Nadu Islamic State module ‘mastermind’ held by NIA
minority students to get scholarships in 5 years: Govt
State group claims involvement in Kashmir gunbattle
Five CRPF personnel killed in Anantnag terror attack
to continue to pursue Zakir Naik's extradition request with Malaysia, judicial
system is fair: MEA
joins Lebanon, Palestinians in boycotting US-led confab in Bahrain
arrested, tortured over 150 Palestinians over charitable activities: Rights
Acquits ISIS Militant Who Recruited Fighters in Syria, Iraq
soldiers killed in roadside bomb explosion in southern Yemen
Coalition: Houthi rocket targets Saudi Abha airport, 26 injured
confirms Yemen’s Ansarullah fully abiding by peace deal
condemnation of Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport
Trump’s Guantánamo Threats, Americans Who Joined ISIS Are Quietly Returning
D.C. Man Facing Drug Charges Allegedly Showed Strong Interest in ISIS
Victim of Terrorism Faces Deportation for Helping Terrorists
sanctions on Assad ally seen as message to Syrian regime and Iran
to shut Saudi-funded center over human rights violations
Marine Le Pen to go on trial over her ISIS tweets
Probes Ultra-Right Plot to Attack Religious Venue
couple deny terror-related charges in Madrid re-trial
squad set up to protect South Australians from extremist attacks
comedian awarded $4.1 million in defamation lawsuit against neo-Nazi site
investigating Islamophobic graffiti outside London Muslim Mosque
Germany call on Iran to refrain from escalating tension
Terrorist attack on Abha Airport poses threat to regional security
court penalizes sexagenarian for Islamophobia
3 mosques suffer assaults in 2 days
Accused of ‘Misinformation Campaign’ Over Repatriation Of Rohingya
13,000 Afghans forced to flee Taliban, Daesh battle
kill 10 militants including Taliban commander in E. Afghanistan
and Iran to expand cooperation in nuclear field
militants suffer heavy casualties in North of Afghanistan
than 30 Taliban prisoners released from Nangarhar prison
Taliban militants killed, wounded in Kapisa, Wardak and Herat provinces
terrorist hailing from Punjab of Pakistan killed, 2 others arrested in Herat
gunmen kill religious cleric in Nangarhar province
Islamic Defenders Front Gaining Grassroots Support
Indonesia ready for halal certification obligation?
could be charged in civil or Shariah court, says lawyer
calls for Islamic court action against man who confessed to gay sex in video
Leaders Call Sex Clip Implicating Minister Vile, a Grave Sin
Indonesian Governor Confronts His Illuminati Accusers
Rights Ministry Asked To Simplify Zainab Alert Bill
Terror Police Arrest Man in Probe of Pakistan Group
army fully capable and ready to respond to any threat: General Bajwa
appears in accountability court after return from London
released on bail, but probe will continue
leaders in custody while terrorists roam free: Bilawal
address has won people’s hearts: Firdous
Hails ‘Befitting Response’ To India during Standoff after Pulwama Attack
to continue playing role in Afghan peace process: FM
Syria's Breadbasket, Kurds and Regime Battle For Wheat
Season Takes Music Lovers on Magical Journey with Vivaldi Light Show
Man Freed by Iran Says He Shared Cell Space with American
agents arrest Islamic State logistics provider in Diyala
denies deal to commute French ISIS members' death sentences
wave of civilian arrests in Mosul with claims of ISIS affiliation raises
police kill three Islamic State terrorists in Kirkuk
general warns Lebanon will pay ‘heavy price’ for working with Hezbollah
Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Trying Hard to Save Strategic Base in Lattakia
Launches Fresh Attacks on Army's Military Positions in Southern Syria
Orders Militants in Idlib to Resist against Syrian Army until G20 Summit
Delegations Arrive in Raqqa to Support US-Backed Separatist Objectives
air defense downs Israeli missiles: State media
Africa: Institute Blames West Africa Terror Spread on Rivalries
Names Veteran Envoy Booth to Find ‘Peaceful Political Solution’ In Sudan
Death Toll from Boko Haram Attack Rises To 37
massacre victims included 24 children: PM
hears calls to enforce Libya arms embargo
experts urge UN inquiry into Sudan 'abyss'
Security Council extends arms embargo on Libya for another year
AFRICOM affirms US support against al-Shabaab
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Clerics Back Modi’s Madrasa Modernisation Push: In Past the Muslims Were
Deprived of Good Education Facilities, Now They Will Also Be Able to Equally
Contribute to the Development of the Country
government's plan to train madrasa teachers will be launched next month. It has
also announced various scholarships for 5 crore minority students, which will
include 50% girl students, over the next five years.
Centre’s decision to connect madrasas to mainstream education has come in for
appreciation from Muslim clerics who have welcomed the move as a much-needed
step for the upliftment of minorities. On Tuesday, Minority Affairs minister
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that madrasas across the country will be connected
with formal education and mainstream education so that children in madrasas can
also contribute to the development of the society.
teachers across the country will be given training from various institutions in
mainstream subjects such as Hindi, English, Maths, Science, Computer etc. so
that they can impart mainstream education to the Madrasa students,” he said in
a statement. The move is in line with the vision outlined by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi twice since he assumed charge as Prime Minister in 2014. The same
year, Modi said he envisions a Muslim child holding a Quran in one hand and a
computer in the other. After returning to power a few weeks ago, Modi harked
back to his promise and stressed on Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas.
the Centre’s plan is winning laurels from across sections, Samajwadi Party
leader Azam Khan has objected to the move saying if the government really wants
to help madrasas, they should improve their standards. Speaking on the issue,
Khan defended the current pattern of education being imparted in madrasas and
said that besides religious teachings, subjects like English, Hindi, and Maths
are already being taught at madrasas.
has always been done. If you (the government) want to help, improve their
standard. Build buildings for madrasas, provide them furniture and midday meal
facility,” Khan added. He further politicised the issue by saying Madrasas
don’t breed personalities like Nathuram Godse or Pragya Thakur. “…announce that
those propagating thoughts of Nathuram Godse will be declared enemies of
democracy, those convicted for terror activities won’t be rewarded,” he said
while speaking to ANI.
Khan is probably the only Muslim leader who has criticised the move that even
Muslim clerics have welcomed. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind General Secretary Moulana
Mahmood Madani welcomed the initiative saying, “All the sections of the society
should be provided with equal opportunities especially in education for the
benefit of the country. We will always welcome such initiatives.”
further said that Muslims should have a part in nation building and it will
only be possible through the capacity building which isn’t possible without
education. “If this isn’t just an announcement and will be turned into actions,
it’s Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas in the true sense,” Madani added.
Muslim cleric Umer Ilyasi thanked PM Modi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for the
initiative and claimed that Muslims who were deprived of good education
facilities will now be able to equally contribute to the nation’s development.
“The slogan Prime Minister Modi gave “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas aur ab Sabka
Vishwas” has managed to gain the trust of Muslims for the government. Now the
time has changed, it’s not about any religion, caste or creed. We all will work
together for the development of the country and will soon make it a ‘vishwa
Akhtar Qasmi, another cleric from Aligarh, thanked the central government and
hoped it is implemented. “Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that there should be
computer education in Muslim madrasa. PM had earlier made it clear that he is
planning to bring the minority to the mainstream of education. On the occasion
of Eid, the government provided scholarship to five crore Muslim students. We
want to thank the government for this step. We hope it gets implemented. It is
important to monitor the educational system of the Muslim community,” Qasmi told
government’s plan to train madrasa teachers will be launched next month. It has
also announced various scholarships for 5 crore minority students, which will
include 50% girl students, over the next five years.
Govt To Provide 100 Percent Funding To Develop Schools, Hospitals On Waqf
waqf properties across India will be geo-tagged and digitised and the
government will provide 100 per cent funding to develop educational
institutions and hospitals on such properties for the welfare of society, Union
minster Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Wednesday.
while chairing the 80th meeting of the Central Waqf Council here, said there
are around 5.77 lakh registered waqf properties across the country and their
geo-tagging and digitalisation will ensure transparency and safety of records.
Centre has decided to start a programme on a war footing to utilise waqf
properties across the country for educational empowerment and
employment-oriented skill development of the needy, especially economically
backward girls in those areas which were deprived of these facilities since
Independence, the minority affairs minister said.
Minister Narendra Modi-led government has decided to provide 100 per cent
funding to develop schools, colleges, ITIs, polytechnics, hospitals,
multi-purpose community halls “Sadbhav Mandap” on waqf land under Pradhanmantri
Jan Vikas Karykram (PMJVK), he said.
programme on war footing has been launched for 100 per cent geo-tagging and
digitalisation of waqf properties across the country to ensure these properties
can be utilised for the welfare of society, Naqvi said.
said that while only 90 districts of the country had been identified for
minority communities’ development during the earlier government, the Modi
government has expanded development programmes for minorities in 308 districts
of the country.
report of a five-member committee, constituted to review waqf properties lease
rule, headed by Justice (Retd) Zakiullah Khan, has been submitted, Naqvi told
recommendations of the committee will ensure that waqf rules are made easy and
effective for better utilisation of waqf properties and to free these
properties, several of which are entangled in disputes for several decades,
from disputes, he said.
Central government is taking necessary action on the recommendations of the
Central Waqf Council is providing financial help to state waqf boards for
digitalisation of waqf records so that state waqf boards can complete
digitalisation work within the decided time frame.
mapping of the waqf properties has been initiated with the help of IIT Roorki
and Aligarh Muslim University. The Central Waqf Council has provided video
conferencing facilities to 20 state waqf boards and it would be provided in the
remaining state waqf boards by the end of this year,” he said.
announcement of geo-tagging of waqf properties comes a day after he spelt out
the government’s plan to empower the minorities.
scholarships such as pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means will be
provided to 5 crore students from minority communities, including 50 per cent
girls, over the next five years, he had said on Tuesday.
had also said girls from minority communities who have dropped out of school
will be linked to education and employment through “bridge courses” from
reputed educational institutions of the country.
Jihad mulls military action to foil US peace plan
CITY, Gaza Strip — Armed Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip are determined
to stop the US administration's proposed peace plan for the Middle East and
have the means to do so, according to Ziad al-Nakhla, secretary general of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.
times recently, Nakhla has alluded to escalation and the use of military force
to stop the plan, which is expected to be unveiled soon by the administration
of US President Donald Trump. Nakhla's statements come as his movement’s
military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, has shown significantly developed military
potential, especially in the round of escalation between Israel and the Gaza
Strip last month.
said May 30 on Lebanese Al-Manar TV that many leaders in the region want to
close the Palestinian cause dossier, and this could play out in favor of the US
plan. Nakhla pointed out, however, that despite the disparity in the balance of
power, the Palestinian people have the ability to thwart the plan, which the
United States has dubbed the "deal of the century."
Palestinians are not part of the deal, then the deal is born dead. The
Palestinians have the right to reject any deal that does not respect their
historical rights,” he added.
May 24, he had stressed that the armed Palestinian factions have enough strong
cards to derail the plan. His movement is ready to defend Palestine, he added.
United States is expected to reveal details of the plan at the Peace to
Prosperity conference aimed at encouraging investment in Palestinian areas. The
conference is set for June 25-26 in Manama, Bahrain, and while Palestinians
have voiced their rejection of the conference, some Arab states such as Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will be attending. Others,
such as Egypt and Jordan, had yet to RSVP as of June 10.
Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader, told Al-Monitor the movement and its supporters
are determined to keep the deal from being implemented. He said the peace plan
aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause and deny Palestinians their historical
and permanent rights. Palestinians across the spectrum reject the deal.
did say that the movement might resort to diplomatic and political steps, but
should such steps fail, then the military option would be a must. He stressed
that the Islamic Jihad is developing a national plan against the US proposal.
The plan will involve all Palestinians and will be submitted to the Palestinian
forces for approval.
movement is ready to foil the deal by force if necessary. The resistance has
the strength to put an end to the US and Israeli hegemony," he said. “The
resistance is developing its capabilities to liberate Palestine, and it will
spare no effort to defend our cause."
said the deal can't be allowed to come to pass, as it would allow Israel to
impose sovereignty over the Palestinian territories in cooperation with the US
administration, which he said seeks to colonize the Arab and Islamic region to
plunder its resources and blackmail its people.
said the Islamic Jihad isn't the only movement willing to confront the deal
militarily, as the group has armed partners such as Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah.
long as Israel is sitting on our land, the chances of escalation remain
possible, and the choices of resistance and development of combat tools remain
the most appropriate,” he said.
Habib, a security expert and lecturer at Ribat University College, told
Al-Monitor the Islamic Jihad and the other armed factions are sparing no effort
to close ranks, unite positions and confront the US proposal. However, he
added, the situation on the ground is different, as the deal is not a local
issue, but a regional one. He said the threats from the Islamic Jihad “are
blowing things out of proportion.”
stressed that the deal can be shut down through Palestinian unity, without
military force, and explained that if Palestinians refuse the deal then it
would only be natural for it not to proceed in its entirety.
action could pose a great political and field risk for Gaza, especially
considering Israel's obvious power advantage over the Palestinian factions. He
said he doesn't expect an escalation in the near future, especially with
tensions so high in Syria and Iran.
forces have to diversify their options when confronting the deal, Ibrahim Habib
said. That some Arab countries have agreed to attend the Manama conference, he
said, is a sign that the Palestinian leadership is politically helpless and
running out of cards to impede the conference. He called for a diplomatic
approach and for mobilizing the international and Arab communities.
analyst Hani Habib told Al-Monitor that the Islamic Jihad's threat indicates
that mounting tension with Israel will make it difficult to implement the US
peace plan, especially with regard to the partial annexation of the West Bank.
said the United States has put off revealing the details of the plan to
minimize opposition by saying it's not yet official. But he said the world is
aware that the most significant items of the deal have already been
implemented: US backing for Israel's annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights,
the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the
suspension of US funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Manama conference will only amount to simple financial compensation for
Palestinians, Hani Habib said.
added that neither the Israeli nor Palestinian sides want a war scenario.
Israel wants to preserve the Palestinian division, but a war would unite all
Palestinians, he added.
Palestinian political movement may play a role in disrupting, [but] not
foiling, the plan. An alternative must be found, especially in light of US
arrogance,” he said.
Gaza child caught in Israeli permit regime dies alone
Palestinian preschooler Aisha a-Lulu came out of brain surgery in a strange
Jerusalem hospital room, she called out for her mother and father. She repeated
the cry over and over, but her parents never came.
of a family member, Israeli authorities had approved a stranger to escort Aisha
from the blockaded Gaza Strip to the east Jerusalem hospital. As her condition
deteriorated, the child was returned to Gaza unconscious. One week later, she
photo of Aisha smiling softly in her hospital bed, brown curls swaddled in
bandages, drew an outpouring on social media. The wrenching details of her last
days have shined a light on Israel’s vastly complex and stringent system for
issuing Gaza exit permits.'
is a bureaucracy that has Israeli and Palestinian authorities blaming each
other for its shortfalls while inflicting a heavy toll on Gaza’s sick children
and their parents.
most difficult thing is to leave your child in the unknown,” said Waseem
a-Lulu, Aisha’s father. “Jerusalem is just an hour away, but it feels as though
it is another planet.”
far this year, roughly half of applications for patient companion permits were
rejected or left unanswered by Israel, according to the World Health
has forced over 600 patients, including some dozen children under 18, to make
the trek out of the territory alone or without close family by their side.
system stems from the Hamas militant group’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, when it
violently ousted the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. Israel and Egypt
responded by imposing a blockade that tightly restricted movement in and out of
blockade, which Israel says is necessary to prevent Hamas from arming, has
precipitated a financial and humanitarian crisis in the enclave. For years,
Gaza’s two million residents have endured rising poverty and unemployment,
undrinkable groundwater and frequent electricity outages.
hospitals wrestle with chronic shortages of drugs and basic medical equipment.
Israel blames Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group, for the crisis.
what it portrays as a humanitarian gesture to help Gaza’s civilians, Israel
permits Palestinian patients to seek medical treatment at hospitals in Israel
and the West Bank once they pass a series of bureaucratic hurdles.
the Israeli defense body that issues the permits, says it insists that all
patients cross with an escort, usually a close relative, unless they wish to go
alone or require immediate treatment that doesn’t allow time for security
order to get a permit, patients must first submit a diagnosis to the West
Bank-based Palestinian Health Ministry, proving that their treatment isn’t
available in Gaza. Then a Palestinian liaison requests exit permits from COGAT,
which reviews the applications and passes them to Israel’s Shin Bet security
agency for background checks.
to WHO, the approval rate has plummeted in recent years.
said that in 2012, Israel allowed in 93 percent of patients and 83 percent of
their companions for treatment. For the month of April 2019, the figure stands
at just 65 percent of patients and 52 percent of their companions.
COGAT official disputed the figures, saying they don’t take into account that
the number of permit applications has grown as Gaza’s health care system
deteriorates and that Israel has started issuing permits less regularly but for
official, speaking on condition of anonymity under agency rules, said COGAT is
working to ease restrictions by designating a permit specifically for parents
of child patients.
being diagnosed with brain cancer, Aisha received immediate approval to get out
of Gaza for what was hoped to be life-saving surgery. But when her parents
approached the Palestinian Civil Affairs Commission for escort permits, their
process ground to a halt.
their bewilderment, Palestinian officials told them not to apply, saying it was
too risky. At 37, Waseem is below the age that Israel deems acceptable for
swift entry on security grounds. Today, all men under 55 require extra
screening, which means waiting, usually for months, according to Mor Efrat, the
Gaza and West Bank director for Physicians for Human Rights Israel.
for Aisha’s mother, Muna, a quirk of her upbringing in Egypt left her without
an official Israeli-issued ID card required to receive a permit.
tell families to find a companion that won’t give Israel any reason to refuse,”
said Osama Najar, spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry. “We want to
save the child and, yes, that can mean sending them alone.”
this sense, the Palestinian Authority “acts as a subcontractor for Israel,”
said Efrat, forcing parents to make a difficult choice: delay their child’s
urgent care, or search for someone else that Israel would be more likely to let
parents said they scoured for alternatives, applying for an aunt and her
75-year-old grandmother, but Israel rejected both.
girl’s only remaining hope, the Palestinian office told them, was to apply for
as many older women as possible from their extended social network. A permit
for Halima al-Ades, a remote family acquaintance whom Aisha had never met, was
said she had no choice but to sign COGAT’s consent form and whisk her daughter
out of Gaza for immediate treatment. She said the frustration of the sprawling
bureaucracy, and the painful memory of her 5-year-old daughter crying for her
on the phone during her last days, haunts her.
was the hardest time of my life,” she said. “My heart was being ripped out
every day and every hour.”
Shin Bet declined to comment on the case. But in a statement, it emphasized
Israel’s security concerns about Gaza patients and their companions.
terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, headed by Hamas, are working
tirelessly to cynically exploit the humanitarian and medical assistance
provided by Israel,” it said. This means that Palestinians are often turned
down without explanation or for reasons out of their control.
feel confident telling you that most of these rejections are arbitrary,” said
Efrat, of Physicians for Human Rights Israel. Israel denies any official change
Eviatar, a former high-ranking official with COGAT, said the goal remains the
same. “On the ground, this means to make daily life as difficult as possible
for Hamas, without crossing the red line to a humanitarian disaster,” he said.
acknowledged that the Israeli permit system was ineffective, inefficient and
overburdened. “We are desperate for an alternative, to get Gaza to take care of
itself and stop relying on Israel,” he said.
doctor in Jerusalem, Ahmad Khandaqji, said he has treated countless lone
patients from Gaza over the past year, but that Aisha’s story stuck with him.
“She felt abandoned and betrayed,” he said. “We saw how that directly impacted
created 'phony' emergency to approve $8bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia
President Donald Trump has been accused of creating a “phony” emergency to
bypass Congress to approve an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
White House said last month it was making an emergency provision within the
country’s arms control law to enable the billions of dollars of arms sales to
the Saudi kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, the US’s strongest allies in
the Persian Gulf. The recourse helps the president spare congressional review
for the exports.
Trump administration had cited “alleged threats from Iran” to justify resorting
to the provision.
Clarke Cooper, the State Department's assistant secretary of state for
political-military affairs, appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
on Wednesday where he was grilled over the $8 billion “'emergency” arms sale to
members of the House committee said the president’s action violated the law
because there was no actual emergency.
also said Trump’s action shows that the United States is tolerating worst human
rights abuses by Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen.
is no emergency. It's phony. It's made up. And it's an abuse of the law,"
said Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
US has been supporting a 2015-present Saudi-led war against Yemen that seeks to
bring back the impoverished country’s former Riyadh-backed officials. The
American patronage has featured aerial refueling, which the US only stopped
earlier in the year after the Saudi-led coalition grew independent of it, as well
as logistical and commando support.
of thousands have died since the onset of the war, and the entire Yemen has
been pushed close to the edge of outright famine.
year after the war was launched, Trump made his maiden foreign visit to Saudi
Arabia, announcing more than $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that four Republicans
will join Democrats to oppose the arms sale to Saudi Arabia next week in the
however, said the arms sales and US military buildup in the Persian Gulf were
needed to counter what he called increasing threats from Iran to Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates.
malign - even provocative actions mark a new evolution of the threat Iran poses
to the security of hundreds of thousands of Americans who live and work in the
[Persian] Gulf states, and to the security of the region and our
partners," Cooper said.
denounced Trump’s bypassing of Congress on the arms sale to Saudi Arabia and US
support for Saudi war in Yemen.
Brad Sherman, a Democrat, said, "You tell us that you want to send a
message with this to our adversaries. It appears that your adversary is
Congress and the message is loud and clear: 'We will stretch every statute
beyond the breaking point in order to make the Congress irrelevant to the
arms sales you're talking about are controversial. There is significant
opposition in Congress. And rather than confront that, you go around it,"
what ways is the United States holding Saudi Arabia accountable for war crimes
it has committed by murdering civilians on multiple, multiple occasions in
Yemen and causing a famine in Yemen?" asked Democratic Representative Andy
relationship is 'immoral': Omar
Ilhan Omar said the US relationship with Saudi Arabia "in its current form
it is not only immoral, it is counterproductive to our national security,"
had been holding up the sales amid concerns about civilian casualties in the
war and fury at Saudi Arabia over its killing of US-based journalist Jamal
Khashoggi in Turkey last year. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and
outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was killed and
dismembered last May after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, but the US
administration refused to let the murder adversely affect its Saudi ties.
white supremacists are still on YouTube in wake of ban
York (CNN Business)Six days after YouTube said it would ban supremacist content
and remove videos that deny well-documented atrocities like the Holocaust,
accounts belonging to some of the most prominent purveyors of hate in the US,
such as white supremacist Richard Spencer and former KKK leader David Duke, are
still on the platform.
has taken some action against Duke's account, which he uses to, among other
things, rail against what he calls the "Zio" media — "Zio"
is a code word he uses for "Jewish" — and post bizarre fitness videos
with advice on how to avoid shrunken testicles. Features like comments and
sharing have been removed from the channel, and YouTube has added a warning
that his videos contain "inappropriate" or "offensive"
content. But a YouTube spokesperson told CNN Business that those actions
predated the company's announcement last week.
majority of videos on the account for the National Policy Institute, a white
supremacist group that Spencer runs, do not contain any content warnings and
most of the videos can still be shared and commented on. Spencer, who helped
found the alt-right movement, was one of the leaders of the Unite the Right
rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Violence at that rally led
to dozens of injuries and the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer.
video that has a content warning and other restrictions shows Spencer
interviewing Maram Susli, a YouTube creator known as "Syrian Girl,"
who has contributed to conspiracy site InfoWars.
its blog post on Wednesday, YouTube said it was prohibiting "videos
alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination,
segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste,
religion, sexual orientation or veteran status." YouTube also said it
would remove hundreds of thousands of videos that it had not previously considered
to be in violation of its policies.
YouTube spokesperson declined to comment on specific accounts, but said that
enforcement of the updated policy will take time and that the company will
expand its coverage of the new rules over the next several months. The
spokesperson also said accounts are removed after they have repeatedly violated
YouTube's "Community Guidelines" or if the channel is dedicated to
violating YouTube's policies.
effectively YouTube will enforce its new policy is an open question. CNN
Business found on Thursday that one Nazi channel that YouTube has twice before
deleted was back up, and making no attempt to hide itself or its connection to
the two previously banned accounts.
channel was first taken down in April 2018 in wake of a CNN investigation which
found that ads from over 300 companies and organizations ran on YouTube
channels promoting white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories
and North Korean propaganda. Run by Brian Ruhe, who had emphasized to CNN in 2018
that he did not want to be referred to as a "neo-Nazi," because he
thinks of himself as a "real, genuine and sincere Nazi," the account
deleted on Wednesday had over 3,300 subscribers when it was taken down. Earlier
this year, Ruhe had posted to the channel a video of himself and friends
celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday, complete with a cake featuring a Swastika
made out of icing and "Heil Hitler!" salutes.
though that account was deleted, a new Brian Ruhe account was already up on the
site and posting videos on Wednesday, only hours after YouTube's policy
CNN Business asked YouTube about the new account, the company took it down.
