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Islamic World News (03 Jan 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Veterans Group Rejects Petition To Turn Malaysia into an 'Islamic State'
















File photo showing armed members of the Guardians of Religion. (Supplied)

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Veterans Group Rejects Petition To Turn Malaysia into an 'Islamic State'

Is Iraq’s New Movement ‘Guardians of Religion’ aiming for a ‘Sunni Region’?

Regime Ideologue Says Iranians Evade Islam, Turn To Secularism

Honours for Muslims Tell Untold Story about the UK

Hasina’s Dominating Win Feared as Enabling Authoritarianism

When RSS Can Organise Shakhaas In Parks, Why Muslims Are Denied Namaz?  Retd SC Judge

ATC Hands Khadim Rizvi, Others in 20-Day Police Remand

 

Southeast Asia

Veterans Group Rejects Petition To Turn Malaysia into an 'Islamic State'

Lift Ban on G25’s Book Already, Free Speech Watchdog Tells Putrajaya

Jakim visits Health Ministry amid increased institutionalisation of religion

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Arab World

Is Iraq’s New Movement ‘Guardians of Religion’ Aiming For a ‘Sunni Region’?

US-Backed Militia Looting People's Assets in Eastern Syria

Aleppo: Syrian, Turkish Armies Going Head to Head for Confrontation

Tens of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Fresh Infighting in Northern Syria

Syrian Army Launches Artillery Attack on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib Provinces

Egypt rights activist Mohamed Lotfi urges Sisi to pardon detained wife

Kurdish fighters withdraw from Manbij: Syria

Former Israeli military intel. chief wanted to assassinate Syrian president: Report

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Mideast

Regime Ideologue Says Iranians Evade Islam, Turn To Secularism

Islam is 'religion of peace,' says head of Turkey's Diyanet

Turkey's Gift Of A Mosque Sparks Fears Of ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ In Kosovo

Turkey detains two French ISIS suspects wanted by Interpol

Yemeni govt calls on UN to act ‘firmly’, implement Swedish agreement

Supporting Palestine to boost security in region, says Iran’s parliament speaker

Israel to come down hard on Palestinian prisoners

Israeli military almost completes ‘sea barrier’ off Gaza

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Europe

Honours for Muslims Tell Untold Story about the UK

UK Hand In Glove with Terror-Exporting States: Analyst

UK police refusing to identify Manchester attacker, says he is mental

Assad aunt living in UK in return of investment: Daily

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South Asia

Hasina’s Dominating Win Feared as Enabling Authoritarianism

Afghanistan and India to Discuss Security Cooperation in the Wake of Recent Developments

Two Iranian members of Taliban killed in Afghanistan

Five soldiers killed in Taliban bomb attack on army outpost

Bangladesh journalist arrested for publishing ‘fake’ information on polls

Four ‘missing’ youths land in jail on charges of violence in Dhaka before polls

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India

When RSS Can Organise Shakhaas In Parks, Why Muslims Are Denied Namaz?  Retd SC Judge

Sabarimala row: Muslim League stands with pang of Ayyappa devotees

ISIS module case: Items seized can make IEDs, says NIA

Pakistan Training Ultras to Wage ‘Samundari Jihad’ Against India

No Major Islamic State Presence, But Efforts On To Radicalise Youth: J&K DGP

Days after IS flags at Jamia, Mirwaiz cleans defiled area

Indian Muslims Better Off Than The Muslims Of Islamic Countries: Maulana Mahmood Madani

Muslim Minister of Rajasthan Government In The Line Of Fire Of Ulama For Worshiping Lord Shiva

Births in Muslim Families Drop By 5%, Christian Families 13% In Karnataka

J&K: Encounter breaks out between militants, security forces in Pulwama

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Pakistan

ATC Hands Khadim Rizvi, Others in 20-Day Police Remand

China acknowledges its extending financial help to Pakistan

PPP can topple PTI govt but won’t do so, says Kaira

Govt to introduce uniform education system: Bangash

Murad happy over displaced Thari children’s enrolment in model school

4 miners killed in another coal mine blast in Balochistan's Dukki district

Political leadership helped make operations successful: army

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Africa

Jerusalem, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Bissau Chosen as Capitals of Islamic Culture In 2019

13 dead in Burkina Faso after suspected jihadist attack

22 political parties call for formation of transitional government in Sudan

Two ISIS suicide bombings rock southern Libya in one day

Kenyan army kills 7 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia

Al-Shabaab losing, desperate, AU says after UN base attack

Boko Haram raids military posts in northeast Nigeria

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North America

Trump wants India, Russia, and Pakistan to fight Taliban in Afghanistan

New 9/11 Leaked Files To ‘Top Snowden's Finest Work,’ Hackers Say

Trump says US wants to protect Kurds in Syria even as it pulls forces out

‘Five Hours of What We Spend’: Trump Mocks Indian PM for Library In Afghanistan

US military presence still causing concerns in Iraq

Iranians can ‘do whatever they want’ in Syria, Trump says

Nearly 1,900 American tourists visited Iran over first nine months of Iranian year: Foreign Ministry

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/veterans-group-rejects-petition-to-turn-malaysia-into-an--islamic-state-/d/117354

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Veterans Group Rejects Petition To Turn Malaysia into An 'Islamic State'

Jan 3, 2019

Petaling Jaya (The Star/Asia News Network) - The National Patriots Association (Patriot) has rejected a Muslim group's petition to declare Malaysia an Islamic state, saying that the Federal Constitution must remain as the founding fathers intended.

Brigadier-General (Retired) Mohamed Arshad Raji, the president of the association that comprises military and police veterans, said any suggestion to amend the Constitution should be for making it more democratic and not more autocratic.

"Patriot is with G25 in stating that we will not support amendments that will change us from a democracy to an authoritarian regime or to a theocracy," he said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 3). G25 is a group made up of prominent Malays known for pushing a more moderate view of Islam.

Datuk Mohamed Arshad said Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), which had launched its petition to reject a secular government, should define what it meant by "Islamic state".

"If it means that the system of government is to be run by a council of ulama that supersedes the current democratic parliamentary system, then it will be a futile cause as mainstream Malaysians will not support it."

"Examples are aplenty of Muslim countries with a theocratic system (that are) not well governed and not progressive, even to the extent of being failed states," he added.

Mr Mohamed Arshad said that in many ways, Malaysia already adopted Islamic principles in the system of governance and administration, as the nation recognised Islam as the official religion.

"Patriot is also of the view that under the current democratic Constitution, our country has a better chance to develop into a united and successful nation than under a Constitution based on theocracy," he added.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/veterans-group-rejects-petition-to-turn-malaysia-into-an-islamic-state

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Is Iraq’s New Movement ‘Guardians Of Religion’ Aiming For A ‘Sunni Region’?

2 January 2019

A new movement “Guardians of Religion” was established lately after attracting remnants of al-Nusra Front and Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from Syria, while the movement presented itself as an organization seeking to support the oppressed and extend justice among Muslims.

According to observers, this organization, despite its modest numbers, may pose a threat to stability in the provinces that are experiencing a security loophole.

According to security sources, the organization recently joined the Naqshbandi Army, which is located in the Iraqi north of Salah Al-Din province, and has activity in the districts of Tuz Khurmatu and Al-Shirqat and other areas of the province lies north of Baghdad, Nineveh, Kirkuk and Diyala.

Syria’s Idlib was the stronghold and base for the organization activities and is considered one of the most prominent armed factions which rejected the Turkish-Russian agreement on Idlib, with regard to the establishment of a demilitarized zone.

Attracting al-Qaeda members

The source said that the movement “Guardians of Religion” started to attract former members of al Qaeda, and received the support of influential Iraqi political parties, to restore violence in the Sunni areas, indicating that its stated goal is to establish a “Sunni region” to control its resources away from the central government of Iraq.

Furthermore the source revealed that the movement began to exploit the current Sunni-Sunni political conflict to extend its influence, and to launch qualitative attacks.

The source revealed that some political parties in the provinces of Salah Al-Din and Nineveh and Kirkuk secretly support this group, pointing out that they hold semi-monthly meetings with them, to provide them with security, economic and political information.

But observers downplayed the impact of this movement since the numbers of its members do not pose a threat, while their foreign nationalities will be an obstacle for them to integrate with the local communities which is still suffering from ISIS atrocities.

In this context, Dr. Hisham al-Hashemi, an expert on armed groups, told Al Arabiya English that this movement is not known among the Iraqis, but it tries to promote itself through unregistered web sites, to win the support of the Sunni street in Iraq, after it failed in Syria.

Al-Hashemi said that such moves will fail quickly in Iraq because of the lack of a suitable environment to embrace them, especially that the military capabilities of the Iraqi security forces have increased after the Iraqi government declared victory in the war against ISIS in December 2017.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/01/02/Iraq-Guardians-of-Religion-seeks-to-establish-a-Sunni-region.html

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Regime Ideologue Says Iranians Evade Islam, Turn To Secularism

January 02, 2019

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, a top Shiite cleric and the spiritual father of Iran's hardliner conservatives, says the Islamic Republic's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is aware that Iranians are evading religious teachings and turning to secularism.

In an extensive interview with hardline weekly "9 Day," in late December, Mesbah tried to explain why the ideals promised by clerics at the onset of Iran's Islamic revolution some 40 years ago have not materialized. These promises included political freedom, equality and economic progress.

While Mesbah appears to be pessimistic about the future of the Islamic Republic as it is, in an article published on Radio Farda's Persian website, prominent Iranian analyst Akbar Ganji has compared Mesbah’s views to Khamenei's insistence that Iranians have been increasingly embracing Islamic teachings.

On why the Islamic Republic's ideals have failed to materialize, Mesbah says "All ideals are not supposed to materialize in this world which is a place to test different ideas," stressing that "Ideals did not materialize even at the time of the prophet." Indeed, he sounds more like a biblical Christian who scorns materialism and believes that this world is a temporary station on the way to a higher existence.

Ganji says Mesbah must have forgotten Khomeini and other clerics' promises about Islam being "a guideline for man from birth to death."

Iran not to be another Japan or US

Mesbah says it is a mistake for Iran to follow the example of Japan and the Unites States to focus on economic progress. Islam is not there to bring about development, he said. "It is there to bring about eternal happiness."

Ganji challenges Mesbah's statement and says it contradicts Khamenei's position about the importance of the economy and his order that calls on state officials to invest all of their energy on improving the economy.

Mesbah in his interview says that Khamenei's idea is pragmatic. "If he does not say that he wants to improve people's economic situation, Marxists might take advantage and hijack the economy mantle. You already see Marxist ideas becoming popular at Tehran's universities including Islamic schools."

Mesbah had also said in a December 27 speech to women that the reason why Khamenei attaches importance to the economy is that "in most countries economic inequality has made Marxism popular."

"This could have happened in Iran too if Ayatollah Khamenei did not control the situation by hijacking Marxists' slogans."

Ganji concludes that, "So, Khamenei is not concerned about people's livelihood. He is concerned winning against political rivals."

The youth evading religious teachings

According to Ganji, while Khamenei says today's youths are more religious than the generation who was active in the 1979 Islamic revolution, Mesbah is seriously concerned that young Iranians are turning away from Islam.

The people and university professors ask, “What if we do not wish to go to heaven? Can we say we have nothing to do with heaven and hell and Islam? And what about freedom and human rights? Didn't you say freedom will come with the Islamic Republic? What if I don't want to be a Muslim?" said Mesbah.

Mesbah warned that "every regime official is trying to improve the economic situation like Marxists and liberals based on Khamenei's words, and in the meantime, our spiritual values are being destroyed."

According to Ganji, contrary to Khamenei's ideas, Mesbah says that in young Iranians' minds, "religious teachings and values are fading out and are being replaced by freedom, democracy, human rights, progress and technology. This threatens the future of the Islamic revolution. One day we open our eyes and see that we have lost the revolution."

Khamenei is aware of the situation

Mesbah says Khamenei is aware that the next generation wants a Western-style democracy even if they have to forget about religion, adding that nevertheless, Khamenei makes decisions based on pragmatism and "we should simply obey what he says."

Mesbah named pluralism and secularism as the two biggest threats against Islam, adding that most intellectuals say that religion is not necessary for man's life. "We see traces of secularism even among the country's top officials. This is the case even in the seminaries."

Elsewhere in the interview, Mesbah said: "Our officials chants slogans saying the U.S. cannot do anything to us. What do we have to help us stand against America? Officials say they want to bring prices down, but what they really want to do is compromising with the U.S. They say to Americans, we give you this concession and you lift that sanction."

According to Ganji, Mesbah as "the Islamic Republic's most prominent ideologue" is saying that the country's situation is "critical." When he looks deep into the society, "he does not see anything left from Islam, as if secularism has encompassed the entire regime, and Khamenei is going ahead in the same direction driven by pragmatism."

