Pakistan needs to be serious about closing down
600 Deobandi madrassas in the country, an influential US lawmaker has said.(AFP File Photo)
Should Shut Down Hardline Deobandi Schools: US Congressman Ed Royce
Madrasa Teachers Rescued From ISIS Captivity in East of Afghanistan
School Bans Muslim Pupils from ‘Provocative’ Praying
Valley: Challenging Views on Muslims, Islam One Meeting at A Time
Trail to Zakir Naik’s Schools Focus of ED Probe
Republican Defends Trump’s Immigration Policies
group launders billions of dollars: US report
of Fata to begin after legislation: PM
terrorists killed in Khyber operation
Students Get Roped into Islamic Andolon’s Greek Statue Protest
loyalists behead 2 men in East of Afghanistan
Taliban group member arrested in capital Kabul
discuss Afghan forces development plan, other key issues with Trump’s adviser
Arrests Islamist Militant Who Urged Killing of Foreigners
Bogra militant was a Shibir activist
Le Pen Redefining Populist Politics in France
Orwell' urges writers to fight fundamentalism
peace talks produce clear agenda: UN envoy
Crime: Threatening Note Signed ‘Muslim Slayer’ Sent To New York City Mosque
in bomb threat against Canadian Muslim students
In Europe: Muslims Banned From ‘Provocative’ Praying, ‘Ritual Washings’ By
School In Germany
Killed, 3 Injured In Jammu & Kashmir after Militants Attack Police Party
talks on Indus Water Treaty likely this month
Jaishankar discusses terrorism, Afghanistan with US officials
bent to give govt job to Syed Ali Shah Geelani's grandson during 2016 Kashmir
Masjid Action Committee Leader Syed Shahabuddin Passes Away
Arabia: Houthis Using Children in Armed Conflict
Intensified amongst Rival Terrorists in Syria's Idlib
Centres Hit Hard in Syrian Airstrikes near Border with Lebanon
Command Post in Eastern Damascus Destroyed in Syrian Army Attack
Army Drives ISIL out of More Territories East of Aleppo Province
Several ISIL Members Killed in FSA Ambush in Dara'a
King calls for more moderate Islam
flee Iraq’s Mosul overnight, as fighting rages on
China Staged a Fresh Display of Military Might in Xinjiang
of ' Islamic Boarding Schools ' Aimed At Mainstreaming Moderate Islam: Indonesian
says Dalai Lama border visit will damage ties with India
Zakir Naik stay, says group of Muslim NGOs
must stop preaching overzealous bigotry
Zealand seeks Malaysia’s advice on deradicalisation
Saudi Arabia to Promote Moderate Islam
opposition warns against atoll sale to Saudi Arabia
Erdogan Accuses Germany of ‘Aiding and Harbouring Terror’
Hits Qaeda in Yemen with new wave Of Strikes
launches 30 airstrikes in two days against al-Qaeda in Yemen
targeting tribes and suppressing public officials
rally held in Sana’a against Saudi onslaught on Yemen
dead as Saudi jets pound northern Yemen with cluster bombs
Germany Announce New Immigration Agreement
National Army loses control of major oil ports to armed faction
says ready to broker talks for unity in Libya
Boasts Success Fighting Terrorism
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Trust of India
Mar 03, 2017: Pakistan needs to be serious about closing down 600 Deobandi
madrasas in the country, an influential US lawmaker has said, underlining that
there is a prevailing sentiment in the Congress and Trump administration that
such schools are breeding ground for terrorists.
think, the sentiments are Pakistan needs to be serious about closing down the
Deobandi schools, there are about 600 of them as they churn out people who do
not know what to do except to really either argue for or carry out jihad,"
Congressman Ed Royce said at an event hosted by Vivekananda International
Foundation, a New Delhi-based think-tank, at the US Capitol here yesterday.
need to crackdown on groups like the LeT, close down those campuses as well.
Pakistan needs to understand that if they are not going to bring perpetrators
of the terrorist attacks to justice they should turn them over to The Hague so
that they can be tried in international tribunals and justice can be
served," said the Chairman of powerful House Foreign Relations Committee.
founding member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans,
Royce said the Congress and the new Administration is focused on some new
is that concept of $500 billion in trade between India and the US. That is
where we are trying to push the policies...So we need an effective bilateral
trade agreement treaty with India. We are pushing to liberalise trade
further," Royce said.
the same time, we are delighted that among the Indian-American population that
we have in the United States, one half of them have post graduate degrees. When
we think about what that pertains...we know that there is a very bright future
for Indian-Americans," he said.
and the US, he said, should form their policies on the "core values of
rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of believe".
do not always hit the mark in the US. Those are our goals. India does not
always hit the mark. But those are India's goals," he said.
he said, is now the ninth largest trading partner of the US.
counter-terrorism co-operation has also increased over the past several years
and the defence ties have strengthened in the last one decade, he said.
Madrasa teachers rescued from ISIS captivity in East of Afghanistan
KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 04 2017
least fourteen teachers of a religious school (Madrasa) were rescued from the
captivity of the loyalists of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist
group in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani confirmed that the Madrasa teachers were
rescued from ISIS captivity in Haska Mina district.
said the teachers including two workers of the Madrasa were taken hostage
nearly twenty days ago by ISIS loyalists.
provincial government media office in a statement said the rescued teachers
reunited with their family after they were released due to the efforts of the
provincial government officials.
governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal welcomed the release of the kidnapped teachers
and thanked those involved in the rescue efforts of the hostages.
to the local officials, this is not the first time ISIS loyalists have
kidnapped civilians from the restive districts of Nangarhar.
other incidents of kidnappings have taken place in the past but the majority of
the hostages were released due to the efforts of the provincial officials,
tribal elders and Afghan national security forces.
students get roped into Islamic Andolon’s Greek statue protest
madrasa students demanding removal of a Greek statue is just another instance
of children being used in political demonstrations, even though it is prohibited
by law in Bangladesh.
day started as usual on Friday for madrasa student Abdul Malek (not his real
13-year-old, along with his 200 dorm mates, was woken up by their teacher
Mosaddek Hossain at the crack of dawn. They washed themselves up, ate their
breakfast and got ready for class.
the day took a different turn when Mosaddek told them that there would be no
classes. Instead, he said, they would all go to Baitul Mukarram National Mosque
in Dhaka to join an anti-government protest.
had not participated in a protest before. Mosaddek did not clarify what it was
about, and Malek and the students did not have the courage to ask questions.
11am, all the students of Gendaria Forkaniya Hafezia Madrasa started their
march towards the Baitul Mukarram.
protest was staged by Islami Andolon Bangladesh against the installation of a
statue on the premises of the Supreme Court.
if he knew exactly what they were protesting, Malek shook his head.
[the teacher] told us the government had put up an idol. Idols are prohibited
in Islam, so we are protesting the government’s un-Islamic act,” the boy told
the Dhaka Tribune.
he could say anything else, the adults intervened and pushed this reporter away
– a clear warning to stay away from the children.
being involved in political protests is nothing new in Bangladesh.
students, with little understanding of the cause, are frequently used in public
demonstrations by Islamist groups.
2013, Hefazat-e-Islam brought hundreds of madrasa students when they staged a
demonstration in Dhaka on May 5 demanding death sentence for “the atheist
bloggers” who organised the Shahbagh movement.
to a 2013 report by human rights organisation Odhikar, some of the children who
took part in the Hefazat rally were found missing after the law enforcement
cracked down on the protesters. Some are even feared dead.
practice is not uncommon for mainstream political parties either; child
activists are regularly seen in programmes of both ruling parties and
opposition parties, said the report.
it is illegal, as the Children’s Act 2013 prohibits involving anyone under 18
years of age in political activities.
children in political movements is not only unethical, it is also illegal,”
said Jyotirmoy Barua, lawyer and human rights activist. “Both Islamist groups
and political parties often use children to picket and hurl bombs so the law
enforcement officers cannot intervene.”
who get children involved in political movements do so deliberately,” said
Abdus Shahid Mahmud, director of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum. “Even though
it is illegal, they make children picket and throw bombs at people”
is a law against this practice in Bangladesh, but it is never properly
implemented,” said Md Mamunur Rashid, civil society and children’s rights
policy manager at Save the Children Bangladesh.
More- ‘Hefazat’s demand irrational’
Friday’s demonstration, Islami Andolon Bangladesh joined the league of other hardliner
Islamist groups like Hefazat-e-Islam, Islami Oikya Jote, Olama League and
Bangladesh Khilifat Majlish demanding the removal of the statue from the
Supreme Court premises.
Lady Justice statue, a likeness of Greek goddess Themis who is a universal
symbol of justice, was installed on the Supreme Court premises in December last
groups started their protest against the statue straight away, terming the
sculpture an “idol” and therefore un-Islamic.
al-Islam, the Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS),
also recently expressed their support for the protest in a forum discussion.
Friday’s protest, Islami Andolon Bangladesh Presidium Member Mosaddek Billah Al
Madani announced that the group would hold a grand rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in
Dhaka on April 21.
VALLEY — When it comes to family, Moina Shaiq see no difference between hers
and others whom she meets regularly in coffee shops, churches and community
Fremont resident has shuttled her four children between countless soccer
practices and games, plus Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities, over the years.
She even got to see one of her sons become an Eagle Scout. And she is a regular
shopper at Costco, her family’s favourite store.
perhaps sets her apart, at least at first blush, is her hijab, a headscarf some
Muslim women wear as a symbol of modesty and privacy. It is an observation that
has prompted stares and glares in recent years, she acknowledged.
wonder, you know, ‘This is a Muslim person, and I wonder what’s going on in
their mind, what kind of people they are and why are they dressed like that,’
especially when they see a woman in a Hijab,” Shaiq said in a telephone
people see a Muslim on the street, which they encounter all the time, I want
people to understand all of those things,” she said.
has done just that the past year, mostly on her own, and meets regularly with
groups of people in small, casual venues, such as homes, coffee shops and
libraries to answer any questions they have about Muslims and Islam. On Sunday,
her grassroots initiative, called Meet a Muslim, will make a stop at the Castro
think people need to get to know each other. That’s the only way to dispel your
fear or whatever you have in your mind,” said Shaiq, who emigrated from
Karachi, Pakistan, to the United States nearly four decades ago after marrying
you get to know people, such as people with disabilities, or the LGBTQ
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning) community, you are
ignorant and you have the fear of the unknown, basically. I think people need
to get to know their neighbors and those people who are different than they
are, because most people hang out with those who look like them and share the
same culture,” she said.
at past events have ranged from differences between Sunnis and Shias, the two
main sects of Islam; Muslim women’s rights; what it’s like to be an American
Muslim; and current events that make headlines, Shaiq said.
makes it a point to note that she is not a scholar but a layperson trying to
answer questions from her perspective.
personally talk very little, because I feel that people have a lot of questions
and we need to get to that,” Shaiq said.
