Threat to India, Bangladesh after New Chief Named
'Hate Preacher' Zakir Naik Charged With Money Laundering
Issues Order to Freeze Assets of JeM Chief Masood Azhar, Impose Travel Ban
Lanka Blasts Show Asia Is Fertile Ground For IS Ideology
Bombers Fuel Fears Among Sri Lanka's Majority Buddhists
Absence of Hate Speech Leading Up To ‘Deviant’ Fatwa Hearing Shows Maturity
Source: US Aware of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's Moves, Hideouts
Cities’ Exhibition Reveals The Cultural Impact Of Terrorism
Jews and Muslims Are 'Natural Allies' With Close Bonds, Study Finds
Could Draw Wealthy Tourists To New Zealand
Party Candidate Quits Australian Campaign over Anti-Muslim Posts
can transform Muslim community: Survey
Strike India Directly Despite Threats, May Go For Inspired Attacks
encounter: Brief exchange of fire with militants, area cordoned off
Naik Got Rs 193 Crore As Donation, Used It To Incite Terror Acts: ED To Special
functionary Ramalingam murder case: NIA raids premises of Muslim outfits in
In Azhar Case Struck During Imran Khan's China Trip: Pak Media Reports
govt approves special security division for Quetta
says Pakistan wants to keep border with Iran peaceful
authorities contemplate transferring terror cases to govt
wraps up suo motu case regarding Lal Masjid operation
hopeful of ‘final deal’ on troop withdrawal in ongoing talks
to put down arms, stop violence and embrace peace, Khalilzad tells Taliban
Commander in Zabul Joins the Peace Process
positions pounded with artillery, airstrikes in Badghis leaving 17 dead,
Lanka Catholics cancel Sunday mass over new bomb fears
Loya Jirga urges both govt., Taliban to announce ceasefire
Programme Introduced To Inspire Muslim Couples to Build A Strong Marriage
fall for racial and religious propaganda at Saturday’s pro-Islam rally, says
takes Perlis mufti to task over claim Islam threatened under Pakatan
Academics must take responsibility for executive summary on Rome Statute
Western, Israeli Arms Found from Terrorists' Depots in Southern Syria
Army Preparing for Major Battle in Idlib
Army Sustains Heavy Toll in Kurdish Offensive in Afrin
forces will be annihilated if they dare attack Lebanon, warns Nasrallah
military: 12 drone, rocket attacks by terrorists repelled in Syria’s Latakia
Minister Hariri: Lebanon should learn from Egypt’s economic development
military killed 120 civilians abroad in 2018, lower than watchdog estimates
Senate sustains Trump veto supporting Arab coalition in Yemen
in US driven by politics, not religion'
delegation to Turkey says progress has been made on Syria
80 Kids Born To Daesh Terrorists Repatriated From Iraq To Tajikistan
churches in sharp decline in Germany
meets members of Bosnian Presidential Council
refugee commitment ‘a lesson’ for Europe
lawmakers seek end to ‘persecution of religious minorities’ in Pakistan
Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern engaged to longtime partner
Must Hand Over ‘Murderers’ Of Alleged Palestinian Spy, Says Cousin
warplanes strike Gaza again, prompt retaliatory rocket launch
‘forced 3,000 Palestinians from homes within 15 yrs’
Israeli group expands, Palestinian houses face demolition
Hamas official heads to Egypt for talks on Israel
hopes Israel will look at peace plan before any West Bank moves
Bashir to Be Questioned Over ‘Financing Terrorism’
crowds join sit-in outside Sudan’s defense ministry
lawmakers summons Buhari for security crisis
Nigerian soldiers feared killed in Daesh attack
Angela Merkel pledges terror aid to Burkina Faso as G5 Sahel summit begins
Al-Shabaab Parades Ten Soldiers It Said Defected From Jubbaland
block Boko Haram logistics and food supplies
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Threat To India, Bangladesh After New Chief Named
new chief has been given the responsibility of planning terror attacks and
recruiting new members.
developments after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka which claimed 253
lives, a Daesh affiliate group, "Al-Mursalat", has been reportedly
planning to carry out similar attacks in India and Bangladesh with its
announcement of appointing a new "emir" (chief) in Bengal, sources
emir of the Daesh group, an intelligence official said, has been named as Abu
Muhammed Al Bengali who has been given the responsibility of planning terror
attacks and recruiting new members.
a poster released by the Daesh, the official, requesting anonymity, said the
group has warned that their "soldiers of Khalifa in Bengal and Hind are
not silenced" and that the "thirst for revenge is never to be faded away."
threat came to light soon after a minor explosion near Gulistan theatre in
Dhaka on Monday evening, in which a few police personnel suffered injuries. No
casualties were reported in the blast.
two developments followed a "propaganda" video released for the first
time in five years by the fugitive Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in which
he acknowledged the terrorist group's defeat in the Syrian town of Baghuz,
another anti-terror official said.
heavier than when he proclaimed the existence of the now-collapsed caliphate in
mid 2014, Baghdadi blamed its demise on the "savagery" of Christians
in the 18-minute video in which he was seen sitting cross-legged alongside a
Kalashnikov rifle and appeared to be limited in his movements.
the battle of Islam and its people against the cross and its people is a long
battle of Baghuz is over. But it did show the savagery, brutality and ill
intentions of the Christians towards the Muslim community," Baghdadi said
in the video.
Daesh released a statement in Arabic in the early hours of Tuesday through its
intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring the developments in
Bangladesh and they suspect that the Daesh may carry out "jihadi"
attacks in Bangladesh or West Bengal.
close to the investigation have raised an alarm that some Bengali posters were
in circulation in West Bengal and Bangladesh to radicalise those who were
poster, officials said, read "Shighroi Aschhe (coming soon),
posters are being circulated on Telegram flashing the logo of a group called Al
Mursalat. The threat cannot be ignored as a little-known militant group,
National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), affiliated to the Daesh was instrumental in
the Sri Lanka bombings and their links have been found in a recent unearthed
group in Kerala's Kasaragod," another official said.
said that another group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, which also reportedly
pledged allegiance to the Daesh, was also active in Bangladesh for years and
may be a threat to West Bengal where Bangladeshi people frequently travel.
April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo and
elsewhere killed 253 people, including 11 Indian nationals and some foreigners,
besides injuring 500 others.
people, including three suicide bombers, died during a raid by Sri Lankan
security forces on April 26 and nearly 100 people have been detained in the
Daesh claimed responsibility for the bombings and released a video that showed
alleged plot organiser and suicide bomber Zahran Hashim and seven other men
pledging allegiance to Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.
'hate preacher' Zakir Naik charged with money laundering
prosecutors have charged controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik with money
Naik, who lives in exile, is accused of acquiring $28m (£21m) worth of criminal
assets, a claim he denies.
authorities have also accused him of spreading hate speech and inciting
Naik, 53, promotes a radical form of Islam on the channel Peace TV. It is
banned in India but has an estimated 200 million viewers worldwide.
from Dubai, Peace TV is owned by the Islamic Research Foundation, a group
headed by Mr Naik.
countries have banned the channel - including Bangladesh, where it is accused
of inspiring one of the gunmen behind a 2016 cafe attack in Dhaka in which 22
people were killed.
influence of Zakir Naik
Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes, filed the
charges against Mr Naik in a court in Mumbai on Thursday.
told the court that it had identified assets worth millions of dollars as
proceeds of crime.
Naik's "inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a
number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts",
ED told the court.
agency has accused him of using funds from "dubious or suspicious
sources" to buy property in India and finance events where he made
"provocative speeches". z
Naik says the money was obtained legitimately.
is Zakir Naik?
Naik's fundamentalist approach to religion has long been controversial.
detained al-Qaeda followers have reportedly told officials that he was a huge
influence on them.
was banned from entering the UK in 2010 for "unacceptable behaviour",
and because of his speeches, by then-home secretary (and now Prime Minister)
it was in July 2016 when he really came to international attention, after a
deadly attack on the Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka.
Bangladeshi media claimed that one of the gunmen had been inspired by his
speeches. Later that month the Bangladeshi government banned Peace TV.
November 2016, India's counterterrorism agency filed an official complaint
against Mr Naik, accusing him of promoting religious hatred and unlawful
Naik moved to Malaysia in 2017.
issues order to freeze assets of JeM chief Masood Azhar, impose travel ban
Pakistan has issued an official order to freeze the assets of and impose a
travel ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar after the UN declared him a "global
Azhar is also banned from selling or purchasing arms and ammunition.
UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State and al-Qaida on Wednesday announced
the designation of Azhar, leader of Jaish-eMohammed (JeM), over its ties to
JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40
CRPF soldiers and led to a spike in military tensions between India and
foreign ministry, in a notification issued Wednesday said: "the Federal
Government is pleased to order that the Resolution 2368 (2017) be fully
implemented" against Azhar.
government directed officials to take actions "as appropriate for the
implementation of sanctions" against the JeM chief, according to the
UN designated Azhar as a "global terrorist" after China lifted its
hold on a proposal by the US, the UK and France to blacklist him.
US, the UK and France had moved the proposal to designate Azhar as a
"global terrorist" in the UN Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda
Sanctions Committee in February, just days after the deadly Pulwama terror
attack carried out by the JeM in Jammu and Kashmir.
foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday said that Pakistan would
"immediately enforce the sanctions" imposed on Azhar.
veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, China was the sole hold-out in the
15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a
"technical hold" and asking for "more time to examine" the
Lanka blasts show Asia is fertile ground for IS ideology
LUMPUR: The Islamic State group's self-proclaimed "caliphate" may
have collapsed in the Middle East but Asia provides fertile territory for a
resurrection, analysts say, as last month's bloody Easter Sunday suicide attacks
in Sri Lanka have shown.
including poverty, discrimination, radicalisation via social media, weak
governance, and poor gathering and sharing of intelligence mean the region is vulnerable
to attacks by extremists operating under the IS banner — even if they aren't
directly supported by the group.
lost the last of its Middle East territory in late March but analysts warned the
defeat would not kill off their ideology, and just weeks later the group
claimed responsibility for one of the worst militant strikes on civilians in
current status of the Islamic State cannot be gauged without an understanding
that it is a global ideological movement, not a single organisational
entity," said analyst Scott Stewart in a new report for the US
geopolitical intelligence group Stratfor.
coordinated bombings on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka claimed more
than 250 lives, with the government blaming a local, little-known Islamist
group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ). Videos later emerged of the bombers
pledging allegiance to IS.
country's security agencies have faced heavy criticism for failing to act on
warnings given by both its own Muslim community and Indian intelligence ahead
of the blasts.
the government has been locked for months in a political crisis, with President
Maithripala Sirisena pitted against his own Prime Minister, Ranil
security officials had been given ample warning," said Stratfor's Stewart,
adding "...there must be a serious accounting for how and why the warnings
were not acted upon."
two of the Sri Lanka bombers were brothers from a wealthy spice-trading family,
analysts say it does not detract from the fact that poverty is often the
driving force for increased militancy in other parts of Asia -- including the
Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), said
religion alone couldn't be blamed for the longrunning insurrection on Mindanao
is because it is poor and neglected and sees itself as having suffered
discrimination," she told AFP.
is a very potent set of factors that make people look to other ideologies (such
as IS) that can come in as an alternative."
both Bangladesh and Indonesia, traditionally moderate forms of Islam have been
eroded by the influence of hardliners spreading their messages online.
was particularly vulnerable, said Mubashar Hasan, of the University of Oslo.
increasing growth in internet subscribers and mobile phone subscriptions, more
and more people are connected online and the bad ideas of IS may facilitate
self-radicalisation," he said.
need to remember, in the current scenario of militancy in the age of
digitisation, one bad idea by one person could be fatal."
Indonesia, IS last claimed credit for the 2018 Surabaya bombings on three
churches and a police station that killed 13 people, but IPAC's Jones said the
group's apparent demise in the Middle East doesn't mean the threat has
threats come from cells which "by and large come together with little
vetting, training, indoctrination, weapons or experience. What they have in
unlimited quantities is zeal and a desire for recognition," Jones said in
a recent report.
a little imagination and better leadership, these pro-ISIS cells could do far
greater damage," she added.
the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, was in the past criticised
for having weak anti-terror laws that only allowed police to act after an
attack, although authorities have now toughened legislation.
include new powers to take action against hate speech and question militants on
their return from Syria, said Taufik Andrie, a terrorism expert from the
Jakarta-based Institute for International Peace-Building.
the defeat of IS territory in the Middle East, many Asian countries are now on
the lookout for nationals who joined their cause attempting to return home and
continue the fight on the domestic front, although analysts say the numbers are
small and many are already known to authorities.
situation is different in Afghanistan, however, where a senior US intelligence
official told AFP that the threat of "spectacular" attacks against
know some have already made their way back here and are trying to transfer the
knowledge, skills and experience they learned over there," the official
Monday, the militants' elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi resurfaced in a
propaganda video, his first purported appearance since 2014.
to the setbacks in battle, he vowed fallen fighters will be avenged by their
fact, the battle of Islam and its people against the Crusaders and their
followers is a long battle," he said.
bombers fuel fears among Sri Lanka's majority Buddhists
Soldiers guarded the gate, but Colombo's landmark Gangaramaya temple was
virtually empty, a potent sign of anxiety felt by Sri Lanka's majority Buddhist
community since the Easter Sunday suicide attacks. The normal stream of
faithful and tourists has fallen to a trickle since the April 21 attacks on
churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people.
of Sri Lanka's 15 million Buddhists fear they too could become a jihadist
target. Wild rumours of attacks fly around each day – building unease which
observers say serves the cause of Buddhist radicals.
Ekanayake, a 29-year-old Sri Lankan on holiday from his job as a manufacturing
manager in Britain, said Wednesday he has never seen Gangaramaya so empty.
is a lot of speculation at the moment," he told AFP. "They have
targeted a church, a place of worship. A Buddhist temple is another place of
worship. It's an unknown for the public."
out in the streets in Colombo at around eight o'clock, it's like three or four
in the morning. There's nobody out there and I've never experienced that in my
Rathanasara, a monk at the temple, also highlighted the uncertainty. "The
intelligence services say the next attack will be on a Buddhist temple,"
the the main victims of the recent attacks were Christian, the Easter attacks
have strengthened a minority of Buddhist extremists who want an authoritarian
Buddhist state, political commentator Kusal Perera said.
ordinary Buddhists are made to feel that they are under threat," Perera
told AFP. "This is the way Buddhist extremists can remain relevant.
