this Jan. 22, 2019, photo, a girl walks past a poster of Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, at a mosque where he made speeches, in northern Tehran, Iran. The
memory of Khomeini, who died in 1989 at the age of 86, looms large over Tehran
today. His image is on bank notes and in textbooks in Iran, often as an
embodiment of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that swept aside the country’s shah
and forever changed the nation. (Photo: Vahid Salemi / AP)
Migration to Relations with Islam, Pope Francis Sets Catholic Reform Agenda
Says Execution Can Proceed Without Imam Present
for Religious Affairs Says Govt Striving To Make Country Islamic Welfare State
and Kashmir: Militants Kill Woman, Put Video Up On Social Media
Conservative Muslims Reject Anti-Rape Bill Over 'Pro-Adultery, LGBT' Concerns
Marks 40th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution
Haram Extremist Group Kills At Least 60 in Nigeria Attack
Ilhan Omar Says ‘Don’t Mind’ GOP Representative Calling Her ‘Anti-Semitic’
Are Losing a Generation of Children In Yemen: UNICEF
shows UK arms sales to Saudis during Yemen war had no limits
voices strong support for Turkey's EU bid
Reportedly Moves To Canada; Protests Hit Pakistan
company ready to invest $250m in Pakistan
detained as police use batons, tear gas to disperse violent TLP protest in
acting chief arrested from Charsadda
charges to remain in Fahad Malik murder case
on Students Islamic Movement of India extended for another 5 years
encounter: Two militants killed in early morning operation
arrests accused in 2006 Kozhikode twin blasts case
person deported by Saudi Arabia in one week; arrested by NIA
should speak up for Xinjiang's Muslims
Couple In Sabah Breaks Taboos With Piggie Craft For CNY
minister 'certain' church bombers were Indonesian couple
Pakatan failed in Cameron Highlands because they did not work as a coalition
Indonesians carried out Jolo cathedral suicide attack
AG says can rule on Netanyahu corruption cases before election
Saudi Arabia and UAE ask UN to pressure Houthis on ceasefire deal
coalition strikes kill Houthi leader, other fighters in Hajjah
killed, five wounded in attack in southeast Iran
forces shoot, injure 19 Palestinian protesters in West Bank
welcomes new Lebanese govt., vows support
army kills top Boko Haram militant, 3 others
in southern Libya leave 4 people dead: Source
US airstrike kills some 24 al-Shabaab fighters
Libyan soldiers die in first clash of force’s southward push
Controversy, Premier Legault Admits Islamophobia Exists In Quebec
peace talks result of US' military pressure on Taliban: Donald Trump
calls on new Lebanese government to block Hezbollah
Twitter delete accounts linked to Iran, Russia, Venezuela with anti-west
man hand delivers food to Chicago's homeless
Ends All Assistance To Palestinians In West Bank, Gaza
To 50 Militants Killed In Afghan, Coalition Forces Operations
security operations in Kandahar planned to clear it of Taliban, says Afghan
acting Defence Minister
Home Minister Calls On Hefazat Chief Shafi
Rights Watch says Myanmar government using ‘abusive laws’ to punish critics
withdrawal of U.S. troops to increase bloodshed in Afghanistan: Daudzai
forces and Taliban suffer casualties in Sar-e-Pul clashes
reiterates support for Afghanistan peace process led by govt.
Taliban: Trump administration ‘appears serious’ in talks
UAE, Yemen Ask UN to Pressure Houthis
Leader Urges Iraqis to Work with UN Investigation, Testify Against ISIS
on Syria war gains, Hezbollah scores political win
Sends Hundreds of Special Forces to Northern Syria
Army Destroys Tahrir Al-Sham's Command Centres in Hama, Idlib
‘Centre of al-Awamiyah’ injects fresh hope in Saudi Arabia’s al-Qatif
admits it has killed up to 18 civilians in Mosul air raid
by New Age Islam News Bureau
migration to relations with Islam, Pope Francis sets Catholic reform agenda
institution with roots that stretch back 2,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church
is in a watershed era as it faces the internal challenge of reform and external
pressures of deepening global divisions.
observers see the major themes of Pope Francis’s tenure as his outreach to
Islam, an appeal for social justice and the need to tackle abuse allegations as
he overhauls the Church’s hierarchy.
pontiff’s visit to the UAE is a symbolically significant act of outreach to a
substantial slice of the global population.
travelling to the Arabian Peninsula, Pope Francis is playing to the strengths
of his papacy.
the start, Pope Francis struck a starkly different pose when addressing
relations with Islamic institutions and beliefs. Whereas Pope Benedict XVI, the
Pope Emeritus, stoked dark fears, Pope Francis has made openness and mutual
understanding his hallmark.
Francis had a chance to make his mark almost as soon as he ascended to the
papal throne, as Europe opened its borders to the millions of refugees fleeing
the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS in the region.
a time when fear of the other ignited a rise in nationalist politics, Pope
Francis stood for welcoming the newcomers and called for refugees to be
accommodated as equals, with human dignity at the forefront.
backing the Catholic institutions that were offering help to those seeking new
lives, he took risks to ensure that the Vatican’s message of compassion was
heard. “In some respects the migrant crisis in Europe at that time put him at
odds with the populist movements and governments that were emerging,” said
David Gibson, director of the Centre for Religion and Culture at Fordham
University, New York.
been misrepresented as having a position of ‘open all the borders and let
everyone come in’ but instead what he stands for is a radical openness and of
the idea of welcoming all the people who do come.”
power of the migrant issue to change Europe is now well recognised. From the
outset, Pope Francis set his own agenda. For Mr Gibson the pontiff is a
reformist force not seen for decades.
really is his fundamental contribution – picking up on the promises of opening
up the Church to the world that were seen in the 1960s,” said Mr Gibson.
to go back to them but also not to try to recover a lost Christendom or revive
an old Catholic culture or institutions.
Francis is about trying to meet people where they are in life and to engage
with different ways of being. He has charted a new course.” The man born Jorge
Mario Bergoglio has addressed the issues of inequality, climate change and
a time when populist politics are on the rise, not only in Europe and America
but also left-leaning bastions such as Brazil, Pope Francis provides a
sympathetic voice not always heard from the Vatican.
Pope’s messages have been very important, particularly in his rejection of the
nationalist politics that preys on people’s fears,” said one veteran Vatican
as we will see in the trip to the UAE, he has prioritised issues like the
protection of Christians in the Middle East and with his travels demonstrates
his wish to learn from and grow relations with Islam.
going to Morocco in March and has been to Jordan and Egypt.”
with a body of ageing priests and dwindling congregations, Pope Francis is
thought by some to be contemplating radical steps, including the introduction
of women deacons.
follows a style of leadership in which the deliberative skills of discernment
are summarised in three stages: see, judge and act.
does not see himself as the chief executive of the Catholic Church,” said
Thomas Reese, an American priest and author. “He has a great respect for
collegiality, the belief that the Pope should not act like an absolute monarch.
his first synod of bishops, he encouraged the bishops to speak boldly and not
be afraid to disagree with him.”
says execution can proceed without imam present
Alabama: A federal judge on Friday ruled that a Muslim inmate’s scheduled
lethal injection can proceed next week without an imam present but said Alabama
must keep a Christian prison chaplain out of the execution chamber.
District Judge Keith Watkins denied a stay requested by Dominique Ray, 42. Ray
is scheduled to be executed Feb. 7 for the 1995 fatal stabbing of 15-year-old
says his religious rights are being violated because Alabama has a Christian
prison chaplain present at lethal injections, but will not let him have an imam
in the room with him as the lethal drugs are administered.
lawyers argued that he has the same right to religious comfort in his final
moments as a Christian inmate.
said for security reasons the state can limit death chamber access to prison
judge ordered the state to keep the prison chaplain out of the death chamber
during Ray’s execution. The state already said it was willing to do so.
inmates in Alabama can visit with their spiritual adviser before their
execution and have the person witness the procedure through the glass window of
an adjoining room. However, only the prison chaplain and a correctional officer
are in the room with the inmate during the lethal injection procedure.
chaplain will sometimes kneel and pray with an inmate who is strapped to a
records indicate that Ray is appealing.
lawyers are also seeking a new trial, saying prosecutors did not disclose
records that showed a key witness was suffering from symptoms of schizophrenia
before he testified against Ray.
disappeared from her Selma home in July 1995. Her decomposing body was found in
a field a month later.
was convicted in 1999 after co-defendant Marcus Owden told police that they had
picked the girl up for a night out on the town and then raped her. Owden said
Ray cut the girl’s throat and they also took the girl’s purse, which had $6 or
$7 in it.
pleaded guilty to murder, testified against Ray and is serving a life sentence
For Religious Affairs Says Govt Striving To Make Country Islamic Welfare State
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said on Friday that the
government was striving to develop the country on the model of the Madina
was addressing as chief guest at a seminar on “Religious Concept of Madina
of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz presided over the seminar.
Benazir Bhutto Women University Vice-Chancellor Dr Razia Sultana, Dr Khadeeja
Aziz, Prof Shamsul Haq, Prof Dr Shamsul Haq, Bahadur Khan Shinwari and others
said the concept of Madina State was the underlying essence of the concept of
Islamic Welfare State.
said the Madina State that established was by our beloved Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him) furnished us with the concept and principles of a true
welfare state. The minister said that one could find the notions of religious
and economic freedom besides a guarantee for peaceful coexistence in the Madina
State. He said Islam is the religion that fulfills the criteria to ensure equal
rights for the whole humanity including women and children on the basis of
parity, adding that even the Jews of Madina were given rights.
25-year-old woman was shot at point-blank range and killed in the Sugam area of
Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian. According to J&K police, militants shot the
woman, identified as Ishrat Muneer, and recorded the incident on video before
circulating it on social media.
dead body was retrieved by police from Dragad area of Zainapora in Shopian
district. She has been identified as Ishrat Muneer, daughter of Muneer Ahmad
Dar, resident of Dangerpora, Pulwama,” police said in a statement.
sources said Muneer was kidnapped while returning from a computer class in
Pulwama and brought to Shopian, where she was killed. She was related to
militant group Al-Badr’s Valley chief Zeenat-ul-Islam, who had been killed in
an encounter with security forces on January 14 at Yaripora, Kulgam.
was his cousin and may have been killed for her alleged involvement in his
killing,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express.
had formerly been associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), and the
involvement of HM militants is being suspected in the incident.
incident came to light after a video of a woman being shot twice from close
range surfaced on social media late on Thursday night. In the video, the woman
is seen with her hands folded, a backpack by her side. The first shot was fired
inches from her body, from the impact of which she fell on her side, before she
was shot again.
have registered a case and have initiated an investigation. “Police
investigation is focused on some credible leads and it is expected the culprits
shall be brought before the law,” police said.
passing of a bill on sexual violence, which has been deliberated on by the
House of Representatives since 2016, is at risk of being delayed again, this
time by those who consider it to be "pro-adultery" and “pro-LGBT
[lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender]” by omission.
bill was first proposed after the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in
Bengkulu in 2016 and gained traction again at the end of last year as the case
of Baiq Nuril, a sexual harassment victim in West Nusa Nusa Tenggara (NTB) who
was convicted for defaming her alleged harassed, came to light.
calls for the House to quickly pass the bill gained lawmakers’ attention and
House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said in his speech opening the current
legislative session earlier this month that the House would prioritize passing
still have a lot of work to do to complete the bill and [eradicate] sexual
violence, which has recently been in the public spotlight,” he said at the
while concerns have been raised over whether lawmakers can work effectively in
the lead-up to the 2019 General Elections, the bill has met another possible
hurdle to its enactment into law: conservative criticism.
Herawati, a Padjajaran University lecturer who previously gained attention by
starting an online petition demanding the ban of an ad featuring South Korean
girlband BLACKPINK, started another petition on change.org on Friday, calling
on the House to reject the “pro-adultery” bill.
idea that women should be given the legal power to protect themselves is good,
but there is a gap that was deliberately made to allow [loopholes],” the
petition said. “There is no regulation on sexual crimes, such as sexual
relations that violate moral and religious norms.”
her petition, which has been signed by 120,000 people, Maimon further argues
that the bill was incompatible with local norms as it allowed consensual sexual
relations outside of marriage and criminalized marital rape.
a husband could be prosecuted if he touches his wife when the wife does not
want to be touched,” she warns.
