an increase in Muslim visitors to Japan, more prayer rooms are being installed
in commercial facilities across the country
Punjab Province Information and Culture Minister, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Sacked
over His Anti-Hindu Remarks
Pakistani Leader’s Education Aims May Include Reining in Religious Schools
wrong With ‘Kafir’, Muftis Disagree with Call by Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama?
Getting More Muslim Prayer Rooms, But Some Are Seeing Only Limited Use
Puts Jaish Chief Masood Azhar's Brother, Son In ‘Preventive Custody’, Bans
Muslim Parties Open To Mediation: Waqf Board Counsel
Islamic Group Votes to Take Myanmar Rohingya Abuses to International Court of Justice
Defies Israeli Court Order to Close Al-Aqsa Mosque Gate
of Terror Group Allowed To Speak At UN
Omar's Comments Trigger House Vote On Anti-Semitism
Punjab Province Information and Culture Minister, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan,
Sacked over His Anti-Hindu Remarks
Images Show Madrasa Buildings Still Standing At Scene of Indian Bombing
visa duration for Pakistani citizens reduced to 3 months
SC bars private channels from airing Indian films, TV shows
places Hafiz Saeed-led JuD, FIF in list of banned organisations
legislators distance themselves from Pak minister's anti-Hindu remarks
FIF seminaries, other assets confiscated
govt takes over Sialkot mosque
Samad fails in bid to sink Muslim activist’s defence
of ‘meaningful action’ for China Muslims, US lawmakers say
Hold more inter-religious dialogues to promote understanding
Police hunting man who insulted Prophet Muhammad in Twitter
Incites Tribals In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa To Form Anti-India Militia
to Go Ahead With Pakistan on Kartarpur Corridor Plans
team to visit Delhi on March 14 for talks on Kartarpur corridor
intensifies offensive to get Masood Azhar sanctioned at UN
rubbishes Pakistan's claim of India submarine in its waters
being trained to carry out attacks via sea: Navy chief
Islamic Group Votes to Take Myanmar Rohingya Abuses to International Court of
Applauds Rep. Banks for calling out Islamist groups
to 50 militants killed in Afghan Special Forces operations, airstrikes
House resolution calls on BNP to cut ties with Jamaat
bomb attack in Afghan city of Jalalabad, casualties feared
least 16 killed in bomb, gun attack in eastern Afghanistan
Rouhani accuses US of trying to change clerical establishment
council rejects Israeli court closure at holy site
postpones reports on companies with business ties to Israeli settlements
created Daesh, Iran stopped its spread: Qassemi
expels Dutch diplomats in reciprocal move: FM Zarif
jets strike northern Gaza Strip in fresh act of aggression
slams US plan to end special trade status
of Houthi militia killed in clashes
carries out fresh Hamas strikes over incendiary balloons
More Open To Combat Extremism Muslim Leader Urges UK Mosques amid
Will Be One-Third Muslim in 15 Years, Chief Mufti Predicts
extremist Jean-Michel Clain killed in Syria: Wife
ruling party suspends 14 members over Islamophobia
Francis’ visit to Morocco to focus on migrants
probe after explosive devices found at London airports, Waterloo Station
mugshot library aims to halt foreign fighters
aid worker stranded in Syria after citizenship is revoked
'I Agree 100%' To Keep US Troops In Syria
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans first visit to Lebanon
give Turkey F-35 Jets If They Buy Russian S-400: Top US General
the flashpoint as Democrats confront divide over Israel
Turki Al-Faisal: US Pullout From Syria Will ‘Create A Vacuum’ For Iran
Arabia To Become ‘Global Player In Education Sector’
cabinet welcomes ‘constructive’ UK Hezbollah ban
Destroys Saudi Ammunition Depot with Missile
king, crown prince split over MbS’ recent moves: Report
Arabia to be rebuked at UN rights council for first time
satellites find cemetery with 300 graves near Syria’s Rukban camp
army attacks Daesh targets in desert
Arabia pledges $500 million in support for UN humanitarian plan for Yemen
Save Your Energy for Boko Haram, Wike Tells Security Agencies
On Strike In Sudan Calling For President To Quit
Boko Haram Faction May Have New Chief
State-backed Boko Haram faction may have new chief: Sources
Boko Haram Urged to Free Kidnapped Nurse
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Punjab province government on Tuesday sacked its Information and Culture
Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan over his anti-Hindu remarks that invited
intense criticism from senior party leaders and the minority community.
Minister Imran Khan took serious notice of Chohan’s ‘anti-Hindu’ remarks and
directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to remove him forthwith, party
Punjab government has removed Fayyaz Chohan from the post of Punjab Information
Minister following derogatory remarks about the Hindu community,” official
twitter account of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted.
further said: “Bashing someone’s faith should not be a part of any narrative.
Tolerance is the first & foremost pillar on which #Pakistan was built.”
spokesman for Punjab chief minister said Chohan submitted his resignation to
the chief minister which was immediately accepted.
to a senior government official, the chief minister had “forgiven” Chohan after
he publicly apologised for his remarks, but the prime minister directed Buzdar
to immediately remove him from the ministry.
had come under severe criticism from senior members of his party, ministers and
social media users with #SackFayazChohan trending on Twitter for his
controversial remarks while addressing a gathering on February 24 in the
aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
in the day, Chohan apologised for his remarks following intense criticism.
was addressing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian armed forces and
their media not the Hindu community in Pakistan,” he said.
apologise if my remarks hurt the Hindu community in Pakistan,” Chohan said. “My
remarks were in no way directed at Pakistan’s Hindu community.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government “will not tolerate this nonsense”, party
leader Naeemul Haque, who is special assistant to Prime Minister on Political
Affairs, said Monday night in response to Chohan’s remarks.
derogatory and insulting remarks against the Hindu community by Fayyaz Chohan
the Punjab Info Minister demand strict action. PTI govt will not tolerate this
nonsense from a senior member of the govt or from anyone. Action will be taken
after consulting the Chief Minister,” Haque tweeted.
tweet was followed by condemnation from Shireen Mazari and Asad Umar, the
federal ministers of human rights and finance, respectively.
condemn this. No one has the right to attack anyone else’s religion. Our Hindu
citizens have given sacrifices for their country,” Mazari tweeted. “Our PM’s
msg is always of tolerance & respect & we cannot condone any form of
bigotry or spread of religious hatred,” she added.
Minister Umar tweeted, “Hindus of Pakistan are as much a part of the fabric of
the nation as I am. Remember the flag of Pakistan is not just green…its not
complete without the white which represents the minorities.”
Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also took to Twitter and said, “Pakistan
proudly owns the white in the flag as much as the green, values contributions
of the Hindu community and honours them as our own.”
members of the Hindu community in Pakistan also took to Twitter to condemn the
form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to
the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.
of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share
culture, traditions and language with their Muslim fellows.
Pakistani leader’s education aims may include reining in religious schools
Pakistan (RNS) — Like several Pakistani leaders before him, Prime Minister
Imran Khan came into office vowing to reform the country’s 38,000 madrassas —
the Islamic seminaries that for decades have educated the poor while also
promoting sectarianism, extremism and hatred for the West.
taking office in August, Khan said reforming the madrassas was a priority of
his government. He wanted to give the estimated 3.5 million children currently
enrolled in madrassas an opportunity to pursue mainstream education.
students should be able to become doctors, engineers, judges and generals,”
Khan said in his inaugural address.
Khan’s wish is not his alone,” said A.H. Nayyar, a physicist and independent
educational expert based in Islamabad. “Reforming madrassas has been wished for
a long time by many rulers, but all failed.”
attract mostly poor students in a country where the Society for the Protection
of the Rights of the Child recently found that around 22.6 million children,
particularly girls from traditional families, don’t attend school.
narrow religious education that madrassa students receive, said Nayyar, “does
not make them eligible for any societal function other than clerical
October, the prime minister laid out his reform plans at a meeting of religious
school leaders, saying he wanted to eliminate private schools, which are
largely attended by well-to-do Pakistanis, improve the public education system
that educates the country’s poor and introduce a nationwide curriculum that madrassas
would also need to follow.
is of utmost importance that we have a uniform education system without
discrimination in the country,” he told the clerics.
government oversees the five madrassa boards affiliated with various Islamic
sects, but Khan’s plan is likely to face opposition from the religious
Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam political party, which
runs many madrassas, has warned Khan about seeking to alter the schools.
government is trying to please the Western powers by talking about reforms in
madrassas,” said Rehman. “Any action against madrassas will be seen as action
against Islam. We will protest and force the government to withdraw its
suspicion of reform as an infiltration of Western values is common among
madrassa supporters and students.
does government want to reform madrassas? We are better than the Americanized
private schools that spread vulgarity,” said Madiha Fayyaz, a madrassa student
madrassa students also believe their education is sufficient. “I have learnt
Quran and that is enough for me to survive in the world,” said Mohammad Hashim,
a madrassa student in Lahore. “I don’t feel the need to study anything else, as
my teacher said that more education spoils a man.”
asked about other subjects at his madrassa, Hashim was less confident.
are taught computer skills too, but we are only allowed to see Islamic material
online,” he said.
madrassas flourished in the 1980s under the military dictatorship of Gen. Ziaul
Haq. During the Soviet-Afghan war, the seminaries got massive funding from the
United States and Persian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, and madrassa
students called “mujahedeen,” or holy warriors, trained and went to Afghanistan
to fight the Soviets.
with the Saudi money came the radical ideologies of Wahhabism, a strictly
conservative Sunni sect that fanned the flames of sectarianism. Long after the
end of the Soviet war, the schools not only proliferated in numbers, but became
overt and covert partners in religious militancy.
2000, Pakistan’s security agencies have kept a close eye on madrassas that
produce radicalized youth and feed recruits to Islamist militant outfits in the
the foreign funding problem is now under control, according to Nayyar, there is
still a political struggle for control of the madrassas. He questioned whether
the politicians’ reforms are truly aimed at education, or at reducing the power
of lslamic leaders to put hordes of madrassa students into the streets for
there is any anti-Islam activity our students are the first ones who take to
streets,” said Amjad Butt, a madrassa graduate and a teacher at Jamia Ashrafia
Seminary in Lahore.
for the madrassas has a lot to do with poverty and overpopulation,” said Hira
Sajjad, principal of a public school in Lahore. “Sending two to three children
to a madrassa eases off the poor families of extra financial burden. They don’t
have to provide food and clothing to their children and as a result they don’t
care much about the education.”
JAYA: Two state muftis disagree with the recent call by Indonesia’s largest
Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) to stop using the word “kafir”
(infidel or disbelievers) when referring to non-Muslims.
mufti Harussani Zakaria said they were simply called “non-Muslims” in everyday
conversation, adding that the term “kafir” was acceptable as it was mentioned
in the Quran and hadith, or sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad.
means non-Muslim. It’s not a problem in Malaysia,” Harussani told FMT, adding
that there is no alternative to the Arabic term.
means one who rejects Islam.”
Muslim scholar Ahmad Muntaha, who represents NU’s East Java chapter, had said
that it was wrong for Muslims to address non-Muslims as “kafir” in any social
said they could be referred to as “muwathin”, or citizens with the same rights
and obligations as Muslim Indonesians.
mufti Abdul Rahman Osman, who sparked a controversy not long ago when he used
the term “kafir harbi” on non-Muslims who questioned moves to implement
shariah, agreed with Harussani.
said the word “kafir” had been in use for a long time, adding that one could
differentiate non-Muslims by adding the word “dhimmi” (one who lives under an
Islamic administration) or “harbi” (one who wages war against Muslims)
up to us. We are not obliged to use it,” he added.
its widespread use in the Malay language, the word “kafir” is seen as
call for Muslims to refrain from using the word is not new.
year, a similar suggestion was made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa who said non-Muslims should not be classified as
“dhimmi” and “harbi” as it was against the spirit of the constitution which
recognises equal rights for all.
getting more Muslim prayer rooms, but some are seeing only limited use
- With an increase in Muslim visitors to Japan, more prayer rooms are being
installed in commercial facilities across the country, but the number of users
remains limited due to reasons such as lack of awareness and difficulty of
prayer rooms are often equipped with a washing area for cleaning hands and feet
before prayers, and a sign indicating the direction of prayer.
to the operator of a website providing information for Muslims, there are about
170 prayer rooms in Japan, and the number is increasing as more tourists visit
Japan from Southeast Asia.
from Malaysia and Indonesia, which both have large Muslim populations, totaled
around 700,000 in 2017, a sevenfold increase from a decade earlier, according
to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
more prayer rooms open up, making the most of them remains a challenge,
prayer room installed recently in a shopping mall in Hiroshima Prefecture has
been used only two or three times a month.
customers misunderstood the purpose of the room and tried to use it as a place
to rest. “It is difficult to promote the room,” an official of the facility
LaLaport Expocity, a major shopping mall in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, a prayer
room has been used not only by travelers but also people working in the area
since the mall opened in 2015. It gets about 30 uses a month.
news has spread through word of mouth and the number of users has been rising,”
said Sachiko Kato, who manages the room.
there is room for improvement.
who want to use the room have to ask staff at the service counter to unlock it,
and this instruction is written in English and Japanese only.
is hard to leave the room open because it is located where many people come and
go,” Kato said.
Miichi, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies
of Waseda University, pointed out that just increasing the number of prayer
rooms is not enough.
we need to understand why (the rooms) are necessary by learning (Muslim)
customs and culture, and then develop an environment where people can use them
easily,” Miichi said.
DELHI: Amid pressure from the global community to rein in terror outfits
operating from its soil in the wake of the Pulwama attack, Pakistan on Tuesday
detained Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s son and brother and put
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-eInsaniat Foundation (FIF) on the list of banned
terror outfits .
Azhar and Mufti Abdul Rauf, the son and brother of the JeM chief, along with 42
other members of the jihadi outfit have been taken into “preventive custody”,
even as Masood Azhar himself continues to be a free bird. Both Hamad and Rauf
figure in the dossier India submitted to Pakistan after launching air raids on
a Jaish camp at Balakot+ in Pakistan.
February 21, the Pakistani government had announced that it had banned JuD and
FIF. However, as reported by TOI on Tuesday, the website of National Counter
Terrorism Authority updated on Monday showed JuD and FIF were still under the watch
list. Junior interior minister Shehryar Afridi and the ministry’s secretary
Azam Suleman Khan said at a press meet on Tuesday that Hamad Azhar and Rauf
were among those detained who were named in the Indian dossier on the Pulwama attack+
Khan claimed that this did not mean that action was being taken only against
those who were mentioned in the dossier. “This action against banned organisations
is across the board. We don’t want to give the impression that we are against
any one organisation,” he said.
move to hold Rauf in “preventive detention” evoked scepticism in India with
official sources dismissing it as of little significance while underlining that
it was a ploy to distract international opinion+ just before the UN Security
Council is to decide on putting the Jaish chief on the 1267 banned list. They
said Masood Azhar and Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed were repeatedly detained as
part of a ritual which never amounted to more than house arrests.
majority of litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case have
communicated their consent for a dialogue to the Supreme Court. But three
important parties to the dispute have reportedly not given their consent. They
are the Hindu Mahasabha, Ram Lalla Virajman, which represents the infant deity,
and Mahant Suresh Das.