"What we are seeing is the creation of a fear psychosis among the
Buddhists. The end result will be a militarised society," he warned.
government has come under criticism after it admitted that it had prior
warnings about the suicide bomb attacks, which have been claimed by the Islamic
Buddhist monks also accuse the government of failing to heed their warnings
about militants too. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or Buddhist Force, argues that
the bombings have vindicated their warnings of Islamic radicalisation.
is working in the country," BBS national organiser Witharandeniye Nanda
told AFP, referring to a strict Sunni version of Islam. "They (the
government) did not do anything about our warnings. If they paid attention to
what we were saying, this tragedy could have been avoided," the monk
Sinhalese (Buddhist) politicians saw us as a political rivals and called us
nationalists, religious extremists," he said. "Instead of taking our
warnings seriously, they tried to suppress us."
group's leader, monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara, is currently serving a six-year
jail term for contempt of court. He has been accused of a string of hate crimes
against Muslims but never been prosecuted.
a court appearance for another case last week, Gnanasara told reporters he
feared Islamic extremists could target Buddhist temples.
the top monk in jail, the BBS no longer spews venomous rhetoric against
minorities, but has instead put its efforts into a campaign for Gnanasara's
investigating its own failure to heed Indian intelligence warnings of the
attacks, the government has declared a state of emergency giving sweeping
powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects.
has added to the nationwide nerves that has unsettled Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu
and Christian places of worship.
leading moderate Buddhist monk, Omalpe Sobitha, urged Sri Lanka's Roman
Catholic leader, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, to initiate inter-religious dialogue
to defuse tensions.
is the Catholic community which suffered the most in the Easter attacks and we
stand with them," Sobitha said.
cardinal should chair an interfaith movement to ensure better
understanding." The monk also urged the Islamic clergy to be vigilant
about radical elements within their community.
first steps against 'Muslim terrorism' should be taken by Muslim clerics
because they are the ones who know the most about their communities," he
Absence of hate speech leading up to ‘deviant’ fatwa hearing shows maturity
LUMPUR, May 2 — Sisters in Islam (SIS) has commended the majority of Malaysians
for their maturity and peace-loving nature, despite its court hearing to
legally challenge a “deviant” fatwa being postponed today.
to the non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) communications manager Majidah
Hashim, the absence of hate speech and racist smear campaigns leading up to the
hearing indicates a positive level of maturity in Malaysian society and shows
that most of the country are peace-loving.
encouragement that we received both offline and online reflects not only
recognition for the importance of the work that we do, but also the eagerness
of Malaysians to see justice being upheld,” Majidah said in a statement today.
expresses appreciation to all our volunteers and supporters who had taken time
out from their busy schedules to show their support for us at Kuala Lumpur High
Court today,” she added.
hearing of SIS’ legal challenge against a fatwa, or religious edict, was
postponed to June 17 after the High Court was informed that the opposing
counsel was medically unwell.
fatwa, gazetted on July 31, 2014, considered “any individuals, organisations or
institutions” deemed “liberal” to be religiously deviant but singled out SIS by
SIS and several individuals first filed the legal challenge in October 2014,
pro-clergy Muslim group Geng Ustaz Cintakan Ulama (Gang of Ulama-loving Ustaz)
had planned to rally against them at the courts complex.
Youth, at the time, had also declared SIS as an “insolent” and “extremist”
group out to challenge the monarchy and Federal Constitution.
source was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website as saying
on Thursday that the Americans are in possession of all intelligence about
al-Baghdadi but refrain from providing them to the Iraqi government in a move
to exert pressure on Baghdad to keep the US forces in the country.
added that ISIL commanders close to al-Baghdadi who had been arrested by the
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have disclosed all intelligence about
al-Baghdadi to the Americans.
Abbas al-Ardawi, a senior Iraqi security expert, said that al-Baghdadi's
reappearance is in line with the US plot to create insecurity in Iraq and keep
its forces in the country.
relevant remarks on Wednesday, another Iraqi expert also said reappearance of
al-Baghdadi in front of the cameras after five years was aimed at justifying
the US military deployment in Iraq.
al-Dulaimi told the Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid news website that the
Iraqi parties which favored the US continued deployment in Iraq were much
likely to make use of al-Baghdadi's move to magnify potential threats by the
added that the US was the first to misuse al-Baghdadi's reemergence politically
and as an emphasis on its recent warnings about the danger of ISIL and
importance of its forces' presence in Iraq.
al-Jadid also quoted Iraqi officials as saying that al-Baghdadi had come into
sight again as Iraqi security forces were running operations to cleanse Jabal
Hamrin mountains and some regions of al-Anbar desert from terrorists, adding
that the ISIL cells were now in their weakest conditions since the freedom of
Mosul and after they were stranded in desert areas.
in a new video message released after five years threatened to take revenge of
the killed and jailed members of the terrorist group.
ISIL terrorist group released an 18-minute video message of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
in which he had threatened to continue his terrorist activities.
was seen with three masked militants while the ISIL ringleader pointed to the
ISIL's exit from Baqouz region in Eastern Deir Ezzur and reiterated that the
Baqouz Battle had ended.
Bakr al-Baghdadi also said that he would take revenge of his killed and captive
militants, adding that the ISIL had conducted 92 terrorists operations in eight
countries to take revenge of its killed and captured members in al-Sham region.
ISIL ringleader also claimed that the Easter blasts in Sri Lanka had been
carried out in line with ISIL's revenge for Baquouz battle.
newly-released video of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the first since the last one
released in Iraqi Mosul's Nour Mosque in 2014.
Saturday, Russian media reports claimed that al-Baghdadi was in Syria's Badiyeh
(desert) region, attempting to cross the border into Iraq.
Arabic-language service of RT news channel quoted an Iraqi intelligence source
as saying that al-Baghdadi was at present hiding in Abu Rajmin mountain near
Syria's Palmyra region in Homs province.
added that the ISIL leader wants to cross the border into Iraq in the next few
weeks, noting that he has already made several unsuccessful attempts due to the
tight security measures at the border.
report said captured ISIL terrorists have leaked during interrogations that
al-Baghdadi has been left with a small number of Saudi, Tunisian and Iraqi
militants who are still loyal to him.
experts said al-Baghdadi is likely trying to join the ISIL terrorists who have
been transferred by the US from Syria to Iraq.
Cities’ exhibition reveals the cultural impact of terrorism
“Age-Old Cities,” an exhibition that opened in Riyadh last month, uses virtual
reality to allow visitors to access four significant heritage sites in the Arab
world that were once vibrant and beautiful, but are now destroyed — or seriously threatened: Mosul in Iraq;
Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria; and Leptis Magna in Libya.
immersive exhibition — organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration
with the Institut de Monde Arabe in Paris, where the exhibition was first
displayed — uses VR technology, giant-screen projections, archival documents
and images, and video testimonials to take visitors on a journey from the
cities’ origins through to their modern-day state, in order to raise awareness
about the need to preserve cultural treasures.
clearly reveals the devastating effects that terrorism can have on mankind,
civilization and history.
ministry’s organization of an international exhibition such as this comes in
the context of its keenness to promote international cultural dialogue and open
communication with the world,” said Abdul-Kareem Al-Humaid, a spokesperson for
the Ministry of Culture.
of the volunteers at the exhibition told Arab News that some visitors had been
visibly shaken when they left. The volunteer described it as an “emotional
roller-coaster” for two visitors from Mosul and Aleppo in particular, who had
left with tears in their eyes after seeing the “before and after” of their
respective cities, both of which are currently reduced, for the most part, to rubble.
Turki Al-Faisal saluted the Ministry of Culture, which is led by Prince Badr
Al-Saud, for organizing such an exhibition.
pointed out that documenting the devastation caused by terrorism makes a great
contribution to raising awareness of the value of cultural heritage.
this awareness and sensing the importance of this intangible heritage, we
cannot preserve it and protect it from the hands of saboteurs and extremists,”
much as I am pleased with this visit, I am saddened by the images I have seen
in this exhibition — especially as it highlights the ancient archaeological
cities listed in the UNESCO list of human heritage such as Aleppo and Palmyra
in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq,” he continued.
said the exhibition “managed to take us on a virtual journey and a unique
realistic simulation to see, live, these cities that were subjected to
destruction, desecration and theft. The exhibition succeeded in defining the
magnitude of the great and terrible loss suffered by humanity for this neglect
Cities” runs at the National Museum in Riyadh until May 18. During Ramadan, the
exhibition will be open daily from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Jews And Muslims Are 'Natural Allies' With Close Bonds, Study Finds
2010, a small group of Muslim and Jewish women in New Jersey began meeting in
one another’s homes, drawn by the prospect of working in solidarity to combat
the hatred that each group faced.
later, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom has more than 3,000 women participating
in 170 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. During these meetings, members spend
time getting to know each other. They learn about similarities in Judaism and
Islam. They celebrate holidays and life events together.
they’ve also been grieving the rise of white nationalist violence and planning
how they will respond to both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Director Sheryl Olitzky said the Sisterhood is based on a simple premise: “It’s
really easy to hate someone you don’t know. But when you know them, it’s
difficult, and when you care about them, it’s impossible.”
new survey is offering data on something that Olitzky and other American Jewish
and Muslim leaders have been insisting on for years: that the stereotypes that
paint these religious groups as “natural enemies” don’t reflect what’s actually
American Muslim Poll 2019, a research project from the Institute for Social
Policy and Understanding (ISPU), suggests that American Jews and Muslims have
much more in common than is often assumed.
groups are minorities in the U.S. who report facing religious discrimination.
They are both becoming increasingly anxious about the threat white supremacists
pose to their communities and houses of worship. They tend to vote for
Democrats, and they are more likely to be educated and urban.
these factors increase their chances of meeting. And the ISPU study suggests
that once American Jews and Muslims meet each other, they become more than just
acquaintances ― they become close friends and allies.
findings fly in the face of the dominant narrative that paints Muslims and Jews
as natural enemies,” Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the ISPU, told
HuffPost. “The data paints a different picture, one of two communities facing a
common threat and who are by far the most likely to know and like each other.
The story we tell about these communities should start reflecting this
ISPU is a research organization that seeks to offer insight on the lives of
American Muslims. Its January 2019 survey of 2,376 people was conducted among
Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Protestants (white evangelicals in particular), and
with Georgetown University’s The Bridge Initiative, the ISPU attempted to
measure the extent to which the American public endorses anti-Muslim tropes.
The resulting tracker, dubbed the National American Islamophobia Index,
analyzes the level of agreement religious groups had with the following five
stereotypes about Muslims.
to all the non-Muslim faith groups surveyed, Jewish Americans were the least
Islamophobic, meaning they were most resistant to accepting those negative
stereotypes about Muslims. On the other hand, white evangelical Protestants
scored the highest on the Islamophobia Index.
from the index, the ISPU asked participants whether they had an overall
“favorable, unfavorable, or no opinion” about different religious groups. Jews
and Muslims had similar responses to this question, with 45% of Muslims saying
they had favorable opinions on Jews and 53% of Jews saying they had favorable
views about Muslims.
Jewish Americans had significantly better opinions about Muslims than they did
of white evangelicals. While 75% of white evangelicals had favorable opinions
of Jews, only 25% of Jews returned the positive sentiment.
Jews and Muslims also appeared to have similar thoughts about President Donald
Trump’s attempts to restrict immigration through executive orders targeting
primarily Muslim majority countries. Trump first proposed an outright ban on
Muslims entering the country while campaigning in 2015, and, although the
president has claimed otherwise, many Muslim leaders still think of his efforts
as a “Muslim ban.”
ISPU sought to measure whether political candidates’ support or opposition to
the Muslim ban would have an effect in the voting booth. Sixty-one percent of
Muslims and 53% of Jews said that a candidate’s endorsement of the Muslim ban
would decrease their support for that individual. White evangelicals were the
most likely religious group surveyed to say the opposite, with 44% saying a
candidate’s endorsement of the Muslim ban would actually increase their support
for that candidate’s run for office.
believes American Jews feel a “moral responsibility” to protect people fleeing
because of their horrific past, know what it is like to not be welcome in any
country, to not be protected from any country,” Olitzky said, specifically
thinking about how Jewish refugees were treated during the Holocaust. “They
feel the strongest responsibility so that this should never happen to anyone
also discovered evidence of strong social ties between American Muslim and
Jewish communities. About 53% of the general public reported knowing an
American who is a Muslim, with white evangelicals being the least likely to say
the same (35%). But 76% of Jews reported knowing a Muslim. And within that
subset, 45% said they were close enough friends with a Muslim to “call them if
you needed help” ― a much higher percentage than the other religious groups
closeness might help explain why American Jews have such positive views of
Muslims. Political scientists have long argued that knowing someone from a
specific community is associated with more positive views of that community.
The ISPU analysis revealed that knowing a Muslim personally is a “protective
factor” against Islamophobia.
a Muslim is a close friend, Islamophobia is further reduced,” the researchers
strong social ties are reflected in a number of joint initiatives that Muslim
and Jewish leaders are creating. In addition to the Sisterhood, there are
groups like NewGround, a Los Angeles-based community-building organization that
connects Jewish and Muslim professionals and high schoolers. There’s also the
Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, a collaboration between the American Jewish
Committee and the Islamic Society of North America.
Hasan, NewGround’s executive director, told HuffPost that the ISPU’s findings
confirm what she’s experienced while leading the interfaith organization.
Muslims and Jews share similarities and religious teachings, living as
religious minorities in the United States also deeply connects our communities
with shared common experiences,” Hasan said.
said that the biggest issue that tends to cause divisions among Muslim and Jews
today is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sisterhood chapters are purposeful
about how that topic is addressed, sharing resources that teach participants
how to engage in difficult conversations, listen with compassion and focus on
building relationships with fellow members first.
with those political differences, Olitzky said that Muslim and Jewish women in
Sisterhood chapters have found many commonalities. They face similar challenges
in the workplace, for example, when it comes to observing holidays or fasts
that most of their co-workers don’t partake in.
not easy being a Jewish or Muslim woman of faith in a country that is really
navigated by a calendar, by dietary habits, by values that aren’t necessarily
the same as yours,” Olitzky said.
addition, Muslims and Jews also share experiences of being targeted for their
faith. Of the religious groups surveyed, Muslims were the most likely to report
experiencing religious discrimination (62%). Jewish Americans were the second
most likely to say the same, with 43% reporting religious discrimination.
and Muslim leaders are both concerned about a rise in white nationalist
violence. Mogahed, of the ISPU, said that Jews and Muslims are “natural allies”
because they face this common threat.
said that she believes anti-Semitism and Islamophobia often go hand in hand.
