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Islamic World News (02 Dec 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Pakistani Cleric Who Led Protests against Asia Bibi Charged With Terrorism















roup of authors and filmmakers recently released Hi Dubai series to celebrate the love of the UAE through the eyes of Emirati and expat women

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Pakistani Cleric Who Led Protests against Asia Bibi Charged With Terrorism

With The Jihadists Gone, Booze Is Back In Iraq's Mosul

Reuters Reveals Up to 1,200 ‘Muslim Gulags’ Built in China

UK Muslims Demand Full Legal Protection from Islamophobia

CIA Finds MBS Texted To Khashoggi Hit Squad Leader

 

Pakistan

Pakistani Cleric Who Led Protests against Asia Bibi Charged With Terrorism

Pakistan Will Remain an Islamic State, Qureshi Responds to Gen Rawat’s Remarks

Pakistan rendered huge sacrifices in war on terror: president

Indian media's negative propaganda on Kartarpur corridor dismays us, says Pakistan

Taliban militant killed in D.I. Khan encounter

Terrorist holding six civilians hostage killed in DIK encounter

Unparalleled foreign investment pouring into Pakistan: Imran

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Arab World

With The Jihadists Gone, Booze Is Back In Iraq's Mosul

US-Made Missiles Found in Terrorists' Arms Cache in Southern Syria

Syria: Thousands of Civilians Leave Terrorist-Held Regions Via Humanitarian Corridor

New Turkish Military Convoy Dispatched to Hama amid Syrian Army's Preparation for Massive Operation

Kurdish Militia's Senior Commander Killed in Bomb Attack in Northeastern Syria

US Reinvigorating Military Base in Northeastern Syria

Ankara-Backed Militants Suffer Heavy Defeats in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

Syrian Army Preparing for Imminent Operation in Northern Syria as Tensions Rise in Demilitarized Zone

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Southeast Asia

Reuters Reveals Up to 1,200 ‘Muslim Gulags’ Built in China

Wanted In India, Fiery Islamic Preacher, Zakir Naik, Says He Has Not Broken Any Law

Conservative Indonesian Muslims hold big rally in Jakarta

Don’t let Tabung Haji probe play out on ‘media stage’, says Umno Youth chief

Hardline Islamists hold massive rally in Jakarta

Anti-Ahok protesters, opposition camp mark 212 rally anniversary

National Council Bans Political Activities in Mosques Ahead of 2019 Elections

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Europe

UK Muslims Demand Full Legal Protection from Islamophobia

German Government Criticised For Serving Pork at Islam Event

Europe’s growing religious conflict cannot be ignored

Putin: Turkey has not yet managed to achieve everything in Idlib as planned

UK PM May urges Saudi Arabia to punish Khashoggi killers

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North America

CIA Finds MBS Texted To Khashoggi Hit Squad Leader

Saudi Arabia An ‘Enormous Support’ To US: Pompeo

Commander of US ME forces in Navy's Fifth Fleet base found dead in Bahrain

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Mideast

Not Aiming To Harm Saudi Royals in Khashoggi Affair: Tayyip Erdogan

Yemeni Army Kills 40 Houthi Militants in Clashes in Al-Baydah

How have Yemen's rebels survived the Saudi-led onslaught?

Iran defence minister acknowledges supporting Houthi militias in Yemen

UN to vote Thursday on US measure condemning Hamas

Arab coalition destroys Houthis rocket pad launcher in Yemen’s Saada

Iran urges Security Council to condemn Pompeo’s threat to ‘starve’ Iranians

Deadly fighting erupts again in Yemen’s Hodeida

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South Asia

Explosives-Laden Humvee Goes Off Prematurely Among Taliban Leaving 37 Dead

Drone Strikes Target Taliban Court In Kapisa Province

Suu Kyi calls for peace in speech, avoids Rohingya crisis

One killed, over 200 injured in Tabligh Jamaat factional clash in Tongi

Tabligh Jamaat clash: What is this fight all about?

Militants suffer casualties in Badakhshan airstrike

Militant involved in target killings eliminated in Lashkargah city

US to stand with the coalition of 41 nations committed to Afghan efforts: Mattis

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India

Clerics of All India Tanzim Ulema-E-Islam Urge Secular People to Observe Dec 6as ‘Black Day’

Four Jaish Terrorists Believed To Have Entered Delhi

‘Googly remark disrespectful to Sikhs, exposes you’: Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan counterpart

After Kartarpur, Mehbooba Mufti bats for opening of Sharda Peeth route in PoK

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Africa

Islamic Extremists in Nigeria Are Now Using Drones

Muslim World League’s Relief Campaign Targets 40,000 African Refugees

US military strike kills nine militants in Somalia

One dead as Boko Haram attacks Nigeria army base

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pakistani-cleric-who-led-protests-against-asia-bibi-charged-with-terrorism/d/117038

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Pakistani cleric who led protests against Asia Bibi charged with terrorism

Dec 02, 2018

A hardline cleric has been charged with terrorism and sedition offences by the Pakistani government, after he led violent protests to oppose the acquittal of a Christian woman from blasphemy charges, a minister said Saturday.

Firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his party Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) held furious protests after the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty for Asia Bibi in October.

Demonstrators blocked major roads in protest, burning cars and buses, and leaving large swathes of the country paralysed as they called for her execution to be carried out.

Rizvi was detained on November 24 after police launched a crackdown on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab province and the port city of Karachi.

Fawad Chaudhry, federal minister for information and broadcasting told reporters in Islamabad that sedition and terrorism charges had been made against Khadim Rizvi and other TLP leaders.

During the violent protests, one leader of TLP called for mutiny against the military chief, the murder of the judges who acquitted Asia Bibi, and branded Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “son of Jews.”

Chaudhry said these charges can carry a life term in prison.

“Other people who were directly involved in destruction of properties, insulting women and snatching their purses, burning buses, have been charged in terrorism cases,” he said, saying more than 3,000 people had been arrested in connection with the TLP protests.

The government signed an agreement with the protesters at that time to bring about a quick end to protests -- but launched a crackdown a few weeks later when the TLP threatened to launch another protest.

Blasphemy is a hugely inflammatory issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and Prophet Mohammed can lead to lynchings and murders.

Bibi’s conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.

Muslim women labourers objected to her touching the water bowl as a non-Muslim, and a fight reportedly erupted. A local imam then claimed Bibi insulted the Prophet Mohammed.

Bibi has consistently denied the charges, and her prosecution rallied international rights groups, politicians and religious figures.

She spent eight years on death row before the Supreme Court decision to free her.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistani-cleric-who-led-protests-against-asia-bibi-charged-with-terrorism/story-wOvtSK5PoiGgMtCU3vAWyH.html

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With the jihadists gone, booze is back in Iraq's Mosul

December 2, 2018

Mohammad Salim

Rows of yellow-labelled whiskey bottles sit alongside imported French wines, while cans of Korean beer chill in the fridge: with Iraq's Mosul free of jihadists, the booze is back.

The city spent three years under the iron-fisted rule of the Islamic State group, which punished those caught drinking alcohol with public lashings or worse.

But more than a year since Iraqi forces ousted the jihadists from Mosul, liquor stores are flourishing.

The western commercial district of Al-Duwasa is home to several modest outlets, including Khairallah Tobey's.

The enterprising 21-year-old bounced between well-stocked shelves, pulling down bottles of beer priced at an affordable 1,500 Iraqi dinars -- just over a dollar. 

"Our sales are good right now," said Tobey, a member of Iraq's Yazidi minority.

Owners of Mosul's bottle shops are all Yazidi or Christian, as Iraq does not grant alcohol licenses to Muslim citizens.

But under IS, which violently enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law when it overran Mosul in 2014, everyone was banned from selling, buying, or drinking alcohol.

Booze never completely disappeared from the city -- its residents found ways to smuggle in the devil's drink -- but it was expensive and dangerous.

With Mosul back under government control since July 2017, liquor stores are now back in the open.

"At work, I feel relaxed and not afraid or nervous at all, thanks to the security and freedom now present in Mosul," Tobey told AFP.

'Openly, without fear'

Across the Tigris river in the city's east, vendor Abu Rayan said he has had the last laugh.

"I opened up my shop again just to spite Daesh, after it kicked us out of the city and confiscated our property and money," he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS. 

Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, but drinking has remained commonplace across Muslim-majority Iraq.

Two years ago, the country's presidency shot down a draft bill in parliament that proposed a ban on the production, sale, and import of alcoholic drinks.

There are no restrictions on consuming alcohol in Mosul, but those who sell, buy and drink it take certain precautions.

Most shops keep their signs relatively discrete, hanging just a few posters advertising Turkish beer Efes or its Korean counterpart Cass to help customers find the store.

Bottles are always packed in opaque black bags, and when they are cracked open, it's typically out of public view -- usually a spot on the Tigris river late at night or in the privacy of a home.

Not everyone in Mosul is thrilled with the city's burgeoning booze sector.

Some residents have demanded liquor stores be shut for religious reasons or to protect young people.

But others say doing so would be a violation of individual rights.

"Drinking wine is a personal freedom that is allowed by the law. It has nothing to do with the difficult circumstances that this city has gone through," says Ali Hassan, who paints homes.

He has heard stories of a different Mosul, in the 1960s and 1970s, when people visited bars, clubs, and liquor stores across the city.

"They drank openly and without fear," says Hassan, 33.

Regulation for revenue?

Soon after this golden age, Iraq's troubles began.

A string of conflicts in the 1980s was followed by an international embargo that brought shortages of most goods.

Then, in 2003, the US-led invasion of Iraq toppled strongman Saddam Hussein -- but paved the way for the rise of religious militias across the country, including in Mosul.

As extremists gained traction, they targeted liquor stores with gun and grenade attacks.

Now, Mosul may have the opposite problem -- too many unlicensed liquor stores are opening up, which has worried authorities and angered those shopkeepers who do have the right paperwork.

"We've received more than 100 requests for licenses, and so far 25 have been issued," said regional official Zuhair al-Aaraji.

Shops selling alcohol must be a certain distance from homes, schools, places of worship, and government offices, he said.

Rights activist Mohammad Salem, 31, said regulation isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that individual rights should be protected.

"The best situation is to organise the trade and sale of alcoholic drinks, supervised by social, health, and security authorities," Salem said.

After all, he added, alcohol sales could provide an important source of revenue for Mosul as it rebuilds.

"Any decision to ban liquor would contradict personal freedoms, and deprive the city of economic and financial resources that it needs in this current state."

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/02/with-the-jihadists-gone-booze-is-back-in-iraqs-mosul.html

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Reuters Reveals Up to 1,200 ‘Muslim Gulags’ Built in China

1 Dec 2018

China is rapidly expanding the construction of its so-called “vocational” centers used to incarcerate, torture, and subject up to a million members of the country’s Muslim minority to communist indoctrination, according to a bombshell Reuters investigation published this week.

Reuters reported on Thursday: 

Adrian Zenz, an anthropologist who has tracked the expansion of the camps, estimates there could be as many as 1,200 – at least one for every county and township in [Muslim-majority] Xinjiang [province]. There is limited information on the costs of construction, but tenders for one facility outside the city of Kashgar list a combined budget of $45.6 million.

Muslim Uighur (or Uyghur)-majority Xinjiang is China’s largest province. Xinjiang’s long border covers various countries, including Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India.

Previous estimates, including one by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), had placed the number of re-education facilities, also known as mind-transformation centers and concentration camps, at no more than 181.

Citing a forensic analysis of satellite images of 39 of the re-education facilities, Reuters found that China is “expanding” the construction of the centers “at a rapid rate,” adding:

The building-by-building review of these facilities revealed that the footprint of the built-up area almost tripled in size in the 17 months between April 2017 and August 2018…By August this year, the number of buildings at these facilities had more than doubled to 1,129. The area they covered had almost tripled to more than 1 million square meters – roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.

According to the report, China began construction of new facilities and expansion of existing around April 2017, soon after Bejing implemented new anti-extremism regulations in Xinjiang, including bans on the wearing of veils and long beards in public places.

China reportedly continues to expand the magnitude of its re-education facilities.

“A further 67 buildings, covering an area of 210,000 square meters, are now under construction in these compounds, according to the most recent satellite imagery that was analyzed,” Reuters noted.