Sunarti, a Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) professor who, along with the
Family Love Alliance (AILA), previously petitioned the Constitutional Court
(MK) to criminalize homosexual relationships, has expressed similar sentiments
to the House’s Commission VIII, which is deliberating the bill.
Indonesians do not want to separate a criminal act from the social norms that
govern it,” she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “For example, the bill
criminalizes forced prostitution but doesn’t say anything about prostitution
itself, when our social norms are clearly against prostitution.”
National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), which helped
compose the bill, said it welcomed opinions from all members of the public but
argued that critics did not understand the intention of the bill.
hope that we can meet with them to discuss the bill, because I’m sure that no
woman would be against eradicating sexual violence,” Commissioner Mariana
Amiruddin told the Post.
said the bill was crafted to protect the interests of victims of sexual
violence and provide them with a legal instrument to enforce their rights.
like adultery and sexual morality are already included in the KUHP [Criminal
Code] bill,” she said. “This bill is the only one that looks out for the
Siregar of Forum Pengada Layanan (FPL), a non-governmental organization that
provides advocacy for victims of sexual violence across the country, echoed
articles in the bill are consistent with our experience in accompanying and
advocating for victims,” she said, adding that she hoped the recent criticism
would not affect the House’s commitment to pass the bill.
recent conversations and meetings with the bill’s working committee have been
productive,” she said. “Hopefully, the petition will not change that.”
petition highlights the ongoing culture war between conservative Indonesians
and their relatively more liberal fellow countrymen over the issue of sexuality
and individual freedom.
PA and AILA, for instance, are at odds over whether the state should
criminalize any types of sexual relations outside of marriage.
Party lawmaker and Commission VIII member Sodik Mudjahid said deliberations on
the antirape bill were still on course and would intensify after the elections
protests occur because of a lack of clarity in the process and details of the
draft bill,” he told the Post. “We will invite more members of civil society to
gather more suggestions later.”
added that the bill focused on protecting and rehabilitating victims of
violence and did not discuss matters such as adultery and LGBT relations.
if there are articles that leave room for the legalization of adultery, of course
we will change that and close the gap,” he said.
marks 40th anniversary of Islamic Revolution
is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution that toppled the
US-backed shah, overturned 2,500 years of monarchical rule and brought
hard-line Shiite clerics to power.
anniversary starts every year on February 1 - the day Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini in 1979 returned from France after 14 years in exile to become the
supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
the country on Friday, sirens rang out from trains and boats and church bells
chimed at 9:33 am. - the exact time Khomeini’s chartered Air France Boeing 747
touched down 40 years ago at Tehran’s International Mehrabad airport.
10-day anniversary festivities, known as the “Ten Days of Dawn,” end on
February 11, the date Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s government collapsed.
Haram extremist group kills at least 60 in Nigeria attack
Haram has killed at least 60 people in a “devastating” attack on the
northeastern Nigeria border town of Rann, Amnesty International said Friday,
calling it one of the deadliest assaults by the extremist group in its nearly
on motorcycles drove through the town near the Cameroon border on Monday
morning, setting houses on fire and killing people left behind, the
international rights group said in a series of Twitter posts.
fighters also chased residents fleeing the “massive attack” and killed several
published satellite imagery that it said showed “hundreds of burned
structures.” Many likely served as shelters for displaced people who had
arrived in recent months seeking protection. Most of Rann is “now destroyed,”
the group said.
attack came as Nigeria faces what it has called an extremist resurgence, posing
a serious challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks re-election in
two weeks’ time.
administration once claimed Boko Haram had been “crushed” or “technically defeated,”
while the military has faced questions over low morale and support.
also was attacked in mid-January, sending at least 9,000 people fleeing to
Cameroon, according to aid agencies.
than 30,000 joined them across the border in late January, the United Nations
refugee agency said. Thousands more fled to nearby Chad, the refugee agency
people were in a state of shock and were clearly distressed by what they had
witnessed. Now they have lost all that they have and need absolutely everything,”
Hugues Robert, the Nigeria program director for Doctors Without Borders, said
following the mid-January attack.
nurse with the medical charity said the normally bustling town was “like a
graveyard” following that attack. “There was still smoke drifting in the sky
and the fires were still burning in places,” Isa Sadq Bwala said. “All that’s
left are piles of ashes.”
Rann has played a tragic role in Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.
January 2017, Nigeria’s air force mistakenly launched an airstrike on a refugee
camp in the town because it said the camp was not appropriately marked as a
humanitarian base on its maps. Officials and community leaders said between 100
and 236 people were killed.
March of last year, three workers for United Nations agencies were among 11
people killed in a Boko Haram attack on a military base in Rann.
health workers were abducted. Two have since been killed despite urgent pleas
from the aid community to spare their lives.
Ilhan Omar says ‘don’t mind’ GOP representative calling her ‘anti-semitic’
Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York gave one new colleague a less-than-warm welcome on
Tuesday, leading to a bizarre scene played out over Twitter this week, the
Huffington Post reported.
to watch what House Dems are empowering/elevating,” he said of Rep. Ilhan Omar,
a Muslim Democrat from Minnesota who will join him on the House Foreign
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, where he is the ranking member.
response came a day later, when NPR commentator Arsalan Iftikhar called out
Zeldin for posting an “Islamophobic dog whistle.”
mind him,” Omar told Iftikhar, “he is just waking up to the reality of having
Muslim women as colleagues who know how to stand up to bullies!”
then issued another tweet, this time directly attacking Omar for her foreign
policy views. The freshman congresswoman, a critic of the Israeli government,
has drawn the ire of conservatives attempting to paint her views as
anti-Semitic. This week was no different after she said Americans should not be
afraid to criticize Israeli policies, as Americans often criticize those of
Iran ― another state with overt religious values.
poor innocent ISIS fighters & Palestinian terrorists right? Give me a
break! That’s a problem no matter your religion or gender Ilhan,” Zeldin wrote.
continued, “Your anti-Semitic & anti-Israel hate is strong & wrong
& those terrorists have US blood on their hands as well.”
Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has inspired similar criticisms from the right ―
particularly when she rejected a traditional trip to Israel for newly elected
members of Congress and suggested lawmakers visit the West Bank Palestinian
territory. Tlaib and Omar were elected as the nation’s first Muslim
congresswomen in November.
and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) would like members of their chamber to pass a formal
resolution against anti-Semitism in the US ― which has spiked with the rise in
far-right ideology ― tying it to what they call “a growing incidence of
anti-Semitic rhetoric and association with anti-Semitic leaders from some
Democrat Members of Congress.”
House passed a formal resolution condemning white supremacy this month, after
the white supremacist Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wondered aloud why the hateful
ideology was wrong.
are losing a generation of children in Yemen: UNICEF
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has expressed
concern about the humanitarian conditions of Yemeni children, warning about the
formation of a "lost generation".
than half a million children have been forced to leave their homes in the past
six months, most of which have fled a major Saudi-led military onslaught on
Yemen's port city of Hudaydah during July and August, said the Yemen director
of UNICEF, Meritxell Relano, on Thursday.
no access to education and withstanding an increased risk of disease and
hunger, Relano highlighted some of the conflict's long-term effects on the
education they will not be able to find jobs... a generation that is not
educated has a very bleak future,” said the UNICEF director.
are losing a generation - many children are losing on their education, and
displacement makes it worse.”
Save the Children charity reports that despite an ongoing ceasefire in
Hudaydah, thousands of families are still fleeing the city in fear of a renewed
Saudi siege. Many are struggling to afford basic items like food, fuel and
forced to flee their homes often have to live in unsanitary and cramped
conditions in camps or host communities with little access to clean drinking
water or nutritious food,” said Save the Children spokesman Bhanu Bhatnagar.
added that children are specifically vulnerable towards malnutrition, diarrhea,
cholera, and diphtheria -- a serious bacterial infection that spreads as easily
as a common cold. As much as 89 percent of Yemen's diphtheria deaths are
related to children who are under 14.
Arabia and its allies unleashed the deadly military aggression against Yemen in
March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-allied
Houthi Ansarullah movement, which runs state affairs in Sana’a in the absence
of an effective government, has been defending the nation against the Saudi
June last year, the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on Hudaydah
despite international warnings that it would compound the country’s
is known to be the point of entry for 80 percent of the country’s commercial
imports and nearly all UN-supervised humanitarian aid.
Saudi-led offensive has destroyed Yemen's infrastructure and led to famine in
the import-dependent state.
highly critical report has found extensive flaws in the British government’s
arms sales strategy, urging a reduction in weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and
other states involved in war crimes and human rights abuses.
report was based on analysis of the Yemen conflict and submitted to the UK
parliament’s watchdog on arms sales.
of the study by Control Arms UK, a coalition of non-governmental organizations,
published on Thursday in the Guardian newspaper, showed that the British
government authorized 18,107 open license deliveries of arms and dual-purpose
equipment to Saudi Arabia between 2015 and 2017.
study said there were no requirements in the contracts for disclosure of the
quantities or value of the weapons involved which technically enabled the
British government to swamp the Saudis with various types of heavy weaponry
during the war on Yemen. Roy Isbister, a joint author of the report, said those
open license contracts could range from a simple spare part for a military
aircraft to 20 fighter jets valued more than two billion pounds.
we talking a few nuts and bolts, or containers full of critical fighter
aircraft components? We don’t know, and the government won’t tell. It’s not
good enough, not by a long shot,” Isbister said, adding, “The reporting on the
use of open licenses is wholly inadequate, as the type and quantities of equipment
are a mystery.”
damning report comes against the backstop of previous studies proving that
London has been a major complicit in Saudi Arabia’s massive human rights
violations in Yemen.
decades, Britain has been a main supplier of modern arms and weapons to Saudi
Arabia. However, rights campaigners have urged a revision of the policy since
Riyadh started an illegal, multi-pronged war on its impoverished southern
the European Union’s current term president, on Friday voiced strong support
for Turkey's bid to join the bloc.
will do our utmost to succeed and to give a very clear signal about the
importance we are attaching to the negotiation process for Turkey's accession
to the EU,” Teodor Melescanu, Romania’s foreign minister, told reporters when
asked about Turkey's EU bid.
remarks came at a press conference after Gymnich, an informal meeting of
foreign ministers of EU member and candidate countries, in Bucharest on Friday.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu represented Ankara at the meeting.
alongside EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Melescanu said an
EU-Turkey Association Council meeting in Brussels on May 15 will focus on the
functioning of the Association Council between Turkey and the Union.
member countries' ties with China and developments in Macedonia, Venezuela, and
Syria were other topics addressed at the gathering.
is clear from all the data that the People's Republic of China remains the main
economic partner of the European states," said Melescanu.
the recent agreement between Greece and Macedonia to rename the latter, ending
a nearly 30-year dispute, Melescanu said that he expects the renamed Republic
of North Macedonia to be invited to join the EU when the deal is final.
candidate countries were also invited to the second part of the talks on
applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
reportedly moves to Canada; protests hit Pakistan
of religious parties on Friday staged protests in major cities over the Supreme
Court’s (SC) verdict to uphold the acquittal of Aasia Bibi while reports
circulating in foreign media claim that the Christian woman, who was sentenced
to death in a blasphemy case, has reunited with her family in Canada.
has arrived in Canada with her husband, German media reported Friday, quoting
is united with her family,” Aasia’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook told the German
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. She had earlier accepted the offer of
asylum made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
two daughters already live in Canada. The lawyer did not disclose any further
details about Aasia’s departure from Pakistan, citing security reasons. It was
previously reported that she could not leave her native country aboard a
was arrested in June 2009 on the complaints of her neighbours. A year later,
she was sentenced to death despite strong opposition from human rights groups.
