Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Javid, UK Home Secretary Says Most Paedophiles in Country Are Of Pakistani
Indonesian Ulema Council Asks To Visit Xinjiang to See Uighurs
Imam: Muslims Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Worse Than Murder
Anti-Terror Raids: Islamic State Might Be Dead Abroad, But Hate Politics Is
Fuelling Its Resurrection in India
Self-Immolation Sparks Uprising In Tunisian City
Pakistani Christmas Song Highlighting Muslim-Christian Harmony Is Winning
Differences as Asset, Not Danger, Pope Says in Christmas Message
Mulls ‘Mosque Tax’ To Help Distract Muslims from ‘Foreign Influence’
judge orders repatriation of six children of ISIS militants to Syria
backs bin Salman, warns US not to interfere with Saudi throne succession
says Syria's Assad is popular in spite of overseeing 7 year war
For Crescent’: Isma Launches Campaign To Recognise Malaysia As ‘Islamic State’
privileged elites lack empathy for angry minorities
of Chinese Consulate attack killed in Afghanistan
Blunder Reveals Identity of US Navy SEALs in Iraq
Erdoğan Has Invited Trump to Visit Turkey in 2019: White House
defends Syria pullout plan in Baghdad, says US troops to stay in Iraq
Trump stops at Ramstein base in Germany after Iraq visit
The US should transfer its territory in Syria to Assad
on Namaz in UP Parks: Here’s What Intellectuals Say
Namaz Row: Muslim Workers Say Park Was A Convenient Place To Offer Prayers
Man Holds Goga Maharaj Yagna for the Gesture for Communal Amity
Couple Donate 100 Sqyd Land for Temple in Uttar Pradesh
move court, if ordinance is brought on Babri Masjid: AIMPLB
arrests 10 IS suspects for planning terror attacks in Delhi
engineering student to welders: The men who were part of ISIS-inspired group
busted by NIA
using hideouts away from habitations indicate dwindling of their support base:
youth arrested by NIA in two-year-old ISIS case
says 14 military, police killed in Boko Haram ambush
arrested in Tunisia amid violent protests
Arabia condemns terrorist attacks in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq
Haram kills 13 soldiers, a policeman in Nigeria
Islamist party urges probe into killing of protesters
Pakistani Christmas Song Highlighting Muslim-Christian Harmony Is Winning Hearts
claims it foiled al-Qaeda attack at Christmas ceremony
BLA leader killed in Kandahar suicide attack
Pakistani nationals return home after release from Indian jails
peace process: Pakistan takes friends on board
Islamabad discuss ‘new changes’ in Afghanistan issue
postpones next year’s presidential election
launches separate talks with Taliban in response to UAE, Saudi Arabia, US
Iran talking to Taliban ‘to aid Afghan security’
find barriers to return to Myanmar
Hamdullah Mohib says ISIS has been defeated in Afghanistan
forces repulse coordinated Taiban attack on Almar district
Syrian, Muslim Communities Donate Blood Over The Holidays
Defends Syria Pullout While On Surprise Visit To Iraq
parliamentary report: Turkey has already invaded Syria
first, former Egyptian presidents Mubarak and Morsi face-to-face in court
people, officials attend funeral service for late Ayatollah Shahroudi
support emboldens Israel to attack Syria: Foreign Ministry
Iraqi premier responds to Bahrain’s criticism of his remarks
Eastern Syria must return to govt. control after US exit
World League chief receives Japanese scholars in Riyadh
to Apply For Full UN Membership Early Next Year, Foreign Minister Says
clashes reported in Hudaydah ahead of truce committee meeting
held talks with Afghan Taliban amid peace push
parliament approves early elections
army liberates new fronts in heart of Houthi stronghold Saada
security forces block press conference by parliament speaker
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Wednesday said that a high proportion of men
involved in gang-based child exploitation in the country are of Pakistani
on BBC Radio 4 Today, Javid – who has Pakistani heritage – said that ignoring
the ethnicity of abusers gives “oxygen” to extremists.
home secretary had faced backlash for a tweet earlier this year referring to
“sick Asian paedophiles”. He said that he wanted officials researching the
causes of gang-based exploitation to leave “no stone unturned”.
asked by the British-Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie, who was guest-editing
the programme, whether he was concerned that his comments may have fuelled hate
crimes, he said that he was “very much aware of the need for politicians to be
careful with their language”.
gangs have recently been convicted in Huddersfield, Oxford, and Rotherham.
could be – I’m not saying that there are – there could be some cultural reasons
from the communities that these men came from that could lead to this kind of
behaviour,” Javid said.
home secretary has called for research into the “characteristics and contexts”
of gangs abusing children, arguing that ignoring issues such as ethnicity is
more likely to fuel the far-right.
I am asking my officials to go away and do research to look into the causes of
gang-based child exploitation, then I want them to leave no stone unturned and
to look at everything,” he added.
me to rule something out just because it would be considered sensitive would be
wrong,” he said.
I had ignored it, or been seen to ignore it, that is exactly what I think
extremists would like to see in this country. It would give them oxygen and I
refuse to do that,” he said.
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has expressed hope that the Chinese government
will give access to its representatives to Xinjiang autonomous region to see
with their own eyes what is really happening to the Uighur Muslim minority.
was rife that the Chinese government had sent around a million Uighur Muslims
to a special camp where they were being tortured.
the Chinese government denied the reports, saying that the people were sent to
what they called a reeducation camp to receive training on China’s common
language, legal knowledge, vocational skills and other things.
a statement made available to The Jakarta Post, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson
said some Xinjiang residents had struggled to find jobs because of their poor
cleric Younus Kathrada has told young Muslims that wishing fellow Canadians a
Merry Christmas is a worse sin than adultery, lying, and murder.
published on social media by the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Media
Research Institute shows Imam Kathrada delivering the sermon to the Muslim
Youth of Victoria, British Columbia, saying that “with great sadness” he has
witnessed Muslims wishing non-Muslims a Merry Christmas and lamented that some
“may take party in their holiday as well.”
you know that you and I must be offended when people say they worship Jesus? Or
when they say that Jesus is the son of God?” the sheikh asked.
are those who will say to them ‘Merry Christmas.’ What are you congratulating
them on?” he asked.
on the birth of your Lord? Is that acceptable to a Muslim? Are you now
approving of their beliefs? By saying that you are approving of it.”
Kathrada, whose profile on the Muslims in Calgary website describe him as a
South African born “community and youth activist,” then said, “If a person were
to commit every major sin — committing adultery, dealing with interest, lying,
a person were to do all of those major sins, they are nothing compared to the
sin of congratulating and greeting the non-Muslims on their false festivals.”
fundamentalist Islamic preacher caveated his statements by saying that Muslims
should not “treat the non-Muslims in a bad way,” clarifying, ““I’m not saying,
and I’ve never said, go out and just kill them, and do this to them.
Because Allah tells us not to allow the enmity that may exist between you and a
people to cause you to be unjust towards them. Rather, be just.”
Australian Shia Muslim scholar Mohammad Tawhidi, an Islamic reformer who
celebrates Western culture, promotes Muslim integration, and a keen wisher of
Merry Christmases, called Kathrada a “fanatic fundamentalist cleric” and urged
his Twitter followers to go to the cleric’s Facebook page “to wish him a Merry
Kathrada was telling young, Western-born Muslims to refrain from wishing a
Merry Christmas to their fellow countrymen, the government of Muslim-majority
Iraq declared Christmas day a national holiday and gave their “warmest wishes
to Christians in Iraq and around the world.”
for the first time since 2011 in conflict-stricken Syria, Christians and
Muslims celebrated Christmas in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus, Homs, and
anti-terror raids: Islamic State might be dead abroad, but hate politics is
fuelling its resurrection in India
the summer of 2016, with the spectacular ravines of the Euphrates stretching
out in the background, a soft-spoken eye-hospital technician from Mumbai spoke
to India from the Islamic State’s capital at al-Raqqa.
you not remember the serial blasts on the trains in Bombay?"
you forgotten the serial blasts in Gujarat? Have you forgotten the destruction
in Delhi and in Jaipur?
will deliver unto you a reckoning far more terrible than these... and will wage
war upon you until polytheism is destroyed in India, and Allah’s rule is
established," he warned.
most of the 70-odd Indians who went to fight among the ranks of the Islamic
State, Abu Rashid is almost certainly interred under the ruins of Raqqa or
Mosul. But their dystopia didn't.
arrests by the National Investigations Agency in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh,
preempting what officials say were plans to stage bombings in New Delhi over
the New Year, demonstrate the Islamic State’s jihadist call is seducing some
young Muslims in a time of deepening communal fractures.
since 2009, over 91 jihadist cells have been dismantled by the NIA, which deals
mainly with cases having pan-India significance; 63 of those have come since
2015. The Islamic State has been the biggest single contributor to this basket
with 24 cases. Twenty-three of these cells were from Kashmir while 43 included
other jihadist groups put together.
arrests have provided some important insights into the nature of the threat.
Incensed by what he perceived to be growing state-abetted violence against
Muslims, NIA sources say, Delhi-born cleric Mufti Muhammad Suhail — code-named
Hazrat or Prophet — mobilised young men and recruited them through his mosque
cell, the NIA believes, was mentored by an Islamic State supporter overseas,
likely in Pakistan — though they have so far been unable to dig out evidence of
his identity through the mass of encrypted messaging the group used to
Islamic State cells in India have had little operational success. Barring a 17
March, 2017, bombing on board a Bhopal-Ujjain bus, there has been no operation
of significant scale.
this time, the cell meant business. Helped by nothing but internet research,
NIA investigators believed, the men had gathered 25 kilogrammes of potassium
nitrate, ammonium nitrate, sugar and sulphur — easily turned into low-grade
explosives — meant to be packed inside metal lunch-boxes, and detonated using
simple remote-controlled devices. The cell had gathered 12 pistols, 150 rounds
of ammunition, and even assembled a simple rocket-launcher.
simply, this the first Islamic State group that had acquired the necessary
elements for true lethality. Had the Telangana Police’s counter-terrorism unit,
regarded as the most sophisticated operational unit of its kind in India, not
broken into their digital conversations, this New Year would have looked very
Suhail may have been a cleric, as was his aide and alleged weapons-procurer
Saqib Iftekar, but the men the two recruited weren’t. Delhi resident Anas
Yunus, alleged to have purchased the electrical components for the bombs,
studies civil engineering at a university in Noida; Zubair Malik, who allegedly
bought SIM cards for the plot is in the final year of a Bachelor’s programme in
a New Delhi university. His brother, Zaid Malik, also accused of purchasing SIM
cards and components, also has a university education.
brothers Saeed Ahmed and Raees Ahmed, accused of purchasing the explosive
material and fabricating the rocket-launcher, run a welding workshop in Islam
accused are: garments business owner Rashid Zafar Raq, auto-rickshaw driver
Muhammad Irshad, and medical-store owner Mohammad Azam. According to
investigators, the group even included a middle-aged woman, who was given the
charge of safely keeping the ₹7.5 lakh in cash that the group raised among
themselves and from their supporters. However, it is unclear if she knew what
it was intended for.
the government’s data, it’s clear that those drawn to the Islamic State's
ideology aren’t the stereotypical madrasa-educated fanatics. Instead, they are
members of the Muslim middle class, who the government says are deeply attached
to the Indian democracy.
based on government data show that almost three in four Islamic State suspects
arrested on terrorism charges — 68 percent — came from middle-class backgrounds
while a similar percentage had a university or post-graduate degree. Eleven
percent, a small sub-set, had some kind of religious education.
interrogations by the NIA, half the suspects said communalism — ranging from
riots to compulsory yoga practice — led them to join the Islamic State. Barely
half of them cited the global Islamist project that underpins the Islamic
experts around the world have learned that it doesn’t take more than an
internet connection and some common sense to turn those ideas into dead bodies.
face masked with a white handkerchief, an assault rifle cradled in his lap, and
wearing the combat fatigues in which he would be buried, Muhammad Taufiq
delivered his only testament in the rolling accent of the Deccan:
years ago, our enemies destroyed a mosque, but their eyes were not only on the
Babri Masjid. These perfidious Hindus will keep changing their tactics until
their mission is accomplished — and that mission is the elimination of every
months later, Taufiq was dead, killed in a shootout with an al-Qaeda cell in
Jammu and Kashmir. He’d been twice caught trawling Islamic State websites, and
counselled by the police in Hyderabad. Failing to make it to Syria, he chose to
die in Kashmir.
so many other young jihadists, Taufiq wasn’t even born when the Babri Masjid
was demolished — and could have chosen a different kind of future. His father
works at the Department of Atomic Energy’s heavy water plant in Manuguru, a key
part of India’s nuclear programme. Like his two other sons, Taufiq’s father has
no connection to Islamist politics or jihadism.
in 2016, the Indian jihadists who appeared in the Islamic State video made much
the same point. Aman Tandel, one of four Thane men who joined the jihad in
Iraq, vowed to return home "with a sword in hand, to avenge the Babri
Masjid, and the killings of Muslims in Kashmir, in Gujarat, and in
language is designed to provoke rage among Indians — but it should also be a
reason for reflection, on why these young men ended up where they did.
since December 1993, there have been successive waves of jihadist recruitment.
