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Islamic World News (11 Sep 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Trump Administration to Shut Down PLO Office in Washington, Use Sanctions to Block Cases against Israel at ICC
















The Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington. (Reuters)


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Trump Administration to Shut Down PLO Office in Washington, Use Sanctions to Block Cases against Israel at ICC

U.S. Weighs Sanctions against Chinese Officials over Muslim Detention Camps

Babri Masjid Demolition Case: How Will You Complete Probe by April 2019, SC Asks Trial Judge

Church Seeks Role for Minorities in Pakistan Govt

South Africa: Understanding the Muslim Marriages Judgment

 

Mideast

Trump administration to shut down PLO office in Washington, use sanctions to block cases against Israel at ICC

Turkey Bonds with Mexico's Indigenous Muslims through Developmental Aid

Yemeni army advances in Hodeidah, Houthi supply commander killed in battles

US judge orders Iran to pay $105m over 1996 Khobar Towers bomb in Saudi Arabia

Iran says Bahrain’s claim about arrest of Iranians lacks evidence

Erdogan: Idlib liberation battle could pose risks to Turkey, Europe

Israel opens fire on Palestinian boats attempting Gaza siege break

Turkish court sentences 115 suspects to jail over affiliation to Gulen movement

Yemen Vice President: We will regain control over every inch of Yemen

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Southeast Asia

U.S. Weighs Sanctions against Chinese Officials over Muslim Detention Camps

Mufti Emphasises Compassion as Muslims Mark Start of Islamic New Year

Christian role concerns handed to Mindanao Muslim group

China thinks Islam is a disease, and Muslim leaders don’t care

43 suspects in deadly Philippine bombings face criminal raps

Claiming non-Muslim dominance in Parliament, PAS to push for ‘Islamic leadership’

How nice if cabinet ministers lead the way and declare ‘I’m Malaysian first’

Hadi: PAS to continue co-operation with Umno, but will stay independent

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India

Babri Masjid Demolition Case: How Will You Complete Probe by April 2019, SC Asks Trial Judge

Noted scholar, Prof Christian W Troll and Mr Sanjiv Sharaf to receive Sir Syed Excellence Awards

Muslims To Decide On Panaji Qabristan Today

Two terrorists killed in encounter in J&K

2 terrorists get death penalty for Hyderabad blasts

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Pakistan

Church Seeks Role for Minorities in Pakistan Govt

Fazl Focuses On Kashmir Issue after Being Out Of Power

Pakistan army chief confirms death sentences for 13 Taliban

ECP rejects plea to cancel registration of Pakistan Rah-i-Haq Party

Jinnah was very clear about Pakistan’s relationship with India: speakers

Pakistan, China refute Financial Times' CPEC report, resolve to expand cooperation

Cabinet decides to remove JUI-F chief’s brother as Afghan refugees’ commissioner

Security forces foil terrorist bid in Balochistan

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Africa

South Africa: Understanding the Muslim Marriages Judgment

Car Bomb Kills Six outside Somali Government Office

Humanitarian group says 100 migrants die off Libyan coast

Zakzaky’s 1000 days of wrongful incarceration

Nigeria: Kano Govt Declares Tuesday Public Holiday for Islamic New Year

American, US resident extremists defect from Al-Shabaab in Somalia

Boko Haram captures Nigerian town after troop attack

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North America

US Behind 1988 Pakistan Plane Crash That Killed Gen. Zia: Pakistani Senator

Conference Explores Role of Muslim Americans in Solving Social Problems

US warns ICC against probing its troops for excesses in Afghanistan

Iraqi anger at Iran is an opportunity for America

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Arab World

Report: Turkish Army Keeps 50,000 Terrorists on Alert for Battle against Syrian Army in Idlib

Jeish Al-Islam Deploys Terrorists at Contact Lines with Syrian Army in Aleppo

SDF begins operation to drive out Daesh from Hajjin

Seven ‘Terror’ Convicts Executed in Iraq’s Dhi Qar Province

Violence displaces over 30,000 in Syria’s Idlib, Hama this month

Egypt security forces kill 11 suspected extremists in Sinai

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South Asia

MoI Issues New Notice to Kabul Residents Regarding Possible Attacks

Taliban militants overrun Khamab district in Jawzjan province

Thai police shut down journalists’ discussion about Rohingya Muslims

Thousands demand Bangladesh opposition leader's release

U.S. military release airstrike video on Taliban’s HME storage in Wardak

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Europe

UK Muslim Group Wants Franklin Graham Banned for Spreading Anti-Islam 'Hate Speech'

Britain's leading Muslim organisation calls for Home Office to refuse Billy Graham's preacher son a visa over Islamophobic and homophobic remarks

Macron to review report calling for reform of Islam in France

French think tank calls for 'halal tax' on Muslims

Could a halal tax fix France’s approach to the ‘Islamist factory’?

Britain’s MI6 planning chemical attack in Syria: US senator

Netherlands provides logistic support for terrorist organization in Syria: Report

Russia to brief UN Security Council on results of Tehran Summit on Syria

Far-rightists hold ‘vigil’ in Germany for man who died after fight with Afghans

UN rights chief presses for new body on crimes against Rohingya

Sweden Joins Europe’s Move to Right Over Muslim Migration Backlash

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/trump-administration-to-shut-down-plo-office-in-washington,-use-sanctions-to-block-cases-against-israel-at-icc/d/116345

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Trump Administration to Shut Down PLO Office in Washington, Use Sanctions to Block Cases against Israel at ICC

By Loveday Morris

September 10 2018

JERUSALEM — Palestinian officials on Monday vowed not to bend to what they called the Trump administration’s bullying tactics after being notified that their office in Washington would be shut down as part of an effort to block cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he was officially notified of the decision, which the State Department formally announced Monday morning, charging that the Palestine Liberation Organization “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” The announcement also cited U.S. “concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.”

Erekat decried the move as a continuation of a policy of “collective punishment” by the Trump administration.

“These people have decided to stand on the wrong side of history by protecting war criminals and destroying the two state solution,” he said. “I told them if you are worried about courts, you should stop aiding and abetting crimes.”

U.S. moves to pressure the Palestinian leadership over the past year have driven the relationship to a crisis point. They have chipped away at the core tenets of Palestinian aspirations — a capital in part of Jerusalem and a right of return for refugees — while ramping up financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority, which governs Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

 The Trump administration’s moves, Palestinian officials say, represent an attempt to inflict irreversible damage on their ambitions for a state, as Washington also effectively greenlights Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

The United States said last year it would close the PLO’s office in Washington after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes. However, he later backtracked on the decision, advising the Palestinian leadership to limit the office’s activities to efforts to achieve peace with Israel as the Trump administration prepares its long-awaited peace plan.

The order to close the PLO office comes days before the 25th anniversary of the historic Oslo Accords, when the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel mutually recognized each other and launched a peace process. That pact paved the way for the PLO to open its Washington office the following year, but as it doors close, the optimism surrounding that deal is a distant memory.

The PLO office essentially functions as an embassy but does not officially represent “Palestine,” as the United States does not recognize a Palestinian state, although that is a stated aim of previous administrations. The Trump administration has refrained from directly calling for a two-state solution, saying it would back one if both sides agree.

In a series of blows to the Palestinians, the Trump administration has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moved the U.S. Embassy there and cut funding to the U.N. agency that deals with Palestinian refugees. Then, last week, Washington said it would withdraw $25 million in support from hospitals in East Jerusalem.

Thousands of Palestinians began protesting May 14, the same day the Trump administration hailed the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. (Joyce Lee/The Washington Post)

In a speech Monday, national security adviser John Bolton threatened to impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it proceeds with investigations against the United States or Israel.

Saying that the ICC has “threatened” to investigate Israel for actions against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as for its settlement activity in occupied territories, Bolton vowed, “We will not allow the ICC . . . to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The United States would ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system and prosecute them in the courts, Bolton said.

However, Erekat said the Palestinian leadership would double down on its efforts and submit a new complaint to the ICC within 48 hours over an Israeli Supreme Court decision to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.

He said the United States is not “part of the peace process” and does not even have the right to “sit in the room” during any negotiations, and he dismissed U.S. officials such as the ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as a “group of settlers” pursuing a right-wing Israeli agenda.

Husam Zumlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative to the United States, accused the White House of attempting to do irreversible damage to the U.S.-Palestinian relationship that would be hard for any future administration to repair.

As well as checking off a wish list of Israeli demands, such as recognizing Jerusalem, it shows that the United States is attempting to preempt Israel’s fears over international prosecution and a more favorable attitude toward Palestinians among young Americans. He described U.S. efforts to block investigation of Israel at the ICC as an “onslaught against international legality”.

The United States is not a member of the ICC but cooperated with the court under the Obama administration. Israel is also not a member. Despite vehement Israeli opposition, Palestine was admitted as a member state in 2015. Since then, it has lodged complaints over the expansion of Israeli settlements and alleged war crimes during the 2014 Gaza War and the use of sharpshooters during protests in Gaza this year.

The latest U.S. moves show that Palestinian efforts to pressure Israel through international institutions are working, Zumlot said.

For Palestinians, though, U.S. cuts are beginning to bite. This year, the United States has held back $300 million in funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides education, health care and food aid for more than 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, largely the descendants of those displaced when Israel was created in 1948.

Israel has accused UNRWA of perpetuating the conflict by supporting the descendants of refugees with their “right of return,” which Israel considers a major stumbling block to peace.

U.S. officials have also said that they will freeze $25 million in funding to six east Jerusalem hospitals that primarily serve Palestinians. The largely church-run hospitals traditionally serve as the main providers of care for Palestinians referred for treatment for procedures not available in the West Bank and Gaza.

Bolton’s announcement is likely to be widely welcomed by the government in Israel, which was on holiday Monday to mark the Jewish New Year. 

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, described the action as a form of “crude and vicious blackmail.”

“Such irresponsible moves are clear proof of American collusion with Israel’s occupation,” she said. “The U.S. would do better to finally understand that the Palestinians will not surrender and that no amount of coercion or unwarranted collective punishment measures will bring the Palestinian leadership or people to their knees.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/palestinians-slam-usvicious-blackmail-as-their-washington-office-is-closed-down/2018/09/10/b49f613e-b4d1-11e8-94eb-3bd52dfe917b_story.html?utm_term=.566a3ab5869b

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U.S. Weighs Sanctions Against Chinese Officials Over Muslim Detention Camps

By Edward Wong

Sept. 10, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies to punish Beijing’s detention of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in large internment camps, according to current and former American officials.

The economic penalties would be one of the first times the Trump administration has taken action against China because of human rights violations. United States officials are also seeking to limit American sales of surveillance technology that Chinese security agencies and companies are using to monitor Uighurs throughout northwest China.

Discussions to rebuke China for its treatment of its minority Muslims have been underway for months among officials at the White House and the Treasury and State Departments. But they gained urgency two weeks ago, after members of Congress asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose sanctions on seven Chinese officials.

Until now, President Trump has largely resisted punishing China for its human rights record, or even accusing it of widespread violations. If approved, the penalties would fuel an already bitter standoff with Beijing over trade and pressure on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Last month, a United Nations panel confronted Chinese diplomats in Geneva over the detentions. The camps for Chinese Muslims have been the target of growing international criticism and investigative reports, including by The New York Times.

Human rights advocates and legal scholars say the mass detentions in the northwest region of Xinjiang are the worst collective human rights abuse in China in decades. Since taking power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has steered China on a hard authoritarian course, which includes increased repression of large ethnic groups in western China, notably the Uighurs and Tibetans.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch released a detailed report that concluded that the violations were of a “scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.” The report, based on interviews with 58 former residents of Xinjiang, recommended that other nations impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials, withhold visas and control exports of technology that could be used for abuses.

Any new American sanctions would be announced by the Treasury Department after governmentwide consultations, including with Congress.

Chinese Muslims in the camps are forced to attend daily classes, denounce aspects of Islam, study mainstream Chinese culture and pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. Some detainees who have been released have described torture by security officers.

Chinese officials have labeled the process “transformation through education” or “counter-extremism education.” But they have not acknowledged that large groups of Muslims are being detained.

The discussions over the mass detentions in Xinjiang highlight American efforts on issues that diverge from the president’s priorities. Mr. Trump has rarely made statements criticizing foreign governments for human rights abuses or anti-liberal policies, and in fact has praised authoritarian leaders, including Mr. Xi.

The Trump administration has confronted China over economic issues — the two countries are in the middle of a prolonged trade war — but has said little about rampant abuses by its security forces.

“The scale of it — it’s massive,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said of the Muslim detention centers in an interview. “It involves not only intimidating people on political speech, but also a desire to strip people of their identity — ethnic identity, religious identity — on a scale that I’m not sure we’ve seen in the modern era.”

Ethnic Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking group that is mostly Sunni Muslim. With a population of around 11 million, Uighurs are the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang. Some of the desert oasis towns and villages that they consider their homeland are being emptied out as security officers force many Uighurs into large detention centers for weeks or months.

Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur-American journalist who works for Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government, said at a congressional hearing in July that two dozen of her family members in Xinjiang were missing, including her brother.

“I hope and pray for my family to be let go and released,” Ms. Hoja said. “But I know even if that happens, they will still live under constant threat.”

A Chinese law student in Canada, Shawn Zhang, has compiled satellite images that show the scale of some of the detention centers.

In their demand last month, Mr. Rubio and other lawmakers urged officials at the State and Treasury Departments to impose sanctions on Chinese companies that have profited from building the camps or the regionwide surveillance system, which includes the collection of biometric and DNA data. They singled out Hikvision and Dahua Technology for the surveillance.

Mr. Rubio said the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, of which he is a chairman, will also ask the Commerce Department to prevent American companies from selling technology to China that could contribute to the surveillance and tracking.

For many years, Chinese officials have talked about the need to suppress what they call terrorism, separatism and religious extremism in Xinjiang. In 2009, ethnic violence began soaring in the region. Security forces carried out mass repression in response, but large-scale construction of the camps, which now hold as many as one million people, did not begin until the arrival of Chen Quanguo, who became party chief of Xinjiang in August 2016, after a stint in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The congressional demand, outlined in an Aug. 28 letter, singles out Mr. Chen among the seven Chinese officials who would be sanctioned.

In Washington, officials grappling with the plight of the Uighurs and other Chinese Muslims are doing so in the shadow of the mass murders, rapes and forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims by Burmese military forces that began in Myanmar in August 2017. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh and live in squalid camps.

Some American officials see the actions of the Chinese government as another form of the genocide that occurred in Myanmar, according to people with knowledge of the continuing discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they have not been authorized to talk publicly about the issue.

Sam Brownback, the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom and former governor of Kansas, supports taking a hard line against the Chinese government on the issue of Xinjiang, they said. Mr. Brownback declined to be interviewed.

In April, Laura Stone, an acting deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told reporters on a visit to Beijing that the United States could impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the Xinjiang abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act. The law allows the American government to impose sanctions on specific foreign officials who are gross violators of human rights.

That same month, Heather Nauert, the chief spokeswoman for the State Department, called on China to release all those “unlawfully detained” after meeting in Washington with Ms. Hoja and five other ethnic Uighur journalists who work in the United States for Radio Free Asia. The journalists shared details of the mass detentions and of harassment of their own family members in the region.

The issue of the Uighurs was raised in July at the first international minister-level forum on global religious freedom, over which Mr. Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence presided. Ahead of it, Mr. Pompeo wrote an op-ed that listed the Uighurs among several groups suffering religious persecution. “These episodes and others like them are abhorrent,” he wrote.

In a statement to The Times, the State Department said officials “are deeply troubled by the Chinese government’s worsening crackdown” on Muslims.

“Credible reports indicate that individuals sent by Chinese authorities to detention centers since April 2017 number at least in the hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions,” the statement said.

