The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified
as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet.
Student leaves home ‘to embrace Islam’, police suspect radicalisation
HEC agree to include counter-terrorism in curriculum
against Rohingya muslims still on in Myanmar, govt silent: UN investigator
court rules insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘not freedom of expression’
select candidate embroiled in a series of Islamophobia rows
roots of 'European Islam'
day draws 900 visitors to German mosques
Protest calls for end to arm sales to Saudi Arabia
official praises Turkey on schooling Syrian children
'uneasy' with growing Islamophobia in Europe
king 'will have crown prince replaced to restore the credibility of the
monarchy': British colonel
welcomes Palestinian ambassador expelled by Donald Trump
Myanmar discuss human trafficking with focus on Rohingya
dialogue freeze set to complete a decade
Cong, Left hold talks with Muslim leaders
militants, 1 Indian soldier killed in Kashmir
of Wakf land in state lost in illegal deals: Ansari
releases top Taliban commander 'at US request'
must make sincere efforts to curb terrorism on Afghan border: Pompeo
threatening opposition, Fazlur Rehman tells govt
FIF no more on list of banned outfits, court told
sets up offices in Iran, Greece
orders inclusion of ‘Sikhism’ in census form
frees two senior Taliban leaders: reports
terrorist involved in DI Khan jailbreak killed
military asked to limit contacts with Afghan troops after 'insider' attacks
SG reaffirms the alliance’s support to Afghan peace process
airstrike leaves 3 ISIS IED planters dead in Nangarhar province
politicalization of Islam: Yogyakarta Forum
rally to promote moderate Islam in Indonesia cancelled
offer help to Indonesia's Catholic choristers
Sabu: Anti-terrorism policies, diplomacy must complement military action
advises 'calm' in response to flag-burning incident
Last year of his first term, will there be a second?
Civilian Corpses Discovered in Raqqa after US Attacks
Al-Islam Terrorists Reinvigorate Positions in Turkey-Occupied Regions in
plans relocating eight million citizens to Sinai
shelling around Syria truce zone despite deal
officials: Roadside bomb kills three workers in Sinai
King Salman telephones Germany’s Merkel to discuss improving relations
prince begins reform of Saudi intelligence services
Khashoggi’s murder: The US shouldn’t distance itself from Saudi Arabia
Killings of US-Backed SDF Commanders Continue in Hasaka
in the Muslim world speak out
Commander Killed in Infighting in Afrin
Army, Militants Engage in Heaviest Clashes in Demilitarized Zone after Sochi
Daesh-linked suspects arrested in southern Turkey
to Saudi Arabia: Who gave order for Khashoggi killing?
says Turkish probe shows Khashoggi murder ‘premeditated’
journalist arrested over ‘insults’ to Imam
extends detention without trial of female Palestinian lawmaker
reveals role of foreign Daesh militants, including Europeans, in crimes against
claims plot by Israeli president to topple him
calls Saudi-led war on Yemen ‘moral disaster’ for Washington
seizes privately-owned Palestinian land for road expansion
Islamist terrorism starting to emerge in South Africa?
states to dedicate 1,000 soldiers each in Al-Shabaab combat
Haram: Army GOC harps on joint military cooperation with Cameroon
Crown Prince sends condolences to Jordan’s King on flood victims
al-Shabaab commander killed in an ambush, says AU mission
says anti-Muslim sentiment follows rhetoric of politicians
must stop helping Saudi Arabia in Yemen: Senator
Pompeo congratulates Iraq's new FM
gather for Khashoggi at Saudi embassy in US
military expert: Saudi Arabia is strategic security partner for Washington
less likely to be considered 'real Americans,' says pollster
accuses US of drone attack on its Syria base
envoy hails Canada for hosting Syrian refugees
signs new Hezbollah sanctions bill in anti-Iran push
briefs Trump on Turkish evidence on Khashoggi's death
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Court of Human Rights Rules Insulting Islam's Prophet ‘Not freedom of
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday that insulting Islam's
Prophet Mohammed is not covered by freedom of expression.
the Prophet “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate"
and "could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” the ruling
decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as
Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet.
court said that the woman's comments could not be covered by the freedom of
expression, stating that it had found that "the applicant's statements had
been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims" and "amounted
to a generalization without factual basis."
Austrian court convicted her of disparaging religious doctrines in 2011 and
fined her 480 euros (548 dollars), a judgment that was upheld on two appeals.
S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011,
confirming, in essence, the lower court’s findings. A request for the renewal
of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,” it
on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic
courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light
of her right to freedom of expression.”
today’s ruling, the ECHR said it “found in particular that the domestic courts
comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and
carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others
to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of
preserving religious peace in Austria.”
23-year-old student from Mumbai has left his home in a suspected case of
radicalisation, according to the police which believes he may have gone to the
Gulf. The family of Jagdish Dalaram Parihar, which has filed a missing
complaint, told the police that he had called up his brother to say that he was
going to embrace Islam as he “dislikes” Hinduism, a police official said.
family has said that Parihar, a resident of suburban Mulund, used to chat on
social media with a woman, suspected to be a Pakistani national, the official
said. He took along with him all his documents, including his passport, before
leaving his home on Tuesday and also withdrew money from his bank account, the
called up his family members on Thursday morning, saying he was safe and that
he would return home after one-and-a-half month, he said. Parihar, studying
BCom through a correspondence course, lived with his parents and a younger
brother, he said.
leaving home on Tuesday, he called his younger brother Bhavesh on his mobile
phone and told him that he is going to embrace Islam as he dislikes Hinduism.
After that, his family members approached Mulund police station and lodged a
missing person’s complaint,” the official said. While tracing Parihar’s last
call location, the police found that it was made from near the Chhatrapati
Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, he added.
to his brother, he used to chat with a woman, suspected to be a Pakistani
national. His brother used to ask him not to chat with the woman, but he would
just ignore,” he said. Senior Inspector of Mulund police station, Shripad Kale,
said a case of missing person has been registered based on the complaint.
official said the police suspect it to be a case of radicalisation of the youth
and that he might have gone to a Gulf country. The local police as well as the
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) have launched an investigation into the
are analysing his social media chats with the woman,” the official said.
Keeping in view the rising incidents of extremism in the educational
institutions, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and National Counter
Terrorism Authority (NACTA) have agreed to review the existing curriculum and
include subjects being taught at the international level for combating
terrorisms and extremism.
parties would work together to find ways and means to bring madrassah and
university students closer to deal with the menace of extremism and terrorism,
besides making recommendations for its improvement to counter extremism, hate
material, radicalisation and terrorism.
this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here on Thursday to
engage the faculty members and students from universities across Pakistan in
developing a national strategy to counter the on-campus extremism.
MoU was signed by NACTA National Coordinator Khaliq Dad Lak and HEC Acting
Executive Director Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Asghar.
purpose and scope of the MoU are to foster a partnership between the NACTA and
HEC to establish a sustained and effective collaboration between the two in
combating extremism and terrorism in the country through joint research,
collaboration and by consolidating existing research work in the said areas.
will help in promoting the research culture in the public sector as well as
improving the policy-making process. Besides, it will help enhance
awareness/prevention against extremist ideologies and mindset and to provide
education on the topics of counter extremism and counter-terrorism through a
participatory approach of the HEC and to increase awareness programs through
the support of HEC.
on the occasion, Asghar said that HEC has been very actively promoting the
cause of peace at universities.
HEC has heavily invested in security at universities,” he stated. He observed
that extremism is an international phenomenon which has impacted a major part
of the world.
hoped that the partnership between HEC and NACTA will help sensitise students,
faculty and the entire academia on the menace of extremism and terrorism. He
said the universities play a very vital role in training youth and inculcating
a moderate approach to life in their minds.
underlined that Islam is a religion of peace and there is a need for promoting
the true teachings of Islam. “We hope HEC and NACTA will work very closely in
the years to come to address the multi-dimensional causes of extremism,” he
Khaliq Dad appreciated HEC for partnering with NACTA in its efforts to counter
extremism and terrorism. He said NACTA devises national anti-terrorism
strategies, adding that it carries out research on various aspects of
terrorism. He hoped that the HEC-NACTA partnership will help utilise the
research conducted related to causes, threats and solutions of terrorism.
HEC and NACTA will carry out research on topics relevant to terrorism and
extremism. The HEC will give NACTA online access to research journals on topics
pertaining to extremism and terrorism.
with mutual collaboration and support will undertake awareness programs and
activities for the students in the areas of counter extremism,
de-radicalisation and counter-terrorism through seminars, workshops, essay
competition, debates, sports events, dramas, cultural activities and social
agreed on the point to utilise the FM radio channels of the universities to
deal with the terrorism, besides sensitising teachers by undertaking workshops,
seminars and discussions programs for teachers.
is still taking place against Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar and the
government is increasingly demonstrating it has no interest in establishing a
fully functioning democracy, U.N. investigators said Wednesday.
Darusman, chair of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said thousands of
Rohingya are still fleeing to Bangladesh, and the estimated 250,000 to 400,000
who have stayed following last year’s brutal military campaign in the
Buddhist-majority country “continue to suffer the most severe” restrictions and
is an ongoing genocide that is taking place at the moment,” he told a news
said the requirements for genocide, except perhaps for killings, “continue to
hold” for Rohingya still in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. These include
causing serious bodily harm, inflicting conditions designed to destroy the
Rohingya, and imposing measures to prevent births, he said.
U.N. ambassador, Hau Do Suan, called the fact-finding mission “flawed, biased
and politically motivated” and said the government “categorically rejects” its
inference of “genocidal intent.”
Lee, the U.N. special investigator on human rights in Myanmar, said she and
many others in the international community hoped the situation under Myanmar
leader Aung San Suu Kyi “would be vastly different from the past _ but it is
really not that much different from the past.”
added later that she thinks Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former
political prisoner who now leads Myanmar’s civilian government, “is in total
denial” about accusations that the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar raped,
murdered and tortured Rohingya and burned their villages, sending over 700,000
fleeing to Bangladesh since August 2017.
government is increasingly demonstrating that it has no interest and capacity
in establishing a fully functioning democracy where all its people equally
enjoy all their rights and freedoms,” Lee said. “It is not upholding justice
and rule of law” that Suu Kyi “repeatedly says is the standard to which all in
Myanmar are held.”
this were the case, she said, fair laws would be applied impartially to all
people, impunity would not rein, “and the law would not be wielded as a weapon
Kyi’s government has rejected independent international investigations into the
alleged abuses of Rohingya and has commissioned its own probe. The government
has also rejected the report by the fact-finding mission, which said some top
military leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity
and genocide against the Rohingya.
Myanmar government’s hardened positions are by far the greatest obstacle,”
Darusman told reporters.
continued denials, its attempts to shield itself under the cover of national
sovereignty and its dismissal of 444 pages of details about the facts and
circumstances of recent human rights violations that point to the most serious
crimes under international law” strengthens the need for international action
because “accountability cannot be expected from the national processes,” he
and Lee spoke ahead of a Security Council meeting that began with a vote on
whether Darusman should be allowed to brief members.
was given a green light with the minimum nine “yes” votes from the U.S.,
Britain, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.
China, which is Myanmar’s neighbor and ally, Russia and Bolivia voted “no” and
Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.
Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused supporters of the briefing of “torpedoing
consensus” in the council and forcing council members “to engage in loud-speaker
said the fact-finding mission didn’t go to Rakhine state, called its report
“too biased,” and said the international community should help Myanmar and
Bangladesh resolve the Rohingya refugee problem.
Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu later echoed Nebenzia, calling the report’s conclusions
“lopsided” and “not credible” and saying the international community should
work on returning the refugees.
stressed that their “repatriation is not possible now.”
will not encourage any repatriation,” the U.N. envoy said. “Conducive
conditions means they should not go back to … the oppressive laws, the
discrimination. The minimum they need is freedom of movement, access to basic
said “there’s been a lot of progress in terms of economic development and
infrastructure but in the area of `democratic space’ and people’s right to
claim back their land … there is no progress.”
now, it’s like an apartheid situation where Rohingyas still living in Myanmar …
have no freedom of movement,” Lee said. “The camps, the shelters, the model
villages that are being built, it’s more of a cementing of total segregation or
separation from the Rakhine ethnic community.”
the council meeting, Darusman said the fact-finding mission concluded that last
year’s events were “a human rights catastrophe that was foreseeable and
planned,” and it conservatively estimates there were “10,000 Rohingya deaths.”
Rohingya in Rakhine state are at grave risk,” he said, and returning Rohingya
from Bangladesh would be “tantamount to condemning them to life as sub-humans
and further mass killing.”
said the Security Council should the situation in Myanmar to the International
Criminal Court or another international tribunal and also impose an arms
embargo on Myanmar, a ban on transactions with all military-related enterprises
and sanctions against those alleged to be most responsible for atrocities
against the Rohingya.
can be no `moving on’ from this crisis without addressing its root causes _ all
of which continue to exist today, primarily the presence of an unaccountable
military that acts with complete impunity,” he said.
Netherlands’ deputy U.N. ambassador, Lise Gregoire Van Haaren, said her
government will push quickly for a Security Council resolution that would refer
Myanmar to the ICC.
council action appeared highly unlikely because of its deep divisions and
almost certain opposition from China and Russia, both veto-wielding council
very aware that there might be pushback, but having pushback is never a reason
not to try,” Van Haaren said. “So we are going to have a really ambitious aim
for the negotiations” on a possible resolution “and let’s see where we get.”
Suan said the Independent Commission of Inquiry established by the government
will investigate alleged human rights violations, and “we will never accept any
calls for referral of Myanmar to the ICC.”
Tories have selected Shaun Bailey, a man at the centre of a series Islamophobia
rows as their candidate for the 2020 Mayoral election.
was forced to explain why he re-tweeted a tweet that referred to Labour’s Sadiq
Khan as “mad mullah Khan of Londonistan” following an investigation by the The
shared a post last year with an image of Khan and a caption which also branded
Labour as “anti-British”.
Conservative Party defended Bailey. A spokesman for the party told The Muslim
News that the “offensive words were not visible on the Tweet that Shaun
Retweeted, nevertheless Shaun has apologised for not checking more closely what
spokesman for Bailey said: “As The Independent’s screenshot shows these grossly
offensive words were in no way visible in the chain that was retweeted. Shaun
was completely unaware of their existence, and as someone who has suffered
racial abuse himself, there is no way on earth Shaun would ever knowingly have
shared something so offensive.”
Tories also shifted the blame on Khan’s team for “clearly running a negative
campaign to attack Shaun.”
Labour MP branded the picture sent to more than 10,000 of Bailey’s followers as
“absolutely disgraceful” and accused the Tory politician of seeking to wage an
Islamophobic campaign against Khan.
row emerged on the eve of the party’s conference and amid wider concern over
Islamophobia in the party, which flared up in the wake of former Foreign
Secretary, Boris Johnson’s recent article suggesting Muslim women in burqas and
niqabs look like “bank robbers” and “letterboxes”.
this latest incident, screenshots from Twitter show that the original offensive
content was posted by one user and then shared in another post by a supporter
of Bailey, who then re-tweeted his supporter’s post.
did so in the summer of 2017 amid a row over the cancellation of a bus contract
signed off by Khan’s Conservative predecessor, though the original post
containing the content has now been deleted.
offensive message in the initial tweet showed an image of Khan, a bus and the
caption “mad mullah Khan of Londonistan has cancelled production of British
built Routemaster bus and handed the contract to Germans”.
lower down it reads: “Yet another example of the anti-British Labour party
putting the British worker last”.
is not the first time Bailey has been accused of spreading Islamophobia. In
2005 he penned ‘no man’s land’ pamphlet
for the think-tank Centre for Policy Studies in which he wrote that
accommodating Muslims and Hindus ‘robs Britain of its community’ and risks
turning the country into a ‘crime-riddled cesspool’ as a result.
voiced concerns about the marking of Muslim and Hindu festivals, claimed
children were being taught more about Diwali than Christmas, and argued Britain
‘removing the religion that British people generally take to’ had allowed
immigrants to bring their countries cultural problems with them.
the Conservative Party insist Bailey was not blaming “Muslims or any other
group for criminal problems as described. Shaun was specifically talking about
community breakdown. What he actually said was ‘Without our community, we slip
into a crime-riddled cesspool.’”
new row has the hallmark of the 2016 Mayoral election, which saw Tory MP Zac
Goldsmith wage what even some other Conservatives described as a “disgusting” campaign
that portrayed Khan as closely linked to extremists.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting warned Bailey against repeating “Zac Goldsmith’s
Islamophobic campaign for London Mayor”. He added: “The picture he shared on
Twitter is absolutely disgraceful.”
the 2016 Mayoral campaign, Chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Mohammed
Amin, joined other senior Tory figures in condemning the attacks on Khan by
a youth worker who became an adviser to David Cameron before being elected to
the London Assembly is yet to go further than a joint statement issued by
himself, Boff and the other hopeful Joy Morrissey, which said that they
“support all efforts to keep our capital open and integrated between all our
communities”. He has also campaigned for and received political backing from,
Co-chair of the Conservative Party, Baroness Warsi, said that Islamophobia is
“very widespread” in the party and complained that it has been “ignored” by
later joined others including the Conservative Muslim Forum and the Muslim
Council of Great Britain in calling for an inquiry into the problem.
internal Conservative process looking at Johnson’s comparison of Muslim women
in face coverings with “bank robbers” and “letterboxes” is underway after being
automatically triggered after when the party received several complaints about
that date Europe's first real encounter with Islam to the 1950s with the
arrival of the first group of migrant workers create the false impression that
the continent was not familiar with Islam previously. The fact of the matter
is, the city of Hajdúböszörmény, situated in the east of Hungary to the north
of the town of Debrecen, tells us how far back Islam's European roots actually
the great Hungarian king Saint Istvan accepted Christianity in the 10th
century, his people were baptized en masse and the conversion to Christianity
began. Nevertheless, not all Hungarians accepted Christianity. On the contrary,
some Hungarians preferred to become Muslim. These Hungarians who embraced Islam
came to be called "Böszörmény". Despite the claims that the
Bözsörmény were not originally Hungarian and that they were Ismaili Shiite
Turks who had emigrated from the banks of the Volga river and settled in
Hungary, it is a historical fact that they spoke Hungarian. We know that, as
early as the 10th century, Géza, the great Hungarian prince, had allocated
areas for the Muslim Hungarians to live in. Furthermore, Gesta Hungarorum Géza,
one of the most important inscriptions in Hungarian history, mentions even the
capital Budapest among these lands bestowed by Géza. According to the same
source, the Pest side of the city -- which consists of two parts, Budin and
Pest -- was given to the Muslim Böszörmény by Géza, and therefore this
particular part must have been founded by Muslims.