That tragedy saw the rise of jihadists lead by Abdul Karim Tunda heading into
the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Following 2002, another generation formed the Indian
Mujahideen. And following the Indian Mujahideen’s collapse, many of its members
— among them, Mumbai eye-hospital worker Ahmed — fled for the
Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands, and then Syria.
small numbers involved in these violent groups, given India’s giant Muslim
population, demonstrate their cause has no wide appeal. Yet, communal violence
enables and legitimises the operations of successive waves of jihadist groups,
drawing in young recruits who believe democracy has betrayed them. That, in
turn, feeds and empowers the Hindu-nationalist range.
successive cycle of hatred makes the process more powerful, increasing the risk
of large-scale violence that could tear the country apart. India’s police and
intelligence services can take a bow— but the country needs to find a way to
dismantle this perpetual motion machine of hatred if their efforts are to have
self-immolation sparks uprising in Tunisian city
have erupted between protesters and security forces in a city in Tunisia
following the funeral of a journalist who had set himself on fire over harsh
fired tear gas at protesters, who had taken to the streets of Kasserine City,
270 kilometers from the capital, Tunis, on Tuesday following the tragic death
of Abdel Razaq Zorgi, a 32-year-old journalist, late Monday.
to Interior Ministry spokesperson Sofiane al-Zaq, six members of the security
forces were injured and nine protesters were detained.
I start a revolution’
also deployed reinforcements on the main streets of the city, which after a
brief calm on Tuesday morning, again turned into a scene of protests and
scuffled with police outside the governor’s office.
the sons of Kasserine, who have no means of subsistence, today I start a
revolution. I am going to set myself on fire,” Zorgi said in a video published
before his death.
National Union of Tunisian Journalists, which confirmed his death, said Zorgi
died protesting “difficult social conditions... and a lack of hope,” and that
it was considering organizing a general strike in the media sector.
incident was a reminiscent of the self-immolation of a 26-year-old street
vendor in protest at economic hardship in Tunisia in late 2010, which sparked
an uprising across the country and led to the overthrow of long-time dictator
Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.
revolution then set off revolts in Arab dictatorships across the Middle East
and North Africa — in what became known in the West as the Arab Spring.
was one of the first cities to rise up after the street vendor’s death back
then. Seven years on, Tunisians say they are still struggling with corruption
and poverty as inflation hit its highest level in 28 years in June this year.
unemployment hitting 36 percent last year, the level of anger and frustration
among the younger generation remains high as it was during the pre-revolution
authorities, who have taken over after Ben Ali’s ouster in 2011, have since
attempted to portray the Tunisian revolution as successful and the country on
the right path.
Pakistani Christmas song highlighting Muslim-Christian harmony is winning
are all about celebrations and spreading joy. So this year, celebrating
Christmas, two singers in Pakistan got together to spread the message of unity
and communal harmony. The song depicts the beautiful amalgamation of both the
communities in Pakistan, with a poignant message, “Let us unite, let’s be one”
and “one God, one world”.
singers Haider Ali Chao and Michelle Sebastain joined hands to present music
lovers in the country with its “first Muslim Christian Christmas song”. With
music arranged by Aamir Qureshi, the video of the song featured people from
both the faith donning red and white Santa hats and singing the song happily.
to Mangobaaz, Chao said that “the main aim of the song was to promote
inter-religious peace and unity, especially between Muslims and Christians.”
religion teaches hatred and both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran teach us to
be nothing but virtuous, to love one another and do nothing to hurt a soul.
That’s the message we want to get across with our song.” the report quoted him
song was shared widely on social media and many lauded the singers for their
City. Pope Francis, in his Christmas message to the world, urged people on Tuesday
to see differences as a source of richness instead of danger and called for
reconciliation in places torn apart by conflict.
delivered the traditional papal "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the
world) message to tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter's Square
from the same basilica balcony where he first appeared as pontiff shortly after
his election on March 13, 2013.
has been tight around the Vatican for the Christmas season, with military jeeps
stationed at key access routes and tourists undergoing metal detector and bag
week police in southern Italy arrested a Somali man suspected of having been a
member of Islamic State and who had threatened to bomb churches in Italy,
including St. Peter's.
his address, in what appeared to be a reference to the shrill political climate
in a number of countries, Francis called for "fraternity among people with
different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another."
the first pope from Latin America, alluded to polarization over migration,
saying God wanted "love, acceptance, respect for this poor humanity of
ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages, and
differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of
richness," he said.
82, called for the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians to
"undertake a journey of peace that can put an end to a conflict that for
over 70 years has lacerated the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of
urged the international community to work for a political solution in Syria and
said he hoped a truce brokered in Yemen's civil war could bring relief to a
population exhausted by violence and famine.
Argentinian-born pope also called for social harmony in Nicaragua and
Venezuela, both racked by internal political conflicts.
millions of refugees or displaced people in Africa who are in need of
humanitarian assistance and food security should not be forgotten, he said.
Ukraine, he called for "a peace respectful of the rights of every
nation." Ukraine's relations with Russia have been locked in a downwards
spiral since Moscow annexed Crimea 2014 and backed pro-Russian separatists in
mulls ‘Mosque tax’ to help distract Muslims from ‘foreign influence’
a bid to curb a potentially radicalizing foreign influence on its Muslim
residents, German lawmakers are considering a new “mosque tax,” intended to
make Muslim communities self-reliant and under more control.
German mosques are sponsored and are de-facto controlled from abroad, leaving
local authorities in the dark about what happens inside. Now, several MPs have
come up with an idea that they call a “solution” for a problem that has become
increasingly unnerving for Berlin in recent years.
MPs’ proposal involves the introduction of a special tax to be paid by all practicing
Muslims in Germany, which would then be redistributed by the state among all
officially registered Islamic religious institutions. A similar tax already
exists in Germany and some other European countries for Catholic and
initiative is aimed at helping “Islam in Germany free itself from the influence
of foreign states and get a stronger domestic orientation,” Thorsten Frei, the
deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
faction in the German Parliament, said, calling the proposed tax “an important
step in that direction.”
idea immediately received support from other members of the ruling Grand
Coalition. “Independent financing” would make the communities congregating in
mosques in Germany more “transparent,” Michael Frieser, a legal expert and a
member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union – a long-time CDU ally, said. A
prominent member of the Social Democratic Party, Burkhard Lischka, called the
suggestion “worthy of discussion.”
suggestions voiced by MPs include legally obliging the imams preaching in
Germany to upload their sermons on the internet uncut. “The mosques must be
open and transparent,” said Frieser.
any potential legislation on that matter has a long way to go before it could
be implemented. Any draft bill should be first discussed with the German states
as it falls within their jurisdiction, Lischka explained. So far, no detailed
account of the future legislation has been presented.
the idea also seemingly received backing from the Interior Ministry, which said
“it can be a solution.” However, the ministry also said that the initiative
would mostly rely on grassroots support from the Muslim communities themselves
as it would still require a great deal of self-organization on their part.
German Muslim community has so far remained conspicuously tight-lipped about
the initiative. An outspoken unorthodox female preacher, Seyran Ates, founder
of the first “liberal” mosque in Berlin, has been the only one to comment on
the initiative so far. Ates backed the proposal by saying that “in the future
everything that the community needs could be paid-for by its members
now, most Muslim religious institutions in Germany rely on foreign aid in some
form. The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), directly
controlled by Ankara, is considered to be one of the largest organizations
contributing to German mosques as it exerts influence over 896 Muslim
communities across the country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
personally opened one of the newly built mosques in the German city of Cologne
during his visit in September.
might be one of the most influential Muslim organizations in Germany but the
authorities are apparently more concerned about some other forces, which also
seek to gain influence over German Muslims and which are much more radical. In
2017, German security forces warned that extremists from the Muslim Brotherhood
–a radical Salafist organization established in 1928– were seeking to gain a
“monopoly” over mosques in the eastern German state of Saxony and were even
planning to “establish Sharia law in Germany.”
reports in the German media also suggested that Islamic religious groups from
Gulf States such as Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting the radical
Salafist movement in Germany with the suspected approval of their governments.
The activities of the foreign-funded Islamic NGOs have caught the attention of
the German authorities following the 2015 refugee crisis, as Berlin grew
increasingly concerned that their actions would lead to further radicalization
of German Muslims as well as refugees, who arrived there in large numbers.
German domestic intelligence service, the BfV, has also warned that the
Salafist movement became one of the most rapidly growing extremist groups in
Germany. In late 2017, the then-head of the agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, said
that there is now a record number of Islamists in Germany, putting their number
at roughly 11,000.
Belgian judge has ordered the government to repatriate six children of ISIS
militants and their mothers who have been detained in a camp in
Kurdish-controlled Syria, the national news agency Belga said on Wednesday.
Wielandt, 26, and Bouchra Abouallal, 25, both Belgian citizens, and their
children have been held in the Al-Hol camp in since the defeat of IS in nearly
all territory it once held in Syria and Iraq.
quoted the court ruling as ordering the Brussels government to take all
necessary and possible measures to ensure the six children and their mothers can
return to Belgium.
must do so within 40 days after being notified of the decision or pay a daily
penalty of 5,000 euros for each child, up to a maximum 1 million euros,
newspaper De Tijd said. The Belgian government can appeal the ruling.
comment was available from the court on Wednesday due to a public holiday. A
lawyer for the two women was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman
for the foreign ministry said it would “analyze the situation together” with
the justice and interior ministries.
of European citizens, many of them babies, are being kept by US-backed Kurdish
militias in three camps since ISIS was ousted last year from almost all the
large swathes of territory it seized in 2014-15, according to Kurdish sources.
nations have been reluctant to take them back, regarding children of militants
both as victims and threats - difficult to reintegrate into schools and homes.
diplomats say they cannot act in a region where Kurdish control is not
internationally recognized. Moreover, there is little popular sympathy for
militants’ families after a spate of deadly ISIS attacks across western Europe.
Kurd say it is not their job to prosecute or hold them indefinitely, leaving
the women and children in legal limbo.
Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has "every right" to succeed
his ailing father into power, says Russian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail
Bogdanov, warning the United States against interfering with the embattled
prince's right to rule the kingdom.
who is also President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Middle East, said Tuesday
it was up to Riyadh to decide what was next for bin Salman when King Salman,
course we are against interference. The Saudi people and leadership must decide
such questions themselves,” Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview in Moscow,
according to Bloomberg.
Salman became Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler last year in an untraditional
manner, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the late Saudi king's son.
of getting bogged down in a power struggle, bin Salman soon launched a
widespread crackdown against other royals to cement his grip on power.
his actions went mostly unanswered until October this year, when Riyadh admitted
to murdering dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in
the Turkish city of Istanbul.
crown prince has also faced worldwide criticism for leading the ongoing deadly
war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians.
President Donald Trump's reluctance to hold the crown prince responsible for
his actions has prompted angry bipartisan calls in Washington to remove MbS
senators have publicly blasted the crown prince, with Lindsey Graham, Trump's staunch
ally, calling him “crazy” and “dangerous.”
said Tuesday that Americans were in no positions to make such calls.
king made a decision and I can’t even imagine on what grounds someone in
America will interfere in such an issue and think about who should rule Saudi
Arabia, now or in the future. This is a Saudi matter.”
and Saudi Arabia have established increasingly close ties since bin Salman's
appointment. Despite receiving cold shoulders from most world leaders during
the G20 summit in Argentina last month, Putin and bin Salman were seen greeting
each other with broad smiles and a high five handshake.
Russian head of state is scheduled to visit Riyadh in 2019.
