students hold a massive flag rally to mark Independence day in Ongole on
Tuesday.Kommuri SrinivasKommuri Srinivas
Norms on Sound System of Mosques Need To Be Followed: Madras High Court
Muslim Atheist Questioned By Police, Islamic Authorities, Says Report
Seeks UN Resolution to Investigate ISIS
Pledges to ‘Crush’ Israel If Gaza Attacked
Videos Capture Summary Executions
Students Take out ‘Tiranga Rally’
Agra Madrasas Celebrate Independence Day, But No Vande Mataram
UP Madrasas Might Face NSA Case for Defying Adityanath Govt's I-Day Diktat
Muslim college principal heckled by ABVP, RSS men
on Hizbul Mujahideen: A widely-awaited review of US South Asia strategy
encounter: Top LeT terrorist Ayub Lelhari gunned down
funds: NIA raids 12 premises in Kashmir
BJP’s Mind Now: Inroads into Maratha, Muslim Areas in Maharashtra
under Threat As Malaysia Faces Islamic Tide
manufacturing of moral panics in Malaysia
Jesuit group learns about Indonesian Islam
chief urges promotion of moderate Islam, fight against extremism
US, UK Supply Toxic Agents to Terrorist Groups in Syria
Several Terrorist Groups Join Al-Nusra to Slow Down Syrian Army Advances in Hama
strikes kill 17 in Syria’s Raqa
bomber kills seven Iraqi soldiers near oil-rich Baiji
Army Utilizing Modernized Armored Vehicles in War on Terrorists
army begins ISIS battle surrounding Ras Baalbek
boat attack foiled targeting UAE ship
says US, allies supplying terrorists with toxic agents
state TV accuses Qatar of coup attempt
‘Expelling Sanaa Hospital Patients to Treat Leaders and Fighters’
Kurds’ independence referendum risks civil war: Turkish FM
Minister: 120 Terrorist Teams Disbanded in Iran in 4 Years
Iran reject US religious freedom report
warns Iraqi Kurdish referendum risks ‘civil war’
asks Berlin to arrest major suspect in 2016 coup attempt
reform leader Mehdi Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest
Suicide Bombers Kill 28, Wound 82
Diaries of Nigeria’s Chibok Girls Say Kidnap by Boko Haram Was Accidental
PM, officials pushed from activist’s funeral procession
humanitarian crises worsen: UN
'Rent' a Child Industry Fueling Lucrative Street Begging in Nairobi
Prayer Leaders Arrested For Involvement in Magnetic Bombings in Kabul
Sees Fresh Influx of Rohingya from Myanmar
suspects the Mourning Day bomber had co-conspirators
Madrasa Student’s Head Shaved for Praising PM Hasina on Facebook
and Afghan soldiers suffer casualties in anti-ISIS operations
says coalition to stand against conspiracies being hatched against Noor
Hezb-e-Islami harshly criticizes pro-Iran media of sparking tensions
Double Standard for White Supremacists and Muslims
Administration Asks Supreme Court To Toss Out Muslim Ban Case
admin’s religious freedom report says IS conducting genocide
group labeled 'anti-Muslim' plans pro-Trump rally in Syracuse
found to have violated Muslim tenants' religous rights loses appeal
Youth Group Combating Islamophobia by Raising £500,000 for Charity with Single
attack ‘hero’ in court for ‘theft from victims’
issues warning over possible commercial ship attacks off Yemen
throws weight behind Iran’s missile program
Prosperity of Pakistan Is Unity, Prosperity of Muslim World: Saudi Ambassador
TTP suspects, 20 Afghans arrested from Punjab: ISPR
toll from Harnai attack rises to eight
charity, hides not collected by terrorists
by New Age Islam News Bureau
norms on sound system of mosques need to be followed: Madras High Court
Madras High Court on Wednesday observed that freedom of religion is a
fundamental right which cannot be interfered with but stressed that the Supreme
Court guidelines on sound system used by mosques for giving prayer calls should
observations were made by the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira
Banerjee and Justice M Sundar during the hearing of a PIL on the matter.
public interest litigation alleged rampant seizure of loudspeakers used for
‘azaan’ or the prayer call by mosques in Pollachi taluk in Coimbatore district
by officials without verifying whether the sound levels were within the
permissible limits or not.
Shaw Nawaz Khan, president of Pollachi “Aikkiya Jamath”, sought to forbear the
Coimbatore Rural Superintendent of Police and the Additional Superintendent of
Police, Pollachi, from confiscating the loudspeakers in the mosques without
examining the decibel levels.
the petition came up, the bench said offering prayers was the fundamental right
and it cannot be interfered with. However, at the same time, it said, the
petitioners had to follow the Supreme Court guidelines in operating the sound
system. “There can be no doubt that freedom of religion is a fundamental right.
The religious practice that do not contravene the law of the land ought not be
interfered,” it said.
bench then directed the petitioner to file an affidavit on seizure details of
loudspeakers and posted the petition to September 4 for further hearing.
According to the petitioner, the respondents had called a meeting in which all
custodians of the mosques were instructed to give prayer call and use the sound
under the prescribed limits as per Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control)
petitioner submitted that the sound system was inspected by an expert sound
engineer in all the mosques of the district and subsequently was adjusted to
the permissible level through the sound control equipment. He contended that
said the call for prayers was given from the highest pedestal of the mosques
which was 15 metres from the ground level and hence would not violate any noise
pollution control rules. This had been endorsed by the sound engineer.
petitioner further submitted that call for prayer (Azan) is mandatory practice
of Muslims all over the world and this practice came into vogue from the day
when Prophet Mohammed commanded his companion Hazrath Bilai to give prayer call
from an elevated position.
that it was an essential religious practice, the petitioner said the right to
freedom of religion and freedom to manage religious affairs is guaranteed under
25 and 26 of the Constitution. He claimed that senior police officials had
raided the mosques in Pollachi taluk and seized the loudspeakers without any
reason and without checking whether the emission of sound was beyond the
petitioner while referring to the Supreme Court guidelines in the matter said
the sound system could be seized and confiscated only if they were found to be
creating noise beyond the permissible limits.
LUMPUR: At least one Muslim, said to hold atheistic views, is being questioned
by both the police and the Islamic religious authorities.
to a report in The Australian, the man has been questioned by police for long
stretches, and has been asked to turn over his phone and his Facebook account.
report, on how Islamisation is creeping into Malaysian society, quoted a Muslim
who holds atheistic views in private as saying that the authorities were
hunting for Muslim who were atheists.
man, given the name Zahari to protect his identity, belongs to the Kuala
Lumpur-based atheist club which hit the local headlines recently when a
photograph was uploaded to Facebook showing smiling members at a rare social
gathering of the largely online group.
Aug 6, the government said it would investigate whether any Muslims had joined
the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic, a Canada-based organisation.
told The Australian that the authorities had singled out one from his group for
questioning in the hope he “will break and rat us out”.
said the man had been interrogated by both the police and officials of the
Islamic religious affairs department. The latter, Zahari claimed, had
threatened to try the man in the shariah court for apostasy and to convince his
wife to annul their marriage.
is no room for civil discourse when it concerns religion here. We are lucky to
have secular laws and people defending them still. But I’m not sure how long
that will last.
is a window into a moderate (Muslim) nation that is turning conservative,”
Zahari was quoted as saying.
said he had been careful to stay out of pictures taken that day, but that he
had been spending the past week looking over his shoulder.
to the report, some of those in the photograph had received death threats and
had gone into hiding, fearing attacks from vigilantes or detention by Islamic
religious authorities in one of the country’s Islamic re-education centres.
week, federal minister Shahidan Kassim made headlines locally and abroad when
he said atheists should be “hunted down”. He claimed they were in violation of
the Federal Constitution.
Negri Sembilan state mufti Mohd Yusof Ahmad reportedly said Islam prescribed
death against Muslims who left the religion for atheism, if they were
“stubborn” and refused to repent.
Channel News Asia had quoted one Muslim who practises atheism as saying: “I am
worried. I have already accepted that something might happen to me … that I
might be killed.
say this because I see how extreme people have become, how my Facebook friends
(could) turn into real-life threats for me with their comments that it is halal
(permitted) to kill atheists, apostates … how eager they are to kill to gain
merits in heaven.”
seeks UN resolution to investigate ISIS
has asked the UN to assist it with gathering evidence of crimes committed by
ISIS and said it was working with Britain to draft a Security Council
resolution to establish an investigation.
a letter dated August 9 but given to the press Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign
Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari, congratulating his country’s army on its
“brilliant military victories” against the militant force that once controlled
vast swaths of Iraqi territory, said ISIS was guilty of “crimes against
requested assistance of the international community to investigate ISIS crimes.
“In this regard, the Republic of Iraq and the United Kingdom are working on a
draft resolution,” he said in the English-language statement.
deputy ambassador Jonathan Allen confirmed the move, adding: “We are going to
work with them and with our partners in the Security Council to bring forward a
resolution that will achieve just that, leaving no hiding place for ISIS
declined to specify a timeline for the resolution. British human rights lawyer Amal
Clooney, who has advocated for the rights of Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority
which suffered mass killings as well as sexual enslavement by ISIS, said:
“Yazidis and other ISIS victims want justice in a court of law and they deserve
nothing less,” using another acronym for the group.
hope that the Iraqi government’s letter will mark the beginning of the end of
impunity for genocide and other crimes that ISIS is committing in Iraq and
around the world.”
pledges to ‘crush’ Israel if Gaza attacked
Aug 16, 2017
Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has pledged to “crush Israel in
case it wages another war on the besieged Gaza Strip.
media reports on Wednesday cited Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar as saying
that while the movement was not looking to start a war, it was well prepared to
take on the Tel Aviv regime’s military forces at any time.
do not seek confrontation with the Israelis, but if the confrontation happens,
we will crush them,” Sinwar was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Hamas chief, who was appointed in February to succeed Ismail Haniyeh to head
the movement’s political office in Gaza, said any “stupid steps” by Israel
against the coastal enclave would be met with a response greater than the one
the movement gave to the 2014 Israeli invasion.
marked the third anniversary of the 51-day Israeli war on Gaza that left more
than 2,200 people dead and over 11,000 others injured. Gaza stood its ground
and was able to repel the ruthless invasion.
is not launching a new war against Gaza, which stresses Tel Aviv's fear of the
unknown that awaits it in Gaza," the Palestinian leader asserted.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade and
recurrent airstrikes has caused a decline in living standards as well as
unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
said there was hope for better living standards following a series of
breakthroughs in negotiations with Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to the
to him, Cairo had committed itself to let goods and passengers through the gate
since the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
also noted that "there is talk about improving the electricity
situation" in Gaza, which is hit by daily blackouts of about 17-18 hours.
was the most senior figure to be released with over 1,000 other Palestinian
prisoners in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kept in Gaza
for more than five years.
being appointed to his new post, Sinwar was a senior commander of the Ezzedine
al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing.
— Forces loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya appear to
have executed captured fighters in Benghazi and desecrated corpses, Human
Rights Watch said today. Video recordings posted online since January 2017 seem
to show LNA fighters carrying out seven distinct unlawful executions of
most recent video, which appeared on social media on July 24, 2017, shows the
apparent summary execution on July 17 of 20 blindfolded men with their hands
tied behind their backs in orange jumpsuits, whom the commander in charge
accuses of "terrorism." The executioners appear to be members of a
special forces unit headed by Mahmoud al-Werfalli. The Army Special Forces in
Benghazi, under the command of Wanis Bukhamada, are linked to the LNA, which is
commanded by Gen. Khalifa Hiftar. The LNA is allied with the Interim
Government, one of the three governments vying for legitimacy, international
recognition, and control of territory in Libya.
August 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for
al-Werfalli for the war crime of murder. He is wanted by the court for his
alleged role in the killing of 33 people in seven incidents that took place in
and around Benghazi between June 2016 and July 2017. The Interim Government
should take immediate steps to facilitate the surrender of al-Werfalli to the
ICC, Human Rights Watch said.
posted videos suggest that LNA-linked forces committed a series of grave war
crimes over many months," said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and
North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The ICC warrant for
al-Werfalli is a wake-up call to other abusive commanders in Libya that one day
their serious crimes could land them in a prison cell in The Hague."
Rights Watch reviewed seven videos and several still images that appear to show
distinct incidents of LNA-affiliated soldiers executing prisoners in their
custody. Some of these videos and images show fighters desecrating the bodies
of supposed fighters who opposed the LNA, including the burning and kicking of
a corpse and posing for photographs with another corpse that had a leash tied
around its neck.
the video that was posted on social media on July 24, al-Werfalli and LNA
soldiers are seen wearing the insignia of the Army Special Forces. Al-Werfalli
reads out the execution judgment, identifies the unit, the date of July 17, and
the capital offenses attributed to those in custody. He is the main executioner
or supervisor of executions in six more video recordings of apparent summary
executions of people accused of "terrorism" and committing crimes
against the LNA.
summary execution of fighters who have been captured or who have surrendered is
a war crime.
a commitment to investigate alleged crimes by its forces, the LNA has yet to
announce the findings of any investigations or sanctions it has imposed on any
of its members found to have committed violations. In a July 20 , the LNA
rejected allegations made by the United Nations on July 18 that soldiers under
al-Werfalli's command were responsible for summary executions and that captured
fighters in Benghazi were at "imminent risk of torture and even summary
LNA said in its response that there was no evidence to substantiate the
accusations of torture and executions and that any conclusions of the LNA's
investigative commission to uncover abuses in "unverified videos"
would be made public.