She pointed out that the shooter accused of killing 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh
synagogue last year was angry at a Jewish nonprofit for helping Muslim refugees
resettle in the U.S. The man accused of opening fire at a Poway, California,
synagogue last week was reportedly inspired by the New Zealand mosque massacre
and is suspected of setting a fire at a mosque last month.
pattern we find is that where there is anti-Semitism, there is often
Islamophobia as well,” Hasan said. “While our shared trauma has brought our
communities together, our response of solidarity and allyship has bonded us.”
the Pittsburgh shooting, Muslim worshippers raised thousands of dollars for the
victims. Months later, Jewish groups in Pittsburgh raised funds for victims of
New Zealand’s mosque shootings.
the grief and the pain of this past year, one continual source of inspiration
and strength has been the way our communities continue to show up for each
other,” Hasan said.
could draw wealthy tourists to New Zealand
daylight hours in New Zealand during the holy month of Ramadan could be a draw
for wealthy Muslim tourists, according to one of the country’s leading
researchers in Islamic studies.
will begin on May 6 when the crescent moon is visible in most Islamic nations.
This signals the start of the holy month where Muslims refrain from eating or
drinking during daylight hours.
Zealand’s shorter autumn days mean Muslims will fast for about 10 hours. As
Europe and the Middle East head into summer, longer days could potentially
spell a 16-hour fast for worshippers.
of Auckland professor of religious studies Zain Ali said New Zealand had a
unique opportunity to market itself to Muslim tourists during this time of
idea of Ramadan tourism has been around for a while and I think the potential
is there for it to take off in this country," he said.
have fewer hours of daylight and there is [a] class of wealthy people who would
be looking to travel during Ramadan."
said the challenge was making New Zealand stand out against other popular
tourist spots for Muslims.
tourists will be thinking about whether a destination will provide halal
options, offer meals before sunrise and how friendly it is to Muslims," he
Zealand will need to address these issues to compete with popular destinations
like Malaysia and Dubai that have Muslim majority populations, so are already
well-prepared to accommodate for them."
Tourism, Events and Economic Development general manager of destination Steve
Armitage said there were no current plans to target Ramadan fasters, but
travelling Muslims would be welcomed.
is a vibrant local Muslim community across the region who have a history of
welcoming others to experience Ramadan with them, and plenty of great halal
eateries to choose from," he said.
air services have also recently made Auckland more accessible for travellers
coming from the Middle East and other Pacific Rim destinations with
predominantly Muslim populations."
Umar Kuddus was sceptical Muslims would be flocking to New Zealand during
isn’t just a time for us to fast and eat after sunset, it’s a time of
reflection, prayer and to be with family," he said.
New Zealand is attractive for Muslims, as we only have around 10 hours of daylight,
I don’t think many will be flocking here from across the world."
said if Muslims did decide to come to New Zealand for the holy month, the
country did well in terms of providing halal options.
we’ve had quite an influx in terms of the understanding of halal food. Now not
only Muslim-owned and -operated restaurants are providing halal but general
restaurants all cater for halal,” he said.
is endless opportunity for halal food in New Zealand.”
tourism is expected to be worth over $200 billion worldwide by 2025.
security is expected to be ramped up during the holy month following the terror
attack at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in March.
Shafiq ur Rehman from the Baitul Muqeet Mosque in south Auckland said meetings
had been held between Islamic leaders and the police and armed guards and
increased bag checks would greet worshippers.
party candidate quits Australian campaign over anti-Muslim posts
Another candidate for Australia’s governing Liberals was forced to stand down
over anti-Muslim comments Friday as the party struggles to fend off charges it
harbors right-wing extremists.
Whelan became the third Liberal candidate to quit the race for May 18 elections
in the past three days over racist or homophobic social media posts.
running for the lower house of parliament from the island state of Tasmania,
initially said the posts, which included references to “filthy Muslims” and
called for a referendum to ban Muslim immigration, had been doctored by
after screenshots of additional anti-Islam posts emerged in the Australian
press overnight, Whelan withdrew from the race early Friday.
move came after the Liberals, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, were forced
to drop two other candidates in the key state of Victoria on Wednesday after
they were found to have posted anti-Islam or homophobic messages on social
incidents provided new ammunition to opposition parties’ charges that the
Liberals have become dominated by extremists since party hard-liners ousted
moderate prime minister Malcolm Turnbull last August, putting the more conservative
Morrison in power.
Liberals have been forced to dump another one of its extreme right-wing
candidates,” trumpeted Bill Shorten, leader of the main opposition Labor party,
which is leading in opinion polls.
denied that Whelan’s views reflected a broader far-right agenda for his party.
views were her views and they do not represent the views of the party I lead,”
Labor has also been hit by controversy as both major party campaigns are roiled
by social media posts made by their candidates, sometimes years earlier.
Labor candidate dropped out of the race earlier this week over posts deemed
anti-Semitic, while Liberal leaders demanded on Friday that Shorten sack
another Labor hopeful for posting rape jokes and other sexist comments.
Creasey, a 29-year-old school teacher running for office in the Victorian
capital of Melbourne, posted the comments in 2012 and Shorten defended him on
Friday, saying the candidate regretted the posts made when he was 22.
has apologized deeply and he certainly doesn’t hold those views now,” Shorten
said, adding, “Jessica Whelan said what she believes now (and) tried to cover
an increasing fiery campaign, both parties are learning the value of vetting
candidates even in long-shot races where they stand little chance of taking
pan-India survey conducted about Zakat, which is an Islamic religious tax,
shows that 77 per cent of respondents believe it has the potential to transform
the Muslim community in India. However, the money is being given for various
purposes with no specific focus, and the donors are also not keen on checking whether
the money they give is having any tangible impact on the lives of those who
received it, the survey says.
Muslim who owns assets worth more than 75 grams of gold after deducting his
liabilities is expected to pay Zakat. The amount is pegged at 2.5 per cent of
his total income, assets and savings. This amount is expected to be given to a
are 17.18 crore Muslims accounting for 14.2 per cent of India’s population.
There is no exact estimate on how much Zakat is collected in India, with
estimates fluctuating between Rs 7,500 crore and Rs 40,000 cr annually.
amount is either distributed in small amounts to individuals or goes into
madrasas to fund religious education. There are numerous groups in India which
collect Zakat and utilise it for community work. There have been, however,
complaints that a large chunk of this money goes in funding madrasas, and very
little is done for empowerment of the community.
survey was conducted across India by the Association of Muslim Professionals,
who sent questionnaires to 4,589 respondents from across various social strata
to “understand the current practices of Zakat collection, distribution and its
impact on Muslim community”.
study shows that 36 per cent of the respondents paid less than Rs 10,000 as
Zakat. 39 per cent paid Rs 10,000-50,000, five per cent paid Rs 50,000-Rs 1
lakh and 10 per cent over Rs 1 lakh.
most donations are given by individuals to their own relatives, with 38 per
cent saying they preferred paying charity to their less well off relatives.
Only 16 per cent of respondents paid money to NGOs or community organisations.
an individual’s education was the most preferred form of paying Zakat. However,
with only 18 per cent paying Zakat for education, the number was relatively
50 per cent tended to pay Zakat to the same people and over 55 per cent claimed
that the money they gave as charity to someone did not change the life of the
family nor were the donors interested in finding out whether the money was
being used effectively.
majority of the respondents, at 77 per cent, felt that collective donation had
the potential of transforming the Muslim community in India, and nearly 47 per
cent preferred the money being given for the educational empowerment of the
of crores of money gets distributed as Zakat annually in India. Inspite of this
huge amount, you do not see a tangible impact on the upliftment of the
community. The idea of the survey was to identify the pain areas which hinder
the effective utilisation of Zakat and how it can be leveraged in a better and
more organised way to improve the socio economic situation of India’s Muslims,”
Aamir Edresy, founder president of the Association of Muslim Professionals,
Can't Strike India Directly Despite Threats, May Go For Inspired Attacks
recent statement from an Islamic State (IS)-aligned group threatening attacks
in India and Bangladesh and naming its new 'emir' (chief) in 'Bengal' does not
point to the IS' official presence in India or its ability to directly strike
targets in these countries, but authorities must remain vigilant as more 'IS-inspired'
attacks are expected.
renewed focus on the IS threat in the Indian sub-continent comes after over 250
people were killed last month in Sri Lanka in the Easter Sunday suicide
attacks, for which IS has claimed responsibility. Terrorist activity watchdog
SITE Intelligence Group has also said that for the first time in over two
years, the group has claimed credit for an attack in Bangladesh, where three
people, including two policemen, were injured on Monday by a crude bomb in
Dhaka's Gulistan area. A day after this attack, an IS-aligned group reportedly
named Abu Muhammed al-Bengali as its new emir in 'Bengal' and threatened to
carry out attacks in India and Bangladesh.
Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the ISIL (Daesh)/Al-Qaida/Taliban Monitoring Team
at the United Nations, had recently warned about the dangers of IS-inspired
attacks, despite the group losing its last piece of territory in Syria and
Iraq. In an interview published in the Combating Terrorism Center at West
Point's (The United States Military Academy's) April 2019 Sentinel publication,
Fitton-Brown had said while IS was "not capable of directing complex
international attacks" at the moment, attacks inspired by the group would
still take place. "This is where the message is being put out online; the
propaganda is saying, 'Go ahead and do these various things.' It's angry,
radicalised individuals responding to something they're seeing online," he
its military defeat, the Islamic State's ability to inspire terrorism in different
parts of the world has remained intact. The group is likely to make full use of
it to fight the threat to its relevance. "After the loss of Baghouz, the
Islamic State has collapsed as a geographical entity but it continues to exist
as an ideological one," said Kabir Taneja, an associate fellow at the
Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and author of 'The ISIS phenomenon: South
Asia and beyond'.
March 23, 2019, US-backed forces in Syria had announced they had liberated the
last area under Islamic State control in the village of Baghouz, declaring
victory over the terrorist group and the end of its self-declared caliphate.
With this, the group lost the safe space from where it could plan and direct
attacks in the rest of the world.
said that inspired attacks were IS' best bet to maintain its relevance,
describing it as "do it yourself" terrorism. "This will be IS'
preferred methodology. They will be looking for opportunities. Expect more
attacks, like the ones in Sri Lanka, across the world. IS is willing to accept
any attack on any territory in its name in a bid to stay relevant," he
threat is very real
has seen an estimated 180 IS-related cases to date, according to Taneja. While
the group and its affiliates have been unable to carry out any high-casualty
attacks in the country, the threat remains ever present as demonstrated by the
Sri Lankan bombers.
is no official IS presence in India," said Taneja. However, this does not
mean that the terrorist group has not made any inroads here.
analysis of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) releases, media reports and
data collated by ORF's 'Tracking ISIS' Influence in India' project revealed
that between 2014 and 2019 at least 113 individuals were under the scanner of
agencies for being involved with IS to one extent or another. About 30 of them
have been arrested, while others are under investigation, absconding, or have
the 13 states from where these IS suspects or operatives came, Kerala topped
the list by a wide margin, with an estimated 43 such individuals in that state.
Telangana was a distant second with nine IS members, affiliates or
sympathisers. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu stood third with six
such individuals each.
first full-scale IS attack in India was the March 7, 2017, blast on the
Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train in Madhya Pradesh. Over 10 people were injured
when a low-intensity bomb detonated. As the perpetrators were caught, the NIA
described them as self-radicalised IS sympathisers. "They took bayat to
ISIS and also attempted migrating (to Syria or Iraq) several times through
Kashmir, Amritsar, Mumbai and other places," NIA spokesperson, Inspector
General Alok Mittal, had said in an August 2017 statement on the case.
recent high-profile NIA case also showed how an IS-aligned group could emerge.
The NIA has been investigating the "ISIS-inspired module" styled as
'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam' and its alleged members, having arrested 14 in the
case between last December and April this year. The agency has said that a
group of "pro-IS terrorists" had formed this "terrorist
gang", which was found to be inspired by the IS ideology. The NIA claims
it has credible information that the group was preparing "to carry out
terrorist attacks targeting vital installations, sensitive locations and
crowded places in and around Delhi/NCR". The agency also said the group,
which had been operating from Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, had
mobilised funds and procured weapons, ammunition and explosive material to
prepare improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bombs, and that its members
planned "to carry out explosions and fidayeen attacks".
about the new emir?
named as its emir by an IS-aligned group does not necessarily mean that al-Bengali
has the IS top leadership's blessings. "It is very easy for a pro-IS group
to declare an emir for a region and its allegiance to IS," explained
Taneja. "IS is like a brand and associating with it can earn a group
attention and prominence because of the imagery and reputation attached to
it," he added.
the IS has rules when it comes to appointing senior leaders. "Any person
who becomes an emir has to swear an oath of allegiance (known as bayat or
bay'ah in Arabic) to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
And, their oath of allegiance needs to be accepted by the group's top
leadership and Al-Baghdadi," said Taneja.
brief exchange of firing took place between security forces and militants in
Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday morning, the Jammu & Kashmir
exchange of firing between #Security forces and #terrorists in #Shopian. Area
under cordon. Information is #preliminary in nature. @JmuKmrPolice @Sandeep_IPS_JKP
AM - May 3, 2019
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people are talking about this
forces had launched a cordon and search operation in the area this morning
following information about the presence of militants.
Naik got Rs 193 crore as donation, used it to incite terror acts: ED to special
preacher Zakir Naik had received over Rs 193 crore as donations which were used
to “convert people to Islam” and to incite them “to commit terrorist
activities”, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a special court in Mumbai on
agency has filed a prosecution complaint against Naik, alleging that he has
diverted part of the donations to buy properties in the name of his family
members and has also ventured into the real estate business in Dubai where he
is building high-end villas, agency sources said.
is the second prosecution complaint in the case but the first implicating Naik
directly. “These Prosecution Complaints have been filed before the Hon’ble
Special Judge with a prayer for punishment to the accused and confiscation of
attached properties to the tune of Rs. 50.46 crores for involvement in money
laundering,” an ED statement said.
to the ED’s prosecution complaint, Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF)
received funds to the tune of Rs 64.86 crore from “dubious sources” between
2003-04 and 2016-17. “The IRF received donations in response to the appeals
made by Zakir Naik during the course of his controversial speeches and thus
these donations were proceeds of crime emanating from criminal activity,” the
ED statement said.
to ED, its probe has revealed between 2012 and 2016, Naik diverted Rs 49.20
crore from his accounts in UAE to his accounts in India. These funds, ED
alleged, were used to purchase properties in Mumbai and Pune by layering of
funds in the name of his close relatives.
used the funds to the tune of Rs. 17.65 crore for purchase of properties from
builders viz. Mr.Salim Kodia partner in M/s MK Enterprises, Mr Munaf Vadgama,
partner in M/s Aafiyah Realtors, Mr. Sameer Khan, partner in M/s Pacific Orient
Genesis Associates and Mr Musa Lakdawala, partner of M/s Lakdawala & Yash
Associates in their projects,” the ED statement said.
projects have been identified by ED as Fatima Heights (Mumbai), Aafiyah Heights
(Mumbai), Engracia (Pune) and another project at Bhandup in Mumbai.
