courtesy of Creative Commons: Muslim couple produces braille Quran in English
Action to Dismantle Terror Infrastructure Must For Tackling Terror: India to
US Call for Pakistan to Take ‘Concerted Action’ To Dismantle Terror Network
Agents Faked Trail to Infiltrate As LeT Recruits
Govt. Sides With Saudi Arabia Over 9/11 Victims'
Policy Targeting UK Muslims Successfully Appealed
Is About Equality’: Muslim Couple Produces Braille Quran in English
Mullah Omar Lived Near US Base in Afghanistan for Years, Book Says
Away With Archaic Laws on ‘Insult to Religion’
Settlers Seal Mosque in Al-Quds amid Rise of Violence against Palestinians:
Reveals US, France's Role in Unrests in Algeria
Leaders Demand Better Deal for Community from TDP
go to Delhi for questioning due to safety concerns, Mirwaiz tells NIA
to Pakistan, Mehbooba Mufti Urges India amid Kashmir Tension
terror-funding case: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq fails to appear in NIA HQ
Says He’d Win If He Ran In Israeli Prime Ministerial Elections
envoy defends his criticism of Chinese religious persecution
Pence discusses Syria with Jordan king
hails Morocco for repatriating citizens from Syria
Muslims Say Free, State-Built Mosque Too Small
prosecutors seek four years for Chechnya activist
deadliest year yet for children in Syria: UNICEF
envoy: Situation in Myanmar must be referred to ICC
envoy fears 'new crisis' for Rohingya Muslims if moved to remote Bangladesh
rejects reports Mullah Omar lived near US base
officials: Taliban kill 13 troops in country’s west
Taliban commander identified as Shafiullah killed in Logar province
Palace rejects claims in latest biography of Taliban group founder
10,000 civilians forced from homes in Myanmar's Rakhine since November
in Malaysia, Burmese Muslim refugees in desperate cry for recognition
allays fears, declares it stands with non-Muslims
Penang Islamic Council, a costly RM3m and nine years to regain Waqf land
backs PKR rep’s review call for man convicted of insulting Islam
Attorney General to Release Netanyahu Evidence after Elections
Sets Off On Historic Visit To Iraq In Major Blow To Trump
than a dozen Houthis killed in clashes with government troops
in Gaza receive new Qatari aid
dealers complicit in Saudi war crimes in Yemen: Iran
Palestinian dies in Gaza after clashes with Israeli forces
parliament shortens state of emergency to six months
Boko Haram birthplace elects professor as governor, first across north
Force strikes Boko Haram in Lake Chad
Khan Says Tipu Sultan Is His 'Hero', But For The Sake Of Peace, Pakistan PM Should
Look At Jinnah as His Role Model
can't stop water from flowing into Pakistan: Official
syllabus for Pakistani Christian prisoners
Elected OIC Body’s Deputy Chairman
Airstrikes Claim Dozens of Civilian Lives in Syria’s Dayr Al-Zawr
Militants Killed In Egypt’s Anti-Daesh Campaign In Sinai
of Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrikes on Refugee Camp in Eastern
Terrorist Commanders Killed in Syrian Army Airstrikes in Idlib
US Hides ISIL Commanders in Al-Rukban Camp near Border with Iraq
of militants killed in shootouts in Egypt’s Sinai, says military
landmines slow SDF advance in ruins of ISIS final pocket in Syria
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Action To Dismantle Terror Infrastructure Must For Tackling Terror: India To
DELHI: In a clear reference to Pakistan, India on Friday conveyed to Saudi
Arabia that an "immediate, irreversible and verifiable action" to dismantle
terror infrastructure is essential to fight the menace of terrorism.
was conveyed during a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj
and Saudi state minister for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who paid a
four-and-a-half-hour visit to India, days after his trip to Islamabad.
however, said there was no offer, either earlier or now, from the Saudi side to
mediate in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
held extensive talks with Swaraj here with a focus on deepening cooperation to
is learnt that the recent tensions triggered by the Pulwama attack and India's
subsequent air strike on a terrorist training camp in Pakistan also came up
during the meeting.
(Swaraj and Jubeir) took note of significant developments after the visit of
His Royal Highness (Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman) to India. EAM
reiterated that an immediate irreversible and verifiable action to dismantle
terror infrastructure is essential to fight the menace of terror," a
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said, without naming Pakistan or
the post-Pulwama tensions between India and Pakistan.
his four-and-a-half-hour visit, Jubeir also called on Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and discussed bilateral issues, officials said.
Prime Minister thanked the leadership of Saudi Arabia for expressing full solidarity
with India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations," the MEA said.
was agreed that Saudi Arabia and India should work together for irreversible,
verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists without any discrimination,"
briefed Prime Minister Modi on the follow up of the outcomes of the
"historical visit" of the Saudi Crown Prince in February 2019.
the countries have taken significant steps including to boost trade and
investment and to achieve $100 billion investment from Saudi Arabia into India,
which was announced during the visit of the Crown Prince," the statement
her meeting with Jubeir, Swaraj is learnt to have raised the issue of
cross-border terrorism and the need for ramping up pressure on Islamabad to
take action to dismantle terror infrastructure in that country.
the meeting, it was agreed to set up the strategic partnership council at the
gesture from Saudi side to increase India's Haj quota to 2 lakh and the pardon
to 850 Indian prisoners was highly appreciated, the MEA said.
Saudi minister's visit here comes against the backdrop of global efforts to
de-escalate tension between India and Pakistan triggered by the suicide attack
by JeM in Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed and
subsequent aerial strike by India on a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed
(JeM) terror outfit in Balakot on February 26.
retaliated the next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military
week, Jubeir visited Islamabad and met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
During the meeting, he delivered to Khan a "special message" from
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, according to Pakistani media reports.
also held talks with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
like the US, the UK, China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were involved in easing
tensions between India and Pakistan.
visit to the two countries comes weeks after the Crown Prince's stand-alone
visits to India and Pakistan soon after the Pulwama terror attack.
US call for Pakistan to take ‘concerted action’ to dismantle terror network
and the United States on Monday renewed their call to Pakistan to “take
concerted action to dismantle” terror infrastructure in the aftermath of the
two countries also called for holding accountable all those who support and
abet terrorism in “any form”, according to a readout of a meeting between
visiting Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and US secretary of state
Michael R Pompeo.
two officials also discussed bilateral trade, an issue that hit headlines last
week with the Trump administration announcing its intention to end a
zero-tariff preferential system for over $5 billion worth of imports from India
over market access for US goods. Gokhale underscored the “significant”
reduction in US trade deficit with India and a willingness to remain engaged
with the US to for a “meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade
was the first high-level in-person contact between India and the United States,
following intense engagements over phone, after the Pulwama terrorist attack
that killed 40 CRPF personnel on February. And, significantly, it took place
just two days ahead of a crucial UN Security Council decision on Wednesday to
designate, or not, Masood Azhar, founder of the Pakistan-based
Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.
United States is one of the three joint movers of the designation proposal,
with the United Kingdom and France. This is the fourth attempt to sanction
Azhar. China, which blocked the three previous moves, holds the key, and has
appeared non-committal. It could not be immediately ascertained if Gokhale and
Pompeo discussed the upcoming UNSC decision.
Pompeo “expressed his understanding of India’s concerns regarding cross -border
terrorism”, said the Indian embassy in a readout of the meeting. “They agreed
that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist
infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory.
They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be
India and the United States want Pakistan to go beyond the present, and
episodic, crackdown on terrorists it harbors and uses as a foreign policy tool
and take demonstrably credible and verifiable action.
foreign secretary also conveyed India’s appreciation to the US and the
secretary personally “for the firm support that India received from the US in
the aftermath” of the Pulwama attack.
United States was the only major power to back India’s right to self-defence
and the airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camp in Balakot calling it
“counter-terrorism actions”. It joined the UK and France, then, to press the UN
Security Council to pass a “path-breaking” statement condemning the Pulwama
attack, despite stiff resistance from China, on behalf of Pakistan.
the three countries, and Afghanistan, joined India to oppose an appeal by Hafiz
Saeed, founder and head of Lashkar-e-Toiba that carried out the Mumbai attacks
in 2008, to be removed from the UNSC list of designated terrorists. An
ombudsman for the world body rejected Saeed’s petition on Wednesday.
foreign secretary will meet his US counterparts Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and
International Security Andrea Thompson later during his visit.
are regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations,
exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and
coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest, a spokesperson
for the ministry of external affairs said in a statement issued in New Delhi
earlier. Gokhale is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US
administration and US Congress.
Agents Faked Trail To Infiltrate As LeT Recruits
YORK: US intelligence agents laid a cyber trail all the way to a fake terror
camp in Pakistan, mastered idioms and style of Islamic terrorists giving a
convincing portrayal of jihadis in a bid to infiltrate a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
what seemed to read like a spy-thriller their strategy led to the arrest of an
American teenager, who was at the centre of an alleged conspiracy to recruit
fighters for the Pakistan-based LeT, and a suspected co-conspirator, who was
stopped on his way to join the terrorist group.
transcripts of their cyber interactions in court documents give chilling
insights into the raging hate of the world of jihadis.
cases against the two, who were arrested, point to a disturbing trend that with
the collapse of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, Pakistan-based terror
organisations operating against India may become an attractive alternative for
Kyle Sewell, the teenaged recruiter, told Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, 29, whom he
was guiding that "he should not join the IS because IS had no
territory", instead he suggested the "LeT and the Taliban" as
"LeT was a well-funded group in Pakistan operating in Kashmir, Afghanistan
and India", is what he said according to court filings.
men were arrested in February and now face trial on terrorism-related charges.
filed in federal courts in two separate cases, one against Sewell in Dallas,
and another against Encarnacion in New York, include expletive-filled accounts
of interactions between the alleged terrorists and the undercover operatives
that give a peek into terrorism networks.
two cases deal separately with each of the accused and the documents mention
the person in the other case only as a "coconspirator", but when IANS
put the two affidavits by FBI agents in the two cases side-by-side, the
parallels make the link between Sewell and Encarnacion obvious.
infiltrate the group, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operatives, an
agent and an employee, took on the persona of jihadists, adopting their
terminology and way of communicating, and one of them created a fake trail into
Pakistan as if he had joined the LeT there, according to transcripts in an
affidavit by counter-terrorism Special Agent Seth Yockel in the New York case.
document says that the ring they infilitrated was made up of nine people who
operated through "a group chat for American Jihadis" on social media.
FBI agent and the "undercover employee" vouched for each other
convincingly in their communications and Sewell told Encarnacion that the
employee would help him travel to Pakistan to get terrorist training, according
to the affidavit.
one point, according to the transcripts of interactions, the FBI employee takes
a swipe at President Donald Trump to build their terrorist credentials writing,
"US all infidels. With the king Trump."
also boasts, "We strike heart of India. ... You hear Mumbai attack"?
- a reference to the 2008 attack that killed 163 people.
transcripts don't reveal much about the lives of Sewell and Encarnacion, other
than that Encarnacion lived in New York's Washington Heights neighbourhood and
said he was from a family from the Dominican Republic, and Sewell was a
lawyer, a court-appointed public defender, did not return a call from IANS.
scientist Malini Subramanyam wrote in the Forensic Research and Criminology
International Journal in 2018 that some, who become terrorists were "in
search of an identity ... seeking a sense of purpose and self-worth."
two seem to fit this profile. Encarnacion, who used the screen name
"Jihadistsoldgier", introduced himself to the jihadi group saying, "I
want to fight till death alongside the Islamic State. ... I'm a lone wolf
looking for a family I can strike the crusaders. ... I want to be part of a
family willing to kill not afraid of death", according to Yockel's
also described himself to the undercover employee as "lone wolf and lone
lion of Tawhid".
indication of one of Encarnacion's other possible motives appears at one point
in the transcript where Encarnacion says, "Kuffar treat me bad", but
does not further identify the "Kuffar" or what they did.
appears to have been inspired by the British IS terrorist Mohammed Emwazi who
became notorious with the nickname "Jihadi John" as the group's
executioner on propaganda videos. "Please. I want to kill on video.
Terrify our enemies", he pleaded.
transcripts of interactions portray Sewell and Encarnacion as blood-thirsty
persons motivated by blind hatred, not only against Hindus, but also moderate
November last year, Encarnacion wrote to the undercover employee, "You
guys are against India. I read up on ya. You are beefing with India over Muslim
(expletive) hate Hindus. They can go to hell and I'm going to help you,"
according to the document. He added, "Will I live in Pakistan? I
to fight. I want to execute. I want to behead".
goaded the FBI undercover employee "to '[expelitive] up' and 'slaughter'
the 'Hindu Kafir', destroy their shrines and idols", and send him photos
of the destruction, according to an affidavit by Special Agent Michael Phillipp
in the Dallas case.
is quoted as saying that he could "kill anyone and not feel anything"
and wanted to kill "liberal Muslims", liberal "Hijabis" and
Saudis, "execute" a female political activist, who was not
identified, and threatened to "disembowel" a social media user.
according to the New York affidavit, put Encarnacion in touch with the
undercover employee, who, he said, would lead him to the LeT, and
simultaneously messaged him that he found a "new brother who wants to go
do jihad Fisimbillah Â… So he will be a Lashkere-Taiba fighter".
contacted the undercover employee, who verified the contact with Sewell, and
sent him hundreds of messages.