Bözsörmény are recorded in the sources as a community that played important
economic and military roles in Medieval Hungary. Engaging in trade took the
members of this community as far as Austria and Germany. In addition, the
Bözsörmény were known as reliable and capable soldiers; with their avoidance of
alcoholic beverages, they stood out among Hungarian soldiers, who were given to
drinking, and thus were able to surpass their non-Muslim peers in military
discipline and prowess. The Bözsörmény were known as “those who don't drink
wine”. This quality that they were praised for also became the very source of
the scorn poured on them. There was a smoldering grudge and anger, on the other
hand, against these “freaks” who did not drink wine. These “weirdos” who drank
yoghurt with meat and who had “no appreciation for wine” were eventually given
the same status as Jews -- another hated community -- owing to the Hungarian
King András (Andrew) II's famous Golden Bull, or edict, (Aranybulla) of 1222.
This edict protected them while also placing them under certain obligations.
Drinking was such a decisive determinant between Muslims and non-Muslims in the
European mind that Gotthold Ephraim Lessing says the following in his poem
beautiful are Turkish girls
one is a robust guardian of chastity
who wish could marry more than one of them
my desire to become a Turk
I would wish to indulge in love
lead a life of peace in love
Turks are not wine drinkers
my desire not to become a Turk
find the traces of the Bözsörmény as late as the 14th century, when the
Ottomans first appeared in the Balkans. It seems that the “infidel Turks”
making rapid advances into the European heartland put an end to the tolerance
shown to this “infidel Hungarian” community, and the existence of the
Bözsörmény was not tolerated for much longer. It is estimated that the
Böszörmeny were forcibly Christianized. We do not have much information about
how the Bözsörmény became Muslim, nor do we precisely know about their fate.
However, it is not difficult to guesstimate that they wound up becoming
“wine-drinking Hungarians” or they were simply made to disappear.
Böszörmeny were, of course, not the first to introduce Islam to Europe. Karl
Martell, the king of the Francs, who defeated the Umayyad army in the Battle of
Poitiers (or Tours), rose to the status of the guardian of the continent by
protecting it from this “malicious” mass. Martell's success was so overrated
that the Francs began to be seen as the revivers of the devastated Rome, and
the Pope gave them the title the ‘Second Rome’, and this was shortly followed
by the foundation of the Holy Roman German Empire. On the other hand, we find
the Bözsörmény as the first example of an Islamized local community living in
the continent without being seen as foreign occupants.
and culture of living with the 'other'
14th century, in which the Bözsörmény vanished from the stage of history, was
when Europe was hit by great pogroms. Its population decimated by the plague,
Europe began to seek the cause of this misfortune and had no difficulty finding
it: the Jews living in the continent. They were prosecuted based on quite
strange allegations, such as that they disrespected the holy bread, abducted
Christian children and ate them, and raped the statues of the sacred virgin. As
a result, Jews were slaughtered in many parts of the continent between
1348-1351. Jews were already a nation whose existence was only grudgingly
tolerated, but King Karl IV showed zero tolerance in cases when they were
subjected to any kind of persecution since he saw them as financiers. But the
Jewish population had reached intolerable levels in certain regions. In
particular, Speyer, Worms, and Mainz were cities where the Jewish population
was a source of apprehension since in these cities the Jews had the upper hand
in economy. These three cities -- whose initials, SWM, read "Shum" in
Hebrew, meaning garlic -- had to be “cleaned” at all costs. For this reason,
the crusades directed at the holy lands passed by these cities and a
considerable number of the Jews were put to the sword and all their goods and
belongings were looted. A part of the army, which had set out already with the
intention of looting and plundering, returned home early because of these
spoils they obtained in Speyer, Worms, and Mainz. And as soon as Karl IV began
to obtain a greater income from the Christian population compared to what he
got from the Jews, he gave the green light for the Jews of Nuremberg to be
burned alive. A total of 562 Jews were burned outside the city walls. The
square where the world-famous Nuremberg Christmas Fair is held today formed
with the demolition of the neighborhood populated by these Jews.
rules, his religion prevails’
history of Europe is rife with stories of intolerance toward the existence of
the “other”. The Bartholomew Night Massacre was the result of intolerance to
the Protestant presence in France. Thanks to the Catholics in France who slayed
all the Protestants in the country to the point of completely exterminating
them, today we are not able to speak of any French Hugenot Protestants, for
example. The famous principle of cuius regio-eius religio (whoever rules, his religion
prevails), which held sway during the sectarian wars, demonstrated that the
existence of a group with a different sect would definitely not be tolerated in
any given region. When Prussia founded the city of Berlin, nearly half of the
city spoke French in addition to German, which they spoke with a southern
accent. This is because the Protestants whose presence was not tolerated in
France and in the Bavarian-Austrian regions, had emigrated there. The massacres
and the exiles that took place in the Iberian Peninsula in the aftermath of the
Reconquista against Muslims and Jews rendered that region a purely Christian
one even though previously all three religions had peacefully co-existed there.
The Portuguese boasted of being the first pure Christian kingdom purged of all
religious minorities. Occasional exception: Habsburgs
small space that we have here forces us to stop enumerating more of the
massacres against the “other” that have taken place in Europe's last 1,500
years. But let us face the truth: Europe has always had a potential for bigotry
with which it has refused to accept the “other” as a neighbor. It is because of
this lack of enthusiasm for living with neighbors from different religions and
cultures that no city in the continental Europe is a match for Istanbul, which
has the famous quarter of Pera. The only state, however, that would constitute
an exception to this argument was the Habsburg Austria. Such practices as
Joseph II's Tolerance Edict and Franz Joseph's recognition of Islam as an
official religion after the annexation of Bosnia require us to consider Austria
differently in certain historical periods compared to the rest of Europe.
Europe understands from religion
which gives Europe its identity, has a character that is different from those
of Judaism and Islam in that it takes a wholly different approach to the notion
of religion. While Islam and Judaism are both legislative religions with sharia
laws that interfere in the daily lives of individual believers, Christianity is
not legislative and does not establish a sharia, that is, religious canonical
law. In addition, the perception of revelation in these two religions is quite
different from that in Christianity. Jesus Christ is a “divine word embodied in
flesh” and the Church that he established through his apostle Peter is the only
means of salvation. In this regards, the Bible for a Christian is not a book
divinely revealed to Jesus Christ; it is rather a collection of books that
contain testimonies on the life of Christ, who is himself the word of God.
Religion is something established by the Church and it is very normal for the
Church administration to transform it periodically. The most typical example of
these transformations is Henry Tudor VIII's establishment of the Anglican
Church. In keeping with the principle of “aggiornamento”, the Church was
formulated as a structure that could adapt itself to every historical era.
creedal basis for ‘European Islam’
relations between politics and the Church have varied in every period, and
Christianity has undergone transformations in certain eras in line with the
needs of the political establishment. While the Church was in a decisive
position in the period of the Investiture Fights, after it lost this position,
the political establishment prevailed over the Church. Unless we consider these
very significant points, it is impossible to appreciate how the idea of
“European Islam” emerged; the issue of how Europe arrived at the opinion that
religion is something that can be transformed can be appreciated only when we
fully understand what it is that a European learns about the concept of
religion. The Enlightenment forced the Church to retreat from the areas in
which it claimed to be the sole authority, confining it within the role of
giving ethical guidance alone. One of the points that should be considered here
is that Europe in the 19th century was the scene of a transformation, as part
of which the “religion of miracles” was eradicated and the “religion of ethics”
was instead established. The Church can only be tolerated as a socially
responsible institution, which is responsible for providing moral advice
limited by modern ethics. Today, all kinds of official statements by the Church
about daily life is met with great reaction from the European public. Reactions
it has shown, such as its attitude towards homosexuality and criticism of
abortion, result in its being perceived as an institution that violates its
borders, and therefore the deal that was made long ago. The Church should not
have the luxury of creating problems regarding how modernity understands life;
the Church is not to be allowed to interfere and create issues, and be a
disruption to an already established order.
'European Islam' banish social angst?
fact that Christianity was “disciplined” so that it would not disrupt or
disturb the usual flow of European social life, despite already not being a
legislative religion, causes Islam to be viewed by the European as an
increasingly bigger source of disturbance. Their numbers in the continent
increasing by the day and their lives lived according to their faith, Muslims
stir up Europeans' incorrigible hate of the “other”. Every one of the
integration issues raised by politicians stands before us as arguments that are
used to portray all xenophobic tendencies as justifiable -- not to say, by the
way, that every one of those issues is invalid. Every woman wearing the hijab
encountered in the public sphere and every butcher selling halal meat angers
the Europeans who do not like to live side by side with the “other”.
addition to all of these, every new mosque that these people, who want to have
places of worship as a basic right, are planning to build, sparks off new
debates in Europe. These anti-Islamic stances, like the ban on minarets imposed
in Switzerland in 2009 as a result of a referendum, and the anti-mosque
demonstrations planned to take place in Vienna's Birigittenau district, have
now spread all over the continent. In various European countries, one bill
follows another in order to make the daily lives of Muslims more miserable.
Halal meat discussions, which have lasted for more than ten years already,
began with the suggestions that Muslims should be denied their right to
slaughter animals in an Islamic way. The presentation of the Jews' rights to
“kosher” slaughtering as a precedent has temporarily halted these discussions.
But immediately afterwards a legal debate was kicked off on circumcision. The
bill, which argued that circumcising young children went against human rights
and thus had to be banned, was prevented from coming up for a vote, again, with
the presentation of the Jewish “khitan” (the circumcision of Jewish baby boys
on the eighth day after birth) as an example. The fact that the basic rights of
Muslims are tolerated as long as they are in parallel with Jewish practices
naturally engenders open intolerance toward those that differ from Jewish
practices. And in keeping with this trend, the recent moves against the wearing
of hijab is increasing in severity with impunity since this particular practice
has no equivalent in the Jewish religious law.
goal of ‘European Islam’
most innocent of comments on this topic would be to say that what is intended
by a “European Islam” is to create a kind of Islam that would not “act up” and
would remain a docile part of the social fabric of Europe. Possessed of a
culture in which it is perfectly okay to transform a religion so that it is
more compatible with the current social trends, the European mind wants to
perceive Islam as just another “convertible” faith, such as Christianity.
Moreover, all objections that Islam does not have such a “convertible” nature
are simply ignored. The intended result from a “European Islam” is to cripple
Islam's legislative capabilities to the extent possible, thereby rendering
Islam less visible in the public sphere. All in all, turning Islam into merely
an institution of providing moral guidance, just like in the case of
Christianity, stands before us as the ultimate goal that every demand
pertaining to a European Islam wants to achieve. Similar to the creation of
European Christianity, a European Islam will be one that will only give its
adherents counsel on ethical issues and will no longer require anything of them
in their daily lives. As a result, the ongoing efforts are directed at making
Islam the same as Christianity apart from the name given to God.
of non-Muslims visited their local mosques across Germany on October 3 to
encourage dialogue and overcome misunderstandings about Islam.
Kesici, spokesman for Germany’s Muslim Coordination Council (KRM), said, “This
day gives an opportunity for more than 100,000 visitors to learn more about
Islam and get into conversation with Muslims.”
opening our doors to the public, we want to show that we are transparent, we
are open to dialogue, and we are also part of this society,” Kesici explained.
people know less about something, then they have more concerns and fears about
it. And such fears could be exploited by others with bad intentions. Having
more transparency, enhancing dialogue and communication is an antidote to
this,” he told Anadolu Agency.
of visitors came to see the Cologne Central Mosque, the most prominent place of
Muslim worship in the country, run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious
the event, imams answered visitors’ questions, gave speeches and made
presentations about Islam and Islamic culture.
Yaşar Aşıkoğlu the union’s chair, told visitors that DITIB has promoted peace
and tolerance since its foundation in 1984 and would continue to work with its
German counterparts to enhance dialogue.
Rhine-Westphalia’s Integration Minister, Joachim Stamp, also visited the
Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
100 activists and protesters on Thursday gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy
in central London to call on British government to end arm sales to the
kingdom, following killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
protest organized by the Stop the War Coalition was also joined by members from
the International Campaign for Justice group.
Khashoggi murder was a terrible act “conducted by a state that is totally out
of control,” Chris Nineham, vice chairman of the Stop the War Coalition said.
to Anadolu Agency, Nineham underlined the Saudi government is involved in the
war in Yemen, which is on the brink of “one of the worst humanitarian
catastrophes in the world since the second world war.”
the British government is supplying a huge amount of weapons and diplomatic and
political support to the Saudi regime. We believe that has to end,” he said.
said they are protesting to “demand justice for Jamal Khashoggi and call for an
end to aggressive war-like behavior from Saudi Arabia in the region.”
Andrews, a researcher from the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the U.K.,
said they were at the Saudi Embassy “to ask and demand for the body of Jamal
Khashoggi” and an end to the war in Yemen.
who came with tens of other protesters to the Saudi embassy building by a bus
carrying banners which read “Justice for Jamal”, said: “Saudi Arabia has been
carrying out international crimes.”
out that the U.K. government has licensed for £4.7 bn ($6 bn) worth of arms to
Saudi Arabia, Andrews said “this must stop.”
Ginn, a professor from London King’s College, said she was at the protest
because she was outraged with “the war against the Yemenis and the bombing of
their cities, population, schools and hospitals and the killing of thousands of
women and children.”
we are implicated here in the U.K. because we supply aircraft and the bombs,”
days of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week
admitted that the journalist had been killed inside the Saudi Consulate in
the ongoing furor over Khashoggi’s death, Saudi King Salman has sacked the
deputy head of the Saudi intelligence agency -- and a top aide -- while also
ordering the arrest of 18 suspects in the case.
world leaders continue to urge the Saudi authorities to clarify the
circumstances of the journalist’s killing.
sales of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia reached to a volume of
£1.1 bn ($1.4 bn) in the first half of 2018, according to official data.
Department for International Trade (DIT) statistics show the sales of arms from
the U.K. to Saudi Arabia increased by £280 million ($359 million) between
January and March and reached £836 million ($1.71 billion), when compared with
the sales in the same period last year.
Arabia was one of the first countries British Prime Minister Theresa May
visited after triggering the Article 50 and officially starting the U.K.’s exit
from the EU.
arms and equipment sold to Saudi Kingdom by the U.K. include air-to-air
missiles, aircraft components, sniper rifles, anti-riot gear, ballistic shields
and body armor.
EU official on Thursday applauded Turkey’s “fantastic” efforts for providing
education to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children in the country.
Danielsson, director-general of EU Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement
Negotiations, attended an art event for Syrian children organized by UNICEF and
Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD- ASAM), and
supported by the EU.
to reporters at the event, Danielsson said Syrian refugee children are facing a
challenge of becoming a lost generation.
has made a fantastic effort in taking up that challenge [...] Now hundreds of
thousands of Syrian children are in schools," Danielsson stressed.
also commended Turkey’s hospitality towards the Syrian refugees in general.
said the EU is supporting these efforts and it has provided three billion euros
in the first round and now another three billion euros will be provided to
support Syrian refugees in Turkey.
hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
The country has spent more than $33 billion from its own national resources for
helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
are annoyed by growing Islamophobia, especially in Europe, head of Turkey’s
Religious Affairs Directorate said on Thursday.
blaze of Islamophobia needs to be reduced especially in the European countries.
As Muslims, we are uneasy with this," Ali Erbas said at a meeting with
Vatican's Ambassador to Ankara Paul Fitzpatrick Russell.
said both Christian sphere and institutions under Vatican should work in this
also called on Christians to cooperate in the fight against terrorist
organizations, which carry out their activities under the cover of Islam.
struggle continues against organizations, which are turned into terrorist
organizations and are active in Islamic world. Seeing or showing them as
representative of Islam disturbs us," Erbas added.
Arabia’s King Salman could have his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
(MBS), replaced to restore the credibility of the monarchy which has faced global
rebuke following the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
according to Colonel Brian Lees, Britain's former defense attaché to the
kingdom and the author of a famous book on the Saudi royal family.
crown prince is believed to have been ordered the assassination of the
dissident journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The world has
reacted angrily to the murder amid weeks of repeated denials from Saudi
authorities that the kingdom had nothing to do with his disappearance.