Pakistan (TLP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) held protests in the
capital to voice their demands against the acquittal of Aasia.
JUI-F workers gathered outside the Islamabad Press Club while Section-144 was
imposed in the capital after threats of possible protests by Labbaik.
were deployed on all entry points of Islamabad along with heavy contingents of
police. The locals were asked to avoid unnecessary travel.
Karachi, the police resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge to disperse
protesting activists of the TLP, officials and witnesses said.
least 50 TLP workers were detained as the protesters demonstrated against the
Supreme Court’s recent decision.
a protest call issued by the party, several TLP workers first started gathering
at Sharfabad signal near Bahadurabad soon after Friday prayers.
East Amir Farooqi said the police had already asked the party to desist from
holding any protests. The officer claimed that the religious party’s workers
pelted stones on moving vehicles, damaging the windows of many of them. They
also allegedly damaged a police mobile.
police used baton charge and tear gas to disperse them,” he said.
Farooqi confirmed that a total of 50 TLP workers were arrested after the
violent protest was brought to an end.
police will register a case against them under Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism
Act (ATA) over charges of terror and rioting as they resorted to pelting
stones, and damaged private and public vehicles,” the senior official revealed.
addition to Friday’s arrests, DIG Farooqi said 22 TLP workers were arrested
from Korangi and six others from Gulistan-i-Jauhar area on Thursday night.
officials revealed that 12 more TLP workers were detained in the city’s West
zone on Friday morning.
1,500-2,000 TLP activists held a separate protest outside the Karachi Press
Club (KPC) which resulted in prolonged traffic jams on the adjoining roads.
Maidan SHO Agha Aslam Pathan said no untoward incident was reported and the
protesters dispersed from KPC peacefully.
a TLP spokesperson claimed that the party had planned a “peaceful” protest
march from Bahadurabad to KPC but that the police subjected their workers to
“executive highhandedness” to foil their protest.
hundreds of workers reached the press club and held a peaceful demonstration,”
to reports, Sindh Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi had issued several orders,
including the detention of TLP workers for 30 days under Section 3 (1) of the
West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) of 1960.
to the detention order, the TLP members were “in the habit [of] harass[ing] the
general public and instigating mobs against the honourable Supreme Court of
Pakistan in the judgEment of Aasia Bibi case and challenging the writ of the
state by blocking public thoroughfares, damaging public property and creating
panic among the masses”.
the TLP workers, if not detained under the relevant law, will “create [an
adverse] law and order situation and cause harassment amongst the general
public, which will become [a] potential danger to public peace”, according to
Sindh Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam had recommended to the
Sindh government to detain TLP workers for 30 days under MPO 1960, the orders
A Malaysia-based company has pledged to make $250 million investment in the
telecommunication sector in Pakistan during next five years.
Edotco Group chairman of the board of directors, Datuk Azzat Kamaluddin, made
this commitment during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan along with a
delegation at Prime Minister Office (PMO) on Friday.
to the media cell of the PMO, Mr Kamaluddin told the prime minister that the
Edotco Group, with the existing investment of $100m in Pakistan, planned to
further increase its investment in tower infrastructure in the
telecommunication sector. “The group plans to add an investment of $250m in
next five years,” he said.
delegation included Nik Ramlah Nik Mehmood, the board member, Suresh Narain
Singh Sidhu, CEO, and Arif Hussain, country MD. High Commissioner of Malaysia
Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim also attended the meeting.
Edotco Group chief appreciated the vision of Prime Minister Khan and the
policies being pursued by his government which have restored confidence of the
investors. He said that the Edotco Group wanted to become a partner in the
Digital Pakistan Programme.
prime minister, welcoming the delegation, said that all possible facilitation
would be provided to the group in expansion of its business ventures in
highlighted various steps being taken by the government to improve ease of
doing business and ensure investor-friendly environment in the country.
a separate meeting Zhang Chun, chairman, board of directors, China Machinery
Engineering Corporation, and Huang Daoyuan, head of Huan D.R. Group, called on
Prime Minister Khan.
Zhang briefed the prime minister on various projects his company has undertaken
in Pakistan in the past, most notably in the energy sector. He also spoke about
the progress of work on 1263MW power plant in Jhang which is near completion.
Zhangand Mr Huang expressed keen interest in making investments in the Naya
Pakistan Housing Programme and agriculture sector.
the federal government has asked the provinces to furnish proposals aimed at
revival of crippling agriculture sector and getting better yield of crops.
proposals were sought at meeting on agriculture and food processing chaired by
the prime minister. He urged the provincial governments to send proposals based
on their problems in a week to boost up agriculture production in the country.
after passage of 18th Amendment in 2010, like many other subjects, agriculture
has also become a provincial subject and does not come under the domain of the
federal government. However, international agreements with other countries are
made at the federal government’s level.
prime minister also urged the provinces to help increase export of agricultural
products to generate more revenue. “The provincial governments must point out
the hurdles and impediments coming in the way of export of agricultural products,”
Minister Khan was told that China was ready to provide technical support while
some countries in the Middle East had agreed to extend financial support for
revival of agriculture sector.
provinces should also give proposals how Pakistan can take advantage of
technical support from China and financial support from Middle East countries,”
the prime minister said.
said during his recent visit to China, Chinese authorities had assured him of
their technical assistance to Pakistan in agriculture sector so that Pakistan
could enhance its agricultural production by working on modern lines.
has been learnt that China is conducting research on Pakistani wheat, with the
focus on yield increase through hybrid technology or other means.
Minister Khan held another meeting with members of the National Assembly from
Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan and vowed to solve basic problems confronting the
people of the two cities.
the meeting, the MNAs apprised the prime minister about problems of their
prime minister said brining real “change” in the life of people of the country
was included in the priorities in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf manifesto.
government will further enhance its plans in Khyber Pakhtunkwa to bring real
change and provide better health, education and other facilities to the
people,” he added.
prime minister stressed the need for improvement in tourism sector and said:
“KP has a big potential of tourism which can help stable the country’s
on Friday resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge to disperse protesting
activists of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in Karachi, officials and
least 50 TLP workers were detained as the protesters demonstrated against the
Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, a
Christian woman who spent eight years wrongfully accused on death row in a
East Amir Farooqi told Dawn that police had already asked the party to desist
from holding any protests.
officer claimed that the religious party's workers pelted stones on moving vehicles,
damaging the windows of many of them. They also allegedly damaged a police
addition to Friday's arrests, DIG Farooqi said 22 TLP workers were arrested
from Korangi and six others from Gulistan-i-Jauhar area on Thursday night.
sources revealed that 12 more TLP workers were detained in the city's West zone
on Friday morning.
around 1,500-2,000 activists of TLP also held a protest outside the Karachi
Press Club (KPC) which resulted in prolonged traffic jams on the adjoining
a TLP spokesperson told Dawn that the party had planned a "peaceful"
protest march from Bahadurabad to KPC but that the police subjected their
workers to "executive highhandedness" to foil their protest.
hundreds of workers reached the press club and held a peaceful
demonstration," he added.
sources revealed that Sindh Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi had today issued
several orders, including the detention of TLP workers for 30 days under
Section 3 (1) of the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) of 1960.
to the detention order, the TLP members were “in the habit [of] harass[ing] the
general public and instigating mobs against the honourable Supreme Court of
Pakistan in the judgment of Aasia Bibi case and challenging the writ of the
state by blocking public thoroughfares, damaging public property and creating
panic among the masses”.
the TLP workers, if not detained under the relevant law, will “create [an
adverse] law and order situation and cause harassment amongst the general
public, which will become [a] potential danger to public peace”, the orders
issued by the home secretary said.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) absconding acting chief Dr Shafiq Ameeni was
arrested from Charsadda’s Umarzai area on Friday, police said.
District Police Officer (DPO) Irfanullah confirmed that Dr Ameeni was arrested
during a protest rally held against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi – a Christian
woman accused of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death – by the Supreme
suspect was wanted in connection with motorway blockage and an anti-government
sit-in, among other cases relating to rioting and inflicting losses to the
national exchequer, according to police.
absconder was arrested while leading the protest rally, DPO Irfan added.
TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader Pir Afzal Qadri and others are in
detention, Ameeni was serving as the party’s acting chief.
Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed an appeal to remove terrorism charges
from the murder case of Barrister Fahad Malik. The court ruled in favour of
keeping Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the murder case of the Islamabad
based lawyer murdered on Margalla Road three years ago. The deceased was
working as a lawyer to reach a compromise between two parties when he was
allegedly murdered by accused Noman Khokhar, Raja Arshad and Hashim Khan. Last
year in July, the Islamabad High Court set aside anti-terrorism court (ATC)’s
directives to remove terrorism charges and transfer Barrister Fahad Malik
murder case to a district and sessions court. Previously, Anti-Terrorism Court
Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi had accepted a plea from the accused for removing
terrorism clauses from the FIR.
Syed Qayam Ali
Delhi: The government has decided to continue its ban on the Students Islamic
Movement of India (SIMI) for another five years for indulging in “subversive
a January 31 notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that SIMI
“has been indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to the security of the
country and have the potential of disturbing the peace and communal harmony and
disrupting the secular fabric of the country”.
MHA said that if the “unlawful activities” of SIMI are not curbed and
controlled immediately, it will take the opportunity to continue its subversive
activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding, disrupt the
secular fabric of the country by “polluting” the minds of the people by
creating communal disharmony.
government stated that SIMI might continue to propagate anti-national
sentiments, escalate secessionism by supporting militancy and undertake
activities which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country.
activists and their known associates have been tried and convicted for a range
of criminal activities like the killing of police officials, bomb blasts,
jailbreaks, harbouring terrorists, etc. The group, founded in Aligarh in 1977,
was first banned in 2001 and has been outlawed several times since, the last
time being February 2014.
militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir’s
Pulwama district early on Friday morning.
J&K Police official said security forces launched a cordon and search
operation (CASO) late on Thursday evening in Drabgam village. During the
search, militants opened fire at security forces. Two militants were killed
when personnel retaliated.
police are trying to ascertain the identities of the militants and their
the search operation was going on, hiding terrorists fired on the search party.
The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the official said.
Jammu and Kashmir Police tweeted, “Two terrorists killed in the #Pulwama
operation. Identity and affiliation being ascertained. Arms and ammunition
National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested an accused in the 2006
Kozhikode twin blasts following his arrival from Saudi Arabia.
Yoosaf, 36, was arrested by the agency after a manhunt lasting over a decade as
he fled to Saudi Arabia after the blasts. Yoosaf’s is the second arrest in the
case in the last 10 days – last week, NIA had arrested his associate Mohammed
Ashar after he landed in India from Saudi Arabia.
Kozhikode blast was a rare case where the accused informed the city
collectorate and the media about the location of the bombs after planting them
and before they could explode.
has already filed a chargesheet in the case against eight accused, including
Yoosaf and Ashar, and two of the accused have also been convicted and sentenced
to life imprisonment by a special court.
to NIA, Yoosaf’s is among the key accused in the twin blasts that left two
people injured. He had not only helped assemble the IEDs, but had also planted
one of the bombs at a bust stand.
Delhi: A week after Saudi Arabia deported a Calicut twin bomb blasts accused –
Mohammad Ashar, the gulf nation sent another accused –Yoosaf who had taken
was arrested by National Investigation Agency on Friday upon his arrival at IGI
airport in Delhi and taken into custody.
resident of Kannur district in Kerala, Yoosaf was involved in the March 2006
twin blasts conspiracy in Calicut (now Kozhikode) alongwith the mastermind T
Naseer and Safas.
agency had taken over the investigation of the cases on December 18, 2009 and
chargesheet was filed against eight accused persons, including P. P. Yoosaf on
August 1, 2010.
was revealed during probe that Yoosaf had participated in the criminal
conspiracy to carry out IED blasts in Kozhikode City, in protest over the
denial of bail to Muslim accused persons involved in the Marad communal riots
of 2003 at Kozhikode district.
NIA says, along with the recently deported accused Ashar, had assisted T Naseer
in preparing the IEDs and had planted the same at bus stands in Kozhikode city.
