Oct 232018
Erdogan calls for trial in Istanbul of Khashoggi suspects, terms death planned murder

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for the trial in Istanbul of the Saudi suspects in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a crime that he said was intricately planned days in advance. Erdogan had promised that his speech in Ankara would give the “naked truth” about the killing and he gave a host of new details while still saying Turkey wanted answers to key questions, including who gave the orders. Hours before Erdogan delivered his speech to ruling party lawmakers, a major Saudi investment forum opened in Riyadh under the heavy shadow of the murder after key delegates pulled out. The murder of the Washington Post contributor has damaged the international reputation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has spearheaded a reform drive in the kingdom. “My demand is that 18 people be tried in Istanbul,” Erdogan said in a speech to ruling party lawmakers in Ankara, referring to 18 people including security officials who have already been detained by Riyadh. He added that “all those who played a role in the murder” had to face punishment. Erdogan said that the murder was “planned” days in advance according to a “roadmap” set up by a Saudi team who were sent to Istanbul for the purpose. The surveillance system at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was deactivated on purpose, he said. “First they (the Saudis implicated) removed the hard disc from the camera system,” Erdogan said. “This is a political murder,” he added. But Erdogan added [Read More…]

Oct 182018
US, Europe shun Saudi conference over journalist Khashoggi's disappearance

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from Europe on Thursday pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, deepening the kingdom’s isolation amid an uproar over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Officials from some of Saudi Arabia’s leading Western allies joined a slew of corporate bigwigs who are now shunning next week’s gathering, touted as a high-powered showcase for the economic reforms of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In an announcement that sent stocks tumbling on Wall Street, Mnuchin said he had decided with President Donald Trump that he would “not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia”. The decision was given in a terse tweet after Trump and Mnuchin were briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has just returned from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to probe for answers over the journalist’s disappearance in Istanbul. Mnuchin gave no explanation. But Britain and France — which like the United States are leading suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia — made clear their disquiet over Khashoggi’s fate as they yanked their own representation at the Riyadh conference. “We have taken this decision in a coordinated manner among Europeans,” President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels. “It is what’s required in the short term, taking account of the gravity of the facts, in the absence of (Saudi) clarification,” he said, after French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed he was staying away from Riyadh. British International Trade Secretary Liam [Read More…]

Oct 122018
Turkey has proof Saudi journalist Khashoggi was killed, says Washington Post

Turkey’s government has told US officials it has audio and video proof that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Washington Post reported on Friday. The newspaper, for which Khashoggi is a columnist, cited anonymous officials as saying the recordings show a Saudi security team detained the writer when he went to the consulate on October 2 to pick up a document for his upcoming wedding. The Associated Press was not immediately able to confirm the report, and Turkish officials would not comment. Saudi officials enter Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Friday, Oct 12. ─ AP Meanwhile, a delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday as part of an investigation into the writer’s disappearance, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said. Saudi Arabia has called the allegation it abducted or harmed Khashoggi “baseless.” However, it has offered no evidence to support its claim he left the consulate and vanished despite his fiance waiting outside. Read: ‘This has not been business as usual in my country’: excerpts from Saudi journalist Khashoggi’s writings Anadolu Agency said the delegation would hold talks with Turkish officials over the weekend. It did not provide further details. On Thursday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey and Saudi Arabia would form a “joint working group” to look into Khashoggi’s disappearance. The 59-year-old journalist, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had became a critic of the current government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin [Read More…]

Oct 082018
Erdogan asks Riyadh to 'prove' journalist left Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked Saudi officials to prove their claim that missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan’s comments’ came after media reports said his government sought permission from Saudi authorities to search the consulate premises in Istanbul. Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished last Tuesday after entering the consulate to receive official documents ahead of his marriage to a Turkish woman. “Consulate officials cannot save themselves by saying that he left the building… Don’t you have a camera?” Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest. “If he left, you have to prove it with a footage. Those who ask Turkish authorities where he is should ask what happened.” Police said at the weekend that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi. A Turkish government source told AFP at the weekend that the police believe the journalist “was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day”. Riyadh vehemently denies the claim and says Khashoggi left the consulate. Turkey on Monday sought permission to search the consulate premises, Turkish NTV broadcaster reported. The move came after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time on Sunday over the journalist’s disappearance. A Turkish diplomat confirmed on Monday that the Saudi envoy had met deputy foreign minister Sedat Onal. “The ambassador was told that we expected [Read More…]

Feb 222017
Two American Muslim activists raise funds to repair vandalised Jewish cemetery

Two American Muslim activists started a fundraising campaign to repair a Jewish cemetery which was vandalised recently, reported the Washington Post. “Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America,” said the fundraising page on the website LaunchingGood. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event." The goal of $20,000 was achieved with in a few hours of the request going online. Tarek El-Messidi, who created the campaign with fellow activist Linda Sarsour said when he heard about the vandalism at the Jewish cemetery it reminded him of how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stood up when a Jewish funeral was passing. When asked why, the Prophet said, “Is it not a human soul?” “That story goes to show more than anything the humanity of the prophet. … We should bring the story to life here and show every person deserves to rest in peace,” El-Messidi said. Through his nonprofit, Celebrate Mercy, El-Messidi’s mission is to not only educate people about the prophet’s teachings but also to rally Muslims to respond to evil with good. El-Messidi is a national Muslim leader in Knoxville, and has helped launch a Muslim-led fundraiser for the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack in 2015 which raised more than $215,000. "Since the rise of hate crime incidents after the [Read More…]