Echoing other reports, the news outlet found that China’s persecution of Muslims has prompted adherents of Islam to abandon mosques.

“Mosques across Xinjiang are now adorned with Chinese flags and banners exhorting people to ‘Love the Party, Love the Country.’ During Friday prayers, the mosques are almost empty,” Reuters reported.

Although the majority of detainees at the centers are Uighur, Beijing is also reportedly incarcerating Muslims from other ethnic groups, including Kazakhs.

The U.S. government and United Nations has determined that China has forced an estimated one million individuals into re-education centers where they face systemic torture, disappearances, executions, and arbitrary detentions as part of Beijing’s campaign to ensure its Muslim minority is loyal to the communist party.

Beijing has denied the accusations, arguing that the camps are vocational centers intended to combat terrorism and Islamic extremism.

“Former detainees describe being tortured during interrogation, living in crowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily regimen of Communist Party indoctrination that drove some people to suicide,” Reuters noted.

Some assessments, including the one by Reuters, have found that the facilities resemble the Soviet Union’s Gulag prisons.

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/12/01/reuters-reveals-up-to-1200-muslim-gulags-built-in-china/

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UK Muslims Demand Full Legal Protection From Islamophobia

1 Dec 2018

Muslim organisations are urging Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and all other party leaders to adopt a newly proposed working definition of Islamophobia in an attempt to put pressure on a reluctant Home Office to follow suit.

The Muslim Council of Britain and other Islamic groups want the Conservatives and Labour to take the lead in the aftermath of a week marked by public outrage over the alleged racist bullying of a 15-year-old Syrian refugee in Huddersfield.

The definition was set out in a report published by a cross-party group of MPs last week and says: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said his and other groups hoped political leaders would “all understand the importance of listening to communities” and make a “positive response” by adopting the definition.

However, a Home Office minister said earlier that the department had no intention of adopting a definition, in response to a question from one of the chairs of the cross-party group, the Conservative MP Anna Soubry. Victoria Atkins told the Commons in March that there were “many definitions of Islamophobia”, but added: “We do not accept the need for a definitive definition, but we know that Islamophobia is clearly recognised and that we have very effective monitoring systems of all race-hate crimes.”

The inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims held sessions in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Sheffield. Members heard about a wide spectrum of Islamophobic experiences, including multiple incidents of physical and verbal abuse.

A Muslim woman described how a lit firework was posted through her letterbox in her home in Wales; a student in Sheffield was abused on public transport and “no one intervened to stop it”. Victims described the impact on their mental health of their experiences, which often left them feeling isolated.

A newly launched website in support of the definition includes the example of a Muslim mother who was allegedly attacked by three women “for wearing a headscarf” as she walked to a primary school in south London.

The plea for politicians to adopt the definition comes after a bruising summer dominated by rows about antisemitism in the Labour party as well as Islamophobia among the Conservatives, following a particularly controversial newspaper column written by the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in which he compared fully veiled women to letterboxes and bank robbers.

Labour’s antisemitism row was partly resolved when, after a long period of argument, the party’s national executive committee agreed to adopt a working definition drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and all 11 attached examples.

Those who worked on the definition of Islamophobia wanted it to capture the reality that, while Muslims are not a race, abuse against them amounts to a form of racism. At the same time it was felt important that the definition did not silence non-racist criticism of Islam.

Two of the most influential contributions to the parliamentary group’s work were made by Professor Salman Sayyid of Leeds University and AbdoolKarim Vakil of King’s College London.

They said: “Opposition to the term Islamophobia or to attempts at its definition is nothing new. Islamophobia is racism; naming and combating Islamophobia is not about special pleading, it’s about civil rights.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/01/muslims-demand-full-legal-protection-from-islamophobia

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CIA finds MBS texted to Khashoggi hit squad leader

Dec 1, 2018

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent about a dozen messages to the leader of the team that killed dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s death in October, according to a top secret CIA assessment.

According to the highly classified CIA report cited by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Saturday, Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, known by media as MBS, sent Saud al-Qahtani, a top servant who was later sacked, at least 11 messages at the time of the crime.

Bin Salman had instructed his men back in August 2017 that "we could possibly lure [Khashoggi] outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements," if the crown prince could not convince the dissident Saudi journalist, who was living in the United States, to return to Saudi Arabia. according to the classified CIA report as quoted by The Hill political website from WSJ.

The report states that the communication "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi," according to the Journal.

Another excerpt reportedly states that the CIA has “medium-to-high confidence” that Prince Mohammed “personally targeted” Khashoggi and “probably ordered his death.”

“To be clear, we lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a kill order,” according to the excerpts reported by the Journal.

The adviser in question, Saud al-Qahtani, was sanctioned by the White House last month for his involvement in Khashoggi's death.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing. However, US President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the CIA report.

The Senate on Wednesday advanced a resolution that would end US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, issuing a rebuke to Trump after the White House opposed the bill. The resolution advanced even as the administration vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia following global outcry over the killing of Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage documents for his upcoming wedding.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/01/581682/US-WSJ-CIA-MBS-Khashoggi

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan will remain an Islamic state, Qureshi responds to Gen Rawat’s remarks

Dec 02, 2018

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent statement calling for secularisation of Pakistan is meaningless and that it will not change the country’s ideology.

A day earlier, the Indian army chief had said, “Pakistan has made its state an Islamic state. If they have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state.”

Speaking to reporters in Multan, the foreign minister said, “The opening of Kartarpur corridor was hailed globally with people on both sides of the border agreeing to it and India even sending two of its ministers.”

“It was our wish that India’s foreign minister and the governor of Indian Punjab also attend the groundbreaking but this was a good first step and we should take it in a positive way,” he added.

The foreign minister continued, “It is Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government’s desire that there should be peace and stability in the region. If there is peace in the region then the government can pay attention to the problems facing the country. Pakistan is facing economic and employment issues which can be solved through investment,” he said. “Investment will only come through peace,” Qureshi said.

He added Pakistan desires for peace on its eastern and western borders and better relations with its neighbours.

Responding to the Indian army chief’s statement on a secular country, the foreign minister said the remarks were meaningless and will not change their ideology. “Pakistan is an Islamic state and came into being because of an ideology. These remarks will not change it,” he asserted.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan reiterated that no issue was impossible to solve between India and Pakistan. He stressed that Pakistan wishes to maintain peace and is asking for taking a step forward from the very first day.

“After Mumbai attacks, Indo-Pak relations were dented but India has not changed its mindset till date. Only peace is the way to move forward. Two nuclear powers cannot afford war. We will take two steps if India takes one,” said Khan.

The prime minister made it evident that great gestures should not be one-sided. “India should also provide some positive response. It should not be always us,” he said.

“I am not responsible for the past. I will only be answerable for the present,” declared the premier.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/12/01/rawats-remarks-cant-change-our-ideology-qureshi-responds-to-indian-army-chief-remarks/

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Pakistan rendered huge sacrifices in war on terror: president

DECEMBER 2, 2018

Lauding the role of the security forces and the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in restoring peace in the country, President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday said Pakistan has rendered great sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

Addressing a press conference here, the president said people of the country have suffered immensely because of terrorism and extremism in the country. Lauding the role of the security forces, he said that valiant forces and people of the country paid a heavy price to restore peace.

He assured that Levies and the Khasadar forces will be merged into the police force to be formed for the tribal areas. He said 30,000 more police personnel will be recruited to maintain law and order in the region.

On the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, the president reiterated that 3% resources from the award would be allocated for the newly merged tribal districts. During the next decade, he pledged, an amount of Rs 1000 billion will be spent for the development of infrastructure in the tribal areas. He said the infrastructure damaged due to terrorism in the province will be rebuilt.

In response to a question about KP-FATA merger, he said the governor has been tasked to complete the process at the earliest. “This merger is not an easy task,” he said.

The president highlighted the importance of increasing tourism and said the country is blessed with many tourist areas which lack development and basic facilities. “Take Muree for example, such structures have been built there that it has lost its charm. No uncontrolled development will be allowed in future,” he added.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/328775/pakistan-rendered-huge-sacrifices-in-war-on-terror-president/

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Indian media's negative propaganda on Kartarpur corridor dismays us, says Pakistan

Dec 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expressed disappointment on Saturday over the role of the Indian media on the "Kartarpur Corridor Initiative", stating that it was deeply dismayed at the "relentless negative propaganda campaign" being waged by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor, which connects Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Norwal district of Pakistan's Punjab to Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur.

"We are deeply dismayed at the relentless negative propaganda campaign being waged by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor Initiative," a statement issued by the foreign office (FO) said.

The FO said that it categorically reaffirms that the initiative to open the Kartarpur corridor has been taken by Pakistan solely in deference to the longstanding wishes of "our" Sikh brethren, and especially in view of the forthcoming 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Devji. "Attributing any other motive is purely malicious," the statement said, indirectly referring to critical views expressed in some media outlets regarding Pakistan after the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony.

"We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Sikh community - not only in India and Pakistan but also from across the globe. The government and people of Pakistan fully share their joy on this historic breakthrough and solemnly affirm that they will make every possible contribution to a befitting celebration of the auspicious occasion of Baba Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary in 2019," it read.

According to the foreign office, it was convinced that those seeking to sow negativity around this initiative for partisan purposes or due to their known anti-Pakistan proclivities would not succeed in their designs. Pakistan will continue to do what is right to advance this noble initiative, the statement said.

"We are pleased that distinguished guests from India, both from the Centre and from the Punjab, were able to join Prime Minister Imran Khan during the ground-breaking ceremony at Kartarpur on November 28, 2018," it added.

It stated that the presence of thousands of Sikh yatris visiting Pakistan from India and other parts of the world made the occasion even more poignant.

The FO said Pakistan would now proceed with the development of physical infrastructure for the corridor on its side of the international border. "We also look forward to working out necessary details and modalities with the Indian side concerning passage through the corridor."

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/indian-medias-negative-propaganda-on-kartarpur-corridor-dismays-us-says-pakistan/articleshow/66900803.cms

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Taliban militant killed in D.I. Khan encounter

Muhammad Irfan Mughal

December 02, 2018

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A suspected Taliban militant was killed and three security personnel were injured in an encounter in the Daraban area of Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday.

According to sources, security forces launched an operation in the Gara Alam locality on information about the presence of Taliban militants there.

On seeing members of security forces encircling the area, the militant opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at the security forces.

The security forces returned fire, triggering a gun battle which continued for 14 hours before the militant was killed.

He was identified as Abdul Hakeem, son of Abdur Rehman. He hailed from Gandapur tribe of Kulachi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan. He was wanted by police in a number of terrorist acts.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1448929/taliban-militant-killed-in-di-khan-encounter

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Terrorist holding six civilians hostage killed in DIK encounter

Dec 02, 2018

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A wanted terrorist was killed in an intelligence-based operation in Dera Ismail Khan’s Daraban area on Saturday, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

According to ISPR, Hakim was killed during Operation Raddul Fasaad after he made six civilians hostage for ulterior motives.

“He was armed with automatic weapons and grenades. All hostages have been rescued by security forces,” the military’s media wing said.

“Four security forces personnel received injuries during the operation,” ISPR added.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/12/01/key-commander-of-banned-ttp-killed-in-police-encounter-in-dik/

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Unparalleled foreign investment pouring into Pakistan: Imran

DECEMBER 2, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday said huge foreign investment was pouring into Pakistan owing to the country’s geo-strategic position, business-friendly policies and the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

In an interaction with a delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the prime minister said around 120 million population of Pakistan was under 35 years of age which the investors consider as a huge potential. He said Suzuki was bringing in an investment of around $450 million, Coca Cola $500 million, Pepsi $800 million, and Fonton, a Chinese car-making company, was investing $900 million to set up a car manufacturing plant.

He said Exxon Mobil, a US-based and one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, had re-entered Pakistan’s market for exploration believing that the country had gas reserves for 50 years. He told the gathering that during his visit, the Malaysian companies had shown interest to invest in halal meat market that was of Rs 2,000 billion worth industry in the world.

