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Islamic World News (28 Jul 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


People of Pakistan Rejected Islam: Jamaat-e-Islami JK











In the backdrop of the alleged targeting of the minority community members by the right-wing outfits and their leaders, leading Islamic organisation Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has constituted the 'Jamiat Youth Club' to protect Muslims

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People of Pakistan Rejected Islam: Jamaat-e-Islami JK

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Forms RSS-Like 'Youth Club' To Protect Muslims

Ansar al-Islam Operatives Training With India’s Kuki Rebels, CTTC Finds

British Ahmadi Muslims Fear Attacks after Imran Khan Victory In Pakistan

Iraq’s Top Cleric Warns Abadi: Introduce Reforms or Protesters Will Fix Officials

 

Pakistan

People of Pakistan Rejected Islam: Jamaat-e-Islami JK

Pakistan Elects First Non-Muslim in Modern History to General National Assembly Seat

Jaish-e-Mohammed Building Giant New Terrorist Training Academy in Imran Khan's Pakistan

Pakistan opposition unanimously rejects results, demands re-election

Imran starts preparations for formation of govt at Centre

US questions fairness of Pakistan elections

UN chief praises Pakistanis’ ‘commitment to democracy’

MMA stages rallies in KP against alleged rigging in elections

MQM-P may forge coalition with PTI in Centre

Jamaat loses Dir stronghold to PTI

Fazl to launch movement against ‘rigging’ as APC meeting dismisses election results

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India

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Forms RSS-Like 'Youth Club' To Protect Muslims

Daughters of Moderate Hurriyat Conference Leader’s Minor Daughters Write to PM; Say No Charges Proven against Their Father

Agent Who Trafficked 39 Indians to Iraq Still Sending People Abroad, Says Sushma Swaraj

Hurriyat Chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Warns of Mass Agitation as Hearing on Article 35A’s Validity Nears

Modi meets Erdogan on sidelines of BRICS Summit, congratulates him on re-election

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South Asia

Ansar al-Islam Operatives Training With India’s Kuki Rebels, CTTC Finds

IED Expert and 12 ISIS-K Militants Killed In Nangarhar Province

Over 16,000 displaced by floods in Myanmar's Kayin State

Border forces to be equipped with special modern weapons: Gen. Hemat

Taliban official says group spoke with US official

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Europe

British Ahmadi Muslims Fear Attacks after Imran Khan Victory In Pakistan

Britain Withdraws Cooperation With U.S. Over Islamic State Fighters

Three suspects probed for plotting Muslim attacks in France

UN Chief Calls New Muslim Region in Philippines ‘A Landmark’

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Arab World

Iraq’s Top Cleric Warns Abadi: Introduce Reforms or Protesters Will Fix Officials

Kurdish Delegation in Damascus for Peace Talks

Muslim World League Gives Update on Halal Certification Work In Saudi Arabia

Syrian Army Tightens Noose on Terrorists in South-western Dara'a

Syrian Army: White Helmets Base Uncovered in Northwestern Dara'a

Syrian Army Hoists Flag over Quneitra Border-Crossing

New protests in Iraq with demonstrators accusing leaders of being ‘corrupt’

Syrian Kurdish-backed council holds talks in Damascus for the first time

Expulsion of all military aggressors from Syria imminent: Diplomat

Syrian army discovers militant hospital near Israeli-occupied territories

Syrian Gov’t Restores Gas to Deir Ezzur for First Time in Years

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Mideast

Israel Re-Open Al-Aqsa Mosque Gates after Hours of Closure

Six Houthi Leaders among Hundreds Killed In Al-Malahiz In Saada

Day after attack, Israel announces 400 housing units in West Bank settlement

Coalition air strikes target Houthi positions in Hodeidah

Israeli troops kill two Palestinians in Gaza

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North America

Trump Seeks To Revive ‘Arab NATO’ To Confront Iran

Mattis: US Goal to Change Iran Behaviour in Middle East, Not Regime Change

These Are the Corporations behind Trump’s Muslim Ban

Anti-Islam protester thrown into fountain at Danforth shooting memorial in Toronto

Trump's remarks will not affect military ties with Turkey

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Southeast Asia

Celebrating Religious Diversity without Naik’s Brand of Comparative Religion

PKR Steadfast In Promoting Moderate Islam: Mohd Zawawi

DPM: Malaysia condemns attacks on worshippers in Al-Aqsa mosque

At forum, PAS man says ‘entertainment’ allowed away from Muslims

M-Bike Gangs Taken To Mosque for Subuh Prayers

Island focus: Ulema to promote moderate Islam

Prabowo ready to drop presidential bid, support other figure

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Africa

Nairobi Muslims Want One of Their Own As Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Boko Haram Militants Raid Military Base In Nigeria

Tunisia releases alleged bin Laden bodyguard

Nigeria's pastoral conflict 'six times deadlier' than Boko Haram in 2018, ICG says

Boko Haram: Nigerian Army carries out major shake-up

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/people-of-pakistan-rejected-islam--jamaat-e-islami-jk/d/115970

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People of Pakistan Rejected Islam: Jamaat-e-Islami JK

26 Jul 2018

The Jamat-e- Islami Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday quoted controversy saying that people of Pakistan rejected Islam as election results showed that secular parties were winning most of the seats.

Spokesman of Jamat-e- Islami Adv Zahid Ali said that people of Pakistan had proved that they never had any likening for the Islamic system of life.

Taking to his Facebook Zahid wrote, “Pakistani people proved beyond doubt that they never like Islamic system of life though they call themselves MUSLIMS! Virtually they inadvertently rejected Islam,”

He wrote the post when poll results in Pakistan general elections showed parties like PTI, PML-N and others way ahead of Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami and others.

Zahid however, was soon rebutted on his views about the Pakistan elections that has come under attack from various extremist groups including IS. More than 250 people have died in different attacks during the course of elections.

Those who commented on his post included journalists and other notables of the society, both of whom criticized the Jamaat spokesperson for his views.

Law expert Dr Showkat Hussain and Journalist Sameer Lone, like many others countered Zahid  and reminded him that  Jamat-e-Islami in Pakistan had been part of  different “Secular”  coalitions in the country including  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Imran Khan’s Party PTI is in power.

“How is Imran Khan and his PTI unIslamic now when till yesterday u were part of his Govt in KPK. Grow up as a political person. U ppl behave like BJP, that those who vote us are not real Hindus.” Sameer Lone wrote.

Sheikh Showkat was of the similar view, he wrote, “Absurd comment voting or not voting for a party does not mean rejection of Islam. A Muslim has submitted no choice of accepting or rejecting. By becoming part of this western democratic process Islamic groups subject them to this process. By aligning with almost every party in different elections including notorious Fazlu Reman they have discredited them selves. They were part of PTI government in KPK for last five years,” Showkat said.

When netizens asked how the people had rejected Islam, Zahid replied by saying that they had denied any chance to those people who could implement Islam in “letter and spirit” referring to the candidates of Jamat-e-Islami.

https://thekashmirwalla.com/2018/07/people-of-pakistan-rejected-islam-jamaat-e-islami-jk/

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Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Forms RSS-Like 'Youth Club' To Protect Muslims

Jul 28, 2018

NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of the alleged targeting of the minority community members by the right-wing outfits and their leaders, leading Islamic organisation Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has constituted the 'Jamiat Youth Club' to protect Muslims.

The Jamiat Youth Club has been modelled on the lines of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh's (RSS) Scout Guide. Like the RSS, the young members of the JYC will be trained in various self-defence techniques.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind plans to give membership to nearly 10,000 youths within a period of six months in the first phase.

While launching the JYC exhibition at Deoband's Firdaus Garden, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani outlined its modus operandi and its future course of action.

Madani informed that within a span of six months, nearly ten thousand Muslim youths shall be included and imparted training. They would display their skills at an open forum in the month of February 2019.

On this occasion, 96 members of the JYC, hailing from states like Gujarat, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, also showcased their talents.

It is to be noted that several Muslim bodies have expressed concerns over growing incidents of mob lynching across the country in the name of cow protection and over suspicion of beef consumption.

The latest one was reported from Alwar in Rajasthan where a 28-year-old Muslim man, identified as Rakbar aka Akbar Khan, was lynched to death by a violent group of villagers over suspicion of cow smuggling.

The incident triggered a sharp response from several quarters and a blistering attack on the incumbent BJP dispensation at the Centre. 

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind is one of the leading Islamic organisations in India. It was founded in 1919 by noted Islamic scholars including Sheikh ul Hind Maulana Mehmood Hasan, Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani, Maulana Ahmed Saeed Dehlvi, Mufti Kifayatullah Dehlavi, Mufti Muhammad Naeem Ludhianvi, Maulana Ahmad Ali Lahori and many others.

http://zeenews.india.com/uttar-pradesh/jamiat-ulama-i-hind-forms-rss-like-youth-club-to-protect-muslims-2128267.html

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Ansar al-Islam operatives training with India’s Kuki rebels, CTTC finds

July 28th, 2018

The militant operatives are  trying to collect weapons from the separatist group based in the north-east states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur in India

Members of Bangladeshi militant outfit Ansar al-Islam are now secretly training with the separatist Kuki rebels in India, Bangladeshi counterterrorism officials have learnt.

The militant operatives are also trying to collect weapons from the separatist group based in the north-east states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur in India, reported Bangla Tribune.

Officials of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit of police gleaned this information from Ansar al-Islam operative Sheikh Abdullah alias Zubayer alias Zayed alias Babed alias Abu Omair, during interrogation.

The Kuki separatist group is mainly active in the north-eastern parts of India, but Kuki people are also present in the Chin state of Myanmar and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

Ansar al-Islam law enforcement agencies say is made up of the old members of militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team banned in 2015, that targeted secular activists, writers and bloggers, as well as LGBT activists. The group was also banned in 2017.

Zubayer was arrested by the CTTC in Chittagong on July 17 as the prime suspect in the 2016 murder of LGBT activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, who confessed to being involved in the double murder.

CTTC investigators say Zubayer liaised between the Kuki rebels in India and the Ansar al-Islam in Bangladesh on behalf of the militant group’s top leader, sacked armed forces Major Ziaul Haque.

Zubayer, who joined Ansar al-Islam in 2013 and was gradually promoted to run the intelligence wing of the militant group, sent its operatives to India to the Kuki rebels for training, the officials said.

Being a trusted accomplice of Zia, he was also in charge of collecting funds and the militant group’s management, the investigators said.

“Zubayer is an important member of Ansar al-Islam. He has confessed to being involved in the Xulhaz-Tonoy murder before court. We have collected some vital information about the organization from him during interrogation; we are now verifying the information,” said CTTC Deputy Commissioner Mohibul Islam Khan.

Officials working on the case said Zia was currently hiding in the greater Chittagong area, but his exact location has yet to be identified.

During the interrogation, Zubayer told the CTTC that he travelled to Dhaka once a month to collect funds – amounting from Tk2 lakh to Tk6 lakh – from designated individuals on Zia’s instruction.

A portion of that fund would be sent to Zia, and the rest would be sent to the heads of different units of Ansar al-Islam.

CTTC Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Saiful Islam said Zubayer gave names of Ansar al-Islam sympathizers.

“These sympathizers provide the funds to the militant organization. We are looking for these people to find out more details,” he told Bangla Tribune.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/militancy/2018/07/28/ansar-al-islam-operatives-training-with-india-s-kuki-rebels-cttc-finds

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British Ahmadi Muslims Fear Attacks After Imran Khan Victory In Pakistan

27/07/2018

British followers of a minority Islamic sect have expressed fears of violent persecution after cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan announced victory in Pakistan’s general election.

The Ahmadiyya community is considered heretical by orthodox Muslims because its followers do not believe that Mohammed was the final prophet.

Their stance means they are not recognised as Muslims and its adherents can be put to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Khan, 65, has been accused of risking bloodshed for electoral gain after he offered a defence of the strict laws in the run-up to the country’s general election this week.

“We are standing with Article 295c and will defend it,” said the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party at a gathering of Muslim leaders in Islamabad, referring to a clause of the constitution that mandates the death penalty for any “imputation, insinuation or innuendo” against the prophet Muhammad.

Now Britain’s 30,000 strong Ahmadis say they fear Khan’s election victory will embolden Islamic extremists in this country to target them for attacks.

Last year British Ahmadi mosques were forced to introduce airport-style security to screen worshippers for knives and firearms after receiving death threats from other Muslims around the country.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK (AMC) brought in walk-through metal detectors, identity checks and bag searches at its prayer centres after threats were made on the life of its leader, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and other group members.

The severe security measures came just months after an Ahmadi shopkeeper Ahmad Shah was murdered by an orthodox muslim in Glasgow.

His killer Tanveer Ahmed, 32, from Bradford, later said he murdered the 40-year-old as he had falsely claimed to be a prophet.

Mahmood Rafiq, spokesman for the AMC said: “We are hopeful that Mr Khan will withdraw his support for the anti-Ahmadi laws but his rhetoric so far has not been convincing..

