with his fresh delivery, Image Credit: Getty Images
Group Blames Jamaat, Popular Front of India for Growth of Extremism
Professor Explains Why Sikhs Need To Stand With Muslims against Hate Crimes
Ministry Issues New Criteria on Organ Donation of Brain Dead Patients
Activist Said All Muslims Should Be Removed From UK
Anti-Terrorism Chief Warns Religious Schools to watch out for Extremism
Take Over As Chair of UN Developing Countries
Condemns Kabul Bombing, Asks Taliban to Stop Violence against Own People
Explains Why Sikhs Need To Stand With Muslims against Hate Crimes
Muslim Sculptors Have Been Preparing Hindu Idols for 40 Years
Muslims Grounded as A Religious Outfit Says Flying Kites 'Un-Islamic'
be Hindus, Muslims be Muslims, why convert entire world: Home Minister
killed in bomb attack in Kabul: External Affairs Ministry
will not hesitate to take strong action to deal with terror activities: Army
Mufti calls J&K terrorists 'sons of the soil'
Corridor Access: On Pakistan Idea, Punjab Says Allow Aadhaar, Waive Passport
UN Rights Chief Mary Robinson Pulls Out Of Dubai Festival Over Jailed Activist
Arabia Will Continue To Be ‘Spiritual, Religious Leader Of All Muslims’
Hashd al-Sha'abi Preventing US Troops' Spying along Iraq-Syria Border
Winter weather killed 15 displaced children in Syria
your emotions through self-expression, says young Saudi poet
Grows Among Muslims, Jews Over Belgium's Halal, Kosher Ban
spy agency to investigate anti-Islam, anti-immigration leading opposition party
TV Watchdog Investigating Comments Made on Muslim TV Channel - Reports
least 14 arrested in anti-terror operation in Catalonia
FM visits Iraq’s Najaf, meets Shia leaders
persecution at home, Ahmadiyya Muslims find refuge in Manila
MUSIAD to open office in Indonesian capital
causes problems in Myanmar: Indonesian envoy
new president must ward off threats from Islamic extremism, foreign powers and
says it won't host any more events involving Israel
strike against social security law
Turkey to set up Syria ‘security zone’ suggested by Trump
Documents link infamous terrorist ‘Abu Banat’ with Turkish intelligence
orders arrest of nearly 200 people over suspected Gulen ties, Hurriyet says
between Iran, Iraq's Kurdistan will outlast Trump: FM Zarif
dismiss Pompeo’s accusations of Hudaydah truce breach
militants involved in Al-Anad drone attack captured: Yemen Ministry of Interior
Unrest: BGB alert over fresh Rohingya intrusion
and India sign MoUs for 26 projects worth $10 million
threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war
arrests Taliban leader ahead of US envoy visit
Kabul agree on prisoner exchange
minister arrested in Peshawar
forces kill 2 ISIS terrorists involved in kidnappings of American, son of
to seek gas payment deal with Qatar: Report
frees another senior Taliban leader
Munter discuss Afghan peace, bilateral relations
kill 15 in Kenya hotel attack claimed by Somalia’s al-Shabaab group
10 killed as Boko Haram storms military base
jails top Salafist leader for nine years over protest
to host UN-sponsored Yemen peace talks
gunshots rock Kenyan capital
forces launch military operation in S. Libya
Caught In Syria Says Curious About Islamic State: Report
TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi jailed in US on unspecified charges
to take all legal actions against FETO leader
wide safe zone to be formed in northern Syria
sanctions before negotiations, Iran tells US
Sends More Military Convoys to Eastern Syria to Reinforce Military Bases
despite Trump's Pullout Call
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The seeds of Islamic State (IS) in the state were sowed by Jamaat-e-Islami and
Popular Front of India (PFI), alleged the extreme Salafi group led by preacher
Zakkariya Swalahi. The Salafi group organized a full-day programme at Kannur
City Salafi Masjid on January 6 to explain how the Jamaát and PFI paved the way
for extremism in the state. Incidentally, the Salafi group is facing the
allegation that it was responsible for the spread of extremist ideology among
Muslims in the state.
Rashid Abdulla, the leader of the IS who is believed to be in Afghanistan, has
sent an audio clip recently in which he alleged that the extreme Salafi group
was the launching pad for the youth who had migrated to Syria and Afghanistan.
entire programme concentrated on the role played by Syed Abul A'la Maududi, the
founder of Jamaát-e-Islami in radicalizing Muslims in the Indian subcontinent
and on Syed Qutb, the leader of Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimin) who ‘propagated
Maududism in Arab countries.’
at the programme asserted that Salafis could never be extremists as they always
advocate ‘wasatiyyah’ or the middle path which has no place for any extreme
positions. It was the Salafi ulemas and the Saudi government that took strong
position against terrorism, whenever the menace cropped up in the world, they
from Swalahi, Salafi preachers Shamsudeen Fareed Palath, Abdurauf Nadvi, Niaf
bin Khalid and Abdul Muhsin Aydeed spoke at the programme, which was held in
the wake of renewed charges against the group.
Palath said that those who had gone to the IS and other terrorist outfits were
influenced by the ideology of Maududi and Qutb. He said the books of these two
leaders were translated into Malayalam and distributed by the Jamaát-eIslami.
Shamsudeen alleged that it was the Jamaát that promoted organizations like the
Islamic Seva Sangh (ISS) formed by Abdul Nazar Madani. “All Muslim
organizations had asked for the dispersal of the ISS. But state amir of
Jamaát-e-Islami along with two others met the founder of the ISS and requested
him not to disperse the organization,” he said.
said the NDF (now the PFI) has taught in its classes that Muslims in India, who
were tortured in various parts of the country, should take swords to resist the
attacks. Niaf bin Khalid said that the NDF’s mouthpiece ‘Thejas’ had hailed
Osama bin Laden as a ‘martyr’ when he was killed in 2011.
professor explains why Sikhs need to stand with Muslims against hate crimes
Barfi Culture Team
Simran Jeet Singh is an educator, activist and scholar who speaks on diversity,
inclusion, religion and hate violence.
Twitter he offered some thoughts on the anti-Muslim hate that Sikhs endure, and
why Sikhs need to stand with Muslims on the issue.
A short thread on the anti-Muslim hate that
Sikhs endure -- and why we continue to stand as allies with our Muslim sisters
- 9 Jan 2019
Ads information and privacy
people are talking about this
aren’t Muslim, yet we remain frequent targets of anti-Muslim violence. This is,
in large part, due to our visible identity, including our beards, turbans, and
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
people ask why we don’t just tell people that Sikhs aren’t Muslim. “Why don’t
you let Muslims deal with their own problems?”
problem with this response is that it just deflects the hate onto another
community. That's not right.
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
solidarity calls on us to see other’s oppression as our own. It's just not an
option to throw another community under the bus -- even if it might make our
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
solidarity is both ethical and strategic. It’s ethical because standing with
those who are oppressed no matter the consequences is the right thing to do.
It’s strategic because confronting hate intersectionally (rather than
deflecting it) is the only way forward.
racism is not just a problem in the “western world.” It’s a global phenomenon
with immense and violent implications. We see it in China with the genocidal
killing of the Uyghur Muslims. We see it in Myanmar with the ethnic cleansing
of the Rohingya Muslims.
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
is especially bad in modern South Asia, where right-wing nationalists push
anti-Muslim propaganda to construct false historical narratives.
propaganda is putting innocent Muslim lives at risk by distorting what we know
about the histories of these communities.
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
get hate messages from right-wing fundamentalists daily that push this
propaganda. They call me a traitor and a fake Sikh. They say true Sikhs would
hate Islam because that’s what Sikhi teaches. As a historian of religion in
South Asia, here’s how I know that’s not true.
- 9 Jan 2019
one, the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Sahib, maintained good
relationships with Muslims. In fact, Guru Nanak’s closest friend was a devout
Muslim named Bhai Mardana, and they traveled together for years throughout
South and Central Asia.
people are talking about this
Arjan Sahib, the fifth Sikh guru, was friends with Sain Mian Mir, a prominent Qadiri
Sufi from Lahore. They were so close that Guru Arjan invited him to lay the
foundation stone for Darbar Sahib of Amritsar, the most historically
significant gurdwara in the Sikh tradition.
- 9 Jan 2019
people are talking about this
sixth in the line of Nanak, Guru Hargobind Sahib, established a mosque for
Muslims in his town who had no other place to pray. The mosque, which was aptly
named “Guru Ki Maseet (The Guru’s Mosque) is still standing in Punjab.
people are talking about this
Sikh Gurus incorporated the writings of another prominent South Asian Sufi --
Baba Farid -- into their compiled scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib. This means
that, to this day, centuries later, Sikhs continue to sing, recite, and honor
Baba Farid’s work on a regular basis.
Simran Jeet Singh's other Tweets
clear the the Sikh Gurus did not hate Muslims -- nor did they see befriending
Muslims and respecting Islam as antithetical to their teachings. Their lives
show us that. History shows us that.
- 9 Jan 2019
it’s true that the Sikh worldview is different than that of Islam. That’s
precisely why the Gurus decided to create a new religion. And this is important
to note -- Sikhi is a distinct religion.
people in the world don’t even know about Sikhs, despite the fact that Sikhi is
the world’s fifth largest major religion. This general ignorance is a huge
problem, especially when coupled with Islamophobic racism.
Singh is based at New York University‘s Center for Religion & Media and at
the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention has issued a notification to all
intensive care units (ICUs) of UAE hospitals regarding organ donation from
brain dead patients. This has been done to reiterate the provisions of the
existing UAE brain death Protocol.
ministry issued a five-step Standardised Critical Care Notification and UAE
Organ Brain Death Diagnosis Protocol that will facilitate identification of
brain death for purposes of meeting criteria for organ donation.
Ali Abdul Kareem Al Obaidly, Chair of the UAE National Transplant Committee,
told Gulf News that the ministry’s communication to all hospitals will pave the
way for efficient brain death organ transplant following the previous decree no
550 of 2017.
Decree No 550 of 2017, issued by Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and
Prevention, specifically covers three main provisions, mainly death resulting
from cardiac-respiratory arrest, death resulting from complete loss of brain
functions and paediatric brain death.
complements the articles included in the Federal Health Law No 5 of 2016 which
includes provisions for cadaver organ transplantation excluding stem cells,
blood cells and bone marrow transplants.
this law, doctors did not have authority to declare a brain-dead patient dead
and did not have authority to switch off life support systems.
brain death as an irreversible cessation of all functions of all parts of the
brain, Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry’s
Public Health Policy and Licensing sector, had previously old Gulf News: “The
decree will facilitate organ transplant as one deceased person who is
registered as an organ donor can donate six to seven organs, including cornea,
liver and kidneys and can save two lives. The heart can be transplanted in one
recipient while the ligaments, tendons and other tissues can be donated as well
for needy patients.”
new five step standardised critical notification will not only prepare hospitals
better for organ donation but also facilitate the National Organ Transplant
Committee in establishing a registry and pre-register potential donors for
organ transplant. This will ensure optimal use of all donor organs and a
sustainable national organ transplant programme.
UAE Brain Death Protocol establishes a patient is brain dead if the individual
meets the following criteria for being a potential organ donor:
person of any age
Has experienced a severe neurological insult (post-resuscitation, cerebral
anoxia, CVA, cerebral haemorrhage, encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury,
Glasgow score less than 5)
Requires mechanical ventilation
a person is declared brain dead and a potential organ donor as per the UAE
Federal Law no: 5 of 2016.
most prominent of the protesters who have harassed MPs and journalists outside
the Houses of Parliament in recent weeks argued last year that all Muslims
should be removed from the UK, saying he wanted to “ban Islam from the west”,
it has emerged.
another indication of the far-right views held by several of the self-styled
yellow vest activists stationed outside parliament, ostensibly to call for
Brexit, a video exists of James Goddard arguing that Islam should be removed
from the UK.
who has regularly filmed himself and other activists harassing and abusing
people including the Conservative MP Anna Soubry, has built up his profile by
live-streaming confrontations to Facebook and seeking donations to finance his
following calls from the Speaker, John Bercow, as well as from more than 100
MPs for a stronger response from the police after a group including Goddard
barracked Soubry as she walked to parliament, his Facebook and Paypal pages
page on the mass-funding website Patreon, on which he styled himself a
“political activist” and sought donations, has also been suspended.
video, uploaded in September, shows Goddard engaged in a long debate about
Islam with Jaffer Ladak, the imam of a mosque in Stanmore, north London.
the conversation, Goddard said that the estimated 2,000 mosques around the UK
“shouldn’t be there” and he would “get rid of them”.
what this meant in practice, Goddard said: “I wouldn’t blow them up. If I ever
got into power I’d give you all £5,000 to £10,000 and ask you to leave. I don’t
believe that Islam should be in the west, no. This is a Christian country.”
Muslims refused to leave voluntarily, “then we’d have to think of a legal way
that we could do it”, he said.
said he wanted to “ban Islam from the west”, calling the faith “a threat to
every man, woman and child in this country”. He added: “I just don’t think that
Islam is compatible with the west. I just don’t think that people who believe
in child marriage and terrorism should be in the United Kingdom, or Europe for
that matter. That book poses a threat, and as long as that book exists there
will never be peace in the west.”
has previously posted anti-Islam statements on Gab, a social media site popular
with the far right, and has supported Tommy Robinson, whose real name is
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the founder of the English Defence League street
yellow vest activists outside the Houses of Parliament, who model their tactics
on the French gilets jaunes movement, have said they do not share such views,
and insist Goddard is not a leader of the group.
the group Hope Not Hate has said that the emergence of the movement raises
fears that amid the Brexit process, “the threat from the far right is growing
and the risk of disorder and violence is on the rise”.
recent weeks, members of the group outside parliament have also blocked
Westminster Bridge, shouted sometimes sexist and racist abuse at TV crews,
stormed into the offices of a radio station and the Labour party, and held
small demonstrations in a number of cities.
Anti-Terrorism Chief Warns Religious Schools to Watch out for Extremism
have warned religious school leaders to ensure extremist ideologies do not
spread among their pupils and Muslim youths, particularly through social media
amid rising number of incidents worldwide.
anti-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay Ayob gave the warning yesterday
while briefing hundreds of leaders from Penang’s religious schools, saying only
a few terror suspects came from religious schools but the teachers had the
responsibility to ensure that pupils have a sound Islamic foundation.
take over as chair of UN developing countries
NATIONS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took over as head of the key group
of developing countries at the United Nations Tuesday with a promise to
confront “assaults” on multilateralism and a pledge to seek a peaceful
two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
accepted the chairmanship of the Group of 77, a coalition of 134 mainly
developing nations and China, on behalf of Palestine, which is a non-member
observer state of the United Nations. He was handed the gavel by Egypt’s
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the outgoing chairman, with a handshake and
kisses on both cheeks.
the ceremony, Abbas reiterated to reporters in Arabic that the Palestinians
will seek full UN membership but gave no timetable.
193-member General Assembly had to approve a resolution enabling the
Palestinians to chair the G77 because Palestine is a non-member state. It did
so in October over objections from Israel and its closest ally, the United
the annual gathering of world leaders at the General Assembly in September, ministers
of the G77 formalized their decision to give Palestinians the chair, in a boost
to Abbas’ push for statehood and full UN membership.
his acceptance speech, Abbas said the G77 will strive to ensure the rights and
development of all people living under foreign and colonial occupation.
cannot be an exception,” he said. “We also suffer under the yoke of foreign
said “Israel’s continued colonization and occupation of the state of Palestine
undermines our development ... and obstructs cohesive future development for
all peoples of the region.”
the G77 was established in 1964, Abbas said its founding principles were
connected with the principles and goals of the United Nations “and constitute
the strongest pillar for upholding the multilateral system and its institutions
as well as the rule of international law and mutual cooperation.”
warned “of the assaults under way against this system” and said the
Palestinians will strive during their chairmanship of the G77 “to confront such
challenges through the preservation of the multilateral international order.”
condemns Kabul bombing, asks Taliban to stop violence against own people
Deputy Senior Civilian Representative of NATO in Afghanistan Patrick Andrews
condemned the explosion in Kabul city which left at least 4 dead and more than
a statement posted after the attack near the Green Village, Ambassador Patrick
said “I condemn the despicable attack on innocent people yesterday in Kabul,
near hte Green Village. My sympathies go to the families of those killed and I
wish the many injured a swift recovery.”
said “The Taliban must stop continuing to use violence against their own people
and come to the negotiating table. NATO Allies and partners continue to support
the Afghan security forces, as they fight terrorism and create the conditions
officials are saying the militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised
explosive device near the Green Village Compound on Monday night.
Ministry of Public Health officials are saying that the attack killed 4 people
while around 113 others have sustained injuries, including many women and
Muslim sculptors have been preparing Hindu idols for 40 years
Delhi: ‘Hunar Haat’ is an exhibition organised by the Union Minority Affairs
Ministry at State Emporia Complex in Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place.
The exhibition which was thrown open on January 12 will remain open till
the other exquisite Handicraft and Handloom made by master artisans and various
delicacies from across the country, is a stall of artisans which showcases
idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The stall is the reflection of the
cosmopolitan culture of India, where Muslims are busy preparing idols of
charge of the hall in Hunar Haat, Mohammed Natiq told that his father had
started the work of sculpting idols. More than 40 years have passed since then.
is showcasing statutes of birds and animals besides the idols of Lord Krishna,
Lord Ram, Saraswati, Shiv-Parvathi and others. More than 18 workers work for
them. All are Muslims. Mohammed Natiq said they never felt that they are
working for Hindus.
Instead of the usual revelry on Uttarayan, a curfew of sorts seemed to have
been imposed on terraces in the Muslim areas of Modasa town, 120 km north of
Ahmedabad, on Monday— people were made to abstain from flying kites.
have a strong presence in Modasa town, accounting for nearly 50% of its
population. On the kite flying day, terraces and rooftops were deserted in
areas such as Kasba, Vahorvad, and Ghanichivad. A religious outfit had been
campaigning for a year urging members of the Muslim community to stay away from
any kind of revelry.
has been persuading people not to enjoy the ‘un-Islamic’ fun of flying kites.
The organization’s head in Modasa, Altahai Bandi, said that his organization
took into confidence leaders of the community to resolve that people should not
fly kites on Uttarayan. “We have been opposing kite-flying for two reasons.
This activity is dangerous as people get hurt, especially kids, while flying
kites,” Bandi said. "I heard that nearly 80 accidents were recorded in our
town on Uttarayan. What’s wrong in stopping this practice? The other reason is
that kite-flying is not important in the religion and people should be kept away
from all those activities which lead them away from religion."
further said, “We achieved 90% success in our campaign because hardly 10%
people had purchased kites and manja this year." He went on to say: “We
had to go to streets and in some cases approach youths on rooftops to stop them
Home Minister Rajnath Singh today raised concern over mass conversions in the
country. Speaking at a function organised by a Christian body during he made it
clear that mass conversions need to be checked.
said he supports the freedom to follow any religion but was of the opinion that
a debate is needed as mass conversion is a matter of concern for any country.
someone accepts a religion on their own there shouldn't be objections but mass
conversion is a matter of concern for any country. If you're Hindu be Hindu,
Muslim be Muslim, Christian be Christian. Why do you want to convert the whole
world?" he said.
said as far as the government is concerned there will not be discrimination
have never discriminated on the basis of caste, creed and religion in my life.
Whether or not we get votes. Whether or not we form the government, whether we
win or lose. But we will never discriminate among people. This is what our
prime minister feels," he said at the function organised by Rashtriya Isai
said one cannot be in power and rule without love. "One can only rule with
love. There is no other way," he added.
would also say one thing on the Christian community. We do not want to level
allegations against anybody. You may have also heard. If somebody wants to
accept a religion, he should do that. There should not be any objection to it.
But if mass conversion starts happening, a large number of people start
changing their religion, then it could be a matter of concern for any
country," Singh said.
said in almost all countries, including Britain and America, minorities demand
anti-conversion law. "Here (in India) I see majority demand that there
should be an anti-conversion law. Then it is a matter of concern. It should not
happen," Singh said.
a slogan in Sanskrit, the home minister said, "we do not have an allergy
want to enlighten people. This is your purpose, right? 'Hum number badhane ke
chakkar me kyon pade hain' (why are we for increasing the numbers?) Do we have
to rule on somebody?" he asked.
programme was titled "Festival of Peace".
said there are attempts to create a sense of fear among people.
aa gayi. Ab gadbad hoga, ye hoga wo hoga (BJP has come. Now this or that will
happen). We do not want to run the country by instilling a sense of fear. We
want to run this country with a sense of confidence (among people). Nobody
should have a sense of alienation. This will be our efforts," he said,
adding that "all are welcome in the country".
examples, Singh said there had been attempts to defame the NDA government.
stones were pelted at the churches. Some priests came and met me to demand
security. I assured them all that those behind it will be punished. I also
assured security to them. But it (stone pelting) started a month before the
assembly elections and stopped a month after that. What would you say on that?
Whose conspiracy is that," he asked.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has stated that an Indian national was among
the four killed in the terror attack in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Monday.
people have been injured in a powerful truck bomb explosion that rocked the
Green Village compound, a place mostly habited by non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and foreigners.
News quoted the Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) as confirming that at
least 100 people were wounded in the blast and have been shifted to hospitals
for medical treatment.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said: “India strongly
condemns the horrific terror attack in Kabul yesterday in which an Indian
national and many others lost their lives.”
Army chief General Bipin Rawat said that the Indian Army will not hesitate to
take strong action to deal with terror activities along the border with
an obvious reference to Pakistan, he said that the country along India’s
western border is providing support to terror groups and the Indian Army is
dealing with them effectively.
addressing Army personnel on the occasion of Army Day he stated that “We are
ensuring moral dominance along the border in Jammu and Kashmir.”
referring to the border with China, he said: “We will keep reviewing the
situation along the eastern border, Our soldiers will not allow any compromise
in guarding the border in the eastern sector.”
Terming local terrorists as "sons of soil", PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti
on Tuesday said efforts should be made to save them, adding that the Centre
should initiate dialogue with the terrorist leadership in Jammu and Kashmir to
end the "gun culture".
now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the
militant leadership should also be talked to as it is they who have the guns
and only they can end the gun culture," she told reporters in Anantnag
after a party function.
believe at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and
militants as well," she said. The former chief minister, however, said it
was "too early (for talks with militants)".
said local terrorists should be prevented from walking on the path of violence.
"Right from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that
local militants are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save
them because they are assets.
an encounter breaks out, the two people (militants and security forces) come
face to face and no one can do anything about it then," Mehbooba said.
PDP president had on Monday questioned the timing of filing of charge sheet in
the 2016 JNU sedition case, in which seven Kashmiris have been named, saying
the students were being used to score political points ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
surprises here. We are months away from the 2019 general election and like
always, using Kashmiris to score extra political points with the Indian
electorate has become somewhat of a pre-requisite," she had said in a
series of tweets.
corridor access: On Pakistan idea, Punjab says allow Aadhaar, waive passport
fortnight after Pakistan sent a 14-point proposal to India as agreement for
visa-free pilgrimage to Kartarpur Sahib, the Punjab government has raised
objections to several conditions, including entry on passport for the pilgrims.
state government put its point across to the Centre during a meeting between
Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba
in New Delhi on Tuesday.
state government has contended that the Centre should agree on a passport
waiver for pilgrims. Most villagers, the state has pointed out, do not possess
a passport, and keeping passports mandatory for those undertaking the
pilgrimage across the border would come as a damper for many.
has contended that pilgrims should be allowed access on the basis of Aadhaar
card, which is a valid legal document and nearly 99 per cent of the state’s
population possesses it.
state government has also objected to the cap on the daily number of pilgrims.
As per Pakistan’s agreement, the country would allow 500 pilgrims every day.
The state government contends that all pilgrims who want to visit the historic
gurdwara should be allowed.
state also has an objection to the six-hour window during which pilgrims will
be allowed, as per Pakistan’s proposal. Punjab wants this window to be extended
to allow pilgrims maximum time.
state has also sought a clarification on multiple entry of pilgrims, as many of
them would want to organise an Akhand Path in the gurdwara. For this, the state
has reasoned, the pilgrims would need to undertake multiple visits.
receiving the proposal from Pakistan, sources said, the Centre forwarded it to
the state government and sought its comments. The objections were decided after
inputs from the state intelligence, it is learnt.
Minister Amarinder Singh also wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and
raised these points.
a statement, the government said Amarinder has sought waiver of passport
condition for pilgrims to cross the border to let them have “khulle darshan
deedar” of Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on the 550th birth anniversary celebrations
of Guru Nanak Dev.
also asked the Centre to quickly finalise the alignment of road access and the
consequent infrastructure to be built around the corridor so that the process
of land acquisition may start without delay and the pilgrimage starts at the
UN rights chief Mary Robinson pulls out of Dubai festival over jailed activist
former United Nations human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, has boycotted
the Arab world's biggest literary festival in Dubai, responding to an open
letter by a group of prominent figures calling for the unconditional release of
an Emirati activist.
who became the first woman to be elected president of Ireland 28 years ago,
said she would not be attending the festival in response to the open letter
received by The Guardian, her Dublin-based foundation said in a statement
letter, organized by the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE
(ICFUAE), calls on Emirati authorities to “immediately and unconditionally
release prisoner of conscience Ahmed Mansoor.”
has been signed by activists, academics, British politicians, comedians, as
well as linguist Noam Chomsky.
move was welcomed by a campaigns manager for the ICFUAE, Joe Odella, who also
urged “other attendees to follow suit.”
festival claims to celebrate freedom of expression, yet so many in the UAE have
been detained for exercising this very right,” Odell was quoted by the
London-based online news website Middle East Eye.
long as he [Mansoor] remains in prison, it is farcical for UK authors to travel
to Dubai and celebrate the power of the written word,” Odell added.
was arrested in March 2017 and sentenced in May to ten years in prison by Abu
Dhabi’s Federal Appeals Court for “defaming the UAE through social media
was set to attend the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on March 2,
according to the Mary Robinson Foundation. The event, which is planned to be
held for nine days from March 1, is being sponsored by Dubai’s ruler and the
UAE’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
decision to boycott the event follows a controversy that was sparked late last
year after she was seen in a picture with a princess who disappeared after she
was forcefully brought back to her home country following a failed escape.
bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, the daughter of the Emirati prime minister, caught
media attention in December 2018, after she was allegedly seized by UAE
commandos from a yacht off the Indian coast in March 2018 and brought back to
the country against her will.
33, had not been heard from until she was first seen in the picture with
Robison — who had been invited by Latifa’s family to meet her. The princess’
friends and human rights groups had been concerned about her safety
came under criticism for acting as a “pawn” of the UAE by posing for the
picture. She defended her trip to Dubai at the time, saying the princess was
“in the loving care of her family.” Human rights campaigners however, said
Robinson had failed to answer critical questions lingering over Latifa’s
Arabia will continue to be ‘spiritual, religious leader of all Muslims’
The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL) inaugurated a number of
MWL-run health centers during his visit to the Comoros Islands.
Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa was taken on a tour of the centers’ various
sections, and was briefed on the services provided.
visited and inspected the new MWL-run Saad bin Moad Institute, and met African
scholars who will be teaching there. The scholars commended the MWL’s Islamic
and humanitarian role and efforts.
also reiterated that Saudi Arabia will continue to be the spiritual and
religious leader of all Muslims.
visited the construction site of Saad Thabit Yaqoub Mosque in the village of
Bahani, and visited numerous development and humanitarian projects.
handed over the keys of new homes, built by the MWL, to widows and orphans, and
supervised the distribution of food baskets to the needy.
Comoros President Azali Assoumani hosted a delegation from the MWL headed by
lauded the efforts of the MWL in Africa, while Al-Issa said the league would be
ready to liaise with Comorian scientists and intellectuals to tackle all forms
of extremist thought, while adding that the MWL was keen on raising awareness
about Islam, especially among youth.
US troops are trying to obtain precise and sensitive intelligence from Iraq's
along borders with Syria," the Arabic-language Al-Maloumeh news website
quoted Qassim Muslih, the commander of Hashd al-Shaabi forces in al-Anbar
province, as saying on Tuesday.
reiterated that Hashd al-Sha'abi operations command has stopped US spying
operations by preventing the US troops from getting close to Hashd al-Sha'abi
units and forcing them to return to Ba'er al-Morasemeh base.
pointed to the US forces' reconnaissance operations along Iraq-Syria borders
and questions from border police and Iraqi army about the battle zones off the
border regions, the amount of ammunition, type of weapons and the number of
troops of each region, and explained that secret intelligence related to the
forces stationed along the border regions helps them to easily target any
pointed to the provocative measures by the US troops to obtain secret
information from border security guards, and warned that the move is a blatant
violation of Iraq's national sovereignty.
relevant remarks earlier in January, Muslih underlined the necessity for
Washington to evacuate its military men from Iraq.
reports have been released about establishment of new US bases in al-Anbar and
Saladin provinces which is a violation of Iraq's national sovereignty,"
underscored the necessity for the US forces to leave Iraq, and said, "We
are capable of supporting and protecting our land and borders and there is no
need for the deployment of foreign forces."
for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq have increased after US President
Donald Trump in a surprise visit late December landed at an airbase West of the
Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where he thanked the soldiers for their service.
temperatures and the lack of medical care have killed at least 15 displaced
Syrian children in recent weeks, the United Nations reported on Tuesday.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said eight of them had died as a result of the cold
in the Rukban camp in southeastern Syria and seven others during the
displacement from the extremist bastion of Hajin, further north.
temperatures and harsh living conditions in Rukban... are increasingly putting
children’s lives at risk,” UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere said.
just one month, at least eight children -- most of them under four months and
the youngest only one hour old -- have died,” he said.
explained that the cold in the isolated desert camp on the Jordanian border,
where 80 percent of the 45,000 residents are women and children, was increasing
cold snap that has hit the region is also having dire consequences on the
people fleeing the fighting in the so-called Hajin pocket in eastern Syria.
area near the Iraqi border has seen intense fighting between ISIS extremists
defending the last remnants of their “caliphate” and Kurdish-led forces backed
by US air strikes.
to the UN, more than 10,000 people have fled the area since December.
seeking safety face difficulties leaving the conflict zone and wait in the cold
for days without shelter or basic supplies,” Cappelaere said.
dangerous and difficult journey has reportedly killed seven children -- most of
them under one-year-old” in Hajin, he said.
In the newly burgeoning art scene of Saudi Arabia, Nora Alfard has found a
home. Debuting her first book of poetry at a launch party in Riyadh on Sunday
night, Alfard has established herself as a brilliant poet and a talent to
24, has been writing poetry since she was 16 years old, as a member of the
Riyadh Writing Club. While she credits the club with the beginning of her
poetic process, she eventually left to write at her own leisure, unconstrained
by the club’s policy of assigning topics to the pieces shared.
has been a fixture in Riyadh’s budding spoken word scene since the very
beginning. She has organized poetry readings and open mic nights at artsy cafe
Nabt Fenjan and encouraged several young Saudis to try their own hand at
is amazing,” said fellow artist Hala Mosaab. “I am so proud of her for
everything she has achieved. She is an inspiration.”
writes as a way of releasing emotions after significant life events. “I began
writing as a way of expressing my emotions,” she said.
lot of my poems come from a place of pain. But after writing them, I feel like
I am no longer defined by that pain.”
book, “For You The Reader,” has been in the works for the past three years.
From concept to publication, the road was long and there were moments in which
she felt as though she might not be able to see the project through to the end.
But ultimately, she was able to persevere, which she credits to the support of
her family and her friends.
Nora decides she wants to do something, she just rolls up her sleeves and jumps
right into it,” said musician and friend Nawaf Al-Harbi. “She is one of the
most dedicated and ambitious people I know. If anyone could do it, it would be
book’s strength comes from its ability to invoke raw human emotion in a way
that resonates with readers. Alfard’s poetry is surprisingly powerful for such
a minimalist style. She is able to express so much in so few words.
book’s title is reflective of the fact that everyone can relate to the poems
inside. “I wanted to show people that it is OK to be vulnerable, that we all
have these feelings and that there is no shame in them. That is why the book is
called ‘For You The Reader.’ This book was written for everyone.”
event took place at On Studio in Riyadh, where almost 50 fellow artists and
poets gathered to hear her read from the book. She performed some of her most
popular pieces, including “Hourglass,” “Comfortable” and “Laughter.”
book is self-published, having been made via lulu.com’s online creator
software, and is available for purchase from the Lulu website. Alfard made the
decision to self-publish after seeing some friends successfully do the same and
encourages anyone considering writing a book of poetry to do the same.
go for it,” she said. “Do not let anyone’s opinions of what you should or
should not do stop you. It is not as hard as you might think it is, and you
will never know if you will be successful or not unless you try.”
grows among Muslims, Jews over Belgium's halal, kosher ban
the latest European country to ban traditional Jewish and Muslim animal
slaughtering practices, Belgium's ban on halal and kosher meat has drawn
further condemnation by the country's Jewish and Muslim communities, seeing the
ban as an infringement of religious freedom.
"disappointed everybody when they approved the ban," Mehmet Üstüm,
head of the Belgian Muslim Executive Body (EMB), told Anadolu Agency (AA)
yesterday. "The ban will have certain effects. For example, we [Muslims]
will have difficulty during sacrificial rituals [of livestock]."
"We're hopeful that this legislation will be rejected and Muslims will [be
able to] slaughter their livestock according to their rituals," Üstün
Lasker, a Brussels rabbi, said that the ban is being seen as a restriction on
religious freedom, adding: "Jewish people believe it's becoming harder for
them to live in Europe."
parliament in the Flemish region had unanimously voted in June 2017 to ban
kosher and halal meat by outlawing the slaughter of animals without stunning,
which was set to come into effect Jan. 1 2019, following a similar ruling in
the Wallonia region in May 2017 that will go into effect in Aug. 2019. While
the proposed law would only apply to the country's Walloon and Flemish regions,
other Belgian regions are planning similar moves.
to Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rituals, the animals are required to be
butchered by slitting their throats without stunning them before killing. The
non-Christian communities see the ruling as a threat against religions as well
as a risk for their lives.
of European Rabbis Chairman Pinchas Goldschmidt referred to the day the
decision was made as "a sad day for the Jews of Europe, a sad day for
religious freedom in Europe," in a tweet.
decision of the parliament will be initially implemented for small cattle, and
although it will not be implemented for bovines due to the lack of technical
infrastructure, it will be mandatory to numb the cattle immediately after
slaughter. Cows and other cattle will also be shocked before being slaughtered
after the Flemish region overcomes technical issues regarding the matter.
Muslims and Jews make up some 6 percent of Belgium's population. Muslim and
Jewish communities in Belgium last year appealed the decision, banning the
kosher slaughter of animals.
in 2017, the debate on the ban of animal slaughter according to Islamic and
Jewish methods has increased, while the prohibitions imposed on the country's
Muslim and Jewish communities continue to receive reactions. The issue of
banning halal and kosher slaughter was also raised in Austria, Poland, Holland
and Switzerland in 2018. Similar laws have been passed in Switzerland and
Denmark but lifted in Poland and Greece.
domestic spy agency will probe the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD)
to determine the prevalence of right-wing extremism within the party.
agency has classified the AfD, the country’s main opposition party, as a “case
to investigate,” according to the agency’s 450-page report reviewed by Berlin
newspaper Der Tagespiegel. The report notes that it won’t include surveillance.
investigation confirmed the fears of some AfD officials who warned that the
party may be under the radar of the domestic intelligence agency over its
anti-Islam and anti-immigration views.
Poggenburg, a politician who left the party and founded a new far-right party,
recently criticized the AfD for becoming increasingly left-wing amid fears of
being under surveillance by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.
constitution, adopted after World War II, allows the government to curb
extremist ideologies by closely monitoring or even banning far-left or
far-right parties, according to Reuters.
German newspaper claims the intelligence agency will look into public
statements made by the members of the party and scrutinize the ties to the
far-right Identitarian Movement that has been accused of being a front for
white nationalism in Europe and is being monitored by the government.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas alluded to the report in a tweet, but suggested the
far-right party’s ideas should be challenged rather than shut down by the
discriminates against people on the basis of their origins is being racist and
nationalist. Parts of the AfD are a case for the domestic intelligence office,”
he wrote. “But observing them won't solve the problems. Above all we need to
deal with the AfD objectively and politically.”
number of German states announced last year that they are probing local
chapters of the party, including its youth wing over ties to extremism. In the
state of Thuringia, an investigation was prompted after an AfD leader said
Germany's main memorial to Holocaust victims as a “monument of shame,”
according to Reuters.
TV was found by Zakir Naik - who was barred from entering the UK in 2010 after
he reportedly praised Osama bin Laden.
Sunday Times has reported that UK media regulator, Ofcom, is investigating
comments made on Peace TV by Haitham al-Haddad, a Saudi-born Islamic scholar.
an episode of the show Marriage and Divorce, broadcast in November, he
reportedly said fathers should "push" their daughters into getting
married and said he was alarmed that some Muslim women wanted to complete their
education before their weddings.
Haddad also reportedly said women who remained unmarried into their 30s would
"not receive good proposals."
claimed some older women wished their parents had forced them to get married
Sunday Times reports that Dr. Haddad has in the past been criticised for
calling homosexuality an evil crime and appearing to condone female genital
marriage is illegal in England and Wales and disobeying a forced marriage
protection order can lead to a sentence of up to five years in jail.
Channel Can Be Received in UK
Naik, the Indian founder of Peace TV, was barred from the UK in 2010 after he
said "all Muslims should be terrorists".
Dubai-based Urdu language satellite channel is still available in Britain
despite several breaches of the Ofcom code.
TV says it promotes a peaceful Muslim viewpoint and had editorial controls in
place to prevent the broadcast of extremist content.
channel was founded in 2006 and claims to have had a global audience of 200
million at one point, though its reach has been hampered by bans in a number of
Catalan Police Force have launched an anti-terror operation against an alleged
Takfiri group in the center of Barcelona, as part of a broad sweep in the
autonomous Spanish community.
operation was conducted in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
shows armed police officers detaining a man and taking him away in a police
can later be seen removing items from the building while several journalists
to reports, some of those arrested had links to common crimes.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday visited the Iraqi city of Najaf
following an earlier visit to Erbil, the administrative capital of northern
Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Drian is the first French FM to officially visit Najaf, a revered pilgrimage
site for Shia Muslims and home to a number of well-known Shia scholars.
include Ali al-Sistani, a prominent Shia cleric who enjoys considerable
influence in terms of Iraqi domestic politics.
is delighted by the spirit of moderation shown by the Shia clerics of Najaf,”
Le Drian said at a joint press conference with Mohamed Said al-Hakim, another
of the city’s prominent Shia clerics.
French foreign minister also commended an earlier fatwa (religious ruling)
issued by al-Sistani that served to legitimize the fight against the Daesh
terrorist group, which overran much of Iraq in mid-2014.
Drian arrived in Iraq earlier Monday. He has already met with several Iraqi
political figures, including Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Nechirvan
Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Philippines– For decades, followers of the Ahmadiyya faith, a minority sect of
Islam, have fallen victim to laws that target them as non-believers in
Pakistan. Some of them have sought asylum in the Philippines.
Ali is a recognized refugee in Metro Manila. He fled his home country of
Pakistan in 2014 in fear of persecution for simply being an Ahmadiyya Muslim.
pain was psychological,” Ali said. “Discrimination was everywhere and the
situations increasingly became so difficult for me to freely practice my
Ahmadiyya is a young sect of Islam, formed in 1889 around Mizra Ghulam Ahmed
who is claimed to be the messiah or the ‘second advent of Jesus’.
Muslim-majority countries like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the practice
of Ahmadiyya beliefs is looked down as blasphemous because they believe that
according to the tenets of Islam the Prophet Muhammad was the last messenger of
1974, Pakistan constitutionally classified Ahmadis as non-Muslims when the term
‘Muslim’ was broadly defined. Ten years later, they were criminalized by the
writ of the Pakistani state. Amended into the National Penal Code of Pakistan
is the complete denial of self-identification for Ahmadi Muslims that deprives
them of the right to vote.
of exclusion and persecution have also reportedly occurred in Indonesia,
Malaysia and Bangladesh.
language of the law is so vague and broad [in Pakistan], it has opened the
gates for unnecessary litigation of the community,” Talha Ali, president and
missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya community in the Philippines said.
Ahmadiyya community in the Philippines has existed since the early 2000s but
grew in numbers only recently. It has over 8 branches in the country.
national program has worked on 3 fronts: education, interfaith dialogue and
humanitarian work,” Talha Ali said, adding that each of these components are
part and parcel of their religious teachings.
Ahmadiyya community established a permanent presence in the Philippines in the
'90s, paving the way for the third and final wave of converts,” Talha Ali said.
Muslims openly practice their faith in Metro Manila, hosting educational
classes and organizing blood drives as part of their national programs.
extremist attacks in forms of mob violence still followed them to the
Philippines. Two years ago, a plain-clothed band of men disrupted an interfaith
peace symposium in a fastfood chain, and assaulted Ahmadi attendees.
people launched tirades of false accusations on me and other refugee members on
social media for being non-Muslims,” Ali said.
Ahmadi Muslims are met with periodical threats from other local Muslim groups,
security concerns for the refugees and Ahmadi converts soared as a result of
to refugee accounts, the Philippines was not their final destination but
immigration apprehensions at the airport had them detained.
Ahmad, a 21-year-old from Pakistan, arrived in the Philippines with a 17-member
group with young children in 2015. His refugee status was determined by the
Department of Justice (DoJ) a year later.
Philippines has ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol,
binding the state to protect refugee and asylum seeker rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the facilitating body
that forwards asylum applications to the DoJ’s subsidiary - the Refugee and
Stateless Persons Protections Unit (RSPPU).
major obstacle to stability for refugees in Manila is finding a job that pays
well. The Philippines' work policy for refugees is nearly synonymous with
mandates for foreign national visa holders.
been in a financial crisis for 4 years now,” Waseem Akhtar, another Ahmadi
refugee said, lamenting the little money he makes out of a small business.
later, Akhtar’s status was approved in 2016. He then sponsored a flight for his
wife and children to Manila.
said there is “no family reunion policy for refugees in the Philippines”. His
family underwent the process from scratch.
need a roadmap for integrating refugees into the society as citizens so that
eventually, they’ll do more to contribute as a positive member of the Filipino
society,” Talha Ali said.
2017, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) scrapped the alien
employment permit (AEP) originally authorized as a prerequisite for securing a
foreign nationals can apply under The Revised Naturalization Act, Hassan Ali
cites concerns about the process taking no less than 10 years and requires
reeducation of the new society.
taxes, learning the language and proving your loyalty to the Philippines is not
easy when you’re born and raised in another nation,” Hassan Ali said.
programs organized by the national Ahmadiyya community, the refugees continue
to familiarize themselves with the local culture in hopes of becoming a
Filipino citizen one day
we’re asking for is a smoother integration at least and in order for that to
happen, stable income needs to be on the top of the government agenda.” –
Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) will open an
office in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the group announced on Tuesday.
Uyar, the head of MUSIAD's foreign organization and development commission,
told Anadolu Agency that the move aims to boost commercial ties between Turkey
and Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.
the Jakarta office, MUSIAD will have had representation in 92 countries
worldwide, Uyar said.
the branch in Indonesia, Indonesian businesspeople will have access to not only
MUSIAD members in Turkey but also all around the globe, which will provide them
with a comprehensible network in many fields," he added.
will also have an important impact on the exports of products jointly produced
by two countries."
and religious segregation in Myanmar is one of the reasons why its government
has blocked most international humanitarian assistance, an Indonesian envoy
told students in a discussion on Tuesday.
envoy to Myanmar Iza Fadri said the Myanmar government was very selective in
approving direct humanitarian assistance for the ethnic Rohingya following a
military crackdown in 2017 that drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims
from Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh.
were worried that the 2018 presidential election in the Maldives would turn
violent. Fortunately, there were no major incidents. But there were also
concerns over election rigging, voiced by key opposition leader and former
president, Mohamed Nasheed. In the end, sitting president, Abdulla Yameen, was
defeated by the opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Some hope Solih
can now usher in a new era of fair democratic processes. But it won’t be an
understand the importance of the election we need to understand the problems
that have plagued the fledgling Maldivian democracy for a decade, beginning
with the 2008 vote. The presidential election that year was the first that
could truly be labelled democratic, and saw Nasheed win, ending the 30-year
rule of former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Nasheed had only just started to strengthen democratic institutions in the
country when he was deposed by what some commentators have called a coup.
Protests organised by Nasheed’s opponents saw the participation of the police
and military, forcing Nasheed to resign. His resignation then paved the way for
Yameen, whose presidency appeared once again to threaten democracy.
Yameen began to crack down on political opponents – and Nasheed became a
political refugee (he now lives in Sri Lanka) after being sentenced to 13 years
in prison over alleged terrorist offences. Former president, Gayoom, who
happened to be Yameen’s half-brother, was jailed on terrorist charges, too.
Several less prominent politicians were also imprisoned and jailed.
declared a national state of emergency, and in 2018 jailed judges from the
supreme court because they intended to release imprisoned politicians.
were also targeted by the regime for their critical opinions. Two cases
particularly stand out. The first was the 2014 abduction of independent
journalist Ahmed Rilwan. Rilwan was critical of both Yameen’s government and
Islamic radicalisation in the country. Yameen stopped the investigation into
Rilwan’s disappearance and declared him dead early in 2019, but he has also
been accused of being directly involved in Rilwan’s disappearance and his
second case is that of political blogger Yameen Rasheed, who eerily foresaw his
own destiny in a tweet from 2013:
who was also known as a critic of the political establishment, was stabbed to
death in his apartment in 2017.
two cases became important in the 2018 election and presidential candidates
used Rilwan’s and Rasheed’s names in their campaigns against the sitting
Maldives’ democratic institutions have also been threatened over the past
decade by the rise of Islamic extremism. At the 2018 Eid celebrations, for
example, a replica of New York’s World Trade Centre was publicly burnt. There
was reportedly even a model plane on a zip line.
when Yameen took power in 2013, he used Islamic rhetoric to do so. In one
widely distributed pamphlet of the time, Yameen claimed that he had uncovered,
“President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians”.
Yameen used the same rhetoric during the 2018 election, framing the election as
a choice between “Islam and infidelity”.
flirtation with extreme religious sentiments backfired when it became clear
that the Maldives has one of the highest per capita percentages of citizens
fighting for Islamic State. Arguably, Yameen paved the way for this development
by appealing to conservative Islamism to get power. Yameen’s opponents have
also pointed out that he is influenced by Saudi Arabia, a country that has
invested heavily in the Maldives.
also considers the Maldives a strategic area of interest – and Yameen has been
accused of sacrificing the Maldives’ economic interests to the emerging
Yameen’s defeat, some commentators have asked whether the Maldives will now
take a step back from China and develop a closer relationship with India
instead. Either way, China seems to be believe that Solih is a president they
can work with, and Chinese officials congratulated him on his victory.
Regardless of who is president, China will likely try to further bolster its
influence in the region.
though, is keen to develop closer ties with the Maldives. And if both India and
China try to influence domestic politics in the country, backing different
candidates and movements, there is a potential threat to the country’s
what happens now? Many of the problems outlined above relate to the previous
government. But whether Solih can fix them remains to be seen. It’s still early
days, but he has already promised to look into the murder and disappearance of
Malaysia — Malaysia's foreign minister says the government will not budge over
a ban on Israeli athletes in a para swimming competition and has decided that
the country will not host any events in the future involving Israel.
a strong supporter of the Palestinian plight, is among the predominantly Muslim
countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. The government has
said Israeli swimmers cannot join the competition in July that serves as a
qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank joined a strike on Tuesday
against their government’s proposed new social security law, fearing the fund
will be mismanaged.
of Ramallah, Hebron and other Palestinian cities remained closed.
few thousand people protested outside the Social Security Corporation in
Ramallah, where Abbas’ government is based.
the proposed system both private employers and their employees would pay
monthly into a government-managed fund, with employees receiving a pension when
government says it will provide new security for employees, arguing similar
systems exist in countries across the globe.
say they do not trust the Palestinian government to manage the fund and point
out there are no guarantees.
also say Israel’s occupation of the West Bank means that the long-term
existence of the Palestinian Authority government is far from secure.
soldiers have carried out repeated raids inside Ramallah in recent weeks,
including near Abbas’ headquarters, following two deadly shootings.
Farah, who works at Bank of Palestine in Ramallah, said that in functioning
states the social security laws were important to protect citizens’ futures.
we are still under occupation, and there is no contact between parts of the
country,” he told AFP, alluding to the decade-long split between the West Bank
and Gaza, where Abbas’ rivals Hamas are in control.
country is not stable, neither economically nor politically. How will they
implement the law?”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Ankara would set up a
“security zone” in northern Syria suggested by US President Donald Trump.
said he held a “quite positive” telephone conversation with Trump late on
Monday where he reaffirmed that “a 20-mile (30 kilometre) security zone along
the Syrian border... will be set up by us.”
has welcomed the planned withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria but the
future of US-backed Kurdish militia forces regarded as terrorists by Ankara has
poisoned Ankara-Washington ties.
on Sunday tweeted that the United States would “devastate Turkey economically
if they hit Kurds”, a threat that drew angry retorts from the government in
on Tuesday said Trump’s tweet “saddened me and my friends”, but added that the
two leaders reached an agreement during Monday’s phone conversation.
have reached an agreement of understanding that is of historic importance,” he
said Turkey would solve issues with a “spirit of alliance” with Trump as long
as his country’s sensitivities were taken into account.
support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) during the Syria
conflict has been a major source of friction between the NATO allies. The US
regards the YPG as an effective ground force in the fight against ISIS.
has however threatened to launch a cross-border operation to eradicate Syrian
Kurdish fighters it sees as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’
Russian extremist militant who killed two priests and beheaded many people in
Syria has long worked with Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT, according to a
helped him get away with lesser charges when he was caught in an al-Qaeda sweep
by Turkish police, according to Nordic Monitor.
name is Maghomed Maghomedzakirovich Abdurkhmanov (aka Abu Banat), a Russian
national who travelled to Syria through Turkey in 2012 to join extremists and
had led the Jamaat Abu Banat terrorist group, later part of ISIS.
testified in an Istanbul court how he worked with Turkish intelligence in
Syria, receiving funds, arms and vehicles. He is believed to have murdered two
Orthodox clerics in Syria on April 22, 2013.
Russian hardliner entered Syria in 2012 through Turkey and started a militant
faction. He later joined a terrorist organization, said the report, adding that
videos of “Abu Banat” carrying out horrific killings surfaced thereafter.
to the report, the black-clad militant holding a knife spoke of his cooperation
with Turkish intelligence in Syria during the trial. “Abu Banat” also confirmed
that he received significant support such as supply of arms and vehicles.
October 29, 2015, the United States included the Russian hardliner in the list
of classified terrorists. The same month, “Abu Banat” was added to the list of
those facing UN Security Council sanctions.
suspected involvement in the murder of two Christian chaplains, Turkish courts
did not charge the hardliner of murder. His conviction was only seven and a
half years. The ruling against “Abu Banat” is subject to appeal and may be
reduced further at a later stage.
June 20, 2013, Turkish police arrested “Abu Banat”, and another Syrian in the
town of Konya, in the central part of the country, during a routine inspection.
They were both released soon.
when a video purportedly showing “Abu Banat” committing murder surfaced on
social media, Turkish police arrested the two in Istanbul.
interrogation, “Abu Banat” admitted he was the person in the video and indeed
slaughtered two people. He said he received a radio communication device from
someone working with Turkish intelligence known as Abu Jaafar. (Full story from
ordered the arrest of 192 people over suspected links to the network of the
US-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, the
Hurriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday.
operations targeting the followers of Fethullah Gulen have been carried out
regularly since the failed coup and have recently gained momentum. Authorities
in Istanbul and Adana ordered the arrest of more than 100 military suspects
Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 50 military
suspects - 3 lieutenants and 47 sergeants - as well as 55 people accused of
using the ByLock messaging app, the newspaper reported.
outlawed ByLock in the aftermath of the failed putsch, saying followers of
Gulen used it to communicate on the night of July 15, 2016, when a group of
rogue soldiers attempted to overthrow the government, killing some 250 people.
a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan who has lived in self-imposed exile
in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.
prosecutor’s office in the central province of Konya ordered the detention of
50 people, including military personnel and their contacts in the Gulen
network, the newspaper said.
prosecutor’s offices of two other provinces, Mugla and Kocaeli, ordered the
detention of 15 and 22 military personnel respectively.
than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while 150,000 civil
servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from
their jobs as part of the post-coup purges.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic's ties with
Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region are rooted in history and will outlast
the administration of US President Donald Trump.
made the remarks in an interview with Iraq's Kurdish-language Rudaw television
network in the capital of Kurdistan, Erbil, on Tuesday when asked about Trump’s
recent comments that he was unhappy about the Kurds' sale of oil to Iran.
top Iranian diplomat emphasized that Trump has no place in Iran’s relationship
with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
has nothing to do with Mr. Trump. Together with the Kurds, we have relations
dating back centuries. These governments come and go,” Zarif said.
a cabinet meeting at the White House in front of reporters on January 2, Trump
said he was not happy that the Kurds were selling oil to Iran and claimed that
he wanted to protect them either way.
didn’t like the fact that they’re selling the small (amount of) oil that they
have to Iran, and we asked them not to sell it to Iran... We’re not thrilled
about that. OK? I’m not happy about it at all,” the US president said.
November, the Trump administration announced the re-imposition of the
“toughest” sanctions ever against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the
aim of cutting off the country's oil sales and crucial exports.
first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's
access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto
Kurdistan Regional Government has said it would abide by decisions made by
Baghdad regarding US sanctions on Iran.
month, the United States granted Iraq a 90-day extension to an exemption from
sanctions re-imposed on neighboring Iran to keep importing electricity and
natural gas and meet its energy needs.
temporary relief from the sanctions provides additional time for Iraq to
determine ways to pay Iran for the imports of natural gas and energy supplies
in denominations other than dollar without violating US sanctions.
a gathering of business people from both Iran and the Kurdistan region in Erbil
on Tuesday, Zarif praised the brotherly and historical relations between the
two sides and called for further promotion of cooperation.
Iranian foreign minister said the unilateral US sanctions would fail to affect
and hamper Iran’s relations with Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
a high-ranking political and economic delegation, Zarif arrived in the Iraqi
capital, Baghdad, on a four-day visit on Sunday.
Iranian foreign minister held talks with Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi,
President Barham Salih, Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq
Mohamed al-Halbousi, Head of the National Wisdom Movement of Iraq Ammar Hakim,
Iraqi lawmaker Hadi al-Amiri, and the heads as well as members of Iraqi
religious, political, cultural, ethical, and social bodies.
also met with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and business leaders and
discussed ways to boost trade ties.
a gathering of representatives from hundreds of Iranian and Iraqi companies in
the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on Monday, Zarif said if regional countries
want a strong region, they must substitute dialog for war as well as
cooperation for arms race.
senior Yemeni official has hit back at US Secretary of State Mike Pomepo over
his recent allegations that Houthi fighters are violating the UN-brokered
ceasefire in the Hudaydah port city, criticizing Washington for keeping up its
support for the Saudi-led war on the impoverished nation.
a post on his Twitter account on Monday night, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head
of Yemen's Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said that the Houthis' redeployment
from Hudaydah refuted Pompeo’s allegations.
accusations are refuted by the steps of redeployment at the port of Hudaydah
and the submission of positive proposals,” he tweeted.
in Riyadh on Monday, the top US diplomat claimed that the Houthis had “chosen”
not to comply with the Hudaydah truce.
work that was done in Sweden on Yemen was good, but both sides need to honor
those commitments,” Pompeo said after talks with Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “To date, the Houthis have chosen not to
Houthi official said that the US administration “has refused to stop supporting
the war despite the congressional decision,” referring to the US Senate's
historic vote last month to end American military assistance for the Saudi
aggression against Yemen.
from the Houthi Ansarullah movement and militants loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed
former regime reached the Hudaydah ceasefire during peace talks in Sweden last
agreed to the withdrawal of their forces and deployment of UN monitors to the
port city, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.
has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the ongoing Saudi-led offensive since
Arabia and its regional allies, including the UAE, launched the devastating
military campaign against Yemen to bring the Riyadh-backed former government
back to power.
Yemen’s interior ministry on Tuesday said they had captured members of a Houthi
cell involved in last Thursday’s attack on Al-Anad air base.
drone attack on a Yemeni government military parade, the latest and deadliest
since a cease-fire agreement for Hodeidah was signed in Sweden last month,
killed six people and injured scores of others.
seventh person died days later.
ministry statement added the cell worked for the Houthi militia in Aden, Lahij
and other liberated areas, Al-Arabiya news website reported.
Al-Misri, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, said the
militants were arrested in the past few days in the Lahij province, north of
Aden, where Al-Anad airbase was located.
added that those arrested admitted during interrogation they carried out the
assassinations and bombings in Aden, which targeted security and military
Border Guard Bangladesh remains on alert since Saturday for a possible renewed
Rohingya intrusion amid frequent clashes between Myanmar security forces and
Buddhist rebels in Rakhine state.
BGB has deployed additional force to patrol the country's 54km border with
Myanmar fearing intrusion through the Naf river and other border areas, said
Asaduzzaman Chowdhury, director of BGB battalion 2 in Teknaf.
and other movement in the Naf river have been restricted and BGB remains
cautious…. to prevent intrusion and also yaba smuggling,” he said.
Motaleb, chairman of Leda Rohingya Camp Development Committee in Teknaf, said a
fresh exodus might take place if the ongoing conflicts in Myanmar affect
fact, a family of seven entered Bangladesh from Chindifrang of Bujidong on
Thursday and took shelter at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar.
family is kept at the Kutupalong transit camp and will be taken to a temporary
shelter camp, said Rezaul Karim, in-charge of the camp.
93 Rohingyas who came from India are also at the transit camp and will be taken
to that temporary camp, he added.
January 9, Aljazeera reported that frequent clashes between Myanmar security
forces and Buddhist rebels in Rakhine state have alarmed thousands of Rohingya
refugees living in no-man's-land on the country's border with Bangladesh, as
concerns grow over the intensified fighting.
than 730,000 members of the mostly Muslim minority have fled Myanmar to escape
a brutal military-led crackdown that started in 2017 and have taken shelter in
sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh while many have been living in limbo on
the border, unwilling to enter the settlements or return home.
are now caught on the sidelines of clashes between Myanmar troops and the
Arakan Army, an armed group seeking more autonomy for western Rakhine state's
fighting is going on between the government troops and Arakan Army inside
Myanmar," Rohingya leader Dil Mohammad told The Daily Star.
situation is very tense," he said.
Wednesday, the United Nations said in a statement it was "deeply
concerned" about the situation in the area.
Afghan and Indian officials on Monday singed Memorandums of Understanding
(MoUs) for 26 projects having a total value of 10 million US Dollars.
agreements were signed by the Indian Ambassador to Kabul Vinay Kumar and
various officials during a ceremony which was also attended by Chief Executive
Officer Abdullah Abdullah.
Office of the Chief Executive in a statement said the MoUs were signed in the
fields of higher education, education, health, rural development, road
construction, water and energy, environment, work opportunities, empowering
women, and agriculture.
statement further added that the projects will be implemented by 9 ministries
and 2 non-governmental organizations.
Executive Officer Abdullah said the projects will be implemented based on the
priorities and needs of the people in remote areas of the country.
said the small economic projects have high social impact on the lives of the
people in remote areas and will also help in maintaining peace and stability.
threatens to suspend talks with the U.S. regarding peace process
Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has warned to suspend talks with the
United States regarding the peace process if Washington refuses the inclusion
of troops withdrawal in the agenda of the talks.
group issued a statement late on Tuesday claiming that “the Unites States
agreed during Doha meeting in the month of November 2018 about discussing the
withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from
being used against other countries in the upcoming meeting.”
statement further adds that the United States is backing away from that agenda
and is unilaterally adding new subjects.
the Islamic Emirate warns the United States that if the current state of
affairs continues and America sustains her insincerity, then the Islamic
Emirate will be forced to stall all talks and negotiations until America ends
her unlawful pressures and maneuvering and steps forward towards true peace,”
the statement added.
comes as efforts are underway to revive peace talks with the group in a bid to
end the 17-year long war in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has arrested a senior leader of Afghan Taliban from the northwestern
city of Peshawar, apparently in an attempt to pressurize the militants to show
some flexibility in their stance during peace talks with the US.
detained leader, Hafiz Mohibullah was minister for religious affairs during the
Taliban rule in Afghanistan before 2001.
sources revealed that Mohibullah had been living in Peshawar for several years.
arrest came ahead of the visit of Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative
for reconciliation in Afghanistan, to Pakistan on Tuesday. Since Washington
started negotiations with the Afghan militants, Khalilzad has held a series of
meetings with the Taliban’s political office in Qatar and the United Arab
high-ranking anonymous Taliban figures were quoted by media on Tuesday as
saying that the former minister had been arrested to put pressure on the group
into meeting Khalilzad in Pakistan and also to get them ready for talks with representatives
of the Afghan President.
Islamabad’s proximity with the militants, the US wants Pakistan to play a role
in influencing the Taliban to agree for a settlement to end the 17-year
conflict in the war-torn country. During the last negotiations between
Khalilzad-led US team and Taliban in Abu Dhabi in December, Pakistani, Saudi
and UAE representatives were also present. A team of Afghan government officials
had also reached the Gulf state but the Taliban had refused to meet them.
According to sources, both Pakistan and Saudi officials tried to persuade
Taliban leaders to hold a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s delegation,
but they were not even ready to shake hands with them or pray alongside.
of the group’s leaders reportedly said that a meeting was recently held between
militant leaders and Pakistani officials on the upcoming peace talks but it
could conclude on a positive note. Following the meeting, Pakistani authorities
raided a number of houses and arrested Mohibullah.
sources said that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been trying to convince
the militants to change their stance towards the Afghan government. In the
past, Taliban officials had said that they will only begin talks with the
Afghan government once a final date for the withdrawal of American troops from
the country is announced.
militant group, however, further toughened its stance after the US President
Donald Trump announced withdrawal of half of his country’s troops from
Afghanistan. Given the frustration of US president over the lack of progress in
the Afghan conflict, Taliban considers it as their psychological victory. They
believe that the group is currently in a much stronger position to negotiate
with Washington than ever before.
Afghan Ambassador Shukrullah Atif Mashal on Tuesday claimed that Kabul and
Islamabad had agreed to work out a mechanism for swapping prisoners, who had
either completed their prison terms or were granted bail but couldn’t be freed
due to certain reasons.
refugees here, the ambassador said the prisoners’ issue had come under
discussion during a recent visit of foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to
said both sides had agreed on the exchange of prisoners.
Mashal said the Afghan embassy’s team would visit various prisons in Pakistan
for identification of prisoners.
prisoners arrested in pity nature offences in the two countries should be
released,” he said.
ambassador said a 10-member team of Afghan government would visit prisons in
Pakistan to find out prisoners, who had either completed their jail terms or
were granted bails but couldn’t be released.
said he would also inspect prisons.
Mashal said the Afghan government would facilitate Pakistani officials to
inspect jails in Afghanistan to identify Pakistani prisoners, who couldn’t be
freed due to some reasons.
envoy, who assumed the charge in Islamabad around three weeks ago, didn’t
explain whether the deal will be applicable to prisoners detained on charges of
subversive activities and other heinous crimes in the two countries.
countries have yet to sign extradition or prisoner exchange treaties.
during a brief chat with media, the Afghan ambassador failed to come up with a
reply when asked about media reports that Afghan Taliban leader Hafez
Mohibullah has been detained in Peshawar.
said efforts were under way for peace in Afghanistan.
are here to work for peace in Afghanistan,” he said declining to comment on the
detention of the Taliban leader.
ambassador was very apprehensive about ill-treatment of Afghan nationals at the
hands of Pakistani security personnel at Torkham border-crossing point and said
the issue had been discussed with Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed
said he would visit Torkham to review situation and would discuss the matter
with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Corps Commander Shaheen Mazhar
Mahmood today (Wednesday).
Mashal said Afghan citizens coming to Pakistan were lined up at the entry gate
don’t need verbal promises. They (Pakistanis) should fulfil the promise of
friendship, which they have been making,” he insisted.
envoy said Pakistani authorities had promised to facilitate the entry of Afghan
travelers at Torkham. He said he had proposed to make separate arrangements for
women, elders and ambulance service at Torkham border to prevent mess and keep
them from long wait.
Mashal complained that every Afghan visa applicant was paying $200 outside
Pakistani diplomatic mission in Kabul. He said the issue needed to be resolved.
ambassador said officials of Pakistani missions in Kabul and Jalalabad were not
involved in the illegal practice.
said he had asked General Bajwa to increase the number of visas for Afghans and
allow other consulates in Afghanistan to facilitate visa seekers.
mission in Kabul issues 300 to 350 visas to Afghan nationals on a daily basis.
Mashal expressed concern about the reports of the officials receiving bribes
from Afghan truckers transporting goods under the Afghan Transit Trade.
said ‘malpractices’ of the police and personnel of other law-enforcement
agencies had a negative impact on the bilateral trade and therefore, Pakistani
government should take measures for stopping illegal practices at checkposts.
ambassador said he met Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and took
up that issue with him as well.
said Afghanistan wanted to increase the volume of trade with Pakistan. He asked
Afghan and Pakistani traders to begin joint business ventures.
Mashal said durable peace in Afghanistan was not only in the interest of Afghan
nation but it would promote peace in the entire region.
urged Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to play role for peace in his
Taliban minister Hafez Mohibullah was arrested by Pakistani forces in Peshawar
on Monday night, BBC reported on Tuesday.
to reports, the former religious affairs minister of the Taliban regime has
been arrested by Pakistan to push the militant group into talks with the Afghan
government in Kabul.
was arrested hours before the arrival US Special Representative for Afghanistan
Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who is visiting the country on a five-day
special visit to hold talks with the civil and military leadership in Pakistan.
The talks will be in reference to the Afghan peace process and the US Army’s
withdrawal from Afghanistan.
to BBC, Taliban sources have revealed that the ex-Taliban minister has been
living in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) capital for several years. There is also
a general perception in the Taliban circles that Mohibullah has been arrested
to pressurise the militant group into meeting with representatives of the
Afghan government, the source further told BBC.
arrested him [Mohibullah] to send a message,” a senior Taliban figure told BBC.
from the group’s Quetta Shura, or leadership council, added, “There was a
meeting with Pakistani officials on the upcoming peace talks which ended in
arguments. Right afterwards, the authorities raided a number of houses and
arrested Mohibullah. After that [Taliban leader] Sheikh Hibatullah sent a
message warning everyone to be alert.”
after demanding a change of venue for peace talks, the Afghan Taliban pulled out
of the dialogue with the United States in Qatar, citing “agenda disagreement”,
especially over the involvement of Afghan officials as well as a possible
ceasefire and prisoner exchange, according to media reports.
Taliban have refused to budge on their stance concerning the involvement of
Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani in the peace process.
Pakistani security agencies on Tuesday killed two terrorists of the Islamic
State (ISIS) terror group in Punjab province, who were allegedly involved in
the kidnappings of an American national, a senior army officer, and the son of
former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
terrorists were also involved in the killing of senior intelligence officials.
to a statement issued by the counter terrorism department (CTD) of the Punjab
Police, the terrorists were to hit the offices of an intelligence agency on
Tuesday but they were eliminated before they could act.
Monday the CTD received credible source information that some terrorists were
hiding in Faisalabad, some 150 kms from Lahore, in a rented house. A person
from the neighbourhood observed suspicious activity and secretly informed the
police," a CTD spokesman said.
said an intelligence-based operation was jointly conducted by the CTD, Punjab
and an intelligence agency at midnight.
terrorists were warned to surrender but they started indiscriminate firing at
the personnel of the raiding team. A shootout ensued. When the firing stopped,
two terrorists were found dead. They were identified as Adeel Hafeez and Usman
belong to a very dangerous network of Daesh (IS)," he said.
spokesperon further said both terrorists had planned to attack security
personnel in Faisalabad, evidence from the crime scene showed.
terrorist network has been found involved in several high profile terrorist
activities including killing of officials of the intelligence agency in Multan
namely Umar Mubeen and Yasir Ali, kidnapping of son-in-law of General Tariq
Majeed, an American national Warren Weinstein in 2011, Ali Haider Gilani, son
of former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani and Brigadier Tahir," the CTD said.
who was adbucted from Lahore, was accidentally killed in a US drone strike in
2015 on the Afghan border.
slain terrorists had also killed two police officers in Faisalabad in an
attempt to kidnap a senior law enforcement officer.
suicide jackets, one pistol, two hand grenades and live rounds of pistol have
been recovered from the crime scene.
Pakistan will seek a credit facility for liquefied natural gas payments from
Qatar as part of efforts to ease its severe balance of payments crisis, the
Tribune newspaper said on Tuesday, quoting Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar
paper quoted the minister as saying Prime Minister Imran Khan would seek a
price cut on Pakistan's existing LNG deal with Qatar as well as a one-year
credit facility, enabling it to defer payments for vital gas supplies.
faces a severe strain on its balance of payments, with a current account
deficit of around 5.9 percent of gross domestic product and foreign exchange
reserves sufficient only to cover around two months' of import payments.
government has been talking to the International Monetary Fund about a possible
bailout and has stepped up efforts to raise funds from friendly Arab nations as
well as China.
the same time, Pakistan is facing a serious energy crisis with repeated
blackouts and gas supply outages that led to the sacking of the heads of two of
the country's main gas distribution utilities last week.
agreed, an LNG credit facility with Qatar would follow similar agreements
enabling deferred payments on oil supplies from Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates, which have both agreed $3 billion facilities with Pakistan.
Sunday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih announced plans for a $10 billion
oil refinery in the port city of Gwadar, to be signed next month during a visit
to Pakistan by Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
on Tuesday released a senior Afghan Taliban leader who was taken into custody
from Peshawar a few days ago, Taliban sources said.
Mohibullah is the member of a Taliban political commission and has taken part
in several rounds of peace talks. Taliban officials said they do not know as to
why he was arrested at a time when Taliban and the US were engaged in talks to
find out a political solution to the Afghan conflict.
Afghan Taliban warned on Tuesday that they would be forced to stall all talks
and negotiations if US refused to discuss withdrawal of foreign forces from
Afghanistan. A Taliban statement said the US is ‘backing away’ from the agenda
and is unilaterally adding new subjects besides using pressure tactics.
warning came days after Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative for
Afghanistan reconciliation, cancelled his meeting with Taliban in Qatar.
Khalilzad is now seeking cooperation from Pakistan and other stakeholders to
exert pressure on Taliban to join the intra-Afghan dialogue and it will be the
main item on agenda of his talks with Pakistani officials, which will start on
Wednesday in Islamabad.
the US agreed during Doha meeting in the month of November 2018 about
discussing the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing
Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the upcoming meeting,
she now is backing away from that agenda and is unilaterally adding new
subjects,” the Taliban statement said. “Hence the Islamic Emirate warns US if
the current state of affairs continues and US sustains her insincerity, then
the Islamic Emirate will be forced to stall all talks and negotiations,” it
States former ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter Tuesday called on Prime
Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister’s Office. Welcoming the ambassador,
the prime minister reiterated the importance of a strong Pakistan-US
relationship based on mutuality of interest and trust. The prime minister noted
his government’s priorities to bring about a meaningful transformation in the
lives of Pakistani citizens through socioeconomic development and equitable
distribution of resources. Imran said regional security environment was
necessary to realise the economic agenda of his government. He emphasised that
Pakistan fully supports a political settlement in Afghanistan which was the
only viable option to end this conflict. “Solution to the Afghan imbroglio can
only be found through political initiatives,” he opined. The former ambassador
said that he continues to advocate for a strong relationship between Pakistan
and the US, adding that Pakistan is an important country of the region and
critical to US national security objectives.
blasted their way into a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on
Tuesday, killing at least 15 people and sending workers diving under desks to
escape an attack claimed by Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab.
11 hours after the assault began at Nairobi's upscale 14 Riverside Drive
complex, bursts of gunfire and an explosion were heard in the area, suggesting
the situation was not yet under control despite government assurances.
of people were still hiding inside the complex, a security source said, and a
first responder in touch with many of them said some needed first aid for
gunshot wounds. By 1 a.m. (2200 GMT), 15 bodies had arrived at Chiromo mortuary
and more were expected, an attendant told Reuters.
papers indicated that 11 were Kenyan, one was American and one was British, he
said. The other two did not have documents on them.
Minister Fred Matiang’i said at 11 p.m. (2000 GMT), seven hours after the
attack began at the upscale 14 Riverside Drive complex, that all buildings had
been secured and scores of people evacuated from the scene.
did not comment on the whereabouts of the attackers and said security forces
were still “mopping up” in the area.
is a major expatriate hub, and the compound targeted contained offices of
various international companies, in an echo of a deadly 2013 assault on a
Nairobi shopping center in the same neighborhood.
main door of the hotel was blown open and there was a human arm in the street
severed from the shoulder,” said Serge Medic, the Swiss owner of a security
company who ran to the scene to help when he heard of the attack from his taxi
who was armed, entered the building with a policeman and two soldiers, he said,
but they came under fire and retreated. An unexploded grenade lay in the lobby,
man said he saw two armed men with scarves on their head and bandoliers of
bullets,” Medic told Reuters, as gunfire echoed in the background.
has often been targeted by al-Shabaab, who killed 67 people at the Westgate
shopping centre in 2013 and nearly 150 students at Garissa university in 2015.
Al-Shabaab says its attacks are revenge for Kenyan troops stationed inside
Somalia, which has been riven by civil war since 1991.
than six hours after Tuesday’s attack began, many office workers were still
holed up inside the complex as officers escorted small groups to safety, some
with their hands in their air. Foreign security advisors at the site scrambled
to make sure their clients were safe.
police chief Joseph Boinnet said the attack began around 3 pm with an explosion
targeting cars outside a bank followed by a detonation from a suicide bomber in
the hotel lobby. As he spoke, a Reuters reporter on the scene reported heavy
gunfire, then an explosion shortly afterwards.
footage showed three attackers dressed in black running across the parking lot
at 3:30 p.m. shortly followed by a fourth. At least two of the men were wearing
green scarves in the close-up footage. One appeared to be wearing a green belt
with grenades in it.
Spanish national was among the injured, a Spanish diplomat told Reuters.
woman shot in the leg was carried out of the complex, and three men emerged
covered in blood. Some office workers climbed out of windows. Many told Reuters
that they had to leave colleagues behind, still huddled under their desks.
a grenade in the bathroom,” one officer yelled as police rushed out from one
which wants to overthrow the weak, UN-backed Somali government and impose
strict Islamic law, quickly said it was responsible. “We are behind the attack
in Nairobi. The operation is going on,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s
military operations spokesman, told Reuters by telephone in Somalia.
to its website, 14 Riverside is home to local offices of international
companies including Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Pernod Ricard, Dow
Chemical and SAP, as well as the dusitD2 hotel, part of Thai group Dusit Thani.
is a base for hundreds of diplomats, aid workers, businessmen and others
operating around east Africa.
troops, concentrated in south Somalia, originally went into Somalia to try to
create a buffer zone along the border. They are now part of an African Union
attack took place as a Kenyan court prepares to sentence four men accused of
aiding the Westgate mall attack.
least 10 people were killed and several others injured when Boko Haram
militants attacked a military base in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno on
Monday, local media reported on Tuesday.
to a report by Daily Trust, the militant group also set fire to civilian
attack was followed by a clash between the militant group and the military.
has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 when the group turned
violent following the death of its former leader Mohamed Yusuf in police
than 20,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, while 2-3 million have
been displaced from their homes across the Lake Chad region.
state security court on Tuesday sentenced a top Salafist leader to nine years
in prison for “sedition” during 2011 protests.
Shehadeh, known as Abu Mohammad Tahawi, was found guilty of “actions inciting
opposition to the government” at the demonstrations in the northern Zarqa
broke out on April 15, 2011 on the margins of a rally organized by Tahawi, in
which protesters called for the release of detained Salafists, who follow an
ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam.
violence left 91 people injured, the majority of them security personnel, according
to official figures.
coincided with anti-government protests in cities across Jordan.
150 Salafists were put on trial in August 2011 on charges including leading
riots, “terrorist acts” and “illegal acts of destruction”.
majority are being tried in absentia.
agreed on Tuesday to a UN request to host a meeting between the Yemeni
government and the Houthi militias to discuss a prisoner swap deal that would
allow thousands of families to be reunited, a foreign ministry statement said.
kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Jordan accepted a request by
the special UN envoy for Yemen to host the talks but did not say when they
would be held.
four-year war pits the Iran-aligned Houthi militias against an internationally
recognized government. In peace talks in Sweden last month, the sides agreed to
a series of confidence-building measures, including an exchange of thousands of
has been slow, marred by violence and violations by the Houthis.
explosion and gunfire have been reported in the Kenyan capital, leaving at
least seven people dead, with al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants claiming
responsibility for the attack.
least one explosion and gunshots rang out at the Dusit upscale hotel and office
complex on 14 Riverside Drive in Nairobi on Tuesday afternoon, sending workers
fleeing for their lives as others cowered under their desks.
group of unknown armed assailants attacked the Dusit Complex in what we suspect
could be a terror attack," Kenya police chief Joseph Boinnet said.
person died in hospital and eight were injured, according to hospital
on, six dead bodies were removed from buildings near the hotel, according to
warned the attack may still be ongoing, with the gunmen still inside the
just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away
raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their
lives," a woman working in a bank in the complex said, adding she had
heard two explosions.
heard a loud bang from something that was thrown inside. Then I saw shattered
glass," Geoffrey Otieno, who works at a beauty salon in the complex, said,
adding, "We hid until we were rescued."
extinguished three cars ablaze by the entrance as armed security forces headed
in and other armed officers evacuated shocked workers.
Takfiri militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack.
are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on," said
Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman.
police were already treating the incident as a potential terror attack.
have to go for the highest incident that could take place. The highest incident
we have is a terror (attack)," police spokesman Charles Owino told Citizen
has frequently been targeted by al-Shabab terror attacks, and also suffers from
sent troops across the border to Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabab. The group
has vowed to fight back.
which has been an al-Qaeda affiliate since 2012, has been designated as a
terrorist organization by many countries.
loyal to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on Tuesday announced the
launch of a military operation in the country’s south, according to a
a news conference held in the eastern city of Benghazi, Haftar spokesman Ahmed
al-Mismari said the operation was aimed at “preserving Libya’s territorial
operation, he added, was also intended to "ensure the public’s continued
ability to maintain and control Libya’s oil and gas sector”.
is further intended to rein in rampant undocumented immigration -- which, the
spokesman said, "poses a threat to national security" -- and
eliminate remnants of the Al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups.
urged members of the public to avoid parts of Libya known for sheltering
"terrorists", citing the city of Sabha (located some 750 kilometers
south of Tripoli) in particular.
forces have already reportedly arrived at the Sabha Airbase, known locally as
the Tamanhant Airbase, in advance of planned operations along Libya’s borders
with Sudan, Chad and Niger.
has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising
led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four
decades in power.
caught in Syria says curious about Islamic State: Report
An American teacher captured by Kurdish-led forces in Syria acknowledged in an
interview aired Tuesday (Jan 15) that he was drawn to the Islamic State
movement but said he did not fight.
News broadcast an interview with Warren Christopher Clark, one of five
foreigners, including another American, whom the Syrian Democratic Forces last
week said they had seized as they battled remnants of the Islamic State group
in eastern Syria.
a 34-year-old Texan who converted to Islam and took the alias Abu Mohammed
al-Ameriki, said of the extremists: "I wanted to learn more about their
wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were
doing," he said.
said he entered Syria in 2015 and had previously watched videos of beheadings
by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people, too. So I
really don't see any difference. They might do it off camera, but it's the
same," he said.
Clark insisted that he never fought for the group, which he said detained him
numerous times for not taking up arms.
Clark, who had worked as a substitute teacher in Sugar Land, near Houston, said
he offered his services as an English instructor in Islamic State-controlled
officials have yet to reveal what they will do with Clark and another US
citizen purportedly arrested by Kurdish-led forces, Zaid Abed al-Hamid.
Donald Trump has in the past vowed tough punishment against extremists detained
Hashemi, a journalist and anchor working for Iran’s English-language Press TV
television news network, has been imprisoned in the United States for
born Hashemi, most famous for anchoring news and presenting shows for Press TV,
was detained upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St.
Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, her family and friends said.
TV has learnt that she was transferred by the FBI to a detention facility in
Washington, D.C. Neither her nor her family members have been given any reason
for the apprehension.
born Melanie Franklin, had just reached the US to visit her ill brother other
relatives had been unable to contact her, and she was allowed to call her
daughter only two days after her arrest.
a Muslim convert, told her daughter that she has been forced into manacles at
the detention facility.
has been prevented from observing the Islamic dress code, Hashemi said. The
journalist had her hijab forcibly removed, and pictures were taken of her
without the headgear upon arrival at the facility, she added.
has only been allowed to wear a T-shirt, and is using another one to cover her
head, while her forearms are still bare against the Islamic dress code, which
she would invariably commit to.
she was allowed only pork as meal, and even denied bread after refusing to
consume the meat, which the Islamic law forbids.
will take all legal actions for the extradition of Fetullah Terrorist
Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen by the U.S., the country's justice
minister said Tuesday.
believe that this extradition will happen. It should happen. If you are a state
of law, you should do it. We have not gotten a result yet regarding this issue,
but we will take all legal actions," Abdulhamit Gul told news channel
said Turkey has requested Gulen's extradition from the U.S. seven times.
and its U.S.-based leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016
in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
President Donald Trump came up with a proposal of creating a safe zone in
northern Syria, an idea that Ankara had been repeatedly voicing since the
beginning of the civil war in the country.
a Twitter post on Monday, Trump proposed the establishment of a 20-mile
(32-kilometer) wide safe zone in Syria's eastern Euphrates region. Later in the
day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone talk with his U.S.
counterpart and evaluated the details of the safe zone.
at the group meeting of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party,
Erdogan said that he had been emphasizing the importance of creating a safe
zone since Barack Obama’s administration in the U.S.
to Anadolu Agency’s map measurement, the safe zone will cover a 460-kilometer
(286-mile) Turkey-Syria border line.
safe zone will include the settlements in northern Raqqa and Hasakah; it will
pass through Sarrin from west to east, northern Ayn Issa, northern Suluk, Ras
al-Ayn and Tal Tamer along with Darbasiyah, Amude, Qamishli, Tal Hamis,
Qahtaniyah, Yarubiyah and al-Malikiyah.
areas, including towns and villages of Shuyukh Tahtani, Ayn al-Arab (Kobani)
Tal Abyad, Darbasiyah, Amude, Qahtaniyyah, Jawadiyah and al-Malikiyah districts
will be included in the safe zone.
line starts in western Syria, near the Sajur River in eastern Manbij. Manbij
town center will remain out of the safe zone.
the other hand, the Bashar al-Assad regime has a presence in the Qamishli
district of Hasakah province, which is physically included in the safe zone.
for a safe zone
safe zone issue was first brought to the global agenda when Erdogan visited the
U.S. in May 2013.
proposed a three-stage plan that included a no-fly zone, a safe zone for
civilians and launching a joint land operation along with the coalition forces.
officials have repeatedly spoken of establishing a safe zone in the war-torn country.
establishment of safe zone was previously proposed by Ankara with an aim to
protect civilian population that could take shelter there. Turkey is working to
make the proposed safe zone as an area where all internally displaced Syrians
can be gathered or the civilians taking refuge in Turkey can return and settle.
is regarded as almost certain that the Syrian people will continue to migrate
abroad, particularly to Europe, for being deprived of social services and
shelter even if the civil war ends.
European countries are the most concerned party in this context.
a surprising move, U.S. President Donald Trump last month announced the
withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
made the decision during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective
coordination over the civil war-torn country.
has repeatedly objected to U.S. support for the terrorist PKK/PYD as a
"reliable ally" in Syria, which has included supplying arms and
would enter negotiations with the U.S. if the latter first lifted economic
sanctions on Tehran, Iranian state media quoted President Hassan Rouhani as
cannot be used as a tool for forcing Iran to the negotiating table,” he said,
adding that Washington should “respect the Iranian people and lift sanctions
before holding talks”.
to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency, Rouhani made the remarks while
addressing Shia and Sunni Muslim scholars in Iran’s Golestan Province.
country is certainly facing unusual circumstances, but we don’t fear
sanctions,” he was quoted as saying. “Nor will we retreat from our objectives.”
also accused the U.S., Israel and certain Arab Gulf States of waging an
“economic war” on Iran.
will never be isolated,” he went on to assert. “Now, globally, only a few
countries support [Washington’s] policies regarding the  nuclear deal and
year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a landmark 2015
nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN
Security Council members plus Germany).
Sends More Military Convoys to Eastern Syria to Reinforce Military Bases
Despite Trump's Pullout Call
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) quoted informed sources
as saying that a US military convoy comprising 100 military vehicles has
entered Syria via the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
noted that the US military convoy also contained military and logistic
equipment and has been sent to the US-led coalition bases in Eastern Euphrates
source reiterated that the fortification of the US military bases in Eastern
Syria is still continuing after Trump's decision to pull out forces from Syria.
a relevant development earlier this month, the SOHR said the US had dispatched
hundreds of military trucks comprising weapons and military equipment to Deir
Ezzur province in Eastern Syria since President Donald Trump declared his
decision to withdraw troops from the country.
SOHR said that a military convoy comprising a sum of 150 trucks carrying cars
and logistic military equipment has been dispatched to the regions under the
control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) specially on Eastern Euphrates
from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
SOHR noted that it was the third US military convoy sent to Syria after Trump's
decision on exit of the American troops from Syria, and said that a total
number of 500 trucks containing weapons and military equipment have been
dispatched to Eastern Syria so far.
the SOHR reported that withdrawal of the US heavy military vehicles from
Eastern Euphrates towards Iraq has not yet been monitored officially.
SOHR reported that the Turkish media reports sating that the US has withdrawn
its forces from a base at the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border were related to the
US forces' traffic between Syria and Iraq.
SOHR had also reported on Sunday that a long convoy of almost 200 US army
trucks, carrying weapons, munitions and logistical equipment, left the US bases
in Iraq on Saturday and arrived in coalition bases in Raqqa, Manbij and Ein
Issa in Northeastern Syria.
the meantime, the Kurdish militia reported that the trucks arrived in the town
of Amouda and left then for the US-run bases in Northeastern Syria, adding that
the arms and ammunition cargo is to be delivered to the SDF.
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