who lived in Florida and Texas before moving to California 35 years ago, said
she became active and began participating in interfaith activities shortly
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and
on Dec. 2, 2015, a married couple who had ties to Pakistan and claimed to be
Muslim killed 14 people and injured 22 others in a mass shooting in San
who was in Pakistan at the time, said the shootings made her realize she needed
to reach a broader group of people.
started thinking, ‘When I go back, what can I proactively do to reach those
people who don’t come out and we really want to reach out to, or who are
ignorant and have misconceptions but don’t take the time or have the desire to
come out and listen?’ ” Shaiq said.
put an advertisement in a local newspaper for her first Meet a Muslim event. No
question was off the table, and she vowed to answer any hot-button questions
that people brought, such as what is causing Islamic extremism. When the day
came, she sat in a Fremont coffee shop and waited for someone, anyone, to come.
thought, ‘If nobody comes, it won’t be a waste of time. I’ll just take my
laptop, do my work and come back home,’ ” Shaiq said.
than 100 people showed up.
was overwhelming; I had not imagined that, and there was standing-room-only in
the coffee shop,” Shaiq said.
has spoken at more than 50 events, but said reaching out to people is not
I’m talking, I can see some faces are nodding in a way that shows they don’t
understand what I’m saying, and I can somewhat understand that,” Shaiq said.
hard to reconcile when you are watching this negative stuff every day in the
news, and this one person is there for an hour talking and giving this
beautiful picture of Islam,” she said.
then there are the risks that sporadically come. She has received several email
death threats and interruptions or verbal backlash at meetings. At a recent
Meet a Muslim event in San Francisco, a woman approached Shaiq afterward, saying
she had no right to make statements critical of the U.S. government because she
wore a hijab.
climate today is allowing people to be vocal,” Shaiq said.
don’t even think once or twice before saying anything because they think they
have the right and we don’t. It makes me wonder now, after the (presidential)
election, do we really belong here? We are considered second-class citizens
here, basically; we don’t have the rights like everybody else does,” she said.
Darin Moriki at 510-293-2480 or follow him at Twitter.com/darinmoriki.
trail to Zakir Naik’s schools focus of ED probe
FOCUS of the money laundering probe against controversial televangelist Zakir
Naik is now on the two schools set up by him and the properties purchased
through alleged front companies which purportedly showed “no business
activities”. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has pegged Naik’s net worth at Rs
to sources, between 2003 and 2016, the Islamic International School (IIS)
received Rs 57 crore from Naik’s now outlawed Islamic Research Foundation
(IRF). Of this, IIS made cash withdrawals of Rs 56 crore, which is shown as
money spent towards payment of salaries of its teachers/ staff, scholarships
and rent for the school premises — Rs 4.48 crore was withdrawn as rent in
is run by the IRF Education Trust, which was registered with the Charity
Commissioner, Mumbai, in 1993. It has one branch in Mumbai and another in
conducts raid at Zakir Naik's office
privy to the investigation told The Indian Express that in 2009-10, over Rs 6
crore was transferred from IRF’s account to Longlast Construction Private Ltd,
one of the six alleged shell companies floated by Naik to buy real estate in
Mumbai and Pune. During this period, Longlast Construction, in which Naik was a
director till March 2013, reportedly bought a land parcel in Byculla in South
Mumbai for a school building as the IIS operates from rented premises.
Naik stepped down as the director, his sister, Nailah, and close aide, Abdul
Amir Gazdar, became directors of Longlast Constructions. Gazdar, a marble
trader by profession, was arrested by the ED last month.
have recovered application forms of students from weaker financial backgrounds
who were granted scholarships. They were reportedly granted admission if they
expressed their “intent to become Islamic preachers” on competition of their
studies. Most of the students were from the Muslim-dominated suburban pockets
of Govandi, Chunabhatti, Mankhurd, Chembur and Behrampada. They constituted
close to 20 per cent of the 170 students studying at the Mumbai branch.
annual school fee is Rs 3.8 lakh. In all, 170 students were enrolled by the
school. We did not find any student from middle-class income group. They are
either from the upper class or from under-privileged class. Those from the
lower income group managed to get admission through scholarships,” said an
who were admitted through scholarships were told to fill an application form
where they would mention that the purpose of education was to become Islamic
preachers in the future,” said the official. “Naik’s IRF wanted to nurture
young children who spoke English, but were deeply religious and followed the
tenets of Islam and even preached them in the future. Therefore, they funded
many scholarships and other events,” said the official.
school in Mumbai hired 80 teachers and 30 non-teaching staff.
was one of the six companies floated by Naik to round trip his money. These
companies showed no business activities of any nature. There were no books
maintained to record the minutes of meetings of either their boards of
directors or employees,” said the official. “This is a clear case of money
laundering through layering of funds.”
Gazdar’s interrogation has reportedly revealed that Global Broadcast
Corporation FZ LLC, a Dubai-based TV broadcasting company, bought media content
produced by Harmony Media — a Mumbai-based media production company floated by
Naik in which Gazdar is a director — for Rs 42.87 crore. However Global
Broadcast Corporation sold the content free of cost to Peace TV, a free-to-air
non-profit satellite television network broadcasting globally from Dubai.
Peace TV website shows that it broadcasts programmes of many internationally
renowned scholars and orators, including Naik and Maulana Parekh of India. “We
are probing why Peace TV was airing Naik’s content free of cost. We suspect
that Naik may have some kind of stake/ interest in Peace TV. The channel was
used to air Naik speeches which were pro-terror,” claimed the official.
is a director of Global Broadcasting Corporation, which we suspect is a front
company used to round trip the money back to India by showing purchase of media
content from Harmony Media, which is again a shell company floated by Naik,”
said the official.
Media, a video and software production company, was incorporated in 2005. Naik
was the managing director from May 8, 2006 till he resigned on March 13, 2013.
His wife was appointed on the board on May 8, 2006, and resigned on March 15,
2013. In the last couple of years, while Longlast Construction saw a surge in
borrowing, Harmony TV saw a steady growth in revenue.
scrutiny of Naik’s accounts from documents accessed by The Indian Express
reveals that Naik remitted Rs 47.69 crore from his Dubai-based accounts
(Emirates Islamic Bank) to his Indian account (Union Bank of India). The funds
have been shown as proceeds from investments. “The funds were immediately
transferred to the accounts held by his late father Abdul Karm Naik, his mother
Roshan and sister Nailah Noorani,” said an official.
the Rs 25 crore received by Noorani from her parents in her accounts with UBI
and Development Credit Bank, Rs 50,000 each was deposited in Majestic Perfumes
Pvt. Ltd and Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd, Rs 11.57 crore in Longlast Construction
Pvt Ltd, and Rs 9.30 crore in Harmony Media Pvt Ltd. “All these are shell
companies floated to launder money which was basically unaccounted donations
received by IRF. The probe is concentrating on ascertaining the flow of the
money,” said the official. Noorani is expected to record her statement before
the ED next week.
contacted, IRF counsel Mubin Solkar said all the six companies were
incorporated “to do business” and none of them are sham. “These companies were
floated to do business. In some cases they were already doing business, and in
other cases they were incorporated to do business. None of them are sham
companies and they have Memorandum of Association and Article of Association to
state what these company ought to do,” said Solkar.
have shared all the documents and the book of accounts with the Mumbai Police
which first started probing the case and no case has been registered so far by
the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police which probed the case. We are
open to the investigation being done by the ED,” he said.
added that all the donations given by IRF have been accounted for. “I won’t be
able to speak on every donation but every expense has been accounted for,” he
close to the Naik family said they would submit all the proof regarding the
companies’ investments to the ED. “Nailah has been summoned by the ED and we
will submit all the documents pertaining to the company she was director with —
the investments and the proposed investments by the company. The same goes for
other companies as well,” said a family source.
Republican defends Trump’s immigration policies
Pakistani-American Muslim Republican and Mayor of Paris Texas Dr. Arjumand
Hashmi who supported Donald Trump in his
presidential campaign has said that American Muslims should not be worried
about president's immigration policies and travel ban on Muslim countries.
for the executive order banning people from seven Muslim majority countries is
that these countries don’t have credible government institutions which makes it
difficult to process information regarding
the people willing to enter US, he said while talking to Jang/Geo at his
dispelled the notion that the executive order was an action aimed at Muslims.
an example, he said that Kuwait has stopped issuing visas for Pakistanis,
similarly Saudis also have put restrictions on visas for Pakistani workers. .
He said that this was merely a coincidence
that the countries mentioned in the executive order were all Muslim majority
Trump has taken strong position against Mexico and Mexico is not a Muslim country”.
He said that a better strategy would have been
to see why these steps are taken. Dr. Hashmi said that Pakistani passport has a
place for religion but there is none in American passport.
said if an immigration officer asks you what is your religion then what is
wrong in answering the question. “If someone asks me what my religion is, I
would proudly answer I am a Muslim”.
said that he recently came back from Pakistan and the custom officer asked him
why he went to Pakistan. “I answer the question and the custom officer returned
my passport saying welcome back”.
to a question, he said that inquiry by custom officers is not harassment.
interrogation is to see if the person entering the US is the right
person”. If you are innocent, then you
don’t have to be worried about anything.”
said he considers the executive order was little hard and abrupt.
said Pakistani Americans should not be worried at all. “If you are good citizen
with clean record, then you need not worry. If they ask you questions at the
airport then there is no harm in answering .This is your country too, and you
should also make it as secure as it can be”.
A US State Department report released on Friday labelled the Altaf Khanani
group as a money laundering organisation and accused it of laundering billions
of dollars for organised crime and terrorist outfits.
Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield told a briefing in Washington that
the State Department had delivered its 32nd International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report to Congress on Wednesday. “It is, however, the first time that
we are discussing and rolling this report out before the media in nine years,”
its section on Pakistan, the report notes: “The Altaf Khanani money laundering
organisation (Khanani MLO) is based in Pakistan. The group, which was
designated a transnational organised crime group by the United States in
November 2015, facilitates illicit money movement between, among others,
Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), United States, UK, Canada, and
read: Javed Khanani dies after falling from building in Karachi, say police
group “is responsible for laundering billions of dollars in organised crime
proceeds annually. The Khanani MLO offers money laundering services to a
diverse clientele, including Chinese, Colombian, and Mexican organised crime
groups and individuals associated with designated terrorist organisations”, the
describes Pakistan as strategically located country at the nexus of south,
central and western Asia, with a coastline along the Arabian Sea. The report
notes that Pakistan’s porous borders with Afghanistan, Iran and China
facilitate the smuggling of narcotics and contraband to overseas markets.
country suffers from financial crimes associated with tax evasion, fraud,
corruption, trade in counterfeit goods, contraband smuggling, narcotics
trafficking, human smuggling/trafficking, terrorism and terrorist financing,”
the report points out.
is a substantial demand for money laundering and illicit financial services due
to the country’s black market economy and challenging security environment.”
report notes that money laundering in Pakistan affects both the formal and
informal financial systems. Pakistan does not have firm control of its borders,
which facilitates the flow of illicit goods and monies into and out of
report, however, acknowledges that most Pakistanis living abroad use legal
channels for sending money home. From January to December 2016, the Pakistani
diaspora remitted $19.7 billion back to Pakistan via the formal banking sector,
up by 2.3 per cent from 2015.
report notes that while it is illegal to operate a hawala without a licence in
Pakistan, the practice remains prevalent because of poor ongoing supervision
efforts and a lack of penalties levied against illegally operating businesses.