“Ahmadis are literally outlawed in Pakistan and even in the UK we have had incidents where orthodox muslims serving as local councillors have refused to sit alongside Ahmadis on interfaith committees.”

Rafiq explained how in 1974 Pakistan’s military dictator further targeted Ahmadi Muslims by making it a criminal offence, punishable by three years imprisonment (or by death under the Blasphemy Laws), for any Ahmadi who “directly or indirectly poses himself as Muslim.”

This meant that Ahmadis could no longer profess or practice their Islamic faith in any way without facing prosecution.

Rafiq said: “Consequently, thousands of Ahmadis have been charged under these laws and have continued to face harassment, intimidation and persecution on a daily basis.

“Ahmadis are routinely referred to as infidels and apostates with open calls for them to be killed. The persecution is institutionalised with harassment and intimidation rife in education, public services, the judiciary and Ahmadi graves have also been vandalised and bodies exhumed.”

He added: “The effects of such persecution is not limited to Pakistan alone as anti-Ahmadi hate has also surfaced in the UK as well. The most extreme example of this was the brutal murder in Glasgow of Ahmadi shopkeeper Asad Shah in 2016, who was killed on grounds of faith.

“There has also been a worrying development of hate preachers coming to the UK and a stream of hate speech on satellite television, the internet and social media and that is promoting intolerance and extremism.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ahmadiyya-imran-khan-fears-uk_uk_5b5b0b07e4b0b15aba9812ca

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Iraq’s top cleric warns Abadi: Introduce reforms or protesters will fix officials

July 27, 2018

BAGHDAD: Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric, has called for a government to be formed as soon as possible to tackle corruption and improve basic services.

In a Friday sermon delivered by a representative, Sistani also challenged the caretaker administration of Prime Minister Haider Abadi to respond to protesters’ fears following widespread demonstrations in the Shiite-dominated southern provinces and Baghdad.

“The current government must work hard, urgently, to reduce citizens’ suffering and misery,” Sistani’s representative, Sheikh Abdulmahdi Al-Karbala’ie, said in the Shiite holy city of Kerbala.

Anger in Iraq is mounting as politicians struggle to form a government following the May 12 election, which was marred by allegations of fraud, prompting a recount.

The cleric’s Friday message was the clearest and most detailed call for government reform since 2015.

“If the government or Parliament ... do not meet the reformations, the people will have to escalate their peaceful protests to impose their will on the officials,” Al-Karbala’ie said.

“We hope that there will be no need for this (escalation), and that the decision-makers ... get the matter resolved before it is too late.”

Abadi, who is seeking a second term in office, is heading a fragile caretaker government until a new administration is formed.

Sistani is the most influential figure in Iraq and his support is essential for any government. The cleric is seen by most Iraqis as the “godfather” of political changes that have taken place in the country since 2003.

Thousands of people have protested this month in cities in the long-neglected south, Iraq’s Shiite heartland, against the lack of basic services, and high rates of poverty and unemployment. Protests over the same issues have occurred in the past, but the unrest this time is more widespread.

“Fighting (the corruption) will be his (the PM’s) first duty and his essential mission, waging a relentless war on corrupt (officials) and their protectors,” Al-Karbala’ie said.

Sistani also called on the next prime minister to expand the role of the Commission of Integrity and other regulatory bodies “to combat corruption and stand against the corrupt.”

Iraq has been at the top of the list of the world’s most corrupt countries for more than a decade.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1346391/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan elects first non-Muslim in modern history to general national assembly seat

Jul 28, 2018

Pakistan has elected a non-Muslim to a general seat in the national assembly for the first time in its recent history, even as the victory of ex-cricketer Imran Khan raises some concerns among minority communities.

Mahesh Kumar Malani, a 55-year-old Hindu, spoke to The Independent on Friday after it was confirmed that he had won his seat in the impoverished Tharparkar district of Sindh province.

As a member of the third-placed progressive Pakistan People’s Party, led by the son of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Mr Malani said he will now likely travel to Islamabad in opposition to Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Near-final results late on Friday showed PTI had won 115 of the 272 contested seats in the national assembly, while the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) conceded defeat on 62. PPP placed third, with 43 seats.

And while coalition talks for Mr Khan to form a government are just beginning, Mr Malani was willing to get a headstart on taking the victorious former sportsman – whose critics dub him “Taliban Khan” for his perceived closeness to extremist Islamist groups – to task.

Extremism represents one of the biggest challenges to Pakistan’s future, Mr Malani said, alongside poverty. “We [PPP] can join hands with anyone if they have any actable agenda to fight against both poverty and terrorism in the best interests of the nation,” he said.

Standing up for minority rights represents one of the key tenets of the PPP manifesto, Mr Malani said, but he would not let his religion alone define his role in parliament.

“I am not only the representative of the Hindu or the minority,” he said. “In a general election the Muslim majority also votes for me, so I am going to perform my duty for all my people and for my nation. My agenda is to stand up for the rights of every citizen of Pakistan.”

On the campaign trail, Mr Khan rallied support from mostly Muslims with populist messages calling for the death penalty for blasphemers and vitriol against neighbouring India.

Most voters from religious minorities told The Independent on election day that they would vote for PML-N over Mr Khan’s PTI. Nadeem Masih, 30, from Islamabad’s small Christian community, said of Mr Khan: “He is not interested in our rights if I tell you the truth.”

For Mr Malani, the biggest issue with Mr Khan was not necessarily his courting of extremists, but rather his courting of independent candidates who regularly swap parties for elections to join the highest bidder – a group of influential, veteran politicians dubbed “electables”.

“Imran Khan has the same team of ‘electables’ who were part of the previous governments of the PML-N and the PPP,” Mr Malani said. “Khan declared that previous government corrupt and specifically said all these ‘electables’ were corrupt too.

“I am surprised – how will Imran Khan bring the change he has promised with all these old faces? How are they now not corrupt, but have become honest and sincere?”

Mr Malani said it was nonetheless time for people to come together in the best interests of the country. He praised his campaign team of mostly Muslim workers and said he hoped soon other political parties would pick candidates like PPP “on merit, with no discrimination towards religion or any other basis”.

And while he said he will “do what I can” as a member of the opposition to Mr Khan, his final words for the new prime minister elect were reconciliatory, adding: “Despite all the reservations, my best wishes are with him.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/mahesh-kumar-malani-hindu-pakistan-peoples-party-mp-muslim-imran-khan-a8466396.html

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Jaish-e-Mohammed Building Giant New Terrorist Training Academy in Imran Khan's Pakistan

July 27, 2018

New Delhi: Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed has been secretly building a 15-acre complex on the outskirts of the city of Bahawalpur in Punjab province to train thousands of young children to sacrifice them to the cause of Jihad, Firstpost reported.

Photographs of the complex show that it will be five times the size of the banned group’s existing headquarters in the city. Work at the site has been going on for the last three months.

It is no coincidence that the expansion plans coincide with the rise in prospects of cricketer-turned-politician and now Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan, who emerged victorious in Wednesday’s general election, with the aide of the JeM, whose primary aim is to separate Kashmir from India and merge it into Pakistan.

Now, it’s going to ask for the debt to be repaid.

The group had thrown its weight behind Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and campaigned extensively against his main rival, Nawaz Sharif, who it described as a traitor to Pakistan and Islam.

Although Pakistan is facing international sanctions for failing to act against terror groups on its soil, little action has been taken so far. The country has committed to a 26-point action plan to check financing of groups like the JeM. The sanctions could come into effect from September next year.

But the ground reality is that the banned outfit is operating freely. According to local government records, land for the new Bahwalpur complex was purchased directly by Masood Azhar, the group’s commander, who India holds responsible for many terrorist acts in India, including the December 2001 attack on Parliament as well the January 2016 attack on the Pathankot airbase.

The Indian government has been trying to get him declared as a United Nations-designated terrorist, but the move has been blocked numerous times by China.

Market rates in the area where the complex is being built range around Pakistani rupees 80 to 90 lakh per acre. Sources who have visited the place say that the seminary already includes kitchens, medical facilities and classrooms and a large underground facility, possibly for use as secure housing or indoor firing range.

There are also plans for a swimming pool, archery range and sports fields, Firstpost reported. The JeM hopes that in time this complex would emerge as the centre of all its Jihadi operations.

Fundraising for this quest is being done in the form of cash donations from pilgrims who are heading to Haj. In 2017, landowners were also called upon to gift their ushr, a religious tithe levied on the harvest, to help “martyrs, prisoners detained for Islam, the families of religious warriors, seminaries, offices and needy individuals”.

The call was issued in the name of the Al-Rehmat Trust—an internationally-proscribed organisation which the United States Treasury says raises funds for jihadist operations.

Former PM Nawaz Sharif had tied to stop the JeM and ordered the arrest of Azhar, but now that he is sidelined and Khan is in the hot seat, the operations are expected to go in overdrive, sources said.

Full report at:

https://www.news18.com/news/world/jaish-e-mohammed-building-giant-new-terrorist-training-academy-in-imran-khans-pakistan-1825863.html

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Pakistan opposition unanimously rejects results, demands re-election

Jul 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A multi-party meeting which included the Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday rejected the result of the general polls alleging rigging and demanded a "transparent" re-election, threatening country-wide protests.

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and Jamiat Uleme-e-Islam Fazal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman jointly presided here the 'all parties conference', called to devise a joint strategy over the alleged rigging in the July 25 polls.

Mostly smaller political parties badly thrashed in the elections turned up for the meeting. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan did not attend it.

Rehman told media after the meeting that it was "not an election but selection" and the results were unanimously rejected by the parties attending the moot.

"It has been decided to reject the elections of July 25 because these elections are not based on the mandate of the people but the people have been robbed of their mandate," he said.

Referring to the victory Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), he said those claiming to have the right of representation of the people do not have this right.

"We demand that new elections should be held and we will hold protests in the country for new polls," he said.

However, the parties could not agree on a proposal to refuse to take oath of the membership of parliament due to noncommitment by PML-N.

Sharif said that he would consult with his party over the issue of oath and inform other parties about it.

Mutahida Majlis-e-Aml Pakistan, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Qaumi Watan Party and some other smaller parties attended the meeting.

PML-N with 64 members and MMAP with 13 members are the main parties in the group. Rehman is also chief of MMAP and his tough stance was due to deep personal differences with Khan. The two in the past have used strong words against each other.

So far, Khan was inching closer to form the government in Pakistan with his party bagging 118 of the 270 seats. Khan's PTI was followed by jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N with 62 seats and former president Asif Ali Zardari's PPP with 43 seats.

Independent candidates have won 12 seats, according to the election commission which has so far issued results for 265 seats of the National Assembly.

Pakistan's National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total.

The chances of any major challenge to the PTI forming its government will be slim because the PML-N will not be ready to leave Parliament.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-opposition-unanimously-rejects-results-demands-re-election/articleshow/65172842.cms

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Imran starts preparations for formation of govt at Centre

July 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Friday started preparations for formation of his party’s government at the Centre after the PTI won a majority of seats in the National Assembly.

The PTI is also working to form its government in Punjab and for this purpose it has started contacting leaders of different parties and independent candidates.

PTI leader Jehangir Tarin made telephonic contacts with the head of a faction of Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

The MQM faction and the PPP did not participate in the Multi-Party Conference (MPC) convened by the Muttahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) leader and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman in Islamabad on Friday.

When contacted, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry claimed that PTI had clinched 137 seats of the National Assembly out of 270 and, therefore, it would easily form its government at the Centre.

He also claimed that the number of PTI’s successful candidates in Punjab was 130, while the number of PML-N seats according to unofficial results of the polls, is said to be 127.

“We will definitely form our government in Punjab as we are in contact with 21 independent candidates,” the PTI leader said

When asked who will be the next chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said that the matter would be decided by PTI chairman Imran Khan.

Talking about provincial setup of Balochistan, he said that the PTI was in a position to form a coalition government in Balochistan as well.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423370/imran-starts-preparations-for-formation-of-govt-at-centre

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US questions fairness of Pakistan elections

Anwar Iqbal

July 28, 2018

WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday questioned the fairness of Wednesday’s elections in Pakistan adding that it shared the concerns expressed by the European Union and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

In a statement released to the media, the US State Department underlined what it said were flaws in the pre-voting electoral process and the constraints placed on freedom of expression and association.

“The United States shares concerns about flaws in the pre-voting electoral process, as expressed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan,” said the department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert.

“These included constraints placed on freedoms of expression and association during the campaign period that were at odds with Pakistani authorities’ stated goal of a fully fair and transparent election.”

Ms Nauert said the United States concurs with the conclusions of the European Union Election Observation Mission, whose report notes that while there were positive changes to the legal framework for elections in Pakistan, these were “overshadowed by restrictions on freedom of expression and unequal campaign opportunities”.

The United States also “has deep reservations over the participation of terrorist-affiliated individuals in the elections,” said the US official while commending Pakistani voters for “fully rejecting these candidates” at the ballot box on Wednesday.

“Along with our international partners, the United States will continue to encourage a broadening of opportunities for political participation for all Pakistanis, and for the further strengthening of legitimate, democratic institutions,” said Ms Nauert.

