is being asked to recall the sneakers, with Muslims saying they have
"insulted Islam". SCREENGRAB: CHANGE.ORG
Muslims Demand Nike Recall Sneakers with Design That Resembles Arabic Word for
Dialogue at Heart of Pope’s Abu Dhabi Trip, Archbishop Says
of Saints Can Bring Peace In Society’ Speakers At Series Of Conferences And
Seminars in Pakistan
Lawmakers Nominate Jailed Uighur Scholar for Nobel Peace Prize
Government’s Plea on Un-Disputed Land Nothing but Political Gimmick and Poll
Stunt: Muslim Leaders
Judge Blocks Websites of Self-Proclaimed Prophet Over Complaint By Top Islamic
Announced For Pope Francis’ Mass in Abu Dhabi
Startup Launches Sharia-Compliant Mobile Browser
Man Says Appointment to Yadim Shows Party Is Not Anti-Islam
NGO appreciates Malaysia’s stand on Israel
stall accused of secretly selling pork satay to Muslims
Anti-Corruption Probe Ends With Dozens Detained; State Coffers $107bn Richer
Arabia Is Leading a Push to Keep Young People On The Right Path — And Save Them
From Straying On To The Wrong One
Civilians Killed in US Airstrikes on Residential Areas in Deir Ezzur
Over 50 More Corpses of Victims of US Airstrikes, ISIL's Crimes Discovered
ISIL Commanders, Close to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Killed in Iraq's Air Raids near
of Spain visits Iraq, first in 40 years
coalition to use ‘calibrated force’ in Yemen to drive Houthis out of Hodeidah
Shows Chinese Man Being Converted to Islam by Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s Minister
of Islamic Ideology Validates Hajj Subsidy Payment
Plans to Recruit 100,000 Pakistanis, Says Consul General
Fateh Ali Khan denies being served a notice by Indian authorities
protests summoning of high commissioner to Delhi over Qureshi-Mirwaiz phone
turns down Imran’s plea to return defamation suit against him
faced 18 suicide attacks in 2018: PICSS report
Safe Havens in Pakistan Threat to Neighbours: US Report
Asia Challenges To Grow In 2019 Due To India, Afghanistan Elections: US
lawmakers working to end Trump support for Saudi war on Yemen
vows ISIL ‘will soon be destroyed,’ pushing back on CIA report
Students and Faculty Praise Muslim Centre after First Year
death row inmate claims Alabama denied imam access to execution
Rates among Muslims Low Compared To Other: IUML
a Bihar’s Block Development Officer Threatens to Convert to Islam
Religious Leaders to Lay Bricks for Ram Temple on February 21
Justifying Nominating Only Muslims as Head of Minorities’ Panel Withdrawn
Muslim Should Enter Our Village,’ Read Letters after R-Day Communal Clash
envoy gets night summons after S M Qureshi dials Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
unity is an exercise contemporary Indian politicians must do more to achieve
Anti-Muslim Comments Against Airtel Representative, Woman Now Targets Vodafone
facing the toughest economic situation in 40 years: Rouhani
issues dozens of arrest warrants for military pilots
say Israel removing witnesses by ejecting Hebron monitors
Arab coalition frees, returns seven Houthi prisoners
cautions Europe against US attempts to form alliance against Tehran
slams ‘extremely violent attack’ on Palestinians
community to hold protests over Uyghurs
persecution inquiry not anti-Muslim, says head
deliberately hushing WWI massacre of Iranians: Analyst
police nab 3 Iraqis over suspected terror plot
launches INSTEX to bypass US sanctions against Iran
Say They Are Not Looking To Rule Afghanistan Alone
Control Slips In Afghanistan Amid US Talks With Taliban
US committees to prepare strategy for troop withdrawal, curbing terror
trafficking case reveals fake Bangladeshi passport link
20 Taliban, ISIS-K militants killed during the operations of Afghan, Coalition
pledges to host further talks in support of Afghan peace process
Haram: NRC laments fate of 30,000 Nigerians seeking refuge across border with
opposition leader’s daughter detained
President Omar Al Bashir reopens borders with Eritrea
in Somali prison survives beheading attempt by ISIS loyalists
by New Age Islam News Bureau
have lambasted Nike for selling a brand of Air Max sneakers with a design on
its sole that resembles the Arabic word for "Allah".
sports giant is being asked to recall the sneakers, with Muslims saying they
have “insulted Islam”.
outrage began when Muslim customer Saiga Noreen noticed what she believed was the
Arabic word for Allah on the shoe. She immediately launched an online petition,
demanding that the company remove the popular shoe from its worldwide market.
accused Nike of having a disrespectful attitude toward Islam, stating in the
petition’s description: “It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the
name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims
and insulting to Islam.”
has produced the Nike Air Max 270 shoe with the script logo on the sole resembling
the word Allah in Arabic, which will surely be trampled, kicked and become
soiled with mud or even filth,” Noreen wrote. She urged all Muslims and
everyone who agreed with her to sign the petition.
almost 12,500 people have signed the petition, with a goal of 15,000
supporters took to Twitter to express their outrage over Nike’s allegedly
is Nike selling trainers that clearly have “Allah” written in #Arabic. Remove
shoes from sales. Disgusting and appalling," tweeted one angry supporter,
with an image directing people to support Noreen’s petition.
denied allegations it intentionally insulted the Muslim community, saying the
logo was a “stylized representation of Nike’s Air Max trademark” and had no
religious significance, as reported by RT.
is intended to reflect the Air Max brand only. Any other perceived meaning or
representation is unintentional,” a Nike representative said. (geo/kes)
dialogue at heart of pope’s Abu Dhabi trip, archbishop says
Jan 30, 2019: Pope Francis will “encourage the Catholics throughout the world
to continue to put into practice the teachings of the Church regarding dialogue
with Muslims” when he visits the United Arab Emirates, according to one expert
on interreligious dialogue.
will be the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula on his Feb. 3-5 visit to
Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE.
his trip, the pontiff will meet with the international Muslim Council of
Elders, participate in an interreligious meeting and celebrate Mass for the
local Catholic population, mainly foreign workers.
Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai, India, served as the Under-Secretary of the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican from 1999-2008.
He will be in Abu Dhabi for the pope’s visit.
group of the World Muslim Elders Council has prepared the Pope’s visit and they
would like that the leaders of all religions sit and reflect on how there could
be peace among religions and reflect that peace in the world at large,” Machado
initiative has come from Sunni Muslims whose leader is the Grand Imam of Al
Azaar Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. He will be leading this interreligious group and
seek the pope’s support and counsel; because Pope Francis himself is personally
committed to building peace in society and the world,” the archbishop
said there were “conservative and politicized voices” critical of the pope for
making a trip to an area without a native Catholic population.
is not just where Catholics are that the Church must go. We must go to such
places where there are no Catholics, precisely to explore the possibilities for
the future,” he said. “Pope Francis is the one who said that the Church must
not be self-centered but must look outside of herself. That is what he is
is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates, and it is illegal to
proselytize the Muslim population. However, Christians make up nearly 13
percent of the residents of the country, and are served by at least 31
are nearly a million Catholics in the United Arab Emirates, mostly from the
Philippines, India, and South America.
have witnessed the faith of the Catholic workers in UAE and other gulf
countries. Mainly, our Indian population is giving strong witness to Catholic
faith there,” Machado said, adding the immigrant community has “made the
Catholic Church’s presence very valuable and relevant there.”
archbishop also gave credit to the government of the country for allowing
Christians and other minority faiths to build houses of worship, unlike in
neighboring Saudi Arabia.
to the U.S. State Department 2017 International Religious Freedom Report,
individuals belonging to non-Islamic faiths, including Christianity, Hinduism,
Sikhism, Buddhism, and Judaism, said they could worship and practice without
government interference within designated compounds or buildings, or in private
facilities or homes. The government, however, did not allow non-Muslims to
worship, preach, or conduct prayers in public.
UAE only allows citizens, or companies run by citizens, to own land, it is
difficult for churches to be constructed: They are usually built on land owned
by the royal family, and leased to the church.
told Crux this arrangement should “be admired in the given context.”
human rights are not accepted everywhere in the same way, and the Church cannot
wait until the human rights are accepted universally. The Church must move on
how she finds the situation in particular contexts like Gulf countries and not
wait for the perfect situation to come,” the archbishop said. “The Church lives
in the present, not in the past or future.”
said that is why the pontiff’s visit to the UAE is so significant.
have heard from some Catholics who are from Vasai and who live and work in UAE
and they are excited that Pope Francis is visiting them. They feel remembered
and active and important part of the Church. Therefore, even if Pope Francis is
seen by our people who are heavy burdened and those who labor day and night in
the Gulf, they will be very strengthened in their faith,” Machado said.
is important for Pope Francis to visit these ‘peripheries’ as he himself says.”
he said the interreligious aspect of the trip cannot be overshadowed.
me, winning over the trust of Muslims is also very important in this world.
There are many good Muslims who love peace but they want some support from
outside,” he said.
pope is a help to them also and that is his ministry, for he is not only for
Catholic people. As the Second Vatican Council says, the Church is a servant
for everyone in the world and the Church must fulfill her prophetic mission.
The pope is doing that,” said the archbishop.
Qataris are masters of hedging. We see Doha's caution most clearly in the face
of the Saudi and Emirati-led blockade, to which Qatari leaders have responded
by both focusing on better relations with Iran and Turkey, while simultaneously
investing lots of time and money to keep close relations with the United
is not only confined to Qatar's geo-political plays; it also guides Doha's relationships
and influence with Muslim communities abroad, Islamist movements, and terrorist
is only one of two countries in the world that subscribes to the Wahhabi
current within Islam. Doha does not, however, only support Wahhabi Muslims; it is
also a prominent backer of Muslim Brotherhood networks and other Salafi
movements around the world.
these various strains of Islamism, Qatar provides the patronage of a
state-controlled charity. The Muslim Brotherhood is served by Qatar Charity,
while the Salafists have the Sheikh Eid al-Thani Charitable Association, also
known as the Eid Charity.
Qatar Charity and the Eid Charity are very active across Asia, Africa and
Europe. For its European operations, Qatar Charity set up its own organization
in London in March 2012. Qatar Charity UK (QCUK) listed its first board
members as Yousef al-Kuwari, the CEO of the Qatar Charity in Doha, along with
the American-educated Yousef al-Hammadi, an executive at Qatari Diar – part of
the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund structure.
establishing an office in London, the Qatar Charity quickly expanded its
activities to other parts of Europe, including France, Belgium and Italy. It
began to support Muslim Brotherhood organizations in Europe that were members of
the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), the Muslim
Brotherhood umbrella organization. Recently, Qatar Charity UK also started
operations in the United States, where it is funding the building of the
Memphis Islamic Centre in Tennessee, which is led by the prominent American
Salafi cleric Yasir Qadhi.
QCUK embraced larger projects – particularly the financing of the building of
Islamic Centers in European countries -- scrutiny of its activities grew.
Consequently, boardmembers were replaced, possibly to give the organization
less of a Qatari feel. Its name was even changed in 2017 to Nectar Trust
parent organization in Doha works closely with the spiritual leader of the
Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, and his various Doha-based
organizations. The Qatar Charity also works with outspoken critics of the Saudi
government. The Saudi Islamist cleric and scholar Salman al-Awda, for example,
not only served as a member of Qaradawi's International Union of Muslim
Scholars (IUMS) but was also appointed to manage a prominent Qatar Charity
more Salafi-minded Eid Charity, meanwhile, has mostly been active in Asia and
Africa, but recently there has been a noticeable uptick in its activities in
Europe. The charity was founded by Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaimi, who in 2013 was
designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) for funding
al-Qaeda in both Iraq and Syria.
Europe, the Eid Charity cooperates closely with Salafi organizations in Sweden,
Germany, the Netherlands and Kosovo; and in recent years, it has started its
own projects in Kosovo, Albania, Germany and the Netherlands – spreading its
radical, Islamist message throughout Europe.
al-Rahman al-Nuaimi is also the secretary-general of the Global Anti Aggression
Campaign (GAAC). GAAC was established in response to the 2003 Iraq War. This
coalition of clerics, businessmen, scholars and jihadis called on Muslims to
'resist' the Unites States and the West. According to the 225 persons who
signed the founding declaration, a defensive jihad was now permitted:
Muslim Ummah has been subjected to vicious aggression at the hands of the
forces of tyranny and oppression, especially the Zionists and the American
administration led by right-wing extremists, that are working to expand their
control over nations and peoples, loot their resources, to destroy their will,
and to change their educational curricula and social systems.
section calls on Muslims "to repel the aggression of our enemies with all
possible legitimate means."
2005, another GAAC conference was held and attended by the world's leading
Islamist figures. Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi scholars, activists and jihadis
discussed strategies, financing and facilitation for extremists in Iraq, Syria
funds and coordinates the activities of GAAC, while Turkey now offers Istanbul
as a venue for the annual Islamist convention. In fact, Yasin Aktay, a
personal advisor to Turkish President Erdogan, is the point man for GAAC and
the Muslim Brotherhood.
February 2016 conference organized by GAAC in Istanbul was titled the
International Conference in Support of al-Aqsa. It drew a large crowd of Salafi
activists, including jihadists. Pictures from the conference show that Ahmed
Rifa'i Taha and Mohamed al-Islambouli were present and official participants.