Chinese government has been on the offensive in recent weeks, dismissing claims
of one million unlawful detentions and other human rights abuses against Turkic
Muslims in Xinjiang in northwest China. In December, Beijing invited diplomats
and journalists from mostly non-Western countries on a “guided tour” of
Xinjiang, including visits to selected “political education” camps. Chinese
state media portrayed the visit as a success, saying that the diplomats —
including from Indonesia — had been “impressed” by these facilities.
does that rhetoric accurately reflect Jakarta’s position? And is Indonesia going to defend persecuted
Muslims in China as it did for those in Myanmar?
the past two years, United Nations bodies and human rights groups have reported
on Chinese government abuses in the name of fighting “religious extremism and
terrorism.” Human Rights Watch has used witness accounts and Chinese government
documents to detail arbitrary detention, political indoctrination, mass
surveillance, and severe restrictions on religious practice and movement
throughout the region.
example, we published an official list of “75 behavioral indicators of
religious extremism,” which reveals that the Chinese authorities consider
suspect people who “store large amounts of food in their homes” and who “smoke
and drink but quit doing so suddenly.”
France-Presse also examined over 1,000 procurement documents issued by
Xinjiang’s “political education” camp authorities and found that they were
purchasing cattle prods, stun guns, and spiked clubs. These findings stand in
stark contrast to the Chinese government’s claims that people held in these
camps are “trainees” who had volunteered their time to learn a trade.
far, the Indonesian government’s public response to this human rights crisis
has been lackluster. Facing pressure from several Muslim groups to speak up
about Xinjiang, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry summoned China’s ambassador to
Indonesia, relaying its concerns and asking the ambassador to communicate
directly with Indonesian Muslim groups. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government
maintains its official line on Xinjiang: that Jakarta “would not interfere” in
China’s “domestic affairs.”
Xinjiang crisis is symptomatic of the deepening repression across China under
President Xi Jinping, who assumed power in 2013. In March 2018, Xi scrapped
term limits for the presidency and restructured the central government
bureaucracy to give the Chinese Communist Party—and himself—greater power.
Indonesia engages with the Chinese government’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road”
infrastructure plan, it should be wary of this powerful neighbor whose policy
toward minorities displays a disturbing mix of racism, Islamophobia, and
broad-based repression both within and beyond its borders.
government officials should speak up for Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, both
publicly and privately with senior Chinese government officials, not only
because the violations are egregious, but also because Indonesia’s advocacy can
be particularly effective coming from a multicultural Asian country. Indonesia
can also be a champion among other Muslim-majority countries at the
Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and puncture the Chinese
government’s claim that criticisms about Xinjiang is a Western conspiracy.
Indonesian government should join other governments at the upcoming March
session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to press for
independent access to Xinjiang. Although the OIC announced on Twitter on Jan.
20 that it will visit Xinjiang, it has provided few details. The Indonesian
government should take all necessary steps to ensure that the visit will be
with other concerned governments, Indonesia should establish an international
coalition to maintain pressure on Beijing over Xinjiang. Even a “quiet”
diplomacy focus should at least include a push for the release of wrongfully
detained Muslim scholars and intellectuals.
less robust approach risks creating the perception that Indonesia can be pushed
to abandon its principles when defending them is difficult.
Wang is senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
JAYA, Feb 1 — In Sabah, a Muslim couple became an instant hit on social media
for selling pig-shaped artwork at the Jesselton Artisan Market last week,
according to Sin Chew Daily.
the criticism levelled against 32-year-old Adam Baderun and Yuslina Badrum for
marketing pig-shaped artwork to their customers in violation of Islamic
teachings, a number of Sabahans have been supportive of the couple including
former state tourism, culture and environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
told the Chinese daily that the artwork designed by him and his studio’s
creative director, Alicesia Pilus, was created to complement this year’s
Chinese zodiac animal, the pig.
me, I am not exposed to pigs, pork or any pig-related products. I am merely
selling pig-shaped artwork. I do not think there is a problem or whether it
is just made with acrylic and plywood. It is not a real pig at all. It is to
supplement the art market’s theme and Chinese New Year artwork. I really don’t
understand what the problem is,” he was quoted as saying.
CEO & Co Art Studio’s creative director, he pointed out that they have
designed several pig-themed artwork including key rings, acrylic furnishings
and boxes in conjunction with the Chinese zodiac animal.
still stick to my religious beliefs and doctrines, but we must have a deeper
understanding of Islamic teachings and what is forbidden.
does not matter whether it is dogs or pigs. Both are created by Allah and since
God created them, there is a natural reason for their existence,” he said.
who worked as a full-time aircraft mechanic, pointed out that his wife is
Kadazan and the couple are both Muslims.
must learn to respect and tolerate each other. There may be disagreements, but
we should seek common ground while keeping any differences to ourselves. If
that fails, it will affect national unity and harmony.
a matter of fact, both of our families have no objection to our approach,” he
told Sin Chew Daily.
former Radio Televisyen Malaysia deejay Chong Keat Aun took to Facebook to
display his creativity by producing a Chinese calligraphy of a sow and her
the Year of the Pig. How can pigs be left out, right? Wishing all a great year
ahead that has Pig in it!” he said in the posting on January 20.
then added another posting on January 26, this time featuring a large painting
that he had done near Petaling Street to the delight of passers-by.
a tea session with my Muslim friend, the question of why there was no
pig-styled imagery appearing in shopping malls despite being this year’s
Chinese zodiac animal emerged.
said many people were ‘afraid’ of causing trouble, to which my friend replied
that this is a cultural and customary right that the nation possessed. As he
spoke, he understood before shaking his head and smiling,” he said.
said he was willing to shoulder the blame for the displayed artwork after
several Chinese people voiced their concerns.
January 28, he posted a picture of him in a Zhu Bajie costume modelled after
the half- human, half-pig character in the Chinese epic Journey to the West.
also thanked Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun for assisting him in applying for
permission from the local authorities to allow him to depict the character in
said although he had received official permission, some conservative Chinese had
advised him to be mindful of the feelings from other groups and not to brazenly
display pig imagery in public.
12 Chinese zodiac animals form a complete list and none should be left out. I
am left wondering, if the other animals can be publicly disseminated, why when
it is the dog and pig’s turn it becomes a problem?
A deadly church bombing that shook the southern Philippines at the weekend was
a suicide attack carried out by an Indonesian couple, with help of an Islamic
State-linked group, the Philippine interior minister said on Friday.
information provided by witnesses and undisclosed sources, Interior Secretary
Eduardo Ano said he was certain that an Indonesian man and wife were behind
Sunday’s attack on the mainly Muslim island of Jolo, which killed 22 people and
wounded more than 100, including civilians and soldiers.
Islamic State group claimed responsibility for what it said were suicide
bombings. Such attacks are almost unheard of in the Philippines.
are Indonesians,” Ano, a former military chief, told CNN Philippines. “I am
certain that they are Indonesians.”
remarks are the latest twist in a probe that has been fraught with inconsistent
and sometimes contradictory accounts from authorities and, according to one
investigator interviewed on television, complicated by a contaminated crime
officials had initially said the two bombs were remote detonated, but by
Tuesday, that changed after President Rodrigo Duterte said it may have been a
suicide bomber, a view supported by his defence minister.
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said bag checks at the entrance to the
church would have made it difficult to plant a bomb there, so a device strapped
to the body was more likely.
to the forensic investigators ... these body parts could belong to two persons:
one inside the church and one outside,” Lorenzana told reporters.
said the couple had received help from Abu Sayyaf, a militant organisation
notorious for kidnappings and extremist factions. He said those who plotted the
attack would have been under the instruction of an operative he said had been
recognised by Islamic State.
violence has rekindled fears about the extent of Islamic State’s influence in
Southeast Asia, and the lure of Mindanao for extremists from Malaysia,
Indonesia and elsewhere.
law has been in place in Mindanao since domestic and foreign fighters dressed
in black outfits overran Marawi City in 2017 and clung on through five months
of air strikes and street battles reminiscent of scenes in Syria and Iraq.
latest violence follow a peaceful Jan. 21 referendum that overwhelmingly
approved autonomy for the predominantly Muslim parts of the Mindanao, following
a peace accord that excluded the Abu Sayyaf.
LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has attributed Pakatan
Harapan’s (PH) defeat in the recent Cameron Highlands by-election to the
failure of its component parties to work effectively together.
a recent interview with Malay Mail, the former Malaysian Bar president said
PH’s candidate M.Manogaran from DAP alone should not be blamed for the defeat.
the seat is a Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold, she said PH can’t be lamenting
that BN had the advantage after PAS collaborated with them.
cannot be just about the candidate. Manogaran did work hard to get to the
ground. But the question is what happened to the party support?
say ‘oh look at BN, look at PAS joining together’. Well isn’t Amanah with you,
Bersatu with you?,” she said referring to PH parties Parti Amanah Negara and
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
failed in Cameron Highlands because they did not work as a coalition and they
can certainly learn one or two things from BN,” she said.
also said PH failed to give a counter narrative when the race card was played
by the federal Opposition to attract Malay voters.
the PAS president came out and said to the Malay voters that the candidate must
be a Muslim, why couldn’t PH give a counter narrative?
was the counter from Amanah? What help did the candidate get from fellow PH
parties? That’s what I want to know,” she said.
from BN’s people skills
stressed that it is high time for PH to start going to the ground to meet
voters instead of expecting the people to come and see them.
gave BN credit for doing that and proving that it was still adept at it.
down there. Start working from the ground and show the people. See that’s what
BN did really well.
their Umno Wanita programmes from those days and former prime minister Datuk
Seri Najib Razak riding four-wheel drive through muddy terrains...they are
really good at those things. Why can’t you pick up some of their efforts?
outreach is good. They (BN) know how to run these elections. So, I would say to
all our ministers in PH, now that they have settled in that they should start
doing this,” she said.
said PH must start now and warned that if they are going to move slowly, the
people are going to forget the reforms they have made.
worry is if they don’t do something in the first two years, in the third year
voters are already looking at the next election. Everybody will forget about
reform and what not.”
will take time. But you got to start you know, because right now you don’t have
more than 4 years, you cannot assume you’re going to come back into power. Use
your sliver of power.”
think Dr M still in BN
also said it is a fact that some voters in the rural areas in Cameron Highlands
still think prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is with BN.
said it was the reality though many people laughed it off when Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail reportedly said that one of the
factors why PH was defeated was because voters believed PH chairman Dr Mahathir
was still with BN. “It is a fact and we shouldn’t have such a situation. The
population is not that huge that we cannot get in touch or ensure everybody is
what I’m trying to say is there is a huge divide between them and that’s not a
good thing,” she said.
broke its losing streak in the past four by-elections since the 14th General
Election when its Orang Asli candidate Ramli Mohd Nor won the Cameron Highlands
parliamentary seat on January 26.
Ramli’s 12,038 votes sweeping 56.18 per cent, BN comfortably retained Cameron
Highlands with a majority of more than 3,000 votes.
Two Indonesian suicide bombers, helped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), carried
out the Jan. 27 Jolo cathedral attack that killed 22 people and wounded more
than 100, Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said
body parts recovered from the site of the explosion indicated a suicide attack,
ASG “acted as a guide and probably conducted preliminary surveillance prior to
the bombing,” he said.
bombers were an Indonesian couple, with the male’s alias identified as Abu
Huda, Ano added. “I’m certain that they’re Indonesians,” he told CNN
two reportedly worked with ASG Commander Hatib (Hajjan) Sawadjaan, who has
pledged allegiance to Daesh.
cited witnesses as saying they saw a woman with a backpack sitting on the
fourth row of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral.
woman is believed to have been the first bomber, while her male companion, who
was at the entrance, is believed to have carried out the second blast.
said Abu Huda had been in Sulu province for a long time, while his wife had
come just before the bombing.
added that both the Jolo cathedral attack and last year’s suicide bombing in
the city of Lamitan, perpetrated by a Moroccan, were projects of the ASG under
ASG wants to “raise their terror war to a religious level; that’s why they
chose the church,” Ano said, adding that there are still foreign militants in
the area and working with Sawadjaan. One of them was described as an
very alarming. That’s why we have to watch out. The military and the police are
doing everything (they can). In fact, they’re conducting massive military
operations,” Ano said.