The prime minister, who was accompanied by Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, said the government was taking four measures to resolve the current economic situation. Firstly, the government was extending all-out support to exporters to enhance the country’s exports and help bridge the current account deficit. Secondly, he said, the overseas Pakistanis were being given incentives to send remittances through banking channels that could enhance the volume by $10 billion.

Thirdly, the government was striving to attract foreign investment as the world was eyeing Pakistani market owing to its attractive geo-strategic position and acknowledging the government’s anti-corruption drive, he added.

Fourthly, the prime minister said, the government was getting tough on money laundering and would make legislation next week to clamp down the perpetrators. Currently, around $10 billion were laundered from Pakistan annually, he added.

The prime minister recalled that the policy of industrial nationalization had hurt the country’s economy in 1970s. The wrong policies in the past had also encouraged smuggling and begot deindustrialization in the country, he said, adding that the incumbent government was fully incentivizing the investors.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/328792/unparalleled-foreign-investment-pouring-into-pakistan-imran/

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Arab World

 

US-Made Missiles Found in Terrorists' Arms Cache in Southern Syria

Dec 01, 2018

A Syrian military source reported on Saturday that the army's engineering units have found American TOW missiles in the weapons cache which belonged to the terrorists before being forced to leave Dara'a province.

The source added that the army forces also found over 100,000 rounds of machine-guns bullets, a large number of RPG rockets and a number of assault rifles.

Media reports revealed last month that the US was providing direct military support for the ISIL in trade for Syria's artifacts.

Early in November, the Syrian army forces discovered and seized a large number of arms and military equipment manufactured by the US and Britain from the bases of terrorist groups that have been captured by the government troops in Quneitra and Damascus provinces.

The army units found a large amount of military equipment and ammunition in the militant groups' strongholds during cleansing operations in the village of Jabata al-Khashab in Northern Quneitra and the village of Beit Jin in Southwestern Damascus.

A field source said that the Syrian army forces have discovered several US-made machine-guns and sniper guns, TOW missiles and tanks as well as a large number of different types of bullets, mortars and communication systems.

They added that the army forces also found a large number of advanced medical and surgery equipment made by the US and Britain in the terrorists' dens.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910001033

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Syria: Thousands of Civilians Leave Terrorist-Held Regions Via Humanitarian Corridor

Dec 01, 2018

Sergei Babov, the center's spokesman, said that over 30,000 civilians have left the de-escalation zone in Idlib province that has been under militants' control since March.

He further said that the fleeing civilians have been resettled in regions under army's control.

Babov pointed to the continued relocation of civilians from militant-held region in Idlib to safer regions, and said that 3 passageways have been set up in Abu al-Dhohour region in Southeastern Idlib for civilians' exit. 

In the meantime, the Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted a military source as reporting that a sum of 800 Syrian families, whose total number stands at 3,500, have left terrorist-held regions in Idlib in the last five days.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relevant reports said that the Turkey-backed NLF had put its gunmen on alert to launch a heavy offensive against the Syrian army in the demilitarized zone in Idlib province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000759

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New Turkish Military Convoy Dispatched to Hama amid Syrian Army's Preparation for Massive Operation

Dec 01, 2018

The Turkish army sent a long military convoy, accompanied by 5 military vehicles of the terrorists of the National Liberation Front, to Syria.

The convoy included 12 military vehicles, including personnel carrier vehicles and also logistical equipment.

The convoy was dispatched to 2 Ankara-run observation posts in the town of Morek and in the village of Shirmaqar in Northern and Northwestern Hama.

The Turkish convoy's arrived in Hama as the Syrian army is readying to conduct a large-scale operation in the Northern and Northwestern parts of the country after Ankara failed to expel the terrorists from the demilitarized zone mentioned in Sochi Agreement.

The Syrian Army has dispatched a large number of forces and a large volume of military hardware to contact lines with the terrorists in Idlib, Hama and Lattakia provinces.  

On Thursday, Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari called on all foreign forces, who had been operating on the Syrian soil without Damascus' consent, to leave the Arab country.

During a press conference at the end of the 11th round of talks on the Syria crisis in the Kazakh capital, Astana, Jaafari accused the US, Britain, France and Turkey of dispatching troops to Syria illegally and occupying some areas in the war-torn state.

"There is a clear discrepancy in the stances taken by the US, France and Britain who have already agreed on the UN Security Council resolutions on commitment to Syria’s sovereignty; meanwhile these countries have been deploying their troops illegally in Syria,” he added.

He also expressed concerns about the illegal Turkish military presence in Syria in violation of Ankara's commitments in the Astana and Sochi agreements.

Jaafari raised alarm at the complicity of certain countries in delivering chemical weapons to terrorists in Syria's Idlib Province, saying “The use of shells containing chemical substances by terrorist organizations indicate an escalation by the sponsors of terrorism."

Separately on Thursday, the 11 round of the Astana talks published a closing statement, condemning any use of chemical arms in Syria and demanding a transparent probe into reports concerning the issue.

In the statement, Tehran, Moscow and Ankara, which are acting as the guarantors of an all-Syria ceasefire, reaffirmed their determination to fight terrorism in Syria and eliminate ISIL, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups there.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000717

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Kurdish Militia's Senior Commander Killed in Bomb Attack in Northeastern Syria

Dec 01, 2018

The sources said that a bomb exploded at the main base of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the town of Ra'as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka and killed 13 militias, including Sardar Kobani, a notorious SDF commander.

A number of gunmen were also wounded, the sources said, adding that the Kurdish militia have put fighters on alert following the blast, and embarked on arresting tens of civilians.  

A militant-affiliated website reported last month that Arab tribes in Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria demanded the Syrian Army to deploy its guards at border with Turkey after the Ankara forces' threats to launch an imminent large-scale operation against the Kurds on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Zaman al-Wasl reported that the Kurdish militias try to hold different meetings with Arab tribes in Hasaka, Raqqa and Aleppo provinces to persuade them to join them in battle against the Turkish troops.

It further said that the Kurds had several meetings with Arab tribes in al-Safir region in the town of Ra'as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka, adding that all tribal elites called on the SDF to hand over border control to the Damascus force to deter a Turkish invasion.

In the meantime, local sources in Hasaka province pointed to the Kurdish concerns about the Turkish troops' operation, and said that the Kurds have transferred prisoners and detainees from their Alaya jail in the town of Qamishli in Northeastern Hasaka to their central jail in Hasaka city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000647

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US Reinvigorating Military Base in Northeastern Syria

Dec 01, 2018

Xeber 24 reported that the coalition has started reinvigorating Himo military base they recently set up near the town of Qamishli in Northern Hasaka.

It further said that the US forces have embarked on installing radars at the base and dispatching new military vehicles to the region to monitor Syria's Northern border with Turkey.

It went on to say that that US forces have also managed to conduct regular ground and aerial patrols along the border to detect any possible attack by the Turkish forces.

In the meantime Ahmad Othman, commander of the Turkey-backed Free Army, said that his forces are ready to partake in any operation on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River similar to their partnership in the Turkey-led Operation Olive Branch against the Kurds in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.  

Battlefield sources in Eastern Syria said last week that a military convoy comprising US-led military aids arrived in Hasaka province from Iraq through Simalka passage.

The sources noted that the US military convoy comprised 100 large trucks carrying aids and military equipment, and said that the convoy was destined to SDF-controlled region.

Meantime, the Kurdish military sources reported that more than 300 trucks carrying weapons, military hardware, missiles and armored vehicles arrived in the SDF-controlled areas.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000592

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Ankara-Backed Militants Suffer Heavy Defeats in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

Dec 01, 2018

The SDF staged an assault on the Ankara-backed militants' positions West of the town of Azaz in Northern Aleppo.

In the meantime, other SDF units engaged in fierce clashes with the Ankara-backed al-Shamiyah Front in the village of Ablah near the town of al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo on Friday, killing a number of militants, including Momtaz al-Dayeri, a commander. The SDF further seized a large volume of arms and ammunition in the attack.

The Ankara-led Euphrates Shield Force sent a large military convoy to the villages of Ablah and al-Hamran following the attack.

Meanwhile, the SDF launched artillery and missile attack on the Ankara forces' positions in Azaz and in the small town of Kaljabrin in Northern Aleppo, sources said, adding that the SDF tried to advance in Mar'anaz and al-Qazi regions in Northern Aleppo.

Relevant reports said last month that the Turkish army and allied militants attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces' positions in Hasaka and Raqqa near the borders with Turkey as the SDF was preparing to repel Ankara's offensives.

The Arabic-language al-Manar news channel reported  that the Turkish army's artillery units targeted an SDF stronghold near the village of al-Monbateh West of al-Abyadh city at the border between Syria and Turkey in Northern Raqqa.

Meantime, field sources in Hasaka province reported that the Turkish army forces had attacked the SDF positions in Kharab Kourt region near Qamishli at the borders.

The Turkish army forces have also pounded several regions in Eastern Euphrates in the past few days.

Also, media activists reported that the SDF in Hasaka was digging tunnels around the town of Ra'as al-Ayn in Northwestern Hasaka in preparation for battle with the Turkish army and affiliated militants.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000481

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Syrian Army Preparing for Imminent Operation in Northern Syria as Tensions Rise in Demilitarized Zone

Dec 01, 2018

The source said that the army dispatched the 4th Division, who are elite forces of the army, to contact lines with the terrorists in Northern Lattakia, preparing for an imminent huge operation in the region.

Tahrir al-Sham and its allies have also been fortifying their positions in the demilitarized zone, intensifying attacks on government forces' strongholds.

The source said that the army may launch operation from Kbabana strategic heights in Northern Lattakia.

The army has been pounding the positions of Tahrir al-Sham and its allied in Northern Hama, Southern Idlib, Western Aleppo and Northwestern Lattakia in recent days to weaken their combat capabilities.      

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970910000409

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Southeast Asia

 

Wanted In India, Fiery Islamic Preacher, Zakir Naik, Says He Has Not Broken Any Law

DECEMBER 2, 2018

KANGAR, Malaysia (Reuters) - Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, wanted in his home country of India, said he has not broken any Indian law and was being targeted by the “enemies of Islam,” in a rare public speech in Malaysia where he has sought refuge.

Naik, 53, is facing charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, where authorities last year said he has been “promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through public speeches and lectures”.

The preacher has been living in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency, since India started investigating him, but he has kept a low profile over the past year amid criticism that he is a threat to peace in multi-ethnic Malaysia.

Naik said in a late Saturday speech in Kangar, capital of the north Malaysian state of Perlis, that he had never broken any Indian law.

“But because I was spreading peace, I was giving solution for humanity, all the people who don’t like peace to prevail, they don’t like me,” he said, adding he was being targeted because of his work to spread Islam.

“This doesn’t go down (well with) the enemies of Islam. Be it western countries or the country I was born in, India.”

Naik has been controversial because of his puritan brand of Islam - recommending the death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam as their faith, according to media reports.

In a clip on Youtube, Naik says that if Osama bin Laden “is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him”.

Bangladesh suspended a television channel that featured his preachings after media reported that militants who attacked a Dhaka cafe killing 22 people last year were admirers of him.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Britain banned Naik from entering in 2010.

About 1,000 people turned up for Naik’s speech, along with the state’s chief minister, crown prince and religious officials.

The preacher was known to be close to officials in the previous Malaysian administration, which was unexpectedly defeated in a May general election.

New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in July said as long as Naik was not creating any problems in Malaysia, he would not be deported. Indian media has reported that India has sought his extradition.

In Kangar, Naik described himself as a fundamentalist for following the fundamental teachings of Islam.

“I am proud to be a fundamentalist Muslim,” he said

Full report at:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-malaysia-islam-preacher/wanted-in-india-fiery-islamic-preacher-says-he-has-not-broken-any-law-idUKKCN1O101I

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Conservative Indonesian Muslims hold big rally in Jakarta

DECEMBER 02, 2018

The rally was attended by former general, Prabowo Subianto, a nationalist with strong links to Islamists who is seeking to topple President Joko Widodo in next year's polls.

Tens of thousands of Indonesian Muslims held a rally in Jakarta on Sunday led by hardline groups who had agitated to remove the city's Christian governor, underscoring the growing influence of Islamist groups ahead of elections in 2019.

