from top-left: American-Israeli rabbi Meir Kahane, Saudi cleric Safar
Al-Hawali, US pastor Terry Jones, Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi,
Australian white supremacist terrorist Brenton Tarrant, and Yemeni militia leader
Abdul Malik Al-Houthi.
of Hate: Arab News Launches Series to Expose Hate-Mongers from All Religions
Awqaf Warns of 13 Books Promoting Extremism
Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern
Territory May Be Gone, but the US Fight against the Group Is Far From Over
Jammu and Kashmir, Pushed Youth to Militancy’
Naik Diverted Funds Meant For Muslims’ Welfare, Indian Investigators Allege
M Calls on Muslims to Look Within Themselves for Causes of Islamophobia
Professor's Murder Highlights Country’s Outdated Blasphemy Laws
For Enemy: Dutch Author Awaits Evidence on Mullah Omar’s Death
Emerge From Tunnels to Surrender After ‘Caliphate’ Falls
ISIS extremists blow themselves up in north Iraq
Daesh bomb attack hits northern Iraq, terrorists dead: Army
museum to showcase Arab, Islamic heritage
Israeli violence, promoting regional security vital: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq
York City Muslims Begin Community Safety Patrol
of Iran’s missiles, US strikes port deal with Oman
Pompeo denies US stance on Golan violates UN resolutions
intel puts Delhi, Mumbai and Goa on alert
and Kashmir Police arrest three Jaish militants
Jaish terrorists arrested in J&K
ISIS Couple’s Troubling Path to Terror Recruiting
Have Nothing': A Life In Limbo For Malaysia's Yemeni Refugees
says times have changed, crimes getting more complex
Campaigning Kicks Off for 2019 Presidential Election
Fata merger to appease India and US, claims Fazl
give dialogue a chance: govt to opp
girls approach court for protection; PM orders inquiry
Militants Killed, Wounded In Special Forces Operations and Airstrikes
dread relocation plan to 'Floating Island'
Special Forces conduct fresh raids against Taliban in Khost and Zabul
clashes continue between Taliban and ISIS-K militants in Kunar
airstrike kills 14 members of one family in Afghanistan
Than 130 Killed In Mali Massacre as UN Visits
Protesters Demand Release of Qaddafi-Era Spy Chief
condemns deadly terror attacks in Somalia
attack in Somalia's capital leaves at least 10 dead
Zealand: Banning Of Manifesto Raises Free Speech Debate
Zealand PM Announces Royal Commission Inquiry into Christchurch Attack
Check: Viral video of 'conversion' is not related to New Zealand mosque mass
mayor asks PM May to use Islamophobia definition
Tory councillors suspended over anti-Muslim abuse quietly reinstated
human rights groups protest in Geneva against Houthi crimes in Hajour
to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan on Monday: Israeli FM
to cement ties with Lebanon, Hezbollah despite US pressure
president vows to take issue of occupied Golan Heights to UN
is mad because Hezbollah resists against its plots for region, Iran says
economy loses $50 billion in war against Houthis
by New Age Islam News Bureau
of Hate: Arab News launches series to expose hate-mongers from all religions
Dozens of Daesh militants emerged from tunnels to surrender to Kurdish-led
forces in eastern Syria on Sunday, a day after their “caliphate” was declared
filed out of the battered Daesh encampment in the riverside village of Baghouz
near the Iraqi border to board pickup trucks. “They are fighters who came out
of tunnels and surrendered today,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman
Jiaker Amed said. “Some others could still be hiding inside.”
leaders hail Saturday’s capture of the last shred of land controlled by Daesh
in Syria, but the top foreign affairs official for the semi-autonomous Kurdish
region warned that Daesh captives still posed a threat.
are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not
including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and
for the international community,” Abdel Karim Omar said. “Numbers increased
massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation.”
the terrorists have a suffered a defeat, the pernicious ideologies that drive
them, and the hate speech that fuels those ideologies, live on. For that reason
Arab News today launches Preachers of Hate — a weekly series, published in
print and online, in which we profile, contextualize and analyze extremist
preachers from all religions, backgrounds and nationalities.
the coming weeks, our subjects will include the Saudi cleric Safar Al-Hawali,
the Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the American-Israeli rabbi Meir
Kahane, the Yemeni militia leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, and the US pastor
Terry Jones, among others. The series begins today with an investigation into
the background of Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist who shot
dead 50 people in a terrorist attack 10 days ago on two mosques in
Christchurch, New Zealand.
is not just a terrorist, but is himself a Preacher of Hate, author of a ranting
manifesto that attempts to justify his behavior. How did a shy, quiet boy from
rural New South Wales turn into a hate-filled gunman intent on killing Muslims?
The answers may surprise you.
series could not be more timely — anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK have soared
by almost 600 percent since the Christchurch attack, it was revealed on Sunday.
charity Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which records and measures
anti-Muslim incidents, said almost all of the increase comprised “language,
symbols or actions linked to the Christchurch attacks.”
included people making gestures of pointing a pistol at Muslim women and
comments about British Muslims and an association with actions taken by the
terrorist in New Zealand,” the charity said.
spike shows a troubling rise after Muslims were murdered in New Zealand,” said
Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA. “Figures have risen over 590 percent since
New Zealand in comparison to the week just before the attack.
Awqaf warns of 13 books promoting extremism
– 24 March 2019: Egypt’s Ministry of Awqaf (Endowment) issued a list of 13
books used by extremists and terrorists to justify their terror acts in the
name of Islam, calling people to avoid reading them.
1- “Questions in Jurisprudence of Jihad” by
Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir
2- “Management of Savagery” by Abu Bakr
3- “Milestones” by Sayyid Outb
by Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, the founder of Al-Gamaa’a Al-Islamyyia
5- “Millat Ibrahim” by Abu Muhammad
Al-Maqdisi, the first one to use the term “Salafi Jihadism.”
6- “Al-Jihad wa'l-Ijtihad” (Jihad and
Interpretation/JI) by Abu Qatada al-Filistini
7- "A Call to Global Islamic Resistance
(GIR)" by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri
8- "Al-'Umda fi I'dad al-'Udda"
(The Essentials of Making Ready [for Jihad]), by Sayyed Imam
9- “Terrorism is from Islam and who denies
it is an apostate” by Sayyed Imam
10- "Al-Wala' wa-l-Bara" (Loyalty and
Disavowal) by al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri
11- Articles written by Omar Abdel Rhaman.
12- “Ayat al-Rahman fi Jihad al-Afghan” by
13- "Elam al-Anam bi Milad Dawlet
al-Islam" (Informing People about the Birth of the State of Islam) by
Abdel Rahman al-Tamimi.
April 2017, the ministry issued a new book titled “Terrorists’ Delusions and
their Rebuttal” to respond to all the misleading terrorist beliefs. The
ministry announced that the 107-page book is available online and translated
into several languages.
book also responds to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood’s late leader Sayyed
month, an administrative court ruled that Al-Azhar - Egypt’s supreme Sunni
institution- reviews the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s book
“Diary of the Call and the Preacher,” and “The History of the Muslim
The Editorial Board
murder of 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand, allegedly by a 28-year-old
Australian white supremacist, will be long scrutinized for the way violent
hatreds are spawned and staged on social media and the internet. But now the
world should learn from the way Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister,
has responded to the horror.
immediately after last Friday’s killings, Ms. Ardern listened to her constituents’
outrage and declared that within days her government would introduce new
controls on the military-style weapons that the Christchurch shooter and many
of the mass killers in the United States have used on their rampages. And she
Thursday, Ms. Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semiautomatic and
automatic weapons, parts that can be used to turn other rifles into such
weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. “It’s about all of us,” she
said, “it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.”
in the week, she told Parliament that social media sites must address the ease
with which the internet can be used to spew hate and images of violence. “We
cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what
is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are
published,” she said. “It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”
Ardern didn’t propose immediate measures to limit the reach of Facebook,
Twitter and other internet publishers, and it’s not obvious what could be done
without trampling freedom of speech. But she made clear that she believed that
those social media platforms, like gun manufacturers and dealers, bore some
responsibility for the carnage visited on Christchurch and so many communities
in recent years.
new gun proposal will require considerable fine-tuning and defining before it
becomes law. New Zealand’s existing laws are relatively lenient, and a large
percentage of the estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms owned by about
250,000 people are not registered. It is not known how many of these will
become illegal under the new laws.
the display of what one deranged man can do with weapons designed for combat
seemed to persuade a majority of New Zealanders, and a strong majority in
Parliament, of the need to ban rapid-firing weapons.
attitude stood in stark contrast to the way the National Rifle Association and
its political allies in the United States have resisted any restrictions on
weapons like the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in several mass killings.
New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United
States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Conn.;
49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in
Parkland, Fla. — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of
Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to
ban on terrorists’ weapon of choice was only one of the areas in which Ms.
Ardern showed what leadership looks like in time of crisis. In lieu of trite
messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit
victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims
attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no
tolerance for racism. Ever.” She told grieving families, “We cannot know your
grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
in a striking gesture, she refused to utter the name of the suspected killer.
“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing,”
she said. “Not even his name.”
this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning
racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their
weapons. Ms. Ardern has shown the way.
Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d
like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some
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territory may be gone, but the US fight against the group is far from over
by Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Helene Cooper and Alissa J. Rubin;
Contributed by Edward Wong)
fight to expel the Islamic State group from its last shard of territory in
Syria may be over. But the United States and its partners still face significant
battles against the terrorist group, its affiliates and other networks that are
less formally aligned with it elsewhere, in Afghanistan, West Africa and the
before a US-backed Kurdish and Arab militia ousted the last extremist fighters
from the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz on Saturday, the Islamic State had
shifted gears. The organization that once staked out a self-proclaimed
caliphate across Iraq and Syria has now metastasized into a more traditional
terrorist group — an atomized, clandestine network of cells engaged in
guerrilla attacks, bombings and targeted assassinations.
of US troops are helping the Afghan army and security forces combat the Islamic
State and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Armed US drones are hunting
Islamic State cells in Libya. And US forces are advising and providing
intelligence to local troops fighting the Islamic State in Burkina Faso and in
of Islamic State fighters are also still at large in Iraq and Syria, biding
their time to rearm and regroup to strike the same regions again. Many of them
slipped out or surrendered when the final wave of civilians fled Baghuz, US
commanders and intelligence analysts said.
islamic state, syria, iran, iraq, baghouz, syrian democratic forces, sdf, al
qaida, militants, terrorism, islamic state fighters, united states, donald
trump, us military, middle east, us drones, libya, burkina faso, afghanistan,
philippines, africa, mike pompeo, world news, indian express news
we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization — but in fact
a calculated decision to preserve the safety of their families and preservation
of their capabilities,” Gen. Joseph L. Votel, head of the military’s Central
Command, told lawmakers this month about the exodus from Baghuz, using an
alternative name for the Islamic State group.
ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate
largely remains unrepentant, unbroken and radicalized,” he said.
of State Mike Pompeo, during a trip to the Middle East, told reporters that the
battle against extremists would continue even after the territorial defeat of
the Islamic State.
mission there hasn’t changed,” he said in Lebanon on Saturday. “We still have
work to do to make sure radical Islamic terrorism doesn’t continue to grow.”
Islamic State can still tap a large war chest to finance its global operations.
It has $50 million to $300 million in cash either hidden in Iraq and Syria, or
smuggled into neighbouring countries for safekeeping, according to a February
report by the United Nations. The terrorist group also is believed to have
invested in businesses, including fish farming, car dealing and cannabis
growing, according to Colin P. Clarke, a senior fellow at the Soufan Center, a
Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, testifies before the House Armed
Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (The New York Times/File)
Donald Trump and his top advisers have vowed to continue the fight against the
Islamic State and its offshoots, but US commanders will likely have far fewer
troops on the ground to wage that battle. Instead, military and spy agencies
are tracking Islamic State fighters who have escaped and returned to North
Africa, Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East. Analysts said roughly 1,200 of
the extremists have returned to Europe alone.
classified US military program in Jordan, called Operation Gallant Phoenix, is
scooping up data collected in commando raids in Syria and Iraq and funneling it
to law enforcement agencies in Europe and Southeast Asia to help stop future
attacks. Still, officials believe the loss of the Islamic State’s physical territory
will not prevent it from striking again.
group’s leadership and foot soldiers see this as a setback, not a defeat,”
Nathan Sales, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, said in a
speech this month about the Islamic State’s territorial defeat. “They’re
actively working to continue the fight from ISIS’ worldwide branches and
is a look at what the US military is doing to stop the Islamic State from
Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan, known as Islamic State in Khorasan, is
estimated to have more than 2,500 fighters spread between Nangarhar, Kunar,
Nuristan and Laghman provinces in the country’s east, according to a recent
to lawmakers this month, Votel provided a carefully worded answer when asked if
the group is an international terrorist organization and not just a regional
actor. “I think ISIS Khorasan does have ideations focused on external
operations toward our homeland,” he said.
one US official said some US military units had shifted away from attacking the
Islamic State as the terrorist group ramped up attacks against the Taliban.
officials believe these increased strikes helped push the Taliban into
negotiating a peace deal with the United States. A final agreement could
require all 14,000 US forces currently in Afghanistan to leave within three
years — and half of them in coming months.
Taliban have violently rejected the Islamic State affiliate and, in some parts
of Afghanistan, have worked in parallel with the government in Kabul to combat
the group. Last July, Taliban fighters killed more than 200 Khorasan members;
most of those who surrendered were turned over to the Afghan government.
