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Islamic World News (26 Aug 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Iranian Epic ‘Muhammad’ Aims To Change Islam’s Image
















An Iranian woman walks past an advertising billboard in Tehran for the upcoming "Muhammad" movie (AFP Photo/Behrouz Mehri)

 

Southeast Asia

Iranian Epic ‘Muhammad’ Aims To Change Islam’s Image

Indonesian Ulema Council Joins the Push for a Moderate Islam

China mulls banning 'terrorist' clothing

Thai Army, Muslim Rebels Hold Closed-Door Peace Talks In Malaysia

Muslim businesses reminded to pay property zakat

Bangkok bomb theories flourish as police probe struggles

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Mideast

34 PKK Militants Killed As Turkish Jets Hit Northern Iraq

Politician: Yemeni Forces to Gain Great Victories in Jizan, Najran Soon

Yemen Fires Scud Missile at Saudi Arabia

Iran enlists Afghan refugees as fighters to bolster Syria's Assad

Palestinians, Vatican seek to raise flags at U.N.

Envoy Urges West to Honor July N. Agreement with Iran

Commander: Over 20 Foreign Cargo Ships Escorted by Iranian Warships in Int'l Waters

Iranian Intelligence Minister: ISIL Plot to Attack Tehran Defused

DM: Iran to Mount New Home-Made Cruise Missile on Drones

Terrorism, extremism doomed to fail: Tehran

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Arab World

Syrian Army Repels Rebel Attacks on Bashkoy in Aleppo Province

Iraq Forces Retake Key ISIL-Held Area in Anbar

Saudi Arabia holding main suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Beirut trash talks fail amid renewed protests

Lebanon in crisis as Hezbollah enters trash fray

MSF: Syrian family showed signs of chemical exposure

Saudi Air Raids Hit Areas in Yemen

Mideast leaders flock to Moscow for Syrian talks, aerospace salon

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India

ISIS Group Draws More Indians, Alarm Bells in Delhi

Bihar Polls Soon, Timing of Religion Census Data Triggers Buzz

Separatist DFP President Blames Centre for Failure of NSA Talks with Pakistan

Economic backwardness spurs Muslim population growth in Kerala

Political war in Bengal as data reveal rise in Muslim population

Lack of burial grounds in Maharashtra upsets Muslims

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South Asia

Foreign Funding Traced To Bangladesh Based Radical Groups

US Adds Aziz Haqqani to Its List of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”

Mullah Omar’s brother warns of Taliban infighting if differences not resolved

2 NATO soldiers killed in attack by individuals in ANSF uniform

Politics cited in parliamentary elections as further delays expected

Hanif: JaSad paved way for Bangabandhu’s death

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami biding its time

Two NATO soldiers killed in Afghan 'insider attack': coalition

Afghan satire ‘Kabul Taxi’ angers spies

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Africa

Somalia: Seven Al Shabaab Killed in the Latest Clashes in Burhakaba

Libyan FM Calls for International Aid in Fight against Daesh

Switzerland Pledges $8mn to Help Boko Haram Victims

Man from Ghana Joins Islamic State, Family Says

In Nigeria, Boko Haram is an equal opportunity terrorist group

U.N.: China arms firm sold $20m in weapons to S Sudan

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Pakistan

Action Ordered Against 49 Madrasas with ‘Terrorist Links’ In Sindh

SC Proposes Appointment of Architect to Restore Karak Temple

‘Sufi poets can guarantee unity’: Chairman WPC

Election tribunal judge accuses minister of hurling life threats

Rangers, BSF top commanders to meet in New Delhi on Sept 9: sources

Pakistan wants CARs linked to its ports

Sino-Pak relationship unprecedented: Chinese VP

Pakistan, Kazakhstan sign MOUs to strengthen trade ties

92 scholars to study in French universities

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North America

Why Islamic State Prefers US Servers for Its Online Propaganda

Orlando Aiport Will Open Muslim Prayer Room

US baseball great suspended for Islamophobic tweet

As Islamic State militants destroy artifacts, heritage always a target across centuries of war

Toronto man denied subsidized housing for not being Muslim

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Europe

10 Most Racist European Countries towards Muslims

French Mosque Fire Is Arson, Hollande Says, As Anti-Muslim Crimes On The Rise In France

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iranian-epic-‘muhammad’-aims-to-change-islam’s-image/d/104385

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Southeast Asia

 

Iranian Epic ‘Muhammad’ Aims To Change Islam’s Image

August 25, 2015

TEHRAN: The award-winning director of Iran’s most expensive ever film, “Muhammad”, says he hopes it will improve Islam’s “violent image”, but the religious epic risks angering many Muslims despite not showing the prophet’s face.

The huge production about the childhood of the prophet cost up to an estimated $40 million and took more than seven years to complete.

The 171-minute film, which stars many top Iranian actors, premieres on Wednesday in 143 theatres throughout Iran, the day before it opens the Montreal Film Festival.

In an interview with AFP in Tehran, its director Majid Majidi, 56, said extremists and jihadists such as the Islamic State group “have stolen the name of Islam”.

In the Western world, “an incorrect interpretation of Islam has emerged that shows a violent image of Islam, and we believe it has no link whatsoever” to the religion, he said.

“Muhammad” is the first part of a trilogy on the life of the prophet. The film depicts events before his birth and up to his teenage years, before he became prophet, which according to the Koran was at the age of 40.

While Iran has denounced cartoons of the prophet like those published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Shiite Muslims are generally more relaxed than Sunnis about depictions of religious figures.

While many planned screenings of “Muhammad” in Shiite-majority Iran have already sold out, in the Sunni Muslim world the production has triggered controversy.

“Definitely, some countries like Saudi Arabia will have problems with this film but many Islamic countries — including Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and many others in Southeast Asia — have asked for the film,” Majidi said.

The first major production about the prophet’s life, “Mohammad, Messenger of God” from Syrian-American filmmaker Moustapha Akkad, also drew criticism in the Muslim world when it was released in 1976.

Faceless hero

In an attempt to allay the concerns of Muslims, Majidi looked for alternative ways of showing the prophet, and chose not to picture his face at all.

“To have the hero throughout the movie and not show his face once is a big challenge,” said a smiling Majidi, whose “Children of Heaven” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 1998.

Majidi and his Italian Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro came up with a special technique.

“We customised a steadicam especially for the prophet. Wherever we have the prophet in the film, we see through his POV (point of view), even in his childhood,” Majidi explained.

“Everyone is curious to see the prophet in the film, but you cannot see his face,” he said, adding that the prophet can only seen by his profile, or with his back to the camera.

Still, Majidi’s solution is not enough for experts at Al-Azhar, a leading Sunni Muslim institution based in Egypt.

In a statement, Al-Azhar “objected to portraying prophets and messengers in art” as it is “tantamount to belittling their spiritual status”.

It opposes not only portraying the prophets’ faces but also their voices.

“The actor who plays this role may later play a criminal, and viewers may associate these characters with criminality,” Abdel Dayyem Nosair, adviser to Al-Azhar head Ahmed al-Tayyeb, told AFP.

“Muhammad”, which is partially state funded, is being released on the anniversary of the birth of the eighth imam of Shiite Islam, Reza.

The next two films in the trilogy could prove even more controversial as the young hero is not yet a prophet in the first instalment.

“There are no disputes over this period” of the prophet’s life, said Majidi, who has won international prizes including the Oecumenical Special Award in Montreal for promoting unity among religions.

“From the time he becomes a prophet, even dialogue would be very difficult to manage, but I believe it is still achievable,” the director said.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/2015/08/25/iranian-epic-muhammad-aims-to-change-islams-image/

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Indonesian Ulema Council Joins The Push For A Moderate Islam

August 25 2015

Islam in Indonesia is a tolerant religion that rejects all forms of radicalism, said Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Din Syamsudin during the MUI’s 9th national meeting on Tuesday.

“We present this concept of moderate Islam, or wasathiyah Islam, not only for Indonesia but also for the whole world, to solve the problems we have these days,” Din added as quoted by kompas.com.

Such a concept of Islam is a similar vision to those promoted by some of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is using the term Islam Nusantara (Islam of the archipelago), while Muhammadiyah uses Islam Berkemajuan (progressive Islam).

Religious moderatism has been chosen as the main theme for MUI’s national meeting being held in Surabaya from Aug. 24 to 27.

“A moderate and tolerant Islam matches the basic guidelines of MUI, and a moderate Islam is currently a trending topic worldwide,” said MUI deputy general secretary Noor Achmad.

The MUI’s national meeting will bring together 550 representatives from across the country. The event’s agenda includes the election of a new chairman and discussions on some the organization’s recent fatwas (religious edicts). (rad/kes)(++++)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/08/25/mui-joins-push-a-moderate-islam.html

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China mulls banning 'terrorist' clothing

August 25, 2015

Chinese legislators have proposed a new nationwide ban on "terrorist" clothing in the latest move designed to curb Islamic extremism in restive Xinjiang.

The draft amendment proposed Aug. 24 by China’s top legislature does not specify what would be criminalized. However, the proposed ban is believed to apply to burqas, separatist flags and Islamic beards.

Those found guilty of wearing or forcing others to wear "clothes or symbols in public associated with terrorism and extremism" would face three years in prison.

"The amendment could prevent terrorist activities from spreading across China. It shows the nation’s zero tolerance toward any action related to terrorism or extremism," Li Wei, an anti-terrorism specialist at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the state-run Global Times.

Although countries including France and Turkey have banned burqas, as noted by China’s state media, most have done so in state institutions such as courts and government buildings. There are few examples of countries also banning other forms of Islamic appearance including beards.

Crackdown

In January, Xinjiang’s regional capital Urumqi banned burqas from being worn in public amid a one-year "strike-hard" campaign against minority Muslim Uighur separatists. This campaign was a response to a series of deadly attacks.

In March, a court in the Uighur-dominated city of Kashgar sentenced a 38-year-old man to six years in prison for growing a beard. His wife was given two years for wearing a veil. They were found guilty of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble," the court said.

Five Muslim men were put on trial in June for wearing "crescent moon-shaped" beards in the remote city of Atushi, close to the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Although there are no current laws banning Islamic dress outside of Xinjiang, the crackdown has extended to other parts of the country in recent months.

A university provoked an online debate in May after ordering nine female students to remove their veils in Xian, a city with a large minority Muslim Hui population in central China.

Earlier this month, armed police took away a group of women who were wearing burqas while shopping for shoes in the city of Nanyang, Henan province. Many users on the micro-blogging site Weibo backed the police — a sign of growing intolerance of overt Islamic dress among China’s mainly atheist population.

"Other countries have banned the wearing of this kind of dress. If you see it on the street, inform the police. Muslim brothers and sisters going outside should not scare people," wrote one Weibo user.

Kayum Masimov, head of the Uighur Canadian Society and a Xinjiang exile, said a nationwide ban on Islamic dress would fuel humiliation and oppression of Muslims, calling the move a double standard.

"The Chinese Communist Party is eager to exhibit Uighurs and other 'minorities' during its state-run shows at the Great Hall of the People," he said in reference to China’s rubber-stamp parliament in Beijing. "But the same clothes are banned in our region."

http://www.ucanews.com/news/china-mulls-banning-terrorist-clothing/74146

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Thai army, Muslim rebels hold closed-door peace talks in Malaysia

25 Aug 2015

BANGKOK: A Thai delegation led by special advisor to the Royal Thai Army General Aksara Kerdpol met with representatives of Thailand's southern militant groups in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (Aug 25).

It is the third round of secret peace negotiations, brokered by Malaysia’s National Intelligence Agency, since the Thai military staged a coup last year.  The first two rounds took place in April and June, respectively.

Thai officials say these closed-door meetings lay the foundation for public talks that may take place at the end of this year or at the start of 2016.

"Those things both sides agree on we can make public, and for those things we cannot agree on the talks continue covertly,” said Major-General Nakrob Boonbuathong,  deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command's 5th Operations Coordinator Center and a secretariat at the peace talks. “Such a thing could not be achieved in an open process."

