad
Khan has formally asked the federal government to change the provincial chief
secretary and police chief, insisting the two have failed to take necessary
measures to stop the Tuesday night suicide attack in the capital city.
blast had killed ANP provincial leader and election candidate Barrister Haroon
Bilour and 19 others and injured scores in a corner meeting.
after the incident, retired Justice Dost chaired a huddle of top officials at
the chief minister, which lasted around three hours.
the meeting, where security situation of the province was discussed, the chief
minister expressed annoyance at the province’s top bureaucracy.
documents available with Dawn showed that the chief minister wanted to
repatriate chief secretary Kamran Naveed Balouch, police chief Mohammad Tahir,
home secretary Ikramullah Khan, and Peshawar division commissioner Shahab Ali
Shah, before filling those positions with his handpicked men.
showed that the chief minister favoured Ahmad Hanif Orakzai for the chief
secretary’s post, Dr Mohammad Naeem Khan for IG’s, environment secretary Zakir
Hussain Afridi for home secretary’s, and principal secretary to the chief
minister Akbar Khan for the additional charge of Peshawar commissioner.
sources claimed that the chief minister’s resentment with bureaucracy was more
to do with the officers not heeding his wishes in the recent transfers and
postings than the security lapse.
said the chief minister wanted to appoint some of his favourites to key posts
but bureaucracy blocked it apparently annoying him.
sources claimed that the chief minister even ‘overruled’ the usual protocol,
which asked the federal government to share three names with the provincial
government for key postings for choice.
claimed that the move showed the chief minister’s tilt towards a political
party and that he wanted to oblige it when elections were just two weeks away.
sources wondered whether the new bureaucratic setup would be made a scapegoat
in case of any untoward incident.
Chief Minister House letter written to the Establishment Division, a copy of
which is available with Dawn, said following the blast, Justice Dost tried to
contact chief secretary Kamran Naveed Baloch but to no avail.
added that the chief secretary was told to immediately contact the chief
minister in the view of emergency.
letter said the chief secretary hadn’t submitted a ‘single day report’ to the
chief minister in all important matters and tasks assigned to him.
view of prior consultation with the prime minister’s office and Election
Commission of Pakistan, it has been decided to dispense with the chief
should report to the Establishment Division immediately. The Establishment
Division should immediately place the services of Ahmad Hanif Orakzai at the
disposal of the province as chief secretary. It should be notified immediately.
Any delay of even a single hour in this matter may lead to serious
consequences,” it said.
provincial police chief Mohammad Tahir, the letter made similar observations
saying he’d failed to take necessary action on terror alerts.
noted that in view of consultation with the premier’s office and ECP, Mr Tahir
should be immediately repatriated to the Establishment Division, while Dr
Mohammad Naeem Khan should be appointed the IG KP immediately,” it said.
commissioner of Peshawar division Shahab Ali Shah and home secretary Ikramullah
Khan, the chief minister declared them ‘unwilling workers’ and insisted the
home secretary had failed to provide coordination among government agencies.
contacted, caretaker information minister Zafar Iqbal Bangash said nothing of
the sort had been on paper so far.
may be a fact but it has not yet to be on paper,” he said.
Peshawar remained in mourning on Wednesday over the martyrdom of 20 political
activists, including the provincial assembly candidate of the Awami National
Party (ANP), Haroon Bilour, as the banned terror outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsible for the deadly suicide bombing that has
shocked leaders across the political spectrum at a time when the general
elections are just round the corner.
notorious terror outfit claimed responsibility of the suicide attack on the ANP
corner meeting in Yakatoot area of Peshawar late on Tuesday night.
Spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani accused the ANP of being an “anti-Islam” party
and held its leadership, especially the late Bashir Bilour, responsible for
“arrest, imprisonment and killing of TTP militants”. He vowed that the TTP will
continue to unleash terror on ANP whenever it gets the opportunity.
tragedy has also led the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the
election for PK-78—late Bilour’s constituency.
whose father Bashir Bilour was also killed by Taliban in 2012 during an
election meeting, was laid to rest at Wazir Bagh amid tears and fears.
funeral was attended by the ANP’s central leadership, including his uncle
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, former chief minister Ameer
Haider Khan Hoti, hundreds of party workers and supporters among others.
prayers of nine blast victims were offered on Wednesday morning; they were laid
to rest at Rehman Baba graveyard.
WON’T BACK DOWN:
what may, the ANP won’t be deterred from taking parts in the polls,” Asfandyar
Wali said as he announced that the party would observe three days of mourning.
it will be a peaceful mourning, Wali said, the party might resort to unrest if
it was pushed to a corner. “It will not be a good sign for the country if party
workers shun the policy of patience,” he said.
ANP is under siege, however, it cannot declare every man with a beard to be a
member of the Taliban, the ANP chief bemoaned.
emergence of the terror threat from the TTP has raised concerns over the
security of electoral candidates, especially the secular ones.
the attack, security has been beefed up in all provinces. Law enforcement
agencies also conducted raids across Peshawar to arrest those involved in the
suicide attack, however, the police have yet to announce an arrest.
martyrdom was condemned by senior military and political leaders.
of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed grief and
condemned the suicide blast.
Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted
that COAS Gen Bajwa said that “we are fighting against nexus of inimical forces
which aren’t willing to absorb a peaceful and stable Pakistan”.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has decided to
halt all electioneering in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab following the
attack. It was further reported that the party believes that ‘the suicide
attack was an attempt to give clear ground to PTI’.
the PPP chairman had condemned the attack and had said that “the terror attack
on pro-democracy individuals is a conspiracy”.
nation should be aware of the fact as to what do terrorists wish,” the PPP
APEX COMMITTEE SUMMONED:
government has summoned the KP’s apex committee meeting to review the law and
order situation after the attack on Haroon Bilour, said caretaker Minister for
Interior Azam Khan while summing up the discussion on attack on Haroon Balour
in the Upper House.
after the meeting, the minister said that, in light of potential threats, NACTA
[National Counter Terrorism Authority] had arranged a high level meeting two
days ago on the threat alerts but no political party representative attended
the meeting. He asked political parties’ high ups to tell the administration
before holding any corner meeting or gathering. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani instructed
the interior minister to submit the report about the attack on Thursday
the Upper House unanimously passed a condolence resolution regarding the attack
on ANP senior leader Haroon Bilour in Peshawar.
Opposition Leader Sherry Rehman, while talking on the occasion, said, “I
condemn the attack on Haroon Bilour, a brave son of brave father Bashir Bilour
criticised the government for not providing security to the candidates, saying,
“If government gives the security than Bilour’s could be saved.”
Tanveer Ahmed, on his turn, stated that the terrorists first martyred Bashir
Bilour and now his son has also been martyred.
IN THE CROSSHAIRS, AGAIN:
seemed with the death of its notorious chief Mullah Fazlullah—aka Mullah
Radio—and its former spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan—notorious for Army Public
School (APS) attack— in military’s ‘custody’, the ANP had gotten a respite, but
the party has been in the crosshairs of militancy, once again.
ANP, including the PPP, were forced to shun their election campaigns in the run
up to the 2013 polls after Taliban’s threats.
the operation in 2009 in Swat, the Taliban have been targeting the ANP
leadership for its anti-Taliban stance.
2012, ANP minister Bashir Bilour—father of Haroon Bilour— was killed when a
Taliban bomber attacked his political gathering in Qissa Khawani Bazar in
bid to protect pre-Islamic sites upends religious dictates
Saudi Arabia is preserving pre-Islamic heritage sites, such as a date palm
oasis from the Stone Age, in a break with the austere strain of Sunni Islam
that has dominated the country for decades, as the reclusive kingdom tries to
the ultra-conservative branch of Islam that emerged in Saudi Arabia some 250
years ago, regards the veneration of objects, especially those predating the
Prophet Muhammad’s life in the 7th century, as tantamount to idolatry, and has
advocated their neglect or outright destruction.
under reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has vowed to
promote a more moderate form of Islam and loosened strict social rules like a
ban on women driving, the kingdom has allocated US$1 billion (RM4 billion) to
preserve its heritage.
of the cultural areas date back thousands of years, and the attention given to
them could risk a possible backlash from religious fundamentalists.
heritage wasn’t an easy trip, to get people to reflect and go back, especially
the antiquities. All the discussions that were about antiquity — this is not
Islamic, this is Islamic — this is I think behind us now,” said Prince Sultan
bin Salman, head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage
62-year-old royal, a son of the king and an older half-brother of the crown
prince, told Reuters in a recent interview about ongoing cooperation with
senior Muslim scholars including bimonthly discussions with the Grand Mufti,
the kingdom’s top religious figure, about the latest “discoveries”.
include Al-Hasa, one of the world’s largest natural agricultural oases, which
became the country’s fifth UNESCO World Heritage site last month.
addition to fresh- and hot-water springs and vast tracks of date palms, the
10,000-hectare (25,000 acre) region holds archaeological sites dating to the
UNESCO site, Mada’in Saleh, is a 2,000-year-old city carved into the rocks of
the northern desert by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab civilisation that
also built Petra in neighbouring Jordan. It is now the center of a
multi-billion dollar tourism project the authorities are developing with French
believe you cannot understand Islam as a great religion if you are dismissing
completely what happened before Islam,” Prince Sultan said.
why we focused on hundreds of pre-Islamic sites, pre-history — because this is
a story that cannot be understood without being looked at in its own holistic
and complete sense.”
said up to 150 important sites had been intentionally destroyed or lost to
urban development before the government adopted its new policy of protecting
pre-Islamic monuments. SCTH is dispersing soft loans to municipalities to
develop heritage locations and preparing another 10 sites for UNESCO
Arabia hopes reviving such sites will bolster national identity while
attracting tourists, both local and foreign alike, as part of a bid to
diversify the economy of the world’s top oil exporter away from crude. Reforms
aim to lift total tourism spending to US$46.6 billion (RM187.1 billion) in 2020
from US$27.9 billion (RM112 billion) in 2015.
Arabia is home to more than 10 million foreign workers and family members, and
grants more than 6 million special visas a year for foreigners to attend the
annual Hajj and other Muslim pilgrimages. But it does not offer regular tourist
to admit tourists have been discussed for years but have not come to fruition
due to sluggish bureaucracy and concern over conservative sentiment.
Sultan said last year he hoped the kingdom would start issuing visas in 2018,
but told Reuters that they still need approval from “the higher authorities in
government”, without elaborating or setting a new timeframe.
if the kingdom would relax social restrictions to allow tourists to drink
alcohol and wear bikinis, Prince Sultan said: “Ninety-nine percent of the
things you say today are allowed in Islam and can be managed as we speak, but
there are some things that will not be accepted in Saudi Arabia.
