has banned all celebrations of Valentine's Day Associated Press
Day Road to ‘Illicit Sex’, M’sian Mufti Warns Muslims
Video Raises Alarm: New Islamic State Damage in Syria's Palmyra
Court Bans 'Un-Islamic' Valentine's Day Celebrations
Forces Used Chemical Weapons in Final Push for Aleppo: HRW
Muslim School Students Protest Valentine’s Day
Uighurs fighting in Syria: Exiled leader
to tell if your colleague is an Islamic State sympathiser
doctor to host hudud forum with PAS in Penang
governor election a 'litmus test' of Indonesian Islam
France, Some Muslims Seek To 'Adapt' Islam to Secular Culture
Global Expansion Plan of ISIS and its Affiliates
gathers stakeholders Afghanistan conference
16 Killed, 53 Hurt as Suicide Bomber Hits Mall Road in Lahore
reciting made compulsory from Grade 1-5: Yousaf
Pakistan Senator says he was denied US visa
BDS cops killed while defusing bomb in Quetta
bomb kills three FC soldiers in SWA
says it carried out attack on Saama TV’s van
45 Terrorists Including Commanders Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army
military: 13 Daesh commanders killed, Baghdadi fate unclear
Tens of Civilians Massacred in Turkish Army Attacks in Al-Bab
Al-Sham Commander Killed in Clashes with Civilians in Northern Hama
Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian Army Attack near Deir Ezzur's Airbase
clashes as Bahrainis mark anniversary of popular uprising
forces intercept 200 Daeshis fleeing Syria
Executes Own Commander South of Syria's Deir Ezzur
Main Position of Tharir Al-Sham Hay'at Destroyed by Rival Terrorist Groups
Military Hardliner Elected Group's Gaza Chief
killed as Houthis, Hadi loyalists clash in western Yemen
non-committal on Palestinian statehood as he heads to US
Istanbul nightclub attacker wanted to kill Christians
rabbis want potential envoy to Israel rejected
chief ‘deeply’ regrets US veto of Palestinian ex-PM as Libya envoy
Refugee Priest to Trump: Give My Citizenship to A Syrian
Reaffirm Support for Refugees As Judges Scrutinize Trump Policy
numbers of Muslim migrants trek north to Canada
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Refugees’ Return Is Forced, Not Voluntary: HRW
Is It Proving So Difficult To Supply Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims With Aid?
employee among four ‘militants’ arrested
lives lost to defeat Soviet forces; no external force can defeat Afghans:
Muslim Ban Doesn't Cover India, But Indians Need to Be Concerned
Indian American Muslim singer resurrects an old civil rights anthem
Hindu and Muslim traditionalists urge Indian youth not to celebrate Valentine's
& Kashmir: Civilian killed in pro-independence rallies
Dead in Intercommunal Clashes in Mali
between Militia, Army Leave 11 Dead In Central DR Congo
Shocking Revelation - 100,000 Killed, Two Million Displaced By Boko Haram
African Republic: UN Helicopter Kills Four Militants in CAR
New President Wants His Country Off Immigration Ban
Shabaab militants kill two soldiers in continued Somalia attacks
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Day road to ‘illicit sex’, M’sian mufti warns Muslims
LUMPUR — Valentine’s Day is a celebration that leads to vice and illicit sex,
Malaysia mufti Dr Zulkifli Mohamad has said, warning Muslims against
celebrating the day to mark love today.
a statement published on his office’s website on Monday (Feb 13), Dr Zulkifli
claimed that sex out of wedlock is the main focus of youths on this day.
have to state that this celebration is banned in Islam based on clear data that
shows that it really leads to a culture of vice and illicit sex, apart from
emulating negative cultures outside of Islamic teachings,” he said.
fact, relations out of wedlock that becomes the main focus of youths during the
day is also prohibited by other major religions in the country.”
lengthier explanation posted on the website claimed that Valentine’s Day and
sex outside marriage are “inseparable”, followed by statistics on baby dumping,
teen pregnancies and illegitimate births.
or not, we cannot reject that Valentine’s Day is surely one of the motivation
for youngsters to commit vice and illicit sex,” it said.
his statement, Dr Zulkifli also reminded Muslims of the 2005 religious decree
in the 71st meeting of the National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Affairs
prohibiting Muslims from celebrating Valentine’s Day.
said the that the decree ruled that Islam does not endorse Valentine’s Day,
since celebrating love should not be specific to any single day but should be
done every day.
we be able to see the real philosophy of love and prevent ourselves from
falling into the valley of sin and vice,” he added.
incident is also said to be the latest in a growing trend of religious
conservatism in Malaysia, the only country in the world that prohibits
non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” and other Arabic terms.
Malaysian Islamic Development Department has consistently opposed the
celebration of Valentine’s Day among Muslims, claiming it possesses Christian
week, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry launched a
nationwide crackdown in which more than RM10,000 (S$3,198) worth of brushes
suspected to be made from pig bristles were seized. Meanwhile, a youth
organisation has launched a campaign on behaviour that should be avoided by
women, a day before Valentine’s Day.
enforcement agencies also regularly hold raids on budget hotels and public
parks, detaining and charging unmarried Muslim couples with “khalwat”, or being
in close proximity with the opposite sex.
a celebration of a Christian saint who secretly officiated over marriages in
ancient Rome when it was banned, Valentine’s Day has long taken a commercial
nuance as a mark of romantic love and is vastly popular in East Asia. MALAY MAIL
video raises alarm: New Islamic State damage in Syria's Palmyra
— Russia on Monday released footage from one of its drones in Syria, revealing
for the first time the latest destruction to the ruins of historic Palmyra
since it was recaptured by Islamic State militants, as Syrian government forces
pushed ahead on the ground in a new offensive to take the city back.
troops have advanced close to within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the UNESCO
heritage site for which Palmyra is famous and which has already suffered
massive destruction at the hands of the Islamic State group.
drone footage, released in Moscow, showed IS militants have badly damaged the
facade of the Roman-era theater and the Tetrapylon - a set of four monuments
with four columns each at the center of the colonnaded road leading to the
video appears to show that only two of the 16 columns remain standing.
footage also recorded sustained truck movements around the archaeological site,
suggesting the militants could be preparing for further demolitions by bringing
in explosives, warned the Russian Defense Ministry. It said Russian warplanes
last week carried out more than 90 sorties to provide air cover for the
in Geneva, the office of the U.N. envoy for Syria said the "formal
start" of a new round of U.N.-brokered peace talks for the war-torn
country is expected on Feb. 23.
de Mistura's office said he was "actively engaged" in diplomatic
efforts aimed at bringing Syrian government and opposition delegations back to
Geneva for the first time since the talks were suspended amid an upsurge in
fighting last April.
Mistura had previously said the talks were expected to resume on Feb. 20 but
his office said now the delegations would first hold preliminary meetings with
de Mistura's team in the Swiss city.
Islamic State group has destroyed ancient sites across its self-styled Islamic
caliphate in territories it controls in Syria and Iraq, perceiving them as
monuments to idolatry.
court bans 'un-Islamic' Valentine's Day celebrations
HC forbids its promotions on mainstream and social media ‘with immediate
a first of its kind verdict, the Islamabad High Court has banned Valentine’s
Day events at public places and directed the media regulator to immediately
stop advertisements in print and electronic media promoting the day.
Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said, “No event shall be held at official level and at
any public place.”
ruling came on a petition filed by one Abdul Wahid who pleaded that Valentine’s
Day be declared ‘un-Islamic’. The ruling prompted a outcry on social media.
#ValentinesDay was trending on Pakistani Twitter with people largely mocking the
ruling. Former Information Minister and Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party
leader Sherry Rehman tweeted “Wow. As if #ValentinesDayMorehurt anyone. Am not
a fan myself but why deny society a harmless fun-fest? It’s not like we don’t
have bigger probz.”
twitterati spoke of the government allowing religious congregations but giving
no space for love. “We #Ban expression of #Love (in public places) but all such
places are open for expression of #Hate #Violence then V complain,” said
Amira.Yunis@ay_yunis. “Pakistan needs to be renamed as ‘Prohibistan’...”
should enforce it
court accepted the petition and ordered the administration to take action to
stop the celebration of Valentine’s Day in the country. It said the order
should be implemented with “with immediate effect.” It nominated Ministry of
Information, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), and Chief
Commissioner Islamabad to ensure that ban was carried out in letter and spirit.
from the government, the print and electronic media have also been warned to
stop all Valentine’s Day promotions immediately.
is a hot issue here
Day has been controversial in Pakistan and every year, zealots of religious
parties try to terrorise the youngsters celebrating the day.
it is for the first time that a High Court banned its celebrations.
a small minority in the conservative country openly observe the day and that
too in the big cities.
year, President Mamnoon Hussain had also urged the nation not to celebrate
Valentine’s Day and has said that it has no connection with the country’s
culture and should be avoided.
had urged the people to maintain Pakistan’s religious and national identity.
Valentine’s Day activities have often been disrupted in the past in the
Muslim-majority country by the supporters of hard-line parties like
forces used chemical weapons in final push for Aleppo: HRW
NATIONS - Syrian government forces carried out at least eight chemical attacks
during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine people, among
them four children, and injuring hundreds more, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
rights group said it interviewed witnesses, collected photos and reviewed video
footage indicating that chlorine bombs were dropped from government helicopters
during the offensive from November 17 to December 13. Around 200 people were
injured by the toxic gases used on opposition-controlled areas of the northern
city, according to HRW.
of the deadliest bombings hit the neighborhood of Sakhur on November 20,
killing six members of the same family including four children whose lifeless
bodies were shown on a video taken by the Shabha press agency. The report
detailed attacks on a playground, clinics, residential streets, and houses that
left scores of people struggling to breathe, vomiting and unconscious.
chemicals would affect the children most severely... they inhale these smells
and they end up suffocating," said a first responder quoted in the report.
attacks, which may have involved as many as three helicopters operating
jointly, took place in areas where government forces were poised to advance,
said the rights group.
pattern of the chlorine attacks shows that they were coordinated with the
overall military strategy for retaking Aleppo, not the work of a few rogue
elements," said Ole Solvang, HRW's deputy emergencies director. For five
of the attacks, HRW reviewed photographs or video footage of remnants of at
least seven yellow cylinders that carried warnings that they contained gas.
actual number of chemical attacks could be higher, said the group, adding that
journalists, medical personnel and other credible sources had reported at least
12 attacks in that period.
was able to verify eight attacks involving chlorine bombs. Syrian forces,
backed by Russia, launched an offensive in November to seize east Aleppo, a key
battleground in Syria's nearly six-year war, and the regime announced on
December 22 that it had taken full control of the city. The group said there
was no evidence that Russia was directly involved in the chemical attacks,
although Russian aircraft did play a role in the military offensive against
opposition fighters in east Aleppo.
don't have any evidence that Russia was directly involved in any of these
attacks or that it was aware", said Louis Charbonneau, HRW's UN director.
we do know is that Russia is a close military ally of the Syrian government. It
is involved on the ground. It was involved in the battle for Aleppo."
the very least, they needed to take measures to ensure that these weapons were not
being used," Charbonneau told a news conference.
use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria
joined in 2013 under pressure from Russia.
use of chlorine bombs as an indiscriminate weapon could amount to war crimes.
Rights Watch urged the Security Council to impose sanctions on senior leaders
in the chain of command, but such a move would likely be vetoed by Russia.
and Britain are pushing the Security Council to ban the sale of helicopters to
Syria and impose the first UN sanctions against Syrian military leaders and
entities tied to chemical weapons development.
joint investigation by the United Nations and the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that several units of the Syrian
army had used toxic weapons against three villages in northern Syria in 2014
was the first time an international probe blamed President Bashar Al-Assad's
forces after years of denial from Damascus.
however, has cast doubt of the panel's findings, saying there were not strong
enough to warrant sanctions.
new report by the UN-OPCW joint investigative panel is expected to be released
later this month. HRW has sent its findings to the panel.
Muslim school students protest Valentine’s Day
Feb 13 (AFP) Indonesian Muslim school students today staged a protest against
Valentine’s Day, denouncing what they said was a Western celebration that
encourages casual sex.
teenagers in many countries treat the day as an occasion to declare their love
for classmates, in the Indonesian city of Surabaya it was a different story as
students from one school staged the noisy demonstration.
no to Valentine!” chanted the students, who were aged between 13 and 15 and
included many girls wearing headscarves.
was the latest expression of anger at Valentine’s Day in the world’s most
populous Muslim-majority country, where Islamic clerics and some pious Muslims
typically use the occasion to target what they see as Western decadence.
protest was organised as we have seen on television that Valentine’s Day tends
to be associated with free sex,” said Pandu Satria, organiser of the
demonstration that was attended by scores of students. “That makes us afraid.”