Rights Watch was not able to verify the date when the videos and photos were
taken, or the location where they were recorded. However, an analysis of the
imagery revealed no indications that they had been doctored or were otherwise
inauthentic. Human Rights Watch sought comment from the LNA spokesman but was
unable to reach him. On August 8, Human Rights Watch emailed the LNA for
comment on the videos and photographs that appear to show al-Werfalli presiding
over or carrying out the execution of prisoners. Human Rights Watch did not receive
of the seven videos appear to show al-Werfalli himself executing captured and
unarmed men, individually or in groups. In three other videos, he appears to
give orders to men in military uniform to execute unarmed detainees. In the seventh
and most recent video to surface, a commander, who appears to be al-Werfalli,
both gives orders and participates in the execution of the 20 unarmed,
blindfolded prisoners in orange jumpsuits with their hands tied behind their
video starts by showing several incidents of crimes the captured men allegedly
committed. The commander, who is dressed in fatigues, a black t-shirt, and
black cap, then reads out the judgment of execution by firing squad against 18
of the men kneeling in four rows. The commander refers to the men as
"terrorists" and says that a "field court" has found them
guilty of "kidnapping, torturing, killing, bombing, slaying, and torturing
the sons of the military establishment in particular and the Libyan people in
commander does not name any of the captured men or cite their affiliations. He
says the date is July 17. Once the reading of the judgment is over, he orders
armed men in military uniforms to execute the captured detainees row by row.
The recording shows them doing so. Two more individuals are executed in the
same way at the end of the video.
another video recording posted on social media in June, a man who appears to be
al-Werfalli is seen reciting religious texts and then ordering four men in
fatigues, black t-shirts, and face-masks to shoot in the head four men kneeling
in an open field. The captives are hooded and appear to have their hands bound
behind their backs. Al-Werfalli does not name the victims but accuses them of
crimes, including assassinations, and calls them Kharijites - a term for
Muslims who rebelled against the Caliphate in the early ages of Islam.
Al-Werfalli says that it is the month of Ramadan, which would mean June 2017.
undated video appears to show al-Werfalli reciting religious verses in a room
while a man kneels on the floor with his arms behind his head. Other soldiers
can be seen and heard in the background. Al-Werfalli accuses the man of being a
member of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), and then pulls out a handgun
and shoots him in the back of the head, apparently killing him. Another undated
video shows the apparent interrogation of this same man, who says he is
May 22, an undated video appeared online showing the apparent execution of two
men: Emad Eddin al-Jazawi, a fighter with the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura
Council, a coalition of fighters including extremists who oppose the LNA, and
the son of a minister of the National Salvation Government, another of the
rival governments. The video begins with al-Jazawi being interrogated and later
shows him in a cage with another man, Haitham Jomaa al-Kafrawi, identified in
the video as an Egyptian member of Al-Qaeda, who is also being interrogated.
The recording ends with al-Jazawi and al-Kafrawi kneeling on the ground, backs
to the camera, as al-Werfalli gives two soldiers an order to execute them. A
photo bubble appears above the heads of the victims, showing photos of both
May 15, al-Werfalli announced his resignation from the special forces, after he
and his forces were accused of abuses, including looting and burning homes, as
well as attacking a rescue division linked with the Interior Ministry in
Benghazi that resulted in the killing of an officer. Al-Werfalli denied
responsibility for those acts. However, the next day, the commander of the
Special Forces, Wanis Bukhamada, rejected al-Werfalli's resignation due to the
"many sacrifices al-Werfalli" had made, and kept him in his position.
conflict, insecurity, and political divisions have plagued Libya since May
2014, when General Hiftar announced a war to root out "terrorism" in
Benghazi. As a result of armed conflicts in both the east and west, central
authority collapsed and the three competing governments emerged, including the
Interim Government, which the House of Representatives supports. Key
institutions, most notably law enforcement and the judiciary, are dysfunctional
in most parts of the country. On July 5, General Hiftar announced the complete
"liberation" of Benghazi from armed groups opposing the LNA,
including extremists, but pockets of resistance remain.
ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has a mandate to investigate crimes against
humanity, war crimes, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011.
Human Rights Watch's research in Libya since 2011 has found rampant violations
of international human rights and humanitarian law, including mass long-term
arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, forced displacement, and
unlawful killings. In the face of mounting atrocities, Human Rights Watch has
called on the ICC prosecutor to urgently pursue an investigation into ongoing
grave crimes by all sides, including possible crimes against humanity.
May, Bensouda said her office was committed to making the Libya situation a
priority in 2017. Given the serious crimes committed in Libya and the
challenges facing the authorities, the ICC's mandate remains crucial to ending
impunity in Libya, Human Rights Watch said.
students take out ‘Tiranga rally’
fully secure in country’
of students from a Madrasa led by Muslim clerics took out an impressive
‘Tiranga rally’ here on the Independence Day on Tuesday. Muslim youth leader
Sk.Karimullah unfurled the national flag at Islampet before they marched
towards the Prakasam Bhavan raising underscoring the need for Hindu-Muslim
unity. Indian Muslims felt fully secure in the country and none need not have
any doubts on their commitment in fighting anti-national forces, said a Muslim
cleric Moulana Abid Sk.
Agra madrasas celebrate Independence Day, but no Vande Mataram
after Yogi Adityanath's BJP government controversially obliged madrasas to film
Independence Day festivities, over two dozen of celebrated seven decades of
freedom from British Raj with the rest of the nation.
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's Vande Mataram couldn't be heard in any of them.
leading Barelvi cleric had on Sunday forbidden Muslims to sing the national
anthem or the national song, but said they could sing 'Saare Jahan Se Accha,'
the Hindustan Times reported.
'Jana Gana Mana' was indeed sung yesterday, as was Muhammad Iqbal's song.
Mudassar Ali Khan Qadri, head of the madrasa in Nagla Mevati, told India Today
that the hype over Vande Mataram was baseless and only served to create a
dispute between Hindus and Muslims.
Day is a festival that celebrates independence, but the Hindu outfits are
trying to curb the religious freedom of Muslims in the name of patriotism, he
Vande Mataram isn't mandatory and whoever wants to sing it is free to do so,
but no devout Muslim will - as it's against the tenets of Islam, he explained.
pressure on madrasas in this way isn't good, as they have a very important role
to play in the cultural and intellectual development of a large section of
Indian society, he added.
Muslim Vikas Parishad Chairman Sami Aghai said the Modi and Adityanath
governments were creating an unnecessary ruckus over Vande Mataram.
love their country and hold the country's welfare as their foremost patriotic
duty, but they shouldn't be forced to do something that goes against their
religion in the name of showing their patriotism towards India, he said.
lot of hardline Muslim organizations opposed the government's directives (to
madrasas) to organise and film Independence Day celebrations, but madrasas
still celebrated with a fervor that hasn't been seen in recent years, he added.
Sarvdaliy Muslim Action Committee President Syed Irfan Salim said the central
and state governments should think about development, instead of wasting their
energy and valuable time on frivolous issues like Vande Mataram.
said India offers complete religious freedom to all communities and this
freedom is ingrained in the Constitution, so the government should be focusing
on development and not on trying to meddle into religious issues like the
singing of Vande Mataram and triple talaq, he explained.
the law-and-order situation of any state gets affected due to these
frivolities, it will break the pace of development in that particular state, he
UP madrasas might face NSA case for defying Adityanath govt's I-Day diktat
a few madrasas (Islamic schools) in Uttar Pradesh may face action under the
stringent National Security Act (NSA) for partly defying the Yogi Adityanath
government's order that the tricolour must be unfurled and the national anthem
recited on their premises as part of Independence Day celebrations.
NSA was enacted in 1980 primarily to deal with the country's security, defence
and foreign relations. It has provisions to detain citizens on presumption of
possible tension alone without any recourse to challenge the detention order.
of UP's 16,000 madrasas didn't take the order well that was to "inspire
students and help them learn more about the contribution of freedom
few madrasas in Western UP's Bareilly and elsewhere in the state did flag
hoisting but refused to recite the national anthem — Jana Gana Mana... — on the
ground that "Islam does not allow anyone except Allah to be praised".
A few Hindu organisations and locals lodged a complaint with Bareilly
divisional commissioner PV Jagan Mohan in this regard.
have asked complainants to produce evidence. An inquiry has also been initiated
and if complaints are found true, NSA would be invoked against madarsa
management committees for causing disrespect to the national anthem," he
warned. Relevant sections of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act,
1971, may also be invoked against the erring madrasas, he said.
was no clarity if this will be a statewide action. The state government has
sought legal opinion on whether or not the NSA can be invoked against madrasas
who defied its order that had also said that all I-Day events on their premises
must be videographed and footage submitted to the UP Madarsa Shiksha Parishad
as proof. The Chief Minister has asked divisional commissioners to obtain
footage and furnish a list of all erring institutions in UP where nearly a
fifth of India's Muslim population lives. The NSA is invoked for preventive
arrests to check incidents that might lead to tension.
of Bareilly, Maulana A Raza Khan, had already announced that reciting the
national anthem is "un-Islamic as it contains words which are against the
basic tenets of Islam." At Jamiat-ur-Raza, run by the Bareilly Qazi,
students participated in flag hoisting and shouted "Hindustan
zindabad" but did not recite the national anthem. Instead, they sang
"Saare Jahan Se Achha... ", a 20th century patriotic song penned by
poet Mohammad Iqbal.
Abdul Kalam Madrasa in Bareilly also refused to recite the national anthem.
"It contains a few un-Islamic words which no devout Muslim would recite.
Our divine power is only Allah and we cannot worship or praise anyone except
Allah," said madrasa manager Iqbal Beg.
a shocking incident the principal of a government college in Telangana's
Nizamabad was heckled allegedly by ABVP and RSS workers during flag hoisting on
Independence Day on Tuesday.
and ABVP workers allegedly shouted slogans against the principal Mohammed
Yakeen asking him to remove his shoes during the flag hoisting.
Yakeen refused to do so, he was allegedly heckled and thrashed after the
Independence Day event.
the college authorities have written to the chief minister, seeking arrest of
incident has shocked many and lodging a strong protest Majlis Bachao Tehreek
(MBT) demanded immediate action against all those involved in the incident.
entire incident as shot on a mobile camera. The video shows several people
hurling abuses and chanting slogans and pushing Mohammad Yakeen, while he was
calmly trying to address them.
The Trump administration on Wednesday designated the violent Kashmiri extremist
group Hizbul Mujahideen as a ''Foreign Terrorist Organization'' in yet another
put down of its patron Pakistan and the Kashmiri separatist movement.
designation seeks to deny Hizbul the resources it needs to carry out terrorist
attacks, the State Department said in a media note announcing the move. Among
other consequences, it said, all of HM's property and interests in property subject
to US jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging
in any transactions with the group.
designation come ahead of a widely-awaited review of South Asia strategy --
involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India -- which President Trump will
preside over on Friday at Camp David with vice-president Mike Pence and the
National Security team.
Trump administration has extended and toughened Washington's hardline policy
towards Pakistan that began during the Obama years in view of the country's
double dealing and backing of terrorist groups despite taking billions in US
aid. Pakistan has also continued its brazen support to terrorists in Kashmir
terming them ''freedom fighters.''
its proteges are Hizbul Mujaheddin chief Syed Salahuddin who was named as a
Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US State Department just ahead
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Trump at the White House
designations also serve notice to China, which has consistently thwarted
India's - and American -- efforts to have the United Nations ban Pakistan-based
Jaish-E-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar.
terrorist groups have exported their extremist violence to China's Uighur
region and Beijing has retaliated against Islamists by hounding them to the
extent of even banning naming of children Mohammed.
such religious and ideological ill-will, China has lately teamed with Pakistan
to give cover to terrorism directed against India.
his other domestic disasters, Trump had promised to address the issue of
terrorism directed against India and his administration has so far been
pro-active in banning terror groups and putting the squeeze on Pakistan. The
Trump administration is also whittling down aid to Pakistan.
DELHI: : One Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist was gunned down in an encounter
with security forces on Wednesday in Banderpora village of Jammu and Kashmir's
Pulwama, police said.
Lelhari District Commander LeT killed in Pulwama. Yet another success in the
fight against militancy," the state police said on its Twitter handle.
details of the gunfight, police said a 'naka' (check post) was set up in
Banderpora (Koil) village jointly by Rashtriya Rifles, state police and CRPF
after receiving information about the movement of the LeT district commander in
the vehicle in which Ayub Lalhari was travelling was signalled to stop, it
tried to jump the check post, after which the LeT commander started firing at
the security forces," the police said.
this story in Gujarati
policemen were injured in the initial firing after which an encounter started
in which Lalhari was killed," police said.
driver of the vehicle has been arrested.
killing is a big set back for LeT in Kashmir. Lelhari came close to being
killed by security forces, on August 1, in the same district that Wednesday's
encounter occurred in. A stone-pelting mob however gave him cover to escape but
LeT's another top terrorist Abu Dujana was killed in that encounter.
National Investigative Agency on Wednesday searched 12 places in Kashmir in
connection with the ongoing terror funding investigation. The homes of two
lawyers, two drivers and a government official were among those that were
searched. One of the advocates, Mohammad Shafi Reshi, who is affiliated to
Hurriyat’s S A S Geelani faction, is the uncle of PDP legislator Yasir Reshi.
sleuths and officials said the searches — conducted simultaneously at
Sanatnagar, Parimpora, Tarhama and Mazhama in Baramulla, and Machipora and
Bakhihaker in Kupwara — have led to documents related to hawala funding.
Gulberg Colony, the NIA searched the house of advocate Mohammad Shafi Reshi. At
Tarhama village, the NIA raided two houses — of Peerzada Ghulam Nabi, who is an
employee with the industries, and commerce department, and Ghulam Mohammad
Bhat, who is an accountant of businessman Zahoor Watali, who is in NIA custody.
Mazhama, the NIA searched the home of Abdul Rahim Wani, an advocate and
brother-in-law of Watali. The teams also raided the houses of Mohammad Akbar
Bhat at Sanatnagar and Ghulam Mohammad Rather in Parimpora. Both are Watali’s
Kupwara’s Machipora, the home of one of Watali’s employees, Ghulam Mohammad,
was searched. Another search was carried at Bakhihakar village at the house of
Abdul Aziz Mir, the caretaker of a property belonging to Watali.
official said the teams scanned documents and other items for three to eight
hours. “In some places, the NIA team spent more than six to seven hours,” he
contacted, legislator Yasir Reshi said he had “nothing to do” with his uncle.