“As Pakistan’s elected leaders form a new government, the United States will look for opportunities to work with them to advance our goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia,” she added.

In the opening paragraph, the State Department also commended “the courage of the Pakistani people, including many women,” who turned out to vote and showed resolve to determine their country’s future.

“We condemn the horrific acts of terrorist violence that marred this process, including the latest attack outside a polling station in Quetta on election day. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” said the US official.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423368/us-questions-fairness-of-pakistan-elections

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UN chief praises Pakistanis’ ‘commitment to democracy’

Masood Haider

July 28, 2018

UNITED NATIONS: Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, has congratulated the people of Pakistan upon the conclusion of elections, saying that he “looks forward to the formation of a new government”.

“By exercising their constitutional right to vote, the people of Pakistan have reaffirmed their commitment to a democratic Pakistan,” he said in a statement read out by his spokesman Stephane Djuarric on Friday.

“The Secretary General commends the Election Commission of Pakistan for organising the elections, taking initiatives to train women and for making efforts to enhance the inclusion of women, persons with disability and other marginalised groups, as well as first-time voters, in the electoral process,” the UN chief said.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423366/un-chief-praises-pakistanis-commitment-to-democracy

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MMA stages rallies in KP against alleged rigging in elections

July 28, 2018

PESHAWAR: Workers of religio-political parties took to the streets in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday to protest against alleged rigging in the general elections held on July 25.

Rallies were organised on the appeal of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the president of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of five religio-political parties.

Rallies were taken out in Dera Ismail Khan, Orakzai, Buner, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Malakand, Battagram, Karak and Lower Dir.

Like other political parties, MMA was also humbled in the elections and its top leaders, including Fazlur Rehman and Sirajul Haq, the Jamaat-i-Islami chief, suffered defeat at the hands of PTI candidates.

The protesters blocked the Karakoram Highway, the land route between Pakistan and China, for traffic for more than five hours to protest against alleged rigging and manipulation of the election results.

Hundreds of activists of various religious parties took out a protest rally from a mosque in the Peshawar city that turned into a big public meeting at Bajauri Gate. The protesters were carrying placards and banners and chanted slogans against the Election Commission of Pakistan, caretaker setup and the other state institutions.

“The role of judiciary and the army has disturbed every Pakistani,” read a banner. Another read: “Save dignity of vote. We will not let the agent of Jews to be imposed on the nation,” referring to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.

Addressing the protesters, the speakers alleged that billions of rupees were wasted on the rigged elections. They said that judiciary should clear its position in that regard. They termed the polls a big fraud in the history of Pakistan as results were manipulated.

The speakers urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of what they said massive rigging in the elections. They alleged that foreign agenda was being imposed on the nation.

In Battagram, workers of Rah-i-Haq Party and MMA blocked Karakoram Highway to register their protest against the alleged fraud in the elections. The candidates who lost polls in the PK-29 constituency and their supporters led the rally, raising slogans.

Rah-i-Haq Party candidate for PK-29 Atta Mohammad, candidate for NA-12 Saeed Ahmed, MMA candidate for NA-12 Qari Mohammad Yusuf and independent candidate Maulana Rasheed Ahmed addressed the protesters.

Traffic remained disrupted for several hours on the busy highway.

The protest leaders said that Atta Mohammad was leading in PK-29 with 4,000 votes after counting of votes in 128 polling stations out of 149 stations, but suddenly results of other polling stations were stopped and were announced after two hours.

They said that they had recorded video footages as a proof of rigging and polling of bogus votes, adding while they were making videos officials tried to snatch their phones but they did not succeed.

They said that polling continued till 11pm at Trand Gidri polling station while at a polling station in Trand government high school it continued till 9.30pm. They said that they had already submitted an application to the RO for recounting of votes, but the authorities rejected their appeal.

In Lakki Marwat, the district chapter of JUI-F took out a rally in Naurang town to record their protest against alleged rigging in the elections.

A good number of activists participated in the rally. MNA-elect from NA-36 Maulana Mohammad Anwar, MNA-elect from NA-51 Mufti Abdul Shakoor and other leaders of JUI-F attended the rally.

They condemned the alleged rigging and said that mainstream leadership of the political parties was kept from the National Assembly under a conspiracy. They rejected the poll results and demanded re-election in a transparent and impartial manner.

In Buner, JUI-F workers staged a demonstration in front of the press club against the alleged rigging in the elections. The protesters said that they would not accept the poll results.

The speakers termed handing over of magisterial powers to the army on the polling day interference in the election process. They alleged that a western lobby was bent upon empowering Imran Khan, the PTI chief, to unleash liberalism and secularism in Pakistan.

In Timergara, MMA losing candidates Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, Maulana Asadullah, Muzafar Said and others rejected the results of the election and demanded of the ECP to hold re-polling on all constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The demand was made during different protest rallies at Chakdara and Talash which were attended by scores of MMA supporters.

The MMA candidates said that election was rigged and its results were made controversial.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423327/mma-stages-rallies-in-kp-against-alleged-rigging-in-elections

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MQM-P may forge coalition with PTI in Centre

Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

July 28, 2018

KARACHI: With only six seats in the National Assembly, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan is inching closer to forge a coalition with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf which lacks a simple majority in the lower house of parliament, it emerged on Friday.

The MQM-P, which only a day before had rejected the election results, also chose not to side with the parties complaining of massive rigging in the general elections. The party’s announcement that it was not attending the multi-party conference convened by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Islamabad is being seen as an attempt to appease the establishment and keep its door open for negotiations with the PTI.

Once estranged parties, the MQM and PTI had developed a working relationship in September last year when PTI’s senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi made an attempt to replace then leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah. The two parties also supported each other’s candidates in the July 25 elections in various constituencies in the interior of Sindh.

Although the PTI has emerged as the single-largest party in the National Assembly with 115 seats, it still requires 22 more votes to get a simple majority. Even if all 13 independents join the PTI, the party still needs nine more MNAs.

Against this backdrop, PTI chief Imran Khan’s point man Jahangir Tareen telephoned MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Friday to pave the way for future negotiations on forming a coalition at the Centre.

MQM-P spokesperson Aminul Haque told Dawn that Mr Tareen congratulated Dr Siddiqui on his party’s success in the election.

He said both sides accepted each other’s mandate and agreed on having a meeting soon. Mr Haque said nothing had been decided about formation of a future government.

But sources said the MQM-P was ready to support the PTI at the Centre but wanted Imran Khan to visit its Bahadurabad headquarters to seek its support. Besides, it wanted a package for Karachi and Hyderabad and funds and powers for the local bodies in the two cities.

In the past, the MQM-P had extended unconditional support to former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Also on Friday, cracks reappeared in the MQM-P when senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar, who lost Wednesday’s election to PTI candidates from two NA seats, attended the multi-party conference in Islamabad against the decision of the party’s coordination committee.

MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari took to social media to say that Dr Sattar had attended the MPC because he was not immediately contacted. “Everyone knows about our reservations on election results. We are fighting our case and keep fighting. However, right now we have decided not to attend the all-party conference,” he tweeted.

The MQM-P had sent Dr Sattar and senior leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel to Islamabad to attend the MPC.

The sources said that Kanwar Naveed did not attend the MPC on the instructions of the party, but Dr Sattar went to the venue.

Until last month, Dr Sattar headed the PIB group, while Kanwar Naveed was part of the Bahadurabad group of the MQM-P.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423373/mqm-p-may-forge-coalition-with-pti-in-centre

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Jamaat loses Dir stronghold to PTI

Manzoor Ali

July 28, 2018

PESHAWAR: One of the Jamaat-i-Islami leaders wasn’t far wrong earlier this month when he compared the party’s loosening grip on its stronghold of Dir districts to the fall of Granada, the last battle of Spanish Reconquista leading to the expulsion of Moors from Spain in 1492.

For the JI, the ‘grim prophecy’ came true rather quickly as the party was literally wiped out from its strongholds in Upper and Lower Dir.

On July 25, the party lost all three National Assembly seats to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and managed to win only one of the total eight provincial assembly seats of the two districts.

The magnitude of defeat could be judged from the fact that the party’s chief, Senator Sirajul Haq, a candidate for a NA seat from home constituency, lost to the PTI’s little-known candidate with a huge margin of over 17,000 votes.

In 2013, the party had won both NA seats from Upper and Lower Dir and six provincial assembly seats.

Post elections, it became part of the province’s PTI-led ruling coalition and remained so for five years having a fair share of development funds to use primarily on both districts.

Now, the question arises what went wrong with the JI.

The reason seems to be not too mystifying. The party content with its share of funds probably failed to grasp the reality that its stronghold was gradually slipping out of its hands.

The signs were already there. One of the JI’s NA members has managed to win the Lower Dir NA seat with a margin of 5,000 votes. The PTI candidate had stood second in the constituency. In 2015, a Pakistan Peoples Party candidate had defeated the JI nominee in by-polls.

Apparently, the JI leadership under Senator Siraj failed to know about the party’s dwindling fortunes and he steered the party to the fringes of the political wilderness.

As politician, Siraj focuses on public consumption. His optics is public attention and his social media appearances where one can see him trying himself to liken with the man on street albeit comically.

In The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan, Iranian-American academic Vali Nasr describes then party chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad as populist. Munwar Hasan, upon taking over was portrayed as someone with academic bent of mind, who would balance Qazi’s populism and reorient the party to its roots.

In contrast to both, Siraj just plays to the gallery without any regard for vision and policy. His attempts to garner public attention could at best be likened to a teenager’s obsession with social media persona.

Since 1985 when it lost Karachi to the rising MQM, the Jamaat’s political fortunes have been in flux. In the 1977 polls, it had won nine seats: two from Punjab three from the erstwhile NWFP and four from Sindh. In 1985, the party’s seats from Karachi reduced to two and it won four from the NWFP, while in 1988 elections, it was effectively eliminated from Karachi and managed to win five seats from Punjab and two from the NWFP.

It contested the 1990 polls under the banner of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and won eight NA and 20 provincial assembly seats from across the country.

In 1993 came the peak of Qazi’s populist streak as the party contested election under the Pakistan Islamic Front with slogan ‘Zalimo Qazi Aa Raha Hai’. However, it proved to be a disastrous venture as the party managed to win only three NA seats: one from Punjab and two from the NWFP.

The party ended boycotting the 1997 polls.

In 2002, party took part in elections under the banner of MMA religious alliance, which ended up winning the government of erstwhile Frontier.

However, the party boycotted the 2008 elections.

What makes 2018 significant is that this time around, the Jamaat has lost the pockets of support in Malakand, which it managed to retain despite its changing political fortunes.

It has left the party without its moorings.

Provincial JI chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan thinks that the party’s electoral failure has more to do with external factors than internal ones.

He told Dawn that it was part of the same pattern, which happened to all political parties, which were denied the people’s mandate for them through pre- and post-election rigging.

Mr Mushtaq said while one party was facilitated, others were threatened and sidelined and of which all political parties were complaining.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1423329/jamaat-loses-dir-stronghold-to-pti

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Fazl to launch movement against ‘rigging’ as APC meeting dismisses election results

JULY 27, 2018

ISLAMABAD: An All Parties Conference, chaired by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, on Friday dismissed election results, with the latter demanded the elections to be held again.

“This is not people’s mandate, this is a mandate which has been stolen,” Fazlur Rehman said while addressing the media outside F-8 sector of Islamabad.

It was also announced that all parties, except for the PML-N, have refused to take oath and that the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) will lead a movement against ‘rigging’ during the elections.

The PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif has said that the blatant rigging in this election has taken the democratic process back 50 years.

However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asserted time and time again that the the 2018 were the fairest elections in the country’s history.

The country has been hurled in a political chaos with the Election results because of accusations of outright rigging, the withholding of form 45 and the forced removal of polling agents from polling stations by stationed army officials. Many have dubbed this election as the worst in the Nation’s history.

Yesterday, as future Prime Minister Imran Khan made his victory speech, towards the end he said that he is ready to assist the opposition in any allegations of rigging.

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif has rebuked his comment and said that scrutiny is their legal right and any assistance in that by the ruling government is unnecessary.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/273948/all-parties-conference-to-be-held-in-islamabad-today/

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India

 

Daughters of Moderate Hurriyat Conference Leader’s Minor Daughters Write to PM; Say No Charges Proven against Their Father

05th July 2018

SRINAGAR: Two minor daughters of moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Shahidul Islam, who is lodged in Tihar jail in connection with a Hawala funding case, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his "personal intervention" in the case.

Suzanne and Sundas described their father as a "pro-dialogue leader" and argued that no charges have been proven against him.

"Our father, a prominent political leader, is known for his pro-dialogue stance aimed at peaceful settlement of Kashmir, for which he was attacked twice by unknown gunmen, we never expected that peace-loving and moderate voices like him will be treated so shabbily in the world's largest democracy," the girls wrote in the letter which was released to media here today.

The girls, studying at an elite school here, appealed to both India and Pakistan to stop ill-treating political detainees.