Attorney General said on Friday that he had informed Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu there was nothing preventing him from making a decision in corruption
cases against the Israeli leader ahead of an April 9 election.
is facing possible charges in three graft cases.
General Avichai Mandelblit said in a statement he had informed Netanyahu’s
lawyers “there is no impediment to making and publishing a decision, if there
is any, to consider filing an indictment in the cases relating to the prime
minister, or part of them, subject to a hearing, even before the election
has denied any wrongdoing and called the cases a witch-hunt.
government and its allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates asked the
UN Security Council on Thursday to turn up the pressure on Houthi rebels to
uphold a ceasefire deal.
a letter sent to the council, the three governments accused the Houthis of
violating the ceasefire in the port city of Hodeida 970 times since it came
into force on December 18.
asked the council to “impress upon the Houthis, and their Iranian backers, that
they will be held responsible if their continued failure to comply... leads to
the collapse of the Stockholm agreement,” said the letter seen by AFP.
Saudi-backed government and the Houthis agreed to the ceasefire and a
redeployment of forces from Hodeida during UN-brokered talks in Sweden last
month. But deadlines for the pullback of forces and a prisoner swap have
slipped, fueling worries that the Stockholm agreement may be in jeopardy.
minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash met with UN
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday to discuss problems in
implementing the Stockholm deal. “We understand that we need to exercise
patience, but it can't be infinite,” Gargash told reporters after this meeting.
raised concerns of a flare-up on the ground, triggered by a Houthi provocation.
“We do not want to launch an offensive” in Hodeida, said the minister.
we want is for the UN and the international community to exert influence and to
do that work” and create pressure on the Houthis to comply with the ceasefire
deal, he said. The Houthis have accused the Saudi-led coalition of violating
its commitments under the Stockholm agreement.
council met behind closed doors to hear a report from UN envoy Martin Griffiths
who has wrapped up a new round of shuttle diplomacy. For nearly four years,
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been locked in a war with a regional
pro-government alliance led by Riyadh.
conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,
with millions of people at risk of starvation.
drone storage site attacked
Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has attacked a site east of the capital
Sanaa which the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement used to store drones, Saudi
news agency SPA said on Thursday.
spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki was quoted as saying the bombardment was part
of a two-week-old operation to destroy the Houthis’ drone capabilities
following a deadly drone attack on a Yemeni government military parade.
senior official of the United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday the coalition,
which also includes the UAE, was prepared to use “calibrated force” to push the
Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah port city under a UN-sponsored deal
civil war pits the Houthis against the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabbu
Mansour Hadi, which was ousted from power in late 2014. The conflict has killed
tens of thousands of Yemenis and left millions on the brink of starvation.
United Nations is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal
agreement in Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports and
the latest development in Yemen, tribal sources reported that Abdullah Abbas
Jahhaf, a Houthi leader, was killed along with a number of other Houthi fighters
following two airstrikes by the Arab coalition backing the Yemeni legitimate
sources said the airstrikes targeted a gathering of the militias in Hajour
tribal areas in the northern governorate of Hajjah, according to the Al Arabiya
close to the Houthi militias said that the coalition airstrikes destroyed the
Houthi militia positions in Kashar district, besieged by the Houthis for
the meantime, tribal sources in Hajour were quoted by the media as saying that
the Houthi militias continue to shell al-Abysa and neighboring areas
indiscriminately with heavy artillery, from the west, with the militias
stationed in Jabal al-Mandala, in the middle of the directorate of Mustabaa.
last September, the Houthis had imposed a blockade on Hajour, according to
local sources, in an attempt to subdue them.
Hajour tribes with a population of around 200,000 are spread over more than 10
districts in Hajjah Governorate .
person was killed and five wounded in an attack on a paramilitary Basij base in
southeastern Iran, state television reported on Saturday.
report gave no further details about what it described as a “terrorist
incident” in the city of Nik Shahr in the Sistan-Baluchestan province, which
has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and militants.
province is also where Pakistan-based Baluchi separatists and extremists carry
out cross-border raids.
has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchi community, which straddles the
assailants struck a base of the Basij militia in the town of Nikshahr, some way
from the border, IRNA said.
Ali-Mohammadi was martyred in the incident and the five critically injured have
been transferred to the hospital,” Nikshahr's prosecutor Mohsen Golmohammadi
told the semi-official YJC news agency.
extremist Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which is blacklisted as a terrorist
group by Iran, claimed responsibility for the raid on social media.
media said only that it was a “terrorist” attack, and held no particular group
al-Adl was formed in 2012 as a successor to the Sunni extremist group Jundallah
(Soldiers of God), which waged a deadly insurgency against Iranian targets over
the previous decade.
two dozen Palestinians have sustained gunshot wounds when Israeli military
forces opened fire at a group of demonstrators participating in a protest rally
against the protracted and extremely violent attacks being carried out by the
extremist settlers across the occupied West Bank.
of protesters converged in an open field near al-Mughayyir village, located 27
kilometers northeast of Ramallah, following Friday prayers to express their
resentment over repeated attacks by settlers.
troops then shot live and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the
least 15 Palestinians were struck by live bullets, while another four were
injured by rubber rounds.
January 26, a Palestinian man was shot dead and dozens others were wounded
during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers and settlers in al-Mughayyir.
Palestinian Health Ministry said the 38-year-old, identified as Hamdi Na’san,
was shot in the back and succumbed to his wounds shortly after at a hospital in
the central West Bank city of Ramallah. He is survived by his wife and four
least 30 others were also wounded during confrontations, according to the
Palestine Red Crescent Society.
Abu Alya, head of the Mughayyir village council, said settlers opened fire
before the Israeli military moved in.
the beginning, it was settlers shooting, then the army came and fired tear
gas,” he said.
than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s
occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank in 1967. This is
while much of the international community considers the settler units illegal
and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied
Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers injure nearly three dozen Palestinians
dozens of Palestinians were injured during clashes between thousands of
Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed on the border between the
eastern Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied territories.
spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement
on Friday that 32 civilians were struck with live bullets during “The Great
March of Return” protests east of Gaza City.
went on to say that a Palestinian paramedic suffered injuries when a tear gas
canister struck him in the face east of the border town of Rafah.
sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a boy and a teenage girl
were critically injured while participating in a protest rally in Khuza'a town
in the southern Gaza Strip.
have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled
from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation
protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians
have also sustained injuries.
has welcomed the formation of a new government headed by Prime Minister Saad
Hariri in Lebanon after a nine-month deadlock and reiterated its support for
the country's security.
Islamic Republic of Iran congratulates the Lebanese government and people on
the formation of a new government in Lebanon, which is the result of empathy
and understanding among all Lebanese tribes and groups," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday.
breakthrough came after rival factions worked out a compromise allowing
representation of Sunni lawmakers backed by the Hezbollah resistance movement.
political groups had been locked in disagreement over the make-up of a new
government since May, after the country’s first parliamentary elections in nine
said the present success is not limited to the formation of the government.
is rather a sign of the will of a nation and its leaders to draw their future
within the framework of independence with unity, consensus and empathy and
without any foreign coercion and pressure," he said.
he said, "reiterates its support for Lebanon's stability and security and
hopes that the formation of the Lebanese government will open a new stage in
the country and lead to further proximity among all political currents and pave
the way for Lebanon's development and prosperity."
presidency announced a new government make-up on Thursday, marking an increase
in the number of ministries affiliated with the Lebanese national resistance.
who has headed the outgoing government since 2016, called the new government “a
reflection of Lebanon’s image in 2019.”
had failed to form a government since the May parliamentary elections which saw
Hezbollah and its political allies secure over half the seats and parties close
to Saudi-backed Hariri make major losses.
new cabinet is now expected to introduce reforms aimed at dealing with
corruption and fixing its ailing electricity sector.
Nigerian army said Friday that a top Boko Haram commander had been killed
alongside three other militants in the strife-ridden northeast.
spokesman Col. Ado Isa said in a statement that Adamu RuguRugu and the other
militants were killed in an encounter with troops along the Gwoza-Yamteke road
in Borno state.
said RuguRugu's death sparked jubilation around Gwoza in the state, where he
has been notorious for hit-and-run attacks that have killed several locals.
army spokesman said troops also recovered two machine guns and two AK-47
a statement earlier Friday, Amnesty International claimed that up to 60
civilians were killed in a recent Boko Haram attack on a displaced persons’
camp in the northeastern town of Rann.
army has yet to respond to the claim.
news came hours after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(UNOCHA) said some 7.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance
across the states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, which have been worst hit by the
least four people were killed Friday after clashes erupted between forces loyal
to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and “Chadian mercenaries” in the
southern town of Ghadduwah, according to a local security source.
Haftar’s forces captured the town, which is located south of the city of Sabha,
they came under attack by unknown elements, the source, who insisted on
anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.
members of Haftar’s 128th Brigade were killed in the fighting, the same source
said, adding that warplanes affiliated with Haftar’s forces were patrolling the
skies over the region.
source could not provide further information about the forces that clashed with
Haftar’s 128th Brigade, but the Sabha Municipality on its Facebook page
described them as “Chadian mercenaries”.
UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, for its part, which is administratively
responsible for Sabha, has yet to issue a comment about the incident.
month, pro-Haftar forces arrived at the Sabha Airbase (known locally as the
Tamanhant Airbase) in advance of planned operations along Libya’s borders with
Sudan, Chad and Niger.
has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising
led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four
decades in power.
least 24 al-Shabaab militants were killed in a U.S. airstrike in central
Somalia on Wednesday, according to the U.S. military.
airstrike hit near Shebeeley in the central region of Hiran, said a statement
by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this
airstrike,” Africom said on Twitter.
added that the airstrikes in the Horn of African country are part of a larger
effort to support the Somali National Army as it increases pressure on the
terrorist network and its recruiting efforts in the region.
officials in Baledwayne, the capital of the Hiran region, also confirmed the
incident to Anadolu Agency over the phone.
Libya: At least four Libyan soldiers were killed on Friday when forces loyal to
Khalifa Haftar fought with a local armed group as they sought to expand south,
military officials said, with the World Health Organization putting the overall
death toll at 14.
has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011,
with parallel administrations and armed groups carving the nation into swathes
clashes were the first real resistance the Libyan National Army (LNA) faction
faced since arriving in the south two weeks ago from its main eastern
stronghold of Benghazi.
official at the WHO said the fighting had killed 14 and wounded 64, mostly from
the LNA’s opponents. No more information was immediately available.
officials said clashes began when soldiers left the main southern city of Sabha
and arrived in the nearby town of Ghudduwah. It backed troops with air strikes
on the “terrorists” and “Chadian mercenaries,” the officials said, using a
pejorative for Chadian opposition groups active in south Libya.
well as the four LNA fatalities, several of its soldiers were wounded, the
WHO official said on Twitter the organization had delivered emergency supplies
to a local hospital.
LNA spent the last two weeks securing Sabha, which had been nominally under the
control of the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli but was in
practice run by local groups including tribes.
LNA says its campaign is intended to combat militants and secure oil facilities
in the south, which include El Sharara oilfield, Libya’s biggest. It has been
closed since December when tribesmen and state guards seized it.
controversy, Premier Legault admits Islamophobia exists in Quebec
François Legault has backed away from his remarks on Islamophobia, after
sparking a controversy by saying it does not exist in Quebec.
a statement issued by his office Friday in the wake of the storm of angry
responses sparked by his remarks Thursday, Legault clarified, saying it exists
but is not commonplace.