– a US resident, The Washington Post columnist, and a leading critic of bin
Salman -- entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a
document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, but he did not leave the
officials originally insisted that Khashoggi had left the diplomatic mission
after his paperwork was finished, but they finally admitted several days later
that he had in fact been killed inside the building during "an
Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said the murder was planned and suspects were being
countries, including European ones, Turkey and the US, a major ally of Riyadh,
have called for clarifications on the murder.
Lees, who once served as Britain’s defense attaché to Saudi Arabia and Yemen,
said in an interview on Wednesday that the crown prince's days as de facto
ruler are numbered. He added that the 82-year-old monarch may now look to
Saudis will never admit that MBS was culpable but this does not mean that he is
in the clear. I believe that the king – assuming he is in one of his ‘clear’
periods – will get rid of MBS by replacing him,” noted Lees, the author of A
Handbook of the Al Saud Ruling Family of Saudi Arabia.
cannot do so immediately, or even in the next few months, because that would
look like bowing to foreign pressure. He may use the already established device
of using the special advisory council within the family to appoint a successor.
This would certainly restore the credibility of the monarchy,” he stated.
President Donald Trump, who first tried to downplay the importance of the
ghastly incident and protect bin Salman, on Tuesday blasted Saudi Arabia’s
efforts to hide the killing of Khashoggi as the “worst cover-up ever.”
Wednesday, Trump went a step further and said the crown prince bore ultimate
responsibility for the operation that led to the journalist's killing.
Saudi version is not credible in the least,” said Colonel Lees. “The team
visiting Istanbul were certainly not tourists and the person seen to leave the
consulate in Khashoggi’s clothes was obviously not him. Even Trump now admits
that this was the most inept cover-up of all times.”
international community’s response has been stumbling,” said Lees. “Trump has
changed his mind daily but is likely to bow to Congressional pressure."
is sidelined but will hide under the European cloak. Russia and China hope to
benefit, but they are not natural allies, although the Saudis will use them to
threaten the West," he stated.
Saudis rely on the US and will continue to do so,” Lees added.
prince will be replaced with his brother, Khalid.
week, the French newspaper Le Figaro citing a diplomatic source in Paris
reported that Saudi Arabia’s ruling family is looking to replace the young
prince with his less ambitious brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman.
source told the newspaper that the Saudi Allegiance Council had secretly met to
discuss the issue of Khashoggi.
council, which appointed bin Salman as the new crown prince last year by
breaking the customary rules of succession, is now planning to appoint Khalid,
the current Saudi envoy to the US, as deputy crown price.
Saudi source explained to Le Figaro that if Khalid was appointed, it would mean
that MBS will leave his position in the coming years. This way power stays in
the Salman family, the report added.
who is popular both at home and abroad, would gradually take over from his
brother and replace him down the road.
Figaro noted that MBS had already made himself big enemies in the Allegiance
Council by breaking an agreement among first-class princes from various
branches of the royal family to hand the power to the last king’s son.
has also created a great deal of animosity towards himself from inside the Al
Saud family, many of whose members he has arrested as part of his crackdown on
Minister for the Middle East has welcomed the new Palestinian Ambassador to
London, weeks after he was expelled from Washington.
Zomlot was head of the Palestinian mission in Washington DC until last month
when the diplomatic mission was shut down by President Donald Trump. In an
unprecedented step, Dr Zomlot’s visa was revoked, as were the visas of his wife
and two young children.
Burt, the Minister for the Middle East tweeted on Thursday: “A warm welcome to
Dr Husam Zomlot as new Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK. We’ll be
working together to further the relationship between the British and
Palestinian people, strengthen cooperation, and continue efforts towards a
two-state solution and a lasting peace."
Zomlot's expulsion from the US was the latest in a string of diplomatic actions
taken against the Palestinians by the Trump administration. Last month,
President Trump announced a halt to US funding for UNRWA, the UN agency devoted
to assisting millions of Palestinian refugees. Earlier this year, the US moved
its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, a decision critics suggested would put an end
to the two state peace process, as the Palestinians have long claimed East
Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Dr Zomlot replaces Manuel
Hassassian, an academic who headed the Palestinian mission in the UK for almost
in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Dr Zomlot won a Chevening scholarship to
study at the London School of Economics. He served as a diplomat at the
Palestinian mission in London before going on to study at Harvard University.
and Myanmar on Thursday held deliberations in New Delhi on a proposal to sign a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) on handling human trafficking, with a focus
on Rohingya, who are also victims of trafficking.
two-day discussion was led by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and a top
Myanmar official. The two sides are learnt to have also discussed the sharing
of intelligence on insurgent groups and smuggling of arms and drugs.
to Home Ministry estimates, there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims spread
across India, with the highest number in Jammu and Kashmir. They were forced to
leave their homes after a crackdown by the Myanmarese Army in their home state
of Rakhine, an official said, adding that a large number of Rohingya are also
victims of human traffickers.
and Pakistan are inching towards another milestone in their fraught
relationship – 10 years without any structured or sustained dialogue aimed at
addressing outstanding issues such as terrorism, Kashmir and humanitarian
days of the Mumbai attacks carried out by operatives of Pakistan-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba during November 26-29, 2008, India called off the more than a
decade-old composite dialogue, with Indian diplomats saying it could no longer
be business as usual.
be sure, there have been several interactions in this period, but no composite
dialogue. Terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil remains the central hurdle to
New Delhi resuming talks with Islamabad. External affairs ministry spokesperson
Raveesh Kumar said on October 18 there is currently “no proposal for a Track 1
or 1.5 dialogue or meetings between India and Pakistan.”
have time and again very clearly mentioned talks and terror can’t go together,
that it was one of the reasons why the scheduled meeting in New York between
the two foreign ministers (in September) was cancelled,” he told a news
spokesperson made it clear the “onus is on Pakistan to take credible steps to
create conducive conditions” for talks, “which of course, means taking action
against terrorist infrastructure which operates from its soil.”
however, remains hopeful of some sort of breakthrough despite the cancellation
of the meeting of the foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General
Assembly, with information minister Fawad Chaudhry saying talks remain the only
and India have three options: We could have war, and we already had three…
Follow the offensive defence policy of (Indian National Security Advisor) Ajit
Doval and keep weakening each other from the inside, or let’s try to talk to
each other while softening our hardline positions and help each other in the economic
and social sectors,” Chaudhry said over phone from Islamabad
have tried the first two options for 70 years, let’s try the third one for a
change,” he added.
the decade since the Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan have also held several
one-off meetings to discuss matters such as trade or the repatriation of
elderly and mentally ill prisoners, and their officials have met at
multilateral forums such as various Saarc organisations.
former prime minister Manmohan Singh met his then Pakistani counterpart Yousaf
Raza Gilani on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt less
than eight months after the Mumbai attacks and made a significant concession on
Balochistan, but the two sides were unable to resume dialogue.
recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his then Pakistani counterpart
Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in in 2014 and even visited Sharif in Lahore in
visit was preceded by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s trip to
Islamabad the same month, during which the two sides agreed to launch what was
called a “comprehensive dialogue” covering the eight topics as the composite
dialogue along with some additional components.
the proposal was junked following the Pathankot terror attack blamed on
the Congress and CPI(M) leaders of Bengal have started holding “meaningful
talks” with the Muslim religious and social leaders aheadof the 2019 general
to sources Bengal Pradesh Congress president Somen Mitra have held secret talks
with select leaders of various minority organizations Furfura Mujaddedia Orphan
Foundation and Minority Youth Federation. Though the leader would not dwell
much on the points of references he said the Congress was indeed trying to wrest
back the minority voters from Trinamool Congress.
PCC president is known to have spoken to Muslim social andreligious leaders
like Md Nuruddin the State president of Jamiat-i-Islami Hind, secretary of Mili
Ittehad parishad Abdul Ajiz, Sarwar Hasan, Kamruddin Malik, Jahid Mahmood etc.
minorities had been traditionally with the Congress before they went to the
Left Front. After the fall of the Left they are now backing the TMC. But there
is no reason why they cannot still be brought back to our fold,” Mitra said,
adding the minorities were aware that only Congress could provide them a viable
platform against the communal forces.
said the Muslim said the minorities wanted a viable force to beat the BJP.
“They also know that only the Congress can beat the saffron forces. But
simultaneously when they go to vote in Bengal they will naturally look for an
opposition that can beat the BJP in this State. The Congress will have to
strengthen its organsiation to fit into their imagination,” he maintained.
CPI(M) politburo member Md Salim also held talks with Muslim leaders party
sources said. While Mitra spoke to minority leaders on Tuesday Salim held
discussions with them on Wednesday sources said.
those who held talks with Salim at the CPI(M) State headquarters at Alimuddin
Street was Jamat-i-Islami leader Abdul Ajiz, party sources said.
is not new. Such talks are held as a routine process. Our party does not
believe in sectorian politics. We hold talks with members of various social
streams as a routine affair,” Salim said adding “Muslims as such have no
problem with the Left. The issue is different here. There is a polarization,
thanks to the rise of the BJP which is again handiwork of Mamata Banerjee.”
militants and one Indian army soldier were killed in three separate incidents
in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, local media and police said.
the morning, two militants were killed in a gun battle in Kreeri in northern
Kashmir. Later in the day four militants were killed in another gun battle in
Arwani in Kashmir’s south,” police spokesman Manoj Pandita said.
in the evening, an Indian army soldier was killed and another injured when
militants opened fire on an army camp in Tral in south Kashmir, local newspaper
Greater Kashmir reported.
officials said the military started cordon and search operation soon after the
attack to track the militants.
and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan
in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by
they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in
1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought
intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for
independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
Tehrik-e-Aukaf, a watchdog organization on Wakf properties, has alleged that
80% of the Wakf land in Maharashtra has been lost either to illegal transfers
or encroachments. Its head Shabbir Ahmed Ansari has threatened to go to court
if the government failed to take action against the current and ex-members of
the State Wakf Board involved in illegal transfer of land.
who is also chairman of All India Muslim, OBC Trust has been spearheading a
movement against misuse of Wakf land for last two decades and is based in
Mumbai. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, he said that despite several
complaints against Wakf board member Asif Qureshi, the state government has
failed to order his disqualification. “If FIR is not filed in the next eight
days, we will have to knock at the court’s door,” said Ansari.
activist said ever since the state Wakf board was established in 2002, those
close to the then ruling Congress and NCP occupied posts of board members.
“These members, some of then MLAs and MPs or highly influential politicians
were involved in transferring of Wakf land to private parties or selling of the
land which is not allowed as Wakf land is non-transferable as per law. In 2007,
the government appointed Justice ATA Shaikh Commission to probe the matter. Its
report submitted in 2011 found that thousands of acres of land changed hands
illegally,” said Ansari. At one time, the Wakf board had 92,000 acres and 1 lakh
other assets under its control. Today 80% of the land has already gone,” Ansari
has released Mullah Baradar, a senior Taliban commander, as a
“confidence-building” measure requested by the US, which is engaged in
so-called peace talks with the insurgents.
Ghani Baradar, the former right-hand man of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, had
been held in Pakistani detention for over eight years, sources said Thursday.
move is said to be aimed at aiding the so-called peace talks between the US and
the militant group, after the two sides agreed in Doha, Qatar to continue the
than two weeks ago, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban representatives
in Qatar to discuss a "peace" deal.
was freed yesterday afternoon and he joined his family," Taliban spokesman
Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP in a WhatsApp message.
Pakistani intelligence official also noted that Baradar was "released a
couple of days ago".
was the most high-profile Taliban leader detained by Pakistan since the 9/11
attacks in 2001. He was arrested in the southern port city of Karachi in 2010,
reportedly in an operation that was described as a huge blow to the militant
from Baradar, several other senior Taliban leaders were freed this week following
direct talks with Khalilzad on October 12, a senior Taliban official told AFP,
adding that they believe the releases were made at US request.
to the official, Baradar will likely stay in Pakistan and shuttle between the
group's Doha office, Kabul and Islamabad.
Taliban announced on October 13 that they would continue talks with the US,
even though no tangible agreement was reached in the first round of meeting in
repeated outreach to the Taliban contradicts its efforts to link other
countries, including Iran and Russia, to the militant group.
this week, the US Treasury Department blacklisted nine men, including two
Iranian military officers, over allegations that they were "linked with
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that the Iranians were providing
financial and material support to the Taliban.
has a long history of liaison with the Taliban, starting with the militant
group's years of war with the Soviets over their occupation of Afghanistan.
the Soviet withdrawal, the US saw the group as a counterbalance to Iran's
Islamic Republic and maintained its links with the Taliban.
Taliban government, however, was toppled during the US invasion of Afghanistan
in 2001 because the group refused to expel the al-Qaeda which Washington blames
for the 9/11 attacks.
US politicians have said the CIA also created al-Qaeda with the help of
British, Pakistani and Saudi intelligence agencies to counter Iran.
Pakistan will be held responsible if they do not make sincere efforts to curb
terrorism on their western border with Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo has said.
to reporters Tuesday at the State Department's Foggy Bottom headquarters,
Pompeo said this was the message he had delivered to the Pakistani leadership
when he travelled to Islamabad in September, after Imran Khan became prime
had made clear that the US policy with respect to south-central Asia has not
changed, that our expectation is that Pakistan will not provide safe harbor to
terrorists on their western border," he said in response to a question on
September 5, Pompeo met Khan and pressed him "to do more" to rein in
the terror groups operating from Pakistan's soil.
couldn't make that message any more clear and that Pakistan will be held
account if they don't see about it... If they're not sincere in that effort.
don't believe we can get to the place that everyone wants. Everyone wants
reconciliation in Afghanistan, and to achieve that you can't have a safe harbor
for Taliban - for Haqqani, and for others inside of Pakistan," Pompeo
Pakistani government knows that "that's our review and this administration
has already made significant efforts to hold them accountable and we hope that
they'll achieve the goal that we have out for them", said the Secretary of
indicated that there has been no change in the Trump administration's policy
with regard to suspension of security aid to Pakistan unless it takes
satisfactory measures to eliminate safe terrorist safe havens.
(JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman on Thursday asked the ruling party to stop
threatening the opposition, terming PM Imran Khan’s mandate as “fake”.
to media reports, he said the government who got a stolen mandate should not
make threats to the opposition, he said.
has asked for NRO?” Fazl inquired in reply to PM Khan’s Wednesday statement
that his government will not any NRO to the politicians in graft cases.
said those talking about accountability had themselves dissolves the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission.
on the efforts to unite the opposition against the government, Fazl said that
75% of the work has been done and the opposition would unite to play a role in
said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has asked
for three days before an all parties conference.
mocked the premier by saying that he’s “aware of PM Khan’s family who give up
and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have met more than once in the past few
days in an effort to unite the opposition and call an APC.
said Monday he was up for uniting the opposition parties against the
government, saying the country does not seem to be running this way.
The Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) headed by Hafiz
Mohammad Saeed are no more on the list of banned outfits after the presidential
ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution lapsed.
the hearing on Thursday of a petition filed by Hafiz Saeed, his counsel informed
the Islamabad High Court that the presidential ordinance had lapsed and it had
never been extended.
petitioner had challenged the ordinance under which his organisations had been
banned for being on the watch list of the United Nations Security Council.
February this year, former president Mamnoon Hussain promulgated an ordinance
amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, with regards to proscription of
terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the UN
Security Council — in a move to declare JuD and FIF as proscribed groups.
Saeed’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich appeared before Justice
Aamer Farooq of the IHC. On a query, the counsel informed the court that the
PTI government did not extend the ordinance or table it in parliament to
convert it into an act.
Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan confirmed that the ordinance had
lapsed. He, however, declined the request of advocate Abbasi for giving a
statement on behalf of the interior ministry regarding the lapse of the
Khan informed the court that since the petitioner did not cite the interior
ministry as a respondent, he could not give a statement unless the petition was
amended and the interior secretary added as a party in the petition.
Justice Farooq held that the petition became infructuous since the ordinance
challenged by the petitioner had lapsed.
judge disposed of the petition with an observation that in case the government
renewed this ordinance, the petitioner was at liberty to file another petition
against the promulgation of the law.
Saeed contended in the petition that he established JuD in 2002 and cut off all
ties with the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba, but India continued to malign JuD for its
past association with the banned outfit.
petitioner said he was kept in detention in 2009 and 2017 due to India’s
pressure. He added that the UN Security Council had passed a resolution against
JuD after which the government of Pakistan put it on the watch list.
JuD chief termed it against the sovereignty of Pakistan that an ordinance was
issued to ban his organisation.
petitioner claimed that the promulgation of the ordinance and addition of
Section 11-EE were not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also
contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
said that any law which was violative of constitutional provisions was liable
to be struck down.
petitioner argued that under Article 199 of the Constitution, the court was
competent to strike down any legislation which was beyond the scope of the
Constitution or ultra vires. He requested the court that the vires of the
ordinance and consequent amendment in sections 11 B and 11-EE of the ATA might
be declared illegal.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has established its sub-offices in
Greece and Iran to check increasing activities of organised criminal networks
and illegal movements of Pakistani migrants.
senior FIA official told Dawn that one sub-office each in Greece and Iran had
been established and soon two deputy directors along with their subordinates
would begin performing duties in these countries.
official said that one deputy director along with his subordinates would be
posted in each country to check legal or illegal movements of Pakistani
migrants and to look after their other issues.
FIA teams had already visited Turkey, Iran and Greece to finalise the setting
up of sub-offices there. The plan to set up a sub-office in Turkey has been
delayed due to financial difficulties.
decision to establish FIA offices abroad was taken after a smugglers’ boat with
a majority of Pakistanis on board capsized off the coast of Libya on January 31
this year, leaving several people drowned.