ED has also alleged that Naik has established several companies in UK and India
by placing his close confidantes and relatives as directors to camouflage the
diversion of funds received by him and his trust “through his illegal
activities of provocative speeches, etc and also for propagating hate
ED case is based on an NIA FIR, which alleged Naik’s involvement in “unlawful
activities through his provocative utterances, thus promoting enmity and hatred
between different religious groups in India”.
to the ED, investigation revealed most of Naik’s controversial speeches were
delivered during the Peace Conferences organised by IRF in Mumbai between 2007
and 2011. The ED claimed these speeches were aimed at converting people to
Islam and to inspire youth to commit “terrorist acts”.
45, was was murdered by a gang on the night of February 5 at Muslim Street in
of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday conducted simultaneous
searches at the Popular Front of India (PFI) district unit offices at
Thanjavur, Tiruchi, and Karaikal on Thursday, in connection with the murder of
PMK functionary V. Ramalingam in Thanjavur in February.
into teams, the NIA officials carried out the operation armed with search
warrants and with protection provided by the local police. Sources said the NIA
conducted a search at the house of a person by name Mohamed Hasan Quthoos at
Karaikal and seized a hard disk, laptop and books besides some unaccounted
money. Quthoos it is alleged, was involved in the murder of Ramalingam.
a search was conducted at the PFI district unit office at Karaikal town. This
concluded in the afternoon. NIA teams carried out similar searches at the PFI
office at Thanjavur town for about 45 minutes.
Tiruchi city, another NIA team searched the premises of the PFI situated at
Palakkarai. Although the NIA team had landed at the spot at around 8 a.m., the
PFI office was closed and opened thereafter by its office bearers.
protection was given by the City Police team to enable the NIA officers carry
out their operation. The NIA team conducted enquiries with an office bearer of
the PFI as part of the operation which lasted over six hours.
45, was murdered by a gang on the night of February 5 at Thirubhuvanam.
Thiruvidaimaruthur police, who registered a case, arrested 10 persons in
connection with the incident and seized a car allegedly used by the assailants.
PMK functionary was intercepted by a car-borne gang on Muslim Street at
Thirubhuvanam around midnight and was attacked with lethal weapons resulting in
deep cut injuries.
in Azhar case struck during Imran Khan's China trip: Pak media reports
The "breakthrough" in designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist
came during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China where
the two sides agreed to withdraw their opposition to the latest move to
blacklist the JeM chief, a media report said here Thursday.
UN's sanctions committee announced Wednesday the designation of Pakistan-based
Azhar, leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), over its ties to Al-Qaeda.
US, France along with the UK had moved the proposal to designate Azhar as a
"global terrorist" in the UN Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions
Committee in February, just days after the deadly Pulwama terror attack that
killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, China was the sole hold-out in the
15-nation world body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking four attempts
since 2009 by placing a "technical hold" and asking for "more
time to examine" the proposal.
after sanctions were imposed on Azhar, the Express Tribune newspaper, quoting
diplomatic sources, reported that Pakistan and China held extensive discussions
before making a decision on the Azhar issue.
is believed that the breakthrough came during the recent visit of Prime
Minister Imran Khan to China where both sides agreed to withdraw opposition to
the latest move after realising that Islamabad's concerns were addressed,"
the report said.
was in Beijing to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum hosted by Chinese
President Xi Jinping from April 25 to 27. Apart from President Xi, the Pakistan
prime minister met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang as well as Vice President
Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday that China
lifted its hold on the US, the UK and French proposal after a "careful
study of the revised materials" it had to designate Azhar as a global
listing of Azhar means that he will now be facing a travel ban, assets freeze
and arms embargo.
the source told the paper that the listing does not mean the person should be
detained. Another official claimed that authorities were "unaware" of
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, during the peak of India-Pakistan
tensions following the Pulwama terror attack had admitted that Azhar was in
Pakistan. He also mentioned that the JeM chief was "very unwell" to
the extent that he cannot leave his house.
report also claimed that Islamabad agreeing to the designation of Azhar as a
global terrorist was a "paradigm shift" in the country's approach.
official said prime minister Khan had made a public commitment that Pakistan's
soil would not be used against any country.
he made it clear that Pakistan would go after these groups in a manner that the
peace and security of the country was not affected.
Washington Post reported that Azhar's sanctioning comes weeks after Washington
said it was seeking to have him put on the UN blacklist.
Washington, a senior US administration official told reporters that "after
10 years China has done the right thing by lifting its hold on this designation."
official, who insisted on speaking anonymously, said Britain and France joined
the US in putting pressure on China after the February 14 attack, and Beijing
seems to have understood "that it is increasingly important that its
actions on the international stage on terrorism matched its rhetoric."
official said the Trump administration is watching to see if Pakistan Prime
Minister Khan's commitment to crack down on militants in the country "will
translate into irreversible steps to end terrorist and militant safe havens
government has ordered the takeover of assets and property of JeM and dozens of
banned militant organisations that operate in Pakistan after the Pulwama terror
attack by a JeM suicide bomber.
The Balochistan cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to establish a special
division of police force for Quetta to ensure security and protection of
sources said that under the new special security division, over 1,300 vacancies
of ranks of Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) to constables would be
created and they would be trained on modern lines. The meeting, presided over
by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, was informed that the security
division would have the latest communication system as well as modern weapons
and other equipment.
provincial government will create 1,305 new vacancies from the rank of soldiers
to SSPs who will be selected purely on merit,” a senior official of the
Balochistan government said after the meeting.
cabinet also decided to declare Quetta, Gwadar and Lasbela districts A area and
Levies force of all these districts would be merged into the police department.
meeting also approved Rs939 million in compensation for the people affected by
the Mirani Dam project.
federal government is providing funds for the project. The cabinet also
approved 10 billion tsunami tree project under the Green Pakistan initiative of
Prime Minister Imran Khan under which 250 million plants would be planted
across the province.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan had a long border of
905 kilometers with Iran, and Islamabad want to keep it peaceful and stable.
to the points raised by the opposition members in the National Assembly,
Qureshi said Pakistan had positively engaged with Iran to curb cross-border
movement of militant elements.
said there were certain elements, including regional spy agencies, which were
bent upon hurting this relationship by creating misunderstandings through their
nefarious acts. He, however, said these sordid designs would be foiled through
minister said Pakistan had taken a number of steps to raise the level of
understanding and confidence between the two neighbouring countries. “We have
decided to establish a joint border centre as well as fence the border to curb
the movement of militant elements.” He said the statement of Prime Minister
Imran Khan in Iran was taken out of context. He said given the sensitivity
involved, the opposition parties should not do politics on it.
the new local government act in Punjab, the foreign minister said it was aimed
at giving more powers and financial autonomy to the local governments to
address the problems of the people at the grassroots level. On reforms in the
National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Qureshi said the process of
accountability must continue transparently. He said the people of the country
wanted to see corrupt elements brought to justice.
said the government was ready to sit with the opposition for bringing reforms
in the NAB. He, however, recalled that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
failed to introduce reforms in the NAB in its five-year tenure.
Federal Minister of Law Farogh Naseem informed the House that the government
would introduce amendments to laws governing the NAB and the Criminal Procedure
Code (CrPC). Replying to a point of order, the law minister said the government
had held several meetings with the opposition leadership to reach a common
ground over amendment to the NAB law. He said the opposition had given a long
list for proposed amendments to the law. “We have no ego issues… the bill will
be given final shape,” the minister said. He urged the opposition to strengthen
the government for a strong Pakistan. Naseem disclosed that he and Qureshi
frequently met the opposition members to discuss the issue.
of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan told the House that the
government intended to privatise six state-owned entities. Speaking at the
floor of the House during the question hour, the minister said that the
government had planned to privatise two RLNG plants, two banks, the Jinnah
Convention Centre and the Lakhra coal power project.
said the government would also put up for sale its shares in Mari Petroleum. He
said the government had sold its Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) shares during
the PML-N government’s tenure. He informed the House that the government was
not considering privatising the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), and added that it
was a national asset like institutions such as the Pakistan Railways and
minister said that the PSM was removed from the list of privatisation and the
government was committed to reviving the institution to make it a profitable
entity. The minister told the House that the Privatisation Commission
successfully conducted five privatisation transactions during 2014-18,
generating proceeds amounting to Rs 172.9 billion. Replying to another
question, the minister said that an international-level research university would
be constructed at the Prime Minister’s House as per the promise made by Imran
the assembly resumed its session on Thursday, with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the
chair, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Development Kanwal Shauzab told
the House during the question hour that 11 projects relating to water, energy
and communication had been granted approval so far.
said the projects would benefit the entire country, and added that the
government was developing a policy for equitable development of less developed
districts to bring them on a par with other developed districts. She further
said that a special economic zone (SEZ) was being established at Rashakai under
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Naseem lay before the House seven bills, urging the members not to do politics
on them as they were people-friendly bills. He said the Legal Aid and Justice
Authority Bill would extend assistance to women and children involved in
The military authorities are contemplating transferring the cases of all
suspected terrorists arrested over a period of time to the federal government
in case military courts are not given another extension through constitutional
case of the transfer of these cases to the federal government, they may be
assigned to the sessions courts or antiterrorism courts, legal experts believe.
military courts set up under the National Action Plan (NAP) in 2015 to try
civilians on terrorism charges ceased to function after their second two-year
constitutional term expired at the end of March.
legal of the defence ministry Brigadier Falak Naz had, in response to a
petition seeking release of under-trial accused Abdullah Saleh, submitted to
the Lahore High Court a report stating that the accused was being tried by a
military court and his case was pending as the authorities were awaiting
further extension in the tenure of the military courts. The report further
states: “However, in case of non-extension of military courts by parliament,
his case for trial along with other accused will be at the disposal of the
federal government for appropriate disposal.”
Saleh is the son of retired Major Mohammad Saleh who has challenged the arrest
of his son, saying he has been in the custody of secret agencies since Aug 28,
Naz informed the court that Abdullah Saleh was allegedly involved in terrorist
activities and his case was processed for trial under the military court.
“Presently, his case with other cases is pending, subject to further extension
of military courts.”
to former officer of the military’s legal branch retired Lt Col Inam-ur-Rahim,
in case these cases are transferred to the federal government, these will be
given to the sessions courts or antiterrorism courts of the respective
for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Nasim, when asked about the fate of pending cases
in the military courts, told Dawn that it was a complicated issue and it needed
some legal interpretation.
he was reminded that after the antiterrorism law — Protection of Pakistan Act
(PoPA) — had lapsed, the cases registered under PoPA were transferred to
antiterrorism courts, he said PoPA was a different law and it could not be
compared with the amendment to the Pakistan Army Act that empowered the
military courts to try terrorists.
there are no official statistics available about military court cases, Defence
Minister Pervez Khattak, in response to a question raised by MNA Mohsin Dawar,
had informed the lower house of parliament in November last year that the
military courts had to decide 185 terrorism-related cases before the expiry of
their two-year term in March this year.
minister had said that since the launch of the Zarb-i-Azb operation, the
interior ministry had referred a total of 717 cases to the military courts. Of
the total cases, 185 were still under process and these had to be decided by
March 30, he added. The minister had said a total of 478 cases had been decided
by the military courts, which meant that the conviction rate of the cases was
more than 60 per cent.
Khattak had said that 284 convicts had been awarded death sentences and 56 of
them had been executed. Similarly, he added, 192 convicts had been awarded
rigorous imprisonment, two accused acquitted and 54 cases dropped due to
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, which has already decided in
principle to give another extension to the military courts for two more years,
is still struggling to seek cooperation of the opposition parties over the
issue as it does not have the required two-thirds majority in any of the two
houses of parliament to carry out the constitutional amendment for the purpose.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz seems to be willing for the extension of the
military courts, but it wanted the PTI government to convince the opposition on
Senator Pervaiz Rashid blamed the PTI for the expiry of the military courts and
delay in their revival. Talking to Dawn, he said that in this case the PML-N
was ready to support the bill for the extension of the military courts, but it
appeared that “complainant is lazy and witness is active” in the current
asked the government to formally engage the opposition in discussion on the
revival of the military courts, but the PTI leadership seems not interested as
they did not contact Nawaz Sharif or Shahbaz Sharif,” he added.
Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a suo motu case concerning the affairs of
Lal Masjid after receiving an assurance from the attorney general that the
Jamia Hafsa seminary would be reconstructed.
Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz had in 2015 petitioned the court to ensure
that the families of those killed in the July 2007 military operation were paid
blood money. After the operation, the government and the mosque administration,
led by Maulana Aziz, had reached an agreement under which the Capital
Development Authority (CDA) would provide an alternative site for the
reconstruction of the Jamia Hafsa seminary.
petition, among other demands, had also called for the CDA to build a new
seminary in place of the seminary for women that had been damaged in the 2007
operation and later razed to the ground.
had also asked the court to order the federal government to implement its
October 2, 2007 judgement in the case.
General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan was present in court on Thursday as a
two-judge bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the case.
attorney general assured the apex court that a seminary would be constructed at
the site in question, and said that, administratively, it would fall under the
government’s control. On March 12, the Supreme Court had been informed that Lal
Masjid was built on government land by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
had recruited the prayer leader of the mosque,” Justice Faez Essa, a member of
the bench, asked the Islamabad chief commissioner. “The Evacuee Properties
Trust Board had appointed Maulana Abdullah as the prayer leader,” the chief
commissioner replied. After Maulana Abdullah, his son Maulana Abdul Aziz was
appointed the imam, the commissioner further said.
means Maulana Abdul Aziz was a government employee,” Justice Gulzar observed.
