Reality: Forced Conversions 'Not Seen As A Crime' In Pakistan
Ramadan Message Inspires Indian Muslims
Work Ethic: British Muslim Police and Doctors Juggle Fasting and Emergencies
Ministry of Malaysia Wants Greater Cross-Cultural Exposure In Schools,
Raids Modelling Agencies for ‘Promoting Vulgarity’
Protesters Want Civilian as Head of New Ruling Body
If Iran Wants To Fight Then That Will Be Its Official End
A Kerala Village, Where Virus Struck, Reason Fights Faith over Unknown Grave
Influence Growing In South India, Particularly Kerala: Social Media Monitoring
Envoy Opens New Mosque in Pakistan
Asked To Officially Observe Al-Quds Day, Make Palestine Part of Curriculum
from The Courtroom: Legal Issues Related To Detentions In Ex-Fata Continue To
trade with Sri Lanka comes to a halt
body not responsible for people’s misery: NAB chief
govt to fall soon, claim opposition leaders
needs diplomatic push to exit FATF grey list
policy for Pakistanis to be revised: Kuwaiti emir
to help Pakistan introduce genetically-engineered corn
skilled workers to get jobs in Japan, says embassy
Far-Right Politician Who Converted To Islam Says EU Must Be Realistic About
forces secretly join US troops in Persian Gulf on anti-Iran mission: Report
Muslim politician receives death threats
Network Boasting Islamic Values Launched
Should Focus On Islam’: Yadim Objects to Proposal for Primary School Lessons on
big bucks snuff out religious solidarity
extremism among Malaysian Muslims
Lessons on love for others can’t curb extremism
Houthi militia says will target UAE, Saudi vital military facilities
government forces arrest key al-Qaeda leader
Revolutionary Guards chief says they are not pursuing war
can mediate between Iran, US: Senior Shia cleric
give cool reception to US peace conference
Army Rulers Say Civil Talks to Resume As Islamists Protest
ship loaded with Turkish military vehicles arrives in Tripoli
arms in Libya before 'vast operation' to break siege
government boasts of new weapons despite arms embargo
'Workshop' In Manama Part Of Kushner Plan To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict
slacking on Jewish, Muslim dietary options at schools: councilman
sanctions force Hezbollah to cut spending on fighters: Washington Post report
announces start of GCC’s ‘enhanced security patrols’ in Persian Gulf
Sees Surge In Zakat Fund Collectors In Month Of Ramzan
Police Allow Food Outlets To Serve Till Late During Ramzan
officer injured as Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K’s Poonch
Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Hopes New Government At Centre Will Revisit Kashmir
Taliban Militants Killed, Wounded In Army Operations In Khost, Helmand Provinces
Special Forces inflict casualties on Taliban militants in Wardak province
forces suffer casualties in militants attack on a security post in Kabul city
airstrikes kill 18 Taliban militants including their 3 commanders in Ghazni
session of Afghan parliament ends in brawl over new Speaker
Kurdish Forces Prepare for Attacking Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur
Army's Air Defence Downs More Israeli Drones Near Damascus
blast hits tourist bus near Egypt pyramids, injures 17
Attempting to Arm Iraqi Tribes
rocket falls in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone
targets tourist bus near new Egyptian museum
Foreign Ministry dismisses use of chemical weapons in Latakia
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Riasat, 47, was asleep at home with her children in Gujranwala city of
Pakistan's Punjab province one night in February when she was awoken by the
sound of someone knocking loudly on her door at around 2 a.m.
guests have arrived, they shouted," the Christian mother told ucanews.com.
a friend or relative had dropped by to pass on their condolences for a recently
deceased relative, she got up to let them in.
five people rushed into my room, including two women. One of them was the
teacher of my 15-year-old daughter, Shizam," Rehana recalled.
pulled my girl inside a white van that was waiting in the street. I screamed
and tried to stop them, but they fled," she added.
said her daughter had previously been making house calls to the female teacher,
who was a Muslim, which she assumed had been purely for the purpose of
enhancing the teenager's academic studies.
it later appeared the teacher had more sinister motives for welcoming Shizam
into her home.
tricked my innocent child," a distraught Rehana wailed.
night, Feb. 11, turned her whole world upside down.
until that point, life had been hard enough for this mother of six as she
struggled to take care of her low-income family in Gujranwala while her
husband, Riasat Masih, worked as a laborer 70 kilometers away in Lahore.
family filed a police report and reached out to local village elders in a
desperate bid to find out where the abductors had taken their teenage daughter,
and why, but to little avail.
quit his job and returned home to pursue the case.
wasn't until a Christian activist submitted a petition at the Lahore High Court
in April to recover the missing ninth grader that any headway was made.
produced all the necessary documents to prove she was underage. We even paid
the police a bribe of 40,000 rupees (US$570) to help us. However, the local
medical board declared her legally mature based on some dental tests to
calculate her age," Masih said, trying to stifle his tears.
days later we learned she had embraced Islam at a local madrasa and married her
teacher's nephew," he sobbed.
saw some photos of her taken using a smartphone, and she looked almost
unconscious sitting there amid all the praying clerics," he said.
saw her twice during the court hearings, but I was never allowed to talk to her
— my own daughter."
and his wife were one of three Christian couples who shared similar stories of
forced religious conversions and marriages involving their offspring on May 11
at a hotel in Lahore.
People's Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) organized the program to raise
awareness of this social scourge, in a bid to protect more young girls who
belong to minority religions or ethnic groups from being manipulated and
exploited by Muslims in the country.
of the Lamb
recent research report by the PCMR titled "Silence of the Lamb" shone
a greater light on this issue. Prominent human rights activists, legal experts,
journalists, and academics attended its launch event.
reported that 79 women aged 13-35 were forcibly converted to Islam and married
to Muslim men between 2013 and 2019 in Pakistan — or 13 a year on average —
mainly in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
number includes 37 Christians, 31 Hindus, one Sikh, and several girls and women
from ancient tribes in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province such as the
to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), only five other countries see
more children abducted and forcibly married than Pakistan. Once they have
converted to Islam, the religion affords their spouse and relatives-in-law the
legal protection to conduct this controversial practice.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) claims that in 2018 in Sindh
province alone, around 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls got married under the
legal age of 18.
of the minors are married against their will. Even those who fall in love with
their Muslim spouses generally fail to win much respect from their in-laws.
Despite converting to Islam, they are often referred to as "churha"
(low caste) — a derogatory term in both Pakistan and India that is often hurled
at Christians who do menial jobs like sweeping the streets.
present, forced conversions are too easily — and too often — disguised as
voluntary conversions, leaving female minors especially vulnerable," the
commission stated in a press release in March.
ugly reality of forced conversions is that they are not seen as a crime, much
less as a problem, and that should concern ‘mainstream' [Muslim]
was issued after two Hindu sisters in Ghotki city of Sindh province were
allegedly abducted and converted forcibly to Islam. Both girls were minors.
Islamabad High Court declared in April that it was within the law for girls to
convert to Islam and stay with their husbands. It also ordered the interior
minister to ensure the adopted families of the two girls were protected from
any legal action issued by their Hindu parents.
it is illegal to marry underage girls, the abductors often find a way around
this by paying for forged medical reports to "prove" the girls are
Pakistani judges have in the past prohibited girls who have converted to Islam
from being returned to their "infidel" parents.
Munir, a Muslim cleric from the Peace and Education Foundation (PEF), a
nongovernmental organization based in Islamabad, described this as "a
disease that has infected the whole of our society."
on the law
Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 mandates that girls cannot marry before the
age of 16 and boys must be 18 or older. However in Sindh province, the local
government raised the age to 18 for both sexes in 2014, with child marriage
made a punishable offense.
Nov. 22, 2016, that same province amended its laws again to make forced
conversions to Islam a crime. Anyone found guilty of changing the religion of a
minor could now face from five years to life behind bars, while anyone else who
helped facilitate the crime could either be imprisoned or forced to pay
compensation to the victim.
circumvent this, Muslims who abduct minors for the purposes of child marriage
often relocate to other provinces, where they file petitions with a local court
seeking legal protection by claiming the girls accepted Islam of their own free
will and were mature enough to decide for themselves.
April, the Senate passed the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2018,
which stipulates that no one under the age of 18 can legally get married
anywhere in Pakistan.
who violate this law would be subject to up to three years in jail and/or a
fine of at least 100,000 Pakistani rupees (US$706).
the bill failed to win approval from the National Assembly after a majority of
ministers decided it was inconsistent with Shariah law, which declares people
can wed whenever they feel ready, financially and emotionally, to do so.
Sahi, an investigative journalist who shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for
covering a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that claimed 14
lives and injured 24 people one year earlier, said poverty and religious
discrimination are the driving forces behind most religious conversions to
Islam in Pakistan.
extremists who can't go to Kashmir to make jihad against India, or fight on
behalf of Palestine against Israel, try to convert girls to Islam to earn their
ticket to paradise," he said.
biased members of the media are reluctant to cover these stories. Despite there
having been a number of judicial inquiries into such cases, the police tend to
view [conversions] as a good deed, and don't press charges," he added.
said most of the girls who convert are illiterate and come from the bottom
rungs of society.
they are showered with attention and grand ceremonies, hailed as positive role
models by their adopted families, and made to feel important.
festivities can last for months," he said. "They are taken on tours
of different mosques and shown off like trophies. Meanwhile, clerics at the
madrasas give the newlyweds enough money to cover a month's rent to help them
council member Hina Jilani expressed concern at the systematic nature of what
critics call religious-based exploitation of the underclass.
impunity and lack of accountability adds to the pressure on religious
minorities, who are exploited because they are so vulnerable," she said.
is a natural inclination and collective will to increase the size of the Muslim
population in Pakistan. But this doesn't serve Islam or our country."
Ramadan message inspires Indian Muslims
May 17, 2019: Several Muslim leaders in India have welcomed the Vatican’s
Ramadan message as an inspiration to work for a world without violence, fear,
hunger and ignorance.
greetings from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue inspire “us
to break our fast everyday with prayers entreating God to wipe out violence,
fear, hunger and ignorance from the world so that people of all faiths develop
their human potentialities to the utmost,” says Khurshid Khan, a scholar of
Islamic mysticism who teaches in the Delhi University.
Vatican letter, entitled “Christians and Muslims Promoting Universal
Fraternity” and written by council secretary Bishop Miguel Ayuso, reminds
Christians and Muslims that fasting, prayer and alms giving are spiritual
practices that connect them both.
Victor Edwin, a Jesuit scholar of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, says
the Vatican message “doesn’t appear as routine” since it was issued in the
backdrop of “atrocious killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Colombo, Sri
Catholic priest, who heads the Islamic Studies Association, wants the Vatican
message to reach “as many Muslims as possible” and urges Catholics to carry the
letter to iftar, the breaking of Muslim fasting in the evening, when invited.
letter clearly points out that respect for diversity is the key to the culture
of dialogue. It carries tremendous hope for future as it affirms the dignity of
humans and their freedom to live a dignified life,” Father Edwin explains.
Vatican letter, he adds, articulates “the dialogue of life” that Pope Francis
promotes in his interaction with Muslims and gives theological underpinning.
who received the letter, lauded its positive message for the modern world.
Shahin, founder editor of NewAgeIslam.com, a multi-lingual progressive Islamic
website, welcomed it as a “very positive development” and expressed the hope
that Muslims too would respond in the same spirit of harmony and dialogue that
the Vatican has displayed.
Wahiduddin Khan, founder of New Delhi-based Center for Peace and Spirituality,
points out that Christians and Muslims are “Abrahamic brothers,” since they are
part of the brotherhood that began from Abraham.
message from the Vatican in the month of Ramadan represents this very spirit of
common brotherhood. I pray to God to help reinforce and deepen this spirit
among members of the two communities,” he told Matters India.
says many Muslim organizations too show “a spirit of constructive dialogue,”
although some remain “stuck in medieval theology that was evolved during a dark
period of our history.”
to him, theologians, historians, and writers are products of their times so
they display prejudices and biases prevalent then.
generations that come after them should treat such views only for their
historical value, and not to hold them as guidelines to apply for ever in life,
theologies, he explains, had evolved at an era when occupying other lands
through the use of the sword was legitimate and the concept of modern nation
states with its inviolable borders did not exist.
today we live in a very different world — very complex and completely
interconnected. Wars of conquest have become virtually obsolete. These medieval
theologies do not matter anymore,” he explains.
also wants Muslims to urgently evolve a theology of peace, harmonious
co-existence and gender justice if they wish to live honorably in the modern
Vatican initiative, he told Matters India, should be welcomed by all and “we
must participate in an honest dialogue for setting the terms of peaceful,
harmonious coexistence. There is absolutely no other alternative.”
Jamal, another religious scholar and founder of “Brotherhood of Humanity,” sees
in the Vatican message the “ingredients” required for eradicating conflict and
encouraging discussion and dialogue.
as a believer in a loving God, I am happy to read and share [the Vatican
message] with many young Muslims I’m in touch with,” he told Matters India.
who teaches young Muslims the values of peace, coexistence and harmony preached
by Quran, says the current religious conflicts “are simply unauthentic
expressions born of selfishness of people.’
to him, religions bind people together despite their uniqueness and differences
in beliefs and practices.
duty of the followers of different religions is to harness the differences to compete
with one another serving God and common good,” asserted the scholar, who was
featured in UNESCO’s manual on prevention of violent extremism.
to him, interreligious dialogue happens between the spiritual persons of
different faiths as they meet with “love” in one hand and “lets agree to
disagree” in the other.
says the Vatican message calls upon Christians and Muslims to recognise each
other as brothers and sisters and demands them to defend “mutual understanding,
human fraternity and harmonious coexistence” while firmly rooted in peace
Vatican message also urges the two communities to tear down walls that divide
and set people upon one another and build bridges for harmonious fraternity.
work ethic: British Muslim police and doctors juggle fasting and emergencies
Muslims in the world’s most northern countries the need to slow down during the
month of Ramadan is a balancing act with the ongoing pressures of daily life.
Ishaq, a veteran of the Hertfordshire Police on the outskirts of London,
recounts the daunting proposition of responding to emergency calls while
observing the fast.
is an emotional roller-coaster ride. One job you’ll deal with suicide, then
straight to an elderly woman who has lost her handbag in the centre of town,
then two 14-year-olds who break your fence. In that emotion you can’t replenish
yourself,” he told The National.
new recruits start their careers responding to emergency calls and working long
shifts, often up to 12 hours continuously on call. One accommodation for Muslim
officers during Ramadan is more shifts at night, when food can be consumed.