“Unlicensed hawala/hundi operators are also common throughout the broader
region and are widely used to transfer and launder illicit money through
neighbouring countries,” the report adds.
methods for transferring illicit funds include fraudulent trade invoicing,
unlicensed hundis and hawalas and bulk cash smuggling.
report says that criminals exploit import/export firms, front businesses and
the charitable sector to carry out their activities. Pakistan’s real estate
sector is another common money laundering vehicle, since real estate
transactions tend to be poorly documented and cash-based, it adds.
report notes that in January 2015, Pakistan launched the National Action Plan
(NAP), addressing primarily counter-terrorist financing. The government’s
implementation of the NAP “has yielded mixed results, which is in part due to
the lack of institutional capacity as well as political will,” the report adds.
hawaladars continue to operate illegally throughout
particularly in Peshawar and Karachi, though under the NAP Pakistan has
reportedly been pursuing illegal hawala/hundi dealers and exchange houses.”
report says that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, which is responsible
for investigating money laundering cases, lacks the capacity to pursue
complicated financial investigations.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that the process for bringing
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into the national mainstream would
be initiated soon after a proper legislation.
Sharif, who performed the groundbreaking of the Kurram Tangi dam in the North
Waziristan Agency of Fata, was addressing a ceremony on the occasion.
said development of Fata was the government’s priority and it would get its due
share in the National Finance Commission award. The centre and all provinces
would fulfil their responsibilities for the development of the tribal areas, he
calls for shunning political rivalries, performs groundbreaking of Kurram Tangi
said the Kurram Tangi dam project was an important milestone in the development
Sharif said it was high time for all to shun political rivalries and focus
their energy on eliminating poverty and illiteracy from the country.
is the need of the hour to refrain from negative politics and get united in the
interest of Pakistan,” he added. The prime minister said the unity among people
could help overcome difficult challenges and make the country economically
will be inscribed with the fact whether someone made positive or negative
contribution for the country,” he said, adding: “When it comes to Pakistan’s
interest, all need to stand by each other.”
— the toughest challenge
Sharif said that even terrorism, being the toughest of challenges, was
addressed with the unity of the nation as well as consensus of all political
forces and the military.
we have to stay united for the prosperity of the country after defeating the
menace of terrorism,” he said.
recalled that the people of North Waziristan and the armed forces had rendered
immense sacrifices for the elimination of terrorism, which ultimately led to
peace in the area.
an era of horror and fright, a new dawn of love and peace has come to North
Waziristan,” he added.
prime minister said his government was pursuing an effective agriculture and
water management policy and building dams even on small rivers.
regretted that previous governments had ignored this key sector and no large
dam was built after Tarbela during the past 40 years.
said his government had taken solid steps for dam-related projects, including
Diamer-Bhasha, Neelum-Jhelum, Dasu and Bunji.
Sharif said he had directed the authorities concerned to expedite electricity
generation projects, adding that “loadshedding will soon become a tale of the
said Pakistan was a resource-rich country and it could make revolutionary
progress provided the judicious and prudent utilisation of resources. “We can
make our destiny ourselves and I believe that a magnificent future is awaiting
prime minister said as the construction work on Chashma Right Bank Canal was
also being initiated soon, this project would bring about a revolutionary
change in this area by irrigating thousands of acres of barren land.
said the irrigation of lands would help generate ample resources for the
country, develop every sector of the economy, expand industrial activities,
encourage the import of industrial equipment and machinery, augment exports,
enhance the inflows of foreign exchange and check inflation.
prime minister said inflation had already come down as compared to what it was
during the tenures of previous governments.
said with 12 to 16 hours of electricity loadshedding, there was darkness in the
country in previous years, adding that in such a situation no one could imagine
of achieving any socio-economic progress and industrial development.
due to the present government’s efforts not only the duration of loadshedding
had come down to three to four hours for domestic consumers, but industries
were also being supplied electricity round the clock, he added.
the prime minister said electricity was being provided at cheaper rates, so
that growers and industrialists could compete and have better returns for their
said various power projects of thousands of megawatts were being installed and
completed at a fast pace under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including
coal and LNG-based and solar and wind projects.
said for the first time coal from Thar in Sindh would be utilised for power
projects. Why it did not happen in the past, he questioned.
Sharif said the Neelum Jhelum project had been lingering on for the last 10
years, which augmented the cost of the project manifold.
now the work on that project was under way on a fast pace and it would add
960MW of electricity to the national grid by February 2018, he added.
delay on such projects of national importance was very unfortunate, as precious
time and public money was wasted, he remarked.
prime minister said with a network of roads, highways and motorways being
constructed across the country from Peshawar to Karachi and Gwadar to
Khunjerab, Fata, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), the
wheel of progress was moving fast.
said all the political forces and provinces should join hands and make joint
efforts for the development of Fata, AJK and GB.
also referred to Kachhi Canal Project in Balochistan and said it would irrigate
72,000 acres of land.
is coming throughout Pakistan,” he added.
prime minister said his government had initiated the Lahore- Islamabad-Peshawar
Motorway project in 1991. Had this concept continued, Pakistan would have
become the Asian Tiger today.
he said his government after coming to power in 2013 again started work on
motorways and after the completion of various sections, now the work was under
way on the Karachi-Hyderabad and Multan-Sukkur sections of the Peshawar-Karachi
said under the CPEC project motorway was being constructed from Mirpur to
Muzaffarabad, which would be linked to Mansehra and Khunjrab.
said tunnels worth billions of rupees were constructed to link Khunjrab with
rest of the country.
prime minister said his government had provided Rs25 billion for Lowari Tunnel
Project at Chakdara-Chitral Road, which was lingering on for the last 50 years.
project would now be completed after four months.
his government achievements, he said making tall claims was very easy but to
translate the dreams into reality needed practical steps.
he said, the Golen Gol Hydropower Project in Chitral would generate 106MW
electricity, which would change the fate of that area through enhanced
industrial and agricultural activities.
AGENCY:- Security forces actively conducted joint raids on Friday as part of
the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in various regions of Khyber Agency including
Jamrud Shakas.The soldiers gunned down six terrorists after an exchange of
firing while recovering heavy weaponry and explosives from the hideouts of
was confirmed that all weapons were advanced in nature.
madrasa students demanding removal of a Greek statue is just another instance
of children being used in political demonstrations, even though it is
prohibited by law in Bangladesh.
practice is not uncommon for mainstream political parties either; child
activists are regularly seen in programmes of both ruling parties and
opposition parties, said the report.
loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have
beheaded two men in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
to the local government officials, the incident took place on Friday in a
remote village of the restive Achin district.
district administrative chief Esa Khan Zwak quoted has told VOA’s Afghanistan
service that the two men were beheaded and their dead bodies were left in an
are no further details available regarding the identities of the two men and
the charges based on which the terror group’s loyalists executed them.
said efforts are underway to ascertain the identities of the two men and hand
over their bodies to the families.
latest horrific execution of the two men by ISIS loyalists comes as the Afghan
forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations to suppress the
insurgency of the militants in some restive districts of Nangarhar.
key member of the Taliban group was arrested by the Afghan security forces in
Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said the detained
militant has been identified as Idrees son of Ahmad Gul who was involved in
various terrorist related activities in Kabul.
to a statement by NDS, Idrees was arrested during an operation conducted in
Bagrami district of Kabul.
was recruited by two key Taliban group members Nikmal and Abdullah who are
involved in transportation of landmines and explosives.
further added that Idrees was involved in various insurgency activities
including bombings and explosions in Bagrami district of Kabul.
statement by NDS also added that Idrees was specifically involved in bombings
in Hussain Khel district that led to the martyrdom of seven Afghan soldiers and
destruction of their three vehicles.
arrest of the key Taliban member comes as the group has been attempting to
expand their activities and insurgency in some key cities of the country,
including capital Kabul.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the US national security adviser Herbert Raymond
McMaster discussed issues of mutual interest including security,
counter-terrorism, Afghan forces 4-year development plan, and election.
Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the two sides
discussed the issues during a telephone conversation on Friday evening.
statement further added that the Afghan national security adviser Mohammad
Hanif Atmar, national directorate of security director general Masoom Stanikzai,
and presidential adviser Ahmad Nader Naderi were also present as President
Ghani and Mr. McMaster held discussions on the issues of bilateral interest.
latest telephone conversation between the Afghan and US officials came as
Afghanistan is going through a critical moment facing a resurgent Taliban and
other terrorist networks.
Afghan government is busy working on the 4-year development plan of the Afghan
National Defense and Security Forces to further bolster the capabilities of the
Afghan troops to suppress the insurgency led by several terrorist networks.
arrests Islamist militant who urged killing of foreigners
police have arrested the head of an Islamist militant group accused of
inspiring followers to kill foreigners, the chief of the counter-terrorism unit
said on Friday.