"We the helpless daughters of a jailed and ailing man humbly appeal the governments of India and Pakistan to stop ill-treating the political detainees and their families as even criminals and their families have right to be treated humanely," they said.

In the country where prime minister's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' slogan has rekindled hope among the hopeless disadvantaged girl child, we are unable to attend to our studies, the sisters said.

"For us, our home is like a prison, while Daddy has been jailed for months, with none of the allegations levelled against him having been proved.

"We look forward to an immediate personal intervention by your good self," read the letter addressed to the prime minister.

The girls said their recent meeting with Shahidul Islam in Tihar jail reminded them of a similar meeting between former Navy commander Kulbhushan Jadhav with his family in a Pakistani jail.

"Leave alone touching him, the glass wall was too thick to let our words reach him. One intercom in the poorly-ventilated room was the only means to converse. Our visit to Tihar Jail, reminded us of the union of Kulbhushan Jadhav with his aged mother and wife in a prison in Pakistan," they said in the letter.

The girls also said that their father's life was at risk as he has been lodged with "criminals and drug addicts".

Confined to the walls of 8x6 feet cell of High Risk Ward of Thiar Jail, he has been kept with criminals and drug addicts, which exposes him to an obvious threat to his life. But then, even meeting Daddy couldn't end without horror. When we're still to finish our conversation with him, the phone line snapped and the lights went off.

"We pray that no daughters have to visit Tihar again," the letter added.

Shahidul Islam, spokesman of moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, was arrested along with six others by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last year in connection with its probe into funding of terror and subversive activities in Kashmir Valley.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/jul/05/shahidul-islams-daughters-write-to-pm-say-no-charges-proven-against-their-father-1838452.html

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Agent who trafficked 39 Indians to Iraq still sending people abroad, says Sushma Swaraj

Jul 27, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said the agent responsible for trafficking 39 Indians to Iraq, who were abducted and later killed, was still operating his business and urged state women commissions to crackdown against such illegal agents.

Swaraj had told Parliament in March that the 39 Indians, who were abducted by the ISIS terror outfit in Mosul three years ago, were dead.

While addressing a national conference on state women commissions, she urged them to launch a crackdown on the illegal network of agents operating across the country.

She lamented that agent who transported the 39 Indians to Iraq was still sending people abroad.

Swaraj said the passage of the anti-trafficking bill was a very good step but till the network of such illegal agents was curbed its full impact could not be realised.

“Young boys are trafficked from Mumbai who say that they are being sent to different merchant ships as crew members, but in reality they are being sent for smuggling and when they get arrested in other countries it becomes very difficult to rescue them from there,” she rued.

Swaraj advised that people need to go only through authorised government agents.

“The ministry has all the information of people who go through government authorised agents and we know who is the employer. So in case of any unforseen incident, we have an agent responsible for them,” she said.

She said the state commissions need to identify these illegal agents and give their names to the chief minister and ask him to take action against “so called agents”.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/agent-who-trafficked-39-indians-to-iraq-still-sending-people-abroad-says-sushma-swaraj/story-biaDuaymKdBUSN1821ubwI.html

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Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq warns of mass agitation as hearing on Article 35A’s validity nears

Jul 27, 2018

Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday warned of massive agitation in Jammu and Kashmir if the special rights accorded to the state by the Constitution of India were taken away.

The Hurriyat chairman made the comments as the Supreme Court is set to hear on August 6 a petition challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution. The Article empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provides special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

Addressing the Friday congregation in the city’s Jamia Masjid, Farooq said that Kashmiri people have been fighting for their rights since 1931 against various powers in the state.

He said the people of Kashmir are cautiously and carefully watching the events around the hearing on the Article 35A.

“People of Kashmiris from all spheres of life will never take machinations against them lying low and will oppose them tooth and nail. The people of Kashmir will hit the streets and start agitation on the mass scale,” he said.

Mirwaiz accused the BJP and RSS plan of changing the demographic nature of Jammu and Kashmir by doing away with the state subject law and flooding it with people from outside and warned that changing Kashmir’s status will never be allowed.

“The resulting consequences will entirely be the responsibility of those who will force people to take drastic steps,” he said.

The hearing comes amidst the lack of an elected government in the state which was put under governor’s rule after the BJP pulled out of the coalition government with PDP.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hurriyat-chief-mirwaiz-umar-farooq-warns-of-mass-agitation-as-hearing-on-article-35a-s-validity-nears/story-hTNrjMgbOQ9AfxoNd5zamI.html

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Modi meets Erdogan on sidelines of BRICS Summit, congratulates him on re-election

Jul 27, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg and congratulated him on his re-election.

Earlier in the day, Modi met Russian President Valdimir Putin and also held bilateral meetings with the presidents of Argentina and Angola.

“The last engagement in Johannesburg! PM @narendramodi met the Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the sidelines of #BRICSSummit2018,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

“PM congratulated President Erdogan on his re-election as the President. #IndiaatBRICS,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-meets-erdogan-on-sidelines-of-brics-summit-congratulates-him-on-re-election/story-1V40AqlG5otgD59yc83r5K.html

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South Asia

 

IED expert and 12 ISIS-K militants killed in Nangarhar province

Jul 28 2018

An expert of the Improvised Explosive Devices and at least twelve ISIS Khurasan militants were killed in separate incidents in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said a militant was killed while he was developing an improvised explosive device in his house in Ghani Khel district.

The statement further added that the IED expert was killed instantly after the explosives went off during the making of the improvised explosive device.

The provincial government also added that the US forces conducted airstrike in Awghaz area of Haska Mina district, leaving at least seven ISIS Khurasan militants dead.

In separate airstrikes conducted in Nazian and Achin districts, at least 5 ISIS Khursan militants were killed, the provincial government added.

The statement also added that the local residents and security personnel have not suffered casualties during the operations.

Nangarhar has been among the relatively calm provinces since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 but the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to expand their foothold in this province during the recent years.

However, the Afghan armed forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations to suppress the militant groups.

https://www.khaama.com/ied-expert-and-12-isis-k-militants-killed-in-nangarhar-province-05648/

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Over 16,000 displaced by floods in Myanmar's Kayin State

Jul 28, 2018

Floods after heavy monsoon rains displaced more than 16,000 people in Myanmar, local media reported yesterday. A total of 16,792 people were displaced by floods, which began over the weekend in southeastern Kayin State, as of Wednesday, the Myanmar Times reported, quoting the Department of Disaster Management. Some 10,368 people were forced to flee their homes in the state capital Hpa-an because of flood water from the Thanlwin River, it added. Many evacuation centers were set up across the state to provide temporary shelters for the victims.

Monsoon rains affected a large part of the Philippines, Japan and Southeast Asia this summer.

In Bangladesh, the Rohingya Muslims face the risk of losing shelters due to monsoon rains and many infectious diseases due to polluted water sources. Aid agencies have been warning that the monsoon could unleash "an emergency within an emergency" for the close to one million Rohingya living in temporary shelters in southeast Bangladesh. Many of the hillsides were cleared of trees to make way for shelters, making the land highly unstable. The region is prone to cyclones, landslides and devastating downpours during the rainy season, which arrives in June and typically lasts three months.

An estimated 700,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh since an army crackdown was launched in Rakhine state in August. Myanmar blames Rohingya militants for an Aug. 25 strike on security posts in Rakhine state that triggered a fierce army crackdown. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors without Borders. In a report last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent, or 6,700 Rohingya, were caused by violence. The stateless Rohingya have been the target of communal violence and vicious anti-Muslim sentiment in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years. Last year, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Cox's Bazar and the nearby Chittagong Hill Tracts, killing at least 170 people.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2018/07/28/over-16000-displaced-by-floods-in-myanmars-kayin-state

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Border forces to be equipped with special modern weapons: Gen. Hemat

Jul 27 2018

The commander of the Afghan Border Police Forces Gen. Juma Gul Hemat says the border police forces will be equipped with the special modern weapos.

Gen. Hemat made the remarks during a visit to the 1st Brigade of Border Forces in eastern Nangarhar province.

According to a statement released by the provincial government, Gen. Hemat visited Nangarhar province to inspect the headquarter and Kandaks of the 1st Brigade of Border Police forces in this province.

He thanked the commander of the 1st Brigade Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Hussain Khel for the better administration of the brigade which has resulted into the less casualties of the border forces while the achievements of the soldiers have been on the higher side. Hailing the devotion of the border police forces, Gen. Hemat said based on the instructions of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the border forces will be equipped with modern weapons and equipment.

He also added that the border forces will also receive air support in a bid to boost the capabilities of the border troops in suppressing the militants.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/border-forces-to-be-equipped-with-special-modern-weapons-gen-hemat-05644/

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Taliban official says group spoke with US official

28 July 2018

A senior Taliban official says the insurgent group has held the first direct talks with a US official in a preliminary discussion about future plans for peace negotiations.

This week’s meeting with Alice Wells, the US’s top diplomat for South Asia, was an attempt to jump-start talks on ending Washington's longest military engagement, a senior Taliban official told The Associated Press early Saturday.

US officials neither confirmed nor denied a meeting took place.

The Taliban have long demanded direct talks with Washington.

“The discussion was preliminary, initial and both discussed a future meeting and contacts,” said the official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/07/28/Taliban-official-says-group-spoke-with-US-official.html

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Europe

 

Britain Withdraws Cooperation With U.S. Over Islamic State Fighters

By Will Horner

July 27, 2018

LONDON—Britain has halted cooperation with the U.S. in the case of two British Islamic State fighters pending an appeal, the government said Friday, after concerns that they could face the death penalty provoked a backlash.

The U.S. has designated the two men, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, as global terrorists and accuses them of being part of a cell that beheaded U.S. citizens. They are currently being held by Kurdish forces in Syria.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/britain-withdraws-cooperation-with-u-s-over-islamic-state-fighters-1532693057

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Three suspects probed for plotting Muslim attacks in France

July 28, 2018

France has launched an investigation into three suspects over a terrorist plot to attack Muslims thwarted last month, French media reported on Friday.

According to French daily Le Figaro, the suspects -- two men and one woman-- were arrested on Monday by the Internal Security Directorate and are accused of plotting attacks on Muslims.

Last month, French prosecutors charged 10 far-right extremists with criminal terrorist conspiracy over the terrorist plot to attack Muslims.

Rifles, handguns, homemade grenades and items used in the manufacture of TATP explosives were found during raids in the Paris area, the Mediterranean island of Corsica, and the western Charentes-Maritimes region.

The 10 are believed to be part of a radical right-wing group called Operational Forces Action or AFO, which works to incite French people to combat Muslims, calling them "the enemy within."

On its website "Guerre de France" (War for France), the AFO says that it is training French "soldier-citizens" for a fight on French territory.

Full report at:

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/three-suspects-probed-for-plotting-muslim-attacks-in-france-3437457

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UN chief calls new Muslim region in Philippines ‘a landmark’

July 28, 2018

United Nations, Jul 28 (AP) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling a new law in the Philippines creating a Muslim autonomous region “a landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace” in the country’s troubled south.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed legislation Thursday establishing the Bangsamoro region, culminating over two decades of negotiations under four presidents. The new region is aimed at settling nearly half a century of Muslim unrest in the south.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday “the United Nations will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the law, and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as an effective conduit for peace, democratic governance, and human rights.” He said Guterres congratulates negotiators including the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (AP) ABH

http://www.india.com/news/agencies/un-chief-calls-new-muslim-region-in-philippines-a-landmark-3191485/

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Arab World

 

Kurdish delegation in Damascus for peace talks

Jul 27, 2018

An alliance of Kurdish and Arab militants in Syria has sent a delegation to the Syrian capital for talks with Syrian government officials.

The so-called Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which is linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants holding a grip on northeastern Syria — sent the delegation to Damascus on Wednesday, according to SDC co-chair Riad Darar.

The delegation, led by executive head of SDC Ilham Ahmed, was expected to discuss matters of service provision in the areas controlled by the Kurdish group, but “the talks might widen to political and security matters," Darar told Reuters on Friday.

"This is certainly the first visit that happened," he added.

The militants are allied with the United States and French troops deployed to Syria under the pretext of fighting Daesh.

Chief among their demands is having an autonomous region within the Syrian borders. Darar, however, said that the outcome of the meetings is not yet clear, and that he did not know which Syrian officials will be meeting with the Kurdish delegation.

He also did not clarify how long the delegation will stay in Damascus.

Their Kurdish militant group, once called by President Bashar al-Assad as “traitors” to the nation, announced last month that it was ready for “unconditional” peace talks with the government amid the Syrian army’s major gains against the foreign-backed terrorist groups.

Assad said back in May that he was “opening doors” for negotiations with the SDF, who have apparently become wary of their unpredictable “ally”, the United States.

In an interview with Russia's RT television network, Assad said, “we started now opening doors for negotiations, because the majority of them are Syrians, supposedly they like their country, they don't like to be puppets to any foreigners. If not, we’re going to resort... to liberating those areas by force.”

According to Syrian media, the Kurds had expressed readiness to hand over control of the Eastern Euphrates to the government after Washington withheld its support for the Kurdish militants in the northern Syrian cities of Manbij and Afrin.