Ida Indahwati Waliulu, headmaster of the school which is run by an Islamic
organisation, added: “There is a certain pride about this positive action
carried out by the students.” As well as the demonstration, several cities
across the country banned people from celebrating the occasion.(AFP) AMS
An exiled advocate for China's ethnic Uighur minority said Monday that some of
the group were fighting and dying in Syria - including for Islamic State (IS) -
though she claimed they had been duped into doing so.
Kadeer, who heads the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), said that among the
thousands of Uighurs who have fled to Southeast Asia, Turkey and elsewhere in
recent years, a small number have ended up in the war-torn Middle Eastern
country and have joined militant groups. "Some Uighurs... died after
Russian airplanes bombed them, they were killed in Syria," she said at a
press conference during a visit to Japan. Russia's militarily backs the regime
of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, which erupted in 2011 and
has left more than 300,000 people dead. Numerous groups, including IS, are
fighting for control of the country. The mostly Muslim Uighurs, who speak a
Turkic language and number some 10 million, are native to the northwestern
Chinese region of Xinjiang bordering Central Asia and have long complained of
religious and cultural discrimination.
has frequently warned that radical forces from outside have inspired terror
attacks in Xinjiang as well as in other regions of the country and has launched
a harsh crackdown.
says among Uighurs who have fled are some seeking to train with extremists in
Syria to eventually return and fight for independence in Xinjiang.
2015, China's security ministry said more than 100 Uighurs that were
repatriated by Thailand had been on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq "to
a wealthy and prominent businesswoman, Kadeer, now 70, fell out with the
Chinese government and was jailed before her 2005 release into exile in the
United States where she serves as president of the WUC.
said Uighurs who end up in Syria are vulnerable and prone to being
"brainwashed" into joining the fighting there, but still denounced
think they are just like criminal groups in our society," she said.
WUC describes itself as a "peaceful opposition movement against Chinese
occupation of East Turkestan" - their name for Xinjiang.
says it promotes "human rights, religious freedom, and democracy" for
Uighurs and advocates "peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to
determine their political future".
JAYA: Supervisors are duty-bound to monitor their staff, especially those in
the security line, by learning to identify the common red flags that indicate
an individual has been radicalised by militant group Islamic State (IS).
Khan Mydin Pitchay, Special Branch counter-terrorism division principal
assistant director, told Channel News Asia (CNA) it was important that
supervisors paid attention to the early signs of radicalisation in their staff.
tend to see this as a security issue to be handled by the police, hence such
monitoring is currently lacking,” said Ayob.
said among the telltale signs that an individual was likely radicalised was an
open display of hatred towards those who did not share their views, or the
tendency to challenge those in authority.
individuals also tended to spend long periods chatting on social media
platforms like Facebook and Telegram, Ayob told CNA, besides promoting violence
and possessing IS-related symbols such as the militant group’s flag.
said it was common for radicalised individuals to liquidate their assets to
fund their passage to Syria.
gave these suggestions when asked about last month’s arrest of an airport security
guard for suspected links to the IS, the second such arrest involving airport
personnel in the past two years.
initial investigations revealed he was not planning a terror attack in the
country, he was planning to go to Syria to join the IS.
reported Ayob as saying that Malaysian authorities currently conducted security
checks on new applicants entering the civil service, military, police force as
well as airlines and airport service.
the applicants get the job, their supervisors are responsible for monitoring
them,” said Ayob.
TOWN: A private citizen will hold an open forum on hudud law next week in an
attempt to promote better understanding among non-Muslims of PAS’ attempt to
strengthen shariah law.
Ronnie Ooi, a retired medical doctor who has served in the United Kingdom, will
host an open forum titled “PAS explains hudud and Hadi Awang’s parliamentary
Bill and asks for feedback”.
free talk will be held on Feb 25 and conducted in English at the YMCA in
Macalister Road, George Town.
panellists include Kelantan state Exco member and PAS central working committee
member Dr Mohamed Fadzli Hassan and Ahmad Jailani Abdul Ghani, from PAS’
national lajnah dakwah committee.
is also the member of the Shariah Criminal Code federal technical committee,
tasked with overlooking the amendments to the Islamic penal code with the
Attorney-General’s Chambers and other MPs.
non-Muslims, we view the implementation of hudud with fear and anger. But anger
provides no solutions.
need to tell PAS our objections in a face-to-face dialogue. Opposing hudud does
not mean we can’t work with PAS on issues like fighting corruption in the
must not let the hudud issue split the country into Muslim and non-Muslim
groups who do not speak to each other,” Ooi said at a press conference at YMCA
Macalister Road here today.
were Jailani, Penang PAS lajnah dakwah chief Amir Hamzah Abd Hashim and his
deputy, Abdul Rahim Kassim; and civil and syarie lawyer Khairul Kamal Razali.
Jailani said those participating in the forum will be able to ask questions
directly from those drafting the amendments to the shariah law itself,
said many misconceptions, such as views that the Islamic penal code was against
the constitution, would also be addressed at the forum.
never had the chance to explain to non-Muslims about the Bill we are presenting
of Jakarta residents will go to the polls on Wednesday in a vote that is being
seen as a “litmus test” of Indonesian Islam.
the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, the incumbent
Jakarta governor Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, better known as Ahok, is battling to
retain his seat.
a Christian from the country’s ethnic Chinese minority, is clinging to a slight
lead in the polls against Anies Baswedan, the former education minister, and
Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, son of a former president.
was favourite to win the vote until he became embroiled in a blasphemy scandal.
Accused of insulting Islam, he has been forced to defend what many believe are
politically motivated charges.
protests by religious hardliners and the legal proceedings that followed have
led some observers to view Wednesday’s election as a test of Indonesia’s
much-touted commitment to pluralism.
think this is going to be a litmus test of Indonesian Islam,” said Tobias
Basuki, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Are we tolerant or intolerant?”
blasphemy case against Ahok came about following immense public pressure from
demonstrations organised at the behest of hardline Islamists.
abound that powerful political interests helped fund and mobilise the protests
to chip away at Ahok’s strong popularity.
cannot underestimate the effect, the significance of this primordialism and the
politicisation of religion in order to achieve political ends [by] those who
use religion to win the election,” Aleksius Jemadu, dean of political science
at Jakarta’s Pelita Harapan University, told the Guardian.
effect has been decidedly damaging for Ahok, a straight-talking sometimes brash
leader credited with delivering positive changes in the city including
mitigating floods, cutting red tape and driving infrastructure projects.
lead has been steadily eroded and at times eclipsed by his contenders. His poll
standing has rebounded in recent weeks but remains tenuous.
poll in December 2016 showed how effectively a conservative religious base had
been galvanised against him.
Manjani Research and Consulting (SMRC) found that 45% of Indonesians believed
the remarks at the centre of Ahok’s troubles were blasphemous but 88% admitted
they weren’t exactly sure what he had said.
electoral rivals have aggressively courted the Islamic vote – visiting mosques
and religious leaders, donning Muslim garb and, in the case of Anies Baswedan,
a former education minister, even controversially meeting the head of a
hardline Islamic group.
think the most critical issue is the unstoppable politicisation – How strong
the motivation and aim of Ahok’s enemies is to prevent him from winning by
capitalising on this issue of insulting religion,” noted Jemadu of the dynamics
a time when the country is grappling with the relationship between religion and
state, the blowback has also churned up underlying resentment against
Indonesia’s often wealthier Chinese ethnic minority.
France, Some Muslims Seek To 'Adapt' Islam To Secular Culture
carpeted prayer hall at the grand mosque in the French city of Bordeaux is full
on a recent Friday afternoon. Behind a sculpted wooden railing on a small
raised pulpit, Tareq Oubrou, a popular imam, is delivering his sermon in French
as well as Arabic.
sermons are rare in French mosques. Most Muslim clerics in France are foreign
and speak in Arabic, which most young French Muslims don't understand. Oubrou
says that's one reason why Muslim religious leaders are out of touch with a
generation of French Muslims.
interpretation of Islamic scriptures is often out of sync with modern times,
too, he says. He's working to change that. Oubrou says a reformation is long
overdue, and he's become a leading force in working for change.
has suffered two major terrorist attacks in recent years, both carried out by
home-grown Islamist extremists. The country is home to Europe's largest Muslim
population, and many French Muslims like Oubrou believe it's time to create a
uniquely French brand of Islam — one that is compatible with the country's
secular values and responds better to the needs of modern Muslims.
have to rethink Islamic doctrines in light of our times," says Oubrou.
"One of the reasons for the violence is that some people are interpreting
these medieval canons literally. So we have to take Islam out of the context of
ancient Arab-Muslim civilizations and adapt it to a modern, globalized, secular
society, like France."
has received death threats from radicals who don't agree with him, but he has
so far refused the French government's offer of protection.
in France feels threatened by terrorists," he says. "Why should I get
any case, he is not scared. And he wants to be free. "It's their goal to
create terror and fear," he says. "As long as people keep their
rhythm and serenity, it is a victory over the terrorists."
came to France from Morocco when he was 19, originally to study medicine. Now
52, he's raised four children in France and says he's proud to be French.
French model of society is based on the teachings of enlightenment philosopher
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – it's one of assimilation, Oubrou says, where all
differences are meant to be erased. He says France emphasizes equality rather
than liberty. This, he says, is the opposite of Britain and the U.S.
the Anglo-Saxon model, there's a preference for liberty," says Oubrou.
"So the system doesn't promise equality and equal salaries. France
promises equality, but falls short. And this is what creates the frustration
that can lead to violence."
says young Muslims face discrimination and often don't feel they're fully
French. He says their Muslim culture is one reason for the discrimination.
living in the most secular country in the world on the most secular continent,
Europe," says Oubrou. "Any kind of religion in the public sphere is
suspect, because French secularism was won by opposing the Catholic Church.
People fought to liberate themselves from religion."
says the French thought they'd solved the problem of religion in the public
sphere when religion and the state were officially separated in 1905, and the
Catholic Church's pressures receded from public life.
in the 1970s, Muslim immigrants arrived from North Africa, with religion a part
of their culture. "So the old demons have been awakened," he says,
"and French society views the Muslim faith as a threat."
says young Muslims are often ignorant of the spiritual side of their faith but
some embrace Islam as a cultural identity — and as a shield, to protect
themselves from what they see as a hostile society that considers them
is supposed to be for sharing. And once we transform it for protection, we are
confiscating God and spirituality," he says.
young French citizens with Arab origins, "If you want to express a revolt
[against French society], you are a fundamentalist Muslim," says Hakim El
Karoui, a Muslim writer and business consultant.
the author of a recent study titled "A French Islam Is Possible,"
published by the Montaigne Institute, an influential Paris think tank.
complete the study, El Karoui and his team did something illegal in a country
where everyone is supposed to be equal: They collected demographic statistics
to find out how many Muslims live in France. The French population census does
not note religion, race or ethnicity.
don't know [how] you deal with a problem if you are not able to have a clear
picture," says El Karoui. "So getting statistics to find out who
French Muslims are was compulsory."
Karoui says he and his team of researchers discovered there are fewer Muslims
in France than people assume. He says there are around 4 million, and not the
widely accepted and cited figures of 6 million to 8 million, or about 10
percent of the population.
the purposes of El Karoui's study a Muslim was anyone who identified as such.
The study found 1,000 out of 15,000 total respondents self-identified as
Muslim. Many French with one Muslim parent did not. El Karoui says about half
of French Muslims are integrated into society and are more or less secularized
— believing in French laws above all else — even if they fast during the month
of Ramadan and avoid eating pork.
his report came out last fall, one figure shocked people: that a quarter of
Muslims in France do not believe in core French values, such as equality
between the sexes and the separation of religion and the state.
group uses religion to send a message against French values," says El
Karoui. "So of course, they are the ones that get all the attention of the
media and politicians."
Karoui says there are certainly some radicalized people within this group and
most of them are young, under 25.
Karoui's study proposes eight pragmatic solutions for developing a French Islam
that is compatible with the country's values and free from foreign funding from
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — which provide support to
imams and some large mosques with religious schools.
of the proposals include recruiting French-born imams and training them in
France, and offering Arabic courses in the secular public schools — so kids can
learn the language outside the mosque.
El Karoui says that French political leaders should do more to embrace French
you are French, you are not a foreigner, and you are a part of the national
community is very, very important," he says. "It's important to
remind the rest of the population that Muslims are French, and that their
problems are everybody's concern."
who says his four children are gainfully employed or studying and are all
active in the life of Bordeaux, says there are tens of thousands of Muslims
working in French hospitals, offices, universities and politics. "But
they're invisible," he says. "We don't talk about them. We only talk
about the delinquents."
