Kabul rejects request to extradite Daesh leader

Aslam Farooqi was captured in an operation by intelligence forces along with 19 other key affiliates of the group. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 April 2020

Kabul rejects request to extradite Daesh leader

  • Kabul argues this man has committed crimes, killed Afghans, and since there is no extradition treaty between us, we will punish him under local laws, while Pakistan insists he has to be submitted to Islamabad

KABUL: Kabul on Friday rejected Islamabad’s request to hand over a senior Daesh leader of Pakistani origin who was recently arrested.
Aslam Farooqi was captured in an operation by intelligence forces along with 19 other key affiliates of the group.
Islamabad summoned Kabul’s envoy to Pakistan, Atif Mashal, following a demand for Farooqi’s extradition.
“Aslam Farooqi is among the leaders of Daesh who has carried out many crimes in Afghanistan,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.
“Since there is no extradition treaty between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Aslam Farooqi will be dealt with based on Afghanistan’s laws. Afghanistan makes no difference between terrorists, and they will be brought to justice as the country is committed to anti-terrorism.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has argued that Farooqi should, however, be handed over for further investigation.
“The handover of Farooqi is a controversial issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” analyst Taj Mohammed told Arab News.
“Kabul argues this man has committed crimes, killed Afghans, and since there is no extradition treaty between us, we will punish him under local laws, while Pakistan insists he has to be submitted to Islamabad. Let us hope this issue does not add to the load and historically uneasy relations between them and impact recent efforts for normalizing ties.”
Farooqi’s arrest was described as a “massive victory” and a “treasure of intelligence” by Afghanistan’s first Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who said national spy agencies would have to use special tactics to “make him talk.”
According to Taliban sources, Farooqi turned himself in to seek shelter from a Taliban siege of Daesh in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar province.
“Government forces have given him shelter, and now they take credit and are claiming his arrest,” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Arab News.
“The mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate had besieged Farooqi in the Mazar Darra area of Kunar, and he established contact with the Kabul administration’s forces and surrendered to the government in the wake of his contact,” Mujahid said, adding that Farooqi and other Daesh operatives were taken to a guesthouse by government forces through an understanding with them.
Afghan officials have in the past few years reported killing or arresting Daesh leaders in Afghanistan in joint raids with US-led troops.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other officials have even claimed to wipe out the Daesh network in the east of the country, which is the bastion of the group near the Durand Line, a lawless and porous region that forms the border between the two countries.
But Daesh has claimed responsibility for two massive and deadly attacks in Kabul in the past two months and, more recently, for a rocket strike on the Bagram airfield – a significant US military base to the north of Kabul.
Farooqi’s arrest came nearly two weeks after the group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul, which killed at least 25 worshippers, the first attack of its kind against non-Muslims by the group, which has targeted Shiites in many of its past attacks.

Malaysia welcomes its first halal TV streaming service

Updated 22 September 2020

Malaysia welcomes its first halal TV streaming service

  • Service attracts more than 10,000 subscribers since July

KUALA LUMPUR: Netflix could soon have competition from a homegrown entertainment platform in Malaysia which, its makers say, will cater to Muslims’ “halal TV” needs based on Islamic values.

Dubbed “Nurflix,” the platform is Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant streaming service and has attracted more than 10,000 subscribers since July.

Nurflix is the creation of Syah Rizal Mohamed, who wants to produce and release original content for the platform before its official launch in January.

“We spent $9.7 million for the startup, but the company will produce 1,000 (items of) original content in multiple categories like mainstream, educational, spiritual and motivational and kids, with about 12,000 episodes in the first five years of operating,” the 43-year-old CEO told Arab News.

He also plans for Nurflix to acquire content from local and international producers, as long as they align with the service’s production guidelines, with a focus on markets in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore before setting up internationally.

“We see ourselves covering the Southeast Asian region in the next five years with our readiness to establish hubs in the Middle East and Europe to gain traction in the international market.”

He said the decision to tap into the streaming service market was driven by the rapid growth of video-on-demand media and consumers choosing this, as well as over-the-top subscription services, as their main form of entertainment. 

Consumers agreed that there was a market for a halal content platform.

“The Islamic streaming service just enriches the Islamic entertainment ecosystem because there is a niche for it,” 25-year-old public relations executive Puteri N. Balqis told Arab News.

Media consultant Amir Hadi Azmi said a Shariah-compliant streaming service was an interesting niche, particularly for more conservative users, but that the concept was not unique to Islam or Muslims.

“In America, for example, there is a service called Pure Flix which caters to more conservative Christian viewers,” he told Arab News.

Amir Muhammad, managing director of Kuman Pictures, said that as a producer, the more outlets that were made available to content producers and filmmakers, the better. Kuman Pictures, which is known for releasing horror and thriller content, could create appropriate content if need be.

“I have not seen their actual guidelines, but if they want halal horror, we will give them halal horror,” he told Arab News.

The Nurflix CEO said there would be a Content Advisory Council and that it would be headed and supervised by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al Hamid and the Honorable Ustaz Raja Ahmad Mukhlis.

“Productions, including third-party content providers, will be monitored by the council to ensure the end product abides by the set guidelines. Nurflix is unique in the market because it is not just offering Islamic-guided content. The production will be monitored by the council to ensure all aspects of work are conducted in a Shariah-compliant manner.”

Although there is no formal collaboration with the Islamic Affairs Department, he said that Nurflix’s ideas and concepts had already been shared with Islamic Affairs Minister Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

When contacted by Arab News, the director-general of Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development Paimuzi Yahya said his department was still working on “collaborating with the streaming service” and declined to comment further.