“I am an elected representative of people,” he said.
spokesman for the NIA said the houses belonging to Shafi Reshi and Zahoor
Watali had yielded suspect financial records. “Some of the documents seized
relate to receipt of money from suspected foreign sources and distribution of
money so received to certain persons in Kashmir,” he said.
BJP’s mind now: Inroads into Maratha, Muslim areas in Maharashtra
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to make inroads into the areas
dominated by Maratha and Muslim communities to expand its electoral base in
Maharashtra. On the first day of the two-day state BJP executive meeting that
commenced Wednesday, the party deliberated that it should focus on the untapped
segments and constituents.
Minister Narendra Modi’s call on ‘New India’ and Chief Minister Devendra
Fadnavis’s ‘Modern Maharashtra’ mantra will be the central theme of our
conclave,” a senior BJP functionary told The Indian Express.
conclave that started in the backdrop of serious corruption charges against
state BJP president Raosaheb Danve and Housing Minister Prakash Mehta is
unlikely to see any action against the leaders.
to political managers in the party, the central leadership of the BJP is seized
of the matter. “The chief minister had ordered a probe. If the report shows
they are guilty, action will be taken at an appropriate time,” said a leader.
BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who was removed from state cabinet following
allegations of impropriety, has been demanding to be absolved of the charges if
there is no action against others facing similar cases. At its internal party
meeting, a decision had been taken not to allow the conclave to become a forum
for discussing individual cases.
political managers said the meeting would not “deviate from the stated agenda
of developmental politics emphasising on inclusive growth”.
the end of the 58th and last Maratha rally, the state government extended Rs
800-crore sops in various educational schemes — similar to the ones enjoyed by
the OBCs — to the community. The government has also provided sops in the
education sector to various economically backward people within the
minorities,” said a party leader.
Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state’s population and Muslims 10 to 12
per cent. The party, which is commemorating the centenary celebrations of
RSS/BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, has also been speaking propagating the
latter’s theory of ‘integral humanism’. The BJP believes efforts made towards
this would appeal to the masses, especially the generation next.
under threat as Malaysia faces Islamic tide
years Zahari has lived a double life in Malaysia: an observant Muslim in public
and a devoted atheist in private.
it all very nearly came crashing down last week when a photograph was uploaded
to Facebook showing smiling members of his Kuala Lumpur-based atheist club at a
rare social gathering of the largely online group.
uproar in multi-religious, multiracial, moderate Malaysia was intense and
government ministers warned that members could be prosecuted for propagating
atheism and demanded any Muslims involved be “hunted down” and re-educated.
says he was careful to stay out of pictures taken that day, but has spent the
past week looking over his shoulder.
in the photograph have received death threats and gone into hiding, fearing
attacks from vigilantes or detention by Malaysia’s religious authorities in one
of the country’s religious re-education centres.
the centres are used mostly for the state’s deradicalisation program, they are
also used to guide “deviant” Muslims considered to have strayed from the
unveiled and living in a share house with non-Muslim men, Rosle* was singled
out for re-education last year after a neighbour reported her to religious
authorities for “un-Islamic behaviour”.
forbidden to contact anyone and allowed a family visitor only after the first
fortnight, she says she was subjected to weeks of indoctrination.
was accused of being a nonbeliever. Perhaps the neighbours didn’t like me
living in a house with non-Muslims and not dressing like a Muslim woman,” Rosle
tells The Australian.
whole program is designed to make you believe in Islam. They tell you that if
you remain a deviant, you will become an outcast and there will be no one to
support you. They threatened that I would be put in jail and my family would be
ashamed of my conduct.”
didn’t work on Rosle and she made no attempt to hide it. Now, she says, she is
constantly monitored and has been told to expect another re-education stint.
experiences are an open secret in Malaysia, a multi-religious, multi-ethnic
country that has positioned itself internationally as the exemplar of a
moderate Islamic nation but which some claim is showing signs of a “creeping Islamisation”.
authorities continue their hunt this week for atheists, Zahari says they have
singled out one of his group for questioning in the hope he “will break and rat
has been questioned by police for long stretches, asked to turn over his phone
and his Facebook account,” he says.
has also been interrogated by the authorities from Malaysia’s religious affairs
department, who have threatened to try him in the country’s sharia courts for
apostasy and to convince his wife to annul their marriage.
is no room for civil discourse when it concerns religion here,” says Zahari.
“We are lucky to have secular laws and people defending them still. But I’m not
sure how long that will last.
is a window into a moderate (Muslim) nation that is turning conservative.”
the more extreme reactions in recent days to the atheism furore was that of a
prominent Malaysian cleric who warned the punishment for apostasy under the
Islamic hudud penal code was death.
draconian penalties, which include stoning and amputations, have never been
enforced in Malaysia, though not for want of campaigning by the country’s most
prominent Islamic political force, the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
has a dual-track legal system of federal criminal and civil law courts, and
state Islamic courts that mainly handle religious and family matters such as
divorce, custody and inheritance for Muslims as well as cases such as adultery.
(Sharia courts may also try to punish Muslims for offences such as drinking
alcohol, eating during fasting hours, persistent non-attendance at mosque, and
khalwat, or suspect activity between unrelated men and women.)
Malaysian governments since independence in 1957 — all led by the United Malays
Nationalist Organisation party — have resisted attempts to increase the scope
and sentencing power of the state sharia courts.
UMNO and its leader, Prime Minister Najib Razak, in coming months facing the
most challenging election in the party’s 60-year history of unbroken rule, amid
a financial scandal over the alleged misappropriation of more than $US4.5
billion from the 1MDB state investment fund, everything is on the table.
the opposition has gained ground — UMNO lost the popular vote for the first
time in the 2013 election but retained power under a gerrymandered system — the
government has become ever more reliant on the Malay Muslim vote, accounting
for about 55 per cent of the country’s electorate.
April PAS was allowed to introduce a private member’s bill in parliament
seeking to empower state governments to decide whether to impose more extreme
sharia law, to extend the remit of sharia courts, and to lift a ceiling on
punishments (currently set at six lashes, a 5000 ringgit, or $1485, fine or
three years’ jail) to allow aspects of the hudud code.
earlier, amid criticism of UMNO support for the PAS bill, Malaysian Deputy
Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in a speech to the Oxford Centre for Islamic
Studies, challenged the Western view of a moderate Muslim as one who questioned
fundamental Islamic practices and principles and accepted secular moral
who “intelligently accepted traditional Islamic spiritual, moral and legal
principles” but were critical of some secular, Western matters should not be
branded fundamentalists, he said.
the imprimatur of UMNO and the Prime Minister, the sharia bill was to have been
debated last week.
it was deferred as the government walks a political tightrope between wooing
PAS, a party that could mean the difference between winning and losing
government, and maintaining its alliance with East Malaysian Christian parties,
whose support is equally critical to retaining power.
Ei Sun, a former Najib political adviser turned analyst and senior adjunct
fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, predicts a
strong electoral showing by PAS will increase the likelihood of the sharia bill
(RUU355) eventually being passed.
if (PAS) don’t do so well then the ruling government will have to rely on the
East Malaysia constituency to retain government, and we won’t see this bill
again for a while,” he says.
now, he says, “UMNO elites are going out of their way to be religious”.
week it seems a fresh Islamic debate dominates public discourse and headlines
in the state-owned or sympathetic media.
week it was atheists spreading godlessness through the land. Also this month,
the government withdrew proposed legislation that would have prevented a
child’s conversion to Islam without the consent of both parents — long a thorny
legal issue in Malaysia that both sides of politics have worked hard to
has recently banned several academic books discussing moderate Islam. And last
month the National Registration Department controversially defied a civil court
of appeal that granted a Muslim child born out of wedlock the right to carry
his father’s surname. It chose instead to follow the non-binding advice of the
Fatwa Committee that the Koran does not allow the practice.
PAS leaders have championed each decision, even as they have drawn condemnation
from moderates and opposition parties.
in Malaysia’s complicated political landscape, the PAS-UMNO alliance that would
cement Malay Muslim dominance — and potentially pave the way for an Islamic
state — is not a done deal.
appears to be rethinking its decision to sever its long alliance with the
opposition coalition — now nominally led by 92-year-old former Malaysian PM
Mahathir Mohamad and his imprisoned former political nemesis Anwar Ibrahim — in
return for UMNO support for its sharia bill.
besieged ruling party may be its best chance at realising its sharia ambitions.
But, says Merdeka pollster Ibrahim Suffian, such an alliance would likely lead
to PAS’s political obliteration in multi-cornered election contests that would
ultimately favour UMNO. “It’s a very dynamic, moving picture, things change
every single day,” says Suffian, who suspects the government’s commitment to a
more Islamic state is mainly rhetorical.
in the Islamic party realise if they proceed with that (UMNO) plan they will
lose everything: the state they control, their seats in parliament and any
constituency they currently possess.
trying to find a face-saving way of getting back with the opposition. They need
each other because the rest of the opposition does not have the kind of Muslim
support that PAS commands. But they don’t trust each other.”
in a bid to keep PAS’s sharia dream alive while allaying the fears of his
ruling alliance partners, Prime Minister Najib last week set up a cabinet
committee to investigate how to elevate the scope and power of state sharia
present only two Malaysian states, Terengganu and Kelantan, impose more extreme
versions of sharia law.
Kelantan, the only state ruled by a PAS government, there are separate
supermarket aisles for women and men, shops must close during Friday prayers
and Ramadan fasting hours, and women are required to cover up in offices and
years ago the PAS-dominated Kelantan assembly reasserted its commitment to
hudud punishments by updating a law mandating the draconian legal code, even
though it cannot be implemented without amending the federal constitution.
month it moved to make caning — a punishment previously meted out in private —
a public spectacle for sharia law infringements, sparking outrage among the
country’s increasingly marginalised moderate voices.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) group was among those to challenge the caning decision,
warning it presented a threat to the nation’s values and aspirations.
corruption and use of Islam to deal with social issues is seeping into every
aspect of our lives and will destroy the very social fabric on which our
forefathers built this great country,” it said in a statement. “How far away
are we from other uncivilised punishments such as stoning being introduced?”
Malaysian Chinese Association, an ethnic Chinese party within UMNO’s ruling
Barisan Nasional coalition, said the move represented a breach of the federal
constitution and a “dangerous trend of riding rough over the laws of the land”.
suspect the Islamic party of seeking ultimately to impose hudud punishments in
a country where 23 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese and 7 per cent
Indian. PAS says sharia would apply only to Muslims.
2014 Merdeka Centre poll found 71 per cent of Malay Muslims backed the
introduction of sharia law.
Muzaffar, an eminent Malaysian Muslim academic, says he is deeply concerned at
the direction in which Malaysian society is heading and at the growing power
wielded by “fringe voices” from the Islamic right.
voices are getting louder and louder and the powers-that-be are inclined
towards accommodating them,” he says.
concerns me also is UMNO sort of playing footsie with PAS” — a group Muzaffar
regards as representing “ultraconservative Muslim society” on subjects such as
Islamic law, the role of women, non-Muslim minorities and economic policy.
Malaysians understand the need for inclusiveness, it is important for them to
recognise signs of growing intolerance and authoritarianism, and speak out
against the trend, he says.
really concerns me is whether the government is in a position to handle the
fallout from 1MDB, which is related to what we’re talking about.”
sketches a dark scenario in which Najib — unable to keep a lid on the scandal
or allegations he profited from it — could use extraordinary powers under the
National Security Act to call a state of emergency.
something we should all be concerned about. I don’t think Najib, or anyone
else, should be allowed to hold society to ransom because of something like
this,” Muzaffar says.
Malaysian analyst likens the current political environment to that of
pre-martial law Philippines in 1971.
very similar in that (like Najib) Marcos rose to prominence as a reformer and
then a few years into his tenure all this corruption started to take place. The
opposition against him became so strong he declared a state of emergency,” the
years of patronage politics — singling out Malay Muslims for positive
discrimination — may be at the root of the growing religious and racial
divisions feeding the climate of fear and suspicion in Malaysia today.
Oh blames a broader regional and global trend towards Islamic conservatism for
the multiplier effect that is causing unease among Malaysia’s minorities.
the one hand the government of the day is allowing this swing to the right in
the hope it will return votes for them,” he says. “But there is a genuine
sentiment among many Muslims in this country that they would like to go for
more conservative ways of life. There is a huge group who would like to see
this country become more religiously conservative.”
they’re not alone: he points to similar movements in Indonesia, southern
Thailand and the southern Philippines.
the government increasingly plays to that conservative Muslim vote bank, Oh
says some in Malaysia are now seeking potential escape routes in neighbouring
countries such as Australia and Singapore.
are politically uncertain times,” he explains. “And from time to time the
government of the day likes to pick up one or two people to make an example of
much the 1MDB corruption scandal has contributed to Malaysia’s apparent lurch
to the right is debatable.
Kessler, an emeritus professor at the University of NSW and a Malaysia observer
for more than half a century, says the country has seen a “progressive
de-secularisation” that has intensified over the past decade.
the most obvious signs has been the explosion in the numbers of women wearing
the hijab, and an increasingly heavy-handed state insistence that all Malay
Muslims comply with Islamic practices such as Friday prayers and fasting during
idiosyncratic interpretation of Islamic law prohibits so-called “deviant” Shia
and Ahmadiyya Muslim sects and it frowns on non-Muslims saying the word Allah,
using the universal Islamic salutation, assalamu alaikum, or entering mosques.
Kessler sees the push for sharia law as simply the culmination of a process
started by Mahathir who in 1982 sought to outflank PAS by aligning with a young
Islamic politician — Anwar Ibrahim — and absorbing Islamic values within the
debate in Malaysia on whether Muslim children born out of wedlock should be
permitted to carry their father’s name is yet another sequel in the series on
how religion and morality is politicised.
the Court of Appeals has ruled that Malaysian civil law contains a provision
enabling “illegitimate children” to carry their father’s name, the National
Registration Department (NRD), the Department of Islamic Development and Deputy
Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have disputed the ruling.
Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria claimed that if children born out of wedlock are
not slapped with the potentially stigmatising “bin/binte Abdullah” to their
surname as required by the NRD, Muslims will not avoid having sex outside of
marriage. The contention over the Court of Appeal’s ruling follows a set
pattern of developments.
name a few, these include the decision to install infrared cameras in the halls
of a Kuala Terengganu cinema to monitor and deter couples from engaging in “bad
behaviour”, the banning of the Spanish song Despacito on government-owned radio
stations because it contains sexualised lyrics, and the debate on whether the
alleged “gay scene” in Beauty and the Beast should be censored.
politicisation of Islam and morality is not new. One need only hark back to the
multiple arrests of Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges, and the contention that he
was morally unfit to lead Malaysia because of this.
events similarly present a template for how political actors in Malaysia
manufacture ludicrous moral panics, characterise them as piercing threats to
the country’s moral and religious fabric, and present themselves as messiahs
sent to purge the country of debauchery.
Eric Goode and Nachman Ben-Yahuda provide a useful definition of moral panics:
The belief that certain groups, individuals and behaviours pose a threat to
society’s dominant culture — that is, the presiding norms, values and beliefs
these threats are either entirely fabricated or grossly exaggerated. Some media
organisations and governments produce and circulate narratives that catalyse
issues to morph into problems people “need” to be anxious about.
threats tend to centre on the issues of poverty, drug use, immigration and, as
is currently the case in Malaysia, sexuality.
most cases, these threats are deemed to be morally repugnant precisely because
they are framed as antithetical to society’s dominant culture.
common thread tying the issues discussed earlier is the belief that, somehow,
each of these “aberrations” will twist and turn Malaysia into a sexually
positions are logically fallacious. The argument that the mere existence of a
cinema will drive people to have sex in it, or the belief that unmarried
Muslims will have sex since they know that children born out of wedlock will be
legitimised, is highly problematic.
this is precisely how moral panics come to be manufactured — by coating a
particular issue with melodrama, and driving it to its logical extreme.
THREAT TO ISLAM
is Malaysia’s official religion. It is therefore inevitable that discussions
and debates on Islam dominate the country’s public space more than any other
moral panics are threats to dominant culture, sexual promiscuity becomes framed
as a threat to Islam.
case in point is Federal Territories Mufti Dr Zulkifli Mohamed’s statement in
which he called for Valentine’s Day to be banned. He sought to do so by
equating the celebration with premarital sex, immorality and, crucially, sin.
To be clear, such rhetoric is by no means unique to Muslim leaders.
arguments have even been put forth by India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
leader Indresh Kumar. He claimed that Valentine’s Day leads to “rape,
illegitimate children and violence against women”, and is thus a threat to
“Hindu society”. Though it actively vilifies Islam and dehumanises Muslims in
India, the RSS and the Islamist-leaning religious actors are ideological
cousins on many issues.
Malaysia, the notion of Islam and Muslims being under siege — whether from
outside or within — becomes a fault line political actors use in their attempt
to mobilise and rally mass support. Political actors compete with one another
to portray themselves as messianic.
case of the banning of Despacito is particularly telling. Opposition Islamist
party Amanah got the ball rolling by describing the song as pornographic. The
party argued that society would be infected by the song’s “immorality”.
Communication Minister Salleh Said Keruak proceeded to ban the song from
government-owned radio stations. In arguing for the ban, he postulated that the
song’s mostly Spanish lyrics “are not suitable to be heard”. Both parties
competed to frame the song as a manifestation of sexual encroachment into Islam
in Malaysia that needed to be expunged.
all the episodes discussed, little is known about the views of the Malaysian
public on such issues. This allows religio-political actors to monopolise the
narrative, insist their opinions reflect public opinion, and thus present them
as the naturalistic position of the larger population.
could have a number of consequences. First, the excessive focus on issues that
appeal to hyper-conservative Muslims distorts the religious preoccupations of
could obscure how non-Muslims view their Muslim counterparts, particularly with
reference to how “tolerant” they are. The dramatisation of hyper-conservatism
could augment divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims, in turn possibly
fomenting distrust between the groups.
dominating the public discourse on Islam with the “fight” against relatively
trivial issues could catalyse the mainstreaming of hyper-conservative beliefs
at the expense of the diverse perspectives held by Muslims.
hogging public debates with these issues allows political actors to skirt
around far more morally reprehensible problems — such as issues of corruption,
economic mismanagement and administrative failures.
Twelve Jesuit priests from various countries recently gathered for a study
program to learn more about Islam, diversity and interreligious tolerance in
priests from Germany, France, Nigeria, Turkey, India, Spain, Italy and
Indonesia held a series of meetings on Aug. 10 at Tebuireng Islamic Boarding
School in Jombang, East Java.
gathering is part of regular meetings among priest who join the Jesuits Among
Muslims (JAM) program and this year Indonesia is the host," Jesuit Father
Franz Magnis Suseno, who led the group said.
Ghofar, the boarding school secretary said the Jesuits talked with students at
the school to learn more about their life experiences and what their faith
means to them.
Father Ignatius Ismartono, one of the group members, said that through this
encounter, participants also learned about Nahdlatul Ulema, Indonesia’s largest
moderate Islamic organization.
study about how Nahdlatul Ulema goes about living in harmony with others who
are non-believers," he told ucanews.com.
Tebuireng Islamic School was founded in 1899 by Hasyim Asya’ri, a moderate
Muslim leader belonging to the Nahdlatul Ulema.
school has more than 7,000 students.
Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League
(MWL), stressed the league’s desire to promote the true Islam and its tolerant,
open-minded and moderate principles.
also noted that the league implements various programs to consolidate
moderation, and fight extremism and sectarianism which have spread in conflict
remarks came in a speech Al-Issa delivered during the International Conference
of Islamic Universities and the Promotion of Moderation, which the league
organized in cooperation with Al-Azhar University of Indonesia in Jakarta.
his part, the president of the Al-Azhar University, Ahmed Hussein, stressed the
significance of education in instilling true doctrines and principles in
Islamic generations, and the significance of cooperation between Islamic
universities for conveying the pure educational message to students, away from
conference released a final communique in which participants expressed their
support for the efforts of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology
(GCCEI), which was inaugurated by King Salman in Riyadh in the presence of the
US President Donald Trump and 55 leaders from the Islamic and Arab worlds. The
communique said that the GCCEI dedicated its efforts to fighting extremism with
new technologies, and hoped that it plays an important role in defending the
interests of the Islamic nation.
communique also maintained that moderation is well established in the
understanding and application of Islam, based on the teachings of the Holy
Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the toxic agents found in Aleppo and Damascus
suburb were produced by one British company and two American companies.
US military confirmed in February that more than 5,000 rounds of depleted
uranium (DU) ammunition were used in two attacks on in Eastern Syria, despite a
pledge that it would not use the controversial ordnance.
acknowledgment by the spokesman for the US Central Command (CENTCOM) came in an
interview with Foreign Policy, in which he said that 5,265 armor-piercing DU
rounds were used in November 2015, during two air raids against ISIL oil tanker
convoys in the Deir Ezzur and Hasaka provinces in Eastern Syria.
ground attack aircraft fired the projectiles from their 30mm rotating cannons,
destroying about 350 tanker trucks, according to CENTCOM spokesman Major Josh
White Helmets associate Walid Hindi admitted in mid-May his involvement in
fabricating photo and video material, prepared in cooperation with the Turkish
Television, during the time when he was working with the notorious group in
group prepared fake videos of alleged atrocities of the Syrian army, during the
liberation process of Eastern Aleppo.
his confession, broadcasted on Syrian National Television, Hindi admitted to
have worked with White Helmets for three years and received rather huge sums of
money, a major portion of which was provided by the Persian Gulf states.
also described how filming of “atrocities” would take place.
for instance, they wanted to stage an airstrike scene, the filming crew would
fire sirens and the actors would then immediately rush to the scene. Right
after that, live streaming of events would begin, accusing the Syrian Army of
carrying out yet another airstrike, targeting civilians. Hindi said he
participated in fabricating videos more than just once.
to Hindi, the main person responsible for “directing” these staged videos was
Ibrahim Al Hajj, with Mohammad Al Sayed being the main cameraman.
another former associate named Imad Abdul Jawad admitted to have witnessed
possession of chemicals by terrorists in Aleppo, saying “During my work shift
as a guard I was once asked to transfer a bunch of barrels, containing
something that my supervisors called “detergent and washing powder”.
was supposed to transfer the materials from the district of Al Sukkariyeh to
the district of Amariya,” he added.
then explained that his task was basically to unload the wares at the entrance
of the building, pointing out that on one occasion, after finishing unloading
the content, he saw people wearing uniforms, silver masks and protective boots
and were carrying the goods he just transported to the cellars.
one occasion, Jawad managed to get closer and he saw people opening the barrels
and pouring their content out into something that looked like gas cylinders,
adding that contents looked nothing like washing powder or detergent. He
described the liquid, which was being poured out of the barrels, to have a
rather foul smell. When his boss noticed he is watching the procedure, he was
diplomatic source and the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria disclosed in
may secrets proving the video clip that accused the Syrian Army troops of
carrying out attacks on civilians in Eastern Idlib was fake.
diplomatic source who requested anonymity told Sputnik that the latest footage
of a chemical weapons attack against civilians in Syria had been filmed
recently and appeared to be ordered from a European country.
the Russian Reconciliation Center said, "According to information from a
number of sources among local residents and opposition formations … special
‘video brigades’ carried out staged filming in the past week of alleged
consequences of shelling and airstrikes, including with the use of ‘poisonous
center added that some of the "consultants" of the brigades were
recognized by the locals as cameramen shooting news in the region for the Al
is not the first time such reports emerge. On May 2, al-Mayadeen broadcaster
reported, citing local sources and eyewitnesses that a group of the White
Helmets’ activists accompanied by one of the Arab satellite channels arrived in
the area near Idlib in Syria to shoot staged videos allegedly depicting
consequences of a chemical attack.
the Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) non-governmental organization
issued a report earlier in the year, stating that the "lifesaving"
procedures shown in the videos published by the White Helmets are incorrect,
fake and "ultimately performed on dead children."
April 4, a chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib province claimed the
lives of some 80 people and inflicted harm on an additional 200 civilians. The
Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as well as a
number of Western states, accused the Syrian government troops of carrying out
the attack, while Damascus refuted these allegations, with a Syrian army source
telling Sputnik that the army did not possess chemical weapons.
Several Terrorist Groups Join Al-Nusra to Slow Down Syrian Army Advances in
websites said that battalions of Abdullah Azam brigade as well as al-Iman
brigade, Aswad al-Harb battalion, Ahl al-Beit brigade affiliated to Ahrar
al-Sham along with Aswad al-Islam brigade affiliated to Jund al-Islam and
al-Majd brigade affiliated to Ajnad al-Sham have been merged and have formed
the so-called Hama Army.
websites went on to say that the newly-formed Hama Army announced in a
statement that Abu Taher al-Homawi has been appointed as the army's Emir and
religious judge, adding that the Hama Army also appointed Abu Badr Hajazi as
the military commander of the army.
news websites added that the Hama Army has pledged allegiance to Al-Nusra.
websites reported that Al-Nusra is getting ready for a large-scale battle
against the Syrian Army following terrorist groups' decision to join the
reports said that the Syrian army troops managed to take control over another
key hill after hours of non-stop clashes with ISIL terrorists in Eastern Hama.
army men continued their advances against ISIL in Eastern Hama and imposed
control over Jubb al-Mazare'a hill overlooking the village of Salba.
military source said that the army's siege on ISIL in Salba has been tightened
and terrorists' supply line from the Western direction to the village has been
cut off after the pro-government forces took control over Jubb al-Mazare'a.
suffered heavy casualties and its military hardware sustained major damage in
- US-led coalition air strikes on the
Islamic State group’s remaining territory in Syria’s Raqa city killed 17
civilians on Wednesday, including children, a monitor said.
coalition is providing air support in the form of heavy air strikes for the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia as it battles to oust IS from its
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the deaths
on Wednesday followed two days of deadly strikes. Since Monday, the monitor
said, 38 civilians have been killed in US-led air strikes on the city.
deaths included five children, according to the monitor, which relies on a
network of sources on the ground. The coalition says it takes measures to avoid
civilian casualties and investigates credible allegations of civilian deaths.
United States has admitted that coalition strikes have killed 624 civilians in Syria
and Iraq since 2014.
rights groups and monitors say the figure is exponentially higher than that.
SDF launched an operation to capture Raqa province from IS last year, and in
June the militia broke into Raqa city for the first time.
now holds more than half of the city, but the fighting has proved fierce and
civilians have been killed both in the crossfire and while trying to flee.
least seven Iraqi soldiers have been killed when an attacker tried to
infiltrate a security headquarters near the northern oil-rich city of Baiji,
where members of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group are holed up in nearby
Colonel Mohammed al-Assadi said around five assailants attacked the compound,
located more than 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, on
Wednesday. Security personnel and army troops are based in the military
added that one of the attackers blew up his explosive-laden vest at the
entrance, while the other four engaged in a fierce exchange of gunfire with the
guards for around three hours.
army colonel noted that police and army soldiers managed to kill the other four
assailants. Six policemen and soldiers were also wounded during the gun battle.
October 20, 2015, the spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC),
Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, said Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government
fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word
Hashd al-Sha’abi, had recaptured Baiji.
Peshmerga fighters killed, 11 injured in Daesh attack in Salahuddin
three Peshmerga fighters have been killed and nearly a dozen others injured
when Daesh extremists launched an attack against the Kurdish forces in the
Zarka region of the northern province of Salahuddin.
Spokesman Brigadier General Halgurd Hikmat said his fellow fighters managed to
repulse the assault, while three Kurdish fighters were killed and eleven others
militants catch 20 families fleeing Anbar town
Daesh militants caught 20 families attempting to flee a militant-held town in
the western province of Anbar.
security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the civilians were
trying to escape al-Qa'im, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of Baghdad,
and heading towards the town of Rutbah before the militants arrested them.
violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh
terrorists mounted an offensive there more than two years ago, and took control
of portions of Iraqi territory.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that the army has recently received
a modernized version of light BMP armored vehicles, adding that the modernized
vehicles are covered by an intertwined protective layer.
website added that the protective layer has covered the entire body of the
vehicle even its turret, protecting the BMP vehicle against any missile
reports said on Saturday that the Syrian Air Force recently received more
Russian-made helicopters known as Flying Tanks.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that the Syrian Air Force received
more Mi-24P military helicopters known as Flying Tanks from Russia.
