- In this Feb. 2, 2016, file photo, Naila Amin, 26, looks out from a classroom
window at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y. According to data
provided to The Associated Press, the U.S. approved thousands of requests by
men to bring child and teenage brides from another country. “My passport ruined
my life,” said Naila Amin, a dual citizen from Pakistan who grew up in New York
City. She was forcibly married at 13 in Pakistan and applied for papers for her
26-year-old husband to come to the country. “People die to come to America. I
was a passport to him. They all wanted him here, and that was the way to do
it.” (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Govt Approved Thousands of Child Bride Requests
Francis’s Advocacy for Islam Could Destroy Europe
Jakarta Launches 'Maghrib Mengaji' To Lure Teenagers to Mosques
Continues Despotic Rule, Consults Khashoggi Hit Squad Leader: Report
grows in Turkey as Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges Islam
Shahidul Alam’s Jamaat-e-Islami Connection
Join Hands with UNFPA to Empower Madrasa Students
Mark Jesus Baptism at Historic Jordan Site
who look like me': US Muslims celebrate Tlaib and Omar victories
Tulsi Gabbard, Who Met Syria’s Assad, Will Run For US Presidency
US to host Iran-focused world summit next month in Poland
blocks Israeli sale of used F-16s to NATO member Croatia over upgrades
Captured With ISIS Fighters Is From Trinidad, Not the U.S., Officials Say
Debate First Mixed-Gender Mosque in France
Accuses BBC of 'Promoting Terrorist Propaganda'
Hacker Spread Right-Wing, Anti-Muslim Views On Internet
honourably is expensive, as UK govt is now discovering
Looks At Arab Countries as Entirety of Muslim World: Anwar Ibrahim
Intensifies Lobbying to Thwart Criticism of Muslim Detentions
call for expansion of mosque roles and activities
heartfelt message to the Malaysian people
is Haram; Jakim’s sermon reminds Muslims in defence of ban
Forgotten Tour: US Band That Rocked Saudi Arabia
coalition withdrawing equipment from Syria
says Israeli fired missiles toward Damascus, hit airport warehouse
White Helmets still in Jordan, active in Syria provocations: Russia
shoots downs 'most of Israeli missiles' fired towards Damascus: State media
Forces Kill Palestinian Woman, Injure 25 in Gaza
Says Egypt To Fully Reopen Gaza Border Despite PA Pullout
orders arrest of more than 100 military suspects over Gulen ties
tells Iran to stop ballistic missile work designed for nuclear weapons
destroys Houthi military communications network in Yemen
15 civilian casualties in Houthi rocket attack
drone control centre destroyed in Yemen as US condemns Lahaj attack
vows operation against Kurdish militia, when time is right
Taliban militants killed, 2 key group members in Special Forces operations
killed as Taliban attack troops in four provinces
emphasizes on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process
intelligence chief, senior ISIS-K leader killed in coalition airstrikes
upholds jail sentence for Reuters reporters
lauds Pakistan, China for peace efforts in Afghanistan
major, soldier martyred in IED blast in J&K's Nowshera
junks Pakistan claim of role in Karachi attack
Chinese consulate attack: India rejects Pakistan's allegations, calls them
'fabricated and scurrilous'
Slaps Cases Against Critics Of Plan To Grant Citizenship To Non-Muslims
Chief Guterres: Libya’s Militias Should Not Run Prisons
has no plan to Islamise Nigeria
civilians killed in jihadist attack in Burkina Faso
seizure of drug shipment, Libya says Turkey sabotaging security
says airstrike in Somalia kills 6 al-Shabaab extremists
Muslim Leaders in a Step to Defeat Extremism
Declares Region Bordering Pakistan Open Place
kills 2 ‘terrorists’ in raids on militant hideouts
A First, Sikh Appointed At High-Profile Pakistan Post
initiates demolition drive against Mojahirs in Karachi, claims MQM chief
to appear before NAB whenever summoned’
killed in terror incidents in Balochistan last year: IG
terrorists killed in Balochistan
by New Age Islam News Bureau
govt approved thousands of child bride requests
Thousands of requests by men originally from other countries, including
Pakistan, to bring in child and adolescent brides to live in the United States
were approved over the past decade, according to government data obtained by AP
news agency. In one case, a 49-year-old man applied for admission for a
approvals are legal: the Immigration and Nationality Act does not set minimum
age requirements. And in weighing petitions for spouses or fiancées, US
Citizenship and Immigration Services goes by whether the marriage is legal in
the home country and whether the marriage would be legal in the state where the
a look: 21pc girls in Pakistan become victim of child marriage, WHO reports
the data raises questions about whether the immigration system may be enabling
forced marriage and about how US laws may be compounding the problem despite
efforts to limit child and forced marriage. Marriage between adults and minors
is not uncommon in the US, and most states allow children to marry with some
were more than 5,000 cases of adults petitioning on behalf of minors and nearly
3,000 examples of minors seeking to bring in older spouses or fiancés,
according to the data requested by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in
2017 and compiled into a report.
victims of forced marriage say the lure of a US passport combined with lax US
marriage laws are partly fuelling the petitions.
passport ruined my life,” said Naila Amin, a dual citizen from Pakistan who
grew up in New York City. She was forcibly married at 13 in Pakistan and
applied for papers for her 26-year-old husband to come to the country.
die to come to America,” she said. “I was a passport to him. They all wanted
him here, and that was the way to do it.”
now 29, said she was betrothed to her first cousin Tariq when she was just
eight and he was 21. The petition was eventually terminated after she ran away.
said the ordeal cost her a childhood. She was in and out of foster care and
group homes, and it took a while to get her life on track.
was a child. I want to know: why weren’t any red flags raised? Whoever was
processing this application, they don’t look at it? They don’t think?” she
is a two-step process for obtaining US immigration visas and green cards.
Petitions are first considered by USCIS. If granted, they must be approved by
the State Department. Overall, there were 3.5 million petitions received from
budget years 2007 through 2017.
that period, there were 5,556 approvals for those seeking to bring in minor
spouses or fiancées, and 2,926 approvals by minors seeking to bring in older
spouses, according to the data. Additionally, there were 204 approvals of
applications by minors seeking to bring in minor spouses.
can be filed by US citizens or permanent residents.
indicates a problem. It indicates a loophole that we need to close,” said
Republican Sen Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland
nearly all the cases, the girls were the younger person in the relationship. In
149 instances, the adult was older than 40, and in 28 cases the adult was over
50, the committee found.
the examples: in 2011, immigration officials approved a 14-year-old’s petition
for a 48-year-old spouse in Jamaica. A petition from a 71-year-old man was
approved in 2013 for his 17-year-old wife in Guatemala.
are no nationwide statistics on child marriage, but data from a few states
suggests it is far from rare. State laws generally set 18 as the minimum age
for marriage, yet every state allows exceptions.
states let 16- and 17-year-olds marry if they have parental consent, and
several states including New York, Virginia and Maryland allow children under
16 to marry with court permission.
Reiss, who campaigns against coerced marriage as head of a group called Unchained
at Last, researched data from her home state of New Jersey. She determined that
nearly 4,000 minors, mostly girls, were married in the state from 1995 to 2012,
including 178 who were under 15. “This is a problem both domestically and in
terms of immigration,” she said.
who says she was forced into an abusive marriage by her Orthodox Jewish family
when she was 19, said that often cases of child marriage via parental consent
involve coercion, with a girl forced to marry against her will.
are subjected to a lifetime of domestic servitude and rape,” she said. “And the
government is not only complicit; they’re stamping this and saying: Go ahead.”
The data was requested in 2017 by Johnson and then-Missouri Sen Claire
McCaskill, the committee’s top Democrat. Johnson said it took a year to get the
information, showing there needs to be a better system to track and vet the
immigration system may unintentionally shield the abuse of women and children,”
the senators said in the letter.
didn’t know how many of the approvals were granted by the State Department, but
overall only about 2.6 per cent of spousal or fiancée claims are rejected.
the data show some 4,749 minor spouses or fiancées received green cards to live
in the US over that same 10-year period.
country where most requests came from was Mexico, followed by Pakistan, Jordan,
the Dominican Republic and Yemen. Middle Eastern nationals had the highest
percentage of overall approved petitions.
Francis’s advocacy for Islam could destroy Europe
11, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – Two young Scandinavian women who were hiking
in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco were found dead in mid-December in their
tent. The ISIS terrorists later posted a video of themselves decapitating one
of the victims.
mother of one of the women told reporters, "Her priority was safety. The
girls had taken all precautionary measures before embarking on this trip."
as Robert Spencer commented in Jihad Watch, "that it no doubt didn't even
occur to them that what they thought they knew about Morocco's religion and
culture might be inaccurate and designed to whitewash Islam, leaving them
ill-informed about a threat that they actually did end up facing."
one depended on the European media and European schools for one's knowledge of
Islam, one would indeed come away with a misleading picture of Islam. But the
same could be said of Catholics who rely on Church pronouncements about Islam.
Ever since the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders have presented a
smiley-faced version of Islam which emphasizes the commonalities with
Catholicism and leaves out the alarming elements.
the last six years, the chief proponent of this bowdlerized view of Islam has
been Pope Francis. He has reassured Christians that Islam is opposed to
violence, advised Muslim migrants to find comfort in the Koran, and has
portrayed terrorists as betrayers of true Islam.
significantly, he has become perhaps the world's foremost spokesman for an
open-borders, let-everyone-in policy toward immigration. Seemingly indifferent
to the increasingly dangerous situation created by jihad-minded Muslims in
Europe, Francis has encouraged a welcoming attitude toward all while scolding
opponents of mass migration as fearful and xenophobic.
short, Pope Francis has acted as an advocate for Islam. He has portrayed it as
a religion of peace, the moral equivalent of Catholicism, and a force for good.
A number of people, however, now feel that the pope has seriously misled
Christians about the nature and goals of Islam and Islamic immigration. Like
the teachers and other cultural elites who left the two Scandinavian women
"ill-informed about a threat that they actually did end up facing,"
Pope Francis, by whitewashing Islam, has left millions of Christians unprepared
for the escalating threat that is now facing them.
analogy between the misinformed Scandinavian friends and misinformed Europeans
breaks down in one respect: No one forced the young women to travel to Morocco.
They went there of their own accord. It's one thing to invite yourself into the
high mountains of Morocco and take your chances, but it's quite another thing
altogether to invite Morocco into Europe and let ordinary Europeans bear the
consequences. This is what the European elites – with much encouragement from
Francis – have done.
combination of high Muslim birth rates, mass Muslim migration, and European
concessions to Islam's blasphemy laws has set Europe on a course toward
Islamization. Islamization, in turn, will spell dhimmitude for Christians. As
the Islamic influence grows, Christians will be subject to increasing
restrictions on the practice of their faith, perhaps even to the point of
persecution. It's possible that Christianity in Europe will be exterminated.
Francis Naïve about Islam?
pope has done much to promote the cause of Islam – so much so that he has been
praised by Islamic leaders for his defense of their faith. The questions that
then arise are these: Is Francis aware of the possibility that Islam will
become dominant in Europe? Is he aware that this may spell the end of European
Christianity? And if he is aware, does he care?
a long time, I thought that Francis was simply naïve regarding Islam. His
counterfactual statements about Islam and his Pollyannaish view of mass Muslim
migration must, I thought, be the result either of blissful ignorance or of bad
advice from "experts," or a combination of both.
however, I have my doubts. The catalyst for these doubts is Francis's approach
to the current sex-abuse crisis. I originally supposed that he was naïve about
this, too: perhaps he didn't realize the full extent of the problem or the full
extent of the cover-ups, or perhaps he wasn't aware of the numerous lavender
networks in seminaries, in dioceses, and in the Vatican itself. But in light of
recent revelations, it no longer seems possible to give him the benefit of the
doubt. In several cases, he not only knew of the crimes and cover-ups, but took
steps to protect and/or promote those involved. Francis seems determined to
push through a revolution in doctrine and morals – what he calls "a
radical paradigm shift" – and it doesn't seem to matter that the men he
has chosen to help him achieve his goals are the ones most deeply implicated in
the scandals. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a "hands-on" pope who
knows exactly what he wants, carefully calculates his moves, and leaves little
then, should we suppose Francis is completely naïve about the extent of the
threat from Islam and from Islamic immigration? It's difficult to imagine that
he isn't fully aware of the widespread persecution of Christians in Muslim
lands. And it's just as difficult to think that he's ignorant of the Islamic
crime wave on his own doorstep – the escalating incidence of rape, riots, and
terrorist attacks in Europe. Does he really believe that such things have
nothing to do with Islam?
one assumes that Francis is ignorant of history and out of touch with current
events, one must entertain the possibility that – to repeat a favorite slogan
of his – he wants to "make a mess" in Europe.
why? Why risk the damage to the Church that would surely follow on the
Islamization of Europe? Doesn't Francis care about the Church? Increasingly, it
seems that he does not. This is to say that he doesn't have much use for the
"old" Church – the one that was handed down by the apostles, and
which has now become too narrow and tradition-bound to suit his liberal tastes.
Fluid Church of the Future
he does care about is the new Church of the future – a Church of openness,
inclusiveness, and fluidity. Led by the Spirit and free of bothersome dogma,
this liberated Church would be able to adjust to the changing needs of the
times. If one reads between the lines, this is what Francis and those around
him seem to desire.
one needn't bother to read between the lines. In the words of Fr. Thomas
Rosica, a media advisor to the Vatican: "Pope Francis breaks Catholic
traditions whenever he wants because he is free of disordered
attachments." Moreover, "Our Church has indeed entered a new phase.
With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual
rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of
tradition plus Scripture."
this is from Francis himself speaking at a conference on Church closings:
observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are
now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy ... should be welcomed
in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to
reflection and requires us to adapt.
Francis is not particularly concerned about church closings. Perhaps he even
thinks of them as a blessing, i.e., a necessary end to the old order of things
that will clear the way for the construction of the new order.
is this new order? In many respects, it resembles the new world order
envisioned by politicians and academics on the left. Like them, Francis has a
dim view of national borders and national sovereignty, and, like them, he has
an almost unquestioning belief in the benefits of international institutions.
One gets the impression that Francis would be quite content to let the U.N. run
the world, despite the fact that the U.N. is increasingly run by leftists and
Islamists. For example, Francis has praised the U.N.'s Global Compact for
Migration because he believes that immigration should be governed globally
rather than by individual nations.
does this relate to Christianity and Islam? Just as Francis seems to favor a
one-world government, he also seems to be drawn by the vision of a one-world
religion. He hasn't said so in so many words, but he has given several
indications that he envisions an eventual blending of religions. This would not
be the "one flock, one shepherd" Church that Christ spoke of but
something a bit more diverse.
way to achieve this unity in diversity is by deemphasizing doctrine. Doctrinal
differences are, after all, the main dividing line between different faiths.