Delhi – ISIS global jihadist expansion is not a myth with jihadist groups
around the world pledging allegiance to so-called ”self-proclaimed” caliph Abu
Bakr Al-Baghdadi. ISIS’ state-of–the-art propaganda material triggered a huge
number of defections in al-Qaeda ranks and those of other major radical groups
influencing the top leaders to support ISIS’ global vision of one sharia state
guided by their own radical interpretation of Islam.
after ISIS proclaimed its caliphate in June 2014, many jihadist groups in close
proximity to ISIS’ jihadist ideology immediately pledged allegiance to the
newly formed militant state. The quick influx of numbers and support included
many radical jihadist scholars who quickly evangelized their mission statement
of a global Islamic caliphate extending from Spain to Indonesia and parts of
Central Asia — a vision dating back to the golden era of Islam which they claim
will bring back the glorious period of Islamic history with its dominance over
one third of the world.
to the ideological difference between al-Qaeda and ISIS, many jihadist groups
quickly adhered to ISIS propaganda and started to extend their allegiance by
accepting the authority of Islamic state over their groups to consolidate new
geographical positions. ISIS not only accepted their allegiance but organized
them as provinces, governed by its central command. It restructured the command
in these newly added provinces and groups and gave them new identities. The new
alliance with various jihadist groups around the world strengthened the central
position of ISIS and these groups fulfilled the requirement of battle-tested
fighters who would help train and equip the new recruits in Syria. This mass
migration of radical jihadists from across the world gave global recognition
and created a channel of recruitment that helped ISIS create sleeper cells
across Europe and West and Central Asia, extending the reach of ISIS globally.
and its affiliate groups are prolific in producing propaganda imagery depicting
its gruesome executions of hostages, combat training and threats aimed at
spreading fear among Western countries and inspiring radicalized youth from
around the world to join the Holy War. We tried to understand many of these
affiliations as their numbers have grown in the 32 months since the
proclamation of Baghdadi as the leader of faithful.
the majority of mainstream Muslim scholars and populations rejecting its claim
of caliphate, there are no Muslim states that have recognized or supported the
Islamic State. Many Muslim countries have been victims of ISIS’ brutality.
Among the top Muslim nations who have led the fight against ISIS are Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco, the UAE, Egypt and Qatar. These countries have
been strong allies of the West against ISIS, and they werepart of Obama’s
anti-ISIS coalition. After the Arab Spring, most Arab countries have seen
instability and security crises which have led to the formation of radical
groups and jihadist control of some territories within their borders. These
states have tried to check and eradicate these elements, but what once were
pockets of al-Qaeda strongholds are now launch pads of the Islamic State’s
global mission, so committed and extreme that even Al Qaeda prefers to stay
away from them.
has formed about nine provinces (wilayah) in Libya, Sinai, Algeria, Khorasan,
Yemen, West Africa, North Caucasus, Southeast Asia and Gaza. Hundreds of
radical groups have pledged their allegiance to ISIS from these provinces, and
ISIS has united most of them to form unified operational groups fighting their
own governments over anti-ISIS military support to Western forces.
Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami, ISIS’ official spokesman was reported to have
said, “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the
spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian or any other
disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the
countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely
upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way — however it may be. Smash his
head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car,
or throw him down from a high place, or choke him or poison him.”
was during the overthrow of Dictator Muammar Gadhafi in 2011 that the Islamic
State took root amid the political chaos in this North African nation. Three
armed Islamist groups have claimed allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi since late 2014. Bound by a central command, the three groups are
distinguished by location: Tripoli Province in the west, Barqa Province in the
east, and Fezzan Province in the south. They have fighters in Tripoli and the
major cities of Misrata, Benghazi and Derna triggering frequent battles with
to the U.S. and Libyan secret services, there are around 5,000 fighters present
in these three provinces. It is the only major area outside Syria and Iraq
controlled by a group related to the Islamic State. ISIS’ Tripoli faction also
controls Gadhafi’s birthplace in the city of Sirte along the Mediterranean
coast. The U.S. has been successful twice in neutralising Islamic State figures
that controlled the Tripoli Province while the other two factions operate to
amplify the economy by controlling the oil reserves.
pro-ISIS groups in Libya are the Islamic Youth Shura Council, the Lions of
Libya, the Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah and Islamic State Libya. All
of these groups pledged their allegiance about three years ago.
of Jund al-Khilafah pledged allegiance to ISIS in September 2014, when ISIS
gained infamy after beheading French tourist Hervé Gourdel. Since then, the
group has been largely dormant after reports suggested its leader, Khalid
Abu-Sulayman, was killed by Algerian counter-terrorism forces in December 2014.
other major groups that pledged allegiance to ISIS are al-Huda Battalion in the
Islamic Maghreb on June 30, 2014, al-Ghurabaa on July 7, 2015, Al-Ansar
Battalion on Sept. 4, 2015, and Djamaat Houmat ad-Da’wa as-Salafiya (DHDS) on
Sept. 19, 2015.
mainly ofdefectors from the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan and other militant groups, this province (wilayah) was
formed after an announcement by ISIS in January 2015. Often fighting with
Afghan military and the Afghan Taliban, Khorasan Province has established a
stronghold in Eastern Nangarhar province.
operations of the U.S. and Afghan military have led to the deaths of many of
Khorasan’s new leaders. On Jan. 16, 2016, the ISIS combatants of this province
carried out their first attack in Afghanistan on a Pakistani consulate in the
eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. At least seven members of Afghan security
forces were killed, after which Ashraf Ghani, the afghan president, vowed to
“bury” local ISIS-affiliated groups. The Afghan government says the number of
rebels is in thousands. They have marked their presence in Helmand province
Islamic State’s Khorasan wing is committed to expanding into Kashmir (A
conflict zone disputed between India and Pakistan) to fight Indian forces. They
are joined by defectors from Lashkar-e-Taiba — a splinter group of al-Qaeda, as
well as some Indian and Bangladeshi jihadists.
March 2015 the first affiliate to the Islamic state in Yemen announced itself
in Sana’a. A series of deadly bomb blasts at mosques in Sana’a followed, and
ISIS claimed responsibility. They took advantage of a security lapse which was
a result of a war between a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition and Houthi
in smaller aligned groups and Sana’a province are filled mainly by defectors of
the Yemen based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, this al-Qaeda group was one
of the most dangerous terror groups. The two tools the Islamic state uses to
enforce their ideology are brutality and well-organized propaganda. Their
numbers are believed to be in the hundreds but still very dangerous, according
to expert analysts.
State West Africa
Haram pledged allegiance in March 2015 and was renamed Islamic State West
Africa Province. Boko Haram doesn’t control as much territory in northeastern
Nigeria as it once did after a recent Nigerian military action. Boko Haram
means “Western education is sinful” in English; the group is intolerant to
Western influence over Muslims.
Haram’s war on the Nigerian government has claimed more than 28,000 lives,
according to a New York-based council on foreign relations and another 2.5
million people have been displaced, according to the U.N. Though they are
responsible for all major Nigerian attacks, the most hideous of their crimes is
the abduction of school girls which triggered a global outrage against Boko
Haram in 2014.
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
to be in the thousands by researchers, radical groups in Egypt pledged their
allegiance in November 2014. This province is considered to be the hub of the
most powerful militant group, formerly called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. Made up of
Egyptian radical jihadists who have fought alongside the local Bedouins and
Egyptian defectors from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iran, it operates mainly in
the northern Sinai Peninsula.
the latest technology has been a trademark of their attacks that are growing in
strength. They killed at least 21 security personnel in Egyptian army outposts
in a series of suicide bombings in July 2015. The attacks were well organized,
and every move was carefully arranged. After three months they claimed
responsibility for killing 224 passengers and crew when they shot down a
Russian airliner flying over northern Sinai.
military operations have attacked the province and claim that there is no major
support for ISIS.
Russia is hosting a conference in Moscow this week that will bring together
Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India and Iran to discuss a possible solution of
the conflict in Afghanistan.
meeting is part of Russia's effort at playing a more pro-active role in
Afghanistan for the first time since its invasion of the country in 1979.
last conference Moscow hosted on Afghanistan in December included only China
and Pakistan, prompting a strong protest from the Afghan government.
one this week is more inclusive of the regional stakeholders, but excludes the
United States or NATO, leading to speculation that Russia is more interested in
undermining the Unites States than in solving the regional problems.
a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman Senator John McCain
said Russia is propping up the Taliban to undermine the U.S.
how troubling the situation is in Afghanistan, any efforts by any outside
stakeholder to look for regional solutions to the war there should be
welcomed,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy Asia director at the Washington based
Wilson Center. The question he asked, however, was what Russia is trying to do.
16 killed, 53 hurt as suicide bomber hits Mall Road in Lahore
least 16 people were killed and 53 more injured when a suspected suicide bomber
set off his explosives during a protest outside the Punjab Assembly on the main
thoroughfare of the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday evening.
blast occurred as a large number of chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers
were staging a demonstration against a new drug control act on the Mall Road,
where several key government buildings are located. It was not clear if the
protest was the target of the blast.
media reported that the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban,
had claimed responsibility for the attack.
traffic police chief Ahmad Mobin and two other senior police officials were
among the dead, authorities said.
camera footage aired on Samaa TV channel showed a powerful blast shortly
after a man approached a
group of protesters on the Mall Road. “Apparently it was a suicide blast, but
police are still investigating to know the exact nature of the blast,” Punjab
police spokesperson Nayab Haider told local media.
blast shattered windows of nearby buildings and some cars caught fire.
Ambulances and fire tenders rushed to the scene as contingents of soldiers and
paramilitary Pakistan Rangers were deployed. The injured were taken to Mayo
Hospital and Ganga Ram Hospital.
Easter Day bombing in Lahore last year killed more than 70 people in a public
park. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar had also claimed responsibility for that attack.
Minister for Religious Affairs, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf on Monday said that
government has made the Holy Quran’s reciting compulsory from grade 1 to 5.
minister was speaking on the competition held on ‘Qirat and Naat’ at Islamabad
Model College for Girls f-6/2 (ICG).
said that Quran reciting is compulsory from grade 1 to 5 while government has
taken steps to teach the holy book with translation from grade 6 till
implementation has been started in all government and private schools of the
federal capital,” stated the minister.
from various colleges participated in the competition, while Hafiz Qari Ikhlaq
Madni, Hafiz Qari Gulzar Ahmed Madni and Hafiz Qari Muhammad Azam presided over
Musaddiq from IMCG, G-10/4 secured the first prize in Qirat, Sawaira Shahbaz
from IMCG, F-7/4 stood second and third prize was awarded to Kulsoom Bibi from
Naat Tayyaba Shakeel from IMCG, I-8/3stood first, Hira Hashmi from IMCG, F-7/4
second and third prize went to Iqra Riasat from IMCG, F-10/2 & Aneela Bibi
IMCG (PG) F-7/4.
Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf also announced Umrah ticket for winner of
completion and also promised for the renovation of college mosque.
to Qirat completion, flower arrangement competition also arranged in Fine Arts
Another Pakistani Senator on Monday said his US visa application was turned
down without a valid reason, a day after reports said the Senate Deputy
Chairman, belonging to the same Islamic party as the legislator, was denied
visa to visit New York.
Hamdullah said he had to wait in a queue for over four hours inside the US
embassy's consular section before being told he could not be granted a visa+ ,
The Express Tribune reported.
the incident dates back to October, just days ahead of the presidential polls
in the US on November 8, it comes a day after it was revealed that the Senate
Deputy Chairman and secretary general of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)
Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri was also denied a US visa+ .
visa denial led to the cancellation of his visit to New York for a meeting of
Inter-Parliamentary Union at the UN on February 13-14. He was to lead a
was not given any reasons. After a four-hour wait, I was simply informed by the
visa office that my application could not be entertained," Hamdullah said.
and Hamdullah belong to the same JUI-F party.
JUI-F, headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is a coalition partner of the ruling
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.
party is known to be inclined towards Taliban and critical of US policies in
the region. This could be a possible reason behind the visa denials to the
case is being linked to the controversial immigration policy of US President
Donald Trump. But the case suggests that the policy of strict vetting of visa
applicants from religious parties was in place even during the previous Obama
US embassy did not comment on Hamdullah's case, citing 'privacy laws',
according to the report.
- Two bomb disposal squad personnel were killed while defusing a planted
improvised explosive device (IED) while 16 others sustained wounds in Quetta’s
most sensitive area on Sariab Road.
to police sources, a bomb disposal squad, on receiving information that a
mysterious thing was lying near Sariab Bridge, reached the spot. As they saw an
IED, they started to defuse it. All of a sudden, the IED exploded, killing two
bomb disposal squad personnel on the spot and injuring 16 others. Those killed
were BDS Commander Abdur Razzaq and Head Constable Abdul Majeed while the
injured consisted of five personnel of security forces and 11 civilians. The
police sources said six to seven kg explosives had been used in the blast.