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-islamic-ideologue-says-iranians-turning-to-secularism-mesbah/29688233.html

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Honours For Muslims Tell Untold Story About The UK

IMAM MAHMOUD

Jan 3, 2019

Divisions within our society have exposed themselves in recent years. Inequalities are deepening. As an imam in London, the impact of this is clear to me every time I hear from anxious people in our community who tell me about the abuse they face and their fears for their children’s futures.

While gaps between us widen, a political elite seems too often to be distracted from or unbothered by the issues ordinary people face. Yet I know of another story that is being written too: by determined and selfless people pulling us together every day. The New Year’s Honours list in many ways speaks to this story. It is indicative of a country’s people working together — in spite of all we’re up against.

It is heartwarming for me to see the example of young Muslims, especially women, who are writing this story.

Take, for example, Jamila Kossar, awarded an MBE for the exciting work she leads in feeding homeless people in Manchester. Or Shabnam Sabir, awarded a BEM for doing the same in Oxford. Aamer Naeem, CEO of Penny Appeal, has been awarded an OBE for the innovative and much-needed projects his charity has carried out in recent years, not just with people abroad but here at home in the UK.

His award demonstrates that the trend of Muslim charitable work in the UK is starting to take hold.

I certainly hope that stories such as these pause the next wave of hysterical outrage at Britain’s diverse communities and their willingness to integrate, and instead prompt reflection for the contributions they make to our country.

In many ways the parable of the Good Samaritan is apt to recall. The Gospel of Luke tells of a Jewish person beaten, bruised, and left for dead, with only a Samaritan — someone from whom assistance would not normally be expected — providing the much sought-after help. I cannot but feel buoyed seeing so many Muslims recognised with an honour this new year. They reflect the efforts of countless others ready to help one another hand in hand with their neighbours. But I cannot also help but feel frustrated that this is not the story being told by many sections of the media and senior politicians.

Muslim Samaritans across the country challenge this stereotyping to live the most basic tenet of their faith: to love for others what you love for yourself.

The awards given this year are indicative of an honours system that reflects, and an Establishment which is increasingly realising, that Britain’s diversity is not a hindrance but an advantage. They show a society that has people ready to work together, to pull together, just when we need one another the most. Because of them, because of this increasing recognition, join me in looking forward to 2019 with renewed optimism.

https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/honours-for-muslims-tell-untold-story-about-the-uk-a4028641.html

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Hasina’s dominating win feared as enabling authoritarianism

January 03, 2019

DHAKA, Bangladesh: While Sheikh Hasina is set to begin her third consecutive term as Bangladesh’s prime minister following a landslide election victory, critics say having such an overwhelming majority in Parliament could create space for her to become even more authoritarian.

The Hasina-led coalition won 288 seats in the 300-seat Parliament in Sunday’s election, amid allegations by the opposition that the voting was rigged. Hasina rejected the accusations at a briefing with foreign journalists a day after the vote.

The new Cabinet is expected to be sworn in by Jan. 10, but members of the opposition alliance, which won only seven seats, said they would not take the oath. In response, the ruling party’s general secretary said by-elections would be held for those seats. This would result in a Parliament with virtually no opposition.

Over her last 10 years as prime minister, Hasina took up many development projects, from power generation to the building of a seaport, but her record of maintaining human rights was widely criticized by activists and international rights groups. Some of those critics now say her new government could be even more iron-handed and aggressive.

More than a dozen people were killed in election-related violence Sunday, and the election campaign was dogged by allegations of the arrests and jailing of thousands of Hasina’s opponents.

Dozens of activists took to the streets of Dhaka on Tuesday to protest the alleged gang rape by Hasina supporters of a mother of four who had voted for the opposition.

The opposition had blamed Hasina’s government for arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of dissenters, while the jailing of a renowned photographer on charges of spreading propaganda against the government sparked criticism at home and abroad. The enactment of a digital security law ahead of the election was criticized by journalists and rights groups who said it would choke free speech and media freedom.

The opposition accused the security agencies and the police of intimidation and threats to prevent them from campaigning ahead of the elections, and there were allegations that the Election Commission and other departments overlooked the complaints.

“Sheikh Hasina’s government during its previous term displayed an increasingly authoritarian streak, deeming all legitimate criticism to be anti-state,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “The ruling Awami League’s student and youth groups had free rein to bully and intimidate, while civil society faced pressure to self-censor.”

“It was particularly unfortunate that senior officials refused to address concerns of victims, including families of disappeared persons,” Ganguly said.

She doubted that the next government would be more tolerant.

“We remain concerned that a government that has allowed impunity for serious violations like extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances will persist with little tolerance for dissent and constructive criticism,” Ganguly said.

Hasina trumpeted her development agenda to woo voters and said people voted her to power again for the development bonanza. She took up some big projects, including a bridge more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) long, a nuclear power plant and metro rail system for Dhaka, the capital.

But an analyst said it was not a legitimate argument.

“When you say that we’ll give you development but you have to sacrifice your rights, you have to sacrifice your voice,” said Asif Nazrul, a law professor at Dhaka University and a government critic. “Because if you look at the constitution of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, nowhere is it written that we are going to give you development but forget your political and civil rights.”

Still, Hasina enjoys a lot of support, especially from religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation who say she has safeguarded their rights.

At the Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, Hindus poured in on Tuesday to pray and get a glimpse of the Goddess Durga, something they say was not possible under previous governments.

“She has definitely unleashed and freed us minorities,” Jayanti Sharma, a Hindu devotee who was visiting from a nearby town, said of Hasina.

While Parliament could be without a practical opposition, no major opposition leaders even exist in the country to pose a serious threat to Hasina.

Her archrival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, is in jail. A court deemed Zia ineligible to run for office because she was sentenced to more than two years in prison after being convicted of corruption. Her supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

In Zia’s absence, opposition parties formed a coalition led by Kamal Hossain, an 82-year-old former member of Hasina’s Awami League who served as foreign minister under Hasina’s father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding leader.

Hossain is a leader of his small party, Gono Forum, which does not have much popular support. Hasina and Zia, on the other hand, have much larger support bases and attract hundreds of thousands of supporters to their rallies.

On Monday, during a briefing with foreign journalists and election observers, Hasina came down heavily on the opposition. In a wide-ranging discussion, she refused a suggestion that she offer her political foes an olive branch.

“The opposition you see, who are they? The main party, BNP, it was established by a military dictator (Zia’s husband, Ziaur Rahman) who introduced martial law in this country. There were no constitutional rights for the people,” Hasina said.

She dismissed questions about the fairness of the election.

“I feel that it was a very peaceful election,” Hasina said. “Some incidents took place, some of our Awami League party workers were killed by the opposition. I’m very sorry for that, but I always appreciate our law enforcement agencies, also our people who were working hard to have this election in a peaceful manner.”

But there have been allegations of widespread irregularities with the election.

On Sunday, The Associated Press received more than 50 calls from people across the country who identified themselves as opposition supporters complaining of intimidation and threats, and of being forced to vote in front of ruling party men inside polling booths.

Those complaints could not be verified independently.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1429626/world

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When RSS Can Organise Shakhaas In Parks, Why Muslims Are Denied Namaz?  Retd SC Judge

by Rasia Hashmi

Jan 03, 2019

New Delhi: Former Chairman of Press Council of India and retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju said provisions in Article 19 give full rights for a gathering of any community peacefully without arms and hence it was unconstitutional for Yogi Government to stop Friday congregational prayers. He was responding to a question on watering of parks in Noida to stop Friday prayers.

Justice Katju questioned when RSS is organizing Shakhaas in parks so why Muslims are being denied to pray in parks? He added ‘it hardly takes 45 minutes to finish namaz. If anyone offers namaz at the public place does he slit anyone’s head or leg? Then why objection? If they are offering namaz they must have that much freedom. Banning namaz in parks is wrong and I strongly condemn it.’

On the question of cow issue Katju says the cow is like any other animal- horse and dog- and there is nothing special about it to be worshipped, worshipping a cow is stupidly.

https://www.siasat.com/news/when-rss-can-organise-shakhaas-parks-why-muslims-are-denied-namaz-katju-1452443/

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ATC hands Khadim Rizvi, others in 20-day police remand

Jan 3, 2019

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday granted police a 20-day physical remand of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other leaders, including Hafiz Farooqul Hassan, Pir Afzal Qadri and Pir Ijaz Ashrafi.

A petition over the matter was filed by Civil Lines Police which produced the firebrand cleric before the court earlier in the day, seeking a 30-day physical remand.

According to officials, a photogrammetric test of the TLP chief was cited as the reason for seeking physical remand. The test is used to determine if the person in question was actually the individual represented in a video or audio clip, the deputy prosecutor informed the court.

In November last year, Rizvi was taken into ‘protective custody’ after the government ordered law enforcement agencies to begin a countrywide crackdown on the far-right religious outfit.

Rizvi was arrested after TLP-led violent protests paralysed normal life across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row in Pakistan’s most high-profile blasphemy case.

According to the figures issued by the government, a total of 2,899 people were taken into protective custody from across Punjab while 139 persons from Sindh and 126 from Islamabad were also taken into custody during the crackdown.

The crackdown had come two days before the TLP was going to resume its protest against the acquittal of Aasia.

TLP’S EMERGENCE:

The religious party, founded in 2015, burst onto the scene after the government carried out Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassin Mumtaz Qadri’s death sentence in 2016.

In November 2017, TLP followers blocked Islamabad’s main road protesting against the PML-N-led government’s alleged attempt to amend the “finality of Prophethood” constitutional clause.

Agitators clashed with LEAs forcing the army to step in to curb the violence.

After the Faizabad sit-in, the TLP staged a three-day long protest following the acquittal of Aasia Bibi by the Supreme Court. During the protest, the demonstrators termed the chief justice “liable to be killed” and called for a rebellion against the army chief “because he is a non-Muslim”. The protest defused after the PTI government and TLP brokered a deal.

This makes it twice the federation capitulating to Rizvi’s demands, giving him prominence in the religious sphere.

Subsequently, the top court had to take a suo motu of the protests and directed the federal and provincial governments to submit a report in this regard.

Moreover, the TLP also managed to translate its religious rhetoric into votes as it bagged at least 4 per cent of the total votes in the last general elections. The party’s count was only 300,000 votes less than its heavyweight rival Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an old five-party alliance.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/01/02/atc-approves-20-day-physical-remand-of-tlp-chief/

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Southeast Asia

 

Lift ban on G25’s book already, free speech watchdog tells Putrajaya

03 January 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 ― The Coalition for Freedom of Expression (CFOE) today urged the Home Ministry to promptly lift the ban on a book on Islam by pro-moderation group G25, after Putrajaya said it is still reconsidering the decision.

The civil society group said the ban on the book titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of moderation ― Islam in a constitutional democracy that was carried out by then Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in June 2017 was arguably unconstitutional.

“Any restriction on the freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 10 must be for a legitimate reason as set out in the Constitution and must be necessary, proportionate and reasonable.

“The banning of this book does not fall into any of the categories that would constitute a legitimate restriction,” said the coalition made of civil societies Aliran, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), KRYSS and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Yesterday, G25’s lawyer Surendra Ananth said the court has fixed 31st January as the new hearing date after the Pakatan Harapan government stated it will need some time to decide whether to continue the ban.

CFOE said it was inconceivable that a book of articles by distinguished former civil servants which explores the concept of moderation in Islam in the context of Malaysia as a constitutional democracy can be a threat to public order.

“Lifting the ban on this book should be straightforward and carried out promptly.

“The Pakatan Harapan government should not prolong or be complicit in the arbitrary silencing of critical and reasoned voices which was carried out by the previous government,” it said.

Apart from lifting the ban, CFOE also urged the immediate abolishment of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, under which the ban was made as promised by Pakatan Harapan in its election manifesto.

“We also call for a moratorium on the banning of any books under this Act in the meantime,” it added.

The book had aimed to promote discussions and dialogue on a moderate practice of Islam and was to be part of G25's consultative process to address the excessive politicisation of religion in Malaysia.

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1708662/lift-ban-on-g25s-book-already-free-speech-watchdog-tells-putrajaya

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Jakim visits Health Ministry amid increased institutionalisation of religion

03 January 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 ― Minister Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) visited the Health Ministry today to discuss collaborating on Shariah issues, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

Dzulkefly said his meeting with Mujahid, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, included Jakim director-general Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, and representatives from both ministries.

“This meeting among others discussed issues related to the implementation of the ‘Maqasid Shariah’ agenda in the national administration, particularly in the context and scope of collaboration between MOH (Health Ministry) and PMD (Prime Minister’s Department),” Dzulkefly wrote on Instagram.

“Maqasid Shariah” refers to the real purposes of Shariah.

Jakim’s visit to the Health Ministry comes amid calls by Malay-Muslim conservative groups for greater institutionalisation of religion in multiracial Malaysia, such as a campaign launched by Isma for the country to be recognised as an “Islamic state”.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1708683/jakim-visits-health-ministry-amid-increased-institutionalisation-of-religio

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Arab World

 

US-Backed Militia Looting People's Assets in Eastern Syria

Jan 02, 2019

The SDF gunmen plundered civilians' assets and other valuable properties after they managed to capture the town of Hajin in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.