Legault wanted to say there is no current of Islamophobia in Quebec,” the
statement said. “Islamophobia exists in Quebec, xenophobia, racism and hatred
but not a current of Islamophobia. Quebec is not Islamophobic or racist.”
later, Ewan Sauves, a spokesperson for Legault, further clarified.
there are still too many racist acts that occur in our society and we have to
do all that is possible to denounce and fight hatred and intolerance,” Sauves
there is no trend or culture of Islamophobia in Quebec. Quebecers are open and
tolerant and they shall continue to exhibit these qualities.
clarification follows a chorus of complaints from all quarters.
Friday morning, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian
Muslims (NCCM) called on Legault to retract the comment, which he made after a
caucus meeting of Coalition Avenir Québec MNAs in Gatineau.
had been explaining why he felt there was no reason to designate Jan. 29 — the
date six Muslim men were murdered in a mass shooting in Quebec City in 2017 —
as anti-Islamophobia Day in Quebec.
executive director Ihsaan Gardee said in a statement that the comments were
insulting to the families of the victims and the Muslim communities in Quebec
and Canada who are still mourning the lives lost in the attack.
was blasted by other politicians, too.
a tweet posted on the same day as the Liberals entered the second day of a
pre-session caucus, interim leader Pierre Arcand said Islamophobia exists in
Quebec as it does elsewhere and Legault should reverse his statement.
at a news conference, Arcand said he accepted Legault’s clarification.
think he recognized that he made a mistake and corrected it,” Arcand said. “I
asked him to apologize and that’s pretty much what he did. I am satisfied.”
solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois also pounced, urging Legault to
have a look at comments posted on his public Facebook page after he made the
Benabdallah, president of the Quebec City mosque, released a letter he sent to
Legault in which he expressed his disappointment.
felt a heavy blow and on top to that I felt betrayed since what you said (in
Gatineau) was the exact opposite of what you said at Université Laval (during
the recent memorial),” Benabdallah says in the letter he released to the media.
said he accepts that the government does not want to have an annual
anti-Islamophobia day, but added:
all due respect to you, premier, you did not measure the gravity of this
sentence that came barely 48 hours after the commemoration of the shooting at
the Grand Mosque. I fear your sentence gives credence to the active fringe of
society that is feeding Islamophobia.”
night, Legault took to Twitter to say he called Benabdallah and assured him
that the CAQ government would fight racism, hatred and intolerance.
Mayor Valérie Plante said Friday there are Islamophobic acts in Quebec.
can’t deny this. We can’t forget that two years ago, some men were killed in
cold blood when they were praying in a mosque. This is the reality,” she said.
“Is this what defines the Quebec people? No, but there are Islamophobic acts,
and we have to be able to call it out, and act, and to raise awareness. This is
said she recognizes that for some people, creating a day against Islamophobia
is the way to tackle the problem. She said she is looking at other possible
awareness is very important,” she said. “How can we make sure that in the
public discourse, we don’t allow Islamophobic words and actions? To me, that’s
the first thing that needs to be done. It’s not acceptable to say things
specifically that are Islamophobic.”
Gardee wrote that, in his opinion, Legault is clearly disconnected from the
reality of Islamophobia on the ground in Quebec. The NCCM said Legault’s
original statement pandered to populist and reactionary sentiment to the
detriment of Muslims.
Canada reported in November that the number of hate motivated crimes reported
to police increased sharply in Canada in 2017, with incidents targeting black
people, Jews and Muslims accounting for most of the events.
Mayor John Tory, meanwhile, has designated Jan. 29 as a day of action against
Islamophobia in his city.
US President Donald Trump on Friday claimed that the Afghan peace talks, which
is expected to bring a breakthrough in the 18- year conflict, are the result of
America's military pressure on the Taliban.
month, Trump had said regional countries like Russia and India should play a
more active role in resolving the Afghan conflict.
spend $50 billion a year in Afghanistan and have hit them so hard that we are
now talking peace after 18 long years," Trump tweeted.
that the wars in Syria and Afghanistan must end, he said, "I inherited a
total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the "Endless Wars" of unlimited
spending and death...these wars must finally end."
comments came hours after US Special Representative for Afghanistan
Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad defended his talks with the Taliban
and cautioned against a rush to judgment.
Khalilzad said his nearly week-long meeting with Taliban officials yielded
"significant progress," Afghan President Ghani expressed concerns
about the US troop withdrawal from the war-torn country.
Trump has not announced a timeline for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan,
he has repeatedly said in the past that he wants to get the soldiers back.
was loaded with ISIS until I came along. We will soon have destroyed 100% of
the Caliphate, but will be watching them closely. It is now time to start
coming home and, after many years, spending our money wisely. Certain people
must get smart!" the president said.
Trump, Senator Rand Paul also sought quick withdrawal of US troops from
stand with you. Time to declare victory, end these wars and focus on rebuilding
our own homeland. Don't listen to the naysayers in the swamp, you are making
the right decision!” Paul tweeted.
to Scott Worden, Director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programmes at the US
Institute of Peace (USIP), the reports of a possible troop withdrawal added
urgency to negotiations with the Taliban and demonstrated that the US was serious
about offers to remove troops in exchange for counterterrorism security
the other hand, troop withdrawal rumours created a perception in the region
that the US may be willing to withdraw even without a peace deal, which reduced
the value of that bargaining chip," he said.
has made it clear that there is no formal agreement in place yet, and that
"nothing is agreed until all issues are agreed", including a
ceasefire and direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghangovernment, Wordon
United States has urged Lebanon to deprive the Hezbollah resistance movement of
all official funds following the formation of a new government headed by Prime
Minister Saad Hariri.
Thursday, Lebanon's presidency announced the formation of a new national unity
government, with Hezbollah taking three cabinet posts in the new government.
breakthrough came after rival factions worked out a compromise allowing
representation of Sunni lawmakers backed by Hezbollah. The movement chose three
people, including Jamil Jabak, as the new health minister, despite the fact
that he is not a member.
Friday, Washington said it was ready to work with Hariri's new government,
noting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hoped to visit Beirut.
we are concerned that Hezbollah, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist
Organization, will continue to occupy ministerial positions and was allowed to
name the minister of public health," State Department spokesman Robert
call on the new government to ensure the resources and services of these
ministries do not provide support to Hezbollah," Palladino added in a
claims that the resistance movement condones terrorism despite the fact that
Hezbollah has been involved in a fierce fight against Takfiri terror groups,
including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the
militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.
addition, Washington has for long accused Hezbollah of being behind the 1983
bombing attack, in which 241 US Marines were killed.
October, the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a new round of
sanctions on the movement, targeting individuals and international
organizations that do business with the group.
sanctions legislation Trump signed is known as the Hezbollah International
Financing Prevention Amendments Act 2018.
and Twitter say they have taken down hundreds of accounts they claim have been
part of “coordinated influence operations” from Iran, Russia and Venezuela.
said it had removed 783 pages, groups, and accounts for "engaging in
coordinated inauthentic behavior tied to Iran."
accounts, some of which had been active since 2010, had garnered about 2
million followers on Facebook and more than 250,000 followers on Instagram.
decision came after the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab said
the accounts had been designed to amplify views “in line with Iranian
government’s international stances.”
pages posted content with strong bias for the government in Tehran and against
the ‘West’ and regional neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel,” the center
wrote in a blog post.
of the accounts focused on sharing content supporting Palestinians and
condemning Israeli crimes in French, English, Spanish and Hebrew, while others
were critical of Saudi policies, it said.
separately announced that it had deleted thousands of “malicious” accounts from
Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The accounts had “limited operations” targeting the
US midterm elections in November, the company alleged, and the majority were
suspended prior to election day.
in August 2018, Facebook targeted hundreds of accounts allegedly tied to Iran
and Russia under the pretext of fighting what it calls “misinformation”
the accounts was one belonging to the Quest 4 Truth (Q4T) Iranian media
organization, which promotes Islamic values.
move was taken by Google against 39 YouTube channels at the time.
channels reportedly belonged to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
(IRIB), which condemned the move as a “coordinated” campaign and a "clear
example of censorship" aimed at preventing the dissemination of truth and
alternative viewpoints online.
months later in October, Facebook deleted 82 more Iranian accounts, claiming
that it had detected “coordinated activity” between the accounts earlier in the
September 2018, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif harshly
criticized Twitter for blocking the accounts of "real Iranians" but
overlooking the "regime change" propaganda spewing out of Washington.
said the accounts of real Iranians, including TV presenters and students, have
been shuttered for allegedly being part of an "influence operation."
in January, the detention of Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi in the United
States rose deep concerns among the world’s media activists and journalists, who
launched a social media campaign with the hashtags #FreeMarziehHashemi and
#Pray4MarziehHashemi in support of the detained journalist.
long detention without charge finally ended last Wednesday when she was
released from a Washington jail. The newscaster’s ordeal is apparently over but
Hashemi is taking a firm stance against the practices of the US judicial
a frigid night in Chicago, Illinois, with the temperature hovering around - 40F
(-40C), a 59-year-old Turkish-American Muslim man stepped out on the streets to
help the homeless.
Demir, executive director of the Zakat Foundation of America, along with 20 of
its staff distributed bags Wednesday to hundreds of homeless people on the
city’s South Side.
contained a sandwich, beverage and a granola bar.
am so glad that you guys are here. Thank you, thank you for coming," said
Demir in a video that went viral on social media.
coats, gloves, socks, hats and adult diapers were also among the aid handed out
to the needy on the streets.
said the foundation delivered food to 10 police stations as well as homeless
shelters in the brutal weather when many shops were closed.
have no worldly expectations. It is the duty of a Muslim to help hungry and
homeless people, regardless of their views or religion," he told Anadolu
originally from Sanliurfa province in southeastern Turkey, has been living in
the United States for 20 years.
this country, where Muslims are a minority and anti-Islamism is increasing,
such activities are becoming more important," he said.
described a heart-warming experience when he and his staff were on their way to
the foundation's Chicago headquarters and made an unplanned stop at a library.
moment he stepped in, Demir said he saw a lady librarian scanning a list of
phone numbers on her table.
was overjoyed," said Demir when he told her they were from an aid
organization and asked whether she needed anything.
lady, named Alvira, was searching for an institution to help a dozen homeless
people who were sheltering in the library before it was time to close. She said
there wasn’t even food to offer them.
sent you. I know God sent you for us," said Alvira, according to Demir,
who said he was "indescribably moved” by the experience.
and his friends brought them to the foundation's headquarters and are providing
them accommodation and meeting all their needs until the weather warms up.
ends all assistance to Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza
US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ended all assistance to
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a US official said on Friday.
decision was linked to a January 31 deadline set by new US legislation under
which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.
deadline also sees the end of some $60 million in US aid for the Palestinian
security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative
quiet in the West Bank.
Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid
recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war.” The
Palestinians have declined further US funding, worried about legal jeopardy.
the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects
and programs funded with assistance under the authorities specified in ATCA in
the West Bank and Gaza,” a US official told Reuters on Friday.
USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased.”
official said no steps were being taken to close the USAID mission in the
Palestinian territories, and no decision had been made about future staffing at
the USAID mission in the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
of aid will create a ‘negative atmosphere’
is the main agency administering US foreign assistance in the Palestinian
to its website, the agency spent $268 million on public projects in the West
Bank and Gaza as well as Palestinian private sector debt repayment in 2017, but
there were significant cuts to all new funding through the end of June 2018.
Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “The
suspension of aid to our people, which included critical sectors such as health
and education, will have a negative impact on all, create a negative
atmosphere, and increase instability.”
Palestinian Authority is an interim self-government body set up following the
1993 Oslo peace accords. The peace process, aimed at finding a two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been stalled since 2014.
to 50 militants killed in Afghan, Coalition Forces operations
to 50 militants have been killed during the operations conducted by the Afghan
and Coalition Forces in various provinces of the country in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Khak-e district of Farah province killing 5 Taliban fighters and wounding 2
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Zarghun district of Herat province killing 11 Taliban fighters responsible for
facilitating IED attacks.
Afghan Special Forces also conducted a search and clearance operation in Kunduz
province killing 24 Taliban fighters, the sources said.
the meantime, a coalition air strike targeted a Taliban operation center and
killed 6 fighters and destroying a weapons cache, the military sources added.
anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the
operations so far.
