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Islamic World News ( 8 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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70,000 Indian Muslim Clerics Issue Fatwa Against Terrorism, 15 Lakh Indian Muslims Support It

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Intelligence officials who are tracking the ISIS threat don’t see a direct lure for the terror outfit in madrasas, but some of them are receiving foreign funding from Islamic countries, which could be a breeding ground for extremism

 

India

70,000 clerics issue fatwa against terrorism, 15 lakh Muslims support it

Skills boost for India's Muslim children: Government plans training programmes for madrasas to combat ISIS radicalisation threat

ISIS does not exist in India: Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat

All India Muslim Personal Law Board to hold 'save the religion' rally

Soldiers wearing beards: A complex question that awaits Supreme Court ruling

Osmania University students defy court with beef fest ‘trailer’

Hindu parents thank Muslim saviour by naming daughter after him

Muslims protest in Indore, at other places in MP

Gurdwara vandalised in LA with anti-Islamic State graffiti

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North America

From White House to neighbourhood churches, all condemn Trump

Muslim Congressman Calls Trump's Bigotry Out Of Style, Like 'Very Negative Bell-Bottoms'

Ted Cruz Offers The Weakest Possible Criticism Of Donald Trump's Anti-Muslim Plan

Paul Ryan Condemns Trump's Plan To Ban All Muslims From U.S.

California shooting: Gun supplier connected to shooters' family

The brothers Farook: one a decorated US Navy veteran, the other a gunman

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Pakistan

‘IS can be defeated through joint efforts by global powers’

'Freedom fighters' fighting in Kashmir, not terrorists, says Musharraf

Joint military exercise begins in China

Five 'illegal' Afghans arrested during search operation in Peshawar

JUI-F wants changes to 21st amendment

Germany lauds Pak peace role in region

COAS signs death warrants of four terrorists

CM lands in Capital with Turkish assurance of investment

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Mideast

Erdogan Sends 'Grey Wolves' to Russian Borders

Iran warns of growing Daesh presence in Afghanistan

U.S. conducting ‘serious review’ of Iran missile test

Yemen's War Through A Child's Eyes: 'I Saw My Mum Burning In Front Of Me'

Iran Army to stage anti-terrorism maneuver: Commander

Yemen peace talks to start next week: UN

Iran, Pakistan stress dialog to end Syria crisis

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South Asia

Taliban attack in Kandahar airfield leaves at least 9 dead

Drone strike leaves 11 Taliban militants dead in Nangarhar province

Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh Top Muslim Nations Receiving Green Cards from US

Muslim Alliance dissociates from Madhesi front in Nepal

Taliban storm Kandahar airport complex, at least eight dead in all-night battle

Ghani thunders, Swaraj diplomatic at 'Heart of Asia' conference in capital

Bangladesh police: Radical Islamist group killed Japanese

Over 50 die as Taliban factions clash

Daesh's rise in Afghanistan calls for urgent security cooperation: Nawaz Sharif

Ghani warns of regional instability if violence persists in Afghanistan

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Southeast Asia

MTUC to ISIS: Labour enemy of the state?

Malaysian IS fighters driven ‘by desire to be good Muslims’, says US security firm

IS releases song in Mandarin urging China’s Muslims to fight

Zahid: Use politics to fight for Islam

Malaysian IS fighters driven ‘by desire to be good Muslims’, says US security firm

Trump gets whacked online for his anti-Muslim remarks

Six dead as Muslim rebels clash with Christians in Philippines

Human rights is everyone’s responsibility, says Suhakam

Shahrizat says security laws needed to fight bid to usurp government

Philippine leader cites terror threat for Muslim self-rule law

Islamic finance in Indonesia predicted to grow 15% in 2016

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Arab World

German Green Party Calls on Gov't to Impose Sanctions against S. Arabia

Syrian Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Taking Back Key Aleppo Regions

Iraq forces ‘retake’ Ramadi city from IS

MI6 Chief Reveals S. Arabia's Doomsday Plot against Shiites

Russian Warplanes Continue Pounding Terrorists' Strongholds in Lebanese-Syrian Bordering Areas

U.N. says 12,000 Syrian refugees stranded at Jordan border

Syrian opposition talks open in Saudi Arabia

ISIS uses Ramadi residents as ‘shields’ as Iraq forces close in

Army Takes Strategic Grain Silos back from Terrorists in Central Syria

Syrian Army Destroys Terrorists' Military Hardware in Idlib Province

Syrian Army Destroys Militants' Positions in Damascus Countryside

Militants Start Retreating from Homs

Syrian Troops Seize Back Key Heights in Lattakia

Qatar Supplying Tens of TOW Missiles to Terrorist Groups in Syria

People exit rebel-held Homs in Syrian peace deal

Iraqi talks with Turkey to end row ‘going well’

Peaceful Syrian transition stressed

Accused will have fair trial regardless of their faith

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Africa

Central Somalia fighting kills 20, displaces 90k, UN says

Kenyans speak out against extrajudicial killings

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Europe

Third bomber at Paris’ Bataclan music hall identified

France urges EU to act faster against extremist finances

Russia censures Turkey's troop deployment to Iraq as 'reckless'

Russia recovers black box of downed jet

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Australia

Religious Revolution, Tony Abbott Says Islam Must Change

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


URL: 

http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/70,000-indian-muslim-clerics-issue-fatwa-against-terrorism,-15-lakh-indian-muslims-support-it/d/105553




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India

 

70,000 clerics issue fatwa against terrorism, 15 lakh Muslims support it

Priyangi Agarwal

Dec 9, 2015

BAREILLY: On the last day of Urs-e-Razvi of Dargah Aala Hazrat, nearly 70,000 clerics came together and passed a fatwa against terrorist organizations, including IS, Taliban and al-Qaida. These are "not Islamic organizations," the clerics said to a sea of followers, adding that the members of these outfits were "not Muslims". Around 15 lakh followers who visited the Urs put their signatures to a document circulated at the Urs, protesting terrorist strikes.

Mufti Mohammed Saleem Noori, one of the clerics who passed the fatwa told TOI on Tuesday, "From Sunday onwards, when the annual Urs began, members of Dargah Aala Hazrat have been distributing forms among followers seeking signatures to show that those signing stand against terrorism. Nearly 15 lakh Muslims have recorded their protest. Around 70,000 clerics from across the world, who were part of the event, passed the fatwa."

Noori said he would like to request the media to stop calling terrorist groups "Muslim organizations".

Hazrat Subhan Raza Khan, chairperson of the influential Dargah Aala Hazrat, said that following the Paris attacks, it was decided that a fatwa should be passed at the Urs this year, so the message went out loud and clear that the Muslim community condemns terrorism.

"It is written in the Quran that killing one innocent person is equivalent to killing all humanity," said Mohammed Ehsan Raza Khan, Sajjadanasheen (hereditary head) of this shrine.

Mohammad Farogh-ul Quadri, secretary-general, World Islamic Mission, UK, said, "I condemn the barbaric terrorist attack in Paris on innocent civilians and call for an international ban on the radical extremist IS and its counterparts with different names across the world."

The 97th death anniversary (Urs) of Mujadid Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri, founder of the Barelvi school of Islamic theology, was observed here between December 6 and 8.

Clerics also opposed the move by France and other countries to bomb Syria, saying innocent people, including women and children, have died in such strikes. They said the powerful western nations should focus on stopping terrorists, but not at the cost of taking the lives of innocent people.

Dargah Aala Hazrat has been campaigning against terrorism for the last one year. On Eid this year, clerics here announced that if a man involved in terrorism is killed, "namaz-e-janaza" would not be read during his funeral services. This prayer is an important part of the last rites in Islam.

The madrassa run by this shrine recently introduced a specialization within the Hadith course, titled 'Islam and terrorism', for graduate students. As part of the coursework, students compare the original Quran text with translations offered by terrorist groups, to understand how religious texts could be misinterpreted.

Trump inciting hatred: Clerics

Clerics at the Urs-e-Razvi said the US Republican candidate Donald Trump, with his call for a "total and complete" block on Muslims entering his country, was responsible for spreading hatred. The statement suggests that Muslims are responsible for terrorist attacks, clerics said. Mufti Mohammed Saleem Noori said, "If one country imposes such a ban on Muslims, other countries will enforce such bans too, perhaps on other communities. That will only cultivate hatred and divide people."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/70000-clerics-issue-fatwa-against-terrorism-15-lakh-Muslims-support-it/articleshow/50100656.cms

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Skills boost for India's Muslim children: Government plans training programmes for madrasas to combat ISIS radicalisation threat

By ABHISHEK BHALLA

8 December 2015

The Government's counter-radicalisation strategy in the wake of the ISIS threat now includes madrasas across the country where young, impressionable minds are given an Islamic education.

After getting intelligence inputs on the possible radicalisation of young people in some madrasas, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in consultation with the Ministry of Minority Affairs, has come out with a counter-radicalisation strategy that will focus on starting skill development programmes in these religious schools.

Sources said the idea is to ensure that youths studying in these religious centres get job-oriented training that will help them find suitable employment.

“Mostly people from poor background attend madrasas. It is necessary to ensure they acquire skills that help them get jobs,” said a Government official.

Even though madrasas that cater to the economically-backward sections have not been lured by the ideology of Islamic State or ISIS till now, the MHA has come out with a detailed policy focusing on counter-radicalisation across sections of the Muslim community.

The multi-pronged strategy involves several ministries and state governments.

Intelligence officials tracking the ISIS threat don’t see any connection between ISIS and madrasas, but some of them receive foreign funding from Islamic countries. And officials feel that ISIS may try to establish a link through the funding route.

In its initial phase, the Centre is all set to initiate skill development for nearly 5,000 students in some of the madrasas.

ISIS has used cyberspace to indoctrinate youths and those in madrasas don’t have access to computers. The youths attracted to ISIS ideology are generally from well-to-do backgrounds.

Four for start

The four madrasas that will carry out projects for skill training for 1,200 students each are: Hussaini Masjid Darul Madrasa in Mumbai, Idara-e-Sharia Khajur Banna in Patna, Anjuman Islamia Madrasa, Motihari, Bihar, and Islamia Anjuman Rafagul Muslamin, East Champaran, Bihar.

Sources say this is the next phase of the counter-radicalisation strategy to take on the threat from ISIS.

To begin with, the Government ensured that youths inspired by ISIS were not sent to jail. Instead, they were made to sit through counseling sessions. With the help of their families, efforts were made to bring them back to the mainstream.

Only those who were seen to have crossed a certain threshold and committed a terror offence were taken into custody.

The project will be carried out under the Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) set up by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in November, 2014 to address the skill development needs of minority communities with an emphasis on self-employment.

According to findings of a secret report prepared by intelligence agencies and submitted to MHA: “Madrasas with Indian teachers are not nurseries of jihad but those with staff from other countries imparting religious teachings to young Muslims are a potential hunting ground for jihadi groups who could indoctrinate young minds. There is no hate propaganda if the teachers are Indian Muslims.”

Sources say in many of these madrasas there are teachers from Bangladesh and other Islamic countries who need to be put under scrutiny.

A detailed assessment also indicated that most of the madrasas focused only religious studies and do not impart job-oriented education.

The report suggests that the majority of madrasas are not involved in jihadi activities, but in states like West Bengal and Assam there could be elements involved in anti-India activity.

The report submitted to the Home Ministry also sheds light on the condition and quality of education in these madrasas. While the ones run by Indian groups are not a security threat, they resist any other kind of education leading to unemployment. These madrasas are mushrooming in Muslim-dominated areas where there are no good schools and mostly the poor send their children there.

“These madrasas are mostly free for students who are not just given Islamic education but also provided free lodging and food, besides some money to buy clothes if they are extremely poor. There is a need to encourage these madrasas to incorporate elements of modern curriculum to help their students in terms of employment prospects and life skills,” the report said.

Sources said there is no official figure on the total number of madrasas in the country. However, unofficial estimates say there are around 35,000 madrasas with an enrolment of about 15 lakh students.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3351596/Skills-boost-India-s-Muslim-children-Government-plans-training-programmes-madrasas-combat-ISIS-radicalisation-threat.html

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ISIS does not exist in India: Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat

Dec 08, 2015

New Delhi, 8 December 2015: The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations, has stressed that the ISIS terrorist organisation does not exist in India and the reports carried by the media in this respect are baseless and misleading.