Supreme Court will on Wednesday hold a crucial hearing to decide whether the
politically and religiously sensitive issue can be adjudicated through
Nath Pandey, who is representing Ram Lalla Virajman in the Supreme Court, said:
“I am against any form of mediation in the case at this stage.”
the past, all efforts for out-of-court settlement of the dispute through
mediation have failed. I have informed the court that I am against any form of
mediation even if it is through a court appointed mediator,” said Pandey.
apex court on February 26 said it would pass an order on March 6 on whether to
refer the matter to a court-appointed mediator. A five-judge Constitution
Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, had asked the
contesting parties to explore the possibility of amicably settling the
decades-old dispute through mediation, saying it may help in “healing
be representing the Sunni Central Waqf Board, in person, in civil appeal number
921/2011 in the mediation process, if any, initiated by the orders of the
Supreme Court,” said Zufar Ahmed Faruqi, the chairman of the Waqf board.
Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case have expressed their willingness after the
apex court’s observation to explore mediation. Only the Hindu Mahasabha, Ram
Lala Virajman and Mahant Suresh Das did not agree,” said Zafaryab Jilani, Waqf
board counsel and secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
said past attempts for an out-of-court settlement of the issue had failed and
this had apparently made some of the parties to the dispute sceptical.
world’s top Islamic intergovernmental body has unanimously adopted a resolution
to pursue legal recourse through the International Court of Justice to seek
accountability and justice for large-scale human rights violations committed
against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a statement issued by Bangladesh’s foreign
Council of Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it
will also seek legal means through the ICJ to establish the legal rights of the
Rohingya, the ministry said in a news release after the resolution passed on
resolution to pursue legal recourse through the International Court of Justice
(ICJ) came after a long series of negotiations to seek accountability for
crimes committed against humanity and gross violations of human rights against
Rohingya in Myanmar, it said.
OIC Council of Ministers at this Abu Dhabi meeting has taken a decision in a
resolution to move the International Court of Justice address the question of
accountability and justice regarding the gross human rights violations against
the Rohingyas,” said Gousal Azam Sarjer, spokesman of Bangladesh’s Foreign
Ministry, told RFA’s Myanmar Service by phone on Tuesday.
a declaration at the end of the 57-member organization’s two-day meeting in Abu
Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the OIC stressed the importance for its
member states to continue to be involved in the United Nations system,
including the General Assembly, the Rights Council, and relevant international
organizations to respond to the rights violations against the Rohingya and the
latest developments concerning them.
a previous declaration following a ministerial meeting in May 2018, the OIC
said that Myanmar’s treatment of Muslims in northern Rakhine state amounted to
ethnic cleansing and is a “serious and blatant violation of international law.”
that meeting, the OIC agreed to form an ad hoc ministerial committee to ensure
accountability and justice for gross violations of international human rights
against the Rohingya and to assist in gathering information and evidence
collection for accountability purposes.
the committee’s first session this February, it recommended taking legal steps
to establish legal rights for the Rohingya on the principles of international
law based on the U.N.’s Genocide Convention and other human rights and humanitarian
law principles, the Bangladeshi government’s news release said.
houses more than 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, including over 730,000 who
arrived there following a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar military forces in northern
Rakhine state, which included killings, torture, rape, and arson in Muslim
Myanmar government justified the crackdown as a necessary countermeasure to
defeat a group of Muslim militants in the state, and denied that its military
had committed mass atrocities against the Rohingya.
extensive report by U.N. investigators in September 2018, however, detailed
violence by Myanmar security forces and called for the prosecution of top
military commanders on genocide charges at the International Criminal Court or
by another criminal tribunal.
will not accept it’
to news of the OIC’s measure, Myo Nyunt, spokesman of Myanmar’s ruling National
League for Democracy government, said officials need to know what rights for
the Rohingya the OIC is talking about.
do they mean?” he said. “If they ask us to recognize all of them as ‘ethnic
Rohingya’ without identifying any of them, then it is interference in a
country’s sovereignty, and we will not accept it at all.”
reiterated Myanmar’s position of accepting back those who have proof that they
lived in Rakhine under the terms of a 1993 agreement between the two countries.
it [the OIC] pressures us to do something by force, we have to protect our
sovereignty,” Myo Nyunt said.
Lwin, a Muslim leader in Myanmar who was a member of a commission headed by
former U.N. chief Kofi Annan that called for an end to restrictions on the
stateless Rohingya minority to prevent further violence in Rakhine state, said
basic rights should be extended to all people affected by atrocities.
country is responsible to give rights not only to the Rohingya, but also to all
victims,” he said Muslim leader Aye Lwin.
is important for those responsible in the relevant country to understand that
point,” he said. “So what is needed is to convince those people and make them
is supposed to take back many of the Rohingya refugees living in sprawling
displacement camps in southeastern Bangladesh under a repatriation agreement
that the two countries signed in November 2017, but the program has yet to get
refugees say they are afraid to return to Myanmar, where they are viewed as
illegal immigrants, denied citizenship, and subjected to systematic
discrimination, unless their safety can be assured and they are guaranteed
certain rights. None have agreed to return under current conditions.
mid-February, Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s state minister for foreign affairs,
raised the possibility with OIC member states of creating a civilian “safe
zone” for Rohingya who return to Myanmar that would be monitored by human
rights and humanitarian groups, according to a ministry press release.
a briefing with OIC delegates who were in Geneva to attend the launch of the
U.N. Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis for 2019, he also
provided details about n the Bangladeshi government’s plans to relocate some of
the Rohingya refugee living in camps in Cox’s Bazar district to Bhashan Char
groups have s warned against the move, saying that the island is uninhabitable
and prone to flooding.
told the U.N. on Feb. 28 that it could not accept any additional refugees from
Myanmar, who have strained humanitarian resources in the impoverished country.
Tuesday, Yanghee Lee, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on the situation
of human rights in Myanmar, said she was “concerned” by the suggestion of ting
safe zones in northern Rakhine state for returning Rohingya refugees, Reuters
news agency reported, without elaborating.
defies Israeli court order to close al-Aqsa Mosque gate
Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem
al-Quds has dismissed an Israeli court order to shutter Bab al-Rahma (Gate of
Mercy or Golden Gate) in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with Palestinians calling
for mass protests against the ruling.
Abdel Azeem Salhab, head of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, stressed
on Tuesday that the court’s decision does not apply to the al-Aqsa Mosque.
is our right, religious and contractual to access the Golden Gate and keep this
door open for Muslims to pray,” he said in a statement issued after an emergency
meeting of the organization seated in Jordan, which is the custodian of the
holy sites in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
will not respond to courts of the occupation regarding the issue of Bab
al-Rahma and Al-Aqsa Mosque and it [does not have authority over the matter],”
closed Bab al-Rahma in 2003, alleging that it had turned into a place for
political activities against the Tel Aviv regime.
the first time in 16 years, the Islamic Waqf defied Israel’s ban and re-opened
the gates to Palestinian worshipers last month.
by the move, Israel has been engaged in an arrest campaign against the
Palestinians joining prayers in the premises of Bab al-Rahma.
month, Israeli authorities arrested 229 Palestinians and banned 133 others,
among them was Salhab, from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque, according to a report
by the al-Quds-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
Monday, an Israeli court said it would order the closure of Bab al-Rahma unless
the Islamic Waqf responds within a week to a request to shut the area.
in his remarks, Salhab demanded that Israel permit the Waqf to renovate Baba
al-Rahma and revoke orders banning dozens of the organization’s officials,
guards and worshipers from the site.
have long been wary of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of al-Aqsa
Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site and where only Muslim prayers are
allowed under the status quo reaffirmed in 1967 between Israel and Jordan.
to the status quo, the holy compound is administered by the Islamic Waqf
endowment on behalf of Jordan and Palestine. Non-Muslims can visit the site,
but cannot pray there.
status quo also coincided with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s declaration in
1967 that Jews are not allowed to the compound as it would desecrate the site's
Israeli settlers, escorted by the regime’s military, frequently desecrate the
site by storming it and performing prayers there.
call for mass protests
Adnan Gheith, the Palestinian Authority’s governor of occupied Jerusalem
al-Quds, called on the Palestinian people to converge on the Haram al-Sharif,
known by Jews as Temple Mount, to protest recent Israeli measures.
Palestinian officials and activists from Bab al-Rahma is part of an Israeli
scheme to divide the Haram al-Sharif and “Judaize” Jerusalem al-Quds, he added.
official Hussam Badran also called for anti-Israeli demonstrations in the
Friday will be a new day in Jerusalem (al-Quds) during which the Palestinians
will prove to Israel that the holy sites are Arab, Islamic and Palestinian,” he
said. “There is no room for Israeli sovereignty over these sites.”
a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah slammed Tel Aviv for seeking to
“undermine” the authority of the Waqf organization in a bid to establish a
section for the Jews at the Haram al-Sharif.
is a very dangerous precedent,” he told the Jerusalem Post.
a similar stance, the Popular National Conference for Jerusalem al-Quds urged
the Palestinians to take to the streets to condemn a possible closure of the
don’t need statements of condemnation,” the group said in a leaflet distributed
in East Jerusalem al-Quds. “We need practical steps on the ground to safeguard
the religious, political and historical heritage of our capital from the
guillotine of the occupation.”
of terror group allowed to speak at UN
all attempts by Turkey, two suspected members of the Fetullah Terrorist
Organization (FETO) were allowed to spread propaganda during a recent UN panel
panel defaming and threatening Turkey and state-run Anadolu Agency was held by
the terror group at the UN Office in Geneva during the 40th session of the UN
Human Rights Council.
Bozkurt, the former Ankara representative of the now defunct Today’s Zaman
newspaper who is sought over charges of being a FETO member, and Levent Kenez,
who is also suspected of being part of FETO’s media arm, spoke at the event.
panel, which took place near the council’s offices despite written and verbal
initiatives by the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN Office at Geneva,
reflected the solidarity between the FETO and PKK terror organizations.
Sottas, secretary-general of the World Organization Against Torture, who is
also a known PKK sympathizer, moderated the panel, which was organized by the
Global Alliance Against Female Genital Mutilation.
rapporteur skips panel
to Anadolu Agency, Fionnuala D. Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the
promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, decided not
to take part in the event due to a “conflict of interest”.
event’s organizers sent a letter to the Association of Accredited
Correspondents at the United Nations and invited journalists to cover the
panel, but only two showed up.
sympathizers in Switzerland taking part in the event showed solidarity with the
FETO terror group.
threatened an Anadolu Agency reporter covering the panel ahead of the event,
telling him that “from now on, you are on my radar.”
response to the reporter asking “Aren’t you ashamed of always defaming Turkey
on Twitter?”, Bozkurt said, “You wait. I will have a lot of things to say about
Turkey at the panel.”
his speech, he used a denying tactic employed by FETO members about the July
15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200
Bozkurt and Kenez overwhelmingly targeted Anadolu Agency during their speeches.
stance toward Turkey
has been living in Stockholm for three years.
of the founding members of the Stockholm Center for Freedom, he is reportedly
receiving aid from the Swedish state.
appearing in Swedish media outlets, he attempts to justify FETO’s coup attempt
and speaks against Turkish NGOs in Sweden.
black propaganda against Turkey on social media, he often sues Turkish citizens
who oppose him.
days before the assassination in December 2016 of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s
ambassador to Turkey, Bozkurt wrote an article saying that "ambassadors in
Turkey are no longer safe" almost hinting at the envoy's possible murder.
Dec. 19, 2016, Karlov was killed at an Ankara art gallery opening by Mevlut
Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer linked to the FETO. During a
standoff, Altintas was shot dead by police.
Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch launched in northern Syria to eliminate the
PYD/PKK and Daesh terror groups, he claimed on social media that it was
conducted to fuel religious bigotry within the country.
expressed on Twitter annoyance over recital of "Allahu Akbar!" during
a rally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey’s Bursa province.
another Twitter post, Bozkurt targeted Turks protesting U.S. President Donald
Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Omar's comments trigger House vote on anti-Semitism
U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism
after congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s latest remarks on Israel.
House Democrats are reportedly planning a vote for Wednesday and deciding
whether the measure will condemn Omar's comments specifically or anti-Semitism
more broadly, The Washington Post reported.
want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK
for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country," Omar said at a
town hall in Washington D.C. last Wednesday.
comments sparked outrage from members of Congress, with House Foreign Affairs
Committee Chairman Eliot Engel calling them “unacceptable and deeply
the freshman congresswoman has apologized for her anti-Israel comments in the
past, she stood her ground this time and doubled down on what she said.
am told every day that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that
to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up
on it and open myself to attacks," she wrote on Twitter.
have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel. I have questioned it
and that has been clear from my end."
of the resolution being drafted come as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a
leftwing pro-Israel rights group, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
asking for Congress to take up a case condemning Omar for her anti-Israel
light of these additional anti-Semitic statements by Rep. Omar, we ask that you
give the entire Congress an opportunity, through a House resolution, to voice
its rejection of her latest slur and make clear that no matter what may divide
the 435 members of the House of Representatives, they are united in condemning
anti-Semitism," ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt
Omar herself has been a target of hatred. Last week, the chairwoman of West
Virginia's Republican party denounced an anti-Muslim poster on display in the
state's capitol during a Republican event. It contained two images: one of Omar
and one showing planes flying into the World Trade Center in reference to the
Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
caption read: “Never forget, you said”…"I am proof you have
acknowledged the display of hate against Omar but said it was not an excuse to
resolution marks the second time Congress has pushed forward legislation
condemning Omar for comments made against Tel Aviv.
month, Republican lawmakers pushed legislation for condemning anti-Semitism
after Omar said on Twitter that political support for Israel was entirely
motivated by money doled out by the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
Images Show Madrasa Buildings Still Standing At Scene Of Indian Bombing
DELHI/SINGAPORE: High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters show that
a religious school run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in northeastern Pakistan
appears to be still standing days after India claimed its warplanes had hit the
group’s training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants.
images produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite
operator, show at least six buildings on the madrasa site on March 4, six days
after the airstrike.
now, no high-resolution satellite images were publicly available. But the
images from Planet Labs, which show details as small as 72 cm (28 inches),
offer a clearer look at the structures the Indian government said it attacked.
image is virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the
facility. There are no discernible holes in the roofs of buildings, no signs of
scorching, blown-out walls, displaced trees around the madrasa or other signs
of an aerial attack.
images cast further doubt on statements made over the last eight days by the
Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the raids, early on Feb.
26, had hit all the intended targets at the madrasa site near Jaba village and
the town of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
foreign and defense ministries did not reply to emailed questions sent in the
past few days seeking comment on what is shown in the satellite images and
whether they undermine its official statements on the airstrikes.
Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury
Institute of International Studies, who has 15 years’ experience in analizing
satellite images of weapons sites and systems, confirmed that the
high-resolution satellite picture showed the structures in question.
high-resolution images don’t show any evidence of bomb damage,” he said. Lewis
viewed three other high-resolution Planet Labs pictures of the site taken
within hours of the image provided to Reuters.
Indian government has not publicly disclosed what weapons were used in the
sources told Reuters last week that 12 Mirage 2000 jets carrying 1,000 kg
(2,200 lbs) bombs carried out the attack. On Tuesday, a defense official said
the aircraft used the 2,000-lb Israeli-made SPICE 2000 glide bomb in the
warhead of that size is meant to destroy hardened targets such as concrete
and Dave Schmerler, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for
Nonproliferation studies who also analyzes satellite images, said weapons that
large would have caused obvious damage to the structures visible in the
the strike had been successful, given the information we have about what kind
of munitions were used, I would expect to see signs that the buildings had been
damaged,” Lewis added. “I just don’t see that here.”
has disputed India’s account, saying the operation was a failure that saw Indian
jets, under pressure from Pakistani planes, drop their bombs on a largely empty
has been no damage to any infrastructure or human life as a result of Indian
incursion,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of the Pakistan military’s
press wing, in a statement to Reuters.
has been vindicated by both domestic and international media after visiting the
two visits to the Balakot area in Pakistan by Reuters reporters last Tuesday
and Thursday, and extensive interviews with people in the surrounding area,
there was no evidence found of a destroyed camp or of anyone being killed.
said there had been a series of huge explosions but the bombs appeared to have
landed among trees.
the wooded slopes above Jaba, they pointed to four craters and some splintered
pine trees, but noted little other impact from the blasts that jolted them
awake about 3 a.m. on Feb. 26.
shook everything,” said Abdur Rasheed, a van driver who works in the area.
said there weren’t any human casualties: “No one died. Only some pine trees
died, they were cut down. A crow also died.”
Saddique from Jaba Basic Health Unit and Zia Ul Haq, senior medical officer at
Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Balakot said they had seen no casualties.
must hold a general election by May, and pollsters say Modi and his Hindu
nationalist party stand to benefit from his aggressive response to a suicide
bomb attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in the disputed Kashmir
region on Feb. 14.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on the day of the strike that “a very
large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, trainers, senior commanders, and
groups of terrorists who were being trained for Fidayeen action were
eliminated” in the attack. Fidayeen is a term used to describe militants on
senior government official told reporters on the same day that about 300 militants
had been killed. On Sunday the president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP), Amit Shah, put the number killed at more than 250.
Indian government has not produced evidence that a camp was destroyed or that
any militants were killed in the raid.
has prompted some opposition politicians to push for more details.
want to know how many people actually died,” said Mamata Banerjee, the
firebrand chief minister of West Bengal state, in a video published by her All
India Trinamool Congress party in a tweet on Feb. 28. “Where did the bombs
fall? Did they actually fall in the right place?“
who is seen as a potential prime ministerial candidate, said that she stood
behind the Indian Armed Forces, but that they should be given a chance to speak
don’t want a war for political reasons, to win an election,” she said.
has accused the opposition Congress party, and other opponents such as
Banerjee, of helping India’s enemies by demanding evidence of the attacks.
a time when our army is engaged in crushing terrorism, inside the country and
outside, there are some people within the country who are trying to break their
morale, which is cheering our enemy,” Modi said at an election rally on Sunday.
(PAKISTAN): The visa duration for Pakistani nationals has been reduced to three
months from five years, said a spokesperson of the US embassy in Pakistan.
from civilians, the new visa policy will also be applicable to Pakistani journalists.
The scribes will be issued visas for three months, ARY News reported quoting
the US embassy spokesperson.
US government has also increased visa application fees for the Pakistani
citizens to $192 form $160.
move, announced on Tuesday, comes after Pakistan took reciprocal steps in
modifying the visa policy for US citizens, including reduction of visa period
and fee increment in applying for the document, the spokesperson said.
issuance of visas to the government officials will be made in view of their
working period by the US administration, the spokesperson added.
May last year, Pakistan foreign ministry had announced travel restrictions on
US diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, after the US had imposed similar
restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in that month, amid the rocky ties between
Islamabad and Washington.
US government had stated that Pakistani diplomats at its embassy in Washington
DC and consulates will not be allowed to travel over 40 km from their posts
without prior permission, according to ARY News.
has repeatedly told Islamabad that it should take strong and effective steps to
stop providing support and safe haven to terrorists operating in Pakistani
came in the wake of the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district
on February 14, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, the
responsibility of which was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday barred private channels from airing Indian
films and television shows, amid escalating tensions between the two countries
following the Pulwama terror attack.
three-member bench headed by justice Gulzar Ahmad took up the case in which an
order of the Lahore high court (LHC) allowing Indian channels in Pakistan was
lawyer of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), which
challenged the LHC ruling, told the court that government through a policy in
2006 allowed airing of 10 per cent foreign content on local channels.
PEMRA on October 19, 2016 imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on
local television channels.
lawyer said that since India authorities banned airing of Pakistani content,
PEMRA had to do the same for Indian contents in Pakistan.
the decision of PEMRA was challenged in the LHC which in 2017 ordered that the
ban on Indian contents should be lifted.
hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court set aside LHC order and reinstated the
2016 policy of PEMRA banning the transmission of Indian content on local
move came a week after Pakistan's information and broadcasting minister
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistan film exhibitors association will be
boycotting the Indian films following Indian air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed
terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last
ISLAMABAD: Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeedled Jamaat-ud-Dawa and
its wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were formally paced in the list of banned
organisations on Tuesday, a day after the Indian media reported that the two
outfits continue to be only on the watchlist.
to Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA) list, which was
updated on Tuesday, JuD and FIF were among 70 organisations proscribed by the
Ministry of Interior under the AntiTerrorism Act 1997.
list is updated as of 05th March, 2019 and prepared by NACTA based on the
Notifications issued by Ministry of Interior," said a note at the bottom
of the list.
development comes a day after Indian media reported that the two organisations
continue to be only in the list of groups under watch.
February 21, Pakistan government had announced that it had banned the JuD and
FIF, amid intense global pressure to rein in the militant groups following the
February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans.
in the NCTA list, which was earlier updated on Monday, JuD and FIF were under
watch by the Ministry of Interior.
JuD and FIF were placed on the watch list in January 2017.
Pakistan government on Monday also put out another order saying it has frozen
assets of all UN designated organisations like JuD, FIF.
to officials, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a
publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000
volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible
for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared
as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially
Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10
million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He was
released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.
cabinet ministers staged a walkout from the Punjab Assembly over derogatory
remarks on Hindus made by Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, who was sacked on Tuesday as
the province's Information and Culture Minister.
Chohan's remarks, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khalil Tahir
Sandhu said that the disgraced former minister insulted Pakistani Hindus at a
time when the country was facing threats of war while some ministers were
dividing the nation, The Dawn reported.
Prosecution Minister Chaudhry Zaheer, who is a part of Imran Khan-led ruling
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said he was proud of the patriotism of
Pakistani Hindus, Christians and Sikhs.
Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Makhdoom Usman asserted that the
government should educate its ministers, adding that the comments made by
Chohan would tarnish Pakistan's international image, according to The Dawn.
this, the legislators staged a walkout from the Punjab Assembly as a mark of
protest against the anti-Hindu comments made by Chohan. However, they were
brought back to the House.
had made derogatory remarks against Hindus during a rally last month and after
a video of his comments went viral, there was a huge outcry in the country,
demanding his immediate sacking.
Chouhan later apologised for his comments, he was summoned by Punjab Chief
Minister Usman Buzdar, where he was asked to turn in his resignation papers,
Geo News reported quoting sources.
Prime Minister Imran Khan approved Syed Samsam Ali Shah as Chohan's replacement
as the province's Information and Culture Minister. Khan had previously
denounced Chohan's statement.
remarks by Chohan came amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan
following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed lives of
40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
to reports, at least 1.6 per cent of Pakistan's population is Hindu and
Hinduism is the second largest religion followed in the country.
At least two seminaries and property belonging to proscribed Jamaatud Dawa
(JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat (FIF) were taken over by the government in a fresh
crackdown launched by the law enforcement agencies under the National Action
Plan (NAP) on Tuesday.
actions were taken in Chakwal and Attock districts after the additional chief
secretary of Punjab in a meeting with commissioners and divisional police heads
via a video link directed the officials concerned to take over the property.
a subsequent operation, the seminaries of Jamaatud Dawa situated in Chakwal —
Madrassa Khalid Bin Waleed in the Talagang area and Madrassa Darus Salam on
Chakwal’s Railway Road — along with their staff were placed at the disposal of
the Punjab government directives, administrators were appointed at the
seminaries to take over their control.
to sources, three properties owned by the JuD and FIF were spotted in Attock
district during a fresh survey conducted by a divisional intelligence committee
on Feb 27. Subsequently, the management and operational control of the
properties were taken over by the district administration of Attock. They were
Madrassa and Masjid Musab Bin Umair in Peoples Colony, Attock. It was an
under-construction structure spread over 13-kanal area and its monthly
expenditures were Rs60,000. It was taken over by the chief executive officer of
the Attock district education authority.
ambulance of FIF with a monthly running expenditure of Rs48,000 was taken over
by the district emergency office, Rescue 1122, Attock. Besides, Hasanabdal
assistant commissioner confiscated a 17-marla plot of the organisation on Ahmed
Din Khan Road and a Passo car bearing a registration plate of Islamabad with
monthly expenditure of Rs18,000.
The Punjab government has taken over the administrative control of Al-Noor
Masjid and sealed a religious seminary adjacent to the mosque.
team of local officials along with a large contingent of police, led by
Assistant Commissioner Waqar Akbar Cheema, on Tuesday sealed Madressah Abdullah
Bin Mubarak and took over administrative control of Masjid Al-Noor in Mundeyki
Goraya village near Daska.
establishments were said to be the local headquarters of Jaish-e-Muhammad
local administration of Daska also fixed banners on the gates of the mosque and
seminary mentioning taking over of their official control by the Punjab
District Peace Committee Chairman Hafiz Muhammad Asghar and auqaf department
Administrator Shahid Hameed Virk were also present on the occasion.
JeM activist Chaudhry Arshad Ali, a former chairman of Daska municipality, was
running the administrative and financial affairs of the mosque and seminary.
Asghar assumed temporary charge of the administration of the mosque till the
appointment of a regular administrator.
Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
LUMPUR, Mar 6 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad lost today his
application to strike out the defence statement filed by Muslim activist Wan
Asshima Kamaruddin in the former’s defamation lawsuit.
Court judge Datuk Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad made the decision in chambers and
ordered the minister to pay RM3,000 in costs, according to lawyer Muhammad
Rafiqree Hamka who represented Khalid.
court was of the opinion that both sides should go to trial to ventilate on the
defence,” he told reporters later.
said the judge also fixed April 8 as the deadline for both sides to file their
submissions for the trial.
sued the Gerakan Muslimah Islam Malaysia (GMIM) president in September 2018 for
allegedly defaming him in a video published on YouTube last August.
asked if they will contest today’s ruling, Muhammad Rafiqree said he is
awaiting further instructions from Khalid.
his application for dismissal filed last November, Khalid had argued that Wan
Asshima’s defence statement was trivial and abusive of the court process.
Shah Alam MP had proceeded with the lawsuit despite the activist apologising
for previously accusing the minister of approving a “gay festival”.
Asshima claimed she did not mean to embarrass Khalid in the video containing the
allegations that had been shared openly on YouTube but which had since been
the video published on August 18, 2018, Wan Asshima mockingly congratulated two
ministers for allegedly allowing the festival to take place, which she claimed
was to be held in conjunction with Merdeka celebrations on August 31.
had claimed the festival would draw the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community to gather and celebrate their victory and freedom, and had
alleged Khalid to be proud of the group.
the video was published, two police reports have been lodged against her under
Section 505 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation and public mischief.
were lodged by Zulhazmi Shariff, special functions officer to Khalid, and
Hisham Fauzi, special functions officer to Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof.
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers complained to the Trump administration on
Monday that its response to rights abuses against China’s Muslim minority was
inadequate months after it said it was looking into imposing sanctions.
issue is bigger than just China. It is about demonstrating to strongmen
globally that the world will hold them accountable for their actions,” the
lawmakers wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
group is led by Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Eliot Engel, and includes Republican ranking member representative Ted Yoho.
wrote to the committee on Sept 28 saying his department was looking into a
request for sanctions on those responsible for abuses and for controls on
exports of technology that facilitates mass detentions and surveillance of
ethnic minorities in western China’s Xinjiang region, the letter said.
appears that the Administration has taken no meaningful action … and we write
today with a renewed sense of urgency on this serious matter,” said the letter,
also signed by Democratic chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee Brad
Sherman, and Republican ranking member of the human rights subcommittee Chris
US ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, told
reporters the issue was “being discussed thoroughly within the administration,”
but he had no new steps to announce.
spoke at a Capitol Hill event to mark the formation of the Coalition to Advance
Religious Freedom in China, a multi-faith group of over a dozen religious and
rights organizations established to campaign against persecution.
spokeswoman for the State Department said it remained “deeply disturbed that
since April 2017, the Chinese government has detained more than one million
Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in internment camps.”
will continue to call on China to end these counterproductive policies, free
all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of its
Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain
fate,” she said.
denies the allegations.
officials said last year the administration was considering sanctions against
companies and officials linked to China’s crackdown, including Xinjiang Party
Secretary Chen Quanguo, a member of the Chinese leadership’s powerful
no action has been forthcoming, with the administration engaged in sensitive negotiations
to resolve a trade war between the countries. Pompeo said on Monday he thought
they were “on the cusp” of a deal to end the trade war.
a November interview with Reuters, China’s ambassador to Washington warned of
retaliation if Washington were to impose sanctions on Chen.
at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry
spokesman Lu Kang said he hoped the lawmakers would “respect the facts” and
“refrain from smears and actions that could damage the China-U.S.
will bring no benefit to them,” he said.
U.S. lawmakers said it was a particular concern that U.S. firms might be
contributing to the Xinjiang persecution, given commercial ties to Chinese tech
companies that had profited from a surge in security spending there.
called for written responses from Pompeo as to whether the U.S. government
monitored the use of U.S. technology that could be used for surveillance or
detention in Xinjiang and information on any U.S. firms providing such
March 5 — Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) today suggested that more
inter-religious dialogues be held to promote understanding of the different
religions and to find common ground on universal issues such as oppression, terrorism
and social problems.
and mutual understanding are essential to building good, harmonious relations
among people from different cultures, religions and civilisations,” said Yadim
president, Nik Omar Nik Abdul Aziz in a statement today.
said Yadim (Islamic Propagation Foundation of Malaysia) also called on people
in this country to stop any form of religious provocation via all platforms.
the current government has an open attitude and supports freedom of expression
and press freedom, the people are advised to always be sensitive and careful
not to spread slander and fake news, and not to opportunistically create
(in this country) is placed at the highest position based on it being the
religion of the federation as stipulated in the Constitution of Malaysia, hence
its position should be respected by all citizens of this country,” he said.