The commissioner replied that Aziz was removed from his post in 2004, but he
retained control of the mosque. “The mosque had become his personal property,”
Justice Gulzar remarked. “Are you saying the government could not vacate the
mosque? Justice Ijazul Ahsan, another member of the bench asked.
2007’s operation, the building of Jamia Hafsa was destroyed and 20 kanals of
land was allotted in year 2011 on the directives of the Supreme Court,” the
chief commissioner informed the court.
mean the CDA allotted the state land to a private institution?” Justice Gulzar
Ahmed asked. “How can you grant the property of CDA to someone?” he said,
adding, “The space could temporarily be used by someone, but it will remain
also said that running a private institution on government land was
impermissible. “A private institution could only be run on your purchased
place,” Justice Gulzar said.
laywer, Advocate Tariq Asad, came to the rostrum to argue that the case was not
about one plot, but linked to various matters.
Gulzar asked Asad to apprise the court of what angles of the case had been
overlooked, to which the lawyer was unable to furnish an adequate response.
Both Justice Gulzar and Asad then exchanged sharp words, with the lawyer
telling the court he was not arguing the case “just to pass the time”.
Taliban say a deal with the US on withdrawal of foreign forces ‘can be
possible’ in the ongoing talks in Qatar. “We are holding detailed discussions
on two core issues: complete withdrawal of foreign forces and to prevent Afghan
soil from being used for terrorism. We will make efforts to finalize a deal,”
Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in an audio statement sent to
Daily Times from Doha. When asked again if he is confident of a deal, he said
“there are hopes.” “Agreement on troop withdrawal will open way for discussions
and solution to other issues,” he said.
Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar told US envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad that there will be no deal on any other issue unless both sides reach
agreement on complete withdrawal of foreign forces and preventing Afghan soil
from being used against others.
met Baradar in Qatar on Wednesday ahead of a new round of talks and views were
exchanged about key aspects for a peaceful resolution of the Afghan issue. “It
is absolutely vital that the two key agenda points of the previous meeting
(full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan
from harming others) be finalized,” a Taliban statement quoted Baradar as
telling the US envoy. “This will open the way for resolving other aspects of
the issue and we cannot enter into other topics before this,” the Taliban
leader further said.
Senior Taliban leader Mullah Fazl has been appointed as deputy of the Qatar’s
negotiating team, in an apparent attempt to boost trust of the military
commanders in the negotiation process. Fazl, a former Guantanamo inmate, had
served as Afghan army chief during the Taliban rule. He was freed from the US
detention centre along with four other leaders in June 2014 in exchange of a US
soldier. All five former Taliban Guantanamo prisoners are now part of the Qatar
political negotiation team. “Trust of the military commanders in the political
process is a must and the decision may have been taken to convey a message to
the military commanders,” a Taliban official said. “This could also be an
attempt to make former military leaders part of the political process and that
they are determined to the peace process,” another Taliban official said.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation has told Taliban to
put down arms, stop violence and embrace.
our opening session, I underscored to the Talibs that the Afghan people, who
are their brothers & sisters, want this war to end. It is time to put down
arms, stop the violence, & embrace peace,” Khalilzad said in a Twitter
also added “Peace will require that we find common-ground on four
inter-connected issues: troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism assurances,
intra-Afghan dialogue & negotiations, and reduction in violence leading to
a comprehensive ceasefire. Nothing will be final until we agree on all 4
Taliban Commander from Shah Joy District in Zabul Province has stopped fighting
and is cooperating with the District Governor, Wazir Muhammad and the local
205th Corps security forces, the Afghan military said Thursday.
to this Taliban Commander, he has joined the peace process on his own efforts
and and will try to bring the rest of the Taliban members under his command to
join the peace process too.
the process he handed over a motorcycle, a Kalshnikov and some ammunition, the
205th Atal Corps said in a statement.
a statement posted on social media, the provincial governor of Zabul
Rahmatullah Yarmal said “This week a #Taliban Commander in #Zabul has stopped
fighting a joined the peace process,” said Yarmal. “There is a loud and clear desire for peace
from everyone and this is a positive step for Zabul towards sustainable peace.”
Afghan forces pounded Taliban positions pounded Taliban positions in
north-western Badghis province of Afghanistan leaving at least 17 militants
dead or wounded, the Afghan military said Thursday.
207th Zafar Corps in a statement said the operations were conducted in Qads
district of Badghis leaving 9 militants dead and 8 others wounded.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the airstrike so far.
Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church said it had cancelled plans to resume Sunday
services because of fears of fresh bomb attacks.
spokesman for Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Thursday that the Church
received “specific information of two possible attacks against churches,” and
it was decided to call off the May 5 mass.
the advice of the security forces, we have decided not to have Sunday masses in
any of the churches,” the spokesman told AFP.
Church had planned to resume public services for the first time since the
Easter Sunday attacks that killed 257 people.
at Afghanistan’s most important national gathering have urged ceasefire between
the government and the Taliban militant group as a foretaste to a potential
Jirga, or grand assembly, wound down in the capital Kabul on Thursday following
days of discussion among the thousand-strong politicians, religious leaders and
representatives from across the country. The centuries-old assembly convenes in
the event of national crises or to address momentous issues.
gathering seeks to address the rampant violence, which has been waged for
decades by the Taliban against Afghan people and officials, and has been
worsened since 2001, when the United States ousted the militants when
Washington invaded Afghanistan.
are here to urge both sides to announce a ceasefire. The war will end only when
both sides stop fighting before they sign a permanent peace agreement,"
said Abdul Hannan, a member of one the committees, who had traveled from the
south to attend the assembly.
day, Afghans are being killed without any reason. An unconditional ceasefire
must be announced," said Mohammad Qureshi, head of another committee.
is you, who will show the government the way towards peace and the government
will do what you demand," Jirga chairman Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf said,
apparently appealing to the nation to pool its resources to bring about peace.
meanwhile, urged that any potential peace should not come about at the cost of
free speech, women’s right or the right to vote.
Taliban, which were not present at Jirga meeting, shun talks with the
government, calling it a US puppet.
have called for all foreign forces to leave the country before the militants
would revisit their approach.
rounds of talks between the group and Washington have stopped far short of any
agreement foreseeing foreign forces’ withdrawal.
recently, the Taliban and the US resumed a new round of negotiations, excluding
Kabul, in Qatar’s capital of Doha, where the militant group runs a
the fifth round of their talks in Doha, which ended in mid-March, the two sides
“agreed in draft” on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in
return for preventing the country’s soil from being used as a hub for
programme introduced to inspire Muslim couples to build a strong marriage
- Muslim couples applying to register their marriages from July 1 must first
meet a naib kadi, or wedding solemniser, before their solemnisation ceremony.
naib kadi will continue engaging the couple over the next two years, to inspire
a strong and stable marriage by providing support before and throughout their
sharing advice and useful information on marriage and parenthood, the naib kadi
may also refer couples to programmes and services aimed at enhancing their
marital relationships, or when they need professional help.
programme, which started as a ground-up initiative by the naib kadis, will be
run by the Registry of Muslim Marriages and M³, which is an alliance of three
key Malay/Muslim organisations: Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of
Singapore (Muis) and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive
Committees Council, Mesra.
Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education
Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim announced the Bersamamu (Malay for With You) programme
on Thursday (May 2) at the Al-Mukminin Mosque in Jurong East.
aims to make a difference to the lives of all Muslim couples seeking to marry.
It underscores how couples can journey towards a strong marriage with the
support of their naib kadi.
part of the M³ framework, it also serves as a key component of the continuum of
care for Malay/Muslim families which I announced recently," he said,
referring to an initiative launched on April 23 which will see government
agencies collaborating with M³ to support Malay/Muslim families in marriage,
parenthood, and early childhood education.
numbers show there were 6,050 Muslim marriages in 2017, up from the 5,954 in
2016 and 5,778 in 2015.
the number of Muslim divorces fell to a five-year low in 2017, in part because
of initiatives to bolster marriages in the community.
the Bersamamu programme, couples must attend the free meet-up session after
they apply online for a Muslim marriage application.
will be required to meet the naib kadi once, for an hour, before their
solemnisation date. Only after the first meting will the marriage be
naib kadi will also encourage soon-to-wed couples to attend Cinta Abadi, a
marriage preparation course run by the Ministry of Social and Family
Mohamed Haziq, 30, has met a naib kadi, who is also a religious teacher, with his
29-year-old fiancee once after applying online to register his marriage.
advice given for life after marriage was especially helpful. It was also
helpful that the Ustaz (religious teacher) raised awareness to improve our
religious knowledge," he said.
May 2 — The public, especially Muslims, are advised not to fall for the
propaganda of certain quarters who will purposely fan racial and religious
sentiments at the rally to ‘defend Islam’ scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur
Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the rally, organised by the Gerakan
Pembela Ummah (UMMAH), has been seen as merely a propaganda and an opportunity
for those quarters to gain political mileage.
want to take this opportunity to advise all Malaysians to preserve racial and
religious harmony in the country,” he said in a media interview here today in
conjunction with the first anniversary of Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
rally is scheduled to be held in front of Sogo shopping complex in the capital
at 2pm Saturday.
Muhyiddin also refuted the allegation that the status of Islam was ‘unsafe’
under the PH government.
status of Islam as the religion of the Federation as enshrined in the Federal
Constitution will not change,” he said in response to Mufti of Perlis Datuk Dr
Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin’s statement on Facebook claiming that the ‘voices to
defend Islam’ were hardly heard among leaders in the ruling government.
fact, Muhyiddin said the ministry also viewed seriously the issue of insults
against Islam, Prophet Muhammad and the monarchy institution on social media.
said stern action had been taken by the police so far in regard to the issue,
with eight out of the 53 cases investigated had been charged in courts.
LUMPUR, May 2 — Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa today appeared to defend Perlis
mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin as a progressive religious scholar, but
also cast doubt on the latter’s attempts to portray Islam as purportedly being
under threat in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) rule.
minister in charge of religious affairs described the Perlis mufti, popularly
known as Dr Maza, as an “old friend” who had in the past lent support to his
agenda for reform.
frequently exchanged views regarding contemporary Islamic issues, Dr Maza has
progressive views especially in social matters and contemporary political
Islam,” Mujahid said in a statement, adding that the cleric was supportive of
Mujahid also said he was confident that Asri had “noble” intentions when the
latter said that Islam’s position was threatened under PH’s rule in a Facebook
posts on April 29.
also believe his Facebook status that sought views from the public may be to
evaluate the performance of the new government in the past year,” Mujahid said,
adding that he found Asri’s Facebook post to be confusing.
had recently come under fire for his Facebook posts, including on April 29
where he had publicly sought response to his claim that many feel that Islam
was allegedly “increasingly threatened” in Malaysia under the current
the said post under the in Bahasa Malaysia with the heading “Islam under
threat?”, he cited independent Muslim preacher Muhammad Zamri Vinoth
Kalimuthu’s arrest for a recent police probe to claim that Islam currently was
not in such a safe position in the country.
that Asri’s Facebook post revolved around the issue of police reports lodged by
the public regarding Zamri’s alleged insult of the Hindu religion, Mujahid
questioned the basis of Asri’s remarks regarding Islam’s position.
it only with this one incident, that it results in a general judgment as summed
up such as by saying that Islam is threatened under PH?,” he asked, pointing
out that Zamri is now under investigation and has not even been charged in
court for any offences.
is something that has yet to be determined the basis for evaluations that Islam
in Malaysia under PH’s administration is under threat?” he asked.
then went on to list 10 measures as proof of the PH government’s commitment in
the past year to ensure Islam is upheld, including the increase of the budget
for the administration of Islam to RM1.2 billion.
highlighted that additional allocations of RM50 million and RM25 million have
been made for tahfiz schools and pondok schools respectively.
said the government has also improved the administration of Islamic affairs
with the introduction of seven clusters, and has also carried out reformation
of religious institutions and agencies.
said the government has expanded Maqasid-based Governance to six ministries and
held Maqasid town hall sessions nationwide.
other things, Mujahid said the PH government had also committed RM17.8 billion
to rehabilitate Tabung Haji.
response to the Perlis mufti’s claims that the PH government had not heeded his
suggestion for inter-faith dialogues to reduce tension among different
religious groups, Mujahid said he had already given his commitment and had
started the #solidarity4peace initiative through the Committee to Promote
Understanding and Harmony among Religious Adherents (JKMPKA) platform under the
Prime Minister’s Department.
with this platform, I as the chairman together with the unity minister would be
able to carry out various programmes this year as planned. Certainly, among
others, the programmes that have been planned are Inter-faith Dialogue,” he
said the PH government is of the view that life involving different religious
groups has to be based on peace, not hate or the denigrating of other
wish to thank Dr Maza from the bottom of my heart for being willing to
criticise us and I as the minister who oversees Islamic religious affairs has
the responsibility to explain the situation objectively,” he added.
Mohd Asri’s remarks, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently called him
“deaf” for not paying attention to the government’s efforts for Muslim welfare
and other concerns.
National Patriots Association (Patriot) yesterday also said Mohd Asri may have
been misinformed that Muslims are purportedly being “bullied” under the PH
administration, adding that the latter’s recent claims may possibly be driven
by misinformation peddled by certain political parties aiming to sow public
discord towards the new government.
highlighted the PH government’s recent bailouts totalling RM24 billion (RM6.3
billion for Felda and RM17.8 billion for Lembaga Tabung Haji) for institutions
that benefit Malay-Muslims.
LUMPUR, May 3 ― The four academics who drew up the executive summary for the
Conference of Rulers on the Rome Statute must take responsibility for it, said
Education Minister Maszlee Malik.
said this was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s pledge to uphold academic freedom.
the same time, we hope this issue will be debated scholarly based on the facts
and without any political motives or otherwise.
such, those involved must be responsible and be accountable for whatever is to
be debated,” he said when contacted by Bernama regarding an open letter by G25
member Tan Sri Alwi Jantan to him that was carried in a news portal, citing that as civil servants the four had
gone overboard in coming up with the executive summary for the Conference of
Rulers on the Rome Statute.
was alluding to the fact they should not
continue holding their posts in their respective universities due to
alleged lack of integrity.