Constable Uzma Amireddy, who has served in North Yorkshire for more than 10
years, remembers often working from 1pm to 1am. She found these night shifts
easier, and even though her energy levels dipped amid the frenetic pace of
emergency response , she learnt to “adapt in time”.
Islamic lunar calendar means that the start date of Ramadan moves forward by
just under two weeks every year versus the Gregorian calendar. In countries
near or on the Equator, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Indonesia, Muslims
see relatively little change to the daylight hours during which they must fast.
But in countries further away like the UK, the fast can last for more than 18
hours when Ramadan enters June, as it does this year.
doesn't stop me because Ramadan teaches you to be tolerant and patient,"
says PC Amireddy. "It's only temporary, and the reason to fast is to gain
reward from Allah. I keep that in my mind. It’s about educating others, because
they’d ask ‘why are you starving?’."
colleague Arfan Rahouf works in the rural crimes unit, in which emergency calls
can include agricultural and plant theft.
the first week I personally do not like to drive when responding to an
emergency call, and after this I look at how I am feeling on a daily basis,” he
they work at opposite ends of the UK, PC Ishaq and PC Amireddy both say the
support provided by their respective forces has been vital to ensuring they do
the best they can while on duty.
officers are given flexibility to attend mosque, with ablution facilities and
prayer rooms provided in the police station. By implementing small changes,
police chiefs are reaping the benefits of retaining their Muslim staff, who in
turn feel vindicated for a career choice that some continue to question.
feel like my organisation accepts me for who I am,” PC Amireddy says.
officers also stress the importance of communicating freely with superiors. PC
Ishaq, who is responsible for recruitment and Ramadan guidance for the his
force, ensures that “conversation is required with line managers regularly”.
colleagues and senior officers have even offered to fast with them for a day in
solidarity, albeit with the caveat that their Muslim colleagues make sure they
go slow and drink water if needed.
been perceived really positively and we’re having an iftar together in a police
station, inviting colleagues, people in town and from different mosques to join
us. But it’s not about food, it’s about cleansing your soul,” says PC Amireddy.
making yourself a better person and you want to better your life in this world
and the hereafter. And getting rid of habits you’ve developed in the past 11
PC Rahouf, the letters from the word "fasting" signify seven aims:
fasting, acceptance, self-control, truth, integrity, nourishment and grace.
forces in Britain, once viewed with deep mistrust by minority communities, have
changed rapidly over the past two decades to better reflect British society –
and not just in London.
37 per cent of British Muslims live and work in London, smaller communities can
be found in port cities such as Cardiff and Liverpool, and former manufacturing
hubs around Manchester and Birmingham.
reflecting the presence of British Muslims in largely white British areas, where
mosques are not always conveniently near, is all the more important.
North Yorkshire, PC Amireddy serves a mainly middle-class population with a
large farming community.
says Muslim police officers can act as a bridge between communities.
discuss the importance of going to the mosque with our managers, even if it’s
just for 45 minutes. And it’s not just prayer, but engaging with the [Muslim]
community in that time to break barriers,” she says.
Hertfordshire, PC Ishaq's goal is to use religious spaces as a sanctuary to
vision is to make every mosque in Hertfordshire a third-party reporting centre,
so those that attend that mosque can report hate crimes or hate incidents and
not have to go to the police station. They can also take down a report in that
person’s language to create that emotion and capture the emotion of the crime,”
need to capture that because in our society it’s hard for a lot of people to go
report crimes in a cold, dreary station.”
also poses a challenge for Muslim doctors, but the constant pressure of working
in hospitals has made them well practised in coping, says Dr Hina Shahid, a
general practitioner and chair of Muslim Doctors Association.
so busy on normal days outside Ramadan, you don’t even get to eat or drink at
work. So, in a sense there’s not much change. The lack of sleep is challenging
but you get used to it,” she says.
night shifts is easier ... but it involves swaps with colleagues on the
Shahid says she tries to take annual leave during Ramadan, especially when
sunset falls after 9pm.
Rebecca Musabbir sees up to 35 patients a day at her Essex-based surgery. She
says the main challenge is maintaining concentration, whether treating
emergencies or performing cosmetic procedures, and talking to patients
throughout the day.
job is mentally challenging and this is more difficult during fasting,” she
told The National.
the challenges, Dr Shahid advocates fasting as a reset button that has health
do find myself actually concentrating better even though I’m tired. There’s
evidence that concentration improves when you’re fasting. The rewarding aspect
I find is that you’re in a constant state of being alert and aware of what you’re
doing. I try and bring that to my work,” she says.
become a better person and a better doctor. That translates to the patients and
in your personal relationships.”
Ministry of Malaysia Wants Greater Cross-Cultural Exposure in Schools,
May 20 — The Education Ministry wants greater cross-cultural exposure among
students in schools and varsities to forge better multiracial harmony.
minister Maszlee Malik said activities to the effect including through the
curricula would result in greater understanding on living together.
me what is more important is appreciating each other. Through curricular
activities, common activities, it will bring us closer.
do not want this to be just in theory but practised so that we understand the
true meaning of living together,” he told reporters after officiating a plaque
handing over ceremony for a special aid programme for Rumah Harapan in Kampung
Parit Haji Hashim here yesterday.
Simpang Renggam MP was commenting on statement by Malaysian Youth Council
president Jufitri Joha on Friday that the Islamic education subject only focused
said exposure on other religions was also necessary for better multiracial
harmony. — Bernama
raids modelling agencies for ‘promoting vulgarity’
Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) force has raided three underground modelling
agencies, accusing the companies and their aspiring models of flouting strict
Islamic dress codes for women, Iranian news agencies reported on Saturday.
Mohsen Karimi, a Guards commander in the central city of Arak, said staff at
the agencies had been arrested for “promoting vulgarity”, partly through
sharing portfolio pictures of models on social media, the semi-official news
agency Fars reported.
authorities have repeatedly raided underground fashion events and targeted
modelling agencies that post photographs online of models wearing Western-style
clothes that do not adhere to Iran’s Islamic hijab rules.
who disregard norms and think they can do whatever they want in cyberspace
should know that, sooner or later, the hands of the law will catch up with
them,” Karimi was quoted as saying, without saying how many people had been
officials have long warned that the influence of Western and particularly US
culture through entertainment, social media and the Internet poses a threat to
Islamic and revolutionary values.
protesters want civilian as head of new ruling body
protest movement said that it is determined to have a civilian as head of a new
governing council ahead of negotiations on Sunday with army rulers to finalize
between the current ruling military council and the protest movement over the
planned transfer of power are set to resume amid international pressure to
return to the table after the generals suspended the negotiations earlier this
Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group that brought down
autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir after months-long protests against his
three-decade rule, said the talks were set to begin at 9:00 pm Sunday.
military council had announced the previous night that the new round of talks
would be held at the presidential palace in Khartoum.
talks will revolve around outstanding issues concerning the representation in
the sovereign council and its chairmanship,” the alliance said in a statement.
generals and protest leaders are at loggerheads over the final composition of
the next ruling body, the thorniest issue so far in negotiations between the
generals insist the new body be military-led but the protest leaders are
determined to have a majority civilian body.
Sunday, the protest movement said it is determined to have a “civilian
sovereign council led by a civilian as its chairman and having a limited military
current military council that took power after ousting Bashir on April 11 is
headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the generals negotiating with
protesters have previously said that Burhan would lead the new governing body
talks were suspended, the two sides had agreed on several key issues, including
a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament,
with two-thirds of lawmakers to come from the protesters’ umbrella group.
Sunday’s negotiations come against the backdrop of rising tension after
hundreds of supporters of several Islamic movements rallied outside the
presidential palace to reject any civilian administration deal that excludes
the Islamic law Sharia as its guiding principle.
Alliance for Freedom and Change has so far remained silent on whether Sharia
has a place in Sudan’s future, arguing that its main concern now is installing
a civilian administration.
If Iran wants to fight then that will be its official end
President Donald Trump threatened Iran in a tweet on Sunday, raising concerns
about a potential US-Iran conflict at a time when tensions between Washington
and Tehran have risen.
Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the
United States again,” Trump said in a tweet.
Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the
United States again!
- 20 May 2019
Ads information and privacy
people are talking about this
has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, and his administration says it
has built up the US military presence in the region.
accuses Iran of threats to US troops and interests.
has described US moves as “psychological warfare” and a “political game.”
Saturday, The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that his country is in a
full intelligence war with the United States and “enemies of the Islamic
Republic” which includes cyber and military operations.
A Kerala Village, Where Virus Struck, Reason Fights Faith Over Unknown Grave
year after Kerala waged a successful battle to contain the Nipah virus that
claimed 17 lives, an old grave at Ground Zero of the outbreak is slowly
emerging as a “pilgrim centre”.
grave, of an unknown person, is now being called a “dargah” by a section of
residents at the Muslim-majority Sooppikkada village in Kozhikode district.
They claim the virus targeted the village because the grave was “neglected over
the years”. However, other residents have questioned “such superstition” and
expressed concern that the grave, located on private land, could turn out to be
a “money-making venture”.
local mosque committee, meanwhile, has adopted a “neutral stand” and is waiting
for the findings of a probe ordered by the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema,
an umbrella organisation that controls the majority of such panels in the
state. An imam says the dargah came up with contributions from “outside the
outbreak was reported in May-June last year after the first suspected case,
Muhammed Sabith from the Valachukettil family in Sooppikkada, died on May 10.
Later, a study conducted by Dr G Arunkumar of Manipal Centre for Virus
Research, and supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), found
that the virus was transmitted from fruit bats seen in the village.
death, however, is not officially recognised as Nipah-linked as his samples
were never tested and he was buried before the infection was diagnosed. Apart
from 22-year-old Sabith, three others who succumbed to the virus hailed from
the Valachukettil family: his father Moosa, elder brother Salih and aunt Mariyam.
grave, which is located about 100 metres from Sabith’s house, was first
referred to as a “dargah or makham” by a group of local residents about two
months ago. Today, a roofed structure has come up over the grave, with a small
hall at the entrance and a flag post outside. Residents say visitors from as
far as Kozhikode city, nearly 50 km away, have started arriving to pay their
Moitheen Kunhi, a relative of the Valachukettil family: “A group of people here
believe that Nipah came to the village as the grave was left in an abandoned
condition. But the belief that the virus claimed lives at the village because
we neglected the grave is nothing but superstition. We haven’t contributed
anything to develop the grave into a dargah. I had mingled with some of those
who succumbed to the virus, but I was not affected,’’ says Kunhi, a trader.
my childhood, I had visited the grave two or three times. Nobody knows who has
been buried at that spot. Some people want to make money. We don’t agree with
that,’’ says Kunhi, 61.
of Nazeera Manzil in the village, at whose coconut farm the “dargah” stands,
says he does not know whose grave it is. “All I know is that it’s several
decades old. People are coming from various parts of the district,’’ he says.
wife Nabeesa says there is a “strong belief that Nipah affected the village due
to the neglect meted out to the grave”. “Around 20 persons visited the dargah
yesterday (Friday). A section of our community says we have developed the grave
into a dargah to collect money, which is not true,’’ she claims.
the site Saturday afternoon, The Indian Express spoke to the lone visitor —
Muhammed Musaliyar from Kozhikode city, who was reading the Quran near the
grave. “I am coming here for the first time. I reached the Dargah after hearing
about it from others. I arrived in the morning and will leave in the evening,”
local Muslim community, however, is divided over the structure. “A section of
the community is against the Dargah after its construction was linked to the
Nipah outbreak. The mahallu (local Masjid) committee has taken a neutral stand.
We are neither encouraging visits to the dargah nor we are dissuading people
from going there. One has the freedom to take a stand. But we don’t want to
promote any superstitious belief. It was constructed using money from outside
and those who visit the site are also from outside the village,’’ says Basheer
Baqavi, the imam of Juma Masjid at Panthirikkara near Sooppikkada.
issue is being studied by a three-member committee. A final decision would be
taken only after the supreme body of the Ulema takes a call on the committee’s
report,” says Nazer Faisy Koodathai of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema.
Kerala, around 3,000 people were placed in quarantine during the outbreak of
Nipah. In all, there were 23 suspected cases although lab tests could confirm
only 18. WHO has estimated the fatality range for Nipah cases at 40-75 per cent
but the number for Kozhikode at the time was 91 per cent.
influence growing in South India, particularly Kerala: Social media monitoring
Delhi: The influence of ISIS propaganda has been growing across South India,
particularly in Kerala, over the last four years, according to two private
social media monitoring companies.
numbers are the result of analysis carried out by the two firms — one a
Delhi-based company and the other headquartered in Gurugram — that use
Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor social media.
head of the Gurugram-based company told ThePrint that it analysed over 60
million social media posts, especially on Facebook and Twitter, in the last
four years and found that there are growing pockets of ISIS-related Islamist
extremism in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
he added, has shown the highest increase in this activity.
firm, which claims to have worked with several government agencies including a
central agency dealing with terrorism, monitors social media trends and
accounts to scour for such messages.
content we are talking about is not generic Islamist fundamentalism but rather
in the form of sophisticated propaganda built around themes that are typical to
ISIS,” the head said.
added that the social media analysis also shows increased attempts by pro-ISIS
individuals to get themselves elected to management committees in masjids,
madrasas and other Islamic teaching centres. “This is indicative of a
deliberate and premeditated approach to increase the reach, influence and power
of ISIS networks in these states,” he said.
Gurugram firm shared a map that it said was indicative of ISIS influence
spreading across southern India (see below). “This figure shows what parts of
India have been most influenced by ISIS after a major national security
incident, and how ISIS has exploited the incident to increase and reinforce its
engagement with communities in different districts,” the firm’s head said.
founder of the Delhi-based firm, who said it has worked with the Ministry of
Home Affairs, paramilitary forces BSF and CRPF, and police in several states
told ThePrint that intelligence agencies in the country are worried by the
propaganda being spread on social media sites. “Since 2015 or so, law
enforcement has been especially worried about Indian Muslim youths getting
radicalised in different parts of the country,” he said.
added that the numbers are based on data captured and analysed by a proprietary
tool. The tool analyses social media posts, information shared on encrypted
messaging apps such as Telegram, terrorism-related databases and news reports.
Gurugram company founder said that the propaganda is being translated
“efficiently” into local languages and this is a major worry.
lot of the propaganda is from the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa)
region, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia included. ISIS surprisingly seems to have
a very sophisticated capability to translate the content it creates in the
Middle East languages into local Indian languages,” he said. “The quality of
the translations and the sophistication of the messages indicate they have
dedicated PR teams with local language capabilities for India.”
experts feel the concern about the growing ISIS influence is valid.