Thus, by downplaying the importance of doctrine – something he has done fairly
consistently throughout his papacy – it's probable that Francis hopes to smooth
the path to interreligious harmony. Just as Francis disapproves of borders
between nations, it's quite likely that he looks upon borders between religions
as artificial and unnecessarily divisive.
is speculation, of course, but it's not sheer speculation. As George Neumayr
points out in The Political Pope, Francis frequently shows signs of
indifferentism – i.e., the belief that all religions are of equal value. For
example, when speaking of the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel by two jihadists, he
drew a moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity, saying, "If I
speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence."
signs of his indifferentism are not difficult to find. In 2014, he told a group
of Protestants, "I'm not interested in converting Evangelicals to
Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community." On
another occasion, he criticized Pope Benedict's "ordinariate" for
Anglicans interested in becoming Catholics by saying that they should remain
"as Anglicans." On still other occasions, he has waxed enthusiastic
about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.
several examples of his indifferentism can be found in Evangelii Gaudium – ostensibly
an exhortation to evangelize. Although the document urges us to spread the joy
of the Gospel, it provides a number of reasons why we shouldn't bother. The
main reason given is that we already share so many ethical and spiritual values
with other faiths that there's no point in converting non-Catholics.
Evangelii Gaudium leaves the impression that Jews shouldn't be evangelized (an
impression that was later explicitly confirmed by the Vatican). Moreover,
Francis also seems to exempt Muslims from any need to convert. As I wrote
previously in Crisis:
reading Evangelii Gaudium's positive assessment of Islam, one could be forgiven
for concluding that the conversion of Muslims is not an urgent matter. And,
indeed, there is no suggestion in the document that Muslims should be
evangelized. At the most, Christians should dialogue with Muslims about their
than converting others, Francis seems more interested in learning from them. In
Evangelii Gaudium and in numerous talks, he frequently extols the
"richness" and "wisdom" of other cultures. Whereas Christ
commanded his apostles to "Go therefore and make disciples of all
nations...," Francis's message is more along the lines of: "Go therefore
and learn the wisdom of other cultures." Francis's attitude toward
evangelization can perhaps be summed up in something he said to atheist
journalist Eugenio Scalfari: "Proselytism is solemn nonsense."
this is the case, then Pope Francis probably has no desire to convert the
Muslims streaming into Europe. After all, like Evangelicals, Muslims can also
"find Jesus in their community." Of course, it's not the same Jesus,
but perhaps the resemblance is close enough for someone with scant interest in
doctrinal differences. Exactly what, then, does he have in mind by encouraging
mass migration into Europe? One possibility, as I suggested earlier, is that he
envisions a kind of multicultural blending of religions. But in order for this
to happen, it would be necessary for the respective faiths to dilute their
doctrinal positions. Pope Francis seems quite willing to do this on the
Catholic side. He has already made substantial concessions to the Chinese
communist government on the appointment of bishops. He seems willing to alter
Church teachings in order to build bridges with the LGBT "community"
and other sexual revolutionaries. And, in general, he prefers to be guided by
the prompting of the Spirit rather than by the teachings of the Church.
he seems more concerned with political and humanitarian goals than with the
goal of getting to heaven. As George Neumayr has noted in The Political Pope,
when awarded the Charlemagne Prize, Francis "used his acceptance speech
not to call for the restoration of Christianity, but for the spread of a 'new
European humanism.'" And, as Francis sees it, the main obstacle to
achieving these humanitarian goals is the fundamentalist Christians who refuse
to integrate with Muslim migrants and, in general, fail to adapt to changing
times. Perhaps he thinks that a flood of migrants will force fundamentalists to
encounter the "other" and come to terms with their
what about fundamentalist Muslims? A harmonious world religion dedicated to
humanitarian ends would require not only a watering-down of Christianity, but
also a considerable moderation of Islam. Both in terms of percentages and in
absolute numbers, there are far more fundamentalist Muslims in the world than
fundamentalist Christians. Francis has acknowledged the existence of
fundamentalist Muslims, but he claims that they do not represent
"authentic" Islam, and he seems to believe, contrary to much polling
data, that they are only a small minority. "All religions have these
little groups," he once said.
or not he believes that fundamentalists are a small minority, he seems to have
a rough strategy for facilitating the emergence of a more moderate Islam. This
strategy is to claim that Islam is already – and always has been – a moderate
and peaceful faith. Most notably, he asserted in Evangelii Gaudium that
"authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every
form of violence."
strategy Francis seems to be employing is referred to by sociologists as a
self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea is that if you express high expectations for
others, they will endeavor to live up to the expectations and thus fulfill your
"prophecy." But, according to Robert K. Merton, the sociologist who
coined the term, "the self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a
false definition of the situation." But the false definition or assumption
can evoke "a new behavior which makes the original false conception come
self-fulfilling prophecies work and sometimes they don't. A lot depends on the
awareness of the subject. Young children are more susceptible to such
influence, while adults who understand what is being attempted are less so. I
recall reading an article on a radical Islamic website which accused Pope
Francis of using just such a strategy. I don't remember if the author used the
term "self-fulfilling prophecy," but he did complain that the pope
was deliberately painting a false but pleasing picture of Islam in order to win
Muslims over to a moderate view.
any event, the self-fulfilling prophecy strategy seems an awfully slender reed
upon which to stake the future of the world. For decades now, global leaders
have been assuring us that Islam means peace, that violence has nothing to do
with Islam, and that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. Yet most of the
evidence suggests that the Western "prophecy" about Islam's pacific
nature is not working. With some notable exceptions, moderates have been losing
ground, while fundamentalists are in the ascendancy.
as he has little anxiety about the wave of church closings, Francis seems to
have little anxiety about the Islamization of Europe. Indeed, as evidenced by
his encouragement of mass migration, he seems to have no objection to
because he truly believes the false narrative that Islam is a religion of
peace, or because he believes that the self-fulfilling prophecy strategy will
create a more moderate Islam, Francis seems to be at peace with the fact that
Islam is spreading rapidly.
he has in mind, it seems that Pope Francis is betting against the odds. A few
weeks ago, those two young Scandinavian women mentioned earlier took a similar
gamble when they embarked on a camping trip in Morocco. They were betting their
lives on the assumption that the whitewashed narrative of Islam that they had
no doubt learned in school and university was the correct one. They lost the
"bet." They had – to borrow a line from Casablanca – been
"misinformed" about the situation in Morocco.
Francis has been misinformed about Islam or whether he has adopted a strategy
of misinformation, he is taking a huge gamble – not only with his own life, but
with the lives of millions. When the religion of Muhammad meets the religion of
indifferentism, which seems more likely to prevail?
Jakarta launches 'Maghrib Mengaji' to lure teenagers to mosques
rising conservatism in the country, South Jakarta Mayor Marullah Matalio wants
the teenagers in his area to be more religious to prevent them from getting
involved in deliquency.
decided to initiate a program called Maghrib Mengaji (Quran recital after
maghrib prayer) in order to promote local mosques for teenagers. The program
aims to increase people’s religious spirit and prevent “social maladjustments”
from happening, with mosques serving as “safe houses” for the people.
people may get involved in brawls and drug abuse. This program aims to invite them
to mosques where they can be safe,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
said the program, which he started in August last year, was part of a mental
and spiritual counseling program directed not only at teenagers, but also
adults. He claimed to have had the idea following a message conveyed by Jakarta
Governor Anies Baswedan to revive local traditions.
recitals after maghrib prayer are actually a long-time tradition among our
people. The spirit of the Quran recital tradition has died down these past few
years, so we are reviving it,” he said.
there has been no direct order from the city administration, the program,
through which recitals are held once a week in 65 subdistricts in South
Jakarta, has received funding support starting this year.
Jakarta administration allocated Rp 500,000 (US$35.52) from its city budget for
each of the 65 subdistricts every week, totaling Rp 1.43 billion for the
program this year. Marullah said the funds were used to employ ustad(Islamic
located within a subdistrict take turns hosting the program.
program had started to bear fruit, claimed 60-year-old West Cilandak
subdistrict resident Agus Salim. He noticed there were no longer crowds of
young people racing with motorcycles or hanging around the streets of West
Cilandak in the past months.
least 200 people have joined the program. Not only teenagers, but parents can
also join,” said Agus, a caretaker of Darul Ihsan Mosque, commending the
activities such as subuh (dawn prayer) at mosques have also gained popularity
in recent years, with local clerics encouraging people to go to mosques and
perform subuh together.
expressed his support for the Maghrib Mengaji program.
every good action is worth supporting. We will support any morally good
activities,” he told reporters at City Hall on Friday.
support for the program can be tracked back to conservative Muslim groups who
threw their weight behind him during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections.
In politically charged Islamic movements, such as the 212 movement, which arose
during the campaign period, many Islamic preachers encouraged voters to elect a
Muslim leader, which was a direct jab at then- Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok”
Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent.
had also highlighted that Anies and his running mate Sandiaga Uno claimed
victory in the election by riding the waves of religious conservatism.
an apparent move to appease his voters, Anies had also revoked a previous ban
to hold religious gatherings at the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central
Mental and Spiritual Education Bureau head Hendra Hidayat, however, insisted
that the Maghrib Mengaji program was not created based on Anies’ order, but
solely the initiative of the South Jakarta mayor.
is no governor instruction for the program. So this depends on residents’
awareness in each area. This is actually an old program that is being revived,”
he said on Friday. (ars)
continues despotic rule, consults Khashoggi hit squad leader: Report
facing worldwide controversy after the assassination of dissident journalist
Jamal Khashoggi, reports have shown that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
has continued his despotic practices, regularly consulting the killing's
alleged mastermind Saud al-Qahtani.
and Saudi sources informed on the matter say that many of the prince's current
decisions are in line with advice gained from his former aid Qahtani, reported
the American daily newspaper The Washington Post on Thursday.
he feels very confident and in control. As long as his base is secure, he feels
that nothing can harm him,” says an American source who recently met the
completely unchastened by what has happened,” read the report quoting a British
researcher highly informed on Saudi politics.
who was fired from his position after being blamed for Khashoggi's murder,
allegedly advises bin Salman on a regular basis.
former aid is said to be the architect of the kingdom’s social media campaign
against Muslim preachers, intellectuals and critics of the Riyadh regime.
has also been reported to be deeply involved in Riyadh’s cyber espionage and
dissident intimidation activities.
believe many recent intimidation campaigns taking place against Riyadh’s
opposition have also been designed by Qahtani.
Thursday, a Twitter campaign emerged claiming to expose "facts"
against Khashoggi and Omar Abdulaziz, a popular dissident activist living in
well produced video also surfaced on social media titled “Qatar System
Exposed,” alleging that Khashoggi was involved in a plot to “create a new
destabilizing Arab Spring to unsettle Arab countries, mainly, Saudi Arabia.”
an outspoken critic of bin Salman, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in
October, but never came back.
Saudi kingdom, after denying the murder for several days, ultimately admitted
that Khashoggi had been murdered in the consulate after an interrogation by
rogue operatives had gone wrong.
Turkish officials have tied the case to the highest levels of Saudi leadership.
Riyadh has denied accusations that the prince ordered the murder.
week, a Saudi court held its first hearing on Khashoggi’s case in which Saudi
Arabian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, however,
rejected the trial as “not sufficient” and not meeting the requirements of an
independent and international inquiry.
to a recent survey by the pollster Konda, a growing number of Turks identify as
atheists. Konda reports that the number of nonbelievers tripled in the past 10
years. It also found that the share of Turks who say they adhere to Islam
dropped from 55 percent to 51 percent.
is religious coercion in Turkey," said 36-year-old computer scientist
Ahmet Balyemez, who has been an atheist for over 10 years. "People ask
themselves: Is this the true Islam?" he added. "When we look at the
politics of our decision-makers, we can see they are trying to emulate the
first era of Islam. So, what we are seeing right now is primordial Islam."
said he grew up in a very religious family. "Fasting and praying were the
most normal things for me," he said. But then, at some point, he decided
to become an atheist.
Turkey's official directorate of religious affairs, declared in 2014 that more
than 99 percent of the population identifies as Muslim. When Konda's recent
survey with evidence to the contrary was published, heated public debate
theologian Cemil Kilic believes that both figures are correct. Though 99
percent of Turks are Muslim, he said, many only practice the faith in a
cultural and sociological sense. They are cultural, rather than spiritual,
said Muslims who regularly pray, go on pilgrimages or wear veils could
generally be considered pious, though, he added, being true to the faith means
much more than just performing rituals or opting for certain outerwear. In his
view, "judging whether a person is religious should also be based on
whether he or she subscribes to certain ethical and humanitarian values." When
only taking into account people who practice Islam, he said, "no more than
60 percent of people in Turkey can be considered Muslim."
majority of Muslims in Turkey are like the Umayyads, who ruled in the seventh
century," Kilic said. "The prayers contained in the Koran reject
injustice. But the Umayyads regarded daily prayer as a form of showing
deference towards the sultan, the state and the powers that be."
Turkey, Kilic said, the relationship between organized religion and the state
endures. "Regular prayers have become a way to signal obedience toward the
political leadership," he said. "And prayers in mosques increasingly
reflect the political worldview of those in power."
said a lack of belief did not, of course, mean the lack of a moral compass.
"Some atheists are more ethical and conscientious than many Muslims,"
nearly 16 years under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, first as prime minister and since
2014 as president, Turkish officials have increasingly used Islam to justify
their politics — possibly increasing the skepticism surrounding faith in
government. "People reject the predominant interpretation of Islam, the
sects, religious communities, the directorate of religious affairs and those in
power," he said. "They do not want this kind of religion and this
official form of piousness." This, Kilic said, could help explain why so
many Turks now identify as atheists.
Ozkohen, who heads Ateizm Dernegi, Turkey's main association for atheists, said
Erdogan's desire to produce a generation of devout Muslims had backfired in
many ways. "Religious sects and communities have discredited
themselves," she said. "We have always said that the state should not
be ruled by religious communities, as this leads to people questioning their
faith and becoming humanist atheists."
cited the unsuccessful coup in 2016, in which followers of the preacher and
religious scholar Fethullah Gulen are accused of rising up against Erdogan, a
former ally of the theologian's. The coup, she said, was a clash between
opposing religious groups — which was followed by a major crackdown by Erdogan.
"People have noticed this and distanced themselves," she said.
"Those who reflect rationally on this turn to atheism."
a result, Ozkohen said, "today, people are more courageous and willing to
openly say they are atheists." But the government continues to coerce
people to conform to perceived religious standards. "Pressure is exerted
in the neighborhoods and mosques," she said. "And the most visible
sign of this is that in 2019, schoolchildren are still obliged to study
Shahidul Alam’s Jamaat-e-Islami connection
photographer Shahidul Alam has succeeded in drawing attention of the local and
international media as well as several individuals and rights groups. Being
suggested by Al Jazeera English Service, Shalidul Alam organized school
children last year and engaged them into a movement under the banner of road
safety. Earlier, the Qatar-based broadcast network had suggested him to engage
school children in a movement and even ignore “minor losses” [clearly hinting
about getting some school children killed in arranged road accident] with the
nefarious agenda of emerging as the “godfather of Bangladeshi journalists.”