Ruhe confirmed to CNN Business that both accounts belonged to him. He said
YouTube told him the accounts were taken down for "severe or frequent
violations" of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech. But Ruhe claimed:
"I deny that I have hate or that I use hate speech."
policies and its enforcement of them can be vague and inconsistent.
company says its rules are based on content, and not the person behind the
CNN Business' attempts to get answers as to YouTube's actions and thinking
regarding several channels apparently owned by Ruhe were met with vague answers
and new actions by YouTube that contradicted its previous positions.
addition to the new account Ruhe started Wednesday, CNN Business found two
other accounts belonging to him. One focused on his brand of Buddhism; the
other, which was dedicated to him livestreaming, contained only two lengthy
videos, one of which included mentions of Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideology.
CNN Business asked YouTube about the accounts, it removed the livestreaming
account and the account that Ruhe had started after the new policy was
announced last week, though not the account about Buddhism.
cursory review of the account Ruhe started last week, though, did not reveal
any content in obvious violation of YouTube's policies. When CNN Business asked
YouTube why it was removed, since both it and the Buddhism account did not
immediately seem to be in violation, YouTube responded by removing the Buddhism
account. A YouTube spokesperson declined to provide any further explanation
about these decisions.
why YouTube hadn't caught an account that had been banned twice before and was
making no effort to hide what it was, the YouTube spokesperson said the
platform relies on a combination of machine learning and user flags to address
banned users making new accounts. The spokesperson also said YouTube removes
reuploads of videos when flagged by its systems or users. The spokesperson
declined to provide more details about how YouTube will address this issue in
the future or how Ruhe was able to create multiple accounts.
company has long faced criticism for letting misinformation, conspiracy
theories and extremist views spread on its platform.
company takes action on videos that violate its policies in several ways. It
says it has four "pillars" for protecting users from harmful content,
including deleting videos, restricting features on "borderline
content," promoting authoritative voices, and rewarding trusted creators
with the ability to make money from their channel, while demonetizing those who
violate its hate speech policies.
deletes videos for violating its guidelines, including uploading pornography,
copyrighted material or content whose primary purpose is inciting hatred.
videos that are what the company calls "borderline content," it can
opt to restrict certain features, such as removing the sidebar that appears to
the right of most videos that recommends other content, or restricting the
questionable videos from appearing on the "recommended" tab on the
YouTube homepage. It can also add a content warning or disable comments.
YouTube's community guidelines forbid "racial, ethnic, religious, or other
slurs where the primary purpose is to promote hatred," it has resisted
removing Duke's page, which includes among other things, a video in which he
rails against the "Zionist Matrix of Power" that he falsely claims
"controls Media, Politics and Banking." Instead, YouTube has chosen
to strip away several features from his videos, such as disabling comments,
removing the sidebar next to the video that recommends videos and adding a
content warning filter.
can also take action on a channel by cutting off its ability to make money,
such as through ads running on its videos. It's unclear whether Duke and
Spencer have the ability to monetize their channels, but neither channel
appears to have ads running on them.
new policies come after Facebook (FB) said in March it was banning white
supremacist content from its platforms. Facebook's ban came after the suspect
in the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques live streamed part of the
massacre on its platform.
anti-migrant hate moved mainstream in 2018, Council of Europe warns
speech and xenophobia became major concerns no longer relegated to the margins
of European politics in 2018, according to an expert commission of the Council
annual report published Tuesday by the European Commission against Racism and
Intolerance (ECRI) warned that public anxieties about global political and
economic changes were increasingly being "exploited by those scapegoating
migrants and minorities." "The growing public anxiety about economic,
geopolitical and technological changes was exploited by those scapegoating
migrants and minorities, in particular populist politicians aiming at dividing
societies along national ethnic or religious lines," the report said.
commission warned against populist initiatives that are aimed at "dividing
societies," as well as ideologies that presume an
"incompatibility" between different ethnic, national or religious
groups in society.
only were such views expressed by fringe politicians, but they increasingly
gained footing within mainstream political parties and national
governments," the ECRI said in a statement.
report emphasized that anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment were still
prevalent in most member states in 2018. "Muslim women were frequently the
targets of violence, which often involved pulling off face veils and
headscarves or being spat at," it said. Also, Jewish people in Europe
continue to be confronted with anti-Semitic hatred, including violence, the
hatred has significantly risen in Europe. Far-right extremism and xenophobia
have fueled anti-Muslim hatred in Western countries, where terror attacks by
Daesh and al-Qaida are used as an excuse to legitimize those views. Although
enmity toward Muslims is not a new phenomenon, it intensified after 2001 when
airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. Since then, for
almost two decades, Islam has been unjustly tarnished with labels that have
negative connotations and portrayed as a religion of hate and violence with
anti-Western sentiment and women's oppression. This trend of intolerance has
triggered deadly attacks against Muslims and immigrants since then.
growing racism emerging as a serious problem in almost all EU states, citizens
of foreign origin are more vulnerable in some countries. For example, in
Germany, Muslims have become targets of countless attacks in recent years.
According to a report by the Leipzig-based Competence Center for Right-Wing
Extremism and Democracy Research published last November, the country has been
showing increasingly hostile attitudes toward immigrants, the Muslim community
and other minorities such as the Roma, with one-in-three Germans thinking
foreigners come only to exploit the welfare of the state.
ECRI has also raised alarms about the increasing spread of "fake
news" that often produces distorted images of vulnerable groups, and
called on politicians, religious and community leaders to not only avoid using
hate speech, but to proactively counter it.
Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg and has a mandate to monitor human
rights in its 47 member states. The ECRI is one of a number of committees that
examine different aspects of human rights as part of the council's mandate.
bombings inside job: Muslim leader
extremists behind Sri Lanka’s deadly Easter bombings received funding from
state intelligence services, a top Muslim leader told a parliamentary
comments by Azath Salley, who quit last week as governor of Western Province,
added to evidence of massive security failings before the April 21 attacks that
killed 258 people.
bombings were led by Zahran Hashim, a radical who broke from the Sri Lanka
Thowheeth Jama’ath (SLTJ) to form an extremist group, the National Thowheeth
told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that he repeatedly told President
Maithripala Sirisena to take action against the group.
defence ministry paid the Thowheeth Jama’ath. The police worked closely with
the Thowheeth Jama’ath,” Salley said, according to a transcript of his remarks.
said the former government of Mahinda Rajapakse in office until 2015 funded
Thowheeth Jama’ath through military intelligence, a practice continued by the
said that the funding was to spy on other groups.
also said that a week before the attacks, he met with top defence officials to
warn them about the activities of the radicals and impending dangers.
the police had taken action on the information I provided at the time, we would
have been able to avoid this disaster,” he said.
PSC has already heard from several top defence and police officials that the
authorities failed to implement an effective security plan even after receiving
precise warnings of an impending attack.
sacked his national intelligence chief Sisira Mendis after he told the PSC that
the attacks could have been averted.
also said the president had failed to hold regular security meetings to assess
the threat from such radicals.
defence secretary and police chief have suggested that the president, who is
also defence minister, did not follow proper protocols in dealing with
intelligence warnings about the bombings.
has refused to cooperate with the PSC and told his senior officers not to
parliament warned civil servants that they risked up to 10 years in jail if
they ignored summons.
of proceedings have however been halted.
has repeatedly denied he was aware of an impending threat.
suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundara and dismissed his top defence
official Hemasiri Fernando after the bombings.
Country facing ‘moral crisis’, practise clean, dignified politics
LUMPUR, June 12 — PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has called on the
public to practise honest, clean and dignified politics, in a statement issued
following a gay sex video scandal allegedly involving a federal minister.
a statement, Abdul Hadi claimed Malaysia is currently facing an integrity and
moral crisis, and reminded others that Islam teaches its adherents to be wary
when a news report arrives with unproven authenticity.
encourages all parties to uphold the true teachings of Islam and practise
politics in an honest, clean and dignified manner for the betterment of the people
and our beloved country,” the Marang MP said.
also teaches us to uphold our own dignity as well as our kin’s, which is
included in the five maqasid shariah,” Abdul Hadi said, using the Arabic term
referring to the five higher objectives of the Shariah code.
today, his deputy Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said Muslims should not bear
false witness, but those who admit to sin should be punished, following the
video purportedly implicating a Pakatan Harapan leader.
reminded PAS members of Islamic laws that advise against defamation and told
them not to share the sex video of the two men, one said to be a federal
National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested the alleged
mastermind of so-called Islamic State (IS)’s Tamil Nadu module, news agency
Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
Azarudeen, the alleged mastermind, was arrested after the NIA carried out
searches at seven locations in Coimbatore.
was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the Easter
Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 250 people in churches and luxury
hotels on April 21.
cited an NIA statement and said the agency seized 14 mobile phones, 29 SIM
cards, 10 pen drives, three laptops, six memory cards, four hard disc drives,
an internet dongle and 13 CDs/DVDs, besides one dagger, an electric baton, 300
air-gun pellets and a large number of incriminating documents during the
reported a few pamphlets of Popular Front of India and Social Democratic Party
of India, which are under the scanner of security agencies, were also seized.
on the recoveries, the agency has started questioning the accused about the
material, it added.
case was registered on May 30 against the module, which included 32-year-old
Azarudeen of Coimbatore and five other residents of the city.
agency had received information that the accused and their associates were
allegedly propagating the IS’s ideology on social media with the intention of
recruiting youths into the group for carrying out terrorist attacks in south
India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the NIA said.
said that Azarudeen maintained a Facebook page named “KhilafahGFX” through
which he had been propagating the IS’s ideology.
other suspects in the case include Akram Sindhaa, 26, Y Shiek Hidayathullah,
38, Abubacker M, 29, Sadham Hussain, 26, and Ibrahim alias Shahin Shah, 28.
said Ibrahim has been a close associate of arrested accused Riyas Abubacker in
the IS’s Kasaragod module case.
NIA arrested Abubacker on April 29. He is believed to have told his
interrogators that he has been following Hasim for over a year and wanted to
carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.
investigations have found that as many 14 people from Kasaragod had left India
or their workplaces in the Middle East between May and July 2016 and travelled
to Afghanistan or Syria, where they had come in contact with the IS.
DELHI: The Centre has announced scholarships for five crore
from minority communities in the next five years. Minister for
affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government is targeting to
scholarships to one crore students from the minority communities
The ministry is also stepping up work on narrowing the gap
mainstream school education and the madrasa school system,
said girls who have dropped out of madrasas and mainstream
will be linked to education and employment by providing them
courses" from reputed educational institutions of the country.
teachers from across the country will be given training from various
institutions in mainstream subjects such as
English, Maths, Science, Computer etc. so that they can impart mainstream
education to the students in madrasas too.
programme will be launched next month," Naqvi added.
keeping with the key indicators set out in the Niti Aayog strategy paper where
the government's vision for India at 75 years
2022 was laid out, the ministry has set its focus on socio-economic-educational
empowerment of minorities, especially girls.
target also includes the plan to identify 10 lakh recipients for the Begum
Hazrat Mahal Girls Scholarship from the
weaker sections among minorities over the next five years.
Sachar Committee said only 4% of Muslim children attend madrassas, these
students are critical because they grow up
become maulvis, preachers and imams at mosques. If these students are enabled
to clear the 10th and 12th board exams,
can join the mainstream education and qualify for jobs in open market.
Centre's plans evoked mixed reactions from across states. In Mumbai, madrassas,
Muslim intellectuals and commentators
Naqvi's statement on training programmes for madrasas. Darul Uloom Deoband
vice-chancellor Abul Qasim Nomani
"We welcome this decision and look forward to being the beneficiaries of
this scheme. It has to be seen how effectively it
implemented on the ground."
India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary and spokesperson, Maulana Khalid
Saifullah Rahmani said, "Good steps by
process of applying for these scholarships should be made easy."
is no problem in accepting the government's assistance to teach Science, Maths,
English and other modern subjects
the government doesn't meddle in the basic curriculum of the madrassas. We
don't want the madrassas to lose their
character of imparting Quran and other Islamic subjects in the name of
modernisation," said Mufti Abdul Batin Noamani,
or chief mufti of Benares who also teaches at Jamia Mazharul Uloom, a
125-year-old madrassa in Benares.
doubted the government's "sincerity" to modernise the madrassas.
Delhi minority commission chairman Dr Zafrul Islam
who was part of a high-level panel which evaluated the madrassa modernisation
plan three years ago, said that the
must show seriousness in upgrading the madrassa education. About the 5 crore
scholarships announced for
students, Khan said that, due to lack of awareness among Muslim students, a
huge chunk of these scholarships get
by other minorities.
Urdu commentator Hasan Kamal, while welcoming the move, said that the Modi
government could win the trust of the
and the Muslim masses at large provided it "walked the talk." In UP,
opposition parties questioned the intent of Modi
"Scholarships are welcome but what is interesting is that when we did the
same, it was labelled as appeasement,"
UP Congress vice-president, Omkar Nath Singh.
Party termed the scholarship announcement as a politically motivated step that
exposes BJP's double standards on
DELHI – The Islamic State group has claimed involvement in a gunbattle in
Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan territory where militants have fought Indian
rule for decades.
group released a statement on an IS website Tuesday saying that "soldiers
of the caliphate" had been wounded in a clash in the Kashmiri town of
statement from police headquarters in Srinagar, the region's largest city, says
two militants killed in the gunbattle were "inspired by IS ideology"
and were wanted in connection with "terror crimes."
say they came under fire while searching for the suspects.
Islamic State group occasionally claims responsibility for deadly clashes with
authorities but its hardline ideology has not attained mainstream acceptance in
Kashmir, where militants complain it is trying to hijack their independence
Five CRPF personnel, including two officers, who were
on picket duty were killed in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district
Friday afternoon when terrorists attacked them while they were
vehicles. IG CRPF Ravideep Sahi told TOI that this was the first
on CRPF after the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama in
the paramilitary force has suffered casualties.
Pakistani terrorist was also killed as CRPF and police personnel
Five persons, including the SHO of Anantnag Sadar police
three CRPF jawans and a woman pedestrian, were injured in the
which comes less than three weeks before the annual Amarnath
to the cave shrine located in south Kashmir begins.
lesser known terror outfit, Al Umar Mujahedeen, has claimed responsibility for
the attack. However, police believe that Jaishe-Muhammad - which owned up the
Pulwama suicide bombing in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed – is behind the
sources said the material recovered from the slain militant, including an AK47
rifle, pointed at Jaish’s involvement.
sources said a joint team of the Bravo company of CRPF’s 116th battalion and
Jammu & Kashmir police was checking
at a barricade they had put up near the Oxford Presentation School at
Khanabal-Pahalgam road when two terrorists
in a car around 4.50 pm. While one of the terrorists wielding AK-47 rifle got
down and started firing indiscriminately, the
one remained in the car, eyewitnesses said. He later managed to escape, an
official spokesman said.
Arshid Khan, who reached the spot moments after he received information about
the attack, sustained a bullet injury on
chest as soon as he alighted from his vehicle, eyewitnesses said. Khan has been
admitted to Army’s base hospital in
where his condition is critical.
superintendent of district hospital in Anantnag said five injured CRPF
personnel were brought to the hospital. Three of
died during treatment.
deceased CRPF personnel have been identified as ASIs Nirod Sarma and Ramesh
Kumar and constables Satendra Kumar,
Kushwaha and Sandeep Yadav. While the ASIs are from Assam and Haryana,
respectively, the constables are from
Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
pedestrian, identified as Snobar, has also been hospitalised.
DELHI: India on Wednesday said it would continue to pursue with
its request for extradition of Zakir Naik, two days after the
Prime Minister had said that his country has the right to not
Naik as the fugitive evangelist claims he will not get a fair trial
of the external affairs ministry Raveesh Kumar also
that the fairness of the Indian justice system has never been in
has extradition arrangements with many nations. In the past, there
numerous cases of successful extradition to India. The fairness of the Indian
justice system has never been in question,"
has made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir Naik. We would continue
to pursue the matter with Malaysia," he
in response to queries on the status of Naik's extradition from Malaysia.
a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently
moved to Malaysia, which has reportedly
permanent residency to him.
that Malaysia has a right to not extradite Naik, Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying by
Star' newspaper on Monday that "Zakir in general feels that he is not
going to get a fair trial (in India)."
Malaysian leader also compared the situation to Australia refusing to extradite
former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar,
was sentenced to death in Malaysia in 2015 for killing a Mongolian model.
was booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2016 based on a National
Investigation Agency FIR that was
under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
ED last month said Naik received funds worth crores in his and his trusts' bank
accounts from unidentified "well wishers"
the years for his speeches that spread "hatred and incited Muslim
youths" to take up terrorism.
says it will not attend an upcoming conference in Bahrain that is set to launch
US President Donald Trump’s so-called Middle East peace plan, also known as the
"deal of the century."
are not interested in this conference and we will not participate in it,” Iraqi
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahaf told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on
is sticking by its firm and principled position regarding the Palestinian issue
and the rights of the Palestinian people,” he noted.
is the second Arab country of the Middle East after Lebanon to boycott the conference
in support of the Palestinian people.
come as countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have informed Washington of
their plans to send representatives to the June 25-26 conference, which seeks
to unveil the economic aspects of the US scheme on the Israeli-Palestinian
has withheld details about its plan, but various leaks have revealed that it
seriously compromises Palestinians’ rights and grievances.
Palestinians have accused regional Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Qatar — which have similarly announced plans to
participate at the conference — of betraying the Palestinian cause of ending
the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian factions, whether in the Gaza Strip or in the occupied West Bank,
have unanimously boycotted the conference.
in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at the initiative, asserting it was “born
also have urged Egypt and Jordan to reconsider, arguing that the move would
weaken any Arab opposition to the US plan.
independent human rights group says Saudi authorities have arrested and
tortured scores of Palestinian expatriates living in the conservative kingdom
over their involvement in charitable activities and sending money back home.
of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to
promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a series of posts on its
official Twitter page on Tuesday evening that more than 150 Palestinians are
currently languishing in Saudi detention centers. Some 40 Palestinians were
arrested in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah alone.
rights group added that Saudi intelligence agents have committed rights abuses
against Palestinians during and after their arrest.
tweets noted that Saudi security forces stormed the houses of the Palestinians
at night, locked women and children in one room and confiscated electronic
devices before arresting those they were looking for.
of the detainees, including businessmen Osama Filali, Hisham Filali, Mohammed
bin Mahfouz, Rees bin Mahfouz and Saleh Abu Ghosh, are completely barred from
contacting their families. Some are entering their second year in detention.
Families of some prisoners do not know anything about them even during (the
holy Muslim fasting month of) Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr (which marks the end of
the month),” the group said.
this month, Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website reported that Saudi
officials have blocked money transfers between the kingdom and the Gaza Strip.
report described residents of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip as the
main victims of the move. Most of the bank transfers that used to be carried
out normally in the past, were frozen just a few days before the start of the
transactions are taking much longer time than usual – something that used to be
done in a matter of few hours.
Palestinians have complained of the move, and termed it as “unprecedented.”
They argue that the process of transferring money between Saudi Arabia and the
Gaza Strip has become extraordinarily difficult.
the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians
from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas resistance movement
financially, politically or through social networking sites.
Riyadh regime has imposed strict control over Palestinian funds in Saudi Arabia
since the end of 2017.
remittances of Palestinian expatriates are being tightly controlled, fearing
that these funds could be diverted indirectly and through other countries to
transfer offices are asking the Palestinians to bring forward strong arguments
for conversion, and do not allow the ceiling of one’s money transfer to exceed
Turkish court acquitted an ISIS militant who was twice accused of belonging to
the terror organization.
Demir, aka Abu Hanzala, a 27-year-old resident of Turkey’s eastern province of
Erzurum, is part of a radical cell and has helped many Turks to join al-Qaeda
and ISIS organizations and other extremist armed groups in Iraq and Syria.
to security sources, Demir is currently in pre-trial detention.
to investigations, Demir had been in contact with another Turkish terrorist,
Abu Bakr, who Turkish authorities say was the mastermind of ISIS attacks inside
also showed that Demir was in contact with a Turkish man known as Mohammed
Selev, who is wanted on charges of belonging to ISIS.
his testimony before the court on May 30, 2018, Demir admitted to supporting
ISIS through social media sites and defended his position in seeking to
overthrow the secular regime in Turkey.
authorities arrested him in November 2017 for his activities with ISIS, and he
was charged on December 21 but was later released pending trial.
was arrested again in May 2018 on similar charges, and a second indictment was
filed against him on June 13, 2018. Police found dozens of extremist books
while searching his home.
the trial, which ended on November 22, 2018, the new prosecutor, Mustafa Savaş,
who took over the case asked the court to acquit Demir of all charges.
Supreme Criminal Court of Erzurum unanimously decided to acquit Demir, saying
he had the right to exercise freedom of expression.
to reports based on official statistics, the majority of suspects officially
arrested on charges of association with al-Qaeda and ISIS in Turkey were
quickly released by court proceedings, and the number of successful convictions
remained very low in the Turkish criminal justice system due to the political
number of foreign fighters arrested in Turkey, among those passing from its
borders to reach Syria and Iraq, has reportedly risen from only eight in 2014
to 499 in 2015.
Yemen, June 11 (Xinhua) -- An explosion caused by a roadside bomb hit a
security vehicle in Yemen's southern province of Abyan on Tuesday, killing at
least three soldiers and wounding four others, a government official told
roadside bomb blast struck a security vehicle in the entrance of Mahfed town of
Abyan province, causing a huge explosion in the area, said the local government
official, who asked to remain anonymous.
said the explosion killed at least three members of the newly-recruited
security forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition and injured four others at
injured security members were immediately evacuated by an ambulance to a nearby
hospital for medical care, he added.
reinforcements backed by armored vehicles were sent to the area from Abyan's
capital of Zinjibar city, according to local residents.
is unclear which faction of the militant groups, such as al-Qaida or the
Islamic State, was responsible for the attack. However, security sources blamed
the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch that more frequently uses roadside bombs.
Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which mostly operates in
eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile
attacks against security forces in the country.
provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, former main strongholds of AQAP, have also been
the scene of sporadic attacks or heavy clashes between Yemeni security forces
and al-Qaida militants from time to time.
AQAP, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous
branch, has exploited years of deadly conflicts between Yemen's government and
Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in the southern and
Houthi cruise missile fell on the arrivals hall of Saudi Arabia’s Abha
International Airport, injuring 26 civilians, the Arab Coalition said on
of those wounded at Abha airport were admitted to hospital, coalition spokesman
Turki al-Malki said in a statement. He stated that the injured are of different
nationalities, among them three women who are Yemeni, Saudi and Indian, and two
Saudi children. All the injured have been treated and left the hospital.
Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation said that Abha airport traffic is
operating as normal.
on Wednesday, Houthi-run Masirah TV reported that the militias targeted the
airport with a cruise missile.
Malki concluded by saying that coalition forces will take urgent and timely
measures to deter the militias from carrying out further attacks.
the attack, Bahrain called for a clear and firm international stance on
"Houthi terrorism and Iranian support for it".
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, said that the attack
is "a serious escalation using Iranian weapons".
Yemeni government said that the Houthi militia does not understand dialogue and
diplomacy, and that it only understands violence.
Arab Coalition and the legitimate government have no other option but the
military one to end the Houthis’ terrorism,” the Yemeni government added.
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, also condemned the attack, demanding that
“everyone condemns it too”.
a statement by the foreign ministry, Egypt condemned the attack and said that
it stands with Saudi Arabia against any targeting of its security and
statement added that targeting airports is a violation of international laws.
GCC’s Kuwait considered the attack a “dangerous escalation” and a “criminal
attack on innocent people”.
Jordanian Foreign Ministry and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri also
condemned the attack.
UAE has also said that it stands with Saudi Arabia against the Houthis’
“extremism and terrorism”.
US embassy in Saudi Arabia said that it condemns the Houthi attack, adding that
it targeted innocent civilians, with the Pentagon saying the attack shows new
evidence on the Iranian role in the region.
UN mission monitoring a peace deal between warring parties in Yemen’s Hudaydah
says the Houthi Ansarullah movement has fully withdrawn its forces from three
key ports in the region based on the truce agreement.