FIA official said the sub-offices in Greece and Iran would specifically look
into the issues of Pakistanis, including those languishing in detention
said the most common land route chosen by human smugglers is from Pakistan to
Turkey and then Greece.
and Turkey, he said, served as transit countries where a network of human
smugglers had been actively working and they had been in contact with their
agents in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan.
said it was important to stop young people from going abroad, especially to
Europe, by boat because sometimes their journey ends up in tragedy.
FIA official said a campaign should be launched to tell youths not to go abroad
said whenever illegal immigrants are caught and put in detention centres
Pakistan’s embassies make arrangements for their deportation and provide them
Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered for proper representation of Sikhs in
the in census form.
to a report in the local media, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of
Pakistan (CJP) heard a case relating to the matter and ordered the inclusion of
a column of “Sikhism” in the population census form.
additional attorney general, during the hearing, informed the court that the
overall record of “Sikhs” has been summoned from National Database Registration
Authority (NADRA) and will be included in column six of the census form which
includes a section depicting the citizens’ religion.
Afghan Taliban spokesperson in a statement to the media said that “their former
deputy chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar had been set free by Pakistani
to a local media report, the statement did not say whether or not he had
returned to Afghanistan but it noted that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was
“healthy” and that “no compromise had been made to secure his freedom”.
Pakistan had declined to comment on the alleged release as Foreign Ministry
spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said that he would “not like to comment on media
experts in Kabul said the move could be a result of talks launched by the US
special representative Zalmay Khalilzad with the Taliban. Earlier this month
Khalilzad met Taliban leaders in Qatar in an effort to find a way to end the
17-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Baradar was the deputy head of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan at the time
of his arrest in a joint ISI-CIA raid in Karachi in February 2010 and was
believed to have then been working for a political settlement. It was also
reported that Mullah Abdul Samad Sani, another senior Taliban commander, was
senior official in Afghanistan told Reuters that Afghan authorities believe
Islamabad this week released Baradar and Sani, along with Mullah Mohammad
Rasul, a third Taliban figure. Rasul is the leader of the High Council of
Afghanistan Islamic Emirate, a Taliban group in Afghanistan, the Afghan
ISMAIL KHAN: Muhammad Abid, a most wanted terrorist involved in Dera Ismail
Khan jailbreak and attack on police vehicle, was shot dead in a joint operation.
Terrorism Department CTD and police in Bagowi North on the outskirts of Dera
Ismail Khan conducted a joint operation on Wednesday which resulted in the
killing of the key terrorist.
was wanted to the district police in the central jailbreak and an attack on the
police van at the Mission Mor.
CTD and police personnel during the joint operation shot dead Abid while his
accomplices fled. The shootout lasted for around 30 minutes before coming to an
end with the killing of Muhammad Abid.
hand grenades, a pistol and ammunition were also seized.
police took the action on a tip-off that five armed men had gathered in the
area and they were planning some terrorist activity.
- The US military serving in Afghanistan has been ordered to refrain from personal
contacts with members of the Afghan security forces following two
"insider" attacks, which targeted a member of the NATO-led Resolute
Support Mission and an Afghan police chief, media reported, citing a senior
Afghan officer and a spokesperson for the mission.
Monday, a Czech soldier was killed while another two Czech soldiers were
wounded in an attack reportedly perpetrated by a member of the Afghan security
forces. Just four days prior to that, police chief in the southern Afghan
province of Kandahar Gen. Abdul Raziq was shot dead while he was leaving the
office of the regional governor. The governor's bodyguards were reportedly
responsible for the attack.
Afghan officer told The Washington Post newspaper on Wednesday that the US
military "have been ordered not to visit the Afghan side of our base for a
few days, but we can visit them on their side."
to a spokesman for the Resolute Support mission, it is a "normal"
practice after so-called insider attacks. He added that the US military
officials were still keeping "regular contacts" with the Afghan
security forces via email and telephone, the news outlet reported.
United States and NATO initially launched their military operations in
Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks. While most of the US troops
had been withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014, NATO launched a new
mission in 2015, called Resolute Support, to provide training and assistance to
the Afghan security forces. A total of 16,000 soldiers from 39 NATO countries
are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of the mission.
2 dozen killed in 24 hours in Afghanistan
adds: More than two dozen militants and security personnel have been killed for
the control of the strategically important Kuran-o-Munjan district in northern
Afghanistan's Badakhshan province over the past 24 hours.
forces had been fighting to evict the insurgents from the beleaguered district,
provincial government spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari said Thursday.
total of 24 insurgents and two security personnel have been killed and 12
others including 10 rebels and two security personnel injured in Kuran-o-Munjan
district since Wednesday evening," Nazari told Xinhua.
militants, according to local officials, launched attacks on some security
checkpoints in Kuran-o-Munjan district on Friday night and since then fighting
continues between security forces and the militants in the strategically
to local observers, if the attacking militants were able to overrun
Kuran-o-Munjan district, they could easily open their way to the neighboring
Nuristan, Kunar and Panjshir provinces to expand their influence.
control over Kuran-o-Munjan district could facilitate the insurgent group to
extend its control over Lapis stone mine in Badakhshan province, local
Taliban attack on Kuran-o-Munjan district on Friday night and launching
counter-offensive, according to local officials, about 70 militants and some 10
security personnel have been killed.
forces, in a bid to mount pressure on militants in Kuran-o-Munjan district,
launched airstrikes on Wednesday, killing at least four insurgents, an army
spokesman Mohammad Hanif Rezai said.
militants who have stepped up attacks to gain more grounds and consolidate
positions ahead of chilly winter in the mountainous country, are yet to make
comment on the situation.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the alliance’s support to an
Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
during a press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “NATO supports efforts
to find a political and peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”
further added “We do that, not by participating directly in peace talks, that’s
not NATO’s role, but we support them politically. NATO’s Allies provide
support, but our most important contribution to the peace process is to send a
clear message to the Taliban and to other insurgents that they cannot win in
the battlefield so we have to train, assist and advise the Afghan forces in a
way that enables them to make it clear to the Taliban that they will not win on
the battlefield, they have to sit down at the negotiating table.”
comes as efforts are underway to a find political solution to the ongoing
conflict in Afghanistan.
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
met with the Taliban leaders in their political office in Qatar nearly two
weeks ago to discuss the prospects for peace talks.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan carried out an airstrike targeting a group of ISIS
IED planters, leaving at least three of them dead.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said a
group of three ISIS militants were busy planting an Improvised Explosive Device
(IED) in Payin area of Deh Bala district when they came under an airstrike of
the coalition forces drone aircraft.
statement further added that the airstrike left at least three ISIS militants
Taliban militants and other militants including ISIS often use improvised
explosive device as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces
and government officials.
in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are killed while in some
cases the Taliban militants are themselves blown up in premature explosions.
elements must immediately end the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of
all improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas frequented by civilians, said
UNAMA in a special human rights report released few days earlier.
of the Global Unity Forum (GUF) II, an international interfaith forum jointly
hosted by Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing GP Ansor and the Bayt Ar Rahmah da’wa
movement, signed a joint statement on Thursday calling for all people to stop
decree, called the “Nusantara Statement”, calls on people of every faith and
nation to curtail the spreading of hatred and start building relationships
founded upon respect for equal rights and dignity.
want to convey to the world that religion should be used as a basis for better
civilization and not as a weapon or even norm to engage in conflict,” GP Ansor
chairman Yaqut Cholil Qoumas told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the
forum on Thursday. Dozens of delegates representing Muslims, Jews, Christians
and Catholics from the United States, Europe and the Middle East joined the
two-day forum held to coincide with Kirab Satu Negeri, a movement launched by
GP Ansor on Sept. 16 to campaign for pluralism and tolerance.
the international delegates participating in the forum include Reverend Johnie
Moore of the Commission on International Religious Freedom (US), head of the
All-India Organization on Mosque Imams Maulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi (India) and
Imam Talib Shareef of The Nation’s Mosque (US).
said the forum was first initiated last year in Jakarta over concern about the
endless conflicts, especially in Middle Eastern countries such as Libya and
Syria, for which the fighting parties use religion as a basis.
fact we believe that none of the religions in the world, especially Islam,
teach that religion can be used as a tool to engage in conflicts,” Yaqut said.
rally to promote moderate Islam in Indonesia canceled
Indonesia (AP) — Organizers of an Indonesian movement to promote a moderate
brand of Islam have canceled a mass rally after its youth supporters burned the
flag of an outlawed hard-line Muslim group, sparking allegations of blasphemy.
Cholil Staquf, general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim
organization, said Friday the rally in Yogyakarta, predicted to draw 100,000
people, was canceled to prevent violence.
of members of Nahdlatul Ulama's youth arm burning the flag of the outlawed
group, Hizbut Tahrir, has stirred controversy in Indonesia because the flag is
also emblazoned with the Islamic declaration of faith.
said Hizbut Tahrir "operatives" disrupted the youth wing's
celebrations and exploited religious symbols, which led to the flag burning
on the Moluccas Islands are offering their homes to thousands of Catholics
participating in Indonesia’s first National Catholic Choir Festival if they
need a place to stay, according to a prominent local Muslim leader.
than 7,000 Catholics from all the country’s 34 provinces are descending on
Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, to take part in the festival, or
Pesparani, which begins on Oct. 27.
six-day festival is being organized by the Catholic National Pesparani
Formation and Development Agency, known as LP3KN.
all hotels and lodgings in Ambon are fully booked, Muslims living in the town
are willing to accommodate our Catholic brothers and sisters. Muslims here
realize that the festival does not belong only to Catholics but also to all
people in this province," Abdullah Latuapo, chairman of the provincial
chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council, told ucanews.com on Oct. 25.
Muslims will be on hand to help Catholic singers during the festival,"
said Latuapo, who is also a lecturer at the State Institute of Islamic Studies
Heart Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Amboina called the offer "a symbol
of local Muslims’ love and support for Catholics."
actually displays the true identity of Indonesian people. Indonesian people are
open to all religions. It also shows that Indonesian people with their
different religious backgrounds can live in harmony," said the prelate.
felt the gesture also underscored how far the region had come after since
sectarian unrest threatened to tear the region apart.
province was the scene of sectarian violence around the turn of the millennium
between Muslims and Christians that claimed around 5,000 lives. A clash in 2011
left at least five people dead.
Mandagi also expressed hope that President Joko Widodo would show his support
by spending at least one day to in the town during the festival.
LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The world must not defeat terrorism solely through hard power
policies, soft power applications in the form of good governance, practical
diplomacy and civil participation, said Minister of Defence Mohamad Sabu.
a statement here, he said these aspects must complement military actions in
order to eliminate the root causes of terrorist appeal: injustice, unfairness
must win hearts and minds, not just gun fights. Although today’s terrorists do
not differ significantly in terms of violent expressions and combative nature,
their intentions and objectives have changed,” he said during the 2nd plenary
address titled ‘Global Terrorism: Threats and Countermeasures’ at the 8th Xiangshan
Forum held at Beijing International Convention Centre, today.
said Malaysia has been actively engaged in multilateral platforms to foster an
understanding of a common strategy in combatting terrorism.
said today’s international system had reverted to its pre-9/11 ways which were
devolving to interstate competition and regional conflicts rather than being
focused on how to combat terrorism together.
said the trans-border nature of terror, enabled by social media and the
internet, made it much easier for terror groups to recruit members, gather
support and sympathy, as well as accumulate funds from anywhere in the world.
second largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, has urged Muslims across the
country to remain calm over the flag-burning incident that occurred on Monday
at a National Santri (Muslim students) Day celebration in Garut, West Java.
a press release provided on Thursday, Muhammadiyah central executive board
chairman Haedar Nashir said he hoped all Muslims would refrain from engaging in
public debate over the incident to avoid negative impacts to the nation.
believe that Muslims, and all Indonesians, can protect the national unity […].
We have learned a lot from many bitter experiences before this, and these
spiritual lessons are more than enough to grow as a mature people and a nation.
Don’t let this flag-burning incident divide us and cause us to fight amongst
ourselves,” he said in the statement.
also asked everyone to forgive each other.
all love Indonesia and there is no party that claims they are the most
nationalistic,” he added.
also: Suspected HTI flag burning sparks controversy among Muslims
advised Muslims, especially Muhammadiyah followers, not to respond en masse to
the flag-burning incident.
let’s create an atmosphere of peace and togetherness,” he stressed.
Monday's event, three members of the Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser) youth
wing of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization, took down a
black flag bearing an Islamic text in Arabic and burned it, believing that the
flag represented the banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) Islamic organization.
incident raised tensions among Muslims. Many argued that the flag burning was
offensive, since it was not an HTI flag and instead bore the Shahada, the
Islamic creed declaring faith in God and Prophet Muhammad.
only one year left in office, many have begun to judge Jokowi's performance.
With the election looming, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo must defend his
administration in an effort to seize another term. As the incumbent, everything
he has done can be used to boost his profile, or be used against him.
opposition camp has used shortcomings in Jokowi's programs as a basis for its
attacks, from his policy on foreign workers, focus on infrastructure to, most
recently, his plan to disburse subdistrict funds. Even seemingly mundane things
such as the picture on government-issued sacks of rice and government-sponsored
advertisement have sparked considerable friction on social media.
April 2019, the nation will again have to choose between Jokowi with running
mate Ma’ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto with former Jakarta vice governor
Sandiaga Uno. Here are some key questions leading up to the election:
leading the polls so far?
and Maruf are doing well in the polls, judged by five surveys conducted by the
Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI), Alvara Research Center, Survey Y-Publika,
Indikator Politik Indonesia and Saiful Munjani Research Center (SMRC). All
surveys were conducted after both Jokowi and Prabowo had officially announced
their running mate.
survey was conducted from Aug. 12 to 19 and polled 1,200 respondents about who
they would vote for in the 2019 presidential election. Around 52.2 percent of
the respondents chose Jokowi and running mate Ma'ruf Amin, while 29.5 percent
chose Prabowo and running mate Sandiaga Uno. The remaining 18.3 percent were
undecided or preferred not to answer.
Research Center conducted their survey from Aug. 12 to 18 with 1,500
respondents. The survey found that Jokowi-Ma'ruf's electability stood at 53.6
percent compared to Prabowo-Sandiaga at 35.2 percent. As many as 11.2 percent
of the respondents were still undecided.
Y-Publika involved 1,200 respondents from Aug. 13 to 23. Again, Jokowi-Ma’ruf
lead with 52.7 percent against Prabowo-Sandiaga at 28.6 percent, with 18.7
survey ran from Sep. 1 to 6 and involved 1,220 respondents. Jokowi-Ma’ruf
gained 57.7 percent and Prabowo-Sandiaga 32.3 percent, with 9 percent of
respondents not answering and 1 percent choosing not to vote for either
surveyed 1,074 respondents from Sep. 7 to 24, finding that in a head to head
scenario, Jokowi-Ma'ruf reaped 60.4 percent of the vote compared to
Prabowo-Sandiaga at 29.8 percent. 9.8 percent did not answer.
the meaning of their running mate choices?
choice of Ma’ruf Amin means aligning himself with the conservative right, as
Ma’ruf is currently one of the most powerful and influential Muslim figures in
Indonesia. As the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Ma'ruf signed
a document that became the basis for several anti-Ahok rallies in 2016. Jokowi
has been attacked repeatedly for being anti-Islam, despite being a Muslim man
Ma’ruf as a running mate is also necessary to maintain Jokowi’s coalition. It
was widely reported that Ma’ruf was the only figure that all parties in his
coalition could support and had the least amount of resistance. By keeping the
coalition intact, Jokowi avoided the risk of having a three-way race.
the other hand, Prabowo’s choice of Sandiaga shocked many, especially after
speculation was rife that he would pick Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) or a
Muslim figure instead.
budding coalition between the Democrats and Gerinda was feared to have
collapsed when Democrat executive Andi Arief derided Prabowo as a cardboard
general in a series of angry tweets, accusing Sandiaga of offering Rp 500
billion for the VP seat. The Democrats have stayed in the coalition, but have
allowed some party members to continue supporting Jokowi.
is expected to bring young voters for Prabowo. Gerindra advisory council vice
chairman Hashim Djojohadikusumo, also Prabowo's brother and his political
financier, commented that Sandiaga was chosen because he was “healthy, young,
smart and rich.” Aside from his youthful image, Sandiaga is also making efforts
to appeal to female voters. Some women are grouped under Emak-Emak Militan
(militant moms) to attack Jokowi in economic issues. The LSI’s survey found
that Sandiaga slightly helped raise Prabowo’s electability among women,
millennials and educated voters.
does having Ma’ruf affect the anti-Islam attack against Jokowi? How effective
is the pro-Islam branding for Prabowo?
one, Jokowi is considered to be more religious than Prabowo. In a survey by
Indikator, 76 percent of the respondents considered Jokowi to be religious and
pious, while 58 percent said Prabowo was religious and pious.
early last year, Jokowi has made many visits to pesantren (Islamic boarding
schools), mostly across Java, and met with senior religious figures from
various Muslim groups in different regions. In September, 400 grand kyai
(Muslim elders) and leaders of pesantren across the country declared their
support for Jokowi and Ma'ruf in the 2019 election.
commented that the support from the pesantren was “more significant” than
support from the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF), which
had declared itself for the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket.
contrast, Sandiaga’s non-Arabic name and his history of formal education are
regarded as not being advantageous for Prabowo, also known as being more
secular than religious, in wooing conservative Muslims.