Pentagon officials have voiced concerns about Taliban fighters joining the
Islamic State if a peace settlement is reached. Another US official said some
had already done so, albeit in small numbers.
could scoop up any potential fighters alienated by the peace process,” Jennifer
Cafarella, research director at the Institute for the Study of War in
Washington, said in an interview.
the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan, thousands of US forces are expected
to continue strikes against the Islamic State and vestiges of al-Qaida that are
still in the country, including on partnered raids with Afghan commandos.
US military has a relatively light footprint across Africa. The Pentagon
provides air power when needed, but generally relies on European and African
partners to carry out most missions against the Islamic State, including in the
areas between West Africa and Somalia.
6,000 US troops and 1,000 Defense Department civilians or contractors work on a
variety of missions throughout Africa, mainly training and conducting exercises
with local armies. US Green Berets from the 3rd Special Forces Group advise
local troops in several West African countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso,
but rarely join them on missions.
West Africa, the US military is scaling back its commandos by about 25 per cent
as part of a larger Pentagon strategy to confront threats by Russia, China and
other state powers. The shift comes as insurgents are attacking northern
Burkina Faso and pushing south along the border with Niger toward areas
previously untouched by extremist violence, including the Ivory Coast, Benin,
Togo and Ghana, where the Pentagon has a logistics hub.
its large areas of ungoverned territory — and limited visibility by the United
States — Libya also continues to be a haven for the Islamic State. Over the
last two years, the United States has launched 13 drone strikes against Islamic
State and al-Qaida militants in Libya, according to the military’s Africa
efforts in strikes,” Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, head of the Africa Command,
told Congress this month, “will keep ISIS at bay.”
300 Marines, Army troops and other Special Operations Forces are deployed to
the Philippines as part of a mission known as Operation Pacific Eagle.
naval special forces patrol a lake near the main battle area in the southern
Philippine city of Marawi. (The New York
US forces have for years helped train and advise Filipino troops, they were
part of an offensive against the Islamic State’s affiliate in the southern city
of Marawi in 2017. US reconnaissance aircraft also were involved in that
five-month operation, which killed at least 900 extremists, including Isnilon
Hapilon, who was considered the leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
had been on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists, with a $5 million bounty
offered for his capture.
who have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State have since spread across the
southern Philippines, an area that is monitored by US surveillance drones.
Islamic State no longer controls terrain in Syria or Iraq, has largely lost
much of the command and wealth it once had and has suffered tens of thousands
of casualties in both countries.
it is far from a spent force.
counterterrorism and intelligence officials have estimated that about 5,000 to
6,000 Islamic State fighters are spread between Iraq and Syria. That number,
however, does not account for sleeper cells and their supporters, who are believed
to be involved in reconnaissance and are otherwise helping the Islamic State
carry out attacks.
estimates, including one by the United Nations in February, put the group’s
strength even higher. James F. Jeffrey, US special envoy for Syria, said this
month that there are 15,000 to 20,000 armed Islamic State fighters in Iraq and
Syria, “although many are in sleeper cells.”
officials said that the Pentagon was concerned about Islamic State fighters
returning from the front lines to stoke violence in their hometowns across Iraq
and Syria. The United States will continue its bombing campaign against the
extremist group and to assist local forces in both countries who are the first
line of defense against Islamic State fighters.
post-caliphate insurgency in Iraq is accelerating faster than efforts to
prevent it by the US,” concluded an analysis this month by the Institute for
the Study of War.
United States now has 5,200 troops in Iraq, mostly spread between two main
bases, including Al Asad in western Anbar province, which Trump visited in
December. In Syria, Trump has ordered all but a residual US force of 400 troops
to withdraw. Armed drones and warplanes will continue to provide air support.
pending in Iraq’s Parliament could limit US military operations in the country
by reducing the number of US troops there, restricting their movements or even
demanding a full withdrawal by a certain, if yet unspecified, date.
made clear that the liberation of the declared caliphate — an area that nearly
five years ago stretched to the size of Britain — did not eradicate the Islamic
is a great concern,” he said.
surge in local youth joining terrorist ranks spurred the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami
(JeI-J&K), a socio-religious group that has been active in Jammu and
Kashmir since 1942, a senior official said.
locals who joined terrorist groups were associated with the JeI, either through
educational institutions run by it or religious activities, the official said.
2018, over 180 Kashmiri youths joined these groups, and around 56% were locals,
the official said. The same year, 252 terrorists were killed in various
operations and around 60% were locals.
foreign terrorists killed were more in number but the trend has reversed in the
past two years. More locals have joined the militant ranks and more are getting
killed,” said the official.
internal note from the Centre before the February 28 ban said the “JeI has been
using its network of schools to further promote anti-India feeling among children
in the Valley.”
leaders have been encouraging cadres of the JeI youth wing- Jamiat-ul-Tulba to
be recruited into terrorist outfits.” It added that hardline leaders of the JeI
continue to maintain regular contact with Pakistan High Commission for support.
State is presently under President’s rule and the ban comes ahead of the
February, over 300 members of the JeI were rounded up by the J&K police.
Some were picked even before the ban came into force. The detention and arrests
came around the same time as the Indian Air Force (IAF) precision strikes at a
Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, post-Pulwama
Centre has claimed that the JeI has been collecting funds in the name of
religious activities and using the same for ‘anti-national separatist
JeI also has several trusts for running schools to disseminate orthodox Islamic
ideology. Behind this façade, hardliners within the JeI have been involved with
militant groups. The group was actively supporting militancy during 1988-99
under the influence of ISI. It patronised Hizbul Mujahideen and in the initial
years was the backbone of HM,” the note said.
has been banned twice in the past. The first ban continued for two years and
the next ban was effective for three years. JeI was banned first in 1975 by
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the former Prime Minister of J&K. It was banned
again in 1990 when Mufti Mohammad Syed, the founder of Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) was Union Home Minister.
two major political parties in Valley have questioned the latest ban. Former
chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti took
out a protest march in Srinagar demanding a withdrawal of the ban. She said
arresting the JeI’s members and the preachers affiliated with Ahli-Hadith was a
“direct interference in our religious affairs.”
Mufti represented Anantnag in the 2014 Lok Sabha, a stronghold of the JeI.
National Conference has also called for a reconsideration of the ban.
Naik diverted funds meant for Muslims’ welfare, Indian investigators allege
JAYA: Controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has allegedly amassed assets
worth Rs193 crore (RM113mil) by diverting funds and donations received from
Islamic countries that were meant for the “welfare of Muslims”, says a news
Times of India reported that these assets included at least 20 flats in the
cities of Mumbai and Pune in India.
Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) money laundering probe alleged that Dr Zakir
used his Islamic Research Foundation, meant for the social welfare of the
Muslim community, to organise dubious donations and diverted the proceeds to
purchase properties. He was also accused of raising donations amounting to Rs65
crore (RM38.3mil) from the United Arab
Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, besides India, between
2014 and 2017.
ED probe revealed that nine flats worth Rs13 crore (RM7.7mil) were booked in
Mumbai in the name of his wife and son, and another 11 flats in Pune.
booking amounts were paid by routing of unexplained funds received by Dr Zakir
through the bank accounts of his wife, son and niece,” a source was quoted as
saying in the report.
transaction trail also revealed Dr Zakir's investment of Rs13 crore (Rm7.7mil)
in three properties in Mazgaon, Mumbai, routed through the bank accounts of his
mother, father and sister.
source of funds remains unexplained, according to the ED, The Times of India
ED had last Friday (March 21) arrested jeweller Abdul Kadir Najmudin Sathak, an
aide of Zakir, for allegedly assisting him to transfer funds of dubious origins
from the UAE to him.
Zakir, who is wanted in his home country of India for alleged money-laundering
and terrorism, has been living in Malaysia where he has permanent residency.
July, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia would not
deport Dr Zakir “as long as he is not creating any problems” here.
Zakir, 53, has been condemned by various groups in Malaysia over his sermons
that have been described as being extremist and disrespectful of other
M calls on Muslims to look within themselves for causes of Islamophobia
JAYA: With Islamophobia still prevalent, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has
called on Muslims to not only look at the attitudes of their critics but to ask
themselves if they could be contributing to such perception.
we done anything to deserve that kind of name?
we want to make Islam less hated, we need to find out what wrong we have done,
although we would like to say we have done no wrong,” he said in an interview
with PTV World in Pakistan.
who was on a three-day official visit to Pakistan from Thursday, said Muslims
should try to eliminate their wrongdoing and support their good behaviour with
need people who talk sense and who can tell (others) what Islam is all about,”
he said when asked by host Omar Khalid Butt on ways to counter Islamophobia,
adding that Islam teaches Muslims not to fight nor to kill each other.
teaches its followers not to indulge in violence but “we are not following
those teachings”, he said.
also said Muslims should explain the religion to their audience through the
should be able to tell their side of their story so that it is not dominated by
only foreign countries that do not like us.”
the interview, which has been uploaded on YouTube, Mahathir was also asked
about the importance of defence cooperation between Pakistan and Malaysia.
said defence is crucial but Muslim countries do not have the capacity to
produce their own weapons.
are always dependent on importing or buying their weapons from other countries.
Because of that, they become dependent on these countries for the defence of
said countries should have their own defence weapons but that requires a huge
volume, noting that Malaysia only has a small population of 32 million compared
to Pakistan’s 200 million.
you add together, the market becomes bigger and therefore the need becomes
bigger to go into industries that require huge investments,” he said.
how Pakistan could benefit from his vision, Mahathir said every prime minister
would like to leave a legacy “to look back when he finishes his term”.
you become a PM, it is a great opportunity to do a lot of good for your
you were elected by the people and therefore your job is to serve the people,
not yourself,” he said.
that, a leader can think of many ideas either by copying successful countries
or finding ways and means to develop the country, he added.
professor's murder highlights country’s outdated blasphemy laws
The recent murder of a University professor by a student over “blasphemy” in
Pakistan’s Punjab province has once again highlighted the country’s
controversial blasphemy law, which stipulates death sentence for a person
accused of insulting Islam or Prophet Muhammad.
the state has not yet punished anyone with the death penalty in
blasphemy-related cases, mere accusations have resulted in mob violence and
lynching of alleged blasphemers in the past.
Wednesday, a 21-year-old student Khateeb Hussain, attacked Khalid Hameed, the
head of English department at Government Sadiq Egerton College with a knife,
resulting in his death over a reception to be held on March 21 where both men and
women were invited. Hussain had called the event “un-Islamic” and in a
confession said he “took the law into his own hands as the government was not
implementing blasphemy laws and was freeing blasphemers.”
(the professor) used to bark a lot against Islam… I’m content and thanks to
Allah that the professor is dead now,” the attacker said in a recorded video.
professor’s son, Waleed Khan, has lashed at the government for its inaction.
“My father was the employee of the government of Pakistan. The incident
happened inside the premises of the college but the government has neither
shown any concern nor expressed any reservation against the incident,” he said
while questioning the government’s “promise of tackling extremism and
has happened before, this will continue to happen but till when? Will it act on
National Action Plan (NAP) due to pressure from India and US. Don’t our lives
have any value?” Khan asked.
the academic community has been condemning the misuse of blasphemy laws, the
Pakistan government has not taken any step towards abolishing or amending it,
fearing a backlash. Prominent leaders, including former Punjab governor Salman
Taseer and ex-federal minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, were gunned down
during broad daylight in Islamabad for merely suggesting amendment in the
Shahjehan, an Islamabad-based human rights activist told TOI, “It is very
alarming when a student kills a teacher and says that he has fulfilled his holy
mission. This is a dangerous mindset.”
year, a student had gunned down his college principal on campus after accusing
him of blasphemy in Charsadda city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The
principal had scolded the student for missing classes to attend a protest
organized by a right-wing Islamist group in Islamabad.
April 2017, Mashal Khan, a student, was beaten to death by his fellow students
at his university campus in the Mardan region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
over charges of blasphemy that were later proven false.
right to differ has not been given to people in Pakistan. Since there is no
room for dissent, people feel threatened by opposing views and beliefs. This
gives birth to extremist mindset,” said Nazrul Islam, an Islamabad-based
for enemy: Dutch author awaits evidence on Mullah Omar’s death
author Bette Dam, awaits evidence to dispute claims made in her new book that
the Taliban founder Mullah Omar had lived near an American base in southern
Afghanistan for years and never hid in Pakistan.
author expects evidence from the US and Afghan officials to substantiate their
claims that Mullah Omar had died at a Karachi hospital.
Kabul administration had disclosed in 2015 that the Taliban supreme commander
had died in 2013 in Karachi while citing”credible information.”
former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, David Petraeus, also
insisted that Mullah Omar frequently travelled between Quetta and Karachi.
her second book, titled, “Searching for an Enemy”, published in Dutch in
February 2019, Dam had challenged these Afghan and American claims. Her report
titled, “The secret life of Mullah Omar” is a part of her book.
spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani and former intelligence chief, Amrullah
Saleh, and several other Afghan leaders disputed Dam’s claim.
the author has told Daily Times from Amsterdam that Kabul, Washington and many
others who claimed that Mullah Omar died in Pakistan, should come up with their
own report to prove their claims. The author also pressed the Pakistani
security establishment and Taliban to prove their claims now because Mullah
Omar was dead and information about him was no longer classified.
has always said that Mullah Omar is in Pakistan. The Taliban has always said
Mullah Omar is in Afghanistan. The Americans always said Mullah Omar is in
Pakistan. I searched for proof for these claims but I was not able to find
them,” she added.
claimed that she had invited the US and Kabul to release proof of Mullah Omar
being in Karachi or Quetta.
would also invite Islamabad to join the debate. I know the Pakistani security
officials often said that Mullah Omar was in Afghanistan. Maybe they can also
show what they know? The public deserves to know. Now Mullah Omar is dead, this
information is not classified anymore,” Dam insisted.
author said, in her research, that in December 2018, she had gained
“unprecedented access” to the man tasked with guarding Mullah Omar with his
twelve years, he lived with the Taliban leader and was one of his only conduits
to the outside world. He is now in N.D.S. custody, and I became the first
journalist to interview him,” she maintained. After Omar’s death was announced,
she remarked that she had spoken to senior officials of National Directorate of
Security (NDS), one of whom confirmed that he had lived with Jabbar Omari in
Zabul, his bodyguard from the moment he had vanished in Kandahar until his
death in 2013. Omar was said to have been in NDS “protective” custody since
official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, expressed his frustration
that the Taliban’s supreme leader had been living for four years in the capital
of the province, just walking distance from the governor’s compound and the
office of the local NDS. branch,” Dam wrote in her book. When asked, if she
defended the findings in her research about Omar’s death and rejected Afghan
and US claims, she responded,”yes.” She went on, “I searched for proof for
these claims but I was not able to find them.”
think we as journalists need to work much harder to find out what these claims
mean. If Kabul gov’t says something it does not means that is true. If
Washington says something it does not mean it is true and the same is for the
Taliban,” she added.
a question on criticism on her book being written on others’ behest, she
advised the critics to read the report before jumping to conclusions as she was
very transparent about her sources.
pointed, “I did interviews with all of the parties. I found out that not many
knew where Mullah Omar was? The Taliban was not able to show me anything
credible, but also Kabul and the US lacked any evidence. The Americans didn’t
know Mullah Omar was dead for two years and were surprised to hear that.”
said that Omar had chosen to not rely on Pakistan because it supported the US
after the 9/11 attacks.
Omar found Pakistan an unreliable country. Mullah Omar didn’t want to be living
in a country like that. He chose to stay inside Afghanistan, and hide with the
tribesmen. Mullah Omar didn’t want to be living in a country like that. He
chose to stay inside Afghanistan, and hide with tribesman,” she continued.
said she had interviewed Pakistani leaders for her book, who had “tried to
influence him” but Omar was often not listening as he was apprehensive to the
political intervention from outside, including Pakistan.
(Omar) told Jabbar Omari, “Whatever happens, I will not go there,” she further
9/11, Pakistan was said to have quickly offered support for the US War on
Terror, promising to arrest any Taliban.
emerge from tunnels to surrender after ‘caliphate’ falls
Daesh group extremists emerged from tunnels to surrender to US-backed forces in
eastern Syria on Sunday, a Kurdish spokesman said, a day after their “caliphate”
was declared defeated.
AFP reporter saw dozens of people — mostly men — file out of the battered Daesh
encampment in the remote village of Baghouz to board pickup trucks.
are Daesh militants who came out of tunnels and surrendered today,” said Jiaker
Amed, a spokesman for the Kurdish units spearheading the US-backed Syrian
out of their defeated bastion on the banks of the Euphrates near the Iraqi
border, some sported thick beards.
wore long woollen kaftan tunics over their dark-colored robes, others a
checkered scarf wrapped around their heads.
others could still be hiding inside,” added Amed.
months-long offensive by the SDF was declared victorious Saturday, after
multiple pauses to allow out civilians and surrendering terrorists from the
crumbling Daesh pocket.
or suspected extremists are detained, while their relatives are trucked up
north to camps for the displaced.
declared a cross-border “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq in 2014, imposing its
brutal rule on millions.
Sunday, US-supported Syrian fighters were clearing explosives in the last area
retaken from the Daesh group a day after declaring military victory over the
spokesman for the Kurdish-led SDF who goes by the nom de guerre Mervan the
Brave said Baghouz, the village where the militants made their final stand, is
“full of all kinds of explosives.” He said SDF forces were clearing the area
and have detonated land mines and suicide belts the militants left behind.
Syrian driver working with NBC News reporters was killed Saturday by an
explosive device that went off in a house used as an SDF command post and a
media center for journalists covering the fighting in Baghouz.
Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, said in a statement that network
employees escaped unharmed. He expressed “deepest sympathies” to the driver’s
family and loved ones.
are still gathering information from today’s events, and are in touch with the
driver’s family to support them however we can,” he said. It was not
immediately clear what caused the explosion.
victory announced in Baghouz on Saturday marks the end of a devastating
five-year campaign by an array of forces to retake territories held by Daesh in
Syria and Iraq. At its height, Daesh controlled a sprawling self-declared
caliphate the size of Britain that was home to some 8 million people. It is not
known whether the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is still alive or where
he might be hiding.
is a historic moment, but we cannot be complacent,” tweeted Maj. Gen.
Christopher Ghika, the deputy commander of the US-led coalition against Daesh.
without territory, Daesh will continue to pose a threat to the people of Iraq
and Syria, as well as to the wider world. The coalition must remain firm in its
determination to counter Daesh,” he said.
of people, including Daesh fighters and their family members, left Baghouz in
recent weeks and were taken to detention centers and camps for the displaced
elsewhere in eastern Syria. The militants were holding hostages and had
detained civilians, whose fate remains unknown.
suspected ISIS suicide bombers blew themselves up on Sunday in northern Iraq,
the army said, a day after the extremists’ “caliphate” was wiped out in
spokesperson Yahya Rassoul said the incident took place in a region near the
Syrian border, where ISIS sleeper cells are believed to be present.
said the suspects died as troops surrounded them, but there were no casualties
among government forces.
officials said the suspects were killed as they were trying to attack troops in
the village of Qayrawan, south of the mountainous region of Sinjar which
of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday pronounced the death of
the nearly five-year-old ISIS “caliphate” which once stretched across a vast
swathe of Syria and Iraq.
victory was hailed as a significant landmark in the battle against the
extremist group, but there have also been numerous calls for “vigilance” with
many saying the fight is far from over.
SDF commander Mazloum Kobane on Saturday warned that a new phase had begun in
anti-ISIS operations and appealed for continued assistance from the US-led
coalition to help smash “sleeper cells.”
army says three suspected Daesh Takfiri terrorists have died after blowing
themselves up in northern Iraq but there were no casualties among government
spokesman Yahya Rassoul said on Sunday that the incident occurred in a region
near the Syrian border, where Daesh sleeper cells are believed to be present.
to local officials, the suspects were killed as they were trying to attack
troops in the village of Qayrawan, south of the mountainous region of Sinjar,
which borders Syria.
incident took place a day after Syrian Kurds pronounced the death of Daesh's
nearly five-year-old "caliphate" after flushing out die-hard
terrorists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.
Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100
percent territorial defeat of ISIS," spokesman Mustefa Bali said in a
statement on Saturday, using an alternate title for Daesh.
Takfiri terrorist group unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq
in 2014, overrunning vast areas of land in lightning attacks.
army soldiers and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terror
outfit and retake lost territory.
after the beginning of the terror campaign in Iraq, senior cleric Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling on all Iraqi citizens to defend
their country. Iraq finally declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in
The amazing architecture of the Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum takes us on an
astonishing journey back to the Jeddah of the old days where wooden carvings
dominated most of the urban architecture, especially doors and windows.
museum will open its doors to visitors of the Jeddah Global Village, Saudi
Arabia’s first multicultural festival, from March 25 until April 24.
village, which will be organized at nearby Al-Tayebat International City, in
Al-Faisaliah, is expected to attract over a million visitors.
museum includes a Saudi Arabian heritage section, an Islamic heritage pavilion,
an international heritage area and a public heritage exhibition as part of the
festival, featuring a host of priceless historical artifacts.
of the items here date back millions of years,” a museum official told Arab
Eskander, the director general of the company organizing the event,
International Image, said: “Participants from some 50 countries are adding
finishing touches to their pavilions as I speak.
will be pavilions for representatives from five Gulf Cooperation Council
states, 10 Arab countries, as well as 18 countries from Africa, 10 from Europe
and four countries from Central and South America.”
added that national folk dances would be performed by troupes from each participating
will be dressed in traditional costumes. Visitors can also enjoy dishes and
traditional products from each of the different countries.”
Stopping escalation of Israeli violence in Jerusalem and violations against the
Al-Aqsa mosque is necessary, Egypt and Jordan said in a joint statement Sunday.
further statement issued by Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq said that the countries
support Palestine and its claim to East Jerusalem as its capital.
three countries held an economic cooperation summit in Cairo on Sunday.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi hosted the summit that was attended by Jordan's King
Abdullah II and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
statement issued by the trio also emphasized the need to fight against
terrorism in all its forms and confronting all those who provide terrorism with
funds, arms, and media platforms.
Jordan and Iraq called for coordination with other Arab countries to restore
stability in the region.
also emphasized the independence of Arab countries and the importance of
preventing external intervention in their internal affairs.
statement stated the concept of the nation state must be strengthened in order
to confront terrorism and sectarian strife.
for Iraq’s efforts to complete reconstruction and help displaced people return
to their homes after the defeat of Daesh was also expressed by the three
Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during his first trip abroad since taking office in
the meeting, Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist
militants in the region, and highlighted “the importance of drying up the
sources of terrorism.”
March 14, New York City Muslims were putting their families to bed when details
emerged of a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, about
15,000 kilometers away. A white supremacist had targeted Friday prayer. Fifty
were dead, including refugees, women and children; one as young as three.
residents Mohammad Khan and Nazrul Islam were returning from a leadership
dinner when they heard.
stopped our car, we parked, and we were just in tears,” Khan said. “Me and the
imam — we were just devastated.”
months, Khan and Islam, an imam and a Quranic school principal, had been
working on the rollout of an all volunteer-led civilian patrol organization,
Muslim Community Patrol & Services (MCPS). “MCPS is aimed at protecting
members of the local community from escalating quality-of-life nuisance
crimes,” its website says.
mission took on added relevance after the attack in New Zealand.
members of the community, who had seen video of the attack on social media,
sought help from MCPS at local vigils and rallies. The organization responded
with trained counselors and chaplains.
a white-and-blue emblazoned Ford Taurus, a seal matching the style and color
scheme of the New York Police Department (NYPD) identifies the MCP volunteer
unit. Above it, the words “Assalamu alaikum” are inscribed in Arabic. “Peace be
the streets is just one aspect of the group’s mission. Its guiding principle is
mentorship, said Khan, MCPS’ director of community affairs. Mentorship can be
provided in person or by phone, 24/7, with the aim of bridging the community
across religious, ethnic and language divides. New York is one of the most diverse
cities in the world.
an immigrant came to this country from an Arabic-speaking country — and they
might be in trouble or they need help — and they see Assalamu alaikum,” Islam,
28, explained, “they’ll definitely know there are Muslim people in that car, so
they can come and they can ask us if they need anything.”
50-plus volunteers are never armed, and they are trained to deal with crises
including drug abuse, financial woes, depression and suicide prevention. They
are trained in first aid, mental health, chaplaincy and basic security. Every
Friday they deliver meals to the homeless in midtown Manhattan. Serving both
Muslims and non-Muslims, they speak English, Arabic, Bangla, Urdu, Hindi and
to their success, they work in collaboration with NYPD, whose off-duty officers
led a recent training in Sunset Park.
people see our work, [they’ll see that] we’re here to help,” said Mahwish
Fathma, MCPS’ director of operations. “We’re here to give. That’s all.”
a 22-year-old Muslim-American of mixed Pakistani and Cambodian heritage,
remembers earlier patrols, the 1970s-established Shomrim, a volunteer Hasidic
Jewish civilian patrol, and the more recently formed Brooklyn Asian Civilian
Observation Patrol (BACOP) — both based in Brooklyn.
always thought, ‘Why don’t Muslims have that? Everyone should have this,’”
Fathma said. “Dealing with your own families or your own communities, it’s
different. It’s always different.”
from their counterparts
avenues across from MCPS’ makeshift office, a cohort of Mandarin-language
volunteers don “Brooklyn Asian COP” jackets at the group’s headquarters, a
red-walled basement that contains a bar, gym, ping-pong table and wicker lawn
Yu, a local pharmacy owner, joined BACOP after a burglary at his business left
employees shaken. On days he volunteers, he doesn’t return home until after 2
a.m. To avoid waking his young children on the second floor, he sleeps
all Chinese immigrants, so I wanted to do something for this community,” Yu
more civilian patrols we have, the more beneficial it is for the communities,”
said BACOP’s chairman, Louie Liu. “As long as we are serious and sincere in our
cooperation with local law enforcement, we’re confident that crimes will go
down, [and] our living conditions will improve.”
past the language barrier has been essential for the group. Members speak
English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujianese and “Spanish-Chinese,” according to
Liu. Over the past five years, he says Brooklyn’s Chinatown, home to more than
200,000 ethnic Chinese residents, has made strides in its relationship with law
enforcement as a result of BACOP.
enable immigrants to express themselves without any fear or concern, and law
enforcement has confidence in the role that we’re playing,” Liu said.
Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Intelligence
Project, sees the potential for law enforcement to restore trust among
immigrant and Muslim communities, which are increasingly the targets of U.S.
hate crimes, the majority of which are not reported to the police.
the cops take hate crime seriously and work with the community, it can show
those communities that they care about them, and that they really exist to
protect them,” Beirich told VOA.
to FBI statistics, 59.6 percent of hate crime victims in 2017 were targeted
because of race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, while an additional 20.6 percent
were targeted based on their religion.
it’s impossible to eliminate racism, so there has to be an organization
speaking on our behalf,” said Tony Jiang, a fish market owner in Sunset Park.
the street, MCPS members brush off the accusations and name-calling the group
has received on social media: “Sharia Patrol,” “an Islamic invasion on the
West,” “the worst-case scenario of multiculturalism,” coupled with slurs and
who was born in Bangladesh but moved to East New York when he was 10, recalls
the bullying of his Brooklyn childhood. Headed home from mosque as a young boy,
he says children would throw eggs at him and others. Once they removed his
brother’s taqiyah (cap) and beat him up, sending him to the hospital.
seen a lot of hate growing up, and it’s ugly,” Islam said.
Sunset Park community in Brooklyn he adds, has thrown its weight behind them
today: “they see us and they know who we are.”
Khan, “Our actions speak louder than our words.”
United States has struck a strategic port deal with Oman in an attempt to get
better access to the Persian Gulf region and avoid sending ships through the
Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point that Iran could easily block using its
advanced missile arsenal.
US embassy in Oman said in a statement on Sunday that the agreement granted the
US access to facilities and ports in the towns of Duqm as well as in Salalah,
which sit on the coast of the Arabian Sea.
noted that the port deal "reaffirms the commitment of both countries to
promoting mutual security goals."
deal serves Oman’s plans to develop Duqm, which was once just a fishing village
550 km (345 miles) south of capital Muscat. Oman has long sought to transform
the port city into an industrial hub.
the US, however, the deal serves a whole different agenda and tries to address
growing concerns among top Pentagon officials about Iran's advancements in
overcoming sanctions and diplomatic pressure by Washington to develop
sophisticated missiles that can block the Hormuz.
unnamed US official told Reuters that the deal improved the US military’s
access to ports that connect to a network of roads to the broader region.
used to operate on the assumption that we could just steam into the [Persian]
Gulf," one US official said, adding, however, that "the quality and
quantity of Iranian weapons raises concerns."
year, when US President Donald Trump threatened to drive Iran’s oil exports to
zero, Tehran warned that it would close down the Strait of Hormuz and stop all
oil exports from the Persian Gulf region.
the threat seems to have worked its magic by prompting the White House to issue
waivers for Iran’s main oil buyers, US military officials are worried that the
current levels American military presence in the region cannot stop Iran from
shutting down the crucial waterway.
November, The Washington Post said US commanders worried that Iran could easily
fulfill the task by using it robust arsenal of ballistic missiles and its
ability to plant naval mines.
then the Pentagon officials were specifically critical of Trump’s shifting
Republican head of state thinks China and Russia pose the greatest threats to
the US. He has ordered the Pentagon to move some of the American forces out of
the Persian Gulf region and station them in bases across the Pacific region
unnamed US official noted that the new agreement with Oman would expand US
military options in case of a real standoff in Hormuz.
port itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very
attractive, again being outside the Strait of Hormuz," another official
said, adding that Duqm was large enough turn around an aircraft carrier.
late November, the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) warned that US
bases in Afghanistan, the UAE, and Qatar as well as the US aircraft carriers in
the Persian Gulf were all within reach of Iranian missiles.
US bases around us are within our reach and are easy meat for us,” IRGC
Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said.
deal also helps the US to push back against China’s growing influence in the
firms once tried to invest up to $10.7 billion in Duqm in what was expected to
be a commercial arrangement.
Donald Trump's decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty in the occupied Golan
Heights is not a violation of UN resolutions but rather a recognition of
"the reality on the ground", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Trump billed his decision, announced in a tweet on Thursday, as being "of
critical strategic and security importance" to Israel and for regional
stability, a claim Mr Pompeo backed in an interview with Sky News Arabia on
52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s
Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security
importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
PM - Mar 21, 2019
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after a tour of the region that included stops in Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon,
Mr Pompeo said the US was acting out of noble intentions.
is a force for good in the region. Our intentions are noble," he said.
"We want good outcomes for the people of Lebanon, for the people of
Kuwait, for the people of Israel, for all nations in the Middle East, and the
decision the president made will increase the opportunity for there to be
stability throughout the region."
of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would be a dramatic shift in US
policy on the status of a disputed area that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle
East war and annexed in 1981, in a move not recognised by the international
has asked the UN Security Council to uphold past resolutions demanding that
Israel withdraw from the Golan. The issue is scheduled for discussion by the
council on Wednesday, during a meeting on renewing the mandate of the UN
peacekeeping force deployed between Israel and Syria in the Golan.
Pompeo dismissed the suggestion that Mr Trump's decision amounted to double
standards, given that the US is imposing sanctions on Russia for its annexation
of the Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.
at all," he said. "What the president did with the Golan Heights is
recognise the reality on the ground and the security situation necessary for
the protection of the Israeli state. It’s that simple."
on the declaration of victory over ISIS by US-backed Syrian forces on Saturday
after the recapture of its last patch of territory, Mr Pompeo said: "The
threat’s not gone. The work continues. And America’s mission remains unchanged:
we are determined to keep America safe from the threat from radical Islamic
said American troop deployments and tactics in the region would vary according
to "conditions on the ground and the conditions in the region".
have lots of efforts ongoing all across the Middle East to ensure that those
countries too have an opportunity to defeat terrorism in their own country as
well. We have great partners in the region that we work well alongside and
we’ve done good work together."
Pompeo said his trip to Lebanon on Friday, his first as secretary of state, was
to offer its leaders US support to counter Iran and its attempts to exert
influence in the country, as well as the Tehran-backed Lebanese Shiite movement
want to control this state; they want access to the Mediterranean; they want
power and influence here. And the people of Lebanon deserve better than
that," he said.
whether countering Iran was part of the US mission in Syria, he said:
"Everywhere we find malign activity by Iran, the United States is going to
pursue it, whether that’s in South America, whether that’s in the Middle
Yemen's Houthi rebels as a proxy, "Iran is firing missiles into Saudi
Arabia, endangering not only the lives of the Saudi people but all of those who
transit", he said.
is unacceptable and we’re going to use every tool that we can to achieve the
outcome that, frankly, the people in Yemen want and the people of the region
are going to continue to demand."
Pompeo affirmed that a US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has not yet
been made public, would have to be approved by both parties. "Our mission
is to try to show them what that might look like," he said.
DELHI: Intelligence agencies have alerted police in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa about
twin threats from Islamic State and al-Qaida, sources said.
two inputs, which warn of avenging the New Zealand incident and possible strike
on Jewish establishments, have come in a span of four days.
inputs suggest that terrorists might try to use a vehicle or a knife in the
attacks. The agencies have suggested an increase in vigil around the Israeli
Embassy, Consulate General in Mumbai as well as synagogues and Chabad houses,
first alert, dated March 20, talks of IS and connected cells planning to avenge
the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in which 50 people died. A 29-year-old
Australian citizen, Brenton Tarrant, had entered two mosques with automatic
weapons and opened indiscriminate fire.
input reads: “As per the information received from multiple sources, an audio
speech of IS spokesperson Abu Hassan alMuhajir is being circulated on closed
online groups and chat platforms wherein Muhajir is heard calling on his
supporters to avenge the massacre at the mosques. This audio and other chatter
indicates intent to avenge the incident. Appropriate action may be taken in
in Delhi Police said that deployment outside places of worship has been
increased. “We are keeping a close watch on developments,” an officer said.
second input, dated March 23, is about a possible strike by an al-Qaida cell at
Jewish residential establishments or synagogues. The chatter intercepted by
agencies indicates execution of an attack using “non-conventional” weapons.
“The attack may be in the form of a lone wolf using a knife or a car or truck,”
it said. For Goa, the inputs specifically mention a few places.
have beefed up security at major installations, apart from those mentioned in
the inputs. Security outside the embassy of Israel has also been reviewed,
sources said. Patrolling has been enhanced and policemen at pickets have been
asked to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles.
2012, terror operatives had used a limpid car bomb to attack an Israeli embassy
staffer. A motorcyclist had attached a stick bomb to the car of an Israeli
diplomat’s wife while she was on her way to pick up her children from school.
and Kashmir police on Sunday said they have arrested three Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM) terrorists in Kashmir.
terrorists affiliated with the proscribed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
were arrested today based on a credible input. Incriminating material including
ammunition and live rounds recovered. A case has been registered,” Jammu and
Kashmir police said in a tweet late Sunday evening.
was not immediately clear where and how the three were arrested but residents
in city’s outskirts near Parimpora witnessed security forces intercepting and
detaining some youth from a vehicle during the day.
forces have been aggressively pursuing JeM terrorists after a suicide car
bomber of the outfit rammed a truck in a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwana
on February 14 killing 40 troopers.
then many JeM members have been killed in various gunfights across the valley.
Mar 25, 2019
Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were arrested by security forces from
the outskirts of the city, police said. They were nabbed on Sunday.
car-borne terrorists affiliated with proscribed terror outfit JeM were arrested
by police and security forces at Lawaypora (on Srinagar-Baramulla road) based
on a credible input," a police spokesperson said.
Hannah Beech and Jason Gutierrez
Philippines — She was a Catholic math whiz with an M.B.A. from one of the best
universities in the Philippines. He was the Muslim descendant of a sultanate
family, schooled in computer science.
couple, Ellen Barriga and Mohammad Reza Kiram, could have served as the model
of a modern interfaith marriage. Instead, they are poster children for how
violent ideology transformed educated Filipinos into agents of death for the
2015, Ms. Barriga and Mr. Kiram traveled to Syria to join the terrorist group,
becoming key recruiters of other Southeast Asians, according to Philippine and
American intelligence officials.
January, American-backed Syrian forces announced that the pair had surrendered,
joining thousands of foreign militants caught between a crumbled caliphate, which
lost its last territory in the region on Saturday, and home countries reluctant
to take them back.
year after arriving in Syria, Mr. Kiram, wavy-haired with jutting cheekbones,
appeared in a video for the Islamic State. In it, he and a Malaysian and
Indonesian urged foreigners to wage jihad in Muslim parts of the Philippines,
where the Islamic State has been gaining strength.
of the cross,” he warned, “we will use the language of swords and language of
bullets. Our brothers in the path of Allah will soon rise in your own land.”
a dagger, Mr. Kiram then beheaded a hostage kneeling in front of him.
year, the United States Treasury Department placed sanctions on Mr. Kiram, 29,
for “brutal acts as part of a propaganda campaign to attract radicals to join
militant terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.”
Barriga, who converted to Islam after earning an accounting degree, has been
accused by the Philippine authorities of channeling Islamic State funds to
local militants and aiding in a failed bombing attempt in the southern
Philippine city of Davao.
Christian name helped Ms. Barriga, 38, set up bank accounts and avoid suspicion
even as she was gravitating to the most radical fringes of Islam, the
intelligence operatives said.
at home in Davao, Edgar Barriga, Ms. Barriga’s father, said he was relieved to
hear news of his daughter, even though he was devastated by her chosen path.
am happy if she is with ISIS in Syria,” he said, “because at least that way I
know my Ellen is alive.”
movement like the Islamic State needs two types of people: rank-and-file
recruits, often poor and uneducated fodder for battle, and ideologues who can
entice the masses to their cause. Mr. Kiram and Ms. Barriga were in the latter
camp: smart, charming, well connected.
need to figure out how people like Reza Kiram, with no prior indication, become
violent extremists,” said Col. Leonel Nicolas, the commander of the joint task
force in the southern city of Zamboanga, where Mr. Kiram grew up.
to their closest family and friends, the couple’s path to radicalization is
indistinct. There were no defining traumas or fractures with society, only
small signs that, in retrospect, hinted at trouble: too much time spent online,
perhaps, or a fearlessness that could ripen into fanaticism.
feel regret whenever I think of him because he was such a good student,” said
Sheikh Mahir Gustaham, who taught Mr. Kiram Islamic jurisprudence and
considered him his favorite pupil. “For me it’s a lesson learned: to watch
closely and intently the good and quiet students because they may change.”
Barriga grew up in a tidy neighborhood in Davao, attending the parish church of
St. Michael, named after the archangel who defends the Christian faith against
demonic forces. Her father worked for a cocoa company. Her mother volunteered
Francisco Bustamante National High School, Ms. Barriga excelled, leading
student government and organizing dances. She won a scholarship to the
prestigious Ateneo de Davao University and worked as an accounting manager
had a Muslim boyfriend and converted, wearing a head scarf in public. The
Virgin Mary, Ms. Barriga explained to her parents, wore a veil, so why
Barriga’s mother, Fely Barriga, consulted with their parish priest. “He told me
that I should let her go to Islam,” she recalled. “She would come back to the
church when she was ready.”
Ms. Barriga married Mr. Kiram, her parents saw their son-in-law only once, for
10 minutes in a hospital corridor after Ms. Barriga gave birth to a daughter.
her parents visited, there were excuses for his absence. Mr. Kiram was sourcing
seafood, Ms. Barriga would explain.
was always busy with the dried fish and sea cucumbers,” Fely Barriga said. “I
didn’t want to ask too many questions.”
2015, the couple said they were moving to Zamboanga, a city on a southern
tendril of the island of Mindanao. It was the last time Ms. Barriga’s parents
saw their daughter.
same year, unknown to their families, Mr. Kiram and Ms. Barriga took a flight
to Turkey, via Japan, and made their way overland to Syria with their daughter,
according to the intelligence officials.
Barriga called home regularly, but she forbade her parents to call back. When
they tried anyway, the number wouldn’t connect.
2017, Ms. Barriga asked for her father’s assistance with a bank account that
had been flagged following what the bank called a suspicious large transaction.
Mr. Barriga went to the bank to unfreeze the account, which he confirmed to the
is my daughter,” he said. “It’s natural to help your daughter.”
Kiram family is royalty in Zamboanga, descendants of a Muslim sultanate that
ruled a chain of islands stretching toward Malaysia. When Spanish colonialists
arrived in the 16th century, most of the Philippines converted to Catholicism,
but the southern part retained its Muslim roots.
Kiram’s father was a businessman. His mother, like so many educated women in
the Philippines, worked overseas, as a nurse in Saudi Arabia. As a result of
his mother’s foreign income, Mr. Kiram’s life was comfortable, but he lacked
parental discipline, his family said.
Kiram attended the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School, a private academy for
Muslim and Christian students in Zamboanga, a frontier city with a long history
of bombings and militant sieges.
his younger cousins, Mr. Kiram, who went on to study computers at a technical
institute, was a role model, always surrounded by a posse of friends. More than
anything, Mr. Kiram distinguished himself through his staunch defense of his
morals, said one cousin, who did not want to be named because he feared being
stigmatized for his infamous relative.
cousin found out about Mr. Kiram’s radicalization when he saw news about the
Islamic State video on television. “It was the biggest shock of my life,” he
Gustaham, Mr. Kiram’s former Islamic teacher, was impressed with his linguistic
talent: Malay, Turkish, Arabic, English and a number of Filipino languages.
my opinion, he was brilliant,” Sheikh Gustaham said.
about a year of study, Mr. Kiram questioned his teacher about things he was
reading online: the persecution of Palestinians, Syrians and Muslim Filipinos.
His family worried that he was attending a hard-line mosque associated with
Tablighi Jamaat, a missionary movement from South Asia that has been accused of
the hard-line mosque last month, Ayub Julpawai, the head imam, said he was
unconcerned the Islamic State had bombed a church in the southern Philippines
in January, killing 23 people. He also shrugged at the Philippine military’s
bombardment of Muslim communities in an effort to catch the perpetrators.
military campaign is a punishment from Allah because some Muslims no longer
follow the way of Islam,” he said.
Philippine police now say that Mr. Kiram, known by the alias Abdul Rahman, was
involved in the 2012 bombing of a bus terminal in Zamboanga.
year, Mr. Kiram helped produce a militant video that was the first in the
Philippines to use the black flag later associated with the Islamic State as a
backdrop, according to Rommel Banlaoi, author of the upcoming book “Terrorism
in the Philippines: From Al Qaeda to ISIS.”
2016 Islamic State video from Syria, with Mr. Kiram echoing the cadences of a
preacher, was so slickly made that the Philippine military uses it in an
internal course on effective propaganda.
Ms. Barriga was making alliances with other Balik Islam, as people who convert
from Christianity to Islam are known in the Philippines.
2012, Mr. Kiram and Ms. Barriga were arrested in connection with a foiled
bombing plot in which an Indonesian man and his Balik Islam wife were accused
of trying to target a night market in Davao. The Indonesian was shot and killed
by the police. His wife, Mr. Kiram and Ms. Barriga were all released for lack
is not clear what will happen now to Mr. Kiram and Ms. Barriga, who are
believed to be in a Syrian prison camp teeming with foreign militants. The
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on their case.
Zamboanga, Sheikh Gustaham and other moderate Muslims who knew Mr. Kiram are
nervous. Clerics promoting interfaith events have gotten death threats.
may call on all Islamic teachers and tell them I am not a real Muslim,” Sheikh
Gustaham said of his once favorite student. “It’s frightening.”
have nothing': A life in limbo for Malaysia's Yemeni refugees
Lumpur, Malaysia - Mahmoud was well into his shift baking bread when a burst of
urgent shouts warned him of an approaching cordon of men in uniform.
was of the essence and the 19-year-old, ever alert, wasted none of it.
the time the immigration officers barged into the bakery, trawling for those
without proper documents, Mahmoud was already dashing up a nearby flight of
stairs. He stopped only after reaching the seventh floor of the building,
located on the southern outskirts of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.
watched out from the window and saw they had detained many young people,"
Mahmoud recalls. "They took all my friends," he says, his softly
spoken voice slightly at odds with his towering stature.
hid until they left."
is Yemeni. Like thousands before him, he escaped his country's catastrophic war
a year ago to seek refuge in Malaysia - one of a handful of countries worldwide
to offer visa-free entry to Yemenis.
today, Mahmoud is part of a struggling community pushed into a fragile
existence in society's shadows.
is not a signatory to the United Nations convention recognising refugees, while
its dated immigration laws - enacted in 1959 and revised in 1963 - do not
distinguish between those seeking asylum and those entering the country
a result, refugees are denied a host of rights and, crucially, are barred from
legally working and sending their children to state-run schools.
key legal protections and given little aid, refugees end up scraping a
precarious living in informal sectors - and in the case of most Yemenis, taking
on low-paying jobs in restaurants and other food stores owned by their
compatriots who had settled in Malaysia in the years and decades before the
is no money and life is insecure," says Mahmoud, who sees his dream of
becoming a doctor slipping away. "I feel lost."
latest conflict broke out in late 2014 when Houthi rebels, allied with forces
loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized much of the country,
including the capital, Sanaa.
war escalated in March 2015 when a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates launched a fierce air campaign against the rebels in a
bid to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu
Mansour Hadi. Since then, tens of thousands of civilians and combatants have
been killed and as many as 85,000 children may have starved to death.
of people have been forced from their homes as a result, with many fleeing for
safer shores abroad. Some have sought refuge in Malaysia - a country which in
the past has acted to protect persecuted Muslim populations from places such as
Bosnia, Syria and Cambodia.
authorities have long allowed the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) to register
refugees and provide some services on humanitarian grounds, even though the
country has never ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
cardholders, however, are denied the right to work and go to school in the
country. The government provides a 50-percent discount to those officially
recognised as refugees to access healthcare services at state-run facilities.
registration itself can take months or years, leaving many who are waiting to
receive their card at risk of being arrested and locked up at any time. Even if
they are registered, as in the case of Mahmoud and his friends last month,
refugees remain liable for detention under Malaysian law should they be caught
working - although some officers are willing to turn a blind eye during
are currently more than 3,100 Yemenis officially registered with the UNHCR in
Malaysia, while thousands more are unregistered. Overall, about 165,000
refugees and asylum seekers are signed up with the agency in the Southeast
Asian country, with the vast majority hailing from Myanmar, mainly members of
its majority-Muslim Rohingya minority.
Nah, a Malaysian academic and expert on refugee issues, says those seeking
asylum in Malaysia - a popular destination because of its strong economy and
peaceful multi-ethnic society - are often "surprised" by the way they
are targeted in immigration operations.
not necessarily because they are refugees fleeing war and persecution, but
because they are perceived to be migrants with irregular status," she
adds, urging authorities to "recognise current realities and take the
protection of refugees and other non-citizens seriously".
have also been calling on Malaysia's new government, which took office last
year after defeating a ruling coalition that had governed the country for six
decades, to fulfil campaign promises over human rights reforms and sign up to
the Refugee Convention and its Protocol.
asked last month by Al Jazeera about Yemeni refugees' access to work and
education, Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysia's foreign minister, replied: "I
think we are open to proposals."
Malaysia's long-standing refugee policies ensure Yemeni refugees remain in a
state of near-constant fear and uncertainty, deterring them from being able to
think of the country as home.
can we feel it's our home, without having any rights?" asks Badria
Mohammed Albadani, who fled Yemen's war four years ago. "We want to feel
like that but they have to help us … to have education and at the same time
allow us to have a job without the fear that someone will come and attack
former airline employee in Sanaa, 36-year-old Albadani is now a volunteer
coordinator at a community-run centre that helps fleeing Yemenis.
on the first floor of a rundown southern Kuala Lumpur building and overlooking
a street lined with Arab shops and restaurants, the modest space offers
language lessons to Yemeni men, women and children, as well as workshops and
community advocacy. "We try to give some things and skills to the people
that they need fast," says Mohammed al-Radhy, a community leader and the
head of the Tangible Association of Yemeni Refugees (TAYR).
this centre, the people were [dispersed] everywhere. If they needed any kind of
help, they didn't know where to ask. Now, if anyone needs help, if they have a
health problem or are arrested or they need to ask about anything, they
directly call and we give them the help we can," Radhy adds.
a brief pause to check his continuously flashing phone, the 46-year-old admits
that he is rarely at the centre he founded three years ago.
work in my car; I [am always going] to the hospitals, to the prisons, to meet
NGOs, to the families.
need help," he says, with a sigh. "We have no permit to work, no
education, no health(care). We have nothing."
the TAYR centre, Mokhtar bin Dorob teaches an afternoon English class to a
small group of young students. He is also a volunteer, making do with whatever
meagre - if any - amounts the students can afford to chip in. The holder of a
Master's degree in educational technology, the 34-year-old is passionate about
using online tools to help improve the lives of his community.
trying to use WhatsApp to create videos for the students to interact," he
says, standing between two battered, oscillating fans that cool the stiflingly
humid air. "I'm interested in integrating technology to help Yemenis with
the barriers [they face]."
it's not just in informal classrooms that technology has had an effect. In the
absence of institutionalised support, many Yemeni refugees are increasingly
relying on messaging-app groups to share news about the community, discuss
problems and coordinate action - as well as warn each other about immigration
raids and even generate some much-needed income.
sell bread by [taking orders on] WhatsApp," says Amira, a 39-year-old
mother of two daughters. "At times, there's work and at others, there
isn't - for example, this month, I've only had two orders."
says she and her husband "sold everything" four years ago to flee air
raids in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz and bring their children to
since arriving in Malaysia, the family's ordeal has only continued.
we first got here, we felt humiliated; we'd only have one meal per day,"
we got the [UNHCR] card, they said they would help us but we didn't get
anything," she adds.
my story spread on Facebook, university students offered me housing here,"
the situation remains dire.
says she was previously exploited by local employers who turned out to be
"crooks", while her husband, a chef, has been struggling with severe
health problems that prevent him from working.
left from war and found ourselves in another war," Amira says, her two
daughters - aged four and seven - sitting quietly at her feet. "War with
hunger, war with housing."
LUMPUR, March 24 — The advancement of new technology has made it difficult for
the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to combat crimes in the country, said
Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
said with rapid development of technology and widespread use of social media,
it was vital for the security force to keep up with the times and strengthen
their expertise in various aspects.
criminals have new means of engaging in fraudulent activities and the crimes
are getting more complex as they are no longer domestic based but have gone
example, previously when gambling only playing cards were used but now betting
are done online. And the same goes in recruiting terrorists, there are no
physical dealings and love scams which were never thought of before, have
resulted in billion ringgit losses,” he said in a special interview in
conjunction with the 212th Police Day celebration.
he said PDRM have formed partnership and increased collaboration with the
security forces of other countries to stem criminal activities.
line with this year’s Police Memorial Day theme, ‘Polis dan Masyarakat Berpisah
Tiada’ Mohamad Fuzi said the police made it a point to hold meetings with the
community to share information and for action to be taken.
encourage community involvement in crime prevention we have organised the
1Mosque 1Police (1M1P) programme... non-Muslim police personnel too have been
instructed to hold similar programmes with churches and temples all over the
country to enable the public to be the eyes and ears of PDRM.
carrying out our duties to deal with various security issues we still need the
support and assistance of the people at all levels to ensure our country is
safe, stable and secure,” he said.
Mohamad Fuzi said though the crime rate in the country had been decreasing each
year generally people still do not feel safe.
the approval of the the Home Ministry I have directed PDRM R&D (research
and development) division to undertake a specific research on this matter
(perception of feeling safe) to be conducted by an independent party” he said,
adding that last year the crime rate dropped by 11.9 per cent.
Mohamad Fuzi said members of the police force should have high standards of
integrity and must be free from corruption.
said from time to time the police personnel were reminded to stay clear of
corruption as stern action would be taken if they were found guilty.
was very disappointed to learn some of our members were detained by the MACC
(Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) recently for engaging in illicit
The public campaign period for the 2019 presidential election kicked off on
Sunday with visits to various locations by the two candidates, Joko
"Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.
campaign period, determined by the General Elections Commission (KPU), will end
with the final presidential debate on April 13.
kicked off his campaign in Serang, Banten, on Sunday, while his rival visited
Manado, North Sulawesi, and Makassar, South Sulawesi. Jokowi's running mate,
Ma'ruf Amin, was also in Banten but in a separate location, while Prabowo's
running mate, Sandiaga Uno, visited Solo in Central Java.
in his running mate's hometown, Jokowi called on his supporters to oppose fake
news and political hoaxes targeting the candidate pair that have been spread
door-to-door and on social media.
said at least four false rumors have been doing the rounds, which falsely claim
that religious subjects will be removed from the school curriculum, the azan,
or Islamic call to prayer will be banned and same-sex marriage and extramarital
sex will be legalized if he is re-elected.
must all be brave; do not allow our unity, our brotherhood to be broken because
of slander and hoaxes," Jokowi told thousands of his supporters, as quoted
keep silent. If we are silent, [fake] news like that will be accepted as fact.
So we must respond, fight against and correct it," he added.
told his supporters in Yogyakarta a day earlier that he would fight back
against those who slander and insult him.
the past four-and-half years, I was silent. But today in Yogya, I want to tell
you that I will fight back," Jokowi told the crowd after university alumni
in the city pledged support for his candidacy in the April 17 election.
his campaign in Serang on Sunday, Jokowi also called on his supporters to be
happy and not fear the democratic process.
is reflected in the fact that the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team appears to makes
a concerted effort to create a carnival atmosphere at all the candidates'
the incumbent president admitted that his camp still had to work hard in the
province to attract more support, considering that his rival won most of the
votes in the province in the 2014 presidential election. But he expressed
optimism that his camp would gain more support than his opponent.
chose his late mother's hometown to start his public campaign in this year's
his speech in Manado, the former Army general promised to provide jobs and
ensure people's prosperity if he is elected. He criticized the high cost of
basic needs, electricity and fuel, while also promising to address this.
want Indonesia to be victorious, just and prosperous, so our people can enjoy
the prosperity ... eradicate and fight poverty. We won't let people starve,
unable to get proper jobs … having to pay prices that are too high for all of
us," Prabowo told the crowd.
Manado, Prabowo traveled to Makassar, where he confidently called on the people
to change the country's leadership.
people need the change; they understand that there is a lot of corruption in
the country. By the grace of God, once our coalition receives a mandate from
the people, we will form a government that is free of corruption," Prabowo
said. He criticized the current government's policies, particularly on the
imports of some commodities, such as salt.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Sunday that the
sole purpose of National Action Plan (NAP) and merger of defunct Fata with
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was to appease India and America.
a big rally in Mirali town of North Waziristan tribal district, he said that
his party had opposed both the NAP and merger of tribal districts with Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa. Tahaffuz Namoos-i-Risalat rally was organised in the main town
which was also addressed by Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, opposition leader in
KP Assembly Akram Khan Durrani and other party leaders.
was JUI-F’s first show of power in the militancy-hit district after its merger
with the province in May 2018. The government will hold elections in the merged
districts for the provincial assembly before July next. Preparations for the
elections in seven merged districts and six sub-divisions are underway as
several candidates have started their campaign.
Fazlur Rehman said that at present neither Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) nor
police system existed in the merged districts, which had created a complete
legal and administrative vacuum in the erstwhile Fata.
sole purpose of merger was to appease America,” he said, adding that the
neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, had been annoyed over the
decision. He said that people of tribal districts were already living miserable
life and their agonies had increased after the merger.
said that JUI-F was not in favour of NAP that was unveiled after the terrorist
attack on Army Public School, Peshawar, on December 16, 2014. He claimed that
the 20-point plan was introduced to pacify India. He said that nobody was
taking notice of the rights violations in tribal districts. He added that the
tribal people were not taken into confidence before the merger.
JUI-F chief said that the sitting rulers would not be allowed to accomplish
their hidden agenda that included recognition of Jewish state. He said that
attacks on religious scholars were part of international agenda. He said that
Mufti Taqi Usmani, who survived an assassination attempt in Karachi, was a
neutral and non-controversial figure.
said that seminaries and ulema were under attack across the country, adding
that the government could not stop the caravan of Namoos-i-Risalat through such
tactics. He claimed that the government was trying to promote indecency in
society in the name of women’s rights.
Maulana said that a fake government had been installed in the centre which
could not take pressure. He alleged that the Indian pilot was set free under
the US pressure.
said that JUI-F had started organising million marches against what he called
anti-state and anti-Islam policies of the government. He said that a rally
would be organised in Khyber tribal district on April 21. He said that his
party would also give a call for a million march in Islamabad.
A man and his six-year-old daughter were wounded in a landmine explosion in
Boya tehsil of North Waziristan tribal district on Sunday.
said that Gul Dada and his daughter, Salma Bibi, were walking near Norra Manza
checkpost when a landmine went off. Military personnel shifted the wounded
persons to the hospital.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday said the government wants to engage the
opposition in comprehensive discussions on issues related to national security
and the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP).
to media at Qasim Fort at the concluding ceremony of a three-day spring
festival, he said that in his capacity as foreign minister and in consultation
with Prime Minister Imran Khan, he has sent a letter to Pakistan People’s Party
(PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said he has also contacted Opposition
Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari
to invite them to discussions on the national security related issues. He said
the government is ready to discuss the matter in parliament also. He asked
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to send his point of view on the important issues in
all [the opposition parties] are united in your stance regarding the plan. Are
not all your parties signatories to the plan? Then let’s take the matter
forward together,” he said, referring to his telephonic conversation and
letters to Asif Ali Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif.
said Bilawal was adamant and instead responded by demanding that the whole
parliament be briefed on NAP. “I have no objections to that either. We are
ready for that. I want to tell Bilawal through the media: Please allay your
concerns in writing to me. What sort of implementation do you want? What steps
should we take to combat the forces that give shelter to terrorists? Guide us,
tell us. We will give importance to your input and will try to incorporate it
in NAP. But mere statements do not solve problems,'” he said. The foreign
minister said India is trying to defame Pakistan in the international community
in order to push Pakistan from FATF grey list to the black list, adding that
political parties should come forward to devise a comprehensive plan to deal
with the national security related matters with consensus. “Today India is
trying to move a resolution in the [UN] Security Council against Pakistan which
a lot of countries have presented – I do not wish to name them – and many
countries are acting as spokespersons for it. Pakistan’s united stance is in
its best security interests and is in accordance with its national security
requirements,” he said.
once again called upon Bilawal Bhutto to give talks a chance. “I invite you to
sit with us and give me your suggestions, verbally or in writing, and if you
face trouble in coming, the National Assembly is a shared forum. Let us meet in
the assembly, and if you feel like your party members are not all on the same page
yet then I am ready to come. The chamber of the leader of the opposition is
available. I will tell Sharif to make it available for us,” he stressed.
a question about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings on Pakistan
Day, the foreign minister said India was bent on attacking Pakistan in February
this year, and now it is sending greetings. However, he described it as a
positive change. He also welcomed Indian PM’s statement of initiating joint
efforts for overcoming poverty, terrorism and betterment of the subcontinent.
He said Pakistan has no hesitation in moving forward on these issues as Prime
Minister Imran Khan has already stated that India and Pakistan should engage in
joint efforts on these issues. Qureshi, however, said there might be some
uncertainty in mutual relationship till the holding of elections in India,
adding that Pakistan must be ready for dealing with any kind of situation.
another question, Qureshi condemned the terrorist attacks in New Zealand in
which 50 Muslims were martyred by a white supremacist terrorist. He said that
the incident happened due to rising Islamophobia. He lauded the support and
action of prime minister of New Zealand and the people of the country after the
sad incident. He said the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have
right to pursue their political strategies. He said most of the workers of both
parties are not happy with the current political situation. He also quoted the
statement of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan in which he said that his party always
faced trouble whenever it made alliance with the PML-N. The foreign minister
said every kind of protection was being given to the minorities in the country.
Hindu minor girls, who were allegedly abducted and forcefully converted to
Islam, have approached a court in Bahawalpur seeking protection.
to the family of the teenage girls, the sisters were abducted from Daharki in
Ghotki district of Sindh and forcefully converted to Islam before being
subjected to underage marriages. The incident came to light after the girls’
father and brother revealed the details in videos that went viral on social
media. In a separate video, however, the girls can be seen saying that they
accepted Islam out of their own free will. The teenagers in question have
approached a court in Bahawalpur seeking protection, in a baffling twist of
events that appears to contradict the family’s claims that they were abducted
and converted to Islam and wedded off under duress. Police have meanwhile
arrested a man from Khanpur who is suspected to have assisted in the nikah
(marital contract) of the girls. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Sunday
said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued directives to Punjab chief
minister for taking steps for recovery of two Hindu girls allegedly abducted
from Sindh and shifted to Rahim Yar Khan. The minister tweeted that the prime
minister has directed the governments of Sindh and Punjab to adopt a joint
strategy to prevent such incidents in future. Minister of State for Interior
Shehryar Khan Afridi has directed IG Police Sindh Kaleem Imam to probe and submit
report on alleged abduction of the Hindu girls.
militants killed, wounded in Special Forces operations and airstrikes
least 21 militants were killed during the latest operations of the Afghan
Special Forces and airstrikes in three provinces of the country.
to informed military sources, Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Zankhan
district of Ghazni province in the past 24 hours killing 9 Taliban fighters.
sources further added that during the clash, airstrikes targeted two barricaded
shooters in two structures.
Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation in Qaisar district of Faryab, supported
by the Afghan Air Force, which killed 4 Taliban fighters and wounded 4 others.
airstrike was also carried out in Kajaki district of Helmand province which
left 2 Taliban leaders dead, the sources added.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operations so far.
several weeks, state officials in Bangladesh have been visiting refugee camps
in Cox's Bazar to convince hundreds of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar about the
merits of a plan to relocate them to a remote and uninhabited island that could
be a natural disaster risk.
Rohingya have attended meetings that included talks from officials and video
screenings on how their lives will improve once they settle on Bhasan Char,
also known as "Floating Island."
government wants to relocate 100,000 refugees from next month.
promises of better accommodation, a safer living environment, improved job
prospects and freedom of movement, most Rohingya remain unconvinced.
island's location is the main headache for the beleaguered Muslim minority,
which fled to Bangladesh in droves to escape military crackdowns in 2016 and
2017 in their home state of Rakhine in western Myanmar.
Rahim, 52, used to serve as a primary school teacher in Buthidaung town in
Rakhine. He moved to Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar in 2017 with his
he is involved with an advocacy group called the Arakan Rohingya Society for
Peace and Human Rights.
activist has attended sessions on the relocation plan, but like many Rohingya
he is dreading the move.
don't know how the government is going to select the refugees who will be sent
there, but everyone I have talked to is fearful," Rahim told ucanews.com.
know this is an uninhabited, low-lying and flood-prone place, and it gets very
hot during the summer. Our lives may be at risk if we move there as we are not
used to such an environment."
he said he appreciated the government's promises of more opportunities to earn
a living from agriculture, cattle and poultry farming, and fishing on the island.
nagging concern for the community, he said, is that the move may delay their
repatriation to Myanmar, which some critics have blasted as being unsustainable
as they are still believed to be unwelcome in the country.
don't want to stay here [in Bangladesh] for a long time. We want to go home. If
anyone is willing to move to the island, that's their choice, but personally I
don't agree with the plan," he said.
Rezwan, 26, moved to Kutupalong camp with his parents and brothers in 2017. He
is also loath to experience island life.
family and I are not interested in moving to Bhasan Char as our lives are
comfortable in the camp," Rezwan told ucanews.com.
true the camps are overcrowded, but life is far better here than back home where
we faced persecution. I think that instead of this relocation plan the
government should work more with the international community to pressure
Myanmar to create a favorable situation in Rakhine.
just want to return home and live there in safety, peace and with
Char is an uninhabited, muddy islet situated in Noakhali district in southeast
Bangladesh. It emerged from the sea two decades ago and is cut off from the
land, meaning the only way to reach it is by boat. The island is prone to
flooding and storms during the monsoon season from June to September.
government first came up with the plan in 2015 but later backed off amid
criticism from aid agencies and human rights groups.
in recent years it has spent over US$280 million developing the island for
human habitation, including the construction of embankments and houses to
accommodate the refugees, local media have reported.
relocation plan is primarily slated to start in April but a fixed date has not
yet been confirmed, said Muhammad Abul Kalam, head of Bangladesh's Refugee
Relief and Repatriation Commission.
are engaged in primary groundwork to complete all the preparations. We have a
plan to relocate 100,000 refugees there, but the process of selecting them also
has not been finalized yet," he said.
we can assure the refugees that moving there will be voluntary. No one will be
forced to go."
pave the way and allay their fears, sessions aimed at convincing the refugees
about the merits of the move are now underway in the camps, he noted.
have briefed them verbally and shown them videos so that they can see how
better their lives will be in Bhasan Char," he told ucanews.com.
can make a living from agriculture, raising livestock and fishing without any
restrictions. We hope our efforts will help to change their negative mindset
about the island."
and other aid agencies have also expressed concern and have yet to give the
relocation plan their official stamp of approval.
report "ongoing discussions" with Dhaka about the "critical
protection and operational issues" that need to be addressed before any
voluntary relocation can take place.
example, "the refugees must be assured of safe and sustainable living
conditions if they chose to relocate," Caroline Gluck, regional
information officer for the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told Arab News on
a recent statement, Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights,
said the move to a not-yet-habitable island could trigger a new crisis.
visited Bangladesh in January and made a trip to the island during her stay.
are a number of things that remain unknown to me, even following my visit,
chief among them being whether the island is truly habitable," Lee told
the U.N. Human Rights Council on March 11.
relocation, and relocations without the consent of the refugees concerned, have
the potential to create a new crisis," she said.
William Gomes, head of disaster management at the Catholic charity Caritas,
echoed those sentiments.
Char is a high-risk area for natural disasters as it is located at the mouth of
a river. The relocation plan should be meticulously reviewed before
execution," he told ucanews.com.
suggested the government take a group of Rohingya there on a de facto scouting
mission so that they could report their findings and thoughts to other refugees
back in the camps.
Afghan Special Forces conducted fresh raids against Taliban militants in
southeastern Khost and southern Zabul provinces of Afghanistan in the past 24
hours, leaving at least 2 militants dead.
to informed military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation
in Khost province leaving at least 1 Taliban fighter dead.
sources further added that seven Taliban militants were also arrested during
the same operation.
Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation in Jaldak district of Zabul
province killing 1 Taliban fighter, the sources added.
clashes continue between Taliban and ISIS Khurasan militants in eastern Kunar
province of Afghanistan as the Afghan military confirm that the ongoing clashes
have inflicted casualties on both sides.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said at least one Taliban
militant and nine ISIS Khurasan militants have been killed so far.
to a statement released by 201st Silab Corps, at least 9 ISIS Khurasan
militants have also been killed and 14 others have sustained injuries during
statement further added that the clashes continue in Chapa Dara district and
one Taliban fighter identified as Hezbullah has been killed and another Taliban
militant identified as Faqir has sustained injuries.
201st Silab Corps in another statement said the Afghan armed forces carried out
strikes against ISIS Khurasan militants using heavy and light weaponry to
protect the lives and properties of local residents.
to 201st Silab Corps, at least 9 ISIS Khurasan militants were killed and 14
others were wounded during the same strikes.
United States has carried out airstrikes in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz
province after a fatal insider attack, leaving at least 14 civilians dead,
mostly women and children.
spokeswoman for the American military confirmed the Saturday airstrikes, but
blamed the Taliban militant group for the civilian deaths.
Taliban were hiding in civilian homes and maneuvered in and out of compounds
without any concern for the families living inside,” said Sgt. 1st Class Debra
attack came a day after two US soldiers and four Afghan troops were killed
during a joint operation in Gul Tepa, a district on the outskirts of Kunduz
to the New York Times on Sunday, the latest episode began after an armored
vehicle used by US troops broke down as they were heading to a security
the soldiers got out to fix the vehicle, an Afghan soldier described by
officials as a Taliban insider opened fire on them.
US forces reportedly fired back at the assailant, “and Afghan soldiers
stationed in a nearby outpost returned fire at them, not realizing what had
happened,” the newspaper quoted a local commander as saying.
said the Americans called in air raids, which killed 12 civilians and six
a local police commander in the area, said 14 members of a large refugee family
were killed in one of the aerial attacks that hit their house.
American bombs also hit the Afghan outpost, leaving between four and eight
soldiers dead, according to varying estimates.
Amiri, deputy head of the Kunduz provincial council, said four Afghan troops
and 14 civilians lost their lives in the raids.
officials said at least eight children and four women were among those who lost
their lives in the airstrikes.
casualties from aerial attacks conducted by US forces have surged across
Afghanistan over the past few months.
United States has recently stepped up its air raids in an attempt to exert
pressure on the Taliban to accept a negotiated end to its 18-year insurgency.
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan recorded 649 civilians casualties as a
result of aerial attacks in the first nine months of last year, the highest
number in any year since systematic recording began in 2009.
Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an
end in the wake of a US-led invasion in 2001, but the militant group still
continues to attack government and civilian targets as well as foreign forces.
than 130 killed in Mali massacre as UN visits
than 130 people were killed in an attack on a Fulani village in central Mali on
Saturday, the United Nations said, as a delegation visited the country.
accused traditional Dogon hunters of carrying out the deadly raid in Ogossagou,
according to Boubacar Kane, the governor of Bankass district which covers the
village. A security source told AFP the victims were shot or hacked to death
Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by reports that at least 134
civilians, including women and children, have been killed," Antonio
Guterres's spokesman said in a statement, adding he called on Malian
authorities "to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice".
attack was launched at dawn on Saturday in the village near the border with
Burkina Faso, said several sources. The district has been the scene of frequent
witnesses questioned separately by AFP said hunters had burned down nearly all
the huts in the village.
spokesman said the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, provided air support to deter
further attacks and assisted with the evacuation of the injured.
massacre took place as a delegation from the United Nations Security Council
visited the Sahel region to assess the jihadist threat there.
the UN said the visiting ambassadors from the Security Council countries met on
Saturday with Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and discussed with
him the volatile situation in the centre of the country.
local attacks are fuelled by accusations of grazing cattle on Dogon land and
disputes over access to land and water, the area is also troubled by jihadist
the past four years, jihadist fighters have emerged as a threat in central
Mali. A group led by radical Islamist preacher Amadou Koufa has recruited
mainly from the Muslim Fulani community.
then, there have been repeated clashes between the nomadic Fulani herders and
the Dogon ethnic group.
year that violence cost the lives of 500 civilians, according to UN figures.
January, Dogon hunters were blamed for the killing of 37 people in another
Fulani village, Koulogon, in the same region.
Fulani have repeatedly called for more protection from the authorities. The
government in Bamako has denied their accusations it turns a blind eye to -- or
even encourages -- Dogon attacks on the Fulani.
considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, Mali in recent years
has been dogged by a coup, civil war and Islamist terrorism.
linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north in early 2012, but were
largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
June 2015, Mali's government signed a peace agreement with some armed groups,
but the jihadists remain active, and large tracts of the country remain
the presence of UN peacekeepers, a strong French military contingent and the
creation of a five-nation military force in the region, jihadist violence has
protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief
Relatives and supporters of Libya’s Qaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for
his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising,
protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.
Al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime dictator Muamar Qaddafi, was sentenced
to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the regime’s response to
a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Qaddafi.
others close to Qaddafi, including the Libyan leader’s son, Seif Al-Islam, also
received death sentences following a trial condemned by the UN as “seriously”
dozen relatives and members of Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a
central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.
law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said one protester,
have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.
a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and
consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by intercommunal
conflicts since Qaddafi’s fall.
unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of
Abuzeid Dorda, Qaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the
same time as Senussi.
protesters held up photos of Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom
to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation.”
was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after
the dictator’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal
Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.
in an unusual move, in 2013 the court gave Libyan authorities the green light
to put him on trial.
has since been detained in the capital, along with some 40 other senior
Qaddafi-era officials including the dictator’s last prime minister Baghdadi
was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of
Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.
on Saturday condemned the terror attacks in the Somalian capital Mogadishu that
killed at least 10 people.
others were wounded in the attacks targeting two ministry buildings earlier in
Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “We strongly condemn the
terrorist attacks perpetrated against the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
and the Ministry of Public Works in Mogadishu.”
wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, a speedy recovery to the
wounded and convey our condolences to the friendly and brotherly Government and
people of Somalia,” the statement read.
least 10 people including an assistant minister were killed when Somalia's Al
Shabab militants stormed a government building in the capital Mogadishu on
group detonated a car bomb outside the ministries of public works and labour,
allowing other militants to enter the compound, triggering a gun battle that
lasted several hours. Police said there were five attackers including the
suicide bomber and all were killed.
building was secured by security forces. The four militants who attacked the
building were shot dead. Another militant was a suicide car bomber and so he
also died," Major Ali Abdullahi, a police officer, told Reuters.
said 10 people, including assistant labour minister Saqar Ibrahim Abdala and
police personnel, had died during the fighting.
Radio Daslan station identified another of the dead as Mohamed Abdi Karie, an
engineer who had just returned to the country from Yemen.
20 people were wounded in the attack, police said.
the attack unfolded, gunfire could be heard from inside the building and white
smoke billowed from the scene.
a separate assault on Saturday, Al Shabab exploded a roadside bomb at a
security checkpoint in Mogadishu that killed three government soldiers and also
injured a local politician and three of his bodyguards, according to Abdiasis
Abu Musab, a spokesman for the Al Qaeda-affiliated group.
confirmed the attack but said two civilians and one soldier had been killed by
the blast while a politician from one of Somalia's federal states was injured.
attacks come just weeks after a suicide car bombing targeted a Mogadishu hotel,
killing 29 and injuring at least 80. Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the
targeted and stormed Hotel Maka Al Mukaram. We are still inside it,” Shabab
spokesman Abdiasis said at the time.
Somali government vowed to step up efforts to fight the group, following the
nearly 24-hour standoff. "The Somali government will never stop its war on
Al Shabab, our aim is to be done with them, whatever the cost," Prime
Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said.
Shabab is fighting to topple Somalia's western-backed central government and
establish its own rule.
group was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of
its other strongholds across the country. But it remains a formidable threat,
with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring
from Kenya form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force Amisom
that helps to defend Somalia's central government.
Zealand: Banning of manifesto raises free speech debate
Zealanders are debating the limits of free speech after their chief censor
banned the 74-page manifesto written and released by the man accused of
slaughtering 50 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
ban, issued Saturday, means anybody caught with the document on their computer
could face up to 10 years in prison, while anyone caught sending it could face
14 years. Some say the ban goes too far and risks lending both the document and
the gunman mystique.
the same time, many local media organizations are debating whether to even name
the Australian man charged with murder in the March 15 attacks, 28-year-old
Brenton Tarrant, after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed she
would never mention him by name.
some ways, Tarrant’s manifesto provides the greatest insight into his character
and thinking, with neighbors and those he met in a gym in the sleepy seaside
town of Dunedin recalling nothing particularly remarkable about him.
Censor David Shanks said Tarrant’s manifesto contains justifications for acts of
tremendous cruelty like killing children and encourages acts of terrorism, even
outlining specific places to target and methods to carry out attacks.
said that in banning the document, he and his staff worried about drawing more
attention to it. But in the end, he said, they decided they needed to treat it
the same way as propaganda from groups like the Islamic State, which they have
had earlier placed a similar ban on the 17-minute livestream video the killer
filmed from a camera mounted on his helmet during the shootings. He said
researchers and journalists could apply for exemptions from both bans.
while free speech advocates haven’t questioned banning the graphic video, they
said banning the manifesto is a step too far.
are more confident of each other and their leaders when there is no room left
for conspiracy theories, when nothing is hidden,” said Stephen Franks, a
constitutional lawyer and spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition. “The damage
and risks are greater from suppressing these things than they are from trusting
people to form their own conclusions and to see evil or madness for what it
said he had no interest in reading the manifesto until it was banned. He now is
curious because it is “forbidden fruit”, he said, and he worries others may
feel the same way. He said the ban makes no sense when New Zealanders remain
free to read Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf”.
told Parliament last week that she wouldn’t give the gunman anything he wanted.
sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety,” she said.
“And that is why you will never hear me mention his name.”
said people should instead remember the names of the victims.
media organisations appear to be taking up her call. News website Stuff on
Saturday published an 1,800-word profile on Tarrant without once naming him.
view at the moment is that we’re dialing back on naming him, unless it’s
pertinent or important,” said Mark Stevens, the editorial director at Stuff.
New Zealand Herald also published a profile on Tarrant with an accompanying
editorial that mentions Ardern’s stance. The editorial says, “Our piece keeps
the mention of his name to a minimum.”
organisations fear Tarrant will use his trial as a soapbox to promote his white
nationalist views, especially after he fired his lawyer and said he’d represent
Danish journalist Claus Blok Thomsen, who works for the Politiken newspaper and
covered the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, said there are
dangers in censoring Tarrant. He said that during the Breivik trial, many media
outlets, including his own, were careful to report only what happened in court
without discussing Breivik’s far-right ideology.
said it was an approach favored by intellectuals and so-called experts, but
when he interviewed the families of the victims, he found many of them were
said when we start to censor ourselves, we just make him into a martyr,”
Thomsen said. “We are not able to learn how mad this guy was, what his thinking
was, until everything is out in the light.”
his manifesto, Tarrant describes himself as being born into a working-class
family and not being interested in university. He says he made some money
investing, although in other internet posts he talks about getting an
inheritance when his father died.
Dunedin, about a five-hour drive south of Christchurch, Tarrant lived in a
modest pale-green wooden apartment. His neighbors said they’d see him out
running sometimes, but that he mostly kept to himself. At the Anytime Fitness
gym, those who knew him described him as polite and interested mainly in
pumping weights that build upper-body strength.
was also a member of the Bruce Rifle Club, which has a shooting range down a
dusty forest road that’s used mostly by hunters and loggers, about a 45-minute
drive southwest of Dunedin near the rural town of Milton.
of boxes of bowling pins stacked in teetering towers and a few fluorescent
vests are all there is inside a simple hut at the range. The club closed
indefinitely last week after it emerged that Tarrant was a member.
like much of his life in Dunedin, Tarrant was something of a ghost at the club.
Polite, low-key, helpful, normal. Club vice president Scott Williams told the
Otago Daily Times that Tarrant seemed “as normal as anyone else” and never
mentioned anything about his white supremacist beliefs.
think we’re feeling a bit stunned and shocked and a bit betrayed, perhaps, that
we’ve had this person in our club who has ended up doing these horrible
things,” he told the newspaper.
said Tarrant was always helping out around the club, including setting up and
packing down the range. He said Tarrant used a hunting rifle and an AR-15, which
of the few people who has publicly said he had concerns about Tarrant before
the attacks is hunting guide Pete Breidahl. He said he complained in 2017 to a
local police officer who monitors gun licenses about the disturbing behavior of
some members of the rifle club.
a Facebook video and comments posted online, Breidahl said some club members
had Confederate flags, wore camouflage clothing with rank insignia, vilified
Muslims and had homicidal fantasies. He claimed to have met Tarrant, calling
him “not right.” Police said they had no record of a complaint but were looking
into Breidahl’s claims.
his manifesto, Tarrant claims he got approval for his attack from Breivik, who
killed 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island in 2011. Breivik’s lawyer has said
that’s very unlikely because his client has limited contact with the outside
world from his prison cell.
the journalist, said the biggest fear he and other reporters had when they were
covering Breivik was that he would inspire a copycat killer. Now he’s traveled
to Christchurch to learn more about what happened there.
Zealand PM announces royal commission inquiry into Christchurch attack
Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday a royal commission
inquiry into the events leading up to a March 15 attack on two mosques in
Christchurch that killed 50 people, including into the country’s intelligence
is important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of how this
act of terrorism occurred and what, if any, opportunities we had to stop it,”
Ardern told reporters at Parliament House in the capital, Wellington.
said a royal commission, which are independent inquiries and are usually
reserved for matters of the greatest public importance, was an appropriate
response to the attack.
videos claiming surge in religious conversions in New Zealand are doing rounds
online after Christchurch mosque shootings that took place on March 15. The
videos claim that people are converting to Islam especially after the shooting.
India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found one such video to be
misleading. The video is old and it was being circulated on Facebook months
before the mass shootings in Christchurch.
Facebook page 'Azamgarh Express' posted a video three days after Christchurch
shootings. The video claims to be of a conversion ceremony which, the video
says took place after Christchurch attacks.
message written on the FB post in Hindi reads "Poeple keep on converting
to Islam after the New Zealand mosque attack. Inshallah to 49...49,000 people
will accept Islam... you are welcome"
video had been viewed more than 11,000 times and had been shared 600 times till
the time of writing this story.
other Facebook pages like "Muslim Express" and "Chanakya ke
Guru" also posted the same claim with the same viral video. The posts have
been shared by thousands of users on Facebook.
video shows a man in blue shirt and having a pony tail reciting verses in
Arabic. He is guided by an Imam who hugs him after the recitation is over.
verify, we used INVid to reverse search the key images of the viral video.
Using Yandex image search we found that a screen grab from the video featured
in an another video on a YouTube channel named 'Ethio Muslim tube channel'
back our brother from Denmark" were the words written on the screen grab.
found a particular video when we searched YouTube with words "conversion
to Islam in Denmark".
video was found to have been posted 5 months ago by a YouTube channel "BSL
FUN 69 TV"
has the same viral video posted on Facebook pages.
Facebook page "Converts to Islam" posted this same viral video five
caption says "A Danish brother convert to Islam and pronounces the
testimony of faith Shahadah"
viral video with the same caption was also posted by many Facebook users last
year in the month of November. All these posts claim that the video was from
the mixed messages of the ruling Tories, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is urging
Prime Minister Theresa May to adopt a new definition of Islamophobia.
a letter to May, Khan said that he has been repeatedly subjected to anti-Muslim
abuse from Tory members and supporters, and called on her to order her
Conservative Party to deal with the issue, according to reports by local media
on Sunday, including The Guardian.
new definition, already been adopted by the opposition Labour Party and Liberal
Democrats, says: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that
targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
wrote: “Reassuring British Muslims about their safety in the aftermath of
Christchurch [attack] is not just about policing and security.
also requires us to relentlessly root out the Islamophobia and anti-Muslim
abuse that has crept into the mainstream of our society and political debate.
is vital that our political parties lead from the front in this effort and set
the strongest possible example to society.”
added: “The Conservative party in particular needs to do much more to send the
clear message that Islamophobia is totally unacceptable, as unfortunately that
has not always been the case over recent years.”
important than party politics'
letter came after Islamophobic abuses rose almost sixfold in the U.K. following
the terror attacks earlier this month on two mosques in Christchurch, New
Zealand, which killed 50 Muslims and left about as many injured, several
myself have repeatedly been subject to Islamophobic abuse from Conservative
members and supporters,” wrote Khan. “I have lost track of the number of
Conservative councillors and members that have been suspended or faced legal
action as a result of making Islamophobic comments towards or about me.”
told how in 2017 Shaun Bailey, the Conservatives’ London mayoral candidate the
following year, retweeted an article that referred to Khan as “the mad mullah
this is not about me,” Khan said.
am deeply concerned about the message these incidents send to our wider
society. This is not about party politics – it is far more important than that.
will know that I have rigorously called out racism wherever I have seen it –
including on antisemitism within the Labour party.
the all-party parliamentary group definition of Islamophobia will send the
strongest possible signal that there is no place for Islamophobia or
anti-Muslim sentiment in the Conservative party or anywhere else in our
politics or wider society.”
incidents have risen significantly due to a number of factors, such as Brexit
and the proliferation of far-right groups spreading misconceptions about
immigration and faith.
Muslim Council of Britain, the U.K.’s largest Muslim body, has many times urged
the Conservative Party leadership to tackle the issue of Islamophobia within
the party and investigate Tories accused of Islamophobia.
comments by Tory party members and councillors have been found online, with
some calling for the bombing of mosques, and others making racist comments
about Khan and Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
ruling party the Conservatives has quietly reinstated the membership of 15
councilors who were suspended for posting racist and anti-Muslim content
online, an investigation from a British newspaper found.
Guardian found that some councillors described Saudis as “sand peasants” and
shared material comparing Asian people to dogs. Even after dozens of Tory
members were suspended over anti-Muslim comments, the newspaper found evidence
of five more apparent members posting Islamophobic comments online, referring to
Muslims as “cavemen” and claiming most are sex offenders.
report shines a spotlight on a controversy surrounding the Conservative Party’s
attitude towards Muslims. On March 18, 25 party members were suspended over
anti-Islamic comments. This is in addition to the 40 members already suspended
from previous investigations into Islamophobia.
Conservative politicians and supporters have criticised the party for failing
to adequately stand up to racism, particularly towards Muslims. Mohammed Amin,
chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, called on the party to publish a
formal set of disciplinary processes after the 15 councillors were suspended.
Former Tory party chair and first Muslim woman cabinet minister, Sayeeda Warsi,
said that the move to reinstate the councillors was “revolving door racism”.
Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism campaign group, accused Brandon Lewis, chairman
of the Tory party, of misleading the public about a number of Islamophobia
complaints made by people within the party.
sentiment has been on the rise throughout the UK in increasingly febrile times.
In the week after the mosque shootings on March 15 that killed 50 people
Christchurch, New Zealand, anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK has increased by
593%, according to independent watchdog Tell Mama. The charity found that
almost all of the increase in cases comprised language, symbols or actions
linked to the Christchurch attacks. For example, cases included people making
impressions of pointing a pistol to Muslim women and comments about British
Muslims and an association with actions taken by the terrorist in New Zealand.
Global Union of Yemeni Communities and other rights groups protested in front
of the UN headquarters in Geneva against Houthi atrocities being committed against
civilians in the district of Hajour.
on Saturday said they wanted to draw international attention to the situation
across Yemen and called on the international community to apply further
pressure on the Houthis by imposing sanctions to deter the Iranian-backed
Hayaf Khalid, president of the Global Union of Yemeni Communities, said that
the people of Hajour “suffer from a very harsh Houthi siege that prevents them
from water and food.”
homes have been bombed, their sheikhs have been killed and their children are
being used as human shields on the battlefronts, he added.
last September, the Houthis had imposed a blockade on Hajour, according to
local sources, in an attempt to subdue them.
Hajour tribes with a population of around 200,000 are spread over more than 10
districts in Hajjah Governorate.
President Donald Trump will sign an order recognizing the Israeli regime's
sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, Israel's Foreign Minister Israel
a post on his Twitter account on Sunday, Katz added that Trump would issue the
decree on Monday in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in
Trump will sign tomorrow in the presence of PM Netanyahu an order recognizing
Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the foreign minister said.
said on Thursday that it was time to back what he described as the Israeli
regime's "sovereignty" over the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory
under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War.
52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s
Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security
importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" the US
president wrote on Twitter.
has long pushed for such recognition and many analysts believe that Trump's
Golan Heights announcement is a campaign gift ahead of Israel's legislative
elections on April 9.
prime minister faces an increasingly tough time ahead as his biggest political
opponent overtakes him in popularity and as calls mount for him to resign over
looming corruption charges that could effectively end his political career.
military chief of staff Benny Gantz, head of the newly-formed center-left Blue
and White political alliance, has both gained in popularity — past that of
Netanyahu’s — and urged the Israeli prime minister to resign.
Arab League, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Iraq on Friday strongly warned the US
after President Trump declared that he will recognize Syria's Golan Heights as
Israeli territory, saying it violates international law. France said the same.
strategic highlands have been under the Israeli occupation since 1967, but
Trump's abrupt declaration brings the dispute to a boiling point.
decision is the latest major move in favor of Israel. In December 2017, he
formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel and
later moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, which
Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.
a Sunday statement, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the US president has only made the
resistance front more resolute against the Israeli regime and its supporters.
said on Sunday it would expand its ties with Lebanon in spite of the
“provocative and interventionist” call by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for
Beirut to choose sides, Iranian state television reported.
a regional tour, Pompeo said on Friday that Lebanon faced a choice - “Bravely
move forward as an independent and proud nation, or allow the dark ambitions of
Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi dismissed Pompeo’s remarks.
of the failure of its policies in the Middle East, America has turned to the
outdated and disgraced weapon of threats and intimidation to impose its
imperious policies on other countries,” Qasemi said, state television reported.
respecting the independence of Lebanon and the free will of its government and
nation, Iran will use all its capacities to strengthen unity inside Lebanon and
also to expand its ties with Lebanon.”
whose influence has expanded at home and in the region, controls three of 30
ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad
al-Hariri, the largest number in its history.
said that Lebanon’s Hezbollah was a legal and popular party.
can Pompeo make such impudent and irrational remarks (about Hezbollah) while
visiting Lebanon,” he said.
between Tehran and Washington have increased since US President Donald Trump
pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers last May,
and then re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to take to the UN the issue of the
Israeli regime’s claim over the occupied Golan Heights, as the US president is
to recognize Tel Aviv’s sovereignty over the Syrian territory.
made the remarks in an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber on Sunday.
also said US President Donald Trump's statement on Golan Heights was a
"gift" to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of
has long pushed for such recognition and many analysts share Erdogan’s view
that Trump's Golan Heights announcement was a campaign gift ahead of Israel's
legislative elections on April 9.
on Thursday declared his bid to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian
territory, marking a dramatic shift in US policy.
a speech at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on
Friday, Erdogan said the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights
cannot be allowed.
also told an election rally in Turkey’s central province of Konya on the same
day, “Under UN resolutions, Israel cannot lay claim on even a small bit of the
remarks about the Golan Heights could lead the region to a new escalation […]
This is not acceptable.”
remarks come as Trump is to sign an order recognizing the Israeli regime's
sovereignty over the occupied Golan, according to Israel's Foreign Minister
has rejected as “provocative, meddlesome, and undiplomatic” the latest remarks
made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Lebanese resistance
a statement on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
pointed to Pompeo’s comments against Hezbollah, and lashed out at him for
making such “rude and unwise” remarks and raising “baseless, false, hackneyed,
and futile” claims and accusations against a major political and legal part of
Lebanon while he was visiting the Arab country.
his recent trip to Beirut, Pompeo expressed concern over the role of Hezbollah
in the Arab country, saying that the Lebanese nation must pick a side.
and the Lebanese people face a choice: bravely move forward as an independent
and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate
your future,” he said during a joint news conference with his Lebanese
counterpart Gebran Bassil on Friday.
however, rejected Pompeo’s comments, saying that “Hezbollah is a Lebanese party,
not a terrorist group, and it enjoys a wide popular base.”
his Sunday comments, Qassemi said Hezbollah enjoys the popular backing of the
majority of the Lebanese nation, and holds major seats in the country’s
government and parliament.
said Tehran “totally understands the US’ outrage over the praiseworthy
performance and role of the resistance forces, the Hezbollah, and the wise
people of the region, and all those who foiled the US’ new colonialist and
ominous plots in the region.”
remarks and stances stem from the failure of Washington’s destructive policies
in the region, the Iranian spokesperson said.
also “indicate the dissatisfaction and excessive outrage of the irrational
rulers of the US over the popular solidarity and unity in Lebanon and the
restoration of calm and stability in the Arab state, especially after the
formation of its government,” he added.
pointed to Washington’s long-lasting policy of intimidating regional
governments, and said, “Now that it has failed to realize its ominous goals in
the sensitive region of the Middle East, the US is resorting to the worn-out,
hackneyed, and outdated trick of intimidating and threatening others in a bid
to impose its hegemonic policies and behavior.”
do that, Washington not only tries to create a rift among other countries, but
also levels groundless accusations against others, he added.
respecting the government and nation of Lebanon and the independent will of the
country, Iran stresses that it will tap into all its capacities in order to
promote solidarity and unity in Lebanon, and to reinforce bilateral ties with
the country in issues that are in the interest of the Iranian and Lebanese
people,” Qassemi said.
claims that the Lebanese resistance movement condones terrorism despite the
fact that Hezbollah has been involved in a fierce fight against Takfiri terror
groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of
the militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.
has also supported the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-sponsored
terrorists, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since March 2011.
Washington has for long accused Hezbollah of being behind the 1983 bombing
attack, in which 241 US Marines were killed.
October, the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a new round of
sanctions on the movement, targeting individuals and international
organizations that do business with the group.
sanctions legislation Trump signed is known as the Hezbollah International
Financing Prevention Amendments Act 2018.
was founded in the 1980s following the Israeli invasion and occupation of
southern Lebanon. The movement waged a long resistance campaign against Israeli
forces and pushed them out of southern Lebanon in May 2000. Since then, the
group has grown into a powerful military force. Israel also suffered a
humiliating defeat from Hezbollah in the 2006 war.
Yemen’s economy lost nearly $50bn during the four-year war against the
Iranian-backed Houthis, national news agency SPA reported on Sunday.
losses do not include the costs of direct and indirect damages from the
destruction of infrastructure, Yemen’s Minister of Planning and International
Cooperation Najib Al-Awaj said.
volume of economic activity declined in the last five years and growth was
negative in all sectors, Al-Awaj added.
eight Houthi militants died in clashes with national resistance forces in
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