New Age Islam
Thu Dec 03 2020, 03:01 PM

Islamic World News ( 7 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

'Al-Aqsa in Danger': Muslim Leaders Call for Unity to Solve Israel-Palestine Conflict















Gazans praying at Al-Aqsa mosque (AFP Photo)

 

Nigeria's Northern Kaduna State Declares Shi'ite Muslim Sect Unlawful

Which Egg Is Hafiz Saeed Laying For Us, Pakistan MP Asks

Iran Prevents ISIL from Becoming State

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Mideast

'Al-Aqsa in Danger': Muslim Leaders Call for Unity to Solve Israel-Palestine Conflict

Two Car Bomb Attack Planners Blow Themselves Up In Turkey's Capital

US assures Turkey of ‘no PKK affiliate’ in Mosul operation

Turkish Police Foil Terrorist Attack in Ankara, 2 Suicide Bombers Blow Up

Three Turkish diplomats seeking asylum in Germany after coup attempt: Report

I would give my everything for peace in Turkey: Nobel laurate Aziz Sancar

Turkish lawyer files complaint for top US soldiers for ‘supporting coup attempt’

Ending visa talks with Turkey ‘stupid mistake’

Iraqi govt’s remarks on Turkish troops ‘provocative,’ says PM Yıldırım

PM to meet opposition on mini constitution changes

Coup attempt plan to pound key Turkish state buildings with high-tech device failed, testimony shows

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Africa

Nigeria's Northern Kaduna State Declares Shi'ite Muslim Sect Unlawful

Niger: Attackers Kill 22 Soldiers near Refugee Camp

Amid worries of Islamic militants and jobs, Moroccans vote

Islamic body donates to Esther Lungu Trust

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Pakistan

Which Egg Is Hafiz Saeed Laying For Us, Pakistan MP Asks

Afghanistan Hikes up Entry Tax on Pakistani Cargo Trucks By 100pc

MQM-London not the issue, objective is to drive out MQM-Pakistan from Karachi, says Sattar

Imambargah trustee shot dead, son critically injured in suspected sectarian attack

US-India relations reason for Pakistan's burgeoning ties with Russia: Mushahid Husain

Never called Altaf Hussain traitor, says Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

CTD arrests nine suspected terrorists in Karachi

Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities measures its achievement in decency

Pak’s ISI chief likely to be replaced in next few weeks: report

CPEC won’t pass through KP sans western route, says Khattak

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Arab World

Iran Prevents ISIL from Becoming State

Over 30 Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Army Attacks across Dara'a

Iraqi Volunteer Forces Preparing for Mosul Liberation Operation

Syrian Gov't Forces Repel Fatah Al-Sham's Assault to Cut off Two Key Roads in Hama

Fatah Al-Sham Terrorists Reject De Mistura's Demand for Leaving Aleppo City

ISIL's Offensives to Break Through Gov't Positions Repulsed by Syrian Army

Fighting Drug Trafficking Imposes Heavy Costs on Iran

Iran Renews Support for Political Solution to Syrian Crisis

35,000 Terrorists Killed, Nearly 12,000 sq/km of Land Liberated in Syria in 6 Months

Riyadh Using Starvation as Tactic against People of Yemen, Saudi Arabia

Moscow, Damascus Fulfill All Conditions of Truce in Syria

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South Asia

Due Process and Bangladesh’s Counter-Terrorism Measures

9 ISIS Loyalists Killed In Nangarhar Airstrike

Pak envoy links peace in Afghanistan to resolution of Kashmir issue

Abdullah appreciates Pakistan’s $500m commitment, support to Afghan refugees

Bangladesh forces kill four suspected Islamist militants

Bangladesh court clears Canadian of attack charges

New militant recruits killed RU Prof Rezaul Karim

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India

Muslim Organisations Hail Surgical Strikes, Urge Political Parties to Unite

Hindus And Muslims of Agartala Unite To Make This Durga Puja A Grand Success!

Home Minister to review security at Indo-Pak border in Barmer

Amid conflict, residents of Indo-Pak border village hope for peace

Curfew imposed in Srinagar after 12-year-old dies in pellet firing

No Lakshman rekha for these Muslims

Muslims make effigies of Ravana on occasion of Dussehra

Kerala HC sets 'IS suicide bomber' free

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia Nabs 10 on Suspicion of Passing Information to Abu Sayyaf Group

Kofi Annan should visit Rohingya refugees camps

Seven teens missing after boat capsizes in Indonesia

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Europe

Muslim Migrants in Europe Are Not Refugees But Job Seekers

EU backs 'grassroots' efforts to fight radicalisation

Russia to Submit to UNSC Alternative Draft Resolution on Syria

Will Anti-LGBT Muslim Cleric Be Expelled From U.K.?

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North America

US Does Not Back Moves to Declare Pakistan Terrorist State

Former Springfield Men Sentenced For Defacing Islamic Centre

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/-al-aqsa-in-danger---muslim-leaders-call-for-unity-to-solve-israel-palestine-conflict/d/108802

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'Al-Aqsa In Danger': Muslim Leaders Call For Unity To Solve Israel-Palestine Conflict

ANADOLU AGENCY

ISTANBUL08 October 2016: More than 500 Muslim leaders and clerics from 30 countries met in Istanbul on Friday to warn that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site that is located in Jerusalem, was in danger.

The religious and political leaders, representing at least 50 civil society organizations and political parties in their countries assembled at the 8th Islamic Countries' Opinion Leaders Forum, titled "Al-Aqsa is in Danger" in Istanbul, organized by the Arab-Turkish Relations Center.

Yasin Aktay, vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, represented Turkey as he spoke at the opening of the forum, saying: "Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is in danger means humanity is in danger, because Al-Quds [Jerusalem] gave us an example how people [from different sects] coexisted peacefully in an ideal way."

Abderrazak Makri, president of the Movement of Society for Peace in Algeria, claimed: "There would be no success in any Islamic country without working on Palestine" and blamed foreign powers that "do not want us to become united, be developed. That is why we should be united to work for Al-Aqsa Mosque."

During last year's Rosh Hashanah holiday, which marks the Jewish new year, restrictions on men under 50 entering the mosque caused clashes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

A month-long series of Jewish holidays that start with Rosh Hashanah have in the past also caused heightened tensions as many Palestinians object to the increased numbers of Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount.

Palestinians have in the past accused Israel of altering the status quo, a balance of prayer and visiting rights that reserves the right to worship at the site for Muslims, through its policing of Al-Aqsa and the surrounding area.

The tension caused by restrictions on entry to Al-Aqsa last year were followed by a period of violence that has seen at least 235 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, mostly during clashes or alleged attacks.

"You know that the bad coup, the failed coup in Turkey was aiming to weaken Turkey because Turkey is taking a strong role on Palestine; because they wanted to stop Turkey supporting Palestine," Makri added.

Salah Abdel Maksoud, Egypt's former information minister in Mohamed Morsi's government, said Turkish people defeated a military coup that aimed to marginalize the country.

He claimed that the military coup in Egypt in 2013, which ousted Morsi, had been triggered because he " wanted to break the [Israeli] siege, help Gaza."

Meanwhile, Mohammed Walid, head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, spoke at the forum, addressed the crisis in his country.

He said he brought messages from Syrian opposition forces to Russia: "We did not go to the country to kill you, but you came to our country to kill our children, and our women, and to destroy our houses, history. We know that you are aggressor.

"You have intercontinental rockets, and missiles really effective against the bodies of children. […] We know that you are the most coward people in history," Walid said.

The clerics meet once a year in Turkey to discuss solutions for conflicts that challenge Muslim countries. The two-day forum ends Saturday.

Source: dailysabah.com/mideast/2016/10/08/al-aqsa-in-danger-muslim-leaders-call-for-unity-to-solve-israel-palestine-conflict

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Nigeria's Northern Kaduna State Declares Shi'ite Muslim Sect Unlawful

Sat Oct 8, 2016

ABUJA (Reuters) - A northern Nigerian state on Friday said it declared a minority Shi'ite Muslim sect, whose members clashed with the army late last year, an unlawful society.

The Kaduna state government said anyone convicted of being a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria could be imprisoned for seven years, fined or both. The size of the fine was not specified.

The sect came to prominence when its members clashed with the army in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna state, in December. A judicial inquiry in August concluded that the army killed 348 of the sect's members.

The Kaduna state government said the group had "overtly continued with unlawful processions" and "obstruction of public highways" since the clashes.

"These acts, if allowed to go unchecked will constitute danger to the peace, tranquillity, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna state," it said, declaring the group unlawful with immediate effect.

Members of the sect are among the several thousand Shi'ite Muslims whose movement was inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The majority of the tens of millions of Muslims in Africa's most populous nation of 180 million inhabitants are Sunni - including the Boko Haram militants who have killed thousands in bombings and shootings mainly in the northeast since 2009.

Source: af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN12801K

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Which Egg Is Hafiz Saeed Laying For Us, Pakistan MP Asks

Oct 7, 2016

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan+ Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker has called for action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed+ amid a growing chorus for action against terror groups in Pakistan.

Rana Muhammad Afzal, a PML-N lawmaker, on Thursday questioned the government's failure to act against Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the head of its frontal charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

"Which egg is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him," Afzal said in a meeting of the standing committee on foreign affairs, according to the BBC Urdu.

Afzal, a member of the parliamentary panel, questioned the efficacy of Pakistan's foreign policy+ and said it had become such that "we have not been able to get rid of Hafiz Saeed so far".

Sayeed, one the most wanted terrorists in India, has been blamed for masterminding terror attacks in Kashmir and other parts of India including the 2008 Mumbai carnage+ that killed 166 people.

The lawmaker said New Delhi had created such a worldwide impression about the terrorist leader "that during the meetings on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention Hafiz Saeed as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India".

He said the country needed to be freed of such elements that have "led the world to start isolating us and trying to declare (Pakistan) a terrorist state".

He recalled a trip to France where he had gone on a diplomatic mission to make Paris aware about alleged atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Saeed was "brought up time and again" during his meetings in France, Afzal said.

He questioned whether Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause and said that banned terror outfits, like the Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, were a source of embarrassment for Pakistan.

Opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan told a joint session of Parliament that the country was diplomatically isolated+ because it gives freedom to non-state actors.

"The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan (NPA)," the Dawn newspaper quoted Ahsan as saying.

He implied that such elements continued to hold protests and rallies and give speeches in places such as Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.

"I don't want instability in any country, as the blame of that will then fall on us because of these non-state actors," he said.

He said the failure to curb terrorists would isolate Pakistan. "Then Bangladesh and Afghanistan will not speak to you, and Bhutan and Nepal will begin supporting India."

"You have isolated Pakistan," he said, adding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was responsible for Pakistan's diplomatic isolation as he was also the Foreign Minister.

A report in newspaper Dawn on Thursday suggesting that the Pakistan military has been asked not to "interfere" in action against militant groups considered "off limits" gave rise to heated speculation of a rift between the Nawaz Sharif government and the army brass even though the account was forcefully denied.

In its report, Dawn said a meeting of civilian leaders, including PM Nawaz Sharif and the ISI chief Rizwan Akhtar, on Monday saw foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry bluntly say that Pakistan faced diplomatic isolation and was under pressure to act against Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network, and move forward on the Pathankot investigation.

The development seemed an attempt by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to flex muscles against the army but the denial soon after dampened such expectations. The initial denial referred to "half truth" which was revised to "fabrication", and the addition of a paragraph on the role of the army and ISI working against terrorists of "all hues" made it clear that Sharif had backtracked. The PM's office said the report was misleading and an amalgam of "fiction and fabrication".

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Which-egg-is-Hafiz-Saeed-laying-for-us-Pakistan-MP-Rana-Muhammad-Afzal-asks/articleshow/54729380.cms

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Iran Prevents ISIL from Becoming State

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Hassan Rouhani blasted the West for supporting the terrorist groups in the region, and underlined that Iran has prevented the ISIL from spreading to other countries and forming a state.

"Iran has stopped the ISIL from turning into a state," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Malaysian intellectuals and media people in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The Iranian president reiterated that if it hadn't been because of Iran’s assistance and role, the ISIL would have turned into a state instead of a terrorist group.

President Rouhani underlined that Iran has been providing counseling assistance to the Iraqi and Syrian armies in their fight against ISIL on the requests by their governments.

The Iranian president, meantime, voiced his opposition to the disintegration of regional countries, and said, "Dividing the countries into smaller portions is dangerous and can result in regional wars."

President Rouhani also warned against attempts to cause sectarian rifts between Shiites and Sunnis.

In relevant remarks in late June, Iranian Supreme Leader's senior adviser Ali Akbar Velayati underlined that the ISIL has been created by the West and Israel to pursue their interests in the region.

"The injured ISIL terrorists receive medical treatment in the occupied territories by Israel's physicians which shows the nature of Takfiri terrorists," Velayati said in a meeting with members of the General Secretariat of the Arab and Islamic Gathering Forum on Supporting Resistance in Tehran.

"All of us are duty-bound to defend the axis of resistance because resistance is Muslims' standing against aggression and occupation of the Islamic territories by Israel and their supporters,” he added.

Velayati pointed to the different types of resistance, and said, "The Iraqi government, nation and army, which are fighting against the ISIL terrorists and have managed to carry out very important tasks, are examples of resistance against the Zionists.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000577

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Mideast

'Al-Aqsa In Danger': Muslim Leaders Call For Unity To Solve Israel-Palestine Conflict

ANADOLU AGENCY

ISTANBUL08 October 2016: More than 500 Muslim leaders and clerics from 30 countries met in Istanbul on Friday to warn that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site that is located in Jerusalem, was in danger.

The religious and political leaders, representing at least 50 civil society organizations and political parties in their countries assembled at the 8th Islamic Countries' Opinion Leaders Forum, titled "Al-Aqsa is in Danger" in Istanbul, organized by the Arab-Turkish Relations Center.

Yasin Aktay, vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, represented Turkey as he spoke at the opening of the forum, saying: "Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is in danger means humanity is in danger, because Al-Quds [Jerusalem] gave us an example how people [from different sects] coexisted peacefully in an ideal way."

Abderrazak Makri, president of the Movement of Society for Peace in Algeria, claimed: "There would be no success in any Islamic country without working on Palestine" and blamed foreign powers that "do not want us to become united, be developed. That is why we should be united to work for Al-Aqsa Mosque."

During last year's Rosh Hashanah holiday, which marks the Jewish new year, restrictions on men under 50 entering the mosque caused clashes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

A month-long series of Jewish holidays that start with Rosh Hashanah have in the past also caused heightened tensions as many Palestinians object to the increased numbers of Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount.

Palestinians have in the past accused Israel of altering the status quo, a balance of prayer and visiting rights that reserves the right to worship at the site for Muslims, through its policing of Al-Aqsa and the surrounding area.

The tension caused by restrictions on entry to Al-Aqsa last year were followed by a period of violence that has seen at least 235 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, mostly during clashes or alleged attacks.

"You know that the bad coup, the failed coup in Turkey was aiming to weaken Turkey because Turkey is taking a strong role on Palestine; because they wanted to stop Turkey supporting Palestine," Makri added.

Salah Abdel Maksoud, Egypt's former information minister in Mohamed Morsi's government, said Turkish people defeated a military coup that aimed to marginalize the country.

He claimed that the military coup in Egypt in 2013, which ousted Morsi, had been triggered because he " wanted to break the [Israeli] siege, help Gaza."

Meanwhile, Mohammed Walid, head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, spoke at the forum, addressed the crisis in his country.

He said he brought messages from Syrian opposition forces to Russia: "We did not go to the country to kill you, but you came to our country to kill our children, and our women, and to destroy our houses, history. We know that you are aggressor.

"You have intercontinental rockets, and missiles really effective against the bodies of children. […] We know that you are the most coward people in history," Walid said.

The clerics meet once a year in Turkey to discuss solutions for conflicts that challenge Muslim countries. The two-day forum ends Saturday.

Source: dailysabah.com/mideast/2016/10/08/al-aqsa-in-danger-muslim-leaders-call-for-unity-to-solve-israel-palestine-conflict

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Two car bomb attack planners blow themselves up in Turkey's capital

October 8, 2016

Two suspects blew themselves up in a car early on Oct. 8 after the police called on them to surrender on the outskirts of Ankara, Ankara Gov. Ercan Topaca has told the press. Both suspects died in the incident, the governor said. No one else was killed or hurt.

“Police called on them to surrender. They did not respond in a positive way. They blew themselves up before we could intervene,” Topaca told reporters at the scene.