Ahmed Rifa'i Taha was one of the original signatories of the 1998 statement by
the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders," in which
Osama bin Laden declared war on the West. Mohamed al-Islambouli, meanwhile,
is a longtime associate of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda and is a seasoned Egyptian
participants with longstanding jihadi credentials included Wagdi Ghoneim, an
anti-Semitic preacher tied to Bin Laden; and the cleric Hassan bin Ali
Al-Sharif al-Kettani, a leader in the Moroccan Salafi-jihadist movement and a
trustee of GAAC who was imprisoned in connection with the 2003 Casablanca
bombings, before being pardoned in 2011.
after the 2016 GAAC conference, newly-uncovered information about al-Islambouli
and Taha indicated that both had become deeply involved in jihadi operations in
Idlib province in Syria. Both Taha and al-Islambouli assumed operational
leadership positions in the Khorassan Group, which is linked directly to Al
Qaeda. Just before Rifa'i Taha was hit and killed by a drone attack on
April 5, 2016, it was reported that he and al-Islambouli were working to unite
the two jihadist groups, Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra. Both al-Nusra and
Ahrar al-Sham, along with individuals closely associated with both
organizations, were reported to have received large donations from Qatari
operatives have also directly enjoyed support from prominent Qatari figures.
There is evidence that a former Qatari minister of the interior invited the
leading Al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) in the mid-1990s to
move from Bosnia, where KSM was fighting, to come live in Qatar. KSM
accepted this offer, moved to Qatar and lived there a couple of years before he
was tipped off by the Qataris that the Americans were seeking his arrest. KSM
left the country on a Qatari passport to Pakistan.
the family of Osama bin Laden live in Qatar. The 'Bin Laden Villa' in Doha
houses most of the women and children of the deceased al-Qaeda founder.
influence over Muslim communities in the West, meanwhile, is a key element of
Qatari soft power. Recently in London, members of the Muslim Brotherhood held
pro-Qatar rallies in front of the Qatari embassy in protest of the Saudi-led
blockade. As Qatar is a serious funder of the Muslim Brotherhood in continental
Europe too, we can expect more support for Qatar from nonviolent Western
Islamist movements as the boycott perseveres.
the other end of the spectrum, Qatar will keep funding and supporting violent
Islamist causes as well. Hamas is still being supported and funded by Qatar, as
are militias in Syria linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and even al-Qaeda. In
Libya, Qatar is still involved in supporting certain armed groups, and it is
also now becoming more active in Somalia.
objectives have long been to further Qatar's influence abroad, from supporting
non-violent Islamists in the West, to jihadists in the East.
Speakers at a string of events have stressed the need to promote the teachings
of Sufi saints in order to tackle the growing challenges of violence, extremism
and terrorism and promote peace, harmony and brotherhood in the society. The
series of conferences and seminars held from Jan 28 to Jan 30 at different
colleges and universities aimed at highlighting the Sufi message of peace,
since the saints conveyed to the people the message of Holy Quran and Sunnah in
very simple words.
this connection, the first event titled ‘Message of Peace and Sufi Poetry’ was
organized by the Government College University, Lahore, on Monday, in
collaboration with University of Gujrat and Higher Education Commission,
seminar titled ‘Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting
Peace in Pakistan’ was organized by the University of Lahore (UoL), also on
Monday, in collaboration with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and
International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). UoL Chairman Dr Awais Rauf
chaired the session. Punjab Minister or Women Development Ashifa Riaz Fatyana
was chief guest on the occasion. CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz and others spoke on
seminar titled ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan and Message of Peace in Sufi Poetry’ was
organised by the University of Management Technology (UMT), Lahore, on Tuesday.
The event was organized by the UMT Department of Islamic Studies in
collaboration with the Department of Islamic Studies, University of Gujrat, and
the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad.
conference titled ‘Message of Peace in Sufi Poetry’ was held on Wednesday at
Government Islamia College, Kasur. An interactive session titled ‘Peace
Building and Role of Civil Society in Development of National Counter-Terrorism
Narrative’ was held at the Pakistan Institute of Management, Lahore, in
collaboration with Bashar, Aitcheson College Lahore and Islamic Research
Institute (IRI) Islamabad.A large number of politicians, faculty members and
students from different universities of the country, intellectuals, academicians,
lawyers and civil society members attended the events.
speakers maintained that Pakistan was an outcome of the benefaction of Sufi
saints, adding that the teachings of the saints should be followed to protect
solidarity of the country. They said the social contract of Pakistan and its
cultural foundations blended with the characteristics of Sufism tend to
accommodate the dissenting thoughts and opposing beliefs, adding that the main
strength of revered Sufis was their passion for interfaith harmony, readiness
to engage in dialogue and hold followers of other religions in high esteem.
Saints and Sufis have always propagated love and brotherhood and there is no
place for terrorism, extremism, intolerance and narrow mindedness in Islam,
role of women in peacebuilding, the speakers said women are not only one of the
key drivers of change of mindsets but also act as agents of conflict prevention
and peacemaking, adding that the contribution of women to the culture of peace
is also important because they represent almost half of the global population.
stressed the need to adopt an inclusive approach to negate the narratives of
extremism, hate and terrorism and promote peace, harmony and respect for others
in the society.On the role of civil society in peacebuilding, the speakers said
civil society plays an important role in reducing violence and in facilitating
the conditions necessary for building a sustainable peace.
said Pakistan has a vibrant civil society which can play a very effective role
in promoting civil freedoms and democracy, human rights, rule of law, peace and
reconciliation, stability and humanitarian relief and reconstruction.
lawmakers nominate jailed Uighur scholar for Nobel peace prize
lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle said Wednesday they have
nominated jailed Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti -- sentenced to life in prison for
"separatism" -- for the Nobel peace prize.
Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with
Democrats, both signed the nomination letter, which came from the bipartisan
Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
believe there is no one more deserving of the Committee's recognition in 2019
than Professor Tohti, who embodies the peaceful struggle for peace and human
rights in China," the lawmakers wrote to the president of the Nobel Peace
Prize Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, and its other members Tuesday.
49, was sentenced to life in prison in September 2014 over comments he made in
class, in interviews and on a website he ran that were critical of official
policies directed at China's mainly Muslim Uighur minority in the restive
far-west Xinjiang region.
region has seen a security crackdown in recent years. Beijing says it faces a
terror threat, but rights groups say restrictions on Islam and the Uighur
language have fuelled violence.
up to one million Uighurs and members of other mostly Muslim minority groups
are held in extrajudicial detention in camps in Xinjiang, according to a group
of experts cited by the United Nations.
says the centers help people drawn to extremism to steer clear of terrorism,
and allow them to be reintegrated into society.
nomination could not be more timely as the Chinese government and Communist
Party continue to perpetrate gross human rights violations with over a million
Uighurs and other ethnic minority Muslims detained in 'political reeducation'
camps," Rubio said in a statement Wednesday.
Tohti's peaceful efforts to promote understanding and ethnic harmony between
Uighurs and Han Chinese merits recognition by the Committee."
The Centre on Tuesday moved Supreme Court asking that it lift the status quo on
non-disputed land around the disputed site and hand over the surplus to the
parties and community leaders are stunned over the move. Reacting strongly over
this, they have declared it a political gimmick and poll stunt and an attempt
to appease disgruntled saints.
Babri Masjid Action Committee Zafaryab Jilani expressed anger and wondered how
the government of a secular country can support one of the parties on such a sensitive
chief priest of Ram Lalla idol which was surreptitiously planted in a tent
after demolishing Babri Masjid also said that Ram temple cannot be constructed
till the dispute is resolved.
of Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahal said BJP has become jittery
fearing its defeat hence it is resorting to political gimmicks and such poll
judge blocks websites of self-proclaimed prophet over complaint by top Islamic
Turkish magistrate has blocked access to five websites owned by a
self-proclaimed prophet over a complaint filed by the country’s top Islamic
body, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported Jan. 29.
Evrenesoglu had declared himself a prophet and “mahdi.”
to popular Muslim belief, mahdi is a spiritual and temporal leader who will
rule before the end of the world and restore religion and justice.
Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) had demanded the authorities to block
access to Evrenesoglu’s websites, which were publishing commentaries on Quranic
and Islamic matters.
to Anadolu Agency’s report, the 3rd Criminal Magistrate of Peace in Ankara
issued an order to block access to five websites, citing Diyanet’s conclusion
that they were “harmful, considering the basic qualities of Islam.”
presidential decree recently equipped the Diyanet with the authority to review
and destroy unlicensed commentaries of Quran if they were deemed against Islam.
had claimed that he received a revelation as a prophet of Allah, which he
compiled as a book named “the Lights of Prophecy.”
is the second “mahdi” that drew the ire of Turkish authorities in recent
months. Televangelist Adnan Oktar and dozens of his followers were arrested in
announced for Pope Francis’ mass in Abu Dhabi
planned appearance of Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi is huge news.
than 140,000 people are expected to make the trip to Zayed Sports City on
Tuesday, February 5 for a papal mass with the head of the Catholic church.
the UAE government has announced that private sector workers with tickets to
the mass will be given a holiday.
Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation says: “The holiday for permit
holders underlines the UAE’s commitment to acceptance and open-mindedness
during the Year of Tolerance, and its ongoing dedication to facilitating
Francis will arrive in the UAE on February 3 and visit the Presidential Palace
the following day to meet HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu
Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
will then meet with leaders of other faiths in the capital before heading to
the Founder’s Memorial.
Tuesday he will visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi before the public
mass at Zayed Sports City.
will be free transport for people to get to the mass, with some people’s
journey’s starting at 11pm the previous day.
vehicles will be allowed on Abu Dhabi island on Tuesday, so those with tickets
will have to get specially organised buses from dedicated pick-up points.
of thousands of people are also expected to tune into the mass at
Startup Launches Sharia-compliant Mobile Browser
Delhi: A Malaysia-based startup has come up with a new mobile browser facility
that seeks to deliver a user-friendly web experience for Muslims in particular.
The Halal browser, known as ‘SalamWeb’, is designed to offer Sharia-compliant
browsing experience in terms of messaging, provision of news amid offering a
host of other features.
mobile web browser seeks to grab the attention of users in Malaysia and
Indonesia. Website salamweb.com says, “We believe in a connected community of
like-minded people, Muslims of all colours, races and nationalities, coming
together to become one, a digital Ummah.” Similar to the site, the mobile app
version contains many Muslim-specific functions, including the Qibla Compass
which helps one perform ritual namaaz/prayers at the right time and an option
where users get related quotes on a daily basis. Yet another feature of the app
is the “SalamProtect” feature. The website states, “SalamProtect is an advanced
content filter that flags material that’s better to avoid. It’s controlled and
customised by you and designed to help the whole Muslim community find
enjoyable content. Stay focused on what matters most and turn off what
users of the SalamWeb would contribute to a Muslim charity everytime they
browse, chat or read the news. The mobile app can be downloaded on Google Play.
It is also available on the Apple App Store.
website added, “We are the world’s first Shariah certified web browser and
digital ecosystem endorsed by Amanie Shariah Supervisory Board. In conformity
with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) Islamic Digital Economy
man says appointment to Yadim shows party is not anti-Islam
Athirah Mohd Hanapiah
Paloh assemblyman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali has brushed aside criticism that he
is not qualified as a DAP member to be appointed to the board of Yayasan Dakwah
Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim).
said his appointment should be seen in a positive manner.
Umar noted that from one perspective, his appointment should serve to debunk
the lies that DAP was an anti-Islam party, as claimed by detractors.
would also show the people that DAP had members with credentials to speak on
Islam, he added.
think this is a good and positive development. I am not that great a person,
but I feel that I will be able to contribute in some way to the development of
dakwah, through Yadim.”
receiving his appointment letter here today, Sheikh Umar, who is the sole DAP
representative in the agency, said that those criticising his appointment were
said the argument being made was that he was unqualified merely because he is a
member of DAP, which has been deemed “anti-Islam” by certain
said “slanderous remarks” were being made by those who hated DAP.
DAP is a party that contradicts the Federal Constitution, it can be banned. But
this did not happen under the past Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.”
said it was not that DAP was anti-Islam, just that some groups were trying to
give DAP a bad name. “BN is playing a shallow political game,” he added.
Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki had yesterday questioned the decision of
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa to appoint
Sheikh Umar as a Yadim board member.
said Yadim should remain as a dakwah body that played its role in propagating
is a party that has never wanted to recognise Islam as the religion of the
country. In fact, they have consistently wanted Malaysia to be a secular
appears that such Islamic institutions are being ripped apart by the
DAP-dominated Pakatan Harapan (PH).”
denied as baseless allegations that the appointments of the 12 board members
were political in nature.
were chosen based on merit. Coincidentally, they are from certain political
parties. We chose them to lead Yadim because of their experience,” he told
reporters here today.
LUMPUR: The Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia (PCOM) Tuesday conveyed
its appreciation to the Malaysian Government for its strong pro-Palestine stand
in banning Israeli athletes from entering Malaysia.
to a PCOM statement, its delegation led by chairman Muslim Imran met Youth and
Sports Deputy Minister Steven Sim at his office in Putrajaya yesterday to
express appreciation as well as discuss means of cooperation between the two
statement said the deputy minister in his welcoming speech emphasised that the
Palestinian struggle was a humanitarian struggle for justice and freedom which
all Malaysians, regardless of their background should support.
also called for more communication between the peoples and institutions of the
two nations in their best interest.
Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Jan 10 that the government maintained
its stand of prohibiting Israeli athletes from competing in the 2019 World Para
Swimming Championships in Kuching, Sarawak from July 29 to Aug 4.
owners of a satay restaurant in Padang, West Sumatra, are under investigation
following reports that they have been secretly serving Muslim customers pork
from the Padang Trade Agency have conducted an inspection and confirmed that
the satay restaurant had been using pork without notifying their customers.
arrested the sellers for allegedly selling satay made from pork,” agency head
Endrizal said on Tuesday as quoted by antaranews.com.
agency has confiscated hundred pieces of satay and 2 kilograms of frozen pork
from the sellers as evidence.
sellers, identified as Devi and Bustami, claimed they did not know they were
selling pork, saying they had obtained what they thought was beef from Kusti
had purchased 10 kilograms of pork from Kusti at Rp 95,000 per kilogram (US$6).
didn’t know that it was pork. As first, [Kusti] offered the meat to me and was willing
to directly deliver it to me. I thought that made things easier so I accepted,”
agency said the three would be taken to the police to face prosecution.
anti-corruption probe ends with dozens detained; state coffers $107bn richer
Arabia announced on Wednesday the end of a high-profile anti-corruption probe
that boosted the state coffers by more than $100 billion and has left dozens
crackdown on graft launched in 2017 saw hundreds of elite princes, ministers
and businessmen held at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital
were detained for weeks in the upmarket hotel, but most were released after
agreeing significant financial settlements.
corruption investigation concluded Wednesday with the approval of King Salman,
according to a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
public prosecutor has refused to settle the cases of 56 individuals due to
already existing criminal charges against them,” the statement said.
additional eight people have seen their cases referred to the public prosecutor
after they refused to reach settlements.
were reached with 87 individuals after their confession to the charges against
them,” SPA said.
the probe more than 400 billion Saudi riyal ($107 billion) were recovered by
the state “in the form of real estate, companies, cash, and other assets”.
figure matches that announced a year ago by the attorney general, who at the
time said 56 suspects remained in custody.
anti-graft sweep led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been labelled by
some critics as a shakedown and power grab, but authorities have insisted the
purge targeted endemic corruption.
Scientist or terrorist? The choice might seem extreme, but young Arabs are
being urged to get involved in fields such as science and technology as part of
a push to empower youth in the region and protect them from the risk of
recruitment by terrorist groups.
is just one example of a sector in the UAE that has actively empowered youth,”
said Sarah Al-Amiri, UAE minister for advanced sciences, at a recent conference
on youth and sustainable peace organized by the Trends Research and Advisory
think tank in Abu Dhabi and Women in International Security (WIIS), based in
do see a global cry for youth engagement, but active participation is necessary
today. Empowering youth to undertake monumental shifts is the key to engaging
to all levels of education with reduced cost, or none at all, is a global
mandate that all Arab countries need to take on, she said.
future is being built for them, and they should be designers of the future,
with ownership of it.”
Arabia has also been leading efforts to deliver change, with 92 percent of
young Saudis in last year’s Arab Youth Survey expressing a positive view of the
outcome of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030.
around 60 percent of citizens in the Kingdom are under the age of 30 and almost
two-thirds are considered youth.
GCC youth population will reach an expected 65 million by 2030.
is a very important part of our population,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Hamli, president
and founder of Trends Research and Advisory.
are in a race with the world and youth is the backbone of progress. We aim to
empower youth in combating all the challenges and meeting gender equality
throughout the world.”
order to do that, youth need peaceful surroundings, access to education and job
and children are the most vulnerable category in the world because of crises,
conflicts and sectarian differences,” Al-Hamli said. “It’s increasing and has
become the most dangerous period in the 21st century so far. We believe we can
together generate initiatives that lead the youth, focus on them and empower them
to serve humanity as a whole.”
also caters to young people, with specific programs on international peace and
security that target graduate students or the next generation of scholars,
experts, practitioners and policymakers.
hope to expand these programs in the Gulf in the future,” said Dr Chantal de
Jonge Oudraat, president of WIIS. “But there is a lack of data and research (on
youth contributions), and we need more of it.”
Jonge Oudraat spoke of the millions of
young men and women aged between 10 and 24 who need to have a voice when it
comes to peace and security, and the 480 million young men and women who live
in fragile and conflict-affected states or areas who need to be represented and
participate in peace-building efforts.
Youth Peace and Security Agenda, launched in December 2015 by the UN Security
Council, recognizes the importance of involving youth in conflict prevention.
“The issue of young people is an issue of importance, not only for national
governments, but the international community at large,” de Jonge Oudraat said.
percent of the world population is below 24, and in Africa and the Middle East,
young people are in the majority. In some countries, the percentages are as
high as 60 to 70 percent, so the magnitude of the youth population has major
national and international social, economic and political ramifications.”
said that many young people around the world feel frustrated, often excluded
and marginalized, which makes them more susceptible to terrorist recruitment.
“We’re here to advance all that because it’s not only right thing to do, but
it’s also the smart thing to do,” she said.
we want to live in a prosperous, more peaceful world, all members of society
require respect, consideration and should be able to participate in public
in October, the UN launched its youth strategy to change the perception
surrounding young people.
a long time, people would say youth are troublemakers,” said Achaleke Leke,
coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador Network, who helped develop
the strategy. “But if we are a high percentage, then it means there will be no
economic development or peace.
who turn to violence are trapped in a space by the failure of governments, and
we need to support young people in this process, invest in them and make them
see each other as peers to sustain peace within communities.”
to Aqeel Ahmed, policy officer for the Scottish government and member of the
Scottish Youth Parliament, the best ideas often come from youth who are the
farthest away from the system.
need to see governments treat youth as agents of change, and we need a clear
leadership from our governments,” he said. “Youth who are engaged inspire
others to get involved as well.”
such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seen as key to paving the way forward for
the region. According to the Misk Foundation, around 1.9 million Saudis will
enter the Kingdom’s workforce over the next 10 years, increasing its size by
more than a third.
country is rich in its natural resources; we are not dependent solely on oil
for our energy needs,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said as part of his
phosphate, uranium and many other valuable minerals are found beneath our
lands, but our real wealth lies in the ambition of our people and the potential
of our younger generation. They are our nation’s pride and the architects of
our future,” he said.
generations are embracing the change. “Many reforms are happening across the
country,” Nouf Al-Mansour, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Jeddah, told Arab
US-led fighter jets targeted and hit a group of civilians who were trying to
escape from the ISIL-controlled region in the town of Baghouz in Southeastern
Deir Ezzur," local sources in Eastern Syria were quoted as saying on
sources noted that the entire eight members of a Syrian family, three women and
five children, were killed in the US airstrikes and many more were wounded.
also said that the death toll will probably rise given the deteriorating
conditions of those injured.
sources noted that most of the vehicles in the convoy were destroyed in the air
a relevant air raid earlier this month, the US-led airstrikes killed at least
31 civilians in the village of al-Baghouz Foqani.
number of civilians killed in the US airstrikes on people's houses in the
village of al-Baghouz Foqani has reached 31 so far," the Arabic-language
al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources as saying.
daily noted that the victims belonged to three families who came under the US
air raids as they were fleeing the ISIL-controlled areas in the region.
early January, the Syrian government called on the United Nations Security
Council to put an end to airstrikes being carried out by the US-led coalition
purportedly fighting the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group, saying the
aerial assaults are targeting civilian and critical infrastructure in the Arab
Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two separate letters
addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president
of the Security Council, Francisco Antonio Cortorreal, on Saturday, censured
the latest US-led coalition strikes against al-Baghuz al-Tahtani village in the
eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, saying the US-led warplanes had targeted
dozens of families, who were fleeing from areas controlled by Daesh.
ministry then condemned in the strongest terms the US-led coalition’s continued
attacks against Syrian people and the conflict-plagued country’s critical
infrastructure, energy facilities and public and private property.
activists said the corpses of four civilians were retrieved from the debris of
buildings ruined in US airstrikes last year in al-Sokna district of Raqqa city.
four dead bodies of civilians were recovered from the buildings destroyed in US
air assaults in al-Bayatareh in Raqqa city, the activists added.
also said that the corpses of about 50 people, including women and children,
were discovered from a mass grave in al-Fakhikheh South of Raqqa city.
is while the ISIL had taken control over several villages and al-Tabaqa
military airport in Southwestern Raqqa in 2014.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian Army discovered a mass grave
containing the dead bodies of victims killed by the ISIL terrorist group in a
military airport in Raqqa province.
sources said that the mass grave contained 11 dead bodies of the Syrian army
bodies belonged to the Syrian Army troops of Al-Tabaqa military airport who had
been executed by the ISIL near the village of Jab al-Ghol in Southern al-Tabaqa
in Southwestern Raqqa," a security source said.
a relevant development earlier this month, the dead bodies of over 800
civilians killed in the US-led coalition airstrikes and ISIL attacks were found
in a mass grave in Raqqa.
media activists disclosed that the new mass grave has been discovered in the
village of al-Fakhikheh.
underlined that between 600 to 800 corpses have been retrieved from the mass
grave, and said that the newly-discovered mass grave was the 14th of its kind
found in Raqqa City and its outskirts.
is while Raqqa's civilian team also discovered more bodies of civilians, who
were killed in the US-led coalition's airstrikes on Raqqa City, from under the
debris of the destroyed buildings in districts of al-Tosayeh, Nazleh Shahadeh
and al-Haramieh in Raqqa City.
Iraqi air force fighter jets raided the ISIL's military positions in the city
of al-Ratabeh in Western al-Anbar (near Syria borders), killing several
terrorists, including five ISIL commanders," the Arabic-language Maloumeh
news website quoted an informed source as saying on Wednesday.
source reiterated that the killed militants were among senior ISIL commanders
and very close to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
a relevant development in early December, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
claimed that they captured the deputy of ISIL's commander, Abu Bakr
Al-Baghdadi, during an operation in the Eastern region of the Euphrates Valley.
King Felipe VI arrived in Iraq on Wednesday in the first visit there by a
Spanish monarch in four decades, a diplomat told AFP.
king, whose country is part of an international coalition battling the ISIS,
visited Spanish special forces and was set to hold talks later in the day with
President Barham Saleh.
in 2017 declared victory over ISIS following a bruising months-long campaign
backed by the coalition, which continues to carry out operations against the
The Arab coalition is prepared to use “calibrated force” to push the Iranian-backed
Houthi militia to withdraw from Yemen’s Hodeidah port city under a UN-sponsored
deal, the UAE’s minister for foreign affairs said on Wednesday.
Arab coalition, which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, said on Wednesday it
had targeted several Houthi military camps.
Houthis have failed to pull troops from the country’s main port under a
month-old truce, reviving the threat of an all-out assault on Hodeidah.
Houthis control Hodeidah while Yemeni government factions backed by the
coalition trying to restore the internationally recognized government are
massed on its outskirts.
said the coalition struck 10 Houthi training camps outside Hodeidah governorate
Coalition is prepared to use more calibrated force to prod Houthi compliance
with Stockholm Agreement,” he tweeted.
preserve cease-fire & any hope for political process, UN and international
community must press Houthis to stop violations, facilitate aid convoys, and
move forward on withdrawal from Hodaida city & ports as agreed,” he added.
envoy Martin Griffiths has been shuttling between the parties to rescue the
deal, the first major diplomatic breakthrough of the nearly four-year-old war
that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed Yemen to the verge of
tweeted: “Houthi militia hinder the mission of observers and are preventing
relief ships from entering the port.”
shows Chinese man being converted to Islam by Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s minister
video of a Chinese national being converted to Islam by Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) minister Amjad Ali has taken the internet by storm in the
country. PTI is the ruling party of Pakistan to which Prime Minister Imran Khan
Chinese man, who now goes by the name of Abdullah, can be seen reciting the
‘Kalima’ after Ali in the video, which has been released by PTI’s media cell in
you are a Muslim. Your name is Abdullah,” Ali, who is Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s
minister for mines and minerals, tells Abdullah in the video after the
first met the Chinese national in Guangzhou, when he had gone to visit the tomb
of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas, according to The Express Tribune. “He captured a few
pictures with us and later we started talking. He was impressed and immediately
asked us to convert him to Islam,” the PTI minister remarked.
the meeting, Abdullah reportedly travelled to Pakistan to learn the teachings
of Islamic Ideology validates hajj subsidy payment
-Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared, on Wednesday, that the government
could subsidize the sacred religious ceremony of Hajj in any shape without any
to media, after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the council’s 214th
sitting, Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz said the council was of the view that there was
no harm in facilitating the hujjaj, Radio Pakistan reported.
Bill was forwarded by Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for
the council’s opinion on the issue.
subsidy could be offered in transport fares, food, accommodations. Non-Muslim
countries also facilitate the Hajj journey of their Muslim citizens, he added.
he said that the Hajj subsidy could not be paid from Zakat accounts.
to Sharia, the subsidy should be provided across the board and on equal basis.