Iman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said his formal education track
record aside, Sandiaga was “a post-Islamist santri”. Santri refers to students
of pesantren. Sandiaga himself later admitted that he did not understand this
term at first.
Sandiaga be a vote getter for Prabowo?
Sandiaga’s best efforts to hit the campaign trail, the latest polls show that
most voters are not swayed by vice-presidential candidates and place more
importance in the top of the ticket.
poll conducted by SMRC between Sept. 7 to 14, for example, found that both
Sandiaga and rival Ma’ruf Amin had yet to significantly boost support for their
respective running mates.
Prabowo-Sandiaga pair was supported by 29.8 percent of respondents, while
Jokowi-Ma’ruf won support from 60.4 percent of respondents, not much different
from the 28.7 and 60.2 percent support garnered by Prabowo and Jokowi on their
University political observer Hendri Satrio said that while vice-presidential
candidates could have a larger impact than reflected in recent polls, Prabowo
still needed to take a more active hand in campaigning.
cannot just rely on Sandiaga because he could be in danger of being forgotten
during the long campaign period,” he said, adding that Prabowo’s absence could
fuel further speculation about the candidate’s desire to win.
has Jokowi done in four years? What are his achievements, especially in
mainly focused on economic reforms and infrastructure development, aiming to
boost foreign investment in the country. So far, Indonesia’s ease of doing
business (EODB) rank has improved from 106th in 2015 to 72nd in 2017, and its
economy has been growing steadily at 5 percent on average. Still, this is below
Jokowi’s ambitious goal of placing 40th in the EODB list and having 7 percent
flagship program from Jokowi’s administration is infrastructure development
outside Java to reduce high logistics costs that hamper the economy. Aside from
massive road construction projects in various parts of Indonesia, the
government has so far opened several new Special Economic Zones (KEK), such as
Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Palu in Central Sulawesi.
of the most challenging programs is perhaps the 35,000 MW electricity projects,
which by early 2018 only reached 3.8 percent since its launch in May 2015. As a
result of the weakening rupiah, the government also postponed the development
of the electricity projects amounting to 15,200 MW.
of the reports on Jokowi’s four years in office is about human rights. What are
its evaluation report, Kontras noted that Jokowi had failed to carry out most
of his own 17 priority human rights programs.
it claimed, had yet to address the issues of extrajudicial killings, past human
rights abuses and religious freedom. The remaining issues, including disability
rights, had only been partially resolved, it added.
this year, Jokowi met with then-United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights Zeid Ra’ad, but did not talk about unresolved serious human rights
violation cases. Jokowi’s administration has promised to settle at least seven
cases of historic human rights violations, including the 1965 communist purge
and the 1998 riots.
year, Kontras also criticized Jokowi’s statement in an event commemorating
International Human Rights Day, calling it “nothing more than diplomatic
language and political communication aimed at winning public sympathy.”
rights, the death penalty and the Blasphemy Law remain among Indonesia’s
biggest sources of criticism and are unlikely to change soon despite
recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
the fall of the rupiah pose a major challenge for Jokowi? What has the
Institute of Sciences (LIPI) expert Siti Zuhro told Kompas.com that the fall of
the rupiah would be a disadvantage and could be exploited by the opposition.
Siti pointed out that the fall of the rupiah would lead to higher inflation.
September, Jokowi stated that he gave the ministers a year to address
Indonesia’s current account deficit (CAD). Since then, the government has set
B20 mandatory rules, restricted imports and called producers to increase local
booking a surplus of US$230 million in September, the trade deficit stood at
$3.78 billion from January to September.
distribution and service deputy Yunita Rusanti said the impact of the
government’s move to reduce imports could be seen in October’s trade balance,
to be announced in November.
relationship with China has often been a major issue for anti-Jokowi groups.
What is Jokowi’s stance on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?
has often grappled with anti-Chinese sentiment, such as the recurring rumor of
millions of Chinese workers in Indonesia.
China’s BRI can provide the necessary funding for Jokowi’s infrastructure
program. Last year, Jokowi attended the Belt and Road Forum in China and in
April, Indonesia and China signed five contracts worth US$23.3 billion as part
of the BRI.
Arabic-language al-Manar news channel reported on Wednesday that the dead
bodies of over 15 people were unearthed from the rubbles of a building in
al-Saknah district of Raqqa city.
added that they belonged to the civilians who were attacked by the US fighter
jets when the city was under the control of the ISIL terrorist group.
Russian media outlet reported earlier this month that more than 1,500 victims
killed in the US air raids and its allied militants were buried in the largest
mass grave in Raqqa city in Northeastern Syria.
Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, RT, reported that the
largest mass grave of civilians is in Panorama in Raqqa city with over 1,500
bodies of victims killed in the US air raids or in the Washington-backed
militants' attacks when the city was under ISIL's rule.
the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that Raqqa Civil Team
has thus far discovered 11 mass graves, adding that excavations had completed
in 8 mass graves.
London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) quoted
sources as saying on Wednesday that Jeish al-Islam has resumed rebuilding its
military bases in Northern Syria and recruiting members.
added that Jeish al-Islam has bought a number of new types of weapons,
equipment and ammunition from a militant group affiliated to Turkey in al-Bab
region in Northeastern Aleppo.
the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that Jeish al-Islam commander
Osam al-Bawizani and his deputy Ali al-Husseini have recently traveled to
Turkey to meet with a number of Turkish officials in the Southern parts of the
country, raising the possibility that the terrorist group aims to purchase more
weapons and military equipment.
added that Jeish al-Islam depended on Saudi Arabia while being deployed in the
Eastern Ghouta of Damascus but they are now supported by Turkey since leaving
the region and being deployed in regions occupied by the militants affiliated
to the Turkish army.
SOHR had also reported last month that Jeish al-Islam terrorist group had
deployed its fighters at contact lines with the Syrian Army in Eastern Aleppo
after coordination with Turkey-backed militants.
said that Jeish al-Islam had started deploying militants in more than ten
contact points with the Syrian Army in Tadif in Northeastern Aleppo after
coordination with Ankara-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyeh.
further said that Jeish al-Islam set up a large base in the town of Afrin after
retreating from Eastern Ghouta, adding Jeish al-Islam stationed its fighters in
said that Jeish al-Islam has also set up several bases in Aleppo province.
the meantime, the Syrian Army dispatched more troops and equipment to the
contact lines with Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the
Al-Nusra Front) in a large region from Jam'iyat al-Zahra and al-Lairamoun industrial
zone up to the small town of Kafr Hamra in Northwestern Aleppo and from
al-Malah farms to the small towns of Haraytan, Hayan, Anadan and Bayanoun in
Egyptian government has announced on Thursday that it will relocate eight
million Egyptians to Sinai.
Mostafa Madbouly, prime minister of Egypt, said that Sinai’s development is a
strategic goal at the top of Egypt’s priorities.
also said on Wednesday night that the Northern Sinai area has many promising
investment potential in the sectors of agriculture, pisciculture, and tourism,
in addition to the availability of exporting ports and a network of tunnels
which will connect Sinai to the delta.
added that creating a well-developed environment will provide the locals in
Sinai with more job opportunities and will prevent them from being victims of
terrorist extremist group.
is keen on benefiting from the relevant international organizations’
experience, and hence why it is currently working with the World Bank as the
main funding source, the Egyptian prime minister said.
also suggested forming a team that brings the representatives of the programs
together to hold meetings with their Egyptian counterparts and look into the
possibilities of the programs that the Egyptian government intends to execute
in Sinai, saying that this would allow the immediate start of the cooperation
between Egypt and the relevant international organizations.
had announced earlier a comprehensive plan to change life in Sinai, especially
with the drawing end of the military operations “Sinai 2018”.
goal is to prevent terrorism from considering the peninsula its base, and to
support the dimension of security and politics of the eastern borders of the
and extremists fighters traded fire with the Syrian regime forces in northern
Syria overnight, their fiercest exchanges since a buffer zone deal was
announced for the area last month, a monitor said Thursday.
15- to 20-kilometre wide “de-militarised zone” was announced by militants,
backer Turkey and government ally Moscow on September 17 to separate government
troops from militants fighters in their last major bastion in Idlib province
and adjacent areas.
has continued intermittently, however, and escalated dramatically late
Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
was the fiercest bombing yet since September 17,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, who
heads the Britain-based monitoring group.
government rocket and artillery fire killed one girl in Kafr Hamra,” an Aleppo
province town inside the declared buffer zone.
shelling from inside the zone killed three civilians in government-held
territory earlier this week.
on Wednesday, rocket fire by both extremists and Turkish-backed militants hit
second city Aleppo, wounding 10 people, Abdel Rahman said.
news agency SANA gave the same casualty toll and said the army responded
against the sources of the fire north and northwest of the city.
National Liberation Front, the Turkish-backed militant alliance which is the
main armed group in that area, said it was responding to government violations
of the truce deal with “light and medium weapons.”
the deal agreed by Russia and Turkey, the rebels were supposed to have removed
all heavy weapons from the buffer zone by October 10.
fighters- taken to mean Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the extremist alliance
which is the dominant faction in Idlib, and other hardliners- were supposed to
leave the zone by October 15.
10 days on there is still no sign of any pullout or of the planned monitoring
patrols by the deal’s co-sponsors, the Observatory said.
pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said the extremists’ failure to withdraw
“provides the justification for the Syrian army and Russian air force to start
a military operation to oust (HTS) from the area.”
security officials say a roadside bombing has killed three workers contracted
to build a security wall in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.
officials say another 10 workers were wounded in the explosion on Thursday.
officials blamed an ISIS affiliate, which is active in that part of the Sinai
Peninsula, for the bombing.
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
speak to the media.
ISIS militants on Sunday shot and killed three workers outside their homes in
has been struggling to contain an insurgency by extremist militants in northern
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held a telephone call with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel on Thursday and discussed discussed means of developing relations
between the two countries in all fields.
Salman "briefed the German Chancellor on the latest developments of
investigation into the murder of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi, and confirmed
that what was done by those involved in this crime does not represent the
principles and values of the Kingdom, stressing that justice will take its
course fully and resolutely and that whoever found guilty will receive
deterrent punishment," according to a statement on Saudi Press Agency.
her part, the German Chancellor expressed the hope that the ongoing investigation
will uncover all the circumstances of the incident.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chaired the first meeting on Thursday of
a special committee to reform Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services.
restructuring was ordered by King Salman after the murder in Istanbul of Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
committee assessed the General Intelligence Presidency’s current organizational
structure and identified any gaps in its legal framework, policies and
procedures. Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi journalist resident in the US, was killed in
the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, after he visited to complete
paperwork related to his divorce.
Arabia has said his death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people
acting beyond the scope of their authority, and 18 Saudis have been arrested.
the investigation continues, the Saudi public prosecution said on Thursday the
killing was premeditated.
from the Turkish authorities indicates that the act of the suspects in the
Khashoggi case was premeditated,” Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb’s
public prosecution continues its investigation with suspects... to complete the
course of justice.”
crown prince told the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on Wednesday
“justice will prevail” in the Khashoggi case.
incident was very painful for all Saudis. It was a repulsive incident, and no
one can justify it,” he said.
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince
Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), is dead. And, as presumed, the Saudis killed him in
a premeditated murder -- most likely sanctioned by MBS himself.
to the chagrin of the Saudi leaders, the killing has sparked an international
uproar. A number of politicians in the Western capitals are demanding that the
Saudi government be held accountable.
in the US have gone as far as suggesting that Washington end its decades-long
fruitful friendship with Riyadh.
guy (MBS) is a wrecking ball. He had this guy (Jamal Khashoggi) murdered inside
a consulate in Istanbul and expect me to ignore it? I feel used and abused,” US
Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox and Friends.
Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian conservative, known for his isolationist
foreign policy views, wrote an op-ed on Fox News’ website, titled, “It's time
to rethink America's relationship with Saudi Arabia -- It is not our friend.”
of his arguments are relevant and worthy of consideration.
a fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest sponsor of radical Islam
on the planet, and no other nation is even close,” he writes.
The Saudis have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into spreading
Wahhabism, a puritanical version of Islam that is blamed for the rise of some
of the radical Islamists whom the US is currently battling.
Paul also highlights Saudi’s long record of human rights abuses. Yes, thousands
of people, most of them dissidents, have been detained in the kingdom, often
without a conviction or even a trial.
on these, he makes the case that the US reconsider its friendship with the
kingdom. “We can start by cutting the Saudis off,” he argues.
Paul’s is not an isolated voice. Today, there is a growing chorus echoing him.
Many feel the US-Saudi alliance has run its course and that it's time to wrap
it up. The New York Times has received a flurry of letters from its readers
demanding that the US distance itself from Saudi over Khashoggi’s killing.
should the Trump administration review Washington's ties with Riyadh? Or should
it ignore the journalist’s murder and continue engaging with its long-time
all, hundreds of innocent people, most of them poor and voiceless unlike
Khashoggi, are killed each year in US bombardments in different parts of the
third world. While licking the blood on its hands, what moral authority does
the US have to discipline Saudi Arabia?
or national interest?
murder and the US options in dealing with the Saudis bring certain questions
about foreign policy decision making to the fore.
of all, should a country’s international relations be guided by a set of moral
principles? Can’t ethics be sacrificed at the altar of national interest?
would balk at the idea of using moral codes as signposts in international
relations. Any foreign policy decision should be evaluated on the basis of just
one parameter: to what extent does it advance a country’s national interest.
all countries, ensuring security, stability, and opportunities for economic
growth constitute core national interests.
objectives like spreading democracy, punishing human rights violators or
supporting freedom movements abroad, come next.
are not amoral people. Rather, they perceive the world as it is. The structural
flaws of the international system have made it such that no country can be
assured of its security.
to improve its chances of survival, realists would advise a country to follow
policies that boost its security, no matter whether they are scrupulous or not.
explains why the US, despite being a proud democracy, forged ties with friendly
dictators and human rights abusers during the Cold War -- they helped
Washington contain communism.
Arabia: America’s friend in need
more than seven decades now, Saudi Arabia has been a useful ally of the United
States. Its alliance with Riyadh has served Washington’s interests well and
the Cold War, the kingdom was a vital pillar of the US strategy to undermine
the Soviet maneuvers in the Middle East. Without the Saudi support, the US
would have lost the region to its arch-enemy, an outcome that would have
greatly endangered its economic security, given the area’s vast hydrocarbon
just the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia has also helped the US crush local actors
who were inimical to its interests - like Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Iraq’s
1991, when Iraq, led by Saddam, invaded and occupied Kuwait, thereby
threatening the security and stability of the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, the
US relied on the Saudi support to defeat him.
more perturbed than Washington by Saddam's aggressive moves, threw open its
airspace to the US warplanes and even allowed the stationing of American troops
on its soil (This turned out to be Osama bin Laden’s top grievance).
then, Washington had pressing reasons to stop Sadam. Unlike the 2003 invasion
and occupation of Iraq, the Operation Desert Storm was premised on reasonable
grounds. The Iraqi forces had invaded and occupied Kuwait. Baghdad was clearly
importantly, many in the US capital feared, and for good reason, the Iraqi
strongman was poised to snatch the oil-rich regions of Saudi Arabia bordering
Kuwait. Doing so would have given Saddam control over much of the Persian
Gulf’s oil reserves. That, in turn, would have let him sway the global crude
prices, and by extension, impact the economic well-being of the West.
Saudi Arabia is an important partner in America’s war on terror. It might sound
laughable given the support the radical Islamists have received from the
kingdom’s clerical establishment.
without the backing of Riyadh, America’s anti-terror campaign would yield no
Saudi Arabia is a part of the problem, it should also be a part of the
fact, in the years since 9/11, Riyadh, unlike Islamabad, has shown a greater
willingness to work with Washington in combating terrorism. Acting on US
advice, it has frozen the Saudi assets of a number of terror suspects, time and
2003, it implemented about 50 recommendations made by the G8’s Financial Action
Task Force (FATF) to curb money laundering and terror financing -- steps that
Pakistan has, so far, refused to take.
since 2004, the Saudis have been working with the US Treasury Department to
clamp down on international financing of terror activities.
may be small steps. But they are a testament to the kingdom’s disposition to
reign in on terror. After all, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS also
threaten Saudi security.
the Saudis know too well that in the post-9/11 era, it can’t maintain good ties
with Washington while being in cahoots with terror groups.
what about Wahhabism? Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia’s export of its austere brand of
Islam has been a bone of contention in its ties with the West.
has been the Saudi kingdom’s official ideology since its founding in 1744.