October, the undercover agent messaged Sewell through an encrypted application
that he was "flying out tonight inshaAllah". And when Sewell asked
him the next day, where he was, he replied, "Alhamdulillah Pakistan Â…
InshaAllah I will be training with the mujahideen of Lashkar-e-Taiba
appearing to be ensconced in Pakistan, the undercover agent told Encarnacion in
November to fly to a city in Europe for which he would not need a visa and
"brothers" would meet him there and give him visa and onward ticket
sent him copies of his passport and flight confirmation for Europe on a flight
on February 7.
he came to New York's JFK airport to catch the flight, the FBI was waiting to
next day, officials announced the arrest of Sewell in Dallas.
govt. sides with Saudi Arabia over 9/11 victims'
of the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism group
Terry Strada has claimed that past US administrations have sided with Saudi
Arabia against a lawsuit assessing Riyadh's alleged role in the attack.
have sided with the Saudis more than they have sided with the 9/11
families," said Strada speaking to The Hill on Monday.
all handled it the same," she said, adding that "Democrat,
Republican, past administrations, they usually side with the Saudis."
who lost her husband in the September 11, 2001 attacks, believes ignorance of
the kingdom's alleged role in assisting the attack's perpetrators comes as
Saudi Arabia continues to fund terrorist organizations.
have no reason to believe it stopped because we've never fully admitted it
existed in the first place," she said.
organization represents many 9/11 survivors and affected family members who
filed a lawsuit against the kingdom in 2017.
action came after the US Congress overrode a veto from then-President Barack
Obama and passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in
September 2016, opening the door to a legal case assessing Riyadh's role in the
what this lawsuit will do, it will shed a light on the flow of money that
continues from the kingdom to the terrorist organizations, and right into the
terrorists' hands," said Strada.
[the 9/11 hijackers] were here for 12 to 18 months prior to the attacks, buying
first-class airline tickets, practicing on our airplanes, learning how fly in
our flight schools. All funded by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," she added
Arabia has reportedly lobbied heavily to kill the 9/11 law, threatening the US
of consequences if it pushes forward with the measure.
US District Court judge rejected a Saudi request urging American authorities to
abandon the lawsuit last year.
oil-rich kingdom has also faced mounting pressure in recent years over its
brutal onslaught on Yemen and the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal
Arabia launched a war on the impoverished nation in 2015, resulting in tens of
thousands of deaths and putting 14 million Yemenis on the brink of imminent
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also been reported to have administered
the assassination of Khashoggi – an outspoken critic of his policies – last
October at Riyadh’s Istanbul consulate.
policy targeting UK Muslims successfully appealed
landmark legal challenge ruled that guidance given to universities and colleges
which saw speakers with ‘extremist views’ being banned from events was
UK’s so-called ‘counter-extremism’ Prevent strategy has always been a
controversial policy. Not only have its negative consequences been felt and
condemned in the United Kingdom, but its inherently flawed basis has been
exported across the globe in the form of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)
an important judgment from the UK Court of Appeal has begun to tentatively turn
the tide against Prevent, particularly in UK universities where it has had a
chilling effect on students’ ability to have open discussions on important
is one of the four strands of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy,
which is known as Contest. Unlike the other strands—which exist to deal with
things related to actual terrorism—Prevent was created to combat ‘extremism’,
which the government defined as the opposition to ‘British values’.
successive attempts to enforce Prevent using legislation, compelling more and
more arms of the state and public sector to engage with it, the strategy is
possibly now more toxic than ever before.
a policy it has been rejected by both the National Union of Students, and the
National Union of Teachers (now called National Education Union), criticised by
the British Medical Association, countless human rights groups, legal experts,
politicians and hundreds of academics, even drawing condemnation from many UN
representatives including Special Rapporteurs for racism, privacy and freedom
pressure has finally forced the government to launch an independent review into
Prevent, which is cautiously being welcomed by critics, depending on how
impartial it will be.
many symptoms of the toxic policy may be reduced to a few fundamental problems
that are baked into the very DNA of Prevent and the global CVE policies that it
first is that it is based on pseudoscience, namely the belief that something
called ‘extremist’ ideology causes terrorism, despite the wealth of
peer-reviewed scientific research to the contrary.
2016, more than 140 academics criticised the previously secret ‘research’
underlying the Prevent strategy as ‘flawed science’, used to justify an
ancient—yet sadly persistent—myth blaming ideas for the causes of some types of
professor Arun Kundnani traces, this was the same logic used to crack down on
anti-colonial activism and labour movements in the last century. Despite the
government distancing itself from the refuted ‘radicalisation’ theories
underlying Prevent, they were unearthed as still being used in family courts as
recently as 2018 to justify removing children from their families, ‘based on
subjective and inaccurate perceptions of ideology’ rather than actual abuse.
second issue is that Prevent is inherently racist and discriminatory. As one
racial equality organisation in England put it, Prevent is “built on a
foundation of Islamophobia and racism”, and as a criminology lecturer wrote in
The Guardian: “[It] gives people permission to hate Muslims.”
UK Home Office’s own published statistics showed that—despite Muslims
representing five percent of the population, and accounting for less than five
percent of terrorism across the UK, 65 percent of Prevent referrals were of
Muslims, with 95 percent of those referrals being unnecessary.
are 40-50 times more likely to be referred to Prevent than non-Muslims. This is
partly why some academics such as Professor David Miller have said that the
sprawling counter-terrorism apparatus is one of the “five pillars of
Islamophobia” in the UK, and possibly beyond.
third problem is that Prevent is actually counterproductive to its stated aims.
In other words, it exacerbates the empirically-determined conditions and causes
of terrorism, rather than reducing them.
is why the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to freedom of assembly said:
“By dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population, Prevent
could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it.”
Hickey, a lecturer at the University of Brighton and member of the Universities
and Colleges Union (UCU) Committee, said it was as though Prevent was “almost
designed to have the opposite effect”.
shows us that it is when non-violent ‘radical’ movements experience state
suppression that a minority of them turn to armed action. Even the UK Foreign
Affairs Committee stated in 2016 that so-called “Political Islam” is a firewall
against violence in the Muslim world.
its many essential and subsidiary flaws, those with a professional or
ideological investment in Prevent have continued to champion it, citing it to
intimidate organisations or venues to cancel events, push assimilationist agendas
against minorities (particularly Muslims), uphold racialised myths about the
causes of Muslim-perpetrated violence, and demonise Prevent’s critics as
have been able to get away with this partly due to the confusing (and often
contradictory) messaging and guidance issued by government departments, and the
overall lack of clarity in the public domain about the legal and scientific
status of Prevent. Landmark legal challenge
order to bring some legal clarity on Prevent and address some of the injustice
caused by it, we launched a judicial review against the UK government in 2016.
On Friday, the UK Court of Appeal released a judgement with an important win
for universities and colleges in that regard.
ruled that the Prevent Duty Guidance given to higher education bodies was
unlawful, because it was overly prescriptive and gave the impression to
colleges and universities that they should not allow events with speakers with
so-called ‘extremist views’ to go ahead, thus leading many to breach their duty
to ensure to freedom of speech on campus.
judges also reiterated that the Prevent ‘duty’ guidance is only a
recommendation that public bodies are not compelled to follow. If universities
wish to do so they are within their rights to completely disregard it in favour
of, for example, preserving free speech.
includes the infamously loose and open-to-abuse definition of an ‘extremist’
being someone who opposes so-called ‘British values’. Universities are not
obliged to prevent this ‘extremism’ on campus, but rather to have due regard to
stopping people being drawn into terrorism, which has a legal definition and is
far more restricted than ‘extremism’.
the legal case, we also uncovered a previously secretive department within the
Home Office, called the Extremism Analysis Unit. The Home Office admitted to
harvesting information on Muslim speakers and activists from the likes of the
openly and proudly Islamophobic Henry Jackson Society, whose associate director
urged for in the past that “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made
harder across the board”.
argued that the government breached data protection and surveillance laws by
effectively outsourcing surveillance to such shady third-party organisations, and
using sophisticated automated research tools such as RIPJAR (created by a
private company) to search and process private citizens’ data across all
different social media platforms, without their knowledge.
court dismissed our claims on this ground, and we look forward to taking this
to the Supreme Court because we understand the power and extremely personal
insights that our data harvested in such a way can yield.
the road to holding the government to account is a long one, Friday’s result
was an important milestone. Universities and colleges that previously prevented
events on the basis of Prevent or so-called ‘extremism’ need to redraft their
policies and start to undo the damage Prevent has caused to discussion and
are supposed to be a place where radical thinking is encouraged, and Islamic
societies in particular—who bore the brunt of this discriminatory chilling of
free speech—need to take the lead in breaking the cycle of fear and culture of
self-censorship and intimidation.
your views go against popular norms or government policy, that is nothing to be
afraid of. As one judge said in court recently to the government’s barrister:
“Is not one man’s extremist, another man’s serious radical thinker?”
is about equality’: Muslim couple produces braille Quran in English
– When Yadira Thabatah converted to Islam 13 years ago from Catholicism, she
was eager to learn everything she could about her new religion.
only thing slowing Yadira down was that the 34-year-old mother of four living
in Fort Worth, Tex., was born blind. When she and her husband, 33-year-old
Nadir Thabatah, who is legally blind but has partial vision, looked for
high-quality, English-language resources that she could read, they found
in 2017, she and Nadir decided it was time for some DIY action. They spent
eight months converting a popular English-language translation of Islam’s holy
book into braille characters, then used a crowdfunding site to raise money to
buy a braille embosser and began producing Quran translations right in their
the past three years, under the auspices of their nonprofit, Islam By Touch,
the couple has sent more than 150 braille Qurans to U.S. mosques for
distribution to visually impaired Muslims as well as to individuals directly.
They have also launched an app to help visually impaired Muslims learn about
first time Yadira was able to read the Quran for herself was when she was
proofreading her own braille rendering of an English translation.
actually cried,” Yadira told Religion News Service. “I’m a reader by nature.
Going from being Muslim for about a decade and never having read the Quran, the
word of Allah, to actually giving this amazing opportunity to other blind
people. I can’t put it into words.”
Muslims had recommended audio tapes of Islamic literature over the years, and
Yadira did listen to plenty, as well as CDs with translations of the Quran.
They got the job done, she said, but she still longed to read the Quran with
her own hands.
do you expect blind Muslims to have a certain level of faith if they can’t even
read their own book?” Nadir asked.
Lynn, a disability rights advocate and executive director of inclusive Chicago
mosque Masjid Al Rabia, said that many religious organizations consider
accessibility to scripture as an afterthought, not considering that it is a
matter of “life or death.”
talking about entryway into the hereafter, and about having a more fulfilling
life here on earth,” Lynn said. “So if as a community leader you fail to make
your space accessible to anyone who wants to come in the door, that’s a moral
and ethical failing.”
almost 200 years ago in France, braille is a tactile writing system that allows
blind and visually impaired people to read and write. Patterns of dots —
typically raised on embossed paper, so that they can be read by touch with the
fingers — represent letters and symbols in any language.
Quran itself has been available in braille in Arabic since at least the 1980s,
when a braille Quran was first published in Turkey. Braille Qurans are now
fairly available to Muslims around the world, in part because of the efforts of
a blind Turkish man named Selahattin Aydin, who founded the International Union
of Braille Quran Services in Istanbul in 2013. Aydin’s group has since helped
improve access to braille Qurans around the world.
braille versions in other languages are harder to come by.
Yusuf Ali’s popular English translation is available in a braille version at
the Library of Congress. In 2004, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s publishing
division printed a 12-volume braille rendering of the popular English
translation by Maulavi Sher Ali, available for about $100. The Centre for Peace
and Spirituality International in New Delhi, India, has also produced a
two-volume braille version of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s English translation.
Islam By Touch claims that existing braille Qurans in English offer inaccurate
translations. The Thabatahs chose to transcribe the Sahih International
translation — a “reliable” translation, Nadir said — and make copies available
to the public for free.
know for a fact there are errors in braille Qurans left and right,” Nadir said,
“because the quality control when you send these projects overseas is terrible.
