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Islamic World News (26 May 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Will Attend Iftar 100 Times: Mamata Over Muslim Appeasement Allegations








Will Attend Iftar 100 Times: Mamata Over Muslim Appeasement Allegations

Kerala Coast on High Alert after Intel On ISIS Terror

Modernising Madrasas: Pakistan’s Response to Tackle Extremism

Ulema Council Calls For Efforts by Muslim Leadership against Terrorism

Sri Lanka Troops Launch Major Hunt for Extremists Linked To Suicide Attacks

Solutions Acceptable To Palestinians Required For Palestine Peace: Qatar

Daesh Wreaks Havoc In Nigerian Village, Kills 25 Soldiers

Trump Administration Adopts Israeli Foreign Policy: Analyst

 

India

Will Attend Iftar 100 Times: Mamata Over Muslim Appeasement Allegations

Kerala Coast on High Alert after Intel On ISIS Terror

Muslim Family In UP Names Newborn Son Narendra Modi

Zakir Musa killing: Shutdown, curbs continue in Kashmir

India’s Muslims quiver in the new dawn of an emboldened Narendra Modi

Modi woos Muslims in speech as house leader

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Pakistan

Modernising Madrasas: Pakistan’s Response to Tackle Extremism

Ulema Council Calls For Efforts by Muslim Leadership against Terrorism

NAB Being Pressured Through Blackmail: Jamaat-e-Islami

Pakistan ready to hold talks with new Indian government: Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Pak arrests six for collecting funds for JeM, LeJ

Pakistan PM warns against war in region amid Iran tensions with US, Saudi Arabia

Death toll in Quetta mosque blast climbs to four

Pakistan, Afghanistan to hold high-level security talks next week

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South Asia

Sri Lanka Troops Launch Major Hunt for Extremists Linked To Suicide Attacks

Tamil Nadu outfit inspired Sri Lankan suicide bombers, claims Buddhist monk

UAE raises Dh33 million for Rohingya refugees

8 Taliban militants killed, 24 IEDs destroyed in Balkh, Farah and Paktika provinces

Afghan Special Forces kill 11 Taliban fighters in Kunar province

10 Taliban militants killed or wounded, 6 IEDs destroyed in Khakrez of Kandahar

UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

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Mideast

Solutions Acceptable To Palestinians Required For Palestine Peace: Qatar

Iran’s President Says Country Could Hold Vote over Nuke Deal

In Tel Aviv, Tens of Thousands Protest Immunity for Netanyahu

Houthis claim drone strike on Saudi's Jizan airport near Yemen border: reports

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister to visit Qatar, Oman and Kuwait for talks

Turkey sends weapons to Syrian armed groups facing Russian-backed assault

Iranian general: We’ve exported our culture to armed groups in Yemen, Lebanon

Arab Coalition targets Houthi reinforcements in Yemen’s Hajjah

Israel calls Hezbollah ‘strategic threat’ to provoke world against it: Nasrallah

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Africa

Daesh Wreaks Havoc In Nigerian Village, Kills 25 Soldiers

Libya’s opposing forces clash near besieged capital

Sudan interim military council chief Al-Burhan meets with Egypt’s President El-Sisi

Detroit’s Islamic Center organizes ‘Iftar tent’ to offer free meals

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North America

Trump Administration Adopts Israeli Foreign Policy: Analyst

US military helicopter destroyed in Afghanistan ‘hard landing’

Turkish pilot, 84, still flying American skies

US blames Iran for tanker bombings in UAE, Saudi attack

US Army Twitter question met with stark responses

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Europe

Groups, Mosques Rally Around Muslim Foster Children in Ramadan

Turkey's ties with N. Macedonia set example for Balkans

Muslim group calls probe into mosque fire in Germany

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Southeast Asia

‘Muslims In Malaysia Getting Married Later In Life’ Says Deputy Minister

Raya in Malaysia true blessing for the Rohingyas

Umno veep rejects ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ concept, insists must centre on Islam and Malay culture

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Arab World

US-Backed SDF Stages Wide Arrests under Forced Recruitment Plan

US Army Sends More Military Convoys to Base in Western Iraq from Jordan

Aleppo: Syrian Army Wards Off Tahrir Al-Sham's Attacks Meant to Support Other Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

Hashd Al-Shaabi Warns to Respond Any US Military Attack Crushingly

Lebanon denies forcing Syrians home from Beirut airport

Lebanon deports 16 Syrians, say rights groups

Iraqi protesters urge Baghdad to stay out of US-Iran dispute

Latakia chemical attack claim won’t affect Syria’s anti-terror fight: Damascus

Iraq, Iran stress security cooperation to prevent war in region

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/will-attend-iftar-100-times--mamata-over-muslim-appeasement-allegations/d/118708

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Will attend Iftar 100 times: Mamata over Muslim appeasement allegations

May 26, 2019

Showing scant regard for the BJP's constant criticism that she was appeasing Muslims, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday indicated that she would continue to attend 'Iftaars' as the community votes for her Trinamool Congress.

Banerjee, who was addressing the media, made the potentially controversial comment while inviting the media to attend an Iftaar party organised by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation towards the end of the month.

"I am going to the Iftar party. You all also please come," Mamata Banerjee said.

"I appease Muslims, no? I will go there a hundred times. 'Je goru dudh dei tar lathio khete hoi; (if a cow gives milk, one has to be prepared for its kicks also)," she said.

The Muslim community voted for Banerjee's Trinamool in the recent elections, where a lot of Hindu votes shifted to the BJP which came up with best performance in Bengal taking 18 seats.

The Trinamool, which had got 34 seats five years back, saw its tally getting reduced to 22.

https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/attend-iftar-mamata-muslim-appeasement-allegations-1534819-2019-05-26

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Kerala coast on high alert after intel on ISIS terror

May 25, 2019

The Kerala coast has been put on high alert following intelligence reports that boats allegedly carrying 15 Islamic State Terrorists had set off from Sri Lanka to the Lakshadweep islands, police said Saturday.

According to highly places sources in the police department, the coastal police stations and coastal district police chiefs have been alerted.

“Such alerts are usual practice but this time we have a specific information about the number.

We have alerted the coastal police stations and the police chiefs of coastal districts to be on alert in case of any sighting of suspicious vessels,” a top police source told PTI.

The coastal police department said it was on alert since May 23, the day alert came from Sri Lanka.

“We were on alert since the Sri Lankan attack took place.

We have also alerted the fishing vessels and others venturing into the sea to be cautious of suspicious activities,” coastal department sources confirmed to PTI.

After the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, Kerala was on alert, especially after NIA investigations revealed that IS operatives had planned attacks in the State.

Intelligence agencies believe that a considerable number of Keralities are still with the ISIS which was recently wiped out from Iraq and Syria.

Sri Lanka witnessed a deadly terror attack on April 21 when eight blasts rocked the Island nation killing over 250 people.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-coast-on-high-alert-after-intel-on-isis-terror/story-6OeJwz07rz6DlKmZVnDenN.html

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Modernising madrasas: Pakistan’s response to tackle extremism

May 26, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As part of a strategy to dismantle the extremist networks, the government has decided to introduce major reforms in the curriculum of over 30,000 Islamic schools or madrasas dotting the country’s landscape.

The reforms would include banning chapters that are fueling hatred and introduction of modern subjects like science, skills and teaching of English language in the curriculum.

“The government will bear the financial burden to introduce these major reforms in madrasas which are a major source of education for poor children,” a senior officer in the Ministry of Education in Islamabad said.

He said the religious leaders and the patrons of these institutions will be taken into confidence and included in the process of revising the syllabus.

“These reforms will help madrasa students to graduate with modern skills. The step will also unveil vast career opportunities for them, at par with those graduating from colleges and universities.”

As per the plan, still under the formative stages, the government is preparing to post teachers to teach English, science subjects and skills in madrasas. Further, the madrasas would be equipped with science laboratories.

Madrasas in Pakistan continue to be the only outlets providing free religious education to poor children. Modeled on the pattern of boarding schools, they also offer free food and accommodation.

History of Madrasas

Official figures suggest that there were just 247 madrasas in Pakistan in 1947, at the time of the country’s inception. Since then they have multiplied in geometric proportions.

Even before the Soviet-Afghan War that began in 1979 and lasted over nine years, the number of madrasas had grown to 2,831 in 1980s, during the tenure of military ruler General Ziaul Haq.

Playing a key role in Afghan war, Haq declared it jihad or holy war and organised Afghan Mujahideen to fight against the then world power.

Besides, he also encouraged religious parties to step in and post their workers in the fight against Soviets.

The number of madrasas increased as most of the religious parties set up their own seminaries fully under the patron and encouragement of the West, to provide education to millions of Afghan refugee children.

Teaching in madrasas

The curriculum currently being taught in the seminaries is called Dars-e-Nizami, drafted by an 18th century scholar Mulla Nizamuddin Sihalwi, from the Farangi Mahal madrasa, located in Indian city of Lucknow.

“We are teaching Tafseer [interpretation of the Holy Quran], Hadith [sayings of Prophet Muhammad], Islamic law, Arabic grammar, Urdu language, memorising of holy Quran and mathematics,” said Mufti Muneebur Rahman, a scholar in Madrasa Usmania situated in Nowshera, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Claiming that madrasas themselves have brought many changes in the system, he said his madrasa now teaches English, science and other social subjects.

The critics of madrasa education system have often blamed that children graduating from these institutions are ill-equipped to face the modern world, thereby easily fall prey to militant outfits.

“It is a baseless allegations,” said Rahman.

Replying to a question regarding the funding of these madrasas to meet their daily expenses, he said that they depend on donations and number of people from professions like medicine, engineering, business and even government officials offer zakat to these institutions.

Government reforms plan

Pakistan has been facing ample pressure from the western nations to regulate madrasas.

Imran Khan’s government has banned several religious outfits and announced to bring reforms in madrasas in order to bring them under government control.

However, the government is facing stiff resistance from powerful religious parties.

“Currently there are over 30,000 madrasas where over 2.5 million children are studying and the government has decided to bring them in the mainstream,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan Army’s spokesperson, told reporters last month.

He added that just 100 madrasas have been found involved in violent activities, while the rest are a good and effective source of education for children.

“We want to end violent extremism in the country and that will be possible when our children have the same education and opportunities,” Ghafoor added.

In February, Pakistan froze assets and took over the control of dozens of seminaries, mosque and other institutions believed to be affiliated with banned outfits.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/05/25/modernising-madrasas-pakistans-response-to-tackle-extremism/

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Ulema Council calls for efforts by Muslim leadership against terrorism

MAY 26, 2019

“Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should play an effective leadership role to resolve prevailing unrest in Gulf countries,” Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi noted on Saturday.

He added that war could never be a solution to any issue while calling Saudi Arabia’s decision to not engage in any warlike situation a good omen.

The chairman was talking to media sources here ahead of leaving for Saudi Arabia to attend Mecca Conference.

Hafiz Ashrafi said that the Muslim Ummah leadership should constitute an effective and cohesive strategy against terrorists and extremists as well as their supporters.

Mecca Conference would be held in Saudi Arabia in the aegis of the Muslim World League to spread the moderate message of Islam.

The League has extended a special invitation to Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman.

Ashrafi stated that Pakistan held a very respectful place in the comity of Muslim countries.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa was said to be playing an effective role to resolve the challenges faced by the Muslim world.

He added that the prevailing challenges of Muslim Ummah could be settled if entire Muslim world became united.

The chairman asserted that enemies of Islam and Muslims were fanning sectarian violence in Muslim countries to create anarchy and differences within.

Hafiz Ashrafi also stated that OIC meeting in Mecca was of key importance while the entire Muslim world had pinned hopes on its outcome.

He further maintained that the role and services rendered by Saudi Arabia for the Islamic world could not be neglected.