The former Yingluck Shinawatra government initiated peace talks in 2013.

The six Thai Muslim separatist groups bandied together earlier this year, under an umbrella called Mara Patani.  It includes, Barisan Revolusi Nasional, Gerakan Mujahideen Islam Patani; Barisan Islam Pembebasan Patani, and three factions of Patani Liberation Organisation.

General Aksara says the insurgents have renamed themselves to remove the old image of violence. And both sides are looking to establish violence-free “safe zones” in the southern provinces. More than 6,400 people have been killed since 2004 in the battle for autonomy in Thailand’s deep south.

OTHER APPROACHES NEEDED

Observers have welcomed the resumption of peace talks after they were interrupted by political conflict at the end of 2013 in Bangkok. But they say other approaches are needed to end the 11-year insurgency.

"Regardless of the change of government, the focus of the peace dialogue is identifying leaders of separatists and engaging with them either through persuasion or coercion,” said Sunai Phasuk, Human Rights Watch senior researcher on Thailand. “But the focus is about leadership. What is lacking entirely is how to reach out to the masses."

Only security officials are involved in the peace dialogue this year, with no one representing civil society and academia.

“By not including civilians who are not officials in these talks, the government risks not getting the views from the civil society and academia. This could be a weakness,” said Dr Srisompob Jitpiromsri, director of the Deep South Watch at Prince Songkla University.

According to local reports, Mara Patani will hold its first media conference on Aug 27 in Kuala Lumpur, and Thai security sources have hinted the next round of “secret” talks could take place in September or October.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thai-army-muslim-rebels/2075844.html

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Muslim businesses reminded to pay property zakat

August 26, 2015

MIRI: Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak has called on Muslim business operators here to pay their property zakat.

Miri officer Mariani Juraibi said this is one way Muslims who have business profits or many properties can contribute to the poor and orphans.

“Muslims can contribute their zakat to Tabung Baitulmal,” she said during a goodwill visit from the Sarawak Bumiputera Chamber of Entrepreneurs (DUBS) Miri yesterday.

Mariani also called on Muslims and DUBS members to help identify eligible needy Muslims and orphans and to channel the information to Tabung Baitulmal. Some of 16 DUBS members were present led by DUBS Miri Youth chairman Mohamad Hafidz Rohani.

http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/08/26/muslim-businesses-reminded-to-pay-property-zakat/

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Bangkok bomb theories flourish as police probe struggles

Michael Peel in Bangkok

August 26, 2015

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Thailand’s police are still hunting for a breakthrough in the case of the bombing in Bangkok’s Erawan shrine last week that killed 20 people, the country’s worst such atrocity. Somyot Poompanmoung, national police chief, has complained that investigators are having to use their “imagination” because non-working security cameras mean there is little additional footage of the main bombing suspect, who was caught on film arriving at the shrine, planting the device and leaving.

Theories about the man and his accomplices have since flourished in the information gaps:

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Southern insurgents

Udomdej Sitabutr, head of the army and deputy defence minister, has played down the idea that this was the work of Muslim ethnic Malay separatists fighting a long-running conflict with the government in Thailand’s deep south. Surachart Bamrungsuk, a military expert at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, says the Erawan shrine device, a pipe bomb filled with ball bearings, was different from the explosives-packed gas cylinders typically used in the southern campaign. And while southern insurgents have become more active outside their region, they have never before carried out an attack to inflict mass deaths elsewhere in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2f245026-4b90-11e5-a089-1a3e2cd1819b.html#axzz3ju8c8yOC

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Mideast

 

34 PKK militants killed as Turkish jets hit northern Iraq

Aug 26, 2015

More than three dozen members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have been killed after Turkish military aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Turkish army, in a statement released on Tuesday, said the military aircraft bombarded PKK training camps in the far-flung Qandil Mountains, killing 34 Kurdish militants in the operation.

Also on Tuesday, Turkish jets launched aerial raids against PKK bases in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk.

According to eyewitnesses, the airstrikes targeted areas in two regions on the outskirts of Amadiyah, the Dohuk provincial capital city.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the aftermath of the aerial attacks.

This file photo shows an F-16 fighter jet operated by the Turkish Air Force.

Turkey has been launching airstrikes against purported Daesh targets in Syria as well as PKK positions in Iraq, after a Daesh bomb attack on July 20 left 32 people dead in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc, across the border from the northern Syrian town of Kobani.

The PKK later killed two Turkish police officers, saying they had been collaborating with Daesh.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/26/426397/Turkey-fighter-jets-PKK-Kurdistan-Qandil-Mountains-Dohuk-

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Politician: Yemeni Forces to Gain Great Victories in Jizan, Najran Soon

Aug 25, 2015

"Great victories of the Yemeni army and popular forces are underway in the occupied territories of Jizan and Najran," Nasser al-Arajli, member of Yemen's Free Party told FNA on Tuesday.

He noted that Saudi Arabia is fighting a proxy war on behalf of Israel against the Yemeni nation, and said, "The recent victories against the terrorists and Saudi mercenaries would not have been achieved if there had not been the efforts of the Yemeni army and popular forces.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 153 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,518 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940603001064

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Yemen fires scud missile at Saudi Arabia

August 26, 2015

Sanna: Yemeni army units allied to the Houthi militia fired a ballistic missile toward southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the group's TV channel said, as combat between the kingdom and the Iran-allied group has intensified.

"The Yemeni army fired a Scud ballistic missile toward Jizan," Houthi-run Al Maseera TV reported on its twitter page.

Residents in the capital Sanaa reported hearing a big roar as the Scud was launched from near the city, followed by Saudi-led air strikes on a presidential palace and a military depot for rockets.

Saudi Arabia led an Arab military intervention against the Houthis beginning on March 26 to restore the Yemeni government ousted by the group and fend off what it sees as the creeping influence of the Shi'ite Muslim group's main ally, Iran.

The Houthis say their rise to power is a revolution against corrupt officials beholden to Saudi Arabia and the West.

A powerful Cold War-era weapon, the Scud had been launched at Saudi Arabia by Yemeni forces twice before during the five-month war but was shot down by American-provided Patriot missiles both times.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/26-Aug-2015/yemen-fires-scud-missile-at-saudi-arabia

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Iran enlists Afghan refugees as fighters to bolster Syria's Assad

26 August 2015

KABUL: The fate of two brothers from Kabul, one grievously wounded, the other killed fighting in Syria, spotlights Iran's covert but active recruitment of Afghan refugees to buttress President Bashar al-Assad's steadily depleting forces.

Iran, Assad's key military and financial patron, denies enlisting Afghan mercenaries to fight alongside Syrian forces in the four-year conflict against opposition rebels that has left more than 240,000 people dead and millions displaced.

But interviews with Afghan fighters and relatives of combatants killed in Syria point to a vigorous — and sometimes coerced — recruitment drive of Shia Hazara refugees by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps propping up Assad's floundering regime.

Tears well up in Jehantab's rheumy eyes as she recalls the haunting parting words of her husband, 35-year-old Haider, when he called two months ago from Tehran: "I am going to Syria -- and I may not come back."

"Very few fighters survive Syria's brutal conflict, he told me," said Jehantab, swaddled in a white scarf and sitting with three young children on the floor of her Kabul home.

Haider, she said, was lured by the monthly salary of $700 — a tidy sum for a labourer with no combat experience — and the promise of an Iranian residency permit, an attractive inducement for refugees who otherwise live in constant fear of deportation.

"I begged him: 'Don't go, don't kill yourself for money'," said Jehantab, who asked to be identified only by her first name in order not to jeopardise her chances of getting the permit.

Haider's premonition came true — a few days after he left, an Iranian official informed his relatives, also refugees in Tehran, that he had been killed in battle.

Haider was part of a growing wave of jobless young Afghans seeking shelter in neighbouring Iran from decades of turmoil and war tearing their country apart, only to be ensnared in another conflict.

Cannon Fodder

"In terms of how they are recruited, deployed, and utilised in Syria, many Afghan Shia fighters have suffered the fate of being used as cannon fodder," said Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shia militant groups, who estimates there are 2,000 to 3,500 Afghans currently fighting in Syria.

"Some are coerced to fight, others promised residency papers for their family, and a small salary. It demonstrates Iran's exploitation of Afghan Shia refugees," he said.

The Iranian embassy in Kabul told AFP it rejects allegations that Tehran is enlisting Afghan refugees, calling the assertion "completely baseless".

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202949/iran-enlists-afghan-refugees-as-fighters-to-bolster-syrias-assad

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Palestinians, Vatican seek to raise flags at U.N.

26 August 2015

In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters - just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month.

Supporters of the idea hope the U.N. General Assembly will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives. They're betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis' first U.S. visit.

The Palestinians' proposal has been tabled, and a draft of the resolution set to be made public Wednesday has been seen by The Associated Press. It would allow non-member observer states - there are only two - to display their flags with the 193 member states.

The United States and Israel oppose recognizing the Palestinian state, arguing that it undermines efforts to negotiate a peace agreement. That process, however, has largely been at a standstill since the deadly conflict in Gaza a year ago.

Many states have shown support for the Palestinians' pursuit of statehood, including the Holy See.

In May, the Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in their first formal, bilateral treaty. Israel's foreign ministry said it was "disappointed." During Francis' 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican's official program referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the president of the "state of Palestine."

In 2012, the Vatican welcomed an overwhelming vote in the General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinians' status to a U.N. non-member observer state. Their delegation promptly unfurled the flag in the chamber.

Full report at:

ttps://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/26/Palestinians-Vatican-seek-to-raise-flags-at-U-N-.html

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Envoy Urges West to Honor July N. Agreement with Iran

Aug 26, 2015

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, Najafi said that after finalizing the deal, the UN nuclear agency has the duty of supervision and verification.

Referring to his address to Tuesday meeting, Najafi said that he underlined that the Western sides have to honor their commitments and remove all the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran, as well as the nuclear-related sanctions either unilateral or multilateral.

Najafi said that the time will well show how much the other side will remain committed to its promises.

He expressed hope that the western governments would discharge their duty of implementing JCPOA to regain the trust of the Iranian nation that has been damaged during the arbitrary sanctions.

Earlier this month, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi underlined that the world powers accepted Tehran's right of enrichment due to the country's insistence on its positions.

"Recognition of Iran's enrichment right and acquisition of the nuclear technology was imposed on the other side" during the negotiations with the six world powers, Salehi said, addressing a gathering in Tehran.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000404

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Commander: Over 20 Foreign Cargo Ships Escorted by Iranian Warships in Int'l Waters

Aug 26, 2015

Sayyari said that his forces have so far had nearly 200 clashes with pirates in their anti-piracy missions and escorted 22 foreign ships.

He further pointed to providing security and safety of the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb by the Iranian Navy, and said that Navy has provided safe passage for Iranian shipping lines in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea.

"About 2,000 trade ships and oil tankers have so far been escorted by the (Iranian) Navy's fleets of warships," the Iranian commander went on to say.

In relevant remarks late April, Sayyari announced that Iranian warships are carrying out patrolling missions in Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Gulf of Aden.

"The Navy's 34th fleet of warships is (now) conducting patrols in Bab al-Mandab Strait," Sayyari said, addressing a ceremony in Tehran at the time.

"We don’t enter any countries' (territorial) waters and are present in the free waters based on the international laws and regulations," he added.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000248

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Iranian Intelligence Minister: ISIL Plot to Attack Tehran Defused

Aug 25, 2015

"The ISIL had plans to launch terrorist attacks in five regional countries and only Iran managed to identify and arrest the saboteurs before they could conduct their terrorist activities," Alavi said in an interview with the state TV on Monday night.

He pointed to dismantling a five-member group in the Southeastern parts of the country, and said, "A five-member group which intended to explode a district in the port city of Chabahar was identified and crushed."

