Majesty King Abdullah receives the 2018 Templeton Prize from President of the
John Templeton Foundation Heather Templeton Dill in Washington, DC, on
Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)
Shia Person’s Funeral Prayer Gets Marriage ‘Annulled’, Says Pakistan Cleric
Is Religion of Holistic Vision, Not Cherry-Picking to Suit Political Agenda — Jordan
Arabia Trashes Reports That Palestinians Are Barred From Mecca
Historic Midterm Election Wins, Muslims Struggle a Little Less with Their
Members Hailing From Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan Arrested In Kabul
Asylum Policy Gets ‘Dictated By Pakistani Mob’ In Aasia Bibi Case
Resumption of Peace Talks with India before 2019 Elections: Pakistan
needed to probe ‘economic terrorism’: minister
orders setting up of National Curriculum Council
to record statement of slain JUI-S leader’s ‘missing’ secretary
Displeasure over Qatar, Turkey on Display at Palermo
clashes renewed in Libyan capital threatening security plan
of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya
of Shiites must stop in Nigeria
Imams Oppose Bid to Bar Caps in Passports
army rescues 16 hostages from Boko Haram
Security and Economy Top Agenda of Saudi Shoura Session
of Civilians Killed in US Air Raid on ISIL Prison in Deir Ezzur
Christian Civil War Foes Shake Hands, Make Up After 40 Years
flare-up part of bin Salman’s scenario to distract world from Khashoggi case:
Militia Reinvigorates Positions in Eastern Syria
militants pause Hudaydah attack
courts issued death sentences for 32 anti-regime activists since 2011
Mosque's Bid to Repeal Prayer Restrictions Deferred
envoy: Fight against ISIS in Syria may end soon, Iran still a threat
drone strikes killing more civilians in Yemen: Report
coalition warplanes target eastern Syrian towns with cluster bombs: Report
Abizaid, 'the mad Arab', could be Washington's best bet for better Saudi ties
War' Between Afghanistan, Pakistan Must End: Ghani
high as Rohingya fear looming return to Mynamar
of violence threatens fair Bangladeshi poll
Airstrikes Kill 5 Militants in Ghazni, 40 BM-1 Warheads Seized In Logar
treatment of Rohingya Muslims Pence spurns Suu Kyi
Of Terrorists by Pakistan a Threat, PM Tells US Vice-President
Using Social Media to Collect Funds for Terror Activities’
Managing IDs by Illegal Means in Telangana
Has Been and Will Remain Long-Term Partner of Afghanistan'
Mission’s Incredible Achievements; 370 Students Cracked NEET-2018
Hizb-ul militants arrested in Jammu and Kashmir
killed; DRI, Army seize huge cache of arms, ammunition in Jammu
Local Muslims Spar over Supreme Court Order On Taj Mahal
of Ayodhya Worried About Their Safety, Says Party to Title Suit
Peace Forum Launches Annual Meeting to Fight for Multilateralism
Exiled Envoy: We Will Never Submit to Trump and Become a Nation of Beggars
Migrants Steal French Boat and Sail To Britain
Muslim minority seeks cooperation with Turkey
Forces Destroy Almost 2000 Houthi Mines in Hajjah Governorate
Power Struggles Erupt In Iran Over Money Laundering, Terror Support
president says America chose wrong path on sanctions, will be defeated
FM: Turkey aims to deepen ties with Saudi Arabia
resigns as Israel’s minister of military affairs in opposition to Gaza deal
welcomes ‘early convening’ of UN-led Yemen talks in Sweden
handling of EU programs for Syrian refugees under scrutiny
killed in Gaza despite Hamas-Israel cease-fire
activists slam Jerusalem Old City cable car plan
defence minister announces resignation protesting Gaza truce
Universities Told To Nip Radicalism in Bud
courses for non-Muslims
least restore my PTPTN perks, Najib tells Pakatan
Sunni Muslims live in peace in Wonosobo
by New Age Islam News Bureau
cleric in Chiniot has declared that anyone who offered the funeral prayers of a
recently deceased Shia woman was no longer a Muslim and had to recite the Kalma
to enter back into the fold of Islam.
to a BBC Urdu report, the incident took place in Chak 136 of the Chiniot district
some ten days ago, where the people were advised to also get their Nikah
local cleric, Mian Khalid Bashir, refused to lead the funeral prayers of my
niece because we belong to the Shia community,” the report quoted Qasim Ali, a
resident of the village, as saying. Another cleric from a nearby village was
then invited, he added.
the incident, he [Bashir] announced that the participants of the funeral prayer
were no longer Muslims and would have to recite the Kalma,” Qasim claimed,
adding that the cleric also announced the participants’ marriages had been
annulled and they would have to get Nikah performed once again.
to Qasim, the cleric also delivered a fatwa, after which all locals believed
asked how were they [participants of the funeral] supposed to get their
marriages registered again, the cleric said the Nikah was already registered
and only performing it was needed.”
Qasim said, the locals were now waiting to complete their iddat [waiting period]
in order to get Nikah with their “former” spouses performed.
Is Religion of Holistic Vision, Not Cherry-Picking to Suit Political Agenda —
— His Majesty King Abdullah said that Islam is a religion of holistic vision,
"not the cherry-picking of verses to suit a political agenda",
stressing that all 1.8 billion Muslims around the world are working to defend
Islam against the "malignant sub-minority who abuse our religion".
his speech at a ceremony in Washington, DC, as he accepted the 2018 Templeton
Prize on Wednesday, His Majesty underlined Jordan's historic privilege as the
land of prophets and its role in maintaining and defending their message of
peace and goodness, according to a Royal Court statement.
Majesty said that he accepts the award on behalf of all Jordanians, because all
he is being honoured for "simply carries onward what Jordanians have
always done", and that is to live in mutual kindness, harmony and
his sorrow over the loss of life in the Kingdom in the recent flashfloods, the
King added that the Jordanian families grieving for loved ones are "are
highest in my mind today".
King said that "the greater jihad" has nothing to do with the
hate-filled fiction promoted by the likes of Daesh or Islamophobes who distort
is, instead, the personal, internal struggle to defeat the ego and the struggle
we all share for a world of peace, harmony and love," he added.
stressed that the noble commandments of loving God and one's neighbour are ones
that unite many faiths around the world, including Islam, Christianity and
is a profound message, calling every one of us to struggle to look beyond
ourselves. And this outward insight is the source and hope of all coexistence,”
His Majesty said.
we talk about coexistence, the King noted, no issue is more important than that
of Jerusalem, stressing that the city is holy to more than half the world’s
population, and with the multi-faith heritage the Holy City holds, Jerusalem
must be protected as a “unifying city of peace”.
Majesty, who has been awarded the prestigious prize in appreciation for his
efforts to promote interfaith harmony, safeguard Jerusalem’s Islamic and
Christian holy sites and protect religious freedom, announced during the
ceremony that a portion of the award’s value will be donated to renovate
religious sites in Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while
the remaining sum will be devoted to humanitarian, interfaith and intra-faith
initiatives, in Jordan and around the world.
Secretary General António Guterres said that King Abdullah’s promotion of peace
within Islam, and between Muslims and people of other beliefs, has contributed
to global peace and progress in many ways, highlighting the Amman Message of
2004 as one of His Majesty’s contributions to this goal.
remarks during the prize ceremony, Guterres also referred to the King’s
scholarly initiatives that aimed to foster mutual understanding and cooperation
among Muslims, as well as between Muslims and Christians, such as the Royal Aal
al-Bayt Institute and The Common Word initiative, launched by His Majesty in
is too often used to divide us. But it should provide pathways for people to
come together in their diversity. By seeking religious harmony and
understanding within Islam, and between Islam and other religions, His Majesty
has courageously demonstrated that belief in a power greater than ourselves can
bridge differences, create unity and contribute to peace, stability and
security,” the secretary general said.
also commended the King’s proposal for the World Interfaith Harmony Week, which
was unanimously adopted by the UN and is now observed every year around the
world, as well as the King’s role in guarding Muslim and Christian holy sites
in Jerusalem and his efforts to fund the construction of Christian churches in
Jordan and support Christians threatened by Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
a former high commissioner for refugees, Guterres said he also has great
admiration for the Kingdom and its role in hosting of millions of refugees
“with a generosity that should be referred to today in a world where —
unfortunately — refugees are, so many times, forgotten or even ostracized”.
Abdullah has acted upon his responsibility to address the root causes that can
undermine social cohesion and create conditions in which extremism can
flourish. He has demonstrated what true leadership looks like, in our times and
for our world,” Guterres added.
her part, President of the John Templeton Foundation Heather Templeton Dill
said that King Abdullah is a person “shaped by temporal and political
responsibilities, yet one who holds the conviction that religious belief and
the free exercise of religion are among humankind’s most important callings”.
president said the founder of the Templeton Foundation, Sir John Templeton,
created the prize because he believed that religion is important and
under-appreciated in the affairs of humankind and he wanted to honour those who
were making significant contributions to human flourishing that spring from
deeply held religious convictions.
this way, His Majesty embodies the values that inspired my grandfather to
establish the Templeton Prize and the John Templeton Foundation and it is a
great joy to celebrate His Majesty’s contributions in this ceremony,” Templeton
Amman Message, the Common Word and the United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week
stress the moral imperative of understanding the values of peace inherent in
all religions, she added.
at the John Templeton Foundation cannot think of a more important message of
peace and reconciliation for the world to hear and embrace in the 21st
Abdullah is the first political leader and head of state to receive the
Templeton Prize, founded in 1972, and the second Muslim figure it recognises.
its launch, the prize has been awarded to 47 international figures, including
scholars, philosophers, and leading reformers, such as Mother Teresa, who
received the inaugural award in 1973, the Dalai Lama (2012) and Archbishop
Desmond Tutu (2013).
Majesty returned home on Wednesday after a working visit to Washington, during
which he received the accolade and held several meetings over regional
developments and cooperation, including with US secretary of State Mike Pompeo,
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and World Bank Group President Jim Yong
Saudi Arabia has dismissed claims that Palestinians are not allowed in Mecca,
and reaffirmed its support for the nation's independence.
on the prohibition of more than a million Palestinians from performing the hajj
in Mecca are false and invalid, because they are taken from unreliable
sources," Osama bin Mohammed al-Shuaibi, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to
Indonesia, said at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.
news outlet Middle East Eye and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last week
that Saudi Arabia was barring more than 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of
Israel from traveling on temporary Jordanian passports to perform the Islamic
pilgrimages of hajj and umrah in the holy city.
ambassador said in allocating annual hajj quotas, Saudi Arabia applies a
general rule of thumb of one person per 1,000 Muslim citizens of member states
of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to which Palestine belongs.
said claims in the report therefore do not make sense, considering that
Palestine's population of approximately 7 million means only 7,000 of its
citizens would be eligible to perform the hajj annually.
Palestinian issue is a collective issue … we will not leave them to fight on
their own, and we will give them the support they need," he said.
Saudi Embassy in Cairo issued a statement this week, saying that the kingdom
had provided $60 million in financial to Palestine through the Saudi Fund for
historic midterm election wins, Muslims struggle a little less with their
Alaikum”, meaning "peace be unto you”, is how I start my greetings and
sermons. It’s also how Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar started her victory
speech. The Quran is the sacred scripture that I recite in my prayer. It’s also
the book that the first two Muslim women to ever be elected to the United
States Congress will likely use to take the oath of office.
is the name of the prophet of Islam. It’s also the name of Mujtaba Mohammed,
who was newly elected to the North Carolina State Senate. Palestine is where my
parents came from before I was born in New Orleans. It’s also where
Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib’s parents came from before she was born in
is something special about seeing yourself in your leaders, especially when
your community is targeted by the highest leader of the land. To be clear,
Islamophobia is not unique to the Donald Trump era. Since 9/11, the Muslim
community in this country has struggled to articulate how it sees itself
authentic both to it’s Muslim and American identities.
burden of being Muslim in America
over a decade ago, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson became the first two Muslim
congressmen in the history of the United States. Shortly after, Barack Hussein
Obama ran for president with many trying to delegitimize him by suggesting that
he was a secret Muslim. The insinuation was that he would not be loyal to the
country if he were indeed a Muslim. While those attempts ultimately failed at
halting his road to the presidency, they succeeded in further alienating a
Muslim community that was already feeling the brunt of the collective guilt
assigned to it after 9/11.
to a 2017 report by The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU),
60 percent of American Muslims report experiencing religious discrimination —
more than any other faith group in America. In 2017, 42 percent of Muslim
families with kids in grade school said their child was bullied. Tragically,
1-in-4 of the incidents involved a teacher or administrator as the bully. But
hate doesn’t stop at just name calling. According to the FBI, hate crimes
targeting Muslims went up by 67 percent in 2015 and again by another 19 percent
the hate crimes that compromise the safety of Muslim Americans are the
paralyzing psychological messages young Muslims constantly receive. Most young
Muslims were either not yet born when 9/11 took place, or are too young to
remember it in any meaningful way. Yet they have been tasked with not only
proving their own innocence, but their religion’s innocence of terror as a
burden weighs heavily as politicians are willing to exploit irrational fears
about the Muslim community to win elections and stay in power.
making history, not just witnessing it
my organization, the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, a non-profit
research organization dedicated to Muslim identity formation, I talk with young
Muslims about the harmful effects of Islamophobia and how it leaves them unsure
about both their national and religious identities. Most Muslim youth we talk
to feel overwhelmed from the exhaustion of having to be hyper-focused on
embracing their American identity to prove that they aren’t foreign foes. At
the same time, many are convinced that the only way to excel is to relinquish
their Muslim identity, or at least obscure it from the public.
it means something to see Ibtihaj Muhammad triumphing to become the first
American Muslim woman in hijab to win an Olympic medal. Or Tahera Rahman
becoming the first on-air TV reporter to wear hijab in the United States after
years of privately struggling against those who told her she would never get
ahead with a veil on her head. Or even a Dagestani fighter named Khabib
Nurmagomedov hoisting the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title in
Las Vegas after being taunted because of his religion. And all of us still live
a little through the legend of Muhammad Ali.
this is different. Before she was elected, Rashida Tlaib was dragged out of a
Trump rally for challenging the president. If Ilhan Omar was still a Somali
refugee seeking asylum, she would have had the door shut in her face by Trump’s
travel ban against predominantly-Muslim countries. Now she can directly
challenge the Trump administration’s refugee policies from within the halls of
many years, Muslims have watched elections be about us, without us. Candidates
spoke either in favor of or against us, but we were never the candidates
ourselves. That is changing, and young Muslim Americans are watching with not
only a renewed sense of belonging, but with a distinctive spirit of courage.
members hailing from Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan arrested in Kabul
least three foreign members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
terrorist group have been arrested in Kabul city, the Afghan Intelligence said
to a statement released by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the
detained ISIS members were looking to carry out a series of attacks in the
statement further added that the detained individuals originally hail from
Turkey, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.
the identities of the detained ISIS members, NDS said Noorullah from Turkey,
Noor Mohammad from Tajikistan, and Mohammad Afzal from Pakistan, who were
looking to plan and coordiante attacks in Kabul city.