ISIS’ influence in India and even Pakistan has been relatively weak. This is
most likely because a majority of Muslims in the South Asian region follow a
moderate form of Islam deeply entrenched with Sufi rituals,” said Avinash
Mohananey, a former IB officer who has served in the Indian High Commission in
forward, however, we cannot write off the possibility of Indian Muslim youth
possibly becoming radicalised by ISIS via social media given young people are
perpetual consumers of the internet.”
influence rising in Kashmir
two firms also claimed that there appears to be a possible link between
Kashmiri militancy and ISIS.
Gurugram company said ISIS-affiliated social media entities have been able to
infiltrate, influence and gather support for Kashmir-based militants.
Delhi firm too agrees. “In the 12 months between 2017 and 2018, our technology
systems indicated that more than 200 people from Kashmir have joined militant
groups,” its founder said. “Between 2014 and 2016 the number of people joining
Kashmiri militancy had not even crossed 100.”
envoy opens new mosque in Pakistan
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan on Saturday opened a new mosque in the
city of Haripur as a mark of the strong relations between the two countries.
Kingdom’s envoy, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, inaugurated the King Abdul Aziz bin
Abdulrahman Al-Saud Mosque, in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province, in the presence of local government officials.
to accommodate up to 500 worshippers, the mosque has been constructed as part
of charitable projects carried out by the Muslim World League (MWL) through the
International Association for Relief, Care and Development (IARCD) in Pakistan.
said the mosque represented a milestone in the friendship between Saudi Arabia
and Pakistan and was a continuation of similar charity work carried out by the
praising the MWL and its affiliated bodies for their contributions, the
ambassador also thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for
their special attention to humanitarian work and the service of Islam and
of Haripur president, Anwar Gilani, thanked Saudi Arabia for its leadership on
the landmark mosque project which he said highlighted the friendship between
the two countries.
Leaders of various political and religious parties on Sunday passed a consensus
resolution calling upon the government to observe Al-Quds Day at an official
level and revise the existing curricula by making the Palestine issue a part of
resolution was passed after representatives and leaders of parties spoke at
length at the Al-Quds conference organised by the Palestine Foundation Pakistan
chief Senator Sirajul Haq said supporting the struggle of Palestinians was a
part of faith of Pakistani Muslims. He added that many nations across the world
were backing the Palestinians for the sake of humanity.
said Palestinians were the only nation that fought with stones against tanks
and “today, children of Palestine dream to be martyred instead of getting
education in schools”.
said Islam is Pakistan’s foundation, which was why “we have always supported
said a US fleet was present in the Arabian Sea as the United States “is making
plans to attack Iran, which will be gravely harmful for the Ummah”.
said Israel was taking advantage with tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia as
“the Zionist state wants to dominate the world by making Muslim states fighting
against each other”.
made it clear that no attempt to recognise the state of Israel by Pakistan
will give no importance even Pakistan recognises it because Israel values India
much more. India, Israel and America are all part of a troika,” said the JI
Muslim League-Nawaz’s Muhammad Zubair, a former governor of Sindh, said a
number of Arab and other Muslim countries had diplomatic relations with Israel
as all those nations had done that to keep Iran at bay.
said Pakistan could raise the Kashmir issue in a better manner if it raised the
issue of Palestine. “Pakistan’s Foreign Office should raise the Palestine issue
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar said the atrocities
continuing in Palestine should widely be debated upon.
said Al-Qads Day should be observed across the country at an official level.
said US President Donald Trump had taken a task upon himself to turn the
occupied territory into a property of Israel.
asked the Pakistani government to keep supporting the Palestinians with
explicit and solid stance.
Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Israr Abbasi claimed that his party’s government was
“pressurised to recognise the state of Israel, but Prime Minister Imran Khan
refused to succumb to such pressures”.
said the government would raise voice for the rights of the Palestinians at all
Baqir Zaidi, general secretary of the Majlis Wehdat-i-Muslimeen Sindh, MQM-P’s
Mehfooz Yar Khan, Aliya Imam, Qazi Ahmed Noorani, Azhar Hamdani and others said
despite use of all might and committing atrocities it was Israel which itself
was confined and surrounded.
claimed that Israel had manufactured Daesh, the militant Islamic State group,
to occupy Syria, but it failed in such tactics. They added that Israel’s days
from the courtroom: Legal issues related to detentions in ex-Fata continue to
the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last
year, the legal issues related to detentions in those tribal areas have now
been in focus. These issues include the continuous detention of hundreds of
internees in different notified internment centres in former Fata and
Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) as well as the cases of those
suspects who had remained in custody of security forces for many years and were
subsequently handed over to the administration in respective tribal districts.
bench of the Peshawar High Court on May 15 disposed of 14 writ petitions
challenging continuous detentions of different suspects in internment centres.
These petitions were disposed of with the direction to provide visitation
rights to the relatives of these detainees.
decision was made by a bench of PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice
Abdul Shakoor in the light of a recent enactment of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly
through which protection was given to a law under which internment centres were
set up in different tribal districts.
the bench observed that these petitioners could separately file petitions
challenging the recent enactment as well as the Action (in aid of civil power)
Regulation, 2011, for Fata, under which the internment centres were set up.
the Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, was enacted in May last
year and erstwhile Fata and Pata were merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one major
lapse on part of government was that no “saving clause” was included in the
said Act for providing protection to existing laws in Fata and Pata.
to same reason the KP government had to enact two laws for giving legal
protection to the laws in vogue in former Fata and Pata as objections were
raised on the continuation of said laws in those areas after the merger.
provincial assembly on Dec 28, 2018, passed the KP Continuation of Laws in the
Erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas Act, 2018, which was given
assent by the governor on Jan 4. The said law provides protection to laws in
Pata specially Action (in aid of civil power) Regulation, 2011, for Pata.
the provincial assembly passed the KP Continuation of Laws in Erstwhile Fata
Areas, 2019, through which the laws introduced in former Fata under Article 247
of the Constitution were given protection including the Action (in aid of civil
power) Regulation, 2011, for Fata.
the passage of these two laws, experts are skeptical about the fate of those
laws in vogue in the merged tribal districts and ex-Pata, which are apparently
in conflict with provisions of Constitution of Pakistan guaranteeing
legal justification of the two regulations under which the internment centres
have been set up is specially difficult in present circumstances when Article
247 of the Constitution has already been omitted through the Constitution
(Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Act.
Article 247 different status was given to Fata and Pata and no law of
Parliament or the provincial assembly was applicable to those areas unless the
President of Pakistan issues separate notification for extension of a
particular law to Fata and governor of the province issues notification with
prior approval of the President for Pata.
the President was empowered to issue special regulation for those areas. Under
the same powers then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari had on June 23,
2011, promulgated the two regulations – Action (in aid of civil power) Regulation,
2011, for Fata and Pata.
hundreds of suspected militants were arrested in different military operations,
especially in Swat, and they were in a legal limbo, therefore, to legalise
those detentions these regulations were given retrospective effect from Feb 1,
in view different judgments of the superior courts, the government is barred
from introducing different laws for different areas in the same province.
Supreme Court on Jan 16 dismissed a civil petition filed by the KP government
and had declared the Fata Interim Governance Regulation, 2018, in conflict with
several provisions of the Constitution.
petition was filed by the provincial government against a judgment of Peshawar
High Court delivered on Oct 30. The high court bench, while allowing a petition
filed by Advocate Ali Azim Afridi, had declared some of the provisions of the
Fata Interim Governance Regulation (FIGR) in conflict with the Constitution and
had given a month time to the government to set up regular courts in the
similar applicability of laws in tribal districts and other parts of the
province the apex court had ruled: “Whether they be residents of Fata on one
hand or of Peshawar or Mardan, etc. on the other, they cannot be discriminated
against and any classification between them despite being residents of the same
province, with no obvious or reasonably deducible distinction between them,
will be arbitrary and against the recognised principles of natural justice and
the rule of law,” the apex court ruled.
bench in its conclusion pronounced: “After the 25th Amendment, all the
residents of the province of KP are similarly placed, there is no rational
basis on which the people of Fata can be distinguished from the people of the
rest of the province of KP and thus the application of the Fata Interim
Regulation to one part of KP while the rest of the province enjoys the
protection of the provincial laws is absolutely unjustified.”
important issue is that of the imprisoned suspected militants who had remained
in custody of security forces and were later on handed over to the
administration. These suspects are in different prisons on almost same charges
of raising arms and staging war against the state.
the Khyber district and sessions judge granted bail to a petitioner named Gul
Deenar who had remained in detention without trial for 10 years. He was taken
into custody in 2009 by the security forces in Khyber Agency (now Khyber
district) and had been kept incommunicado for many years. Last year, he was
handed over to the administration and sent to Peshawar Central Prison.
Trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has come to a screeching halt. The reason
behind the stoppage is said to be the rising violence against the Muslim
community in Sri Lanka in the wake of recent terrorism and suicide attacks over
there, which resulted in heavy casualties.
and textile exports to Sri Lanka from Pakistan have stopped. Potato export has
also reduced drastically,” said Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Forum Chairman
is the Muslim community in Sri Lanka that imports Pakistani products and sells
them there. They are partners of Pakistani exporters,” said Pakhali, adding
that the properties of Muslims were damaged during the recent wave of violence
shops, super stores and godowns are being targeted. The goods exported from
Pakistan have been unloaded at the Sri Lankan port, but the importers are not
getting them cleared because of the deteriorating law and order situation there,”
goods, especially fruits and vegetables, in godowns are perishing.
Lanka is a major importer of Pakistani rice and textile products, but the
exports have come to a halt,” he added.
said a delegation of the forum held a meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador in
Pakistan and emphasised that the Muslim community over there be protected.
delegation condemned the terrorist activities in Sri Lanka and condoled the
loss of precious lives over there.
demanded of the Sri Lankan government to compensate for the losses inflicted
upon the Muslim community and provide them with protection.
said, “The loss to the Muslim community by now is estimated at $500 million and
payments to the Pakistani exporters amounting of $30 million have been
said the exports would not resume till the law and order situation in Sri Lanka
improved. “Pakistan will face difficulties in achieving the export target in
the final months of this fiscal year,” he added.
Sri Lankan businessman Zainul Abideen told The Express through WhatsApp that
the Muslim community in Sri Lanka was facing a ton of problems and was under
law enforcement agencies are searching properties of Muslims. They are being
attacked by mobs,” said Abideen. “Most of the losses to Muslims occurred in
Negombo, Kurunegala and Puttalam districts. Violent mobs are attacking Muslims
in the presence of security personnel.”
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal said
on Sunday the anti-graft watchdog was not responsible for the misery caused by
prevailing economic crisis, inflation and rupee depreciation.
is not responsible for the economic crisis, devaluation of rupee, price hike,
increased gas and electricity tariffs,” he said while addressing his first-ever
presser since assuming charge as NAB’s chief in October 2017.
NAB chairman criticised between the lines the opposition and ruling party
leaders alike while asserting that accountability would be conducted across the
board irrespective of the status of a suspect. “NAB will do whatever will be in
the country’s interest and the government cannot dictate it,” he remarked.
personalities from the ruling and opposition parties facing NAB cases include
Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz
Sharif, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif
Zardari, Special Assistant to the PM Firdous Ashiq Awan, Adviser to the PM on
Petroleum Nadeem Babar, and PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique.
Iqbal asked the government and the relevant authorities not to appoint such
individuals as were on NAB’s radar on key positions. He said NAB arrested a
suspect only on the basis of credible evidence.
he said, no businessman would be summoned to any NAB office in future.
Bureaucrats involved in white-collar crimes would receive a questionnaire prior
to their summoning, he added.
chairman said neither the business community nor bureaucracy was afraid of NAB
as the bureau had not received even a single complaint from the two sectors against
the end of the presser, the NAB chairman refused to take questions. However,
before he left the rostrum, one of the reporters managed to ask a lengthy
question regarding the alleged double standards of the Bureau in dealing cases
of politicians like Aleem Khan and bureaucrats from Balochistan and some other
influential persons, including real estate tycoon Malik Riaz against whom five
cases were pending. The reporter also wanted the NAB chairman to respond to the
allegation that he had held meetings with Malik Riaz and former president Asif
Zardari prior to his appointment as the NAB chairman.
I had strong relation with the people you have named, references would have
never been filed against them in the first place,” the chairman replied.
chairman said he never responded to criticism against himself but a series of
allegations being levelled against NAB for the past three days had compelled
him to come forward to defend the bureau. He said the business community was
being frightened by blaming NAB for the prevailing economic crisis. He said
businessmen were being told that NAB and economy could not go together. “Today
I admit that neither I am an economist nor a politician. But it is a wrong
perception that NAB and economy cannot go together. In fact, NAB and corruption
cannot go side by side,” he added.
Iqbal said recently US dollar touched all-time high mark against Pakistani
rupee and people were aware of its repercussions. Similarly, the government
recently inked an agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Tell me is
NAB responsible for dollar’s high value against rupee, agreement with the IMF
and its effects? Where does NAB come into all this? Why is it being propagated
that business activities have slowed down due to NAB?” he added.
said business and economic activities were generated when someone had effective
economic policies, sincere and dedicated manpower to implement them and ample
money. “If you have money you can implement your policies,” he added.
some other problems confronting the people, the NAB chairman said the bureau
had no role in the recent increase in gas and electricity tariff, water
scarcity and law and order situation. “NAB has not taken any step against the
country’s interest,” he explained, regretting that NAB was being depicted as it
was responsible for all the ills.
address complaints of the business community, Justice Iqbal said a complaint
cell headed by a director had been established in the bureau’s headquarters and
all regional heads of NAB had been directed to address complaints of business
community within 48 hours.
come and go, they keep changing. If NAB has any affiliation, it is with the
country, not with any government. NAB is an independent organisation and no one
can dictate it,” he declared.
Iqbal claimed that NAB had never harassed any big businessmen and two of the
biggest industrialists in the country, Arif Habib and Mian Mansha, had written
to the regional office of NAB in Lahore appreciating the bureau’s work.
Interestingly, Mr Mansha is also facing a NAB case for allegedly obtaining
“undue” monetary benefits in the last PML-N regime.
said the country’s total debts were $90 billion but due to recent devaluation
of rupee they swelled further to $100 billion. “If we question people who had
spent lavishly and committed corruption, does that come under the definition of
uncivilised and harassment?” he asked.