The Trump administration has used an executive order tied to the Magnitsky Act once to impose sanctions on a Chinese official. In December, the White House announced sanctions against Gao Yan, who was a district police chief in Beijing when a human-rights activist died in detention.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/world/asia/us-china-sanctions-muslim-camps.html

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Babri Masjid demolition case: How will you complete probe by April 2019, SC asks trial judge

September 10, 2018

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from a sessions judge in a Lucknow court on how he intended to complete the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case within the April 2019 deadline.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra also sought a reply from the Uttar Pradesh government, in a sealed cover, on a plea of trial court judge S K Yadav seeking promotion that was stalled by the Allahabad High Court on the ground that the top court had directed him to complete the trial.

On May 30, 2017, the top court had framed charges against 12 people, including BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Their applications for discharge from the offence were rejected and they were granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. The court also rejected the CBI opposition to their bail applications.

On April 19 in the same year, the apex court ordered the restoration of the conspiracy charge against the three BJP leaders, directing the special court to “complete the trial and deliver the judgment within a period of two years”. It also shifted the trial from Rae Bareli to Lucknow.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/babri-masjid-demolition-case-ayodhya-supreme-court-lucknow-probe-status-5348347/

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Church seeks role for minorities in Pakistan govt

September 10, 2018

The Catholic Church in Pakistan has called on the nation's new government to help minorities amid criticism of the dumping of a talented Ahmadi economist from a senior advisory position.

The nomination of Atif Mian, an Ahmadi, to join the country's 18-member economic advisory council was withdrawn amid opposition from some mainstream Muslims. Ahmadis are a minority Islamic group not accepted by all Muslims.

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), the Catholic Church's human rights body in Pakistan, congratulated new Prime Minister Imran Khan and President-elect Arif Alvi on their appointments in a media statement on Sept 6.

"Besides seeking development and progress of the nation, the government should also prioritize the issues of minorities so that they are integrated well in society and feel proud to be responsible Pakistanis," Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, NCJP national director Father Emmanuel Yousaf and executive director Cecil Shane Chaudhry said in a joint statement.

The commission also stressed a need for the government to establish a Ministry for Minority Affairs at both provincial and federal levels while giving due representation to minorities in all ministries.

The church also called for a national commission to protect the rights of religious minorities. The government belongs as much to minorities as it does to the majority, the statement added.

Archbishop Arshad expressed "prayerful best wishes" for the new government. He said all parties should strive to improve life for weak and marginalized communities as well as steering youth and the nation toward peaceful coexistence.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party of Imran Khan dropped the appointment of Mian, a professor at Princeton University in the United States.

Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that it would be inappropriate if a single nomination was divisive.

However, the minister had previously said the government would not "bow to extremists" opposed to the appointment.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Pakistan mandated a quota system, with 5 percent of government jobs set aside for religious minorities. However, the rule is rarely enforced.

Sabir Michael, a research scholar and professor in Karachi University's social work department, expressed disappointment over the handling of Mian's appointment. "Mian was the highest qualified person in the economic advisory council," he noted.

And, for the first time, members of religious minorities have not been included in the federal or Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial cabinets, he said.

"We don't have much hope for change," Michael told ucanews.com. "Perhaps church leaders should meet the PM and president in person and share their concerns. "We are not seeing justice being done."

https://www.ucanews.com/news/church-seeks-role-for-minorities-in-pakistan-govt/83291

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South Africa: Understanding the Muslim Marriages Judgment

10 SEPTEMBER 2018

By Kathleen Mpofu

Despite fierce opposition, the Cape High Court has compelled government to introduce legislation that recognises Muslim marriages

Women and children in Muslim marriages have few safeguards to protect their interests especially when it comes to divorce and inheritance.

A draft bill to legally recognise Muslim marriages was introduced for public comment but according to the Minister of Justice, the bill was widely opposed: over 7,000 petitions objected to the bill; only 734 messages supported it. The main objections said that the bill was inconsistent with Sharia law and was "unIslamic".

But the Cape High Court in Women's Legal Centre Trust v President of South Africa and others on 31 August ordered the state to pass legislation that recognises Muslim marriages within 24 months. (Read the judgment.)

It will be interesting to see if and how the new legislation will balance the protection of the rights of Muslim women and children while still retaining important aspects of Sharia law.

Parties to the Case

Numerous organisations and people were involved in this complicated case.

The case was a consolidation of three applications brought by the Women's Legal Centre, Tarryn Faro and Ruwayda Esau. This was done because there was an overlap in the issues raised in their cases.

There were nine respondents in the case. The first five can be summed up as government: (1) President, (2) Minister of Justice, (3) Minister of Home Affairs, (4) Speaker of the National Assembly, (5) Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. The other respondents were: (6) Association of Muslim Women South Africa, (7) United Ulama Council of South Africa, (8) South African Human Rights Commission and the (9) Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Communities.

What the participants argued

The applicants asked the court to do two things: (1) Make an order declaring that the government had failed to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect, promote and fulfill various constitutional rights, and (2) order the government to enact legislation to recognise Muslim marriages as valid marriages within 12 months.

The applicants argued that by failing to recognise Muslim marriages, the government was violating the constitutional rights to equality, dignity, freedom of religion, the best interests of the child and access to the court.

The applicants also argued that the government had failed to fulfil its duties imposed on it by various human rights treaties and conventions to which South Africa is a party.

But the government respondents argued that they were not in breach of their constitutional obligations as the Constitution does not obligate it to enact legislation for the protection of a group of people. They also argued that the courts have been developing the common law in relation to Muslim marriages, and this provided some protection to Muslim women and children. They also argued that the international law obligations do not create enforceable rights unless enacted as domestic legislation, and this had not been done.

Decision of the Court

A full bench (three judges) of the court heard the case. Judge Nolwazi Penelope Boqwana wrote the judgment.

The court found that while marriage itself is not a constitutional right, it has been given "a seal of constitutional significance" by the Constitutional Court. So the court found that there had been numerous cases that had been decided by various courts to support the argument that the different treatment between Muslim marriages and civil and customary marriages amounted to a violation of rights.

Section 7(2) of the Constitution says: "The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights." The court found that this imposes an obligation on the state to enact laws to protect rights that are being breached. Also, the court found that by ratifying international treaties and conventions, the state became was bound by them in the international sphere, and it would be "faithful to the Constitution" to take this into account when interpreting the obligations of the state.

The court found that considering the complexity and importance of the marriage, the only reasonable and effective way the state could fulfil its obligations in section 7(2) of the Constitution was by enacting legislation that recognised Muslim marriages.

Interim Relief rejected

The court rejected the interim relief requested by the applicants (while waiting for the new legislation to be enacted). The applicants wanted the marriage and divorce acts to include marriages concluded under Islamic law. The court found that doing so may cause too much confusion.

Order

The court found that the state is obliged to respect, protect and promote the rights to dignity, equality, religion, the best interests of the child and access to courts by enacting legislation to recognise Sharia law marriages. It found that the state has failed to fulfil this obligation. It gave the state 24 months to rectify this failure.

The court also ordered that if legislation is not enacted within 24 months, then all marriages validly concluded under Sharia law would be dissolved according to the Divorce Act.

Why is this case important?

Marriage has important legal consequences for the people who participate in it. It is a "source of socio-economic benefits such as the right to inheritance, medical insurance coverage, adoption, spousal benefits, bereavement leave, tax advantages and post- divorce rights", as the Constitutional Court judgment on gay marriage explained. This is why civil and customary marriages are regulated. Because Muslim marriages are not recognised in South Africa, there are not enough legislative protections of the people affected by it, especially women and children. This judgment hopefully remedies this problem.

This case also illustrates how in a constitutional democracy, neither the majority, nor the loudest voices, nor government, necessarily get their way. If constitutional rights are violated, the situation must be fixed, no matter what government, the loud, the powerful, or the majority believe.

Some of the other arguments made in the case

The South African Human Rights Commission (respondent 8) agreed that the state should legislate recognition of Muslim marriages. But it argued this obligation was not based on international law.

The Commission of the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Linguistic and Religious Communities (respondent 9), opposed the main relief the applicants wanted -- i.e. enacting legislation -- but preferred the relief of reading in the recognition of all religious marriages (including Muslim marriages) into the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act.

Some organisations took part in the case as friends of the court (amicus curiae). These were the United Ulama Council of South Africa (different from respondent 7 that has the same name), Law Society of South Africa, South Africa Lawyers for Change, Islamic Unity Convention, Commission for Gender Equality and Jamaitul Ulama KwaZulu Natal.

All the friends of the court, except for two organisations, supported the application as well as the relief sought. The Islamic Unity Convention which acknowledged the hardships faced by Muslim women and children. But it did not support enacting legislation to recognise Muslim marriages. The Jamiatul Ulama KwaZulu Natal opposed the application and the relief sought, arguing that the Constitution is incompatible with Sharia law.

The Association of Muslim Women of South Africa and the United Ulama Council (respondents 6 and 7) opposed the relief sought as they were of the opinion that the matter raised several disputes of fact that could not be resolved by a court that only decided the case on the papers (i.e. there was no cross-examination of witnesses).

https://allafrica.com/stories/201809100606.html

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Mideast

 

Turkey bonds with Mexico's indigenous Muslims through developmental aid

September 11, 2018

In its bid to reach out to small Muslim communities all across the world, the state-run Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) offers aid to indigenous Muslims of Mexico. Their population is concentrated in rural parts of the state of Chiapas. Native Americans who mostly converted to Islam in the recent decades thrive on jobs with little income. Some sell clothes they sew to tourists while others depend on livestock breeding. Aid is scant as the region they live in is remote.

TİKA donated sewing machines and cows to the community and set up a sewing workshop for women. The agency also regularly delivers food aid during the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan and organizes iftar (fast-breaking) dinners for Muslims.

The mountainous area near San Cristobal de Las Casas is home to some 400 Muslims from Tzotzil, indigenous Mayan people whose population is concentrated in the highlands of Chiapas. Women sew traditional dresses to sell to tourists and sewing workshop set up by TİKA gives them support and extra income for each household in this poor community where mass conversions to Islam began in the 1980s. Most people are recent converts from Christianity and they are part of Mexico's larger Muslim community that numbers around 5,000 people, a minority in a country of 130 million people.

Previously a little-known state apparatus founded with the purpose of helping former Soviet republics after the collapse of the Soviet Union, TİKA rebranded itself in the past decade as a major source for Turkey's international clout by reaching out to people in need around the globe. In Mexico, its work focuses on disadvantaged indigenous communities.

Operating in the country since 2016, TİKA launched some 60 projects in this period and provided about $2 million in development aid. Most recently, it reached out to victims of three major earthquakes that rocked Mexico last year and this year. TİKA delivered humanitarian aid packages of food and hygiene kits to earthquake victims in three remote areas in Oaxaca, which was among the most affected areas of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in February. It previously supplied ambulances and rescue vehicles to Mexican authorities to be used in emergencies.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent a letter of gratitude to TİKA for sending aid to help cope with the string of earthquakes that have shaken the country since September 2017. In August, the Turkish agency started construction on a health center in the state of Oaxaca.

TİKA also opened libraries in schools in Chiapas and last summer and established two greenhouses that will provide food to 300,000 people a year in the Iztapalapa district of Mexico City.

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2018/09/11/turkey-bonds-with-mexicos-indigenous-muslims-through-developmental-aid

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Yemeni army advances in Hodeidah, Houthi supply commander killed in battles

11 September 2018

Yemeni army forces continued advancing in Hodeidah as the Houthi militias continue to suffer several losses in the strategic province.

A military source said the national army restored posts where the militias were fortifying, adding that Houthi commander Abu Hashem, who supervises military and human supplies of militias in Hodeidah, has been killed.

A violent battle is being fought by the national army and resistance in the important area of Kilo 16 which connects the capital Sanaa with the city of Hodeidah.

The army advanced towards this area and restored posts where the Houthis were fortified. Dozens of Houthi fighters were killed or injured in the confrontations in which the coalition air force is participating.

The army also managed to restore control over the New Generation School that overlooks the road which connects Kilo 10 and Kilo 16.

On Sunday, the army forces cut the Houthis’ route of supplies to Kilo 16 and the army had advanced reaching Kilo 16.

Military sources noted that Kilo 16 is strategic and fully controlling it means suffocating militias and cutting their route of supplies from Sanaa.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/09/11/Yemeni-army-advances-in-Hodeidah-Houthi-supply-commander-killed-in-battles.html

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US judge orders Iran to pay $105m over 1996 Khobar Towers bomb in Saudi Arabia

11 September 2018

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Monday ordered Iran to pay $104.7 million to victims of a June 1996 truck bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US military personnel, though it is unclear when and how the plaintiffs might collect.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell entered a default judgment against Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which did not defend against claims over their alleged roles in the attack, which sheared off the front of the Khobar Towers complex.

Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Howell said 15 service members who were at the complex when it was bombed could recover for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The judge also said 24 relatives could recover for emotional distress from seeing how the bombing affected their loved ones.

Howell rejected punitive damages, saying US law did not allow them for attacks occurring before 2008.

The lawsuit sought damages under the so-called terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

"The plaintiffs are very pleased with the decision, and look forward to pursuing collections," Paul Gaston, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview. "Having the court ruling gives them some measure of justice."

Thirteen members of Hezbollah were indicted in June 2001 in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia over their alleged roles in the attack.

In December 2006, another federal judge in Washington ordered Iran to pay $254.4 million to family members and the estates of 17 Americans who died in the attack, also in a default judgment.

The U.S. government in 2015 established the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund to compensate victims.

Iran was designated by the US Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism in January 1984.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/09/11/US-judge-orders-Iran-to-pay-105-million-over-1996-Saudi-Arabia-bomb-attack.html

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Iran says Bahrain’s claim about arrest of Iranians lacks evidence

Sep 10, 2018

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi says the recent claim by Bahrain about having arrested 14 Iranians with fake passports has no verifiable evidence.

“So far, no documents and evidence have been provided to Iranian authorities in this regard and due to lack of more information, this (Bahraini) claim cannot be verified," Qassemi said on Monday.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday that the country has arrested 14 Iranians who entered Bahrain on “fake passports” under fake names.

The ministry claimed that the Iranians “bought passports to enter Bahrain in coordination with Bahrainis of Iranian origin.”

Qassemi said the mere claim that the detainees are of Iranian origin who have entered Bahrain with fake passports is not verifiable, declining to make further comments without more information.

The Iranian spokesperson explained that Tehran and Manama have had no relations in recent years, saying, "This is the reason that the Manama government issues no visa for Iranian citizens."

There is no transaction between the two countries in any field and the Iranian nationals cannot travel to Bahrain, Qassemi added.

In January 2016, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia broke off diplomatic ties with Iran following Tehran's objection to the execution of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the regime in Riyadh.

Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573755/Qassemi-Bahrain-Iran-detention

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Erdogan: Idlib liberation battle could pose risks to Turkey, Europe

Sep 11, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned against what he called “the security and humanitarian risks” of an upcoming Syrian army operation to liberate Idlib Province, which holds the largest concentration of militant groups, including those backed by Ankara.

In an article published in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Erdogan called on the international community to intervene as Syrian forces are gearing up for the Idlib liberation battle.

“All members of the international community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms. The consequences of inaction are immense,” he said.

Syria has the backing of Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement in its bid to rid the strategic province bordering Turkey of terrorists.

Idlib hosts several militant groups backed by Turkey and other foreign parties – especially Western states, Israel and their regional allies.

Erdogan warned that the planned counter-terrorism campaign in Idlib “would also create serious humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond,” apparently referring to a fresh influx of Syrian refugees in the wake of the Idlib battle.

“If the international community, including Europe and the US, fail to take action now, not only innocent Syrians but the entire world stands to pay the price,” he added.

Erdogan further stressed that not only the West, but also Turkey’s partners Iran and Russia are responsible for stopping a humanitarian disaster in Idlib.