Ultimate agenda of Al Jazeera and Pakistani spy agency Inter Service
Intelligence (ISI) were shifting the movement of the school children into an
anti-government movement, thus portraying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her
government are repressers of children.
Alam organized the school children by inviting them through the social media,
and had successfully held number of demonstrations in Dhaka, the capital city
of Bangladesh thus putting the government into serious discomfort.
to documents obtained by this newspaper, Shahidul Alam has been maintaining
relations with a Bangladeshi handler of Pakistani ISI. He also, on document,
has branded ISIS (Islamic State) kingpin Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi as a ‘creation of
dubious individuals including Arundhati Roy, a known India-hater novelist and
defender of Islamist militants, including those based in Jammu and Kashmir are
amongst few front ranking promoters and supporters of Shahidul Alam. Arundhati
has been actively working with the dangerous agenda of disintegrating India.
may be mentioned here that, Shahidul Alam gave an interview with Al Jazeera in
August, 2018 where he clearly incited riot by calling upon the students to
start an anti-government movement. A case under ICT (information and
communication technology) Act was filed against him for trying to oust an
his arrest, an orchestrated campaign in his defense continued at home and
abroad, which was allegedly organized by Jamaat-e-Islam. Amnesty International
gave him ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ title recognizing his ‘contributions’ in
‘defending freedom of expression’. But, in reality Shahidul’s interview with Al
Jazeera had nothing to do with freedom of expression.
newspaper also has received documentary evidence pertaining Shahidul’s indecent
private life, which is not being published for the time being.
few weeks back, pro-Caliphate Hizbut Tahrir had started pasting posters in
Dhaka demanding the case against him to be withdrawn. However, when a Hizbut
man with Al Qaeda connection was arrested while coordinating this campaign,
Shahidul quickly contacted Hizbut Tahrir asking them to deny the pasting of
such posters by publishing a statement on the website of this notorious
militant group. Subsequently Shahidul started propaganda stating Israeli
security agency Mossad and Indian RAW were behind pasting of posters.
in Britain, Jamaat-e-Islami’s leader Barrister Abdur Razzak has been spending
lavishly in buying support for Shahidul Alam. Due to Razzak’s efforts,
individuals like British Labour Party MP, Rupa Huq has been openly working in
favour of Shahidul Alam.
for many years, Shahidul has been pretending to be a secularist, in reality, he
has deeper ties with notorious pro-Sharia groups like Jamaat. This newspaper
has obtained specific evidence of Shahidul Alam’s connections with
militancy-linked Jamaat-e-Islami. Amongst these evidences, there are several
photographs where Shahidul is seen sitting with Mujibur Rahman Monju, former
president of the student wing of Jamaat.
In the picture, he is seen to be smiling proudly declaring his
affiliations with this militancy-linked group. The photograph itself proves
Shahidul Alam’s affection for the war criminals. It also clearly shows his
claim as secularist to be false.
Maulana Azad National Urdu University today took a leap forward towards its
mandate of reaching the unreached by entering into a partnership with United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to implement a pilot project on Adolescence
Education Program (AEP) in Madrasas of Bihar.
formal launching ceremony of the project was held today morning at Conference
Hall, Administrative Building, MANUU Campus.
Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz, Vice-Chancellor presided over and exchanged the
documents with Mr Venkatesh Srinivasan, Assistant Representative, UNFPA in
the gathering Dr. Aslam Parvaiz described the project as a new beginning for
MANUU. The endeavour to empower Madrasa students is part of MANUU’s mandate, he
said. Collaboration with UNFPA shall continue to streamline the marginalized
sections. Inclusion and dissolution is important for smooth functioning of the
society, Dr. Aslam Parvaiz remarked.
Venkatesh Srinivasan expressed the need to engage educational institutions with
national bodies and professional organizations. He offered more collaborative
ventures to MANUU including a new project on Media with the involvement of
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.
M A Sikandar, Registrar, described the pilot project as a mission and in
complete consonance with University’s mandate.
aims at the training, capacity building and lifelong learning of adolescents
studying at Wastania level (classes 6-8) Madrasas in four districts of Purnia
division namely Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar. The Purnia division has
a very high concentration of Muslim population and represents one of the highly
backward regions of Bihar commonly known as Seemanchal.
Dr M. Vanaja, Project Coordinator, welcomed the guests. Prof. Mohd Shahid,
Project Director, briefed about the proposal. He submitted that MANUU is keen
into the project by the virtue of the exigency to get into such projects to
empower Muslim community, more especially, to adolescent Muslims. He explained
the demography of Purnia Division which is considered as one of the backward
regions of Bihar. Dr Nadeem Noor, UNFPA, Patna, conceptualized the whole
situation of marginalized communities in the country and the associated stigma
of mainstreaming Indian Muslims. In the context he expressed his views on
taking adolescent students of Madarsas to the extent where they can develop
life skills for active citizenship.
Faiz Ahmad, Project Coordinator, proposed the vote of thanks.
Directors, Heads of the Departments, Faculty Members and Students of MANUU
beside the representatives from UNFPA, Jamia Millia Islamia and Bihar State
Madrasa Education Board were present.
mark Jesus baptism at historic Jordan site
AL-KHARRAR: Hundreds of Catholic worshippers attended a special mass Friday on
the banks of the Jordan River in an annual pilgrimage to the site where many
believe Jesus was baptised.
the ceremony started on the Jordanian side of the river, dozens of priests
filled jugs at the water’s edge as scouts played music.
1,500 people attended the ceremony at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, an
AFP photographer said, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the capital Amman.
mass was led by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of
the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
celebrating today in this holy place, the place of the baptism, we we are
celebrating the presence of Jesus among us,” said Pizzaballa, urging Christians
worldwide to visit the site.
the ceremony the priests dipped their fingers in the water they drew from the
Jordan River and used it to bless the congregation, emulating the baptism of
is a unique example of coexistence, security and stability in the region,”
Pizzaballa said, urging worshippers to pray for peace in the region.
al-Kharrar, or Bethany Beyond the Jordan, is where biblical historians believe
Jesus was baptised by his cousin, John the Baptist, and began his public
ceremony held by Pope John Paul II at Wadi al-Kharrar in 2000 was taken by
Jordanians as confirmation that this was the original baptismal site.
site on the Israeli-occupied western bank of the Jordan River is also
remains of several churches, baptismal pools and a sophisticated water
reticulation system – some dating to the Roman era – have been discovered in
2015, UNESCO added the site to its World Heritage List.
of thousands of pilgrims from around the world visit Wadi al-Kharrar and other
sites in Jordan of interest to Christians each year.
represent six percent of Jordan’s mostly Muslim population of 9.5 million.
CITY, Virginia – Ilhan Omar had four hours to decide whether to run for
June, Keith Ellison, then a representative for Minnesota and the first Muslim
elected to Congress, made a late-hour entry into the state's attorney general
race, leaving his congressional seat wide open.
a 36-year-old who fled the civil war in Somalia in 1991 and lived with her
family for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before they were resettled in
the US, was already serving as a member in Minnesota's state House of
with little time and no consultation with her family, she decided to run for
the 5th district because, in the end, she said she couldn’t trust that any of
the other candidates would fight as hard as she would in Congress.
children first heard the news from their teachers, and her father who was in
the hospital learned she was running from a nurse.
in true fashion, no one really gave me permission to run but myself,” Omar told
several hundred supporters at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
congressional reception in a Hyatt Regency ballroom on Thursday evening.
week, Omar and Rashida Tlaib, representative from Michigan’s 13th district,
became the first Muslim women ever to be sworn into Congress, joining the most
diverse freshman class in US history.
event - billed as a congressional reception which also included newly
re-elected Representative Andre Carson of Indiana - was for all intents and
purposes a celebration of their historic victories.
am delighted really at this particular time in our nation’s history for there
to be two unapologetic, unbought progressive leaders from the Muslim community
who are women representing us in Congress,” said Omar.
our sheer presence in Congress, we say as Muslim women that we are in charge of
our lives, our destiny. We decide where and how we show up.”
42, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, talked about a recent encounter
with an 11-year-old girl in California who was wearing a blazer.
trying to look like you’,” the girl told Tlaib. “And I said, Girl, forget
Congress, run for president. She said uh-huh. Our young women are now believing
that their place is on the House floor, that their place is in the White House.
That’s what we are doing.”
throng of fans, including several sets of mothers and daughters and a handful
wearing traditional Palestinian thobes like the one Tlaib wore in her
swearing-in ceremony, rushed the stage after their speeches, hoping to get
photos with the congresswomen. “My daughter really likes Ilhan. She’s the
future of America,” said Keyzer Ozer, who helps run the Turkish American
Community Centre in Lanham, Maryland.
said her daughter feels particularly connected to Omar because they both wear
hijabs, something that she said has made them at times a focus of
discrimination which she hopes the congresswomen will help change.
know other American families have the same problems, but we are feeling we have
double problems,” she said. “Because we are showing we are Muslims, we are
Mohammed, a Virginia resident who recently retired after working 18 years at
the World Bank, said she had left Somalia in 1981 to live in the US - and also sees herself in Omar.
are just unthinkable things that are happening. I’m so excited to see these
women that I meet here – there is a change,” she said. “People who look like us
are sitting in the Congress – people who look like me."
Tulsi Gabbard, who met Syria’s Assad, will run for US presidency
congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who met dictator Bashar
al-Assad in Syria during the country’s devastating civil war, said Friday that
she is launching a US presidential bid.
have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next
week,” Gabbard told CNN.
elected, the 37-year-old lawmaker would be the youngest president in US
history. She is the first Hindu member of Congress and its first Samoan
are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of
challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and
that I want to help solve,” she said, citing health care access and climate
change among them.
sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she is able to influence US
is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and
peace,” Gabbard added. “I look forward to being able to get into this and to
talk about it in depth when we make our announcement.”
was born in American Samoa and was raised in Hawaii, where she is known to
previous Democratic president, Barack Obama, was also raised in Hawaii, and is
the only president who was born in the island state.
announcement comes ahead of what is expected to be a wave of high-profile
candidates throwing their hats in the ring.
Elizabeth Warren has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential bid,
and last week took a high-profile trip to the early voting state of Iowa.
Vice President Joe Biden and progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Gabbard
supported over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, are also
mulling entering the race.
Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio who served in Barack Obama’s cabinet as
housing secretary, says he will announce his 2020 plans on Saturday.
drew heavy criticism when she met secretly with Assad in Damascus in 2017
during a fact-finding mission that also took her to the decimated city of
Aleppo. She also met with refugees and Syrian opposition leaders.
I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I
felt it was important to take it,” Gabbard said when her trip became public.
think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help
bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much
United States plans to host a global summit focused on the Middle East,
particularly Iran, next month in Poland, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told
Fox News in a report published on Friday.
an interview with the news network, Pompeo said the international gathering
would be held February 13 to February 14 in Poland to “focus on Middle East
stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that
includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing
United States has blocked the Israeli regime’s sale of 12 used F-16 jet
fighters to Croatia in a deal worth $500 million over demands that Tel Aviv
removes electronic modifications it has made to the war planes.
has officially informed us that it cannot get an approval from the United
States for delivery of the planes to Croatia," Croatia's Defense Minister
Damir Krsticevic announced in a Thursday press conference in the capital Zagreb
following a meeting with a visiting Israeli delegation.
to Croatian media reports, the problem came up because the war planes had been
refitted with Israeli technology, depriving American weapons makers the
opportunity to update and service the decades-old fighter jets.
US reportedly insisted that the Israeli regime must strip the jets of the
upgrades it had made -- including electronic and radar systems – prior to
transferring the aircraft.
however, declined to purchase the planes without the Israeli modifications,
declaring that it will cancel the order for the F-16 Barak combat aircraft,
which were to replace the NATO member’s aging fleet of Soviet MiG21
failed to overcome the opposition of the United States to the sale of 12 planes
to Croatia, and the $500 million deal will apparently be canceled,” the
Croatian Defense Ministry emphasized in a statement.
we have not been able to realize the deal because of problems that could not
have been expected and are not under the control of the countries,” said the
chief of Israeli war ministry, Udi Adam, in the press briefing in Zagreb on
Thursday. Eager to sell the planes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
reportedly even raised the issue with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during
their meeting in Brazil earlier this month.
all efforts, however, the State Department blocked the transfer of arms to the
Balkan nation. It did not provide comments on the report because it was on
furlough due to the persisting US government shutdown.
a senior Israeli official told the US-based Axios news outlet that former
Pentagon Chief James Mattis had rejected a personal request from Netanyahu to
give the acquisition his personal approval.
from the Israeli regime, several other countries also participated in the
bidding process for the warplane deal, including Greece, South Korea and
Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced earlier this week that
Zagreb would not accept any other deal except the original Israeli offer which
it accepted last March.
agreement on buying the planes has not been signed, so there is no financial
damage to our budget," Plenkovic said during a cabinet session on
16-year-old boy who was captured on the battlefield in Syria this week with
fighters for the Islamic State is not American, but is instead from Trinidad
and Tobago, according to American officials and the boy’s sister.
teenager was taken from the Caribbean nation to the war zone when he was 12 by
his mother, who converted to Islam after becoming romantically involved with a
radicalized man, Sarah Lee Su, the boy’s older sister, said in a phone
a four-year silence, she heard from them for the first time last month, when
her mother contacted her on Facebook Messenger and sent a series of audio
recordings that said the two were alive and pleading for help. She said they
were hiding somewhere in Syria.
need money to help us get out of here,” Gailon Su, the mother, said in one of
the recordings she sent to her daughter, which was shared with The New York
Times. “If not me, your brother. He is innocent.”
American-backed militia that announced the boy’s capture on Wednesday said he
was among three American citizens apprehended in recent days in the battle zone
fighting for the Islamic State, which is also called ISIS. But Pentagon and
State Department officials said only one of the three — Warren Christopher
Clark, 34, a former substitute teacher from Texas — was an American.
Friday, two American officials said that Mr. Clark would soon be transferred to
F.B.I. custody. He will be flown to the United States, where he will face
federal charges in Houston, the officials said.
16-year-old, who was erroneously identified in a news release from the
American-backed militia as Soulay Noah Su, an American citizen, is actually
Su-lay Su from Trinidad, the boy’s sister said. She recognized him in a photo
released by the militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, she said.
team led by Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College computer science professor, used
facial identification software to compare the photo with images of Su-lay
posted on social media and concluded with “high confidence” that the two were
the same person.