Friday, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan strongly criticised the anti-graft watchdog
and its procedure after coming out from NAB’s detention on bail. He said the
bureau should not arrest or detain anyone before completion of its
investigation and without having any evidence to prove the guilt.
this, the NAB chairman without mentioning the PTI leader’s name said he was
astonished to see people showering rose petals on the corruption accused. He
reiterated NAB arrested people on the basis of credible evidence.
Iqbal said Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had put Pakistan on grey list and
NAB was making efforts to remove this stigma by taking action against money
laundering. “We cannot spare those who have deposited billions of rupees in the
bank accounts of Falooday wala,” he said.
Leaders of opposition parties on Sunday labelled the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf
(PTI) government as puppet and claimed it is going to fall soon. They expressed
the fear that technocrats would be imposed on the country after the rulers ran
at an Iftar-dinner hosted by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sindh
president Shah Mohammad Shah at a hotel here on Sunday, they said that time had
come to stop ‘undemocratic’ forces from taking important decisions for the
termed the PTI government a torture for the people of the country and claimed
that it had no policy for solving problems being faced by the general public.
They called for a joint struggle by all political parties to get rid of the PTI
Iftar-dinner was attended by PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, former
president Mamnoon Hussain, former governor of Sindh Mohammad Zubair, former
chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP Sindh president Nisar Ahmad Khuhro,
general secretary Syed Waqar Mehdi, National Party leader Abdul Malik Baloch,
former chief minister of Balochistan Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, former federal
minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Awami National Party leader Shahi Syed, Sajjad
Ahmad of Awami Tehreek and Ghulam Shah of Sindh United Party, PML-N leader
Miftah Ismail, Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, Asad Usmani and large number of PML-N
Iqbal in his speech said that he had brought a message of former prime minister
Nawaz Sharif from Kot Lakhpat jail for party workers that it was time for them
to save Pakistan. He said Mr Sharif came back to Pakistan by leaving his wife
on the deathbed and went to jail along with his daughter. He added that Mr
Sharif had proved that he was a real leader who instead of compromising on
principles preferred to face jail.
criticised the performance of the government and termed it a threat to the
country. There was sharp decline in the value of Pakistani currency against US
dollar with the indication that it would go down further in coming days.
a statement of Imran Khan that he would commit suicide instead of going to the
International Monetary Fund for a bailout package, the PML-N leader said that
the prime minister had created such circumstances that the poor people of the
country were compelled to commit suicide.
said the price-hike in the country had made the life of poor people miserable.
leader Nisar Khuhro criticised the performance of the PTI government, saying
that it could not solve the problems of people.
said that in this “Naya Pakistan” people had already suffered a lot. “We don’t
want new Pakistan, but a better Pakistan.”
Malik Baloch said all political parties would have to make a joint strategy to
take the country out of present political and economic crises.
Syed said that the present situation in the country did not augur well for its
Apart from technical compliance, Pakistan needs to launch an aggressive
diplomatic effort over the next four weeks to secure enough support and votes
to exit the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — the global
watchdog on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financing terror (CFT).
senior government official told Dawn that the coming FATF Plenary and Working
Group meetings in Orlando, Florida, scheduled for June 16-21, would be crucial
for Pakistan to get rid of the grey list or fall into the black list having
serious economic repercussions. The Orlando plenary will actually set the
stage for Pakistan’s future even though a formal announcement would come out at
the next FATF plenary due in Paris on October 18-23, he said.
was now fully compliant with the related United Nations resolutions, said the
official who was part of the Pakistani delegation to ‘Face-to-Face meeting’ of
the Asia-Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the FATF, in Guangzhou, China
has taken aggressive steps over the last two months in terms of regulatory and
monitoring mechanism to meet the FATF requirements and its legal system is
generally up to the mark, except some amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering
Act (AMLA) 2010 pending before the National Assembly’s standing committee on
finance and revenue.
believe we have generally delivered on the technical side i.e. legal and
administrative action, regulations, monitoring, enforcement and inter-agency
and stakeholder coordination and now require more of the diplomatic push to
counter the adversaries,” said the official.
said Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected be given a briefing on the
Guangzhou meeting and on the way forward on Monday. He said it was expected
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi would now coordinate with
stakeholders on a strategy to reach out to the world capitals in difficult
diplomatic environment where the US-India grouping has greater influence and
non-aligned members of the FATF prefer to abstain than siding with Pakistan.
said Pakistan required about 15-16 votes to move out of the grey list and a
minimum of three votes to avoid falling into the blacklist. The FATF currently
comprises 36 members with voting powers and two regional organisations,
representing most of the major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
FATF plenary had formally placed Pakistan in the grey list in June 2018 due to
‘strategic deficiencies’ in its AML/CFT regime after the country could not
secure a minimum of three votes as its friends had their own political targets
to secure in the global watchdog.
is set to secure FATF presidency next year while Saudi Arabia representing the
Gulf Cooperation Council is to become a full FATF member. Turkey was the only
member that stood by Pakistan despite a strong adverse campaign launched by the
US, UK, India and Europe.
official said the Pakistani delegation led by the finance secretary presented a
robust case before the APG panel on the country’s progress on the 10-point
action plan committed with the global watchdog despite tough questioning from
some participants. The APG appeared generally appreciative of the progress made
by Islamabad, he said, adding that it was not the session to draw conclusions
or expect judgments from.
official said Pakistan submitted a progress report at the Guangzhou meeting and
had to respond to questions from the APG members to clarify certain things. The
APG would now submit its findings, based on Pakistan’s report and
question-answer session, to the FATF in its June 16-21 Plenary and Working
Group meetings in the United States.
briefed the APG in China about its recent actions against currency smuggling
and proscribed organisations, tightening of financial and corporate sector
systems and operational effectiveness. This included arrests of key operatives
of proscribed organisations, treating the outfits as high risk entities,
putting more such organisations and their affiliates on the list of banned
outfits, blocking their accounts and financial flows and taking control of
their assets. The delegation reported that Pakistan had either complied with or
was very close to accomplishing the milestones under the FATF action plan.
government has recently revised its national risk assessment of the corporate
sector, strengthened customs procedures on borders and inland movement of funds
and assets and put nine more entities on the list of proscribed organisations.
Internal control of the banking and non-banking financial institutions,
insurance companies and stock exchanges has been strengthened to curb the
possibility of money laundering and terror financing. The account opening is
now subject to additional checks and scrutiny and existing accounts are being
has recently created a specialised directorate of Cross Border Currency
Movement (CBCM) to maintain a database of currency seizures and suspicious
transactions. All the model customs formations are required to report each
currency seizure on a fortnightly basis. These reports are then shared with the
Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and the Federal Board of Revenue on a monthly
basis or when called for. The CBCM has to maintain and update database of
suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and share information with law
enforcement agencies, the FMU and FBR on a real time basis.
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has assured Pakistan
that he will make personal efforts to resolve visa restriction issues being
faced by the Pakistani community.
Kuwaiti emir gave this assurance to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who
called on him in Kuwait City on Sunday.
foreign minister apprised the emir of Kuwait about reservations and
difficulties being faced by the Pakistani community in Kuwait due to visa
restrictions. He also presented special letters from President Dr Arif Alvi
and Prime Minister Imran Khan to him.
Qureshi thanked the emir for raising voice against human rights violations in
India-held Kashmir by New Delhi. He also thanked the emir for supporting
Islamabad’s stance during the recent tension with India.
said over 100,000 workforce and experts of Pakistan origin are playing an
important role in the development and progress of Kuwait. He said Pakistan
attached high importance to its bilateral and economic relations with Kuwait.
talking to his Kuwaiti counterpart Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, Mr Qureshi said
Kuwait had supported Pakistan in every critical situation. He said that
Pakistan and its people had great respect for the people and government of
to Foreign Office, the Kuwaiti foreign minister said services of Pakistani
diaspora in Kuwait were appreciable as they were brave and hard working.
Qureshi said more than 100,000 overseas Pakistanis were playing a dynamic role
in Kuwait’s development and that Pakistan wanted to boost the existing economic
relations with Kuwait.
Pakistani diaspora in Gulf countries wanted to get access to Kuwait’s markets,
he added. However, visa restriction was a hurdle in getting access to the
markets, he added.
Qureshi said Pakistan had taken effective measures to curb the use of illegal
documents for travel and requested the Kuwait government to review its visa
Kuwaiti foreign minister assured Mr Qureshi that the visa policy would be
reviewed and all possible cooperation would be extended to Pakistan in this
Qureshi thanked the Kuwaiti minister for supporting Pakistan’s stance during
the recent Pak-India crisis and on the issue of human rights violations in
talking to a delegation of Abu Shaibah Group of Companies led by its chairman
Sayyah Abu Shaibah in Kuwait, Mr Qureshi reaffirmed the PTI government’s
determination to increase foreign investment in the country and provide all-out
assistance to investors.
FM said there were vast investment opportunities for foreign investors in
Pakistan’s education, energy, agriculture, health, and construction sectors. He
said investment of Kuwaiti companies in Pakistan would be welcomed.
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) has said that future collaborative projects between the US and Pakistan
include using American soybean feed in poultry, fish farming and dairy
industries, introducing genetically-engineered maize and working with various
government departments to develop uniform food safety standards.
from the United States will serve as raw material for poultry, fish farming and
dairy industries in Pakistan. We are working collaboratively with the
government and the industry not only in poultry but also in the new and
exciting area of fish farming which is in the pipeline,” Casey E. Bean, USDA
official based in US Embassy in Islamabad, told Dawn.
of genetically-engineered maize is currently being considered in Pakistan. It
would offer farmers a tool to increase their production and reduce use of
agricultural chemicals,” he claimed.
about the complicated relationship between the two countries, Mr Bean told
Dawn, “While political highs and lows in the relations between the two
countries occurs, US-Pakistan cooperation in the agricultural sector has always
been an important part in our bilateral relationship of seventy years.
deep relationship between the agricultural scientists of the two countries is
evident in the collaboration on developing seeds for wheat, rice, sugarcane and
cotton. Agriculture sector is an incredibly important sector in Pakistan and is
a priority for the US. For these reasons the USDA mission has an office in
Islamabad,” he said.
in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the US have a knotty relationship,
especially over Afghanistan. In the past the Washington has accused Islamabad
of playing a double game but in February this year US President Donald Trump
said that the United States had developed a “much better relationship” with
food safety standards and food security are two other areas where the USDA is
working with local government departments, Mr Bean said. USDA is working with
the Department of Commerce, the Ministry of National Food Security and
agribusiness sector to implement food safety standards such as food labels
illustrating ingredients contained in food products.
federal government’s food security authority would be able to provide oversight
to provinces to adhere to international standards consistently ultimately
benefiting consumers, Mr Bean said.
will assist the ministry of national food security and research for the
national food system project, as after devolution, it has become important for
Pakistan to have a central food security authority. In this area, USDA is
working with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council scientists for reducing
aflatoxin (toxic fungus) in food crops.
and USAID launched a programme sometime last year to introduce aflatoxin
control in Pakistan currently at field trial stage. Aflatoxin is produced by
molds, and it often grows on food crops such as corn, peanuts, chillies, ground
nuts but even cotton seeds are susceptible. US scientists were working with a
private sector maize company in Pakistan to develop a technology to combat
aflatoxin, said the US official.
Pakistan and Japan are exploring ways to expand cooperation for employment of
Pakistani skilled workers in Japan.
is facing serious labour shortage, and the government has decided to accept
foreign human resources, with specific expertise and skills.
new ‘Status of Residence’ for specific skilled workers has been created that
became effective on April 1.
this purpose, the Japanese government has amended the ‘Immigration Control Act’
and took comprehensive measures for the acceptance of foreign workers residing
the next five years, Japan expects to hire services of 340,000 skilled workers.
show interest in opportunities for Pakistani people to work in Japan and I have
talked to find ways for these opportunities with the ministry of foreign
affairs and economic affairs division besides stakeholders like ministry of
education and National Vocational and Technical Education Commission,” said
Yuji Tokita, head of the Economic and Development Section at the Embassy of
Japan in Islamabad.
Japanese government has already signed a memorandum for cooperation with the
Philippines, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar and Nepal. Agreement with Vietnam has
been reached substantially, according to the official.
Pakistan and Japan in February signed a memorandum of cooperation in Tokyo on
technical intern training programme. This is the first institutional
arrangement between the two governments which will open up Japanese market for
memorandum will play a vital role in contributing to the human resource and
economic development of Pakistan as well as in promoting bilateral cooperation.
Tokita said that the intern training programme was different from the skilled
worker programme, and it would establish a direct link between the Pakistani
and Japanese companies in the private sector. The two sides would liaise to
connect the Pakistani interns with the Japanese companies.
Pakistan, skilled workers living in Japan and in Pakistan were under
the IT sector, the Japanese official stated that Pakistani skills in IT sector
were much appreciated by the Japanese companies and business people.
foreign skilled workers entering Japan for employment would have to pass the
skills examination and the Japanese language test before signing the employment
contract with the accepting organisation.
reflecting the presence of British Muslims in largely white British areas,
where mosques are not always conveniently near, is all the more important.
do find myself actually concentrating better even though I’m tired. There’s evidence
that concentration improves when you’re fasting. The rewarding aspect I find is
that you’re in a constant state of being alert and aware of what you’re doing.
I try and bring that to my work,” she says.
far-right politician who converted to Islam says EU must be realistic about
Europeans approaching the next parliamentary vote split down the middle on the
benefits of immigration, few can claim to have the perspective possessed by
Joram van Klaveren.
a spokesman for right-wing Geert Wilders’s anti-immigration Party for Freedom
(PVV) a decade ago, the Dutch politician fought tooth and nail to ban burqas
and minarets in the Netherlands, making the headlines for his anti-Islam
a Muslim convert and author of the book “Apostate: From Christianity to Islam
in Times of Secular Terror”, he calls out populist parties fuelling
Islamophobia in an attempt to win votes in the next European elections.
PVV policy was: everything that did not work had to be linked to Islam in one
way or another,” Mr Van Klaveren told The National. “Nationalist parties don’t
want to listen – they use the fear of Islam to gain political power.”
Netherlands is one of the European countries that looks set to send a strong
Eurosceptic contingent to the European parliament. The Forum for Democracy
(FvD), led by founder Thierry Baudet, has run a series of successful campaigns
by presenting a more respectable version of Mr Wilders’ anti-immigration
March, it did well in provincial voting and it is now leading opinion polls,
ahead of the governing Liberal Party.
Van Klaveren’s own political career is intertwined with the rise of the
far-right in the Netherlands. In 2004, he was part of a splinter group led by
Mr Wilders that left the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and
Democracy in 2006 over Turkey’s possible accession to the European Union.
was still very anti-Islamic then and Turkey is a Muslim country [that would
have] become the second biggest in the European Union,” Mr Van Klaveren said.