General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads the UN monitoring mission in Hudaydah,
said in a statement that regular UN patrols had not detected a Houthi military
presence in the three Red Sea ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Isa since May
said Houthi military installations and equipment had been removed from Salif
and Ras Isa but largely remained in Hudaydah.
called on the Houthis to “expeditiously complete the removal of all military
manifestations, including trenches, as part of their commitment to the
Houthi Ansarullah movement’s unilateral pullout from the ports in early May was
the most significant advance yet for efforts to end the four-year-old waged by
the Saudi-led coalition against the movement
December, Yemen’s government and the Houthis met in Sweden and agreed to a
ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hudaydah. Under phase one, the
Ansarullah pulled out of the Red Sea ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Isa last
is Yemen’s main port and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the brink of
starvation, a situation exacerbated by restricted imports of food and other
supplies due to the war.
move by the Houthis is due to be met by a retreat of Saudi-led coalition forces
from the eastern outskirts of Hudaydah, facilitating humanitarian access to
grain stores at the Red Sea Mills.
said last month that a phase one withdrawal by government and coalition forces
would not take place until the warring parties had worked out details for a
broader phase two redeployment.
than 70 percent of Yemen’s imports used to pass through the docks of Hudaydah,
a lifeline for the war-ravaged country’s crippled economy. Salif was used for
unloading all main types of grain, and Ras Isa, a vital oil terminal, was used
for exporting Ma’rib’s light crude oil.
lengthy siege has pushed tens of thousands of people in Yemen to the verge of
starvation and crippled the country’s economy. In an effort to prevent the
humanitarian situation from further deteriorating and to avert a larger assault
by the Saudi-led coalition on the ports, the Houthis signed a UN-brokered
agreement with the ex-government in Sweden last December.
Leaders from around the Arab world have condemned a Houthi missile attack on
Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport.
the early hours of Wednesday, the Iranian-backed Houthi militia targeted the
airport in southern Saudi Arabia, which injured 26 civilians, an Arab coalition
UAE, in its condemnation of the attack, said the act was proof of the Houthi
militia’s attempts to “undermine regional security.”
a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry renewed its “full solidarity” with
Saudi Arabia and said it “stands with Riyadh against any threat to the
Kingdom’s security and stability.”
UAE also renewed its support for all measures taken to combat extremism and
Houthi terrorism to preserve the Kingdom’s security and the safety of its
citizens and residents on its territory.
ministry also wished the injured a speedy recovery.
also said on Wednesday that it “strongly condemned” the attack, calling it a
“terrorist and cowardly criminal act against innocent civilians.”
Foreign Ministry expressed support with “the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”
and affirmed “the need for a strong-willed international stand against Iran to
stop it supporting these recurrent terrorist acts.”
echoed Bahrain’s condemnation of the targeting, saying that the targeting was a
“criminal attack” on innocent people.
Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed expressed his and his country’s condemnation
of the sinful terrorist act that targeted innocent lives and destabilized
security and stability.
a cable sent to King Salman, the amir reiterated Kuwait’s support for all
measures taken by the Kingdom to confront terrorism and preserve its security.
US Embassy in Saudi Arabia condemned in the strongest terms the Houthi militia
attack which “targeted innocent civilians."
US Mission in the Kingdom also issued a security alert and said the Embassy in
Riyadh and the Consulates General in Jeddah and Dhahran are monitoring the
the Pentagon said the attack showed “new evidence” of Iran's malicious role in
President Mahmoud Abbas has also condemned the Houthi criminal act and called
on all to similarly condemn the attack, Al-Arabiya TV reported.
Arabia’s foreign ministry said the attack on the Kingdom’s territory
represented a “serious escalation.”
said it stands by Saudi Arabia following the attack, calling for an immediate
halt to all attacks on Saudi territory, saying it will “defy any attempt to
target” the Kingdom.
Jordanian Foreign Ministry also condemned the “terrorist attack” on the
airport, and that Jordan supports Saudi Arabia in all measures taken to
preserve its security.
of the Arab Parliament Mishal bin Fahm Al-Salami denounced the attack. In a
statement Al-Salami called on the UN Security Council to adopt a firm position
to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist group for its flagrant violation
of international law.
affirmed the Arab Parliament’s support for the Kingdom and the measures taken
to address all threats to its security and stability and the safety of its
also condemned the attack. “Pakistan reiterates its full support and solidarity
with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threats to its security
and territorial integrity,” a statement from the Foreign Office in Islamabad
of Djibouti to Saudi Arabia Dya-Eddin Said Bamakhrama said that his country
condemned the aggression, which was a serious escalation of the conflict, and
declared its solidarity with Saudi Arabia.
legitimate Yemeni government said that the Houthis did not understand dialogue
and diplomacy, and only understood the language of weapons and force. The Arab
Coalition and the legitimate government had no choice but to resort to military
options to end Houthi terrorism, the government’s spokesman Rajeh Badi said.
attack follows an armed drone strike last month on two oil-pumping stations in
Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack.
the beginning of the four-year conflict, the Houthis have fired dozens of
missiles into the Kingdom with most intercepted by the Saudi military. In
recent weeks, tensions between warring parties have risen after the stalling of
a UN-led peace deal.
June 5th, eight Americans were quietly flown home from the former isis
caliphate in Syria. The two women and six minors, whose identities were not
disclosed, are now being resettled at unnamed locations with help from the U.S.
government. They are not the first citizens of the Islamic State to return.
Four other Americans—three men and a woman—await trials on various charges of
aiding or abetting the world’s most notorious terrorist group. Three more
agreed to plea deals; one has already served time and been released. A lone
American opted for a trial and was sentenced to twenty years, although his case
is under appeal.
won’t be the last returnees, either. For months, the F.B.I. has been searching
for Americans among the two thousand foreign fighters who surrendered or were
captured on the battlefield. (After five years of war, the Islamic State
finally collapsed on March 23th.) Another twenty or so Americans, including
half a dozen fighters, have been identified, U.S. officials told me. Most were
in prisons run by the Kurdish-led militia that defeated isis or detention camps
for women and children. The U.S. intention is to bring them all
far, the handling of returnees has been far different from what Donald Trump
promised during the Presidential campaign. In 2016, Trump vowed to use
Guantánamo Bay—the prison camp opened in Cuba to house enemy combatants from
the Afghanistan war—for captured isis fighters. “We’re going to load it up with
bad dudes,” he said. In his first State of the Union speech, in 2018, he
announced a new executive order to keep Gitmo open, reversing President Barack
Obama’s policy. “Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian
hospitals are evil,” Trump said. “When possible, we have no choice but to
annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them.
But we must be clear: terrorists are not merely criminals, they are unlawful
the Justice Department has opted to try isis returnees in U.S. courts and even
to release or resettle some of them. But the process is still in its early
stages. “The United States is committed to taking responsibility for its
citizens who attempt to travel or did travel to support isis,” Marc Raimondi,
the Justice Department spokesman, told me last week, in an e-mail. “We have
prosecuted over 100 cases against individuals who tried to travel to support
isis and have brought charges against several who have returned, including as
recently as earlier this year.”
Americans may still be underground with isis cells in Syria or Iraq, U.S.
officials concede. Just identifying U.S. citizens has been tricky. Most
foreigners took noms de guerre. Some assumed names denoting nationality—such as
al-Amriki, or “the American”—as new surnames. Those could be misleading,
however. One sixteen-year-old fighter—Soulay Noah Su, who took the name Abu
Souleiman al-Amriki—turned out to be from Trinidad and Tobago. An unknown
number of Americans—possibly even the majority—may have been killed on the
Americans who travelled to the Islamic State fit no single type. So far, the
returnees have included a substitute teacher from Texas, a Baptist mother of
four from Indiana, a former student from Columbia University, and an F.B.I. translator
who married the terrorist she was spying on. Most were born in the United
States; they were not immigrants. They’re geographically diverse—from Texas,
California, Michigan, Virginia, New York, and Indiana. The adults have ranged
in age from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, according to George Washington
University’s Program on Extremism. The children of American isis members
include teen-agers who accompanied their parents when they left the United
States and toddlers who were born in the Islamic State, according to U.S.
officials and lawyers defending isis returnees.
the fate of the Islamic State’s former citizens is a legal and moral minefield.
National-security interests can conflict with individual rights. Their cases
raise unanswered questions about the government’s authority to invoke wartime
powers against the Islamic State without congressional authorization. The
timing of returns so far suggests that the Justice Department may not want to
repatriate isis members until it has sufficient evidence to indict them
immediately upon arrival. American citizens cannot be jailed indefinitely at
home without violating their constitutional rights. Yet simply figuring out
what each individual did in the caliphate—a “state” that no longer physically
exists—is a time-consuming challenge. The main witnesses may be other citizens
of the Islamic State.
year, the United States opted to release a suspected isis member after holding
him, without trial, for thirteen months. He had been captured by the U.S.-backed
Syrian Democratic Forces, in 2017, turned over to U.S. forces, and detained at
a U.S. base in Iraq. He was cited in court filings only as “John Doe.” The
Times identified him as Abdulrahman Ahmad Alsheikh, a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen
born in the U.S. and last resident in Louisiana. In October, with a legal
challenge to his open-ended detention still pending, the U.S. opted to free
him; he was turned over to Bahrain. His U.S. passport was revoked, but his
lawyer claimed he bargained to keep his citizenship.
recent return of eight Americans has generated new questions about U.S. metrics
for judging affiliation with a terrorist group, notably by female returnees.
The U.S. is helping resettle the two women repatriated last week. But, last
year, Samantha Elhassani (née Sally), a Baptist mother from Elkhart, Indiana,
who was married to a Muslim American, was charged when she was repatriated. The
first indictment alleged that she had provided “material support and resources”
for Islamic State personnel, namely her husband and his brother, by
transferring money out of the United States and obtaining rifle scopes and
binoculars. A subsequent indictment charged her with conspiring to aid isis
personnel with the full knowledge that the group was a designated terrorist
organization. The charges carry prison sentences of up to forty years. She has
pleaded not guilty.
Elhassani case is full of bizarre twists and disputed facts. In 2015, she went
with her second husband, Moussa, and two children to Syria. They had two more
children in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. Moussa was killed in a
drone strike, in 2017. She and her four children fled Raqqa as it fell, the
same year; they were detained by a U.S.-backed militia. She was questioned by
the F.B.I. and asked to be repatriated. She was flown home, charged, and
jailed, and her children placed with Indiana social services.
her bond hearing, in December, her defense counsel, Thomas Durkin, disclosed
that that Elhassani had been a paid F.B.I. informant for two years before she
went to Syria. (She had provided serial numbers of cell phones being shipped to
Yemen by a company owned by her husband’s family.) “I find it incredibly ironic
that somebody who coöperated with the F.B.I. for two years, the F.B.I. took
under their wing, and, I assume, believed everything she said, all of a sudden
now turns the tables, was now unreliable,” Durkin told the court. He also
claimed that Elhassani acted “under the direction of her husband, who is
unquestionably crazy and unquestionably an abuser.” She had believed the family
was going to Morocco; he duped her after they arrived in Istanbul. Durkin said
she had not known her husband’s intent when she carried tens of thousands of
dollars to Hong Kong and picked up the small amount of equipment purchased by
her husband before he took them to Syria.
of the most damning pieces of evidence is an isis propaganda video that
prosecutors say Elhassani filmed of her ten-year-old son, Matthew, renamed
Yusuf in the caliphate. “My message to President Trump, the puppet of the Jews:
Allah has promised us victory and he’s promised you defeat,” the child said in
the video. “It’s not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul. It’s going to end in your
lands. So get ready. The fighting has just begun.” The boy then loaded a rifle
and peered through its scope.
defense lawyer claimed that her husband forced her to make the film and that he
coached the boy throughout. He also said that Elhassani had been detained for
months in an isis prison camp as a suspected U.S. spy; she claimed to have been
raped and tortured. Today, she suffers from P.T.S.D., for which she gets
medication, her lawyer said.
prosecution rebutted the defense’s appeal by painting Elhassani as an
unrepentant liar who had navigated a war zone, helped her husband buy three
Yazidi slaves, and was creating a tale of woe after the fact. “We don’t often
charge the family members of the people who are seeking to go fight isis,” the
prosecutor, Abizer Zanzi, told the court. “The charges here do not require her
to be a member of isis. She was charged with aiding and abetting and
his ruling, Judge Philip P. Simon described the evidence as a “mixed bag”—with
the defense proffering “a compelling case” but the prosecution providing
sufficient questions about Elhassani’s credibility to refuse her bail. “It
sounds to me like we’re going to have a really interesting and hotly contested
trial,” he said. Elhassani is now undergoing psychological testing. Her trial
is tentatively scheduled for early 2020.
cases have varied widely. The first known isis returnee was Mohimanul Alam
Bhuiya, a former Columbia student from Brooklyn, who asked to leave the
caliphate three months after arriving there. “I am an American who’s trying to
get back home from Syria,” he e-mailed the F.B.I., from Syria, in 2014,
according to federal court documents. “I am fed up with this evil.” isis had
confiscated his passport, so he wanted help once he crossed the border with
Turkey. “Please help me get home,” he wrote. Bhuiya smuggled out isis documents
and, upon his return, pleaded guilty to providing material support to isis. For
the next four years, he coöperated with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement,
and, in June, 2018, federal prosecutors recommended that he be free on
supervised release rather than serve prison time. His sentence could have been
up to twenty-five years.
January, Warren Christopher Clark, a former substitute teacher from Sugar Land,
Texas, was charged with providing material support for isis upon his return. “I
wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing,”
he told NBC News in January, while being held by the U.S.-backed militia that
defeated isis. “I wanted to learn more about the ideology. I’m a
political-science major, global-business minor. I like politics. I like travel,
world events.” He acknowledged the Islamic State’s brutality but said that
Texas executed people as well. “So I really don’t see any difference. They
might do it off camera, but it’s the same.” He has pleaded not guilty, but, if
convicted, he faces a sentence of up to twenty years in prison and a
isis returnees, the judicial process heavily favors the prosecution, according
to Jessica Carmichael, who represented Mohamad Jamal Khweis, of Alexandria,
Virginia. An indictment, in 2016, claimed that Khweis volunteered to be a
suicide bomber, took religious training, and gave money to the Islamic State.
He was captured after only ten weeks with isis, when he was forward deployed in
Iraq. In 2017, he was sentenced to twenty years. His appeal is pending.
Government often has a significant advantage in these types of cases, as the
only entity that can bring this person home,” Carmichael told me in an e-mail.
Americans who want to leave “are primarily, if not entirely, at the mercy of
U.S. Government officials for relief. Such a grasp on one’s fate presents
profound leverage when it comes to extracting confessions to be used in a
majority of the nine thousand isis fighters captured in Syria have yet to be
dealt with, by any nation, as do the more than seventy thousand family members
of fighters who are being detained separately. They come from some eighty
nations. In February, as the Islamic State was losing ground, President Trump
called on the world to take back foreign citizens.
United States has not disclosed the number of Americans who joined isis, but it
was small, proportionately, when compared with the numbers from Russia, China,
European allies, or even nations with small populations. Tunisia, with only
eleven million people, had more than three thousand of its citizens join the
extremist movement. Some three hundred Americans, by comparison, tried to
travel to the Islamic State, but dozens were arrested before leaving U.S.
shores, according to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.
the aftermath of the fall of isis’s so-called caliphate is a historic
challenge,” a State Department official told me last week. “This is a global
problem, and the entire international community must now work to identify
appropriate pathways for affected groups; this includes durable solutions for
displaced civilians, the repatriation and prosecution of foreign terrorist
fighters, and the return, reintegration, and de-radicalization of family
far, however, the United States has taken back only about a third of the known
Americans who survived the caliphate. For disparate reasons, many of the eighty
nations whose citizens joined isis have balked at dealing with the messy
aftermath of the Islamic State.
Washington, D.C., man charged last week with selling methamphetamine to an
undercover police officer allegedly had a strong support for ISIS, according to
prosecutors who opposed bail for the defendant.
to court documents, Jeremy Stevenson first came under FBI scrutiny on Jan. 19,
2017, after he had donned a mask and taunting patrons at a Washington, D.C.,
bar by displaying ISIS propaganda from his cell phone, including photographs of
the ISIS flag and a video depicting a beheading at the hands of an ISIS
militant. The incident occurred during the week of the presidential
inauguration, and the FBI identified Stevenson as the perpetrator later that
FBI spoke with Stevenson twice in 2017. According to court documents, the
suspect defended ISIS beheadings during these interviews, comparing such acts
to death sentences handed down by the U.S. criminal justice system.
explained he searched the internet for ISIS videos, including beheading videos
and videos where ISIS leadership explained its mission and purpose. He also
said he had communicated via Facebook with ISIS-connected individuals who had
attempted to recruit him to join ISIS.
to court documents, a Facebook user had asked Stevenson if he wanted to join
ISIS and urged him to take Arabic language classes. The defendant reported to
the FBI that he did not actually intend to join ISIS, but that he told the
recruiter that he wanted to join in order to learn more information. The
defendant also said that the ISIS recruiter had asked whether the defendant
wanted to carry out a mission in Washington, D.C.
documents also say during Stevenson's initial court appearance he disobeyed an
instruction to raise his right hand, instead lifting a single index finger
invoking a symbol of support for ISIS.
Ana first met Ruby, a sergeant in the Salvadoran Army, in the late
nineteen-eighties, she liked him so much that she didn’t want to consider what
his job would mean for her own safety. At twenty, Ana was small and soft-spoken.
She had two young daughters whose fathers were so absent that their names
weren’t even on the girls’ birth certificates, and she longed for a stable
romance. Ruby visited Ana’s village, in rural El Salvador, while he was on
military leave, and on his first day there he walked up to her in the crowded
town square and asked for her name. They began dating, and he treated her
daughters as if they were his own. The couple soon moved into a house near
Ana’s mother; Ana wanted to be close to her family so that she wouldn’t feel
lonely when Ruby was away on duty.
Salvador was in the midst of a brutal civil war between the government, which
was backed by the United States, and leftist guerrillas. Ruby was deployed for
a month at a time. While he was gone, Ana tried to distract herself with chores
and her children, but it wasn’t always possible to ignore the war. A group of
guerrillas was camped out in the surrounding mountains, and, one day, they
drove into town, took the mayor out of his office, and shot him in the street;
soon after, they killed his son. During such raids, Ana hid with her mother and
her children until the rebels left. When Ruby returned from duty, he approached
their house, shouting, “My doll! My treasure!” and waited for Ana to come outside
to greet him. Many people in town were as frightened of the Army as they were
of the guerrillas—tens of thousands of people had been killed in the fighting,
most by the military—but Ruby told Ana that he was trying to end the war. “He
was a good man,” she said. “And a patriot.” After two years together, the
couple had a baby boy, born on Christmas Eve.
few months later, the guerrillas came for Ruby. Local men on guard duty flashed
their truck lights as the fighters approached, warning townspeople to hide, but
Ruby was arriving on a military bus. Ana watched from her window as the rebels
surrounded the bus and took him away. A few days later, the rebels came back
for her. They brought her to their mountain camp—a collection of large tents
that housed weapons, stockpiles of canned food, and what looked to be hundreds
of fighters. The rebels let Ana visit Ruby in his tent; he was bruised but
looked strong, and she was, briefly, relieved. A few days later, they took her
to see him again. This time, he was standing in a clearing, battered,
surrounded by guerrillas with guns, and digging a large hole. “You are going to
see him die,” a rebel told her. Then he offered her his gun and said, “If you
shoot him, you can go home to your children.”
refused. “I couldn’t speak,” she told me. “I shook my head.” The rebels shot
Ruby, and his body fell sideways into the hole. Then they turned to her. She
was sure that they were going to kill her, too, and tried to picture her
children’s faces before she died. Instead, they told her that they were hungry.
“Do you know how to make tortillas?” one asked.
evening, she prepared food for the rebels with a group of other women. She was
afraid that if she refused, they would murder her. At one point, they wanted to
train her to shoot a gun, but she became so scared that she got sick and
refused to touch the weapon, and they gave up. Several days later, a guerrilla
fighter came across her as she was preparing to wash laundry in a river and
noticed that her breasts were leaking milk. “Do you have a baby at home?” he
asked, and, when she nodded, he took pity on her. He walked her to the river
and told her to run north toward the nearest village; he would chop wood to
cover the sound of her footsteps. “You have thirty minutes,” he told her. “Then
we will have to come looking for you.”
arrived at the village that night, and, for the next month, she trekked through
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. “I ran when it was dark and hid when it was
light,” she told me. The guerrillas searched for her, broadcasting her name on
the radio and threatening anyone who helped her escape. It was too dangerous
for her to go back for her children, and she prayed that her mother would keep
them safe. In the spring of 1991, she reached the southern border of the United
States. She moved to Long Island, where she worked legally at a
plastics-manufacturing plant and earned extra money cleaning houses while
applying for asylum. Since then, she has told her story dozens of times, to
judges, officers with the Department of Homeland Security, and other Salvadoran
immigrants at her church. Sometimes her lawyers help to summarize the tale so
that she doesn’t have to relive it; other times, she has to think back on her
captivity to recall additional details, which still make her cry. Although the
asylum-application process is long and arduous, it seemed straightforward to
Ana: if she went back to El Salvador, the guerrillas, or whatever they had
since become, would kill her.
in June, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reviews rulings made in
immigration court, issued a two-to-one decision denying Ana’s most recent
request to stay in the U.S. The judges, considering Ana’s captivity, decided
that, because she had worked for the guerrillas, even under duress, she was not
their victim but functionally a member of their group. “While the respondent’s
assistance may have been relatively minimal, if she had not provided the
cooking and cleaning services she was forced to perform, another person would have
needed to do so,” they wrote, in an opinion called Matter of A–C–M–. Ana was
ineligible for asylum, under a law called the material-support statute, because
she had aided terrorists.
material-support statute makes it illegal to give assistance to any group that
the U.S. government considers a foreign terrorist organization. The statute,
which appears in the Patriot Act, from 2001, is purposefully broad: it does not
define what “material” means; the person who has given support, citizen or
noncitizen, does not need to have contributed to a violent act or, in many
cases, to have known that the group she supported was a terrorist organization.
Her support can even have come before the group was formally designated as a
terrorist organization, and the group can at one time have been an ally of the
U.S. military or supported by the U.S. government. (The law does not apply to
domestic terrorist groups, such as white-supremacist organizations, despite
data showing that these groups pose a greater threat of violence in the U.S.)
Defenders of the statute argue that it allows prosecutors to adapt to changing
threats and that it has the unique ability to catch would-be terrorists before
they stage an attack.
of the current version of the statute first appeared in the Immigration and
Nationality Act, in 1990. At the time, David Cole, who is now the legal
director of the American Civil Liberties Union, was defending eight young
immigrants who were arrested by the F.B.I. for distributing literature in
support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a
Marxist-Leninist branch of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Prosecutors
leaned on nineteen-fifties-era legislation that allowed for the deportation of
immigrants who “advocated the doctrines of world Communism.” Cole and his team
argued that the law violated the immigrants’ First Amendment rights, and won.
Congress repealed the anti-Communist law and, in its place, passed the
material-support statute. “The government wanted to hold our clients responsible
not for their own conduct but for the conduct of this group,” Cole, who wrote
about the case in his book “Enemy Aliens,” told me. “That’s what we did in the
Communist era. And, essentially, the material-support statute was a way of
updating the outdated legislation.”
law was rarely invoked until shortly after 9/11, when Congress adopted it as
part of the Patriot Act. In the eight years that followed, it was used in
almost three-quarters of the nearly six hundred terrorism indictments in the
U.S. “It’s the net that most terrorism suspects are brought in on,” Karen J.
Greenberg, the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham’s law
school, told me. The statute has been used to prosecute high-profile
defendants: John Walker Lindh, an American who was accused, in 2002, of
fighting for the Taliban; Iyman Faris, a truck driver from Ohio who attempted
to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, in 2003; Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, one of Osama
bin Laden’s sons-in-law; Colleen LaRose, a woman from Pennsylvania who was
convicted, in 2014, of planning to murder a Swedish cartoonist who had depicted
the Prophet Muhammad. Last year it was used to convict Akayed Ullah, a
Bangladeshi immigrant who detonated a pipe bomb in a New York City subway
station, in 2017. Nearly all of the American citizens who have been indicted
for joining isis were charged under the statute. From the beginning, critics
worried about the law’s potential for overreach, but both Democratic and
Republican Administrations found it useful. “It’s become a critical tool in the
terrorist prosecutor’s tool kit,” Joshua Geltzer, who served on Obama’s
National Security Council as the senior director for counterterrorism, told me.
“It allows criminal charges to be brought against a range of activity that supports
and facilitates terrorism but that may not be actually killing someone or
blowing up a building.”
the Bush and Obama Administrations, the government pursued criminal cases that
expanded the use of the statute, often penalizing people for their intentions
rather than their actions. In 2004, Tarek Mehanna, a twenty-two-year-old
Egyptian-American with a Ph.D. in pharmacology, spent two weeks in Yemen.