Harun Arslan, one of the suspects, had bought a car a few days ago to use in a bomb attack and police was tracking the two suspects, he said. The notice of the two attackers’, of whom one was a woman and whose name was Mahide Ataş, arrival in Ankara was given to the police from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

“What is interesting is that they had a Turkish flag on their car,” Topaca said, adding that “a third person is being sought.”

“We think that they did so to hide themselves,” the governor said, adding that the attackers might be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The organization they are connected to is not clear yet but according to information we have received, it is highly likely that (the man) is linked to the PKK. The way the incident was carried out and planned points at the PKK,” he said.

The governor’s office said security forces launched an operation against the militants around 6 a.m. at a stud farm some 30 km from the capital after the tip-off from Diyarbakır.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also commented on the incident, saying that a “disaster” was prevented from happening. Bozdağ added that all signs “pointed to the PKK.”

“They probably planned to attack in Ankara,” Bozdağ told Turkish broadcaster CNN Türk on Oct. 8.

“...Turkey is in a critical position. There are clashes in Syria and Iraq and sources of terror there,” he also said.

Video footage showed forensic teams in white overalls inspecting the site as police secured the area around a hut in flat countryside on the road to the town of Haymana.

Police seized two pieces of plastic explosives and 200 kg (440 pounds) of ammonium nitrate, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Ammonium nitrate is an ingredient in bomb-making.

An identity card found at the scene, believed to belong to one of the would-be bombers, was of a man from the southeastern province of Bingöl.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to convene a meeting with security officials in Istanbul at 3:30 p.m. without specifying a reason.

On Oct. 6 a bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul wounded 10 people. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for that blast on Oct. 7.  Six people have been detained in connection with the attack.

Turkey has been rocked by a wave of bomb attacks since last summer that have killed hundreds of people and been blamed on either the PKK or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

The deadliest attack took place in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, with ISIL killing 103 people attending a peace rally.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/two-car-bomb-attack-planners-blow-themselves-up-in-turkeys-capital.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104744&NewsCatID=509

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US assures Turkey of ‘no PKK affiliate’ in Mosul operation

October 8, 2016

The United States has assured Turkey that there will be no units which are affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the planned operation to take the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a high-ranking Turkish source confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 7 amid rising tension between the Turkish and Iraqi governments.

The source, who asked not to be named, said, “We [Turkey] take this assurance seriously, but we will see the actual case on the ground.”

It appears that the assurance was given to the Turks by an American delegation that carried out talks in Ankara on Sept. 27.

According to diplomatic sources, the planning of the Mosul operation, rather than Raqqa in Syria, was the main topic of talks between Turkish authorities and the Americans, including U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy in the fight against ISIL and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. That was a follow-up to the talks between Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in New York on Sept. 23.

Erdoğan told the press later on that he asked Biden to drop the PKK-affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG) as the ground force in Syria against ISIL, so Turkey will give full support to the rebel groups it backs for the operation to take Raqqa from ISIL.

The assurance has two separate meanings for Turkey. The first is physical. PKK is active north of Mosul and uses the region as a corridor between their military headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of Iraq and the YPG-controlled areas in Syria which they call “Rojava.” One of the two reasons why Turkey set up the Bashiqa camp near Mosul – at first with Iraqi consent – to train Sunni and Turkoman militia (mostly the Hashdi al-Vatani) was to establish another armed force against ISIL, the other was to stop the PKK from moving south toward Mosul. The second meaning for Turkey is political; it is an indirect acknowledgement confirming that the Americans knew very well that their collaboration with the YPG, the Syria branch of the PKK (which Turkey also lists as terrorist) is driving Turkey crazy.

In those talks, the Americans asked whether it was possible to “integrate” the Sunni and Turkoman militia who have been receiving military training from Turkish Special Forces at Bashiqa with the CENTCOM coordination under the U.S.-led coalition.

The issues were first discussed later in the day in a security meeting chaired by President Erdoğan and attended by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who were in the talks with the U.S. delegation. The Mosul operation was on the agenda of the National Security Board (MGK) meeting on Sept. 28 as well. Before that meeting, Çavuşoğlu met with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in Ankara and talked about the Iraqi and Syrian situations in detail.

“We have no objection to that integration,” the high-ranking Turkish source said when explaining Ankara’s position on Oct. 7. “We told that to the Americans. But as you know, we have other problems now.”

The problems that the Turkish official was referring to started when Ibrahim Alawi, the Iraqi ambassador to Ankara, said Turkey should leave the Bashiqa camp immediately, after the Turks let the Americans know about their consent to integrate the Bashiqa-trained militia into those set to march on Mosul.

As Turkey protested Alawi, a stronger statement came from Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who asked Turkey to stop violating the territorial rights of Iraq. Al-Abadi also applied to the United Nations over the Turkish presence in Iraq. That was taken as a bitter joke by Ankara, given that Turkey has been fighting with the PKK based in Iraq for more nearly three decades, while almost a third of Iraq’s territory is under ISIL control. Things got more complicated when a CENTCOM spokesman said Turkey should get Iraqi permission to make its presence legal.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım slammed the Iraqi government and said Turkey would not evacuate Bashiqa. That was not a move quite in international law, but almost everything happening in Iraq and Syria were like that, too. Çavuşoğlu asked al-Abadi to stop using this delicate matter for his domestic political consumption, saying Turkey had no eye on Iraqi soil.

“Al-Abadi’s remarks are not in line with the realities on the ground,” the Turkish source said. “There is a propaganda about Turkish intentions to take the opportunity to take Mosul. At first, we have no such intention. Second, our presence in Bashiqa is only limited to raining and the protection of the camp itself. Iraqis know that, Americans know that, everybody knows that. Al-Abadi is playing for the applause of the audience.”

And according to diplomatic sources in Ankara, the audience is in Tehran. But what about the talks with Zarif? Ankara thinks the influence of Zarif or President Hassan Rouhani’s influence on the Revolutionary Guards and the Shiite militia fighting on behalf of Syria and Iraq regimes are not as strong as that of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

Americans, on the other hand, think that if they let Shiite militia go into Sunni-populated Mosul, it could trigger new and perhaps more complicated problems of sectarian origin, with the possibility of empowering ISIL, instead of defeating it.

All those factors are likely to risk the plans of the U.S. administration to take Mosul from ISIL before the presidential elections on Nov. 8.

And the issue of Turkish participation in the Mosul operation is not clear at present.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/us-assures-turkey-of-no-pkk-affiliate-in-mosul-operation.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104740&NewsCatID=409

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Turkish Police Foil Terrorist Attack in Ankara, 2 Suicide Bombers Blow Up

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- According to local media reports, Turkish police managed to prevent a terrorist attack in the capital of Ankara on Saturday, which lead to two suicide bombers blowing themselves up when ordered to surrender.

Turkish police managed to prevent a terrorist attack in the capital of Ankara on Saturday, which lead to two suicide bombers blowing themselves up when ordered to surrender, local media reported.

Attackers allegedly planned a car bomb attack, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper. No casualties have been reported so far.

Ankara Governor Ercan Topaca told journalists that the attackers have been identified as Harun Arslan and Mahide Atas while police are investigating if there was a third suspect.

"So far the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] link is not certain but current evidence indicates that Harun Arslan may have PKK links," Topaca said as quoted by the media.

Police seized 200 kilograms (441 pounds) of explosives at the scene.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000599

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Three Turkish diplomats seeking asylum in Germany after coup attempt: Report

October 8, 2016

At least three Turkish diplomats, reportedly including one military attache, are seeking asylum in Germany in the wake of the failed military coup in Turkey, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), German media cited government sources as saying.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has recalled an unknown number of diplomatic passports since the failed seizure of government.

Representatives of the German Interior Ministry told members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament that three Turkish diplomats in Germany had applied for asylum, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR said.

Sueddeutsche cited government sources as saying the number could be higher by now. It also cited them as saying the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had not yet decided on the applications.

The diplomats are suspected of being followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the report said.

Neither the German Interior Ministry nor the BAMF could be immediately reached for comment. The Turkish Embassy declined to comment on the report.

Around 32,000 people have been jailed pending trial during Turkey's post-coup crackdown, while around 100,000 members of the security and civil services, university professors and others have been fired or suspended from work.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/three-turkish-diplomats-seeking-asylum-in-germany-after-coup-attempt-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104745&NewsCatID=510

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I would give my everything for peace in Turkey: Nobel laurate Aziz Sancar

October 8, 2016

Aziz Sancar, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has said he would “give my everything, all of my scientific successes” for peace in Turkey.

“I would give my everything, all of my scientific successes, including the Nobel Prize, for peace in Turkey. If there was a way to establish peace, I would do it. If I could, then I would give up my Nobel Prize,” Sancar said in his speech via teleconference on the second day of the Crystal Apple Festival in Istanbul, hosted by the Advertisers’ Association.

“I would be ready to give my Nobel Prize back so long as peace comes to my country. It has always been an issue that makes me sad and preoccupies my mind. It saddens me that terrorism in Turkey is not over,” he added, prompting applause and cheers from the crowd.

Sancar was invited to speak at the festival by journalist, writer and television producer Nebil Özgentürk, who has produced a new documentary on the Nobel laureate.

The Nobel laureate said “love for his country” had got him to where he is, adding that all parents “should teach their children to love their countries.”

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have love for my country. Work hard. Teach your children to work hard and love their countries. Children should be taught that if one is beneficial for their country, he is beneficial for the whole world,” Sancar said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/i-would-give-my-everything-for-peace-in-turkey-nobel-laurate-aziz-sancar.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104730&NewsCatID=374

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Turkish lawyer files complaint for top US soldiers for ‘supporting coup attempt’

October 8, 2016

A Turkish lawyer has filed a complaint against three senior U.S. soldiers, accusing them of making terror propaganda over the failed July 15 coup while claiming that some of the bombs used in the attempt did not belong to the Turkish military.

Lawyer Mert Eryılmaz filed a complaint at the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul regarding U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel on the grounds that they supported the attempted takeover of July 15, which has been blamed on the Fethullah Gülen movement.

Eryılmaz stated in his complaint that the coup attempt was directed from the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana and that military officers with links to the Gülen movement cooperated with U.S. military personnel at the base.

He said bombs which do not belong to the Turkish military were found inside eight cargo planes which took off from the base and landed in the eastern province of Malatya on the night of July 15.

The base’s commander, Brig. Bekir Ercan Van, had sought asylum in the U.S. when the coup attempt failed but was rejected.

The lawyer also noted the testimony of Specialized Sgt. Muhammet Emrah Kuzu, who said Van called him to duty on July 15, after which he entered a building at the base belonging to U.S. soldiers, staying there around 20 minutes.

The soldiers at the base supported the movement and violated international conventions, the lawyer said, demanding the precautionary closure of the base.

The Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation but said the matter was out of its jurisdiction, sending the file to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office where coup attempt probes are being conducted.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office could either file a lawsuit or drop the complaint.

Following the coup attempt, a report by pro-government daily Yeni Şafak claimed that retired Gen. John Campbell planned the failed coup attempt. It stated that Campbell provided a huge amount of cash flow from the UBA Bank in Nigeria via the CIA in order to support the coup.

Dunford dismissed the allegations, describing them as “absurd.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also lashed out at Votel for appearing to lament the fact that some Turkish officers with whom the U.S. had relations were detained for their role in the attempted overthrow, saying the situation could impair relations between the two militaries.            

The Pentagon stated that the general was misunderstood, saying any report suggesting Votel’s support in favor of coup-plotting soldiers was factually inaccurate.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lawyer-files-complaint-for-top-us-soldiers-for-supporting-coup-attempt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104707&NewsCatID=509

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Ending visa talks with Turkey ‘stupid mistake’

October 8, 2016

Abandoning visa liberalization talks with Turkey, as suggested by some EU governments, would be a stupid mistake, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said, advising the re-scheduling of the implementation of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens as an October deadline is no longer realistic.

He also called on Turkey to return to normalcy as soon as possible and end the state of emergency when possible, advising the country to continue with a period of national dialogue by including the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as well.

Gentiloni made the comments in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News during a trip to Turkey.

Here are the questions and answers from the interview with Gentiloni.

As far as I understand, this is a visit to show the Italian people and Italian government’s solidarity with the Turkish government and people. But don’t you think it’s a little late?

I think we were, in fact, not late, because, a few hours after the [attempted July 15] coup, the voice of our government – the Italian government – the other European governments and the United States were very clearly supporting the Turkish institutions against the coup. And, personally I called my colleague a few hours after the coup. And what I understand is that in Turkey, the fact that, immediately after the coup, several critiques of the post-coup developments from European governments were perceived as insufficient awareness of the seriousness of the coup attempt, of the danger that the Turkish institutions were [facing] and so on.

I am not saying we were late, but I understand the perception here. And we want to eliminate this perception. We are aware of the seriousness of the danger that was [faced] by Turkish institutions, but at the same time, obviously we are stressing the importance of the fact that the Turkish institutions need to return to normal functioning. The sooner the better. So, we need to end the state of emergency when possible. It is not our decision but obviously the sooner the better. We hope that the dialogue between the government and the political parties, all the political parties, including the HDP go on, in the interest of stability and cohesion.

It was possible to defeat the coup attempt thanks to the people who took to the streets on that night. So, from this perspective, how would you describe Turkish democracy? Do you think it is a kind of a symbol that Turkish democracy is becoming more mature?

Well, the reaction of the people was the demonstration of the fact that there is a strong attachment to democracy and to institutions. It’s a fact that all the parties shared in the mobilization against the coup, even the parties that share almost nothing with President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan. But they were defending the institutions. This, I think, is something we should underline and put in as evidence.

How do you assess the government’s reaction in the aftermath of coup attempt? There are growing concerns over mass dismissals and in some cases, the imprisonment of academics, teachers and journalists although they did not physically take part in the coup attempt.

My opinion is that – I repeated yesterday as well – the goal should be to restore as soon as possible the normal functioning of justice. Turkish authorities underline that what they call the FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization] was very huge and they had a presence in different institutions, from the judiciary to universities, to even the diplomatic [corps], the military and whatever. It is true that our knowledge of this organization was very low in Italy. Especially we only knew something about the existence of Mr. [Fethullah] Gülen but not so much of this. But also we have a more limited diaspora in our country, and I know from my colleagues from other European countries that they have a significant presence of this organization in their countries. So, we understand this description. It is a very huge presence, and we had to face this presence in several sectors of society, but at the same time, the persistence of a state of emergency limiting the rule of law and the normal functioning of the institutions is, I think, something negative that should be overcome. In any case, it will finish in January as far as I understand because the law does not allow one to go further.

No, it can be extended as much as you want.

Ah, you can extend it forever. I hope that will not be the case.

Do you think delaying the process to restore normalcy in the country will also cause problems between Turkey and the European Union?

The problem was already there because, as you mentioned before, there was a significant misunderstanding in the post-coup period. We worked in the last weeks to make two concepts clear. One is that we are not under-evaluating the threats against Turkish institutions and if this was the perception, we are ready to change this perception. I think this is also the reason for so many visits in recent weeks. And second, this does not change the fact that the EU means commitment to the rule of law, commitment to civil rights, commitment to freedom of the press. This is not a matter of discussion. These are our principles. And obviously in the dynamics of the relations between the EU and Turkey, these principles will be kept. So, it is not an easy double message. But I think that our Turkish partners and friends did understand this double message. We are supportive, but this does not mean that we are denouncing our message.

One immediate issue is Turkey-EU visa liberalization and ensuring the continuity of the March 18 migrant deal. There are concerns that the October deadline for the visa liberalization will not be met. Do you think it can be solved?

In the post-coup situation, some political parties and even some governments in the EU asked that the process of visa liberalization be stopped, saying that what happened in Turkey after the coup was a clear demonstration that the visa liberalization perspective was unrealistic. So, some political parties and some governments asked for a termination of this perspective. We are strongly convinced that this would be a stupid mistake and that this goal should be maintained. Then, having said this, we all know that this goal is connected to the European perspective, to the certain number of prescriptions that should be fulfilled before delivering visa liberalization. Will this happen this month? That is very difficult, to be clear. I think everybody is aware in Europe and in Turkey about that.

So, what should we do? Abandon this goal and this perspective? It would be crazy and a mistake. We have to reschedule, but this is a matter of negotiation between Ankara and Brussels.

What would you say on the ongoing Syrian crisis?