National Directorate of Security also added that five Taliban group members
have also been arrested from Kabul city during separate operations.
anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups, including ISIS loyalista
and Taliban militants have not commented in this regard so far.
asylum policy gets ‘dictated by Pakistani mob’ in Aasia Bibi case
British Foreign Office had allegedly refused to grant asylum to Aasia Bibi, a
Christian woman who was acquitted by the Supreme Court from blasphemy charges
last month, due to fear for the safety of UK consular staff in Pakistan, The
Guardian reported. Aasia Bibi is seeking asylum after threats to her life in
Pakistan. Former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson was among many members of
Parliament (MPs) calling for her and her family to be granted sanctuary in
acquittal of the 53-year-old by the Supreme Court prompted demonstrations by
hardline Islamist parties in Pakistan who had campaigned for her to be hanged.
remains in protective custody in an undisclosed location in Pakistan after
Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to allow a petition against the court’s
decision as part of a deal to halt the protests.
husband, Ashiq Masih, has appealed for help to Britain, Canada, Italy and the
US but the UK high commissioner in Islamabad is reported to have warned he
could not protect his staff if asylum was granted by the UK.
Tugendhat, the foreign affairs select committee chair, asked the British FO
Permanent Secretary Sir Simon McDonald, whether the episode “does not raise the
question that either staff should be withdrawn or security increased or
otherwise UK policy is effectively dictated to by a mob?”.
took the committee into lengthy private session after McDonald said he did not
wish to give evidence in public on a such a sensitive issue.
defended Britain’s efforts to find a third country to take Bibi, saying this
would allow UK policy objectives to be achieved without any risk to its staff.
said the episode represented “one of the clearest examples of free conscience
being challenged today”.
senior Labour MP Mike Gapes said: “Given the clear inability of this new
Pakistani government of Imran Khan to stop these mobs from intimidating and
killing Christians in Pakistan, is it not time to reassess our relations with
Pakistan? There are big concerns if religious minorities in Pakistan are not
said Britain’s relationship with Pakistan relationship was important to both
added: “If the objective is to protect life and some other country can provide
some more complete safe harbour, why should the UK not be open to working with
Pakistan foreign office confirmed on Tuesday that it had been holding talks
with the Canadian foreign ministry over granting Bibi asylum.
of talks between the two governments came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau said on Monday his government was talking to Pakistan about the case.
are in discussions with the Pakistani government,” Trudeau said in an interview
with Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Paris, where he was attending a peace
conference organised by the French President Emmanuel Macron.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that there
is no possibility of resumption of dialogue with India before the Lok Sabha
elections scheduled in 2019.
to journalists after attending the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign
Affairs’ meeting here, Qureshi said that talks could be held with India only
after the general elections in the neighbouring country.
statement comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said last month that
he would once again extend a hand of friendship to India after the 2019 Lok
Sabha elections as he believed New Delhi rebuffed his offer of talks because
Pakistan is an issue in the elections in the neighbouring country.
said he had extended a hand of friendship to India, which rebuffed the move.
assuming power in August, Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting
a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on the margins of the UN
General Assembly in September.
accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, terrorists killed
three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, prompting New Delhi to cancel the foreign
ministers’ meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA.
(Khan) attributed this (cancellation) to anti-Pakistan rhetoric raking in votes
in India,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the prime minister.
ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by
Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday called for forming a
parliamentary panel to probe issues linked with “economic terrorism”.
to the 5,000 fake bank accounts allegedly used to stash billions of dollars
abroad, he said the proposed parliamentary committee would see to whom these
accounts belonged to.
in the Senate, Mr Chaudhry said information received from 10 countries showed
that these accounts had been used to launder Rs700 billion. He said the
committee should also see as to how allocations made in successive budgets had
been spent and why the government was forced to lend money to pay back loans.
idea was endorsed in principle by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani who promised to
consult the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition in the Senate,
besides discussing it with the National Assembly speaker.
information minister regretted the remarks made against the Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader
Mushahidullah Khan on Monday and said the language used was deplorable and the
member or his party should tender an apology for it.
Senate chairman, however, asked the minister not to vitiate the atmosphere,
pointing out that the member concerned was not present in the house.
this, Mr Chaudhry said he too was not present in the house when the PML-N
leader made objectionable remarks. He wondered why he could not speak on how
the country had been run by the previous governments. Referring to a case
relating to illegal construction of shops on the land of Baba Farid shrine in
Pakpattan, the permission for which had been granted in 1985 when PML-N supremo
Nawaz Sharif was the chief minister, Mr Chaudhry said they did not even spare
chairman once again interrupted the minister and said the matter was sub
Chaudhry regretted that whenever somebody talked of investigations into
corruption, accountability and fake accounts, the atmosphere in the Senate was
vitiated. “It is inappropriate to sweep everything under the carpet.”
apparently calmed down afterwards, but rumpus ruled the house over the information
minister’s remarks in response to a calling-attention notice moved by Usman
Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and others raised the issue
of slow pace of work on the Quetta airport and use of substandard material.
Kakar regretted that while big airports had been constructed in Karachi, Lahore
and Islamabad, the expansion work on the Quetta airport that was supposed to be
completed by December last year was constantly being delayed.
to the notice, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said the
PkMAP remained an ally of the previous PML-N government for five years, but
they never bothered to question their allies for the delay.
infuriated the PkMAP senators who shouted at the minister not to say anything
against the previous government and instead focus on the delay.
if what Mr Khan had said was not enough, the information minister stood up
again to hold responsible top opposition leaders by name. He said Zardaris,
Achakzais and Fazlur Rahmans were to blame if no uplift work could be carried
out in the provinces despite provision of substantial funds. “They are the ones
who looted the country.”
also asked as to where the hefty amount of Rs42 trillion given to Balochistan
over the last 10 years had been spent. “Mehmood Khan Achakzai had appointed his
brother as governor of the province and had made the whole government his slave
and is now giving us lectures,” he said, adding that the opposition had no
right to talk like this.
which capacity these people are talking as these are the people who are
responsible for the backwardness of the province,” he said. “There should be a
committee comprising members of the Senate to probe ‘economic terrorism’ by
Achakzais and Co.”
the minister continued to hold allies of the PML-N in Balochistan responsible
for the province’s backwardness, the combined opposition parties staged a
walkout in protest.
of the House Shibli Faraz, Senator Faisal Javed and Minister for Privatisation
Mohammad Mian Soomro tried to persuade the opposition members to come back and
join the proceedings, but to no avail.
the Senate chairman reminded the information minister that it was government’s
responsibility to run the house smoothly, the latter retorted that the chair
should also show some concern about the ‘poor’ the way he was giving importance
to the opposition members.
is alright if we don’t talk about the corruption of these protesting senators,
but the moment we say something about their corruption … they start agitating.
We will expose whoever is involved in plundering the national wealth no matter
what,” Mr Chaudhry maintained.
what signalled his readiness to bring his old rivalry with the information
minister to an end, Mushahidullah Khan went to Mr Chaudhry and shook hands with
him when he was exchanging harsh words with Usman Kakar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday ordered establishment of a National
Curriculum Council for creating consensus among stakeholders for uniform
standards of education across the country.
prime minister took the decision during a briefing on education held at the PM
Office, on a suggestion of Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood.
Education Minister Murad Rass and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Adviser on Education
Ziaullah Bangash also briefed the prime minister about the future roadmap and
highlighted various short- medium- and long-term measures to introduce
qualitative change in the education sector.
Khan appreciated the efforts being made at federal and provincial levels and
said the National Education Policy Framework (NEPF) was being devised to bring
uniformity in existing fragmented and apartheid-like system of education.
objective is to create a nation and to put in place a system which is ‘fair’
and ‘produces Pakistanis’,” he said, adding that, skill development of the
youths should be especially focused so that their potential could be utilised
Shafqat Mehmood gave a detailed presentation on the NEPF identifying various
challenges vis-à-vis out of school children, education apartheid, quality of
education and skill development issues.
said the NEPF was being formulated to ensure that all children have a fair and
equal opportunity to receive high quality education in order to achieve their
minister said optimum utilisation of the existing infrastructure, employing
technology solutions, improvement in non-formal education systems, attracting
quality teachers and incentivising the education were some of the measures in
the NEPF that would significantly help in enhancing school enrolment and
addressing the issues of out-of-school children.
a separate meeting on PM Youth Programme, Imran Khan stressed the need for
devising a comprehensive programme for youths’ education, employment and their
participation in different sectors.
said out of 200 million population 130m were those who were below the age of 35
years. “This big number of youths is a precious asset which can change the
destiny of the country,” he added.
prime minister directed the federal government departments to follow the youth
programme implemented by the KP government during the past five years.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Malki called on Prime Minister
have written to Syed Ahmad Shah, the secretary of slain Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
Sami’s (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, who has reportedly been missing from
his home for a few days.
Ahmed Shah, who stayed with the deceased at his Bahria Town residence, was the
first person to find the dead body and is considered an important witness in
enforcement agencies have also recovered a knife from the crime scene and sent
it to a laboratory for forensic analysis. They have also collected DNA samples
of people considered to be close to the deceased for testing.
bloodstained kurta has also been recovered from his room, which is not
considered to be the leader’s.
have added that while Shah is not legally considered a witness, his testimony
will be recorded under section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), as
the investigating officers have legal authority to summon any witness and
record their written statement which can be used in court of law.
displeasure over Qatar, Turkey on display at Palermo
the time Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed optimism at the end of
the Palermo conference on Libya, General Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National
Army and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi had already left Italy two
hours ago, according to LeMonde.
there were conflicting reports about likelihood of Haftar’s participation
before he finally appeared along with the Italian prime minister.
advisers said he had apologized for not attending the dinner hosted by Conte in
honor of the participants.
report quoted a spokesperson for the Libyan army as saying that Haftar was in
Palermo not to participate in the summit but to meet leaders of neighboring
the uncertainty till the last minute of his arrival in Palermo, as well as his
willingness to stand out from the format set out by the Italians can be
explained by two main reasons, according to observers of the Libyan scene.
the first place, Haftar expressed his frustration with some diplomatic
developments in the final stretch before the Palermo summit.
to one of his advisers, he would not have appreciated a tweet by Matteo
Salvini, Italian Deputy Prime Minister, during his visit to Qatar on October
31. In his tweet, Salvini said he had “discovered a respectful and tolerant
country that has repelled extremism” and “will help stabilize Libya”.
Qatar is part of Turkey’s regional axis that supports Haftar’s opponents - from
the ‘revolutionary’ camp or the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood - while the
General is supported by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
the other hand, the Turkish Defense Minister during trip to Tripoli on November
5, had met with Sarraj, followed by the latter's visit on November 9 to Ankara,
where he met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. These developments would also have
certainly offended Haftar, according to his adviser.
wanted to express his displeasure by defying his hosts at Palermo.
confrontations between the Abu Salim Central Security Force, loyal to the
Government of National Accord, and members of the Seventh Brigade broke out on
Wednesday evening after the latter’s forces advanced towards Libya’s
International Airport, south of the capital.
armed clashes in Libya’s Tripoli coincide with Government of National Accord’s
efforts to implement a plan to achieve security and end the roles of militias.
the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya commented on the developments
in Tripoli’s airport and the surrounding area, warning that this “new
escalation of violence and armed clashes poses a huge threat on the security
and safety of civilians and on their property in Tripoli. This is in addition
to the negative repercussions on the efforts towards achieving a social and
commission called on all armed parties to immediately stop any armed escalation
and avoid more fighting and violence in compliance with the ceasefire agreement
reached in September.
Dozens of migrants have barricaded themselves in a container ship in the Libyan
port city of Misrata for the past five days, after being picked up at sea, and
refuse to disembark, saying Libya is too dangerous for them.
with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93
migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday and
continued toward its destination. Two of the migrants agreed to leave with the
Libyan coast guard, but the others refused, saying Libya was deadly for
migrants and they wanted to go to Europe.
have been in the Misrata port ever since, with the captain and crew taking
refuge on the upper decks.
of the migrants, a man from South Sudan reached by The Associated Press on the
ship, vowed on Wednesday to reach Europe or die trying. He said six commercial
ships passed his group before the Nivin finally stopped.
coast guard had no immediate comment on the situation.
just one rescue ship patrolling the Mediterranean, and European ports refusing
to take in rescued migrants, commercial ships have become increasingly leery of
picking up people in the sea. Repeatedly in recent months, they have found
themselves caught in the middle between governments hostile to new migrants and
an obligation under international maritime law to save
man, who identified himself only by his name, Victor, fearing for his safety,
said he himself had already been imprisoned repeatedly in Libya and that his
own brother had died there. He had no intention of returning, he said.
don’t want to go out in Libya,” he told The Associated Press. “You can come and
take my dead body outside.”
Raickman, who is the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Libya, said
Europe’s policy of refusing to take in rescued migrants has led to a spike in
deaths. Now one in five who cross perish at sea, he said.
said the Libyan coast guard has given international organizations access to the
migrants, who have food and some degree of medical care now, but no toilets or
other sanitary facilities. The ship’s cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded,
but the migrants remained unmoved.
December 12, 2015, the military took the law into its hands and massacred over
347 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who allegedly blocked the
convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai. Although the
military has used several lies to justify the killings, a panel set up by the
Kaduna state government to investigate the killings indicted the Nigerian army
for the Zaria massacre. Specifically, the panel indicted Maj. General Adeniyi
Oyebade, the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army’s 1st Devision in
Kaduna for authorising the operation. The Panel only stopped short of indicting
the Chief of Army Staff General Burutai who also bears responsibility for, and
has defended, the killings on several occasions. Regardless, the army stands
accused of grave killings of civilians and crime against humanity.