The government should provide the facility to the poor and rich sans any
discrimination whether they are performing Hajj on government quota or through
private tour operators,” the chairman added.
said the meeting reviewed the preliminary recommendations of a committee
constituted to prepare an outline for devising ultimate features of
meeting was of the view that the committee comprising Dr Farkhanda Zia, Allama
Arif Wahidi, Khurshid Nadeem and Dr Anwar would prepare a draft and forward it
to CII. The recommendations of the committee will be sent to the federal
council has recommended to the government to make effective laws and strict
existing laws to provide a right to inheritance to women as depriving women
from the right to inheritance is contrary to the provision of Sharia.
council has also decided to cooperate with the Ministry of Human Rights in
said the council has also discussed Charities Act 2018 of Punjab (to donate
charities). The council is of the view that certain clauses of the Act were
against Sharia and needs further improvements.
committee led by Justice Manzoor Gilani has been assigned to prepare
improvement recommendations and the alternate draft.
council expressed its dismay and indignation over the last day’s gory incident
of Loralai, Balochistan and offered Fateha for the martyred police officials,
who had sacrificed their lives for the nation and country.
council also strongly condemned Sahiwal incident and stressed ensuring the
protection of lives and properties of the people.
plans to recruit 100,000 Pakistanis, says consul general
Consul General (CG) of Qatar in Karachi Mishal M. Al Ansari has said that his
country is going to recruit 100,000 Pakistanis by issuing work visa in all
sectors and fields soon.
said Qatar had opened its visa centres in Karachi and Islamabad one month ago
for workers and professionals.
for strengthening bilateral relations between his country and Pakistan, he
said: “We are looking for partnership in the agriculture industry. We have a
desert country; we want to promote our agriculture industry through modern
was talking to media persons at the residence of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture
(SCA) president Qabool Mohammad Khatian in village Arif Khatian, Matiari
district, on Wednesday.
said Qatar had already around 150,000 Pakistanis working in all fields. He said
that relations between the two states were strong and they would improve.
are working on bolstering bilateral relations and looking forward to taking
advantage of Pakistan’s offers and vice versa,” he said, adding that he had
come here for the first time to see agriculturalists and farming areas ,
especially mango orchards, as he loved sweet mangoes of Sindh. He said Qatar
already was importing vegetables and fruit from Pakistan and those imports
said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would benefit Pakistan and
it was a good project for the country. He also visited mango farms in Matiari
and was eager to ensure more imports of mango in the forthcoming season.
the Qatari official, Mr Khatian said that the CG came to the interior of Sindh
for the first time to support growers of the province.
senior vice president Nabi Bux Sathio urged the CG and his government to
provide a special window to Sindh growers who could directly export their
fruits and agricultural produce to Qatar.
also urged him to provide facilities to the skilled, educated and
technically-sound youths for getting employment in Qatar as Sindh had plenty of
said the SCA would coordinate and ask the ministry of overseas Pakistanis for
giving due share of manpower exports to Qatar.
wants to import its maximum requirement of mangoes, including special varieties
— Sindhri, Chausa and others. The CG of Qatar [has invited] mango growers to
visit Qatar and sell their produce directly as any Pakistani can obtain visa on
arrival at any Qatar international airport,” SCA general secretary Zahid
Hussain Bhurgari briefed media about the CG’s meeting with the SCA
office-bearers earlier at village Arif Khatian, Matiari. Growers from all over
the province attended it.
The Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan denied on Wednesday having received a
show-cause notice issued by the Indian government in a case related to alleged
foreign exchange violation amounting to 20 million Indian rupees.
Indian Enforcement Directorate had initiated a probe against Khan and his
associates in 2014 after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence intercepted
the singer and his manager Marrouf Ali Khan at the Indira Gandhi International
Airport, New Delhi, in 2011 carrying $124,000 and other forex instruments.
officials, the Indian media reported on Wednesday that Khan has to respond
within 45 days to the notice, which was issued under the Foreign Exchange
Management Act (FEMA), following the completion of probe in the case.
manager, Aamir Hasan however said they “have no information of this show cause
notice as of yet.”
singer’s office also issued a statement adding: “Interestingly our lawyers in
India are also known to the relevant authorities and as of now they have not
received any notice either.”
a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan summoned India's high commissioner on Thursday, a
day after Delhi had summoned Islamabad's representative in India to lodge a
protest over Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's telephone call to Kashmiri
leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
on Tuesday had apprised the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader of
Pakistan's efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue at all international forums
and to expose brutalities committed by Indian security forces in the occupied
territory. He was of the view that India should permit a Commission of Inquiry
to visit Indian Occupied Kashmir.
had appreciated the Pakistani government's efforts and asserted that Indian
atrocities would never be able to suppress the will of the people of Indian
Occupied Kashmir. He had added that Kashmiris would continue to raise their
voices against Indian repression and black laws.
foreign minister had informed the APHC chairman of upcoming events being
organised in London at the House of Commons and an exhibition being held in the
British capital on Feb 4 and 5. Farooq had said that although he wished to
attend, his and his contemporaries' passports had been confiscated by the
Indian government to prevent them from travelling abroad.
Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal during a weekly briefing on Thursday
said that India had summoned Pakistan's high commissioner to New Delhi on
Wednesday night to lodge a protest over Qureshi's telephone call to Farooq.
rejected India's objections to the telephone call and reaffirmed its support
for the Kashmiri struggle for self determination.
response, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua summoned India's high commissioner
to the Foreign Office this morning to lodge a protest over the summoning of
Pakistan's high commissioner to Delhi yesterday.
FO spokesman said Pakistan rejects Indian insinuations that equated the
Kashmiri struggle for self-determination to terrorism.
is a disputed territory. The Indian government's move to summon the Pakistani
high commissioner is an attempt to influence the upcoming elections," the
FO said, adding: "If you wish to contest your elections, don't involve us
Secretary Janjua made it clear to the Indian diplomat that Pakistan would
continue to extend support to the people of Kashmir.
FO spokesperson explained that Pakistani leadership has always communicated
with Kashmiri leadership, and that Qureshi's phone call was not anything new,
Radio Pakistan reported.
a statement, the FO reiterated that Kashmir is an outstanding dispute between
India and Pakistan.
A local court on Wednesday rejected an application of Prime Minister Imran
Khan’s lawyer for returning a defamation lawsuit against his client contending
that the court doesn’t have the jurisdiction on the matter.
district and sessions judge Shah Waliullah Hamid Hashmi pronounced that the
court had the jurisdiction to decide the lawsuit under the Defamation
court fixed Feb 15 for next hearing asking the defendant (Imran Khan) to file
response to the lawsuit of former MPA Fauzia Bibi within a fortnight.
Awan, lawyer for the prime minister, had filed the application under Order 7
Rule 10 of Code of Civil Procedure saying the news conference addressed by his
client in this respect was held in Islamabad and not in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
therefore, the court can’t hear the petition.
Gufranullah Shah, lawyer for the plaintiff, had requested the court to dismiss
the premier’s application insisting that the court has jurisdiction to hold
hearing into the case.
Bibi, who was elected on reserved seats for women on the PTI’s ticket, had
filed the lawsuit for the recovery of damages to the tune of Rs500 million from
Mr Imran for defaming her by levelling ‘baseless’ allegations of horse trading
in the Senate election.
lawsuit was filed in June last year under the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The
only defendant in the suit is PTI’s chief Imran Khan, who subsequently became
Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Awan had contended that the news conference was addressed in Islamabad, whereas
the committee constituted for taking action against the plaintiff was also
had added that as the cause of action arose there, it was not in the jurisdiction
of the present court to deal with the case.
Awan had cited several superior court judgments in support of his contentions
and requested the court to return the lawsuit.
Ghufranullah Shah had contended that his client was member of the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the statement of Mr Imran was related to her stint as
member of the assembly.
added that the allegations against his client were leveled in connection of the
Senate elections for which she had cast vote in the KP Assembly.
lawyer said the Defamation Ordinance, 2002, was a special law, which had an
overriding effect over other laws.
said under that law, Peshawar’s district court was the relevant forum for
hearing the defamation suit.
lawyer said in the Senate polls held on March 3, 2018, his client had followed
the party leadership’s orders to vote for its nominees for Senate’s general and
reserved seats meant for women and technocrats.
Suicide attacks became a major tool of militants fighting against the Pakistani
state in 2018 as an overall decline in suicide attacks compared with 2017 as
the year witnessed a total of 18 attacks.
study by an Islamabad-based independent think tank, Pakistan Institute for
Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), shows that suicide attacks caused 46 per
cent of overall deaths in 2018 while 48 per cent of the total number of people
injured in militant attacks was caused by the suicide attacks.
striking aspect revealed in PICSS Annual Security Journal is that the ratio of
death in per suicide attack that increased from 13 to 15 in 2018 as compared
to the report, 267 people were killed in these attacks including, 205
civilians, 20 militants, and 42 security forces personnel, while 460 including
384 civilians and 76 security forces were injured.
casualties occurred in a suicide attack in Balochistan killed 181 people,
including 174 civilians, 6 security forces personnel, one militant, and injured
province of Balochistan was hit by eleven suicide attacks last year, in which
212 people were killed, including 24 security forces personnel,12 militants,
and 176 civilians, while 332 were injured which includes 49 security forces
personnel and 283 civilians.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), four suicide attacks caused 38 deaths, in which 12
security forces personnel, four militants, and 22 civilians died while 91 were
injured in which there were 70 civilians and 21 security forces personnel.
safe havens in Pakistan threat to neighbours: US report
States Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats highlighted threats and
challenges for South Asia in 2019, predicting that militant groups in Pakistan
will continue to take advantage of their “safe havens” to plan and conduct
attacks in neighbouring countries and beyond.
presenting a non-classified threat assessment report before the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, Coats outlined significant global threats that the
US will face during the year. The report comes at a time when Pakistan is
aiding talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban so that a political solution
can be found, to what has now become a 17-year long war.
intelligence director predicted that in 2019, “militant groups in Pakistan will
continue to take advantage of their safe haven there to plan and conduct
attacks in neighbouring countries and possibly beyond.” The repeated accusation
has been categorically denied by Islamabad’s civilian and military leadership.
goes on to allege that Pakistan continues to provide safe havens to terrorists
“to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US
interests”, while also accusing Islamabad of “using some groups as policy tools
and confronting only the militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan”.
report further claims that Pakistan’s “narrow approach to counter-terrorism
cooperation […] almost certainly will frustrate US counter-terrorism efforts
against the Taliban.”
that neither the Taliban nor Kabul will be able to gain a strategic military
advantage in the Afghan war in 2019 “if coalition support remains at current
report notes that the Taliban has stepped up large scale attacks although
Afghan forces “generally have secured cities and other government strongholds”.
security suffers from a large number of forces being tied down in defensive
missions, mobility shortfalls, and a lack of reliable forces to hold recaptured
territory,” the report adds.
month, the US had welcomed Pakistan’s role to promote a negotiated solution to
the war in neighboring Afghanistan. The acknowledgement came a day after Prime
Minister Imran Khan announced his country has arranged another round of
Washington’s peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
TIES AND CHINA:
believes that India is likely to face an increase in communal violence during
2019 elections while its ties with Pakistan and China will remain tense.
report speculates that strained ties between Pakistan and India will persist
“at least through May 2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and probably
attributes this supposition to cross-border terrorism, firing across the Line
of Control, divisive national elections in India, and Islamabad’s perception of
its position with the US relative to India.
terrorist attacks and cross-border firing in Kashmir have hardened each
country’s position and reduced their political will to seek rapprochement,” the
report says, adding: “Political manoeuvring resulting from the Indian national
elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving
Indian elections are also expected to play their part in stoking communal
violence within the country which “could alienate Indian Muslims and allow
Islamist terrorist groups in India to expand their influence,” the report
US report also expects relations between India and China to remain intense
“despite efforts on both sides to manage tensions since the border standoff in
2017, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation”.
Chinese and Indian leadership held an informal summit in April 2018 to defuse
tensions and normalise relations, border issues were not addressed, the report
notes. “Misperceptions of military movements or construction might result in
tensions escalating into armed conflict.”
in his remarks before the Senate committee had said: “We remain concerned about
Pakistan’s continued development control of nuclear weapons,” but did not
express any concern about India’s nuclear programme, although the report notes
that India had, in 2018, conducted its first deployment of a nuclear-powered
submarine armed with nuclear missiles.
2019 report mentions that “Pakistan continues to develop new types of nuclear
weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles,
air-launched cruise missiles, and longer range ballistic missiles.”
2016 Harvard Kennedy report on prevention of nuclear terrorism states that
India’s nuclear security measures “may be weaker than those of Pakistan”.
However, the risk of theft across the border “appears to be moderate”, while in
Pakistan it “appears to be high”.
overall threat from weapons of mass destruction is expected to continue growing
in 2019, according to the US threat report, which claims that Pakistan and
India’s growing nuclear arsenals “increase the risk of a nuclear security
incident in South Asia”. It adds that new types of nuclear weapons “will
introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region”.