So it was important for us to do it ourselves.”
couple says their version is a major step forward for blind Muslims, who can
often be shut out of Islamic communities due to inaccessibility, which feeds
insensitivity about their disability.
is about removing stigma toward people who are blind,” Yadira said. “This is
about equality and justice. Blind Muslims have just as much autonomy and
ability to thrive. We are not charity cases, we are not ‘brave’ for simply
said she felt traumatized by her experiences in traditional mosques soon after
she converted, partially because of patronizing attitudes of other congregants
as well as misunderstandings about her guide dog. She has avoided integrating
into Muslim spaces since then. When her early search for Islamic literature in
braille was frustrated over a decade ago, she initially moved on.
as their children got older, Yadira decided to homeschool them to teach them
about their faith and began looking for resources in braille. In 2016, Nadir
had just lost his longtime job in sales. (According to Nadir, his company
failed to accommodate his visual impairment when it updated its software, and
his sales numbers dropped.)
I approached her and said, why don’t we take this step in making Islam a more
accessible thing to the blind community?” Nadir said.
single 10-volume translation takes about six or seven hours to print and costs
around $250 to produce. (To make it transportable, they had to break the book
down into several volumes.)
try to print about two or three Qurans per week, between visiting mosques to
deliver talks and sermons, working with advocacy organizations focused on
visually impaired people, and preparing braille renderings of other Islamic
Muslims can now access braille Qurans at more than 20 mosques around the
country, including at the Bayyinah Institute, a Texas school that offers
popular intensive courses on Quranic studies.
Thabatahs consider that just a start for Islam By Touch. They hope to create
accessible spaces for visually impaired Muslims to feel connected both to God
and to the rest of the Muslim ummah, or community. According to the 2016
National Health Interview Survey, 25.5 million American adults reported
experiencing vision loss, but there are no numbers on that breakdown among
low, low estimate is that there are probably about 50,000 blind Muslims in
America,” Nadir said. “We want to create a connection between people, so people
know that they’re not the only blind Muslim in their community, that there are
other people who understand.”
Mullah Omar lived near US base in Afghanistan for years, book says
A biography of one-eyed former Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar says he lived
near a US base in Afghanistan for years, not in Pakistan as U.S. officials have
said, exposing Western failure to track him down, but a spokesman for the
Afghan president described the claim as “delusional”.
her book “Op Zoek Naar De Vijand (Searching for an Enemy)”, Dutch journalist
Bette Dam says Omar never hid in neighbouring Pakistan.
lived in hiding just three miles from a major U.S. military base in his home
Afghan province of Zabul, said Dam, who says she spent five years interviewing
Taliban members for the book.
hardline Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, and has waged an
anti-government insurgency since then.
who delegated effective Taliban leadership after 2001, appears to have acted as
more of a spiritual leader, according to the book, and the militant movement
kept his death in 2013 secret for two years.
was wanted in the United States for providing a safe haven for al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks on the United States and
lived in hiding in Pakistan, and Washington had placed a $10 million bounty on
forces even searched his accommodation on one occasion, but failed to find
Omar’s hiding place, Dam told Reuters.
book underlines the failure of Western intelligence at a time when U.S. and
Taliban officials are holding peace talks to end the 17-year-old war in
Afghanistan,” she said.
U.S. Embassy in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The
United States has halted the disbursement of Coalition Support Funds to
Pakistan due its perceived failure to take decisive action against Afghan
Taliban militants operating from Pakistani soil.
Chakhansuri, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, “strongly rejected”
the book and it was a “delusional claim” that Omar lived in Afghanistan.
have sufficient evidence which shows he (Omar) lived and died in Pakistan.
Period!”, he said in a Tweet.
Saleh, a former Afghan intelligence chief running in upcoming vice presidential
polls, also dismissed the book.
so-called investigative report claiming Mullah Omar lived and died in
Afghanistan is nothing but a manipulative piece of propaganda,” he Tweeted.
July 2015, the Taliban officially confirmed Omar had been dead for more than
eldest son, Mohammad Yaqoob, said in an audio tape released in September 2015
that his father had been suffering from hepatitis C and died in Afghanistan.
has previously published a book on Afghanistan and is a guest lecturer on
Afghanistan at Sciences Po in Paris.
book was published in Dutch last month, and will be available in English
away with archaic laws on ‘insult to religion’
speaking up for what we believe to represent the majority of peace loving and
responsible Malaysians, condemn the unhealthy trend of irresponsible
individuals and political parties in capitalising on the issue of “insult to
religion” to gain popularity among voters.
callous actions by these individuals and groups, bordering on rabble rousing,
will put the country in a heightened state of uneasiness and fear.
government of the day seems unwilling or unable to respond to these acts of
opportunism by irresponsible parties for their own selfish ends.
background relating to the issue of “insult to religion” lies in our colonial
and recent past which saw limited education and the mixing of cultures between
the different communities.
the past need for restrictive laws to preserve public order.
after 60 years as a nation state making its way towards modernity and the
matured liberal, scientific and progressive future envisaged in Vision 2020, it
is high time to revisit and revise these laws.
May 9, citizens of Malaysia voted out a failing government and ushered in what
we hoped would be a new era of mature political discourse and freedom of
with any new manifestation of political culture, there will be teething
problems. These problems need to be analyzed and objectively dealt with in the
way which developed and mature societies would handle them.
our country, institutions of religions have been set up to administer each
religion with Islam acknowledged in a special situation in the constitutional
sphere. Article 3(1) states that, “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but
other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the
this means is that insulting Islam is unacceptable in respect of the current
other religions in the country – even if not enjoying the status of Islam –
need to be equally respected.
the application of laws prohibiting insulting religion, we must strive for a
rational and liberal balance with the protection of the freedom of expression
while being mindful of the religious sensitivities of our multi-religious
communities. Open mindedness and moderation should be the norm in the
interpretation and application of the existing laws.
following are some examples which the holders of state power should not
automatically or as a reflex action seek prosecution and punishment just
because some individuals or groups label them as constituting religious insult
The use of cartoons and caricature to poke fun at religious practices and
personalities is an acceptable form of modern mass communication in the world.
The production or reproduction of religion-related literature and art by
Malaysians should be permitted and protected under the law so long as the
author is not engaged in what is clearly an act of religious hate crime.
Opinions on social issues such as child marriages, female circumcision or other
similar subjects are perfectly defensible and permissible as they bear no
intention of insult.
the contrary, they provide a contemporary understanding of what are
traditionally accepted norms and practices sanctioned by religious authority.
The sharing of knowledge on such issues with social and religious institutions
and authorities should be encouraged rather than be penalised by the law.
Professional opinions on technological, planning design and environmental
issues concerning religious buildings or religious actions and rituals should
be welcomed as they will help create more sustainable forms and structures that
would benefit all members of society.
Discourses on spirituality, different forms of religious belief and even
agnosticism and atheism should be permitted. Such exchanges of theological and
non-theological constructs will enable the nation to grow spiritually as well
as be part of the growing universality that is replacing narrow religious,
cultural and social constructs.
of the above and other similar expression of thoughts, ideas and constructs are
absolutely necessary for Malaysia to grow to become that “psychologically liberated,
secure and developed nation” as envisaged in Vision 2020.
Unity Consultative Council
with the above, in view of the recent national and international attention and
publicity given to the ten year sentence levelled on a recent offender accused
of insulting Islam on social media, we call for an urgent phasing out of the
laws related to “insult to religion” by instituting the following replacement:
construed as “insult to religion” should not be the sole judgement of a single
judge for fear of ethnic and religious bias.
decision should be referred to the National Unity Consultative Council under
the purview of the Ministry of National Unity.
should comprise noted personalities in societies with representatives of officials
from the various religious groups.
for the period before the laws of “insult to religion” are to be phased out,
punishment should not go beyond a commensurate fine within the financial status
of the person being charged.
once the laws have been phased out, acts pertaining to so-called “insult to
religion” should be referred to NUCC for action. Such action can include
collaboration with the respective religious institutions or authorities to
ensure that there are no adverse ripple effects from the alleged insult or
disrespect; and counselling of the individuals or groups engaging in such
action or activities.
religious leaders in their sermons must regularly advise congregants and
members of the faith against insulting others and also to turn the other cheek
if there are perceived to be insults against their own religion.
remind our fellow citizens that the resort to law to criminalise opinions and
views on religion is a double-edged sword.
us put that sword away so we do not end as a cut up and impaired nation.
settlers seal mosque in al-Quds amid rise of violence against Palestinians:
settlers have sealed a mosque in the Old City of the occupied Jerusalem
al-Quds, a month after a United Nations report revealed that violence and
vandalism committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property have
increased since the beginning of this year.
to a report by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Monday, Israeli settlers
spread an adhesive substance mostly on the lock of the door of Sheikh Makki
Mosque earlier in the day, virtually making the door sealed shut.
report, citing those responsible for maintaining the mosque, said the police
were immediately informed of the incident and later on the substance was
removed with some effort and the door reopened before taking some pictures of
what was described as an act of vandalism against Muslims.
month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said
in a report, which covered the period from January 29 to February 11 this year,
showed a weekly average of seven Israeli attacks resulting in injuries or
property damage compared to an average of five in the same period in 2018 and
three in 2017.
said that the Israeli settlers also attempted to torch a local mosque in Deir
Dibwan Village in Ramallah during the period.
to the report, 425 Palestinian-owned trees had also been vandalized by Israeli
settlers in three separate incidents in al-Khalil (Hebron) in the southern West
Bank and in Jalud Village in Nablus, located in the northern West Bank.
Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 14 Palestinian-owned vehicles,
spray-painted racist graffiti in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Huwwara villages,
south of Nablus, and in al-Khalayleh, near the Jerusalem al-Quds district, the
OCHA’s report further said.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories has been a major
sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have stalled since 2014.
central operations room has been formed to manage the revolution in Algeria
with Rabat city in Morocco as its headquarters. 4 American and 6 Moroccan
intelligence officers are present in the operations room as well as 12 Serbian
nationals who are called as destruction experts and they are financially
supported by the US," the Arabic-language al-Bana newspaper wrote on
added that two other rooms for field operations have also been established in
Wajdah city in Northeastern Morocco, near the border with Algeria, which is
controlled by 11 US, Moroccan, Serbian and Algerian operations officers.
to the paper, the second room for field operations has been established in the
town of al-Rashidiyeh which is 80km away from Algeria, saying that 8 officers
from the aforesaid countries and two French intelligence-military officers work
the biggest threat to his 20-year rule, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
arrived at an airbase Southwest of the capital, Algiers, according to state
aircraft on Sunday flew into the Boufarik military airport from the Swiss city
of Geneva, where the 82-year-old leader - whose bid to seek a fifth term has
been met with unprecedented protests - had a two-week medical trip.
TV carried a statement from the presidency saying he had returned to Algeria
after routine medical checks. Images later showed a convoy departing the
president, who is confined to a wheelchair, has rarely been seen in public
since suffering a stroke in 2013, prompting critics to question whether he is
being used as a puppet candidate by a faction of civilian and military figures.
protests began on February 22 to denounce Bouteflika's plans to extend his rule
in the April 18 polls.
has offered to limit his term after the election and has vowed to change the
"system" that runs the country. The promises, however, have failed to
quell public anger, galvanizing discontent among different sectors,
particularly students and other young people.
long-time allies of Bouteflika, including members of the ruling FLN party, have
expressed support for the protesters, revealing cracks within a ruling elite
long seen as invincible.
who stood by the TDP through thick and thin were being sidelined by the party
high command due to misrepresentation by local leaders and vested interests,
Dr. S.A. Rahaman, former MLA and Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, former city president of the
party, told the media here on Monday.
lack of representation for the community in the first list was a reflection of
the raw deal being given to the community. Their problems like rampant poverty,
illiteracy and social problems were not getting due attention of the
wondered what justice would the party leadership do to the community when
popular leaders were being denied tickets to accommodate others. Party
president Chandrababu Naidu had expressed the view that 15 seats should be
given to Muslims at the party’s ‘Nara Hamara’ programme.
an example, they said Ameer Babu, a staunch supporter in Kadapa, was denied the
ticket. In Hindupur, former MLA Abdul Gani had joined the YSRCP as he was
sidelined to accommodate Nandamuri Balakrishna in the last elections.
Similarly, K. Nagul Meera (Vijayawada) was denied ticket and should be accommodated
at least now.
said there was no dearth of Muslim leaders in Visakhapatnam. Dr. Rahaman said
both he and Dr. Zaheer Ahmed had very good following in the region and one of
them should be given the ticket for the South constituency, where there was a
sizeable population of Muslim voters.
alleged that Visakhapatnam South MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar had been
disrespectful towards the Muslim leaders in the region by not inviting them to
party meetings for quite a long time. They tolerated his high-handedness as
disciplined party leaders. Dr. Rahaman said: “Our followers are questioning how
long we should tolerate injustice being done to the community and we have no
Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has asked the National Investigation
Agency (NIA) to question him in Srinagar instead of Delhi as he fears for his
security in view of “prevailing condition of hostility”.