The SDF's move was carried out at command, a field source said, adding that the SDF militants sotred the booty at a base in Hajin and later took them to an unknown location outside the town.

The source further said that the SDF is also preventing Hajin's residents from returning home claiming that the town is still a military zone.

The source went on to say that almost 80 percent of the Hajin has been destroyed by the US-led coalition and the SDF.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported last week that the SDF managed to advance against ISIL in Southeastern Deir Ezzur despite the US' decision to withdraw from Syria.

SOHR said that the SDF managed to advance against ISIL near the small towns of al-Sha'afah and al-Sousah in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.

It further added that most of the ISIL gunmen had already left positions.

Clashes between the SDF and the remaining pockets of the ISIL are underway in the region.

In the meantime, SDF Spokesman Rami Abdul Rahman said heavy fighting is underway between his forces and the ISIL near al-Sah'afah and al-Sousah, adding that the SDF managed to capture a key village in the region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971012000808

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Aleppo: Syrian, Turkish Armies Going Head to Head for Confrontation

Jan 02, 2019

The Arabic-language website of the Kurdish news website, Hawar news, reported that the Ankara-backed militants attacked the positions of al-Bab Military Council in the villages of Albuhij and Bou Qaz near the town of al-Arimah East of the town al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo regardless of the Syrian Army's presence in the region.

It further said that gunmen of al-Bab Military Council managed to repel the Ankara forces' attacks.

In the meantime, Manbij Military Council's media center reported that gunmen of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield forces targeted the council's positions at Sajoiur line of separation near the town of Majbij in Northeastern Aleppo.

The center further said that the Ankara-backed militants launched heavy shelling on the small towns of Jokhar Kabir East on Manbij, al-Mohsenli West of Manbij and the villages of al-Baraziyah West of the town of al-Arimah and also al-Koridiyah region in Northeastern Aleppo.

Military expert said that the Ankara-backed militants' continued attacks on the Kurds regardless of the Syrian Arm's presence in the region have increased the possibility of direct confrontation between the Damascus forces and militants as well as the Turkish army that is backing the latter.

On Monday, The Syrian Army surrounded Manbij from three different flanks after the Turkish-backed rebels began mass mobilizing their gunmen North of the town.

According to a military source near Manbij, the Syrian Arab Army deployed their Republican Guard, 1st Armored Division, and 4th Armored Division at the Western, Southern and Eastern flanks of the town of Manbij, the AMN reported.

The Syrian army was able to reach the Eastern axis of Manbij after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly transferred control of the Tishrin Dam to the government troops.

With thousands of rebel troops situated at the Northern outskirts of the city, the Syrian Arab Army is taking precautionary measures to prevent a potential invasion of Eastern Aleppo and Western Raqqa.

Despite the recent talks between the Russian and Turkish governments regarding the situation in Syria, Ankara is still not convinced that the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) have withdrawn from Manbij.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971012000528

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Tens of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Fresh Infighting in Northern Syria

Jan 02, 2019

A sum of 40 terrorists were killed and tens more were wounded in a fresh round of heavy infighting between Tahrir al-Sham and NLF-affiliated Nouralddeen al-Zinki in Western Aleppo.

Abu Ahmad Homsi, a notorious commander of al-Zinki, was killed in the infighting near the town of Dar al-Izzah, a field source said, adding that tens of civilians have also been killed or wounded in the clashes between rival terrorists.

Tahrir al-Sham seized the village of Basratoun in Western Aleppo and entered the strategic town of Dar al-Izzah following the clashes. 

The Arabic-language Lebanese TV Channel reported on Tuesday that Tahrir al-Sham engaged in fierce clashes with Nouralddeen al-Zinki in Western Aleppo and managed to capture the villages of al-Sa'adiyah and al-Habayah and also Mount Sheikh Barakat.

It further said that Tahrir al-Sham seized control over the villages of Taqad and Ajel in Western Aleppo and its militants are now advancing and entering the small town of Basratoun.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971012000429

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Syrian Army Launches Artillery Attack on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib Provinces

Jan 02, 2019

The army's artillery and missile units pounded the positions and movements of Turkistani Islamic Party in the village of Qastoun in al-Ghaab Plain in Northwestern Hama, destroying several terrorist bases and arms depots and inflicted heavy casualties on the militants.

In the meantime, other artillery units pounded the movements of Jeish al-Izzah terrorists in Hasraya, al-Jisat, al-Arbaeen and Wadi al-Dorat, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

Meanwhile, other artillery units, deployed in Southeastern Idlib, launched heavy shelling on Tahrir al-Sham's positions near the small town of Jarjanaz, inflicting major losses on them.

The terrorists' refusal to implement the Sochi Agreement to establish a demilitarized zone is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.

Colonel Mar'ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency as saying last month that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at is in control of nearly 70% of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes provocative moves against the Syrian army, adding that the army's commitment to decrease tensions is not lasting forever.

He added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of Idlib.

Hamdan said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and underlined that the Syrian army's battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.

Meantime, the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.

Tahrir al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971012000307

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Egypt rights activist Mohamed Lotfi urges Sisi to pardon detained wife

3 January 2019

A prominent rights activist appealed to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday to pardon his wife, sentenced to two years in jail for posting a video denouncing sexual harassment.

“We ask the President of the Republic for pardon,” said Mohamed Lotfi, who heads the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms NGO. Former actress and model Amal Fathi was sentenced at an appeal hearing on Sunday for “spreading false news” and “inciting regime change”.

She had been arrested in May over a video she posted online, criticizing sexual harassment in Egypt and alleging that guards at a bank had sexually harassed her.

Lotfi, 37, called on Sisi to take into account that his wife is “a victim” of harassment, and is being treated for trauma and depression. “Her condition has worsened during prison,” he said.

In an interview with AFP, he said an appeal is being lodged against his wife’s sentence. Fathi is under house arrest and has to report to a police station every week. Lotfi fears his wife will be taken into full custody during her next scheduled appointment on Saturday.

Alleged harassment

Fathi said she had been harassed by a taxi driver on the same day as the alleged harassment at the bank. She recorded her video in a state of exasperation, her husband said. Sisi came to power in 2014, a year after leading the military’s overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against the Islamist's rule.

Rights groups say the former defense minister has since installed a repressive and authoritarian regime. Amnesty International has called Fathi’s sentence a “scandalous injustice”.

Harassment on Egypt’s streets has been a major topic of activism and campaigns. “We know that the government is trying to fight this phenomenon”, Lotfi said. “It’s not fair that a female victim of harassment is imprisoned”, he said.

Lotfi, who holds dual Egyptian-Swiss nationality, believes his own commitment to human rights work is the “true reason” behind the justice system’s treatment of his wife. “In a way, it is pressure on me so that I stop my human rights work”, he said. He added that his wife is still fighting another case, in which she is accused of “belonging to a terrorist group”.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/01/03/Egypt-rights-activist-Mohamed-Lotfi-urges-Sisi-to-pardon-detained-wife.html

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Kurdish fighters withdraw from Manbij: Syria

Jan 2, 2019

Syria says hundreds of US-backed Kurdish fighters have withdrawn from the city of Manbij near the border with Turkey to take position to the east of the Euphrates.

The Syrian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that "approximately 400 Kurdish fighters" had left the border town, days after Kurdish groups appealed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad to support them against a possible Turkish offensive.

Their departure was in line with an agreement "for the return of normal life to the area of northern Syria," the ministry said in a statement.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had confirmed earlier that they were evacuating the town, which they seized from the Daesh terrorist group in 2016.

An online video published by the Syrian ministry showed dozens of vehicles carrying armed fighters, some of whom waved flags of the YPG and its female counterpart, the YPJ.

It was not clear how many fighters would remain in Manbij.

Last week, the YPG asked Damascus to deploy troops to the key city following US President Donald Trump's decision to pull American forces out of Syria.

Trump said in late December that Turkey would take on Washington's military responsibilities in Syria.

Turkey has already launched an incursion into northern Syria to push back against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which regularly clashes with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey.

Ankara views YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK.

The YPG is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has close military cooperation with the US. Trump's decision to leave Syria exposes the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks.

Turkish military forces have held an area bordering Manbij since 2016. Ankara has repeatedly demanded that the YPG leave the region and retreat to the east bank of the Euphrates.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recently that his country’s military forces will have no business in Manbij once YPG leaves.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584704/Syria-YPG-Manbij-kurds-Turkey

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Former Israeli military intel. chief wanted to assassinate Syrian president: Report

Jan 2, 2019

A report has revealed that Israel’s former Military Intelligence Director Major General Aviv Kochavi once advocated toppling the incumbent Syrian government and even proposed the assassination of President Bashar al-Assad over his staunch support for the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.

Saudi Arabia’s Arabic-language and independent Elaph online newspaper, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official, reported that Kochavi recommended removing Assad’s administration because “it would bring calamities to Israel from Iran, Hezbollah, and Russian influence in the region.”

The official noted that Mossad head Yossi Cohen, in return, rejected the idea and preferred to deal with a known adversary if need be, arguing that he “wanted an address in Syria.”

The report stated that while Israel had several opportunities to target Assad and his top leaders during the ongoing foreign-sponsored militancy, the Tel Aviv regime instead opted to focus on preventing Iranian entrenchment in Syria by launching attacks against purported positions of Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

Israeli officials argue that Iran’s presence in Syria, which is part of an advisory mission requested by the Damascus government, poses a threat to the Tel Aviv regime’s security.

The Israeli military, using this pretext, has pounded alleged positions of Iranian and Iran-backed forces across Syria over the course of the nearly eight-year conflict.

The attacks are usually viewed as attempts to prop up foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces and allied fighters from popular defense groups.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584688/Former-Israeli-military-intel-chief-wanted-to-assassinate-Syrian-president-Assad-Report

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Mideast

 

Islam is 'religion of peace,' says head of Turkey's Diyanet

January 02, 2019

Islam is a religion of peace that defends universal values, Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, said on Wednesday.

"Islam is a religion of peace that defends and tries to keep the same universal values alive all over the world," Erbas said at the opening ceremony of 2nd meeting of European Muslims in the German city of Cologne.

Erbaş said racism, xenophobia and attacks on mosques gradually narrow areas of freedom and restrict rights.

"The recent increase in racial movements and anti-Islamic discourses and actions in Europe threaten the multiculturalism of Europe, the culture of living together, peace and tranquility," he added.

According to the European Islamophobia Report 2017, a rising wave of Islamophobia has taken hold in Europe.

The report revealed 908 crimes, ranging from verbal and physical attacks to murder attempts, targeting Muslims in Germany, as well as 664 in Poland, 364 in the Netherlands, 256 in Austria, 121 in France, 56 in Denmark, and 36 in Belgium.

The report was prepared by the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/head-of-turkeys-diyanet-says-islam-is-religion-of-peace-3470734

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Turkey's gift of a mosque sparks fears of ‘neo-Ottomanism’ in Kosovo

2 Jan 2019

It is six years since Islamic leaders and government officials laid the cornerstone of Pristina’s new central mosque – a slab of stone now hidden beneath weeds in a parking lot.

Pulling back the weeds reveals it is covered with bright red graffiti – death threats to Kosovo’s chief mufti, along with the words: “No Turkish mosque or there will be blood.”

There has been controversy over the design, including rejection of plans drawn by esteemed architects including Zaha Hadid in favour of a hulking carbon copy of any number of centuries-old, Ottoman-style mosques.

But now it seems this spot in the city’s Dardania district will finally get its new mosque. Construction is to begin in spring.

The mosque is a gift from Turkey to this Balkan state of 1.8 million, which celebrated its 10th anniversary of independence this year. The decade has been fraught. Twenty years after the war with neighbouring Serbia that killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands more, Serbia still considers Kosovo its territory. Some of the country’s leading Muslim religious leaders – Kosovo is 95% Muslim – say dozens of mosques that were destroyed still haven’t been rebuilt.

“In Europe they don’t have a single village without a church, but here in Kosovo are at least 50 villages without a mosque,” remarks chief mufti Naim Tërnava in his offices near the city’s Imperial Mosque. On Islamic holidays, the throng of worshippers at this Ottoman-era mosque, built in 1461, often spills on to the street outside. Tërnava is taken aback by the heated debate over Pristina’s new mosque – for him, it is a practical necessity, “for the worship of God, and nothing else”.

Kosovo is still struggling to carve out a place for itself in a restive part of Europe amid poor economic prospects. The young state needs all the friends it can get.

Among its suitors is Turkey, which has made huge investments there and been a firm advocate for its international recognition and eventual accession to Nato and the EU. As the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, put it in a 2013 visit to the country: “Turkey is Kosovo, and Kosovo is Turkey.”

Those words resonate in a Turkey whose assertive foreign policy has been characterised as “neo-Ottomanism”. Kosovo plays no small role in Turkey’s imperial history: the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 saw the defeat of the medieval Kingdom of Serbia and the beginning of the Ottoman conquest of south-eastern Europe. The empire went on to rule Kosovo for nearly 500 years, bringing with it Islam and many other cultural influences.