Mohammad Abul Kashem, who founded an offshoot of the larger
Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) group, was picked up on Thursday night in
the Senpara Parbata area of the capital, Dhaka.
worked alongside Canadian citizen Tamim Chowdhury and Nurul Islam Marjan, two
men police accused of masterminding an attack on an upscale Dhaka cafe in July
in which 22 people were killed, most of them foreigners, Monirul Islam, the
counter- terrorism chief, said.
the basis of a tip-off from a secret source, our force arrested him from the
area when he was going to receive money that came through a mobile banking
system," Islam said.
to police, Kashem, who wrote several jihadi books and headed a religious school
in northern Bangladesh, taught followers of his group, called Neo JMB, that
killing foreigners would ease their path to heaven.
followers preferred to kill foreigners," Islam said.
have been trying to catch him on the basis of previously arrested militants,
but every time he could escape."
has been battling a rise in Islamist-linked violence in the past four years,
and since July has arrested or killed several men accused of involvement in the
alias Al Amin alias Rony was previously linked to Islami Chhatra Shibir
JMB’s Rajshahi divisional military commander Azimul Islam, who was killed in an
alleged gunfight with the police early Thursday, used his foster father’s house
to train militants and hold meetings.
alias Al Amin alias Rony was previously linked to Islami Chhatra Shibir, the
student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. “He became the military commander of the New
JMB’s Rajshahi division in short time because of his efficiency,” OC Md Erfan
of Sherpur police in Bogra said yesterday.
is the son of Durul Haque of Bujruk Rajarampur village under Godagari of
Rajshahi. He used to stay at his foster father Ataur Rahman’s house, which was
used as a training centre of New JMB, according to police.
on a tip-off, a team of Bogra Detective Branch and Sherpur police raided the
village and found Azimul on Tuesday night. “But he fled stabbing DB constables
Abdus Salam and Ismail Hossain.
was later arrested and taken to Bogra. His associates opened fire on the police
when they were conducting a drive at Jamnagar village in Sherpur area around
3am on Thursday,” the OC said, adding that Azimul had died as the police
Le Pen Redefining Populist Politics In France
Front’s leader’s picturisation of France as a country weakened by both
bureaucrats and burqas can impress many, but not beyond a point. Marine Le Pen
has an edge, but she should not expect more. It would be worth watching how she
scores in the French presidential elections
in France is at its height. The upcoming presidential elections of the country
may offer a chance to its far right political party National Front a rare
chance to come closer to win the Elysee Palace. To many, Marine Le Pen, the
leader of the party, may even win the presidential poll. If it happens, this
will create a new history in modern France as the party has been struggling for
the last four decades to snatch power from the mainstream parties in the
country. With the escalation in the European migrant crisis, the ISIS-backed
terror attacks in Paris and Nice, the successful Brexit vote and lastly, Donald
Trump’s march towards the White House, her Euroskeptical and ultra-nationalist
politics is fast gaining ground in France. Recent polls indicate her as a
leading candidate for French presidency, respondents rating her much better
over the socialist incumbent Francois Hollande. For many liberal and
progressive observers of global politics, her rise is none other than an
ominous signal not only for France, but also for entire Europe.
let’s find out why populist politics has taken the centre stage in many of the
old democracies across the world? What does this brand of politics aspire for?
And finally, what is the main agenda of Marine Le Pen for her country?
speaking, many of the world’s oldest citadels of democracies are witnessing the
rise of ultra-nationalist parties. They are trying to showcase the issues
affecting the commoners which have all been ignored by the major political parties.
That is why today the locals are sadly sidelined while accepting the global
cosmopolitan political waves in many of these countries. And, the far right
parties have quietly come to fill this void to address the pressing problems of
the middle, lower middle, working class and particularly the woes of the young
generation. But then, these parties, like that of the National Front, have
responded much better to the disgruntled than many of the mainstream political
actors. Nevertheless, they have not been able to offer any credible solution to
the people as they have not got any chance to come to power. Thus, their
arguments are gaining grounds in countries like America, France, Germany, etc.
But political pundits say this wave will continue. This brings home the fact
that political populism for now will equally raise both hopes and fears along
with the mainstream political ideologies.
refers to different things to different people, groups and political parties.
But what has been on display in France, the US, the UK, Hungary, Germany, etc,
can rightly be described as a resurgence of their national identities in a new
fashion. While conveying this, populist leaders are employing both real and
imaginary threats to their major ethnic groups as a defining moment and urging
them to recapture their lost ground from the “outsiders”. “But all versions of
populism share a suspicion of hostility towards elites, mainstream politics and
established institutions. Populism sees itself as speaking for the forgotten
ordinary person and often imagines itself as the voice of genuine patriotism”
(Fareed Zakaria 2017). This is exactly how leaders like Marine Le Pen are
capable of making her space and is convincing many, while taking the centre
stage in France.
her, political leaders are no more defending their interests, but defending
special interests. Therefore, she feels that there is a form of revolt on the
part of the people against a system that is no longer serving them, but rather
serving itself. She directly showed her support both for Trump and Bernie
Sanders who strongly rejected a system that has been only serving itself. In a
recent poll campaign, she warned her supporters of “two totalitarianisms:
globalisation and Islamism” that want to “subjugate France”. She asked the
people of France to say no to the untamed globalisation. This globalisation is
imposed at all costs and it is a war against everyone for just the benefit of
the few. If this is the case that she is arguing for, she is not doing something
very unusual. There have been massive movements by the non-governmental
organisations, activists, civil society organizations, etc, throughout the
world against the pitfalls of globalisation and post-globalisation.
the other hand, her concerns against Islamic fundamentalist threats to her
countrymen have come at time when she could offer more than sufficient reasons
to justify the same. Indeed, France has proved to be a fertile ground for
ISIS-sponsored terror suspects and they have really posed a serious threat to
the national security. Therefore, she argues that the current Government of
Hollande is just doing nothing to protect the country from Islamic terror. For
her, France needs to put an urgent cap on the migration flows as many of them
are turning towards jehad. Thus, she wanted to put an end to “birthright
citizenship” which paves the way for automatic acquisition of French
nationality. Beyond this, she advocates that apart from Islam, no other
religion causes problems. To her all other religions are subject to the rules
of secularism, but Islam is an exception to that, particularly, the
fundamentalists within Islam have refused to accept the credentials of
secularism and rather favour to be governed by their superior Sharia laws.
Thus, she goes further and says that “burkini” is an Islamic uniform, it is not
a bathing suit. To her, burkini is one of the many ways in which Islamic
fundamentalism flexes its muscles. So she is all in favour of a ban. Besides,
she is completely against “communitarianism” — organised communities that live
according to their own laws. She regards that an Anglo-Saxon model has nothing
to do in France. But then, how millions of Muslims living in France for decades
will assimilate in the French society? She wants them to live side by side,
with their own lifestyle, own code, own language and with their own mores.
However she says that individual freedom does not allow one to call into
question the major civilisational choices that France has made in the past. It
is really tough to accept her brand of nationalism wherein she is leaving very
less space for any debate and dialogue, so to say.
the Brexit in sight, she has been demanding for a Frexit, which according to
her will make France more independent. She says, “Freedom is not isolation.
Independence is not isolation. And what strikes me is that France has always
been much more powerful being France on its own than being a province of the
European Union. I want to rediscover that strength.” She views the EU more as a
system which paralyses the independent initiatives of France the way it has
been put forwarded by the Brexit supporters. She is directly blaming German
Chancellor Angela Merkel for imposing her views on the rest of the Europe and
particularly for inviting millions of refugees to the continent.
it’s crystal clear what she stands for. Her France will be entirely different
from what we have seen today. She has equal respect for both Donald Trump and
Vladimir Putin. She wants to recapture the lost status of France in global
affairs. Her picturisation of France as a country weakened by both bureaucrats
and burqas can impress many, but not beyond a point. But then, it would be
worth watching how she will score her points in the French presidential
elections. Definitely, she will have an edge, but she should not expect more.
All will be decided by the people and hence for now, let us leave it to them,
not to Marine Le Pen.
- Algerian writer Boualem Sansal, whose novel "2084" depicted a
dystopian state governed by religious law, says writers and artists need to
join the fight against Islamic extremism.
and the arts are not playing a big role in this struggle against
barbarism," he said.
an interview with AFP, the 67-year-old elder statesman of Algerian letters
urged writers to use their freedom of speech and do more to fight
avowed atheist, Sansal has long been a free thinker, criticising both religious
fundamentalists and Algeria's government.
has continued to live in Algeria despite being personally threatened.
former high-ranking official and economics graduate began his literary career
with a 1999 novel, "The Oath of the Barbarians", describing the rise
of fundamentalists in Algeria.
Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) had been poised to win a parliamentary election
in 1991 when the army stepped in to cancel it, prompting many FIS members to
take up arms. The ensuing "black decade" of violence left some 200
success of Sansal's first novel launched him on a career that won him prizes in
France and Germany.
books, published in France, are sold freely in Algeria. But he is a
controversial figure at home, especially since he visited Israel in 2014 - a
taboo in most of the Arab world.
2015 novel 2084 (subtitled "The End of the World") described a
country, Abistan, governed under extreme laws set by a religion based loosely
were required to pray nine times a day and the main activities were
interminable pilgrimages and public punishments.
book's title was a nod to George Orwell's dystopian classic "1984".
work won praise from controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq, whose
2015 novel "Submission" imagined France ruled by a radical Muslim
said that nearly 20 years after publishing his first novel on Islamic
fundamentalism, he still finds "high-level collective violence... an
fiction echoes his warnings of what he says is the threat of Islamic
fundamentalism in Europe, particularly France, home to five million Muslims.
tell them to be careful because Islamism lurks around them, and grows under
their feet," he said.
have already suffered, and they could suffer a thousand times more if it
reaches a critical mass that triggers a chain reaction."
said institutions that represent Muslims in France are not "playing the
game of integration, democracy and secularism."
I have the impression they're doing the exact opposite: they are working to
adapt France to Islam," he said.
2012, with the Israeli writer David Grossman, Sansal launched the
"Strasbourg Appeal for Peace", signed by nearly 200 writers declaring
themselves ready to act to advance peace and democracy around the world.
latest round of the Syrian peace talks has concluded in the Swiss city of
Geneva, with the United Nations hailing the negotiations as "substantive"
and the talks yielding a “clear agenda” for the future of the war-ravaged Arab
at a press conference after wrapping up the nine-day talks in Geneva on Friday,
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the strategy for battling
terrorism would be at the core of another round of peace negotiations between
representatives of the Syrian government and those of the armed opposition
groups later this month.
train is ready, it is in the station, it is warming up the engine. Everything
is ready, it just needs an accelerator. I believe that we have a clear agenda
now in front of us,” he told reporters.
Mistura also said the upcoming talks should cover maintaining a nationwide
ceasefire, "security governance, immediate confidence-building
measures" and "operational counter-terrorism issues," adding
that he felt “comfortable” that all sides could “live with” the Geneva agenda.
UN special envoy reiterated that the negotiations should facilitate
humanitarian access to the Arab country, adding that he would travel to New
York in the next few days to brief UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the
outcome of the talks, dubbed Geneva 4.
round of the UN-brokered negotiations -- the first since last April -- came
shortly after the conclusion of the second round of the Syria peace talks,
facilitated by Russia, Turkey and Iran, in the Kazakh capital Astana on
February 15 and 16. The negotiations, which were held in a closed-door setting,
sought to pave the way for the latest Geneva talks.
UN official also said that the Astana and Geneva efforts complement each other.
transition discussed in depth'
the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which serves as an umbrella
group for militants and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the
peace talks, also announced that it had accepted the 12-point agenda given to
delegates by the UN special envoy.
crime: Threatening note signed ‘Muslim Slayer’ sent to New York city mosque
York City police are investigating a threatening note signed “Muslim Slayer”
that was sent to a mosque.