However, its large-scale propagation began during the Cold War, in response to
the spread of Soviet communism and Iran’s threat to export its own Islamic
as Wahhabism spread, it aided the rise of radical Islamists, many of whom,
after the demise of the Soviet Union, turned their weapons on the US and its
one must understand that the Saudis did not preach Wahhabism with an intent to
damage the American interests. It did so to secure itself from the menacing
ideologies that were gaining currency in its backyard.
as the crown prince said in a recent interview, the Saudis spread Wahhabism at
the request of the West, which was, during the Cold War, obsessed with
to the post-Wahhabi era?
it is encouraging to note Riyadh has taken steps to tame its demon. MBS has
publicly talked about the need to reform Islam and acknowledged that Wahhabism
has done more bad to his country than good. No previous Saudi ruler has done
importantly, although in a bid to consolidate his own power, the crown prince
has curbed the influence of the kingdom’s hardline clerics - the chief
purveyors of the Wahhabi ideology.
centuries, the clerical class has exerted tremendous influence over the Saudi
public life, chiefly as the guardians of morality and the enforcers of the
Sharia law. By suppressing their authority, MBS is attempting to revamp the
Saudi society in tune with his own vision for it, and also, the demands of the
the results have been positive: The country’s Islamists, who aid and abet
terror, have begun to feel the heat. “We don’t know what is happening. It’s
like we are becoming strangers in this country,” a Saudi conservative told a
Washington Post journalist, recently.
in The New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman recently observed, “He (MBS)
seemed to be aiming to replace Saudi fundamentalist Islam, and its clerics, as
the primary source of his regime’s legitimacy with a more secular Saudi
the crown prince’s gusto for reform, the Economist remarked, “His boldness
could transform the Arab world for the better.”
in Washington, who wants MBS sacked, are oblivious to the good he can do. What
if he is replaced by a conservative-minded prince who would cuddle up to the
hardliners to secure his throne?
anxieties over Yemen
are locked in a bitter geopolitical tug of war with Iran. Riyadh’s interference
in Lebanese politics and its ongoing feud with Qatar are, to a great extent,
products of the larger Riyadh-Tehran rivalry.
importantly, the conflict in Yemen, in which the kingdom and its allies are up
against the Houthi rebels, allegedly backed by Iran, have resulted in thousands
of civilian casualties.
war has put a spotlight on MBS’s muscular foreign policy and earned him many
brickbats. If today the number of Saudi haters in the West is growing, it’s
mainly because of the humanitarian consequences of the Saudi campaign in Yemen.
the Saudis have always been sensitive about who controls Yemen. During the
1960s, it supported a bloody war there in support of King Muhammad al-Badr, who
was deposed by nationalist rivals, backed by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.
then, the Saudis feared that the contagious ideology of Arab nationalism would
spread from Yemen to the kingdom and threaten the House of Saud’s grip on
before classifying the Saudi adventurism in Yemen as one of crown prince’s
amateur foreign policy decisions, one must keep in mind that Riyadh had
previously intervened when inimical forces gained control of its southern
not just the Saudis, enemy’s influence reaching one’s doorstep is not something
countries throughout history have been comfortable accepting.
for this reason that India is today concerned about the growing Chinese
presence in Sri Lanka. Likewise, the US was alarmed when the communists seized
power in Cuba. Another example is China’s anxiety over the continuing US
influence in Taiwan.
it is not clear if the Houthis, in fact, receive any backing from Tehran. But
nonetheless, they are Shiites, and therefore, the Saudi thinking goes, may
sooner or later align with Iran.
should America do?
Rand Paul apparently believes Saudis are at America’s mercy, that they will
come begging if the US snap ties. For sure, the Saudis would make desperate
bids to lure back Washington. But if the US starts attaching conditions to its
ties with the kingdom, then the Saudis would be prompted to look elsewhere for
comfort. After all, we no longer live in a unipolar world.
and Russia would happily step in and make up for Riyadh’s loss. After all,
unlike the elites in Washington, those in Moscow or Beijing are the least
perturbed about a prospective partner’s negative human rights record.
their differences (mainly over Syria and Iran) Saudis and Russians have worked
together for years. Their cooperation has been a key to stabilising the global
oil market. Also, Russia, a top exporter of arms, would be eager cash in on the
kingdom’s needs, which has grown substantially in recent years, and there is
scope for extensive partnership between the two.
that the Saudis have been trained on the US arms for over seven decades, and
therefore, a sudden shift would be unthinkable. Yet, gradually they can wean
themselves off their reliance on America weaponry. It may take time. But, it’s
the Saudis have warned that if their ties with the US weaken, then Riyadh would
even consider offering Russia a military base in the kingdom. It may be a
threat without much substance. Yet, if the US cuts off Saudi Arabia, the Saudis
would have no reason not to step up engagement with the Russians.
for its part, has also been eager to cultivate strategic alliances with Arab
countries. Mindful of the opportunity, the Saudis have been receptive to
overtures from Beijing. Foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir noted earlier this
year, “Saudi-Chinese relations have been deepened by both countries’ belief in
key principles, notably respecting the sovereignty of states and
non-interference in their affairs.”
message is clear: Russia and China are partners whose importance is growing by
what should the US do? Well, ignore any suggestions about breaking ties, right
away. Try to persuade the crown prince to moderate his policies, particularly
his treatment of dissidents. However, understand that the US needs Saudi
support to achieve many of its foreign policy goals-- be it containing Iran or
fighting radical Islam.
sources in Northern Hasaka reported that one of the SDF commanders, namely
Houkar Bakdash, was assassinated by unknown gunmen in the town of Qamishli.
referred to the increased attacks by unknown assailants against the SDF in
Northern Hasaka, saying that recently more than 18 Kurdish forces, including
commanders, were assassinated.
reports said that the Kurdish forces seized all medical centers and clinics in
al-Nashweh, Qawiran, Tal Hajar and al-Naserah districts in Hasaka and expelled
all their staff.
media activists said that the Kurdish forces still continue closure of schools
which use government curriculum, adding that civilians are strongly furious about
their measures in Hasaka.
have recently heightened in Hasaka province after the SDF launched forced
recruitment among civilians.
senior commander of the SDF was also assassinated in the region on Monday.
Arabic-language al-Manar news channel reported that one of the SDF commanders
named Haji Dikiyeh was killed by unknown assailants in the town of Qamishli in
to the report, another member of the SDF forces was also severely wounded by
unknown gunmen in Hasaka city's al-Nashwah district.
the wake of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post
columnist who was tortured and killed due to his opposition to the Saudi
monarchy, dissident journalists and writers from across the Muslim world are
living in fear. If Saudi Arabia, a country which recently has been making
numerous reforms such as enabling women to drive and curtailing the power of
the religious police, can utilize its consulate in order to murder a critic on
Turkish soil, then no writer or critic from any Muslim majority nation is safe.
one agrees with the political views promoted by Mr. Khashoggi or not is
irrelevant. No one deserves to have their fingers chopped off and to have their
body chopped up like an apple. Saudi Arabia getting away with murdering and
torturing him merely because his political opinions were not supported by his
government, and it represents a clear and present danger to the plight of
dissident writers and bloggers everywhere. For as President John F. Kennedy
said, “The rights of every man are diminished when one man is threatened.”
blogger and journalist Neda Amin was greatly influenced by the Khashaggi
murder. She fears that she could share Mr. Khashoggi’s fate should she ever
enter inside the building of any Iranian consulate in order to renew her
expired Iranian passport: “Iran would not kill in the Consulate itself like the
Saudis did. However, they would move me to a governmental car and return me to
Iran from where they will kill me.” Ms. Amin noted that no local government
would dare to check any car belonging to the Iranian Embassy, and for this reason
they would be able to get away with such a crime. Furthermore, by moving her
back to Iran and killing her there, she implied that the Iranians would be able
to avoid the international scandal that the Saudis are presently experiencing.
blogger Sazzadul Hoque, a prominent proponent of LGBT rights, women’s rights
and human rights who is a Muslim apostate, is living in fear in the wake of the
Khashoggi murder for he is afraid that he could also be targeted. In
Bangladesh, his entire family disowned him and he was expelled from university
merely because of his political views. Like Mr. Khashoggi, the ruling
government did not support his views and various Islamist groups in Bangladesh
are threatening to murder him. He was forced to flee Bangladesh because of
it is true that there is no Blasphemy Law in Bangladesh,” Mr. Hoque noted.
“But, the ICT act (Information and Technology Act) which has turned into
Digital Security Act is just a de facto [representation] of blasphemy law.
Bloggers, journalists, writers, online activists, human rights activists and
LGBT activists have been under the microscope of the government and threats
from Islamic fundamentalists for online materials that may have been perceived
by some to have hurt their religious beliefs. As a result, peoples’ freedom of
thought and expression is being violated. The conscious people of Bangladesh
are being restricted from speaking the truth.”
Ms. Amin has an Israeli visa that can be renewed every three months, Mr. Hoque
does not even have that. He only has permission to remain in India for another
two months unless a miracle occurs: “I am homeless for my writing, activism and
for speaking for free thinkers. My life is in danger for speaking about
humanism, secularism and LBGT rights. I have been living an inhumane life since
May 2017.” Following the Khashoggi murder, Mr. Hoque is scared that Bangladeshi
Islamists can hunt him down in India just as Mr. Khashoggi was murdered while
it is important to remember that Jamal Khashoggi was not a Western-style
liberal. According to John R. Bradley, author of “Saudi Arabia Exposed: A
Kingdom in Crisis,” Mr. Khashoggi was a supporter of the utilizing democracy in
order to help the Muslim Brotherhood gain power across the Middle East. This is
why the Saudis wanted him eliminated for they consider the Muslim Brotherhood
to be one of their main enemies. However, the brutal murder of any critic of
any non-democratic state spreads fear among dissidents everywhere that they
could also be killed. It has a domino effect especially since Saudi Arabia is
not a country that limits its repression to those who write in support of
radical Islam, as the fate of Saudi dissident blogger Raif Badawi and Saudi
women’s rights activist Loujain Al Houthlal demonstrates.
this, the horrific murder of Mr. Khashoggi is another sign that the repression
of critics is alive and well in Saudi Arabia. Even though the present Saudi
Arabian leadership is an ally in America’s and Israel’s struggle against the
Iranian regime, they are still not a free country that respects human rights.
Therefore, the murder of Mr. Khashoggi serves as a wake-up call for all of
those who care about supporting journalists and dissidents in the wider Muslim
world. We in the West must stand in solidarity with all dissidents from Muslim
sources in Northwestern Aleppo reported on Wednesday that two groups of Faylaq
al-Sham terrorists, affiliated to Ankara, engaged in heavy clashes over the
olive products of the civilians in Afrin, adding that a number of militants,
including one of the commanders of Faylaq al-Sham, namely Nayef Alavin, was
killed in infighting.
activists in Afrin reported that the Ankara-backed terrorists prevent civilians
from sending their olive products to other Syrian towns to force the farmers to
sell them at lower prices to be dispatched to Turkey.
Kurdish media outlet reported on Sunday that over 2,350 Syrian civilians were
arrested, peoples' assets were looted and Northern Syria's infrastructures were
massively destroyed since Ankara forces occupied Afrin region in Northwestern
Aleppo almost 7 months ago.
Kurdish language Hawar news reported that more than 2,350 civilians were
arrested by the Turkish troops since they occupied Afrin region over 7 months
ago, adding that the fate of a sum of 835 arrested civilians, including 139
women, was unknown.
news further said that the Turkish soldiers and their allied militants cut over
9,000 olive trees and set ablaze to over 5,000 hectares of forests, adding that
Afrin's historical artifacts and sites had been plundered by the Ankara forces
since occupation 7 months ago.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported on Wednesday night that Tahrir
al-Sham (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) launched over 40
missile strikes against the residential areas in Idlib province, including
al-Khalediyeh, al-A'azamiyeh, al-Akramiyeh, al-Shahba, Seif al-Doleh, New
Aleppo, al-Mothalaq and Shar'e al-Nil, as well as the army positions, killing
and wounding several civilians.
added that the Syrian army's missile and artillery units responded to the
attacks by targeting the terrorists' positions in Western Aleppo, noting that
heavy clashes are underway between the Syrian army forces and Tahrir al-Sham
militants near Jamiyat al-Zahra region in Northwestern Aleppo.
field sources reported that the terrorists in Western Aleppo have reinvigorated
their positions in the region in the past few days and sent a large number of
heavy weapons and military equipment to this front.
the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that the terrorists continue
offensives against the army points in Northern Hama, saying that the Syrian
army units responded by attacks against the terrorists' moves in areas near
al-Latamineh, the town of Murak, Wadi al-Dorat and Lahaya in Northern Hama and
the village of Dawir al-Akrad and regions near al-Sarmaniyeh in Western Hama.
the terrorists have intensified their attacks against the demilitarized zone in
Northern Syria, the Turkish defense minister claimed on Wednesday that a large
number of militants deployed in the region have withdrawn and violation of the
ceasefire has decreased 90%.
field reports show that after 10 days of implementation of the Sochi agreement,
the terrorists have not left the region and even reinvigorated their positions.
had also on Wednesday reported that the terrorist groups, deployed in Northern
and Northwestern Syria continued attacking Damascus forces' strongholds in
Idlib, Aleppo and Hama provinces in violation of the Sochi agreement.
reported that terrorists of Horas al-Deen, deployed near Turkish monitoring
posts in al-Sarman region in Eastern Idlib, targeted the army's positions in
the town of Ajaz.
the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists'
positons of Horas al-Deen in al-Sarman.
Syria's al-Watan daily reported that the army has targeted terrorists'
positions in Hama, Aleppo and Lattakia provinces after the terrorists opened
fire at the government forces.
least five people were arrested in southern Turkey early Friday for suspected
links to the Daesh terrorist organization.
counter-terrorism squads carried out raids to apprehend the suspects in their
homes in Adana province, said a security source, who asked not to be named due
to restrictions on speaking to the media.
forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to clear Daesh terrorists
than 300 people have lost their lives so far in Daesh-claimed attacks in
Turkey, where the terror organization has targeted civilians in suicide
bombings and rocket and gun attacks.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has urged Saudi Arabia to answer questions
over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
are still questions that need answers" over the premeditated murder,
Cavusoglu said on Thursday, asking Riyadh to explain “who gave them the orders”
and “where the body is”.
pointed to an announcement by Saudi authorities that they had arrested 18 men
in connection with the death, urging Riyadh to explain why they had been
admit they did it, but why are they not saying where?" Cavusoglu told a
press conference in Ankara with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.
not taking Khashoggi case to international court’
however, noted Turkey had no intention of taking Khashoggi case to an
international court, but was ready to share information if an international
investigation was launched.
are already carrying out a probe ourselves. We are cooperating with anyone who
wants to cooperate. Saudi Arabia had suggestions on this matter and we didn't
say no to them, but for the moment taking the case to international court is
not on the agenda,” he said, adding, “For the moment, we don't have the
intention to do that.”
Turkish foreign minister said, however, that “if international institutions or
courts take initiative and start such an investigation, as Turkey, of course we
will share the information and evidences we have as well as the results of our
investigation. We are obliged to do that anyway."
comments came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all those
behind the murder should be brought to justice and tried in Istanbul.
demand is that the 18 people be tried in Istanbul,” Erdogan said in an address
to lawmakers from his ruling party at the parliament in Ankara on Tuesday on
the case of Khashoggi, who was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul on October 2.
murder premeditated: Saudi prosecutor
joint Saudi-Turkish investigation shows that Khashoggi’s murder was
“premeditated,” Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said Thursday, dismissing an
earlier account that the dissident journalist had died in a botched operation
to "negotiate" his return to the kingdom.
from the Turkish side affirms that the suspects in Khashoggi's case
premeditated their crime," said a statement from the Saudi public prosecutor.
statement said Saudi prosecutors were interrogating suspects on the basis of
information provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish task force.
and Western allies of Riyadh have voiced deep doubts about Saudi explanations.
Turkey has dismissed Saudi efforts to blame rogue operatives for the killing
and urged the kingdom to search "top to bottom" for those responsible
for the murder.
adviser to Erdogan has said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has
“blood on his hands” in the murder.
is a disgrace that reaches all the way to Crown Prince [Mohammed bin] Salman.
At least five members of the execution team are [Mohammed bin] Salman’s right
hands and are people that wouldn’t act without his knowledge,” Ilnur Cevik, an
adviser to Erdogan, wrote in a column in the Yeni Birlik newspaper.
if US President Trump saves [Mohammed bin] Salman, in the eyes of the world, he
is a questionable person with Khashoggi’s blood on his hands,” Cevik wrote.
has stopped his initial support for the Saudi crown prince for now, saying bin
Salman bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Khashoggi's
his toughest comments yet, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he wanted to
believe the prince when he said that lower level officials were to blame for
the killing at the Saudi mission.
he suggested responsibility lay higher up: "Well, the prince is running
things over there more so at this stage. He's running things and so if anybody
were going to be, it would be him."
son leaves Saudi Arabia for US with family
Rights Watch reported later on Thursday that the eldest son of the murdered
Saudi journalist and his family had left the kingdom after the Saudi government
lifted a travel ban imposed on him.
and his family are on a plane to (Washington) DC now," Sarah Leah Whitson,
HRW's executive director for the Middle East and North Africa, was quoted by
AFP as saying.
few hours later, two sources close to the family told Reuters that Salah and
his family had arrived in Washington.
to one source, Salah Khashoggi holds dual U.S.-Saudi citizenship.
departure came a day after a meeting at the al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh in which
he and other family members received condolences from King Salman and Prince
Mohammed bin Salman.
Merkel condemns Khashoggi’s killing
on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a phone call to Saudi
Arabia's King Salman, strongly condemning the killing of Khashoggi and vowing
to take appropriate measures in response.
to a statement issued by the German chancellery, Merkel "made clear that
the exact course of events must be cleared up."
Arabia said Thursday the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi appeared to have
been premeditated, based on information from Turkey, backing away from an
earlier claim that he was killed in a brawl.
was the latest twist in the shifting official narrative of the October 2
killing inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, which US President Donald
Trump has derided as “one of the worst cover-ups” in history.
Arabia has sought to draw a line under the crisis, and a rights group said
Thursday that authorities had allowed Khashoggi’s eldest son Salah and his
family to leave the country after lifting a travel ban.
the kingdom still faces mounting pressure from sceptical world powers demanding
answers and to know the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body.