- Three personnel of Frontier Corps martyred in a blast of improvised explosive
device in South Waziristan Agency.
sources said the Frontier Corps (FC) men were on routine patrol on Sunday night
at Toikhula area of the agency, when an explosive device planted by Taliban
militants exploded near their vehicle. Resultantly, there FC soldiers embraced
Shahadat while the vehicle was also destroyed. The dead bodies were rushed to
the nearby combined military hospital (CMH). Security forces cordoned off the
area and started search operation in the area.
FC soldiers were martyred in a bomb blast during a patrol in South
Waziristan," a senior security official told AFP, adding that the bomb had
been detonated remotely.
Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar
Jhagra strongly condemned the bomb blast. They extended heartfelt condolences
to the bereaved families of the martyrs and prayed for eternal peace of their
attack came a day after Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit to the
agency, where he spent a busy day and met soldiers.
CLAIMS SWAT, KARACHI ATTACKS
adds: The outlawed TTP on Monday claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on
FC men in South Waziristan that killed three personnel and the murder of an
assistant cameraman of Samaa TV.
spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani in a statement said, “The media is not
impartial and we’ve issued several warnings to them.”
assistant cameraman of Samaa TV was killed when a DSNG van of the channel came
under attack in Karachi on Sunday night.
to the incident, military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said
killing of the assistant cameraman was a sad incident. “Share the grief of
media, Samaa and Taimoor’s family,” DG ISPR Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted.
- Banned militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed
responsibility for the targeted attack on the DSNG van of a private news
channel on Sunday, while police on Monday registered a case against
unidentified persons for attacking the DSNG van and killing an assistant
cameraman of the channel.
Khan, 22, was shot dead when armed motorcyclists targeted a Digital Satellite
News Gathering (DSNG) van of Samaa TV near KDA Chowrangi in North Nazimabad
when it was on its way to the site of a cracker attack on police’s armored
personnel carrier. Two separate special police teams, headed by District
Central SSP Muqaddas Haider and SP Samiullah Soomro, have already been
constituted by Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khawaja following the directives of the Sindh
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.
initial police investigation has suggested that at least four armed men on two
motorcycles were behind the incident. DSP Naeem Khan said that the initial
investigation pointed towards the involvement of the same group of militants in
both the consecutive attacks; the one on DSNG van and the other on policemen.
Police investigators have also obtained the forensic report of the empty shells
of 9mm pistols used in the incident.
empty shells, recovered from the crime scene, have no previous history of being
used in any criminal activity in Karachi,” said an officer of the Forensic
Division of Sindh Police.
the funeral prayers for Samaa TV employee Syed Imtiaz Ali were offered at Bilal
Masjid near his residence in Orangi Town and later he was laid to rest at
Paposh Nagar graveyard. People from
different walks of life attended the funeral.
have registered an FIR No 28/17 under Sections 302 (murder) of the Pakistan
Penal Code and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against unidentified persons, while
further investigation is underway.
for those giving details
IG Karachi Mushtaq Mahar has announced that anybody who provides information
about the killing of Samaa TV cameraman will be awarded one million rupees and
his identity will also be kept confidential.
Karachi, attacks on media persons have become a routine. This was the fifth
such incident to have taken place in Karachi, resulting in the death of five
media employees. Two suspected members of a banned religious outfit,
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, had been arrested on January 2016 for their alleged
involvement in targeted killings of media men. On the other hand, journalists
protested in front of the Karachi Press Club against the brutal killing. The protest was organised by Karachi Union of
Journalists (KUJ). Chanting slogans, they demanded the government to arrest the
assailants and give compensation to the victim’s family.
and other groups of the newly-formed Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation
Board) carried out a large-scale attack on government forces' positions in the
districts and neighborhoods of al-Manshiyeh, Sajineh, Hamideh al-Taah and Busra
square in the Central and Western parts of Dara'a city, targeting residential
areas including al-Sajari neighborhood by mortar shells.
army soldiers, in the first hours of the terrorists' attack, retreated
tactically to regroup and further engaged in fierce clashes with terrorists,
killing 45 terrorists and destroying five military vehicles and a tunnel.
commanders were amongst the killed terrorists.
army troops managed to stop advances of the terrorists and carried out
counterattack against Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at to take back lost positions.
army has driven terrorists out of the entire entrances of al-Manshiyeh,
Sajineh, Hamideh al-Taah and Busra square now.
sources said that a number of ambulances of the terrorist groups have been
dispatched to the battlefield to take away the injured to militant-held
said earlier today that the army troops repelled a large-scale offensive of
al-Nusra Front on government forces' positions in the Southern city of Dara'a,
killing 20 terrorists including their emir.
army soldiers fended off Nusra's attack on their positions in al-Manshiyeh
neighborhood, killing 20 terrorists and wounding tens more.
Field Commander Abu Rayan Ordoni was amongst the killed terrorists.
bomb-laden suicide vehicles were also destroyed in the failed attack.
Air Force says it has killed at least 13 commanders of the Daesh Takfiri
terrorist group during an airstrike that targeted a house in the country’s west
where the group's ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was thought to be meeting
with other extremists.
military said in a statement on Monday that Iraqi F-16 warplanes had targeted
the house in the border city of Qa'im in Anbar Province two days earlier. It
also published the names of the 13 senior members of the terrorist group killed
in the airstrike, but the list did not include Baghdadi.
sources raised the possibility that the ringleader had been hit and injured in
the Saturday strike.
statement also noted that during the same wave of airstrikes, three other
positions belonging to the Takfiri group had also been targeted in western
Iraq, where 64 terrorists had been killed.
military said Baghdadi had moved in a convoy from the Syrian city of Raqqah to
Qa'im in Iraq last week to discuss with commanders "the collapse happening
in Mosul and to chose a successor for him."
whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, has been reported wounded several times
in the past.
leader of the Daesh terrorist group, Ibrahim al-Samarrai, also known as Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi (File photo by AFP)
has been ravaging Iraq and Syria since 2014. The terrorist group has overrun
territory in both countries and has declared the city of Raqqah in Syria and
Mosul in Iraq as its so-called headquarters.
sources said that the entire members of several families have been killed and
many more have been wounded in the attacks of the Turkish warplane and
militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation.
sources further added that there is no exact report on the number of the
civilians massacred in al-Bab, but bodies are scattered all over the region.
sources disclosed on Saturday that over 60 civilians were killed or wounded in
a fresh round of Turkish bombardments in the town of al-Bab
sources said that Turkish warplanes bombed again the town of al-Bab, leaving at
least 20 civilians dead and 40 more wounded.
monitor disclosed late in January that ten civilians, including a child, were
killed in Turkish airstrikes and shelling in and around a Syrian town held by
the ISIL terrorists.
bombardment hit the Northern town of al-Bab and the nearby area of Tadif, both
held by ISIL, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at the time.
forces regularly carry out air strikes in support of a ground operation it
launched in Syria last August targeting both ISIL and Kurdish fighters.
is not included in a fragile nationwide ceasefire in force since December 30
that led to peace negotiations jointly organized by Turkey, Russia and Iran in
Kazakhstan this week.
websites said that residents of Kafr Nabouden started clashing with the
terrorists of Ahrar al-Sham and Jeish al-Nasr that had attacked Kafr Naboudeh
and tried to enter the town.
media outlets added that the civilians blocked terrorists' path into the town,
defending Syrian army soldiers deployed in Kafr Naboudeh.
clashes broke out between the pro-government civilians and terrorists at Kafr
Naboudeh entrace gate, leaving several militants dead including commander of
Jund al-Sonah Brigade known as Abu Hazen, said the websites.
militant vehicles equipped with missile-launchers were destroyed in the clashes
in Kafr Naboudeh, they added.
terrorist groups' Saudi Mufti (religious leader) Abdullah al-Muhaysini
expressed dissatisfaction over the incident and said Kafr Naboudeh's residents
are forces of the Syrian army.
Friday, intensified infighting among the rival terrorist groups of Jund al-Aqsa
and Ajnad al-Sham in the Northern part of Hama province resulted in the
abduction of 100 terrorists from the latter group by the former.
least 100 Ajnad al-Sham terrorists were kidnapped by Jund al-Aqsa in Kafr Zita
after several hours of clashes between the two rival terrorist groups, the
Arabic-language media outlets reported.
army units and warplanes hit jointly the movements of a group of ISIL
terrorists near al-Tamin Brigade in the Southern countryside of Deir Ezzur
city, leaving most of the militants dead and their hardware destroyed.
the meantime, the army troops and fighter jets targeted ISIL's gatherings and
movements in Deir Ezzur's outskirts, killing a number of terrorists and
destroying their military vehicles.
said on Sunday that Syrian and Russian fighter jets carried out a joint
preemptive attack and targeted the gatherings and movements of the ISIL
terrorists in the Southern countryside of Deir Ezzur, preventing their move towards
government forces' positions.
warplanes pounded ISIL's positions in al-Makbat region Southwest of Panorama
and foiled ISIL's attack on government forces' defense lines, killing most of
the terrorists and destroying two military and two bomb-laden suicide vehicles.
the meantime, Syrian Army troops targeted two groups of ISIL terrorists that
had planned to use al-Huweiqa passage and nearby regions of the faculty of
agriculture in al-Hosseiniyeh, killing and wounding most of militants.
of people have been taking to the streets across Bahrain to mark the sixth
anniversary of a popular uprising against the ruling regime in the country and
denounce the crackdown that has ensued.
to mark the anniversary of the February 14, 2011 revolution in Bahrain began on
Monday and continued on Tuesday morning. People braved security forces, who
were quickly deployed to crack down on the protests.
Monday evening, people took to the streets in the northern village of Abu
Saiba, west of the capital Manama, chanting slogans against King Hamad bin Isa
Al Khalifah and demanding the downfall of the regime.
also held the monarch fully responsible for the crimes being perpetrated
against the nation, the detention campaign against ordinary citizens and
religious figures, and the killing of protesters.
in the small north-central village of Bu Quwah, dozens of demonstrators
expressed solidarity with distinguished Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has
been stripped of his citizenship and whom Bahraini authorities seek to put on
trial on politically-motivated charges.
part of the crackdown on dissent, Bahraini authorities have dissolved several
opposition groups, including the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and the
Islamic Enlightenment Institution, which were founded by Sheikh Qassim.
broke out in the Nuwaidrat Village, where Bahraini regime forces intervened and
fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.
gas fills the area during clashes between Bahraini forces and anti-regime
protesters in the village of Nuwaidrat, Bahrain, on February 13, 2017.
protesters also expressed solidarity with slain pro-democracy campaigners and
opposition figures during a protest in the village of Buri.
demonstrations were staged on Sitra Island, situated south of Manama, the
villages of Daih, Shahrakan, Bani Jamra, Karbabad, and Sanabis, as well as the
Saar residential area west of the capital and Manama’s Bilad al-Qadeem suburb.
Popular Mobilization Units have blocked the escape of around 200 Daesh
terrorists who were attempting to flee the city of Tal Afar and enter Syria.
Monday, PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi told reporters that the terrorists were
using tanks in their attempt to escape Tal Afar, which is located to the west
attack by the Daesh terrorist gangs started at around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT)” and
lasted for around six hours, he said.
forces, also known as Hashd al-Sha'abi, have been stationed around Mosul since
October 17, when Iraq launched massive operations to retake the city from
coalition of anti-terror forces has so far fully liberated the eastern half of
the flashpoint city -- home to more than one million people -- and are gearing
up to liberate its western side.
forces regain control of two more neighborhoods in east Mosul
was an attempt by Daesh to open a breach, flee to the Syria border and
exfiltrate some leaders and fighters," he added.
soldier of the Hashd al-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Units) looks at a car
convoy in the desert near the Tal Afar airport on November 20, 2016.
noted that Iraqi military helicopters aided the PMU in thwarting the Daesh
attack, in which at least 50 of the terrorists were killed and 17 of their
sources said the senior commander of terrorists in al-Maqaber (Deir Ezzur's
cemetery) has been killed by the ISIL after the Syrian army could score more
victories against militants in Southern outskirts of the city.
the meantime, the army units attacked the gatherings and movements of ISIL near
Qasan Aboud square inside Deir Ezzur city, destroying ammunition depots and a
vehicle carrying heavy artillery.
also suffered major casualties in the attack.
a number of ISIL militants were also killed after a multi-storey base of the
terrorists was destroyed in the army's attack.
said on Sunday that Syrian and Russian fighter jets carried out a joint
preemptive attack and targeted the gatherings and movements of the ISIL
terrorists in the Southern countryside of Deir Ezzur, preventing their move
towards government forces' positions.
sources said that two terrorists of Jund al-Aqsa in a suicide bomb attack
detonated a main positon of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at in the town of Kafr Zita,
killing or wounding a number of militants.
al-Aqsa's attack came after terrorists of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at entered the
town of Kafr Zita in Northern Hama and seized control without any clashes with
al-Sham Hay'at along with al-Turkistan party in a joint attack against Jund
al-Aqsa in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib seized control over the town of
al-Tamanna and other positions of Jund al-Aqsa in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in
sources disclosed on Sunday that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at declared war on Jund
al-Aqsa after the latter managed to take control of several towns in Southern
sources said that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at declared war against Liwa al-Aqsa, a
branch of Jund al-Aqsa in Hama province.
added that one of Abu Abdul Malek al-Shami, a commander of Tahrir al-Sham
Hay'at, underlined his forces' firm will to annihilate Liwa al-Aqsa.
sources said that combatants of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at have driven Liwa al-Aqsa
forces out of the town of al-Tamanna in Southern Idlib.