Perhaps I could only add one thing because it was discussed yesterday in our meetings. I give some hope to the possibility that the Turkish government could play a role in clarifying to Russia about the necessity of stopping what [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad is doing in Aleppo. I know that President [Vladimir] Putin is coming to visit Istanbul, and I think we have a common interest in this, and I include even potentially Russia’s interest. If we can all together use our influence, including the Turkish influence, to put pressure on Russia to refrain from accepting this kind of behavior from al-Assad, I think this will be a very interesting and important possibility diplomatically.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/ending-visa-talks-with-turkey-stupid-mistake.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104731&NewsCatID=351

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Iraqi govt’s remarks on Turkish troops ‘provocative,’ says PM Yıldırım

October 8, 2016

Baghdad’s recent remarks on Turkish soldiers stationed in Iraq are “dangerous and provocative,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Oct. 7, responding to claims that his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi allegedly said “Turkish soldiers should not think they are having picnic.”

“The soldiers are not having a picnic but carrying out a duty. They are part of a struggle with around 60 different countries. There are soldiers of many countries that do not have physical ties with Iraq and they are also carrying out this struggle in the name of humanity. So I find such statements from Baghdad unusually dangerous and provocative,” Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara.

He also stated that Turkish soldiers have been on Iraqi soil “for a long time” and Ankara does not have any designs on the unity of Iraqi soil.

The row between Baghdad and Ankara comes after Iraq’s parliament passed motion against the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq. The Iraqi parliament sent a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador on Oct. 4, after which Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador to Ankara.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/iraqi-govts-remarks-on-turkish-troops-provocative-says-pm-yildirim.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104727&NewsCatID=338

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PM to meet opposition on mini constitution changes

October 7, 2016

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said he could separately meet with the leaders of two opposition parties next week to finalize weeks-long work on a small-scale constitutional amendment package.

“The works carried out for the small-scale constitutional amendments have been completed. Now the work is devolved to the leaders of the political parties. In the coming days I will schedule meetings with the leaders of the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP and the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP to negotiate the subject,” Yıldırım told reporters Oct. 7.

“We have not contacted the leaders yet but we have this thought,” he said, adding that the dates of possible meetings had yet to be specified.

After the failed coup attempt on July 15, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP and the MHP – excluding the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – agreed to introduce limited changes to some articles of the constitution focusing on the judicial system. The motive behind this move was to clear the judiciary of Gülenists who are widely thought to have infiltrated legal institutions over the past three decades.

The parties agreed on seven articles but failed to complete drafting one on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), a key legal institution dealing with dismissals and promotions of judges and prosecutors.

In the aftermath of July 15, 3,456 judges and prosecutors were dismissed on the grounds that they took part in the failed coup attempt.

‘CHP ignoring July 15 sufferers’

Meanwhile, Yıldırım also criticized CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for “ignoring the sufferings of July 15,” the night of the coup attempt and prioritizing the victims of the post-coup process.

“Unfortunately, the leader of the main opposition party has ignored July 15 and focused on the sufferings [of the post-coup process]. It is as if people were not victimized on July 15, as if there were no martyrs or veterans. Is the suffering of the people more important than the suffering of the putschists?” he said.

Referring to opposition criticism about the ongoing investigations, Yıldırım stressed that complaints were being investigated “with the utmost importance” but claimed that the Gülen movement is to blame for any misdirection.

Commission holds debut meeting

A commission that was approved by the Turkish parliament to investigate the failed coup attempt of July 15, held its debut meeting on Oct.7.

The commission is made up of deputies from all four of Turkey’s political parties with seats in parliament.

Nine lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), four lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), one lawmaker from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and one lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) formed the commission.  

The selected parliamentarians were announced in the Official Gazette on Oct. 7.

AKP lawmaker Reşat Petek was selected as the chair of the commission, while AKP lawmaker Selçuk Özdağ was selected as the deputy chair, according to the decision which was published in the Official Gazette.

AKP lawmaker Zekeriya Birkan, AKP lawmaker Emine Nur Günay, CHP lawmaker Zeynel Emre, CHP lawmaker Aykut Erdoğdu, AKP lawmaker Ravza Kavakçı Kan, CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP lawmaker Aytun Çıray, AKP lawmaker Hüseyin Kocabıyık, AKP lawmaker Burhanettin Uysal, MHP lawmaker Mehmet Erdoğan and HDP lawmaker Mithat Sancar were selected as the other members of the commission.

The commission will have the authority to question suspects, including those who are currently under detention, just as public prosecutors are able to do.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/pm-to-meet-opposition-on-mini-constitution-changes-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104729&NewsCatID=338

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Coup attempt plan to pound key Turkish state buildings with high-tech device failed, testimony shows

October 7, 2016

A plan to pound key state buildings in Ankara with help from a laser-designating and rangefinder device (LİMÖS) on the night of the July 15 coup attempt failed when an anti-coup soldier shot dead a pro-coup general who was responsible for the plot.

The plan, which was revealed on Sept. 5 during the testimony of Major Fatih Şahin, a pro-coup soldier who was also involved in the plot, was going to be orchestrated by Brigadier General Semih Terzi. Şahin reportedly said Terzi was going to partner with him in order to hit crucial state institutions in Ankara with jets based on categorization using specific colors for their buildings.

Buildings of the Police Special Operations Headquarters, the Ankara Police Department and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) were designated as the most important buildings to be struck and thus placed in the “red” category. The parliament building, the satellite network TÜRKSAT, the Presidential Palace, the Prime Ministry’s Çankaya Mansion, and a number of other buildings, were all listed as sites of secondary strategic importance in the “orange” category.

The plan was due to be carried out after Terzi’s arrival from Diyarbakır to Ankara with Şahin, who was asked to bring the LİMOS with him to identify the designated buildings to be hit by pro-coup soldiers’ jets.  

However, the plan failed after Terzi was shot by Halisdemir and when the soldier who was assigned to use the LİMOS took sides with the anti-coup soldiers.

Meanwhile, 120 more people were detained on Oct. 7 as part of a probe into the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, believed to be behind the July 15 coup attempt. The 120 individuals were detained after it was found that they used the encrypted ByLock messaging application, thought to be used exclusively by the group’s members.

Detention orders were issued for a total of 166 people and anti-smuggling police conducted simultaneous operations in 35 provinces across Turkey, including 26 districts in Istanbul, early on Oct. 7. The targeted security personnel included police chiefs and officers identified as having used the ByLock app, allegedly developed by Gülenists at the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

Among the 166 individuals targeted by detention orders were 13 police chiefs, 39 police officers, and 114 high-ranking officers.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/coup-attempt-plan-to-pound-key-turkish-state-buildings-with-high-tech-device-failed-testimony-shows.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104737&NewsCatID=509

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Africa

Nigeria's northern Kaduna state declares Shi'ite Muslim sect unlawful

Sat Oct 8, 2016

ABUJA (Reuters) - A northern Nigerian state on Friday said it declared a minority Shi'ite Muslim sect, whose members clashed with the army late last year, an unlawful society.

The Kaduna state government said anyone convicted of being a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria could be imprisoned for seven years, fined or both. The size of the fine was not specified.

The sect came to prominence when its members clashed with the army in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna state, in December. A judicial inquiry in August concluded that the army killed 348 of the sect's members.

The Kaduna state government said the group had "overtly continued with unlawful processions" and "obstruction of public highways" since the clashes.

"These acts, if allowed to go unchecked will constitute danger to the peace, tranquillity, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna state," it said, declaring the group unlawful with immediate effect.

Members of the sect are among the several thousand Shi'ite Muslims whose movement was inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The majority of the tens of millions of Muslims in Africa's most populous nation of 180 million inhabitants are Sunni - including the Boko Haram militants who have killed thousands in bombings and shootings mainly in the northeast since 2009.

Source: af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN12801K

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Niger: Attackers Kill 22 Soldiers Near Refugee Camp

OCT. 7, 2016

NIAMEY, Niger — Niger's government says attackers who killed at least 22 soldiers at a Malian refugee camp likely came from Mali.

The government said Friday it is investigating the attack a day earlier that wounded at least five at a security post for the Tazalit camp, in the Tahoua region of Niger near the border with Mali.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged Niger to reinforce security at refugee camps and other vulnerable targets. He also called on authorities to bring perpetrators to justice.

Northern and central Mali remain unstable nearly four years after France led a military intervention to drive out Islamic extremists.

Niger's government has declared Saturday a national day of mourning. The nation is also battling against Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists in its south.

Source: nytimes.com/aponline/2016/10/07/world/africa/ap-af-niger-camp-attacked.html

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Amid worries of Islamic militants and jobs, Moroccans vote

October 7, 2016

RABAT, Morocco — Millions of Moroccans headed out to vote Friday, with worries about joblessness and extremism on their minds as they chose which party will lead their next government.

Adultery scandals and thwarted election-day attacks marked the unusually venomous campaign in this North African nation, which is allied with the U.S and seen as a model of stability and relative prosperity in the region.

Top contenders are a moderate Islamist party and an up-and-coming rival party seen as close to the royal palace. The palace pledged to loosen control over Moroccan politics after Arab Spring protests five years ago, but still retains control over major policy decisions.

"It's in God's hands now," Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane told The Associated Press after casting his ballot.

Voter Fatima Ibn Abou, voting in the same polling station as the prime minister, at the Mouad Ibn Jabal middle school in Rabat, said, "We are just hoping for the best" after the harsh campaign.

Since the last legislative elections in 2011, Benkirane's Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) has dominated parliament and led a government coalition comprised of several parties with differing ideologies.

The PJD faces tough competition from the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), widely regarded as close to the palace. It was founded in 2008 by Fouad Ali El Himma, childhood friend of King Mohammed VI and a current royal adviser.

A Moroccan woman walks past electoral paintings representing a political party logos for the upcoming municipal elections in Casablanca, Morocco, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.

ABDELJALIL BOUNHAR/AP

To help illiterate voters, each party is represented by a symbol on the ballot as well as its name — a lamp for the PJD, a tractor for the PAM, and other symbols for the other 26 parties.

Friday's election will determine which party leads the government and the makeup of the Chamber of Representatives, which has the final say in Moroccan legislation. The chamber is comprised of 395 seats, 90 of them reserved for women and youth. Nearly 7,000 candidates are running in 92 voting districts. Definitive results are expected Saturday.

Benkirane has clashed in recent public spats with Ilyas El-Omari, head of the PAM. This week, Benkirane slammed El-Omari for comments he made to The Associated Press suggesting that state-funded associations were among groups involved in radicalizing Moroccan youth.

With high unemployment and relatively low literacy, Morocco has been fertile recruiting ground for extremists. As many as 1,000 Moroccans have joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, authorities dismantled a 10-member terror cell comprised entirely of women with alleged ties to IS.

Abdelhak Khiame, head of Morocco's Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, said the cell planned to carry out attacks on election day, Friday, according to Morocco's state news agency MAP. Seven of the 10 members were underage, he said.

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In addition to security, Morocco's economic ills are a top concern, including youth joblessness and record high foreign debt. Many voters are frustrated with the status quo, especially in rural areas.

Imad Agrili, 31, a painter from the rural town of Skoura, was voting for the first time and opted for the Federation of the Democratic Left. "They seem clean and transparent," he said.

For others, like the banned Islamist Adl wal Ihsan (Justice and Charity) movement, the election in Morocco is futile. The movement, which is boycotting the election, denounces the centralization of power and the decision-making by the monarchy.

"The person who governs is the king and his entourage and they have deeply rooted powers," saids Hassan Bennajeh, spokesman for Adl wal Ihsan.

More than 15.7 million Moroccans have registered to vote but last time voter turnout was only around 5 million, said Abdul-Wahab Kayyali, doctoral candidate in political science at George Washington University.

"These elections, specifically, matter a lot ... and will show whether 2011 was just a blip on the radar screen" in gauging Morocco's path toward reform, he said.

The 2011 Arab Spring uprisings have left a mixed legacy in North Africa — Tunisia built a fragile democracy, Egypt elected Islamists who were then ousted by the military and Libya has descended into deadly chaos.

Some 4,000 Moroccan and international observers are monitoring the elections.

Source: stripes.com/news/middle-east/2.1198/amid-worries-of-islamic-militants-and-jobs-moroccans-vote-1.432914

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Islamic body donates to Esther Lungu Trust

October 08, 2016

THE International Islamic Relief Organisation of Southern Africa has donated 10 boreholes, foodstuffs which include 2,500 bags of mealie meal to the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust.

And First Lady Esther Lungu, who is the founder of the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust, has thanked the Islamic community for partnering with her trust in uplifting the welfare of vulnerable communities.

Speaking when she received the donation at State House yesterday, Mrs Lungu said she is humbled by the support rendered to her foundation by various sections of society.

Source: daily-mail.co.zm/?p=81903

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Pakistan

Which Egg Is Hafiz Saeed Laying For Us, Pakistan MP Asks

Oct 7, 2016

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan+ Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker has called for action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed+ amid a growing chorus for action against terror groups in Pakistan.

Rana Muhammad Afzal, a PML-N lawmaker, on Thursday questioned the government's failure to act against Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the head of its frontal charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

"Which egg is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him," Afzal said in a meeting of the standing committee on foreign affairs, according to the BBC Urdu.

Afzal, a member of the parliamentary panel, questioned the efficacy of Pakistan's foreign policy+ and said it had become such that "we have not been able to get rid of Hafiz Saeed so far".

Sayeed, one the most wanted terrorists in India, has been blamed for masterminding terror attacks in Kashmir and other parts of India including the 2008 Mumbai carnage+ that killed 166 people.

The lawmaker said New Delhi had created such a worldwide impression about the terrorist leader "that during the meetings on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention Hafiz Saeed as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India".

He said the country needed to be freed of such elements that have "led the world to start isolating us and trying to declare (Pakistan) a terrorist state".

He recalled a trip to France where he had gone on a diplomatic mission to make Paris aware about alleged atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Saeed was "brought up time and again" during his meetings in France, Afzal said.

He questioned whether Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause and said that banned terror outfits, like the Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, were a source of embarrassment for Pakistan.

Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan told a joint session of Parliament that the country was diplomatically isolated+ because it gives freedom to non-state actors.

"The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan (NPA)," the Dawn newspaper quoted Ahsan as saying.

He implied that such elements continued to hold protests and rallies and give speeches in places such as Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.

"I don't want instability in any country, as the blame of that will then fall on us because of these non-state actors," he said.

He said the failure to curb terrorists would isolate Pakistan. "Then Bangladesh and Afghanistan will not speak to you, and Bhutan and Nepal will begin supporting India."

"You have isolated Pakistan," he said, adding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was responsible for Pakistan's diplomatic isolation as he was also the Foreign Minister.

A report in newspaper Dawn on Thursday suggesting that the Pakistan military has been asked not to "interfere" in action against militant groups considered "off limits" gave rise to heated speculation of a rift between the Nawaz Sharif government and the army brass even though the account was forcefully denied.

In its report, Dawn said a meeting of civilian leaders, including PM Nawaz Sharif and the ISI chief Rizwan Akhtar, on Monday saw foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry bluntly say that Pakistan faced diplomatic isolation and was under pressure to act against Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network, and move forward on the Pathankot investigation.

The development seemed an attempt by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to flex muscles against the army but the denial soon after dampened such expectations. The initial denial referred to "half truth" which was revised to "fabrication", and the addition of a paragraph on the role of the army and ISI working against terrorists of "all hues" made it clear that Sharif had backtracked. The PM's office said the report was misleading and an amalgam of "fiction and fabrication".

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Which-egg-is-Hafiz-Saeed-laying-for-us-Pakistan-MP-Rana-Muhammad-Afzal-asks/articleshow/54729380.cms

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Afghanistan hikes up entry tax on Pakistani cargo trucks by 100pc

Oct 8, 2016

PESHAWAR: Transporters of cargo vehicles in Pakistan and Afghanistan went on strike on Saturday as the Afghan government increased entry tax for cargo transporters on both sides.

The Afghan government has introduced a 50 per cent increase in taxes levied against cargo transporters from Pakistan entering Afghanistan, raising the entry tax from 2,500 Afghani to 5,000 Afghani.

A similar hike in entry tax for Afghan transporters has increased the 1,700 Afghani duty to 2500 Afghani.

Shakir Afridi, the president of Khyber Transport Association, said the increase in entry tax from Afghanistan is "unbearable as transporters already pay thousands of rupees illegally in the name tax".