American prosecutors believed that he had tried to enlist in a terrorist
training camp while he was there, with the hope of eventually staging attacks
against American troops in Iraq, but they lacked evidence tying him to a
violent crime. Mehanna claimed that he had gone to Yemen to study classical
Arabic, but when he returned to the U.S. he began translating and posting Al
Qaeda literature on social media. In 2009, prosecutors charged him for these
writings, arguing that they were a form of material support. Mehanna was
convicted and sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison. The prosecutors
were lauded for finding a way to lock up a potential terrorist before he caused
harm, but critics argued that Mehanna was being punished for publishing
unpopular ideas, in violation of his First Amendment rights. “The statute has
allowed prosecutors to put people behind bars for long periods of time without
having to prove that they sought to further any actual act of violence,” Cole
government also makes use of the statute in immigration court, where decisions
are typically not made public and therefore face less scrutiny. In 2004, an
Indian asylum seeker named Charangeet Singh-Kaur was put into immigration
proceedings because, on a few occasions, he provided a tent and food for
meetings attended by members of a Sikh separatist group. Singh-Kaur claimed
that the meetings were for religious purposes, but the court determined that
this was irrelevant and ordered him deported. Four years later, Saman Kareem
Ahmad, who was among the first wave of Iraqis to be granted special visas for
their work as translators for the U.S. military, was denied a green card
because he was a member of the Kurdish Democratic Party, a political party in
Iraqi Kurdistan. The Party had recently been categorized as an “undesignated
terrorist group”—a distinction created by the Patriot Act that allows officials
to blackball organizations, even if they’re not on the official list of
F.T.O.s. Thomas Ragland, one of Ahmad’s lawyers, called the decision
“absolutely untethered to common sense.” At the time, Ragland regularly attended
discussions of the statute with officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services, which he felt followed logical threads to startling conclusions. “One
of the officials said, ‘Let’s say your father is a terrorist and he asked you
to mow the grass. That’s an hour that you have freed up for your father the
terrorist to engage in activities he otherwise wouldn’t have, so you mowing the
grass is material support,’ ” Ragland said. “We were dumbfounded that this was
the line they were taking, but now it’s not surprising anymore.”
controversial immigration cases piled up: a Sri Lankan fisherman who bought his
release from his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam kidnappers; a Pakistani shop
owner whose fruit was stolen by the Taliban; a Colombian woman who was forced
under threat of violence to provide food to rebels with the farc. Last year, a
court in Virginia ordered the deportation of the Syrian academic and activist
Radwan Ziadeh. The first seven pages of the government’s Notice of Intent to
Deny read like a recommendation letter for Ziadeh. After he escaped Syria, ten
years earlier, he had studied at Georgetown, lectured on the Syrian conflict at
Harvard, published a handful of books, testified before Congress on the state
of human rights in Syria, and consulted for the State Department. But just
after the start of the Syrian Civil War, Ziadeh had paid some travel expenses
for the leaders of two Syrian opposition groups, the Free Syrian Army and the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, to meet in Turkey and discuss resolving their
conflict. “Although you have established that you are a refugee, you are
subject to a mandatory bar to a grant of asylum as someone who has engaged in
terrorist activity,” the notice read. Being labelled a terrorist cost Ziadeh
teaching opportunities at universities, although he remained optimistic.
“Everyone knows the U.S. used to be a beacon of human rights and democracy,” he
said. “Maybe what’s happening today will teach us, teach every American, that
these issues cannot be taken for granted.”
first met Ana in June, 2018, at the office of her lawyer Dawn Guidone, on Long
Island. Ana wore bluejeans and a bright top, and clutched a jewelled purse in
her lap so that she would hear when her children called, which they often did.
Ruby’s birthday had just passed, and she teared up as she talked about him. She
told me that, when she first arrived on Long Island, in 1991, she settled in a
cramped apartment in a seedy neighborhood that made her miss home. She thought
often of her kidnapping and Ruby’s murder, but she soon made friends with some
Salvadoran women at her church who urged her to stop dwelling on her past and
focus instead on helping her children get out of El Salvador, where the war was
still raging. She arranged for her middle daughter to join her on Long
Island—her other two children came a decade later—and the family moved into
their current house, in a nicer part of town, with a backyard and friendly
neighbors. “Everyone knows each other,” Ana said. “They take care of each other.”
Ana’s asylum case didn’t proceed as planned. In 1993, she met with D.H.S.
officers and read aloud from a summary of her story that her lawyer had written
in Spanish. She was unable to adequately answer their follow-up questions in
English—a language that Ana still does not feel comfortable speaking—and her
application was denied. Ana doesn’t blame her lawyer, who was working under an
immense caseload; as with every misstep, she blames herself—for not
articulating her story clearly enough, and for going to the meeting alone.
Eventually, along with many Salvadorans fleeing the war, she was given a
Cancellation of Removal, which temporarily halted her deportation.
1995, Ana started dating a Salvadoran man who “said everything a woman would
want to hear.” She got pregnant, and the couple moved in together and had a
baby boy. “I was lonely,” she said. “I wanted to be with somebody.” But her
partner became abusive; at one point, he sliced her hand open with a knife so
deeply that she had to get twenty-five stitches. At the hospital, he stayed
nearby so that Ana would have no opportunity to turn him in. “I told the doctor
I hurt myself cutting onions,” she said. To demonstrate his control, her
partner forced her to shoplift things that they could afford, like diapers. One
day, seeing no other way out of the relationship, Ana approached a security
guard at a Marshalls department store and opened a bag in her shopping cart to
show him a pair of men’s shoes that her partner had demanded she steal. They
were both arrested. Her partner was convicted of the theft and, soon after, an
unrelated assault; he was then deported. Ana pleaded guilty to two charges of
attempted petty larceny (one relating to a previous incident) for which she
received a year of probation and a fine. Her convictions felt like a small
price to pay for freedom from her partner. “I knew that if I stayed with him,
he would kill me,” she said.
the next decade, Ana tried to create a loving home for her youngest son. Her
immigration case wasn’t settled, but she hoped that she would soon be granted
asylum and eventually allowed to apply for citizenship. In 2004, Ana’s mother
died, and she decided to return to El Salvador for the funeral. When she went
to a D.H.S. office to apply for permission to travel, the officer told her that
if she left, there was no guarantee that she would be allowed to return. She
went anyway—“It was a risk I had to take,” she said—and, on the flight back to
New York, she prayed. But at the airport, D.H.S. officers told her that,
because of her shoplifting convictions, she had been put into deportation
proceedings; they let her go on the condition that she attend her court dates.
“Fight for your green card,” an officer told her.
she got back to Long Island, her Salvadoran friends told her that she should
move to a new address to elude authorities. Instead, she retained Guidone, and,
years later, another lawyer, named Nicholas Mundy. I met with them in July, at
Mundy’s office in Brooklyn, and they struck me as the kind of dogged lawyers
more common in movies than in real life. They often work on cases involving
people fleeing conflict in Central America who have experienced horrors. “We’re
always worried when somebody brings in an envelope of photographs,” Guidone
told me. “On more than one occasion, I’ve opened an envelope and nearly passed
out.” When Ana first came to Guidone’s office and told her about her past, she
recalled, Ana was detached when discussing her kidnapping but emotional when
describing Ruby’s death and the beatings that she endured from her partner in
the U.S. “It took her a while to tell the story of her abuse,” Guidone said.
“She had experienced years of trauma on so many levels.”
case will have broad implications for immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S.,
but it may also have dire consequences for those abroad who depend on American
aid. One of the material-support statute’s central aims is cutting off
financing for terrorism—of preventing, for example, isis from fund-raising
online or making money from oil fields. But it has also been wielded against
organizations and individuals whose terrorist connections are more tenuous. In
December, 2001, soon after the statute became part of the Patriot Act, the
Treasury Department seized the assets of several major U.S.-based Islamic
philanthropies on the grounds that some of their money, which was intended for
aid in the Middle East, had ended up in the hands of terrorist organizations.
Members of the Holy Land Foundation, a nonprofit based in Texas, eventually
received up to sixty-five years in prison, based on accusations that some of
the group’s funds, which they said were intended to build schools and hospitals
in Palestinian territories, had instead been used by Hamas—a prosecution that
the Department of Justice, in a report from 2014, called “one of the great
success stories” of the statute. Members of Muslim communities, however, were
left wondering whether practicing zakat—charitable donation, which is one of
the five pillars of Islam—might land them in jail.
the statute was written, aid workers around the world have faced the dual
pressure of carrying out their mission while not running afoul of America’s
counterterrorism objectives. In 1998, workers at the Humanitarian Law Project,
a U.S.-based organization that was providing training in conflict resolution to
the Tamil Tigers, in Sri Lanka, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.), in
Kurdistan, began worrying that they were putting themselves in legal jeopardy.
“They came to me and said, ‘We’ve been supporting Kurds in Turkey for years to
promote peace and human rights,’ ” Cole told me. “ ‘Now the Secretary of State
has designated the P.K.K. a terrorist organization. Can we continue to do what
we did before?’ ” They were indicted, and retained Cole, who stalled the
prosecution for twelve years by arguing that it violated the First Amendment.
But in 2010, in a decision called Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the
Supreme Court ruled against the organization. The effect was immediate. “There
was a chill factor,” Greenberg, of the Center on National Security, told me.
“You had attorneys saying, ‘Well, wait, am I providing material support by
being a lawyer for terrorism suspects or somebody who’s been indicted for
related crimes?’ ”
next year, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a U.S.A.I.D.-funded
nonprofit, reported a crisis in Somalia. The U.S. government, the largest donor
to the country, had recently cut off aid to parts of Somalia to avoid its
donations falling into the hands of Al Shabaab, a jihadi group that controlled
large swaths of Somali territory. N.G.O. workers in conflict zones are
accustomed to negotiating with armed groups, and sometimes paying tolls at
their checkpoints to gain access to civilians. But the consequences of these
interactions weighed more heavily, and, as the famine worsened, many groups
avoided working in Somalia for fear of prosecution. “Part of the problem for
the aid agencies was it was really murky to understand what would and would not
constitute material support,” Jeremy Konyndyk, who was then the policy director
at Mercy Corps and, later, an official at U.S.A.I.D. under Obama, told me. “One
of the many weird things during all of this was the Administration saying,
‘Don’t worry, go in, we’ve never prosecuted someone for something like this.’
We were thinking, O.K., but who comes after Obama?”
later, the Administration released the aid. “By then it was far, far, far too
late,” Konyndyk said. An estimated two hundred and sixty thousand people were dead,
more than half of them young children. Mark Bartolini, the director of
U.S.A.I.D.’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, told me that, during
one of his first overseas visits in that role, he sensed a change in attitudes
toward America. “I met with a very senior official of a world-renowned
humanitarian organization,” he told me. “His first comment to me was, ‘How does
it feel to work for a government that’s criminalizing humanitarian aid?’ ”
off aid can be counterproductive, because aid groups are often the only
institutions in terrorist-controlled areas providing a significant alternative
to militancy. In 2017, an American pro-Israel activist brought a case in U.S.
court against Norwegian People’s Aid, accusing it of using U.S.A.I.D.-funded
grants to work on mine removal in Iran, violating U.S. sanctions, and offering
job and conflict-resolution training to members of Hamas in Palestine,
violating the material-support statute. The fourteen-page complaint included
photos from a workshop in Gaza—where Trump has cut off aid in part because of
terrorist activity. “It was hinting that we provided material support by giving
people water and a nice place to meet,” Per Nergaard, the deputy secretary
general of the N.P.A., told me. To Nergaard, the suit seemed unreasonable: How
could the group be supporting terrorism when the point of its workshops was to
convince people to give up violence? But last year, when the court seemed to be
turning against the N.P.A., the group settled the case and paid two million
dollars. “At first, we were concerned with maintaining a good relationship with
American donors,” he told me. “So much of what we do is funded by the
Americans.” The group is now pushing ahead on its projects without U.S.A.I.D.
funding, and Nergaard says that other European organizations are following
suit. “The whole definition of material support affects our ability to work in
conflict zones,” he told me. “It will be a devastating development for
humanitarian aid worldwide.”
years after Ana started working with Guidone, one of her shoplifting charges
was vacated, because her previous lawyer hadn’t informed her that pleading
guilty could lead to her deportation. Guidone felt that they were making
progress: if they got the other charge vacated, it would be easier for Ana to
receive asylum. Ana tried to lead a normal life, but the possibility of
deportation shadowed her. In 2014, one of her sisters died in El Salvador and
another was diagnosed with cancer, but going back was out of the question. “It
would be self-deportation,” Mundy told me.
day, around 6 a.m., immigration officers came to Ana’s home. She had installed
a security camera, and she watched them approach her doorstep. “They were
wearing blue vests with white letters on the back that said ice,” she told me.
Guidone had advised her not to let agents in if they arrived unannounced, but
she was late for work, so she met them on the stoop. “I talked to them
outside,” she said. “I told them that they cannot come in.” They asked for her
name and the names of everyone who lived in the house. They didn’t sound angry,
like Ana had expected; they were patient, even nice. But Ana relaxed only when
she realized that they were looking for the house’s previous owner.
the term “material support” was introduced in Ana’s case for the first time,
quietly, and without anyone taking much note. In 2011, D.H.S. rejected a recent
request from Ana for a Cancellation of Removal, flagging something from her
file: in her first statement to D.H.S., from the nineties, her lawyer had
highlighted the work she had been forced to perform for the guerrillas,
including their single attempt to train her with a gun. Before the Patriot Act,
details establishing this kind of trauma could help secure asylum. Now D.H.S.
argued that this constituted support for the group. (D.H.S. did not respond to
requests for comment for this piece, and the Executive Office for Immigration
Review, which oversees immigration cases for the Department of Justice,
declined to comment.) In August, 2016, after some back and forth, Noel Brennan,
the judge in the case, issued Ana a deferral of removal under the Convention
Against Torture, because Ana had been brutalized while in the guerrillas’
custody. Brennan noted that she wished she could give Ana asylum but felt bound
by the recent case law on material support. “But for the material-support bar I
would have granted the Respondent’s asylum application,” she later wrote, about
again challenged Ana’s deferral of removal, sending the case to the B.I.A. Her
lawyers didn’t focus on the material-support argument in their preparations; it
seemed far-fetched, and there were other, more pressing concerns. But in June,
2018, after months of hearings, the B.I.A. ruled against Ana in the Matter of
A–C–M–, on the basis of material support. An assistant from Guidone’s office
called Ana to read her the ruling in Spanish. Ana hadn’t heard the term
“material support” before, and she was confused. She had always put a lot of
faith in the U.S. justice system. It was difficult and time-consuming to
navigate, but, compared with what she remembered of the Salvadoran legal
system, American judges were fair, she thought. Ana had felt sure that if they
truly understood what had happened to her they would make the right decision.
So when she heard the ruling her first thought was, Maybe I am a terrorist.
case put the excesses of the material-support statute on display. The precedent
it set—that even people who are kidnapped and forced to work for terrorist
groups should be treated as terrorists—seemed to many both inhumane and
unproductive. “Are we really so fearful that we can no longer distinguish
between terrorists and their victims?” Paul Rosenzweig, an expert on homeland
security, and Jennifer Daskal, a law professor focussing on terrorism, wrote,
in an article for Lawfare. “What little moral standing we have left is
squandered if we engage in this kind of category collapse—expecting the world
to follow us in our fight against terrorism, only to treat the killing of
civilians and the enslaved victims of those who kill civilians as one and the
same.” To many critics who had tracked the gradual expansion of the statute, a
case like Ana’s was inevitable. “For over ten years, people on all sides agree
this is affecting people it shouldn’t,” Anwen Hughes, a deputy legal director
at Human Rights First, told me. “This decision takes all meaning out of the
term ‘material support.’ ”
of the reasons that critics have struggled to change the law is that its broad
premise—that the government should be able to imprison terrorists, deport them,
and stop them from getting aid money—is easy to defend. “I think material
support can be very useful for investigations,” Greenberg, of the Center on
National Security, told me. “And being strict about material support for
terrorism, of course we understand this is important, if applied carefully.”
Supporters are inclined to see most applications of the law as positive and to
dismiss cases like Ana’s as outliers. “The way that it was used in this case, I
think, was problematic,” David Inserra, a policy analyst at the Heritage
Foundation, told me. But, he added, “I don’t think you can do anything that
will perfectly solve this problem and also allow us to prosecute all the people
we need to prosecute.”
statute has also been hard to change because of the piecemeal measures that
judges, lawmakers, and politicians have put in place over the years to quell
its misuse. The State Department and other agencies have exempted certain
groups, such as Iraqi Kurdish political parties, and a few high-profile cases
have been adjudicated in the media; Saman Ahmad, the Iraqi translator, was
granted a green card after the Washington Post reported on his case. Most
people who feel that they have been wrongly accused must apply for a waiver
(the wording of Judge Brennan’s initial ruling in Ana’s case—“but for the
material support bar”—was seen by some as a sly judicial plea for a waiver),
but the exemption system pushes the burden of proof onto defendants, and it
operates inconsistently, at the discretion of whoever sits in the White House.
“Congress wrote the material-support bar to give power to the executive-branch
officials,” Cox, the N.Y.U. professor, told me. “For a lot of people, it
returned our system of refugee protection to an earlier era, when questions
about a particular person were mostly a matter of executive grace.”
Ana’s case was made public, even longtime supporters of the statute expressed
concern. In 2007, Rosenzweig, who was then a deputy assistant secretary for
policy in George W. Bush’s D.H.S., defended the statute in front of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, arguing that the government could prevent the admission of
terrorists while still honoring its commitment to resettle refugees. Recently,
he has begun to worry. “Over the course of the last five to seven years, I’ve
become increasingly skeptical of the discretion that we give the executive
branch,” he told me. “It’s true in material support, true in surveillance, true
in law enforcement, true in counterintelligence, and the undergirding
assumption behind that is that the executive branch is generally well-meaning,
generally rational, sometimes in error, sometimes venal, but rarely, if ever,
campaigned on a promise to make broad use of the material-support statute.
While terrorism convictions have not increased during his term so far, he has
threatened to target support for terrorism abroad more aggressively. “The
current Administration has been very vocal about expanding the use of the
statute, and has been strongly encouraging partner countries to develop
similarly broad statutes to the U.S. in their terrorism cases,” Eric Rosand,
the director of the Prevention Project and a former official in Obama’s State
Department, said. In April, Trump declared the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps in Iran a terrorist organization—the first time the allegation has been
made against a government entity. Soon after, Nathan A. Sales, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large
and coördinator for counterterrorism, was asked by reporters about the
potential legal consequences for American diplomats in Iran and government
officials in Iraq who have regular contact with the I.R.G.C. (The government
has suggested that it may give some groups waivers.) “The law provides that it
is a federal criminal offense punishable by up to twenty years in prison for
any person who provides material support,” he responded, though he refused to
specify who would face penalties. “We simply don’t want to get into
his term, Trump has willfully conflated immigration with terrorism, in an
apparent effort to whip up anti-immigrant sentiment. He has asserted,
incorrectly, that most terrorists convicted in the U.S. are foreign-born;
transferred a judge from Guantánamo Bay to immigration court; and suggested
that a so-called “caravan” of migrants walking through Mexico to the U.S.
border had been infiltrated by Muslim extremists. “They are deliberately
misusing terrorism-related statistics to push anti-immigration policies,”
Geltzer, the former Obama aide, said. In 2017, Trump used the material-support
statute to justify his travel ban against visitors from majority-Muslim
countries and his reduction in the number of refugees who are permitted to
enter the country each year. (In the same executive order, he also considered
restricting the program that gives waivers for people charged with violating
the statute.) Immigration cases are sealed, so it’s impossible to know if the
government has used the statute more frequently during deportation proceedings.
But experts worry that the Administration could designate certain Central
American gangs as terrorist groups, giving it wide latitude to reject asylum
seekers. It may already be expanding the use of the statute by withholding
waivers that would have been granted under previous Administrations, allowing
even absurd cases to proceed. Guidone believes that, under the Obama
Administration, Ana would have received an exemption. “I don’t know if the
waiver would be available now,” she said.
her dissent on Ana’s case, one of the B.I.A. judges wrote that the decision was
“without effective limits” and “would lead to absurd results,” and experts have
continued to worry about its consequences. Some think that aid organizations
will have more difficulty helping victims of terrorism, such as the Chibok
girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, in Nigeria, or young Iraqi men who were
forced to work for isis. “Material-support prohibitions are not weighed against
other policy priorities,” Konyndyk said. “Once triggered, they just steamroll
everything else.” Greenberg said that the expansion of the material-support
statute could lay the groundwork for a more general expansion of law-enforcement
authority. “What they need is the attitude that they can use any law in a vague
and overly broad sense,” she told me. “That’s what material support was. That’s
the whole point of it.” Cole, from the A.C.L.U., cautioned all Americans about
the decision. “What we do to immigrants in the name of national security or in
terms of undermining their civil liberties is often the first step, and the
second step is to extend it to U.S. citizens,” he said. “The argument is made
that you don’t have to sacrifice your liberty for greater security, we’ll
sacrifice their liberty for your security, so it’s a win-win for citizens. Bush
made that argument for antiterrorism legislation after 9/11. The first
anti-Communist measures were against foreign nationals, in the
nineteen-twenties, and then extended to millions of Americans in the
nineteen-fifties. There is a real connection between what is done to immigrants
and what is ultimately done to the rest of us.”
September, I visited Ana at her home on Long Island. Her red-tinted hair was
brushed to gleaming, and her long nails were coated in bright polish. She sat
at her broad kitchen table, catching up with Guidone and Mundy. Her small
living room was full of keepsakes from El Salvador—family photos, a hammock from
her home town, a colorful blanket over the couch—and the everyday objects of
her American life, now nearly three decades in. A fluorescent-yellow parrot sat
in a cage.
he speak?” Mundy asked.
says hello,” Ana replied. “And he laughs when you laugh.”
two grown daughters wandered past the kitchen. They were aware of the B.I.A.
decision but were reluctant to discuss it. “They are confused,” Ana said. “They
know my story, they know what actually happened.” Guidone and Mundy were in the
process of appealing, which could take years, but they were in good spirits.
Other lawyers had reached out to offer help. “I was amazed,” Guidone told me.
“Attorneys who have no connection to immigration called me and were, like,
‘What is this? What can we do?’ ” The lawyers working with Saman Ahmad and
Radwan Ziadeh had called to discuss sharing resources and the distant
possibility of bringing the issue back to the Supreme Court. Brennan, the
immigration judge in Ana’s original case, had recently issued a statement in
response to the decision, which took the rare step of admonishing the B.I.A.
“Undoubtedly, being targeted and then kidnapped on account of her relationship
with her husband, forced into slave labor, persistently threatened by the
guerrillas, and in constant fear of her life constitutes torture,” she wrote.
Her statement didn’t overturn the decision, but the lawyers were heartened by
how angry she had seemed.
of Ana’s employers, whose houses she cleaned, had fired her after the decision.
The word “terrorist,” she felt, carried a stigma not unlike that of the word
“illegal.” The factory, though, kept her on, and she supplemented her income by
selling mail-order goods, like pillows and blankets, to friends from church.
She had discussed the B.I.A.’s decision with an American family that lived in a
house next door with a white picket fence, and they were appalled. They told
her that if ice came to deport her, they would hide her in their home. Ana
teared up telling me about the conversation. “They said no way would they let
them come and take me away,” she said.
Ana first arrived in America, she had recurring nightmares about immigration
agents dragging her out of her house and putting her on a plane back to El
Salvador. She imagined that her abusive partner would be waiting for her there,
or that, if he didn’t get her, the former guerrillas would track her down.
Recently, those nightmares have been supplanted by a more pleasant dream in
which she wakes up in the morning and opens her mailbox to find a green card,
left there like a present. When Ana told me this, she laughed, and, from the
living room, so did the parrot. “Sometimes I also dream about meeting the
B.I.A. judges,” she said. She thought that if they saw her in person, they
would understand that she was not a terrorist. “I would tell them I had to
escape,” she said. “I would have died if I hadn’t done what I did. I would tell
them I’m a good person.”
Trump administration's decision to impose sanctions on Syrian mogul Samer Foz
is a warning to others who are considering doing business with the Assad regime
or Iran, US officials say.
Foz, a well-known Syrian businessman in luxury developments, was designated by
the US on Tuesday along two of his sons, and 13 people and entities associated
entities include the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus and the Orient Club.
of the UN have been staying at the Four Seasons as their base during the
a US official said that the UN’s general licence should allow its staff to
remain at the hotel, and that the holding company had cut its ties with the
US is also accusing Mr Foz of war-profiteering.
Syrian oligarch is directly supporting the murderous Assad regime and building
luxury developments on land stolen from those fleeing his brutality," said
Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial
US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, said that the designation showed the “US is
not taking its eye of the ball in Syria, be it Idlib, or engagements from Sochi
familiar with Mr Foz’s background regard it as a message to the Syrian regime,
Iran and regional stakeholders.
Weiss, author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, read two messages in the
first is that the pro-regime argument that sanctions are hurting Syria and
should be lifted is even more irrelevant now,” Weiss said.
the US is beginning to confront Iranian hegemony in Syria.”
Treasury implicated Mr Foz in providing oil shipments to Iran through companies
said that Mr Foz was an accomplice to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' oil
smuggling, so a flow of revenue to the force has been cut.