The intelligence minister also pointed to disbanding a Takfiri terrorist group in Western Iran, and said, "A Takfiri group in the city of Saqez in Kurdistan province intended to launch suicide attacks last year, but its members were arrested and the group was dismantled."

He also said that another terrorist group which had kidnapped an Iranian international fencer and intended to carry out another suicide attack in the city of Mashhad, in Northeastern Iran was also destroyed.

He further referred to identification and annihilation of a Takfiri group which intended to launch suicide attacks in Tehran.

"Abu Habs Azizi, the leader of another Takfiri terrorist group, who had killed a number of teachers and Basij members in Sistan and Balouchestan province was identified and arrested last year," he added.

Alavi warned that the western, Israeli and certain regional countries' spy agencies have hatched plots to create insecurity in Iran.

"The intelligence services of the US, Israel, Mossad, MI6 and certain regional states are making attempts to challenge the Islamic Republic's security and it is hard for them to see that the sound of blasts is heard in any corner of the world but not in the Islamic Republic and to see that it is a secure island," Alavi said.

He also referred to the continued attempts made by terrorist groups, including the Takfiri terrorists, to harm the Islamic Republic's security, and said fortunately the Iranian security forces' intelligence superiority and efforts have thwarted all their plots.

In relevant remarks in March, top Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said agents of some 17 foreign spy agencies have sought to foment dissent and unrest in Iran's oil-rich Southwestern province of Khuzestan.

General Rahim Safavi said that "17 regional and trans-regional intelligence services affiliated to the Arab and western states" are running operations "in support of ethnic separatist groups to sow discord among the local people" in Khuzestan.

He said "the Arab and European secret services are supporting separatist groups with financial and political backups" to stir unrest through fomenting sectarian strife in the bordering province.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940603001492

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DM: Iran to Mount New Home-Made Cruise Missile on Drones

Aug 25, 2015

Dehqan made the remarks in Tehran on Tuesday, addressing the inauguration ceremony of Nasr missile production line.

"Using the air-based Nasr missile by the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s Air Forces will remarkably increase their operational and tactical power," he said.

He said that the Nasr missile is equipped with a high-precision radar which enables it to trace and intercept targets, adding that after being fired from fighter jets, Nasr doesn’t need any backup and the fighter jet can leave the danger zone immediately. Noting that the Nasr missile can be mounted on different types of fighter jets, he announced Iran's future plan to equip its home-made drones with the air-based missile.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in the defense sector and gained self-sufficiency in essential military hardware and defense systems.

The country has repeatedly made it clear that its military might is merely based on the state's defense doctrine of deterrence and that it poses no threat to other countries.

In March, the Iranian defense ministry started the mass-delivery of different ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110 and Khalij-e Fars missiles, as well as Mersad air defense system to the IRGC and Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.

“The honorable specialists of the Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Organization displayed the defense industry' power and capability in providing the Armed Forces' needs to the most advanced missile equipment by supplying them with Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110 and Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf) ballistic missiles and Mersad air defense system and showed that the different and comprehensive sanctions of the enemies imposed strictly and specially on our defense sector have totally failed to undermine their resolve and determination,” Dehqan said at the time, addressing a ceremony held to mark the delivery of the new missile systems to the IRGC and Khatam Ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.

“These missiles can strike and destroy enemy targets with a high precision capability and provide for a wide range of the Armed Forces’ needs to missiles with different ranges,” he added.

Dehqan underlined that all these missiles have been built by Iranian specialists, and said, “Today the Armed Forces enjoy such a high degree of defensive capabilities that they can counter back any kind of threat posed from beyond the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

He also described enemies’ threats of military action against Iran as media hype for internal use.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940603001083

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Terrorism, extremism doomed to fail: Tehran

Aug 26, 2015

Iran says terrorism, extremism and interference in other countries’ internal affairs are a nonstarter.

“Extremism, terrorism and foreign interference are doomed to fail,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham in her weekly press conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

She noted that Iran has always favored regional and international peace and stability and opposed bullying.

Scourges facing the world such as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), extremism and even environmental issues could be tackled through collective cooperation, said the spokeswoman.

Iran has proved that unfair sanctions imposed on the country have been inefficient and “reverence and dialog” are essential to “upgrade peace and security” in the world.

“In the past two years, Iran with its interactive approach has shown that it not only attaches significance to the regional and international peace and stability, but also has given priority to the enhancement of stability and cooperation in the region and the prevention of chaos and is ready for fresh, sincere, and in-depth dialog with all regional and Muslim countries,” Afkham said.

On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – finalized the text of a nuclear agreement, dubbed the JCPOA, in the Austrian capital city of Vienna.

Under the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.

Afkham went on to say, “Today, the international community seeks an increase in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran as a responsible country and with reliance on his diplomatic initiative has revived dialogue in the world.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham giving a press conference in Tehran, August 26, 2015.

She also noted that cooperation with regional countries as one of “the fixed and principled” policies of Iran, stressing, “Stability in this region is highly important to us.”

Afkham noted that Iran is in pursuit of finding a solution for the crises in the region, adding, “In our region terrorism and extremism have presented their violent faces and there are some concerns in some countries.”

The Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman also condemned Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen, calling on the international community to take action to stop the aggression against the impoverished Arab country.

She further noted that the Saudi aggression against Yemen “must end” and Yemeni parties without the interference of foreign states should find “a political solution” to the crisis in the country.

Full report at:

ttp://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/26/426384/Iran-Foreign-Ministry-Spokeswoman-Marzieh-Afkham-extremism-terrorism-jcpoa-daesh

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Arab World

 

Syrian Army Repels Rebel Attacks on Bashkoy in Aleppo Province

Aug 26, 2015

The sources said that Fateh Halab, led by Ahrar al-Sham and Jeish al-Islam, launched a large-scale assault on the positions of the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Syrian army in the nearby areas of Bashkoy and Duwayr Al-Zeitoun, but the Syrian soldiers countered their attack and pushed the rebels back.

Initially, the militants experienced success at Bashkoy, capturing the Eastern entrance (al-Kitlet Al-Afghan) of the town and the nearby Poultry Farms after a series of fierce firefights with the Syrian army and the NDF on Tuesday morning.

However, as the firefights intensified between the army men and Fateh Halab, the casualties began to mount for the aforementioned rebel fighters at Bashkoy, resulting in a sudden withdrawal from the Poultry Farms at Bashkoy to their positions at the nearby town of Rityan.

ccording to a military source, the clashes lasted all night, with neither side gaining the upper-hand at the Western entrance of Bashkoy and the Northwestern farms of Duwayr Al-Zeitoun.

The source added that over 20 militants were killed at Bashkoy so far, including Aymen Abu Khattab (Jeish al-Islam), Mohammad Al-Jarzanazi (Ahrar al-Sham), and Riyad Al-Najras (Jaysh al-Islam).

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000600

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Iraq Forces Retake Key ISIL-Held Area in Anbar

Aug 26, 2015

"Joint forces managed to free the Jubbah Region in the Heet District," an informed source told the US-funded Arabic-language radio Sawa reported.

This came as part of operation aimed to re-take the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, which was seized by ISIL back in May.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000317

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Saudi Arabia holding main suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Aug 26, 2015

DUBAI: The main suspect in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers residence at a US military base in Saudi Arabia has been captured after nearly 20 years on the run, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat said Ahmed Al-Mughassil, leader of the Hezbollah Al-Hejaz who had been indicted by a US court for the attack that killed 19 US service personnel and wounded almost 500 people, had been captured in the Lebanese capital Beirut and transferred to Riyadh.

Saudi authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of orchestrating the truck-bomb attack. Iran has denied any responsibility for the attack.

Asharq Al-Awsat quoted official Saudi sources as saying Saudi security personnel had received information about the presence of 48-year-old Mughassil in Beirut.

"The discovery of Mughassil and his arrest in Lebanon and his subsequent transfer to Saudi Arabia is a qualitative achievement, for the man had been in disguise in a way that made it hard to identify him," Asharq al-Awsat said, without elaborating on when he was captured and who captured him.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202954/saudi-arabia-holding-main-suspect-in-1996-khobar-bombing

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Beirut trash talks fail amid renewed protests

25 August 2015

An emergency Lebanese cabinet meeting on Tuesday ended in failure after members of the Hezbollah group and its Christian allies walked out  in protest at a proposed solution to a garbage disposal crisis that has ignited violent protests in Beirut.

An agreement was reached, however, on cancelling all the tenders from companies to remove the piling garbage that have been previously announced.

Al Arabiya News channel’s correspondent in Beirut confirmed the withdrawal of members from Hezbollah and its allies, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Armenian Tashnag Party in Lebanon from Tuesday's talks.

Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil also pulled out because of a "theater" being performed with regards to the trash issue, according to the Associated Press.

Beirut-based activists from the "You Stink" campaign held two large rallies over the weekend and a smaller march on Monday over uncollected rubbish, reflecting long-simmering anger about government incompetence and political corruption.

Protest organizers have called on Lebanese at home and abroad to join them in a large rally on Saturday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Tammam Salam threatened to resign as public discontent brought thousands into the streets.

The protests that initially started peacefully over the weekend descended into violence after clashes between police and protesters that wounded scores.

Lebanon's army commander General Jean Kahwaji said late on Monday the armed forces would protect any peaceful demonstrations but would not tolerate "security violators or infiltrators" who sought to sow "sedition and chaos."

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/25/Lebanon-s-cabinet-holds-emergency-meeting.html

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Lebanon in crisis as Hezbollah enters trash fray

26 August 2015

Hezbollah threw its weight Tuesday behind mass protests in Lebanon calling for the government's resignation, deepening a crisis that started over piles of uncollected garbage in the streets of the capital but has tapped into a much deeper malaise.

The explosion of anger targets the endemic corruption, hapless government and sectarian divisions of a brittle country once torn by civil war and now struggling with a wave of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

A grassroots youth movement calling itself "You Stink" mobilized thousands of people in two rallies over the weekend, and has called for another large protest on Saturday. The Hezbollah announcement of support for the protests is likely to fuel concerns the Iranian-backed group will try to hijack a rare, non-political movement for its own political gain.

Hezbollah ministers and their allies walked out of a Cabinet meeting Tuesday meant to discuss the worsening garbage crisis. Prime Minister Tammam Salam called the emergency session after the weekend clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting corruption and poor public services.

The six ministers withdrew four hours into the meeting. Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, whose Free Patriotic Movement is aligned with Hezbollah, said he was pulling out because of the political "theater" surrounding the trash issue.

During the Cabinet session, ministers unanimously rejected the winning bidders to manage Beirut's trash collection, citing high costs and a bidding procedure some said was questionable. The Cabinet tasked a ministerial committee with restarting the bidding, meaning no imminent solution to the crisis was likely.

Salam suggested dumping the garbage in the remote, impoverished region of Akkar, which has been neglected for decades, in exchange for $100 million in development projects as an incentive.

That further riled the protesters. "Akkar is not a garbage dump!" read the slogan on one protester's T-shirt.

The trash crisis has exacerbated the long-existing fault lines in Lebanon which in recent years have pitted the Iranian-backed Hezbollah against the country's Western-aligned, pro-Saudi camp. Those divisions mirror the larger regional Shiite-Sunni divide, and have long paralyzed the government.

Although Salam's government has elements from both camps, Hezbollah regards the prime minister as an ally of Saudi Arabia. The Shiite group's ally, Christian leader Michel Aoun, has been assailing the prime minister over his handling of Cabinet and security appointments.

In a statement Tuesday, Hezbollah said the garbage crisis reflected the "endemic and accumulated corruption of the past two decades" and policies that only serve "personal and political interests at the expense of citizens." It said holding peaceful protests was a legitimate right.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/26/Lebanon-crisis-deepens-as-Hezbollah-enters-fray.html

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MSF: Syrian family showed signs of chemical exposure

26 August 2015

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday it had treated a Syrian family with symptoms of exposure to chemical agents from an area where Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have been battling other rebels.

Two adults, a three-year-old girl and a five-day-old baby girl were treated at an MSF-run hospital in Aleppo province, northern Syria, last Friday, the charity said in a statement.

