still image of a man believed to be controversial Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj
stomping on a picture of Pope Francis. (YouTube screengrab)
Congress Passes Autonomy Bill for Volatile Muslim Region
International Qaris Begin Journey from Hyderabad to Preach Peace, Islam Message
Christian Hits Pope’s 'Submissive' Policy on Tolerance for Islam, Other
UN Envoy Calls On Global Community to 'Right a Historic Wrong'
Jakim Right Away, Says Tawfik Ismail
Indonesian Cleric’s Terrorism Trial to Wrap up in Late June, Judge Says
preacher accused of calling PDI-P members communists acquitted
in limbo as Israel shuts borders to Indonesia
Malaysia authorities meet as 1MDB probe intensifies
Image Trampled Amid Call To Make India Christian-Free
In Jakarta: How Muslim-Majority Indonesia Keeps Its Hinduism Alive
India plan to develop strategic Indian Ocean port
was forced to drop idea of joint trial in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and
Ajmer Dargah blast cases
Militants Plan Siege of Hudaydah despite Intl. Warnings
Assad says Trump's 'animal' slur represents himself
World League chief, Chechnya’s grand mufti sign deal to combat extremism,
US Plotting for New Chemical Attack in Syria in Cooperation with Terrorists,
Army Dispatches New Military Convoy to Quneitra Province
Army Set to Boost Security Measures in Western Aleppo
of Militants Receive Gov't Amnesty in Southern Damascus
Uprising Reported against US Forces' Occupation in Northeastern Syria
Strongholds Destroyed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Hama
Army Repels ISIL's Heavy Offensives in Deir Ezzur
in Last 24 Hours: Army Sends More Troops to Dara'a
Approves 2,000 West Bank Settlement Units despite Outcry
threatens Israel will ‘act’ against Iran ‘anywhere in Syria
‘we die slowly or quickly?’ Gazans ask as war with Israel looms
armed forces say they are 15 km from Hodeidah city
crown prince meets with Yemeni President Hadi
Celebrities Openly Reject Rouhani’s Invitation for a Ramadan Iftar
sought total confrontation with Iran by leaving JCPOA: Russia
Al Shabaab Militants to Face Firing Squad for Hotel Attack
Militants on Kenyan Border Are Planning Attacks, Police Say
University Stays Open, Ignoring Boko Haram Threats
renews call for release of leader Zakzaky
One Year After Nigerian Officials Diverted Dates Donated By Saudi Arabia, No
Culprit Identified, Punished
to Place Religious Sanctions on Pakistan: Report
Plea against Scrutinisation Of Funding Sources By ECP Rejected
carry forward gains of war to attain peace: COAS
formed to probe murder of prominent Sikh leader in Peshawar
killed in Bajaur mosque attack
blast kills two soldiers in North Waziristan: ISPR
peace activist shot dead in Pakistan
Leaders Involved In Farah City Attack Killed In Helmand HIMARS Strike
Network Likely Behind the Attack In Kabul: Gen. Nicholson
officials and Taliban in ceasefire talks, Pentagon says
says Bangladesh does not expect India to 'reciprocate the favour'
kill one in attack on interior ministry in Kabul
attack kills six police in southern Afghanistan
and police suffer casualties in Uruzgan airstrike
Group Tells Tories to 'Remove Islamophobia from Party'
Biggest Prison Unfit to Cope with Jihadist Inmates
chief vows to pursue push for Sahel anti-terror force
claims deadly attack on Belgium police in Liege
PKK/PYD recruited scores in Germany
NSC Chief Of Staff Is From Group That Believes Muslims Are Plotting To Take
military says 50 Afghan Taliban leaders killed in rocket strike
general says some Taliban interested in peace
commander claims Taliban secretly talking to Kabul
imposes new sanctions against Iran
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The Philippines moved a step closer on Wednesday (30/05) to ending decades of
conflict on its resource-rich island of Mindanao, after lawmakers approved a
bill that will eventually allow self-rule for the country's Muslim minority.
house lawmakers voted 227 to 11, with 2 abstentions, to pass the Bangsamoro
Basic Law (BBL), seen as key to forging lasting peace with separatist rebels
and thwarting the rise of Islamist extremism in the nation's poorest and most
bill is the result of a 2014 peace deal between the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) and the government to end nearly 50 years of conflict that has
killed more than 120,000 people and displaced 2 million.
outlines the process to set up a self-administered territory in an area
sometimes referred to as Bangsamoro (nation of Moros), encompassing mountains,
islands and jungles that is home to at least 4 million people, mostly Muslim.
Rodrigo Duterte, who was the mayor of a city on the southern island for 22
years, has stressed the importance of getting the legislation passed and
certified it as an urgent bill on Tuesday to get it approved before a house
recess on June 2.
22-member Senate has committed to Duterte to pass its counterpart version soon,
before a panel of both houses combines both drafts in a version for the
president's final approval.
previous administration met numerous hurdles and failed to pass the bill,
fueling resentment and mistrust among many minority Muslims.
has warned that another failure could be disastrous and play into the hands of
extremist groups like Islamic State, which inspired a militant alliance to
seize Marawi City last year for five months.
battle for Marawi was the biggest the Philippines has seen since World War Two
and stoked wider concerns that Islamic State had ambitions to turn Mindanao
into a base for its operations in Southeast Asia.
of people were killed in Marawi, more than 350,000 were displaced and half the
city was left in ruins. Martial law is still in force across Mindanao.
some militants who fought in Marawi were former MILF members, the group has
denounced radical Islam and has a good relationship with Duterte.
an island the size of South Korea, is the Philippines' most underdeveloped
region, but is home to most of its nickel mines and biggest fruit farms,
besides vast tracts of land the government wants to convert into palm oil
its notorious clan wars, lawlessness and conflicts with Muslim and communist
rebel groups have kept investors at bay.
signed into law, Bangsamoro will have its own executive, legislature and fiscal
powers, but the central government will continue to oversee defense, security,
foreign affairs, and monetary policy.
Eminent international reciters of Quran (Qaris) have commenced their
countrywide spiritual movement from the city on Tuesday. Islamic scholars
participating in the movement will spread the messages of peace during their
journey across the country.
campaign commenced with Egyptian reciters demonstrating the art of recitation
of Holy Quran in seven different intonations. World-renowned Qari Al Shaikh
Samey Ahmed Zain from internationally famous seminary Jamia Azhar, Egypt, and
Qari Samiullah Khan from Karnataka demonstrated their Qirat skills.
Qaris will be in Kashmir on 31st May at Dargah Mahbub Maula on the invitation
of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti.
a press conference, convener of the movement Maulana Peer Shabbir Naqshbandi
said, “The Prime Minister's office has offered to cooperate in spreading the
message of universal brotherhood, love, peace and fraternity.”
Qaris said the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi offered to spread Quranic
teachings in India to eliminate misunderstandings about Islam and teachings of
Quran, adding that the movement is being organised to spread the Quranic values
of peace and love.
Iraq – Iraq’s Christian community, still
struggling to pick up the pieces of a genocidal ISIS campaign to wipe them from
their ancestral homeland, are speaking up against Pope Francis and the Vatican
for not doing enough to support their struggle for survival.
have actually been weakened by the stance taken by the Vatican,” Aziz Emmanuel
al-Zebari, 68, a Chaldean political candidate, community leader and professor
at the Catholic University of Erbil (CUE), told Fox News in a recent interview.
“The Vatican is teaching the community to be submissive. That won’t help us get
the view of Zebari and other Christians, the Pope’s repeated emphasis on a
greater tolerance for and understanding of Islam has left the deeply persecuted
Chaldean minority feeling insecure and vulnerable. It has also sparked internal
divide between those who follow the Pope's guidance and others – like Zebari –
who insist their survival rests on being much more on outspoken.
referred to the Pope’s approach as “naïve and short-sighted.” For those like
the Chaldean community leader – who are far from the comforts of Rome and
remain in the line of fire – their lives are marked by a continual sense of the
can’t dialogue when one party is down and the other party has the upper hand,”
Zebari lamented. “There is no equal ground here.”
said Chaldeans "have paid a high price for being Christian, and we cannot
prevail without protection. When I am displaced, when my family is threatened
with sexual violence and I’m then told just to pray and be tolerant...”
Chaldeans belong to the Eastern Catholic Church that, while technically
independent of Rome, recognizes and looks to the Pope as the authority. The
Chaldeans, along with the Assyrians, make up the two major Christian groups in
the sudden rise of ISIS in 2014, in which it quickly gained control of huge
swaths of traditionally Christian lands across Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, the Pope
routinely took the posture of speaking staunchly in defense of Islam and
religious tolerance all around.
May 2016, when the ISIS invasion was at its bloody pinnacle, the Pope asked
that everyone pray God would “convert the hearts” of the deadly perpetrators,
and stressed that it was wrong to identify Islam with violence. Pope Francis
has instead blamed social injustice and worship of money as being among the
leading causes of terrorism.
has condemned those who support anti-immigration policies, urged Christians to
take in Muslim refugees, and housed Muslim refugees in the Vatican to send a
message of inclusiveness. He also campaigned repeatedly for religious tolerance
and “inter-faith” dialogue.
earlier this year, Iraqi Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil spoke more
directly to problems within Islam. He spoke in a speech at Georgetown
University about the “fundamental crisis within Islam itself,” and warned that
if the crisis were not acknowledged, addressed and fixed, "there can be no
future for Christians in the Middle East.” He encouraged “courageous voices
from Islamic leaders” to continue highlighting the need for change.
Archbishop did not respond to a request for further comment.
are believed to be less than 200,000 Christians left in Iraq – down from 1.4
million 30 years ago, according to Iraqi census data. Most now live in the
semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and in the ISIS-battered areas of
the Nineveh Plains on the outskirts of Mosul.
also lamented that in their fragile post-ISIS world, Christians have become
more weak politically. On May 12 he ran – without success – for one of the just
five seats reserved for Christians in Iraqi Parliament, out of 329 total seats.
The winner was 32-year-old Rayan al-Kildani, leader of the controversial
Christian militia known as the Babylon Brigade, which took two seats and is
closely aligned to the Badr Organization, a Tehran-founded political party and
militia largely supported by the Shia Muslim community.
cautioned the Christian community is being further “dissolved” by demographic
changes in the post-ISIS era, with Shia-aligned groups moving into areas
traditionally Christian pockets.
Christian ruins have been destroyed, we have lost hundreds of our villages and
we are on the brink of extinction,” Zebari, who is an advocate for establishing
an emergency autonomous Christian canton within Iraq.
on everything we have been through – the violence, the kidnappings and the
political pressure from all sides – we cannot exist without political and legal
power. The important thing is to have our own political entity.”
also acknowledged that the Christian plight has been hindered because of a
regional split – with half the Christians in the Kurdish region answering to
Erbil, and other half in the central government terrain answering to Baghdad –
a concern that could possibly be solved if afforded their own independent
said despite their pleas, Christian efforts and greater unification have been
“undermined” by the Vatican. He said the Pope has been “more a politician than
a Patriarch” when it comes to taking a side on a wide array of global affairs.
don’t expect any support from the Vatican,” Zebari said. “We are in a hopeless
said without more Vatican support, Christians have had to rely on “negligible”
aid support from churches in Europe, and donors across the United States.
Vatican did not respond to a request for comment. But statements released by
their press office have noted various funding efforts to assist Christians in
Iraq. The Pope recently auctioned off a “blessed” Lamborghini – which fetched
almost $1 million – to support the rebuilding of homes and places of prayer in
Chaldean priest and leader in the southern California diaspora community,
Father Noel Gorgis, acknowledged that while “the Vatican can always to more to
water the tree of faith in Iraq,” he called Pope Francis’s words “inspirational
to Chaldeans all around the globe.”
Chaldean activists, such as Mark Arabo of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation,
acceded that the “Pope has served as a vessel for hope to many of these Iraqi
Christians,” and that they are working with the Church leadership to ensure
that the “Vatican assists in the rebuilding of historical Christian sites that
had been ravaged by ISIS.”
coming July, Pope Francis will also convene heads of churches and Christian
communities from the Middle East in Bari, Italy for another day of prayer and
Zebari, such convictions without action are coming tried and true.
future is bleak for Christians here,” he predicted. “And I don’t see much light
at the end of the tunnel.”
there is one small silver lining for the ailing religious minority. Defying the
terrorist threat and rampant displacement, in late 2015 the Chaldean Catholic
Archdiocese of Erbil formally opened the CUE in the Christian enclave of
Ankawa. Today, Zebari and his student body – many still rendered homeless and
deeply scarred by the ISIS onslaught – continues on with the goal of enabling
Iraqi Christians, and some Muslim students too, the opportunity to make a
powerful dent in the world.
currently features seven departments – including IT, international relations,
economics, accounting, English, oriental studies and computer sciences – with
the hopes to add dentistry and architecture to the list this year.
want more students to join us,” Zebari added. “We want more in the community to
have this opportunity.”
UN envoy calls on global community to 'right a historic wrong'
permanent envoy to the United Nations Security Council has called on the global
community to "right a historic wrong."