Asia challenges to grow in 2019 due to India, Afghanistan elections: US
States Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats has painted a bleak
picture for South Asia in 2019 citing elections in Afghanistan and India,
large-scale Taliban attacks and what he called Pakistan’s recalcitrance in
dealing with militant groups.
a threat assessment report outlining significant global security threats facing
the US presented during a public testimony before the Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence, Coats stated that Pakistan has pursued its extended nuclear
arsenal, continued to support the Taliban, Haqqani network and other terrorist
organizations and has limited its cooperation with Washington in the fight
against terrorism by forging ties with China – factors the US believes to be
threatening to their interests in Afghanistan.
director in his report predicted that in the coming year, militant groups in
Pakistan will continue to take advantage of their safe havens there to plan and
conduct attacks in neighbouring countries and possibly beyond. The report also
accused Islamabad of ‘using some groups as policy tools and confronting only
the militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan’. It claimed that
Pakistan’s “narrow approach to counter-terrorism cooperation […] almost
certainly will frustrate US counter-terrorism efforts against the Taliban”.
military leaders continue to walk a delicate line, ongoing Pakistani military
operations against the Taliban and associated groups probably reflected the
desire to appear more proactive and more responsive to our request for more
actions against these groups, however actions taken thus far reflect a
significant escalation of pressure against these groups,” Coats said in the
report. “Afghan national security forces face a steady performance, but with
coalition support, probably they will maintain control of most of the major
population centers. Complicating the Afghanistan situation, however, is our
assessment that Pakistan-based military groups continue to take advantage of
their safe havens to conduct attacks in India, in Afghanistan including the US
interests there,” it added.
report speculates that strained relations between Pakistan and India will
persist “at least through May 2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and
attributes this supposition to cross-border terrorism, firing across the Line
of Control, divisive national elections in India, and Islamabad’s perception of
its position with the US relative to India. “Continued terrorist attacks and
cross-border firing in Kashmir have hardened each country’s position and
reduced their political will to seek rapprochement,” the report said, adding,
“Political manoeuvring resulting from the Indian national elections probably
will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties.”
Indian elections are also expected to play their part in stoking communal
violence within the country which could alienate Indian Muslims and allow
Muslim terrorist groups in India to expand their influence,” the report warned.
the US expects relations between India and China to remain tense “despite
efforts on both sides to manage tensions since the border standoff in 2017,
elevating the risk of unintentional escalation”. “Although Chinese and Indian
leadership held an informal summit in April 2018 to defuse tensions and
normalise relations, border issues were not addressed,” the report noted.
“Misperceptions of military movements or construction might result in tensions
escalating into armed conflict,” it added.
nuclear programme also got a glaring mention in Coats remarks, who said, “We
remain concerned about Pakistan’s continued development control of nuclear
weapons.” The report mentioned that “Pakistan continues to develop new types of
nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise
missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer range ballistic missiles.”
there was no mention of India’s nuclear assets or the country’s nuclear programme
except for a brief mention of the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine,
INS Arihant, launched last year.
lawmakers working to end Trump support for Saudi war on YEmen
lawmakers are making stated efforts to end US President Donald Trump’s support
for Saudi Arabia’s war on impoverished Yemen.
Yemenis see 'Made in USA' on the bombs that are killing them, it tells them the
United States of America is responsible for this war," Senator Bernie
Sanders, a Vermont independent, told reporters at a Capitol Hill press
conference on Wednesday.
lawmakers seek to end US involvement in the war on Yemen, incessantly pounded
by the Saudi military, Republican and Democratic senators and representatives
war powers resolution had previously passed the Senate by 56-41 in December but
had to be reintroduced to the Democratic controlled House of Representatives to
decision has never been debated and discussed and voted on and approved by
Congress,” said Republican Senator Mike Lee, one of the measure’s sponsors.
US president would have to resort to a veto if he is forced to end support for
preference is to start this in the House, get a big vote in the House and then
bring it over to the Senate," Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat
who has been a critic of the US role in Yemen, told Al Jazeera.
brutal murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in
Istanbul has also served as a boost to the lawmakers resolve to take on the
Saudi royal family, which has a very close connection with Trump.
President Donald Trump says the Daesh terrorists “will soon be destroyed,”
pushing back on intelligence chiefs’ warning that the militants could regroup
a series of early morning tweets on Wednesday, the president took credit for
the United States’ alleged fight against the ISIL terrorists a day after the
country’s top intelligence officials testified in front of US Congress and
presented a report analyzing the ISIL threats in Syria, from which Trump wants
I became President, ISIS was out of control in Syria & running rampant.
Since then tremendous progress made, especially over last 5 weeks. Caliphate
will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago,” Trump said, referencing the
‘to continue for some time’
year, Trump claimed victory over ISIL, a announcing that the US would begin a
military withdrawal from the Muslim country.
group will exploit any reduction in [counterterrorism] pressure to strengthen
its clandestine presence and accelerate rebuilding key capabilities, such as
media production and external operations,” read the report. “ISIS very likely
will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional
and Western adversaries, including the United States.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was among those testifying on
Tuesday, asserted that the militant group “will continue to be a threat to the
United States, and we’re going to have to continue to keep our eyes on that …
as the realization that this terrorism threat is going to continue for some
March, Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg spoke onstage
at a gathering for the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations. He said
that in a time of divisions, FIU must do more to promote discourse and
relationship-building between people of different religions and cultures.
you give me a pile of stones, my responsibility and the responsibility of my
colleagues at FIU with those stones is to build a bridge,” he said. “Now more
than ever, we need those bridges.”
a year since its founding, FIU faculty and students say the university’s
Islamic studies center is serving as such a unifier.
more than 100 students in its certificate program, the Mohsin and Fauzi Jaffer
Center for Muslim Studies seeks to promote a greater understanding of the
world’s Muslim community. And students say it highlights the similarities of
cultures and religions that are often thought to be at odds.
people of this world share one planet,” said Mohsin Jaffer, a Muslim physician
and the center’s namesake who donated $2 million toward its founding. “We have
to live with each other and understand each other. Because when you don’t
understand another person, you fear them.”
say the center—housed within the Steven J. Green School of International and
Public Affairs—over the past year has held more than two dozen events and
discussions to increase awareness about Muslim-related issues. Courses focus on
the Muslim diaspora, instability in parts of the Middle East and South Asia and
misconceptions about Islamic identity.
the center now celebrates its one-year anniversary, it will expand course
offerings and move into a soon-to-be constructed campus building. And in a
period of continuing tension between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims, the
center is planning a conference to highlight the historical connections between
the two religions.
said a key to the center’s success is its location in South Florida, where it
can interact with people of different ethnicities and religions.
Miami area “is a springboard to Latin America and also we have a lot
interaction with Europe,” he said. “If he we have a robust program here, we can
have interaction and exchange with professors and students from all over the
and the Muslim center’s director, Mohiaddin Mesbahi, added the center seeks to
address Islamophobia and misconceptions about Muslims that have hardened since
the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Educating non-Muslims about Islam in an objective
manner can help dismantle such negative perceptions, Mesbahi said.
Lana Shehadeh, the center’s focus on Islamophobia is especially meaningful. A
Muslim graduate student at FIU who wears a hijab, Shehadeh has grown accustomed
to stares and comments about her head scarf. Still, she doesn’t want her two
daughters to share such experiences. FIU’s Muslim center, she said, can help
Muslim death row inmate claims Alabama prison officials denied his request to
have an imam present in his execution chamber instead of a Christian prison
Ray this week filed a stay of execution to 'allow him to continue his challenge
to the forced presence of a Christian chaplain in the execution chamber,"
according to court documents. Ray is slated to be executed on Feb. 7.
met with Holman prison Warden Cynthia Stewart last week to request religious
accommodations related to his execution, according to court documents. Ray
first asked that a Muslim spiritual leader, an imam, take the place of Holman's
Christian prison chaplain in the execution chamber.
Stewart denied that, Ray asked that no chaplain be present, which Stewart also
denied, court documents state.
Department of Corrections officials must respond to Ray's religious
accommodation requests at a court hearing on Thursday, a federal judge ordered
prison officials said that execution protocol dictates outside witnesses cannot
be inside the execution chamber, and the prison chaplain is present
"regardless of the chaplain's spiritual belief or that of the
Alabama Department of Corrections follows a protocol that only allows approved
correctional officials, that includes the prison's chaplain, to be inside the
chamber where executions are lawfully carried out," ADOC spokesperson Bob
Horton said in an emailed statement. "The inmate's spiritual adviser may
visit the inmate beforehand and witness the execution from a designated witness
room that has a two-way window."
Ray's lawyers say a Christian prison chaplain displacing an inmate's preferred
spiritual adviser at "the door of the execution" chamber violates his
Ray’s suit goes to the heart of one of the most cherished of all rights, the
right to freedom of religion," federal defender John Palombi said.
"Neither Mr. Ray’s right to practice his religion nor his right to be free
from having a different religion forced on him ends at the door to the
execution chamber. We hope that the Commissioner will not force someone of a
different religion on him and deny him the right to have his spiritual adviser
with him at the moment of his death should occur."
was sentenced to death in the 1995 fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Tiffany
Harville of Selma. He had previously been sentenced to life for a 1994 slaying
of two teen brothers, the Associated Press reports.
last week also met with the Holman chaplain and reiterated his accommodation
requests, but the chaplain told him it would be against ADOC policy. Ray was
not provided with a copy of the policy, the complaint states.
lawyers have cited both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
state has made a policy decision that a chaplain be in the room, and it
violates the free exercise of his religion to not have his spiritual adviser in
the room," Palombi said. "In addition, it violates the establishment
clause in that the state is making a preference for one religion."
Judge W. Keith Watkins on Thursday will ask ADOC to show why the presence of a
Christian chaplain "does not substantially burden" Ray's exercise of
religion, how it furthers a "compelling governmental interest" and a
number of other questions.
also directed ADOC to provide information about the Holman chaplain, including
verifying his religious background, in addition to providing information on
chaplain presence in the last 30 years of Alabama executions.
Alabama executed a prisoner in the past three decades without a chaplain
present in the death chamber, prison officials must explain the circumstances.
ordered Ray's attorneys to authenticate when he "adopted or converted to
the Muslim faith."
met with his imam on Jan. 25 and has another visit scheduled for Jan. 30, court
documents state. Alabama death row inmates are provided access to spiritual
advisers of their choice, Palombi said, who can witness executions from a room
adjacent to the execution chamber. But once an inmate is in the death chamber,
the only contact with a religious leader would be with the chaplain provided by
is no compelling governmental interest in preventing a condemned inmate from
having his or her spiritual adviser — who has been approved to have a contact
visit with the condemned inmate in the death watch cell steps away from the
execution and moments before the execution begins — from taking the place of
the prison chaplain in the execution chamber," the complaint states.
"Being deprived of the physical presence of a spiritual adviser, when that
spiritual adviser is otherwise available, in the moments before death imposes a
substantial burden on the free exercise of Mr. Ray's religious beliefs."
Wednesday, ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said he's not aware of a chaplain issue
in his his four years at the department. Dunn was questioned about the issue
after presenting the department's budget proposals to the the state
commissioner said any interaction an inmate could have with a chaplain in the
execution chamber would be voluntary.
Rates Among Muslims Low Compared To Other: IUML
Indian Union Muslim League state general secretary KPA Majeed said the divorce
rates in the Muslim community is significantly less when compared to other
the symposium on the topic ‘Triple Talaq Bill for whom?’ organised by Vanitha
League at Kozhikode Town Hall on Tuesday, January 29, he hailed the Muslim
community which has least number of divorce cases.
to government and court interventions into Muslim personal laws like tripe
talaq, Majeed alleged that BJP-led NDA government is making deliberate efforts
to hurt Muslims.
is triple talaq happening? Triple talaq is not reported in Kerala. Religious
scholars in Muslim community will decide on changes or amendments in the
Shariat Law or Personal Law,” said Majeed adding, “But the central government
is taking such actions as part of implementing Uniform Civil Code.”
government says it is for the betterment of Muslim women, he added allegeing it
to be turning a blind eye towards the hardships faced by thousands of Muslim
women and children who have been displaced due to the communal riots in North
India, like Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar and issues of Rohingya refugees.
to reports, only 23% of those displaced in communal riots in Gujarat have
returned to their homes. Also, women were most affected due to communal
violence in Muzaffarnagar and the government has not taken any steps to protect
or rehabilitate the victims,” he added. as per reports published in Times Of
Too upset by the lingering casteism in the bureaucracy and politics in Bihar’s
districts, a block development officer (BDO) placed under suspension has
threatened to convert to Islam unless the state government reinstates him to
his post by February 7.
plight of Manoj Kumar Agrawal, the suspended BDO of Ramgarh Chowk block in
Lakhiserai district, appears to have been caused by the continuous
one-upmanship games that caste groups and political parties engage in for
a Hindu and having to work for the government under such toxic conditions now
means honesty will invariably make one the victim of caste politics,” said
Agrawal, a Bihar Rural Service (BRS) officer who started work as BDO in 2013,
to this newspaper.
officer, who belongs to the Hindu caste of Bania (traders) and is the son of a
well-known freedom fighter from Begusarai, has written to Bihar’s rural
development department secretary Arvind Kumar saying he would convert to Islam
unless he is reinstated in his job.
it does not happen (reinstatement), I will renounce Hinduism, which is full of
casteist feelings and deep contradictions and convert to Islam,” he wrote in
his letter. The suspension order, he said, was issued without he being given an
opportunity to present his case.
was placed under suspension on charge of abusing his position, availing himself
of personal gains, working contrary to the rules framed for people’s
representatives, disobeying departmental orders and misinforming senior
to people familiar with the case, Agrawal’s hasty suspension was the result of
the smouldering tensions between two ministers from the area – Rajiv Ranjan
Singh alias Lalan Singh of JD(U) and Vijay Kumar Sinha of ally BJP – and that
between local politicians from the upper-caste Bhumihar and the OBC Kurmi
since Agrawal joined as BDO in Ramgarh Chowk in June 2018 following Sinha’s
recommendation, he was considered a ‘Bhajpayi adhikari’ (BJP-backed officer)
and was not liked by Lalan Singh’s supporters. The BDO’s strictness with
corrupt and inefficient panchayat secretaries was resisted by Lalan’s
supporters,” said a senior official familiar with the episode.
said rural development minister Shravan Kumar of JD(U) ordered Agrawal’s
suspension despite Sinha meeting him to say that the BDO has been an honest,
had requested the district magistrate to transfer two panchayat secretaries who
were allegedly taking 12 per cent commission from development funds. While both
were transferred, they did not hand over charge and material such as cashbooks,
cheque-books and registers to their successors. When Agrawal kept reminding
them, the duo allegedly asked local JD(U) leaders to lobby for his suspension
congregation of sants at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj on Wednesday passed a
resolution to perform “ishtika nyas vidhi (ritual of brick laying)” on February
21 to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya, a day after the BJP-led government moved
the Supreme Court with a petition to return “excess/superfluous land” acquired
in Ayodhya to its original owners.
a two-page ‘param-dharmadesh’, or resolution, passed at the religious
congregation, Shankaracharya Swami Shree Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka said
time has come to make “supreme sacrifice” for Ram Janmabhoomi.
are ready to go to jail or face bullets for this cause,” he stated.
resolution was passed on the concluding session of the three-day
‘Paramdharmasansad 1008’, presided over by Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka.