Lebanese army members and five ISIS members were killed in clashes in the areas
surrounding Ras Baalbek along the Lebanese-Syrian border early Wednesday.
reported that the Lebanese army began to advance by road from the surrounding
areas, after heavy artillery bombardment, which paved the way for the
recapturing and restoring of three hills under the control of ISIS.
military sources reported that the Lebanese army sent additional reinforcements
to the area, after intensified artillery shelling and missiles, with an
inspection tour conducted by Army Commander Joseph Aoun military units.
forces destroyed an explosives-laden boat targeting a United Arab Emirates
military vessel at Mokha port on Wednesday.
source at the port said that the foiled terror attack was initiated by Houthi
large explosion was heard across the port when forces eliminated the threat
before it reached the docked ship.
on Wednesday morning, Yemen National Army forces repelled a Houthi militia
attack south of Taiz city. The militia sustained heavy casualties in a battle
that involved the use of heavy weapons.
says the US, Britain and their allies are supporting terrorists in the war-torn
Arab country by supplying them with toxic agents and other kinds of weapons.
a press conference in the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s main office in the capital
Damascus, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said on Wednesday that
toxic agents found in the cities of Aleppo and Damascus were made by US and UK
companies, Syrian's official news agency SANA reported.
also called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
to investigate those countries' actions in his country.
added that since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the West, based on false
allegations made by the terrorists they support, has usually blamed the
government in Damascus for various incidents of the use of chemical weapons
throughout the country.
stressed that the US has even used those "fabrications" as a pretext
to attack the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province without launching an
investigation into the terrorists' claims.
stressed that the Syrian government has thoroughly investigated the incident
and offered the results to the OPCW.
has received the fact-finding committee of the OPCW and opened all doors in
front of them for investigation, but they refused,” the Syrian official said,
stressing that as the results do not support the US’ agenda they will be
state media on Wednesday accused Qatar of attempting to overthrow the
government in Manama, upping the stakes in a diplomatic crisis that has seen
Doha isolated in the Persian Gulf.
with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June on
accusations the emirate supports extremism and is too close to Iran.
has denied the allegations.
Bahrain Television aired a report Wednesday which claimed that neighboring
Qatar was behind anti-government protests that have shaken the tiny kingdom for
report claimed that, in 2011, Qatar's prime minister contacted Ali Salman --
then head of the country's largest opposition group Al-Wefaq -- and asked him
to urge protesters to flood the streets and ramp up pressure on the state.
should use this evidence to file charges against a country that supports
terrorism," said Munes al-Mardi, head of the country's journalism
syndicate, who was featured in the report.
Party was the largest bloc in Bahrain's elected lower house of parliament until
2011, when its members resigned en masse in protest against a state crackdown
2016 court order dissolved Al-Wefaq for "harboring terrorism". Ali
Salman has been behind bars since 2014.
have regularly cracked down on protests, which at times have turned violent.
state has jailed hundreds of citizens and stripped a number of high-profile
activists and clerics of their citizenship.
has been a key ally of the United States for decades and is home to the US
Navy's Fifth Fleet.
‘expelling Sanaa hospital patients to treat leaders and fighters’
Houthi militants are expelling civilian patients from hospitals in Sanaa and
other provinces, sources told Arab News.
sick are being removed from their beds to make way for leaders of the so-called
Houthi “popular committees” and their families, as well as injured militants
coming back from the battlefield.
in Yemen said Houthi militants used weapons to expel patients from all
departments of the largest Yemeni armed forces hospitals in Sanaa and Dhamar.
They also threatened to kill doctors and nurses if they tried to protest or
prevent them from expelling the patients.
also said that Houthi militias are stealing medicines destined for patients in
order to sell them to pharmacies.
sources in Al-Bayda province said that forces loyal to deposed President Ali
Abdullah Saleh had robbed a medical center and forbade staff from offering the
most basic services to patients and those in need.
militants in Hajjah prevented local medical centers from receiving cholera
patients, the sources said.
of the “popular committees” are doing this to pressure people in these areas to
send their sons to the battlefield, it was claimed.
an International Red Cross delegation to Marib province heard testimonies
regarding human rights violations against civilians that were committed by
Houthi militias and forces loyal to Saleh, Sabaa news agency reported
were heard from the mothers and wives of detainees in Houthi prisons.
militias kidnapped their relatives from roads, markets and houses, and some
died due to torture in prisons and detention centers, witnesses said.
militias raided houses without any legal justification, and arrested men,
children and women, according to the testimonies.
militias terrified families, imposed compulsory taxes, conscripted children,
blew up buildings and looted homes and stores, witnesses said.
Reuters reported that the central bank of Yemen floated the national currency,
instructing banks to follow the market rate in a move aimed at shoring up a
financial system battered by war.
circular said the Aden bank had ditched the official rate of 250 riyals to the
dollar in favor of “the exchange rate prevalent in the market... in accordance
with the exchange rate lists issued by the central bank.”
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned that a plan by Iraq's
semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to hold an independence referendum late next
month will lead to "civil war" in the conflict-stricken Arab country.
that country (Iraq), which has been through so many problems, a referendum on
independence can make the situation even worse,” Cavusoglu told the state-run
TRT Haber television news network on Wednesday.
forbid, it could even bring it to civil war,” he added.
remarks came a day after Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the
referendum for an independent Kurdish state violates Iraq’s constitution and
will further destabilize the Middle East.
gives importance to Iraq's territorial and political integrity. It is very
important that the stability is achieved in the region and people live in peace
and safety. This decision by Iraqi regional government would contribute to
instability in the region. It also violates the constitution of Iraq,” he told
a news conference after a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President
Massoud Barzani, told Reuters on Saturday that Kurdish authorities were
determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all
remarks came only two days after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked
Barzani in a phone call to delay the referendum.
the issue of the postponement of the referendum, the president (Barzani) stated
that the people of the Kurdistan region would expect guarantees and
alternatives for their future,” a statement issued on Friday by the KRG
presidency read after Tillerson's call.
June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as untimely the decision
by Barzani to hold the referendum.
have a constitution that we've voted on, we have a federal parliament and a
federal government…The referendum at this time is not opportune,” Abadi said on
order to safeguard security in the country, the intelligence ministry has
inflicted deadly blows to almost 120 terrorist teams in the past four years and
killed many of their ringleaders and stripped them of capability to take an
action," Alavi said, addressing the parliament in Tehran on Wednesday.
that many terrorist leaders, including Abu Hasib Balouchi, Abu Ayesheh Kordi,
Abu Farsan and others, were identified and killed by Iranian security forces,
he said that 3 tons of explosives, one thousand weapons and thousands of
explosives and suicide vests were also discovered and seized in the past four
relevant remarks in June, Alavi announced that the security forces disbanded a
terrorist team in the Western province of Kordestan the same day, blaming Saudi
Arabia for recent insecurities in Iran.
a terrorist team was attacked by the security forces and disbanded," he
added that the team consisted of 7 terrorists, including 5 Iranian and 2
foreign nationals from the neighboring countries.
- Iran on Wednesday rejected a US religious freedom report critical of Tehran
as “hypocritical”, coming from a country where Islamophobia was widespread.
released its annual religious freedom report on Tuesday, with Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson criticising Bahrain, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Sudan and Turkey. Tillerson charged that Iran had used “vague apostasy laws” to
execute 20 members of religious minorities over the past year. “Iran considers
it an unrealistic, baseless, unfounded and biased report which has only been
made with the intention of certain political gains,” foreign ministry spokesman
Bahram Ghasemi hit back on the ministry’s website.
said Washington should focus on improving its own record of discrimination,
particularly regarding its Muslim population. “It is clear that religious and
racial discrimination, Islamophobia, and xenophobia are a widespread and
frequent phenomenon among American politicians,” said Ghasemi.
China on Wednesday denied violations of religious freedom after the United
States accused Beijing of persecuting Christians, Muslims, Falun Gong members
and Tibetan Buddhists in an annual report.
Chinese people of all ethnic groups and all regions are fully entitled to
religious belief. The so-called report ignores facts,” foreign ministry
spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.
see that the United States is not a perfect country either. We urge the US
to... manage its own affairs,” Hua added.
report said that in 2016, China “physically abused, detained, arrested,
tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and
unregistered religious groups.”
cited a national security law that explicitly bans “cult organizations,” which
includes the Falun Gong, Buddhist-inspired groups and several Christian groups.
A new government regulation in the northwestern Xinjiang region bans religious
activity in schools and stipulates that parents or guardians who “organize,
lure, or force minors into religious activities” may be reported to the police,
the report said.
also noted arrests and harassment of church leaders in eastern Zhejiang
province, who have opposed a government campaign to remove crosses from
response, Hua said Washington should “stop the wrongdoing of using religion to
interfere in other country’s affairs”.
officially atheist Communist authorities are wary of any organised movements
outside their control, including religious ones, and analysts say controls over
such groups have tightened under President Xi Jinping.
authorities had outlawed Falun Gong in July 1999, branding it an “evil cult”.
claim that hundreds of followers have since been beaten and killed in labour
camps, a charge the Chinese government denies.
says it “peacefully liberated” Tibet in 1951 and insists it has brought
development to a previously backward region.
many Tibetans accuse the Chinese government of exploiting natural resources, as
well as promoting activities and business of China’s majority Han ethnic group
at the expense of locals and the environment.
on Wednesday warned that a plan by the leadership in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish
region to hold a referendum on independence next month could lead to civil war,
in Ankara’s strongest warning yet against the poll.
that country (Iraq), which has been through so many problems, a referendum on
independence can make the situation even worse,” Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu told the state TRT Haber broadcaster. “God forbid, it could even
bring it to civil war.”
has asked Germany to arrest and extradite a major suspect in the coup attempt
of July 2016 who remains at large.
media recently reported that theology lecturer Adil Oksuz, whom Ankara accuses
of being the so-called imam of air force personnel who bombed parliament as
part of the coup attempt, had been seen in German cities including Frankfurt
was detained near an Ankara air base hours after the coup plot was foiled. He
was released two days later and has been on the run ever since.
sent a diplomatic note to Germany after the news regarding the presence in
Germany of the FETO suspect Adil Oksuz, who is currently at large,"
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with
broadcaster TRT Haber.
is the government's label for supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah
Gulen, whom Ankara blames for masterminding the coup attempt. Gulen has denied
note asked the German authorities to arrest Oksuz without delay and to
extradite him to Turkey.
has pressed Washington to extradite Gulen. The United States, however, has not
accepted Turkish requests for the extradition so far.
witnessed the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish
military declared that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no
more in charge of the country. A few hours later, however, the coup was
suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in
the abortive coup.
then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups,
who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.
50,000 people have been arrested and some 150,000 others sacked or suspended
from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and
public servants, in the crackdown that followed the coup.
opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, under house arrest for the past six years,
was hospitalized Thursday after going on hunger strike a day earlier to demand
a trial date, his family told local media.
health condition deteriorated after the hunger strike and he is now
hospitalized,” said Sahamnews website, which is affiliated to Karroubi’s
read: Iran opposition leader, Karroubi, quits party after six years of house
was admitted to Shahid Rajaei hospital due to high blood pressure, less than 24
hours after beginning a hunger strike Wednesday morning, it said, adding that
he was still refusing to eat. His son Mohammad also confirmed the news on
1:00 AM, Thursday father was sent to hospital due to the hunger strike. Pray a
lot,” he said. Karroubi’s wife Fatemeh Karroubi told Sahamnews that his first
demand was the removal of intelligence ministry agents inside their home as
well as recently-installed security cameras, which she said “has no precedent
before or after the (1979 Islamic) revolution in any house arrest”.
expecting a fair trial’
in case of continuation of the house arrest, they should arrange a public
trial,” she said. Karroubi “does not expect a fair trial” but wants it to be
public and would respect the verdict, she added.
and fellow reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were candidates in Iran’s
disputed 2009 presidential election which sparked months of mass protests over
claims they were rigged in favor of hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Both men were placed under house arrest in 2011 for their role in the protests
-- which were brutally suppressed by the regime -- but have never been charged.
read: Why did Iran publish images of their general Qasem Soleimani in Aleppo?
March, Iran sentenced Karroubi’s eldest son, Hossein Karroubi, to six months in
prison for “propaganda against the regime” after he published a letter that his
father had written to Iran's current president, Hassan Rouhani, a reputed
moderate, calling for a trial.
suicide bombers kill 28, wound 82
women suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to a camp for displaced
people in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing 28 people and wounding 82,
local sources said.
attack took place in the town of Mandarari, 25 kilometers (15 miles) from
Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, said Baba Kura, a member of a vigilante
force set up to fight militants.
female bombers triggered their explosive outside of the IDP (internally
displaced persons) camp... killing 28 people and wounding 82 others,” Kura
first assailant blew herself up, triggering panic, Kura said.
were trying to close their shops when two other female bombers triggered their
explosives, causing most of the casualties,” he said.
Liman, the head of a local anti-terror militia force, confirmed the details of
the attack, and said that more than 80 injured had been taken to Maiduguri
source at the hospital said a “huge number” of patients had arrived.
Nigeria is a hotbed of activity by the Boko Haram militant group, involving
shootings, bombings and kidnappings.
launched an insurgency in 2009 that has killed about 20,000 people and
displaced around 2.6 million others.