Mansour made the remarks on Wednesday while addressing an emergency session of
the Security Council called by the US over the recent flare-up of conflict in
the besieged Gaza Strip.
tank fire and airstrikes hit Gaza on Tuesday. The Tel Aviv regime said its
assault came in response to a barrage of rocket and mortar rounds fired at the
military wings of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed
“responsibility for the striking of military positions and Zionist
settlements,” saying their strikes were in response to Israeli attacks
targeting their positions in recent days.
on the brink of war'
envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov warned the council that the
flare-up of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis in the Gaza Strip may
result in war.
latest round of attacks is a warning to all of how close to the brink of war we
are every day," he said.
one in Gaza can afford another war," he added.
warned the council that the failure to agree on a response to the Gaza crisis
was damaging to the United Nations.
increasingly heavy silence, which is becoming deafening, is not
acceptable," said French Ambassador Francois Delattre.
is not acceptable for the Palestinian and Israeli populations who are affected
by this conflict. It is not acceptable for the world that is watching us,"
United States called on the UN body to condemn Palestinian rocket attacks but
the move was blocked by Kuwait, which argued that it had presented its own
draft resolution that addressed the situation.
called for the council to vote on its resolution by the end of the week and
called for the consideration of measures "for the protection of
have been running high along the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the
start of a series of protests, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding
the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of
the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US
embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
least 65 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 others wounded as the
Israeli forces used snipers, airstrikes, tank fire and tear gas to target the
Gaza demonstrators on May 14.
conducts regular air raids on Palestinians in Gaza under the pretext of hitting
Hamas targets. The Gaza Strip has also been under an inhumane Israeli siege
Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014
offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Jakim right away, says Tawfik Ismail
Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar
JAYA: A frequent critic of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim)
has voiced his opposition to a plan to evaluate the agency’s role, saying it
should be dissolved straight away.
is redundant as a religious body,” said Tawfik Ismail, who served as MP for
Sungai Benut from 1986 to 1990.
spoke to FMT in reaction to Putrajaya’s announcement that a committee would be
appointed to decide whether Jakim should continue with its current role or
“revert to its original purpose”.
his assertion that the department is redundant, he said: “In the case of halal
certificates, the state religious departments are empowered to issue them. If
ingredients need to be checked, we have the health and agriculture ministries,
which have all the necessary equipment and expertise.
if an item is halal in, say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Jordan, why would it need
the Malaysian halal certification? This adds to the cost, putting consumers at
there are complaints that the manufacturer has to pay all charges for a Jakim
team to verify the halal quality of a product, even if the product is
manufactured in Malaysia.”
questioned whether the attempt to save Jakim was really an attempt to save
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s face.
doesn’t want to admit that setting up Jakim was wrong and that it was done only
in an attempt to paint himself as more Islamic than PAS.”
also said he suspected that Jakim had gone beyond what Mahathir initially had
in mind for it, adding that this might be the reason for the controversial
actions taken in recent years by itself and other religious bodies that likely
followed its example.
were the ridiculous issues over hot dogs and root beer, the court action
against Borders Bookstore, and the shaming of Mustafa Akyol.”
May 2012, Borders manager Nik Raina Abdul Aziz was charged by the Federal
Territories Religious Department (Jawi) for allegedly selling a book that
defiled Islam. The civil Court of Appeal eventually found that the book, Irshad
Manji’s “Allah, Liberty and Love”, had not been prohibited by any religious
authority or the home ministry at the time the charge was made in a shariah
appellate court concluded that Nik Raina was charged simply because she was a
Muslim and because Jawi could not exercise its jurisdiction over her employer
or her non-Muslim supervisor. It ruled that the proceedings against her were
“unreasonable” and “irrational” and offended “the principle of fairness and
September, Akyol, a Turkish journalist, ran into trouble with the religious
authorities during a visit to Malaysia for allegedly teaching Islam without
attempts to reach Jakim for its comment on Putrajaya’s plan have failed.
will decide the fate of Aman Abdurrahman, a terrorism defendant accused of
mentoring Islamic State followers in Indonesia, on June 22, a judge said Wednesday.
are seeking the death penalty for the radical cleric they accuse of
masterminding terror attacks that killed nine people, including a 2-year-old
girl, in 2016 and 2017.
hearing will be after Lebaran,” head judge Akhmad Jaini said in announcing the
sentencing date in South Jakarta District Court, using the Indonesian term for
the holiday that ends Ramadan and falls this year in mid-June.
is the de facto leader of Islamic State (IS) supporters in Indonesia, according
to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In January 2017 the U.S. government
designated him a “global terrorist,” alleging that he founded the militant
group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), composed of two dozen pro-IS groups.
Aman is found guilty, it will be his third terrorism conviction. He had
previously been sentenced in 2005, after an explosive device detonated in his
residence, and again in 2010, for involvement in a terrorism training camp in
the mountains of Aceh.
call on social media
say Aman is a key IS ideologue who was responsible for a series of terrorist
acts in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, in 2016 and
2017, although he was in prison at the time.
include a terror attack on a busy Jakarta boulevard in January 2016; a Molotov
cocktail blast at a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan province in November
2016; a suicide attack at a Jakarta bus station in May 2017; and attacks on
police in West Nusa Tenggara and North Sumatra. Nine people, including a 2-year
old girl, were killed in the attacks.
insisted again in court Wednesday he knew nothing of the incidents and heard
about them only after they occurred.
it’s linked to the principle of declaring this a non-believer government,
please, punish me with any punishment. If you want it to be a death sentence,
please go ahead,” the 46-year-old told the court on Wednesday. “If it’s linked
to [terrorism] cases, in this trial there has not been even one witness who
stated I was involved.”
Anita Dewayani said Aman was linked to the attacks because they were carried
out by members of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) network he created.
not a coincidence," she said. "What’s more, the defendant also
released a written appeal that circulated on social media in 2015.”
appeal called for followers to carry out jihad wherever they were, and if they
were unable to migrate to Syria, to do jihad in the form of supporting others
through words or donations.
appeal incited and provoked his
followers to carry out jihad, resulting in bombings and murders,” the
lawyer, Asludin Hatjani, asserted that no fact laid out in court had
demonstrated that his client was involved in acts of terrorism.
only encouraged his followers to migrate, not to spread terror in their own
country," Asludin said.
said his client had stated in court that recent suicide bombings at churches in
Surabaya did not align with his teachings.
people who carried out or endorsed the events in Surabaya, are mentally
ill," Aman said in court at a previous session.
trial spotlighted the loopholes in Indonesia’s overcrowded prison system, where
terrorism plots are hatched and banned materials, including cellphones, are
smuggled in with ease, security analysts say.
counterterrorism police were questioning five women and three children deported
from Turkey for attempting to cross into Syria, officials said.
eight returned to Indonesian on May 24 and were taken into custody of Densus
88, the elite counterterrorism force.
five adults were identified as Irma Novianingsih, 24; Fitri Luthfiana, 43;
Ainun Jariyah, 21; Wasiatun Nisa Damad, 33; and Qurrota Ayun Muhdi, 23. The
children were aged 3, 9 and 12, authorities said.
Muhammad Iqbal, an Indonesian foreign ministry official, said the Turkish
government intercepted the eight before they entered Syria.
have been handed over to Densus 88 for questioning,” he said.
authorities have deported 492 Indonesians since 2015, according to Foreign
Wasisto, a police spokesman, told BenarNews that Densus 88 had one week to
question the group.
don’t yet have info on whether they were involved in ISIS or not. They are
being examined,” he said.
parents said she had told them she was going to Kalimantan, the Indonesian
portion of Borneo, to become a teacher.
are still in shock, from hearing this news,” Riyadi, 47, tearfully told
BenarNews at the family home in East Java’s Tulungagung regency.
then, police and soldiers have searched the house and questioned them, she said.
said Irma had not come home since bidding her parents farewell in June 2017,
allegedly to teach in another province. “We did not know Irma left the
country,” said her father, Mujiatin, 50.
campus, at the State Islamic Institute, at a state-run Islamic college in
Tulungagung regency, Irma was known for being a private person who wore a long
veil and interacted only with close friends,
Ali Mashuri, a student acquaintance, said that sometime in early 2017 word got
around that she was inviting friends to learn archery, an unusual activity for
assistant rector at the school, Abad Badruzzaman said she had dropped out at
the beginning of her seventh semester at the school, after missing classes
frequently during the previous semester.
East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said Densus 88 on Tuesday
evening arrested four suspects linked to suicide bombings in Surabaya on May 13
individuals aged 42 to 54 were arrested in separate locations in nearby
Probolinggo Regency, and one of them was a civil servant, he said.
Tanjung, a Muslim preacher and former lecturer charged with spreading hate
speech for calling the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) members
“communists” on Twitter, was acquitted of all charges, as he had only
"copied and pasted" information from dubious sources.
Central Jakarta District Court ruled on Wednesday that what Alfian had done was
not a crime.
had tweeted on his account last year that "85 percent of the Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle members are [members] of the Indonesian Communist
PKI was disbanded after being accused of being responsible for the putsch
against president Sukarno and the killing of six Army generals in 1965.
judge Mahfudin argued that Alfian had just copied an unverified statement from
a news portal that apparently was not registered with the Press Council.
defendant just copied and pasted the information on his social media
account," he said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
travel agency operator Asmi Sesawi is at his wits’ end as he struggles to find
a way to appease a group of clients relying on his services to get them on a
tour of holy sites in Palestinian and Israeli territories, where a decades-long
simmering conflict recently escalated.
is outrageous, the tickets have all been issued,” he told The Jakarta Poston
Wednesday, after local media outlets broke news of a ban by Israel on
Indonesian nationals seeking entry into the country.
is working hard to ensure the pilgrims from Indonesia can still make the trip.”
owns Travel Stella Kwarta, one of many travel agencies that offer Indonesian
Christians the opportunity to embark on a spiritual journey to holy sites such
as the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, which holds prominent religious
significance as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
is currently in charge of a group of 30 Christians seeking access to the
agency usually takes around 20 groups of 30 people to Israel every year. “I
don’t know how many people go there every year, but if we’re talking all travel
agents in Jakarta, there must be thousands of them,” he said.
current group, as well as others from the Muslim community with plans to enter
Jerusalem, are now in limbo after Israel reportedly barred Indonesian passport
holders from entering the country.
report about Israel’s move was widely circulated among travel agents offering
trips to the Middle East on Wednesday.
May 29 we received a circular from the Israeli Ministry of Interior that was sent
from our partners in Israel, saying that after June 9 Indonesian passport
holders will not be able to enter Israel,” a message issued by a travel agent
in Surabaya, East Java, said.
report quoted a notification issued by the Israeli Border Control Department
based on an order from the country’s Foreign Ministry.
statement, which the Post obtained, said further that Indonesian tourists
scheduled to enter Israel by June 9 would still be able to enter.
website of the think tank Middle East Monitor quoted an Israeli Foreign
Ministry spokesman on May 23 as saying that Indonesia had banned Israelis from
entering the country in response to “the massacre in Gaza”.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s director of Middle Eastern affairs, Sunarko, said
his office was unable to verify the information.
a separate event, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saefuddin underscored
the importance of access to Jerusalem as a holy city for several religions.
should understand this so the prohibition should not include the holy city
because it belongs to citizens of the world with equal rights to visit a holy
city,” he said, also insisting the information could not be verified.
Gazali from Aliyah Perdana Wisata, a Makassar-based travel agent for haj and
umrah (minor haj), said the Israeli government would experience losses from
their decision, as pilgrims contributed “significant income to the Israeli
said at least 150 Muslims visited Jerusalem every day to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Singapore investigators are in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to help
authorities with an investigation into scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB,
Singapore police said on Thursday, as the country’s new government steps up
efforts to tackle graft.
least six countries, including the United States and Switzerland, are
investigating claims that $4.5 billion was siphoned out of the fund, 1Malaysia
Development Berhad, founded by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysian counterparts have requested for our assistance in relation to their
1MDB-related investigations, and we agreed to a meeting in Kuala Lumpur,” a
Singapore police spokeswoman told Reuters in an email.
gave no details of the assistance sought.
news comes a week after Malaysian officials met officers of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which refers to
Najib as “Malaysian Official Number 1” in an anti-kleptocracy investigation of
has denied any wrongdoing and said in 2016 that the Malaysian government would
cooperate with US investigations.
has taken action against several banks and bank officials for failures of
money-laundering controls over transactions related to 1MDB, including the
closure of units of BSI Bank and Falcon Bank.
newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has vowed to investigate the 1MDB
scandal and act against those who may have abetted, or benefited from,
corruption at the fund.
who defeated Najib, a former protégé turned political opponent, in the historic
May 9 elections, immediately reopened 1MDB investigations and barred the former
leader from leaving the country.
former prime minister went to Malaysia’s anti-graft agency to give a statement
explaining what he knew about $10.6 million transferred into his bank account
from the fund.
week, Malaysia’s finance minister said funds from deals with the central bank
and sovereign wealth fund Khazanah were used by the previous government to meet
some liabilities of the troubled state fund.
image trampled amid call to make India Christian-free
hard-line Hindu group has called on Christians to be thrown out of India and
stamped on images of Pope Francis while accusing him of promoting terrorism in
a video being circulated on social media since May 25.
video shows controversial Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj with a group of about
20 people carrying placards and banners with pictures of Pope Francis not far
from Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi.
made a speech before members of the group began stamping on the pope's image.
During his speech, he accused Indian Christians of promoting terrorism and
Maoism in the country and demanded they should leave India.
Christians don't leave India, Maharaj said, they will use force to expel them.
spread a banner featuring a picture of the pope on the road and then, with
several others, stamped on it. Slogans of "Pope Francis murdabad"
(Down with Pope Francis) were shouted.
video has caught the attention of Christian groups in central India, prompting
them to approach the police to stop the video's circulation.
James, spokesman for the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, the ecumenical national
Christian forum based in Madhya Pradesh, said the police have been alerted to
kind of public display of hate toward any religious group or leader would not
be allowed in a civilized society," James told ucanews.com.