Su, 23, said her mother and brother had fallen under the sway of a Trinidadian
man who eventually persuaded them in 2014 to travel to the budding ISIS
caliphate. “Once they got to Syria,” Ms. Su said, “they told me that this guy
took their documents and destroyed them, and said, ‘You are now going to stay
here and die.’”
the audio recordings Gailon Su sent to her daughter, she said, “Everyone wants
to be blaming me, that I did bad things to my children. I just married a man.”
to a database maintained by Simon Cottee, a University of Kent criminologist,
the mother and son were part of a group of 10 people taken to Syria by Anthony
Hamlet; also included were Mr. Hamlet’s second wife, two of his daughters and
three other boys, Mr. Cottee said.
departing in September 2014, Mr. Hamlet appeared in ISIS propaganda, including
in a photo spread in the terror group’s online magazine and in a video in which
he is shown on his stomach, peering through the scope of a rifle.
my research on ISIS in Trinidad, one of my most striking findings is the block
nature of the migrations to Syria and Iraq,” said Mr. Cottee, who is working on
a book on jihadists from Trinidad, which has one of the world’s highest per
capita rates of recruitment to ISIS. Mr. Cottee first noticed the captured
teenager had a similar name to one in his database on Wednesday.
wasn’t just individuals going,” he said. “It was entire families looking to
remake their lives in the so-called caliphate.”
is known about the mother and son’s time in Syria and the mother’s current
whereabouts is unknown.
boy’s Facebook timeline, which is sparse, reveals only a handful of photos that
speak to possible military activity. Of greater interest to him appear to be
posts about flashy hightop sneakers. Because Su-lay was 12 when his mother took
him to Syria, “He didn’t have any say or agency in the matter,” Mr. Cottee
said. “So he is a victim as much as a perpetrator in the Syrian jihad.”
posts by his mother on her Facebook page, identified as authentic by her
daughter, indicated more agency in her own radicalization as well as a
willingness to support her son’s exploration of military activities.
a post in 2013, a year before they left for Syria, Su-lay’s mother congratulated
him on his excellent grades. A year later, she liked a photo that her son had
posted, presumably from Syria, of a mounted rifle. The following year, she
liked a photo showing him in what appeared to be military fatigues.
in one of the final messages she sent to her daughter last month, Ms. Su said
she did not want her son to fight.
France, a Muslim progressive researcher has recently announced establishing the
first mixed-gender mosque in France where all Muslim women and men can pray
next to each other. In much of the Muslim world men and women are spearated
into two halls.
Bahloul, a Muslim woman who was born for an Algerian father and a French
mother, has established an association for Muslims in France and it is called:
“Tell Me About Islam.” The association aims to discuss controversial debates
that are not discussed among Muslims.
was the first to suggest the idea of a mixed-gender mosque in France where is
doing her PhD on Islamic studies.
an interview with French Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, Bahloul said the mosque is
going to be named “Fatima Mosque” and it is the first of its kind in France.
also confirmed the mosque idea was first inspired by the “discrimination”
Muslim women are facing when praying in mosques where they are seperated in a
different room than men. However, Muslim women should not be any less than men
when performing religious rituals.
the proposed project will also emphasize other interpretations of Quran to
reflect more intolerant and less radical image about Islam in the world.
mosque will not be mixed-gender only, but it will also welcome non-hijabi women
to pray without covering their heads despite all criticism this idea had
supporters and critics, Bahloul’s idea had stirred wide controversy among the
had fiercely criticized it suggesting it breaks Islamic taboos and this is only
part of a “conspiracy theory” that is targeting Islam and Muslims.
Mosque will not be the first-of-its-kind around the world. In Germany, Ibn
Rushd-Goethe mosque has been part of a growing movement known as inclusive
Islam. It was first set up in 2010 and was known for allowing men and women to
pray together and rejects burqa and niqab.
accuses BBC of 'promoting terrorist propaganda'
media regulator says it has found material on BBC websites that were promoting
terrorist propaganda, shorty after it launched an investigation into the
activities of the British public broadcaster.
media regulator, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement that it was investigating
whether the broadcaster was in violation of “Russia's strict anti-extremism
date, material has been uncovered which transmits the ideological principles of
a terrorist group,” it said.
regulator said it has found quotes from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Daesh
terrorist group's leader, in news reports on the BBC Russian service website.
does not forbid quoting individuals considered "terrorists," but any
mention of the Daesh terrorist group has to come with the disclaimer that the
group is banned in the country.
opened its probe into the activities of BBC World News channel and BBC websites
in December in response to a decision by British media regulator Ofcom, which
has accused Russian broadcaster RT of breaking the rules in some of its news
and current affairs programs.
then, the BBC said that it “works in Russia in full compliance with the
country's laws and regulations to deliver independent news and information to
had earlier accused RT of breaking broadcasting rules by allegedly failing to
preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programs over a
has launched a number of investigations to check the output of RT, formerly
known as Russia Today.
rejected the allegations, saying the British regulator had not paid “due
regard” to its broadcasting rights.
state-sponsored British broadcaster has already been accused by Iran of seeking
to undermine the country’s security.
Iranian diplomat, Zahra Ershadi, said last November that the Islamic Republic
was the target of a media war which is planned, organized and funded by hostile
made the remarks in response to comments made by the UN Special Rapporteur on
Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, after he publicly criticized
Iran for allegedly restricting the activities of BBC Persian.
hacker spread right-wing, anti-Muslim views on Internet
A 20-year-old student who disclosed the private data of nearly 1,000
politicians and others in one of Germany's biggest data breaches had expressed
rightwing and anti-Muslim views on the Internet, German media reported on
the Internet handle "r00taccess", the student, identified as Johannes
S., said "Islam is filth: we don't live in the 6th century" and
discussed the return of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, weekly news magazine Der
Spiegel reported on Friday.
officials this week said the student, who lived with his parents in the central
state of Hesse, had confessed to the breach.
said he had described himself as frustrated about the utterances of
politicians, but right-wing material was not initially found in a search of his
investigators have now found that he engaged in repeated right-wing posts on
the Internet and was part of a right-leaning community of
"hack-tivists", Spiegel reported.
comment was immediately available from the German interior ministry. The
Frankfurt prosecutor's office, which is handling the case, could not be
said the suspect claimed in another posting that the far-right Alternative for
Germany (AfD) party would not be able to rid Germany of migrants, and it would
take the ultranationalist National Democratic Party (NPD) "to clean up
Constitutional Court in 2017 ruled that the NPD resembled Hitler's Nazi party,
but ruled against banning it because it was too weak to endanger democracy.
said authorities had opened three investigations of the student in recent years
on suspicion that he was trying to illegally obtain data and falsify evidence,
cases that were still pending in the courts.
19-year-old witness interviewed in the case, Jan Schuerlein, told broadcaster
ARD that he helped lead authorities to the suspect because he had posted on the
Internet about an earlier police raid. By pinpointing the date, authorities
were able to identify the suspect.
is definitely a little oriented to the right, but not right-wing
extremist," Schuerlein told ARD. "But he had a big problem with the migrants
and migrant policy."
silly old fool
once a silly young fool.
strength of the strong and silent
in keeping their mouths shut….. “
More Proverbs of Bachchoo-ka-adda
honourably can be expensive — as the government of the UK has known for some
time and the British media is now trying to hold it to account for so doing.
the case of one Abu Qatada, an Islamicist cleric of Jordanian origin and
Salafist conviction who was expelled from Jordan, spent some time spreading his
vile bile in Pakistan and landed up in Britain in 1993 on a false UAE passport.
He was given leave to remain on honourable, human rights grounds.
Qatada is not a great advocate of human rights himself. Consider some of his
1995 he issued a “fatwa” stating that it is justified to kill Muslims who deny
the faith and to kill their families also. In 1997, from the safe haven of a
house in Acton, for which the British State paid the rent, he announced to his
followers that Islam deemed it legitimate to “kill Jews, including Jewish
October 1999, he gave a speech at London’s Four Feathers mosque saying
“American citizens should be attacked, wherever they were — and there is no
difference between English people, Jews and Americans.”
has made no direct mention of the Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrian or other faiths.
Even so, in an Al Qaeda magazine published in Syria, he attacks Shia Muslims:
“Allah exposes our enemies from amongst the filthy Shias and their beloved
friends from among the polytheists.” I don’t think that latter term was
intended as a description of ancient Greeks. He probably meant Hindus.
is and has been for decades a British law against instigating the murder of
groups or inciting religious hatred. It distinguishes between criticising
religious doctrine and hate crime. I can, for instance, say that I don’t
believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. What I can’t say is “kill all
Christians at the church doors on Sunday”. If I did, inspector Abdul of the
Yard will undoubtedly knock on my door and make urgent enquiries.
all his nasty nonsense, Abu Q was not only left free to preach by the British
State, the secret services and police, he and his family were housed and kept
in comfort by welfare payments to the estimated tune of nearly a million
he was arrested by the police on three occasions, detained for periods of time
under anti-terrorist detention laws and released by the courts on each
is a body of opinion which believes that Abu Q made a deal with Britain’s MI5
despite his involvement in international terrorist acts — or because of them.
His messages and recordings were found in the Hamburg flat of one of the 9/11
bombers. Even if there was no such deal, it is likely that the secret services
allowed him his freedom so that they could trace his contacts and
communications with terrorists here and abroad.
him free or frequently arresting him and releasing him without charge may have
been a way of pacifying public opinion as his incendiary activities and
opinions were widely known and caused widespread disquiet.
government can openly say that they are letting such a person loose so they can
gather information about his active associates through keeping him under
entered the country on a false passport, Q applied for asylum on the grounds
that he had been tortured in Jordan and if he was sent back would be subject to
the same treatment.
granting him political asylum, was the UK state acting honourably — honouring
its commitment to not send people, however nasty, to countries where they may
be tortured? The UK Home Office did, in the case of Abu Q, plead some such
honourable thing, even though it emerged that it had earlier colluded with the
US to send several individuals captured in Afghanistan to Libya, where they
were provenly subjected to torture.
be it from me, gentle reader, to concoct conspiracy theories or even pretend to
know what MI5 and the Home Office were up to with this honourable stance. In
keeping Abu Q free, they were assisted by the fact that, when he was threatened
with deportation as the media began to question why he was still at liberty to
preach murder, he appealed to the European Court of Justice. That court upheld
his appeal on the grounds that he would be tortured in Jordan and so must
remain in the UK.
MI5 and the Home Office, which threatened the deportation, defeated by the
European Court or was it a clandestine victory as they must have known how the
ECJ would rule and enable Q to remain as the main conduit to the detection of
terrorist communications and plans?
in 2013, public opinion prevailed and Theresa May, then still home secretary,
negotiated a deal with Jordan. Q would be sent there after a treaty specifying
that he wouldn’t be tortured was signed. The treaty must have offered Jordan
something in return but what it specified was that the UK would pay £200, 000
each year for doctors and social servants to check on Quasimodo’s — sorry,
Qatada’s — health.
investigations have turned up the fact that apart from this regular
good-riddance payment, the UK government spent £1.9 million on Q’s deportation
procedures. The honourable thing to do?
“honour” in this and so many instances a pragmatic tool?
Julius Caesar was murdered and Brutus made his speech justifying the
assassination, Mark Anthony, with his tongue slipping firmly into his cheek,
said “Brutus is an honourable man.” And of course, Brutus’s honourable stance
cost him dearly.
looks at Arab countries as entirety of Muslim world: Anwar Ibrahim
that there is no conflict between Islam, modernity and democracy, Malaysia’s
Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim pointed to India, saying that in the
world’s largest democracy with the second-largest Muslim population, Muslims
have accepted democracy. Addressing a discussion on issues affecting the
‘Muslim world’ organised by the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate
Thought, Ibrahim said the idea of “inclusivity” is central to his mind.
to the eruption of the issue of temple demolitions in Malaysia in 2008, Ibrahim
said he and his party had taken the position of compensating the Hindu
community and rebuilding the temple. “It was an issue of justice and tolerance.
I was here in India soon afterwards and there were around nine media houses
pounding on this issue at me, but I could stand on a moral high ground. My
stand was that no temple should be demolished in Malaysia and it is also
expected that the same principle be followed across the world,” he said,
adding, “Though I didn’t mention any specific mosque here.”
can stand on a high ground only if we are seen to be morally coherent and
consistent, which unfortunately is not the case, both in Muslim and non-Muslim
countries,” he said.
if there exists a conflict between Islam and modernity, Ibrahim said these are
questions framed by the West, which show a lack of understanding of Muslim
societies. “There is no conflict whatsoever. There are texts on Islamic
modernity and we talk about democracy compatible with Muslim. This a narrative
created in Washington and London. Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim
population in the world, is a democracy. In India, which has the second-largest
Muslim population, Muslims have accepted democracy. We have Turkey and Malaysia
and well. This idea stems from not actually understanding Muslim society and by
looking at the Arab countries as the entirety of the Muslim world,” he said.
chair of National Minority Commission, Tahir Mahmood, however, asked how there
can pluralism in a country with a state religion, pointing particularly at
Malaysia. Admitting that there have been excesses against religious minorities
in Malaysia, Ibrahim said they were “nothing” compared to other countries,
“including this (India)”.
do not have a state religion. Islam has been said to be the religion of the
federation while respecting worship of all other religions. Six per cent of our
cabinet are Indians. Our Chief Justice is Christian, Minister of Finance
Buddhist… It’s the actualisation of ideals which is important,” he said.
Intensifies Lobbying to Thwart Criticism of Muslim Detentions
has escalated efforts to repel foreign criticism of its policing, mass
detentions and forcedassimilation measures targeting Muslims in the restive
Xinjiang region, stepping up diplomacy and public-relations efforts.
diplomats have petitioned several governments in their capitals against
attacking Beijing’s Xinjiang policies at the United Nations, according to
diplomats briefed on the matter.
has also arranged choreographed visits to the region for selected foreign
diplomats and reporters—many from Muslim-majority nations friendly with
China—while rebuffing Western requests for similar trips. But the stage-managed
tour “raised more questions than it answered” for some diplomats, said a
diplomat familiar with the trip. Activists and diplomats said China’s goal is
to beat back Western-led accusations of rights abuses against Xinjiang’s
chiefly Muslim Uighur ethnic group, and head off criticism from Muslim-majority
countries, where public anger is starting to simmer over Beijing’s repression of
has struggled for decades to curb separatist sentiment in Xinjiang, a
mountainous frontier abutting Central Asia that 11 million Turkic-speaking
Uighurs—nearly half the region’s population—regard as their homeland.
an increase in antigovernment violence and terrorism in Xinjiang in recent
years, President Xi Jinping launched a high-intensity security campaign that
U.N. officials said may have placed as many as one million Uighurs and other
Muslims in internment camps, where they were subjected to political
clampdown has sparked an international outcry and accusations of human-rights
has defended its methods as vital and effective for defeating extremism.
scrutiny intensified, Beijing deployed publicity and diplomatic pressure to
contain the fallout.
months of denying the existence of a mass-detention program, Chinese officials
switched to forcefully defending their Xinjiang policies, describing the camps
as vocational schools and crediting them for containing extremism.
government has proclaimed that minority cultures and religious activities are
flourishing in Xinjiang. State media scaled up English-language coverage of
economic development in the impoverished region, touting a reduction in poverty
and growing tourist arrivals. On the diplomatic front, Chinese officials have
been pressing Western governments for weeks to avoid public criticism of its
Xinjiang policies at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. The discussions
started ahead of a November meeting on China’s human-rights policies—a regular
peer-review discussion at the council—with the U.K. and the European Union
among those approached by China, diplomats said. Following that meeting, where
more than a dozen Western countries raised concerns about China’s treatment of
its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, Chinese efforts accelerated.
