Mosque Discovered In UAE
Niqabs And 'Acceptable Standards': Is Conservative Islam On The Rise Across
Sentences 75 People to Death Over 2013 Islamic Protests
Man Builds Temple for Ganesha
Economist's Removal: Pak Editorials Slam Imran Khan's Capitulation to Religious
War Being Waged Against the People, Constitution of the Country: Ghani
Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’
is tarnishing image of Islam
is detaining Muslims in vast numbers. The goal: ‘Transformation.’
CEO’s stepsons held in murder probe
caning milder than school’s version, says Terengganu MB
Blames Saudi Coalition for Failure of Geneva Talks
Attack Hama's Residential Areas with Banned Turkish Weapons
Clashes Erupt between Syrian Army, Kurdish Militia in Hasaka
Army Keeps Rolling on Terrorists' Centers in Sweida Deserts
Tahrir Al-Sham Commander Assassinated in Idlib
dead as Syria Kurds clash with regime forces
govt. forces target Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorists in Hama
Tourism Takes Flight for City’s Religious Travellers
Terror Group': 5 'Bangladeshis' Charged In India
Muslim ever told Hindus to change how they pray, but some are trying to stop
'Azaan' now: Farooq Abdullah
gunmen shot dead 'Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind' terrorist in J&K's Srinagar
journalist was ‘in contact’ with Hizbul militant, cops tell court
Singh Sidhu: Pakistan Set To Allow ‘Visa-Less Entry’ To Pilgrims Headed For Kartarpur
Economist Resigns From Pakistan EAC Over Exclusion of Ahmadi Scholar
Terms Stay Of Afghans in Pakistan ‘A Protracted Refugee Crisis’
ready for body to probe rigging charges, says Fawad
plans two-tier LG system sans tehsil councils in Punjab
top priority, Qureshi assures Chinese minister
Military Commission Chief for Badakhshan Killed with His Comrades
reaffirms NATO’s support after deadly bombings in Kabul city
militants blown up by own explosives in Laghman province
on checkpoint in western Afghanistan kills 9
Allies Trying To Strangle Yemen through Economic Pressure: Houthi
Yemen Office Shows Blatant Bias in Siding with Houthis, Finds US Center
naval forces destroy booby-trapped Houthi boat in the Red Sea
aircraft destroy Houthi ballistic missiles, radar sites in Saada
army kills dozens of Houthis in clashes in eastern Hodeidah
of Saudi troopers, mercenaries slain, injured in Yemeni army offensives
govt accuses Houthis of ‘sabotage’ for not showing up in peace talks
Haram Overruns Key Crossroads Town in Northern Nigeria
Jordan to fight terror jointly
truce may not last long in embattled Libyan capital
feared the return of militants from abroad. The threat now is those who never
Misleading Americans on Afghanistan: Report
Calls Out Khamenei’s Hypocrisy over Iran’s Lack of Aid to Palestinians
sends reinforcements to its Syria base after Russia warning of attack
marines fire shots to warn Russian forces in Syria
echoes Erdogan, fears potential catastrophe in Idlib
Tourist Accepts Islam in UAE, Inspired By Police
Putin incites more atrocities in Syria, Europe is exposed as craven
by New Age Islam News Bureau
niqabs and 'acceptable standards': Is conservative Islam on the rise across
the latest interpretation of sharia law in Indonesia's Aceh province, it is now
"haram" — or religiously forbidden — for a woman to sit at the same
cafe table as a man she is not married or related to.
local government notice issued in one small Aceh city also advised businesses
not to serve women after 9:00pm, unless they were accompanied by a male family
member or husband.
were just two of 14 listed "acceptable standards" for restaurant and
cafe patrons, and the latest in a string of events highlighting the rise of
Islamic conservatism across the Indonesian archipelago.
most notable in recent weeks was the imprisonment of a minority Buddhist ethnic-Chinese
woman, known as Meiliana, after she complained about the volume of a mosque's
call to prayer.
country also saw kindergarten students parade in niqabs and fake assault
rifles, as well as a fatwa that claimed the life-saving measles vaccine
contained haram substances.
list of standards for hospitality businesses was released by a local mayor in
Aceh, where Islamic criminal law works hand-in-hand with the largely secular
laws of Indonesia.
not legally binding, it illustrates the entanglement of politics and religion
in the country, which some say has been exacerbated by President Joko Widodo's
recent appointment of a hardline Islamic cleric as his 2019 presidential
what is happening in a country that is one of Australia's closest neighbours?
Has it become more conservatively Islamic?
than 200 cases of religious freedom violations
independent Indonesian think tank Setara Institute found Jakarta to be the most
religiously intolerant city in the majority Muslim country, with 23 accounts of
violations so far this year.
results from Aceh — where sharia law has been introduced — have not been
released this year, last year's results found West Java and Jakarta were far
incidents included discrimination, assault, hate speech and the sealing of
houses of worship for other religious groups — as well as a disproportionate
impact of blasphemy laws on minority groups.
organisation also found 201 cases of religious freedom violations across the
country's 20 provinces, mostly towards minorities.
professor at the Australian National University, Greg Fealy, said there had
been a greater frequency of cases of rising conservatism in the past decade.
he said it was too complex a matter to simply take a national snapshot based on
experts believe the trend started in 2017 during a conservative Islamic-backed
movement which saw the removal of Jakarta's former minority Christian governor,
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, more commonly known as Ahok.
chairman of the Setara Institute, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, said politicising
religion was a very effective way to mobilise large numbers of people.
Pak Ma'ruf Amin [Mr Widodo's running mate] is one of the main keys to awakening
the wave of intolerance in Indonesia," he said.
majority, not 'Muslim country'
is the largest Muslim society in the world, with 87 per cent of its 270 million
people identifying as Muslim.
religious pluralism and tolerance are considered to be part of Indonesia's five
founding principles of Pancasila.
has chosen its own way by choosing Pancasila as a middle road, by stating we
are not secular, but we are not a Muslim country," Mr Naipospos said.
survey data presented by Dr Fealy show middle-class Indonesians are expressing
increasingly intolerant views.
2017, more than half a million people took to the streets of Jakarta in a
successful public pressure campaign under the banner of "defenders of
a wake up call to moderate Muslims in the country who believed Islamic
fundamentalism existed only on the fringe.
was also a turning point for the country's moderate brand of Islam.
are concerned the current trajectory will result in a more conservative Islamic
country — similar to Iran's abandonment of secularism following the Islamic
Revolution in 1978-1979, and the Islamic revival following Anwar Sadat's death
events saw both cultures shift away from secularism following a change of
government, but Dr Fealy does not think Indonesia will follow the same path.
it's possible that sections of society will continue to grow more
conservatively Islamic and intolerant … we should be careful about assuming
that Indonesia will continue in some kind of inexorable Islamisation curve over
the next 20 years."
death following vaccine fatwa
baby in the Muslim-majority province of Jambi recently died from the rubella
mother contracted the disease during pregnancy, and her child was born with
defects due to it.
came after peak Islamic body Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), released a fatwa
saying the vaccine for measles-rubella contained "haram" substances.
council said it contained traces of pork and human cells, which are religiously
they still allowed its use due to the importance of the vaccine, the decree
reportedly hindered immunisation drives in Muslim-majority provinces.
Pulungan, president of the Indonesian Paediatric Society, said it was a matter
of great urgency.
timing for the fatwa has definitely posed a hindrance."
tool or a shift to the 'right'?
Widodo's decision to select Ma'ruf Amin, a hardline Islamic cleric, as his
running mate has seen him face criticism that he may be conceding to
conservative Islamic forces.
voter surveyor Poll Tracking Indonesia found more than 58 per cent of
Indonesian voters take into account the religious credentials of the
presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
the 2019 presidential elections looming, analysts have said the race has become
a question of who is "more Muslim".
Widodo's inability to protect his former ally Ahok in 2017 has exposed the
Government's apparent vulnerability to mass political movements under the
banner of Islam.
his decision to ban a number of hardline Islamist groups in response has
fuelled opposition groups.
Fealy said Mr Widodo's decision to choose Mr Amin was a political move aimed at
removing the issue of religion as a potential vulnerability.
contrast, [opposition leader] Prabowo Subianto is from a religiously plural
family and he's not particularly Islamic … however, he has a long history of
using religion for political purposes.
reality is that in the presidential elections next year, we have two figures
who don't have all that high Islamic credibility by themselves."
has never had a president, or vice-presidential candidate, who was not a Muslim
— highlighting the close relationship between the religion and politics.
Naispospos thinks the relationship between religion and politics in Indonesia
will continue to strengthen in the foreseeable future, but he remains hopeful
Indonesia's future will still be one of its own brand of secularism.
issue of religion and politics [in Indonesia] is always dynamic," he said.
moment, religion can be stronger than politics, but that pendulum can
sentences 75 people to death over 2013 Islamic protests
Egyptian court has sentenced 75 people to death, including top leaders of the
outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, for their involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest by
Islamists that was broken up by security forces in an operation that left
a case involving 739 defendants facing charges ranging from murder to damaging
property, the court also sentenced to life in prison the head of the
Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, and 46 others.
Abu Zaid, a photojournalist known as “Shawkan” whose detention has been decried
by rights groups at home and abroad, received five years in prison. He was
detained in August 2013, meaning that he should walk free within days for time
mass trials of Islamists that yielded dozens of death sentences have been held
in Egypt since 2013, when the military, then led by President Abdel- Fattah
el-Sissi, removed an Islamist president who hails from the Brotherhood, which
has since been outlawed and designated a terror group. The trials and death
sentences have consistently drawn scathing criticism from rights groups at home
and abroad, which have branded the process as a mockery of justice.
Saturday, Amnesty International condemned the sentences of the latest mass
trial, which it described as “disgraceful.”
Egyptian authorities should be ashamed. We demand a retrial in an impartial
court and in full respect of the right to a fair trial for all defendants, without
recourse to the death penalty,’ said senior Amnesty official Najia Bounaim.
London-based rights group also noted that not a single member of the security
forces faced legal proceedings over what it called the massacre that took place
when police broke up the sit-in on Aug. 14, 2013.
sit-in at a square in a Cairo suburb was staged by supporters of Islamist
president Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood. He became Egypt’s first freely
elected president in 2012 but was ousted in July 2013 by the military following
days of street protests calling on him to step down.
is widely believed that breaking up the sit-in along with another one across
Cairo, also staged by Islamists, left an estimated 900 people dead. One of
Morsi’s sons, Osama, was among 22 defendants who received 10-year jail terms on
Saturday, while 374 were sentenced to 15 years and 215 to five years.
Proceedings were dropped against five defendants who have died since the trial
convictions, which can be appealed, are the latest chapter in a crackdown waged
by authorities against government critics the scale of which has not been seen
in living memory in Egypt.
Morsi’s ouster, authorities have jailed thousands of Islamists along with some
of the secular, pro-democracy activists behind a 2011 popular uprising that
forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down after 29 years in power. The
crackdown has also enforced tighter controls over the media as well as civil
society groups, rolling back most of the freedoms won by the 2011 uprising.
The Gauri-Ganesha festival is just three days away, and 14 kilometres from
Chamarajnagar district headquarters, a Muslim man is busy making arrangements
for the installation of an idol of Lord Ganesha, the destroyer of all
Rahman, a 61-year-old retired employee of the irrigation department, grew upset
when the Ganesha idol was stolen from Chikkahole reservoir area. "Last
year, a few unidentified thieves stole the idol of Lord Ganesha from the
Chikkahole project area park. I was upset and felt a strong need to build a new
temple for the Lord. When the same thoughts continued in my dream, I decided to
build a new temple," he said.
after his retirement, has begun working as the gate officer for both the
Suvarnavathi and the Chikkahole reservoirs, which are located in 3-kilometre
residents see a true champion of secularism in Rahman. "It's a positive
trend that we are willing to even build a place of worship for another
community. We do not mind even visiting each other's shrine. This is the true
spirit of Indian culture," says Raghu Gowda, a resident of Chikkahole dam
area, where the temple is coming up.
necessities, however, delayed Rahman's plans to open the temple during the
Gauri-Ganesha festival itself. "All of us were eager to open the temple at
the time of upcoming Gauri-Ganesha festival. The idol, which was sculpted in
Tamil Nadu, was also ready. But the priests informed me that before the
installation of any idol, it must be kept immersed in water for six days, and
in paddy for another six days. We won't be able to open the temple during this
Ganesha Chaturthi. But it will be done at the earliest," he said.
enquired about the cost involved, Rahman declined to share the details.
"It is Lord's work. So, I will not share any details," he said.
economist's removal: Pak editorials slam Imran Khan's capitulation to religious
DELHI: "Pitiful", "blatant cowering to the religious right"
and "a blow to an inclusive Pakistan" is how the Islamic nation's
media described the Imran Khan government's capitulation on Friday to religious
fundamentalists by asking economist Atif Mian to step down from a government
council simply because he belonged to a minority sect.
just that, two other economists, Asim Ijaz Khwaja and Imran Rasul, who were
also appointed to the Khan-led 'economic advisory council' (EAC) resigned from
the newly-formed body, for how Mian was dropped.
a Muslim I can't justify this" act of dropping Mian, a highly regarded Princeton
economist, who's said to be among the world's top 25 economists, said Khwaja.
resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid
analytical reasoning but not when such values compromised. Personally as a
Muslim I can't justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me&us all.Ever ready
to help.Pakistan Paindabad", tweeted Khwaja.
resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid
analytical reasoning but not when…
Asim Ijaz Khwaja (@aikhwaja) 1536327290000
said he's resigning because he "profoundly disagrees" with basing
such decisions on religious affiliation.
a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning. The circumstances in
which Atif was asked to step down are ones I profoundly disagree with. Basing
decisions on religious affiliation goes against my principles, or the values I
am trying to teach my children," tweeted Rasul.
a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning. The circumstances in
which Atif was asked to step do… https://t.co/IwXpMtmmZD
Imran Rasul (@ImranRasul3) 1536386219000
Friday, days after strongly defending Mian's nomination, with phrases like
"we will not bow to extremists", Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf
(PTI) announced that Mian will not be on the council. Mian's appointment was
virulently opposed by several extremist individuals and groups, including the
far-right Islamist Tehreek-i-Labbaik (TLP) Pakistan.
people believe Mian has no place in a government body simply because he's an
Ahmadi and because his sect doesn't believe that Muhammad is the last prophet
sent to guide mankind. In fact, a minister in the PTI government even referred specifically
to Mian's faith being the reason for dropping him.
pitiful surrender" is how newspaper The Nation titled its editorial
condemning Mian's removal.
is most worrying is that this decision displays PTI's lack of grit, indicating
that the party will be unable to withstand pressure from religious groups in
the future as well, which will only become more violent and active now that
their demands are met," said the editorial.
it now going to be more of the same then with this government, which in its
first weeks, showed signs that it was indeed going to keep its promises of
building a 'Naya Pakistan' - 'New Pakistan' - where corruption, nepotism and
discrimination have no place?