Prasad, inspector general of Police in state capital Bhopal, told ucanews.com
that his officers "will not allow anyone to spread discord among people
with such videos."
Pradesh is among states governed by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
have already instructed officials to do what is necessary to ensure
peace," said Prasad on May 29.
Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Indian Bishops' Conference,
believes the timing of the video is connected to a pastoral letter issued by
Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi which BJP leaders have condemned as
letter sought for Catholics to pray ahead of the 2019 general elections because
India was facing "a turbulent political future that threatens the
country's democracy." BJP leaders said the letter was part of a Vatican
game to tarnish India and the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra
video is an aberration and not expected," said Bishop Mascarenhas, who
asserted that it in no way does it represent the opinion of the majority of
and Muslim leaders say the BJP, which officially adopted Hindutva or Hindu
cultural nationalism as its ideology 25 years ago, supports hard-line Hindu
groups who seek to make India a Hindu-only nation.
the BJP says its idea of nation is based on Indian culture and not on religion,
its leaders favor policies that support Hindu religious practices and concepts
which challenge India's cultural and religious diversity.
one example, Subramanian Swami, a BJP parliamentarian, moved a bill last year
seeking capital punishment for cow slaughter since the animal is revered by a
section of Hindus. He has continued to argue that cow slaughter should be tried
a May 23 Twitter message, he urged Modi to cease all diplomatic relations with
the Vatican. He also said the Vatican embassy in New Delhi should be sealed as
the Delhi archbishop is "a formal nominee of the Vatican."
leaders like Bishop Cajetan Francis Osta of Muzaffarpur in Bihar said such
controversies are "political gimmicks to divert the attention of the
people from burning issues" such as inflation and unemployment.
in Jakarta: How Muslim-majority Indonesia keeps its Hinduism alive
Modi is all set to visit The Arjuna Wijaya Chariot situated at Central Jakarta
as he spends a day at Indonesia.
is the PM's first stop as he commenced on his three nation visit. The two other
countries PM Modi will be visiting are Malaysia and Sinagore.
Arjuna Vijaya Chariot statue stands testimony to the cultural reach and
influence of the great ancient Indian epic Mahabharata in Indonesia where the
other famous ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana, is also equally popular.
comprise two per cent of Indonesias population and form close to a 90 per cent
majority on the island of Bali. The country is also home to 100,000-plus strong
Indian diaspora, largely comprising Tamils and Sindhis, the majority of whom
live in the capital, Jakarta, and the city of Medan in Sumatra.
with the traditional Hindu gods such as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Balinese
Hindus worship a range of deities unique to their branch of the religion. Sang
Hyang Widhi is the designation for one God in Balinese Hinduism.
teems with temples devoted to various Hindu gods. Even in other parts of the
country, for instance, the Muslim-majority neighbouring island of Lombok,
Hinduism exists in a syncretic embrace with Islam.
is home to the Pura Lingsar temple complex, where both Hindus, and those
Muslims who adhere to the islands unique waktu telu tradition of Islam,
is also the worlds most populous Muslim country and its third largest
democracy. Pm Modi will also make a stop at the majestic Istiqlal Mosque,
accompanied by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
is one of the six official religions of Indonesia, and the country is home to a
lot of influences from the religion, including food.
that is known mostly for its wide array of non-vegetarian food ranging from
various kinds of fish to seafood, has various vegetarian delicacies too to
offer, including gado-gado and Sambal goreng kentang.
features predominantly in the food, as does tofu and potato, and makes the
Indonesian pleasantly familiar, with a twist.
Indonesia and India pledged on Wednesday to step up defence and maritime
cooperation, with plans to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the
Indian Ocean, the leaders of the two countries said after meeting in Jakarta.
President Joko Widodo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi + to discuss, among
other issues, developing infrastructure and an economic zone at Sabang, on the
tip of Sumatra island and at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, one of the
busiest shipping channels for global trade.
is a strategic defence partner...and we will continue to advance our
cooperation in developing infrastructure, including at Sabang Island and the
Andaman Islands," Widodo told a news conference after the meeting at the
presidential palace. Analysts say the move comes amid concerns over China's
rising maritime influence in the region, and is part of Modi's "Act
East" policy of developing stronger ties with the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN).
India-ASEAN partnership can be a force to guarantee peace and progress in the
Indo-Pacific region and beyond," PM Modi said in a statement read in Hindi.
this year invited the leaders of all ten ASEAN nations to attend New Delhi’s
Republic Day parade, the biggest such gathering of foreign leaders at the
has been tension in Southeast Asia over the disputed South China Sea, a busy
waterway claimed in most part by China.
Updates on PM Narendra Modi's Indonesia visit
Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims in
the area, through which about $3 trillion worth of sea-borne goods passes every
not a claimant, Indonesia has clashed with Beijing over fishing rights around
the Natuna Islands and expanded its military presence there. It has also
renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone, to reassert its
Modi, who is making his first trip to Indonesia, also visited the Istiqlal
mosque in the capital of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.
Indian PM flies to Malaysia on Thursday to meet recently elected Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad before heading to neighbouring Singapore to address a regional
security forum, the Shangri-La Dialogue.
week, Indonesia's chief maritime affairs minister, Luhut Pandjaitan, said the
existing port at Sabang, which is 40 metres (131 ft) deep, could be developed
to accommodate both commercial vessels and submarines, according to media.
transport minister told reporters on Wednesday that Sabang would get a
transshipment port that could be developed over two years.
about Indian investment in Sabang, Indian foreign ministry official Preeti
Saran said New Delhi was interested in helping build infrastructure across
have been discussions about building infrastructure, it's not just seaports,
but airports," she said. "There would be a lot of interest among
National Investigation Agency (NIA) considered holding a joint trial of three
bomb blast cases dating back to 2007 on the premise that it could have better
prosecuted the suspects, but the idea was dropped in January 2014 because of an
adverse legal opinion and other factors, current and former officials familiar
with the matter said.
three cases relate to the explosions that took place in February 2007 on the
Samjhauta Express near Panipat in Haryana while on its way from Delhi to
Lahore, in May 2007 at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and October 2007 at the
Dargah Ajmer Sharif in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
opinion was sought from the law ministry through Union home ministry in June,
2013 in this regard as the agency wanted to move the Supreme Court for clubbing
the trial” in the three cases, a home ministry official familiar with the
matter said on condition of anonymity.
opinion was against a joint trial.
trials have led to a situation where an accused, Devendra Gupta, was convicted
in one case (the Ajmer blast) but acquitted in another (Mecca Masjid blast). In
another curious twist, the NIA ended up trying a person as a suspect in two
cases and presented him as a witness in one He has been acquitted in both cases
in which he was a suspect. A common trial may have averted such contradictions,
NIA officials said.
month, a special court of the NIA in Hyderabad acquitted all the five
charge-sheeted in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case for want of concrete
evidence after some of the witnesses turned hostile. On Tuesday, amidst news
reports that the NIA would not appeal the acquittal, an NIA official said on
condition of anonymity that no decision had been taken and that the agency was
still in the process of seeking and considering legal opinion.
five acquitted were Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swamy Aseemananda of Gujarat,
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary Devendra Gupta of Rajasthan;
property dealer-cum-RSS activist Lokesh Sharma of Madhya Pradesh, Bharat
Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai of Gujarat; and Rajender Chowdary of
Madhya Pradesh, a farmer.
Jaipur court in March last year found RSS members Sunil Joshi and Devendra
Gupta guilty of planning the blasts in Ajmer — one of the two bombs didn’t go
off — and Bhavesh Bhai Patel of planting the explosive. The court acquitted
Aseemanand and six others, giving them the benefit of doubt. Aseemanand is
still facing trial and is currently out on bail in the Samjhauta Experss blast
case. “All the three cases were tied with the confessional statement of Swami
Aseemanand and he was listed as prime accused in them and the incidents took
place within a span of one year,” added the home ministry official cited above.
219 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) states that when a person is accused
of multiple offences of the same kind committed within 12 months, he or she may
be charged and tried in a single trial. But the section makes it clear that
only three offences can be clubbed in a joint trial.
per our understanding, the agency was required to seek sanction of the Supreme
Court to hold trial in these three cases as the offences had taken place in
different states. Here the trial was not only to be clubbed, but required
shifting from one state to another, therefore an opinion was sought from the
law ministry in this regard,” said a former NIA official with the direct
knowledge of the matter. “These three offences were committed under same
conspiracy by almost same set of accused within a span of one year. They were
fit for a joint trial,” added the former official.
show that at least six suspects, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange, Ramesh
Venkat Mahalkar alias Amit Hakla (all three absconding), Lokesh Sharma, Sunil
Joshi (dead) and Swami Aseemanand, were common to all three cases. Three
suspects, Rajendar Chaoudhary, Deevender Gupta and Bharat Mohanlal Rateswar,
were being tried in two of these three cases. In January, 2014, when the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA) was still in power,the NIA received legal opinion
against a joint trial, which prompted he agency drop the move.
was told that it was not feasible to hold a joint trial in these cases,” said
the home ministry official cited above.
former NIA official and a second NIA official associated with the investigation
of these cases said on condition of anonymity that besides the adverse legal
opinion, there were other reasons as well that made the then government wary of
a joint trial, noting that the blasts had taken place in three different
locations. A joint trial would also have made it difficult for the suspects to
get bail, they said.
trials led to many peculiar situations. For instance, one of the witnesses in
the Samjhauta Express blast case (Bharat Mohanlal Rateswar) was later named a
suspect in the other two cases. “What can you expect from such a witness? Was
he going to support the prosecution? That could doom your trial from day one,”
said the second former NIA official.
lawyer JP Sharma confirmed that his client was an NIA witness in the Samjhauta
Express blast case and had turned hostile.
militants plan siege of Hudaydah despite intl. warnings
militants in Yemen are reportedly preparing to lay a siege to Hudaydah despite
UN warnings against any attempt to seize the key Red Sea port, which serves as
the main conduit for humanitarian aid flow into the war-torn country.
sources said Wednesday that forces loyal to Yemen’s former Saud-backed
president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, were sending reinforcements ahead of a “new
operation” to enter Hudaydah city and seize its port, a vital lifeline where
millions of Yemenis get their food and medicine amid Saudi Arabia’s all-out
blockade of the country.
city is controlled by Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has
been both running state affairs and defending the country in the face of the
deadly Saudi-led military campaign.
Sadiq Duwaid, from the Saudi-led forces, who will be taking part in the
operation, said it was “being bolstered by new forces... that will take part in
we will cut off supply lines, especially between [the capital] Sana’a and
Hudaydah, then we will place the Houthis under siege,” he said.
Ansarullah fighters and their allied forces have stepped up their
counter-attacks against the Saudi-backed militants.
Wednesday, they destroyed the military vehicles belonging to the Saudi
media also say people from other provinces are rushing to Hudaydeh to help the
locals and Houthi forces foil militant attempts to enter the city.
were reported between the militants and Ansarullah fighters east of the port
city, while the Saudi-led coalition carried out numerous airstrikes on Houthi
were reported on both sides of the conflict.
claims that Yemen’s Ansarullah movement uses the port for weapons delivery.
Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday voiced grave
concern over militant attempts to attack the strategic city, saying “increased
fighting would unleash even more internally displaced people.”
International also said intense fighting near the port of Hudaydah had
displaced tens of thousands of people, warning against the spread of clashes to
US-backed coalition once sought to overrun the port last year, but backed off
apparently amid international pressure, with the UN warning that the port’s
seizure would have a “catastrophic” impact.
Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, Ansarullah’s leader, has warned Saudi Arabia and its
allies against further escalation in the city.
decision of invading the Yemeni western coast has been taken and adopted by the
United States of America,” he added. “Those who bet on the support of foreign
forces will never reach satisfied results.”
Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in support of the
country’s former Riyadh-friendly government. The Yemeni Ministry of Human
Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left
600,000 civilians dead and injured until then.
to United Nations figures, a record 22.2 million people in Yemen are in need of
food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
spy drone shot down
Yemeni army forces shot down a Saudi-led reconnaissance drone in flight over a
border area in the kingdom's southern region of Asir on Wednesday.
a unit of Yemeni army targeted a gathering of Saudi soldiers in the kingdom's
border regions of Jizan and Najran, inflicting damage on them.
Syrian president has said that Donald Trump's "animal Assad" slur is
representation of the US president himself.
represents him, and I think there is a well-known principle, that what you say
is what you are," says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an
interview with RT to be aired on Thursday.
was referring to an April tweet by US President Donald in which he blamed
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for the alleged chemical attack near
the capital Damascus.
Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to
pay," Trump tweeted.
the interview Assad was asked if he had a nickname for the US president, to
which he responded:
is not my language, so, I cannot use similar language. This is his language. It
represents him, and I think there is a very known principle, that what you say
is what you are. So, he wanted to represent what he is, and that's normal.
Anyway, it didn't move anything, and this kind of language shouldn't move anything
for anyone," he said.
only thing that moves you is what people that you trust, people who are
level-headed, people who are thoughtful, people who are moral, ethical, that's
what should move anything inside you, whether positive or negative. Somebody
like Trump will move nothing for me," he added.
alleged chemical attack on April 7 in the militant-held town of Douma in the
Eastern Ghouta region left dozens dead and drew international condemnation from
various countries and and international bodies.
a statement, Damascus strongly rejected the allegation of using chemical
munitions and said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group
was repeating the accusations “in order to accuse the Syrian Arab army, in a
blatant attempt to hinder the army’s advance.”
governments of Iran and Russia have also rejected the accusations against the
surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led
by the US and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),
which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
has also consistently denied using chemical weapons over the course of the
foreign-backed militancy, which gripped the country in 2011.
governments and their allies, however, have never stopped pointing the finger
at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.
April, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the town of Khan Shaykhun in the
northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, taking at least 80 lives. Accusing
Damascus, the US then launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a
Syrian air base, taking the lives of about 20 people including both Syrian
soldiers and civilians.
US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside
Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus
government or a UN mandate.
The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Mohammed bin Abdul
Karim Al-Issa, and the Grand Mufti of Chechnya Sheikh Salah Majayev signed a
memorandum of cooperation at MWL headquarters in Makkah.
agreement included mutual cooperation in spreading moderation, combating
extremism and Islamophobia, and expressing the position of Islam on extremist
movements and deviant trends.
sides agreed to organize meetings between Muslim academics, thinkers and
researchers and followers of other cultures and civilizations for dialogue and
cooperation to improve the image of Islam and to highlight its universal human
values, to support moderation, tolerance, justice, understanding and peace
agreement also dealt with cooperation between the two sides in the exchange of
information, expertise and publications and the preparation of studies,
research seminars and dialogue programs on the areas of joint action.
US intelligence is planning a provocative move by using prohibited substances
in the Syria to falsely blame the Syrian government for a chemical attack, the
Arabic-language SANA news agency quoted an informed source in Syria's National
Committee as saying.
to intel received by the committee, the former ISIL members who are operating
under the name of Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) with the US forces, have
relocated some families from their controlled areas to the US military base in
Jafreh Oil rich region in Deir Ezzur province to set the stage for another new
chemical show-off to accuse the Syrian army," the source said.
Syrian source reiterated that some other western countries, including France
and Britain, are accomplice to such crimes against Syria.
the so-called White Helmets and other non-government organizations alleged that
Syrian government troops had dropped a chlorine bomb on civilians in the city
of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. The allegations were used by the United States,
France and the United Kingdom as a pretext to deliver a massive airstrike on
Syria on April 14.
Pentagon has admitted that it does not have any solid proof of the attack but
had still teamed up with the French and the British and launched over 100
missiles on Syria on the very day a team of OPCW experts was slated to enter
Moscow and Tehran branded the move as aggression against Syria's sovereignty.
presented by the White Helmets has been proven fake by a boy who was filmed and
his father, as well as another boy who got food for participating and a doctor
at Douma's hospital where the shooting took place.
servicemen have found no trace of any attack at the site, but discovered a
militant laboratory equipped for manufacturing chemical weapons. The Russian
General Staff had correctly predicted a false flag attack with ensuing
aggression against Syria a month before it actually occurred.
a relevant development in late April, a military diplomatic source said that
further provocations with improvised chemical weapons are not excluded in Syria
to justify a possible Jabhat al-Nusra-led offensive on government troops in
al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) alone and affiliated units of the Free Syrian Army
(FSA) have pulled more than 12,000 militants and hundreds of hardware pieces to
stage an offensive on government troops’ positions. The offensive will follow
allegations that government troops violate the ceasefire, According to the
source, TASS reported.
stage an offensive on government troops’ positions, Jabhat al-Nusra alone and
affiliated units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have pulled more than 12,000
militants and hundreds of hardware pieces, dozens of multiple missile launcher
systems they received via corridors controlled by illegal armed groups along
the border with Israel and Jordan," the source stated, adding that the
offensive would be grounded by militants’ statements about alleged ceasefire
violations of the Syrian army.
magnify the effect, it is not ruled out than more provocations with the alleged
use of improvised chemical weapons against civilians will follow," the
ultimate goal of the operation is to establish an autonomous territorial entity
with a capital city in Dara'a as is in the case of territories controlled by
the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Northeast of Syria, according to the
source noted that the situation in Southern Syria had dramatically deteriorated
in the recent weeks and, despite the United States’ statements, "key
roles" in the Yarmouk valley are played not only by the Free Syrian Army
but also by Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL groups.
convoys with alleged humanitarian cargoes regularly reach this area across the
Jordanian border. But no one knows what kind of cargoes are actually delivered.
All deliveries of the so-called humanitarian assistance are controlled only by
the Americans," he said.
army dispatched a large number of forces of the Fourth Division and President
Guard Force along with a large volume of military equipment to Hadhar region in
army is preparing to launch a large-scale operation in Southern Syria if
reconciliation talks with militants fail.
army's operation is expected to be launched in Northern Quneitra and later
continues in Dara'a province.
groups in the Southern provinces of Dara'a and Quneitra formed a new coalition
on Sunday amid the Syrian Army's preparedness to launch an imminent large-scale
operation to end militancy in the Southern part of the country.
army dispatched a large number of fresh forces and a large volume of military
hardware to Dara'a city and its countryside and Quneitra province in recent
days as a prelude for kicking off an imminent operation against the terrorist
groups in Southern Syria.
the meantime, the army issued last warnings to the terrorists, calling on them
to lay down arms and join reconciliation plan.
army sent a new convoy of fresh soldiers and military hardware to Western
Aleppo to face the small pockets of the terrorist groups that are still in the
new military convoy will head towards the Northwestern countryside of Aleppo to
launch an imminent operation in the Western direction of Jam'iyat al-Zahra
of the Western countryside of Aleppo city have in distress calls asked the army
to restore sustainable security to al-Nile Street, al-Khalediye and al-Shahba
sources reported last week that the army send a large number of soldiers and a
large volume of military hardware from Lattakia to Kafr Hamra and al-Lairamoun
regions in the Northwestern countryside of Aleppo city to take part in a
possible operation against terrorists.
sum of 800 militants that had laid down their arms and endorsed the peace
agreement with the army in Bebeila received government's amnesty.
government has recently started granting amnesty to the militants in Northern
Homs and Southern Hama.
daily quoted a field sources as reporting on Tuesday that a sum of 32,000
militants that had laid down weapons went to peace committees in the towns and
villages of al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Dar al-Kabireh, al-Zaferaniyeh, Taldou and
Ezzeddeen in HOms province and received their amnesty issued by the Damascus
large number of people in al-Mashlab, Seif al-Dowleh and al-Saqiyeh streets
protested against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
demonstrators called for exit of American and French occupiers from Raqqa city,
but, SDF opened fire at them in Jameh al-Hassan neighborhood.
SDF further declared curfew in the city and dispatched a large volume of
military equipment to Raqqa city.
Kurdish militias then increased their patrols and checkpoints in Raqqa city.
sources reported that the Kurdish militias prevented rescue and aid workers
from entering Romeileh neighborhood whose residents demonstrated against the
sources in Western Raqqa reported on Thursday that people hoisted the Syrian
flag in several villages and towns in the region on Wednesday, provoking the
Kurdish SDF forces to attack the villages of Kadiran, al-Salhabiat, A'ayouj,
al-Jayef, al-Adnaniyeh and al-Mansoureh in Western Raqqa and the two first and
second districts in the town of al-Tabaqa.
SDF fighters also detained a large number of civilians during the raids and
seized the cell phones of most of the young people in the villages of Fatih,
A'ayouj and al-Mansoureh.
fighter jets pounded terrorists' positions and movements in the towns of Kafr
Naboudeh and al-Latamina in Northern Hama.
air raids were launched to retaliate terrorists' attack on Mahradah thermal
Power Plan and the town of Sahlab and its outskirts in Hama province.
arms and ammunition depots were targeted and destroyed in the airstrikes.
the artillery and missile units launched a heavy shelling on the positions of
Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) near
the towns of Morek, Kafr Zita and al-Latamina, killing and wounding a large
number of terrorists and destroying their military hardware.
the meantime, the army soldiers cut off the road connecting al-Zalaqiyat to
al-Latamina following repeated attacks of the terrorists on Mahrada thermal
Power Plant, the town of Mahradah and army positions in the region.
Monday the artillery and missile units pounded terrorist-held regions in
Northern Hama, and destroyed several bases.
artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at the positions and movements of
terrorists the town of al-Latamina and the village of al-Zakat in Northern
Hama, and destroyed several bases, strongholds and military vehicles of
army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL and warded off their attack in a
desert near Sabikhan settlement.
the meantime, other units of the army repelled ISIL's attack in the town of
al-Sahlehiyeh, East of Sabikhan, inflicting a number of casualties on the
terrorists and destroying their military equipment.
a similar development on Monday, the army forwarded more forces and military
equipment, including several cannons, to its positions in Eastern Damascus, to
launch a fresh round of large-scale attacks on ISIL that stormed the government
forces' position in al-Mayadeen desert recently.
the meantime, the army forces engaged in a tough battle with ISIL in Eastern
Badiyeh (desert) between Western Deir Ezzur and Eastern Homs, killing or
wounding a number of terrorists.
large number of fresh forces and a large volume of military hardware were
dispatched to the Southern part of the country to kick off a massive operation
against terrorists in Dara'a province.
large part of the fresh troops have deployed in Quneitra province.
the Syrian army continued its military advances in other parts of Syria over
the past 24 hours.
of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army's
operations in provinces across Syria.
Syrian Army dispatched more soldiers and equipment to the Southern part of the
country on Tuesday to launch an imminent operation against terrorists amid
reports on intensified tensions among terrorist groups in Dara'a province.
army forwarded a large number of fresh forces and a large volume of military
hardware to the Southern part of the country to kick off a massive operation
against terrorists in Dara'a province.
the meantime, local sources reported that a fresh round of infighting and
differences have covered Southern Syria, adding that the militants are not
capable of controlling the security situation in their region.
sources further said that six people have been killed in infighting among
terrorists in the town of Seida.
source went on to say that a group of the Free Syrian Army stormed al-Basha'er
University in the town of Nawa in Northwestern Dara'a, injuring a student.
number of Jordanian officers have participated in training the US-backed
Kurdish Border Guard forces in a camp in Northern Syria, a militant-affiliated
website reported on Tuesday.
news affiliated to the US-backed Arab militias in Northeastern Syria, disclosed
that six Jordanian officers along with four US-led coalition forces have joined
training of Border Guards of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Hasaka.
training camp is located in Sabah al-Kheir base South of Hasaka city, it said,
adding that light weapons were used while training.
news went on to say that the border guards have deployed along Syria's border
with Iraq and Turkey, adding that the guards will serve two years and are paid
a monthly salary of 115,000 Syria's lira.
report claimed that there is no Saudi officer in the region at present, but,
they are expected to arrive in the region soon.
news sources reported that three Saudi military advisor held a meeting with the
Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the US-run Kharab Ashak base South of Ein
al-Arab (Kobani) in Northern Syrian last Friday.
Arabic-language al-Baladi news website reported on Saturday that PYD along with
al-Sanadid Forces were recruiting to form the Border Guard Force in the town of
al-Ya'arabiyeh near Syria's border with Iraq, adding that the Saudis were
backing the PYD's plan to do so.
website further said that the men, who joined the Border Guard Forces would
serve two years and would receive a monthly $200 payments.
went on to say that the PYD militias embarked on digging trenches in Ra'as
al-Ein border region at Syria's border with Turkey, adding that the PYD planed
to equip the trenches along Syria's border with Turkey and Iraq with
pre-fabricated cement-made cabins supplied by the US forces.
US-led coalition had announced at the beginning 2018 that it had a plan to form
a 30,000-member Kurdish Security Border
Force in Northern Syria.
32,000 militants that had laid down arms have received government amnesty in
Northern Homs during the last two weeks and after the Syrian Army managed to
impose full control over Northern Homs and Southern Hama, an Arab media outlet
reported on Tuesday.
daily quoted a field sources as reporting that a sum of 32,000 militants that
had laid down weapons went to peace committees in the towns and villages of
al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Dar al-Kabireh, al-Zaferaniyeh, Taldou and Ezzeddeen and
received their amnesty issued by the Damascus government.
approves 2,000 West Bank settlement units despite outcry
Israeli regime has approved plans for the construction of about 2,000
settlement units in the occupied West Bank.
media said Wednesday that the defense ministry of the regime in Tel Aviv which
is responsible for the authorization of the internationally-banned settlements
gave the go-ahead for the contractions of 1,957 new units in the West Bank.
those settlement, some 696 gained full approval for construction, the reports
said, adding that plans for a total of 1,262 units were advanced through an
earlier planning stage.
decision comes despite increasing international outcry over Israel’s expansion
of the settlements which many see as a major impediment to peace in the Middle
East. Israel builds the settlements in territories that it captured in a 1967
war. The international community insists those territories belong to the
Palestinians and will be part of their future state.
governments have condemned the expansion of settlements, saying the policy
shows Israel lacks a genuine inclination towards peace. Even the United States,
Israel’s closest ally, abstained from a vote condemning the settlements in the
United Nations General Assembly in late 2016.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Tuesday that Israeli banks are
financing the regime’s unlawful settlement construction activities, saying the
move contributed to serious human rights violations and war crimes against
the 41-page report, the New York-based rights group said Israel’s seven largest
banks provide services to settlements and facilitate their expansion, thus
abetting unlawful population transfers.
report also warned that the Israeli settlements contribute to “a discriminatory
regime in which Israeli authorities restrict and stunt Palestinian economic
inherently contribute to serious human rights abuses. Companies that conduct
business in or with settlements cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these
abuses, because the activities they conduct take place on unlawfully seized
land, under conditions of discrimination, and through a serious violation of
Israel’s obligations as an occupying power,” it added.
approval for the new settlements also comes against the backdrop of heightened
tensions inside the occupied Palestinian territories, where anti-Israeli
sentiments have deepened following Israel’s crackdown on people protesting a
crippling blockade in the Gaza Strip. More than 115 people have been killed
since protests began on Gaza’s border in March.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened that the regime will hit
Iranian targets “anywhere in Syria,” where Iranian military advisors have been
giving effective assistance to the national army in its battles against Tel
Aviv-backed terror groups.
will continue to act against [Tehran’s] intention to establish a military
presence in Syria across from us, not just across from the Golan Heights but
anywhere in Syria,” he said on Wednesday.
has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the
Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts
against the terror groups.
has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in what is widely viewed
as an attempt to prop up the terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy
defeats at the hands of Syrian soldiers.
has been a hike in Israeli strikes since the collapse late last year of the
Daesh terror group, something that significantly demoralized the other Takfiri
militant groups operating against Damascus.