Turkey on the one side and Iran and Russia on the other support opposite sides of the Syria conflict, but they have been mediating a diplomatic process between the warring parties since January 2017 aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Erdogan’s comments came as his country has been deploying heavy artillery tanks, howitzers and commandos to the Syrian border.

Last week, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani hosted his Russian and Turkish counterparts for a trilateral summit on Syria.

In a joint statement, the participants at the Tehran summit said the Syria crisis could only be resolved through a negotiated political process, and has no military solution.

The trio also “emphasized strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and highlighted that they should be respected by all.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/11/573794/Turkey-Syria-Idlib

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Israel opens fire on Palestinian boats attempting Gaza siege break

Sep 10, 2018

The Israeli navy has opened fire on a group of Palestinian fishing boats that sailed off the shore of Gaza to break the years-long siege on the coastal enclave.

The incident took place on Monday after some 55 boats set sail from the Gaza port in the northern Gaza Strip and headed towards the nearest point of the sea border with the occupied territories to challenge the Israeli blockade.

There have been no reports available on casualties yet.

Dozens of Palestinians also clashed with Israeli forces on the Gaza beach, prompting the Tel Aviv regime’s troops to fire a barrage of tear gas to disperse the Palestinians.

Palestinian Health Ministry reported that at least 49 Palestinians sustained gunshot wounds during the violence or suffered respiratory problems due to inhalation of tear gas. Among the injured was Palestinian reporter, Atieh Hejazi (pictured below), who was covering the event for Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam television news network.

The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. The blockade has also caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty.

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

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573764/Israel-Palestinian-fishing-boats-Gaza

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Turkish court sentences 115 suspects to jail over affiliation to Gulen movement

Sep 10, 2018

A court in Turkey has handed down jail terms to more than 100 people, including former air force officers, on suspicion of affiliation to a movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that Ankara Heavy Penal Court sentenced 35 suspects to eight years and 9 months in jail, while the remaining 80 suspects received jail terms up to seven years and 6 months.

Meanwhile, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul has issued arrest warrants for 102 active serving and former soldiers over their alleged links to Gulen movement.

Security forces have so far managed to arrest 56 of the suspects during separate operations across Istanbul. A total of 89 suspects are accused of communicating with Gulenists.

During the 2016 botched putsch, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.

Ankara has since accused Gulen of having orchestrated the coup. The opposition figure is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army, police and the judiciary.

Gulen has denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.

“Accusations against me related to the coup attempt are baseless and politically-motivated slanders,” he said in a statement.

The 77-year-old cleric has also called on Ankara to end its “witch hunt” of his followers, a move he says is aimed at “weeding out anyone it deems disloyal to President Erdogan and his regime.”

Turkish officials have frequently called on their US counterparts to extradite Gulen, but their demands have not been taken heed of.

Turkey, which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the failed coup.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573748/Turkish-court-sentences-115-suspects-to-jail-over-affiliation-to-Gulen-movement

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Yemen Vice President: We will regain control over every inch of Yemen

September 11, 2018

DUBAI: The Vice President of Yemen, Lieutenant General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said his internationally recognized government will continue to liberate Houthi-held areas until every inch of the country is under the government’s control and end the suffering of civilians.

The vice president’s statements came during a meeting held in Riyadh with the commander of the First Brigade, Brigadier General Heikal Mohammed Hantaf, Yemen’s state news agency Saba New reported.

During the meeting, Brigadier General Hantaf stressed the need to unify the ranks and gain the support of the civilians to establish the restoration of the state and to build a federal Yemen consisting of six provinces.

The progress of military operations and successive victories in Yemen, including Al-Jouf, were also discussed during the meeting.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1370251/middle-east

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Southeast Asia

 

Mufti Emphasises Compassion as Muslims Mark Start of Islamic New Year

SEP 10, 2018

SINGAPORE - Muslims in Singapore should reflect on the past 50 years in achieving their dreams to be good Muslims and citizens, Mufti Fatris Bakaram said in a sermon marking the start of the Islamic new year on Monday night (Sept 10).

Speaking to more than 1,200 Muslims who had gathered for evening prayers at Al-Khair Mosque in Choa Chu Kang, he emphasised compassion and serving the whole society, in line with the celebration's theme of Striving with Confidence, Serving with Compassion.

The Islamic new year marks the hijrah, or migration, of Prophet Muhammad and his companions from Mecca to Medina in the year 622. Muslims follow the lunar calendar.

The start of Islamic new year 1440 also coincided with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's (Muis) 50th anniversary.

Dr Fatris, Singapore's highest Islamic authority, gave the media a short summary of his sermon before he delivered it.

"Let us move together, as a team, as a family, with love and compassion so that we can spread goodness to everyone," he said.

"The challenges that we face today demand from us a high level of confidence in doing good without waiting and expecting others to do goodness unto us."

In a lecture Dr Fatris delivered at the Conversations With Mufti event at the Salam Singapore Community Festival on Saturday, he urged his fellow Muslims to start teaching compassion within their families first, and gradually extend this to do good for the community at large.

The festival aimed to spread better understanding of Muslim culture.

"Moving forward in the next 50 years with a more educated and affluent Muslim community, I hope we will be able to not only more effectively address current social challenges, but also be a community whose resources and expertise would be instrumental to Singaporeans at large," he said.

The Islamic new year is traditionally a quiet holiday, with time spent in prayer and contemplation, and some choose to make resolutions on the day.

The event was jointly organised by Muis, the West Mosque Cluster and Al-Khair Mosque, and was also attended by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman; Minister of State for Manpower and National Development and MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zaqy Mohamad, as well as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

They were also joined by Muis' president, Mohammad Alami Musa, and its chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/mufti-emphasises-compassion-as-muslims-mark-start-of-islamic-new-year

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Christian role concerns handed to Mindanao Muslim group

September 11, 2018

The rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has accepted a "Christian policy agenda" submitted by a group of Catholic and Protestant church leaders in the southern Philippines.

The agenda — drafted by non-Muslim groups in areas covered by a proposed new autonomous Muslim region — aims to give a voice and roles to religious minorities.

The MILF's Mohagher Iqbal, one of the leaders of a transitory body that will implement a law creating the new region, said he received the document from Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, archbishop of Cotabato.

The agenda was drafted at the end of a series of consultations organized by the group Christians for Peace, a coalition of various church leaders in areas that will be part of the Muslim region.

The proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will replace the current autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with the MILF taking up a leadership role.

Among the points raised in the Christian policy agenda were the "security of tenure" of Christian workers in the regional government, the participation of Christians in the political process, and the status of the Christian educational system in the Muslim-dominated territory, among others.

Iqbal said Cardinal Quevedo wanted to know how injustices committed against Christians would be resolved under the new set-up.

"When you’re talking about historical injustices, you are not selective," said the rebel leader, adding that it should be an inclusive process.

Iqbal said the Christian policy agenda would be discussed in a meeting with all stakeholders in the region because "the MILF will not answer [Christian concerns] alone."

In consultations conducted last month by Christian groups in several areas of Mindanao, people pressed for what they described as "policies that will be inclusive for all" once a new autonomous political entity for Muslims is in place.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law in July that provides for the establishment of the new entity. The law is part of a peace agreement signed by the government and Moro rebels in 2014.

Full report at:

https://www.ucanews.com/news/christian-role-concerns-handed-to-mindanao-muslim-group/83287

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China thinks Islam is a disease, and Muslim leaders don’t care

10 September 2018

Authorities in China have embarked on a large-scale and systematic campaign against the country’s Muslim minority, sending a staggering one million Uighurs to internment camps.

People showing any adherence to Islam in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region - praying, fasting, abstaining from alcohol or pork, growing a long beard, or wearing Islamic clothing - have been detained by authorities and treated as though they suffer from a mental illness.

Taken from their homes to re-education camps, the detainees have been forced to comply with Communist Party propaganda, which includes singing party anthems and slogans and attending daily brainwashing sessions. If they fail to submit, detainees are subjected to torture, including sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and physical violence.

Held without charge

Treated as “enemies of the state” solely because of their religious identity, the detainees are held without charge and often without access to legal representation, human rights activists say.

Yet, while the treatment of Uighur Muslims is shocking, it has failed to cause a global outpouring of sympathy or anger.

In 2014, authorities began using “transformation through education” to deal with Uighur Muslims amid concerns of “extremist” or “separatist” elements in the community, including reports of a few hundred Uighurs travelling to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State. But experts say the arrival of Communist Party leader Chen Quanguo to Xinjiang saw this programme expanded and intensified in 2017.

During the course of last year, Uighurs accounted for 21 percent of all arrests in China, even though they make up just 1.5 percent of the population.  

News of discrimination and prejudice against the minority has repeatedly filtered out of China, but the events of the past year - including comments last month from the head of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which stated that Beijing had “turned the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp” - have lent credibility to a story that most would rather pretend didn’t exist.

Shocking silence

While international media have predictably started to ask questions about the treatment of China’s Uighurs, leaders and governments around the world have carefully steered clear of the issue. The silence has been startling.

China’s position as an immense economic power, able to wield tremendous political clout over governments around the world, is without question. But not one of the 49 Muslim-majority countries around the globe have asked for clarity or condemned the Chinese for the escalation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Last week, leaders from more than 40 countries - including many with sizeable Muslim populations - travelled to Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. President Xi Jinping pledged $60bn to the continent in development initiatives and promised to cancel debts of those nations struggling to repay them.

For all the talk of Africa being “an equal partner” and the relations being a “win-win”, not one African leader dared to ask their hosts for clarity on the rights violations reported.

Clearly, “trade” between China and the Arab world and “economic development” in Africa is way more important than institutionalised bigotry on the part of their benefactor, an emphatic endorsement of China’s policy of non-interference in the domestic issues of the countries it deals with.

Yet Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president and the current head of the African Union, described China’s engagement with the continent as “deeply transformational”, noting: “We will also open new pathways on environmental protection and scale up people-to-people exchanges.”

Social engineering

By refusing to raise legitimate concerns with their Chinese counterparts over the treatment of the Uighur population, those Muslim and African leaders in attendance were complicit in what is essentially a project of social engineering.

This is the same inertia that led to the murder and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017, in what is now being openly called a genocide.

It is the same silence that accompanied India’s decision to potentially strip some four million people - mostly Muslims - of their citizenship in the northeastern state of Assam. They are now described as imposters and foreigners.

This same lacklustre approach has also allowed the US to continue to ban citizens of several Muslim countries, without so much as a whimper from the African and Arab world.

New world order

The humiliation suffered by Uighurs, and the silence that has accompanied these disclosures, emphasises the rise of a new world order.

Xinjiang has long acted as a test-site for the Chinese government to experiment with new modes and methods of control; with endless checkpoints, including facial-recognition systems fitted on street corners across villages in the province, Uighurs face endless scrutiny. It may be among the most policed areas on the planet.

Should such conditions go unchallenged, activists say, these policies could easily be replicated by other countries looking to repress or control minorities.

Full report at:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/china-thinks-islam-disease-and-muslim-leaders-don-t-care-198998028

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43 suspects in deadly Philippine bombings face criminal raps

Sep 10, 2018

MANILA: Criminal complaints have been filed against 43 Muslim militants from two armed groups linked to the Islamic State group for two bomb attacks in the southern Philippines, including a suspected suicide bombing that killed 11 people, police said on Monday.

Murder complaints were filed against 18 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf for a powerful blast on July 31 that killed 11 people and wounded several others in Lamitan city on Basilan island, said director general Oscar Albayalde, the national police chief. A foreign militant who drove the bomb-laden van died in the suspected suicide attack.

Among those facing charges is an Abu Sayyaf commander, Furuji Indama, who Albayalde said ordered the bombing but remains at large along with nine other suspects.

Eight suspects, including a militant bomb expert, Julamin Arundoh, who police said rigged the van with plastic gallons containing the explosives, have been captured.

Interior secretary Eduardo Ano said the foreign militant who drove the van targeted a public gathering of about 3,000 people in Lamitan city but his vehicle stalled and villagers whom he asked for help became suspicious when they saw unusual wires protruding from plastic gallons in the vehicle.

As army troops approached, the van blew up, killing the militant and 10 other people outside a paramilitary detachment and wounding several villagers.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Lamitan bombing and identified the attacker as Moroccan. However, it cited a greatly inflated military death toll.

Albayalde said criminal complaints were also filed against 25 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who are blamed for an August 28 bombing that left three people dead as Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province celebrated its annual founding festival.

Five days after the blast, another deadly bombing hit Isulan, prompting authorities to remove the town and provincial police chiefs and further strengthen already tight security in the volatile region.

"It's not only a presence there, there should be police intervention that should be carried out like ... searches and checkpoints," Albayalde said in a news conference in Manila.

The southern Philippines, the scene of decades-long Muslim separatist rebellions in the largely Roman Catholic nation, remains under martial law, which president Rodrigo Duterte declared last year to deal with a five-month siege of southern Marawi city by Islamic State group-linked militants.

The disastrous siege left more than 1,200 people dead, mostly militants, displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers and sparked fears that the Islamic State group was gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia amid battle defeats in Syria and Iraq.

Extremist factions of the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/43-suspects-in-deadly-philippine-bombings-face-criminal-raps/articleshow/65751714.cms

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Claiming non-Muslim dominance in Parliament, PAS to push for ‘Islamic leadership’

11 September 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 ― Islamist party PAS said today it will focus on pushing for “Islamic leadership” in Malaysia as the current Parliament is dominated by non-Muslims.

Its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang was quoted saying the party will bring up the issue in its muktamar, or annual congress, this weekend.

“We want to raise awareness of the need for an Islamic leadership in the country because the GE14 outcome sees a federal government that does not represent the nation’s demographics,” he told New Straits Times in an interview.

“The Muslim population in Malaysia is 65 per cent, but the seats are dominated by non-Muslims.

“This needs to be addressed as it could affect the well-being of Muslims. We need to rise to face this challenge,” he added.

Despite Hadi’s assertion, the last official census in 2010 showed that Muslims made up just 61.3 per cent of the population.

PAS and its supporters had previously claimed that there are more non-Muslim MPs than Muslim ones among the government.

Despite that, Muslims still make up the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

In July, PAS had previously claimed that the legal rights of Muslims are now under threat following the appointments of non-Muslims into top legal positions in the country.

Its information chief Nasrudin Hassan had questioned the Pakatan Harapan government’s rationale in appointing non-Muslim to the posts of attorney general, chief justice, and minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs.

Hadi said in the interview that he hoped PAS members and supporters will continue to back its state governments in Kelantan and Terengganu, pledging to turn them into “models of Islamic administration” in the country.

Full report at:

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/claiming-non-muslim-dominance-parliament-055035205.html

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How nice if cabinet ministers lead the way and declare ‘I’m Malaysian first’

September 11, 2018

Yesterday, PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim advised Malaysians not to defend bad leaders even if they were of the same race and religion.

“The attitude of some people now is that it is okay to defend individuals who go against religious teachings and do things like steal people’s money or engage in corruption as long as they are from the same race and religion,” the man who is in line to be the next prime minister said.

Anwar, of course, was speaking in a narrow, political context; and certainly he was hinting at former prime minister Najib Razak and the 1MDB scandal when he proffered this advice.

Nevertheless, I think it is good advice, for he is telling people to look beyond race and religion. I would have been more happy if he had taken it further and told Malaysians to apply this in all spheres of life, particularly now when we are celebrating Merdeka Day and National Day.

At the risk of sounding trite, I think it is time we start to consider ourselves Malaysian first. Enough of thinking of ourselves as Malay first, Malaysian second or Chinese first, Malaysian second or Indian first, Malaysian second.

Notice that, in saying this, I do not include the Dayaks or Kadazandusun or Ibans or others from Sabah and Sarawak. This is because they are much more mature than peninsular Malaysians when it comes to engaging with people and living in harmony.