Nation believes so.
we should have known it was too good to be true. The PTI government had been
having a honeymoon period for its few weeks- with several on-the surface
successes like the cancellation of the Dutch cartoon competition and its
austerity promises; the government's conviction on a tone of reconciliation and
betterment of the country made us believe that the party's tendency of backing
out of its promises would not spill over to its governance. Alas, we were
wrong," lamented the editorial.
editorial said that the campaign by far-right religious elements to remove Mian
"threatened to engulf the PTI government in a crisis that, sadly, could
have quickly spiralled out of control."
editorial was very likely referring to the extremist TLP's demonstrations last
November that brought Islamabad to a near standstill. The group was protesting
what it believed was a watering down of the country's stringent blasphemy laws.
The then government capitulated to the TLP's demand to remove the law minister
who then resigned.
bowing to extremists' demands isn't the way forward, said Dawn. In fact, it
makes extremism mainstream like was demonstrated in the recent general
elections in Pakistan.
this: The TLP was formed as recently as in 2015 and yet it fielded a whopping
152 candidates. By comparison, parties that have been in Pakistani politics for
decades fielded just between 40-75 candidates more than the TLP.
there is an outfit called the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT). This is the platform
for none other than terrorist Hafiz Saeed's Milli Muslim League, which has been
denied registration by Pakistan's election commission, due to its links with
the banned Saeed-held Jamaat-ud-Dawa. AAT fielded 43 candidates in Punjab and
seven in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for a total of 50.
off the Islamist trifecta was the religio-political parties' alliance -
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA)- which comprises the ultra-conservative,
Islamist, religious, and far-right parties of Pakistan that was formed back in
2002. This lot, headed by Jamiat Lemma-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, put
up candidates in 173 constituencies.
fact, while counting of votes was underway and it emerged that Khan's PTI was
leading but would be short of a majority, there was even talk of PTI seeking
the support of MMA. In the end, it didn't have to, because PTI got a whole host
of independent winning candidates to support it and make up the numbers.
this scenario then, what was the need for Khan to accede to extremists'
PTI has clearly erred in both strategy and political will…," said Dawn's
capitulation will cost the country's economy too. Pakistan's financial state is
dire. US network CNBC said last month that Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves
are at four-year lows, which are pressuring the local rupee and triggering
worries that Islamabad may soon be unable to finance monthly import bills. And
of course, it is awash in external debt, "having taken on loans from China
for the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," said CNBC.
is a highly-regarded international economist who could help pull Pakistan out
of the financial mess it's in. Even the government's own information minister
Fawad Chaudhry - at the time when PTI was saying it would not bow to
extremiststalked about what an asset Mian would be.
is a man who the entire world is saying will receive a Nobel Peace Prize in the
next five years. He has been appointed to the economic advisory council, not
the Council of Islamic Ideology or something else," said Chaudhry.
editorial in newspaper The News International said that getting Mian to resign
doesn't look good even for the economy.
blatant cowering to the religious Right does not bode well for the much lauded
EAC, which was supposed to comprise the cream of Pakistan's economists and the
private sector," it said, referring sarcastically to how the PTI described
its decision to drop Mian as a "tough" one.
himself said he resigned for the sake of the PTI government's stability, which
he said had been under a lot of adverse pressure from Muslim clerics and their
supporters, reported Dawn.
war being waged against the people, constitution of the country: Ghani
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says the ongoing war is being waged against the people
and constitution of the country.
made the remarks during a meeting with the religious scholars, youths, and
other representatives of the West of Kabul city, which saw a series of deadly
attacks during the recent months.
Ghani further added that the national security of the country is facing a major
threat and conspiracy which has been proved with the issues related to the West
of Kabul city, emphasizing that the war is being waged against the people and
constitution of Afghanistan.
to President Ghani, the steps taken in this regard are not sufficient and the
relevant authorities have been instructed that the city should be divided in
four zones and the security coordination centre in the West of city will be
turned into a proper security centre in the near future.
on the implementation of security plans in the zonal framework, President Ghani
further added that joint security committees should be established based on the
recommendations of the people and a mechanism should be prepared for reporting
from the lower level up to the Commander-in-Chief level.
regards to the recommendations of the supply of weapons to certain mosques and
worship plaes, President Ghani instructed the relevant authorities to review
the request as well as the existing security gaps in the mosques and other
also instructed the security officials to work with the local institutions to
further strengthen the security plans and present a report regarding the
developments in this regard to the presidential palace.
Ghani also urged the elders of West of Kabul to clearly mention their demands
and priorities in their plans and share during the upcoming meetings.
China — On the edge of a desert in far western China, an imposing building sits
behind a fence topped with barbed wire. Large red characters on the facade urge
people to learn Chinese, study law and acquire job skills. Guards make clear
that visitors are not welcome.
hundreds of ethnic Uighur Muslims spend their days in a high-pressure indoctrination
program, where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the
Chinese Communist Party and write “self-criticism” essays, according to
detainees who have been released.
goal is to rid them of devotion to Islam.
Muhemet, 41, said the police detained him for reciting a verse of the Quran at
a funeral. After two months in a nearby camp, he and more than 30 others were
ordered to renounce their past lives. Mr. Muhemet said he went along but
was not a place for getting rid of extremism,” he recalled. “That was a place
that will breed vengeful feelings and erase Uighur identity.”
camp outside Hotan, an ancient oasis town in the Taklamakan Desert, is one of
hundreds that China has built in the past few years. It is part of a campaign
of breathtaking scale and ferocity that has swept up hundreds of thousands of
Chinese Muslims for weeks or months of what critics describe as brainwashing,
usually without criminal charges.
limited to China’s western region of Xinjiang, it is the country’s most
sweeping internment program since the Mao era — and the focus of a growing
chorus of international criticism.
has sought for decades to restrict the practice of Islam and maintain an iron
grip in Xinjiang, a region almost as big as Alaska where more than half the
population of 24 million belongs to Muslim ethnic minority groups. Most are
Uighurs, whose religion, language and culture, along with a history of
independence movements and resistance to Chinese rule, have long unnerved
a succession of violent antigovernment attacks reached a peak in 2014, the
Communist Party chief, Xi Jinping, sharply escalated the crackdown,
orchestrating an unforgiving drive to turn ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim
minorities into loyal citizens and supporters of the party.
is in an active period of terrorist activities, intense struggle against
separatism and painful intervention to treat this,” Mr. Xi told officials,
according to reports in the state news media last year.
addition to the mass detentions, the authorities have intensified the use of
informers and expanded police surveillance, even installing cameras in some
people’s homes. Human rights activists and experts say the campaign has traumatized
Uighur society, leaving behind fractured communities and families.
of everyday life is almost really total now,” said Michael Clarke, an expert on
Xinjiang at Australian National University in Canberra. “You have ethnic
identity, Uighur identity in particular, being singled out as this kind of
has categorically denied reports of abuses in Xinjiang. At a meeting of a
United Nations panel in Geneva last month, it said it does not operate
re-education camps and described the facilities in question as mild corrective
institutions that provide job training.
is no arbitrary detention,” Hu Lianhe, an official with a role in Xinjiang
policy, told the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
“There is no such thing as re-education centers.”
committee pressed Beijing to disclose how many people have been detained and
free them, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the demand as having
“no factual basis” and said China’s security measures were comparable to those
of other countries.
government’s business-as-usual defense, however, is contradicted by
overwhelming evidence, including official directives, studies, news reports and
construction plans that have surfaced online, as well as the eyewitness
accounts of a growing number of former detainees who have fled to countries
such as Turkey and Kazakhstan.
government’s own documents describe a vast network of camps — usually called
“transformation through education” centers — that has expanded without public
debate, specific legislative authority or any system of appeal for those
New York Times interviewed four recent camp inmates from Xinjiang who described
physical and verbal abuse by guards; grinding routines of singing, lectures and
self-criticism meetings; and the gnawing anxiety of not knowing when they would
be released. Their accounts were echoed in interviews with more than a dozen
Uighurs with relatives who were in the camps or had disappeared, many of whom
spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid government retaliation.
Times also discovered reports online written by teams of Chinese officials who
were assigned to monitor families with detained relatives, and a study
published last year that said officials in some places were indiscriminately
sending ethnic Uighurs to the camps to meet numerical quotas.
study, by Qiu Yuanyuan, a scholar at the Xinjiang Party School, where officials
are trained, warned that the detentions could backfire and fan radicalism.
“Recklessly setting quantitative goals for transformation through education has
been erroneously used” in some areas, she wrote. “The targeting is imprecise,
and the scope has been expanding.”
long days in the re-education camp usually began with a jog.
every morning, Mr. Muhemet recalled, he and dozens of others — college
graduates, businessmen, farmers — were told to run around an assembly ground.
Impatient guards sometimes slapped and shoved the older, slower inmates, he
they were made to sing rousing patriotic hymns in Chinese, such as “Without the
Communist Party, There Would Be No New China.” Those who could not remember the
words were denied breakfast, and they all learned the words quickly.
Muhemet, a stocky man who ran a restaurant in Hotan before fleeing China this
year, said he spent seven months in a police cell and more than two months in
the camp in 2015 without ever being charged with a crime. Most days, he said,
the camp inmates assembled to hear long lectures by officials who warned them
not to embrace Islamic radicalism, support Uighur independence or defy the
officials did not ban Islam but dictated very narrow limits for how it should
be practiced, including a prohibition against praying at home if there were
friends or guests present, he said. In other sessions, the inmates were forced
to memorize laws and write essays criticizing themselves.
the end, all the officials had one key point,” he said. “The greatness of the
Chinese Communist Party, the backwardness of Uighur culture and the advanced
nature of Chinese culture.”
two months, Mr. Muhemet’s family was finally allowed to visit the camp, located
near “New Harmony Village,” a settlement built as a symbol of friendship
between ethnic Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese. “I couldn’t say anything,”
he recalled. “I just held my two sons and wife, and cried and cried.”
Xinjiang government issued “deradicalization” rules last year that gave vague
authorization for the camps, and many counties now run several of them,
according to government documents, including requests for bids from
construction companies to build them.
facilities are designed for inmates who are allowed to go home at night. Others
can house thousands around the clock. One camp outside Hotan has grown in the
past two years from a few small buildings to facilities on at least 36 acres,
larger than Alcatraz Island, and work appears to be underway to expand it
further, according to satellite photos.
government documents, local officials sometimes liken inmates to patients
requiring isolation and emergency intervention.
infected with an ideological ‘virus’ must be swiftly sent for the ‘residential
care’ of transformation-through-education classes before illness arises,” a
document issued by party authorities in Hotan said.
number of Uighurs, as well as Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities, who have
been detained in the camps is unclear. Estimates range from several hundred
thousand to perhaps a million, with exile Uighur groups saying the number is
1.5 percent of China’s total population lives in Xinjiang. But the region
accounted for more than 20 percent of arrests nationwide last year, according
to official data compiled by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an advocacy group.
Those figures do not include people in the re-education camps.
said people have been sent to the camps for visiting relatives abroad; for
possessing books about religion and Uighur culture; and even for wearing a
T-shirt with a Muslim crescent. Women are sometimes detained because of
transgressions by their husbands or sons.
official directive warns people to look for 75 signs of “religious extremism,”
including behavior that would be considered unremarkable in other countries:
growing a beard as a young man, praying in public places outside mosques or
even abruptly trying to give up smoking or drinking.
Are in Trouble’
feels as if under siege by an invisible enemy. Fortified police outposts and
checkpoints dot the streets every few hundred yards. Schools, kindergartens,
gas stations and hospitals are garlanded in barbed wire. Surveillance cameras
sprout from shops, apartment entrances and metal poles.
very tense here,” a police officer said. “We haven’t rested for three years.”
city of 390,000 underwent a Muslim revival about a decade ago. Most Uighurs
have adhered to relatively relaxed forms of Sunni Islam, and a significant
number are secular. But budding prosperity and growing interaction with the
Middle East fueled interest in stricter Islamic traditions. Men grew long
beards, while women wore hijabs that were not a part of traditional Uighur
the beards and hijabs are gone, and posters warn against them. Mosques appear
poorly attended; people must register to enter and worship under the watch of
government shifted to harsher policies in 2009 after protests in Xinjiang’s
capital, Urumqi, spiraled into rioting and left nearly 200 people dead. Mr. Xi
and his regional functionaries went further, adopting methods reminiscent of
Mao’s draconian rule — mass rallies, public confessions and “work teams”
assigned to ferret out dissent.
have also wired dusty towns across Xinjiang with an array of technology that
has put the region on the cutting edge of programs for surveillance cameras as
well as facial and voice recognition. Spending on security in Xinjiang has
soared, with nearly $8.5 billion allocated for the police, courts and other law
enforcement agencies last year, nearly double the previous year’s amount.
campaign has polarized Uighur society. Many of the ground-level enforcers are
Uighurs themselves, including police officers and officials who staff the camps
and security checkpoints.