They arrived at MSF’s hospital an hour after the attack, suffering from breathing difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes and conjunctivitis. Within three hours they developed blisters and their breathing difficulties worsened, the statement said.

MSF staff treated them and gave them oxygen before transferring them to another hospital for specialized treatment.

The family came from the town of Marea, north of Aleppo, where ISIS recently launched a new offensive against other Syrian rebels.

The town, 20 kilometers south of the border with Turkey, had been under intense bombardment by mortars and artillery for a week, MSF said.

“If it was a chemical attack, it is impossible for us to ascertain who was responsible,” Pablo Marco, MSF’s program manager in Syria, told Reuters.

The family said a mortar shell hit their home last Friday evening, MSF said. After the explosion, a yellow gas filled their living room.

“MSF has no laboratory evidence to confirm the cause of these symptoms,” Marco said in the statement. “However, the patients’ clinical symptoms, the way these symptoms changed over time, and the patients’ testimony about the circumstances of the poisoning all point to exposure to a chemical agent.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/26/MSF-Syrian-family-showed-signs-of-chemical-exposure.html

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Saudi Air Raids Hit Areas in Yemen

Aug 26, 2015

Saudi fighter jets bombed the area of al-Sawad in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Reports said that a Yemeni military base in the area was also pounded.

The Saudi fighter jets also bombed more than 100 times the province of Sa’ada on Tuesday. Saudi military aircraft pounded the residential areas of Razih district in the province, killing at least six people. A doctor was also killed and another civilian sustained injuries in an earlier attack targeting a clinic in the same province.

In addition, at least four people sustained injuries in the Saudi aggression against the province of Hajjah.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000525

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Mideast leaders flock to Moscow for Syrian talks, aerospace salon

26 August 2015

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the Jordanian king and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in Moscow Tuesday to discuss the Syrian crisis and take part in a showcase of Russia’s military industry.

Jordanian King Abdullah and the Abu Dhabi heavyweight, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, visited Moscow. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi is also due in Moscow to attend the Maks-2015 military salon.

Despite foreign interest in the Russian space and defense industries, no international contracts are expected to be signed during the salon, a spokesman for Russia’s state defense import-export company Rosoboronexport, Vyacheslav Davydenko, told AFP last week.

Middle Eastern government delegations have been flooding into Moscow in recent weeks and days, with a Syrian opposition delegation tolerated by the regime of President Bashar Assad arriving on Sunday for talks on the crisis in their war-torn country.

Iranian officials are also expected in Moscow this week to finalize negotiations for Tehran’s purchase of S-300 air defense systems from Russia, much to the dismay of the United States and Israel.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/796876

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India

 

ISIS Group Draws More Indians, Alarm Bells in Delhi

By Praveen Swami

August 26, 2015

Early this month, the Ministry of Home Affairs called a meeting of the Directors General of Police and Home Secretaries from 12 states to discuss the cases of young Indians who, intelligence agencies suspect, have either joined the Islamic State or are headed to its strongholds. This has begun to ring alarm bells in a government that only in November said the threat from the Islamic State was “negligible”. Also Read: A wait at airport for two days, vigils next to phone Lists exclusively accessed by The Indian Express show 17 Indians are now missing, reported by Indian and foreign intelligence services to be active with the Islamic State or rival organisations like Jabhat al-Nusra. In addition, up to a dozen Indian Mujahideen cadre are also believed to have joined the Islamic State, while police have stopped at least 22 volunteers from travelling.

The Indian Express reporters visited the homes and families of the 17 in an effort to piece together what drove them to join the world’s most savage regime. The 17 — all young men, barring a woman who has returned home — were educated, most hailing from middle-class or affluent families with conventional aspirations. Few had known links to Islamist political groups, and none to terrorism. Last year, The Indian Express had first revealed that four Thane youth had joined the Islamic State. Only one, Areeb Majid, has since returned home and has been booked under terrorism-related charges. Three other Indian nationals, not in the list of 17, are thought to have been killed. Though photographs valourising Indian fighters have appeared on Islamic State websites, the Indian presence in the Islamic State is tiny compared with the hundreds that have gone from other countries in the neighbourhood or even the West.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new counter-terrorism czar, former Intelligence Bureau chief Asif Ibrahim, has been tasked with preparing a thorough counter-radicalisation programme, government sources said. Even though the numbers are small, government sources said, the action plan is based on mounting evidence that the Islamic State propaganda has found resonance among some young Muslims disenchanted with the community’s traditional religious and political leadership and angered by growing communal violence. Islamic State flags have come up at protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu Kashmir; pro-Islamic State graffiti has been reported in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Perhaps most important, support for the Islamic State is blossoming in underground blogs and chat-rooms. Islamic State propagandists have, in particular, been calling for educated volunteers, especially engineers and doctors, to help build an Islamic utopia. Islamic State online propaganda targeting India feeds on these fears, using Quranic-era prophecy to give their call legitimacy. Evidence that this propaganda is reaching out to some alienated young people isn’t hard to find.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/islamic-state-draws-more-indians-alarm-bells-in-delhi/

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Bihar polls soon, timing of religion census data triggers buzz

Aug 26, 2015

The timing of the release of religion-wise data from the 2011 census by the NDA regime at the Centre is set to have political resonance in poll-bound Bihar where the electoral arithmetic has revolved around caste equations so far.

There have been strong communal overtones in state politics recently, with chief minister Nitish Kumar suggesting motives behind a series of minor communal clashes. The entry of Hyderabad-based AIMIM in the electoral fray is expected to trigger further debate on communal polarisation.

Kept under wraps for close to a year-and-a-half, the religion-wise data released on Tuesday reveal Muslim population in Bihar increased 28% between 2001 and 2011 as against the national average of 24.6%.

Muslims’ population in Bihar rose from 1.32 crore in 2001 to 1.76 crore in 2011 – a jump of over 38 lakh in 10 years. During the same period, Hindu population in the state rose 24.6% as against the national average of 16.8%.

But, with this election turning into a Nitish Kumar versus Narendra Modi contest, national figures showing a slight decline in the proportion of Hindu population to the total as against a marginal increase in case of Muslims could dominate the poll campaign.

Reacting strongly to the timing of the release, the Congress said it was an effort to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims.

“Instead of releasing the statistics on economic and social status of different castes, the government has released the census data on religious lines. Their agenda is clear: to create differences among Hindus and Muslims apart from communalising and polarising Bihar elections,” Bihar Congress president Ashok Chowdhary said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bihar-polls-soon-timing-of-religion-census-data-triggers-buzz/article1-1384277.aspx

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Separatist DFP President Blames Centre for Failure of NSA Talks with Pakistan

August 25, 2015

Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) president Shabir Ahmad Shah on Tuesday “blamed the Centre for the failure” of the NSA talks with Pakistan, saying “the world is disappointed on the stand taken by India”. “The world is disappointed on the stand taken by India which led to the cancellation of the NSA talks. Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute and India is bound according to the UN Security Council resolutions to hold a referendum in the state,” Shah told reporters here. Questioning the statement of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the eve of NSA talks with Pakistan, Shah, who parted ways with moderate Hurriyat last year to form another faction of the separatist amalgam, said “Kashmiris are the basic party to the dispute between India and Pakistan and not the third party.

“If we were not the relevant then why New Delhi had sent a delegation to meet us during the 2010 summer unrest? Then Union Minister P Chindambaram came to meet me in the Jail. The other delegation members including Swaraj visited the homes of other leaders including Yasin Malik, S Ath S Geelani and Mirwaiz and talked with them,” he said. He said during the previous NDA government led by A B Vajpayee, the then government’s point-man K C Panth came here with a letter expressing government’s willingness to enter into a dialogue with the separatists. “We exchanged letters with New Delhi and the proof lies with us. We are not weak and not afraid of dialogue,” he said adding Kashmiris have rendered numerous sacrifices over the past 68 years for the resolution of the problem. He claimed Kashmiris would not “accept any resolution under the framework of Indian constitution.” Drawing the parallel between the Kashmiri militants and the heroes of India freedom struggle like Bhagat Singh, Shah said, “we have been fighting for the right of self-determination before the onset of militancy.” Even United Jehad council, a PoK-based amalgam of various militant groups, supported the dialogue provided India accept Kashmir a disputed territory and initiate serious dialogue with the “freedom loving leadership”, he claimed. “All outstanding issues between India and Pakistan are linked with Kashmir. Whether it is Siachen or tension along the borders. Why India is escaping from the dialogue? “If it feels its case is strong, it should immediately implement the 18 UN resolutions passed on Kashmir,” Shah said and reiterated his resolve to continue the ongoing freedom struggle to ensure that the sacrifices do not go “waste”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/shabir-shah-blames-centre-for-failure-of-nsa-talks-with-pakistan/

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Economic backwardness spurs Muslim population growth in Kerala

Aug 26, 2015

The latest religion-based population data shows that between 2001 and 2011, population of Muslims in Kerala grew by 1.9%, from 24.7% to 26.6%. After Assam and Uttarakhand, the state ranks third in Muslim population growth.

Economic backwardness, low literacy level and poor social awareness are main reasons cited for the high-growth rate of Muslims in the state. It is found that Muslim-majority districts like Malappuram are socially and economically backward as compared to other districts.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/economic-backwardness-spurs-muslim-population-growth-in-kerala/article1-1384286.aspx

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Political war in Bengal as data reveal rise in Muslim population

Ravik Bhattacharya

Aug 26, 2015

As the Union government released census data which revealed a rise in Muslim population in the state, a debate started within political circles of Bengal.

The BJP and the RSS joined in the chorus of illegal migration from Bangladesh while the Trinamool Congress (TMC) vowed to combat ‘communal politics’ over the issue.

The issue has become extra sensitive with the state gearing up for assembly polls in 2016, where Muslims are key to the outcome. According to the census, the Muslim population rose from 25.2% in 2001 to 26.94% in 2011.

The ruling TMC and its chief Mamata Banerjee have gone out of their way for minority development in the state. Since she came to power in May 2011, she has been accused by the Opposition of announcing a series of sops for the community, including stipend for ‘imams’ and ‘muezzins’ and homestead for the ‘imams’.

“The central government data is incomplete. In my view, the Muslim population is over 29% in the state. There is a demographic change in bordering districts such as Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas because of Bangladeshi Muslims crossing over. The situation is alarming,” said BJP state president Rahul Sinha.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/kolkata/political-war-in-bengal-as-data-reveal-rise-in-muslim-population/article1-1384280.aspx

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Lack of burial grounds in Maharashtra upsets Muslims

Manoj Badgeri

Aug 25, 2015

THANE: Concerns about inadequate burial grounds for the Muslim community in the city threaten to snowball into a political row as the minorities feel that the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP is ignoring their demands.

Muslims dominate the Mumbra-Kausa area which has only two cemeteries—one at Amrut Nagar and the other at Kausa. ''We need a bigger burial ground as the Muslim population in Mumbra-Kausa has increased. There have been occasions when people have been forced to dig up old graves so that they can burry their loved ones. We have been requesting the civic officials for a burial ground for over a decade, but nothing has been done yet and our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,'' said Najib Mulla, president of the city unit of the NCP.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/Lack-of-burial-grounds-upsets-Muslims/articleshow/48672774.cms

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South Asia

 

Foreign funding traced to Bangladesh based radical groups

August 25, 2015

Bengaluru, Aug 25: A payment of 1.5 million pounds made by a Pakistani national into the bank account of the radical Shahid Hamza Brigade in Bangladesh is under the scrutiny of investigating agencies. Bangladesh which has been battling with the problem of radical groups has found that there is considerable amount of foreign funding that has been reaching the accounts of the members of these groups.

Recently the Bangladesh police arrested three lawyers of the Supreme Court and also the daughter of Bangladesh Nationalist Party's leader on the suspicion that they were linked to the Shahid Hamza Brigade. Foreign funding

There has been a mushrooming of several radical groups in Bangladesh in the recent past. Several moderates including bloggers have been murdered by these radical groups. Today the investigators in Bangladesh have found that several of these groups have been getting foreign funding. The latest on the list of transactions was done by a Pakistan national based out of London. It has been claimed that the Paksitani national had sent a sum of 1.5 million pounds to an account in Chittagong which in turn was moved into the funds of the radical group by the three lawyers. The funds have been used for various purposes such as establishing Mosques, Madrasas and also NGOs which work against the interests of the government. During the course of the investigation it had also been found that these NGOs which have been set up with the help of foreign funds work against the interest of the government. However for public consumption these NGOs claim that they are working for the upliftment of the Rohingya Muslims, the investigators had also found. The many forms of the Jamaat-e-Islami The Shahid Hamza Brigade was relatively unknown until late. According to the intelligence bureau, the Brigade comprises members of the Islami Chhatra Shibir which incidentally is the students wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami or JeI. The JeI has branched out into several outfits especially after the heat on it was increased by the government in Bangladesh. The role of the JeI was also seen indirectly in the Burdwan blasts. Indian investigators had pointed out that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen which was behind the incident was a wing of the JeI. The JeI according to the Indian Intelligence is a political wing, but has several other branches which carry out radical activities on its behalf. OneIndia News

http://www.oneindia.com/international/foreign-funding-traced-to-bangladesh-based-radical-groups-1848876.html

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US Adds Aziz Haqqani To Its List Of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”

Aug 26 2015

The United States Department of State has added Abdul Aziz Haqqani to its list of “Special Designated Global Terrorist”.

A statement by the State Department said “For several years, Aziz Haqqani has been involved in planning and carrying out improvised explosive-device attacks against Afghan government targets and assumed responsibility for all major Haqqani Network attacks after the death of his brother, Badruddin Haqqani.”

Aziz Haqqani is the brother of the head of the Haqqani network and has a bounty set by US of up to $5 million for information leading to his location.

Having lose ties to Al-Qaeda and hard-line elements in Pakistani military intelligence, the Haqqani terrorist network is accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan, including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 2011.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/us-adds-aziz-haqqani-to-its-list-of-specially-designated-global-terrorists-9600

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Mullah Omar’s brother warns of Taliban infighting if differences not resolved

Aug 26 2015

Mullah Mohammad Omar’s brother who opposes the election of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the replacement supreme leader of Taliban has warned of internal fighting within the group if differences are not resolved.

Mullah Abdul Manan who wants Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub as the replacement supreme leader of Taliban had earlier said that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was not elected by majority of Taliban’s central Shura ‘council’ but supporters of Mullah Mansour insist that the election was based on the decision of 95 percent of the Shura members.

A group of Taliban clerics that is mediating to remove rifts says that they have obtained the decision-making power from the dissidents but Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour has not yet agreed to empower them.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/mullah-omars-brother-warns-of-taliban-infighting-if-differences-not-resolved-3826

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2 NATO soldiers killed in attack by individuals in ANSF uniform

Aug 26 2015

At least two service members of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission were killed in attack by individuals in Afghan security forces uniform.

“Two Resolute Support servicemembers died early this morning when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on their vehicle at an ANDSF compound in Helmand province,” a statement by the alliance said.

The statement further added that the Resolute Support servicemembers returned fire and killed the shooters.

“Afghan and Resolute Support officials are reviewing the incident and further information will be released as available and appropriate,” the statement added.

No further details were given regarding the identities of the deceased soldiers.

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission generally do not disclose identities of the alliance service members killed in Afghanistan, saying “It is Resolute Support policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/2-nato-soldiers-killed-in-attack-by-individuals-in-ansf-uniform-9599

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Politics cited in parliamentary elections as further delays expected

Aug 26 2015

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani cited political issues as one of the main reasons involved in parliamentary elections as further delays are expected.

Speaking during a press conference, Nuristani urged not to create further barriers in holding the parliamentary elections, insisting that the elections must be kept away from the politics.

He also insisted that the Independent Election Commission (IEC) is the only authorized body to confirm the elections date.

Nuristani further added that the election commission submitted its proposal form regarding short term reforms in electoral system to President Ghani in the month of May.

This comes as Nuristani said earlier in May that the government is not prepared to conduct parliamentary election as scheduled in early in October.

Speaking to lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament – Wolesi Jirga, Nuristani said the election commission has not received any feedback from the government of national unity regarding the parliamentary election after proposing 3rd October as the polling date.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/politics-cited-in-parliamentary-elections-as-further-delays-expected-9601

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Hanif: JaSad paved way for Bangabandhu’s death

Aug 26, 2015

Awami League leader Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif yesterday slammed JaSad, NAP and other leftist parties for having paved the way for the murders of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members in 1975.

“JaSad, NAP and other leftist parties had opposed the government of Bangabandhu after the country’s liberation. I think they created the situation for creating anarchy in the country. And they made the mechanism of killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” Hanif told a discussion at Bangladesh Home Economics College in the capital yesterday.

The AL joint general secretary is the second Awami League leader this week to criticise Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JaSad), one of the key members in the ruling 14-party alliance, for its post-Liberation War role.

On Sunday, Awami League Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim also blamed the erstwhile JaSad for paving the path to Bangabandhu’s murder, saying: “Anti-liberation forces would not have dared to attack Bangabandhu and his family, had the then [JaSad] Gonobahini remained beside Bangabandhu.”

Hanif yesterday further went on to support Sheikh Selim’s comments. “He [Selim] mentioned the real history after the Liberation War. There is no scope of creating confusion over the true history.”

Hanif said several leftist leaders maintained a controversial stance between 1972 and 1975, which was not the right decision.

“The conspiracy is still going on, and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman are trying to create another day like August 15, 1975,” Hanif added.

On the other hand, BNP’s acting spokesperson Asaduzzaman Ripon on Monday made comments similar to Sheikh Selim, blaming JaSad for the unstable situation in Bangladesh between 1972 and 1975 and demanding investigation into their role during that time.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/politics/2015/aug/26/hanif-jasad-paved-way-bangabandhus-death

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Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami biding its time

Aug 26, 2015

The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s leadership says it is content to bide its time, claiming that the party continues to run a robust operation in the shadows.

The country’s oldest Islamist party, notorious for opposing independence in 1971, says it is unconcerned that its central offices have been under lock and key since September 19, 2011.

Even with many of its top leaders convicted of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal and thousands of its leaders and activists either behind bars or on the run from the law, the right-wing political party’s leaders strike a pose of serene detachment.

Jamaat’s leadership has indicated that it regards this hiatus from active political engagement as a strategic interlude.

They say they are happy to buy some time to see what happens next.

The party denies it has been driven underground, surviving like other parties only by issuing press releases and social media updates.

Salman Rushdie effect

Party leaders say they believe “government repression” of their leaders and activists is a blessing in disguise.

They claim to be enjoying the Salman Rushdie effect – wherein censure by a government results in an increase in the currency if not popularity of a message.

In practical terms, Jamaat is reassessing its tack under the cover provided by the party’s removal from mainstream political life.

Aminul Islam Khoshru, acting Nayeb-e-Ameer of the Barisal city unit Jamaat, said regular meetings with leaders and activists continue to take place from time to time.

“On August 1, we held a meeting to

analyse our current political situation and sent reports to the centre. Usually, we get directives from the centre and just carry them out,” he said.

Since 2011, the party has not carried out any public programmes of its own but has participated in programmes under the banner of the BNP-led 20-party alliance platform. Several top Jamaat leaders have criticised the trial of war criminals at these programmes.

Apart from this, the party hosts an annual iftar party during Ramadan for local and foreign dignitaries.

Whether Jamaat leaders run from the law or sit behind bars, the party’s social media front remains active.

Jamaat’s official web page is regularly updated and its front and associate organisations have different social media accounts from which they communicate with leaders and activists.

Jamaat websites are multilingual – carrying content in Bangla, English and Arabic –  a rarity in the Bangladeshi political landscape.

The party also maintains pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Basher Kella is the Facebook page of Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat, notorious for introducing the technique of severing the Achilles tendon as a way to murder political opponents.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/politics/2015/aug/26/jamaat-biding-its-time

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Two Nato soldiers killed in Afghan 'insider attack': coalition

August 26, 2015

KABUL: Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms shot dead two Nato soldiers on a base in the country's south on Wednesday, the coalition said, in the latest insider attack on foreign troops.

So-called "green-on-blue" attacks ─ when Afghan soldiers or police turn their guns on international troops, have been a major problem during Nato's long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.

Wednesday's attack in the volatile province of Helmand is the first such incident since April, highlighting long-simmering tensions between Afghan and foreign forces.

"Two Resolute Support (Nato) service members died early this morning when two individuals wearing Afghan (military) uniforms opened fire on their vehicle at an (Afghan security forces) compound in Helmand province," a Nato statement said.

"Resolute Support service members returned fire and killed the shooters," it added, without revealing the nationalities of the soldiers.

The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

Western officials say that most such attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.

The killings have bred fierce mistrust among local and foreign forces even as the rate of such incidents has dropped in recent years.

Nato ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December last year, pulling out a bulk of its troops although a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

One of the worst insider attacks took place last August when US Major General Harold Greene was killed ─ the most senior American military officer to die in action overseas since the Vietnam War.

Know more: Afghan guns down US general at Kabul military academy

And in April, an American soldier was killed in a firefight between US and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan, the first apparent insider attack since Washington announced a delay in troop withdrawals from the country.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the time said the US soldier's killing showed that work remains to shore up Afghan forces in the "dangerous" country.

Nato troops have adopted special security measures in recent years to try to counter the threat.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202944/two-nato-soldiers-killed-in-afghan-insider-attack-coalition

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Afghan satire ‘Kabul Taxi’ angers spies

August 26, 2015

KABUL - The biting political satire of a Facebook page called Kabul Taxi has got under the skin of Afghanistan’s spy agency - enough so that it summoned the two journalists it suspects of being behind it for a two-hour grilling.

Kabul Taxi’s acerbic take on the foibles of the Afghan government, corrupt officials and bureaucrats has made it the talk of the capital in the three months since it was launched, and a leader in a burgeoning scene of online satire sites. The latest target was Haneef Atmar, the powerful National Security Council adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, who Kabul Taxi mocked over the number of his advisers and their activities. Atmar, however, did not find this funny. The National Directorate of Security, the intelligence agency that effectively reports to Atmar, hauled in two reporters it suspected to be behind Kabul Taxi. The National Security Council (NSC) issued a statement on Monday, saying Kabul Taxi had leaked government secrets by naming some NSC staff, presenting what it deemed a “serious security risk” to their lives.

“The NSC office with respect to freedom of expression and people’s access to information, has asked concerned authorities to act against the offenders of this case to prevent further leaks of secrets in the security sector,” the statement added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/26-Aug-2015/afghan-satire-kabul-taxi-angers-spies

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Africa

 

Somalia: Seven Al Shabaab Killed in the Latest Clashes in Burhakaba

25 AUGUST 2015

In the latest clashes in south of Somalia has left at least seven Al Shabaab militants dead and several others wounded, government officials said.

Somalia's deputy DC, Hussein Mohamed Ali told Shabelle Media that its military soldiers had killed at least 7 militants during an ambush attack on army bases outside Burhakaba town.

"The military soldiers repulsed heavy offensive launched by Al Shabaab. In addition to that we have put 7 militants down in the raid" Mr. Hassan said in an interview with Shabelle Media.

Hassan Mohamed stated that government soldiers would launch military offensive against Al Shabab, in a bid to re-take all areas under militants' control.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508251286.html

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Libyan FM calls for international aid in fight against Daesh

Aug 25, 2015

Libya’s foreign minister has called on the international community for aid in battling the Daesh Takfiri group and the lifting of an arms embargo imposed on his country.

"The situation is extremely serious," said Mohamed al-Dairi, the foreign minister of Libya's internationally-recognized government, during a visit to French capital Paris on Tuesday.

ISIL militants are present in the eastern town of Derna, the northern towns of Benghazi and Sirte and northwestern town of Sabratha. However, they have not yet taken the oilfields “but we fear they might come to control several wells," he added.

Libya has two rival governments vying for the control of the country, with one faction controlling Tripoli, and the internationally recognized one governing the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.Dairi’s government is in control of most of the North African country’s eastern regions after being chased out of Tripoli in July 2014 by a motley coalition of Takfiri militants.

"On Saturday, there was a call from their leaders in Iraq and Syria to reinforce their ranks in Libya. They want to make Libya a rear base," Dairi added.

The Takfiri militants also control parts of land in Iraq and Syria where they carry out various indiscriminate atrocities.  

Libya has been witnessing chaos since a 2011 uprising that led to the ouster and subsequent killing of long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. "After 2011, Libya was abandoned to its fate," he added.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/25/426332/Libyan-r-aid--fight-Daesh-ISIL

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Switzerland pledges $8mn to help Boko Haram victims

26 August 2015

Switzerland has pledged $8 million for humanitarian services for the victims of Nigeria's Boko Haram militant group and for investigations into the causes of the insurgency, a senior Swiss official said.

Daniel Cavegn, acting ambassador/charge d’affairs at Switzerland’s embassy in Nigeria, who was in the city of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria earlier this week, said Switzerland had been closely following the Boko Haram crisis, both in Nigeria and other countries in the Lake Chad region.

He said the Swiss government was not only interested in helping affected areas, but also wanted to investigate the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency with a view to curtailing its spread to other African nations.

“We have contributed $8 million not just to Nigeria, but also to neighboring countries… around Lake Chad to support the people affected by the Boko Haram crisis,” Covegn told local officials during a visit to the area.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/163574/switzerland-pledges-8mn-to-help-boko-haram-victims

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Man from Ghana joins Islamic State, family says

2015-08-26

Accra – A 25-year-old Muslim from Ghana has travelled to an Islamic State training camp, becoming the first known recruit from the West African nation to join the militant group, his family said on Tuesday.

The decision by university graduate Nazir Nortei Alema is likely to shock a country that prides itself on its ability to preserve social harmony and manage political and communal disputes peacefully, in contrast to some of its neighbours.

"We are devastated. Since the news came his mother has been crying," Alema's father Abdul Latif Alema told Reuters, adding that he believed Islamic State should be crushed.

About a third of Ghana's population of 27 million is Muslim. They co-exist peacefully with the Christian majority and have so far apparently avoided the influence of the kinds of radical Islam that have taken root in neighbouring Nigeria and Mali.

Alema spent much of his spare time online and it is almost certain he was radicalised through his interactions on Facebook rather than through anything taught in mosques in the Osu neighbourhood of Ghana's capital, his family and friends said.

He finished a government internship in July and had initially told his parents he was travelling from his home in Accra to Prestea, a mining town in the west of the country.

Corrupt system

"Two weeks later on August 16, we got a Whatsapp message from him saying he was at a training ground to join the Islamic State group in an unknown country," his brother Kabiru Alema told Reuters.

Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Man-from-Ghana-joins-Islamic-State-family-says-20150826-11

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In Nigeria, Boko Haram is an equal opportunity terrorist group

August 25, 2015

Kate Ehis, for instance, is also in her 30s. Her 12-year-old son has three pieces of metal in his brain, producing extreme headaches. Her daughter only recently began walking again after spending months in the hospital as a result of an exposed fracture in three places in her left leg.

Ehis strikes a defiant note about the Boko Haram militants who brought their war to the doors of her church, insisting that the experience has actually deepened her faith.

“I believe they did this to put fear in the lives of Christians, but unfortunately [for them], they couldn’t,” she told Crux. “God has strengthened us.”

The Rev. Almady Michael Gadache, who runs an office of justice and peace for the local Catholic diocese, also serves as coordinator of a welfare center that St. Theresa’s opened after the blast. The center distributes some aid to victims, but not enough to meet the need.

Gadache is currently knocking on the doors of international Christian charities to raise the $21,000 he says is needed to cover urgent medical expenses for more than 100 people injured in the blast.

“The number is higher today than it was then,” he said. That’s partly because many victims didn’t seek treatment at the time because they couldn’t afford it, and in the four years since the attack, their conditions worsened.

In reality, however, it wasn’t just parishioners at St. Theresa’s who perished, because the bomb went off outside the church and also killed several Muslim passersby in the religiously mixed neighborhood.

As a result, the attack is a compelling symbol not merely of the human cost of religious hatred, but also the enigma that Boko Haram often presents.

Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist organization whose commonly used name means “Western education is forbidden,” but which formally calls itself Jama’at Ahl As-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad, meaning “People for the Teachings [of Islam] and Preaching and Jihad.” It’s based mostly in northern Nigeria, and occasionally bleeds into the neighboring nations of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.

It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Muslim leader who preached against the evils of Western culture and the corruption of local Islamic elites as well as the Nigerian state.

After Yusuf’s summary execution in a police station in 2009, a process of radicalization began under the leadership of his successor, Abubakar Shekau, who has led the group into killing an estimated 19,000 people, kidnapping hundreds — including 213 schoolgirls — and torching dozens of Christian churches.

More than 1.5 million people are said to have been internally displaced because of Boko Haram-related violence in 2014 alone.

While everyone can agree on the carnage Boko Haram has produced, there’s a wider range of opinion as to why they’re doing it.

Nigerian sociologist Musa Abdullahi, a Muslim, says that despite conventional wisdom, Christians aren’t the main target of Boko Haram.

“Shekau is very dangerous, very brutal, he likes killing,” he told Crux last week. “When he took over, he first said they’re just after the police, after the government. Then they included civil servants, then business people, then every citizen … man or woman, girl or boy, old or young; it doesn’t matter.”

Statistically speaking, he says, in the 12 northern Nigerian states where Boko Haram has a strong presence, the victims among Christians and Muslims are proportional to the population of each religious group, and the same is true of the number of mosques and churches they’ve torched.

Suleiman B. Mohammed, a political scientist, agreed that Boko Haram is just as lethal to Muslims as Christians.

Full report at:

http://www.cruxnow.com/faith/2015/08/25/in-nigeria-boko-haram-is-an-equal-opportunity-terrorist-group/

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U.N.: China arms firm sold $20m in weapons to S Sudan

25 August 2015

A U.N. panel of experts has stated that a major Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to South Sudan's government last year, several months into the country's deadly conflict.

The experts' report was made public on Tuesday, saying China North Industries Corp., also known as Norinco, sold South Sudan's government 100 anti-tank guided missile launchers, 1,200 missiles, about 2,400 grenade launchers and nearly 10,000 automatic rifles, as well as 24 million rounds of various types of ammunition.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/08/25/UN-China-arms-firm-sold-20M-in-weapons-to-South-Sudan.html

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Pakistan

 

Action ordered against 49 Madrasas with ‘terrorist links’ in Sindh

HASAN MANSOOR

Aug 26, 2015

KARACHI: The Sindh home department has identified 49 Madrasas having alleged links with ‘terrorist organisations’ against whom the ‘relevant authorities’ have been told to take action, it emerged here on Tuesday.

Senior officials in the provincial home department said they had got reports from intelligence sources listing 49 Madrasas ‘having linkages with terrorist organisations’.

The officials, who have prepared a report based on the latest information and submitted it to Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, avoided naming the militant groups those Madrasas had ties with. However, they said the information had been shared with the Sindh police and Rangers for ‘appropriate action’ against them.

The latest report prepared by the home department said 26 of the seminaries linked with the banned groups were in Karachi, 12 in Hyderabad, seven in Sukkur and four in Larkana.

517,695 students are enrolled in all seminaries

Officials said such Madrasas were identified with convincing evidence and legal action against them was being planned.

The provincial authorities have updated their previous figures relating to the number of Madrasas in Sindh — said to be more than double the number the government had shown recently.

In a report the government released in April, the number of Madrasas in Sindh was said to be around 4,000, while in the latest report, the home department says 9,590 Madrasas are functioning in the province — 6,503 registered and 3,087 unregistered.

The report said 517,695 students were enrolled in all the seminaries.

The government has sealed just 167 unregistered Madrasas in Hyderabad and Benazirabad while 2,920 of them are still running –– a dominant majority of them are in Karachi’s west district.

Officials said six of the unregistered seminaries had been searched elsewhere in Sindh but none in Karachi.

“The unregistered Madrasas which have not yet been sealed are under strict surveillance of the law enforcement agencies and will be sealed if they hindered the registration process any further,” said a senior official in the home ministry.

They said the registration of seminaries was under way and necessary coordination had been made to launch a search operation soon.

The officials had originally made the same statement during Ramazan in which they said the search of all the unregistered Madrasas would begin after the holy month, but they have not yet specified a deadline for it.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202829/action-ordered-against-49-Madrasas-with-terrorist-links-in-sindh

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SC proposes appointment of architect to restore Karak temple

NASIR IQBAL

Aug 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court proposed on Tuesday that a renowned architect be employed to rebuild a Hindu temple in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as had been done in case of a temple in Shahalmi Market of Lahore a few years ago.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja asked the PML-N MNA from Tharparkar, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, KP Home Secretary Arbab Mohammad Arif and Karak Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shoaib Jadoon to sit together and come up with a plan to rebuild the Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s Samadhi in Teri village of Karak.

Take a look: Footprints: A saint without a shrine

The chief justice said that the order must not be defied and should be implemented at all cost. Mr Jadoon assured the court that its earlier order about restoration of the temple had been carried out and a boundary wall had been built around it.

The DC submitted photographs to substantiate his claim.

“We have also given a right of way to reach the Samadhi through the house of Maulvi Iftikharuddin who was earlier in possession of the temple,” the DC explained.

But the court declared that the efforts put in by the provincial administration were not enough and proposed construction of a new building instead of just erecting boundary walls.

The surrounding walls will spoil the area, observed the chief justice, recalling how a temple in Shahalmi Market, Lahore, was reconstructed by architect Kamil Khan, who had a clear understanding of architectural heritage and had provided free consultancy to rebuild the temple.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202865/sc-proposes-appointment-of-architect-to-restore-karak-temple

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‘Sufi poets can guarantee unity’: Chairman WPC

August 26, 2015

LAHORE - Only Sufi poets can guarantee the national unity because their teachings of tolerance, brotherhood and love can overcome the present day social and political degeneration in the country.

Addressing Khawaja Farid conference, jointly organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and World Punjabi Congress (WPC), Fakhar Zaman Chairman WPC said that Khawaja Farid lived in a time of strife when Punjab had been annexed by the British and they were rapidly expanding their colonial rule.

He said that the famous line of the poet ‘Patt angrezi thaaney’ bears eloquent testimony to his resistance to the colonial rulers. He further said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his last speech to the Supreme Court started with a famous line of Khawaja Farid ‘Dardan maari jindari aleel hai’.

The profundity of pain, separation and ishq was the predominant theme of this great poet, Zaman said.

Talking at length about his poetry, he said that it drew sustenance from the desert, oasis, river, the vastness of Rohi, and its singular species of bird. He uses them as metaphor in his poetry to elaborate his concept of love and separation, oneness of God and the unity of sublime humanity. Fakhar Zaman reiterated the demands that Sufism should be taught at colleges and universities as a compulsory subject, Punjabi University should be established in Lahore and Punjabi language declared as the medium of instruction at the primary level. He concluded his presidential address saying that the series of conferences on Sufi poets of Pakistan’s first stage is complete because conferences on 7 Sufi poets from Punjab have already been organized. In the next phase, starting in September, such functions will be organized on Sufi poets from Sindh, namely Shah Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and Shah Inayat to be followed by Mast Tawaqali from Balochistan and Khushhaal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baga from KPK.

Dr Imrana Mushtaq, President of IWC shed light on Khawaja Farid’s biography and dwelt upon different dimensions of his poetry. She said that her organization will continue to cooperate in the holding of conferences on Sufi poets from other provinces. Nabeel Shaad spoke of the various qualities and trends of Khawaja Farid’s kaafis and explained the beautiful meaning found in his poetry. Mujahid Bodla also spoke on different shades of Khawaja Farid’s poetry.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/26-Aug-2015/sufi-poets-can-guarantee-unity

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Election tribunal judge accuses minister of hurling life threats

AMJAD MAHMOOD

Aug 26, 2015

LAHORE: The Lahore election tribunal judge whose decision in the NA-122 case has deprived National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq of his office accused Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid of hurling life threats at him.

Retired district and sessions judge Kazim Ali Malik, of the one-man Lahore election tribunal, said in a TV talk show: “I know by whom he (Mr Rashid) is (trying to) frighten me. I’ve understood to whom he gave the message.”

The tribunal, in a verdict on Saturday, declared the 2013 election in NA-122 null and void after finding irregularities in the election process committed by the Election Commission and ordered a re-poll in the Lahore constituency where Mr Sadiq had defeated PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Also read: ‘Threats’ to NA-122 judge prove PML-N fixed election results: Imran

The verdict earned ire of the PML-N and Pervaiz Rashid termed it biased and said that the head of the tribunal was concerned more about his own projection instead of justice while issuing the judgment.

Mr Malik broke his silence on Tuesday when Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah repeated Mr Rashid’s allegations and claimed that the tribunal head had personal issues with the PML-N which had declined to give a party ticket to his son.

As anti-corruption establishment director-general, added Rana Sana, Mr Malik had problems which led to his summoning by the Privileges Committee of the Punjab Assembly.

Terming the verdict a stain on the independent judiciary, the provincial minister said had there been any judge other than Kazim Ali Malik, he would not have heard the case (because of personal issues).

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202891/election-tribunal-judge-accuses-minister-of-hurling-life-threats

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Rangers, BSF top commanders to meet in New Delhi on Sept 9: sources

MATEEN HAIDER

Aug 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Top Commanders of Pakistan Rangers and Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) are scheduled to meet in New Delhi from September 9 to 13, sources in Pakistan's paramilitary force told DawnNews.

"As per border ground rules 1961, a routine, biannual meeting of Inspector General BSF and Director General Pakistan Rangers is scheduled to take place in New Delhi starting September 9, 2015," a spokesman for Pakistan Rangers told DawnNews.

Pakistan would take up the matter of 'unprovoked' Indian firing along the Line of Control (Loc) and Working Boundary, and the killing of its civilians, the spokesman said.

He added that matters related to smuggling and other border issues are also likely to be discussed in the meeting.

Also read: Pakistan, India border guards abandon customary Eid greeting

A meeting was earlier held between representatives of Rangers and BSF at Wagah border to coordinate modalities of the September meeting and to finalise the meeting's agenda, the Rangers spokesman said.

The meeting will follow days of bickering between India and Pakistan, as the Pakistani government on Saturday decided to cancel the planned meeting of national security advisers with India, citing New Delhi’s refusal to allow an expanded agenda and a meeting with Kashmiri leaders.

Know more: NSAs’ talks cancelled over Indian conditions

The Indian external affairs ministry immediately termed the decision “unfortunate” and tried to wash its hands of the controversy that led to the cancellation of the meeting by saying that it “did not set any preconditions".

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202951/rangers-bsf-top-commanders-to-meet-in-new-delhi-on-sept-9-sources

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Pakistan wants CARs linked to its ports

August 26, 2015

ASTANA - Pakistan offers the Central Asian Republics (CARs) the shortest route to sea and it wants them all to be connected by rail, road and air links for prosperity of the whole region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who arrived in the Kazakh Capital yesterday, said.

At a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov, the Pakistani leader said the purpose of his two-day visit to Kazakhstan was to further strengthen ties, expand cooperation in different areas, and increase bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.

The prime minister said Kazakhstan was an important country of Central Asia offering immense business opportunities and stressed that it was the time for the traders of two countries to fully exploit this potential.

“There is a large scope for trade in textile and cotton products, pharmaceuticals, food items, engineering equipment and machinery and construction enterprises,” he said.

“Pakistan’s ports (Gawadar and Karachi) provide the shortest route to sea for the Central Asian Republics (CARs),” he said.

Most of the CARs had shown keen interest in using Pakistan’s sea ports for their exports, he added.

On the occasion, Pakistan and Kazakhstan also signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, defence and strategic studies and training in foreign services.

MOU between the National Export & Investment Agency of Kazakhstan and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was signed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Deputy Chairman of the Kazakh Agency, Meirzhan Maikenov in presence of the two prime ministers.

The MoU aims at increasing the volume of bilateral trade, investment and technology transfer.

It will also encourage the mutual exchange of information on trade and services, facilitate development of potential trade routes between the both countries and establish contact among the key priority areas such as agribusiness, food industry, entertainment and services, machinery and equipment, fashion, design, technology and health, construction, metallurgy and pharmaceuticals.

The MoU between the Foreign Services Academy of Pakistan and the Academy of Public Administration Under the President of Kazakhstan was signed by Special Assistant to PM Syed Tariq Fatemi and Rector of the Kazakh Academy of Public Administration.

The MoU will help establish and further develop cooperation in training and improving professional skills of diplomats with an aim to strengthen bilateral relations.

The MoU on Cooperation in the area of Defence and Strategic Studies between the National Defence University (NDU) and the Centre for Military Strategic Research of Kazakhstan, was signed by Pakistan’s Ambassdor Abdul Salik Khan and President of the Kazakh Center for Military Strategies Kozy Korpesh Karbazob.

The MoU aims at enhancing academic cooperation between two institutions through conferences, research and other academic activities.

Meanwhile, in a detailed interview published in the Astana Times, the leading English daily of Kazakhstan, the prime minister said the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was far below its potential.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/26-Aug-2015/pakistan-wants-cars-linked-to-its-ports

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Sino-Pak relationship unprecedented: Chinese VP

August 26, 2015

LAHORE - Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif yesterday that he would personally monitor China-invested projects in Pakistan and a high-level committee would be set up for the purpose.

The idea for setting up a committee was floated by Shahbaz at a meeting with the Chinese Vice Premier Gaoli at Great Hall in Beijing, a handout said.

“China has been working with various countries but its cooperation with Pakistan is unprecedented.

Beijing China is extending full cooperation to Pakistan in energy, transport, infrastructure, health and other sectors,” Goali said.

He added that China-Pak Economic Corridor will establish economic contact of Pakistan not only with China but also with 60 other states.

He also extended good wishes for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He also praised Shahbaz for his steps being taken to bring in betterment.

CM Shahbaz assured the Chinese leader of all-out support for finishing the task on time.

He said that the recent visit of Chinese President to Pakistan has taken Pakistan-China friendship to new heights.

Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Special Representative of Prime Minister Zafar Mehmood, Adviser on Health Kh Salman Rafiq and Lahore Transport Company Chairman Kh Ahmad Hasaan accompanied chief minister.

The chief minister also held a meeting with the President of China Exim Bank, Li Ruogu during which it was agreed to provide funds expeditiously to the Chinese companies investing in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/26-Aug-2015/sino-pak-relationship-unprecedented-chinese-vp

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Pakistan, Kazakhstan sign MOUs to strengthen trade ties

August 25, 2015

ASTANA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the purpose of his visit to Kazakhstan was to strengthen ties and expand cooperation in different areas.

"There is a large scope for trade in textile and cotton products, pharmaceuticals, food items, engineering equipment and machinery and construction enterprises," Nawaz mentioned as he met his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov.

"Pakistan's ports (Gawadar and Karachi) provide the shortest route to sea for the Central Asian Republics (CARs)," he said, adding Pakistan was eager to see a prosperous Central Asia with all countries connected by rail, road and air-links and generating business.

"Pakistan offers Kazakhstan the shortest access to the sea."

Most of the Central Asian States had shown keen interest in using Pakistan's sea ports for their exports, he added.

Pakistan and Kazakhstan signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, defense and strategic studies and training in foreign services.

Nawaz and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov witnessed the signing of MoUs.

Meanwhile, in a detailed interview published in the Astana Times, the leading English daily of Kazakhstan, he said the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was far below its potential. There existed tremendous potential for enhancing the same, he added.

He stressed that both sides needed to make efforts to utilise all available options, while simultaneously exploring new areas of cooperation.

Responding to a question, Nawaz said that Pakistan supported the Conference for Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) process and actively participated in its activities.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/25-Aug-2015/pakistan-kazakhstan-sign-mous-to-strengthen-trade-ties

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92 scholars to study in French universities

August 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD - As many as 92 scholars have been selected from across Pakistan in different disciplines to pursue MS and PhD studies in French universities, under “Overseas Scholarship for MS/MPhil leading to PhD in Selected Fields, Phase-II.”

In this regard a send-off ceremony for HEC scholars to pursue MS and PhD studies in France, was held at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat yesterday.

The HEC has so far sent 654 scholars to France for PhD under different scholarship programmes, out of which, 432 have successfully completed their degrees. However, under the Overseas Scholarship Programme, a total of 291 scholars proceeded to France, out of which 165 have successfully completed their PhD studies.

Congratulating the selected scholars, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC urged them to properly utilize their stay in France and excel in academic and research work. He said, “You will be Ambassadors of Pakistan in France and we expect all of you to prove yourselves as socially responsible citizens,” he said.

The Chairman said that HEC has been greatly emphasizing on human resource development programmes to provide highly-qualified faculty and researchers to Universities, R&D organizations and industries.

“The HEC has allocated more than 35 percent of the development funds through merit based scholarship programmes being managed by HEC as well as by the public sector universities.

Pierre Fournier, Charged’ Affairs, French Embassy thanked HEC and the Government of Pakistan for sending scholars to France for higher studies, adding that the performance of Pakistani scholars has been very good.

Appreciating the fact that number of Pakistani PhD scholars to France has been growing over the years, he advised the scholars to explore opportunities for their professional development and also act as ambassadors to build bridges between the two nations.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) yesterday said that universities are under no obligation to hold graduate assessment test (GAT) through National Testing Service (NTS).

An official of the HEC talking to APP said the HEC has directed universities to conduct their own entrance GAT tests rather than NTS for admissions in higher education. The HEC categorically denies such a claim of students of different private universities, saying that HEC asking them to pass GAT conducted by NTS.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/26-Aug-2015/92-scholars-to-study-in-french-universities

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North America

 

Why Islamic State prefers US servers for its online propaganda

By Taylor Luck

AUGUST 25, 2015

AMMAN, JORDAN — Hacker-activists across the world have launched an online war against the so-called Islamic State, targeting the web-savvy jihadists’ vast Internet network of supporters and suspected sleeper cells.

But bureaucracy at a wary FBI and stringent US laws against hacking are slowing these efforts to take down the IS web forums and social media accounts, experts and analysts say. As a result, they say, the jihadists are opting to base their web operations on US-hosted sites in order to take advantage of US legal protections.

Various groups of anonymous citizen hackers are taking on the jihadists, including Ghost Security, an alliance of 12 like-minded hackers with military and intelligence backgrounds. Known as GhostSec, the group seeks to monitor and flag various web forums and social media accounts allegedly used by the group to communicate to its followers.

Recommended: How much do you know about the Islamic State?

Using a network of activists from across the Arab world, the online vigilantes say they have racked up some major victories. Since January, GhostSec says it has brought down or disrupted 133 IS-linked websites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks, and reported some 60,000 IS-linked accounts to Twitter, which then suspended them.

Under US law, DDOS attacks are a federal crime should authorities prove malicious intent. But, more than disrupting IS communication and propaganda channels, GhostSec says its hacking-campaign has saved lives.

Most recently, through monitoring IS Facebook and Twitter accounts, the group in July uncovered a plot targeting British tourists and Jewish residents on the Tunisian island of Djerba, according to the head of GhostSec’s operations, who asked not to be named. After GhostSec says it forwarded the information to the FBI and private intelligence firms, Tunisian authorities arrested 17 plotters, an incident confirmed by intelligence analysts.