Ibrahim Yavas of the American Turkish Eyup (EYE’-oop) Sultan Cultural Center in
Brooklyn told police he got the letter Tuesday, mailed to his residence at the
letter said the writer had a “dirty little secret” and fantasized about
“killing nonwhites,” including the recipient.
male was arrested Thursday, suspected of making bomb threats that targeted
Muslim students at Concordia University in Montreal, Canadian media reported.
with Montreal police, canine and swat teams, nabbed the unnamed 47-year-old
suspect at an apartment in the Cote-des-Neiges neighborhood in Montreal, the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). reported.
arrest follows the bomb threat made by letter and forwarded to several media
outlets Wednesday, which forced the evacuation of three buildings of the university
in downtown Montreal.
were cancelled for several hundred students as police searched the buildings
but no bombs were found. Classes resumed about 6 p.m. Wednesday.
suspect is not known to police and it was is too early to tell if he had any
links to the university, investigators said.
searched his apartment for five hours but found no evidence of explosive
devices, the CBC reported.
letter, from a group calling itself the Council of Conservative Citizens of
Canada, said everything had changed since the election of U.S. President Donald
Trump and the group demanded Friday prayers for Muslim students be stopped.
Couillard, the premier of Quebec, called the letter “reprehensible,” according
to the Toronto Star newespaper.
JASON LE MIERE
school in western Germany has banned Muslims from what has been termed
“provocative” prayer in what is the latest evidence of anti-Islam sentiment in
the country. The grammar school in the small city of Wuppertal sent an internal
memo to staff instructing them to prohibit public praying and other associated
activities by Muslims on campus.
recent weeks it has been increasingly observed that Muslim pupils in the school
building are praying, clearly visible to others, signaled by ritual washings in
the toilets, the rolling out of prayer mats, and taking up certain postures,”
read the note, which was sent two weeks ago and published by German publication
Der Westen Wednesday.
is not permitted.”
were also asked to “report” cases to school management and to “identify” the
pupils violating the guidelines. The ban should, however, be pointed out to
Muslim students in a “friendly manner.”
the school did not comment on the letter, the local district council confirmed
it was genuine and said that it was designed to address “provocative prayer” on
school grounds. It said that classmates and teachers had expressed their
concerns, causing the school to take action.
prohibition of praying in a provocative way in in public at school is intended
to promote peaceful coexistence and ensure school peace,” the authority said.
council defended the ban as being in accordance with the law, pointing to the
fact that Muslim girls are required to take part in swimming lessons alongside
the body also conceded that the letter had used an “unfortunate choice of
words” that could be misconstrued. And a spokeswoman for the local district
council said that they were looking at ways for Muslim students to be able to
continue to practice their religion.
killed, 3 injured in Jammu & Kashmir after militants attack police party
DELHI: One person was killed and three others were injured, after militants
this afternoon lobbed a grenade at a police party in Pulwama's Muran Chowk in
Jammu and Kashmir.
the three injured is a jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force.
is the second such attack in eight days.
week, three Army soldiers were martyred and 4 were injured - two, critically -
after militants ambushed an army patrol party in the Shopian district of the
is the fifth encounter in four weeks between militants and security personnel.
DELHI: India and Pakistan are expected to hold parleys on various aspects of
the Indus Water Treaty in Islamabad later this month, nearly six months after
New Delhi decided to suspend talks on the pact in view of the terror strikes by
meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission will be held before March 31 "as
it is mandated" under the treaty, government sources said on Thursday.
the treaty, it is required that India and Pakistan meet every financial year.
If we don't, then it is going to be a violation of the pact.
there are chances we will meet for a day or two in the third or fourth week of
this month," they said.
last meeting of the commission was held in May 2015.
that "blood and water cannot flow together", Prime Minister Narendra
Modi had held a meeting in September to review the treaty in the backdrop of
the terror strikes, including the Uri attack.
the meeting, officials had announced that the government has decided to suspend
further talks and increase the utilisation of rivers flowing through Jammu and
Kashmir to fully exercise India's rights under the pact.
commission, which has officials from both the countries as its members, was set
up under the 57-year-old treaty to discuss and resolve issues relating to its
sources said since the "major issues of dispute" (Kishenganga and
Ratle hydroelectricity projects in India) were already before the World Bank,
these may not be discussed during the commission's meeting.
had approached the international bank last year, objecting to design of the two
projects in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging these violated the treaty.
the agenda for the meeting is yet to be finalised. Pakistan has issues with
some other Indian projects too. Whatever be their concern, India is always
ready to discuss the issues," the sources added.
Secretary S. Jaishankar, presently on an U.S. visit, said on Friday the issues
such as terrorism, Asia-Pacific and Afghanistan were discussed with senior
officials of the Donald Trump administration. While keeping the focus on
U.S.-India relationship, certain other issues were also discussed.
would characterise our discussions this way. Obviously, a lot of was U.S.-India
focus rather than other countries. But we did discuss the global strategic
landscape and exchanged ideas. In a sense, we are the continuity part of this
relationship. I think in the meetings with the Secretary of the State, with the
national security advisor, we discussed Asia-Pacific, Afghanistan. We discussed
the challenge of terrorism,” said Jaishankar while addressing the media in
responding to a poser on new targets and ambitions, Jaishankar said the current
U.S. administration looked interested in working with India in a number of
areas. “At this time a lot of it was conceptual. On the economic basket, we saw
a very strong interest in growing our trade, increase in investment, in finding
various ways of cooperating with each other,” he said.
Foreign Secretary held meetings with a number of senior U.S. administration
officials including Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, Commerce Secretary
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, National Security
Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, House speaker Paul Ryan along with meetings
with senior member of the Congress.
said a wide range of issues were discussed during these meetings. The Foreign
Secretary also interacted with American business through the US-India Business
Council. He added that overall it has been a very productive visit and that the
new administration has a very positive view of India and there was a lot of
interest in taking this relationship forward.
When scores of Kashmiri mothers were receiving bodies of their sons covered in
shrouds everyday on calls of strike by pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah
Geelani throughout the latter half of 2016, his grandson managed to get an
out-of-turn job with the Jammu & Kashmir government run by the PDP-BJP coalition.
placed sources said Geelani's grandson, Anees-ul-Islam, was appointed research
officer in Sher-e-Kashmir international convection complex (SKICC), a
subsidiary wing of the J&K tourism department, flouting all rules of
recruitment policy of the state government. The pensionable job fetches an
annual salary of Rs 12 lakh, sources said.
an MBA from Jalandhar, Punjab, was refused a passport by the state regional
passport office on adverse reports from the J&K CID in 2009.
was finally granted his passport following a state high court order. Anees went
to the UK for another masters in business ad ministration, sources said.
added that the state tourism department, directly controlled by CM Mehbooba
Mufti, did not refer the post to recruiting agencies like J&K State
Subordinate Services Recruitment Board or Public Service Commission, mandatory
for the selection process. However, tourism secretary Farooq Shah, who was also
the chairman of "senior selection committee", said Geelani's grandson
Anees's selection was made after following proper rules."We invited
applications from candidates; he was found fit for the post."
an official at the Sher-e-Kashmir international convection complex (SKICC) told
TOI that the tourism secretary had appointed Anees much earlier. The tourism
department decided to accommodate Anees when Geelani was calling for protests
and shutdowns, and violence, arson and killings were the order of the day , the
official said. For want of his CID verification, which is still pending, Anees
has not taken any salary yet. It will be paid to him pending clearance.
Delhi: The leader of All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, Former IFS and MP
Syed Shahabuddin passed away on Saturday morning in Noida hospital after a
prolonged illness. He has been famously known for he was a leader of Babri
Masjid action committee.
was 82-year-old, born in Ranchi in the year 1935.
began working as a diplomat for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), but later
became a politician.
was a member of Parliament of India for three terms between 1979-1996. He was
involved with many Muslim institutions and organizations including the All
India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, of which he was the President as well.
Arabia: Houthis using children in armed conflict
Arabia’s delegation to the United Nations held a press conference on Thursday
that was attended by delegation from the Arab coalition.
press conference discussed the coalition’s efforts in Yemen and the seven
truces violation broken by the Houthi militia.
Misfer al-Ghanim, director of planning and operations management in the joint
forces, stated that “the actions of the coalition forces are accurate.”
are very cautious in our operations and we try to not target civilians, but the
other party is using children in the battlefields,” he said.
spite of successive truces in Yemen, Ghanim stressed at the conference that the
Houthi militias retaliated to seven truces with four 4500 hundred breaches,
breaking international law and further deteriorated the humanitarian situation.
children as human shields
using children is nothing new. Recently, the French Foreign Ministry condemned
it, as indicated by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and confirmed by
Ambassador Abdullah al-Maalami.
the Saudi permanent delegate to the United Nations, asserted, "The Houthis
are using children in their armed forces, I would also like to emphasize that
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the coalition forces cannot be held responsible
if they are caught in crossfire in the front line.”
erupted between the terrorist groups of Ahrar Al-Sham and Tahrir Al-Sham Hay'at
in Saraqib after one of Ahrar Al-Sham regiments announced that defection to
Tahrir Al-Sham Hay'at.
faction that defected played a crucial role in Ahrar al-Sham as they
group of Ahrar Al-Sham tried to prevent this regiment from taking any weapons
or ammunition with them. This led to clashes between the two rival factions, as
well as other Tahrir Al-Sham's fighters in the area.
injuries were inflicted on both sides and each side arrested some of the
opposing group members.
Thursday, people residing in the Southern parts of Idlib continued protest
rallies against a-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front terrorists, urging them to leave
people of Tarmala village in Southern Idlib rallied against the al-Nusra and
shouted slogans against the terrorist group.
also underlined allegiance to the Syrian government, asking for al-Nusra's
evacuation of its bases and departure from the region.
rallies were held hours after the Syrian army troops and air force targeted the
positions of al-Nusra Front in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, killing and
wounding a large number of terrorists and destroying their arms depot.
in January, Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) and
several militant groups declared forming a new coalition under the name of
Tahrir Al-Sham Hay'at to narrow down widening rifts amongst their commanders
Al-Nusra Front, Nouralddeen al-Zinki Movement, Jeish al-Sonah, Jabhat
Ansaraldeen and Liwa al-Haq announced that they would act under a united
coalition named the Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at.
five merged terrorist groups act under the command of Abu Jaber Hashem
al-Sheikh, who was one of the commanders of Ahrar al-Sham. The new coalition
led by al-Sheikh is now fighting against Ahrar al-Sham, a rival terrorist group
operating mainly in Northwestern Syria.
warplanes bombed heavily the positions of Al-Nusra Front near the
Lebanese-Syrian border, a security source told the Lebanese LBCI television,
adding the fighter jets targeted terrorists' centers in Syria's Western
Qalamoun region near the Lebanese border.
number of terrorists were killed or wounded in the air raids, according to the
the meantime, Al-Mayadeen television reported that the fighter jets bombed
militant posts in the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Arsal.