Omar said Yadim also welcomed the government’s swift action in handling the
issue of insulting Prophet Muhammad by charging two individuals in court within
a month, proving that the government did not take this issue lightly, as
otherwise claimed by some quarters.
LUMPUR, March 6 — Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said a
43-year-old suspect who is wanted for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad
on Twitter is believed to be on the run in Klang Valley.
of now we believe he is still in Klang Valley and police are in the midst of
tracking him down.
urge anyone with information on the suspect to come forward and assist police,”
he told reporters during a press conference in Bukit Aman this morning.
Fuzi said police are working closely with the Malaysian Communications and
Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on such cases, with investigations carried out
under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
said authorities will not hesitate to take stern action against those who
misuse social media or communication networks to upload provocative remarks.
a statement yesterday, Mohamad Fuzi said police have taken further action
against four more people accused of insulting Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad
via social media.
suspects aged between 22 and 52 years old were arrested in Labuan, Sarawak,
Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
four cases are being probed under the Penal Code and the Communications and
Multimedia Act 1998.
incites tribals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to form anti-India militia
The day IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured, Pakistani
security officials began holding “jirgas” (meetings) with ethnic Pashtun
leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), asking them to raise a tribal militia.
move is significant in view of the fact that Pakistan’s first attempt to invade
Kashmir involved tribal militia. In October 1947, Pakistan sent tribal raiders
to invade Jammu and Kashmir which was at the time ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh.
tribal invaders, who committed massive atrocities in Kashmir, were resisted and
repulsed by native Kashmiris under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
while New Delhi sent its forces after Hari Singh signed the instrument of
accession with India. Since the first Indo-Pak war post-independence, the
Pakistan Army has been propagating the view that Kashmir is “the unfinished
agenda of the Partition”.
Tuesday, Pashtun sources based in KPK told TOI that though “Pakistani security
officials asked ethnic Pashtun elders and tribal leaders to form ‘defence
militias and peace committees’, it is not an ordinary development. Pakistan has
a history of using civilians for its wars against Afghanistan and India.”
tensions along the Line of Control escalated with the dogfight between Indian
and Pakistani fighter jets on February 27, officials from Pakistan’s
paramilitary forces and the government held meetings with Pashtun elders in
various parts of KPK province, including in the merged tribal areas formerly
known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
said the Pakistan Army returned weapons to Marwat and Betani tribesmen after
having them seized two years ago in the wake of clashes between tribes in the
southern Lakki Marwat district of KPK. On February 27, brigade commander
Brigadier Waqas Zafar Raja and some other officials held a meeting with local
elders and officials, Pakistan’s English daily Dawn had reported on February
commander of the Swat Scouts, Muhammad Tahir Khattak, held a jirga with tribal
elders from towns in Khyber and Mohmand tribal districts on February 28. In
Bajaur tribal district, the Pakistan Army’s sector commander, Brigadier Naeem
and the civilian administrator, Usman Mehsud, urged the tribal and religious
elders to support the armed forces of the country, sources said.
the so-called “defence committees” which the Pakistan Army raised in FATA and
Swat in 2008 and 2009, sources said, were on their payrolls and were
pro-Taliban. Sources said many tribals have already registered their names with
the officials and have consented to fight along with the military in case a war
breaks out between India and Pakistan.
sources said the Pakistan Army has been facing a serious challenge from Pashtun
youth, who are rallying behind Manzoor Pashteen, a popular ethnic leader of the
Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement (PTM) which is opposed to the Pakistan
Army’s military campaigns in the region.
to go ahead with Pakistan on Kartarpur corridor plans
is going ahead with work on the Kartarpur corridor in line with plans finalised
before the Pulwama terror attack last month triggered a stand-off with
Pakistan, according to officials familiar with the matter.
external affairs ministry is also ready for a meeting of officials of the two
countries in India on March 14 to finalise modalities and decide the
coordinates for the crossing point of the corridor on the international border
. The two sides are also expected to discuss a draft agreement that will allow
Indian pilgrims to travel without visas.
year, the two sides announced plans to build the corridor, which will link Dera
Baba Nanak in India with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, and to complete the
project in time for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of
the Sikh religion, in November.
India-Pakistan tensions fuelled speculation that the March 14 meeting could be
called off, but the people cited above said that India is ready for holding
talks as scheduled. India accepted a proposal made by Pakistan for the meeting,
and New Delhi is fully prepared for holding talks on the Kartarpur corridor
next week, the people said.
added that India is going ahead with the meeting as the corridor deals with the
sentiments of a very significant part of the country’s population, and any
Pakistani delegation coming for talks will be welcomed.
statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Tuesday said a delegation will
visit New Delhi on March 14 and this will be followed by the return visit of an
Indian delegation to Islamabad on March 28 to discuss the draft agreement.
road transport and highways ministry identified the land it needs for the
corridor and issued a notification under the National Highways Act of 1956 in
January. This kick-started work on connecting Dera Baba Nanak with the gurdwara
at Kartarpur in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
have been given a mandate to build the road and we are going ahead. We cannot
stop unless we are directed to do so... Tomorrow, even if the government
decides not to open it, we still have to keep everything ready,” said a senior
government official who asked not to be named.
Pakistan delegation will visit New Delhi on March 14 to discuss the draft
agreement on the Kartarpur corridor.
latest development comes amid festering tensions between India and Pakistan
after the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 40 CRPF jawans on February 14
this year and an air strike by the Indian Air Force on a Jaish-e-Mohammad
terror training camp in Balakot in Pakistan. The air strike was followed a day
later by a “package” of the Pakistan Air Force transgressing into Indian air
space with a view to bomb military installations in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri
Pakistani delegation’s visit to New Delhi will come exactly a month after the
statement, issued by the Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs on Tuesday, comes
after the acting Indian High Commissioner was “invited to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs today” to convey that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India
would be “returning to New Delhi after completion of consultations in
statement also said that the Pakistani delegation’s visit would be followed up
by a “return visit of the Indian delegation to Islamabad on 28 March”.
also stated that Pakistan was committed to continued “weekly contact at the
Military Operations Directorates level”.
prime minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur
corridor in Pakistan’s Narowal on November 28. Punjab cabinet minister and
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had also attended the event amid much
criticism from fellow Congress leaders and other political parties.
DELHI: The government has stepped up its diplomatic offensive against
Pakistan-sponsored terror and is focusing its energy on getting Jaish-e-Mohammed
chief Masood Azhar on the United Nation Security Council’s banned list.
government has shared details of the dossier on JeM that was given to
Pakistan’s envoy after the Pulwama terror attack with all 15 members of the
UNSC. The council has until March 13 to seek clarifications or block it — a
tool China has used thus far to save Azhar at the instance of Pakistan which
has used the Jaish chief as one of its main weapons in the unconventional war
are leaving no stone unturned,” a source said, emphasising that all options
were on the table and the government would not hesitate to use any of those
should Pakistan choose to escalate matters.
effort to establish Jaish’s complicity in the Pulwama attack have been helped
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sharing information crucial for
identification of the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack.
sources said, was building up disinformation about India’s aggressive intent.
India spent the last few days denying or rejecting Pakistani claims that India
was on the verge of attacking it. Sources said Pakistan had been talking to
some foreign countries for a “mediatory” role but none was forthcoming. “The PM
has spoken to a number of world leaders. Nobody has proposed mediation,” the
efforts to nail Pakistan’s defence of Jaish have been helped by the FBI, which
has shared with Indian agencies intercepts of conversations of JeM members in
J&K with their handlers in Pakistan in the days leading up to the suicide
attack on the CRPF convoy on February 14.
said the FBI has shared phone numbers in Pakistan and other countries which
were contacted by members of Jaish’s Pulwama cell, identified as Mudassir Ahmad
Khan, Ghazi Ahmad, Sajjad Khan, Kamran and others.
agencies have established that the horrific attack was masterminded by
Mudassir, as first reported by TOI on February 20.
said Mudassir, following instructions from Jaish’s leadership in Pakistan,
executed the plot by motivating Aadil Ahmad Dar, who was already radicalised.
described Mudassir as an old Jaish hand, who was closely involved with the
operations of the jihadi outfit in J&K, including recruitment, logistics
and planning of attacks on security camps. Though he was probed by J&K
police, he did not figure in the NIA’s investigations into terror attacks.
DELHI/ISLAMABAD: India on Tuesday rubbished Pakistan’s claim that it had
prevented an Indian submarine from entering Pakistani waters and accused
Islamabad of indulging in “false propaganda and spread of misinformation” over
the last few days.
Indian Navy does not take cognizance of such propaganda and remains deployed as
necessary to protect national maritime interests. Our deployments remain
undeterred,” Navy spokesperson Captain D K Sharma said.
said Pakistan’s claim of an Indian submarine prowling in its vicinity was based
on a doctored video from November 2016, with “the time and date stamp being
changed” to show as if the incident had taken place on Monday.
the coordinates of the submarine (purportedly Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari)
released by Pakistan show that the Indian vessel was at least 200 km away from
Karachi. “This is well into international waters because a country’s
territorial waters are up to just 12 nautical miles from the coastline,” a
armed forced have issued strong statements over the last few days to warn
Pakistan to cease and desist from aiding and abetting cross-border terrorism.
acting director-general of operations, Rear Admiral D S Gujral, said, “We are
in a high state of readiness and remain poised in all three dimensions — air,
land and sea — to defeat any misadventure by Pakistan... I can assure you of
resolute, swift and strong response when needed.”
had earlier claimed that it detected an Indian submarine on Monday night and
thwarted its attempt to enter into Pakistani waters. “The Pakistan Navy
detected an Indian submarine and stopped it from entering into Pakistani
waters. By doing so, the Pakistan Navy foiled every attempt of the Indian
submarine to avoid being detected,” a statement from the Navy spokesperson
DELHI: Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Tuesday warned that the security
establishment had fresh reports that terrorists were being trained to carry out
operations against India through the sea, raising memories of the attacks on
26/11 terror attacks in 2008 were carried out by 10 terrorists, including Pakistani
national Ajmal Kasab who was captured and hung on conviction.
jihadi squad had infiltrated through the sea route after hijacking an Indian
fishing trawler, Kuber.
Lanba told a gathering of international participants at the IndoPacific
Regional Dialogue that the Pulwama terror attack, in which over 40 CRPF
troopers were killed on February 14, was carried out by terrorists who were
“aided and abetted by a country that seeks to destabilise India”. “We also have
reports of terrorists being trained to carry out operations in various modus
operandi, including through the medium of the sea,” he said.
global nature that terrorism has acquired in recent times has further enhanced
scope of this threat. India, however, faces a “far more serious” version of
“state-sponsored” terrorism, Admiral Lanba said. “We have seen how quickly
terror groups evolve across the globe. A particular brand of terror can well
become a global problem in the near future,” he warned.
Indian security establishment is continuously working to address this menace,
he said, noting that “it is imperative that the global community works in
concert to contain and eliminate terrorism in all its forms”.
Lanba also emphasised the importance of the Indo-Pacific Region. “There is a
renewed focus of the world on the seas.
Middle East Forum strongly supports H.Res.160, Expressing concern about the
threat posed to democracy and human rights by theocratic groups operating in
South Asia. This resolution, introduced by Congressman Jim Banks, Republican of
Indiana, focuses on both the foreign and domestic threat posed by
Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist organization founded in South Asia with a long
history of jihadi violence.
Jamaat has little popular support in Bangladesh and Pakistan, it has been sadly
effective at terrorizing and marginalizing religious minorities in South Asia,
as well as imposing a powerful degree of influence over Muslim communities in
160 calls on the Governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh to disrupt and
dismantle Jamaat’s networks, names prominent Jamaat proxy groups in the United
States, calls for USAID and the State Department to halt all partnerships with
Jamaat organizations; and urges an investigation into American Jamaat funding
of terrorists in Pakistan and Kashmir.
East Forum research has shown that Jamaat front groups raise millions in the
United States and employ lobbyists in Washington. Groups such as Helping Hand
for Relief and Development openly partner with designated terrorist
organizations. The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the self-described
“sister organization” of Helping Hands, was at one point led by Ashrafuzzaman
Khan, the “chief executor” of a Jamaat killing squad during Bangladesh’s 1971
commits many violent acts South Asia and is a key promotor of extremism,” said
Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch. “Its proxies in America are key
components of Islamist radicalization. And yet they raise millions of dollars,
including from Federal Government sources. Each taxpayer dollar affords this
extremist movement political legitimacy — a blow for those moderate American
Muslims fighting to free their communities from Islamist control.”
is important that Washington cease its head-in-the-sand approach to this dangerous
movement,” adds Cliff Smith, director of MEF’s Washington Project. “For too
long, Jamaat’s network has operated with shamelessness abroad and with impunity
domestically. The Banks resolution will sound the alarm.”
has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, is dedicated to defining
American interests in the Middle East and protecting America from Islamist
threats. It achieves its goals through intellectual, activist, and
to fifty militants were killed during the operations of the Afghan Special
Forces and airstrikes in five provinces of the country.
military sources announced Tuesday that the operations were conducted in
Jowzjan, Uruzgan, Kapisa, Khost, and Helmand provinces.
sources further added at least 31 of the militants were killed in Faizabad
district of Jowzjan province during the operations of the Afghan Special Forces
which were launched few days earlier.
strike in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan resulted in two Taliban fighters
killed, the sources said, adding that a total of 18 Taliban have been killed in
the same area in the past week.
similar strike in Tagab district of Kapisa province left two Taliban fighters
dead while Afghan Special Forces killed 8 militants during an operation in Shah
Wali Kot district of Kandahar.
resolution was placed at the United States’ House of Representatives on
Thursday, urging the government to more actively engage with Bangladesh to
prevent the growth of religious extremism and calling BNP to cut ties with its
alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami. Introducing the resolution H. Res. 160, US
Republican Congressman Jim Banks, who represents Indiana’s 3rd Congressional
District, said ,“The fight for religious freedom, pluralism, and security in
South Asia is not new. However, the growing influence of radical Islamic organizations
in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the wider region demonstrates the urgency for
continued efforts to stymie the spread of radical extremism in the region. Even
worse, these organizations do so with the help of domestic proxy groups that
raise money and peddle influence in the United States.
freedom-loving nation should be concerned and appalled by the human rights
violations that are revered
encouraged by terrorist groups like Jamaat-e-Islami and its proxies and
partners. I encourage our allies in South Asia unite to oppose
Jamaat-e-Islami’s radicalism and violence,” he added.
resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Jim Banks had placed a similar resolution in the US House on November 20 last
year, ahead of the 11th national election, urging Bangladesh to stop radical
organisations such as Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir, and
which, he said, pose an ongoing threat to the country’s stability and secular
Thursday’s resolution has called on the Governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan
to deny, disrupt, and dismantle the ability of Jamaat-e-Islami and its
affiliates to continue posing an immediate and ongoing threat to religious
freedom and regional stability.