Saudi public prosecutor said he was making the latest assessment on the basis
of evidence supplied by Turkey, which has been the source of a series of grisly
revelations about the government critic’s death.
first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said
he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally
accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start — that he was killed in
a premeditated hit.
from the Turkish authorities indicates that the act of the suspects in the
Khashoggi case was premeditated,” the office of public prosecutor Sheikh Saud
al-Mojeb said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
public prosecution continues its investigation with suspects… to complete the
course of justice.
was the victim of an “extrajudicial execution” committed by the Saudi state, UN
expert Agnes Callamard said Thursday, calling for an international
CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed Trump on the latest developments in the
investigation of the killing after a fact-finding mission to Turkey.
bin Salman has denounced the “repulsive” murder of Jamal Khashoggi and pledged
that “justice will prevail”
the new Saudi admission came on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu said Riyadh still needed to provide answers to remaining questions,
such as who ordered the hit and what happened to Khashoggi’s body.
is (the body)? You admit they did it, but why are they not saying (where)?”
Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Ankara.
family also wants to know and pay their final tribute.”
Slow drip of admissions –
slow drip of Saudi admissions cast a pall over a showcase three-day investment
forum that ended on Thursday, with organisers putting a brave face on the array
of no-shows among big-name guests.
Saudi energy minister said foreign companies which boycotted the Future
Investment Forum (FII) had “apologised” and vowed to restore normal relations.
Khashoggi in Riyadh, shortly before lifting a travel ban and allowing them to
leave Saudi Arabia
companies abstained from the conference due to political pressure as a result
of an odious campaign directed from outside the kingdom which has failed,”
Khalid al-Falih told state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel.
the companies that abstained have been calling us during the past 48 hours to
apologise,” Falih said.
long list of investors and international policymakers declined to attend the
conference, nicknamed “Davos in the desert”, amid growing outrage over the
chief executive Joe Kaeser, corporate chiefs from JP Morgan, Ford and Uber, and
media powerhouses like CNN and the Financial Times all scrapped plans to
from Britain, France and the United States also stayed away.
Travel ban lifted –
his first public comments on the case on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman denounced the “repulsive” murder and pledged that
“justice will prevail”.
departure of Khashoggi’s son, Salah, for Washington came after he was
photographed on Tuesday with Prince Mohammed during a condolence visit, staring
coldly as the pair shook hands.
photo went viral on social media, where rights activists demanded the immediate
lifting of the travel ban.
was no immediate comment from Saudi officials, but Human Rights Watch Middle
East director Sarah Leah Whitson told AFP they were apparently allowed to leave
after the ban was lifted.
a dual US-Saudi citizen, will be joined in the United States by his other
siblings who are based there, friends of the family told AFP.
family needs a place to be together where they feel safe to mourn their beloved
one,” said Randa Slim, director of conflict resolution at the Washington-based
Middle East Institute, who knew the slain journalist personally.
is tragic that it took his death to get the Saudi authorities to grant them the
freedom to travel,” Slim told AFP.
judiciary has arrested a journalist over “insults” to Imam Hussein, one of the
most revered religious figures in the Shiite Islamic republic, its news agency
reported on Thursday.
Khoshhal, who was being prosecuted over insults to Imam Hussein and (other)
Imams, was arrested last night as he was trying to exit the country,” Mizan
official Shiite narrative says that Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed,
was killed in the seventh century while refusing the Caliph Yazid’s right to
rule the Islamic world.
annual commemoration of Ashura, which marks Hussein’s death, is one of the
holiest days in Shiite Islam.
worked at the reformist Ebtekar daily and wrote a report on October 21
referring to Imam Hussein’s death as “passing away” instead of the officially
to Mizan, this sparked “considerable outrage and criticism”.
judiciary also said that its investigations showed Khoshhal had repeatedly
insulted Imams before on social media and that “reports by the people” drew its
attention to the case.
personal Twitter account has since been deleted and the phrase changed on
editor in chief, Reza Dehaki, apologized to all those offended and told a Mizan
journalist that they have changed the report and cut ties with the author, the
journalist, Mir Mohammad-Hossein Mir-Esmaili, was sentenced to 10 years in
prison in August over “insulting” Imam Reza, one of the 12 revered figures of
authorities have extended the detention without trial of Khalida Jarrar, a
prominent Palestinian legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), for the fourth time in a row.
Arabic-language Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the detention was
extended by another four months on Thursday.
large number of Israeli troopers raided Jarrar’s home in the central occupied
West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem al-Quds,
on July 2 last year, and arrested her. Her husband, Ghassan, said Israeli
forces seized computers during the raid.
internal spy agency, Shin Bet, later announced in a statement that Jarrar was
arrested along with a Palestinian activist for “promoting terror activities,”
without providing any further information.
is one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and has
repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.
Israeli regime has been denying the lawmaker the right to travel outside the
occupied Palestinian territories since 1988. She campaigned for months in 2010
before receiving the permission to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.
August 2014, Jarrar received a “special supervision order” from the Israeli
military, which ordered her to leave Ramallah to live in the West Bank city of
Jarrar set up a protest tent outside the Palestinian Legislative Council in
Ramallah, where she lived and worked, until the controversial order was overturned
later in September that year.
forces last arrested the Palestinian lawmaker on April 2, 2015, after storming
her house in Ramallah. She was released from prison on June 3, 2016 on a
suspended sentence of 12 months within a five-year period.
recent report has disclosed that foreign militants, including many of European
origins, were responsible for atrocities and acts of brutality carried out by
the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group against members of the Izadi minority.
Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights said in a report on
Thursday that the extremist group's actions amount to genocide and crimes
Murad, an Iraqi Izadi human rights activist and one of the 2018 Nobel Peace
Prize laureates, confirmed the findings of the report.
was kidnapped from her hometown of Kojo in the northern Iraqi province of
Nineveh in 2014, and held by Daesh terrorists for three months.
in August, an official at the Endowments and Religious Affairs Ministry of the
semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said more than 3,000 members of
the Izadi minority remained unaccounted for ever since Daesh militants overran
their hometowns in northern Iraq in 2014.
fate of 3,102 Izadis remain unknown since Daesh terrorists attacked our towns
and cities in mid-2014,” Khairi Bozarni said at a conference devoted to the
“Izadi Genocide” in the Kurdish capital city of Erbil on August 15.
added that more than 2,500 Izadi Kurds had lost their lives at the hands of Daesh
Takfiris, while another 6,000 – mostly women and children – had been abducted.
noted that 66 places of worship for Izadis had also been desecrated or
destroyed by the terror group.
more, more than 100,000 Izadis have fled Kurdistan region and Iraq in general
since the summer of 2014,” Bozarni said.
went on to say that Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had secured the
release of more than 2,000 abducted Izadis.
also called on the international community as well as the central government in
Baghdad to discover the fate of missing Izadis as soon as possible.
in August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran the town of Sinjar, killing, raping,
and enslaving large numbers of Izadi Kurds.
region was recaptured in November 2015, during an operation by Kurdish
Peshmerga forces and Izadi fighters.
Office of Kidnapped Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk said last year
that around 3,500 Izadi Kurds were still being held captive by Daesh, adding
that a large proportion of the abductees were women and children.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the regime's president Reuven
Rivlin and a former minister of conspiring to topple him.
to Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom, Netanyahu has been delaying a decision
on bringing forward the 2019 elections, due to fears that Rivlin could task
someone else with forming a cabinet.
the scheme, Rivlin would use his prerogative as the head of the Israeli regime
to name an alternative Likud candidate to head a post-election cabinet.
told a gathering of his right-wing Likud party on Wednesday night that former
Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar had sought to conspire with the president to compel
him to step down from the premiership.
"I know that a former Likud minister has
been holding discussions with the coalition and concocted a subversive plot,
with me winning a large victory at the next elections and him making sure I am
not prime minister," Netanyahu said.
a former cabinet minister and a rising star within Likud, on Thursday publicly
denied any such maneuvers, while Rivlin mocked the claim as
"paranoia" on the premier's part.
close to the prime minister have also claimed that Netanyahu had found out
about a plot to oust him from power, even if Likud won the election.
is the president, whose role is otherwise ceremonial, that decides following an
election which member of the Knesset will be the next prime minister, should he
or she successfully cobble together a viable ruling coalition.
the 2009 legislative election, Netanyahu's Likud was only the second largest
Knesset faction with 27 seats to Kadima's 28. Nevertheless, then-president
Shimon Peres tasked Netanyahu with forming the next cabinet.
said, "If Netanyahu decided against moving up the elections it's not
because President Rivlin or former Likud minister Sa'ar is out to get him, but
rather to avoid coinciding with an indictment that might lose him the
faces possible charges in separate corruption investigations, leading to
speculation that he will eventually be forced to step down. On October 5,
police quizzed him for a 12th time as a suspect in various cases.
scandals resulting from accusations against Netanyahu and his inner circle have
raised questions about his political survival.
who maintains his innocence in several corruption cases, is not obliged to step
down as prime minister even if he is formally charged.
Senator Bernie Sanders has called the Saudi-led brutal war on the impoverished
Yemen a “moral disaster” for Washington, saying the military aggression has
undermined counter-terrorism operations against “violent extremists” such as
the al-Qaeda and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups in Yemen.
an article in The New York Times on Wednesday, the 77-year-old Vermont
independent also said the White House must urgently redefine its relationship
with Riyadh, considering the “brutal murder” and “likely assassination” of
Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul and the
Saudi war on Yemen.
do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights” said Sanders,
adding that their war in Yemen, which started in 2015, has “created a
humanitarian disaster in one of the world’s poorest countries.”
also lambasted the involvement of the US in aggression against Yemen as
“unconstitutional” since it has not been “authorized” by the Congress, calling
for an immediate end to the US support for the Saudi war.
Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and
Sudan, launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015, code-named Operation
Decisive Storm, in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh
Mansur Hadi and crush the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which
has played a significant role, alongside the Yemeni army, in defending the
nation and has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective
United States is deeply engaged in this war. We are providing bombs the
Saudi-led coalition is using, we are refueling their planes before they drop
those bombs, and we are assisting with intelligence,” Sanders added.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. More than 15,000
Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more wounded.
month, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child announced that
at least 1,248 children had been killed and nearly the same number sustained
wounds in airstrikes since the onset of the imposed war.
of the worst and most tragic cases of targeting Yemeni children occurred on
August 9, when Saudi-led warplanes hit a school bus as it drove through a
market in the town of Dhahyan in the northern province of Sa’ada. The death
toll included 40 children out of 51 people, while 56 of the 79 wounded were
far too many cases, the bomb’s targets have been civilian ones,” Sanders said,
citing an exclusive report by CNN that US-made bombs had been used against
report by CNN also showed that what hit the school bus was a US-made
laser-guided MK 82 bomb.
than 2,200 other Yemenis have also died of cholera, and the crisis has
triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
in the article, Sanders pointed to the fact that the chaos in Yemen, triggered
by the Saudi-led military coalition, “provided fertile ground” for terrorist
groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to further
grow in the impoverished country and “deepen” their presence there.
authorities have decided to confiscate thousands of square meters of private
Palestinian land near occupied Jerusalem al-Quds to expand a settlement in
blatant violation of international law and defiance of United Nations Security
Council resolutions condemning the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation and
settlement expansion policies in the occupied territories.
officials said they had approved the expropriation of 47 dunams (47,000 square
meters) of private Palestinian land in al-Ram town, which lies northeast of
Jerusalem al-Quds, adding that the move is aimed at constructing a new road to
expand a military checkpoint installed on the main road of the town.
mayor of al-Ram, Raqi Ghazawneh, said the land seizure is not the first of its
kind, explaining that the checkpoint was originally established on illegally
seized Palestinian land.
said a meeting was held on Tuesday with the owners of the land, where they
vowed to file an objection against the Israeli arbitrary measures.
further noted that nearly 400,000 Palestinians are currently living in al-Ram,
saying they are suffering from harsh economic conditions because of the
separation wall that snakes across the occupied Palestinian territories and
isolates large swathes of them from areas where Israeli settlers are
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and
completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian
territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on the Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year,
saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
the start of this year a number of violent incidents that could hint at
Islamist extremism have occurred in South Africa. Some analysts suspect many of
these episodes are connected, and that if one joins all the dots, they outline
a disturbing picture. Others believe it’s too early to detect a pattern. Yet
some links are emerging more clearly.
incidents include the murder of Rodney and Rachel Saunders, a couple of South
African/British botanists in northern KwaZulu-Natal in February; two murderous
attacks on mosques in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape; the planting of
several cellphone incendiary devices in KwaZulu-Natal; the arrests of the
Thulsie twins in Johannesburg for allegedly plotting violence against Jewish
and US interests; and the arrest of an Islamic State-linked extremist in the
activity has been in KwaZulu-Natal where several cellphone incendiary devices
or bombs were planted in shopping centres around Durban and at the Durban July
similar device was found among holy scripts in the Shi’a Imam Hussain mosque in
Verulam, north-west of Durban, a few days after three men stormed the mosque
and attacked mosque officials and worshippers. They slit the throat of one, who
died, and seriously injured two.
23 October these incidents were formally connected when a Verulam magistrate
denied bail to 11 men. They were charged with murder, attempted murder,
extortion, kidnapping, arson and contraventions of the Explosives Act and
terrorism act relating to both the Verulam mosque attack and the other
state alleged the men, mostly South African but some Tanzanian, were following
guidelines in an Islamic State newsletter on how to threaten and extort money
from non-believers when they attacked the mosque and planted the cellphone
incendiary devices. The investigating officer said a manual on how to make
bombs and carry out home assassinations, Islamic State propaganda and eight
Islamic State flags were found at the home of the group’s ringleader in Durban.
international link surfaced when Dutch intelligence authorities in July
arrested a man – identified as Mohammed Ghorshid – trying to buy bitcoins (the
preferred currency of terrorist financing) with a credit card belonging to one
of the murdered Saunders couple. Ghorshid was on the watchlist of Dutch
intelligence because of his Islamic State links.
credit card connected Ghorshid with Sayefudeen Del Vecchio, 38, and his wife
Fatima Patel, 27, who were arrested at their home in northern KwaZulu-Natal in
February this year. They were later charged in the same Verulam magistrate’s
court with murdering the Saunders couple and dumping their bodies in the
alleged that Del Vecchio and Patel had Islamic State links. Although some
analysts believe it, no hard evidence links Patel to Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee
Thulsie, even though she was arrested in Johannesburg in 2016 at about the same
time as them. The Thulsies remain in police custody. Patel was later released
and moved to KwaZulu-Natal where she married Del Vecchio.
June this year, a Somali national attacked worshippers in a mosque in
Malmesbury in the Western Cape, also stabbing and slitting throats. One of the
worshippers died and the Somali was shot dead while resisting police arrest.
before the alleged Islamic State links of the 11 men emerged in the Verulam
court, terrorism expert Peter Knoope warned that ‘the fingerprints of ISIS’
were on many of the incidents. Knoope is an associate fellow of the
International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague, and a senior visiting
fellow at the Clingendael Institute in the Netherlands.
then still in South Africa, suspected that someone was ‘trying to create
tensions between the Sunni and the Shi’a’. Islamic State is fanatically Sunni
and regards the Shi’a as apostates who must be destroyed.
attack on the Malmesbury mosque is more difficult to fit into this pattern as
it is a Sunni mosque and the Somali attacker was also Sunni. However a
prominent Muslim community leader has suggested that the mosque could have been
targeted by extremists in the Western Cape because its leadership was regarded
as too liberal.
Rasool, former Western Cape premier and former South African ambassador to the
US, believes that possible links among the various incidents of violence
shouldn’t be ruled out.
founded and heads the World for All Foundation which propagates moderation and
tolerance within all religions and communities. He has been alarmed by the
rising intolerance and extremism in the once-tolerant Western Cape Muslim
community in particular.
says various kinds of extremism around the world go along a “conveyor belt”
that could end in violence. This might start with religious absolutism, which
rejects anyone whose hair is too short, based on the Qur’an. Or extremists
might hold that the right to bear arms is sacrosanct, based on the Second
Amendment to the US constitution.
says such views might graduate to “inert extremism” such as one of the
“preachers of hate” in the Muslim community saying women who want to go to
mosque are prostitutes or lesbians. “There’s nothing moderate about that. It’s
hate speech. But it’s not yet beating up on women or throwing them out of
the danger is that when society tolerates inert extremism, some extremists
might take the next step of acting out their extremism.
advocacy group CAGE Africa is wary of over-interpretation of the various
episodes. Its spokesperson Karen Jayes says “any attempt to link recent
incidents is highly speculative, as the evidence needs to be brought forward
immediately and tested in court – as opposed to being hidden from legal
scrutiny while giving outside parties the opportunity to join dots that may be
tenuous. We are not aware of any links”.
Frank, head of the Transnational Threats and International Crime programme at
the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, notes that the international
intelligence community is concerned about the potential for violent extremism
to spread in South Africa.
they understand the politics behind South Africa’s traditionally cautious
engagement with counter-terrorism, especially in the context of the Western-led
global war on terror. But the perception from the South African side is
starting to change as more incidents come to light.”
cites incidents going back to the arrest in South Africa of Khalfan Khamis
Mohamed, one of the suspects in the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the US embassy in
Nairobi, and the evidence that the so-called white widow, the British national
Samantha Lewthwaite, an alleged member of al-Shabaab, had spent several years
in hiding in South Africa.
Frank says it’s not quite clear if South Africa’s intelligence authorities are
ignoring evidence of current Islamist extremism or are just hiding it to avoid
causing alarm. In any case there is no need to suspect Islamophobia, she says,
noting that conditions are ripe in South Africa for extremism of various kinds.
conditions include high levels of inequality and a strong sense of exclusion by
several minority communities – including Muslims, but also white Afrikaners.