NIA on Saturday summoned Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Naseem
Geelani, son of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to Delhi on
Monday for questioning in connection with a terror funding case.
counsel Ajaz Ahmad Dhar in a letter to the NIA cited various reasons including
security concerns for the Hurriyat Conference leader not appearing at the New
Delhi office of the agency.
notice in question appears to have been issued on the basis of fallacious
assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning the Mirwaiz –i-
Kashmir, knowing his status and position, it appears to be outcome of
considerations other than law. My client is not acquainted with the subject
matter of FIR/NIA Crime no RC 10/2017/NIA/Dli, referred in the notice,’’ said
the counsel in the letter.
counsel said that “under the prevailing condition of hostility wherein there is
a threat to the personal safety of my client it becomes unwise for my client to
travel to Delhi. If the NIA wants to examine my client they can do so in
Srinagar. He is willing to cooperate as he has nothing to hide.’’
February 26, the NIA carried out searches at seven locations, including the
residences of Farooq, Geelani, JKLF leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Ashraf
Sehrai and Zaffar Bhat in connection with the same case.
NIA spokesperson said officials seized incriminating documents, including
property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details
during the raids. Electronic devices, including laptops, e-tablets, mobile
phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs, were also seized, he added.
to Pakistan, Mehbooba Mufti urges India amid Kashmir tension
should talk to Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to defuse tension arising
from a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy that was
claimed by Pakistan-based militants, a former chief minister of the state said.
Mufti, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last
year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party withdrew support for her
regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting
secession could further alienate the people.
has vowed to kill all the militants in the country's only Muslim-majority state
if they do not give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40
paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month. Indian security forces
have killed 18 militants in Kashmir since then, the army said on Monday.
attack nearly led to another war between arch-rival India and Pakistan, both of
which claim the Himalayan region in full but rule in part.
strongly feel that there has to be a dialogue process internally as well as
externally, with Pakistan," Mufti said in an interview on Friday.
"The situation is going to get worse if some kind of political process is
not initiated on the ground now."
officials have repeatedly ruled out talks with Pakistan unless it acts against
militant groups based there. India says its warplanes late last month bombed a
militant camp in Pakistan, which responded with an aerial attack the next day.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Washington with Indian Foreign Secretary
Vijay Gokhale and told him the United States stands with India against
Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those
responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking
meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil," the
State Department said in a statement.
said on the day of the strike that it had killed many Jaish-e-Mohammed
"terrorists". Pakistan said no one was killed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has sought to speak with Modi amid the
hostility, said no militant group would be allowed to operate from his country
to carry out attacks abroad, days after his government announced a sweeping
crackdown against Islamist militant organisations.
confrontational attitude - no talks, no discussion -has an impact," Mufti
said. "Whatever relationship we have with Pakistan, it has a direct impact
on Jammu and Kashmir and we are the worst sufferers of this animosity."
authorities have arrested many separatist leaders in Kashmir in the past few
weeks, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief said recently that the
government had made it clear to them that "if they want to live in India,
they will have to speak the language of India, not Pakistan's".
whose father was also a chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the tough
stance by India would only lead to "some calm on the surface". India
killed 248 militants in Kashmir in 2018 - the highest in a decade.
you start choking the space for dissent in a democracy, people feel pushed to
the wall and then it leads to further dissent and alienation," she said.
said India's general election - starting April 11 and whose results will be
declared on May 23 - could delay the process of any inter-party talks on
Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, India's top military commander in Kashmir, said on
Monday that security forces had killed 10 local and eight foreign militants in
the region in the past three weeks.
said most of the dead were from Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility
for the attack on the paramilitary convoy in the district of Pulwama on Feb.
main emphasis after the convoy attack was to eliminate the JeM leadership and
we have been successful in that," he told a press conference in Srinagar,
the summer capital of the state.
separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Naseem Geelani, the son of Hurriyat
hardliner Syed Ali Shah Gilani, on Monday skipped a summons by the National
Investigation Agency citing security reasons, their lawyer said.
Saturday, the two were issued the summons to appear before the NIA at its Delhi
headquarters in connection with a 2017 terror funding case.
notice in question appears to have been issued on the basis of fallacious
assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning the Mirwaiz-i-Kashmir
(Farooq), knowing his status and position, it appears to be outcome of
considerations other than law. My client is not acquainted with the subject
matter of FIR/NIA Crime no RC 10/2017/NIA/Dli, referred in the notice,”
Farooq’s counsel Ajaz Ahmad Dhar said.
is on record that in 2004 and 2005 Mirwaiz and his colleagues from the Hurriyat
engaged in a dialogue initiated by the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari
Vajpayee and continued by his successor Manmohan Singh. The government of India
facilitated the travel of Mirwaiz and his colleagues to Pakistan to pave the
path for peaceful resolution of issue,” Dhar said.
lawyer also said that “under the prevailing condition of hostility wherein
there is a threat to the personal safety of my client it becomes unwise for my
client to travel to Delhi”. “If the NIA wants to examine my client they can do
so in Srinagar. He is willing to cooperate as he has nothing to hide.’’
says he’d win if he ran in Israeli prime ministerial elections
President Donald Trump says he would gain 98 percent of the vote if he ran for
Israeli prime ministerial vote.
at a closed meeting with Republican Party donors at Trump's Mar-a-Lago
residence, Trump pointed to his rare popularity among the Israelis.
cited his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's
“capital” and relocate the US embassy to the city as the reasons for his
al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, with
Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as
the capital of their future independent state.
businessman-turned-president, however, seems to be taking his trade war to Israel.
to Bloomberg, US trade negotiators will be visiting Israel this week to discuss
upgrading the existing agricultural trade pacts and reducing tariffs for
American farm exports to Israel.
the existing deal, virtually any product produced in Israel that can be
competitive in the US market, can enter the US duty-free.
contrast, US products continue to face high tariffs in many sectors limiting
their access to the Israeli market, according to a 2018 report from the US
Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
US trade deficit with Israel, an economy 55 times smaller, was about $14
billion in 2017.
since taking office in 2017, Trump has repeatedly vowed to reduce US trade
deficits with its trade partners, calling out India, China and a number of
European countries for their high tariffs.
president has put tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, as well as on most
foreign steel and aluminum, solar panels and washing machines.
pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiated
the North American Free Trade Agreement, both of which he called some of the
the US government’s Census Bureau revealed this week that the country’s trade
deficit hit a 10-year high in 2018 as it grew to 621 billion dollars. That’s
over $100 billion since he entered the White House.
views the trade deficit as a measure of whether the US is winning or losing on
envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback defended his remark that China is “at
war with faith” after the Chinese foreign ministry issued an angry statement
condemning the envoy’s words as a “malicious attack and slander on China’s
religious policies”. Brownback criticized the Chinese government in a speech on
Friday in Hong Kong, saying the Chinese government is engaged in the
persecution of Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians and Falungong
described China’s “war with faith” as “a war which they will not win”.
speech prompted a sternly worded response from the Chinese foreign ministry
office in Hong Kong saying “we ask the US to respect the facts, stop the
arrogance and prejudice and cease using religious issues to interfere in
China’s internal affairs”.
to reporters in Taiwan on Monday during a forum on religious freedom, Brownback
said his office has a list of hundreds of names of individuals in China who
were missing and allegedly persecuted for their faith.
are they? What is happening to them? Why can’t their family members hear from
them?” Brownback asked, challenging the Chinese government to respond to
questions regarding the whereabouts of these individuals.
United States has designated (China) in its most problematic category of
countries that persecute people of faith ... since 1999. And the situation has
gotten notably worse in the last two years,” he added. “We are calling on
alliances of countries and individuals to step up and to oppose these things
when they take place.”
to UN experts, nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking
minorities are being held in detention centers in Xinjiang. Beijing denied the
claim saying they are in “vocational education centers”.
half of China’s 100 million Christians encounter persecution, “the worst it’s
been in more than a decade” following “new laws seeking to control religious
expression,” said Open Doors, a global advocacy group in a January report.
was in Taiwan for a two-day forum on religious freedom jointly sponsored by
Taiwan and the United States.
Tsai Ing-wen said in her opening address Taiwan will always choose to stand
with “those who were oppressed and whose religious rights were taken away by
Vice President Mike Pence discussed the decision to leave a "residual U.S.
presence in Syria" with Jordanian King Abdullah on Monday, according to
the White House.
leaders also discussed "opportunities to work more closely on countering
terrorism in the region.”
400 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Syria after a pullout unexpectedly
announced by President Donald Trump in December that rattled close U.S. allies
abroad and Trump's closest legislative partners.
conceded to allow for some U.S. troops to remain after the withdrawal to allay
their concerns, and about half the force is expected to take part in what
Washington is calling an international peacekeeping force in northeastern Syria
while others will be used to secure a garrison in southern Syria.
went on a whirlwind tour of Washington on Monday, and met Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
Pentagon said Shanahan and Abdullah discussed Jordan's contributions to the
U.S.-led coalition to defeat Daesh as well as other defense and security
U.S. on Sunday hailed Morocco for repatriating eight of its nationals from
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement that Rabat’s
actions “should encourage other nations to repatriate” foreign fighters from
Syria, adding that the U.S. appreciates Morocco’s commitment to fighting
foreign terrorists to their countries of origin is the best solution to prevent
them from returning to the battlefield,” the statement read.
interior minister announced earlier in the day that they had brought home eight
nationals from "conflict zones" in war-torn Syria.
ministry said the returnees will be questioned over any possible connection to
security spokesman Boubaker Sibek said earlier that the return of Moroccan
Daesh fighters from Syria and Iraq "was posing a challenge to the
– The first official mosque in Greece for the country’s Muslims, the
800,000-euro ($910,202) cost being borne by Greek taxpayers, is too small, the
President of the Muslim Association has complained.
Elghandour told Thema 104.6 radio that the grey, boxy, nearly-windowless mosque
in the downtown district of Votanikos looks more like a big kiosk than a place
of worship to replace the unofficial mosques Muslims have been setting up in
basements and elsewhere.
this the mosque they’ve been telling us about for so many years?” He said that the
mosque, which will have no minarets or loudspeakers, will fit just 300 men and
50 women. Greece, he claimed, has a Muslim population of around 500,000 people,
which would be some 5 percent of the country’s population.
government is bearing the cost during a crushing economic crisis as it’s been
cutting pension benefits and education and health care budgets.
1,000-square meter facility will include a worship area for 300 men, a worship
area for 50 women, auxiliary rooms, an office for the imam and an office for
from the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn charged with using neo-Nazi techniques
earlier protested the mosque and warned there would be violence if the ruling
Radical Left SYRIZA kept pushing the construction.
mosque won’t be allowed, Golden Dawn said in an ominous warning from Ilias
Panagiotaros, one of the most strident of the party’s lawmakers, all of whom
are on trial on charges of running a criminal gang.
said, “With the help of God – I repeat that – this mosque will not have a good
end,” the news agency Reuters reported he said.
mosque has been a special source of consternation to critics because it’s being
paid for the by state during a crushing economic crisis that has seen workers,
pensioners and the poor take the brunt of austerity measures – although others
note that the Greek state pays the salaries of Greek Orthodox clergy.
Greece is building and paying for the mosque, Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has talked about turning the venerable Hagia Sophia Church into a
mosque. It already has minarets around it.
Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras visited Turkey earlier this year, raising hopes
for the reopening of the Halki Seminary, Erdogan said that won’t happen unless
Greece puts minarets on a mosque in a popular tourist area in Athens besides
building the mosque in Votanikos.
atheist Radical Left SYRIZA leader Tsipras, who is moving for separation of
Church and State, visited the seminary and called for a joint visit with
you want something from us, you want the Halki seminary. And I tell you
[Greece], come, let’s open the Fethiye Mosque,” Turkish news website Ahval
quoted Erdogan as saying during a rally in Edirne ahead of local elections on
seminary, which trained Orthodox clergy in Turkey until its closure in 1971, is
broadly seen as a symbol of the rights of minority groups but Erdogan has
similarly pushed for the rights of what he called a Turkish minority in Greece,
which Greece calls Muslim Greeks and bars them from electing their own mufti, a
said reopening the seminary is dependent on reciprocal steps from Greece to
improve the rights of its Turkish minority in the northeastern area which
borders the two countries.
his speech, Erdogan complained about the lack of minarets on Athens’ Fethiye
Mosque which was built in 1458 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece but has
not been used as a mosque since 1821.
said, ‘We are opening the mosque,’ but I said, why isn’t there a minaret? Can a
church be a church without a bell tower?” Erdogan was quoted as saying, adding,
“We say, you want to build a bell tower? Come and do it… But what is an
essential part of our mosques? The minarets.”
prosecutors on Monday asked a court to sentence a top rights activist in
Chechnya to four years in a penal colony over what campaigners say are
trumped-up drug charges.