Hay'at's decision to open war on Jund al-Aqsa came after the Liwa al-Aqsa took
control of the town of Kafr Sajneh in Southern Idlib.
Jund al-Aqsa terrorists continued their advances in the region and seized
control over the town of Khan Sheikhoun and al-Tamanna.
a group of terrorists affiliated to the newly-formed Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at
entered a government hospital in the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman in Idlib
province on Wednesday, using force, and took several guards of the medical
center that were members of Ahrar al-Sham hostages.
military hardliner elected group's Gaza chief
CITY: Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas elected a hardline member of its
armed wing as its new Gaza head on Monday, Hamas officials said. "Yahya
Sinwar was elected to head the Hamas political office in the Gaza Strip",
the officials said.
will succeed Ismail Haniya, who is seen by many observers as the most likely
successor to Hamas's current exiled leader Khaled Meshaal.
September 2015, Sinwar was added to the US terrorism blacklist alongside two
other members of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
graduate in Arabic, he was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern
Gaza and founded "Majd," one of Hamas's intelligence services.
by Israel in 1988 for "terrorist activity," Sinwar was sentenced to
four life sentences.
was released in October 2011 under an agreement to exchange more than 1,000
Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier
captured five years earlier.
which has controlled the Gaza Strip for a decade, has been conducting internal
elections for several months.
process is shrouded in mystery and it is unclear when the other appointments
will be announced.
his release from jail, Sinwar initially made a number of public appearances.
however, he disappeared from public view and was presented in Hamas media as
the commander of al-Qassam's elite units.
and close to many Hamas military leaders, Sinwar represents for some observers
the hardest line within the Islamist movement.
accuses him of continuing to advocate kidnapping of Israeli soldiers as a
bargaining chip for Palestinian prisoners.
currently claims to have four Israelis in captivity in Gaza, though Israel says
the two soldiers among them were killed in the 2014 war.
Michael, an analyst and former head of the Palestinian Desk at Israel's
Ministry for Strategic Affairs, said the appointment would cause alarm among
represents the most radical and extreme line of Hamas," he told reporters.
"Sinwar believes in armed resistance. He doesn't believe in any sort of
cooperation with Israel."
has fought three wars with Hamas since 2008, the last of which in 2014.
Jewish state maintains a crippling blockade on Gaza which it says is necessary
to maintain Hamas but which the United Nations says amounts to collective
two dozen people have been killed in overnight clashes between fighters from
the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement and militiamen loyal to resigned
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the country’s strategic western province of
Hudaydah, military and medical officials say.
officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that skirmishes
in the Red Sea port cities of Midi and Mukha have claimed the lives of 14
militia forces, backed by the Saudi air force, began a major offensive on
January 7 to recapture Mukha, which overlooks the strategic Bab el-Mandeb
Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, from Ansarullah fighters.
Tens of people from both sides have been killed so far in the ongoing clashes.
snipers shoot dead Saudi trooper
Yemeni soldiers, backed by fighters from Popular Committees, have shot dead a
Saudi trooper in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Jizan as the
Riyadh regime pushes ahead with its aerial bombardment campaign against its
crisis-hit southern neighbor.
forces shot and killed the Saudi trooper in Soudah military base of al-Khoubah
district on Monday afternoon, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network
soldiers and their allies also fired a locally-developed al-Sarkha 3 (Shriek 3)
missile at a gathering of Saudi troops in the Eastern Umm al-Qotb district of
Jizan, located 969 kilometers south of Riyadh, but there were no immediate
reports of possible casualties or damage.
photo provided by the media bureau of Joint Operations Command in Yemen shows
an Emirati armored vehicle on fire in an area of the central Yemeni city of
Sirwah on February 13, 2017.
Yemeni forces and their allies targeted an Emirati armored vehicle in an area
of the city of Sirwah, which lies about 120 kilometers east of the Yemeni
capital city of Sana’a, killing all those onboard.
on Monday, Saudi military aircraft launched an airstrike against an area in the
Baqim district of the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, leaving three
civilians dead and four others injured.
AVIV: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sidestepped a question on
whether he still supports the creation of a Palestinian state as he left for
the United States on Monday on his first visit since President Donald Trump
has never publicly abandoned his conditional backing for Palestinian statehood,
which he first stated in 2009, but Palestinians say that commitment has been
rendered worthless by Israeli settlement building on occupied land.
before Netanyahu's departure for Washington, Public Security Minister Gilad
Erdan told Army Radio that "all members of the security cabinet, and
foremost the prime minister, oppose a Palestinian state". The forum
convened on Sunday ahead of Wednesday's White House meeting between Netanyahu
the Tel Aviv airport tarmac, Netanyahu was asked if he still stood behind the
so-called two-state solution. "Come with me, you'll hear very clear
answers," he told reporters accompanying him on the flight.
confirmed, a departure from a two-state policy would present Israel with
diplomatic, political and demographic challenges as it contends with the
complex question of how to deal with a Palestinian population now under limited
partners in Netanyahu's coalition have called for the annexation of parts of
the West Bank, a demand he has resisted.
month, Israel's Haaretz newspaper said Netanyahu, in a closed-door meeting with
Likud ministers, coined a new term "Palestinian state-minus" to
describe his vision of limited Palestinian sovereignty in the territory.
has already conditioned Palestinian statehood on demilitarisation, long-term
presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank and Palestinian recognition of
Israel as the "nation-state" of the Jewish people.
Islamist gunman, who has confessed to the killing of 39 people at an Istanbul
nightclub on New Year's Day, told a court that he had aimed to kill Christians
during his attack, Hurriyet newspaper said on Monday, citing testimony given
Masharipov initially planned to attack the area around Taksim Square but
switched to the upscale Reina nightclub due to the heightened security measures
around the square, Hurriyet said, without saying how it had obtained the
was not given access to the confidential document.
did not take part in any acts before the Reina event. I thought of carrying out
an act against Christians on their holiday, to take revenge for their killing
acts across the world. My goal was to kill Christians," he was quoted as
I had decided to do so, I would have used a gun and killed the people there
(Taksim). There was no entrance to Taksim, it was swarming with police. I
changed my mind after that," Huuriyet quoted him as saying in the court
is a majority Muslim nation. Turks, as well as visitors from several Arab
nations, India and Canada, were among those killed in the attack. Victims
included a Bollywood film producer, a Turkish waiter, a Lebanese fitness
trainer and a Jordanian bar owner.
State claimed responsibility the day after the attack, saying it was revenge
for Turkish military involvement in Syria. Turkey is part of the U.S.-led
coalition against Islamic State and launched an incursion into neighboring
Syria in August to drive jihadists and Kurdish militia fighters away from its
an Uzbek, acknowledged his membership of Islamic State and said the jihadist
group would develop a presence in predominantly non-Muslim countries if it had
the power, Hurriyet said.
said he and his family had originally planned to travel to Syria from
Uzbekistan, but stayed in Turkey because they were unable to do so. He said he
had not taken part in any meetings or phone calls with the group while in
was caught in a police raid in Istanbul on Jan. 16 and was formally charged
with membership of an armed terrorist group, multiple counts of murder,
possession of heavy weapons and attempting to overturn the constitutional
order, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
his testimony this weekend, he told officials he would prefer the death penalty
as a sentence, and said he did not regret his actions, which he believed were
not targeting Turkey, but rather were acts of revenge.
would be better if a death penalty was ruled. I threw the stun grenades after
my ammunition had finished, nothing happened. I remained alive, but I had gone
to die there," he said, according to Hurriyet.
of American rabbis have signed a letter against the appointment of David
Friedman as the United States’ ambassador to Israel, describing his ideology as
open letter, which was released on Monday, has been signed by as many as 600
American rabbis and cantors, The Times of Israel reported.
signatories took issue with Friedman’s fervent and oft-repeated support for
Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and his strong opposition to
the “two-state solution.”
Friedman’s pro-settler positions and opposition to the two-state solution are
in conflict with our views and the majority of American Jews who see settlement
expansion as an obstacle to peace and who strongly support a two-state
solution,” they said.
called his views not representative of the American society, and his general
behavior unbefitting of an envoy.
ambassador is charged with representing our entire nation,” they wrote, adding,
“We are very concerned that rather than try to represent the US as an advocate
for peace, Mr. Friedman will seek to mold American policy in line with his
US President Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate Friedman for the
job late last year, before he had assumed office himself.
has caused controversy by saying that he plans to work at “the US embassy in
Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” The indication of intent to move the
American embassy to East Jerusalem al-Quds is meant to be a sign of the
recognition of the city as the capital of an Israeli “state.”
Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed his “deep” regret for
the opposition mounted by the United States to the designation of former
Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad as the world body’s special envoy to
UN chief made the remarks at the annual World Government Summit in Dubai, the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Monday, saying that he did not see “any reason”
for the US opposition to the appointment of Fayyad, whom he described as “the
right person for the right job at the right moment.”
also said that Fayyad, a Texas-educated former International Monetary Fund
official, had a track record of fighting corruption and criticized the US for
blocking his appointment, which he said had been “a loss for the Libyan peace
process and the Libyan people.”
has been engulfed in political and security turmoil since the NATO military
intervention which followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and
killing of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
64, who served as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to
2013, had on Wednesday been proposed by Guterres to the UN Security Council to
replace Martin Kobler of Germany.
photo shows ex-Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad.
UN chief needs the unanimous support of all 15 members of the council for the
appointment of special envoys to conflict regions. On Friday night, however, US
Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blocked the designation by voting against
Fayyad, saying that US President Donald Trump’s administration “was
disappointed” to learn that Guterres had proposed such a person.
also accused the world body of being “unfairly biased” in favor of the
Palestinian Authority to the “detriment” of Washington’s allies in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US veto of Fayyad’s candidacy as
going against the “free gifts constantly given to the Palestinian side.”
Guterres dismissed Nikki’s allegations and said that the world body “needs to
be able to act with impartiality” and its loyalty should only be to its charter
and not to any particular person.
refugee priest to Trump: Give my citizenship to a Syrian
Catholic priest who fled to the U.S. from war-torn Vietnam as a youth has
written to President Trump offering to surrender his American citizenship so
that the president could confer it on a Syrian refugee who would be barred
under Trump’s controversial order banning travelers from Syria and six other
Rev. Chuong Hoai Nguyen, a member of the Salesian order, also told Trump he
would ask his religious superiors for permission to go live and work in one of
the seven countries on the banned list.
I am a refugee,” Nguyen, who works with the Vietnamese community in Los Angeles
and runs a Catholic youth center there, wrote the president.
am an American and I have made America great in my own way for the 42 years
since I was granted asylum in this great country. But now, I would like to
relinquish my U.S. citizenship and ask that you grant it to a Syrian refugee,”
am certain that they, like all refugees, will not squander this gift of life. I
believe they will also ‘make America great,’ alongside your children and
letter was posted Friday (Feb. 10) on the blog of the Catholic magazine
Commonweal by Peter Steinfels, a prominent Catholic intellectual and former New
York Times religion columnist. A friend of Steinfels had sent it to him.
letter was dated Jan. 27, the start of the Vietnamese New Year, a time of hope
and celebration, as Nguyen noted.
it was also the date that Trump signed his executive order barring refugees
from the countries as part of what Trump has called a “ban” on Muslims entering
the U.S. — a move the president claims will keep the country safe from
have noted that refugees almost never commit terror attacks and that, as CNN
reported, “the primary perpetrators of the major terror attacks have mostly
been US-born citizens or permanent legal residents originally from countries
not included in the ban.”
federal appeals court also ruled that Trump’s ban was unconstitutional and the
administration is reportedly debating whether to take the battle to the Supreme
Court or revise the order in hopes it will pass muster with the lower courts.
Nguyen read about the order, he wrote the president, “My heart and my soul were
went on to detail his harrowing journey from Vietnam in 1975, along with
hundreds of thousands of other “boat people,” as Communist forces overran the
country following the American withdrawal.
parents put him and his siblings, ranging in age from 6 to 21, on an
overcrowded boat with no captain or crew and little food or water. A week
later, under escort from U.S. naval forces, they made it to safety in the
Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of others drowned trying to make the
a refugee is a choice one makes when there are no other options,” Nguyen wrote.
then recounted how he came to the U.S., became a priest and dedicated himself
to building up the nation that gave him and others like him sanctuary.