The rally was attended by former general, Prabowo Subianto, a nationalist with strong links to Islamists who is seeking to topple President Joko Widodo in next year's polls after being narrowly defeated in 2014 during a bitterly fought campaign.

The crowd, many of whom were dressed in white and carrying Islamic flags, started gathering at Jakarta's National Monument from around 3 a.m. to hold prayers.

“We are proud because the Islam in Indonesia is Islam that unifies and is united and will maintain peace for everyone,” Mr. Subianto said in a speech.

Thousands of police had been put on standby but the rally was peaceful.

Organisers call their movement a “reunion” for a series of rallies starting in late 2016 that targeted Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the first ethnic-Chinese Christian in the job, who was charged with insulting the Koran.

Religious and political tensions spiralled during this period and then governor Purnama, an ally of President Widodo, lost his bid for re-election to a Muslim rival and was later sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy.

Hardline Islamist groups were banned under the authoritarian regime of President Suharto, which ended in 1998, but they have gained ground in recent years, emerging from the fringes of society in the worlds biggest Muslim-majority country.

Full report at:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/conservative-indonesian-muslims-hold-big-rally-in-jakarta/article25646838.ece

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Don’t let Tabung Haji probe play out on ‘media stage’, says Umno Youth chief

02 December 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki urged the authorities to follow the rule of law in its investigation of Tabung Haji, the country’s largest fund dedicated to Muslim pilgrims, following allegations that millions of ringgit were funnelled to political activities.

The Umno Youth chief said he takes a serious view of the alleged misconduct by a former chairman of Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and the senior management of the fund’s welfare arm Yayasan Tabung Haji (YTH).

“Umno Youth stresses that there can be no compromise on issues concerning integrity and morals, what more when they involve a religious institution where the public expects high levels of administrative principles,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page last night.

He called on the authorities, especially the police, to immediately begin their investigations into the matter and for charges to be pressed without delay if there is strong evidence to suggest criminal misconduct.

“Let the legal process be conducted fairly, transparently and without prejudice in court and not on the media stage.

“Investigations must be undertaken immediately on the basis of public interest and prevent the public from continuing to engage in polemics about the reputation of this Islamic institution which has contributed much to Muslims in Malaysia and is respected worldwide,” former deputy minister in charge of Islamic Religious Affairs added.

On November 30, the new LTH filed a police report that more than RM22 million of YTH’s funds had been used for activities with political inclinations last year.

A second police report was filed over the sale of TH’s 95 per cent stake in PT TH Indo Plantations, a plantation company which had owned 83,000 hectares of land in Indonesia, for US$910 million in 2012 to PT Borneo Pacific.

The first police report implicated former LTH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim who was a trustee of the welfare arm; and former CEOs Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah, TH chief operating officer Datuk Adi Azuan, and chief financial officer Datuk Rozaida Omar.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1699200/dont-let-tabung-haji-probe-play-out-on-media-stage-says-umno-youth-chief

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Hardline Islamists hold massive rally in Jakarta

December 2, 2018

JAKARTA: Tens of thousands of Indonesian Muslims held a rally in Jakarta on Sunday led by hardline groups who had agitated to remove the city's Christian governor, underscoring the growing influence of Islamist groups ahead of elections in 2019.

The rally was attended by former general, Prabowo Subianto, a nationalist with strong links to Islamists who is seeking to topple President Joko Widodo in next year's polls after being narrowly defeated in 2014 during a bitterly fought campaign.

The crowd, many of whom were dressed in white and carrying Islamic flags, started gathering at Jakarta's National Monument from around 3am to hold prayers.

"We are proud because the Islam in Indonesia is Islam that unifies and is united and will maintain peace for everyone," Subianto said in a speech.

Thousands of police had been put on standby but the rally was peaceful.

Organisers call their movement a "reunion" for a series of rallies starting in late 2016 that targeted Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the first ethnic-Chinese Christian in the job, who was charged with insulting the Koran.

Religious and political tensions spiralled during this period and then governor Purnama, an ally of President Widodo, lost his bid for re-election to a Muslim rival and was later sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy.

Hardline Islamist groups were banned under the authoritarian regime of President Suharto, which ended in 1998, but they have gained ground in recent years, emerging from the fringes of society in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2018/12/436518/hardline-islamists-hold-massive-rally-jakarta

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Anti-Ahok protesters, opposition camp mark 212 rally anniversary

December 2, 2018

Islamist groups and the opposition camp held a major rally marking the 2016 anti-Ahok rally in Jakarta on Sunday with a call for Muslims to shun political parties that backed the imprisoned former governor in the 2017 Jakarta election.

A group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni was established to gather people who were involved in the rally on Dec. 2, 2016, to call for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, for blasphemy. The rally drew a huge turnout, possibly the biggest show of force from the opposition camp and the Islamist groups, which have long had a troubled relationship with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, after the campaign season kicked off in September.

The incumbent is running for reelection in the 2019 presidential candidate, facing his old rival Prabowo Subianto of Gerindra Party and running mate Sandiaga Uno, the former deputy governor of Jakarta.

Thousands of people, mostly wearing white clothes, had gathered at the National Monument (Monas) square since Saturday night. While most of them came from Greater Jakarta, there were also others who came from other regions, such as Central Java’s Surakarta.

Apart from Monas square, other rallygoers also crowded the area around the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta – located roughly 1-kilometer from the monument. Some people eventually decided not to join the rally as there was no room left, The Jakarta Post observed.

Presidential candidate and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto attended the rally, as well as Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who beat Ahok in the 2017 election.

They were present alongside officials from political parties supporting Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga, including National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais and party chairman Zulkifli Hasan, as well as Gerindra deputy chairman and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon.

The committee, however, omitted their intention to invite President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to attend the rally. The committee issued a circular, as reported by tempo.co, that said it decided not to invite the President because Jokowi “was seen as opposing the rally and tried to incriminate clerics.”

On Sunday morning, President Jokowi was scheduled to visit Bogor, West Java.

Making a speech during the rally, Prabowo said he could not talk much because he “bears the task of being a presidential candidate; therefore, he could not talk about politics during the occasion.”

“I’d like to thank the committee for inviting me today. I’m proud of seeing millions of Indonesians, millions of Muslims, gathering here peacefully,” he added.

During the rally, the committee played a recording of  a speech by firebrand cleric and Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab. Later, the cleric joined the rally through a phone call from Saudi Arabia.

He called on his supporters to continue the fight during the 2019 presidential and legislative elections.

“During the 2019 elections, it is haram [forbidden] for us to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by parties supporting the blasphemer. Let’s vote for presidential and vice presidential candidates based on the decision of Ijtima Ulama [the consensus of the ulema],”

A 51-year-old rallygoer from West Jakarta, Sukarno, said the rally was meant to tighten the relationship among Muslims.

“There’s no political interest [behind the rally] or any intention of supporting certain candidates,” Sukarno said. Minutes after talking to the Post, he welcomed Rizieq’s call to reject candidates backed by parties that supported Ahok .

Another participant from Bandung, Hendra, 22, said he would follow the call to support candidates produced from Ijtima Ulama “because it’s a mutual agreement.”

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/02/anti-ahok-protesters-opposition-camp-mark-212-rally-anniversary.html

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National Council Bans Political Activities in Mosques Ahead of 2019 Elections

November 27, 2018

Jakarta. The Indonesian Mosque Council, or DMI, said it fully supports the democratic process but recommends that mosques be separated from political campaigns.

The DMI announced the decision at the conclusion of its first national meeting in Jakarta on Sunday, attended by 250 members from across the country.

Banning the use of mosques for political activities was one of seven proposals adopted during the meeting, the council said in a statement. The other six pertained to leadership and organizational matters.

The DMI is headed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, while three members of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet – Bureaucratic Reform Minister Syafruddin, Communication Minister Rudiantara and Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil – serve on its organizing committee.

"The Indonesian Mosque Council issued a recommendation to prohibit the use of mosques as political platforms... The DMI fully supports a safe and peaceful democratic process," it said in the statement.

Indonesia will hold simultaneous legislative and presidential elections next year. Political campaigns for both elections have been ongoing since September, but have yet to gain momentum. The campaigning is set to end on April 13 for a three-day quiet period before the elections.

Despite the Election Law distinctly prohibiting the practice, mosques in the capital were widely used during last year's Jakarta gubernatorial election to drum up support for Muslim candidates running against the incumbent, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian.

Article 280 of the law states: "Election organizers, participants and campaign teams are prohibited from using government facilities, places of worship and schools."

Anies Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Uno went on to defeat Ahok and his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

Full report at:

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/national-council-bans-political-activities-in-mosques-ahead-of-2019-elections/

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Europe

 

German government criticised for serving pork at Islam event

December 1, 2018

Germany’s government is under fire for serving pork sausage at a conference on Islam in Berlin this week.

The German Interior Ministry has been forced into an apology over the food choice that it said was selected for a “diverse religious attendance” at the event known as the German Islam Conference.

On the menu was blutwurst, known as blood sausage, which includes pig’s blood, pork and bacon. Muslims are forbidden from eating pork.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was in attendance at the conference, despite once claiming that Islam has no place in the country and that Germany had been “shaped by Christianity”. He said he wants to see a “German Islam”.

The decision to serve pork was seen by critics as intentional, although the ministry said it had served halal, vegetarian and fish dishes.

“What signal does Seehofer's interior ministry want to send? A little respect for Muslims, who don't eat pork, is needed.” German journalist Tuncay Özdamar wrote on Twitter.

Another Twitter user wrote: “Did they have the same mistake at a Jewish event?”

Germany has been at the centre of a rise of the far-right in Europe, with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party becoming the country’s third-largest and stoking anti-migrant feeling after more than a million people entered the country’s border at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.

The group portrayed Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Muslim headdress and with vampire teeth in their posters and online posts when railing against her pro-migration policies.

Another far-right group, Pegida, has staged protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, attended by neo-Nazis performing the salutes once acted out by the leaders of the Nazi party.

In line with the far-right rise, centrists such as Mr Seehofer have tried to toughen their rhetoric in order to win back voters, but this has had the opposite effect. In Bavaria, his party suffered major losses.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/german-government-criticised-for-serving-pork-at-islam-event-1.797831

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Europe’s growing religious conflict cannot be ignored

Prafull Goradia

December 1, 2018

Europeans have begun to muse that an ageing and tired Europe is not a partisan or electoral issue; it is a civilizational one. This will also decide the future of the EU.

For quite a while now, some citizens have been complaining that the environment in India is afflicted by insecurity. More recently, voices are being raised about “institutions being overturned”. It is, however, not realised that the flow of history itself is undergoing a churning. Certainly since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. In order to understand this elementary truth, it is useful to know that a religious conflict began in Europe only a year after Mohammad bin Qasim invaded Sind in 711 AD. The conflict continued in less or more intensity, and has once more become the most prominent problem in the great continent today.

In a recent talk to the BBC, Witold Waszczykowski, Poland’s former Foreign Minister (2015-18) emphasised that his country wants a democracy, but “a democracy without adjectives”. The government wants to be left free to pursue its people’s interests. For instance, Poland has assigned 17 lakh visas to enable immigration from Ukraine and Belarus. However, Waszczykowski is emphatic that adherence to EU immigration norms and other rules does not mandate Poland to let in Syrians and North Africans, allowing them to settle in his country. He has explicitly spoken out against the “mix up” of Christians and Muslims.

This aversion to what Waszczykowski calls a “mix up”, is not based merely on recent events, but on Europe’s experience of Christo-Muslim conflicts beginning 712 AD. Incidentally, Mohammad bin Qasim, the first Islamic invader to conquer territory in India, reached Sind the previous year, in 711 AD.

Christo-Muslim clashes in Europe commenced with the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa, capturing most of it, crossing the Pyrenees and entering France. The Moors reached Poitiers in central France, where they were defeated by Charles Martel by 732 AD and turned back, never to return. The Moors, however, ruled Spain and Portugal for centuries, until their expulsion by resurgent Christians; Granada was the last outpost, which they left in 1492. The erstwhile invaders had to bear their share of revenge. The victorious Christian retaliators placed three alternatives before them; reconversion to Christianity, leaving Iberia immediately or death. Most chose the first of the conditions and came to be known as Moriscos.