Randa Slim, director at the Middle East Institute, said the designation was a
warning shot to regional bodies to think twice before doing business with the
regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
is a deterrent message to any Syrian and/or regional businessmen or business
entities contemplating investments in Syria, and an affirmation of the Trump
administration message that reconstruction money will not be forthcoming until
the regime changes its behaviour,” Ms Slim said.
said it was significant that the US aimed at the inner circle of the Assad
sanctioned individuals and entities are also involved in almost every sector of
the Syrian economy,” Ms Slim told The National.
highlighting Mr Foz’s ties to Iran, the US could be drawing a line between
“Russian and Iranian business involvement in Syrian affairs, sanctioning the
latter but not the former", she said.
see challenges in implementing the sanctions. Mr Foz was sanctioned in January
by the EU and many in the Assad circle are on US blacklists.
major challenge in implementing those sanctions is that Mr Foz can still limit
his exposure by being the silent partner in deals cut in land development that
are not exposed to the international banking system,” said Nicholas Heras, a
senior fellow at the Centre for New American Security.
is a lynchpin of the regime's new structure and Mr Al Assad owes him a lot for
his support and efforts to keep him in power."
challenge with US sanctions in Syria, Mr Heras said, was “that the regime has
established an entire internal ecosystem of economic activities that are
domestic in Syria, and which are not easily combated through the international
Austria to shut Saudi-funded center over human
Jun 12, 2019
The Austrian government has announced plans to shut
a Saudi-funded center in Vienna over the possible execution of a teenager
arrested in Saudi Arabia for participation in an anti-regime protest.
The decision comes after the members of the
far-right Freedom Party, the liberal Neos and Social Democrats passed a motion
in Austria's parliament to stop the activities of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
“This is a signal for human rights in Saudi Arabia,
which hopefully will be copied by many, not just in Europe,” lawmaker Peter
Pilz, a critic of Saudi Arabia, wrote on Twitter.
The motion also called on the government and the
Foreign Ministry to “use all political and diplomatic means available” in a bid
to prevent the execution of Murtaja Qureiris, who was arrested in 2014.
“A fundamental human right, namely taking part in a
demonstration, is enough for the Saudi Arabian government to execute a
juvenile,” Pilz said in a separate statement.
Qureiris was 10 years old when he was filmed taking
part in a bike protest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. In the film, he is
seen lifting a megaphone and pressing it against his lips. “The people demand
human rights!” he shouts.
He was shortly afterwards charged with accompanying
his activist brother, Ali Qureris, on a motorcycle ride to a police station in
the eastern Saudi city of Awamiya. Ali allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at the
police station there.
Murtaja was 11 when his brother died while taking
part in protests, which Saudi officials described as violent.
He was 13 years old, when Saudi authorities arrested
him as he was traveling with his family to Bahrain. At the time, Qureris was
considered by lawyers and activists to be the youngest known political prisoner
in Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, the public prosecutor is now
seeking the death penalty against him over several charges ranging from joining
the terrorist organizations to throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station
and marching at his brother’s funeral.
Saudi Arabia executed 37 people just in a single day
in April, at least three of whom were minors, according to rights groups. It is
one the countries that routinely applies the death penalty, often by beheading.
KAICIID is a shared project launched in 2012 based
on a treaty signed by Austria, Spain and Saudi Arabia.
The Vatican is a founding observer of KAICIID and
has representation on its board, which by treaty must include three Christians,
three Muslims, a Jew, a Hindu and a Buddhist.
France’s Marine Le Pen to go on trial over her ISIS
12 June 2019
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has been
ordered to stand trial over three Twitter posts from 2015 showing ISIS
atrocities, a judicial source told AFP on Wednesday.
A judge in Nanterre, just west of Paris, issued the
ruling after Le Pen was charged last year with circulating “violent messages
that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and that
can be viewed by a minor.
French probes ultra-right plot to attack religious
June 13, 2019
PARIS – French judicial authorities are
investigating five people after uncovering an ultra-right plot to attack a
A judicial official said Tuesday that two people,
one a minor, were arrested and placed under investigation in May for criminal
terrorist association. Three others were arrested in the probe that was opened
in September in Grenoble, southeast France. The anti-terrorism prosecutor's
office took over the case.
The official said only one of the four was being
He was confirming portions of a BFMTV report saying
that targets were Muslim or Jewish. The official, who requested anonymity
because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, didn't say at what stage the
plot was or what the target was.
There was no link with a 2017 ultra-right plot
against mosques and migrants.
Muslim couple deny terror-related charges in Madrid
MADRID – A Moroccan-born Spaniard and his Mexican
wife are denying charges in their retrial that they helped recruit militants
for the Islamic State group in Madrid.
Aziz Zaghanane initially received a six-year prison
sentence at last year's trial and his wife Ana Marilú Reyna was sent to prison
for one year.
The couple, both Muslims, testified again Tuesday
after the National Court ruled that evidence given in the original trial should
have included testimony from three others accused in the case, who admitted
terror-related crimes and therefore did not take the stand.
They argue that their social media activity
discussed issues related to the Islamic State group and the war in Syria but
The court's verdict is expected later this week.
Counter-terrorism squad set up to protect South
Australians from extremist attacks
CANBERRA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- South Australia (SA)
has established its first-ever high-level counter-terrorism police unit to
protect citizens from large-scale attacks.
SA's Minister for Police Corey Wingard on Wednesday
announced 3 million Australian dollars (2.08 million U.S. dollars) in funding
over four years for the initiative, which came after similar teams were
established in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
The new squad will be based at a new specially-built
headquarters, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, at a secret location so it
does not become a target for a terror attack.
News Corp Australia reported on Tuesday that
students at seven public schools in SA were identified as being at-risk of
religious or political radicalization in 2018.
Wingard said on Wednesday that the new squad would
significantly boost SA's defences against extremist events such as New
Zealand's Christchurch mosque shootings on March, which were allegedly carried
out by a radicalized Australian.
"Tragically, horrific incidents, such as what
we saw in Christchurch earlier this year, have become a threat and South
Australia is not immune to that," Wingard told News Corp on Wednesday.
"That is why the government is building a
formidable defence against such behavior. This new squad will proactively act
to stop such a threat from arising and, if needed, provide an important tool to
our security teams if an incident occurs."
The squad will be made up of members of the SA
police force (SAPOL) and SA Health specialists, including mental health
workers, a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
"Outposting SA Health employees to SAPOL will
enable a more immediate response to a risk, as SA Health workers have access to
mental health information systems," SA's Health Minister Stephen Wade
"It will also allow health and law and order
issues to be dealt with simultaneously."
Muslim comedian awarded $4.1 million in defamation
lawsuit against neo-Nazi site
(RNS) — A federal judge has ordered the publishers
of a prominent white supremacist website, the Daily Stormer, to pay $4.1
million in damages to Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah for publishing false
statements accusing him of terrorism.
In 2017, Obeidallah filed a civil suit in Ohio
federal court against the Daily Stormer’s founder, Andrew Anglin, over the
neo-Nazi site’s false claims that Obeidallah was part of ISIS and was the
“mastermind” behind the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22
people that year in Manchester, England.
“American Muslims should be able to take part in
public life without being threatened or attacked,” Obeidallah said in a
statement after the award was announced Wednesday morning (June 12). “This
ruling sends a clear message that Muslim voices will not be silenced by threats
Obeidallah is the host of SiriusXM’s daily “The Dean
Obeidallah Show,” billed as the first national radio show hosted by a Muslim
American, and the podcast “I Want to Be Your Muslim Friend.” The New
Jersey-born lawyer-turned-comic also co-founded the New York Arab-American
Comedy Festival and co-directed the documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!”
Obeidallah said he plans to give the money to
organizations working against bigotry.
“If I collect a penny from the Nazis, I’m not going
to keep their money,” he told the Daily Beast. “I’m going to give it to
organizations that fight hate and bigotry, the very groups Nazis despise.”
A week after the concert attack in 2017, and shortly
after Obeidallah published an op-ed about President Trump and white supremacist
terrorism, the Daily Stormer posted an article titled “Dean Obeidallah,
Mastermind Behind Manchester Bombing, Calls on Trump to Declare Whites the Real
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr.
ruled that Anglin’s statements about Obeidallah were not protected speech under
the First Amendment and ordered Anglin to remove the post.
The post, which was still live as of this writing,
said Obeidallah is a “confessed terrorist wanted by Europol, the British
security service MI-5, Interpol and a litany of other international
authorities.” It accused him of escaping to ISIS for safety “after being sought
for questioning by MI-5 in connection to the bombing,” then “bragging” about
the attack and encouraging others to carry out similar attacks.
The post also included several fabricated images of
tweets purportedly showing Obeidallah claiming responsibility for the attack
and voicing support for other terrorist attacks. The post suggested readers “go
confront him” online.
One faked tweet reads: “All glory is to Allah, the
magnificent and merciful, for it is only by his grace I was successfully able
to execute the manchester bombing.” It appears to be based on an actual message
from Obeidallah that said, “Thanks to Trump our allies don’t trust us and our
enemies don’t fear us. Is this what Trump meant by Making America Great?!”
When the article was posted, Obeidallah asked the
Daily Stormer to remove it. Two months later, when the post was still there and
he had begun receiving death threats and other violent messages, the comedian
sued Anglin for libel.
In a ruling issued May 2, the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of Ohio entered a default judgment against Anglin,
who had not responded to Obeidallah’s lawsuit, and his company, Moonbase
On Wednesday, citing Anglin’s failure to respond,
the judge granted Obeidallah the full award of $4.1 million.
“The message this victory sends is unmistakable: the
contemptible lies that Anglin and his ilk disseminate to sow hate among us
crumble before the rule of law,” Subodh Chandra, co-counsel for Obeidallah,
said after the May ruling. “The fact that Anglin didn’t even try to defend his
misconduct shows how much contempt he has for real American values like
equality, decency, honesty, integrity, and justice.”
Sirine Shebaya, interim legal director of Muslim
Advocates, which filed the lawsuit with Obeidallah and Chandra, said the
judgment “vindicates Mr. Obeidallah for the ordeal he has suffered because of
the shameless smears against him” and “compensated for the threats, emotional
stress, and reputational damage he has suffered.”
Anglin’s website denies the existence of the
Holocaust, includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War,” and
regularly orchestrates online trolling campaigns. The site’s name is a nod to
Der Stürmer, a German tabloid that published Nazi propaganda until the end of
World War II. The
Anglin, whose whereabouts are unknown, did not
respond to a request for comment after Wednesday’s ruling was announced.
“The goal of Anglin and the Daily Stormer’s smear
campaign was not just to silence me but all others who dare to speak out about
the evils of white supremacy,” said Obeidallah. “The hope is that this lawsuit
sends a message that white supremacists and neo-Nazis will never bully us into
silence and we will continue to wage our fight against hate.”
Anglin, the Daily Stormer and Moonbase Holdings LLC
are facing other legal troubles, too.
A group of Charlottesville, Va., residents is suing
Anglin and other organizers of the Unite the Right rally, arguing that the 2017
white supremacist gathering was “a direct conspiracy to commit violence.”
A former American University student is seeking $1.5
million in damages from Anglin for allegedly inciting a harassment campaign
against her after she became the student government’s first black female
Last year, a federal judge in Montana ruled that a
Jewish Realtor’s lawsuit accusing the Daily Stormer of coordinating a “terror
campaign” of online harassment cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
The site published her contact information along with that of her husband and
12-year-old son, which she says led to their receiving more than 700
“disparaging and/or threatening messages” filled with “ethnic slurs and
Police investigating Islamophobic graffiti outside
London Muslim Mosque
June 12, 2019
London police are investigating after Islamophobic
graffiti was found scrawled on the sidewalk outside the London Muslim Mosque
over the weekend.
The message, which read “FOR THE TEMPLE MOUHAMED
(sic.) RAPES KIDS,” was discovered by a community member on Saturday and was
passed along to mosque leadership, said Ali Chahbar, the facility’s outreach
Officers were later notified about the message, and
are investigating the incident, police told 980 CFPL.
“We have to be ever so vigilant. The message is a
hate message, and we have to call the authorities, we have to make sure our
community is protected,” Chahbar said. Doing so while keeping the community
from living in a state of fear is a tough balancing act, he said.
“Unfortunately it’s the new normal.”
“We can’t do much about that but we can do something
about being positive and making lemonade out of lemons, which means doing the
best that we can do stand our peaceful and loving ground, and try to have these
ignorant people… maybe the light will go on in their heads, or take their
blinders off to see that Muslims and the Muslim community is not a threat. To
the contrary, they’re an asset.”
In a statement posted to Twitter, London Mayor Ed
Holder described the graffiti as “disgusting and vile.”
Despite the incident, Chahbar said mosque members
felt safe in London and leadership would remain positive.
“London is a safe community, a loving community,” he
“Again, you have to stay alert because of the
obvious.. what could potentially happen. We’re balancing that,” Chahdar added.
“But our message is one of positivity and one of being quite optimistic about
what the future holds.”
The graffiti comes amid a rise in hate crime
incidents across the country in recent years. According to the latest figures
from Statistics Canada, 2,073 hate crimes were reported to police agencies
across Canada in 2017, an increase of more than 600 from the year before.
Religiously-motivated hate crimes saw the largest
increase, from 460 in 2016 to 842 in 2017. Hate crimes reported toward Muslims
rose from 139 in 2016 to 349 in 2017, the largest increase seen among
religion-motivated hate incidents.
It also comes three months after the deadly mosque
attacks in New Zealand that left 51 people dead.
UAE, Germany call on Iran to refrain from escalating
13 June 2019
The United Arab Emirates and Germany expressed
concern over growing tensions in the Gulf region, calling on Iran to refrain
from steps that escalate the tension, a joint statement on UAE’s state news
agency (WAM) said on Wednesday.
The statement comes after Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan official visit to Germany where he met with
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
The statement said both countries reaffirmed “the
urgency for all actors in the region to refrain from any actions that could
escalate existing tensions.”
On Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas
stressed - during a news conference with his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh
Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi - the importance of stability in the
Gulf region amid heightened tensions with Iran.
UN: Terrorist attack on Abha Airport poses threat to
The United Nations has expressed its concern over
the terrorist attack carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Abha
In a press conference, UN spokesman Farhan Haq
described the attack as a serious threat to regional security and undermining
the political process in Yemen led by the United Nations.
The United Nations is deeply concerned about the
attack, deputy Haq told reporters in New York.
“We urge all parties to prevent any such further
incidents, which risk escalating the current situation, pose a serious threat
to national and regional security and undermine the UN-led political process,”
There has been widespread reaction condemnation of
Wednesday’s attack across the Gulf, Middle East, and internationally.
Senior European Union diplomat Helga Schmid told
Reuters in Abu Dhabi that Wednesday's attack was a “provocation that is
unacceptable” and risked undermining the UN efforts.
The UAE strongly condemned the Houthi terrorist
attack against the airport, which resulted in injuries to civilians.
In a statement, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and International Cooperation, said the UAE strongly condemned this
terrorist act, and deemed it as new evidence of the Houthi’s hostile and
terrorist tendencies that seek to undermine security and stability in the
“The UAE renews its solidarity with the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia and its stand with Riyadh in a unified step against any threat to
the security and stability of the Kingdom and supports all measures taken by
Saudi Arabia in the face of extremism and terrorism to maintain its security of
its citizens and expatriate residents,” the statement continued.
UAE strongly condemns Houthi attack on Abha Airport
in Saudi Arabia. Blatant attack on civilians & one of many attacks in the 6
months since Stockholm. Houthi militias undermining the UNs political work
& sending a message of continuing violence & hostility.
“The security of the UAE and of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia is indivisible,” it noted, adding, “any threat or danger to the
Kingdom's security is considered a threat to UAE's security and stability.”
The Ministry wished a quick recovery to the injured.
The Swiss embassy in the Kingdom said in a tweet on
its Twitter account that Switzerland condemned the terrorist act against Abha
International Airport that targeted infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, resulting
in injuries of citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia.
Switzerland condemned the attacks and urged their
The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior
Scholars expressed its strong condemnation of the Houthi criminal act of
launching a projectile on the Abha International Airport that targeted
civilians of different nationalities.
It stated that the firing of projectiles at the
civilian facility underlines the criminal nature of the terrorist group
supported by the Iranian regime, and its threat to regional security and
The statement added that the Houthi terrorist group
is no different from ISIS and al-Qaeda in targeting civilians, killing innocent
people, recruiting children and taking cover in civilian localities.
Belgian court penalized a 65-year-old man for his hateful and racist
expressions against Muslims on social media.
to Le Soir, a Belgian daily, the criminal court in Antwerp handed a suspended
sentence of 10 months in prison to sexagenarian and imposed a fine of €800
($904) for his hate speech on Twitter.
65-year-old internet user -- nicknamed Fidelio -- was convicted for posting
explicit violence content against Muslims, which “hurts the social order in
Belgium based on tolerance and equal right principle”.
said the convict is from northern Flemish city of Antwerp, didn't have any
mosques in Germany have suffered assaults over the past two days, a local
Turkish Muslim community leader said on Tuesday.
the Eyup Sultan Mosque in Kamen, North Rhine-Westphalia, a right-wing group
desecrated the mosque walls with hateful graffiti such as “get out," said
Mustafa Kose, the top official in Kamen from the Turkish-Islamic Union for
Religious Affairs (DITIB).
the city of Hessen, central Germany, vandals threw rocks at the Kassel Central
at a mosque in Bremen, northwestern Germany, a copy of the holy Quran was set
is a fear in our congregations, and religious officials, they're considering
locking the doors of the mosque during prayer time," Kose said.
that police are investigating the attacks, he added that the attackers should
be arrested as soon as possible.
attacks take place amid Islamophobic groups gaining more political power in
Europe, as well as deadly assaults on mosques in Western countries, including
the New Zealand attack this March which took 51 lives.
Myanmar accused of ‘misinformation campaign’ over
repatriation of Rohingya
DHAKA: Bangladesh has accused Myanmar of launching a
“misinformation campaign” over the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
The claim was made on Wednesday by Bangladeshi
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen following a high-level meeting
in Dhaka to discuss the issue.
During the Future of Asia conference held in Japan
at the end of May, Myanmar claimed that Bangladesh was solely responsible for
not starting the repatriation process of the Rohingya people.
However, Momen hit back on Wednesday, telling
reporters that Myanmar had recently presented a report on two “showcase
villages” in Rakhine, which it said proved the situation in the state was now
conducive for a return. But the minister said the study, produced through
ASEAN, a regional body of Southeast Asian nations of which Myanmar was a member
nation, could not be representative of all 800 villages in the state.
More than 740,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh
since Aug. 25, 2017, following a so-called “clearance operation” by the Myanmar
army described by the UN as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and
“intent of genocide.”
Bangladesh signed a bilateral instrument with
Myanmar in the same year, which was supposed to have triggered the start of a
two-year repatriation process in January 2018. A later agreed date of
mid-November to begin the return was also missed.
“Myanmar didn’t keep their promises. They were
supposed to create a conducive environment in the Rakhine province. But they
did nothing in this regard,” Momen said.
Briefing ambassadors and high commissioners at the
meeting in the Bangladeshi capital, Momen urged them to put more international
pressure on Myanmar to create appropriate conditions for repatriation. He added
that Rohingya issue would be the “topmost priority” during Bangladeshi Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China next month.
China, a close ally of Myanmar, had advocated that
Bangladesh and Myanmar should solve the Rohingya crisis bilaterally and played
a key role in the repatriation instrument between the countries.
“China has also agreed with us that these Myanmar
people should be taken back home. We hope that after the visit of the prime
minister, the process (repatriation) will start,” Momen added.
He noted that oppression was widespread in all
communities in Rakhine.
Bangladesh has launched a campaign to put more
effective international pressure on Myanmar to repatriate more than 1.1 million
Rohingyas to their homeland.
On Sunday, Momen sent a letter to all 80
consul-generals of Bangladesh in different countries and those of foreign
nations in Bangladesh, requesting they engage foreign governments and civil
societies in helping to create a safe environment for Rohingyas in Myanmar and
oversee the process of repatriating the refugees from Bangladesh.
“The delay of repatriation of Rohingyas, who have
been deprived of basic rights for decades, may threaten regional security and
stability,” Momen wrote.
Delowar Hossain, director-general Southeast Asia, of
the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, told Arab News: “We want more direct
engagement in different international forums from our friends. This is one of
the most important issues at this moment and we all want a solution at the
soonest possible time.”
Akramul Qader, former Bangladeshi ambassador to the
US, told Arab News: “In every meeting, Myanmar promises that they will work
soon for creating a conducive environment for the repatriation but in reality,
there is not a single person who has repatriated so far.”
He said that Bangladesh’s efforts to engage the
world and civil societies of different countries was a very timely approach.
Prof. Amena Mohsin of Dhaka University, an
international relations expert, said China was the most important mover in
helping to resolve the issue.
“If China wants to be a regional power it should
recognize the problems and unease of Bangladesh. Moreover, there are some
ethical issues also which a superpower like China can’t ignore,” Mohsin told
Another former Bangladeshi ambassador to the US,
Humayun Kabir said that Bangladesh had the support of the whole world in its
efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis, except for China, Russia and India.
“The existing geopolitical situation of this region
is actually working as a big obstacle in resolving the Rohingya crisis,” Kabir
told Arab News.
Although almost half of the year has passed, only 22
percent of the annual $920 million appeal for the Joint Response Plan (JRP) to
the Rohingya humanitarian crisis has been met. This has created concern among
aid agencies. According to the financial tracking system of the UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), only $202.3 million has been
disbursed by the donor community.
“We keep reminding the donor community that they
need to fund the JRP and stand with Bangladesh. With the upcoming two-year
anniversary of the 2017 influx this will become even more important as the JRP
is only just over 20 percent funded,” said Stephen Pattison, communication
officer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at Cox’s Bazar.
“However, we will keep working here in this
response, but funding shortages will, obviously, limit the scope of what we are
able to do for the Rohingya refugees here,” he told Arab News.
Hundreds of Afghan families have been forced to leave their villages because of
fighting between the Taliban and affiliates of Daesh in eastern Nangarhar
province in recent weeks, officials said on Wednesday.
fighting concentrated in the Shinwari and Khoghani districts of the province,
which borders Pakistan, and has served as a bastion for Daesh loyalists since
the group emerged in Afghanistan in late 2014.
of the displaced, including children and the elderly, have ended up in the
desert, where they face soaring heat, lack of water, shelter and food, Aryan
Youn, a local delegate, told Arab News.
people have suffered casualties and now live in miserable conditions. It is
nearly 50 degrees there. A few families have received aid from locals and
traders, but the government has not provided any aid for them yet because of
bureaucracy,” she said.
in Nangarhar broke out days before the holy month of Ramadan after Daesh tried
to take control of Taliban territory.
Qayoumi, head of the provincial department for refugees, said the government
has provided aid to some of those displaced and confirmed that families have
settled in the desert.
told Arab News the number of displaced was over 13,000.
fighting erupted in one area and then spread to other parts, so like many other
people we had to flee,” Tawakal Shah, a displaced resident, said.
Mahmood Miakhel, governor of Nangarhar, told Arab News both Daesh and the
Taliban were enemies of the government and that it has used airstrikes against
both groups. He added that Daesh had filled the vacuum created after a
government airstrike wiped out a number of Taliban leaders in April.
governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, refused to be drawn on whether Afghan
forces would be deployed against the two groups. He also refused to answer
questions on how the organizations had gained such a foothold in the region,
after a series of prolonged operations against them by the US and Afghan
soldiers. Washington famously dropped the world’s largest bomb, nicknamed the
“Mother of all Bombs” (MOAB) on militants in 2017.
has frequently been met with resistance from locals, due to its extremist
conduct, including forcefully marrying young girls and killing community elders
in brutal ways.
Mozhdah, an analyst, said the spread of Daesh’s activities in Afghanistan had
“raised lots of questions and suspicions not only among ordinary Afghans, but
the Taliban too.
reason why the Taliban are hesitant about talks (with the US) is that they
think America is bringing Daesh to Afghanistan. The Taliban have openly said
that America is aiding Daesh here,” he said.
officials have repeatedly rejected as baseless accusations raised by Iran,
Russia and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Washington is helping
Daesh in Afghanistan to destabilize the region.
1.4 million Afghans have been internally displaced due to the conflict, as well
as natural disasters, in the last 18 years.
SHAR, Afghanistan, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Ten militants including a Taliban commander
Mullah Majid alias Kuchi were killed in airstrikes on Taliban hideout in Jalriz
district of eastern Afghanistan's Wardak province on Monday night, said an army
statement released Tuesday.
upon intelligence report, the airstrikes were conducted on Tandara village of
Jalriz district, killing 10 insurgents including Kuchi on the spot, the
civilians nor security personnel were injured during the strikes, said the
militants have yet to make comment.
and Iran will expand bilateral cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear
Iranian authorities said that Tuesday that the two nations will cooperate on
application of atomic energy in healthcare and agriculture.
officials of the two countries on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding
in this regard.
delegation of Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission recently visited Iran
to sign the MoU with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
delegation visited Iran after coordinating with the International Atomic Energy
two countries will mainly focus on human resources capacity building and
application of atomic energy in healthcare and agriculture.