The presence of the Kurdish militants in the area has been a source of tension between the US and Turkey. Last month, the two sides reached a deal about the withdrawal of the Kurds from Manbij.

The Kurds have stressed that they do not seek independence, but say they want a political deal to safeguard an autonomous administration which is now under their control in the north.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/07/27/569398/SyriaKurdstalksSDC

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Muslim World League gives update on halal certification work in Saudi Arabia

July 27, 2018

JEDDAH: As the only body in Saudi Arabia authorized to issue halal certificates, the Muslim World League has given an update on its latest efforts, developments and projects in this area.

The MWL confirmed its continuing commitment to applying the highest standards, pointing out that it recently suspended several abattoirs and slaughter companies around the world for violating the rules of halal slaughter.

In addition, it was recently awarded the globally recognized ISO 9001 Quality Management System certificate. It is the only organization in the world to achieve this certification in the halal field.

The MWL is also in the process of finalizing the establishment of the largest legal center for halal in the world, as part of its headquarters in Makkah. The center’s functions include supervising slaughter and the production of halal goods, and issuing certificates, directly or through its offices and representatives abroad, according to the halal certification mechanism and international standards.

The center also issues certificates for selling halal goods, provides technical and Islamic consultancy services, introduces businesses to halal food, provides media, awareness and marketing consultations, and supports the production of halal food.

The MWL said it has earned the trust of exporters and importers of halal meat worldwide, thanks to its 30 years of experience in the field.

The league has organized several international halal conferences in meat-exporting countries and regions, such as Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and Asia-Africa.

When issuing halal certificates, MWL adheres to regulations and standards set by the GCC Standardization Organization. It also relies on the views and fatwas of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah.

The Muslim World League is an International Islamic NGO concerned with Muslims’ affairs in general, and the religion of Islam in particular.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1346416/saudi-arabia

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Syrian Army Tightens Noose on Terrorists in South-western Dara'a

Jul 27, 2018

The army men, backed up by the artillery units and army aircraft, exchanged heavy fire with ISIL in Hawz Yarmouk, imposing control over the town of Jalin and al-Jomou'a strategic hill overlooking several towns and villages in the region.

The army men further advanced in the depth of ISIL-held regions, seizing control over Tasil and Advan towns in Hawz Yamrmouk.

In the meantime, other units of the army conducted an assault South of Hawz Yarmouk and captured the town of Hayt.

Also, a military source pointed to the intensified operation of the army against ISIL at borders with Israeli-occupied Golan after a Syrian Sukhoi was shot down by Israelis and also terrorist's attacks on government forces in Sweida, underlining that the army men inflicted major casualties on the terrorists.

The Syrian army continued clashes against the ISIL terrorists in Hawz al-Yarmouk in Northwestern Dara'a on Thursday, retaking control of the village of al-Mazire'ah and Sad Awan North of the town of Jalin.

Meantime, the Syrian artillery and missile units as well as the air force pounded the terrorists' positions and moves in the region with repeated attacks.

Also, a military source said that the Syrian army has taken back control of over 18 towns and villages, including the strategic regions, from the ISIL in the past two days, adding that the militants' defense lines have collapsed.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970505000369

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Syrian Army: White Helmets Base Uncovered in Northwestern Dara'a

Jul 27, 2018

According to a statement from the Syrian authorities, the army uncovered a White Helmets base in the town of Sahm Joulan, which was recently held by ISIL and previously by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the AMN reported.

The statement said that the White Helmets base contained IEDs and artillery shells inside, adding that they would release a video shortly.

A military source in the Dara'a said that the White Helmets base could have been turned into a weapons storage by the ISIL after they took over Sahm Joulan.

No further details have been released at this time.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970505000556

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Syrian Army Hoists Flag over Quneitra Border-Crossing

Jul 27, 2018

The army men pulled the country's flag up in Quneitra border-crossing after years of occupation by the Al-Nusra front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board).

The Al-Nusra terrorists had set fire at the border-crossing before withdrawal towards Idlib under a reconciliation plan.

Other units of the army managed to impose control over the villages of Sheikh Hossein, Kokab, al-Shabraq, Masireteh, al-Lawihaq and Salbak after heavy fighting with terrorists in Southeastern Quneitra and Northwestern Dara'a.

Terrorists suffered heavy casualties and their military equipment sustained major damage in the clashes.

The Syrian army continued clashes against the ISIL terrorists in Hawz al-Yarmouk in Northwestern Dara'a on Thursday, retaking control of the village of al-Mazire'ah and Sad Awan North of the town of Jalin.

Meantime, the Syrian artillery and missile units as well as the air force pounded the terrorists' positions and moves in the region with repeated attacks.

Also, a military source said that the Syrian army has taken back control of over 18 towns and villages, including the strategic regions, from the ISIL in the past two days, adding that the militants' defense lines have collapsed.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970505000278

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New protests in Iraq with demonstrators accusing leaders of being ‘corrupt’

27 July 2018

Thousands of people took to the streets of Baghdad and cities across southern Iraq on Friday in the latest protests against corruption, social ills and political leadership.

Surrounded by a cordon of anti-riot personnel equipped with electric batons, protestors in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square accused leaders of being “thieves” and “corrupt”, AFP journalists said.

Several hundred people shouted “No to corruption!” and “Iran out!”.

Fourteen people have been killed in nearly three weeks of unrest as demonstrators have railed against power shortages, unemployment, a lack of clean water and state mismanagement.

Adding to tensions, the country still awaits the results of a partial recount of May 12 elections, while political factions jostle to cobble together a coalition under the watchful eyes of regional powers including Tehran.

In oil-rich Basra, the southern port city where the protests began on July 8, several thousand demonstrated in front of the governorate.

“We live in catastrophic conditions -- we need food and water,” said 33-year-old history graduate and labourer Hassan Hantuch, one of the protestors.

“No to corruption, yes to change!” proclaimed banners held up by protestors in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq, an AFP correspondent said.

Protests also took place Friday in Najaf and Maysan provinces, south of Baghdad.

A spokesman for Iraq’s highest Shiite authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called at midday on the outgoing government to meet protestors’ demands.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/07/27/New-protests-in-Iraq-with-demonstrators-accusing-leaders-of-being-corrupt-.html

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Syrian Kurdish-backed council holds talks in Damascus for the first time

27 July 2018

A top Syrian Kurdish official is in Damascus this week for talks with Syrian government officials at the head of a delegation including members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, their first declared visit to the capital.

The visit points to moves by the Kurdish-led authorities that control roughly one quarter of Syria to open channels to President Bashar al-Assad's administration as they seek to negotiate a political deal that preserves their autonomy.

The delegation in Damascus is headed by Ilham Ahmed, executive head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), said Riad Darar, SDC co-chair, speaking by phone from Vienna. The delegation arrived two days ago, he added.

The meetings were expected to primarily discuss matters of service provision in the areas controlled by the Kurdish-led authorities, but Darar added that there was no set agenda and the talks might widen to political and security matters.

The outcome of the meetings is not yet clear, he said, adding that he did not know which officials they would meet. It was not clear how long the delegation would stay in Damascus.

Seven-year-long war

The main Syrian Kurdish groups have mostly avoided conflict with Assad during the seven-year-long war, at times even fighting common foes -- including rebels that his forces are gradually crushing with help from Russia and Iran.

Talks recently began over a return of state employees and repairs to one of Syria’s most important pieces of infrastructure: the Tabqa dam, Syria’s largest, which the SDF took from ISIS last year with the help of US air power.

Darar said the talks over the Tabqa dam had been held with delegations that had come from Damascus. Referring to this week’s visit to Damascus by the SDC, he said: “This is certainly the first visit that happened.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/07/27/Syrian-Kurdish-backed-council-holds-talks-in-Damascus-for-the-first-time.html

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Expulsion of all military aggressors from Syria imminent: Diplomat

Jul 28, 2018

Syria's acting chargé d'affaires to the United Nations says all military aggressors will leave the Arab country soon as the army and its allies gain more ground against foreign-backed terrorists on the battlefield.

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria on Friday, Abdullah Hallaq said the army's counter-terrorism operations have successfully reduced the suffering of civilians, including those holed up in militant-besieged areas, and facilitated humanitarian access to those regions.

A major anti-terror campaign underway in southern Syria has also demonstrated that certain governments only care about protecting terrorist groups, particularly the so-called “White Helmets,” rather than the fate of the displaced in Jordan, he added.

The White Helmets, Hallaq said, is an arm of the al-Nusra Front terror outfit, which has fabricated evidence to mislead the international public opinion about chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

In the face of advancing government forces in southern Syria earlier this month, Israel evacuated hundreds of White Helmets volunteers and their family members to Jordan for resettlement in the UK, Canada and Germany. The evacuation further proved the much-reported collaboration between Tel Aviv and anti-Damascus militants.

"The day when all aggressor military forces leave Syria is not far away," the Syrian diplomat pointed out.

He also condemned unilateral economic measures taken by the EU and the US against Syria, saying the sanctions have hindered the process of providing basic services to the Syrian people and improving their humanitarian situation.

Hallaq further accused  the UN of deliberately ignoring the information provided by the Syrian government regarding the suffering of kids at the hands of terrorists and relying on "questionable information" from militant-affiliated sources in its latest report on the situation of children in the country.

The UN, he said, should adopt a "objective, transparent, and neutral" stance on the humanitarian situation in Syria amid "constant efforts to distort facts about the Syrian state’s work to provide the needs of its citizens and in light of certain states’ support for terrorists and exploitation of the humanitarian situation in Syria to serve their own political agendas."

Syrians rejoice at army advance in Quneitra

Separately on Friday, the Syrians celebrated the hoisting of their national flag at al-Tahrir Square in the town of Quneitra.

Syria's official SANA news agency reported that the Syrian army units had managed to enter the town after eliminating terrorists and dismantling their landmines and explosive devices.

During the ceremony, Quneitra residents voiced their support for the army in their battle against terrorism until the liberation of the entire Syrian territory.

The Syrian military is trying to wrest control over the strategic southwestern Quneitra Province, which borders Jordan, Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

It has also been conducting a major counter-terrorism operation in the nearby Dara’a Province that also borders Jordan and the Golan Heights.

Takfiri militants in the two provinces have been handing over their heavy weapons to Syrian government forces and leaving the region in negotiated surrender deals.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/07/28/569464/Syria-White-Helmets-Quneitra

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Syrian army discovers militant hospital near Israeli-occupied territories

Jul 27, 2018

Syrian government forces have discovered a field hospital used by members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, containing a considerable amount of Israeli-made medicine and medical supplies in the country’s strategic southwestern province of Quneitra.

Video footage broadcast by Syria’s state-run television network on Friday showed the hospital at the Quneitra Crossing and in close proximity to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

It had an operating room with adequate Israeli-made medical devices, laboratory equipment and a warehouse, where large quantities of Israeli- and Jordanian-made medicine were being kept.

There were also medical products manufactured by a number of Persian Gulf littoral states, particularly the United Arab Emirates, in the warehouse.

Also on Friday, Syrian army troops scored progress in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists at Yarmouk basin in the southern countryside of Dara’a province.

A Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said government forces established control over the Wadi Saisun area and the Sahem al-Golan dam after fierce battles with the extremists.

The development came a day after army soldiers captured the strategic Tal al-Jomou’ hill as well as the towns of Jalin, Hait, Tasil and Sahem al-Golan. Most of those areas are close to the Golan Heights.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

On May 21, the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces announced in a statement that complete security was restored to Damascus and its countryside after al-Hajar al-Aswad district and al-Yarmouk camp were totally purged of Daesh terrorists.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/07/27/569414/Syrian-army-discovers-militant-hospital-near-Israelioccupied-territories

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Syrian Gov’t Restores Gas to Deir Ezzur for First Time in Years

Jul 27, 2018

SANA reported that the government has officially completed the restoration work on the Tayyem Gas Fields after it was put out of service by the ISIL.

The restoration of the Tayyem Gas Fields took nearly three months, as the construction workers had to reboot at least one of the two gas pumps in order to provide the gas needed for electricity.

With the repairs completed at the Tayyem Gas Fields, the Syrian government can now work to restore electricity to all neighborhoods inside of the provincial capital of Deir Ezzur.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970505000352

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Mideast

 

Israel re-open al-Aqsa mosque gates after hours of closure

27 July 2018

Israeli police reopened al-Aqsa mosque gates after hours of closure on Friday, when clashes erupted with Palestinian worshippers following midday prayers.

Muslim worshippers returned to the site around four hours after they were forced out by police using tear gas.

Earlier, the waqf, the religious authority that runs the mosque, confirmed the gates were closed after clashes broke out, as AFP reported.

Reuters news agency reported that masked youth cracked fireworks in the direction of Israeli police near the mosque on Friday and police charged the mosque compound to confront them. It was not immediately clear if the entry of the police happened before or after the fireworks.

An Israeli police spokesman said firecrackers and stones were lobbed at the police at al-Aqsa mosque compound “for an unknown reason”. Police were clearing the compound in response, he said.