The AIMMM held here a jont meeting of its working committee and the central body where community, national and international issues were discussed. Members from various parts of the country participated in this meeting.

A press statement issued by the AIMMM general secretary and spokesperson Mr Masoom Moradabadi said that AIMMM has expressed its anguish over the unverified reports which are being leaked to the media in which security agencies are quoted to have claimed that ISIS is making inroads into the Indian Muslim community while the Indian government has repeatedly said that there is no proof of ISIS’ existence in India. Likewise, the spokesman of the Indian army in J&K has said that ISIS does not exist in Kashmir. AIMMM believes that these reports are published to spread suspicions about Muslim youth and thereby pave the way for their large-scale arrests. AIMMM asked Indian Muslims to be alert to such reports.

In another resolution, AIMMM expressed its anguish over the floods in Tamil Nadu and offered condolences to the victims. It exhorted the Muslim community to come forward to help the victims.

Members expressed their happiness and satisfaction that the term of the outgoing President of AIMMM, Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, was very satisfactory. They acknowledged his feat of holding the very successful golden jubilee last August, and compiling and publishing the important AIMMM documents spanning over half a century.

AIMMM condemned the rising intolerance in the country, expressed satisfaction over Bihar election results and condemned the vicious statements about Tipu Sultan. A resolution condemned the ongoing cases of kidnappings and conversion to Hinduism of Muslim girls in Kushinagar district in eastern UP. The AIMMM decided to send a fact-finding mission to Kushinagar and to meet the UP CM in this respect.

Other resolutions condemned the atrocities against Dalits, disapproved the demand of Uniform Civil Code and condemned the Russian vitriole against Turkey which exercised its legal right by shooting down an intruding warplane.

The meeting was attended by Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President, Janab Mohammad Jafar, Janab Mujtaba Farooq and  Janab Manzoor Ahmad IPS (retd), Vice Presidents,   Prof. Mohammad Sulaiman.  Janab Masoom Moradabadi and  Mufti Ataur Rahman Qasmi, General Secretaries, Janab Syyed Mansoor Agha, Dr. Syed Ahmed Khan, Janab Shah Faisal, Prof. Humayun Murad, Janab Irfanullah Khan, Janab Abdul Rasheed Agwan, Prof. Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Dr. Syed Mohammad Yahya, Janab Mohammad Ahmadm Janab Ejaz Ahmad Aslam, Dr. Shakil Samdani, Janab Aaris Mohammad, Janab Akhtar Husain Akhtar, Dr. Mohammad Shees Taimi, Dr. Jawed Ahmad, Dr. Taslim Rahmani, Dr. Ubaid Iqbal Asim, Janab Suhail Anjum, Dr. Nizamuddin, Janab Munir Ahmad Khan, Janab M. Ilyas Malik, Janab Mohammad Adeeb, ex-MP, Janab Navaid Hamid, Dr. Anwarul Islam, Dr. Mohammad Faiyyaz Qasmi and Janab Rasheed Ahmad Khan, IAS (retd.)

Following is the full text of the resolutions:

“Intolerance”

Politicians and mainstream media have coined the team “intolerance” to play down the bloody hate politics which received a fillip with the BJP winning last year’s general elections. Lynchings, riots, active discrimination and continuous negative propaganda against the Muslim and Christian communities are not just “intolerance”. These phenomena are much more serious and sinister. Civil Society should wake up to the implications and the end results of this fascist campaign which will be disastrous for our country just as fascism and Nazism destroyed Italy and Germany earlier. AIMMM registers that mere disapproval of sinister statements and bloody activities of Sangh Parivar people against Muslims and Christians is not enough. Unless stern action, dismissal of hate-purveying ministers, MPs and MLAs takes place and unless hate criminals are sent to jails, we will be justified to treat the soft disapproval as a case of division of labour and an attempt to hoodwink repeated foreign censure of the hate speech which has become a daily routine of Sangh Parivar leaders and followers.  AIMMM lauds the writers, poets and artists who have spoken, protested and returned their awards in protest against the rising intolerance in the country.

Biharelections

AIMMM congratulates Bihar voters for delivering a decisive blow to the BJP’s hate politics, also known as Gujarat Model, during the recent assembly elections. Hate politics’ march has been stopped for the time being as a result of the alert and secular Bihar voters.

Revival of terror politics

AIMMM is alarmed that unverified reports are being leaked to the press by security agencies claiming that ISIS is making inroads in the Indian Muslim community while the Government of India officially says that ISIS has no presence in India and the Army spokesman in J&K says that ISIS has no presence in the state. AIMMM believes that ground is being prepared to revive the wholesale arrests on mere suspicion which were the order of the day under NDA and UPA-1 but died down after Hindutva terrorists were exposed by Hemant Karkare following the Malegaon 2008 blasts. AIMMM cautions the Muslim community to be alert and frustrate these sinister designs. AIMMM also registers with satisfaction that the Indian community’s all shades of thought have unanimously condemned ISIS and Al-Qaeda etc as un-Islamic and have expressed readiness to fight it should it ever try to set foot on our soil.

Terrorism

AIMMM unevocably and unconditionally condemns all terror attacks including the Paris attack on 13 November. At the same time AIMMM reiterates that forces at home and abroad which create, train, fund and protect terror outfits like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and LeT etc. should also be condemned, exposed and shunned. At the same time, AIMMM reiterates that freedom movements, now or in future, which wage Jihad to free their occupied lands like in Palestine today, cannot be called terrorists as it’s their birthright and duty to oust foreign occupiers from their soil and this right of occupied people is supported by international law.

Tipu Sultan

AIMMM pays tribute to the cherished memory of Tipu Sultan who was the first Indian ruler to stand up against the encroaching British occupation of India and fell martyr while fighting the colonialists at Srirangapatnam on 4 May, 1799. He was a ruler much ahead of his times. He introduced very advanced defence technologies like inventing the rocket, encouraged agriculture, trade and industry, opened trade offices in foreign countries and tried to form a coalition to fight the colonial power but he was let down by the short-sighted policies of the Nizam and the Marathas who sided with the colonial power. He was an ideal ruler and the first freedom fighter. AIMMM asks the Government and people of India to honour the memory of this great freedom fighter whose life and rule have been purposely maligned by the British.

Hindu Yuva Vahini’s terror in Kushinagar

AIMMM takes note of the active terror unleashed by the BJP MP Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini and sister militant outfits which have unleashed a reign of terror in Puruvanchal, especially in Kushinagar district, since 2013. These criminals are terrorising Muslims, initiating riots, kidnapping Muslim girls, forcibly converting them to Hinduism and marrying them off to Hindu boys. Only last April, 42 Muslim girls were abducted in this manner in the Kushinagar district. This is going on with police and administration’s connivance. AIMMM asks the U.P. government to wake up to its constitutional responsibilities, stop the terror of Adityanath’s goons, free and rehabilitate the abducted girls.

Muslim population growth

The recent furore over the alleged Muslim population growth has exposed the undemocratic and sectarian nature of the Sangh Parivar including BJP. While the decadal Muslim population growth has actually come down form 28 percent to 24 percent, wild claims are being made about the growth of Muslims, who make up only 14.4 percent of the Indian population. It is claimed that Muslim minority will overtake the 80 percent Hindus of the country within decades. This baseless and alarmist approach is part of the hate propaganda and the polarization game of the Sangh Parivar. It is regrettable that the Union government too became part of this cruel game by selectively and partially releasing census details.

Hindu Mahasabha leader’s abuse

AIMMM strongly condemns the highly objectionable statements by Kamlesh Tiwari, leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, against Islam and the holy Prophet. Such inflammatory statements clearly violate Indian laws and are meant to vitiate the communal peace and harmony with a plan to ignite communal riots. Strictest possible action, including banning Hindu Mahasabha should be taken by the U.P. state and Union government authorities.

Floods in South India

AIMMM offers deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of the worst floods in a century that have lashed Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puduchery in recent days killing hundreds of people and devastating vast areas. AIMMM calls upon all, especially the Muslim community, to come forward to help the victims in all possible ways. It is a matter of satisfaction that mosques in many areas have been opened for victims whose houses are submerged or destroyed by the floods and that Tamil Muslim organizations are helping the victims.

Atrocities against Dalits

Crimes against Dalits, including lynching, burning them alive, torching their homes and active discrimination, especially in rural areas, have multiplied since the advent of the BJP government at the Centre last year. AIMMM asks the government and judiciary to take a serious look against these mounting crimes and punish the culprits. AIMMM demands the ban and criminalisation of the caste system as a prelude to ushering in an egalitarian society.

Uniform Civil Code

The slogan of “Uniform Civil Code” (UCC) is being raised again as a red rag to tease Muslims. AIMMM reiterates that, as far as the Muslim community is concerned, we refer to the assurances given by successive governments in and out of Parliament that no change in the Muslim Personal Laws will be made unless and until the same is demanded by the Muslim community. For those who love uniform civil code, a civil code already exists and they can opt for it. Any tinkering with the Muslim Personal Law, protected by the Shariat Act 1937, will be an assault on the Muslim community and will be resisted with full force. UCC is mentioned in the Constitution as one of the 16 Directive Principles. Let the champions of UCC work for other directive principles before dabbling in any community’s personal laws.

Jerusalem & Al-Aqsa Mosque

AIMMM forcefully condemns consistent Israeli attempts to change the demography of the West Bank, especially Jerusalem, by confiscating land and cancelling the residence rights of the Muslims of Jerusalem whose forefathers have continuously lived in the holy city since its conquest by Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) in 637 CE. AIMMM also condemns the Israeli attempts to occupy the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque with a view to divide it by fixing separate timings for Muslim and Jews to access the holy precinct which belongs solely to the Muslims. As an occupation power, Israel is strictly required to maintain the status quo. The AIMMM supports the ongoing intifada in Jerusalem against the Israeli occupation and atrocities.

Turkey’s self-defence

AIMMM expresses its moral support to Turkey which shot down a Russian military plane which violated its airspace despite repeated warnings before the plane was shot down and also on earlier occasions of violation of the Turkish airspace by Russian war-planes. AIMMM asks Russia to stop its vitriol against Turkey which acted within its legal rights to protect its airspace like any sovereign state in the world.

http://www.milligazette.com/news/13476-isis-does-not-exist-in-india-muslim-majlis-e-mushawarat

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All India Muslim Personal Law Board to hold 'save the religion' rally

Ambika Pandit

Dec 8, 2015

NEW DELHI: While debate continues on whether the threat to a particular religion is real or perceived, All India Muslim Personal Law Board has decided to hold a rally at Amroha in UP on December 10.

The rally is planned around the theme of 'Save the religion and Constitution'.

"Leading clerics from across India as well as secularists from other communities are expected to join and express their ire at the radical elements who, they perceive, are bent on changing the character of constitution, through a silent patronage of those who have come to power," a press statement reads.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/All-India-Muslim-Personal-Law-Board-to-hold-save-the-religion-rally/articleshow/50098066.cms

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Soldiers wearing beards: A complex question that awaits Supreme Court ruling

by Sushant Singh

Dec 9, 2015

The Supreme Court last month declined to urgently examine whether Muslim personnel in the armed forces can keep beards as a matter of their fundamental right to freedom of religion. The case, a plea from Muslim personnel seeking equality with Sikhs, who are allowed to wear unshorn hair and turban, has been pending since 2008.

That year, Aircraftsman Ansari Aftab Ahmed filed a case after being denied permission to keep a beard. Two more petitions were filed on the same issue: one by IAF Corporal Mohammed Zubair, the other by Maharashtra policeman Mohammad Fasi.

In 2008, with his petition still pending, Ahmed was discharged from service. Four years after joining the IAF, he had sought permission to grow a beard. Denied, he went on 40 days’ leave, and returned wearing a beard, said the IAF case file. The case went to Punjab and Haryana High Court, which, in July 2008, said that wearing a beard was not a “compulsive requirement” for Muslims.

“If members of the disciplined force are permitted to behave according to their own wishes and desires, it is surely to disturb the public order in the force and may create chaotic conditions,” the judgment said. It added: “Facial identity of every member of the service is important and essential particularly while in uniform. This is particularly relevant in view of the growing incidents of terrorism and militancy in our country.”