Frank recalls that one of the most successful prosecutions by the Hawks
investigation unit was that of the so-called Boeremag – a white right-wing
characterises himself as ‘cautiously worried’. “We need to be concerned but we
also need to analyse the situation properly. We should neither be complacent
nor alarmist,” he says.
understands that organisations like CAGE must be wary about anyone stirring up
Islamophobia over these incidents. On the other hand there’s a need to be
vigilant lest the inert extremism growing in the Muslim community becomes the
precursor “of a form of extremism you don’t want … It’s better to err on the
side of caution than to have full-blown extremism”. DM
Member States, FMSs, in Somalia have decided to create a new force to fight the
activities of Al-Shabaab in the country. The move according to a communique
issued on October 24 was to take control of securing the country.
two months, the Council agreed to draw 1,000 soldiers from each FMS, integrate
and train them together for smooth, seamless and unified offensive against
terrorists,” the communique read in part.
Council of Interstate Cooperation, CIC, said it was pulling out of any security
cooperation with the Federal Government of Somalia, FGS, because of failure to
implement agreed upon security measures.
the security has fallen apart and the country is at the brink of falling into
the hands of Al Shabab again. This has made abundantly clear that the FGS, FGS
in its current form and behaviour cannot be trustsed with the security of the
country,” it added.
CIC said it will also establish a Security Fund Account to cater for financing
of the said forces. It said when a competent FGS was in place, the force will
be handed over to the Somali National Army, SNA.
currently is divided into six proposed regional states. Puntland, Galmudug,
Jubaland, South West State, Hirshabelle and Somaliland.
of the states were present at the five-day conference hosted in Puntland after
which the communique speaking on security and politics was issued. Hirshabelle
and Somaliland did not take part in the CIC meeting held in Garowe, capital of
armies of Nigeria and Cameroon have agreed to collaborate and synergise
efficiently towards conducting sustained joint military operations to end
insurgency within the fringes of their common borders in Borno State,
north-east of Nigeria.
plan of the Nigerian Army and Cameroon Defence Force (CDF) for sustained joint
operations came to fore on Wednesday during the visit of the Acting General
Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Abdulmalik
Bulama Biu to a CDF Batallion location in Wulgo, Borno State.
GOC, who hinted that he was on routine operational visit to his Division’s
units sharing common flank with the CDF Battalion, charged CDF troops to be
more decisive and not to relent in denying Boko Haram terrorists any freedom of
action as the dry season approaches.
enjoined the CDF troops to continue to collaborate and work assiduously with
their Nigerian counterparts towards engaging and neutralising Boko Haram
terrorists and other criminals in order to enhance the security of lives and
properties as well as restore lasting peace within their common borders.
conveyed the appreciation of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Tukur Yusufu
Buratai to the Cameroon Defence Force, and commended the excellent cordial
relationship between the two forces particularly those stationed at Wulgo in
Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.
applauded the CDF for their professional dexterity and fighting prowess
demonstrated during operations jointly conducted with Nigerian troops to deal
with the common enemy. He urged them not to relent in working jointly to achive
their common goal. He expressed gratitude for the warm reception accorded him
and his entourage.
the CDF Battalion Commander, Robert Bokwe thanked the GOC for the visit and
conveyed the appreciation of his Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Bouba who
he said refer to the GOC as a strong friend and brother.
expressed delight at the cordial relationship between the two armies and reeled
out several joint military offensive clearance operations particularly
Operation DEEP PUNCH 2, ALMINIFACAT undertaking by both armies to route Boko
Haram terrorists from Sambisa and the Lake Chad region, that were hugely
Roberts reassured of CDF’s cooperation and support to the Nigerian Army during
military offensive operations planned towards ending the menace of Boko Haram.
of the visit include: operations brief by Commander Robert Bokwe, address to
CDF troops and inspection of Guard of Honour by the Acting GOC 7 Division
Nigerian Army, Brig Gen Bulama Biu.
Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, sent a cable of
condolences to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, following the floods that swept
through some parts of the Hashemite Kingdom, leaving behind tens of casualties.
Crown Prince said: “We have learned the news of the floods that swept through
some parts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the resulting deaths,
injuries and missing persons, and we convey to your Majesty and to the families
of the deceased our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy.”
to latest reports, at least 18 people, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were
killed on Thursday in a flash flood near Jordan’s Dead Sea that happened while
they were on an outing, rescuers and hospital workers said.
"chief finance controller" for extremist group al-Shabaab has been
killed in an ambush on a meeting of its fighters in southern Somalia, the
African Union peacekeeping mission announced Thursday.
unnamed commander, the head of tax collection in Lower Shabelle region, was
killed on Monday in Bariire, the AU mission said.
Shabaab funds its deadly activities by taxing the communities under its
control. It also collects taxes on millions of bags of charcoal that make their
way out of the country despite a ban on the exports, according to the latest
report by UN sanctions monitors.
seven al-Shabaab fighters were killed Sunday when their attack on a forward
operating base was "botched," the AU mission said.
multinational AU force in the coming few years is expected to draw down and
hand over responsibility for Somalia's security to the country's military,
though US military officials and others have warned that Somali forces are not
Dalia Mogahed said in an interview that aired Thursday on "What America's
Thinking" that anti-Muslim sentiment takes a cue from elected officials'
sentiment in the public follows the rhetoric of politicians," Mogahed,
director of research at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding
(ISPU), told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Wednesday.
pointed specifically to the increase in anti-Muslim sentiment during George W.
[Bush] made the right statements, made responsible statements about a
separation between these horrific attacks and a community of 1.7 billion
people," she said, referring to Bush's response after the September 11
his rhetoric very quickly changed in the run up to the Iraq War, and public
opinion exactly followed his rhetoric," she said.
surprising to a lot of people, American public opinion improved slightly about
Muslims right after 9/11 versus right before," she continued.
percent of Muslims voted Republican in 2000, according to the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
in 2004 Muslim Americans largely supported former Democratic presidential
nominee John Kerry after the start of the Iraq War.
Trump has faced backlash for his comments on Muslims, particularly in regard to
his travel ban.
shows that Muslims appear less hopeful under the Trump administration than they
have been under past administrations.
study released by ISPU earlier this year found that 27 percent of Muslim
Americans were satisfied about the direction the U.S. was headed, down from 41
percent in 2017, and 63 percent in 2016.
primarily works to empower Muslim-Americans to develop their communities and to
take part in the electoral process.
U.S. should urgently redefine its relationship with Saudi Arabia and halt
support for the Kingdom in its war with Yemen, a leading senator said, citing
the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
an op-ed published Wednesday in The New York Times, Vermont Senator Bernie
Sanders said the Kingdom needs to be shown it does not "have a blank check
to continue violating human rights.
place we can start is by ending United States support for the war in
Yemen," he said.
only has this war created a humanitarian disaster in one of the world’s poorest
countries, but also American involvement in this war has not been authorized by
Congress and is therefore unconstitutional."
2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign
aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen.
violence has devastated Yemen’s public infrastructure, including water and
sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of “the
worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.
United States is deeply engaged in this war. We are providing bombs the
Saudi-led coalition is using, we are refueling their planes before they drop
those bombs, and we are assisting with intelligence,” Sanders wrote.
said in many cases, civilians were targeted by bombs.
one of the more horrible recent instances, an American-made bomb obliterated a
school bus full of young boys, killing dozens and wounding many more,” he
wrote. “A CNN report found evidence that American weapons have been used in a
string of such deadly attacks on civilians since the war began.”
the U.S. did not want to harm its arms sales with Saudi Arabia, he said U.S.
President Donald Trump replied to a question about Khashoggi killing saying
“the Saudis are spending “$110 billion” on military equipment.
a Washington Post columnist, was last seen Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi
Consulate in Istanbul. After days of denying knowledge of his whereabouts,
Saudi officials last week admitted that Khashoggi was killed in a
"brawl" at the consulate.
said earlier this year, he urged Congress to end U.S. support in the Kingdom's
was in Yemen.
February, along with two of my colleagues, Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, and
Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 54,
calling on the president to withdraw from the Saudi-led war in Yemen," he
said, adding the Senate delayed the consideration of the resolution with a 55
to 44 vote.
then, this crisis has only worsened and our complicity become even greater,” he
said he intended to bring the resolution back with more co-sponsors. “The
brutal murder of Mr. Khashoggi demands that we make clear that United States
support for Saudi Arabia is not unconditional.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Iraq's newly appointed foreign
minister via telephone Thursday.
Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo congratulated Mohammed Ali
al-Hakim and said "he looked forward to working closely with him to help
his government deliver stability, security, and prosperity for all Iraqis and
to continue to improve Iraq’s relations with the United States and Iraq’s
neighbors in the broader region."
a result of elections in early October, Barham Salih was inaugurated as Iraq’s
president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi became prime minister and al-Hakim is the country’s
protested outside of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia on Thursday demanding justice
for Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
also announced the creation of the Khashoggi’s Friends Around the World
Association, which calls for justice for the journalist and his family.
want to ask the people in this building, and their bosses in Riyadh, why did
they kidnap, torture, kill and dismember my friend Jamal Khashoggi,”
Safei-Eldin Hamed, president of the Center for Egyptian American Relations
(CEAR), said at the rally.
officials last week said Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was
killed in a fist-fight at its consulate in Istanbul.
also shined light on Saudi crimes against Yemen they said far predated the
killing of Khashoggi.
people who are now crying, crocodile tears, over Jamal Khashoggi, many of them
supported the Saudi starvation and killing of the Yemeni people and Yemeni
children. We don’t want to make this victim a political football,” Institute of
Gulf Affairs Director and Journalist Ali al-Ahmed told the crowd.
crowd tried to deliver a letter to Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz but were
intercepted by security guards before it reached the steps of the embassy, less
than 100 feet (30 meters) from the entrance.
egregious murder of Khashoggi will leave a permanent stain on your good name
and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s reputation,” according the letter. “Act
boldly dear King Salman, for your position on the throne of Saudi Arabia and
the leader of the Muslim world may soon become a tenable one.”
the calls on US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the US-Saudi arms deal
continue, military experts emphasize that the arm deals was important for
Washington and Riyadh since it is not limited to sales of big and sophisticated
includes a series of small deals such as training programs and adopting an
integrated communications network, which would make the weapons more efficient.
Director of the Arabian Peninsula at the US Department of Defense (DOD), David
Des Roches, told Al Arabiya English that the United States aims is to have an
effective security partner that is geographically close to Iran, could counter
Iranian aggression alongside the United States.
degrades that goal, it would degrade the US security goals," Des Roches
Roches added that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the only country in the region
that has a good combination of population, money and military capacity,
pointing out that Saudi Arabia is the only country that really can stand up
effectively to Iran.
we have is a partnership instead of an alliance. The United States gets
significant benefits from the intelligence partnership. Saudis had passed us
numerous tips over the years about attacks that are directed at the United
States heartland,” Des Roches said.
added that the US and Saudi Arabia are both much larger than other armed forces
in the Arabian Peninsula: “If we add all the other forces together, it would be
smaller than the forces in the Saudi Ministry of the.”
Roches underlined the Saudi king and crown prince’s overall reform Vision 2030,
saying: “The military components of the new vision are significant. The Saudis
had realized that the development of the military capacities would not be
achieved by purchasing equipment and getting the training to operate them only.
The educational component is important for developing officers and
non-commission officers who are capable of critical thinking, can assess
situations, and diverge from a plan when the situation changes.”
Combined Air Operations Center which is in Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar was
originally in Saudi Arabia until 2003 when the Saudi government asked that it
be moved out because they were concerned it was an Al-Qaeda cause of war,” Des
added that Doha has no leverage over Washington, since the US has a
constellation of bases around the world.
to the former DOD official, the US midterm elections played a role in the calls
against the arms by the democrats who oppose Trump’s policies.
they are in power, they would realize the value of the strategic relationship
between the two countries which would lead them to realized that the United
States does not have a whole lot of effective security partners in the region,”
Mallory Newall said in an interview that aired Thursday on "What America's
Thinking" that fewer respondents view Muslim Americans as "real
Americans," compared to members of other religions.
have done some research on what it means to be a 'real American,' in which
we've asked an extensive list of everything from where you're from, your
religious affiliation, your race, your partisan identity, and are those groups
of people a real American or not?" Newall told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons.
we found in our research is that fewer people say that Muslims are real
Americans compared to Protestants, Catholics, or even Jews," she
it's still a majority say yes ,they are real Americans, but in lower numbers
than other religious groups around the country," she said.
Trump has faced backlash for his comments on Muslims, particularly in regard to
his travel ban. As a presidential candidate, Trump said that "Islam hates
us" and called for a "shutdown" on all Muslims entering the U.S.
shows that Muslim Americans have felt less optimistic about the future of the
U.S. in the years since Trump took office.
U.S. was behind a drone attack on Russian military bases in Syria this January,
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said on Thursday.
Jan. 6, thirteen drones attacked Russian-controlled Hmeimim airbase and Tartus
naval base in Syria. Six drones were destroyed, while Russian forces got
control of seven, landing them at Hmeimim for further examination.
drones were moving in a common combat battle deployment while a U.S. Poseidon-8
military aircraft was loitering offshore near Syria, Fomin said, speaking at
the plenary session of the Xiangshan security forum in Beijing.
the drones encountered the action of the Russian jamming system, they moved to
manual control mode, which was done from the Poseidon-8," he said.
ambassador to Ottawa praised Canada’s role in hosting Syrian refugees while
saying many other countries have failed to respond to take similar steps.
his article he wrote for the Canadian newspaper The Hill Times, Selcuk Unal
said Turkey’s open-door policy would continue for refugees fleeing their homes
for various reasons including violence.
emphasized that the Turkish people had welcomed migrants, refugees and asylum
seekers with "tolerance and hospitality" throughout history,
including Crimean Tatars, Poles, Swedes, Hungarians, Russians, Jews escaping
from Inquisition or Nazi Germany, Afghans, Bosnians, Kosovars, Macedonians,
Iraqis and Syrians.
people belonged to many different ethnic and religious backgrounds; yet one
thing they all shared was the trust they had for Turkey: a safe harbor,” he
accepted more than 50,000 refugees from Syria while other countries were
“sitting on the fences”, Unal said Canada is one of the few countries who
should be thanked in this regard.
that respect, like Canada, Turkey has become home to many peoples from
different cultures living in harmony,” he said.
Turkey’s role as the largest refugee-hosting country in the world with nearly 4
million refugees from Syria and Iraq, Unal said Turkey was “shouldering more
than its fair share” of responsibilities with almost $32 billion of
expenditures so far.
two NATO Allies could have more avenues not only to meet needs, but to
effectively reduce risks and vulnerabilities over time as well as to work on the
humanitarian crises the humanity will be facing,” he added.
hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
The country has spent more than $32 billion from its own national resources for
helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
President Donald Trump has signed legislation imposing new sanctions against
Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terrorist group behind the 1983 Beirut barracks
Thursday at a White House event marking the 35th anniversary of the attack that
killed 241 Marines, Trump said, “No terrorist group other than al-Qaida has
more American blood on its hands.”
is also taking credit for reimposing sanctions on Iran after he pulled out of
the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, in part by citing its support for international
terrorist groups. Trump is promising even tougher actions against Iran after
most sanctions against the country return to effect on Nov. 5.
Director Gina Haspel has briefed US President Donald Trump after reportedly
listening to “compelling” audio recording which captured the killing of Saudi
dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
made a secret visit to Turkey this week to check evidence of audio recordings
provided by Turkey that it claims capture the murder, The Washington Post
reported on Wednesday.
to Turkish authorities, based on the evidence Saudi operatives had tortured,
murdered, and dismembered Khashoggi at the monarchy’s consulate in Istanbul.
media cited sources familiar with the audio recording of Khashoggi's death
describing the evidence as "compelling".
of Haspel's briefing to Trump on her Turkey visit, however, have not been
the killing of Khashoggi has sparked
global condemnation and snowballed into a major crisis for the Saudi
murder was “premeditated,” according to Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.
from the Turkish side affirms that the suspects in Khashoggi's case
premeditated their crime," Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor stated on
Thursday, giving the incident a new twist.
latest announcement cancelled an earlier account that the dissident journalist
died in a botched operation to "negotiate" his return to the kingdom.
won’t survive without US support
Cevik, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of having Khashoggi's “blood on his hands”.
has also blamed the Saudi de facto leader, who is known in media as
"MBS", for the killing of Khashoggi.
Trump also said that he wanted to believe that rogue operatives were behind the
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed the individuals who killed Khashoggi
"did this outside the scope of their authority", calling it a
indicate that MBS would maintain a low profile henceforth.
deal, worst cover-up'
entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul on October 2 to obtain
documentation for his upcoming marriage, but he never left the place.
Saudi officials claimed Khashoggi had left the diplomatic mission unharmed;
however, under Turkish pressure joined by the questions from the global
community, it was forced to confess that he had been killed in a premeditated
described the plan to kill Khashoggi in the Saudi diplomatic mission in
Istanbul, as well as the contrasting cover-up stories after it, as a "bad
deal" and "the worst cover-up ever”.
had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was
the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump said on Tuesday. “They had the
worst cover-up ever.”
will decide what to believe'
son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner,
told media that the Khashoggi case was still in the “fact-finding
phase”, and they would decide later on which facts to believe.
getting facts in from multiple places.Once those facts come in, the secretary
of state will work with our national security team to help us determine what we
want to believe."
Kushner, who has close ties with MBS, admitted that it was a serious situation.
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