He said the transport community in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been on strike for the past three days. They have also held meetings with Afghan borders authorities on the issue. However, no positive response on the issue has been received so far.

The official said due to the strike against the increase in entry tax, hundreds of trucks loaded with goods remain parked on both sides of the border.

President Afghan Transporters Union Haji Qasim Arab told DawnNews that the transport community of both countries stands united while the jirga of the transport association negotiates with the Afghan government for a reversal of the increase in tax.

Transporters have previously complained against law-enforcement agencies in parts of Afghanistan for having a very harsh and discouraging attitude towards them.

All Transport Trailers and Truck Owners Association Peshawar President Mohammad Yousuf Khan Afridi told Dawn last month that Pakistani transporters were detained and beaten up in Afghanistan and that their documents were snatched from them.

He also said transporters were forced to pay bribes up to Rs30,000 for each visit. Afridi said currently around 200 trucks and trailers usually get to leave Pakistan for Afghanistan daily though the number of vehicles wanting to transport goods was almost double.

“We have to rush home to avoid demurrage charges and detention but the Afghan police tease us on different pretexts,” he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288842/afghanistan-hikes-up-entry-tax-on-pakistani-cargo-trucks-by-100pc

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MQM-London not the issue, objective is to drive out MQM-Pakistan from Karachi, says Sattar

Oct 8, 2016

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan leader Farooq Sattar on Friday said MQM-London is not the issue, the objective is to drive out MQM-Pakistan from Karachi.

"Controversial statements from the London Secretariat is not the issue, the intention is to sweep MQM from Karachi's political ground," claimed Sattar in a press conference.

The senior MQM leader also expressed serious concerns over the arrest of its Rabita Committee member, Gulfraz Khattak, who was arrested earlier on Friday from outside an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the metropolis.

"Khattak was implicated in provoking party activists and facilitating the inflammatory speech," said Sattar while referring to Altaf Hussain's earlier speech on August 22.

Sattar also demanded the authorities to arrest him along with the all the people nominated in the August 22 FIR.

"Do not arrest us one by one, take us all together," the MQM leader said.

Sattar also asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, interior minister, army chief and the director general Rangers to not just warmly shake hands with them, but also act in the same manner.

Sattar also warned the political and military leadership of the country that they do have the option to resign from provincial and national legislative assemblies and quit the political process.

"We have the option to resign and if we did so, we would resign from all the assemblies," the MQM lawmaker said.

Earlier, MQM’s London-based leadership announced the expulsion of MQM Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar from the party in a statement shared by MQM leader Wasay Jalil.

Farooq Sattar in August sidelined MQM supremo Altaf Hussain after an anti-Pakistan rant which was followed by an attack on the ARY News office.

The MQM's London leadership has rejected the minus-Altaf formula, asserting that Altaf is still the party's uncontested chief.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288712/mqm-london-not-the-issue-objective-is-to-drive-out-mqm-pakistan-from-karachi-says-sattar

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Imambargah trustee shot dead, son critically injured in suspected sectarian attack

Oct 8, 2016

KARACHI: A trustee of an Imambargah and a senior office-bearer of private schools association, Mansoor Zaidi, was shot dead while his son was critically injured in a suspected sectarian attack in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of the metropolis on Friday.

Zaidi and his son were attacked were attacked by armed men outside their home in Block-8 area of Gulistan-i-Johar, Karachi.

They sustained critical injuries and were shifted to a private hospital for treatment, Zaidi was pronounced dead on arrival.

The trustee's son was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for further medical treatment.

"Health condition of the patient is reported critical as he has sustained critical wounds on his chest," said Dr. Seemin Jamali, Head of the Emergency Department at JPMC.

"The father and son just arrived at home after attending a Majlis when they were targeted," said Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen spokesperson while speaking to Dawn.

The spokesperson added that Zaidi was also theowner of Mehran school in Shah Faisal Colony and was a secretary of private schools management association.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288699/imambargah-trustee-shot-dead-son-critically-injured-in-suspected-sectarian-attack

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US-India relations reason for Pakistan's burgeoning ties with Russia: Mushahid Husain

Oct 8, 2016

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir Mushahid Hussain Syed, on a visit to the United States, said US-India relations are the reason for Pakistan's burgeoning ties with Russia.

In a program organised by the think tank Atlantic Council, Hussain said, "We [Pakistan] are observing a change in US diplomatic policy".

Hussain said every action has a reaction, and Pakistan felt the need to develop close ties with Russia after President Obama’s two visits to India.

“This was the start of a new chapter in Pakistan-Russia ties.”

The senator added that Russia is in favour of building a working relationship with countries of the region and it has also started a dialogue process with Afghan Taliban through back-door channels.

He said the US State Department had refused to give visa to then Gujrat Chief Minister Narinder Modi in 2006, but when Modi was elected as Indian Prime Minister, US changed its policy for political gains.

"This U-turn of US policy can be traced back to the time of Bush administration, when the US-India nuclear deal was signed which was against the law of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," said Hussain.

"Stability of Afghanistan and eradication of terrorism is a top priority of the US, which needs Pakistan to play a role in the peace-process. Pakistan is not only providing its assistance in the peace process but also facing damages," stated the senator while addressing the audience.

Violating Indus Waters Treaty will be an act of war

The senator stated India can not violate the Indus Waters Treaty, as that will constitute as an act of war.

"Apart from Pakistan and India, the World Bank is also a stakeholder in the treaty," said Hussain.

Commenting on the Uri attack in India-held Kashmir, Husain said, "UN military observer group for India and Pakistan should investigate the Uri attack. Crossing the Line of Control to attack any target in India is not possible for any militant."

He added that if India has any evidence or intelligence regarding the attack, it should be shared with Pakistan.

A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan earlier in September for the first ever joint Pak-Russian military exercise.

The two-week-long exercise is expected to continue until Oct 10. The exercises with Russian ground forces come at a time when tensions between Pakistan and India are running high following an attack on the Uri military camp in India-held Kashmir.

Around 200 military personnel of both countries will participate in the drills.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288629/us-india-relations-reason-for-pakistans-burgeoning-ties-with-russia-mushahid-husain

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Never called Altaf Hussain traitor, says Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Oct 8, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Friday that he never labeled the chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain a traitor.

“In my whole life, I have never called Uncle Altaf a traitor,” the PPP chief said, adding, “Uncle Altaf was Karachi’s political reality and still is.”

Calls for MQM chief Altaf Hussain to be designated as a “traitor” flourished after Hussain chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and called the country “a cancer for entire world” speech on Aug 22.

The chief of the PPP was speaking to media persons in company of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Replying to a question, Bilawal said the MQM chief remained ‘Karachi’s political reality’ despite being ‘minus one from MQM’.

“The minus one formula has been a part of our political sphere. I heard someone say yesterday that there should be another minus one in my family.”

The PPP scion also said someone alleged that he had chanted ‘Modi’s friend is a traitor’, he clarified and said that was not the case.

"I can never term Pakistan’s elected prime minister to be a traitor. I disagree with him on many issues, including foreign policy and counter-terrorism, but Nawaz Sharif is a patriotic Pakistani,” said Bilawal.

When asked whether PPP will continue to work with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on the Panama Papers scandal, Bilawal stated that his party will continue to work alongside every political party despite their political differences.

PPP and MQM have enjoyed a love-hate relationship in the last decade. On numerous occasions, the MQM decided to part ways with Qaim Ali Shah-led PPP Sindh government, however, at every instance, they were compelled to join the government benches in the house.

However, MQM left the government in 2014 after it alleged PPP of making "statements against their leader Altaf Hussain and against Mohajir people".

Source: dawn.com/news/1288625/never-called-altaf-hussain-traitor-says-bilawal-bhutto-zardari

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CTD arrests nine suspected terrorists in Karachi

Oct 8, 2016

KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday arrested nine suspected terrorists and recovered bombs, suicide jackets, hand grenades and 30 bore pistols from their possession.

After receiving details regarding the planned activities of terrorist outfits in the city during Muharram, a team headed by CTD head Raja Umer Khattab was set up, a press release by CTD stated.

The team discovered that suspected terrorists and alleged members of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) were planning on employing suicide jackets, hand grenades, bombs and carrying out target killings in Karachi, the CTD said.

The CTD claimed to have discovered a house where the suspected terrorists would meet in secret to discuss their plans.

The CTD said the suspected terrorists were gathered at the house located in North Karachi's 5/B-1. A team of CTD personnel surrounded the house and surrounding areas and ordered the suspected terrorists to surrender themselves.

The CTD claimed the 'terrorists' opened fire at the police and hurled hand grenades at them, to which the police responded by hurling gas shells inside the house forcing them to evacuate to the roof from where they were arrested.

In May, the police claimed to have killed three AQIS operatives involved in sectarian killings.

Malir SSP Rao Anwar had told Dawn that the police took the action on a tip-off and conducted a raid in Gulshan-i-Buner, where they were attacked by gunmen. The police returned fire and killed three suspects.

The SSP identified one of the dead as Riaz, alias Raja, said to be an AQIS commander.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288622/ctd-arrests-nine-suspected-terrorists-in-karachi

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Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities measures its achievement in decency

October 8, 2016

The conflict between forcible conversions and an Islamic Republic flits on borderline blasphemy or heresy. Although the three Abrahamic religions forbid forcible conversions, their followers do carry a blemished record.

Christians might reveal lingering cases of coercion and enticement and the single, tiny Jewish state constantly squirming in the limelight dare not add to its troubles. That leaves Muslims and their minorities in Pakistan living under the banner of an Islamic Republic. The deviant practice of forcibly converting and marrying non-Muslim minority members in Pakistan has finally been acknowledged in a laudable parliamentary announcement.

On October 5, 2016, The Express Tribune reported that the day before, Pakistan’s National Assembly had “adopted a resolution, urging the government to take necessary steps to stop forced religious conversions and marriages of women belonging to minorities”.

The forced conversions and forced marriages of women are symbiotic and, going by the resolution, men are either not pressured into marriages or they don’t need protection. Whatever the case, the focus is on female sufferance, although, to my knowledge, there have been murders and forced conversions of non-Muslim men who attempted or actually dared to marry courageous Muslim women. Marriage is not just a ploy but an opportunity to gain converts. No plots are hatched to choose a victim for conversion and then force a marriage upon the hapless prey. The conversion is the victimising consequence of inter-marriage targeting the minority community.

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. If their castes, family and socio-economic backgrounds are different, it will either end in tragedy or a fulfilling comedy. But not a forced conversion. That kicks in for intermarriages. Among the educated affluent, a non-Muslim boy and a Muslim girl who want to enjoin their lives will be hastily bundled off to add to the ranks of immigrants in the West. After which they are never spoken of again, but at least they are alive. That is, if they aren’t obstinate and hang back in Pakistan. If the girl involved is a non-Muslim, she will suffer a worse fate.

Furthermore, in that case, the boy and, perhaps even the girl, would be pressured to convert or be killed as a last resort. It is among the uneducated or indigenously educated rich or poor that murders or forced conversions are chosen as a first solution. This situation triggers the causal question and disgorges three scenarios.

Firstly, a non-Muslim girl from a poor family, going out to work is kidnapped, raped and then forced to convert and marry the rapist.

Full report at:blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/41481/pakistans-treatment-of-its-minorities-measures-its-achievement-in-decency/

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Pak’s ISI chief likely to be replaced in next few weeks: report

October 8, 2016

Islamabad: Chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar is likely to be replaced within the next few weeks, a media report said on Saturday.

Akhtar was appointed the director general of Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) in September 2014 and took office in November 2014, when he replaced the retiring Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam.

The appointment is normally for a three-year period unless the ISI chief retires or is replaced by the army chief.

The Nation, citing a security official privy to the development, reported of the impending change of command and said preparations were underway for the changes.

“Intriguingly, he may be leaving the position earlier than the typical three-year tenure of a ISI DG,” the report said.

The corps commander of Karachi, Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, is most likely to replace him, the official was quoted as saying.

Another senior security official was quoted as saying that Akhtar — who has already served in Karachi as Director General, Sindh Rangers — knows the challenges in Karachi and “the swapping makes sense”.

The official was, however, more circumspect about the timing of the change and said, “It depends on whether the army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, gets an extension or retires as announced.”

“I don’t think the notification of other changes in military command will come before that,” he said.

“There are a lot of variables involved.”

Raheel had announced earlier this year that he is not seeking an extension and would retire in November.

Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, the chief military spokesman, however, denied that the intelligence chief was being replaced. “No such thing,” Bajwa said when asked about it.

The paper also did not cite any reason why the ISI chief is being replaced.

Source: siasat.com/news/paks-isi-chief-likely-replaced-next-weeks-report-1037587/

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CPEC won’t pass through KP sans western route, says Khattak

October 8, 2016

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Friday warned his government won’t allow the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to pass through the province if the western route was not made its part.

Sharing the details of his recent meeting with the Chinese ambassador, the CM told the provincial assembly that he asked the envoy if western route was part of the CPEC and got a reply in negative.

He insisted the ambassador again said no when he asked if western route could be made part of the CPEC.

“In such a situation, the CPEC won’t pass through KP,” he said.

Mr. Khattak told the session chaired by Speaker Asad Qaiser that the CPEC project’s execution of the CPEC was very necessary for the development of the country and KP was part of the country.

“We (KP) are part of Pakistan and let us be part of it,” he said.

The CM said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised that the CPEC’s western route would be constructed before the central route.

PA passes resolution asking centre to fulfil commitments on multibillion dollar project

“Now, we have learnt that the federal government will construct the western route in the shape of motorway without allied facilities,” he said.

Mr. Khattak said investors won’t bother to put their money on the western route if it was not linked with Gwadar Port and not provided security checks, electricity, railway tracks and fiber optic unlike the central route in Punjab, where all such facilities would be available.

“If only a road is considered the CPEC, then every street of KP is part of the CPEC as there is a road in every street,” he said sarcastically.

The CM said the CPEC was not a small development plan for few years and instead, it would prove a game-changer for the region.

“Big cities would be developed under the CPEC project,” he said.

He said all stakeholders of the CPEC, including China and federal government, should guarantee in writing to his government that the western route is part of the corridor.

Earlier, the assembly unanimously passed a resolution asking the federal government not only to ensure that western route is part of the multibillion dollar CPEC but also prefer it to other projects.

The resolution read out by mines and mineral development minister Aneesa Zeb Tahirkheli demanded that the federal government fulfil all commitments made during the multi-party conference in letter and spirit.

The minister said the provincial government would not be satisfied until the allocation of funds for development projects and their inclusion in the CPEC project as agreed by the federal minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal with a delegation of the parliamentary leader of KP.

Through the resolution, the house also demanded of the federal government to fulfil all demands made by the

chief minister in a letter sent to the federal government with the consent of all parliamentary leaders of the provincial assembly.

The minister said the provincial assembly believed that the federal government would approve the above demands and would frame a mechanism for the implementation.

The resolution was signed by several ministers and lawmakers of opposition benches, excluding PML-N.

It was the fifth resolution unanimously passed by the assembly demanding the province’s due share in the CPEC project.

The four other resolutions were passed in the last one year.

The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Blood Transfusion Safety Authority Act, 2016, tabled by law minister Imtiaz Shahid.

The law is meant for regulating the collection, testing, processing and storage of human blood and blood components, as well as the rational use of safe blood and its products including plasma, free from viruses like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, or infective agents like Malarial Parasite and Treponema Palidum (Syphilies), etc for the purpose of transfusion of safe blood in public and private sectors.

Under the law, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Blood Transfusion Safety Authority will be established.

The law states that the authority will be a body corporate, having perpetual succession and a common seal, with powers to acquire and dispose of property both movable and immovable.

“The authority will prescribe minimum standards and specification for registration and licensing of the blood banks or regional blood centres. The authority will be responsible to register and issue licenses to blood banks and regional blood center in private sector on payment of such fee and in manner as may be prescribed.”

Under the law, several committees will be established, including technical committee, licensing committee, hospital blood transfusion committee, district blood transfusion committee and grievances redressal committee.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288791/cpec-wont-pass-through-kp-sans-western-route-says-khattak

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Arab World  

Iran Prevents ISIL From Becoming State

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Hassan Rouhani blasted the West for supporting the terrorist groups in the region, and underlined that Iran has prevented the ISIL from spreading to other countries and forming a state.

"Iran has stopped the ISIL from turning into a state," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Malaysian intellectuals and media people in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The Iranian president reiterated that if it hadn't been because of Iran’s assistance and role, the ISIL would have turned into a state instead of a terrorist group.