Uighurs moving about Hotan sometimes shuffle on and off buses several times to
pass through metal detectors, swipe their identity cards or hand over and
unlock their mobile phones for inspection.
resident or local cadre is assigned to monitor every 10 families in Xinjiang,
reporting on comings and goings and activities deemed suspicious, including
praying and visits to mosques, according to residents and government reports.
Residents said the police sometimes search homes for forbidden books and
suspect items such as prayer mats, using special equipment to check walls and
floors for hidden caches.
authorities are also gathering biometric data and DNA. Two Uighurs, a former
official and a student, said they were ordered to show up at police buildings
where officers recorded their voices, took pictures of their heads at different
angles and collected hair and blood samples.
pressure on Uighur villages intensifies when party “work teams” arrive and take
up residence, sometimes living in local homes. The teams ask villagers to
inform on relatives, friends and neighbors, and they investigate residents’
attitudes and activities, according to government reports published online.
account published last year described how the authorities in one village
arranged for detainees accused of “religious extremism” to be denounced by
their relatives at a public rally, and encouraged other families to report
and more people are coming forward with information,” Cao Lihai, an editor for
a party journal, wrote in the report. “Some parents have personally brought in
their children to give themselves up.”
Uighur woman in her 20s who asked to be identified only by her surname, Gul,
said she came under scrutiny after wearing an Islamic head wrap and reading
books about religion and Uighur history. Local officials installed cameras at
her family’s door — and inside their living room.
would always have to be careful what we said and what we did and what we read,”
week, Ms. Gul added, a neighborhood official visited and spent at least two
hours interrogating her. Eventually, the authorities sent her to a full-time
Gul, who fled China after being released, later tried to contact her brother to
find out if he was in trouble. He sent a wordless reply, an emoticon face in
Ms. Gul’s mother sent her another message: “Please don’t call us again. We are
Chinese government says it is winning a war against Islamic extremism and
separatism, which it blames for attacks that have killed hundreds in recent
years. Information about such violence is censored and incomplete, but
incidents appear to have fallen off sharply since 2014, when the “deradicalization”
many who have emerged from the indoctrination program say it has hardened
public attitudes against Beijing.
was of absolutely no use,” said Omurbek Eli, a Kazakh businessman, of his time
held in a camp in 2017. “The outcome will be the opposite. They will become
even more resistant to Chinese influence.”
many families, the disappearance of a loved one into the camps can be
devastating, both emotionally and economically — a point reflected in reports
posted online by the party’s “work teams.”
of these reports describe Uighur families unable to harvest crops on their own
because so many members have been taken away, and one mentioned a mother left
to care for five children. In another report, an official near Hotan described
holding a village meeting to calm distraught relatives of those sent to the
mass internments also break Uighur families by forcing members to disown their
kin or by separating small children from their parents. So many parents have
been detained in Kashgar, a city in western Xinjiang, that it has expanded
boarding schools to take custody of older, “troubled” children.
consciously or unconsciously, authorities in Xinjiang have recognized the power
of families as an alternative source of authority,” said Rian Thum, a professor
at Loyola University in New Orleans who has followed the detentions. “The kind
of extreme party loyalty they want has no room for that.”
Gul said the camp she was in was ramshackle enough that children who lived nearby
sometimes crept up to a window late at night and called out to their mothers
inside. “Their children would come and say, ‘Mother, I miss you,’” she said.
didn’t say anything,” she added, “because there was a camera inside the cell.”
under PAS rule, is again in the limelight for the wrong reasons. The recent
public caning meted out to two women accused of attempting to commit a lesbian
sexual activity (sihaq in Arabic) is uncalled for, and has brought criticism
and caused ripples of unease across the country.
caning has given a bad image to Islam and is going to derail any economic
investments by foreigners in the state — one of the poorest in the country.
clerics should be mindful that Islam provides Muslims with a code of behaviour,
ethics and social values which helps them in tolerating and developing adaptive
coping strategies to deal with offenders who have committed personal sins.
of these is to show guidance, and not to punish or humiliate them in public.
Offenders of this sort should be counselled as to what is allowed and what is
prohibited in Islam and society.
reproaching homosexual offenders, it would be more sensible if it is educative
claim that Islam is a religion that advocates dakwah (proselytising).
First-time offenders therefore need counselling more than corporal punishment
that could lead offenders to ostracise themselves from society.
is no doubt “sinful” in Islam as it is against the order of human nature. Human
beings, as ordained, are created in pairs, each with certain physical and
psychological characteristics to complement and complete one another and to
accomplish certain roles.
of their main biological roles is to procreate and develop society.
failure and surroundings
can be subjected to counselling sessions and be advised that in Islam, as well
as in many other religions, LGBT and homosexuality are considered as
“distasteful” human traits.
is akin to dakwah and this would create more awareness among these offenders.
should be humanely apprised of the negativity and that these mental and
physical traits of theirs would create disorder in society as well as degrade a
person and the family structure, and hence the society.
should be led to the realisation that this detestable act is considered
“sinful” in Islam, as the Quran says: “We had sent Lot when he said to his
people, ‘Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from
among the worlds? Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women.
Rather, you are a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (7:80-81).
the psychologist’s point of view, humans engaging in homosexual activities are
considered an unnatural act. People usually have the urge to do so because of
their cognitive failure and surroundings.
the tendency to become LGBTs and homosexuals can be attributed to many factors
— genetic as well as the surroundings during puberty, among others.
can thus be referred to qualified counsellors or medical officers for advice.
disorder, in reality, transcends race and religion and is found in all
societies. There is at least one mention of lesbian behaviour in the
extra-Quranic narrative: “Sihaq of women is zina (illegitimate sexual
intercourse) among them.”
since this act can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the people, courteous
steps could be taken to discourage sexual activities among homosexuals.
no punishment on homosexuals is mentioned explicitly in the Quran, except that
a curse will befall them or their society, as what is mentioned in the Quran:
“And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how the end of the
criminals was.” (7:84)
for this reason, religious clerics in the state of Terengganu applied the
ta’zir provision of the shariah (refers to punishment for offences at the
discretion of the judge or Qadi) on the female couple accused of sihaq. In this
context, the punishment meted out was solely based on the discretion of the
judge could have felt that caning the accused in public and imposing a hefty
fine on them would deter them and others from committing offences of this
nature. Shockingly, there was no mention that the pair would first be
counselled before imposing any form of punishment.
was it mentioned that they would be called for counselling thereafter to
rehabilitate them since they were first-time offenders.
malaises can be considered a ‘malady’
clerics should take heed of an Islamic narrative that “Allah has sent down a
cure even as He has sent down the disease”.
to the physicians, Muslims or otherwise, mental malaise can be considered a
“malady” that has afflicted many into becoming LGBTs and homosexuals.
Therefore, counselling them is still the best remedy.
studies have found that being truly religious increases a person’s faithfulness
in the counselling process.
can be considered to be one of the most important psychosocial factors in human
life, and it’s imperative for Muslims to recognise how Islam can help prevent
different mental disorders that has brought about unnatural sex among human
the past, Muslim scholars during the Persian civilisation, with the inspiration
of Greek thinkers and logicians, have discussed the concept of psychology,
psychiatry, psychotherapy and their relationship to mental health.
instance, Ibn Sina observed mental disorders as conditions that were
physiologically determined. Al-Razi considered mental disorders to be medical
conditions, to be treated using psychotherapy and drug treatments.
was the first Muslim physician who introduced methods of psychotherapy, and he
had achieved a lot of success in discovering the definition and symptoms of
was already widely used in treating mental disorders by progressive Muslim
thinkers and philosophers of the past. There was even a mental ward in Baghdad,
Iraq, in 705CE, established by al Razi.
day Muslim clerics, who are still in the dark, should thus take a cue from them
and delve into the management of different human psychiatric or psychological
disorders, as this is also an intrinsic part of the religion.
have been many studies on exploring the impact of Islamic values on adaptation
of a person’s cognitive errors, and how these Islamic values can help in
prevention of different human psychological and physiological disorders.
judicious Muslim clerics could adopt several of these cognitive themes that
could help to correct the cognitive errors among LGBTs and homosexuals.
mentality of the feudal age
recent caning of these two women in the state was supposedly done under the
ta’zir provision of the shariah law. In other words, this has to do with human
discretion and predilection, based on acceptable and non-acceptable moral
precepts in a society. If discretion is applied in ta’zir, the judge could also
have considered other means of punishment since it was the offenders’
first-time misdemeanour and the possibility that they were misguided into
behaving as such.
the judge must have erroneously felt that by caning the offenders, he has
fulfilled God’s law and earned His blessings. Little did he realise that
offenders of this nature should be handled with mercy, as often pronounced in
the many Quranic verses.
PAS clerics feel that caning LGBT offenders can change their lifestyles, they
are wide off the mark. Caning them in view of the public will only invite more
resentment and criticism from the public.
one crucial aspect that PAS clerics did not factor in is the process of
rehabilitation that is intrinsic in all progressive societies.
clerics should therefore adopt a psychosocial model, based on Islamic
counselling — the shariah path, as well as the contemporary approach to
psychotherapy, where these people can seek assistance from qualified religious
and medical personnel to deal with their mental and psychological snags.
main role for this purpose is to provide advice on social and mental health
issues which would be in accordance with the Islamic and present-day moral
principles. This form of counselling is more cultured than meting out harsh
punishments for the public to have delight in, while humiliating the offenders.
clerics should explore the impact of Islamic values and beliefs on modification
of the offenders’ cognitive errors, and how these Islamic values can help in
prevention of different psychological and physiological disorders.
LUMPUR, Sept 5 — Police detained today the two teenage stepsons of Cradle Fund
Sdn Bhd CEO Nazrin Hassan in a murder investigation, after his neck was found
with injuries from an arrow.
police source told Malay Mail that the two boys in secondary school were picked
up at 9.30pm earlier from their grandfather’s house, following the arrest of
Nazrin’s wife, Samirah Muzzaffar, and her ex-husband yesterday morning.
found puncture holes in the neck — marks from an archery arrow.
boys were picked up as part of investigations as it is learnt they both play
archery and there were other leads upon interrogation with their parents that
led to their arrest,” the source said.
the 43-year-old daughter to Malaysian Muslim political scientist and Islamic
reformist Chandra Muzaffar, was picked up from her home yesterday in Taman Tun
Dr Ismail at 2.15am.
children were at Chandra's house when police called earlier.
43-year-old ex-husband was also picked up yesterday at 1am in Sepang. Both were
remanded for seven days starting yesterday.
death on June 14 was reclassified from sudden death to murder on August 3,
following laboratory test results from the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department
that showed foul play.
results showed traces of petrol in Nazrin’s room on the top floor of a
double-storey semi-detached house in Mutiara Damansara, resulting in the fire.
Mail reported on August 6 that a police source revealed the laboratory results
showed traces of petrol on Nazrin’s head, bedframe and mattress, as well as his
TERENGGANU, Sept 8 — The recent Shariah caning meted out on lesbian couple in
Terengganu was milder than the one carried out by school disciplinary teachers,
said Mentri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.
said the caning in Shariah only aimed at educating the public without causing
injury to the offender, and its implementation should not cause confusion and
not sure if the parties who protested against the punishment have the knowledge
on how the caning is carried out. They should get the right information,
because in reality it is not as bad as it sounds.
fact, I personally talked to several people who were present and witnessed the
caning and they said it was lighter than the ones carried out at schools. Don’t
put Shariah caning on the same context as the civil ones as the two are very
different,” he said, commenting on criticisms from several quarters regarding
September 3, the 22 and 32-year-old lesbian couples were caned six times after
being found guilty of attempting to have sex in a car at Dataran Arena Squre,
Dungun, 1.50pm on April 8, and fined RM3,300 or four months in prison, if they
failed to pay the fine.
Samsuri said the caning in Terengganu was not the first as Pahang, Kelantan and
Sabah had previously implemented the similar sentencing.
caning was carried out by the federal government agency, the Prisons Department
... there is certain procedure to follow and the five-minute sentencing carried
out that day sent fear among the people around the world that they can’t do
this kind of thing, and we pray that this culture does not exist in
Terengganu,” he said.
in separate development, the state aimed at increasing the participation of
international runners in the Sultan Mahmud Bridge International Run (LAJSM) in
order to place the event in the world-famous tourism calendar in the future.
Samsuri said more promotional efforts would be implemented through the State
Tourism Department to attract professional runners, especially from overseas.
year, a total of 53,000 participants joined LAJSM including 3,000 participants
are from the state, 4,000 are from outside Terengganu while 1,000 international
participants from Kenya, Japan, United States, Laos, India, France, United
Kingdom, Singapore and Indonesia.
mosque is the the earliest yet discovered in the country.
mosque, believed to be 1,000 years old, has highlighted what the UAE was like
when the religion of Islam came to its shores. This was a period of time which
ushered in a wave of change across the area that is now known as the UAE. The
new religion brought with it a set of values and beliefs that have since
defined the history of the country.
from the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) are
continuing to make discoveries that shed new light on the history of the
country as Islam made its way into it.
to the construction site of the Sheikh Khalifa mosque in Al Ain, DCT Abu Dhabi
archaeologists discovered several falaj (irrigation waterways), at least three
buildings and, more significantly, a mosque which dates back to Islam's early
golden age of the Abbasid Caliphate - 1,000 years ago. The mosque is the
earliest yet discovered in the UAE.
Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: "The new findings at
the Al Ain archaeological sites prove the richness of the region's history,
which allows us to expand our knowledge of ages long past. The discovery of a
mosque from the Abbasid period in Al Ain demonstrates the deeply-rooted influences
of Islam in the region, despite the immense distance from where Islam first
emerged and at a time when modes of transportation were quite rudimentary.
these findings display clear and profound cultural influences that reveal how
the connections established by our ancestors with neighbouring cultures and
nations transcended borders and surmounted transport difficulties, which in
turn calls for further analysis to form a holistic understanding of our
have revealed that the buildings at the site, made from mudbrick, are the
remains of a small fortress and several other structures. People living in
these buildings would have obtained fresh water from several falaj that they
constructed around the settlement. Falaj technology has a deep history in Al
Ain, stretching back 3,000 years. In the early Islamic period, the people of Al
Ain improved the existing technology by using fired bricks to ensure the
stability and durability of the underwater channels. When excavated, these
falaj were still intact.
the archaeologists believe it is the discovery and excavation of a mudbrick
mosque that places Al Ain on the global map as an important centre during the
early Islamic period. Experts were alerted to the fact that it is a mosque by
the presence of a mihrab (a niche in the wall of the mosque, at the point
nearest to Makkah) on the interior room and on the exterior. Thus the faithful
would have prayed inside and outside the mosque, just as they do today.
of pots, which were likely used for ablution (ceremonial washing) and other
ritual purposes, were found inside the mosque and date from the 9th to the 10th
Centuries CE. These discoveries and a radiocarbon date from one of the nearby
falaj confirm that the mosque is the earliest yet discovered in the UAE.
believe that this simple mosque indicates the popularity and crucial position
of Islam in the UAE in the centuries following the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Along with groves of date palms supported by the falaj, Al Ain in the early
Islamic period was already in a form that would be recognisable today.
DCT's experts are continuing to research in Al Ain and elsewhere in Abu Dhabi,
in a bid to shed further light on the early centuries of Islam.
have investigated a Christian church that dates to this time on the island of
Sir Bani Yas. This building highlights another critical feature of the early
Islamic period: a tolerance and acceptance of other religions, which is still a
feature of life in today's UAE.
Islam opened up trade avenues
also believe the finds from the mosque point to another important feature of
early Islamic society - that the spread of Islam opened up trade and ushered in
a new global age of commerce. In addition to imported ceramics from the rest of
the Arabian Gulf, several fragments of Dusun ceramics were discovered in the
mosque and adjacent buildings. This unique pottery was produced in the
Guangdong province of south China and was traded across east Asia and the Middle
Arab merchants and sailors ventured far from their homes to trade for these
goods, is now indicated by the discovery of an Arabian dhow shipwreck off the
coast of Indonesia. Experts from the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu
Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) don't know if people in Al Ain travelled that far, but
the discoveries indicate that the town, perhaps known then as Tawwam, was part
of a vibrant global economic system. It likely participated in the trade
through one of the ports that existed on the coast at this time.
of permission to the Omani plane to transfer the Yemeni delegation is clear
violation of human rights," al-Houthi was quoted as saying by the
Arabic-language al-Masirah news channel on Saturday.
further voiced suspicion over Riyadh's true intentions for denying permission
to the Omani plane, and called it flagrant insult to the negotiating
UN-brokered negotiations were suspended after the Saudi-led coalition withheld
permission for the flight carrying Ansarallah delegation from continuing .
called on UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to change the venue of
such talks from Geneva to Sana'a.
talks to end Yemen’s three-year war were meant to begin on Sept. 6, but only
representatives of fugitive president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi turned up as
Ansarallah insisted their plane to Geneva be allowed to evacuate dozens of
injured people to neighboring Oman.
United Nations is now facing a choice where it should prove that it refuses the
violation of the international and humanitarian law .... not allowing the Omani
plane to take the delegation and the wounded is a flagrant violation,” Mohamed
Ali al-Houthi said late on Friday on Twitter.
terrorists of Jeish al-Izzah targeted civilian neighborhoods in Mahradeh city
in Northern Hama from al-Latamanieh with Turkey-made cluster bombs, killing and
injuring at least 39 civilians, including a number of women and children,
battlefield sources said.
sources said that Turkey has equipped the terrorist groups in Northern Syria
with banned weapons such as cluster bombs.
Syrian army also retaliated by pounding terrorists' positions in Kafar Zita,
al-Latamanieh, al-Zuka Hasraya, al-Arbaeen, Mourek, Latmin and Hayalin in
Northern Hama with heavy missile and artillery attacks.
Syrian troops managed to inflict heavy losses and casualties on terrorists in
news comes as Ankara is duty-bound to monitor and prevent terrorists' movements
in accordance with Astana agreement.
the Syrian army has been pounding the military positions and moves of the
terrorists in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib as a prelude to its impending
massive military operations in Idlib.
Damascus Army forces on Friday hit hard the command centers of Al-Nusra Front
and other terrorist groups in al-Latamineh 8 kilometers East of Khan Sheikhoun
and the village of al-Tah North of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib.
Syrian Army also pounded the terrorists' training centers in Tal Aas village in
other Syrian army units hit the terrorists' positions in the outskirts of Kafar
Zita town in the Northern countryside of Hama province, destroying terrorists'
field hospital in the region.
websites close to terrorist groups, meantime, reported that the Syrian army's
missile and artillery units pounded the towns of al-Bariseh and al-Khovin on
Syrian air force also pounded al-Latamineh after bombarding the terrorists'
positions in Northern countryside of Hama.
a relevant development last month, the Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried
out massive bombing raids on terrorists' positions in Northwestern Hama and
Western Idlib, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.
Arabic-language Moraseloun news website reported that the fighter jets
conducted a heavy bombing on terrorists' positions in a large region stretching
from Southern Idlib to the al-Ghaab Plain in an introduction to the upcoming
Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news channel reported on Saturday that 11 Syrian
army men were killed in clashes with the Kurdish militia in the town of
the Arabic-language service of RT reported that the Syrian army and Kurdish
fighters engaged in clashes on Hasaka road near the Red Crescent garage in
Qamishli, inflicting tolls on both sides.
quoted witnesses as saying that the clashes erupted after the Kurdish units
detained tens of candidates in the Syrian government's local council elections
in the province.
Kurdish militants have detained over 250 candidates in Hasaka, threatening them
to withdraw their nomination.
incident happened as people in the town of Qamishli in Hasaka province have
several times in the past few months poured into the streets, demonstrating
against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militias and hoisted the
Damascus government's flag.
army soldiers engaged in fresh battle with terrorists Northeast of Toloul
al-Safa in the Eastern deserts of Sweida, advancing 1km in the depth of
terrorists' positions in Qa al-Banat area.
the meantime, the Syrian army units advanced in the depth of rocky areas from
Western angle towards Qabr Sheikh Hussein (Sheikh Hussein Grave), seizing
control of several regions.
army's artillery and missile units, meantime, pounded the positions and
movements of the terrorists in Toloul al-Safa, inflicting major losses on the
sources, meantime, reported that the army men have tightened their grip on the
terrorists by taking control over several ponds and breaking the terrorists'
defense lines in valleys and rugged terrains.
reports said that the army units fortified newly-captured positions in the
rocks in Toloul al-Safa in the Eastern deserts of Sweida, preparing to drive
ISIL out of the last strongholds in Toloul al-Safa.
army forces have been pounding ISIL's main positions in Toloul al-Safa,
destroying a large volume of their weapons and equipment and killing tens of
the terrorists, especially their snipers.
sources in Northern Syria reported on Saturday that a group of unknown
assailants killed Tahrir al-Sham's security commander Abu Hajar al-Ansari in a
gun attack in Jabal al-Zawiyeh region in Idlib.
added that al-Ansari was responsible for protecting Tahrir al-Sham's Mufti Abu
a bomb was detonated in the town of Ma'arat al-No'eman in Southern Idlib,
killing several militants.
explosion of a bomb near a court building in the town of Salqayn in Northwestern
Idlib killed and wounded a number of terrorists.
a relevant development last Sunday, at least five senior commanders of Tahrir
al-Sham Hay'at were killed in a chain of blasts in the Northwestern province of
Idlib, local sources reported.
Fo'ad Dayb, a commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was killed after a bomb, planted in
his vehicle, went off in the town of Saraqib in Idlib.
the meantime, local sources reported that four blasts in the towns of Samin,
Salqin, Qah and al-Dana near the border with Turkey killed at least five
commanders of Tahrir al-Sham.
between Kurdish forces and regime fighters in the divided northeastern city of
Qamishli killed 18 combatants Saturday, the Kurdish forces and a war monitor
rare flare-up in the Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border saw 11
regime fighters and seven Kurds killed, the Kurdish security forces known as
Asayesh said in a statement.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported the
same death toll for the fighting near a Kurdish checkpoint in the city.
Asayesh said a regime “patrol opened fire on our forces with light and medium
weapons, causing our forces to respond to this violation, which killed 11
regime fighters... and seven of our comrades”.
Observatory said the shootout started when Asayesh members at the checkpoint
asked regime fighters aboard a patrol vehicle to step out but they refused.
they did not comply, the shooting started on the car,” Observatory chief Rami
Abdelrahman said, and the clashes escalated after both sides called in
AFP correspondent at the scene saw empty camouflaged pick-up trucks in the
bore bullet holes, while traces of blood were visible on the tarmac, he said.
forces control most of Qamishli, but regime forces and allied militiamen hold
part of the city and its airport.
clashes last broke out between Kurdish forces and pro-regime fighters in
Qamishli in April 2016, but ended days later with a truce.
fighting began with a scuffle at a checkpoint and, according to Kurdish
security forces, killed 17 civilians, 10 Kurdish fighters and 31 regime troops
US-led support, Syria’s Kurds played a prominent role in the war against the
Islamic State group during which they seized large swathes of northern and
northeastern Syria where they have set up automous institutions.
Damascus regime has vowed to reintegrate the Kurdish-held areas, by force if
army forces have targeted terrorists from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri
terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the country's west-central
province of Hama as government forces and allied fighters from popular defense
group are trying to purge the Arab country of foreign-backed Takfiri militants.
state-run television reported that army troopers had shelled terrorist
strongholds in the town of al-Lataminah, located 39 kilometers northwest of the
provincial capital Hama, and other militant-held areas in the northern edge of
offensive came after Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants fired shells on the
government-controlled town of Mahardah, located about 23 kilometers northwest
of Hama, killing nine people and wounding 20 others. Three of the injured are
said to be in a critical condition.
Syrian army forces have beefed up their presence in the hilly Tulul al-Safa
region northeast of Jabal al-Arab volcanic plateau in the country’s
southwestern province of Sweida.
official news agency SANA reported that army units, in cooperation with allied
forces, carried out special military operations against Daesh terrorists in the
area, destroying a large number of their positions.
report added that government forces had managed to kill a large number of
militants, and cut off their supplying routes.
has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian
government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are
aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
army troopers, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have
recently made major territorial gains in battles against Daesh and other
foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire
southern part of the country after securing the capital Damascus and other key
major militant stronghold remains in the northwestern province of Idlib, where
government forces are preparing to launch a full-scale military offensive.
militants are also in control of some areas of Hama province, and are holding
some desert regions near the border with Turkey.
diamond jeweler Imtiaz Motiwala has just returned from annual Haj pilgrimage.
But if a tour operator offered him an Umrah (half-Haj) visit plus a tour to
Turkey where he can visit the museum housing the Prophet’s mementos, he would
grab the opportunity.
Motiwala is not alone looking for such halal tours. In keeping with the growing
demand for halal tourism, a three-day ‘Islamic Travel Mart’ (October 12, 13 and
14) at World Trade Centre in Mumbai is being held.
leading halal travel and tourism professionals from across the country are
expected to participate to discuss how to further promote halal tourism in
show will have tour operators of Haj, Umrah, Ziyarat (visits to holy places),
destination tour management companies, financial service and transport service
providers. With 31% of the world’s Muslims living in South Asia and India
having the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia, halal tourism has
great future here, said industry sources.
asked why Mumbai has been chosen to host this Islamic tourism show, Yusuf Ahmed
Khereda of Al Khalid Tours and Travels says: “Apart from being the business and
entertainment capital of India, Mumbai is home to a huge affluent Muslim population.
It is hub of Haj, Umrah and Ziyarat tour operators and has close proximity with
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.”
Patel of Atlas Tours and Travels, another participant in the show, is offering
a package called “combo Umrah” where apart from Mecca and Medina, travelers can
also visit places in Turkey, Dubai, Morocco, Iraq and Iran. “The Mart will
enable tour operators to operate in an organized way and it should help
customers to plan their visits better,” says Patel.
to the Global Muslim Travel Index 2017, the halal or Muslim friendly tourism
market was valued at US$155 billion in 2017 and is expected to gallop to US$300
billion by 2026.
from providing halal food and non-alcoholic beverages, the halal tourism offers
accommodation in hotels where travellers are not exposed to pork, casino, bars
and discotheques. Tourists are given guided tours of sites associated with
hotels in the Muslim countries comply with sensitivities of our guests. Halal
tourism is an expanding market and a lot needs to be done to make this sector
stronger,” said Youri El-Maghrabi, director of sales and marketing, at the
Muslims now have plenty of choices to visit holy places. Tour operators
preparing to showcase their “wares” at the upcoming Islamic Mart are readying
up to give their religious customers what they want. For an extra price, of
Terror Group': 5 'Bangladeshis' charged in India
top counter-terror body National Investigation Agency (NIA) has pressed charges
against five alleged Bangladeshis on charges of aiding terror outfit Ansarullah
Bangla Team (ABT).
charge sheet was filed with the NIA court in Mumbai on Friday against Mohammed
Habibur Rahman Habib alias Raj Jesub Mandal, Ripon Hossain alias Rubel, Hannan
Anwar Khan alias Hannan Baburli Gazi, Md Hassanali alias Md Amirali and Azarali
Subhanalla Islam alias Raja Jesub Mandal, said a statement posted on the NIA
charge sheet against the “Bangladeshi nationals” has been filed under sections
120B (criminal conspiracy) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the
Indian Penal Code, relevant sections of strict Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act of 1967 and section 14 of the Foreigners Act of 1946.
the five alleged Bangladeshis were arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of
western Indian city of Pune in Maharashtra state on charges of aiding and
harbouring members of ABT in Pune.