April 9, an Israeli airstrike against the T-4 airbase in Syria’s Homs Province
killed more than a dozen people, including seven Iranian military advisors.
has pledged that it would punish Israel for the deadly air raid.
has also been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical
treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.
the course of their recent advances in terrorist-held areas, Syrian government
forces have discovered considerable amounts of Israeli-made munitions,
including chemical warfare, digital equipment and drugs.
has repeatedly written to the UN in condemnation of Israeli acts of aggression,
calling on the world body and its Security Council to take firm measures
against the regime.
due in Europe over Iran
in his remarks, Netanyahu announced that he will travel to Germany, France and
Britain next week to meet with European leaders on Iran’s presence in Syria and
the 2015 nuclear deal.
will present them (the European leaders) with the latest strategic developments
in our region, which are connected to the efforts to halt Iranian aggression in
Syria and elsewhere,” he said. “We will not allow Iran to arm itself with
this month, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and vowed to reinstate nuclear
sanctions on Iran. Netanyahu hailed Trump’s decision, calling the accord a
“recipe for disaster.”
on Wednesday, Israel’s minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman flew to
Moscow to hold talks with his Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Iran’s
presence in Syria.
CITY: Residents of the Gaza Strip fear another war with Israel is looming after
the most intense airstrikes on the enclave for four years.
fighter jets, helicopters, drones and tanks hit dozens of military targets in
the area on Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday, terrifying Palestinian
civilians in nearby residential neighborhoods. There were no reports of
attacks came after Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired rockets and mortars at
southern Israel. Both groups have since declared that a cease-fire has been
agreed following Egyptian mediation, but Israel denied the existence of any
Abu Zaher, a 25-year-old student, was among the residents who thought Tuesday’s
bombing “was war again.”
waiting for the travel documents she needs to complete her master’s degree
abroad, she told Arab News that she is torn between wanting to stay in the
strip with her family and wanting to flee before the next round of bloodshed
was thinking could I leave my family here to face their fate alone if there is
a war or should I stay with them and share their suffering?” she said. In the
end, she decided that “I have to run away from here.”
friend Sahar Al-Khatib told Arab News that she stayed awake all night as the
sounds of the Israeli airstrikes and the Hamas rockets echoed across Gaza.
husband and I were talking about our scenario in the event of war. What would
we do? Would we stay at home or run away somewhere else?” she said. “We agreed
to put our valuables in one place so that we could escape quickly if something
and Islamic Jihad said that their rocket attacks were in retaliation for recent
Israeli strikes on their positions. Israel claimed about 100 rockets and
mortars were fired from the strip, with many of them intercepted by its Iron
Dome air defense system.
is now widespread trepidation among residents of Gaza that another escalation
last went to war in Gaza in 2014, when the UN found that 2,251 Palestinians
were killed, including 1,462 civilians, in a conflict that lasted just 50 days.
Up to 500,000 residents were displaced. Earlier conflicts took place in 2012
Khalil, a 47-year-old father of six, said that wars with Israel were “like the
World Cup” and happened every four years.
want to see my children living in peace and security. I have spent a few years
in Israel jails and I do not want my children to suffer what I have suffered in
the past,” he said.
told Arab News that Hamas and the other Palestinian factions did not want
another conflict with Israel and defended their use of rockets and mortars.
had to stop the repeated attacks of the occupation — the bombing and killing —
without a response. We also have dignity,” he said.
to around 2 million people, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in
the world and has been under an Israeli air, land and sea blockade since 2007,
when Hamas took control of the strip from its main political rival,
blockade has plunged the economy into recession and devastated local
infrastructure. Recent reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah have
stalled, adding to the sense of anger and frustration among people here.
forces have killed dozens of Palestinians since mass protests against the
occupation began in Gaza on March 30, with the worst of the violence coming on
May 14, when 60 Palestinians died.
Shawa told Arab News that he hoped there would be another war with Israel
because the “Gaza Strip cannot tolerate the cruelty of life anymore.”
said, “Israel must suffer as we suffer. It must think carefully about
everything it does against us.”
National Army seized Wednesday heavy weapons and rockets from Houthi militias,
while intense fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Hodeidah airport.
Arabiya correspondent reported that the Yemeni armed forces were 15 km away
Houthi militias looted institutions in Hodeidah, such as the branch of the
Central Bank there, in what appears to be a move ahead of their withdrawal from
other developments according to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Houthi militias in
Hodeidah have removed tens of Iranian military experts to other palces for
their safety,, after the Yemeni armed forces backed by the Arab coalition
advanced to the city center on the western coast of the country.
newspaper quoted Walid al-Qadimi, deputy governor of Hodeidah, as saying that
50 Iranian experts have been transferred to the capital Sanaa and Hajjah
governorate which is a stronghold of the Houthis.
Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman met with Yemen’s President Abdrabbo Mansour
Hadi in Jeddah on Wednesday to discuss the current developments in Yemen.
the meeting, the crown prince and Yemeni president discussed efforts in Yemen,
including developmental, humanitarian and relief efforts that are being carried
out for the Yemeni people.
meeting was attended by the Saudi Minister of State Musaid al-Aiban, and the
director of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency, Khalid al-Humaidan.
director of the president’s office Abdullah al-Olaimi, the head of the
president’s protection unit Commander Nasser Abdrabbo Hadi and the president’s
undersecretary Mubarak al-Bahar were also in attendance along with other
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz had also met with President Hadi in Jeddah
celebrities openly reject Rouhani’s invitation for a Ramadan Iftar
number of Iranian celebrities and artists declined President Hassan Rouhani’s
invitation for Iftar in solidarity with popular protests against rising prices
and deteriorating living conditions.
Hamati, Mehnaz Afshar, Parviz Parastui, Chila Khodadad, Barzoo Arjmand, Ehsan
Karami and Flor Nazari were among the famous celebrities who publicly declined
the Iftar invitation.
Hamati was one of the first celebrities to decline Hassan Rouhani’s invitation
by posting a picture of the official invite that she received on her Instagram
page where she wrote about the poor economic situation of the people and
people’s Iftar tables that are “becoming emptier, day after day.”
stated that her recent absence from Iranian television was caused by the fact
that “television no longer displays the real life of people.”
her open letter to Rouhani, the actress criticized the growing percentage of
poverty and the government’s lack of interest in solving the country’s problems
while suppressing any protest movement. "The iron fist has been grabbing
our necks for years and we have been suffocating," she said.
Afshar, another artist who refused Hassan Rouhani's invitation, said that
Athena Daimi should be the one to receive such an invitation to attend the
president's Iftar table. Daimi is currently serving a seven years prison
sentence for “propagating against the regime, collusion against national
security, insulting the leadership and insulting the founder of the Islamic
his part, the famous actor Perviz Parastui refused to accept the invitation of
the president's Iftar table saying in a statement he posted on his Instagram
account that “given the poor economic situation of the people, there is no need
to spend a lot of money on celebrations.”
social media users launched the hashtag ‘we will not attend your Iftar’
condemning Rouhani for failing to live up to his promises after five years of
rule. Social media users cited deteriorating living conditions, suppression of
freedoms and increased human rights abuses during Rouhani’s presidency.
Russian foreign minister says the United States chose to pull out of the 2015
nuclear agreement with an eye to “a total confrontation with Iran.”
the annual Primakov Readings conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Sergei Lavrov
enumerated some of the reasons behind the aggravating problem of weapons of
mass destruction in today’s world, criticizing US actions as a contributing
remember the apocalyptic predictions of the 1980s about a ‘nuclear winter.’
Fortunately, it did not come to pass, although the ‘Arab Spring’ came, which,
through a series of tragic events, also exacerbated the problem of weapons of
mass destruction,” he said.
am referring to the withdrawal of the United States from the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program with the
view of organizing a total confrontation with Iran, and many staged situations
involving the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government aimed at
changing the regime in Damascus,” he added.
May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the
nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the
highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later threatened Tehran with the “strongest
sanctions in history” if it did not comply with a list of steep demands.
is holding negotiations with other signatories to the JCPOA, seeking assurances
that the country’s interests would still be protected under the accord without
forces should leave southern Syria
in his remarks, the top Russian diplomat said that the withdrawal of all
foreign forces from Syria’s southern parts should happen “as soon as possible.”
also noted that agreements have been reached between Russia, the US and Jordan
on a safe zone in southern Syria, bordering Jordan and the occupied Palestinian
(the agreements) stipulate that this de-escalation zone should consolidate
stability, while all non-Syrian forces must be withdrawn from this area. And I
think that this should happen as soon as possible,” Lavrov said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced on Tuesday that Moscow,
Washington and Amman had agreed to meet on a de-escalation zone in southern
Wednesday, he said the tripartite meeting will be held in the Jordanian
Al-Shabaab militants will face the firing squad after a Somali Military court
found them guilty of taking part in the Mogadishu Hotel Nasa Hablod attack of
October 29 2017
Mohamed Mohamed Samatar, Abdinasir Dhaqane Hassan and Abshir Mohamed Haji Bulu
had last week pleaded guilty of the killing of at least 20 people in the
three had been identified by witnesses as part of the militants who raided the
hotel in a complex attack that led to the firing of the then Somalia Intel
police said there are rising numbers of Islamist fighters gathering on the
country’s border with war-torn Somalia and some are planning attacks during the
Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
of the militants belonging to the al-Shabaab group have tried to cross into the
northeastern Kenyan counties of Wajir, Mandera and Garissa, the National Police
Service said Wednesday on Twitter. One group has been hiding in Somalia’s
mountainous Gedo region and may be planning attacks on the Kenyan side, it
an affiliate of al-Qaeda, has staged attacks that have killed more than 200
people in Kenya since the East African nation sent troops into Somalia in 2011
to prop up the government. Al-Shabaab has waged a more than decade-long
insurgency in a bid to impose its version of Islamic law in Somalia.
the start of 2017, Boko Haram militants have launched at least 12 attacks on
the University of Maiduguri.
university sits in Maiduguri, the same Nigerian city where Boko Haram was
formed. The group has launched attacks against Nigeria’s central government
Haram has also attacked the University of Maiduguri. Yet the university remains
open, and thousands of students continue to attend its classes.
than 20,000 students officially attend the school, and those numbers continue
in the face of threats
Muhammed produces a music show for the university’s radio station. He begins
each broadcast with a cheerful “Good Morning” message to keep students calm.
have to make it a point…to keep them positive. Of course, to try and stay
relaxed and focused on their studies,” he told VOA.
said students were still frightened a few weeks ago after suspected Boko Haram
militants invaded the city. But the militants left after they were driven away
by government troops.
student Tasiu Hassan was at the school in January 2017 when a suicide attacker
exploded a bomb, killing a professor. Later, Boko Haram released a video
claiming responsibility for the attack.
found myself in a very terrible situation in such a way that I had even thought
of going back home," Hassan told VOA. But he still stayed at school, like
many other students.
then, the university has been attacked at least 12 times by suicide bombers,
university officials told VOA.
July 2017, suspected Boko Haram supporters kidnapped 10 members of the
university's geology and surveying department. The Nigerian military later
University of Maiduguri is the largest and most famous public education center
in northeastern Nigeria. Its students are resisting Boko Haram's message that
condemns Western education as sinful.
Boko Haram's rebellion against the government, the university never closed.
show how resilient we are, to show how much sacrifice we are making and that is
the true reflection of the Maiduguri spirit -- we are here because we have a
responsibility to keep the system going.” Those are the words of Danjuma Gambo,
a mass communications professor and a spokesman for the university.
has to be around no matter how bad the situation is,” he added.
said that the university was too important to close, even for a day. He said it
provides a lot “to the local economy, to the business, to the finance, to even
social activities in Maiduguri.”
is why city and state officials said they would do anything in their power to
keep the university open.
commissioner for the Borno State Ministry for Education, Musa Inuwa Kubo, told
VOA the university has helped create a sense of self-respect in the community.
of us are products of that institution,” he said. He added that the resiliency
of the university during the Boko Haram attacks should be respected by
year, workers dug a 27-kilometer-long trench around the university, mainly on
its eastern side. This side faces the border with Cameroon, where many Boko
Haram fighters operate. The hole is designed to slow down attacks from the
militant group. Its fighters often invade cities on motorcycles.
day, dogs trained to smell bomb chemicals and weapons perform inspections at
two entrances to the university.
other public university in the area has this level of security.
is one reason why Esther Clement continues to attend the university.
of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have staged another peaceful protest to
demand the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
TV Correspondent Danjuma Abdullahi has the details from Abuja.
year after about 200 tonnes of date donated by Saudi Arabia to poor Nigerians
were diverted to the open market, the Nigerian government is yet to identify
dates were donated by Saudi Arabia for last year's Ramadan fast for free
distribution to persons displaced by Boko Haram as well as mosques where they
could have been assessed freely by fasting Muslims.
are Islamically the first things Muslims are expected to eat when they break
the Ramadan fast daily.
the donation and arrival of the dates, it was discovered that they were not
distributed as instructed, but were instead sold on the streets for profit in
some parts of Abuja and Borno State.