A large mosque wouldn’t seem out of place in Pristina, so why the controversy? When the then mayor of Pristina, Isa Mustafa, laid the foundation stone, land had already been donated by the local municipality. Mustafa went on to become Kosovo’s prime minister, a position he held until last year, but the mosque was never built.

The city’s Islamic community claims it took a long time to select the winning design and make sure it would “fit the location”. Pristina’s municipal government dragged its feet in approving the mosque, but this year finally granted permission, subject to a construction permit.

Opposition to many new mosques across Europe is rooted in fear of Islam, but with 19 of every 20 people here Muslim, resistance to Pristina’s new mosque does not fit neatly into that trend. Some locals resent what they see as a symbol of Turkey’s overbearing influence, while others are suspicious of the creeping return of faith to a secular, post-socialist public space.

Among the project’s most vocal opponents are local architects. Even though the public tender stressed the need for an original building, the design chosen is classical Ottoman. The project is being overseen by the Turkish state’s directorate for religious affairs, Diyanet, which has built dozens of other mosques across the Islamic world in recent years, in a move some describe as a key vehicle of Turkey’s power play.

Diyanet says the mosque will be based on the famous 16th-century Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, north-western Turkey. In short, Pristina’s new mosque will more closely resemble the hundreds built across the Balkans under Turkish rule – only much larger.

“Over 30 designs were submitted just months after the call for designs was made in 2012. Even Zaha Hadid proposed a design,” says the architect Arbër Sadiki. “But before the competition closed, interviews started appearing in the press in which the mufti described what the new mosque would look like.

“Designs were supposed to be original, but the chosen one is just a copy of an Ottoman mosque. The decision looks more political than architectural to me. I know amazing architects doing work on contemporary mosques in Turkey. Why can’t we put Pristina on the map with something similar?”

Under Josip Tito’s Yugoslavia, Pristina’s old bazaar and many historical buildings in its Ottoman-era downtown were destroyed as part of a modernisation campaign that secularised public space. As a result, explains Sadiki, modern Pristina is mostly a postwar city, and little constructed since the 1970s has been distinctive. Pristina’s most notable building today is its modernist, domed national library, built in 1982.

But some Kosovar Muslims are bitter, and have protested against the lack of space to accommodate them at prayer. They see double standards at work, given that a massive Catholic cathedral was constructed without issue in 2007, even though Christians comprise just 3% of Kosovo’s population.

Pristina isn’t the only city in Kosovo where ostentatious Turkish-funded mosque construction has taken place. In Mitrovica, about 20 miles north, clashes in the 2000s led to the city’s division into southern (Albanian and Muslim) and northern (Serb and Orthodox Christian) halves. The smaller northern district flaunts its Serb identity, with a new Orthodox cathedral and a much-photographed mural proclaiming “Kosovo is Serbia, Crimea is Russia”.

The larger southern part of town is festooned with Albanian flags and monuments to fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army – as well as Kosovo’s largest mosque, which opened in 2014 and is named after the Istanbul district Bayrampaşa that funded its construction. Inside it is a riot of colour and ostentatiously Ottoman.

There was no mosque like it in the city before – between 150 and 200 were destroyed in Kosovo during its vicious war of secession from Yugoslavia, many of them simple and modestly designed. For Mitrovica’s Muslims, the Bayrampaşa mosque is a symbol of redemption, if not reconciliation.

Back in Pristina there is a sense Turkey has taken advantage of western disinterest to expand its influence in a place Ankara treats like part of its backyard.

“External actors here have an interest in making the Kosovo conflict one of faith rather than politics – for example, [the former Serb leader] Milošević played on European Islamophobia and fears of extremism to delegitimise our struggle for independence,” says Xhabir Hamiti, professor of Islamic studies at Pristina University.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jan/02/turkey-is-kosovo-controversy-over-balkan-states-new-central-mosque

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Turkey detains two French ISIS suspects wanted by Interpol

2 January 2019

Turkish authorities detained 12 suspects over alleged links to ISIS extremist group including two French women sought by Interpol, state media reported on Wednesday.

The suspects, including French, Syrian and Algerian citizens, were taken into custody after anti-terror raids in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa, state news agency Anadolu said.

Among those caught were three women including the two French women who had red and blue Interpol notices issued against them, Anadolu and the private DHA news agency reported.

Some of the suspects had been in Syria with the extremist group before moving to Bursa, the agency said, without giving further detail.

Another suspect was believed to have been a guard for an ISIS commander.

Five of the suspects have been sent to deportation centers, Anadolu said.

Bursa is Turkey's fourth most populous province with more two million residents.

There have been a series of raids against ISIS suspects in Turkey in the past two weeks, especially ahead of New Year celebrations.

Earlier on Wednesday, a man and a woman were detained in the central province of Kayseri, accused of having ISIS links and believed to be preparing an attack on New Year celebrations after arriving in Turkey from France three months earlier.

And six foreign nationals were also taken into custody in the eastern province of Elazig over suspected ties to ISIS, Anadolu reported.

Four of the foreigners - whose identities or countries of origin were not given - were deported, the agency said, quoting unnamed security sources.

Turkey was hit by a series of terror attacks in 2015 and 2016 blamed on ISIS and Kurdish militants.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/01/02/Turkey-detains-two-French-ISIS-suspects-wanted-by-Interpol.html

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Yemeni govt calls on UN to act ‘firmly’, implement Swedish agreement

2 January 2019

The legitimate Yemeni government called on the United Nations to “act firmly” to implement the Swedish agreement by ensuring the withdrawal of the Houthi militias from Hodeidah and handing it over to the legitimacy.

This comes at a time when the militias continue to breach the ceasefire in the city and its surroundings, in addition to not opening humanitarian corridors and trying to circumvent the agreement to not withdraw from Hodeidah and its ports.

On the first day of the new year, General Patrick Kamert, chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, west of Yemen, chaired a meeting with representatives from the legitimate government and Houthis to coordinate the redeployment.

The meeting is a first, days after what observers called a 'Houthi act' where diplomatic sources close to the UN envoy to Yemen told Al Arabiya that Cammaert considered the Houthi actions a “unilateral, unacceptable operation.”

Meanwhile, Houthi militias continue to violate the ceasefire agreement where the Arab Coalition has reported that the militias have used mortars, RPGs, thermal missiles, improvised explosive devices and sniper shooting since the agreement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/01/02/Yemeni-govt-calls-on-UN-to-act-firmly-implement-Swedish-agreement.html

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Supporting Palestine to boost security in region, says Iran’s parliament speaker

Jan 2, 2019

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says backing Palestine will boost security in the region amid US and Israeli efforts to undermine the resistance front.

“Supporting Palestine will help increase security in the region and the Islamic Republic will always back the Palestinian nation and the cause of resistance,” Larijani said.

He made the remarks during a meeting with the secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, Ziad al-Nakhala, and his accompanying delegation in the Iranian capital Tehran on Wednesday.

“Under the current circumstances, the US and the Zionist regime (Israel) follow a strategy of countering and hindering the axis of resistance. But measures and initiatives by Palestinian people such as the Great March of Return foil such acts,” Larijani said.   

He said supporting resistance was the only way to counter enemies, calling for other initiatives like the Greta March of Return to contribute to the goal. 

The top Iranian parliamentarian criticized certain Arab countries for taking steps to officially normalize ties with Israel and rebuked other Arab states for remaining silent, saying such an approach would undermine the Palestinian cause.

For his part, the Palestinian official praised Iran’s support for the Palestinian nation, saying the Islamic Republic backed Palestine at a time when several Arab countries were normalizing ties with Israel.

He said that today the axis of resistance enjoyed great capacities and was in possession of means to counter Israel’s acts of aggression.

“Undoubtedly, the axis of resistance will emerge victorious in the region and this front will counter any act of aggression through coherence,” he said. 

Tensions have been running high near the fence separating the besieged Gaza Strip from the Israeli occupied territories since March 30, 2017, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14 last, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584687/Iran-Palestine-US-Israel

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Israel to come down hard on Palestinian prisoners

Jan 3, 2019

Israel announces a plan to impose severe restrictions on members of Palestinian resistance groups held in the regime's prisons.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced the plan at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, saying it would likely be implemented in the coming weeks once approved by the Israeli cabinet, The Times of Israel reported.

He said the plan involved separating prisoners that belonged to the same resistance movements. “I have decided that the Prisons Service will stop holding the prisoners in wings based on their organizational affiliation,” Erdan noted. Jailing Palestinians of same groups together had resulted in strengthening of “their organization identity,” he said.

Food and water restrictions

The prisoners would, meanwhile, no longer be able to cook for themselves. The inmates, he alleged, “provided for themselves food that’s in some ways better than the food given to criminal prisoners.”

“There will be clear limits on the amount of water a prisoner may consume each day, the times in which they can shower will be limited and eventually the showers will be moved out of the wings. Then we’ll be able to have better oversight and limit their use,” the minister said.

Limiting prisoners' access to television and reducing the number of family visits were also among the limitations.

The official claimed the plan sought to pressure the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas into releasing two Israeli troops, which Erdan alleged it was holding.

According to official statistics, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails has reached 5,500, including 230 children and 54 women.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/03/584711/Palestine-Israel-plan-restrictions-prisoners-Gilad-Erdan-resistance-movements-Hamas

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Israeli military almost completes ‘sea barrier’ off Gaza

Jan 2, 2019

The Israeli military has nearly completed building a “sea barrier” off the Gaza Strip to further tighten an already crippling blockade against the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Israel’s Channel 10 carried the report on the 200-meter-long structure earlier this week, boasting it would “block any possibility” of entering the occupied territories by sea.

Made out of stone and concrete, the barrier features a visible fence and a subterranean wall as well as sensor systems.

The barricade has been set up between Israel’s coastline and the area of Israeli naval ships’ operations.

The construction began in May, with then Minister of Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman claiming it would make infiltration into the coastline impossible.

Back at the time, the regime also alleged that members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had managed to make it into Israel by sea during Tel Aviv’s 2014 war on the coastal sliver that killed thousands of Palestinians.

Israel began enforcing an all-out land, aerial, and ground blockade against the territory in 2007 after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The measure has seen the Israeli navy maintaining heavy presence six to nine nautical miles near Gaza. This is while, the Oslo Accords, signed by Tel Aviv and the Palestine Liberation Organization umbrella group in the 1990s, says Gazans can use the coastal waters as far as 20 nautical miles.

The situation has severely restricted fishing activities off Gaza, where staples are scarce. The overall blockade also threatens to render the territory uninhabitable by 2020, according to the United Nations.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584710/Israel-Gaza-sea-barrier

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Europe

 

UK hand in glove with terror-exporting states: Analyst

Jan 2, 2019

The United Kingdom government should be held accountable for the spread of terrorist activities in the country and elsewhere in the West, says a political analyst from London after a fresh terror attack in the British city of Manchester injures three people. 

“When there is a terrorist attack or even an apparent terrorist attack in the UK, we have to ask the question as what are the psychological and political forces which lead people to think they have a right to murder others,” said William Shakespeare in an interview with the Press TV on Wednesday.

Shakespeare said most of the terrorist attacks carried out in the UK and elsewhere these days are “coming from a source which can be identified”, adding that the specific source lies in ideologies like “Wahabbism, Takfirisim, and Salafism which is centered in Saudi Arabia”.

The expert said the UK was in fact responsible for the outbreaks of terrorism in the West as it supports Saudi Arabia and the regime's export of the "consequences" of terrorist ideologies to other parts of the world.

“Its monstrous that in the Wahhabist, Takfiri, Saslafist ideology, they are encouraged and allowed to killed other Muslims, this is a sort of insanity. It is tolerated by our government,” he said.

The political analyst said no one expects countries like the UK to be able to eradicate terror-related ideologies like Wahabbism. However, he added that when it comes to taking steps to prevent the Wahhabi ideology from spreading, the UK and others have no courage and determination to do so.

“We don't have the guts to stand up and say ... We, in practical terms, we actually support the sources of this,” he said, adding, “We are hand in glove with the autocratic regimes in the Middle East.”

The expert said the policy for governments like the UK after terrorist attack has been to simply blame individuals for following terror-related ideologies while they never mention the support they have provided for countries like Saudi Arabia.

“We ought to be ashamed of ourselves that we go around even blaming perhaps people who are not all that intelligent in the UK for picking up on these things, things which we in practice encourage and support,” said Shakespeare.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584693/UK-terrorism-support-Saudi-Arabia-interview

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UK police refusing to identify Manchester attacker, says he is mental

Jan 2, 2019

Police in the United Kingdom have refused to give the identity of a young man who stabbed three people on New Year’s Eve in a suspected terror attack in the city of Manchester while authorities say the man might have suffered from mental problems.

The Reuters news agency said on Wednesday that Greater Manchester Police had refused to return requests for more information on the identity and backgrounds of the 25-year-old man, who injured three people in the Victoria metro station early on Tuesday.