President Rouhani underlined that Iran has been providing counseling assistance to the Iraqi and Syrian armies in their fight against ISIL on the requests by their governments.

The Iranian president, meantime, voiced his opposition to the disintegration of regional countries, and said, "Dividing the countries into smaller portions is dangerous and can result in regional wars."

President Rouhani also warned against attempts to cause sectarian rifts between Shiites and Sunnis.

In relevant remarks in late June, Iranian Supreme Leader's senior adviser Ali Akbar Velayati underlined that the ISIL has been created by the West and Israel to pursue their interests in the region.

"The injured ISIL terrorists receive medical treatment in the occupied territories by Israel's physicians which shows the nature of Takfiri terrorists," Velayati said in a meeting with members of the General Secretariat of the Arab and Islamic Gathering Forum on Supporting Resistance in Tehran.

"All of us are duty-bound to defend the axis of resistance because resistance is Muslims' standing against aggression and occupation of the Islamic territories by Israel and their supporters,” he added.

Velayati pointed to the different types of resistance, and said, "The Iraqi government, nation and army, which are fighting against the ISIL terrorists and have managed to carry out very important tasks, are examples of resistance against the Zionists.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000577

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Over 30 Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Army Attacks across Dara'a

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces continued to attack terrorists' centers in and outside Dara'a city, killing and wounding at least 33 militants.

At least 11 terrorists were killed in the Syrian soldiers' offensive on their positions in al-Naimeh in Eastern countryside of Dara'a city.

In the meantime at least 22 militants were killed or wounded in the Syrian army men's attacks on terrorist groups' concentration centers in al-Saad neighborhood, Eastern side of Busra Rotary, the Southern side of the power company and in the Eastern side of Khazan al-Karak.

Reposts said on Friday that Syrian Army troops' attacks on militants' positions across the districts of the Southern city of Dara'a inflicted major damage on the terrorists' military hardware, equipment and sites.

Syrian government forces targeted the terrorist groups' strongholds in Old Costume, Wadi al-Zeidi, Eastern side of Khazan al-Karak and Eastern side of Electricity Company, inflicting serious losses on the militants' check points and vehicles.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000702

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Iraqi Volunteer Forces Preparing for Mosul Liberation Operation

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Battlefield sources disclosed that the first groups of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) have been deployed near Mosul to start their military operations to recapture the city in Nineveh province.

"The military operations to win back Mosul may start after the Holy Month of Moharram," a battlefield source said.

He underlined that the Baghdad government should give the green light to start the liberation operation.

The source noted that the deployment of Hashd al-Shaabi in the surrounding areas of Mosul city indicates that the Iraqi volunteer forces will be definitely present in the Mosul liberation operation despite the negative propaganda of the western and regional media outlets against these forces.

On Wednesday, a local official in Mosul said that the ISIL militants were fleeing the city since a long-awaited large-scale operation aimed at freeing the second largest city in the country "is expected to be launched in the coming days".

"As part of the operation the Iraqi Armed Forces and Peshmerga are shelling ISIL targets in the areas close to Mosul," said the press secretary for the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, Said Mamuzini.

"Additional security measures have been taken on the border. According to our information, the militants are digging trenches around the city, as well as setting up traps using explosives and mines."

The spokesperson added that ISIL fighters have placed booby-traps in empty houses and left trucks rigged with explosives on the outskirts of the city that the brutal group captured in a blitz offensive on June 10, 2014.

"ISIL is in a state of panic ahead of the operation in Mosul," he detailed.

"According to our sources, many fighters have left the city for Raqqa," the group's de facto capital.

"ISIL commanders and their families have moved to Raqqa en masse." According to Mamuzini, the brutal group has relocated its key forces to Syria.

This offers hope that the city could be liberated sooner than expected. "ISIL's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is reportedly pursuing a new strategy with regard to Mosul.

He told his fighters that if they are capable of fighting for Mosul, they should fight and if not, then they should leave booby traps and mines, destroy the city and flee," he said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000676

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Syrian Gov't Forces Repel Fatah Al-Sham's Assault to Cut off Two Key Roads in Hama

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops and National Defense Forces warded off a massive attack by Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) on their positions along two main roads in Northern Hama.

Syrian government forces fended off Fatah al-Sham's offensives to break through their strongholds along the road connecting Souran to Kawkab and Ma'an-Atshan road, inflicting major damage on militants' military hardware and vehicles.

The Syrian air force also pounded terrorists' gatherings in al-Zalaqiyat, Atshan, al-Kabariyeh, Souran and Ma'an, destroying a number of militants' armored vehicles.

Also, ISIL's positions in the Northern side of the village of Eidoun and near al-Hamr hills came under massive bombardments of the Syrian army troops.

Jeish al-Fatah, meantime, suffered a heavy death toll and its military vehicles sustained major damage in Syrian air raids in al-Zalaqiyat, Souran, Khafseen, Talisiyeh and Skeik in Northern Hama.

On Friday, tens of militants were killed in the Syrian and Russian fighter jets' heavy airstrikes on terrorists' concentration centers and gatherings in Northern Hama.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes, in over 70 airstrikes, bombed terrorist centers in the villages of Kawkab, Souran, Ma'an, Karrah, Khafseen, Ma'ardes, al-Talisah, Helfaya and Taybat al-Imam, leaving scores of terrorists dead or wounded. 

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000671

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Fatah Al-Sham Terrorists Reject De Mistura's Demand for Leaving Aleppo City

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) refused UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura's call on the militant groups to pull forces out of the Northern city of Aleppo.

"Fatah al-Sham will not leave Aleppo city. The group's leadership has not agreed De Mistura's demand for evacuation of it fighters from the city," the terrorist group's spokesman Hesam al-Shafi said.

On Thursday, De Mistura called for safe evacuation of militants from the war-hit city of Aleppo.

De Mistura, in a meeting with his top advisor, said that around 8,000 militants from Fatah al-Sham and other terrorist groups were trapped in Aleppo and called for their immediate evacuation from the city.

De Mistura underlined his own readiness to accompany the leaving militants from Aleppo to Idlib province.

Syrian army had previously announced that it would guarantee safe passage of terrorists from Aleppo.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000601

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ISIL's Offensives to Break Through Gov't Positions Repulsed by Syrian Army

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- ISIL left tens of dead or injured members behind and retreated from the battlefield after its attacks on government forces' positions in Eastern Homs were repelled by the Syrian soldiers.

ISIL attacked government positions in Muhmiyeh al-Talileh with several bomb-laden cars, but the Syrian army troops targeted the suicide vehicles before they could approach their strongholds.

A pursuing attack by the terrorists in the region was strongly repelled by the Syrian soldiers, backed up by National Defense Forces.

Syrian fighter jets, for their part, pounded ISIL's centers in al-Sha'er oilfield, destroying terrorists' tanks and armored vehicles.

The Syrian warplanes also targeted ISIL's depot of arms and ammunition in Talbiseh, while gatherings of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in al-Rastan and Deir Foul were pounded in Syrian air raids. 

Also on Friday, Syrian army soldiers and warplanes pounded terrorists' centers, mainly those of Fatah al-Sham (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front), in the Northern territories of Homs province, inflicting tens of casualties on the terrorists.

Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over terrorists' positions near Dalak and Ba'eidoun, pinning down the militants behind their strongholds.

In the meantime, The Syrian army troops targeted an operations room of Fatah al-Sham in the village of Deir Foul in Northern Homs, leaving dozens of terrorists dead or wounded.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000507

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Fighting Drug Trafficking Imposes Heavy Costs on Iran

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Gholamhossein Dehqani underlined that the Islamic Republic has paid a lot in the fight against international drug traffickers.

"As the frontrunner of the fight against illegal drug traffickers, Iran sustained huge life and material losses in its anti-drug campaign," Dehqani said, addressing Third Committee of the 71st Session of the GA Agenda Item 107: International Drug Control.

He said that over 4000 of Iranian law enforcement officers have lost their lives and 12,000 have been injured while trying to stop the illegal drugs trafficking.

The following is the full text of Dehqani's speech at the UN committee:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Mr. Chairman

As a country at the frontline of countering illicit drugs, the Islamic Republic of Iran has sustained huge life and property losses in order to deprive the merchants of death of the bulk of their illicit drugs; and thus protecting part of the global community from the evil of addiction.

In fact, around 4000 of our law enforcement officers have lost their lives while 12,000 have been maimed in the course of Iran's relentless campaign against regional and international armed drug traffickers. Iran has also spent billions of dollars for equipping the border areas and creating physical barriers along its borders for blocking the drug flow into the country as well as transiting it abroad. As a result, on an average more than 80 percent of world opium and approximately 40 percent of world heroin and morphine are seized in Iran so much so that only in 2015 approximately 620 tons of different types of drugs were seized in Iran.

Meanwhile, within the framework of a balanced strategy on reduction of supply and demand, the government has implemented extensive drug demand reduction programs including prevention, treatment, harms reduction, rehab and social reintegration.

As a result of these interventions 40 percent coverage is provided for the country’s population in the field of prevention programs; targeting families, educational settings, work places and communities. Besides, 40 percent voluntary referral by addicts and drug users to harm reduction centers and treatment clinics is recorded, which is one of the highest figures in the world. As a result a 60 percent decrease in HIV transmission among injecting drug users has been recorded.

Following a community-based approach adopted by President Rouhani’s administration, more than 85 percent of programs on drug demand reduction including prevention, treatment, harms reduction and social supports are currently provided by NGOs and private sector.

The Government also seeks reduction of prison inmate population by implementing alternative punishment plans for drug-related offenders and providing harm reduction and treatment services in prisons.

Mr. Chairman,

The Islamic Republic of Iran calls for adoption of a balanced and comprehensive strategy at all levels, that away from political considerations, ensures expansion of regional and international cooperation for realization of the principle of collective and international shared responsibility. Unfortunately, for a long time the brunt of the burden is mainly born by transit countries like mine. While drug traffickers with obvious links to terrorist groups including Takfiri ones and organized crime gangs are targeting the social fabric of our society and stealing our future and youth generation, the support provided by the international community has been thus far negligible.

In conclusion, Iran maintains that the three international drug control conventions shape the bedrocks of the international drug control system due to their comprehensive and flexible nature. We also underline the leading role of CND and UNODC in addressing world drug problem. They have to sustain their role as such.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000397

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Iran Renews Support for Political Solution to Syrian Crisis

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari in a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura renewed his country's support for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.

"Participation of all players for reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis is needed," Jaberi Ansari said.

He reiterated that the humanitarian issue remains to be the major issue which needs immediate action, and said, "Failing to wage an effective war against terrorism and stopping to think that the crisis in Syria could be addressed only through political means, are the consequences of the continuation of the crisis in Syria."

Jaberi Ansari blasted some important players in the Syrian crisis for manipulating military approaches to achieve political ends.

De Mistura, for his part, pointed to Iran’s key role in resolving the Syrian crisis, and said, "The UN has a clear stance towards terrorist organizations and recognizes the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations as terrorist groups."

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed regret for the hard situation that certain regional states are bearing due to the enemies' interference and plots, and said Tehran will continue to support and assist Syria.

"Unfortunately, today many Muslim states in the region have been entangled in enemies' plots, and people in different regions, including Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan are tolerating hard conditions and big problems," Rouhani said in a meeting with Syrian Parliament Speaker Hadiya Khalaf Abbas in Tehran.

He described sending humanitarian aid to the Syrian people as the most important priority of the war-torn country, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to its principles, and because terrorism is a major problem for the region and the world, it believes that the Syrian people should be helped to root out terrorism in their country, and other countries have no other option, but the path of war against terrorism."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to help Syria in line with its policy of fight against terrorism and establishment of security in the region," Rouhani said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000298

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35,000 Terrorists Killed, Nearly 12,000 sq/km of Land Liberated in Syria in 6 Months

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said from late February to early September, about 35,000 terrorists have been killed in clashes with Syrian government forces, backed by Russian aircraft, while nearly 12,000 square kilometers have been also liberated from the ISIL and al-Nusra Front (Fatah Al-Sham Front) terrorist groups.

The Russian official said that a total of 586 settlements and 12,360 square kilometers (some 4,800 sq.miles) have been liberated from the ISIL and al-Nusra Front terrorists from February 27 to September 1, 2016, adding that around 35,000 terrorists have been killed, including more than 2,700 natives of Russia and other CIS countries.

Moscow has been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorists in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar al-Assad's request. The Russian side has also helped negotiate ceasefire deals in the war-hit country.

Syria has been mired in bloody war since March 2011, with forces loyal to the Damascus government fighting numerous militant groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000481

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Riyadh Using Starvation as Tactic against People of Yemen, Saudi Arabia

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The United Nations (UN) says Riyadh is using starvation as a tactic in its ongoing war against Yemen as well as against the Shia population inside Saudi Arabia itself.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child made the declaration in a scathing report on Saudi rights violations in Yemen and inside Saudi Arabia, press tv reported.

The UN watchdog said children in the minority Shia communities inside Saudi Arabia continue to be subject to discrimination with regard to access to food, school, and justice.

The UN committee also rapped Saudi Arabia over a wide range of rights violations against children, including executing, stoning, flogging, and amputating them.

The UN body urged Riyadh to repeal laws that are lenient on the sexual abuse of children as well as their incarceration in solitary confinement.

Eighteen independent experts from the committee expressed deep concern in the report that Riyadh “still does not recognize girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate (against) them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship.”

The experts also harshly criticized Riyadh for its airstrikes on Yemen, which have killed and maimed hundreds of children.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since last March to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 11,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000540

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Moscow, Damascus Fulfill All Conditions of Truce in Syria

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Moscow and Damascus have fulfilled all conditions of the truce in Syria since 27 February 2016, whereas the United States has only managed to convince some groups to cease fire, and violations resulted in the death of about 13,000 Syrian civilians, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Friday.

"Since February 27, 2016, in order to reduce the level of violence, and cut the number of victims among civilians, a regime of cessation of hostilities has been established across Syria," Antonov said, Tass reported.

"The Russian Federation and the government of Syria have ensured imposition of the regime of cessation of hostilities in required terms. American partners have only managed to convince some formations of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ to stop fire, whereas over 100 gangs continued active hostilities," he added.

Antonov underlined that over the February 27 — September 1,2016 period, a total of 2,031 violations of the regime of cessation of hostilities have been registered on the part of "moderate opposition" detachments, which has resulted in the death of 3,532 Syrian army soldiers and 12,800 civilians. A total of 8,949 servicemen and 25,642 civilians have been wounded.

He also said Washington has not ensured observation of the ceasefire regime by the opposition during a new truce effective from September 12 in line with Russian-US agreements.

"We have once again ensured observation of the regime of cessation of hostilities by Syria’s government forces, and organized monitoring of implementation of agreements with the use of video cameras and drones in real time mode," Antonov said.

At the same time, he said, detachments of the "moderate opposition" violated the truce 302 times on September 12-19. "A total of 83 civilians died, another 252 people were wounded. Government troops lost 153 people," he added.

The deputy minister underscored that despite constant violations, Russia twice extended the truce regime — by 48 and by 72 hours, as a result of which the overall duration of the truce totaled seven days.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000407

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South Asia

Due Process and Bangladesh’s Counter-Terrorism Measures

08/10/2016

The government’s apparent success in recent months in killing and detaining many alleged Islamic militants increasingly comes at the cost of the rule of law and due process.

On August 8, a Bangladesh news website published an article claiming that two militants – Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, allegedly ISIS’s Bangladesh coordinator, and sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haq, said to be behind a series of targeted killings – were both in state custody.

This claim, which according to the article was based on conversations with ‘senior law enforcement officers’, was officially denied.

Three weeks later on August 27, the police stated that Chowdhury had been killed, along with two other militants, following a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Narayanganj where he was living.

This was without doubt a significant counter terrorism development.

Chowdhury was supposed to have been the alleged mastermind of the July 1 attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery where ISIS inspired militants had killed 20 guests.

The militant attack on the restaurant, which came in the wake of over 25 targeted killings of ‘atheist’ bloggers, LGBT activists and religious minority community priests, galvanised the government to take concerted action to end the Islamic militancy, which it had previously blamed on the opposition parties.

In the reporting that followed Chowdhury’s death, Purboposhchimbd’s article (removed from its website in late September) was ignored.

Yet, if the article was true, it would have meant that Chowdhury had been kept secretly in state detention before being killed, in a scenario rather different from the story told by the police.