Nigerian government admitted the situation, published an apology to Saudi
Arabia and pledged to investigate the perpetrators of the scandal.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which apologised on behalf of the government,
pledged to investigate the incident.
Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim, in the statement
apologised for the "unfortunate turn of events".
is not the spirit in which the 200 tonnes of dates was given," she said.
200 tonnes is equivalent to about 200,000 kilogrammes of dates or about 4,000
units of 50kg bags filled with dates. The market value, based on PREMIUM TIMES
findings is about N20 million.
PREMIUM TIMES reached out to the foreign affairs ministry on the status of its
investigations, it avoided enquiries on it.
ministry's spokesperson, Tope Elias-Fatile, did not respond to several phone
calls and text messages sent.
Saudi Arabian government, though its embassy in Nigeria, declined to comment on
whether or not it was concerned that nobody has been punished for the crime.
the Nigerian foreign ministry confirmed the diversion of the dates, it
announced that they were to be distributed by the Nigerian Commission for
Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
when PREMIUM TIMES reached out to the refugees' commission on the status of the
dates and the investigation, its spokesperson, Alimat Musa, said, "The
supervising ministry is in the best position to give an update."
the Foreign Affairs (ministry) issued a statement to that effect, that they are
going to conduct an investigation, they should be the one to give the
the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which could have also aided in
getting the dates to the internally displaced persons, said it was not involved
in the distribution.
far as NEMA is concerned, we don't know anything like that," the agency's
spokesperson, Sani Datti, told PREMIUM TIMES.
a year gone, and new Ramadan almost mid-way, anti-corruption advocates and
Muslim groups frown at the government's inaction.
is a major smear to the integrity of Nigeria as a country," Lanre Suraj of
the Civil Society Network Against Corruption said.
deprives other people that would need support of other international
organisation and countries in future. Actually, the fight against corruption
and corrupt practices are not actually limited between the Naira and Kobo, it
is the abuse of office."
Suraj insisted that "the federal government must not only prosecute but
investigate the outcome of the distribution and make the investigation,
prosecution and sanction public of those who are connected."
questioned the commitment of the government to identify and punish the
don't think it is a very difficult task to embark and achieve," he said.
"if some of those dates were sold on the street of Abuja and Borno, then
it is not only easy to arrest those who are selling it, but extract information
refuses to place religious sanctions on Pakistan: report
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has again
recommended that Pakistan should be declared a ‘‘country of particular
concern’’ but the Trump administration, like its predecessors, has refrained.
USCIRF has been making this recommendation since 2002 but successive US
administrations have continued to ignore their advice on the grounds that the
proposed designation will fail to promote religious freedom in the country.
Dec 22, 2017, the US Secretary of State placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List
for “having engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom”.
The move caused speculations in the media that this year the administration may
declare Pakistan a country of particular interest, triggering a set of new
sanctions. But Pakistan escaped the designation this year as well.
report, however, notes that last year at least 50 individuals were imprisoned
on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, with 17 of them receiving death sentences.
The annual US report on religious freedom also notes that authorities in
Pakistan continue to enforce blasphemy laws, “whose punishment ranges from life
in prison to the death sentence for a range of charges”.
report warns that religious persecution remains a global issue, and in
countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and Russia minorities still
face widespread violations of religious freedom.
report singles out an incident in April 2017, when a mob shot and beat to death
student Mashal Khan at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, “following an
accusation of blasphemy later deemed by investigators to be false”.
notes that throughout 2017, unidentified attackers in Pakistan targeted and
killed Shias, Hazaras and Ahmadis in attacks believed to be religiously
against the Hazara ethnic group increased during the year and in five separate
incidents, unidentified assailants shot and killed 15 members of the Hazara
also killed at least seven members of the Ahmadi community in multiple
incidents that appeared to be targeted attacks.
report notes that the Urdu-language media in Pakistan, continued to show bias
in reporting on minority religious groups, including multiple instances in
which media used inflammatory language or made inappropriate references to
Afghanistan, “conversion from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy
and is punishable by death, imprisonment, or confiscation of property”, the
document notes that the Afghan Supreme Court has declared the Baha’i faith “a
form of blasphemy” and conversion to this faith “is punishable by death”.
Afghan branch of the so-called Islamic State group and the Taliban “continued
to target and kill members of minority religious communities”, the report adds.
India, eight of the 29 states have legislation restricting religious
conversion, with laws in force in five of those states.
often did not prosecute violence by vigilantes against persons, mostly Muslims,
suspected of slaughtering or illegally transporting cows or trading in or
consuming beef,” the report notes.
in several cases, it was later proved that the accused persons or their
families had never slaughtered a cow.
the current Indian government, “religious minority communities felt more
vulnerable to Hindu nationalist groups engaging in violence against non-Hindu
individuals and places of worship”.
Iran, the penal code provides for the death sentence for “proselytizing and
attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims, as well as for insulting figures”.
report notes that in Russia, the constitution provides for religious freedom
but “the government prosecuted individuals of many denominations for
unauthorized missionary activity under the amendments to anti-terrorism laws
passed in 2016, known as the Yarovaya Package”.
plea against scrutinisation of funding sources by ECP rejected
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) pleas against the terms of reference (TORs) of its
scrutiny committee and seeking in camera proceedings of the committee without
the petitioner, PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar.
directed the scrutiny committee it formed on March 12 to complete its mandate
of scrutinising PTI foreign funding under the original TORs without any of the
changes demanded by PTI.
ECP scrutiny committee was mandated to complete the scrutiny of PTI’s foreign
funding in one month, commencing April 3. However, the committee’s work was
stalled as PTI refused to submit requisitioned financial statements, arguing
that it has objections to the TORs of the committee and wanted the scrutiny to
be held in secrecy and without the presence of the petitioner.
Monday, a full bench of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired
Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza and four other members of the Election Commission
heard detailed arguments from the two counsels and reserved judgement for
Awan represented PTI while the petitioner was represented by Syed Ahmed Hassan
to Dawn, petitioner Akbar S. Babar said he was considering filing an
application before the ECP, requesting the suspension of the allotment of an
election symbol for the PTI till it comes clean with its accounts.
said that through an order dated April 1, 2015, the ECP has already determined,
after a detailed scrutiny of PTI’s audit reports, that “the declarations so
submitted do not contain source of funds with details”.
Babar said that PTI must not be allowed to contest the elections using money
from prohibited sources as the law clearly forbids the allotment of an election
symbol to a party which violates the funding laws, which he said is clearly the
case with PTI.
requested that the final judgement of the foreign funding case pending since
November 2014 should be announced before the next elections, scheduled for July
25, to allow people to make an informed choice about their leadership.
the ECP judgement dismissing PTI’s complaints, the ECP scrutiny committee met
in the afternoon.
its last meeting on May 28, PTI had requested the committee for more time to
submit its financial statements requisitioned in April this year, citing its
pending complaints before the ECP. After the rejection of the party’s
complaints, the committee once again sought the long overdue financial
statements. However, once again PTI representatives sought more time for
submitting these documents.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa has said that the country is on
a positive trajectory of peace and stability due to sacrifices of the security
forces and people.
to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Gen Qamar visited Quetta on
Wednesday and addressed officers and faculty of Command and Staff College.
job is not completed yet and we have to carry forward the gains [of war against
terrorism] towards enduring peace,” said the army chief.
his visit, Gen Bajwa acknowledged and hailed the contributions and performance
of young officers in the operations and advised them to continue excelling in
the ISPR added, the army chief visited Southern Command headquarters where he
was briefed about the progress of border fencing along the Balochistan portion
of the Pak-Afghan border, Quetta Safe City Project, and the ‘Khushal
day after the murder of prominent Sikh leader Charnjeet Singh in Peshawar,
Capital City Police Officer Qazi Jameel constituted an investigation committee,
headed by SSP Investigation Nisar Khan, to probe the matter.
a religious leader, member of several religious organisations and a social
activist known for his patriotism and activism for inter-faith harmony, was
killed on May 29 in what appeared to be a targeted attack, police said.
was killed in the Scheme Chowk area on Kohat Road. According to police, he was
on his way home from his shop when unidentified men opened fire, killing him on
the spot. The attackers immediately fled after committing the crime.
Peace and Justice Foundation President Radesh Singh Tony told DawnNewsTV that
the slain Sikh leader "always raised his voice for Pakistan".
recalled that Charnjeet Singh had arranged several demonstrations after an
Indian minister had alleged that Sikhs were being converted to Islam under
duress in Peshawar.
had also been running a campaign for the merger of Fata with Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, he added.
had hailed from Sadda in the lower Kurram Agency, but migrated to Peshawar in
the early '80s. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
community demands justice
funeral was held at Peshawar's Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh earlier today.
Sikh community demanded justice for the slain activist and lamented that the
state had failed to provide protection to the community.
2012, 10 members from the Sikh community have been killed in targeted
attacks," said Radesh Tony Singh, a Sikh community representative.
"The state has not fulfilled its promises of providing protection to our
AGENCY - A man was killed and three others were wounded on Wednesday after
unidentified persons attacked them inside the mosque in Bajaur Agency.
of local administration said that the incident took place in Malanagi area of
Mamond tehsil in the early hours of Wednesday.
killed and injured were members of ‘Tablighi Jamaat.’ They were staying in the
mosque for the last two days and were asleep when unidentified armed persons
attacked them with automatic weapons.
said that Mansab Khan died on the spot while three others were seriously
injured in the attack.
after the incident, residents of the area and tribal elders rushed to the
mosque and shifted the injured to Agency Headquarters Hospital, Khar.
senior official told that personal enmity could be the reason behind the
many as two soldiers were killed and three others were injured in an improvised
explosive device (IED) explosion near Datakhel area of North Waziristan, the
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Wednesday.
to military's media wing, the blast took place when an IED planted on track by
militants went off near a security forces vehicle.
deceased were identified as Lance Naik Momin Ali and Sepoy Saleem. The injured
have been shifted to Combined Medical Hospital (CMH) Peshawar.
appears to have reared its head in North Waziristan again after two girls'
schools were blown up in its Miramshah Tehsil.
attackers shot dead a veteran Sikh peace activist known for his active
contribution to interfaith harmony in Pakistan's militancy-hit northwest.
Singh, 44, was in his grocery shop on May 29 when gunmen on motorcyclists
opened fire at him and sped away in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province. He died on his way to Lady Reading Hospital.
slain activist regularly conducted interfaith programs and had hosted iftar
(evening) meals for Muslims since the start of fasting month Ramadan at two
locations in Peshawar.
has yet claimed responsibility for the killing, but provincial police chief
Salahuddin has ordered the immediate arrest of those involved.
60,000 Sikhs live in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including 15,000 who live in Peshawar
alone. According to Professor Kalyan Singh, general secretary of Guru Nanak Ji
Mission, none of them are safe.
prominent leaders of our community have been killed in the past two years in
this region. The voice of interfaith has been silenced, but security is one of
the many problems they are facing," he told ucanews.com
and Sikh families are forced to bury dead ones in Peshawar because the nearest
crematory is 45 kilometers away in Attock city. Many families have fled to
Punjab province and now their identity cards have been blocked."
a press statement released a few hours after Singh's death, the Cecil and Iris
Chaudhry Foundation, a Catholic group, condemned "this extremely tragic
incident in the strongest possible manner."
peace activist was known for promoting religious harmony and discouraging
violence. Such blatant acts of violence against religious minorities in
Pakistan, which more often than not are carried out with impunity, have left us
saddened and angry," it stated.
is imperative to make every possible effort to root out this scourge of
faith-based violence from our society. It is about time the authorities took
concrete measures to ensure protection of all citizens regardless of their
faith. This bloodshed has to stop."
Legal Aid Cell of the late iconic lawyer and rights activist Asma Jahangir paid
tribute to Singh.
are deeply saddened by Charanjeet Singh's death. His input and work with AGHS
on reforming discriminatory laws against religious minorities were emblematic
of his contribution towards the minority community. His killers must be held
accountable and dealt with in accordance with law," it tweeted.
left-wing Awami Workers Party also condemned the murder.
is our collective shame that he was killed while organizing iftars for the
Muslim community. We are allowing the best among us to be consumed in the fire
of religious hatred," it said.
leaders involved in Farah city attack killed in Helmand HIMARS strike
commander of the US Forces and the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan
General John Nicholson says the HIMARS strike in southern Helmand province has
left at least fifty Taliban leaders who had recently taken part in Farah city
Nicholson informed regarding the development as he was briefing reporters via
video teleconference in Pentagon.
— the senior Taliban leader who was there was the deputy shadow governor of
Helmand, and a number of other leaders underneath him,” Gen. Nicholson said in
response a question.
said “Now, we’re still assessing the specific names and positions. But what it looks like it was, was a group of
commanders, meeting in part to discuss the operation in Farah that many of them
had just participated in.”
they obviously thought they were meeting in relative safely in — safety in Musa
Qal’ah, but our intelligence was able to identify the group and effectively
conduct the strike,” he added.
US forces struck the Taliban compound last week using the HIMARS GPS guided
network likely behind the attack in Kabul: Gen. Nicholson
commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and US forces in Afghanistan
Gen. John Nicholson says that the attack on the Ministry of Interior (MoI)
compound was likely carried out by the Taliban, Haqqani Network.