Titiyev, the 61-year-old head of the Chechnya branch of rights group Memorial,
was arrested at the start of last year.
lawyers say the case is connected to Titiyev’s investigations into the
secretive prison system of a republic that is notorious for rights abuses.
ask that Titiyev be found guilty and sentenced to four years in a penal colony,
along with a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,500, 1,350 euros),” prosecutors told a
court in Chechnya, according to Russian news agencies.
verdict in the trial, which has been ongoing since last summer, is expected
say drug charges have been used repeatedly in the past to silence critical
journalists and rights workers in the region.
a statement on Monday, Amnesty International called for Titiyev to be “released
immediately and unconditionally”.
International believes Oyub Titiyev is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned
solely for his work for the victims of human rights in Chechnya,” the rights
is the last rights organization to retain a visible presence in Chechnya while
remaining critical of local leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
group said its offices in the neighboring Ingushetia republic were torched following
Titiyev’s arrest and colleagues in Dagestan, another Caucasus republic, were
group speaks out about human rights violations in Russia and has accused the
Chechen leader of overseeing a “totalitarian” regime that uses kidnappings and
predecessor as the regional leader of Memorial, Natalya Estemirova, was
kidnapped and killed in 2009.
was marked by the highest death toll of children in Syria as the civil war
enters its ninth year, the UN agency for children, UNICEF, announced on Monday.
in parts of the country remain in as much danger as at any other time during
the eight-year conflict,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a
2018 alone, 1,106 children were killed in the fighting -- the highest ever
number of children killed in a single year since the start of the war.
are only the numbers that the UN has been able to verify, which means the true
figures are likely much higher,” she said.
said that 262 attacks were carried out against education and health facilities
in 2018, which she described as a “record high”.
voiced concern about the situation in Idlib in northwestern Syria where “an
intensification of violence has reportedly killed 59 children in the past few
and families in no man’s lands continue to live in limbo. The situation of
families in Rukban, near the Jordanian border, continues to be desperate, with
limited access to food, water, shelter, health care, and education,” she said.
conditions in Al Hol camp
director is also “alarmed by worsening conditions in Al Hol camp in the
northeast [in al-Hasakeh governorate], now home to over 65,000 people,
including an estimated 240 unaccompanied or separated children.”
January this year, nearly 60 children reportedly died while making the
300-kilometer [186.4 miles] trek from Baghouz [in eastern Syria] to the camp. “
fate of children of foreign fighters in Syria remains unclear, she noted.
“urges member states to take responsibility for children who are their citizens
or born to their nationals, and to take measures to prevent children from
for protection of children
UN Agency, Fore said, renewed its call on “all parties to the conflict, as well
as those who have influence over them, to prioritize the protection of all
children, no matter who controls which area and regardless of the alleged
affiliations of a child’s family.”
also renew our call for unconditional, safe access to the families in need and for
sustained, voluntary, long-term solutions to those choosing not to return.”
of the pledging conference in Brussels between March 12-14, Fore urged donors
to “maintain their generosity towards the children of Syria and neighboring
has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011
when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar called on Monday for the situation in Myanmar
to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Security
Council, or a state party or group of states parties.
at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, Yanghee Lee said: “Victims
must not be forced to wait in the purgatory of international inaction; if it is
not possible to refer the situation to the ICC, the international community
should consider establishing an independent tribunal,” Lee said.
said that she is “fearful of an increasingly internationalized situation of the
Rohingya, with deportations from India and Saudi Arabia recently, as well as a
boat arrival in Malaysia just last week”.
am troubled to hear reports from Bangladesh Government officials that in April
they plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees from the camps in Cox’s Bazar to
Bhashan Char, a recently emerged island in the Bay of Bengal.”
relocation, and relocations without the consent of the refugees concerned have
the potential to create a new crisis,” the UN rapporteur warned.
is incumbent on the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that this is not brought
about,” she said.
Conflict between ethnic armed organizations
UN envoy also voiced her concern over the conflict between ethnic armed
organizations in the northern Myanmar state of Shan.
the four-month unilateral ceasefire declared by the military in December in the
north and east of the country, I am increasingly concerned about the conflict
between ethnic armed organizations in Shan State,” she said.
are recent reports of civilian deaths and thousands of people have been
temporarily displaced from their homes over the last few months, with 1,700
people fleeing from Namtu and Hsipaw since 27 February.
repeated and ongoing violation serves only to traumatize and re-traumatize
adults and children, disrupting their daily lives, education and livelihoods,
and impacting on their ability to access healthcare and basic services. This
must not continue.” She reiterated her call to “all parties to conflicts around
the country to protect civilians and take precautions, and to end hostilities.”
Rohingya refugees accompanied Lee during the conference.
Hatun said that her husband and many members of her family were killed by the
Myanmar army and urged the international community to bring justice for
want to return to our country in an honored and secure way, and want our full
citizenship rights to be granted,” she said.
Ullah, the other Rohingya refugee, also called on everybody at the meeting to
see their current situation in Cox Bazaar, expressing their expectation from
the UN more action than words.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women,
and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed to Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and
young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state
envoy fears 'new crisis' for Rohingya Muslims if moved to remote Bangladesh
United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar has voiced deep concern at
Bangladesh's plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island,
saying it may not be habitable and could create a "new crisis".
says moving refugees to Bhasan Char — a name meaning "floating
island" — will ease chronic overcrowding at Cox's Bazar, where some
730,000 Rohingya people have taken shelter, creating the world's largest
UN says the Muslim minority fled mass killings and rapes committed during an
army crackdown in Rakhine state in Myanmar since August 2017.
humanitarian groups have criticised the relocation plan, saying the island is
vulnerable to frequent cyclones and cannot provide a livelihood for thousands
are a number of things that remain unknown to me even following my visit, chief
among them being whether the island is truly habitable," said Yanghee Lee,
UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, who visited the island in the Bay of Bengal
is incumbent on the government of Bangladesh to ensure that this is not brought
was no immediate reaction from Bangladesh.
Lee, who is banned from visiting Myanmar, also told the UN Human Rights Council
in Geneva that up to 10,000 civilians are reported to have fled their homes in
Myanmar's Rakhine state since November due to violence and a lack of
urged the UN Security Council to refer alleged atrocities against Rohingya and
other ethnic groups in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and
later said that ICC officials were in Bangladesh as part of a preliminary
examination of whether a prosecution over the alleged deportations of Rohingya
could be launched.
am very hopeful. This is something that was unprecedented," Ms Lee said.
September the ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into whether
alleged forced deportations of Rohingya from Myanmar could constitute war
crimes or crimes against humanity.
Myanmar's permanent representative to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, said
the Hague-based court — which is legally independent from the UN — had "no
jurisdiction over Myanmar whatsoever".
the Government is unable to accept this legally dubious intervention by the
ICC, Myanmar is fully committed to ensuring accountability where there is
credible evidence of human rights violations committed in Rakhine State,"
most pressing task is to focus on a speedy start to repatriating the refugees,
he said, without using the word "Rohingya" — who are mostly stateless
The Afghan government denied allegations on Monday that one of the world’s most
wanted men, Mullah Mohammad Omar, lived undetected near a US military base for several
claim, made by Dutch journalist Bette Dam in her new book “Searching for an
Enemy,” contradicts statements by US and Afghan officials who maintain Omar
fled to Pakistan in 2001, where he later died.
— who has written extensively on Afghanistan and published a book on the former
president, Hamid Karzai — suggested Omar lived within walking distance of a
base in Zabul province for some time, albeit as a virtual hermit, refusing to
meet family members and writing a journal in an invented language.
Chakhansuri, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said the claim was untrue.
only (do) we reject it, we see it as an effort to create an identity for the
Taliban and their foreign backers. Evidence shows Omar lived and died in Pakistan,”
he told Arab News.
book, released during peace talks being held between the group and US diplomats
in Doha, has drawn criticism from across Afghanistan.
Saeedi, a former Afghan diplomat in Pakistan, said the report would “boost the
Taliban’s image” by suggesting its leader escaped US attention despite
“America’s sophisticated surveillance technology.”
Saleh, who served in Afghan intelligence and cooperated with the Central
Intelligence Agency during the US invasion, said the report was wrong.
could give very hard evidence that he lived in Pakistan and died there,” he
said, before claiming he would provide it at a later stage when pressed by Dam
for her part, says she spent over five years researching Omar, including
interviewing Jabbar Omari, the bodyguard who protected him after 2001.
said Omar listened to BBC Pashto for news broadcasts every evening, but that —
even when learning of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death — he rarely
commented on the outside world or the affairs of the group.
Officials say the Taliban killed at least 13 Afghan soldiers in battles that
raged for three days in western Badghis province where insurgents overran
several army checkpoints.
Shahabi, the provincial governor’s spokesman, says the fate of a dozen other
soldiers is unknown.
says the fighting erupted on Saturday in Bala Murghab district. The military
carried out several airstrikes and dispatched reinforcement. Shahabi says 42
insurgents were killed and 15 troops were wounded in the fighting.
Mohammad Naser Nazari, a member of the provincial council, gave a higher
casualty toll, saying that 20 soldiers were killed and 20 others remain
prominent Taliban commander identified as Shafiqullah has been killed during
the operation of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in central Logar
Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the Afghan National Defense and Security
forces conducted a joint operation in Mohammad Agha district, leaving at least
five militants dead, including Shafiqullah, one of the prominent commanders of
statement further added that the operations as conducted as part of Khyber-5
operations during which two Taliban militants were also wounded.
to Ministry of Interior, at least 500 kgs of explosives were also destroyed
during the operation and 8 motorcycles, a vehicle, a Dragunov sniper rifle, and
3 Ak-47 assault rifles were confiscated.
ARG Presidential Palace has rejected the claims regarding the hideout of
Taliban group founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.
strongly reject this delusional claim and we see it as an effort to create and
build an identity for the Taliban and their foreign backers,” Haroon Chakhansuri,
deputy chief of staff of President’s Office said in a Twitter post.
further added “We have sufficient evidence which shows he lived and died in
Dutch writer has claimed in her latest book the Mullah Mohammad Omar, the
founder and former leader of Taliban group, was living within walking distance
of U.S. base in Afghanistan.
book ‘searching for an Enemy’ reveals that Mullah Omar lived as virtual hermit,
away from his family.
Omar was also listening to BBC Pashto news broadcast, was filling notebooks
with jottings in an imaginery language, and used an old Nokia mobile phone,
without a sim card, to record himself chanting verses from Holy Quran.
was rarely commenting on developments outside the world despite learning about
the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in an American operation.
to Dam, Mullah Omar remained hidden despite ongoing patrols and search
operations which were conducted by the American forces in the area.
United Nations (UN) human rights investigator says up to 10,000 civilians have
been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar’s northwestern state of Rakhine
since November last year as a result of continued violence and a lack of
humanitarian aid due to government restrictions.
Lee, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, made the
revelation on Monday, calling on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to
the International Criminal Court (ICC) over its atrocities against Rohingya
Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in the conflict-ridden state.
situation in Myanmar must be referred to the ICC by the Security Council or a
state party or group of state parties," Lee said, adding that,
"Victims must not be forced to wait in purgatory of international
inaction. If it is not possible to refer the situation to the ICC, the
international community should consider establishing an independent
of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by
Myanmar's soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August
2017, when the surviving members of the community started fleeing to Bangladesh
Rohingya Muslims, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, are denied
citizenship and are branded illegal emigrants from Bangladesh, which likewise
denies them citizenship.
United Nations has described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in
because of the poor conditions in the camps, and partly because of the prospect
of repatriation to Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslims have occasionally attempted to
crisis' for Rohingya if moved to Bangladesh island
is currently hosting more than one million Rohingya Muslim refugees who have
fled Myanmar’s deadly army crackdown and persecution since 2017.
government in Bangladesh has for long been pushing a controversial plan to
relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees to an isolated and flood-prone island
in the Bay of Bengal, where they may be stranded forever.
also expressed deep concern about Bangladesh’s plan to move 23,000 Rohingya
refugees from camps in Cox's Bazaar to Bhashan Char Island in April, saying the
island may not be “habitable” and that the relocation plan would create a
potential "new crisis.”
UN official paid a visit to the island in January.
had the opportunity to visit the island on my last visit to Bangladesh and saw
with my own eyes the works that the Bangladesh government has undertaken.
However, there are a number of things that remain unknown to me even following
my report, chief among them being whether the island is truly habitable,"
Lee told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.
relocation, and relocations without the consent of the refugees concerned, have
the potential to create a new crisis. It is incumbent on the government of
Bangladesh to ensure that this is not brought about," she added.