“Decision of Khadim e Harmain Al- Sharifain Shah Salman Abdul Aziz to invite the leadership of Muslim countries and Muslim Ulema and scholars on the night of 27th Ramazaan is very positive sign to seek a solution for prevailing challenges of the Muslim world,” PUC chairman continued.

Responding to a query, he stated that Pakistan had never supported the war.

Hafiz Ashrafi added that the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were no secret and if any force of the world dared target the sanctity of Saudi Arabia, Pak-Force and people of Pakistan stood committed to lay any sacrifice for its security and defence.

He then went on asserting that Iran was Pakistan’s neighbouring Islamic country while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were knotted in ties of faith and respect.

Pakistan wanted across-the-board action against the terrorist elements and their supporters for carrying out targeted attacks at Saudi Arabia, Ashrafi continued.

He then relayed that Pakistan condemned terrorism and extremism at every forum and was willing to contain the menace of terrorism and extremism from the Muslim world.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/400850/ulema-council-calls-for-efforts-by-muslim-leadership-against-terrorism/

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Sri Lanka troops launch major hunt for extremists linked to suicide attacks

25 May 2019

Sri Lanka’s military launched a major hunt Saturday for remnants of an extremist group which carried out the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people, officials said.

Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks.

“Special cordon-and-search operations are under way in three areas just outside Colombo,” a military official told reporters.

Similar operations were also carried out in the country’s north-west, where anti-Muslim riots this month left one man dead and hundreds of Muslim-owned shops, homes and mosques destroyed.

Security forces have arrested scores of suspects in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organized violence against the island’s Muslim minority.

While authorities say the immediate jihadist threat has been blunted, President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday extended for one month the 30-day state of emergency imposed after the suicide bombings.

Sirisena said the move was to maintain “public security”, with the country still on edge after the attacks on three hotels and three churches that were blamed on a local extremist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).

ISIS group has also claimed a role in the attacks.

Christians make up 7.6 percent and Muslims 10 percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/25/Sri-Lanka-troops-launch-major-hunt-for-extremists-linked-to-suicide-attacks-.html

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Solutions acceptable to Palestinians required for Palestine peace: Qatar

May 25, 2019

Qatar has refuted US President Donald Trump's controversial proposal for peace between Palestinians and the Israeli regime, saying the demands of the Palestinian people need to be considered in any such plans.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry said in a Friday statement that economic development needed for peace in Palestine could not be achieved without "fair political solutions" acceptable to Palestinians.

The statement was referring to the Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" plan set to be unveiled next month. The White House will lay out the first part of Trump's so-called peace plan when it holds an international conference in Bahrain in late June.

"Tackling these challenges requires sincerity of intent, concerted efforts from regional and international players and appropriate political conditions for economic prosperity," the statement added.

"These conditions would not be achieved without fair political solutions to the issues of the peoples of the region, especially the Palestinian issue, in accordance with a framework acceptable to the brotherly Palestinian people," it added.

Trump’s plan has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of the new Israeli cabinet.

Speaking in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at Trump’s initiative, asserting that it was “born dead.”

Shtayyeh noted that negotiations with the US were useless in the wake of the country’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which Palestinians consider the capital city of their future state.

Doha's opposition to the US' plan is significant given that the "Deal of the Century" was expected to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries - including Qatar - before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict.

Qatar, a close US ally and home to its largest Middle East air base, has poured millions of dollars into the impoverished Gaza Strip over the past year to boost its ailing economy, and this month pledged an additional $480 million to support both Gaza and the West Bank.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596829/Qatar-deal-century-Palestine-Israel-trump

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Daesh wreaks havoc in Nigerian village, kills 25 soldiers

May 26, 2019

Suspected Daesh-linked militants have killed more than two dozen soldiers and a number of civilians in an ambush in northeast Nigeria, in the second deadly attack on the army this week.

The militants, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist organization, killed at least 25 soldiers and an unspecified number of civilians in the ambush in Borno state on Saturday.

Sources said the militants opened fire as the soldiers were escorting a group of evacuees from a village in the state. 

"They ambushed and surrounded the vehicles of both the soldiers and the civilians and opened fire on them," one source told Reuters news agency.

"They exchanged fire for some minutes before the Boko Haram militants overpowered the soldiers."

The soldiers were reportedly evacuating villages in the region to carry out operations against Boko Haram.

Earlier this week, Daesh terrorists stormed the town of Gajiganna, also in Borno state, killing about a  dozen soldiers.

The group which calls itself the West Africa province (ISWAP) branch of Daesh has launched repeated attacks in Nigeria in recent months after sustaining heavy losses in its Iraq and Syria strongholds.

ISWAP and Boko Haram made an alliance in 2015 before separating in 2016. However, there are reports the two groups were making efforts to get back together.

Last month, Nigeria's army chief warned that the two groups aimed to carve out a Takfiri enclave stretching from Nigeria’s northeast into the wider Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram militants have been fighting government forces for about a decade.

Since 2009, attacks by Boko Haram terrorists have left at least 27,000 dead and made over 2.6 million others homeless.

Boko Haram’s sphere of activities spreads to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

These countries have created a joint military force to stop the terrorists' from further spreading, but sustained efforts to eradicate the militants have failed and the military continues to suffer heavy losses.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/26/596931/Africa-Nigeria-Borno-State-Daesh-Boko-Haram

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Trump administration adopts Israeli foreign policy: Analyst

May 25, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s plan to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East over the escalating tensions with Iran reflects his ambivalence towards the political environment of the region, says an American academic and analyst.

James Fetzer, a retired professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, said Trump’s foreign policy advisers such as National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are hawks on Iran and deeply influenced by Israel.

“And of course, we have had many reasons to be concerned that Donald Trump himself was adopting an Israeli foreign policy,” Fetzer told Press TV on Friday.

Fetzer also noted that Iran has not made any efforts to threaten the United States and has only asserted its own right to self-defense as a matter of national sovereignty.”

Trump on Friday announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, claiming it was an effort to bolster defenses against Iran.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East. We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.

The Pentagon said only about 900 of the 1500 troops will be newly deployed. It said the other 600 are already in the Middle East region and will be extended.

Earlier on Thursday, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed that the Pentagon was considering deploying additional American troops to the Middle East.

Last week, Iran voiced concern about "adventurism by foreign players" to disrupt maritime navigation in the Persian Gulf region, describing the incident as "lamentable" and "worrying" and calling for thorough investigations.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure against Iranians in the wake of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

The White House has also tightened economic sanctions against Tehran and blacklisted the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596896/US-war-Iran-Trump-James-Henry-Fetzer

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India

 

Muslim family in UP names newborn son Narendra Modi

May 25, 2019

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh): BJP supporters call it the “New India” that wipes away caste and religious boundaries.

And offering proof is a Muslim family in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district who have named their newborn son Narendra Damodardas Modi.

The child was born on May 23, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP returned to power with an overwhelming majority.

The infant’s mother, Mehnaaz Begum, wanted to name her son after India’s prime minister and stood her ground in face of expected opposition from her family.

The newborn’s father Mushtaq Ahmad, however, supported his wife and the baby was named after Modi.

The baby’s grandfather Idris said that the family agreed to the name because of their admiration for the PM.

Commenting on the development, BJP spokesman Harish Srivastava said: “There could not be a bigger example of the ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ concept that did not differentiate between Hindus and Muslims. It is only the pseudo-secular forces that want to create an atmosphere of terror. Muslims are beginning to realise that the Modi government means well for them too. This family has proved it.”

The news comes a day after the All India Muslim Personal law Board issued a statement asking Muslims not to “worry” over the BJP’s victory. “We have faced several critical situations and this time too we will tide over it,” it said in a statement.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/muslim-family-in-up-names-newborn-son-narendra-modi-1.64181378

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Zakir Musa killing: Shutdown, curbs continue in Kashmir

by Adil Akhzer

May 26, 2019

Restrictions continued to remain in place in several parts of the Valley on Saturday following the killing of former Hizbul Mujahedeen militant and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind chief Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.

A complete shutdown was also observed across the Valley. Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani had called for the shutdown to protest against Musa’s encounter killing.

Roads in Srinagar and elsewhere wore a deserted look on Saturday, with traffic off the roads and commercial shops and business establishments closed. Reports suggested a similar scenario across several districts.

In Srinagar, restrictions were imposed in areas falling under Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal and M R Gung police station in the old city.

Fearing protests, authorities already had already announced that educational institutes in the city will remain closed.

While mobile internet had been shut down in parts of the Valley since Thursday night, on Saturday, 2G data services were restored in several areas.

A senior police officer told The Sunday Express that the no serious law and order problem has been reported so far. “There have been reports of some stone pelting incidents, but the situation overall was peaceful and under control,” the officer said.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/zakir-musa-killing-shutdown-curbs-continue-in-kashmir-5748644/

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India’s Muslims quiver in the new dawn of an emboldened Narendra Modi

Michael Safi

26 May 2019

Just after 1.30pm on Friday, the loudspeaker outside Sarai Alawardi mosque crackled to life, and more than a thousand foreheads were touched to the hessian mats that lined the ground. Towering over them were the skyscrapers of Gurgaon, a satellite town south of Delhi that houses technology companies, bowling alleys and other symbols of the “new India”.

A day after the Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, claimed a landslide election victory, some in the congregation were anxious about whether this new country had a place for them. “These days, it isn’t safe for us here any more,” said Haji Shezhad Khan, the chairman of a local Muslim activist group, sitting in a shaded courtyard a few metres from the mosque.

For many Indian Muslims – whose population of about 200 million would comprise the seventh-largest country on earth – Modi’s emphatic re-election has been an isolating experience.

The country’s most acrimonious election campaign in recent history was studded with references to unauthorised migrants from Bangladesh as “termites”, the nomination to parliament of a Hindu accused of terrorism and a debate over whether Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin – who killed the founding father for supposedly cowing to Muslim demands – was in fact a patriot.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, a record 270 million Indians cast their votes for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) or its allies.

“We truly believed it would be fought back,” said Nazia Erum, an author who has written a book about raising a Muslim child in today’s India. “We believed that a lot of voting that happened in 2014 was based on Modi’s development agenda and people would be able to see through it now and things would be different. And as it turns out we were entirely mistaken.”

Friction between Hindus and Muslims, as well as tension among sects within both faiths, has been a persistent feature of Indian life. But in the past five years violence against Muslims has increased, including at least 36 killings by “cow vigilantes” of cattle farmers and traders accused – usually spuriously – of harming the revered animals.

In Gurgaon, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants have arrived in the past few years along with Hindus to work in factories and on construction sites, tension has been boiling over. Bitter campaigns have been waged against Muslims praying in public spaces because mosques have no capacity or are too far away. Sanctioned prayer spaces have been gradually whittled down to just over three dozen after protests by Hindu organisations. “They are not allowing us to pray,” said Khan.

Rajeev Mittal, the head of a Hindu nationalist group that has campaigned against mosques in the area, insists his campaign is strictly about upholding municipal planning laws. “We are not against people offering prayer, but it should be done in the mosque or in all the areas designated for them,” he said.

The BJP points to statistics that show there have been no large-scale religious riots under Modi’s prime ministership, and no surge in bias crimes in the country’s official data – though some rights groups argue this information is patchy and unreliable.

The impact of Modi’s rule has been to embolden extremists, his critics say, and create a culture where religious chauvinism and impunity can flourish.

“More than riots, Muslims fear the pinpricks,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, the south Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “It’s the Muslim vegetable vendor who is suddenly beaten up, it’s when Muslim families say they are worried about taking lunch boxes because they don’t know when they’re going to be accused of carrying beef.

“People feel entitled to impose their voices, and to do so violently, and there is no assurance the state will step in and protect them.”

Modi’s supporters and opponents alike recognise that his victory on 23 May is the cementing of an ideological shift in what will soon be the world’s most populous country. Most elections are a choice between competing visions, but India’s polls this year were, in the words of the Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, “a battle for India’s soul”.