The four are Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)
Law Faculty dean Prof. Datuk Dr Rahmat
Mohamad, International Islamic
University Malaysia constitutional expert Assoc Prof Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz and
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) law lecturers Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan and
G25 is a group of former top civil servants.
was forced to withdraw ratification of the Rome Statute due to fears by some
segments of society that the country would lose its sovereignty if it was
answerable to the International Criminal Court, which came into being as a
result of the statute.
engineering units of the Syrian army discovered underground weapons caches
during purging operations in the towns and villages of Southern Syria.
military source said that they found several US TOW missiles, Israeli LAV
missiles, shoulder-launched missiles, US-made M-16 guns, West-made sniper guns,
machine-guns and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, artilleries,
mortars, TNT and advanced goggles.
a relevant development last month, the Syrian army discovered a cache of arms
and military equipment, including the US, Israeli and western weapons, during
cleansing operations South of Quneitra province.
Syrian Army's engineering units discovered depots packed with weapons and
military equipment, some of them made in the US and Israel, left behind by
terrorists in several towns and villages in Southern Quneitra.
military source, meantime, said that the Syrian Army troops found different
machineguns, anti-tank missiles, state-of-the-art telecommunications systems,
West-made mines, satellite equipment and different kind of Saudi manufactured
drugs and medicine.
in April, the Syrian army discovered a cache of weapons and military equipment,
including West-made arms, during cleansing operations in regions freed from
terrorists' hands in Northern Dara'a.
engineering units of the Syrian army last Monday found a large number of
different types of weapons, machine-guns, RPGs, guns and ammunition left behind
by the terrorists who had earlier occupied the town of Ankhal in Northern
the seized weapons, several types of arms and ammunition manufactured by the
western companies, communication systems and night-vision equipment were found
Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported on Wednesday that the Syrian army
has dispatched fresh convoys to Southern Idlib and Northern Hama to be prepared
for imminent military operations in Northern Syria.
added that extensive military equipment has been sent to the Northern fronts of
Hama to Sahl al-Qab region in Northwestern Hama.
a military source said that the terrorists launch repeated attacks from the
demilitarized zone on safe zones and military positions, adding that cleansing
operations in the region should be prioritized.
al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front)
terrorists targeted the town of Salhab and Mahradeh in Northern Hama by heavy
rocket attacks which were responded by the artillery and airstrikes of the
Syrian army against their positions and movements in the towns of al-Latamineh,
Kafr Zita, Kafr Naboudeh, Rasm al-Ahmar, al-Hawijeh, Qalat al-Maziq, al-Sakhar
and al-Sahriyeh in Northern and Northwestern Hama.
attacks destroyed several hideouts, vehicles and military equipment of the
terrorists and killed and wounded a large number of them.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian army dispatched a large military
convoy to deploy troops and equipment in different parts of Northern Hama as
the terrorists intensified their attacks from the demilitarized zone and Ankara
defies its terms under the Sochi Agreement.
Arabic-language version of Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian military
source as saying that the Syrian Army had sent massive military equipment to
different regions in Northern Hama along the borders with the demilitarized
noted that the dispatch of military hardware and equipment had taken place in
line with the Syrian Army's preparations for cleansing the region and restoring
security to the towns of al-Saqilbieh, Mahradeh, al-Azizieh, al-Rasif and
several towns bordering contact lines in Northern and Northwestern Hama.
Sputnik noted that the terrorists' attacks on the Syrian Army's military points
and safe zones in Northern Syria had continued in recent weeks.
Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper quoted Ankara-backed terrorists as saying
that Turkey had completely abandoned the Sochi agreement by refraining from
Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Thursday that the so-called 'Afrin
Liberation Forces' targeted two armored vehicles of the Turkish army in the
village of Qatmeh in Shara region in Afrin on April 30, killing 7 Turkish
soldiers, wounding 5 others and destroying their vehicles.
added that another group of Turkish soldiers were trapped and engaged in
clashes with the Kurds in regions near Qatmeh, noting that 6 Turkish military
men were wounded.
2 Turkish military commanders were killed and 3 others were severely wounded in
operations launched by 'Afrin Liberation Forces' against a Turkish army vehicle
on the road linking Shara region to the town of A'azaz in Northwestern Aleppo.
from Afrin and A'azaz regions in Northern Aleppo said that heavy clashes had
erupted between the Kurdish fighters and the Turkish army and its affiliated
militants in the past two days, adding that the Turkish army has pounded the
Kurdish positions in Northern Aleppo with artillery fire.
reports last Friday said that the Kurdish fighters had penetrated into the
military positions of the Ankara-backed militants after fierce clashes between
the two sides in al-Bab region in Northeastern Aleppo, sources said.
Kurdish fighters attacked the militants who are allies to the Turkish Army from
al-Daghbash axis near the village of Abaleh West of al-Bab city in Northeastern
Aleppo, sources affiliated to the Turkey-backed militants said.
sources pointed to the penetration of Kurdish fighters into one of their
military points in Abaleh village, and said that at least five Turkish Army
soldiers were killed and several others were wounded in the Kurdish attack.
secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has cautioned
the Tel Aviv regime against launching a new military aggression against his
country, stressing that “Israeli forces will be destroyed” in such a case.
his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital
of Beirut on Thursday evening, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dismissed the
possibility of a new Israeli war on Lebanon this summer, describing such
speculation and related media reports as “psychological warfare.”
in Israel know that any war on Lebanon needs to be decisive and swift.
Hezbollah remains fairly capable and utterly determined irrespective of
sanctions imposed on it. The Zionist regime (of Israel) fears launching a new
war, even on the besieged Gaza Strip, let alone Lebanon. All Israeli battalions
will be destroyed under the eyes of mainstream media and the entire world, if
they dare enter Lebanon. We will not compromise on even one iota of the
Lebanese soil,” Nasrallah pointed out.
on the presence of Hezbollah fighters in neighboring Syria, Nasrallah said the
fighters had entered Syria in order to thwart US, Israeli and Saudi
conspiracies there, noting, “What happened in Syria was a multifaceted scheme,
and not a change for democracy.”
Hezbollah chief then blamed certain Persian Gulf Arab states for funneling
money and munitions to the Daesh terrorist group, emphasizing that the Takfiris
could not have been able to overrun large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria
without their support and media coverage.
added that Daesh has its roots in the radical ideology of Wahhabism, which is
being preached in Saudi Arabia.
United States and Saudi Arabia created and sponsored Daesh. One of the main
objectives of the West in this regard was to defeat Hezbollah. Daesh was
created by Washington and tasked with standing against all those who confront
US-Israeli plots in the region. This is what American officials have
acknowledged themselves,” the Hezbollah leader underlined.
said Daesh was created in a bid to provide Pentagon with an excuse to dispatch
military forces to Iraq and Syria.
has served the US, Israel and other enemies of our nation. It has destroyed
several armies and societies in the region. The terror outfit still remains a
threat as its ideology persists and its sleeper cells can be resurrected,” he
Hezbollah chief also pointed to US President Donald Trump’s humiliation of
Saudi Arabia at a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27, where he
boasted to his supporters about a bizarre phone call with King Salman bin
Abdulaziz Al Saud. Trump asserted that he had made the monarch pay more money
in exchange for the military support that the oil-rich kingdom receives from
feel pity for the Saudi king in the wake of Trump’s humiliation of him in his
latest remarks. Trump has so far fulfilled his [2016 presidential] campaign
promises concerning the so-called deal of century [on the Israeli–Palestinian
conflict] and milking Saudi Arabia,” Nasrallah commented.
US secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] has even admitted that he is a liar, a
deceiver and a thief,” he said.
military says during the past month it has repelled 12 drone and rocket attacks
by terrorists based in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib against a Russian
airbase and Syrian positions in Latakia.
attacks had been conducted against Russia’s Hmeimim airbase and Syrian troops’
positions since early April, Major General Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the
Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said.
are ongoing attempts to attack the Hmeimim airbase and positions of the Syrian
army in the Latakia province by the terrorist groups staying in the Idlib
de-escalation zone with multiple-launch rocket systems and unmanned aerial
vehicles,” he said.
Russian military official said eight out of the 12 attacks had been carried out
with the use of drones, but stressed that “all the attacks were repelled”,
noting that there was no materiel damage as a result of the shelling.
defense units managed to down 12 combat drones sent by terrorists, Kupchishin
Hmeimim airbase has been hosting Russia’s military forces and equipment since
the country launched an operation in late 2015 to help Syria’s fight against
base has been a frequent target of terrorists’ drone attacks, nearly all of
which have so far been successfully repelled by the Russian defense units.
year, Moscow warned that terrorists had acquired advanced technologies on
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Russia is in Syria at the official request of
month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that remnants of Daesh and
al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra terror group continue to stage provocations
and are reluctant to abide by a ceasefire agreement in Idlib.
Lebanon’s prime minister says his country should learn from the government of
Egypt how to stimulate economic growth, reform laws and combat corruption.
economy is struggling with soaring debts, rising unemployment and slow growth.
The government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri is debating an austerity budget
and key reforms with the aim of unlocking billions of dollars in pledged
foreign assistance. Protests have criticized the planned measures.
spoke at a Beirut forum Thursday attended by Egyptian and Arab officials.
States military actions killed about 120 civilians and injured 65 others in
Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia last year, the Pentagon said in a report
on Thursday, though the figures were far lower than those reported by watchdog
annual report, mandated by Congress, showed a significant drop from nearly 800
civilians killed in 2017, in part because the pace of operations had slowed
against ISIS extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
operations in Afghanistan in 2018, 76 civilians were killed, with 42 killed in
total in Iraq and Syria, and two civilians killed during a strike in Somalia,
according to the nearly 20-page report, which tracks air and ground military
Pentagon assessed that no civilians were killed in Libya or Yemen, the report
the civilian casualties in the report were far lower than those reported by
International USA said that while the report was a welcome step, more was
Department of Defense unfortunately still significantly undercounts civilian
casualties caused by US-led operations, as demonstrated by our recent, detailed
reporting on civilian casualties in Somalia and in Syria,” said Daphne Eviatar,
director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.
International and the monitoring group Airwars, in a report published late in
April, said the US-backed assault to drive ISIS militants from Syria’s Raqqa in
2017 killed more than 1,600 civilians.
February, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 1,185 civilians
were killed during operations conducted by pro-government forces in 2018.
Pentagon report said there was a difference in civilian casualty assessments
between the US military and UNAMA because they used different methodologies.
Candice Tresch, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said this was the first year the full
report was unclassified.
civilian casualties are a tragic and unavoidable part of war, no force in
history is more committed to limiting harm to civilians than the US military,
which routinely applies standards that are more protective of civilians than
required by the Law of Armed Conflict,” Tresch said.
March, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that revoked an
Obama-era policy requiring US intelligence officials to report civilian deaths
in drone strikes outside of active war zones.
Barack Obama put the policy in place in 2016 as part of an effort to be more
transparent about drone strikes after he had dramatically increased their use
against ISIS militants.
The Senate has failed to overturn President Donald Trump's veto of legislation
that would have ended US military assistance for the Arab coalition in Yemen
against Iran-backed Houthi rebels on Thursday.
Senate's 53-45 vote to override the veto fell short of the required two-thirds.
US is providing logistical support and intelligence-sharing with the coalition
as it battles the Houthi militia in support of the internationally-recognized
explaining the veto, the White House said that support does not constitute
engaging in hostilities.
in the United States is not rooted in a clash of religious beliefs but is
driven by politics, according to a survey focusing on Muslim Americans.
survey, conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU),
noted that anti-Muslim sentiment is influenced by a host of factors, including
personal and national politics and how much a person knows about Islam, but is
not due to their religious affiliation.
found that Americans who personally know a Muslim are more than twice as likely
to have a positive opinion of Muslims compared to those who do not.
the ISPU's Islamophobia Index rose from 24 in 2018 to 28 in 2019, indicating
that Muslims remain the most likely group to face discrimination for their
index is a measure of the level of public endorsement of five negative
stereotypes associated with Muslims in America – that most Muslims living in
the U.S. are more prone to violence than others, that they discriminate against
women, that they are hostile to the U.S., that they are less civilized than
other people, and that they are partially responsible for acts of violence
carried out by other Muslims.
to the ISPU’s data, the Jewish community scored the lowest on the index at 18
while white evangelicals scored the highest at 35.
survey also found that Americans who hold favorable views of blacks, Jews and
the LGBTQ community tended to score 10 points lower on the index.
33% of the Muslims surveyed were more optimistic about the direction of the
country, despite being dissatisfied with U.S. President Donald Trump’s
performance in office.
may have been due in part to the survey being conducted after the first two
Muslim women lawmakers, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to Congress,
according to ISPU Executive Director Dalia Mogahed.
was against this backdrop that ISPU conducted its fourth annual 2019 poll of
American faith and non-faith groups," Mogahed said in the report,
referring to Omar and Tlaib's election to office.
senior US delegation has made progress in its Syria talks with Turkey, a US official
said, as a Senate committee on Thursday advanced David Satterfield's nomination
as the next US ambassador to Ankara.
US special representative for Syrian engagement, James Jeffrey, and special
envoy for Syria, Joel Rayburn, ended a three-day visit to Turkey on Thursday.
met senior Turkish officials including presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin,
Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.
State Department official told The National that “the discussions were positive
“focused on how we could advance issues of mutual concern in Syria, to include
addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, promoting stability and
security in northern Syria as the US military draws down its presence".
countries are seeking to establish a safe zone in Northern Syria and in area
under the control of Kurdish forces.
no agreement was announced on Thursday, the official said discussions will
Heras, senior fellow at the Centre for New American Security, said that the
policy gap between the two parties remains wide.
US team has a tall task in trying to convince President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
that a token Turkish force in Syria satisfies his desire to look tough against
the Kurdistan Workers' Party, while reassuring the Syrian Democratic Forces
that it is not committing suicide by allowing the Turks such force,” Mr Heras
the Turks nor the SDF trust each other and they view the current situation as a
Stein, director of the Middle East at the Foreign Policy Research Institute,
was not optimistic about a safe zone agreement in the near future.
US is proposing a plan with a token Turkish presence to placate Ankara and to
preserve the maximum pressure policy placed on Iran and the Assad government,”
Mr Stein said.
is proposing it takes over a zone with a token American presence to put maximum
pressure on the SDF."
said these positions were not compatible and so far neither party has made
has shown no willingness to entertain anything other than its vision for
Syria," Mr Stein said.
same goes for the US, which is bending over backwards to try and figure out a
way to get some Turks into the zone, but can't stomach Turks actually taking
over the north-east."
negotiations could gain impetus as Washington draws nearer to sending an
ambassador to Ankara.
Senate foreign relations committee voted favourably on the nomination of David
Satterfield as the next ambassador.