Representatives of different akharas and hundreds of sants attended the meet.
VHP is scheduled to start a two-day religious congregation at the Kumbh on
Thursday. Besides top VHP functionaries, prominent saints, including Ram
Janmabhoomi Nyas’s head Nritya Gopal Das and a senior RSS functionary, will be
resolution stated, “The legislature, the executive and the judiciary exist for
the people but their recent decisions show they believe themselves to be
sovereign. In such a situation, to open the eyes and ears of these three
branches, we are forced to launch a Savinay Avagya Andolan (civil disobedience
movement)…. On February 21, we will perform the ritual of brick laying (for Ram
also stated that if any of three branches create a hurdle, it will be the
responsibility of every Hindu to reach Ayodhya and lay four bricks each — until
the court delivers its judgment in the case. “That savinay avagya andolan will
continue until Ram Janmabhoomi is handed over to Hindus to build the temple,”
the resolution reads.
also stated that it “hurts” that even a government with majority in Lok Sabha,
which showed its “strength by passing a reservation-related Bill in only two
days in both Houses”, refuses to do anything for Ram Janmabhoomi.
justifying nominating only Muslims as head of minorities’ panel withdrawn
disposes PIL as govt. to consider afresh issue of not appointing members of
other minorities as chairperson
State government on Wednesday told the High Court of Karnataka that it has
withdrawn an order passed on July 14, 2017, justifying the precedent of
appointing only a member of the Muslim community as chairperson of the
Karnataka State Minorities Commission on the basis that the population of
Muslims in the State is highest among the six minority communities.
government placed before the court a copy of the order, passed on January 28,
withdrawing the order passed by the Secretary, Department of Minorities
Welfare, Haj and Wakfs in July 2017 while disposing of a representation given
by petitioner, Vinod B., a resident of Shivamogga. The order of January 28
states that the matter of appointment to the post of chairperson will be
this, a Division Bench comprising Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice B.M. Shyam
Prasad closed the PIL petition, filed by Mr. Vinod, who had questioned the
legality of the July 2017 order.
is also a fact that the population of Muslims in Karnataka is the highest among
the minority communities and hence it has been a precedent that the appointment
of chairperson was made from among the Muslim community from the inception of
the KSMC. Further as per 2011 census, the percentage of Muslim population in
Karnataka is 12.91% compared to Christian (1.87%), Jain (0.72%), Sikh (0.05%),
Buddhist (0.72%), and Parsis (0.1%),” the then secretary had stated in his
Muslim vendors were being turned away from the villages in eastern MP’s Rajgarh
district following a clash between groups of different communities at a
Republic Day event.
Muslim vendor should enter Limboda village. If they do, we should not be held
responsible. No Muslim should enter our village,” are lines are from one of the
“many letters” received by local police, as per reports published in The Indian
to media reports, a communal clash was triggered by “provocative remarks” in an
item based on the Hindi movie “Gadar” during a R-Day event that was organised
by the local body in which students from both private and government schools in
the area assembled.
of the children injured in the clash and prohibitory orders under CrPC Section
144 were clamped in Khujner, which was a BJP stronghold for the last two
people from both sides, including a BJP corporator were booked after
cross-complaints were lodged.
a memorandum submitted Monday by BJP leaders, a case has been registered and
sedition charges imposed after six men identified as Samad Khan, Sakir Khan,
Abrar Khan, Zakir Khan, Imtiaz Khan and Shameer Khan
Sameer Khan got bail.
is still a tense atmosphere in the village. People of Bhilkhedi village say,
“Muslims should not come to our village, we do not promise their security. Our
children are scared of the incident that day and are also refusing to go to
leader Aziz Maula says, “Muslims are being implicated, despite the claims of
having the weapons of Muslims, neither did anybody present any evidence nor
videos and photos. Our children also joined the program and the rest of the We
have got such reports that Muslim vendors are being sent back from many
DELHI: Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan high commissioner
Sohail Mahmood on Wednesday night and registered a strong protest over Pakistan
foreign minister SM Qureshi’s phone conversation with Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz
Umar Farooq. Mahmood was summoned around 10.30pm and cautioned that such
behaviour would have implications.
accused Pakistan of encouraging individuals associated with terrorism and
foreign secretary conveyed the Government of India’s condemnation in the
strongest terms of this latest brazen attempt by Pakistan to subvert India’s
unity and to violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity, by none other
than the Pakistan foreign minister,” said the government.
Gandhi was shot dead this day, in the heart of Delhi, in 1948. Any tribute to
the father of nation can only be riddled with clichés, but remembering him, and
what he meant to India, is an essential exercise, which, as his most recent biographer
Ramchandra Guha put it, every generation needs to do. Gandhi’s life, and his
death, still hold lessons for contemporary India.
first of these lessons is not that he helped make India free. It is the manner
in which he shaped the freedom movement. Two features marked Gandhi’s politics:
faith in people, and thus the investment in making Congress a mass based
organisation and democratising it; and non violence. If Gandhi could do this
against a repressive colonial regime, there is no reason why dissident
political movements should not be able to do so today. Any group having any
grievances with the Indian state must demonstrate their democratic character
and must remain non violent. And the state must respond to such movements.
Kashmiri separatists, Maoists, and insurgents in the northeast would do well to
Gandhi was a multi-dimensional man. Even while fighting for freedom, he had
other concerns, and among them, was caste. Gandhi’s views on caste evolved and
there remains a strong Ambedkarite tradition, which sees him as an apologist
for Brahmanism. This is frankly not true. The fact is that, besides BR
Ambedkar, no leader of the national movement in that period did as much to
reform Hindu society, battle against untouchability, change upper caste
attitudes, and commit himself to the cause of social justice as Gandhi, who at
the same time had to take all communities along for the larger cause of
freedom. Caste discrimination remains an entrenched reality even today. And
only a combination of Gandhi and Ambedkar’s ideas can battle it.
Waqf Board revived after years of remaining defunct for political gains, says
BJP leader Vijay Goel
Delhi government’s decision to hike the salaries of Muslim clerics, with Lok
Sabha elections around the corner, was an attempt to appease and “mislead” the
community, Minister of State and former Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel alleged
here on Wednesday.
also said that the party would drag the issue to the court.
a dharna organised at Jantar Mantar here, Mr. Goel, BJP secretary R.P. Singh
and MP Ramesh Bidhuri said the step was aimed at seeking “votes in exchange”
for salary hikes for Imams and Moazzins from ?10,000 to ?18,000 and from ?9,000
to ?16,000 per month respectively.
is wooing Muslim voters by hiking salaries in exchange of votes. For political
gains, the Delhi Waqf Board too has been revived after years of remaining
defunct and was also reconstituted so that Imams and Moazzins can be gathered
under one roof,” Mr. Goel alleged.
Singh, on his part, accused AAP leaders of “offering bribes to voters” during a
recent Delhi Waqf Board meeting, while Mr. Bidhuri accused AAP national
convener Arvind Kejriwal of backing the ‘Tukde-Tukde Gang’.
Goel said that Mr. Kejriwal, while seeking to appease Muslim voters only, was
also “neglecting the sentiments of Hindu voters”.
president said on Wednesday the country was facing its toughest economic
situation in 40 years, and the United States, not the government, was to blame.
President Donald Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal
with Iran and re-imposed sanctions.
including truck drivers, farmers and merchants, have since launched sporadic
protests against economic hardships, which have occasionally led to
confrontations with security forces.
the country is facing the biggest pressure and economic sanctions in the past
40 years,” Hassan Rouhani said, according to the presidential website.
our problems are primarily because of pressure from America and its followers.
And the dutiful government and Islamic system should not be blamed,” he added.
spoke at a ceremony at the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic,
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - part of a series of events leading up to the 40th
anniversary of the February 11th revolution.
rial currency has fluctuated in value in recent months, making it difficult for
ordinary people to make ends meet.
authorities on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for 63 suspects, most of them
military pilots, allegedly linked to a 2016 failed coup attempt, the Ankara
chief prosecutor’s office said.
roundup is part of an investigation carried out by the prosecutor into the
“Fethullah Terror Organization” or FETO, an acronym authorities use for the
group allegedly behind the failed putsch.
of the 63 suspects are helicopter pilots on active military duty, the office
said. Two are former pilots and the remaining 15 are civilians working for the
movement, it added.
raids to catch the suspects were underway.
accuses the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and his movement of
ordering the attempted coup, which he strongly denies.
of thousands of people have been arrested in the crackdown that followed the
putsch in a bid to eradicate the Gulen movement’s influence in Turkey.
recent weeks, the number of raids has increased with almost daily reports of
arrests across the country.
in Hebron accused Israel on Tuesday of trying to rid the flashpoint city of
witnesses to its actions in the occupied West Bank by ejecting a foreign
observer force that helps safeguard residents.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he will not renew the
mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing the
observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity.
which has headed the multi-country observer mission for the past 22 years, said
“the one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an
important part of the Oslo accords is discontinued”.
situation in Hebron is unstable and characterized by conflict,” Foreign
Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement to Reuters, adding that the
end of the observer mission was therefore “worrying”.
a Palestinian city of 200,000 people, is home to a community of around 1,000
Israeli settlers who are heavily guarded by a large Israeli military presence.
TIPH was set up after a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine
holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994. The city has also seen stabbing and
shooting attacks against settlers and Israeli soldiers by Palestinians.
Israel partially withdrew from Hebron in 1998 under interim peace deals with
the self-rule Palestinian Authority, the TIPH has monitored “breaches of the
agreements (and) violations of international humanitarian law and international
human rights law,” the force’s website says.
settlers’ attacks will increase,” said Aref Jaber, a Palestinian resident of
Hebron. TIPH’s presence was particularly helpful to schoolchildren, he added,
because they patrol the city “in the morning and the afternoon, when they go to
and return from school.”
United Nations said it regretted Israel’s decision.
the TIPH is not a United Nations body its role in contributing positively to
defusing tensions in such a sensitive area has been widely recognised,” UN
spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
draws staff from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. The TIPH
website says it has 64 international staff in the city. An Israeli official
said its mandate ends on Jan. 31.
leaders welcomed news of the force’s upcoming departure. They have accused the
TIPH of harassing settlers and agitating against them.
Fleisher, a spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, said the TIPH observers
“created an atmosphere of conflict, not a congenial atmosphere of peace.”
and Palestinians, he said, have inhabited the city for centuries: “We know each
other and I’m sure we’ll find a way to get along without Norwegian help,”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in November that the TIPH were
pro-Palestinian, “ignore Palestinian terrorism and harm IDF (Israel Defence
Forces) soldiers by documenting their daily security activity”.
talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014. Most world
powers consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, territory captured by
Israel in a 1967 war, to be illegal. Israel disputes this, citing biblical,
historical and political ties to the land.
Arabia released seven prisoners it was holding from Yemen’s Houthi militias,
who were flown to Sanaa on Wednesday by the Red Cross, the day after a Saudi
prisoner freed by the Houthis arrived in Riyadh.
swap comes as Yemen’s warring parties are still hammering out details of a
larger prisoner exchange that they agreed last month as a confidence-building
gesture at the first major peace talks of the nearly four-year-old war.
UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the release and said he
hoped it would encourage the rapid implementation of the larger prisoner swap.
[special envoy] is very encouraged by this positive spirit from the two
parties,” his office said on Twitter.
International Committee of the Red Cross, which provided the planes for both
the freed Saudi and the seven freed Yemenis, said in a statement it had acted
as a neutral intermediary and was not involved in negotiations over the
Bulgaria, a senior Iranian diplomat cautions Europe against stepped-up attempts
by the US to set up a coalition against Tehran, amid Washington’s plans to host
an Iran-focused confab in Poland.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in
a meeting with Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament Angel Dzhambazki in
Sofia on Wednesday.
failed to achieve its anti-Iran objectives on the United Nations’ stage, the US
is now seeking to form a new coalition against Iran outside the UN’s framework,”
said the official, warning, “The European countries should be vigilant in this
an attempt to exert pressure on Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
announced earlier this month that a so-called Middle East security conference
would be held in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on February 13-14, with Iran high
on the agenda.
condemned the confab as a “circus” and summoned Poland’s envoy to protest the
European country’s plan to host the event.
summit, however, got a cold welcome among European states. EU foreign policy
chief Federica Mogherini has said she will not attend, while ministers from
several European Union countries will likely skip the summit, the Wall Street
Journal quoted officials as saying last month.
announcement came amid European efforts to save a 2015 multilateral nuclear
deal with Iran – which Washington unilaterally abandoned last May.
leaving the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),
Washington unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran. It has also
been seeking to dissuade its European allies from protecting the JCPOA and
paving the way for European firms to bypass the American sanctions and
maintaining their business ties with Iran.