In dispute is a century-old argument about the myths that should fuel Indian nationalism. The country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, surveyed the extraordinarily diverse subcontinent and conceived it as a parchment “on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously”.

Opposing him were Hindu nationalists such as Vinayak Savarkar, an atheist but one who viewed Hinduism in its innumerable manifestations as a set of cultural practices that bound the subcontinent’s people together as a single nation. His vision left little room for Muslims or other minorities.

“Mohammedan or Christian countrymen … are not and cannot be recognised as Hindus,” Savarkar wrote in a 1923 treatise. “Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and godmen, ideas and heroes are not children of this soil.”

The modern Hindu nationalist movement has evolved from Savarkar’s views, said Rajat Sethi, a fellow at the India Foundation, a thinktank aligned with the right-wing Hindu umbrella group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which Modi is a lifelong member.

“Savarkar talks about a more militarised Hinduism … The RSS would say, no, it’s about culture,” Sethi said. “Hinduism is a community based on shared culture practices rather than a dogmatic book.” In this way, he said, Muslims and Christians were also Hindus: their lifestyles and rituals also inflected by India’s Hindu civilisation. “Muslims form an integral part [of the nation] because a lot of what we stand for is incomplete without Muslims as a religion.”

The ostensibly “secular” politics of Nehru’s Congress was really a byword for courting Muslim votes by giving the community special privileges, he added, such as political autonomy for Kashmir, and the right to govern marriages and other social affairs according to Islamic law – both of which Hindu nationalist groups target for reform.

Nehru’s vision now appears to be in terminal decline. The Hindu nationalism he tried to sideline, including by banning the RSS, has been granted a clear popular endorsement.

Its worst excesses may be borne by the poor, but wealth and privilege are no shield, said Erum, who researched her book by interviewing more than a hundred children and their parents at some of the most elite schools.

“It’s happening in classrooms, in playgrounds: kids are bullied on religious lines, they are reflecting the fractures in our society,” she said. “It’s happening in the best schools, the most metropolitan cities. This is no longer the fringe.”

She blames in part the country’s 24-hour news channels, which, along with social media, fixate on divisive issues that draw eyeballs but promote a vision of a country in perpetual argument. “It is an unending culture war,” she said.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/india-muslims-narendra-modi-bjp-new-dawn

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Modi woos Muslims in speech as house leader

Jawed Naqvi

May 26, 2019

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ideological grooming should be traditionally wary of promoting the anti-British revolt of 1857 for its association with Hindu-Muslim unity.

The prime minister on Saturday broke from the unspoken Hindutva historiography and urged his coalition’s newly elected MPs to work for communal harmony on the model of the joint Hindu-Muslim uprising so as to deliver India its truer freedom.

Liberal and leftist critics immediately called it a ploy, arguing that neither the Hindutva historiography nor Mr Modi could be trusted with secular facts.

A European woman environmentalist, who was evicted from India-held Kashmir by the Modi government, warned that the first test of Mr Modi’s resolve could come with the prime minister’s moves on tweaking the special constitutional status of the disputed state.

If Mr Modi does harbour the feared confrontation in the Valley, it was not evident in his speech, which shepherded the focus of the new MPs several times to the constitution. Bad press that he received from the foreign media during the elections clearly influenced the tone of Mr Modi’s speech, a departure from his recent barbed exchanges with the opposition replete with ultra nationalist rhetoric.

On Saturday, as he was unanimously elected as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Democratic Alliance, he broke into a Kennedy-like fulmination. “There are things we expect from the world. But there are things that the world expects from a great country like ours,” he said. “It is often tempting for the people’s representative to discriminate against those that didn’t vote for them. That sentiment should be shunned.”

Read: Final Indian election results confirm return of Modi's BJP

He said India’s minorities had been used and abused by politicians. It was time to win their trust. Mr Modi also pointed to the large number ever of women MPs in the new parliament and said this would only improve in the future.

As he spoke, some news portals published pictures of Hindu cow vigilantes beating a Muslim couple in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh on May 22. The masked attackers were reportedly arrested.

Mr Modi did not speak of the difficult days India faces with the US-Iran standoff in the Gulf and the Sino-American business spat that has shaken global markets. Newspapers expressed the view that he could meet his Pakistani counterpart during the Shanghai club’s summit in Bishkek in mid-June.

Rahul, Mamata offer to quit

While Mr Modi was greeted by 350-plus MPs with shawls and flowers, there was soul-searching within two of the main parties that fought him hard but were crushed. Reports said Rahul Gandhi had submitted his resignation to the Congress Working Committee and was adamant at not accepting a refusal. In Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee offered to resign, saying she took responsibility for the huge debacle that allowed the BJP to win 18 seats in the state from its mere two.

Later, Mr Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind to formally stake his claim to form the new government. He had earlier warned the first-time MPs who include movie actor Sunny Deol and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, not to get a bloated head, and not to fall prey to the media’s guile.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1484672/modi-woos-muslims-in-speech-as-house-leader

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Pakistan

 

NAB being pressured through blackmail: Jamaat-e-Islami

MAY 26, 2019

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Acting Ameer Liaqat Baloch said on Saturday that the National Accountably Bureau (NAB) chairman was being blackmailed.

Addressing the central advisory body of the JI at Mansoora, he said that allegations against the NAB chairman had been leveled by a TV channel owned by the PM’s advisor.

He said that the advisor should be shown the door. He demanded setting up of a judicial commission or a JIT to investigate the matter.

The JI acting chief said that accountability should be impartial and across the board. “The 436 people named in the Panama leaks case and others involved in mega corruption scandals should all be investigated,” he said.

Baloch said that the JI would start a protest march against price hikes and unemployment from Lahore on June 16.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had not done anything for the improvement of the situation. “The PM first said that the situation will improve in one hundred days. Now the PM has sought two more months for overcoming the difficulties facing the people. Such behaviour creates doubts,” he said. He said the rise in electricity, gas and petroleum prices had put immense burden on the people. “The common people are being affected because of the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The people cannot withstand this,” he said. He said that the sugar mafia was being favoured, but the general public was being burdened with new taxes.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/401002/nab-being-pressured-through-blackmail-jamaat-e-islami/

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Pakistan ready to hold talks with new Indian government: Shah Mehmood Qureshi

May 26, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues, Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a super-sized victory for a second term in office.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi on his electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and prosperity in the region.

"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia," Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi's party wins the general elections.

The results of India's general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama terror attack.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation council of foreign ministers' meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He conveyed to her Pakistan's desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed(JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-ready-to-hold-talks-with-new-indian-government-shah-mehmood-qureshi/articleshow/69502953.cms

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Pak arrests six for collecting funds for JeM, LeJ

May 26, 2019

LAHORE: Six militants have been arrested for allegedly collecting funds for terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkare-Jhangvi (LeJ) in Punjab province, as Pakistani security forces have launched a crackdown on terror financing after mounting pressure from the global community.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab government arrested the six members of the proscribed organisations from various parts of the province for collecting funds for financing terrorism, CTD spokesman said in a statement.

The CTD said those arrested were collecting funds for terror financing for their proscribed organisations - JeM and LeJ. “No member of any proscribed organisation wil allowed to collect funds for financing terrorism and extremism under the law of land,” the CTD said in a statement.

Cases have been registered against the suspects under anti-terrorism law for committing offences of terrorism financing.

Muhammad Zahid and Irfan Ahmad of JeM were arrested from Gujranwala, and Zafar Iqbal of JeM from Rawalpindi. Similarly, Muhammad Hanzala and Hamza of LeJ were arrested from Lahore while Ijaz Ahmad of the same banned organisation from Multan.

Paris-based international terror financing watchdog FATF in June last year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for militant groups.

In February, the FATF decided to continue the 'Grey' listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as the JeM, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the JuD.

The Pakistan government have arrested over 100 members of banned outfits including JeM chief Masood Azhar's son and brother and also taken control of JeM, JuD and FIF's properties including seminaries and mosques across the country.

The crackdown came amid tensions with India following a suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14 by the JeM that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-arrests-six-for-collecting-funds-for-jem-lej/articleshow/69501599.cms

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Pakistan PM warns against war in region amid Iran tensions with US, Saudi Arabia

May 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned against the risk of conflict in the region, following a visit to Islamabad by Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif as tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated.

Strains have increased between Iran and the United States, which is a firm backer of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, in the wake of this month's attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region that Washington has blamed on Iran.

Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the United States has sent a aircraft carrier and an extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns about the risks of conflict in a volatile region.

Khan, who has been seeking to improve Pakistan's strained relations with neighbour Iran, said he was concerned about the "rising tensions in the Gulf", but did not specifically name the United States or Saudi Arabia.

"He underscored that war was not a solution to any problem," Khan's office said in a statement late on Friday, citing the premier.

"Further escalation in tensions in the already volatile region was not in anyone's interest. All sides needed to exercise maximum restraint in the current situation."

Washington has been seeking to increasingly tighten sanctions against Iran, as relations continue to worsen under President Donald Trump.

At the end of the two-day visit to Pakistan, Zarif told Iranian state-run news wire IRNA that US allegations against Tehran were increasing tensions.

"These actions are also a threat to global peace and stability," he said.

Earlier this month, four tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were bombed near the United Arab Emirates' Fujairah emirate, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs, located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Washington has accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of carrying out the attacks, and the Trump administration has declared a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, bypassing congressional approval.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-pm-warns-against-war-in-region-amid-iran-tensions-with-us-saudi-arabia/articleshow/69494267.cms

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Death toll in Quetta mosque blast climbs to four

Saleem Shahid

May 26, 2019

QUETTA: Death toll in the Pashtoonabad Rehmania mosque explosion reached four as two more persons succumbed to their injuries during the past 24 hours.

Sources in the Bolan Medical College Hospital said that one injured who had received serious burns wounds in the blast died on Friday night.

Police said on Saturday that an FIR had been registered against unknown terrorists by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Official sources said the mosque, which had been badly damaged in the blast, was sealed till further orders.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the terror attack.

Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed in most of the mosques in Quetta, but Rehmania mosque had no such facility. However, proper security arrangements were made inside the mosque for Friday prayers.

Maulana Rehmani, the son of prayer leader of Rehmania mosque Maulana Ataullah Rehmani who was martyred in the blast, claimed that they had received a threat two weeks ago and informed the police about it.

Maulana Rehmani said he had told MPA Mobeen Khliji, who visited his residence for offering Fateha for his father, that despite informing the authorities concerned no security arrangements had been made in and around the mosque.

However, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema said that the police had already declared 40 mosques, including Rehmania mosque, sensitive. He said he had told the mosque administration that the police and volunteers would jointly perform security duty.

Mr Cheema said that the police had been deployed outside the mosque while the internal security was responsibility of the mosque’s volunteers.

He said the police was providing security to 80 out of 618 mosques in Quetta.

“Providing security to all the 618 mosques is not possible for the police,” the DIG said.

A CTD official claimed that someone inside the mosque could be involved in planting an improvised explosive device under the chair of the prayer leader.

However, further investigation is under way.

Security of all sensitive mosques has been tightened.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1484684/death-toll-in-quetta-mosque-blast-climbs-to-four

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Pakistan, Afghanistan to hold high-level security talks next week

Tahir Khan

MAY 26, 2019

Pakistan and Afghanistan are set to hold high-level security talks in Islamabad next week.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have not held any bilateral meeting since November when officials of both countries had met in Islamabad.

Afghanistan had stopped meetings with Pakistan under the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) as it wanted a joint meeting of religious scholars in support of peace in Afghanistan.

Kabul had long been asking Islamabad to issue a joint “ulema” declaration similar to the one issued by nearly 2000 Pakistani clerics last year against suicide bombings.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s phone contact with Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 5 played a key role in normalization of relations. President Ghani had accepted Imran Khan’s invitation to visit Islamabad.

Sources told Daily Times that Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib would lead a delegation in talks with top Pakistani security officials on Tuesday. Afghan Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi will also be a part of the delegation.