Char, whose name means “floating island,” emerged from the silt about 20 years
ago and is located about 30 kilometers from mainland Bangladesh. The island is
flat, shape-shifting, and inundated by regular floods during the months of June
and September every year.
groups and aid workers have on numerous occasions lashed out at the relocation
plan, saying the island is vulnerable to frequent cyclones and cannot sustain
the livelihood of thousands of people.
widow pleads for peace
a separate development on Monday, a Myanmar woman who lost her husband in a
latest deadly attack by Buddhist rebels in Rakhine called on the army and militants
to lay down arms, halt the violence and start peace talks.
armed forces are currently engaged in a conflict with the Arakan Army (AA), a
Buddhist rebel group calling for greater autonomy for Rakhine.
an attack in the northwestern state on Saturday night, nine people were killed
and Ma Oo Khin’s husband was among one of the victims.
want to ask both sides to negotiate with each other. I don't want to see anyone
else die," she told AFP. "The AA is asking for their people's autonomy,
but the police are serving the country too."
area has been on strict lockdown since the attack.
Buddhist rebel group conducted raids on police border posts on January 4,
killing 13 people.
LUMPUR: Four years ago, mother-of-three Thuzar Maung put on jeans and a T-shirt
rather than her customary Muslim garb and slipped aboard a flight to Malaysia.
Burmese Muslims in Myanmar are considered terrorists, so she and her family had
been facing persecution for years.
feared for their lives after mob violence exacted a heavy death toll on their
the authorities claimed I was linked to rebel groups, I knew I had to flee
Myanmar,” Thuzar told FMT.
higher profile Rohingya conflict taking place on the other side of the Arakan
Mountains in Rakhine state, causes repercussions in central Myanmar where
are treated as badly as the Rohingya. Just like them, the Myanmar government
refuses to recognise us as citizens.
are considered outsiders in our own country. We have no rights, and many of us
have no identification card, without which we don’t exist.
we are taken to court we get much tougher sentences than Buddhists found guilty
of similar offences.”
March 2013, anti-Muslim riots broke out in central Myanmar, the most violent of
them in Meiktila, near Mandalay.
recalled how a Buddhist mob attacked and torched the Mingalar Zayone Islamic
was reported officially that security forces were heavily outnumbered and could
only stand by as rioters killed 32 teenage students and four teachers.
mob then moved on, targeting Muslim houses and mosques in nearby towns. At
least 9,000 residents were displaced by the violence.
was six years ago, and still there’s no stern action by the government,” she
condemned Nobel prize laureate and de facto head of government, Aung San Suu
Kyi, who has remained silent despite garnering massive support from Muslims
during her campaign.
Thuzar made her escape she had to leave her children behind, but the
authorities started harassing them.
repeatedly questioned my kids. They came to my house and to their father’s
house, demanding to know where I was.
surviving in Malaysia for two years, I was finally able to bring my children
said Burmese Muslims are not officially recognised as a marginalised group in
need of support in Malaysia.
people and organisations forget about us.”
2017, she founded the Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community to provide support to
Myanmar Muslims seeking asylum in Malaysia.
helps fellow refugees access education and healthcare, and arranges for legal
representation when they get arrested.
also acts as their representative when they are treated in hospital, vouching
for their status as refugees.
of us here are unregistered and so are scared to go to the hospital. We help
them understand their rights.
they have no employment, we help them find a job. We even go to court with
them. Sometimes we lose the case and people get deported.”
three children, aged 17, 13, and 11, now go to a school for refugees in Kuala
Lumpur where they learn core subjects including Bahasa Malaysia.
to open a dedicated school and a clinic are well under way, financed by
now, my kids and I are registered in Malaysia as asylum-seekers. This means the
children’s lives are safe and comfortable here,” she said.
many of my people live in fear. They are scared to go out. I want to raise the
quality of life for everyone in my community.
Rohingya are the most well-known Muslim victims of Myanmar government
Burmese Muslims are the same religion as the Rohingya and we are also victims.”
JAYA: PAS stands with non-Muslims and will not declare war on them, party
vice-president Iskandar Samad said today.
rebutting remarks made by DAP’s Nga Kor Ming that a union between Umno and PAS
could turn Malaysia into a “Taliban” state, Iskandar said the presence of the
non-Muslim PAS Supporters Congress (DHPP) was an indication of this.
at a national unity seminar organised by DHPP, Iskandar said such statements
likely arose from the fear as a result of the formal cooperation pact between
Umno and PAS.
PAS, we have the DHPP, which is made up of non-Muslims. We do not force them to
convert and they have been alongside PAS in its struggle all this while.
is not only for Muslims, but for all.
these DHPP supporters, at least we can prove to the people that PAS cares and
is supported by all,” he said.
added that it was impossible to declare war on non-Muslims and the allegations
were not true.
can PAS declare war on non-Muslims? We are together with non-Muslims.
allegations are untrue.”
further, he expressed agreement with MIC president SA Vigneswaran’s reported
statement on alleged double standards of parties cooperating with PAS.
is it that only DAP can cooperate with PAS?” asked Iskandar in reference to his
party’s previous alliance with DAP under the former Pakatan Rakyat opposition
was reported earlier this week as claiming that the Umno-PAS cooperation would
give rise to a Taliban-like government in Malaysia.
TOWN, March 11 — After nine long years, four court orders and RM3 million
spent, the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) today served its final
two-weeks eviction notice to the last house on Tanah Waqf Abdul Cauder in
the council president Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, a lot of time and
resources have been spent to evict 46 settlers on the land dedicated for Muslim
all of the 46 families moved out in 2010, we would already have a low-cost flat
built on the land and 470 families would be living there,” he said in a press
MAINPP first issued eviction notices to the 46 in 2010 with generous
settlements, Abdul Malik said 32 agreed to it.
family was offered a free 1,000 sq ft low-cost unit, RM500 monthly rental to
rent a transition house pending completion of the low-cost housing, RM4,000
moving out allowance and RM3,500 moving back in allowance.
remaining 14 families had refused to move out which led to a nine-year court
battle to evict them.
applied for four court orders to evict them and at the same time, we continued
paying rental for those who had moved out so this is costing us over RM3
million to resolve this issue,” he said.
said the 14 families were effectively depriving more than 400 Muslim families
from living in the planned low-cost flats on the land.
MAINPP served its final two weeks’ notice to the last house on the site.
said the occupants have two weeks to deliver vacant possession before they
demolish the house.
brushed off allegations that MAINPP had cruelly evicted the residents
especially after so many years of negotiations and legal recourse.
said they even offered temporary homes to some of those evicted to rent but
some had taken the offer while some refused it.
who finally agreed to move were immediately paid RM4,000 and we will start
paying them the monthly RM500 too,” he added.
said MAINPP had given the settlers one of the best offers in eviction cases in
claimed some groups had been goading the settlers to fight back against MAINPP
over the eviction in the past few weeks.
also led to a scuffle last Thursday when MAINPP, with the presence of police
and court bailiff, moved to demolish houses on the land.
Malik said MAINPP officers were injured and a policeman fractured his leg in
police have since arrested 11 men over the obstruction of the demolition works.
is planning to build a 470-unit, 22-storey low-medium cost apartment on the
Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
LUMPUR, March 11 — In a rare show of agreement, MCA today supported a PKR
lawmaker’s review bid for a man sentenced to be jailed 10 years and fined
RM10,000 for an offensive Facebook post against Islam.
Barisan Nasional Chinese component’s publicity bureau called the sentence
“excessive” against the 22-year-old man, Alister Cogia, who pleaded guilty.
a young adult whose mental capacity is in question behind bars for a decade as
opposed to armed robbers, terrorists, sexual offenders, child abusers, wife
batterers, assailants who are given lighter sentence is akin to weaponising the
law to kill a mockingbird,” Chan Quin Er said in a statement representing MCA.
said her party does not condone insults or slander against Islam or any other
religion, but urged for justice to be tempered with mercy.
added that locking up Alister, who has no prior conviction record, with
hardened criminals would be detrimental to his and the society’s wellbeing.
MCA spokesman also suggested that Alister be allowed to undergo counselling if
the man who dropped out of school in Form One was found to have a learning
who was unrepresented at the Sessions Court in Kuching last Friday, pled guilty
to uploading offensive materials on Islam and Prophet Muhammad on social media.
attorney general to release Netanyahu evidence after elections
attorney general says he will only release material from the corruption
investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the country’s April
Justice Ministry said in a statement Monday that Attorney General Avichai
Mandeblit agreed to delay handing Netanyahu’s attorneys evidence in the
corruption cases until after the elections out of concern over media leaks.
recommended criminal charges against Netanyahu in three corruption cases last
month, shaking up re-election prospects for the long-serving Israeli leader.
can only be filed after a hearing. The Justice Ministry said that would take
place by July 10.
charges include allegations that he accepted gifts from billionaire friends,
and promoted beneficial regulations for a telecom magnate in exchange for
positive coverage on a news site.
denies any wrongdoing.
sets off on historic visit to Iraq in major blow to Trump
President Hassan Rouhani is in Baghdad on a trip aimed at solidifying strategic
ties despite US efforts to keep the two neighbors apart and curb Iran's
influence in the region.
met with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih shortly after arrival on Monday for
important talks which the Iranian president described as “very good.”
ties between Tehran and Baghdad works to the benefit of both countries and we
won’t let this positive path towards progress slow down to a halt,” Rouhani said
at a joint news conference.
described the trip as “very important” and said the two sides had agreed on new
frameworks for cooperation which would be unveiled later in the day.
need to get past trivial details in mutual relations and think about the bigger
and broader space for cooperation and ties because this would best serve the
interests of both countries,” he added.
Iranian president also thanked Iraq for hosting millions of Iranians who pour
into the neighboring country every year to mark the occasion of Arba'een, which
is the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).
trip, described as "historic and noble" by Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been viewed by experts as Iran's response to US President
Donald Trump's snap trip to Iraq in December.
slipped into Iraq on Christmas and spent most of his short visit outlining how
he wanted to keep US troops in the Arab country in order to "watch"
Iran with which Iraq shares a 1,400-kilometer-long border.
unannounced visit drew fire from Iraqi officials and regional leaders,
including President Rouhani, who said the secret visit - as if to a US state -
undermined Baghdad’s sovereignty.
Trump, who had to land in a military base in the dark of the night with no
Iraqi officials on hand to welcome him, Rouhani touched down in Baghdad in
broad daylight and was received by high-ranking authorities.
to Trump's secret visit then, Rouhani asserted that flying into Iraq under the
cover of darkness meant "defeat" for the US in Iraq and asked the US
president why he did not opt for an "open and official visit"
Iranian president told reporters in Tehran before departure on Monday that ties
between Iran and Iraq were nothing like the relations between Baghdad and the
“occupying” American forces.
US is despised in the region; the bombs they dropped on the people of Iraq,
Syria and other countries are not forgettable and at the same time, Iran’s
brotherhood towards countries of the region will always be remembered,” he
trip comes on the heels of the Daesh terror group’s defeat in Syria and Iraq,
an achievement that is widely believed to have been impossible without Iran’s
critical role in providing advisory assistance to both governments.
and Iraq enjoy "strategic" relations that cannot be weakened by any
country, Zarif said in Baghdad Sunday, noting that the two countries' youths
fought side by side against Daesh.
consider this trip a new start in our relations with Iraq,” Zarif said,
describing Iran and Iraq as a beating heart of the region. "Without Iran
and Iraq, the region won’t be safe and stable,” he added.
said last week that without Iran’s support “Baghdad and the Kurdistan region
would have definitely fallen and Daesh would have dominated the region."
observers have described the trip as a milestone in Iran-Iraq ties and a
humiliating defeat for the US-led campaign to alienate the two neighbors.
the campaign’s main supporters have seemingly failed to account for in their
dealings is the unshakable bond that the Iranian nation has developed with its
neighbors, with whom it shares thousands of years of history.
Salih best portrayed Baghdad’s disregard for such attempts, saying on Sunday
that Iraq won’t join the American push against Iran even though it knows the
stance will harm Baghdad's own interests.
me tell you that Iraq will not become part of the US unilateral sanctions
regime against Iran. There is no doubt that we will be affected by these
sanctions, but it is certain that we will not be part of them,” he said.
insists that the interests of our friendly and neighboring country must be met.
We will do our best to reduce tensions in this regard and decrease the damage
that will be done to the Iranian nation,” added Salih.
Rouhani's three-day trip starting on Monday includes meetings with President
Salih as well as Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
Iranian president is slated to meet with Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi
and a number of prominent lawmakers.
will also make stops at Shia holy sites and meet top Iraqi Shia cleric Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who is a major source of influence in the Arab
trips between the two countries have been on the rise as of late, signaling a
strong resolve to expand the existing ties. Rouhani’s trip comes months after
Salih visited Tehran in November.
told reporters on Monday morning that the trip was aimed at enhancing security
cooperation while also focusing on trade, roads and environment to broaden the
is currently Iraq's top trade partner, with an annual turnover of about $13
billion, which they hope to increase to $20 billion.
National Army killed 13 Iran-backed Houthi militants during clashes in Al-Jawf
province on Monday.
militia were caught trying to infiltrate national posts in Al-Motoon discrict,
according to a statement on Yemen’s national army website “September net.”