US officials have indicated that they would support bin Salman's uncle, Prince
Ahmed, as the next Saudi king, Reuters reported last month, citing unnamed
believes Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is a popular leader who could win a
re-election, Moscow's envoy to the Middle East has said, in an interview
promoting a supposed thaw in ties between Syria's once-pariah regime and Arab
fairly popular, if he wasn’t, the results of the last few years would have been
different,” President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail
Bogdanov, said in an interview with Bloomberg in Moscow this week. “Of course,
I think so,” he added, when asked whether the Syrian leader can triumph in the
next presidential vote.
interview highlighted efforts by Moscow to rehabilitate Assad and facilitate
his return to the world stage. Assad has become a global pariah for his conduct
during the civil war but has remained Russia's key ally in the Middle East. His
regime's survival, now all but assured, is attributable largely to Russian and
Iranian military and economic support.
is scheduled to start early next year on a new constitution for Syria ahead of
UN-supervised elections. Assad won a 2014 presidential election in which voting
did not take place in rebel-held areas and was boycotted by opposition groups.
After almost seven years of civil war, the Syrian government is stepping up
control of the country, with the planned withdrawal of US forces expected to
hand back a key oil-rich region to the central authorities.
expects the Arab League, which suspended Syria’s membership in 2011, to readmit
the country, said Mr Bogdanov, who is also deputy foreign minister.
Arab countries have understood that this decision wasn’t thought through and
even counterproductive,” he said. “It’s very important for the Syrians and
Arabs to re-establish ties.”
President Omar Al Bashir last week made the first visit by an Arab leader to
Damascus since the revolt against Assad’s rule began in 2011, traveling on a
Russian plane, Mr Bogdanov said. That trip followed a friendly greeting between
the foreign ministers of Syria and Bahrain at the United Nations in New York in
October, Assad told a little-known Kuwait newspaper that he had reached a
"major understanding" with Arab states following years of hostility
over his killing of civilians during the civil war. His interview with Al
Shahed was his first with a Gulf publication since the Syrian war began in
which for years has demanded Assad’s ouster, said earlier this month it would
consider working with the Syrian leader if he won a democratic vote.
are very important developments and we welcome them,” said Mr Bogdanov.
senior Russian diplomat downplayed concerns about the growing role of Iran in
Syria, saying that Iranian-backed forces would leave the country once the
government re-establishes full control of all territory.
Syrian sovereignty and territorial unity is re-established then there will be
no reason for them to be there,” he said, referring to pro-Iran militias and
Iranian military forces.
for crescent’: Isma launches campaign to recognise Malaysia as ‘Islamic state’
LUMPUR, Dec 27 — Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) is initiating a
campaign for Malaysia to be recognised as an “Islamic state”, citing among
others the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution and influence of the
is employing the handsign of letter “C” to symbolise the crescent moon, one of
five-month campaign called “Malaysia Negara Islam” (Malay for “Malaysia an
Islamic State”) aims to gather one million signatures to support its claim,
which will then be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
materials for the campaign also employs the Jawi script — where Arabic alphabet
is used to spell Malay words ― rather than the Roman script, ostensibly to
direct it exclusively to those who can read it and are most likely to be
thread on Isma’s Twitter account listed eight items on its agenda, most notably
the rejection of Malaysia as a secular country, and to stress that Malaysia is
“Tanah Melayu” or “land of the Malays” with the Malays its native citizens.
addition, it called for stronger role for Islamic jurisprudence in the national
justice system. Currently, Shariah jurisprudence is under state jurisdiction
instead of federal.
campaign urged Malaysians to fight in implementing Islamic obligations in the
wishes to promote the assimilation of Islam into the Malay culture, among
others in its language, tradition, clothing and food.
a promotional video of the campaign, Isma listed the Putrajaya Mosque, the
Islamic architecture of the Prime Minister’s Department, congregational
prayers, the Malay martial arts of silat, daily calls to prayer and Muslim
women covering their heads as “proof” of Islam’s influence in the country.
continues to debate whether the country is secular or Islamic as the Federal
Constitution does not explicitly state either, but the Malaysian Bar and
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas have both previously affirmed the country’s
status as secular.
3(1) of the Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the federation,
but the Reid Commission that drafted the document wrote that the Article
“...shall not imply that the State is not a secular state”.
the launch in Kuala Lumpur International Hotel yesterday, Isma president
Aminuddin Yahaya claimed there is a concerted effort to declare Malaysia as a
secular country following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) win on May 9.
see these evil attempts still continue, and more dangerously when those who
believe in that are among the country’s leadership,” he said.
also leads Gerakan Pembela Ummah, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups that have
held several rallies against the PH administration this month — on December 8
against an anti-racial discrimination convention, and last Friday over the
death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Muhammad Kassim.
state” is a modern Muslim political concept that can be defined as a government
that base itself on the Shariah code, with Islamic scriptures as the
ideological foundation of the state and its constitution.
Islamic states include Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.
racially charged protests in our country upset us, we can perhaps find
consolation in the knowledge that one of Europe’s most advanced countries too
would now and then explode with similar scenes of anger and rioting.
2005, a suburb of Paris was torn apart by violence that followed angry protests
by minority youths who were mostly of North African origin.
and public buildings were set ablaze, forcing authorities to declare a state of
there is a big difference between the Malaysian and French cases in the
mainstream narratives that have shaped the national debates in the aftermath of
angry protests tied to minorities.
remember of course that the 2005 violence sparked calls for a rethink on French
citizenship policies. There were loud demands for the expulsion of the Muslim
minorities, but these came largely from right-wing groups that had long
campaigned for tougher immigration laws and a more fanatical approach to
secularising French society.
a good many who represented the French intelligentsia frowned on such a
vengeful attitude, and the mainstream discourse became infused with empathy and
self-evaluation. There were calls to look into the neglect of these urban
youths, and there were attempts to explain their anti-social behaviour, with
the blame often pinned on their lack of employment, their subjection to police
harassment and the poor conditions in their residential districts.
weeks after the Versailles riots, Paris saw a major demonstration in solidarity
with minorities, attended by tens of thousands who were not North African and
not Muslim, but who were as French as snails in garlic.
were also calls for a relook into a national drive towards assimilation, with
many admitting that restrictive laws touching on religious identities, for
example, had only resulted in the exact opposite.
years after the Paris violence, trouble erupted in Kuala Lumpur. Thousands of
ethnic Indian youths travelled from their working-class neighbourhoods to
gather in the city’s well paved roads to demand greater rights, with punches
thrown in the air to make known their desperation. It was a cry of help that
had taken decades to get its voice out.
the minority French youths, these minority Malaysian youths too were angry.
They too uttered questionable slogans against the dominant group. They too
threw missiles that had been kept hidden in clenched fists, perhaps since their
forefathers were forcibly brought to Malaya by the British to work in
they too, left with no choice, believed that change was possible through some
form of violence.
was the reaction of the Malay and Muslim intelligentsia, the backbone of the
majority of this country whose views shape policies and politics?
mainstream picture painted then, as now, was that the protesting youths were a
bunch of uncivilised troublemakers out to create trouble, to challenge the
Malays and the national identity.
the right voices to back them, many ethnic Indian leaders had to flee. Some got
arrested and detained without trial, taking a huge toll on their personal and
than 10 years later, that empathy is still missing from the Malay and Muslim
elites. Video clips of the 2007 angry Hindraf protests are distributed by none
other than those who are supposed to show some level of empathy. We still see
influential leaders trying to rouse a community that has for decades benefited
from quotas and privileges, the same things that could have also transformed
the lives of the underclass Indians for the better.
absence of magnanimity from the majority is stark enough. We hear continuous
calls for the head of a minister, because, as the claim goes, he caused the
temple violence and must therefore take blame for the death of a fireman in the
line of duty.
is a need for Muslim scholars and intellectuals to display greatness of mind
and bigness of heart when it comes to minorities. There is a need for them to
rein in people of their own kind, many of whom could never relate to the plight
of this country’s minorities other than through stereotypes and religious
is pathetic and somewhat amusing that some of those from the privileged
majority could think they could be threatened by a minister who once
represented the voice of a ragtag ethnic minority, people who suffer from
economic alienation and lack of educational opportunities.
Pakistan: Pakistani officials and a spokesman for a separatist group say a
separatist leader authorities blamed for masterminding last month’s attack on
China’s consulate in the southern city of Karachi has been killed in
Liberation Army spokesman Jeeyand Baloch said in a statement Wednesday that
their top leader Aslam Baloch and five of his associates were “martyred” in a
blast. He did not say where the men were killed.
an Afghan official says six people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a
house Tuesday in the southern city of Kandahar.
accuses Kabul of sheltering Baluch separatists.
blunder reveals identity of US Navy SEALs in Iraq
President Donald Trump has come under fire for accidentally revealing the
identity of US Navy SEALs during his surprise trip to Iraq.
embarrassing gaffe came Wednesday, when the American president posted a video
on Twitter that showed him talking and taking selfies with members of a
California-based SEAL team during an unannounced trip to Baghdad.
flew to Iraq on Tuesday hoping to score positive news headlines over the
holiday season amid a partial government shutdown and a series of other serious
touchdown in Baghdad's Al Asad air base, the president and his wife, Melania,
talked to US service members before posing for pictures with them.
to pool reports, the trip's details were kept a secret until Trump finished
giving a speech before a group of about 100 troops, mostly US special operation
forces engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
reports said Trump then paused to take a selfie with US Navy Lieutenant
Commander Kyu Lee, who identified himself as the chaplain for SEAL Team Five,
based out of Coronado, California.
told him in response: “Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture.”
leaving Iraq's airspace, the American head of state posted a video to his
Twitter account that shows the Trumps taking pictures with troops that appeared
to be from the US Navy SEAL Team Five.
the video, the special warfare forces are seen dressed in full battle gear and
wearing night vision goggles.
reports said Trump's video revealed more “special operations personnel and
support troops” were featured in the video as well, which was still available
at the time of this writing.
real names, faces and identities of personnel involved in special operations or
activities are usually a closely held secret in a combat zone,” Malcolm Nance,
a former US Navy intelligence specialist with experience in Iraq told Newsweek.
“Revealing them casually, through an unusual media exposure even if it’s the
commander in chief, would prove a propaganda boom if any of this personnel are
detained by a hostile government or captured by a terrorist group. There would
be no denying who you are and what you do.”
unknown Pentagon official also acknowledged on condition of anonymity it was
unusual to post video revealing the special ops troops’ faces without blurring
or otherwise censoring them was unusual.
during special operation demonstrations for congressional delegations or for
the president or vice president, personnel either have their faces covered or
their face is digitally blurred prior to a release to the general public,” the
unnamed official said.
don’t recall another time where special operation forces had to pose with their
faces visible while serving in a war zone,” the official added.
blunder set the social media on fire, as expected.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has invited US President Donald Trump to
visit Turkey in 2019, a White House spokesman said on Monday.
nothing definite is being planned, the President is open to a potential meeting
in the future," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
conflict in Syria following Trump's announcement of a US pullout, the fallout
from the murder of a US-based Saudi journalist in the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul, and Turkey's demand for the extradition of a Muslim cleric from the
United States are among the main issues occupying the two NATO allies.
Turkish presidency said Trump and Erdoğan agreed during a phone call on Sunday
to coordinate to prevent an authority vacuum from developing as the United
States withdraws from Syria.
welcomed Trump's abrupt decision last week to withdraw American troops from
Syria, which has upended US policy in the region and would remove a source of
friction between the two countries.
has backed Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters while Turkey brands the group a
senior US official said Trump had not discussed the pullout decision with
Erdoğan in advance.
military officials will visit Turkey this week to discuss the details of the
Syria pullout with their counterparts, an Erdoğan spokesman said on Monday.
and Erdoğan have taken different tacks in their response to the Oct. 2 killing
of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
has said he wants Washington to stand by the Saudi government and its de facto
ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite a CIA assessment it was likely
the prince had ordered the killing.
has pushed to keep international attention on Khashoggi's killing and put the
spotlight on the prince. Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior
knowledge of the murder.
said last month he was not considering extraditing Muslim cleric Fethullah
Gülen, whom Turkey blames for a failed 2016 coup, as part of efforts to ease
Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi.
foreign minister said last week that during a meeting with Erdoğan in Buenos
Aires several weeks ago, Trump said he was working on extraditing Gülen.
President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have made a surprise visit to
Iraq, meeting American troops fighting one of the many wars that he has mocked
in the past as costly blunders.
years into America’s invasion of Iraq, the unstable security situation in the
country forced the Trump to depart Washington on a clandestine flight that
landed at the Al Asad Air Base in west of Baghdad on Wednesday.
trip came amid Trump’s many problems in Washington, ranging from a partial
government shutdown over the funding of his border wall to an unsteady economy
and a controversial decision to end US military presence in Syria.