Police launched a raid into the home of the man in Manchester's Cheetham Hill area on Tuesday as they were desperately seeking information on whether the suspect had accomplices that could launch other attacks in the city and other parts of the UK during the New Year holidays. 

Authorities had earlier announced that they were treating the incident as a terror attack and counter-terrorism police launched an investigation.

However, in a fresh turn of events, police said on Tuesday that the man behind the attack was being assessed for mental health issues. There were no further information available and police refused to say how they had come to the conclusion.

This came as people who witnessed the stabbing attack, including a BBC producer who was at the busy metro station, have said that the man was chanting slogans against British government and saying that Britons will be target of attacks as long as their army was bombing people in other countries.

The site of the incident is close to a hall where 22 concert goers were killed in a terror attack in May 2015.

Britain suffered from three major terror attacks last year and authorities have maintained the second highest security alert to severe. The country has specifically struggling with a growing threat from nationals who have returned from militancy engagements in the Middle East.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584669/UK-police-Manchester-attacker-identity

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Assad aunt living in UK in return of investment: Daily

02.01.2019

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON

An aunt of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was secretly granted the right to live in the U.K. indefinitely in 2012 in return of a huge investment in the country, a British daily reported Wednesday.

The 63-year-old woman, who could not be named due to legal restrictions, is one of the four wives of Assad’s uncle Rifaat al-Assad, known as the ‘Butcher of Hama’ -- a nickname he was given after allegedly ordering the killing of up to 40,000 Syrians in 1982, The Telegraph reported.

The article said the decision to give the woman, who is referred as "LA" in legal documents, indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. was made in 2012 when Prime Minister Theresa May was the home secretary.

Her two sons, now aged 22 and 37, were allowed to stay at about the same time, according to the report.

Another son of Rifaat, one from a different mother, was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2014, it said.

A number of relatives of Assad and his British-born wife Asma live in the U.K., including her father Fawaz Akhras.

Corruption

Rifaat al-Assad, who is 80 years old, owns hundreds of properties in France, Spain and the U.K., many of which have now been seized, the daily said, adding that he is facing corruption and money-laundering charges in France.

He served as head of Syria's Defense Companies paramilitary unit in the 1970s and 80s but went into exile in Europe after a failed coup against his brother Hafez al-Assad in 1984.

Rifaat was considered the “muscle” behind the throne as a more brutal man than his brother, according to the daily.

Human Rights Watch reported that he was responsible for the massacre of more than 1,000 prisoners in the notorious Tadmur jail in 1980.

The report went onto say that Rifaat owns a £10 million ($12.7 million) Georgian mansion off Park Lane in central London and also has houses in London, Marbella, and France.

The case

According to the report, the details of the case came from a 37-page court ruling by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).

The family had brought the appeal claim after being denied British citizenship but the court rejected their claim.

According to the SIAC ruling, Rifat’s wife first came to the U.K. in 2006 and was given "entry clearance as an investor".

The daily reported that she told the Home Office that she was "investing in bonds, hedge funds etc" and was granted special entrance clearance.

Turning down the appeal for citizenship, the SIAC said the current relationship with Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime could not be fully assessed.

The decision said: "You are the wife of Rifaat al-Assad the uncle of President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria. Although widely reported as estranged from Bashar Al-Assad, Rifaat is the brother of Hafez Al-Assad (the late former president of Syria). Rifaat was a well-known and prominent member of his brother’s regime during the 1970s and 1980s -- a regime that is widely held to have committed crimes against humanity.

"Although it is not possible to assess the exact nature of your current relationship with Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian regime, it is noted that the regime has become inextricably linked over the last few decades with the extended Assad family."

The Home Office explained that the U.K. plays a key role at the United Nations in “securing resolutions that condemn regime activity against civilians”, the daily also reported.

"In light of the above, the Home Secretary has determined that to grant you a certificate of naturalization would have an adverse impact on the U.K.’s international relations and therefore it would not be in the public interest to grant you British Citizenship," Home Office also said.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/assad-aunt-living-in-uk-in-return-of-investment-daily/1354167

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan and India to discuss security cooperation in the wake of recent developments

03 Jan 2019

Kabul and New Delhi will hold new talks on security cooperation in the wake of latest developments, specifically after news reports emerged suggesting that the U.S. President Donald Trump is mulling withdrawal of nearly 7 thousand troops from the country. The latest round of talks would take place between the National Security Advisors of the two countries, it has been reported.

“The Afghan NSA is likely to hold parleys with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval along with other senior military and political leadership,” sources privy of the development have told media outlets in India.

India has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime and has invested over $2 billion in various reconstruction and infrastructure projects.

The government of India pledged a fresh aid package of $1 billion to support the reconstruction projects in Afghanistan during a visit by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in late 2016.

The two countries have also developed a high level of cooperation in terms of military and security during the recent years.

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-and-india-to-discuss-security-cooperation-in-the-wake-of-recent-developments-03043/

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Two Iranian members of Taliban killed in Afghanistan

2 January 2019

Afghan forces have killed two Iranian members of the Taliban in northern Faryab province, local army said Tuesday.

The militants were identified as Ahmad and Jundullah, according to 1Tv News.

The site added that they were among 29 militants who were killed during clashes, airstrikes, and supplying forces convoy on highway between Shirin Tagab and Khwaja Sabz Posh districts.

The deaths include also two local Taliban commanders Nasratullah and Sadi who were killed in airstrikes, the statement added.

Twenty-three more militants were injured and a Taliban hideout was destroyed.

Also four Afghan forces were injured in the clashes, the statement said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/01/02/Two-Iranian-members-of-Taliban-killed-in-Afghanistan.html

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Five soldiers killed in Taliban bomb attack on army outpost

Jan 2, 2019

Five Afghan soldiers have been killed in a bomb explosion carried out by Taliban militants in a tunnel below an army outpost in southern Afghanistan.

Police spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Watandost said on Wednesday that six soldiers were also injured in the attack on Tuesday in Maiwand district in the southern province of Kandahar.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed that militants had destroyed a large arms cache, leaving 35 soldiers killed and injured.

Separately, Afghan border security forces on Wednesday foiled an attack on Italian military advisers at a paramilitary base in Herat Province in the west of the country.

Noorullah Qadri, the commander of 207 Zafar military corps, said two assailants who had infiltrated the border security forces tried to kill the Italians.

"The Italian nationals escaped uninjured. One attacker was gunned down immediately and the other was arrested," he added.

The Italian forces are part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, purportedly engaged in training and advising local Afghan troops battling Taliban militants in four western provinces.

Italy has 895 troops attached to Resolute Support.

The attacks come few days after the Taliban militant group rejected a call by the Afghan government for formal peace talks next month in Saudi Arabia.

A Taliban leader announced on Sunday that the group’s representatives would meet US officials in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah for the fifth round of talks within the next few days but not the representatives of the Afghan government.

This is while the government of President Ashraf Ghani says the talks should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned,” insisting on continued efforts to establish a direct line of diplomatic communication with the Taliban.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584682/Afghan-soldiers-Taliban-attack

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Bangladesh journalist arrested for publishing ‘fake’ information on polls

2nd Jan 2019

Dhaka: The Bangladesh police arrested a journalist under the controversial anti-propaganda law and are looking for another one on allegations of publishing “fake” information about the elections held at the weekend, officials said on Wednesday.

Journalist Hedayet Hossain Mollah, a Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune correspondent, was arrested on Tuesday evening in Khulna district after local administration chief filed a case against him, the officer-in-charge of the local police, Mahbubur Rahman, told Efe news.

“He gave fake information about election. He reported 22,419 more votes were cast than the total numbers of vote in Khulna-1 constituency. This serious misinformation put us in an embarrassing situation,” said Rahman.

The Khulna administration chief also filed a case against Bengali newspaper Manab Zamin’s correspondent Rashidul Islam, who is currently on the run.

Both had cases filed against them under the controversial Digital Security Act, which provides jail sentences for publishing “propaganda” against the state and “spreading rumours” and also has provisions of life imprisonment for revealing state secrets and publishing “false or distorted” information.

Full report at:

https://telanganatoday.com/bangladesh-journalist-arrested-for-publishing-fake-information-on-polls

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Four ‘missing’ youths land in jail on charges of violence in Dhaka before polls

02 Jan 2019

The four are Asian University student Abu Khaled Mohammad Jabed, Stamford university student Md Borhan Uddin, Manarat University student Md Rezaul Khaleque and former Dhaka Unani Ayurvedic Medical College student Syed Mominul Hasan.

Their families earlier said the four were returning home by bus after shopping at Shahbagh last Saturday.

Some people posing as members of police’s Detective Branch stopped the bus at Farmgate and detained the four youths, the families said.

They told a press conference on Tuesday that they were appearing before the media after failing to get police to admit to the detention of the four youths.

Later in the evening, members of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s DB handed the four to Kafrul Police Station.

Sub-Inspector Zillur Rahman took the four to court on Wednesday showing them arrested in a case started by Tanti League leader Md Zahangir over vandalism of its office and bombing at Section-13 in Mirpur on Dec 17.

Metropolitan Magistrate Md Baki Billah rejected their bail petitions and granted the police plea to send them to jail.

In the petition, SI Zillur alleged the four were helping the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami in acts of violence by making bombs for a long time as members of the parties.

They carried out an attack on the Tanti League’s election office before the election in an attempt to kill the leaders of the ruling Awami League affiliate, the sub-inspector said.

Police may need to quiz the suspects in custody in the future, so it was necessary to keep them behind bars, he argued.

Full report at:

https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2019/01/02/four-missing-youths-land-in-jail-on-charges-of-violence-in-dhaka-before-polls

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India

 

Sabarimala row: Muslim League stands with pang of Ayyappa devotees

Jan 2, 2019

MALAPPURAM: Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal strongly criticized the state government in connection with the entry of two young women to Sabarimala.

Malappuram district president of the party said that government machinery was misused for the violation of rituals in Sabarimala and the government’s stand has hurt the sentiments of Hindu community. "There is a feeling among devotees that government intentionally extended help to the women who entered in to the hill shrine and government machineries were misused for the purpose, instead of resisting the entry of young women. We stand with the pang of hundreds of Ayyappa devotees", he said adding that the indirect support from the part of government to those who violated ritual hurt the feeling of devotees.

The IUML leader said that people’s representatives should respect the sentiments of people. He said that party’s stand in the issue is the same as that of UDF which already expressed solidarity with the devotees who want to protect the customs of Sabarimala.

When supreme court announced its verdict allowing all-women entry in Sabarimala Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had shown solidarity with the Hindu outfits which launched state wide protest demanding protection of customs in Sabarimala.

The IUML, which is the largest ally of United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance in Kerala, had also come out in support of calls for a review petition on the SC verdict. The party had also come out in support of calls for review petition on the SC verdict. The party had also appealed to its member parties to support the opposition to the verdict.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/sabarimala-row-muslim-league-stands-with-pang-of-ayyappa-devotees-party-leader/articleshow/67353712.cms

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ISIS module case: Items seized can make IEDs, says NIA

Jan 02, 2019

NEW DELHI: The seized items recovered from raids in Delhi and Amroha in connection with the new ISIS module — Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam case can make IEDs, says National Investigation Agency (NIA).

According to NIA’s in-house explosives expert, it would take him only 40 minutes to fabricate a lethal Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from the seized explosive, reported Hindustan Times.

The counter-terror probe agency on December 28 arrested 10 people including the group head Mufti Mohammad Suhail as they were allegedly planning terror attacks targeting some political personalities and security establishments as well as crowded places in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).

It had recovered a country-made rocket launcher, 12 pistols, 112 alarm clocks, 91 mobile phones, 135 SIM cards, many laptops and various electronic gadgets, besides recovering 150 rounds of ammunition during the searches.

The NIA in the statement said to had also seized 25 kg of explosive material, such as potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, sulphur, sugar material paste, mobile phone circuits, batteries, 51 pipes, remote control car triggering switch, wireless digital doorbell for remote switch, steel containers, electric wires, knife, sword, IS-related literature and Rs 7.5 lakh in cash.

The popular fire-cracker “Sutli bombs” burst during several functions and festivals have been used to fabricate IEDs, said a senior NIA official on the condition of anonymity to HT.

“So-called Sutli bombs, recovered from the premises of module members, are the easiest available source of explosives. It is not the first time that IS or al-Qaeda inspired groups have experimented with firecrackers or matchsticks to procure explosives. Several videos are available on the Internet showing fabrication of IEDs using these materials. The alleged kingpin of the module, Mufti Mohammed Suhail was watching these videos on YouTube. His computer is being forensically examined,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/news/isis-module-case-items-seized-can-make-ieds-says-nia-1452253/

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Pakistan training ultras to wage ‘samundari jihad’ against India

Jan 3, 2019

The ministry of home affairs informed Parliament on Wednesday that Pakistan-based terror groups are training their cadres for underwater strike capabilities and exhorting them for ‘samundari jihad’ (seaborne jihad) so that they can infiltrate into India by sea or waterways to carry out attacks.