The compound is a frequent flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/07/27/Israel-closes-gates-to-al-Aqsa-mosque-in-front-worshipers-after-clashes.html

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Six Houthi leaders among hundreds killed in al-Malahiz in Saada

28 July 2018

Al-Arabiya correspondent in Yemen reported on Friday evening that the Yemeni army, supported by coalition forces to support the legitimacy, succeeded in killing six Houthi leaders in the Al-Malahiz Front in Saada.

Those killed are the leader of the Houthi Abdo Jubran Ali Ghalis, the leader Mohammed Abdullah Al-Hazeq, Abed Mohammed Shubla, Mohammed Qasim Al-Shami, Abdul Majid Abdullah Alwani and the leader Dale Hussein Khammash.

Major General Abdulkarim al-Sudai, commander of the Arab Army's Arabism Brigade, told Al-Arabiya that troops had carried out several military operations on Houthi positions in the Al-Malahiz front in Saada since the beginning of last week, “continuing the process of cutting off the head of the snake.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/07/28/Six-Houthi-leaders-among-hundreds-killed-in-al-Malahiz-in-Saada.html

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Day after attack, Israel announces 400 housing units in West Bank settlement

27 July 2018

Israel is to build hundreds of new homes in a settlement in the occupied West Bank where a Palestinian stabbed three Israelis, one fatally, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday.

“The best answer to terrorism is the expansion of settlements,” Lieberman wrote on Twitter, announcing 400 new housing units in the Adam settlement north of Jerusalem a day after the deadly stabbing.

The teenage attacker snuck into the settlement on Thursday evening, the Israeli army said, stabbing three people before being shot dead. The army named the man who died as Yotam Ovadia, 31, with Israeli media saying he had two young children.

The attacker was later identified by official Palestinian media as Mohammed Dar Youssef, 17, from the village of Kobar. The army said Friday it had raided the village, questioned a number of his family members and suspended their work permits.

Friday clashes

During the raid on Friday morning, clashes broke out between young Palestinians and soldiers firing tear gas, an AFP journalist reported. Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said three people were arrested.

The attack came after a period of relative calm in the West Bank, although there has been recurrent violence between the Israeli army and Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip in which at least 154 Palestinians have been killed since late March.

In a statement, Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza praised the “courageous operation” in the West Bank without claiming responsibility for it.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/07/27/Israel-to-build-400-housing-units-in-a-West-Bank-settlement-a-day-after-attack-.html

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Coalition air strikes target Houthi positions in Hodeidah

27 July 2018

The Arab coalition in support of the legitimate forces in Yemen launched a series of air strikes on Friday targeting positions under the control of Houthi militias in Hodeidah, west of the country.

Sources told Al Arabiya news channel that the intensive raids on the Hothi militia positions in Hodeidah could be the beginning of the port battle that has been underway for some time.

The Yemeni national army and the resistance, with the support of the coalition, decided to stop progress towards Hodeidah to give the United Nations a chance to resolve the issue of the Houthi control of the port and the city. 

Permits for vessels 

In addition, the alliance announced the issuance of four entry permits for vessels destined for Yemeni ports carrying essential materials and oil derivatives, including two ships to Hodeidah and two ships to al-Saleef port.

The coalition sources said that five ships were docked at the port of Hodeidah and seven ships were waiting to enter the port.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/07/27/Coalition-air-strikes-target-Houthi-positions-in-Hodeidah.html

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Israeli troops kill two Palestinians in Gaza

Jul 27, 2018

Two more Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said Ghazi Abu Mustafa, 43, was shot in the head near the fence that separates the occupied territories from Gaza east of Khan Yunis on Friday. An unnamed 14-year-old boy was also killed during clashes east of Rafah in southern Gaza.

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

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

Israeli fire has taken the lives of at least 155 Palestinians since March 30.

More than 14,800 Palestinians have also sustained injuries, of whom at least 360 are reportedly in critical condition.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip. The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions. The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014 and ended in late August the same year. The Israeli military aggression killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100 others.

Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque, arrest 24 worshipers

Also on Friday, Israeli forces stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, in the Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds, arresting 24 Palestinians.

Israeli police claimed that they raided the mosque to arrest youths who had thrown rocks and fireworks during clashes with its forces in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Witnesses later saw about 20 young men arrested by Israeli police.

Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at Muslim worshipers gathered for Friday prayers in the mosque compound, leaving scores of people injured.

"The continued Israeli attacks against occupied Jerusalem al-Quds will increase tensions and will drag the region into a religious war that we have long warned against," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's office said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/07/27/569435/gaza-israel-palestinians

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North America

 

Trump Seeks To Revive ‘Arab NATO’ To Confront Iran

28 July 2018

The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the region, according to US and Arab officials.

The White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the countries on missile defense, military training, counter-terrorism and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and diplomatic ties, four sources said.

The plan to forge what officials in the White House and Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” allies will likely raise tensions between the United States and Shi’ite Iran, two countries increasingly at odds since President Donald Trump took office.

The administration’s hope is that the effort, tentatively known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), might be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled for Washington on Oct. 12-13, several sources said.

The White House confirmed it was working on the concept of the alliance with “our regional partners now and have been for several months.”

Saudi officials raised the idea of a security pact ahead of a Trump visit last year to Saudi Arabia where he announced a massive arms deal.

Sources from some of the Arab countries involved also said they were aware of renewed efforts to activate the plan.

“MESA will serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism, and will bring stability to the Middle East,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said.

Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi accuse Iran of destabilizing the region, fomenting unrest in some Arab countries through proxy groups and increasingly threatening Israel.

The alliance would put emphasis on Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates working closer together with the Trump administration on confronting Iran.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/07/28/Trump-seeks-to-revive-Arab-NATO-to-confront-Iran.html

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Mattis: US Goal to Change Iran Behaviour in Middle East, Not Regime Change

27 July 2018

The United States has not instituted a policy of regime change or collapse in Iran, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday, telling reporters that the goal was still to change Iran’s behavior in the Middle East.

Asked whether the Trump administration had created a regime change or collapse policy, Mattis said: “There’s none that’s been instituted.”

“We need them to change their behavior on a number of threats that they can pose with their military, with their secret services, with their surrogates and with their proxies,” he added.

Mattis’ remarks were the most detailed ones by a senior official in President Donald Trump's administration about US Iran policy following high-level discussions at the White House on Thursday that included the issue of Iran.

They came after a week of heated rhetoric between Washington and Tehran that was kicked off by a warning from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday that hostile US policies could lead to “the mother of all wars.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/07/27/Mattis-US-goal-to-change-Iran-behavior-in-Middle-East-not-regime-change.html

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These Are the Corporations Behind Trump’s Muslim Ban

July 27, 2018

Last month, the US Supreme Court officially gave its seal of approval to discrimination against Muslims by upholding President Trump’s Muslim ban. With all three branches of the federal government now apparently united in their anti-Muslim animus, it is clearer than ever that we cannot wait for our public officials to see the folly of their ways and right this wrong.

That is why on June 29th, we at the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) and LittleSis released a report, Ban Them: Taking on the Corporations Behind the Muslim Ban, which looks at the companies that either directly profit off anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies or that finance the politicians who support these policies. Our goal is to inspire campaigns that force these companies to stop promoting Islamophobia.

When we think of anti-Muslim corporations, organizations like Breitbart News and News Corp may come to mind. However, these companies make for poor targets because hate- and fearmongering are a core part of their business models. Similarly, defense contractors like Halliburton, Blackwater and Caterpillar — as well as Big Oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP — depend on war in Muslim-majority countries for their profits. They need a large portion of Americans to view Muslims as the enemy in order to survive and thrive. This also makes them imperfect targets.

However, there is a different set of companies — companies whose executives are brand-sensitive and want to appear cosmopolitan and multicultural, many of whom count large numbers of Muslims among their customers, but who nevertheless help prop up Islamophobia and our brutal anti-immigrant regime. This includes, for example, corporations who are major donors to anti-Muslim politicians like Rep. Steve King from Iowa and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It also includes companies that profit from and enable immigrant detention, incarceration and surveillance.

Companies That Support Anti-Muslim Politicians

Rep. King may well be the most racist member of Congress. He is certainly the most anti-Muslim. Just last month, he encouraged meat-packing plants in his district to discriminate against Muslim workers. Last year, King tweeted out an endorsement of the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, writing, “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

It is not a stretch to say that Senator Mitch McConnell gave us the Muslim ban. McConnell masterminded the theft of Obama’s Supreme Court pick by refusing to schedule hearings for Merrick Garland and made it possible for Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the bench, which gave Trump the fifth vote he needed to uphold the ban.

Both King and McConnell receive major funding from Wall Street. Over the course of King’s political career, his second biggest campaign donor has been the American Bankers Association (ABA), the leading industry association of big banks like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, US Bank and Goldman Sachs. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America both have representatives on the ABA’s board.

The ABA gets its money from its member banks, and banks often rely on the ABA to do their lobbying and push their agenda without getting their own hands dirty. All of these banks are indirectly funding Steve King. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is another one of King’s top campaign contributors. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareholder in both Wells Fargo and Bank of America and a major shareholder in Goldman Sachs and US Bancorp (the parent company of US Bank).

The Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm and a Wall Street giant, is McConnell’s top donor. Blackstone’s investments include companies like Versace, Crocs, Motel 6 and Michaels craft stores. Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman was also the Chairman of Trump’s business council before it disbanded. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and the Swiss bank UBS are also among McConnell’s top campaign contributors, as is Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by Paul Singer. All of these companies are complicit in the theft of Obama’s Supreme Court pick, which has given us the conservative majority we now have today.

One company that is on the list of both King and McConnell’s top donors is AT&T. Even though thousands of American Muslims are AT&T customers, by giving so much money to these anti-Muslim politicians, the company is actually a leader in promoting discrimination against Muslims in the United States. AT&T also has a history of discriminating against Muslims in its own workforce. In 2012, a jury awarded a Muslim former AT&T worker a $5 million award over punitive damages.

Some of these corporations may claim that they only contribute to a politician because they support their regulatory policies and not their xenophobic ones. However, once they are in office, these politicians are pushing a racist agenda, so any corporation that helps catapult them into office is complicit in their Islamophobia and white supremacy.

Companies Profiting From Trump’s Immigration Policies

The role of anti-Muslim fervor and Islamophobia in the immigration debate cannot be overstated. It is immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries that are the most directly affected by Trump’s Muslim ban. It is also important to remember that ICE was first created after 9/11 as part of the Bush Administration’s efforts to clamp down on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries as part of the so-called War on Terror.

The same zero-tolerance immigration policies that are separating families at the Southern border are also separating Muslim families, and the Muslim ban is a part of that framework. The same detention centers that are used to lock up migrants from Latin America are also used to lock up Muslim immigrants. This means that the companies that are profiting from Trump’s immigration policies are also all responsible for creating a culture of Islamophobia in this country.

As of March, 71 percent of immigrant detention beds in the United States were run by private prison companies. The two largest private prison companies in the world — which control a large portion of these beds — are GEO Group and CoreCivic. Although demanding that these private prison companies stop locking up people of color is also akin to asking someone to stop breathing, there are other companies that enable these immigrant detention profiteers that are more susceptible to public pressure.

A slew of big banks provide financing to and are major investors in these private prison companies. A 2016 report from In The Public Interest identified six banks as the primary financiers of GEO and CoreCivic: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas (which owns Bank of the West and is the largest investor in First Hawaiian Bank), SunTrust and US Bancorp. As of 2016, both companies had $900 million in lines of credit from this consortium of banks. Wells Fargo stands out, as it served as the largest underwriter of corporate bonds for both GEO and CoreCivic. Wells Fargo has been one of the top shareholders in GEO in the past, and the bank still has over $16 million invested in CoreCivic and $10 million invested in GEO.

It’s not just private prison companies that are partnering with ICE to enforce our brutal immigration policies. In the wake of the public outcry over the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents who are detained at the US-Mexico border, tech companies have also come under scrutiny for their contracts with ICE. These companies provide a wide variety of hardware, services and infrastructure to the agency, including systems for tracking immigrants, mobile radio communications and tactical communications programs, and facial recognition software.

At Microsoft, employees are calling on the company to cancel its $19.4 million contract with ICE for processing data and artificial intelligence capabilities. In a January blog post, Microsoft said it was offering cloud services to ICE and was “proud” of the work. The company said the services could “help employees make more informed decisions faster,” such as “enabling them to process data on edge devices or utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification.”

Holding Anti-Muslim Companies Accountable

Even though they don’t openly flirt with Neo-Nazis the way Breitbart does, and are not bent on “eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe” the way Blackwater is, companies like Wells Fargo, AT&T and Microsoft are all complicit in the culture of Islamophobia that has emboldened Trump, McConnell and the Supreme Court to cement discrimination against Muslims into law. Whether their attacks on Muslims are direct or indirect, and whether their interests in doing so are ideological or economic, all of these companies are partly responsible for the Muslim ban.