January, the Lebanese Army Intelligence Directorate announced that members of a
terrorist cell linked to Al-Nusra were arrested and referred to Lebanese
Intelligence body said in a communiqué that members of the terror ring were
arrested in Tripoli and were linked to Shadi Mawlawi, a commander of Fatah
al-Sham front who is still at large inside the Palestinian refugee camp of
Ain-el-Hilwa, Al Manar reported.
ring, which includes 11 members, was planning to dispatch booby-trapped cars to
the southern suburbs of Beirut (Dahiyeh), in addition to killing civilians and
military officers, at the behest of Mawlawi.
main command post of Al-Nusra Front in Harasta region was destroyed in the
said, at least, 8 terrorists were killed in the attack.
army soldiers also established control over terrorists' tunnel used for
transportation of militants from Harasta to residential areas of Damascus.
is located 10 kilometers (over 6 miles) from Damascus and is one of the few
battlegrounds near the Syrian capital.
control over the settlement will give the Syrian army an opportunity to ensure
safe transport connection between Damascus and the city of Homs.
Thursday, the army troops and their allies continued military operations
against al-Nusra to liberate the two strategic towns of al-Qaboun and Barzeh in
Eastern Damascus, and regained control of several farms in the region.
Syrian army forces engaged in fierce clashes with the militants in Jobar and
al-Qaboun, killing a number of terrorists, including al-Nusra Front's commander
in al-Qaboun 'Abu Taha Ali'.
army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in Eastern Aleppo and imposed full
control over the villages and towns of Zaaraya, Am Talatel, Umm Al-Amad,
Barleen, Abu Tawil, Rahmaniyah, Umm Miyal, and As Safre.
newly-liberated villages have not been under government control since 2012.
army soldiers also seized the hill ‘Tal Zaaraya’, some 11km Northeast of Deir
Hafer, the last ISIL-held town in Aleppo province.
the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) officially handed over the
adjacent village of Abu Al-Khaf after endorsing a Russian-brokered deal that
will allow the Syrian troops to seize control of a large stretch of
Kurdish-held territory West of Manbij.
government troops are no more than 20 kilometers away from the Euphrates River.
deployed at the River, the Syrian pro-government forces would be capable of
launching an offensive towards Raqqa, the ISIL's capital.
FSA carried out an ambush operation against a group of ISIL terrorists along a
road connecting Nawa town to the small town of al-Mazirib, killing a number of
ISIl fighters and wounding several more.
in Dara'a province said on Wednesday that intensified clashes between an
ISIL-affiliated group and other rival groups inflicted tens of casualties on
both sides, adding that the terrorist groups established a joint operation room
to stop ISIL's advances in the region.
sources said that tens of militants were killed in clashes between Jeish (Army
of) Khalid Bin Valid affiliated to the ISIL and other rival groups in the
Southern province, adding that the latter groups of militants set up a joint
operation room to confront ISIL.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that Jeish Khalid Bin Valid
terrorist group kicked off a massive offensive on rival groups in Northwestern
Dara'a ten days ago and won control over several villages, towns and key
SOHR added that at least 163 militants from battling parties were killed since
February 20, while a number of civilians, including children have lost their
lives in the clashes.
king of Saudi Arabia called for a moderation of Islam as a counter to terrorism
Thursday during a historic trip to Indonesia, home of the world’s largest
Muslim population. The conservative reform and purist movement of Wahhabism,
often referred to as Salafism, has long been the dominant strain of Islam in
in a meeting with the leaders of the country’s major Islamic organizations
during the first visit of a Saudi monarch to Indonesia in 47 years, King Salman
made the case for a modern interpretation of Islam.
two countries have come to an understanding that we would prioritize the
promotion of Islam as rahmatan lil alamin [blessing for the universe],”
Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifudin, who organized the meeting,
said afterward, according to the Jakarta Post. "What is needed to maintain
the stability of global civilization is the moderation of Islam."
year, Indonesia dealt with double the number of alleged terrorists as it had
the previous year, with the country’s police chief attributing the rise to the
Islamic State (ISIS) group. In January 2016, four people were killed in a
series of gun and bomb attacks in Jakarta, for which ISIS militants claimed
challenge we, especially Muslims, face now is terrorism,” he said. “We should
close ranks in combating terrorism, radicalism and strive to bring world peace
for the benefit of all of us.”
Arabia's King Salman waves as he stands next to Indonesian President Joko
Widodo during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java,
Indonesia, March 1, 2017. Photo: Reuters
Arabia is part of a U.S.-led coalition that has carried out strikes against
ISIS targets in Syria. However, the country has repeatedly been accused of funding
terrorists, including ISIS.
of civilians fled Mosul overnight as Iraqi forces advanced north of a sprawling
military base near the city’s airport on Friday.
special forces pushed into the Wadi Hajar district in western Mosul and retook
the area from the ISIS Friday, according to Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, spokesman
of the Joint Military Operations.
forces Brig. Gen. Haider al-Obeidi said clearing operations were ongoing in the
area and his forces were close to linking up with the militarized federal
police forces who were pushing up along the western bank of the Tigris river.
forces, including special operations forces and federal police units, launched
an attack on the western part of Mosul nearly two weeks ago to dislodge ISIS.
Since the offensive began, more than 28,000 people have been displaced by the
fighting, according to the United Nations.
Ahmed, 50 fled Mosul late Thursday night, walking more than five kilometers
(three miles) from her home in the Shuhada neighborhood.
the families were hiding behind a wall,” she said, explaining how they escaped
an ISIS-held part of the city. “We gave the children valium so they wouldn’t
cry and (the ISIS fighters) wouldn’t catch us.”
like most of the civilians who have escaped Mosul in the past week, fled
through Mamun neighborhood. The district is partially controlled by Iraq’s
Saif Ali, who is stationed in Mamun, said huge crowds of civilians began
pouring into the area from neighboring districts just after midnight. Ali said
civilians in western Mosul are becoming increasingly desperate as food and
water supplies begin to run out.
total 7,000 people fled through this area last night,” he said. “We were up all
night trying to control the crowds.”
spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday “the latest figures we have of people
recorded leaving western Mosul is 28,400 and that’s since operations in west
Mosul started on Feb. 19. However we’re also tracking down reports thousands
more people are on the move.”
said that on average about 4,000 people a day have been fleeing since the
beginning of the operation.
think about 750,000 civilians are still trapped inside western Mosul, either
sheltering from the fighting or waiting to flee,” Dujarric said. “We’re deeply
concerned with their well-being and safety and their access to vital
late morning nearly all the families had been moved out of Mamun. The
neighborhood was littered with discarded clothing and blankets piled up in
empty lots and on street corners.
forces deployed east of Mamun advanced into Wadi Hajar, a neighborhood north of
the Ghazlani military base.
US-led coalition dropped more than 15 munitions in Mosul on Friday, Ali said,
saying they targeted car bombs, sniper positions and small ISIS mortar units.
Gen. Wathaq al-Hamdani, Nineveh province’s police chief, said ISIS targeted the
Al Jazair District in western Mosul with “Katyusha launchers with missiles
carrying chlorine gas” in at least two separate incidents over the past few
days. He added that five civilians had been taken to a nearby hospital to be
treated for asphyxiation.
International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement Friday that seven
patients likely exposed to a toxic chemical agent were currently being treated
at Rozhawa hospital, close to Mosul, where fighting is ongoing.
China staged a fresh display of military might in Xinjiang
China has staged a fresh display of military might in its western Xinjiang
region, sending more than 10,000 armed police, columns of armored vehicles and
helicopters rumbling through the regional capital.
government news website published reports and photos of Monday's exercise in
the city of Urumqi, where the region's recently installed Communist Party
secretary exhorted soldiers to "bury the corpses of terrorists" in a
new people's war.
rally held on Monday, complete with circling helicopters and armoured vehicles,
was at least the fourth such mass display in the region this year, intended as
a show of force after a recent uptick in violence.
Armed Police (PAP) and military helicopters, as well as 10 civilian aircraft,
carried the forces as part of an "all new" air-land mechanism that
would bring high-speed armed helicopter patrols anywhere over Xinjiang's vast
and rugged territory, a notice posted to the Ministry of Defence's website
said. It did not give further details on the patrols.
home to the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, has seen hundreds
killed in recent years in attacks.
has blamed the violence on Islamic militants and separatists.
to plant their flag in China+ and that blood will "flow in rivers", a
video released this week purportedly by the Islamic State group shows ethnic
Uighur fighters training in Iraq, underscoring what Beijing sees as a serious
video was released the same day that China held the latest in a series of mass
rallies of military police in Xinjiang meant to indicate Chinese resolve in
crushing security threats.
Islamic State video showed fighters, including heavily armed children, giving
speeches, praying, and killing other "informants".
another scene, a man chanting in Uighur says: "Our land of sharia has been
constructed with spilt blood."
video then shows pictures of people who were said to have become
"martyrs" and identified as
"al-Turkista&hibar;ni&hibar;", or men from Turkestan, the
name many Uighurs use for Xinjiang.
over strength of Uighur militants
experts have up to now expressed doubts about the strength of Uighur militants,
with some saying China exaggerates the threat to justify tough security
US think tank said in July that tough Chinese religious restrictions on Muslims
may have driven more than 100 to join the Islamic State.
have banned or strictly controlled the observance of certain Muslim practices,
such as growing beards, wearing headscarves, and fasting during Ramadan in
Xinjiang, saying they were symbols of "Islamic extremism".
police in one part of Xinjiang announced earlier this month that every vehicle
will be tracked using satellite technology as part of an anti-terror
one violence-wracked corner of Xinjiang, authorities are offering rewards of up
to 5 million yuan ($730,000) to those who expose terror plots or
"struggle, kill, wound, or subdue" any attackers.
say repressive government policies have exacerbated tensions and radicalized
of ' Islamic Boarding Schools ' Aimed At Mainstreaming Moderate Islam:
standardization of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) is not part of the
government’s efforts to deradicalise Islamic extremists, but instead aims to
further spread moderate Islam, an official has said.
not a deradicalisation program. It’s going to take moderate Islam mainstream,”
the Religious Affairs Ministry’s Islamic education director general Kamaruddin
Amin said as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Friday.
the pesantren standardization to be a deradicalisation attempt could lead to a
false understanding that Islamic boarding schools are a base of radicals, or,
in a more extreme terminology, “terrorists”, he said.
mainstreaming moderate Islam, Kamaruddin said, Islamic boarding schools were
directed to mainstream an Islam that was peaceful, moderate and served as
“rahmatan lil ‘alamin”, or a blessing for the whole world and its contents.
said pesantren were not radical and it had been proven since Indonesia’s
pre-independence era that the non-formal religious education institution had
never grown radicalism. Pesantren had continued to develop without creating
radicalism problems, but instead by promoting love for the nation.
China is warning of “severe damage” to relations with India and increased
regional instability if exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama proceeds with a
visit to a disputed area along their still-unsettled border.
has expressed its concerns to New Delhi on numerous occasions and urged India
to “avoid offering a state for the Dalai Lama to carry out anti-China
separatist activities,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily
briefing on Friday.
invitation to the Dalai Lama by the Indian side to the contested area between
China and India will inflict severe damage on the China-India relationship and
peace and stability in the China-India border area,” Geng said.