Afghan security forces have inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban militants in
North of Afghanistan.
informed military sources said Wednesday the Afghan Special Forces killed 16
Taliban fighters in Pashtun Kot district of Faryab.
Special Forces also wounded 3 Taliban fighters and destroyed some military
equipment during the operation.
the Special Forces killed 3 Taliban fighters and detained 8 others in Bagram
district of Parwan province.
sources also added that the Special Forces killed 1 Taliban fighter in Sayad
district of Sar-e-Pul province.
Special Forces also arrested one Taliban fighter during the same operation, the
comes as the security situation in some districts of Faryab, Parwan and
Sar-e-Pul provinces has deteriorated during the recent years.
militants are active in districts of the three provinces where they often
conduct terrorist related activities.
the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the
anti-government armed groups in the three province.
the U.S. forces also conduct regular airstrikes in restive parts of the country
to suppress Taliban and other anti-government militants.
authorities have released more than 30 Taliban prisoners from the central
prison of Nangarhar province.
Nangarhar governor’s office in a statement said the authorities released the
Taliban prisoners in accordance with a presidential decree.
statement further added that 32 Taliban prisoners were set free from the
central prison of Nangarhar.
governor’s office also added that 2,300 people including women are currently
serving in Nangarhar central prison.
statement also added that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had ordered the
release of 887 Taliban prisoners on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr.
release of Taliban prisoners has attracted mixed reactions from the people as
some believe that released Taliban group members would return to battlefield.
the authorities are saying that they release the prisoners after proper
security forces conducted separate operations in three provinces killing or
wounding at least 16 Taliban militants.
informed military sources said Wednesday that the Afghan Special Forces killed
3 Taliban fighters during an operation in Tagab district of Kapisa.
sources further added that the security forces also conducted an airstrike in
Nerkh district of Wardak and killed 3 Taliban fighters.
the Special Forces killed 4 Taliban during an operation in Chisht-e Sharif
district of Herat.
military officials also added that the Special Forces wounded 6 Taliban
fighters and destroyed 5 improvised explosives devices during the same
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operations so far.
NDS Special Forces killed one terrorist and detained two others during an
operation in Herat province.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the terrorists
originally hail from Punjab province of Pakistan.
statement further added that the three terrorists, Mohamad Hakim alias Bilal
son of Obaidullah, Rafiullah and Rauzuddin, were fighting for the Taliban
leader Mullah Wakil Ahmad Osmani.
also added that Mullah Osmani is actively involved in terrorist related
activities in Kerkh district of Herat and bordering regions between Herat and
National Directorate of Security (NDS) also released a video confession of one
of the detained terrorists.
militant briefs the intelligence operatives regarding his recruitment to
Taliban ranks and travel to Afghanistan.
Taliban group has not commented regarding the killing and detention of the Pakistani
militants so far.
gunmen have assassinated a religious cleric and teacher in eastern Nangarhar
province of Afghanistan.
Nangarhar governor’s office in a statement said Wednesday that unknown gunmen
killed Mawlavi Saifullah in Koz Kunar district earlier today.
statement further added that the gunmen shot dead Mawlavi Safiullah at around 5
am local time as he was on his way home from the mosque.
governor’s office also added that the gunmen used a gun with a silencer to
assassinate Mawlavi Saifullah.
individual or group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
comes as unknown gunmen killed a religious cleric in Kabul late last month days
after an explosion killed a cleric in the capital city.
Islamic Defenders Front gaining grassroots support
flags hanging outside Anwar Ragaua's house have drawn warnings from police, but
the wiry 50-year-old vows he's not taking them down.
all, the police weren't there to help when he was the sole fisherman in his
village to survive the tsunami that inundated the Indonesian city of Palu at
dusk on 28 September. Nor was the government. Nor were the aid organisations
that swept into the stricken region in remote central Sulawesi.
the first people to offer him hope – and a new boat – were deployed by a
hardline Islamic group notorious for vigilante violence, such as storming the
offices of Playboy magazine, smashing up stores selling alcohol and attacking
minority Muslim sects.
the wind picks up, it's the Islamic Defenders Front's white-and-green flag that
flutters outside Ragaua's house, alongside a much bigger black flag with white
Arabic script. The words are a well-known declaration of Muslim faith; similar
flags have become associated with violent extremists.
its inception two decades ago, the front has pushed for Islamic law to govern
the lives of Indonesia's 230 million Muslims, aiming to correct what it sees as
the errors of Indonesia's 1945 constitution that established a secular state
and religious freedom.
often dismissed as a fringe group, it has recently scored unexpected and
stunning political victories - only partly due to the growth of orthodox Middle
Eastern Islam in Indonesia. The group's success also can be traced to an effort
over more than 10 years to re-purpose its militia into a force that's as adept
at helping the poor and searching for victims buried under earthquake rubble as
it is at inspiring fear.
front was formed in Jakarta, researchers say, by elements of Indonesia's
military after the fall of dictator Suharto in 1998 as a tool for confronting
pro-democracy activists and liberalism. Able to act with impunity, it became
infamous for running protection rackets and violent vigilantism. It now has
chapters in 23 of Indonesia's 34 provinces and a military-like command
structure cascading down to village levels.
Suryadi Abdurrahman, the head of the front's Islamic Defender Troops militia,
said the organisation has a million members. Researchers have said its
membership is much smaller, estimating that it numbers in the tens of
a fine line, the front doesn't propose that Indonesia become a caliphate, which
would put it in direct confrontation with Indonesia's civil law-based
constitution. Rather it says it wants Islamic law to apply to the 9 out of 10
citizens who are Muslim. Senior figures display the red-and-white Indonesian
flag on their uniforms and often ally with ultra-nationalistic causes.
goal is to make Indonesia, in which Islam is the majority religion of the
people, to be religious and clean from immorality," said Abdurrahman.
"We want an Islamist country, not an Islamic state, because a religious
country will prevent the nation from suffering social injustice."
group says it has moderated its methods but it still aggressively takes on what
it calls "community diseases" such as prostitution, homosexuality and
celebration of Western holidays. It does so, it says, at the request of local
tried to improve our image," Abdurrahman said. "We've changed the
ways of our demonstrations to be more persuasive and peaceful."
so doing, it has followed the same path as other deeply conservative groups in
Indonesia, including Hizbut Tahrir, which seeks a caliphate and was banned last
year. All have embraced charitable work, filling a void left by the government
and mainstream Muslim organisations.
Arifianto, an Indonesian politics expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of
International Studies in Singapore, said Indonesian groups copied Egypt's
Muslim Brotherhood which pioneered Islamic charities in the 1970s and '80s and
became immensely popular. Hamas (in Palestine) and Hezbollah (in Lebanon) have
also emphasised social services as a way of winning hearts and minds.
turning point for the Islamic Defenders Front was its response to the 2004
Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 100,000 people in Indonesia's
Aceh, Abdurrahman said.
in Aceh, one of Indonesia's most conservative provinces, they weren't welcome,
Abdurrahman said, but they persisted and won over Acehnese by setting up their
command posts at mass graves and recovering and burying thousands of bodies.
front, he said, "is now increasingly accepted by people."
front's humanitarian arm – known as Red Crescent Indonesia, but not part of the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – was very
busy last year. Besides the Palu earthquake and tsunami that claimed more than
4,000 lives, earthquakes killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of homes on
Lombok. A tsunami wreaked havoc on the Sunda Strait coastlines of Java and
front was right there at each disaster, searching for victims, distributing aid
and building temporary housing and new mosques. Its regular social services
such as free health care have become a lifeline for urban poor.
is a far-flung archipelago of 17,000 islands; its central government has often
been accused of neglecting remote regions far from the centre of political and
economic power in Java. In places such as Central Sulawesi, which has a history
of sectarian violence, those failings have provided an opening for hard-liners
and their message that religion, not government, is the answer.
the 350 tonnes of aid the Islamic Defenders Front says it provided in Palu is a
fraction of what eventually poured into the region, its delivery was rapid and
grassroots. As officials struggled to get a handle on what had happened,
truckloads of rice and other aid had already been dispatched by the front's
chapter in Poso to the southeast of Palu.
militia's search-and-rescue team scoured two neighbourhoods swallowed by the
quake, recovering bodies before the government's National Search and Rescue
Agency turned up. When the agency did arrive, grieving family members turned on
them angrily, demanding to know why they hadn't come sooner. Part of the
reason: official search efforts first focused on hotels.
eighth day was the worst; the rotten bodies were very smelly and the soil had
begun to harden," said Mahmud Khaemudin, secretary of the front's chapter
in Central Sulawesi.
government's response to images of the front at work was ham-handed - the
Information Ministry called them a hoax. It was apparently unaware that the
search-and-rescue agency has provided training to front members. The front did
not curtail its efforts in Palu after the catastrophe's first days.
Ragaua was sceptical when, three months after the disaster, two men from the
front arrived at his house and offered new fishing boats to him and two others.
this time I had often been offered similar assistance from various
organisations, government and non-government, but they only made
promises," he said. A day later, the men came back and ordered several
boats from a boat maker, paying in cash. "I almost cried," Ragaua
said. "I wanted to bow down in gratitude."
have visited his house several times, suspicious he may be spreading
radicalism, but Ragaua was unfazed. He flies the front's flag, proudly.
front's rising political clout was evident in 2016-17, when it mobilised
hundreds of thousands to protest the Christian governor of the capital,
Jakarta. The governor, an ally of President Joko Widodo, was defeated and
imprisoned for blasphemy.
April's presidential election, the front backed former general Prabowo
Subianto. He overwhelmingly won in religiously conservative provinces. Widodo,
however, was re-elected by winning over a coalition of moderate and minority
have been other setbacks. Front leader Rizieq Shihab fled to Saudi Arabia in
2017 to avoid arrest on what he said were fabricated pornography charges. An
online petition calling for the government to deny legal status to the front
has half a million signatures.
Ministry spokesman Bahtiar, who uses a single name, described the front as
being involved in "dirty practices". Under law, organisations
involved in social or humanitarian work should not be a guise for political
activities, he said.
are now smart," he said. "There is no more room to hide in this era
of openness." (AP)
five years have passed since the issuance of Indonesia’s Halal Product
Assurance (HPA) Law in October 2014. Recently, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo
signed the Government Regulation for the implementation of HPA Law. Article 4
in HPA Law states that all products that enter, are circulated, and are traded
Indonesia must be halal-certified. The regulation stated it would be
effectively implemented five years after its issuance. Therefore, as per Oct.
17 2019, all products which enter, are circulated and traded in Indonesia must
be halal certified.
question is: is Indonesia ready for this halal obligation?
halal certification issue has sparked several debates in Indonesian society.
From the producer’s perspective, the obligation for halal certification will
increase production costs. Most manufacturers in Indonesia are still reluctant
to certify their product because they perceive the cost of halal certification
as a burden. In addition, many entrepreneurs have little knowledge on both the
procedure and the urgency of halal certification itself.
the customer there are several issues in the halal label. Since the definition
of products that should be halal-certified in the Law is very extensive,
basically all products and services can be halal-certified. Consequently, this
clause may lead to the commodification of Islam.
halal commodification, religion is exploited and used as a marketing
instrument. According to Faegheh Shirazi in his book Brand Islam: the marketing
and commodification of piety, the commodification of Islam is created by
labelling goods and services as “Islamic” with the intention to increase market
share. In the halal industry several companies join the halal certification
trends for the sake of profit without real concern for Islamic values and
philosophy, thus creating “pseudo-Islamic” products. For example, some brands
of hijab, refrigerators and detergents are marketed as halal-certified
the other side, the obligation of halal certification provides opportunities
for halal industry development. The Pew Research Center in 2017 reported that
the global Muslim society is the world’s fastest growing consumer. The demand
from Muslim consumers develops the market-driven halal products and services
which are sharia-compliant. Thomson Reuters reported that in 2017, Muslims
spent US$1.303 billion on food and beverages alone.
the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has the potential to
become a key player in the halal industry. Thomson Reuters in 2018 reported
that Muslim consumers in Indonesia were the biggest spenders for food among the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries. However, Indonesia is not listed
in the top 10 countries in the Halal Food Indicator of Thomson Reuters,
defeated by minority-Muslim countries such as Brazil and Australia. This shows
that Indonesia is a target market for halal products, instead of becoming the
key player in the halal industry.
halal industry is underdeveloped because the local and domestic players have
not significantly seized the opportunity. Indonesia’s halal market is still
dominated by firms from non-Muslim countries. Companies from Muslim nations
have not developed halal product efficiently due to lack of capacity.
Therefore, the mandatory halal certification can be a much-needed booster.
the lack of implementation and campaigning of this regulation impedes the
development of the halal industry. Although gradually increasing each year, the
halal-certified products in Indonesia do not even reach half of the existing
food and beverage products.
mandatory halal certification could trigger international brands to certify
their product. Given Indonesia’s vast market, manufacturers most likely will
follow the requirement. In the future, the law will apply the reciprocal
clause, where the country who wants to distribute their halal product in
Indonesia must accept the halal products from Indonesia to be exported to their
one major challenge to the halal certification is lack of awareness about halal
status. Generally Indonesian Muslims do not depend on halal logo but assume
that all food in their community is automatically halal. Although this
assumption may have been true in the past, various imported food products today
are not halal.
of awareness among producers is also an obstacle. For the manufacturer, halal
certification is perceived as an overhead cost. While in fact, halal label and
halal certification can increase quality and give value-added to the product,
thus attracting Muslim customers worldwide.
clock is ticking; the new era of halal certification in Indonesia will start
this October. Therefore, to overcome the challenge from the halal regulation
implementation, all stakeholders need several strategies.
halal awareness in society needs to be improved. Changing Muslims’ mindset can
be conducted through education and marketing for both entrepreneurs and
consumers. Raising halal awareness such as advertising, campaigns and training
could be be conducted by government and halal agencies.
gain customers’ trust, the government needs to clarify the definition of the
product that needs to be halal certified. Besides, the obligation for halal
certification is supposed to be limited to specific product categories to avoid
commodification. The government should focus first on halal certification in
food and beverages, medicine, and pharmaceutical products before moving on to
the government should provide incentives to attract the halal certification
applicants, such as tax exemption policy as in Malaysia. Last but not least,
the government should ease procedures to obtain halal certification, and
provide financial support, especially for small and micro enterprises seeking
by the end of October, Indonesia is ready to be a key player in the halal
JAYA: The individual who confessed to being the man in the viral sex videos
could be charged for a criminal offence under Shariah or civil law, says
Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu
said the video confession by Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, the senior private aide
to Deputy Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul
Iskandar, points towards the commission of two offences.
Shariah law, the offence is one of sodomy, while it is considered an unnatural
sexual act against the order of nature under civil criminal law.
under the double jeopardy principle in law, the person cannot be charged for
the same offence in two separate courts," he told reporters at a press
conference here on Wednesday (June 12).
by Rubicon Project
the person is charged in the civil courts, then he cannot be charged in the
Shariah courts, and vice-versa," he said.
criminal charges to be initiated, Zainul said, there must be reports lodged
against the individual with Islamic religious authorities in Sabah and the
Section 377A of the Penal Code, an accused could face a maximum sentence of 20
years in jail and whipping upon conviction.
Section 82 of the Sabah's Criminal Shariah Enactment 1995, an accused can face
a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years' jail or both upon conviction.
was asked to comment on Muhammad Haziq's confession made in a 30-second clip
posted on Facebook at 2.30am on Wednesday (June 12).
the video, Muhammad Haziq, who named the minister, said the recording of the
alleged sex act was done without his consent on May 11 at the Four Points Hotel
during the recent Sandakan parliamentary by-election.
LUMPUR, June 12 — Muslims should not bear false witness, but those who admit to
sin should be punished, PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said
today in response to a viral homosexual video purportedly implicating a Pakatan
reminded PAS members of Islamic laws that advise against defamation and told
them not to share the sex video of the two men, one said to be a federal
a Muslim our attitude remains consistent with syarak to not make accusations
(qazaf) unless we saw it,” he said in a Facebook post.
he said the person who made the confession should face legal action.
line with that certain individual’s confession, PAS urges the Sabah Shariah
Court to punish the individual for his self-admitted act,” the Kubang Kerian MP
then advised Muslims to focus on matters that will benefit their community.
said PAS members should step forward and be agents who can improve the social
economic conditions of the people rather than waste time on defamatory social
media gossip that he said is increasingly uncivilised.
PAS leader’s response follows similar calls from Umno leaders and several other
Muslims to ignore the latest episode of gutter politics to emerge just after
the Hari Raya Puasa celebration.
this morning, a man who said his name is Haziq Aziz admitted to being the
person in a sex video that went viral yesterday and which purported to involve
a federal Pakatan Harapan minister.
a 30-second clip posted on Facebook at 2.30am, Haziq named the alleged
politician and claimed the video was taken without his consent on May 11 during
the Sandakan parliamentary by-election at the local Four Points Hotel.
also urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the alleged
minister whom he claimed “is not an individual qualified to be a leader”.
Haziq in the video shares the same name and resemblance to a deputy minister’s
Mail is trying to reach all parties involved for comment.
Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had weighed in on the matter when asked at a
news conference in Putrajaya yesterday, but said he did not know anything about
a homosexual video clip circulating on social media that allegedly features one
of his Cabinet members.
leaders call sex clip implicating minister vile, a grave sin
SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID
LUMPUR, June 12 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki urged the public
not to spread or share a homosexual video clip that allegedly features a
minister, saying the act is akin to defamation which is a grave sin in Islam.
added that the penalty in the afterlife would be heavier if the video clip was
made intentionally to defame the purported minister.
view is that we should stick to the principles in Islam to prevent ourselves
from spreading such videos as to not incur Allah’s wrath, which will see our
own shames exposed in this and the next world,” he said in a Facebook post last
is more worrying is if the video is fake. Surely, it will be a big sin, and a
heavier punishment from Allah to befall on us,” he added.
immediate predecessor, Khairy Jamaluddin, also condemned those responsible for
the clip, calling it “vile filth” and urged the public to “look away”, saying
the politics of character assassination should not be given space or attention.
we are already a nation traumatised by slanders of the past. Do we really want
to expose another generation to despicable allegations with the sole intent of
destroying someone’s character?” the former minister wrote.
you come across sordid news today involving our politics, look away. Vile filth
thrives when it’s given attention.”
series of short videos lasting roughly 1.34-minutes have been making the rounds
on social media. The clips show two men, one who resembles a minister in the
current administration, in acts of intimacy with one another.
this morning, a man who called himself Haziq Abdul Aziz appeared in another
30-second video confessing to be one of the two people in the sexual clip.
confessor shares the same name and resembles the senior private secretary to a
deputy minister in the current Pakatan Harapan administration.
the political divide, a former secretary to Youth and Sports Minister Syed
Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman criticised the issue as an attempt to invoke hate by
conjuring social stigma on homosexuality.
Afifi, who was said to have been pressured to resign from his post because he
was supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, said the politics surrounding the clip was
meant to paint homosexuals in a bad light.
is so insulting to see these sex scandals being associated with vague mention
of corruption. As if you are a corrupted politician, then you must be ‘sexually
deviant’ somehow,” he wrote on Twitter.
is most of suffering of our people — the workers, the Orang Asli, women, LGBTQ
folk, people with disability — are caused by straight, self-claimed religious
men in power and their cronies who decided upon themselves that they could
dictate how others live their lives.”
: NUR YASMIN
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil is fighting back accusations that his design
for the Al Safar mosque, located in a rest area on the Purbaleunyi Toll Road in
West Java, reportedly features "Illuminati" signs, commonly linked to
signs of the devil by local conspiracy theorists.
accusations started with a tweet from Islamic preacher Ustad Rahmat Baequni,
which argued that the mosque's main praying area was shaped like a triangle and
decorated with a round clock that resembles an Illuminati "all seeing
eye" – a triangle with an eye in the middle.
is the entrance, see all these triangles. Almost all triangles. Even when you
go inside, a triangle, an eye. So when we pray, who are we facing? God or this
one-eyed triangle?" the man said in a video included in the tweet.
local conspiracy theorists, the Illuminati's symbol of an eye inside a triangle
is commonly linked to Dajjal, a one-eyed devil in Islamic mythology.
is an elite, secret organization that controls the world order, conspiracy
myth started with the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society
founded in 1776, which saw as its goals an end to superstition, religious
influence over public life and abuse of state power.
church claimed then that the organization was the devil's way to influence
Rahmat's tweet went viral, Governor Ridwan, who has a degree in architecture
from Bandung Institute of Technology and a master's degree in urban design from
the University of California, Berkeley, posted a passionate defense of his
mosque design on Instagram on May 31.
said, "I do not need to be angered by these interpretations. The important
thing [for me] is to show that the accusations that the Al Safar mosque
incorporates Illuminati symbols are WRONG."
further appease the doubting public, Ridwan even addressed the issue during a
public discussion at Bale Asri Pusdai Jabar in Bandung on Monday. The event was
streamed live on his Instagram account.
by the head of the West Java branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council and his
accuser Rahmat Baequni, the governor said he had never intended to build a
mosque with symbols that contravene Islamic teachings. Any similarity was a
denied that his criticism was a personal attack on the West Java governor. He
also said he had accepted the governor's explanation.
understood his position as an architect, very clearly," Rahmat said.
the inauguration of the mosque two years ago, toll road operator Jasa Marga
outlined the design of the mosque, which can accommodate up to 1,200
toll operator said the mosque adopted the shape of a traditional Sundanese hat.
himself said on Instagram: "I want to contribute to the progress of
Islamic art and architecture. Islamic aesthetics are very strong in geometry.
Every mosque design always tries a new, different geometry."
the discussion in Bandung, the governor said the Al Safar mosque was built
using an irregular concept and a nature-integrated design.
irregular concept used many triangular shapes inspired by multiple folds in Japanese
triangles embrace all irregular shapes," Ridwan said as quoted by BBC
pointed out that many other mosques in Indonesia also feature triangular
symbols and circles, such as the Jakarta Great Mosque and the Al Ukhuwah mosque
in Bandung. Even the Nabawi Mosque in Saudi Arabia makes liberal use of the
criticize [only] Al Safar? There are so many triangular and circular symbols
around us. [When you enter the] Jakarta Grand Mosque, your are welcomed by triangles
and circles. Are these Illuminati signs?" he said.
Al Safar mosque has been nominated for the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award 2019 for
best architecture, competing with 26 other mosques in the world.
means our intention to advance Islamic architecture has been acknowledged by
the world, not just locally," Ridwan said.
Al Irsyad mosque in Kota Baru Parahyangan, also designed by the governor, has
also been nominated for the same award.
Human rights ministry asked to simplify Zainab alert
ISLAMABAD: Describing the Zainab Alert, Response and
Recovery Bill 2019 as vague, a parliamentary body on Wednesday asked the
Ministry of Human Rights to make the bill simple.
The committee also asked the ministry to incorporate
its recommendations in the bill.
Once the bill is passed by the parliament, it will
pave the way for setting up Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA),
where child missing case will be reported and it will generate an automatic
The bill will also introduce response and recovery
mechanism of missing children to prevent incidents like murder of Zainab, a
nine-year old from Kasur.
The Subcommittee of the National Assembly on Human
Rights, which met here to discuss the draft bill, was informed that although
the subject of minors had been transferred to the provinces after the 18th
Amendment, the federal government had taken a number of steps for the
protection of minors at the federal level such as drafting the bill.
However, during the meeting members felt that the
draft bill needed more clarity.
“We do not want to name the bill specifically after
one child and it should simply be titled child alert bill. Then there is also a
problem with the definition of the word ‘alert’, which is not clearly defined.
Besides, missing child is not properly addressed, even rape is not properly
defined,” said chairperson of the subcommittee MNA Dr Mahreen Razzaq Bhutto,
who asked the ministry to make the bill simple.
The committee also recommended that instead of
reporting a missing child to five or six different departments, the government
should introduce a one-window facility where a missing child case can be
“A person in distress cannot go to different offices
to report a missing child,” the chairperson asserted.
The committee also took up ‘The ICT Rights of
Persons with Disabilities Bill’ and invited opinions from the stakeholders.
Zulqarnain Asghar, representing the 15.4pc of the
challenged persons, sought not only right to vote but also the right to
candidature in the electoral process.
“We also want quota in jobs and implementation of
our rights,” Zulqarnain Asghar said.
Atif Sheikh, also speaking on behalf of challenged
persons, said that such persons should be exempted from providing a disability
certificate for Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs).
“Persons with disabilities do not need a certificate
and this condition should be done away with,” Atif Sheikh said.