Houthis were injured when coalition planes bombarded their vehicles in the
Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza began receiving $100 payouts from
Qatar on Monday, the latest tranche of funds under an informal deal between the
territory’s Islamist rulers Hamas and Israel.
flare-up of violence along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip
this month has threatened another escalation between the two sides, but the
Qatari cash could help ease tensions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned Hamas he would not hesitate
to launch a “large-scale operation” in Gaza.
analysts however believe he wants to avoid a conflict with unpredictable
results while campaigning for re-election in Israel’s April 9 polls.
Qatari Gaza Reconstruction Committee, in a statement, said “disbursement began
Monday of the fourth payment of cash assistance to poor families in the Gaza
total 55,000 families in the strip would receive payments of $100 each.
of Palestinians could be seen queueing early at post offices across Gaza.
am here to receive $100, but $100 does not solve the crisis,” said Bassam
Khalil Jaber, 40. “We need permanent solutions, and this grant is a temporary
November, the Gulf state, which is a longtime Hamas ally, committed to around
$15 million a month in aid over six months.
exchange, Hamas committed to relative calm along the Israeli border, which has
been rocked by often violent Hamas-backed protests since March 2018.
the deal became a major bone of political contention in Israel — whose
territory was used for delivery of the cash — and also in Gaza.
of the funds were originally used to pay salaries of Hamas employees, but this
was stopped after political criticism in Israel.
much of the money will be funneled into cash for work programs with the United
impoverished strip, which has a population of around two million, has been
under a crippling Israeli blockade for more than a decade.
has censured the latest Saudi airstrikes in Yemen's northwestern province of
Hajjah, saying the so-called advocates of human rights are complicit in
Riyadh's crimes as they sell arms to the regime.
so-called advocates of human rights not only remain silent in the face of daily
killings of women and children in Yemen, but they are also complicit in these
crimes by selling weapons to the aggressors," Iranian Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.
criticized human rights organizations and circles for remaining tight-lipped in
the face of inhumane war crimes committed by the aggressors against Yemen.
Iranian spokesperson added that innocent defenseless Yemeni women and children,
who have suffered from years of famine and the consequences of the human
tragedy in the country, are falling victim in the most brutal manner to the
arms donated and sold to the invaders by some Western countries, but their
voice is not heard as long as they are alive.
their deaths will go down in history as proof of disgrace for those who falsely
claim to be advocates of human rights, Qassemi said.
warplanes bombarded residential buildings in Talan village of Kushar district
in Yemen's Hajjah on Sunday afternoon, leaving 9 women and 14 children dead,
according to Arabic-language al-Masirah television network.
channel quoted local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying
that the attacks leveled five houses to the ground. Saudi warplanes also
reportedly targeted ambulances, preventing doctors and paramedics from reaching
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government
of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the
to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a
nonprofit conflict research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed
the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
UN in February warned that the situation in war-ravaged Yemen is further
deteriorating as the Arab country is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in
young Palestinian man has succumbed to wounds he sustained in clashes with
Israeli troops during an anti-occupation protest in the Gaza Strip two weeks
Sami Safi, 22, who was critically injured east of Khan Younis in the southern
parts of the blockaded Palestinian territory, “died this morning,” said Ashraf
al-Qidra, spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, on Monday.
said the young protester had been hit in the head with a tear gas canister on
has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a
decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies, known as the Great
March of Return, began in the Gaza Strip on March 30 last year. More than 260
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Over 26,000 Palestinians have
also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, 2018, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided last year with
the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Israeli military also regularly conducts airstrikes across the territory
against alleged targets belonging to Palestinian resistance movements.
on Monday, Hundreds of Palestinians marched in Sami Safi’s funeral procession
carrying his body from the Nasser Hospital to his family home before final
prayers and burial at the city’s cemetery.
parliament voted on Monday to shorten a state of emergency declared by
President Omar al-Bashir last month from one year to six months, a Reuters
may renew the state of emergency.
declared the nationwide state of emergency, the first since 1999, on Feb. 22 to
try to quell persistent protests that have posed the most serious challenge to
his three-decade rule.
a related development, a Sudanese emergency court sentenced on Sunday an
opposition leader to a week in jail as police detained several people intent on
marching on parliament to protest a state of emergency.
State, the birth place of Boko Haram crisis in northeast Nigeria has a new
governor following gubernatorial polls held on March 9, 2019.
Babagana Umara Zulum also made history according to reports being the first
professor to become governor across the Muslim-dominated north.
replaces Kashim Shettima who had completed the two-term limit the law allows
for a person to serve as governor of a state. Zulum run on the ticket of the
ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
final results indicated that his election was by a landslide polling over a
million votes against less than 100,000 by his main challenger.
received massive support of outgoing Shettima and was also endorsed by
President Muhammadu Buhari – both in Abuja and during his campaign stop in
Borno ahead of February 16 polls that were postponed to 23rd.
inherits a state that still suffers audacious attacks from Boko Haram and the
Islamic State in West Africa province, ISWAP, insurgents. The humanitarian
crisis is also daunting with widespread displacements.
beat main opponent Atiku Abubakar in the presidential polls streching Atiku by
over three million votes. Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have
alleged fraud and have filed a poll challenge.
APC also won Buhari’s home state of Katsina and Kaduna but is at risk of losing
the ancient Kano State, where embattled governor Umar Ganduje is fighting for
Nigerian Air Force said on Monday that it has launched successful air strikes
on Boko Haram terrorists at the fringes of Lake Chad, destroying their
structures in the process.
spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said in a statement that the attacks
were carried out after intelligence reports indicated their presence in the
Commodore Daramola said :”The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has
destroyed Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists’ vehicle and
some logistics infrastructure at Tumbun Sale and Tumbun Allura on the fringes
of Lake Chad in Borno State.
operation was conducted on 8 March 2019 on the heels of intelligence reports
indicating the presence of ISWAP fighters along with some vehicles and logistics
support items well camouflaged under the dense vegetation within the
a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet, supported by an Intelligence Surveillance
and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform, was dispatched to attack the terrorists’ hideouts
in successive strikes resulting in damage to several structures as well as the
destruction of one of the terrorists’ vehicles, which was seen engulfed in
Khan says Tipu Sultan is his 'hero', but for the sake of peace, Pakistan PM
should look at Jinnah as his role model
Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has, as they say, a thing for Tipu Sultan. He
can't stop talking about the erstwhile Mysore king who, he insists, is his
"hero" and no less. With misty eyes and an emotion-choked voice, Khan
misses no chance to swoon over the Muslim king who died 220 years ago fighting
as Imran flexes his cricket-toned muscles at Narendra Modi's
"war-mongering", he doesn't forget to make adulatory references to
Tipu. The Pashtun from Lahore did it once again on Friday, at a public meeting
that had a good sprinkling of Gujarati-speaking Hindus in Chachro in Pakistan's
continuing obsession of Pakistan's prime minister is driving an increasing
number of his people to Google to find out who in the whole blessed universe
Tipu is. And when they finally trace the sultan's provenance to the 18th
Century and to a kingdom around the banks of the Cauvery in the deep bowels of
South India, the Pakistanis scratch their heads, yawn and ask themselves:
not him? Khan might ask. He picked Tipu as his pin-up soldier after short-listing
two former monarchs. The other one on the list is Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last
Mughal emperor whom the brave Pashtun dismisses with contempt as somebody
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said on Friday that Tipu was his
"real hero who laid down his life while defending his motherland ...
(unlike) Zafar who preferred to go into exile after accepting slavery".
The former cricket captain got at least some of his history right. After a
stint of 20 years, Zafar surrendered to the British in 1857, unlike Tipu, who,
after reigning over the Mysore Kingdom for 17 years, fought the British and
died in 1799.
it isn't as though Khan has taken a sudden shine to Tipu. As far ago as 2012,
he had said: "In Pakistan we say, 'you can either leave like Bahadur Shah
Zafar or like Tipu Sultan'. The options are to leave like a jackal or like a
lion. I would choose to leave like Tipu Sultan."
fought his domestic rivals like Tipu in the 2013 election but came a poor
third. He didn't "leave" like Zafar. He fought on and won the 2018
election — with a wink and a nod from the army, of course — and he has decided
to keep on fighting like Tipu against Modi.
as he exhibited fake magnanimity while announcing the release of captured
Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on 28 February — something he was
forced to do under international pressure — Khan made brave noises and referred
still, the question lingers: Why Tipu? Tipu had as much to do with Pakistan as
emperor Chandragupta Maurya had with Texas. But then those who know Khan well
have often described him as impulsive and quirky. He enjoys throwing a surprise
or two, something his army bosses may have to watch out for.
the other hand, it has never been a secret that many Pakistanis deify Muslim
invaders of the sub-continent because they see them as tormentors of Hindus.
The names of some of Pakistan's missiles are proof. Examples: The Ghaznavi,
Ghauri, Babur, Abdali and Taimur missiles.
also can't be unaware of the controversy that Tipu periodically kicks up in
Karnataka. To woo Muslims, the earlier state government of Congress leader
Siddaramaiah celebrated Tipu's birthday for three years since 2015. With no
consensus among historians on whether the 18th Century warrior was a benevolent
king, or whether he converted Hindus to Islam, or killed them, the Congress
opened a communal Pandora's box. The new coalition government of the Congress
and Janata Dal (Secular) also commemorated Tipu Jayanti in 2018 but scaled the
the Prime Minister of Pakistan turning into an ardent fan of Tipu, the annual
bash in Karnataka in November is unlikely to be the same again. While the BJP
may not be able to resist the temptation of accusing state Congress leaders of
conspiring with Khan, any attempt by Pakistan's politicians to join Karnataka's
annual war may only make it more vicious.
wanted free borders
also swears by Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the same routine fashion
that Indian politicians parrot the name of Mahatma Gandhi. But it's evidently
Tipu that's Khan's real superman, though emulating his "bravery" in
the 20th Century can only bring grief to Pakistan, even if it's to defend his
country against the imagined "adventurism" of Narendra Modi. On the
other hand, it makes better sense for Khan to actually put in practice some of
Jinnah's apparently noble thoughts.
fighting hard to create Pakistan for Muslims, Jinnah wanted the new country to
be a secular one with cozy relations with India, according to former Pakistani
diplomat Husain Haqqani. In his 2016 book India Vs Pakistan: Why Can't We Just
Be Friends?, Haqqani wrote that Jinnah wanted Pakistan and India to be like the
US and Canada with — in the words of the first American ambassador to Pakistan—
"largely unguarded borders, shared defence, free trade and freedom of
movement through several crossing points".
said: "That Jinnah did not envisage Pakistan's permanent enmity with India
is borne out also by his wish to return to his Mumbai home after retirement as
the Governor-General of Pakistan."
Khan wants peace, as he claims he does, he must listen to Jinnah.
also must remember that it was Tipu's own army general Mir Sadiq who partly did
him in. If the Prime Minister of Pakistan insists on idolising Tipu, he must
watch out for Mir Sadiqs in his country's army.
India cannot stop the flow of water into Pakistan under the Indus Waters
Treaty, a top Pakistani officials said on Monday, asserting that Islamabad will
move the International Court for Arbitration if New Delhi halts the water from
the Ravi, Sutlej and Beas rivers.
official of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters alleged that India had
"continuously been involved in water aggression".
month, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said in New Delhi that India had decided to
"stop" the flow of its share of water to Pakistan after the Pulwama
terror attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
responded to his remarks, saying it was not concerned over India's plan to stop
the flow of its share of water.
Ministry of Water and Power is reviewing India's move to stop water from
flowing into Pakistan. As per the Indus Water Treaty, India cannot stop water
from flowing into Pakistan and if they do so then we will move the
International Court for Arbitration," Geo News reported, quoting an
official as saying.
Indus Water Commission did not apprise Pakistan regarding the move to stop the
flow of water," the official said.
will take India several years to change the direction of the water to keep it
from flowing into Pakistan, the official said.
Bible-based syllabus for Christian prisoners will soon be adopted by the 35
prisons of Pakistan's Punjab province, according to Human Rights and Minority
Affairs Minister Ijaz Alam Augustine.
will be taught in the prisons and participating prisoners will get a special
remission on their sentence,” Augustine said.
syllabus approved by the provincial prison department in 1977 will be adopted,”
minister blamed bureaucratic procedures for delaying the process.
added that once implemented, the program would clear the way for early
Christmas prisoner releases.
scheme also involves the obtaining of academic and trade qualifications.
minister was speaking to ucanews.com on the sidelines of a March 9 symposium
organised by the Centre for Social Justice and the People's Commission for
Minorities' Rights (PCMR) in the cosmopolitan city of Lahore.
called for the implementation of past court directives dealing with the
protection of minorities. This included reforming various curricula to foster
communal tolerance as well as the setting up of a 'Commission for Minorities'
prison program is part of an empowerment package announced in December
involving job and education quotas for minorities along with the sentence
to the official website of Punjab's prison service in the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan, Muslim convicts who memorize the Holy Quran can gain sentence
remissions of between six months and two years.
there has not been a realistic equivalent for non-Muslim jail inmates.
authorities were demanding that Christian prisoners be able to memorize the
Bible in order to have their sentences reduced.
churches in Pakistan do not have a tradition of memorizing scripture.
to Prison Fellowship International in Pakistan, there are more than 3,000
Christian prisoners in Punjab.