IAF’s reason for not allowing Muslims to wear beards was the preservation of unit cohesion and group identity. The dress code creates a sense of professionalism, good order and discipline, it said. Similar reasons have been given by western militaries to deny soldiers the right to wear beards.

However, in June this year, a US federal court permitted 20-year old Sikh-American student Iknoor Singh to enrol in the US Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps without shaving his beard, cutting his hair or removing his turban. “It is difficult to see how accommodating the plaintiff’s religious exercise would do greater damage to the army’s compelling interests in uniformity, discipline, credibility, unit cohesion and training than the tens of thousands of medical shaving profiles the army has already granted,” the judge said.

The US military banned beards during World War I, when soldiers had to wear gas masks. Razors were issued in GI kits, so men could shave on the battlefield. The British Navy allows a “full set” (beard plus moustache) with the permission of the commanding officer: it does not accept that a beard prevents a gas mask working effectively. Traditions in the Indian Navy owe to the Royal Navy, and Naval officers in India can keep beards with the consent of their CO.

Until 1971, the Navy allowed “either both beard and moustache, or neither”. Under Admiral R K Nanda, it allowed sailors or officers “to wear moustaches and beards or shave them off, if they so desire(d)”. It said “moustaches and beard shall be worn with or without the beard and moustaches respectively”.

The first instructions on wearing a beard in the Air Force were issued in 1980. “The [Muslim] beard when kept, shall be of such length that when covered by a fist no hair shall be visible outside…,” it said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/soldiers-wearing-beards-complex-question-that-awaits-sc-ruling/

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Osmania University students defy court with beef fest ‘trailer’

Dec 9, 2015

HYDERABAD: Ignoring a city court's stay order on proposed beef and pork festivals slated for December 10, students at Osmania University on Tuesday consumed 'beef' biryani and kebabs and pledged to go ahead with their plans of holding the event.

The city civil court on Monday had ordered a stay on the food festivals, saying they were unlawful and breaks various animal rights laws. But adamant students announced that they would go ahead with the beef and pork festivals as they have not received an official notice from the city civil court regarding the stay order.

The organizers are also planning to move the Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday seeking to vacate the lower court's order. Calling it a "food of minorities", the students said they would appeal under the SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 too

"Everything will go as per our plans. We have enough support from a lot of political parties to run the show," asserted Musavir Ali, a supporter of the beef festival.

On the other hand, the organisers of the proposed 'pork festival' have also decided to do play their piece. "We respect the civil court's order, but we plan to conduct the festival without disrupting the students' academic sessions and the administrative work," assured Srinivas Solanki, an organiser of the pork festival.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Osmania-University-students-defy-court-with-beef-fest-trailer/articleshow/50098939.cms

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Hindu parents thank Muslim saviour by naming daughter after him

Dec 08, 2015

Among tales of humanity emerging from rain-battered Chennai is a story of a Hindu couple who have named their newborn after a Muslim who came to their rescue when the crisis blew them over.

Chitra and Mohan, hailing from Urapakkam which suffered one of the worst flooding in the city’s southern neighbourhood, named their daughter Yunus after the MBA graduate, who rescued the pregnant woman from neck-deep waters and moved her to a hospital.

The couple thanked Yunus by naming their daughter after him, with the businessman now promising to take care of his namesake’s educational expenses. Narrating the experience, Yunus said, “I hail from Nungambakkam and I realised on the night of December 2 something is not right and I thought of helping my friends in Urapakkam area, which was one of the worst-hit areas due to the heavy rainfall.”

The screams of a woman in the area initially sounded like a frightened reaction to Yunus and his friends, but “later I realised she was undergoing labour pain”, Yunus told PTI. “At first, my objective was to take her and the family to a safer place and we moved her to nearby Perungalathur by boat. That 15-minute journey is unforgettable,” he said.

However, he got the surprise of his life when Mohan informed him that he has named his daughter Yunus. In a text message to Yunus, Mohan informed him of the birth of his daughter and his decision to name her after the Muslim postgraduate.

“We take pride in this,” Mohan had told him. Having himself been a victim of a disaster, Mohan has vowed to contribute 50 per cent of his salary for the needy.

Asked whether he had time to pay a visit to the child, Yunus said he was still helping those affected with his 15-member team.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/hindu-parents-thank-muslim-saviour-by-naming-daughter-after-him/story-li8bjQPqCFCy8BPHu7fCfI.html

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Muslims protest in Indore, at other places in MP

Dec 08, 2015

More than 10,000 Muslims gathered at Eidgah and Regal Square in Indore on Tuesday afternoon and demanded action against Kamlesh Tiwari, a Hindu Mahasabha leader from Uttar Pradesh who allegedly made derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed.

The rally began in Eidgah at 10am and reached Regal Square at 1pm. A section of the crowd resorted to pelting stones at shops, breaking the windscreens of around six vehicles.

Policemen from more than 12 police stations of the district were called to contain the situation. Following the violence, extra personnel were called and deployed at the square.

“We have organised a peaceful protest against Tiwari. We want a law to be passed — that whosoever gives derogatory comment against any religious God should be given severe punishment,” said Zaid Pathan, a member of the Brotherhood of Muslim, adding that the protest had been organised by more than half a dozen of Muslim outfits in the city.

The shops near Regal Square and some other parts of the city remained closed following the protest.

“The situation is under control. No one is injured and the city is peaceful. Extra police forces were called to prevent any untoward incident,” said SP (east) OP Tripathi, who had rushed to Regal Square after the protest began.

Similar protests also took place in Raisen and Harda districts in the state. In Begumganj city, representatives of the community handed over a memorandum to tehsildar RK Singh which was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, in which they demanded that action be taken against Tiwari.

A memorandum was also handed over to Harda collector, with the protestors demanding that a case of sedition be registered against “anarchist elements”.

Tiwari had allegedly made the controversial remarks in retaliation to UP cabinet minister Azam Khan’s statement, where he had claimed that RSS members are homosexual.

For his remarks, Tiwari had been arrested by Lucknow police on December 3. The next day, the Hindu Mahasabha distanced itself from Tiwari, claiming that he was not a member of their organisation and that their name had been misused by him.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/muslims-protest-in-indore/story-IQV7TeVsHs45dF82udjB1N.html

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Gurdwara vandalised in LA with anti-Islamic State graffiti

Dec 09, 2015

A Gurdwara has been vandalised in Los Angeles suburbs with hateful graffiti addressed towards Islamic State, Sikh community leaders have said, fearing this “hate crime” is a repercussion of the California shooting.

“We are concerned about the safety and security of our community members. We are of the opinion that this is a hate crime and that this is a direct result of a possible backlash from the San Bernardino killings,” said Inderjot Singh, president of Sikh Gurdwara in Buena Park, a suburb of Los Angeles.

The incident, which occurred early on Sunday morning is being investigated by local law enforcement agencies. “The Gurdwara was vandalized during Sunday early hours and a hateful graffiti was seen on the walls of the Gurdwara and also a truck parked in the parking lot. The graffiti included the phrase, ‘F@#k ISIS,’ and the word ‘Islam’” Washington-based Sikh council on religion and education said in a statement.

The Gurdwara is attended by over 800 community members on a weekly basis. The White House, which was informed about the incident, has forwarded the incident to the department of Homeland Security to investigate.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/gurdwara-vandalized-in-la-with-anti-islamic-state-graffiti/story-VqI3OFcFaI5RY3sSejvqkK.html

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North America

 

From White House to neighbourhood churches, all condemn Trump

Dec 9, 2015

WASHINGTON: From the White House to neighbourhood churches and synagogues, all key American institutions got together on Tuesday to condemn Republican politician Donald Trump’s demand that the United States immediately bar all Muslims from entering the country.

Soon after he released his statement on Monday evening, Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Florida, said he had decided to “ban the leading Republican presidential candidate from entering his city”.

“I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps,” Mr Kriseman tweeted.

Within hours, his tongue-in-cheek tweet was re-tweeted by thousands of Americans. “Tweet of the year,” declared one of them.

Mr Trump made his remarks a day after President Barack Obama addressed his nation and urged Americans not to turn against Muslims in the wake of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, on Dec 2.

“He’s dividing America in a really cynical way,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “You’re being generous by describing it as a proposal,” Mr Earnest told an MSNBC television host who asked him to comment on the “proposal.”

“I think what Mr Trump is doing is something that he’s been doing over the course of his entire campaign, which is to play on people’s fears in order to build support for his campaign,” said the White House official.

President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy aides, Ben Rhodes, told CNN that Mr Trump was endorsing the views of the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

“The fact of the matter is that IS wants to frame this as a war between the United States and Islam,” he said. “If we look like we apply religious tests to who comes into this country, we are sending a message that essentially we are embracing that.”

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton also blasted Mr Trump’s plan on Twitter, calling it “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.”

“This makes us less safe,” she added.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225145/from-white-house-to-neighbourhood-churches-all-condemn-trump

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Muslim Congressman Calls Trump's Bigotry Out Of Style, Like 'Very Negative Bell-Bottoms'

12/08/2015

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump faced a wave of criticism on Capitol Hill Tuesday over his call to bar all Muslims from entering the United States. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslim members of Congress, had some particularly colorful words for the Republican presidential candidate.

Ellison said he sees Trump as a "nasty demagogue," in the legacy of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who fought to preserve segregation in schools, and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who drummed up fears of Soviet spies in the U.S. government. Both of them thrived by inciting fear and prejudice for political gain, and he said that's Trump's agenda, too.

"Ever since the 1960s, being a bigot went out of style. You just couldn't do it in polite company," Ellison told The Huffington Post. "He's bringing it back. He's like very, very negative bell-bottoms or something. He's bringing back an old, ugly thing."

The congressman said there's nothing original about Trump, and people like him "always go down. They always lose." He couldn't say if he thought Trump would win the GOP presidential nomination. But if he did, Ellison said, the people he would hurt the most wouldn't be those he's offended -- Muslims, Mexicans, women, the black community and people with disabilities, to name some -- but white working-class people.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/keith-ellison-donald-trump-muslims_56674f93e4b080eddf55fccb?section=india

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Ted Cruz Offers The Weakest Possible Criticism Of Donald Trump's Anti-Muslim Plan

12/08/2015

WASHINGTON -- GOP presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday that he disagrees with fellow contender Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. -- but "isn't interested" in criticizing him.

"In the media, there has been no shortage of criticism for Donald Trump, and I do not believe the world needs my voice added to that chorus of critics," Cruz said at a press conference. "And listen, I commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America's attention on the need to secure our borders."

Rather than attacking Trump, Cruz said he would focus on his own proposals -- and bashing President Barack Obama's policies.

"I recognize that a great many folks in the media would prefer that anyone running for president engage as an ongoing theater critic, criticizing the proposals of others," Cruz said. "I do not agree with his proposal. I do not think it is the right solution." 

The Texas senator did not criticize Trump's proposal as strongly as some of his fellow GOP presidential contenders, who  more unequivocally attacked the real estate mogul's call to bar all Muslims from entering the U.S., including American citizens who are abroad. Cruz added that he would still support Trump if he won the GOP presidential nomination.

"I will absolutely support the Republican nominee, but I hope and intend for that nominee to be me," Cruz said.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ted-cruz-donald-trump-muslims_5666f8a7e4b079b28190092a?section=india

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Paul Ryan Condemns Trump's Plan To Ban All Muslims From U.S.

12/08/2015

WASHINGTON -- In a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) denounced Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump for proposing to bar all Muslims from entering the United States.

When addressing the press, he went further.

"Freedom of religion's a fundamental constitutional principle," Ryan said. "It's a founding principle of this country."

"Normally," Ryan continued, "I do not comment on what's going on in the presidential election. I will take an exception today. This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for."

Ryan mentioned that there are Muslims serving in the armed forces, as well as Muslims "serving right here in the House."

He also said some of the United States' best allies in the fight against "radical Islamic terrorism" are Muslims, and that the vast majority of them are peaceful.

The speaker said he told his party to always strive to live up to this country's highest ideals.

Uncharacteristically, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addressed Trump's plan right out of the gate at his weekly press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

"With regard to remarks by one of the presidential candidates about restricting Muslim travel to the United States, let me just first say that would be completely inconsistent with American values," said McConnell, who typically declines to comment on Republican presidential candidates' rhetoric on the campaign trail.

He added that Trump's plan would be "totally unworkable," because King Abdullah II of Jordan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, both allies, would be unable to travel to the U.S. under the plan. 