Full report at:

https://truthout.org/articles/these-are-the-corporations-behind-trumps-muslim-ban/

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Anti-Islam protester thrown into fountain at Danforth shooting memorial in Toronto

July 27, 2018

A crowd of angry Torontonians confronted a man who held up an anti-Islam sign at the site of the Danforth Avenue shooting, with one of them eventually throwing the man into a fountain.

Video of the Friday afternoon incident shows the man standing in front of the fountain at Alexander the Great Parkette, which has turned into a memorial for victims of Sunday’s shooting, and engaging in a shouting match with people over his sign.

The sign read “C.B.C. presents” on top, followed by two lines below, “Little Mosque on the praire [sic]” and below that, “Two dead girls in Greek Town.”

“Little Mosque on the Prairie” was a CBC sitcom about the lives of small-town Muslim Canadians, while Greektown is the neighbourhood in which police say 29-year-old Faisal Hussain opened fire, killing two and injuring 13.

At one point early in the video, a man stepped up to the protester and yelled, “Not all Muslims are bad,” to which the protester retorted, “I don’t know about Muslims, I talked about Islam!”

A woman wearing a head covering is then seen trying in vain to seize the protester’s sign, which he held high above his head, while the gathered crowd chanted “Shame! Shame!”

However, another man then appeared and grabbed the protester, hurling him into the fountain to cheers from many in the crowd.

The protester continued to hold up his sign while lying on his back in the water, before standing back up with sign still in hand. Police officers eventually ushered the man away from the area.

The man has reportedly been a constant presence at the memorial site this week and has been involved in multiple confrontations, though none as heated as the one Friday afternoon.

The incident occurred less than two hours before business owners and workers took to the sidewalks on a nearly three-kilometre stretch of the Danforth to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the victims and in support of all those affected.

Full report at:

https://globalnews.ca/news/4357966/danforth-shooting-toronto-anti-islam-protester-fountain/

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Trump's remarks will not affect military ties with Turkey

27 July 2018

President Donald Trump’s threat of sanctions on Turkey have not had an impact on U.S. military relations with Turkey, the American defense chief said Friday.

“We’ve had no impact on U.S.-Turkey relations, military operations,” James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

His assessment follows a tweet by Trump that threatened sanctions against Ankara for the detainment of an American pastor.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Twitter, saying Turkey “will not tolerate threats from anybody.”

The back-and-forth between Trump and Cavusoglu have not trickled down to military relations between the two sides.

“At this time we continue to work very closely together,” Mattis added.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/204459/trumps-remarks-will-not-affect-military-ties-with-turkey

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Southeast Asia

 

Celebrating religious diversity without Naik’s brand of comparative religion

July 28, 2018

By Lim Eu Kit

In Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi’s article, “Is Zakir Naik engaging in comparative religion or insulting other faiths?” published by FMT on July 26, I was disheartened to find that his efforts to Google search and locate any comparative religion professors in Malaysia was an abject failure.

Still, I must confess they are out there. I am, for all intents and purposes, a “professor of comparative religion”. But I am not identified as such by my institution.

I received my PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology in the United States.

Currently, I am attached to a private university in Kuala Lumpur where I teach introductory courses in Religion, History, and Philosophy. Alas, the (private) education industry in Malaysia is not one that promotes academic disciplines such as Religious Studies.

Nevertheless, I consider myself fortunate to be able to teach subjects related to my field, however minimally that may be.

Now that I have established my academic credentials, I wish to briefly comment on controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s dubious position as an expert in comparative religion. More importantly, I would like to shed more light on the idea of comparative religion as an academic discipline, its uses, and aims.

Professor Tajuddin had rightly pointed out that Naik is not practising comparative religion.

I am not questioning Naik’s religiosity or his academic knowledge in the world’s religions.

I am sure he is a well-learned man. In fact, I don’t even have a problem with him spreading the message of Islam.

However, in an academic setting, religious proselytisation is simply not the task of comparative religion. And while I do not know if Naik is guilty of insulting other religions, certainly scholars who call themselves “experts” in comparative religion, would NEVER assume the supremacy of one religion over the other.

Professor Tajuddin is also correct in pointing out that the task of comparative religion is to “find commonalities and explain conflicts by uprooting the origin of the elements of the religion vis-a-vis an issue in society”.

According to this definition, we can infer that whatever differences each religion possesses is superficial since the core of every religion is the same: different paths to the same mountain top, so to speak.

That being said, one of the goals in studying comparative religion is to promote a more enlightened and tolerant community so that we can all live in a peaceful world.

I want to stress that these aims are not wrong. In fact, I would like to think that this is something ALL Malaysians SHOULD strive to achieve.

Yet, any mention of studying or implementing comparative religion in schools and universities will immediately elicit dirty looks from many Malaysians.

And if you should be so fortunate, you might even get labelled with the now infamous “L” word – liberal.

Even though the aims of comparative religion are noble, I suspect that the idea and language of “commonality” can be off-putting for many religious Malaysians.

If we take any ordinary Muslim or Hindu or Christian aside and ask them, “What is your religion all about?”, we will see that their answers are totally different from each other.

For example, Muslims would never equate the Jesus of Islam to the Jesus of Christianity. Perhaps this is one reason why Naik is so popular among Muslims here. He does not mince his words in showing how Islam is unique and different from other religions.

There is indeed, nothing untrue about this statement. And we would be foolish to simply dismiss these exclusive views as “closed-minded” or “backward”, least of all from Naik’s supporters.

If we want to build a better Malaysia, we need to start taking this idea of difference seriously.

One of the first things that I always do in my religion class is to ask my students if all religions are essentially the same.

Many answer in the affirmative. This is not surprising as many students are aware of the conflicts that arose around the globe in the name of religion. And people like Naik, they opined, are the reason why conflicts happen – by spewing messages of “I’m right and you’re wrong”.

The remedy to this toxic message is to find commonalities within each religion.

But according to American religious scholar Stephen Prothero, we cannot begin to solve these conflicts if we are blinded by what he calls “pretend pluralism”: a feel-good idea that if we could just get rid of these superficial differences, we will see that deep down, we all worship the same God and we want the same thing in life.

There are tangible differences between Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus in Malaysia and pretending that deep down we are all the same obliterates whatever that is unique that each religion brings to the table.

I know that in Malaysia Baru, it is trendy for us to say that we are all Malaysians, as Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng so emphatically declared, “I am not Chinese. I am Malaysian”.

But how can we begin to call ourselves Malaysians when we blindly sidestep our complex multi-religious and multi-cultural identities? Yes, we are Malaysians. But are we not Chinese, or Malays, or Kadazans, or Taoists, or Muslims as well?

In fact, it is utterly disrespectful to the historical struggles each religious community went through to build this nation. No one will disagree with me when I say that there are still many unresolved racial and religious problems.

Flattening religious differences by appealing to a false mantra of “we are all the same” only serves to bury our country’s historical baggage.

We are blessed with a community where a multitude of races and religions live, for the most part, harmoniously with each other.

The onus is on us to develop a study of comparative religion that facilitates authentic and humble dialogue with other religious communities in order to identify the commonalities AND similarities as well as the good AND the bad in each other.

We ought to start by acknowledging that religions are not the same and that it is okay to be different.

We don’t need Zakir Naik’s brand of comparative religion in Malaysia because when we engage each other out of a sense of humility, we do not need to assume that one religion is “better” than the other.

Only then can we begin to make sense of a world in which religions play an integral role in all of us, and truly appreciate each religion’s unique beauty and flaws.

The results of GE14 have gifted us with a golden opportunity to forge a new direction for Malaysia.

At a time when talk of racial and religious supremacy is beginning to rear its ugly head once again, a more accurate and well-rounded take on comparative religion will help resist this toxic rhetoric and propel us toward a Malaysia Baru that cares about integrity, humility, and respect for each other without sacrificing what makes our faiths different and unique.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2018/07/28/celebrating-religious-diversity-without-naiks-brand-of-comparative-religion/

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PKR steadfast in promoting moderate Islam: Mohd Zawawi

By Tharanya Arumugam

July 27, 2018

SHAH ALAM: PKR is focussed on promoting a moderate Islam that is acceptable to all Malaysians.

This was reiterated today by PKR’s candidate for the Sungai Kandis by-election, Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni, who said that he would work towards upholding a temperate Islam if he were given the mandate to represent the residents of the constituency.

He said he would uplift Islam according to the principles of “wasatiyyah,” or moderation.

“In Selangor, we (already) have laws that safeguard and uphold Islam.

“(So), InsyaAllah, I will take a suitable approach (to promoting) an Islam that is more acceptable to all. An Islam that is not too liberal (where Muslims consume alcohol) and not too rigid (where people are restricted from doing anything because all is labelled haram (forbidden by Islam). We will practice wasatiyyah,” he said at a press conference here today.

On a related matter, Zawawi said that he will look into the proposed Religious and Racial Hatred Act if he were elected.

“InsyaAllah, I will study the proposal to see if it is suitable to be implemented,” he said.

Zawawi also took a swipe at the opposition for playing the race and religion card to garner votes in the Aug 4 poll.

He condemned Barisan Nasional’s allegation that the Pakatan Harapan government bows to DAP’s demands and has failed at defending Islam in the country.

“The Federal Constitution clearly states Islam as the official religion. These irresponsible parties are trying to make an issue out of this to create chaos and disrupt peace.

“I urge all parties to quit playing the religion card. Let us campaign in a healthy and orderly manner.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/politics/2018/07/395104/pkr-steadfast-promoting-moderate-islam-mohd-zawawi

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DPM: Malaysia condemns attacks on worshippers in Al-Aqsa mosque

28 July 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — Malaysia strongly condemns Israeli attack on worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque during Friday prayers after youths threw rocks and fireworks at Israeli security personnel outside the mosque, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She also urged the international community to stand united in stopping such actions on places of worship.

“Is using tear gas and stun grenades the appropriate retaliation to rock throwing and firecrackers?

“Is action like this justified in a place of worship? Such actions should and will not be tolerated by the world community,” she tweeted, today.

Media reported Israeli security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades yesterday at Muslim worshipers in Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest shrine in Islam, in pursuit of the youths who had thrown rocks and fireworks at them.       

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1656959/dpm-malaysia-condemns-attacks-on-worshippers-in-al-aqsa-mosque

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At forum, PAS man says ‘entertainment’ allowed away from Muslims

27 July 2018

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

SHAH ALAM, July 27 — A PAS Youth leader told a forum here that his party would not ban entertainment should they take federal power, so as long as it remains among minorities and held “away from Muslims”.

PAS vice Youth chief Fadhli Shaari said the party would also use Kelantan as a reference in administering laws governing minorities and entertainment if they claim Putrajaya, declaring the state has done well to balance Shariah laws and the cultural needs of non-Muslims.

“PAS has never prohibited entertainment or infringed on minority rights,” Fadhli, also a Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas, told the forum discussing Islam’s position under Pakatan Harapan (PH) rule.

“If you look at Kelantan, non-Muslims are free to do what they want, so as long as they are kept away from Muslims and done only among them. We understand that ruling as a federal government will be different from running a state, but we will use Kelantan as a reference, and take it step by step,” he added later on.

Kelantan, under PAS rule for more than two decades, enforces strict Islamic rule.

Minorities, which make up less than 5 per cent of the state’s population, are allowed to open restaurants and sell alcohol, but can only do so at designated locations, often in back alleys or areas limited to Chinese- or Indian-majority areas.

Muslims, on the other hand, must observe Shariah laws in their daily lives. Men are not allowed to wear shorts that fall above the knee even when playing sports, while women, even at a young age, are required to don the hijab at all times.

Those failing to adhere to the strict dress code can be fined.

Detractors, many Muslims included, have labelled Kelantan’s Islamic dress code as extreme and there have been pockets of reports that zealous local enforcement officers have also enforced it on minorities.

But Fadhli said the laws were necessary to “safeguard” morality, and that Kelantan’s Shariah laws have succeeded in curbing social ills within the state. He then claimed states that were more open like Selangor and Penang were rife with vice.

“That is why in Kelantan there is no lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activities but you hear about them in states like Selangor and others,” the Pasir Mas MP said.

Despite its strict Islamic rule and pious image, the east coast state has its own share of social problems. Kelantan has one of the worst drug addiction problems in the country, while Google data released just months ago showed the PAS state also has the highest number of porn site visitors to date.

The PH federal administration’s policy on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community also became the centre of debate between panellists from different parties at a forum to discuss the position of Islam here, a reflection of how thorny the issue is for a government that took power mostly on the support of liberal Muslims.

Questions from the floor on the issue predicated mostly on the statement made by Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, whose disagreement against discriminating LGBT members were deemed “apologetic” and supportive of the community.

Two of the panellists, Amanah MP for Hulu Langat, Hasanuddin Mohd Yunos, and Perlis Mufti, Datuk Asri Zainul Abidin, were pressed to explain their position on the topic.

Kelantan also has one of the highest cases of incest and recently topped the list in HIV infections, mostly extracted from unprotected homosexual intercourse, according to news reports.