There is so much that we in the peninsula can learn from the people of Sabah and Sarawak about tolerance, acceptance and respect for the ways of other people.

This year has been most remarkable as Malaysians voted for a change in government by booting out the Barisan Nasional coalition that had ruled, in one form or another, for 61 years and replaced it with the Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Let’s ride on this mood for change by transforming the way we think about ourselves and fellow Malaysians. Again, at the risk of sounding platitudinous, let me suggest that we consider ourselves Malaysian first.

As the PH government swept in on an agenda of change, I challenge it to work towards transforming the attitudes of Malaysians so that they think of themselves as Malaysian first.

That doesn’t mean we deny our ethnicities or our cultures. It just means that while we celebrate our individual ethnicities and cultures, we see ourselves as part of the wider national group.

A government is elected to lead. While it has to take cognisance of the wishes of the public, it has to show the way; while it has to be mindful of the situation in the nation and the world, it has to move the nation forward. It cannot say: “Oh, people are used to thinking along racial lines, what can we do?” or “This is the reality and we have to live with it.” That is not why voters elect governments.

So, I am asking PH government leaders to show gumption, to lead by initiating action that will encourage people to think of themselves as “Malaysian first”.

The “I am Malaysian” feeling is already there in many people, but, like in most other things, we are selective about when we let it show itself. On all the occasions that I have met Malays and Chinese and Indians from Malaysia overseas, we have been proud to refer to ourselves as Malaysians.

Those who have travelled abroad will not only acknowledge how we invariably identity ourselves as Malaysians, but also understand the joy of bumping into a fellow Malaysian, regardless of ethnicity and religion.

Why is it then that when we are back home, we revert to calling ourselves Malays or Chinese of Indians?

We need to bring that Malaysian spirit that binds us overseas into our lives in Malaysia itself.

For a start, it would be good for cabinet members to declare that they are “Malaysian first”. That includes Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who, when he was part of Umno, famously declared that he was “Malay first”.

Having done this, the PH government should get all the top civil servants – the secretaries-general, directors-general and department heads – to declare that they are “Malaysian first”.

Subsequently, it should encourage business leaders and heads of corporations to declare themselves “Malaysian first”.

Then comes the hard part: putting this into effect in the way they deal with fellow Malaysians of different ethnicities and religions. The civil service, corporations and businesses would need to incorporate policies and actions that demonstrate this stand in the way they interact with clients, do business and deal with employees.

It will be tough as we have for long become accustomed to seeing ourselves as Malays, Chinese and Indians living together – not as Malaysians living together. The nature of politics in Malaysia – growing up with mostly race-based parties – militates against seeing ourselves as one. The influence of religious leaders who tell us we should not befriend or work with people of other religions is another major barrier. The habit of supporting businessmen of our own race is yet another obstacle that we have to overcome.

It will be a transformative experience because it means everyone treating everyone else as a Malaysian, and not as a Malay or non-Malay or Muslim or Hindu or Christian or Buddhist.

I am not pollyanna enough to expect a total transformation, as that can only be a dream. However, I believe that even a slight change in this direction will do our overall well-being and our nation good.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2018/09/11/how-nice-if-cabinet-ministers-lead-the-way-and-declare-im-malaysian-first/

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Hadi: PAS to continue co-operation with Umno, but will stay independent

11 September 2018

However, the Marang MP said PAS will continue to be independent, with “its own attitude.”

“We will proceed with the ‘taawun’ concept, that is to co-operate on good things,” Hadi said in a recent interview with New Straits Times.

The video of the interview was uploaded on his Facebook page today.

This comes as the pact between the two Opposition parties has failed to bring results in the last three by-elections.

Umno contested in the Sungai Kandis by-election, the first to be called after GE14. It sat out the twin polls last Saturday in Balakong — which was contested by fellow Barisan Nasional partner MCA — and Seri Setia, which PAS contested, but campaigned for its former rival.

Last week, Umno and PAS finally formalised their political alliance when both parties campaigned jointly for the Islamist party’s candidate in Seri Setia, Dr Halimah Ali.

The announcement was made by PAS election director Roslan Shahir, Selangor PAS commissioner Sallehen Mukhyi and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

But in all three by-elections, Pakatan Harapan claimed victory.

In response, Umno’s Senator Khairul Azwan Harun called for his party to distance itself from “far-right” PAS and revisit its moderate and centrist political approach, as the pact has been ineffective.

In the interview, Hadi downplayed any perception that PAS “has no backbone” for allying itself with Umno despite insisting on going it alone, after the Pakatan Rakyat pact was dissolved.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1671380/hadi-pas-to-continue-co-operation-with-umno-but-will-stay-independent

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India

 

Noted scholar, Prof Christian W Troll and Mr Sanjiv Sharaf to receive Sir Syed Excellence Awards

September 10, 2018

Aligarh, September 8: Prof Christian W Troll, noted scholar of theology and philosophy and Honorary Professor for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule St. Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany will receive this year's International Sir Syed Excellence Award for his work on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, while Mr Sanjiv Saraf, the founder of Rekhta Foundation will be conferred with the National Sir Syed Excellence Award for making outstanding contribution to promotion of Urdu language and literature. The awards will be given on Sir Syed Day Celebrations, October 17, 2018.

The prestigious Sir Syed Excellence awards in the International and National category includes cash prizes worth Rs two lakhs and one lakh respectively.

The selection was done by a five-member Jury Committee headed by AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor; Prof Farhathullah Khan (Convener); Prof Ishtiaq A Zilli; Prof A R Kidwai and Prof M Shafey Kidwai.

Prof Christian W Troll is a reputed scholar and his book, 'A Reinterpretation of Muslim Theology' blazed a new trial in Sir Syed studies. Recently he contributed to collective volumes a number of substantial studies on Christian-Muslim dialogue in the context of conflicting truth claims as well as on the change in Catholic teaching and thinking on Islam and on Christian-Muslim relations since the middle of the 20th century. His widely cited research works on Sir Syed have been published by the prestigious Journal of Royal Asiatic Society (London), Ibla (Tunis), Islamochristiana (Roma), Islamic Culture (Hyderabad, AP), Zakir Husayn Institute, Vikas Publications and Encyclopaedia of Religion (New York) among other publications.

Mr Sanjiv Saraf, founder of Rekhta Foundation, will receive the award in the National category, which is devoted to the promotion and preservation of Urdu. His website, rekhta.org has created the largest available online resource on the Urdu language and almost all notable books of Urdu have been made available. Jashn-e-Rekhta, an annual literary festival meant for propagation of Urdu language and literature is immensely popular and is attended by prominent Urdu scholars, authors, poets, fiction writers and theatre and film personalities. Mr Saraf is the founder, Chairman and principal shareholder of Polyplex Corporation Limited, which is among the world's largest producers of PET films. He is an alumnus of The Scindia School and a graduate from IIT, Kharagpur. In 1984, Mr Saraf built an outstanding organisation, Polyplex with exemplary values and ethos. An entrepreneur at heart, he has incubated other businesses such as Manupatra - India's premier legal information provided. Mr Saraf is a voracious reader; passionate about Urdu poetry and has recently learnt the language. He is a lover of art and music.

Public Relations Office

Aligarh Muslim University

https://www.amu.ac.in/about3.jsp?did=4418

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Muslims to decide on Panaji Qabristan today

Sep 11, 2018

Panaji: Members of the Muslim community have raised their their objection to an open space being used as a garden within the Qabristan in the new integrated burial and cremation ground at St Inez that the Goa State Urban Development Agency is developing.

Associations of ‘jamats’ in Panaji stated that the open space is part and parcel of the Qabristan and since its inception the entire area, surrounded by the compound wall, has been used as a Qabristan area. The space which is vacant is used by the Muslim community for prayer (Janaza Namaz). The area in the future will be used for burial purpose as the present area is not sufficient for burial purpose, stated the Association Anjuman Nurul Islam, Panaji, the Jamat-e-Mohamedia and the Sunni Madani Masjid Committee in representations made to the Corporation of the City of Panaji.

The association members met with CCP commissioner, mayor and councillors on Monday to come to a consensus on temporary arrangements of shifting the prayer hall that will be taken so that the redevelopment project can go ahead.

Members of the community could not come to a consensus and stated that other members from the community were not present and need to be taken into confidence where the transitional arrangements are concerned. Engineers from the corporation will also be present at Tuesday’s meeting that will decide about shifting of the prayer hall to an adjacent facility for the duration of the execution of the project which is expected to be 18 months.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/muslims-to-decide-on-panaji-Qabristan-today/articleshow/65761126.cms

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Two terrorists killed in encounter in J&K

Sep 11, 2018

SRINAGAR: Two unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Handwara area of Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, police said.

Two terrorists have been killed in the encounter at Galoora area of Handwara, in the north Kashmir district, a police official said.

He said the identity and group affiliation of the slain terrorists is yet to be ascertained.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area early Tuesday morning following specific information about the presence of terrorists there, the official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after terrorists fired upon the forces.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/two-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-in-jk/articleshow/65763121.cms

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2 terrorists get death penalty for Hyderabad blasts

Sep 11, 2018

HYDERABAD: Eleven years after twin blasts in Hyderabad killed 44 people, the two terrorists who planted the bombs were awarded the death penalty by a sessions judge here on Monday. A third terrorist, who was convicted on Monday of harbouring Indian Mujahideen (IM) founders Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal in Delhi after the blasts, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

While Aneeq Shafique and Ismail Chowdhari were given the death penalty, Tariq Anjum was given a life term. The bombs were planted in Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Centre, two of the most crowded areas of Hyderabad, on August 25, 2007. The blasts were triggered by Aneeq and Riyaz Bhatkal. A third bomb, planted at Dilsukhnagar, did not explode.

Before judge T Srinivasa Rao pronounced the verdict, all three convicts claimed they were innocent and had been framed by police. While Aneeq and Ismail said they should be let off since they had already served 10 years in jail, Tariq said he did not know the Bhatkal brothers.

The judge started the proceedings at 11 am and continued till 6 pm. The prosecution pitched for capital punishment for the convicts while the defence counsel pleaded for leniency.

Special public prosecutor K Surender said Aneeq and Ismail were given capital punishment under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and Section 16 (1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The duo were given life imprisonment in the Dilsukhnagar case.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-terrorists-get-death-penalty-for-hyderabad-blasts/articleshow/65761309.cms

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Pakistan

 

Fazl focuses on Kashmir issue after being out of power

BY HAMID KHAN WAZIR

September 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who hardly played any serious role for the Kashmir cause despite being the chairman of Parliament’s Special Committee on Kashmir for ten consecutive years, has all of a sudden prompted into action and threatened the incumbent government on consequences for showing any laxity over Kashmir issue.

He said that they would not let the PTI-led government to forget the Kashmir issue though contrary to it during his own chairmanship of Kashmir committee; he hardly appeared on special occasions and functions relating to Kashmir issue to discuss the on-going atrocities in the Indian-held Kashmir, which indicated how much concerned he was regarding resolution of the issue.

Addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of Muttahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA) here on Monday, Fazl stated that contrary to the previous government policy, the present government seemingly closed the eyes to Kashmir issue in lieu of establishing cordial relation with India.

The MMA president, who faced humiliating defeat at two National Assembly seats in election and subsequently in presidential election, flayed the government for inclusion of Qadiyani member in Economic Advisory Council (EAC) and the registration of religious seminaries, vowing that All Parties Conference (APC) would be convened on the issue of Khatme Nabuwwat and changing of curriculum, where all religious parties would be invited.

He said that the government would not be allowed to make any change in the national curriculum.

Talking about the foreign policy, Fazl said that the government foreign policy was very weak and the government’s plan to review the CPEC project could affect the 70-year-old brotherly ties with China, besides it could have long-lasting impacts on Pakistan economy.

He said that the government has put the country in a crisis-like situation, as after tendering resignation of a Qadiyani advisor.

He said that the move indicated that people with specific mentality were included in the EAC, who wanted to make Pakistan economic system in the pattern of the Western economic system, which are occupied by the Jewish lobby.

To a question that KP cabinet has decided principally to relieve your brother from the position of commissioner on Kashmir Refugees, he said that he was a civil servant; hence the government has the authority to take any such decision.

Rejecting the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal for charity for building dams, Fazl said that neither dam could be constructed with charity nor the country could run through charity.

He said that there was a need of formulating policies to run the government’s affairs; hence the government should focus on policies formulation instead of rhetoric.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/09/11/fazl-focuses-on-kashmir-issue-after-being-out-of-power/

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Pakistan army chief confirms death sentences for 13 Taliban

September 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army chief has confirmed death sentences for 13 “hardcore terrorists” after military courts found them guilty of carrying out attacks that killed 202 people including 151 civilians.

In a statement Monday, the military says Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa also approved prison terms for seven convicts involved in acts of terrorism, including the destruction of educational institutions.

It added that the 13 convicted Pakistani Taliban had killed 151 civilians and 51 security forces attacks in recent years that also saw 249 others wounded.

The trials are closed to the public but defendants are allowed to hire lawyers.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1369911/world

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ECP rejects plea to cancel registration of Pakistan Rah-i-Haq Party

Iftikhar A. Khan

September 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected a petition seeking to cancel the registration of the Pakistan Rah-i-Haq Party (PRHP), which allegedly has links with the banned outfit Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The commission directed the petitioner to approach the federal government.

Petitioner Gul Zohra Rizvi’s lawyer appeared before a two-member bench of the ECP headed by the Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza and argued that Muavia Azam, son of Maulana Azam Tariq — leader of the now defunct Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — has after his election to the Punjab Assembly, joined the PRHP.

Insisting that the PRHP had links with the SSP, which kept changing names after being outlawed, he argued that the registration of the party be cancelled under section 212 of the elections act.

The ECP member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, retired Justice Irshad Qaiser, asked if according to the petitioner the PRHP was involved in acts of terrorism. The response of the petitioner’s counsel was that the flags of all those who ran in the polls under the banner of the PRHP were the same as the flags of the SSP. The petitioner claimed that Muavia Azam’s name appeared in the fourth schedule.

The commission after hearing arguments announced the verdict, rejecting the plea for cancelling the enlistment of the PRHP and directed the petitioner to approach the government.

Section 212 of the elections act, which deals with the procedure for dissolution of a political party reads “Where the Federal Government is satisfied on the basis of a reference from the Commission or information received from any other source that a political party is a foreign-aided political party or has been formed or is operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan or is indulging in terrorism, the Government shall, by a notification in the official Gazette, make such declaration.”

Under the law, within 15 days of making a declaration the government shall refer the matter to the Supreme Court. If the apex court upholds the declaration made against the political party, it shall be dissolved.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1432215/ecp-rejects-plea-to-cancel-registration-of-pakistan-rah-i-haq-party

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Jinnah was very clear about Pakistan’s relationship with India: speakers

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s foreign policy was based on peace, equality and a vibrant role of the United Nations, vitality of the right of self-determination, friendly relations with neighbouring countries and adoption of the policy of neutrality.

However, today’s Pakistan is facing grave challenges and water crisis are at the top which need to be dealt with national unity as by 2035, the Indus water system will face a severe shortfall which can create national food security. These were the opinions shared by speakers in a seminar organised by Muslim Institute titled Today’s Pakistan & Quaid’s Legacy at the National Library of Pakistan.

Jinnah Iqbal Fikri Forum Chairman Rana Abdul Baqi, Quaid-i-Azam University History Assistant Professor Dr Farooq Ahmad Dar, writer and analyst Professor Ayub Sabir, Muslim Institute Chairman Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali addressed the audience.