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-ryan-donald-trump-muslim-ban_5666f362e4b072e9d1c7815d?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592&section=india

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California shooting: Gun supplier connected to shooters' family

Dec 9, 2015

RIVERSIDE: The man who supplied guns to the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last week is connected to the shooters' family by marriage, state documents show.

Enrique Marquez, whose home was raided over the weekend and who is being questioned by federal investigators, was married last year to Mariya Chernykh, whose sister is the wife of Raheel Farook, brother of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

The family connection, revealed in marriage documents seen by Reuters, adds another element to the relationship between Farook and Marquez.

Two assault-style rifles used in the attack were legally purchased by Marquez, who has been described by several of his neighbours as having been a good friend of Farook, according to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The New York Post reports that Farook's father has been placed on an FBI watch list due to his son's activities and his own personal links to Pakistan.

The Farook brothers lived next door to Marquez when they were growing up, though the brothers had both since moved.

Raheel Farook, the older brother and who became the brother-in-law of Marquez, served in the US Navy, joining in 2003 shortly after graduating from high school.

Federal agents raided the Marquez home in Riverside, California, on Saturday.

Marquez was being interviewed on Tuesday, a law enforcement official said. He had checked himself into a Los Angeles-area psychiatric facility following the shooting.

The marriage documents show that Enrique Marquez married Mariya Chernykh on November 29, 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225215/california-shooting-gun-supplier-connected-to-shooters-family

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The brothers Farook: one a decorated US Navy veteran, the other a gunman

Dec 9, 2015

SAN BERNARDINO: One brother liked to party and, like others around him, went to the mosque to please his parents. After high school, moved by what he saw as his patriotic duty, he enlisted in the Navy and received two medals recognising his contributions to "the global war on terror".

The other was deeply religious and became increasingly intolerant, to the point where he, along with his wife, opened fire on a San Bernardino holiday party last week, in what law enforcement officials have termed a terrorist attack.

Syed Raheel Farook and his younger brother Syed Rizwan Farook grew up in the same house, attended the same high school two years apart and, as teenagers, often socialised in the same groups. But as they grew older their paths diverged.

Rizwan is now dead, gunned down by police in Southern California after joining with his wife in killing 14 people and injuring 21.

Raheel is alive, left to wonder what went wrong.

The contrasting lives of the Farook brothers, described by friends, neighbours and former classmates who knew them both, is a disturbing tale, in part because there are so few clues to why they turned out so differently.

The family, including Raheel, declined repeated requests through their lawyers for comment for this story. But those who knew the brothers say that by high school, their differences were apparent and growing.

"Most people here go to mosque to please their parents," said Shakib Ahmed, who attended mosque with the Farooks.

Raheel, the older brother, was that kind of kid, he said. He went to Friday prayers, but he also liked to drink and had a girlfriend in high school who wasn't Muslim.

Rizwan was quieter and more serious and far more religious. Only with his older brother, friends said, did they see Rizwan lose his temper.

"He was nice to everyone else, but he was kind of the dominating type. He would yell at his brother," Ahmed said.

Physical distance

Soon after graduating from high school in 2003, with the United States (US) invasion of Iraq just months old, Raheel joined up and went off to boot camp in Illinois, according to naval records. In 2004, he was assigned to serve on the USS Enterprise as an information system technician.

Back home, Rizwan, a bright boy, finished high school a year early according to school records. In the years that followed, friends and neighbours say, he quit wearing jeans and polo shirts and donned robes.

"I noticed a change with the clothes and the beard," said Ahmed.

At home, there was increasing turmoil. In 2006, the boys mother, Rafia Farook, filed for divorce from her husband Syed after more than 24 years of marriage, according to court documents.

In court filings, Rafia cited multiple instances of domestic abuse, asserting that her husband was "mentally ill" and threatened "to kill himself on a daily basis".

During one violent incident, she said, her son came between them "to save me".

Gasser Shehata, a friend of Rizwan's from a San Bernardino mosque, said that Rizwan talked to him in recent years about his religious issues with his dad while growing up, and how he came to side with his mother in their disputes.

Shehata said that Rizwan told him that his father refused to pray regularly, which was a source of tension.

When Rizwan joined the dating site bestmuslim.com in 2013, his profile described how he spent much of his free time "memorizing the Qur'an and learning more about the religion".

He was looking, he wrote, for a woman "who takes her religion very seriously and is always trying to improve her religion and encouraging others to do the same".

Even as the distance between the brothers grew, they remained bonded.

Attendees at Rizwan's wedding reception last year at the Islamic Center of Riverside said Rizwan seemed to enjoy his brother's easy and relaxed manner with the guests, even though he said little and seemed withdrawn.

At one point, Raheel even teased his younger brother, calling him "Rizi", which Rizwan took in good humour.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1224990/the-brothers-farook-one-a-decorated-us-navy-veteran-the-other-a-gunman

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Pakistan

 

‘IS can be defeated through joint efforts by global powers’

Dec 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at the opening of a two-day international conference were unanimous in their views that the ‘IS phenomena’ would only be defeated through the joint efforts of the global powers.

The conference, which is titled ‘Emergence of ISIS in Middle East and its implications for South Asia’, began at National University of Modern Languages (Numl) on Tuesday.

According to the Numl public relations department, several national and international experts who spoke at the event believe that the self-styled Islamic State (IS) – also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh – has nothing to do with Islam, and was created to promote a false image of Islam to the rest of the world.

They said there was a need to revisit Islamic teachings, such as the belief that taking a single human life is equivalent to killing the whole of mankind.

The chief guest, retired AVM Shahzad Choudhry, said that IS has become a global threat, and is present not only in the Middle East but is also spreading to to vulnerable areas like Afghanistan.

“After the successful operation of Zarb-e-Azb one should believe that the Pakistan armed forces have the ability to root out any militant group from its soil,” Mr Choudhry said.

He added that Afghanistan is a weak state, and IS’ rapid emergence in the area is a significant threat to its surrounding states.

He said that Islam is a religion of peace, and that it is not only for Muslims, but for all humans.

“Superpowers must stop manipulating the Middle East for their own agendas and leave it to the people of the Middle East to resolve their issues,” Mr Choudhry said.

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces International Affairs assistant director Dr Daniel Warner said that IS has all the resources necessary for a state.

He said that it holds territory larger than the UK, and is scattered within the region, making it difficult for any country to launch an operation against them. “They have huge resources, like selling of oil and so on, and using the latest weapons and communications technology to propagate their agenda,” he said.

He said that it is a misconception that the US is funding ISIS, and that ISIS has rich resources through which is carries out its agenda.

Dr Sayed-Mahdi Mosvai from the Qom Islamic University in Iran said the world is giving ISIS extra importance, but that it is just a terror group.

He talked about a war of ideology, and said that Islamic ideology is based on peace and patience. He said that while terror organisations kill humans in the name of Islam, the purpose is just to blame Islam.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225155/is-can-be-defeated-through-joint-efforts-by-global-powers

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'Freedom fighters' fighting in Kashmir, not terrorists, says Musharraf

Dec 9, 2015

KARACHI: Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said those fighting in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) were 'mujahideen' and 'freedom fighters' and not terrorists, BBC Urdu reported..

“Considering the atrocities and the treatment meted out to the Muslim majority in IHK, several groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad emerged. They were ready to lay down their lives for their Kashmiri brethren, we call them freedom fighters, not Taliban or terrorist,” Musharraf told BBC.

The former army chief also claimed that there was no 'Taliban presence' in Kashmir.

Related: US, India vow to disrupt Lashkar-i-Taiba, Al Qaeda

Musharraf elaborated that the ‘Kashmiri mujahideen’ allied with the Taliban after the 9/11 tragedy.

The former army chief also stated that he had warned the Kashmiri 'freedom fighters' about what he called an alliance with the ‘extremists’, but they joined hands with Taliban which led to the ‘mess’.

Related: ISI cultivated Taliban to counter Indian action against Pakistan: Musharraf

Elaborating on his government’s stance and development towards resolving the Kashmir issue with India, Musharraf claimed he and the Indian head of state at that time Atal Bihari Vajpayee were heading towards a workable solution.

The former president said that he and Vajpayee had similar views over Kashmir as they both were in agreement over ending the bloodshed in the scenic valley.

"Now Modi does not share the same view, he wants to intimidate Pakistan and put Pakistan on the back foot; things cannot go forward if he does not change his stance," said Musharraf.

Answering a question regarding the Lal Masjid operation during his tenure, he said whatever he did at the time was justified and all ‘terrorists’ should be treated in a similar manner.

“Now these terrorists are again raising their heads, the government should take action before it is too late,” said the former army chief.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225049/freedom-fighters-fighting-in-kashmir-not-terrorists-says-musharraf

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Joint military exercise begins in China

Dec 9, 2015

RAWALPINDI: A two-week long joint training exercise ‘YOUYI 5’ between special forces of China and Pakistan started in Qingtongxia city of China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on Tuesday.

According to ISPR, the impressive opening ceremony was attended by senior military officers of special forces of Pakistan and People’s Liberation Army (PLA). National anthems of both countries were played on the occasion.

The joint exercise as part of Year of Friendship 2015 will focus on anti-terrorist operations, hostage and rescue, cordon and search operations.

Take a look: Pak-China military relations to reach unprecedented heights: COAS

The joint exercise will enhance and further streng­then already deep military ties between Pakistan and China.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225207/joint-military-exercise-begins-in-china

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Five 'illegal' Afghans arrested during search operation in Peshawar

ALI AKBAR

Dec 9, 2015

PESHAWAR: At least five suspected illegal Afghan nationals were arrested on Wednesday in a search operation launched by security forces in the environs of Peshawar's Army Public School (APS), police said.

The suspects, who were residing illegally in Peshawar, were arrested in an operation on Warsak Road in the vicinity of APS.

"Security forces and police jointly conducted a search operation around APS during which five Afghan nationals living illegally were apprehended," said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) operations Mian Saeed

The SSP added that security forces are conducting search operations in the provincial capital as the first anniversary of the APS attack nears.

In the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history, over 135 schoolchildren and at least 10 other people were killed when heavily armed militants stormed the army-run school in Peshawar.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225216/five-illegal-afghans-arrested-during-search-operation-in-peshawar

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JUI-F wants changes to 21st amendment

KHAWAR GHUMMAN

Dec 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Through a private members’ bill, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) on Tuesday sought changes in the 21st amendment in the Constitution which allows the setting up of military courts to try terrorists and those involved in anti-state activities.

The bill was moved by JUI-F legislators Shahida Akhtar Ali, Aliya Kamran and Asiya Nasir. It asked for the omission of the words ‘religion’ and ‘sect’ from the 21st amendment.

The amendment in question reads: “Whereas extraordinary situations and circumstances exist which demand special measures for speedy trial of certain offences relating to terrorism, waging of war or insurrection against Pakistan and prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan by any terrorist group, armed group, wing and militia or their members using name of religion or sect.”

In their statement of objects and reasons, the JUI-F legislators explained: “The 21st amendment has been made in the Constitution of Pakistan and an amendment was made in the Pakistan Army Act whereby the jurisdiction of military courts has been extended to some extent. But its network is only limited to those who are involved in terrorism. However, using the name of religion or sect conveys discrimination. Even otherwise, terrorism is terrorism and has no religion or sect. The same may be seen in this context. So, for the correction of a wrong, the amendment is required.”

The treasury benches did not oppose the bill and allowed it to be presented before the concerned committee for further discussions.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225163/jui-f-wants-changes-to-21st-amendment

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Germany lauds Pak peace role in region

December 09, 2015

ISLAMABAD - A German delegation led by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen met with Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and discussed steps to further enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.

Minister Khawaja Asif emphasised that Pakistan and Germany have cooperation areas in defence and would like to further enhance the scope of ties. Pakistan has the capacity of producing ammunition, communication equipment, heavy machinery and aircrafts, which the German side greatly appreciated.

Khawaja Asif gave an overview of improved security situation in Pakistan and briefed the visiting dignitary on successes of Zarb-e-Azb and salient features of National Action Plan.

German Defence Minister praised Pakistan’s role in peace initiatives in the region, particularly on Eastern and Western Borders. She appreciated the positive trajectory of Pak-German Relations and emphasized further enhancement of ties especially in the field of defence.