A question of credibility

In Bangladesh, severe caution must be taken before giving credibility to a news report based on anonymous law enforcement or intelligence officers, particularly in the context of reporting on militancy.

People within these state agencies often use the media to spin particular narratives and provide false information to reporters. Some journalists and papers in Bangladesh – knowingly or unknowingly – play along.

Full report at:thewire.in/71832/due-process-bangladeshs-counter-terrorism-measures/

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9 ISIS loyalists killed in Nangarhar airstrike

Sat Oct 08 2016

At least 9 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The local security officials said Saturday that the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Achin district but did elaborate further if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the US forces in Afghanistan.

The officials further added that the airstrike was carried out on Friday and a vehicle belonging to the terrorists was also destroyed.

According to the officials, the local residents did not suffer any casualties in the airstrike.

Nangarhar is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where both the Taliban insurgents and militants loyal to ISIS terrorist group are actively operating.

Both the Afghan forces and the US forces in Afghanistan are conducting regular raids against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalist in the districts where they are conducting insurgency activities.

The US forces increased airstrikes against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalists earlier this year after the Obama administration granted a broader role to the American forces.

Source: khaama.com/9-isis-loyalists-killed-in-nangarhar-airstrike-02027

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Pak envoy links peace in Afghanistan to resolution of Kashmir issue

Sat Oct 08 2016

Pakistan scholarships to Afghan studentsA Pakistani envoy has reportedly linked peace in Afghanistan to the resolution of Kashmir issue as the Afghan officials are pessimistic regarding Islamabad’s honesty to bring the Taliban group to negotiations table.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s special envoy on Kashmir Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed has said a solution to both is required for peace and they cannot be “compartmentalised”.

“Road to peace in Kabul lies in Kashmir in the sense that when you talk of peace, you cannot compartmentalise peace, you can’t segregate a section… ok you can have peace in Kabul and let Kashmir burn. That is not going to happen,” Syed was quoted as saying in a report by Economic Times.

Syed who is the chairman of the Pakistan Senate’s Defence and Defence Production Committee was speaking during an interaction at Washington-based think-tank Stimson Centre.

“So you (US) talk of a comprehensive peace settlement, so let the people of South Asia not be hostage to the hostility of the past. Let them move forward,” Syed added.

Shezra Mansab, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, as Special Envoys of Pakistan Prime Minister on Kashmir, said “Our core issue this time is Kashmir and no peace can prevail in the region, if this issue is not solved. It is an international dispute. It is not an internal problem. The stakes are very high now, we are nuclear neighbours so we need to have peace on the issue of Kashmir and then rest of the things can be solved.”

This comes as the Afghan officials earlier said that they will not expect Pakistan to help revive the Afghan peace talks with the Taliban group.

Efforts in the framework of Quadrilateral Coordination Group consisting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China failed after the Taliban group rejected to participate in peace talks and announced their spring offensive.

The Afghan officials criticized Pakistan for remaining reluctant to act against the leadership councils of Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network based in Peshawar and Quetta cities of Pakistan.

Source: khaama.com/pak-envoy-links-peace-in-afghanistan-to-resolution-of-kashmir-issue-02029

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Abdullah appreciates Pakistan’s $500m commitment, support to Afghan refugees

Sat Oct 08 2016

The Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah has appreciated the Pakistani government for their latest commitment of $500 million in Brussels Conference on Afghanistan and the country’s support to the Afghan refugees.

During a meeting with the Minister of States and Frontier Regions of Pakistan, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Abdul Quadir Baloch in Geneva, Abdullah appreciated Pakistan’s generous hosting of Afghan refugees for the past four decades.

Abdullah and Baloch discussed the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan during a quadripartite meeting on Afghan refugees, which included Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the UNHCR.

The Afghan Chief Executive added that there was a clear decision by the Government of Afghanistan, that the Afghan refugees should return to their country and all efforts were being made for their sustainable resettlement in Afghanistan.

“He also appreciated Pakistan’s announcement of US Dollars 500 million for Afghanistan at the recently concluded Brussels Conference,”Abdullah was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Ministry fo Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

The statement further added that Minister Abdul Quadir Baloch, while referring to the decisions taken by the last Tripartite meeting on Refugees held in Pakistan, pointed out that Pakistan was faithfully implementing these decisions.

“The Afghan refugees were our brothers and sisters and therefore we had a particular interest in their return to Afghanistan with dignity. We shall follow this principle in the return of Afghan refugees currently taking place,” he added.

Source: khaama.com/abdullah-appreciates-pakistans-500m-commitment-support-to-afghan-refugees-02028

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Bangladesh forces kill four suspected Islamist militants

Oct 8, 2016

DHAKA: Bangladeshi forces killed four suspected Islamist extremists during raids near Dhaka on Saturday, security officials said, the latest clashes in the country's ongoing crackdown on militants.

Police have conducted a series of raids on suspected militant hideouts since extremists stormed a posh Dhaka cafe in July and slaughtered 22 mostly foreign hostages.

The elite Rapid Action Battalion launched two separate operations Saturday after being tipped off about the presence of Islamist extremists in a building in Gazipur, just outside Dhaka, and a three-storey structure in the northern district of Tangail.

"Two extremists were shot dead during a gunfight with the RAB in Gazipur. Weapons and explosives have been recovered," RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan told AFP.

Two more suspected extremists were killed after RAB forces raided another building in Tangail, local RAB chief Mohiuddin Faruqe told AFP.

"They fired at our officers suddenly as we raided their hideout. We fired back and two extremists were shot dead," he said, adding that two RAB officers were also injured during the raid.

The RAB did not elaborate on the operations and there was no immediate comment about what group the gunmen were affiliated with.

Private television broadcaster Jamuna TV said the RAB launched the raid in Gazipur after receiving intelligence that the "Dhaka coordinator" of the banned Islamist extremist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) was at the hideout.

It remained unclear whether the extremist leader was among the dead.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the July 1 attack on the upscale cafe in Dhaka, posting pictures of the attackers holding IS flags online.

However, Bangladesh officials have rejected the claims, saying the JMB led by a Canadian citizen of Bangladesh origin, Tamim Chowdhury, was responsible for the massacre.

In August police shot Chowdhury dead along with two of his associates after they stormed an extremist hideout in Narayanganj city near Dhaka.

Since the cafe carnage, Bangladeshi security forces have killed at least 32 suspected Islamist militants, including a US citizen of Bangladesh descent.

Long dormant after their top leaders were executed in March 2007, the JMB has recently regrouped with young, university-educated extremists taking the helm.

Bangladesh has been reeling from a deadly wave of attacks in the last three years, including on foreigners, rights activists and members of the country's religious minorities.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-forces-kill-four-suspected-Islamist-militants/articleshow/54750465.cms

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Bangladesh court clears Canadian of attack charges

Oct 07, 2016

Khan was released on bail on Sunday after that new charge surfaced, and will have to attend court in Dhaka to deal with it in the coming weeks, his family said.

Police had arrested Khan, 22, under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as an instigator of the Gulshan cafe attack.

He was with friends at the Holey Artisan Bakery when five armed gunmen attacked, killing 20 people and holding others inside hostage. Seventeen foreigners including an Indian student were among those killed in the attack.

Ever since surviving the attack, Khan has been held by authorities in what has become a confusing case.

Edwardh says Tahmid is now with family and that she expects his counsel in Dhaka will have more information after his court appearance on Wednesday. "He ignored notice for giving his statement as a witness after the attack but he did not respond to the notice", Abu said. If convicted, he could face a month of jail time and a cash fine, according to Bangladeshi law.

"The Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate court today granted bail to him".

Khan and British national Hasnat Karim were immediately taken in for questioning following the attack.

Police also named a Canadian citizen, Tamim Chowdhury, as the attack's mastermind, saying his Bangladeshi group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh, not IS, carried out the attack.

Dhaka: The Bangladesh Police have claimed that the son of the country's former home secretary is a member of the dreaded Islamic State group.

The terrorists released Khan before commandos conducted an operation on July 2 and killed all the five attackers. He then was investigated for his alleged involvement with a banned group, Hizbut Tahrir, and left the university in 2012 and became a businessman.

He was at the cafe with his family to celebrate his daughter's 13th birthday.

Upon the investigation officer's plea, Hasanat has been also cleared in the case, but he still remains a suspect as he is an accused in the Anti-terrorism case filed by police.

Source: crcconnection.com/2016/10/07/newsalert-bangladesh-court-clears-canadian-of-attack-charges.html

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New militant recruits killed RU Prof Rezaul Karim

October 08, 2016

Rajshahi University teacher Prof Dr AKM Rezaul Karim Siddique was an easy target for the fresh members of New JMB militant group who wanted to show their high-command their ability, investigators have said.

A total of seven militants, who were told that Prof Rezaul was an atheist, directly took part in the machete attack near his house in Rajshahi city on April 23. Some of them were unaware of the fact that the music enthusiast teacher used to donate to a madrasa and a mosque at his village home in Baghmara area of the district.

Prof Rezaul was chosen as he was an easy target, a highly-placed source in Rajshahi police who is close to the investigation of the sensational murder also claimed by Islamic State, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Besides teaching English at the university dominated by radical Jamaat-Shibir, Prof Rezaul was the editor of literary magazine “Komolgandhar” and adviser to a cultural organisation named “Shundorom.”

He also set up a music school in Shalbagan area and wanted to start another at his village home but was facing resistance from some local radical Islamists.

Police say the disgruntled members of Islami Chhatra Shibir’s RU unit have joined several militant groups, mainly New JMB and al-Qaeda-backed Ansar Al Islam (previously Ansarullah Bangla Team), and carried out several terrorist attacks in the region including the suicide attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque in Baghmara in December.

In 2004, JMB second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai established a reign of terror in the area by killing and torturing scores of people.

After the murder, Syria-based Salafist terrorist group IS said that their members had killed Prof Rezaul for “calling to atheism.” It was the 15th attack conducted by the New JMB group, believed to be affiliated with the IS, since September last year.

The murder took place only 10 days after the IS claimed that it has a strong base in Bangladesh, from where they have plans to attack Myanmar and India, and that they targeted atheists and Murtads (apostates).

With Prof Rezaul, four RU teachers have been killed by Shibir and JMB members in the last decade.

So far, a total of 12 suspects have been detained in connection with Prof Rezaul murder that outraged teachers and students of the university. But the prime suspect, Chhatra Shibir leader and RU English department student Shariful Islam, who masterminded the killing, has remained out of the radar.

Shariful alias Rahat alias Talha, who allegedly raised a group named Ansar Rajshahi, is believed to be hiding in India. Rajshahi Metropolitan Police on August 29 declared Tk1 lakh bounty each for Shariful and another key accused, Nazrul Islam alias Parvez alias Bike Hassan.

During the investigation, police found that the militants used to communicate with each other through a mobile application named Thrima, widely used by the New JMB operatives. The group wanted to do something to prove their strength to the high-command.

Since the murder took place, a total of two suspects – Bike Hassan and Tarek Hossain Milu alias Osman – have been killed in gunfights while another died while undergoing treatment in custody. Nibras Islam, one of the militants killed in a commando operation after the Gulshan restaurant attack, was also involved in Prof Rezaul murder, police say.

Another suspect Hafizur Rahman, a second year student of RU public administration and secretary of Chhatra Shibir of Ward No 19, died in custody.

According to investigators, the murder was planned by two people – Shariful and his classmate Muntasirul Alam Anindya, who is the son of local BNP leader and cousin of an influential Awami League leader. Anindya is currently in jail after remand in two phases. On the other hand, Shariful has been missing for more than a year and a half.

Another senior official of Rajshahi police seeking anonymity said that Shariful is none other than Abu Suleman, whose name was found by the Indian law enforcement agencies after they arrested JMB leader Mosiuddin alias Musa in West Bengal on July 6.

On August 15, a special team from Bangladesh Police went to India and interrogated Musa.

Monirul Islam, chief of the DMP’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit, said that they had got some information about Shariful interrogating Musa and were analysing those.

During the interrogation, Musa identified Shariful from a photograph the police showed him and alleged that he had been radicalised by Shariful. He also claimed that Shariful had a strong JMB network in Rajshahi region.

Rajshahi police sources say once they complete verifying the information about Shariful, they will press charges against the accused.

Rezaus Sadiq, inspector of detective branch in Rajshahi and also the investigation officer, told the Dhaka Tribune that the investigation was at the final statge. “We are now analysing the information regarding the arrestees and hope to submit the charge sheet to the court soon,” he added.

Shariful’s father Abdul Hakim told the Dhaka Tribune that they had filed a general diary after he had gone missing. “We are not aware of his whereabouts and activities as he remains traceless,” he said.

Source: dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2016/10/08/police-new-militant-recruits-killed-ru-prof-rezaul-karim/

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India

Muslim organisations hail surgical strikes, urge political parties to unite

October 7, 2016

India's political parties may be divided on the question of the surgical strikes conducted on September  29, there is however, a near unanimity of views amongst the parties and organisations from within the minority community.

Parties like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), All India Muslim Mashewarat, and All India Milli Council and organisations like the Mumbai-based Raza Academy. The All India Ulama Board has not just condemned the Uri attack but also lauded the Army's counter strike."

There should be no politics and no two opinions on this issue. Our motherland comes first. We wholeheartedly support whatever action the government has taken for protecting the country," said Kamal Farooqui, member AIMPLB.

SUPPORT GOVERNMENT ON SURGICAL STRIKES

He is not alone. Scores of similar organisations, both at the national and state level, have echoed similar sentiments. Leaders like Arshad Madani, a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, have chosen to put political differences aside and support the government. 

"We need to be wary of Pakistan's evil designs. Kashmir has always been and will always remain an integral part of India," said Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Secretary,  Hamid Nomani.

UNITED AGAINST PAKISTAN

The unequivocal condemnation of the Uri terror attack and the whole hearted support to the 'surgical strike' must have come as a dampener to the designs of Pakistan that has been hoping to create a communal divide on the Kashmir issue.  

Significantly, this comes at a time when the political class is engaged in an unseemly attempt to score political brownie points off each other. The BJP and its supporters are hailing the strikes as a victory for the party and the government while the opposition is trying desperately to accuse the government of encashing  on army's achievement for its political gains.

Prominent amongst the organisations that have called on political parties to stop the bickering around the surgical strikes are Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, AIMMM, All India Milli Council and Jamiat Ahle Hadees.

Source: indiatoday.intoday.in/story/muslim-organisations-surgical-strikes/1/782899.html

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Hindus And Muslims of Agartala Unite To Make This Durga Puja A Grand Success!

October 8, 2016

AGARTALA: In 1947, Durga Puja was first celebrated at Post Office Chowmuhani in Agartala with active participation of both Hindus and Muslims. The tradition continues till date.

Setting an example of communal harmony, many localities of Western Tripura are organizing Puja with the active participation of Muslims. Two areas near Mariamnagar Catholic Church especially dominated by three communities – Hindus, Muslims and Christians, are strong believers that festival is a platform to unite people irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

Though the people do not spend lavishly to draw crowd, they enjoy Puja whole-heartedly.

“We celebrate Durga Puja, Id and Christmas united every year. Our Muslim and Christian brothers, who are also our Puja committee members, never get tired to extend support in the Puja. They also took Prasad with us. Some Muslim youths, even pray with us in the puja,” said Jiban Rudra Pal, a veteran resident of Ichamuah locality, and also vice president of a club there.

Interestingly, one Christian resident of the Mariamnagar area – Jakart Laggardo, was the first who had proposed to organize Durga Puja in the area in grandeur way like Christmas.

Similar kind of harmony is visible in other parts of the same district. There are many clubs in Paschim Noabadi where Durga Puja is celebrated jointly by the two religious communities since many years.

Azirul Islam, member of Puja committee of Bhriguraj Club, spends his time in organizing the puja actively. He works in a private firm where there is no fixed timing of duty hours. Despite his hectic schedule, he never feels tired to extend support to organize the puja successfully.

“Festival means joy which is not restricted to one community only. We love to take part in Durga Puja as we do in Id. My Hindu friends never missed to have feat in my house during Id,” he told Priyanka Deb Barman.

Besides him, there are other Muslims in the puja committee.

Satyaranjan Roy, a Hindu resident and also secretary of the club said, “In our locality, Durga Puja is celebrated with the active participant of our Muslim brothers. They are involved from collection of subscriptions till pandal decoration. Farida Khatun, a local art teacher decorated the pandal. I guess; this is a rare case in the country.”

Debram Thakur  Para is a small village in the outskirts of the city where Hindu Bengalis, tribal and Muslim people are organizing Durga Puja since 1988. This year, women brigade are heading the puja.

“From Saptami to Dashami, we spend time together and eat together. Besides feast, we organize evening cultural programmes during puja days,” Young Star Club’s Puja Committee’s female secretary –Tama Chakraborty.

Some other places of the district like Banikya Chowmuhani, Lalmatia, Laddu Chowmuhani, Kali Tilla, Madhya Kashipur, Sen Para including few villages’ especially Muslim-dominated villages – Kulubari and Durgapur, bordering Bangladesh in Tripura’s Sepahijala District jointly organize Durga Puja with the Hindus since long years.

Historians said that stones and coins introduced during the Manikya rulers, had image of Goddess Durga which reveals that prior independence, the puja was grandly celebrated by the Manikya rulers.

According to them, Maharaj Dhanya Manikya had built Ambika Devi temple in Udaipur, Maharaj Kalyan Manikya built Mahadevi temple at Kamalasagar, Bhubaneswari temple was built by Maharaj Govinda Manikya while Maharaj Krishna Manikya built Durga bari and Mangal Chandi temples at Haveli.

Local MLA Pabitra Kar also extends support in organizing any kind of festivals in his constituency, be it Durga Puja, Id or Christmas.

“The tradition of organizing festivals jointly by Hindus and Muslims was started long years back. After the Left Front government came to power in 1978, the friendship bond between the two religious communities was strengthened. I am always invited in any festival in my area and I , at least take out time to spend some quality time with my area people then,” Kar said. Pabitra Kar, exception among Left leaders who openly announces contribution of the royal families’ in sector of education and others.

Source: thenortheasttoday.com/tripura-hindus-and-muslims-unite-to-make-this-durga-puja-a-grand-success/

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Home Minister to review security at Indo-Pak border in Barmer

October 8, 2016

Barmer (Raj) : Amid rising tension in Indo-Pak ties, Union Minister Rajnath Singh will assess security arrangements on the border in Barmer district of Rajasthan.

Singh along with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju today arrived at Barmer from Jaisalmer, accompanied by Border Security Force (BSF) officials, sources said.

The Home Minister yesterday chaired a meeting in Jaisalmer with the home ministers and senior officials of four states that border Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal, Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Brij Raj Sharma.

The security arrangements are being reviewed on the border in the wake of tension between India and Pakistan after surgical strike by army on terror camps across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Source: siasat.com/news/home-minister-review-security-indo-pak-border-barmer-1037675/

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Amid conflict, residents of Indo-Pak border village hope for peace

October 8, 2016

Hamirpur: Forced to abandon their houses, standing crops and cattle after shelling by the Pakistani army, the residents of the once-sleepy border village of Hamirpur still hold out hope for peace between the two nations so that they can return to their home one day. Entering the village, one is greeted by locked doors and empty households, but more tellingly, by an overwhelming sense of dread that the blast of a shell could shatter the fragile silence at any moment.

“First take shelter behind this wall before we talk. We never know when a shell from across the line of control could land here and injure or even kill us,” says 42-year-old Tarsem Lal, who has been assigned the job of feeding the cattle that have been left behind.

The village, situated at a stone’s throw from the Line of Control, has been deserted by its inhabitants, some of whom have migrated to Jammu. Most though, have landed up at safe houses set up by the administration.

Those living in the migrant camp assign the job of feeding the cattle by turns to two men, who come here every morning risking their lives.

Lal, accompanied by fellow villager Kulbir Singh (54), says people want peace to return, so that they can return to their homes.

“Who wants to stay away from a house which is constructed with so much hard work. It is our bad luck that whenever there is tension between the two countries we have to abandon everything and migrate from our houses,” Singh says.

While the government has made arrangements for their stay in the safe camps and gives them meals, none have been made for providing fodder to the cattle. “These cattle would die, if we don’t risk our lives to feed them,” Singh says.

Source: siasat.com/news/amid-conflict-residents-indo-pak-border-village-hope-peace-1037643/

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Curfew imposed in Srinagar after 12-year-old dies in pellet firing

October 8, 2016

Srinagar: Curfew remained in force in seven police station areas of the city today following death of a minor boy, who was injured during clashes between protestors and security forces in Safakadal area of the city.

12-year-old Junaid Akhoon succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital at Soura late last night, taking the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir to 84, a police official said.

Akhoon was hit by pellets in the head and chest at Saidapora in Safakadal Police Station area yesterday during clashes between protestors and security forces, the official said.

He said curfew remained in force in seven police station areas of the city as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order. “Curfew has been imposed as a precautionary measure in seven police station areas of Srinagar city,” the official said here.

He said the police station areas where curfew has been imposed are Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Maisuma and Batamaloo.

“Restrictions on assembly of people are in force in rest of the Kashmir Valley while security forces have been deployed in strength to maintain law and order,” the official said.

Normal life remained affected for the 92nd consecutive day in Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

The unrest, which has claimed 84 lives including that of two cops and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces, yesterday entered the fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads.

The roads across Srinagar city today wore a deserted look with security forces checking the handful of private vehicles seen on the roads.

Source: siasat.com/news/curfew-imposed-srinagar-12-year-old-dies-pellet-firing-1037592/

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No Lakshman rekha for these Muslims

Oct 8, 2016

NEW DELHI: "I started at five by joining Ram's vanar sena," chuckles Sadiq Hussain, having graduated to bigger roles.

For 15 years now he has been assigned the role of Lakshman in Shri Navyuwak Ramleela Committee's mythological. Far from Hussain's stage, another Muslim, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, tweeted on Friday that his childhood dream of being a part of the Ramlila in his hometown could not come true, having been foiled from playing Ravana's uncle Mareech by Shiv Sena activists. But then Delhi is no Budhana. After all it has a tradition to live up to: the first Ramlila group in the capital was set up by Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Sporting a vermillion tilak, Hussain, 30, a resident of Kashmiri Gate, says, "I have never faced any problem here. The organisers as well as my family have always supported me." He admits that some of his relatives once tried to dissuade him, but his family advised him not to care much for what they had to say.

When he got married a month and a half ago, Hussain wondered whether he should be preoccupied with the Ramlila so soon after marriage, but his wife firmly put him in place by telling him, "You've been doing it for so long, why should you stop now?" A couple of days ago, his wife and mother inaugurated the Sita swayamvar act by igniting a lamp. His brother Manzar Hussain used to act the role of Ravana.

Mujib-ur-Rahman,27, Kumbhkaran at the Sri Nav Dharmik Ramleela, shared a similar experience. "I felt mummy-papa would not let me act, but they did. I once lied and told them I was acting as Ram wondering if they'd let me play a Hindu god. But they had no problems."

Jalaj Sharma, Hussain's director, says that Muslims participating in the Ramlila hasn't been a problem in Delhi. "And by Lord Ram's blessings, it will remain so in future," stresses Sharma. His optimism is founded on the ready acceptance of Muslim as artists, craftsmen and organisers of the capital's Ramlilas. Why, the star-studded Luv Kush Ramlila on Red Fort lawns has three prominent Muslims: Raza Murad as Janak, Farheen as Sunaina and Ali Khan as Meghnad. Ashok Agarwal, chairman of the committee there, points out that Muslim families of Old Delhi generously donate to these annual shows.

"Ramayan jodne ka kaam karti hai," says Hussain. That perhaps should be the last word on the fight between good and evil.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/No-Lakshman-rekha-for-these-Muslims/articleshow/54743514.cms

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Muslims make effigies of Ravana on occasion of Dussehra

October 8, 2016

Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Oct. 8: A unique blend of communal and social harmony was witnessed in the Numaish Maidan of Aligarh, where Muslim craftsmen were seen making an effigy of demon king Ravana for the auspicious festival of Dussehra.

The effigy will be burnt on the last day of Dussehra (tenth day), marking the victory of good over evil.(ALSO READ: ‘Muslims Get Out’ sign owner invited to mosque)

“Our family has been making these effigies for the past 50 years, and it is because of that, we are also doing this work.We have received orders from different cities and our team is doing the work sincerely,” said Jahid, one of the craftsmen.

Source: india.com/news/india/muslims-make-effigies-of-ravana-on-occasion-of-dussehra-1542817/

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Kerala HC sets 'IS suicide bomber' free

Oct 7, 2016

KOCHI: The Kerala high court has set at liberty a woman who was allegedly converted and recruited to become a suicide bomber for Islamic State in Syria. The court issued the order after police informed that she doesn't possess a passport and there is nothing to indicate that she is likely to be taken to Syria.

A division bench of the court issued the order on September 27th after the father of the 23-year-old woman from Vaikom alleged in a petition (WP-Crl 297/2016) that she has been recruited for IS activities in Syria. On August 18th, the court had directed police to prevent her from flying abroad.

While the court allowed the woman to stay at a place of her choice, she has informed the court that she doesn't want to go to her own home and live with her parents as they are not willing to accept her as a Muslim. She has instead chosen to go and live with a woman at Malappuram. Further, she alleged that the petition to the high court was filed by her father at the instance of his lawyer.

It was while doing a BHMS course at a homeopathic medical college at Salem in Tamil Nadu that the woman converted to Islam. She had two 'fanatic' Muslim sisters as her roommates and she was allegedly converted by them. From Salem, the woman went to an institution named 'Sathyasarani', which is allegedly operated by a Muslim organization named Popular Front of India, and is kept under illegal detention there, the father had alleged in the petition.

The father had also alleged in the petition that his daughter disclosed that she is planning to go to Syria for sheep rearing while talking over phone on July 11th. Taking new converts to Syria for terrorist training and for joining the IS to make them suicide bombers is a well-known tactic of Islamic extremist organizations of Kerala, the petition had stated.

While allowing the woman to stay with a woman from Malappuram, the court has asked her to inform police if she wishes to change the place of residence and has asked her to appear before the court on October 24th.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/Kerala-HC-sets-IS-suicide-bomber-free/articleshow/54742105.cms

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia Nabs 10 on Suspicion of Passing Information to Abu Sayyaf Group

October 8, 2016

Malaysian authorities have arrested at least 10 people in the eastern state of Sabah suspected of leaking information about regional security operations to Abu Sayyaf militants and other criminals based in the nearby southern Philippines, Malaysia’s police chief said Friday.

The suspects who were arrested Thursday night are believed to have passed on classified information to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other armed groups that have carried out multiple kidnappings of Malaysian and Indonesian sailors in local seas in recent months, Malaysian media quoted Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar as saying.

The suspects were caught through a joint operation that was still underway on Friday by Sabah police and personnel from a regional military base, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), according to Khalid.

“Those arrested were civilians, residents of Sabah and individuals from the southern Philippines,” he said.

He did not rule out the possibility that some Malaysian security personnel could have played a role in passing on sensitive information about ESSCOM operations to Abu Sayyaf and other criminal gangs, according to reports.

“I am not denying it. There is a possibility,” Khalid told a news conference at Royal Malaysia Police headquarters.

The Filipinos who had entered Sabah without proper papers could be charged for flouting Malaysia’s immigration laws, he added. All of the suspects who have been arrested could be charged with violating the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act of 2012 (SOSMA) for allegedly passing on sensitive information, Khalid said.

On Sept. 28, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said a leak might exist where classified information about ESSCOM activities had been passed on to enemies of the state, the New Straits Times reported that day.

“I am not accusing anyone but it is not impossible for information to be passed to our enemies,” the Malaysian news outlet quoted Zahid as saying.

“They [enemies] are also aware of the assets required by [ESSCOM] and its related enforcement agencies may not be complete, thus the strengths and weaknesses are well-known,” Zahid said, according to NST.

Close by

Sabah’s eastern coastline, where ESSCOM is based, lies close to the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines and a region of the neighboring country where six Malaysian sailors and two Indonesian sailors remain in the custody of Abu Sayyaf or other southern Philippine militant groups that have taken people hostage and held them for ransom.

ESSCOM, the regional security command, was created in the aftermath of an incursion in February 2013 by 200 fighters who crossed into Sabah and identified themselves as the Royal Army of Sulu and followers of a self-proclaimed sultan, Jamalul Kiram III, who has since died. Seventy-two people were killed in fighting that broke out between Malaysian security forces and the armed intruders.

This week’s joint crackdown by state police and ESSCOM also took place amid a stepped-up military offensive launched by the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to crack down against Abu Sayyaf in the country’s far south.

Last month, Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced that the government intended to boost security in eastern Sabah to ward off potential threats posed by the Middle East-based extremist group that calls itself Islamic State (IS) as well as by Abu Sayyaf and other southern Philippine militant groups.

Lucrative business

ASG, a loose network of militant groups that pledged allegiance to IS, has collected millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years, according to online reports.

This year alone, Abu Sayyaf has collected at least 354.1 Philippine million pesos (U.S. $7.3 million) in 2016 from ransoms paid for hostages, Philippine-based news website Rappler.com reported.

ASG has beheaded at least three men in the last year when ransom demands were not met. Two Canadians were executed in April and June and a Malaysian man, Bernard Then, was executed in November 2015.

Meanwhile, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have held a series of meetings aimed at improving security for sailors in the region. The neighbors have discussed the need for joint maritime patrols to halt kidnappings by ASG and other groups in the Sulu and Celebes seas that separate the countries, but have not yet launched those patrols.

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/malaysian/Sabah-10072016155924.html

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Kofi Annan should visit Rohingya refugees camps

October 8, 2016

Acting at the right time is good diplomacy. It is time for Bangladesh, a stakeholder in the Rohingya refugee issue, to invite former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to visit the two refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and talk to the inmates. The refugees will thus get a chance to relate to him the harrowing tales of brutalities they had endured in their homeland Myanmar. Bangladesh can also have its views known to him as Aung San Suu Kyi, now holding the reins of power in Myanmar, appointed him to head a commission assigned to devise ways and means to finding a permanent settlement of the issue. He can also have a fruitful interaction with the officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which takes care of the refugees in Bangladesh.

It is indeed encouraging to note that Kofi Annan has pledged to stay impartial. "To build the future, the two major communities have to move beyond decades of mistrust and find ways to embrace shared values of justice, fairness and equity," Annan said as he arrived in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine. "Ultimately, the people of Rakhine state must chart their own way forward. We are here to help. We are here to provide ideas and advice.

Kofi Annan's appointment is significant. As a human rights campaigner in Myanmar quite rightly said, "It is not a PR stunt taken by Aung San Suu Kyi; there are pros and cons considering the high-profile personality of Kofi Annan". It is a significant step within the military and in one sense it is very significant because it represents or indicates that the Rohingya crisis is no longer internal, it has an international aspect, he pointed out.

Happily, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, burdened with influx of Rohingya refugees, took the opportunity to meet Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi in New York on the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly in the UN Headquarters. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed outstanding issues between the two neighbouring countries and agreed to resolve all bilateral issues through dialogues. During the meeting, Sheikh Hasina welcomed the Kofi Annan Commission on issues of Rohingya. Aware of different ethnic groups fighting the government troops in Myanmar, Sheikh Hasina indirectly ruled out any shelter of any Myanmar insurgent in Bangladesh. She said she holds 'zero tolerance' stance on terrorism and said Bangladesh's soil will never be allowed for carrying out terrorist activities against any country. Incidentally, several leaders of Myanmar's insurgent groups were reportedly arrested and handed over to the Myanmar authorities in the meantime.

In fact, what is purely a vexed internal issue of Myanmar-the nationality status of Rohingya of Arakan state-has now become a headache for Bangladesh. More so that Myanmar is just a stone's throw from Bangladesh across a tiny river Naaf and mountains. As a result, thousands of Rohingyas, on being persecuted in their homeland Myanmar, naturally found the neighbouring country as the place for their safe refuge. Bangladesh too, taking distressed humanity into consideration, did not adopt draconian policy to push them back to their country as they will further be brutalised and tortured to death by different ethnic groups. While Bangladesh still provides food and shelter to Rohingyas in two make-shift camps, it has failed to stop influx of hundreds of thousands others.    

It is now amply evident that the plight of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar has drawn global attention and sympathy. That is why President Barrack Obama, during his trip to the military junta-led country, mounted pressure on Myanmar to recognise Rohingya as its citizens and end all forms of brutalities on them. Even Ban Ki-moon, the sitting UN chief, called on Myanmar to grant citizenship to the the group and respect their right to self-identity as Rohingya. The Kofi Annan-led commission is now investigating the communal conflict pitting the ethnic Rakhine Buddhists against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority although local Buddhists gave him a hostile welcome in Rakhine. Hundreds arrived at Sittwe airport to protest against his visit. Many booed and shouted 'No to Kofi-led commission' as his convoy left the state capital airport. Others held signs reading 'No to foreigners-biased intervention in our Rakhine State's affairs'. A top official in Suu Kyi's party was reported by media as saying that "Mr Annan is influential in international politics, and we need his support to steer a real peace in this country. We need his advice, whether he's a foreigner or not," he added.

That Bangladesh has always welcomed the fleeing Muslim refugees from neighbouring Myanmar has been acclaimed internationally.  Media reports have documented harrowing tales of sufferings of the members of the community in Arakan, which forced them to flee and seek refuge in Bangladesh. The news media was replete with narratives of the desperate people who were lucky enough to set foot in this country.

More than 100 people have been killed - the majority Muslims - while tens of thousands of the stateless Rohingyas  have spent the past four years trapped in camps with limited access to healthcare and other basic services. The accompanying photographs of families in boats, pleading for compassion and empathy, only confirmed genuineness of their claims that their life was at stake in the Arakan state. The gravity of the situation was only confirmed by the fact that international agencies working in that region had to pull out its personnel for safety reason.

Source: thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2016/10/07/48576/Kofi-Annan-should-visit-Rohingya-refugees-camps

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Seven teens missing after boat capsizes in Indonesia

October 8, 2016

The wooden boat was carrying 25 Islamic boarding school male students across the Bengawan Solo river on Java when it capsized early Friday. (Reuters) The wooden boat was carrying 25 Islamic boarding school male students across the Bengawan Solo river on Java when it capsized early Friday. (Reuters)

Seven teenagers were feared dead today, a day after they went missing when their boat capsized on a river in Indonesia, officials said. None have been found despite a major rescue operation.

The wooden boat was carrying 25 Islamic boarding school male students across the Bengawan Solo river on Java when it capsized early Friday.

Officials said they suspected overloading caused the boat to tilt. “They were about to reach land, about seven metres away or so, but the kids, probably from overexcitement, came to the front of the boat, making the boat unbalance,” Suprapto, a local disaster management official, told AFP.

The missing passengers were aged between 12 and 19. Eighteen other passengers survived, Suprapto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, added. Scores of rescuers were deployed to search the river using inflatable boats soon after the accident but none of the missing has been found so far.

Rescuers said rain, muddy water and strong currents were hampering the search.

Indonesia has a poor water transport safety record and regularly suffers fatal boat accidents.

Last month, an explosion on a speedboat on the resort island of Bali left two foreigners dead and 18 other tourists injured.

Source: financialexpress.com/world-news/seven-teens-missing-after-boat-capsizes-in-indonesia/411060/

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Europe

Muslim migrants in Europe are not refugees but job seekers

OCTOBER 08, 2016

While some European Jews have repeated the analogy, others have been careful to avoid it amid the arrival to Europe of 1.5 million immigrants since 2015 from the war-torn Middle East and Africa.

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A prominent Israeli Holocaust survivor from Poland who lived through World War II as a refugee in Russia spoke out what he called “demagogues who falsely compare persecuted Jews to migrants from Syria.”

Natan Rom, 87, who is among the best-known survivors of the group of refugees known as the Tehran Children, spoke out against recent analogies in international media during an interview ahead of the Russia premiere of a 2007 documentary film about the group’s trials.

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“The Muslim migrants arriving to Europe are for the most part not refugees but job seekers who belong to what is de facto an invasion,” Rom, nee Norbert Kurtzman, told JTA after the Russia premiere of the film “The Children of Tehran” in the city of Kazan during its Limmud FSU conference of Jewish learning.

“The attempts to pass off the new arrivals, people who left and in many cases participated in a murderous civil war, as refugees and then to liken their experiences to what Holocaust survivors had to endure is false,” Rom, who survived the Holocaust with his sister, said last month.

The rebuke by Rom, a supporter of the left-wing Meretz party and one of the founders of Kibbutz Afikim, followed the publication in August of an op-ed in The New York Times titled “Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl,” in which the journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof argued that the reasons for the opposition to absorbing Jewish Holocaust refugees in the United States “were the same as they are for rejecting Syrians or Hondurans today.”

While some European Jews have repeated the analogy, others have been careful to avoid it amid the arrival to Europe of 1.5 million immigrants since 2015 from the war-torn Middle East and Africa. While many of those arriving file for refugee status, critics of EU immigration policies have argued for stricter screening against job seekers, citing the heavy presence among the newcomers of work-age men.

The Tehran Children trekked a tormented 8,000 miles to Israel through Siberia, Uzbekistan, Tehran, India, Egypt and finally prestate Israel. Rom and his sister, Ziva, were given up for adoption in the Uzbeki city of Samarkand by their parents, Karol and Ethel, who were starving and opted to part with their two older children in the hope of saving their baby brother, Uzi.

Karol died of starvation and disease in Samarkand. Natan and Ziva eventually were reunited with their mother and baby brother.

The arrival of the Tehran Children to Israel in 1943 is widely considered the first encounter between the yishuv, prestate Israel’s Jewish population, and any large group of refugees from the Holocaust.

Source: jpost.com/Diaspora/Holocaust-survivor-slams-Syria-analogies-469676

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EU backs 'grassroots' efforts to fight radicalisation

Saturday 8 October 2016

EU security commissioner Julian King on Friday hailed the Belgian city of Mechelen as a model for tackling radicalisation, as he backed similar "grass-roots" activities elsewhere in the EU.

During a tour of the Flemish city located north of Brussels, King heard Mayor Bart Somers explain how much progress it had made by combining a tough law-and-order approach with social programmes to include Muslims in the community at large.

"You have to be modest and cautious about this. What works in one set of circumstances won't necessarily work in another set of circumstances," King said during a joint news conference with Somers.

"That said, I think there are some really good grass-roots activities here in Mechelen and in other cities across this part of Europe, which we should be ready to learn from," he added.

The issue is far from academic: European governments, including Belgium in particular, are grappling with how to prevent young Muslims from becoming radicalised, after a series of attacks across the continent.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Paris and bombings in Brussels in the last two years.

Both cases involved radicals from the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek.

However, a report by the Royal United Services Institute in London said earlier this year that right-wing radicals had claimed more lives in Europe between 2000 and 2014 than Islamist militant attacks.

"Rightwing extremists represent a substantial aspect of the lone actor threat and must not be overlooked," the report reads.

King said those who deal with potentially alienated young people at sports clubs and community centres should be encouraged to share their experiences more widely.

"There is work we can do at an EU level on building resilience and on supporting the grass-roots level activities across Europe," he said.

King visited a kickboxing club that has produced a European champion while also keeping other young people on the right track - including preventing three of them from following through with plans to join IS in Syria.

Although one-fifth of this city of 80,000 people are Muslim, Somers prides himself on the fact that not one of his citizens has left for Syria, unlike the dozens or scores who have done so from Antwerp, Vilvoorde and Brussels.

Overall, about 500 Belgians have joined militant groups in the Middle East, the highest per capita of any nation in the European Union.

Although Somers said Mechelen is "not a paradise" devoid of radicals, it is a far cry from the crime-ridden city it was when he was first elected 15 years ago.

He said that was because of two approaches he took.

"One is being rather strict on the rule of law, being respectful of your fellow citizens, asking them to do their share. Sometimes they call it right-wing politics," the liberal mayor said.

"But on the other side, we are very inclusive," he said. "We want to have everybody on board, and we are very open towards diversity and very radical against racism and discrimination."

He added: "It has created an atmosphere that has made it much more difficult for extremists to come in."

Many Belgian Muslims reject being associated with terrorism.

After the 22 March Brussels bombing, Ahmed El Khannouss, deputy mayor of Molenbeek, said the neighbourhood, which suffers from high unemployment, is often scapegoated for militant attacks.

"Following the attacks in Paris four months ago, they are afraid the economy there will be hit and people won’t come for their Christmas vacations there. So to distract world attention from Paris, they invented that Molenbeek is the centre of terror," he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

A Muslim resident of Molenbeek told the Washington Post in March that he feels like a Belgian person, but when people look at him and see an Arab, it creates an identity crisis.

“It’s very difficult when you don’t have an identity. When you feel every time you need to give a justification when there is terrorism and bad things. And you have nothing to do with it,” he said.

Source: middleeasteye.net/news/eu-backs-grassroots-efforts-fight-radicalisation-1320269593

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Russia to Submit to UNSC Alternative Draft Resolution on Syria

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia has submitted to the UN Security Council an alternative draft resolution on Syria, the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations said on Saturday.

"An alternative Russian document will be considered after voting on the draft resolution proposed by France," the mission's press service said. The UN SC session initially planned to be held at 10 pm Moscow time has been rescheduled to 9:30 pm, the mission added, Tass reported.

The Russian draft resolution, a copy of which was obtained by TASS, expresses support to the proposal of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on withdrawing militants from the Jebhat al-Nusra terrorist organization [Fatah Al-Sham Front] from East Aleppo. The document also asks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to present to UN SC a detailed plan of implementing this initiative in cooperation with interested sides with the aim of being approved by the Security Council.

The draft resolution proposed by Russia also calls on all sides to implement the Russian-US agreements on Syria reached on September 9. They call for cessation of hostilities and creating conditions for providing humanitarian aid to the population.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950717000384

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Will Anti-LGBT Muslim Cleric Be Expelled From U.K.?

OCTOBER 07 2016

Hamza Sodagar, a Muslim cleric who is visiting London as part of a lecture series, is the target of criticism from LGBT activists who are calling on U.K. officials to revoke his visa.

LGBT activist Peter Tatchell asked the Home Office to revoke Sodagar's visa. "In a free society, Hamza Sodagar has a right to believe that homosexuality is sinful but not to preach about ways to kill lesbians and gay men. Many people with far less extreme views, who have never advocated violence, have been banned from entering the UK. Calling for a death to LGBT people crosses a red line," Tatchell said, according to U.K. newspaper The Independent.

Tatchell and other LGBT activists do not want Sodagar to lecture in London because Sodagar has said that gay men deserve the death penalty. He has previously given instructions on how to kill gay men, reports Gay Star News.

"If there’s a homosexual man, the punishment is one of five things," Sodagar said in a video. "One — the easiest one maybe — chop their head off, that’s the easiest. Second — burn them to death. Third — throw them off a cliff. Fourth — tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above." His supporters have said these comments were taken out of context and that Sodagar does not endorse the murder of gay men.

Steven Anderson, an American anti-LGBT preacher who leads Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., was recently barred from entering South Africa and then deported from Botswana days later. LGBT activists in both countries led a lobbying effort asking their government to ban Anderson from entering the country because of his history of hate speech against LGBT people. The pastor told a Botswana radio station that the nation's government should kill LGBT people and that adulterers should be executed by stoning.

LGBT activists in the U.K. seem to be hoping that Sodagar meet the same fate. "The Home Office was wrong to grant him a visa and should now revoke it. The cleric should be ordered out of the country," said Tatchell, who has been an outspoken critic of Sodagar's visit to the nation.

Sodagar began his lecture series Monday at the Islamic Republic of Iran School in London. His lectures will continue until next Wednesday.

Source: advocate.com/religion/2016/10/07/will-anti-lgbt-muslim-cleric-be-expelled-uk

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North America

US does not back moves to declare Pakistan terrorist state

October 8, 2016

WASHINGTON: The United States has assured Pakistan that it does not want to declare it a

state sponsor of terrorism and desires to work with Islamabad “as cooperatively as we can” to

eliminate terrorist safe havens from the South Asian region.

At a Friday afternoon news briefing, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby also said

that the United States had full confidence in Pakistan’s capability to protect its nuclear

weapons and to prevent terrorists from accessing them.

“I have not seen anything specifically about the… bill and obviously we don’t,” said Mr Kirby

when asked if the US government would support a congressional bill and an online petition

that seek to label Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’.

“We’re confident that Pakistan has the security controls they need to have in place on their

arsenal, and I’d let them speak to that more specifically. I wouldn’t get into that,” said the

US official when asked if Washington believed Pakistan could prevent terrorists from

accessing its nukes.

In response to a question about Pakistan’s seriousness in combating terrorism, Mr Kirby said

terrorism was as much a threat to Pakistani citizens and their children as it was to Afghan and

Indian citizens and Pakistan took this challenge very seriously.

“We don’t think for a minute – we don’t believe for a minute that they don’t take the

challenges before them seriously or the lives and security of their children,” he said.

Delegation

Senator Mushahid Hus­sain Sayed and Shezra Mansab Ali Kharal, MNA, currently in Washington

to present Pakistan’s case on Kashmir, have been urging Americans to reduce their pressure

on Pakistan. They repeated this message in more than a dozen meetings with US officials and

lawmakers this week.

The envoys also reminded Americans that the situation in South Asia was changing rapidly and

Pakistan had other options too, such as further strengthening its ties with China and

improving relations with Russia.

Senator Mushahid Hussain’s statement at a Washington think tank that the United States was

“no longer a superpower, it is a declining power,” raised many eyebrows, causing some to

warn that Pakistan could spin out of US influence if pushed too hard.

While addressing another think tank, the senator said that the “road to peace in Kabul lies in

Kashmir,” a warning noted keenly in Washington’s power circles and the media.

“You cannot compartmentalise peace, you can’t segregate a section... OK you can have

peace in Kabul and let Kashmir burn. That is not going to happen,” he said.

This statement, combined with another in which he said that tensions with India could affect

Islamabad’s capability to keep troops on the Afghan border, was interpreted as a warning that

losing Pakistan’s support could complicate the Afghan situation.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288825/us-does- not-back- moves-to- declare-pakistan- terrorist-

state

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Former Springfield Men Sentenced For Defacing Islamic Center

Oct 8, 2016

A former Springfield man was arrested in federal court today for defacing the Islamic Center of Springfield with graffiti and burn two copies of the Qur’an.

Adam David Smock, 24, of Edgewater, California, was sentenced by a U.S. District Judge to five years’ probation and 14 days in jail.

Smock’s sentence also includes paying $10,440 in restitution and 40 hours of community service.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Smock will meet with and personally apologize to the leadership of the Islamic Center of Springfield for his crime.

On Dec. 29, 2015, Smock pleaded guilty the crimes against the Islamic Center of Springfield.

Joshua Daniel Lobsien, 24, from Orlando, California, also formerly from Springfield, was sentenced on July 13, 2016, after pleading guilty to defacing religious property.

The court sentenced Lobsien to five years of probation, including 20 hours of community service, and ordered him to pay $5,220 in restitution.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Lobsien will complete his community service hours at the Islamic Center of Springfield, or an Islamic Center located near Lobsien’s residence, if they are willing.

Lobsien has personally apologized to the leadership of the Islamic Center of Springfield for his crime.

Both Lobsien and Smock were 18 years old at the time of the offense. They admitted that, along with a 14-year-old minor, they spray-painted graffiti on the exterior walls of the Islamic Center of Springfield on Jan. 7, 2011.

The graffiti included explicit and offensive language in addition to such statements as “Bash Back,” “Now is our time!” and “You bash us in Pakistan we bash here.”

Smock and Lobsien also admitted that on April 10, 2011, they partially burned two copies of the Qur’an and took them to the Islamic Center of Springfield.  Smock left the burned holy books directly in front of the main doors to the Islamic Center.

A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states Lobsien left a computer-printed note on the mat in front of the main doors. The note contained the image of a goat’s or ram’s head, and the following text:

“To: Sincere Followers of Allah,

“Today, we show the Muslim Nation that its oppressive religion won't go without a fight, not from soldiers, but from average citizens willing to fight for America – for there are three (sic) burned Qur'ans that lay spread in the driveway. For we grow tired of Anti-Zionism. The Islamification of Europe. Terroristic regimes. And worst of all, the membership of 1.5 billion Muslims that stain the earth. And we vow one thing: Islam will not survive.

“Death to Islam!”

Smock admitted that it was his idea to commit the acts and that he persuaded the other men to participate. He also admitted that he selected the Islamic Center of Springfield for vandalism because of the religious nature of the property, in order to threaten and intimidate worshippers, so as to hinder and interfere with the worshippers’ enjoyment of their Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.

The total cost of restoration and repair of the damage to the Islamic Center of Springfield, including sandblasting and applying anti-graffiti paint, is $15,662.

Source: ktts.com/news/former-springfield-men-sentenced-for-defacing-islamic-center

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