The second long Christo-Muslim war were the eight Crusades. The first was fought in 1095 AD, while the last was in 1291. Christians strove to recover their holy land, especially Jerusalem, lost to Arabs in 638 AD. The Arabs allowed Christians to visit the holy city freely for over four centuries, but the Turks, who captured Palestine by 1071, ended this privilege. European reaction to this Turkish arbitrariness was the first Crusade. By July 1099, Crusaders from Western Europe had captured Jerusalem, which remained with them until Saladin, the great Turkish sultan, snatched it back in 1187. Christian zeal for the holy land sustained but by the end of the last Crusade, nothing much had been achieved. Christians had effectively lost the long war. Jerusalem’s Muslim rulers, however, allowed a few Christians to stay on as caretakers of their holy places, but did not permit them to preach.

Poland isn’t alone in bluntly voicing its opposition to Muslim migration. In its parliamentary elections in April this year, Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz’s campaign concentrated on a single issue—no immigrants. Not that Hungary was being overrun by immigrants; it has one of the lowest foreign born populations in the developed world. Its own fertility rates are below even the European average. But the Hungarian election campaign was not a response to any demographic development. It is a cultural crusade that has made Hungary the least refugee friendly country in Europe.

Hungary is not inherently anti-immigrant. In 2016 (official data available till then), 23,803 foreigners moved there; numbers have been stable since before Prime Minister Viktor Orban came to power in 2010. Interestingly, fewer than half of the migrants were EU citizens. So it isn’t immigration per se that Hungary has a problem with. Orban’s Hungary is fiercely against a certain kind of immigrant.

Blunter assertion comes from government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs: “We’ve been living next to Islam and with Islam for 500 years”. He further said that Muslim immigrants create “parallel societies” in the European countries that receive them—Hungarians want none of that. A 2016 Pew Research study revealed 72% of Hungarians have negative views of Muslims in their country, far higher than the EU average of 43%.

From the Moorish conquest of Spain (712 AD) to the second Turkish siege of Vienna (1683), Europe was under constant threat from Islam. All but the easternmost provinces of the Islamic realm had been taken from Christian rulers, and the vast majority of the first Muslims west of Iran and Arabia were converts from Christianity. North Africa, Egypt, Syria, even Persian-ruled Iraq had been Christian, in which their religion was older and more deeply rooted than in most of Europe. Their loss was sorely felt and heightened the fear that a similar fate awaited Europe. The fall of Constantinople, known as the Rome of the East and the seat of the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Christianity to the invading Turks in 1453 is to this day regarded as the greatest tragedy to have befallen Christendom. The Turkish Caliphate ended in 1924 following the Ottoman Empire’s defeat and collapse after World War I, but today’s Turkey under its neo-Ottomanesque ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who disguises his pan-Islamist ambitions, only further exacerbates fears among Europeans, the assertions of the EU elites to the contrary notwithstanding.

Many European writers, litterateurs and intellectuals warn that in the years to come, there is the “possibility that Europe will become a museum or a cultural amusement”. The late historian Walter Laqueur offered a far-sighted prognosis about Europe’s crisis. He was one of the first to understand that the current crisis isn’t about economics. Because of low birth rates, Europe is dramatically shrinking. If current trends continue, Laqueur said, a hundred years from now, Europe’s population “will be only a fraction of what it is today, and in two hundred, some countries may have disappeared”.

This spectre is becoming more visible and is being frequently discussed by writers. French writer Michel Houellebecq, through his best-selling novels, such as Submission, has often lamented that “the Western world as a whole is committing suicide”. French President Emmanuel Macron, known to wear his liberalism on his sleeve, while referring to France-bound migration from North Africa in 2017 had called Africa’s problems “civilisational”. The unspoken part is that this African influx with burgeoning fertility rates is Muslim.

More worrying is Europe’s loss of confidence in its hard-won Enlightenment values, such as personal freedoms, reason and science ousting superstition, and the separation of church and state. These are very important if Europe truly wishes to survive. Distinguished American historian Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote: “Judged by the great historical determinants of civilizational power—fuel, energy, education, demography, political stability, and military power—Europe is waning. It spends a mere 1.4% of its collective GDP on defence. And with a fertility rate of less than 1.6%, Europe is slowly shrinking and ageing—hence the short-sighted immigration policy of Angela Merkel who apparently sees immigration also as a solution to the demography crisis and a shortcut to low-cost labour.”

Some European Union politicians have advocated having more children as the answer to Europe’s demographic problems in the looming conflict with Muslims. Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the anti-immigration League Party, has said that his country’s and Europe’s youth ought to have more children rather than bring in modern-day slaves (i.e., Africans and other migrants) to “replace the children Europeans are not having”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has called on Europeans to stop the “demographic decline” by investing more in traditional families. Catholic bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Mamfe, Cameroon, recently said about low birth rates in Europe: “you look through history, where the Church slept, Islam took advantage”.

Full report at:

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/europes-growing-religious-conflict-cannot-ignored

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Putin: Turkey has not yet managed to achieve everything in Idlib as planned

2 December 2018

Turkey has not yet managed to fully achieve everything planned in Syria’s Idlib, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said in a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Putin said that Russia is worried about the situation in the Syrian province, adding that he hopes joint efforts from both countries’ defense ministries and special services will solve the situation soon.

“The situation in Idlib worries us too. We see that our Turkish partners have not yet managed to achieve everything [that is planned], but they are working. We also see that they are working on creating a demilitarized zone,” Putin said.

“We hope that our special services and the defence ministries will resolve this issue via joint efforts as soon as possible,” he added.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday he should hold another summit to discuss the situation in Syria’s Idlib province where the two countries are trying to create a sustainable demilitarized zone.

Erdogan made the suggestion during a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

Putin also expressed his disappointment that his meeting with US President Donald Trump at G20 did not happen.

“It’s a pity we could not have a full-fledged meeting because I believe it is long overdue. I’m talking about issues of strategic stability in the light of the president’s announcement that he plans to pull the US from the INF treaty,” Putin told reporters.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/02/Putin-Turkey-has-not-yet-managed-to-achieve-everything-in-Idlib-as-planned.html

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UK PM May urges Saudi Arabia to punish Khashoggi killers

Dec 1, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he should take action to prevent the repeat of incidents like the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The British leader also told Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler that those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing should be punished for their crime, May’s office said on Friday in a readout of a meeting with bin Salman at the G20 summit in Argentina.

“The Prime Minister stressed the importance of ensuring that those responsible for the appalling murder of Jamal Khashoggi are held to account, and that Saudi Arabia takes action to build confidence that such a deplorable incident could not happen again,” May’s office said.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that Saudi Arabia would face “serious consequences” if suspicions of Khashoggi’s murder turned out to be true.

The killing of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered bin Salman’s image abroad.

Saudi Arabia claims the prince had no prior knowledge of the killing.

In the US, President Donald Trump has dismissed a CIA assessment that bin Salman likely ordered the murder and has vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite repeated calls from members of Congress for a strong US response.

The Saudi crime has put unprecedented pressure on the traditionally close ties between Washington and Riyadh and helped bolster efforts to stop the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

At least five of the 37 US republican senators who voted against a recent resolution to end US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen have received election contributions from lobbying groups working for Saudi Arabia, according to a study.

Senators Tim Scott, John Boozman, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr and Mike Crapo all received financial contributions from firms representing Saudi interests between 2016 and 2017, according to a report by the Center for International Policy (CIP).

The Yemen war has killed more than 15,000 people and created the world’s most urgent humanitarian emergency.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/01/581623/UK-prime-minister-Saudi-crown-prince-Jamal-Khashoggi

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North America

 

Saudi Arabia an ‘enormous support’ to US: Pompeo

Anwar Iqbal

December 02, 2018

WASHINGTON: US Secr­etary of State Michael Pompeo said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia has been an “enormous support” to the United States on all major global issues and Washington wants to maintain that relationship.

Pompeo also said in the interview that the US will continue to provide military support to the kingdom in the war in Yemen.

The Trump administration faces tremendous domestic and international pressure to review its relationship with Saudi Arabia after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate Istanbul in October this year.

In an interview to CNN, Pompeo was asked if he could confidently tell Khashoggi’s four children that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not involved in his murder, Pompeo said he had “read every piece of intelligence” in possession of the US authorities and concluded “there’s no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi”.

When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Pompeo if US military support to the Saudis in Yemen will continue, the secretary said: “The programme that we’re involved in today we intend to continue.”

Explaining why the United States wanted to maintain its strategic and operational relationships with the kingdom, Pompeo said: “Today we’re working with the Saudis in Afghanistan, we’re working with the Saudis to push back against Ayatollah Khamenei … they are an enormous support to us.”

He pointed out that the US-Saudi relationship “has mattered” for 70 years across Republican and Democrat administrations alike. “It remains an important relationship and we’re aiming to keep that relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1448910/saudi-arabia-an-enormous-support-to-us-pompeo

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Commander of US ME forces in Navy's Fifth Fleet base found dead in Bahrain

Dec 2, 2018

The top US Navy officer in charge of American naval operations throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia has been found dead in Bahrain, home to US military’s Fifth Fleet naval force, which he commanded.

Vice Admiral Scott A. Stearney was found dead at his residence in Bahrain, said a statement issued Saturday by Chief of US naval operations Adm. John M. Richardson, adding that Pentagon’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior were cooperating on the investigation of Stearney’s death.

The commanding admiral took charge in May of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet base in the Persian Gulf dictatorship, as well as a wider naval coalition based in Bahrain involving more than 20,000 US and allied marine forces.

“We stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce where international law allows,” Stearney proclaimed in a press conference call back in September. “We are postured to defend and protect, not to cause international crises and provocation and escalation. We are here for the stability and the security of this region and for nothing else.”

The US-led naval forces assigned to the Fifth Fleet are responsible for purported “protection” of strategic waterways in the region, such as the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Red Sea. In recent years, they have been challenged in a number of occasions by Iranian naval forces near Iran’s territorial waters.

According to his Navy biography, Stearney was “an FA-18 fighter pilot and former Top Gun instructor with more than 1,000 landings on aircraft carriers,” and was previously deployed to Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435, “which trains and advises Afghan military and security forces conducting detention and other operations there.”

His other previous assignments included stints at the military’s Transportation Command, commander of the Navy’s warfare development command, and director of operations for the Central Command.

“This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy,” Admiral Richardson added in his prepared statement on Saturday. “Scott Stearney was a decorated naval warrior.”

He further insisted that no foul play was suspected in his death.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/02/581717/US-Navy-Fifth-Fleet-Bahrain-Vice-Admiral-Scott-Stearney-John-Richardson

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Mideast

 

Not aiming to harm Saudi royals in Khashoggi affair: Tayyip Erdogan

Dec 2, 2018

BUENOS AIRES: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey’s insistence on finding the truth behind the recent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was not aimed at damaging the Saudi royal family.

Speaking to reporters at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Erdogan said that solving the Khashoggi killing would also be in the interest of the Saudi monarchy.

“We have never seen this as a political issue,” Erdogan said. “We want to make sure that the murder is revealed in all aspects and that the perpetrators are tried.”

Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered the image overseas of its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder. After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Erdogan has said the killing was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership but probably not by King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on the 33-year-old crown prince.

“We have no interest in harming the Saudi Arabian state or the Saudi royal family. We believe bringing to light all aspects of the murder and prosecution of all perpetrators will be in the interest of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he brought up the Khashoggi issue while at the summit. At a news conference in Buenos Aires, Trudeau said he had a “frank conversation” with the Saudi crown prince at the leaders’ dinner on Friday.

“I spoke to the crown prince to highlight our concerns and the need for better answers on the killing of Khashoggi and the need for cease fire in Yemen,” Trudeau said.

Western nations are calling for an end to the Saudi-led military campaign in neighboring Yemen, which was launched by Prince Mohammed, as a humanitarian crisis there worsens.

Erdogan also said Prince Mohammed had sent his chief prosecutor to Turkey to investigate the Khashoggi killing, but the prosecutor failed to share information with Turkey.