December, Chinese diplomats made formal representations to at least three
countries—one Asian and two European countries, including Belgium—and used
informal conversations in other European capitals to try to avert future public
criticism, European and Asian diplomats said. In the case of Belgium, there was
repeated outreach by Chinese officials about their concerns, a European
described the outreach as a pre-emptive campaign to pressure governments
against requesting a special session of the Human Rights Council to discuss
Xinjiang. The council can convene special sessions to discuss rights abuses and
emergencies if 16 of its 47 members agree. Recent special sessions have focused
on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the Syrian crisis.
diplomats said convening a special session against China would be a last resort
and hadn’t been seriously considered. Only about seven Western governments are
council members at any one time. The U.S. quit the Human Rights Council last
many countries try to ward off criticism at the Human Rights Council through
diplomatic lobbying, Beijing’s overtures signal heightened concern about
widening international backlash over Xinjiang, activists and diplomats said.
is China’s default mode with U.N. human-rights mechanisms: to ensure that they
do not robustly address China-related issues,” said Sophie Richardson, China
director at Human Rights Watch.
Foreign Ministry defended Chinese policies in Xinjiang as necessary for
fighting terrorism and extremism, while decrying foreign criticism as biased
affairs are China’s internal affairs and we will never allow any external
forces to make irresponsible remarks or interfere,” the ministry said. “Chinese
diplomats are duty-bound to firmly defend the country’s sovereignty, security
and territorial integrity.”
last year, a group of 18 Western ambassadors in Beijing—led by the Canadian
envoy—wrote to Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief to ask for a meeting to discuss
the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities, but didn’t get a response,
according to people familiar with the matter.
December, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and
Germany’s human-rights commissioner, Bärbel Kofler, said Beijing hadn’t acceded
to their requests to visit Xinjiang.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters this week that all parties,
including U.N. officials, would be welcome in Xinjiang as long as they “abide
by Chinese laws and comply with relevant procedures.”
month, the Foreign Ministry arranged a Xinjiang tour for 12 diplomats, mainly
from Beijing’s neighbors and partners. Most of them are Muslim-majority
countries, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Indonesia, where public
anger has started to bubble over Beijing’s treatment of Muslims. Many of their
governments share close economic ties with Beijing.
itinerary for the three-day trip included a meeting with Xinjiang’s governor,
Shohrat Zakir, and visits to mosques, an industrial zone, a police station and
three “vocational-education and training centers,” the government’s label for
re-education camps holding Uighurs.
residents appeared to have been coached to give standard replies to visitors’
queries, while visitors were closely watched by chaperones throughout the trip,
according to diplomats.
Foreign Ministry said the tour was meant to boost understanding and
cooperation. The Xinjiang government didn’t immediately respond to questions.
the vocational centers, several trainees told diplomats that they volunteered
for training as a way to rid themselves of “extremist thoughts” and acquire
work skills, diplomats familiar with the trip said. They said security cameras
appeared to have been removed from the classrooms the diplomats visited,
leaving bare mountings on the walls.
Jan 12 — Acting Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Shah today called for the
many roles and activities hitherto confined within mosques to be carried out in
various new premises outside the mosques to enhance the image of the house of
said, however, that such efforts would not make the role of mosques any less
Nazrin Shah said the passage of time and development of civilisation had made
the way of life of the people more complex and incurred the need to address the
rising number of the ‘ummah’ (community).
the early stage of the era of Islamic development, the mosques played various
roles, functioning as the centre of governance, administration, judiciary,
character development, knowledge, culture and civilisation, and organising
various welfare, social and community relations activities.
of the time at mosques was filled with various activities, more than that for
prayers,” said Sultan Nazrin Shah, who is the Sultan of Perak, at the Golden
Jubilee celebration of the Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque, known also as the Perak
State Mosque, here.
Nazrin Shah said the responsibility of enhancing the image of mosques rested
with those who were prepared to accept the trust and to be appointed as members
of the mosque committees and as mosque officials.
which are ready in terms of physical development must be nurtured with
meaningful content development, shaped by people sincere, devoted and committed
to Islamic development,” he said.
said the people entrusted with the duty of managing and enhancing the image of
mosques would be doing an injustice to the Muslim community if they failed to
fulfill their responsibility with sincerity, devotion and commitment.
to the Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque, Sultan Nazrin Shah said it was accorded
recognition as the Perak State Mosque and officially opened on Nov 15, 1968, by
the 33rd Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Iskandar Al-Mutawakil-Allallahi Shah II.
mosque is 50 years old. During that passage of time, the mosque underwent
various phases of renovation and physical expansion, along with the development
of various activities,” he said.
Nazrin Shah expressed his gratitude to all who had played various roles and
provided contributions to enhance the image of the mosque over the past 50
October 2018, Malaysia released 11 Uyghur refugees to Turkey, after dropping
immigration-related charges. This welcome decision marked the end of an arduous
journey to freedom for the men. It also demonstrated Malaysia’s leadership in
standing up for the rule of law, in the face of interference from China, which
pressed strongly to have the men returned.
Malaysia had agreed to China’s demands, the refugees would certainly have
disappeared into China’s massive network of detention camps for Uyghurs, which
Amnesty International says are run like “wartime concentration camps.”
Malaysian government did the right thing. Remarking on the Uyghur refugees,
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said simply: “They have done nothing wrong
in this country, so they are released.” In interviews last year, prime
minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim forthrightly expressed his concern about the
disturbing reports of Uyghur internment.
2017, China has engaged in an all-out assault on Uyghur cultural practices and
religious belief. The goal, according to the New York Times, is to “remove any
devotion to Islam.” In August 2018, the UN expressed its alarm over reports
that government had interned a staggering one million or more Uyghurs. In
December, the US State Department released estimates that possibly more than
two million people have been taken away. Children are being forcibly separated
from their relatives and placed in orphanages to be raised by the state.
scale of torture, deaths and enforced political indoctrination in the camps are
“unprecedented as a human rights atrocity in China", according to
Georgetown university Professor James Millward. German scholar Adrian Zenz,
testifying before the US Congress, described what is happening as “a monstrous
crime against humanity, on a scale and level of sophistication that has rarely
been witnessed in modern history”.
survivor Mihrigul Tursun told US legislators how she had endured interrogation
for days on end, sleep deprivation, and a starvation diet of one small piece of
bread each day. When subjected to repeated electric shocks, she said, “I
thought that I would rather die than go through this torture, and begged them
to kill me.”
society and politicians in other Muslim-majority countries are beginning to
condemn these shocking crimes against humanity. In Indonesia, legal aid
organisation Paham Indonesia, leading legislators from the Golkar and Gerindra
parties, and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) have all strongly protested the
Chinese government’s ruthless treatment of the Uyghur people.
in Western states have also expressed alarm. Nihad Awad, the leader of
America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organisation, said: “The international
community must take immediate action to address the brutal, systematic
repression being inflicted on Xinjiang’s Muslim population. Reports of mass
violations of human rights should not be ignored or excused.”
need Malaysians’ help to end this nightmare. Malaysia’s active civil society
should play a vital role in arousing public concern. Taking the lead, the
Malaysian Bar Council has already pointed out the repression facing Uyghurs in
China in addressing the case of the 11 refugees. In July, Tenaganita called for
“protection and compassion” for Uyghurs, saying that they “are now one of the
most persecuted groups in the world”.
is natural and right for Malaysians to express brotherhood and sisterhood with
Uyghurs who are suffering for their faith. And as multi-faith society, Malaysia
can be a leader in giving voice to the principle of human dignity for all.
also urge Malaysia to take a strong stance as an influential member of the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC has been slow in responding
to the Uyghur crisis. But in early December, the OIC’s Independent Permanent
Human Rights Commission heard an extensive briefing on the plight of the
Uyghurs in China, and stated its concern about their treatment. This represents
a beginning. The Malaysian government should seize the opportunity to activate
the OIC’s duty, as the collective voice of the Muslim world, to stand up
against the persecution of Muslims in China, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs,
Kyrgyz, and Hui.
11 Uyghur refugees released in October are now safe from their persecutors.
Although these men face formidable challenges in building a new life in Turkey,
they are able to freely practise their faith and live with dignity. Malaysia’s
role in protecting them from persecution was critical.
JAYA: The Friday sermon at mosques in the federal territories today reminded
Muslims of fatwas declaring cigarettes, shisha and vape as haram, as a smoking
ban imposed by the health ministry at restaurants nationwide enters its 11th
sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim)
defended the ban, saying it was to protect the health of the majority of
Malaysians who do not smoke.
effort is clearly aimed at protecting the public, especially the non-smokers,
from being exposed to the dangers of cigarette smoke and to cultivate a culture
of no smoking among Malaysians,” it said.
reminded Muslims of several decisions by the fatwa committee of the National
Council for Islamic Affairs, which declared smoking haram.
ban on smoking was done based on three main reasons: smoking harms the health
of smokers, it harms the surrounding people and the environment, and it is a
waste of money, time and energy.”
warned Muslims not to treat the problem lightly.
show that a person who smokes only inhales up to 30% of the smoke from his
cigarette, while 70% of the remaining (smoke) permeates into the air.
excess smoke threatens the rights of the majority. Islam forbids its followers
from doing something that will harm themselves and others,” the sermon added.
said smokers should seek help through various treatment programmes by the
health ministry, adding that people should “always persuade and advise” smokers
to kick the habit.
ban on smoking at eateries nationwide came into effect on Jan 1.
health ministry said it would refrain from issuing summonses on those violating
the ban in the first six months of the year.
who light up can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years. Restaurant
operators who fail to display no-smoking signs face a fine not exceeding
RM3,000 or jail time of up to six months. They can also be fined RM5,000 or
jailed for six months if they allow smoking on their premises.
ban applies to eateries in shop lots and on private land or any other place
that serves food such as food trucks, food stalls and rooftop restaurants.
forgotten tour: US band that rocked Saudi Arabia
A series of photos of the US band Starbuck on tour in Al-Ahsa in the 1970s has
been doing the rounds on Twitter. And by the looks of it, they had a rockin’
was formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1974 and rose to fame with their 1976 hit
“Moonlight Feels Right,” which reached No. 3 on the US Billboard Charts.
giant Aramco invited the band to perform in Saudi Arabia in 1978 to entertain
the American geologists it employed. Their tour lasted two weeks, during which
time they played at Aramco outposts along the Kingdom’s east coast.
pictures from the tour were posted eight years ago on Facebook, they grabbed
attention when they were posted to Twitter in early January by Mohammed
Al-Khalifah (@desertlover79), who is well known for posting vintage photos of
Saudi, particularly the Eastern Province.
came across them while searching for old photos of his home region of Al-Ahsa.
In the first two days they were on Twitter, the photos had garnered over
photographs were first shared on Facebook by Davie Holifield, daughter of
Starbuck’s lead guitarist Darryl Kutz. On a tribute page to the late musician,
Holifield has posted more than 800 photographs chronicling her father’s life,
including those of the band’s Saudi tour.
father was a career musician and we had so many photos we wanted to share with
friends, relatives and fans of all of the bands he was in. When he died
suddenly of a heart attack at age 46, we were devastated. So we started the
page as a place to share his photos,” said Holifield.
album dedicated to the Saudi Arabian tour contains almost 200 photos of the
various band members, mostly taken by Kutz. And judging by their quality, he
could have made it as a photojournalist if he hadn’t been a musician.
pictures feature the pristine beaches of Ras Tanoura, the blooming
bougainvillea trees of the Aramco compound in Dhahran, and the magnificent rock
formations at Jabal Qarah. The pictures also show the members of Starbuck, along
with their interpreters — Mohammed and Alawi.
Crysler, Starbuck’s drummer, expressed how fondly he remembered the trip. “As
you can see from the beautiful pictures that Darryl took, we really had a good
time visiting and experiencing the country,” he said. “Everyone we met seemed
to really appreciate our being there. It was quite an adventure being able to
just walk around and visit some of the old towns.”
to Crysler, the band mainly stayed in Dhahran, though he recalls visiting
several different towns during the tour. Kutz’s photos show them taking one of
Aramco’s F-27 planes during their stay, and Crysler recalls them taking planes
to get around.
remember flying to one concert and, shortly after taking off, Darryl had a
problem with his inner ear and we had to land. We left Darryl on the ground and
then flew to the next concert venue. Darryl was able to make friends and
somehow get a ride to the concert without speaking the language. He was amazing
at making friends wherever we happened to be,” Crysler said.
the photos continue to gain traction on Twitter, there have been numerous
responses from people pleased to see the region in the spotlight.
are beautiful. Long live Al-Ahsa!” tweeted one user.
to think that when these pictures were taken, 70% of Saudis weren’t even born
yet,” pointed out another.
hopes that the pictures will help her father’s memory — and that of the band —
live on. “Maybe others who remember that trip will get to see them,” she said.
“And as for my father, we miss him terribly, but we love being able to keep him
alive in the memories from those days.”
US-led coalition battling ISIS said on Friday that it had started the pullout
process but US officials later clarified that only equipment, not troops, had
exited the country.
President Donald Trump’s announcement last month that he had decided to
withdraw the 2,000 US troops there stunned allies who have joined Washington in
the battle against ISIS militants in Syria. Senior US officials were shocked
too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.
Colonel Sean Ryan, a coalition spokesman, said the coalition “has begun the
process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria.”
of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines,
locations or troop movements,” Ryan said.
media reports suggesting the departure of US forces had begun, US officials
told Reuters that no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle
against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group’s last
remaining pockets of territory in Syria. The three US officials spoke on
condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
the US officials confirmed that equipment was being moved out of Syria, a sign
that despite mixed messages from Washington preparations for a withdrawal of
troops was proceeding apace.
near border crossings that are typically used by US forces going in and out of
Syria from Iraq said they had seen no obvious or large-scale movement of US
ground forces on Friday.
Syrian state news agency SANA said Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles
toward the Damascus area on Friday, triggering Syrian air defenses that shot
down most of them. “The results of the aggression so far were limited to a
strike on one of the warehouses at Damascus airport,” SANA quoted a military source
US decision has injected new uncertainties into the eight-year-long Syrian war
and spurred a flurry of contacts over how a resulting security vacuum will be
filled across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria where the US forces are
the one hand, Turkey aims to pursue a campaign against Kurdish forces that have
allied with the United States, and on the other the Russia- and Iran-backed
Syrian government sees the chance to recover a huge chunk of territory.
national security adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting
Washington’s Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the US withdrawal. That
drew a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments “a
of State Mike Pompeo, who has been touring the Middle East this week to
reassure allies of Washington’s commitment to regional security, said on
Thursday the withdrawal would not be scuppered despite the Turkish threats.
Kurdish groups that control the north have turned to Moscow and Damascus in the
hope of striking a political deal that will stave off Turkey and shield their
autonomy in the north.
which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus government,
said it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the
announced withdrawal of US troops, RIA news agency reported.
urges Damascus-Kurdish dialogue
Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for
Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light
of the US withdrawal plans.
also said the territory previously controlled by the United States should be
transferred to the Syrian government.
this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on
particular significance. After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian
society,” Zakharova said.
views the US-backed YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as an extension of the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a 34-year insurgency in Turkey for
Kurdish political and cultural rights, mostly in southeastern areas near Syria.