Nguyen says he is ready to yield his citizenship to another refugee, if Trump
will allow it.
was not immediately known whether the White House had responded to the priest’s
letter or whether such a citizenship swap would be possible.
reaffirm support for refugees as judges scrutinize Trump policy
D.C., Feb 10, 2017 / 03:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops welcomed a
federal appeals court ruling that affirmed a legal injunction against a Trump
administration executive order on refugee resettlement and travel bans
targeting Muslim countries.
respect the rule of law and the American judicial process,” said Bishop Joe
Vasquez of Austin, Texas, speaking in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops’
Committee on Migration.
remain steadfast in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing
persecution,” Bishop Vazquez said Feb. 10. “At this time, we remain
particularly dedicated to ensuring that affected refugee and immigrant families
are not separated and that they continue to be welcomed to our country.”
will continue to welcome the newcomer as it is a vital part of our Catholic
faith and an enduring element of our American values and tradition,” he added.
three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 3-0 vote on Feb.
9, upheld a lower court’s temporary restraining order against several
provisions of an executive order on refugee resettlement.
provisions under judicial scrutiny included a 120-day halt on U.S. refugee
resettlement program; an indefinite ban on resettling Syrian refugees; and a
90-day prohibition on entry for individuals from seven predominantly Muslim
countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Thursday, the panel said that the Trump administration did not present any
evidence that any alien from the countries it named has carried out a terrorist
attack in the U.S. It said the public has an interest in national security and
the ability of a president to enact policies. It added that the public also has
an interest “in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in
freedom from discrimination.”
Trump had said the order would stop terrorists and allow federal agencies to
develop stricter screening for those entering the country.
pledged to fight the ruling in court, saying on Twitter “the security of our
nation is at stake.”
of fear that he would be persecuted for his bisexuality, Seidu Mohammed fled
from Ghana in an attempt to find a new home in the U.S. The 24-year-old man was
denied asylum in late 2016. Mohammed and another Ghanaian native, Razak Iyal,
decided to illegally cross from the U.S. into Canada, as the AP reported
recently. The two took a bus from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, N.D.
a bitterly cold Christmas Eve, they paid a taxi $200 each to drop them off in
remote North Dakota, as close to the Canadian border as possible. There they
hiked north for hours, through snowdrifts that rose as high as their waists.
When they could walk no further, they waited by a freeway in the hopes someone
were standing in front of the highway looking for help for almost seven hours.
Nobody was willing to help, no traffic stopped,” Iyal told the AP. “We gave up.
That was our end of our life.” A passing driver rescued the men from the
elements, but not before the cold claimed all of their fingers. Still, they
said to the AP, the men were glad to have successfully crossed into Canada.
was just one of the troubles to emerge in recent months at the border between
the U.S. and Canada. There has been a surge in immigrants making illegal
crossings into Canada — particularly from Minnesota, which has a large Somali
population, into the neighboring province of Manitoba. Minneapolis’ City Pages,
speaking on Friday with Rita Chahal of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration
Council, reported that the average number of people who made the trek for the
70 previous years was about 50 annually. In 2016, 300 asylum seekers crossed
into Manitoba. In the first week of February, as many as 30 people crossed
over the weekend, 22 immigrants entered the small Manitoba town of
Emerson-Franklin. A bartender at the Emerson Hotel told Winnipeg’s Metro News
that his establishment had become a popular rest stop for migrants.
cold. They’re wearing their winter boots and their winter gear, but they’re
cold,” the bartender, Wayne Pfiel, said. “They end up taking their boots and
socks off right in the lobby or else I’ll let them in the bar and offer them a
coffee and something to eat.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring travelers from seven
Muslim-majority countries, Canada adopted a welcoming stance. “To those fleeing
persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your
faith,” tweeted Justin Trudeau on Jan. 28. “Diversity is our strength.” As the
Washington Post described Canada’s message to stranded migrants on Jan. 30:
“Live in Canada, for a while, if you want.”
in the other direction — from Canada into the U.S. — has also become fraught. A
few Muslim Canadians said they have been told to turn back.
Alaoui, a Moroccan-born woman who is a citizen of Canada, said she was denied
entry into the U.S. during the first weekend in February. Alaoui told the CBC’s
“As It Happens” radio show that U.S. border officials questioned her at length
about her visit. They wanted to know about her thoughts on Trump (she was of
the opinion he could do with the country as he wished, she said) and asked her
about the prayers saved on her phone, La Presse reported. Alaoui, who wished to
go shopping with her cousin and two children in Burlington, Vt., said she was
fingerprinted and dismissed after four hours.
a 19-year-old student at the University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, said he was
not able to attend an indoor track-and-field competition in Boston. Like
Alaoui, the student said he was turned away at the Vermont border.
In its first remarks on the situation in Pakistan since coming to power, the
Trump administration on Monday renewed the US pledge to work with Pakistan to
will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to
combat the threat of terrorism,” said a statement released after Monday’s
terrorist attack in Lahore.
refugees’ return is forced, not voluntary: HRW
Pakistan is conducting the mass repatriation of Afghan refugees through
coercion, threats and abuse, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a scathing report
on Monday, accusing the UN refugee agency of complicity in promoting the
of thousands of Afghans have been forced to return to their homeland, which is
racked by conflict, poverty and unemployment, joining more than half a million
others uprooted by war inside the country.
report, entitled "Pakistan Coercion, UN Complicity: The Mass Forced Return
of Afghan Refugees", called the repatriation the world's largest forced
return of refugees.
decades of hosting Afghan refugees, Pakistan in mid-2016 unleashed the world's
largest recent anti-refugee crackdowns to coerce their mass return," said
Gerry Simpson, a refugee researcher at the Human Rights Watch.
the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) didn't stand up publicly... [against refugees'
forced return], international donors should step in to press the government and
[the] UN to protect the remaining Afghan refugees in Pakistan."
report claimed a combination of insecure legal status, the threat of
deportation during winter and police abuses - including extortion, arbitrary
detention and nocturnal raids - had left the Afghan refugees with no choice but
to leave Pakistan.
July, 11 soldiers and police came to our home at 3am. They entered without
asking and threw all our things on the floor. They demanded to see our refugee
cards and said they were expired," a 26-year-old Afghan was quoted as
they... told us to leave Pakistan," said the man, who returned to Kabul
with his wife and two children.
report was also critical of the UNHCR, saying that by doubling its cash grants
to Afghans returning from Pakistan to $400, it was effectively encouraging the
UN refugee agency should end the fiction that the mass forced return of Afghan
refugees from Pakistan is, in fact, mass voluntary return," Simpson said.
UNHCR feels that giving cash to returning refugees is the best way to help them
survive in Afghanistan, it should at the very least make clear it does not
consider their return to be voluntary."
was no immediate reaction to the report from the Pakistani government, which
has previously cited security concerns and strains on its resources after
nearly four decades for the repatriation.
has repeatedly extended deadlines for refugees to leave, most recently until
the other hand, the UN Refugee Agency said it "shares concerns" of
the Human Rights Watch regarding the pressures on Afghans in the late summer,
which affected the repatriation last year, but "does not agree with the
conclusions of its new report".
multiple drivers behind this surge... include pressures by authorities amidst
broader security operations, changing attitudes among host communities,
uncertainty about the renewal of refugee ID cards, economic hardship, stricter
border controls disrupting trade and family ties," the body said in a
Afghan refugees have been sheltering in Pakistan since fleeing the Soviet
invasion of 1979.
to 2.4 million registered and unregistered Afghan refugees were estimated to be
in Pakistan last year, though the figures have not been updated since the
repatriation began. The UNHCR listed it as the world's third-largest
Afghanistan is struggling to reabsorb large masses of refugees and failed
asylum-seekers being sent back from Pakistan, as well as from Europe and Iran.
Afghan government, heavily reliant on foreign aid, has promised refugees land
and cash grants but is struggling to deliver.
growing influx has sent living costs soaring and daily wages falling in many
areas. Safe areas are in any case decreasing as the government steadily loses
territory to insurgents.
a ship crammed with 2,200 tons of rice, emergency supplies and aid-workers
tried to dock at Yangon port on 10 February, it arrived to protests by
hard-line Buddhists. The aid was from Malaysia, and part of it was meant to deliver
relief to the Rohingya Muslims experiencing a brutal military crackdown in
Myanmar’s Rakhine and Maungdaw states. The ship successfully docked in
Bangladesh on 13 February.
the boat was banned from entering Burmese waters, but was later allowed through
by Port Authorities, though expressly forbidden to enter a river north to
Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine region. It was permitted to dock just outside
Yangon, where it began to unload 500 tons of produce. The rest was destined for
southern Bangladesh where up to 70,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since the
military crackdown in October and are living in atrocious conditions in
official and unofficial refugee camps.
are displaced citizens, seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Myanmar,
and illegal immigrants from Myanmar in Bangladesh. The government has
reportedly returned thousands of Rohingya to Myanmar according to Amnesty
International; the organization says it is a violation of international law,
which states you cannot forcibly return people to a country where they are at
risk of human rights violations.
group in Muslim-majority Malaysia, frustrated by reports of inaction and
persecution in Rakhine, put an aid ship together to support the refugees.
Unusually for Southeast Asian stability, Malaysia has been openly critical of
the boat arrived, a group of Buddhists, including monks, held up signs saying
“No Rohingya,” One of the most vocal groups present was a faction of Buddhist
monks belonging to the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union, a nationalist group.
reports by the U.N. and its workers have said the death toll of Rohingya
Muslims could number in the thousands and that the situation has worrying
similarities to ethnic cleansing. Refugees from the group are not always
welcome in Bangladesh either, where Amnesty International has reported
“callous” actions against the minority.
desperate need for food, water and medical care is not being addressed,” said
Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director in a November report.
Newsweek reviews the events that have led to Burmese Buddhists attempting to
deny the distribution of aid to a needy minority, and the role both countries
have played so far.
are the Rohingya?
by the U.N. as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities in 2013, there are
around 1 million Rohingya in Myanmar, out of a population of 50 million. The
majority live in Rakhine State, and speak Bengali, rather than Burmese. Many
(approx 140,000 Rohingya) live in camps in Rakhine that they cannot leave
without government permission.
did Malaysia send aid?
Malaysian boat carried 1,000 tons of rice, 1,200 packets of instant noodles,
hygiene kits, chapati flour, and a legion of aid workers. The aid has not come
directly from the government, but was instead organized through the Malaysian
Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations, and a number of local NGOs,
including 1 Putera Club.
residents of one of the wealthiest Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia,
many Muslims want to help their northern neighbors.
January Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak warned Myanmar could be a target
for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) if the Rohingya crisis is not resolved, and stressed that the
potential exodus of refugees could cause the region to be “destabilized.”
must happen now…The government of Myanmar disputes the terms 'genocide' and
'ethnic cleansing,' but whatever the terminology, the Rohingya Muslims cannot
wait," Razak said, according to Al Jazeera.
has also offered to act as a facilitator to ease the crisis in Myanmar, after
Razak described Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya as a “stain” on the ASEAN
bloc, and called on other countries to help.
are people protesting against the aid shipments?
external observers, the presence of people protesting against the aid shipment
might seem strange. For ordinary people, it could be considered a boon for a
country to receive free aid in any context, but especially for people it does
not see as citizens.
monks believe they have a responsibility to defend and protect Buddhism,
explains Matthew Walton, Aung San Suu Kyi senior research fellow in modern
Burmese studies at St Antony's College, Oxford.
can be difficult to say whether the people who are going to rallies or sharing
their Facebook posts actually support [the monks’] specific aims or whether
it’s just social pressure to support monks, especially when those monks present
their activities as being done in defense of Buddhism,” he says.
do some people deny the Rohingya exist?
of the protesters meeting the aid shipment made claims there are no Rohingya in
Myanmar. Despite the government having
established a commission to look into Rohingya abuse, the government of Myanmar
does not recognise the Rohingya as official citizens.
stance stems a concern over what could happen if the Rohingya were recognized
as an official ethnic group.
says that the 2008 constitution allows for special representation for minority
groups within regional and state parliaments and the former military government
created several semi-autonomous zones for different ethnic groups. “The fear
that some people, particularly Rakhine Buddhists, but Buddhists across the
country, have is that if the Rohingya were recognized as such, their population
numbers would make them eligible to demand certain special treatment and would
also allow them to contest for parliamentary seats in the Rakhine State
Parliament, challenging the near-monopoly that Buddhists have there… [thus]
upsetting the balance of power in Rakhine State.”
have arrested four suspected members of blacklisted militant organisation
Allahr Dal on Monday night, one of whom is a government employee.
public servant was housing the other militants, including the head of the
organisation, in Thakurgaon-Panchagarh region.
raided a house at Shahpara in Thakurgaon on information from detective sources
around 10pm on Monday and arrested the alleged militants who have been living
in the house for the past couple of years.
seized a number of radical Islamist and anti-government publications from the
Ahmed, police superintendent of Thakurgaon, told reporters at a briefing in his
office that Fakrul Islam Babu, 31, one of the arrested militants and the main tenant
of the raided house, is a government employee.