The Afghan ministers will hold talks with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on anti-terror and security cooperation and peace process, sources said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is also likely to visit Pakistan in June, sources said, adding that the senior Afghan security officials would also discuss the president’s visit to Pakistan during their talks with Pakistani officials. Sources said Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal was playing an active role to bring relations with Pakistan on track and to revive high level contacts.

Meanwhile, ambassador Mashal, who is also President’s Special Representative to Pakistan, told Pakistan-based Afghans at a gathering in Islamabad that his country is hopeful Pakistan will play its role in peace in Afghanistan.

He said the issue of refuges, trade and people-to-people contacts should not be affected by political and security problems between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He underlined the need for enhanced trade relations and economic engagement between the two countries. “Pakistan will get more benefits due to trade relations. Afghanistan gives priority to trade ties with Pakistan,” Mashal said. He lauded Pakistan’s efforts for Afghan reconciliation, but called for more steps for solution to the problem. He also urged the Taliban to end war so Afghans could live in peace.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/401004/pakistan-afghanistan-to-hold-high-level-security-talks-next-week/

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South Asia

 

Tamil Nadu outfit inspired Sri Lankan suicide bombers, claims Buddhist monk

May 25, 2019

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, who was controversially released from jail, has claimed that a Tamil Nadu-based Islamic organisation had inspired the local Islamist extremist group NTJ for carrying out the country's worst terror attack on Easter Sunday. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Army chief said that some of the suicide bombers visited Kashmir and Kerala for "some sorts of training" or to "make some more links" with other foreign outfits.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, killing nearly 260 people and injuring 500 others.

Hardline Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara, speaking to reporters on Friday, said that two Tamil Nadu Thowheeth Jamaath (TNTJ) men -- Ayub and Abdeen -- visited Sri Lanka.

"They met one Abdul Razik here. The idea was to provoke Buddhists to attack Muslims. They spread stories derogatory of the Buddha," Gnanasara said.

The hardline Buddhist monk was addressing the media for the first time since President Maithripala Sirisena ordered his release using a presidential pardon.

He was sentenced to six year imprisonment for contempt of court in August last year. Due to Sirisena's pardon, he was released from the jail after spending nine months behind bars.

"The TNTJ created Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath (SLTJ) and later All Ceylon Thowheeth Jama'ath. The SLTJ was later split under nine separate leaders," Gnanasara said.

He said that despite the arrest of almost everyone connected to the NTJ, another key figure Abdul Razik is still at large.

"This Razik is misleading the security forces. We will locate him soon," he said.

The TNTJ, in a statement issued last month, denied any links with the NTJ and said that both the TNTJ and the SLTJ have been involved in social service and have been campaigning against terrorist organisations.

Gnanasara became notorious for his anti-Muslim stance. In 2013, he was blamed for leading a major anti-Muslim riot in the Muslim-dominated town of Aluthgama in the Western Province.

Since the Easter Sunday attacks, Gnanasara's prophecy on rising Muslim militancy gained credibility. He had publicly claimed many years ago that the NTJ was grouping for terror attacks.

He was sent to jail for the contempt of court. His 19-year term was commuted to a 6-year concurrent sentence.

Sirisena's decision to release him has triggered widespread criticism by religious minority and rights groups.

Sri Lanka has banned the NTJ and arrested over 100 people in connection with the blasts.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/tamil-nadu-outfit-inspired-sri-lankan-suicide-bombers-claims-buddhist-monk/articleshow/69494569.cms

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UAE raises Dh33 million for Rohingya refugees

May 25, 2019

Abu Dhabi: A nationwide campaign to support Rohingya refugees raised Dh33 million on its first day on Friday, with residents across the country showing their support.

Launched by the Emirates Red Crescent, the humanitarian initiative – From the UAE for Rohingya Children and Women – aims to provide the more than 1 million displaced refugees with food supplies, medical assistance, clean water, education and housing.

According to international statistics, the vast majority of Rohingya refugees are made up of women and children, with at least 660,000 children lacking access to health care services, education, food and water, and over 253,000 women having no access to clean water and sufficient food.

Fahad Abdul Rahman Bin Sultan, deputy secretary general for international aid affairs at the Emirates Red Crescent, in a statement said that all of the aid would be sent by a humanitarian convoy.

“This campaign under the directives of His Highness President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is to provide help and support to the Rohingya refugees. More than 20 organisations in the UAE are participating together in this campaign, and in the first day we collected more than Dh33 million.

“We are going to send the aid by a Red Crescent convoy to Bangladesh as many of the refugees are based there, with the humanitarian campaign looking to their needs,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has donated Dh5 million to the campaign.

What is Rohingya crisis?

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority people living in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

An estimated 1 million Rohingya used to live in the county’s Rakhine State. A series of military crackdowns, most intensely between 2016 and 2018, forced most Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The number of displaced refugees

Between 2015 and 2017, a series of attacks by Rohingya and reprisals from the military led to, according to the UN, a “systematic” persecution and violence against Rohingya, with scores killed, raped, and tortured. Some 900,000 Rohingya have since fled Myanmar, overwhelmingly to Bangladesh where they live in one of the world’s biggest refugee areas.

Stateless people

Full report at:

https://gulfnews.com/uae/uae-raises-dh33-million-for-rohingya-refugees-1.64179634

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8 Taliban militants killed, 24 IEDs destroyed in Balkh, Farah and Paktika provinces

25 May 2019

The security forces carried out separate operations in Balkh, Farah and Paktika provinces in the past 24 hours killing at least 8 Taliban fighters.

The informed military sources said Friday “In an Afghan special forces raid in Nahr-e Shahi district of Balkh province 2 Taliban fighters were detained.”

The sources further added that an airstrike in Shayb Koh district of Farah province killed 8 Taliban fighters.

“The Afghan National Army 203rd Corps conducted route clearance operations in Paktika province destroying 24 IEDs and preventing civilian casualties,” the statement said.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/8-taliban-militants-killed-24-ieds-destroyed-in-balkh-farah-and-paktika-provinces-03475/

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Afghan Special Forces kill 11 Taliban fighters in Kunar province

22 May 2019

The Afghan Special Forces have killed 11 Taliban fighters during an operation in eastern Kunar province.

According to informed military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation in Nurgal district of Kunar and killed 11 fighters of Taliban.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the operation so far.

Kunar is among the relatively volatile provinces in east of Afghanistan. Taliban, Al-Qaeda and militants affiliated with the other groups are active in remote districts of the province.

The anti-government armed elements often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities against the government and security institutions.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-special-forces-kill-11-taliban-fighters-in-kunar-province-03452/

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10 Taliban militants killed or wounded, 6 IEDs destroyed in Khakrez of Kandahar

25 May 2019

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces killed at least four militants and injured six others during an operation in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

Informed military sources said Saturday that the Afghan forces conducted in Khakrez district of the province.

“During clearance operations in Khakrez district, the 205th Corps killed 4 Taliban fighters, wounded 6 and destroyed 6 IEDs,” the sources said.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the operation so far.

This comes as the anti-government armed elements and terrorist groups have been attempting to expand their insurgency in key districts of Kandahar recently.

The Taliban militants launched a rocket attack on Kandahar airfield earlier today but was immediately repulsed by the armed forces.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/10-taliban-militants-killed-or-wounded-6-ieds-destroyed-in-khakrez-of-kandahar-03484/

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UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

May 26, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan: The UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban. They were mainly members of the Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials captured by the Taliban.

The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1502211/world

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Mideast

 

Iran’s president says country could hold vote over nuke deal

26 May 2019

Iran’s president is suggesting the Islamic Republic could hold a public referendum over the country’s nuclear program amid tensions with the United States.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported Hassan Rouhani made the comment late on Saturday.

Rouhani says he previously suggested a referendum to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2004, when he was a senior nuclear negotiator.

Such a referendum could provide political cover for the Iranian government if it chooses to increase its enrichment of uranium, prohibited under the 2015 deal with world powers.

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal last year. In recent weeks, tensions between the US and Iran have risen over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/26/Iran-s-president-says-country-could-hold-vote-over-nuke-deal.html

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In Tel Aviv, tens of thousands protest immunity for Netanyahu

May 26, 2019

Tens of thousands of people have held a demonstration in Tel Aviv against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and curb the powers of the Supreme Court in his favor.

The protesters gathered outside the Tel Aviv Museum on Saturday for a mass rally organized by Israeli opposition parties under the banner “Stopping the Immunity Law — A Defensive Shield for Democracy.”

The demonstration was the first held by the opposition since Netanyahu secured a fifth term in office in general elections last month.

The Israeli premier is facing criminal charges, including of fraud and bribery, in at least three separate cases.

The so-called Case 1,000 involves allegations that Netanyahu received luxury gifts from international billionaires in exchange for favors. In Case 2,000, he is accused of conspiring with the owner of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper to undermine a critical daily. And Case 4,000 involves allegations that Netanyahu offered incentives to the Israeli telecom provider Bezeq in return for positive stories in the Walla news website.

All of that has earned him the title “crime minister.”

Netanyahu is due to attend a pre-trial hearing on corruption allegations with the Israeli attorney general, set for October.

Reports say Netanyahu is attempting to finalize deals with his likely coalition partners, seeking their support for legislative moves to safeguard him from prosecution in the three cases. He is also planning to have the powers of the High Court of Justice restricted so that it will not be able to strike down efforts to protect him.

In an address to the rally on Saturday, Benny Gantz, the co-chairman of the centrist Blue and White alliance who ran against Netanyahu in the April elections, said Israel’s “dream” was “falling apart” under Netanyahu’s leadership.

“There are those who are attempting to replace people’s rule with the rule of a single man and to enslave an entire nation to the interests of one man,” Gantz said.

He said Netanyahu had deceived voters, adding that Blue and White would not let Israel become “the private estate of a royal family or sultanate.”

One protester told The Times of Israel, “Netanyahu is a corrupt dictator who belongs in jail.” Others chanted, “Bibi to jail!”

“We will take this protest to Netanyahu’s house. We will sacrifice our lives if we have to,” said another demonstrator, also according to The Times of Israel.

Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid told the crowd, “What does he (Netanyahu) think, that we’ll sit here quietly? That he’ll destroy the courts and we’ll be silent? We’re here because we’re angry!”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/26/596932/Israel-Tel-Aviv-protest-Benjamin-Netanyahu-immunity

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Houthis claim drone strike on Saudi's Jizan airport near Yemen border: reports

May 26, 2019

Yemen's Houthi rebels allegedly launched a drone strike on military hangars in Saudi Arabia's Jizan airport near the Yemeni border, according to the group's Masirah TV on Sunday.

There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities or from a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the Houthis in Yemen for four years.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1484704/houthis-claim-drone-strike-on-saudis-jizan-airport-near-yemen-border-reports

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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister to visit Qatar, Oman and Kuwait for talks

26 May 2019

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi will begin on Sunday a tour of Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait, Fars news agency reported.

Aragchi’s visit to the Gulf coincides with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s two-day visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad after finishing a tour of several Asian countries, including India, China, and Japan.

Last week, the deputy Iranian foreign minister told a German envoy seeking to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran’s patience was over and urged the treaty’s remaining signatories to fulfill their commitments after the United States pulled out.

Tensions have soared between Iran and the United States since Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, and Patriot missiles, in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/26/Iranian-Deputy-Foreign-Minister-to-visit-Qatar-Oman-and-Kuwait-for-talks.html

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Turkey sends weapons to Syrian armed groups facing Russian-backed assault

25 May 2019

Turkey has equipped Syrian armed factions it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and other sources said on Saturday.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of territory held by armed groups in the northwest of the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying the armed groups had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas.

It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between al-Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior armed group commander said.

Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near Jabal al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, an armed fighter and a witness said.

The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda, one senior opposition figure said.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), Captain Naji Mustafa, did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, saying the armed groups had long had a big arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armored vehicles “alongside material and logistical support by our Turkish brothers.”

