Category Archives: Islamic News

Greece: Muslim leader condemns racist remarks by ex-Foreign Minister

By Mehmet Hatipoglu


KOMOTINI, Greece (AA): A Muslim Turk representative in Greece on Wednesday condemned racist remarks by former Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

Pangalos, who was foreign minister from 1996-99, said “the only good Turk is a dead Turk” on a radio program last week.

Speaking to Skai radio, Pangalos argued that Greece faced a “huge” problem with Turkey. “The enemy is relentless and will not be overcome, regardless of how much good faith we show,” he said.

“The only good Turk is a dead Turk. I believe this because I have not come across a good Turk. They lack basic appreciation. The Turk does not have a sense for justice.”

Pangalos, who served as foreign minister between 1996 and 1999, is known for making controversial comments.

In the 1990s, he claimed Germany was “a giant with bestial force and a child’s brain” and accused Turkey of “dragging its bloodied boots across the carpets of Europe.”

Mustafa Alicavus, the chairman of the Friendship, Equality and Peace Party, told Anadolu Agency that the remarks were “unacceptable racist and fascist expressions”.

Alicavus said he had submitted a petition against the remarks at the prosecutor’s office in Rhodope.

“I would like to point out that these ugly and racist expressions by Pangalos also targets 150,000 Western Thrace Turkish minority members who are citizens of the country and constitutes a severe insult to all minorities,” Alicavus added.


Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Theodoros Pangalos. Creative Commons]

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Syria: 25 more civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta

By Adham Kako and Muhammed Shekh Yusuf


EASTERN GHOUTA, Syria (AA): At least 25 civilians have been killed by intensified Syrian Government attacks in the al-Nusra [Jabhat Fateh al-Sham] controlled Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, said sources from the Syrian Civil Defense on Wednesday.

Sources from the Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, told Anadolu Agency that regime attacks on civilian areas in Eastern Ghouta had killed 25 people on Wednesday.

According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground, the regime forces and their supporters have been intensifying attacks on such areas as Duma, Haresta, Hammuriya, Marj, Saqba, Kafr Batna, Arbin and Madyara.

The death toll is expected to increase as attacks are still continuing in several areas.

At least 167 civilians were killed on Monday and Tuesday by intensified Syrian regime attacks in Eastern Ghouta as well.

œThe secretary-general is deeply alarmed by the escalating situation in Eastern Ghouta and its devastating impact on civilians,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a written statement on Tuesday.

Eastern Ghouta falls within a network of de-escalation zones — endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran — in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Home to some 400,000 civilian residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011, when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

[Photo:  Civil defense crews and locals conduct search and rescue works after Syrian Govt forces carried out airstrikes over Arbin town of the Eastern Ghouta region on February 20, 2018. Photographer: Diaa Al-Din Samout/AA]

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Iran: Five security forces killed in Tehran protests

By Mohammad Qorshon and Mustafa Melih Ahishali


TEHRAN (AA): The death toll of Iranian security forces killed in clashes with a Shia Muslim religious group in capital Tehran rose to five, according to an Iranian official.

Demonstrators took to the streets in northern Tehran late Monday to protest a security cordon imposed around the house of Gonabadi Dervishes leader Nour Ali Tabandeh.

Three policemen were killed when they were hit by a bus driven by one of the protesters, the official IRNA news agency quoted police spokesman Muntadar al-Mahdi as saying.

Fars news agency said the driver was a member of the Shia group.

Al-Mahdi said a member of the Basij forces was killed when a protester rammed his car into him, while another Basij member was stabbed to death.

According to the spokesman, 30 security personnel were injured during the clashes.

No information is yet available about casualties among protesters.

According to the Gonabadi Dervishes group, 12 protesters were arrested by Iranian security forces during the clashes.

[Map of Iran By Ali Zifan/Creative Commons]

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Syria: 58 killed in fresh Govt attacks in E. Ghouta

By Adham Kako and Fatih Hafiz Mehmet


EASTERN GHOUTA/ANKARA (AA): At least 58 Syrian civilians were killed and 45 injured in fresh Government attacks in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta on Monday, according to local rebel civil defense sources.