Kurdish politician told Reuters last week the Kurds had presented Moscow with a
road-map for a deal with Damascus. Syria’s deputy foreign minister said on
Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds.
Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, which is part of the US-led coalition,
welcomed what he believed was a slower withdrawal by the United States after
pressure from its allies.
Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a
change that I think is positive,” he said in a television interview on
Syrian state news agency said Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles toward
the Damascus area on Friday, triggering Syrian air defenses that shot down most
results of the aggression so far were limited to a strike on one of the
warehouses at Damascus airport,” the SANA news agency cited a military source
as saying. The attack took place at 11:15 p.m. (2115 GMT), it said.
warplanes last struck targets in Syria on Christmas Day.
that incident, Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas
near Damascus, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers.
drones and warplanes were heard flying Friday afternoon over Lebanon.
has warned that members of the White Helmets volunteer organization are still
in Jordan after their withdrawal from Syria as their Western sponsors are
reluctant to resettle the so-called aid workers.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a media briefing on Friday
that the White Helmets had been promised shelter in European countries, but
"the matter has not been resolved so far."
the West is not ready to welcome those who were involved in serious
crimes," she added.
White Helmets claims to be a humanitarian NGO, but it has been accused of
working with anti-Damascus terrorists and staging false-flag chemical weapons
attacks in Syria.
President Bashar al-Assad described the White Helmets as “a branch of al-Qaeda
and al-Nusra" militant outfits and a “PR stunt” by the US, the UK and
countries decided last year to rescue White Helmets members amid stepped-up
territorial gains made by the Syrian army against Takfiri terrorists.
July, hundreds of White Helmets volunteers and their family members were
evacuated from Syria to Israel and then to Jordan, to be resettled later in the
UK, Canada, and Germany.
in her remarks, Zakharova said that a group of White Helmets still remains in
are actively participating in provocations staged in Syria, and they also
cooperated with terrorists," she noted.
Russian official further stressed that the White Helmets' sponsors are afraid
of the threat posed by the group to their own citizens.
instigators in a foreign country is one thing, but welcoming them on your own
territory is quite another matter, as it creates threats for your
citizens," she said. "It is also possible that once out of the Middle
East, some White Helmets members would be ready to tell the truth about their
activities in Syria. Their sponsors are definitely not interested in
White Helmets was founded in Turkey in 2013 by former British MI5 officer James
its establishment, the group has received at least $55 million from the British
Foreign Office, $23 million or more from the US Office of Transition
Initiatives and untold millions from Qatar.
arms uncovered in Syria
on Friday, the Syrian government forces discovered weapons and munitions, some
of them manufactured in the UK, and vehicles belonging to the White Helmets
during a clean-up operation in the western countryside of Damascus and Quneitra
air defenses have managed to destroy most of the missiles fired by Israeli
warplanes toward the capital Damascus, Syrian state media say.
results of the aggression so far were limited to a strike on one of the
warehouses at Damascus airport,” the Arab country’s SANA news agency reported,
quoting an unnamed military source as saying.
source further said that the aggression occurred at 11:15 p.m. local time on
Friday, adding, “Eight enemy targets spotted in the skies of Damascus
to the military source, the Syrian air defenses were “immediately” engaged
overnight after a number of Israeli fighter jets came “from the direction of
the Galilee (and) fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus.”
further quoted an unnamed Ministry of Transport official as saying that the
Damascus International Airport traffic was normal and that it was not affected
by the Israeli aggression.
Israeli regime launches airstrikes on the Syrian territory from time to time,
aggressive moves usually viewed as attempts to prop up terrorist groups that
have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.
October, Moscow equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air
missiles, days after Israeli fighter jets attacked Syrian targets using a
Russian surveillance plane flying nearby as a shield and hence misleading the
Syrian air defenses to shoot it down.
then Israel has been very careful with its operation over Syria.
forces kill Palestinian woman, injure 25 in Gaza
forces have killed a Palestinian woman and injured at least 25 people during
protests along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied
al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said Aml Moustafa Ahmed,
43, was killed by Israeli fire during protests east of the Gaza Strip on
added that the Israeli forces also shot and wounded at least 25 other people
during the clashes. Two journalists and a paramedic were also injured after
they were hit by tear gas bombs.
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories since March 30, which marked the start of the protests.
protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with
Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem
than 240 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in
the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza
has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living
standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
the Palestinian Health Ministry in the occupied West Bank announced that
Israeli forces seriously injured a Palestinian man in the city of al-Khalil
(Hebron) on Friday.
ministry’s brief statement came after initial reports said that the man was
Israeli military had claimed that the man was trying to stab Israeli soldiers
near Kiryat Arba settlement.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.The Israeli military regularly opens fatal
fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack its personnel.
says Egypt to fully reopen Gaza border despite PA pullout
rulers Hamas said Thursday that Egypt plans to fully reopen its border crossing
with the enclave, days after partially closing it amid infighting between
loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas withdrew on Sunday from the Rafah
border crossing, accusing rivals Hamas of interference. The crossing is the
only way for Palestinians to leave Gaza that bypasses Israel.
has prevented Gazans from leaving the enclave since Abbas’s Palestinian
Authority withdrew its staff. An Egyptian security delegation visited Gaza on
Thursday, meeting with senior Hamas officials including its head Ismail Haniya.
al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas, told journalists the Egyptians “assured us that
there will be no changes at the Rafah border and it will stay open”. It was not
immediately clear when the crossing would fully reopen.
ordered the arrest of more than 100 soldiers and former cadets over suspected
links to the network of the US-based Muslim cleric who is accused of
orchestrating a 2016 attempted coup, prosecutors and state media said on
operations targeting supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen have been carried out
regularly since the failed coup and have recently gained momentum. Gulen denies
involvement in the attempt, in which 250 people were killed.
Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 50 suspects -
six of them officers and the rest military academy students expelled after the
coup - in an investigation into people linked to Gulen in the military.
operation, spread across 16 provinces, was focused on calls made over fixed
phone lines, the statement said.
the southern Adana province, prosecutors ordered another 52 soldiers arrested,
42 of them serving, in an operation spread across 20 provinces, state-owned
Anadolu news agency reported.
said colonels, majors, lieutenants and other serving officers were facing
arrest over pay phone calls they made to other alleged Gulen-linked people.
Many suspects have already been detained, it added.
than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while 150,000 civil
servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from
their jobs as part of the post-coup purges. Widespread operations are still
groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the crackdown,
saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to
quash dissent. The government has said the security measures were necessary due
to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.
owner of a restaurant chain, who had been on the run for a year after an arrest
warrant was issued for him on suspected links to Gulen, was detained in the
Aegean coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu also reported on Friday.
on Friday called on Iran to immediately stop all activities linked to ballistic
missiles that could carry nuclear weapons after Tehran said it could put two
satellites into orbit in the coming weeks.
recalls that the Iranian missile program is not conform with UN Security
Council Resolution 2231,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told
reporters in a daily briefing.
calls on Iran to immediately cease all ballistic missile-related activities
designed to carry nuclear weapons, including tests using ballistic missile
Arab Coalition supporting the Yemeni legitimate government announced on Friday
the destruction of a houthi communication center dedicated to control drones.
coalition said that the militia had taken over the site of a Yemeni telecom
company and turned it into an operational communications center and a base to
coalition added that the destruction of the communications and control center
was in accordance with international humanitarian law.
the latest flare of violence - after the Houthi militias’ bomb-laden drone
attack on the Yemen’s largest airbase killed six soldiers of the legitimate
army - a rocket attack launched by the pro-Iranian militias late on Thursday
killed and injured 15 civilians, including women and children, in Haradh
district north of Hajjah governorate.
local source said that the rocket attack targeted a civilian home, leading to
the killing of four women, four children and the wounding of seven others.
coalition strikes Houthis in Saada, Hajjah
Arab coalition backing the Yemeni legitimate government released video footage
of military strikes by its forces targeting the Houthi militias’ armed
activities and ammunition depots in both governorates of Saada and Hajjah.
airstrikes targeted gatherings for the Houthis as well as vehicles loaded with
weapons in the governorates.
kidnap five air force officers
a related development, the pro-Iranian Houthi militias kidnapped five air force
officers after storming their homes in Sanaa and took them to an unknown
destination, according to a local news website.
source added that the officers were working in the Yemeni air force until the
Houthis took control in 2014, refusing to comply with the directives of the
militias and to return to work for them despite the temptations and continuous
A Houthi communications center controlling drones has been destroyed, the Arab
coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen said Friday.
location of the drone control center was formerly occupied by a Yemeni
communications company but was then taken over by Houthi militia who turned it
into an operations center.
Thursday, six people were killed when the Houthis exploded a drone above a
military parade in Lahaj province.
United States on Friday "strongly condemned" the attack at Al-Anad
Air Base, which jeopardizes a ceasefire for the port of Hodeidah agreed at
talks in Sweden last month.
attack contravenes the spirit of the Hodeidah ceasefire and the progress made
last month at the UN-led talks in Sweden," the State Department said.
"We urge all sides to honor the commitments they made in Sweden to their
fellow Yemenis by refraining from violence and provocative acts."
escalation came after the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths this week warned
"substantial progress" was needed on the ground before full-blown
negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war.
on Friday presented a UN Security Council draft resolution that would expand
the international observer mission monitoring the Hodeidah ceasefire and allow
humanitarian aid to reach millions.
council is expected to vote on the measure next week, diplomats said.
mission would provide for the deployment of up to 75 monitors in the rebel-held
city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an
initial period of six months, AFP reported.
Antonio Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy the full mission, led by
retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert.
Turkey’s defense minister on Friday pledged to wage a campaign against a US-backed
Syrian Kurdish militia, sharpening focus on a potential conflict the US has
sought to prevent.
comments from Hulusi Akar, on an unannounced visit to inspect troops stationed
near the Syrian border directly opposite territory held by the US-backed
Kurdish YPG, appeared to be aimed at both Washington and its Kurdish allies.
and the US, although NATO allies, are deeply divided over the implementation of
President Donald Trump’s plan to bring home about 2,000 troops stationed in
Syria. The plan hinges on Turkish cooperation to secure a swathe of northeast
Syria as the US departs.
the pull-out has been clouded by mixed messages from both Trump and his
administration, on Friday the US-led coalition against Daesh began the process
of withdrawing, a spokesman said.
national security adviser, John Bolton, this week tried to make the case for
guarantees that Turkey would not harm the YPG after the withdrawal. That earned
a stiff rebuke from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
considers the YPG a terrorist organization and sees Washington’s support for it
against Daesh as a betrayal.
the time and place comes the terrorists here will be buried in the ditches they
have dug, as was done in previous operations,” Akar said in a speech to
military personnel at a brigade command center in the province of Sanliurfa,
referring to two other cross-border campaigns that Turkey has carried out in
views the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),
which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish
southeast. The Kurdish groups that control a vast swathe of northern Syria have
now turned to Moscow and Damascus in the hope of striking a political deal that
will stave off Turkey and shield their autonomy in the north.
has repeatedly expressed frustration over a deal with the US for the withdrawal
of the YPG from the city of Manbij, just west of the Euphrates River.
us we have Manbij on one side and the east of the Euphrates on the other,” Akar
said, underscoring the scale of a potential operation. “Important preparations
and planning have been made in connection with this. Our preparations are
least ten Taliban militants have been killed and two key members of the group
have been arrested during the operations of the Afghan Special Forces in
northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North issued a statement late
on Thursday, stating that the Special Forces of the Afghan military conducted
operations in various parts of Faryab province over the past two days.
statement further added that ten militants of the Taliban group were killed,
two others were wounded, and two key members of the group were arrested.
least 17 landmines, 80 kgs of explosives, 2 rounds of 82mm artillery, an
armored personnel carrier, and a large quantity of weapons and munitions have
been confiscated while two opertaions center and six fighting positions of the
militants have been destroyed.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the operations so far.
militants have killed at least 32 members of security forces and pro-government
militias during a series of coordinated attacks on checkpoints in four Afghan
said the attacks took place in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, and
Takhar, and in the western province of Badghis early Thursday.
Kunduz, at least 10 soldiers and police were killed and 11 others wounded in
the clashes which also left 25 Taliban fighters dead, a local official said.
neighboring Baghlan and Takhar provinces, local Afghan officials said the
Taliban killed 16 members of pro-government militias, but also suffered heavy
Badghis, six members of security forces were killed and 10 others wounded,
spokesman for the provincial governor Jamshid Shahabi said.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attacks in a
statement, saying dozens of Afghan troops had been killed and a large amount of
ammunition and weapons seized.
Monday, more than 20 Afghan security forces were killed as Taliban militants
stormed security checkpoints in Badghis.
attacks come even as the Kabul government has stepped up efforts to convince
the Taliban to end the 17-year militancy amid Washington’s failures on the
State Department's special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said he had held
"productive" meetings in Abu Dhabi with Afghan and international
partners "to promote intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the
said the Taliban seek an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces, while
the US wants assurances from the militant group that its forces would not be
talks are the latest in a flurry of diplomatic efforts aimed at putting an end
to the war in Afghanistan which began with the US invasion 17 years ago.
United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11
attacks. US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of
George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump.
Indian officials have reiterated New Delhi’s stance regarding an Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process during a meeting with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad,
the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation.
Kumar, a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs of India told reporters
that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated New Delhi’s position
during a meeting Ambassador Khalilzad, making it “very clear” to the US that
the peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan should be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led
and Afghan-controlled, according to Economic Times.
further added “Essentially, both sides, we share perspectives on peace and
reconciliation in Afghanistan. Mr Khalilzad briefed EAM and FS on their aspect
as to how the US is trying to achieve peace and reconciliation in the country.”
is connected to the comments made by the Army chief. Our position on
Afghanistan has been very clear and very consistent. We have said in the past
and we continue to do so that India supports the peace and reconciliation
efforts in Afghanistan,” he said.
support the process which is inclusive towards achieving this goal and there
has been no change in that position,” Kumar added.
last week embarked on a new trip to four countries to discuss ongoing efforts
regardig the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
intelligence chief of Taliban in northern Faryab province and a senior leader
of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) in eastern Nangarhar
province have been killed in separate airstrikes conducted by the coalition
military sources said Friday that an ISIS-K commander, Khetab Emir, was killed
in a coalition air strike January 10, 2019.
sources further added that Khetab Emir was a known attack coordinator who
supplied explosives and logistical support to enable high-profile attacks in
civilian populated areas across the country.
death protects Afghan citizens from future violence and degrades the ISIS-K
presence in Nangarhar province, the sources added.
the meantime, the military sources are saying that the intelligence chief of
Taliban, Qari Sebghatullah, was killed in a precision air strike January 10,
to the sources, Qari Sebghatullah planned and coordinated attacks on Afghan
security forces, government officials and civilians.