Senate will meet for a full vote in the next few weeks and the nomination is
expected to pass.
his hearing last month, Mr Satterfield warned Turkey against buying an S-400
Russian defence missile system.
must choose – does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful
military alliance in history, or does it want to risk the security of that
partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?” he
national security adviser John Bolton also discussed the issue with Mr Kalın on
media alluded to a visit by US President Donald Trump to Turkey in July but a
White House official did not confirm it.
Senate committee also voted to advance David Schenker’s nomination as assistant
secretary for Near East affairs at the State Department.
Schenker served in the administration of George W Bush. He was nominated more
than a year ago but Democrat Senator Tim Kaine delayed his nomination to try to
obtain a legal memo from the White House on its cruise missile strikes in
80 kids born to Daesh terrorists repatriated from Iraq to Tajikistan
Foreign Ministry says more than 80 children have arrived in the Central Asian
country from Iraq, where their parents are being held over membership in the
terrorist group of Daesh and other militant outfits.
ministry announced in a statement released on Wednesday that eighty-four
children, all Tajik citizens, were "forced to join the ranks" of
militant groups after their parents were recruited.
statement added that the children returned on a special flight from Baghdad to
Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe on April 30.
Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Mukhriddin said on February 12 that his country was
seeking repatriation of 75 children from Iraq.
highlighted that while Iraqi legislation demanded that parents consent to their
children leaving the country, the kids had mostly lost their fathers as they
were fighting within the ranks of Daesh and other militant groups.
February 8 last year, Tajikistan pardoned more than 100 people, who had returned
home from Iraq and Syria after fighting along the ranks of Daesh and other
Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda said the returnees could resume their
normal lives in the country based on a 2015 government decree for clemency.
the fate of 111 Tajik citizens who returned from Syria and Iraq voluntarily,
all of them are free under Tajik law,” Rahimzoda told a news conference in
to Tajik authorities, over 1,000 citizens have left the country to fight on the
side of militant groups in Iraq and Syria since 2011. Most of the recruits had
traveled to those countries via Russia, where an estimated one million Tajiks
live and work.
most famous Daesh recruit from Tajikistan was Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov, the
head of the Tajikistan’s special purpose police, known as Omon.
May 30, 2015, American officials confirmed that Khalimov had defected to Daesh.
He was known for a while as the terror group’s “minister of war.”
Defense Ministry reported on September 8, 2017 that its fighter jets had killed
him during an operation in Syria’s embattled eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr.
poor economic situation in Tajikistan and its adjacency to Afghanistan has made
the country, a former Soviet republic, a prime ground for homegrown militancy
over the past years.
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which
served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd
al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of
fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
in Christian churches is projected to dramatically decline in Germany over the
next four decades, according to a study released Thursday.
Catholic and Protestant churches, which currently have about 45 million
members, would lose almost half their members by 2060, researchers from the
Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg concluded.
Catholic Church (DBK) would have an estimated 12.3 million members in 2060,
while the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) would have 10.5 million members,
according to the study.
aging population, high number of church withdrawals, and decline in infant
baptisms were listed as the main reasons for the downward trend.
around two-thirds of Germany’s 83 million population are Christians, including
members of the Evangelical Church, the Protestant Free Churches, and the
third of Germans either ascribe to no religious belief or belong to another
and Herzegovina's Presidential Council members on Thursday paid an official
visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
received Chairman of the Council and Serb member Milorad Dodik, and Bosniak
member Sefik Dzaferovic of the Presidential Council in an official ceremony held
at the presidential complex.
Presidential Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina has three members, representing
Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The members are elected for a period of four years
and rotate every eight months.
strategy in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis is an example for Europe,
head of a London-based think tank said on Thursday.
Stroud, chief executive officer (CEO) of Legatum Institute, praised Turkey’s
approach toward Syrian refugees in an article in The Times.
have just returned from the Turkey-Syria border to witness the international
community’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, spearheaded by the
International Organization for Migration (IoM),” Stroud said.
that the civil war in Syria has “claimed approximately 400,000 lives, with many
millions of people displaced during and after the fighting,” Stroud wrote that
“over half of the 20 million population require humanitarian aid, including 5
million who are acutely in need.”
astonishing 5.7 million Syrians have fled their country to neighbouring
nations, mostly to Turkey which is demonstrating extraordinary hospitality to
about 3.5 million Syrian refugees, even building permanent homes for them,” she
said that the IoM team had two roles.
to ensure that the 3.5 million refugees who have made it across the border into
Turkey over the last 7 years are provided for and properly integrated,” she
Turkey’s efforts with the U.K.’s, she said “the UK is only committed to taking
0.6 per cent of this total, yet consider the controversy around this tiny
number and you can begin to appreciate the challenge of integrating millions of
said the second role of the IoM was “to care for and provide emergency help to
those who are internally displaced within Syria.”
is the more pressing of the challenges, with over 6 million displaced people
within Syria, and the key concern is for Idlib and the potential further
displacement of another million refugees in the event of renewed bombing,” she
said the “international aid committed to Turkey to alleviate the refugee crisis
has also enabled this huge resettlement of Syrians.”
that the U.K. has committed £2.8 billion ($3.7 billion) for Syria and the
region since 2012, including allocations to United Nations agencies, she said
the UN has a consolidated appeal target of $9 billion for the Syria crisis.
from the airport at Gaziantep to the IoM headquarters which is close to the
Syrian border, we passed building site after building site, new home after new
home, and new apartment block after apartment block,” Stroud said.
added that she was “told that 95 per cent of the refugees have been housed in
said: “Whatever is driving Turkey’s hospitality, it is unquestionably an act of
generosity — and in Europe we need to look and learn what it means to care for
IoM are conducting an interesting analysis of the pull and push factors for
refugees. By far the largest number of refugees have no desire whatsoever to
leave the area, and if they do it is only to go as far as Turkey.”
wrote that “Turkey has begun to point the way for addressing the global refugee
crisis by providing a model for a regional solution to a regional problem”.
said: “Turkey is providing a home for many refugees, when we won’t, and is
still working with the EU and international community.”
this is complex, it should also be applauded,” she added.
50 members of the European Parliament, in a written letter to Prime Minister
Imran Khan, have expressed concern over the persecution of religious minorities
European parliamentarians reminded the premier that oppressing minorities is a
violation of the United National treaty on Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
further explained that ICCPR Convention is part of the 27 core conventions set
out as a prerequisite criteria for the EU’s GSP-Plus status of which Pakistan
is a beneficiary.
have just sent a letter, signed by 52 MEPs, to the Prime Minister of #Pakistan
urging him to take measures to dismantle the constitutional and institutional
structures that have resulted in the persecution of religious minorities in the
country. @Pakchristians @FreeAsiaBiBi
PM - Apr 30, 2019 • Republic of Croatia
people are talking about this
letter added that continued violation of the ICCPR Convention may compel EU to
call on the European Commission to suspend all subsidies and trade preferences
Pakistan is far removed from being the country that its founding father,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had envisaged. Jinnah had always insisted that Pakistan
would be a Muslim majority State where people from all religions, whether
Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadis or Shias, would be treated
equally,” read the letter.
said, “Over the last seven decades, successive governments in Pakistan have
contributed to implementing discriminatory systems that have resulted in
political, economic and social persecution of religious minorities, which have
encouraged acts of violence against them by radical Islamic groups.”
letter cited the case of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was sentenced to
death row on blasphemy charges but was acquitted by the Supreme Court of
Pakistan in 2018.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her longtime partner
Clarke Gayford after a proposal over the Easter holidays, her spokesman said on
the 41-year-old host of a TV fishing show, takes care of their ten-month-old
daughter Neve Te Aroha, while Ardern, 38, runs the country.
pregnancy announced in early 2018 was seen by many as a symbol of progress for
women in leadership roles. She is only the second elected leader to give birth
while in office, after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990.
calm and compassion shown by Ardern in response to the killing of 50 Muslims in
March burnished the credentials of a leader who has been criticized
domestically over handling of the economy and flip flops in government policy.
must hand over ‘murderers’ of alleged Palestinian spy, says cousin
since Turkish authorities said that Palestinian Zaki Mubarak who was charged by
Turkey with espionage hung himself at Istanbul’s Silivri prison, all analyses
in Turkish media outlets have been focusing on the information which the
Turkish authorities revealed, and almost all published material in this context
matched the official narrative.
Lawyer Abas Mubarak, Zaki’s cousin, said the suicide story promoted by these
media outlets is not true because Zaki did not have any tools to kill himself,
adding that the purpose of promoting this narrative is to hide the truth.
also warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of hiding the truth behind
Zaki’s “murder,” and called on him to hand over the murderers to relevant
this week, Istanbul’s prosecutor’s office said that Zaki Mubarak, who was held
on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates, has died in prison after
in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, the Palestinian man’s family members
rejected the Turkish authorities’ statement, calling it “a mere charade,” and
accusing Turkey of killing him.
brother, Zakaria Mubarak, said in an interview with Al Arabiya that initially
Turkish authorities claimed the two detained men were UAE citizens. He added
they later announced the men were Palestinian, which he said proves that they
are lying about his cause of death.
in a Skype interview with Al Arabiya from Gaza, his son Yusuf called for
forming an international commission to investigate his father’s death.
questioned the Turkish story, asserting that his father did not commit suicide,
and accusing Turkish security forces of killing him. Yusuf added that his
father was a victim and “a scapegoat in a political conflict.”
warplanes have carried out a wave of airstrikes against Gaza, promoting two
retaliatory rocket launches from the blockaded enclave towards the
Israeli military said its fighter jets targeted several positions of the Hamas
resistance movement in the northern part of the coastal strip in response to
the alleged launch of incendiary balloons from the besieged enclave.
were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.
response to the air raids, two rockets were reportedly fired from Gaza towards
the southern parts of the Israeli-occupied territories, triggering, according
to the Israeli military, several rounds of red alert sirens in the communities
of Alumim and Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.
projectiles fell in an open area, and no injuries were reported, Israeli media
fiery kites and balloons has become a new mode of protests by Gazans since last
March, when the regime in Israel launched a bloody crackdown against
anti-occupation demonstrations near the fence separating Gaza from the
Aviv, however, holds Hamas responsible for such a show of protest.
officials have tried to put a criminal spin on the protests, claiming that
kites and balloons launched by Palestinians have burned thousands of acres of
farmland, forests and nature reserves in the regions around the Gaza Strip.
ceasefire between Israel and Hamas brokered by Egypt and the United Nations had
led to relative calm earlier this year.
on Tuesday, Israel reduced the offshore fishing limit it imposes for vessels
operating out of Gaza after a rocket was allegedly fired from the territory.
March 30 last year, the Palestinians in Gaza have been holding weekly rallies
to demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by Israeli
aggression and an end to the siege on the enclave. Israeli snipers and special
troops have shot and killed more than 270 Palestinians and injured over 16,000
United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission found earlier that Israeli forces
committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian
protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.
authorities have forced nearly 3,000 Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem
al-Quds in the past 15 years, a new report says.
to a report by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, the so-called Jerusalem municipality
demolished 830 homes and ordered the owners of 120 more residential units to
demolish theirs between 2004 and 2019.
municipality deliberately left 2,927 people homeless, 1,574 of them minors,”
the group added in its report, which was carried by the Palestinian Ma’an news
agency on Wednesday.
further said that the Israeli body adopted policies that deliberately caused a
severe construction crisis for the Palestinians living in Jerusalem al-Quds,
while the Israeli neighborhoods of the city were increasingly expanding and
were substantially funded.
has expropriated more than a third of the land it annexed from the West Bank
and has built 11 neighborhoods exclusively for Jews,” it said, stressing that
those neighborhoods were built in sheer violation of “international law as they
have been constructed in the occupied West Bank.
authorities demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank usually
claiming that the residential structures have been built without the relevant
building permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain from the Israeli
regime. Israeli authorities also sometimes order the Palestinian owners to
demolish their own homes or else the municipality would fine them for
to the report, Israeli authorities use at least three other strategies to block
Palestinian use of land, or demolish the homes Palestinians have already built,
thus, clearing the way for new Israeli settlements in the region.
authorities may declare Palestinian-owned land as “open scenic areas,” where
development is prohibited, or as “national parks,” where construction and urban
development are almost entirely forbidden. In other parts of the occupied
territories, vast swaths of land, including towns and villages, may be declared
to be “military zones” almost as a matter of routine, and Palestinians are
forced to leave their homes for set periods when the military moves in.
for Jerusalem al-Quds, B’Tselem said, “Thousands of Palestinians in the city are
living under constant threat to their homes and businesses; in many cases, the
authorities follow through on this threat or force residents to demolish the
lays claim to the whole city, but the Palestinians view its eastern sector as
the capital of their future sovereign state.
does not see the residents of East Jerusalem [al-Quds, who are Palestinians] as
human beings with equal rights, but as people it strives to remove from their
homes, as they are an obstacle to Judaizing the city,” the Israeli group said.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967
occupation of the Palestinian lands.
For 20 years, Hala Kashour has lived with her husband in what she called
“paradise,” a bucolic meadow that rolls through a Palestinian neighborhood of
coveted pasture, which Israel calls the “Peace Forest,” lies in the crosshairs
of a long-simmering conflict between the city government and its Palestinian
residents that flared up on a recent spring morning as Kashour, 47, was jolted
awake by the sound of bulldozers crushing her neighbor’s house.
60 houses in the grassy quarter, known to its 500 residents as Wad Yasul, are
facing demolition by Israeli authorities. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court
declined to hear the residents’ appeal against demolition orders, saying the
structures were built without required permits in a municipally designated
willing, we won’t be next,” said Kashour, who claims she built the
neighborhood’s first house, a stone cottage ringed with rose bushes, on land
her family has owned for 50 years.
of unauthorized Palestinian-owned structures in east Jerusalem is not unusual.
The municipality contends it cracks down on zoning violations. Palestinians say
it is nearly impossible to receive building permits, and that Israel is
severely restricting their ability to build on land they claim for the capital
of their future state.
the Peace Forest demolitions have drawn particular attention because of accelerating
construction by a nationalist Jewish organization in the same park.
the support of Israel’s Tourism Ministry, the City of David Foundation has set
up lodging structures, operates a Segway tour through the woodland and is
advancing plans for several tourist attractions, including a visitor center and
what it bills as the country’s largest zip line. The foundation said it has
leased 4% of the park’s total area from the government.
city regulations forbid construction of any kind in designated parks, the
municipality confirmed it was working to alter zoning restrictions and
retroactively authorize City of David’s construction and facilitate its
City of David hasn’t yet received final approval for everything, but its
efforts to build up public space with sports and tourist facilities are being
considered positively,” said an official in the Jerusalem mayor’s office, who
spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the
media. “We are not eager to evict Palestinian residents in a brutal way, but we
have a green light from the highest court.”
and Palestinian residents say the case of the Peace Forest highlights
discriminatory Israeli policies that have propelled a housing crisis in
overcrowded east Jerusalem.
government zoned this area in an intractable way to prevent Palestinian
construction, and now we can see the designation being altered to serve Jewish
settlement,” said Aviv Tatarsky from Ir Amim, an Israeli group that advocates
equality in Jerusalem.