The meeting was also asked that the word
disabilities was derogatory and should not be used in legal documents, as
directed by the Lahore High Court.
Members agreed to some of the recommendations from
the stakeholders and decided to take up the matter again on Thursday when it
terror police arrested a man Tuesday as part of a probe into speeches that
encouraged criminal activity.
man, who is in his 60s, was arrested in northwest London on suspicion of
intentionally encouraging or assisting offenses, police said in an emailed
statement. Their probe is looking at speeches made by an individual associated
with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan.
was taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in
part of the investigation, officers searched a home and a business. The
investigation is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism
Command, and is looking at a speech broadcast in August 2016 by an individual
associated with the MQM movement in Pakistan as well as other speeches
previously broadcast by the same person.
MQM was once Pakistan’s fourth-largest political party, holding 17 of Karachi’s
20 seats in the National Assembly. But a split in the party -- which saw the
Pakistan faction distance itself from the London movement -- has left it with
just seven seats following the 2018 election.
of 2009, the MQM controlled an armed wing of about 10,000 active members and
25,000 reserves known as the “Good Friends,” that detractors said were
responsible for extortion, assassinations of political rivals and murder of
people from other ethnic communities, then-U.S. Consul General Stephen Fakan
wrote in a classified cable released by WikiLeaks that year.
Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said Wednesday that the army is
"fully capable" and ready to
to any threat to the country.
was addressing the Annual Formation Commanders' Conference held at general
headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Bajwa hailed "befitting response" during February stand-off with
between India and Pakistan worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both
the countries were almost on the
of a war after India's military planes struck a terrorist training camp in
Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 and Pakistan
out a counter-offensive the next day.
forum reviewed geo-strategic and national security environment. Internal
security landscape of the country, challenges
confronted and responses were discussed in details.
his return after two months in London, Leader of the Opposition in the National
Assembly Shehbaz Sharif appeared before an accountability court in Lahore on
Thursday in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.
Judge Jawad ul Hassan presided over the court proceedings during which Shehbaz
was present at the rostrum.
February, the LHC had accepted Shehbaz's request for bail in the two cases. On
June 9, the PML-N leader returned to Pakistan following a trip to London.
Shehbaz had announced a "quick visit" to London on April 9 after his
name was removed from the no-fly list on Lahore High Court (LHC) orders.
today's court proceedings, Judge Hassan asked why Leader of the Opposition in
the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz had not been presented in the court, to which
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua
responded that Hamza was in NAB custody on physical remand in the Ramzan Sugar
on Tuesday arrested Hamza after the LHC dismissed as withdrawn his bail
petitions in two inquiries — pertaining to money laundering/assets beyond means
and the Ramzan Sugar Mills.
adjourning the Ramzan Sugar Mills case, the court ordered the accountability
bureau to present Hamza in court during the next hearing on June 26.
the proceedings, the court asked Shehbaz if he wanted to say anything. The
opposition leader said that NAB had made a "fraud case".
have served the country," he said, adding that: "Ashiana [-i-Iqbal
Housing Scheme] is based on lies. NAB is wasting the country and the court's
entire case is based on lies," he said. Shehbaz was permitted to leave the
court after marking his attendance.
the court summoned witnesses in the Ashiana [-i-Iqbal] Housing Scheme. The case
was adjourned till June 29.
A day after his arrest in London, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf
Hussain was released on Wednesday evening by the British authorities on bail
without filing charges relating to a probe into his alleged hate speeches
relayed from the United Kingdom to his followers in Pakistan.
Metropolitan Police of London had raided Mr Hussain’s residence on Tuesday
morning, taken him into custody and shifted him to the Southwark police
station, where he was questioned in the presence of his lawyers in connection
with the probe that the police said was focused on a speech broadcast in August
2016 as well as other speeches.
MQM founder Altaf Hussain arrested in London over incendiary 2016 speech
Wednesday, he was released on bail “to return to a police station in mid-July”,
said a police statement released in London. The statement did not name Mr
part of the investigation, officers carried out a search at a northwest London
address and at a separate commercial address in northwest London. Both these
searches are now complete,” it added.
source in MQM-London told Dawn that the authorities decided not to file charges
but will continue with their investigation to get sufficient evidence or
Hussain was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting
offences contrary to Section 44 (intentionally encouraging or assisting an
offence) of the Serious Crime Act, 2007.
Met police made it clear that action at this stage was procedural in nature, as
“he was detained under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Order, 1989)”, which
sets out codes of practices in relation to searches of premises by police
officers and seizure of property found by police on persons and premises and
detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers.
Hussain has been a subject of various inquiries while living in self-exile for
the past 27 years. He was first arrested on June 3, 2014, in connection with a
money laundering probe and was released on bail after a couple of days.
October 2016, the British authorities dropped the money laundering probe and
returned a huge sum of cash recovered from Mr Hussain’s home and office during
separate raids in 2014.
Hussain was also interviewed by investigators probing the murder of Dr Imran
Farooq, who was stabbed to death in London in 2010.
a court had imposed a ban on the media coverage of Mr Hussain, his own party in
Pakistan parted ways with him after he made an incendiary speech over phone on
Aug 22, 2016. Since then, he has been facing an unannounced ban and his
loyalists are not allowed to take part in political activities, or to even
gather at the Nine Zero headquarters in Azizabad which has been sealed off
authorities had complained to their British counterparts about Mr Hussain’s
incendiary speeches that according to them aimed at inciting his followers to
People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said that
most of the democratic leadership was behind bars, but terrorists roamed free.
a tweet, he said: “Priority of the state is to crush democratic civilian voices
while continuing to coddle and harbor terrorists and extremists.”
June 11, Bilawal had stated that the government was trying to distract the
masses from rising inflation by arresting political opponents under the garb of
a joint meeting of opposition parties in the Parliament, Bilawal stated: “The
question is where is the country heading to? The question is whether decisions
will be made by the Parliament or other institutions.”
Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif was also at the meeting and
stated that the government was trying to distract the public by raising the
issue of accountability.
incompetent and incapable government has made the common man’s life miserable.
Investment is decreasing, there is no national development and the dollar is at
a sky-high price,” Shehbaz Sharif said. “We have united not for ourselves, but
for Pakistan and the people. People have expectations from the opposition,”
said the PML-N leader.
Wednesday, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the actual target during the
address of Prime Minister Imran Khan was the opposition. He said PM wanted to
distract people from the 2019-20 budget.
addressing a press conference along with other party leaders, he said that the
tone of PM Imran Khan during his address to the nation did not suit him. He
questioned whether the PM was justified in using such language.
time a PM addresses the nation, some kind of special message is given. However,
we do not understand what was so special in this particular address,” he said.
someone questions PM Imran Khan, he gets angry. If the PM wants to make a
commission, he should go ahead and fulfill his desire. He is misleading the
public and everyone is worried about his policies. Everything has been taxed by
the government,” he said.
Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced to form a high-powered inquiry
commission to investigate corruption during the last 10 years.
his address to the nation, he said that the commission would comprise officials
from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the
Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), the Security and Exchange Commission of
Pakistan (SECP) and other departments.
Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on
Wednesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan had won the hearts of the people by
his frank address. In a tweet, she said that address of the prime minister was
the voice of the nation and its essence was feeling pain for hardships faced by
the people of Pakistan. She said that ending the exploitative two-family rule
from the county was Imran Khan’s big achievement and real democratic change in
the country. She said that the government had presented a balanced budget which
would help stabilise the economy and open new avenues of progress and
prosperity. She said that proposed policy of tax collection would prove
effective while improvement in health and education sector were praise worthy.
She said that increase in the salaries of government employees and reduction of
federal cabinet members’ salaries were historic steps.
hails ‘befitting response’ to India during standoff after Pulwama attack
of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday hailed the
‘befitting response’ Pakistan’s military gave during the February standoff with
India and said the armed forces remain fully capable and ready to respond to
any threat for defence of the motherland, according to a statement issued by
the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) here.
hailed befitting response during the February standoff with India and said that
Pakistan Army remains fully capable and ready to respond to any threat for
defence of motherland,” the ISPR statement said, following a two-day Annual
Formation Commanders’ Conference presided by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar
Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.
general officers of Pakistan Army attended. The forum reviewed geo-strategic
and national security environment. Internal security landscape of the country,
challenges being confronted and responses were also discussed in detail.
COAS appreciated the successes being achieved in ongoing operation Radd ul
Fasaad to carry forward the gains made so far towards enduring peace and stability.
The forum also pledged to continue all its efforts to serve the country.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said Pakistan would continue to play
its reconciliatory role in Afghan peace process for peace and stability in the
the sixth session of Consultative Council on Foreign Relations, Qureshi
reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to hold peaceful relations with all
neighbouring countries on the basis of equality.
are adopting an effective strategy to achieve economic stability and making our
diplomacy more persuasive,” he said.
meeting dilated upon Prime Minister’s participation in the OIC summit, recent
visit of the Chinese vice president to Pakistan and other regional and global
issues of significance.
foreign minister informed the participants about the contents of PM’s address
at the OIC meeting and the agreements signed during the Chinese vice
president’s visit to the country.
participants paid glowing tributes to the prime minister’s for his address at
the OIC summit in which he effectively highlighted the issues of Kashmir and
Palestine at the global level and adopted a clear stance on blasphemy.
In Syria's breadbasket, Kurds and regime battle for
Gazing over his wheat field in northeastern Syria,
farmer Adel Othman expects a bumper crop this year, but two rival authorities
squabbling over his harvest have dashed his enthusiasm.
After successive droughts and eight years of civil war,
both the local Kurdish authorities and the Damascus regime are desperate to buy
up his region's produce to feed their people and maintain the peace.
In a country where millions depend on bread as a
staple food to survive, both want the wheat grown in the country's northeastern
breadbasket region of Hasakeh.
Farmers in the Kurdish-held region like Othman have
been caught up in the middle, with only two potential sellers, neither offering
a satisfactory price.
Our "livelihood should not be transformed into
a political bargaining chip," said the 55-year-old, his sky-blue shirt
streaked in places with dry earth.
The regime is offering a better price, but the Kurds
have said no wheat can leave the region under their control.
"We'll sell our crop to the highest
bidder," Othman said in Kurdish by his field in the area of Amuda.
"In the end, a farmer needs to make a
profit," he said, his short black hair slightly unruly above a thick
Farmers are especially eager to sell their crop to
make up for poor harvests in previous years, but also to save them from fires
-- some claimed by the Islamic State group -- that have ravaged fields in the
- 'Food crisis' -
Long marginalised, Syria's Kurds have largely stayed
out of the eight-year civil war, instead setting up their own institutions in
areas under their control.
But they did lead the US-backed fight against IS in
Syria, and are now hoping that will give them leverage in retaining a degree of
autonomy in the northeast.
"The Kurds do not want to let wheat out because
the production is barely enough to feed the local population," Syria
expert Fabrice Balanche said.
"If the wheat went off to Damascus because of
the higher price, it would cause a food crisis," he added.
According to the World Food Programme, 6.5 million
people in Syria are "food insecure", or do not know where their next
meal is coming from.
This year Syria is anticipating an ample crop yield
after abundant rain, following a wheat harvest last year that was the worst
The Syrian government is expecting 850,000 tonnes of
wheat from Hasakeh.
The head of the Damascus government's agriculture
office in Hasakeh, Amer Sello, told AFP he expected to snap up most of the
"Government cereal reception centres will see
growers flock because of the attractive prices," he said.
The Kurds last month increased their buying price
for a kilo of wheat from 150 to 160 Syrian pounds ($0.37), but that is still
not enough to compete with the regime's offered 185.
The Kurdish grain authority chief, Salman Bardo,
accused the regime of announcing its higher price "to sow discord between
the people and the autonomous administration".
The Kurds would not permit the regime to ferry the
cereal to other parts of Syria, he said.
"We will not allow it to leave northeast
Syria," he added, without providing further details on how this would be
- 'Wheat weapon' -
Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people
since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
After successive Russia-backed victories against
rebels and jihadists since 2015, President Bashar al-Assad's regime today
controls some 60 percent of the country.
But Syrians in these areas are struggling to get by
in an economy ravaged by war, as well as facing fuel shortages the regime
blames on international sanctions.
"Assad needs access to cereal crops in
northeast Syria to prevent a bread crisis in the areas of western Syria that he
controls," Syria analyst Nicholas Heras said.
But in the almost 30 percent of the country they
control, the Kurds and their US ally also need to cling on to the wheat as a
trump card in ongoing negotiations.
Damascus and the Kurds have started talks to discuss
the future of the northeast, but so far without success.
At a national level, endless rounds of UN-brokered
peace talks have also failed to end the war.
"Wheat is a weapon of great power in this next
phase of the Syrian conflict," Heras said.
And the Kurds and their US ally "have a
significant stockpile of this wheat weapon", Heras said.
"It can be used to apply pressure on the Assad
regime, and through the regime on Russia, to force concessions in the UN-led
Jeddah Season takes music lovers on magical journey
with Vivaldi light show
JEDDAH: Visitors to the Jeddah Season of festivities
were taken on a magical musical journey during a spectacular light show about
the turbulent life of Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.
The Vivaldianno production put a twist on the story
of one of the greatest Baroque composers with the use of 3-D projections and
lasers to narrate the highs and lows of the music genius.
The show was a collection of some of Vivaldi’s best
works including his “Four Seasons,” in which he gave musical representation to
each season of the year played on a group of four violin concerti.
The story started with a narration of the day
Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice, when it was said that an earthquake shook
the city. The infant Vivaldi almost died at birth but as the show revealed was
given the breath of life by a mirror with a black frame.
Narrators in Venetian masks went on to depict
Vivaldi as a young musician, playing instruments to professional standards from
the age of seven.
His career properly kick-started when he was 25
years old, and there were mentions of him finding the mirror and devoting his
life to writing and composing music.
He was seen as an isolated and lonely man who spent
all of his time working after the love of his life leaves him. At the end of
the show the boy who sold him the mirror told Vivaldi that he would be
remembered for centuries to come.
Throughout the show the talented musicians
interacted with the audience.
Nagham Hashim, 18, a show organizer, said: “When I
found out that I would be participating in this event it was the best day of my
“Now after listening to this music, I feel more open
to the world. I can now enjoy more types of music than ever before because I
never really thought I would enjoy this type of music,” she told Arab News.
The Jeddah Season was launched on Saturday in five
main destinations across the region, with more than 150 events and expectations
that visitor numbers could reach 4 million.
Jeddah Season will provide a wide array of seasonal
job opportunities and volunteer opportunities for young people, through an
integral team of 20,000 people, gaining expertise and qualifications.
The objectives also shed light on development opportunities,
presenting the Kingdom as one of the most popular tourist destinations.
The Saudi Seasons are a combined initiative from the
Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment
Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority.
There are 11 seasons this year covering, all regions
of the Kingdom: The Eastern Province (Sharqiah) Season, Ramadan Season, Eid
Al-Fitr Season, Jeddah Season, Taif Season, Eid Al-Adha Season, National Day
Season, Riyadh Season, Diriyah Season, Al-Ula Season and Hail Season.
Lebanese Man Freed by Iran Says He Shared Cell Space
By Vivian Yee
June 11, 2019
BEIRUT, Lebanon — For the nearly four years Nizar
Zakka was held prisoner in Iran, an ordeal that lasted until he was released
this week, the knowledge that he was little more than a political pawn made a
bad situation almost unbearable.
“It’s just trading of human beings — they just trade
us,” Mr. Zakka, a Lebanese citizen who had lived in the United States for much
of his life, and who arrived in Beirut from Tehran on Tuesday, said in an
interview after his release. “Every evening, you feel like you want to leave
this life. You are an innocent person. You never hurt anything.”
Mr. Zakka, an information technology professional,
was held for about three years and nine months after being seized without
warning in September 2015 on his way out of Iran, where he had been officially
invited to attend a conference. Accused of being an American spy, he was
sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $4.2 million.
Despite the apparent gravity of the charges, however, the Iranian authorities
agreed a few weeks ago to turn him over to Lebanese officials, who had been
formally asking Tehran for his freedom for months.
The timing — in the middle of a period of inflamed
tensions between the United States and Iran that have led to fears of war —
caused some to question whether Mr. Zakka was, once again, the object of
geopolitical maneuvering. Though Iranian and Lebanese officials said his
release was simply a matter of diplomacy and good relations between their two
countries during the holy month of Ramadan, Mr. Zakka said he interpreted his
freedom as a conciliatory signal from Iran toward the United States.
But, he cautioned, it appeared to him and the
advocates working on his behalf that Lebanon had initiated the move, and he
emphasized that he knew of no talks between the United States and Iran concerning
Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency credited Hassan
Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the Iran-allied Lebanese military and
political group, with securing his release, while Lebanon said that President
Michel Aoun of Lebanon, and Gebran Bassil, the foreign minister, had reached
out to Iran. The head of Lebanese internal security, Abbas Ibrahim, who went to
Tehran to collect Mr. Zakka, also acknowledged that Mr. Nasrallah had played a
“It was a good move by the Iranians, because they
will look like they’re doing a favor for Lebanon as a friendly country, without
giving concessions to the U.S.,” Mr. Zakka said. “The Iranians are using it to
benefit by de-escalating the tensions.”
Iran still holds at least four American prisoners,
including Michael R. White, a Navy veteran imprisoned since last July; Siamak
and Baquer Namazi, an Iranian-American father and son; and Xiyue Wang, a
Chinese-American graduate student at Princeton University who was arrested in
2016 on suspicion of spying while doing historical research for his
dissertation. (Another American, Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent, has
been missing in the country since 2007.)
Mr. Zakka said he had been held for the last two
years alongside Mr. Wang, in a cell he said they shared with dozens of other
prisoners. It was so crowded that the space each man had to himself amounted to
a narrow rectangle “little bigger than a coffin,” he said, where the two of
them spent as many as 20 hours a day lying down, with short breaks for food or
“You will never see anyplace so horrible, and Xiyue
is left behind,” Mr. Zakka said, describing Mr. Wang’s condition as mentally
sharp and strong, but physically “tired.”
Before he left, Mr. Zakka said, Mr. Wang asked him
to promise him to help him get out, and gave him a letter to be delivered to
someone on the outside. (He declined to identify the recipient, saying it might
jeopardize Mr. Wang’s safety.)
“I told him that I will not leave him behind. I
promised him that I will not rest until he’s freed,” he said. “He’s a student,
he was doing his research. Nothing justifies him being left behind.”
Mr. Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, an outspoken advocate for
his release who has been raising their young son alone in Princeton, said in an
email that she was happy Mr. Zakka had been freed, but “disappointed that Xiyue
is still behind the bars of Evin Prison after nearly three long years.”
“I welcome any help to free my husband who was also
sentenced to 10 years, like Nizar,” she said. “ I plead for mercy to be granted
to my husband.”
Mr. Zakka said the two men were allowed writing
material, and Mr. Wang was eventually allowed access to some books. They had 15
minutes a day to talk on the phone. Medical care was available, but slow to
reach them. Guards had interrogated each of them at first, he said, but later
left them alone.
As their hopes for freedom flagged, he said, their
innocence both weighed on and fortified them.
“All the hostages should go home,” he said. “They
haven’t done anything. They haven’t done anything.”
Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.
by Mohammed Ebraheem
(IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi intelligence forces arrested on Wednesday an Islamic
State logistics provider during a security operation in Diyala province.
of the 20th division of the Military Intelligence Directorate have arrested an
Islamic State militant on charges of supplying the terrorist group with
logistical support in al-Nada district in Diyala,” the privately-owned Baghdad
Today website quoted the directorate as saying in a statement.
terrorist was wanted on terror-related charges pursuant to article no. 4 of the
anti-terrorism law,” the statement added.
January 2015, Iraqi forces announced liberation of Diyala province from Islamic
State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and
Syria in 2014.
province has seen months of fighting between Iraqi troops and IS militants
especially in the Jalawla and Saadiyah areas in the province’s north and areas
near the town of Muqdadiyah.
Iraq — Iraq's judiciary on Tuesday denied it had struck a deal with Paris to
commute the death sentences of French nationals convicted in Baghdad for
belonging to the Islamic State group.
Baghdad court issued death sentences in recent weeks for 11 Frenchmen
transferred to Iraqi custody from neighboring Syria, where they were caught
fighting for the Islamic State (ISIS).
an appeals court — not a bilateral agreement — can change their sentences,
according to Abdalsattar Bayraqdar, spokesperson for Iraq's Supreme Judicial
sentences issued by Iraqi courts can only be reviewed by the court of cassation
— which has the prerogative under the law to reaffirm the sentence or alter it
depending on the circumstances of each crime — and not through deals between
countries," he said on Tuesday.
statement comes after reports that Iraq's government had struck a deal with
Paris to commute the French citizens' death sentences in exchange for money.
11 sentences are still not final.
to Iraqi law, defendants have 30 days to appeal any sentence and for those
facing the gallows, the appeal is automatically referred to the cassation
it will be reviewed by 12 judges, according to Mudhaffar Jaryan, a lawyer for
one of the convicted men.
prerogatives of the cassation court are to either confirm the sentence, which
becomes obligatory, or to lighten it -- or to order a retrial if it found
insufficient evidence," he told AFP.
said he was preparing an appeal for a retrial on behalf of his client Bilel
Kabaoui, 32, who was sentenced on June 3.
argues that Kabaoui had not fought in Iraq and therefore should not be tried
there, and that the taped confessions used by prosecutors included many
courts have convicted more than 500 foreign nationals for IS membership since
2018, most of them captured on Iraqi territory.
are now trying accused foreign IS members who were captured in neighboring
Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and transferred to Iraqi
custody by the coalition fighting the jihadists.
government sources have told AFP that Baghdad would be willing to try hundreds
more foreign fighters in exchange for $2 million USD for each defendant.
argues its courts can try jihadists captured outside its territory because they
provided material support to ISIS operations inside Iraq.
judiciary has issued dozens of death sentences for foreigners convicted of ISIS
membership but has not carried them out.
of them, a German woman, saw her death penalty commuted to a life sentence on
(Kurdistan 24) – A high rate of civilians is being arrested with charges of
belonging to the self-proclaimed Islamic State, especially in areas liberated
from the terrorist group’s rule.
far, 6,000 individuals have been arrested based on unreliable intelligence by
the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Hashd al-Shaabi militias,” Ahmed
al-Jubouri, an Iraqi parliament member, previously said.
to Jabouri, the majority of suspects detained “have no correlation whatsoever
with the so-called Islamic State.”
Iraqi security forces do not have complete information regarding the identity
of the ISIS members in Nineveh; as a result, they treat every citizen as
suspects who belong to the terrorist organization,” the Sunni parliamentarian
Muslims in Mosul and other parts of Nineveh have often faced baseless charges
of affiliation to the Islamic State, which have even led to their arrests.
Iraqi military official also told local news agencies that many people “fall
victim to un-authenticated information of being high profile ISIS members,”
citing regular cases of ethnic discrimination among Iraqi security forces in
is the second most populated province in Iraq, after Baghdad, with three
million residents. Most of its people were displaced in 2014 after the Islamic
State’s emergence in Iraq’s north.
the past two years, many displaced people have returned to Nineveh, but others
are hesitant to go back due to security concerns and the lack of essential
services in the area.
(IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi police forces killed on Tuesday three Islamic State
terrorists and destroyed their hotbeds during a security campaign in Kirkuk
police force stormed on Tuesday morning several terrorist hotbeds of the
Islamic State group in Alaf village in Kirkuk after receiving intelligence
information on the presence of IS militants there,” Almaalomah website quoted
the Federal Police Command as saying in a press statement.
operation resulted in killing three IS militants and destroying their terrorist
hotbeds, the statement read.
troops also found a large cache of weapons and ammunition at the scene, the
declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017
with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which
was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in
2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and
paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing
to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously
JUDAH ARI GROSS
head of the IDF Northern Command on Tuesday threatened overt and covert action
against the Hezbollah terror group and its home country of Lebanon, in response
to its efforts to build up terrorist infrastructure along the border, in the
latest of increasingly bellicose statements by senior military officers against
the Iran-backed Lebanese militia.
Gen. Amir Baram accused Hezbollah of violating United Nations resolution 1701,
which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, by “building infrastructure in the
villages right here across [the border] and trying to threaten us with attack
Northern Command chief said that in a future war against the terror group the
country of Lebanon was likely to “pay a heavy price” for allowing Hezbollah to
take root there.
loyalty was and remains to the supreme leader of Iran, not to the citizens of
Lebanon. As a direct result of this, the nation of Lebanon will pay a heavy
price in the next campaign for cooperating with Shiite terror,” Baram said,
referring to the sect of Islam practiced by Hezbollah and Iran.
made his remarks at a memorial ceremony commemorating the 13th anniversary of
the 2006 Second Lebanon War. His comments come days after the head of Military
Intelligence boasted that Israel knew more about Hezbollah’s rocket program
than its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, did.