Speakers highlighted that Jinnah always wanted to explore the true potential of this country. Although we have progressed but in order to fulfill Jinnah’s dream, we need to work hard further in a pragmatic way. He dreamt of a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. He was well aware of the geo-strategic significance of Pakistan and also about the perils it is going to face due to this significance. The Quaid stressed the need of social justice based on the principles

of equality. Jinnah was a staunch advocate of peace. He propagated the notion of peace within and peace without. Soon after getting independence, Jinnah speeded up the process of joining UN. He always endorsed the reality that there should be a unanimous international body in the world which can arbitrate between two countries in case of any conflict. He advised that UN should learn by the mistakes committed by the League of Nations. Jinnah was also a firm supporter of the right of self-determination. In this respect, he was very concerned regarding Palestinian as well as the Kashmir cause.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/296174/jinnah-was-very-clear-about-pakistans-relationship-with-india-speakers/

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Pakistan, China refute Financial Times' CPEC report, resolve to expand cooperation

September 10, 2018

The governments of both Pakistan and China on Monday refuted an article published in the Financial Times (FT) which had alleged that Pakistan is looking to renegotiate its position in Beijing's Belt-Road Initiative (BRI).

In the article "Pakistan rethinks its role in Xi’s Belt and Road plan" the FT, while quoting Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, said Pakistan "should put everything on hold for a year so we can get our act together."

The adviser for commerce was also quoted as saying that the Chinese companies "received tax breaks ... and have an undue advantage in Pakistan; this is one of the things we’re looking at because it’s not fair that Pakistani companies should be disadvantaged.”

The article also mentions Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's recent statement that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) "has not inflicted a debt burden on Pakistan. When these projects get completed and enter into operation, they will unleash huge economic benefits.”

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile on Monday, the Pakistan government "rejects the article especially the title."

"The statements attributed to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile have been taken out of context and distorted," the statement said while reiterating that CPEC is a "national priority for the government."

Moreover, China also issued a statement through its embassy in Islamabad and said there was a "firm consensus between China and Pakistan that CPEC is a mutually beneficial project and both governments will carry it forward according to the needs of Pakistan".

The statement from the Chinese embassy called the FT article "ill-intentioned" and "based on distorted and misquoted information."

Later in the day, the government issued another statement saying Pakistan and China will continue to work towards implementing ongoing CPEC projects and expand the initiative to new areas of cooperation, Radio Pakistan reported.

RadioPak, while quoting a statement of the Foreign Office, said that the new areas that the two governments would work on include "socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, anti-corruption, agricultural cooperation and industrial development."

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1432099/pakistan-china-refute-financial-times-cpec-report-resolve-to-expand-cooperation

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Cabinet decides to remove JUI-F chief’s brother as Afghan refugees’ commissioner

September 11, 2018

PESHAWAR: The federal cabinet on Monday approved the removal of Ziaur Rehman, the younger brother of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, as Afghan refugees commissioner.

The cabinet has also approved a probe into Rehman’s appointment as the Afghan refugees commissioner without belonging to any cadre of the civil service.

Mohammad Shehzad Arbab, adviser to PM for establishment, has been ordered to prepare an investigation report on the matter.

The report will determine how and why Zia was inducted in the Provincial Management Service (PMS).

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/09/10/cabinet-decides-to-remove-jui-f-chiefs-brother-as-afghan-refugees-commissioner/

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Security forces foil terrorist bid in Balochistan

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018

QUETTA: Frontier Corps countered a terrorist bid and captured arms in Zhob district of Balochistan on Tuesday.

According to a press release, Frontier Corps foiled a terrorist bid in Zhob district of Balochistan, and recovered 21 explosive devices of 235 kilogram from Qamar Din Karaiz town.

Law enforcement agencies decided to boost security efforts on the arrival of Muharram. The security forces are conducting operations to prevent any mishaps during the month.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/296300/security-forces-foil-terrorist-bid-in-balochistan/

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Africa

 

Car bomb kills six outside Somali government office

10 September 2018

Six people were killed and another 16 injured when a car bomb exploded outside a local government office in Mogadishu on Monday, Somali police and rescue workers said.

“Our ambulance teams have collected the dead bodies of six people,” said Abdiqadir Abdirahman, director of the city’s Aamin Ambulance service.

He said 16 others were wounded in the blast.

Police officer Ibrahim Mohamed said a vehicle had rammed a security checkpoint outside the Hodan district headquarters then exploded.

“The blast was huge,” he said.

The explosion levelled buildings and left a thick plume of smoke which could be seen across the city.

“It caused a huge blast and there was dust everywhere,” said Osman Ali, who was in the area at the time.

Images from the scene showed collapsed buildings -- including a mosque -- with rescue workers and civilians picking through the debris.

Nur Adan, a bystander, told AFP he saw “several dead bodies being recovered from under wreckage” and that the blast had destroyed two local mosques.

The attack was claimed by the Shabaab, an al-Qaeda aligned extremist group fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Somalia.

Active for the last decade, the militants carry out regular bombings and armed assaults on government, military and civilian targets in the capital.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/09/10/Car-bomb-kills-six-outside-Somali-government-office-.html

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Humanitarian group says 100 migrants die off Libyan coast

September 11, 2018

CAIRO: Doctors Without Borders says more than 100 people have died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast and the remaining survivors are being held in detention in Libya.

The humanitarian organization says in a Monday news release the shipwreck occurred Sept. 1 and survivors include people with severe burns, pregnant women and babies. A team from the organization provided medical care.

The group says two rubber boats left the Libyan coast carrying migrants from Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Libya, Algeria and Egypt. One of the boats deflated and sank.

The Libyan Coast Guard recovered 276 survivors from both boats and brought them to the port city of Khoms, Libya, and only two bodies were reportedly recovered.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1370246/middle-east

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Zakzaky’s 1000 days of wrongful incarceration

September 10, 2018

The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, an umbrella organization of about 30 Islamic and other nongovernmental organizations, as part of #FreeZakzaky campaign held protests in London and called for immediate release of Zakzaky and his associates. Protests were also held in other countries including USA, India, Iran, Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Malaysia, Ghana, Sudan and Nigeria.

Allah states in the Holy Quran: “And they ill-treated them for no other reason than that they believed in Allah, exalted in power, worthy of all praise (85:8). This verse contains the central philosophy of justice and its importance in human society. According to a popular adage, justice delay is justice denied and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. So justice is the key to peace and stability of all nations.

No doubt the overwhelming solidarity and sympathy for the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, notwithstanding its humanitarian nature, owes a lot to his visionary and insightful leadership. Since the gory Zaria massacre, the demands of Islamic Movement apparently remain unchanged: unconditional release of the Sheikh, his wife and other detainees; handing over the bodies of slaughtered men dumped in mass graves to the Movement for their proper Islamic burial; compensation for the damages made, and of course the urgent need to bring the mass murderers to book.

Rallies and peaceful protests by all justice loving people continue across the world. Zakzaky doesn’t only belong to Nigeria now. He belongs to everyone and everywhere. Even though the calls for justice have fallen flat on the ears of Nigerian authorities, no matter how long, hope is never lost in the struggle for justice. Despite the contemptuous nature of the government, the Movement is optimistic on the undecided cases (issues) with the Federal High Court Kaduna, and the International Criminal Court.

The dismay is clear over total disregard of Justice Kolawale Abuja’s court verdict to release the ailing Sheikh and his wife unconditionally, provide a befitting house and security for them with a compensation of fifty million Naira. By refusing to do so, the regime has shown blatant disrespect to the rule of law. To the concerned individuals in the country and beyond, Sheikh el-Zakzaky’s situation is proportionate to the Nigeria’s security and socio-economic well-being.

Among other endless questions are: on what ground was the Sheikh initially arrested? Who benefits from the continued incarceration of the ailing Sheikh and his wife? What is the government’s stand on the Federal High Court verdict? Why doesn’t it respond to the demand of millions of Nigerians to take him abroad for medication? And how long should the detention continue? What is the stand of the government over one thousand Nigerians killed in the Zaria pogrom and related incidents? If peace, unity and progress of this country were important, who else has played better role than the leader of the Islamic Movement, Shaikh el-Zakzaky?

Using my constitutional right as a concerned citizen that contributes his best to the progress of the nation, I draw the attention of those in authority on the above subject as the Sheikh and his wife clock 1000 days in detention, and in defiance of the federal high court order on their unconditional release, the regime continues to keep them behind bars. The indifference on the side of the regime cannot help the country at all. No doubt, justice is the key to the much needed peace and stability of our nation which the Sheikh symbolizes.

In its forty years of existence, the Movement was never been accused of vandalism or bloodshed. The Shaikh is widely credited for unequalled role in promotion of peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious tolerance. He is deeply concerned about the well-being of his country and its citizens as his Movement was once described as the most organized Muslim group in Nigeria.

Allah states “O you who believe! Stand firmly For Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah, for Allah is well-acquainted with all ye do” (5:8).

The Sheikh is well known for being a peace lover, for his sincerity, broad mindedness, theoretical and practical teachings of Islam. He is known for forging cordial relations with people of other religions and being an advocate of ethno-religious tolerance. His teachings are based on the principles of Ahlul-bait. Sheikh believes in what Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) said: a man is either your brother in faith or an equal in humanity. As such, he is the champion of Muslim unity, evident from his speeches.

He is known to speak fearlessly against tyranny and oppression, for which he has faced untold hardship in the past four decades. In the compendium of thirteen speeches delivered in Najaf in 1970, Imam Khomeini stated that the scholars of Islam have a duty to struggle against all attempts by oppressors to establish a monopoly over the sources of wealth or to make illicit use of them. They must not allow the masses to remain hungry and be deprived while rulers usurp the sources of wealth and live in opulence. He also said a clergyman should be such that when the people see him, they should remember the messenger of Allah (S). You have accepted this heavy responsibility and it is you that should guide this people to the end.

The concept of Wilayatul Faqih -governance of the jurist- was built on this basis. Sheikh el-Zakzaky has been firmly and rightly treading on the same path, enduring oppression on himself while creating public awareness. It is imperative to commend those putting hands for justice to prevail across the globe. That was the rationale behind all prophetic missions. Allah states: Verily, We sent our messengers with manifest signs and sent down with them the book and the balance that people may act with justice (2:247). In an often repeated quote, Sheikh Usman Bn Fodio - the great revivalist of Islam in West Africa - said a kingdom can endure with unbelief, but it cannot endure with injustice.

Full report at:

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/427374/Zakzaky-s-1000-days-of-wrongful-incarceration

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Nigeria: Kano Govt Declares Tuesday Public Holiday for Islamic New Year

10 SEPTEMBER 2018

The Kano State Government has declared Tuesday Sept. 11 as public holiday to mark the new Islamic year 1440‎ After Hijra (AH).

This was contained in a statement signed by the state commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba on Monday in Kano.

The statement quoted Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as congratulating Muslims faithful for witnessing the New Year, which commences in the month of Muharram, the first month in the lunar Islamic calendar.

It also urged Muslims to reflect on their deeds and activities during the past year and also to use the occasion to offer prayers for peace and prosperity of the country.

The statement reassured the people of the state government's determination to work hard towards improving their living standards.

Full report at:

https://allafrica.com/stories/201809100319.html

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American, US resident extremists defect from Al-Shabaab in Somalia

9/10/2018

"We caught a man whose body complexion was white with a long beard, and when we interrogated him he told us that he has escaped from Alshabab and was willing to surrender himself to the Somali government, he has identified his nationality as an American", said commissioner Mohamed. He said that Hassan was part of a group of disillusioned foreign fighters who fled their homes after Al-Shabab forces started "hunting down those who pledged allegiance to ISIS", following the death of a top Shabab official in a drone strike earlier this month. Hassan, who went by the nickname

Hassan, who went by the nickname Miski when he lived in Minneapolis, was just 17 and a high school senior when he left the U.S. to join al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, in August 2008.

"I hated them because I found their ideology was totally wrong", John said, adding that he finally escaped the group six days ago.

Somali officials are holding an American citizen and an American resident who have been fighting alongside the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab after the men reportedly defected from the rebel fighters and surrendered to authorities. Jones is missing the index finger of his right hand, said the official.

Fearing execution, a Minnesota man who joined al-Shabaab in Somalia seven years ago turned himself into the Somalia government.

Despite losing key strongholds in Somalia, al-Shabab is fighting the Somali government and African Union forces and continues to carry out deadly bombing attacks across Somalia and neighboring countries.

Hassan is one of the FBI's most wanted terror fugitives and faces 2009 terrorism charges for allegedly providing material support to al-Shabaab. State Department spokesman Pooja Jhunjhunwala did not say why Hassan's November 6 surrender had not been announced, but did say that Hassan is a "lawful permanent resident of the United States".

The defections of two American Islamic extremist fighters in Somalia highlight tensions within the insurgent group al-Shabab over whether it should remain affiliated to al-Qaida or switch allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to an al-Shabab commander Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.

With the relocation program now well over 20 years old, a new generation of Somalian-American citizens are growing up in America. Hassan, who was speaking from prison, said he wasn't tied to the Islamic State group.

Although he said he joined Al-Shabab, he said he left in 2013 "because of the oppression that they are doing on the people, the way they are killing people, and the imprisonment of innocent people and the torture without no evidence at all".

The Los Angeles Times reported that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become increasingly "intrigued with" Hassan, who became a recruiter for the Islamic State". The two defections show tensions within al-Shabab, according to Mohammed.

Full report at:

https://menafn.com/1097410453/American-US-resident-extremists-defect-from-AlShabaab-in-Somalia

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Boko Haram captures Nigerian town after troop attack

2018-09-09

Boko Haram jihadists were in control of a town in northeast Nigeria on Saturday after sacking a military base, in the latest attack that raises questions about claims they are weakened to the point of defeat.

Local officials and security sources said scores of fighters believed to be loyal to a Boko Haram faction backed by the Islamic State group overran troops in Gudumbali.

At least eight civilians were believed to have been killed, while thousands of others fled to neighbouring towns.

Gudumbali, in the Guzamala area of Borno state, is Boko Haram's first major seizure in two years and comes after a series of recent attacks on troops.

The authorities and the military have been encouraging people displaced by violence in the long-running conflict to return to Guzamala, insisting it is safe to do so.

But aid agencies say minimum levels of basic services, including shelter, civilian infrastructure and security are still lacking.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general, was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat Boko Haram and is seeking a second term of office at polls in February.

The Gudumbali attack will again raise questions about his claims to have "technically defeated" the group and that Borno state was now in a "post-conflict stabilisation phase".

Gun battle

An official of the Guzamala local government area, of which Gudumbali is the headquarters, confirmed troops had been pushed out of the town and Boko Haram was in "full control".

A military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, said the attack began at about 1850 GMT on Friday and lasted until the early hours of Saturday, "when troops were forced to withdraw".

Local civilian militia member Musa Ari said: "So far eight civilians, who were errand boys for troops, were believed to have been killed in the attack."

But "most civilians were spared because the attack was targeted at the military base", he added.

The ISIS-backed faction - known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) - has vowed to hit only "hard" military or government targets.

It is reportedly trying to get the support of local populations in the Muslim-majority region.

Ari said soldiers and residents fled Gudumbali to Damasak, some 80km away, on the border with Niger.

Others escaped south towards Gajiram, where nine soldiers were killed in a similar attack in June.

Nigerian Army spokesperson Brigadier General Texas Chukwu said he was "not aware" of the latest attack.

Increasing strength

ISWAP fighters led by Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi were last month blamed for an attack in Zari village, just 50km away from Gudumbali, which killed 48 soldiers.

In July, dozens of troops were said to have been killed, wounded or missing in a similar attack on a base in Jilli village, across the border in Yobe state.

Yan St-Pierre, head of the Modern Security Consulting Group, said the Gudumbali attack was "another demonstration of ISWAP's increasing capabilities and level of strength".

"They've been able in recent months to attack larger, more important targets with increasing frequency and success," the counter-terrorism specialist told AFP.

"It is likely to get worse because ISWAP is not only adapting to changing circumstances but benefiting from the changing dynamics in the Sahel as well."

The Nigerian military regularly trumpets successes against Boko Haram and has strongly condemned any reports of significant troop losses.