PVV started off as a conservative party but soon drifted towards more extreme
views on migration and religion.
party filed a motion in 2007 calling for a stop to immigration from Muslim
countries. The group also launched a website to collect complaints about
Central and East European immigrants and fought to ban burqas and minarets in
a Protestant who grew up in a family that looked down on Islam, Mr Van Klaveren
was at first comfortable with the PVV’s views. That was until its figurehead,
Mr Wielders, asked a crowd of supporters whether they wanted more or less
Moroccan migrants and the crowd chanted back: “less, less, less!”
thought it was going too far. It was no longer about an ideology but about a
people,” he said.
Van Klaveren left the PVV as hatred of immigrants flared up and attacks on
mosques became more frequent. After a brief attempt to form his own party, he
set out to write a book that would give his anti-Islam views a theoretical
wanted to prove that [Muslims] ... promote terrorism... but I found that there
were no Islamic sources to prove this, only orientalist sources.”
converted to Islam halfway through writing the book, in October 2018.
former ally, Mr Wilders, compared him to a vegetarian who found a job in a
slaughterhouse. Death threats and hateful emails now come from what was once
his side of the political spectrum.
Van Klaveren has taken back his statements on Islam, saying his views were
“simply wrong”. But if Europe wants to rid itself of Islamophobia, he says it
must face the “big problem” that is immigration and address the legitimate
concerns of its population.
is a real threat, it is not something that people have invented, it is real.
And it is also true that there are ISIS cells among refugees,” he said.
“Mainstream parties are afraid to talk about immigration, but they will have to
take the topic back because right now the [discourse is controlled] by the
populist parties,” he said.
show anti-immigration parties winning a third of seats at the European
Parliament. Mr Van Klaveren worries the populist ideas he contributed to could
“now become policies”.
think it is very important that we reach a common ground,” he said. The book
born out of his initial resentment for Islam calls instead for coexistence and
it, Mr Van Klaveren cites a folk tale where a man asks another how to get to
the other side of the river. “Why do you ask me, as you are already on the
other side,” the other man replied.
unconfirmed report shows Britain has secretly sent troops to the Persian Gulf
to help US forces in the region to counter an alleged threat from Iran.
Sunday Express said that British special forces had joined US strike group in
the Persian Gulf as part of a top secret mission to allegedly protect merchant
ships against possible threats that the Washington and its allies insist are
coming from Iran. The report said special boat service (SBS) forces were now
with the UK registered oil tankers transiting through the Strait of Hormuz to
the south of the Persian Gulf waters.
said the SBS has been tasked to monitor Iranian military activity around the
island of Qeshm, where Iran normally stations its naval gunboats.
report added that Royal Navy Merlin helicopters which are not allowed to fly
above the Strait of Hormuz will airlift the SBS forces once they enter the Gulf
report comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States in the
Persian Gulf region, where Washington has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52
long-range bombers in a show of force against Iran.
tensions intensified after Iran announced earlier this month that it will
suspend parts of its commitments under an international nuclear agreement which
has suffered as a result of US withdrawal last year.
has publicly refrained from taking side in the conflict although authorities in
London have on several occasions endorsed Washington’s anti-Iran rhetoric.
foreign minister Jeremy hunt said earlier this week that his country “shared
the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran.”
deployment of US special forces to the Persian Gulf comes following a series of
attacks on oil tankers off the coast of United Arab Emirates.
has warned that such sabotage operation may be part of a general ploy to target
Iran amid the increasing regional tensions.
leading German-Turkish politician said on Sunday he has received numerous
Islamophobic letters and death threats in recent weeks, ahead of European
Parliament (EP) elections on May 26.
Yildiz, the leader of the pro-immigration Alliance for Innovation and Justice
(BIG), said the letters were sent by some unknown persons and included
xeonophobic insults and threats.
one of the letters they were saying that we have crossed the line. They were
claiming that it is only Germans who have a say in this country,” he said,
adding that they take these threats very seriously, due to increased neo-Nazi
violence in recent years.
such threats will not deter us, we will continue our political struggle here,”
is the leading candidate of BIG, a small party founded in 2010 by a group of
migrants in Germany.
network boasting Islamic values launched
new social media platform that says it is based on “the moral values of Islam”
and describes itself as a respectful and safe online environment has been
Labayk, which means "at your service", the platform highlights
Islamic values and encourages users to donate to charitable causes.
by investment banker Tanweer Khan, Labayk is said to cater to both Muslim and
non-Muslim users, though it expects all users to “abide by the moral values of
other social networks, it allows users to create a profile, update their
status, make connections and send private messages.
time, I was becoming increasingly frustrated at the way social media networks
have become vehicles for abuse, trolling and bullying. Social media platforms
are constantly being called out over their response to this, and it’s becoming
harder and harder to control," said Khan in a statement.
media networks have the power to do good and make the world a better place for
everyone, both online and offline. However, the culture on most of these
networks is driven by profits, allowing bots to shape people’s decisions and
opinions. I wanted to create a platform where people can connect and
effectively communicate with others, with similar values, in a safe and
nonthreatening environment," he added.
who upload content deemed inappropriate or fake news can be immediately removed
from the platform.
isn’t a Muslim-only platform, it is open for everyone. However, Labayk shares
and is built on true Islamic values of peace, respect, kindness, truth and
sincerity. And this is what I wanted the platform to be. Hatred and aggressive
advertising has been replaced with giving, charitable causes, great
communication and safety. And it’s free, and always will be," said Khan.
mobile app is currently only available for download on iPhone devices. (kes)
should focus on Islam’: Yadim objects to proposal for primary school lessons on
BARU, May 20 — Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) has described the
Malaysian Youth Council’s (MBM) proposal for a new subject be introduced at
primary school to enable pupils to learn about other religions as unsuitable.
its president, Nik Omar Nik Aziz said he personally felt that such a proposal
should be scrutinised and studied from all angles if it were to be implemented.
young pupils, especially Muslims, we should focus on providing Islamic
education and strengthening their faith... by exposing them with the basic of
proposal is more suitable for those in secondary school or institution or
higher education as they will be able understand Islam more, but it is really
unsuitable for those in primary school,” he told reporters here last night.
the Education Ministry also rejected the proposal. In fact, Minister Maszlee
Malik said that he was consistent with the ministry’s previous suggestion that
every school and university should organise more cross-cultural programmes.
Saturday, MBM president Jufitri Joha was reported as saying that the Islamic
studies subject currently being taught in schools was good, but it only focused
on one religion.
year ago the United States moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem, sparking protests in Muslim-majority countries and drawing official
condemnation at the United Nations.
estimated 30,000 people demonstrated in Jakarta as President Joko Widodo said
his country “rejects” the American move as it "may disrupt the peace
process in Israel and Palestine.”
late 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would live up to his
campaign promise to move the embassy, the Malaysian government endorsed a huge
protest at the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur, while Asia’s Muslim U.N.
representatives lined up in New York to excoriate the U.S.
contrast, the detention in mass camps of an estimated one million or more
Muslims in Xinjiang in western China — described in late April by China’s
foreign ministry as "preventive anti-terrorism and de-radicalization
measures" that "respect and protect human rights and have won
extensive support from people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang” — has prompted
barely a murmur of complaint from Muslim-majority countries in Asia.
China’s long-standing restrictions on Catholics and other Christians rarely
incur any protest from the Philippines, the continent's biggest
is disappointing that Southeast Asian countries have been silent about the more
than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang that
the Chinese government has kept in detention under political indoctrination,”
said Charles Santiago, a Malaysian lawmaker and board member of Association of
Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
association is a non-governmental entity made up mostly of opposition lawmakers
from the region — though Santiago is from Malaysia’s governing Democratic
and Malaysia are home to minorities of Chinese descent that have been
influential in business but have suffered not only discrimination and
suspicion, but have suffered bouts of deadly political violence.
since signing a free tree agreement with ASEAN a decade ago, China has surged
ahead as the region’s biggest trade partner, though still lags somewhat when it
comes to investment.
2018 ASEAN Investment Report showed that 8.2 percent of all FDI [foreign direct
investment] into the region in 2017 came from Chinese businesses, less than
is only likely to grow, however, under Beijing’s mammoth Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI), an ongoing series of transport infrastructure projects aiming
to link China to countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Southeast Asian countries need massive investment in infrastructure — Indonesia
and the Philippines in particular, as both are scattered archipelagos lumbered
with high transport costs.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Indonesia’s newly re-elected President
Widodo have both met China’s president-for-life, Xi Jinping, over the last year
to discuss trade and investment as Chinese projects ran into cost- and
planning-related difficulties in both countries.
despite the haggling, there has been no criticism of Beijing over the razing of
mosques in Xinjiang and the mass incarcerations — though that has been the case
for almost all Muslim-majority countries.
speak up for the Uyghurs is to go against your economic national interests.
This is particularly glaring in the case of Saudi Arabia, the source of much of
the funding for the revival of Islam in Xinjiang in the 1990s. Many of the
mosques now being torn down were built with Saudi money,” said Graeme Smith of
the Department of Pacific Affairs at Australian National University.
to criticism by some of the country’s leading Islamic clerics over the issue,
Indonesia’s outgoing vice-president Jusuf Kalla said in December his country
would not interfere in the internal affairs of another country, echoing ASEAN’s
long-standing “non-interference” mantra.
aside from the BRI, China is the major trading partner for most [Southeast
Asian] nations, and Beijing has demonstrated a willingness to use economic
coercion on smaller powers,” said Smith, who co-hosts “The Little Red Podcast,”
a monthly discussion of Chinese politics and society.
turn to undergo the U.N.’s human rights-focused Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
last November saw European and North American country representatives raise the
issue of freedom of religion, specifically mentioning Xinjiang, which China brushed
off as “politicized."
representatives were less abrasive, however, with Indonesia asking China to
“continue to strengthen the development of laws and systems for protecting
freedom of religion and beliefs,” while Bangladesh sought that Beijing "continue
to promote participation, integration and sharing of development benefits with
the people in vulnerable situations.”
however, backed Beijing’s claims about counter-terrorism, while Malaysia’s
interventions were restricted to issues such as gender and mental health.
the UPR, however, Kuala Lumpur refused to extradite 11 Chinese Muslims who had
escaped from China to Malaysia via Thailand, while in December 2018 a small
protest at the Chinese embassy in Jakarta railed against the Chinese
government’s policies in Xinjiang.
protest was led by some of the same Islamist groups that demonstrated in 2016
against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
Protestant politician of Chinese descent was later jailed for two years for
blasphemy against Islam.
the Thirty Years’ War? From 1618 to 1648, Catholic and Protestant states under
the Holy Roman Empire were embroiled in one of the most destructive conflicts
in human history.
it evolved, though, the war became less about religion and more about which
group would ultimately govern Europe. It changed the geopolitical face of
Europe, and ended with the Peace of Westphalia.
treaty allowed the minority religion to be practised freely. It also
established important political precedents for state sovereignty, interstate
diplomacy, and the balance of power in Europe.
the nation state was born with the Treaty of Westphalia.
forward to the 21st century. The Muslim world is experiencing more intrastate
wars rather than interstate ones.
the debate on the backwardness of Muslims should not be approached in a
lopsided manner. It is counterproductive to focus only on the “evil” West,
“supremacist” whites and “ruthless” Israelis. These are not the only reasons
Muslims feel persecuted.
is time Malaysians knew the reality about intra-Muslim conflicts around the
world. In the process, it should dawn on us how these conflicts have affected
other Muslims under relatively peaceful conditions.
Islamic State (IS) is the main religious extremist group. Other extreme and
backward ideologies are Salafism and Wahabbism.
is said to have emerged around 2003, with a vision to establish a universal
Sunni caliphate. Shias, to them, are deviant and must be annihilated. It is an
extremist, destructive, sectarian movement.
is no secret that big power interests have interfered and fuelled the
Sunni-Shia conflicts in a classic divide-and-conquer strategy. The entire
religious and geopolitical development has done a massive disservice to Islam
and Muslims in other parts of the world where a majority of Muslims live in
fanatical ideology has seeped into the psyche of pockets of Malay society. As a
result, we are now living in a post-GE14 era of sublime conflict.
this, I mean a more invasive form of conflict “among” the Malays has surfaced.
It is conflict resulting from the suppression of rationality, directed more at
each other rather than at fellow non-Muslim and non-Malay Malaysians.
see this as the main reason why Malaysia is stuck in an unproductive, backward
narrative of race and religion. ICERD, the Rome Statute, the Red Shirts
movement, burning Bibles, the Seafield temple fracas and the “cross on
building” episodes seem to be protests against insulting Islam, Muslims and
the verbal attacks can be seen as directed against secular-minded,
reform-oriented, progressive Malaysian Muslims. The fear is that these rational
and practising Muslims have found a way out of backwardness, and are able to
join the ranks of an inclusive socio-economic existence.
fear of being “left behind” is really not directed at the Chinese or Indians,
demonstrations in Malaysia are led by a small fraction of the Malay population
who actually know the cause for which they are demonstrating.
majority do not have a clue what they are doing in the blazing sun or
torrential rain. They are there for gotong-royong, pocket money, a T-shirt and
some tidbits to satisfy their gastronomical urges.
listen to ceramah on make-shift stages and boisterously cheer. When the press
interviews a few of them, they grin, shrug shyly and stumble to explain the
reasons they are there.
handful who do know the cause have latched onto a fanatical and irrational
narrative – the same narrative espoused by our fellow Muslims of IS fame.
instance, cliches such as Islam has to be defended or protected are rampant in
daily discourse. Protection is synonymous with defence, shielding, shelter,
preservation, conservation, safe keeping, security and immunity.
in Malaysian Islam needs protection or shielding? The way I see it, a majority
of Muslims in Malaysia feel they have to shield Islam from progressive Muslim
ideas, rather than from the Buddhists, Christians or Hindus.
and religious policing during Ramadan, humiliating men and women for the way
they dress and a warped understanding of rape, are serious transgressions in
Islam. The irony is that these transgressions have pitted fanatics against
progressives within the Malay community. The other races are spectators in this
tragic (or comedic?) theatrical play.
month, a religious teacher delivered a lecture as part of a marriage course
conducted by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department. He said that
women who do not cover up deserve to be sexually violated. The man did not
realise that he had insulted his fellow Muslim Malay women by saying that rape
is their fault.
is he protecting Islam and Muslims, or even Malays in this manner?
years ago, Betty Friedan, a well-known American feminist of the 1960s, wrote of
depression, frustration, emptiness, guilt and dishonesty. She was analysing the
way psychiatrists, women’s magazines, marketers, educators and social
scientists routinely lied to women about their need for feminine glamour.
seems the Jawi man needed to impose his idea of modesty on women. His
patriarchal concept of demure and good behaviour is grossly deviant. Even in
lied to them to make them feel guilty and responsible should they be sexually
violated. In Islam (or any religion), lying is a grave sin.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and feminist, Shirin Ebadi, says in Iran, sexual abuse
against women goes largely unreported and officially, it is unrecognised.
situation is similar in Malaysia. A majority of Muslim women who are are
physically or sexually abused in marriages suffer in silence. This is due to
our false sense of shame. It is also the result of religious conditioning by
the likes of the Jawi ustaz who fail to understand the concept of social
justice in Islam.
women experience ridicule by law enforcers (mainly men) when they do make a
police report. Many are also told to go back and “think about it, be patient,
try to work it out because the sanctity of marriage in Islam is worth the
extremist ideology espoused by militant Muslim groups has infiltrated the Malay
mind. I am not implying that a majority of Malays/Muslims in Malaysia have
become imbued with militant views to blow themselves up.
there is a more sublime and invasive ideology of prejudice that is holding back
JAYA: An academic has dismissed Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s suggestion
to teach more love and empathy in schools in the fight against religious
extremism, arguing that these values must be put into practice and made a
Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said pupils and teachers should mix across
ethnic and religious lines.
needs to be done to ensure that school enrolments and teacher intakes reflect
the ethnic and religious demography in the community at large.
spaces where students can sit together without segregating themselves,” he
further suggested that schools organise trips to visit various places of
worships and ethnic enclaves so as to increase religious and ethnic tolerance.
could also invite leaders of various communities to give talks, and hold
exchange programmes with vernacular and religious schools, he said.