Both said they do not condone their activities, but opposed suggestions to outlaw, punish or discriminate against LGBT members. Persecution, they added, will only portray Islam poorly and work against efforts at “dakwah”, a form of evangelising done through good deeds or living an exemplary life of fairness and compassion.

Islam encourages all its followers to perform the “dakwah” in their everyday lives.

“When you are in power, you have to be just as you address issues affecting an entire society, which is highly diverse. You have to approach it wisely... and with this community, there is a way to approach them,” Hasanah said.

“What we are trying to do is to govern with fairness and compassion, and this will help paint Islam in a good light.”

Asri said: “Islam never teaches us to seek out those who commit sin.”

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1656763/at-forum-pas-man-says-entertainment-allowed-away-from-muslims

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M-bike gangs taken to mosque for subuh prayers

July 27, 2018

KEMAMAN: A group of 79 Muslim motorcyclists and pillion riders was brought to the Sultan Ahmad Mosque here to perform the subuh prayers after police detained them in the “Samseng Jalanan” joint operations in the district early this morning.

Kemaman district police chief Supt Mohd Said Ibrahim said they were among 115 motorcyclists who were detained in the operations held from 3.30am until 5am at roadblocks.

These roadblocks were at Km160 Jalan Kuala Terengganu, heading towards Kuantan, as well as in ambushes on rat trails and Jalan Chukai, heading towards Air Putih.

“They were aged between 15 and 30. They were first brought to the Kemaman district police headquarters.

“After giving their statements, they were taken to the mosque to join the congregation for the subuh prayers,” he said when contacted today.

He added that police also detained three youths, aged between 17 and 19, who tested positive for drugs.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/07/27/m-bike-gangs-taken-to-mosque-for-subuh-prayers/

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Island focus: Ulema to promote moderate Islam

July 28 2018

Hundreds of Muslim scholars descended on Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, on Friday to attend the International Ulema Conference, which aims to promote moderate Islam.

The conference, held by Al-Azhar Alumni International Organization (OIAA), is being attended by 400 Muslim scholars from 21 countries, including Indonesia, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Timor Leste. It is the second...

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/07/28/island-focus-ulemas-promote-moderate-islam.html

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Prabowo ready to drop presidential bid, support other figure

July 28, 2018

In a rare statement, Gerindra Party chairman and presumptive presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said he was ready to throw support behind other eligible people to run for president in next year's election.

Prabowo delivered the statement before hundreds of participants of an ulema gathering spearheaded by the National Movement to Safeguard Ulema Fatwa (GNPF), During the  three-day event, ulemas are set to discuss national issues, including the 2019 election.

In his speech at the opening of the event on Friday, Prabowo said the country needed a change of leadership, especially to improve social justice and welfare for Indonesian citizens, most of whom were Muslims, who suffered from economic injustice.

"Thus I declare before you that I am ready to become the tool of change and a tool for the Muslim community and Indonesian citizens," Prabowo said on Friday.

"However, if I am no longer needed and there is someone else who is better, I am ready to throw my support behind them for the sake of the people," he went on to say.

In the event, the ulemas and national figures, including from the political parties, are set to discuss the presidential and vice presidential candidates for 2019, which would result in a recommendation.

Besides the Gerindra chief patron, the opening was also attended by chairmen of political parties in the opposition, including Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Sohibul Iman and National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Zulkifli Hasan.

Berkarya Party chairman Hutomo Mandala Putra, also known as Tommy Soeharto, and Crescent Star Party (PBB)  chairman Yusril Ihza Mahendra also attended the event. The two parties, which currently do not hold any legislative seats, are set to take part in the 2019 general election.

Before Prabowo, Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, provided a speech through a recording, in which he urged the participants of the gathering to push the political parties to unite and challenge the parties backing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection.

Rizieq and activists grouped under the GNPF were among the staunchest critics of Jokowi. They also spearheaded several sectarian rallies in the past in which they demanded the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.

"We must embrace new parties like the Idaman Party, which has joined PAN and Berkarya Party, as well as big parties such as the Democratic Party," Rizieq said in his speech.

Gerindra and the Democrats recently indicated that they may form a coalition in 2019, as  a result of a meeting between Prabowo and Democratic chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday. At the time, Prabowo also signaled that he was leaning toward Yudhoyono's son, Agus Harimurti, as a running mate.

In his speech, Prabowo said the coalition of Gerindra, PKS and PAN was de facto and already working. He went on to say, "[Rizieq] has also said that we must invite the Democrats here."

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/07/28/prabowo-ready-to-drop-presidential-bid-support-other-figure.html

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Africa

 

Nairobi Muslims Want One of Their Own As Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Jul. 27, 2018

Jamia Mosque Imam Sheikh Muhammad Swalihu wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to nominate a Muslim as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In his Friday sermon, the Nairobi Imam said having a Muslim envoy will ensure national interests are aptly taken care of.

Swalihu said a Muslim ambassador will be better placed to handle hajj affairs as there are important cities in Saudi Arabia whose access is limited to Muslims.

Drawing a parallel with the Vatican, he said diplomatic postings by several countries are mainly reserved for Catholics due to its religious importance.

"The same principles should be applied to Saudi Arabia due to its religious significance," he said.

His views were echoed by ambassador Yusuf Nzibo, who is Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims chairman, who said it is not in the best interest of the country for non-Muslims to be ambassador and deputy ambassador to the Riyadh mission.

"The postings to Saudi Arabia are unfair to Muslims. We just can't have both ambassadors and number two as non-Muslims. There are areas and cities where they will not be able to go," he said in a letter to Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau.

"As things stand, this will cause a lot of constraints within the Muslim community."

Peter Oginga will be Kenya's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, should his nomination be approved by the National Assembly.

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/07/27/muslims-want-one-of-their-own-as-ambassador-to-saudi-arabia_c1794068

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Boko Haram militants raid military base in Nigeria

July 28, 2018

KANO : Boko Haram fighters aboard dozens of vehicles raided a base near a key city in northeast Nigeria, in their latest assault on the security forces, police and local militia said Friday.

Following the attack, the Nigerian army announced a "major" redeployment of senior officers, naming a new commander to lead counter-insurgency operations against the militants.

It was the third commander to be named for the miltary operation in the space of a year.

The Islamists late Thursday stormed a base on the outskirts of Jakana, a village 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

They then sacked and burned down a police station before fleeing, local militia said.

"Yesterday at about 1742 hours, Boko Haram terrorists in about 30 vehicles launched (an) attack on Jakana," Borno state police spokesman Edet Okon said in a short statement.

"The police combat units were deployed for reinforcement. The insurgents were successfully repelled by security forces," Okon said without giving details on casualties.

Local militia leader Babakura Kolo said the attackers took over the base for "more than an hour" before reinforcements arrived from Maiduguri.

"They (Boko Haram) took control of the military base after overpowering soldiers and burned down the police station," he said.

"Details of casualties are still sketchy but the bodies of two policemen and a civilian were recovered while nine residents were injured from stray bullets."

The attack comes just two weeks after the militants overran a military base in nearby Yobe state and ambushed troops near the group's Sambisa forest stronghold.

On July 14, militants believed to be loyal to Boko Haram factional leader Abu Mus'ab Al-Barnawi, raided a base in Jilli village. Dozens of troops were said to have been killed or missing.

The day before, 23 troops went missing after a military convoy was ambushed by fighters in the Bama area of Borno state, where the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram is strong.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/28-Jul-2018/boko-haram-militants-raid-military-base-in-nigeria

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Tunisia releases alleged bin Laden bodyguard

July 28, 2018

TUNIS : A Tunisian judge Friday ordered the provisional release of an alleged bodyguard of Osama bin Laden after he was detained in a terrorism probe following expulsion from Germany, a prosecution spokesman said.

“Sami Idoudi appeared today before a magistrate... who decided on his provisional release as no charge has been filed against him,” spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP.

Idoudi had been taken into custody in Tunisia on July 13, upon his arrival in the country after being expelled by Germany.

He was detained in Tunisia on suspicion of involvement in terrorist acts, taking part in training in Afghanistan and being a former bodyguard to bin Laden, anti-terror authorities said.

But “after 15 days of preventative detention, Sami Idoudi has been investigated by the anti-terrorist branch who have found no proof of his implication in terrorist affairs”, said Sliti. Sliti, however, said Idoudi remains under investigation by anti-terrorist authorities and that they have retained his passport.

Before his expulsion to Tunisia, Idoudi had lived in Germany for more than two decades, staying in the country despite his asylum request being denied in 2007 as courts repeatedly cited the danger of torture in Tunisia.

His expulsion from Germany on July 13 was overturned by a court ruling the same day, but the order was made only after his plane was already airborne.

The German court added that authorities “knowingly” defied the order by completing the transfer to Tunisian security forces.

Considered a security threat over his suspected ties to Islamist groups, Idoudi - identified by German authorities only as Sami A. - for years had to report to police but was never charged with an offence.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/28-Jul-2018/tunisia-releases-alleged-bin-laden-bodyguard

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Nigeria's pastoral conflict 'six times deadlier' than Boko Haram in 2018, ICG says

July 27, 2018

Escalating conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria is "six times deadlier" than Boko Haram-related attacks this year, posing a great threat to the country's stability, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report.

As many as 1,300 Nigerians have died since January in a wave of violent killings that has swept the country's central states, according to the think-tank, which has documented the death toll arising from conflicts in the country.

Boko Haram fighters have waged a decade-long war in Nigeria's north using calculated attacks that have killed thousands and displaced millions internally.

But in its report released Thursday, the ICG said the escalating pastoral conflict in Nigeria's Middle Belt -- largely due to land-use disputes -- is worse than attacks this year by Boko Haram, whose fighters have bombed mosques, markets and public places in the northeast.

Roughly 30,000 Nigerians have fled their homes in affected states, the group said, adding that incessant attacks in Nigeria's central region have placed a heavier burden on the military and security agencies, who should be countering the Boko Haram insurgency in the north.

"The farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria's gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency," said the ICG.

"It has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional and religious polarization. It threatens to become even deadlier and could affect forthcoming elections and undermine national stability."

"Land-use contest"

Violence between the Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and predominantly Christian farmers in the central state dates back to 2013.

But killings by armed herdsmen, believed to be Fulani on farming settlements in central states, have increased this year.

Last month, at least 86 people were killed in a week-long attack in Plateau State and 72 people died in a New Year's Day massacre in January after the implementation of anti-grazing laws in Benue State.

The ICG says three things have worsened the crisis: First, environmental challenges in the north have impacted arable lands, forcing herdsmen to encroach on farming settlements in central states.

The new laws banning open grazing in some states and the government's slow response to militia attacks in the region are the other factors.

"The conflict is fundamentally a land-use contest between farmers and herders across the country's Middle Belt. It has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions," the ICG said in the report.

The think-tank said though the government has deployed military troops and other security personnel to calm the violence in central states, the efforts were not enough to stop the killings.

The government needs to "prosecute perpetrators of violence, disarm ethnic militias and local vigilantes," the ICG stated in the report, in addition to implementing long-term herding reforms in the region.

CNN could not immediately reach the government's spokesman for a comment.

The ability of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the killings will play a significant role in the country's 2019 general elections, the report said.

Buhari, who is ethnically linked to Fulani herdsmen, has faced criticism for his perceived silence over the attacks.

The President was summoned by Nigeria's Senate to explain security strategies needed to tackle the spate of killings in the Middle Belt.

But Buhari, who has visited affected states to commiserate with those involved in the conflict, said he could not be blamed for the actions of herdsmen suspected to have carried out the killings.

Full report at:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/27/africa/nigeria-herdsmen-boko-haram-report/index.html

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Boko Haram: Nigerian Army carries out major shake-up

July 27, 2018

By Wale Odunsi

The Nigerian Army has announced a major redeployment of senior officers in Command, Staff and other appointments.

Brigadier-General Texas Chukwu, Director Army Public Relations, in a statement on Friday, said the shake-up affected Principal Staff Officers both at the Defence and Army Headquarters as well as General Officers Commanding (GOCs).

The Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE and Force Commander, Multinational Joint Task Force were also affected.

The statement said the posting, which also re-organized Operation LAFIYA DOLE, was aimed at injecting new hands to further actualize the vision of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusufu Buratai.

It read: “Those affected in the redeployment include Maj Gen AM Dikko who will take over as Theatre Commander of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Brig Gen AO Abdullahi as Acting Commander Sector 2, Operation LAFIYA DOLE and Brig Gen UU Bassey as Acting Commander Sector 3, Operation LAFIYA DOLE.

“Others are, Maj Gen CO Ude posted as Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Ndjamena, Maj Gen J Sarham as General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Maj Gen EB Kabuk General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj Gen MS Yusuf General Officer Commanding 81 Division and Maj Gen BA Akinroluyo as General Officer Commanding 3 Division.

“Among the Principal Staff Officers affected are Maj Gen LEO Irabor posted as Chief of Defence Training and Operations in the Defence Headquarters while Maj Gen LO Adeosun takes over as Chief of Training and Operations at the Army Headquarters.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/07/27/boko-haram-nigerian-army-carries-major-shake-full-list/

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