The retreat from Kfar Nabouda was an upset to a Russian goal of a speedy military campaign to gain another slice of heavily populated Idlib province.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/25/Turkey-sends-weapons-to-Syrian-militants-facing-Russian-backed-assault.html

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Iranian general: We’ve exported our culture to armed groups in Yemen, Lebanon

25 May 2019

The assistantto the Iranian army’s chief, Brigadier General Hassan Seifi, said that they have been able to “export their culture” to armed groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan who can “overcome the largest army in the world.”

“These groups do not rely on military science or tactical capabilities, which is one of their strengths. The enemy must see Iran’s regular military capabilities close in the field. We tell the enemy that Iran is ready and not afraid of the messages and dangers of any war,” Seifi wrote in a piece published by Mehr news agency.

The Iranian general ruled out war with the United States amid tensions between the two countries. However, he stressed that the Iranian forces “are fully ready ... and any attack on Iran will be expensive for the US.”

“We believe rational Americans and their experienced commanders will not let their radical elements lead them into a situation from which it would be very difficult to get out, and that is why they will not enter a war,” Seifi said.

The comments come after the US said it was sending 1,500 troops to the region in what it called an effort to bolster defenses against Tehran, and it accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for attacks on tankers this month.

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States tries to strangle Tehran’s economy by halting its oil exports through increased sanctions.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/25/Iranian-general-We-ve-exported-our-culture-to-armed-groups-in-Yemen-Lebanon.html

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Arab Coalition targets Houthi reinforcements in Yemen’s Hajjah

25 May 2019

The Arab Coalition has targeted Houthi reinforcements in the Yemeni province of Hajjah on Saturday, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

According to military sources, the coalition targeted Houthi military vehicles carrying weapons and ammunition, headed toward Houthi-controlled fronts.

The Arab Coalition had announced earlier in May that it has launched an operation on Houthi military targets in Yemen to "neutralize the ability of the Houthi militia to carry out acts of aggression."

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/05/25/Arab-Coalition-targets-Houthi-reinforcements-in-Yemen-s-Hajjah.html

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Israel calls Hezbollah ‘strategic threat’ to provoke world against it: Nasrallah

May 25, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says Israeli authorities have described his group as “a strategic threat” to the Tel Aviv regime in an attempt to mobilize support and provoke the international community against it.

Addressing his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Saturday evening, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated that the United States and the Zionist regime (of Israel) are conspiring against Hezbollah in a bid to weaken popular support for the movement.

He stressed that Hezbollah has stood firm in the face of US and Israeli hegemonic schemes for the Middle East region.

“The United States would have offered southern Lebanon to Israel if Hezbollah did not exist. Lebanon is not in a position of weakness. We are standing up for our rights concerning Sheba'a Farms, Kfarchouba village as well as the northern section of Ghajar [village],” Nasrallah said.

“Lebanon can stop the Zionist regime (of Israel) from plundering its oil and gas reserves,” the Hezbollah secretary-general added.

He further highlighted that his movement fully supports the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian right of return to their homes.

Nasrallah also called on people worldwide to turn out en masse for International Quds Day rallies.

Commenting on a forthcoming US-led conference in Bahrain next month in support of US President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century,” Nasrallah emphasized that the initiative is aimed at liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

The Hezbollah chief also praised the position of Bahraini scholars, members of the public as well as political factions in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to have expressed their strong objection to hosting the June 25-26 conference in Manama.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah said the Lebanese nation rejects permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in the country, stressing that the latter must not give up on the right to return to their homeland. 

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596892/Israel-calls-Hezbollah-strategic-threat-to-provoke-world-against-it-Nasrallah

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Africa

 

Libya’s opposing forces clash near besieged capital

May 25, 2019

Forces loyal to the United Nations-backed Libyan Government carried out a counter-assault against eastern commander Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) on Saturday as the battle for the besieged capital intensified.

The flare-up in the conflict in Libya began in early April, when Haftar's LNA advanced on Tripoli.

The country has been gripped by anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

The LNA is now bogged down in southern suburbs by fighters loyal to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA).

Fighting in the battle for Tripoli has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes, trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers and flattened some suburbs, according to the United Nations.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596906/Libya-Khalifa-Haftar-Tripoli-Fayez-alSerraj-UN-migrants

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Sudan interim military council chief Al-Burhan meets with Egypt’s President El-Sisi

May 25, 2019

CAIRO: Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling interim military council, arrived in Cairo on Saturday and met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in the capital’s Ittihadia Palace, the Egyptian presidency said.

Al-Burhan is on his first trip abroad since taking power following the ouster in April of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir after months of protests.

El-Sisi and Burhan “agreed on the priority of supporting the free will of the Sudanese people and its choices,” Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady said.

El-Sisi also said Egypt was ready to “provide all means of support to the brothers in Sudan to overcome this stage in line with the aspirations of the Sudanese people, away from external interventions,” according to the spokesman.

The visit comes a few hours after a visit paid by the vice chairman of the Sudanese Interim Military Council, Mohammad Hamdan Duklu, to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Burhan’s visit comes after Sudanese protest leaders announced a two-day strike from Tuesday, as talks with the military over installing civilian rule remain suspended.

At odds

The Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella movement is at odds with the military council over whether the transitional body to rule Sudan should be headed by a military or civilian figure. The negotiations have been on hold since Monday.

Egypt, whose president currently chairs the African Union, has voiced support for Sudan’s military council.

Last month, El-Sisi hosted a summit where African nations urged the regional bloc to allow Khartoum “more time” for a handover to civilian rule.

Protest leaders were set to hold meetings with demonstrators at a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on Saturday to discuss how to resolve the deadlock.

On Friday, they said their strike at “public and private institutions and companies,” accompanied by civil disobedience, was “an act of peaceful resistance with which we have been forced to proceed.”

Thousands of protesters remain at the sit-in to demand the departure of the generals, who seized power after ousting Al-Bashir.

Protest leaders have called for people to march on Sunday from residential areas of Khartoum toward the sit-in.

Several rounds of talks have so far failed to finalize the makeup of the new ruling body, although the two sides have agreed it will hold power for a transitional period of three years.

Western nations have called on the generals to hand power to a civilian administration, while the ruling army council has received support from regional powers.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1501981/middle-east

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Detroit’s Islamic Center organizes ‘Iftar tent’ to offer free meals

May 25, 2019

DETROIT, US: For many American Muslims, iftar is more than just the breaking of the fast at sunset each evening during the holy month of Ramadan. It is an opportunity for them to build bonds by gathering with non-Muslims to convey a better understanding of Islam.

Throughout the country, Muslims are inviting non-Muslims, including public officials, to join them during iftar. The non-Muslims are leaving the gathering with stronger ties and a better understanding of Islam and America’s growing Muslim community.

The Islamic Center in Detroit (ICD), the largest mosque in the Midwest, launched an initiative to establish the “Ramadan tent,” which provides free iftar meals for Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as offering free sahoor during the last 10 days of the holy month. The mosque has also organized breakfast events for a variety of public figures in the American community to strengthen cooperation between the ICD and American institutions.

“As the holy month of Ramadan is taking place, Muslims all over the world use this month to focus on their spirituality,” ICD Executive Director Sufian Nabhan said.

“We find many ways to increase our service to God. One of the most satisfying rewards is feeding the less fortunate in our community. Each night during Ramadan, over 200 families are our guests at this most worthy demonstration of man’s love and caring for other fellow human beings.”

Special hours

Often in communities with sizable Muslim populations within Greater Detroit, such as Dearborn, Hamtramck, and increasingly suburbs like Canton and Troy, you will see restaurants set up special Ramadan hours to accommodate their practicing customers, with some staying open 24/7. Dearborn, which is one of the largest communities of American Muslims, is sometimes known as the Muslims’ Plymouth Rock, a reference to the spot where European explorers on the Mayflower first set foot in the “New World” in 1620.

The ICD invited several major mainstream news media representatives to share iftar in recognition of the role they play in educating the community on important issues, including on the Muslim community.

Veteran journalist Walter Middlebrook, a former assistant manager at Detroit News, said the gathering was “an important step to learn about the cultures and issues of Arab communities” as part of American society.

“Every media outlet in the city has an open door for your concerns, and it is up to you to come and make us accountable,” Middlebrook said. “You are who make us responsible, so we need you as much as we hopefully wish you realize that you need us. We can all work together to make our city a better place.”

Journalist Priya Mann of Detroit’s Channel 4 TV news station also spoke, adding that the iftar allows the mainstream news media to convey accurate images and understandings of Islam to non-Muslims in America.

“This event is a great opportunity to connect the components of American society and to identify unique stories from the community and to express them through the media,” Mann said.

“It is so important that we build bridges and to talk to one another and discuss how to cover certain stories. I think the more all of us get around the table together, the greater the opportunity to deliver fair and valuable journalism.”

Having people from various parts of community attend is important. But to have a dialogue is what makes the gathering more valuable.

Khalil Hachem, a host on the US Arab Radio morning program in Michigan, said that the focus on news media personalities and the media is important.

“We want our community to understand what is going on,” he said. “There are two kinds of media: Streaming media and community news which is very important these days because most newspapers and TV stations do not have the staff to focus on every community as well as they should. We need to tell our story because no one knows it better than us and we are going to tell it to everybody.”

He also highlighted the role of journalism in supporting members of the community to render achievements, whether they are in the form of appointments or people who won elections.

Mark Hawkes, a Detroit News columnist and religious affairs writer, also expressed his desire to get in touch with Islamic religious centers to learn more about the Muslim community’s culture.

Madeleine Moytuzu, a documentary filmmaker and freelance journalist, is working on a documentary series that focuses on Muslim immigrants in America.

“I am learning so much about your community this evening, there is so much misunderstanding, so having this kind of conversation would change our community.”

One of the ICD iftars was attended by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and various key officials. The mayor of Detroit said he has been attending iftar banquets with Muslims for three years.

He added that despite the attacks led by some politicians against the Muslim community, the community is continuing to build bridges of communication with other parts of American society.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell also hosted an iftar reception, preserving a tradition started by her late husband, former Congressman John Dingell. He was one of the first non-Muslims to host iftars to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to recognize the issues, concerns and traits they all shared.

She stressed the importance of standing up to the discourse of fear, hatred and discrimination. She said it was important to hold such an event annually, both to honor the holy month of Ramadan and to commemorate her husband, who died earlier this year.

In his speech, Sam Beydoun, a member of the provincial financial committee, highlighted the philosophy behind fasting.

Dr. James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, joined from Washington to talk to audiences about the problems Arabs and Muslims face in confronting Islamophobia in the West.

“We are witnessing a leap in the community members holding governmental, executive and legislative positions through the nomination and election process,” Zogby said, stressing that time is the most appropriate to work and protect the community’s rights.

The observance of Ramadan traditions, along with the gathering of Muslims and non-Muslims, will culminate after the last day of Ramadan in the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1502066/world

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North America

 

US military helicopter destroyed in Afghanistan ‘hard landing’

25 May 2019

Passengers and crew aboard a US military helicopter were injured when the chopper they were travelling in was destroyed during a “hard landing” in Afghanistan, a US official said Saturday.

According to Colonel David Butler, a spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter “hit the ground hard on the way to drop passengers off” during a mission in Helmand province.

Butler said the helicopter had been totally destroyed during the landing.

“Both Afghan and US personnel were injured but all are stable and expected to recover,” he told AFP.

“No hostile fire or enemy contact involved.”

Chinooks, easily recognizable because they have one rotor at the front and one at the back, are the workhorse aircraft for foreign forces in Afghanistan, and are used to ferry troops and supplies across the country.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/25/US-military-helicopter-destroyed-in-Afghanistan-hard-landing-.html

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Turkish pilot, 84, still flying American skies

Islam Dogru

25.05.2019

NEW YORK

Still flying high at 84 years old, a Turkish pilot living in the U.S. says he has flown all around America, chasing his aviation hobby.