Panel rightly pointed out that the killings are a crime against humanity and
those responsible must be brought to justice. The report also blamed the leader
of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky for the
clash and recommended that he should be investigated and prosecuted. The
government said that the action was taken to preserve peace and stability in
then, the members of the group – this time not only in Kaduna but also in
Abuja, Kano, Katsina and Jos have been protesting the government’s actions and
also demanding for the unconditional release of their leader, ElZakzaky, his
wife and other members of the IMN who had been in detention unlawfully since
their arrest in 2015 following the sect’s clash with the Nigerian Army.
the sect’s members are being systematically mowed down and killed in several
states for protesting the ban on their sect and the continued incarceration of
their leader and members or for simply embarking on their religious
processions. Some weeks ago, soldiers again opened fire on the group who were
on a religious procession which began around the Suleja area of Niger State.
They encountered soldiers around Zuba, a satellite area of Abuja and issues
quickly escalated. Videos appeared online showing irate members of the sect
throwing stones at soldiers with soldiers shooting live bullets at them as if
in a war situation. Hostilities resumed again two days later, in Wuse, Abuja with
security agencies shooting members of the sect protesting the killing of their
note the increasing crackdown on Shia Islam in Nigeria since the ascension to
the president of Mohammadu Buhari, a Sunni Muslim. In 2016, President Buhari
confirmed Nigeria’s membership in the Islamic Coalition against terrorism
formed in 2015 by Islamic countries following the order of Saudi Arabia, the
leading Sunni nation. Iran was conspicuously left out of the coalition. On the
surface, it appears an innocuous move, but underneath the move is a pandering
towards Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries who have never hidden their
hostility towards Shia Islam. To make matters worse, the Nigerian government
condemned the Iranian-backed Shia Houthi militia resistance group fighting the
Saudi-backed government of Abid Rabbo Mansur Hadi in Yemen for targeting the
Holiest city of Islam, Mecca, in a ballistic missile attack – a claim hotly
disputed by both the Houthis and their Iranian backers.
reality is that the Buhari government is dragging Nigeria into a Saudi-Iran
proxy war. Paradoxically, those two countries have somehow managed to keep this
conflict out of their lands, and have turned other countries into proxy
battlefields for political supremacy.
clergy have protested against Immigration officials, accusing them of forcing
men to remove religious caps before being photographed when applying for
Imams have written a protest letter to the Immigration department over what
they termed discrimination against Muslim men.
chairman of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), Sheikh Abdallah
Ateka, said the headgear, popularly known as kufis, is "religious attire
which need not be removed anyhow."
write to you with a heavy heart to raise the red flag on the mistreatment and
discrimination that Muslims are subjected to when applying for passports,"
said Sheikh Ateka in a letter dated November 7 to Immigration PS Gordon
in charge of photography always demand that all Muslim applicants remove their
headgear before being photographed," he said.
to the Imams, the Immigration officials were contravening the Constitution on
freedom of worship.
person has the right, either individually or in a community with others, in
public or private, to manifest religious belief through worship, practice or
observance," says the letter which is also copied to Interior Cabinet
Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Majority Leaders of both the National Assembly and
Imams also claim that members of other faiths like the Akorino and Sikhs are
treated differently and do not remove their headgear before being photographed.
believe that Prophet Muhammad used to keep his head covered and, therefore, men
are advised to cover their heads in order to emulate him.
least 16 hostages have been rescued from Boko Haram militant group in
northeastern Nigeria, the country’s military said on Wednesday.
a statement, the Nigerian military said six women and 10 children were rescued
in Ngoshe village of Borno state.
Boko Haram militants were killed and many others injured during the operation
to rescue the kidnapped citizens.
has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 when the group turned
violent following the death of its former leader Mohamed Yusuf in police
fewer than 20,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, while between 2-3
million have been displaced from their homes across the Lake Chad region.
security and economy top agenda of Saudi Shoura session
King Salman on Monday will deliver his inaugural address at the Shoura Council,
where he will talk about a range of local and regional issues and urge
lawmakers to support the government in taking the country forward.
king’s speech, which will serve as a guideline for Shoura members, will begin
the deliberations of the new parliamentary year of the 150-member council.
king’s visit to the Shoura is of utmost importance, and his speech will define
domestic, regional and foreign policies,” said Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of
the Shoura Council here on Wednesday.
the visit of King Salman to the Shoura Council to mark the beginning of the
third year of the seventh term, we take a moment to reflect on the past year,”
said that “the past year has been a year of challenges and opportunities both
within the Kingdom and abroad.”
as is in our nature, and as exemplified by our leadership, we have remained
steadfast in our values and beliefs, committed as a country to the well-being
of our citizens, not least as explained in what has now become known as Saudi
Arabia’s road-map for the future, Vision 2030,” Al-Helaissi said.
the home of the Two Holy Mosques and as an important strategic player in the
region, Saudi Arabia has an important role in global politics and we look
forward to hearing the king’s speech this coming Monday,” Al-Helaissi said.
for addressing local and regional challenges with a special reference to
domestic and foreign policies will be spelled out by King Salman, she said.
preparations have been made to receive the king on this occasion,” said
Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, another member of the Shoura Council. Al-Khunaizi said
that King Salman’s speech will have “added political and economic significance,
and it will lay out the agenda for the rest of the Shoura’s term.”
occasion marks the beginning of the new year for the council,” said
Al-Khunaizi, while forecasting a number of proposals, decisions, draft
legislation, treaties and foreign policy matters to be discussed and debated in
said that the king’s speech may touch on subjects such as society, security,
peace, stability, extremism, economy, financial reforms, regional challenges
and foreign policy matters.
noted that the role of women members of the Shoura Council had lent new
dimension to the debate and deliberations of the council. He said that the
current Shoura Council is composed of 150 members including 30 women members.
website, Orient, quoted local sources as reporting that the warplanes targeted
an ISIL-run jail in the town of Hajin in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, destroying
several residential units.
further said that scores of civlian inmates who had been round up and jailed by
the ISIL were killed in the air attack.
is yet no report on the precise number of casualties, but a large death toll is
expected as large groups of people had been locked up in the prison by the
sources said on Saturday that the US warplanes carried out several combat
sorties over the small towns of Hajin and al-Shafa'ah in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur, adding that at least 33 civilians, mostly women and children were killed
and tens more were wounded in the attack that also destroyed a number of
Christian civil war foes shake hands, make up after 40 years
rivals from the Lebanese civil war, Samir Geagea and Suleiman Frangieh, shook
hands with each other on Wednesday, marking a formal reconciliation to end more
than four decades of enmity.
leader of the Lebanese Forces (LF) political party, and Frangieh, head of the
Marada party, have been foes since the early days of the 1975-1990 civil war.
two parties had armed militias during the conflict that battled against each
other. The war, which drew in regional powers, included fighting between the
country’s main sects and rival factions within those sects.
men, both Maronite Christians, met to reconcile at the seat of the sect’s
Patriarch Bechara al-Rai in Bkerki, north of Beirut. They shook hands with Rai
and then with each other after several failed reconciliation attempts over the
has been accused of leading a raid in 1978 on the home of Frangieh’s father,
Tony Franjieh, a rival Maronite Christian chieftain, who was killed with his
wife, daughter and others. Geagea has said he was wounded before reaching
Frangieh’s house, and did not take part himself.
is the second rapprochement of recent years between civil war Maronite
2016 Geagea endorsed then presidential candidate Michel Aoun for the Lebanese
presidency, ending his own rival candidacy for the position, which must be held
by a Maronite Christian under Lebanon’s sectarian power sharing system.
and Aoun, who fought each other in the 1975-90 civil war, have been on opposite
sides of the political divide since Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in
Aoun is a political ally of the Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah, whereas
Geagea is a staunch opponent of the group. Frangieh is a close ally of Syrian
President and Hezbollah ally Bashar al-Assad.
Frangieh, Suleiman’s son, said the reconciliation was a good thing for all
Lebanese and was not connected to any presidential aims.
recent flare-up of violence in the besieged Gaza Strip was likely Israel’s
contribution to a plot hatched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to
divert the world’s attention away from the Saudi assassination of dissident
journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a report says.
Saudi crown prince has set up an “emergency task force” to counter the
increasingly damaging leaks about the murder of Khashoggi coming from Turkish
authorities, the Middle East Eye cited sources inside Saudi Arabia as saying in
a report originally published on Tuesday night and later updated on Wednesday.
a range of measures and scenarios proposed by the task force was a plan to
convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to wage a war on Gaza to
divert global attention from the assassination case, the sources said.
task force, composed of officials from the royal court, the foreign and defense
ministries, and the intelligence service, advised bin Salman that a war in Gaza
can distract US President Donald Trump’s attention amid Turkish leaks on
Khashoggi's murder, the London-based online news outlet was told.
this week, Israeli warplanes started a fresh wave of deadly air raids against
residential areas throughout the Gaza Strip. But the aggression drew an angry
reaction from Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which fired an intense
barrage of rockets into the southern parts of the occupied territories.
flare-up of violence broke out when the Israeli military launched a commando
raid against Gaza last weekend and killed seven Hamas commanders.
Palestinians were killed and over 30 others were injured in the Israeli air
raids. Two Israelis also died in Ashkelon, while around 20 others sustained
injuries in counterattacks from Gaza.
Tuesday, Gaza-based resistance groups agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire
sudden escalation of tension in Gaza seemed particularly unusual as Netanyahu
had earlier changed his tone on Hamas and seemed to be willing to ease the
blockade on the besieged enclave.
on Sunday before the raids, Netanyahu had said that he was "doing
everything" he could "to avoid an unnecessary war" in Gaza.
"I am not afraid of war if it’s necessary, but I want to avoid it if it’s
not necessary,” he said.
Israeli special forces' raids in Khan Younis also came hot on the heels of a
deal between Qatar and Israel to allow funds into the blockaded strip and pay
the salaries of government workers.
an ongoing diplomatic crisis between Doha and Riyadh could shed light on the motives
of the Israeli attacks in the wake of the reported Qatari deal. Saudi Arabia
has put an economic blockade on Qatar, cutting off the country’s only land
border for more than a year.
ceasefire in Gaza, which was widely described as the Israeli “recognition of
its defeat at the hands of the Palestinian resistance,” also led to the
resignation of Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli minister of military affairs and
the head of Yisrael Beiteinu. Lieberman said all of the members of his party
will quit Israel's ruling coalition in the 120-member parliament, and that
means Netanyahu only holds a slender Knesset majority (61-59) seats to maintain
was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, in a
premeditated operation which Turkish authorities believe was carried out by a
hit squad whose suspected members contained several members of bin Salman's
SDF dispatched a convoy of military vehicles, equipment and fresh militias from
the town of al-Tabaqa in Western Raqqa to Eastern Deir Ezzur.
the meantime, media activists reported that the SDF's move came after the
militias' brutal measure in the villages and towns of al-Sowar, Tayeb al-Fal,
al-Sajar and Abu al-Nital enraged civilians.
sources reported that several SDF gunmen were killed or wounded after unknown
raiders opened fire at them in the village of Daranj in Southeastern Deir
sources in Hasaka province reported that the SDF started arresting civilians
and beating them after unidentified raiders targeted a base of the SDF near a
US-run base in the town of al-Shadadi in Southern Hasaka.
Thursday, the SDF forwarded long convoys of militants and equipment to the
village of Tayb al-Fal East of Deir Ezzur province.
SDF also sent another military convoy from its base in Hasaka province to the
village of al-Takihi as well as towns of al-Shahil and Ziban in the
Southeastern parts of Deir Ezzur province.
field sources said that the SDF deployed its military equipment in five schools
that they had formerly declared as military zones, and underlined that the
deployment of the equipment has taken place after unrests in the region and
intensified attacks by unknown assailants on SDF military positions.
sources noted that an SDF militant has been killed by an unknown assailant in
the village of al-Jameh in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, adding that a new wave of
arrests has started in the town of Zabian.
militiamen loyal to Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have halted
their offensive aimed at taking the strategic port city of Hudaydah from the
Houthi Ansarullah fighters.
pro-Hadi field commanders told AFP on Wednesday that the Saudi-backed
mercenaries had been "ordered" to halt the offensive until further
notice. They said they would resume operations if they came under attack.
announcement came a day after Mark Lowcock, the United Nations
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Coordinator urged a ceasefire around Hudaydah.
recent days, the military coalition led by the Saudi regime and militia groups
loyal to Hadi have intensified their attacks on Hudaydah, which is seen as the
main entry point for food imports and aid relief needed by millions in the
Hudaydah offensive has sparked concerns over its impact on the civilian
population as well as on humanitarian aid operations.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi
back to power and crushing the Houthis.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
Wednesday, Yemeni forces shot down two spy drones in the skies over the
kingdom’s border region of Jizan.
al-Masirah television network quoted a military source as saying that the
drones were shot down east of al-Doud Mountain in Jizan.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) has condemned the kingdom’s persistence
on passing death sentences against anti-regime activists, calling the practice
an “inhuman punishment” as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its
heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the
center, in a statement released on Tuesday, announced that law courts have
issued death sentences against 32 opposition figures since 2011, of which three
have been carried out, seven have been comminuted to life imprisonment and two
others been appealed.
these verdicts have been pronounced following unfair trials, and therefore do
not comply with the guarantees of fair trials. The BCHR has documented many
cases in which those sentenced to death have been subjected to torture,” the
BCHR then called on the Manama regime to reverse all death sentences and sign
the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, which is aiming at the abolition of death penalty.
center further noted that the Bahraini judiciary has overused death penalty in
recent years, particularly with regards to freedom of opinion and expression in
addition to the exercise of political rights.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and
Democracy said in a statement that it condemns the death sentences given to
four dissidents on terrorism-related charges, and calls for their abolition.
is no justice in these rulings. Bahraini courts are now making use of
confessions extracted under torture in order to sentence people to death. The
revocation of citizenship has become commonplace in Bahrain, which is a
flagrant violation of international law,” Alwadaei pointed out.
went on to say that death penalty remains an integral part of the Bahraini
judicial system, stressing that 18 Bahraini citizens are now on death row and
all of have been sentenced in political cases.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
mosque's bid to repeal prayer restrictions deferred
of McLean Islamic Center (MIC) arrived at a hearing in northern Virginia on
Wednesday for the second time to overturn earlier restrictions on worship hours
and attendance, however the decision was deferred to a later date.
public hearing was held in Fairfax County to decide whether MIC should be
allowed to extend its hours of operation to allow congregants to attend the
fajr (pre-dawn) prayers.
neighboring Carrington Community Association (CCA) argued that the noise
allegedly created by Muslims that congregate in the morning would be heard in
nearby homes, which the CCA says is a noise violation.
no such complaints have been filed. The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) alluded
that the argument is unprecedented.
seem to be more sensitive to the noise issue now than we have before,” said
zoning board member James Hart.
the last hearing, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning
presented an amended report which would allow an extension of hours for prayer
services to be held between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. (0900GMT - 1200GMT), without any
limits on cars.
report also recommended special extensions for religious events, including the
month of Ramadan, the Islamic New Year, and Eid celebrations.