The MHA reply in Parliament comes few days after intelligence bureau informed the police agencies and the government that Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are imparting specialised underwater training to their cadres. The alert is being taken seriously particularly as the country is set to celebrate Republic Day.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-training-ultras-to-wage-samundari-jihad-against-india/articleshow/67358233.cms

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No major Islamic State presence, but efforts on to radicalise youth: J&K DGP

Jan 3, 2019

Five days after Islamic State (IS) supporters stormed the historic Jamia Masjid to occupy the sacred pulpit and raise IS flags, Jammu and Kashmir police ruled out the major presence of IS in Kashmir, but asserted that efforts are on by anti-national elements to radicalise a section of youth.

"In the past, those (IS) flags have been carried and displayed publicly just to show that there is a very large presence of such elements. We will again say that their presence is not that big but the fact is that people are being radicalised on those lines and that cannot be denied," said Dilbag Singh, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir.

Elaborating on the topic, he said, serious activity on the part of anti-national and anti-social elements is on to radicalise a section of the youth to every extent possible.

"Kashmir civil society as such has been a very open society, with a very secular culture, where we extend due respect to our places of worship and other things. Efforts (to radicalise) have been made in certain quarters and their fruition has been seen in the kind of activities we saw the other day (at Jamia Masjid)," he said.

Masked youth stormed the historic Jamia Masjid, unfurling Islamic State (IS) flags and briefly occupying the pulpit after Friday prayers before vanishing into thin air. Shouting slogans 'Daulat-ul-Islam' (Islamic State), one of the jeans-clad masked youths climbed the pulpit used by Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader and chief cleric of Jamia Masjid Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to deliver sermons on Fridays and important days of Islamic calendar.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police said 91 security force personnel, including 45 policemen, were killed in 2018.

"Some of our policemen were killed in their homes. Some of them were abducted and killed. Few of our policemen were killed in encounters. In addition, 46 security men were also killed taking the toll of security forces to 91 in 2018," he said.

Full report at:

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-no-major-islamic-state-presence-but-efforts-on-to-radicalise-youth-jk-dgp-2703578

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Days after IS flags at Jamia, Mirwaiz cleans defiled area

Jan 3, 2019

Days after an IS flag was waived from the pulpit in Jamia Masjid here, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq send out a strong message to supporters of the radical IS ideology by cleaning the area that was defiled.

The Hurriyat leader on Wednesday chaired a session of the Awami Action Committee headed by him in downtown Srinagar and later carried out the purification of the pulpit of the mosque, where IS supporters had waved black flags and also raised slogans in support of the caliphate on Friday.

The act of purification by Mirwaiz was aimed at sending out a political message that Kashmiris reject radical ideologies. Following the Awami meeting at the Rajouri Kadal headquarters, Mirwaiz along with his supporters proceeded to Jamia Mosque, where he himself supervised the “purification process”.

The grand cleric was seen cleaning the pulpit of the mosque, where a masked IS supporter had climbed the steps to the pulpit with his shoes, an act widely denounced in Kashmir as the “desecration of the mosque”. ’

Terming the Friday incident as an “unacceptable act by the enemies of Islam”, the meeting chaired by Mirwaiz also resolved that such acts won’t be tolerated in future.

Full report at:

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/days-after-is-flags-at-jamia-mirwaiz-cleans-defiled-area/707790.html

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Indian Muslims better off than the Muslims of Islamic countries: Maulana Mahmood Madani

by Rasia Hashmi

Jan 02, 2019

Lucknow: General Secretary Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind Maulana Syed Mahmood Asad Madani said that the situation of India is different from the remaining world. Even in the Muslim countries, the Muslims residing there apparently look prosperous but if we look closely their political and social affairs, the reality is different.

Maulana Madani claimed that the Muslims of India are far better than those living in Muslim countries. The reason behind this is while they don’t have a chance to propagate their religion, here we have an opportunity to propagate our religion through our behaviour and manners; either orally or practically.

He told this while addressing a special Board meeting of Jamiat Ulama Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/news/indian-muslims-better-muslims-islamic-countries-maulana-mahmood-madani-1452371/

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Muslim minister of Rajasthan government in the line of fire of Ulama for worshiping Lord Shiva

January 3, 2019

New Delhi, Jan 3: The Congress seems to be continuing with its soft Hindutva plank when minority and waqf affairs minister in the Rajasthan government Saleh Mohammad has done Rudrabhishek (special kind of worship to Lord Shiva) at a famous temple at Pokhran in Jaisalmer district of the state. He also prayed at Ramdevra Temple.

Saleh Mohammad, son of an Islamic religious teacher Ghzai Faqir, worshiping at Hindu temples has become a matter of discussion in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. Saleh Mohammad is the only Muslim face in the Rajasthan government led by Ashok Gehlot.

Saleh defeated BJP candidate Mahant Pratap Puri from the Pokhran Assembly constituency. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje both had campaigned for Mahant at Pokhran but Saleh emerged victorious. Saleh Mohammad said that he has great faith in both the Hindu temples at Pokhran. "I prayed for peace, happiness and prosperity of the state in these temples. My family has great faith in Hindu temples and whenever I get a chance I visit a temple," said the minister. This is to recall that during the swearing in ceremony too he was clad in saffron headgear and put vermilion on his forehead. Also Read | Rahul Gandhi to address farmers rally in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh But this has not gone down well with Muslim Ulama and the minority minister is in the line of fire of Islamic clerics for performing Rudrabhishek. Ulama are saying that he must apologies to God for this sin. In-charge of Fatwa online Mufti Arshad Farooqui said that Islam does not allow worshiping anyone except Allah. So he has committed a sin.

https://www.oneindia.com/india/muslim-minister-of-rajasthan-government-in-the-line-of-fire-of-ulama-for-worshipping-lord-shiva-2831199.html

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Births In Muslim Families Drop By 5%, Christian Families 13% In Karnataka

Jan 3, 2019

BENGALURU: The number of babies born into Muslim and Christian families in Karnataka dipped for the second straight year in 2017, while the number of Hindu children showed a slight upward trend, according to data on births released recently.

In 2017, 10.9 lakh births were registered in Karnataka with 9.3 lakh births in Hindu, 1.6 lakh in Muslim and 6,431 in Christian families. There were 11 lakh births in 2016—9.3 lakh in Hindu, 1.7 lakh in Muslim and 7,389 in Christian families.

Compared to overall number of births in 2016, the decline in total number of births in 2017 is marginal (0.7%). However, births in Muslim families in 2017 decreased 5% compared to 2016, while the dip in Christian babies was 13%. In the same period, babies born into Hindu families remained flat with a paltry 0.2% rise.

This is the second consecutive year that births in Muslim and Christian families have declined, while those in Hindu families went up. Compared to 2015, births in Muslim families had dipped 7% in 2016, while Christian families saw a massive 42% decline. Births in Hindu families had gone up 8% that year.

The declining trend in Muslim and Christian babies was despite increase in the total number of births in 2016. There were a total of 10.5 lakh births in 2015, which increased by 5% in 2016 to cross 11 lakh. These birth registrations are compiled by the Registrar General of India based on information submitted by the Karnataka government.

Prof CM Lakshmana, head of the Population Research Centre at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (Isec), said:

“Changing trends in education levels, acceptance and family planning would have played a key role. But it’s difficult to attribute any particular reason for the dip in births in Muslim and Christian families without an in-depth study.”

Indicator not whole picture

Experts point out that while the sample registration system (SRS) serves as an indicator to a pattern, it does not delve deep into community-wise reasons. Sociologists told TOI that it’s difficult to immediately attribute reasons given that the 2017 data was released only Friday last. They felt the need for a thorough research into reasons.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/births-in-muslim-families-drop-by-5-christian-families-13/articleshow/67355826.cms

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J&K: Encounter breaks out between militants, security forces in Pulwama

January 3, 2019

An encounter broke out between militants and security forces in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday. The gunbattle, which erupted in Gulshanpora forest of Tral area, is underway, Awantipora Superintendent of Police Mohammed Zahid Malik told The Indian Express.

Taking to Twitter, police said, “Exchange of fire between security forces and terrorists at higher reaches of Tral, Awantipora.”

Two days ago, a Special Police Officer (SPO) of J&K Police was killed by suspected militants in the district. The policeman belonged to a village in which another encounter had taken place a few days ago and where four Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants were killed by security forces.

According to a police spokesperson, militants had barged into the house of Sameer Ahmad Mir at Hanjan-Payeen in Pulwama and “fired upon him, injuring him critically.”

“Sameer sustained critical gunshot wounds in this incident and was evacuated to nearby hospital for medical treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries and attained martyrdom,” the spokesperson said.

Following the incident, a case was registered and a probe is underway.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-encounter-pulwama-tral-awantipora-militants-police-killed-5521156/

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Pakistan

 

China acknowledges its extending financial help to Pakistan

Baqir Sajjad SyedUpdated January 03, 2019

ISLAMABAD: China on Wednesday tentatively acknowledged it was extending financial assistance to help Pakistan boost its dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang in his daily media briefing in Beijing said: “The Chinese side has offered and will continue to offer its best through assistance, trade, investment and all-around practical cooperation to support and boost Pakistan’s economic and social development.”

He was responding to a question about a Financial Times report, which said that China had pledged to lend at least $2bn to Pakistan to shore up its foreign exchange reserves and prevent further devaluation of the rupee against the dollar.

This was the first official confirmation by a Chinese official that Beijing had planned to extend a financial package to Islamabad.

Mr Lu further noted that Pakistan and China are “all-weather strategic partners” and both have been “in close communication with each other on the relevant cooperation”.

The details of the conditions on which the assistance is being extended to Pakistan are still not known, though there have been speculations it’s being given as a loan at an exorbitant rate.

Pakistan had formally sought Chinese assistance during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing last November. The Chinese leadership had after the meetings with PM Khan pledged to help Pakistan out of the looming economic crisis, but the details were subsequently worked out in meetings at the official and experts’ levels.

It was initially said that Chinese package would also include a currency swap arrangement and increased access for Pakistani products to Chinese markets to redress Pak-China trade imbalance. Mr Kang in his statement also indicated that the package would be a comprehensive one.

Pakistan is also planning to launch ‘Panda Bond’ to raise up to $1 billion from Chinese equity market. Pakistan and China are, moreover, jointly undertaking the multi-billion dollar infrastructure and communications project — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). So far 22 early harvest projects under the CPEC have been completed or are under construction with a total investment of $18.9bn.

The CPEC, officials say, is being expanded and the two sides at a meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee held on Dec 20 had signed a memorandum of understanding on industrial cooperation and an agreement was also reached on promoting the construction of special economic zones. Moreover, China pledged to support projects such as education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, health care and vocational training under the newly set up socio-economic component of the connectivity project.

Pakistan had earlier secured balance of payments support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both of whom had pledged to deposit $3bn each in the State Bank of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has already transferred $2bn to Pakistan under the arrangement. The kingdom has, moreover, promised to provide oil on deferred payment.

Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout are, meanwhile, continuing and the government last month submitted a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies envisaging fiscal adjustment, energy pricing, monetary and exchange rate policy and structural reforms, but differences between the two are said to be persisting.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455176/china-acknowledges-its-extending-financial-help-to-pakistan

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PPP can topple PTI govt but won’t do so, says Kaira

January 03, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Qamar Zaman Kaira says the party has the capability to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government but won’t do so and let it complete the term so that its ineptness stands exposed before the masses.

“We have the ability and required number to oust the PTI government but are observing restraint only to fully expose its incompetence before the masses by letting it complete its constitutional term,” he said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Mr Kaira said the PPP could have checked formation of the National Assembly after the “tainted” polls had its leadership wished so, but for the sake of democracy it accepted the “manipulated” election results.

He said that soon after the release of a joint investigation team’s report on fake bank accounts, the PTI ministers rushed to topple the Sindh government, adding that the chaos created by the ministers during the last two weeks was aimed at “covering their own incompetence”.

He wondered whether the JIT had been formed to probe the fake bank accounts or lay a trap around the PPP leadership. “We do know that their aim was to encircle Asif Ali Zardari through the JIT. But we are not afraid of it.”

The former information minister asked what message the PTI government desired to give by placing the name of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on the Exit Control List as the step created a [political] crisis. He regretted that despite a clear-cut directive by the Supreme Court, the government was using delaying tactics to remove the names of the chief minister and others from the ECL by forming a review committee.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was talking of closing the Asghar Khan case while in the opposition he was hyperactive for a court verdict on the issue.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455160/ppp-can-topple-pti-govt-but-wont-do-so-says-kaira

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Govt to introduce uniform education system: Bangash

January 03, 2019

MINGORA: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is working on introducing a uniform education system in the province, says Adviser to Chief Minister on Education Ziaullah Khan Bangash.

Talking to journalists here on Tuesday evening, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to introduce uniform curriculum in all the educational institutions of the country including government and private schools, colleges, universities and religious seminaries.

He said that prime minister in his first address to the nation promised that his government would introduce uniform education system in the country.