Sevgin Oktay told Anadolu Agency that his passion for the sky started when he was a young boy watching airshows by pilots in northern Turkey, at Safranbolu airbase in the Karabuk province.

After finishing high school in Turkey, in 1955 Oktay left his motherland to go to university in the U.S., and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Columbia University in New York City.

Taking a job at tech giant IBM, Oktay started working as a technology manager in research and development.

“There was this small airport near IBM, I’d go there during lunch breaks and have half-hour flight training courses,” he said. “I got my pilot license in 1968. Since then, for more than half a century, I’ve been flying.”

Saying he was responsible for various divisions at IBM, Oktay added: “I would go to [them] by plane and fly above the company for a short while.”

In 1993, when he retired from IBM, he transformed his passion into a business by founding his own company, Oktay Enterprises International. At the firm, he helped customers with business trips as a flying patent agent.

Oktay said he had flown to all corners of the U.S. and its territories, from Alaska to Bahama.

On his Alaska flying, which covered more than 15,000 kilometers in three weeks, he said: “There was a conference in Seattle, first we went there by plane then moved on to Alaska. It was a magnificent place. We moved towards the polar circle.”

Oktay said when he flew near Alaska mountains at an altitude of 6,500 meters, he had to use compressed oxygen. “Pilots need to use oxygen cylinders after 3,000 meters, because human beings can faint if there’s not enough oxygen,” he explained.

Asked whether he had faced danger while flying, he remembered a near miss at Prince Edwards Island in eastern Canada.

“We were caught by a terrible storm,” he remembered. “The weather looked fine but there were black clouds ahead.” He said he didn’t change course because the flight controllers said there was no need for concern.

“It was raining like we were going through a waterfall. The plane began shaking. If we had turned around, the plane might have flipped over… Then, all of a sudden, all the equipment was out broken… I tried to get our bearings using the old method, a liquid compass,” he added.

Guided by light from within the clouds, he said he was finally able to land. “We dodged a close call,” he said.

As for charitable work, Oktay along with the Turkish Consulate in New York once presented a Turkish family whose daughter was suffering from a bone disease with a free aerial tour of the Big Apple.

- Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance

In addition to his flying, Oktay also has an active civil life, and founded the Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA), a group fighting smear campaigns against Turkey over the events of 1915.

“We Turks truly fight against Armenians’ smears in the U.S. I’ve done a lot of research on this subject… They blatantly lie,” he said.

Stating that he presented projects to Turkey’s New York Consulate, Oktay said he was thinking about producing a short movie supporting the Turkish arguments about that time.

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-pilot-84-still-flying-american-skies/1489003

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US blames Iran for tanker bombings in UAE, Saudi attack

Umar Farooq 

25.05.2019

WASHINGTON

The Pentagon on Friday blamed Iran and its proxy forces for recent tanker bombings in the United Arab Emirates and an attack on a pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

This determination came the same day U.S. President Donald Trump announced the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East.

"We believe that Iran's actions and threats are troubling, escalatory and dangerous to our U.S. forces," Vice Admiral Mike Gilday, director of operations for the Joint Staff, said at a press conference at the Pentagon.

Gilday outlined further details on the deployment of additional troops to the Middle East, saying they are being put forth not to cause any provocation with Iran but to increase protection for forces already in the region, including a navy carrier strike force, bomber task force and Patriot missile defense battery that were deployed earlier in the month.

Of the 1,500 troops being deployed, the forces will include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, in addition to force protection, engineering and aviation units, according to Gilday. He mentioned that the forces will be comprised of both manned and unmanned technologies, including an Air Force fighter squadron.

The U.S. currently has 70,000 troops stationed in the Middle East.

"While we do not seek conflict with Iran, we are determined to protect our forces and interests in the region from attack," he said.

Amid the heightened tensions in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates said earlier this month that four commercial ships were hit by sabotage attacks off the coast of the port city of Fujairah.

That same week, military drones attacked two oil pump stations on the East-West pipeline, which carries oil from Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province to Yanbu port in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia blamed Houthi rebels backed by Iran for the attacks.

Then on Sunday, a rocket hit an area near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. No one was reported injured or killed, but Trump issued a warning to Iran, saying that a fight with the U.S. would be the "official end" of the country.

Gilday told reporters that all three of these attacks had been directly linked to Iran or its proxy forces and said there are credible reports that Tehran is planning an attack on U.S. personnel in the region. However, he did not provide direct evidence to back these claims.

Last month, the U.S. designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran's armed forces, as a terrorist organization. Iran retaliated by naming U.S. Central Command a terror group, setting up the potential for a military clash between the two sides in the Middle East.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-blames-iran-for-tanker-bombings-in-uae-saudi-attack/1488747

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US Army Twitter question met with stark responses

May 25, 2019

A seemingly innocuous question posed by the US military on Twitter this week has gone viral, sparking a conversation about some of the most difficult questions the American armed forces face.

It’s not uncommon for big brands looking for user engagement on social media to poll readers for their opinions and it’s also not uncommon for those answers to be not exactly what the brand had been looking for.

Underneath a short clip of Pfc Nathan Spencer sharing his thoughts on how army life had influenced him – he says it gave him the opportunity to “serve something greater than myself” – the US military official Twitter account on Friday asked followers how serving had impacted them.

While some users responded with answers of the positives of their time in the military – how it had allowed them to get a college education without taking on large debts because of the generous subsidies, loans and grants for university – the vast majority shared stories of their own or loved ones struggles in civilian life after tours of duty.

Mike Prysner

@MikePrysner

Replying to @USArmy

I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years

4,290

8:08 AM - May 24, 2019

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From those left with little support for injuries – physical and mental – from their time-fighting America’s wars to others who discussed the financial burdens having been in the army, the responses were overwhelmingly of negative experiences.

Drew Turner

@DrewTurner73

Replying to @USArmy

Let's see.  Lost the functional use of a hand, developed a rare movement disorder and cancer both likely from burn pit exposure, enjoy sleeping 3 to 4 hours most nights due to nightmares and during the day random anxiety attacks all due to PTSD, 7 herniated discs, arthritis..

1,622

3:07 PM - May 24, 2019

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The tweet had racked up hundreds of comments by Saturday, including a large number about former servicemen and women who had committed suicide after demobilization.

While many of the stories stretched back to veterans of the war in Vietnam in the 1980s, the issue of suicides is ongoing. Last year had the highest suicide rate among active-duty personnel in nearly six years and the same year Joe Chanelly, the executive director of the national veterans group Amvet, said the suicide rate among veterans was “a national emergency.”

Henry Stamper

@cigarettes4kids

Replying to @USArmy

Best friend killed himself, PTSD from Iraq, daily anxiety, chronic depression, nightmares, omnipresent feeling that I've taken part in great evil and been truly duped.

5,646

9:21 PM - May 24, 2019

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The suicide rate between 2005 and 2016 was 1.5 times greater for veterans than for adults who never served in the armed forces. For female veterans, the rate was even higher – 1.8 times greater than their non-veteran counterparts in 2016.

In March this year, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to create a cabinet task force to tackle the rate of suicide among veterans. He said it would “mobilize every level of American society” to tackle the issue.

Veterans also made up nearly 10 per cent homeless population of the United States in 2017 and although the numbers have been falling in recent years, tens of thousands of former servicemen life on the streets. In January, the American military-focused news website Defence Post reported that with women now allowed to serve in frontline roles and now making up some 15 per cent of the US military, the number of female veterans experiencing homelessness is expected to rise in the coming years.

“I'm only 18 and my dad served 17 years deployed 4 times all with undiagnosed PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], that's what my childhood was like,” wrote one user under the US Army’s tweet.

tatum

@ttatrose

Replying to @USArmy

i'm only 18 and my dad served 17 years deployed 4 times all with undiagnosed ptsd, that's what my childhood was like

302

7:54 AM - May 25, 2019

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See tatum's other Tweets

Some of the comments sparked discussions, including people who said they were serving members of the armed forces. After one user said he had been considering enlisting but the thread made him think twice, another user who said they had been in the navy 13 years “and wouldn’t change it for the world” replied to say that it’s important to know what to expect and know you can leave when you no longer enjoy it.

Among the tweets were several pointed at the US Army Twitter simply asking if the replies had been what they were looking for with the post.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/us-army-twitter-question-met-with-stark-responses-1.866124

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Europe

 

Groups, mosques rally around Muslim foster children in Ramadan

by Tasnim Nazeer

May 26, 2019

London, United Kingdom - In an effort to preserve children's identity, young Muslims in foster care being taken care of by non-Muslim guardians have received Ramadan gift packages to celebrate Islam's holy month.

At least 500 children in Britain have received the gift boxes, which contain children's books, decorations, a copy of the Quran with English translation, food items for when the daily fast breaks, Ramadan recipe books and sweets.

"The meaning of the Quran book is really useful for me and I've been able to share things in the box with my whole family," a 15-year-old child told Al Jazeera.

A 17-year-old said he was excited to receive the decorations in particular, and enjoyed putting them up with his foster carer.

Foster carer Steve Riley from West Yorkshire said: "We took a photo of my little one with all the contents and with the lanterns lit and we've put it in the child's life story book. It was important that the little one was able to take part and have a record of Ramadan."

Clare Jones (not her real name), a foster carer from Bradford, said: "It's such a good idea that helps children understand their heritage. Our child absolutely loved the lanterns. We shared the information in the box with the child's school and they were really impressed too and used it to help the other children in class understand what being a Muslim means and what Ramadan is about.'

There are more than 3,000 Muslim children in foster care each year out of 64,000, according to a report by the Fostering Network.

Research by charity Penny Appeal and Coventry University estimates, however, suggests that the number of Muslim children in foster care has increased to over 4,500 a year.

"We want to ensure that the efforts of diverse foster carers are recognised and appreciated by giving them the support they need during the special holy month of Ramadan," said Shadim Hussain, founder of My Foster Family, the organisation leading the gift boxes initiative.

"This Ramadan gift box will aid them in understanding the needs of a Muslim foster child and will increase the bonds between a foster child and their carer."

Some Muslim children in need of care have come into the UK as child refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria, or as Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC).

According to a report released by the Bridge Institute, local authorities need more support in teaching cultural and religious sensitivities to foster carers.

Kathy Evans, who heads Children England, a membership body of children's charities, said: "It's … really vital that children in care can keep their identity, faith and culture."

She added that the Ramadan gift boxes are "a great way to reach out to children in care, to keep them feeling involved and included in their religious festivals, and to show their foster carers that they have wider support from the community too."

Finchley Mosque and Islamic Centre was among the participating mosques supporting the initiative and sponsored 100 gift boxes.

"We wanted the parents who are looking after Muslim children to feel that they are supported and ensure they have a holistic approach in helping them look after the physical, spiritual and mental needs of the children and aid them with giving them support and guidance during the holy month of Ramadan," said Imam Oussama, a leading figure at the mosque.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/groups-mosques-rally-muslim-foster-children-ramadan-190525200235873.html

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Turkey's ties with N. Macedonia set example for Balkans

Furkan Abdula

26.05.2019

Turkey's relations with North Macedonia set an example for the rest of Balkans and the whole world, said Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop on Sunday.

Sentop attended an Iftar (fast-breaking dinner) at International Balkan University (IBU) in North Macedonia's capital Skopje.

The newly elected president of the Balkan nation, Stevo Pendarovski, also joined the event along with other high-ranking government officials.

In his speech at the event, Sentop emphasized that Turkey like to develop bilateral relations during the term of President Pendarovski, underlining the ongoing warm relations between Ankara and Skopje.

"The friendship of Turkey and North Macedonia is an example for the entire Balkans and the entire world," said Sentop, underlining that the relations would get momentum under the rule of the new president.

Pendarovski, for his part, said his country had always been a multi-religious and multicultural society and would continue to do so.