BZA decided not to approve the report and voted to defer decision until Dec.
12, citing it would allow more time to conduct further traffic and noise
reports of the area surrounding the place of worship.
on prayer services
opened its current location in 2015 in the Tyson’s Corner area, which currently
boasts the third highest income generation in the U.S.
is also the only Islamic area of worship within a 10 mile radius, with a
congregation of around 220 worshippers.
was approved a special permit as a place of worship, with certain restrictions
such as not allowing full prayer services between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays,
and only allowing ten worshippers to attend the dawn prayer.
April, MIC called for an extension of their hours to allow them to operate at
full capacity from 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
mosque argued that since they opened there have been no noise complaints during
early morning hours.
Fajr prayer service is not party time,” said Zafar Farooqi, a board member of
MIC. "They’re not there for idle chatter."
the CCA filed a complaint to the county after seeing 12 cars parked in the lot
during one of the dawn prayers, violating an initial agreement of a 10-car
the county suspended the early morning services, 261 dawn prayers have been
to the Islamic faith, praying five times a day is mandatory, with the first
prayer beginning at dawn and the last one ending in the evening.
fight for religious rights
of the MIC community, along with members of other faith communities, took turns
one by one to appeal to the board to repeal the restrictions places on the
plays a central role in our lives and connect us with each other,” Sultan
Chaudhry, President of MIC, said. “When you visit us, you will fine a
quintessential American place of worship.”
a leader of a religious community myself, I've never seen an institution asked to
limit its use or its parking to such an extreme degree," said Jeff Sacks,
a rabbi at the Temple Rodef Shalom.
few members of the Carrington community, however, came forward to note that the
extension of hours would cause a disturbance in the area.
is a problem, even with the current hours we are being awakened with the sharp
beeping of car horns as people lock and unlock their cars," said Stephanie
Buchanan, a member of the community.
homeowners of the neighboring Carrington community closest to the Islamic
center said, according to MIC, they were not bothered by early morning
Trump administration hopes that the US-backed fight against ISIS in its last
foothold in northeastern Syria will end within months but American forces will
remain to ensure the “enduring defeat” of the militant group, a top US diplomat
said on Wednesday.
James Jeffrey, the US special representative for Syria engagement, said the
United States believes the way forward in Syria includes defeating ISIS,
reinvigorating the political process and winding down the long-running civil
that end, he said, the United States hopes to see the formation of a committee
before the end of the year to work on a new constitution for Syria as agreed by
the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey during their meeting in
Istanbul in October.
said US forces would remain in place after the coalition forces prevail over
ISIS military units to ensure the group does not “regenerate itself.”
enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of ISIS’ conventional
military units holding terrain, but ensuring that ISIS doesn’t immediately come
back in sleeper cells, come back as an insurgent movement,” Jeffrey said, using
an acronym for the group.
also wants the withdrawal of Iranian military forces from Syria once the
underlying causes of the conflict have been resolved, he said, noting that
Iran's continued military presence would represent a threat to US partners in
said the final ground combat is along the Euphrates River and is being led by
Syrian Democratic Forces assisted by US military personnel.
fight is continuing and we hope that it will be over in a few months and that
will be the last of ISIS’ terrain that it holds in a quasi-conventional way,”
said convening a committee under UN auspices to begin work on a new Syrian
constitution was a “critical step” toward advancing the political process. He
said the United States would hold Russia to account to use its influence to
bring the government of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to the
goal, which again was supported by Russia, France, Germany and Turkey and
agreed in the Oct. 27 Istanbul communique, is to establish this constitutional
committee by the end of the year,” he said.
said getting Iranian forces out of Syria, where they back Assad's rule, was not
a US military goal but should be an outcome of the process to end the civil war
and the only way to achieve lasting peace.
casualties from the years-long US drone strikes in Yemen are on the rise, a new
report has warned, pointing to yet another major threat facing the Yemeni
people amid a devastating war by Saudi Arabia.
President Donald Trump has dramatically ramped-up drone attacks in the
impoverished country, carrying out 176 attacks in more than two years, far more
than the 154 attacks that former President Barack Obama authorized in his
entire eight years in office, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
drone attacks carried out under Trump have killed more than 300 people in 2017
and 2018, the AP found, based on accounts from family members and witnesses.
those, at least 30 civilians were killed in 2018 according to accounts from
family members and witnesses, the report added.
has on few occasions acknowledged civilian casualties while claiming that most
of the attacks successfully take out the targets, which it insists are
positions of the al-Qaeda in Yemen, one of the most notorious branches of the
the US military says it won't release details or death tolls in drone strikes,
some Yemeni families argue that they have lost loved ones in these attacks.
Pentagon confirmed earlier this year that it had carried out a strike in
Yemen's Shabwa province on January 26, saying it was strictly targeting
since the attack, however, many families
living in the targeted areas have tried to prove their slain loved ones were
have gathered letters from police officers, district officials, tribal leaders,
school principals and many other people to certify that their relatives had
nothing to do with al-Qaeda.
have also spoke to human rights groups and the International Committee of the
Red Cross, asking them to launch an investigation.
people have even staged demonstrations attended by over 200 people, demanding
the US acknowledge the civilian deaths and compensate the victims' families.
push has failed to prompt a response from Washington as the US has no embassy
in Yemen and therefore families can't request compensation for relatives killed
in drone strikes, unlike Iraq and Pakistan where a few families have succeeded
in doing so.
current situation with US drone strikes makes life harder for the people of
Yemen, who have been under attack from Saudi Arabia and its regional allies for
more than three years now.
US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has
reportedly carried out fresh aerial attacks against residential areas in
Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, using internationally-banned cluster
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency
SANA that US-led military aircraft struck the town of Hajin in the Abu Kamal
district of the province on Wednesday.
jets also launched a cluster bomb raid on al-Shaafah town in the same Syrian
were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage
bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an
international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and
unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a
categorical prohibition and a framework for action.
Tuesday, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the
recent airstrike by the US-led coalition against the eastern town of
al-Shaafah, which left more than 60 people killed and injured, arguing that the
massacre clearly points to the fact that members of the military alliance have
no respect for moral values, international rules and regulations besides the
lives of innocent civilians.
ministry, in two separate letters, addressed to United Nations Secretary
General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president of the UN Security Council
Ma Zhaoxu, called on the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and to
stop US-led aerial assaults.
also asked the world body to recommend an international, independent and
impartial mechanism to investigate the crimes being perpetrated by the US-led
letters noted that the coalition is deliberately targeting Syria civilians and
making use of internationally banned weapons, including white phosphorus bombs,
Syrian foreign ministry stressed that the US-led coalition airstrikes were
meant to kill as many Syrian people as possible, prolong the ongoing Syrian
conflict, destroy the country’s infrastructure and undermine its sovereignty
and territorial integrity in flagrant violation of all United Nations Security
Council resolutions on Syria.
letters concluded that the embarrassing silence of the Security Council has
encouraged the US-led coalition to kill more Syrian civilians and destroy their
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be
Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from
the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
nomination of retired General John Abizaid to be the 31st US Ambassador to
Saudi Arabia has been received with a sense of optimism in Washington as an
overdue step by the Trump administration to revive US influence and restore
diplomacy with Riyadh.
his nomination is confirmed, General Abizaid would be the first US envoy in
Riyadh since 2016.
attributes and extensive experience in the region are generating anticipation
among US officials, who believe he may excel in his new post.
Abizaid, who has fought two Gulf wars, taught at an Omani university, and wrote
a thesis on Saudi Arabia at Harvard, will be a political force to reckon with
in the Trump administration. The general, who hails from Lebanese descent, is
fluent in Arabic and has leveraged his language skills both in war and
peacemaking in the Middle East.
B Smith, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2009-2013), described General
Abizaid as “an exceptional choice.”
is talented beyond description with a wealth of knowledge of the region,” Mr
Smith told The National.
knowledge, his fluency in Arabic and superior military record, earned General
Abizaid the nickname "the mad Arab” while a cadet at West Point. During
his 34 years of military experience fighting insurgency and guerrilla wars
across Afghanistan and Iraq, General Abizaid was known to thrive in chaos.
into a position that has been vacant since 2014 and in the midst of fragile
Saudi-US relations over the war in Yemen and the murder of Saudi journalist
Jamal Khashoggi, the retired General may feel right at home in taking on
another tough Middle East assignment.
Smith described his challenges as addressing “a fractured GCC over Qatar, the
US role in Yemen, a Saudi transformation beset with challenges because of the
Khashoggi murder as a part of a crackdown on dissent in the Kingdom and a
changing US-Saudi relationship as the byproduct of this administration’s
transactional approach to foreign policy.”
Abizaid is known among those who worked with him for standing his ground and
protecting the bureaucratic hierarchy in the US military and government.
is unlikely to tolerate [a Jared] Kushner backchannel,” wrote Marc Lynch, a
Middle East analyst on Twitter.
Kushner, Mr Trump’s adviser and son in law, used the US diplomatic void in
Riyadh to manage the relationship and oversee the US President’s visit to Saudi
Feierstein, a former US ambassador to Yemen and now a senior director the
Middle East Institute said General Abizaid's nomination will allow for real
diplomatic oversight in US-Saudi relations after a two-year vacancy allowed
other parties to undermine the traditional policy channels led by the State
nomination will bring to the US-Saudi relationship the senior oversight that
has been missing for the past two years," he told The National.
Wahba, the President of the Arab Gulf States Institute and a former ambassador
to the UAE, knew General Abizaid since 2003 during the Iraq war and later when
he became Centcom commander and visited Abu Dhabi for military consultations.
is an excellent choice to represent the United States in Saudi Arabia,” Ms
Wahba told The National. “He knows and understands the region and is held in
very high regard throughout the Arab Gulf states.”
argued that "the mix of his military expertise with intuitive diplomatic
skills which I witnessed during his interactions with regional leaders on some
very difficult issues during the Iraq war, will help him in the new
far as the challenges are concerned, the former Ambassador said the first will
be “to build a relationship with King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman.” Then it will be about managing “the relationship in the aftermath of
the Jamal Khashoggi affair and the ongoing war in Yemen with a new
Democratic-led house of representatives.”
war' between Afghanistan, Pakistan must end: Ghani
Asserting that Islamabad's support to violence has not benefitted either
Pakistan or Afghanistan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that the
"undeclared war" between the two neighbours must end.
said the spectre of violence needs to be removed and that Pakistan needs to
support direct discussions between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
undeclared war between Afghanistan and Pakistan must end," he told a
Washington audience through video conference from Kabul.
have not supported any movement against Pakistan from Afghanistan. The Afghan
soil is not being used. We've exercised immense restraint and control because
we seek a cooperative relationship," Ghani said in response to a question
at the School of Advanced international Studies of the John Hopkins University
the view that there is a need to define "what is a normal
relationship" between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said Kabul can offer a
lot in the way of cooperation. "We are the key to Central Asia. How will
Pakistan get to Central Asia without a stable Afghanistan?" he asked.
said Afghanistan and Pakistan need to together agree with the US and the rest
of the world community on counter terrorism. These three sets of relationship,
he said are the key.
the day that President Donald Trump announced the South Asia strategy, I
extended the hand of friendship. We have engaged in several rounds of
discussion," he said, adding that Afghanistan and the US have arrived at a
document on what is their expectation, what needs to be done to translate
commitments into reality and to help reduce the level of violence in moving
forward to lasting peace.
said that he has not seen "urgency" from the new Pakistan Prime
Minister Imran Khan regarding holding concrete dialogue with Afghanistan to
fight terrorism or to assist in holding fruitful talks with the Taliban.
have not yet seen the sense of urgency. We hope that sense of urgency can be
brought to the picture. We have a framework which is a Afghanistan-Pakistan
agreement. The key is to move from talking to taking action," Ghani said.
national interest is to keep engaging with Pakistan. We seek a stable Pakistan.
We need to see substantive and measurable change. As of now that substantive
and measurable change with the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has not
been seen. This is what needs to take place," said the Afghan president.
said that the Taliban is not in a winning position. "Let them disclose
their casualties. Let them answer to the mothers who have lost their children.
Let them answer to the wounded and let them answer to communities that because
of their interference, have been deprived of education, of health, of services.
Where is the positive model of the strength?" he said.
Bazar, Nov 14 (AFP) The military’s presence at vast Rohingya camps in
Bangladesh has been bolstered, stoking fears among refugees as authorities
prepare to return them to Myanmar despite strong UN objections, leaders of the
Muslim minority said Wednesday.
says it will start repatriating refugees from an initial group of 2,260 from
Thursday despite warnings the Rohingya face almost certain persecution in
of the million refugees in the teeming camps have expressed terror at the
prospect of returning to Buddhist majority Myanmar, where UN investigators say
they were targeted in a military campaign that amounted to genocide.
says only those who volunteer will be returned, but the UN rights chief says
many refugees are panicking at the prospect of being sent back against their
families listed to return have fled, community leaders and refugees have told
AFP, hiding in the hills where more than 720,000 Rohingya sought refuge from a
Myanmar military crackdown launched from August last year.
joined some 300,000 Rohingya already living in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s
southeast for years, having fled previous waves of violence in Rakhine state.
police and soldiers were seen patrolling the camps and checking identity cards,
stoking anxiety as the deadline for repatriation looms, refugee leaders told
is tense, the situation is very bad,” one community leader Abdur Rahim told AFP
in Cox’s Bazar, the border district hosting a small city of refugees perched on
are a lot of army and police inside the camps. They are checking the ID cards
of Rohingya.” Nur Islam, another leader in a different part of the camps, said
the military were more visible in recent days as Bangladeshi officials try and
convince refugees they will be safe if they go back.
are trying to convince the refugees that repatriation will only occur if the
Burmese government has promised they will not harm the Rohingya,” he said,
using an alternative name for Myanmar.
local police chief, Abul Khaer, played down reports of additional security,
saying nothing in terms of personnel had changed in recent months.
officials remain optimistic the large-scale refugee returns will start as
plan to send 150 people on the opening day.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged Dhaka to
an almost complete lack of accountability – indeed with ongoing violations –
returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar at this point effectively means throwing
them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been
suffering for decades,” she said in a statement.
of violence threatens fair Bangladeshi poll
announcement of a schedule for the next general election in Bangladesh has
triggered hope of a credible poll but also concern about more political
violence across the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.
chief election commissioner, K.M. Nurul Huda, said earlier this month the
elections would be held on Dec. 23 and gave a deadline of Nov. 19 for the
filing of nomination papers.