ISIS-K leader, the shadow governor of the group for Dara-ye Pech of Kunar was
killed in another airstrike of the coalition forces on 10th of January, the
sources said, adding that Abdul Karim was acting ISIS-K shadow governor for
High Court has upheld a seven-year jail term against two Reuters journalists
for breaking the Official Secrets Act, while reporting on the killing of
Rohingya Muslims by the military in Rakhine state.
September, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were sentenced to seven years
behind bars after being convicted of breaching a law on state secrets when they
collected and obtained confidential documents.
two have pleaded not guilty. They once told the court that two police officials
had handed them papers at a restaurant moments before other officers arrested
them. One police officer had also testified that the restaurant meeting was a
set-up to entrap the journalists.
Friday, High Court Judge Aung Naing described the prison sentence handed down
by the lower court as “a suitable punishment."
can be taken against them if, judging by their behavior and characteristics, it
appears they will harm the national security and interests of the
country," he said, adding that the defense had failed to prove the arrests
were a set-up by authorities.
the appeal hearings held last month, defense lawyers cited evidence of a police
set-up and lack of proof of a crime. They emphasized that the lower court had
wrongly placed the burden of proof on the defendants.
after the ruling, defense lawyer Than Zaw Aung said his team would discuss the
option of making a further appeal to the supreme court with the two reporters,
adding that "We are very disappointed with the judgment."
on the verdict, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said, "Today's
ruling is yet another injustice among many inflicted upon Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe
Oo. They remain behind bars for one reason: those in power sought to silence
is not a crime, and until Myanmar rights this terrible wrong, the press in
Myanmar is not free, and Myanmar's commitment to rule of law and democracy
remains in doubt," he said in a statement.
European Union's ambassador to Myanmar, Kristian Schmidt, also denounced the
ruling as a "miscarriage of justice and it gives us great concern for the
independence of the justice system of Myanmar."
lost all my hope," a weeping Chit Su Win, the wife of reporter Kyaw Soe
Oo, said after the ruling.
journalists were detained in December 2017 after reporting on the killings of
10 Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar military in the northwestern state of
Rakhine during an army crackdown that began in August that year, which has
forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Pakistan and China have been
making sincere efforts over the years for seeking a negotiated settlement of
the Afghan issue.
who is currently in China echoed President Xi Jinping’s opinion, saying that
China has been a steadfast friend and a very good neighbour to the Central
has contributed to Afghanistan’s well-being and stability, giving us economic
assistance,” he said. “We value very highly the decades of Afghan-China
relationship, and especially China’s contributions in Afghanistan in the past
18 years, which have been very significant. In their neighbour, they highly
value the role of China and Pakistan in the peace process.
an interview with the Chinese media, Karzai added that Afghanistan sees China
as having an extremely important role in peace and reconciliation in the
country as China has all three elements required for this role.
is a neighbour. China is a friend of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. China is a
major world power,” he said, adding that China has the capacity, means, and
connections to contribute to Afghan peace and stability.
said that he believed that the trilateral dialogue mechanism between China,
Afghanistan and Pakistan will play an important role in easing the situation in
Afghanistan, improving relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and promoting
regional peace by controlling terrorism and extremism. The Afghan side welcomed
the trilateral mechanism and appreciated the Chinese government’s efforts to
make it work.
there is now a new effort by the United States to bring peace to Afghanistan,
we hope that the US will seek China’s assistance in this and work together with
China, our other big neighbours, and major power Russia,” he said. “So, the
three joining hands will surely make contributions to Afghan peace and
also spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by Xi.
Afghanistan was one of the earliest countries to support the initiative.
businesses have been involved in the mining and the oil and gas sectors in
Afghanistan. In 2008, a consortium launched by China Metallurgical Group and
Jiangxi Copper won the contract to recover resources from the Mes Aynak copper
mine in Afghanistan, which Afghan authorities said contains the world’s
second-largest copper deposit.
welcomes China’s investment in Afghanistan, and the country is seeking more
Chinese involvement in the Afghan economy, he said.
also welcomed Xi’s proposal to build a community with a shared future for
mankind, saying that it is a “tremendously good vision”.
is a vision that we all need, and that mankind needs,” he said. “And surely
China will find people in the international community all around the world,
individuals and societies and governments, working together with it and helping
achieve this goal.”
DELHI: An Army major and a soldier were killed in an IED blast at Nowshera
sector in Rajouri district of J&K, an official was quoted by news agency
improvised explosive device was planted by suspected militants in foot-track
along the LoC to target Army soldiers patrolling the borderline in Laam belt of
Nowshera sector of Rajouri district, they said.
blast resulted in injuries to two soldiers, including a major, the officials said,
adding they were rushed to a hospital where they succumbed to injuries.
another incident, terrorists lobbed a grenade at CRPF platoon near Lal Chowk,
Srinagar on Friday evening. No loss of life or injury was reported from the
today, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and a soldier were injured in an IED
blast along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district.
improvised explosive device was planted by suspected terrorists in foot-track
along the LoC to target Army soldiers patrolling the borderline in Laam sector
of Rajouri district.
soldiers have been alerted against IED blasts and attacks by the border action
teams (BATs) of the Pakistan Army.
on Friday, an Army porter was critically injured when Pakistani troops
continued ceasefire violations for the fourth consecutive day along the LoC in
Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the Indian Army to
retaliate, officials said.
troops resorted to firing and shelling along the LoC in forward areas in
Nowshera and Poonch sectors, critically injuring an Army porter, they said. He
has been hospitalised, the officials added.
on Thursday, an Army major and a BSF soldier were injured in shelling by
Pakistan in Tarkundi forward area of Balakote sector.
Pakistan Army violated ceasefire for a third consecutive day Thursday, inviting
a strong retaliation from Indian forces.
Army major and a constable of BSF were injured as Pakistani troops violated
ceasefire in Tarkundi forward area of Balakote sector late Thursday," an
Army officer said.
of them were shifted to 166 Military hospital at Jammu and their condition is
stated to be stable.
DELHI: India has denied as "fabricated and scurrilous" Pakistani
allegations that it was involved in an attack on the Chinese consulate in
Karachi even as New Delhi asked Islamabad to stop supporting terrorism if it
wanted to resume dialogue with India.
of maliciously pointing fingers at others for such terrorist incidents,
Pakistan needs to look inwards and undertake credible action against support to
terrorism and terror infrastructure in its territories," MEA spokesperson
Raveesh Kumar said rejecting the allegations.
Karachi police chief had on Thursday said the attack on the Chinese consulate
in November 2018 was planned in Afghanistan with the help of Indian
intelligence. The attack, by three armed terrorists, was claimed by the Baloch
Liberation Army. It killed two police officers and two visa applicants at the
DELHI: India denied Pakistan's allegations that it was involved in an attack on
the Chinese consulate in Karachi, on a day when the MEA told Pakistan to stop
supporting terrorism if they really wanted to start dialogue with India.
late evening statement, MEA spokesperson dismissed the allegations as
“fabricated and scurrilous”.
of maliciously pointing fingers at others for such terrorist incidents,
Pakistan needs to look inwards and undertake credible action against support to
terrorism and terror infrastructure in its territories,” Raveesh Kumar said,
rejecting the allegations.
Karachi police chief on Thursday declared that an attack on the Chinese
consulate in November 2018 was planned in Afghanistan with the help of the
Indian secret service, RAW. The attack, by three armed terrorists, was claimed
by the Baloch Liberation Army. It killed two police officers and two visa
applicants at the mission.
the spokesperson had used strong words to say that if Pakistan is serious about
restarting dialogue with India, they have to stop supporting terrorism, said
MEA on Thursday.
to questions about Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan saying India had blocked
engagement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Khan’s ministers were sharing
platforms with international terrorists. As first reported by TOI on Wednesday,
India had a five-point rejoinder to Imran’s poser.
detailed how Khan’s minister of religious affairs had shared a platform with
Hafiz Saeed, while Pakistan’s interior minister met Jamaat-ud-Dawa
representatives as recently as December. If Pakistan is serious about
restarting talks, they should take some steps to complete the trials against
the perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
he said, “if they are serious about talks then why are they still allowing
their territory to be used by terror groups, terrorist organizations and
terrorists?” He pointed to the fact that JuD had opened centres in Pakistan
Occupied Kashmir (POK) in collaboration with a prominent leader of PTI. “JuD
and their NGO named Fala-e-Insaniyat they are no longer in the list of Pakistan’s
banned organizations after the Pakistan ordinance which proscribed them has
lapsed. It clearly demonstrates that the explicit support which was being
provided to banned organizations is still ongoing and there is no change in
slaps cases against critics of plan to grant citizenship to non-Muslims
India: Indian police on Friday said they are investigating an academic, a
journalist and a peasant leader for possible sedition for publicly opposing a
proposal to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority
have called the proposal blatantly anti-Muslim and an attempt by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to boost its
Hindu voter base ahead of a general election due by May.
cases have been filed amid a wave of protests in the BJP-governed northeastern
state of Assam. A small regional party in India quit the ruling coalition on Monday
in protest against the plan.
Modi government is facing growing criticism for stifling criticism, including
in the media. A television journalist in the region was jailed last month for
criticizing the government on social media.
have registered a case against a few people based on certain statements that
they made at a public rally in Guwahati,” Deepak Kumar, a police official from
Guwahati in Assam, told Reuters.
three have not been charged.
people fear such a move could change the demographic profile of Assam, where
residents have for years complained that immigrants from Bangladesh have put a
big strain on resources.
Gohain, an 80-year-old academic, peasant leader Akhil Gogoi and journalist
Manjit Mahanta have been accused of criminal conspiracy and attempting to wage
a war against the government, Kumar said.
bill, which seeks to give citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists,
Christians and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been
passed by the lower house of the parliament.
chief Guterres: Libya’s militias should not run prisons
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging the Libyan government to bring all
prisons under its control and free from the grip of militias, some of whom run
said in a report to the Security Council released Thursday that torture and
arbitrary detention is widespread in Libya.
PICTURES: Attempt to smuggle Turkish weapons into Libya foiled
6,400 detainees are held in 26 official prisons but “thousands of others” are
being held in facilities with little government control or “directly run by
armed groups,” said the report.
remain deeply concerned about widespread human rights violations and abuses
committed in the context of detention and the prolonged arbitrary detention of
thousands of men, women and children without due process,” wrote Guterres.
government must protect detainees against torture and “all prisons must be
under effective government control and free of any influence or interference of
armed groups,” he added.
descended into chaos following the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi that has
seen a bitter rivalry emerge between two governments scrambling for control in
the oil-rich north African country.
United Nations backs the government in Tripoli but is working toward holding
elections, possibly this year, to unite the country.
also reported that an increase in the number of migrants and refugees who were
detained over the past six months was a result of more interceptions at sea and
the closure of sea routes to migrants.
those who portray President Muhammadu Buhari as a religious leader who came to
Islamise Nigeria, something utterly impossible and impracticable, it should
serve well to remind them once again that on the contrary, Buhari is a
nationalist and a patriotic leader and has no such intention.
is pertinent to offer definitions of religion and politics for easy
understanding of my presentation here. Religion means a set of beliefs
concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe or creation as a
whole. It usually involves devotion and ritual observances and often contains a
moral code governing the conduct of human affairs, though every religion has
its own tenet or article of faith.
implies exercising or seeking power in government or public affairs of a state,
etc, and involves the state and its government or system of government. From
the above, religion means containment of moral codes governing human affairs,
while politics means seeking power in a government or public affairs of a
state. As such, to my understanding, religion is a personal affair, and has
nothing to do with government affairs in a secular country like Nigeria. No one
can ever Islamize or Christianize this country. The adversaries of PMB know
this very well but they are doing it out of envy or seeking relevance.
who accuse PMB of false, beguiled and concocted plot to Islamize Nigeria should note that most of Buhari’s appointees
are not Muslims. Even during his days as military head of state, it was so.
These acrimonious lots affirmed that the real democracy as national ideology
and Sharia as a usurping ideology are responsible for crises in Nigeria. They
stated further that the nation is on the throes and paroxysm of Jihad. Without
mincing words, let me ask these bigots; since Buhari came to power, has he done
anything or said any word which indicate Sharia? Has he called any person to
embrace Islam? Has he formed any group to embark on Jihad? Tell us the actions
of Buhari or his administration which indicate application of Sharia. These so
called elders once said that war and destruction could happen, and that
threatens the cohesiveness of the Nigerian state. Well, this can be pretty
true, because if PMB’s government is not willing to offer them positions and
take them out of irrelevance and isolation, they may resort to instigation and
violence. They counted some agitations which are happening presently; e.g.
herdsmen/farmers crisis, ethnic conflicts and so on. I ask again, are these
agitations or conflicts new? Were they created by PMB or predate his
said Nigerians should carry weapons to protect themselves because he had lost
confidence in our security agencies, especially the army. He accused them
unjustifiably of lopsidedness. Even the recent honour bestowed on some
Nigerians who happened to be Muslims including late Mashood Abiola and others
was described as an attempt to Islamize Nigeria. What a shameless and naïve
now live in the 21st century, and it is even overdue for us to outgrow this
vicious sentiment of religion. If in countries like Ghana, Chad, Niger Muslims and Christians are living in peace,
why is it impossible in Nigeria? We ostensibly and seemingly are the leaders of
Africa and are supposed to be exemplary and models to be copied. When Buhari
came to power, the oil price was as low as $30. Pipeline vandals held sway, the
world economy was in serious recession, our foreign reserve was deflated to an
alarming point, our treasury was empty. With all these difficulties and
hindrances, PMB has been able to extricate Nigeria from economic entanglement.
Compare him to those who led this country when our economy was booming and
flourishing vigorously. My compatriots, if we want to get rid of the bush rats
invading our economy, do away with the jackals dishonestly scavenging in our
houses, protect ourselves from bandits and burglars and if we want to surmount
the night invaders who foray our treasury, if we want to cut out the bedbugs
and lice sucking our blood, we must cling to Buhari tenaciously.
Jan 12 (AFP) Twelve civilians were killed on Thursday during a jihadist attack
in the north of Burkina Faso, which has been battling a wave of Islamist
violence, officials said Friday.
west African country declared a state of emergency in several provinces at the
end of last year and on Thursday replaced its army chief as it struggled to put
a stop to a spate of such attacks.
the latest violence, gunmen attacked a village market in broad daylight, the
security ministry said in a statement issued late Friday.