Syed Qayam Ali
Afghan and NATO forces are planning to launch more operations in Kandahar to
clear it of the Taliban, said Afghanistan’s acting Defence Minister Assadullah
Khalid after touring the province along with NATO forces commander General
after a meeting with Scott Miller, said, “The purpose of our today’s (Friday)
visit is to assess the security situation and the military operations which
have been launched in Maiwand and Ghorak districts as well as the operations
which will be launched in other areas in the near future.”
and Miller met Afghan National Army and Police force members as well as the
provincial Police Chief Gen. Tadeen Khan, Kandahar tribal elders and commanders
leading the military operations against militants and discussed issues relating
to security and the operations, reported TOLO News.
was Miller’s second visit to Kandahar after being appointed in September 2. The
NATO chief first visited the province last October when former Kandahar police
chief General Abdul Raziq was assassinated in an attack by an armed man.
the United States and Taliban agreed in principle to chalk out a framework for
a deal that could eventually end the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan.
minister enquired about his health and sought blessings from him for the Bishwa
Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has paid a courtesy call on the Islamic
hardliner Hefazat-e-Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi.
meeting was held at Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, also known as
Hathazari Madrasa, in Hathazari of Chittagong on Friday after Jumma prayers.
the meeting, the home minister enquired about his health and sought blessings
from him for the successful hosting of the Bishwa Ijtema.
Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after Hajj, will be holding
its first phase from February 15 to 17.
emerging from the meeting, the home minister told reporters that he had come to
seek blessings from the senior Islamic scholar so that the grand congregation
of the Bishwa Ijtema could be hosted properly.
is very senior figure among the country's Islamic scholars. All respect and
obey him. [Shafi] also offered a special prayer and requested us to make
full-fledged preparations for hosting the Bishwa Ijtema without any delay or
hindrance,” said Kamal.
League lawmaker from Chittagong 15 (Satkani) constituency Abu Reza Md
Nezamuddin Nadvi, Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Elius Hossain, Deputy
Inspector General Rokon Uddin, Chittagong Additional SP Mosiuddowla Reza,
Hathazari UNO Ruhul Amin, and Hefazat leaders Moinuddin Ruhi and Anas Madani
were among the group that accompanied the home minister during the meeting.
home minister came to Chittagong to attend an annual program of Obaidia Madrasa
in Fatikchhari upazila.
his way back, the minister went to Hathazari Madrasa and met Shafi.
Myanmar's government under Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has used repressive
laws to prosecute peaceful critics, dashing hopes that its first democratic
leader in decades would safeguard free speech, Human Rights Watch said on
of expression has been deteriorating since her administration came to power in
2016, with prosecutions creating a "climate of fear" among
journalists, the rights group said in its report, "Dashed Hopes: The
Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Myanmar".
San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy promised a new Myanmar but
the government still prosecutes peaceful speech and protests and has failed to
revise old oppressive laws," Linda Lakhdhir, Asia legal adviser at Human
Rights Watch and the report's author, said in a statement.
government spokesman could not be reached for comment.
military governments that ruled Myanmar for decades placed severe restrictions
on free speech. Reforms undertaken by the quasi-civilian administration that
came to power in 2010, including the abolition of censorship, had
"positive implications for speech and assembly", HRW said.
the Suu Kyi-led government had made "only marginal changes" to
oppressive legislation and continued to use "overly broad, vague, and
abusive laws" to prosecute peaceful speech and assembly, it said.
free speech group Athan, whose report was quoted by HRW, said some 140 cases
had been filed since 2016 under the Telecommunications Act, at least half of
which involved prosecution for peaceful speech.
made some amendments to section 66(d) of the act, which punishes anyone who
"defames" someone using a telecommunications network with up to two
years in prison, but rejected calls to repeal the provision.
were especially vulnerable to prosecution and attacks, HRW said, with threats
coming from authorities as well as nationalists and militant supporters of the
government or army.
result has been a climate of fear among local journalists," the HRW report
criminalising defamation, the Official Secrets Act, the Unlawful Associations
Act, the 1934 Aircraft Act, and section 131 of the Myanmar Penal Code have all
been used against journalists in recent years.
reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years in prison in
September 2018 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They had been
working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys
in Rakhine state.
San Suu Kyi's government has had a real opportunity to abolish the tools of
oppression used by the military juntas, but has instead used them against
peaceful critics and protesters,” Lakhdhir said.
Secretariat Chief of High Peace Council of Afghanistan Mohammad Omar Daudzai
has warned that a hasty withdrawal of the foreign forces would result into
increasing bloodshed in Afghanistan.
it happened in a matter that’s not orderly … if it happens that it leaves a
vacuum behind, then obviously bloodshed would increase,” Daudzai said in an
interview with CNN’s Nic Robertson.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed that he would bring American troops home
if a peace deal was reached with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan.
to reporters in Oval Office late on Thursday, President Trump said negotiations
are underway regarding an agreement for peace in Afghanistan.
Afghan forces and Taliban militants suffered casualties during a clash in
northern Sari-e-Pul province of Afghanistan late on Thursday night.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
clash between the security forces and Taliban erupted at around 10:00pm and
continued until 2:00am on Friday.
statement further added that the clash broke out after a large group of Taliban
militants launched attacks in Gurkab area of Suzma Qala district.
least 9 Taliban militants were killed during the clash and 13 others sustained
injuries, the 209th Shaheen Corps said, adding that 6 Afghan soldiers also lost
their lives and 7 others were wounded during the clash.
envoy to a meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan has
reiterated Tehran’s support for the Afghan peace process, praising the key role
played by the Kabul government in restoring peace to the war-torn country.
Eslami made the comments in a Thursday address to the meeting hosted by London
and attended by about 80 representatives from over 50 countries, international
and regional organizations, and the Afghan government, IRNA reported on
government of Afghanistan, as the representative of the Afghan people, plays a
pivotal role in peace efforts, the Iranian envoy said, calling for the
cooperation of various political factions with the Kabul government on the
also urged all neighbors of Afghanistan to lend their support to the Afghan
further noted that a military approach to the crisis in Afghanistan has failed
to restore peace and security to the country, and the timeframe announced for
the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will be a wise move to
prepare the grounds for the beginning of peace talks.
than 17 years of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan at the top of a
military coalition have brought nothing but chaos and insecurity to the country
as a result of which all forms of organized crimes, especially production of
illicit drugs, have been skyrocketing. The country has also turned into a
hotbed of violent acts by major terror outfits, especially Daesh.
Thursday meeting in London was attended by US Special Representative for
Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who has been heading separate talks
with the Taliban militant group.
several rounds of talks between the two sides, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah
Mujahid told Reuters on Friday that “an agreement was reached on a principle
framework…which, if implemented, and if the Americans take honest steps and
stick to it truthfully, then God willing we are hopeful that the Americans will
end the occupation of Afghanistan.”
claimed a complete foreign troop pullout would pave the way for “the
establishment of an Islamic system,” which would be sought through
“negotiations with different political sides, even if they have so far been
under the umbrella of the invaders.”
spokesperson said the next round of the talks with the US would take place in
the Qatari capital of Doha on February 25.
has been engaged in separate talks with the militant group as well. Speaking to
reporters late in December, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
confirmed Iran had hosted a delegation from the Taliban to discuss possible
ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan.
the Taliban are in control of more than 50 percent of Afghanistan, and given
the insecurity, instability and other issues that the country is dealing with,
they [the Taliban] were interested in talks with Iran,” Qassemi said.
in November, Russia hosted multilateral talks on Afghanistan peace, with the
participation of the Taliban and the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC).
While the HPC, a government body overseeing peace efforts, says it represents
the Kabul government, the Afghan Foreign Ministry denies it.
President Ashraf Ghani rejected an invitation to attend the Moscow summit on
the grounds that talks with the Taliban should be led by the Kabul government.
is to host a similar meeting on February 5, but Kabul says the Russian
government should respect an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
such meetings will not help us in reaching peace. We did not and do not see
such meetings necessary and will not attend this meeting,” Afghan Foreign
Ministry spokesman Sebghat Ahmadi said.
hope that Russia like other countries will express its commitment on
recognizing Afghanistan’s role as leader and owner of the peace process,”
Taliban militant group in Afghanistan says the administration of United States
President Donald Trump “appears” to be “serious” in its negotiations with the
group on bringing an end to the war in the Asian country.
agreement was reached on a principle framework…which, if implemented, and if
the Americans take honest steps and stick to it truthfully, then God willing we
are hopeful that the Americans will end the occupation of Afghanistan,” a
spokesman for the Taliban who goes by the name Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters
appears that Trump is serious,” the spokesman added.
said that, in the group’s planned system, “all Afghans, including different
political sides,” could take part. He denied that the Taliban would want to
monopolize power and said that if the Kabul government collaborated, “there
will be no need for war and conflict.”
comments came only a day after Trump expressed hope that an eventual agreement
with the group could lead to a complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
and the Taliban ended six days of negotiations in Doha last week, with Kabul
saying that the US had assured Afghan officials that the focus of the talks was
on finding a way to facilitate peace and ensure foreign troop withdrawal not on
the establishment of a government.
senior US government official told Reuters the talks had made “significant
observers have, however, been less optimistic about the talks.
to the CNN on Thursday, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker
expressed concern that the US has engaged in talks with the Taliban without the
involvement of the Kabul government, describing it as a “dangerous concession”
to the militant group.
this is a course we’re going to continue on, this is very much a surrender
negotiation,” Crocker said.
US has nearly 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission.
US and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple a Taliban regime
that ruled over much of the country. But the militancy that ensued continues to
to a report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
(SIGAR) published in October last year, the Afghan government only controls 55
percent of the country’s territory, while the militants control 12 percent.
UAE, Yemen ask UN to pressure Houthis
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen on Thursday asked the UN Security Council to
increase pressure on Houthi militias to respect a cease-fire deal. In a letter,
the three governments accused the militias of violating the agreement in the
port city of Hodeidah 970 times since it came into force on Dec. 18, 2018.
asked the council to “impress upon the Houthis, and their Iranian backers, that
they will be held responsible if their continued failure to comply... leads to
the collapse of the Stockholm agreement.”
coalition-backed government and Houthi leaders agreed to the cease-fire and a
redeployment of forces from Hodeidah during UN-brokered talks in Sweden last
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash met with UN
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres separately on Thursday to discuss problems
in implementing the Stockholm deal.
understand that we need to exercise patience, but it can’t be infinite,”
Gargash said. “We do not want to launch an offensive. What we want is for the
UN and the international community to exert influence.”
council also met behind closed doors to hear a report from UN envoy Martin
Griffiths, after a fresh round of diplomatic talks with both sides.