American head of state has in the past sought to distance himself from the Iraq
War and other foreign conflicts left behind by his predecessors.
a surprise decision that put his security team at odds and prompted Secretary
of Defense Jim Mattis to quit, the president ordered a complete withdrawal of
2,000 American troops from Syria and a substantial reduction of the 14,000 US
troops in Afghanistan.
Iraq, however, the president said he had no such plans for the 5,000 or so
American troops in Iraq, who have been redployed to the country since 2014 to
aide a US-led campaign against Daesh.
fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,” he
told troops at the Al Asad base.
to reporters, Trump defended his Syria decision and said people were going to
eventually understand his reasoning.
think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It’s time
for us to start using our head,” said the president.
United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world," he added,
saying his his generals have had “enough time” to fight the war and that they
have been told to leave Syria without any delays.
admits security concerns over trip
trips by US presidents and other high-level Western officials to Iraq are
usually shrouded in mystery.
made only four trips to Iraq after ordering his forces to invade the country in
2003. His successor, Barack Obama, visited the war-torn country only once.
admitted that he had security concerns about the trip and certain measures had
to be taken to ensure nothing would go wrong.
mean, look, I had concerns for the institution of the presidency, not for
myself personally. I had concerns for the First Lady, I will tell you," he
said. "But if you had seen what we had to go through with the darkened
plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere, pitch
decade-and-a-half later, the US-led war on the false pretext of finding Iraq’s
weapons of mass destruction has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and some
5,000 American troops without yielding any meaningful results.
said Obama’s rushed decision in 2013 to leave Iraq paved the way for Daesh
terrorists to gain power.
with growing criticism on his failure to build his anti-immigration wall on the
border with Mexico, Trump wants to score positive headlines and buy himself
more time by delivering on his other key campaign promises, including returning
troops back home.
PM meeting canceled
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi's office announced that a scheduled
meeting between him and Trump was scrapped over disagreements in how to conduct
disagreement over how to conduct the meeting led to the meeting being replaced
by a telephone conversation," the office announced in a statement.
lawmakers criticize Trump visit
trip did not go down well with Iraqi lawmakers and militia leaders, who
condemned it as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.
al-Khazali, the leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq fighters, said on Twitter,
"Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US)
military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the
ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with."
al Saadi, the leader of the Iraqi' parliament's Islah bloc, called for an
emergency session of parliament "to discuss this blatant violation of
Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should
know his limits."
US occupation of Iraq is over," he asserted.
Bina bloc, Islah's rival faction, also took issue with the surprise visit,
calling it "a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms."
also said Trump's visit raises questions about "the nature of the US
military presence and its real objectives, and what these objectives could pose
to the security of Iraq."
Khazali, a politician allied with Bina, said Washington wanted to increase its
presence in Iraq.
Donald Trump and his wife Melania have greeted US troops in Germany, his second
visit to troops abroad in the past day.
Force One stopped at Ramstein Air Force Base in south-west Germany on his way
back from Iraq, where he had visited US troops in harm's way for the first
time, two years into his presidency.
Trump walked along a rope line at the US base in German state
Rhineland-Palatinate, shaking hands, posing for selfies, and autographing
"Make America Great Again" hats for servicemen.
also met Air Force generals aboard his aircraft at the base.
earlier visit to Al Asad base in Al Anbar, Iraq, was his first to US forces in
harm's way overseas. The base was once on the front line of the war against
ISIS, facing suicide bombers and experiencing regular mortar attacks in 2015.
Mr Trump has claimed responsibility for defeating ISIS.
a speech to troops at Al Asad base, he said that unlike in Syria, he had no
plans to bring home the roughly 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq. The 2,000 US
troops in Syria could return home because of military gains against ISIS, he
should transfer control of the territories it is vacating in Syria to President
Bashar Al Assad, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after Syrian
troops backed by Russian forces sent reinforcement towards the city of Manbij
in co-ordination with a Kurdish group controlling the area.
in eastern Syria, clashes between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
and ISIS intensified overnight, as the Kurdish-led alliance and coalition
forces continue an operation to drive militants out of their last toe-hold in
essential question arises: who will inherit control over the territories
vacated by the Americans? Obviously, that should be the Syrian government, in
accordance with international law,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria
Zakharova said, reported the state-run Sputnik news agency.
right now we have no information on contacts between Washington and Damascus on
President Donald Trump last week said he will begin pulling out nearly 2,000
American soldiers from Syria. It remains unclear how long the exit will take
but officials estimate that US forces may begin withdrawing in 60 to 100 days.
Trump’s decision has emboldened Turkey to press ahead with plans to clear
Manbij of Kurdish forces. Now, Turkey-backed rebels say they are preparing to
launch an assault once US troops withdraw.
troops were positioned in areas to the west of Manbij on Tuesday, in
anticipation of a potential offensive.
deployment was co-ordinated with the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij, the
spokesman for the Manbij Military Council said.
Russian army has restored the Syrian-Russian coordination centre to Arima
village to the west of Manbij city, after its withdrawal from there a while
ago," said Sharfan Darwish, spokesman for the Manbij Military Council.
head of the MMC, Mohammed Abu Adel, told the Kurdish-run Kurdistan24 news website
that Syrian troops have been in Arima since last year but they have recently
sent reinforcements as Russian soldiers arrived in the town.
developments led to a reinforcement and increase of forces that were stationed
there,” said a separate statement by the MMC.
was seized in 2016 from ISIS by Syrian militia allied to the SDF, which
controls roughly a quarter of Syria. Its capture was a milestone in the
US-backed campaign against the militant group.
has been one area of friction between the US and Turkey, which has vowed to
clear the area of the People’s Protection Units. The Nato allies reached an
agreement in June for the YPG to leave but Turkey says its implementation has
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that Turkish forces would enter
the town if the US does not remove the Kurdish fighters.
Abu Adel, on Tuesday said there is no sign of an imminent Turkish attack on
Manbij, despite claims by Turkish-backed rebels that they are pressing ahead
with an assault.
is nothing going on, the situation is normal, the coalition forces are on the
front line together with the MMC and there are no clashes,” he told Kurdistan24
on Tuesday. “There is a lot of propaganda and provocations of future attacks on
Manbij, but nothing is going on right now.”
forces are still patrolling Manbij. Videos posted on social media networks
showed armoured vehicles stationed in the town.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday said that joint US-Turkish
patrols have been dispatched to frontlines between Manbij and adjacent
territory controlled by Ankara-backed rebels to prevent clashes.
SOHR said that Turkey has instructed its rebel allies to temporarily hold-off
on launching a planned attack.
delegation representing Syria’s Kurds arrived in Moscow this week where they
are meeting with Russian officials to discuss a possible plan to stop a Turkish
offensive on Manbij.
on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River clashes continued between ISIS
militants and SDF fighters. The SOHR says clashes have intensified since
war monitor says at least 44 ISIS militants have been killed in the area over
the past 48 hours, including 19 militants who were killed by coalition airstrikes
and 25 others who were killed in ground battles with the SDF.
least eight SDF fighters also died in clashes, the SOHR said.
militants have stepped-up attacks on SDF forces in Syria’s east since the US
announced plans to withdraw, Europe-based activist Omar Abu Layla of the
DeirEzzor 24 monitoring group told The National on Wednesday.
SDF has been battling ISIS around the town of Hajin since September.
Kurdish-led force liberated the town from militants earlier this month. Current
battles are now taking place on the eastern flanks of Hajin in areas near the
on namaz in UP parks: Here’s what intellectuals say
Delhi: Imam and Khateeb of Shahi Jama Masjid Fatehpuri Mufti Mukarram Ahmed
said that according to Shariah if the owner of the land is not permitting then
offering namaz there is illegal. He said though the park is a public place, it
is not made for namaz; hence if the authorities do not permit then it is not
fair to offer namaz there. The political motive behind the ban is a different
matter but according to shariah offering namaz on the place without owner’s
permission is not permitted, he said.
the other hand, vice president Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind Uttar Pradesh Mufti Ashfaq
Ahmed Azmi told that public places where coming and going, eating and drinking,
playing and sitting etc. are allowed, Namaz is also allowed there. But
government’s permission is compulsory for that as well. If the government
imposes ban then prayer should not be offered. We cannot establish namaz by
fighting. As far as UP government is concerned its attitude is prejudiced because
when a man can roam about in the park, eat and sit there, then why he cannot
to Inquilab, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Dr Qasim Rasool
Ilyas said the government’s decision is wrong. If the government stops from offering
namaz it should provide space for that. He said it should not be made a
communal issue but the government should think over it and provide space for
namaz row: Muslim workers say park was a convenient place to offer prayers
Muslim employees working at offices in Noida’s Sector 58 on Tuesday said it was
convenience that led them to offer namaz at a public park in the area.
had on Monday issued a notice to companies in the industrial hub, asking them
to stop their Muslim employees from offering namaz at the park.
as the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police said the
police’s move was not discriminatory towards any religion, the matter assumed a
political twist with the Samajwadi Party alleging government officials were
helping the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to create an atmosphere of
divide and rule before the 2019 general elections.
Monday, a letter written by Pankaj Rai, station house officer of the Sector 58
police station, to companies located in the sector surfaced. The letter said it
was the responsibility of the companies to inform their Muslim employees not to
offer namaz in the sector 58 public park, failing which they would be held
“liable” for the violation.
58 is lined with offices of BPOs, IT firms and export-import companies where
thousands of people work.
workers said that for the past five years, the public park in the middle of
Sector 58 is visited by over 300 men every afternoon to offer namaz. On
Fridays, over 800 people turn up for the ‘juma ki namaz’.
nearest mosques from my office are in Khoda and Labour chowk. These are usually
congested and to offer namaz, one has to climb on the rooftop. The namaz
usually lasts for 15-30 minutes. But travelling to and from the mosque takes
more than an hour’s time. No company allows this kind of break during work
hours and so I had been offering namaz in the park, which saves time,” Taqweem
Ahmed, a quality analyst in a firm, said.
41-year-old Sadre Alam, a native of Araria in Bihar, said there are risks in
offering namaz in the congested masjid at Khoda in Ghaziabad.
500 more people decide to offer namaz on the rooftop of the congested masjid,
it can cause a stampede. The park has an open space where we can offer namaz
peacefully,” Alam who works in a sewing factory said.
have been offering namaz here for the past two months but if the administration
has asked us to not to, we have to respect the decision. It takes quite a lot
of time to reach the masjid in Khoda and that is why we prefer the park,”
Mohammad Naseem, a native of Bhagalpur in Bihar, who works in a sewing factory,
parties criticised the Noida Police letter. They said a dialogue with Muslim
workers was needed instead of an obscure order.
is pure politicisation of the police and the administrative machinery and
unfortunately, officials are helping the ruling party create an atmosphere of
divide just before the 2019 general elections. The BJP has not done anything
worthwhile in Noida when it comes to development. Therefore, they have resorted
to such tactics with help of the police,” Surendra Singh Nagar, Member of
Parliament, GB Nagar, said.
Ibrahim Khan Pathan (57) held a religious ritual for snake worship in his
village Thalwada in Banaskantha district in north Gujarat evoking mixed
response – criticism from puritans of his community and accolades for the
gesture for communal amity.
held the yagna on Sunday and invited all villagers and leaders of the community
from surrounding villages to participate in the ritual offering prayers to the
snake god held by a Muslim for the first time in this area. The snake god is
worshiped in this part by members of pastoralist communities, mainly Rabaris.
said that he held the rituals as votive for his wife’s health. “My wife was not
keeping well. We consulted various doctors in different cities, but it was no
good. My business partner is a Rabari, who insisted on a votive of Goga Maharaj
wife’s health improved, and we decided to hold the yagna in the village,”
villagers participated enthusiastically in the function. A social worker in the
village, Hasmukh Rathod, said, “It was good to see a Muslim man holding such a
ritual. This is a great gesture on part of Ibrahimbhai and all villagers look
at it as a symbol of communal harmony.”
received calls from BJP leaders congratulating him for performing the ritual.
“I got calls from many leaders including the BJP’s Gujarat president Jitubhai
Vaghani, who appreciated my gesture. Everybody in my village is happy.”
Pathan has been plagued by criticism for subscribing to a ritual that many puritans
amongst Muslims do not approve.
since the news about the programme spread, I have been getting calls condemning
my action. I had to keep my phone switched off for a day. I am being criticized
by members of my community. What wrong have I committed? I have not renounced my
faith. I have not done anything wrong. The religious leaders and extremists are
after me,” Pathan said.