Nov. 12 the commission, apparently paying heed to an appeal from opposition
parties rescheduled the date for Dec. 30 and extended the other deadline to
announcement comes against the backdrop of a series of talks held between the
ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition parties over unresolved issues relating
to the elections.
include who will serve in a caretaker government overseeing them, the
dissolution of parliament, the release of key opposition leaders from jail, and
the deployment of the military during the polls.
talks seem to have ended without any consensus on these thorny political
23-party opposition alliance, Jatiya Oikyafront (National United Front), led by
the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country's second-largest political
party, said on Nov. 11 it would take part in the polls despite their demands
largely having been ignored by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
will take part in the election as part of our movement to restore
democracy," Mirza Fakhrul Islam, the BNP's secretary-general, told
journalists in Dhaka on Nov. 11.
BNP and its allies boycotted the last general election on Jan. 5, 2014, after
the AL refused to relinquish power and move aside so that a non-party
government could step in to oversee the process.
boycott helped the AL gain re-election in a landslide victory that saw it claim
over half of the 300 parliamentary seats uncontested amid nationwide violence
by supporters of the BNP and its hard-line ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's
largest Islamist political party.
the absence of any effective opposition, the AL government has been accused by
national and international rights groups of unchecked corruption.
also see it as authoritarian and claim it has been formulating unfair policies
that suppress opposition, muzzle dissent, stifle the media, and attract radical
groups to appeal more to conservative Muslims.
year doubts have been cast over whether the BNP and its allies would take part
in the polls, given that former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who now serves as
the chairperson of the BNP, remains in jail after being handed two lengthy
prison terms in two separate graft cases.
Zia's eldest son and heir-apparent, Tarique Rahman, who has been living in
self-exile in London since 2008, was recently given a life sentence for a
grenade attack at a political rally in 2004.
Rahman was sentenced in absentia for the attack in Dhaka carried out by Islamic
militants with the backing of ministers and top law enforcement officials of
the then-BNP-led government. Rahman was accused of being the mastermind.
Jamaat, a longtime ally of the BNP, cannot contest the December polls as the
Supreme Court has banned the party from running because its Islamist charter
was in conflict with the country's secular constitution.
of top-ranking Jamaat leaders have also been sentenced to death or given life
sentences for crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's 1971 war of
holds parliamentary elections every five years and violence between the
supporters of rival parties is commonplace. Religious groups and ethnic
minorities are often targeted.
officials and minority leaders have expressed hope of a more fair,
representative and legitimate election this year but most fear political
violence and irregularities will again mar the occasion.
30 million people, or just under 20 percent of the population, belongs to a
religious or ethnic minority. Most minorities are seen as making up a
"vote bank" for the nominally secular AL.
previous polls from 1996 to 2014, these minority groups came under a series of
attacks that left dozens killed and more injured.
held talks but they were largely fruitless. Now they are all lining up to take
part in the polls but there is no guarantee they will refrain from violence. It
is still unclear whether the government is enthusiastic about holding a fair
election," Holy Cross Father Liton Hubert Gomes, secretary of the Catholic
Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, told ucanews.com.
said the chosen deadline "could dampen the Christmas spirit" due to
all the safety and security concerns.
political violence erupts, many Christians might not line up to vote," the
Chandra Pramanik, secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Grand Alliance, said
parties often look to minority groups to serve as scapegoats.
the past, we have seen Hindus attacked and killed not just during the polls but
at various times of the year," Pramanik, a Supreme Court lawyer, told
perpetrators come from all major parties, and there is no justice. This is
because the parties want to win by any means necessary," he said.
called upon people to only vote if the parties pledge to nominate Hindu
candidates and ensure security for the community. Otherwise, they won't cast
road to democracy
to be a secular and democratic country, Bangladesh endured a series of
political assassinations, political changeovers, and 19 attempted military
coups including two successful ones from 1975-1990.
democracy was restored after nearly 15 years of military rule in the early
1990s. Since then, the center-right BNP and center-left AL have alternated
governments were only supposed to stay in power for a maximum of three months and
these oversaw elections in 1996, 2001 and 2008.
the military-backed interim government that was in power for over two years
leading up the 2008 polls started trying to get rid of rival politicians, and
attempted to banish both Hasina and Zia from politics.
came to be known as the "minus two" formula.
2011 the AL scrapped the caretaker government system following a Supreme Court
ruling a year earlier which said the system was in conflict with the charter,
amid strong protests from opposition blocs.
political analyst Mirza Taslima Sultana said the upcoming polls will serve as a
crucial litmus test for democracy in the country.
want the election to be a triumph of democracy, and they want to exercise their
voting right to support or reject a government. With the BNP-led opposition
camp joining the polls, the government will be under pressure from the public
to hold a fair poll devoid of any irregularities," said Sultana, a
professor of anthropology at Jahangirnagar University near Dhaka.
airstrikes kill 5 militants in Ghazni, 40 BM-1 warheads seized in Logar
least five militants were killed in an airstrike carried out by the U.S. forces
in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military said
to a statement released by 203rd Thunder Corps, the coalition forces carried
out airstrike in Kobi area of Qarabagh district in Ghazni, leaving at least
five militants dead and three others wounded.
statement further added that the 203rd Thunder Corps forces also conducted
operations with the Afghan intelligence forces in Surkhab area of Mohammad Agha
district in Logar and seized 40 warheads of BM-1 rockets, a motorcycle packed
with explosives, and a remote control.
Afghan forces also discovered and defused an improvised explosive device during
an operation in Orgun district of Paktika province, the 203rd Thunder Corps
added in its statement.
The violence which drove 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh
was "without excuse", US Vice President Mike Pence told Aung San Suu
Kyi in stinging comments on Wednesday.
the sidelines of a summit in Singapore Pence piled the pressure on Myanmar’s de
facto leader, calling for an explanation of the jailing of two Reuters
journalists over their coverage of the crisis.
Kyi has seen her reputation as a rights defender shredded by her refusal to
speak up for the Rohingya, a stateless group reviled in the Buddhist-majority
has already had an Amnesty International honour revoked this week and faced
sharp words from Malaysia’s prime minister at a usually tepid meeting of
Southeast Asian nations in Singapore. In direct marks as he sat next to Suu
Kyi, Pence condemned the "violence and persecution" against the
Rohingya as "without excuse".
in a front-on challenge to Myanmar’s civilian leader, Pence said he was
"anxious to hear about the progress" being made to hold the
perpetrators accountable. A crackdown led by Myanmar’s army last year sparked
an exodus of the Muslim minority into neighbouring Bangladesh, taking with them
accounts of atrocities -- rape, murder and arson of their villages.
investigators say the army’s actions amounted to genocide. Suu Kyi brushed off
Pence’s comments. "In a way, we can say we understand our country better
than any other country does," she said.
Thursday a long-delayed -- and heavily criticised -- plan to repatriate
Rohingya was set to begin, despite dire warnings their safety will be in
jeopardy if forced to return to Myanmar. The process has undergone several
false starts before. Myanmar does not want its Rohingya, who are officially
described as "Bengali" illegal immigrants.
the Rohingya do not want to go back without security guarantees and
citizenship. But the fetid and overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh offer
little future for the more than one million Rohingya who have fled successive
waves of violence in Myanmar.
Rohingya crisis has tarnished Myanmar’s reputation among large sections of an
international community which helped shape its transition from outright
military rule. Suu Kyi has no power over the army, which retains autonomy over
all security matters. But she has come under fire for not doing more to speak
out against the generals’ excesses.
has also been criticised for her failure to speak up for two Reuters reporters
jailed for seven years for breaching a colonial-era state secrets act after
reporting on the extrajudicial killing of 10 Rohingya men during a military
crackdown last year. Pence called their case "deeply troubling",
adding the US placed a "premium ... on a free and independent press".
A senior US official told reporters that Pence asked Suu Kyi directly and
repeatedly to pardon the two reporters during their talks.
official did not say how Suu Kyi responded. The sentence prompted a storm of
global outcry as an assault on freedom of speech, casting doubt on the
direction and depth of Myanmar reforms.
her only direct comments on the Reuters case Suu Kyi -- herself once a
political prisoner held under house arrest by the former junta -- has said the
pair were jailed under a fair legal process. "They were not jailed because
they were journalists" but because "the court has decided that they
had broken the Official Secrets Act", she said in September.
Kyi’s civilian government had the power to drop the charges. Reuters has
appealed the verdict and has been lobbying for the release of the pair who they
say were set up by police and arrested to silence their reporting.
of terrorists by Pakistan a threat, PM tells US vice-president
DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out the “mainstreaming” of figures
involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in the recent elections in Pakistan, a
clear reference to Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed, during his interaction with US
vice-president Mike Pence in Singapore on Wednesday.
journalists on the Pence meeting, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “He
(Modi) did point out that the mainstreaming of people involved in the Mumbai
attacks+ in a political process which has taken place in the recent elections
in Pakistan should be a matter of serious concern not just to the two countries
— India and the US — but to the international community.”
Modi also reminded the US vice-president that in one way or another all the
traces and all the leads in global terror attacks ultimately lead to a “single
source and single place of origin”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan. The
foreign secretary said, “There was a sense of convergence both on bilateral
issues and on global issues and we look forward to taking the relationship in
coming months and in 2019”.
was some good understanding of the areas of how we move forward in building
cooperation on counter-terrorism and both countries recognised this is a challenge
which we have to fight together and to fight along with the rest of the international
community,” Gokhale said.
also called for an early end to negotiations for an Asian free trade agreement,
the regional comprehensive economic partnership.
and Pence continued their discussion on maintaining a free and open
Indo-Pacific. “Spoke about our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific
& reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen security and counter-terrorism
cooperation and coordination,” Pence tweeted after the meeting.
became the first head of government to address Singapore’s famous FinTech
festival. Pitching India as the “best” investment destination for global tech
giants. He said India is experiencing a digital revolution of unprecedented
speed and scale that has enabled financial inclusion of 1.3 billion Indians.
“Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the new world and it is
creating boundless opportunities to transform lives,” Modi said.
PM also met his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, Thailand PM Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha, as well as Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong.
using social media to collect funds for terror activities’
DELHI: Aasiya Andrabi, leader of Kashmir-based all-women outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat
(DEM), was collecting funds through social media to incite people of the Valley
for an armed rebellion against the country with the help of Lashkar-e-Taiba
(LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed, claimed a chargesheet filed by NIA on Wednesday.
anti-terror investigation agency has charged Andrabi and her two associates —
Sofi Fehmeeda and Naheeda Nasreen — under the antiterror law, Unlawful
Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
56-year-old separatist leader had disclosed before the investigators, as
reported by TOI on August 3, that she was in regular touch with former PM of
Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, his former foreign policy advisor Sartaz Aziz, Pak high
commission officials in Delhi and former ISI chief Hamid Gul besides Hafiz
Saeed and Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin.
a letter sent to Nawaz Sharif, Aasiya said “Pakistan is not doing anything for
Kashmir”, to which Sharif replied saying, “we are doing our best”.
stated in its chargesheet that Aasiya-led DEM is a terrorist organisation
engaged in anti-India activities and has been inciting the general populace of
Kashmir for an armed rebellion against the country with aid and assistance of
Pak-based terror outfits.
NIA says, was using various media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and
TV channels including those in Pakistan to spread hateful messages and speeches
against India. “DEM through Aasiya Andrabi and others, openly advocates secession
of Jammu & Kashmir from the Union of India and its merger with Pakistan
through violent means,” NIA adds.
managing IDs by illegal means in Telangana
June 27, inspector general of police, Intelligence, Telangana wrote to the
commissioner of police, Rachakonda in Telangana on how big a threat Rohingya
immigrants can pose to the internal security of India.
letter stated that Rohingya Muslim immigrants have been seen indulging in
multiple illegal activities and that they can be easily "induced" and
"used" by various terror outfits.
Today TV's undercover reporter decided to investigate further into the matter.
to the official figures of the Telangana police, 189 voter ID cards, 36 Aadhar
cards, eight PAN cards, three driving licences and 10 Indian passports
illegally sourced by Rohingya immigrants have been identified in the limits of
the Balapur police state alone, in Telangana.
total of 44 FIRs related to illegal Indian identity proofs sourced by Rohingya
immigrants have been registered by the Telangana Police.
Today TV investigated the modus operandi further. During the course of the
same, the story of the family of Mohammed Younus, who migrated to India in 2012
came to light.
Younus' birth certificate, that stated that he was born in India in 1993, the
family sourced an education certificate for him from nearby Crescent School.
family clubbed it with the electricity bill of a rented house, and applied for
voter ID cards.
the meantime, Younus' father, Mohammed Naseem, got the family's Aadhar cards
made in the Banjara Hills centre as confessed by him to India Today TV.
after this, Younus also went onto procure a PAN card and even an Indian
Saiful Islam, another Rohingya, revealed that all he required to get an Aadhar
card made in J&K were Rs 1,000, two passport size photographs and his
Begum, Mohammed Saleem, Mohammed Naseem and Noor Hassan, all confessed to have
illegally sourced Aadhar Cards from centres in UP, Punjab and Delhi respectively.
has been and will remain long-term partner of Afghanistan'
Asserting that India has been and will remain a long-term partner of
Afghanistan, the Afghan finance minister has said that Kabul has no secret deal
with New Delhi, while hoping that it can have a similar relationship with
has been a traditional and long-term partner of Afghanistan spanning over a
couple of millennia more. Culturally, commercially in so many things, we have
so much common heritage, so many common elements. They have been a long-term partner.
They will remain a long-term partner," Afghan finance minister Mohammad
Humayon Qayoumi told a Washington audience this week.
has no secret deals with India. All of the relationships that we have is based
on trust, based on two countries, based on two sovereign governments, two
people that have a long history," he said, responding to a question at the
School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.
and Afghanistan will continue to have strong cultural, educational ties as well
as commercial ties, he said.
hope is that we have a similar relationship with Pakistan. But I think it's
Pakistan that has to decide what they would like to do as part of it in where
they would like to be," the Afghan finance minister said early this week.
that Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world, yet, he said, it
has an economy smaller than Israel. So, the conflict is not in the interest of
Pakistan, he said. For the betterment of the people of Pakistan, he said it
would be helpful for Pakistan to have closer linkages and ties with India and
Central Asia as a whole.
said the South Asia region is ripe for being a very functioning economic
ecosystem but right now it is the least integrated region of the world
economically. "It's not helping anyone," Qayoumi said.