Government forces launched air and ground attacks on several districts in the suburb, which has been under a crippling siege since 2012.

Twenty civilians, including women and children, were killed in the airstrike in the town of Hammuriya in Eastern Ghouta, the sources — who are affiliated with the White Helmets civil defense agency — said.

Fourteen people were killed in ground and air attacks in the town of Saqba, while four others were killed by an airstrike in the town of Jisrin, the same sources added on condition of anonymity due to safety concerns.

In Government barrel bomb and ground attacks in the town of Beit Sawa, 17 civilians were killed and 45 were injured.

In an airstrike on Kafr Batna, two civilians were killed. Another civilian was also killed in a ground attack in Zamalka.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides also issued a joint written statement late Monday regarding the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

The statement said unhindered humanitarian access to civilians inside Syria and the protection of civilians and infrastructure was a matter of urgency to prevent further loss of life.

“The international community should unite to stop this human suffering,” the statement stressed.

Eastern Ghouta falls within a network of de-escalation zones — endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran — in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Home to some 400,000 civilian residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years.

[Photo: Smoke rises after Assad Regime’s airstrikes and ground attacks to the Hammuriya town in the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus, Syria on February 19, 2018. Photographer: Abdul Moyeen Homs/AA]

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Pakistan: 10,000 Saudi soldiers being trained in Pakistan

By Aamir Latif


KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): Pakistan on Monday revealed it is training some 10,000 Saudi soldiers, injecting credence to the reports about ever-increasing security cooperation between Riyadh and Islamabad in recent months.

Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir, who was giving a policy statement in the senate on a recent government’s decision to send 1000 additional troops to the Kingdom, did not offer further details about the presence of such a high number of Saudi soldiers on Pakistan’s soil, and the nature of training being imparted.

Many, however, link the growing defense cooperation between the two countries to the Saudi Arab’s internal security following speculations about rifts within ruling Al-Saud family and a recent crackdown against corruption involving several ruling family members.

The statement came after several parliamentarians questioned the decision, fearing that the additional troops might be used against pro-Iran Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Some 1,600 Pakistan army officers and troops are already stationed in the Kingdom in accordance with a 1982 security protocol between the two sides.

Currently, some 647 Pakistani troops are also stationed in Qatar, whereas Pakistan air force is training 10 Iranian pilots, according to the local media.

“As far as deployment of Pakistanis troops outside the territory of Saudi Arabia or in Yemen is concerned, I want to assure you that it will not happen. Pakistan will remain neutral regarding any conflict in the Middle East in accordance with the parliament’s guidelines,” the minister said.

He was referring to a 2015 parliamentary resolution, which stated that Islamabad will not be part of any conflict in the Middle East, particularly Yemen.

His statement, however, further heated up the debate with several members belonging to left-wing Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani termed the clarification “insufficient”, and demanded elaboration of operational and deployment details.

“I cannot tell that where will these troops be deployed in Saudi Arabia. But let me assure you, they will remain stationed within the Saudi territory,” Dastagir said responding to a question from former interior minister, and a leading PPP figure Aitzaz Ahsan, who said the troops might be deployed at the Yemen border.

Previously in a statement, Pakistan army insisted that neither the fresh contingent nor the already stationed troops would be deployed outside Saudi Arabia.

“In continuation of ongoing Pak-KSA bilateral security cooperation, a Pakistan army contingent is being sent to the KSA on training and advise mission. These or troops already there will not be employed outside KSA. Pak Army maintains bilateral security cooperation with many other GCC / regional countries, said the statement.

Saudi Arabia, which alone hosts 1.9 million Pakistanis, tops the list of countries with highest remittances to Pakistan — over $4.5 billion annually.

Also, Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s largest regional trading partner, which exported goods and services, mainly oil, to the tune of over $5 billion to Pakistan in 2017.