Islamic world is all looking at Mecca every day, five times a day, but also
thinking about Saudi Arabia,” said Prince Sultan. “Some people would accept
things in their own countries but would not accept it happening in Saudi
says security forces kill 11 militants in Sinai
official news agency says security forces killed at least 11 suspected
militants in a shootout in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
news agency quoted an unnamed security official Wednesday as saying that the
fighting erupted when forces raided a hideout in the city of al-Arish. It says
security forces dismantled two explosive devices and seized weapons.
did not say when the raid took place or whether any security forces were killed
or wounded. Egypt heavily restricts media access to the northern Sinai.
has been battling militants for years, but the Sinai-based insurgency gained
strength after the 2013 overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist
February, Egypt launched a massive operation against militants in Sinai and
other parts of the country.
suicide car bombing on Tuesday killed eight newly reconciled fighters from
pro-government and rebel ranks in an attack on a south Syrian village claimed
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion hit
Zaizun, a village in the western countryside of Daraa province which rebels
agreed in recent days to hand over to regime control.
regime and opposition fighters who recently reconciled were killed in a suicide
car bomb attack targeting a military position in Zaizun,” said Observatory head
Rami Abdel Rahman.
claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on the Telegram
messaging app, saying the car driven by a suicide bomber had been packed with
lies near a sliver of southern territory controlled by Jaish Khaled bin Walid,
a faction that has pledged allegiance to ISIS, which is not bound by the deal
between the rebels and the government.
Rahman said it was likely that this faction was responsible for the attack,
adding it was the first suicide bombing targeting regime forces since they
launched an offensive on Daraa.
by Russia, Syrian troops began a bombing blitz of Daraa province on June 19
that killed dozens of civilians and displaced more than 320,000 people.
onslaught came to an end on Friday, when Moscow brokered a deal with rebels for
them to surrender their weapons and hand over towns to government troops.
agreement also provides for safe passage for thousands of opposition fighters
and civilians to rebel territory further north, although those transfers have
not yet begun.
regime is now in control of around 80 percent of Daraa province, while rebels
hold around 15 percent, according to the Observatory.
a regime attack, thousands of people have fled the ISIS-held zone in the past
two days heading toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
200,000 displaced people have already sought refuge along that frontier, which
remains sealed, according to the United Nations.
finishing off rebel forces in the south, the regime is expected to attack the
last pocket held by the ISIS affiliate there,” said Abdel Rahman.
forces have not yet begun their assault but rebels nearby hit the ISIS-held
area with artillery and mortars late Monday.
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has received in Jeddah on Wednesday a
delegation of Islamic scholars participating in the International Conference of
Muslim Scholars on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan.
participants in the meetings of the International Conference of Scholars on
Peace and Stability in Afghanistan, which concluded on Wednesday, where Afghan
scholars discussed ways to find solutions to the current conflict between the
warring parties in order to achieve peace and stability and stand with the
Afghan government against the parties stirring strife among the Afghan people.
Saudi monarch welcomed the scholars, commending them and the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for holding the conference in Jeddah.
are the best who work to serve Islam and Muslims, unify their words and ranks,
and eliminate the Islamic world from wars and crises afflicting it as well as
the scourges of extremism and terrorism. Almighty Allah honored the Kingdom to
serve the two holy mosques and this is what we have always been doing and still
doing since the era of our father up today,” the Saudi king said..
King affirmed that Saudi Arabia has experienced with the Afghan people their
suffering since the beginning of their crisis and its resulting civil war,
whereas Saudi Arabia has provided humanitarian and economic assistance and
exerted continuous political efforts to eliminate division and differences
among the factions of the Afghan people.
we are optimistic that your efforts will contribute to closing the page of the
past and opening a new page in Afghanistan that would achieve the aspirations
of the Afghan people for security and stability, and this requires adopting the
approach of dialogue, reconciliation and tolerance as dictated by our Islamic
religion,” Saudi King Salman said.
first plenary session entitled "Reconciliation in Islam .. Role of
Scholars in Establishing Peace and Stability in Afghanistan" was managed
by Advisor at the Royal Court and Imam and preacher of the Grand Holy Mosque
Dr. Saleh bin Humaid.
focused on the events taking place in Afghanistan and the terrorist war
targeting the Afghan people and the role of scholars in Afghanistan in ceasing
Syrian army has reportedly seized two sophisticated French-made anti-tank
weapon systems in the southern Province of Dara’a, where it is conducting
arms, seized in Jadal village, were referred to as 112-mm APILAS
(Armor-Piercing Infantry Light Arm System), online military magazine Defence
Blog reported on Tuesday.
media have released imagery showing two captured APILAS anti-tank weapon
systems developed in France by GIAT Industries,” it said.
known as Nexter Systems, GIAT Industries is a French government-owned arms manufacturer.
is accused of backing anti-Damascus militancy since 2011.
use of the APILAS anti-tank weapon system had also been spotted in Syria
before, the magazine wrote, saying “as early as 2015, a couple of systems of
this type were seized from Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants.”
FSA has been enjoying ample Western support, most notably from the United
States. Washington, however, recently told the militants that it would no
longer stand behind them in southern Syria right before the government was
about to start the counterterrorism push.
far, over 120,000 of the APILAS launchers have been produced and handed over to
such countries in the region as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, said the magazine.
websites disclosed that a fresh wave of defections has been reported among the
foreign members of Tahrir al-Sham, known as al-Turkistani Party.
websites further said that Abu Mohammad Mansour, one of the commanders of
al-Turkistani, has seized leadership of the terrorist group in a coup against
al-Turkistani's former commander Abu Ibrahim.
the meantime, a large number of terrorists were killed in heavy fighting
between ISIL and Horas al-Din along a road to the village of Hafsarja in
sources said that 220 terrorists, including 144 Syrians affiliated to Tahrir
al-Sham Hay'at and other groups, have been killed in Idlib province since April
sources said on Sunday that tens of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at terrorists were
killed in a fresh round of clashes with rival groups and also in assassination
operations in Idlib province.
sources said that the ISIL attacked one of the positions of Tahrir al-Sham East
of the town of Saraqib in Idlib province, killing all the 12 militants in the
position, including three Uzbek, Chechen and Turk fighters.
the meantime, a number of Tahrir terrorists were killed in a roadside bomb
blast near the town of al-Dana in Northern Idlib.
a Turkish member of Tahrir was gunned down by unknown attackers in farms West
of Idlib city.
groups in Salmin, Kafr Shams, Kafr Nasej and Aqraba regions eventually endorsed
a peace agreement with the army to hand over their positions to the pro-government
on the agreement, the militants have to hand over their weapons and apply for
government amnesty and those militants who refuse to join the agreement should
of more militant-held regions to the reconciliation plan came after the army
advances in the last two weeks and the government forces' control over eighty
percent of land in the Southern province of Dara'a.
the meantime, local sources said that civilians in the terrorists' stronghold
town of Ankhal in Northern Dara'a poured into the streets and called for
expulsion of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra
Front) from their region.
sources, meantime, said that the Free Syrian Army and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at
engaged in a fresh round of infighting that left a number of civilians dead or
Tuesday, the army men staged a rapid march on terrorists and freed the entire
border region between the Southern province of Dara'a and Jordan after imposing
control over Zeizoun region West of Dara'a.
only area in Dara'a still under terrorists' control was a few-kilometer-long
chunk of the border taken by the ISIL.
the meantime, field sources said that the army arrived at the ISIL-held region
in Hawz al-Yarmouk.
army men drove terrorists out of Wheat Silos, Gas Company Building and Central
Prison in Dara'a city outskirts after completing mop-up operation in Qaraz
sources said that the army has expanded control over eighty percent of Dara'a
after its successful operation in Qaraz.
the meantime, the army's engineering units started cleansing the newly-freed
regions and found a large volume of military equipment, weapons and ammunition,
including tanks, US-made missiles, mortar shells, RPG rockets, bombs and
western communication devices.
less than a day an image of three Muslim men, with one of them holding a
microphone in his hand had more than 7,000 shares and around 800 comments.
This, because it carried a provocative caption that the All India Muslim
Personal Law Board has demanded "another partition" of India.
sharia adalat nahin diya ja sakta to mussalmano ke liye alag desh diya
jaye," read the message in blue below the photo of AIMPLB members
identified as Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani, Maulana Khalid Saifullah
Rahmani and Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani.
when India Today's Viral Test team investigated the Facebook post, the findings
exposed the mischief -- the AIMPLB, which advocates for Islamic laws, had made
no such sensationalist demand.
Facebook users, the Viral Test discovered lapped up an old photo of the three
board members in order to generate a negative narrative around the Muslim
community in the wake of the AIMPLB announcing plans to expand Sharia courts
across the country.
board secretary Zafaryab Jilani had told India Today on Sunday that the
organisation would meet on July 15 to create more Dar-ul-Qaza, or Sharia
courts, in India.
1993, a number of Dar-ul-Qaza have been engaged in resolving martial and
religious disputes among Muslims, Jilani explained. They are headed by a qazi,
or an Islamic adjudicator. If the issues are not settled amicably at
Dar-ul-Qaza, stakeholders can take them to regular courts should they wish,
Today's Viral Test team reached out to Jilani again, this time to fact check
the Facebook posts about partition demands linked to the AIMPLB.
board secretary refuted the social media reports as fake news.
Muslims," he said, "have suffered a lot because of the partition (of
1947). We don't want to live anywhere else other than India. We are committed
to the Indian constitution."
that explained the AIMPLB had made no demand for a separate homeland for
Muslims. In fact, the shocking call for another partition had come a day before
from a mufti in Kashmir and not any mainstream Islamic organisation.