A Muslim family in Uttar Pradesh donated 100 sqyd land for construction of a
temple. Retired teacher Aas Mohammed and his wife Akbari donated 100 sqyd land.
They are not landlords but own just 2 beegha land. On the issue of Ayodhya, the
couple urged the people to put their trust on Court not on leaders.
has begun on the land donated by the couple. The town Sewal where the land is
located has Muslim dominated Nagar Panchayat, but Hindu brothers also live
year ago, Hindus in the Harijan Basti undertook the task of constructing a
temple. The Hindu brothers reached the house of Aas Mohammed to collect cash
donation. Aas Mohammed’s wife Akbari (67 years) expressed her wish to donate
100 sqyd land as a donation for construction of the temple.
If an ordinance is brought on Babri Masjid issue it will be challenged in the
court. However, Muslims need to continue showing patience as they were doing so
far. These views were expressed in a meeting of Babri Masjid Action Committee
which was held here at Islamia inter college. Babri Masjid case whose hearing
is scheduled in January was discussed and future strategy was finalised.
to Inquilab, speaking to its correspondent after the meeting, convener of the
committee Zafaryab Jilani said Supreme Court will fix the date of hearing on
January 4, till then if the opposite party or political persons try to provoke
us, we need not worry and should not get provoked.
Delhi: The NIA on Wednesday claimed that it has arrested 10 people, including a
group leader of a newly-traced Islamic State module, “Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam”,
that was allegedly planning terror attacks on some political personalities and
the security establishment as well as crowded places in Delhi and the national
arrest was made after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out
searches at 17 places, including six places in East Delhi’s Jafarabad area, six
places in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, two places each in Lucknow and Hapur and one
place in Meerut.
agency had registered a case on December 20 under several sections of the
Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities
a press conference, NIA spokesperson and Inspector General of Police (NIA) Alok
Mittal said that the suspects were planning attacks in Delhi but he refused to
share when they were planning those attacks.
said the agency arrested the head of the Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam, Mufti Suhail,
a resident of Amroha from his house, who is also a Maulvi in a mosque.
official said the module was planning attacks on important political and
security offices in Delhi as well as crowded places.
were planning to detonate a remote-controlled bomb or a fidayeen kind of
attack,” he said.
about the handler of the Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam, Mittal said the agency was
trying to ascertain his identity and his country.
said the arrested suspects also tried making a bullet-proof fidayeen vest. It
was recovered from Amroha. A country-made rocket launcher, 12 pistols, 112
alarm clocks, 100 mobile phones, 135 SIM cards, many laptops and various
electronic gadgets, besides 150 rounds of ammunition were also recovered during
NIA also seized 25 kg of explosive material, such as potassium nitrate,
ammonium nitrate, sulphur, sugar material paste, mobile phone circuits,
batteries, 51 pipes, remote control car triggering switch, wireless digital
doorbell for remote switch, steel containers, electric wires, knife, sword,
IS-related literature and Rs 7.5 lakh in cash.
official said the group was a self-funded one and a few of the members stole
gold ornaments from their homes and sold them to fund their activities. “During
questioning two brothers confessed that they sold gold jewellery worth Rs 5 to
6 lakh,” the official said.
said that the group came on the NIA’s radar after credible information that a
group of pro-IS individuals have formed a terrorist gang and are preparing to
carry out terrorist attacks targeting vital installations, sensitive locations
and crowded places in and around Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).
inputs were further developed and field verifications were done. It was
ascertained that Suhail alias Hazrath and his associates have mobilized funds
and have procured weapons, ammunition and explosive material to prepare IEDs
and bombs and they plan to carry out explosions and fidayeen attacks at places
of importance in and around Delhi and also target crowded places,” the IG said.
said that all the arrested people are in the age group of 20 to 29 years.
Besides Suhail, the agency arrested Saeed, 28, Raees Ahmed, Saqib Iftekar, 26
and Mohammad Irshad from Amroha.
arrested Anas Yunus, 24, a B. Tech student of Amity University in Noida, Rashid
Zafar Raq, 23, Zubair Malik, 20 and his brother Zaid Malik, 22 and Mohammad
Azam, 35, from Delhi’s Jafarabad area of Delhi.
to NIA officials, Yunus was instrumental in procuring electrical items, alarm
clocks and batteries etc. in furtherance of their terror conspiracy. The two
brothers Saeed and Raees arrested from Amroha had procured a huge quantity of
explosive material for preparing IEDs and pipe bombs and were instrumental in
fabricating a rocket launcher to carry out terrorist attacks.
also said that Azam, who runs a medical shop in Seelampur area of Delhi and
Saqib Iftekar in Amroha helped Suhail in arranging the weapons.
said that the two brothers Zaid and Zubair were also part of the terror
conspiracy and were instrumental in procuring batteries, connectors, SIM cards
on fake documents and mobilising funds for buying bomb-making material.
how these people made bombs and the rocket launcher, the officer said that they
took the help of the Internet to make bombs and the rocket launcher.
said that after the questioning of the six other accused more arrests will be
made in the case.
DELHI: The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday arrested 10 suspected
members of a newly formed ISIS-inspired terror outfit+ that was allegedly
planning to carry out a series of suicide attacks in Delhi and north India
targeting important political personalities, vital installations and crowded
group comprises youths in the 20-35 age group who hail from middle income group
members were radicalised by a UP-based Mufti, who is also the alleged
mastermind and founder of 'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam', which can be loosely
translated as 'war for the cause of Islam', the NIA has alleged.
are the ten men who plotted to carry out attacks in the country: 1. Mufti
Mohammed Suhail alias Hazrath (29): The alleged founder of the group is a
native of Amroha in West Uttar Pradesh where he works as a Mufti in a madrasa
at Hakim Mahtab Uddin Hashmi Road. Presently residing in Jafrabad in northeast
Delhi, he allegedly founded the group three-four months back and indoctrinated
its members using online resources linked to the ISIS. A video has been seized
by the agency where Suhail can be heard telling how to assemble bomb using a
is alleged that he had tasked other team members to procure arms, explosives
and other accessories to prepare remotecontrolled bombs and pipe-bombs.
Anas Yunus (24): A resident of Jafrabad. He is a student of civil engineering
at a private university in Noida. He procured electrical items, alarm clocks
and batteries, etc to be used in assembling bombs in furtherance of their
Rashid Zafar Raq alias Zafar (23): Also a resident of Jafrabad. He is involved
in garments business and was part of the group.
Saeed alias Sayeed (28): A resident of Saidapur Imma, Amroha, Sayeed runs a
welding shop where some pistols and rocket launcher were fabricated.
Saeed's brother Raees Ahmad: A resident of Saidapur Imma, Amroha, UP. He owns a
welding shop at Islam Nagar, near Idgah, Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. The brothers
had allegedly procured 25 kilogram of explosive material and gun powder for preparing
IEDs and pipe bombs and were instrumental in fabricating a rocket launcher to
carry out terrorist attacks.
Zubair Malik (20): A resident of Jafrabad. He is a third-year BA student in
Zubair's brother Zaid (22): A resident of Jafrabad. Both the brothers were part
of the terror conspiracy and were instrumental in procuring batteries,
connectors, SIM cards (135 recovered during searches) on fake documents and
mobilising funds for buying bomb-making material. Both allegedly stole family
gold to arrange the money.
Saqib Iftekar (26): A resident of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. He works as an Imam in
Jama Masjid, Baksar, Uttar Pradesh and helped Mohammed Suhail in procuring
weapons. The agency has recovered 12 pistols, 150 rounds of live ammunition,
knives and swords during searches.
Mohammed Irshad (in late 20s): A resident of Mohalla Qazi Zada, Amroha. An auto-rickshaw
driver who was helping Mohammed Suhail in arranging a hideout for keeping the
material for making IEDs and bombs. The agency has recovered 25 kg of explosive
material, such as potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, sulphur, sugar material
paste, 112 alarm clocks, mobile phone circuits, batteries, 51 pipes, remote
control toys, wireless digital doorbell, steel containers, electric wires.
In an indication of further shrinkage of the terrorists' support base in the
valley, more and more cases of outlaws using cave-like hideouts away from the
human habitations are surfacing, say security personnel.
police official made this remark on Wednesday after security forces busted an
underground hideout of terrorists in Awantipora area of Pulwama district where
some of the top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders were believed to be hiding.
official said a search operation was launched in the area on early Wednesday on
a tip off about the presence of terrorists in the hideout – a cave-like
structure made in a hillock. Though nothing incriminating could by found by the
security forces, there were tell-tale signs of the hideout having been used recently
by terrorists, the official said.
ultras appeared to have deserted it hours before the security forces launched
the search operation.
cave-like hideout, away from the human habitations, was detected Wednesday,
barely days after discovery of another similar hideout in Arampora area of
busting of the second cave-like hideout came four days after six terrorists of
Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, an offshoot of ISIS, were killed in an encounter in
Arampora area of Awantipora on Saturday.
terrorists killed in the operation on Saturday were also avoiding residential
areas for quite sometime and hiding in a cavelike hideout," the official
said six terrorists including some wanted Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were
killed in Saktipora operation in Anantnag district on November 23 while three
others were gunned down in Pulwama district this month.
both the cases, the terrorists had built underground hideouts near
orchards," he added.
security officials said the terrorists have been left looking for alternative
hideouts due to the fact that atrocities committed by them against civilians
have led to disaffection among the masses and shrinkage of their support base.
than 50 civilians were killed by terrorists this year while some of the brutal
executions were captured on camera and later circulated on social media. This
has further reduced their already shrinking support base," the official
said the other factor for this new trend was the continuous flow of human
intelligence to the security forces, which has helped them neutralise a large
number of ultras during the year.
National Investigation Agency on Wednesday arrested a 25-year-old man who was
absconding in connection with a case of ISIS-inspired youths from Kerala
joining the West Asia-based terror group, officials said. Habeeb Rahman, from
Wayanad in Kerala, was arrested in the two-year old ISIS Kasaragod Module case,
the agency said in a statement.
case relates to the criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused persons from
Kasaragod district of Kerala and their associates since Ramadan, 2015, with the
intention of joining and furthering the objectives of ISIS Daish,” it said.
agency said that as part of the conspiracy, 14 accused from Kasaragod district
had left India or their workplaces in Middle-East Asia between mid-May and
early July, 2016, before travelling to Afghanistan or Syria, where they joined
the ISIS (Daish).
said that accused Nashidul Hamzafar and Habeeb Rehman remained in touch, over
encrypted social media platforms, with other absconding accused persons in this
case like Abdul Rashid Abdulla and Ashfak Majeed.
military says 14 military and police personnel have been killed in an ambush by
Boko Haram extremists.
army statement says the security forces were on escort duty when they were
attacked on Monday just outside Damaturu town in Yobe state in the north of the
statement signed by army spokesperson Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu says efforts to
pursue and "eliminate" the Boko Haram extremists are ongoing.
military has been fighting Boko Haram's Islamic insurgency for nearly a decade.
The continued threat is a major issue for President Muhammadu Buhari as he
seeks a second term in February's election.
a recent series of deadly attacks on Nigeria's military, Buhari and others have
warned that the extremists have begun using drones to as part of a resurgence.
authorities have arrested 18 people during protests that erupted after the
death of a journalist who set himself on fire to protest economic problems in
the North African nation, officials said Wednesday.
were arrested in the provincial city of Kasserine and five others in Tebourba,
near Tunis, Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said.
between police and Tunisian authorities took place in several regions over the
past two days after journalist Abderrazak Zorgui posted a video online before
his self-immolation in Kasserine describing his desperation and calling for
revolt. He expressed frustration at unemployment and the unfulfilled promises
of Tunisia's 2011 Arab Spring revolution.
most violent protests took place in Kasserine, in west central Tunisia, where
police used tear gas to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators. According to
ShemsFM radio, the military was deployed to help police tackle the protests and
secure state buildings.
Tunis, dozens of protesters gathered on Bourguiba Avenue - the capital city's
main road - to protest costs of living increases and chanted slogans hostile to
Kasserine tribunal spokesman Achref Youssefi said an investigation "for
failure to assist a person in danger" has been opened following the death
of Zorgui. He said a suspect has been arrested.
official source at the Saudi foreign ministry said that the kingdom strongly
condemns the attack on the foreign ministry building in Libya’s Tripoli, and
the attack on a government building in the Afghan capital Kabul, and the car
bomb terrorist attack in Tal Afar in Iraq.
source confirmed the kingdom’s rejection of these terrorist acts and considers
them a flagrant violation of international norms, legislation and laws.
source offered condolences to the families of the victims and to the
governments and peoples of the brotherly countries, wishing the injured a
Haram Takfiri terrorists ambushed a military convoy in northeastern Nigeria,
killing 13 soldiers and a policeman, the army said Wednesday.
an officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the militants had overrun
an army base, and put the death toll at 18.
army statement said the attackers ambushed a military convoy late Monday on a
highway linking Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, with Damaturu in
neighboring Yobe state.