Turkey has evidence documenting that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, was killed in 7- 1/2 minutes, Erdogan said. He said Ankara has shared this evidence with all countries who requested it, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/not-aiming-to-harm-saudi-royals-in-khashoggi-affair-tayyip-erdogan/articleshow/66904389.cms

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Yemeni army kills 40 Houthi militants in clashes in Al-Baydah

December 01, 2018

DUBAI: Yemen’s national army clashed with the Houthi militia in Al-Baydah province on Friday leaving 40 militants dead and dozens wounded, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

Military sources quoted by the official Yemeni news agency said that clashes between the army and militia in Malajim directorate left 30 militants killed.

Sources said that aerial support from the Saudi-led Arab coalition destroyed Houthi gathering sites and killed 10 militants on the Qanya Front.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1413906/middle-east

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How have Yemen's rebels survived the Saudi-led onslaught?

Dec 2, 2018

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners predicted a quick victory when they launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 to support the ousted government.

But more than three-and-a-half years later the Huthi rebels remain undefeated and the conflict is a quagmire that has set off a major humanitarian crisis.

Here is a look at how the outgunned rebels have clung on:

The Huthis come from the minority Zaidi Shiite sect of Islam and have their traditional stronghold in the mountainous north of Yemen.

The movement, which takes its name from late spiritual leader Badreddin al-Huthi and his son Hussein, rose up in the 1990s over alleged sectarian discrimination.

Between 2004 and 2010, the Huthis fought six wars against Yemen's then-government and battled Saudi Arabia in 2009-2010 after storming over the border.

Officially calling themselves the Ansarullah (Supporters of God), the Huthis took part in the Arab Spring protests that forced veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh from office in 2012.

In the chaos that followed they later sided with former foe Saleh and together ousted the internationally-recognised government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi that had taken power.

The rebel takeover of capital Sanaa set off the Saudi-led intervention in March 2015.

The Huthis later fell out dramatically with Saleh and killed the former president in December 2017.

The war in Yemen is viewed by many as a front in the broader struggle between regional titans Saudi Arabia and Iran that has heated up under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

The Saudis and their ally the United States say Shiite Iran provides military support to the rebels, including components for ballistic missiles that have been fired over the Saudi border.

Tehran denies the accusation and insists its backing for the Huthis is purely political.

Brigadier Jamal al-Moammari, a former Yemeni air force officer, told AFP that Iranian arms, experts and "equipment to develop ballistic missiles" arrived in 2015.

Security analyst Aleksandar Mitreski says Iran helps the Huthis both directly and indirectly.

"Where and when possible, Iran supplies the rebels with equipment and training for the Huthis to remain a formidable opponent," he said.

The Saudi-led coalition has claimed that members of Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah were also killed in Yemen while training the Huthis. Hezbollah has denied this.

Despite the allegations over Iranian support, it appears that the bulk of the Huthi's weaponry comes from looted official stockpiles.

Brigadier Abdo Majli, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP that "90 percent of Huthi arms came from the Yemeni army depots" taken along with Sanaa in 2014.

Majli said that despite coalition warplanes destroying some of the weapons the Huthis had managed to "hide them in secret stores" in their northern strongholds.

The rebel's impressive arsenal has been on display in the latest battles for the key port city of Hodeida as they deployed tanks to halt the advance of pro-government forces.

The Huthis have also laid a large number of landmines and manufacture some of their own weapons, including rockets and reportedly even drones.

The Huthis have benefited from home advantage and local alliances as they have faced off against some of the best equipped militaries in the region.

Despite hailing from northern Yemen, they know the rest of the country and the terrain very well, said analyst Mitreski.

"Aside from geography, what aids the rebels is cooperation with local tribes. Yemen remains a fragmented society along tribal lines, and the rebels capitalise on that," he said.

"Local tribal support goes a long way in this conflict."

The International Crisis Group said in a report in November that the Saudi-led coalition has underestimated the resilience of the Huthis.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/how-have-yemens-rebels-survived-the-saudi-led-onslaught/articleshow/66903469.cms

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Iran defence minister acknowledges supporting Houthi militias in Yemen

1 December 2018

Iran’s defense minister, Amir Hatami, said his country has been supporting the Houthis in Yemen, but claimed that the support was limited to the “moral side”, while other Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed that such support includes arming and sending missiles, experts and money.

Speaking on Saturday at a meeting for the Basij (volunteer forces) militia leaders affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hatami said: “Yemen is a thorn in the eyes of the Americans,” adding that Iran’s support for the Houthis in Yemen is “moral” As he puts it.

Hatami statement comes as the US State Department on Thursday presented new evidence of Iranian military support for the Houthis in Yemen.

Also, the Acting Commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami , publicly admitted on November 22 at a conference to support the Houthis in Tehran that Iran provides all forms of support for the Houthi militias, saying that this comes within the framework of “brotherhood and unity.”

Since January 2016, the former Iranian police chief, Major General Ismail Ahmadi Muqaddam, has been appointed head of the Houthi Support Committee, which the Iranians call it “The Yemeni People Support Committee,” in continuation of a series of blatant Iranian military intervention in Yemen in favor of the coup militias.

Military experts

Last May, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five Iranian Revolutionary Guard experts for their role in transporting missiles and unprecedented weapons to the Houthi militias in Yemen.

In April 2017, Mehdi Taib, the head of Ammarioun a strategic headquarters for soft wars, a lobbyist close to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, admitted that Iran’s support for Houthi’s militias was aimed at attacking Saudi Arabia.

He stressed that “the provision of missiles by Iran to the Houthis was carried out in stages by the Revolutionary Guard and the support of the Navy of the Iranian army.”

Iranian missiles

Iran has supplied the Houthis with dozens of short and long-range missiles to hit targets in Saudi Arabia, which has been defied by air defenses in the kingdom. Iranian media have acknowledged supplying these militias in Yemen with rockets.

Iran’s support for the Houthi militia was not limited to supplying them with missiles, but the Arab coalition supporting Legitimacy in Yemen and the international forces seized heavy and light weapons, explosives, shells and other types of weapons in more than two years after the decisive storm operation.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/01/Iran-s-defense-minister-acknowledges-supporting-Yemen-s-Houthis.html

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UN to vote Thursday on US measure condemning Hamas

1 December 2018

The UN General Assembly will vote on Thursday on a US-drafted resolution that would condemn the Palestinian Hamas movement, a measure championed by US Ambassador Nikki Haley.

The United States won crucial backing from the European Union for the draft resolution that condemns the firing by Hamas of rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.

If adopted, it would mark the first time that the assembly has taken aim at Hamas, the militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

All 28 EU countries agreed to support the measure after the United States included a mention of relevant UN resolutions in the text that does not however refer to the two-state solution.

In a statement, the US mission to the United Nations said it had hoped to put the draft resolution to a vote on Monday but that the Palestinians had pushed for a delay until Thursday.

“The issue before the United Nations on Thursday is not whether it supports one form or another of a Middle East peace plan,” the US mission said.

“Each country will be asked to vote for or against the activities of Hamas, along with other militant groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

“If the UN cannot bring itself to adopt this resolution, then it has no business being involved in peace discussions,” it added.

EU divided over peace efforts

The European Union, like the United States, considers Hamas a terror group, but the 28-nation bloc is divided over how to support peace efforts.

Haley, who will step down as UN ambassador in January, has steadfastly supported Israel in its confrontation with Hamas and chastised the United Nations for criticizing both sides.

The vote on Thursday will follow the adoption in the assembly of about a dozen resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that condemn Israeli settlements and call for progress toward the two-state solution.

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are non-binding, but they carry political weight and are seen as a barometer of world opinion.

The United States put forward the resolution as it prepares to unveil new peace proposals that the Palestinians have already rejected.

The Palestinians have severed ties with the administration of President Donald Trump after the decision nearly a year ago to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and declare the city Israel’s capital.

The US administration has also cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/01/UN-to-vote-Thursday-on-US-measure-condemning-Hamas.html

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Arab coalition destroys Houthis rocket pad launcher in Yemen’s Saada

1 December 2018

The Arab coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen, destroyed on Saturday a rocket pad launcher for the pro-Iranian Houthi militias in Saada.

The coalition spokesperson Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that the joint forces command of the coalition and through the ongoing monitoring of the activities and movements of the Houthi militias, could track the militias’ attempt to prepare the camouflaged pad launcher with ballistic missiles in Saada province.

He added that the coalition forces immediately targeted and destroyed the pad launcher in full compliance with international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement of coalition forces.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/12/01/Arab-coalition-destroys-Houthis-rocket-pad-launcher-in-Yemen-s-Saada-.html

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Iran urges Security Council to condemn Pompeo’s threat to ‘starve’ Iranians

Dec 1, 2018

Iran’s mission to the United Nations has called on the UN Security Council to condemn the recent “irresponsible” and “provocative” remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who openly threatened to “starve” Iranian people.

The call was made in a Tuesday letter, signed by Iran's deputy ambassador to the UN Es'haq Al-e Habib, to the Security Council’s president and the UN secretary general, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported Friday.

“Such remarks are part of the US policies of exerting pressure and issuing real threats in order to wage an economic war against the people of Iran,” the letter said, slamming the move as “a collective punishment for a nation” and a “clear violation of the basic principles of international law”.

“Pompeo’s comments are another indication of the US’ bullying policy, which knows no limit and principle,” the letter said, adding that the US has no hesitation in penalizing other countries when punishing the Iranian nation.

It also reiterated the fact that the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran prevents Iranian people from having access to their basic requirements, including medicine and medical equipment.

“The White House’s measures are a clear instance of crime against humanity,” it added.

“Iran has shown resistance against the US’ bullying behavior and illegal measures within the past 40 years, and will manage to do so against Washington’s recent wrong policies as well,” the letter added.

The UN and its member states must condemn such bullying remarks by American officials, Iran’s mission to the UN said, urging the international community to stand against such policies, which threaten the foundations of the UN and multilateralism.

It also called on the world to hold the US accountable for such irresponsible policies and measures, and force it to remain committed to the UN’s principles and objectives.

In an interview with BBC Persian on Nov. 7, the US secretary of state said Iranian officials must listen to Washington "if they want their people to eat."

In reaction, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the threat, stressing that the Islamic Republic will survive and even advance despite Washington’s sanctions.

In a post on his official Twitter account on Nov. 10, Zarif said Pompeo's open threat to starve the Iranian nation was "a crime against humanity" and "a desperate attempt to impose US whims on Iran."

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/01/581613/Iran-UNSC-Pompeo-starve-Iranian

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Deadly fighting erupts again in Yemen’s Hodeida

December 01, 2018

DUBAI, ADEN: Renewed violence in Yemen’s vital port city of Hodeida has left 10 fighters dead, despite a UN push for peace talks, an official and medical sources told AFP on Saturday.

An official with pro-government forces said fighting erupted in the east and south of the Red Sea city on Friday.

Intermittent clashes continued on Saturday, Hodeida residents told AFP by phone.

The violence follows a visit to the city last month by UN envoy Martin Griffiths to press for talks aimed at ending the war.

The Hodeida port is held by the Houthis and serves as the entry point for nearly all of the country’s imports and humanitarian aid.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Saturday that the country was “on the brink of a major catastrophe.” His comments came after deadly clashes in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, vital for the flow of humanitarian aid.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government forces launched an assault to take Hodeida in June, but its forces had largely suspended the offensive amid intense diplomatic efforts.

Sporadic clashes have however continued since a fragile truce began on Nov. 13.

Medical sources on Saturday confirmed the bodies of eight militants had been transferred to hospitals. Two fighters with pro-government forces were also killed, according to a medical source at a hospital in an area held by the loyalists.

In a further sign of renewed tensions, Saudi Arabia said the Houthis launched a “military projectile” which hit a house in the Kingdom.

Two people were injured in the strike in Samtah governorate, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. It is the first confirmation by Riyadh of such a rocket attack since September.

The escalation comes just days ahead of proposed peace talks hosted by Sweden, which have been backed by both the coalition and militants.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, however, has played down the early December schedule and said he hoped talks would start “this year.”

“But, as you know, there have been some setbacks,” he said on Thursday. Riyadh has expressed concern over Houthi rocket attacks on Saudi territory, while the militants are seeking assurances their delegation will be able to safely leave and return to Yemen.