“The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has already been working on it,” said Mr Bangash. He said that the uniform curriculum would replace the existing class-based education system.

He added that for the purpose, prime minister called emergent consultation meeting of all the education ministers and advisers of the federal and provincial governments few days ago.

The adviser claimed that for the first time, transparent recruitment of physically challenged persons was made in education sector.

He said that owing to growing number of students in the government educational institutions, second shift was also being started.

He said that government had decided that children of government schoolteachers would study in the state-run schools.

“I myself have followed this principle and admitted my child to a government school. The members of all the assemblies, government officers and teachers will also abide by this rule,” he added.

Mr Bangash asked the teachers to admit their children to government schools and improve standard of education. “Beginning second shift in educational institutions is part of a comprehensive educational policy of the government,” he added.

He said that government would not construct new schools rather evening shifts would be started in the existing schools. He added that in case of non-availability of school building in an area, a rented building would be arranged by the government.

Mr Bangash also said that localised recruitment of youth as teachers in schools would be introduced.

He said that government implemented public-private partnership scheme in education sector in the localities that lacked state-run schools.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455125/govt-to-introduce-uniform-education-system-bangash

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Murad happy over displaced Thari children’s enrolment in model school

January 03, 2019

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minis­ter Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday expressed his happiness over enrolment of displaced Thari children in the model school built within the recently established New Sen­hri Dars model village in Thar coalfield’s block-II.

A batch of 48 students belon­ging to the Bheel community was enrolled in the model school on Tuesday.

In his message to mark the occasion, Mr Shah said: “I am quite happy that we have not only given them good houses for living but are providing education to their children.”

The model village has been set up for the displaced families of the block-II near Islamkot.

Most of the newly enrolled students are entering school for the first time.

The Thar Foundation, opera­ting 24 schools in Islamkot and Mithi taluka of Tharparkar district, has enrolled 2,300 students.

The chief minister said that only a few days ago, the Sindh government through the foun­da­tion shifted the Bheel com­mu­nity to the model village and on Tuesday, their children were enrolled in the new school. It is a three-storey building with a capacity of 900 students from pre-primary to grade 10.

With the enrolment of the displaced families’ children, the number of total students at the school has crossed the 300 mark as children from the nearby villages have already been enrolled there.

Mr Shah said more students would be enrolled in the coming week as the process of shifting families to the village was continuing.

Out of 172 displaced fami­lies, 36 have been resettled another 30 would be shifted to the village within the next 10 days.

The process could be comple­ted by the end of March.

Relief programme in progress

Thar district administration on Wednesday reported to the provincial authorities that under the ongoing relief programme for the drought-hit areas, more than 97,000 ration bags had been distributed among families of pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) in the first two phases till the turn of 2018. The third phase has been started on Jan 1.

A report submitted by the Thar deputy commissioner said that 989 ration bags were distributed on Wednesday.

It said the PLWs, identified by the health department and its affiliated organisations, had been duly registered.

“Till date, 60,650 bags have been distributed in the phase-II while 36,656 bags had already been distributed in the phase-I,” said the report.

“Today (Wednesday) 632 families were given 50kg-bags of wheat in Phase-II.

“Moreover, 18 families who had not collected wheat bags in Phase-I, approached their respective sentinel points and collected wheat bags to their previous phase. Till date, 246,927 families in Phase-I and 248,804 families in Phase-II have received wheat bags ...”

It said the district and taluka hospitals in Thar had provided outpatient services to 338,157 children, who included 67,202 children below the age of five years, over the past six months.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455089/murad-happy-over-displaced-thari-childrens-enrolment-in-model-school

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4 miners killed in another coal mine blast in Balochistan's Dukki district

Syed Ali Shah

January 02, 2019

Four coal miners burnt to death as result of a methane gas blast inside a coal mine in Balochistan's Dukki district on Wednesday morning, less than a week after three miners lost their lives in the same area.

The incident occurred in coal-rich Chamalang area of Dukki district.

Dukki's district police officer, Sardar Hashim Khan, said one coal miner sustained serious injuries as a result of the blast.

Khan said all the victims, two of whom were siblings, belonged to the same family from neighboring Afghanistan. The coal miners on their own retrieved bodies of their colleagues from the mine.

"Miners were extracting coal from thousands feet inside the mine when the tragedy struck," a levies official said.

Taking notice of the deaths, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan ordered the concerned quarters to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.

Hazardous working conditions inside coal mines of Balochistan have been claiming precious human lives. As per the statistics provided by the provincial Mines and Minerals Development Department, over 1,000 coal miners have died in such kind of incidents during the last 18 years in Balochistan.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455040/4-miners-killed-in-another-coal-mine-blast-in-balochistans-dukki-district

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Political leadership helped make operations successful: army

Jan 3, 2019

The Pakistan Army’s spokesperson on Wednesday said that cooperation between political and military leadership of the country helped make nationwide anti-terror military action Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad successful.

In an interview with a private news channel, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor thanked the people of Pakistan and the political leadership for their support in making headway in the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, terming it an “intelligence-based campaign”.

He said the political and military leadership has combined to make such operations successful. “Pakistan Army, the government institutions and the nation have collectively fought the menace of terrorism in the country,” he commented.

“35,000 units of illegal weapons were recovered during Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad,” he said while adding that 75,000 covert operations were carried out during the past two years. The military’s spokesperson further said 345 terrorists were sentenced to death by military courts in the same period.

He said the end goal of the operation is to maintain the writ of the state as the prerogative for the use of force is held only with the state.

He said that people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have faced countless difficulties during the war on terror but the time has come to focus on the development of terror-affected areas.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said, “The new war is about progress. If anyone wants to wage a war now, it has to be for education, health and employment … we are taking steps for the rehabilitation of tribal areas.”

The ISPR DG said that Pakistan wants peaceful relations with all its neighbouring countries including India. He said issues and problems will not be resolved through threat and Pakistan is capable to respond to any misadventure befittingly.

He also said peace in Kabul would translate into peace in Pakistan, adding that instability in the neighbouring was not in their interest.

“We have seen a spillover of terrorism from Afghanistan in our country,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/01/02/unstable-afghanistan-not-in-pakistans-interest-army/

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Africa

 

Jerusalem, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Bissau Chosen as Capitals of Islamic Culture In 2019

January 03, 2019

JEDDAH: Three cities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are chosen every year as capitals of Islamic culture by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) for enriching the culture of their regions.

This year, Jerusalem, Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan, and Guinea-Bissau’s capital Bissau have been recognized for their historical significance in the areas of culture, art, social sciences and architecture.

As an exception for 2019, Tunis was included as a fourth capital since it hosted an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in December.

Comprised of 54 member states, along with three observer states, ISESCO’s charter stipulates that every OIC member state is officially a member of ISESCO upon signing the charter.

The Capitals of Islamic Culture program was born through an OIC resolution in 2002.

The main criteria for selection are outstanding contribution to both Islamic and universal culture, confirmed through the scientific, cultural, literary and artistic works of scholars. 

ISESCO inaugurated the program in 2005, with Makkah named the first capital.

The program aims to foster cultural enrichment, encourage dialogue between states and build global bridges.

Preparations for celebrations in the four capitals are under way.

Jerusalem, or Al-Quds in Arabic, is one of the oldest cities in the world, and bears many scars from ancient times.

It is the cradle of Christianity, and Muslims first turned toward Jerusalem for prayer before then turning toward Makkah.

Jerusalem’s name is derived from the word “maqdis,” Arabic for sacred.

It was declared a permanent capital of culture upon the proposition of ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri during a conference in Bahrain last November.

“Jerusalem faces a systematic policy of Judaization and alteration of its Islamic cultural and civilizational landmarks, which necessitates that OIC members and the international community unite efforts to protect the rights of the Palestinian people and safeguard the city’s identity,” said Al-Twaijri.

Tunis was once the capital of the Muslim caliphate in North Africa.

It was renowned for its unrivalled prosperity and economic, cultural and social growth.

The city is home to a blend of Arab-Islamic culture dating back to the 7th century.

Built around an ancient quarter with towering minarets overlooking the Mediterranean, the city’s numerous Islamic architectural structures, some in ruins but others well-preserved, are a testament to its ancient significance.

Tunisian Culture Minister Mohamed Zine El-Abidine asserted the importance of reinforcing culture as the “driving force for development and a bulwark against extremism and terrorism.” 

As this year’s Asian capital of Islamic culture, Brunei is considered the longest-standing Malay state since its embrace of Islam more than six centuries ago.

The small nation has played a central role in reinforcing the Islamic faith in the region.

Activities celebrating the declaration of Bandar Seri Begawan as a culture capital will kick off on Jan. 17. 

“Islamic teachings are rooted in the country’s political culture and history, as well as in daily practices,” said Maj. Gen. Dato Paduka Abidin, Brunei’s culture minister.

Representing the African continent, the capital of Guinea-Bissau is a rich mix of Islamic and Christian cultures enriched by traditional African beliefs.

Islam arrived in Guinea-Bissau before the 12th century, and expanded considerably in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Every year, Bissau hosts a cultural and artistic event, and several neighborhoods showcase their vibrant cultural heritage.

ISESCO proclaimed 2019 the year of heritage in the Islamic world.

In a statement released on the occasion, ISESCO invited member states to plan celebrations, and underscored the importance of cultural heritage in preserving memory and identity.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1429601/world

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13 dead in Burkina Faso after suspected jihadist attack

Jan 2, 2019

OUAGADOUGOU: Thirteen people died when suspected jihadists attacked a village in central-northern Burkina Faso, triggering a deadly bout of ethnic violence, local sources and a security official said on Wednesday.

Gunmen on motorbikes attacked the village of Yirgou in Barsalogo district on Tuesday morning, "killing six people, including the village chief" and his son, the security official said.

A Barsalogo resident, reached by phone by AFP from the capital Ouagadougou, said local villagers, who were from the Mossi ethnic group, then attacked a nearby camp of herders from the nomadic Fulani group, "accusing them of being accomplices of the terrorists."

"Seven Fulani herders were lynched and their homes were burned down," the security official said.

The mayor of Barsalogo district, Abdoulaye Pafadnam, said the 13 dead were buried at nightfall on Tuesday, but added it was possible the toll was even higher.

"A precarious calm has returned to the village, thanks to the presence of defence and security reinforcements," he said.

"However, there are reports going around of armed groups coming from the Malian border, and these have caused a mobilisation of the koglweogo," Pafadnam said, referring to a self-defence group.

"A crisis committee has been set up to get everyone around the table to talk and avoid the worst," he said.

Burkina on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in provinces within seven of the country's 13 administrative regions, four days after 10 gendarmes were killed near the border with Mali.

A state of emergency gives additional powers to the security forces to carry out searches of homes and to restrict freedom of movement.

Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the vast Sahel.

The region turned into a hotbed of extremism and lawlessness after chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, followed by an Islamist insurgency in northern Mali and the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

Jihadist attacks began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 but then spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most attacks have been attributed to the jihadist group Ansarul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (the Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/13-dead-in-burkina-faso-after-suspected-jihadist-attack/articleshow/67354134.cms

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22 political parties call for formation of transitional government in Sudan

2 January 2019

22 Sudanese political parties signed a memorandum on Tuesday which was sent to President Omar al-Bashir, calling for the dissolution of the Sudanese government and parliament.

The parties also demanded the formation of a transitional council to manage the country, in addition to forming a transitional government that combines competencies and equal political representation.

An Al Arabiya correspondent reported that the al-Islah party withdrew all of its representatives from the government.

Earlier on Tuesday, al-Bashir had issued a decree to form an investigative committee to probe the violence that occurred during anti-government protests.

According to official numbers, at least 19 persons were killed and hundreds injured during the protests that started on December 19 in several cities, including Khartoum, after a governmental decision to raise the prices of bread and fuel.

Protests quickly turned into marches that criticized government policy in Khartoum and other Sudanese regions.

Protesters burnt several buildings and offices of the ruling National Congress Party. Riot police managed to break up the marches.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/01/02/22-political-parties-call-for-formation-of-transitional-government-in-Sudan.html

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Two ISIS suicide bombings rock southern Libya in one day

2 January 2019

Three Libyan army soldiers were killed and another injured on Tuesday in two suicide bombings suspected to be carried out by ISIS, in crowded areas in Ghadwa, near the southern city of Sabha.

Interim Interior Minister Ahmed Baraka said the soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the Ghadwa police station.

He added that another suicide bomber blew himself up inside the police station after his arrest, resulting in no fatalities except the bomber. There was also some material damage to the building.

These suicide attacks come less than a day after an operation to free 22 Libyan armed forces, who were held by ISIS. During the operation, several ISIS militants were killed.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/01/02/Two-ISIS-suicide-bombings-rock-southern-Libya-in-one-day.html

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Kenyan army kills 7 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia

02.01.2019

The Kenyan soldiers killed seven al-Shabaab militants in a military operation in southern Somalia, the army announced Wednesday.

“Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers operating under AMISOM (The African Union Mission in Somalia) engaged Al-Shabaab militants at a location along Tabda-Delahola supply route,” KDF spokesman Paul Njuguna said in a statement.

Some of the al-Shabaab militants escaped with injuries, the army said, adding, two Kenyan soldiers also sustained injuries.

The Kenyan soldiers seized nine AK-47 rifles, 10 firearm magazines, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and three grenades in the operation, according to the statement.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/kenyan-army-kills-7-al-shabaab-militants-in-somalia/1354034

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Al-Shabaab losing, desperate, AU says after UN base attack

JANUARY 2 2019

The African Union has condemned Tuesday's mortar attack on a United Nations base in Somalia, terming it proof that Al-Shabaab terrorists are desperate to stay relevant as they are being defeated.

Ambassador Franscisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, issued a statement on Wednesday, reiterating support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

SOLIDARITY

UNSOM is one of the groups helping the country achieve peace and stability and push out Al-Shabaab, who want to impose a harsh version of the Sharia Law.

In the ambush at about 2pm, the terrorists fired seven mortar shells, which the Amisom said targeted the basecamp.

The mission noted that they all missed the target.

The attack at the base in the capital left three people injured. Two of the victims are UN employees and the other a contractor.

Mr Madeira expressed solidarity with their families and UNSOM, and noted that significant progress has been made in the quest for peace and stability.

FORCED OUT

Ambassador Madeira said the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists have been forced out of Mogadishu.

In a statement released by Amisom on Wednesday, the special representative said, "Amisom [and] the Somali National Security Forces have forced Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu and from most cities and towns of south-central Somalia.

"Yesterday's attack is yet another manifestation of [the terrorists'] desperate attempt to remain relevant after losing strongholds."

He noted that Al-Shabaab, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, does not respect the sanctity of human life.

"They insist on scuttling the progress achieved in restoring peace and security in the country," the ambassador said.

AMISOM

Countries in the Amisom include Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti, which contribute troops.

Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Sierra Leone contribute police.

The mission announced in 2016 that it would withdrawing soldiers from Somalia in October 2018.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has, however, said repeatedly that the Kenya Defence Forces will only leave the country now led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, or Mohamed Farmajo, until the mission is accomplished.

Full report at:

https://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/AU-condemns-Al-Shabaab-attack-at-UN-base/1066-4919100-142pc4pz/index.html

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Boko Haram raids military posts in northeast Nigeria

January 03, 2019

KANO, Nigeria – Boko Haram jihadists have raided at least 3 military posts and overpowered troops in the latest attacks in northeast Nigeria, sources said Wednesday, January 2.

Fighters from the ISIS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) overran the posts in Borno state on Tuesday, January 1, military and militia sources told Agence France-Presse.

The Boko Haram faction has in recent months intensified attacks on military targets in Borno and Yobe states, raiding bases and killing dozens of troops.

"They first dislodged soldiers at a checkpoint in Kimba in Biu... and then took over another post at Sabon Gari, 5 kilometers (3 miles) away," said one military officer of the latest attacks.

The jihadists launched another attack on a base in nearby Wajirko, according to a militiaman in the area.

On Monday, December 31, the jihadists had overwhelmed troops in Buni Gari village in neighbouring Yobe state, leading to "some losses," an army officer said.

"Troops were outgunned and forced to retreat after heavy fighting with the terrorists," the military source said.

ISWAP gunmen apparently attacked the village in reprisals over the killing of fellow jihadists in the village last month.

Residents alerted soldiers in a nearby military base as they arrived in trucks.

During an attempt by jihadist fighters to seize another base on Wednesday in Damasak, the army said it lost a helicopter.

Details are scant, but if the aircraft was shot down by the insurgents it would suggest that they now possess more sophisticated weapons than they have used in the last 4 years of fighting.

ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they killed 14 soldiers and took another hostage, according to SITE intelligence which monitors jihadist activities.

Last week the group took control of the strategic town of Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad.

Full report at:

https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/africa/220187-boko-haram-raids-military-posts-northeast-nigeria

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North America

 

Trump wants India, Russia, and Pakistan to fight Taliban in Afghanistan

Jan 3, 2019

WASHINGTON: Expressing dissatisfaction over New Delhi's decades-old role in the Afghanistan peace process, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he wants the regional countries, including India, Russia and Pakistan to fight the Taliban in the war-torn country.

In his first Cabinet meeting of the year, the US President also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Aghanistan, wondering who would use it in that country.

"Why is not Russia there (in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban)? Why isn't India there? Why isn't Pakistan there? Why are we (US) there? We are 6,000 miles away. But I don't mind. We want to help our people. We want to help other nations," Trump told reporters in response to a question during the Cabinet meeting.

The US President cited India's efforts towards peace and development in Afghanistan but alleged that the countries were not doing enough in the war-ravaged country and that they were taking advantage of the United States.

Asserting that the Afghan war costs billions of dollars to the US, Trump said, "I want people to treat us fairly". He noted that heads of countries have told him that they are involved in the peace process by "just sending some 100 or 200 soldiers".

The US President referred to his friendly terms with Prime Minister Modi, but appeared critical of a library funded by India in Afghanistan.

"I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi. But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That's like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan)," Trump told his cabinet colleagues.

"And he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, oh thank you for the library. Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it's one of those things. I don't like being taken advantage of," he said.

Trump drew a comparison between the expenses being borne by the US and other countries in the Afghan peace efforts.

"What other countries have done for the last long period of time is given us some soldiers and then talk about it like it's the end of the world. And we are subsidizing their military is by billions and billions and billions of dollars, many, many, many times, what those soldiers cost that country," the US President said.

Responding to a question, he said he wants India to be involved in Afghanistan.

Asked if India's role in Afghanistan was going to be security related, Trump said: "We are going to be doing something that is right. We are talking to the Taliban. We are talking to a lot of different people."

"But here's the thing, because you mentioned India. India is there. Russia is there. Russia used to be Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia. So you tend to look at other countries. Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting," he said.

"The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight and literally they (Russia) went bankrupt," Trump said.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/trump-wants-india-russia-pakistan-to-fight-taliban-in-afghanistan/articleshow/67359053.cms

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New 9/11 leaked files to ‘top Snowden's finest work,’ hackers say

Jan 2, 2019

A hacker group is claiming that new files they are going to release about 9/11 would top the “finest work” by American whistle blower Edward Snowden.

“What we're about to announce and leak will top Edward Snowden's finest work, both in volume and in impact,” the Dark Overlord announced in a post on Pastebin.

It also posted a link to a 10-gigabyte encrypted archive of documents, vowing to release the encryption keys if their demands were not met.

It further indicated that the content would lead to an international uproar.

It's not just insurance litigation that we have, it's CONFIDENTIAL, CLASSIFIED, and SECRET documents from FAA, FBI, TSA, USDOJ, and others. pic.twitter.com/7LaC8TaNAQ

— thedarkoverlord (@tdo_h4ck3rs) January 1, 2019

“The subsequent release of these materials will generate millions of news articles and result in the biggest and most significant data breach ever to have occurred.”

The group also claimed that the information was obtained from insurers and government agencies.

Some of the documents were stolen in an April hack of an unnamed law firm, which has reportedly paid ransom to the hacker group but also notified law enforcement officials.

“We’ll be providing many answers about 9.11 conspiracies through our 18,000 secret documents leak,” read a Twitter post by the group, infamously known for hacking American media-services provider Netflix.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584686/New-911-leaked-files-to-top-Snowdens-finest-work-hackers-say

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Trump says US wants to protect Kurds in Syria even as it pulls forces out

2 January 2019

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States would get out of Syria slowly “over a period of time” and would protect the US-backed Kurdish fighters in the country as Washington draws down troops.

Trump did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, which he announced last month against the advice of top national security aides and without consulting lawmakers or US allies participating in anti-ISIS operations.

The decision prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign. Trump said on Wednesday he had essentially fired Mattis, whose letter of resignation was seen as a sharp rebuke to the Republican president.

During a Cabinet meeting at the White House in front of reporters, Trump said he had never set a reported four-month timetable for the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops stationed in Syria amid a battle against ISIS militants.

“We’re getting out and we’re getting out smart,” Trump said. “I never said I’m getting out tomorrow.” He declined to be specific about how long troops would remain in Syria.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/01/02/Trump-says-US-wants-to-protect-Kurds-in-Syria-even-as-it-pulls-forces-out.html

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‘Five Hours of What We Spend’: Trump Mocks Indian PM for Library In Afghanistan

3 January 2019

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.

Trump brought up India’s aid during a rambling press appearance at a cabinet meeting as he defended his push for the United States to invest less overseas.

While stating that he got along with Modi, Trump said the Indian leader was “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan.” “You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” Trump said.

“And we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan,” Trump said.

It was unclear to which project Trump was referring, but India has committed $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the extremist Taliban regime after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Projects have included the reconstruction of an elite high school in Kabul and scholarships to India for 1,000 Afghan students each year.

Empowering Afghans

Inaugurating the Afghan parliament building in 2015 after reconstruction financed by India, Modi promised to promote programs “empowering Afghan youth with modern education and professional skills.”

India has been one of the most enthusiastic countries over the US mission in Afghanistan, where the former Taliban regime sheltered fiercely anti-Indian militants.

But India’s role has alarmed its arch-rival Pakistan, whose intelligence service’s continued ties to extremists in Afghanistan has been seen by analysts in part as a way to counter New Delhi.

Trump last month moved to pull all 2,000 US troops out of Syria and cut by half the 14,000-strong force in Afghanistan, calling for less spending overseas.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/01/03/-Five-hours-of-what-we-spend-Trump-mocks-Indian-PM-for-library-in-Afghanistan.html

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US military presence still causing concerns in Iraq

Jan 3, 2019

In Iraq, the future of the US military forces has turned into a main concern at government and public levels. The concerns gained momentum after the recent sneaky visit of the US President Donald Trump to Iraq during which he didn’t hold talks with any Iraqi officials and went straight to Ain Al-Assad airbase to meet American forces. Our correspondent Ali Musawi has more in this report.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/03/584716/US-military-presence-still-causing-concerns-in-Iraq

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Iranians can ‘do whatever they want’ in Syria, Trump says

Jan 2, 2019

US President Donald Trump says Iranians can “do whatever they want” in Syria, dodging a question about when the US would withdraw from the war ravaged country.

“Iran is pulling people out of Syria, but they can frankly do whatever they want there,” the US president said.

Asked about the timeline of the US withdrawal from Syria, he refused to give a direct answer.

"I don't know, somebody said four months but I didn't say that either," Trump said. "We want to protect the Kurds but I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It's sand and it's death."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly asked Trump to prolong the withdrawal process to four months.

"We don't want Syria. Obama gave up Syria years ago when he didn’t violate the red line. I did when I shot 59 missiles but that was a long time later. And when President Obama decided not to violate his statement that never cross the red line and then they did and he didn't do anything about it."

Trump's decision to end the US military presence in Syria and scale it back in Afghanistan, made him further isolated as it led to resignation of General James Mattis as the United States Secretary of Defense.

Mattis reportedly failed to convince Trump that the US military presence in Syria is associated with maintaining critical alliances and partnerships.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584709/Iran-can-do-whatever-it-wants-in-Syria-Trump

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Nearly 1,900 American tourists visited Iran over first nine months of Iranian year: Foreign Ministry

Jan 2, 2019

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi says nearly 1,900 American tourists visited Iran over a period of nine months starting March 2018.

“During the first nine months of the current [Iranian] year, 1,879 American tourists traveled to Iran” Qassemi told IRNA on Wednesday. 

He said that the tourists included cultural tourists, ones visiting monuments, ecotourists, pilgrims as well as those attending scientific conferences and seminars.

According to Qassemi, of the 1,879 American tourists, 511 were pilgrims.

With nearly two dozen special sites that have been registered on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Iran has been frequently named as a must-visit travel destination.

The country is attracting camera-wielding Westerners in droves, where ancient bazaars, museums, mosques, monuments, gardens and palaces along with historical ruins, amazing rural landscapes and bustling cities provide a feast for the eyes to behold and be enchanted with.

Iran is one of the most secure countries in a region ridden with violence.

A report on global security, which was released in November, portrayed Iran as safe as much of Western Europe for travelers.

In November, Iran also started to issue electronic visa for foreign tourists as part of a larger initiative to cope with the restrictions imposed by the US administration on those traveling to the country.

Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) Ali Asghar Mounesan said the plan was aimed at facilitating travels to Iran by foreign tourists. He also expressed hope that the move could play a leading role in attracting more foreign tourists to the country.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/01/02/584698/Iran-US-tourists

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • Its good Malaysia became Islamic state, as Muslim use as token of peaceful and enlightened Muslim countries,  it's proof how Quran can make whole country zombie.

    Is it Javed Ghamdhi Islam did not help in Malaysia, he took there Asylum, now where he will take once  Malaysia will become truely Muslimasia.

    We will have to  say now "It truly Muslimasia".

    By Aayina - 1/12/2019 12:24:15 PM



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