Monday, Nasir-ul-Islam, the grand deputy mufti and vice-chairman of the J&K
sharia court, spoke about dividing the country once again on religious lines
"if the BJP or anyone else has problems with religious practices of
malicious case of cut-paste by right-wing propagandists, who attributed the
mufti's stunning statement to the AIMPLB for sheer sensationalism, the Viral
you want us to fact check a viral message, image or video send it to us at
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is wanted in terror-related
cases in India, on Wednesday claimed that he had never promoted terror and his
aim had always been to promote communal peace and harmony.
a statement, Naik, who has taken shelter in Malaysia to evade arrest in India,
claimed that the media had “resorted to doctored video clips, out-of-context
quotations and a host of dishonest schemes to accuse me of terrorism, hate speech
and even money-laundering”.
also lauded Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for allowing him to stay
in that country. Mohamad, whom Naik met recently in Malaysia, has rejected
India's request for extradition of the Mumbai-born preacher, arguing that he
had caused no harm to the host country.
have never promoted terror, in the name of Islam or otherwise," said Naik,
who is wanted in cases related to terrorism, hate speech and money laundering
that “any statement ascribed to me that is against humanity is a fabricated
statement,” he said, “My aim has always been to foster communal peace and
harmony — the exact opposite of the accusations hurled at me.”
the statement issued here through his spokesperson, Naik went on to add that
“time and again, I have reiterated that a Muslim cannot be a good Muslim unless
he is a good human being”.
who used to preach on a religious TV channel now banned in India, said “not a
single lecture out of the thousands that I have delivered, has every received
objections from non-Muslims in India until September 2012, when a group of
religious fanatics sought to tarnish my image.”
said that while he hoped that “justice and peace (would) return to my homeland,
India", he was “indebted to Malaysia”.
is facing charges, including for hate speech and money laundering, in India and
has been living abroad since 2016 to evade arrest. He is facing a probe by the
National Investigation Agency (NIA) after his sermons on his 'Peace TV' were
cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which left 22
NIA had first registered a case against Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for
allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.
NIA and Mumbai Police, subsequently, had also carried out searches at 10 places
in Mumbai, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the
foundation run by Naik. The foundation was earlier put on restricted list by
the home ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met a group of intellectuals from the Muslim
community in a rare informal interaction. He told them that the BJP will not
form the next government and that the Congress will work with like-minded
regional parties to defeat the ruling party in the next Lok Sabha elections.
said a couple of people asked Rahul about his temple visits during the nearly
two-hour-long free-wheeling interaction. The Congress chief is learnt to have
told them that he had also visited mosques and churches but his temple trips
have caught the attention of the media. He told them that the media has not
reported about his visits to mosques and churches.
meeting, possibly to counter the BJP’s Sampark for Samarthan campaign, is the
first in a series of such interactions planned. The Congress chief is planning
to reach out to those intellectuals and professionals who can “influence public
opinion” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
idea of the interaction, sources said, was to get a feedback from the
intellectuals about the problems being faced by the Muslim community. Among
those who attended it were historian Syed Irfan Habib, noted scholar and
academic Abusaleh Shariff, writer and activist Farah Naqvi, writer Rakhshanda
Jalil, former IAS officer M F Farooqui, the Raja of Mahmoodabad Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Khan besides senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and AICC minority
department head Nadeem Javed.
said some of them raised “stereotypical” issues like the stand of the All India
Muslim Personal Law Board on various issues, issues related to the Aligarh
Muslim University and Urdu language. Rahul wanted to know what issues the
Congress should raise when it goes to the people.
least one member, historian Syed Irfan Habib, is learnt to have told him that
the Congress should raise issues which are of concern to all the people of
India and not just Muslims. He said the Congress should talk about policies,
employment, the atmosphere of fear and insecurity in which the people are
living in. He stressed that not only the Muslims, Dalits too are facing similar
said some of them also talked about the “wrongs which Congress has committed
over the years” and asked “will the party learn”. Rahul is learnt to have told
them that the Congress has lost ground in so many ways and the party is aware
of what had gone wrong. He told them that the party is taking corrective
Shariff, who was member secretary of the Sachar committee and works with the
Washington based US-India Policy Institute, came with data on representation of
minorities in jobs. Talking to The Indian Express, Shariff said he had been
sharing his articles and research with Rahul and the PMO. “I shared my idea
that Muslim citizens are under the risk of losing their citizenship rights
because huge number of Muslims are not listed in the electoral roll. I made a
plea that his party should initiate enrolment of lot of Muslims,” Shariff said.
Banergee decided six months ago to undertake an historic Hindu pilgrimage by
trekking to the Himalayas in India's only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and
family members failed to persuade the 42-year-old computer engineer from
eastern Kolkata city not to go.
will be one of an estimated 150,000 Indian Hindus to this year make the
perilous five-day trek, known as the Amarnath Yatra, to pay homage to Lord
two-month 2018 pilgrimage season began on June 28.
pilgrims go to Amarnath cave, 3,800 meters above sea level, where there is a
nine-foot ice sheet considered to symbolize Shiva.
journey is assisted by the Indian army and the state government because of its
precipitous mountain route and Islamic militants fighting Indian rule who
target the pilgrims.
July 10 last year, militants attacked a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in
southern Kashmir's Anantnag district, killing seven and wounding 19.
was the largest attack on the pilgrimage since 2000 when 21 people were killed
by militants using grenades. So far, 44 pilgrims have died in various attacks.
said his family and friends continue to worry. "They didn't want me to
go," he said. "But I was adamant because I wanted to visit the shrine
at least once in my life."
said that on arrival in the Kashmir Valley his own fears vanished as he did not
encounter hostility. "I will pray for peace in the region," he said.
Tyiagi, a government employee in northern Uttar Pradesh state, said his family
was also unhappy about his decision to participate.
place is marred by violence," he said. "In view of the militant
attacks, they were concerned. I cannot comment over what militants are doing
here but as far as the local people are concerned, they welcome you and are
very hospitable — I feel quite safe."
Ismail Bhat, a local who guides Hindus to the cave, says the religious trek is
an important source of income for him and he awaits it every year.
religion teaches hatred and at the end of the day we are all humans with
emotions and love," he said.
pilgrims were respectful, said Bhat, who earns 500 to 1,200 rupees (US$7-15) a
Ahmad Dar, a 32-year-old local, says it is also a festive time for him and
others assisting the pilgrims.
father has two ponies that are used by the pilgrims to go to the cave,"
Dar said. "I sell tea and this is the primary source of income for our
Dar said militant attacks tarnished the image
of Kashmir, a region known worldwide for its hospitality. "Killing
innocents is nowhere a justifiable act," he added. "Whatever happened
in the past must not happen again."
militants have stepped up violence since 1989 with the aim of establishing an
independent state or joining Muslim-majority Pakistan, India’s arch-rival and
groups estimate that the conflict has cost 100,000 lives, but Indian officials
put the death toll at closer to 47,000. Those killed include civilians,
militants and army personnel.
groups in Kashmir criticize what they describe as negative environmental impact
of the pilgrimage.
report released last year, 'Amarnath Yatra: a Militarized Pilgrimage,' compiled
by non-government organizations Equations and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition
of Civil Society, said Hindu nationalists had manipulated the event to further
their goal of Hindu hegemony in India.
report added that human waste of pilgrims contaminated water supplies and
spread disease as well as exacerbating the impacts of flooding.
all critics of the pilgrimage are Muslims. Swami Agnivesh, a Hindu religious
leader and social activist, links more than 300 deaths in 2014 floods in the
area to the environmental impact of the visitors.
pilgrimage began when a shepherd discovered the peculiar ice formation in the
cave in the late 1700s, which a Hindu priest then visited and declared to be
the mythical home of Lord Shiva.
the Indian state was formed in 1947, pilgrims were only few a thousand, mostly
ascetics and Hindus from adjoining areas.
For the first time in the history of Ayodhya, a grand namaz along with a Quran
recitation session will be organised on the banks of Saryu river.
event is being organised by the Rashtriya Muslim Manch on July 12. Around 1500
Muslim clerics are expected to take part in the event along with many Hindu
devotees. The clerics will also visit around 200 mausoleums of Sufi saints.
to News18, national media coordinator of Rashtriya Muslim Manch, Raza Rizvi
said, "We are organising a grand event in which more than 1500 Islamic
scholars and clerics will be participating and performing wazu (ablution) with
the running water of Saryu river in Ayodhya, as it is said in Islam that
running water is pure, and then they will offer namaz. Post that Quran Khani
(recital) will also be organised to give out a message of peace and brotherhood
to the world. We believe that these prayers will contribute towards building of
Ram Temple soon in Ayodhya amidst peace and brotherhood."
event seeks to send out a message of peace and brotherhood and is also seen as
an attempt by the Rashtriya Muslim Manch the to break its anti-Muslim image.
RSS national executive member Indresh Kumar is the patron of the Rashtriya
Muslim Manch leader Shabana Azmi said, “It is a misconception that in Ayodhya
Muslims are not allowed to practise their religious rights here. The other
misconception is that the RSS is against Muslims. The event is an effort to
give a message to the world that Ayodhya is a place for both Hindus and
Muslims. The RSS is a true friend of the Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims share
the same DNA.”
convenor of Rashtriya Muslim Manch, said, “More than 1500 clerics will pray for
the communal harmony and peace among Hindus and Muslims in spite of the ongoing
dispute of Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid.”
event is also being supported by the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in
Court anguish over Taj Mahal neglect: Shut it down, or demolish it
Ananthakrishnan G |
THE Centre, the UP government and other authorities for the “apathy” and
“lethargy” in their efforts to preserve and restore the Taj Mahal, the Supreme
Court Wednesday gave vent to its anger and frustration: “You can shut down the
Taj. You can demolish it if you like, and you can also do away with it if you
have already decided.”
Solicitor General A S Nadkarni, who appeared for the Ministry of Environment
and Forests (MoEF), was also told by the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and
Deepak Gupta: “Uttar Pradesh (government) is not bothered. No action plan or
vision document has come yet. Either you demolish it (Taj) or you restore it.”
want you to give us an action plan of what you propose to do. We will hear it
and finally dispose it. If it has to be shut down, let it be shut,” said the
bench which is monitoring measures to preserve the Taj.
bench said it will take up the matter on a day-to-day basis from July 31.
Supreme Court had earlier ordered a moratorium on expansion of industrial units
in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), an area of nearly 10,400 sq km spread over the
districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and
Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
December 2017, the court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to come up with a
“detailed and comprehensive vision document” that would protect the Taj for at
least another couple of centuries.
delay in filing such a document did not go down well with the bench. When one
of the lawyers said that the vision document was being prepared, the bench
said: “Will the vision document come after the Taj is demolished? Taj Mahal has
to be protected or the Government of India has to decide if it has to be
the last date of hearing, the court had suggested to the Centre to involve
foreign experts, if need be, for the protection of the Taj.
Nadkarni told the court that the Centre had set up a committee subsequent to
this direction. “Centre has taken a serious view of the matter. The committee
will find out the exact source of pollution in and around Taj. Three to four
months are required for the report to be prepared” he said.
court, however, found this “vague.”
a parallel between the Taj and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the bench said the
former was perhaps more beautiful, but India continued to lose tourists and
foreign exchange due to negligence.
is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Perhaps it is nothing compared to Taj Mahal.