Previous talks planned for September in Geneva failed to get underway as the Houthi delegation never left the Yemeni capital Sanaa, arguing that the UN could not guarantee their safe return.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1414111/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Explosives-laden Humvee goes off prematurely among Taliban leaving 37 dead

Dec 02 2018

A Humvee Armored Personnel Carrier packed with explosives went off prematurely among a group of Taliban militants in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan leaving at least 37 militants dead.

The local officials are saying that the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Maruf district of Kandahar.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Aziz Ahmad Azizi confirmed the incident and said a group of militants who were looking to target a compound of the Afghan army with explosives-laden Humvee APC, were killed after the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device went off prematurely.

Aziz further added that the explosion has left at least 37 militants dead and a number of others wounded.

The Taliban militants have rejected the claims by the local officials and claim that no such incident has taken place.

Kandahar has been among the relatively calm provinces but the security situation in some of its districts has deteriorated during the recent months.

https://www.khaama.com/explosives-laden-humvee-goes-off-prematurely-among-taliban-leaving-37-dead-02855/

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Drone strikes target Taliban court in Kapisa province

Dec 01 2018

The U.S. forces based in Afghanistan have carried out airstrikes on a Taliban court in northeastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the airstrikes were carried out in Nejrab district on Friday.

The statement further added that the coalition forces unmanned aerial vehicles bombarded a Taliban court in Zarba Khel area in Pechghan Valley of the district.

According to 201st Silab Corps, at least two militants were killed in the airstrikes and at least two others sustained injuries.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/drone-strikes-target-taliban-court-in-kapisa-province-02849/

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Suu Kyi calls for peace in speech, avoids Rohingya crisis

December 02, 2018

KATHMANDU: Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing international criticism over her country’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, called on Saturday for “a culture of peace” to end conflict between communities.

The Nobel Peace prize winner did not mention the Rohingya crisis — which has led the United Nations to call for a genocide investigation — in her keynote address to an international meeting organised by a group linked to the Unification Church.

“At the basis of conflict is ill-will which seeks to hurt and to destroy and thus to open the way to conflict, which in turn spews out an ever-renewing cycle of hate and fear, snuffing out the light of peace,” Suu Kyi said.

Suu Kyi called for cooperation between nations to seek peace and mutual prosperity.

“Only by promoting a culture of peace in this world of interdependence will it be possible to create harmony between diverse countries and societies,” she said.

Suu Kyi, whose position of state counsellor in Myanmar is considered the equivalent of a prime minister, has faced a wave of condemnation since Myanmar launched its military crackdown on the Rohingya in August 2017.

Myanmar’s military insists it only targeted Rohingya militants and Suu Kyi has deflected all criticism.

Other top officials at the meeting, which was accompanied by boosted security in the Nepali capital to head off protests, did not mention the conflict which has overshadowed many of Suu Kyi’s international appearances.

Her speech at the Kathmandu meeting, backed by the Universal Peace Foundation, came a day after Paris announced it will strip her of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against the Rohingya crackdown.

The British cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford have taken similar action against Suu Kyi over her refusal to condemn the military violence. A UN rights team found evidence of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson, and called for top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1448912/suu-kyi-calls-for-peace-in-speech-avoids-rohingya-crisis

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One killed, over 200 injured in Tabligh Jamaat factional clash in Tongi

December 1st, 2018

Two factions have fought at the Bishwa Ijtema ground over establishing dominance

At least one person has been killed in a series of clashes between two factions of Tabligh Jamaat over establishing dominance at the Bishwa Ijtema grounds on the banks of the Turag River.

More than 200 people were also injured in the clashes at the Ijtema grounds in Tongi on Saturday.

The deceased was identified as Ismail Hossain, 70, of Munshiganj, said Tongi (west) police station Officer-in-Charge Emdadul Haque. Ismail was a follower of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, top scholar of Indian Tabligh Jamaat, said Assistant Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Gazipur Metropolitan Police, Masudur Rahman.

Tongi Ahsan Ullah Master Health Complex physician, Dr Monira Begum, said around 150 people received treatment at the hospital and more people are being admitted.

“Of them, 25 people who were severely injured, have been transferred to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, Kurmitola Hospital, and other hospitals,” she said.

Supporters of Indian preacher Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, and Maulana Jubayer’s supporters engaged in sporadic clashes, chases, and counter-chases for several hours since morning, said OC Emdadul.

The trouble mongers also vandalized a number of cars and motorcycles parked at the Ijtema grounds, he said.

The clash broke out around 8am when supporters of Saad Kandhalvi tried to enter the Ijtema premises where the supporters of Maulana Jubayer had  taken up position.

At one stage, the supporters of Maulana Saad broke open the main gate of the Ijtema grounds and swarmed in.

Sporadic clashes took place between the two groups, leaving Ismail dead on the spot and scores of people injured. The Tabligh men hurled brickbats at each other and attacked each other with sticks.

Local administration takes control

Police officials of Gazipur Metropolitan police and members of Rapid Action Battalion went to the Ijtema grounds around 3pm and drove out all the people from there.

“The situation is now under control,” said OC Emdadul.

Additional police with armoured vehicles and water cannons have been deployed to avoid any untoward situation. Local administration has taken control of the grounds following a Home Ministry decision later in the day.

Meanwhile, Gazipur Metropolitan Traffic Police (South Zone) Senior Assistant Commissioner Thoai Aung Prue Marma told the Dhaka Tribune: “Thousands of Muslim devotees took up position on the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, resulting in a huge tailback.”

Traffic ground to a halt on the highway for one-and-a-half hours in the afternoon, he said.

Vehicular movement on the western side of busy Airport Road remained at a standstill from the Airport intersection to Abdullahpur since morning, as Saad Kandhalvi’s supporters attacked followers of the other faction at the Airport intersection.

For the last couple of days, Maulana Jubayer supporters had been taking up positions on the Ijtema Maidan in Tongi. The followers of Maulana Saad started gathering in front of the maidan from 6am Saturday and took position in front of the main gate.

A follower of Maulana Saad said: “We had announced a ‘Jor Ijtema’ (a gathering of devotees before the Bishwa Ijtema) between November 30 and December 4, as a tradition that is followed annually.

“However, as thousands of devotees tried to enter the Ijtema grounds, they were denied entry by supporters of Maulana Jubayer. Madrasa students following Maulana Jubayer had already positioned themselves inside the venue with sticks.”

The devotee added that the clashes have resulted in a tense situation in the area.

Maulana Shariful Islam, a supporter of Maulana Juyaber, said: “Both factions had entered a stalemate centring the Jor Ijtema, which was to be held at the Ijtema grounds.

“The Home Ministry had requested both parties to halt the Jor Ijtema until further notice, which we all agreed on. However, thousands of supporters of Maulana Saad attempted to enter the Ijtema grounds on Saturday morning, causing unrest in the area.”

What is this fight all about?

In January, hundreds of members of the Bangladesh chapter of Islamic movement Tabligh Jamaat and some Qawmi madrasa Alems (clerics) staged a demonstration near Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, protesting the arrival of Indian preacher Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi.

In the face of stern opposition from a faction of Tabligh Jamaat, Saad Kandhalvi had to return to New Delhi last year without being able to join that years’ Biswa Ijtema, the second largest religious congregation of Muslims after Hajj.

The radical Islamic organization Hefazat-e-Islam initially tried to prevent Saad’s arrival because they were strongly opposed to his participation in the Ijtema and oppose his statements made during the last Bishwa Ijtema.

Their opposition stemmed from allegations of what Hefazat leaders claimed to be “controversial statements about the Quran and Sunnah” that Saad had made. Saad is the great-grandson of the founder of the Tabligh movement and head of its Indian chapter, though his leadership is disputed by the organization’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi followers.

Tabligh Bangladesh chapter split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance and the visit of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi.

The conflict had also led to violent clashes between the factions on the premises of Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka in November last year.

Following that, the government had issued five directives to resolve the internal disputes of Tabligh Jamaat and carry out their activities in an organized manner, on September 18.

The circular said that Tabligh Jamaat activities around the world were known as a non-violent, peaceful and completely religious. However, the directives have been issued as recently a visible split in the organization has spread conflict in two factions across the country, which goes against religious customs and overall peaceful environment.

Currently, the followers of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in the country are not allowed into Tabligh Jamaat Bangladesh chapter’s markaz (headquarters), the Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka.

The government later decided to postpone Bishwa Ijtema due to the ongoing dispute between the factions and the upcoming 11th parliamentary election, which is slated for December 30..

Held every winter in Bangladesh, the next Ijtema was supposed to be organized in the second or third week of January.

Full report at:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2018/12/01/tabligh-jamaat-s-factional-clash-heavy-gridlock-on-airport-road

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Tabligh Jamaat clash: What is this fight all about?

December 2nd, 2018

Tabligh Bangladesh chapter split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance and the visit of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi

In January, hundreds of members of the Bangladesh chapter of Islamic movement Tabligh Jamaat and some Qawmi madrasa Alems (clerics) staged a demonstration near Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, protesting the arrival of Indian preacher Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi.

In the face of stern opposition from a faction of Tabligh Jamaat, Saad Kandhalvi had to return to New Delhi last year without being able to join that years’ Biswa Ijtema, the second largest religious congregation of Muslims after Hajj.

The radical Islamic organization Hefazat-e-Islam initially tried to prevent Saad’s arrival because they were strongly opposed to his participation in the Ijtema and oppose his statements made during the last Bishwa Ijtema.

Their opposition stemmed from allegations of what Hefazat leaders claimed to be “controversial statements about the Quran and Sunnah” that Saad had made. Saad is the great-grandson of the founder of the Tabligh movement and head of its Indian chapter, though his leadership is disputed by the organization’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi followers.

Tabligh Bangladesh chapter split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance and the visit of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi.

The conflict had also led to violent clashes between the factions on the premises of Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka in November last year.

Following that, the government had issued five directives to resolve the internal disputes of Tabligh Jamaat and carry out their activities in an organized manner, on September 18.

The circular said that Tabligh Jamaat activities around the world were known as a non-violent, peaceful and completely religious. However, the directives have been issued as recently a visible split in the organization has spread conflict in two factions across the country, which goes against religious customs and overall peaceful environment.

Currently, the followers of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in the country are not allowed into Tabligh Jamaat Bangladesh chapter’s markaz (headquarters), the Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka.

The government later decided to postpone Bishwa Ijtema due to the ongoing dispute between the factions and the upcoming 11th parliamentary election, which is slated for December 30..

Held every winter in Bangladesh, the next Ijtema was supposed to be organized in the second or third week of January.

The decision to postpone the congregation was taken at a meeting between Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and leaders of the two factions of Tabligh Jamaat at the secretariat on November 13.

Full report at:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2018/12/02/tabligh-jamaat-clash-what-is-this-fight-all-about

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Militants suffer casualties in Badakhshan airstrike

Dec 01 2018

At least 21 militants were killed in an airstrike in Jurm district of northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military in the North said.

According to a statement released by 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North, the Air Force carried out an airstrike in Khastak valley of Jurm district on Friday.

The statement further added that the airstrike left at least 18 militants dead while three others sustained injuries.

The 209th Shaheen Corps also added that three Hilux vehicles, a hatchback car, a motorcycle, and some weapons and munitions were also destroyed during the same airstrike.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrike so far.

Badakhshan is among the relatively volatile provinces in Northeast of Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militants including Taliban are active in some of its districts.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/militants-suffer-casualties-in-badakhshan-airstrike-02852/

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Militant involved in target killings eliminated in Lashkargah city

Dec 02 2018

A militant who was involved in target killing has been eliminated during an operation of the Afghan forces in Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of Helmand province.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said another accomplice of the militant was also wounded during the same operation.

The statement further added that the militants were involved in the target killings of security personnel, tribal elders, and religious scholars.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the two militants belonged to the group of Mullah Manan, the shadow governor of the Taliban in Helmand.

The Afghan forces also confiscated a weapon and a motorcycle during the operation, the Ministry of Interior added.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the killing of Mullah Manan’s two militants so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/militant-involved-in-target-killings-eliminated-in-lashkargah-city-02857/

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US to stand with the coalition of 41 nations committed to Afghan efforts: Mattis

Dec 02 2018

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has said the United States will stand with the 41 nations coalition committed to the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan.