30 armed individuals perpetrated… a terrorist attack in the village of
Gasseliki,” it said, giving a toll of 12 dead and two wounded.
barn, a cart and six shops were also set alight,” it added.
local source told AFP that the attackers “ransacked stores and opened fire on
people who had gathered for the weekly market”.
attacks began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 but then spread to the east,
near the border with Togo and Benin.
country is part of the vast Sahel region and one of the poorest states in the
region turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness after chaos
engulfed Libya in 2011, which was followed by an Islamist insurgency in
northern Mali and the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
attacks in Burkina Faso itself have been attributed to the jihadist group
Ansarul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the
JNIM (the Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Islam emerged as violence spilled over from Mali, where radical Islamists
seized key Sahara towns in 2012 before being ousted by French troops.
groups are also active, with the overall number of fighters estimated to be in
the hundreds, according to security sources.
groups are believed to be responsible for more than 270 deaths since 2015. The
capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times and almost 60 people have died
jihadists extend their hold gradually, forcing government workers and others
who oppose them to flee. The violence has so far displaced some 40,000 people.
the north, armed groups move freely through the country’s porous borders.
jihadists mainly target the security forces, but also attack government
officials and local chiefs who oppose them.
are vulnerable due to the jihadists’ fierce opposition to secular, French
education, with their threats and attacks sparking the closure of hundreds of
schools in the north and the east.
what is being described as the latest development related to reports of Turkish
meddling in Libya, to sabotage security in the North African state, Libya’s
custom authorities seized a large quantity of drugs at Misrata port inside a
has come soon after the seizure of two ships coming from Turkey carrying
weapons. These developments have raised warnings of a new stream of weapon
supplies to the country from Turkey. Libyan sources said the ship traveled a
long way from Turkey to India and then to Libya with eight million tablets of the drugs tramadol and
Libyan National Army accused Turkey of sabotaging Libya’s internal security and
warned Ankara of possible preventive measures as well as strict accountability
measures. On Monday, Libyan authorities said they seized a shipment of Turkish
arms into Libya through the country’s port of Misrata, the London-based
pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported.
is split between the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj in
Tripoli and recognized by the UN, and the Tobruk government, led by General
Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the Libyan
violence has continued, dozens of extremists and other armed militias have
emerged in the country, and the local branch of ISIS is still active, though
United States military says it has carried out an airstrike in southern Somalia
that killed six al-Shabaab extremists.
US Africa Command statement on Wednesday says Tuesday's airstrike targeted an
al-Shabab camp near Yaaq Braawe in the Bay region.
strikes on Monday near Baqdaad killed four al-Shabab members, and one on Sunday
killed six al-Shabab members near Dheerow Sanle in Lower Shabelle region.
US military says no civilians were injured or killed in any of these
US carried out at least 47 such airstrikes last year in the Horn of Africa
Muslim leaders in a step to Defeat Extremism
“Islamabad Declaration”, which was signed by more than 500 Muslim religious
leaders, publicly condemn terrorism, violence committed in the name of religion
and fatwa (sacred edicts) widespread by radical Islamic clerics.
Declaration was signed in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, during a
gathering organized by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC). The initiative,
according to observers, represents a turning point especially in the attitude
towards religious minorities and Islamic sects the “Ahmadi”.
Muslim leaders proclaimed 2019 as a “Year to annihilate terrorism, extremism
and sectarian violence from Pakistan”, reiterating that “non-Muslim citizens
must enjoy the same rights as everyone else”.
Bonnie Mendes, a Pakistani Catholic priest of Faisalabad, former regional
coordinator of Caritas Asia, reported January 8, 2019, by Fides News Agency
acknowledged that “The Declaration of Islamabad is a step in the right
direction. We need to develop it to improve the image of the country: this is
the way forward: government and opposition must work together to legislate on
good policies, while civil society, religious communities and all citizens must
work together for the social, civil and cultural progress of our country.”
recognizes that Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, and
notes that “it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the protection
of the life of non-Muslim citizens in Pakistan”.
to ‘Zenit’ news agency the Declaration condemns the murders committed “under
the pretext of religious belief”, observing that this “is contrary to the
teachings of Islam” and states that “no Islamic sect must be declared
unfaithful”, noting that all citizens, whatever their religion or sect, “have
the constitutional right to live in the country following their cultural and
establishes the right for religious groups to organize themselves autonomously
and asks civil authorities to ban “any material inciting religious hatred” and
to punish anyone that threatens “the sacred places of non-Muslims”,
implementing “the national action plan against extremism”.
human rights activist was reported by “Fides”
saying: “We appreciate and acknowledge the efforts to stop extremism and
contribute to tolerance, peace, justice, and equality in society. It is
necessary to promote and spread this message to the communities.”
declares region bordering Pakistan open place
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang has announced that its far western
region’s Xinjiang is an open place. The spokesman this said in a briefing in
Beijing. The region is bordering with Pakistan. He cautioned those who would
visit to “abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and refrain
from interfering in others’ internal affairs or undermining others’
sovereignty.” They should adopt an objective and unbiased attitude and avoid
buying one-sided stories or making preconceptions. “We would like to remain in
contact with the relevant UN agencies and meet each other halfway,” he said.
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying also hit back against fifteen
ambassadors to China who expressed concerns over Xinjiang in a November letter,
calling their actions “rude and unacceptable.” A small group of foreign
journalists were taken to Xinjiang as part of China’s plan to showcase the far
western region’s social and economic progresses amid increasing international
criticism of a systematic crackdown against Muslim minority Uyghurs.
to reports China recently took diplomats from a dozen countries, including
Pakistan, with large Muslim populations to Xinjiang province where members of
the Uyghur community have been interned in camps. Separately, a small group of
foreign journalists were also taken to the far western region as part of
Beijing’s plan to showcase Xinjiang’s “social and economic progress” amid
increasing international criticism of a systematic crackdown against the Muslim
was the first time that Beijing took diplomats and journalists to the province
after acknowledging the existence of the camps late last year following months
of silence against large-scale human rights violations against the Uyghurs.
“The regional government invited diplomatic envoys as well as representatives
of diplomatic envoys from Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, and Kuwait,” the
official news agency Xinhua said in a report on the visit.
diplomatic envoys visited local markets, farmers, educational institutes,
mosques, factories, as well as vocational education and training centers,” the
report said. “Throughout the trip, they interacted with local vendors, students
and workers in Xinjiang and learned about the region’s progress in maintaining
social stability, improving people’s livelihood and developing the local
economy,” it added.
diplomats were chaperoned to what the Chinese government calls vocational
training institutes but rights groups and the UN have called re-education
camps. At least a million Uyghurs are in those camps. “At a vocational
education and training center in Kashgar, students study ethnic instruments,
calligraphy, painting, law and many other skills. The envoys asked in detail about
the students’ life in the center and played ping pong and basketball with
them,” the Xinhua report said.
the Moyu County Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, “students are
studying the national language, national musical instruments, calligraphy and
painting, legal knowledge and various employment skills in the classroom,”
Xinhua said. “The envoys asked the students about their study and life in
detail, and watched the performances of the students.”
report said the envoys also visited Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, the largest
mosque in Xinjiang, and were briefed on the mosque and its facility
improvements. Last August, a United Nations meeting on human rights was told
that China had turned its northwestern province of Xinjiang into a “no-rights
zone” and a “massive internment camp” for the Uyghur community.
Xinjiang’s Hetian district last month, the diplomats visited one of what the
Chinese government calls vocational skills centers but which the United Nations
and rights groups say are “re-education camps” interning as many as one million
Muslims. At the Moyu County Vocational Skills Education and Training Center,
“students are studying the national language, national musical instruments,
calligraphy and painting, legal knowledge and various employment skills in the
classroom,” Xinhua said. “The envoys asked the students about their study and
life in detail, and watched the performances of the students.”
Pakistan: Pakistan’s military says security forces have raided militant
hideouts in the country’s southwest, triggering shootouts that left two of the
a statement, the military says troops also seized a cache of guns, grenades,
rockets, land-mines, explosives and communications equipment in Friday’s
provided no further details, but militants and ethnic separatists who have been
waging a low-level insurgency in the Baluchistan province often target security
Pakistan’s government claims it has quelled the Baluch separatists’ insurgency,
violence has persisted in the province.
a first, Sikh appointed at high-profile Pakistan post
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a Sikh has been appointed the
Public Relations Officer to the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
is the first major decision to appoint a Sikh on a high-profile post by Pakistan
after the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartapur Corridor by Prime Minister Imran
to Pakistan media reports, Pawan Singh Arora, 29, has assumed charges in the
he served as district information officer at Nankana Sahib. He was also part of
social media team of Pakistan Punjab’s governor. He had also been a content
writer and a radio broadcaster.
Arora’s appointment came days after Imran Khan’s minority jibe at PM Modi.
has started an anti-encroachment drive in Karachi, targeting Mohajirs and
rendering them homeless, jobless, and forcing them to slavery, Muttahida Qaumi
Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said in his latest live address to the
Mohajirs via social media.
is at the behest of the establishment and in active connivance with the
country's apex court's Chief Justice, the provincial government and the local
Metropolitan Corporation, homes and shops of the Mohajirs have been demolished
in the garb of encroachments, while the fact is that they are the real owners
of their homes and shops. In some cases they are the tenants for decades and
have regularly been paying the rent to the authorities concerned such as the
Metropolitan Corporation," Hussain said.
authorities could only remove only those takeaway stalls which created a
nuisance and led to traffic gridlocks and impeded free movement of the people
on pavements and on roads but the action can never be justified if the
authorities with the use of state powers and means demolish
decade-long-established shops and homes and offices," he added.
stated that the menace of encroachment is rampant all over Pakistan, but the
establishment only punishes the Mohajirs. "Therefore, the actions are only
seen and limited to Karachi which is a Mohajir dominated port city."
to the MQM chief, the historical Urdu Bazar, and the Shoe Market, which date
back to 1947 or the year when Pakistan was founded, adjacent to Karachi's
Gandhi Garden, have also been demolished.
to the indiscriminate demolition drive, millions of Mohajirs have lost their
businesses and homes, who are now living under the open sky and their children
are facing acute starvation, the MQM chief noted.
tyranny and injustices the establishment and the Chief Justice have done to the
Mohajirs are greater in volume and intensity than the Genghis Khan in
history," Hussain remarked.
they awarded a lease to the illegal occupant of Railways land in
Peshawar," Hussain added.
MQM leader further said that the ongoing demolition drive is a well-knit scheme
manifested by 'the establishment' of enslaving the Mohajirs and to make Karachi
city its colony.
fact, the ongoing demolition drive is as per an agreement with China with
regard to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the port city of Karachi
would be converted into a Cantonment area," Hussain added.
at the same time also urged upon the Mohajirs that they should oppose the
ongoing demolition drive and show their resistance or else they would be made
slaves and their coming generation would be on the mercy of the establishment.
MQM chief said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is the ugliest Prime
Minister in the history of the country and the U-Turn is a hallmark. "He
had made tall claims to give five million homes to the homeless people and 10
million jobs, but he is rendering the Mohajirs homeless and jobless," he
a jibe at Khan, Hussain stated that the Prime Minister is going from country to
country begging for alms and charity. "In fact, there is no democracy in
Pakistan but a straight 'Stratocracy.' Pakistan's military is controlling all
institutions and media, including the government and the Parliament."
MQM chief also attacked Pakistan's Army, saying that the military has already
imposed an undeclared martial law in the country. Also, politicians and
religious leaders are serving the military for their personal gains and interests.
of two big parties, Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Nawaz
Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), oppose the military when
they feel they are on the verge of destruction at the hands of the
military," Hussain said.
Pakistan, the MQM leader said, that every ethnic community is a traitor except
the Punjabis. "Double standards have wreaked havoc on Pakistan and the
country could not live to linger with this sheers discrimination," he
Balochs, Pashtoons, Gilgitis and Baltistanis and the Mohajirs should unite for
the freedom and that their unity is a call of the hour without which they would
continue to suffer at the hands of the military establishment."
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that the Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) does not believe in the policy of conflicts in politics
and that the government does not have the power to send someone to jail.
to the media here on Friday, the minister said that the PTI government has only
acted upon the decisions of courts. “Not even a single case was initiated
against the leadership of PPP and PML-N during the PTI government. Rule of law
prevails in the country and everyone is equal before it,” he added.
If opposition leader can appear before NAB, so can prime minister: NAB chief
commented that Prime Minister Imran Khan will appear before the National
Accountability Bureau whenever summoned.
further said some elements were creating hurdles in the creation of south
Punjab province by spreading baseless propaganda. In the past, funds for south
Punjab were distributed among other provinces, but not anymore.
further said that a civil secretariat for south Punjab will be made functional
during the ongoing fiscal year, while a separate public service commission was
also being established.
foreign minister said that after coming into power the government’s priority
was to improve ties with countries that had strained during the tenure of the
previous government. “We improved our relations with Saudi Arabia, and because
of the improved foreign policies of the PTI government Riyadh gave Islamabad a
financial package of $12 billion. The UAE and China also announced financial
aid of $3bn and $2bn, respectively. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
is also coming to Pakistan on March 23 along with a delegation of investors,”
further said premier Khan is going to Qatar on Jan 22, adding that Doha had
announced employment for 100,000 Pakistanis. The Foreign Ministry was actively
promoting foreign investment in the country through economic diplomacy, he
A total of 119 people — including 15 police personnel — were killed and 114
injured in terrorism-related incidents in Balochistan during 2018.
terrorists were also killed in encounters and 55 arrested in 1,245
intelligence-based operations (IBOs) in the province.
General of Police Mohsin Butt disclosed this while briefing reporters at his
office on Friday.
said that 1,245 IBOs and 1,869 combing operations were conducted under the
National Action Plan across Balochistan in 2018 in which 55 terrorists were
killed and 4,188 absconders and 5,449 accused were arrested. They belonged to
22 militant groups.
said that another 898 suspects had been arrested during IBO operations.
Butt said that besides seizure of 21,103 weapons, 2,536kgs of narcotics were
also recovered. He added that a total of 8,755 incidents of crimes — including
42 sabotage activities, 34 targeted killings and 11 sectarian killings — were
reported in 2018 as compared to 9,490 in 2017.
said the Balochistan police had started implementing recommendations of the Law
and Justice Commission, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, from Jan 8 to hold
police accountable and redress public complaints.
said the commission’s report would be formally launched on Jan 14 at the
Islamabad High Court.
purpose of this exercise is to restore the trust of the public in the police
force and bridge the gap between them, besides making police forces accountable
so that overall improvement could be made in their capability,” IG Butt told
the recommendations, he said, there was an emphasis on redressing of complaints
against police personnel such as delay in registration of FIRs — especially in
criminal cases — or delay in arrest of accused in these FIRs.
said separate cells had been established in all 33 districts of Balochistan.
These cells would be equipped with all facilities, including internet,
computers and phones, to receive public complaints via email. He said the complainants
would receive feedback about their complaints at each stage.
reply to a question, IG Butt said that 1,800 more recruitments would be made in
the police force and 1,000 of them had been sent to Sindh for basic training,
while the remaining 800 would be trained in Balochistan. He said there was
sharp decline in crime and terrorist activities in Quetta due to deployment of
the newly-introduced Eagle squad comprising 800 personnel.
Two terrorists were killed in intelligence-based operations (IBOs), the
Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press statement on Friday.
Frontier Corps of Balochistan conducted IBOs, as part of Operation Raddul
Fasaad, on suspected terrorist hideouts in Kalat, Kharan, Maiwand areas of
and ammunition, including sub-machine guns, an improvised explosive device
(IEDs), grenades, mines, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG-7) and communication
equipment were recovered.
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