13 military and a police personnel... paid the supreme price while extricating
themselves from the ambush," said the statement, signed by local military
spokesman Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu.
attack followed an attempted raid on a nearby military base along the highway
in Kukareta village, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Damaturu, Nwachukwu said.
attack was "repelled" by troops who "engaged and overpowered the
terrorists, killing several of them", Nwachukwu said, adding that a
soldier was injured.
security sources said fighters travelling in eight trucks fitted with
anti-aircraft guns had overrun the base.
terrorists killed 17 soldiers in the attack, which lasted for more than an
hour," an officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
took over the military base after overpowering troops and burnt it down. A
policeman was killed when their vehicle which was heading to Damaturu ran into
crossfire but the driver escaped unhurt," the military source said.
medic in Damaturu hospital said 18 bodies were taken to the morgue late Monday.
civilian militiaman in the area gave a similar account and said the fighters
withdrew after torching the base.
burnt the base and two military vehicles. They also burnt two primary schools
in Kukareta and neighboring Ngaurawa village," said the militiaman.
Haram extremists have carried out dozens of attacks on military bases in recent
months. Scores of soldiers have been killed or listed as missing.
120-kilometre (75-mile) Maiduguri-Damaturu highway has seen repeated attacks,
including raids on military bases and markets.
September 2013, Boko Haram fighters disguised as soldiers barricaded the
highway and killed 167 people, in the worst attack targeting motorists.
conflict has spilled over into Nigeria's northern neighbors Chad, Niger and
Sudan’s top Islamist party, a member of President Omar Al-Bashir’s government,
called Wednesday for a probe into the killings of protesters in demonstrations
that have rocked the economically troubled country.
crowds have taken to the streets in Khartoum and several other cities since
December 19 when the government tripled the price of bread
authorities say eight protesters have been killed in clashes, but Amnesty
International has put the death toll at 37.
a press conference in Khartoum, Popular Congress Party senior official Idris
Suleman said his party’s own reports indicated that 17 people “were martyred”
and 88 wounded in the demonstrations.
the killings, the party, founded by late Islamist leader Hassan Turabi, urged
the authorities to find those responsible.
call on the government to launch an investigation into the killings,” Suleman
who committed these killings must be held accountable.”
Congress Party is part of Bashir’s government and has two ministers of state in
the cabinet and seven lawmakers in parliament.
who died in March 2016, was a leading force behind the 1989 coup that brought
Bashir to power, ushering in an Islamist regime that hosted Al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden from 1992 to 1996 in Sudan.
founded Popular Congress Party after he was dismissed from Bashir’s National
Congress Party amid a power struggle a decade after the coup.
and security officers remained deployed in several parts of the Sudanese
capital on Wednesday, but no new demonstration had been staged so far.
has sought to tamp down the discontent by vowing to “take real reforms” to
solve Sudan’s economic woes.
his statements appear to have done little to appease protesters angered by
is mired in economic difficulties including an acute foreign currency shortage
and soaring inflation.
crisis has worsened despite the lifting of an economic embargo by the United
States in October 2017.
is running at close to 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged in value,
while shortages in bread and fuel have been reported across several cities
Pakistani authorities on Wednesday claimed to have foiled a terrorist attack at
a Christmas ceremony in Punjab province and arrested four al-Qaeda terrorists.
to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), it got a credible information that
four terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda were present near Francis Abad,
Sheikhupura road Gujranwala, some 80-km from Lahore.
were planning to attack a Christmas function in Gujranwala city on December
25," a CTD spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday.
CTD team along with police raided their hideout and arrested the four
terrorists identified as Muhammad Tua Seen, Muhammad Junaid, Muneer Ahmed and
Taaj Muhammad Shah.
terrorists have made important disclosures regarding other plans of the
al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Raids are being conducted to arrest their
accomplices," the spokesman said.
material and ammunition have been recovered from them. They have been shifted
to an undisclosed location for further investigation.
CTD recently arrested a member of the al-Qaeda from Lahore.
Aslam Baloch alias Achhu, a key leader of the banned Baloch Liberation Army
(BLA) and the mastermind of the recent attack on the Chinese consulate in
Karachi, has been killed along with five other leaders of the organisation in a
suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
to reports, the suicide attack was carried out at a house in the Aino Maina
area, an upscale locality of Kandahar, on Tuesday where the BLA leaders had
gathered for a meeting.
spokesman for the BLA, Jeeyand Baloch, on Wednesday confirmed the killing of
Aslam along with five other leaders of the militant organisation. He said in a
statement issued from an undisclosed place: “Aslam Baloch alias Achhu has been
killed along with five other key leaders of the BLA in an attack.”
identified the five slain militants as Sangat Sardaro alias Tajo, Karim Marri
alias Rahim Baloch, Sangat Akhtar Baloch alias Rustam, Freed Baloch and Sadiq
believe that Aslam alias Achhu was the mastermind of the attack on the Chinese
consulate in Karachi and another suicide attack on a bus in the Dalbandin area
of Chagai district which was carrying Chinese engineers and other staff to
Quetta from Saindak this year.
Media reports said that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a house
where Aslam and other BLA leaders were present. Aslam was injured in the attack
and taken to hospital where he died.
Two Pakistani nationals, Abdullah and Mohammed Imran Qureshi Warsi, returned to
Pakistan after the Indian authorities on Wednesday released them through the
was detained from Attari in 2017 while Warsi spent 10 years in Bhopal Jail on
charges of “forgery and spying” after going to India in 2004. Warsi, on the other
hand, had gone to India to meet his Kolkata based relatives. He stayed in India
for four years despite the expiry of his visa. Furthermore, he also got a
ration card and a PAN card made during his stay. In fact, he was on his way to
Bhopal to get a passport made when he was arrested by the police.
told Indian media that he could not be happier to see his mother, father and
siblings who all reside in Karachi’s Gulshan Iqbal area. He has an Indian wife
and two children, whom he plans on taking to Pakistan through proper legal
recourse, he added.
Pakistan has taken its regional partners and neighbours on board regarding the
outcome of the recently held dialogue between Washington and Afghan Taliban for
the political settlement of the Afghan conflict.
to sources in the federal government, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
briefed his Chinese, Iranian, Afghan and Russian counterparts over the recently
concluded Afghan peace dialogue and sought their support for a peaceful
resolution of the conflict.
biggest question for Pakistan was to ensure that all its neighbours were on
board for a negotiated settlement of the Afghanistan mess. For this purpose,
Pakistan is mustering political and diplomatic support for the Afghanistan
solution. The biggest question, however, would remain that if the US leaves
Afghanistan in the lurch again, who would provide funding to develop war-torn
Afghanistan,” sources said.
asked if Qureshi had discussed with the four neighbours funding for Afghan
development, sources said that funding would be discussed once the US
negotiators spoke their mind on Afghanistan settlement. “It would be premature
to discuss funding at this juncture. But all the issues would be on the table
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday met Russian Foreign
Minister Sergie Lavrov in Moscow as part of the government’s policy of outreach
in the neighbouring countries.
was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and senior officials of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
FM led detailed talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the MoFA
of the Russian Federation, on various bilateral and regional issues.
the ministers agreed to continue efforts, including through Moscow Format of
Consultations, for supporting reconciliation under an Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process. Recent developments concerning Afghan peace process
were also discussed,” an official handout issued here said.
was underlined that being the most important stakeholders, Pakistan and Russia
had shared interests and concerns in Afghanistan and had the common goal of
supporting all efforts to restore peace and stability in the country,” said the
handout quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts
in the Afghan settlement and offered Russia’s support to bring stability in the
leaders also underscored the need to harmonise various regional approaches for
developing a regional consensus on various issues,” the statement added.
also expressed government of Pakistan’s desire to forge a long-term,
multidimensional partnership and friendship with Russia. Both sides expressed
satisfaction on the upward trajectory of bilateral relations.
first meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Dimitry
Medvedev in Shanghai in November 2018 had set the tone to deepen cooperation in
all areas. Views were also exchanged to support each other’s position in
multilateral forums. It was also decided to maintain close and regular contact
for strengthening understanding of important issues.
merits mention that prior to visiting Moscow, Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited
Kabul, Tehran and Beijing and took his three counterparts into confidence on
Afghan peace dialogue.
had arrived in Moscow on the final leg of his four-nation tour Wednesday.
during these meetings, Qureshi renewed Pakistan’s commitment to assist in
furthering peace in Afghanistan and the region.
visit is part of promoting various initiatives and ideas for regional
cooperation, especially in promoting economic and people-to-people linkages.
his earlier visits to the four nations, the foreign minister discussed
Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the senior leadership of these countries,
to strengthen cooperation in various areas.
the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan is eager to strengthen ties
with neighbours and regional partners. Such cooperation is the key to
unleashing Pakistan’s considerable potential and expanding mutually beneficial
economic cooperation and development,” the official statement issued on Monday
detailed exchange of views on important areas of bilateral cooperation, views
will also be exchanged on the fast-changing regional and international
environment. Recent developments concerning peace and reconciliation in
Afghanistan would also be discussed during these meetings.
has always maintained that the solution to the conflict in Afghanistan lies in
an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. International community’s recent
consensus to adopt this as the guiding principle to resolve the 40-years old
Afghan conflict vindicates Pakistan’s long-held view,” the release added.
Chinese and Pakistani diplomats discussed on Tuesday “new changes” to the situation
in Afghanistan, China’s Foreign Ministry said, amid plans by the United States
to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops based in the country.
officials have told Reuters that President Donald Trump has issued verbal
orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7,000 U.S. troops. The White House
and the Pentagon have not yet commented publicly.
a close ally of Pakistan, has been deepening its economic and political ties
with Kabul and is using its influence to try to bring the two neighbours
in Beijing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi and
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a “deep discussion about
new changes to the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus”, China’s
Foreign Ministry said.
sides believe that military means cannot resolve the Afghanistan issue, and
promoting political reconciliation is the only realistic way,” the ministry
said in its short statement.
two sides welcome the various efforts made by all parties and are willing to
maintain close communication and strategic coordination.”
was no direct mention of the planned US troop drawdown.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, speaking at a daily news briefing,
reiterated the statement and did not answer a question on whether the meeting
was connected to the US troop withdrawal.
election commission says the presidential vote scheduled for April will be
postponed for several months to allow time to fix technical problems that
surfaced during October’s parliamentary elections.
Aziz Ibrahimi, deputy spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said
Wednesday that more time is needed to train staff on a biometric identification
system designed to reduce fraud. He says additional verification of voter lists
also requires more time.
elections were fraught with delays after the few staff trained on the biometric
system did not show up at the polling booths and countless registered voters
could not find their names on voter lists. Scores of challenges to the
parliamentary election results have surfaced.
new date for presidential polls has been set.
and the Taliban are engaged in negotiations, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme
National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said in a meeting held in Kabul on
Wednesday with Hamdullah Mohib, the National Security Advisor to Afghanistan’s
series of (Iran’s) connections and negotiations with the Taliban have been held
with the knowledge of the Afghan government, and this process will proceed,”
Shamkhani was quoted by Tasnim news.
there is much talk of Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, little is
known about Tehran’s growing role in Afghanistan.
has been maneuvering boldly to shape Afghanistan for its own good, over the
years, when the United States disbanded the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
in Iraq, Iran is using it for its own interest relentlessly to spread its
by a number of senior Iranian security, military and political officials,
Shamkhani arrived in Kabul on Wednesday morning for an official visit.
top security official has confirmed that the country has been holding talks
with the Afghan Taliban in coordination with Kabul to help relieve rampant
insecurity in Afghanistan.
series of contacts and talks with the Taliban group have taken place with the
knowledge of the Afghan government,” Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s
Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Wednesday. “That trend will
made the announcement during a one-day visit to Afghanistan at the invitation
of Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan president’s national security adviser.
the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on November 28, Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to facilitate “inclusive”
dialog between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government in a bid to restore
peace to the war-torn country.