NIA said its investigation revealed that the five were staying in India without
valid documents and were working as workers at various construction sites in
had fraudulently obtained Indian Permanent Account Number (PAN) Cards needed
for filing income tax returns and opening bank accounts, multipurpose identity
Aadhaar cards, election cards and ration cards in fictitious names by providing
fake or forged documents, the NIA statement read.
five “Bangladeshis” used the said Aadhaar and PAN cards to obtain Indian SIM
cards, open bank accounts and seek employment in India.
NIA said its probe also brought out that the arrestees in 2017 provided shelter
and money to one Tushar Bishwas alias Tanvir, a member of the Ansarullah Bangla
Team, against whom a charge-sheet under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act of 1967 was earlier filed by the NIA.
Muslim Ever Told Hindus To Change How They Pray, But Some Are Trying To Stop
'Azaan' Now: Farooq Abdullah
Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said if the country wants to
come out of the atmosphere where attacks are happening on the people from
minority communities, then "we have to respect every citizen and their
religion as well".
Muslim has ever told any Hindu or Christian to change the way they practice
their religion or change their food habits or has stopped them from visiting
their religious places. But, when they tell us not to offer prayers in a
particular way or stop 'Azaan' (call for prayers), they want to change Gandhi's
India," Abdullah said.
said every religion has to be respected and people have to be given the rights
as enshrined in the Constitution.
was addressing party workers at a function in Srinagar to mark the 36th death
anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister accused "agencies" of
spreading rumours about danger to Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley and
called upon his party workers and the people of Kashmir to safeguard the
want to tell the NC workers that a new danger is there. There are rumours are
being floated and I think agencies are doing it like it was done during (former
governor) Jagmohan's time, that Kashmiri pandits are in danger and they should
be cautious. This is being done to spread fear in the country so that there are
clashes between Muslims and Hindus.
want to tell not only the workers of NC, but the people of Kashmir, that
pandits are our brothers and it is our duty to safeguard them. Make sure no
Hindu feels unsafe here. Every Kashmiri whether people from Hurriyat
(Conference), NC, Congress or PDP - is duty bound to safeguard them," he
also threatened to boycott the assembly and parliamentary polls too if the
Centre does not take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A, days after
the National Conference announced its decision to not participate in the
panchayat and urban local bodies (ULB) elections.
35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order,
accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and
bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the
state. It is facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
Unidentified gunmen shot dead a terrorist belonging to the 'Ansar
Ghazwat-ul-Hind' - an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the valley led by Zakir Musa -
here on Saturday, police said.
gunmen fired upon a youth in the Hazratbal area of the city here, resulting in
his on the spot death, a police official said.
said the youth has been identified as Asif Nazir Dar, a resident of the Panzgam
area of Awantipora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
was an active terrorist associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen, but later
defected to Musa-led Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind, the official said.
said a pistol and two magazines were recovered from the slain terrorists.
al-Qaeda affiliated Global Islamic Media Front had on July 27, 2017, announced
Musa as the head of the Ansar Ghazwat-ulHind.
weeks after detaining, and subsequently arresting, a journalist, Asif Sultan,
Jammu and Kashmir Police has told a Srinagar court that he was “in contact”
with a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, and that he used to “glorify” militants in
his news reports.
court has sent Asif to 15-day judicial remand. He has been shifted to Srinagar
central jail. Asif’s family and his employers maintain that he was picked up
for his reporting, and he has no militant links.
journalists’ associations in the Valley, including Kashmir Editors’ Guild, have
called for Asif’s release and asked the police to make the charges against him
Saturday, the police told the court that their probe is completed and that the
journalist is not required by police any longer.
was in contact with Abass Sheikh (senior Hizbul Mujahideen militant from south
Kashmir). (He) was playing an important role by providing him (Sheikh) all the
possible help to carry out terrorist activities,” the police told the court in
a written reply to Asif’s bail application, moved on Tuesday.
police have also taken objection to Asif’s reportage in Srinagar-based news
magazine ‘Kashmir Narrator’. “In journalism, he would instigate people in Jammu
and Kashmir, especially Kashmir Valley, by glorifying terrorists associated
with Hizbul Mujahideen,” the police reply reads. “In his magazine, ‘Kashmir
Narrator’, he would often give coverage to Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists,
especially Burhan Wani, to attract youth towards terrorist organisations,
especially Hizbul Mujahideen.”
last big report — on slain Hizb militant Burhan Wani — was published on
Burhan’s second death anniversary this July.
magazine’s editor Showkat Motta told The Sunday Express that while they filed
for Asif’s bail on Tuesday, the police did not respond until today. “They filed
the written response today at 3.30 pm and brought him to court just 10 minutes
before (the court’s) scheduled closure,” he said. “We had no time to respond to
charges levelled by the police.”
father Mohammad Sultan Saida alleged that the police are trying to frame his
police have said that they have seized the journalist’s cellphone and laptop
and sent it to the forensic lab in Chandigarh for examination.
Singh Sidhu: Pakistan set to allow ‘visa-less entry’ to pilgrims headed for
attack for over a fortnight for hugging Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa,
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Friday announced that Pakistan
was set to allow pilgrims from the Indian side to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara
across the border a “visa-less entry” even as his government remained silent on
made the announcement to the media at his official residence after referring to
a TV interview of Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry saying
“Kartarpur border was being opened.”
a video clip of Chaudhry to The Indian Express, Sidhu said, “Mera janam safal
the video clip, Chaudhry is heard telling the TV reporter, “Kartarpur border is
being opened. No visa would be required to visit the Gurdwara. A corridor would
be made out from there and the pilgrims would be able to come up till that
praises of Imran Khan, Sidhu said, “He has gone beyond friendship. I do not see
it as a corridor but a bridge to connect two countries. I see it as a bridge to
peace. What did we get from the bloodshed of all these decades?”
said he had learnt that Khan held meeting with all stakeholders, including
Bajwa, and it was decided that the entry should be allowed. He said he had
already tweeted to Khan, “I thank my friend Imran Khan for this noble goodwill
gesture. He has not walked two steps but miles and opened the doors for
infinite possibilities. I am indebted forever,” Sidhu said.
said he urged upon the Government of India to match up the steps taken by
Pakistan, “I urge upon the GOI to take a step in the direction of peace.”
economist resigns from Pakistan EAC over exclusion of Ahmadi scholar
London-based economist Imran Rasul has become the second member of the new
Pakistan government's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to resign in protest
against the exclusion of noted US-based academic Atif R Mian who was told to
step down from the body due to a backlash over his Ahmadi faith.
to pressure from the hardliners, the Pakistan government on Friday withdrew the
nomination of noted economist Mian, a member of the minority Ahmadi community,
from the newly-constituted economic panel, according to media reports.
a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning," Rasul, a professor
of economics at University College, London, said in a tweet on Saturday With a
heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning. The circumstances in
which Atif was asked to step
economist said he "profoundly disagrees" with the circumstances in
which Mian was asked to resign from the council.
decisions on religious affiliation goes against my principles, or the values I
am trying to teach my children," he said.
a series of tweets, Rasul spoke in favour of Mian's appointment to the advisory
council, saying "if there was one academic on the EAC that Pakistan needs,
it was him (Mian)".
the government and the EAC luck for the future, the professor said he remains
willing to offer "non-partisan, evidencebased advice" that can help
improve economic policymaking in Pakistan.
said while Pakistan is full of talent, it "needs leaders willing to draw
on all this talent, and that are willing to appeal to our better sides, for the
common good and not sow division."
quit after another EAC member, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, professor of International
Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, announced his decision
to resign from the advisory council following Mian's exclusion.
government's climbdown came three days after it had defended the academic's
nomination to the EAC led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying in categorical
terms that it will "not bow to extremists".
Ahmadis are designated as non-Muslims in Pakistan's Constitution and their
beliefs are considered blasphemous in most mainstream Islamic schools of
thought. They are often targeted by extremists and their places of worship
a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated Pakistani-American economics
professor at the prestigious Princeton University, was recently named member of
the 18-member EAC to advise the government on economic policy. He is the only Pakistani
to be considered among International Monetary Fund's list of 'Top 25 brightest
appointment was embroiled in a controversy after it was opposed by several
individuals and reigiuos groups, including the hardline Islamist party
Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who objected to his Ahmadi faith.
envoy terms stay of Afghans in Pakistan ‘a protracted refugee crisis’
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi has
described the decades-long stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan as “a protracted
refugee crisis” and urged the world community not to forget the displaced
call them protracted refugees and I always say that protracted refugees should
not be forgotten,” he said while talking to media personnel after visiting the
Voluntary Repatriation Centre (VRC) for Afghan refugees at Azakhel, Nowshera,
Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Coordinator Mark Lowcock and film star Mahira Khan, who has been designated the
UNHCR advocate for refugees and youth of the host communities, accompanied Mr
high commissioner said the stay of Afghans in Pakistan for nearly four decades
was one of the longest refugee situations in the world. He said these Afghans
would complete 40 years of their refuge next year.
rejected the perception that Afghan refugees in Pakistan would never go back to
their country. More than four million had returned to Afghanistan over the past
20 years and many were ready to go back home, he said.
saw this morning that refugees were going back, but not many, because they
(Afghans) are concerned about their security,” he said.
of Afghans took refuge in Pakistan when the former Soviet Union invaded their
country in 1979. According to the UNHCR, over four million refugees had
returned to their country since 2002.
is still hosting around three million Afghan nationals, including 1.4
registered refugees. Voluntary repatriation had slowed down during the last two
years because of surge in violence, lack of basic amenities and unemployment in
said that only 10,000 refugees had returned to Afghanistan since March 1, 2018
which indicated the slow pace of return. Only 45 refugee families left the VRC
for their home country on Saturday as the sprawling VRC, Azakhel, was offering
a deserted look.
a few Afghan boys and girls who were invited to the meeting with the UNHCR and
his entourage were seen taking selfies with Mr Grandi and Mahira Khan. The two
met refugee children, women and youth who apprised them of their problems.
the situation has deteriorated. We have to help Afghans to get out of this bad
period of insecurity, poverty and bring back services especially education,”
the high commissioner said.
Grandi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan during their meeting in Islamabad on
Friday was very clear about the problems of refugees and assured him that
Pakistan would never force (Afghans) to go back to Afghanistan.
called for more resources and most importantly political attention to help
Afghans restore peace to their country. “We should not be pessimistic,” he
said, adding that they would help young Afghans to go back and rebuild their
said that young refugees needed education and skill to rebuild their country.
called Mahira Khan a very powerful advocate to highlight issues and thanked
Pakistan for a very long hospitality to Afghan refugees.
Khan while speaking on the occasion said: “I am very happy to be doing this
job”. She said that more than half of the refugees were children. “If we come
together we can make future of this world better,” said the film star.
Mark Lowcock said that he visited Bara, Khyber tribal district, and talked to
local people about the situation. He said 10,000 houses and hundreds of schools
and other buildings had been destroyed during militancy in Khyber district.
said he saw children sitting on the floor in schools. He said the government
had launched schemes in affected areas and people were given cash through ATMs
to rebuild their damaged homes.
Mr Grandi commended charitable work of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer
Hospital, saying that providing free-of-cost treatment to underprivileged
cancer patients was a noble act.
like this are a symbol of hope for thousands of cancer patients who have little
resources,” Mr Grandi said during his visit. The UN refugee agency had provided
high-tech machines worth Rs710 million to Peshawar’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial
Cancer hospital to support free-of-cost treatment to cancer patients, including
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday said the
government was ready to constitute a commission to probe alleged rigging in the
general elections as per the demand of the opposition.
to the allegations levelled by Leader of the Opposition in the National
Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in a video message, the minister said the opposition
had so far failed to explain the nature of the perceived rigging. Also, he
added, the opposition had not yet submitted terms of references for a probe
into the rigging allegations.
said the opposition was using the issue of election rigging as a political
stunt without producing any concrete evidence. The opposition should present a
concrete proposal to probe the alleged rigging, he added.
he commended Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati for
pointing out deficiencies in the Result Transmission System.
the allegations of curtailing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects,
Mr Chaudhry said the government would complete all CPEC projects besides
ensuring transparency and effectiveness.
increase in gas, fertiliser and electricity prices, the minister said the
government did not increase the prices. The PML-N government had destroyed the
departments of gas and electricity, and the fertilizer industry. He explained
that the government was resolving the issue of circular debt.
denying the allegations levelled by Mr Shahbaz, the minister said Nawaz Sharif
and his daughter were convicted and sent to Adiala jail during the government
of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the allegations were surprising and
astonishing. Mr Chaudhry said the Sharifs faced corruption allegations as they
could not prove the source of their income and assets. He said nobody had ever
made so much money in such a short period of time.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government is going to introduce a two-tier
local government system in Punjab and two other provinces with all-powerful
mayors, huge development funds and control over many departments.
has proposed elimination of the tehsil council level in the proposed new
set-up. In that case, it will only have district and union councils. Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa’s proposal is to retain only tehsil and village councils. Office of
the mayor will be designed on the model of London or Washington, meaning a
powerful mayor, sources said.
decision to this effect was taken on Saturday at a meeting in Islamabad attended
by representatives from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The final
decision will be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan soon, sources told Dawn.
local government would, as agreed, be given one-third of the province’s total
annual development budget that would be distributed among the local councils as
per their eligibility. The mayors would be elected directly with the entire
district as the electoral college, not the house. The idea is that people
should be allowed to elect a mayor of their choice.
division between urban and rural areas of a district reintroduced by the
previous Shahbaz Sharif government will remain intact. Local government
elections will be held on party basis, as non-party polls are not possible
under the Lahore High Court’s decision in the Imrana Tiwana case. Non-party
elections are not even allowed under Article 140 of the Constitution.
the local government system of 2001, the powers of over 20 departments will be
transferred to district governments, including tourism, transport and sports.