Saturday, Boko Haram killed four people and torched homes in a night-time raid
on the village of Amarwa, about 20 kilometers from Maiduguri, according to
diaries of Nigeria’s Chibok girls say kidnap by Boko Haram was accidental
mass abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok - the biggest
publicity coup of Boko Haram’s militant insurgency - was the accidental outcome
of a botched robbery, say the girls who spent three years in their brutal
Chibok girls made the surprise revelation in secret diaries they kept while
held prisoner and a copy of which has been exclusively obtained by the Thomson
the night of their kidnapping in April 2014, Naomi Adamu described in the
diaries how Boko Haram had not come to the school in Chibok to abduct the
girls, but rather to steal machinery for house building.
to find what they were looking for, the militants were unsure what to do with
the girls. Arguments swiftly ensued.
boy said they should burn us all, and they (some of the other fighters) said:
‘No, let us take them with us to Sambisa (Boko Haram’s remote forest base) ...
if we take them to Shekau (the group’s leader), he will know what to do’”,
was one of about 220 girls who were stolen from their school in the
northeastern town of Chibok one night in April 2014 - a raid that sparked an
international outcry and a viral campaign on social media with the hashtag
was among 82 of the Chibok girls released by Boko Haram in May - part of a
second wave after 21 of them were freed in October. They are being held in a
secret location in Abuja for what the government has called a “restoration
few others have escaped or been rescued, but about 113 of the girls are
believed to be still held by the militant group.
authenticity of the diaries, written by Adamu and her friend Sarah Samuel,
cannot be verified, nor their intended role as the government negotiates with
Boko Haram for more releases.
diaries shed light not only on the horrors the girls endured under Boko Haram,
but their acts of resistance, and their staunch belief that they would one day
girls said they started documenting their ordeal a few months after the
abduction, when Boko Haram - whose name loosely means ‘Western education is
sinful’ in the local Hausa language - gave them exercise books to use during
hide the diaries from their captors, the girls would bury the notebooks in the
ground, or carry them in their underwear. Three of the other Chibok girls also
contributed to the undated chronicles, which were written mainly in passable
English, with some parts scribbled in less coherent Hausa.
wrote it together. When one person got tired, she would give it to another
person to continue,” Adamu, 24, said from the state safe house in the capital,
where the girls are being kept for assessment, rehabilitation and debriefing by
in the Sambisa involved regular beatings, Koranic lessons, domestic drudgery
and pressure to marry and convert. When five girls tried to escape, the
militants tied them up, dug a hole in the ground, and turned to one of their
militants handed her a blade and issued a chilling ultimatum: ‘cut off the
girls’ heads, or lose your own’. “We are begging them. We are crying. They said
if next we ran away, they are going to cut off our necks,” Adamu wrote.
another occasion, the militants gathered those girls who had refused to embrace
Islam, brought out jerrycans and threatened to douse them in petrol then burn
said: ‘You want to die. You don’t want to be Muslim,(so) we are going to burn
you,” read the diary entry. As fear set in, the militants cracked into laughter
- the cans contained nothing but water, the girls wrote.
does their bidding
of the most striking excerpts illustrates the pervasive fear spread by Boko
Haram in northeast Nigeria, where the group has killed 20,000 people and
uprooted at least 2 million in a brutal campaign that shows no signs of ending
being flushed with relief at her own freedom, Adamu worries about her closest
friend and co-author, Samuel, who is still with the group, having married one of
attending the funeral procession of a prominent Sudanese rights activist have
forcefully pushed Prime Minister and First Vice President Bakri Hassan Saleh
and a number of high-ranking officials from the ceremony.
to a report published by the pan-Arab al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper on Wednesday,
thousands of people had taken part in the funeral of women's rights activist
and Socialist leader Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim in the capital city of Khartoum.
participants started to shout slogans against Saleh and the governor of
Khartoum State, Lieutenant General Abdul-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, once they
arrived at the funeral procession in front of the late activist’s house.
footage published on Facebook showed people jeering and booing the two senior
officials and their entourage, and pushed them out.
mourners, including supporters of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP),
representatives of various other political parties and women's rights
activists, also praised Ibrahim’s activities and those of her husband Alshafi
Ahmed Elshikh, whom former Sudanese President Gaafar Muhammad al-Nimeiry
ordered to execute in 1972.
was placed under house arrest for several years after the 1971 failed military
coup, supported by the SCP and led by Hashim Elatta, against Nimeiry.
left Sudan after Omar Hassan al-Bashir took power in a military coup in 1990,
and joined the opposition in exile as the president of the banned Sudanese
returned to Sudan in 2005 following reconciliation between the Khartoum
government and opposition, and was appointed as a deputy in the parliament
representing the SCP.
humanitarian crises have continued to worsen in 2017, said a report released by
the United Nations on Wednesday ahead of the World Humanitarian Day.
million Africans have been displaced from their homes and 44 million are
acutely food insecure,” the report stated.
said the population displacement crisis has reached record levels with over 20
million Africans now officially registered as refugees, internally displaced,
or seeking asylum.
75 percent of the continent’s displaced persons were from 5 countries; namely
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan
-- the countries that are experiencing conflicts.
global attention has focused on refugees, almost two-thirds of Africa’s
dislocated population are internally displaced,” it said.
number of internally displaced people --12.7 million -- represent a 65 percent
increase since 2013.
than 44 million Africans are estimated to be at a crisis or emergency level of
food insecurity. Parts of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan are at risk of
famine,” the report revealed.
further stated that 51 humanitarian workers have been killed last year in the
Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan.
on a July weekday is cold and almost frosty. Trench coats, pullovers, gloves,
and scarves can be spotted up and about as city residents run around town
minding their business.
Nyambura, alias Aida Nyambura, sits on a cold pavement wearing a blue hoodie
that covers her braided hair, a pair of trousers and a kanga wrapped around her
waist to conceal her trousers.
a newly converted Muslim woman, I try to cover up as much as I can," she
her lap is her almost one-year-old daughter, Margie, who is struggling to catch
a nap and despite the heavy woolen clothes on her back, the shiver is evident.
is one of the hundreds if not thousands of Nairobi's female street beggars. She
says she has come to accept the job and respects it as any other career.
you have a child, especially a toddler, like I do, people take pity on you.
They give you money much more easily than when you are alone, especially fellow
true to her words, two women drop Sh20 into her collecting tin as they discuss
how the chilly weather is cruel to the child.
says that those without children usually identify other women who have more
than one small child and 'hire' them for the day.
the evening, the woman splits her day's earnings in a half and pays the mother
of the child."
who have older children and have no one to 'rent' a child from are usually
forced to go back to the drawing board and give birth to sustain the trade.
choice to become a street beggar came after she faced one too many challenges.
Her mother left her abusive, alcoholic father when she was very young. Then he
married a woman who did not do much to help Nyambura, forging an all-familiar
step-mother daughter relationship.
I left home, I worked as a house help and then a hawker. But since I gave birth
to my daughter and the father abandoned me, I cannot do such jobs as I do not
have anyone to look after my child."
also makes Nyambura much more money than other jobs she has done in the past.
a house help, the much I could make was Sh3,500. A hawker's pay, especially
when you cannot afford city council fees, makes almost the same. But on the
streets, in a good month, I can make up to Sh8,000."
money is enough for Nyambura as she and her daughter eat at a town restaurant
which sells fresh leftovers at a throwaway price. She also doesn't account for
much rent as she confesses to sleeping on the streets - a cross check with her
peers, however, reveal that she lives in one of the city's slums.
and street begging
ask Nyambura about her decision to convert to Islam out of curiosity. She says
that her life on the streets made her appreciate Islam more, made her
is also much easier to get money when you are clad in Islamic attire. Muslims
are much more giving. They give money much more easily than their Christians
however, clarifies that she did not convert to Islam to make money.
women, including a beggar whose name is Nancy confirms Nyambura's allegations
that in deed there are many women who buy hijabs, hire a child to beg on the
streets. According to Nancy, Ramadhan and Fridays especially are very good for
their trade. "That is the reason why the Jamia Mosque environs is crowded
on Fridays with beggars."
Susan, Nyambura's friend, life has also not been kind to her, forcing her to
the streets after her husband abused and forbade her from working. When the
relationship ended, she was left alone to care for their young son, with no
job, no skill and no place to call home.
the streets, I am guaranteed to have food at the end of the day. I only need a
hundred shillings. People will take pity on me and give me enough money to fend
for myself and my child."
spoke to more women to get an idea of how it is like to be a female beggar in
Nairobi. The story was the same. Without a supportive family, lack of
meaningful jobs and not having some kind of skill, the ladies find the streets
more welcoming, the beggar tag not withstanding.
do have big dreams for my daughter. I would want her to go to school one day
and dress well. I also want her to sleep in a good place one day. But due to
the current situation, those can only be dreams for now," Nyambura says.
despite the earnings from begging, Nyambura says they are harassed by City
Council askaris who would want to get rid of them from the streets, though the
county lacks a comprehensive plan to deal with street families.
people are so harsh in their judgment towards us. They don't understand why we
bring our children to the streets instead of taking them to school. What they
do not understand is that it would be hard to even have your child in class
when they are not fed, or not clean and we can't afford books or uniform."
UNICEF finding revealed that there are about 250,000 - 300,000 homeless
children in Kenya in 2012; a number that is expected to have gone higher.
by the Consortium of Street Children (CSC) estimates that Nairobi alone could
have up to 60,000 street children.
city's county government says it is working on rescuing and rehabilitating the
children in its five centers.
street mothers such as Nyambura say they would do whatever it takes to keep
their children away from those centers.
prayer leaders arrested for involvement in magnetic bombings in Kabul
least two people were arrested for being involved in magnetic bombings in Kabul
city amid a steep rise in such bombings in the city.
officials in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of interior
said the two men were arrested earlier this week.
officials further added that the two men were serving in a mosque as prayer leaders
and were in the meantime involved in magnetic bombings.
to the CID officials, the two men had recently planted a magnetic bomb in a
residential house in the vicinity of the 10th police district of the city.
suspects were arrested after the police forces were informed regarding the
threats being issued to the residents of the house and the magnetic bomb was
planted in their garage, the officials said.
also added that the two men are in custody of the security forces for further
investigations and it is yet not clear to which group the two men belong to.
anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not
commented regarding the report so far.
comes as there has been a steep rise in magnetic bombings in Kabul city and
other key areas of the country during the recent months.
least three people were wounded in a similar attack late on Sunday after a
magnetic bomb planted in their vehicle went off in Deh Afghanan area of the
sees fresh influx of Rohingya from Myanmar
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh in recent days
following a fresh military build-up in Myanmar's Rakhine state, community
leaders said Wednesday.
said at least 500 Rohingya had made the difficult journey into Bangladesh, some
claiming they had been abused by soldiers in Myanmar.
latest influx follows a months-long bloody military crackdown on the mainly
Muslim minority in Myanmar last year that led tens of thousands to flee across
the border. The United Nations has said the violence may amount to ethnic
Toyyob said he escaped with his seven-member family as the army vandalised
Rohingya houses and detained young men.
arrested my younger brother from home and injured my two-year-old son by
kicking him with boots," the 25-year-old told AFP.
immediately set off with my family and crossed the Naf two nights ago," he
added, referring to the river that divides the two countries.
estimates that nearly 400,000 Rohingya refugees are living in squalid refugee
camps and makeshift settlements in the resort district of Cox's Bazar, which
numbers swelled last October when more than 70,000 Rohingya villagers began
arriving, bringing stories of systematic rape, murder and arson at the hands of
border guards said they had stepped up patrols after reports of a military
build-up on the other side of the river.
week, the UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee voiced alarm at reports that an
army battalion had flown into Rakhine to help local authorities boost security
in the region.
Myanmar has long faced criticism for its treatment of the more than one million
Rohingya who live in Rakhine, who are seen as interlopers from Bangladesh,
denied citizenship and access to basic rights.
they are also increasingly unwelcome in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where
police often blame them for crimes such as drug trafficking.
has floated the idea of relocating tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to a
remote, flood-prone island off its coast, despite opposition from rights
official with the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which
looks after settlements for unregistered Rohingya refugees, said the
organisation was aware of new arrivals.
organisational power New JMB and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) has significantly
decreased, they no longer have the capability to carry out big attacks'
on Wednesday said they suspect the Mourning Day bomber, Saiful Islam, 21, had
other co-conspirators who had planned to bomb the procession leading up to the
Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on National Mourning Day.
Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said: “We strongly
suspect that the co-conspirators are hiding somewhere in Dhaka and we are doing
everything to find them.”
also said militant Saiful was a member of New Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh
(New JMB) who had encouraged him to carry out the attack.
blew himself up on Tuesday at Hotel Olio International in Panthapath after he
was cornered by police during a raid.
hours before the incident, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina were paying their respects to the Father of the Nation on the National
Mourning Day at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, located roughly 300 metres
away from the hotel.
Commissioner assured that militant organisations have become weak in Bangladesh
which is why they now attempt sporadic attacks.
organisational power New JMB and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) has significantly
decreased, they no longer have the capability to carry out big attacks,” he
investigation officers said a case has not been filed yet, but the the process
is underway. They also said that Saiful was likely radicalised online.
dead militant’s autopsy has been done by Dr Shohel Mahmud, head of the forensic
medical department of Dhaka Medical Collage, who said the cause of death was a
splinter piercing his right eye and into his brain.
madrasa student’s head shaved for praising PM Hasina on Facebook
called Talha away to a quiet location, tied his hands, blindfolded him and held
a knife to his throat
father of a Bogra madrasa student, who was heavily beaten and had his head
shaved after posting a poem praising the incumbent Bangladesh prime minister,
lodged a formal complaint against the perpetrators with Shahjahanpur police
station on Monday.
to the father Abdul Halim, his son Abu Talha, 18, a recent Alim graduate from
Domonpukur Aminia Senior Kamil Madrasa in the area, was tied up and beaten
allegedly by his Jamaat supporting maternal cousin Abu Bakar Siddique and his
cohorts on Friday.
a caddy at the Majhira Cantonment Golf Course in Bogra, posted the poem styled
“Prodhanmontri Sheikh Hasina ke niye ekti kobita” (A poem in honour of Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina) on his Facebook page a day before. Talha’s father
Halim, who currently works as a security guard at a Shahjahanpur establishment,
was a freedom fighter.
the formal complainant, Halim wrote Siddique called Talha away to a quiet
location, tied his hands, blindfolded him and held a knife to his throat,
threatening him to delete the poem or otherwise be killed. Talha’s hair was
shaved off after.
union parishad member Shahidul Islam said he was not aware of this incident.