JAYA: Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram) has welcomed the prospect of
controversial preacher Zakir Naik living in Malaysia if he is not allowed to
return to his home country of India.
must continue being big-hearted and providing protection to those of various
races and religious backgrounds,” said the Islamic NGO’s president Mohd Parid
Sheikh Ahmad in a statement today.
was responding to calls by some quarters urging the government to bar Zakir
from entering the country or remaining here if he was already in the country.
including Hindraf, have accused Zakir of disrupting the country’s racial
harmony through his preachings that they claimed insulted other races.
who heads the Islamic Research Institute in Mumbai, is reportedly barred from
the United Kingdom and Canada for his alleged support of terrorist group,
Enforcement Directorate was also reported to have issued a fresh summons to
Zakir in connection with its money laundering probe against him.
of India quoted officials as saying the agency had issued the fourth summons to
Zakir, via his lawyer and through email, to cooperate in the probe after it
rejected his plea to depose before investigators via an Internet-based video
link from abroad.
Wednesday, 19 people, including Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy and lawyer
Siti Kasim, filed a suit against the government for allegedly harbouring Zakir.
according to Parid, barring Zakir from entering Malaysia was against basic
human rights and the principle of freedom of speech and religion.
Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Friday, a Federal Territories mosque went overboard once again during the
content of the sermon, reported by Malaysiakini, highlighted Jakim’s
(Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) questionable methods that
seemingly favour religious bigotry and the inability to prioritise pressing
issues or even put forth universal values that are in line with Islamic
has a history of singling out so-called “enemies of Islam” and demonising those
who disagree with them. Once again, choosing not to address abuses of power or
kleptocracy, Jakim had chosen to demonise “loud” women instead.
to Jakim, championing gender equality and women’s rights are viewed as
to the government institution, opinionated women are enemies of Islam because
raising (what Jakim perceives as) sensitive issues such as encouraging gender
equality and questioning the “hukum” of wearing the hijab, will tarnish Islam.
text also claim that these views and opinions are heavily influenced by Western
anti-Islam propaganda. Never mind if some of these women have displayed an
impressive knowledge of Islam – history as well as values mentioned in both the
Quran and Hadith – harsh interpretations of Jakim’s brand of Islam simply does
not favour rational discourse.
what needs to be addressed is how government-sanctioned platforms that could
have been used to preach tolerance, love and respect are instead being used to
spread evil gospels that preach hatred and overzealous bigotry.
can forget; in 2014, Jakim made the preposterous claim that “Muslims in
Malaysia will always be under siege” and were tricked by the Jews and the
Christians, who were often identified using the name “Nasrani” (an Arabic form
of the word “Nazarene” which originally referred to a sect of Christianity, but
has become a general term for Christians).
hate-filled sermons often caution that there are some Muslims (the liberals,
the pluralists and the secularists) who are working together with the
Christians, the communists and the Jews to destroy the walls that have stood to
protect our sovereignty. Spreading these lies signalled the beginnings of
Jakim’s pattern of bigotry that present day Malaysians have become familiar
must reiterate that Muslims in Malaysia are not under siege – never have been
and never will be, because of what is already enshrined in our Federal
years, Jakim had magnificently coined the term “enemies of Islam” which has
become an “umbrella bogeyman” used to refer to so-called deviants and apostates
of Islam. This act of name calling and pitting us against one another is
downright evil and destructive.
Jakim truly claims that its brand of Islam is one that promotes tolerance and
should be seen as a blessing to all (rahmatan lil ‘alamin), it should engage in
rational discourse and more so, welcome these brave women for championing these
JAYA: New Zealand government officials are seeking advice from the Malaysia
government about its “lauded” deradicalisation programmes in the fight against
the growing threat of terrorism.
to the New Zealand Herald, Chris Finlayson, minister for the country’s Security
Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications and Security
Bureau (GCSB), has already met with top officials in Malaysia.
was accompanied by New Zealand’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Carl Worker.
Wednesday, Finlayson met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home
Affairs Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to discuss a wide range of security issues including
countering terrorism and cybercrime.
Zealand security analyst Paul Buchanan from 36th Parallel Assessments, said,
“We have had no deradicalisation programmes in place, as far as I know.
spite of all the talk about terrorism, we have only been talking about the
stick approach to extremists and we have no carrot.”
New Zealand Herald reported that in Malaysia, the government worked with mosque
leaders and Muslim associations to identify vulnerable youth, and matched them
up with moderate, charismatic Muslim role models.
has had a lot of success,” Buchanan said. “And if we are asking them to train
us in that kind of programme, then I’m all for it.”
also reasoned that Malaysia’s often condemned human rights abuses in the form
of laws that permitted detention without charge for up to two years, were mostly
limited to reactive, counter-terrorism measures.
Jakarta - The Indonesian Education and Culture Ministry and the Saudi Arabia
Culture and Information Ministry signed cooperation agreement in specialist
exchange and cultural promotions.
Farid, director general of culture at the Education and Culture Ministry said
that the program is aimed at promoting moderate Islam and eradicating terrorism
and radicalism in both countries.
revealed that the Saudi Arabia Education and Information Minister Adel bin Zaid
Al-Toraifi was inspired by the contemporary Islamic culture in Indonesia.
Minister Adel expressed his admiration for Indonesians, whom he called as
said that the Indonesian government will send Arabic language teachers to Saudi
Arabia in the specialist program and vice versa.
Saudi Arabia government has also invited Indonesia to participate in the Riyadh
Book Fair. In addition to promoting books and its publishing industry,
Indonesia is expected to feature art performances and artworks.
artworks influenced by Islam will be attractive for people in Saudi
Arabia," Hilmar added.
of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have warned of the serious
consequences of Saudi Arabia’s plan to gain full control of an entire atoll in
the South Asian island country.
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will pay a rare visit this month to
six Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, and
members warned on Friday that the decision by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul
Gayoom’s government to “sell” Faafu, one of the 26 atolls, to Saudi Arabia
would aggravate Wahhabism in the country.
is reportedly one of the highest per capita contributors of foreign militants
to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has been wreaking havoc mainly in
Syria and Iraq.
is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, freely preached by
government-backed clerics there, and inspiring terrorists worldwide. Daesh and
other Takfiri terror groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths
as “infidels” and then kill them.
member and former foreign minister, Ahmed Naseem, said the Maldivian government
had not bothered to take people's consent.
the old days, selling land, which is scarce in Maldives, to foreigners would
have been seen as high treason punishable by death,” he said.
Maldivian government passed a constitutional amendment in 2015, allowing
foreigners to possess lands in the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused Germany of “aiding and
harboring terror” and claimed a journalist who was detained this week on
terror-related charges was a German agent.
need to be put on trial for aiding and harboring terror,” Erdogan said,
criticizing German authorities who had allowed outlawed Kurdish leaders to
speak yet had blocked rallies where Turkish ministers sought to address the
president, speaking in Istanbul, also claimed Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for
Germany's Die Welt newspaper, who was detained on Monday, was a “German agent.”
on Friday, Turkey accused Germany of working for a “No” vote ahead of an April
referendum on whether to boost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers in an
don't want Turkey to campaign here, they are working for a 'No'. They want to
get in the way of a strong Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told
reporters in Ankara after German local authorities blocked rallies where
Turkish ministers were due to speak.
hits Qaeda in Yemen with new wave of strikes
- The United States carried out another wave of strikes against al Qaeda in
Yemen overnight, residents and US officials said on Friday, in the latest sign
of increasing US military focus on a group whose strength has grown during
Yemen's civil war. A day after US forces carried out more than 20 air strikes
in Yemen, residents reported another US assault in the Wadi Yashbum village in
the southern Shabwah province including about 10 to 15 air strikes. Residents
said some of the strikes hit civilian homes and a number of civilians were
among the wounded.
three hours later, residents in the Jabal Mugan area of neighbouring Abyan province
also reported air strikes.
also cited ground battles involving American soldiers and al Qaeda militants
but two US officials told Reuters the latest operations did not involve ground
of our troops were involved in a firefight over the last period of
darkness," one of the US officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of
strikes follow a Jan. 29 raid against AQAP by US commandos, an operation that
resulted in the death of 14 militants and a Navy SEAL, as well as civilians.
White House and other US officials have said the mission yielded valuable
intelligence but critics questioned its value and effectiveness.
has been a persistent concern to the US government since an attempt to blow up
a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 that was traced back to the
has exploited a civil war in which the Iran-aligned Houthi movement is fighting
the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is backed by
US-aligned Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies.
United States carried out a second day of air strikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen
on Friday, US officials said, in the latest sign of increasing US military
focus on a group whose strength has grown during Yemen’s civil war.
a January commando raid, the United States has shown a desire to both strike
al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to recover from what US officials
acknowledge has been an intelligence shortfall about the group since Yemen’s
civil war forced the closure of the US Embassy in 2015.
have a lot of gaps in our understanding of the organization,” a US defense
official said, adding the pullout of US personnel two years ago “certainly did
not help our understanding of the situation.”
spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said at a news briefing that the United States had
carried out more than 30 strikes over the past two days in Shabwah, Abyan and
Al Bayda provinces.
US military did not disclose how many al-Qaeda fighters were killed on Friday
although Reuters reported that Thursday’s strikes, using manned and unmanned
aircraft, left at least nine militants dead.
US military did not rule out further strikes in the days ahead.
don’t want to telegraph future operations but this is part of a plan to go
after this very real threat and ensure they are defeated,” Davis said at a
Pentagon news briefing.
military strategy in Yemen has become a political lightning rod issue after the
late January raid against AQAP, authorized by President Donald Trump, resulted
in the death of one of the commandos, US Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens.
questioned the value of the mission. That prompted a fierce rebuttal from
Trump, who said during a televised address to Congress that “large amounts of
vital intelligence” was seized in the operation. Trump’s speech featured a
standing ovation for Owens’ widow.
US defense official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity on
Friday, shied away from describing the intelligence as “vital,” saying that was
a subjective term.
official said the intelligence was “good” and “potentially actionable,”
suggesting that phone numbers and other information about AQAP’s network seized
in January would require analysis or development before leading to new US
strikes or raids.
definitely helping us understand the network and further develop it out ...
This has been good information,” the official said, adding the United States
seized “an awful lot of telephone numbers.”
over the past two days have not been based on intelligence from the January
raid, the Pentagon says.
its pullout in 2015, the US military started returning to Yemen in small
numbers last year to support a successful April push orchestrated by the United
Arab Emirates, with support from Saudi Arabia, that ejected AQAP from Mukalla,
home of Yemen’s third largest port, where AQAP had raised tens of millions of
US defense official said losing Mukalla degraded AQAP but also cautioned the
group did not leave its money or many of its recruits behind.
told Reuters on Friday that US air strikes were accompanied by gun battles,
which they thought involved US soldiers on the ground in Yemen.