[Photo: Pakistani soldiers examine a simulated pressure plate of improvised explosive device detonation as part of training By US federal govt image public domain]

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Dagestan: 5 women killed, 4 injured in Orthodox Church shooting

MOSCOW (AA The Muslim News): A gunman opened fire at a festival in Russia’s northern Caucasus Republic of Dagestan on Sunday, killing five women and injuring four — including two police officers — said Russia’s Interior Ministry.

The unidentified gunman was also killed.

The attack, claimed by Daesh, took place on Orthodox Church. An unidentified gunman fired at worshippers in the small town of Kizlyar in the mainly Muslim region. The attack took place after a service to mark the start of Russian Orthodox Lent.

œAn unknown man opened fire with a hunting rifle in Kizlyar, fatally wounding four women,” the regional internal affairs ministry said in a statement. A fifth woman died of her injuries in hospital, the health ministry spokeswoman Zalina Mourtazalieva told Tass news agency.

“At about 16.30 [13.30GMT], an unknown man opened fire using a hunting rifle,” said a ministry statement.

The man was later identified as a 22-year-old local resident Khalil Khalilov. Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case under Articles 105.2 (murder with aggravating circumstances) and 317 (attempt on the life of a law enforcer) of the Russian Criminal Code.

According to Tass News Agency, the shooter had a sporting gun, bullets and a knife on him.

The incident took place in Dagestan’s Kizlyar on Sunday. Some sources say the shooter opened gunfire in a church, others say he was shooting at people, mostly women, leaving the church. The man was shot dead by police when trying to flee the scene. As a result of shooting five people were killed and five more were wounded.

Kizlyar, located 170 kilometers from Dagestan’s capital of Makhachkala, has a population of around 50,000. People of ten ethnic groups live in the town, with Russians accounting for about Ȉ% of the population.

The incident happened during an outdoor festival in celebration of Maslenitsa, a Russian spring festival.

Dagestan borders the Caspian Sea to the east as well as Azerbaijan and Georgia.

[Map of Dagestan. by This work has been released into the public domain by its author, PANONIAN].


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Nigeria: 21 killled in multiple suicide bombings in Borno State

By Olarewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) – At least 21 people were killed and 22 others injured in multiple suicide bombings at a local market in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State, police said Saturday.

Three suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers infiltrated a local market at remote Sabon Gari, in the outskirts of state capital Maiduguri at 8.05 p.m. local time (싱GMT) Friday.

Authorities could not confirm the casualties until Saturday morning hours after the evacuation and rescue of victims.

Borno Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters: “Twenty one people including the three suicide bombers were killed. In all, 22 persons were injured.”

The injured have been transferred to a hospital for treatment.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but locals say it bears semblance to previous bombings by Boko Haram.

Earlier this week, the military warned residents of possible attacks by Boko Haram in cities and towns.

[Archive Photo:  Suicide bombing in July 2015/AA]

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Nigeria: Between 18 to 41 people killed in Zamfara State

By Adam Abu Bashal


ABUJA, NIGERIA (AA): Between 18 to 41 people were killed on Thursday following a gunmen attack in Nigeria’s northwestern Zamfara State, police sources said.

An armed gang ambushed a group of local villagers in Zamfara’s Birani village and killed 18 locals, Public Relations Officer of the Zamfara police Muhammad Shehu said.

“Local people were attacked by unidentified gunmen and a security investigation has launched about the incident,” he said.

Mr. Shehu said on February 13, hunters from Birani Village of Zurmi Local Government Area intercepted and accosted a herder in the bush with some suspected stolen cattle and sheep.

“The herder abandoned the animals and escaped into the bush, but unknown to the hunters, the cattle rustler went to Isah Local Government Area of Sokoto State and mobilised bandits to attack the hunters.

“On February 14, the bandits ambushed the hunters in the bush and there was a clash that led to fatality on both sides.

“Police/Military and other sister agencies reacted by combing the bush and it’s environs to salvage the situation and discovered 18 dead bodies.

“It is believed that the bandits took away their own members that were killed. Meanwhile, bush combing is in progress so as to further profile the area.

“Mobile policemen/special forces and other security personnel from other sister security agencies have already been deployed to the area to restore peace and stability,” he said.