For GhostSec hacktivists, it is all part of what they are calling a “second front” against IS. Lara Abdallat, a Jordanian former beauty queen and fashion designer, now spends several hours a day tracking IS social-media accounts. “They are committing crimes that are against Islam – they are destroying the image of our religion, and I wanted to do my part to stop them,” she says.

Full report at:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2015/0825/Why-Islamic-State-prefers-US-servers-for-its-online-propaganda

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Orlando Aiport Will Open Muslim Prayer Room

Aug 26, 2015

The Orlando International Airport is spending $250,000 to build the "Reflection Room," a prayer room for Muslims.

The airport made the decision after Emirates Airlines announced it will soon be offering direct flights from Orlando to Dubai. Muslims make up the majority of the airlines travelers.

Rev. Franklin Graham said the new prayer room appeases Muslims.

"The airport already had an interfaith prayer room since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it) - but that wasn't enough," he posted on his Facebook page.

"How loud do you think the objections would be today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room exclusively for evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other group?" he asked. "Why do Muslims get preference?'

However, an airport spokewoman denied that any taxpayer funds are being used for the facility.

Full report at:

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/August/Orlando-Aiport-Will-Open-Muslim-Prayer-Room/

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US baseball great suspended for Islamophobic tweet

 26 August 2015

A television sports channel removed former baseball great Curt Schilling from its broadcast after he tweeted a message that equated Muslims to Nazis.

"Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company's perspective," the ESPN network said in a statement.

"We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League World Series assignment pending further consideration," it added.

Schilling on Tuesday posted a photo of Adolf Hitler on Twitter that read: "It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?”

Above the photo, he wrote: "The math is staggering when you get to true #s")."

The tweet was later deleted.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/163575/us-baseball-great-suspended-for-islamophobic-tweet

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As Islamic State militants destroy artifacts, heritage always a target across centuries of war

Aug. 25, 2015

CAIRO (AP) — A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

The group has destroyed ancient buildings and artifacts, as well as shrines to Shiite and Sunni Muslim saints — looting some sites for profit — all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of idolatry to create a society dedicated solely to its extreme and violent interpretation of Islam. The IS campaign has horrified many around the world with a scope of destruction that hasn't been seen for decades.

Still, it isn't unprecedented.

Throughout the centuries, invaders, religious fanatics and colonizers have targeted works of art, houses of worship and other pieces of heritage. The goal is often to uproot, eliminate, replace or impose control over the culture and heritage of their opponents. Nearly every ethnic or religious conflict across history has seen at least some cultural destruction, along with genocides like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.

Below is a look at some examples:

WAHHABISM

The Islamic State group's rabid ideology against shrines and historical sites is rooted in Wahhabism, the ultraconservative Sunni Muslim interpretation preached by Sheikh Mohammed Abdul-Wahhab, who lived in the 1700s in what is now Saudi Arabia. Allied with the powerful Saud family, Abdul-Wahhab's followers destroyed anything they saw as promoting idolatry or polytheism, including shrines of Shiite and Sufi saints, and the destruction of a major Shiite shrine at Karbala in what is now Iraq. Today, the alliance with Wahhabism remains one of the foundations of rule by the Al Saud royal family.

PROTESTANT REFORMATION

During the Reformation in 16th century Europe, Protestant preachers railed in sermons against Catholic statues of saints and other religious relics as forms of idolatry. Mobs of Protestants attacked hundreds of Catholic churches, particularly in France, Germany and the Netherlands, destroying statues and images — and in England under King Henry VIII, churches were stripped of their relics and riches. The result erased from Europe's cultural landscape untold numbers of works of art.

SPAIN

During the Muslim invasion of Spain in the 8th century, churches were often destroyed or turned into mosques. Conversely, when Christians took back the peninsula in the centuries-long Reconquista, completed in the 15th century, they destroyed mosques or turned them into churches. Also, after King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of Jews from the peninsula in 1492, synagogues were turned into churches.

Full report at:

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/08/25/in-islamic-state-war-like-others-heritage-always-a-target

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As Islamic State militants destroy artifacts, heritage always a target across centuries of war

August 25, 2015

CAIRO –  A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

The group has destroyed ancient buildings and artifacts, as well as shrines to Shiite and Sunni Muslim saints — looting some sites for profit — all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of idolatry to create a society dedicated solely to its extreme and violent interpretation of Islam. The IS campaign has horrified many around the world with a scope of destruction that hasn't been seen for decades.

Still, it isn't unprecedented.

Throughout the centuries, invaders, religious fanatics and colonizers have targeted works of art, houses of worship and other pieces of heritage. The goal is often to uproot, eliminate, replace or impose control over the culture and heritage of their opponents. Nearly every ethnic or religious conflict across history has seen at least some cultural destruction, along with genocides like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.

Below is a look at some examples:

WAHHABISM

The Islamic State group's rabid ideology against shrines and historical sites is rooted in Wahhabism, the ultraconservative Sunni Muslim interpretation preached by Sheikh Mohammed Abdul-Wahhab, who lived in the 1700s in what is now Saudi Arabia. Allied with the powerful Saud family, Abdul-Wahhab's followers destroyed anything they saw as promoting idolatry or polytheism, including shrines of Shiite and Sufi saints, and the destruction of a major Shiite shrine at Karbala in what is now Iraq. Today, the alliance with Wahhabism remains one of the foundations of rule by the Al Saud royal family.

PROTESTANT REFORMATION

During the Reformation in 16th century Europe, Protestant preachers railed in sermons against Catholic statues of saints and other religious relics as forms of idolatry. Mobs of Protestants attacked hundreds of Catholic churches, particularly in France, Germany and the Netherlands, destroying statues and images — and in England under King Henry VIII, churches were stripped of their relics and riches. The result erased from Europe's cultural landscape untold numbers of works of art.

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/08/25/as-islamic-state-militants-destroy-artifacts-heritage-always-target-across/

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Toronto man denied subsidized housing for not being Muslim

August 25, 2015

WATCH ABOVE: At 21, Austin Lewis of Toronto lives his life in a wheelchair. Now, as Sean O’Shea reports he’s also dealing with another obstacle when it comes to getting a subsidized apartment: he has the wrong religion.

TORONTO — A disabled Toronto man had his name removed from the waiting list of a subsidized city apartment because he does not meet the main criteria for living there: being Muslim.

“It doesn’t make any sense; I lived in Texas, that doesn’t make sense even there,” said Austin Lewis, 21, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

Lewis is attempting to find subsidized, rent-to-income accommodations in Toronto. He has applied to dozens of apartments through Housing Connections, an organization that manages a waiting list of applicants applying for subsidized housing.

This week, Lewis received a letter from Housing Connections, informing him he would be taken off the list for an apartment at 3001 Finch Ave. West, operated by Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace Inc.

The letter reads, in part: “The vision of this community includes providing housing for households in which at least one person is a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. This means if none of the individuals of your household are a member … you will be removed from the waiting list.”

“It’s prejudiced, it’s racist,” said Laura Whiteway of Brampton, Lewis’s mother. “It’s wrong on every single level: this goes against everything Canada represents to me.”

Whiteway contacted Global News after receiving the letter, which she says unfairly discriminates against her son because he is not Muslim.

“If it’s legal, it should not be legal; it’s insulting, that’s what it is,” she said.

Under provincial law, renters aren’t supposed to be denied accommodations on the basis of religion.

“The purpose of the Human Rights Code in Ontario is to make sure people feel as though they are part of the community and that their dignity and their worth is protected,” said Shane Martinez, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer who specializes in human rights issues.

“The Human Rights Code for the province still applies and is really the paramount legislation that needs to be given consideration in a situation like this,” Martinez added.

But the city of Toronto says the practice of allowing only certain ethnic or religious groups is legally acceptable.

“Ahmadiyya has received approval under Council authority to enter into an Agreement to establish a Mandate to restrict tenancy to ‘members of the Muslim Jama’at’ in accordance with the requirements approved by City Council in November 2002. The Agreement to Establish a Mandate has been executed by both parties and has a five year term with an effective date of Jan 1, 2015,” according to John Gosgnach, communications manager for the City of Toronto.

“The City’s mandate policy allows social housing providers to restrict their housing to individuals belonging to an identifiable ethnic or religious group if specific conditions are met,” Gosgnach said.

Full report at:

http://globalnews.ca/news/2185359/toronto-man-denied-subsidized-housing-for-not-being-muslim/

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Europe

 

10 Most Racist European Countries towards Muslims

August 25, 2015

After 11 Most Racist Countries in Europe, we bring to you our list of 10 most racist European countries towards Muslims. After the incident of September 2001 in United States the image of Muslims and Islam has taken a pounding all over the world. Many people around the world attached a label of terrorism with the name of Muslims. This is one reason that in many countries Muslims are still seen as some alien creatures.

Not only terrorism but there are other aspects of human life which are always questioned by non-Muslims. For instance, Muslim women cover their entire bodies as it is obligatory for them in their religion. Many western countries and torchbearers of freedom for women think of this obligation as a severe restriction.

A Muslim lifestyle is subjected to interrogating eyes, comments and sometimes even harsh reactions. There are countries which are known for stereotyping Muslims and their daily dealings with the world. Some religious groups exercise extreme hatred for Muslims in the form of Muslim genocides and right abandonment.

In Europe, the ‘Islamophobia’ is at its worst. Many of the European countries consider Muslims as an intolerable community and therefore Muslims in these countries have to face torrid times during their jobs, studies and social activities. One of the main reasons for this hatred towards Muslims is the fear that all Muslims are directly or indirectly connected to terrorism. This article brings to you the top 10 European countries that are most biased and racist towards Muslims.

10. Ukraine

9. Belgium

The country does not consist of a vast population of Muslims. Muslims constitute around 5% of the total Belgian population. However, anti-Muslim sentiments do not cease to develop in the region. This places Belgium in our list of 10 most racist European countries towards Muslims. Anti-Islamic protests were observed in the country in spite of government ban. Leniency towards the protesters in this regards is a clear evidence of racism towards Muslims. Muslim women wearing scarves and veils were reported to have been insulted in public.

image: http://cdn2.insidermonkey.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/turkey-216461_1280-750x499.jpg

turkey-216461_1280

8. Spain

Spain has quite a history with hate for Islam. The country has had a wide Muslim population over the years. However, since the 1970s the country started following a strict immigration policy not allowing many Muslims to enter the country. The Muslim population in Spain since then mostly comprises of Spanish nationals. Surprisingly, the growth in Muslim population was observed as many Spanish citizens started converting to Islam. Meanwhile, the government policies and local’s attitude towards Muslims still indicate the Islamophobia prevailing in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/10-most-racist-european-countries-towards-muslims-367218/

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French Mosque Fire Is Arson, Hollande Says, As Anti-Muslim Crimes On The Rise In France

August 25 2015

A fire that destroyed most of a mosque in southern France this past weekend was deemed arson by the French government Monday. French President François Hollande condemned the crime in an official statement released Monday, saying the actions of the perpetrators went against the "values of the [French] Republic."

The arson in the mosque in Auch, near Toulouse, occurred Saturday, just one day after a heavily armed man attacked a high-speed Thalys train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris in what authorities believe was a terrorist act. The assailant, Ayoub El Khazzani, 25, was wrestled to the ground Friday by several bystanders, including U.S. servicemen, after he boarded the train armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic pistol and a box cutter.

Authorities have not yet identified suspects or motives in the arson incident in Auch, though authorities said they feared the crime was an anti-Muslim reaction to the Thalys attack. Anti-Muslim crimes have been on the rise in France since January, after two extremists who identified themselves as Muslim stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people and wounding many more.

Full report at:

http://www.ibtimes.com/french-mosque-fire-arson-hollande-says-anti-muslim-crimes-rise-france-2067391

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iranian-epic-‘muhammad’-aims-to-change-islam’s-image/d/104385






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