Jacob, a Catholic who is the director of the Centre for Social Justice, warmly
welcomed the new Punjabi syllabus for Christian prisoners that he helped
Arthur Wilson, a prison chaplain and Pakistan director of Prison Fellowship
International, was less optimistic.
said despite past promises of reform, Christian prisoners continued to be
discriminated against by Muslim prisoners and jail administrators.
like their life outside, the Christian prisoners live in ghettos," Wilson
were called upon to change their faith and prisoners accused of blasphemy
against Islam had to be held in isolation cells because of the risk of violent
reprisals, he added.
elected OIC body’s deputy chairman
Pakistan has achieved another milestone in parliamentary diplomacy by clinching
the slot of deputy chairman of general body of the Parliamentary Union of OIC
this, Pakistan’s woman representative MNA Naureen Farooq has also been elected
vice president of the 8th Muslim Women Parliamentarians Conference.
to an official announcement, Pakistan has been elected deputy chairman of
PUIC’s general body on the first day (Monday) of its four-day conference being
held in Rabat, Morocco.
Committee chairman Syed Fakkhar Imam is leading a four-member Pakistani
delegation to the conference. Other members include Qasim Noon, Ahsan Iqbal and
PUIC is composed of parliaments of member states of the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation. It was established in Iran on June 17, 1999, with its head office
situated in Tehran.
main objective of sending the Pakistani delegation to the conference is to
effectively highlight the long-standing issue of Kashmir before the whole
airstrikes claim dozens of civilian lives in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr
of civilians, including women and children, have been killed after the US-led
coalition purportedly fighting the terrorist Takfiri Daesh group carried out a
series of aerial assaults in Syria’s troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency
SANA that 50 people were killed and scores of others injured on Monday when
US-led warplanes targeted families fleeing the last vestiges of Daesh's
territorial rule in the besieged village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
sources added that the death toll was expected to rise as some of the wounded
were in critical condition.
development came a few days after US-led coalition warplanes dropped white
phosphorus bombs on Baghouz, leaving a number of citizens, mostly women and
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are
said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any
authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.
military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing
civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of
February 12, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two
separate letters addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the
former rotating president of the Security Council, Anatolio Ndong Mba,
denounced the coalition strikes conducted against Baghouz a day earlier, saying
the US-led warplanes had pounded a refugee camp.
sources told the state-run Ikhbariyah Syria television news network that 16
civilians, including seven children, were killed as a result of the raid.
new crime is in line with the series of war crimes and crimes against humanity,
which the US-led coalition has perpetrated against Syrian people, its continued
support for terrorism, and its use of terrorists and separatist militia forces
to advance its fiendish plots aimed at Syria’s sovereignty, unity and
territorial integrity,” said the letters.
ministry also called on the UN Security Council to stand up against such
attacks and crimes.
also demanded that the UN body assume its responsibilities regarding the
establishment of international peace and security, conduct an international
probe into these criminal acts, condemn them, and put an immediate halt to such
air raids as well as the “aggressive” presence of American and other foreign
military forces in Syria.
militants killed in Egypt’s anti-Daesh campaign in Sinai
Three soldiers and 46 “very dangerous” militants have been killed in clashes in
the northern and central Sinai peninsula, Egyptian authorities said on Monday.
military also said Egyptian forces had destroyed 15 hideouts and dismantled 204
explosive devices. Troops also found weapons caches, including explosives, in
Sinai, the Western Desert and southern Egypt.
hundred militants have been killed since the Egyptian military launched a major
campaign in February 2018 aimed at eliminating Daesh or related groups in
Sinai, the army said.
Sinai peninsula covers 60,000 square kilometers in northeast Egypt bordering
the Gaza Strip and Israel, divided into two governorates.
north is at the center of a long-running insurgency led by a local affiliate of
Daesh known as Sinai Province. The group, formerly called Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis,
had links with Al-Qaeda before pledging allegiance to Daesh in 2014.
have stepped up attacks on security forces and also targeted civilians, mainly
Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians, killing hundreds of people.
2016, terrorist attacks in Egypt have primarily been carried out by the Daesh
affiliates,” said Allison McManus of the Washington-based Tahrir Institute for
Middle East Policy.
response, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered security forces to use “all
brute force” to restore stability to Sinai. A year ago Egypt mobilized land,
sea and air forces in a nationwide offensive called Sinai 2018.
operations are focused on North Sinai but also cover parts of the Nile Delta
region and the porous western border with Libya.
60 civilians, including children, were killed and 15 others were wounded in the
US-led airstrikes and SDF artillery attacks on residential areas in a refugee
camp located in the town of al-Baqouz in Eastern Deir Ezzur," the SANA
news agency reported.
said that the US-led airstrikes on al-Baqouz refugee camp left more than 50
civilians, including children, killed.
pro-militant Baldi news website also reported that seven civilians, including a
number of children, were killed and over 15 others were wounded in artillery
attacks by SDF on al-Baqouz.
a relevant development in February, the US-led coalition fighter jets pounded a
camp of Syrian civilians who had fled from the ISIL's captivity in the town of
Baghouz in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
Arabic-language media said that a sum of 70 Syrians had been killed or wounded
in the US-led airstrikes, adding that the toll is expected to rise due to
deteriorating conditions of the injured and difficulties in rendering aid to
a relevant air raid in January, the US-led airstrikes killed at least 31
civilians in the village of al-Baghouz Foqani.
number of civilians killed in the US airstrikes on people's houses in the
village of al-Baghouz Foqani has reached 31 so far," the Arabic-language
al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources as saying.
Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted a Syrian
military source as saying that the Syrian air force pounded the military
convoys and important positions of the terrorists, including arms and
ammunition depot as well as concentration of military convoys of Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the outskirts
of the towns of Khan Sheikhoun, Ma'arat al-Numan, Kafr Nubl, Ma'arat Shomarin
and the surroundings areas of the city of Saraqib to the South and West of
noted that the Syrian warplanes also destroyed the meeting of commanders of
Turkistani and White Helmets in Sahr al-Rouj to the West of Idlib which
resulted in the death and injury of a number of them.
the Syrian Army's missile and artillery units also pounded the terrorists'
military positions in al-Latamineh, Kafar Zita and al-Arbaeen, inflicting heavy
losses and casualties on them.
is while the terrorists hit Masayef region near the National Hospital in
Northern Hama with rockets.
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian Army pounded and destroyed the
command headquarters and weapons depot of terrorists in Northern Hama and
Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with members of Ajnad al-Qafqaz
and Haraseddin terrorist groups who had attacked the government forces'
military positions in al-Sakria, al-Baraghiti and Tal Kolbeh West of Abu Zuhour
town," a battlefield source said.
source further said that the Syrian Army's missile and artillery units targeted
many gatherings of the terrorists Southeast of Idlib and in the surrounding
areas if Saraqib town, destroying their command center and their equipment as
well as killing a large number of them.
Syrian Army units also pounded the movements of the terrorist groups near
al-Haviz village in Sahl al-Ghab Northwest of Hama, inflicting heavy losses and
casualties on them after warding off their attack.
on Thursday, the Syrian army repelled militants' attacks from the demilitarized
zone on Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, destroying the terrorists' positions
and killing 3 of their commanders.
Syrian army units launched missile and artillery attacks against the
terrorists' moves near the village of al-Zakat and Kafr Zita, al-Arbaeen,
al-Latamineh and Qal'at al-Maziq regions in Northern Hama, smashing several
military vehicles as well as the terrorists' missile platform, and killing a
number of militants, including two commanders of Ansar al-Tawhid namely Abu
al-Farouq and Ibrahim Hamadi.
army forces also pounded the positions and moves of several groups of Tahrir
al-Sham al-Hay'at terrorists from the villages of al-Shariah and al-Jamasah as
well as Sahl al-Qab region towards the army-controlled areas in Northwestern
Hama, destroying a number of their hideouts and killing several terrorists.
US Hides ISIL Commanders in Al-Rukban Camp Near Border with Iraq
per reliable information in al-Tanf region which is under the occupation of the
US Army troops over 80 percent of the residents of al-Rukban Camp are willing
to return to their villages and homes in different parts of Syria, the
Arabic-language al-Alam news website reported.
pointed to the US' policy to prevent the exit of civilians from al-Tanf region,
and said that the US occupying forces are using this region to hide the ISIL
commanders who have fled from the Eastern Deir Ezzur.
Al-Alam reported that most of the ISIL commanders have been relocated to
al-Rukban Camp by some people from Badiyeh (desert) region of Eastern Deir
report comes as over 50,000 of Syrian refugees in al-Rukban Camp near the
border with Iraq have been under siege of the US Army troops and their allied
militants since 2014.
Rukban refugee camp is located in the Al-Tanf security zone, where a US
military base is stationed. Entrances to the zone are controlled by opposition
militants. According to the World Health Organization, the camp currently hosts
about 40,000 refugees, mostly women and children.
a relevant development on Thursday, media reports said the US-backed militants
hoarded the needed foodstuff for the refugees residing in al-Rukban camp,
adding that the American forces prevented the Syrian government's aid cargos
from entering the region.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources as saying that the terrorists
who are supported by the US and are stationed in al-Tanf region, specially
Maqawir al-Thawra group, which controls al-Rukban, have threatened the
civilians with weapons to avoid leaving the camp for their villages.
added that the terrorists also force the civilians to pay huge amounts of money
to receive permission to leave the camp.
sources warned of the dire humanitarian situation in the camp, saying that the
terrorists in the region prevented the traffic of humanitarian aid cargos and
buses sent by the Syrian government to the camp to transfer the refugees to
other regions and have hoarded the foodstuff and other vital goods needed by
joint statement by the Russian and Syrian coordination centers said that the US
has blocked traffic of the sixth bus sent by the Damascus government to
transfer the refugees from al-Rukban to different parts of Syria.
and Syrian coordination centers have urged the US to set free the forcibly held
residents of Rukban camp and allow them to return to their homes, Major General
Viktor Kupchishin, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of
conflicting sides in Syria, said.
March 6, the interdepartmental coordination centers of the Russian Federation
and the Syrian Arab Republic came forward with a joint statement, which urges
the US to switch from populism to practical steps, which are to release
illegally held residents of the Rukban camp and to ensure their right to leave
freely for permanent residence places and to guarantee a safe passage of
humanitarian motor convoys through illegally seized area of al-Tanf," he
security forces have killed 46 “very dangerous” extremist militants in
shootouts in northern Sinai, the military said on Monday.
armed forces say several hundred militants have been killed since it launched a
major campaign in February 2018 aimed at vanquishing ISIS extremist group or
related terrorist groups in Sinai.
the last period” the campaign had resulted in “the elimination of 46 very
dangerous members of terrorist elements during exchanges of fire in the north
and central Sinai...,” the armed forces said in a video recording, without
specifying dates or locations of the security operations.
100 suspects had been arrested, more than 200 explosive devices found and over
30 cars and scooters confiscated or destroyed, it said. The statement did not
give the identity of suspects or their affiliation.
rights organizations have accused Egypt of carrying out extrajudicial
executions and of trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.
fighters are moving slowly into ISIS extremist group’s final pocket in eastern
Syria to avoid losses in the face of sniper fire and landmines, a commander
said on Monday.
flew above Baghouz, a cluster of houses on the banks of the Euphrates at the
Iraqi border where ISIS fighters still hold out, and smoke rose from the area
along with the sound of intermittent clashes.
defeat of ISIS at Baghouz will mark a milestone in the campaign against the
extremist group, ending its control of populated territory in the area
straddling Iraq and Syria where it suddenly expanded in 2014 and declared a
it has already shown it will continue to mount a potent security threat, with a
string of insurgent attacks in both countries.
government forces hold the opposite bank of the Euphrates across from Baghouz
and Iraqi militias are stationed at the border, cutting off any easy escape
route for the extremists.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has made “modest advances” since resuming its
assault late on Sunday, killing and wounding many extremist fighters said Adnan
Afrin, a senior commander in the US-backed militia.
SDF pressed on with operations on Monday along with coalition airstrikes, but
Afrin said advances were slow because the SDF wanted to complete the campaign
with minimal losses.
fighters attempted four suicide attacks but the SDF captured an arms dump, said
militia spokesman Mustafa Bali. One SDF fighter was killed and four wounded.
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism