certifired_img

Books and Documents

Islamic World News (03 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Playing Chess Is More Sinful Than Gambling: Turkish Televangelist


















The remains of a suicide car bombing on Monday in a bustling outdoor market in Baghdad’s eastern Sadr City district. Credit Karim Kadim/Associated Press

 

Playing Chess Is More Sinful Than Gambling: Turkish Televangelist

Mexico Store Displays Racist Window Signs About Muslims, Obama

British Security Minister Warns Of ‘Mass Casualty’ Chemical Attacks By ISIS

Boko Haram - ‘The Battle Is Just Beginning’ Threatens Leader in Chilling New Video

Arab Analyst: Turkey Moving Towards Bloody Quagmire of Terrorism

 

Mideast

Playing Chess Is More Sinful Than Gambling: Turkish Televangelist

Lack of Spirituality, Divine Values Blight on Western Civilization: Khamenei

HRW worried over increase of Israel’s shoot-to-kill encouragement

Turkish police detain 63 ISIL suspects in three days before Istanbul attack

Bombing, air strikes kill 25 in Yemen

Turkish PM to visit Iraq this week to discuss fight against terror

Yemeni army, resistance forces advance in Saada

Houthi attempt to smuggle missiles between Aden, Sanaa foiled

Israel demolishes 11 Palestinian structures in West Bank, makes 87 homeless

--------

North America

Mexico Store Displays Racist Window Signs About Muslims, Obama

GTA-Based Helpline for Muslim Youth Overwhelmed By U.S. Callers

Donald Trump Won't Tolerate 'Dual Role' From India's Neighbours, Says US's Republican Hindu Coalition

--------

Europe

British Security Minister Warns Of ‘Mass Casualty’ Chemical Attacks By ISIS

Syrian Refugee Who Asked ISIS for €180,000 for Bombings in Europe Detained In Germany

Syrian held for planning truck attack in Germany

Tajikistan probing alleged Russia support to Taliban via its soil

Cardinal who could be next Pope warns not to judge Donald Trump - but blasts Brexit

French jihadist back from Syria sentenced to 10 years in jail

Stop using other marginalised groups as an excuse to attack Muslims

--------

Africa

Boko Haram - ‘The Battle Is Just Beginning’ Threatens Leader in Chilling New Video

Libya Deputy PM Quits, Saying He Has ‘Failed’

Suicide bombers attack peacekeepers' Somali HQ

Suicide car bomber outside Mogadishu airport kills 3: Police

Police deny knowledge of Boko Haram’s attack in Niger

Nigerian official held over alleged ties to Boko Haram

--------

Arab World

Arab Analyst: Turkey Moving Towards Bloody Quagmire of Terrorism

Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 36 in Baghdad

Over 20 Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Attack on Nusra Bus at Border with Turkey

Militants Living in Fear after Assassination of Commanders in Idlib

Saudi Arabia: ‘War crimes’ were committed in Aleppo

ISIL's Centers in Northern Syria Hit Hard in Russian, Turkish Joint Air Raids

Syria: Russia Sets up Military Post in Northern Districts of Aleppo City

Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with ISIL, Inflicts Major Losses on Militants in Deir Ezzur

--------

India

Can ISIS Strike India From East? Jamaat-u-Mujahideen Bangladesh Terrorist Revealed Plans, Say Sources

India’s Top Court Bars Campaigns Based on Religion, Caste, Community or Language

‘Stop the Firing, There’s A Funeral,’ Mosque at Line of Control Told Pakistan

Istanbul terror attack: Plan in place to bring back victims’ bodies

J-K: Encounter ends in Baramulla, one terrorist killed, arms recovered

IS video claims Modi, Obama, Turkey’s Erdogan working against Muslims’ interests

--------

Pakistan

Pakistan: Muslims Demand Shaan Taseer Be Killed for Anti-Blasphemy Post on Facebook

Christian Cry out Police Action Supporting Land Mafia to Occupy Church Property in Sukkur

Govt decides to review NAB Ordinance after growing criticism on plea bargain law

Pakistani nationals reportedly abducted in Turkey, families seek govt's help

Pakistanis without visa barred from entering Afghanistan

--------

South Asia

Myanmar to Investigate Abuse of Rohingya Muslims by Security Forces

Key Taliban commanders among 21 killed in Logar airstrikes

Afghan minister suspended over phone tax investigation

Myanmar detains police over Rohingya abuse video

Nangarhar police receive M16 rifles as part of modernization efforts

Russia blocking removal of Hekmatyar’s name from UN sanctions list

--------

Southeast Asia

Another Call to Restore Sabah’s Rights and Religious Freedom

Malaysian Aid Flotilla Bound For Arakan ‘Not Coming To Create Tension’'

Pope calls on world bishops to protect children from those who kill or exploit them

Muslim Scientists to Set Up Online Hub to Spur Science and Technology Cooperation

Six witnesses to testify against Ahok: Lawyer

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau 

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/playing-chess-is-more-sinful-than-gambling--turkish-televangelist/d/109585

--------

 

Playing Chess Is More Sinful Than Gambling: Turkish Televangelist

January/02/2017

Turkish televangelist Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, popularly known as “Cübbeli” Ahmet Hoca (Robed Ahmet Hoca), has raised eyebrows by claiming that playing chess is more sinful than gambling, daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 2.

Ünlü said chess players were “cursed” and claimed that “most people who played chess are liars.” 

“Playing chess is worse than gambling and eating pork ... People who play chess are more prone to lying than others. People who play chess may not say the shahada [declaration of Islamic belief] while they are dying,” he said.

“People who play chess are cursed ... You should count your prayer beads instead of playing games like this,” he added.

Ünlü had hit headlines on Nov. 14 in 2014 by condemning the European Space Agency’s (ESA) successful landing of the Philae probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, describing the mission as “maniacal.”

More recently, he waded into a debate on the religious permissiveness of oral sex, slamming a colleague for describing it as religiously forbidden and saying there is no such ban in Islam.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/playing-chess-is-more-sinful-than-gambling-muslim-televangelist.aspx?pageID=238&nID=108037&NewsCatID=393

--------

 

Mexico store displays racist window signs about Muslims, Obama

Jan 3, 2017

A convenience store in New Mexico has faced growing calls to take down controversial window signs that target US President Barack Obama, Muslims, Hillary Clinton and Colin Kaepernick.

The Mayhill Convenience Store has reportedly displayed these signs for years and has even sold them to customers.

One of the signs reads “Kill Obama” and another says “Obama & Muslims not welcome here.” The posters also include racially-tinged epithets with one reading “2012 No Re-nig.”

Marlon McWilliams, the former store employee, told KOB 4 that the signs have been there for a long time. He added that the owner also sells toilet paper with Obama’s face on it.

Another sign aimed at NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who protested at police brutality against black people, called him an “overpaid half-breed” and asked him to go back to Africa.

“If you go in there and offend him, you can’t go back again. He turns a lot of people away,” McWilliams added. Some of the signs, including the ones that said “all lives natter”, were offensive and no longer went into the shop.

Social media users have been criticising the racist posters but no one has made a complaint. Community members have urged others to write negative reviews for the store.

The store is up for sale at over $350,000.

One Facebook user wrote a review for the store’s Facebook page saying that the owner does not have the right to discriminate against people in the name of free speech.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group, issued a statement on Saturday based on the offensive signs. “While everyone has the right to free speech, we urge the store’s owner to remove the sign in the interest of our nation’s unity at a time of increasing divisions,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director of CAIR.

CAIR added that there were more than 900 anti-Muslim incidents in the month after Donald Trump was elected, including Muslim women being targeted and mosques being threatened.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/02/mexico-store-displays-racist-window-signs-about-muslims-obama/

--------

 

British Security Minister Warns Of ‘Mass Casualty’ Chemical Attacks By ISIS

January 2, 2017

The British minister for security has warned that the Islamic State seeks to carry out a “mass casualty” attack in Britain using chemical weapons.

“They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations, and if they could, they would in this country,” Ben Wallace said in a recent interview with The Sunday Times. “The casualty figures that could be involved would be everybody’s worst fear.”

According to security officials, Islamic militants possess the ability to produce their own mustard gas and have already begun using them in Iraq and Syria, where troops have reportedly experienced blisters on their skin and badly damaged lungs.

The terror group’s goal, the security minister maintained, is to import these attacks directly into European countries such as Britain.

“While no specific chemical plot has been identified, the ambition of IS or Daesh is definitely mass-casualty attacks,” he added. “They want to harm as many people as possible and terrorize as many people as possible.”

To make matters worse, the threat looms not just from outside of Britain but from its own citizens as well.

Advertisement - story continues below

“We know there are a significant number of [Britons] fighting for IS in Syria,” Wallace said. “They will probably want to come home [if Mosul collapses] … There will also be those people who wanted to go out there but no longer can get there. Their frustration may boil over.”

Moreover, the frustration among some British people — particularly Muslims — extends beyond just concerns over the situation in Syria.

A poll conducted by the market research firm ComRes last year found that a startling 27 percent of British Muslims felt some grade of sympathy for the attackers behind the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris, which left 12 innocent Parisians dead.

Speaking last year against the nation’s attempts to clamp down on terrorism, Jahangir Mohammed, director of the Center for Muslim Affairs, added that Muslims were “very angry and frustrated.”

“They are very angry and frustrated with the current climate and policies, which target the Muslim community, and want their voices heard,” he said.

Combined, these frustrations have turned Britain into a boiling pot where scorching water can at any minute pour over the sides.

As of the start of 2017, Britain has not suffered any major terror attack, though this could very easily change if security is not maintained, some argue.

What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.

http://www.westernjournalism.com/british-security-minister-warns-of-mass-casualty-chemical-attacks-by-isis/

--------

 

Boko Haram - ‘The battle is just beginning’ threatens leader in chilling new video

Jan 2, 2017

A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in the video urging his followers to "kill, chop, kidnap and detonate bombs everywhere”.

The footage comes as the Nigerian government says the Islamist military group has been pushed out of its stronghold in the Sambisa forest.

In a 25-minute rant, the man claiming to be Shekau, says: "I'm here, alive and well”.

Speaking in the Hausa language and Arabic, he said: "We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere.

"If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?"

The Nigerian army has in recent years said it has killed or wounded Shekau on multiple occasions.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said Boko Haram's last enclave in the forest, a former game reserve in northeastern Nigeria, had been captured in the "final crushing" of the group.

Reuters has been unable to independently verify that the area was captured.

Statements, such as those made by President Buhari have often swiftly been followed by video denials by someone who says he is Shekau, but poor footage makes it hard to confirm if the person is the same man as in previous videos.

Army spokesman Sani Usman said "spurious claims" were made in the latest video.

Mr Usman said: "The Nigerian army wishes to reiterate that it has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorist group in the Sambisa forest.”

"This video is nothing but mere terrorist propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.”

Boko Haram has killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to strict Islamic laws in the northeast of Africa's most populous nation.

In early 2015, it controlled an area about the size of Belgium. But it has been pushed out of most of that territory over the past year by Nigeria's army and troops from neighbouring countries, moving to a base in the Sambisa.

Security analysts say the group's ability to carry out attacks in neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad suggests it has multiple bases.

They also say the group split this year, with one faction led by Shekau operating from the Sambisa and the other, allied to Islamic State and led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, based in the Lake Chad region.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/749488/boko-haram-abubakar-shekau-video-battle-just-beginning-nigeria

--------

 

Arab Analyst: Turkey Moving towards Bloody Quagmire of Terrorism

Jan 02, 2017

Atwan pointed to the recent terrorist attack in Turkey in which 40 people were killed and over 70 others were wounded, and said the terrorist who carried out the attack has escaped and is still at large.

"This situation shows that the attack against the night club had been carefully plotted by not one person but by a large organization," he added.

"What we understand from the recent rapid developments is that Turkey is moving towards the bloody quagmire of terrorism due to its hasty policies and positions, losing the compass of leadership and creating the largest number of enemies for itself all throughout the history, specially among the neighbors," Atwan said.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday that at least 39 people were killed in the gun attack on an Istanbul club during New Year festivities.

Soylu said in televised comments that of 21 victims who have been identified so far, 16 are foreigners and five are Turks. Another 69 people are being treated in hospital for their wounds.

Indicating that the attacker was still at large, Soylu said, "The search for the terrorist continues... I hope the assailant will be captured quickly, God willing."

An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations. The province’s governor described it as a terror attack.

Gov. Vasip Sahin said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club before entering and firing on people partying inside. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

“Unfortunately he rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year’s and have fun,” Sahin told reporters.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013001016

--------

 

Mideast

 

Lack of Spirituality, Divine Values Blight on Western Civilization: Khamenei

Jan 2, 2017

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the lack of spirituality and divine values is behind the rifts, shortcomings and frailties of the Western civilization despite its great materialistic advances.

Addressing a meeting with a group of top Iranian students in Tehran on Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei underscored the importance of commitment to religious values and the Islamic Revolution’s ideals alongside scientific efforts.

Scientific progress by itself will fail to bring prosperity to a country and nation but scientific advances must be accompanied by supreme spiritual values in order to prepare the ground for managing the country’s affairs and turning it into a model for the region, the Muslim community and the world at large, the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei cited moral, intellectual and practical deviations, the collapse of family institution, increasing violence, moral corruption, suicides in Western societies, particularly in the US, as results of the dearth of spirituality and divine values.

The Leader noted that some American scholars and intellectuals explicitly admit that these immoral acts and afflictions are rampant in their country.

The Leader stated that serious attention to religious and divine ideals and commitment to the values of the Islamic Revolution are necessary for a real progress in Iran.

The Leader also pointed to increasing violence and deadly shootings in the United States and stated that murder and the spread of arms use have turned into a “serious problem” in the country.

This problem can be solved through the prohibition of the use of firearms by the citizens of the country, the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that American officials, however, do not dare outlaw the use of guns due to the high influence of firearms manufacturing companies inside the country.

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/01/02/504522/Iran-Leader-Islamic-Revolution-Ayatollah-Seyyed-Ali-Khamenei-students-spirituality

--------

 

HRW worried over increase of Israel’s shoot-to-kill encouragement

Jan 2, 2017

Human Rights Watch has voiced its deep concerns over the increasing number of senior Israeli officials encouraging forces to kill Palestinians even when they are not a threat.

The internationally-recognized rights group released a report on Monday documenting numerous statements by Israeli officials calling on police and military to use lethal force since October 2015.

“It’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell forces to unlawfully shoot to kill,” said Sari Bashi, the the Israel/Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

“Whatever the results of trials of individual soldiers, Israel should issue clear directives to use force only in accordance with international law,” she added.

Israeli security forces aim their weapons towards Palestinian protestors during clashes following the weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied West Bank, on November 18, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The report noted that since October 2015, there has been over 150 confirmed instances of Israeli forces lethally shooting Palestinian children and adults allegedly suspected of trying to attack Israelis, while other reports put the toll close to 300.

In one incident when police shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian, East Jerusalem al-Quds police commander Moshe Edri hailed the officers involved.

In another case documented in the report, a high ranking Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, used religious interpretation to promote the shoot-to-kill policy.

“‘Whoever comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.’ … let them afterward take you to the High Court of Justice or bring some military chief of staff who will say something else … As soon as an attacker knows that if he comes with a knife, he won’t return alive, it will deter them. That’s why it’s a religious commandment to kill him,” he said.   

Israeli police officers and emergency personnel inspect the bodies of two Palestinians killed following an alleged attack at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds on February 3, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Amnesty International, the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq, and several other human rights groups have also called on Israeli officials to stop promoting the use of unnecessary lethal force.

Full report at:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/01/02/504585/hrw-israeli-palestine-lethal-force

--------

 

Turkish police detain 63 ISIL suspects in three days before Istanbul attack

Jan 3, 2017

The National Intelligence Agency (MIT) received intelligence on possible New Year’s Eve attacks planned by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Dec. 19 and conducted operations against ISIL suspects between Dec. 28 and 31.

An ISIL militant staged an armed attack on a famous upscale Istanbul nightclub Reina in the early hours of Jan. 1, killing 39 people and injuring 65 others.

The intelligence indicated that ISIL was planning to stage bomb, suicide bomb or armed attacks on nightclubs, celebration spots and crowded places in the capital Ankara, Istanbul, and the southern provinces of Adana, Antalya and Mersin.

Operations were carried out in Istanbul, Ankara, the western province of Izmir, the southeastern province of Adiyaman, and the southern provinces of Hatay, Adana and Mersin, and a total of 63 ISIL militants were detained. Most of the detained militants were from foreign countries, according to the police report.

According to intelligence gathered, the militant who carried out the attack could be from the same ISIL cell that attacked Atatürk Airport on July 28, 2016, claiming a total of 45 lives.

Meanwhile, a total of 147 ISIL suspects have been detained in operations across Turkey over the past week, the Interior Ministry stated on Dec. 2, one day after a gunman of the jihadist group staged an attack targeting New Year’s revelers at a popular nightclub in Istanbul.

During security forces’ operations targeting ISIL militants conducted between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, some 25 of the detained 147 were later arrested for their links to the jihadist group, the ministry said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-police-detain-63-isil-suspects-in-three-days-before-istanbul-attack-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=108023&NewsCatID=509

--------

 

Bombing, air strikes kill 25 in Yemen

Jan 3, 2017

ADEN : Eleven civilians, including five members of one family, and 14 Huthi rebels have been killed in shelling and air strikes in Yemen in two days, military and rebel sources said Monday.

An air strike by the pro-government Saudi-led coalition killed five Shiite rebels on Monday when it targeted a convoy of three vehicles in Marees, in the southern province of Daleh, a military official said.

One of the vehicles was transporting weapons, the official said, adding three other rebels were wounded in the strike. Six other insurgents were killed in a similar raid on two vehicles in Al-Makhdara, in the central province of Marib, another military official said. Shelling by government forces killed three more rebels in the same area of Marib. The Arab coalition started an air campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in March 2015 after the insurgents closed in on President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in his refuge in the southern city of Aden.

Rebel media accused the coalition of conducting air strikes on Monday across several regions in Yemen, killing two civilians in the western province of Hodeida.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/bombing-air-strikes-kill-25-in-yemen

--------

 

Turkish PM to visit Iraq this week to discuss fight against terror

Jan 3, 2017

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will be visiting Iraq this week to discuss the fight against terrorism and the future of Iraq, the government's spokesman said on Monday.

"The Prime Minister will be traveling to Iraq on Thursday to start a new era with the Iraqi central government," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a news conference.

"A new peace perspective in Iraq is just around the corner," Kurtulmus added. Yildirim's office said in a statement he would be visiting both Baghdad and Erbil.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Jan-2017/turkish-pm-to-visit-iraq-this-week-to-discuss-fight-against-terror

--------

 

Yemeni army, resistance forces advance in Saada

2 January 2017

Yemen’s army and resistance forces are quickly advancing toward Saada after gaining control of several strategic areas nearby.

Factions from the army and resistance forces were able to regain control on Monday the command center of Brigade 101, the al-Thar and Habsh mountains.

Saada has been under siege from Houthi militias and was the city where a missile was launched targeting holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia last October.

Meanwhile, coalition airstrikes targeted Houthi positions in the districts of Bani Amir and Maqbana in Taiz province amid reports of heaving fighting on the front of Nihm.

Coalition planes also bombarded telecommunication towers and two weapons-laden trucks of the militias south of Amran city and Lahij province.

According to local sources, Houthi leader in Bayhan Ahmed Abdul Kader al-Haj al-Sayid was killed as the result of injuries he suffered in the battle o regain control of the town, which was recaptured by the Resistance.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/02/Yemeni-army-resistance-forces-advance-toward-Saada.html

--------

 

Houthi attempt to smuggle missiles between Aden, Sanaa foiled

2 January 2017

An attempt to smuggle missiles and weapons by Houthi militias between Aden and Sanaa were foiled despite a United Nations and international treaty ban.

Weapons used by Houthi militias are usually smuggled by sea and come from Iranian sources, but those captured on Monday were on land from Aden on its way to Sanaa.

Yemeni Popular Resistance forces were able to stop a truck-load of weapons – including rockets – in the city of Hubail al-Reed in Lahij province.

This comes on the same day as Yemen’s army and resistance forces quickly advanced toward Saada after gaining control of several strategic areas nearby.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/02/Houthi-attempt-to-smuggle-missiles-between-Aden-Sanaa-foiled.html

--------

 

Israel demolishes 11 Palestinian structures in West Bank, makes 87 homeless

Jan 2, 2017

Israeli forces have demolished eleven more Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank as the Tel Aviv regime goes ahead with its land expropriation and illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Dawood al-Jahalin, a spokesperson for the Abu Nuwwar Bedouin community, said Israeli bulldozers escorted by military forces demolished the residential structures in the village of Khan al-Ahmar on Monday morning.

He added that the dwellers were not allowed to evacuate personal belongings and furniture.

Jahalin noted that Israeli forces imposed a siege on the area during the demolitions, which left 87 Palestinians, most of them women and children, without a roof over their head.

Israeli forces had razed eight Palestinian homes in the same West Bank village in October 2016.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said at the time that the demolitions had affected more than two dozen Palestinians, leaving 28 people, including 18 minors, homeless.

A recent report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) showed that Israeli authorities have demolished or seized 1,089 Palestinian-owned structures since the start of last year up until December 28. The demolitions have left some 1,593 Palestinians homeless and affected the lives of another 7,101, according to the report released on December 29, 2016.

Full report at:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/01/02/504541/Israel-Palestinian-houses-Khan-alAhmar-West-Bank

--------

 

North America

 

GTA-based helpline for Muslim youth overwhelmed by U.S. callers

By NOOR JAVED

Mon., Jan. 2, 2017

For every phone call that gets answered, Yaseen Poonah can’t help but think about the thousands that don’t.

Poonah, founder and president of Naseeha, a GTA-based volunteer helpline for Muslim youth, started the service nearly a decade ago with the aim of giving teens across North America a free and confidential place to call for support.

Staffed with counsellors for only three hours on weekday evenings, the service has long struggled to meet the demand of teens calling from as far away as Hawaii, New Mexico and California to talk and seek spiritual guidance, on issues common to all teens. But then came the U.S. election campaign.

Over the past year, Naseeha (which means advice in Arabic) saw its call volume increase by more than 300 per cent over 2015, according to Poonah.

“Now it’s a different ball game,” he said. In 2015, Naseeha received more than 4,000 calls. But between January and December of 2016, the service received more than 16,000 calls — many of which went unanswered simply because of a lack of staff, he said.

The concerns of Muslim youth are largely the same as those of all youth, Poonah added: “Depression, mental health, bullying, suicide, LGBT and questioning gender identity are the big ones.”

But there are some culturally specific ones: intergenerational cultural clashes, marital problems and, more often these days, discrimination. “Youth are struggling with the sentiment that they don’t belong and that is manifesting itself in unhealthy behaviours,” he said. Most of the calls Naseeha gets come from the U.S.

“We had a number of mainstream organizations in the U.S. asking us if we had enough resources available in light of a Trump presidency,” Poonah said. “Admittedly, we are a little concerned about what will happen after Inauguration Day.”

The service has been receiving calls not only from youth, but also from their parents about how to deal with the effect of Donald Trump’s presidency, he said. “It’s getting a little bit out of our scope.”

Poonah believes the boost in call numbers could also be due to word of mouth and Google searches. The non-profit, which recently received charitable status, is also listed as a crisis resource by the Toronto District School Board and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; it most recently collaborated with Kids Help Phone.

There are times when the organization has been approached by authorities, including the RCMP, Poonah said. “In the case of so-called honour killings, local authorities will sometimes ask us if we got calls from the victims,” he said.

“And when it comes down to radicalization, it’s the same. We would report it if it came up.”

On its website, Naseeha states that all calls are confidential, unless there is concern about harm to oneself or someone else, if there is suspected child abuse, or if information is subpoenaed by a court.

Dr. Gursharan Virdee, a researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health who has done work with Muslim and Sikh youth, says that the discreet nature of Naseeha — which operates chat and email services in addition to a phone line — takes away many of the barriers that traditionally exist for these communities to get support.

She said that in her work with youth, many have said they wanted faith and spirituality to be a part of their counselling — something that has been missing when they access mainstream services. “If there is a lot of distance between the therapist and the client, there are some schools of thought that say that therapy might not be as effective as it could be,” she said. So Naseeha fills a large void.

She said it is possible that the recent spike in calls is due to general adolescent difficulties being compounded by heightened incidence of racism and Islamophobia.

“All of this can affect one’s sense of self, identity and mental health,” she said. It’s also why a youth may call Naseeha, “because they expect there will already be some understanding of this environment on the other side.”

The service accepts calls from anyone, but for youth who identify as Muslim, the religious advice provided by the counsellors is meant to be supportive and comforting, never preachy or proselytizing, Poonah said.

“One of the reasons the youth call us, as opposed to a different phone line, is that they are looking for someone who understands their faith, their religion or cultural context,” he said. “We never talk about heaven or hell, or sin.

“We want to be the first line of contact, without really giving any Islamic message, but we understand that they are calling us to hear that kind of advice gradually,” he said.

In one call log Naseeha shared with the Star (where all identifying information was removed), a female caller talks about relationship problems with her boyfriend, and his abusive behaviour toward her. In another call, a female discusses her confusion about her gender and desire to be a male. There is limited discussion about religion from the counsellors, unless the youth themselves bring it up.

These complex discussions can sometimes go as long as an hour, said Poonah.

“Out of the 16,000 phone calls, we are only answering less than 20 per cent of those phone calls, because of hours of operation or our lines are occupied,” he said, adding that the average call is now 54 minutes, up from 27 minutes the year before.

Currently, the service has about 25 counsellors from around the GTA, between the ages of 18 and 35. The phone lines and live chat are open Monday to Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with two counsellors on duty. In addition to calls, the service gets emails and messages on social media, and senders are then encouraged to call in. Advice is never given over email.

Poonah has big plans for the organization, including increasing its hours of operation, doubling the number of counsellors to 50 and establishing a centralized hub or call centre. Broader plans include counselling in different languages, call centres in different countries and a round-the-clock answering service. But expansion dreams require money. Poonah estimates $8,000 a month could help make some of the items on the wish list become reality.

“We always need money, but it’s never been our focus,” he said, noting that for the past few years the organization has grown with a budget of just a few hundred dollars a month. “But now, the demand is unsustainable. We need to grow.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/01/02/gta-based-helpline-for-muslim-youth-overwhelmed-by-us-callers.html

--------

 

Donald Trump won't tolerate 'dual role' from India's neighbours, says US's Republican Hindu Coalition

Jan 3, 2017

NEW DELHI: US President-elect Donald Trump reportedly made it clear to a US Republican Hindu group that he's "not going to tolerate a dual role from India's neighbours."

Shalabh Kumar, an Indian-American businessman and founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition+ told ANI that this was the message Trump conveyed in his meetings with him. Kumar is part of Trump's transition team.

"The US President-elect made that policy very, very clear, that he is not going to tolerate a dual role from India's neighbours," said Kumar referring to Pakistan.

"You need good defence cooperation among friends, which is happening but is going to accelerate dramatically in the common fight against terrorism+ ," Kumar added, according to ANI.

Kumar is reportedly closely associated with the BJP and the RSS, according to The Economic Times. He held a rally for Trump in New Jersey, in the final leg of the Presidential campaign, and donated a whopping $898,000 (approximately Rs 6 crore) towards Trump's campaign.

Another of Kumar's goals - and Trump's, according to him - is to increase trade between India and the US in one year to $300 billion from the current $100 billion. "That will be a win-win for both sides as both will gain millions of jobs," Kumar said.

Kumar and his daughter Manasvi Mamgai , a former Miss India, also revealed there will be Bollywood celebrities performing at Trump's inauguration as President on January 20.

"You will see Bollywood biggies, Bollywood entertainment and all the 'jhatkas' and 'matkas'," Mamgai said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/donald-trump-wont-tolerate-dual-role-from-indias-neighbours-says-uss-republican-hindu-coalition/articleshow/56306483.cms

--------

 

Europe

 

Syrian refugee who asked ISIS for €180,000 for bombings in Europe detained in Germany

2 Jan, 2017

A Syrian asylum seeker has been detained in Germany on suspicion of asking ISIS for money to buy and booby trap cars to kill a large number of "non-Muslim" people in “Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” German authorities say.

The 38-year old man was detained early Saturday by German special forces in his flat in the city of Saarbrucken in the Federal State of Saarland. Official confirmation of the operation and further details emerged only on Monday. The Syrian refugee was arrested after Saarland police received a tip off from the Federal Criminal police.

According to the Prosecutor’s office, the man in custody is suspected of having reached out to an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group’s contact person in December “who he knew was in a position to obtain IS money for terror financing.” The asylum seeker apparently “asked him [IS contact person] to provide €180,000 so he [the suspect] can use the money to buy vehicles, which he planned to bobby trap with explosives,” a statement by the Prosecutor’s office reads.

The Syrian asylum seeker allegedly planned to buy eight cars - €22,500 each - booby trap the vehicles and drive them into the crowds to “kill a large number of non-Muslim people.” He reportedly said 400 to 500 kilograms (882 to 1,100 pounds) of explosives would be placed in each car.

The Prosecutor’s office announced that the reasons for its assumptions are based on a chat in the online messenger Telegram, which was found in the telephone of the suspect during a search of his flat. “So far the investigation has found no evidence that the suspect had already prepared [booby trapped] cars to carry out the attacks,” authorities noted though.

According to a separate statement by police in Saarland, the suspect allegedly asked for the IS money to finance an “unspecified terrorist attack” in “Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.”

Hugo Muller, Deputy Commissioner for the Saarland police said that the Syrian man planned to repaint the vehicles as police cars. "In his respective communications with contacts linked to IS, he [the suspect] offered or suggested to repaint cars to make them look similar to police cars, load them with explosives, position them in a crowd of people and then detonate them," Muller said.

The 38-year old entered Germany in 2014 and after applying for asylum and was a granted a temporary residence permit. He acknowledged contacting the IS representative, yet insists he did not plan any terrorist acts, the prosecutor’s office said.

Earlier, Der Spiegel reported that during interrogation, the suspect allegedly said he wanted to use the IS money to support his family in Syria. There is no official confirmation on that so far, with the investigation into the case underway.

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/news/372506-germany-syrian-arrested-terrorism/

--------

 

Syrian held for planning truck attack in Germany

Jan 3, 2017

BERLIN: A Syrian migrant who arrived in Germany two years ago has been arrested on suspicion of seeking funds from Islamic State to drive truck bombs into a crowd, a German state prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

The arrest follows an attack two weeks ago when a Tunisian whose asylum request had been rejected rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people. The man, Anis Amri, 24, was later shot dead by Italian police.

In the latest case, the prosecutor in the western city of Saarbruecken said the 38-year-old Syrian was detained on Saturday and a formal arrest warrant was issued on Sunday on suspicion that he was trying to raise 180,000 euros ($189,000) to fund an attack.

Prosecutor Christoph Rebmann said the man, whom he did not name, was suspected of seeking the money from Islamic State in Syria to buy trucks and load 400-500 kg (880-1,100 pounds) of explosives into each of them.

“He is suspected of ... requesting 180,000 euros from a contact person in Syria on his cell phone from Saarbruecken in December, 2016 so that he could acquire vehicles to pack with explosives and drive them into a crowd,” Rebmann said in a statement.

The man has admitted making contact with Islamic State, which is also know as ISIS, but denied he had any plans to stage an attack.

“He said he wanted the money from ISIS to support his family back in Syria,” Rebmann told Reuters, adding that the Syrian had said he wanted to fool the militant group into sending him the money.

The Syrian is from the city of Raqqa, Islamic State’s main stronghold in the country. The prosecutor’s office in Saarbruecken, near the French border, had been alerted to his activities by the BKA federal crime office.

The Syrian came to Germany on Dec. 5, 2014, just before a wave of more than 1.1 million asylum-seekers arrived from the Middle East, Africa and Asia in 2015. He was given permission to stay in Germany on Jan. 12, 2015.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who made the now-controversial decision to open the country’s borders to refugees in September, 2015, described Islamist terrorism on New Year’s Eve as the greatest test facing Germany.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/syrian-held-for-planning-truck-attack-in-germany

--------

 

Tajikistan probing alleged Russia support to Taliban via its soil

Jan 02 2017

The authorities in Tajikistan are saying that an investigation is underway to ascertain claims made by the former Afghan officials suggesting the Taliban weapons are being repaired by the Russian experts inside the Tajik soil.

A spokesman for Tajikistan’s border guard agency, Muhammadjon Ulughkhojaev, has said the allegations by the former Afghan officials are baseless.

However, he did not rule out the possibility as he vowed to probe the allegations.

Ulughkhojaev quoted in a report by RFE/RL said the border guard agency “has been looking into the claim.”

He said the authorities will study the Afghan media reports, and will report on the results of their investigation.

The former provincial governor of Kunduz Mohammad Omar Safi claimed late last year that the vehicles and weapons had been repaired by Russian military engineers based in Tajikistan before being returned to the Taliban.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/tajikistan-probing-alleged-russia-support-to-taliban-via-its-soil-02606

--------

 

Cardinal who could be next Pope warns not to judge Donald Trump - but blasts Brexit

Jan 2, 2017

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn has become known for his controversial comments, after warning of an Islamic invasion of Europe and demanding migrants “return to their homeland.”

Now the 71-year-old Archbishop of Vienna has looked back on a turbulent year that saw the UK vote to quit the European Union while Americans took to the polls to send Donald Trump to the White House.

Schoenborn said: "I do not know if Ms Clinton really would have been the better solution and I do not know whether Mr Trump is the great misfortune.

“Many also shook their heads when Ronald Reagan was elected: For God's sake, an actor from California!

"But Reagan was certainly one of the best Presidents the US ever had. So you should not be too quick to judge."

The anti-Islam and anti-migration cardinal also said he hoped the Middle East could become Christian again, but warned Europeans must fight to stop the spread of Islam.

He claims he sees European cohesion as something "incomparably better than the European antagonism we have suffered for centuries."

But he acknowledge fears over migration - a subject he has previously spoken at length on - may have been the driving force behind the vote.

Last year, the outspoken cardinal warned that Muslims wanted to eradicate Christians and conquer Europe, and said that "we are in danger of forfeiting our Christian heritage."

Schoenborn said: "Turkey was once completely Christian before it was conquered by the Turks.

Full report at:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/749481/Catholic-cardinal-Christoph-Schoenborn-judge-Donald-Trump-brexit-Christian-Middle-East

--------

 

French jihadist back from Syria sentenced to 10 years in jail

2017-01-03

A Paris court on Monday sentenced Nicolas Moreau, a convicted French jihadist who returned from Syria, to 10 years in prison for criminal association with a terrorist organisation.

The 32-year-old Frenchman was not present at the Paris correctional court since he refused to leave the prison where he is being held for the hearing.

Prosecutors had argued that Moreau presented an "extremely dangerous threat" and warned that he risked returning to his "jihadist commitment" once released.

A former fisherman from Nantes, Moreau fell into a life of petty crime before he was radicalised in prison and left France to join the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq. He stayed in the region for nearly a year and a half, according to prosecutors, and even ran a restaurant in the IS group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, during the last three months.

At a hearing on December 14, 2016, Moreau warned the court that if he was sentenced to more than 18 months in jail he would “return to armed combat”.

Two brothers radicalise in jail

Born in South Korea and adopted by a French family at the age of four, Moreau lived in the western French city of Nantes and fell into delinquency after his adoptive parents divorced. He was sentenced to five years in jail for violent robbery and converted to Islam while in prison.

It was a trajectory of radicalisation similar to his younger brother, Flavien Moreau, who became the first French jihadist to be tried upon his return from Syria. In November 2014, Flavien was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Both the brothers were born in South Korea before they were adopted as infants. But Flavien, the younger brother, spent only a few weeks in IS group-held territory since he was unable to cope with the jihadist group’s no-smoking policy. He entered Syria in November 2012, but returned to France weeks later to pick up an electronic cigarette. He was arrested in Turkey on his way back to Syria. Flavien is currently serving a seven-year term.

Full report at:

http://www.france24.com/en/20170102-france-jihadist-syria-moreau-sentenced-jail

--------

 

Stop using other marginalised groups as an excuse to attack Muslims

January 2, 2017

The cause of LGBT rights has found an unlikely champion in the form of The Sun newspaper. It has found no problem in arguably encouraging Islamophobia by calling on gay rights charities such as Stonewall to “fight Islam”. Yes, that is the headline they used.

This, it’s worth remembering, is from the same newspaper which launched the “Eastbenders” campaign to remove the BBC soap’s first gay characters, and which ran the headline “Straight sex cannot give you Aids – official”, which I would suggest whipped up hatred towards gay people living with HIV.

Never mind the apparent hypocrisy, this is an example of how important social issues such as gay rights can be used to stoke up bigotry elsewhere. This is how Islamophobia has become normalised within our society, where 37 per cent now say they would be likely to support a political party that promised to reduce the number of Muslims in Britain, and where more than 30 per cent of young children think Muslims are “taking over” England.

Another example of this tactic is women’s rights: consider Trevor Kavanagh, who normally does not discuss feminist issues in his column in the equality-loving Sun. Yet here he makes an exception. He calls on feminists to fight for Muslim women and to stand up against the veil.

Or what about animal rights? Katie Hopkins, a staunch defender of fox hunting, shows her strong belief in animal rights as she rails against halal slaughter. Rod Liddle goes on a rampage against halal slaughter without stunning (15 per cent of all halal meat in the UK) but chooses to entirely ignore kosher slaughter (100 per cent of which is without stunning).

We would be hard-pressed to call these columnists passionate activists for gay rights, women’s rights or animal rights – yet they are using these issues to create a semblance of moral and ethical righteousness with which to mask their bigotry. The result is clear and undeniable: the bully pulpit stokes hatred and turns marginalised groups against each other. It foments an anti-Muslim narrative and strengthens the far right by allowing them a mainstream source for their anti-Muslim hatred.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/islamophobia-islam-muslims-in-britain-gay-rights-feminism-equality-animal-rights-stop-using-as-an-a7505426.html

--------

 

Africa

 

Libya deputy PM quits, saying he has ‘failed’

2 January 2017

One of three deputy premiers in Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord resigned on Monday, saying he had failed in his mission.

Moussa al-Kouni told a press conference in the capital of the chaos-ridden North African country that he could no longer stay in the post.

“I’m resigning because I have failed,” said a visibly moved Kouni, who is originally from southern Libya and represents the Tuareg minority in the GNA.

“We (in the GNA) are responsible because we accepted this mission.

“We take responsibility for everything that has happened in the past year: dramas, violence, murder, rape, invasion, the squandering of public funds... Regardless of the extent of the crimes, we are responsible,” he said.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 downfall of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

In March last year, the internationally backed GNA was formed, intended to replace two rival administrations, one in Tripoli and one in the country’s far east.

It is also the centrepiece of Western hopes to stem an upsurge of extremism in Libya and halt people trafficking across the Mediterranean that has led to thousands of drownings.

Extremists of ISIS have been chased from their North African stronghold in Sirte 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli after eight months of deadly fighting.

Despite this success, the GNA has failed to assert its authority fully over the whole country.

Prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj has not yet been able to secure a vote of confidence in the Libyan parliament based in Tobruk in the east, where the military leader of the parallel authorities, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, is also based.

“The inability to meet people’s expectations leads me to resign... I pledged to alleviate their suffering but I did not succeed,” Kouni also wrote on his Twitter account.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/01/02/Libya-deputy-PM-quits-saying-he-has-failed-.html

--------

 

Suicide bombers attack peacekeepers' Somali HQ

Jan 3, 2017

MOGADISHU : Suicide bombers attacked the main peacekeeping base in Somalia's capital on Monday, killing at least three Somali security officers, police said.

Islamist al Shabaab militants, who want to topple the Western-backed government, said they carried out the assault near Mogadishu's main airport, an area used by several embassies, aid groups and telecoms companies.

One bomber drove a car into a checkpoint outside the headquarters of the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, killing three Somali officers stationed there, police officer Mohamed Ahmed said. Another vehicle then drove through towards the base's main gates but came under fire from peacekeepers.

"It exploded about 200 metres from the gate. Civilian buildings were damaged," AMISOM said on its Twitter feed.

The powerful blasts damaged the front of the nearby Hotel Peace, though there were no immediate reports of casualties there.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/suicide-bombers-attack-peacekeepers-somali-hq

--------

 

Suicide car bomber outside Mogadishu airport kills 3: Police

Jan 3, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint near Mogadishu's international airport Monday, killing at least three people, a Somali police officer said.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the bomb detonated as security forces were searching cars at the checkpoint, a few hundred meters (yards) from the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission.

The checkpoint is close to United Nations offices and the Peace Hotel, which is often frequented by foreigners and officials. The powerful blast blew roofs off nearby buildings.

A second blast and heavy gunfire could be heard shortly afterward.

The first blast destroyed the checkpoint run by the Somali national security forces, the African Union mission said on Twitter. The explosion allowed a second bomb-laden vehicle to pass, but AU forces "engaged" it and it exploded about 200 meters from Medina Gate, the AU mission said.

The al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which often carries out such attacks, quickly claimed responsibility for Monday's attack through its radio arm, Andalus.

Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds across large parts of south and central Somalia, the homegrown group continues to wage deadly attacks across the country.

Somalia's capital has seen frequent bomb attacks at hotels and military checkpoints. In July, two al-Shabab suicide bombers detonated explosives-laden cars outside the office of the U.N.'s mine-clearing agency and an army checkpoint near the African Union's main base, killing 13. The site of the attack was near the site of Monday's blasts.

Full report at:

http://www.wboc.com/story/34164755/suicide-car-bomber-outside-mogadishu-airport-kills-3-police

--------

 

Police deny knowledge of Boko Haram’s attack in Niger

03 January 2017 

The Police have denied media reports that members of Boko Haram sect attacked some villages in Niger state.

A statement to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by Niger State Police command’s spokesperson Bala Elkalla said this in Minna yesterday.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Niger State Police Command has been drawn to some online reports alleging the invasion of some villages in Rafi Local Council of the state by members of Boko Haram who fled from the recaptured Sambisa forest.

“The report is not only false, but malicious and calculated at causing fear and panic among the peace-loving people of Niger State. The report is clearly a fiction that emanated from the writer’s imagination.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Niger State is among the few states in the country that have conquered cattle rustling, kidnapping and armed banditry.

According to Elkallah: “It is on record that in the past few months, the command, in its aggressive operations arrested over 40 armed bandits and recovered over 1,000 cattle and various types of assorted weapons.”

The police said it have over 500 mobile policemen and special anti-robbery squads who patrol villages in Rafi Local Council area alone, being a boundary community with Kaduna State, Zamfara and Kebbi states.

Elkallah urged the public to remain calm and go about their lawful businesses.

“The command has put sensitive security measures in place to guarantee adequate protection of lives and property of the people,” he added.

Full report at:

http://guardian.ng/news/police-deny-knowledge-of-boko-harams-attack-in-niger/

--------

 

Nigerian official held over alleged ties to Boko Haram

02 January 2017

A Nigerian local government official was detained in the country's restive northeastern region for allegedly shielding a Boko Haram suspect at his home.

According to a ministerial statement on Sunday from the provincial Borno government, Shettima Lawan Mafa, a council chairman, was held by the military on suspicion he hid a top terror suspect.

“(Hon. Mafa) reported himself to the military last week and was detained pending the outcome of ongoing investigations being conducted by the military,” Borno commissioner for local government affairs Usman Ali Zannah said -- the first official comment on the issue.

The army had yet to comment at the time of this report.

A number of top government officials have previously been indicted for alleged involvement in the insurgency. The country's senate majority leader Ali Ndume and former Borno governor Ali Modu-Sheriff face similar charges, although they have not yet been prosecuted.

The development comes just over a week after the military flushed the militants from their main base in the Sambisa forest and amid reports Boko Haram violence has dropped sharply in the last 12 months.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/182535/nigerian-official-held-over-alleged-ties-to-boko-haram

--------

 

Arab World

 

Suicide bombing kills at least 36 in Baghdad

Jan 3, 2017

A suicide bomber driving a pickup loaded with explosives struck a bustling market in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 36 people in an attack claimed by the militant Islamic State group hours after French President Francois Hollande arrived in the Iraqi capital.

The bomb went off in a fruit and vegetable market that was packed with day laborers, a police officer said, adding that another 52 people were wounded.

During a press conference with Hollande, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the bomber pretended to be a man seeking to hire day laborers. Once the workers gathered around, he detonated the vehicle.

IS claimed the attack in a statement circulated on a militant website often used by the extremists. It was the third IS-claimed attack in as many days in and around Baghdad, underscoring the lingering threat posed by the militant group despite a string of setbacks elsewhere in the country over the past year, including in and around the northern city of Mosul.

The attack took place in Sadr City, a vast Shia district in eastern Baghdad that has been repeatedly targeted by Sunni extremists since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Shia militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand cleric for whose family the neighborhood is named, were seen evacuating bodies in their trucks before ambulances arrived. Dead bodies were scattered across the bloody pavement alongside fruit, vegetables and laborers' shovels and axes. A minibus filled with dead passengers was on fire.

Asaad Hashim, an owner of a mobile phone store nearby, described how the laborers pushed and shoved around the bomber's vehicle, trying to get hired.

“Then a big boom came, sending them up into the air,” said the 28-year-old, who suffered shrapnel wounds to his right hand. He blamed “the most ineffective security forces in the world” for failing to prevent the attack.

An angry crowd cursed the government, even after a representative of al-Sadr tried to calm them. Late in December 2016, Iraqi authorities started removing some of the security checkpoints in Baghdad in a bid to ease traffic for the capital's six million residents.

“We have no idea who will kill at any moment and who's supposed to protect us,” said Ali Abbas, a 40-year-old father of four who was hurled over his vegetable stand by the blast. “If the securities forces can't protect us, then allow us to do the job,” he added.

Three smaller bombings elsewhere in the city on Monday killed another seven civilians and wounded at least 30, according to medics and police officials. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Hollande meanwhile met with al-Abadi and President Fuad Masum, and was expected to travel to the self-governing northern Kurdish region to meet French troops and local officials.

Iraqi troops, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, are fighting IS in a massive operation to retake the northern city of Mosul. Iraqi state TV said Hollande will discuss increasing support for Iraq and the latest developments in the 10-week-old offensive.

Hollande promised that France would remain a long-term ally of Iraq and called for coordination between intelligence services “in a spirit of great responsibility,” in remarks carried by his official Twitter account.

France is part of the American-led coalition formed in 2014 to fight IS after the extremist group seized large areas in Iraq and neighboring Syria. France has suffered multiple attacks claimed by the extremist group.

Since the Mosul operation started on Oct 17, Iraqi forces have seized around a quarter of the city. In the last week of December 2016, the troops resumed fighting after a two-week lull due to stiff resistance by the militants and bad weather.

Mosul is Iraq's second largest city and the last major urban area in the country controlled by IS. Iraqi and US commanders are aiming to drive IS from the city in the next three months.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1305975/suicide-bombing-kills-at-least-36-in-baghdad

--------

 

Over 20 Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Attack on Nusra Bus at Border with Turkey

Jan 02, 2017

Syrian army's artillery and missile units targeted a military bus of Fatah al-Sham, carrying fresh recruits from Turkey into Lattakia.

The army attack on Fatah al-Sham's bus that had entered Syria via a Turkish border crossing left at least 20 militants dead and several more wounded.

In December, the army's artillery units pounded the military positions of al-Nusra Front near the village of al-Yamama in the Northern part of Lattakia province.

"The artillery shelling resulted in the destruction of the terrorists' military vehicles as well as death and injury of a number of terrorists in the vicinity of al-Yamama village," a military source said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013001348

--------

 

Militants Living in Fear after Assassination of Commanders in Idlib

Jan 02, 2017

"Unidentified people that had planted a large volume of explosive materials in one of the vehicles of Fatah al-Sham detonated it in the town of Khan al-Sabal in Southeastern Idlib, killing Abu Amyar al-Khorsani, a commander of Fatah al-Sham, and his assistant," the sources said.

They added that a bomb-laden vehicle of Ahrar al-Sham was also detonated in the town of al-Tah in Idlib countryside, injuring a group member.

The sources went on to say that Faylaq al-Sham's bases in the town of Kaftin in Idlib countryside were also raided by masked assailants who stole weapons and took the guards into captivity.

"Panic has spread among Fatah al-Sham members after the recent incidents. They are accusing each other of treason and mounting spying devices in their commanders' vehicles," the sources pointed out.

Reports said earlier today that two notorious commanders of Fatah al-Sham Front were killed in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attack on their vehicle on Sarmada-Batbu road in Northern Idlib.

Full report at:

 

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013001216

--------

 

ISIL's Centers in Northern Syria Hit Hard in Russian, Turkish Joint Air Raids

Jan 02, 2017

The statement said that the Russian fighter jets bombed ISIL's positions in al-Bab another time to support the Euphrates Shield Operation started by Ankara in August.

Ankara's statement went on to say that Turkish and Russian fighter jets carried out joint aerial operation against ISIL's centers in al-Bab on the first day of 2017.

Last Monday, the Russian Air Force started targeting ISIL's positions in the town of al-Bab to back up the Turkish Army and its militant allies for the first time since the start of the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013001085

--------

 

Syria: Russia Sets up Military Post in Northern Districts of Aleppo City

Jan 02, 2017

The sources said that the army has set up the checkpost in Sheikh Maqsoud district to cooperate with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in controlling the security situation in the district.

The sources added that a group of Russian military police have been seen patrolling in Sheikh Maqsoud.

They added that at least 15 Russian soldiers have been stationed in the newly-established check point.

A media source confirmed the report and added that establishment of the security posts in Sheikh Maqsoud is important, specially by Russians that are a party to ensuring nationwide ceasefire.

Other sources said that the Russians are expected to set up their second check point in the Eastern Neighborhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud district in next few days.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Saturday that the country's sappers managed to defuse a large number of bombs and landmines planted by the terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah in over 2,000 buildings in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013000714

--------

 

Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with ISIL, Inflicts Major Losses on Militants in Deir Ezzur

Jan 02, 2017

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL along the Eastern wall of Deir Ezzur airbase that left a number of militants dead or wounded and caused the rest of them to retreat from the battlefield to evade more casualties.

In the meantime, the army's missile and artillery units targeted movements and gatherings of ISIL in two neighborhoods of al-Sina'ah and al-Jabiliyeh, killing a number of the terrorists and destroying their rocket launchers and bases.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951013000589

--------

 

India

 

Can ISIS Strike India From East? Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh Terrorist Revealed Plans, Say Sources

January 02, 2017

KOLKATA:  The threat to India from ISIS may well come from the eastern border. The Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB, a terror group which was behind the Dhaka Bakery Attack and aims to establish an Islamic caliphate in the country, has been coordinating with the ISIS to create terror in India, sources said.

The possibility of an ISIS attack from the east is being seriously considered after the interrogation of Mohammad Mosiuddin alias Musa, an alleged JMB operative who was arrested in July last year from Burdwan in West Bengal.

Mosiuddin's interrogation has thrown up chilling revelations that include terror plans that go beyond targeting foreigners at Kolkata's Mother House and lone wolf attacks on foreign tourists in Srinagar. The group aims to replicate in South Asia what the ISIS has done in the middle-east, sources said.

Mosiuddin's close links to the mastermind of the Dhaka Bakery terror attack and the ISIS could open a new front.

"They want to first capture Bangladesh and set up an Islamist state there. Then they want to expand their Islamist state in the neighborhood.  Something like what Taliban thought about, what Al-Qaeda thought about or what the ISIS is thinking about," Professor N Manoharan, an Associate Professor at the Department of International Studies and History at Bengaluru's Christ University, told NDTV.

Sources say the JMB's larger plans include publicising the presence of the ISIS in India and recruit for the group. It also wants to coordinate with Pakistan-based groups like Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish e Mujahideen and create terror in eastern and southern India, where Mosiuddin was based, sources say.

Another aim of the group is to help spread Salafist Islam in states like Bihar and Bengal. "They want to start with Bangladesh and they want to expand this Darool Islam to the wider region and link up with other groups," Professor N Manoharan added.

The common threat from terrorism was discussed by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Modi earlier this year, when Sheikh Hasina visited Delhi. The two leaders decided to tackle the menace together.

"This is a decision which is taken at the highest level. We are trying to translate the vision of the Prime Ministers of both countries.  We are getting huge support from the Bangladesh side," said PSR Anjaneyulu, a senior officer of Border Security Force.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/can-isis-strike-india-from-east-jamaat-terrorist-reveals-plans-say-sources-1644360

--------

 

India’s Top Court Bars Campaigns Based on Religion, Caste, Community or Language

By ELLEN BARRY

JAN. 2, 2017

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that candidates for political office cannot appeal to voters on the basis of religion, caste, community or language, arguing that India’s Constitution enshrines its elections as fundamentally secular.

A majority of four justices ruled that elections won on religious- or caste-based appeals by candidates or their proxies could be declared null and void.

Three justices, in a dissent, argued that such topics were constitutionally protected free speech.

The ruling came as India prepared for a wave of assembly elections in seven states, seen as an important test of the strength of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

It also called into question an essential characteristic of Indian politics, whose secular nature often seems skin-deep.

Rajdeep Sardesai, a journalist, said on Twitter that according to this ruling, the majority of those in Parliament “should lose their seats.” Other commentators shrugged off the judgment as impossible to put into effect.

Political movements based on identity have led to major social change in India in recent decades. Lower-caste leaders have swept to power promising to right historical injustices. Throngs have taken to the streets demanding the right to use indigenous languages. Hindu right-wing activists have routinely rallied their electorate around allegations of wrongdoing by Muslims. Caste-based reservations are used in India in much the same way as race-based affirmative action is in the United States.

Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of international studies at Brown University, called the decision “very mystifying,” offering the example of Kumari Mayawati, who was born a Dalit, in a caste of so-called untouchables. She rose to become the leader of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

“Suppose she mobilizes Dalits on the basis of Dalit suffering. Would that be seen as a violation of this Supreme Court judgment?” he asked. “The Supreme Court appears to be saying that identity-based politics should be outlawed. But identity-based politics cannot be easily outlawed.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/world/asia/india-supreme-court-ruling-election-campaigns.html?_r=0

--------

 

‘Stop The Firing, There’s A Funeral,’ Mosque At Line of Control Told Pakistan

January 2, 2017

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector has been hit with frequent ceasefire violations in the past week. While the Line of Control witnesses deaths of army personnel and civilians in such violations, this Friday it witnessed an unprecedented funeral of a teenager at the border fence.

Sixteen-year-old Tanweer was killed during firing from Pakistani side on Friday. His family intended to bury him on their own land at the Noorkote village on the Line of Control. But under intermittent but intense firing from the Pakistani side, they could not go ahead with it. Later, a local mosque intervened in making an impassioned plea to stop the firing.

“You have killed a man in firing. Stop the firing. We want to conduct the funeral prayers,” the mosque announced on their loudspeakers, according to Jehangir Mir, Member of State Legislative Council.

A teenager’s funeral was conducted near the Line of Control in Kashmir’s Poonch sector. (NDTV)

The fresh round of firing has triggered a wave of fear among those residing at villages near the LoC. The locals have started moving to safer areas. The ceasefire violation by Pakistan comes after over three weeks of silence on the border after the Indian Army launched a counter-offensive against killing of three soldiers in the Machhil sector.

“There is lot of fear. Two to three bombs are dropping at one place, they cover a large area causing causalities of people and livestock, people are living in total fear,” said Sunil Kumar, resident of a village near the border.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/stop-firing-theres-funeral-mosque-line-control-told-pakistan-1099978/

--------

 

Istanbul terror attack: Plan in place to bring back victims’ bodies

Jan 3, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Indian Mission in Turkey is trying for early repatriation of the bodies of Bollywood producer Abis Hasan Rizvi and Khushi Shah from Gujarat who were among 39 people killed in the Istanbul terror attack.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed through tweets that her ministry was arranging visas for Rizvi’s parents to visit Turkey.

“I have just spoken to Mr Akhtar Hassan Rizvi and Akshay Shah in Turkey. Indian Ambassador Rahul Kulshreshth has made all arrangements for them. They r returning with mortal remains by Turkish airlines flight leaving Istanbul tommw night and reach Mumbai next morning,” Swaraj said in a tweet.

She also said that Indian Ambassador to Turkey Rahul Kulshreshth was in touch with the authorities in Istanbul and with the family of victims.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Rizvi and Shah had gone to Istanbul as tourists and they “happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Rizvi was the chief executive of Rizvi Builders and son of former Rajya Sabha member Akhtar Hasan Rizvi. He had produced a Bollywood movie: ‘Roar: Tigers Of The Sundarbans’. Famous among the celebrity circles of Mumbai, he played a vital role in the running of Rizvi College located at Bandra. His younger brother, Saquib Rizvi, had died in an accident in 2010.

According to close relatives of Rizvi, the 45-year-old businessman went to Istanbul a few days ago to celebrate New Year with friends. Nora Fatehi, who acted in the film Roar, tweeted: “Abis Rizvi a good friend and also the producer of my first film #roar has died last night in the club shooting in Turkey. I am shocked”. His father, a close associate of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is famous also for his charity work.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/istanbul-terror-attack-plan-in-place-to-bring-back-victims-bodies/articleshow/56305966.cms

--------

 

J-K: Encounter ends in Baramulla, one terrorist killed, arms recovered

January 3, 2017

The encounter between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district ended with one terrorist being killed. Arms and ammunition was also recovered from the site, reports news agency ANI.

Encounter broke out during wee hours on Tuesday and initially it was believed that two terrorists were hiding in Haritar Tarzoo area of the district.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-encounter-breaks-out-between-security-forces-and-terrorists-in-baramullah-district-4456499/

--------

 

IS video claims Modi, Obama, Turkey’s Erdogan working against Muslims’ interests

Jan 03, 2017

An Islamic State video, which called for attacks on Turkey days before the massacre at an Istanbul night club, shows President Recep Erdogan with leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who the group claims are working against the interests of Muslims.

The 19-minute video in Arabic and Turkish, titled The Cross Shield, features gruesome footage of two captured Turkish soldiers purportedly being burnt alive by IS fighters in Syria.

The video begins with an attack on Erdogan for his involvement in the war in Syria and calls for “destruction to be sowed” in Turkey.

It also refers to the situation in Afghanistan and shows Erdogan and Turkish leaders with other world leaders the IS claims are working against Islam and the interests of Muslims.

US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pope Francis, former Myanmar president Thein Sein, Israeli leaders and clerics and Modi feature in the video.

The photo of Modi and Erdogan used in the appears to be one taken when they had met in November 2015 on the margins of the G20 Summit in Turkey.

Turkey entered the war in Syria in August and has sent hundreds of troops, tanks and warplanes into the country.

The video, which also features purported footage of Turkish air strikes and suicide attacks and bombings by the IS, concludes with the execution of the Turkish soldiers. The chained soldiers are shown being dragged out of a cage and then set on fire. The video was purportedly shot in northern Syria.

The video is similar to another one on the killing of a Jordanian fighter pilot, who was captured by the IS when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and then burned alive in a cage.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/is-video-claims-modi-obama-turkey-s-erdogan-working-against-muslims-interests/story-8cvXfdGuIKTwx6ZcJjXqhN.html

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Pakistan: Muslims Demand Shaan Taseer Be Killed for Anti-Blasphemy Post on Facebook

Jan 2, 2017

The son of a Pakistani governor who was assassinated over his opposition to the nation's blasphemy laws is now the subject of a fatwa calling for his death after he criticized the nation's blasphemy laws and voiced his support for its victims on Facebook. Shaan Taseer, the son of slain Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer and a human rights activist, took to social media to wish a "Merry Christmas" and to express his support for blasphemy victims Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been sitting on death row for years, and Nabeel Masih, a Christian teen who has been imprisoned since September after he was accused of "liking" a Facebook that is offensive to Muslims. The post, however, was never found.

On Friday, Taseer announced that a police case has been registered in Islampura, Lahore on the grounds of "hate speech" because of his Christmas video Message.

According to the Express Tribune, the police filings state that Taseer's message mocked the blasphemy law and hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not satire," he wrote on Facebook. "A case under sec 295A (hate speech: acts intended to outrage religious feelings) has been registered by Punjab Police at another Police Station in Lahore, Islampura."

"The police claim they found a USB outside the station, opened it and were horrified by a Christmas message," he continued. "They also claim not to know who the person in the video is (wink wink), and have therefore named an unknown person. Presumably, when asked tomorrow, they will claim to have done their job at an arm's length basis. Once again, this is not satire, the Punjab police has moved into action to protect the public against my Christmas message."

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reports that a Muslim group called Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah has issued a fatwa against Taseer, saying that he is now "condemnable to death" because his message "crossed all limits of insulting God and the [Islamic] prophet."

The WSJ reports that the group is of the Barelvi sect, which is normally considered a moderate group but takes a hardline stance when it comes to the issue of blasphemy laws.

"They have called for my assassination," Taseer told WSJ.

"In no unclear terms, they've told their supporters to prepare another Mumtaz Qadri," Taseer said, referring to the security guard who assassinated his father in 2011.

Taseer explained that he has received hundreds of hate-filled messages and death threats since posting his Christmas message and is now seeking safety outside of Pakistan.

As the police case registered in Islampura doesn't mention Taseer by name, the Islamic group Sunni Tehreek Lahore has petitioned the Mughalpura police station to register a blasphemy case against Taseer by name.

If a case is not filed by Jan. 4, the group will stage a public protest, The Nation reports.

"Shaan Taseer in his comments has not blasphemed in any sense of the word or contravened any law," Wilson Chowdhry, president of the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post on Monday. "Yet, he finds himself in a potentially life-threatening position where he could be killed by extremists incensed by the fatwa against him or arrest and detainment leading to a death sentence by statutory authorities who should be protecting him."

"Britain and the United States have a serious decision to make whether will they continue to sponsor a country to fight terrorism whilst it exhibits more extreme ideology than the terrorists that they purport to be protecting the world from," Chowdhry asserted.

Chowdhry added that Pakistan's blasphemy laws are nothing more than a "tool for discrimination and persecution."

"Asia Bibi's incarceration on trumped-up charges are a clear example of their misuse," Chowdhry said. "Sadly most politicians are too fearful of an Islamic backlash and despite many assurances have failed to amend or abrogate these detestable laws."

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pakistan-muslims-demand-shaan-taseer-be-killed-for-anti-blasphemy-post-facebook-172496/

--------

 

Christian cry out police action supporting land mafia to occupy Church property in Sukkur

Jan 3, 2017

HYDERABAD: January 2, 2017. (By Abbas Kassar) Christian community leaders have cried out at forced occupation of Christian Missionary Trust building Mission Compound in Sukkur by builder mafia with active help of police. Addressing press conference here Monday Christian leaders Bishop Kaleem John, Father James, Father Daniel Fayyaz,Pastor Nazir Masih and others told that builder mafia was threatening Christian families residing in Mission compound to vacate building as builder wanted to build a plaza there. They told that on first night of new year about 30 police personnel riding in 8 mobiles accompanied with few private persons attacked Church property named Mission Compound in Sukkur and started to beat men, women and children throwing them out of houses. Police torture continued for 2 hours during which a 2 year old child got injured under police feet. They said police tortured professor Sohail, Rashid and others. They told that police party was led by Inspector Abdul Malik. They said police searched the homes and took away golden ornaments of women with them.

Bishop Kaleem and others told that Mission Compound was not property of any one person but it was Trust Mission property and under Pakistan law cannot be sold or purchased. They said Diocese of Hyderabad Church of Pakistan was a religious trust with Bishotp Kaleem John as its chairman and also caretaker of all Churches in Sindh. They said Christians were patriotic citizens of Pakistan and had laid down their lives alongside Muslims for creation of Pakistan.

They said when the Christians went to police station in Sukkur their complaint was not taken. Christian community also held protest before press club Sukkur but were denied justice. They said this action against Christians shows that builders have political backing that is why police was collaborating with them. Builders want to create law order situation in Sindh. Later the Christians held protest demonstration in front of press club Hyderabad and raised slogans demanding protection of their religious buildings. They demanded from president, prime minister, Sindh governor, chief minister and chief justice high court to take notice of violence against them and action against police officers involved in it. They demanded protection of their homes, lives, Church properties and also asked for security of Rangers for them as they have no faith in police.

Meanwhile in a press note issued by Central Secretariat of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have strongly condemned police action against residents of Mission Compound Sukkur and urged Sindh government to take immediate action against Sukkur Police.

Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have said that Church Mission Trust properties owned by Church of Pakistan have been allegedly sold to Muslim builders in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot and other cities under leadership of Moderator Church of Pakistan Bishop Samuel Azariah and cases against selling such valuable properties are pending in higher court.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6248#sthash.AHuwnE18.dpuf

--------

 

Govt decides to review NAB Ordinance after growing criticism on plea bargain law

MUHAMMAD BILAL

Jan 3, 2017

Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, while speaking before a Senate's standing committee on Monday, said the government is in the process to form a committee comprising parliamentarians tasked with reviewing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance, keeping in view the growing criticism regarding plea bargain and voluntary return.

The law minister said this during the meeting of Senate's Standing Committee on Law and Justice, after the committee members, following intense deliberations, recommended that the NAB Ordinance of 1999 should be reviewed.

The Senate body meeting was chaired by Senator Javed Abbasi.

The committee members had a detailed discussion on Section 25 of the NAB law that deals with voluntary return and plea bargain.

NAB Deputy Chairman Imtiaz Tajwar, DG Operations Zahir Shah and other officials defended NAB’s powers — particularly the provision of voluntary return and plea bargain.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said there was a strong perception that NAB was promoting corruption rather eradicating the menace. He questioned the powers of NAB chairman to accept voluntary return and plea bargain and said "he [NAB chief] accepted the plea bargain from Balochistan’s former finance secretary to 'protect' big guns".

The NAB deputy chairman, however, defended the move. Reiterating the support, he apprised the committee that the bureau has recovered Rs37.1 billion in plea bargain and voluntary return since 2010.

Minister for Law Zahid Hamid said a parliamentary committee would soon be constituted to review the NAB law as a whole and that members of the National Assembly as well as the Senate will be part of the committee.

Hamid further said the Senate chairman has already filed nominations to the National Assembly speaker in this regard.

“The government has also forwarded names from treasury benches to the speaker… instead of five names, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah has forwarded six names so we have been requesting him to drop one name,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1305979/govt-decides-to-review-nab-ordinance-after-growing-criticism-on-plea-bargain-law

--------

 

Pakistani nationals reportedly abducted in Turkey, families seek govt's help

Jan 3, 2017

Media reports on Monday revealed that some four or five Pakistani nationals had been allegedly kidnapped for ransom by suspected Kurd miscreants near Turkey's border.

The victims, hailing from Gujranwala and Wazirabad, were travelling to Europe, when they were intercepted and abducted by suspected Kurd miscreants.

Armed kidnappers reportedly subjected the captives to inhuman torture and sent the footage of torture to the relatives of these people. The captors demanded a sum of Rs2 million each for the release of the abducted Pakistani citizens.

The affected families have demanded of the government to recover their relatives from captivity. They expressed their inability to pay huge ransom amount.

The foreign office, while reacting to the news, said that the government was “well aware of the media reports regarding kidnapping of Pakistani young men for ransom” in Turkey.

“The diplomatic missions of Pakistan in Ankara and Istanbul have taken necessary measures to apprise the Turkish authorities, who are extending cooperation,” the foreign office said in its statement.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1305985/pakistani-nationals-reportedly-abducted-in-turkey-families-seek-govts-help

--------

 

Pakistanis without visa barred from entering Afghanistan

January 02, 2017

Afghan authorities have barred Pakistanis from entering their country without valid travel documents, a move that comes following turbulence along the Torkham border between the two countries.

The new order comes into effect the same day it was announced as Kabul welcomes New Year with tight border management measures, reported Gulf News. The report further added that hundreds of Pakistanis who had gone to Afghanistan have returned via the Torkham border after the announcement on Sunday.

However, officials said the residents of Landikotal have been exempted from this order. They would continue to travel to Afghanistan as their permit would remain valid for crossing the Pak-Afghan border.

The so-called easement rights cater to the needs of people living in the border areas in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as they are related to each other and have to attend social events.

Officials, however, on the request of the Afghan and Pakistani businessmen, extended the deadline twice.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/02-Jan-2017/pakistanis-without-visa-barred-from-entering-afghanistan

--------

 

South Asia

 

Myanmar to investigate abuse of Rohingya muslims by security forces

Jan 02, 2017

The Myanmar government on Monday pledged to investigate a video showing the police beating and kicking Rohingya civilians -- a rare admission that authorities may have carried out abuses against the Muslim minority.

Tens of thousands of people from the persecuted ethnic group -- loathed by many of Myanmar’s Buddhist majority -- have fled a military operation in Rakhine state launched after attacks on police posts.

Bangladesh says some 50,000 Rohingya have fled across its border over the past two months. Many have brought harrowing accounts of rape, murder and arson at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces.

Their stories have raised global alarm and galvanised protests against Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused of not doing enough to help the Rohingya.

Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, who tried to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence, kept under watch by Bangladeshi security officials in Teknaf. (AFP file photo)

Her government has said troops were hunting militants behind deadly raids on police border posts, denying claims of atrocities and launching a dogged information campaign against reports of abuse.

However, on Monday authorities pledged to take action “against police who allegedly beat villagers during area clearance operations on 5 November in Kotankauk village” in a statement carried in state media.

Dozens of videos have emerged apparently showing security forces abusing Rohingya, but this is the first time the government has said it will take action over them.

The footage shows police hitting a young boy around the head as he walks to where dozens of villagers are lined up in rows seated on the ground, hands behind their heads.

Three officers in uniform then start attacking one of the sitting men, beating him with a stick and kicking him repeatedly in the face.

The video is filmed ‘selfie-style’ by an officer, named as constable Zaw Myo Htike by state media, which said he recorded it during “clearance operations” in Kotankauk village.

A Rohingya activist said the footage had been verified by a refugee from the nearby camp, Shilkhali.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has long discriminated against the stateless Rohingya, who rights groups say are among the most persecuted peoples in the world.

More than 120,000 have been trapped in squalid displacement camps since violence erupted in 2012 in Rakhine, where they are denied citizenship, access to healthcare and education.

More than a dozen Nobel laureates wrote to the UN security council last week urging action to stop the “human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in northern Rakhine.

Under Myanmar’s junta-era constitution, Suu Kyi’s civilian administration has limited power over the army, which maintains control of the defence, home and border ministries.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/myanmar-to-investigate-abuse-of-rohingya-muslims-by-security-forces/story-YUgPYaqwRERXIHSStlXeKN.html

--------

 

Key Taliban commanders among 21 killed in Logar airstrikes

Jan 02 2017

At least 21 Taliban insurgents were killed in separate airstrikes conducted in central Logar province of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Monday.

The ministry further added that two key commanders of the group were also among those killed.

“Acting upon confirmed intelligence reports, Air Forces stormed a hideout of armed Taliban in Charkh district of Logar province yesterday evening, killing 21 armed Taliban and destroying their weapons and ammunition,” MoI said.

According to MoI, among the kills include two key commanders of armed Taliban named Waziri and Samad.

The Taliban insurgents group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Logar is among the relatively volatile provinces in central Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in a number of its remote districts.

The group often conducts insurgency activities by placing landmines and carrying out coordinated attacks against the government and security forces.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/key-taliban-commanders-among-21-killed-in-logar-airstrikes-02605

--------

 

Afghan minister suspended over phone tax investigation

Jan 3, 2017

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani suspended his minister for telecommunications and information technology on Monday while he is investigated over a levy on mobile telephone charges, officials said.

The removal of Communications Minister Abdul Razaq Wahidi adds to a lingering political crisis in Afghanistan, heightened in November when parliament passed no confidence votes against a number of ministers over poor performance and budgetary issues.

Yasin Sameem, a spokesman for the communications ministry, said the decision to suspend Wahidi was taken after an audit into the collection of a 10 per cent tax on mobile phone topups imposed in 2015.

He said the president's office, which has declared the fight against graft as a top priority, felt the ministry had not cooperated sufficiently with an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the levy.

"We are committed to accountability and the minister will wait for the findings of the investigation," Sameem said.

The mobile phone levy, which has raised millions of dollars for government coffers, was imposed as part of efforts to raise domestic tax revenue to make up for a gradual reduction in international donor aid in coming years.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Jan-2017/afghan-minister-suspended-over-phone-tax-investigation

--------

 

Myanmar detains police over Rohingya abuse video

Jan 3, 2017

YANGON: Myanmar said Monday it has detained several police officers over a video shot by a fellow policeman that shows them beating Rohingya civilians, a rare admission of abuse against the Muslim minority.

Tens of thousands of people from the persecuted ethnic group - loathed by many of Myanmar's Buddhist majority - have fled a military operation in Rakhine state, launched after attacks on police posts in October. Neighbouring Bangladesh says some 50,000 Rohingya have crossed its border over the past two months. Many have brought harrowing accounts of rape, murder and arson at the hands of Myanmar's army or police.

Dozens of videos have emerged apparently showing abuses against Rohingya, but this is the first time the government has said it will take action over them. The refugees' stories have raised global alarm and galvanised protests against Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused of not doing enough to help the Rohingya.

Her government has said troops are hunting militants behind the deadly raids on police border posts, denying claims of atrocities with a flurry of public statements.

However on Monday authorities pledged to take action "against police who allegedly beat villagers during area clearance operations on 5 November in Kotankauk village".

Suu Kyi's office named four officers involved in the operation including constable Zaw Myo Htike, who looks nonchalantly into the camera smoking as he records the video.

"Those who (were) initially identified were detained," it said in a statement. "Further investigations are being carried out to expose other police officers who beat villagers in the operation."

The footage shows police hitting a young boy around the head as he walks to where dozens of villagers are lined up in rows seated on the ground, hands behind their heads.

Three officers in uniform then start attacking one of the sitting men, beating him with a stick and kicking him repeatedly in the face.

A Rohingya activist contacted by AFP said the footage had been verified by a refugee from the nearby camp, Shilkhali.

Analyst David Mathieson said the video "brings into sharp question the government's denials of security forces abuses in Rakhine since October, when here is sadistic cinema verite of how they are treating the local Muslim population".

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/myanmar-detains-police-over-rohingya-abuse-video

--------

 

Nangarhar police receive M16 rifles as part of modernization efforts

Jan 03 2017

The Afghan National Police (ANP) forces modern M16 rifles as part of the ongoing efforts to modernize the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

The provincial police commandment said the rifles were distributed to the 6th Unit of the Afghan National Police Forces in Nangarhar.

The officials said the rifles were distributed by the provincial security chief General Syed Gul Aqa Rohani.

Speaking during the distribution ceremony of the rifles, Gen. Rohani instructed the police forces of the 6th Unit to properly maintain and take care of the delivered weapons.

Gen. Rohani further added that all units of the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces will receive M16 rifles as part the plan being worked upon by the provincial officials.

He said the security commandment of Nangarhar is busy working on the plans to maintain good security of the province.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nangarhar-police-receive-m16-rifles-as-part-of-modernization-efforts-02608

--------

 

Russia blocking removal of Hekmatyar’s name from UN sanctions list

Jan 03 2017

Russia is attempting to block the removal of Hezb-e-Islami party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s name from the United Nations sanctions list, it has been reported.

It is yet not clear why Moscow is attempting to hinder the removal of the party leader from the sanctions list.

A foreign diplomat told The Wall Street Journal that “For the Russians, it’s just putting their foot down.”

The diplomat further added “I haven’t seen any good reason for it.”

Hameed Azizi, a spokesman for the party, urged the Afghan government to put pressure on the U.N. and foreign governments to remove Mr. Hekmatyar from the sanctions list and proceed with the implementation of the peace deal.

“If any country is against the delisting of our leader from the blacklist, that country also is against peace in Afghanistan and wants the continuity of war,” he said.

The peace deal between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami party was signed late in the month of September last year.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/russia-blocking-removal-of-hekmatyars-name-from-un-sanctions-list-02607

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Another call to restore Sabah’s rights and religious freedom

January 3, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has been urged to address policies of the federal government that discriminate against the people of Sabah.

The Native Solidarity of Sabah or PAN Sabah wants the Sabah government to pursue and restore all rights guaranteed under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

In a statement signed by its chairperson Esther Golingi, PAN Sabah said: “MA63 is our inheritance. Have we been responsible in guarding our rights as a sovereign nation under the same? If our past leaders have not been vigilant, it is not too late for us to wake up now, unite and reclaim our lost rights!”

PAN Sabah said those who ridiculed the call for the restoration of their rights under MA63 were oblivious to the real circumstances of the formation of Malaysia.

“We are not calling for Sabah to exit from Malaysia as some quarters may think. All we ask for is for the truth of MA63 to be established in Sabah so that the proper process of self-determination of the nation of Sabah can be said to have been completed.” The statement said it had to be recognised that Sabah was not a state and that Malaysia consisted of three nations – Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is the truth and it is crucial that the authority of each sovereign nation be restored in accordance with MA63. The process of this restoration must be transparent and seen to be done.”

PAN Sabah also took a swipe at the federal government for allegedly working to change the demographics of Sabah through the National Registration Department.

Saying the people of Sabah were furious at how the NRD was treating Sabahans in the issuance of birth certificates and MyKads, it said the Sabah government should take over the work being done by the NRD, and also take control of immigration.

PAN Sabah said: “The federal government’s incessant drive to change the demographics of Sabah to an atrociously abnormal level has caused huge damage to the lives of our people.

“Thousands of Sabahans, especially our natives in the rural areas, are suffering from the effects of an imposed identity, especially religious identity in their birth certificates and MyKads.

“NRD’s drive to increase the false statistics of Muslim population in Sabah is simply deplorable. Faith is a personal matter and our religious identity should not be dictated by NRD.”

PAN Sabah stressed it was not against Islam but against “compulsion, coercion and deception” that was disrupting the internal harmony of Sabah society.

It said policies that sought to regulate their freedom of religion and religious identity were in clear breach of MA63.

Giving some detail, it said Sabahans complained that the NRD’s practise of insisting that a child should assume the racial and religious identity of the Muslim parent, and that the child should inherit the racial identity of only one parent, was against MA63.

“NRD’s system cannot work in Sabah and frankly has failed Sabahans. We want a new system of identification for multi-ethnic Sabahans. Our people’s religious freedom and heritage must be respected. To deny our true identity is to deny our existence. The government of Sabah must take charge of these matters now.”

PAN Sabah also asked what had happened to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah. It wants to know how the government plans to tackle this issue.

The group also said it would stand behind all elected representatives who opposed the bill to enhance shariah law that has become known as Hadi’s Bill.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/01/03/another-call-to-restore-sabahs-rights-and-religious-freedom/

--------

 

Malaysian aid flotilla bound for Arakan ‘not coming to create tension’'

02 Jan 2017

A Malaysian NGO has announced plans to send a flotilla of humanitarian aid to the stricken Rohingya population in northern Arakan State, while Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has cautioned that any such shipment should be directed at assisting both Muslim and Buddhist communities in the country’s west.

Aid to the region has been severely curbed since 9 October, when insurgents launched coordinated attacks on police border outposts in Maungdaw township during which nine officers were killed. Government security forces cracked down swiftly, launching “clearance operations” that have seen more than 80 Rohingya reportedly killed in the search for the attacks’ perpetrators.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organisations (MAPIM) hopes to deliver over 600 tonnes of food, medical supplies and shelter provisions to around 300,000 Muslims in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships, but the organisation acknowledges success is not guaranteed.

Zulhanis Zainol, MAPIM’s secretary-general, told DVB last week that MAPIM had not yet received explicit permission to land and distribute supplies.

“We sent a letter to our Malaysian Embassy in Rangoon, who will send it on to Naypyidaw. The letter was sent on 15 December — we have not yet heard back. But the [Burmese] Foreign Ministry did tell media that aid would be allowed soon,” he said.

“If they do not allow us then we won’t enter, but it will have a bad impact on the issue of humanitarian rights. We are bringing food and needed items, we are not coming to create tension,” he added.

The fleet of two ships, which is scheduled to leave Malaysia on 10 January, will also carry members of the media, NGO personnel and medical staff.

According to MAPIM, the mission has earned the support of the Turkish government, in the form of media coverage and financial assistance. When contacted by DVB, a representative of the Turkish Embassy in Rangoon said he “did not know anything about that.” Zulhanis said his team had engaged in 18 other humanitarian missions in Arakan State since communal violence last flared en masse in 2012, but the flotilla next month is its first attempt to deliver aid from Malaysia by sea.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi agreed to relax restrictions on humanitarian aid at a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on 19 December, which was convened to discuss the escalating violence in Arakan State and reports of military men burning villages and raping Rohingya women.

Suu Kyi’s government has steadfastly denied all reports of wrongdoing by the military, despite satellite photographs of destroyed communities and dozens of women speaking out about alleged sexual violence.

Zulhanis said the decision to organise the latest aid mission was made after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak lashed out at the Burmese government, labelling the ongoing suffering of the Rohingya a “genocide” at a 4 December rally in Kuala Lumpur, angering nationalist Arakanese and violating the long-held ASEAN practice of non-interference in other member states’ affairs.

Full report at:

http://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/malaysian-aid-flotilla-bound-arakan-not-coming-create-tension

--------

 

Pope calls on world bishops to protect children from those who kill or exploit them

Jan 03, 2017

PARIS: Most imams in France (and Belgium) forbid the faithful from celebrating Christmas and the New Year and call on Muslims not to extend holidays greetings. This is what French imam Hocine Drouiche wrote on his Facebook page. He is one of the most open-minded French Muslim clerics opposed  to extremism. A tireless promoter and supporter of dialogue between different faiths, he condemns those who repeat the "mantra" that Islam  is a religion of peace but then consider expressing season’s greetings "as an insult" because "this is not our religion."For him, the Islam professed by these imams, who are the majority in France, in Belgium, and in many other countries, "is not a true Islam of peace and shared life". Qur??nic schools in the West are places that extol political Islam based on jihad and hatred of the "enemies." Fortunately, there are also “open-minded Muslims, who greet you with a big smile and wish you a Happy New Year.”The harsh rebuke of the position held by most imams on season’s greetings  (Christmas and New Year) is just the latest in a series of complaints made by the French Muslim cleric. In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, in November 2015, he called on the faithful not to leave Islam "hostage in the hands” of extremists". At the same time, he urged Muslim communities to live dialogue and friendship with Europeans, without fear and arrogance.He is not alone in denouncing the climate of hostility and loathing promoted by some European Muslims towards the culture, tradition and faith of Europe’s natives. Recently, a former Islamic radical who was close to Salafist ideology for years, noted calls by imams and clerics to "hate Christians and Jews", not to imitate the "infidels" and not to participate "in their festivities and celebrations. "

Full report at:

http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/pope-calls-on-world-bishops-to-protect-children-from-those-who-kill-or-exploit-them/34005/1

--------

 

Muslim Scientists to Set Up Online Hub to Spur Science and Technology Cooperation

January 3, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Delegates at the Science and Technology Exchange Programme among Muslim Countries (STEP) have agreed to create an online hub to be an enabling platform for science and technology collaboration and provide access to best practices.

They also decided to create an endowment for the purpose of funding science and technology activities in Muslim countries.

These were among the points highlighted in a joint statement issued at the end of STEP, jointly organised by Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

“We need to focus on scientific activities that address the big issues facing Muslim countries such as water purification and desalination, renewable energy and others,” said MSTF representative Prof Sa’eed Sarkar, in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/01/03/muslim-scientists-to-set-up-online-hub-to-spur-st-cooperation/

--------

 

Six witnesses to testify against Ahok: Lawyer

January 3, 2017

Prosecutors will present six witnesses to testify against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in the fourth hearing of his blasphemy trial at the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday morning, a lawyer said.

"The  witnesses are the people who had denounced Ahok for blasphemy," Josefina Syukur, Ahok's lawyer, told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

She revealed that prosecutors would present National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council's Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) advocacy head Novel Bamukmin, Sharia Advocate Chairman Gus Joy Setiawan, lawyer Muh. Burhanuddin, Islam Defenders Front (FPI) Jakarta branch head Muchsin, the head of the Anti-blasphemy Forum Syamsu Hilal and another person named Nandi Naksabandi.

The lawyers were ready to face the witnesses’ statements, she said.

"We have prepared some questions regarding their statements in their reports," she added.

Separately, Novel, who is also an FPI leader, said he had prepared evidence to prove that Ahok was guilty in committing blasphemy.

"I've prepared videos and a printout from an online news [source] that show Ahok had insulted Islam by using Surah Al Maidah 51, since he ran as Jakarta deputy governor in 2012," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/03/six-witnesses-to-testify-against-ahok-lawyer.html

--------

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/playing-chess-is-more-sinful-than-gambling--turkish-televangelist/d/109585

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomens in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomens In ArabIslamphobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism, Moderate IslamModerate MuslimsProgressive IslamProgressive MuslimsLiberal Islam 

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   3


  • "Playing Chess Is More Sinful Than Gambling: Turkish Televangelist". . . . . So Turkey has its Zakir Naiks too!
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/4/2017 9:51:42 AM



  • playing with AK-47 s so spiritual...hahahah
    By Utkarsh Mishra - 1/4/2017 9:50:33 AM



  • "Muslims Demand Shaan Taseer Be Killed for Anti-Blasphemy Post on Facebook."

    Muslims who make such demands do not know anything about the Quran, Islam or our Prophet. Such rabid fanatics must be charged with incitation to murder by the police  and must be vigorously prosecuted.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/3/2017 11:35:49 PM



Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Comments
Fill the text
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.

Content