United States led an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The invasion toppled a
Taliban government that ruled over much of the country at the time; and while
US-led forces continue to occupy Afghanistan, they have failed to restore
who in a previous capacity famously helped with the establishment of a
post-invasion government in Afghanistan in the Bonn conference in 2001, said in
the Geneva conference that there was no military solution for Afghanistan and
that the time had come for national reconciliation.
in his remarks, Shamkhani emphasized the need to establish “mechanisms based on
constant consultations” and “the active participation of regional countries in
security processes” to guarantee sustainable stability and growth for regional
also hailed the constructive agreements arrived at during a one-day security
conference among Iranian, Russian, Chinese, Indian, and Afghan security chiefs
and advisers in Tehran in September. The security chief voiced Iran’s support
for the holding of the summit’s next edition in Afghanistan.
expansion a serious threat’
also described the threat of the expansion of the Takfiri terrorist group of
Daesh in Afghanistan as “serious.” He called for practical measures to stop
that from happening.
SNSC chief, who is being accompanied by a delegation of ranking political,
military, and security officials, will be meeting with various Afghan
authorities, including President Ashraf Ghani, during his stay in Afghanistan.
officials said last Thursday that President Donald Trump had ordered a
withdrawal of nearly half of the American forces stationed in Afghanistan,
although the US commander in Afghanistan later said no order had been
officially received to begin such a withdrawal.
pillar of security’
the Afghan presidential national security adviser, said the Islamic Republic
had always been “one of the main pillars of security in the region.”
cooperation of the two countries will undoubtedly be very effectual in
resolving Afghanistan’s current security problems,” he said.
cleansing, phase two, confronts the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar who were
victims of a brutal uprooting beginning in August 2017.
soldiers forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in Rakhine state. The
Rohingya fled to tent camps across the border in Bangladesh, frightened and
stripped of everything. Now comes a report that Myanmar, also known as Burma,
is taking steps to make the exodus irreversible.
Dec. 18, Reuters published a special report including satellite photos,
interviews and a government map showing how authorities in Myanmar, despite
promises that the Rohingya could return, are in fact making that increasingly unlikely.
Many of the villages were burned at the time of the assault, then bulldozed.
New homes are being built and occupied mainly by Buddhists, some from other
parts of Rakhine state; the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has long persecuted
the Rohingya minority.
discovered that the Myanmar government is building some of the new homes and
helping the Buddhist resettlement, led by nationalists who want to establish a
Buddhist majority in the area. Reuters was shown a resettlement map drafted by
the government that reveals many returning Rohingya would be housed in several
dozen Rohingya-only settlements, isolating them from the rest of the
population. It all adds up to a new round of ethnic cleansing, creating
permanent facts on the ground to erase the Rohingya presence, also conveniently
paving over evidence of the original atrocity.
Reuters report includes striking satellite photographs showing what has
happened to the village of Inn Din, the scene of a massacre of 10 Muslim men
during the 2017 offensive, a horror documented earlier by Reuters.
photographs show how the brown-roofed Rohingya homes in the village have been
systematically destroyed. Buddhist houses are still standing, and 100 new homes
for Buddhists are being built, according to the report.
government's resettlement map shows that no site for Rohingya is planned in the
village, according to Reuters.
Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were investigating the killing
by the security forces of Rohingya villagers, have been unjustly sentenced to
prison terms on trumped-up charges by the Myanmar authorities.
de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has said the government is pursuing “the
voluntary, safe and dignified return” of the Rohingya. But, so far, it is not
November, plans to repatriate about 2,200 collapsed when Rohingya in the camps
protested that they would not go unless granted citizenship and allowed back to
their original homes. Myanmar wants the refugees to accept national
verification cards, known as NVCs, residency documents short of citizenship.
Rohingya vehemently oppose the card, saying it depicts them as new arrivals
undeserving of citizenship in lands where they were born and have lived for
Afghan National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah Mohib has said that the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has been defeated in Afghanistan
as he informed regarding the growwing capabilities of the Afghan National
Defense and Security Forces capabilities as compared to the militants and
Mohib made the remarks during a meeting with Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of
the National Security Council of Iran.
towards the ongoing efforts to revive the Afghan-led peace process, Dr. Mohib
said the people of Afghanistan want a lasting peace with dignity as he
emphasized that the regional countries should assist Afghanistan in this
said a national consensus exists regarding peace process in Afghanistan and
regional consensus is also needed to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan,
a consensus which should be based on government to government relations.
to Dr. Mohib, terrorism is an ominous phenomenon which threatens both
countries, emphasizing that instability in one country would destabilize the
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have repulsed a coordinated attack
by Taliban militants on Almar district of northern Faryab province.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said a
group of Taliban militants launched coordinated attack on Almar district at
around 6pm on Tuesday which continued until 12 am.
statement further added that the clashes left at least eight militants dead and
five others wounded.
to 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan army, the dead bodies of a number of
militants were also left in the area after the attack was repulsed.
the meantime, the 209th Shaheen Corps said two shops also caught fire after in
a rocket attack by the militants.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the clashes so far.
Syrian, Muslim communities donate blood over the holidays
many Calgarians kick up their feet and relax for the holidays, others —
including members of the city’s Muslim and Syrian communities — are rolling up
their sleeves to donate blood.
few people think to donate blood during the last few days of the year,
especially between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Yet Canadian Blood
Services (CBS) said there’s still an acute need for it.
patients, for instance, require around eight pints of blood per week. The
average amount needed for a car crash victim hovers around 50 pints. According
to Jhoanna Del Rosario, territory manager with CBS in Calgary, around a
thousand blood donors will be needed in the city between Boxing Day and Jan. 6.
need for blood doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t take a holiday or vacation,” she
said in an interview on Wednesday.
of the Syrian community in Calgary, as well as the Muslim Association of
Canada’s Calgary chapter, are stepping in to fill the void. On Boxing Day, 23
Syrians showed up at CBS’s blood donor clinic in Eau Claire to give blood. The clinic
only had the capacity for 20 donations, according to Sam Nammoura, co-founder
of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary.
reason we did the Boxing Day (blood drive) is because everybody’s busy on these
days — whether it’s Christmas Day, Boxing Day, or New Year’s Day,” Nammoura
said. “So, we want to show up when everybody’s busy.”
January, CBS reached out and asked for donors to drop by on New Year’s Day.
According to Nammoura, the service had a shortage of blood and no scheduled
donors lined up on that day. Members of Calgary’s Syrian communities, even
those unable to speak English at the time, showed up.
in 2018, Syrians across the country also made a point of donating blood on
April 14, and plan to make it an annual tradition.
said that for the community, donating blood isn’t just an expression of
blood in Syrian culture and throughout the Middle East is a really symbolic way
of devotion and commitment to the cause,” he explained. “Donating blood, it means
that I’m willing to sacrifice everything that I have — including my blood — for
that cause … whether it’s love of a country or appreciation of the people.”
Muslim Association of Canada’s (MAC) Calgary chapter is also running a blood
drive on Thursday out of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Suites in
northwest Calgary. Arshiya Shareef, who helped organize Thursday’s drive, said
they’re expecting just over a hundred people.
took to social media, put out press releases, and spread the word at mosques to
go and donate blood. In the future, she said, MAC would love to set up their
own blood clinic to help offset the constant need for blood.
drives aren’t just a way to give back, they’re also a way to build bridges with
other cultures within Calgary, Shareef said. With Islamophobia “on the rise
like never before,” she feels it’s important for MAC to let others in Calgary
know that the Muslim community is doing this work.
you’re on the surgeon’s table, there’s nobody who’s going to ask your religion
or your background or your ethnicity. That’s probably the last thing on your
mind. On the outside, you might have … so many superficial differences,” she
said. “But on the inside, basically, we’re all the same.”
defends Syria pullout while on surprise visit to Iraq
Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to withdraw US troops from
Syria during an unannounced visit to Iraq, saying, “A lot of people are going
to come around to my way of thinking.”
abruptly made the decision on Syria last week, against the advice of top aides
and commanders, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned the next
day. Trump said he had told his advisers “let’s get out of Syria,” but was then
persuaded to stay, before deciding to bring the 2,000 troops home.
think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It’s time
for us to start using our head,” the president told reporters at the al-Asad
Air Base west of Baghdad where he and first lady Melania Trump spent three
hours on the ground visiting US troops.
also said the United States had no plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq,
adding, “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in
Syria.” Trump indicated he would not rush to nominate a new secretary to
replace Mattis, the first defense chief in decades to resign over policy differences
with the president.
said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, whom he named on Sunday to
replace Mattis in an acting capacity starting on Jan. 1, “could be there for a
has come under withering criticism from fellow Republicans, Democrats and
international allies over his decision to pull out of Syria because he believed
ISIS militants have been defeated.
argue that the decision could undercut US leverage in the region and undermine
diplomatic efforts to the end the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year.
is threatening a new offensive in Syria. To date, US forces in Syria have been
seen as a stabilizing factor and have somewhat restrained Turkey’s actions
against Syrian Kurdish forces.
Sunday, Trump said in a tweet that he had spoken with Turkish President Tayyip
Erdogan about a “slow and highly coordinated” withdrawal of the US troops,
suggesting that he might slow down the process after the barrage of criticism.
expert report prepared for German parliament said Turkey’s military presence in
Syria “fulfills the criteria of an invasion” according to international law,
Deutche Welle Turkish reported on Wednesday.
report, prepared by the parliament’s Research Services at the request of the
German Left Party (Die Linke), examined Turkey’s military presence in northern
currently controls a large swathe of territory in northwestern Syria consisting
of Al-Bab and the border cities of Jarablus and Azaz, captured from the Islamic
State (ISIS) in the Euphrates Shield operation launched in August 2016.
also seized control of the northwestern province of Afrin this year, formerly
controlled by the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey sees as
an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group which has
been fighting inside Turkey since 1984.
Alleged Turkish-backed faction tortures Syrian man using Assad methods
Turkey’s military presence in Afrin, Azaz, Al-Bab, and Jarablus regions in
northern Syria is examined, it is seen that it fulfils the criteria of an
invasion set in international law,” the report said.
Dagdelen, deputy chairman of the Left party in the German Bundestag, criticized
the German government for declining to evaluate Turkey’s military activities in
Syria as a violation of international law.
Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak testified against former Egyptian
President Mohamed Morsi who is charged with damaging and setting fire to prison
buildings, murder and attempted murder, and looting prison weapons depots while
allowing prisoners from Hamas, Hezbollah, and other criminals to escape.
said that 800 people from different nationalities stormed through the eastern
border of Egypt during the January 25 revolution, through Gaza tunnels.
entered Egyptian land through Gaza and had weapons… They headed toward the
prisons to release prisoners belonging to Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim
Brotherhood,” Mubarak said.
added that they broke into the Wadi el-Natrun prisons as it held prisoners
belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
said that the perpetrators killed police officers north of Sinai, adding that
he has more information but would need permission from the presidency to reveal
issue of Gaza tunnels is complex and we destroyed many of them before the
revolution… We were exposed to attacks from Gaza while destroying the tunnels,”
was accompanied by his two sons, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.
await an extraordinary moment on Wednesday, when the two former Egyptian
presidents appeared together before the Criminal Court in Cairo in the case of
storming prisons during Egypt’s January 25 revolution.
former President Mubarak was due to testify during the last hearing in early
December but was absent as he refused to fulfill the civilian request, because
he still enjoys military status, according to defense lawyer Farid al-Deeb.
case brings together Mubarak and Morsi in one hall, the first as witness and
the second as defendant for the first time in the history of Egypt.
is closely associated to the case which looks into the issue of the border
funeral procession for the Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council Ayatollah
Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi has seen a massive turnout, with a large
number of Iranian people and government officials paying their last respects to
the senior cleric.
mourning ceremony began on Wednesday morning at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Grand
Prayer Grounds (Mosalla), where Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah
Seyyed Ali Khamenei performed the funeral prayer.
heads of the three branches of Iran’s government, namely President Hassan
Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli
Larijani, were all present.
other participants were government ministers, lawmakers, military top brass as
well as members of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts.
the ceremony in Tehran, the body of Ayatollah Shahroudi will be transferred to
the city of Qom, where he will be laid to rest at Hazrat Masoumeh’s holy shrine
later in the day.
has been declared a national day of mourning in honor of Ayatollah Shahroudi,
who passed away at the age of 70 after months of battling illness on Monday.
his lifetime, Ayatollah Shahroudi served in many crucial positions in the
Islamic Republic. He was born in 1948 in the Iraqi city of Najaf, which has
hosted many Muslim scholars.
Iraq, he attended classes held by the late founder of the Islamic Republic,
fought against the dictatorial rule of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and was jailed and
tortured by his Baathist forces.
Shahroudi traveled to Iran in the wake of the Islamic Revolution to serve as an
intermediary between Imam Khomeini and Iraqi scholars and leaders.
took the helm of the Expediency Council in 2017 to succeed the late Ayatollah
Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. The Expediency Council is mainly responsible for
arbitrating between the Iranian Parliament and the Guardian Council, which
itself supervises the Parliament.
Shahroudi also served as the head of Iran’s Judiciary for 10 years. His
attempts for speeding up due processes and establishing close contact with
ordinary people were among the achievements he was credited for.
also served in the capacity of the vice president of Iran’s Assembly of
Experts, which elects and oversees the performance of the Leader of the Islamic
has strongly condemned Israel’s recent missile strike near the capital Damascus
as a blatant violation of a United Nations resolution, adding that Tel Aviv
would not have been able to carry out such attacks without support from the
two separate letters addressed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and
the head of the UN Security Council, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday
condemned the attack as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 350,
which called for a ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the wake of the Yom
Foreign Ministry accused Israel of seeking to prolong the crisis in Syria,
noting that such strikes are tantamount to what Daesh and other terrorist
groups are doing in Syria.
once again asks the Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities in keeping
international peace and security and adopting firm measures to prevent the
repetition of the Israeli attacks, the ministry concluded.
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry also condemned the airstrike and affirmed Syria's
right to defend its sovereignty.
a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry asked the international community
to denounce the aggression and counter the Israeli violation of Lebanon's
airspace to conduct strikes against its neighbor, Syria.
Tuesday, Syrian air defense systems intercepted several missiles fired by
Israeli warplanes, nearly a month after government forces foiled another
Israeli act of aggression against the country.
Israeli missiles were launched from the Lebanese airspace and most of them were
downed before reaching their targets.
officials argue that Iran’s presence in Syria, which is part of an advisory
mission requested by the Damascus government, poses a threat to the Tel Aviv
Israeli military, using this pretext, has pounded alleged positions of Iranian
and Iran-backed forces across Syria over the course of the seven-year conflict.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has responded to the Bahraini regime’s
recent criticism of his latest remarks, where he had censured the ruling Al
Khalifah dynasty over crackdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners
in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
did not demand interference in the affairs of Bahrain or any other country, as
the others interfere in our affairs. We did not allow violence and we do not
encourage anyone to do so,” Maliki, who now heads the State of Law Coalition in
the Iraqi parliament, wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on
then called for “dialogue and rejection of marginalization and the exercise of
also stressed “respect for people and their right to freedom and the use of
constitutional mechanisms and democracy in dealing with crises.”
Monday, Bahrain's Foreign Ministry summoned the deputy charge d'affaires of the
Iraqi embassy to condemn Maliki’s comments regarding the Manama regime’s
crackdown on dissent.
ministry described the remarks as “blatant and unacceptable interference in the
internal affairs of Bahrain.”
Bahraini official) described Maliki’s attitude as a clear solidarity with those
who seek to spread chaos, violence and terrorism and exhibit hatred,” Bahrain’s
state-run news agency BNA reported.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
says the territories currently occupied by American troops in eastern Syria
should return to government control following Washington’s planned withdrawal
of its military forces from the Arab country.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Moscow has
no information about the pullout schedule or contact between Washington and
Damascus on the matter.
she added, Moscow understands the importance of US President Donald Trump’s
decision and is closely monitoring its implementation, which would “contribute
to a comprehensive settlement of the situation.”
question emerges — who will receive control over the US-held Syrian
territories? Obviously, in accordance with international law and taking into
consideration what Syria and its people have been through, it should be the
Syrian government,” she said. “If the troop withdrawal happens, it would have a
positive impact on the situation,” she added.
week, Trump ordered a quick withdrawal of all 2,000 US forces from Syria
claiming victory over the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn
described US forces’ pullout from Syria as a victory for Damascus and its
allies, which was made possible through the resistance of the Syrian nation and
government during the foreign-sponsored militancy there.
in her remarks, Zakharova stressed that “the question is still open” about
whether the Americans would “continue airstrikes and restricted land
operations” in Syria.
American representatives make it clear that the withdrawal of the army from
Syrian territory does not mean an end to the activity by the so-called US-led
international coalition,” she pointed out.
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.
aerial assaults have failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering
terrorism, but destroyed much of Syria's infrastructure and left many civilian
prepares to launch an operation against Kurdish militants in parts of northern
Syria that lie east of the Euphrates River. The anti-Damascus Kurdish militants
have long enjoyed US support despite Ankara's fury.
The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul
Karim Al-Issa, on Wednesday received a delegation of senior oriental studies
scholars from Japan.
delegation, led by Prof. Hiroshi Nawata, discussed a number of issues related
to cooperation among cultures and civilizations with the MWL chief.
two sides stressed the need for a meaningful dialogue to build a peaceful world
for the good of the entire humanity.
would be pertinent to mention that the Conference on Peace in Revealed
Religions, held at Oxford University in the UK in May, adopted an MWL
initiative on positive national integration of religious and cultural
conference — attended by a large number of religious, political and
intellectual leaders — also adopted the MWL’s call to replace the term
“minorities” with “religious and cultural special category.”
to apply for full UN membership early next year, foreign minister says
Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says Palestine would “lodge an application to
gain full state membership at the United Nations” in January.
in an interview with Ramallah-based Voice of Palestine radio station on
Wednesday, Maliki said he would file the application upon Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas' instructions in a bid to upgrade Palestine's status from an
observer state to a full-member state to the UN Security Council (UNSC), when
he visits New York next month.
need support from at least nine of the UNSC's 15 member states to secure full
further noted that he would demand the implementation of the UN Security
Council Resolution 2334, and ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open
an official inquiry into Israeli settlement construction.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the UNSC adopted
Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all
settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this
year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very
happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US
president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.
clashes have been reported between Yemen’s Houthi fighters and militants loyal
to the country’s former Saudi-backed regime in Hudaydah ahead of a UN-organized
joint committee meeting meant to monitor the ceasefire in the strategic Red Sea
port city. An AFP correspondent said Yemen’s rival parties had exchanged
gunfire on Wednesday and that the sound of heavy artillery could be heard to
the east of Hudaydah.
skirmishes come as retired Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert is expected to
chair a joint committee, including representatives from Yemen's warring
factions, to monitor the Hudaydah truce that entered into force on December 18.
arrived in Hudaydah on Sunday from the Houthi-held capital, Sana’a, after
holding talks with officials from Yemen's former Saudi-allied regime in the
city of Aden.
ceasefire was reached recently in Sweden during peace talks between delegations
from the Houthis and the Saudi-backed former government.
opposite sides agreed to the withdrawal of their forces and the deployment of
UN monitors to the port, the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods
and vital aid.
UN monitoring team is tasked with securing the functioning of Hudaydah and
supervising the pullout of forces from the city.
Tuesday alone, the Houthis recorded at least 31 violations of the Hudaydah
truce by the aggressors.
an official for the Saudi-led coalition accused the Houthi fighters of 183
violations, saying 10 militants had been killed since the ceasefire went into
a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, has seen some of the heaviest fighting in
the Saudi-led aggression, which began in March 2015.
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched the Hudaydah offensive in June but
have been facing strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces — led by the
Houthis — as well as the city’s residents.
Saudi war has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni people and made the country
the world's worst humanitarian disaster.
has met with the Afghan Taliban, a top Iranian security official said Wednesday
according to the Tasnim news agency, just days after the militants attended
reconciliation talks in the UAE. Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme
National Security Council, made the announcement while on a visit to the Afghan
capital Kabul, several Iranian agencies reported.
Afghan government has been informed of the communications and talks carried out
with the Taliban, and this process will continue,” he said, quoted by Tasnim.
No details on where the talks took place were given by the news agency, which
is considered close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “The Islamic Republic has
always been one of the primary pillars of stability in the region and
cooperation between the two countries will certainly help in fixing
Afghanistan’s security issues of today,” Shamkhani said. Abas Aslani, a
reporter for Tasnim, tweeted that it was the first time talks had been
confirmed between Iran and the Taliban.
announcement follows reconciliation talks last week between the United States
and Taliban officials in the United Arab Emirates.
Taliban said they also held meetings with officials from the UAE, Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia, but the militants refused to meet a delegation from Afghanistan.
The renewed diplomatic efforts come as Washington seeks a way out of the
17-year conflict. An American official told AFP last week that President Donald
Trump had decided to pull out “roughly half” of the 14,000 US forces, but the
White House has yet to confirm the widely-publicised move.
and Afghanistan share a nearly 600-mile border, and have a had a complex
relationship in recent years.
has long supported its co-religionists in Afghanistan, the Shia Hazara
minority, who were violently persecuted by the Taliban during its rule in the
1990s. Iran worked alongside the United States and Western powers to help drive
out the Taliban after the US-led invasion in 2001. But there have been
allegations, from Western and Afghan sources, that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
have in recent years established ties with the Taliban aimed at driving out US
forces from Afghanistan. Iran hosted Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood
Qureshi on Monday in Tehran. No details were given of the discussions.
lawmakers on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to dissolve parliament and hold
snap elections on April 9.
backed the move 102 for and two against after Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s coalition agreed Monday on early polls.
premier’s coalition was left with a one-seat majority after defense minister
Avigdor Lieberman stepped down in November over a controversial Gaza ceasefire
leaders have failed to agree on a key bill regulating drafting ultra-Orthodox
Jews to the army, and that was the immediate reason to move toward elections.
however, say that Netanyahu wanted the polls before Attorney General Avichai
Mandelblit announces his decision on whether to indict the premier in three
different corruption cases.
no official timeframe has been given, reports say such an announcement could
come in mid-April.
politicians now entering campaign mode, Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Wednesday
with leaders of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and made his
pitch for why they should stick with him.
current coalition is seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history.
see an attempt by the left-wing to overthrow our rule with the help of the
media and others,” he said.
can’t succeed, because if they do -- that will pose a clear danger to the
on their support in the elections, Netanyahu told the settler leaders they
should not take the fate of their enterprise for granted.
had to work hard, with the current American administration as well, for the
great achievements we brought the settlements,” he said in remarks relayed by
Netanyahu portrays himself as the champion of the settlements, settler leaders
say he has not done enough, with three prominent heads of West Bank settlements
boycotting the Wednesday meeting in protest.
a new military operation on Tuesday, the Yemeni army with support from the Arab
Coalition liberated new fronts lying between the regions of Maran and Alab
northwest of Yemen’s Saada.
commander of the army’s Third Brigade, Brigadier Aziz al-Khattabi, said that
liberating these fronts in the heart of the Houthi stronghold in Saada came
after a strategic study by the commanders of the battles who aim to end the
militias control in the area.
confirmed that through the operation, the army was able to liberate a series of
mountains, and the al-Baha souq, which stretches over about 35 kilometers.
added that the battles caused losses in Houthi militiamen and equipment, as the
attack took them by surprise.
Palestinian security forces on Wednesday prevented a press conference by the
speaker of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian parliament after a court ordered
the largely defunct body dissolved.
forces in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank deployed in the area outside the
Palestinian Legislative Council building ahead of a scheduled press conference
by speaker Aziz Dweik, a Hamas member, AFP journalists saw.
spokesman for the Palestinian security services said they were enforcing the
court decision and that former members of parliament no longer have the right
to use the building since the body has been dissolved.
comments to Hamas’s Al Aqsa television, Dweik said he had been detained at a
checkpoint and denounced the actions of the security forces, calling the
court’s decision illegal.
official Sami Abu Zuhri called the security forces’ actions a “serious
was the latest controversy over Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s move to
dissolve the parliament, which has not met since 2007.
the parliament allows Abbas to further pressure his rivals Hamas, which runs
the Gaza Strip.
the parliament has been largely defunct, Palestinian law allows for its speaker
to act as interim president should 83-year-old Abbas die in office.
ruling to dissolve parliament was made by the Palestinian Constitutional Court
in Ramallah, and Hamas has said it rejects the move by a court created by Abbas
“to legitimize his arbitrary decisions.”
ruling also called for elections within six months.
won the last parliamentary elections in 2006 in a landslide, resulting in an
electoral dispute with Fatah.
Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip the following year, and the split
between them and Abbas’s Fatah has persisted.
range of issues have kept the two sides apart, including Hamas’s refusal to
disarm its military wing.
whose Fatah is based in the West Bank, has sought to pressure Hamas in recent
months by reducing salaries in the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli
blockade, among other moves.
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