But there are indications of disquiet in the ranks, mirroring the situation four years ago when Boko Haram ran rampant across the northeast.

Then, under-equipped troops in some instances refused to deploy.

A military counter-insurgency has since driven out Boko Haram from captured territory, including Gudumbali, which was captured in 2014.

But aid agencies providing food, shelter and healthcare to 1.8 million displaced by the conflict, say much of the hard-to-reach countryside remains in Boko Haram control.

Last month, hundreds of soldiers protested at the airport in Maiduguri, for several hours, shooting into the air and disrupting flights.

They complained about being battle weary and needing home leave after sometimes years on the frontlines.

St Pierre said Nigeria's military needed to break the cycle by acknowledging its tactics against the insurgents were not working and by addressing low morale.

Full report at:

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/boko-haram-captures-nigerian-town-after-troop-attack-20180909

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North America

 

US behind 1988 Pakistan plane crash that killed Gen. Zia: Pakistani senator

Sep 10, 2018

The United States was behind the August 1988 C-130 Hercules plane crash that killed then-Pakistan President General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq, according to Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain. Also killed in the crash were several of Zia’s top army officers and the American Ambassador in Islamabad, Arnold Raphel.

Senator Hussain, who is also a renowned political analyst, strategic expert and journalist, made the remarks in a recent exclusive interview with Pakistan’s GEO TV.

The assassination of General Zia “was a joint operation by America and the then (Pakistani) military establishment,” he claimed.

Senator Hussain said a year after the assassination, Congressman Stephen Solarz, who was then the chairman of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked him (Hussain) at a US embassy reception in Islamabad: “Who do you think killed Zia?”

“You guys did,” Senator Hussain said he replied. “You people killed General Zia.”

“We? It’s not in our Constitution. We don’t do such things now,” Solarz said.

“Have you stopped assassinating Third World leaders? Since when?” Senator Hussain said he asked him.

Then the senator said he read a list of the leaders of the Third World leaders who were killed by the CIA and the congressman’s face became pale.

When asked why then the American Ambassador was killed in that incident, the senator explained: “It was a mistake. He was not supposed to be on that plane. At the last moment General Zia put Ambassador Arnold Raphel and Brigadier General Herbert Wassom, who was (America’s) chief defense representative (in Pakistan) on the plane.” General Wassom also died in the plane crash.

Hussain said that the United States covered up the assassination plot. “There is a rule in America that wherever a suspected terrorist incident happens, they send the FBI for investigation, but the FBI was not allowed to investigate that incident.”

General Zia ruled Pakistan from September 16, 1978 till his death on August 17, 1988 in the crash.  Backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, Zia played a major role in the 1979-1989 Soviet–Afghan War.

The Pakistan army under Zia’s rule had trained Afghan “mujahideen” to fight against the Soviet occupation throughout the 1980s that culminated in the Soviet Union's withdrawal in 1989.

According to some analysts, the United States used General Zia to defeat Soviet forces in Afghanistan and then had him killed because the general was planning to establish a regional bloc constituting Pakistan, Afghanistan and the newly liberated states from the Soviet Union.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573712/US-behind-1988-Pakistan-plane-crash-that-killed-Gen-Zia

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Conference Explores Role of Muslim Americans in Solving Social Problems

September 10, 2018

by Pearl Stewart

JACKSON, Miss.— Scholars, community organizers and Islamic leaders convened here over the weekend for a national conference examining “Race, Class and Religious Intersectionality in America” with a focus on the involvement of Muslims in addressing America’s social issues.

Subtitled “An Ongoing Struggle for Human Dignity,” one of the conference’s goals was to “bring out of the shadows and into the forefront the important work of Muslim American individuals, institutions and communities,” said conference organizer Okolo Rashid, president of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson.

“What we’re doing now is really about educating and engaging the public and community around these issues,” Rashid said, adding that the four-day event supported by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, was designed “to have a really candid conversation” to spur interest, scholarship and activism in examining Islamic culture at this critical time in America and throughout the world.

Topics included education, race relations and law enforcement.

The panelists were challenged to offer “a way forward out of a deepening culture of racism, classism and denial of human dignity” and to help develop a prescription for addressing those issues.

Presenters agreed that education reform and increasing the numbers of African-American educators in the classroom and at administrative levels is essential. Several academics proposed ways in which historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) can improve the achievement levels of African-American youth and contribute to the overall advancement of communities of color.

Other academics focused on deep problems facing the country’s public education system. Dr. Hakim Rashid, a professor in Howard University’s School of Education, said HBCUs must enhance and expand their teacher education programs – not reduce or eliminate them as some are doing – in order to increase the numbers of African-American teachers and administrators in public schools, particularly Black men. He also suggested non-traditional recruitment approaches.

“We can’t just focus on the education majors,” Hakim Rashid said. “We have to go out and recruit people in other fields. We have to recruit people at the mid-career level. We have to recruit young men who may have issues in their past [such as] encounters with the criminal justice system.”

Dr. Clyde Robertson, director of the Center for African and African-American Studies at Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO), said his programs work with Muslim groups in New Orleans in the university’s community outreach efforts. He suggested that “HBCUs can address the issue of shortages of Black teachers by producing more of them, instead of downsizing colleges of education . . . those divisions should be strengthened and increased.”

Robertson outlined the accomplishments of HBCUs in educating outstanding African-Americans in myriad disciplines. However, with historical references to groundbreaking Black educators and authors  like Drs. Carter G. Woodson and W.E. B. Du Bois, he cautioned, “Despite these dynamic achievements, some argue that in recent years HBCUs might have retreated from their Africana responsibilities but what is perfectly clear is that until our institutions become rededicated to [their] communities they will become frayed and may one day, very soon, break.”

Ronald Mason, Jr., a lawyer and president of the University of the District of Columbia, touched on politics by raising issues about the state of America today “at a time when the [possibility] of nuclear destruction is real, the planet is starting to push back on what we’re doing to it, there is a real question about our relationship to nature . . .  and the top ten percent of the country control 77 percent of the wealth.”

Okolo Rashid said gatherings such as the Jackson conference are aimed at finding common ground and breaking down stereotypes and falsehoods.

Full report at:

https://diverseeducation.com/article/125627/

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US warns ICC against probing its troops for excesses in Afghanistan

September 11, 2018

WASHINGTON: The United States threatened on Monday to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the International Criminal Court if it moves to charge any American who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright dangerous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation”.

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.

He said the US was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” he added.

“We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,” he said.

John Bolton made the comments in a speech in Washington to the Federalist Society, a powerful association of legal conservatives.

Detainee abuse

Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November last year to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees.

Neither Afghanistan nor any other government party to the ICC’s Rome statute has requested an investigation, Bolton said.

He said the ICC could formally open the investigation “any day now”. He also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We certainly will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own.”

The condemnation of the ICC added to the White House’s rejection of many supranational institutions and treaties the president does not believe benefit the United States.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1432230/us-warns-icc-against-probing-its-troops-for-excesses-in-afghanistan

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Iraqi anger at Iran is an opportunity for America

September 10, 2018

By Benny Avni

With Baghdad’s politics back in chaos, America needs to up the battle against Iran’s influence over Iraq.

Last week angry protesters torched the Iranian consulate in Basra, the southern city in the heart of Iraq’s oil country. The protesters, mostly young Shiites, were angry over increasingly contaminated water. Related illnesses have recently hospitalized 30,000 people.

Yet Basra’s water problem is but a symptom of Iraq’s succession of hapless governments.

Iran and Turkey have built dams on the Tigris River, Basra’s main water source, and also diverted water to aid their own farmers. Meanwhile, Baghdad and local governments have failed to maintain, let alone renew, water infrastructure (or adequately fulfill any other civil task, for that matter.)

Mostly, anger is directed at those who run things, and Iran controls Iraqi militias and top politicians — especially in Basra, where posters of Ayatollah Khomeini hang everywhere. So the Iranian consulate was a natural target for protests.

A tense calm returned Monday, and Prime Minister Haider al Abadi even dared visit Basra. Abadi’s hold on power is tenuous amid a political standoff after the May 12 election, in which a faction led by Moqtada Sadr, the former anti-American firebrand turned a calculating politician, won the largest number of votes.

Sadr, who isn’t vying for the leadership himself, initially backed Abadi — an alliance that looked like a promising coalition against the politicians in Iran’s pocket. Sadr recently removed his support from Abadi, but Iraqi sources tell me that, after Abadi’s Basra visit, the coalition may well reunite, perhaps riding a wave of anti-Iran frustration.

Beyond anger over the Iranian-backed Basra politicians who’ve run things forever, there’s fear that Tehran is speeding up plans to turn Iraq into a forward base against its regional enemies.

Late last month, Reuters reported that Iran has moved missiles to Iraqi soil and offered to manufacture missiles there as well. That raised alarm bells in Riyadh and Jerusalem, the likely intended Iranian targets, but also across Iraq.

Iraqi Arabs are no fans of their Persian neighbors. With Imam Ali and other ancient Shiite icons buried in Iraq, they consider themselves the originators of Shia, the branch of Islam that Iran claims to lead.

“Since 2003, we never had a breath of fresh air, as Iran turned Iraq into its colony,” says Iraqi-American Entifadh Qanbar, president of the Washington-based Future Foundation.

Sadr, Iraq’s most significant Shiite politician, is well aware of such feelings. Then again, he’s said to believe Iran was behind the assassination of his father, the much-revered Shiite scholar Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr — and to fear that a similar fate will one day be his own. So he swings between cooperating with Tehran and opposing it.

Many Iraqis share his fear of Iran, but anger may overcome it. The consulate torching shows young Iraqi Shiites have had it with their neighbor. And US moves (walking out on the nuke deal, renewing sanctions) help convince Iraqis, and the rest of the Mideast, that Iran’s fortunes are changing.

A US envoy in Iraq, Brett McGurk (an Obama holdover), denounced the embassy torching, retweeting a State Department statement saying America “condemns violence against diplomats.” Such sentiments are at best meaningless and, worse, may even hurt the cause of demonstrating to Iraqis that Iran is no longer rising as the region’s hegemon.

Washington may want to help revamp Basra’s water system, but Iran and its pawns will do their best to undermine such efforts. Tehran’s guiding hand was unmistakably behind last week’s firing of rockets at US posts in Basra. The Islamic Republic fears losing influence.

The best way to help Iraqis thrive, then, is to further weaken Iran. It’ll help Basra’s Shiite politicians cut ties to the mother ship, and listen to their constituents instead.

More broadly, the region needs to know that the Iran-favoring Obama years are over. They’ve eroded America’s influence in the Mideast and beyond and hurt our claim to global leadership.

Full report at:

https://nypost.com/2018/09/10/iraqi-anger-at-iran-is-an-opportunity-for-america/

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Arab World

 

Report: Turkish Army Keeps 50,000 Terrorists on Alert for Battle against Syrian Army in Idlib

Sep 10, 2018

Yeni Safak daily claimed that the Turkish army has kept more than 50,000 FSA terrorists on alert in Afrin, Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab and al-Rai regions to further sent them to battle against the Syrian government forces' operation in Idlib province.

It further said that 30,000 FSA gunmen are in regions under the occupation of the Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch forces, "and a sum 20,000 FSA fighters are to be transferred to Idlib to counter the Damascus forces' upcoming operation".

The daily went on to say that Turkish army has urged its allied militants to report the exact number of their gunmen and volume of arms and ammunition.

It said that the Turkish army has in recent days sent a number of cannons and missile launchpads to the borders with Syria and has reinvigorated its forces' combat capabilities.

The London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported earlier today that .Jeish al-Islam terrorist group has deployed its fighters at contact lines with the Syrian Army in Eastern Aleppo after coordination with Turkey-backed militants.

SOHR said that Jeish al-Islam has started deploying militants in more than ten contact points with the Syrian Army in Tadif in Northeastern Aleppo after coordination with Ankara-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyeh.

It further said that Jeish al-Islam set up a large base in the town of Afrin after retreating from Eastern Ghouta, adding Jeish al-Islam stationed its fighters in Afrin base.

SOHR said that Jeish al-Islam has also set up several bases in Aleppo province.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army dispatched more troops and equipment to the contact lines with Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in a large region from Jam'iyat al-Zahra and al-Lairamoun industrial zone up to the small town of Kafr Hamra in Northwestern Aleppo and from al-Malah farms to the small towns of Haraytan, Hayan, Anadan and Bayanoun in Northern Aleppo.

Also, the army has forwarded a large number of forces and military hardware to contact lines with Ankara-backed terrorists known as the Olive Branch Forces in Aleppo province.  

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970619000967

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Jeish Al-Islam Deploys Terrorists at Contact Lines with Syrian Army in Aleppo

Sep 10, 2018

SOHR said that Jeish al-Islam has started deploying militants in more than ten contact points with the Syrian Army in Tadif in Northeastern Aleppo after coordination with Ankara-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyeh.

It further said that Jeish al-Islam set up a large base in the town of Afrin after retreating from Eastern Ghouta, adding Jeish al-Islam stationed its fighters in Afrin base.

SOHR said that Jeish al-Islam has also set up several bases in Aleppo province.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army dispatched more troops and equipment to the contact lines with Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in a large region from Jam'iyat al-Zahra and al-Lairamoun industrial zone up to the small town of Kafr Hamra in Northwestern Aleppo and from al-Malah farms to the small towns of Haraytan, Hayan, Anadan and Bayanoun in Northern Aleppo.

Also, the army has forwarded a large number of forces and military hardware to contact lines with Ankara-backed terrorists known as the Olive Branch Forces in Aleppo province.

On Sunday, terrorists of the National Liberation Front, deployed in occupied regions in Aleppo province, arrested tens of people in the region, including the village of Kafr Nouran in Southwestern Aleppo.

Local sources, meantime, said that the arrested people who intended to join the peace agreement with Damascus have been transferred to secret jails run by the terrorists.

The sources further said that the National Liberation Front and other terrorist groups in Aleppo are preparing for a preemptive attack on the Syrian Army positions in the region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970619000417

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SDF begins operation to drive out Daesh from Hajjin

September 11, 2018

QAMISHLI: US-backed fighters have launched a fierce assault against a dwindling pocket of territory held by Daesh in East Syria, said a commander and a war monitor.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, have been closing in for months on the town of Hajjin in eastern Deir Ezzor province.

On Monday, they began an offensive for the Daesh-held town itself.

An SDF commander said the assault, relying heavily on artillery and US-led coalition airstrikes, had killed at least 15 Daesh fighters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the Daesh death toll was at least 17.

“Our forces today began attacking the last bastions of Daesh in Hajjin, with intense artillery and air support,” said the SDF commander.

“The clashes will be fierce in Hajjin because Daesh has reinforced their positions, but we will take control of it,” said the commander.

The Britain-based Observatory said the SDF had been amassing fighters and equipment and beefing up their positions for weeks ahead of the attack.

“The operation to end Daesh’s presence in this pocket began today, with the heaviest airstrikes, artillery fire, and ground attacks in months by the SDF and the coalition,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

He said the SDF had broken into Hajjin from its northwestern edge and taken control of part of the area, while opening a humanitarian corridor to allow residents to flee.

Daesh declared a self-styled “caliphate” in 2014 across swathes of Syria and Iraq, but various separate offensives by the national armies of both countries, Kurdish forces and international backers have seen the extremists’ territory shrink dramatically.

In Syria, Daesh controls part of Deir Ezzor as well as some territory in the south.

The SDF, founded in October 2015, has been backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, artillery, and special forces advisers.

It ousted Daesh from swathes of Syria’s north last year, including from their main bastion Raqqa.

In Deir Ezzor, the SDF is battling Daesh on the eastern side of the Euphrates River while Syrian regime troops backed by Russia battle them west of the river.

In July, a coalition official said a few hundred IS fighters remain in the eastern pocket.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1370171/middle-east

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Seven ‘terror’ convicts executed in Iraq’s Dhi Qar province

10 September 2018

Iraq executed by hanging seven of its citizens convicted of “terrorism”, the head of the health ministry in the southern province of Dhi Qar said on Monday.