September, US President Donald Trump chaired a UN Security Council meeting,
where he called on other countries to comply with the US bans on Tehran or face
call, however, fell on deaf ears, with that session turning into a rebuke of
Washington, itself, for abandoning the JCPOA.
European parties to the deal are currently trying to launch the so-called
Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a payment mechanism meant to circumvent the US
in his remarks, Araqchi appreciated Europe’s “political support” for the JCPOA,
adding, however, that Iran expects the continent to take “practical measures”
to save the JCPOA, which is “at stake” due to US policies.
for his part, underlined the need for keeping up support for the Iran nuclear
agreement, which he said serves Europe’s interests.
described Iran as a stable country in the restive Middle East region.
on Wednesday, Araqchi held talks with Vice President of the Bulgarian National
Assembly Emil Hristov, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva and Deputy Foreign
Minister Georg Georgiev.
United Nations (UN) has again slammed the latest killing of a Palestinian in
the occupied West Bank by armed Israeli settlers, expressing deep concern about
the “extremely violent attack.”
are deeply concerned about the protracted and extremely violent attack on
Palestinians in the West Bank village of al-Mughayer last Saturday (26
January), during which a 38-year-old Palestinian father of four, Hamdi Taleb
Na’asan, was shot in the back and killed,” said a Tuesday statement by the
spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), Rupert
to the statement, monitoring by the UNCHR’s local staff suggested the killing
was perpetrated by a group of 30 Israeli settlers from the nearby Adei Ad
outpost following an attack on Palestinian farmers working on their fields.
statement said that the settlers “descended on the village itself where they
used live ammunition to shoot at the villagers and their houses.” It said the
aggression “led to six villagers being shot with live ammunition, leaving three
of them in a serious condition.”
forces criticized for backing settlers
statement further criticized Israeli regime forces for what appeared to be
their deliberately late response to the violent attack on the Palestinian
villagers by settlers and action in support of the settlers.
Israeli security forces were stationed near the village and were immediately
alerted to the attack, it took some two hours before they intervened,” said the
UN statement, citing witnesses who spoke to the UNCHR’s staff visiting the
village on Monday. “When Israeli security forces did finally intervene, the
main focus of their action appears to have been to disperse the Palestinian
villagers using teargas.”
statement further reported that a total number of 20 Palestinian villagers were
injured as a result of the attack by the settlers and the later intervention of
Israeli regime forces.
Sunday, another UN official expressed “shock” at the “terror” carried out by
Israeli settlers in al-Mughayer.
Tuesday statement also underlined that the latest violence occurred “in the
context of a surge in settler violence in the West Bank,” adding that it had
reached its highest levels since 2015.
UNCHR further emphasized that Israel regime, “as the occupying power, is
obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian
population from such attacks,” adding, “Those responsible for settler violence
must be brought to account.”
international body also called on the Tel Aviv regime to “ensure there is a
full investigation” into the killing of Na’asan as well as the injuries
inflicted on others in the West Bank village, and that the probe would be
“independent, transparent and effective.”
is while the Israeli regime rarely allows any objective probe of its persisting
atrocities against the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.
violence on Palestinians up by 175% since 2016
Islamic Community National View (IGMG), one of Germany’s largest Muslim-Turkish
associations, is planning to stage protests next month against China’s treatment
of Uyghurs, its chairman said Wednesday.
will hold protests on Feb. 2 in 20 cities in 13 countries by reading a
statement in front of Chinese embassies and consulates, said Kemal Ergun.
group will protest against China’s policies affecting Uyghurs living in the
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region -- also referred to as East Turkestan -- and
express solidarity with them, said Ergun.
a written statement, he said China is violating international human rights law
by forcing Uyghurs to leave their religion and culture, separating families in
international community must take action against China’s oppression. Human
rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of economic relations,” said Ergun,
expressing disappointment over the international community’s silence over the
a meeting last August in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination said Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region accused of
having “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas were jailed
or detained in political “re-education camps”.
UN body’s representatives said up to 3 million people have been detained
Rights Watch previously announced that the Chinese government was conducting a
mass, systematic campaign of human rights violations against Turkic Muslims in
UK government-commissioned inquiry into global Christian persecution will not
provide ammunition for the Islamophobic far-right to attack Muslims, the head
of the investigation said on Wednesday.
Philip Mounstephen said his investigation into how British government can
greater help more than 200 million Christians who are subject to harassment and
threats would not be limited to Muslim countries.
government wants the bishop to identify ways that the government can harness
the UK’s diplomatic network – the third largest behind the US and China – to
relieve the pressure on oppressed Christian minorities.
is not a stalking horse for the Islamophobic far-right,” said the bishop at the
launch of his inquiry in London. He said the findings of his inquiry would not
give the resurgent right-wing a “stick to beat” Muslims.
Christians are being persecuted, then you can bet your bottom dollar that other
minorities are as well,” he said.
per cent of all people suffering from religious persecution in the world are
Christian, according to the UK government. It highlighted anti-Christian
activity in India, where a nationalist Hindu government is in power, and in
five countries from the Middle East – Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Syria
– are among 11 nations where the levels of persecution against Christians are
described as extreme, according to a report this month by Christian charity
Secretary Jeremy Hunt has cited the dwindling numbers of Christians in the
Middle East as the reason to act to protect the religion, saying it had fallen
from 20 per cent of the population of the region a century ago to five per cent
said on Wednesday that the UK had been wary of acting in the past in part
because of embarrassment over the “misguided imperialism” of Christian
missionaries during the height of British Empire in the nineteenth century. He
said he was seeking to build a coalition of like-minded nations to promote the
cause of persecuted Christians.
inquiry was launched after criticisms of the UK’s leadership in response the
Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, prompting scepticism about the government’s ability
to protect other minority groups.
political analyst from London believes it has been a deliberate policy of the
British government and the mainstream media in the West to keep silent about
the massacre of millions of Iranians during the First World War.
Shakespeare said in an interview with the Press TV that Britain has always
tried to depict the mass killing of Jews by the Nazi Germany in the Second
World War as the most notorious tragedy of the last century, adding that other
incidents such as the massacre of the Iranians has always been hushed.
there was the mass killing of Jews, but a greater number ... probably about
eight to 10 million, was the killing of Iranians by the British in the two
years 1917 to 1919, and the figure ... is more than the roughly six million
Jews killed by the Nazis,” he said.
Iranian devastation is not mentioned today ... and whilst there are continuing
remainders of one mass killing, that of Jews, there is silence about the other,
the killing of Iranians,” he added.
said it is a policy of the British Foreign Office and the Zionist-controlled
media to uphold that “disgraceful silence” about the mass killing of the
Iranians during the First World War.
is disgraceful that knowledge of something only one hundred years ago, because
that’s what we are talking about, is deliberately suppressed,” he said.
expert said Western powers like Britain are still involved in mass murder of
civilians in various parts of the world or continue to keep silent about such
incidents despite their consistent propaganda on human rights
said the mass exodus and killing of Muslims in Myanmar and Yemen were two clear
examples of such hypocrite policy.
in Germany have arrested three Iraqi citizens suspected of planning to carry
out an attack in the European country, according to a federal prosecutor’s
authorities identified the detained suspects only as 23-year-olds Shahin F. and
Hersh F. and 36-year-old Rauf S.
said that they had all been taken into custody in a pre-dawn raid by a police
SWAT team in an area near Germany’s border with Denmark called Dithmarschen.
to an official statement, the three were apparently in the early stages of planning
an attack and had neither begun to build a functioning bomb nor decided on a
two younger suspects are accused of plotting a bomb attack and violating
weapons laws, while the older is alleged to have assisted them. Shahin F. and
Hersch F. allegedly decided to “carry out an attack” in late 2018.
also said that there were indications the suspects sympathized with the Daesh
terrorist group, though a direct link to the outfit or other groups remained
December last year, the statement added, Shahin F. downloaded “various
instructions” on how to build a bomb, and then ordered a detonator from a
contact person in the United Kingdom. Its delivery, however, was blocked by
British law enforcement agencies.
the statement said that the younger suspects also carried out tests using
explosive powder from New Year’s fireworks and asked Rauf S. to purchase a
is also accused of contacting a man identified as Walid Khaled Y.Y. — who had
already been under investigation — to procure the gun. He allegedly offered
them a Russian semi-automatic Makarov 9mm pistol, but it was considered too
expensive and eventually not purchased.
Shahin F. also started taking driving lessons in preparation for the
possibility of using a vehicle for their planned attack, prosecutors said.
was unclear when the suspects originally came to Germany. A spokeswoman for the
federal prosecutor, Kerstin Wacker, refused to elaborate beyond the written
statement offered to the press.
major powers have set up a new mechanism, INSTEX, to continue trade with Iran
in defiance of U.S. sanctions, local media reported on Thursday.
INSTEX, short for “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges", will be
based in Paris and managed by a German banking expert, Germany’s public
broadcaster NDR reported.
heavyweights Germany, France and the U.K. would try to keep the landmark Iran
nuclear deal alive, with offering European firms an alternative payments
channel, the report said.
three countries, which are all signatories to the nuclear agreement, will
appoint officials to the supervisory board of the INSTEX, and the mechanism
will also be open to the participation of other EU member states, according to
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last year to leave a 2015 nuclear deal
with Tehran, Germany, France and the U.K. insisted that the agreement was the
most effective way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology for
powers including the U.S., Russia and China, had agreed in 2015 to lift
economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return for the latter agreeing to limit
its nuclear activity to peaceful and civilian purposes.
say they are not looking to rule Afghanistan alone
Taliban said on Wednesday they are not seeking a "monopoly on power"
in a future administration in Afghanistan but are looking for ways to co-exist
with Afghan institutions — the most conciliatory statement to date from the
statement came amid intensified United States-led efforts to resolve the
long-running Afghanistan war. US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reported this week that
there had been "agreements in principle" toward a framework for peace
with the Taliban, who now control almost half of the country and carry out
near-daily attacks, mainly targeting Afghan security forces and government
Shaheen, a spokesman based in Qatar where the Taliban have a political office,
said that once US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban want to live
with other Afghans, "tolerate one another and start life like
brothers". Shaheen's statement was provided in an exclusive audio message
to The Associated Press.
the end of the occupation, Afghans should forget their past and tolerate one
another and start life like brothers. After the withdrawal, we are not seeking
a monopoly on power," Shaheen said.
believe in an inclusive Afghan world, where all Afghans can see themselves in
it," he added.
also said the Taliban envision a reformed police and local police forces,
without offering specifics. Afghanistan's local police forces have been widely
criticised as deeply corrupt and intimidating of the local population.
said another round of talks with Khalilzad is planned for February 25 in Doha.
who held talks with the Taliban for six days last week in Qatar, said during a
visit to Kabul on Monday that much more remains to be done but that there has
been significant progress toward an agreement with the insurgents.
more: US envoy Khalilzad confirms 'draft framework' with Taliban: NYT
turn, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured Afghans that no deals would be made
without the Kabul government's awareness and full participation.
troops invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 in response to the September 11
attacks and ousted the Taliban, who had harboured Al Qaeda and its leader,
Osama bin Laden.
Taliban, who had ruled Afghanistan since 1996, had imposed a harsh form of
also said the US and the Taliban will establish joint technical teams to work
out details of a future US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as ways of
preventing Afghanistan from again becoming a haven for terrorist groups such as
Al Qaeda. Khalilzad, who was appointed last September, has stepped up efforts
to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan's protracted war that will allow an
eventual withdrawal of US forces and bring to an end America's longest military
engagement that has already cost Washington about $1 trillion.
Donald Trump has also expressed frustration with the continued US involvement
in Afghanistan, lending a greater urgency to an early settlement.
intense negotiations with Khalilzad, the Taliban have refused to negotiate
directly with Kabul and often refer to the Afghan government as puppets of the
US. Khalilzad has also pressed Ghani's government, which is deeply divided, to
cobble together a strong negotiating team.
Rahman Salim, deputy head of the Afghan High Peace Council which comprises top
Afghan clerics and other prominent figures, said the only way to peace is
through direct talks with the government.
the Taliban really want to join the peace process, the best and easy way to
start is with direct peace talks with the Afghan government," he said,
adding that "there is a big difference between what you say and what you
the Taliban insurgents' refusal to negotiate with Kabul, Shaheen's message
appeared directed at a wide array of stakeholders in Afghanistan — possibly
even Ghani's government — who could work together to hasten US troop pullout.
withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan is a shared responsibility
and a pride for all Afghans," Shaheen said.
control slips in Afghanistan amid US talks with Taliban
The Kabul government is steadily losing its grip over parts of Afghanistan even
as American forces intensify their air campaign against insurgent groups, a US
government watchdog said Thursday.
latest grim assessment of Afghanistan's security situation comes as the US
pursues talks with the Taliban and urgently seeks a way out of the 17-year war.
provided by Resolute Support, the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, show that
as of October 31, only 63.5 percent of Afghans are living in areas controlled
or influenced by the Kabul government -- down from 65.2 percent the previous
to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR),
which compiled the data, the decrease came as Kabul's control or influence over
Afghan districts dropped.
said just 53.8 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts are in government hands,
and experts on Afghanistan say the number is lower still.
of looking at population metrics, the Pentagon in a response to SIGAR said it
is more important to "focus on the principal goal of the strategy of
concluding the war in Afghanistan on terms favorable to Afghanistan and the
pointed to ongoing talks between the Taliban and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad,
who this week said he had sealed the outlines of a peace deal.
the ongoing security crisis, SIGAR said the US has dramatically increased air
strikes, dropping 6,823 bombs in the first 11 months of 2018.