Pentagon denied US involvement in any ground combat and it was unclear if one
of the United States’ Gulf allies might have been engaged in gun battles.
intelligence and military officials still view AQAP as a real threat to the
United States, as do allies like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
group has plotted to down US airliners and claimed responsibility for 2015
attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. AQAP also has boasted
of the world’s most feared bomb makers, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, and the
Pentagon estimates it has between about 2,000 and 3,000 fighters.
arrest follows the bomb threat made by letter and forwarded to several media
outlets Wednesday, which forced the evacuation of three buildings of the
university in downtown Montreal.
militias have embraced a systematic strategy to distort Yemen social structure
designed to create rifts between the country’s different tribes by employing
its alliance to eradicate others against the militia.
tribes, based in four different provinces, suffered the most from the despot
Houthi’s callous military and economic campaigns inflicting human loss,
displacement of families, and mass property damages.
Arhab and Bani Dubian
Atmah and al-Haddah
Al Khafar, al Shawour, al-Adin, Ba’dan, al Radmah, al Oud, al Siyahi
of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Yemeni capital city of
Sana’a to express outrage over Saudi Arabia’s deadly military campaign against
the impoverished Arab country.
protesters converged in the Old City of Sana'a following Friday prayers,
carrying Yemeni flags and banners in condemnation of the Saudi aggression.
in the demonstration, under the motto “Tough against Disbelievers”, also held
up pictures of civilians injured in the deadly Saudi airstrikes, calling on the
United Nations to fulfill its responsibilities and stop the Riyadh regime’s
atrocious military offensive.
also warned the Saudi leadership that the continued attacks on the people in
Yemen will only strengthen the steadfastness of the nation.
also accused the United States of being complicit in the Saudi crimes against
the Yemeni nation by providing the Al Saud regime with various munitions.
Arabia has been engaged in a deadly campaign against Yemen since March 2015 in
an attempt to reinstall the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a
close Riyadh ally.
airstrikes have taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and
infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.
United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, says the
Saudi campaign has claimed the lives of 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others
told reporters in Sana’a earlier this year that the figure was based on
casualty counts given by health facilities and that the actual number might be
least six civilians have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries
when Saudi fighter jets carried out fresh aerial attacks against residential
areas in northern Yemen, using internationally-banned cluster bombs.
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five people were killed and
ten others injured when Saudi military aircraft struck the al-Barkah area of
the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa'ada, located 240 kilometers north of the
capital Sana'a, on Friday afternoon, Arabic-language al-Masirah television
jets also launched a morning cluster bomb raid in the Hayran district of the
northwestern province of Hajjah, located approximately 130 kilometers northwest
of Sana’a, killing at least one person and injuring seven others.
bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an
international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and
unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a
categorical prohibition and a framework for action.
Saudi aircraft bombarded an area in the Mustaba district of the same Yemeni
province, with no immediate reports of casualties and the extent of damage
jets pounded the city of Sirwah, which lies about 120 kilometers east of
Sana’a, as well, though no reports of casualties were available.
in the Nihm district of Sa’ada province, Yemeni soldiers and fighters from
Popular Committees launched a BM-27 Uragan rocket at a gathering of militiamen
loyal to resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, leaving scores of
the Saudi mercenaries dead and injured.
forces and their allies also targeted Kofel military camp in the country’s
central province of Ma'rib, with no casualties among Saudi-sponsored militiamen
forces, allies take two southwestern Yemen areas
Yemeni troopers and Popular Committees fighters have taken control of two areas
in the southwestern province of Dhamar.
sources told Arabic-language al-Omanaa news website that the forces have
completely retaken Sharm al-Ali and Kamat al-Dokhan areas in the Utmah district
of the province.
development came as Yemeni fighters are pushing deeper along the Sharm al-Safel
area in the same district, tightening the noose around Saudi-sponsored
militiamen led by Abdul Wahhab Muawwizah.
soldiers and their allies managed to drive Saudi mercenaries out of Rabi'ah
Bani Bahr in Dhamar Province late Thursday night.
Germany announce new immigration agreement
- Tunisia and Germany announced a new
agreement on tackling illegal migration, during a visit on Friday by Chancellor
accord follows frictions between the two countries over the case of a Tunisian
rejected asylum seeker blamed for a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market
that killed 12 people.
agreement "will satisfy Tunisia and will satisfy Germany," Tunisian
President Beji Caid Essebsi said at a joint press conference.
on a two-day trip which also included a stop in Egypt, said Germany and Tunisia
agreed on speedier repatriations for rejected asylum seekers and job training
agreed that questions on identities (of Tunisian asylum seekers) from Germany
will be answered within 30 days," she said.
will also help Tunisia to set up a registration system. Replacement passports
are then meant to be issued within one week." Germany has previously said
that Tunisian bureaucratic delays meant it could not expel the Tunisian suspect
in the Berlin Christmas market attack, Anis Amri, even though his asylum
application had been rejected six months earlier.
armed faction entered two major Libyan oil ports on Friday, pushing back forces
that captured and reopened the terminals in September, officials and residents
move risks increasing the fighting around the ports and casts new doubt over
Libya's attempt to revive its oil production. The terminals at Es Sider and Ras
Lanuf are two of Libya's largest, with potential combined production capacity
of about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd).
was unclear late on Friday to what extent the faction that attacked, the
Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), had gained control over the area. There was no
statement from the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli, which
restarted operations at the ports after the eastern-based Libyan National Army
(LNA) took them over seven months ago.
then the LNA's opponents have launched several unsuccessful attacks against the
ports in Libya's eastern Oil Crescent, in a campaign linked to a broader
conflict between factions based in eastern and western Libya.
LNA had said the ports were well secured. But it said the BDB had launched a
rapid, three-pronged attack early on Friday that pierced its defenses.
strikes repelled an attack targeting a third port, Brega, but the LNA withdrew
men and equipment around Es Sider and Ras Lanuf to avoid a damaging fire fight,
LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said.
engineers, oil sources and residents said the BDB entered both Es Sider and Ras
Lanuf ports after the attack.
BDB posted pictures of its fighters at Ras Lanuf's nearby air strip, though the
LNA later said it had retaken control there.
least nine men loyal to the LNA were killed and eight wounded in the fighting,
a medical source said.
LNA took Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zueitina oil ports in September. All
but Brega had long been blockaded. After the NOC reopened them, Libya's oil
production more than doubled.
says it is ready to broker talks between rival authorities in Libya to help
unify the divided North African country.
Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov had on Thursday in Moscow discussed ways to unite Libya with
Fayez Seraj, the prime minister of Libya's UN-backed government.
confirmed its readiness to work closely with all sides in Libya with the aim of
seeking mutually acceptable solutions to create the grounds for the stable
development of Libya as a united, sovereign and independent state," the
Russian Foreign Ministry said.
statement added that Russia sought to cooperate with all parties in Libya,
which has experienced violence since NATO's military intervention that followed
the 2011 uprising and led to the overthrow and death of former dictator Muammar
governments were set up in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the east of the
country in 2014.
Khalifa Haftar is linked to the government based in the eastern port city of
Tobruk. He has refused to pledge allegiance to the UN-backed government in
visit is apparently an attempt to overcome a deadlock in Libya. A statement
from his office quoted the prime minister as saying that Russia could play a
positive role in Libya "thanks to its ties with various Libyan
passage of time does not allow for the political maneuvers that (some) Libyan
groups are trying to play," the statement said.
February 19, Seraj said he hoped that Russia might act as an intermediary
between him and Haftar.
to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Seraj had discussed the progress of
a UN-backed reconciliation dialogue.
Russian side stressed the need for an inclusive intra-Libyan dialogue aimed at
setting up unified organs of power, including an army and police force capable
of maintaining security and law and order and of effectively countering a
terrorist threat," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Willemijn De Koning
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Tunisia to discuss refugees and
terrorism, Morocco is showing its regional neighbors how it's dealing with the
latter. Willemijn de Koning reports from Marrakesh.
2003 and 2011 Morocco was targeted by terrorist attacks in Casablanca and
Marrakesh - a shock to the country in the Maghreb region. "Morocco was
really surprised by those attacks, especially in Casablanca," says
Mohammed Benhammou, an adviser to the Moroccan government on how to fight
terrorism. With his help, the North African country has been pouring its
resources into fighting radical Islam and terrorism to make sure such attacks
are not repeated.
of those instruments is a new law that aims to crack down on terrorism and
related activities. Anyone potentially preparing terrorist activities such as
traveling to countries like Libya, Syria or Iraq and carrying out attacks
either in those countries or in Morocco will face jail. This is where Morocco
is going a different way compared to its neighbors, keeping an eye on it
nationals not only at home but also abroad.
be able to do that efficiently, Morocco launched its own version of the FBI,
the Bureau Central d'Investigation Judiciaire (BCJI). Since it started its work
in 2015, it has reportedly uncovered 40 terrorist cells and arrested almost 600
numbers are impressive but, says Benhammou, they come as no surprise.
"They work really well together with other countries. That's important,
because terrorism outside Morocco can also be dangerous for us. For example, a
little while ago terrorist suspects from Chad and Tangier were arrested because
they were preparing attacks there. And we share all our information with
European countries, because we all have the same enemy - terrorism," he
Morocco was one of the countries to warn Germany about the Tunisian man who was
behind the attack last year at a Christmas market in Berlin. But now more than
ever the BCJI has to focus on it's own country. Ever since the "Islamic
State" (IS) group began expanding in North Africa, Morocco has been facing
an increasing threat. According to Adelhak Khiame, director of the BCJI, IS is
specifically targeting Morocco by sending people who are not known to the
intelligence services to form sleeper cells. "They even try to brainwash
young girls on the internet to recruit them for an attack here," Khiame
told DW. The BCJI says it recently uncovered a cell made up of mainly
bureau is just one part of Morocco's strategy. In an attempt to nip the problem
in the bud, the country is going back to school. In an effort to stop muslims
from becoming extremists, the country has been educating its own imams for the
past 10 years. In 2015 they took that one step further and opened an imam
school where imams from all over the world can study and teach moderate Islam.
school in Rabat currently hosts 250 Moroccans (100 of them are women) and 675
students from Mali, the Ivory Coast, France, Niger and French Guinea. Students
are taught to accept different opinions and values. "People have different
religions and cultures. Therefore, we need dialogue and acceptence from all
sides," the director of the school, Abdessalam Lazaar, told DW.
becoming an imam is not a cure-all. A lot of young people who are poor see life
as a jihadist as an attractive alternative. The institute therefore tries to
counter those developments by offering courses in economics, history,
philosophy and French. And those that do go on to preach in a mosque in Morocco
are under strict vigilance, says Lazaar. "If someone exceeds the limits of
the state's religious understanding, then he must be excluded."
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