Read- Jamaat-backed militant group Allahr Dol active in the north
also added that Fakrul hails from Pabna and is the son of Md Abdul Motalib and
Firoza Khatun. He was housing the three other arrested militants in his house.
Farhat, however, did not reveal any further information on Fakrul.
sources said the house belongs to Motahar Hossain, who is an official at Krishi
Bank in Thakurgaon municipality.
to the SP, another arrestee Khandaker Mojibul Islam Miron, 32, heads some
active 200 members of Allahr Dal in the districts of Thakurgaon and Panchagarh.
hails from Kushtia, and is the son of Khandaker Abdul Halim and Monowara Begum.
other two arrestees are Md Rabbani Haque Fazlu, 24, and Md Arif Hossain, 22.
Both of them are locals of Thakurgaon.
prominent Jihadi figure and former Afghan lawmaker Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf has
said the Afghan nation achieved victory against the Soviet forces with almost
1.5 million human lives lost in the campaign.
was speaking during a gathering to mark the withdrawal of the Soviet forces
from the country 28 years ago.
said the whole Afghan nation should be proud of the day to mark the withdrawal
of the Soviet forces, insisting that no external force can defeat the Afghan
further added that any provocative act or insult against Jihad will be
considered as an attack on the religion.
was apparently gesturing towards the growing frustration against the Jihadi
leaders who were involved in a devastating civil following the withdrawal of
the Soviet from the country.
Muslim ban doesn't cover India, but Indians need to be concerned
Trump administration has repeatedly stated that the Executive Order signed by
US President Donald Trump, titled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist
Entry Into the United States, which imposes an immigration ban on citizens of
seven Muslim majority countries, is not a “Muslim ban”.
this order has been carefully worded because, out of the seven countries whose
citizens are affected, it only mentions Syria explicitly. It says: “the entry
of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United
cross-references to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which deals with
countries whose citizens are subject to restrictions under the Visa Waiver
Program, confirms that the Executive Order applies not merely to Syrians, but
also to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
the American Constitution, however, reward legal sleight of hand? Can state
action, which invidiously discriminates against a particular group, marking out
individuals within that group for a special disfavour, avoid constitutional
repercussions with a nudge and a wink so long as the group being singled out is
not identified by name?
answer, quite simply, is “no”, and the reason for this can be found in a
judgment of the US Supreme Court dealing not with Islam, but with the syncretic
Caribbean religion called Santeria.
to Santeria is animal sacrifice and, in 1993, the US Supreme Court was looking
into a set of city ordinances that, though appearing neutral at first glance,
essentially looked to end the ritual sacrifice practiced by adherents of the
Anthony Kennedy, who is still on the US Supreme Court, in striking down “government
hostility which is masked, as well as overt”, christened laws that
discriminated on the basis of religion under a veil of neutrality as “religious
gerrymanders”, using the effect and operation of the law (and not merely its
text) as proof of the real purpose behind it, apart from using “circumstantial
evidence” of events preceding the enactment of the ordinances to ascertain
their true object. According to him, the object of the law, in that case, was
the “suppression of Santeria’s central element.”
Executive Order is clearly a “religious gerrymander”.
even though the Executive Order does not mention Islam, it allows the US
Secretary of State, for instance, to “prioritize refugee claims made by
individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the
religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country
is nothing short of an official preference given to Christian immigrants, which
is backed up by President Trump’s own public position.
the other side of the coin, it clearly shows that Muslims, forming part of the
religious majority of these seven countries, are being singled out, and are
virtually being labeled by the executive government as foreign terrorists by
virtue of their faith.
and more important, is the fact the Executive Order cannot be divorced from
events surrounding its promulgation, pointing towards its real object, and I
would argue that this would include all of Trump’s anti-Islamic invective on
the campaign trail. We need to remember here that, when it comes to this
Executive Order, we don’t need to grapple with deep philosophical questions as
to whether one can ascertain the real purpose or motive behind the acts of a
collectivity like the legislature.
Executive Order is the act of one human being, granted wide powers under
Article 2 of the US Constitution, and the ends sought to be achieved by such an
individual can definitely be extrapolated from his words and conduct.
is not merely about the disproportionate impact on Muslims, or about trying to
guess a hidden motive. This is a case where the real object of the Executive
Order is conspicuous from a close reading of its text, from an analysis of
context and on mapping its actual impact, yet the mere absence of the word
“Muslim” is being used to emphasize neutrality.
India should care
why should we in India concern ourselves with this Executive Order or follow
the developments in the US, where Federal Courts are stepping in to mitigate
its effects? Why should we care about whether this Executive Order is violative
of the American Constitution, which prohibits the unequal treatment of people
and as well as preferences given to one religious group over another?
as a people, we should be aware of how easy it is for a populist leader to
undermine constitutional principles with the stroke of a pen, and how important
it is for us to closely scrutinise both the form and substance of official
attempts to interfere with liberties and discriminate against groups, uniting
in defence of the Constitution regardless of our political valence.
for our courts, it is a reminder that their role is to protect individual
liberties against the onslaught of officially sanctioned discrimination,
regardless of whether such discrimination is overt or covert.
courts have recently taken the easy way out when it comes to facially neutral
statutes, and nowhere is this more evident that in Suresh Kumar Kaushal vs Naz
Foundation, where our Supreme Court concluded that Section 377 of the Indian
Penal Code, which criminalises same-sex love, “merely identifies certain acts
which if committed would constitute an offence”, but “does not criminalise a
particular people or identity or orientation”.
role of constitutional courts, above all else, is to go behind the chicanery of
facially neutral laws, and strike them down if, both in impact and in overt
purpose, a law singles out a group for unfavourable treatment, looking upon
them with “an evil eye and an unequal hand.” Anything less amounts to the
abdication of the judiciary’s role as the guardians of the Constitution.
Lahiri is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court of India, with an
academic background in American constitutional law.
Bagewadi is always looking for a new song. Recently, he found a great one —
except it wasn't exactly new. It was more than 45 years old, George Perkins'
1970 song "Cryin' in the Streets."
was written as a reaction to the assassination of civil rights leader Martin
Luther King Jr. two years earlier.
Bagewadi was convinced "Cryin' in the Streets" was a song for today's
civil rights struggles, too. So he repurposed it.
see somebody marching in the street. I see somebody crying in the street. I see
somebody dying in the street.' [I was] struck ... how simple it was, how
poignant it was, how elemental it was," he says of the original lyrics.
in the Streets" also resonated with Bagewadi's own experiences growing up
as a Muslim, an Indian American and a Chicago native. He grew up listening to
his father's extensive collection of blues, soul and gospel: "Otis
Redding, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown ... that was sort of the
soundtrack of my childhood."
father was a freelance journalist, living in India, and from there followed the
civil rights movement in America. "He wrote editorials on black expression
in literature," says Bagewadi. "My father was always drawn to the
black artistic expression and read Langston Hughes, Zora [Neale] Hurston."
made a huge impression on Bagewadi, who has aligned himself with the Black
Lives Matter movement. "What needs to be done here is simple. Us Muslims
need to ally ourselves with those who have paved a path for us and who has been
on the front line of the struggle. So we need to appropriate their struggle. We
need to appropriate their pain."
the celebration of Valentine's Day in India, a cultural contamination from the
West and commercial-interest based aspect of globalization, both the Hindu and
Islamic religious groups and traditionalists have warned the young couples to
refrain from public display of love on February 14.
time, the Muslim activists from Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIOI)
have asked the Indian youth not to celebrate Valentine's Day 'in the larger
interest of the country' and not to spend money on the purchase of valentine
cards, outing, gifts and eateries to celebrate the day.
printed pamphlets, highlighting India's socio-economic problems and urging the
youth not to blow up the money on a western celebration, are being distributed
in major cities.
usual the extreme rightist groups have also urged the youth to shun the 'public
displays of sexual affection' and not fall into the trap of the 'valentine card
industry' because of such acts being 'alien to Indian culture' since it leads
to 'vulgar exhibition of love at public places'.
Jammu and Kashmir, India, (AA):
Thousands of unarmed civilians in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir took to the
streets in massive pro-Independence demonstrations and clashed with the Indian
forces in the region after the killing of four Kashmiri militants and one
civilian by Indian forces during a gun-battle on Sunday morning. Three Indian
soldiers were also killed in the morning gun-battle.
soon as news spread about the killing of four Kashmiri militants in Frisal
village in Kulgam district in the morning, people came out in protests.
According to eyewitnesses, the Indian forces shot at the civilian protestors,
killing one and wounding several others.
Indian police, in a statement on Sunday evening, confirmed the death of the
civilian but kept quiet about the injuries to the dozens of civilians.
the aftermath of encounter, law and order situation occurred in which some
individuals sustained injuries. Among the injured, one person identified as
Mushtaq Ibrahim Itoo, a resident of Hatigam, succumbed to his injuries. In this
connection investigation is going on,” the police statement said.
after the bodies of the slain militants were returned to their families,
thousands of people participated in their funeral prayers. Eyewitnesses told
Anadolu Agency that several villages across the south Kashmir resounded with
pro-independence slogans asking for Kashmir’s independence from Indian rule.
villages across Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, thousands of people went out on
streets calling for Aazadi (freedom) from India and hailing the martyrs. It was
just like it was during the uprising summer last year when hundreds of
thousands of people took to the streets,” Mohsin Ahmad Rather, a 27-year-old
college student from Frisal in Kulgam, told Anadolu Agency.
resistance leadership called for a shutdown to be observed on Monday and also
called for a Kulgam chalo (rally to Kulgam)- where the gun-battle happened and
most of the civilian injuries took place.
strongly condemn the use of brute force against civilians in Kulgam. The Indian
forces action is the worst kind of state terrorism and such merciless acts will
never be tolerated and we are obliged to resent and raise our voice against
state sponsored terrorism,” a statement by the United camp of pro-independence
a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and
claimed by both in full.
dead in intercommunal clashes in Mali
: A dozen people were killed in clashes between herders and farmers from separate
ethnic groups over the weekend in central Mali, as jihadist tensions drive
conflict in rural communities.
availability of arms from Libya has contributed to intercommunal violence in
Mali, experts say, while drought has forced herders into areas traditionally
cultivated by farmers.
clashes between ethnic Peuls and Bambaras "led to the deaths of 13
civilians and huts were set on fire," a source at the security ministry
told AFP on Monday. Local politician Djiguiba Keita put the death toll at 10
while Bekaye Samake, mayor of Macina, the closest major town to the village hit
by the violence, said seven bodies had been recovered.
clashes were triggered by the murder of a Bambara farmer on Saturday named by
Samake as Cheickna Traore. It was
followed by retribution killings against Peuls accused of being jihadists who
had organised the assassination.
report last month by Human Rights Watch described an "Islamist armed group
presence and intimidation of the population" that has "steadily increased"
in central Mali, as well as an uptick in banditry and criminality.
South African-based Institute for Security Studies has highlighted drought
driven by climate change as leaving herders unable to feed their animals.
have since been "forced into the valleys where conflicts often arise with
farmers over land and water," according to a report released last year.
people are frequently accused of colluding with jihadists who have sowed chaos
in Mali in recent years, and especially since the founding of an armed group by
radical Peul preacher Amadou Koufa.
group has allied with the Tuareg leader of Al-Qaeda allied Ansar Dine, Iyad Ag
Malian army mounted an operation against a hideout of Koufa's acolytes in
central Mali last week, arresting 20 people and killing one.
the overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi's regime in Libya, weapons have travelled from
the chaotic state in an arc of unrest through Mali and Niger.
Mali fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and jihadist groups linked to
Al-Qaeda in 2012 who were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in
the implementation of a peace accord struck in 2015 has been piecemeal with
insurgents still active across large parts of the region.
between militia, army leave 11 dead in central DR Congo
least 11 people have been killed in a series of violent clashes between the army
and fighters loyal to a slain militia chief in central Democratic Republic of
the Congo, a local activist says.
Rene Tshimanga, a local activist, said that the clashes took place between the
DR Congo soldiers and the militia loyal to a traditional chief killed in
fighting with security forces last year. He added that the violence occurred
near the town of Tshimbulu in Kasai-Central Province on Monday.
morning, we learned again that (the militia) attacked the men in uniform [who]
repelled them," Tshimanga, the president of the Civil Society of
Kasai-Central Province, said.
activist did not specify how many of the
dead were militia members and how many army soldiers.
town, where the army killed more than 60 militia members in fighting last
Friday, has been the scene of constant clashes between the soldiers and armed
groups over the past few months.
clashes in recent months have killed hundreds and uprooted thousands across the
militia's leader, Kamwina Nsapu, was killed by police last August after having
vowed to rid the province of all state security forces.