Afghan and US forces suffered casualties during an operation against the
militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist
group’s offshoot in Afghanistan, ISIS Khurasan.
U.S. service member has died as a result of wounds suffered Wednesday during a
partnered operation with U.S. and Afghan Forces in Eastern Afghanistan,” the US
Forces for Afghanistan (USFOR-A) said in a statement.
statement further added that the U.S. and Afghan forces were also injured
during the operation aimed at further reducing Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria-Khorasan presence in Afghanistan.
wounded personnel have been medically evacuated for treatment,” the statement
said, adding that “Next of kin notification are underway.”
further details were give regarding the exact location where the operations
were conducted but the Afghan and US forces have long been involved in
anti-ISIS operations in eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.
increased raids, usually involving drone strikes, by the US forces followed a
broader role granted by the Obama administration earlier last year.
First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dosutm reacted at the latest
controversial incident involving the Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor regarding
the arrest of the Balkh provincial council member Asif Momand, saying the
supporters of the new coalition will stand against the conspiracies being
hatched against Noor.
Office of the First Vice President in a statement said Gen. Dostum made the
remarks during a telephone conversation in a gathering of the tribal elders and
residents of the northern Jawzjan province.
said the conspiracies being hatched against Noor are not acceptable to the new
coalition, emphasizing that its supporters will stand to challenge such
conspiracies, pointing towards the controversial incident in Balkh airport on
Monday night that led to the arrest of Balkh provincial council member Asif
further added that the recent violence in the northern provinces has roots in
areas and circles which/who are having fears regarding the new coalition.
comes as a clash broke out in Balkh airport in northern Afghanistan during the
arrest of the provincial council member Asif Momand.
was arrested late on Monday night in Balkh international airport days after he
had accused Ata Mohammad Noor of being involved in massive corruption.
harshly criticized the national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and the
national directorate of security chief Mohammad Stanikzai after the clashes and
accused the two top security officials of hatching conspiracies to destabilize
the northern Balkh province.
Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has harshly criticized certain media
outlets, specifically the ones being operated from Iran, of sparking tensions
among the various sects, groups, or movements in Afghanistan.
the recent media reports regarding the ongoing differences and deadly clashes
among the Taliban and ISIS militants in Afghanistan, Hezb-e-Islami strongly
condemned the reports suggesting that the party will side with Deash, ISIS
loyalists, in the event tensions further intensify among the two militant
to a statement by Hezb-e-Islami, such rumors and reports are only aimed
sparking further tensions among the people belonging to different sects and
groups in a bid to keep fueling the violence in Afghanistan.
statement further added that the ISIS militants operating in Afghanistan are
only the former militants of the Taliban group who have only changed their
insurgency by changing the color of their flags.
party also insisted that the ideology of the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria are
far more different than the ones operating in Afghanistan.
latest statement by Hezb-e-Islami criticizing the Iran-pro media outlets comes
as numerous reports have emerged in the past suggesting the ongoing efforts by
certain elements in Iran to counter the growing threats posed by the terror
group in Afghanistan to the region by supporting the Taliban insurgency.
double standard for white supremacists and Muslims
Ali is a political commentator, Emmy-nominated producer, playwright and
if you’re a Nazi or a white nationalist, your president will stand up for you.
If you’re Muslim? Immigrant? Black? Female? Sorry, you’re on your own. Perhaps
work at Trump Towers or compete in Miss Universe in order to make it. Good
never considered saying this to my two babies, but then again I never thought a
president would make moral equivalences and excuses for white supremacist
terrorism. After Tuesday’s news conference, we know that President Trump believes
thereare “both sides” to the tragic violence in Charlottesville that left one
woman dead and 19 injured. There are apparently “many sides” to the conflict,
but only one man, James Alex Fields, a Nazi sympathizer, who was charged with
deliberately plowing his car into a crowd killing Heather Heyer, an anti-racism
advocate. In reviewing his response to the Charlottesville tragedy, it seems
Trump has different standards for different Americans: one for his base, the
alt-right, and another for Muslims and people of color.
to Trump, there were “very fine people” in the weekend rally assembled by
members of the alt-right. Some of these “very fine people” included white men
and women in Old Navy and Gap clothes carrying Tiki torches bought at Walmart,
many armed to the teeth, shouting anti-Semitic and racist slogans and lifting
their arms in Nazi salutes. Even though they chanted, “The Jews will not
replace us!”, I’m sure they’ll give a pass to the president’s Jewish
grandchildren. These misunderstood men are nuanced, sophisticated and generous.
They deserve careful restraint in denouncing them.
there’s no such hesitations from Trump when it comes to Muslims. This is the
president, after all, who publicly said, “I think Islam hates us.” He preemptively,
and incorrectly, blamed a Manila shooting on Muslim terrorism and invented a
Muslim terror attack in Sweden that never happened. He falls over himself
rushing to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” unlike President Barack
Obama, whom he chided for being weak. After the San Bernardino attack, he
didn’t praise “very fine” Muslims who have lived in America for over 400 years,
but instead made a call for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims from
entering the country. After last year’s Orlando shooting, he said that the
federal government should begin surveilling mosques. As president-elect he flew
to Ohio in December to visit the victims of a Muslim man, allegedly inspired by
the Islamic State, who rammed his car into a crowd, injuring 11. Nearly a week
after Charlottesville, Trump has yet to visit the family of Heather Heyer. In
fact, he was unable to even name her in his Tuesday press conference.
Trump is unable to name this weekend’s murder an act of domestic terrorism.
Even Attorney General Jeff Sessions, criticized by civil rights groups
throughout his career, was able to call it an act of terrorism. Instead, Trump
is still waiting to see, because, as he mentioned in the news conference, “When
I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts.” Which explains his
promotion of birtherism, or tweeting that Obama surveilled Trump Tower, or
making up a video of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9-11 attacks, or
pushing the myth that 3 million to 5 million immigrants voted illegally for
I can help Trump see the “facts” and “many sides” to these double standards by
framing it in a story he understands. The armed protesters in Charlottesville
are angry, frustrated men. They feel dislocated from mainstream society,
unheard and unwanted. They found a community online that listens to their
grievances. They unite over an ideology of supremacy that promises them glory,
honor and dignity. They believe their tribe needs to gain dominance over
inferior groups as the only path toward creating a pure society. This describes
the pathway to radicalization for the Islamic State and for many white
supremacists. They were the “very fine people” in Charlottesville.
believe me? Talk to Christian Picciolini, a former leader of the Chicago Area
Skinheads and member of the neo-Nazi movement, who left in 1996. That’s how he
described the recruiting of white nationalists when I interviewed him right
before Tuesday’s news conference. His group, Life After Hate, which helps de-radicalize
white supremacists, received a $400,000 grant from the Obama administration
under its “Countering Violent Extremism” program. Out of all the recipients, it
was the only group focused exclusively on fighting white supremacy. Recently,
Katherine Gorka, a Trump aide with a rich history of anti-Muslim statements,
and husband to Sebastian Gorka, another White House aide accused of being a
member of an anti-Semitic Hungarian group, helped persuade the Department of
Homeland Security to pull Life After Hate’s funding.
if a Muslim had been driving the car in Charlottesville, the president would be
able to muster 140 characters or have the moral clarity to see only one side,
and call it for what it is: an act of hate and domestic terrorism that betrays
the values and principles that brave Americans died fighting for. Instead, we
have a president who is able to see the good in all of his citizens, except, of
course, those who aren’t part of his base.
administration asks Supreme Court to toss out Muslim ban case
Trump administration quietly urged the Supreme Court Thursday, August 10 to
dismiss, without a decision, two cases challenging Trump’s March 6 travel ban
executive order. The administration maintains that the executive order limiting
the entry of travelers from six majority Muslim nations is not a “Muslim ban.”
two cases named in the administration’s brief are International Refugee
Assistance Project v. Donald J. Trump and State of Hawaii v Donald J.
Trump. The 84-page brief is the first to
be filed with the Justices, who agreed in late June to review the legality of
the March 6 travel ban order.
administration’s argument comes down to three points:
That no one among the challengers can show that they are being harmed or will
suffer harm from the executive order. Therefore, the lower courts had no legal
basis and their decisions should be reversed.
the federal appeals court’s ruling that the executive order was an
unconstitutional form of religious discrimination, and went beyond presidential
authority under federal immigration laws is an offense to the executive by
second-guessing the motives of the president by accusing Trump of “bias against
a one of the world’s major religions.”
And that Supreme Court legal precedent shows that the courts are ill-equipped
to second-guess the executive office in its use of power granted by Congress to
decide which foreign nationals can barred entry into the U.S.
brief also asks the Supreme Court not to allow lower courts to use statements
made by Trump, during his campaign for president, when considering the
immigration ban. It claims that those statements do not reflect the views Trump
currently holds after taking the oath of office.
consideration of campaign statements also has no rational limit raising questions
about whether courts may consider statements from a previous campaign or from a
previous business conferences, or from college,” reads the brief. “That
approach also threatens to chill campaign speech, to which our most basic free
speech principles have their fullest and most urgent application.”
the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump frequently made public statements against
Islam and immigration.
at a rally December 7, 2015, he said, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total
and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s
representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research,
among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the
secretary of state Rex Tillerson, releasing the Donald Trump administration’s
first report on international religious freedom on Tuesday, accused the Islamic
State (IS) of conducting genocide in areas it controls and named Pakistan and
China among a short list of countries that deny their citizens the right to
practice their religion or belief.
remove any ambiguity from previous statements and reports by the state
department … ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis,
Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled,” Tillerson
said, using another acronym for IS.
US first determined IS’s actions amounted to genocide in 2016, when Tillerson’s
predecessor John Kerry said: “My purpose here today is to assert in my
judgment, (IS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its
control.” It was called a historic announcement — Darfur, Sudan in 2004 was the
last time the US had declared genocide anywhere in the world.
could not be immediately determined if Tillerson’s statement suggested change
in US policy or an escalation in hostilities against the terrorist outfit.
top diplomat named IS at the top of his list of “most egregious and troubling”
examples of violators of the right to practice religion. Others on his list,
which he discussed at the release event, were Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey,
Pakistan, China, Bahrain and Sudan.
freedom was under attack in Pakistan, where more than two dozen are on death
row or serving a life imprisonment for blasphemy,” Tillerson said. “The
government marginalises Ahmediya Muslims and refuses to recognize them as
my hope,” he added, “the new prime minister, his government will promote
inter-faith harmony and protect the rights of religious minorities.”
had found a special mention in the 2015 report as well, because of its
controversial blasphemy laws.
did not name India in his list of egregious violators of the right to practice
religion, but the annual report noted that “there were reports of religiously
motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and … increase
in violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims,
including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation”.
N.Y. -- ACT For America, which held a "March Against Sharia" earlier
this summer in Syracuse, plans to hold a rally next month to support President
Donald Trump's immigration, refugee and border policies.
for America, which has been labeled an extremist anti-Muslim group by a
national organization that tracks hate groups, says it will hold "America
First" rallies across the country on Sept. 9, including one in Syracuse.
for America, on its website, calls for citizens to stand together in
"peaceful fellowship" to support the national defense agenda, which
they say includes the following: secure our borders; defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda and
affiliates; designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist
organization; ensure proper and effective vetting of refugees; and respect law
and order, police and military.
rally, which was planned earlier this summer, was scheduled to be held at the
Onondaga County Republican Committee headquarters at 2910 Erie Boulevard East
in Syracuse, according to the group's Facebook page.
Potter, of the Republican committee, said Tuesday afternoon that due to the
events that took place this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. the location of
where the rally will be held is under discussion.
don't want violence of any kind," Potter said referring to the violence
that erupted between white nationalists and counter protests in Virginia.
location has been removed from the event page. A new location of the rally is
unknown at this time.
organizers are listed on the Facebook event as Lisa Jensen and Lisa Joseph.
told Syracuse.com that she wants the public to know that white supremacists
will not be welcome at the rally. Jensen also said in a post on the event page
that those advocating violence are not wanted at the rally.
welcome all, discriminate against none, and require that our members behave at
all times peacefully and with honor," Jensen wrote on Facebook on Monday.
"Accordingly, any organizations or individuals advocating violence or
hatred towards anyone based on race, religion, or affiliation are not welcome
at this rally."
counter protest dubbed "ACT for America Non-violent counter protest"
is being organized by the International Socialist Organization -- Syracuse. An
event page on Facebook claims that "America First = White Supremacy."
them or meeting half-way across town to talk about 'diversity' simply yields
our public spaces to these fascists, and it even allows them to grow,"
according to the counter protest's Facebook post. "We need to display our
solidarity in a way that's public and in their face. We can shut them down by
drowning them out with our collective voices."
counter protest has no location, but is listed for 10 a.m. on Sept. 9, the same
time as the America First rally.
for America is the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America, claiming
280,000 members and over 1,000 chapters, according to the Southern Poverty Law
Center, an organization that tracks hate groups.
Presler, lead activism strategist for ACT for America, told Syracuse.com in
June when the group organized it's anti-Sharia law protest that the group is
are not against people," Presler said. "We're against
national organization also denounced the "violent criminal behavior"
at the Charlottesville, in a statement released Monday.
- His case went viral around the world: The Nigerian-born landlord ordered to
pay $12,000 for violating the religious rights of his Muslim tenants by not
removing his shoes or accommodating their prayer times when trying to re-rent
their Brampton apartment.
while John Alabi’s predicament garnered sympathy from many, the Human Rights
Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) has just refused to reconsider its controversial
next step, he says, is appealing to the Divisional Court.
disappointed but I’m not surprised,” said Alabi, 52. “I had no hope in them.”
just a small landlord who rented out an apartment in his home to help make his
mortgage payments. Walid Madkour and Heba Ismail had moved in during December
2014 but after a month, they gave notice and Alabi started showing the unit to
insists he tried to accommodate the Egyptian-born couple’s many demands about
booking viewing times around their prayers and the wife’s need for advanced
notice so she could change into modest dress. But they repeatedly cried racism,
he says: They complained he didn’t take off his shoes when entering the bedroom
where they prayed; Alabi said he was wearing his house shoes, not ones he wore
outside. They claimed he made loud pounding noises outside their door to harass
them. He said he was just cleaning the walk.
never did interrupt their prayers or show the apartment when the wife wasn’t
properly dressed. He always gave legal notice. “He didn’t break the law as a
landlord but he’s still being penalized,” said his lawyer Yuce Baykara.