Education Ministry could also revamp Islamic education to be more inclusive of
other religions and different teachings within Islam.
argued that training and certification of teachers should also incorporate
these changes, as teachers are the ones who will transmit these ideas in the
recently said that the spread of extremist ideologies can be only be countered
through education that is underpinned by love and empathy in the long run.
someone is devoid of love and happiness, they will be more easily influenced by
extremism and radicalism. They do not love themselves. They feel, if they die,
it is okay, so long as their ideology is spread far and wide,” he was reported
Houthi militia said targeting Saudi Aramco’s installations last week was the
beginning of military operations against 300 vital military targets, Houthi-controlled
SABA news agency said on Sunday, citing a source in the Houthi militia.
included vital military headquarters and facilities in the United Arab
Emirates, Saudi Arabia, as well as their bases in Yemen, SABA quoted the source
Arabia said armed drones struck two oil pumping stations last Tuesday, after
Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said the group had launched drone attacks on
Wednesday, the Houthi’s leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said that the militia is
developing more military capabilities, which have “proven their effectiveness,”
but what’s to come is “bigger and greater.”
loyal to the Yemeni legitimate government backed by the Arab coalition say they
have captured a key al-Qaeda leader in the southwestern province of Taiz.
military said in a statement that special forces had arrested Bilal Muhammed
Ali al-Wafi on Saturday in the mountain area of Habashi.
in his 30s, is a key member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, and
has helped to carry out several deadly attacks including the 2012 bombing of a
Yemeni military parade that killed dozens of troops.
US designated al-Wafi as a terrorist in 2017.
is not pursuing war, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday,
according to the Fars news agency.
difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don't have
the will for it,” Major General Hossein Salami said.
had said on Saturday that his country is in a full intelligence war with the
United States and “enemies of the Islamic Republic” which includes cyber and
are in a full intelligence war with the United States and the enemies of the
Islamic Republic. This war is a combination of psychological warfare, cyber
operations, military operations, diplomacy, fear, and intimidation,” Major
General Hossein Salami, who was named head of the force last month, was quoted
as saying by Fars news agency.
senior Iraqi Shia cleric has warned about the negative consequences of tension
between Tehran and Washington for the region, saying that Iraq can play a
positive role in controlling the situation.
al-Hakim, the Leader of the National Wisdom Movement, made the remarks in a
Sunday meeting with Joey Hood, the Chargé d'affaires of the US Mission in Iraq,
amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington.
the meeting, al-Hakim described the escalation of tension as
"worrying", saying that such tensions endanger the security and
stability of all countries in the region.
also hailed the positive signals recently sent by the US for bilateral talks
with Iran, and said, "These comments must serve as an introduction to
achieving appropriate solutions and keeping the regional nations distant from
war and blockade."
senior cleric referred to his warms ties with both Iran and the US, and said he
can play the role of a mediator to get the two sides' stances closer to each
other and end the current crisis.
on Sunday, Iraqi lawmaker Hassan Fadas said in an interview with Baghdad Today
that “Iraq played the role of mediation, and is still communicating with US and
Iranian, to bring the views closer, and it is necessary to communicate with
neighbors on this side.”
is capable of influencing the American decision, and being an element of calm
and embracing any possible meeting to prevent war, which could have
catastrophic consequences for Iraq and the region in general,” he said.
this month, al-Hakim had urged the Iraqi government to adopt what he described
as a responsible position to prevent a “tragedy” and act as mediator between
Tehran and Washington.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi will pay his first official visit to
Qatar on Monday, where he is going to discuss the Iran-US tension and ways to
ease the conflict.
will discuss with Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani ... the developments currently
taking place in the region and the need to unify positions and move to create
ways to ease the conflict and to find a ground that would endanger the danger
of all," a source said Sunday.
visit comes shortly after a Katyusha rocket that crashed inside Baghdad's Green
Zone where many foreign embassies are located.
US bases in Iraq have been put on standby amid reports that the rocket has hit
an area close to the US embassy.
low-grade rocket did land within the International Zone near the US Embassy and
the JOC (Joint Operation Center). There were no casualties or significant
damage; no US-inhabited facility was impacted," the US State Department
said in reaction to the incident.
are in close and continuing contact with senior Iraqi officials regarding this
incident and investigating the circumstances. At present there are no claims of
responsibility," it added.
noted, there have been no claims of responsibility and no US-inhabited facility
was struck. But, we take this incident very seriously. We have made clear over
the past two weeks and again underscore that attacks on US personnel and
facilities will not be tolerated and will be responded to in a decisive
manner," the State Department said.
The Palestinians are giving a cool reception to an American plan to hold a
conference next month to unveil the first phase of its Mideast peace plan.
White House announced Sunday that it will hold the gathering in Bahrain to
discuss large-scale investment in the Palestinian territories. It said the
conference will not address the contentious political aspects of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as final borders, and the status of
Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says “any plan
without a political horizon will not lead to peace.”
army rulers say civil talks to resume as Islamists protest
between Sudan's military council and protesters are set to resume, army rulers
said on Saturday, as hundreds of supporters of Islamic movements rallied for
the inclusion of Sharia in the country's political roadmap.
ruling military council announced that "negotiations with the Alliance for
Freedom and Change" over the planned transfer of power to a new governing
body would resume on Sunday.
announcement follows pressure from key world powers for the military and the
protesters' umbrella group to get back to the table, after talks on the
composition of the new governing body failed to take place as planned last
have stalled repeatedly, as the protesters have pressed the military council
hard to hand over power to civilian rule since autocratic president Omar
al-Bashir was deposed on 11 April.
from the United States, the United Nations, African Union and European powers
called for "an agreement ASAP on an interim government that is truly
civilian-led and reflects the will of the Sudanese people," Tibor Nagy,
the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, tweeted on Friday.
have met a key demand of military council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
in the last couple of days, dismantling roadblocks that had paralysed parts of
generals have allowed protesters to maintain their sit-in outside Khartoum's
army headquarters, where thousands remain camped out to demand a rapid
transition to democracy.
suspending talks this week the two sides agreed on several key issues,
including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member
parliament, with two thirds of lawmakers to come from the protesters' umbrella
Sudanese Islamist movements – fearing the incipient transition plans exclude
them – held their own demonstration Saturday outside the presidential palace in
downtown Khartoum. Hundreds took part in the demonstration, the first organised
mobilisation by Islamist groups since Bashir's ousting.
main reason for the mobilisation is that the alliance (the main protesters'
umbrella group) is ignoring the application of Sharia in its deal," said
Al-Tayieb Mustafa, who heads a coalition of about 20 Islamic groups. "This
is irresponsible and if that deal is done, it is going to open the door of hell
for Sudan," he told journalists ahead of the rally.
the rally, men and women chanted slogans in support of Sharia in front of the
presidential palace garden, an agency correspondent said. "The solution
lies in the religion!" chanted some as others shouted "No to
Communism, No to atheism!".
are here to support the Islamic sharia law and say no to secular rule,"
said Younus Ali, dressed in a traditional Sudanese robe. The demonstrators
offered evening prayers at the venue and later broke their dawn-to-dusk Ramadan
fast, before resuming their chants.
came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989 and Sudanese legislation has
since been underpinned by Islamic law. But activists say Sharia was applied
inconsistently during his rule.
of women were flogged for "indecent behaviour", women's rights
activists have said.
Alliance for Freedom and Change has so far remained silent on whether Sharia
has a place in Sudan's future, arguing that its main concern now is installing
a civilian administration.
main protest movement brings together a wide range of political, social and
military council's deputy head Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo said on Saturday
"people have been arrested" in connection with shooting protesters
this week near the ongoing sit-in outside military headquarters.
have accused Dagalo's paramilitary group the Rapid Support Forces – long close
to Bashir – for the shootings, which killed five protesters and an army major.
But Dagalo did not specify whether RSF personnel had been arrested.
worry that the protesters' umbrella group is pushing for a secular Sudan.
is part and parcel of the identity of the majority of the people of
Sudan," Sadeq al-Mahdi – long Sudan's main opposition figurehead and an
ex-premier – told journalists in a recent interview. He said it was a
"great mistake" for some members of the opposition to "talk
of worshippers on Friday staged spontaneous demonstrations in Khartoum after
weekly prayers and criticised the protest movement.
Alliance for Freedom and Change wants... to build what they call a new Sudan, a
Sudan without religion, a secular Sudan," said hard-line cleric Abdelhai
Yusef in his Friday sermon, according to a video posted on his Facebook page.
"That's why we say no, a thousand times no to this deal. We want a Sudan
that is for everyone."
at Saturday's rally another hard-line cleric, Mohamed Ali Jazuli, had a warning
for the military council.
you consider handing over power to a certain faction, then we will consider it
a coup", he vowed. (AFP)
coalition of forces allied with Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National
Accord (GNA), some of which face UN sanctions, received a shipment of Turkish
armored vehicles and arms on Saturday. The shipment arrived amid the GNA’s
efforts to stop the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, from
advancing toward the capital, Tripoli.
and videos posted by the coalition on its Facebook pages showed what appeared
to be dozens of Turkish-made BMC Kirpi armored vehicles in Tripoli port.
GNA is fostering its forces defending Tripoli with armored vehicles,
ammunition, and quality weapons,” the pro-GNA coalition said on one of its
Facebook pages, without giving further details about the origin of the military
cargo ship “Amazon,” flying a Moldovan flag, publicly unloaded its cargo midday
on Saturday at one of the wharfs of the Tripoli seaport. The vessel had sailed
from the northern Black Sea port of Samsun, Turkey.
cargo included a shipment of around 40 armored vehicles of Turkish origin that
came from northern Turkey. These were met at the port by forces loyal to Salah
Badi, leader of the powerful al-Samoud militia, which has in the past opposed
the GNA and any political solution in Libya. Badi was added to a UN sanctions
blacklist last November.
on Saturday, there were also reports and pictures posted on the Facebook page
of another radical Tripoli militia – the Marsa Brigade – of machine guns,
sniper rifles, and anti-tank and aircraft missiles, freshly wrapped in crates,
with the suggestion that these had also formed part of the Turkish cargo and
had been distributed to frontline militia fighters defending Tripoli.
a Turkish drone was reportedly shot down by the LNA last week, leading to
warnings from the national army’s leadership that Turkey was sending weapons to
UN has been monitoring for an uptick in Turkish military support for Tripoli
militias ever since the GNA’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, who founded the
Marsa Brigade, made a lengthy visit to Ankara earlier this month.
who is increasingly being seen by GNA insiders as the real power in Tripoli
rather than Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, is from Misrata – a Libyan city
with strong historical links to Turkey.
this month, a Tripoli government spokesman said his administration was talking
to its ally Turkey to obtain “anything that is needed to stop the assault,”
including military and civilian help.
correct, this is extremely concerning as it could lead to an escalation of
violence and more civilian casualties,” one UN source said.
a Libyan media activist based in Turkey who posted pictures of the cargo
arriving explained that the move was justified in order for the GNA to “defend
themselves against the attack.”
if Bashagha had arranged for the shipment of military equipment, he replied,
“Fathi Bashagha has responsibility, but there are other people unknown to the
world who are also on the ground.”
armored vehicles – which are according to experts the BMC Kirpi vehicles or
“Hedgehogs” used by the Turkish army – were publicly offloaded in a show of
defiance by forces loyal to Badi and displayed on the Facebook page of
said that defensive military equipment like the armored vehicles could
theoretically be allowed into Libya without breaching UN sanctions, but that
this would be unlikely given hostilities.
himself was hit by the UN with a travel ban and asset freeze for his role in
stirring up violence in Tripoli. The capital was gripped by violence throughout
last summer as extremist militias challenged the GNA’s authority.
statement posted by the British Foreign Office detailing the reasons for his
sanctioning said, “Salah Badi… has worked consistently to undermine a political
solution in Libya. In August and September 2018, Badi played a leading role in
heavy clashes in Tripoli in which at least 120 people were killed, most of whom
in Tripoli and the role of militias backed by Turkey and other countries is one
of the reasons put forward by Haftar for trying to take over Tripoli, according
to the LNA spokesman.
between the militias in Tripoli to more extremist Islamic groups, such as the
outlawed terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia as well as al-Qaeda and ISIS, have
also become increasingly apparent in recent weeks.
week saw the fourth attack by ISIS against the rear guard of LNA forces in the
south of Libya, in what US intelligence assessments have suggested might be a
coordinated military tactic to hamper the LNA’s bid to take Tripoli, and
therefore the whole country.
have also been numerous reports of extremist fighters joining the effort in
Tripoli against Haftar, with some returning from Syria as battle-hardened
extremists as a result of the bloody conflict, in which Turkey has been closely
there were also rumors that Zeyad Balaem, one of the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia
and the Benghazi Shura Council, which Haftar has battled for the past three
years, was injured in fighting for the GNA, or at least against Haftar.
sources briefed on the talks with Ankara had previously said that Turkey was
being “sensitive” to NATO and US-leadership opinion against sending weapons to
Libya, which remains under a UN arms embargo, and was using the opportunity to
seek economic concessions.
night, however, a senior Western diplomatic source said it does not appear as
if Turkey is at all concerned with “upping the ante and their position with the
forces loyal to the government based in Tripoli say they have received new
weapons and armored vehicles to fight off an offensive backed by the UAE, Egypt
and Saudi Arabia to seize the capital.
loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) published pictures on their
official Facebook page of what appeared to be Turkish-made Kirpi combat
are currently battling military strongman Khalifa Haftar's fighters who
launched an offensive on April 4 to take the Libyan capital and topple the GNA
government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
forces have been held back from the city center, with fighting continuing on
the outskirts of Tripoli and particularly in the southern suburbs.
a statement, the GNA said the new weaponry had been supplied “in preparation
for a vast operation to annihilate the rebels of the war criminal, the rebel
is supported by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. His forces
have deployed precision-guided Blue Arrow 7 missiles known to have been
provided to the UAE.
turn, the renegade general has accused Turkey and Qatar of supplying weapons to
GNA spokesman had told reporters earlier in May that Turkey and other countries
would be delivering military and humanitarian assistance.