The district-level management of these three departments will be transferred to
the district governments for the first time in history.
local governments will be given powers of executive magistrates to enforce
local and special laws to handle profiteering, adulteration, encroachments,
tampered weights and measures and recovery of municipal taxes and bills.
present, an overwhelming majority of mayors and local council members belonged
to the PML-N, but the law under which they were elected -- Local Government Act
2013 -- gave them no powers. Even the local functions in big cities such as
Lahore were being handled by companies created by the former Punjab government.
Officials say that law contains no provision under which the councils can be
suspended or dismissed; they will cease to exist only after the PTI government
introduces a new law.
said that Punjab offered to do away with the middle tier of tehsil councils in
view of the problems faced under the Musharraf-era local government system. The
absence of check and balance mainly led to corruption and mismanagement in
these councils, which in fact were the backbone of the system.
said that the new system would be designed after taking positive bits from both
the devolution-based Local Government Ordinance 2001 and Local Government Act
2013. But the 2001 law would remain dominant.
sources further said the federal government wanted to replace union councils in
Punjab with village councils as those in KP. But the proposal was rejected by a
committee in Punjab working on the issue under Governor Chaudhry Sarwar. The
committee comprised federal ministers Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Fawad Chaudhry,
and provincial ministers Raja Basharat and Aleem Khan. The reason for rejection
was that Punjab would not be able to handle village councils owing to
management issues. There were 4,105 union councils in Punjab and 20,000
The government on Saturday said it would continue to accord top priority to the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
assurance was extended to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi by his host Shah
Mehmood Qureshi, who noted that his government saw it as a significant project
for the socioeconomic development of the country.
Wang is on a three-day visit to Pakistan — the first by a senior Chinese
official since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government assumed office last
visit is meant to engage with the new government, re-emphasise the importance
of bilateral ties and learn about its position on relations particularly with
regard to CPEC.
observers are taking a keen interest in the project because of the evolving
regional situation in which new alignments are emerging. Pakistan and China,
which have a longstanding relationship, are seen to be getting further closer.
at a joint press conference with Mr Wang, the Pakistani foreign minister said:
“The CPEC will remain a priority for the government.”
Qureshi reassured Mr Wang that Pakistan and China had a time-tested
relationship, which would not be affected by the change of governments.
two sides expressed their convergence that social economic development will be
an important area under CPEC cooperation between Pakistan and China,” the
Foreign Office said in a statement on the meeting that preceded the press talk.
Chinese minister too reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to the relationship. He
said that Pakistan would always be a priority for China in its foreign policy.
State Councillor reiterated that Pakistan was China’s ‘iron brother’ and the
bilateral partnership served as an anchor for regional peace and stability.
China will work with Pakistan to prioritise CPEC projects so as to benefit all
regions of Pakistan,” said the FO.
the press conference, Mr Wang rejected the impression that CPEC projects were
compounding Pakistan’s debt burden.
projects were undertaken as part of the CPEC, out of which nine have been
completed while 13 are in progress.
said that contrary to the perception that CPEC projects were behind Pakistan’s
growing debt burden, the mega project was helping increase growth rate of
Pakistani economy by 1-2 per cent every year, besides creating around 70,000
Wang said that Pakistan and China were ready to include in the mega project any
other country that might be interested in it, to extend its benefits to the
to Gen Qamar Bajwa at the GHQ, the Chinese minister said Pakistan’s
contribution to regional peace and security needed to be acknowledged by the
expressed his satisfaction over the security measures taken for the CPEC
projects and the Chinese personnel working on the projects.
relating to regional security and bilateral cooperation were discussed during
the meeting, the ISPR said.
military commission chief for Badakhshan killed with his comrades
military commission chief of the Taliban group for northeastern Badakhshan
province has been killed with his comrades during the military operations.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said
Mawlavi Hamidullah was killed with his six comrades in Orgu district.
statement further added that three militants were also wounded during the same
operations which are being conducted to suppress the militants in this
to 209th Shaheen Corps, the militants were killed or wounded as part of the
ongoing Khanjar-14 operations.
anti-government armed militants including the Taliban group have not commented
regarding the report so far.
was among the relatively calm provinces in the Northeastern parts of the
country but the security situation of the province has deteriorated during the
recent years as the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to
expand their activities in this province and other key provinces in the
NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Cornelius Zimmermann
reaffirmed the alliance’s support to Afghanistan after twin bombings in Kabul
left several people dead, including journalists and athletes.
NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Cornelius
Zimmermann, strongly condemns the barbaric twin attacks that claimed many
precious lives in the west of Kabul last night, amongst them sportsmen,
journalists and other civilians,” a statement released by NATO’s Senior
Civilian Representative’s office stated.
statement further added “He expresses his deepest sympathies and condolences
with the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery for the wounded. NATO
stands firm with Afghanistan, as our Afghan partners continue to fight
terrorism and pursue lasting peace for all Afghans.”
Ministry of interior (MoI) says the death toll from a coordinated suicide
attack in capital Kabul has climbed to at least 26 people.
spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Nusrat Rahimi said at least 91 people
have also sustained injuries in the two back to back suicide attacks.
first explosion took place at around 6pm local time on Wednesday after a
suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a wrestling club.
least three Taliban militants were blown up by own explosives in eastern
Laghman province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military said.
to 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East, three Taliban
militants were killed while planting an improvised explosive device in Gardi
Salaw area of Alisheng district.
source further added that the militants were killed after the improvised
explosive device went off prematurely.
and other militants often use IED as the weapon of their choice to target the
security forces and government but in majority of such attacks ordinary
civilians are targeted, besides such attacks often claims the lives of the
militants as well.
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest report stated that
1,692 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018.
to UNAMA, the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks by
Anti-Government Elements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties.
Afghanistan: An Afghan official says insurgents have attacked a checkpoint in
the western Herat province, killing at least nine Afghan security forces and
wounding another six.
Farhad, the provincial governor’s spokesman, says the attack late Saturday
ignited a gunbattle in which around 10 insurgents were killed and five wounded.
He says the attack was likely carried out by the Taliban, who are active in the
district and frequently target security forces and government officials.
forces have struggled to combat both the Taliban and a Daesh affiliate since
the US and NATO formally ended their combat mission in 2014.
allies trying to strangle Yemen through economic pressure: Houthi
leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says Saudi Arabia and its regional
allies, which are involved in an atrocious military campaign against Yemen that
has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and left the
country’s critical infrastructure in ruins, are seeking to choke off the Yemeni
nation through economic pressure.
his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Yemeni capital
city of Sana’a on Saturday evening, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi stated that American
statesmen were making economic and political interests out of the Saudi-led
aggression on Yemen as it had poured billions of dollars into the US Treasury.
warned that Yemen’s economy was under attack; and that the Riyadh regime and
its allies eyed oil-rich regions inside the conflict-plagued Arab country and
were trying to wrest control over them.
Yemeni nation is going through a difficult economic situation. Enemies are
seeking to freeze the Yemeni overseas assets. They want Yemen to be a client
state,” Houthi pointed out.
to the UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva, Houthi said representatives of the
Houthi movement needed guarantee for safety during the negotiations.
cannot act as guarantors of our delegates’ safety. The fact is that the US is
not happy with peace talks as it has benefited a lot from the Saudi-led
aggression on Yemen,” the Ansarullah leader commented.
delegates were reportedly prevented by Saudi Arabia from attending peace
negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva earlier this week.
accused the Saudis of planning to strand the delegation in Djibouti, where
their plane was to make a stop en route to Geneva.
Saudis were “still refusing to give permission to an Omani plane” to land at the
Yemeni capital Sana’a and take the delegation to Geneva, the movement said.
al-Shamy, a senior Yemeni Information Ministry official in Sana'a, said,
"Regarding the peace talks, the delegation was formed and their names were
announced and were ready to go but the UN, under pressure from the United
States and Britain could not fulfill what was agreed on."
agreement was "to provide an Omani plane for the delegation that will
participate in Geneva and offer the assurances required for the return of the
delegation,” he said.
saw during the last talks that the delegation was stuck abroad and the UN could
not bring them back home," Shamy noted.
from Yemen’s former government and representatives of the Houthi movement held
their last UN-sponsored negotiations in Kuwait in 2016 in a bid to hammer out a
“power-sharing” deal but they fell apart after the Saudi-backed side left the
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government
of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing
15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of
the Saudi-led aggression.
than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the
United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian disaster.
Yemen office shows blatant bias in siding with Houthis, finds US center
US research center has documented a series of evidence that the United Nations
has sided with the Houthis and the mullahs of the Iranian regime when dealing
with the humanitarian crises in Yemen.
Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center (ISICRC), the US Center for Monitoring the Crimes of
the Iranian regime, said in a report posted on its website that the United
Nations obtained a video showing that a UN World Food Program truck was
attacked by mortar fire. The clip included the voices of the Houthi militia
members speaking in Arabic and shouting slogans.
the press release issued by the United Nations World Food Program did not refer
to the Houthis in commenting on the incident.
US Center confirmed that the UN office in Yemen showed its blatant bias towards
the Houthis and their allies even before this incident.
2006, the Houthi militias marched through the streets of Sanaa chanting slogans
in support of their military leader, Mohammad Ali al-Houthi. Suddenly, and
according to the center, George Khoury, Country Director of the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Yemen, joined the
march and addressed those assembled with a speech in support of the Houthis, in
a precedent that demonstrated the United Nations involvement and bias towards
the pro-Iranian militias.
UN’s bias did not stop there, but it expanded, according to the American
Research Center for Monitoring the Crimes of the Iranian Regime, to include
Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.
Center reported that Ruwaida al-Hajj, a Lebanese Shiite close to Hezbollah, was
preparing to take over the UN Secretariat’s expert team in Yemen and chose
Beirut - which is controlled by Hezbollah - as headquarters of the UN
Secretariat, despite the protests from the Yemeni legitimate government.
naval forces on Friday foiled a bombing operation in which Houthi militias were
was planning to attack international shipping in the Red Sea with a
military source told Al Arabiya that an improvised explosive device was planted
on the boat and was speeding on international waters in the Red Sea at speeds
reaching more than 35 miles per hour.
Coalition aircrafts have destroyed a ballistic missile belonging to the
Iranian-backed Houthi militias in the district of al-Yafra district in Yemen’s
spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said that they pinpointed the location of a
ballistic missile in an area close to the al-Safra district in Saada province
and locked in to the site’s coordinates.
also added that the operation took place at dawn on Friday and the vehicle and
missile were destroyed.
added that the coalition aircrafts also destroyed a site where Houthis were
storing radars used in monitoring coalition aircrafts in Jabal Anam, Saada.
Dozens of Houthi militants were killed and many others wounded in a military
operation launched by units of the Yemeni army, east of Hodeidah, Saudi
state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported Sunday morning.
the operation, the Amaliqa Brigades — captured several militants, including
leaders, as well as weapons and equipment left behind by the fleeing militia,
according to a statement on the Yemeni Armed Forces official website September
army also announced that the Amaliqa Brigades opened safe routes for displaced
civilians to leave the areas of Kilo 16 and Kilo 10.
military source said a large number of families fled the area where their homes
were at risk of cross fire, and were escorted to safe zones where they were
given medical treatment and food.
of Saudi soldiers and Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen's former
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have lost their lives when Yemeni army
soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Committees launched separate
offensives against their positions in the kingdom’s border regions over the
past 24 hours.
unnamed Yemeni military source told the Arabic service of Yemen’s Saba news
agency that Yemeni troops and their allies fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at
a gathering of Saudi troopers in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of
Asir, leaving several of them dead or injured.
Saudi mercenaries were also killed when Yemeni troops and fighters from Popular
Committees targeted their camp in the al-Alab border crossing of the same Saudi
in Najran region, located 844 kilometers south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, a
group of Saudi-backed militiamen were targeted in al-Ajashar desert with a
barrage of Katyusha rockets.
of artillery rounds also slammed onto al-Khazra border crossing, with no
immediate reports about casualties or the extent of damage caused.
Yemeni snipers shot and killed a Saudi soldier at al-Shabakah military base in
the al-Sharafa region of Najran.
Saudi mercenaries were killed and several others injured when Yemeni troops and
their allies targeted their positions in Talah area.
forces also shelled the fortifications of Saudi soldiers and their mercenaries
in Sawda, Jabal al-Doud and Jabal Qais mountainous districts in Saudi Arabia's
border region of Jizan, situated 966 kilometers south of Riyadh, according to
the Yemeni military source.
dozens of Saudi-sponsored militiamen were killed or injured when Yemeni troopers
and their allies destroyed their positions in the al-Durayhimi district of
Yemen’s strategic western province of Hudaydah.
military vehicle carrying dozens of Saudi mercenaries was struck with a guided
missile in the al-Ghayl district of the northern Yemeni province of Jawf.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government
of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Yemen's foreign minister accused the Houthi militia on Saturday of “trying to
sabotage the negotiations” that ended without their attendance in Geneva and
said that the UN envoy had not been firm enough with them.
want the UN to be firmer in bringing the other party to the negotiations”,
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told a press conference before leaving
the Swiss city after three days of talks with UN envoy Stephen Griffiths on
confidence-building measures including prisoner releases.
who led the government delegation, also accused the Houthis of being “totally
they were sincere in reaching peace, they should have come, even if we were
meeting in separate rooms,” he said.
Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, a
key member of the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states, tweeted: “Despite
the serious setback in Geneva the way forward is still a political solution.
What is perhaps clearer now to the international community is the unwillingness
of the Houthis to engage in good faith with such a process.”
the Houthis failure to show up, Griffiths said thatdid not signify the peace
process was deadlocked
would have like to get here, we didn’t make conditions sufficiently correct to
get them here,” Griffiths told a news conference, declining to elaborate.
said he would meet in the coming days with the Houthi leadership in Sanaa and
Houthi group said on Friday it was still waiting for the United Nations to
guarantee that the flight carrying its delegation to Geneva would not be
inspected by Saudi coalition forces and could evacuate some of its wounded.
referring to peace processes, said on Saturday: “A restart is a very delicate,
fragile moment. People are coming at a time when perhaps all of their
constituencies are not fully engaged and don’t see ahead of time results that
will come out of talks.
I don’t take this as a fundamental blockage in the process,” he added.
measures such as prisoner releases, increasing humanitarian access, especially
to the city of Taiz, and reopening Sanaa airport were discussed with the
government, he said.
Haram overruns key crossroads town in northern Nigeria
Haram extremists have overrun a key crossroads and military outpost in northern
Nigeria, residents said Saturday. Gudumbali is a town to which just months ago
the government encouraged displaced people to return.
Borno state secretary of the self-defense hunters association, Bunu Bukar, said
the extremists attacked on Friday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of
I saw people running all over the place shouting, ‘They have come! They have
come!’” resident Umara Modu told The Associated Press. “I saw the attackers
right inside our town but, surprisingly, they told us to calmly take our
property and move out because we are not the target.”
said about half the town’s population fled as the extremists entered without
resistance. The fighters are thought to be with the Boko Haram faction under
Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi that has the backing of the ISIS.
will never go back to Gudumbali again, no matter the assurance, because we went
back after the military authority and the Borno state government promised us
adequate security,” Modu said.
forces had no immediate comment.
was the site of one of the deadliest encounters in the fight again Boko Haram,
with scores of soldiers killed in 2015.
town also was among the first communities targeted in a military operation that
launched earlier this year to return thousands of people displaced by Boko
Haram to their homes in Nigeria’s northeast with the goal of resuming normal
government under President Muhammadu Buhari more than once has declared Boko
Haram defeated but the extremists continue to carry out attacks in the
impoverished northeast and Lake Chad region.
security situation is a major challenge in Africa’s most populous country as
elections approach next year.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed to
fight terrorism and violent extremism at their meeting in Amman, even as they
both acknowledged that it could take years to end the menace.
the first sitting Philippine president to visit Jordan, met the King on
Thursday at Al -Husseinieh Palace Courtyard to discuss terrorism and the
welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
their talks, the two leaders noted that the scourge of terrorism continue to
threaten their countries’ security, a major concern main that bind the two
over the past several months, if not the past year or two, the cooperation
between our two countries to fight the evil that you have to suffer in your
country as we suffer in ours, I think, is a testament to the international
cooperation and coordination that is now becoming much more apparent, because
this is an issue that’s going to last with us not only for the next five to 10,
15 years,” said King Abdullah II.
added, “it will take a while to overcome the mentalities that these very
horrible evil people perpetrated in your region and in mine..”
his part, Duterte concurred that “it will take us a lot more years to stop”
terrorism. “Our concern against terrorism brings us here. Well, of course, as
we have discussed, the arms would be of great help. If there’s any value, it is
the friendship that goes with it,” he continued.
has agreed to provide two used Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines,
which will be delivered July next year.
Assistant to the President Christopher Go confirmed this to reporters, as the
Philippines’s Department of National Defense (DND) and the Jordan Armed
Forces-Arab Army also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on defense
officials said the two Cobra attack helicopters will be a big help in the military’s
campaign against internal security threats, which include militant groups that
have pledged allegiance to Daesh.
also expressed gratitude King Abdullah and to the people of Jordan for hosting
Filipino workers in their country, and for treating them “very well.”
a speech upon his arrival in Davao in the Philippines on Saturday, Duterte
reported the signing of two labor agreements that will enhance the standards
of protection for Filipinos working
emphasized that his government will continue to do its part to ensure that the
rights of Filipinos working abroad are protected.
Residents of Tripoli emerging from their homes to take advantage of a
cease-fire between armed groups noticed one thing straight away. The militias
had not withdrawn their heavy weapons from strategic locations in the Libyan
truce brokered by the UN on Tuesday after a week of violence between local
fighters has largely been observed.
clashes, which left dozens dead, pitted four big armed groups in Tripoli
against rivals from other towns. The fighters had joined forces in 2011 to
topple Muammar Qaddafi but since then they have refused to disarm, using their
guns to compete for access to public funds.
even as the cease-fire began, residents and diplomats braced themselves for
factions withdrew their pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and
dismantled checkpoints. But they kept their heavy weapons at key positions such
as Matiga airport, government ministries and some of the city’s main streets.
good that there is no fighting now but the two sides are still in their
positions,” said a frightened resident who gave his name only as Mohamed. “I am
afraid clashes will erupt any time.”
armed groups have vowed to resume hostilities if talks to be hosted by UN
Special Envoy Ghassan Salame do not result in a lasting settlement.
are committed to the cease-fire as long it has not been breached by the other
side,” said Ahmad Ben Salim, spokesman for the Special Deterrence Force, one of
the biggest Tripoli units.
force is still in its position ... and we are waiting for what will emerge with
force’s main opponent, known as the 7th Brigade, also confirmed to Reuters it
would stay in its positions.
a blunt speech at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Salame said groups that
violate the cease-fire must be held to account and the time for impunity was
over. Salame has been trying for a year to pave the way for national elections.
But he gave no details of what he planned to do if the truce was broken.
was encouraging that he overtly states that impunity must end,” said Tarek
Megerisi, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
as always the implementation details are absent,” Megerisi said. “How will the
monitoring and punitive measures he mentions work in practice?“
Western diplomat added: “Salame needs to do something bold now but it’s not
clear what he could do. If nothing happens it will be a break for the militias
to recharge their batteries.”
no national army or foreign peacekeepers in place, the only short-term fix
would be to allow some of the groups from outside Tripoli to pay their fighters
from public funds. Turning young men with guns into civil servants has been the
main policy goal since 2011, but it has not succeeded.
armed groups became greedier, and emptying state coffers to pay them off left
little money to fix dilapidated hospitals and other infrastructure, frustrated
youths were driven to join the militias.
have meanwhile been looking for new sources of funds. Diplomats said fighters
providing security for ministries are forcing officials to provide letters of
credit intended for imports. These are used to obtain foreign currency which
can be changed on the black market at a favorable rate.
the fall of Qaddafi, Western powers tried to train a Libyan army. But that plan
ended in 2014 when the country split into rival administrations in west and
powers have since switched tactics, allowing the UN-backed administration in
Tripoli to legitimate “super militias,” giving them state funds and titles for
the sake of stability.
is now expected to negotiate a broader power sharing agreement under which more
fighters will be brought in with the aim of securing Tripoli.
diplomats fear that General Khalifa Haftar, who has conquered much of the east
with his Libyan National Army faction and is said to be planning to run for
president, may intervene in Tripoli.
liberation of Tripoli in accordance with a military plan is an inevitable
choice,” Haftar said on Thursday. “The crisis in Tripoli must end as soon as
possible and we cannot be silent in the current situation.”
has long contemplated extending his influence in the west of Libya by linking
up with local groups there.
the outbreak of fighting in Tripoli, pro-Haftar TV channels have supported the
7th Brigade, which comes from Tarhouna, south of Tripoli.
the Tarhouna forces cooperate with an Islamist commander, Salah Badi, an
opponent of the general. Haftar, meanwhile, has built a reputation for fighting
people he calls “terrorists.”
fragile alliances show how difficult it will be for Salame, the sixth UNLibya
envoy since 2011, to build on the cease-fire.
who have met him recently say he has been frustrated by lack of progress since
unveiling a peace plan a year ago that would entail a new constitution and a
— Four years ago, thousands of Tunisian jihadists began flowing to the
battlefields of Iraq, Libya and Syria to join the Islamic State and al-Qaeda —
more than from any other nationality. Ever since, Tunisian and Western
authorities have feared their return and the possible chaos that could follow.
far, those fears haven’t materialized, according to Tunisian authorities,
Western diplomats and regional analysts.
the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are recruiting a new generation of locals to
stage terrorist attacks at home, including one in July near the Algerian border
that left six national guardsmen dead.
is primarily homegrown,” said Matt Herbert, a partner at Maharbal, a
Tunis-based security consulting firm. “The majority of Tunisians who survived
Libya and Syria have not returned.”
continuing local recruitment of militants highlights the challenges facing
Tunisia, the only nation to emerge as a democracy after the 2011 populist
revolts across the region that became known as the Arab Spring. Although the
ideological appeal of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda appears to have shrunk in
many parts of the country, diplomats and analysts say a post-revolution era of
political, economic and social turmoil is still breeding resentment, especially
among Tunisia’s youth.
over a lack of economic opportunities and social mobility has driven more than
3,000 Tunisians to leave for Europe this year, more than from any other
nationality, according to the United Nations’ migration agency. These same
factors have caused others to join extremist groups, especially in areas long
neglected by the government.
crises are the best fuel either for illegal migration or, in worst-case
scenarios, for feeding terrorism,” said Patrice Bergamini, the European Union’s
ambassador to Tunisia.
of the recruitment is taking place in Tunisia’s impoverished southwestern
mountains along the border with Algeria. Both the Islamic State, also known as
ISIS, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist network’s branch in
North and West Africa, have affiliates operating along the border.
the extremists are said to be mostly Tunisians, they also include Algerians,
West Africans and Libyans, regional analysts said. Only about 15 to 20
Tunisians are thought to be returnees from Libya and Syria, they added.
least 5,500 Tunisians have traveled in recent years to Iraq, Libya and Syria to
join the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, according to U.N. estimates.
of the Tunisians who went to Libya died in late 2016 in the fight to retake
Sirte, the capital of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in North Africa,
and in the battle for the Tunisian border town of Ben Guerdane, analysts said.
many of the extremists who went to Syria and Iraq are thought to have died
fighting there. Survivors of those battles are thought to be among a pocket of
Islamic State militants holding out in eastern Syria or held in Syrian prisons.
Some are probably in hiding. Others slipped away to Libya to join the Islamic
State affiliate there, or may have joined a branch in Egypt’s northern Sinai
many as 800 fighters have returned to Tunisia, and the vast majority of them
are incarcerated around the country.
extremists now active in Tunisia, some analysts say, are using the country as a
staging ground for attacks on Algeria, which has fought a long confrontation
with al-Qaeda and, more recently, a new Islamic State branch.
is the land of recruitment,” said Michael Bechir Ayari, Tunisia senior analyst
for the International Crisis Group.
say Tunisia itself remains a target because of the government’s relatively
liberal views on Islam, women and freedom of expression.
2015, Tunisian gunmen with the Islamic State attacked the resort town of Sousse
and the famed Bardo Museum in the capital, killing scores of people, mostly
foreign tourists. The following year, more Tunisians belonging to the Islamic
State entered from Libya and tried to seize Ben Guerdane before Tunisian
security forces repelled them.
then, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda have carried out more attacks in Tunisia,
but none as catastrophic. Today, an estimated 200 militants belonging to either
the Islamic State or al-Qaeda are operating in the mountains, although the
number of sympathizers is unknown, analysts said.
attack in July near the Algerian border illustrated the militants’ continuing
ambitions. The national guard vehicles were on patrol in a remote mountainous
patch near the town of Jendouba when the militants, hidden in the bush, threw a
grenade and a gunfight ensued.
was a treacherous ambush,” said Omar Benaissi, a top local official in
Ghardimaou, the impoverished region where the attack happened. “The six were
killed in the moment the attack happened.”
and officials suspected that the militants may have been tipped off to the
convoy by local supporters. Al-Qaeda’s local branch asserted responsibility for
the attack, which analysts say was intended to show that the militants are
still a force and to use for recruitment.
groups still operating out there in the mountains out west have a lot of
skill,” Herbert said. “They seem to have grown in size over the past couple of
years. They have a lot of resilience to withstanding Tunisian attempts to end
Hwawi, a teacher and blogger in Jendouba, said most of the local residents lead
hardscrabble lives and resent the government, making them susceptible to
are miserable and can be easily recruited by the terrorists,” he said. “The
Tunisian authorities are creating a fertile soil for terrorists, either by
marginalizing the security forces or marginalizing the people economically.”
who said he helped carry the wounded soldiers into the hospital, described them
as ill-equipped, with guns and shoes in poor condition.
authorities say they have made progress in tackling the local militancy, noting
the decrease in attacks nationwide. The United States has provided tens of
millions of dollars to enhance security on the Libyan border.
analysts give high marks to the nation’s U.S.-trained counterterrorism forces
for gathering intelligence and for penetrating and dismantling cells. But the
analysts are concerned about non-elite forces, such as police and border
guards, who have less training and are more corruptible.
also are increasingly concerned about the potential for radicalization in
Tunisia’s prisons, where many extremists are kept in cells with common
is definitely a worry, since there is a huge population of individuals in
overcrowded prisons planning their next strategic moves for whenever they are
released from prison,” said Aaron Zelin, an expert on jihadist groups with the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of a forthcoming book on
the history of Tunisian jihadism.