Secretary Mattis has said he is focused on finding an end to the war in Afghanistan, but that doesn’t involve withdrawing U.S. military forces from the country soon.

“We are going to stand with the 41 nations, largest wartime coalition in history, who are still committed to this effort,” Mattis said at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.

“The Taliban have made clear the lives of the Afghan people are of no value to them. They can’t win at the ballot box, so they are trying to terrorize instead,” he added.

In regards to the importance of the U.S. military presence in Afgahnistan, Secretary Mattis has said “If we leave, with 20-odd of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world centered in that region, we know what will happen. Our intelligence is very specific. We will be under attack.”

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/us-to-stand-with-the-coalition-of-41-nations-committed-to-afghan-efforts-mattis-02856/

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India

 

Clerics of All India Tanzim Ulema-E-Islam Urge Secular People to Observe Dec 6as ‘Black Day’

Dec 1, 2018

Bareilly: Clerics under the aegis of All India Tanzim Ulama-e-Islam have appealed to people to observe December 6 — the 26th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya — as “Black Day”. The organisation has further appealed to all secular people to close their shops in protest.

Maulana Shahbudin Razvi, national general secretary, All India Tanzim Ulama-e-Islam, a social and religious organisation, said, “The demolition of Babri mosque in 1992 is a blot in the history of our country, as it was against the right to freedom of religion endowed upon us by the Indian Constitution.”

“During a meeting held on Saturday, it was decided to observe the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary as Black Day. Our organisation appeals to secular people, including those belonging to minority communities, to close their business on December 6 to mark their protest. Besides, people from across the country will send memorandums to President Ram Nath Kovind to register their protest.”

Mufti Sageer Ahmad, national coordinator, All India Tanzim Ulama-e-Islam, said, “As I am based in Delhi, I have been seeking support of like-minded organisations there to make a joint appeal to people to shut down their establishments on December 6.

Through our protest, we want to emphasise that none of us has forgotten the Babri demolition. However, we have made it clear that we will accept the Supreme Court’s order in the matter.”

Every year on December 6, several organisations helmed by the minority community in Bareilly send memorandums to the President condemning the Babri demolition, whereas right-wing outfits celebrate the anniversary as ‘Shaurya Diwas’.

Vishva Hindu Parishad district president Manvendra Rana said, “The outfit is organising events in all Lok Sabha constituencies wherein participants will demand from the government to enact a law for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. Our theme is ‘Abhi Nahi to Kabhi Nahi’ (now or never). In Aonla Lok Sabha constituency, a Dharam Sabha will be held in Faridpur on December 2, and a memorandum containing our demands will be handed over to BJP Aonla MP Dharmendra Kashyap. VHP’s union joint minister Rajendra Singh Pankaj will be the chief guest at the event.”

VHP had organised a similar event in the city on November 25.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/clerics-urge-secular-people-to-observe-dec-6as-black-day/articleshow/66900438.cms

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Four Jaish terrorists believed to have entered Delhi

Abhinandan Mishra

December 1, 2018

New Delhi: Four terrorists belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), including three Pakistani nationals and one Afghan national, entered Delhi last month, and are likely to be hiding in the city, a specific input generated by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has stated. The input, which has been shared with the other security agencies, has also stated that these four terrorists are being accompanied by two over-ground workers of JeM—a 24-year-old girl from Sopore and a boy from Anantnag in Kashmir valley.

According to official sources, the group has managed to lay their hands on weapons provided to them by an individual named Jaffar Rizwan, who operates from Nepal and Saudi Arabia. The four terrorists, who are stated to be on a suicide mission, are Abu Musaib, Abu Azhar, Abu Wakeel and Rehman Afghani, while the male over-ground worker has been identified as Saifullah. The Sunday Guardian has the photographs of these four terrorists (see image).

The two over-ground workers, according to sources, reached Delhi two days before the arrival of these terrorists and stayed in the Delhi Gate area of the Old City. Earlier this week, JeM chief Masood Azhar released an audio clip in which he warned against the building of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, saying that if any step towards this was taken, his cadre would retaliate massively. Apart from well guarded establishments like stations of the Delhi Metro and the IGI airport, the IB has said that the security agencies should keep an eye on other places which see the presence of tourists. The winter session of Parliament is slated to start from 11 December and security agencies are taking steps to ensure that the routes leading to Parliament and the vehicles used by the MPs are “sanitised”.

Full report at:

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/four-jaish-terrorists-believed-entered-delhi

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‘Googly remark disrespectful to Sikhs, exposes you’: Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan counterpart

December 2, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Saturday came down hard on her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi for his “googly” remark, saying it “exposed” him and that Pakistan has no respect for Sikh sentiments

In as series of tweets, Swaraj said,”Mr.Foreign Minister of Pakistan – Your ‘googly’ remarks in a dramatic manner has exposed none but YOU. This shows that you have no respect for Sikh sentiments. You only play ‘googlies’.” “Let me explain to you that we were not trapped by your ‘googlies’. Our two Sikh Ministers went to Kartarpur Sahib to offer prayers in the Holy Gurudwara”, she said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who completed 100 days in office, on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border in Kartarpur in Punjab province.

Union ministers from India, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, attended the event in Pakistan Punjab province’s Narowal area.

On Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi had said Prime Minister Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.

Qureshi’s remarks came a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj categorically ruled out the possibility of resumption of bilateral talks with Pakistan unless it stops cross-border terror activities against India.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/googly-remark-disrespectful-to-sikhs-exposes-you-sushma-swaraj-to-pakistan-counterpart-5474723/

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After Kartarpur, Mehbooba Mufti bats for opening of Sharda Peeth route in PoK

by Bashaarat Masood

December 2, 2018

Welcoming the opening of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking opening of road to Sharda Peeth, a Hindu shrine in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“Sharda Peeth in Pak administered Kashmir is an outstanding relic of Kashmir’s glowing history. Though it generally connects the people here with their cultural and intellectual roots, for the Kashmiri Pandits it is an important place of pilgrimage which has frequented by them till Independence,” Mufti wrote in her letter. “Their urge to open it to pilgrimage has been projected ever since reopening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. Kartarpur has encouraged the Pandit community to see a possibility of pilgrimage to Shardapeeth in the same spirit and our belief is strengthened by the reported offer of Pakistan Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan to allow it along with pilgrimage to Katas Raj,” she added.

Mufti has welcomed the opening of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims. “I heartily greet you on the opening of Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims’ visit to holy places in that country,” she said. “It is my fervent hope and prayer that it turns out to be a new leaf in the painful history of relationship between our country and Pakistan and it proves to be the first step towards rediscovering avenues of peace and prosperity in our region.”

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-kartarpur-mehbooba-mufti-bats-for-opening-of-sharda-peeth-route-in-pok-5474543/

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Africa

 

Islamic extremists in Nigeria are now using drones

December 1, 2018

Islamic extremists in Nigeria have begun using drones, the country's president says, opening a worrying new front in the region's nearly decade-long fight against Boko Haram and an offshoot linked to ISIS.

President Muhammadu Buhari announced the development during a meeting on Thursday of countries that contribute troops to a multinational force combatting the extremists.

This appears to be the first confirmed use of drones by an extremist group in Africa, according to the World of Drones project run by the Washington-based New America think tank. Its section on non-state actors notes that Libyan rebels are reported to have used drones for surveillance in that chaotic North African nation.

Deadly attacks against Nigeria's military are on the rise, with 39 soldiers killed this month alone and another 43 wounded. The extremists' use of drones for surveillance in the country's northeast has proven to be a "critical factor" in the resurgence of attacks, the president said.

Nigeria's military has its own, armed drones, as the United States and others and others increasingly use them in West Africa's fight against groups linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Extremist organisations have been quickly adopting the use of drones. ISIS in Syria and Iraq last year was found to have a formal drone unit, and Houthi rebels in Yemen have used a drone to strike a Saudi warship, according to the New America project.

The assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in August, when two drones loaded with explosives exploded during his speech, set off another round of global fears about the threat of drones in enemy hands.

"Unfortunately, greater commercial accessibility to [unmanned aerial vehicle] technology will make UAVs more attractive as a delivery method for terrorist attacks," US Air Force Maj. Bryan Card wrote in Air & Space Power Journal this year.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/islamic-extremists-in-nigeria-are-now-using-drones-1.797936

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Muslim World League’s relief campaign targets 40,000 African refugees

December 01, 2018

JEDDAH: The Muslim World League (MWL), represented by the International Association for Relief, Care and Development (IARCD), has implemented an urgent relief campaign distributing food baskets to more than 40,000 refugees from Central Africa who are residing in the refugee camps on Chad’s borders.

MWL has been providing relief since the beginning of the armed conflict in Central Africa and the displacement of its residents to neighboring countries, including Chad.

MWL is the only international humanitarian organization that is still providing aid for Central Africans, with the big support of relevant governmental and security bodies in Chad, while all other organizations have stopped their work on the borders for different reasons.

The secretary-general of the MWL, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa stressed the need to continue supporting these vulnerable groups, formed mostly by women and children. The aid must cover all their basic needs, along with health requirements and clothes, he added.

MWL has pledged to continue aiding the displaced Central Africans, no matter how dangerous the conditions get, as it strongly believes in the greatness of its humanitarian mission and the cause of the Islamic religion that is tolerant toward all religions and races.

MWL extended thanks and appreciation for Abad Al-Sayer, governor of Southern Chad, for supporting the efforts of MWL’s teams in the camps.

MWL said the urgent relief campaign targeted four camps on the borders between Chad and Central Africa, where 8,400 food baskets were distributed.

The MWL team has made strenuous efforts to reach this dangerous border area, located more than a thousand kilometers from Djamena, the capital of Chad.

The team was also able to include 150 new refugees who escaped to a border school in MWL’s distribution plan, thanks to the league’s long experience in the field and in recognition of the new refugees’ urgent need for relief, after the long distances they had traveled to reach the safe area.

MWL said that it will not fail to implement health, developmental and relief works in Africa in general, and in Chad in particular.

MWL also noted that it will start implementing programs focusing on health on a periodic basis in most regions of Chad, where it manages one of the best health centers in the capital.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1414166/saudi-arabia

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US military strike kills nine militants in Somalia

December 02, 2018

NAIROBI: The US military said it killed nine militants in an air strike targeting Al-Shabab in Lebede, Somalia, as part of its operations to support the government’s efforts to weaken the militant group.

The military’s Africa Command (Africom) said the strike was carried out on Friday. “We currently assess this airstrike killed nine militants with no civilians involved,” Africom said in a statement late on Saturday.

The United States carries out periodic air strikes in Somalia in support of a UN-backed government there, which has been fighting against an Al-Shabab insurgency for years.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1414331/world

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One dead as Boko Haram attacks Nigeria army base

2018-12-01

Boko Haram militants attacked an army base in northeast Nigeria, killing one soldier, military sources told AFP on Friday, a day after regional leaders urged more international support to fight the jihadists.

Fighters with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) came in trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns and attacked the base in Arege village near the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.

The base came under attack before dawn, prompting clashes, a military source told AFP.

"The attack was successfully repelled but unfortunately a soldier was killed and seven others were injured," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

The same base came under attack on Wednesday, but the militants failed to overrun it "and suffered heavy casualties," a military statement said on Twitter.

The jihadists have in recent months intensified their attacks on military bases in the northeast, with the most audacious taking place on November 18 when military sources said at least 43 soldiers were killed at a base in Metele near the border with Niger.

Troops who survived said over 100 of their colleagues were killed, but after a long period of silence, the military on Wednesday gave an official figure of 23 deaths.

The latest attack came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari went to N'Djamena to meet top leaders from Chad, Niger and Cameroon to discuss how to deal with the surge in violence.

Buhari is under pressure to show his administration is winning the fight against Boko Haram ahead of a presidential election in February at which he will seek a second term in office.

"The heads of state and government... expressed their deep concern with regards to the upsurge of attacks... and expressed the crucial need to change their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram," a joint statement said after the talks.

They also urged the international community "to support their efforts in the fight against terrorism in the region."

The nine-year conflict has killed 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes in Nigeria.

Full report at:

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/one-dead-as-boko-haram-attacks-nigeria-army-base-20181130

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