United Nations has warned that Haftar's offensive risks thrusting Libya into a
full-blown civil war as foreign backers of the warring sides send arms
shipments despite a UN arms embargo on the North African state.
least 400 people have been killed in the offensive which Haftar had predicted
to lead to a quick victory in the capital.
the offensive ground to a halt on the outskirts of Tripoli, the UN has called
for a ceasefire but officials say neither side is prepared for a truce.
close to Haftar have said his so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) would be
willing to accept a ceasefire without withdrawing its forces from the outskirts
of Tripoli, something PM Sarraj has rejected.
United Nations has characterized Haftar’s push to seize Tripoli as an attempted
has denounced Haftar as an “aspiring military dictator”, saying his US-allied
backers were turning Libya into a proxy battleground, risking a war with global
implications and further mass migration to Europe.
President Donald Trump, in a phone call with the renegade general last month,
"recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism
and securing Libya's oil resources."
disclosure of the call prompted thousands of people in Tripoli to hold a
protest against the United States and its meddling in their country.
European countries, such as France and Italy, have also supported Haftar.
Earlier this month, the general met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and
was expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.
LNA has almost two-thirds of the country and all of its oilfields under
control, and some observers see the West's urge to court Haftar driven by their
thirst for Libya's oil.
has been the scene of fighting between rival groups since the ouster of
long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 after a popular revolt and a Western
Libya: Fighters allied with the Tripoli government in Libya say they have
received armored vehicles and “quality weapons” despite a UN arms embargo on
Facebook page linked to the Government of National Accord (GNA) posted photos
appearing to show more than a dozen armored vehicles arriving at a port,
without saying who supplied them.
Facebook page is run by the media office for the GNA’s counter-offensive
against Khalifa Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA).
of the various militias allied with the government say the vehicles, which
resemble Turkish-made Kirpi armored vehicles, were supplied by Turkey.
for Turkey’s military and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to phone
calls seeking comment.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month his government would stand by
Tripoli authorities as they repel an offensive launched by the LNA
battle for the Libyan capital has threatened to ignite a civil war on the scale
of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
The UN Security Council imposed an open-ended arms embargo on Libya in February
of the same year.
Bashagha, the interior minister for the Tripoli-based government, also visited
Turkey late in April to activate “security and defense agreements” between the
offensive on Tripoli was launched April 4 by the LNA, which controls the
country’s eastern half.
who in recent years has been battling extremists and other militias across
eastern Libya, says he is determined to restore stability to the North African
country. He has received support from several countries in the region including
the UAE and Egypt.
GNA supplies armor, ammunition and ... weapons, to its forces who are defending
Tripoli,” read a statement published on Facebook.
weapons embargo has been regularly violated by different groups in Libya,
according to the UN. Haftar has accused Turkey and Qatar of supplying weapons
to his rivals.
a September report, the UN’s group of experts on the country noted an increase
in the number of armored vehicles supplied to LNA.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month his government would stand by
controlling swathes of Libya’s east, Haftar launched an offensive in the south
of the country in January before attacking the coastal capital last month.
forces have been held back from the city center by pro-government forces, with
fighting continuing on the outskirts of Tripoli and particularly in the
guards and a soldier were killed and four other people were kidnapped on
Saturday in a suspected Daesh attack targeting Libya’s Zella oilfield, a
security source said.
death toll was confirmed by the National Oil Company (NOC) which condemned the
attack in a statement on Saturday evening.
attackers struck at an entrance gate to the field, which lies near the town of
Zella about 760 km southwest of the capital, Tripoli, before fleeing, according
to the source and local residents who asked not to be named.
State claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency later
Zella field belongs to Zueitina Oil Company, which pumped 19,000 barrels per
day on average in the last quarter of 2018 across all its fields.
engineer told Reuters workers at the field were safe and facilities had not
NOC chief said on Saturday continued instability in the country could cause it
to lose 95 percent of oil production.
in Saudi Arabia ahead of a ministerial panel gathering on Sunday of top OPEC
and non-OPEC producers, Mustafa Sanalla also confirmed the Zella attack.
State has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar
Qaddafi in 2011. The militant group took control of the coastal city of Sirte
in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by US airstrikes.
the last two years, the group has targeted three state institutions in Tripoli,
home of the UN-backed government of national accord led by Prime Minister Fayez
'workshop' in Manama part of Kushner plan to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict
White House is set to unveil the first part of efforts to resolve
Israel-Palestine conflict, spearheaded by US President Donald Trump’s Jewish
Kushner is supposedly starting an economic "workshop" to encourage
investing capital in the West Bank, and Gaza Strip CNN reported Sunday, citing
a statement by the senior White House adviser.
event is scheduled to take place in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25 and
are letting their grandfathers' conflict destroy their children's futures. This
will present an exciting, realistic and viable pathway forward that does not
currently exist," read the statement by Ivanka Trump’s husband.
event will bring together finance ministers with global and regional business
leaders "to make the area as investible as possible."
major components discussed during the workshop will be infrastructure,
industry, empowering and investing in people, and governance reforms.
US plans to unveil the so-called “Deal of Century” aimed at ending conflict
between Israelis and Palestinians after the end of the holy Muslim fasting
month of Ramadan, formation of a new Israeli administration and the Jewish
holiday of Shavuot, known as the Feast of Weeks in English.
“peace plan” has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities even before being
in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at Trump’s initiative, asserting that it
was “born dead.”
free-lunch pilot program for Jewish and Muslim city school kids with religious
dietary restrictions has been plagued by delays, two politicians charge.
chairman of the City Council’s education committee says he plans to grill
Department of Education officials at a budget hearing Monday on why the
taxpayer-funded program to provide free kosher and halal lunches at 10 schools
this academic year seems to be half-baked.
Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said he’s anxious to learn why the DOE couldn’t get
the $1 million program off the ground until last month, considering it was
slated to begin in September.
said the delays are especially troubling considering the pilot’s goal is
gauging interest in making these meals available universally at all city
schools. Since many Muslim students are now fasting because of Ramadan, which
began May 6 and runs through June 4, an accurate accounting might not be
insist on finding out how much [funding] has been spent, where the money went,
and how many meals have been served,” Treyger said. “The lack of transparency
is deeply troubling and unacceptable.”
New York City students should feel comfortable and included at school, and that
means making sure that kosher and halal lunch choices are available,” added
Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who secured the $1 million pot of legislative funds
for the program, said he inquired about the delays and that DOE attributed some
of it to trying to first figure out “how best to avoid bullying” of Muslim and
Jewish students over their food choices.
he and Treyger said DOE has repeatedly blown off their questions about how the
money has been spent.
program began in April, rather than September 2018 as planned, so it’s unclear
how much of the $1 million will be used before the school year ends.
spokeswoman Miranda Barbot declined to discuss the program’s spending, what the
department plans to do with leftover funds and whether it plans to give the
free lunches a real shot at succeeding next school year.
careful planning, community engagement, and extensive work to ensure food and
kitchens meet standards set by these communities, we’re excited this pilot is
underway in ten schools,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to
evaluating the program.”
US sanctions have affected Iran’s ability to finance Hezbollah, its proxy in
Lebanon, forcing the militia group to cut expenditure by recalling fighters in
Syria and laying off employees at its television channel Al-Manar, according to
a report published by The Washington Post.
United States has denied the Iranian regime over $10 billion in revenue and
expects that number to increase dramatically, US Special Representative for
Iran Brian Hook told Al Arabiya English last month after Washington declared it
would start ending waivers to Tehran’s oil customers.
we are doing is making it harder for Hezbollah to meet payroll, because 70% of
Hezbollah’s revenue comes from the Iranian regime. Historically Iran gives
Hezbollah $700 million a year, that’s 70% of their budget,” Hook said at the
to The Washington Post’s report, the brunt of Hezbollah’s spending cuts has
affected its fighters and their families, who will now be denied from receiving
free medicines and even groceries.
US sanctions have also forced Hezbollah to either furlough its fighters or
reassign them to its reserve units, one official said, where they would receive
lower salaries or no pay at all.
March, the leader of Hezbollah called on his supporters to donate funds.
resistance needs your support ... because we are in the heart of the struggle,”
Hassan Nasrallah said at the time. He added that the group will face the US
sanctions with “patience and steadfastness.”
senior Hezbollah official who spoke to The Washington Post admitted that the
group’s income from Iran has fallen recently.
United States says countries of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council have
started patrolling in the region amid the US escalation of tensions with
"enhanced security patrols" began on Saturday, said the Bahrain-based
5th fleet of the US naval forces central command in a statement on Facebook
added that the operations were aimed at “specifically increasing communication
and coordination with each other in support of regional naval cooperation and maritime
agreed to last week in a meeting at US 5th Fleet headquarters in Manama,
Bahrain, ships of the GCC - both navies and coast guards - are working in tight
coordination with each other and the United States Navy.”
and his hawkish foreign policy advisers such as John Bolton and Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo have been stepping up pressure against Iranians in the wake
of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
has also tightened economic sanctions against Tehran and blacklisted the
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
a post earlier in the day, the 5th fleet released the latest updates on the US
military presence in the Persian Gulf in the wake of US President Donald
Trump’s anti-Iran policies.
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group and the Kearsarge Amphibious
Ready Group, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted joint
operations May 17-18,” read the statement. “The operations highlight the
ability of the US Navy to quickly mobilize assets and aggregate different
platforms with a variety of operational capabilities.”
sees surge in zakat fund collectors in month of Ramzan
Obaidullah Qasmi is an imam at a city mosque. Six years ago, he established a
madrasa for girls at his native Sitamarhi in Bihar and every Ramzan he
approaches the community for donations, including zakat, the 2.5% of annual
savings Muslims must give in charity. He is seeking this charity for his
madrasa this Ramzan too.
Qasmi has appealed to the community to donate to his madrasa, there are
hundreds ofother maulvis, safeers (representatives) from madrasas and other
community-run institutions who are pounding the streets of Mumbai braving the
scorching sun and in the relative coolness of the night, seeking zakat. There
is no better time than the holy month of Ramzan to seek it as most Muslims give
out zakat. One of the five pillars of Islam-the other four are kalima or the
declaration that God is one and Muhammad is His Prophet, namaz, roza and
haj-zakat is mandatory on those who can afford it. It is considered to be a tool
to uplift the community's impoverished as the zakat fund cannot be spent on the
financially strong. Keeping this in mind, Association of Muslim Professionals
(AMP) conducted an online National Zakat Survey last month. There were 4589
responses from 191 cities in India and abroad. "Our survey found that 60% of
the people give zakat to same set of individuals and organisations every
year," says AMP's president Aamir Idrisi. Other notable findings, adds
Idrisi, are that 40% of people give zakat in Ramzan while 55% don't care to
find whether zakat has betterred the lives of those who received it. The
community gives around Rs 10,000 crore annually in zakat in India, estimates Idrisi.
must give zakat? Anyone who is not indebted and has annual savings of 7.5 tolas
gold or 52.5 tola silver or its equivalent in rupees which comes around Rs
25000 today has to give zakat. Who can receive zakat funds? The Quran, says
senior cleric Maulana Rizwan Khan, prescribes eight kind of people who can
receive zakat money. These are: the poor (al-fuqara') or lowincome or indigent,
the needy (al-masakin) or someone who is in difficulty, zakat
administrators,those whose hearts are to be reconciled or new Muslims and
friends of the Muslim community, those in bondage (slaves and captives), the
debt-ridden, in the cause of God, the wayfarer or those who are stranded or
traveling with few resources.
Khan adds that many people give zakat in Ramzan because every good deed done in
this month gets blessings 70% more than in any other other month. "Ramzan
is a blessed month when the Quran was also revealed and therefore most Muslims
give zakat in this month though they can give it through the year,"
explains Maulana Khan.
are disappointed that a chunk of zakat is not reachingthe targeted
beneficiaries and some unscrupulous elements pocket the money they collect.
Former MLA Sohail Lokhandwala recounts an incident a couple of years ago. He
says that he visited a north Indian town where he met a person who would
collect zakat fund in Mumbai. "I was shocked to see the kind of opulence
this man lived in. I knew he had no other source of income and he had prospered
because of the zakat funds and other donations he had collected," said
better organise the zakat fund, noted philanthropist and educationist Dr M A
Patankar set up a zakat fund through which he reaches out to the needy.
"If we create baitul mal and centralise collection of zakat, we can create
massive universities ," says Dr Patankar.
Police allow food outlets to serve till late during Ramzan
(Gujarat): People across the religious spectrum thronged the streets late in
the night here, as the city police allowed food outlets to operate till late
for the whole month of Ramzan.
the spirit of the holy month, city Police Commissioner Satish Sharma in a
recent notification has allowed food joints to operate late till night in the
areas including Chowk Bazaar, Rander, Mahidharpura, Salabatpura, Navsari
Bazaar, Sagrampura, etc.
of the diamond city gleamed as people hit the streets late in the night to
savour various delicacies such as rangooni paratha, chicken, biryani, and
markets are full of people enjoying the mouth-watering food. The holy month of
Ramzan is being celebrated and enjoyed by people from all communities. People
flocking the streets at night to enjoy food reflect the cordial relationship
between different communities here,” a shopkeeper Abbas Hans told ANI.
food-enthusiast Sana Lajporiya echoed similar sentiments, adding, “The food
served in these streets, especially non-vegetarian food, is amazing.”
police have also installed CCTV cameras to keep a close watch on any untoward
A BSF assistant sub-inspector was injured as Pakistan violated ceasefire along
the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and
Poonch district on Friday night.
to official sources, Pakistan opened unprovoked fire and shelled mortars
targeting forward posts along the LoC in
Ghati sector, to which the Indian Army retaliated effectively.
the fire exchange, one of the shells landed at a forward post in Baloni.