Supreme Court’s dismissal of the case brought an end to the residents’ costly
decade-long legal battle to get their houses, in many cases built decades ago
on inherited family land, authorized by Israel.
belonging to two families were destroyed immediately following the decision,
and two more homes were demolished on Tuesday. Pending demolition orders for
the rest of the area can go into effect at any time, said Zyad Kawar, lawyer
for the Palestinian residents.
residents view the park zoning as a government ploy to force Palestinians out
of east Jerusalem, which Israel considers an indivisible part of its capital.
don’t want to give us permits, that’s the bottom line,” said Nasser Burqan, 42,
whose cousin owned a house demolished this month. “It’s displacement.”
captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it, a
move not internationally recognized. Since then, Israel has boosted the Jewish
presence there, building neighborhoods where over 200,000 Jews now live.
Peace Forest sits in the larger Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, long a
focal point of Jewish settlement for its proximity to some of the world’s most
sensitive religious sites in the walled Old City.
City of David Foundation runs popular archaeological and touristic sites in and
around Silwan — spots it emphasizes as centerpieces of ancient Jewish
civilization. The foundation says its sites “are situated upon King David’s
once lost ancient capital,” referring to the biblical figure who is believed to
have conquered the city and established Jewish Jerusalem thousands of years
the Peace Forest, “the City of David has transformed what was once a derelict
crime-ridden site” into a space used freely by the public, said the
foundation’s vice president, Doron Spielman. “We are confident that it too will
become a major tourist attraction.”
City of David projects are not planned on the ruins of the demolished homes,
and the foundation says the city’s demolition plans go back long before it
became involved. But critics say the demolitions on one hand, and the green
light to City of David on the other, illustrate two sets of standards for Jews
and Palestinians in the city.
organization has also drawn sharp criticism for helping to settle Jewish
families in Arab neighborhoods, fueling suspicions that its tourism projects
mask efforts to erase the line between east and west Jerusalem, and with it,
hope for an independent Palestinian state.
two-state dream seems more distant than ever after newly re-elected Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on the campaign trail to annex West Bank
settlements. He is poised to form a governing coalition with right-wing parties
that reject Palestinian sovereignty.
re-election comes a year after the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital and moved the US Embassy to the city. Though Trump says his
move does not determine the city’s final status, it was seen by the
Palestinians and others as recognizing Israel’s claim to the city, including
its eastern sector.
the Trump administration providing unprecedented support for Israel, there are
fears in Jerusalem that the government could step up its pressure on
Hamas delegation led by its Gaza head Yahya Sinwar left the enclave for Cairo
on Thursday for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas
has long been the broker between Israel and the Islamist group that runs Gaza.
November it brokered a fragile truce agreement whereby Israel eases its
blockade of the Gaza Strip in exchange for calm.
agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Israel carrying
out airstrikes early Thursday in response to Palestinian firebombs across the
spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Sinwar “left Gaza for Cairo at the invitation
of the head of the Egyptian intelligence service, Major General Abbas Kamal.”
visit was aimed at discussing “bilateral relations and ways to lessen the
suffering of our people,” he said in a statement.
Hamas official said the truce agreement would be discussed.
Jihad, a Hamas-allied group, said its head will also attend the meetings.
carried out air raids early Thursday morning on “a number of terror targets in
a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip,” a military statement said.
said that they were in response to the launching of incendiary and explosive
balloons from Gaza into Israel.
clashes have been taking place for over a year during weekly demonstrations.
House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Thursday that he hopes Israel will
take a hard look at President Donald Trump’s upcoming Middle East peace
proposal before proceeding with any plan to annex West Bank settlements.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed in the waning days of a re-election
campaign he won on April 9 to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West
Bank, in a move that would be bound to trigger condemnation from the
Palestinians and the Arab world and complicate the US peace effort.
speaking at a dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the
Middle East peace proposal he has been putting together was close to release
and that Israel and the Palestinians should wait to see it before making any
said the issue would be discussed with the Israeli government when Netanyahu
forms a governing coalition.
hope both sides will take a real look at it, the Israeli side and the
Palestinian side, before any unilateral steps are made,” Kushner said, adding
he had not discussed the issue of settlement annexation with Netanyahu.
and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt have spent the past two years developing
the peace proposal in the hopes it will provide a framework for a renewed
dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinians have refused to talk to the US side since Trump decided to move
the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and declare Jerusalem the capital of
Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the
Gaza Strip, all territory Israel captured in 1967.
is expected to unveil his proposals in June after the Muslim fasting month of
we will be able to put together is a solution that we believe is a good
starting point for the political issues and then an outline for what can be
done to help these people start living a better life,” Kushner said.
was given the assignment of trying to find a solution between the two sides and
I think what we’ll put forward is a framework that I think is realistic ...
it’s executable and it’s something that I do think will lead to both sides
being much better off,” Kushner said.
has begun to take a more public role in the Trump administration since he
emerged unscathed from US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether
the Trump presidential campaign in 2016 colluded with Russia.
has relied heavily on the 38-year-old Kushner, who helped develop prison reform
legislation and a new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, and is also working on a US
Middle East proposal, which has been delayed for a variety of reasons over the
past 18 months, has two major components.
has a political piece that addresses core issues such as the status of
Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen
has said the proposal is not an effort to impose US will on the region. He has
not said whether it calls for a two-state solution, a goal of past peace
Thursday night, he called on critics to hold their fire until they are able to
see the plan in its entirety.
have voiced skepticism about the effort led by Trump’s son-in-law, who was a
real estate developer before joining his father-in-law as a senior White House
officials and analysts believe the plan is likely to be decidedly pro-Israel
since the Trump administration has taken a tough line toward Palestinians,
cutting off aid and ordering the PLO’s office in Washington shut.
Bashir to be questioned over ‘financing terrorism’
prosecutor general has ordered the questioning of ousted president Omar
al-Bashir over money-laundering and “financing terrorism,” the official SUNA
news agency said on Thursday.
acting public prosecutor general Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed has ordered the
questioning of former president Omar al-Bashir... under anti-money laundering
and financing terrorism laws,” SUNA said.
source in the prosecutor general’s office confirmed the state media report to
who swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, ruled Sudan with an iron
fist for three decades.
his rule the country was placed on Washington’s list of state sponsors of
terrorism over its alleged links with Islamist militants.
founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.
October 2017, Washington lifted a 20-year-old trade embargo imposed on Sudan,
but kept the country on the terrorism blacklist.
last year however the two countries have been in talks to remove the country
from the blacklist, but these have now been suspended since al-Bashir was
ousted by the army on April 11.
is a conversation that we are not able to engage at the moment,” a top State
Department official, Makila James, told AFP last month during her visit to
of that is suspended as we try to assess what is the reality on the ground,
what is the way forward,” she said.
month Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said that more than 113
million dollars worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from
said a team of police, army and security agents found seven million euros ($7.8
million), $350,000 and five billion Sudanese pounds ($105 million) during a
search at al-Bashir’s home.
of thousands of protesters joined a sit-in outside Sudan’s defense ministry on
Thursday to press the ruling military council to hand over to a civilian
alliance of activists and opposition groups called the Alliance of Freedom and
Change had called for a mass march in the capital.
Alliance is now demanding that the military council which took Bashir’s place
be replaced by a joint civilian-military council, although they say the number
of members is yet to be finalized.
Thursday, protest leaders presented the council with a proposal for the new
civilian structures they want see rule the country.
leader Satea al-Haj told reporters that the transitional civilian government
should be of 17 ministers, while the legislative body should include 120 to 150
said the alliance was expecting a response from the military council in “48 to
protest leaders insisted on Thursday that the civilian administration they
intend to establish must include representatives from armed groups who spent
years battling Khartoum during the regime of ousted leader Omar al-Bashir.
armed groups are currently part of the Alliance for Freedom and Change which
spearheaded protests since December that led to the ouster of Bashir.
will not have a transitional (civilian) structure without representatives from
the armed groups,” said Khalid Omar Yousef, a leader from the Alliance for
Freedom and Change umbrella group which has led the protest movement.
did not name specific armed groups.
2003, Sudan has been rocked by rebellions in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue
of thousands of people have died in those areas since ethnic minority rebels
picked up arms against the forces of Bashir, accusing his administration of
political and economic marginalization.
recent years, the violence has waned as rebels and Khartoum reached a series of
ceasefires, but none of the rebel groups joined a civilian administration
during Bashir’s iron-fisted rule.
President Muhammadu Buhari was summoned Thursday by the House of
Representatives to address parliament on rising insecurity in parts of the
a motion presented by Ahmed Safana, a lawmaker from Buhari's home state of
Katsina, the House "resolved to request that the president address the
House and the entire country."
told parliament how bandits have taken over parts of the state, including
abducting a monarch Wednesday and kidnapping at least five people from a
girls-only secondary school in Zamfara.
took turns lamenting the unabated insecurity they suggested might be related to
rising unemployment and poverty.
urged the government to buckle down and tackle the challenges.
major problem is the policy we give out,” said Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun. “It
took Bill Gates to tell us in Nigeria that we’ve neglected health and
Monguno, a lawmaker from the restive northeast Borno state, said the situation
is worsening and could spark national unrest.
least three Nigerian soldiers were killed early Thursday in an improvised
explosive device (IED) attack on their base in the restive northeast Borno
state, according to a local paramilitary and the Daesh terrorist group.
from our team in Baga showed that three soldiers died in the early hours of
Thursday. About eight others were injured," Adamu Dingi, a member of a
local government-backed paramilitary group, told Anadolu Agency.
said the dead and injured were taken to Maiduguri, Borno’s capital.
on regional forces fighting Daesh across the Lake Chad area have been on the
rise in the past weeks -- underscoring the adaptation of the terrorists in the
10-year-old insurgency to avoid encounters with the troops while also
Nigerian army has not spoken on the development.
Daesh confirmed the attack in a statement.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged 46 million euros ($51 million) to help
Burkina Faso fight Islamic extremism.
Merkel, who is on a three-nation tour in West Africa this week, made the
announcement late on Wednesday. While in the capital of Ouagadougou, she
attended a summit with presidents from the countries making up the G5 Sahel –
Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Faso's security situation has rapidly deteriorated over the past several years,
particularly along the volatile northern border with Mali.
her visit to Ouagadougou, Mrs Merkel plans to visit German soldiers who are stationed
in Gao, Mali, as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission there. She
also plans to visit Niger during the trip.
presidents of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel
Aziz, Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou and Chad, Idriss Deby Itno were also in
Ouagadougou to attend the G5 meeting.
is set to be top of the agenda at the summit after a series of attacks in
Burkina Faso. The country has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly
attacks attributed to a number of militant groups, including the Ansarul Islam
group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and ISIS in the Greater
raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting the capital Ouagadougou and
other regions, notably in the east.
total of 350 people have been killed since 2015 - mainly in hit-and-run raids -
according to an AFP tally.
Sunday, gunmen killed six people, including a pastor, in an attack on a
Christian church in the country's north.
violence took place Sunday in the village of Silgadji, not far from the
volatile border with Mali.
Kabore, the communications director for the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, said
on Monday that the six people were slain after Sunday services.
was no claim of responsibility.
said that in a separate incident in the east of Burkina Faso, five teachers
were shot to death Friday.
Al-Shabaab has paraded 10 soldiers from Southern regional state, Jubbaland at
its stronghold town of El-Adde in Gedo region.
soldiers are said to have deserted from Bardere and Garbaharey in the Jubbaland
state and joined the group which tries to topple Somalia's UN-backed federal
group has released photos of the soldiers posted on the group-affiliated
websites, showing the soldiers armed with AK-47 rifles in military clad in
uniform sitting side by side in El-Adde town.
soldiers are reportedly surrendered to Al Shabaab after deserting from
Jubbaland state army over unknown circumstances.
Nigerian Army on Thursday said troops have blocked Boko Haram logistics and
food supplies routes and neutralized scores of them during a clearance operation.
to spokesman of the Operation Lafiya Dole in the northeast, Col Ado Isa, the
method adopted by the troops to restrict the terrorists and their operations to
fringes of Lake Chad had become effective.
Isa said in a statement that the coordinated operations of operation Lafiya
Dole and Multinational Joint Task Force had made the terrorists to become
desperate in search of food thus their surprised attacks on soft targets.
Isa urged the public to disregards reports on casualties on the side of troops
during such attacks, saying such information are from Boko Haram sympathizers.
Isa said: “The recent strategy adopted by the untiring and dogged troops of
Operation Lafiya Dole in conducting robust and aggressive fighting patrols coupled
with simultaneous clearance operations within the North East has been highly
actions were aimed to complement the efforts of Operation Yancin Tafki by the
Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) currently ongoing along the borders of
the lake chad region.
it has been observed that the few elements of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs)
earlier bombarded and chased out of their enclaves were left with depleted
number of fighters and supplies.
are presently feeling the colossal storm of the joint operations and are now
looking for ways to sneak into town for food supplies, logistics and most
their desperate and fruitless efforts, they resolved in springing surprise
attacks on soft targets, smaller units, including civilian settlement with
market advantage within the Theatre.
is in this regard, troops of 254 Task Force Battalion at Forward Operation Base
(FOB) Kimba while on clearance operation along Sabon Gari in 25 Task Force
Brigade Area of Operations – Damboa, came in contact with the terrorists on 27
the encounter, troops were reinforced and gave the terrorists a lethal fight
with only minor casualty on own troops and few damaged equipment. Dozens of the
BHTs were decimated and several others escaped with severe gunshot wounds.
has since returned to the general area while troops dominated all likely escape
routes of the terrorists.
therefore call on the general public to disregard the unsubstantiated story
circulating in some media outfits and other social media platforms with fake
casualty report of own troops and equipment on the encounter with BHTs along
Kimba – Sabon Gari – Damboa axis on 27 April 2019.
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