The German Defence Minister appreciated the agreement on joint venture signed between HIT and German companies. She welcomed Pakistan’s fruitful participation in Munich Security Conference held in February 2015.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Dec-2015/germany-lauds-pak-peace-role-in-region

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COAS signs death warrants of four terrorists

December 09, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has signed death warrants of four dangerous terrorists, said an ISPR statement yesterday.

The terrorists were involved in slaughtering innocent people, suicide attacks and kidnapping for ransom, the statement said.

Death warrants of Noor Saeed, Murad Khan, Inayatullah and Asraruddin have been issued.

Last week, the warrants of Maulvi Abdus Salam, Hazrat Ali, Mujeebur Rehman and Sabeel alias Yahya were signed by the army chief, and they were hanged days later in a Kohat jail.

The men were convicted by a military court and hanged just days ahead of the first anniversary of the APS attack on December 16.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Dec-2015/coas-signs-death-warrants-of-four-terrorists

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CM lands in Capital with Turkish assurance of investment

December 09, 2015

LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif returned yesterday after completing visits of Britain and Turkey. The CM had left for UK on November 29.

Talking to media at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, the chief minister termed his visits very successful. “A number of MoUs were signed during the visit which will further increase economic cooperation with Britain and Turkey,” he told the reporters.

Shahbaz Sharif added: “UK has assured full cooperation to Punjab in health and education sectors and his meetings with British ministers and departmental heads had been very fruitful. Foreign investors expressed keen interest in UK-Pakistan Energy & Infrastructure Conference in London and expressed willingness for investment in Pakistan.

“New avenues of cooperation have opened between Pakistan and Britain during the visit.”

Talking about his meetings with Turkish leadership and investor, the CM said that President Tayyip Recep Erdogan assured cooperation in every sector.

Soon after his arrival, Shahbaz Sharif attended a special meeting in connection with arrangements of functions in the memory of Army Public School Peshawar students on December 16.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/09-Dec-2015/cm-lands-in-capital-with-turkish-assurance-of-investment

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Mideast

 

Erdogan Sends 'Grey Wolves' to Russian Borders

Dec 09, 2015

One of the organizers of the blockade of Crimea, Lenur Islyamov, on his blog posted a photo with the Turkish fighters; "Turkish patriots from the organization Bozkurtkar Turk Ulkuculeri, people call it — 'Grey Wolves', visited us at the blockade. The blockade is compressed", — signed 'Islyamov'.

'Grey wolves' (Bozkurtlar) appeared in the late 1960s as the youth wing of the far-right "Nationalist Movement Party", which proclaimed the goal of uniting all Turkish peoples in one state. Colonel Alparslan of Turkey led the organization, and was an open admirer of Hitler and Nazi ideas. The Turkish state, regardless of whether it has formally forbidden the 'Wolves' or allowed them to emerge from the underground, actively used them to suppress opposition and promote foreign policy. On record there are hundreds of crimes by 'Bozkurtlar'. They killed trade unionists, activists of the Kurdish movement, the Communists, protesting journalists and officials and staged a massacre on May Day demonstrations in Istanbul in 1977. It is believed that the crimes organized by the "wolves" death squads in the Kurdish areas stand in thousands of civilians.

Logo of the Grey Wolves

Active Grey Wolves also operated abroad. They staged an assassination attempt on the Pope in 1981. Now they are actively collaborating with the terrorist underground in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of China, considering it part of the 'Great Turan'. In August of this year, 'Wolves' staged an attack in the capital of Thailand, in which 19 people died and 123 were injured. In Europe the wolves organize mass rallies in Turkey, they sometimes kill people in the Old World of the Kurds, and defile the monuments to the Armenians and beat up Chinese tourists. In recent years the "Grey wolves" focused on the recruitment of people for war in Syria on the side of ISIL.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000211

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Iran warns of growing Daesh presence in Afghanistan

Dec 9, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed concern over the presence of Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in war-torn Afghanistan. 

Addressing an ongoing conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on the situation in Afghanistan on Wednesday, Zarif warned against threats emanating from terrorist and extremist groups in Afghanistan, including Daesh.

He said the presence of elements which instigate insecurity in Afghanistan, particularly Daesh terrorist group, and divisions within the ranks of Afghanistan’s Taliban, which could serve the interests of Daesh militants, are among serious concerns facing Afghanistan.

“Today, extremism, terrorism and narcotics pose great challenges and threats to Afghanistan, the region and the entire world and unfortunately the terror groups are increasing the extent of their infiltration into Afghanistan,” Zarif said.

He also reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Afghan nation and government, stressing that all regional countries, including the Islamic Republic, will benefit from a secure, flourishing and self-sufficient Afghanistan.

The 5th Heart of Asia ministerial meeting kicked off in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan 14 years after the US-led invasion of the country. The meeting is attended by the foreign ministers of 26 countries.

The meeting seeks peace and development in Afghanistan and regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism. The forum also seeks to promote economic development in the region and aims to encourage cooperation in curbing drug trafficking and other organized crimes in the region.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/09/440960/Iran-Afghanistan-Zarif-Taliban-Daesh

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U.S. conducting ‘serious review’ of Iran missile test

9 December 2015

The United States is reviewing and seeking to confirm reports that Iran launched a ballistic missile last month in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has said.

“The U.S. is conducting a serious review of the reported incident,” Power told reporters after a meeting of the Security Council on unrelated issues.

She added that if Washington confirmed the reports that Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile on Nov. 21 in violation of U.N. resolutions, the United States would bring the issue to the 15-nation council and seek appropriate action.

A Western diplomatic source said last week on condition of anonymity that the test of a Ghadr-110, a spinoff of the Shahab-3 missile, was held near Chabahar, a port city near Iran’s border with Pakistan. He said it was a liquid-fueled missile with a 1,900 km range and was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

All ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under a 2010 Security Council resolution that remains valid until a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is implemented.

Under that deal, reached on July 14, most sanctions on Iran will be lifted in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. According to a July 20 resolution endorsing that deal, Iran is still “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/09/U-S-conducting-serious-review-of-alleged-Iran-missile-test.html

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Yemen's War Through A Child's Eyes: 'I Saw My Mum Burning In Front Of Me'

12/08/2015

Nine months of war in Yemen have left hundreds of children dead, and many more maimed or deeply traumatized by the ongoing violence.

A report by international charity Save the Children last week found that at least three children have been killed every day in Yemen since the conflict broke out in March.

A coalition of Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia are fighting to reinstall Yemeni President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Yemen’s Houthi rebels and their allies seized the reins of government earlier this year. The United Nations says over 5,700 people have been killed in airstrikes and armed clashes since March, including more than 600 children.

Coalition airstrikes were responsible for almost three-quarters of child deaths and injuries in the second quarter of 2015, according to Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. special representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

The ubiquity of death is shattering childhoods across Yemen, an impoverished nation with a rich cultural heritage and thorny politics.

“I was playing in our garden when the missile hit my house … I saw my mum burning in front of me,” 7-year-old Raja’a told Save the Children. “Now I don’t have a house or my family … I don’t like the war and I hate the planes.”

Thousands of children in Yemen have been exposed to traumatic events during the conflict, the Save the Children report said. Many parents told the charity their children are plagued by nightmares, are afraid of loud noises, and cry when they hear planes overhead.

Children in the Yemeni city of Taiz have started playing a game they call “one two three airstrike,” in which they all throw themselves to the ground, Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator Karline Kleijer wrote in the Guardian last month.

Even in between bombardments, children are still in danger from unexploded weapons on the streets. Yemen was already strewn with thousands of land mines and explosive remnants of war from previous clashes, and the current conflict has made the situation worse, according to Save the Children.

Human rights groups say the Saudi-led coalition is using cluster bombs in its campaign, which are banned under international law because they endanger civilians by dispersing large amounts of unexploded bomblets.

“I was playing in the street and one of my friends found a strange thing on the ground. He took it and was playing with it when it started shooting fire,” Mohammed, 10, told Save the Children. “People came to take us to hospital and later I found out that three of my friends had been killed, including my best friend.”

At least four children were killed and over 50 were injured by land mines between late March and early June, according to the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center, a partner of Save the Children that is working to help Yemeni families identify and avoid unexploded weapons.

Meanwhile, it is increasingly difficult for wounded children to get medical care. Since the war broke out, over 600 hospitals have closed due to lack of staff, fuel or supplies, and at least 69 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged by fighting, according to the World Health Organization.

In one incident documented by Save the Children, the main pediatric hospital in the capital city of Sanaa was damaged by a nearby airstrike in September, forcing the relocation of many children being treated there. Several infants died when their ventilators cut out after the airstrike, according to the charity.

Children suffer particularly complex injuries from explosive weapons and require specialized treatment “because their bodies are smaller, more delicate and still developing,” the report said.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/war-yemen-children_56673747e4b079b281907e57?section=india

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Iran Army to stage anti-terrorism maneuver: Commander

Dec 8, 2015

The Iranian Army's Ground Forces will stage "anti-terrorism" military exercises outside Tehran in coming days, the forces' commander says.

“The Ground Forces’ anti-terrorism maneuver will be held in accordance with Daesh threats outside Tehran within the next few days,” Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan told reporters on Tuesday.

He added that the Aviation Unit of the Ground Forces will also use helicopters during the drill.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/08/440889/Iran-Pourdastan-Daesh-Ground-Forces-maneuver-Tehran

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Yemen peace talks to start next week: UN

December 09, 2015

UNITED NATIONS - After several weeks of intensive consultations with the warring parties in Yemen, as well as with regional and international players, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country today announced that the parties have agreed to open on 15 December in Switzerland, a series of talks aimed at establishing a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

“We strongly believe that the only way to end the suffering of the Yemeni people and to rebuild confidence, trust, and mutual respect is through peaceful and inclusive dialogue,” the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told reporters in Geneva.

The Special Envoy said that both the Government of Yemen, the Houthis and other relevant parties have committed to participate in the talks, which he will chair and will also include eight negotiators and four advisors for each delegation. The talks are also set to secure improvements in the humanitarian situation and a return to a peaceful and orderly political transition.

He added that the aim is to develop a plan for the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including a measure adopted in April 2015 which demanded that all parties, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition.

According to the Special Envoy, implementing the relevant texts will bring the country back to a peaceful and orderly transition based on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and the outcomes of the national dialogue. Ould Cheikh Ahmed thanked all the participating stakeholders of the discussions for their conciliatory and courageous attitude and their commitment to bring a lasting peace to Yemen, and added that he was “very optimistic” of the parties reaching a permanent ceasefire.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Dec-2015/yemen-peace-talks-to-start-next-week-un

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Iran, Pakistan stress dialog to end Syria crisis

Dec 9, 2015

Iran and Pakistan have underlined the need for the resolution of the ongoing crisis in Syria through political negotiations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Pakistani Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, met and held talks in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday night, during which they discussed latest developments in the region, including the Syrian crisis.

The two sides called for the promotion of cooperation among regional countries to fight terrorism and extremism and contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan. 

Zarif, who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to attend the 5th "Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process" Ministerial Conference, also sat down with his Afghan counterpart, Salahuddin Rabbani, in Islamabad.

In the meeting, the Iranian official voiced the Islamic Republic’s support for Afghanistan’s national unity government.

“[We] support any measure that would reinforce stability and peace in Afghanistan and are ready to expand bilateral cooperation [between Tehran and Kabul],” Zarif added.

The Afghan foreign minister, for his part, praised Iran’s support for the Afghan government and called for further economic ties between the two neighboring countries as well as bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/09/440943/Iran-Pakistan-Zarif-Sartaj-Aziz-Afghanistan

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South Asia

 

Taliban attack in Kandahar airfield leaves at least 9 dead

Dec 08 2015

A group of Taliban suicide bombers launched a coordinated attack in Kandahar airfield on Tuesday evening, leaving at least nine people dead.

The attack carried out by a group of heavily armed Taliban militants triggered a standoff which continued until around 11:00 pm local time.

Provincial governor spokesman Samim Khpolwak confirmed the incident but he said it is yet not clear how many militants were involved in the attack.

A local security official said the militants launched an attack on a compound of the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Kandahar airfield.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added at least 9 people were killed and around 15 others were injured during the gun battle.

According to the eyewitnesses in the area, the Taliban militants initially launched the attack by hurling hand grenades and taking position inside an old school building located near the airfield.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/coordinated-attack-reported-near-kandahar-airfield-1780

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Drone strike leaves 11 Taliban militants dead in Nangarhar province

Dec 08 2015

At least eleven Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.

The airstrike was carried out by coalition forces in Khogyani district of Nangarhar, provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqwal said, adding that the air raid did not incur any casualties to the local residents.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the loss of their fighters so far.

Nangarhar is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating in a number of its districts, including the restive Khogyani.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/drone-strike-leaves-11-taliban-militants-dead-in-nangarhar-province-1779

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Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh Top Muslim Nations Receiving Green Cards from US

BY: Morgan Chalfant

December 8, 2015

Immigrants from Pakistan, Iraq, and Bangladesh received the most green cards from the United States in the past five years when compared to other Muslim-majority nations.

The U.S. granted 83,000 green cards to migrants from Pakistan and another 83,000 to migrants from Iraq between fiscal years 2009 and 2013, according to a chart produced by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest using Department of Homeland Security data.

Migrants from Bangladesh received 75,000 green cards, those from Iran received 73,000, and those from Egypt received 45,000 to round out the top five.

In sum, the U.S. granted 680,000 green cards to immigrants from Muslim-majority nations between 2009 and 2013.

Thousands of green cards went to immigrants from more than three dozen Muslim countries, including: Somalia (31,000), Uzbekistan (24,000), Turkey (22,000), Morocco (22,000), Jordan (20,000), Albania (20,000), Lebanon (16,000), Yemen (16,000), Indonesia (15,000), Syria (14,000), Sudan (13,000), Afghanistan (11,000), Sierra Leone (10,000), Guinea (8,000), Senegal (7,000), Saudi Arabia (7,000), Algeria (7,000), Kazakhstan (7,000), Kuwait (5,000), Gambia (5,000), United Arab Emirates (4,000), Azerbaijan (4,000), Mali (3,000), Burkina Faso (3,000), Kyrgyzstan (3,000), Kosovo (3,000), Mauritania (2,000), Tunisia (2,000), Tajikistan (2,000), Libya (2,000), Turkmenistan (1,000), Qatar (1,000), and Chad (1,000).

The U.S. is expected to issue another 660,000 green cards over the next five years to immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.

Concern regarding the United States’ granting of green cards has heightened in the wake of the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California, that the FBI is currently investigating as an act of terrorism. One of the attackers, Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik, traveled to the U.S. last summer with her fiancé and fellow attacker Syed Rizwan Farook. She later obtained a green card.

Full report at:

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/pakistan-iraq-bangladesh-top-muslim-nations-receiving-green-cards-from-us/

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Muslim Alliance dissociates from Madhesi front in Nepal

Dec 8, 2015

KATHMANDU: The anti-Constitution agitation in Nepal suffered a jolt today with the National Muslim Struggle Alliance dissociating itself from the blockade enforced by the Indian-origin Madhesis, saying it will not get involved in any activity jeopardising national sovereignty.

The Alliance issued a statement announcing that it has broken its alliance with the Joint Madhesi Democratic Front (JDMF), which has been leading protests in southern Nepal districts, accusing the front of repeatedly breaching the understandings reached between the two groups.

"We will not get involved in any activity that would jeopardise national sovereignty and lead to humanitarian crisis," the alliance said.

The alliance pointed out that it will launch separate protests and the programmes will be peaceful in nature.

The alliance further accused the JDMF of ignoring the issues of the Muslim organisation and not including its representatives in meetings and negotiations with the government and top leaders.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Muslim-Alliance-dissociates-from-Madhesi-front-in-Nepal/articleshow/50096712.cms

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Taliban storm Kandahar airport complex, at least eight dead in all-night battle

Dec 9, 2015

KANDAHAR: At least eight people were killed after Taliban militants stormed the airport complex in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar city, triggering an all-night gun battle, officials said on Wednesday.

“Eight people, including civilians and soldiers, have been killed,” Samim Khpalwak, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, told AFP.

"The insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the complex," added Khpalwak.

He added that the insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the airport complex.

Dawood Shah Wafadar, a military commander in Kandahar, gave a higher death toll of 18.

Khpalwak further added that the attackers had managed to enter the air base where they encountered heavy resistance.

"They took up position in a school inside the complex," said Mohammad Mohsin Sultani, a military spokesman in Kandahar.

The government claimed on Wednesday morning that an unknown number of attackers had been killed but local residents, who were told to hunker down in their homes, were still reporting gunfire and explosions.

The attack on the sprawling complex, which also houses a joint Nato-Afghan base, coincides with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's high-profile visit to Islamabad for a regional conference.

Earlier, explosions and gunfire rang out as Taliban militants stormed the airport complex , officials said.

An Afghan official explained that the attackers managed to enter the air base, but encountered heavy resistance from the security forces stationed at the facility.

The Taliban are strong in southern Afghanistan, which has long been a bastion for the insurgent group.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225039/taliban-storm-kandahar-airport-complex-at-least-eight-dead-in-all-night-battle

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Ghani thunders, Swaraj diplomatic at 'Heart of Asia' conference in capital

Dec 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The opening of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in the capital today was marked by a warm welcome from Pakistani authorities to visiting dignitaries from India, Afghanistan, China among other Asian countries.

The theme of the conference, jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan, is 'enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the Heart of Asia region.'

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was greeted by a full reception which included the prime minister, the army, air and navy chiefs as well as the defence minister.

Ghani arrived at the Nur Khan airbase to a resounding 21-gun salute and the melody of the Afghan and Pakistani national anthems. He was then escorted in a limousine to the foreign office, where leaders discussed Afghanistan.

Also in the spotlight today was Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in the capital last night in order to participate in today’s discussion.

Ashraf Ghani's strong message

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani opened his speech by expressing gratitude to Pakistan for "hosting millions of Afghan refugees over decades".

But his speech quickly turned to the perils and origins of the refugee problem and talked about the ‘unintended consequences’ of Pakistan’s military operations.

"Unfortunately, recent events in Pakistan have forced us to host close to 350,000 to 500,000 Pakistani refugees on our soil. The refugee issue is a common issue, like other issues that confront us," Ghani said.

He believed it prudent to name the problems plaguing the region in order to formulate a plan of action for regional cooperation along the lines Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier suggested.

"What is driving the conflict?" the Afghan president asked. "Is it insurgency or are we dealing with a much larger conflict?"

"The first driver of conflict is regional and international terror groups."

"Al Qaeda, Daesh and terrorists from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Middle East are all, unfortunately, present on our soil."

He lauded Pakistan's decision to launch operations against militancy, but said the action had "created unintended consequences bringing about the displacement of a significant number of these groups onto our soil".

"There no historical precedent for solving this problem. The quarrel of these people is not with the government of Afghanistan or its people. We are fighting on behalf of all of you," he told the conference, "But we are the ones who are daily suffering some of the worst atrocities, including the butchering of our children and elderly who are totally innocent."

'We are the ones who are daily suffering some of the worst atrocities, including the butchering of our children and elderly.'

Referring to recent terror incidents in Istanbul, Paris, Sharm-el-Shaikh and San Bernardino, he said,"We do have a problem. It is a global and regional problem it requires us to focus on it systematically and coherently."

The Taliban which began as an Afghan phenomena has become a regional phenomena, the Afghan president said.

"The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan launched a vicious attack on children in Peshawar for which they robustly responded. But that very response brought them onto our country. Until now we have launched 40 operations through our Special Forces against them... What is the nature of the Taliban and how do we deal with it?"

Ghani called for a mechanism of regional cooperation to examine "how the networks of terror coordinate, co-finance, what is their linkage with the criminal economy, how is radicalism shaping and maligning our holy religion and our opportunities for global engagement and dialogue."

The Afghan president stressed the need to recognise that terrorism "while morally an aberration has become a sociological system it has a distinctive ecology of competition and cooperation. It has a morphology it is changing its form very rapidly If Al Qaeda is version one, Daesh is version six And the worst feature of it is its pathology."

'If Al Qaeda is version one, Daesh is version six.'

He said terror groups now used violence to "overawe in order to make the news, in order to put fear into the hearts of people," and used violence for the sake of violence.

While non-state actors have been used in the past, he called for participants to "distance ourselves from non-state actors because the word of states is the word of predictability."

State-to-state, political-to-political, military-to-military, economic-to-economic and intelligence-to-intelligence cooperation are central to the Pak-Afghan relationship, he said.

"We need to create a framework for comprehensive cooperation so that, in light of drivers of conflict, we can fashion solutions that are going to be lasting. Peace is not equivalent to reconciliation. It requires dealing with all the drivers of conflict so that a multidimensional peace, that truly will ensure that all of us live in harmony and can count on each other for enforcing an agreed set of rules of the game, is essential."

"Nawaz and I both do not believe in blame games. We would like to suggest mechanisms of verification as to what type of actors threaten our common interests because with a proper regime of verification, we can fashion the instruments of cooperation."

He said there had been "considerable uncertainty whether Pakistan would truly acknowledge a sovereign Afghan state with its legitimate government and constitution."

Addressing PM Nawaz, he said, "Your words today have gone a very long way to assure us in this regard and that opens up the possibility for sustained dialogue among us."

He appealed to Afghanistan's neighbours, near and far, to help contain terrorists.

"Without rules of the game where states respect the rights and obligations of mutual sovereignty and cooperate in the states' relationship we will have enormous difficulty containing terrorists."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225210/ghani-thunders-swaraj-diplomatic-at-heart-of-asia-conference-in-capital

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Bangladesh police: Radical Islamist group killed Japanese

Dec 9, 2015

NEW DELHI: A suspected member of a banned Islamist group has confessed to fatally shooting a Japanese agriculture researcher in northern Bangladesh in October, police said on Tuesday.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Humayun Kabir said Masud Rana, believed to be a member of Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, told a magistrate on Monday that he and his accomplices attacked and killed Kunio Hoshi in Rangpur district.

Three assailants on a motorbike took part in the October 3 killing, less than a week after an Italian aid worker was shot dead in the capital, Dhaka.

The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the killing, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist organizations.

However, the government of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rejected the claim and investigators focused on local extremist groups, including Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

It was not immediately clear when Rana was arrested.

Kabir added that the suspect had fled earlier and was detained when he recently returned home.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225223/bangladesh-police-radical-islamist-group-killed-japanese

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Over 50 die as Taliban factions clash

Dec 9, 2015

HERAT: More than 50 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in renewed fighting between rival Taliban factions in Shindand district near the western Afghan city of Herat, a local police spokesman said on Tuesday.

The latest clashes underlined the fragmented state of the movement since the Tali­ban confirmed in July that its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died more than two years earlier in 2013.

Rival groups have rejected the authority of Omar’s successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour and called for a new process to choose a leader. There has been intermittent fighting in which scores have been killed.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225192/over-50-die-as-taliban-factions-clash

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Over 50 die as Taliban factions clash

December 9th, 2015

HERAT: More than 50 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in renewed fighting between rival Taliban factions in Shindand district near the western Afghan city of Herat, a local police spokesman said on Tuesday.

The latest clashes underlined the fragmented state of the movement since the Tali­ban confirmed in July that its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died more than two years earlier in 2013.

Rival groups have rejected the authority of Omar’s successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour and called for a new process to choose a leader. There has been intermittent fighting in which scores have been killed.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225192

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Daesh's rise in Afghanistan calls for urgent security cooperation: Nawaz Sharif

December 09, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The rise of Daesh in Afghanistan has intensified the need for urgent security cooperation in the region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned this morning.

Terrorism and extremism are Kabul and Islamabad’s common enemies and the two countries need a common strategy to defeat them, he said at the opening of the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan.

His comments reflected growing concern among regional leaders at the increasing number of attacks by insurgents linked to the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The group has waged a series of attacks on Taliban fighters in Nangahar province in the past week and the government has launched air strikes to contain them. Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai voiced his fears over the group’s emergence shortly after his arrival in Islamabad on Tuesday and called for a united approach against this “evil phenomenon.”

The Prime Minister today added his voice to those warning of the group’s emergence in Afghanistan and calling for greater co-operation to defeat it.

"The emergence of newer and more threatening terrorist groups like Daesh should also strengthen our resolve against terrorism," he said.