govt misleading Americans on Afghanistan: report
The US government misleads its public to justify the 17-year-old war in
Afghanistan, routinely using inflated data to justify its stay, The New York
Times reported on Saturday. The report compares the US government’s data with
those provided by various international aid agencies and with NYT’s own
research and concludes that Washington does not want Americans to know the real
situation in Afghanistan.
the US government says the Taliban control or contest 44 per cent of districts
in Afghanistan, the NYT report claims that the insurgents actually control or
contest about 61pc area. Since 2017, the Taliban have held more Afghan
territory than at any stage since the American invasion in October 2001.
report also notes that so far more than 2,200 Americans have been killed in the
Afghan conflict, and Washington has spent more than $840 billion. “The war has
become more expensive, in current dollars, than the Marshall Plan, which helped
to rebuild Europe after World War II,” the report claims. “That investment has
created intense pressure for Americans to show the Taliban are losing and the
country is improving.”
report also disputes the US military’s claim that the Afghan government
effectively “controls or influences” 56pc of the country. The NYT, however,
says that in many districts, the Afghan government controls only the district
headquarters and military barracks, while the Taliban control the rest.
on paper, Afghan security forces outnumber the Taliban by the ratio of 10 to 1,
or even more. But one third of their soldiers and police officers are “ghosts”,
who have left or deserted without being removed from payrolls. Many others are
poorly trained and unqualified.
calls out Khamenei’s hypocrisy over Iran’s lack of aid to Palestinians
States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traded barbs with Iranian Supreme
Leader Ali Khamenei, saying that Iran provides support for terrorists while
only donating small amounts of money to Palestinian aid organizations.
regime punished Palestinians by providing them just $20,000 — yes, $20,000 —
via UNWRA from 2008 to 2017,” Pompeo tweeted on Saturday.
top diplomat’s response came after Khamenei tweeted at Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, saying that the Palestinians “should not be neglected even for
US military is sending more than 100 Marines to Syria as reinforcements to
protect an illegal American base there for training anti-Damascus terrorists
after repeated Russian warnings of an impending attack on the militants in the
area south of the terror-ravaged country, the Pentagon said.
to the Saturday statement by the US Defense Department, the American troops
were flown by helicopter to the base located in the small town of at-Tanf, near
Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, pro-US military news website Task &
base is being used by US Special Forces to train anti-Syria terrorists allied
with a US-led coalition that claims to battle foreign-backed Daesh (ISIL)
militants, widely believe to be sponsored by Washington-allied Saudi Kingdom.
the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the Marines deployed to at-Tanf would
conduct a multi-day exercise using live ammunition.
forces will demonstrate the capability to deploy rapidly, assault a target with
integrated air and ground forces and conduct rapid exfiltration,” said
CENTCOM’s chief spokesman Capt. William Urban.
to the report, US officials dealing with the Syria issue have further stated in
recent days that “the administration is now resolved to stay in Syria longer
than President [Donald] Trump previously indicated” in a purported bid to
“finish the fight against Islamic State but also to see the withdrawal of
is while Trump had previously stated that he wanted American troops out of
Syria as soon as possible and redirected millions of dollars meant to help
rebuild Syria to other military projects.
warns US of impending attack on Tanf
development came following US press reports that Moscow has sent messages to
Washington in recent days, warning that Russian military along with Syrian
government forces were planning an offensive on what they refer to as terrorist
forces near at-Tanf.
cited several US military officials as saying on Friday that Russia has warned
the Pentagon twice in the past week that its forces, together with Syrian
troops, were prepared to wage an attack on terrorists in the area where dozens
of US troops are stationed at At-Tanf garrison, described as “a key strategic
location” for the US as it competes with Iran and Russia for influence in the
report further underlined that Moscow's warning has sharply raised US
commanders' concerns that American troops would be at risk if a Russian attack
goes forward, prompting Washington to warn Moscow “not to challenge the US
to the report, US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford were aware of the latest intelligence,
adding that American troops in Syria “have the right of self-defense if they
are attacked and would not need to ask permission from higher levels of the
government before acting.”
warns Russia, Syria against attacking Tanf
to Moscow’s warnings, US military officials “bluntly warned Russia and Syria
not to go forward with an attack within a 35-mile-wide security zone that the US
maintains around Tanf,” Task & Purpose further reported.
United States does not seek to fight the Russians, the government of Syria or
any groups that may be providing support to Syria in the Syrian civil war,”
said CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown, as quoted in the report. “However,
the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to
defend U.S., coalition or partner forces.”
further stated that Russian military officials first notified the US on
September 1 through a special communication channel “that they intended to
enter the At-Tanf deconfliction zone to pursue terrorists.”
to the report, that was followed by a letter sent Thursday to Lt. Gen. Paul E.
Funk II, the commander of US forces in Syria, warning that Russia planned to
carry out “precision strikes” near Tanf against ISIL militants, a warning that
prompted Funk to speed up plans to dispatch additional troops to the base.
officials were also cited in the report as saying that Russia’s threat to carry
out precision strikes against Tanf suggested it might be contemplating use of
airstrikes, missiles, long-range artillery or bombardment from Russian warships
in the Mediterranean.
officials further added that such an attack may prompt American forces to
respond with “punishing reprisals using similar weapons, especially if a
Russian attack caused casualties to the US or its allies.”
also pointed out that Moscow has previously agreed not to enter the zone around
Tanf, saying: “We expect the Russians to abide by this agreement.”
forces on high alert in Syria
report further underlined that US military forces in Syria were put on high
alert after Russian bombardment of terrorist targets in the country’s Idlib
province in an apparent preparation of a looming offensive against the
militants, as well as Moscow’s latest warning of an impending attack on
militant forces based near the key US training garrison in at-Tanf.
added that the garrison was also “the sight of a series of clashes between
US-led coalition forces and militias loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad
during the summer of 2017,” clashes that raised “the possibility of an armed
conflict between Russian, Iranian, and US proxy forces in the region.”
Marines stationed in Syria have fired air and artillery shots into a desert
area in south to send Russian forces a warning.
air assault in the southern Syrian desert backed by artillery fire aimed to
send a strong message to Russia, two US defense officials told Fox News on
message we want to convey to Russia is to not send your forces inside a
restricted area near an American military outpost in southern Syria, they said.
the Russian military command had on two occasions coordinated with the
Americans that it intended to launch a military operation against militants in
southern Syria near the At Tanf garrison where US special operations forces are
located. Both times, American forces declined to cooperate with the Russian
in July, US Defense Secretary James Mattis had said that the US forces, for the
time being, would have no cooperation with the Russian military command
stationed in Syria.
defense officials are opposed to coordination with the Russian forces fighting
the militants in Syria.
US military and Russian forces are conducting two independent military
operations in the country.
forces are in Syria at the request of the government of Bashar al-Assad to help
fight the Daesh militants who have been wreaking havoc across the country for
Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura on Friday echoed remarks by Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying the world needs to avoid a
"potential catastrophe" in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
via video conference at a meeting of the UN Security Council, De Mistura
emphasized the need for civilian voices in Idlib to be heard by the
Bashar al-Assad regime recently announced plans to launch a major military
offensive in Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.
his remarks to the council, the UN envoy held up a photo of a woman civilian in
Idlib and noted that 98.8 percent of the population in the area are civilians.
Mistura also received a letter from 1,000 women currently in Idlib, who urged
the international community to remember that they are civilians, not
are teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, writers and homemakers, and many of
them came from many parts of Syria. So Idlib in many ways symbolizes a mosaic
of Syria," de Mistura said.
went further to say that while there are different armed groups in Idlib, there
needs to be a different approach in order to separate them from the rest of the
Friday, the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Tehran to discuss the situation
and planned offensive in Idlib by the Assad regime. De Mistura noted that
Erdogan had put a substantive number of ideas on the table, and he is looking
forward to hearing more.
Mistura will meet with representatives of the three countries in Geneva next
want a country without war, and we want a future in which we can be alive. They
too are against terrorists, but they cannot show that because the situation is
very difficult," he said on behalf of the population of Idlib.
tourist accepts Islam in UAE, inspired by police
and touched by Abu Dhabi tourism police's values of tolerance and civilised
approach, a Dutch female tourist has converted to Islam.
Tourism Section in Investigation Directorate, after liaising with the competent
entities, hosted Christina Dafano, who deeply expressed her happiness to
embrace Islam, according to a statement issued by Abu Dhabi Police on Saturday.
reciting the Shahada, Dafano changed her name Noura.
statement added that the tourist had enquired about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,
as she wanted to visit it. The police not only guided her but also contacted
the police office at the mosque to organise her visit and teach her about
tolerance and peaceful coexistence (in Islam).
Ahmad Almazrouei, deputy director of the directorate, emphasised the police
force's keenness to adopt a tolerance as a professional standard for policing
to promote security and safety in Abu Dhabi.
expressed her happiness in embracing Islam - stressing the tourism police
staff's attitude as a 'pivotal push' for her conversion.
police gifted her the book "Zayed" in English, which chronicles the
journey of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who
made the UAE a symbol of tolerance paving the way for a modern, stable and
massacre to exile to racism to subversion and back again, Vladimir Putin has
caught Europe in a rolling trap. The war crimes that Russia encourages the
sectarian Assad regime to commit force Syrians to run. When a small proportion
of them reach Europe (for never forget the rich world takes only a tiny
minority of the world’s refugees) their presence drives Putin-supporting
nationalists into power on anti-Muslim tickets.
iron wheel is about to turn again and grind up the lives of hundreds of
thousands. Diplomatic attempts to prevent a battle look as if they have failed,
as they have failed so monotonously in Syria. In all likelihood, Bashar
al-Assad’s forces and their Russian and Iranian backers will soon begin their
assault on Idlib province. Russian planes are already trying to take out
defences, and there is every reason to expect a catastrophe. Doubtless, Assad’s
forces will use chemical weapons again and Russia’s proxies on the “alt-left”
will invent conspiracy theories to deny their existence. Our filthy decade has
taught criminals that they can break the taboo on the use of chemical weapons –
one of the few limits on man’s inhumanity to man – and not only be rewarded for
it but acquitted of guilt.
Islamists in Idlibwill presumably fight to the death, and I cannot pretend to
care for them one way or another. The democratic fighters and the civilians are
another matter. These are the people who out of fear of Assad’s torture
chambers have nowhere left to run to except over the border and Turkey, which
says it cannot take any more refugees. The UN warns of a humanitarian crisis on
a scale not previously seen in Syria – which is quite a claim.
talk of Europe’s problems in these grim circumstances seems glib. Yet the most
dynamic force in European politics is the fear of uncontrolled borders and
radical Islam. It helped drive the Brexit vote and the election of backlash
nationalists across the continent, whose peculiarities deserve more attention
than they receive. They are nationalists of a rare type: supposed patriots who
collaborate with their countries’ enemies. Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU held
multiple meetings at the Russian embassy. Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s
ambassador in London, offered Arron Banks, Farage’s loudmouthed bagman, a piece
of a Siberian goldmine business. Now that Russia is committingsmall-scale
small-scale chemical attacks on British soil, the flattery appears to have paid
off. Nowhere on the radical British right do you hear challenges to Russian
the contradiction between love of country and loyalty to Putin is wide here, it
yawns in the Czech Republic. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the
crushing of the Prague spring. Alexander Dubček, the leader of the then
Czechoslovakian communist party, thought he could allow freedom of speech,
democratisation – all the forbidden fruits – while remaining a part of the
Soviet empire. The Soviet Union put him right by sending in 250,000 troops and
6,000 tanks. The civil resistance and the the men and women who died are in the
Russian attack were honoured with due solemnity in Prague this summer. But the
Czech president, Miloš Zeman, could not bring himself to appear at the official
commemoration because he is a Putin apologist. The Czech Republic feels like a
post-colonial country where the former imperial overlord still holds sway.
ought to be a revolt against the country’s compromised leaders. But when I
talked to Czech intellectuals in Prague they were close to despair. The Czech
opposition is factionalised and unable to mount a coherent challenge to the
ruling order. Civil society is degraded. You may not think much of the British
media, but there is nothing like travelling in eastern Europe to make you see
its slender virtues. Press freedom is dying in the Czech Republic and there are
few journalists able to hold the pro-Russian elite to account. More frighteningly,
the new right in the Czech Republic and across Europe is replacing with
anti-Muslim bigotry a patriotism that defends the nation against hostile
fact that he is now the willing tool of an aggressive Russia in no way makes him
a collaborator, Zeman implies. The real enemy is Islam. “No one has invited the
refugees,” he thundered recently. “Islamists are coming to subjugate Europe.”
are always being told to understand the fears of what the new elite calls in
its most condescending voice “ordinary people”. But if Nigel Farage, Viktor
Orbán, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and – the way he is going – Boris Johnson
were serious about limiting migration they would support the creation of safe
havens in Syria so that refugees had somewhere to hide – a demand the original
and democratic Syrian revolutionaries of 2011 made as soon as Assad set his
troops on them. They do nothing of the sort. Instead, they support a Russia
whose crimes against humanity produce the very refugees they affect to deplore.
As a way of generating votes, I suppose the hypocrisy has a logic to it; a
logic they can follow without fear of challenge from a modern left that has
abandoned any claim to internationalism or basic moral fitness.
is no need for Farage or indeed Johnson to worry about attacks from the
degraded British Labour party, whose ethical collapse is becoming daily more
evident to all with eyes to see. Jeremy Corbyn was the willing and paid servant
of Press TV, the state propaganda network of an Iran whose proxies now threaten
Idlib. Nothing, not Iran’s record in Syria, nor its treatment of women, ethnic
minorities and gays, could shake his dog-like devotion. His spokesman Seumas
Milne flew to Russia in 2014 to abase himself before Putin and tried to spread
conspiracy theories about the Salisbury chemical attack.
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