Kolkata: It may sound incredible but it is true. A
Muslim NGO in West Bengal so far produced as many as 2500 doctors , 4000
engineers and 65 civil servants. Adding one more feather in the cap, the NGO Al-Ameen Mission achieved
unbelievable feat in this year’s NEET, the
country’s biggest medical entrance exam . It may be a sort of record for
a Muslim organization as 370 students of Al-Ameen Mission cracked the NEET. 319
of them got admission in MBBS courses in
government colleges while 51 were admitted in private medical colleges in West
man behind these fantastic achievements is M. Nurul Islam who’s missionary
zeal and tenacity for upliftment of the
community is yielding spectacular results from last three decades.
his inspiration behind the success story of his mission a soft-spoken but fully
determined M. Nurul Islam told Muslim
Mirror that he was inspired by
Ramakrishna Mission during his college days at Kolkata. Muslims in West Bengal
are considered educationally one of the
most backward segments of the Indian Muslims who are numerically second largest
group after the Uttar Predesh.
said this year’s NEET results are encouraging and a record for a Muslim NGO
working for the socio-educational upliftment of the community.
is worth mentioning that Murshidabad and Malda districts listed as the most
backward districts in the country have cracked NEET with aplomb. Out of 370
students 111 are from Murshidabad while 82 are from Malda districts.
the details of the NEET crackers of
Al-Ameen Mission M.Nurul Islam said ‘ Out of 370 NEET crackers 289 and 81 got admission MBBS and BDS courses respectively while 282
boys and 88 girls were among the NEET crackers
from Al-Ameen Mission this year’.
main campus of Ai-Ameen Mission at village
Khalatpur , in Howrah district.
break up shows that 119 students selected in NEET are those whose total
expenses were borne by the institution from Zakat fund while 176 are those who paid only 50 percent of the
total expenses in half paid category’
while only 75 selected students were
from the full payment category who paid 6000 rupees per month.
students of Al-Ameen Mission also selected to get admission in engineering
are a numbers of institutions and organizations have set up coaching facility
to prepare Muslim students for NEET, JEE and other competitive examinations.
However, Al-Ameen Mission’s achievements are envious which has emerged as the
largest NGO working for the social and educational upliftment of the minority
community in all 19 districts across the West Bengal.
forces on Wednesday arrested two local militants of Hizb-ul Mujahideen and
recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from their possession in Pulwama
district of Jammu and Kashmir.
on a credible input, the security forces arrested the duo at a check point at
Panzgam in Awantipora area, a police spokesperson said.
checking, security forces recovered arms and ammunition from their possession
which includes UBGL, grenades and live rounds and other incriminating
material," he said.
arrested militants have been identified as Jan Mohammad Sheikh and
Nasir-ul-Islam, both affiliated with Hizb-ul Mujahideen.
DELHI: In a rare joint operation by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
and Army at the international border in Akhnoor sector late on Tuesday night,
one terrorist was killed while others managed to escape leaving behind huge
cache of arms and ammunition. Intelligence that helped the operation emanated
from another operation a few days ago in the same area in which DRI had seized
21 kg of high-quality Afghan variety heroin worth Rs 105 crore.
financing in J&K has taken a new dimension with infiltrators from Pakistan
being used to smuggle drugs to finance terror activities in the Valley. This is
third seizure of heroin consignment by DRI in the Valley in recent days. In the
other two incidents, the agency had confiscated heroin consignments from
passengers travelling in private vehicles in Srinagar.
neutralising the infiltrator at a forward location in Gigrial in the Akhnoor
sector, the joint team of the Army and DRI seized an AK-56, 15 hand grenades
grenade launchers, five pistols, 12 detonators of IED and 234 rounds of
had specific information of Pakistan launching terrorists into the Indian side
along with consignments of drugs, arms and ammunitions,” said DRI director
general D P Dash, giving details of the first of its kind operation in which
Army and DRI had laid trap for three weeks at the international border.
DRI is a premier intelligence agency responsible for busting international
smuggling syndicates and preventing vital foreign exchange going out of the
country through import and export frauds.
to intelligence gathered by the DRI, terrorists have been using several other
infiltration routes in Kashmir, other than the Akhnoor sector to smuggle in
arms, ammunition and drugs, Dash told reporters. “But this was first time that
the DRI had participated in a joint operation with the Army at firing range of
the enemies at the international border in Kashmir,” he added.
local muslims spar over Supreme Court order on Taj Mahal
grey area in the July 2018 Supreme Court order barring outsiders from offering
namaz inside Taj Mahal premises on Fridays has become a bone of contention
between Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and members of Masjid Taj Mahal
Intezamia Committee, which manages the mosque.
contends the SC order implies that namaz can only be offered on Fridays by
local residents, whereas the committee members say the order means that free
entry for locals is on Fridays, while on all other days, anyone who has bought
a ticket can offer namaz. The apex court had upheld a local administration’s
January order barring non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque
on security ground.
of the committee allege that around 10 days ago, ASI locked the vazu tank,
where namazis wash hands and feet before prayers, and even asked the imam to
show up only on Fridays. ASI counters the claim, saying that after the SC
order, the vazu tank is opened only on Fridays, and “might have been left
accidentally open that day”. They added that upon realising it was open, they
moved to lock it down and also prevented some people from offering namaz.
officials say that “ever since they noticed people walking in to offer namaz on
that day, they have ensured this doesn’t happen again, as the SC order bars
namaz at the mosque on any other day except Friday”.
move has invited ire of the local Muslims, who contend that they have been
offering namaz inside the mosque for 400 years now and can’t be stopped by the
ASI. They contend that the SC order merely bars non-locals on Fridays while
there is no word on not allowing namaz on other days.
memorandum has now been submitted to the office of Vasant Swarnkar,
Superintending Archeologist, ASI-Agra circle, by Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi,
president of the committee, saying members of the community will continue to
buy tickets and offer namaz on other days as well.
said the memorandum has been forwarded to ASI head office in Delhi “so that
they take a legal opinion and revert”. “Till we hear from the headquarters, we
are not going to allow namaz inside the premises on any other day except for
Friday, that too, only for local residents.”
of Ayodhya worried about their safety, says party to title suit
party to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case in the Supreme
Court on Wednesday demanded security for the Muslims in Ayodhya and his family
Ansari made the statement in view of the proposed VHP rally (dharam sabha) in
Ayodhya on November 25. Iqbal Ansari’s father Hashim Ansari, was one of the
oldest litigants in the case. Hashim Ansari passed away in 2016 and Iqbal
Ansari became a party to the case after that.
the case (Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid) is pending in the Supreme Court, what
is the point in holding the rally in Ayodhya?” Iqbal Ansari asked, talking to
reporters in Ayodhya on Wednesday.
of Ayodhya are apprehensive about their security. If the state government fails
to assure the safety of the Muslim community and my family members, we will
have no option but to leave Ayodhya,” said Iqbal Ansari.
also accused the VHP of trying to create December 6, 1992 like atmosphere in
of gheraoing the Vidhan Sabha, the VHP is organising a rally in Ayodhya. They
are trying to create a 1992-like atmosphere here. No one from the district
administration has contacted us to ensure our safety and security,” said
SENA AGAIN DEMANDS PALACE AT DISPUTED SITE
Sri Rajput Karni Sena on Wednesday reiterated its demand for construction of a
palace for Lord Ram, instead of a temple, at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Karni Sena patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who was in Ayodhya on Wednesday, said:
“We are kshatriyas (Rajputs). All Rajputs are descendants of Lord Ram, who was
also a kshatriya. Lord Ram was born in King Dashrath’s palace and not in any
temple,” Kalvi told reporters in Ayodhya.
we are demanding construction of a magnificent palace at the disputed site in
Ayodhya for Lord Ram instead of Ram Mandir,” said Kalvi.
of a palace for Lord Ram is an old demand of the Kari Sena.
PUJA FOR AYODHYA STATION
MP Lallu Singh presided over ‘bhoomi pujan’ for remodelling of Ayodhya railway
station on Wednesday. The railway station will resemble the proposed Ram
Peace Forum launches annual meeting to fight for multilateralism
organisers have said that a three-day summit held in Paris under the patronage
of President Emmanuel Macron will be launched as annual event to strengthen
institutions and foster cooperation against malign influence.
Vaisse, the chief organiser of the Forum, said the meeting point would
spearhead a fightback against nationalism, authoritarianism and extremism.
only did the Forum chose 10 organisations that it would support and promote
over the next year but it announced that a second event would be held on
November 11 and 12 next year. Mr Vaisse, a prominent Parisian academic and
philosopher, will chair a permanent executive committee and the president is
Pascal Lamy, the former head of the World Trade Organisation.
next call to private and public sector bodies to get involved in the sessions
that pitch for support at the summit will be held in Spring 2019.
wanted to show that in the world where multilateralism is struggling we can
still bring a solution,” he said. “One of the things we were looking at
achieving is political impact. We wanted to reassert the importance of
institutions and regulations.
very much hope that by taking the stand, by trying to convince the forces that
are against multilateralism, we will defend it.”
of the main features of the event was that alongside world leaders and non-government
organisations was the global corporations like Facebook, Google and YouTube.
was particularly marked in sessions dealing with religious extremism and
radical groups and individuals.
the halls of the Paris Peace Forum, talks of online radicalisation were at
least as common as those on the long-standing issues of climate change and
violent conflict, and the proposed solutions just as varied.
hired 200 people to exclusively focus on countering terrorism as their core
responsibility as well as building the Global Internet Forum to Counter
Terrorism (GIFCT) to share information with other platforms through a shared
developed technology to prevent re-uploads of known terrorist content using
image-matching technology and set up ways of stripping the sharing and comment
functions in those videos that avoid erasure by straddling the fine between
what is permissible and what isn’t.
also promotes “YouTube stars” – or users with big audiences – and promotes
their efforts to spread conciliatory messages.
are trying to get moderate voices to produce more content so that they can
naturally rise to the top,” Miriam Estrin, policy manager for Europe, Middle
East and Africa at Google, said.
is no level of investment that we are not willing to bear to tackle this
of the big social media operators were also able to put their point of view
that it was too little too late. “What is actually the budget dedicated to
promoting moderate content?”, Hakim El Karoui, senior fellow at the think-tank
Institut La Montaigne, asked the YouTube representative during a debate on
online radicalisation. “You cannot be both platforms that promote democracy and
work with the enemy to undermine democracy. You have to invest real money in
El Karoui, the author of an influential investigation into the French Muslim
community, added “social networks not [working] against us because of what they
do but because of what they are”. “They can help us promote a different message
but they are never neutral,” he said..
Buffet, the 50-year-old founder of the French start-up “Seriously”, argued the
first sparks of hate speech and radicalisation online should be tackled before
they become a wildfire.
believe the best solution is to find a way to maintain the conversation open
with those that could be radicalised,” Buffet said. The platform he founded
gives users who wish to respond to aggressive online speech the tools to do so,
from how to address their online interlocutor to trusted facts and figures that
can be cited to build a counter-argument.
are building an army of volunteers” to counter the malign influencers online,
Kheir, Diaspora Policy Officer at the Africa Union, said that African terrorist
organisations like Al Shabab and Boko Haram have picked up from the Islamic
State and are also increasingly using social media to recruit, but that
regulating content can only be one part of the solution.
have to have a space to discuss extremist ideas even if they are not
politically correct,” Ms Kheir said. “We need to open up safe spaces to have
action is taken, Mr El Karoui warned that they should not underestimate the
appeal of Islamist ideology as an alternative – and not a reaction to – Western
gives very concrete answers to everyday queries, like how should I behave
towards my sister or towards my mother,” Mr El Karoui said. “It also gives a
sense to your life and your death.”
that seek to disengage and deradicalise must therefore promote an alternative
idea of success, rather than censoring.
need to defend freedom of speech, and to promote our values,” he said.
Robert Azevedo, the current head of the World Trade Organisation, observed, the
pillars of multilateralism were as important and as invisible as oxygen. The
Forum could provide a much needed fillip.
it away and you will start noticing immediately,” he told a panel.
is no Palestinian official who has felt the isolation of US President Donald
Trump’s policies towards Ramallah in the last 18 months more than Husam Zomlot.
was in March 2017, just two months after the American leader’s inauguration,
that he would be appointed as Palestinian ambassador to Washington. As months went
by, his phone would fall silent.
president slowly chipped away at the Palestinian cause, dismissing their claims
for resolving the decades-long conflict with Israel and making moves in favour
of Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government as official contact between
American and Palestinian officials virtually ground to a halt.
final blow for Mr Zomlot was in September when Washington shuttered the
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office, revoked the visas of his wife
and children, and sent him packing. He maintains that both he and the PLO chose
to leave of their own volition.
the Palestinian emissary has found a new home – a modest office block close to
the glitzy embassy mansions of Knightsbridge, the diplomatic heartbeat of
London – that captures their isolation. A short stroll from Hammersmith train
station in the capital’s West End, the office has so much space, you can almost
hear the echo of your own thoughts.
his colleagues in the West Bank, he remains defiant, refusing to bow to the
Trump administration and what he says are its attempts to turn the Palestinians
into a “nation of beggars” subservient to Washington and the Israelis.
since I arrived in Washington, one of the things I was told, by senior
officials in the White House, every time we discussed things and I come up with
our vision and position, they would say ‘these are old ideas,’” he said in an
hour-long interview with The National in his new West London office. He speaks
quickly and fluently, a draped Palestinian flag behind his right shoulder, to
the occasional background rumble of a train pulling out of the nearby station.
afraid this term has to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m afraid this term
‘old ideas’ means you have to adopt new ideas. What they mean by new ideas is
either full submission or redefining our rights to less than the collective
self-determination of independent sovereignty.”
‘new ideas’ refer to a range of options reportedly proposed by Trump’s Middle
East advisers - envoy Jason Greenblatt, son-in-law Jared Kushner and US
ambassador to Israel David Friedman - that the Palestinians have baulked at,
such as confederacy with Jordan and Abu Dis, not Jerusalem, as the capital of a
semi-autonomous Palestinian state.
parallel to those offers, they have tried to change the reality on the ground
through a series of unilateral moves the Palestinians say disqualified the US
role as an impartial broker in the conflict.
Trump relocated the US embassy to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the
contested city as Israel’s, cut all American aid to the United Nations agency
for Palestinian refugees in a blow to their right of return and slashed funding
for East Jerusalem hospitals that service sick Palestinians.
least my kids are now in school, but as a result of the US administration’s
decision some kids in Gaza might not have a classroom in the very near future,”
he says, brushing off the impact on him personally.
says the moves were a reaction to Palestinian criticism and refusal to come to
the negotiating table, a suggestion that he counters passionately.
very dangerous to say a big part of the problem was the Palestinian
leadership’s inability… no, that’s again blaming the besieged and the
occupied,” he says.
leadership has been transformational in their ability to start a
revolution...to bring the people of Palestine together under one banner that is
the PLO and...their ability to politicise and humanise our cause. They made
sure nobody speaks on our behalf.”
44, Mr Zomlot has been labelled part of a younger generation rising through the
Palestinian leadership, a movement that has been dominated by the likes of
Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas for decades. President Abbas is now
82-years-old and in the 14th year of his presidency.
Mr Zomlot has a doctorate from London’s prestigious SOAS University, he had a
less prosperous start to life. He was born, and spent his early days, in a
refugee camp in southern Gaza, before being accepted onto the UK’s prestigious
Chevening scholarship that grants access to a Western education for applicants
from around the world.
might expect a rising diplomat to agree that the peace process needs an
injection of youthful thinking and a jolt of energy, but Mr Zomlot’s view
is not about the who; this is more about what,” he says. “Young people do not
necessarily come with young ideas, sometimes young people like myself can still
be holding very old and bad ideas, and sometimes old people can bring very
fresh and new ideas.”
years ago Mr Zomlot, barely out of British university, was handpicked by Yasser
Arafat, the charismatic Palestinian leader who died in 2004, to serve as deputy
ambassador in the same mission he now heads. More recently, he has served as an
adviser to Mr Abbas, a role he continues to this day.
is fiercely defensive of their legacies. “I have worked with the first
generation of the movement, I worked with all the founders of the movement,” he
says. “I tell you, the problem is not them.” (What did he say is the problem?)
problem, he says lies in Tel Aviv, “Netanyahu is the one breaking the backbone
of the two-state solution,” he said. “I hope my generation can do a fraction of
what the previous generation has managed to do.”
on the Palestinian street disagree with Mr Zomlot. Mr Abbas, their leader in
the West Bank, is increasingly unpopular for his perceived inaction and
inability to deliver progress on the conflict. Palestinian security forces are
reviled for collaborating with the Israeli military.
despite the trauma of the last 18 months, the Palestinian diplomat still
manages to take pride in what has become a very bleak state of affairs, “What
happened in the last year was unprecedented,” he says, “we were the only side
in this world that said no to Mr Trump”.
Palestinians at home feeling the brunt of Trumpism, that may be their only
the hostility to the Trump administration to historical Palestinian demands,
some have suggested they should try to wait out the presidency, Mr Zomlot says
this is not going to happen.
cannot afford that,” he said. “People are losing their lives, losing their
property, losing their dignity. What we need to do is activate and strengthen
something that already exists – the international order.”
migrants steal French boat and sail to Britain
group of Iranian migrants stole a fishing boat from a French port and sailed
across the Channel to Britain, slipping past border officials to complete a
journey attempted by thousands each year.
migrants, including three children, reached England early Tuesday aboard the
fishing boat stolen from a French port near Calais, British officials confirmed
Home Office, the interior ministry, said the group was intercepted at Dover
men and three minors, all of whom presented themselves as Iranian, were found
on board,” a spokesman said, adding that their asylum cases would be reviewed
and that the minors had been referred to social services.
prosecutor Pascal Marconville, who is leading the investigation into the theft,
said the engine had been hotwired (started without a key) and that the migrants
managed to “escape the watch” of port authorities in making their getaway.
year, thousands of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, many of them
minors, attempt to reach Britain by stowing away on trucks crossing to England,
mainly through the French port of Calais.
many the attempt ends in failure, with French police routinely detaining
migrants caught trying to climb onto trucks.
Monday evening, French officials became suspicious after noticing a boat that
was taking a “bizarre” route across the Channel, said Ingrid Parrot,
spokeswoman for maritime authorities in northern France.
tipped off British authorities and contacted the owner of the 12-metre
(40-foot) boat, who said it had been stolen from the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer,
about 35 kilometers (21 miles) west of Calais.
called the crossing “unprecedented”, noting that migrants had previously used
much smaller boats to try reach their journey's end, with little success.
far this year French maritime officials have launched 23 operations either to
rescue migrants at sea or to stop groups about to set sail.
land, meanwhile, the police continue to routinely clear migrant camps around
Calais, two years after dismantling the squalid “Jungle” settlement, which was
home to over 7,000 people at one point.
of Bosniak National Council (BNV) in Serbia said the representative body needs
cooperation with Turkey in all fields.
Ugljanin's remarks came during an interview with Anadolu Agency after he
declared victory to continue as the head of the BNV in Serbia's Nov. 4
elections for members of the national councils of national minorities.
said there is a deep connection between Sandzak Bosniaks and Turkey. The
Sandzak is a Muslim majority region in southern Serbia.
are about 3 million people of Sandzak origin living in Turkey. Our cooperation
is at the highest level. We need to cooperate with Turkey, which is among the
top 20 most advanced countries in the world, in all fields," said
underlined the good relations Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his
Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic have, noting that good relations are very
important for Bosniaks and they expect concrete results from these relations.
also said the problems of the Bosnian minority in Serbia could only be solved
with the help of the international community.
said the use of the Bosnian language in the Sandzak region was progressing
slowly and that there was a problem with supplying schoolchildren with books in
their own language.
children were discriminated. Books were not given to them. With the support of
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency Presidency (TIKA) these books were
received," said Ugljanin.
also said that children of Sandzak should be encouraged to study in Turkish
universities and employed by Turkish companies in Serbia.
said some state officials in Serbia claim the Bosniak people were "not
mature enough" while addressing the international arena, and that state
institutions practice "an oppressive approach" to the Sandzak region.
one has been punished for the death of the Bosniaks in this region. Even a
simple traffic incident is charged with 10 days of detention, while the killing
of Bosniaks is not even counted as a crime," said Ugljanin.
to Ugljanin, the state of Serbia has been treating Sandzak region as
"stepchild" since the 1990s, noting that there is no cooperation with
state institutions at any level.
forces destroy almost 2000 Houthi mines in Hajjah governorate
Yemeni army has destroyed more than 2000 Houthi mines in three days only in
Hayran district alone, following big advances in the fifth military area in
Yemeni forces have been dedicated to destroying mines planted by Houthis.
a bigger scale, Yemeni forces have been able to destroy hundreds of thousands
of mines out of a million mines planted by Houthi militias in all Yemeni
governorates and villages.
have been known for planting mines the moment they sense their upcoming defeat.
the southern governorate of Dhale, dozens of Houthis were killed and injured
and ten were detained, including field military leaders, in violent
confrontations with the Yemeni forces.
Yemeni army, with support from the Arab Coalition, has been fighting Houthis in
the city of Damt for days, and was successful in liberating big parts of it.
Hodeidah, Yemeni sources confirmed the death and injury of dozens of Houthis on
different battle fronts, whereas the Yemeni army continued to advance towards
the northern entrance of the city.
advances come with great Houthi losses and the fleeing of dozens of militias
from the front lines to the internal neighborhoods of the city.
power struggles erupt in Iran over money laundering, terror support
internal power struggles in Iran have not stopped since 1979 Islamic Revolution
that toppled the Shah’s regime and was monopolized by the religious
establishment that controls all joints of the Iranian government.
conflict between the wings of the reformist and militant regime has reached
bloody levels against the backdrop of the Green Movement of 2009, which would
have almost overthrown the hardliner conservatives loyal to Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Khamenei, had the bloody crackdown by reformist not been suppressed.
and while Hassan Rouhani who is a moderate president with balanced relations
with the moderate reformists on one hand and with the moderate conservatives on
the other hand, who is at the helm of the executive power, at a time when the
Islamic Republic is facing qualitative challenges in the face of harsh US
sanctions, the hardliner conservatives left no chance but to ignore Rouhani and
all those who sided with him.
differences between the wings of the Iranian regime, these days revolve around
two lists presented months ago in the Iranian parliament, the first list on
Iran’s accession to Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and in its work
against counterfeiting and terrorism financing, and the second list on the
country’s accession to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an
intergovernmental organization based in Paris, France, was established in 1989
and is active in the fight against money laundering. In 2001, the organization
joined the fight against terrorism.
Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “Money laundering
in Iran is a real issue.”
pointed out in an interview with Khabar Online, that the “economic interests”
of some figures who are involved in money laundering, are in opposition to
Iran’s joining both “CFT” and “FATF” treaties to combat terrorism and money
laundering, accusing opponents of flouting the atmosphere against these
Iranian Shura Council approved the two lists, but the Guardian Council of the
Constitution, which has major powers in Iran, rejected them. In this case, the
two lists are presented to the Expediency Discernment Council of the System to
decide on the matter.
Iranian foreign minister’s comments on the spread of money laundering in Iran,
sparked a turmoil in the government’s institutions, which prompted the National
Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Committee today, Wednesday, to summon
FM Zarif to parliament to explain himself regarding those statements.
the request of members of the committee, the foreign minister was invited to
present evidence of alleged money laundering in Iran,” Hishmatullah Fallah
Beshah, head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary
Committee, told Tasnim news agency which is close to the Iran’s Revolutionary
lawmaker Beshah described Zarif’s comments on money laundering in Iran as
“unacceptable” and “setting a precedent” and “non-specialized” and
“undocumented accusations,” adding that even countries hostile to Iran did not
direct such accusations against the Islamic Republic.
added that: “Facts about money laundering must be revealed regarding what Mr.
foreign minister had said in his controversial interview that: “Many people in
Iran benefit from money laundering. Those who earn thousands of billions in
money laundering are financially able to allocate tens or billions to publicize
and incite the country against anti-laundering laws.”
total budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is 1,100 billion Tuman, which
is less than the budget of some cultural institutions which is connected to the
country’s powerful apparatus, so we cannot deal with them when we are raising
the issue,” Zarif said.
of CFT and FATF treaties argue that ratifying them could prevent Iran from
supporting pro-Lebanese militias in the region, led by Hezbollah, and some
believe the elite Quds Force, the external arm of the Revolutionary Guards
Corps, would come under threat due to these treaties.
Friday, many clerics and prominent figures in power, including leaders of
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and a group of parliamentarians, signed a petition
against Iran’s accession to the CFT and FATF treaties.
the other hand, Iran is also under pressure from friendly countries such as
Russia and China to push them to join the two treaties. It is known that Iran
needs the support of the two countries while the second package of US sanctions
entered into force on November 5.
has chosen the wrong path in sanctioning Iran and will be defeated, Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.
United States announced reinstatement of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil
industry last week as the administration of US President Donald Trump tries to
force the Islamic Republic to curb its missile program as well as its support
for proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen
is wrong and incorrect,” Rouhani said. “If they are being honest and they are
looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest
and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path.”
added, “They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of
our people. It’s clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of
America will harm the dear and honorable people of our country.”
National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to
step up enforcement of sanctions on the Islamic Republic and “squeeze them very
Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions after withdrew the United States from world
powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office. The other
signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to
the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other
aims to deepen ties with Saudi Arabia in all aspects, Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu said according to a prepared text of his speech to parliament on
text of the speech also said that Turkey is cooperating closely with the United
States, the European Union and other parties to curb the negative impact of US
sanctions on its relations with Iran. He also said that Turkey was making
efforts to get the US Congress to abandon proposed bills aimed at Ankara.
US Senate is demanding that sales of F-35 fighter jets be banned for Turkey
unless President Donald Trump confirms that Ankara does not threaten NATO to
buy defense equipment from Russia or detain US citizens.
minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman has resigned from his post less
than a day after Hamas and other resistance factions agreed to an
Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Israel in Gaza Strip as the recent wave of
Israeli aggression against the enclave had threatened to descend into
his decision in a news conference, the hawkish Israeli official described
Tuesday's Gaza truce as “a capitulation to terror”.
added that he also vehemently objected to Israel's allowing Qatar to deliver
$15 million to the financially-crippled Gaza Strip to pay the salaries of
government workers and civil servants last week.
is no secret that there were differences between the prime minister and
I," Lieberman said. "I did not agree to allow entry of Qatari money
[into Gaza], and I had to allow it only after the prime minister announced
who heads Yisrael Beiteinu, will retake his Knesset seat following his
resignation. Lieberman also said all of the members of his party will quit
Israel's ruling coalition in the 120-member parliament. Yisrael Beiteinu's
departure means Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only holds a slender Knesset
majority (61-59) seats to maintain the coalition.
key coalition partner in Netanyahu's government, Habayit Hayehudi (headed by
Education Minister Naftali Bennett), said that unless the defense portfolio
goes to Bennett, the party will also quit the coalition.
also called for elections to be held as soon as possible, saying he hopes a
date will be set by Sunday.
in the former Soviet Union, Lieberman's voter base is made up of fellow Russian-speaking
immigrants, and rightists and secularists who share his hostility to
victory for Gaza'
Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a post published on his official Twitter page
that the move is an Israeli “recognition of its defeat at the hands of the
Zuhri further noted that Lieberman’s resignation constitutes a “political
victory for Gaza” after it managed to “stand up to the Occupation (Israel).”
resistance groups announced a ceasefire with Israel in a joint statement on
Tuesday evening, saying they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did
efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the
Zionist enemy,” the statement read.
added, “The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist
enemy respects it.”
latest spate of Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip saw 14
Palestinian killed and several others injured in 48 hours as the Israeli
airstrikes and shells reduced buildings to rubble and sent fireballs and plumes
of smoke into the sky.
early July 2014, Israel waged a war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day military
aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians,
including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088
women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
have been running high near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the
occupied territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the
coastal enclave on March 30. More than 230 Palestinians have been killed by
Israeli forces. Nearly 23,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US
embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by
Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Wednesday the
Emirates welcomes the early convening of UN-led Yemen talks in Sweden.
UAE along with Saudi Arabia is a leading member of the Arab Coalition
supporting pro-government troops in the war against the Iran-backed Houthi
UN said it planned to reconvene peace talks in Sweden by the end of the year.
The last attempt in Geneva collapsed when the Houthi delegation failed to
welcome early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden," Gargash, tweeted. He
said the coalition would "urge all parties to take advantage of window of
opportunity to restart the political process" at a UN Security Council
meeting on Friday.
look forward to hosting (UN Yemen envoy) Martin Griffiths this week in Abu
Dhabi," Gargash added.
The European Court of Auditors (ECA), a Luxembourg-based financial watchdog,
emphasized in a report published on Tuesday the difficulties in properly
tracking the EU funds provided to Turkey to address the needs of refugees while
living outside camps.
Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the main mechanism to financially support
about 4 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, and it is endowed with €6
billion ($6.78 billion) that will be disbursed in two installments for
financing various projects addressing the urgent needs of refugees and their
ECA criticized the transparency level of two cash-assistance humanitarian
programs — valued at about €1.1 billion — where it was not possible to properly
track the flow of money going to the beneficiaries from registration until payment.
reportedly declined to disclose the beneficiaries’ names, and instead gave
anonymous banking details.
of these two EU-funded programs addresses Syrian children’s school-related
needs, and is also supported through grants from the US and Norway. The other
program, the Emergency Social Safety Network, is intended to provide assistance
for food and rent. In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Bettina Jakobsen,
a member of the ECA and chief auditor of the report, said the Turkish authorities
referred to their national legislation on data protection as a basis for not
granting access to the UN partner or ECA access to beneficiary data.
consider that this lack of access to final beneficiaries’ data de facto limited
the scope of our audit and the related level of assurance we can provide,” she
the time of the audit, no issue of fraud or corruption has been reported. We
have not experienced any other difficulties when carrying out our audit
procedures and the cooperation with the Turkish authorities was good.”
the context of the second tranche, the ECA recommends that the European
Commission insist that the Turkish authorities grant full access to the
commission should also scale up monitoring and reporting on the facility. In
addition, the ECA is also carrying out legality and regularity audits, and
considering the scale of these projects, an audit of the legality and
regularity of the related payments may take place in the coming years,”
Jakobsen told Arab News.
a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Jakobsen said the lack of access to
such key information was unprecedented in her career and this was the first
time the institution had faced such a refusal, leading to some “doubts.”
Ayselin Yildiz, UNESCO Chair on International Migration at Yasar University in
Izmir, said she was surprised that the European authorities are pushing Turkey
not to respect data protection rights.
course, the procedures of allocation and spending of the funds have to be
transparent and accountable, but it does not require sharing the details of
individual data with third parties,” she told Arab News.
who has coordinated and worked on several EU-funded projects on refugees, also
noted that the two cash-assistance programs in question are shuffled through UN
agencies, the World Food Programme and implementing partners.
must have their own internal control and monitoring mechanisms. These issues
had to be set well in the beginning in grant agreements and I question why this
has occurred as an obstacle for cooperation two years after the launch of the
program,” she added.
the trust and accountability problem between the EU and Turkish authorities, we
should question if the consent of Syrian refugees has been taken on the
conditions of benefiting from these funds and whether they had agreed to share
their personal data, which is very sensitive for their future migration
journey,” Yildiz underlined.
was not the only challenge the auditors encountered in monitoring Turkey’s
management of European taxpayer money going to Syrian refugees. The report also
found that the interest generated on the money in the bank did not reach the
refugees or return to the EU taxpayer, but was kept by the implementing
the report also welcomed the fact that “all the humanitarian projects audited
provided helpful support to the refugees, mainly through cash-based assistance,
and most of them achieved their intended outputs.”
commission will consider the recommendations of the audit report while
implementing the next tranche of the assistance between the end of 2018 and
2019, which will amount to €3 billion, to prevent any risk of the funds being
Batalla, the secretary-general of the European Parliament Turkey Forum, said
the EU funding for refugees has delivered tangible and measurable results in
record time, which has had a positive impact on the livelihood of Syrians
living in Turkey.
it should be hailed as a success. The EU and Turkey should, however, take into
account the recommendations made by the Court of Auditors to achieve the
maximum potential of the facility. Improving transparency is essential in this
regard,” she said.
A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire along the shore of the northern Gaza
Strip on Wednesday despite an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire after the worst
escalation between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war.
man killed was identified as Nawaf Al-Aatar, 20, and a Gazan security source
said he was fishing at the time near the border fence. An Israeli military
spokesman said they were looking into the incident.
truce may have halted violence but the political situation remained volatile
and the deal provoked sharp disagreement within the Israeli government.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday announced his resignation and
called for early elections throwing the government into turmoil.
also said his party was quitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition,
leaving the premier with only a one-seat majority in Parliament.
are not due until November 2019, but Lieberman’s resignation increases the
likelihood of an earlier vote.
party of another Netanyahu rival, Naftali Bennett, has already announced that
if he is not appointed defense minister it will also quit the coalition — a
move that would trigger early elections.
Bennett’s sometimes rocky relationship with Netanyahu, it is far from certain
he will be given the powerful defense post. Yair Lapid, head of the opposition
Yesh Atid Party, said “the countdown has begun” to the end of Netanyahu’s term
agreement also led to protests by several hundred Israelis living near the
border with Gaza who called for further action against Hamas.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment in detail on the agreement, but defended
his strategy and said: “Our enemies begged for a cease-fire.
times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t
always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he
said at a ceremony on Wednesday morning in honor of Israel’s founding father
portrayed the cease-fire as a victory and thousands of residents of the
blockaded enclave took to the streets late Tuesday to celebrate.
resistance has defended itself and defended its people against Israeli
aggression,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said.
truce was announced by Gaza militant groups, including Hamas, on Tuesday.
said it would abide by the deal, which the UN also helped broker, as long as
Israel did the same.
diplomatic source familiar with the agreement said it involved returning to
arrangements put in place following the 2014 war, but warned: “The situation
remains very precarious and can blow up again.
we have seen in the past 48 hours was very dangerous and no efforts should be
spared to avoid similar flare-ups.”
violence saw seven Gazans killed in 24 hours as Israeli strikes targeted
militants and flattened buildings, sending fireballs and plumes of smoke into
wailed in southern Israel, as militants unleashed barrages of rocket and mortar
fire, sending residents rushing to shelters.
460 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel, the army said.
anti-tank missile hit a bus near the Gaza border that Hamas says was being used
by Israel’s army. An Israeli soldier was severely wounded.
all, some 27 Israelis were wounded, three of them severely.
Palestinian laborer from the occupied West Bank was killed when a rocket hit a
building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside
the Gaza Strip that turned deadly and prompted Hamas to vow revenge.
clash that resulted from the blown operation killed seven Palestinian
militants, including a local Hamas military commander, as well as an Israeli
responded with the rocket barrages and anti-tank missile, prompting Israeli
airstrikes across Gaza.
Israeli army said it struck some 160 targets, including Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV
station and internal security headquarters in Gaza City.
least five of the dead in Gaza were claimed as members of various militant
groups. Some 26 people were wounded, according to territory’s Health Ministry.
escalation came despite Netanyahu’s decision to allow Qatar to transfer
millions of dollars in aid to Gaza for salaries as well as fuel to ease a
chronic electricity shortage.
agreements had led to calmer protests along the border after months of deadly
special forces operation and resulting clash upset those efforts, leading to
questions over the timing of the covert Israeli move.
said it was an intelligence-gathering operation and that those efforts must
continue to defend the country.
and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and
protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly
raised fears of a fourth.
An Israeli plan to build a cable car to Jerusalem’s historic Old City has
united architects and Palestinian activists in opposition to a project they say
is both an eyesore and a ploy to entrench Israeli control over the city’s
contested eastern sector.
say the proposed project is meant to relieve snarling traffic and will ferry
some 3,000 tourists an hour from the western sector directly to the Old City,
in east Jerusalem. It follows a series of Israeli projects in the combustible
city that have enraged the Palestinians.
project is associated with the Elad Foundation, a group that has settled Jewish
nationalists in the heart of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods. The final cable
car station will be integrated into a future tourist center run by the
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Wednesday that he was resigning
from the conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
in protest at a Gaza truce.
his decision, which takes effect 48 hours after he puts it in writing,
Lieberman deemed Tuesday’s Egyptian-mediated deal with the Palestinian group
Hamas “a capitulation to terror”.
we're doing now as a state is buying short-term quiet, with the price being
severe long-term damage to national security,” Lieberman said.
also said that his party will quit the government as a result of his
resignation, leaving Netanyahu with a narrow majority in parliament.
added: “We should agree on a date for elections as early as possible,” while
sharply criticising the ceasefire that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended his decision to accept
a ceasefire after the worst escalation with Palestinian militants in the Gaza
Strip since a 2014 war.
times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t
always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he
said at a ceremony in honor of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion.
enemies begged for a ceasefire and they knew very well why.”
universities told to nip radicalism in bud
Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla has appealed to universities to do more to
stamp out radicalism on campuses.
would include taking a tough line against radical preaching in campus mosques,
Islam, of course, is a moderate form of Islam," he told a recent
Association of Indonesian Campus Mosques meeting in Jakarta, adding that campus
mosque should aid students in their education and not be sowing the seeds of
to Kalla, who is also chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, religious
fanaticism is not a problem. But it will become a problem if it leads to
suggested universities create a "curriculum of sermons" for campus
mosques that contain moderate teachings about Islam.
appeal comes amid growing concern about the growth of radicalism on campuses
and the use of mosques to spread it.
National Counter Terrorism Agency in May said that seven state-run universities
were fermenting radicalism, including the University of Indonesia, the
study last year by the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace revealed
found that hard-line groups controlled mosques on campuses and housing estates
in the west Java cities of Depok and Bogor.
the University of Indonesia, according to Setara, a group routinely holds
recitations that promote war and the rejection of enemies of Islam such as
communists, liberals and groups considered heretical.
survey by the Air Foundation and the Alvara Research Center showed that 23.5
percent of university students support Indonesia becoming an Islamic state with
of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Mohamad Nasir, said his ministry
is looking to persuade university administrators and professors to ensure
mosques return to supporting the academic and spiritual formation of students.
do not want to impose strict rules on them, but we have asserted that it is
their duty to make sure their campuses are free from radicalism," he said.
LUMPUR: Non-Muslim couples in the country who want to get married will be
required to attend pre-wedding courses similar to Islamic couples.
NSTP survey found that most people agreed this was a good idea.
Yap Kew, 25, said that non-Muslim couples should attend pre-wedding courses to
prepare themselves to face marriage.
after marriage is very different to life as a single person, and this course
can help to mentally prepare them for family life,” he said.
Kayshdiip Singh, 23, said that if the pre-marriage course focuses on being
understanding and accepting the responsibility of marriage, it would be a good
the essence of the course touches on religious issues it would be difficult to
implement because non-Muslims often marry other races and fear that this will
cause disagreement and turmoil,” he said.
khan, 25, said the government needed to streamline the content and guidelines
that will be used in the course.
only Muslim couples went through the course. But if it is to be applied to
non-Muslims, the course should be amended to suit all races,” he said.
Mobin Subramanian, 23, does not agree to compulsory pre-wedding courses for
will add to the preparations that need to be done before getting married and
will only cause inconvenience to the couple,” he said.
the media reported that non-Muslim couples in the country who intend to
establish a household would be required to attend pre-wedding courses.
movement is aimed at reduce the high rate of divorce in the country.
LUMPUR, Nov 14 — The government should return previous assistance schemes for
federal student loan takers even if it will not honour its own pledge to defer
repayment for low-income earners, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
his mockery of the Education Ministry’s policy moves, the former prime minister
pointed out that he had introduced incentives for National Higher Education
Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers that rewarded academic excellence and prompt
who graduated with first-class honours previously had their loans converted
into full scholarships, while those repaying steadily enjoyed tiered discounts
depending on the level of repayment.
also mooted a grace period of up to a year after graduation before repayments
announced all these in Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Budget 2018 last year.
I and the BN administration could do this with a RM280 billion Budget, there is
no excuse for the Pakatan Harapan government that is proud of its over RM300
billion Budget not to do so!” he wrote on Facebook.
then invited youths and students to join him in demanding the PH administration
deliver on its pledge to defer PTPTN repayments for those earning under RM4,000
apologetic Wan Saiful Wan Jan said last week it was not possible to honour the
pledge to delay repayment for PTPTN borrowers as Malaysia’s finances were not
robust enough to support this.
atmosphere was convivial in Wonosobo, Central Java, when 18-year-old Fikri
Darmawan ordered three cups of kopi joss, the city’s signature coffee that
contains a burning lump of charcoal, for him and his friends, Miftahul Choir
and Muhammad Aldo.
sight of the three boys hanging out together may seem ordinary, except for the
fact that Fikri has been raised in an Ahmadi household, a religious minority
that is often persecuted. But for Aldo and Miftahul, who are devoted Sunnis,
Fikri is nothing more than their best friend.
have lived here since I started junior high school, and I never experienced any
conflict related to my religious background here. In fact, I don’t think such
conflict exists here,” Fikri told The Jakarta Post.
only argue over soccer because we support different teams,” Fikri added.
as a transit point for tourists before they commence their trip to the popular
Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo is home to people with different religious backgrounds,
including the Ahmadis.
6,000 live in Wonosobo, making it the city with the largest Ahmadi population
in the country.
to Maulana Nurhadi, an Ahmadi preacher and community leader, the city had
welcoming the Ahmadis since they first arrived in the early 1920s.
added that the Ahmadis were introduced to Wonosobo by Pakistanmubaligh
(preacher) Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig in 1920.
that year, a young Ahmadi figure in Wonosobo named Sabitun, was sent to Lahore,
Pakistan, to learn more about Ahmadiya. He later returned to his hometown and
built a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) to spread Ahmadi teachings.
local administration has also been supportive of the Ahmadis. The previous
regent, for example, initiated regular interfaith meetings,” Maulana said,
referring to former Wonosobo regent Abdul Kholiq Arif.
in the neighboring regency of Banjarnegara, the Ahmadis are banned from
organizing pengajian (Islamic study groups) following a protest by local
Congregation Indonesia (JAI) spokesperson Yendra Budiana told the Post recently
that persecution against the Ahmadis often occurred after provocation by
is also an area where Ahmadis face persecution. However, it is also important
to note that this only occurred in several areas on the island,” Yendra said.
2005, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a fatwa declaring the Ahmadis
heretics, though it did not recommend a full ban.
2008, then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration endorsed a joint
ministerial decree that effectively restricts Ahmadiyah activities in the
regions across the country also followed suit, but Wonosobo regency instead
issued a bylaw declaring “Wonosobo a human rights friendly regency”, which has
been attributed to its relative success in ensuring minorities’ rights to
practice their beliefs.
28 of Bylaw No. 5/2016 stipulates that everyone has the right to follow their
beliefs free of interference.
Kristyanto Nugroho, who is a member of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) the largest Muslim
organization in the country, said he failed to understand why minority groups
such as the Ahmadiyah needed to be restricted.
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