Doctor Abdel Hassan al-Jabri said the bodies of the seven men were handed over on Monday to the morgue of the state hospital of Nassiriya, the provincial capital. They had been tried and convicted on charges of “terrorism”, he said.

In December last year Iraq declared “victory” over ISIS after a three-year war against the group that once controlled nearly one third of the country.

In June, Iraq executed 13 militants after ISIS claimed responsibility for the murder of eight civilians.

Iraq has repeatedly faced criticism from international human rights groups over the high number of death sentences handed down by its anti-terrorist courts.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/09/10/Seven-terrorism-convicts-executed-in-Iraq-s-Dhi-Qar-province.html

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Violence displaces over 30,000 in Syria’s Idlib, Hama this month

10 September 2018

Violence in Syria’s Idlib and the adjacent province of Hama has forced more than 30,000 people out of their homes this month alone, a United Nations spokesman told AFP Monday.

“We’re deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area. That’s something we’re monitoring very closely,” said David Swanson of the UN’s humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) in Amman.

The UN’s new humanitarian chief warned Monday that a large-scale military operation against the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib could create “the worst humanitarian catastrophe” of this century.

“There needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don’t turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century,” Mark Lowcock told reporters in Geneva.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/09/10/Violence-displaces-over-30-000-in-Syria-s-Idlib-Hama-this-month.html

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Egypt security forces kill 11 suspected extremists in Sinai

10 September 2018

Egyptian security forces have killed 11 suspected extremists in the Sinai Peninsula as they press a campaign against militants in the area, a security source said Monday.

The military launched a sweeping operation in February focused on the Sinai in eastern Egypt aimed at wiping out extremists, including from ISIS, who have been waging a bloody insurgency.

“Eleven terrorist elements were killed in an exchange of fire” with security forces in El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, the security source said.

The extremists were in an abandoned petrol station “preparing terrorist acts” against security forces, the source added.

Extremists have been launching an insurgency in Egypt after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule.

Hundreds of police and soldiers have since been killed in the attacks.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/09/10/Egypt-security-forces-kill-11-suspected-extremists-in-Sinai.html

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South Asia

 

MoI issues new notice to Kabul residents regarding possible attacks

Sep 10 2018

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) issued a new notice on Monday to the residents of Kabul city regarding the possible terrorist attacks in the city.

The Interior Ministry in a statement said the residents of the city must refrain from visiting the blast sites or the areas where suicide attacks would likely take place in the future.

The statement further added that the terrorists likely continue their save acts of terrorism to shed the blood of the innocent people in the country.

The Ministry of Interior also urged the residents of the city to cooperate with the security forces, specifically with the police forces in maintaining security and ensuring safety of the residents of the capital.

The statement by MoI also added that the residents of the city must inform the security forces when they come across with the suspicious movements by the terrorist and other criminal groups in the city.

The Ministry of Interior urged the residents of Kabul city to inform the police forces or contact 119 while noticing any suspicious activity.

This comes as there has been a sharp rise in the attacks by the militant groups in Kabul city and other parts of the country during the recent months.

At least 7 people were killed and 24 others sustained injuries after a suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the supporters of Ahmad Shah Massoud in the vicinity of the 4th police district of the city on Sunday afternoon.

https://www.khaama.com/moi-issues-new-notice-to-kabul-residents-regarding-possible-attacks-05930/

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Taliban militants overrun Khamab district in Jawzjan province

Sep 10 2018

The local officials in northern Jawzjan confirm the Taliban militants have overrun the Khamab district after hours of heavy gun battle.

Provincial police chief Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani confirmed that the district was overrun at around 4am local time today.

Jawzjani further added that both the Taliban militants and the national defense and security forces personnel have suffered casualties during the clashes.

However, he said the exact number regarding the casualties inflicted on the security personnel and the Taliban militants have not been ascertained so far.

In the meantime, the security director of Jawzjan security commandment Abdul Hafiz Khashi said at least eight security personnel have lost their lives during the clashes and 3 others have sustained injuries.

He said the anti-government armed militants have also sustained heavy casualties during the clashes but the exact number is not known yet as heavy clashes are still underway in the district.

Jawzjan has been among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan but the security situation of the province has deteriorated during the recent years.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-overrun-khamab-district-in-jawzjan-province-05929/

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Thai police shut down journalists’ discussion about Rohingya Muslims

September 11, 2018

Police in Thailand shut down a forum organized by foreign journalists to discuss whether senior military officers in Myanmar should face justice for alleged human rights abuses committed by their forces against Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

About a dozen policemen showed up ahead of Monday evening’s scheduled panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and ordered the panelists not to speak. The scheduled speakers included Tun Khin, a prominent U.K.-based Rohingya activist; Kobsak Chutikul, a former Thai diplomat; and Kingsley Abbott, a representative of the International Commission of Jurists, a rights advocacy group.

Last month a specially appointed U.N. human rights team recommended that Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya. Critics of Myanmar’s military have also accused it of carrying out ethnic cleansing and other war crimes.

Some 700,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh after the army launched a counterinsurgency campaign in response to attacks by Rohingya militants last August.

Myanmar’s army, which for decades has been accused of violating the human rights of various ethnic minorities, denies having committed organized rights abuses.

The police at the Bangkok event handed over a letter requesting the panel discussion on “Will Myanmar’s Generals Ever Face Justice for International Crimes?” be cancelled because it could damage national security, affect foreign relations and a give a third party the opportunity to create unrest. However, Police Col. Thawatkiat Jindakuansanong told the organizers: “We are not asking. We are ordering you to cancel the event.”

Dominic Faulder, the president of the Foreign Correspondents Club, expressed his disappointment and said he had no choice but to announce the cancellation. It is believed to be the sixth time police have forced a cancellation of one of the group’s programs since Thailand’s military seized power from an elected government in 2014. Politically sensitive events in other venues have also been stopped.

Scheduled panelist Abbott, a senior international legal adviser with the International Commission of Jurists, chided Thai authorities for the shutdown.

“This is an issue of global concern and Thailand, as Myanmar’s neighbour and a leading voice in ASEAN, should be taking a leadership role in addressing the situation,” he said. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-member regional grouping.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/thai-police-shut-down-journalists-discussion-about-rohingya-muslims-5349752/

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Thousands demand Bangladesh opposition leader's release

September 10, 2018

Thousands of opposition supporters staged protests across Bangladesh on Monday demanding immediate release of their leader and three-time former premier Khaleda Zia, jailed early this year for graft.

Zia, 73, is currently on trial on more corruption charges in a makeshift courtroom inside a 19th-century British-built prison where she is the only inmate and in failing health, her lawyers say.

A police official told AFP that some 4,000 activists of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) joined protests outside the National Press Club at the heart of capital Dhaka.

Thousands more joined similar demonstrations in cities and towns across the country.

But opposition spokesman Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said some 20,000 protesters, many shouting slogans calling Zia's jailing illegal and a sham, turned up at the Dhaka rally.

“We have said the charges against her were false. She should be released immediately and be treated at a private hospital,” Alamgir, secretary general of the BNP, told AFP.

Zia, already serving a five-year term, attended a hearing last week in a wheelchair, telling the court she was extremely ill and is losing feeling in her hand and in a leg.

Her lawyers have said that trying her in the abandoned prison is unlawful.

They met with the chief justice on Sunday to lodge a complaint.

Zia was granted bail in a corruption case in May but remains in jail while she fights dozens of other violence and graft charges.

The Dhaka Central Jail in the old Mughal district of Dhaka was built under British colonial rule in the 19th century and was Bangladesh's largest until it was declared abandoned in 2016.

Zia was jailed for five years in February after being convicted of corruption, a sentence that triggered clashes between police and thousands of BNP supporters.

She was found guilty then of embezzling money intended for an orphanage, a charge she dismissed as politically motivated.

Zia is appealing against the verdict which bars her from standing in a general election to be held in December. Alamgir has accused the government of launching a crackdown on the party ahead of the elections.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/10-Sep-2018/thousands-demand-bangladesh-opposition-leaders-release

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U.S. military release airstrike video on Taliban’s HME storage in Wardak

Sep 10 2018

The U.S. military has released a new video of an airstrike carried out on a storage containing homemade explosives in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan.

The airstrike was reportedly carried out in the vicinity of Maidan Wardak province last week but no further details have been given in this regard.

It is yet not clear if the airstrike has caused fatalties among the Taliban insurgents or not.

Taliban and other militants often use IED and homemade explosives as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government but in majority of such attacks ordinary civilians are targeted, besides such attacks often claims the lives of the militants as well.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest report stated that 1,692 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018.

According to UNAMA, the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks by Anti-Government Elements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/u-s-military-release-airstrike-video-on-talibans-hme-storage-in-wardak-05931/

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Europe

 

UK Muslim Group Wants Franklin Graham Banned for Spreading Anti-Islam 'Hate Speech'

09-10-2018

The largest Islamic organization in Britain is urging the government to ban evangelist Franklin Graham, who is scheduled to appear at an event in the country later this month.

Newsweek reports the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the umbrella organization for hundreds of Islamic groups, has supported the calls from three members of parliament and members of the public to deny Graham a visa for spreading what the organization calls "hate speech."

The "hate speech" they refer to is Graham's preaching against Islam as "evil" and as a "religion of war."  He's also been an opponent against the movement for LGBTQ rights.

Graham, the son of the late Billy Graham, is to be the featured speaker at the Festival of Hope event in Blackpool, located in northwest England, on Sept. 21.

On the website Jihad Watch, writer Robert Spencer asks "Would anyone be calling for the banning of Graham from the UK if he had called Christianity "evil"?

The MCB in a statement to The Guardian said: "In the past, the government has banned individuals whom they claim are 'not conducive to the public good'. Mr. Graham's remarks are on record and clearly, demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities. "We would expect the government to apply its criteria here. If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry."

Spencer says the British government is already inconsistent. 

"It bans foes of jihad terror and critics of Islam while letting in jihadis," he wrote. "The Home Office recently banned Martin Sellner, Brittany Pettibone, Lauren Southern and Lutz Bachmann from entering, all for the crime of opposing jihad terror and Sharia oppression, and thereby made it clear that it is more authoritarian and unwilling to uphold the freedom of speech than ever – at least when it comes to criticism of Islam, Muslim rape gangs, and mass Muslim migration."

Spencer writes he and Pamela Geller were banned from entering Britain five years ago for telling the truth about Islam and jihad. 

"Just days after Geller and I were banned, the British government admitted Saudi Sheikh Mohammed al-Arefe. Al-Arefe has said: 'Devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer,'" he wrote.  "Allah said that if a man fights the infidels, the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight."

"And Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri's preaching of hatred and jihad violence was so hardline that he was banned from preaching in Pakistan, but the UK Home Office welcomed him into Britain," he continued.

Spencer also writes that the UK Home Office also admitted letting Shaykh Hamza Sodagar into the country despite the fact that he had said: "If there's homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One – the easiest one maybe – chop their head off, that's the easiest. Second – burn them to death. Third – throw 'em off a cliff. Fourth – tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above."

He also points out that Prime Minister Theresa May's government allowed two jihadi preachers into the country, and one of them was even greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  At the same time, the British government banned three Christian bishops from Iraq and Syria from entering the country even though they were facing persecution back at home.

"So if the British government is consistent in this case, it will ban Graham and let in a few jihadis," Spencer wrote.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/september/trump-administration-plo-office-in-washington-to-be-closed

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Britain's leading Muslim organisation calls for Home Office to refuse Billy Graham's preacher son a visa over Islamophobic and homophobic remarks

10 September 2018

A leading UK Muslim organisation has called for the Home Office to deny a visa to the son of a prominent US preacher.

Franklin Graham, son of famous televangelist Billy Graham who died earlier this year, has been asked to speak at the Christian Festival of Hope in Blackpool later this month.

Graham, 66, who has links to US President Donald Trump, is no stranger to controversy and has previously called Islam 'wicked' and 'evil' and also said Barack Obama was 'born a Muslim'.

He has also been criticised for linking LGBT rights and gay marriage movements with 'Satan'.

The Muslim Council of Britain said the government should not admit the preacher on 'hate speech' reasons.

In a statement, it said: 'In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are 'not conducive to the public good'. Mr Graham's remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities.

'We would expect the government to apply its criteria here. If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry.'

It comes after several MPs urged the Home Office to ban Graham from visiting last December, while a petition was also set up against his appearance at the festival which was signed by more than 7,500 people.

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, told the Guardian he would be writing to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to renew the call for the refusal of a visa because the visit would be 'likely to cause considerable offence'.

Meanwhile churches in Blackpool have also refused to back the event, which takes place on September 21, with Blackpool Methodist Church telling the paper it 'cannot support any teaching which promotes homophobia'.

Some churches in the town will hold services aimed at LGBT audiences during that weekend with a large model of Jesus wearing a rainbow sash also due to be paraded through the town centre.

Blackpool council confirmed it was contractually obligated to allow the appearance at the town's Winter Gardens venue but would make the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, of which Franklin is president, 'aware of the need to comply with the law'.

Blackpool councillor Maria Kirkland told the Guardian: 'The council's position on these matters is robust and clear.

'We want to tackle discrimination, promote equality and increase respect and understanding between people regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation'.

Full report at:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6150213/Muslim-group-calls-Home-Office-deny-Billy-Grahams-son-entry-UK.html

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Macron to review report calling for reform of Islam in France

9/10/18

PARIS — Islamists have an “intellectual monopoly” over public debate among Muslims in France and the state must intervene to limit foreign influence over worshippers, according to a new report submitted to President Emmanuel Macron.

The 617-page report, “The Fabric of Islam,” presents a comprehensive plan for reform of Islamic institutions in France following a call from Macron to bring them under the aegis of the state. During a July address to lawmakers at the Palace of Versailles, Macron committed to giving Islam “a framework and rules” by the fall. His goals: discouraging insular Muslim communities and combating extremist strands of the religion.

“Muslims, notably the young, inform themselves of the religion more and more on social media,” warned the report’s author Hakim El Karoui on BFM TV on Monday, adding that Salafist-aligned Saudis play a disproportionate role online.

His report, which was unveiled Sunday and published by liberal think tank Institut Montaigne, calls for the development of a “French Islam” — an autonomous, France-centric branch of the faith that would respond to French law. El Karoui, an essayist and ex-Rothschild banker, is also the nephew of former Tunisian Prime Minister Hamed Karoui.

Apart from concerns over terrorism, which have grown in France since a series of deadly attacks in 2015, officials have long expressed concerns about the development of a “parallel society” of Muslims within France. The idea that such enclaves breed radical ideologies and, ultimately, terrorism was a central plank of Marine Le Pen’s 2017 presidential campaign, which called for tougher policing of mosques and expelling suspected terrorist sympathizers with dual nationality from France.

Now Macron has set himself the challenge of reforming Islam. His initiative coincides with the run-up to campaigns for the European Parliament election, when the president faces his strongest challenge from conservative and hard-right groups urging stronger oversight of Muslim clerics, mosques and schools. One of their criticisms is that Macron has not done enough to address the roots of Islamic fundamentalism — a critique that such a reform would address.

But Macron is following in the footsteps of presidents who have tried, and failed, to establish an “Islam of France.” Drawing on the example of Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1808 “concord” with France’s Jewish community, which established a religious authority recognized by the state, ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy tried, as interior minister, a representative council for French Muslims. But that group and its successors failed to gain traction with a majority of worshippers, largely due to divisions between Muslim groups from different countries.

Meanwhile, whereas foreign countries heavily fund mosque construction and employ imams in France, the host country cannot do the same to compete for influence, given its secular constitution.

To resolve the stalemate, El Karoui calls for bypassing a mediative approach and directly backing moderate strands of the faith against Islamist sects, who place political ideology above the tenets of the French Republic.