Recently, five more people were killed three days ago in Plateau province.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map of Nigeria By CIA Public Domain]

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UN documents rise in civilian casualties in Afghanistan

By Shadi Khan Saif


KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) : Raging violence in Afghanistan killed and wounded over 10ꯠ people last year, with a dreadful rise in the number of women and child casualties, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office stated on Thursday.

The UNAMA documented that, in 2017, 359 women were killed — a rise of five percent — and 865 injured. Child casualties — 861 killed and 2,318 injured — decreased by 10 percent compared to 2016. Overall, more than 10,000 civilian casualties — 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured — were documented in 2017, one of the deadliest years in the recent history of the country, reeling from the insurgency now entering its 17th year.

The UN Mission has been documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 2009 and has so far confirmed a massive total of 28,428 in the bloody Afghan conflict.

“The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war’s impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-generalâs special representative for Afghanistan.

Yamamoto, who also heads UNAMA, expressed deep concern at the increased harm to civilians caused by suicide attacks: “I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of IEDs, such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas. This is shameful.”

The report attributes close to two-thirds of all casualties (65 percent) to anti-government elements: 42 per cent to the Taliban, 10 per cent to Daesh / Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), and 13 percent to undetermined and other anti-government elements.

Pro-government forces caused a fifth of the civilian casualties according to the report, with 16 percent attributed to the Afghan national security forces, two per cent to international military forces, one per cent each to pro-government armed groups and undetermined pro-government forces.

Unattributed cross-fire during ground engagements between anti-government elements and pro-government forces caused 11 percent of the civilian casualties.

This comes as the Taliban on their propaganda site published, a day earlier, “an open letter to the â€the American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace-loving Congressmen”.

“The American people must understand that the Islamic Emirate understands its responsibility and can play a constructive role in finding a peaceful solution for issues but this can never mean that we are exhausted or our will has been sapped,” the letter stated.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said during a press conference on Sunday that the Taliban-claimed Jan. 27 attack near a public hospital, in which over 100 people got killed, was “Afghanistanâ€s 9/11”.

Ghani also declared that doors for talks with the Taliban would be closed for an unlimited time, and those bent upon terrorism would be eliminated.

[Archive Photo: Bomb blast site outside Parliament building in Kabul, Afghanistan, which kille over 40 people on 11 January, 2017. Photographer: Haroon Sabawoon/AA]

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US: 17 dead in Florida school shooting

By Michael Hernandez


WASHINGTON (AA): At least 17 people were killed Wednesday when a lone gunman opened fire in a Florida high school, according to police.

The victims are a mix of students and adults, officials said.

Twelve victims were slain inside Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two others were killed outside the school, one was killed on the street and two died in a local hospital. Some of the victims are undergoing surgery, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters.

“It’s a horrific, horrific day,” Israel said.

In total, 17 people were sent to local hospitals for gunshot wounds, according to Doctor Evan Boyar. Three patients are undergoing surgery and are in stable condition. Three others are in critical condition.

Israel identified the shooter as dz-year-old Nikolaus Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student who Israel said was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

Cruz was arrested off-campus without incident. The suspect used an AR-type rifle and had multiple ammunition magazines in his possession, according to Israel.

People are being advised to avoid the area as the scene is still active. Footage appearing on television and social media depicts students being escorted out of the high school in small groups amid a heavy police presence.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy took to the Senate floor as the tragedy unfolded to slam congressional inaction on gun control.

“This happens nowhere else, other than the United States of America; this epidemic of mass slaughter; this scourge of school shooting after school shooting,” he said. “It only happens here. Not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.€

President Donald Trump phoned Florida Governor Rick Scott to offer federal assistance if it is needed, the White House said in a statement.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also phoned Scott as well as other state and local officials, the White House said.

Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson called the shooting “heartbreaking” on Twitter, sending her thoughts and prayers to the victims.

âIt is heartbreaking that these violent incidents continue to take place in schools, a place where our children should feel and be the most safe!” she added.

[Photo:  Students meet their families following a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward, Florida on February 14, 2018. Photographer: Carlos Miller/AA]

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