April, the tribunal sided with his former tenants and basically cast him as an
intolerant racist who created a “poisoned housing environment.” He was ordered to
pay $6,000 to each and take human rights training. “They have the ability to do
anything they want to people,” Alabi said of the HRTO. “They’re playing
her decision released last week, adjudicator Jo-Anne Pickel stood by her
ruling. She denied she’d been unfair in dismissing Alabi’s request to adjourn
the hearing after he’d just lost his son to suicide. He argued that he’d been
forced “to defend the action in his fragile state of mind.”
said Alabi didn’t start calling evidence until the hearing’s second day, which
wasn’t held until nine months later, and didn’t repeat his request to adjourn
for “any allegedly fragile state of mind.”
coldness of her remarks was no surprise to Alabi. “If an institution can tell
me that the death of my 24-year-old son is not grounds to give me an
adjournment, I’m not surprised by what they decide.”
tribunal vice-chair also defended her disturbing decision to use a Facebook
joke Alabi reposted a year after the tenants had left as evidence he was anti-Muslim.
“That sunk his case right there because he posted something on Facebook,”
argued his lawyer. “I don’t think that’s fair and I think it’s very dangerous.”
had no sympathy that English isn’t Alabi’s first language. “The issue with his
testimony was not his inability to speak English,” she wrote, “It was the fact
that his testimony was neither internally consistent nor consistent with his
pleadings or the other documentary evidence in the case.”
Alabi, it seems he’s just been called a liar on top of being branded a racist.
“I have no reason to lie.”
through a messy divorce and recently unemployed, Alabi has been so despondent
that he even considered taking his life. All that has buoyed him over the last
few months has been the outpouring of global support after his story was first
told here and picked up by outlets from Britain to Australia which decried
political correctness gone amok. Many have contributed to funding his legal
support — that is my lifeline that I’m holding on to right now. It gives me
faith in Canada,” he said. “I will love this country for the rest of my life.
The support I got from people has restored my faith.”
youth group combating Islamophobia by raising £500,000 for charity with single
Muslim youth organisation is fighting back against hatred and Islamophobia in
the UK by raising half a million pounds for charities in a single event.
of young Muslims will take part in a half marathon or sponsored walk to promote
peace and dispel "misconceptions" about Islam.
Mercy for Mankind charity challenge organised by the Ahamadiyya Muslim Youth
Association (AMYA) is due to be held in the Lake District in Cumbria, a region
devastated by strong floods in December 2015.
the time, the association helped to raise money for those affected by the
floods and dozens volunteered to take part in the relief effort. This year,
AMYA decided to return to the area to show its ongoing support to the
Aftab, the event organiser and the deputy head of AMYA, told The Independent
the location was important because it showed Muslims were engaged in public
life across the UK, despite the area itself not being particularly diverse.
recognise Islam as a religion of peace and integration which promotes unity and
this is what this event will show. We want to make sure that we bring people
together and that we show unity and humanity," he said, adding the event
will help to fight "misconceptions about Islam".
event's motto "every act of goodness is charity" is a message of the
Prophet Muhammad who according to Muslims encouraged charitable actions towards
year again, hundreds of us are travelling to the Lake District from up and down
the country to raise funds for the most needy in our society without any
distinction of faith, colour or creed," he said.
than 700 members of the AMYA will run and walk alongside members of the local
community in a bid to raise £500,000 for charities in the UK including the
Cumbria Community Foundation, Bloodwise, the Royal British Legion, Save the
Children, NSPCC, Barnardos, CLIC Sargent, Unicef and the British Red Cross.
Aftab added that the timing of the event, a week after a neo-Nazi rally in
Charlottesville, Virginia, led to the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was
important because of tensions created by the far-right in some communities.
have to combat narratives of hate and divisions and we have to condemn them,
that is vital. We have to asked ourselves as a society what we want to
achieve," he said.
years marks the 33rd edition of the charity challenge, which AMYA launched in
1985. Since then, the Muslim organisation has raised more than £2m for
charities in the UK.
year, the event is held at a different location but this year's half marathon
and five kilometre walk will begin from Fitz Park in Keswick on 19 August.
more information about the Mercy for Mankind challenge or to donate, visit
A homeless man hailed as a hero for coming to the aid of victims of the
Manchester Arena terror attack in May appeared in court on Wednesday charged
with stealing from two of them.
Parker, 33, was interviewed by British media in the aftermath of the attack in
which 22 people were killed, saying he had been begging outside the concert
arena when the bomb went off.
tearful Parker told the Press Association news agency at the time: “I heard a
bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard
screaming.” “It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of
running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help,” he said.
was people lying on the floor everywhere,” he recounted, adding that a woman
had died in his arms and he had come to the rescue of a little girl whose
mother had been killed. But Greater Manchester Police have accused him of
stealing from the victims.
police said Parker “has been charged with two counts of theft”, and at his
preliminary hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said he stole a purse, containing
bank cards, from a grandmother.
Healey, whose 14-year-old granddaughter was killed in the blast set off by
suicide bomber Salman Abedi, was injured in the attack. Her daughter was also
is also accused of stealing a mobile phone from a teenage girl, who cannot be
named for legal reasons, at the scene of the explosion.
Ben Southam said Parker had provided “some limited assistance” to injured
people but “equally” took the opportunity to steal from them.
denied the charges.
story had touched hearts amid national mourning following the attack, which was
claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
crowdfunding campaign for Parker raised more than £50,000 (55,000 euros,
$64,000), though the money was never handed over to him.
donor even offered to house Parker temporarily, and his estranged mother had
contacted her local newspaper after the bombing, asking her son to make
bomb went off just after the end of a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande, a
teen and pre-teen favourite.
Arena producers said Wednesday that they would re-open on September 9 for the
first time since the attack, with a charity concert that will include Noel
Gallagher from the Manchester band Oasis.
British government and the Merchant Navy have issued a warning alerting
commercial ships of the potentiality of being attacked by remote controlled
booby-trapped boats or rocket launchers.
concerned ships involve those passing through Bab-el-Mandeb strait and Gulf of
warning was issued after two commercial carriers were attacked by rockets at
the southern entrance of Bab el-Mandab in broad daylight near the Yemeni isle
of Perim. The booby-trapped boats headed towards the ship with high
statement said: “In previous situations of the sort, attacks were launched via
hand grenades, or rocket-propelled grenades. However, the last two attacks
involved booby-trapped boats which blew up some distance away from the targeted
ship, however the intention was to detonate the hull.”
defensive missile program is part of its “national interests,” Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov says, asserting that the new US sanctions against the
Islamic Republic over its missile activities are “illegitimate” and only harm
the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1.
to reporters in a news conference on Wednesday, Lavrov said Iran’s development
of an array of ballistic missiles was not in violation of the UN Security
Council’s Resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015 to endorse the landmark nuclear
agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)
missile program is Iran’s internal affair. Iran is not prohibited from having
it," Lavrov said. "The UN Security Council’s resolution contains no
legal bans on that score."
top Russian diplomat warned the US against upsetting the balance of the deal in
favor of its own interests by resorting to unilateral measures.
has on several occasions slapped new sanctions against Iran over its missile
program, most recent of which was on July 28.
sanctions are essentially illegitimate. When these sanctions are used to upset
the balance on a certain problem in favor of some party, and such a balance was
achieved on the Iranian nuclear program, these are irresponsible moves, which
may upset and undermine that balance," Lavrov said.
should not come up with such provocations, since the issue at hand is the
interests of a vast region where we would like to secure a non-nuclear status
rather than some individual country’s national interests," he added.
President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier this week that Tehran’s nuclear program
could quickly return to its pre-JCPOA status in case the US continued its
do hope that this will not happen," Lavrov said. "I also hope that
the United States will not violate its commitments to the Joint Plan,
noted that both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the
administration of US President Donald Trump had time and again confirmed Iran’s
compliance to the deal.
against ‘suffocating’ North Korea
Lavrov weighed in on the aggravating tensions between the US and North Korea
and said Russia was not in favor of economic sanctions that were meant to
“suffocate” Pyongyang and its people.
cannot support the ideas that some of our partners continue to nourish and that
are aimed literally at the economic suffocation of North Korea with all the
negative, tragic humanitarian consequences for the North Korean citizens,"
Lavrov said, noting that the possibilities for economic pressure on North Korea
had almost been "exhausted."
standoff was intensified earlier this month after Trump threatened Pyongyang
with “fire and fury” over its missile program. The North hit back by
threatening a missile strike against the US Pacific territory of Guam.
Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Wednesday held a flag hoisting ceremony at
Faisal Masjid campus of the university and a book exhibition in connection with
70th Independence Day celebrations. Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
Nawaf bin Said Al- Malki hoisted the Pakistani flag while an organized squad of
university guards was also present in the ceremony which offered salute to the
national flag amid national anthem, a press release said.
Rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai and President IIUI Dr Ahmed Yousif Al Draiweesh,
university vice president, director general, deans, directors and faculty
members were also present on the ceremony. Pakistan is proud of Muslim Ummah
which emerged with an objective of Islam, Ambassador Malki said. He said
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had an immortal friendship and bilateral ties between
the brethren countries.
maintained that unity and prosperity of Pakistan were unity and prosperity of
Muslim world. He furthered that the KSA was proud of its cordial relations with
IIUI said Pak-Saudi ties were deeper than the oceans and higher than skies. He
said IIUI was an example of exemplary ties between both the friendly states,
while he reiterated his resolve that the university would come up to the
expectations of Muslim world by bringing top minds in main stream and by nurturing
them in lights of Islamic teachings.
stressed upon the educational institutions that youth should not be
disappointed rather they should be told that they were hope of the Muslim
world. IIUI President Dr Ahmed Draiweesh said Pakistan came into existence due
to prudent thoughts and untiring efforts of Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and
great thinker Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
a book exhibition at Hamid ullah Library of the university was inaugurated by
the KSA ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki where books written on Pakistan
Movement were brought on stalls which took special response from the visitors.
On this occasion an independence celebration cake was also cut by the
Rangers Punjab along with police and intelligence agencies on Wednesday
conducted intelligence-based operations in several cities of Punjab including
Attock, DG Khan and Lahore.
to Inter-Services Public Relations, seven terror suspects and 20 Afghan
nationals were apprehended during the last 72 hours, along with a large
quantity of explosive, illegal automatic weapons and ammunition.
apprehended men were affiliated with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,
said the statement. It added that the explosives and weapons were likely to be
used for terror activities in major cities of Punjab.
The death toll from the Harnai bomb attack rose to eight on Tuesday as two more
personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC) succumbed to their injuries.
banned Baloch Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the blast, which
occurred in the Khost area, about 16km from the Harnai town.
FC personnel were martyred on Monday when their vehicle was hit by a powerful
improvised explosive device (IED) while it was passing through Khost, about
150km northeast of Quetta.
driver and a non-commissioned officer of the paramilitary force were also
injured in the explosion. The IED was planted in the middle of the road linking
Shahrag to Harnai. The injured were shifted to hospital where they succumbed to
Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) stressed a need for saving
the billions of rupees money falling in the hands of terrorists or undeserving
persons through collection of Zakat and sacrificial animals’ hides on Eidul
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) will launch a series of awareness
seminars to educate the people about the importance of “safe giving and safe
a seminar jointly organised by FCCI and the Initiative for Peace and Development.
FCCI Senior Vice President Rana Sikandar-e-Azam said the business community of
Faisalabad is acknowledged throughout Pakistan for its proactive philanthropist
acts. They are always extending maximum help to the poor and needy people.
of them pay more than the mandatory Zakat of 2.5 percent” he said and quoted
two leading businessmen who are running two full-fledged hospitals in addition
to managing a large number of schools and colleges where poor patients and
students are treated free of cost. Similarly, dozens of FCCI members are
independently running free dispensaries particularly in the poor localities of
the city, he said and told that Mian Muhammad Idrees has recently announced to
bear the entire educational expenses of one thousand students under the System
Foundation that has introduced a special program to educate drop out students
to pass their matriculation examination within two years. Similarly, Vice
President FCCI Engineer Ahmad Hasan will also bear the educational expenses of
25 students under this programme. He said that it is very unlucky fact that
Zakat which is a mandatory religious obligation for every Muslim is being
abused by the terrorists. Similarly, in Karachi a political party had also
introduced a system of forced collection of hides of sacrificial animals for
their own ulterior motives. He said that it is the duty of every Muslim to
identify the really deserving persons before handing over his Zakat to anybody.
VP Engineer Ahmad Hasan said that he was surprised to know that a huge amount
is being donated by the Muslims every year and said that if it is permitted
religiously, we could retire our entire foreign loans just within a few years
by diverting Zakat towards this purpose. He said that Pakistan is a unique and
blessed country. “We only need honest leadership that could steer Pakistan out
of the current political and economic turmoil”, he added. He said that the main
focus of this seminar is to sensitize the Executive committee members, Trade
associations, Businessmen, Industrialist, Philanthropists and local
influential’s that they should give their charities to the needy and should get
the information that where their charity would be spend.
Mukhtar, Director Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage,
said that no doubt Zakat is a mandatory religious obligation but we are also
bound to pay it to the really deserving persons. He said that under the clause
of 11-H, each and every Pakistani is bound to give Zakat and hides of sacrificial
animals to the institutions allowed by the NECTA.
Executive Director added, “I am glad we had such a receptive and supportive
audience which not only understood the actual message but also volunteered to
spread the awareness in their respective communities. As responsible citizen we
should play our role and verify the individual or institution before giving our
Zakat or hides of sacrificial animals to anybody. We must report to NACTA
helpline 1717 if come across any suspicious activity, individual or
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