“The question of organizing Islam in France is not a question of representativeness,” El Karoui said Monday on Europe1 radio, adding the problem’s solution only requires “a system with men, money, and financing to combat [radicalization].”

“Because there are activists on one side and nobody across to say something else, [the Islamists] have an influence that goes well beyond their number of followers,” he said.

To fund a French alternative, El Karoui proposed taxing halal foods, which in France generate €5-6 billion annually. He also called for restricting funnels of religious funding from abroad, regulating Saudi Arabia-approved tour guides for the Hajj pilgrimage, and increasing public school offerings of Arabic, all to reduce the influence of foreign actors on France’s Muslims.

Whether Macron chooses to act on the proposals could have political consequences. Bruno Retailleau, senator for the right-leaning Les Républicains party, issued a statement Monday critical of the report: “Not only will an Islam of France not protect the French from radical Islam, but it risks fragilizing the republican pact.”

Full report at:

https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-islam-france-muslim-review-report-calling-for-reform/

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French think tank calls for 'halal tax' on Muslims

10 September 2018

France should impose a "halal tax" to pay for an association that would govern Muslims practicing in the country, a French think-tank has recommended in a report published on Monday.

In its report "The Islamist Factory", the Institut Montaigne also proposes that instead of being instructed in mosques, the Arabic language should be learnt in more state schools, following a national curriculum.

The recommendations come as President Emmanuel Macron has promised to redefine relations between Islam and the state and establish rules this autumn to ensure that the religion “will be practised everywhere in accordance with the laws of the republic”.

The official rule is strict separation between religion and state, with the former considered a strictly private matter.

The rule has been used to justify bans on the wearing of Muslim veils by public service employees as well as any wearing of fully concealing head-to-toe veils in public places.

Macron has been under pressure after a wave of terrorist attacks since 2015, which have killed more than 230 people in France.

In the report, Hakim El Karoui, a Franco-Tunisian consultant, writes that Salafis are “gaining ground” among Muslims practicing in France, particularly among young people and France should construct its own “Muslim religious discourse” to challenge the Salafi discourse.

"France must equip itself with important means and networks to disseminate this counter-speech. Who can do it? Muslims,” he writes.

Despite any reluctance they might have, Muslims in France and Europe “must mobilise... because the solution will come from them,” he writes.

Karoui's report also suggests once again that the country should establish a national Muslim association through taxes collected from practicing Muslims, a measure that his institute has proposed before.

“The idea is to create a neutral organisation, independent of the countries of origin, independent of those who hold the mosques today, to take a very small sum of money on every act of consumption and reinvest that money in theological work, because it's the mother of all the battles,” he writes.

In a follow up interview with AFP, Karoui suggested that taxable acts could include going on pilgrimages and buying halal products.

"Muslims have enriched themselves, contrary to what is believed, and they practice a lot," he told AFP. There is therefore "more and more money related to consumption: the pilgrimage, the halal, the gift".

Since the 1980s, French politicians have repeatedly attempted to formulate a "French Islam", with the dual aim of managing the integration of immigrants and also defending against religiously-inspired violence.

But these attempts have been met by criticism from Muslim leaders in the country, where 5.7 million Muslims make up the second largest religious community.

"Everyone must stick to their role," Ahmet Ogras, president of the French Council of Muslim Faith, told Reuters earlier this year.

"The Muslim faith is a religion and, as such, takes care of its own household affairs. The last thing you want is the state to act as guardian."

Full report at:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/french-think-tank-proposes-halal-tax-muslims-530870402

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Could a halal tax fix France’s approach to the ‘Islamist factory’?

10 September 2018

An independent think-tank in France released a report on Sunday proposing to fight against the “rise of Islamism which is a European issue” by creating a Muslim Association for Islam of France.

Hakim el-Karoui, who is a senior fellow at the Institut Montaigne in France and the author of the report titled "The Islamist Factory", stated that the country should also push for learning Arabic at schools.

But the key measure that Karoui discussed, which was already mentioned for more than two years by this liberal think tank, was the creation of a Muslim Association for Islam of France.

“An institution must be created, responsible for organizing and funding the Muslim faith (training and remuneration of imams, construction of places of worship, theological work and fight against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” Karoui wrote.

Karoui also suggested creating a program aimed at “codifying and normalizing social interaction” including gender relations, dietary norms and economic principles.

“There is no ‘halal tax’ in the sense that there is a tax levied by the state,” said the former banker concerning economic reforms. The levy would be managed by the association and would be inspired by the “kosher tax” of the Jewish community, managed by the rabbinates and which certifies products “kosher”, he added.

Karoui, who has the ear of Emmanuel Macron, also advocates strengthening the learning of Arabic in public schools. “The number of students who learn Arabic in middle and high school has been halved, it has increased tenfold in mosques, you have to know what you want,” he said.

His report notes that Salafists - the rigorous branch of Islam - “are gaining ground within the community”, especially among “young people under 35”.

Almost all the answers on the internet to religious questions are provided by preachers close to Salafists, worries Hakim El Karoui, who also points to the development of community sites, accommodation or carpooling that is “halal”.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/09/10/Liberal-think-tank-releases-report-pushing-for-association-to-fight-Islamism-.html

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Britain’s MI6 planning chemical attack in Syria: US senator

Sep 10, 2018

A US senator has indicated that British intelligence services are planning to stage a chemical attack on civilians in Syria to implicate the government and its allies as they seek to liberate the last remaining regions from the grip of militants.

Virginia state Senator Richard Black said last week that Britain’s MI6 had been working on a chemical attack in Syria for the past few weeks, adding that the main aim of the plan was  to blame the Syrian government and military for targeting defenseless civilians.

“Around four weeks ago, we knew that British intelligence was working towards a chemical attack in order to blame the Syrian government, to hold Syria responsible,” said Black in an interview with Al Mayadeen, a news channel based in Beirut.

The Republican senator, who was in Syria recently to meet with senior government officials, reiterated his claims about fake chemical attacks in Syria in an interview with The Washington Post, saying Britain had no intention of carrying out such attacks itself, but it was to direct militants, including members of the so-called White Helmets, a group with alleged humanitarian mission, to launch the attack.

“The plan is to use the White Helmets who have always been involved in these notorious deceptions, to portray an attack.” he said, adding, “From what I can tell, they have been planning a fake attack, not a genuine one, but one where they actually move people out of a town and they have trained people to portray victims of a gas attack.”

Black’s remarks echoed similar concerns raised by the Syrian government and its allies about the possibility of a chemical attack in the northwestern province of Idlib, where the military is planning a large-scale offensive against militants.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573739/UK-MI6-Syria-chemical-attack-US-senator

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Netherlands provides logistic support for terrorist organization in Syria: Report

Sep 11, 2018

The Dutch government has come under fire after a report revealed it has been providing logistic support for a Syrian “opposition” group labeled as a terrorist organization by Dutch prosecutors.

The news report, aired by the national public broadcaster, said Amsterdam had given “non-lethal assistance” (NLA) to 22 armed opposition groups, including the Jabhat al-Shamiya terrorist organization, fighting against the Syrian army.

The Dutch government has reportedly provided pick-up trucks, uniforms and other equipment for the terrorist group last year, the report added.

This caused a storm of protest from Dutch parliamentarians, who strongly protested against the country’s government on Monday and asked for its explanation.

The cabinet is bound to a deadline on Tuesday, in which it has to answer the questions, including whether any aid to Syria may have ended up with extremist groups, Christian Democrat party MP Pieter Omtzigt told AFP.

Dutch lawmaker Sjoerd Sjoerdsma also described the news report as “shocking”, and asked, "How did this happen, despite all the warnings by lawmakers?"

The revelations on Monday come days after Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced the government was cutting all support to what it called "moderate" opposition groups in Syria.

Western governments have in recent years tried to justify their support for terrorists operating in Syria by labeling them as moderate opposition working to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad.

According to Assad, the US tried to promote the notion of the so-called moderate opposition in Syria. However, “they haven’t been able to market this lie because the facts on the ground proved the opposite, that all those they support are extremists,” who belong to Daesh, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, with the same extremist and terrorist ideology.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/11/573787/Netherlands-support-Syria-terrorist

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Russia to brief UN Security Council on results of Tehran Summit on Syria

Sep 10, 2018

Russia says it will brief other members of the United Nations Security Council on the results of a trilateral meeting between Iran, Russia, and Turkey, which was held last Friday in Tehran to discuss the latest developments in Syria.

That was announced by the Russian mission to the United Nations in an email seen by AFP on Monday.

The UN Security Council member states are expected to hear the briefing on Tuesday at 4 pm (GMT).

The trilateral Tehran Summit, held on September 7, was attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

At the end of the Tehran Summit, the three presidents issued a joint statement, reaffirming their determination to maintain their cooperation until the eradication of terrorist groups in Syria.

In the statement, Rouhani, Putin and Erdoğan "reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate Daesh, al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with al-Qaeda or Daesh, as they have been designated as terrorists by the UN Security Council."

"They underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separation between the above-mentioned terrorist groups and the armed opposition groups that had joined or would join the ceasefire regime, would be of utmost importance including with respect to preventing civilian casualties," it added.

The three presidents agreed to hold the next round of their meeting in Russia.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573779/Russia-UNSC-Syria-Tehran-Summit

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Far-rightists hold ‘vigil’ in Germany for man who died after fight with Afghans

Sep 10, 2018

Far-right supporters have staged a “memorial march” in eastern Germany, where a man earlier died following a fight with two Afghan men.

Some 2,500 far-right demonstrators took to the streets in the eastern city of Kothen on Sunday, holding up lighters, commemoration candles, and flowers in a “vigil” for a 22-year-old German man, who died in the fight with the two Afghan men in a playground on Saturday.

Police said the deceased had suffered heart failure and that his death was “not directly caused by the injuries suffered.”

They have however arrested the Afghan nationals — aged 18 and 20. Prosecutors said the Afghan nationals were being investigated on suspicion of aggravated assault and causing bodily harm resulting in death.

Forces deployed to prevent violence

Authorities deployed police forces to help prevent violence during the demonstration in Kothen.

Neo-Nazi groups had earlier taken to the social media to call for protests in Kothen.

The city is located about 160 kilometers north of Chemnitz, where a similar incident sparked violent protests just two weeks ago.

“It is always a kind of danger — we just had Chemnitz — and so things could escalate and I believe nobody wants that,” said a local pastor, who called on authorities to do whatever they can to ease tensions.

“That’s why we are trying to appease all sides and to talk to people and tell them that it’s not the moment to let things escalate,” he added.

A far-right politician, Andre Wendt, however, reacted angrily to the incident while criticizing “establishment parties and the media,” which he said “have nothing else to do but defame worried citizens and silence critics.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously criticized far-right parties for staging violent protest rallies over incidents blamed on refugees.

But she has herself been criticized for her early advocacy of an “open-door” policy toward refugees coming to Europe from conflict zones in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. While she has defended that policy in rhetoric, she has modified her stance in practice, agreeing to curbs on the number of arrivals in Germany.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/10/573708/Germany-farright-antirefugee

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UN rights chief presses for new body on crimes against Rohingya

September 11, 2018

GENEVA: United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Monday for a new quasi-judicial body to collect evidence with a view to future prosecution of crimes against Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar including murder and torture.

An independent UN team of investigators said in a report last month that there was evidence indicating “genocidal intent” by the military against Rohingya and that crimes against humanity and war crimes appear to have been committed.

The investigators named six generals, including the commander-in-chief, whom they said should face justice.

A year ago, government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base.

Some 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

Bachelet, in her first speech to the Human Rights Council since taking office on Sept. 1, said that attacks and persecution appear to continue in Rakhine state. Investigators had also found indications of executions, torture and sexual violence against minorities in Kachin and Shan states, she said.

“The persistence of these patterns of violations underscores the total impunity accorded to the Myanmar security forces,” Bachelet told the 47-member Geneva forum which opened a three-week session.

She welcomed a decision by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week that it has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity.

“This is an immensely important step toward ending impunity, and addressing the enormous suffering of the Rohingya people.

“I also welcome efforts by Member States at this Council to establish an independent international mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes, in order to expedite fair and independent trials in national and international courts.”

The new mechanism — similar to what has been set up for crimes in Syria — would complement and support the preliminary examination of the ICC prosecutor, she added.

“I urge the Council to pass a resolution and refer the matter to the (UN) General Assembly for its endorsement so that such a mechanism can be established,” she said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1370191/world

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Sweden Joins Europe’s Move to Right Over Muslim Migration Backlash

September 11, 2018

STOCKHOLM – Sweden has become the latest European country to have its political order shaken by a backlash against large-scale immigration, with voters giving a boost to a far-right party and weakening the more established ones.

Sunday’s election left the two rival blocs — a center-left group and a center-right alliance — with roughly 40 percent of the vote each, portending what is likely to be weeks of uncertainty and complex coalition talks before a new government can be formed.

The Sweden Democrats, which has roots in a neo-Nazi movement but has worked to soften its image, won 17.6 percent, up from 13 percent in 2014, for a third-place finish. That showing is not strong enough for it to lead a government, but it reflects how deeply that Sweden, famous for its progressive policies, is being transformed by migration.

The country that is home to the Nobel prizes and militarily neutral policies for the better part of two centuries has been known for its comparatively open doors to migrants and refugees.

Sunday’s general election was the first since Sweden, with a population of 10 million, took in a record 163,000 migrants in 2015 — the highest per capita of any European country.

That had followed the earlier arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

Since 2015, the center-left government has sharply restricted immigration, but many Swedes complain that society cannot cope with integrating so many newcomers, many of them Muslims from Africa and the Middle East.

The growing strength of the Sweden Democrats also reflects how old taboos are collapsing.

Only a few years ago, Swedes would be shunned as racist for suggesting the country had limits on how many migrants it should take, or for expressing the view that it is hard to integrate Africans and Arabs. But people increasingly are expressing such ideas more freely — adding to the support for the party.

While the result is a boost for the Sweden Democrats, the party fell short of pre-election predictions.

The Expressen tabloid said in editorial that “it all pointed at the Sweden Democrats taking over the position as Sweden’s second-biggest party. But the expected … bang didn’t happen.”

The election came after populist and anti-migrant parties made significant political gains in Germany, Austria and Italy since 2015 — the other countries that have shouldered the heaviest burden of accommodating those fleeing war and conflict or simply searching for a better life elsewhere.

Sweden also gained international scrutiny after U.S. President Donald Trump portrayed the country as place where multiculturalism has brought crime and insecurity.

In early 2017, Trump claimed that a terrorist attack had happened the previous night in Sweden. The night, in fact, had been quiet, but Trump had seen a Fox News report about crime by immigrants in Sweden. He has insisted that he is still right about the general picture of the country as one where large-scale migration has brought security threats.

That narrative of Sweden as a failed multicultural experiment is also pushed by some on the right in Europe. While some Swedes say there is some truth to that, others feel it is too exaggerated and ignores the fact that Sweden is a place with a strong economy where many things work very well.

Both the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats and the center-right bloc, in which the Moderates is the largest of four parties, have said they would refuse to consider the Sweden Democrats as a coalition partner.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who brought the Social Democrats to power in 2014, said he intended to remain in the job. His party emerged with the greatest share of the vote — 28.4 percent as the count neared completion — yet is looking at holding fewer seats in parliament than four years ago.

Lofven told his supporters the election presented “a situation that all responsible parties must deal with,” adding that “a party with roots in Nazism” would “never ever offer anything responsible but hatred.”

Full report at:

https://www.chiangraitimes.com/sweden-joins-europes-move-to-right-over-muslim-migration-backlash.html

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • "Trump Administration to Shut Down PLO Office in Washington, Use Sanctions to Block Cases against Israel at ICC."

    Trump has contracted out American Middle East policy to Netanyahu!


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/11/2018 12:08:24 PM



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