"Unfortunately, xenophobia and Islamophobia are becoming widespread in the world today..... In spite of our different religions and world perspectives, things that connect us are universal values and principles such as justice, peace, equality, and dignity," he added.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkeys-ties-with-n-macedonia-set-example-for-balkans/1489303

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Muslim group calls probe into mosque fire in Germany

Ayhan Simsek 

25.05.2019

BERLIN

Turkish-Muslim association IGMG has called for complete and thorough investigation into suspected arson attack on Saturday at a mosque in the western German city of Hagen.

“We urge the law enforcement authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation, to trace the perpetrators and put them behind the bar,” IGMG’s President Kemal Ergun said in a statement.

The group’s mosque in Hagen has suffered serious damage after an unidentified person set fire to garbage bins in front of the building.

Security camera footage released on Saturday showed a man with two dogs walking near the garbage bins before the fire.

Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by the far-right parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.

Police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year. At least 54 Muslims were injured in the attacks, which were carried out mostly by far-right extremists.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/muslim-group-calls-probe-into-mosque-fire-in-germany/1489230

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Southeast Asia

 

‘Muslims In Malaysia Getting Married Later In Life’ Says Deputy Minister

26 May 2019

PETALING JAYA: Muslims in Malaysia are marrying at a later age, mirroring a trend that is happening elsewhere.

The highest age group that got married last year was in the age bracket of between 25 and 29.

Most of those in the bracket were men, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh.

“Muslims are getting married slightly later in life.

(As comparison, data from the De­­partment of Statistics last year showed that the median marriage age for non-Muslim men was 30 while the median marriage age for non-Muslim women was 28.)

Fuziah believed many young Muslims wanted to have a stable career before tying the knot.

“If they get married in their late 20s or early 30s, it could be that their career is not as established and they are still climbing the corporate ladder.

“This could be one of the factors (for late marriage among Muslims),” Fuziah explained.

She said the first six months of marriage were also the hardest because couples were adjusting to one another.

As for pre-marriage courses for Muslims, which have been criticised by former DAP Socialist Youth committee member Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, Fuziah said efforts were constantly being taken to improve its content.

She said the current pre-marriage modules under the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) had gone through four phases of improvements, including information on how newly-weds communicate with one another, stress conflict management, divorce procedures, health issues and financial management.

“However, it is inadequate to just depend on pre-marriage courses.

“The courses last about 13 hours and cannot cover too much.

“We have too look at it holistically,” Fuziah said.

On April 29, Dyana Sofya retweeted a video of an ustaz who, during a marriage course, said that women who “tak tutup aurat (did not cover up)” deserved to be sexually violated.

The ustaz, she claimed, “endorsed sexual abuse against women for the way they dressed”.

No one deserves to be sexually violated, even if they walk around naked in public, she wrote.

Many others, including Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Othman, voiced their objection to the preacher’s remarks.

Fuziah said it was unfair to judge the success of a marriage on the pre-marriage modules.

“Sometimes you have to look at the personality and the trainer.

“They have different approaches,” she said.

“Some of them like to make jokes and try to make people happy, and maybe the content and message do not reach the target.”

She added that some couples only attended the course because they were required to do so.

“If they are forced to attend, how effective can it be?

“So, we have to look at the issue as a whole.”

The latest statistics from Jakim showed that 156,231 Muslim couples got married last year, compared to 151,105 in 2017.

There were 39,722 divorce cases last year, compared to 40,161 in 2017.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/26/muslims-getting-married-later-in-life-says-deputy-minister/

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Raya in Malaysia true blessing for the Rohingyas

By Nur Izzati Mohamad

May 26, 2019

BUKIT MERTAJAM: "Raya in Malaysia is much more fun than in my country, Myanmar, which is lacking in many things," said Rohingya teenager Mohd Ayash Soyad Nur, 17.

He said he was relieved when he and his family managed to leave their country and seek temporary shelter in Malaysia.

According to Ayash, people here are generally very kind and generous, which helps him and his family settle down easily.

He also said he could now focus on deepening his knowledge in Islam without outside interference.

"Thankfully, everything has ended well, and my family and I can look forward to staying in this peaceful country.

"Aidilfitri in Malaysia should be more fun, and we even get new clothes to wear on the morning of Raya," he said at a clothes store near Bandar Perda here yesterday.

Ayash was among 70 Rohingya children from Maahad Al Arkan Li Tahfiz Al Quran brought by Al Nasmir Foundation to the store to shop for Raya clothes.

Meanwhile, the school mudir (administrator) Noor Mohamad Khalamiyah said the students there were from the Rohingya ethnic minority who were less fortunate and orphaned.

He said the tahfiz had financial constraints, making it difficult to help students make preparations to celebrate Aidilfitri.

"We are grateful there are parties willing to offer help. I think this is their (students) 'rezeki'.

"We are also happy that the tahfiz has never missed out on the monthly assistance from Yayasan Al Nasmir, which is also a subsidiary of Nasmir Holdings Sdn Bhd," he added.

Meanwhile, managing director of Nasmir Holdings, Datuk Kadhar Shah Abdul Razak, said the Al Nashmir Foundation spent RM100,000 this Ramadan to help over 1,000 individuals, including the poor, disabled, orphans and tahfiz students.

"In addition, the foundation will also go to Cambodia on Thursday to provide cash assistance and hampers to 600 families in Kampung Cham, Cambodia.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/sunday-vibes/2019/05/491527/raya-malaysia-true-blessing-rohingyas

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Umno veep rejects ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ concept, insists must centre on Islam and Malay culture

24 May 2019

BY JERRY CHOONG

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Umno will not accept any concept that does not have Islam and the Malay culture at its heart, the Opposition party’s vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said today.

In her article, Wong said the Bangsa Malaysia concept should be the focus of a new narrative for Malaysia as it progresses.

But Khaled disagreed. Instead, he said the government should revert to resolutions made by a National Cultural Congress in 1971, which he condensed into three points, namely for the national culture to be based on the culture of the region’s original people; that other “suitable and proper cultures can be accepted”; and for Islam to be a key element in shaping national culture.

He said Malaysians have never undergone any assimilation process that would create a single identity, saying the country’s founding fathers were in favour of racial and cultural diversity as long as the different groups felt they belonged to the same country.

Khaled also said it is time to detail the characteristics of “good Malaysian citizenry”, and gave listed his attributes as a citizen who is  responsible, patriotic, rational, polite and mature.

He said without those attributes, Malaysia would not be able to move forward in an ever changing world.

He told the DAP to “forget” its “Malaysian Malaysia” concept.

“For in reality none can be formed, as we understood early on the country is multicultural and will remain so with Malay-Islam as its core.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/05/24/umno-veep-rejects-bangsa-malaysia-concept-insists-must-centre-on-islam-and/1756065

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Arab World

 

US-Backed SDF Stages Wide Arrests under Forced Recruitment Plan

May 25, 2019

The SDF conducted massive raids to arrest people in several regions, including Qamishli, Ra'as al-Ain, al-Ayrabiyeh, al-Shadadi and al-Malekiyeh in Hasaka province, the Arabic-language al-Khabour News website reported.

It said that at least 200 civilians, including children, have been captured in SDF raids, adding that a number of teachers are among those arrested in the towns of Tal Barak and al-Airabiyeh.

Al-Khabour noted that the SDF has forced the detainees to join their ranks.

Meantime, other reports by media activists also disclosed that the SDF has arrested tens of civilians in other Raqqa regions, including Tal Abyaz city near the border with Turkey, and given them the only options of going jail or joining their ranks.

Earlier reports on Thursday also warned that the SDF had opened fire on residents of al-Hawl Refugee Camp in Southeastern Hasaka as they were trying to flee the camp due to unfavorable humanitarian and hygienic conditions, media activists said.

The activists in Hasaka province said that the SDF opened fire at a group of women and children who were attempting to abandon Hasaka's al-Hawl Refugee Camp.

They pointed to the death and injury of a number of civilians by SDF, and said that several residents of al-Hawl Camp have been incarcerated.

The sources noted that the SDF has imposed tight security measures in al-Hawl refugee camp and laid it under siege, and said the SDF's measures come among concerns that the situation is ripe for uprising by the refugees while large groups are seeking to escape from the camp.

They also pointed to the very critical conditions of al-Hawl Camp, acute shortage of foodstuff and drinking water, and said that a large number of al-Hawl residents need urgent treatment available outside the camp.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that the angry residents of Hasaka torched the security centers of SDF across the city.

The newspaper noted that people's fury in Hasaka's Khashman district came after SDF killed a young man who had resisted forced recruitment of soldiers by the SDF.

Al-Watan pointed to the wide differences between Hasaka people and SDF militants in Khashman region, and said the SDF has dispatched reinforcement and military equipment to the region.

Meantime, battlefield sources in Hasaka reported that Asayesh and Military Police militants affiliated to the SDF launched massive attacks on the towns of Nas Tal, Daraja, Un al-Rous and other towns in Tal Barak region, and said that the Kurdish militants have arrested tens of civilians, including teachers, for forced recruitment.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980304000521

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US Army Sends More Military Convoys to Base in Western Iraq from Jordan

May 25, 2019

A military convoy comprising military vehicles and state-of-the-art military hardware has arrived in US-controlled Ein al-Assad Air Base in the city of Heet in al-Anbar province in Western Iraq from Jordan, the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh News Website quoted a security source in al-Anbar province as saying.

The source noted that the US military convoys arrived under tight aerial support, and said the dispatch of the US military convoys from Jordan to Iraq has increased to unprecedented levels.

It also said that the US forces reinforced unprecedented security measures in all their positions in al-Anbar province concurrent with dispatching military equipment to their military base.

Relevant reports said in early April, over 10,000 US forces were stationed in two occupied bases in al-Anbar province in Western Iraq.

Al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted the head of Badr Organization's office in al-Anbar province as saying that the number of US forces deployed in Ein al-Assad and al-Habaniyeh bases has increased to 10,000, adding that they have been supplied with the state-of-the-art weapons and military equipment.

The official said that the two bases also host the US marines who have been transferred recently from Syria to the region, noting that 90 percent of the US soldiers in Iraq are combat forces and are not considered as military advisors.

Relevant reports said earlier that the American forces had established two military bases in al-Anbar province on Iraq's international road close to the borders with Syria and Jordan as political groups and politicians are trying to expel the US military troops from their country.

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper reported early March that the US forces had built up the first base on Baghdad-Damascus international road, formerly known as H3, while a second military center have been established to the South of the first base and South of the Baghdad-Amman international road, in addition to 13 other US bases spread across the country.

It noted that the first base had practically started operation, but the second one was being equipped, adding that the Americans had also set up two other new bases in al-Ratbah region which might be intended to serve as new air bases.

Reports about establishment of new bases in the region came as different political groups in Iraq were endeavoring to approve a bill in the parliament to expel the foreign forces from the country.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980304000386

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Aleppo: Syrian Army Wards Off Tahrir Al-Sham's Attacks Meant to Support Other Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

May 25, 2019

The Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with Tahrir al-Sham (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and other terrorists who intended to attack the Syrian Army's military positions near Ma'aresteh al-Khan in Northern Aleppo and thwarted their attacks after incurring heavy losses on them, a Syrian Army source said.

The source noted that the Syrian Army also warded off other terrorists' attacks on the towns of Nubl and al-Zahra in Northern Aleppo, and said that the terrorist groups intended to disrupt the Syrian Army plan to launch military operations to liberate Hama, Idlib and Lattakia by conducting different attacks from different parts of Aleppo.

Meantime, the Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian Army source as saying that the Syrian Army's artillery and missile units as well as Russian and Syrian warplanes have pounded the terrorists' military positions and movements in all axes of Northern and Northwestern Hama, including Khan Sheikhoun, al-Hobait, al-Qasebiyeh, Latmin, Kafr Zita and Mourek, destroying their points of attacks on the Syrian Army and safe zones in Hama and Idlib.