Nicholson made the remarks during a video teleconference briefing the reporters
in Pentagon from Kabul.
believe it was a Taliban, Haqqani attack, but we’re still developing that
information. This tactic tracks with
their tactics in the past, but more to follow on that as we learn more about
the identity of the attackers,” Gen. Nicholson said in a response to a
to a statement released by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), a group of at least
ten militants launched a coordinated attack at around 12:10 pm local time today
with an attempt to storm into the main compound of the ministry.
the ministry said the Afghan forces reacted on time and quickly to suppress the
attack and managed to eliminate all the militants involved in they manage to
enter the compound of the ministry.
statement further added that the militants managed to reach to the entrance
gate of the ministry compound by disguising themselves in military uniforms and
using armored vehicles.
to MoI, the Afghan forces seized various types of arms, suicide bombing vest,
hand grenades, communication devices, and ammunition.
Senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials
on a possible ceasefire, the Pentagon said Wednesday, even as US forces killed
over 50 Taliban leaders in a series of strikes.
lot of the diplomatic activity and dialogue is occurring off the stage, and
it’s occurring at multiple levels,” General John Nicholson said in a teleconference
with reporters at the Pentagon.
would not identify the figures involved in the negotiations, except to say that
they included mid- and senior-level Taliban officials.
should point out they met in secret. This is how they were able to advance the
talks,” he said, adding that the success of the effort depends in part on the
“confidentiality of the process.”
President Ashraf Ghani in late February proposed peace talks with the Taliban,
saying they could be recognized as a political party if they accepted a
cease-fire and recognized the country’s 2004 constitution.
Taliban have not officially responded, but deadly attacks have proliferated
since then, particularly in Kabul, which has become the most dangerous place in
the country for civilians.
Wednesday, militants launched a gun and bomb attack on the Interior Ministry in
Kabul, killing a policeman in another demonstration of their ability to strike
at the heart of the Afghan capital.
Taliban also claimed responsibility for a predawn attack on a police station in
the capital of Logar province, about 70 kilometers southeast of Kabul.
police officers were killed and eight civilians were wounded, provincial police
spokesman Shapoor Ahmadzai said.
Nicholson, who has sought to drive the Taliban to the negotiating table by
bringing to bear increased US military pressure, maintained that violence and
progress can coexist.
likened the situation in Afghanistan to that of Colombia where the fighting
continued up until the FARC guerrilla group and the government signed a peace
accord in 2016.
a statement Wednesday, the US command in Afghanistan said the strikes against
those behind a recent attack in the Helmand provincial capital of Farah
resulted in “more than 50 casualties.”
pushing out fighters in Farah, Afghan and US forces continued to pursue them,
Nicholson told reporters at the Pentagon via video link.
surveillance by the Marines, the Taliban fighters returned to their Helmand
stronghold, a center for poppy cultivation.
May 24, they were spotted in a known Taliban command center in Musa Qala.
Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh does not expect India to return the
favour for helping ease its security headache.
cleared her government's stance when reporters drew her attention to a report
by an Indian daily at a news conference at the Ganabhaban on Wednesday on her
recent two-day visit to India.
stands by Delhi, Hasina wants Modi to 'reciprocate the favour’,” reads the
headline of Kolkata-based Anandabazar newspaper.
don’t want anything in return. What is there to be done in return? I ask for
less, give more," Hasina said.
will always remember what we’ve done for them. They had to deal with bombings,
shootings every day. We gave them their peace back.
must keep it in mind. But we don’t want anything in return," she added.
the Awami League returned to power in 2009, security forces cracked down on
Indian insurgents operating from Bangladesh.
Indian media had reported at the time that the Bangladeshi law enforcers handed
some of the top separatists to India.
about the ties between the two countries at the media call, Hasina recalled the
assistance India provided during Bangladesh’s war of independence from
(India) supported us during the Liberation War by training hundreds of
thousands of our freedom fighters and sheltering our refugees. We remember with
gratitude that they gave their lives on the battlefield with us,” she said.
said she believes her visit will boost the robust ties with India.
not comment further,” she said when the reporters asked for her reaction to
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comments that he hoped the Teesta
water-sharing deal would be signed during the current tenure of the two
can be bitterness among neighbours. But I don’t want to say anything that can
create bitterness,” she added.
prime minister emphasised discussion by the joint commission formed on sharing
water of the common rivers of the two countries.
criticised the construction of the Teesta Barrage in Bangladesh during deposed
military dictator HM Ershad’s regime.
are at downstream.. How can we cry for water after constructing the barrage?”
also said the Awami League would reconstruct the box culverts at Panthapath and
Motijheel so that both vehicles and boats can travel if the party retained
went to India to attend the inauguration of the Bangladesh Building at the
Visva-Bharati university and join a special convocation of the Kazi Nazrul
arriving in Kolkata on Friday morning, she travelled to Santiniketan where she
and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi attended convocation of the
Visva-Bharati and inaugurated the Bangladesh Bhavana.
two premiers also held a bilateral meeting.
discussed in detail various issues like strengthening bilateral ties and
sharing water of common rivers,” Hasina said.
Friday afternoon, she visited Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Rabindranath
prime minister met business leaders of Kolkata and joined a dinner hosted by
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi later in the night.
travelled to Asansol next morning to attend the special convocation of the Kazi
also received an honorary D Lit degree at the university.
her return to Kolkata from Asansol, she visited the Netaji Museum in the
- Militants launched a gun and bomb attack on the interior ministry in Kabul
Wednesday, killing a policeman in the latest chilling demonstration of their
ability to strike at the heart of the Afghan capital.
people were injured in the attack, which took place during the holy month of
Ramadan and was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Taliban are also stepping up their assaults on the capital, making the heavily
fortified city the deadliest place in the country for civilians.
forces rushed to the scene after the attackers detonated what police said was a
car bomb at the first checkpoint leading to the ministry, then tried to battle
their way inside.
fighting is over, the attackers have all been killed by security forces between
the first and second security perimeter," said Kabul police chief Daud
security source told AFP a clearing operation was continuing.
attackers used two vehicles to reach near interior ministry compound. There
were eight attackers involved, one detonated his explosives, seven others were
killed," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told reporters.
said one police officer had been killed and five civilians wounded.
Mujibullah Nabizada was injured in the first blast.
dragged myself to the road and a car picked up and brought me to the
hospital," he told AFP from his hospital bed, where he was being treated
for broken bones.
Saberi, 17, was also wounded in the blast and taken to hospital.
is sitting in their loved ones' blood these days," her brother Sameer told
AFP. "We request you [government leaders], for God's sake, if you can't
manage this country please resign."
security source told AFP there had been multiple blasts but could not confirm
was in my office when I heard a blast followed by gunfire. We were told to stay
inside our offices as the compound was attacked," said one ministry
which is trying to make inroads in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the
attack via its Amaq propaganda service.
also said they had found a car stuffed with explosives and guns at Kabul's
international airport near the interior ministry on Wednesday.
Kabul targeted -
IS and the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Kabul. The city accounted
for 16 percent of all civilian casualties last year, when 1,831 civilians were
killed or wounded nationwide, according to the United Nations.
myriad attacks in the last 12 months included two of the deadliest in the city
since the US invasion: a truck bomb on May 31, 2017 that killed more than 150
people, and an ambulance bomb in January 27 this year which killed more than
UN has warned that 2018 could be even deadlier.
fearful residents have restricted their movements as a result, afraid to linger
in bazaars or to become trapped in traffic during rush hour, a prime time for
week the Taliban called on Kabul residents to stay away from military and
intelligence centres in the capital, saying they planned more assaults as part
of their annual spring offensive.
avoid civilian casualties and only cause damage to enemy military, we are
asking Kabul residents to keep away," said a statement published online.
Taliban did not define what was meant by "military and intelligence
ALAM: Taliban attackers including a suicide bomber stormed a police station in
southern Afghanistan on Wednesday and killed six police officers, officials
bomber detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at the entrance of the police
station in Puli Alam, the capital of Logar province, said provincial police
spokesman Shapoor Ahmadzai.
other attackers then rushed into the police station compound, triggering a
half-hour gunbattle with security forces, he said.
half an hour security forces killed all the attackers. Unfortunately, three
national police and three traffic police were also killed. Eight civilians have
also been wounded,” he told AFP.
Larwai, the provincial governor’s spokesman, confirmed the details and said the
situation was under control, but the blast had damaged the police station.
Taliban, who are stepping up their spring offensive against Afghan security
forces and government officials, claimed responsibility for the attack.
on Wednesday, a vehicle bomb in the southern city of Kandahar went off inside a
garage, killing three mechanics and wounding 10 people, governor’s spokesman
Daud Ahmadi said. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
least ten people including three policemen and seven Taliban militants were
killed in the airstrike conducted in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.
to the provincial council members, the airstrike was carried out in the
vicinity of Chora district late on Monday night.
provincial council member Hayatullah Fazli confirmed that three policemen lost
their lives in an airstrike in Chora district late on Monday.
further added that the airstrike also left at least seven Taliban militants
to the provincial council member, an unmanned aerial vehicle fired two missiles
with targeting a police check post as well as another check post where the
Taliban insurgents had taken position.
local government and security officials have not commented regarding the report
the other hand, the Taliban group claims that seventeen check posts collapsed into
the hands of the Taliban fighters during a clash in Chora district.
group tells Tories to 'remove Islamophobia from party'
Muslim Council of Britain has reiterated a call for the Conservatives to launch
an independent inquiry into alleged Islamophobia within the party.
MCB has repeatedly demanded an investigation, and says there are now "more
than weekly incidents" involving Tory candidates and representatives.
an open letter, it tells chairman Brandon Lewis he must "ensure racists
and bigots have no place" in the party.
Tory spokesman said it took all incidents of Islamophobia seriously.
latest letter from the MCB lists a series of incidents it says took place
during April and at the beginning of May.
names Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, who has been criticised for hosting events
in Parliament with a controversial Hindu nationalist..
the time of the events, Labour and the MCB said Tapan Ghosh held
"abhorrent" views about Muslims.
Blackman said he did not regret sharing a platform with him, but did not agree
with Tweets sent by Mr Ghosh about Muslims. Mr Ghosh has also insisted he is
letter, sent by the MCB's secretary-general Harun Khan, calls for the Tories to
"publish a list of incidents of Islamophobia within the party where action
has already been taken", and "adopt a programme of education and
training on Islamophobia".
Mr Khan asks that the party "reaffirm from the highest level a commitment
against bigotry wherever it is found".
to the letter, a Conservative spokesman said: "We take all such incidents
seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved
inappropriately and launched immediate investigations."
prison Fleury-Merogis, which holds 20 female jihadist inmates and is notorious
for Islamic radicalization, is “simply cracking.” The staff struggles with
violence and exhaustion, a prison union representative told RT.
facility for imprisoned women within the Fleury-Mérogis Prison, located just
24km from Paris, has 290 female inmates, 20 of whom the administration tagged
as Islamic terrorists, or TIS.
to their specific profiles [of these 20 women], all their movements must be
accompanied by prison staff, but we do not have enough personnel to carry out
this task properly,” the regional secretary of the Ile-de-France branch of the
CGT Penitentiaries union, Ambroise Koubi, told RT France.
significant problem is that the French intelligence services hesitate to share
information with the prison administration. “We know that some were detained
following terrorist acts, but we do not know under what conditions,” the
official explained, noting that the staff are often not aware of what to expect
from the radicalized women.
facility is also poorly designed to hold ultra-violent captives, so the
terrorist detainees at times engage in aggressive acts against personnel. “A
prison officer was attacked last week by a radical inmate,” she said. Another
problem, Koubi explained, is that the facility doesn’t have an isolation cell,
and if incidents occur, violent inmates should be transferred to another
overworked prison staff are exhausted, and suicide attempts among those who
can’t bear the workload are not rare in the facility, according to Koubi.
prisons simply crack. We had two suicides of prison officers this month, a man
and a woman,” she said, adding that one more staff member tried to end her own
life. The administration is allegedly aware of the problems but doesn’t provide
the staff with the necessary help.
Prison, which holds a total of around 4,300 inmates, is notorious as a center
of Islamist radicalization. Among the inmates is Salah Abdeslam, who was behind
the deadly Paris attacks of November 2015. Amedy Coulibaly, one of the
terrorists who attacked a kosher store in Paris in January 2015, and Chérif
Kouachi, who was behind the Charlie Hebdo assaults, were once prisoners of the
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has vowed to pursue support
for an anti-terror force gathering five Sahel nations, despite a US rebuff for
visited the headquarters of the so-called G5 Sahel Wednesday in the central
town of Sevare on the second and final day of a trip to Mali, which is battling
a militant insurgency in the Sahel.
said the trip had left him with “a warm heart” and the UN would try to help the
country stage a free presidential election on July 29.
must have free elections and we will do our best to help the Malian authorities
to run the elections, even if I know that the difficulties are enormous,” he added
during a press conference in Bamako.
elections have been repeatedly postponed, in part because of security concerns
intervened militarily in Mali in 2013 to help government forces drive
Al-Qaeda-linked militants out of the north.
initial mission was followed in 2014 by Operational Barkhane, which deployed
4,000 French troops alongside the UN’s 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping
operation in Mali.
insurgency however has spread to central and southern Mali and spilled into
Burkina Faso and Niger.
Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger last year agreed to set up the joint
force, which would comprise 5,000 troops with a mandate to confront militants
in the vulnerable Sahel belt.
was projected to be fully up and running in March, but its deployment has faced
delays and the joint force is poorly-equipped.
as well as France, has been lobbying for the force to speed up its work and
pushing for UN funding, which would be in addition to technical support from
on May 23, the United States said it opposed a Security Council mandate for the
force and direct UN funding.
the setback, MINUSMA will provide the G5 with all possible support, Guterres
said, adding that he was “in favor of a stronger mandate” by the Security
Council for the force.
will put forward a very strong argument for the G5 to have the necessary
financial resources and equipment to be effective,” he said.
are also requesting (help for) development in the Sahel, because there is no
peace without development,” he said.
vast Sahel region has turned into a hotbed of lawlessness since chaos engulfed
Libya in 2011, the Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and the rise of
Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
€418 million have been promised for the G5 Sahel, mostly by European countries,
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. US support has been bilateral and
relatively low — $60 million was promised by then secretary of state, Rex
Tillerson, in October.
on Tuesday visited MINUSMA, heaping praise on the force which has suffered the
most fatalities of any UN peacekeeping mission.
has 12,500 military and police personnel but has lost more than 160 people
since it deployed in 2013 — a figure that accounts for more than half of UN
peacekeeping fatalities over this period.
unrest in Mali, a former French colony, stems from a 2012 Tuareg separatist
uprising against the state.
linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north but were largely driven out
in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
on Wednesday claimed one of its "soldiers" killed two policewomen and
a student in the Belgian city of Liege this week, the group’s Amaq propaganda
author of the attack on the city of Liege in Belgium is a soldier of the
Islamic State," ISIS said in a statement published on Amaq’s Telegram
account a day after the attack.
terror group said "he led the attack in response to calls to target the
countries of the US-led international coalition," which is fighting the
group mainly in Syria.
attacker identified as Benjamin Herman repeatedly stabbed two policewomen in
Liege on Tuesday before using their own firearms to kill them, according to
investigators in Belgium.
31-year-old also shot dead a student sitting in a parked car in the centre of
the industrial city.
police have identified Herman as a drifter who spent a decade in and out of
prison for acts of violence and petty crimes.
250 foreign fighters from Germany traveled to Syria and Iraq to take up arms
with the terrorist group PKK/PYD, the German government has confirmed.
2013, intelligence services identified 243 individuals who traveled from
Germany to the region in order to join the PKK and the PYD units, the German
Interior Ministry said in a reply to a parliamentary question.
least 20 of them were killed in clashes.
the 243 foreign fighters who joined the PKK and its Syrian affiliate PYD, 65
percent had German passports, according to the ministry.
the PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, it managed to set up several
covert organizations in the country and used them for its recruitment,
propaganda and fundraising activities.
terrorist group had nearly 14,000 followers among the Kurdish immigrant
population in Germany, according to the latest annual report of the country’s
domestic intelligence agency.
has long criticized German authorities for not taking serious measures against
the terrorist group, and continued activities of PKK and PYD in Germany has
been a major source of friction between the two NATO allies.
NSC chief of staff is from group that believes Muslims are plotting to take
Friday prayer service at Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Va., in 2015.
(Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)
White House has named a new National Security Council chief of staff from a
group that propagates the conspiracy theory that Islamists have infiltrated the
U.S. government in a plot to take over the country.
appointment of Fred Fleitz drew condemnation from civil rights groups this
week. The Anti-Defamation League criticized what it described as “his senior
leadership role with the Center for Security Policy, an Islamophobic, conspiracy-promoting
organization, Muslim Advocates, wrote in statement responding to Fleitz’s
appointment Tuesday, “The White House continues to be the nation’s central
organizing body for white supremacists.”
for the White House and the NSC did not respond to a request for comment on
Fleitz’s national security views. NSC spokesman Robert J. Palladino confirmed
Fleitz’s appointment as NSC chief of staff, deputy assistant to the president
and executive secretary.
is one among a flurry of new NSC hires from the ranks of longtime supporters
and associates of John Bolton, President Trump’s recently appointed national
security adviser, and one of an assembly of aides and advisers that civil
rights groups have accused of bigotry and religious bias since Trump took
is a former chief of staff to Bolton during the George W. Bush administration
and the author of “Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud”
and “The Coming North Korea Nuclear Nightmare: What Trump Must Do to Reverse
Obama’s ‘Strategic Patience.’ ” He most recently served as the Center for
Security Policy’s senior vice president for policy.
he has focused much of his recent energy in articles, social media posts and
appearances on conservative media praising Trump and Bolton and urging Trump to
kill what he has called “the FAKE Iran deal,” Fleitz has also promoted the myth
of European “no-go zones” — places the CSP casts as being governed by Islamic
law — as well as a widely debunked CSP survey that suggested a quarter of
Muslims support violence against Americans. (During his campaign, Trump cited
the same survey in calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.)
has promoted the idea of a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the Uited
States and co-authored a 2015 CSP report titled “A Plan for Victory Over the
Global Jihad Movement” that claimed that “the majority of Muslims and Islamic
authorities . . . promote or at least support jihad and shariah supremacism.”
no significant elements from within Islam thus far have presented themselves as
likely allies in the death struggle we confront with our mutual enemies,” the
and CSP have claimed that major American Muslim organizations and mosques are
secretly working to advance a jihadist agenda, that such groups should not be
trusted when they claim to “eschew violence” and that they should be
“neutralized as political forces.”
has also contrasted the acute danger that he claims is posed by Muslims
compared with other religious groups.
an appearance on Breitbart News Daily radio show last year, Fleitz attributed a
deadly terrorist attack in London to British Muslims’ “failure to assimilate.”
are communities where British Muslims are deliberately not assimilating, are
being taught to hate British society, and this is incubating radicalism.
There’s actually a parallel system of sharia law courts in the U.K. that
operate,” he said, making claims that British officials say are falsehoods.
warned of a similar danger from American Muslim communities, adding that only
certain groups pose a danger by not assimilating.
not concerned about Amish or Jewish communities, but I will tell you that there
are enclaves of Muslim communities in Michigan and Minnesota that concern me.
We know that in Minnesota there’s a rising rate of measles because the
community has not assimilated into the rest of the community and is not
vaccinating their children,” he said, referring to an outbreak in Minneapolis
after anti-vaccine activists convinced members of the Somali immigrant
community that vaccines cause autism. “This is wrong. This is a big problem.”
problem with these Muslim communities is that it is making them susceptible to
this radical worldview that wants to destroy modern society, create a global
caliphate and impose sharia law on everyone on Earth,” Fleitz said, according
to Breitbart. “These other communities aren’t trying to do that. They’re
peaceful religious communities.”
also warned of “radical clerics and radical mosques” that he said promote hate.
And he said he believes that “political correctness” and use of the label
“Islamophobic” has hindered the United States’ ability “to go after radical
DeYoung contributed to this report.
than 50 senior Taliban commanders were killed in an artillery strike on a
meeting in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, a US military spokesman
said on Wednesday, as fighting continued across the country.
of last week’s operation emerged as fighting continued in other parts of
Afghanistan, where the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive last
in Kabul, the capital, attacked the heavily fortified interior ministry, battling
security forces for more than two hours before the assault was suppressed.
There were also serious incidents in Takhar province in the north, in Loghar,
east of the capital, and Kandahar in the south, keeping up a pattern of attacks
across the country.
US military said the May 24 meeting in Helmand’s district of Musa Qala involved
commanders from a number of Afghan provinces, including neighboring Farah,
where Taliban fighters this month briefly threatened to overrun the provincial
think the meeting was to plan next steps,” said Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell,
spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. While the strike by an artillery rocket
system would disrupt Taliban operations, it would not necessarily mean any
interruption to the fighting, he said.
the attack in one of the heartlands of the Taliban insurgency was a significant
blow to the insurgents, he said. “It’s certainly a notable strike,” he said,
adding that several other senior and lower level commanders had been killed
during operations over a 10-day period this month.
Taliban dismissed the report as “propaganda” and said the attack had hit two
civilian houses in Musa Qala, killing five civilians and wounding three. “This
was a civilian residential area, which had no connection with the Taliban,”
spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said in a statement.
the northern province of Takhar, Taliban fighters in the Dasht-e Qala district
centre captured the governor’s compound and police headquarters on Wednesday
but heavy fighting was continuing, police spokesman Khalil Aseer said.
Loghar, the Taliban claimed an attack on a police station in the provincial
capital, Pul-e Alam, which killed three police and wounded 12, among them four
police and eight civilians.
Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said three attackers who
sought to enter the police station in the early morning hours triggered a
three-hour gunbattle that ended when all three were killed.
Some elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan are showing interest in peace
talks, the top US commander in Kabul said Wednesday, citing "off
stage" contacts involving what he described as mid- and high-level leaders
of the insurgency.
number of channels of dialogue have opened up between the various stakeholders
in the peace process," Nicholson told reporters at the Pentagon. Speaking
from his office in Kabul, Nicholson said he could not name names because the
contacts are being pursued confidentially to improve the chances of advancing
toward actual peace talks.
you're seeing right now is a lot of the diplomatic activity and dialogue is
occurring off the stage, and it's occurring at multiple levels," he said.
"So you see mid-level, senior-level Taliban leaders engaging with
Afghans." He added that unspecified international organizations, foreign
governments and other interested parties also are involved.
officials have talked up the prospects for peace many times over the course of
the 17-year war in Afghanistan, only to be disappointed. When President Donald
Trump announced last August that he was committing to winning the war with a
revamped strategy, he said the goal was to compel the Taliban _ with help from
Pakistan and other interested nations _ to seek peace. However, a US government
watchdog agency recently reported that it saw few signs that this strategy was
working, while acknowledging that the Afghan security forces are getting better
the Taliban, Nicholson said, there is a "robust dialogue" underway
with regard to whether and how to end the war. He asserted there are "many
points of intersection" between Taliban and Afghan proposals for pursuing
is what, you know, leads me to the conclusion that there's tremendous potential
to advance the reconciliation dialogue," he said. "And, again, I
don't want to go any further. My diplomatic colleagues are the ones that are
involved in this, and their ability to be successful depends in part upon the
confidentiality of the process."
who has commanded US and coalition forces in Afghanistan since March 2016, is
due to leave his post this summer. The Pentagon on Tuesday announced that Trump
nominated Army Lt. Gen. Scott Miller to succeed Nicholson.
speaking hopefully of peace prospects, Nicholson also told reporters that US rocket
artillery struck a gathering of Taliban commanders on May 24 in the Musa Qala
district of Helmand province, killing "dozens." His spokesman, Lt.
Col. Martin O'Donnell, said earlier that more than 50 were killed but that an
exact count has not yet been established.
said the Taliban commanders had assembled upon returning from the western
province of Farah, where their fighters had attacked multiple security
checkpoints and briefly taken control of the provincial city of the same name.
Nicholson said 50 of these commanders had been tracked to Musa Qala and
targeted by US rocket artillery.
saying the US attack had disrupted the Taliban network in Helmand province,
including its drug trafficking, Nicholson stopped short of saying the killing
of dozens of insurgent commanders would have a decisive impact on the war.
United States military official has claimed that some “leaders” of the Taliban
group are involved in negotiations with the Afghan government largely “off the
stage,” even as the group keeps launching deadly attacks in Afghanistan.
number of channels of dialog have opened up between the various stakeholders in
the peace process,” said US Army General John Nicholson, the top American
military commander in Afghanistan, on Wednesday.
was speaking from his office in the Afghan capital, Kabul, via video conference
to officials at the Pentagon.
said he could not provide the names of the specific Taliban members since the
contacts were being pursued confidentially in a bid to improve the likelihood
of advancing to actual peace negotiations. He merely said “mid-level,
senior-level Taliban leaders” were engaged in the alleged talks with Kabul.
was no confirmation from the Afghan government.
also said that unspecified international organizations, foreign governments,
and other interested parties were also involved in the negotiations.
also questioned both the Taliban and the Afghan government’s capability to
subdue the other one.
five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when
the US and its allies invaded the Asian country on October 7, 2001 as part of
Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime
from power, and ever since, the group has been involved in widespread
militancy, killing thousands of civilians and Afghan and American forces and
displacing tens of thousands of people across the country.
in February, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to join peace
talks “without preconditions,” even as he called on the outfit to recognize the
Afghan government. He also said that his government would provide passports and
issue visas to Taliban members and their families and open an office for them
in Kabul and promised to work to remove international sanctions against Taliban
the Taliban left that offer without a reply, making an offer of their own to
talk to the US, instead.
later, they threatened that they would be looking out for US forces to “kill”
militant group said the presence of American bases in Afghanistan “sabotages
all chances of peace” and was “prolonging the ongoing war,” which is also the
longest in the US history.
group has engaged in increased fighting in recent weeks.
week, the Taliban issued a warning to Kabul residents to stay away from
“military bases” since they were planning to carry out more attacks on “the
enemy’s military and intelligence centers.”
Wednesday, Taliban militants attacked a police station in southern Afghanistan.
United States has imposed sanctions on several Iranian individuals and
organizations, including Evin Prison and the Islamic Republic of Iran
Broadcasting (IRIB), over “human rights abuses” and “censorship.”
US Treasury Department announced the sanctions Wednesday on its website, saying
the listed persons and entities will be blocked from the US financial system.
and companies who do business with the targeted Iranians could face sanctions
from Treasury as well.
not only exports terrorism and instability across the world, it routinely
violates the rights of its own people.
The Iranian regime diverts national resources that should belong to the
people to fund a massive and expensive censorship apparatus and suppress free
speech,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
has rejected US and Western accusations of human rights abuses in the Islamic
Republic as “untrue” and “politically-motivated.”
Thursday, the US Treasury imposed new sanctions against nine Iranian and
Turkish individuals and companies as well as a number of aircraft providing
goods and services to four Iranian airlines.
move by Washington was part of President Donald Trump's plans to impose harsh
sanctions against Tehran after pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
countries, including America's European allies, have said that they would not
back Trump's new plan.
UK, France and Germany-- all signatories to the deal-- are already in talks
with Iran to protect their businesses from possible punishment by the US.
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