Yemeni army spokesman, Brig. Abdo Majali, said that the militias had violated
the cease-fire in Hodeidah more than 760 times in the two weeks after it went
into effect alone, including bombing residential neighborhoods, hospitals and
also accused Iran of complicity, saying it supported the militias by providing
them with illegal munitions and land mines, later planted in populated areas.
commander Abdullah Jahaf, meanwhile, was killed in a coalition airstrike in the
northwestern province of Hajjah, Al Arabiya reported on Friday.
coalition also attacked a site east of the capital Sanaa on Thursday, which the
Houthis had used to store drones, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki
operation came after extensive intelligence gathering revealed a network of
Houthi operational infrastructure, he explained, including workshops and launch
sites, and came in the wake of a drone being shot down in Saudi airspace on
Yemeni army, with support from the Arab coalition, launched a new operation on
Thursday to retake strategic sites taken by Houthi militias in Kataf in Saada
a statement to the Yemeni News Agency, a Yemeni army spokesman said that troops
from the 82nd Infantry Brigade had retaken the strategic Jabal Al-Qahar
mountains, as well as the villages of Rafqua, Al-Halfa’, Al-Akimi, and
Al-Markib, that had previously witnessed large scale displacement of local
added that a number of Houthi militants, including two senior commanders, had
been killed, while three more had been captured.
leader urges Iraqis to work with UN investigation, testify against ISIS
Kurdistan Region – An influential Sunni leader is urging Iraqis to work with
the United Nations team investigating ISIS crimes, and not be afraid to share
Ahmed Hasan Al-Taha is chairman of the Iraqi Jurisprudence Council, an
organization of Sunni scholars. He received British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad
Khan this week. Khan is heading up the UN’s investigation into ISIS crimes in
Iraq (UNITAD) and is seeking out the support of religious leaders.
and his fellow senior clerics gave their support to Khan’s mission, according
to a statement from the UN.
promise was given, that from the pulpits of the mosques, among the communities,
the message will go out that members of the Sunni community who have suffered
at the hands of Da’esh [ISIS], or have knowledge relevant to Da’esh crimes,
should give statements or information to the investigative team, so that there
may be accountability,” the statement detailed.
leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has given a similar statement of support for
investigation team, which works with the authorization of the Iraqi government,
has vowed that all witnesses will be protected to international standards “so
that proper criminal cases can be built to ensure that those who are
responsible in Da’esh are properly identified, and then subject to fair
(Reuters) - Hezbollah's bigger role in Lebanon's new unity government points to
a growing appetite to shape state affairs and builds on unprecedented military
clout the group is wielding after helping turn the tide in Syria's war.
expanding power in Lebanon reflects a deepening of Iranian influence in an arc
of territory from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus that its foes Saudi
Arabia and Israel have struggled to counter.
a terrorist organisation by the United States, Iran-backed Hezbollah has
assumed control of three ministries in the government led by the Western-backed
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number of portfolios it has ever
new government was formed on Thursday, ending nine months of wrangling.
most significant portfolio under Hezbollah control is the Health Ministry, the
first time Hezbollah has controlled a ministry with a big budget, though the
Shi'ite doctor it picked for the job is not a party member.
broadly, Hezbollah and its political allies from across Lebanon's sectarian
spectrum have emerged with more than half of cabinet's 30 seats, reflecting a
May parliamentary election which the group declared a victory.
Zahran, an analyst with links to Hezbollah leaders, said the government would
go down in its history as the "first big shift and the first step along a
long road" towards more influence in government.
transformation is because Hezbollah has accumulated an excess of power after it
has nearly finished with the military battles in Syria," he said. "I
believe that Hezbollah will build up even more involvement in the Lebanese
founded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in 1982, is by far the most powerful
group in Lebanon. Its clout in the region has grown since it joined the war in
Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
government posts are parcelled out according to a complicated sectarian system,
capping how many any one group can hold. The post of prime minister is reserved
for a Sunni Muslim, a job Hariri has now held three times because of his status
as Lebanon's leading Sunni.
Hariri's Sunni dominance was shaken by the May election in which he lost more
than one third of his seats in parliament, many of them to Hezbollah-allied
Sunnis. Hezbollah managed to secure a cabinet seat for one of its Sunni allies.
is a big gain for Hezbollah and its allies who have long sought to erode the
Sunni dominance built by the Hariri family after Lebanon's civil war, with the
backing of Riyadh.
Hezbollah's clout has grown, Saudi Arabia has turned its focus away from
Lebanon to other parts of the region, weakening Hezbollah's opponents who had
benefited from its backing.
ally, the staunchly anti-Hezbollah Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) party, was
forced to cede significant ground during nine months of political wrangling
over government portfolios, though it gained seats in parliament.
biggest Christian ally, President Michel Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement,
made fewer concessions.
most significant was giving the ground needed for Hezbollah's Sunni ally to
join the cabinet - a point of friction between the allies. But Aoun, who backs
Hezbollah's possession of weapons, still controls one third of the cabinet.
Boumonsef, a Hezbollah critic and An-Nahar newspaper columnist, said
Hezbollah's role was "growing very clearly" and noted that Hariri
allies failed to secure all their demands.
strategic imbalance confirms that Hezbollah's influence in this government is
stronger than in the previous one for sure. This absolutely cannot be
denied," he said.
poses questions for the United States, whose Lebanon policy twins military aid
to the Lebanese army and support for Hariri with growing pressure on Hezbollah
U.S. State Department said in a statement it was concerned that Hezbollah would
continue to occupy ministerial positions and was allowed to name the health
call on the new government to ensure the resources and services of these
ministries do not provide support to Hezbollah ... We look to all parties in
the new government to uphold Lebanon's policy of disassociation from regional
conflicts and its international obligations," it said.
United States has imposed new sanctions on Hezbollah as part of its strategy to
frontpage headline of the pro-Hezbollah newspaper al-Akhbar said Hezbollah
needed "a government amid the storm".
benefits today from the government led by Hariri specifically ... because
Hariri, with his Western and Gulf (Arab) facade could be a safety net or
helper, keeping options open, when it comes to escalating American
sanctions", al-Akhbar wrote in its main story on the government.
senior Western diplomat said Hezbollah's opponents would keep a close eye on
how Hezbollah manages the Health Ministry.
other parties will closely monitor the funds Hezbollah has in the ministry and
will cry foul when something is happening, because they know the Americans are
looking in the same direction."
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that a sum of 200 of Special Forces of the
Turkish Army have arrived in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo as some of
them have been stationed in Afrin and some others in the villages of Shirva and
Kurdish media pointed to the rising infighting among Ankara-backed terrorists
over their share of assets and properties stolen from the citizens, and said
that fierce clashes have erupted between Jeish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sharqieh
militants in the center of Afrin and its surrounding areas over their share of
relevant development on Wednesday, several Turkish Army soldiers and their
allied militants were killed in two military operations by the Kurdish forces
in Afrin in Western Aleppo, media reports said.
Hawar News reported that military vehicles, carrying Turkish Army soldiers and
Ankara-backed terrorists, was destroyed in the village of Koubeleh in the
Center of Afrin during the Syrian Democratic Forces' military operations
against the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants.
noted that two Turkish soldiers were killed and four others were wounded while
a military vehicle and military equipment were also destroyed.
Syrian Army's missile and artillery units heavily pounded the military
positions of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the
Al-Nusra Front) terrorists in the outskirts of al-Hobait town in Southern
Idlib, destroying several positions as well as killing and injuring a number of
Northern Hama, the army's artillery and missile units hit the terrorists'
positions near Qaleh al-Maziq town, killing several terrorists and destroying
their military equipment and hardware.
army troops also annihilated the military positions and movements of the
terrorists in al-Jisat town in Northern Hama in response to the militants'
attacks on the government troops' military positions there.
the Syrian army's artillery units also pounded the military positions of Jeish
al-Izza terrorists at al-Arbaeem village in Northern Hama.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian Army pounded the military
positions and movements of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at, destroying terrorists'
arms and ammunition depot in Northern Hama.
Syrian Army's missile and artillery units targeted and pounded the military
positions and movements of Jeish al-Izza terrorirsts in the surrounding areas
of the towns of Kafar Zita, Hasraya, al-Arbaeen near Moharadeh region in
Northwestern Hama, destroying their arms cache and military equipment.
Syrian Army forces also pounded the military positions of Tahrir al-Sham
terrorists and their movements in the town of al-Boyzeh after militants
attacked the government troops' military positions in the surrounding areas of
Tayebeh al-Imam and Souran towns in Northern Hama, killing and injuring a large
number of terrorists.
the Syrian Army's artillery units pounded Tahrir al-Sham's positions in the
outskirts of the town of Mourek, destroying several key positions and military
equipment of the terrorists.
in al-Awamiyah district in the Saudi Arabian Province of al-Qatif returned to
their new homes with renewed hope less than a year after security forces
quelled armed riots in the eastern coastal village.
'Center of al-Awamiyah', previously called al-Mosawara, has been the site of an
ongoing project, which entailed demolishing old buildings to ensure citizens’
livelihood and promote local economy and culture.
development of the ‘Center of al-Awamiyah’ shows the different ways the
government addresses the problems of violence and terrorism, which have plagued
the area for a long time,” said Hasan al-Mustafa, a Saudi journalist and writer
native to the area of al-Qatif, where al-Awamiyah is located.
employing social and economic development, the project creates a social and
cultural space for the citizens of al-Awamiyah that will reduce tensions and
make extremist ideology isolated,” he said.
‘Center of al-Awamiyah’ had been transformed to a lively city center.
Previously, the old houses in the area were used by terrorists to hide after
the region witnessed clashes between terrorists and security forces,”
Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the project and said: “I was
honored to lay the foundation stone a year ago. Today, I return to the
inauguration of the project, which had preserved and repaired the old houses
and monuments in the ‘Center of al-Awamiyah’.”
June 10, 2017, security forces had entered al-Awamiyah to lay down safety
procedures for contractors to continue their work. This resulted in clashes
with terrorists, which caused the neighborhood’s residents to flee.
a month later, security forces announced that the situation was under control following
which residents began to return gradually. Temporary housing arrangements were
also made for owners of demolished houses. Over 1,200 personnel on this project
“worked day and night” until it was completed in about eight months, one of the
engineers involved in the project said.
in the area were compensated for the period it took to complete the project.
The previous acting mayor of the Eastern Province Essam Abdullatif al-Mulla,
said during a press conference late 2017 that “the compensation to residents
for the demolished properties was estimated at more than 800 million Saudi
riyals” ($213 million).
development projects to be launched
al-Jubeir, Mayor of the Eastern Province, said that more development projects
will be launched to achieve comprehensive development in Qatif and its ancient
projects will include construction of a number of buildings comprising a
commercial center, a heritage center, a conference and exhibitions hall, as
well as a library.
joint efforts by the Emirate of Eastern Province, state security, and the
people of al-Awamiyah have contributed toward isolating extremists that used to
seek refuge in the area,” said journalist al-Mustafa.
collective work was reflected in the architecture and spirit of the place. The
cultural activities that are being planned will positively contribute to the
society of al-Awamiya,” he said.
Saud gifted ‘wooden heritage door’
the opening ceremony, Prince Saud bin Nayef, Governor of the Eastern Province
was seen admiring the details of a “wooden heritage door” presented to him.
traditional door, similar to the ones that were used in the past in the houses
in al-Awamiyah area, especially those with traditional architecture inspired by
the palms, oases and the sea.
Turki, head of the Qatif Heritage Group which manufactured the door, explained
that “the door is a masterpiece made by two Saudi craftsmen - Habib al-Salis
and Abbas al-AbdulGhani - from the city of Qatif.”
Defense Force officials admit that a 2017 airstrike by the country's jet
fighters on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul has claimed the lives of six to 18
defense minister, Christopher Pyne, described the deaths as “deeply
regrettable” but said a 12-month investigation into the airstrike on June 13,
2017 could not come to a conclusion over who was at fault.
a thorough investigation conducted by the Australian Defense Force it’s been
determined that between six and 18 civilians were killed in a coalition airstrike
and that an Australian platform may have been part of that airstrike [and] may
have been responsible,” Pyne told the Nine Network.
said it was “not possible” to determine which missiles were responsible and if
the casualties “occurred as a result of the Australian airstrike, the nearby
Coalition airstrikes, or from other actors.”
a briefing, the chief of joint operations, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, said there
was no “specific intelligence” indicating civilians were present at the
targeted site but admitted there was “a degree of uncertainty surrounding this
know that the Australian strike does not precisely correspond with the
information provided in the claim, however it was close by. We do not
definitively know how these people were killed,” he said.
we have determined that it is possible civilians were unintentionally killed by
the Coalition during these strikes.”
has previously announced “involvement” in three separate reports where
civilians were among the death toll from airstrikes which formed part of the
Mosul offensive, Operation Okra, in March, May and June 2017.
was part of a US-led coalition which has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq
and Syria since 2014 allegedly targeting Daesh and other Takfiri terrorists.
The raids, which did little to dislodge the terror outfits, on numerous
occasions claimed many civilian lives and inflicted damage on the two
a report released on December 30, 2018, the US military admitted killing over
1,100 civilians in airstrikes over the last four years.
monitoring groups, however, estimate that the raids have killed thousands of
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