"A BSF ASI, Satyapal Singh, sustained splinter
leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday expressed hope the new government at the
Centre would revisit the Kashmir policy and said his organisation was ready to
support all efforts by India and Pakistan aimed at ending hostility in the
restive state. A statement by Hurriyat said that Mirwaiz made the comments
during a seminar titled ‘The Importance of Dialogue in the Backdrop of Strained
Indo-Pak Relations’ in connection with the ongoing “martyr’s week”.
Mirwaiz said he hoped once the new dispensation in New Delhi takes charge, it
would also analyse whether the existing one on the restive state had gone in
its favour or instead worsened things on all fronts.
said Hurriyat was hopeful whosoever takes charge in New Delhi would admit the
reality of the Kashmiri dispute and engage with the leadership to end the
hostility so that a dignified solution is found to the vexed dispute of
said he feels the pain whenever any youth is killed in action by security or in
encounters. “It was beyond doubt that the gun-wielding local boys were the
products of the ongoing oppression and they are getting consumed in the ongoing
unresolved conflict,” he said.
Hurriyat is observing a week-long programme in memory of Mirwaiz’s father
Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Farooq and another Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone, who
were assassinated on May 21 in 1990 and 2002 respectively.
said the Hurriyat had participated in the dialogue process with the former
prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh and also the then
Pakistani president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
was Vajpayee who had realised the need for resolving the Kashmir issue as he
advocated that Kashmir needs to be dealt with in the ambit of humanity,” he
he said, was ready to support all efforts by India and Pakistan aimed at ending
hostility and seeking a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue.
termed the present prevailing situation in Kashmir as sensitive and painful
stating that there is no letup in the “policies of repression and intimidations
as killings, harassment and CASOs (cordon-and-search-operations) continue
unabated even in this holy month of Ramadhan”.
demanded the release of all political prisoners, repeal of Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and taking back all “anti-Kashmiri” measures so
that an atmosphere of trust is created in Kashmir.
senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Bhat said India and Pakistan must realise the
need for resolving the Kashmir issue for the larger interests of the people of
South Asia and for that the two nations must take some bold steps.
Taliban militants killed, wounded in army operations in Khost, Helmand
Afghan army soldiers conducted separate operations against Taliban militants in
South-eastern Khost and southern Helmand provinces killing at least 9 militants
and wounding 3 others.
203rd Corps conducted an operation in Musa Khel district of Khost province
wounding 3 Taliban fighters,” informed military sources said late on Sunday.
sources further added that “The 215th Corps conducted an operation in Baghran
district of Helmand province killing 9 Taliban fighters and detaining 1 other.
The 215th Corps also destroyed 3 weapon caches and 38 IEDs.”
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operations so far.
and Khost provinces are among the relatively volatile provinces in southern and
south-eastern parts of Afghanistan.
militants are active in some of the restive districts of the two provinces
where they often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities against the
government and security institutions.
Afghan Special Forces conducted operations in central Maidan Wardak province
killing one Taliban fighter and wounding three others, the informed military
sources said Sunday.
sources further added that the Special Forces also arrested four Taliban
fighters during the multi-day operations.
Special Forces conducted a multi-day operation in Jaghatu district killing 1
Taliban fighter, wounding 3 and arresting 4,” the sources said.
to military officials, the Special Forces also confiscated 12 Taliban
motorcycles destroyed a weapons cache.
group of armed militants attacked a security post in the vicinity of 7th police
district of Kabul city late on Sunday evening inflicting casualties on six
in Kabul Police Headquarters are saying that the incident took place in
Doghabad area of the city on Sunday evening.
to police officials, the attack has claimed the lives of three policemen while
three others have sustained injuries.
assailant militants fled the area after storming the security post, the officials
Taliban group has claimed responsibility for the attack claiming that eight
policemen were killed in the attack.
spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claims that the attack was carried out on a
security post in Doghabad area located in 11th police district of the city.
least 18 Taliban militants including their three commanders were killed in a
series of artillery and airstrikes in south-eastern Ghazni province.
203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said Sunday that the Afghan Air Force
targeted a group of Taliban militants in Pailoch area of Dehyak district at
around 11:00am on Saturday.
statement further added that the airstrike kill 4 Taliban militants and second
airstrike was carried out at 4:00pm local time in Zakir area of the district as
Taliban militants were transporting the dead bodies of their comrades.
two airstrikes killed a total of eight Taliban militants including three of
their local commanders who have been identified as Hakim, Rehan and Tahi.
airstrike targeted a Taliban vehicle in Kohan Village of Dehyak district on
Saturday night killing 6 Taliban militants, the 203rd Thunder Corps said,
adding that artillery strikes were also carried out on Taliban positions in
Golai Nazar Khan of Andar district killing 4 Taliban fighters.
parliament descended into chaos on Sunday when lawmakers brawled over the
appointment of a new Speaker, an inauspicious start to the assembly which was
sitting for the first time since chaotic elections last year.
of last October’s parliamentary election were only finalized earlier this month
after repeated technical and organizational problems and widespread accusations
incident underscored the turmoil in Afghan politics ahead of presidential
elections that are taking place in the shadow of talks between US diplomats and
the Taliban about a possible settlement of an 18-year conflict.
Saturday, Mir Rahman Rahmani, a top businessman, ran for the speakership of the
247-seat house but fell short of a majority by a single vote, triggering a
clash between supporters, who declared him the winner, and opponents, who said
he had not secured the necessary 124 votes.
will never accept the new Speaker and there must be a re-election with new
candidates,” said Mariam Sama, a lawmaker from Kabul.
footage widely shared on social media showed a brawl among lawmakers, with
members of parliament seen blocking the Speaker’s seat and calling for a re-run
of the vote.
is the father of Ajmal Rahmani, a rich businessman popularly known as “Armored
Ajmal” after his business selling bulletproof vehicles to the Kabul elite.
has secured a majority of the votes and one vote is not an issue, so he is our
new chairman,” said Nahid Farid, a lawmaker from Herat who supports Rahmani.
Turkish-language Anatoly news agency quoted local sources as saying that After
taking control of Eastern Euphrates region, the Kurdish fighters are preparing
to launch an attack on Damascus-backed forces in Eastern Euphrates in Deir
noted that the US-led coalition forces are training the Kurdish fighters Ain
Issa bases in Raqqa province and al-Amr oil region in Eastern Deir Ezzur,
adding that the trainings include passing through mobile bridges and rivers.
US-led coalition forces and Kurdish fighters are looking for winning the
support of regional tribes for launching the attack after residents of the
region called for holding massive protests in Eastern Euphrates and called for
expulsion of US-backed Kurdish fighters.
the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leasers in al-Amr
a relevant development last week, a large number of people and tribesmen of the
Eastern Euphrates region called for the Syrian Army’s return to the areas held
by the US and the Syrian Democratic Forces to drive the occupying troops out of
the region as popular protests against SDF have heightened.
activists in Eastern Syria reported that the residents of the town of al-Shahil
in Southeastern Deir Ezzur in communiques released on Saturday called for the return
of the Damascus Army troops to the region and expulsion of the occupying
civilians blasted the US and SDF occupying forces for plundering the oil
revenues of al-Jazireh region, and called for return of governmental schools
and institutes to the regions.
a large number of residents of the town of al-Tayaneh in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur held protest rallies against the SDF's measures and called for exit of
the occupying forces and setting the captured civilians free.
Army's drones continued attacks for the second consecutive day on Quneitra
province, the Arab-language media outlets reported.
SANA news agency reported that the Syrian Army's air defense systems targeted
aerial vehicles coming from Occupied Golan that had violated Qunietra
Arabic-language version of Sputnik news agency, meantime, pointed to the
possibility that the drones have been spy aircraft and the Syrian Army's air
defense had confronted two of them that had violated the Syrian airspace in
Jabal al-Sheikh in Western Occupied Golan and Khan Arnabeh in Quneitra.
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian Army's air defense systems
targeted and shot down an Israeli drone after detecting it coming from Quneitra
Syrian Army's air defense systems downed an Israeli regime’s drone near
Damascus, SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying.
source noted that the Syrian air defense detected hostile targets coming from
the direction of Quneitra and intercepted them.
a relevant development earlier, SANA reported that aerial defenses targeted
luminous objects coming from the occupied territories, shooting down a number
the Arabic-language version of Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted a Syrian
security source as saying that the Syrian Army's air defense systems downed an
Israeli drone that had entered Syria from Southwestern Damascus.
source pointed to firing surface-to-air missiles at offending targets in
Southwestern Damascus near Syria-Lebanon-Golan triangle, and said that the
Syrian Army's air defense systems had confronted six targets and downed a
number of them.
A bomb blast hit a tourist bus near Egypt’s famed Giza pyramids on Sunday,
wounding at least 17 people, including South Africans, in the latest blow to
the country’s tourism industry.
roadside bomb went off as the bus was being driven in Giza, also causing
injuries to Egyptians in a nearby car, medical and security sources said. There
were no deaths reported.
device exploded and smashed the windows of a bus carrying 25 people from South
Africa and a private car carrying four Egyptians,” the security source said.
footage captured by this news agency showed the bus and car with broken windows
on the side of the road.
to the security source, the wounded were being treated for scratches caused by
the broken glass.
Mabaya, spokesman for South Africa’s department of international relations,
said that “there might be South Africans involved” but declined to give any
incident comes after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide
were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus as it travelled near the Giza
pyramids outside Cairo in December.
also comes just little more than a month before the African Cup of Nations
hosted by Egypt is to kick off.
has been battling an insurgency that surged especially in the turbulent North
Sinai region following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed
Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants,
focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.
650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the
offensive, according to separate statements by the armed forces.
first being elected in 2014, Sisi has presented himself as a bulwark against
terrorism, promising stability and increased security.
the country’s vital tourism industry has started to slowly rebound after
suffering strong blows due to deadly attacks targeting tourists following the
turmoil of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.
by the official statistics agency showed that tourist arrivals reached 8.3
million in 2017, compared with 5.3 million the previous year.
have gone at great lengths to lure tourists back, touting a series of
archaeological finds and a new museum next to the pyramids, as well as enhanced
security at airports and around ancient sites.
tribal leaders told the Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid news website on
Sunday that recently a meeting was held between the US commanders and tribal
leaders in Ein al-Assad airbase in al-Anbar in which the Americans vowed to arm
the Iraqi tribes.
Sa'ad al-Matlabi, a member of Baghdad's governor office council said that
arming the tribes in provinces adjacent to Baghdad, including al-Anbar, will
force Iraq back to the era of "tribal militants".
added that if the tribes want to fight terrorism, they can join the official
Iraqi Armed Forces.
reports last month said that US Chargé d'affaires in Baghdad Joey Hood had been
attempting to coax the tribal leaders in Western Iraq into supporting the
American forces' deployment in the region.
is trying to change the opinion of a number of tribal leaders in Ameriyeh
district of al-Fallujah in his visits to the region and is bribing them to
guarantee an agreement with the US forces' continued deployment in the
region," Mahdi Taqi, a senior member of the Iraqi parliament's Security
and Defense Committee, was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news
website as saying.
urged the Iraqi foreign ministry to take a strict position against the move,
and warned that the US embassy in Baghdad is supporting and sponsoring certain
groups in pursuit of destructive goals in Iraq.
Katyusha rocket has landed in the vicinity of the US embassy in Baghdad’s
fortified Green Zone, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent.
Katyusha rocket fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any
losses, details to come later,” the Iraqi military said in a statement.
statement added that the rocket was fired from the al-Ghadeer area in Baghdad.
security forces have closed the area leading to the Green Zone, while a combing
operation is underway.
military confirms rocket near embassy in Iraq
the US military command that oversees the Mideast has confirmed an explosion
outside the US Embassy compound in Baghdad and says there are no US or
spokesman for US Central Command, Bill Urban, says in a statement that Iraqi
Security Forces are investigating Sunday’s incident.
State Department spokesman says that “a low-grade rocket” landed within the
International Zone near the US Embassy and that there was no significant damage
or impact on any US-inhabited facility.
spokesman says that such attacks will not be tolerated and will be responded to
“in a decisive manner” and that the US will hold Iran responsible “if any such
attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces.”
least 14 people have been injured in an explosion which targeted a tourist bus
in front of the Grand Egyptian Museum close to the Giza Pyramids, according to
Al Arabiya sources.
of those injured were foreign tourists, two sources told Reuters. One security
source said they included South African nationals.
were no reports of deaths. A witness, Mohamed el-Mandouh, said he heard a “very
loud explosion” while sitting in traffic near the site of the blast.
posted on social media showed a bus with some of its windows blown out or
shattered, and debris in the road next to a low wall with a hole in it.
has dismissed fabricated news issued by terrorist groups and some media outlets
affiliated to them about Syrian armed forces' use of chemical weapons in the
town of Kobani in the western coastal province of Latakia.
official source at Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Sunday
reaffirmed a statement by the general command of the armed forces who has
denied such claims as completely baseless, the official news agency SANA
statement added that Syria had fully cooperated with the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which declared Syria free of any
source emphasized that Syria has never used chemical weapons in the past and
would never use them in the future because the Arab country does not possess
such arms in the first place while it also considers the use of toxic weapons
against its moral and international obligations.
recurring, hollow and barefaced media fabrication will never dissuade Syria
from fighting terrorism until the full restoration of security and safety
across the country, the source said.
in the day, a military source quoted the general command of the armed forces as
saying that Syria is going ahead in fighting terror until the last grain of the
Syrian soil is cleared from the scourge.
the past several years, militants have launched dozens of chemical attacks in
Syria. Damascus has called on the United Nations to take action in this regard.
surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by
the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.
OPCW, a global watchdog, has documented systematic use of nerve agent sarin and
chlorine during Syria's eight-year conflict.
April 7, 2018, an alleged chemical weapons attack hit the Damascus suburb town
of Douma, just as the Syrian army was
about to win the battle against the militants there.
states blamed the Syrian government for the incident, but Damascus firmly
rejected the accusation.
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism