Lanka's Muslim Community Should Not Be Blamed For the Easter Sunday Suicide
Bombings: The Archbishop of Colombo
Lankans Urged To Avoid Mosques, Churches amid Fears Of More Attacks
Agency Urges Muslims to Give 'Zakat' For Refugees
Must Be Defeated, Prince Tells New Zealand Mosque Survivors
Help Muslims Shift Minaret Facing Demolition in Assam
‘Hate’ Toward Rep. Ilhan Omar Has American Muslims Shuddering
Advises Islamic Bodies to Be Vigilant Against Terrorist Groups
Plan Doesn’t Include Jordan-Palestinian Union, Says US Envoy
Challenge Talibs to Join Other Afghans And Work To Make This The Year Of
Zahran Hashim Went From Obscure Extremist Preacher To The Alleged Mastermind Of
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Sri Lanka radical Hashim died in hotel attack: President Maithripala Sirisena
militant blown up while planting a bomb inside a private university in Kabul
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official says Taliban ambush police convoy, kill 9
of Muslim refugees flee homes after Sri Lanka bombings over attack fears
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
Lanka's Muslim community should not be blamed for the Easter Sunday suicide
bombings that authorities have blamed on a local Muslim group, the Archbishop
of Colombo said on Thursday.
Cardinal Ranjit said that Muslim politicians and others from the community had
offered their condolences and said they had nothing to do with the Sunday
horror that killed 359 people and injured hundreds.
I am of the opinion that the Muslim community had absolutely nothing to do with
these attacks," the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted him as saying.
the Archbishop said he could not fathom why the Catholic community was
subjected to such atrocities.
have been personally open and friendly towards the Muslim community as we share
a common ancestor in Abraham," Cardinal Ranjith said.
the reason why they chose us would emerge in the future."
said that members of the Muslim community had met him at Inter-Religious
Council meetings where they expressed their condolences and insisted they had
no connection with what transpired on Easter Sunday.
the media, he said the government should have told him "if they knew
something was about to take place".
such an event, he said the community would have cancelled all the masses and
services during the Holy Week.
was referring to published reports that Sri Lanka had been warned by
intelligence agencies about possible terror attacks during Easter but the
warnings were ignored.
have also told my Catholic population not to raise their hand against anyone
because that's what we Christians have to follow," the Cardinal added.
said he had stopped all festivals taking place in churches until the situation
was brought back to normal.
Lankans urged to avoid mosques, churches amid fears of more attacks
Muslims in Sri Lanka were urged to pray at home on Friday and not attend
mosques or churches after the State Intelligence Services warned of possible
car bomb attacks, amid fears of retaliatory violence for the Easter Sunday
US embassy in Sri Lanka also urged its citizens to avoid places of worship over
the coming weekend after authorities reported there could be more attacks
targeting religious centres.
Lanka remains on edge after suicide bombing attacks on three churches and four
hotels that killed 253 people and wounded about 500. The attacks have been
claimed by the extremist Islamic State group.
10,000 soldiers are being deployed across the Indian Ocean island state to
carry out searches and provide security for religious centres, the military
said on Friday.
of retaliatory sectarian violence has already caused Muslim communities flee
their homes amid bomb scares, lockdowns and security sweeps.
All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ullama, Sri Lanka's main Islamic religious body, urged
Muslims to conduct prayers at home on Friday in case "there is a need to
protect family and properties".
Malcolm Ranjith also appealed to priests not to conduct mass at churches until
is important," he said.
have detained least 76 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt, in
their investigations so far.
State provided no evidence to back its claim that it was behind the attacks. If
true, it would be one of the worst attacks carried out by the group outside
Iraq and Syria.
State released a video on Tuesday showing eight men, all but one with their
faces covered, standing under a black Islamic State flag and declaring their
loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Sri Lankan government said there were nine homegrown, well-educated suicide
bombers, eight of whom had been identified. One was a woman.
have focused their investigations on international links to two domestic
Islamist groups - National Thawheed Jama'ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim -
they believe carried out the attacks.
officials have acknowledged a major lapse in not widely sharing an intelligence
warning from India before the attacks. Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando
resigned over the failure to prevent the attacks.
Easter Sunday bombings shattered the relative calm that had existed in
Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since a civil war against mostly Hindu ethnic Tamil
separatists ended 10 years ago.
Lanka's 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island's
conflict and communal tensions.
of the victims were Sri Lankans, although authorities said at least 38
foreigners were also killed, many of them tourists sitting down to breakfast at
top-end hotels when the bombers struck.
included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and
Portuguese nationals. Britain warned its nationals on Thursday to avoid Sri
Lanka unless it was absolutely necessary because there could be more attacks.
agency urges Muslims to give 'zakat' for refugees
From this Ramadan, Muslims across the world will have a global platform under
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to channel their
obligatory alms, or zakat, for the refugee and displaced families from Syria,
Iraq, and Yemen.
UNHCR on Thursday announced the launch of its Refugee Zakat Fund, a new global
structure that transforms its three-year-old zakat programme into a global
at aiding the most vulnerable displaced populations, the fund accepts
contributions all year round through the site zakat.unhcr.org
UN agency also unveiled its “UNHCR Zakat Program: 2019 Launch Report”,
developed in partnership with DinarStandard, a growth strategy research and
advisory firm and the co-authors of the report, during the Refugee Zakat Fund
launch in Dubai.
two seconds, we have a refugee,” said Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s head of private
sector partnerships, MENA.
the past 70 years, he said, UNHCR has helped 68 million displaced people.
“Refugees in Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt need urgent assistance for food,
water, health care and shelter,” he said.
budget required by UNHCR in 2019 is $7.9 billion (Dh29 billion), to respond to
the overall needs of refugees and internally displaced and other people of
concern around the world.
155,000 refugee families are in need of UNHCR’s cash-based assistance which
requires a funding of $208.6 million this year.
are aiming, at least in the coming months, to channel lifesaving support to
24,000 of the most vulnerable refugee and displaced families,” said Chahine.
is an important time for refugees, and this year we are launching a major
campaign globally to encourage Muslims to remember refugees in their prayers,
and remember them with their zakat. However, the Refugee Zakat Fund accepts
contributions all year round,” he said, while recommending Islamic financial
institutions, other organisations and individuals to provide alms to refugees.
pointed out that refugees are eligible to receive zakat as they fall under at
least four of the eight zakat categories mentioned in the Quran.
zakat initiative is fully Sharia-compliant and is backed by five fatwas,
authorising the collection of zakat funds to be delivered to eligible refugees
under rigorous stipulations. “100 per cent of your zakat goes directly to
eligible refugees,” Chahine said.
report said UNHCR’s zakat programme globally received $14.4 million from 2016
to 2018, directly assisting 6,888 displaced families, primarily Syrian refugees
in Jordan and Lebanon.
noted that only up to 30 per cent refugees are in camps and the rest are in
eligible to register for the UNHCR fund can withdraw zakat allotted to them
every month until they are out of the crisis and go back to their native
places. In countries without ATM facilities, partner banks help UNHCR verify
the identities of the refugees receiving zakat by scanning their iris, Chahine
have surveys that show where the money is spent by the beneficiaries.”
example, refugee families in Jordan spend the most on rent, followed by food,
health care and finally on debt repayment.
addition, the report shows that the global zakat giving stands at $76 billion
and could potentially reach an amount as high as $356 billion, if proper
mechanisms are in place for Muslims to safely fulfil their zakat obligations.
online bank transfers and digital payments, UNHCR is bringing zakat provision
into the modern era. The site also helps donors calculate their zakat and know
how that money can impact the lives of refugees.
hence, UNHCR Fund meets the main challenges like transparency and reporting of
zakat, said Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO and managing director at DinarStandard.
has the potential to release tens of billions of dollars into global
philanthropic causes and humanitarian needs, the inaugural UNHCR report
reveals. Muslim obligatory charitable contributions might be just the solution
to address UNHCR’s funding gap, given that 60 per cent out of the 68.5 million
of forcibly displaced people worldwide (around 40.8 million people) are
Zakat-eligible.” he added.
to remember refugees with your zakat
Choose your zakat destination, supported currency and amount
Fill in the fields with your details and click on “Dedicate your Zakat”
Alternately, for bank transfer donations, use the accounts given on the next page of the
Notify UNHCR at firstname.lastname@example.org when the bank transfer is done
must be defeated, prince tells New Zealand mosque survivors
an emotional meeting with survivors of the New Zealand mosques massacre,
Britain's Prince William appealed Friday for "extremism in all forms"
to be defeated.
160 people gathered at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to meet the prince
who had earlier told first responders to the March 15 carnage that when "a
good friend" is in need "you travel to their place and you put your
arms around them."
weeks to the day from when a self-styled white supremacist killed 50 people and
wounded just as many in two Christchurch mosques, the prince said he stood with
the people of New Zealand, the people of Christchurch and the Muslim community.
act of violence was designed to change New Zealand, but instead, the grief of a
nation revealed just how deep your wells of empathy, compassion, warmth and
love truly run," the prince said after arriving at the mosque from a
meeting with hospital staff who had tended to the wounded.
a moment of acute pain, you stood up, and you stood together. In reaction to
tragedy, you showed something remarkable.
stand with you in gratitude to what you have taught the world in these past
weeks. I stand with you in optimism... I stand with you in grief. I will
support those who survive.
the forces of love always prevail over the forces of hate... Extremism in all
forms must be defeated."
armed police stood guard outside the mosque and a police helicopter circled
overhead, the prince was welcomed to the mosque by the Imam Gamel Fouda, Prime
Minister Jacinda Ardern and attack survivor Farid Ahmed whose wife was among
who became the face of the Muslim community when he said he loved and forgave
the gunman, told the prince: "We have to keep up hope and not surrender to
William arrived in the country on Thursday he made an unannounced visit to the
Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland where he met with five-year-old Alen
Alsati and her father, Wasseim, who were both injured in the March 15 attack.
a touching video released by Kensington Palace, Alen, who only woke from a coma
early this week, asked William: "Do you have a daughter?,"
I have a daughter? Yes, she's called Charlotte... she's about the same age as
you," William replied.
flew to Christchurch later in the day to meet with police and medical officers
who were first to the scene of the carnage, telling them they did "an
incredible job on a very bad day."
-- who also visited Christchurch just weeks after the devastating February 2011
earthquake which claimed 185 lives -- will end his brief visit later Friday
when he lays a wreath at the earthquake memorial site.
Help Muslims Shift Minaret Facing Demolition In Assam
Puranigudam Minar, as the locals call it, stands tall in a dusty bylane of
Nagaon. Situated inside the Puranigudam Masjid, built in 1824, the turret was
about to be demolished to make way for a highway expansion project. The people
of Purunigudam, cutting across religious lines, would not let that happen.
2015, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) proposed expansion of
NH-37 into a four-lane highway.
Minar was in its way. A few concerned locals, both Hindus and Muslims,
approached the district administration with a memorandum to preserve the Minar,
but the NHAI and public works department said moving it would be difficult.
relenting, some of them started a crowd-funding initiative. Soon, their
campaign caught the attention of an engineering firm based in Haryana.
proposed a technique called lifting-and-shifting... We lift the structure from
its base, using plate rollers, and move it,” explained Gurdeep Chauhan, the
engineer who worked this out. “The base of the Minar has a perimeter of 42
feet, intricately designed. A few accidents have damaged it a little over the
year,” he said.
the Minar is being moved 70 feet away from the original site, engaging six
labourers. “Initially, we estimated a Rs 5-lakh budget. But it has shot up to
Rs 8 lakh. So, our firm is chipping in. The work is 60% done. In another 20
days, we will be able to finish it,” Chauhan further said.
the locals, this comes as a relief after a long battle. “It has been four years
since we took the initiative to preserve the site.
Minar is a symbol of harmony in Nagaon. Through social media, a lot of people
are now aware of it and help is coming in from all quarters,” said Chittaranjan
Borah, a resident of Puranigudam, who was the first to alert the authorities
about the need to preserve the site.
CITY, Mo. — When Makkah Ali learned that Representative Ilhan Omar had been
elected, she could not get enough of the good news — someone like her, a black
Muslim woman, was going to Washington to represent Americans.
just four months into Ms. Omar’s first term, that feeling of celebration has
taken a sharp turn.
what Congresswoman Omar is going through will have a lot of young black Muslim
women wondering if what she is going through will ultimately be worth it,” said
Ms. Ali, 29, a producer and co-host of the “Identity Politics” podcast.
Omar, 36, the first congresswoman to wear a hijab, has faced intense opposition
over her outspoken, controversial positions on Israel and comments about Jews
that many felt played on anti-Semitic tropes about money and dual loyalty.
of her own party drafted a resolution rebuking her comments. Republicans have
threatened to censure her. Things escalated when President Trump accused her of
playing down the events of Sept. 11 after comments she made about the aftermath
of the attacks.
while her choice of words has caused some of her own Muslim constituents to
describe her as anti-Semitic, many American Muslims across the country are
worried that the ongoing criticism of Ms. Omar is being motived by racism and
Islamophobia, and they are concerned about the broader consequences for their
communities, including a heightened sense that they are not welcome in the
halls of power.
we start fearing visibility, we’re putting a ceiling on what change we can make
in this world,” said Ms. Ali.
Muslims are a small but increasingly significant part of the electorate. During
last year’s midterm elections, nearly 100 Muslim candidates ran for office, and
some of the largest American Muslim communities are in swing states.
that momentum could easily be derailed, some say, and the blame for such a
setback would lie not just with Ms. Omar’s poor choice of words or Mr. Trump’s inflammatory
rhetoric, but also with Democratic leaders who appear reluctant to embrace the
diversity they claim to champion.
Ahmed, a 25-year-old aide in the California Legislature, said it was inspiring
to see someone who looked and prayed like her representing Americans at the
federal level, but the tepid support for Ms. Omar from some Democrats was
allowing for the hate toward Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to go unchecked, many
people that are like me, we are pretty discouraged,” said Ms. Ahmed, who is
Muslim and wears a hijab.
Omar has received hundreds of threats since taking office, she said. A New York
man was arrested earlier this month for threatening to kill her. A Florida man
was arrested last week for making threatening phone calls to members of
Congress, including Representative Rashida Tlaib, with references to Ms. Omar.
Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, is also Muslim, but it is Ms. Omar who has
attracted the most scrutiny because of her outspoken criticism of Israel.
Ms. Omar first came onto the national scene as a blunt-talking freshman
congresswoman from Minnesota, Suldan Hagi, who is a Muslim immigrant from
Somalia like Ms. Omar, understood how her comments and delivery could be
perceived as hurtful and offensive.
he felt her unique perspective as an immigrant and refugee made for valuable
contributions to Congress. It was just that Ms. Omar needed to be more reserved
and avoid attention and getting into trouble, he said.
came what Mr. Hagi saw as unfair charges that Ms. Omar was anti-Semitic, and a
false insinuation from Mr. Trump that she did not understand the severity of
Sept. 11. Now Mr. Hagi thinks it is not Ms. Omar’s politics upsetting people,
but her identity.
many people that are racist,” said Mr. Hagi, 38, who owns a trucking business
in Kansas City. “And when you see someone who wears a hijab, although an
American, they don’t like it. She’s different. Maybe a lot of people are
saying, ‘What’s going on here?’”
agreed that Ms. Omar would have been better off keeping a low profile so early
in her tenure.
when someone is elected to a higher office, I always see that people take it
easy in the first term, first year,” said Omar Jamal, a political consultant in
St. Paul, Minn., who is from Somalia. “They learn. They don’t go around saying
whatever comes to their mind.”
Jamal said he believed Ms. Omar was paying the price for focusing too heavily
on Israel. “I think she’s gone the wrong way in creating controversy and being
anti-Semitic,” he said. “She should have focused on her district, housing,
education, but she became obsessed with Israel.”
month, Ms. Omar said during a speech at an event hosted by the Council on
American-Islamic Relations that many Muslims had been mistreated because of the
actions of a few on Sept. 11.
those remarks, Mr. Trump shared a video on Twitter that featured four words
from Ms. Omar’s speech — “some people did something” — against the backdrop of
planes hitting the twin towers, suggesting that Ms. Omar did not comprehend the
gravity of the attacks.
Trump also told a Minneapolis TV station that Ms. Omar has “been very
disrespectful to this country.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, acknowledged the video in a statement that
criticized the president for using “the painful images of 9/11 for a political
attack,” but she failed to mention Ms. Omar by name.
led to accusations that the speaker and Democratic leadership were ambivalent
about the continued attacks faced by Ms. Omar, who said she had received an
increase in threats in the wake of the video.
Democrats, including Representative Jerrold Nadler and Senators Bernie Sanders
and Elizabeth Warren, offered their support for Ms. Omar. Ms. Pelosi requested
a review of the congresswoman’s security.
Ms. Ali, the podcast host, Democratic leadership did not show real solidarity
with Ms. Omar when she faced threats of violence, underscoring her fears that
the congresswoman was being singled out. As a freshman, she said, Ms. Omar not
only deserved support but time to learn and grow.
them the same benefit of the doubt we give to white politicians and leaders
that say bigoted and racist and horrible things,” Ms. Ali said. “Black women
have always been held to a different standard.”
Ms. Omar continues to face political attacks and death threats, she has said
she does not plan to slow down, a relief to many of her Muslim supporters and
others who feel her criticism of the influence Israel has on Washington is
legitimate and justified.
think all of us are incredibly inspired by Ilhan’s bravery as she continues to
face this hatred and Islamophobia,” said Representative Andre Carson, Democrat
of Indiana, who is also Muslim.
for Ms. Omar’s comments on Israel, Mr. Hagi said that he felt Mr. Trump had
said much worse, and that the president had put Ms. Omar in his cross hairs
simply to spread fear and score political points.
would not work, he added. “People are smarter than that.”
Gay Stolberg and Pierre-Antoine Louis contributed reporting.
advises Islamic bodies to be vigilant against terrorist groups
LUMPUR (Bernama): PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) has advised
Islamic bodies to be vigilant against religious fanatic and extremist groups
which promote terrorism among Muslims in the name of Islam.
Port Dickson MP said Islam promotes harmony and opposes all forms of violence.
strongly condemn the action of the Daesh (Islamic State) militant group that
claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks at several churches and hotels
in Sri Lanka.
violent act is against the teachings in the Quran,” he said in a statement on
Thursday (April 25).
bomb blasts which ripped through the Sri Lankan churches and hotels in Colombo,
Negombo and Batticaloa on Easter Sunday (April 21) claimed the lives of up to
360 people and injured hundreds of others.
advised Malaysians to extend moral support to the families of the victims, like
how the citizens of the world responded in the wake of the March 15 terror
attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month that claimed 50
lives. - Bernama
plan doesn’t include Jordan-Palestinian union, says US envoy
architect of a still-secret US plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
took to Twitter again on Wednesday to disclose another element that it would
not contain - a confederation with neighboring Jordan.
President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, had already
tweeted “False!” on Friday to what he said were reports that the proposal would
give part of Egypt’s Sinai desert to the adjacent Palestinian enclave of Gaza,
which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas group.
Wednesday, Greenblatt denied that the plan envisages a confederation involving
Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited
self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
& #Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a
confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision
contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please
don’t spread rumors,” Greenblatt wrote.
& #Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a
confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision
contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please
don’t spread rumors. 169
PM - Apr 24, 2019
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House senior adviser Jared Kushner, another main architect of the peace
proposal, said on Tuesday it would be made public after the Muslim fasting
month of Ramadan ends in June.
who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and spoke at a Time magazine forum in
Washington, did not say whether the plan called for a two-state solution, a
goal of past US peace efforts.
leaders have called for the establishment of an independent state alongside
Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a fifth term in an election two
weeks ago, laid down a series of conditions for Palestinian statehood in a
major policy speech in 2009.
US-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014, partly over the expansion of Israeli
settlements in occupied territory Palestinians seek for their state.
a last-minute election campaign promise that angered Palestinians, Netanyahu
said he planned to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he was again
chosen as Israel’s leader.
US proposal, which has been delayed for a variety of reasons over the last 18
months, has two major components. It has a political piece that addresses core
issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to help
the Palestinians strengthen their economy.
leaders have said Trump cannot be an honest broker after he broke with
long-standing US policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017
and moved the American embassy to the city last May.
challenge Talibs to join other Afghans and work to make this the year of peace’:
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
has challenged Taliban to join other Afghans and work to make the current year
the year of peace.
a statement posted on his official Twitter account after the release of latest
UN report regarding civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2019, Khalilzad
said “We are distressed by reports of civilian casualties, each one an
unnecessary victim of a war that has gone too long. Sons &daughters, brothers
&sisters, neighbors &friends. Their deaths outrage us all & we
stand w/ Afghans who protest the deaths & want to end the bloodshed.”
further added “We deeply regret any loss of innocent life during military
operations. We never target innocents. War is treacherous & unintended
consequences are devastating. While we strive to prevent casualties, real
solution is a ceasefire or reduced violence as we pursue lasting peace.”
Taliban say ‘a ceasefire is not part of the agenda’. For us, peace is the agenda. The Afghan
people have had enough violence & want an end to the war. The United States
stands with them. I challenge Talibs to join other Afghans and work to make
this the year of peace,” Ambassador Khalilzad added.
to a report released by United Nations Assistance Mission, the mission
documented 1,773 civilian casualties (581 deaths and 1,192 injured), including
582 child casualties (150 deaths and 432 injured) from 1st January to 31st of
attributed 963 civilian casualties to anti-government armed elements, 608
casualties to pro-government forces, 208 civilian casualties to pro-government
forces airstrikes, and 219 civilian casualties to airstrikes conducted by
Zahran Hashim went from obscure extremist preacher to the alleged mastermind of
the Sri Lanka bombings
Pakistan: Until last Sunday, the only thing Zahran Hashim was known for was
being a member of a local Sri Lankan group accused of defacing Buddhist
the obscure radical preacher is believed to be Daesh’s point person in Sri
Lanka and the “mastermind” of the coordinated Easter Sunday attacks that have
left 359 dead and more than 500 injured.
video released by Daesh on Tuesday shows seven black-clad, masked men pledging
allegiance to the organization, and an eighth man, whose face is visible,
leading them. That man is Hashim. Security officials in Sri Lanka claim to have
“credible information” that he was planning another attack targeting Muslim
shrines that followed the mystical stream of Sufi Islam.
Lanka has no history of Islamist extremism. The Sri Lankan government first
named a local militant group, National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), as the main
suspect behind the attacks. It is one of the few Islamist radical groups
operating in the country and was thus seen as the main contender for
involvement with Daesh. Hashim is known to have been a member of the group
until at least 2016 when security officials say he left and formed his own
faction because the core group disapproved of his increasingly hard-line views.
was driven out of his hometown Kattankudy in eastern Sri Lanka by townspeople
and moderate clerics because of his divisive teachings. Media reports say he
received his early schooling in Kattankudy and then traveled to India to start
a seven-year course on Islamic theology. He dropped out midway. Since then, he
has reportedly traveled frequently between India and Sri Lanka.
by his hometown and the NTJ, Hashim found a small, but loyal, band of
supporters online. Over the past two years, he gained thousands of followers
for his impassioned sermons against non-Muslims on YouTube and a Sri Lankan
Facebook account, which he called Al-Ghuraba Media and used to spread pro-Daesh
to Robert Postings, a researcher whose work focuses on Daesh, Hashim had been a
supporter of the group at least since 2017, when he began posting pro-Daesh
propaganda on Facebook. In many of Hashim’s videos, the backdrop is images of
the burning Twin Towers after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the US.
year, Hashim appeared on intelligence officials’ radar after several of his
students defaced three Buddhist statues in central Sri Lanka. The subsequent
investigation led officers to a large weapons cache, including 100 kg of
explosives and detonators, on the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka.
say Daesh has been recruiting for years in Sri Lanka and other Asian countries.
On the ground, the group seems to have received help from Hashim after he
created the Al-Ghuraba group. “That is the Islamic State (Daesh) branch in Sri
Lanka,” said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based expert on militancy in the
with knowledge of the investigations said Hashim’s faction of the NTJ was the
“main player” in the Easter attacks and that he worked with international
support, given the sophistication of the bombings and the fact that foreigners
Sri Lankans have not heard about this (National Thowheed Jamath) group before,”
said Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri
Lanka. “There is someone behind them, a handler.”
of Thursday, Daesh had not provided any further proof for its claim of
responsibility for the attacks, and Sri Lanka’s Defense Minister Ruwan
Wijewardene said investigators were trying to determine if it had directly
provided training or financing to the bombers. There was no evidence to suggest
the bombers had traveled to the Middle East to fight for Daesh, he said..
were many people who understandably doubt that the attacks were a purely
domestic operation,” said Taylor Dibbert, a Sri Lanka expert and fellow at the
investigation surrounding intelligence failures and the bombings should be done
with significant international assistance. The Sri Lankan government cannot be
trusted with this type of thing on its own,” he said.
OF SRI LANKA BLASTS
Lanka’s police chief issues an intelligence alert, warning that suicide bombers
from a group called National Thowheed Jamath plan to hit “prominent churches.”
a.m. Four bombs explode on Easter Sunday at the Shangri-La and Kingsbury
Anthony’s church in Colombo; and St. Sebastian’s church in Negombo, north of
a.m. Explosion at Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
a.m. Blast hits the Zion Roman Catholic church in Batticaloa on Sri Lanka’s
p.m. Explosion at the New Tropical Inn, Dehiwala.
p.m. Three police officers are killed in an explosion while raiding a house in
p.m. Curfew begins in the capital; police say they have made their first
a.m. Evening curfew is lifted amid tight security. Police find 87 detonators at
Colombo’s main bus stand.
p.m. Another night curfew begins.
State of emergency comes into effect.
releases a video that shows eight men, all but one with their faces covered,
standing under the terror group’s flag and declaring their loyalty to its
leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The man with his face uncovered is identified as
Moulvi Zahran Hashim, a preacher known for his militant views.
An Islamic extremist believed to have played a key role in Sri Lanka's deadly
Easter bombings died in an attack on a Colombo hotel, the country's president
intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the
Shangri-La attack," President Maithripala Sirisena told reporters, referring
to Zahran Hashim, leader of a local extremist group.
appeared in a video released by the Islamic State group after they claimed the
bombings, but his whereabouts after the blasts were not immediately clear.
did not immediately clarify what Hashim's role was in the attack on the
Shangri-La, one of six bomb blasts that killed over 250 people on Sunday.
forces had been on a desperate hunt for Hashim, believed to be around 40, after
the government named the group he led -- the National Thowheeth Jama'ath -- as
its prime suspect.
appearance in the IS video, where he is seen leading a group of seven others in
a pledge of allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, only heightened fears
about the radical.
suspected militant was blown up by own explosives as he was attempting to plant
a bomb inside the compound of a private university in Kabul.
police officials have confirmed that the incident took place at around 10:30 am
local time in the vicinity of Kart-e-Naw area in 8th police district of the
Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul Police confirmed the incident and said the
suspected militant was looking to place an improvised explosive device inside
the toilet of Jahan University.
also added that the explosives went off prematurely leaving the suspected
militant dead while three others were wounded.
forces rescue 53 hostages from a Taliban prison in Zabul province
Afghan security forces have rescued 53 hostages from a Taliban prison in
southern Zabul province, the Ministry of Interior officials said.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said the operation was
conducted by Special Forces in Daichupan area of the province.
to Rahimi, at least 8 militants were also killed during the same operation.
prominent leaders of the Taliban group have been arrested during separate
operations of the Afghan security forces which were conducted in Logar
Ministry of Interior in a statement said the Special Forces of the Afghan
National Police conducted a targeted raid against Taliban militants in
Pul-e-Alam city, the provincial capital of Logar.
statement further added that three Taliban including two prominent leaders of
the group identified as Qari Mohammad Yousuf alias Ahmadi and Mohammad WAli
alias Sangari were detained.
Afghan forces also confiscated a pistol, a binacolur, and three motorycles
during the operation, the Ministry of Interior added.
Ministry of Interior in a separate statement said a commission chief of Taliban
identifeid as Karim was arrested together with another militant during an
operation which was conducted in Padghab area of Pul-e-Alam city.
since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) emerged as a ruthless, rampaging
force to be reckoned with more than five years ago, the question that has
haunted intelligence circles has been: If home is an option for foreign
jihadists, what will they do if they return?
has claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that
left more than *250 people dead and hundreds more wounded, confirming what many
al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and affiliates such as Jemaah Islamiyah, have a
long history of inspiring and coordinating Islamic suicide bombers.
Easter Sunday, IS alone had inspired 143 attacks in 29 countries while acting
as a magnet for fanatical Muslims wanting to reshape the world in their own
image, sucking them into war in Syria and Iraq.
IS nears defeat in the Middle East, its militias are leaving to rejoin their
families at home and hook up with the ranks of other jihadist groups in Asia
and the West, where terror tactics have become an unfortunate and deadly norm.
city malls, office blocks, public transport, pop concerts, hotels, schools,
hospitals churches and mosques — with lots of people and lax security — are the
low-hanging fruit for terrorists of all stripes.
after the attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, suspicion fell on local
Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), which had been named in an
intelligence warning 10 days earlier.
means council, while thowheeth has been romanized from Arabic with various
spellings. The most popular is tawhid or tawheed and signifies oneness with
God, Islam’s central and most important tenet.
brand of Islam is straight out of the IS playbook: cheap, homemade simultaneous
bombings targeting society’s most vulnerable, using fear to underscore a
political or religious agenda. In military parlance, it is the very definition
they want is a Sri Lankan Islamic caliphate and for non-Muslims to submit.
40 Sri Lankans are known to have fought with IS in Syria, similar to jihadist
numbers from as far afield as Malaysia and Indonesia to Australia and Britain.
Perhaps the most infamous Sri Lankan IS jihadi was Sharfaz Shuraih Muhsin,
killed in an airstrike on Syria in 2015. More came from the nearby Maldives.
in number, potent in reach
groups such as NTJ are small. Jemaah Islamiyah terrorized Indonesia and beyond
for more than a decade but could only boast about 1,500 core members. Including
the periphery, often made up of family and close friends, the number was closer
group’s ties with bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan were
extensive. That included funding, tactics, political strategies and demands for
a caliphate encompassing most of Southeast Asia and northern Australia — a
stupid and incredulous claim.
a relationship that NTJ and IS appear to have mimicked.
to the Center for Strategic and International Strategic Studies, the number of
jihadists globally has quadrupled since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington,
and the number of people killed by them stands at about half a million.
Terrorism is cheap, nasty, psychotic and potent.
recently as the Vietnam War, Hanoi and the Viet Cong reputedly had a hand in
teaching the Irish Republican Army terror tactics, while their use of plastic
explosives inspired the Tamil Tigers who used similar terrorist techniques in
their bloody 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka.
since that war ended in 2009 has Sri Lanka endured such carnage.
Easter Sunday bombings were carried out with precision, even if word had
leaked. Ten days before the attacks, police were warned by international
intelligence agencies of a threat by bombers to “prominent churches” and the
Indian High Commission in Colombo.
foreign intelligence agency has reported that NTJ is planning to carry out
suicide attacks,” it read in part.
have been other threats in Sri Lanka, where Buddhists make up 70 percent of its
population and 12.6 percent are Hindu while Muslims and Christians account for
9.7 and 7.6 percent respectively, but reports of ethnic and religious strife
are not that common.
to the Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, there were 86 verified
reports of discrimination, threats and violence against Christians last year.
That’s hardly rampant in a country of 22 million people.
has been active in recent years, earning a reputation for vandalizing Buddhist
statues, and it went very public with its goal of importing the global jihadist
movement to Sri Lanka. Secretary Abdul Razik was charged with inciting racism
his arrest, one commentator noted: “Tawhid Jama'ath [sic] is an organization
which is despised by the majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka, India and the world
over. They are a minority of minorities who carry no respect whatsoever in the
all the ethnic bloodshed which has dogged Sri Lanka, the island state had
escaped the tentacles of Islamic terrorism and the type of maniacal dogma
normally associated with bin Laden and IS.
latest bombings put the Vatican and its dioceses, and any government that felt
immune to this type of attack, on notice.
scientists have determined that at least seven suicide bombers were deployed.
At least 40 people have been arrested and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
admits security measures initiated after the intelligence warning were
Indian High Commission was presumably warned and was not hit. Whether the
churches and hotels were warned and what measures they took to protect their
parishioners and guests may well emerge as one of the great issues in this
tragic and bloody terrorist act.
the Vatican down, prayers will be said alongside reminders to turn the other
cheek. Priests will deliver sermons based on peace and eternal love and the
victims will be deservedly venerated.
Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday police are looking for 140
people believed to have links with the ISIS extremist group over the Easter
Sunday attacks on churches and hotels that killed at least 253 people.
president appealed to the island nation not to view its minority Muslim
community as terrorists in the wake of the attacks that officials said was
carried out by a local Muslim extremist group.
Sirisena spoke to Colombo-based reporters on Friday. He said Sri Lanka had the
capability “to completely control ISIS activities” in the country, which hasd
claimed responsibility for the bombings.
told reporters some Sri Lankan youths had been involved with the extremist
group since 2013, and that top defense and police chiefs had not shared
information with him about the impending attacks.
have acknowledged that some intelligence units were made aware of a plot to
attack churches weeks in advance. Sirisena says he was kept in the dark and
placed the blame squarely on Sri Lanka’s defense secretary and police chief.
said the defense secretary had resigned but would stay on until a replacement
could be named, and that the police chief would soon step down, too.
also blamed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government for weakening the
intelligence system by focusing on the prosecution of military officers over
alleged war crimes during a decade-long civil war with Tamil separatists.
Sri Lanka radical Hashim died in hotel attack
Islamic extremist believed to have played a key role in Sri Lanka’s deadly
Easter bombings died in an attack on a Colombo hotel, the president confirmed
intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the Shangri-La
attack,” President Sirisena told reporters, referring to Zahran Hashim, leader
of a local extremist group.
appeared in a video released by the ISIS after they claimed the bombings, but
his whereabouts after the blasts was not immediately clear.
Afghan official says the Taliban ambushed a security convoy, killing nine
policemen in western Farah province.
Samad Salehi, a provincial councilman, says the convoy was heading to defuse a
roadside bomb on Wednesday afternoon when the ambush happened in Anardara district.
says that shortly after the attack on the convoy, other Taliban insurgents
targeted and briefly overran the district police headquarters. After a few
hours of clashes, reinforcements arrived and wrested back control of the
insurgents did not immediately comment on the Farah attacks. The Taliban have
been active in the area and have launched large-scale attacks against Afghan
security forces in Farah.
of Muslim refugees have gathered in mosques and a police station in Sri Lanka,
fearing harm after recent bombings although the country’s Muslim community has
categorically distanced itself from the perpetrators.
the Sunday terrorist attacks, some among local communities have begun targeting
the Muslims, who have already fled to the eastern city of Negombo from
persecution at their home countries, activists said on Thursday. Unknown people
have raided the Muslims’ houses before beating them and many landlords have
ejected the refugees.
attacks saw bombers targeting churches and luxury hotels in the capital Colombo
and two other cities, killing at least 359 people and wounding some 500 others.
The government has blamed a small group, known as the Nations Thawahid Jaman
(NTJ), but the group has not claimed responsibility for the bombings.
these refugees have become refugees again in Sri Lanka. They have been
displaced for a second time," said Ruki Fernando of Inform, a Sri Lankan
human rights group, AFP reported.
said around 700 refugees were believed to have sought shelter at one mosque in
Negombo. Around 120 others were at a police station, while several hundred more
were at another mosque located 25 kilometers from Negombo, he added.
got on buses to leave Negombo on Wednesday, but turned back after being advised
against heading to Colombo over security fears.
are scared. They are in a vulnerable position and don't have basic
facilities," Herman Kumar from Unity of Negombo Citizens, a group trying
to foster communal harmony in the city, said.
the leader of All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, the main umbrella body for Sri
Lanka's Muslim clerics, told journalists that the country’s Muslim community
does not accept the bodies of the individuals who carried out the attacks.
who committed this barbaric attack on innocent civilians do not belong to us
and hence we categorically state that we will not accept their bodies,"
Rizwe Mufti said.
far-right activist and anti-Islam campaigner, Tommy Robinson, has announced he
would run for the European Parliament elections in May.
said on Thursday that he would contest the May 23 elections on a campaign of
trying to revive UK’s bid to withdraw from the EU.
election on 23rd May is how we fight back. Put me right inside the EU and they
won’t know what hit them,” read a statement on Robinson’s website.
is well known in Britain and around the world for his extensive hate campaign
against Muslims and migrants. However, a political crisis in Britain on how the
country should leave the EU has helped far-right nationalist figures like him
to gain more public attention.
whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said he would campaign for Brexit’s
revival like Nigel Farage, the former head of UK Independence Party (UKIP) who
has recently launched the Brexit Party.
long for the days when it was just Nigel Farage,” said the statement, adding
that the British government had clearly failed to deliver on the results of the
2016 Brexit referendum.
has been banned from major social media organizations due to his Islamophobic
activity. He has several convictions and a pending case on contempt of court
appointment as an advisor to UKIP leadership last year caused Farage, who many
believe would gain a sweeping victory in the EU parliament elections, to leave
his statement, Robinson criticized Farage for his silence on the spread of
Islam across the UK.
admire what Farage achieved in the past. But at the end of the day, he’s just
another millionaire stockbroker who looks down at the working classes,” he
said, adding, “And he’s terrified of talking about issues like the
Islamification of Britain. He won’t fight the battle for the heart of our
country — in fact he bad-mouths those who do.”
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the leader of Libya’s
internationally-recognized government, has denounced France for supporting
renegade general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are pressing ahead with an
offensive on the capital, Tripoli.
said in an interview with the French newspaper Leberation on Wednesday that
Libyans were surprised to see Paris backing up “dictator” Haftar, a former army
field marshal who is based in eastern Libya and heads a group of militia known
as the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA).
are surprised that France does not support our government, which is democratic,
but supports a dictator,” said Sarraj, who heads the internationally-recognized
Government of National Accord (GNA). “When [French President] Emmanuel Macron
called me, I warned him that public opinion was against France. We don’t want
Libyans to hate France. France still has a positive and important role to
Libyan prime minister made the remarks after reports emerged that a group of
armed French intelligence operatives had been denied entry into Tunisia from
Libya, where they were believed to have been helping Haftar.
men, claiming to be diplomats, carried communications devices speculated to
have been used for keeping in touch with the LNA.
France’s Le Monde newspaper has also claimed that Paris has been training
Haftar’s forces since 2015.
officials have said the country would cease cooperation with the French
government over the European country’s interactions with Haftar. On Monday,
Interior Minister Fathi Bach Agha said the French government was supporting
“the criminal Haftar,” adding that the GNA would cut security ties with Paris.
supporters of the United Nations (UN)-backed GNA say France has blocked
resolutions at the UN Security Council, the European Union, and other
international organizations opposing Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli.
of Libyans held a protest against France in Tripoli on Friday, sporting the
trademark yellow vests of French anti-government demonstrators and condemning
both France and “war criminal” Haftar.
has publicly denied supporting Haftar so far, saying it has contact with all
the factions and rival groups in the war-ravaged Libya.
has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives
based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the GNA, headed by Serraj, in Tripoli.
75-year-old Haftar, who enjoys the loyalty of a group of armed militia and
backing from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, has taken upon
himself to protect the government in Tobruk. Armed forces and militia loyal to
the GNA have been fighting back.
launched his deadly campaign to invade and conquer Tripoli — the seat of the
GNA — on April 4. Fierce fighting is ongoing on the southern edges of the
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday dismissed the suggestion of a
prisoner swap for a British-Iranian mother being held in Tehran as a “vile”
diplomatic ploy, while her husband told AFP the idea was “almost impossible.”
New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday suggested
a swap between Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is in jail in Tehran for alleged
sedition, and Negar Ghodskani, an Iranian woman held in Australia on a US
extradition warrant. Hunt said there was a “huge difference” between the two
woman in jail in Australia is facing due process, a proper legal procedure, and
she is alleged to have committed a very serious crime,” he told reporters in
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is innocent — she has done nothing wrong.”
added: “What is unacceptable about what Iran is doing is that they are putting
innocent people in prison and using it as leverage.
afraid that is what is happening with this Australian case. They’re saying,
we’ll only release this innocent Brit if you’ll do something that suits us
Ratcliffe, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband who has been campaigning for her
release, said he was “blindsided” by the offer as he followed Zarif’s speech on
Twitter and does not think it is the “way forward.”
clearly a hopeful thing that he was talking about her release explicitly,” he
the same time, linking her in a public way to a big complicated deal that is
almost impossible to do because it’s been made public could easily be a
worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and was arrested in 2016 while
visiting relatives for the Persian New Year.
authorities accused her of plotting against the government and handed her a
five-year jail sentence for sedition.
has taken the unusual step of granting her diplomatic protection in a bid to
a legal resident of Australia, was arrested in 2017 after US prosecutors said
she sought US digital communications technology by presenting herself as an
employee of a Malaysian company.
prosecutors said she in fact was sending the technology to Iranian company
Fanamoj, which works in public broadcasting.
women have been separated from their young children while being detained.
has also been separated from his daughter Gabriella, who was with her mother
when she was detained in Iran and has since remained in the country with her
prospect of Gabriella’s possible return to Britain after her fifth birthday
this June is causing Zaghari-Ratcliffe fresh anguish amid her continued
detention, he said.
President Emmanuel Macron vowed Thursday to resist ‘political Islam’, which he
said is a threat and seeks succession from the republic.
made the remarks during a press conference at the Elysee Palace to unveil his
policy response to the Yellow Vest protests following a three-month-long
Islam wants to secede from our republic," he said, asking the government
to be “intractable” against it.
are talking about people who, in the name of a religion, pursue a political
project,” he said.
said the control of funds from abroad to some organizations should also be strengthened.
also noted that France’s 1905 law on secularism has been effective and should
continue to be implemented.
must not hide ourselves when we talk about secularism. We do not really talk
about secularism. We talk about the communitarianism that has settled in
certain neighborhoods of the republic,” he said, referring to Muslim
communities in France.
last November, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed
the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities to protest Macron's
controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.
pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax
protests grew into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and
are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.
IS cells played a role in Lanka blasts? Probe on
Security agencies are probing whether any of the Islamic State (IS) modules in
Kerala have links with the terror attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday which
killed over 350 people. Many IS sympathizers, who were earlier taken into
custody and let off, were summoned by the agencies to know whether they have
any clue about the attacks.
said nothing concrete has come out of the investigation as of now but pointed
out that IS cadres in Kerala had shared the posts of Aadil AX, a Facebook
account suspected to be operated by a Sri Lankan terrorist. He operated an
account ‘Did You Know’, which contained posts about the “glorious past of
Islam” that was used by IS to justify its deeds.
IS cadres from Kerala were very much enthused by the posts and almost all of
them shared the same.
agency report has even said that Zahran Hashim, the suspected mastermind of the
Sri Lankan attacks, was in direct touch with some IS sympathisers in Kerala and
Tamil Nadu for over three years through social media sites like Youtube and Facebook.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested some IS sympathizers like
Mohammed Ashiq, Ismail, Samsudeen, Jafar Sadik Ali and Shahul Hameed from south
India. The agency report said that some of them were in touch with Hashim while
others were in contact with men in Hashim's network of operatives.
there are striking similarities between the hate speeches of Hashim and some
extreme Salafi preachers in Kerala.
have been stressing on the ‘dangers’ of Muslims living in Darul Kufr (land of
unbelievers) and the need to keep a distance from the Kafirs (non-believers).
IS recruits had another link with Lanka when in 2016 they visited a Hadees
study centre in Sri Lanka, run by Salafi preacher Nawas al-Hindi, before
migrating to IS strongholds in Afghanistan.
cadres from Kasaragod Abdul Rashid, Ashfak Majeed and Hafeesudeen joined the
centre run by al-Hindi, but soon left after heated debate over IS. Al-Hindi had
later stated that he ousted the Malayalis from the centre as they had spoken in
favour of IS and claimed that his centre never entertained anyone remotely
connected with the terrorist organisation.
may be mentioned that NIA had arrested 15 operatives affiliated to IS when they
had met at Kanakmala in Kannur district in October 2016. According to probe
agencies, they were plotting to attack Jews and political leaders in and
outside Kerala but NIA cracked down on them after receiving a tip-off. Some of
the IS cadres arrested in the Kanakamala case had links with a terror module in
Tamil Nadu. Subhani Haja Moideen, an IS cadre arrested from Thirunelveli in
Tamil Nadu, was trained by the terror outfit in Syria and allegedly had a role
in the terror attack in Paris in 2015.
many Muslim organizations in Kerala have strongly condemned the terror attacks
in Sri Lanka. In a statement, Sunni leader Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar
said those who perpetrated violence have no connection with Islam. “The stand
taken by the attackers is against Islam. Suicide attack is a heinous crime
which is not allowed in any religion,” he said.
(Markazudawa) president E K Ahmedkutty and general secretary C P Umer Sullami
said that Muslims need no help from terrorists and suicide bombers to save the
R Ashiq of Marakkadai in Coimbatore, who is accused of plotting to murder
Hindutva leaders, on Friday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is
trying to frame him and others by linking them with the National Thowheed
Jama'at (NTJ), a terror group suspected to be involved in the serial blasts in
don't have any connection with the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka.
NIA is trying to frame us by stating that we were in touch with Moulavi Zahran
Bin Hashim of the National Thowheed Jama'at. The NIA is working against
innocent Muslims and is trying to present Muslims as terrorists in the
international arena", he said.
25 of Thirumal Street at Marakkadai is working in a butcher shop at Kottaimedu
in the city. He is one among the six men who have been accused of plotting to
murder Indu Makkal Katchi (IMK) leader Arjun Sampath.
NIA was investigating the case. The NIA had taken him into custody thrice.
However, it failed to file a chargesheet within 180 days against Ashiq and
others, and they got bail from the NIA special court at Poonamallee in Chennai
two months ago.
NIA claimed that it had alerted Sri Lanka through Indian intelligence agency
about the conversation that had happened between the NTJ leader and the six accused.
told TOI that he did not have any connection with the serial bomb blasts in Sri
NIA registered a fake case against innocent Muslims and tried to create a story
that Muslims are terrorists. But the NIA won't bother about the real culprits.
The case against us in connection with plotting to murder Hindutva leaders is
also a false one. We came out on bail because the NIA doesn’t have any valid
evidence against us," he said .
alleged that he had been beaten up by the Coimbatore city police and made him
to put his signature on a document accepting that he was also one of the
accused in the murder plot case.
added that he knew four of the accused people through Facebook . “They came to
Coimbatore city to attend a marriage function and I went to the Coimbatore
railway junction to receive them. Meanwhile, the city police arrested all of us
and foisted fake cases,” he said.
added that he was not a sympathiser of terror group ISIS. The NIA created a
story against me saying that he was an ISIS sympathiser, he said.
I had not heard about ISIS earlier. I came to know about ISIS on after my
arrest. I have never contacted NTJ leader Zahran Bin Hashim. I haven’t chatted
with him. I gave my Facebook details to the NIA for investigation. But I don't
know about the others whether they were in touch with NTJ leader, " said
came to know about the NTJ leader on after the serial blasts in Sri Lanka.
Those who involved in the serial bomb blasts should be punished severely,"
Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in Bijbehara in south Kashmir’s
Anantnag district after a gun battle with security forces on Thursday morning,
police and security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation at Bagender
Mohalla in Bijbehara following intelligence inputs on Thursday morning. The
team was fired upon by militants who were hiding in a house.
the retaliatory fire, two militants were killed. Arms and ammunition were
recovered from the encounter site, one of the police officials said.
identified the slain militants as Safdar Amin of Bijbehara and Burhan Ahmad
Ganaie alias Saifullah of Anantnag. Burhan, who was pursuing a Bachelor of
Physiotherapy course, joined militant ranks in June last year. Safder became a
militant in May 2017.
killed terrorists were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit Hizbul
Mujahideen. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror
crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
Several terror crime cases were registered against them,’’ the police official
cited above said.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday arrested two youths from
Kashmir on suspicion of their involvement with a suspect being probed for his
alleged connections with the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
agency took into custody Tanveer alias Tanveer Ahmad Ganie, 29, and Bilal Mir
alias Bilal Ahmad Mir, 23, for allegedly being in touch with arrested accused
Sajjad Ahmed Khan, who is suspected to have had knowledge of the Pulwama
attack. According to NIA, both are members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
has disclosed that earlier arrested accused Sajjad Ahmad was in regular contact
with these accused over WhatsApp during the relevant period. Tanveer and Bilal
were brought from Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu, where they have been detained under
Public Safety Act, and produced before the NIA Special Court today against a
production warrant. The NIA court has granted seven days of NIA custody of the
two accused persons,” a statement by the agency said.
NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) interrogated a former PDP
minister in Mehbooba Mufti's coalition government, Altaf Bukhari, on Thursday,
in a terror funding case, sources have confirmed.
a well-known neta, had been pipped to be PDP and National Conference's
consensus candidate for chief minister when the BJP-PDP coalition government
gave way in June 2018.
governor SP Malik had then dissolved the state assembly, thereby blocking any
chances of Bukhari becoming J&K CM. PDP dismissed the 60-year-old Bukhari
from party's basic membership in January 2019 for "anti-party
runs FIL Industries in Kashmir, makers of apple concentrates. His younger
brother Tariq Bukhari is also likely to be questioned in the terror-funding
case in a few days, NIA sources said.
politician businessman, Bukhari joined PDP in 2005, and won from Amira Kadal
constituency in the assembly elections of 2014. He was a minister in the
coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed but was dropped from the
cabinet after Mehbooba took over following the party founder and her father's
death in 2016.
February 2017, Bukhari was re-inducted into the cabinet and made education
minister and allotted the finance ministry portfolio in March 2018 after
veteran Haseeb Drabu was also dropped from the cabinet. In November 2018, Altaf
Bukhari was seen as consensus CM candidate of PDP and the Abdullahs' National
Bukharis belong to Ludoora in Baramulla district of north Kashmir but the
family has long moved to Srinagar and lives at Sheikh Bagh in the heart of the
Pakistan on Thursday accused India of delaying the delegation-level talks to
finalise the agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor.
Kartarpur corridor links Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Narowal with Dera
Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab.
Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said, "Pakistan is keen that the
Kartarpur Corridor becomes operational as per the schedule. However, the
meetings are delayed as the Indian government is not willing to hold the
delegation-level meeting at this juncture."
April 16, India and Pakistan held a meeting on technical aspects of the
proposed corridor. At the nearly four-hour-long meeting, which took place in
makeshift tents at "Zero point" of the proposed corridor, experts and
technicians from both the countries discussed timing for completion of bridge,
alignment of roads and engineering aspects of the proposed crossing points.
the meeting, Faisal said that work is proceeding rapidly on the Pakistani side
on the Kartarpur corridor.
view of paucity of time, we are keen to hold the meeting to finalise the draft
agreement at the earliest. The meeting is specifically to discuss differences
related to proposals of both countries for operationalising the corridor and to
align positions to build convergence. We hope India will agree to hold a
meeting at the earliest," he had said.
Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday arrested a key
conspirator who was planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the national
capital region of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Faiz was found to be the main member of the Pro-IS module
Harkat-Ul-Harb-E-Islam, who was instrumental in bringing other members besides
founding the group. The investigation has revealed that he was closely involved
in the procurement of arms and ammunition for the group to carry out terrorist
acts in and around the National Capital Region,” an NIA release said. Faiz, a
resident of Delhi, is the fourteenth accused arrested in the case so far.
case pertains to a group of Pro-IS terrorists who formed a terrorist gang which
was engaged in acts preparatory to the commission of terror attacks with a view
to wage war against the Indian government. The group was found to be inspired
by the ideology of IS and was conspiring and preparing to target places of
importance in and around NCT of Delhi,” the release said. The agency also found
that a resident of Jafrabad was mobilising funds and explosive materials to
regrets Afghan civilian deaths, says answer is peace
US envoy negotiating with the Taliban voiced regret Thursday over findings that
US-backed forces were killing more civilians than the militants, and said the
solution was a peace deal.
UN report released Wednesday found that international and pro-government forces
were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians in the first three months of
the year, the first time they were behind more killings than the Taliban since
the US-led coalition toppled the extremists’ regime in 2001.
deeply regret any loss of innocent life during military operations. We never
target innocents,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator who is set shortly
to resume talks with the Taliban in Qatar on ending the war.
is treacherous, and unintended consequences are devastating. While we strive to
prevent casualties, real solution is a ceasefire or reduced violence as we
pursue lasting peace,” he tweeted.
appealed to the Taliban and other Afghans to “work to make this the year of
struck a different tone than the spokesperson for US forces in Afghanistan,
Colonel Dave Butler, who said the United States pursued “the highest standards
of accuracy and accountability” and that troops “reserve the right of
Donald Trump is eager to find a negotiated way to pull out troops and end the
longest-ever US war.
President Ashraf Ghani, with whom the Taliban refuse to negotiate, has called
for next week a “loya jirga,” a traditional gathering of all the country’s
communities, although it is unclear how broad the attendance will be.
United States has watered down sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard by
clarifying that foreign governments and businesses that do dealings with
Tehran’s paramilitary force will not face travel bans.
the administration of Donald Trump imposed the sanctions on April 15, there was
a fear that military officials and US diplomats would have to cut contact with
officials in countries that have dealings with Tehran and the guards force.
on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published two notices in the
Federal Register clarifying that those that have dealings with the guards or
their affiliates would not be subject to a ban on travel to the US.
decision to directly apply sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guard and its
proxies is the first time an arm of a foreign government has ever been
designated a terrorist organization by the United States. They came as part of
the American push to apply more pressure on Tehran over destabilising regional
policies and its backing for militant and armed groups from Beirut to Aden.
were concerns that without such an exemption, US relations with countries such
as Lebanon or Iraq would be hit given Beirut and Baghdad’s close ties to
Lebanon, Iran and the guard are active in their support of the militant
Hezbollah movement, and in Iraq they back Shiite militias and have close ties
to the government. Both countries also have close relations with the United
Pompeo said in the notices that he decided to waive the travel bans in US
foreign policy and national security interests.
one notice, he said the sanctions "shall not apply to any ministry,
department, agency, division, or other group or subgroup within any foreign
government" unless that entity is covered by existing US sanctions.
the second notice, he said the sanctions would not apply "to any business,
organization, or group, whether public or private, solely based on its
provision of material support to any foreign government sub-entity that has
been designated as a foreign terrorist organization."
notices, one former US official said, was a pragmatic approach.
first glance, it looks like a wise carve-out," Daniel Fried, a former
sanctions coordinator for the State Department who is now with The Atlantic
Council, told the Associated Press. "One of the rules of sanctions is that
you need to account for unintended consequences and have wide licensing and
waiver authority. Otherwise, if there are unintended consequences you find
yourself unable to act."
notices come just days after the US decided to end sanctions waivers for
countries reliant on Iranian oil in a move that Mr Trump said was aimed at
bringing Tehran’s oil and gas exports to zero.
some Iran hawks in the US are concerned that the US administration may not
fully enforce the sanctions on countries that continue to import Iranian oil.
reported that one of the scenarios being considered is to allow countries
covered under the waiver to place orders for Iranian oil and gas before the May
2 deadline, essentially pre-purchasing supplies to be delivered at a later day.
The AP said the plan was relayed by congressional aides and outside advisers
familiar with the matter although there was no official mention of the
AP also said that US officials had refused to rule out a soft implementation of
the sanctions, giving countries time to taper off Iranian imports.
US officials that vocal critics of Iran have been clear in their view of Mr
Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.
think maximum pressure should mean maximum pressure," Senator Ted Cruz told
Mr Pompeo earlier this month at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing
during which he implored the administration to adopt the strictest possible
interpretation of the sanctions.
the previous months, we have been shocked by intolerant actions against two
Indonesian Christians — including a deceased elderly woman. In mid-February,
villagers in Mojokerto regency, East Java, opposed the burial of Nunuk
Suwartini, 68, in Ngares village because of her religion. The most recent case
saw a Christian artist, Slamet Jumiarto, 42, expelled from another
predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Bantul in Java’s heartland, Yogyakarta. As
a Muslim by birth, who was raised in Islamic education systems from
pre-elementary school to the postgraduate level, I can surely say that while
these cases are shocking, they are the extreme logical consequences of what all
Muslims have been taught regarding all non-Muslims, referred to as kafir or
infidels. While we are indoctrinated to believe that there is no salvation
outside Islam, likewise we are taught that ...
can empathise with those who feel that Pakatan Harapan (PH) has let us down on
international treaties like the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD) and the Rome Statute.
not so much that we lost the battle to counter arguments; the main worry is
when you are bested by groups of people who have manipulated public opinion to
further their political agenda.
was reported that a group of students stumbled upon a summary paper prepared by
four academics to convince the Conference of Rulers to reject ratification of
the Rome Statute. The students claimed that the arguments in the summary were
one-sided and had sinister motives.
academics who wrote the summary are now being challenged by legal minds and are
even being accused of treason.
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said critics of the Rome Statute were engaging in
a political move to pit the country’s monarchy against the new government.
November 2018, ICERD was abandoned because of Malay sensitivities. Umno’s Ahmad
Zahid Hamidi said then that the Malay-Muslim community would “run amok” to
protest if ICERD was not withdrawn.
groups organised a mass protest at Dataran Merdeka, spearheaded by the two
largest Malay opposition parties, Umno and PAS.
ICERD and the Rome Statute, the Malay opposition played on the usual rhetorical
deceit, that the Malays would lose their special rights, the position of the
Malay rulers would be eroded, and the Malay language and Islam would be
Robert Kane Pappas in an interview once said, “If you repeat a lie often
enough, people will believe it. It really is public brainwashing and
2016, the Oxford dictionary named “post-truth” as the word of the year.
is related to or denotes circumstances in which objective facts are less
influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotions and personal
simple terms, many a time our opinion is swayed by emotions and personal
beliefs rather than hard facts or empirical evidence.
leaders with ulterior motives have peddled post-truth and Trump-like
alternative facts to further the political concept of “ketuanan Melayu” or
Malay supremacy to rule the country.
has a lot to do with the derailing of the ratification of ICERD and the Rome
can explain in objective terms why we as a nation have agreed to sign these
international treaties, but when the Malay opposition leaders play up Malay
rights issues, you are appealing to emotions and personal beliefs rather than
George Orwell lamented, “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of
the world. Lies will pass into history.”
can Malay rights be threatened when the education ministry says it will stick
to its original policy of allocating 90% for Bumiputera and 10% for
non-Bumiputera students for the matriculation programme?
NEP, there is always a legitimate question of fairness, equality and even human
rights when such a policy is peddled at the highest levels of government.
then, the Malay argument would be that Malays are still behind in all aspects
of the economy and education, and they need to be given a handicap to even the
playing field, as in the game of golf.
how long before they can be competitive and stand on their own? If there is no
time limit to the handicap, we will be forever perpetuating the idea that the
Malays are weak and need to be spoon-fed.
Trump has used a combination of post-truth, alternative facts and fake news to
further his agenda. By creating false fear that Mexican criminals and illegals
are flooding the country and painting a picture of crisis at the border, he
declared a state of emergency to build the wall in order to appease his power
the same vein, Malaysia has arrived at a post-truth era, where, as philosopher
Lee McIntyre said, alternative facts and feelings have more weight than
is on dangerous ground when truth is challenged as a method for asserting
author of the book “Post-Truth”, states: “Post-truth amounts to a form of
ideological supremacy, whereby its practitioners are trying to compel someone
to believe in something whether there is good evidence for it or not.”
is among 14 countries in the world yet to accede to the ICERD, a convention
which has been ratified by numerous Muslim-majority countries such as
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Jordan.
like PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang like to emulate Saudi Arabia by dressing
like Arabs and implementing shariah laws. But when it comes to ICERD, Hadi
comes up with post-truth to dissuade the Malay populace, tugging their
heartstrings with mumbo-jumbo that the Malay race will be forever threatened.
is the expert on false propaganda. He can say things like Muslims should place
their trust in Muslim leaders regardless of their wickedness, claiming that
believers will end up in hell if led by non-Muslims, and that it’s dangerous
for non-Muslims to touch on Islam and the rulers.
religion, I would agree – we should not comment on each other’s religions or
beliefs, especially in public space. On the current debate on the role of
constitutional monarchy, it has nothing to do with Islam but concerns the law
of the land.
good to see Mahathir’s debate with Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim of Johor, as it
brings the issue of the powers of our constitutional monarchy into the open.
PH government inherited a host of problems from the Barisan Nasional
government. After failing to ratify ICERD and the Rome Statute and losing three
by-elections in a row, and now with the constitutional monarchs flexing their
powers, the headwinds are strong.
Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka rank among the deadliest terrorist attacks
in modern history, and underscore the metastasising scourge of Islamist
violence in Asia. Radical Islamic groups, some affiliated with larger extremist
networks, have been quietly gaining influence in an arc of countries extending
from the Maldivian to the Philippine archipelagos, and the threat they pose can
no longer be ignored.
fact, the grisly Sri Lankan bombings are a reminder that Asia – not the Middle
East – is the region most afflicted by terrorist violence. Home to the vast
majority of the world’s Muslims, it is also host to multiple “terrorist safe
havens,” owing to the rise of grassroots radical movements and years of
complacency on the part of policymakers.
a total of 359 people dead (and hundreds more wounded), the Sri Lanka bombings
were seven times deadlier than the 15 March massacre by a white supremacist at
two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The death toll is also more than
double that of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which involved 10 Pakistan-based
militants in one of the modern world’s longest-ever terrorist sieges.
targeting international hotels and iconic churches, the Islamists behind the
Sri Lankan blasts clearly intended to strike a blow against Sri Lanka’s
fast-growing tourism industry, a mainstay of the country’s debt-ridden economy.
Reduced tourism receipts will add to the burden of Sri Lanka’s high external interest
payments, compounding a problem that has already forced the country to cede
control of its strategic Indian Ocean port, Hambantota, to China (a signal
achievement of the latter’s debt-trap diplomacy).
attacks also mark the dawn of Islamist terrorism in Sri Lanka. Though suicide
bombings were not uncommon during the country’s 26-year civil war, which pitted
the ethnic Sinhalese majority against the minority Tamils, Sri Lanka has not
previously experienced coordinated violence on this scale or a major attack by
civil war ended in 2009, when the Sri Lanka Army brutally crushed the last of
the Tamil separatist rebels. But that outcome sowed the seeds of religious
conflict between the country’s mainly Buddhist Sinhalese and a Muslim minority
that constitutes one-tenth of the population.
Lanka’s Muslim population is largely concentrated in the Eastern Province,
where Saudi and other Gulf funding has fuelled the rise of jihadist groups
seeking to enforce sharia (Islamic law). The group suspected of carrying out
the Easter bombings, the National Thowheed Jamaath, thrived in this setting.
Like the similarly named outfit Sri Lanka Thawheed Jama’ath and the rapidly
growing Tamil Nadu Thoweed Jamath in southernmost India, its primary goal is to
foment militant Islamic fundamentalism.
now know that Indian intelligence had tipped off Sri Lankan security agencies
about the Easter bombing plot, even identifying its alleged masterminds. Yet,
owing to political infighting between Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena
and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the latter was kept in the dark.
Accordingly, many are now blaming the failure on Sirisena, who oversees the
security agencies (and who had previously attempted to remove Wickremesinghe in
a constitutional coup, only to be overruled by the Supreme Court).
its extremist enclave in Syria and Iraq has crumbled and its leaders are on the
run, the Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the bombings. Like
al-Qaeda before it, ISIS wants to demonstrate its continued relevance by taking
credit for attacks in areas where it has no presence. Most likely, the Sri
Lanka attacks were not the direct work of ISIS. And yet they were inspired by
the same toxic ideology espoused by ISIS: Wahhabi fanaticism.
the austere, rigid version of Islam bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf
sheikhdoms, remains the driving force behind Islamist terrorism today. Its
offspring include not just al-Qaeda and ISIS, but also the Taliban in
Afghanistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al-Shabaab
in Somalia. All of these groups are driven by a nihilistic rage born of
hostility toward non-Sunnis and a rejection of modernity.
as the Sri Lanka bombings and other attacks in Asia show, the defeat of ISIS in
Syria and Iraq has only intensified the terrorism challenge, because
battle-hardened fighters with the operational training to stage savage attacks
are now returning home. The presence of such returnees in Sri Lanka explains
how an obscure local group was able to carry out sophisticated,
near-simultaneous strikes on three churches and three hotels, using
are present in many other Asian countries as well, from the Philippines and
Indonesia to the Maldives and Uzbekistan. Like Osama bin Laden and other
al-Qaeda leaders who cut their teeth in the United States (US)-backed war
against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, this new generation of jihadist
veterans could haunt the security of Asia, the Middle East, and the West for
years to come.
be sure, official discrimination against Muslims has contributed to Islamists’
growing influence, particularly in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Thailand’s four
southernmost provinces, and the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. But so
have Saudi-funded madrasas (religious seminaries) and social-media platforms,
which facilitate fundraising, recruitment, and dissemination of jihadist
propaganda. Hence, jihadist violence has also come to threaten predominantly
Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Kazakhstan. And
in some cases – namely Pakistan – the state itself is abetting violent
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang believes that non-Muslims have no right to
comment on issues related to Islam and the Malay rulers.
seems like one who dons the holy uniform, but inwardly practises all that is
forbidden in his religion. He has a forked tongue, he takes what is not his,
and he preaches to his followers that others not like them are evil.
mind seems to be so closed and limited that he cannot see humanity. What a bad
representation of the religion.
Hadi says “even when they (non-Muslims) were dissatisfied, they saw the
kehebatan (supremacy) of the constitution, the greatness of rulers, the
greatness of Islam and greatness of the Malays”.
fact is, if the Federal Constitution was strictly followed, non-Malays would
have nothing to complain about. Then, according to the "reasonable
proportion" stated in Article 153, the Chinese and Indians would have 30
percent – their racial proportion – of the civil service.
1.6 million jobs or 480,000 government employees enjoying pension and medical
benefits. But how many are there today?
Dass: No, Hadi, constitutional lawyers are not cowed by the “greatness” of the
provisions you speak of. Yes, there are provisions relating to Islam, the
rulers and Article 153. None of these provisions makes non-Malays feel slighted
rulers are hereditary rulers, and it is only right that their position is
secured by the Federal Constitution. They are rulers for all Malaysians. The
position of Islam is similar to the position of Anglicanism in the United
of worship and the equality of all Malaysians are fundamental liberties under
our constitution. Non-Muslims do not have problems with these provisions, and
in fact, want Hadi and people like him to respect and uphold the constitution.
Morning Star: Hadi has nothing good to say every time he opens his mouth.
Nothing besides race, religion, royalty and bad mouthing the minorities in this
nation. Who does he think he is?
to my knowledge, are more than happy to uphold the Federal Constitution and
recognise Islam as the official religion of the federation.
the contrary, the extremists – Hadi and his goons from Umno and PAS – are the
"emboldened culprits" who bully the non-Malays with their toxic race
and religion rhetoric.
Accomplished: If Hadi is right, then what do we even need the constitution for?
use threats, Hadi. The glory days of ‘ketuanan Melayu’ (Malay supremacy) and
bigotry are over. You have cried wolf once too often.
you want peace, be faithful to the constitution. If you wish the country to
burn, the racists and bigots will not escape the flames too.
Voter: Hadi is a political opportunist. He is not to be taken seriously.
Non-Muslims have every right to comment on issues that threaten the future of
the nation, including religion or rulers.
has the right to comment on corrupt politicians, including those from Pakatan
face it, Hadi should know in today's world, all public figures, especially
those whose existence is enabled with taxpayers’ money, are subject to public
comments, good or bad.
Hadi is a hypocrite by any standard. He should avoid stirring up racial
tensions, for the sake of ensuring peace, unless he intends otherwise.
Nair: Why do we keep entertaining religious fanatics who keep harping on issues
that have nothing to do with the economy and the overall development of the
are the racist and religious parties getting mainstream media headlines?
Selling news or fanning hatred? The media should be held responsible for such
terrible clickbait headlines and reporting.
the bigots of old fade away with their beliefs, so that the new generation can
start to think critically. When a nation’s people start questioning the
relevancy of such beliefs and laws, it shows maturity, not dissent.
Convinced: Not reporting on what Hadi said will not make the problem go away.
It will make it worse because one-half of the population will not know what the
other half is feeling and thinking.
was how Donald Trump won the US presidential election. Hadi needs to be exposed
and countered, not ignored.
The PAS president is raising the race and religion rhetoric to dangerous levels
when there has never been a situation where non-Muslims have questioned Islam
or the royal institution. He revels in raising tensions.
should be cautioned, as it is people like him that can cause extremists to
strike. Never in Malaysia’s history nor in any part of the world do you find a
majority race feeling they are under siege when they control the economy,
security services and the government.
act of Hadi in trying to corral Malay support exclusively by making provocative
statements is encouraging extremism. There was a time when such statements
would have been met with swift jailing.
The younger generation must be very confused because of people like Hadi who is
projecting Islam in a very negative light.
is a religion of peace and compassion but the actions and words of people like
the PAS president make the religion seem the opposite of what it is supposed to
trouble with this is when people get confused and embrace negativity, they will
turn towards extremism, such as in the case of Christchurch and Colombo.
we want our youth to evolve into such hideous people? We want responsible
leaders, not those who misuse people and religion for their selfish gain.
What would Hadi know about any social contract not mentioned in the
constitution? Is this another syariah-complaint lie to oppress minorities and
the law exclude the oppressed classes from participating in the life of
All residents of Malaysia live under the direction of the sultans and the Yang
di-Pertuan Agong. The states have rulers, the country has the king.
is saying that non-Muslims cannot comment on royalty? But we all live here. The
rulers have responsibilities over all, not just Muslims.
BAHRU: The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, today reminded
those who have nothing to do with Johor not to cause problems by interfering in
the state’s Islamic affairs.
at the opening of the seventh Darul Ta’zim Gathering of Ulama, held in
conjunction with the official birthday of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim
Sultan Iskandar, here, Tunku Ismail reminded all quarters that Johor is a
sovereign state with its own constitution, based on the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
those who have nothing to do with Johor, don’t meddle with Islamic religious
affairs, which are state matters.
don’t create problems among the people of Johor or confuse them, including the
fact, Johor is always ready to share knowledge and work together to strengthen
the ummah (Muslims) in the region,” said Tunku Ismail.
at the ceremony were the Tunku Temenggong of Johor, Tunku Idris Iskandar; the
Tunku Panglima of Johor, Tunku Abdul Rahman; and the Tunku Putera of Johor,
Tunku Abu Bakar.
present were Johor Menteri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal and state Islamic Affairs,
Agriculture and Rural Development Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi.
Ismail also advised all parties not to smear the image of mosques and suraus by
indulging in activities that can undermine Muslims.
matters concerning Islam and suitable to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaáh can be raised
during sermons, lectures, talks and other activities at mosques and suraus in
the state, he said.
Ismail said these speakers should be qualified and accredited by the Johor
Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) and should be sensitive to current issues.
same applies to speakers from political parties who, despite being qualified in
Islamic matters, could lace their talks with politics because of their
this matter, I would like to remind all, don’t be a thorn in the flesh. The
consequences will be damaging.
we cause confusion in these places by raising matters not connected to Islam,
the role of mosques and suraus in propagating Islamic teachings will become
meaningless,” he said.
the setting up of the Johor Halal Council under the supervision of MAINJ, Tunku
Ismail said its role is to regulate the halal industry and promote Johor’s
halal products to a wider market.
Sultan Ibrahim suggested that the federal and Johor governments set aside any
dispute or misunderstanding and meet and discuss matters with maturity for the
good of all, especially the people.
a post on his official Facebook account, the Ruler hoped the focus would be on
the development and progress of Johor.
new state leadership should remain focused and enhance efforts to take care of
the people’s welfare and interests,” he said.
Ibrahim said he hoped that all quarters would extend their fullest cooperation
to enable the Johor administration to function smoothly.
of settlers storm Aqsa Mosque as Israel imposes restrictions
of extremist settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied
Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds amid an escalation of violence by Israeli
forces and settlers against Palestinian people.
sources, requesting not to be named, said more than 320 Israeli settlers
entered the site through the Moroccan Gate under tight protection of several
groups of Israeli soldiers and special police forces.
sources added that the settlers toured the compound and performed prayers on
the fifth day of the Jewish week-long Passover holiday.
sources further noted that Israeli forces had erected checkpoints along streets
and alleyways around the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The movement of locals was
also blocked off with iron barriers and sandbags.
addition, Israeli troops searched Muslim worshipers and checked their identity
cards before allowing them to enter the site.
al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both
the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque.
have repeatedly warned of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of the
al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam.
occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US
President Donald Trump announced his decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize
Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in Israel
from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in
favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial
recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.”
an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution, Trump threatened reprisals
against countries that backed the measure, which had earlier faced a US veto at
the UN Security Council.
however, rejected the world body’s resolution while thanking Trump for his
decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.
army soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have launched
an airstrike against a command center of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to
Yemen's former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in the country’s southern
province of Aden.
Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Yemeni
soldiers and their allies attacked the military site in the al-Burayqah
district of the province on Thursday, using a domestically-designed and
-manufactured Qasef K2 (Striker K2) combat drone.
in the day, Yemeni troopers and fighters from Popular Committees carried out an
ambush against vehicles carrying Saudi-paid militiamen on the outskirts of
al-Sadis area in Saudi Arabia's southern border region of Najran, killing or
injuring those on board.
unnamed Yemeni military official also said Yemeni troops and their allies had
managed to purge a number of Saudi mercenaries’ positions east of al-Nar
Mountain in the kingdom’s Jizan region.
official noted that several Saudi-sponsored militiamen were killed or wounded
in the process.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi
back to power and crushing Houthi Ansarullah movement.
to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project
(ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has
claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon Thursday said a tunnel discovered earlier this
year by Israel had crossed the Lebanese-Israeli border, in the third such
breach of a ceasefire resolution.
in January accused Lebanese Hezbollah of having dug what it described as the
deepest, “longest and most detailed” tunnel it had discovered.
Israeli army said the tunnel from the Lebanese town of Ramyeh - just 800 meters
(yards) from the border - reached a few dozen meters into Israel, and descended
to 55 meters underground.
on Thursday said the tunnel was the third to have crossed the “blue line,” a
demarcation line drawn by the UN to mark Israel’s withdrawal from southern
Lebanon in 2000.
independent assessment confirms that this tunnel crosses the blue line in
violation of resolution 1701,” which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah,
has informed the Lebanese authorities about the violation and has requested
urgent follow-up actions,” the UN force said in a statement.
and Israel are still technically at war. Israel is currently building a wall
along the 130 kilometre (80 mile) frontier to block Hezbollah attempts to
early December, Israel has said it discovered six tunnels, destroying them
either with explosives or by filling them with a cement-like material.
have been confirmed to exist by UNIFIL.
these, three tunnels have been found to be crossing the blue line,” the
peacekeeping force said.
alleges Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill its
civilians or soldiers, and to seize Israeli territory in the event of any
January 26, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said it had taken Israel “years”
to discover some of the tunnels, but did not specify who had constructed them.
is the only side not to have disarmed after Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
recent years, Israel has repeatedly carried out air strikes against what it
says are Hezbollah weapons convoys in war-torn Syria next door, where the group
is backing regime forces.
United States has designated Hezbollah a “terrorist” group since 1997, while
the European Union blacklisted its military arm in 2013.
it also functions as a political party, with posts in the current cabinet.
protesters delay naming of civilian government
organizers of the protests that drove Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir from
power are delaying their announcement of a transitional civilian government as
they hold new negotiations with the ruling military council.
protesters suspended talks with the military last weekend, saying key figures
in the council were too close to al-Bashir. But on Wednesday they resumed negotiations,
and three members of the council resigned from their posts, apparently in
response the protesters’ demands.
Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded the protests, had planned
to announce a transitional civilian government at a mass rally on Thursday. But
Ahmed Rabie, a senior member of the group, says it will delay the announcement
and instead focus on forming different committees to hold talks with the
members of Sudan’s ruling military council resigned on Wednesday after it said
it reached “agreement on most demands” with protest leaders who have called for
a million-strong march to demand a civilian government.
10-member military council had invited the protest leaders for a meeting after
the leaders suspended talks with the army rulers on Sunday.
have an agreement on most demands presented in the document of the Alliance for
Freedom and Change,” Lieutenant General Shamseddine Kabbashi, spokesman of the
ruling military council, told reporters after the meeting between the council
and leaders of the umbrella group leading the protest movement.
did not elaborate on the key demand of handing power to a civilian government,
but said there “were no big disputes”.
of the protest leaders who attended the meeting, Ahmed al-Rabia, said the two
sides had also agreed to form a joint committee, but did not elaborate for
later in a separate statement the military council announced that three members
of the ruling body had resigned.
were Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abdin, Lieutenant General Jalaluddin
Al-Sheikh and Lieutenant General Al-Tayieb Babikir.
late night developments came as Siddiq Farouk, one of the leaders of the
protests, told reporters that the demonstrators were “preparing for a general
strike” if the ruling military council refuses to hand power to a civilian
also said that a “million-strong march” is planned, confirming a call for the
mammoth protest on Thursday by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA),
the group that initially launched protests against longtime leader Omar
al-Bashir in December.
the first time, Sudanese judges said they would join an ongoing sit-in outside
army headquarters “to support change and for an independent judiciary”.
demonstrations initially began in the central town of Atbara on December 19
against a decision by Bashir's government to triple bread prices.
swiftly turned into nationwide rallies against his rule and that of the
military council that took his place.
council, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan since his predecessor quit after
barely 24 hours in the post, says it has assumed power for a two-year
of protesters came from the central town of Madani to join the sit-in on
Wednesday, the second major batch of new arrivals from outside the capital in
as many days.
train laden with demonstrators had rolled in from Atbara -- the crucible of the
protests -- on Tuesday.
from Madani want civilian rule,” the latest arrivals chanted, according to
protesters suspended earlier talks with the council on Sunday over its refusal
to transfer power immediately.
the military council invited the protesters to fresh talks Wednesday,
acknowledging their role in “initiating the revolution and leading the movement
in a peaceful way until the toppling of the regime” of Bashir.
in a press conference, senior opposition figure Omar el-Digeir said protest
leaders were prepared to meet directly with Burhan.
are ready to talk with the chief of the military council and I think the issue
can be solved through dialogue,” he told reporters.
have camped outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum since before
Bashir was deposed, and have vowed not to leave the area until their demands
have been met.
Wednesday, crowds of protesters carrying Sudanese flags marched through the
protest site outside the army headquarters, an AFP correspondent reported.
or not, we are staying,” the protesters chanted.
Ayman Ali Mohamed said he was planning to join Thursday's march.
fear that the military council might steal our revolution, so we have to
participate until the transfer to civilian rule is accomplished,” he said.
are standing our ground no matter what.”
protesters have found support in Washington, which has backed their call for
support the legitimate demand of the people of Sudan for a civilian-led
government, and we are here to urge and to encourage parties to work together
to advance that agenda as soon as possible,” State Department official Makila
James told AFP on Tuesday.
Tuesday several African leaders, who had gathered in Cairo at the behest of
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, insisted on “the need for more time”
for a transition, according to Sisi's office.
fighting for control of the Libyan capital is turning residential areas of
Tripoli into “battlefields,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said
humanitarian situation in and around Tripoli has deteriorated sharply over the
past three weeks,” since forces loyal to eastern Libyan commander Khalifa
Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 against forces loyal to the
internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), the ICRC said
in a statement.
than 30,000 people are said to have fled their homes and are sheltering with
relatives or in public buildings,” it said, a figure which Libyan authorities
and the United Nations say has risen to almost 35,000.
basic services and infrastructure, such as hospitals and water pumping
stations, which have already suffered from violence over the past eight years,
are being weakened further,” it said, referring to the insecurity in Libya
since the 2011 uprising that ousted Moamer Kadhafi.
Rahoui, the head of office in Tripoli for the ICRC, singled out the impact of
the violence, which has focused on Tripoli’s southern suburbs, on residents of
of our greatest concerns is for civilians living near the frontlines.
Densely-populated residential areas are gradually turning into battlefields,”
also said it was becoming “increasingly dangerous for medical workers to
retrieve the wounded, with mounting reports of indiscriminate shelling.”
least 278 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the clashes,
according to the latest casualty toll from the World Health Organization.
U.K. announced on Thursday that it was sponsoring a $600,000 anti-terrorism center
on the Kenyan coast.
U.K. is very proud to sponsor the new building of the ATPU [Anti-Terror Police
Unit] here in Mombasa," British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said
just a day after a British man was found guilty of possessing explosive-making
materials by a Kenyan court.
have seen, tragically, in the recent months and years the effects of terrorism
menaces. It has struck us in UK it has struck us here in Kenya and recently in
Sri Lanka," Hailey said, noting that the center was planned to be
completed by the end of the year.
to journalists at the ground-breaking ceremony, Hailey said fighting terrorism
and boosting security in East Africa was a priority for the U.K. as well as the
region facing numerous attacks from the Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated
al-Shabaab militant group.
Mombasa county has witnessed a spate of attacks by al-Shabaab militants who
cross over into Kenya through the porous Kenya-Somali border.
area is also seen as a recruiting ground for al-Shabaab militants by Kenyan
authorities due to its close proximity to Somalia.
national Jermaine Grant was found guilty on Wednesday by a Kenyan court for
abetting terrorism after being convicted for possession of bomb-making
was arrested in Kenya in December 2011 at the house of Samantha Louise
Lewthwaite, also known as the White Widow, who is among the world's most wanted
Nigerian Air Force Alpha jet has conducted air strikes on a mechanic workshop
of the Boko Haram terrorists uncovered in Sambisa Forest, Borno State, killing
scores of the insurgents.
correspondent learnt that the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole carried
out the operation on Wednesday, after a NAF Intelligence Surveillance and
Reconnaissance platform on a routine mission noticed the mechanic workshop.
air force said the ISR aircraft observed “significant activities” as well as
some serviceable vehicles hidden under some trees at the Boko Haram mechanic
Alpha Jet was thereafter deployed to attack the location, killing scores of the
Boko Haram fighters who were trying to escape from the location.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle
Daramola, who confirmed the incident in a release on Thursday, said two
vehicles and other equipment were destroyed at the workshop.
said, “The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has destroyed some vehicles
and neutralised some Boko Haram terrorists at a suspected vehicle workshop in
the Sambisa Forest.
ATF scrambled an Alpha Jet to attack the location and overhead the target area,
some of the terrorist fighters were seen attempting to flee the location but
they were taken out by the Alpha Jet’s successful strikes, which also caused
the destruction of vehicles and other equipment at the workshop.
Yazidis to accept children of Daesh rape into community
Iraq: The children of Yazidi women raped by Daesh men will be welcomed into the
minority faith, a community leader said Thursday, allowing women taken as
slaves by the militant group to return to Iraq from Syria.
Baba Sheikh, son of the Yazidi spiritual leader Baba Sheikh, said the children
of the formerly enslaved women will be treated as members of the faith,
resolving one of the most difficult questions facing the community since the
Daesh group’s 2014 campaign to try to exterminate the minority. Thousands of
women and girls were forced into sexual slavery when the extremists attacked
Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq.
the community shunned the women returning from captivity with children, a
reflection of the deeply held Yazidi traditions to view outsiders with
suspicion as a response to centuries of persecution.
Kurdish forces defeated the last fragments of the Daesh group’s self-styled
“caliphate” in Syria in March, raising the possibility that thousands of
missing Yazidi women and children might be found and reunited with their
some 3,000 Yazidis are still missing. Many of the children enslaved by
militants in 2014 were separated from their parents and given to Daesh families
for rearing. Boys were pressed into the militants’ cub scouts, given military
training, and indoctrinated in extremist ideology.
at the Beit Yazidi foundation in Kurdish-administered northeast Syria said
Yazidi women with children who could have returned to Iraq were choosing to
stay in Syria, instead, in order not to be separated from their children.
women gave their young ones up for adoption to find acceptance among their
Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a decree welcoming the survivors of
slavery, and their children, into the Yazidi community, on Wednesday.
Ismael, a founder of the global Yazidi charity Yazda, said it will nevertheless
take time for the community in Iraq to accept the mothers and their children,
because of the stigma of rape.
will take a couple of years for the community to digest this fully,” he said.
said many women and children will have to seek resettlement in other countries,
some to escape the stigma of their situation, and to find psychosocial services
to heal after the trauma of slavery.
community sent two representatives to search for Yazidi women and children in
the camps in northeast Syria, where tens of thousands of civilians who survived
the Daesh caliphate are waiting to be returned to their places of origin, said
Eido Baba Sheikh.
said it is believed that there could be Yazidi children among foreign or Daesh
families in the camps, a result of the sale of Yazidis under the caliphate.
Complicating the search will be that many of the children may have never
learned to identify as Yazidis, or to speak Kurmanji, the language of the
community. Women and older children may have started to identify with their
captors, as well, confounding search efforts.
though the community will recognize the children of Yazidi survivors as
Yazidis, they will still face legal difficulties in Iraq, said Eido Baba
Sheikh. Under the country’s family laws, a child is registered under the
nationality and religion of their father, and it is unclear whether Iraq will
allow Yazidi survivors to register their children as Iraqi Yazidis when there
are questions about the children’s patrimony.
on Thursday, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish
regional government, asked for continued US support to allow Iraqis displaced
by the war with IS to return to their homes, according to a State Department
statement on a call between Barzani and Vice President Mike Pence.
Kurdish region hosts more than 1 million displaced people, including many of
the 200,000 Yazidis forced to flee their homes when the Daesh militants
attacked their communities in 2014.
four-day event aims to enhance the common values of Muslims and highlight the
diversity, unity, tolerance and compassion that align with the inherent values
of Islam were in the spotlight as the second edition of the Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Festival kicked off in Abu Dhabi.
Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, inaugurated the festival
that will run until April 27. Representatives from more than 16 Islamic
countries have descended on the Capital to display their cultures and
traditions through arts and music.
festival unites cultures and traditions that align with the inherent values of
Islam such as tolerance, unity and openness... All these will further enhance
global awareness on the diversity of Islam. It represents a unique opportunity
for Muslims to immerse themselves in different elements of their faith and its
multiple layers," Youssef Aldobeay, adviser of the secretary-general for
political affairs, elected assistant secretary-general for political affairs
and OIC General Secretariat, told Khaleej Times.
that, the festival offers unprecedented access for non-Muslims eager to learn
more about our faith. In addition, held in the UAE's Year of Tolerance, the
festival is a chance to highlight the great values and principles of Islam to
coincide with the 50th anniversary of the OIC."
four-day event aims to enhance the common values of Muslims, highlight the
Islamic culture and show the world that Islam is a peaceful religion that
embraces inclusion and co-existence and denounces violence and terrorism.
under the theme 'One nation unified by benevolent cooperation, justice and
tolerance', the festival is addressing a range of issues mainly involving
tolerance as a foundation of Islam, the role of youth in spreading the culture
of tolerance, and the importance of tolerance and moderation in worship.
key highlights of the festival is the Palestine pavilion, strategically placed
at the heart of the exhibition, emphasising the state's importance to the
Islamic world and its vital status within Islamic identity. The festival
celebrates the Palestinian culture through mediums such as art and short films.
Khalid, an exhibitor from Saudi Arabia, said: "We are here to celebrate
Islam through art and music and to show other people about the culture of the
Islamic religion, which is peace, love and tolerance."
festival features a main stage area where Islamic scholars and thought leaders
present lectures and workshops that highlight different aspects of Islamic
main stage also hosts live performances by the Abu Dhabi Folklore Group,
showcasing traditional UAE arts and culture; the Alexandria Folklore Dance
Troupe, from Egypt; and a display of Emirati Malid - a traditional Emirati art
that embodies the UAE's culture heritage.
The US-backed assault to drive the IS from its Syrian capital Raqqa in 2017
killed more than 1,600 civilians, 10 times the toll the coalition itself has
acknowledged, Amnesty International and the monitoring group Airwars said on
and Airwars, a London-based group set up in 2014 to monitor the impact of the
US-led campaign against the IS, spent 18 months researching civilian deaths
including two months on the ground in Raqqa, they said.
conclusive finding after all this is that the US-led coalition’s military
offensive [US, UK and French forces] directly caused more than 1,600 civilian
deaths in Raqqa,” they said.
said the cases they had documented probably amounted to violations of
international humanitarian law and called for coalition members to create a
fund to compensate victims and their families.
coalition said in response to the report that it takes “all reasonable measures
to minimise civilian casualties” and that there are still open allegations it
unintentional loss of life during the defeat of Daesh is tragic,” said Scott
Rawlinson, a coalition spokesman in an emailed statement later on Thursday,
using an Arabic acronym for the IS. “However it must be balanced against the
risk of enabling Daesh to continue terrorist activities, causing pain and
suffering to anyone they choose,” he added.
IS seized Raqqa in early 2014 during its lightning advance through Syria and
Iraq in which it built a self-proclaimed caliphate characterised by summary
executions of opponents. Its mass killing and enslavement of minorities was
described as genocide by the United Nations.
group, which controlled a third of both Syria and Iraq in 2014, has since been
driven from all the territory it controlled by military campaigns waged by an
array of forces including the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the United States,
its European allies and their rivals Russia and Iran.
IS was defeated by US-backed fighters in its last Syrian stronghold this year.
Despite no longer controlling territory, it is still seen as a threat to launch
attacks around the world.
international coalition led by Washington has given military support to both
the Iraqi government and a Syrian militia, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF). The SDF captured Raqqa in October 2017 after a five month
offensive backed by US-led air strikes and special forces.
said last year that there was evidence coalition air and artillery strikes in
Raqqa had broken international law by endangering the lives of civilians, but
until now had not given an estimate of the death toll during the battle.
of Badr Organization's Office in al-Anbar Qusai al-Anbari told the
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website on Thursday that the US forces are
secretly supporting the ISIL terrorists and closely monitoring al-Anbar desert.
added that Hit and Hasibah al-Baghdadi regions are now fully controlled by the
Americans, and warned of a possible occupation of al-Anbar desert by the ISIL.
had also earlier said that the US stationed 700 ISIL terrorists in Western
al-Anbar to target the Iraqi security forces.
this month, he said that the US military men stationed in occupied bases in
al-Anbar province used the ISIL terrorists in disguise of ordinary people to
target the Iraqi forces in desert areas of the region.
was quoted by al-Ma'aloumeh as saying that the US forces deployed in Ein
al-Assad and al-Habaniyeh bases in al-Anbar deserts in Western Iraq were using
a new method to attack the Iraqi security forces.
added that they disguise the ISIL terrorists as shepherds and tribesmen to
launch on against the Iraqi security forces, Hashd al-Shaabi and civilians in
sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported that masses of people in the villages
and towns of Mahimideh, al-Hisan, Safirah al-Tahtani, Safirah al-Foqani,
al-Wasiah, al-Mawilah, al-Hasin, Qaribah, al-Azabah and al-Basirah in Eastern
Deir Ezzur took part in anti-SDF rallies in the past two days.
added that the protest rallies were held after increased insecurity, murder,
detentions, kidnapping of civilians and hoarding oil by the SDF forces, noting
that the protestors closed the main roads of these regions, including Deir
Ezzur-Raqqa road in al-Jazeera region.
sources said that the residents also expelled from the region a number of SDF
commanders and forces who had come for talks.
in Deir Ezzur are widening protests against the Syrian Democratic Forces
deployment in the region after the US-backed militants arrested and killed tens
of civilians in their jails, media reports said on Monday.
in the town of Sweidan Jezira in Southeastern Deir Ezzur blocked the roads leading
to the region and asked for the expulsion of the SDF fighters.
sources also pointed to the anger of residents of Eastern Deir Ezzur after the
death of a civilian under SDF torture, and said that a large number of Syrians
have been shot dead or killed under SDF torture in prisons in recent months
while many others are in SDF's jails under different accusations.
the SDF forces have imposed curfew in several towns and villages, including
al-Sovar, Hajin, al-Basira, Zabiyan and Gharanij.
Maqsoud told the Arabic-language website of Sputnik on Thursday that militants'
chemical weapons plant has likely been destroyed in the attacks which were
carried out on the verge of Astana peace talks to be held in Kazakhstan later
added that Abu Mohammed al-Julani, the leader of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the
Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front), has strongly warned against any
compromise with the Syrian government, noting that the intelligence showing the
terrorists' important centers have certainly been revealed by a number of
militants to the Syrian and Russian sides.
the recent Russian airstrikes against Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib, 3 of their arms
caches, several main centers and their military vehicles were destroyed.
a relevant development on Wednesday, a large number of terrorists have been
killed and injured in a massive explosion at the headquarters of Tahrir al-Sham
in West of Idlib province, sources said.
bomb-laden vehicle was exploded in the city of Jisr al-Shoghour in Western
Idlib, killing and injuring at least 40 terrorists, pro-militant sources said.
sources said that at least 15 militants were killed and 27 others wounded,
including a number of terrorists.
least three civilians have been killed after militants of the US-sponsored
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked a protest rally in Syria’s eastern
province of Dayr al-Zawr.
incident occurred on Thursday when SDF militants opened fire on a peaceful
demonstration held in al-Daman village, Syria’s official news agency SANA
reported, citing some local sources.
rally was held in protest against SDF practices, calling for their expulsion from
the region. Protesters chanted slogans against the SDF occupation, which has
led to chaos, kidnapping, killing and monopoly of oil.
protesters also closed the main roads in the region and shut their shops amid a
general strike in the town of al-Basira and the village of al-Azba, renewing
their demand to expel SDF militants from their areas.
SDF illegally transports Dayr al-Zawr’s crude oil to neighboring Hasakeh
province in Syria’s northeast, a move that has angered the people.
US has long been providing the SDF -- an alliance of Kurdish alliance -- with
arms and militants, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against
the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. Many observers, however, see the support in
the context of Washington's plans to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.
Imran regrets upsurge in violence in Afghanistan, terms it counterproductive to
to the new wave of violence in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on
Thursday issued a condemnatory statement saying "Pakistan is highly
dismayed" by the developments.
Afghanistan conflict has brought great suffering for both Afghanistan and
Pakistan over [the] last 40 years," it began. "Now, after a long
wait, the Afghanistan Peace Process presents a historic opportunity for peace
in the region and Pakistan is fully supporting the process, including the next
logical step of Intra Afghan Dialogue wherein Afghans will themselves decide
upon the future of their country.
this backdrop, Pakistan is highly dismayed by the surge of violence in
Afghanistan from all sides. The so called offensives are condemnable and will
undermine the peace process. It is not right to seek an edge in dialogue
implores all parties to recognise the importance of the moment and seize it.
Pakistan has committed all diplomatic and security capital to success of [the]
peace process. Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in
Afghanistan anymore," it read.
it is not clear what prompted the Prime Minister's Office to issue the cryptic
statement, it seems to be a veiled reprimand to the Taliban as well as a
warning to Washington that Islamabad will not exert its influence over the
militant group for long if Kabul continues with its confrontational policy.
Khalilzad, the US envoy tasked with brokering a peace deal with the Taliban,
also voiced regret over findings that US-backed forces were killing more
civilians than the militants and said the solution was a peace deal.
deeply regret any loss of innocent life during military operations. We never
target innocents," said the US negotiator who is set shortly to resume
talks with the Taliban in Qatar on ending the war.
is treacherous, and unintended consequences are devastating. While we strive to
prevent casualties, [the] real solution is a ceasefire or reduced violence as we
pursue lasting peace," he tweeted.
United Nations report released a day earlier found that international and
pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians in the
first three months of the year.
this month, Taliban fighters stormed Afghan army checkpoints in southern
Afghanistan near the Pakistani border overnight, killing 20 troops. Eight other
security forces were wounded in the attack.
on April 20, at least seven people were killed in an attack on the Afghan communications
ministry in central Kabul, breaking months of relative calm in the capital and
underlining continued security threats.
has also been extremely indignant at what it sees as Islamabad's 'interference'
in Afghanistan's affairs, having recalled its ambassador twice over a statement
from Prime Minister Khan regarding a possible interim setup in Afghanistan
while a peace is brokered.
has been playing a key role in the Afghan peace process, helping US President
Donald Trump keep an election promise of withdrawing US military presence from
the surface, the talks seem to be progressing to the satisfaction of both sides
— the US and the Taliban — but the incumbent Afghan regime has largely been
excluded from several rounds of negotiations, and hostilities between Kabul and
the Taliban show no signs of abating.
for a breakthrough last weekend were dashed when a dialogue planned between the
Taliban and Afghan officials in Doha collapsed at the last minute when Ghani
announced a delegation of some 250 people from all walks of Afghan life,
including government figures, would attend talks. The Taliban had rejected the
lengthy list, saying the meeting was "not an invitation to some wedding or
other party at a hotel in Kabul".
President Donald Trump is eager to reach a solution to end the longest-ever US
war, which dislodged the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced disappointment over the impasse during a
call with President Ghani last weekend and "encouraged all sides to seize
the moment and reach an understanding on participants, so that an inclusive
intra-Afghan dialogue can be convened in Doha as soon as possible".
Taliban's political spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told AFP that the upcoming
talks will focus on a timetable for pulling all foreign forces from
Bhutto will soon take place of her father: Ghous
Former Sindh chief minister Syed Ghous Ali Shah believes Mir Murtaza Bhutto’s
daughter Fatima Bhutto will one day get her due place in politics because “her
father was martyred and children of martyrs do replace their parents sooner or
Shah was speaking to reporters at a gathering in the city on Wednesday.
Shah was of the view that Imran Khan was a good and honest politician who was
performing well. The past governments had created serious crises for the
country, the consequences of which were being faced by present government and
people of the country, he said.
hoped that Imran Khan would soon put the national economy back on track. He,
therefore, must be allowed to complete five-year tenure.
said that Pakistan Peoples Party had broken all past records of corruption. If
they had been clean they would not have been facing cases by National
Accountability Bureau. Sindh Chief Minister should have resigned after the
tragic incidents of Ismat, Nashwa and Ahsan, he said.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has announced that it will offer all-out
support to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s agitation against the Pakistan
leaders and workers will take part in the JUI-F’s million march to be held here
on April 28 as we both agree to the idea of ousting the government over
economic crisis, including inflation, caused by its wrong policies,” PML-N
district president Zafar Mehmood told reporters here on Thursday.
JUI-F delegation led by its district emir Mufti Kifayatullah met PML-N leader
Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, district president Zafar Mehmood and district nazim
Sardar Said Ghulam here and sought their support for the April 28 million march
to be addressed by JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
leadership has accepted the JUI-F’s invitation for the million march and
therefore, our leaders and workers will actively participate in it giving out a
message to the ruling PTI that the people don’t accept escalating inflation,
unemployment and power and gas charges,” said Mr Mehmood.
said the million march’s success would prove that the PTI had failed to improve
the people’s socioeconomic condition as it’d claimed in elections.
people are struggling to make ends meet. They can’t afford expenses of their
children’s education,” he said.
in the day, Fiaz Solari met trader leaders and invited them to take part in the
April 28 million march, saying the event will be a referendum against the PTI
The Al-Khidmat Foundation took out a rally on Abbottabad Road here on Thursday
to mark the Malaria Day.
of the Al-Khidmat School of Excellence participated in it holding banners
inscribed with malaria awareness slogans.
foundation also provided the people with free screening for malaria at a diagnostic
also held a malaria awareness session for women at Al-Khidmat School of
SEIZED: Mansehra police seized narcotics and unlicensed arms in raids here on
Minister Imran Khan in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second
Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday called for greater attention towards
tackling climate change and poverty as Pakistan and China enter the next phase
of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
prime minister appreciated the significance of the China's Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI) as it "marks a new and distinct phase in the onward march
of nations in the world along the path of globalisation".
presence of so many world leaders today is proof that we choose hope over
despair and cooperation over confrontation. 122 states and 49 international
organisations have signed onto the BRI's vision and this is a historic and
monumental development," he pointed out.
BRI offers a model of partnership, collaboration, connectivity and shared
prosperity," the prime minister told the audience. "Pakistan is proud
to have partnered with China in this transformative endeavour. We have been
among BRI's earliest and most enthusiastic proponents," he said.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of the BRI's major components ─ and one of its earliest manifestations ─ has made substantial progress. Pakistan's
energy supplies have increased massively, critical infrastructure gaps are
being plugged, Gwadar ─
once a small fishing village ─
is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub. The Gwadar airport will be the largest in our
country," he told his audience.
informed the audience that special economic zones being set up along the CPEC
offer investment opportunities for Pakistani, Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs
and invited them to "avail Pakistan's liberal foreign investment regime
and participate in our economy, in particular infrastructure, railways, dams,
IT and manufacturing."
Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis
on socioeconomic uplift," he said, adding that the next phase would be
"supplemented" by the signing of an expanded Pakistan-China Free
added that Pakistan wants to promote cooperation with China in agriculture,
health and education sectors.
are changing Pakistan's economic landscape and Insha Allah, the destiny of our
people. I want to thank China and its leadership for their unwavering support
for Pakistan," he said.
Minister Imran suggested that, as the BRI takes on a more concrete shape, world
leaders direct their efforts and focus onto the people of their countries by
addressing impediments in the path towards sustainable growth.
suggested collaboration on five points: mitigating the adverse effects of
climate change by launching an ambitious tree-planting project; establishing a
BRI tourism corridor; establishing an office for anti-corruption cooperation;
creating a poverty alleviation fund; further trade liberalisation and
encouraging private sector investment.
President Xi Jinping in his keynote address at the three-day forum said that
the joint construction of the Belt and Road has opened up new space for the
world's economic growth, Radio Pakistan reported.
said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had also created a new platform to
boost international trade and investment, expand new practices to optimise
global economic governance, and make new contributions to improving the
wellbeing of people of all countries.
Chinese president said that Beijing would negotiate and sign high-standard Free
Trade Agreements with more countries, and that it would allow foreign investors
to operate businesses in more sectors with a controlling or full stake.
said that China would work with other parties to promote a coalition of
sustainable cities and an international coalition for green development under
agenda in China
prime minister arrived in China yesterday on a four-day official visit.
According to the Foreign Office, he will attend a world leaders’ meeting
representing around 38 countries. He will also speak in the first session of
the leaders’ meeting, and hold meetings with several heads of
states/governments and corporate and business leaders on the sidelines of the
addition to participating in the Belt and Road Forum, the premier will hold
bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Pakistan
and China will also sign several memoranda of understanding and agreements to
enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas.
the forum, the prime minister will address a Pakistan business and investment
forum on April 28. Prominent Pakistani and Chinese businessmen will attend the
— Two gunmen on motorcycle shot and killed a polio vaccinator in the
southwestern Pakistani city of Chaman on Thursday, bringing the death toll
among vaccinators working in the country’s anti-polio drive to at least three
this week, officials said.
shooters opened fire on a group of vaccinators when they were at the front gate
of a house in the remote village of Sultan Zai, near the border with
Afghanistan, said Samiullah Agha, who is the assistant commissioner of Chaman.
members of the vaccination team were hit: Nasreen Bibi, 35, was killed, and
Rashida Afzal, 24, was critically wounded, Mr. Agha said in an interview.
Vaccination was suspended for an indeterminate period of time in the Chaman
area after the shooting.
gunmen fled after the attack,” Mr. Agha added. “Security forces have launched a
search operation in the area.”
vaccination teams have suffered several attacks since a countrywide vaccination
drive began on April 23. Polio workers, volunteers and their guards are
frequently targeted in the South Asian country. Islamist militants and
hard-line clerics say the vaccination drive is a foreign plot to sterilize
Muslim children and a cover for western spies.
are unfortunate incidents,” said Babar Atta, who is the special adviser on
polio to Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister. “We have increased the security
of vaccination teams across the country and are determined to end this
crippling disease in Pakistan.”
Khan, a resident of a tribal area bordering Afghanistan who runs a shop, said
he is skeptical of the polio vaccine. Neither he nor his parents have taken the
vaccine, which can be delivered orally as drops, and they are living a healthy
life, he said.
have doubts in our minds about this western vaccine,” he said. “Tribal people
are not sure what they are giving to our children and what information they are
collecting for spying. It’s a Western agenda, indeed.”
sitting beside the body of Nasreen Bibi, 35, a polio vaccinator who was shot
and killed during a campaign to eradicate the disease.
days ago, in separate events, two police officers who were protecting polio
vaccination teams were shot and killed in the northern districts of Buner and
Bannu. And a polio worker was injured in a knife attack this week in the
eastern city of Lahore.
Ayaz, a senator, said the perpetrators were “humiliating Pakistan
should be concerned about the killing of polio workers as it is adding more
global pressure on us,” said Ms. Ayaz, who is a member of the secular Awami
National Party. “It is mandatory now to introduce a comprehensive policy or
legislation to get rid of crippling polio disease in the country.”
the government has started public education campaigns on the issue, and urged
Muslim clerics to inform the population that the vaccine protects children from
a disease that can lead to paralysis or death.
global effort to eradicate the disease left Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria
as the only countries that have not stopped the transmission of the polio
virus, according to the World Health Organization.
number of polio cases in Pakistan jumped to eight this year after two new cases
were found this week, according to the website End Polio Pakistan, which shows
the country’s polio elimination efforts.
number of cases of the disease in the country dropped to 12 in 2018 from 58 in
2012, according to End Polio Pakistan. According to an independent tally by the
news media, 95 polio workers have been killed doing their work since 2012.
is despite the fact that vaccination efforts in Pakistan have often been the subject
of suspicion and unfounded rumors that suggest the vaccines harm children.
than 25,000 children were rushed to hospitals in northwestern Pakistan on
Monday after false rumors that polio drops were making children sick, creating
‘sahiba’ comment has sent a wrong message to women: Bilawal
People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday said Prime
Minister Imran Khan ‘only insults himself when he passes comments such as
sahiba’, a private TV channel reported.
to a man as a woman does not harm the man, but what sort of message does this
send to the women of Pakistan? That our prime minister is saying that being a
woman is an insult?” Bilawal asked while speaking to media here outside the
Parliament House. “This is Pakistan and here women stand shoulder to shoulder
with men. If there was no Fatima Jinnah, had Pakistan been formed? If there was
no Fatima Jinnah, who would have opposed Ayub?” he asked.
were the first Muslim country to elect a woman as prime minister,” the PPP
chairman continued. “We are proud of the women of this country. We think they
should be given space in politics, economy and society,” he said. “If Khan
Sahab thinks that by passing a comment like this he is insulting anyone, he is
only insulting himself,” he asserted. “He is this country’s prime minister and
he should hold his tongue,” he added.
on statements that the prime minister referring to him as ‘sahiba’ was a ‘slip
of tongue’, Bilawal said, “The amount of slip of tongues by this prime minister
is more than the speed of light. Slip of tongue should not happen because it
insults the entire nation. So many slips of tongue happen when we have a
selected PM,” he said, and appealed to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to
travel with the prime minister so that such slips of the tongue can be avoided.
the current economic situation, Bilawal said, “People are drowning in a tsunami
of inflation. In every industry, there is unemployment. Inflation has risen so
much that life has become difficult for Pakistanis.” “How can this government
say inflation is not an issue? Inflation is worrisome for every Pakistani and
it is the government’s job to provide relief to the people,” he stated. “Why
should we be happy if loans are leading to prices being raised? Can the poor
people be given amnesty and relief? The government will eliminate subsidies to
provide relief to the rich,” he continued. “If there is no relief for the
people in the budget, they will come out on the streets themselves,” he warned.
cannot be two Pakistans in this country. These are oppressive rulers and do not
care for the people. The nation can take your oppression till a limit,” he
said. “The party which was known for its use of social media cannot tolerate a
tweet from a political party or a journalist now,” he added.
said the PTI-Led government rejoices every time they are being granted a loan
or are given an investment but the money is being brought in at the cost of
people’s employment. He said the amnesty schemes will only give relief to the
elite but will not yield any positive impact on the poor. He claimed that any deal
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be unconstitutional without the
approval of the National Assembly.
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