The sources noted that the Turkish Army has also supplied terrorists with a large amount of military equipment, including TOW missile-launchers.

Meantime, a Turkish Army convoy arrived in Ankara-controlled areas in the town of Shir Moghar in Sahl al-Ghab region in Northwestern Hama.

In a relevant development on Sunday, the Kurdish-language media outlets said that the Turkish Army had dispatched thousands of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants from Northern Aleppo to Hama to back up Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at.

The Kurdish-language Hawar News website reported that the Turkish Army had sent the terrorists under its umbrella of coalition to Northern Hama from Afrin and Izaz to support Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in its battle against the Syrian Army.

It noted that a military convoy comprising hundreds of Ankara-backed militants together with weapons and military equipment have been sent to Northern Hama via Qazawiyeh crossing in Southern Afrin.

Meantime, the sources close to the terrorist groups reiterated that hundreds of FSA terrorists have moved towards Idlib to reach battlefronts in Hama. The FSA terrorists moved from Izaz, Jarablus, Al-Bab and Afrin in Northern and Northeastern Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980304000494

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Hashd Al-Shaabi Warns to Respond Any US Military Attack Crushingly

May 25, 2019

A local official in al-Anbar who called for anonymity told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website on Saturday that the Hashd al-Shaabi commanders have stressed that they will give a crushing response to any offensives by the US forces against their positions in al-Anbar and will not remain hand-cuffed and silent.

He added that Hashd al-Shaabi has deployed its forces in al-Qa'em region in Western al-Anbar to the bordering areas with Syria to respond any US attacks.

The official underlined that the US forces have several times carried out provocative acts against Hashd al-Shaabi in Western al-Anbar but the local leaders asked the Iraqi popular forces to show restraint and not to enter any military conflicts.

In relevant remarks last Sunday, Deputy Secretary-General of al-Nujaba Movement (one of Iraqi popular forces) Nasr al-Shamri referred to the US attempts to find a pretext to stir insecurity in Iraq and the region, and underlined preparedness to give a crushing response to any hostile move.

Al-Nujaba is ready to respond to any US hostile measure, al-Shamri told the Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm.

"Our battle against the US will continue until the end of their occupation and annihilation of the usurper regime (Israel) in the region," he added.

Also, last week, Asa'eb al-Haq Movement affiliated to the Iraqi popular forces of Hashd al-Shaabi reiterated its support for Iran and the necessity for the American forces to leave Iraq.

Senior member of the politburo of Asa'eb al-Haq Laith al-Ozari underscored the Movement's support for Iran against the US in return for Tehran's assistance to the Iraqi nation in war against the terrorist groups.

He also voiced opposition to the deployment of foreign forces in Iraq as "occupation", cautioning that all citizens are entitled to the right to fight these foreign occupiers.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980304000191

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Lebanon denies forcing Syrians home from Beirut airport

25 May 2019

Lebanese security forces on Saturday denied accusations by rights groups that they had coerced Syrians who had landed at Beirut airport into signing forms to return to their war-torn country.

Human Rights Watch and four other groups on Friday accused Lebanon of “summarily deporting” at least 16 Syrians on April 26, after forcing them to sign “voluntary repatriation forms.”

Most of them had been sent back to Lebanon after they were barred from entering northern Cyprus via Turkey, quashing their plans to seek asylum, HRW said.

But Lebanon’s General Security agency “categorically denies it forced any Syrian to sign any form,” it said in a statement carried by state-run news agency NNA on Saturday.

“Any Syrian who arrives in Lebanon and does not meet entry requirements, and... wants to go to Syria because they do not wish to remain in their country of residence for a number of reasons, signs a declaration of responsibility for choosing to return voluntarily,” it said.

Lebanon hosts almost one million Syrian refugees, a significant burden for a country that had 4.5 million inhabitants before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011.

The latest deportees said they were “pressured” by General Security officers at the airport, the rights group said.

Around 30 Syrians have been deported from Beirut airport this year by the General Security agency, the rights group said, citing local refugee organizations.

General Security estimates that over 170,000 Syrians returned home from Lebanon between December 2017 and March 2019.

The conflict has wound down in Syria, after a string of victories by the regime and its Russian ally since 2015, but the United Nations has stressed all returns should be voluntary.

The rights groups say some 74 percent of Syrians in Lebanon lack legal residency and are at risk of detention.

Local media in Lebanon have reported that the Supreme Defense Council, whose decisions are not made public, recently instructed General Security to deport all Syrians who have entered the country illegally.

The official NNA news agency, quoting a “security report,” said on Friday that Lebanese authorities had deported 301 Syrians between May 7 and May 20.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside the country and abroad.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/25/Lebanon-denies-forcing-Syrians-home-from-Beirut-airport.html

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Lebanon deports 16 Syrians, say rights groups

25 May 2019

Lebanon has “summarily deported” at least 16 Syrians, some of them registered refugees, by forcing them to sign “voluntary repatriation forms,” human rights groups said on Friday.

Lebanon hosts nearly one million Syrian refugees -- a significant burden for a country of four million people -- and there has been mounting pressure for them to go home even though the UN says many areas remain unsafe.

The 16 were all removed to Syria on April 26 after they arrived at Beirut airport, Human Rights Watch and four other groups said in a joint report.

Most of them were sent back to Lebanon after they were barred from entering Cyprus via Turkey, quashing their plans to seek asylum, it said.

At least five were registered with the United Nations refugee agency, it added.

“Lebanese authorities shouldn’t deport anyone to Syria without first allowing them a fair opportunity to argue their case for protection,” said HRW’s acting Middle East director, Lama Fakih.

The report said around 30 Syrians have been deported from Beirut airport this year by Lebanon’s General Security agency.

The rights groups say some 74 percent of Syrians in Lebanon lack legal residency and are at risk of detention.

The latest deportees said they were “pressured” by General Security officers at the airport into signing documents stating that they were “voluntarily” returning to Syria.

“My biggest fears returning to Syria are that I would be conscripted and have to fight, or that I would be arrested because the regime has me on a wanted list or because of a case of mistaken identity,” the report quoted one of the deportees as saying.

“If I wasn’t scared of arrest, I wouldn’t have left Syria in the first place.”

General Security estimates that over 170,000 Syrian refugees returned home from Lebanon between December 2017 and March 2019.

Despite some returns, the United Nations says the country as a whole remains unsafe for large-scale repatriations.

Local media in Lebanon have reported that the Supreme Defense Council, whose decisions are not made public, recently instructed General Security to deport all Syrians who have entered the country illegally.

The official NNA news agency, quoting a “security report”, said Friday that Lebanese authorities had deported 301 Syrians between May 7 and May 20.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/25/Lebanon-deports-16-Syrians-says-rights-groups-.html

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Iraqi protesters urge Baghdad to stay out of US-Iran dispute

25 May 2019

Thousands of supporters of populist Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged political and factional leaders on Friday to stay out of any conflict between Iran and the United States.

Protesters from the movement of Moqtada al-Sadr, who once led Shiite militiamen against US forces and is also vocally critical of Iranian influence in Iraq, chanted “no to war” and “yes to Iraq” in central Baghdad and the southern city of Basra.

Iraqis worry that their country will be caught up in any escalation of US-Iranian tensions, which spiked earlier this month when President Donald Trump’s administration said it had sent additional forces to the Middle East to counter alleged threats including from Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.

Politicians and Shiite paramilitary leaders have called for calm and the Iraqi government has tried to position itself as a mediator between the two sides.

“We’ve just recovered from Islamic State. Iraq must not be used as a base to try to harm any country. America doesn’t want Iraq to be stable,” said protester Abu Ali Darraji.

There was speculation that al-Sadr, whose political bloc came first in Iraq’s parliamentary election last year, would speak to demonstrators in Baghdad but he did not appear.

Sadr campaigned last year on a platform of Iraqi nationalism, opposed to both US and Iranian influence in the country.

Amid rising US-Iran tension, a rocket was fired last week into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions, but caused no casualties. No group claimed responsibility; US officials say they strongly suspect Iran’s local allies.

The attack came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraqi leaders that if they failed to keep in check powerful Iran-backed militias, Washington would respond with force.

US intelligence had showed militias positioning rockets near bases housing US forces, according to Iraqi security sources.

After pulling out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions themselves.

Iraq has said it will send delegations to Washington and Tehran to help calm tensions.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/05/25/Iraqi-protesters-urge-Baghdad-to-stay-out-of-US-Iran-escalation.html

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Latakia chemical attack claim won’t affect Syria’s anti-terror fight: Damascus

May 26, 2019

Syria has dismissed "fabricated" claims about the use of chemical weapons by government troops in its western coastal province of Latakia.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said such allegations will not affect the fight against terror.

“All this media hype will have no effect on Syria’s anti-terrorism operations. The Syrian government reiterates that such claims are part of a systematic campaign of lies to implicate Syrian army in using chemical warfare,” Syria’s official news agency cited an unnamed source at the ministry as saying on Saturday.

“This is nothing but a desperate attempt by some Western states and their mater, the United States, to ease pressure on the crimes of terrorists in Idlib. It is an obviously pathetic attempt to delay the advance of Syrian military forces.”

On Tuesday, the US Department of State claimed that it had seen signs that Syrian government troops may have used chemical weapons laced with chlorine near the village of Kabana, which lies in an area of the Jabal al-Akrad region, on May 19.

The United States has warned it would respond to any possible chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces last year. On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.

Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

Terrorists readying for chemical attacks in Hama, Idlib

Meanwhile, local sources have reported that foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists in Syria’s west-central province of Hama as well as the northwestern province of Idlib are preparing false-flag attacks to frame government troops and invent pretexts for possible foreign acts of aggression on the country.

The sources, requesting not to be named, said members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terror outfit, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, have held numerous meetings with militants from the so-called Turkistan Islamic Party, Jaysh al-Izza (the Union of Glory) and Western-backed White Helmets, who have been accused of cooperating with Takfiri militants and staging false-flag gas attacks, in order to use chlorine gas in their attacks.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596882/Latakia-Syria-chemical-claims

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Iraq, Iran stress security cooperation to prevent war in region

May 25, 2019

Iraq and Iran have stressed on cooperation between the two neighboring countries to prevent a war that could jeopardize stability in the Middle East region.

The common stance was reiterated during a Saturday meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad.

The media office of the Iraqi premier said on its Facebook page that during the meeting, the two officials discussed the recent regional developments, especially with regards to an international nuclear agreement on Iran’s nuclear case.

The two elaborated that the deal, technically known as the JCPOA and signed in 2015 between Iran and world powers, should be preserved in the face of the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.

Abdul-Mahdi and Zarif reiterated that both Iran and Iraq have been affected by US sanctions on Tehran, which began following the US government’s withdrawal from the JCPOA last year, while stressing that a potential military conflict between the US and Iran over the issue could have far-reaching consequences for the entire Middle East region.

The two said there was a need for increased security cooperation between Iran and Iraq to defuse the current tensions and increase regional stability.

The report said that parts of the meeting was dedicated to a review of efforts in Iraq and Iran to follow up on the agreements signed during a recent trip of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq and a last year visit by Abdul-Mahdi to the Iranian capital Tehran.

The Iranian foreign minister also discussed regional developments and bilateral relations during a meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Relations between Iran and Iraq have expanded rapidly over the past few years despite a continuous campaign of pressure on Baghdad by US government and allies in the region.

Iran has also played a major role in restoring stability in Iraq by helping the Arab country in its large-scale battle against terrorism since 2014.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/25/596909/Iraq-Iran-security-cooperation-Zarif-Baghdad-visit

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/will-attend-iftar-100-times--mamata-over-muslim-appeasement-allegations/d/118708

 

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • "Will Attend Iftar 100 Times: Mamata Over Muslim Appeasement Allegations".
    That is the most effective way to help the BJP!


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 5/26/2019 10:38:38 AM



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