also said the United States should more actively engage with the Government of
Bangladesh regarding shared interests in safeguarding human rights, religious
freedom, and secular democracy in Bangladesh, while preventing the growth of
religious extremism and militancy. The House resolution urged the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) and all political parties to unequivocally distance
themselves from Jamaat-e-Islami and other extremist organizations and called on
the US bodies including United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and
other relevant agencies, to halt all partnerships and funding arrangements with
groups affiliated with Jamaat-e- Islami and its domestic affiliates, including
the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA Relief, Helping Hand for Relief and
Development, and the Muslim Ummah of North America.
resolution identified Jamaat-e-Islami as a threat to democracy and human rights
and said religious minorities, including Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and
Ahamadi Muslims, have been attacked by Jamaat-e-Islami, and their subsidiary
Islami Chhatra Shibir, as a result of which hundreds of homes have been
damaged, shops damaged or looted, and temples vandal-ized in Bangladesh.
noted that Bangladesh emerged as a secular democratic state in 1971 at the cost
of approximately 3 million deaths, more than 10 million and 200,000 women
raped, many at the hands of Islamist militants led by Jamaat-e-Islami. It also
mentioned that Bangladesh plays a critical role in the safe and voluntary
repatriation of over 800,000 Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in
Bangladesh from religious and political persecution in Myanmar.
suicide bomber in Afghanistan blew himself up on Wednesday in the eastern
Afghan city of Jalalabad, an official said.
attacker detonated his explosives near the office of a construction company
near the city's airport, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor
of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is capital.
erupted between members of the security forces and gunmen after the blast, he
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a construction company office in the Afghan
city of Jalalabad on Wednesday killing 16 employees of the Afghan company, a
provincial official said.
attack began when two suicide bombers set off their explosives outside the
company office and gunmen then opened fire, said Attaullah Khogyani, a
spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.
well as the 16 dead at the company, including several of its guards, five
attackers were killed — the two bombers and three gunmen, he said.
was no immediate claim of responsibility.
is the capital of Nangarhar province, which is on the border with Pakistan.
has become the main stronghold in Afghanistan of Islamic State, which has grown
into one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous militant groups since it appeared
around the beginning of 2015.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the United States on Wednesday of
plotting to use economic pressure to overthrow the Islamic republic’s clerical
establishment, and ruled out the possibility of talks with Washington.
is in economic and psychological war with America and its allies ... their aim
is to change the regime ... But we will not allow it as our nation and the
leadership are united against our enemies,” Rouhani said in a speech in the
northern province of Gilan.
have grown between Iran and America after President Donald Trump withdrew the
United States from a 2015 multinational agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear
program in May. Trump said the agreement was flawed because it did not curb
Iran’s ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen,
Lebanon and Iraq.
re-imposed sanctions on Iran that were lifted in 2016 under the deal.
European signatories of the deal, Russia and China are opposed to the US
decision to re-impose oil and financial sanctions on Iran and have been trying
to salvage the agreement.
The Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem has rejected
an Israeli court order to close a religious hall that has ignited tension
between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police in recent weeks.
Abdelazeem Salhab, chairman of the Waqf Council appointed by neighboring
Jordan, said Tuesday that the structure, called Mercy Gate, would “remain open
for Muslims to pray,” despite Israel’s ultimatum to close the site by next
demanded that Israel permit the Waqf to renovate the building and revoke orders
banning dozens of Waqf officials, guards and worshippers from the sacred
United Nations has one again delayed the publication of a database of companies
with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, angering
activists who had campaigned for the move over the past three years.
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said in a letter
to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday that despite progress made since
launching the study, further work was needed due to the “novelty of the mandate
and its legal, methodological and factual complexity.”
added that her office aimed to finalize and issue the study “in coming months.”
activists have expressed outrage over Bachelet's decision, stating that her
predecessor, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, had already postponed the publication of
the database of firms with ties to Israeli settlements in 2017 before stepping
down last August.
authorities’ brazen expansion of illegal settlements underscores why the UN
database of businesses facilitating these settlements needs to be published,”
Bruno Stagno Ugarte of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
delay further entrenches corporate involvement in the systematic rights abuses
stemming from illegal settlements,” he added, calling on Bachelet to commit to
a clear publication date.
rights groups and trade unions, in a letter dated February 28, had urged
Bachelet to publish the database.
said further delays would undermine her office and foster an “existing culture
of impunity for human rights abuses and internationally recognized crimes in
the occupied Palestinian territories.”
World Jewish Congress said its CEO, Robert Singer, had met Bachelet last month
and urged the cancellation of the database.
officials and pro-Israel lobbyists say companies appearing in such a database
could be targeted for boycotts or divestment, and this will stepping up
pressure on the Tel Aviv regime over its land expropriation and settlement
expansion policies in the West Bank.
produced in settlements, which most world countries and the United Nations view
as illegal, include fruit, vegetables and alcoholic beverages.
month, Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO opposing Tel Aviv’s settlement expansion
activities, published a new map that illustrated an “accelerated, intensifying
chain of new facts on the ground in the most historically contested and
politically sensitive part of Jerusalem [al-Quds]: the Old City and adjacent
ring of Palestinian neighborhoods,” which help reinforcement of settlement
NGO pointed to a number of Israeli-sponsored settlement campaigns inside
Palestinian neighborhoods, including “settler initiated evictions of
Palestinians, takeovers of their homes, and the expansion of settler
compounds,” in addition to the use of the so-called “touristic settlement
sites” as “key points” contributing to the campaigns.
Amim said the supposed tourism and archaeology projects “assume a central role
in Israeli settlement policy.”
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the
occupied territories in several resolutions.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to
“immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied
Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
says Daesh would have overridden Europe if it had not been for the Islamic
Republic's fight against terror groups that Western countries once planted in
the Middle East to further their own agenda.
governments and intelligence services know very well that Europe owes its
security today to Iran’s efforts,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram
Qassemi said Sunday.
saw what terrorist and Takfiri outfits did on the streets in Paris and other
European capitals and how they caused insecurity and violence,” he said,
referring to deadly attacks by Daesh sympathizers.
said Daesh and other terrorist groups were nearing their demise thanks to
has been serious in its fight against terrorism, so much so that today we see
terrorists have been purged from most territories in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
we believe despite their decline, terrorism still exists and a serious resolve
and a global coalition are required to eradicate them,” he added.
has been actively providing the governments of Iraq and Syria with military
advice to push back against foreign-backed militants who have been terrorizing
both countries using support from Western countries and their regional allies.
said the spread of Daesh and other groups into Europe was in large part due to
the European governments' own actions.
terrorists were first nurtured, developed and armed in this very region by
certain parties and then caused terror and panic in Europe using the funds they
had been provided with.”
spokesman blasted Europe’s double policy in dealing with terrorist groups,
something he said had left an adverse effect on their image among their own
instrumental use of terrorism is nothing new and they divide terrorists into
good and bad categories,” Qassemi said.
believe we should not practice multiple standards in fighting terrorism… and
only defend certain groups to serve our own interests,” he added.
spokesman said Europe‘s double standard was best demonstrated in Syria, where
it first supported a terrorist push to topple President Bashar al-Assad but
changed its position when it realized its mistake.
policies, he said, have encouraged many European citizens to join Daesh without
facing serious consequences back home.
said all Europe needed to fight terrorism was “determination” because it
already has complete knowledge of the terrorist groups’ “nature, action and
ban on Hezbollah example of double standards
also referred to Britain’s recent move in blacklisting Lebanese resistance
movement Hezbollah as a terrorist group as a bare example of European double
like many freedom fighters and those who are trying to bring independence and
security to the region, has made great sacrifices in the fight against
terrorists and Takfiri groups and is very popular in Lebanon and other
countries of the region,” Qassemi said.
UK’s move is unfathomable and seems like they are following the same double
standards that have led to insecurity, instability and extremism across the
region,” he added.
suffering from lethal anti-Iranian disease’
also addressed reports about US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s
upcoming trip to Australia as part of his efforts to shore up support for
Washington’s pressure on Iran.
coalitions against Iran is a normal routine for Bolton,” he said. “He is
touring the world while trying to beg for hostility towards Iran.”
believe he really is suffering from an anti-Iranian disease. He wrongfully
thinks Iran is going to ambush either him or the US,” Qassemi said.
grudge and animosity toward Iran has gone beyond what is expected from a
politician and apparently has turned into a lethal disease that needs a serious
treatment,” he continued.
has gained notoriety for spearheading US pressure campaigns against Iran under
President Donald Trump as well as the past US administrations.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country has declared two Dutch
diplomats persona non grata in reaction to the Netherland’s “illegal” expulsion
of two Iranian diplomats on false accusations.
made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Monday on the same day that
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said his country has recalled its ambassador
to Iran for consultations after diplomats at its embassy in Tehran were
expelled two Dutch diplomats in line with the decision, which was communicated
to the Foreign Ministry, and in reaction to illegal expulsion of Iranian
diplomats [by the Dutch government]. The Netherlands has also summoned its
ambassador [to Iran] for consultation,” Zarif said.
Iranian foreign minister added that expulsion of Iranian diplomats by the
Netherlands was illegal, because "the Dutch officials have admitted that
their decision to expel the Iranian diplomats was not based on any evidence or
document and was merely a politically-motivated move."
noted that the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking all necessary
measures in this regard.
Dutch foreign minister said in a statement on Monday that the government of the
Netherlands "has decided to recall the Dutch ambassador in Tehran for
added, "This decision follows the announcement by the Iranian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs that two Dutch diplomats at the embassy in Tehran have been
declared persona non grata and have to leave the country."
spokesperson for the Dutch intelligence service AIVD said on July 7 that the
country had expelled two "persons accredited to the Iranian embassy,"
but refused to provide any further information.
responds to moves against its interests in kind: Qassemi
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also said on Monday that Iran
has told two Dutch diplomats to leave the country after Tehran declared them
persona non grata.
Islamic Republic of Iran does not seek tension in its ties with European
countries, but will respond to any move against its national interests with a reciprocal
measure in an appropriate time and place," he added.
military aircraft have carried out a series of airstrikes against targets in
the northern part of the Gaza Strip as the Tel Aviv regime continues with its
acts of aggression against the besieged Palestinian coastal sliver.
Israel Air Force said in a statement that its aircraft hit a number of targets
in a military compound belonging to Hamas resistance movement late on Tuesday.
No immediate reports of casualties in the aerial assaults were available.
statement added that the strikes were conducted after two balloons with
explosives were flown from the Gaza Strip into Israeli-occupied territories
earlier in the day. The balloons exploded inside communities in the southern
sector of the region. There were no injuries or damage.
Tuesday evening, two Palestinians sustained injuries when Israeli military
forces opened fire on them east of the Bureij refugee camp.
sources told Arabic-language Palestinian Safa news agency that the 17-year-old
teenagers were struck in their legs. They were later transported to Al-Aqsa
Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah, located over 14 kilometers (8.7
miles) south of Gaza City, to receive medical treatment.
have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948
creation of Israel.
270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation
protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians
have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, 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, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian
deaths in the Gaza Strip.
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 8
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.”
has blasted the United States for its decision to scrap the preferential trade
status granted to Turkey, saying Washington’s plan is contrary to mutual trade
decision contradicts our mutual objective of reaching bilateral trade volume of
$75 billion...The decision will also negatively affect US small and
medium-sized enterprises and manufacturers,” Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan
tweeted on Tuesday.
still would like to pursue our target of increasing our bilateral trade with
the US, who we see as our strategic partner, without losing any momentum,” she
day earlier, the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) had said Washington
sought to terminate Turkey and India’s designations as “beneficiary developing
countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program” because
they no longer met the program’s eligibility criteria.
in 1974 and having covered 120 countries, the GSP is the largest and oldest US
trade preference program. It allows “certain products” to enter the US free of
tariffs, given that the countries exporting them meet the criteria such as
“providing the US with equitable and reasonable market access.”
statement said Turkey could be “graduated” from the program on the back of
“sufficient economical development.”
August, however, the USTR had said it was reviewing Turkey’s eligibility under
the GSP after Ankara imposed tariffs on US goods.
had levied the duties in response to American tariffs on Turkish-supplied steel
and aluminum at the height of bilateral tensions under US President Donald
escalation was caused by Washington’s support for Kurdish militants, which
Ankara calls terrorists, and Turkey’s subsequent imprisonment of an American
two sides are separately at odds over Washington’s refusal to extradite
Fetullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of masterminding an
abortive 2016 coup against the Turkish government.
situation was not defused despite Turkey’s release of the pastor, whom it had
detained over alleged links to anti-Ankara outfits.
the case of India, meanwhile, the USTR claimed New Delhi had failed to provide
guarantees that it would allow the amount of market access required for by the
of Yemen’s national army killed 70 Houthi militants and injured several others
during clashes in Saada province, national military website “September Net”
reported on Monday.
the dead was a Houthi leader who was killed in the clashes, Brigadier Saleh
Al-Majeedi told “September Net.”
troops liberated several areas, including villages from Houthi militants in
Razih district in Saada.
CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israeli jets struck a Hamas military target in
the Gaza Strip in retaliation for balloon-borne explosive devices late Tuesday,
the army said, the fourth such strike in recent days.
Palestinian security source confirmed the strikes, with no injuries reported.
army said in a statement late Tuesday that “fighter jets and aircraft struck a
number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza
strike was conducted in response to explosive balloons that were launched from
the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.”
Palestinian security source in Gaza said a number of Hamas sites, including an
observation post, were hit near Gaza City, causing damage but no injuries.
also described an explosion at a Hamas site in southern Gaza, though the
Israeli army statement did not mention such targets.
Israeli strike was the fourth since Saturday, each in response to either
balloons or explosive devices hurled at the border fence.
Hamas have controlled Gaza since 2007 and have fought three wars with Israel
so-called incendiary balloons involve flaming devices floated across the border
with the aim of starting fires in the Israeli communities and farmlands on the
of balloons have been flown during regular protests and clashes along the
largely stopped after an informal Egyptian-brokered truce agreement between Hamas
and Israel in November.
that deal Israel agreed to ease its crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for
has accused Israel of breaching the terms of the agreement.
Egyptian security delegation met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza
MORE OPEN to combat extremism Muslim leader urges UK mosques amid
Ahmad of the Baitul Futuh Mosque in south London made the case for countering
the negative public perception of Muslim places of worship as a source of
danger to national security. The senior cleric of what is considered Europe’s
largest mosque called on the UK Government to ensure worshippers feel safe and
protected against hate crime. Mr Ahmad's intervention comes at a time of
hardening attitudes, such as the use of targets with an image of Shamima
Begum’s face at a shooting range in the Wirral.
the words of the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community he told
Express.co.uk: “Mosques should be monitored by the Government to see what is
being preached inside.
cannot be asking others if there is any hatred in your mosque that is being
Government must have a look whether it is or not the case.”
Imam warned these measures should not alienate the Muslim community in the UK
but explained: “There has to be some level of understanding of what is going
on, you can’t be too lenient or too strict you have to look at what is sensible
at the time.”
added: “If you think there is a problem somewhere you have to be pragmatic
about it if people are being radicalised then measures have to be put into
Home Office has set up an anti-extremism programme, Prevent, whose aim is
"to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism,
so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence".
strategy is to be independently reviewed after ministers gave into pressure to
address concerns over its impact on communities.
the review in the House of Commons in January this year, the security minister,
Ben Wallace, said: “I have decided that the time is now right to initiate a
review of Prevent.
across the country have got behind the policy and are contributing to it
because they want, as we do, their own young people to be protected from
grooming and exploitation by terrorists.
the last two years, the Home Office has built on the solid work of Prevent by
releasing annual statistics.
clearly show that Prevent is not about singling out any particular group or
ideology but is similar to other forms of safeguarding carried out every day by
social workers, teachers and police.
am proud we have helped divert hundreds of people away from posing a real
threat and put them back on the path of living a fulfilling, law-abiding life.”
Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community Mirza Masroor Ahmad has more than 20
million followers worldwide and lives in Southfields, London.
will lead a symposium about “The Critical Need for Peace” at the Morden based
mosque on March 9.
press release for the event states: “The Caliph's message will encourage a
concerted effort for lasting peace and will counter the negative perceptions
Ahmad described last year’s peace symposium as being focused on, “the causes of
stressed the need for a deeper understanding of the root causes of
radicalisation by looking “at the frustrations that extremists prey upon”.
added: “Innocent minds that have frustrations, they are very easy to prey upon
by extremists who have vested interests and are very clever in picking people.”
30 percent of the Russian population will practice Islam within the next 15
years, Russia’s grand mufti has predicted, citing demographic trends.
Muslim-majority regions, including republics in the North Caucasus and the
republic of Tatarstan, are known to have the highest birth rates in the
country, reflecting similar trends worldwide. Various estimates place the
current Muslim population in Russia at between 14 million and 20 million
people, or between 10 to 14 percent of Russia's total population of 146.8
million in 2018.
to experts, Russia’s [Muslim] population will increase to 30 percent in a
decade and a half,” said Ravil Gainutdin, the chairman of the Council of
Muftis, a religious group representing Russia’s Muslim community.
changing demographics mean that “dozens” of new mosques will need to be built
in Russia’s largest cities, Gainutdin said at a forum hosted by the State Duma
Dmitry Smirnov, an official in Russia’s Orthodox Church, agreed with
Gainutdin’s forecast and predicted that “there won't be any Russians left in
wife of French extremist Jean-Michel Clain told AFP Tuesday that her husband
was killed last month in Syria after a coalition strike killed his brother
Fabien, another notorious extremist.
drone killed my brother-in-law and then the mortar killed my husband,” Dorothee
Maquere said at a screening area after exiting ISIS’ last pocket in Baghouz.
Clain, 41, gained notoriety after voicing an audio recording claiming
responsibility for the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when ISIS fighters
slaughtered 129 people in coordinated attacks at restaurants and bars around
the French capital.
was killed in a coalition drone strike last month in Baghouz, the village in
eastern Syria where diehard ISIS fighters are making a bloody last stand.
younger brother Jean-Michel, 38, was wounded in the same February 20 coalition
on Baghouz but survived, Maquere said. However, he died in a mortar attack two
was speaking at a screening center run by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the
Kurdish-led force that has spearheaded the military operation against the last
dreg of the ISIS “caliphate.”
was among a group of several hundred civilians who exited the tiny besieged
enclave, where a dwindling number of extremist fighters were refusing to
was wearing a full black veil and was surrounded by her five surviving
children. She lost three other children in a bombardment.
ruling Conservative Party has suspended more than a dozen of its members after
they posted Islamophobic or racist comments online.
Independent said on Tuesday that party officials had decided to suspend a total
of 14 members after allegations emerged of their online hate activity against
Muslims, mostly on a Facebook page affiliated with senior Tory politician and
former foreign minister Boris Johnson.
have identified some people who are party members and they have been
immediately suspended, pending further investigation,” said a Conservative
spokesperson, adding that the page established by Johnson’s fans on Facebook
was “in no way” affiliated with the Tory party.
last week suggested that Dorinda Bailey, a Tory council candidate, had approved
of the Islamophobic content on the Facebook page, including one demanding all
mosques and Muslim worship places in Britain should be “get rid of”.
campaign groups and senior Tory lawmakers have demanded more action from the
Tory leadership on what they believe is a surge in Islamophobic views in the
Warsi, a Muslim Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords, said
on Tuesday that her party had become institutionally Islamophobic.
problem is not just individuals, it's institutional,” said Baroness Warsi,
adding that Tory leader and Prime Minister Theresa May and party chairman
Brandon Lewis had failed to act on the issue.
have been raising these issues for over three years and yet still the party
fails to act. We now have daily examples of the most vile racist and
Islamophobic comments from both elected representatives and members and still
the party remains in denial,” said Warsi, who was the first Muslim woman to
become a member of the cabinet under former prime minister David Cameron.
Morocco’s bishops said Tuesday they hope Pope Francis’ visit to their country
will help shed light on the situation of migrants in the country that is a key
transit point for those trying to reach Europe.
Catholic church in Morocco mainly works with people from Sub-Saharan Africa,
who make up 50 to 70 percent of churchgoers. Many are migrants illegally
staying in the majority Muslim country living in poor conditions.
have had to prioritize to whom the aid goes first. Our church suffers from lack
of funds. We can give some migrants food, plastic, covers, yet we can’t give
them the respect they deserve. They are people not animals.” said Santiago
Agrelo Martinez, Archbishop of Tangier.
said he hopes that the pope’s visit on March 30-31 will help improve the
city he oversees is particularly known for being a focal point for departure
into the Mediterranean Sea. A large crackdown on migrants was led by Moroccan
authorities there last summer to limit numbers of crossings.
Francis loves to go to frontiers, to places of transit,” said Cristobal Lopez
Romero, archbishop of Rabat, at a news conference in Casablanca Tuesday.
officials have repeatedly said the country cannot be the region’s immigration
police, putting pressure on Europe to provide funds to manage the crisis.
crackdowns on migrants and deportations are rampant, pushing international
rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to
denounce Morocco’s security measures.
UK police say a counter-terrorism investigation has been launched after small
improvised explosive devices were found at Heathrow Airport, City Airport and
Waterloo Station on Tuesday.
least two of the parcel bombs sent to the locations had Irish stamps, Sky News
said. Irish police are now assisting British counter-terrorism officers, they
said on Tuesday.
mailers – all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags – were
assessed by specialist officers to be small improvised explosive devices. The
devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting
an initially small fire when opened, the Metropolitan Police said in a
Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is treating the incidents as a linked
series and is keeping an open mind regarding motives. British Transport police
said their specialist units were called to Waterloo Station after a “suspicious
item” was found in the mailing room, but said the public were not put in harm’s
package was found near Heathrow Airport at an office building, which was
evacuated as a precaution after the package was opened and part of it burned
causing a small fire. Officials say the building is not at the airport and
flights were not affected. No one was injured by the devices and air and rail
services were not affected. No arrests have been made.
extent of the incident is still not yet known. Most of Waterloo Station
remained in operation; when contacted by Arab News, several shops were not even
aware of the incident and one said they were trading as normal. Some were
informed, and were given a warning with minimal information, and told to follow
updates on the Metropolitan Police's social media accounts.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, thanked first responders for their “swift actions”
and urged residents and visitors to the city to “remain vigilant.”
a separate incident late on Tuesday, Transport for London said that Kings Cross
St Pancras underground station had been closed due to fire alert.
on Tuesday, police confirmed they were investigating security alerts at two
London airports as well as at Waterloo station involving “suspicious packages.”
Transport Police were called to Waterloo station at 11.40am today following
reports of a suspicious package. The item is currently being assessed by
specialist teams. Cordons are in place however train services continue to
operate as normal at this time,” the British Transport Police said.
fighters secretly returning to Europe are undergoing new facial-recognition
checks against a library of seized ISIS mugshots to try to stop them at the
continent’s borders, a senior law enforcement official said on Tuesday.
European policing agency Europol has built a database of 200,000 images gleaned
from propaganda videos and social media to try to identify returning fighters
from the Middle East as they cross the EU’s porous borders.
has launched the technological operation amid concerns that committed
terrorists are slipping too easily back into EU with no documents to establish
their true identities, said Peter Van Osselaer, the agency’s head of
counter-terrorism operations. Investigators say that extremists have previously
used migrant trafficking routes to covertly return to Europe, allowing them to
avoid the radar of domestic security agencies.
really easy to come into the EU without any documentation and without being
detected,” Mr Van Osselaer told the Security and Counter Terror Expo in London.
have seen events where people to try to enter Europe at Greece and then try a
few months later in Italy.”
threat of untracked foreign fighters is just one prong of a triple security
threat faced by European governments, said officials.
are also scrambling to prepare for a large-scale planned release of convicted
terrorists at the end of their sentences in 2019, and the potential chaos
caused by Brexit and the severing of intelligence links between traditional
counter-terrorist allies, said officials.
at Europe’s intelligence centre has pulled together an image library over the
last year from national criminal records, social media files and fake travel
documents to build the most accurate database of returning threats.
analysts have built an algorithm that allows officials at border hot spots to
screen the most suspicious new arrivals to try to identify trained fighters who
could pose the greatest threat.
Van Osselaer declined to quantify the numbers stopped using the new system but
said the results of checks against fake documents had been “magnificent”.
issue of returning foreign fighters continues to exercise European governments
amid policy differences of the best way to handle detained ISIS suspects.
countries have shown little appetite to bring back their nationals to stand
trial. The UK has stripped the citizenship from some suspected terrorists and
Germany announced similar plans.
to 4,300 foreign fighters from the EU – mostly from Belgium, France, Germany
and the UK – are suspected to have travelled abroad, according to 2016 report
cited by the EU parliament. Some 30 per cent had returned, the research found.
foreign fighters end up, how much they have been radicalised, and the
collective ability to track them … will be key determinants of the threat,”
Russell Travers, a senior official at the US counterter-rorism centre, told the
EU has long had concerns about its ability to track and trace extremists
travelling across national borders.
into the 2015 Paris and Brussels suicide bombings revealed that police had
missed opportunities to arrest suspects because they had failed to share
counter-terrorism expertise has relied heavily on the UK and Mr Van Osselaer
said there were great concerns about the impact of the UK leaving the European
Union without a deal. The move would lock the UK out of information sharing
think everyone agrees on an operational level there's no way we can disconnect
the UK from Europe,” he said.
British aid worker has criticised the UK government’s decision to revoke his
citizenship and claims his family is stuck in Syria.
Sharif, 31, from Walthamstow, north-east London, lives and works in Idlib with
his wife, Racquell Hayden-Best, The Guardian reported.
Sharif’s British citizenship was revoked in May 2017 by then Home Secretary
Sharif has called on the UK government to review its citizenship policies for
humanitarian aid workers in conflict zones.
said that the government made no distinction between aid workers or doctors in
war-torn countries and militants.
Sharif founded Live Updates from Syria in 2012, an organisation that provides
support for families in the country and raises awareness about the conflict.
job is to help those in need,” Mr Sharif told The Guardian. “I have friends
here who are doctors, British expats.
comes into a hospital, whether ISIS or a supporter of Bashar [Al Assad,
President of Syria], they will treat them because they are trying to save
'I agree 100%' to keep US troops in Syria
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he agrees with the decision to keep a
military presence in Syria.
comments come two months after he abruptly announced Washington would be
pulling all forces from the region.
News obtained a copy of a letter sent by a group of lawmakers to Trump, which
included a written response from the president.
Feb. 22 letter applauded the decision by the president to keep a "small
American stabilizing force" along with "ground forces from our
European allies" in the area, to prevent the resurgence of the Daesh
you, we seek to ensure that all of the gains made in Syria are not lost, that
ISIS never returns, that Iran is not emboldened, and that we consolidate our
gains and ensure the best outcome in Geneva for American interests," read
the letter, referring to the Daesh by an alternative name.
agree 100%. ALL is being done," Trump wrote in response, directly writing
on the letter and signing it.
December, Trump announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 American troops from the
war-weary country, saying the U.S.-led coalition had succeeded in militarily
last month the Trump administration backtracked, saying some 200-400 troops
would remain in Syria as part of a peacekeeping effort.
military personnel have since said that a couple hundred troops will be
remaining in the region, with forces staying in northeast Syria to create a
"safe zone" as well forces being at the al-Tanf garrison in southern
week, while speaking to U.S. troops at the Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska,
Trump said that 100 percent of Daesh territory had been taken over.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is planning to visit Lebanon sometime in
the next week for the first time since the country formed a government.
said he will travel to Lebanon, Israel and then to Kuwait but did not set out
see all of this. This is American diplomacy at work. When I go, all the people
from the embassy will have already begun to do the work to convince these
countries to work alongside America,” Pompeo told a group of people at the
Future Farmers of America event in rural Iowa.
expected visit to Lebanon will be his first since taking office last April.
of Pompeo’s planned visit, David Satterfield, acting US Assistant Secretary of
State for Near Eastern Affairs, arrived in Beirut on Monday evening on an
unannounced visit for talks with senior Lebanese officials and political party
Lebanese media outlets reported that Satterfield met with Lebanon’s Prime
Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.
give Turkey F-35 jets if they buy Russian S-400: Top US general
top US general and the head of American forces in Europe has said the United
States should not sell its high-tech F-35 fighter jets to Turkey if Ankara
moves ahead with plans to buy advanced missile defense systems from Russia.
before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, General Curtis
Scaparrotti said it would be his “best military advice" that the United
States not sell Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jets to NATO ally Turkey unless
Ankara drops plans to purchase Russia-built S-400 surface-to-air missile
they accept the S-400 to establish it in Turkey, there is first the issue that
it’s not interoperable with NATO systems, nor is it interoperable inside of our
integrated missile defense system. The second has to do with the F-35. It
presents a problem to all of our aircraft, but specifically the F-35, I
believe,” Scaparrotti said during the Senate hearing.
best military advice would be that we don't then follow through with the F-35,
flying it or working with an ally that's working with Russian systems,
particularly air defense systems, with what I would say is probably one of most
advanced technological capabilities," he added. “I would hope that they
[Turkey] would reconsider this one decision on the S-400.”
US general also warned that there could be potential consequences in the wake
of the purchase deal with Russia, namely, no future foreign military sales
between Washington and Ankara.
the US State Department later in the day said Washington has made clear to
Turkey that Ankara's participation in the F-35 fighter program would be
reassessed if it preceded with the purchase of Russian air defense systems.
Turkey acquires the S-400, it will not receive the Patriot,” State Department
spokesman Robert Palladino told a briefing.
have clearly warned Turkey that its potential acquisition of the S-400 will
result in reassessment of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program, and risk
other potential future arms transfers to Turkey, as well as lead to potential
actions under Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act upon any
government entities, private industry, or individuals involved in such a
transaction,” the spokesperson added.
remarks came a day after the United States sent out a stark warning to Turkey
over its plan to buy the advanced Russian-built S-400 air defense missile
acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defense system will have grave
consequences for the US defense relationship with Turkey,” Pentagon Spokesperson
Eric Pahon said.
and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems
in December 2017. Back in April last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had
agreed to expedite the delivery of S-400 missile systems. At the time it was
said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.
Erdogan had stressed that his country “has a right to use different air defense
systems” and that other parties have no right whatsoever to criticize Ankara
for its military purchases.
deal has drawn concerns among some of Turkey’s NATO allies, particularly the
US, who claim the missile batteries are not compatible with those of the military
alliance and that the purchase could jeopardize Ankara's acquisition of
American Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets and possibly result in US
S-400 system, whose full name is the Triumph Mobile Multiple Anti-Aircraft
Missile System (AAMS), is an advanced Russian missile system designed to
detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers
away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in
2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkey's border
with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.
the US State Department in December last year approved a possible $3.5 billion
sale of Patriot missile systems to Turkey, after notifying Congress of the
gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a
$3.4 billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place
under purported pressure from Washington.
Back in January, the Democrats welcomed their brash young newcomers to Congress
with smiles and hugs. That was before the new colleagues dragged the party’s
simmering divisions over Israel out in the open.
comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota have thrust the Democrats into an
uncomfortable debate over Israel policy a few weeks before a high-profile
conference where senior Democrats typically make a show of support for the
Jewish state. Increasingly, the rift appears as much generational as
ideological, with newly elected Democrats showing less deference to the party
became the flash point after she suggested last week that Israel’s supporters
are pushing US lawmakers to take a pledge of “allegiance to a foreign country.”
It’s at least the third time she has forced older, pro-Israel Democrats who run
the House into awkward territory over US-Israeli policy.
have been happy to stoke the furor, with President Donald Trump calling Omar’s
remarks “a dark day for Israel” and posting a photo of himself in Jerusalem.
Inside the Democratic family, meanwhile, leaders are in a bind, torn between a
need to admonish Omar for her comments and their desire to defend one of the
first Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
time Omar is not apologizing. And this time pro-Israel Democrats led by Speaker
Nancy Pelosi are not just warning her about the dangers of Jewish tropes.
They’re expected to offer a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the House
of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history,” a draft of the
resolution reads in part. “The House of Representatives acknowledges the
dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes and rejects
anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to
the values that define the people of the United States.”
text, which includes a history of bigotry against Muslims and blacks as well as
Jews, sounds unobjectionable by itself. But the fact that senior Democrats felt
obliged to put the House on-record on the topic points to a transformation in
the country — mostly among Democrats — about supporting the Jewish state.
a poll by the Pew Research Center in January of last year, 46 percent of
Americans said they sympathized more with Israel and 16 percent with the
Palestinians in their Middle East discord.
Democrats are about evenly divided, with about a quarter sympathizing with each
side and the rest saying they side with neither or don’t know — and in recent
years they have become less likely to sympathize with Israel than they were in
the past. Liberal Democrats were nearly twice as likely to say they sympathize
more with the Palestinians (35 percent) than with Israel (19 percent). Older
Americans were much more likely to say they sympathize with Israel than with
the Palestinians, with more division among younger Americans.
a Somali-American, says that what she is questioning is the influence game in
Washington and she worries that anything she says about Israel and its
treatment of Palestinians will be construed as anti-Semitic.
opposed to (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the occupation is not the
same as being anti-Semitic,” she tweeted on Sunday. “I am grateful to the many
Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.”
Democrats in Congress remain largely supportive of Israel. Pelosi, for example,
often attends the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in
Washington, which is coming up later this month.
on Tuesday got a boost from allies who point out that the congresswoman, too,
has been the target of threats and bigotry.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested in a tweet that her fellow freshman was
being treated unfairly.
one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx +
other communities,” the New York Democrat wrote.
groups generally said they support the resolution — but. ...
are concerned that the timing of this resolution will be seen as singling out
and focusing special condemnation on a Muslim woman of color as if her views
and insensitive comments pose a greater threat than the torrent of hatred that
the white nationalist right continues to level against Jews, Muslims, people of
color and other vulnerable minority groups,” said J Street, a nonprofit that
says it’s a home for “pro-Israel, pro-Peace Americans.” The Democrats’
strategy, the group added, “plays directly into the hands of the president and
his allies, who act in bad faith to weaponize the debate for political gain.”
home in Minnesota, a collection of elected officials started a #StandWithIlhan
hashtag with a statement that reads in part:
call on Democrats to stand with Ilhan against Republican efforts to pit Jews
and Muslims against each other.”
there also was talk of finding a candidate to challenge her in 2020.
firmly believe that her anti-Semitic expressions do not reflect the views of
her district’s residents,” said state Sen. Ron Latz, who is Jewish, lives in
her district and has been critical of Omar’s recent statements on Israel. “She
is rapidly making herself a pariah in Congress, rather than an effective
representative for her constituents,” he added — “exactly the kind of scenario
that would open the door for a primary challenge.”
Democrats were standing firmly against Omar’s comments, and not for the first
time. Earlier this year, she apologized for a 2012 tweet in which she said
Israel had “hypnotized” America. And last month, she apologized for suggesting
that members of Congress support Israel because they are paid to do so.
earned her stern rebukes from Pelosi and House Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Eliot Engel, among others. This time, Engel declared that Omar’s
suggestion about divided loyalties was a “vile” stereotype that had no place on
his committee. Republicans, meanwhile, demanded that Democrats throw Omar off
Engel’s panel. There was no sign of that happening at midday Tuesday.
should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country
in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee,” Omar tweeted.
Rep. Debbie Dingell said Engel, while upset with Omar’s comments, “feels that
she brings a different perspective to the committee” that keeps it strong.
Turki al-Faisal: US pullout from Syria will ‘create a vacuum’ for Iran
an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya English, Prince Turki al-Faisal,
Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said that
the US administration’s decision to pullout troops from Syria could increase
Iranian presence in the region.
asked about the imminent withdrawal of troops, Prince Turki responded that it
could “create a vacuum that would be filled by Iranian troops and the Iranian
advised the US to reconsider the decision.
a pity because they withdraw from that area and the next day the Iranians will
be moving in. So how they can, on one hand, proclaim publicly that they want to
want to get Iran out of Syria and, on the other hand, create a vacuum that
would be filled by Iranian troops and the Iranian militias,” Prince Turki said
as part of a wider interview with Al Arabiya English.
to talks regarding Arab governments pushing for Syria to expel Iranian
influence, Prince Turki said that governments should not trust the Assad regime
to “give up the Iranian connection that he has.”
did not turn to his people in order to improve the livelihood and to meet their
aspirations and their longing for a better life. On the contrary, he persecuted
them, he killed them, he dislocated them, he threw them out of Syria and he
turned to Iran in order to do that,” he told Al Arabiya English.
to a question about Russia pressuring the Syrian government to cut ties with
Iran as well, the Prince noted that it would be “delusional” to think that
Russia could influence the Assad regime since Iranian presence in Syria has
increased in the past three years rather than decreased.
added that no Russian official has given any indication of attempts to pressure
Assad to reduce Iranian influence.
Arabia to become ‘global player in education sector’
A major initiative aimed at propelling Saudi Arabia to the top of the class for
education provision has been launched in the Kingdom.
two-day Global Educational Exhibition of Development and Support (GEDS), which
kicked off on Monday at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah, is the first event of its
kind to be staged in the country.
organizers hope the exhibition will provide the springboard for helping the
Kingdom become a leading world player in the sector.
American, Lebanese and Emirati education specialists were among experts taking
part in GEDS, which aims to throw the spotlight on the latest learning
products, technologies and innovations in a bid to transform Saudi society.
education a key plank of the Saudi National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020,
the GEDS event played host to a range of education suppliers and service
providers with a view to promoting investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s
executive manager, Eman Khankan, told Arab News that the exhibition presented
an inspiring mix of content for teachers, students and businesspeople.
said the event had attracted worldwide interest, with teaching experts
volunteering to run workshops and give presentations as part of ambitious
efforts to modernize the Saudi education system.
at publishing firm World Book Company (WBCO), Dr. Ahmad Al-Kubaisi, said that
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s focus on driving the sector forward via the
country’s Vision 2030 reform plan was adding great value.
crown prince’s special care for education is giving a strong push to the
educational sector, and this fills us with hope of becoming a global leader in
the sector. The determined move has started, and a thousand miles begins with a
step,” Al-Kubaisi told Arab News.
Menekse, sales director at McGraw-Hill Education, emphasized the need to
modernize the public- and private-sector education systems by using the latest
technologies such as digital learning, interactive communication, and virtual
reality to hone student skills.
Ali Mian, sales and marketing director at WBCO, said: “Saudi Arabia has the
largest generation of young people. Investment today in the education sector,
training and skills development, will be transformational for young people over
the coming years and will contribute to achieving the national educational
goals of Vision 2030.
investment in young people is key to transforming any country in the world,” he
well as workshops, more than 150 companies exhibited the latest innovations in
education at the GEDS gathering.
these was “Administrative Development in Education in light of the requirements
of the Saudi Vision 2030,” with researcher Moodhi Al-Hilfi delivering a
presentation on possible solutions to dealing with a national deficit of
teachers and stressing the important role of human resources.
recommended separating non-educational services from school administration and
introducing electronic management systems.
January 2019, Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh
stressed the importance of studying the current status of education and
overcoming the challenges facing its development.
gave education leaders 100 working days to come up with a practical plan to
move the sector forward.
The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday lauded the British government’s move to classify
the political wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
its weekly meeting, chaired by King Salman, the Cabinet described the move to
outlaw the Lebanese movement as an “important and constructive” step in the
global fight against terrorism.
Cabinet stressed it was now important that the international community followed
suit in taking a firm and united stance towards terrorist militias that
threatened the security and stability of the region.
other national and global issues discussed, the Cabinet reinstated its
commitment to helping the people of Yemen by donating $500 million to
co-finance the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for the war-torn country this
funding is in addition to the “IMDAD” initiative announced earlier this year to
support food security and nutrition in Yemen.
Cabinet noted the Kingdom’s participation in the 40th session of the Human
Rights Council, held in Geneva, and expressed its appreciation of the
organization’s role in the promotion and protection of human rights around the
world, which Saudi Arabia fully backed.
the meeting, the Cabinet authorized the go-ahead for talks between Saudi Arabia
and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) over the headquarters of the Unified
Military Command for member states.
to the Yemeni media “Al-Masirah”, the Yemeni army and Ansarullah popular forces
fired a Zelzal-1 missile at Saudi depot in Jizan late on Monday.
Yemeni forces also took control of the Saudi position in Jabal al-Nar, Jizan.
the operation a number of Saudi coalition forces were also killed.
Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan,
launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall
Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Around 20,000
people have died since the war began, says Yemen’s Health Ministry.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said
that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4
million threatened by severe hunger.
Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters,
Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
King Salman is said to be outraged by the recent moves made by his son, Crown
Prince Mohammed, the Guardian has reported, hinting at growing signs of a
potentially destabilizing rift between the king and his heir.
a Tuesday report, The Guardian quoted sources as saying that King Salman and
Crown Prince Mohammed are understood to have disagreed over a number of
important policy issues in recent weeks, including the war in Yemen.
rift is said to have been building since the brutal murder of dissident Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Arab kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on
October 2, which was reportedly carried out at the order of Crown Prince
a source has told The Guardian that the tension between the king and the crown
prince dramatically increased late February, when Salman, 83, visited Egypt and
was warned by his advisers about the risk of a potential move against him.
entourage was so alarmed at the possible threat to his authority that a new
security team, comprised of more than 30 hand-picked loyalists from the
interior ministry, was flown to Egypt to replace the existing team.
move was made because “some of the original security staff might have been
loyal to the prince”, the source said.
to the source, the friction in the father-son relationship was underlined when
the prince was not among those sent to welcome the king home.
King Salman was in Egypt, Mohammed signed off two major personnel changes
including the appointment of a female ambassador to the US for the first time,
and that of his full brother Khalid bin Salman to the defense ministry.
appointment of Khalid as the country’s defense chief has further centralized
power in one branch of the ruling family.
announcement was made without the knowledge of the king, who was especially
angered by what he believed was a premature move to elevate Prince Khalid to a
more senior role, the source said.
Guardian has been told the king and his team learned about the reshuffle via
Mohammed angered the Muslim world last month when he walked on top of the Kaaba
in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, provoking complaints to the king by some
religious scholars that the move had been inappropriate, according to a person
familiar with the matter.
Arabia is to be censured for the first time at the UN Human Rights Council over
its dark record of violating human rights, particularly for detention of
women’s rights activists and the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi in Turkey.
a joint statement due to be read out on Thursday, European countries will urge
Saudi Arabia to release detained activists and cooperate with a UN-led probe
into the murder of Khashoggi.
will be the first rebuke of the kingdom at the Human Rights Council, diplomats
and campaigners said.
has led the initiative, winning support from European countries and possibly
delegations from other regions for the criticism of Saudi Arabia, a member of
the 47-nation forum, activists said.
believe that members of the Council have a particular responsibility to lead by
example and put on the Council's agenda human rights issues that warrant our
collective attention," an Icelandic diplomat told Reuters on Tuesday,
adding rights in Saudi Arabia was one such instance and this view was shared by
was elected last year to take a seat on the council for the first time,
replacing the United States which quit because of what it said was an
a statement welcoming what it said would be the first collective action at the
council addressing human rights in Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch said rights
council members should demand that Saudi Arabia cooperate with probes into
Khashoggi’s murder, stop targeting activists, journalists and critics and
release wrongfully detained people.
State is above the law," said John Fisher, the group's Geneva director.
move comes amid growing concern about the fate of Saudi detainees, identified
by watchdog groups as women's rights activists, after the public prosecutor was
reported to be preparing their trials.
on Monday, the United Nations human rights experts voiced alarm at Saudi
Arabia’s application of its so-called anti-terrorism laws to target activists.
experts raised the warning during a panel event titled "Saudi Arabia -
Time for Accountability,” held on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council
gathering in Geneva.
said those being targeted with the laws -- which the kingdom has redefined,
notably expanding the remit of its security forces and judicial system --
included woman. The practice by the kingdom violated the international law
guaranteeing freedom of speech, they added.
kingdom has attracted international opprobrium for its intolerance of dissent.
It has nabbed, detained, and reportedly tortured hundreds of dissenters,
including civil rights activists, religious rights defenders, and dissident
year, it famously apprehended and incarcerated prominent female activists campaigning
in favor of the Saudi women’s right to drive.
are also under fire for allegations of their role in the assassination of
Washington-based journalist and critic of the Saudi government Khashoggi, which
was "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials at its Istanbul
consulate on Oct. 2.