13 years that have passed since the Second Lebanon War and the security
stability that it brought to the region are the best evidence of the deterrence
created by the war,” he said.
resolution 1701 called for all armed groups besides the Lebanese military to
remain above the country’s Litani River. Israel maintains that Hezbollah is in
constant violation of this, keeping a significant percentage of its
100,000-strong arsenal of rockets and mortar shells in southern Lebanon, as
well as conducting patrols and other military activities along the border.
late 2018 and early 2019, Israel uncovered at least six cross-border attack
tunnels dug by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon into Israel. According to the
army, Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill civilians or
soldiers, and to seize a slice of Israeli territory in the event of any
hostilities. The peacekeeping force UNIFIL confirmed these to be a violation of
resolution 1701, but did not identify Hezbollah as the group responsible for
will not allow [Hezbollah] to fulfill its plans and the destructive ambitions
that it and its patron Iran have,” Baram said.
will continue to thwart Hezbollah’s efforts to threaten our security both
overtly and covertly, as necessary. And if a war is forced upon, we will exact
a heavy price from this organization and from those who provide it cover —
wherever is necessary,” he said.
Israeli military considers the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group to be one of
its most significant foes, with a rocket arsenal larger than many countries’
and ample combat experience from its years fighting in the Syrian civil war on
behalf of dictator Bashar Assad.
anticipate that a future war with Hezbollah would be devastating for both
Israel and Lebanon. Hezbollah’s massive arsenal of rockets and mortar shells
could overwhelm the Israeli military’s air defenses, likely leading to large
numbers of Israeli casualties, and the terror group’s practice of fighting from
within heavily populated areas would also likely result in massive Lebanese
has fought two wars in Lebanon, one in 1982 against Palestinian terrorist
groups, and another in 2006 against Hezbollah, as well as a number of smaller
seen as volatile, the border has not seen significant fighting since the end of
the 2006 war.
Syrian Army backed by the heavy artillery and missile units attacked Tahrir
al-Sham's main military base and engaged in very fierce clashes with the
terrorists in Jabal Zawikat region where Kabani is located in Northeastern
Lattakia after it made advances in several axes.
battlefield sources pointed to the collapse of defense lines of Tahrir al-Sham
and Turkistani Party South of Kabani, and said the Syrian Army has made
several battlefield sources confirmed that al-Jolani has arrived in Northern
Lattakia to take charge of commanding terrorists in battle against the Syrian
Army and prevent the army's further advances.
Syrian Army plans to seize vast areas from the towns of Jabal al-Akrad in
Northern Lattakia and Sahl al-Ghab region in Northern Hama as well as Jisr
al-Shoghour and also Lattakia-Aleppo Highway up to Ariha in the suburbs of
Idlib after taking control of Kabani.
a relevant development in late April, Al-Jolani threatened other terrorist
groups to avoid handing over Syria's occupied territories to the Damascus Army.
held a meeting with eight senior commanders of other terrorist groups,
including Islamic Turkistani Party, Harasuddin and Jeish al-Izza, in Atmaeh
town near the border with Turkey, the Arabic-language service of the Russian
Sputnik News Agency quoted local sources in Idlib province as saying.
al-Sham's ringleader who attended the meeting under tight security measures
strongly warned commanders of other terrorist groups that they would be
regarded as traitors if they hand over any region under any agreement to the
Syrian Army, warning of Tahrir al-Sham's revenge and lethal blow.
al-Jolani also asked other terrorist commanders to put their militants on a
state of full alert and keep their bomb-laden suicide vehicles prepared for
who was attending his first meeting after two months, was accompanied by three
Turkish-speaking militants in the meeting with other notorious terrorist
was critically wounded in twin explosions in the Center of Idlib city in late
February and went into a state of coma.
of those injured in Idlib blasts was severely suffering from brain injury and
he was transferred to a government hospital in Antakia City in Hatay
region," Sputnik quoted a medical source in Turkey as saying.
medical source said that the injured person is Abu Mohammed al-Jolani who had
shrapnel head injury and he is now in a state of coma.
Israeli forces targeted the Syrian Army's military positions in Tal al-Harreh
in the Southern part of Syria at around 2am local time, the state-run SANA news
noted that the Syrian Army downed several Israeli missiles, and said that the
Israeli Army targeted the Syrian Army's radar systems with electronic warfare
and jamming after its missile attacks.
Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency pointed to the
Israeli missile attacks from inside the occupied territories, specially from
the West of Jbal al-Sheikh on areas under the control of the Syrian Army.
said that before this attack Israel's spying drones flew over the occupied Jbal
new aggression on the Syrian Army's military positions takes place as the army
is fighting with terrorist groups in Northwestern Syria.
a relevant development earlier in June, Israel launched fresh airstrikes on the
Syrian Army positions near Damascus and Quneitra in Southern Syria.
Syrian Army's air defense system shot down several Israeli missiles, the
Arabic-language SANA news agency reported.
noted that Israel's invaders launched two waves of missile attacks from the
side of the Occupied Golan, hitting several military positions of the Syrian
Army to the Southwest of Damascus and East of Quneitra.
SANA news agency reported that the Syrian Army's air defense systems were
activated right after these attacks and shot down a number of Israeli missiles.
the Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted a
military source as saying that Israeli warplanes fired six rockets at the
Syrian Army's military positions near Damascus, but most of them were destroyed
by the Syrian air defense systems.
Syrian Army's air defense shield also destroyed most of the missiles fired at
Tal al-Sha'ar region in the surrounding area of Quneitra. Three Syrian Army
soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the Israeli aggression.
the Israeli Army in a statement claimed that the Israeli helicopters and
fighter jets had pounded the Syrian Army's military positions in response to
two missiles fired from Syria.
Israeli Army's new aggression against Syrian Army's military positions in
Quneitra province came as the US and Turkish sides are trying to bring to a
halt the Syrian Army battle against Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in Idlib province.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted dissident sources close to the
Ankara-backed terrorists in Idlib as saying on Wednesday that the Turkish
officers deployed in regions under the supervision of Ankara in Idlib province
have ordered the terrorist commanders in Northern Hama, Southern Idlib and
Northeastern Lattakia to launch preemptive attacks against the army-controlled
areas and prevent the Syrian army forces' advance.
added that Turkey insists on improvement of battlefield and military conditions
of the so-called National Liberation Front, Jeish al-Izza and Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorists in
Hama, Idlib and Lattakia, noting that Ankara seeks to use the G20 summit in
Osaka to meet his Russian and US counterparts and pressure them to prevent the Syrian
army's military operations.
sources said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to return to the
de-escalation zone agreement with Russia through talks (after non-commitment)
to it and following Moscow's repeated opposition to Ankara's demands for a
ceasefire in Idlib and the adjacent areas.
reports said last Monday that Turkey had ordered Tahrir al-Sham to reinforce
strategic military positions in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Idlib province after it
turned down Russia's demand for withdrawing militants from the region, the
Arabic-language media outlets said.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper wrote that with an aim to confront the
Syrian Army in Northern Hama, Tahrir al-Sham has sent large volumes of its
military equipment to al-Jolmeh to North of Mahradeh.
intelligence body has asked Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in
Northern Syria to reinforce its defense lines, including 50 towns and villages
up to the city of Ariha in Aleppo-Lattakia international highway as clean-up
operation by the Syrian and Russian armies in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Idlib is
imminent," al-Watan quoted local and opposition sources in Idlib as
sources reiterated that Turkey's operations room in Shir Mughar region in Jabal
Shahshabou in Northern Hama where terrorists are constantly supported in terms
of weapons, ammunition and intelligence has warned terrorists that the Syrian
army might soon capture Jbal Shahshabou which overlooks Sahl al-Ghab in
Northwestern Hama and towns to the South of Idlib and then advance towards
al-Watan newspaper also further quoted the sources as saying that Russia had
recently asked Turkey to make terrorists retreat from Jbal Shahshabou region in
Northwestern Hama and Kabani town in Northeastern Lattakia which are regarded
as the Southern and Western gates of Idlib, but Ankara has strongly turned down
the Arabic-language al-Youm news website quoted media activists in Idlib
province as saying that after supplying advanced weapons to terrorists, Ankara
has ordered them to launch new attacks in Northern Hama to recapture the town
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying
that a joint delegation from French and Dutch foreign ministries have recently
met with People’s Protection Units (YPG) commanders in Raqqa Province.
newspaper noted that the meeting was held in line with supports from separatist
objectives of the Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria, and said that the
French delegation has declared its full preparedness to provide military,
diplomatic and political support for these forces in Northeastern Syria.
the Dutch-French delegation is to hold two meetings in Paris on June 25 and
June 27 to review the manner of support for these forces with cooperation of
France, Holland, the US and the UK as well as other countries.
a relevant development in May, tens of trucks carrying the US military and
logistical aids had been dispatched to the areas under the control of the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Euphrates despite declaring the end
of the ISIL by Washington, media sources said.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a convoy comprising 60
trucks containing logistic and military consignments as well as prefabricated
houses was sent to Eastern Euphrates via Simalka crossing in Northern Iraq.
SOHR also reiterated that about 20 trucks have also been sent to Kobani Airport
and Kharab Ashk military base in Northern Aleppo, and said that the remaining
of military aid was also sent to the areas under SDF control in al-Jazira
region in Deir Ezzur province.
in May, media reports said that the Kurdish forces backed by the US-led
coalition have prepared to launch military offensive against the Syrian Army
and resistance forces in Deir Ezzur Province.
Turkish-language Anatoly news agency quoted local sources as saying that after
taking control of Eastern Euphrates region, the Kurdish fighters are preparing
to launch an attack on Damascus-backed forces in Eastern Euphrates in Deir
noted that the US-led coalition forces are training the Kurdish fighters in Ain
Issa bases in Raqqa province and al-Amr oil region in Eastern Deir Ezzur,
adding that the trainings include passing through mobile bridges and rivers.
US-led coalition forces and Kurdish fighters are looking for winning the
support of regional tribes for launching the attack after residents of the
region called for holding massive protests in Eastern Euphrates and called for
expulsion of US-backed Kurdish fighters.
the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leasers in al-Amr
air defense shot down Israeli missiles targeting the south of the country
Wednesday, state media said, as a monitor reported positions of the regime’s
Lebanese ally Hezbollah had been hit.
attack was launched in the early hours of the morning against the Tall al-Hara
sector near the Golan Heights, according to official news agency SANA, which
said there had been no casualties.
did not specify what had been targeted.
also accused Israel of conducting an “electronic war” and “jamming” Syrian
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the
strikes had targeted positions of the Hezbollah Shiite movement in two
locations, but without causing any casualties.
the positions hit had the Lebanese Hezbollah there,” Observatory head Rami
Abdel Rahman said.
missiles targeted Tall al-Hara, a hill in the southern province of Daraa where
Hezbollah has radars and the regime has air defense batteries, said the
Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.
also targeted barracks for the Lebanese fighters in the abandoned town of
Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of a demilitarized zone between both
countries in the Golan.
town has been largely in ruins for over four decades since it was razed by
Israeli forces before they withdrew under a 1974 United Nations agreement.
has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the beginning of the
conflict in 2011, targeting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the
regime’s allies Iran and Hezbollah.
this month, Israel struck multiple positions held by regime forces over a
period of 24 hours, killing 15 combatants according to the Observatory.
January, it targeted Iranian positions in Syria in what it said was a response
to an Iranian missile strike from inside the country.
says it is determined to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in
Syria, where Tehran backs Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has left
more than 370,000 people dead and displaced millions.
and Hezbollah have fought several wars, the latest in 2006.
Africa: Institute Blames West Africa Terror Spread On Rivalries
on villages in three west Africa countries left more than 150 people dead over
the weekend, raising suspicions of copy-cat attacks by marauding gangs.
mayhem started on Saturday night in Nigeria where gunmen on motorbikes killed
43 people in waves of attacks on villages.
gangs are reported to have ride out from forest hideouts, spur into villages,
kill and take off with livestock.
same night across in Mali, gunmen attacked a village in the middle of the
country killing 95 people, almost a third of the community's 300 people.
attack was attributed to a predominantly Fulani jihadist group led by preacher
Amadou Koufa which has been targeting the Bambara and Dogon ethnic groups in
in March 2017 joined the newly-formed Group to Support Islam and Muslims
(GSIM), the leading jihadist alliance in the Sahel region, with links to
Al-Qaeda. Its leader is Iyad Ag Ghaly.
weekend of blood letting continued on Sunday night in Burkina Faso, which
borders Mali, where dozens of armed men attacked a village leaving 19 dead.
the Nigeria incident, eye-witnesses said the attackers "opened fire on the
village indiscriminately" almost echoing the account in Mali that the
raiders "started shooting, pillaging and burning."
there is nothing to suggest the attacks were co-ordinated, their style of
execution backs growing expert warnings that terrorists and militants who were
for some time confined to the Sahelian states of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso,
Mauritania and Chad are now spreading towards the coastal states of Benin,
Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast.
to a report released by the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria, South
Africa on Wednesday, tackling extremists in the region will require regional
cooperation and an end to institutional rivalry between United Nations, AU,
ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel.
extremist groups often infiltrate spaces where the social contract between the
state and citizens is weak or non-existent. They cooperate with other criminal
groups such as illegal gold miners, poachers or traffickers, who also have an
interest in maintaining state absence or weakening state presence," wrote
Lori-Anne Théroux-Benoni, the ISS regional director for West Africa, Sahel and
also said dialogue with some extremist groups that are causing displacement in
the region should not be ruled out.
addition, political will will be required in countries like Cameroon where
hardening of positions between Paul Biya's government and separatists have left
a schism for exploitation by other armed groups.
the Nigeria case, four people were arrested in connection to those attacks.
police officer said they included "a female informant of the gangs, who
was disguised as a mad woman."
gangs torment rural communities in northern Nigeria, raiding villages, stealing
cattle, burning homes, looting food, and kidnapping for ransom.
communities have taken in turn formed vigilantes which are also accused of
extrajudicial killings of suspected bandits.
and sponsors of such dastardly acts (will) be held accountable," Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari in a condolence message.
the government is accused of standing by as banditry, kidnapping, and killings
in the northwestern states of Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara run amok.
forces have failed to respond effectively to threats to people's lives and
security," Human Rights Watch said.
fighters from Boko Haram in northeastern regions and resources wars between
herders and farmers also pose a security challenge in Nigeria leaving state
latter is playing out in central Mali, a cultural beehive, where the
pastoralist Fulani are in constant warfare with the Bambara and Dogon who are
the past 18 months, the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said there had been 551
deaths from the three communities in the attacks.
names veteran envoy Booth to find ‘peaceful political solution’ in Sudan
US State Department nominated experienced Africa hand Donald Booth as a special
envoy to Sudan on Wednesday, hoping he can help craft a “peaceful political
solution” between the military rulers and groups seeking civilian rule.
nomination comes nine days after government troops and paramilitaries cracked
down on protesters outside army headquarters in Khartoum, killing more than 110
and wounding hundreds over several days.
65, knows the country well, having served as the Obama administration’s special
envoy to Sudan and South Sudan over 2013-2017.
Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Booth is already at work, traveling
with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy to Sudan “to
engage with the parties.”
from Khartoum, Reuters reported that Tibor Nagy, the US Assistant Secretary of
State for Africa, will meet with the military council and the opposition to
call for an end to violence against civilians and push for the resumption of
talks, according to the State Department.
was due in Khartoum on Wednesday to join an international push to salvage a
deal between Sudan’s military rulers and opposition groups two months after the
overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir.
visit comes after an Ethiopian envoy said the ruling Transitional Military
Council and an alliance of protest and opposition groups had agreed to resume
talks and the alliance suspended a three-day strike.
talks over who should control a three-year transition towards elections
collapsed after a June 3 raid on a protest sit-in that left dozens dead.
bloodshed in Sudan has prompted concern from world powers including the United
States, which sanctioned Sudan under Bashir over its alleged support for militant
groups and the civil war in Darfur.
sanctions were lifted in 2017 but Sudan is still on the US list of state
sponsors of terrorism, which prevents it from accessing badly needed funding
from international lenders. Washington previously said it will not take Sudan
off the list while the military remains in power.
in the nation of 40 million is crucial for a volatile region struggling with
conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.
crackdown from June 3 led to at least 118 deaths, according to
opposition-linked medics. The government has confirmed 61 deaths, including
three security personnel.
were already deadlocked before the crackdown as the two sides struggled to
agree on the make-up of a sovereign council that will oversee the transition.
Khartoum, employees returned to work on Wednesday and store owners opened their
shops, after the alliance of protesters and opposition groups suspended a
three-day campaign of strikes and civil disobedience.
people lined up outside ATMs and banks that had closed first for the Eid
holiday at the start of June and then because of the strike.
is still suffering an internet outage. Some side streets that had been closed
by protesters were still partially blocked by remnants of barricades. Rubbish
bins not emptied for days were overflowing.
Death toll from Boko Haram attack rises to 37
death from Monday’s attack by Boko Haram in Cameroon climbed to 37, local media
to local reports, 21 soldiers and 16 civilians were killed in the armed clashes
between militants and Cameroonian army in Darak, a town in Cameroon’s Far North
region bordering Lake Chad.
local authorities arrested 15 terrorists and “neutralized” some.
2009, Boko Haram insurgency has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions
in the Lake Chad region.
(Reuters) - Bodies recovered from a massacre of almost 100 people by a Malian
ethnic militia included at least 24 children, many of them shot in the back,
the prime minister said during a visit to the crime scene on Tuesday.
believed to belong to the Fulani ethnic group raided the rival Dogon village of
Sobane Da, in central Mali, between Sunday and Monday.
killed at least 95 people and burned houses to the ground in an escalation of
the tit-for-tat ethnic slaughter that has engulfed the mostly Saharan nation
these victims of horror and barbarity remind us of our responsibility as
leaders to reinforce and accelerate security,” said Boubou Cisse, who became
prime minister in April after his predecessor stepped down following an earlier
massacre by Dogon gunmen on a Fulani village in March.
the soul of these innocent victims of discord and hatred rest in peace.”
between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders has killed hundreds since January,
including an attack in March in which gunmen killed more than 150 Fulani, one
of the worst acts of bloodshed in Mali’s recent history that forced a
resignation by its then-prime minister and government.
Ibraham Boubacar Keita announced that he would cut short a trip to Switzerland
“to be by my people’s side in their pain,” according to a statement from his
is expected to visit the site of the massacre on Wednesday. Malians have grown
increasingly frustrated by failures of the government to protect them from both
jihadist onslaughts and ethnic reprisals.
militants have long exploited tensions between ethnic groups in the Sahara and
Sahel to boost recruitment and sow chaos, efforts which now appear to be
from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) show
intercommunal violence overtaking jihad as a leading cause of violent death in
Mali for the first time this year.
authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the latest atrocity,
and local officials say 35 bodies have so far been identified at the massacre
a 4,500-strong French force in the Sahel region, jihadist attacks have
multiplied since they first intervened in 2013 in an effort to push back
Islamists and allied Tuareg rebels who had taken over the northern half of the
country, while ethnic conflicts have turned bloodier than ever.
assailants killed 19 people and wounded 13 in an attack on Sunday in and around
the town of Arbinda, in northern Burkina Faso, where a mix of Malian and
Burkinabe jihadists and allied criminal gangs have stepped up attacks since
UN Security Council on Monday renewed its authorization of a European Union
mission to combat arms smuggling off Libya’s coast amid calls for tougher
action to cut the flow of weapons.
council voted unanimously to extend the work of Operation Sophia until June
2020. It was meeting more than two months after the forces of Khalifa Haftar
launched an offensive to seize Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognized
told the council that arms supplies delivered in violation of a UN embargo were
the main obstacle to ending the fighting in Tripoli and resuming political
seemingly unlimited arms supply fuels the erroneous belief in the military
solution to the conflict and contributes to the unwillingness of actors on the
ground to agree on a ceasefire and resume a political process,” said Germany’s
Deputy UN Ambassador Juergen Schulz.
is time to redouble our efforts, to assume our responsibility and ... find ways
to finally implement the arms embargo effectively,” he told the council.
said upholding the embargo was a priority “now more than ever,” while Britain
warned that the weapons flow is harming prospects for a ceasefire. Belgium and
South Africa expressed similar concerns.
UN resolution allows EU vessels to inspect ships in the Mediterranean suspected
of carrying weapons. The EU, however, suspended naval patrols in March – a
month before Haftar’s offensive – leaving it to air missions to keep track of
foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged European countries to send
warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the embargo.
envoy Ghassan Salame last month called for immediate steps to cut off arms
flows to Libya, warning that without quick action, the country would descend
into a civil war that could lead to its partition.
group of five United Nations rights experts has urged the Human Rights Council
to launch an investigation into possible violations committed by Sudanese
security forces against "peaceful protesters."
is "sliding into a human rights abyss," a group of five UN experts
said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Sudanese military overthrew 75-year-old president Omar al-Bashir after some
four months of widespread protests against him over dire economic conditions
and the soaring prices of basic commodities on April 11.
Bashir’s ouster, the coup leaders established the so-called Transitional
Military Council (TMC), presumably to run state affairs in the post-Bashir era.
But the generals also moved to consolidate power and faced popular protests
camped outside the military headquarters in Khartoum for weeks to demand the
ruling military council hand over power to a civilian government, before
security and paramilitary forces dispersed them in a June 3 crackdown that
killed tens of people.
umbrella protest movement Alliance for Freedom and Change says 113 people were
killed in the crackdown. The government puts the death toll at 61 people,
including three security personnel.
experts, who are independent and do not speak for the UN, urged an
"independent investigation" to be set up by the UN Human Rights
Council, whose new session will take place in Geneva on June 24.
Nononsi, who focuses on human rights in Sudan, as well as the special
rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, and
Agnes Callamard, the rapporteur on extrajudicial or summary executions, are
among the signatories of the statement.
such a probe requires a resolution that gains majority support in the council.
United Nations (UN) Security Council has once again authorized a European Union
mission to combat illegal arms transfers to Libya and implement an arms embargo
on the conflict-ridden North African country.
Council on Monday voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia
for another year until June 2020, amid calls for action to curb the flow of
weapons to Libya.
European Union’s Operation Sophia has been the only regional naval operation
carrying out inspections of vessels on the high seas headed to or from Libya.
told the Council that arms supplies delivered in violation of a UN embargo were
the main hurdle in the way of an end to the fighting between rival factions in
Tripoli and a return to political talks.
seemingly unlimited arms supply fuel the erroneous belief in the military
solution to the conflict and contributes to the unwillingness of actors on the ground
to agree on a ceasefire and resume a political process," said Germany's
Deputy UN Ambassador Juergen Schulz.
is time to redouble our efforts, to assume our responsibility and ... find ways
to finally implement the arms embargo effectively," he told the Council.
and South Africa also expressed concerns about arms flows to Libya.
June 2016, the Council adopted Resolution 2292 to authorize inspection of
vessels in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons. The authorizations
have been extended several times.
latest authorization came more than two months after the forces of renegade
general Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli, seat of the
has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives
based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the internationally-recognized
Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. Haftar, 75, who enjoys the
loyalty of a group of armed militia and backing from Saudi Arabia, the United
Arab Emirates and Egypt, has taken upon himself to protect the government in
Tobruk. Armed forces and militia loyal to the GNA have been fighting back.
loyal to Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 to seize control of the
capital Tripoli, engaging in an all-out clash with GNA troops.
April, fighting has killed at least 432 people, wounded 2,069 and displaced
more than 50,000, according to the UN.
has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator
Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military
ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of
numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.
U.S. has affirmed on Wednesday that it will offer to back Somalia in the
decades-long war against the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terror group.
to a statement by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Ambassador Donald Yamamoto
and Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser met with senior Somali defense
officials during a visit to Mogadishu on Tuesday.
statement notes that Yamamoto and Waldhauser met with Prime Minister Hassan Ali
Khaire on putting an end to the activities of al-Shabaab in Somalia and the
Horn of Africa region.
such as al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia seek to create a bankrupt future for the
Somali people, creating a more secure environment enables the Somali people and
government to advance economic and development opportunities in Somalia,"
said Waldhauser, who is the top commander in AFRICOM.
added that efforts in the eastern African country helped "contain a
potentially broader regional security threat" through an integrated
approach involving defense, diplomacy and development
his part, Yamamoto said: “U.S. security assistance to Somalia is an important
part of our efforts to work with the people and government of Somalia for peace
that the entire region would benefit from peace and stability in Somalia, he
added that it would allow Somalians to "better focus on building a
al-Shabaab militant group operating in Somalia has carried out numerous terror
attacks in the country, with their worst being the Oct. 14 Mogadishu truck
bombing which killed at least 587 people and injured 316.
January 2019, the militants attacked the DusitD2 hotel complex in Nairobi,
Kenya killing more than 20 people. Previously attacks have also taken place
against a shopping mall in the country, killing 67, as well as Garissa
University in Northern Kenya which led to the deaths of more than 140 students.
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The PM Modi’s Madrasa Modernisation initiative might
work well to produce good understanding between Muslims and BJP.