Kashim Shettima of Borno state on Monday released the grim statistics of deaths
and material losses suffered by the state due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Shettima gave the data at the annual Murtala Mohammed memorial lecture held at
the Shehu Yar'Adua Centre in Abuja.
governor, who delivered a paper "Managing the Boko Haram Crisis in Borno
State, Experiences and Lessons for a Multiparty, Multiethnic and Multireligious
Nigeria", said theinsurgency has led to the deaths of almost 100,000
persons, based on estimates by community leaders in the state over the years.
Boko Haram insurgency has led to deaths of almost 100,000 persons going by the
estimates of our community leaders over the years," he said.
casualty figure is the highest ever provided by any government official from a
state where remote areas which witness attacks by the insurgents are difficult
million, one hundred and fourteen thousand (2,114,000) persons have become
internally displaced as at December of 2016, with five hundred and thirty seven
thousand, eight hundred and fifteen (537,815) in separate camps; 158,201 are at
official camps that consists of six centres with two transit camps at Muna and
Customs House, both in Maiduguri.
are 379,614 IDP'S at 15 satellite camps comprising Ngala, Monguno, Bama, Banki,
Pulka, Gwoza, Sabon Gari and other locations in the state. 73,404 persons were
forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries with Niger having 11,402
and Cameroon having 62,002.
have an official record of 52,311 orphans who are separated and unaccompanied.
We have 54,911 widows who have lost their husbands to the insurgency and about
9,012 have returned back to various communities of Ngala, Monguno, Damboa,
Gwoza and Dikwa," the governor said.
Shettima also said based on the post-insurgency Recovery and Peace Building
Assessment, RPBA, report on the north-east which was jointly validated by the
World Bank, the European Union, the Presidency and the six states of the
north-east, Boko Haram has inflicted damages to the tune of $9 billion on the
said "of this amount, the destruction in Borno State amounts to $6 billion
and they are supported by grim statistics".
Conspiracy theories hampered effort to tackle insurgents early
Shettima also gave accounts of how conspiracy theories hampered the fight
against Boko Haram under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
"For me, the most critical experience and lesson I have
had and learnt within the last five years has been the power of
conspiracy theories and how they can strongly undermine the fight against
insecurity and the management of the humanitarian crisis," he said.
governor said Boko Haram insurgency grew from strength to strength because of
an initial conspiracy theory that began after the 2011 general elections.
Ladies and gentlemen, after the Boko Haram carried out its first suicide attack
on the headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force in June 2011 and a later
attack on the UN building in August, both in Abuja, a conspiracy theory emerged
immediately alleging that the Boko Haram was set up by Muslim-majority northern
leaders to target Christians and make Nigeria ungovernable for His Excellency,
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
the fact that both attacks took place in June and August, which were within
three months after President Jonathan was sworn-in, this conspiracy hypothesis
immediately assumed a life of its own," he said.
also said those who believed the theory did not care to recall that the first
major attacks by Boko Haram in Borno and Bauchi states which took place in June
2009, had occurred under the late President Umaru Yar'Adua, a Northern Muslim
from Katsina State.
President, Goodluck Jonathan
proponents of this ridiculous conspiracy theory didn't care to recall that a
Northern Muslim from Kaduna State was actually the Director-General of President
Jonathan's 2011 elections campaign.
when it suited their narrow political agenda even pro-Jonathan northerners
propagated that the insurgency reflected the collective will of the Northern
opposition to undermine the federal government.
that meant in effect, was that the theory changed from all Northerners using
Boko Haram to undermine Jonathan into a narrower theory that northerners in the
opposition were using Boko Haram to destabilise Jonathan's administration. The
end result was an alibi for the state not to admit its failure to rout the Boko
Haram at the earliest opportunity.
appeared the President himself initially believed the conspiracy theory. For
instance, when he visited Borno State on Thursday, 13th of March, 2013,
President Jonathan requested to meet differently with officials of the Borno
State Chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama'atul Nasril
President neither invited nor stopped me from participating but I understood he
wanted to meet each group without me. Both meetings were arranged for the
President without me knowing the agenda.
his credit, I must acknowledge, President Jonathan was actually on a fact
finding mission because the following day, during his courtesy call at the
Government House in Maiduguri, he said that officials of the Christian
Association in Borno State had told him that Boko Haram was not targeting only
churches and Christians but rather, had attacked many Mosques and killed many
Jonathan went further to say that from his findings, the Boko Haram had
actually attacked more of majority Muslim communities in the state. The
President's revelation was an indication that he didn't understand the crisis
before March, 2013.
his initial lack of understanding of the situation caused his ineffective
response to the crisis before 2013, is a matter for conjecture.
Borno people consigned to the receiving end of poor policy articulation and
response, were simply victims of the resultant inaction or paralysis. And they
paid with their lives and property, for which the Nigerian Constitution in its
fundamental directive principles, compels the state to use its exclusive
possession of the organised means of violence to guarantee," he said.
Shettima also said he got upset over the Chibok schoolgirls' abduction of April
14, 2014 and the conspiracy theory that followed it.
said that the abduction gave him the impression that the correct lessons were
not learnt at the presidency despite Mr. Jonathan's personal findings in Borno.
said instead of both the federal and state governments to combine strength
towards rescue efforts, a conspiracy theory was immediately created that denied
that an abduction of the poor schoolgirls was real.
theory, he said, presumed that key politicians in the opposition APC cooked up
the abduction story mainly to embarrass Mr. Jonathan and the PDP.
said days later; when the Bring Back Our Girls campaigns began, the theory was
changed from cooked abduction story to one saying it was designed and
masterminded by the opposition led by his administration.
the failure by the state to perform its constitutional duty in rescuing the
schoolgirls and bringing back the Sambisa forest into the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, by whatever means necessary, were glossed over as an embarrassed
nation sought refuge in yet another conspiracy to undermine a Christian and
God would ordain it, President Goodluck Jonathan, in May, 2014, constituted an
investigative panel to gather facts regarding the abduction. The panel had
credible persons from all segments, including representatives of the majority
Christian community in Chibok, serving and retired personnel of the armed
forces, local and foreign-based women and civil rights activists, journalists
and some persons believed to be very close to both President Jonathan and his
panel met all stakeholders from heads of security establishments, leadership of
the West African Examination Council in Borno State, and the panel was also in
Chibok to meet agonizing parents and community members. After an exhaustive
investigation, the panel submitted its report to President Jonathan.
Presidency didn't disclose the content of the report and didn't point any more
accusing fingers at Borno State Government," he said.
Shettima said despite these experiences, the conspiracy theorists are still at
work under President Buhari.
said months after the 2015 elections and the inauguration of Mr. Buhari,
another conspiracy theory was "cooked up" following resumed attacks
by militants in the Niger Delta.
were some northerners who began to create a conspiracy theory that the
militants were regrouped and being funded by those who lost out in the 2015
elections, in order to destabilize President Buhari's administration.
were those who even believed and supported the theory in the south and they
went as far as posting through the online and social media, that it was the
turn of the Niger Delta to exact revenge on how Boko Haram was used to
destabilize President Jonathan's administration.
the main issue, namely the inability of the state to guarantee production of
oil and secure vital strategic investments in the Niger Delta, being the only
variable outside the price of oil in the international markets within the
ability of the Nigerian state to influence for good, was side-tracked.
Ole Tangen Jr (Reuters, Dpa)
UN helicopter fired upon militants advancing into the town of Bambari in the
Central African Republic. MINUSCA troops said that the militants had crossed a
top leader and three other fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance
of Central African Republic (FPRC) were killed in a helicopter attack by UN
forces in the town of Bambari in the Central Africa Republic (CAR). The
fighters were advancing on the town and according to a spokesperson for the
UN's mission in CAR known as MINUSCA, the fighters had crossed a "red
line" it had set in the north of the town.
were looking to prevent war in Bambari," said spokesman Vladimir Monteiro,
referring to the town about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of the capital
final death toll has yet to be established but Azor Kanite, the FPRC's deputy
commander, said that at least four people were killed.
top commander (Joseph Zonduko) and three civilians were killed by the
bombings," said Kanite.
FDRC is one of the largest groups of militants in the CAR and were a part of
the mostly Muslim rebellion known as Seleka which overthrew then President
Francois Bozize in 2013.
in 2016 have led to relative calm in the CAR between Muslims and Christians
with the UN attempting to keep the peace in many parts of the country.
has been violence between Mulsim groups in the west of the country, including
fighting between the FPRC and the Fulani Union for Peace.
to the UN, the FPRC has carried out house-to-house searches, killing, looting
and abducting Fulani residents in the town of Bria, also in western CAR. Dozens
have reportedly been killed and an estimated 20,000 have been displaced.
Falastine Iman And Salem Solomon
Abdullahi Mohamed, more commonly known as “Farmajo," told VOA of his plans
in a phone interview late Thursday, a day after his unexpected victory in the
Somali presidential election.
is part of my responsibility to talk about this issue with the U.S. government
by conveying our message to the president and his government that the Somali
people are really good, hard working people," Farmajo said. "They
raise their families in the United States. So we will see if he can change that
policy and exclude Somalis from that list."
future of the so-called "immigration ban" is in doubt after the U.S.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a judge's restraining order against
directives that temporarily halted refugee resettlement programs and barred
visitors from Somalia and six other Muslim-majority countries.
Donald Trump has vowed on Twitter to challenge the decision, setting up a
possible showdown in the Supreme Court.
is a dual U.S. and Somali citizen who has spent much of his adult life in the
United States, mostly in the northern city of Buffalo.
didn't stop Somali parliament members from choosing him Wednesday over
incumbent leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and 20 other candidates to become the
nation’s 9th president.
told VOA his first priority is to appoint a new prime minister who will be in
charge of dealing with Somalia's security problems and a developing
is a huge drought everywhere in Somalia which definitely will produce a
famine,” he said. “We have to appeal to the international community to provide
humanitarian assistance to those affected people in Somalia.”
two seasons of weak rainfall, the country is experiencing severe drought and
the United Nations has warned of the potential for a repeat of the 2011 famine
that killed more than 250,000 people.
said he expects that the new prime minister can assemble a new cabinet in 30
days, and said they will roll out a plan of action in the coming 100 days.
new president admitted Thursday he is still adjusting to his new role.
feeling is surreal. My feeling is something I cannot imagine because I have
been working hard for the past fifteen, sixteen months and I have been
campaigning in Somalia as well as in Nairobi,” he said.
previously served as prime minister for eight months in 2010 and 2011 and has
remained extremely popular since then, said Sakariye Cismaan, a London-based
Somali political analyst.
his time in office, Farmajo was credited with ensuring that government workers
and soldiers were paid on time, cracking down on corruption and helping
liberate territories from al-Shabab.
Somali people really trust him and believe he will put the common good before
his own self-interest,” Cismaan said. “The whole country is extremely
election was conducted by the 328 members of the two houses of parliament. This
is different than previous elections where clan elders played a significant
role in choosing the president, Cismaan said. He said it was also more
representative of the will of the people.
soldiers were killed early Sunday morning after Al Shabaab attacked two small
the free and fair election of a new Somalia President, which had raised hopes
of a peaceful future, Al Shabaab is continuing to carry out attacks in that
though the Somali military supported by African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces
has made gains, Al Shabaab remains a threat.
soldiers were killed early Sunday morning in the villages of Tihsile and
Warmahan, 45 and 60km west of the capital Mogadishu, respectively. This after
the Al Shabaab attacked two small military camps in a close distance from the
40-50 government soldiers were stationed in each of the two camps, the Voice of
America (VOA) reported.
two casualties were killed in Tihsile, while casualties from Warmahan are not
on a reinforcement convoy sent from Ballidogle military base was hit by a
roadside explosion near the town of Wanlaweyn, 90 kilometres west of Mogadishu,
wounding eight soldiers.
withdrawing from the villages Al Shabaab claimed to have seized ammunition and
two military vehicles.
an earlier attack by the militants late on Saturday, two other government
soldiers were killed near the town of El Wak at a government checkpoint, while
a third wounded soldier was captured.
are the first attacks by the jihadists since President Mohamed Abdullahi
Farmajo won the presidential elections on Wednesday.
the new government, Al Shabaab preachers have been telling congregations that
the elections have not changed their view of the authorities in Mogadishu.
the parliament of the breakaway republic of Somaliland has overwhelming
approved a deal to allow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish an air and
naval base in the port town of Berbera.
Sunday, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo stated in parliament that
the move would attract investments while not impacting negatively on the
country or the region.
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