Eighty million people come there (Paris). This is eight times more than what we
have. You can destroy the Taj, we don’t want to do it,” the court remarked.
India, the bench said, there were concerns about security, but in other
countries, towers like “TV towers” have been made from where tourists can get a
view of the entire city.
bench also observed that the central and state governments had failed to do the
needful to reduce the impact of pollution on the Taj’s marble despite a
parliamentary committee report on this.
bench also asked the TTZ chairman about allegations that industrial units in
the area, which had been shut down many years ago, were being allowed to resume
operations. “This permission is granted against the moratorium,” the bench
said, and asked the chairman to be present in court on July 16.
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday lashed out at Kashmir’s deputy grand
Mufti Nasir ul Islam for allegedly demanding a separate country for Muslims of
India, saying India is a secular country where people of all religions
irrespective of their cast, creed and colour have equal right to freedom and
nobody interferes in one another’s religious affairs.
Delhi-based media recently quoted Mufti as demanding a separate nation for
Muslims after the BJP rejected All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB)
proposal for opening Shariat courts in all districts of the country.
resistance to this effort by the BJP means it doesn’t want Muslims to stay in
India. In that case, we urge them to give us a separate nation,” Times Now News
quoted Mufti Nasirul Islam as having said.
to Mufti’s alleged remarks, BJP J&K spokesperson Altaf Thakur in a
statement issued here said, “India is not like Pakistan where Muslims feel
insecure and where every day blasts and explosions take place inside the
religious places including mosques. India is also not like Syria where
massacres of Muslims are taking place and the lives of Muslims have become
hell. India is a country where people of all faiths enjoy equal rights, freedom
of speech and freedom of religion without any pressure from any quarter.”
said in India, 30 crore Muslims live in a very peaceful atmosphere and in the
judiciary, everybody is treated equally.
Muslims comprise the important segment of India – a successful secular country
– where people of all faiths and religions live in a free atmosphere, without
any threat and fear,” he said.
deputy grand Mufti being a sensible person shouldn’t talk in air and things
that are aimed at triggering communal frenzy,” Thakur said.
reacts in panic as religious scholars end 2-day conference on Afghanistan
Taliban militants group reacted in panic as the religious scholars from various
Islamic countries ended their two-day conference on Afghanistan, denouncing the
Taliban-led insurgency and suicide attacks.
group issued a statement claiming that efforts were made during the conference
to turn Afghanistan into a second Palestine, hide the atrocities of the
occupiers and cuff the hands of the fighters.
the group says such moves will not harm the ongoing efforts of the Taliban and
warned the Saudi government that such gatherings could harm the status of the
comes as the religious scholars on Wednesday issued a joint declaration,
stating that “Based on the texts of the Quran and the Tradition that Islam is a
religion of peace and mercy, that the believers should all be merciful towards
one another, and that their blood, property and honour are inalienable and
should be protected against aggression.”
declaration further added that “we hereby affirm that the suicide attacks
targeting innocent people, and that killings among Muslims are all acts that
are prohibited by Allah and His Messenger under texts that are conclusively
clear and well-established, whereby Allah says “And whoever kills a believer
intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will
send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful
religious scholars insist that a national dialogue is the optimal way to end
the conflict between the Afghan Government and the Taliban Movement, and the
solution to the cause of the Muslim Afghans must particularly go through mutual
understanding and direct peaceful negotiations.
also added that “We also call on the Taliban Movement to respond to the
invitation made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to
eschew violence, end the mutual killings and sit together around the
At least 11 people were killed after gunmen stormed an education department
compound in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, officials said, sparking an
hours-long battle with security forces in the latest attack in the restive
others, mostly employees, were wounded in the second attack in Jalalabad city
in as many days, Nangarhar provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani
said in a statement.
of the workers were trapped inside the building during the gun battle between
security forces and militants, which has ended. Twenty staff members were
11 dead were all employees of the education department branch and included the
director, Khogyani said.
least two attackers were involved in the raid and both were killed.
sound of gunfire followed by a “big explosion” that shattered windows alerted
Qari Samiullah to the fact that an attack was underway near his shop.
left my shop and ran when I heard the second explosion,” Samiullah told AFP.
came out of the building and all the people started to run away.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the raid. Local teachers had been
delivering exam results from their schools to the office when the gunmen
attacked, provincial education department spokesman Asif Shinwari told AFP.
education department was also attacked by gunmen exactly a month ago, wounding
at least 10 people.
provincial capital has seen an uptick in violence in recent weeks, with the
Islamic State group claiming most of the attacks.
Tuesday, a suicide attack in the city killed at least 12 people and ignited a
nearby petrol station, with witnesses describing screaming victims “swallowed”
bomber was targeting Afghan security forces when he blew himself up. Ten
civilians were among the dead.
claimed that attack via its Amaq propaganda agency. The series of high-casualty
suicide bomb attacks in the province comes as US and Afghan forces continue
offensive operations against the group.
of the deadliest was on July 1 when a suicide bomber blew himself up among a
group of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad, killing at least 19 people.
the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group, IS has a relatively small
but potent presence, mainly in the north and east of the country.
attack comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani flew to Brussels to attend a
NATO summit where he will be hoping to get a greater commitment from members to
the nearly 17-year conflict.
there are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, providing the main component
of the NATO mission there to support and train local forces.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to pledge to send 440 extra troops to
Afghanistan during the summit.
recent ceasefire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban during the
Islamic holiday Eid had raised hopes that an end to hostilities in the
war-weary country was possible.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the announcement by the religious scholars
including the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, during the Ulemas conference
in Saudi Arabia, for calling the ongoing war in Afghanistan ‘Fitna’ or
behalf of Afghanistan I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to
the Ulema gathered at the OIC Afghan Ulema Conference in Saudi Arabia. I
welcome the Ulema’s decision that the war in Afghanistan is a “fitna” and has
lost its legitimacy,” President Ghani said in a statement.
also added “I also thank the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the
Islamic world to provide unwavering support to bring peace and stability in
comes as the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca said Tuesday that the ongoing
war in Afghanistan is a ‘Fitna’ as he called for an immediate end to the
the faith and peace are interrelated, the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
said the ongoing situation in Afghanistan is not tolerable anymore.
the meantime, the Afghan High Peace Council Secretariat Chief, Mohamamd Akram
Khpalwak, said the international conference of the religious scholars is a
further added that the high peace council of Afghanistan fully supports the
decisions of the conference, hoping that the declarations will help the peace
process in Afghanistan.
also hailed the support to the Afghan peace process by the Saudi Imams, Saudi
Kingdom, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the Islamic World.
said he is hopeful that the conference will pave the way for the revival of
Afghan-led peace process.
atheists fear jail and persecution in an officially multi-religious nation
a university student, Luna Atmowijoyo prayed five times a day, refused to shake
hands with men who weren't relatives and was "more fundamentalist"
than her pious Muslim parents.
a decade later, Atmowijoyo has turned her back on Islam and is among a small
number of atheists in Indonesia who live in fear of jail or violent reprisals
from religious hardliners.
a double life - devout Muslim on the outside, non-believer on the inside - is
often the only choice for atheists in the world's biggest Muslim majority
who lives with her parents, still wears an Islamic headscarf to escape the
wrath of an abusive father who knows nothing of his daughter's change of heart,
which started when she was told to avoid friendships with non-Muslims.
lot of simple things started to bother me," said the 30-year-old, who
asked AFP not to use her real name.
I couldn't say Merry Christmas or Happy Waisak to people of other
religions," she added, referring to a Buddhist holiday also known as Vesak
or Buddha's Birthday in other parts of Asia.
gay people as abnormal was another problem and it soon became impossible for
Atmowijoyo - once a conservative Islamic party member - to square the Koran's
teachings with science.
the unthinkable crept into her mind: God does not exist.
sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago is officially pluralist with six major
religions recognized, including Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism, while
freedom of expression is supposed to be guaranteed by law.
criticizing religion - particularly Islam, which is followed by nearly 90
percent of Indonesia's 260 million citizens - can land you in jail.
year, a university student was charged for a Facebook post that compared Allah
to the Greek gods and said the Koran was no more scientific than the Lord of
the Rings. He faces up to five years in prison.
Aan was jailed for 30 months in 2012 for posting explicit material about the
Prophet Mohammed online and declaring himself an atheist.
prosecutions fit a wider trend of discrimination against the archipelago's
sizeable population of minorities, observers said.
however, insist atheist beliefs are not illegal - as long as they're not aired
somebody disseminates that idea, or the concept of atheism, that will be
problematic," said Abdurrahman Mas'ud, head of the research and
development agency at the Ministry of Religion.
for my life'
decades after the fall of dictator Suharto - who kept the country running along
secular lines - conservative Islam has exploded into Indonesia's public life in
lockstep with the rise of hardliners and religiously motivated violence.
country has grappled with Islamist militancy for years, including the 2002 Bali
bombing that killed more than 200 in Indonesia's worst-ever terror attack.
attacks followed and this year, 13 people were killed in a wave of suicide
bombings claimed by the Islamic State group that targeted Christian
temples have also been attacked, while this year an angry mob rampaged through
a small community of the Ahmadiyya Islamic minority on the island of Lombok,
destroying homes and forcing dozens of members to flee.
interviewed by AFP said they worried that hardliners, encouraged by populist
politicians, could turn their attention to them next.
worst thing that can happen in Indonesia is we can be killed," said one
35-year-old graphic designer who was raised as a Catholic.
genuinely fear for my life."
apostates - particularly those from conservative Muslim backgrounds - assume
two identities, like Atmowijoyo.
long as they keep quiet there is not much risk," said Timo Duile, a
researcher at the University of Bonn who has studied atheism in Indonesia.
is the reason that most atheists I talked to prefer to stay incognito."
one knows how many atheists there are in Indonesia.
small groups hold regular meetings in large cities, most have sought out
like-minded individuals online.
"You Ask, Atheists Answer" open forum on Facebook has nearly 60,000
members, and there are more like it online.
based in Singapore, said when she found a private Facebook page for fellow
atheists in her native Indonesia she finally felt she was "not
interviewed by AFP said they worried about doxxing - publishing private
information to identify users - by radical Islamist cyber groups, which
regularly make death threats.
is not the only Muslim-majority nation where non-believers face danger.
and atheist bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh, atheists have been
threatened by government officials in Malaysia and jailed in Egypt.
by contrast, is often praised for its moderate, inclusive brand of Islam - but
that is something many atheists say is no longer a reality.
said she was concerned about friends back home. "I'm quite worried about
even in Singapore, she felt she needed to watch her back.
LUMPUR, July 12 ― Perlis mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has called
Malaysians to respect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
community, even as he labelled “homosexuals” as sinners who must be guided back
to the right path.
a Facebook post on his official page yesterday, the mufti also likened
homosexuality to incest and bestiality, but said that some of those who commit
such relations may have been victims of their lust ― who should be helped
who sin, does not mean that they are denied their rights in other matters. Just
like illicit sex or homosexuality or drinking alcohol or gambling and so on,”
sins are rejected and renounced, but those who commit a sin are not denied
their enshrined rights. What more, in living within a country, each citizen has
their specific rights.”
Asri said the LGBT still deserve their rights in education, trading, working,
to seek justice, gold properties despite committing a major sin, as long as
they do not contravene any laws.
also said that Islam does not allow its adherents from publicly shaming and
accusing others of committing homosexuality, which he said is an act as big a
sin as homosexuality itself.
mufti also urged the public to oppose the “vice” of homosexuality if it is done
there is a public campaign for the vice, then the response must also be public.
This is because a public act brings the vice out from the personal space of a
person with his God, with a public campaign that disturbs others and the
surrounding climate,” he said.
also insisted that homsexuality is rejected by Islam since it destroys the
nature of God’s creation, saying humans were created as males and females.
destroys a person’s spiritual and physical existence. It is like incest, or
bestiality. If homosexuality is recognise as human rights, then incest,
extramarital sex, bestiality and so on will also be recognised on the same
as a religion of nature will never recognise all these. Islam rejects them and
think of them as despicable,” he said.
JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government cannot ignore the recent child marriage
controversy just by citing Islamic laws, according to two civil society groups.
Sisters in Islam and the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) said the best
interest of all children must be at the forefront of the government’s agenda,
as Malaysia is signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
compromise the future of even one child means to jeopardise the potential that
she has to contribute not only towards the country, but also towards getting
her family out of poverty.
government cannot simply use the justification of Islamic laws in order to wash
its hands of this and ignore the human rights of this child and many others,”
it said in a joint statement on Wednesday (July 11).
Tuesday (July 10), Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
said that the government is powerless to nullify the controversial marriage
between an 11-year-old Thai girl and a
man, as it is permitted under Kelantan’s Syariah law.
Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister,
said the marriage was recognised from the perspective of Islamic laws (hukum),
but not from the legal aspect.
two groups expressed sadness over Dr Wan Azizah’s remarks, as they argued that
the government elected by Malaysians must make decisions which are in the best
interest of a child.
is certainly a sad day when our government washes its hands off and rests on
the argument that it is ‘powerless’.
government is powerless unless it chooses to be,” it said.
to the two groups, child marriage is contrary to the Maqasid Syariah and fiqh
approaches (human understanding of syariah) of prevention of harm.
said that child marriage not only deprives children of their childhood, but
also perpetuates their cycle of poverty by taking these children out of school
and giving them adult responsibilities.
married to older husbands, young girls are unable to assert their wishes,
especially when it comes to sexual expectations.
child brides also experience a higher degree of domestic violence. As there is
a clear presence of harm in the case of child marriage, the wellbeing of a
child must be prioritised,” it added.
two groups also said it is perplexing that the government appears to be
“dragging its feet” in pursuing criminal charges against the 41-year-old man
for alleged child grooming or statutory rape under the Sexual Offences Against
Children Act (SOAC) 2017.
pointed out that the SOAC was enacted specifically to address child sex abuse
and sexual grooming.
JAYA: PAS today claimed its aspirations to strengthen shariah laws in the
country had been undermined by the appointments of non-Muslims to several important
posts related to the judiciary.
information chief Nasrudin Hassan said Muslims in the country were concerned
that their well-being would now be jeopardised, particularly in relation to
added that the appointments showed the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was
ignoring the feelings and views of Muslims in the matter.
was referring to the appointments of Richard Malanjum as chief justice last
night, as well as Liew Vui Keong as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
for legal affairs and Tommy Thomas as attorney-general.
control of the three positions in the legal system and judiciary by these
appointees has caused apprehension among the Muslims,” he said in a statement
added that the government had made an unprecedented move to appoint the first
non-Muslim chief justice since 1963, when the post was known as that of the
also claimed Malanjum’s judicial record showed that he was not sympathetic to
Islam in key cases.
that Islam was already in a shaky position under the previous Barisan Nasional
government, he said the situation had been made worse by the new PH
more will Muslims face after this?” he said.
also hit out at the PH government for apparently acting in haste concerning
the rush? The resignation of Md Raus Sharif only comes into effect on July 31.
Does this mean that Malaysia will have two chief justices until the end of
forces ‘neutralize’ 18 PKK terrorists in Turkey, hit their bases in Iraq
security and gendarmerie forces have “neutralized” more than two dozen members
of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group when they carried out a
string of counter-terrorism operations in the country’s southeastern provinces
of Diyarbakir, Sirnak and Osmaniye.
Interior Ministry, in a statement released on Wednesday, said 11 PKK terrorists
were “neutralized” in Osmaniye, and four others in Sirnak. Three Kurdish
militants were also “neutralized” in Diyarbakir.
statement added that clean-up operations were still ongoing in the mentioned
Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that
the militants were killed, captured or surrendered.
the Turkish General Staff, in a message published on its official Twitter page,
said fighter jets had conducted airstrikes against PKK positions in Iraq’s
northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
statement read that Turkish warplanes had targeted Iraq’s Qandil, Matina, Zap,
Avasin-Basyan, Hakurk and Gara regions, destroying 28 shelters and depots that
belonged to the Kurdish militants.
Turkish Interior Ministry said earlier this week that some 1,985 operations had
been conducted between July 2 and 6 in the southeastern part of the country,
during which a total of 25 PKK terrorists were killed. Two Kurdish militants
were captured alive, while 13 others surrendered as well.
further noted that several militant hideouts were destroyed in the eastern and
southeastern provinces of Tunceli and Hakkari, while 28 heavy- and long-barrel
weapons, 23 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and a considerable amount of
munitions were recovered from the terrorists.
squads, gendarmerie units, and the Turkish Armed Forces also detained 88
suspected PKK members.
militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated
southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a
terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an
autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July
2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out
operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and
than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between
Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.
Resistance movement Hamas has announced that it will not support Washington's
so-called deal of the century and will continue to resist Israel's occupation.
released a statement on Tuesday in which it said that US President Donald
Trump's plan "constitutes a violation of the Palestinian people's
indications show that the deal violates our legitimate rights, mainly the right
of return, liberating our land and establishing our independent state with
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital," added the statement.
also referred to the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the al-Quds
as a deadly plot, while calling on all Palestinian factions and parties to
unite in the face of the Israel-US measures.
believes the current circumstance is the best to achieve internal reconciliation
and real Palestinian unity," noted the statement.
so-called deal, a backchannel plan to allegedly reach a peace settlement
between Israel and the Palestinians, was proposed by the US administration late
last year. Although the plan has not been released, leaks signal it will
consist of the same tried and failed ideas.
believe that the deal suggests building their own Jerusalem al-Quds from areas
surrounding the existing city and forget about the historic place. They also
believe that the US-drafted plan calls for keeping borders and security under
Israeli control, while it keeps Israeli settlements’ final borders to be
discussed in later negotiations.
Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein
in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi
Republic of Yemen reserves the right to present the matter to the Arab League,
the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Security Council,” Khalid
Hussein Al-Yamani said in a letter to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
The contents of the letter were aired by Sky News.
said that Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis was evident in a recent televised
address by its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who called on the Houthis to
fight the Yemeni government forces, and expressed “his party’s ambition to
fight in Yemen against the internationally recognized legitimate authority.”
foreign minister described the address as “blatant interference in the internal
affairs of my country, which would seriously damage Yemen’s national security
and fuel the flames of war.”
Yemeni government condemns Hezbollah’s statements and practices, including
participation in training, planning and incitement and supporting the coup
movements,” he said.
Arab coalition said on Monday that it had evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement
in training Houthi militias.
Lebanese Foreign Ministry did not comment on the Yemeni demand.
Mustafa Alloush, of the Future Movement, told Arab News: “The meaning of this
message is that Hezbollah’s damage to Lebanon continues.
Lebanese government will not respond to this message, not because it supports
Hezbollah but because it is unable to restrain the party,” he said.
situation in Yemen was the focus of a recent meeting between UAE Ambassador to
Lebanon Hamad Said Al-Shamsi and the UN Coordinator in Lebanon, Bernell Dahler
said that talks focused on “the integrated humanitarian plan that is being
implemented to ensure easy access and provision of aid, as well as the
protection of unarmed civilians through close coordination between the
legitimate forces and international humanitarian organizations.”
police launched an operation on Wednesday to detain 235 people as Turkish
police sociated with Muslim author and televangelist Adnan Oktar over
accusations including forming a criminal gang, fraud and sexual abuse, Istanbul
police headquarters said.
said in a statement the raids were carried out by its financial crimes section
in an operation state-run Anadolu news agency described as having been spread
across five provinces and that searches of properties were continuing.
launched one raid in the early hours on Oktar’s house at Cengelkoy on the Asian
side of Istanbul and detained him and his guards, the Sabah newspaper said. In
February, Turkey’s television watchdog suspended a television programme hosted
by Oktar that blended theological discussion and dancing, saying it violated
gender equality and women’s rights.
hosts talk show programmes on his television channel, A9, on which he has
discussed Islamic values and sometimes danced with young women he calls
“kittens” and sang with young men, his “lions”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in
Moscow on Wednesday for talks focusing on Iranian presence in Syria - an issue
that is expected to top the agenda of the upcoming US-Russian summit.
the Russian and Israeli leaders sat down for talks in the Kremlin, a senior
Iranian envoy also headed to Moscow amid intensive Syria-focused diplomatic
efforts ahead of Putin’s summit in Helsinki on Monday with President Donald
underlined warm ties between Russia and Israel, emphasizing what he described
as their key stabilizing role for the Mideast.
visit like this is an opportunity for us to act together and try and stabilize
the situation in our region and increase security and increase stability,”
Netanyahu said. “Obviously, our focus is on Syria and Iran. Our opinion is
known that Iran needs to leave Syria - that is not something new for you.”
the United States and Israel are concerned about Iran’s growing military
presence in Syria, where it has provided crucial aid to President Bashar
has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, or its Shiite proxies, to establish
a permanent presence in a postwar Syria.
another top key ally of Assad, has warned it would be unrealistic to expect
Iran to fully withdraw from the country.
there have recently been signs of an emerging compromise among key players.
for Iranian withdrawal
reports suggested that at Monday’s meeting in Helsinki, Putin and Trump could
reach a deal that would envisage the deployment of Syrian government forces
alongside the frontier with the Israeli-held side of the Golan Heights and the
withdrawal of Iranian forces and their proxy Hezbollah militia from the area.
Russia and Iran have both deployed forces to Syria to help prop up Assad’s
government, their interests do not always converge. Russia also has maintained
warm ties with Israel and demonstrated a readiness to take its security
interests into account. “We know about your concerns, let’s have a thorough
talk about them,” Putin told Netanyahu before reporters were asked to leave the
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, also left for Moscow on Wednesday for a meeting with Putin.
a reminder of the volatile situation, Netanyahu pointed at an incident earlier
Wednesday in which the Israeli military fired a Patriot missile to shoot down a
drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace from Syria.
will continue to act decisively against any spillover and any infiltration of
Israeli territory or airspace,” Netanyahu said.
added that Israel expects Syria to strictly observe a 1974 deal that set out a
demilitarized zone along their frontier and limited the number of forces each
side can deploy within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the zone.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with Italian newspaper Il
Giornale published Wednesday that Moscow hopes that Israel and Iran will both
display caution and avoid a showdown.
United States has softened its stance on new Iran sanctions after warnings that
a possible face-off between the two countries would push oil prices back into
the triple digits.
the sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and its central bank about to take effect
on November 4, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that his
country may grant oil sanctions waivers to countries seeking relief from the
remarks were a sharp climbdown from Washington’s hardline position, including
President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring Iran’s oil exports down to zero.
will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for
relief from that. We’ll consider it," Pompeo told Sky News Arabia during a
visit to Abu Dhabi, according to a State Department transcript released
announcement by the hawkish US top diplomat stood in sharp contrast with his
list of 12 steep demands that he laid out in May, asking Iran to meet them in
exchange for the US easing of sanctions.
commission to probe output of ‘intellectual’ extremists
UK government-appointed body is to consider new laws to tackle increasingly
professional extremist groups that harness the power of social media to
disguise divisive messages as mainstream political campaigns.
Khan, the group’s head, cited the work of the international Islamist group Hizb
ut-Tahrir and far-right organisations who have rebranded themselves as
counter-terrorist campaigns as examples of a new wave of “intellectualised”
quite clear to me that extremism in 2018 is complex, multifaceted and it’s
changing,” Ms Khan told The National. “The combination of social media,
conspiracy theories and living in an era of fake news is a pretty toxic
combination. Once these things become normalised it becomes even more difficult
Khan was appointed last year to head the Commission for Countering Extremism
(CCE) and announced plans on Wednesday for a major research project in the
coming months to examine the scale and threat from extremism before making
recommendations to ministers.
the plans, she said that the “old stereotypes for far-right thugs and Islamist
hate preachers don’t always apply”.
said it was “too early to say” if the group would investigate specific named
groups, their funding streams and the figures behind them.
ut-Tahrir – which has been banned in a number of European and Middle East
countries for policies including advocating the return of a caliphate in the
Islamic world – remains legal in Britain despite some calls for its
prime minister Tony Blair had promised to ban the organisation in 2005, a month
after a series of coordinated terrorist attacks on the London transport network
that killed 52 people. He later dropped the plan in the face of opposition from
police and the Home Office, according to media reports. The National has sought
comment from the group, which states it is a non-violent organisation.
Khan has previously clashed with UK-based Muslim groups who opposed her
appointment last year because of her support for key sections of the UK’s
counter-terrorism programme, known as Prevent, that critics claim unfairly
targets Muslim communities.
has also been criticised by Cage, which works with Muslim communities and
campaigns against what it considers draconian counter-terrorism legislation.
The group has acted on behalf of Britons detained in Guantanamo Bay.
government commissioned the CCE after a series of attacks on the UK in 2017
that followed five terrorist attacks that killed 36 people. One of them was
carried out by a far-right extremist.
attacks sparked concerns about an uptick in home-grown extremism fuelled by
online recruitment and grooming, with little understanding of how it worked. Ms
Khan has previously promised to investigate “hidden threats” from within homes
in Muslim communities and has visited ten cities and met more than 300 experts
as part of her preparatory work.
Khan has received backing from the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, and said
the work will not cover counter-terrorism policy, including Prevent. But
supporters of the commission’s work expressed concerns that any recommendations
made by the research project would be taken up by the government.
Khan said the work involved building a grassroots movement – including a
network of counter-extremism campaigners across the country – that would make
it more difficult for the government to shelve her proposals.
it’s the case that we need more powers, that’s something we may recommend,”
said Ms Khan. “We need to conduct the study and find where are the gaps of
counter-extremism response. Is it capable of meeting the threat that extremism
Mughal, head of Faith Matters, a group that charts anti-Muslim attacks and an
adviser for the commission, said the new “professional” approach by extremist
groups was seen through the sophisticated use of websites, and the ability to
apologise to “shape shift” and re-invent themselves after being called out as
sympathisers for violence.
new bit is the change in technology that has allowed them to become even more
slippery,” he said. “It’s about making the public see the wood from the trees.
We’re trying to say: if it sounds like something is wrong – look at it more.”
Khan was chosen for the job based on her work over the last decade as a founder
and leader of Inspire, an organisation designed to tackle Islamist extremism
and promote women’s rights. She has been at the forefront of efforts to deflect
girls and women from travelling to Syria to join ISIS and become a face of
moderate Islam in Britain.
Muslims to bury 35 Srebrenica massacre victims
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gathered in Srebrenica on Wednesday
to mark the 23rd anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II and
attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims.
remains of the men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 were laid
to rest in the town whose name has become synonymous with the brutality of the
1992-95 Bosnian war. The coffins covered in green cloth were lined up at a
memorial center and new burial pits were dug at the massive graveyard that
already holds 6,575 victims found previously.
was a UN-protected, Muslim-populated town in eastern Bosnia besieged by Serb
forces throughout the war. Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic overran the
enclave, separated men from women and small children and executed about 8,000
men and boys within a few days. Some 30,000 people were violently displaced.
UN peacekeepers were undermanned and outgunned and failed to intervene.
has become a global symbol for genocide, a warning that no more genocides
should happen anywhere in the world," said Nermin Alivukovic, the
president of the commemoration's organizing committee.
are still excavating more victims' bodies from hidden mass graves throughout
Bosnia. Many of the remains were torn apart and experts have had to use DNA
analysis to put a body together from bones found in locations miles from each
other, as the perpetrators tried to hide the war crime.
an international court has labeled the Srebrenica killings as genocide, Serbs
have never admitted their troops committed the ultimate crime. There were no
official delegations of Bosnian Serbs or from Serbia present at Wednesday's
the region today there should be commemoration and remembrance of the victims
of the Srebrenica genocide.
this is not the case," said Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe
Commissioner for Human Rights, who attended the commemoration.
anytime I come here, words do not come out easily," she said. "These
steles, those names engraved in the cold marble, this beautiful landscape that
so starkly contrasts with the evil that happened here, stand as testimony of
the cruelty that human beings are capable of when they are imbued with
propaganda and prejudices, fear and hate."
shown mosque arson suspect's anti-Muslim writings
Texas (AP) — Prosecutors say a Texas man accused of torching a mosque made plans
to create a "rogue unit" to monitor and possibly confront Muslims at
the Islamic center.
Vincent Perez is on trial for federal arson and hate crime charges for the 2017
fire that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) southwest
of Houston. On Tuesday, jurors saw private messages and Facebook posts that
prosecutors say show Perez's dislike and suspicion of Muslims.
also heard from a federal investigator who said Perez's phone contained four
photos of the burning mosque.
of Bosnian Muslims have gathered in Srebrenica on the 23rd anniversary of
Europe's worst massacre since World War II to hold prayers and attend the
funeral for 35 recently identified victims.
remains of men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 will be laid to
rest Wednesday in the town whose name has become synonymous with the brutality
of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The coffins have been lined up at a memorial center
and the burial pits have been dug.
was a UN protected, Muslim-populated town in eastern Bosnia besieged by Serb
forces throughout the war. Serb troops overran the enclave and executed 8,000
men and boys within a few days.
the region today there should be commemoration and remembrance of the victims
of the Srebrenica genocide. Unfortunately, this is not the case," said
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who
attended the commemoration.
prosecutors said Wednesday a court had remanded in custody an alleged Iranian
spy accused of plotting to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris on June
suspect, a Vienna-based accredited Iranian diplomat whom opposition groups have
named as Assadollah Assadi, 46, was one of several suspects detained in
Germany, Belgium and France.
had allegedly planned to bomb the rally by an exiled Iranian opposition group
in Villepinte near Paris that was attended by several US politicians.
prosecutors said Wednesday that a court had two days earlier remanded Assadi in
custody on charges of foreign intelligence activities and conspiracy to murder.
They added that these charges did “not preclude” Assadi’s extradition requested
was believed to be a member of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security,
which is tasked with the “observation and fight against opposition groups
inside and outside Iran”, the prosecutors’ statement said.
said Assadi had in March ordered a married couple living in Antwerp “to carry
out an explosives attack” on the annual rally and had handed them the
explosives in a June meeting in Luxembourg.
couple were arrested in Brussels on the day of the rally by Belgian security
services who said they found them in possession of 500 grams (about one pound)
of the volatile explosive TATP and a detonator.
were identified only as Amir S., 38, and Nasimeh N., 33, and as being Belgian
nationals of Iranian origin. French police arrested another three people but
later released two of them, French legal sources said.
has dismissed the alleged bomb plot as a “sinister false flag ploy” designed to
discredit Iran at a time when it faces major diplomatic tensions with the
President Donald Trump over two months ago abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal in
which Iran had pledged to halt most nuclear activities in return for sanctions
considers Iran to be the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism because of
its links with the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian
territories and other networks in Iraq and Yemen.
of the suspected bomb plot broke in the week Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
was visiting Switzerland and Austria to rally European support for the
endangered nuclear agreement.
The UK is a “natural partner” as Saudi Arabia pursues its ambitious Vision 2030
reforms, a high-profile forum heard on Wednesday.
Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group, said London would provide
“a gateway and a bridge” for international capital as Saudi Arabia looks to
privatize up to $300 billion worth of state-owned assets.
Kingdom’s time for privatizations is now, and the UK is the natural partner to
ensure the successful delivery of these,” Brydon told the annual BMG Economic
Forum, held in London in conjunction with Arab News.
BMG Economic Forum addressed wider investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and
the Kingdom’s vision for the future.
is a new era for Saudi Arabia. An era of great opportunities coupled with great
challenges,” said the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K.
need for greater transparency and clarity when it comes to the rule of law was
a key challenge highlighted during one panel discussion.
Faisal J. Abbas, Editor in Chief of Arab News, the official media partner of
the event, questioned panelists about investors’ common misconceptions and
stereotypes about the Kingdom.
Afnan Al-Shuaibi, former secretary general of the Arab-British Chamber of
Commerce, said the issue is a combination of many factors.
problems with any investor or anyone wishing to do business in Saudi Arabia
(is) they don’t know where to start. Do they start with the commercial office
or the embassy?” she said.
will continue to monitor and assess ballistic missile threats to Turkey from
Syria, according to a declaration issued Wednesday, after the first day of the
NATO summit in Brussels.
remain concerned that Turkey has been hit three times in the last four years by
missiles launched from Syria. We continue to monitor and assess the ballistic
missile threat from Syria," it said.
to Syria's inventory of short-range ballistic missiles, the declaration said
the range of these missiles "covers part of NATO’s territory and some of
our partners’ territories".
also drew attention to the Syrian regime’s use of these missiles extensively
against its own population.
increasing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the
vicinity of the south-east border of the Alliance has been and remains a driver
in NATO’s development and deployment of a ballistic missile defense system,
which is configured to counter threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic
area," it added.
two-day NATO summit opened with the attendance of 29 NATO heads of state and
governments who will make important decisions on the future of the alliance.
also vowed to provide Turkey with “tailored assurance measures” aimed at
guaranteeing the alliance’s security
assurance measures for Turkey to respond to the growing security challenges
from the south contribute to the security of the Alliance as a whole, and will
be fully implemented," the declaration said.
have increased the strength of the NATO Response Force, and the Very High
Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is ready to deploy on short notice," it
2014, NATO has implemented Assurance Measures (AM) which comprise a series of
land, sea and air activities in, on and around the eastern part of Alliance
late 2015, NATO allies agreed on a package of Tailored Assurance Measures for
Turkey (TAMT) to respond to the increasing security challenges on Turkey’s
measures include an additional AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System)
surveillance aircraft presence in the region; increased maritime activities in
the Eastern Mediterranean; and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
activities and information sharing.
Korea and Iran
declaration welcomed the recent meetings and declarations between the leaders
of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),
and between the leaders of the United States and the DPRK as a contribution
towards reaching the final fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK in a
Iran, the declaration said NATO is concerned by Iran's intensified missile
are concerned by Iran’s intensified missile tests and the range and precision
of its ballistic missiles and by Iran’s destabilizing activities in the wider
Middle East region," the declaration said.
declaration condemned all financial support of terrorism, including Iran’s
support to a variety of armed non-state actors.
declaration also reaffirmed NATO's commitment to ensure long-term security and
stability in Afghanistan.
will continue our assistance by extending our financial sustainment of the
Afghan forces through 2024," it said.
declaration encouraged Pakistan, Iran and Russia to contribute to regional
stability by fully supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
the other hand, the declaration welcomed the commitment made by the Libyan
parties to work constructively with the UN to hold inclusive, secure and
credible elections, most recently at the May 29, 2018 Paris Conference.
declaration reaffirmed the commitment of NATO to the alliance’s open door
policy and said NATO’s invitation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
is a tangible demonstration of this commitment.
welcome the historic agreement between Athens and Skopje on the solution of the
name issue. In line with our policy, we have decided to invite the government
in Skopje to begin accession talks to join our Alliance," the declaration
added that full implementation of all prescribed internal procedures with
respect to the agreement on the solution of the name issue is a condition for a
successful conclusion of the accession process.
declaration added that NATO fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s NATO
membership aspiration and it is committed to the territorial integrity and
sovereignty of a stable and secure Bosnia and Herzegovina.
also said that non-EU NATO allies continue to make significant contributions to
the EU's efforts to strengthen its capacities to address common security
the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, non-EU Allies' fullest
involvement in these efforts is essential," the declaration said.
declaration highlighted that Russia’s recent activities and policies reduced
"stability and security, increased unpredictability and changed the
security environment" and reaffirmed decisions towards Russia agreed at
the Wales and Warsaw summits.
NATO leaders also condemned a nerve agent attack on Yulia Skripal, who was
poisoned alongside her father, ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury in
the United Kingdom in March.
UK assesses that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was
responsible for the attack and that there is no plausible alternative
explanation. We stand in solidarity with the UK in its assessment," the
leaders also condemned Russia's "illegal and illegitimate annexation of
Crimea" and reiterated support for the territorial integrity and
sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova within their
internationally recognized borders.
discrimination against the Crimean Tatars and members of other local
communities must end. International monitoring structures must be allowed to
carry out their essential work in view of the protection of human rights,"
the declaration added, calling for the full implementation of the Minsk
Agreements by all sides and support for the efforts of the Normandy format and
the Trilateral Contact Group.
declaration announced that allies "will offer an additional 30 major naval
combatants, 30 heavy or medium manoeuvre battalions, and 30 kinetic air
squadrons, with enabling forces, at 30 days’ readiness or less".
NATO Readiness Initiative will further enhance the Alliance’s rapid response
capability, either for reinforcement of Allies in support of deterrence or
collective defense, including for high-intensity warfighting, or for rapid
military crisis intervention, if required."
the declaration, NATO leaders vowed to strengthen the ability to deploy and
sustain forces and their equipment throughout the Alliance and beyond and also
to improve military mobility by land, air, or sea as soon as possible, but no
later than 2024.
declaration announced that far-reaching decisions to adapt and strengthen the
NATO Command Structure, the military backbone of the Alliance, were taken.
declaration further announced the establishment a Cyberspace Operations Centre
in Belgium "to provide situational awareness and coordination of NATO
operational activity within cyberspace".
Joint Force Command Norfolk headquarters in the United States" was also
decided to be established to focus on protecting the transatlantic lines of
communication, including "a Joint Support and Enabling Command in
Germany" to ensure freedom of operation and sustainment in the rear area
in support of the rapid movement of troops and equipment into, across and from
allies decided to take steps to ensure its nuclear deterrent capabilities
remain safe, secure and effective following changes in the security
long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance," the
declaration said, adding the fundamental purpose of NATO's nuclear capability
is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression.
Haram: Court jails sect leaders, 110 members
special court designated to trial terrorism related cases sitting at the Wawa
Military Cantonment in Kainji, Niger State, has sentenced 113 Boko Haram
members to jail over their involvement in act of terrorism.
defendants, who were sentenced to various jail terms, were arraigned by the
Federal government on various charges ranging from membership of the proscribed
Boko Haram group, concealing information vital to security agencies, providing
support to the sect, participating in acts of terrorism which resulted in the
deaths of many persons and murder.
sentenced include, one Kabiru Mohammed from Kaban-Magadan, in Funtua, Katsina
state. He was accused of receiving training in the use of explosive and other
was also accused of participating in series of attacks in Bama, Konduga, Baga
in Borno State and Damaturu in Yobe state which resulted to lots of deaths in
the two states.
to him, he joined the sect in 2013 and rose to become a leader. He was said to
have led others in carrying out attacks as well as instructing them to carry
out attack on people and communities.
who disclosed that he voluntarily joined Boko Haram, said, at a time he became
tired of the kind of live he was leading and threw away his gun and ran to
katsina state, his home town.
in 2015 at a motor park in Katsina, the convict pleaded guilty to all the 7
count charge and was consequently sentenced to 30yrs imprisonment with hard
labour on each of the counts, which are to run concurrently from the day of his
Adamu Mohammed, 22yrs old from Gombe State, who was charged with the murder of
six people as well as throwing a bomb at a market place. While he admitted to
killing 6 persons through the use of a short gun, he however claimed he threw
the bomb in a river and not in a market place.
was sentenced to 25 full calendar years with hard labour in a maximum prison
and without an option of fine.
Yusuf, from Kano State, on his part bagged 20yrs for his role in the planning
and kidnapping of the Chibok School girls in 2014.
also is 25yrs old Shetima Modu, arraigned on a 4 count charge of engaging in
admitted participating in attacks on a church in Mala village as well as
another attack in Gonuri village where 7 people were killed.
Sabo Kyari Mohammed, who was described by the Department of State Service (DSS)
as a “strong member of Boko Haram”, however bagged a jail term of 5 full
of his charge include providing surveillance for the group and participating in
the attack known as “operation point and kill” in his village, Musau in Borno
was arrested by men of the Nigerian Army in Jos, Plateau State along with his
wife and two children.
handing down the sentence, the trial judge stated that, though the defendant
being a 1st time offender, the court ordinarily ought to have showed him mercy
in the judgment, but, “due to the carnage and wanton destruction of lives their
action caused society, he is to serve a 5 full calendar years imprisonment.
is to serve as a deterrent to himself and others like him “, the judge held.
sentenced is Zainab Idris, wife of Boko Haram commander, Babawo Idris.
was arrested in 2014 with her two children, while on her way to join her
husband in Sambisa forest.
husband, popularly known as Idoko or Nagada was number 156 on the military’s
wanted list before his arrest last September.
court sentenced her to 4 years imprisonment for being a member of a proscribed
the court held that haven been in custody since 2014, it is possible that she
has served her jail term and consequently ordered that she be released.
judge, in addition ordered that she be taking to a rehabilitation center, “for
de-radicalization, and monitored under strict surveillance to avoid going back
to Boko Haram”.
judge advised her to learn a trade at the center so as to become useful to
herself, her children and society in future.
the case of a notorious member of the sect, Mohammed Zakariya, also known as
“Butcher”, could not be taken on the grounds that he was mentally sick.
court consequently ordered that he be taken to a psychiatric for treatment and
adjourned till November 14 for his arraignment.
special sitting of the court, which held between Monday and Tuesday heard over
a hundred cases.
total of 111 persons were discharged / acquitted or had their cases struck out
for lack of evidence to support the charges, while 9 others were adjourned to
— Police are in hot pursuit of suspected Al-Shabaab militants who attacked a
police post in Garissa on Tuesday morning injuring at least three officers.
police boss David Kerina told Capital FM News that "the gang overran the
Hamey Police Post and stole a police car, guns and several rounds of ammunition
before driving away."
stated that they also destroyed communication masts in the area leaving locals
with no network.
said that they raided the post from different corners and had a heavy exchange
of fire with officers based at the station.
is the latest such incident in the area and no arrests have been made so far.
all efforts from the Nigerian government, and support by surrounding states,
Boko Haram in northern Nigeria is far from defeated. This was proven once more
on June 17, when at least 31 people were killed in explosions in the Damboa
local government area (LGA) of Borno state.
Africa has suffered greatly under the increase of Islamist militant attacks.
The number of incidents rose from 317 in 2013 to 1,549 for the period April
2017 to April 2018, according to Control Risks’ report Changing patterns in the
terrorist threat to business. In West Africa, where 36% of the incidents were
reported, Nigeria suffered most (220 incidents), followed by Mali (194) and
Cameroon (96). While not all incidents can be attributed to Boko Haram, the
continued strengths of the extremists group is now starting to turn the public
opinion against President Muhammadu Buhari.
is likely to announce further efforts to combat Boko Haram in the coming months
as he seeks to fulfill his 2015 election pledge to end the insurgency—But
success is unlikely. Military efforts to prevent further Boko Haram attacks in
the coming months are hugely challenged by the sheer size of the territory in
which the group operates and its continued ability to launch attacks.
corruption issues will further undermine efforts to defeat the group.
Significant resources have been diverted towards military efforts. Nigeria’s
state governors in December 2017 approved the withdrawal of $1 billion from the
excess crude account to combat Boko Haram through the purchase of equipment,
training of military personnel and provision of logistical support. However,
there have been several cases of officials siphoning off funds and resources
meant for the region.
12, 2018 5
United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, wednesday lamented the
sudden rise of armed groups and international terrorist organisations across
Africa, noting that more funds would be required to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria
and other terrorist groups on the continent.
also lamented an annual loss of $50 billion moved out of Africa through illegal
funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which he said, could hamper Africa’s
were contained in a communique issued after the second annual UN-African Union
conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between July 9 and 10 to strengthen
the relationship between the UN and AU.
conference was equally attended by the Chairperson of AU, Mr. Moussa Faki, and
the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Ms.
contained in the communique, UN chief dissected the “dramatic crises” in
Africa, where the UN had deployed peacekeeping missions in four countries: the
Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
Mali and South Sudan.
also noted that the rise of armed groups and international terrorist
organisations such as Boko Haram “means that these operations are not involved
in traditional peacekeeping.”
Africa must win war against terrorism, the UN scribe canvassed the need for
more funding, particularly in enforcing peace and countering terrorism,
especially in Nigeria and the Sahel.
said: “We need to understand that when African troops are fighting terrorists
in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are
protecting the whole world. And the world must be in solidarity with Africa, as
African forces are protecting us all.”
UN chief equally called for greater support for the UN Agenda 2030 and African
Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which address long-term economic development.
the UN chief said recent developments in Africa indicated that the continent
“is increasingly moving in the direction of peace and enhanced security. But we
need to collaborate in such areas as peace and security.
feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent
developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival
and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict
has raged since 2013.
this gives us hope that the African continent will be moving more and more in
the right direction in peace and security. The UN cannot afford to fail in its
dealings with the continent.
illicit transfers, Guterres lamented an annual loss of $50 billion that oozed
out of Africa through illegal funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which he
claimed, was a huge threat to Africa’s development agenda if the trend was not
urged the international community “to take action against the flow of illegal
funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which cost Africa $50 billion every
is a responsibility for the international community to support Africa to make
sure that African resources remain in Africa to support African development.”
quoted in the communique, Songwe noted that the ECA, through the High Level
Panel on Migration in Africa “is already addressing the migration agenda in
collaboration with International Organization for Migration (IOM), United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and The United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA).
Panel is chaired by former President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Migration of Africans has dropped between 2000 and 2017 from 3 percent to 2.7
per cent of total world migration. With the Free Movement of Persons Agreement
which 26 countries have already signed, Africa is working to design and
implement a framework for migration that supports the SDGs,” Songwe explained.
the on-going three-day High-Level Policy Dialogue on Development Planning in
Africa, Principal Regional Advisor and Head of Development Planning and
Statistics at the ECA, Mr. Sylvain Boko, said it was unacceptable that Africa’s
development agenda continued to be hampered by such illegal actions.
said: “African countries are committed to mobilising adequate and predictable
resources to finance the sustainable development goals agenda but they continue
to be impeded by a number of factors, chief among them the loss of more than
$50 billion annually through illicit financial flows.
weighs terror label for Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood still poses a significant global threat and ought to be
officially designated a terrorist group by the Trump administration, a trio of
experts told Congress on Wednesday.
Islamist group has long been a polarizing force in the region, with some saying
it represented a path to a more moderate Muslim-centered politics while others
said it served as a front and smiling public face for more radical, violent
movements in the region. Whether the group should be placed on the U.S. terror
list “has been a topic of debate here in Congress in recent years, Rep. Ron De
Santis, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Oversight national security
subcommittee, acknowledged at Wednesday’s hearing.
Brotherhood critics in Congress hoped to use the hearing to kick off a drive to
designate the group as a terrorist organization, a move initially blocked by
the Obama administration State Department. Several witnesses told the panel
there was ample evidence the Brotherhood deserved the terrorist tag.
Brotherhood certainly means to be global and it means to be a threat,” said Dr.
Hillel Fradkin, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, testified.
Jody Hice, Georgia Republican, said that the threat of the Brotherhood cannot
be ignored at home and abroad.
Muslim Brotherhood is alive and well, and they have had a number of splinter
groups that have been birthed out of the main group that are present right here
in the United States,” Mr. Hice said in an interview.
Benjamin, former coordinator of counterterrorism for the State Department under
Mr. Obama, was the lone dissenter on Wednesday’s panel, sparking several sharp
exchanges about the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
the Muslim Brotherhood constitute a global threat? I would answer that it does
not,” said Mr. Benjamin.
Benjamin said the Brotherhood movements in various countries are not a
monolith, and that many of its affiliates support democracy and reject
violence. He also noted that taking a hardline approach against the group could
alienate non-extremist Muslims living in the U.S.
Mr. Fradkin refuted Mr. Benjamin, said there was little evidence the Muslim
Brotherhood had genuinely rejected violence as a means to power if electoral
efforts fall short.
Brotherhood leaders, he said, violence was “a tactical question.”
has been no repudiation of violence, and there is no such statement in the
historical record,” he added.
Schanzer, a senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies,
told the panel, “There’s really nothing in [the Brotherhood‘s] creed, which is
ultimately the dogma that they adhere to at their core, that suggests that they
have given up violence as an approach or that they have embraced democracy.”
Benjamin argued the Muslim Brotherhood did not qualify as a terrorist
organization based on U.S. law, and that such a classification could be
counterproductive to U.S. interests.
is no legal basis for designating the Brotherhood based on ideology,” he said.
“Terrorist designations are done on the basis of violent acts. That’s it.”
Muslim Brotherhood has a network of affiliates in over 70 countries, and has
been labeled as a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United
United States has designated multiple Muslim Brotherhood affiliates as
terrorist organizations, including the Sunni-fundamentalist group Hamas, but
has stopped short of designating the group as a whole. The administration
talked of considering the classification shortly after Mr. Trump was elected,
but has yet to act, leading to a drive in Congress to make the declaration.
US President Donald Trump, who wants Pakistan to support his Afghan policy, is
elevating his Islamabad envoy to a position that will give the diplomat a
greater say in implementing his strategy for South Asia.
Wednesday, Mr Trump nominated US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale to be the
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the White House announced. It’s
the third ranking position in the Department of State after the Secretary of
State and the Deputy Secretary. It is also the highest rank for a member of the
Hale, the US ambassador in Pakistan since 2015, is known in Washington’s
political circles as a diplomat who strongly supports normalisation of
relations between India and Pakistan.
in India-Pakistan ties is also a key component of the Trump administration’s
South Asia strategy, which was announced in August. The Trump administration
wants both India and Pakistan to help create a situation in Afghanistan that
would allow Washington to withdraw its troops without risking the collapse of
the US-backed Afghan government.
this week, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced in Kabul that the US
was “counting on all the actors in the region” to support its efforts to hold
fair and free elections in Afghanistan later this year.
Pakistanis, too, need to understand that we need to have a set of elections
[in Afghanistan] that do not have violence,” he said. “We’re counting on all
the actors in the region to support this process.”
policy makers in Washington believe that there could be no peace in Afghanistan
unless both India and Pakistan support the effort and they cannot be on the
same page until relations between South Asia’s two nuclear neighbours improve.
the Trump administration believes that Mr Hale, who has built a network of
support in Islamabad, can be useful in achieving this target.
confirmed by the United States Senate, Mr Hale would replace Thomas A. Shannon
who retired on June 4. He has also served in Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and
the United Nations.
Washington, Mr Hale served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel,
Egypt and the Levant; director for Israel-Palestinian Affairs and executive
assistant to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has dismissed as ludicrous a recent
US allegation that Iranian embassies are involved in terror attacks in Europe.
on Wednesday rejected the allegation by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as
baseless, preposterous and part of a targeted propaganda campaign and
psychological warfare against the activities of the Iranian embassies, which he
said were in line with international conventions and aimed at promoting
bilateral friendly relations with other countries.
said that bringing up such allegations was “another attempt by the United
States to destroy our country’s foreign relations.”
on Tuesday accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in
this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to
conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in
Europe,” Pompeo said in an interview with Sky News Arabia during a short trip
to the United Arab Emirates.
levels such groundless claims against our country while different types of
evidence of spying and acts of sabotage by the American embassies with hundreds
of military and security personnel [involved]… have been published in various
sources, and contemporary history is full of such types of illegitimate
activities which are in contravention of international regulations,” Qassemi
came after Belgian authorities claimed earlier this month that an Iranian
diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old
woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the notorious
anti-Iran terrorist group the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in the
French capital Paris. The meeting was attended by US President Donald Trump's lawyer,
Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.
authorities added that Belgian police had intercepted the two suspects in
Belgium on June 30 with 500 grams of the homemade explosive TATP and a
detonation device found in their car.
diplomat, 46-year-old Assadollah A, was arrested in Germany, suspected of
having been in contact with the two arrested in Belgium.
other people were also arrested in France in connection with the case, two of
whom were released.
officials have denied any involvement in any plot to blow up the MKO meeting
and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the arrests as a
"sinister false flag ploy."
allegations about the involvement of the Iranian diplomat in the suspected bomb
attack on the MKO meeting were designed as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
paid a visit to Switzerland and Vienna and held talks with senior officials of
the two European countries.
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