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Islamic World News (18 Apr 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Loud Speakers Only For Azan and Friday Sermons: Egypt's Awqaf

 

 

 

 

 

The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul. PHOTO: ON ISLAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arab World

Loud Speakers Only For Azan and Friday Sermons: Egypt's Awqaf

Wave of Bombings Kills 40 People in Iraqi Capital

Dozens of Militants Killed by Army in Syria's Dara'a

Syrian Army Kills At Least 12 Terrorists in Idlib Countryside

Egypt's Army Kill 10 Suspected Militants, Arrest 11

Border Skirmishes Kill 4 Saudi Troops

ISIL Attack Kills Three at Turkish Cafe near US Consulate in Erbil

Hezbollah blames Saudi Arabia for spread of extremism

Saddam aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri 'killed' in Iraq

Imams endorse war on the oppressor

Saudi King Salman calls Obama on Yemen crisis

ISIS issuing photo IDs in Syrian stronghold Raqqa

 

South Asia

Chinese Imams Forced To Dance in Xinjiang Region, Youth Directed To Stay Away From Mosques

Suicide Blast in Afghanistan Kills 33, Injures More Than 100

Militants behead 4 abducted civilians in Ghazni province

Bangladesh’s secularism under threat

 

Pakistan

Curriculum Being Revised To Promote Inter-Faith Harmony: President

Army Double Down On Unorthodox Tactics against Taliban

Pakistan Implementing Curbs against Houthis

Forces kill six militants in Orakzai

Choking funds: Sindh to swoop down on terror financers

Two dozen tribesmen freed

Haqqani Network commander killed

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman regrets sluggish repatriation of displaced people

 

Mideast

Yemen: Iran State Media Claims Saudi Prince Killed In Houthi Mortar Attack

At Least 27 Dead In Fighting In Yemen's Taez

Iran's Top Security Official Warns Saudis to Wait for Major Loss in Yemen War

'Where are Aborigines, where are Redskins,' Turkish PM asks West

Iran presents Yemen peace plan to United Nations

 

Africa

At Least 21 Killed In Clashes near Libya’s Tripoli

Boko Haram attacks 2 villages in Cameroon, kills 12

Tunisia blocks more than 12,000 would-be militants

Nigerian kids' drawings capture Boko Haram terror

A hashtag’s unintended consequences in Nigeria

 

India

Muslims Have Drifted From Faith: Modi Aide Sareshwala, a Member of the Tablighi Jamaat

Hurriyat Leader May Switch To Geelani Faction

 

North America

ISIS Wannabes: Inside the Minds of Jihadis Born in the USA

The Quality of Turkish Democracy Matters to US, Says US Official

Libya Crisis: Obama Appeals to Gulf States

IS looting provokes call for global response

Boston bombing: Parents of youngest victim oppose execution

Syria war: US pledge over 'chlorine' attack video shown to UN

Lawmakers decide Maine doesn’t need ban on Muslim law in courts

Terror-linked arrests lead to soul searching at Montreal school

Americans with illegal Iraq war souvenirs go unprosecuted

 

Europe

France Announces Stronger Fight against Racism and Anti-Semitism

ICC Asked To Investigate Abduction by Boko Haram of 276 Nigerian Girls

'Isis' among names removed from UN list of hurricane names: U.N.'s WMO

Paris Warns Indonesia of Consequences if Frenchman Executed

U.N. weather agency scratches ‘Isis’ from storm name list

 

Australia

Australian Teens Held Over Alleged Terror Attack

 

Southeast Asia

Jakim Tightens Rules on Stage Shows, Ads Gender Segregation

Not Only Lonely Women Susceptible To Isis, Says Anti-Terror Expert

Activists to Joko: Speak Up on Beheadings

In anti-war narrative, Dr M calls UN the world’s ‘dictator’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/loud-speakers-only-for-azan-and-friday-sermons--egypt-s-awqaf/d/102537

 

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Arab World

 

Loud speakers only for Azan and Friday sermons: Egypt's Awqaf

18 April 2015

Egypt's state religious authority has banned the use of loud speakers in mosques beyond the call to prayer (Azan) and Friday afternoon sermons, an official statement said.

The ministry of religious endowments (Awqaf) also warned in Friday's statement that violators could face salary deductions or transfer.

Awqaf asked its employees in different governorates to provide the names of those responsible for mosque property and its speakers within 10 days.

Millions of Muslim Egyptians, men and women, attend Friday prayers in mosques and listen to the recently standardised sermons by Awqaf-appointed Imams.

Islamic jurisprudence mandates Muslims conduct five sets of daily prayers.

In March, Awqaf placed all non-governmental Islamic cultural institutes and preacher training centres under its direct supervision.

Last year, Awqaf mandated all preachers to acquire a permit before administering sermons on the pulpit, banning all unlicensed preachers.

The ministry also prohibited Friday prayers at small, less-regulated corner mosques known as Zawaya.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi recently called on Al-Azhar to "revolutionise" its religious discourse in order to guide Muslims to a correct understanding of Islam.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/127940/Egypt/Politics-/Loud-speakers-only-for-Azan-and-Friday-sermons-Egy.aspx

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Wave of bombings kills 40 people in Iraqi capital

18 April 2015

BAGHDAD (AP) - A series of bombings ripped through Baghdad on Friday, mainly targeting public places and killing at least 40 people, Iraqi officials said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but violence has escalated both in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq in the wake of Islamic State group's capture of large swaths of territory in the country's west and north during a blitz last year. The Islamic State has taken credit for similar attacks in the past, especially those targeting Shiites, as well as Iraqi security forces and government buildings.

The deadliest of Friday's attacks came when a car bomb went off inside a car dealership in the Shiite neighborhood of Habibya in eastern Baghdad, killed 15 people and wounded 26 others, police said. Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the area as at least 11 cars were burnt. Security forces sealed off the place.

Half an hour earlier, a car bomb detonated near an out-door market in the capital's southwestern Amil neighborhood, killing 13 people and wounding 24 there, police officials said.

Earlier, a bomb blast on a commercial street in the southeastern Shiite New Baghdad district killed four people and wounded nine. Also, a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Dora neighborhood, killing three shoppers and another bomb blast near a cafe killed three people in the capital's southeastern suburbs.

A roadside bomb exploded near a patrol of Sunni fighters known as Sahwa in southern Baghdad, killing two of the force's members. The Sahwa fighters joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq insurgency to fight al-Qaida and other Sunni militants.

Medical officials confirmed the casualties in Friday's attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj in Baghdad contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/127937/World/Region/Wave-of-bombings-kills--people-in-Iraqi-capital.aspx

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Dozens of Militants Killed by Army in Syria's Dara'a

18 April 2015

The Syrian Army advanced against insurgents in various parts of the Southwestern province of Dara'a, killing, injuring and arresting scores of the antigovernment fighters in the battlefields.

In al-Bitar Farm in the countryside of Attman town, North of Dara'a city, there were bloody clashes between the rebel groups and the Syrian army and popular forces, who killed and wounded a large number of the fighters.

Meantime, some neighborhoods of Dara'a al-Balad, including the Old Customs, the Technical Institution and the Post Office were stormed by the Syrian commandoes.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 210,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.

Over 3.8 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. According to reports, more than seven million Syrians have become internally displaced.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940129000690

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Syrian Army Kills At Least 12 Terrorists in Idlib Countryside

18 April 2015

The Syrian Army, in one of the deadliest calashes with the terrorists of Ahrar al-Sahm in recent days, killed at least 12 and wounded some others in a town in the Northwestern Province of Idlib.

Taftanaz, a town in the Idlib's countryside, was the scene of bloody clashes between the Syrian soldiers and the terrorists of Ahrar al-Sham, which resulted in the killing of 12 antigovernment fighters.

Since 2011, Syria has been faced massive insurgency created by the certain Western countries and their regional allies that staged a propagandistic war against Damascus.

At the beginning of crisis, certain western powers and their regional allies voiced loudly that Syrian protests have no diplomatic solution, and then they started supplying the country's opposition groups with their arms and funds.

But in 2014, specially after victory of President Bashar al-Assad in the country's presidential election in summer, the army has gained upper hand in its anti-terrorism campaign, and has been partly successful in sealing borders with Turkey and Jordan.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940129000582

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Egypt's army kill 10 suspected militants, arrest 11

18 April 2015

Egyptian army forces have killed 10 suspected militants and arrested 11 others during an ongoing offensive against Islamist insurgents in the restive Sinai Peninsula, security sources told state news agency MENA on Friday.

The military campaign- in which air and ground troops were used- hit alleged hideouts of the militants in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, on the border with the besieged Palestinian Gaza strip.

Forces detonated 10 bombs, which they found planted on the road, from a distance.

No injuries resulted from the detonation.

The military have been fighting a growing Islamist insurgency in Sinai for over a decade.

Terrorist attacks against security forces have spiked since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based militant group, has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks in Egypt.

In 2014, ABM swore allegiance to the Islamic State group, changing their name to Welayat Sinaa (Sinai Province).

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/127930/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-army-kill--suspected-militants,-arrest-.aspx

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Border Skirmishes Kill 4 Saudi Troops

18 April 2015

Tribal troops killed at least four Saudi soldiers and injured 20 others in heavy fighting erupted near the Yemeni border in Southern Saudi Arabia, local sources said.

According to the sources, at least four Saudi troopers were killed and 20 others injured in border clashes with Yemeni tribal forces in the Dhahran region, South of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia started massive aerial bombardments on Yemen on March 26. The Saudi-led attacks have drawn international criticism after claiming the lives of at least 2,600 people, mostly women and children, and razing thousands of housing units to the ground.

Also, thousands of people have been injured during the attacks as the Saudi offensive enters its 24th consecutive day.

Some western countries, including the US, have backed the Saudi aggression despite international calls for a swift halt to the attacks.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940129000193

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ISIL attack kills three at Turkish cafe near US consulate in Erbil

18 April 2015

A car bombing claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed three people on April 17 outside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, in a relatively rare attack in the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Two Turkish citizens were killed in the attack while five people among the 10 injured were also Turkish citizens, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement early April 18.

The Nili cafeteria, operated by Turkish citizens and frequently visited by foreigners in the city, was severely damaged, according to Anadolu Agency.  Twelve automobiles and 30 shops were damaged in the attack, the report said.

No U.S. personnel were hurt in the blast, according to the U.S. State Department, which said a "vehicle-borne improvised explosive device" exploded right outside the entrance to the heavily fortified compound.

Iraq's Kurdish region is an important partner for the U.S.-led coalition in its campaign to "degrade and destroy" ISIL, which overran large parts of Iraq last summer and threatened to reach Erbil.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/isil-attack-kills-three-at-turkish-cafe-near-us-consulate-in-erbil.aspx?pageID=238&nID=81231&NewsCatID=352

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Hezbollah blames Saudi Arabia for spread of extremism

18 April 2015

The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group launched his harshest criticism yet of Saudi Arabia on Friday, blaming the kingdom for the spread of extremist ideology in the Muslim world and the killing of civilians in Yemen.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told hundreds of supporters at a rally in southern Beirut organized in support of Yemen's Shiite rebels that Saudi-led airstrikes targeting them have not led to victory.

Since March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has been pounding the rebels known as Houthis and allied fighters loyal to Yemen's ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Nasrallah said that the kingdom will soon realize that "the only choice left" is a ground operation in Yemen — a "ground invasion will be costly and will end with a defeat."

Both the Houthis and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/127941/World/Region/Hezbollah-blames-Saudi-Arabia-for-spread-of-extrem.aspx

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Saddam aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri 'killed' in Iraq

18 April 2015

Fugitive Iraqi militant leader Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was right-hand man to Iraq's ex-leader Saddam Hussein, has been killed, Iraqi officials say.

They say he died in fighting in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad. His supporters have denied the claim.

Douri, 72, led the Naqshbandi Order insurgent group, a key force behind the recent rise of Islamic State (IS).

He was deputy to Saddam Hussein, who was ousted when US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003 and executed in 2006.

Douri was regarded as the most high-profile official of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to successfully evade capture after the invasion, and had a large bounty on his head for years.

He was the King of Clubs in the famous pack of cards the US issued of wanted members of Saddam Hussein's regime after its defeat.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32347036

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Imams endorse war on the oppressor

18 April 2015

Head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais has praised the government for launching Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, describing it as a “legitimate” action to protect the citizens of that country from oppression.

In his Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque, Al-Sudais said the government’s actions have made it clear that it would not allow anyone to threaten the safety and security of a fellow Arab nation and Saudi Arabia.

“The Kingdom has embarked on an initiative that will be written in history as a move to champion the cause of the oppressed in Yemen,” Al-Sudais said in his sermon.

“Yemen is dear to all Muslims and the decision to extend a helping hand to the brothers in Yemen is characteristic of the Kingdom’s rulers. Operation Decisive Storm is a legitimate duty undertaken by the Kingdom in line with its traditional practice of helping the oppressed,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/734181

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Saudi King Salman calls Obama on Yemen crisis

18 April 2015

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Saturday called U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the latest developments in Yemen where the Kingdom is leading a coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi militias, Reuters news agency reported.

The two leaders agreed that a negotiated political solution was necessary to reach stability in Yemen, a White House statement said.

Obama also underscored the U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia's security, the White House said.

The conversation also touched upon the situation in “at the regional and international arenas,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Saudi Arabia launched on March 26 a military campaign answering a call from Yemen’s President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi for intervention after Houthi militants overran the capital of Sanaa earlier this year.

In addition to logistic help, the U.S. has voiced its support of the campaign, dubbed Operation Decisive Storm, as a means of restoring stability to the embattled country.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution placing an arms embargo on the Houthi militants along with blacklisting their leader and deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has allied himself with the Shiite militias.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/18/Obama-calls-King-Salman-on-Yemen-crisis.html

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ISIS issuing photo IDs in Syrian stronghold Raqqa

18 April 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group is now issuing photo identity cards in Syria's Raqqa province, but only to males, along with a range of administrative documents, a monitor and activists said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS had begun issuing “identity cards to those without proof of identity and boys over the age of 13 in Raqqa province.”

The Britain-based group published a photo it said was provided by civilian sources showing a laminated card printed with the black and white flag of ISIS.

It carries the photo of the holder, his name, date and place of birth and his parents' names, and is marked “Wilayat (district of) Raqqa.”

An activist with the anti-ISIS “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” group confirmed that ISIS had begun issuing identity documents.

ISIS is requesting “that people who do not have identity papers register at the civil registry in the city as a first step towards getting an identity card,” activist Mohamed Saleh told AFP via the Internet.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/17/ISIS-issuing-photo-IDs-in-Syrian-stronghold-Raqqa.html

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South Asia

 

Chinese Imams Forced To Dance in Xinjiang Region, Youth Directed To Stay Away From Mosques

18 April 2015

XINJIANG: In another attempt to suppress religious freedoms, China forced imams from its eastern Muslim majority Xinjiang region to dance in the street and swear to an oath that they would not teach religion to children.

The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul.

The Muslim imams were further forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the CKP [Chinese Communist Party] not from Allah”.

State Chinese news said the imams were gathering in a square in the name of civilization where they were forced to dance and chant out slogans in support of the state.

The slogans included statements glorifying the state over religion such as ‘peace of the country gives peace to the soul’.

Speeches were also given which directed youth to stay away from mosques and that prayer was harmful for their health. They were instead encouraged to dance.

Female teachers were instructed to teach children to stay away from religious education and made to swear an oath that they will keep children away from religion.

Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in the north-western Xinjiang region.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/871879/suppressing-religious-freedoms-chinese-imams-forced-to-dance-in-xinjiang-region/

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Suicide blast in Afghanistan kills 33, injures more than 100

18 April 2015

ALALABAD: A suicide bomb blast in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad killed 33 people and injured more than 100 outside a bank where government workers collect salaries, the city's police chief said on Saturday.

Police were investigating whether there was a second explosion after people rushed to the scene to help, the police chief, Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, told a news conference.

“It was a suicide attack,” Sherzad said, adding that police had yet to determine if the attacker had worn the explosives or had placed them in a car. “It is early to say what kind of suicide bomber.”

Taliban insurgents denied responsibility, although they have claimed earlier killings in a wave of attacks coinciding with the sharp drawdown of foreign troops.

“It was an evil act. We strongly condemn it,” the Islamist militants' spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Reuters.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1176730/suicide-blast-in-afghanistan-kills-33-injures-more-than-100

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Militants behead 4 abducted civilians in Ghazni province

18 April 2015

The anti-government armed militants have beheaded four abducted civilians in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan, local officials said Friday.

The officials further added that the civilians were reportedly beheaded by militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

The district administrative chief for Malistan in Ghazni province Zamin Ali said the civilians were beheaded after the government rejected a prisoners swap deal.

Ali said the militants demanded the release a group of seven militants who were arrested by the Afghan security forces in Jaghori district.

According to Ali the detained militants included the group’s commander who was identified as Abdullah.

He said the militants abducted the civilians on the same day the group was arrested by the Afghan security forces.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban militants has not commented regarding the report so far.

https://www.khaama.com/militants-behead-4-abducted-civilians-in-ghazni-province-1007

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Bangladesh’s secularism under threat

18 April 2015

The brutal recent murders of two bloggers, Avijit Roy and Oyasikur Rahman, have drawn global attention to rising Islamist violence in Bangladesh. Roy was a published author, whereas Rahman’s audience was confined mainly to readers of his online posts. What they had in common was an outspoken critique of religiosity and a history of tangling with Islamists online. Yet contrary to first appearances, the killings may be a symptom of the Islamists’ increasing weakness and desperation. -

Bangladesh has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the more liberal and tolerant Muslim countries. Two women prime ministers have alternated in power since 1991. Many Bangladeshis complain about both of them, but hardly any do so on account of their gender. Women have also taken up high positions in Parliament, the judiciary, education and business. The country has bested its neighbors India and Pakistan on most social-progress indicators.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2015/apr/17/bangladeshs-secularism-under-threat#sthash.YOjEcIn6.dpuf

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Pakistan

 

Curriculum being revised to promote inter-faith harmony: president

18 April 2015

ISLAMABAD - President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday said that educational curriculum was being reviewed to include the content for promoting inter-faith harmony. The president, in a meeting with the leaders of religious minorities at the President House, said steps were under consideration to prepare curriculum for madrassahs (religious seminaries) as well. The interaction was part of the series of events held in connection with Pakistan Day celebrations.

President Mamnoon said though the country's educational curriculum did not contain any discriminatory material against minorities; however it was still being reviewed. He stressed for joint efforts by all stakeholders to make Pakistan a developed and prosperous country. He said celebration of festivals including Holi, Diwali, and Christmas had been part of this region's civilization and the government had a positive approach in this regard.

He also added that the government was taking effective measures to prevent misuse of blasphemy law. He stated that the blasphemy law in Pakistan applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike adding that the law was non-discriminatory in this regard.

The president told the delegation that the government had revamped the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to promote religious harmony and affinity and the Ministry of Religious Affairs was working to keep vigil on protection of the minority’s’ rights in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/17-Apr-2015/curriculum-being-revised-to-promote-inter-faith-harmony-president

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Army double down on unorthodox tactics against Taliban

18 April 2015

KHARIAN: The army is employing some rather interesting methods at a training site tucked in a forest in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where the military says 65 per cent of troops fighting Operation Zarb-e-Azb are being trained.

Earlier this month, the military took The Washington Post on a rare public tour of the 2,500-acre facility, which opened in 2009. According to the Post article, as many as 3,000 soldiers arrive each month for two dozen training scenarios, some of which are staged in a set made to look like a typical village in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“This is a complete architectural rendition, from the interior to the exterior to the foxholes, of what you would see in FATA,” Maj. Nauman Mushtaq said as he led a reporter through a muddy tunnel that started in one house and ended in another.

While training at this site does include live-fire exercises, the army is also relying heavily on paintballs for its simulated war games. One section of the sprawling National Counterterrorism Center Pabbi is dedicated to these paintball fights. Soldiers armed with paintball guns face off in a field about the size of a volleyball court, exchanging at least 2,000 paintballs during one training session.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/871470/paintballs-and-bird-calls-army-double-downs-on-unorthodox-tactics-against-taliban/

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Pakistan implementing curbs against Houthis

18 April 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday started implementing the UN Security Council resolution seeking arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels as well as freezing their assets and imposing a travel ban.

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued SRO 324(I)/ 2015 in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 2 of the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948 (XIV of 1948) to implement assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo and other related obligations in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UNSC resolutions on Yemen,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Friday.

On April 14, the UNSC adopted a resolution under chapter VII of the UN Charter on the situation in Yemen.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/18-Apr-2015/pakistan-implementing-curbs-against-houthis

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Forces kill six militants  in Orakzai

18 April 2015

HANGU: At least six militant were killed when security forces pounded their hideouts in parts of Central Orakzai Agency on Friday. According to sources, security forces backed by helicopter gunships carried out shelling on militants’ hideouts in Orakzai Agency, resulting in killing of six insurgents. Two militants’ hideouts were also destroyed in the bombing. Security sources said that security forces were advancing on militants’ strongholds.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/18-Apr-2015/forces-kill-six-militants-in-orakzai

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Choking funds: Sindh to swoop down on terror financers

18 April 2015

KARACHI: The provincial apex committee of Sindh set up to oversee implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism has decided to swoop down on financers of terrorists in the province.

Chaired by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the apex committee met on Friday to review progress on NAP execution and chart out a future course. Attendees included Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, members of the provincial cabinet, senior bureaucrats as well as officials from the military and intelligence agencies.

In his briefing to the apex committee, the director general of Sindh Rangers, Major General Bilal Akbar, said a large number of terrorists from proscribed groups had been arrested since the NAP execution started.

“However, special attention needs to be given to their sources of funding,” he said. “Terrorists are receiving funds through various means, including extortion, illegal hydrants and kidnapping for ransom.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/871790/choking-funds-sindh-to-swoop-down-on-terror-financers/

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Two dozen tribesmen freed

18 April 2015

BANNU: Over two dozen ‘suspected’ tribesmen, belonging to North and South Waziristan, have been freed by the security agencies after conducting thorough investigation. They were handed over to the traditional jirga of Utman Wazir tribe in Bannu through the political administration.

At least 28 people were arrested during the military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the militants in North Waziristan Agency. All the tribesmen have been declared “cleared” by the security forces after the scrutiny.

A jirga, for release of the 28 tribesmen, was held in Bannu where the administration was represented by Assistant Political Agent North Waziristan Manzoor Afridi.

Speaking on the occasion, Manzoor Afridi appreciated tribal elders for rendering tremendous sacrifices and experiencing miseries during the operation.

“In fact, all credit goes to these tribesmen for making Zarb-e-Azb a successful story by abandoning homes and extending support to the security forces,” he remarked, adding that now the government with the help of these tribesmen determined to maintain peace and writ of law in all over North Waziristan.

The assistant political agent also assured tribal elders about release of other suspects as the investigation is underway. He said only militants will be taken to task and the innocent people will be released.

He called upon the tribal elders to fulfill their responsibilities in purging their territories of militants and also ensuring the writ of law.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/871829/two-dozen-tribesmen-freed/

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Haqqani Network commander killed

18 April 2015

PESHAWAR: One of the top commanders of the Haqqani Network was among six militants killed during clashes with the security agencies in the bordering areas of North and South Waziristan as well as Kurram Agency.

The law enforcement personnel also arrested nine militants while one managed to escape in the hills. Officials said that during the advancement in Kurram Agency the security forces met with resistance. The encounter lasted half an hour which resulted in the killing of six militants.

The commander of the Haqqani Network was identified as Farooq Zadran who was killed in Beermal, the border area between North and South Waziristan. According to the officials, militants associated with the Haqqani Network were making an attempt to sneak into South Waziristan from North Waziristan Agency where military action Zarb-e-Azb is in progress.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/871786/haqqani-network-commander-killed/

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Maulana Fazlur Rehman regrets sluggish repatriation of displaced people

18 April 2015

PESHAWAR: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday complained about sluggish repatriation of the people displaced from conflict-stricken areas of Fata, especially North Waziristan Agency, and asked the government to expedite the process.

Talking to media at his party’s secretariat here after meeting elders of Utmanzai tribe from North Waziristan, the JUI-F chief he said his party would convene jirga of Pakhtun leaders within two weeks to discuss issues and grievances of the IDPs.

He said senior politicians, including Asfandyar Wali Khan, Aftab Sherpao, Sirajul Haq, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and other leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal elders, would be invited to the conference.

Says will call a jirga to discuss issues of people displaced from Fata

“I don’t understand the logic behind slow return of IDPs to their homes. On one hand, the government claims 90 per cent area of North Waziristan has been cleared but on the other, it is repatriating eight to 10 families daily on average,” he said.

Fazl said if the area had been secured, then the administration should not create hurdles and let the people go back home.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1176722/fazl-regrets-sluggish-repatriation-of-displaced-people

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Mideast

 

Yemen: Iran State Media Claims Saudi Prince Killed in Houthi Mortar Attack

18 April 2015

Iranian state media reports claim that a Saudi prince, who was a senior commander of the General Staff of the country's Armed Forces, was killed in a mission in Yemen.

The unconfirmed report published in Iran's "semi-official" Fars News Agency identified the slain army personnel as Major General Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was killed along with two other senior officers.

The slain General according to the Iranian news source was the grandson of King bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The report, however, does not clarity whether the Saudi prince killed in clashes with Houthis was related to present ruling monarch, Salman or King Abdullah,who died on 23 January 2015.

The report citing unnamed sources noted that the general was killed during a mission in Northwestern Yemen on 11 April.

The Saudi Major General was on a mission in Al Majda village, Quatabir district, of the Sadah governorate in Northwestern Yemen, when they were attacked by the Houthis.

The Iranian news report comes days after Saudi Arabia's defence ministry announced that three Saudi officers were killed and two others were injured after Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen fired a mortar round at a Saudi border post.

Al Jazeera, however, did not reveal the name and rank of the personnel killed in the battle.

Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab countries launched the air strikes on 26 March, after the Iran-backed rebels seized the capital city of Sanaa. The country recently claimed that the air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen has been "very successful" and gone "beyond its goals".

The airstrikes have reportedly killed at least 500 Houthi rebels and scores of civilians.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/yemen-iran-state-media-claims-saudi-kings-grandson-killed-clashes-629437

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At least 27 dead in fighting in Yemen's Taez

18 April 2015

At least 27 people were killed in the Yemeni city of Taez in clashes between loyalist forces and rebels as well as Saudi-led coalition air raids, medical sources said Saturday.

Residents said the city in southwest Yemen was rocked by explosions and gunfire overnight as the coalition-backed forces of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi battled pro-Iranian Huthi Shiite rebels.

Nineteen rebels, four soldiers of a mechanised army unit loyal to the president and four other pro-Hadi fighters were killed, a medical source told AFP.

On Friday, coalition warplanes carried out heavy air strikes on a presidential palace in Taez, Yemen's third largest city, and of positions held by special forces units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who has sided with the Huthis.

Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia last month as the Huthis closed in on his refuge in the southern city of Aden, having advanced from their stronghold in northern Yemen last year to seize the capital Sanaa.

Residents and security sources said rival fighters clashed Friday night in districts of Aden, while pro-Hadi forces with the support of air strikes held off rebels battling for the past week for control of Aden's refinery, 15 kilometres (nine miles) to the west of the port city.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/127952/World/Region/At-least--dead-in-fighting-in-Yemens-Taez.aspx

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Iran's Top Security Official Warns Saudis to Wait for Major Loss in Yemen War

18 April 2015

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani described the Saudi-led aggression against Yemen as a "historical mistake", and warned of its dire consequences for Riyadh.

"The Saudi aggression against Yemen is against the UN Charter, against the principles of peaceful coexistence and against the legal tenets ruling the UN and aims to deviate the path of the Muslim world and wear off the internal power and capacities of the world of Islam," Shamkhani told reporters in Tehran on Friday.

"Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has made a big historical mistake and this heresy will definitely have no end but loss and damage for them," he added.

In relevant remarks on Sunday, Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan also warned that the Saudi army would sustain a crushing defeat in its invasion of Yemen, warning of the devastating consequences of the current war for Riyadh.

"The aggressors that attacked Yemen today will certainly fail," Pourdastan told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940129000439

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'Where are Aborigines, where are Redskins,' Turkish PM asks West

18 April 2015

Warning that decisions like the European Parliament’s motion calling the mass killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I as a “genocide” will lead to enmity and prejudice against Turkey and Muslims, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also asked about the fate of the Aborigines in Australia and Native Americans in the United States.

“If a contribution is to be made to peace, if European culture is to preserve its multicultural and multi-religious structure, it must not make decisions that will cause enmity against any religious or national group on the basis of history. This is a situation which will provoke anti-Islam and anti-Turkish [sentiments], which have been on the rise recently in Europe. From now on, the ‘Turkey-Armenia’ [issue] has moved beyond the ‘Turkish-Armenian’ issue. It is a reflection of racism in Europe,” Davutoğlu said on April 17, responding to reporters.

The European Parliament’s motion came on April 15, only a few days after Pope Francis triggered fury in Turkey by using the same term.

The prime minister argued that both the European Parliament’s resolution and the pope’s statement were “a new reflection of racism.”

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/where-are-aborigines-where-are-redskins-turkish-pm-asks-west.aspx?pageID=238&nID=81200&NewsCatID=338

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Iran presents Yemen peace plan to United Nations

18 April 2015

A four-point peace plan to end a Saudi-led air campaign on Iranian-backed Houthi militias has been submitted by Tehran to the United Nations on Friday.

In a letter, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Tehran stands ready to help the United Nations restore peace to Yemen, where Houthis have taken over the capital and driven President Abedrabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

Riyadh and Washington accuse Tehran of supplying arms to the Houthis, a claim which Iran denies.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/18/Iran-presents-Yemen-peace-plan-to-U-N-.html

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Africa

 

At least 21 killed in clashes near Libya’s Tripoli

18 April 2015

At least 21 people were killed in fighting near Libya’s capital Tripoli, military sources said, as the country’s rival parliaments met in Morocco for U.N.-brokered peace talks aimed at forming a unity government to end the unrest.

Pro-government forces clashed with fighters from the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya militia alliance in Tajoura, 30 kilometers east of Tripoli, as the forces of the internationally recognized government launched an attack against the militia’s camp in a new attempt to regain control of the capital.

“14 soldiers, four fighters from Fajr Libya, and three women were killed today in Tajoura,” a pro-government military source told AFP, adding that the women were killed accidentally in rocket fire.

Another 24 people were wounded, he said, without giving a breakdown.

A Fajr Libya spokesman in Tripoli, Mohamad Shami, confirmed the attack but gave a much higher death toll on the pro-government side.

“32 members of the attacking forces were killed,” Shami said.

“Fajr Libya is in full control of Tajoura, and there are minor clashes near a camp called the 101 camp where some of the attackers are still there and Fajr Libya forces are surrounding them,” he added.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/18/At-least-21-killed-in-fighting-near-Libyan-capital.html

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Boko Haram attacks 2 villages in Cameroon, kills 12

18 April 2015

Boko Haram militants killed at least 12 people in attacks on two Cameroonian villages on the northern border with Nigeria, a senior military official said on Friday.

The Islamic extremists entered the villages of Bia and Diana late on Thursday, looting and burning property while shooting indiscriminately, leaving 10 men and two women dead, said Col. Jacob Kodji in a telephone interview.

“You know our boundary with Nigeria is very porous and some people have been traumatized,” he said.

Cameroon has deployed troops to the area and a few arrests have been made, he said. Soldiers from neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger have helped oust Boko Haram in recent weeks from Nigerian towns held for months.

Boko Haram’s nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands a reported 10,000 just last year and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/boko-haram-attacks-2-villages-in-cameroon-kills-12/article7113999.ece

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Tunisia blocks more than 12,000 would-be militants

18 April 2015

Tunisian authorities have prevented more than 12,000 would-be jihadists from leaving the country over the past two years, Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli said on Friday.

Speaking to a parliamentary committee examining an anti-terror bill, he said his ministry had prevented "12,490 Tunisians from leaving Tunisian territory to travel to combat zones" in Iraq, Libya and Syria since March 2013.

Authorities estimate that between 2,000 and 3,000 Tunisians have still managed to head abroad for such purposes, representing a long-term threat to security at home.

Gharsalli also said 1,000 people had been brought before the courts in the first quarter of 2015 for belonging to a terrorist organization, but did not say how many were in custody or had been formally charged.

The spokesman for the prosecutor's office, Sofiene Sliti, said 83 verdicts had been delivered out of 124 court cases since 2013, but he did not elaborate.

Since a popular uprising ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia has been targeted by jihadist violence, which has killed dozens of police and soldiers.

More recently, 21 foreign tourists were gunned down when jihadists claiming links to the Islamic State group assaulted the capital's Bardo National Museum on March 18.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/04/18/Tunisia-blocks-more-than-12-000-would-be-militants.html

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Nigerian kids' drawings capture Boko Haram terror

18 April 2015

BLOODY faces, headless bodies, burned houses — these are some of the stark and haunting images drawn by children who have fled deadly Boko Haram violence in neighboring Nigeria for the relative safety of a refugee camp in western Chad.

At the Dar-es-Salam camp in Baga Sola, around 10 kilometers (six miles) from Lake Chad, dozens of boys in dusty rags gather in front of a UNICEF tent, elbowing each other and giggling.

The kids are getting ready for a drawing workshop run by the United Nations children's agency. Once inside the tent, calm descends as the kids, pen in hand, attempt to put their memories on a white piece of paper.

They are reconstructing the events they witnessed when Boko Haram fighters attacked their villages. Somalia Ahmed says he is 15 years old, but looks about 12.

"The day of the attack we were in front of our door when we saw the Boko Haram. They went towards the people who were standing by the river and shot them.

They shot them in the head," said the boy. On all fours, he draws the outline of a boat and bodies floating on the river.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150418240787

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A hashtag’s unintended consequences in Nigeria

18 April 2015

A year after the Twitter campaign “#bringbackourgirls” put Nigeria on front pages around the world, the whereabouts of 219 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014 remains unknown.

The global clamor for their release, ferocious in the months after the kidnappings, is now modest, by comparison. But the campaign — and even more, the brutal conflict that sparked it — has had major consequences. Over the past year, Nigeria has changed.

On March 28, for the first time in the country’s history, Nigeria’s opposition claimed victory in a presidential election judged fair and free. President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling party conceded its 16-year grip on power, and is now a weakened force after significant defeats in state elections.

Full report at:

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/04/17/a-hashtags-unintended-consequences-in-nigeria/

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India

 

Muslims Have Drifted From Faith: Modi Aide Sareshwala, a Member of the Tablighi Jamaat

18 April 2015

A Muslim male remembers Islamic Shariah only when he wants to avoid maintenance allowance to his divorcee wife or when he wants to give minimum share of parental property, Zafar Sareshwala, the Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) said Friday in a statement that is bound to invite sharp reactions from the minority community.

“Musalman Mard Ko Shariah Ki Do Baar Yaad Aati Hai ? Ek Jab Talaq Deney Key Baad Aurat Ko Maintenance Na Dena Padey Aur Doosra Baap Key Inteqal Key Baad Behen Ko Kaisey Kam Hissa Diya Jaye. These are two grim realities of Muslim community. Males remember shariah on these two occasions only,” Sareshwala said while talking to The Indian Express from Aligarh.

Sareshwala, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was in Aligarh to attend the 76th convocation of Jamia Urdu where he conferred with a honorary doctorate. He also attended four other functions in Aligarh, including at AMU where he is President’s nominee for selection committee of teachers. “The response during these meetings was overwhelming. People here want to discuss the problems faced by the Muslim community,” he added.

Sareshwala said Muslims now a days do not “adhere to Islamic principles like giving rights to his neighbours or speaking truth. Muslims have drifted from their faith and religion. A real Muslim is one who has pain for everyone in his heart”.

Sareshwala also lashed out at the “demanding nature” of Muslims whether it is for reservation or various concessions. “We had come to give something to this country. We had come to give this country the teachings of Islamic faith. We have left that task of giving and are now demanding things,” Sareshwala – a member of the Tablighi Jamaat – said.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/muslims-have-drifted-from-faith-modi-aide-sareshwala/

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Hurriyat leader may switch to Geelani faction

18 April 2015

After a push for unity from Pakistan, a senior executive member of the moderate Hurriyat, Aga Syed Hassan, is mulling to quit the Mirwaiz-led amalgam. But before taking a final call, the leader is seeking assurance from Syed Ali Geelani-led amalgam that he will be welcomed into their fold.

This new development comes a week after seven second-rung leaders of moderate Hurriyat left the separatist amalgam. The leaders have already approached the Geelani-led faction seeking their inclusion into the separatist fold.

Sources said that Hassan, who holds sway over the Shia population in central Kashmir, in a recent meet of moderates has showed his dissent.  Sources added that before deciding to leave moderates, Hassan wants to ensure that he would be welcomed into its fold by Hurriyat hardliners. This change in loyalty from moderates to hardline Hurriyat has come after Pakistan reportedly asked the separatists to unite under one umbrella. Sources say that Pakistan was also not happy with senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah for forming a third Hurriyat faction.

Sources say soon after the formation of Hurriyat’s third faction last year, Shah and the representatives of Geelani’s faction have met several times to discuss unity efforts. “Yes, they have approached us,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar told The Indian Express. “They are in touch with us through a representative. The decision in this regard will be taken by our executive council. In principle, we are not against any pro-freedom group joining us.”

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/hurriyat-leader-may-switch-to-geelani-faction/

-----------

North America

 

ISIS Wannabes: Inside the Minds of Jihadis Born in the USA

18 April 2015

American-based ISIS wannabes who have been arrested over the past two years were drawn in by the utopian fantasy of an Islamic caliphate and not necessarily a desire to commit terrorist acts on U.S. soil, a new study has found.

The survey by Fordham Law School's Center on National Security found other common threads among the 25 people charged with supporting ISIS: They tend to be young and U.S.-born, and none is Arab.

A third of them wanted to provide non-military support of the terror group that is bent on creating a single Islamic state — from financial assistance to bearing children for ISIS fighters, according to the study, which was based on a review of court cases filed over the last two years.

"The narrative is that they have bought into the idea of the caliphate that they have romanticized," said Karen Greenberg, director of the Fordham center.

"While some may want to fight, those arrested have wanted to do a wide variety of things to help the Islamic State, including nurse to wife to mother. They don't want to come home."

The Justice Department has dramatically stepped up its prosecution of those who want to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other jihadi groups. Just this week, an Ohio man was indicted for allegedly getting terror training in Syria, where his brother was killed fighting for the Al-Nusra Front, and a Kansas man was indicted this week for a plot to blow up an Army base.

Full report at:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/born-u-s-inside-mind-isis-wannabes-n343181

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Libya crisis: Obama appeals to Gulf states

18 April 2015

President Obama has called on Gulf nations to use their influence on Libya's warring factions to help resolve the chaotic situation there.

He said those nations had been seen to "fan the flames of military conflict" in the North African country.

Libya has been in turmoil since the removal of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

There are two rival governments and numerous militia controlling their own patches of territory.

Divisions have emerged among Gulf nations on Libya, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly bombing Islamist targets in Libya and Qatar expressing reservations about such operations.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32360586

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The quality of Turkish democracy matters to us, says US official

18 April 2015

The United States gives importance to the “quality of Turkish democracy” not just in political and economic terms, but also as a security issue, said Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, following high level contacts in Turkey on April 16, ahead of a NATO meeting in May and Turkish elections in June. “It matters to us as allies, but also as a security issue,” she said in an exclusive interview with the Hürriyet Daily News. “In the sense that our NATO alliance is based and built on democratic values, we are all societies where the government serves the people, not the other way around. So that dialogue between citizens and their government, whether it is in the United States, whether it is in Turkey, needs to be vibrant, needs to be strong, needs to be free,” she said.

The focus of Nuland’s contacts in Turkey was actually on regional security matters as well as Turkey-U.S. relations. Before her stop in Istanbul where she met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and other ranking officials, Nuland was in Warsaw. Poland hosts the missile sites and Turkey hosts the early warning radar sites of the NATO-run U.S. Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-quality-of-turkish-democracy-matters-to-us-says-us-official.aspx?pageID=238&nID=81213&NewsCatID=409

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IS looting provokes call for global response

18 April 2015

Looting and destruction of artefacts from ancient sites is rampant across Islamic State-controlled areas in Iraq and Syria, and there's little stopping traffickers from selling them to fund the militant group.

Authorities in New York this week have taken custody of more than $107m (£72m) worth of art thought to be looted from India and other parts of southern Asia.

The collection of 2,622 objects recovered from warehouses around the city is the biggest antiquities seizure in US history and is part of an investigation into an American art dealer awaiting trial in India.

The case is representative of how large-scale commercial looting is threatening cultural heritage around the world.

And experts say that laws to prevent the sale of stolen artefacts are wholly inadequate to deal with the crisis.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32329681

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Boston bombing: Parents of youngest victim oppose execution

18 April 2015

The parents of youngest victim in the Boston marathon bombing have called on federal authorities to drop the death penalty as a possible punishment for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Bill and Denise Richard's eight-year-old son was one of three people killed in the explosions in April 2013.

The Richards said an execution sentence "could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives."

Tsarnaev was convicted last week.

The Richards made their plea in a front-page piece in the Boston Globe on Friday.

"We are in favour of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal," they wrote.

The Richards were injured in the attack and their daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs in one of the explosions.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32359044

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Syria war: US pledge over 'chlorine' attack video shown to UN

18 April 2015

Members of the UN Security Council were moved to tears after they were shown a video of an apparent chlorine gas attack in north-west Syria last month.

The footage shows the unsuccessful attempts of doctors to revive three children all aged under four.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said those responsible will be held accountable.

''A documentary record is being built, the testimonies are being gathered, and the long arm of justice is taking more time than any of us would wish right now but this documentary record will be used at some point in a court of law,'' she said.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32347014

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Lawmakers decide Maine doesn’t need ban on Muslim law in courts

18 April 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee voted 8-2 Thursday to reject a bill that attempted to codify the state and U.S. constitutions as the law of the land.

The legislation, LD 330, sponsored by state Rep. Michael McClellan, R-Raymond, was modeled after a law passed in Tennessee aimed at preventing the use of Muslim Sharia law in state courts there.

Testimony supporting the bill suggested immigrant Muslim women and their children were sometimes subjected to harsh and illegal treatment by husbands or ex-husbands.

As defendants in Maine courts, these men might suggest the laws of their religion or homeland should be applied to their cases, supporters of the legislation suggested.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, wrote in a memo to the Judiciary Committee stating that she opposed the measure, as did her Republican predecessor, William Schneider when a similar bill was offered during the 125th Legislature.

“The U.S. Constitution is supreme and this proposal is confusing and unnecessary,” Mills’ office wrote in a memo to the committee.

Full report at:

http://bangordailynews.com/2015/04/17/politics/state-house/lawmakers-decide-maine-doesnt-need-ban-on-muslim-law-in-courts/

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Terror-linked arrests lead to soul searching at Montreal school

18 April 2015

MONTREAL— A Montreal school is ratcheting up security and looking deep into its soul after the arrests of a young couple for what police allege were plans to commit terrorist acts.

Coming just months after five other Collège de Maisonneuve students were among seven Quebecers who fled Canada with plans to enter Syria and the ranks of the Islamic State, school officials have consulted experts on extremism and even arranged for preventative police patrols looking for signs of radicalization at the downtown campus.

Little is known so far about the arrests Tuesday night of El Mahdi Jamali and Sabrine Djaermane, other than the police allegation that they planned to commit an unspecified terrorism offence and that they attended Maisonneuve.

Wrapped up in the school’s recent saga is Adil Charkaoui, an Islamic leader in Montreal who rents the school’s facilities for a weekend Muslim youth group but is more commonly known for the years he spent being probed by federal agents as a suspected Al Qaeda sleeper agent.

Charkaoui has never been charged with any crime, is now a Canadian citizen and is suing Ottawa over his ordeal.

Full report at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/04/17/terror-linked-arrests-lead-to-soul-searching-at-montreal-school.html

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Americans with illegal Iraq war souvenirs go unprosecuted

18 April 2015

HARTFORD, Connecticut: American military members, contractors and others caught with culturally significant artifacts they brought home from the Iraq war are going largely unprosecuted, even as swords, artifacts and other items looted from Saddam Hussein’s palaces are still turning up for sale online and at auctions.

The materials are often returned once they become known, but defenders of Iraqi historical sites and artifacts argue that won’t change anything. Smuggling cases are difficult to investigate, and prosecutors and courts generally have been satisfied to take them no further than forfeiture, said Patty Gerstenblith, director of DePaul University’s Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law. “Just giving the object up is not a deterrent,” she said.

No one is suggesting that US service members removed cultural items en masse, and the souvenirs are not on par in value with the destruction wrought by the Islamic State group, which among other things has blown up parts of the ancient Iraqi Assyrian city of Nimrud. But the Iraqi ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily, said last month that Baghdad is committed to preserving its heritage, and that the return of looted archaeological items is a national project.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/734076

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Europe

 

France Announces Stronger Fight Against Racism and Anti-Semitism

18 April 2015

PARIS — Deadly attacks on Jews by Muslim extremists in January and a sharp spike in anti-Muslim acts since then have prompted the French government to elevate the fight against racism into “a great national cause,” leading government officials said on Friday.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced a detailed plan that dedicates 100 million euros, or $108 million, over the next three years to programs and policies that combat “racism and anti-Semitism,” including a nationwide awareness campaign, harsher punishments for racist acts and increased monitoring of online hate speech. “Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners and homophobia are increasing in an intolerable manner in our country,” Mr. Valls said after visiting a high school in Créteil, a suburb of Paris that has large Jewish and Muslim populations.

“French Jews should no longer be afraid of being Jewish, and French Muslims should no longer be ashamed of being Muslims,” he said.

Under the government proposals, racist hate speech would be prosecuted under the penal code, not under the French media laws that govern certain aspects of freedom of speech. This would enable prosecutors to bring cases more swiftly and less leniently. Another change in the law would turn racist speech or racist motivation for a crime into an aggravating factor, making for harsher sentences.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/18/world/europe/france-announces-stronger-fight-against-racism-and-anti-semitism.html

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ICC asked to investigate abduction by Boko Haram of 276 Nigerian girls

18 April 2015

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been asked to investigate the abduction a year ago of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram as a possible case of genocide against the country’s Christian community.

The appeal to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, by the influential Global Justice Centre in New York, came coupled with a warning that such kidnappings are a strategy increasingly being used in Iraq and Syria by groups such as Islamic State.

In a letter that is scathing about the inaction of the international community, Global Justice Centre president Janet Benshoof, Harvard lawyer and a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations, says “there has been no internationally motivated effort” to rescue the schoolgirls.

“This demonstrates the enormous gulf between the global concern for women and the political will to do anything about it,” she says.

Full report at:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/icc-asked-to-investigate-abduction-by-boko-haram-of-276-nigerian-girls-1.2180056

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'Isis' among names removed from UN list of hurricane names: U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization

18 April 2015

'Isis' has been removed from the official list of names of future hurricanes as it was now deemed inappropriate because of the eponymous militant group, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday.

As the name of an ancient goddess of Egypt, Isis had been on the WMO list of names for hurricanes in the eastern North Pacific in 2016, WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis said.

But ISIS is also used to describe the Islamic State militant group, whose forces have captured large swathes of Iraq and Syria and which stands accused by U.N. war crimes investigators of committing brutal atrocities against civilians.

The proposal by the WMO regional centre was endorsed by the WMO Hurricane Committee, composed of experts from 27 member states and territories meeting in Costa Rica this week, Nullis said. "The Hurricane Committee removed the name "Isis" from the rotating list, and agreed to replace it with "Ivette"."

"Names are knocked off the list, which rotates every six years, if they are considered inappropriate if they caused too much damage and too much death," Nullis said.

She added that this was not the case with Isis.

But the Hurricane Committee also backed Mexico's request to retire the name "Odile" and decided on "Odalys" as its replacement to be used for the 2020 season, she said.

Odile hit the popular beach resorts of Baja California last September, stranding thousands of tourists, knocking out power and causing heavy flooding.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/127935/World/International/Isis-among-names-removed-from-UN-list-of-hurricane.aspx

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Paris Warns Indonesia of Consequences if Frenchman Executed

18 April 2015

Jakarta. The French ambassador in Jakarta on Friday warned Indonesia that executing a Frenchman on death row on drugs charges would have “consequences” for the bilateral relationship.

“If the execution is carried out, it will not be without consequence for our bilateral relationship,” Ambassador Corinne Breuze told reporters in Jakarta, adding that France, which abolished the death penalty in 1981, was opposed to capital punishment in every circumstance.

Serge Atlaoui, 51, was arrested near Jakarta in 2005 in a secret laboratory producing ecstasy and sentenced to death two years later.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/paris-warns-indonesia-consequences-frenchman-executed/

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U.N. weather agency scratches ‘Isis’ from storm name list

18 April 2015

The United Nations' weather agency has removed "Isis" from a list of future Pacific hurricane names, deeming it inappropriate given that the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group has used ISIS as an acronym.

World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis in Geneva said Friday the agency's regional hurricane committee decided to cut the name off a list of names for the eastern north Pacific next year and replace it with "Ivette."

The WMO has rotating lists of storm names for various regions that run from A to Z, alternating between male and female. Nullis said names are knocked off the lists "if they're considered inappropriate, if they cause too much damage and too much death."

The committee also replaced "Odile," the name of a hurricane that hit Mexico last year, with "Odalys."

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2015/04/17/U-N-weather-agency-scratches-Isis-from-storm-name-list.html

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Australia

 

Australian teens held over alleged terror attack

18 April 2015

Police in Australia say they have foiled an Islamic State-inspired plot to carry out an attack at a World War One centenary event.

Police arrested five suspects, including two 18-year-olds being held for alleged terrorism-related offences.

They said the men were planning to target police at an Anzac memorial event in Melbourne next week.

Some 200 police officers took part in the counter-terrorism operation in the city early on Saturday.

Acting deputy police commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters that evidence gathered by police led them to believe the suspects had been influenced by Islamic State.

The two men held on terrorism-related offences were likely to be charged, he said.

'Edged weapons'

A third man, also 18, was arrested on weapons charges and two other teenagers, aged 18 and 19, were in custody and assisting with inquiries.

Officials referred to possible attacks using "edged weapons", but Mr Gaughan said there was no evidence to suggest there was "a planned beheading".

Anzac Day is an annual day of remembrance for servicemen and women from Australia and New Zealand. A series of events are planned for next week to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.

Police said that although officers were the primary target of the alleged Melbourne plot there was also a threat to the public.

Search operations were continuing at several addresses in the south-east of the city on Saturday.

Australia raised its threat level to high last September and has since carried out a series of counter-terrorism raids.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-32361721

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Southeast Asia

 

Jakim tightens rules on stage shows, adds gender segregation

18 April 2015

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has posted new guidelines for artistes and entertainers looking to perform in the country on its website, with strict limitations imposed on their personality, dressing, behaviour and performances.

Jakim is also imposing gender segregation for the audience at concerts and shows while also clamping down on music and lyrics that have elements of "worship", which are considered sacred to believers of other religions.

The rules were released by the department earlier this week after being approved by the 107th National Fatwa Committee Conference in February, and are available in a document linked to Jakim's website. It states that this is the second edition of such rules.

Artistes, Jakim said, must possess "noble and good character" and should not have any criminal record, whether in civil or Shariah cases.

They must also be dressed modestly, without exposing their "aurat" or parts of the body that cannot be exposed according to Islam, and must not wear any clothes that can lead to "exploitation" by the audience.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/jakim-tightens-rules-on-stage-shows-adds-gender-segregation#sthash.H7ANhLz8.dpuf

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Activists to Joko: Speak Up on Beheadings

18 April 2015

Jakarta. Activists on Friday criticized President Joko Widodo’s silence on the beheading of two migrant workers in Saudi Arabia this week, arguing that his resumption of the death penalty at home was undermining attempts to rescue Indonesian citizens on death row overseas.

Karni Binti Medi Tarsim was beheaded on Thursday, just two days after the execution of another Indonesian migrant worker, Siti Zaenab, who was sentenced to death in 2001 for the 1999 murder of her employer.

Migrant Care coordinator Anis Hidayah criticized Joko for not speaking out in public on the matter, neither condemning the execution nor extend his condolences to the families of the workers.

“President Jokowi, please don’t stay quiet, and stop the back-to-back executions of Indonesian migrant workers,” she said on Friday.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/activists-joko-speak-beheadings/

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Not only lonely women susceptible to Isis, says anti-terror expert

18 April 2015

The influence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) propaganda should not be underestimated as it can seep into the minds of not only ordinary people, but members of enforcement agencies as well, said an anti-terrorism expert familiar with Isis networking strategies.

The expert said it was also a myth that enforcement officers such as army personnel would not be susceptible to the militant group’s influence.

“Many thought that army personnel would have a stronger mindset, and with the highest level of patriotism and love for their country, they would not be easily influenced. But this is not the case.

“No one is spared. Man, woman, student, police, army, professionals, whoever. Isis propaganda can seep into the mind of everyone,” said the expert.

On Thursday, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Johari said that lonely young women who were fragile and spent a lot of time on social media were likely to be easily influenced by the militant group.

Jamil Khir is a minister in the Prime Minister's Department and is in charge of Islamic affairs.

In a reaction to Jamil Khir’s remarks, DAP Youth leader Syerleena Abdul Rashid labelled the minister a "chauvinist”.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/not-only-lonely-women-susceptible-to-isis-says-anti-terror-expert#sthash.1ararKMa.dpuf

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In anti-war narrative, Dr M calls UN the world’s ‘dictator’

18 April 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — The United Nations (UN) in its current form will never be able to promote democracy because it affords too much power to its five permanent members to decide on policies that affect the whole world, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The former prime minister accused the UN of being undemocratic despite its push for democracy to be upheld globally, for the simple fact that the five permanent members — the US, Russia, China, the UK and France — can veto any decision made.

“The UN is the least democratic organisation in the world, it is a dictatorship.

“And these people talk about abolishing dictatorship among countries in the world, but they are dictators of the world. So the ICC will not be a success,” he told reporters here.

Dr Mahathir was responding to a question on the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s effectiveness in resolving war-related matters.

“If the winners set up a court to try the losers, that is actually not just,” he said.

“The most important thing is because of a war that was fought 70 years ago, we have to accept the winners forever,” he said as he noted that this has nothing to do with the younger generation.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/in-anti-war-narrative-dr-m-calls-un-the-worlds-dictator

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/loud-speakers-only-for-azan-and-friday-sermons--egypt-s-awqaf/d/102537

 

 




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