“Terrorism and extremism is the common enemy of Pakistan and Afghanistan and we need to collectively combat it,” he added. 

He called for new Standard Operating Procedures to control the border between the two countries, the return and resettlement of more than one million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. The movement of refugees back and forth across the border posed a serious security risk which is being exploited by terrorist groups, he warned.

Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani thanked Pakistan for those who had fled its conflict but said his country was now bearing the brunt of a new refugee crisis. Between 350,000 to 500,000 Pakistani refugees had fled across the border following the Pakistan Army’s Zarb-e-Azb operation against Taliban insurgents in the country’s Tribal Areas.

Despite thanking Pakistan for hosting refugees, his country had received more economic support from other parts of Asia than its next-door neighbour and singled out Turkmenistan for its investment.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Dec-2015/daesh-s-rise-in-afghanistan-calls-for-urgent-security-cooperation-nawaz-sharif

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Ghani warns of regional instability if violence persists in Afghanistan

Dec 09 2015

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has warned that the instability would spread in the region if violence and insurgency persists in Afghanistan.

In his remarks during the annual Heart of Asia summit in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, President Ghani inisted on regional cooperation in a bid to maintain peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also delivered a speech during the second day of the summit on Afghanistan.

President Ghani said Afghanistan is located in the heart of Asia therefore persistent violence in Afghanistan will affect the region, insisting that the region will remain in peace and stability only if Afghanistan becomes stable.

He also added that the Afghan government is hopeful that the participants of the summit will recognize the challenges and find a solution to them.

The remarks by President Ghani comes as the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai called for an urgent and united response to the menace of terrorism threatening the region and the world.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/ghani-warns-of-regional-instability-if-violence-persists-in-afghanistan-1783

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Southeast Asia

 

MTUC to ISIS: Labour enemy of the state?

James Sivalingam

December 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has expressed outrage and demanded that the Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) retract its stand in a report that increased labour rights under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was a “Public Order and Stability” issue.

ISIS in its National Interest analysis released last week added that, “the potentially disruptive threats posed by labour actions will have a negative impact on national interest”.

“Are workers a threat to public order and stability in the country?

Why are workers perceived as enemies of the state?” asked MTUC’s Secretary-General, N Gopalakishnam at a media conference on Wednesday.

Gopalakishnam called on ISIS and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to see workers as part of the development framework and crucial stakeholders in the nation building process.

The right to organize, form trade unions and enabling collective bargaining will lead to a more equitable society, he stressed. “This is clearly in line with the 11th Malaysia Plan that calls for reduction of income gap between the nation’s bottom 40 per cent and top 10 per cent.”

“Clearly, the authors of the ISIS report have a poor understanding of workers and labour relations in the country, and as a result have wrongly represented the positive labour contributions to the country.”

MTUC has every reason to question the integrity of the report and demands that MITI withdraw the present write-ups and rewrite the role of trade unions in a developmental perspective, continued Gopalakishnam.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/09/mtuc-to-isis-labour-enemy-of-the-state/

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Malaysian IS fighters driven ‘by desire to be good Muslims’, says US security firm

December 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Malaysians who joined the Islamic State terrorist group did not have militant links prior to enlisting, unlike counterparts from Indonesia, according to a report by the US-based The Soufan Group (TSG).

Juxtaposed with the composition of Indonesian recruits who were veterans of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror organisation, the findings suggest that otherwise ordinary Malaysians — for reasons yet to be determined — were particularly susceptible to IS recruitment tactics.

“They (the Malaysia recruits) largely had no prior association with extremist groups, appeared to be motivated by a desire to be good Muslims and had a romanticized notion of an Islamic caliphate.

“After viewing Islamic State propaganda online, they believed that the the Islamic State caliphate offered them a life of piety that would increase their chances of rewards in the afterlife,” according to the group’s report on foreign fighters in the IS.

Of particular concern to local authorities is TSG’s conclusion that the aspiring militants prevented from leaving Malaysia for Syria could take out their frustrations on their home country.

The threat of such a localised attack was demonstrated in the attacks orchestrated by IS militants in Paris last month that left 130 people dead and nearly 400 injured.

Local police have reported frequent success in detecting and arresting Malaysians either planning to travel to or already en route to Syria, with several already charged with supporting terrorism.

“At the same time, some of them were prepared to carry out attacks at home in support of the Islamic State if they could not travel to Syria, and to punish their governments,” TSG said.

The findings that aspiring Malaysian IS recruits were not individuals who previously demonstrated militant tendencies will compound data from a Pew Research Centre survey last month that showed disproportionate support for the terrorist group in the country.

In the study of Muslims’ attitude towards IS, which the Pew Research Centre gleaned from its 2015 Global Attitudes survey, support level for the group in Malaysia was tied for second place with Senegal among 11 nations with significant Muslim populations polled.

In neighbouring Indonesia — the largest Muslim country in the world by population — 79 per cent of respondents said they were against IS, with just four per cent saying they were positive about the organisation.

Anxiety over the advance of the IS and other militant groups took centre stage during the Asean Summit last month, where both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and US President Barack Obama addressed the topic at length.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-is-fighters-driven-by-desire-to-be-good-muslims-says-us-security

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IS releases song in Mandarin urging China’s Muslims to fight

Dec 08, 2015

Islamic State has released a song in Mandarin calling upon China’s Muslims to take up arms, media reports said on Tuesday.

The song, by Islamic State’s propaganda arm Al Hayat media centre, was an attempt to strengthen the terror group’s presence in the country, Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.

In the four-minute song titled “I am Mujahid”, a man chants: “To die fighting on the battlefield is my dream,” and “No force can stop our advance”.

It was featured on the website “Jihadology” which describes itself in its Twitter account as an “academic website that curates new primary source material from global jihadis”.

“This is the first time that the IS has released a Chinese song to recruit members or inspire its followers,” Zhu Yongbiao, an expert on the region from Lanzhou University was quoted as saying in the media report.

Chinese foreign ministry said the video showed the need for closer global cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she could not comment on whether the recording was issued by Islamic State, but said it showed that “terrorism is the common enemy of mankind” and the need to stop extremists using the Internet.

“In the face of terrorism, no country can stand on its own, and the international community should stand closer together and cooperate to jointly strike against all forms of terrorism,” Hua said at a news conference.

Chinese vice foreign minister Cheng Guoping told a separate briefing Beijing had already joined in anti-terrorism cooperation with Washington and Moscow, but gave no details.

“At present, relevant countries have proactively coordinated and consulted on their anti-Islamic State actions in Syria and they have had definite progress on fighting terrorism,” Cheng added.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/is-releases-song-in-mandarin-urging-china-s-muslims-to-fight/story-PB1buYZwCgC0p0leC10M3K.html

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Zahid: Use politics to fight for Islam

December 8, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Vice-President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reminded party members not to politicise religion and to instead use politics to fight for Islam.

Zahid, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said that the party could be used as a tool to oppose negative agendas against Islam, such as Islamophobia and the growth of the Islamic State militant group.

“The agenda of denigrating Islam is a new method to divide Muslims. Muslims are often trapped by this hidden agenda, which results in disunity among us,” he said when launching the ‘Puteri Daulat Islam Agama Negara’ (Puteri DIAN) movement at the Putra World Trade Centre today.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/08/zahid-use-politics-to-fight-for-islam/

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Malaysian IS fighters driven ‘by desire to be good Muslims’, says US security firm

December 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Malaysians who joined the Islamic State terrorist group did not have militant links prior to enlisting, unlike counterparts from Indonesia, according to a report by the US-based The Soufan Group (TSG).

Juxtaposed with the composition of Indonesian recruits who were veterans of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror organisation, the findings suggest that otherwise ordinary Malaysians — for reasons yet to be determined — were particularly susceptible to IS recruitment tactics.

“They (the Malaysia recruits) largely had no prior association with extremist groups, appeared to be motivated by a desire to be good Muslims and had a romanticized notion of an Islamic caliphate.

“After viewing Islamic State propaganda online, they believed that the the Islamic State caliphate offered them a life of piety that would increase their chances of rewards in the afterlife,” according to the group’s report on foreign fighters in the IS.

Of particular concern to local authorities is TSG’s conclusion that the aspiring militants prevented from leaving Malaysia for Syria could take out their frustrations on their home country.

The threat of such a localised attack was demonstrated in the attacks orchestrated by IS militants in Paris last month that left 130 people dead and nearly 400 injured.

Local police have reported frequent success in detecting and arresting Malaysians either planning to travel to or already en route to Syria, with several already charged with supporting terrorism.

“At the same time, some of them were prepared to carry out attacks at home in support of the Islamic State if they could not travel to Syria, and to punish their governments,” TSG said.

The findings that aspiring Malaysian IS recruits were not individuals who previously demonstrated militant tendencies will compound data from a Pew Research Centre survey last month that showed disproportionate support for the terrorist group in the country.

In the study of Muslims’ attitude towards IS, which the Pew Research Centre gleaned from its 2015 Global Attitudes survey, support level for the group in Malaysia was tied for second place with Senegal among 11 nations with significant Muslim populations polled.

In neighbouring Indonesia — the largest Muslim country in the world by population — 79 per cent of respondents said they were against IS, with just four per cent saying they were positive about the organisation.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-is-fighters-driven-by-desire-to-be-good-muslims-says-us-security

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Trump gets whacked online for his anti-Muslim remarks

December 9, 2015

PETALING JAYA: United States Presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to receive flak from local figures over his “ban Muslims from entering the US” remark that has left many seething at his apparent ignorance and hypocrisy on the issue.

Lawyer cum social activist Art Harun showed no mercy for the outspoken business tycoon turned politician with his infamous mop and tweeted a series of insults about ‘The Donald.’

“Umno needs new blood. Should recruit Donald Trump. He will be Umno’s trump card. He will do very well.”

Hitting out at Trump’s apparent lack of understanding about what he was talking about, Art suggested he wear a special identity card until such time that he could brush up on the issue.

“Perhaps Donald Trump shud (sic) also carry a special ID until he understands what the hell he is talking about.”

He also alluded to Trump’s hypocrisy and gave the American some ideas on how he could put his money where his mouth is by instructing that the US stop purchasing oil from Muslims and repatriating Muslim money from the US as well.

“Donald Trump should not only stop Muslims from entering USA but stop buying oil from Muslim countries & repatriate Muslim money from US.”

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim could not resist unleashing his wrath at Trump and tweeted a one liner: “If an idiot like Donald Trump can be contender for President, it speaks volumes about America.”

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/09/trump-gets-whacked-online-for-his-anti-muslim-remarks/

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Six dead as Muslim rebels clash with Christians in Philippines

December 8, 2015

COTABATO: At least six people were killed when suspected Muslim guerrillas clashed with armed Christian settlers in the southern Philippines on Tuesday in a feud over land, police said.

At least 30 armed men, suspected to be from a Muslim rebel group, descended on the southern town of Tulunan on Mindanao island and began harassing Christian farmers at noon, said Senior Inspector Ronnie Dillera, the town police chief.

The Christians fought back, triggering a gunbattle that lasted about three hours and left three villagers and three Muslim gunmen dead, he added.

The clash was an offshoot of a dispute over a 10-hectare (25-acre) lot between Christians and Muslims in the area, the police chief added.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2015/12/08/six-dead-as-muslim-rebels-clash-with-christians-in-philippines/

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Human rights is everyone’s responsibility, says Suhakam

December 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Hasmy Agam reminded the public that human rights was not exclusive to any single body.

Speaking at Suaram’s Human Rights Report 2015 Overview, Hasmy said every individual needed to take ownership when it came to human rights in the country.

“Human rights is everyone’s mandate. In 2020, we aim to become a developed country and will be judged by higher standards.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/09/human-rights-is-everyones-responsibility-says-suhakam/

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Shahrizat says security laws needed to fight bid to usurp government

December 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil today defended Putrajaya for introducing security laws criticised as draconian and dictatorial, saying these were needed as there were alleged attempts to overthrow the government.

The adviser to the prime minister on the development of women entrepreneurs and professionals made the assertion despite Putrajaya touting such laws as being meant to address terrorism.

In her opening address at the wing's assembly today, Shahrizat also said that demands for democracy, fundamental human rights and liberties were façades for personal agendas that will destroy the achievements of the country's forefathers.