Defense Ministry says Russian satellites have found a cemetery with hundreds of
graves near Rukban refugee camp in southern Syria, where US forces and their
allied militants are preventing residents from leaving the site toward
fresh cemetery with 300 fresh graves has been uncovered on the southern side
immediately outside the camp’s fence,” the ministry said in a statement on
statement added that satellite data suggest that most structures in the Rukban
camp are makeshift settlements and unfit for winter conditions.
further noted that the images disclose that a part of refugees simply had to
live under open shelters, and unsanitary conditions reign in the camp.
garbage dumps are located close to housing tents, food storage and meal
facilities are absent. Foodstuffs and other products are exchanged at makeshift
mini-markets that are controlled by militants, the ministry highlighted.
went on to say that Rukban camp is surrounded by a mound and a fence, beyond
which US-backed militant groups do not let anyone out.
Rukban camp has long lost its status and turned into a reservation area, where
hostages are held forcibly,” Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out.
forces prevent refugees from exiting the camp, while militants are forcibly
holding them inside, demanding large sums of money in US dollars to let them
the same time, the UN data show that more than 35,000 Syrians want to return to
the territory controlled by the Syrian government, including 28,000 to the
province of Homs, 2,800 to the province of Dayr al-Zawr, 1,600 to the provinces
of Rif Damashq and Hama and 1,200 to the province of Aleppo,” the ministry
February 28, a Syrian official held US military forces and their allied
militants responsible for the humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of
internally displaced people at Rukban refugee camp.
responsibility for the humanitarian crisis of our people at al-Rukban camp
falls solely on US occupation forces and their stooges, as they have been
preventing civilians’ departure by means of force and threats. This is while
safe corridors have been opened for those who are willing to leave the camp,”
an unnamed official at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
was quoted by official SANA news agency as saying on Thursday.
stressed that the Damascus government is prepared to take responsibility for
securing a safe and decent return of displaced people to their hometowns.
UN says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped inside
Rukban, where conditions are desperate. This is while Geneva-based
international aid agency Doctors Without Borders has put the number there at
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on February 25 that US forces were
unlawfully deployed to al-Tanf region in southern Syria, and were training
terrorists, who carry out acts of terror across Syria and prevent the return of
displaced people in Rukban to their hometowns.
The Syrian military has mounted air strikes against Daesh militants and clashed
with the militants in central Syria, the pro-Damascus Al-Watan newspaper
reported on Tuesday.
flare-up in the area of Al-Sukhna, between Palymra and Deir Ezzor, on Monday
points to the foothold the ultra-hardline Islamist group still has west of the
Euphrates even as US-backed fighters are poised to seize its last enclave east
of the river.
Syrian air force mounted “a number of air strikes targeting Daesh movements in
the eastern Badiya, specifically on one of the dirt roads leading to the town
of Al-Sukhna and southeast of the town,” Al-Watan said, citing a military
is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been laying siege to Daesh’s last
enclave east of the Euphrates, the village of Baghouz, for several weeks.
200 of the militants surrendered in Baghouz after a ferocious battle at the
weekend, but around 1,000 may still be holding out, a spokesman for the
US-backed Syrian force battling them said on Monday.
the group’s defeat at Baghouz would mark a milestone in the fight against
Daesh, the group is expected to remain an insurgent threat inside Syria and
Syrian army recaptured Sukhna from Daesh in 2017 as it pushed the militants
back across central Syria in an advance along the crucial desert highway from
Palmyra to Deir Ezzor.
Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million to finance the United Nations
Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, it was announced on Tuesday.
announcement was made during a Saudi cabinet meeting headed by King Salman.
the meeting, Information Minister Turki Abdullah Al-Shabana said in a statement
that the Kingdom's donation was in addition to the $500 million declared
earlier this year for a food aid programme for Yemen called the 'Imdad'
step, Al-Shabana said, symbolized Saudi Arabia’s commitment toward the people
of Yemen and its efforts in seeking to support the humanitarian and economic
aspects, which will reflect on Yemen’s security and stability. The Kingdom has
contributed in supporting the brotherly people of Yemen in all fields, he said.
the cabinet meeting, King Salman also went over his royal highness’ meeting
with the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, at Al-Yamamah palace in
Riyadh on Tuesday.
Save your energy for Boko Haram, Wike tells security agencies
governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has advised security agencies to apply
best practices while on election duty in the state.
agencies, please perform your duties in line with the rules governing
elections,” Mr Wike said on Monday during a town hall in Bori, Khana Local
Government Area of the state. “Conserve your energy to fight Boko Haram and
Wike has been criticising security agencies in the state, accusing them of
taking side against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general
remarks at the town hall were posted on Twitter, through his account @GovWike.
they like, they should bring Police, Army and thugs from all over the world; we
are quite confident that we shall smile on March 9, 2019. Come out and vote for
people you can vouch for,” Governor Wike told the people who attended the town
be vigilant and protect your votes. We have no security with us, but we have
the ‘Chief Security Officer of the world’ on our side,” the governor said.
governor blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the election violence
in the state.
are the children of the APC leaders preaching violence in Rivers State. Nobody
in Rivers State ran for the post of President and Vice President on February
23, 2019, yet the APC visited deaths on Rivers people.
fought themselves and pushed themselves out of the race. Now, they want to kill
everyone in the state. What is the offence of Rivers people, that we must all
die because the APC excluded themselves from the ballot?” the governor said.
APC, in their response to Mr Wike’s remarks, said the governor should be held
responsible for what was happening in the state.
is the merchant of violence,” the APC spokesperson in the state, Chris
Finebone, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday.
State knew peace all through the time (Rotimi) Amaechi was governor. It was
only when Wike came to power that all hell broke loose, and we have had this
bad,” Mr Finebone said.
and mouse game’
relationship between the Rivers government and the security agencies have been
on its lowest level since the inception of the All Progressives Congress
(APC)-led federal government in 2015.
is under the control of the PDP, and Mr Wike, who is a critic of President
Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, is one of the most influential leaders
in the party.
governor has often accused the police and the army in the state of planning to
kill him. Both the police and the army has repeatedly denied such accusation.
Nigerian army recently, in turn, accused Mr Wike of attempting to bribe a
military chief, Jamil Sarham, a major general and the General Officer
Commanding (GOC) the 6 Division of the Nigerian army, because of the 2019
Rivers government responded by saying the military was trying to divert attention
from the “atrocities they are committing in Rivers because of the elections”.
on strike in Sudan calling for president to quit
A one-day strike shuttered businesses and emptied streets in the Sudanese
capital, Khartoum, and other parts of the country on Tuesday, as pressure
mounted on longtime autocratic President Omar Al-Bashir to step down following
more than two months of deadly protests.
sparked by rising prices and shortages, the unrest quickly turned to calls for
Al-Bashir to resign after two decades in power. A heavy security crackdown has
killed scores since the current wave of demonstrations began in December, the
most serious protests against Al-Bashir.
students, doctors, markets, public transportation and other professionals took
part in the strike Tuesday in support of Al-Bashir’s ouster, according to
photos and videos provided by activists and posted by the Sudanese
Professionals Association. The association is an umbrella group of independent
professional unions that has been spearheading the recent wave of protests.
Abdel-Jaleel, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a video posted late Monday
that the strike is part of their “peaceful resistance” against the government.
workers at the privately owned newspaper Al-Tayar joined the strike. “We’ve
faced daily abuses since protests first broke out,” said Shamayel El-Nour, a
journalist. “We cannot do our work. Security agencies censor and confiscate our
newspaper and others.”
opposition Sudanese Congress Party said its leader, Omer El-Digair, was
released Monday after two months in detention. El-Digair tweeted Tuesday that
he would “resume the path with our people ... to freedom. We will not come back
country’s intelligence and security officials, along with Al-Bashir, insist
that the rallies are the work of what they describe as “evil” foreign powers,
and have vowed to stop them.
has banned unauthorized public gatherings and granted sweeping powers to the
police since imposing a state of emergency last month, and security forces have
used tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and batons against
say at least 57 people have been killed in the current wave of protests, but
the government total stands at 30, including police. The figures have not been
updated in weeks.
leaders, doctors, journalists, lawyers and students have been arrested, along
with some 800 protesters. Emergency laws and night-time curfews have been
imposed in some cities.
current term ends in 2020, and he would not be able to seek another term
without amending the constitution.
Boko Haram faction may have new chief
leader of an Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram may have been replaced,
sources say, against a backdrop of speculation as to his fate - and the group's
sources with deep knowledge of the group said they had been told in recent days
that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) had dropped Abu Mus'ab Al-Barnawi.
previously unknown figure named Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar Albarnawi is said to have
replaced Al-Barnawi, whose father Muhammad Yusuf founded Boko Haram in 2002.
name Al-Barnawi or variations of it derive from Arabic words meaning "The
man from Borno," a state in northeastern Nigeria.
the information turns out to be true, it will have far-reaching implications
and raise a lot of questions, including the fate of Al-Barnawi," one of
the sources told AFP.
big question is, where is Al-Barnawi? Is he alive or is he dead? Knowing how
Boko Haram operates, it is unlikely for a leader to be deposed and allowed to
Al-Barnawi, ISWAP split from the faction led by longtime Boko Haram leader
Abubakar Shekau in mid-2016 in opposition to the latter's indiscriminate
targeting of civilians.
had previously pledged allegiance to ISIS chief Abubakr al-Baghdadi in 2015 but
IS recognised only Al-Barnawi as leader.
was considered only a figurehead, with the real power being held by his
second-in-command, Mamman Nur.
who was the mastermind of the 2011 bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja
which killed 26, was assassinated by more radical ISWAP commanders in August
then, Al-Barnawi "has been living on the fringes, careful not to cross the
path of the new leadership and earn their wrath", a second source said.
third said any change in leadership, which has sparked online speculation among
those tracking the conflict, could be considered a "formality".
had long lost relevance in the group," he said.
demise followed a lull in ISWAP activity in northeast Nigeria and the abduction
of more than 100 schoolgirls from the Yobe town of Dapchi in February 2018.
more radical lieutenants accused him of helping himself to a ransom allegedly
paid for the girls' release, robbing them of cash needed for operations.
July last year, ISWAP attacks on military bases and soldiers have increased,
not only denting morale but also allowing the jihadists to restock vital arms
of the most recent attacks came just hours before polling was due to begin in
presidential elections on February 23, and saw rockets fired on the Borno state
experts have identified the rockets used as those seized from the Nigerian army
in an attack on the Lake Chad town of Baga in December.
Al-Barnawi has suffered the same fate as Nur is unclear but his absence would
explain the more aggressive positioning of the group in recent months.
three sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons,
suggested that his only guaranteed way out alive was to "abdicate".
even that would be a risk for the new leadership, with the possible emergence
of another splinter group of Al-Barnawi loyalists.
recognition of Al-Barnawi over Shekau was widely announced on ISIS-affiliated
media outlets. But there has so far been no such announcement about the new
silence from ISIS suggests ISWAP took a unilateral decision to get rid of
Al-Barnawi," said one of the sources.
is an indication that IS doesn't have the kind of tight control on ISWAP as
many are suggesting, especially since the death of Mamman Nur."
November, ISIS claimed to have killed 118 people in five attacks in Nigeria and
Chad, making ISWAP its deadliest affiliate.
said the increasing number and intensity of attacks indicated a greater
capacity and mobility, as well as possible wider support from jihadist groups
in the Sahel region.
silence on Nur's execution was a clear sign of its helplessness in reining in
ISWAP, the second source said.
needs ISWAP more than ISWAP needs them because of the defeat it has suffered in
Syria and Iraq," he said.
The leader of an Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram may have been
replaced, sources say, against a backdrop of speculation as to his fate -- and
the group's future direction. Three sources with deep knowledge of the group
said they had been told in recent days that the Islamic State West Africa
Province (ISWAP) had dropped Abu Mus'ab Al-Barnawi.
previously unknown figure named Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar Albarnawi is said to have
replaced Al-Barnawi, whose father Muhammad Yusuf founded Boko Haram in 2002.
The name Al-Barnawi or variations of it derive from Arabic words meaning
"The man from Borno," a state in northeastern Nigeria.
had previously pledged allegiance to IS chief Abubakr al-Baghdadi in 2015 but
IS recognised only Al-Barnawi as leader. Al-Barnawi was considered only a
figurehead, with the real power being held by his second-in-command, Mamman
who was the mastermind of the 2011 bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja
which killed 26, was assassinated by more radical ISWAP commanders in August
2018. Since then, Al-Barnawi "has been living on the fringes, careful not
to cross the path of the new leadership and earn their wrath", a second
third said any change in leadership, which has sparked online speculation among
those tracking the conflict, could be considered a "formality".
"Al-Barnawi had long lost relevance in the group," he said.
Dead or alive? -
demise followed a lull in ISWAP activity in northeast Nigeria and the abduction
of more than 100 schoolgirls from the Yobe town of Dapchi in February 2018. The
more radical lieutenants accused him of helping himself to a ransom allegedly
paid for the girls' release, robbing them of cash needed for operations.
Al-Barnawi has suffered the same fate as Nur is unclear but his absence would explain
the more aggressive positioning of the group in recent months.
three sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons,
suggested that his only guaranteed way out alive was to "abdicate".
But even that would be a risk for the new leadership, with the possible
emergence of another splinter group of Al-Barnawi loyalists.
Unilateral decision? -
recognition of Al-Barnawi over Shekau was widely announced on IS-affiliated
media outlets. But there has so far been no such announcement about the new
leadership. "The silence from IS suggests ISWAP took a unilateral decision
to get rid of Al-Barnawi," said one of the sources.
is an indication that IS doesn't have the kind of tight control on ISWAP as
many are suggesting, especially since the death of Mamman Nur." In
November, IS claimed to have killed 118 people in five attacks in Nigeria and
Chad, making ISWAP its deadliest affiliate.
silence on Nur's execution was a clear sign of its helplessness in reining in
ISWAP, the second source said. "IS needs ISWAP more than ISWAP needs them
because of the defeat it has suffered in Syria and Iraq," he said.
— The United Nations (UN) is pleading for the release of a female aid worker
kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria a year ago.
Lokshah, a nurse and mother, was among seven humanitarian officials and medical
doctors the Islamist group killed or abducted in the northeastern city of Rann.
doctors were killed during the attack while three humanitarian workers were
abducted and later executed by the terror group late last year.
fate of Lokshah is unknown but hopes are that she is held captive.
UN calls for the immediate release of Alice, and for her safe return to her
family," said Edward Kallon, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria.
Friday, the UN marked one year since the attack in Rann, a devastated town in
the Borno State.
attack on March 1, 2018 sent shock waves through the community of aid workers
from the UN and non-governmental organisations.
time violence claims an innocent life, it affects us all. That is a shock that
strikes at the very core of our humanity," Kallon said.
which is 8 kilometres from the border with Cameroon, is among the worst
affected by the Boko Haram crisis.
40 000 were forced to flee their homes following recent deadly attacks in the
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