"figure was already 56 percent higher than the total number of munitions
released in 2017 (4,361), and is more than five times the total in 2016,"
SIGAR said in its report.
the strength of Afghan security forces has continued to dwindle, and currently
stands at 308,693 personnel. That means only 87.7 percent of positions are
filled, the lowest level since January 2015.
forces have suffered staggering losses since they assumed responsibility for
their country's security four years ago.
Ashraf Ghani last week said 45,000 security forces have been killed since he
took office in September 2014.
combat forces pulled out at the end of that year, and observers say the losses
may not be sustainable.
say President Donald Trump has decided to pull half of America's forces from
Afghanistan. The Pentagon insisted the numbers in SIGAR's report do not
necessarily reflect poorly on his strategy to find an end to the conflict.
of population control are not indicative of effectiveness of the South Asia
strategy or of progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan," the
Pentagon said, according to SIGAR.
has provided few specifics about a potential deal with the Taliban, but the
militants are believed to have promised not to provide shelter again to foreign
the Taliban have so far refused another key US demand -- that they talk to the
internationally recognized government in Kabul, which the insurgents view as
has warned against rushing into a deal, citing violence following the Soviet
withdrawal in 1989.
Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Tuesday that he saw "some very
encouraging possibilities" in Khalilzad's negotiations.
we need to give them time and space," Shanahan said.
Crocker, a former US ambassador to multiple nations including Afghanistan, said
in an opinion piece in The Washington Post that US negotiations with the
Taliban are akin to "surrender."
31, 2019The United States and Afghan Taliban have decided to form two technical
committees to prepare recommendations for the withdrawal of foreign forces and
to prevent Afghanistan from being used against other countries, Taliban
political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Wednesday.
told Daily Times from Qatar that the committees are expected to start working
from next week and will present their reports during the next round of talks to
be held on Feb 25.
Taliban and the US officials held wide-ranging talks in Qatar on Jan 21-26 and
both sides reported progress in the talks. US envoy on Afghan reconciliation
Zalmay Khalilzad led an 11-member delegation in the talks while Taliban’s
eight-member team was headed by Sher Abbas Stankezai.
US has agreed with our demand to withdraw all troops and we have committed to
ensure that Afghan soil will not be used in future against the US and other
countries,” the Taliban spokesman said. “We did not accept the US calls for
ceasefire and negotiations with the Kabul administration. The US suggested
ceasefire during the withdrawal. We have told them that we will not talk to
Kabul administration until foreign troops stay in Afghanistan,” he said.
the Taliban on Wednesday released more parts of a video interview of head of
Taliban political office Sher Abbas Stanekzai, who says the UN, OIC, major
powers and regional and neighbouring countries will be present as guarantors
when the Taliban and the US sign agreements on the withdrawal of troops and
Taliban will give commitment to stop using Afghan soil against others. “We have
convinced the US that issues related to the US will be discussed with them and
those related to Afghanistan’s internal issues will be discussed with Afghans
and tribes at an appropriate time,” Stanekzai said.
has concerns that Afghanistan was used against them in the past and they want
to ensure Afghan soil is not used against them in future. They want no one
should act against the US and if it is ensured then they are ready to withdraw
all foreign troops whether American or NATO forces. We have told them that even
a single foreign soldier is not acceptable on Afghan soil,” the Taliban chief
negotiator said. “We told them that Jihad will continue even if a single
soldier stays in Afghanistan. They assured us that they would withdraw all
US side also assured us that they neither want permanent presence of troops nor
military bases. They told us that they want withdrawal of forces if they are
satisfied that the Afghan soil will not be used against them,” he said. Taliban
do not talk to the Kabul administration as it is an ‘illegal government, which
has been imposed through force by the US, he said, adding that President Ashraf
Ghani can neither decide to keep the foreign troops nor ask them to leave as he
has no powers and it is only “up to the US to decide whether or not to stay’.
“So how can we talk to a powerless person?” he asked.
said the Taliban officials have made it clear that all US soldiers, their
military advisers, trainers, intelligence agents and non-combatant force will
leave, and even those who they say protect the US embassy in Kabul. “Protection
of US embassy is the responsibility of the future Afghan government. But if
they want to keep some guards inside the embassy, then US will have to discuss
it with the Afghan government,” he maintained.
A Bangladeshi fake passport link has surfaced in the Telangana-Iraq human
smuggling racket, pointing to the existence of a multinational illegal agent
network comprising two from Nizamabad (one of them living in Erbil), an Iraqi
and a Bangladeshi.
migrant workers who returned from Erbil to Hyderabad via Delhi on Wednesday
revealed that an Iraqi agent, Amir, and a Bangladeshi agent identified as Rana
linked to Vijay Acharya of Argul in Nizamabad district provided them fake
Bangladeshi passports to reach Baghdad from Erbil to avoid being caught at the
security check posts.
got us fake passports’ Gannoji Krishnaker, a resident of Nagepur, told TOI that
they had set out for Erbil via Dubai on August 17 last year on Indian passports
with one month Iraqi visit visa. On being told that they had a chance of
getting jobs in Baghdad if they had Bangladeshi passports with Muslim names,
they agreed to travel with fake documents.
Erbil, we were received by agent Vijay Acharya. After staying for 15 days in
Erbil, Vijay along with the Bangladeshi Rana got us fake Bangladeshi
passports... On the fake passports, they removed existing photos and replaced
them with ours. We then travelled by taxi from Erbil to Baghdad. We had to pass
through 20 security check posts, where we were checked and the driver told the
authorities that we are from Bangladesh. We were put up in a hotel in Baghdad.
Even after one month, we were not given any work. As we were starving, we used
all the money we brought from India and hired a taxi and travelled back to Erbil
in the night,” Krishnaker said.
Sayanna alias Swamy, a resident of Koratpally Dichpally, said, “We were
promised jobs in a company with a salary of ?
As our Iraqi visa expired, Amir collected ?10,000 each which we got through
Western Union from home and said he will extend the visa. But he disappeared.”
the rescued were three of a family — Chatur Singh, Banoth Vinod and Korra
Ravinder of Makloor. “We ate a sandwich or bread a day and we had rationed the
food so that no one starves. Suddenly, one day this month we were told that
police are going to raid our room in Erbil which led us to run on the roofs
from one building to other. We were caught by a patrolling team which took us
to the police station where we were released after being assured that we will
be sent back to India,” Singh said.
twenty militants affiliated with the Taliban and ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K) groups
have been killed during separate operations of the Afghan and Coalition Forces
in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, the coalition forces carried out two air
strikes in Dowlatabad district of Faryab province killing 8 Taliban fighters.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Darah-ye Pech district of Kunar province leaving 2 ISIS-K fighters dead.
Afghan Special Forces also conducted a clearance operation in Sangin district
of Helamdn killing 4 Taliban fighters and destroying 10 pounds of black tar
to the military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation in
Chahar Bolak district of Balkh province in response to reports that the Taliban
had captured 14 supply trucks, resulting into the killing of 4 militants while
7 supply trucks were discovered and some of the detained drivers were rescued.
has pledged to host further talks in support of the reconciliation process in
Afghanistan, days after comprehensive, six-days talks ended between the United
States and Taliban in Doha.
Office of High Peace Council of Afghanistan in a statement said the Special
Envoy of the Foreign Ministry of Qatar Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani met with the
Afghan High Peace Council Chief Karim Khalili in Kabul on Tuesday during which
he reaffirmed his country’s interest to further support peace process in
statement further added that Mr. Al-Qahtani reassured that Doha is prepared to
host further talks in sequence of the previous talks in support of Afghan
his turn, Mr. Khalili said the Afghan side wants progress in peace process
which is led and owned by Afghans, emphasizing that this is one of the desires
of the Afghan nation.
also expressed hopes that peace efforts in Doha would pave the way lead to
realization of the desires of Afghan nation, according to the statement by
Afghan High Peace Council.
comes as efforts are underway to revive direct peace talks between the Afghan
government and Taliban group leaders to end the ongoing violence in the
Director of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Nigeria, Eric Batonon, has urged
Cameroon to comply with international and tripartite agreements to accommodate
30,000 people that fled Rann in northern Borno, Northeast Nigeria following
attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.
NRC in a statement released Wednesday in Maiduguri, disclosed that; “The
Norwegian Refugee Council is alarmed by the massive displacement of 30,000
people from the Nigerian town of Rann into Cameroon.
is less than one week after 9,000 Nigerians fled a deadly attack in the town.”
said, the Nigerian refugees who had crossed into Cameroon, were forced to
to him, the Cameroon should keep its borders open, as it is crucial that the
Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities offer assistance to those fleeing the
humanitarian assistance, he explained was in compliance with international
agreements and the tripartite agreement signed between the two countries and
women, men, and children fleeing are not opportunists; they are civilians
fleeing for their lives,
November 2018, there has been a steep surge in displacement in northeast
Nigeria, triggered by a spike in attacks. More than 100,000 people have been
forced to flee, many for the second time.
is creating vast humanitarian needs and stretching the capacity of already
congested camps and sites across the region.
by denying assistance and protection to those fleeing, needs are exacerbated
and affected communities will continue to rely on humanitarian assistance.
humanitarian community launched a plan this week to assist 2.5 million people
displaced across the Lake Chad Basin.
Norwegian Refugee Council calls for donor countries to step up their support to
countries in the region hosting a large number of refugees and displaced
people,” Batonon said.
security forces detained the daughter of Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq
al-Mahdi on Wednesday, her family said, as anti-government protests spread to
the capital’s main university.
security vehicles arrived at Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi’s home in Khartoum in the
morning and took her away, her sister Rabah told Reuters, a day after Sudan’s
security chief ordered the release of dozens of detained protesters.
was no immediate comment from the government.
is deputy head of the opposition Umma Party headed by her father - who is
Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister and was overthrown by
President Omar al-Bashir in a coup in 1989.
has supported a wave of protests that have shaken cities across Sudan since
December 19. Demonstrators, frustrated with bread and fuel shortages and other
economic hardships, have called for the end of Bashir’s three-decade rule.
groups say at least 45 people have been killed. The government puts the death
count at 30.
250 professors from the University of Khartoum protested on campus on
Wednesday, demanding a new transitional administration to replace the current
510 of the university’s professors signed a memo calling for the creation of a
“sovereign body” to form a new government and oversee a four-year transitional
university educated many of Sudan’s leading politicians and has been the scene
of protests and unrest throughout the country’s tempestuous history.
University of Khartoum’s role as an academic institution is to find solutions
for the peaceful transfer of power,” Montasser al-Tayeb, one of the professors,
al-Mahdi returned to Sudan last month from nearly a year in self-imposed exile
and called for a democratic transition before thousands of supporters.
Sudanese-Eritrean border will be reopened, Sudan's embattled president Omar Al
Bashir announced on Thursday.
to supporters Mr Bashir said that the border, which has been closed since
January 6, 2018, will reopen after more than a year.
announce here, from Kassala, that we are opening the border with Eritrea
because they are our brothers and our people. Politics will not divide
us," he said in televised remarks before scores of supporters in the town
of Kassala, capital of the remote state of the same name.
was unclear at the time why the border with Eritrea was closed, but relations
in the Horn of Africa region are warming up following a historic reconciliation
between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
British security contractor who was training African troops in Somalia has
survived an attempted beheading by inmates loyal to ISIS at a prison in
Cox was working in Somalia for the American security company Bancroft Global
Development but was imprisoned last week after Somali authorities discovered
tear gas canisters in his bag ahead of departure from the country.
Mogadishu Central Prison, he was held alongside some of the country’s most
dangerous extremists. Two men subsequently tried to cut his throat with razor
blades attached with makeshift handles.
48-year-old suffered a slash to the neck that was not thought to be
life-threatening as the attack was stopped before it could go further. As one
of the suspects tried to cut deeper into his neck, prison authorities
one of the suspects was about to cut his [Mr Cox's] neck, we managed to stop
him. He sustained a very minor cut. He is doing well," Abdikarim Ali Afra,
the deputy governor of the prison, told the BBC's Somali service.
was working in the country to train soldiers in their battle against Al Shabab,
the insurgent Al Qaeda affiliate that regularly attacks civilian and military
is not known why he was held in Somalia’s most feared prison facility and not
another compound for his safety.
his arrest, Mr Cox was set to travel on an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis
Ababa from the Somali capital. He did not disclose the canisters and was
charged with endangering the public.
security at Mogadishu airport has been heightened since an explosion blew a
hole in the side of a passenger jet in 2016 after a bomb was smuggled onto the
aircraft through security at the terminal.
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