“As such, Wanita Umno congratulates the Home Ministry headed by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for the firmness in taking preventive measures to destroy the buds of violence and extremist elements,” she said,

“Wanita Umno is aware that there are movements and conspiracies to topple the government as well as foreign interference; regardless of who they are or which parties they are from, they must be dealt with harshly.”

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/shahrizat-says-security-laws-needed-to-fight-bid-to-usurp-government

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Philippine leader cites terror threat for Muslim self-rule law

December 8, 2015

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino urged legislators Tuesday to pass a draft law aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim revolt, citing the growing threat of global terrorism as one reason to do so.

Aquino, who has been struggling to get the law passed before his term ends next year, told lawmakers it would break “the cycle of violence and poverty that has stalled peace and progress” in the southern island of Mindanao, said his spokesman Herminio Coloma.

The law would create a Muslim autonomous area and grant a measure of self-rule to the minority in the south of the largely Christian nation.

However several congressmen are reluctant to pass the draft law and have deleted crucial provisions, prompting Aquino to call the special meeting.

“He (Aquino) said that passing the (law) now has become more imperative in view of the increased threats posed by global terrorism and radicalisation,” Coloma told reporters.

“The president urged the members of Congress to rise to the challenge of being able to ‘change the narrative’ of conflict between Muslims and Christians,” Coloma added.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law is crucial to implementing a fragile peace treaty aimed at ending a Muslim separatist insurgency that has claimed over 100,000 lives since the 1970s.

Aquino wanted it passed this year but the timetable was set back severely following public outrage over the death of 44 police commandos in an encounter with Muslim separatist guerrillas in January.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2015/12/08/philippine-leader-cites-terror-threat-for-muslim-self-rule-law/

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Islamic finance in Indonesia predicted to grow 15% in 2016

8 December, 2015

The Islamic finance sector in Indonesia is forecast to grow by around 15% next year as per projections of the Masyarakat Ekonomi Syariah (MES), or Islamic Economic Society, a Jakarta-based non-profit organisation focused on the enhancing the Islamic banking industry in the country.

MES has set up different scenarios for the sector’s growth that depend on Indonesia’s macroeconomic development in 2016, namely the country’s GDP growth, inflation and currency exchange rate. Under a normal scenario, with Indonesia’s economic growth at around 5%, inflation at 4.7% and a rupiah exchange rate at 13,900 per US dollar, Islamic financing is projected to grow up to 15% in 2016, while Islamic banking assets are expected to grow 14.6%%. Assets held by Islamic financial institutions in Indonesia are expected to remain just below the 5 percentage point mark of the nation’s total banking assets, showing that - despite having the world’s largest Muslim population – Indonesia’s Islamic banking industry lags far behind its conventional counterpart and the growth potential is huge. In comparison, neighbour Malaysia has a market share in Islamic finance of more than 20% and Saudi Arabia around 50%.

However, the country is undertaking steps to strengthen the sector and raise the level of inclusion of its 250mn-population in Islamic finance. A five-year strategy for the Islamic finance industry has recently been released that basically says it wants Indonesia’s Islamic banks to hold at least 15% of the market by 2023. One reason that Islamic finance still remains a niche business in Indonesia has been attributed to the low general financial literacy among the public, with Islamic finance further behind, according to nationwide surveys. Thus, the Islamic finance roadmap would expand on education and promotion activities, while developing rules and industry certification for religious experts that endorse Islamic financial products. Rules on rights and obligations regarding underlying assets of sukuk are being developed, while a law on Islamic securities would be drafted by 2017.

Due to high potential, Islamic finance in Indonesia is also attractive for foreign investment. In the past, the hindrance has been the rule that foreign investors cannot own more than 40% of Islamic banks in Indonesia. However, the country’s financial authorities are considering raising this ceiling to entice more potential investors, namely Middle Eastern and Malaysian banks. First positive results were that Dubai Islamic Bank widened its operations in Indonesia in October 2015 after it obtained approval from Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority to increase its stake in Bank Panin Syariah to 40% from 24.9%. Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group said it had plans to venture into Indonesia next year, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank also mentioned it is “closely eyeing” Indonesia as one country to expand into as part of its overall Southeast Asian expansion strategy.

Domestically, Sumatra-based Bank Aceh will become a full-fledged Shariah-compliant bank in 2016. This bank, which is majority-owned by local Aceh province, controls more than $1.5bn in assets. Islam is the dominant religion in the province of Aceh where about 98% of the local population adhere to Islam.

Full report at:

http://www.gulf-times.com/eco.-bus.%20news/256/details/465817/islamic-finance-in-indonesia-predicted-to-grow-15%25-in-2016

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Arab World

 

German Green Party Calls on Gov't to Impose Sanctions against S. Arabia

Dec 09, 2015

"Saudi Arabia is a dictatorial country in which the opposition is strongly suppressed and sometimes killed and the country supports the extremist Islamist groups financially across the world," Hofreiter told the German Saarbrücker Zeitung daily.

Stressing that Riyadh should be pressured to change its behavior, he said, "If the Saudi officials don’t change their policies and behavior, the West should seriously study the imposition of sanctions against Saudi Arabia."

His remarks came after Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the Bild am Sonntag daily on Sunday that it should be made clear to Saudi Arabia that "the time for looking the other way has passed."

"Wahhabi mosques are being funded by Saudi Arabia all over the world. Many dangerous Islamists come from these communities in Germany," Gabriel said.

Critics say Wahhabism promotes a rigid form of Islam that can be misinterpreted by extremists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000375

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Syrian Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Taking Back Key Aleppo Regions

Dec 09, 2015

Military sources strongly denied the allegations that the Syrian army and its allies were forced to withdraw from the recently-captured villages of Zeitan, Khalsa and Al-Qala’jiyah and Tal Barakah as well as the strategic city of Tal al-Eis in Aleppo.

"Such rumors have been spread by the Takfiri terrorists due to the heavy blows that they have received from the Syrian army and its allies in different parts of Syria in recent months," a source said.

The news comes as military sources late last month rejected similar rumors spread by the Takfiri terrorist groups about their victories over the Syrian government forces in Tal al-Eis town in Southern Aleppo province.

On Monday, the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah stormed the militants' defense lines in the Southern part of Aleppo province and seized a village in just two hours near the strategic town of Tal al-Eis.

The Syrian Army’s 4th Mechanized Division in Tal Al-Eis, the Syrian Armed Forces, Hezbollah, and the Iraqi paramilitaries imposed full control over the village of Khalsah after a series of intense firefights with the militants of Ahrar Al-Sham, Al-Nusra Front, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham on Monday morning.

With Khalsah officially under the Syrian Armed Forces control, the terrorist groups are now one village away from having all of their recent gains in Southern Aleppo reversed by the pro-government forces; this means that if Burnah is captured, the militants will have lost every village they seized two weeks ago.

Currently, the Syrian army’s 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah have seized 70 percent of Burnah from Ahrar Al-Sham and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, leaving only the Western sector of the village under the latter’s control.

Earlier, military sources said the Syrian Army and popular forces are advancing on militant positions in the Southern part of Aleppo province and have thus far forced the terrorist groups to withdraw forces from vast territories.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000542

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Iraq forces ‘retake’ Ramadi city from IS

December 09, 2015

BAGHDAD - Iraqi security forces recaptured a large part of the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State group Tuesday, officials said, scoring a significant breakthrough in their fightback against the militants.

Baghdad's forces have been fighting for months to secure territory around Ramadi, the capital of the vast Anbar province, and retaking the Al-Tameem area is an important step in the battle for the major city west of Baghdad.

Warplanes from the US-led coalition battling IS have backed them in the fighting, carrying out more than 45 air strikes in the Ramadi area in the past week. "Today, our forces completely cleared the Al-Tameem area after a fierce battle against Daesh gunmen," Sabah al-Noman, the spokesman for Iraq's counter-terrorism service, told AFP, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

IS fighters "had no choice except to surrender or fight and they were completely destroyed," Noman said.

Major General Hadi Irzayij, the police chief for Anbar, confirmed that Al-Tameem had been retaken as did Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command. "The liberation of Al-Tameem will greatly help in speeding up the liberation of the city of Ramadi," Rasool said. "Iraqi forces are ready and close to entering the centre of the city," Irzayij said.

Al-Tameem lies to the southwest of IS-held central Ramadi and Iraqi forces now need to make matching advances to the north in order to attack the militants from both sides. For now, they are working to clear bombs planted by IS - a favoured tactic of the militants that means they can kill security personnel and civilians long after they have withdrawn from an area.

"The process of removing bombs from the houses and roads has begun," Irzayij said.

Rasool said large amounts of weapons and supplies had been found, as well as explosives-rigged vehicles.

IS overran large parts of Iraq in June 2014, including major territory in Anbar, which stretches from the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the western approach to Baghdad.

Shifting parts of Ramadi, located 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Baghdad, had been held by anti-government fighters since the beginning of 2014, but IS did not succeeded in completely overrunning it until May of this year.

On Monday, coalition aircraft targeted IS units, fighting positions, vehicles and supplies, as well as machineguns and a mortar system used by the militants, according to a statement on the strikes.

International support in the form of strikes, training and arms plays an important role in Iraq's battle against IS, but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is walking a fine line between receiving that assistance and projecting sovereignty.

Iraq is in a row with Turkey over the deployment of up to 300 soldiers and 20 tanks to a base in the country's north where Ankara's forces have trained Sunnis who have volunteered to fight IS.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Dec-2015/iraq-forces-retake-ramadi-city-from-is

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MI6 Chief Reveals S. Arabia's Doomsday Plot against Shiites

Dec 09, 2015

Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shiite'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."

According to Times of India newspaper, the fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shiites, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shiite jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on 10 June, Shiite women and children have been killed in villages South of Kirkuk, and Shiite air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shiite shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shiite Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by ISIL fighters as "spoils of war". Simply to be identified as Shiite or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al Qaeda-type Jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasized the significance of Prince Bandar's words, saying that they constituted "a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed".

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the ISIL surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: "Such things simply do not happen spontaneously." This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Persian Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with ISIL without their consent.

Dearlove's explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shiite by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6's view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the ISIL-led Sunni terrorism, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove's speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from ISIL to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden's al Qaeda, it is absorbed in a new conflict that "is essentially Muslim on Muslim". Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by ISIL are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al Qaeda and ISIL is that the latter is much better organized; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shiites in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shiites that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000286

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Russian Warplanes Continue Pounding Terrorists' Strongholds in Lebanese-Syrian Bordering Areas

Dec 09, 2015

The attacks targeted members of the ISIL, al-Nusra Front and Harakat Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups who have infiltrated in to the Beqa’a Governorate in Eastern Lebanon.

Russian warplanes primarily concentrated on Jaroud Arsal, Ras Ba’albak and the Nahle Municipality.

Russia has notified Lebanon every time they crossed the Beqa’a-Damascus border to avoid any hostile reaction from the Lebanese air defense.

Also, on Monday, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets bombed positions of terrorists from ISIL and al-Nusra Front in Eastern Lebanon.

The air raids targeted terrorists from al-Nusra Front and at Jaroud Rankous near Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000539

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U.N. says 12,000 Syrian refugees stranded at Jordan border

9 December 2015

Around 12,000 people who have fled the war in Syria are stranded at the Jordanian border, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday, urging authorities to allow them into the country.

Warning of “deteriorating humanitarian conditions”, the UNHCR appealed to the government to prioritise entry for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, babies under six months of age and pregnant women.

A statement said 11,000 refugees were in Rukban, about eight kilometres from the point where the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet. The remaining 1,000 are in Hadalat, about 90 kilometres further west.

The areas are in a rocky desert area, devoid of shade, water or vegetation, the statement said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/09/U-N-says-12-000-Syrian-refugees-stranded-at-Jordan-border.html

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Syrian opposition talks open in Saudi Arabia

9 December 2015

Syrian opposition groups began unprecedented talks in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, official media said, in a difficult attempt to unify ahead of potential talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“The meeting saw a broad participation of Syrian opposition groups inside and outside Syria,” the Saudi Press Agency said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir welcomed the delegates to the closed-door meeting and expressed hope for successful talks.

He then left and the Syrians began meeting among themselves, an effort expected to continue until Thursday.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/09/Syrian-opposition-talks-open-in-Saudi-Arabia.html

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ISIS uses Ramadi residents as ‘shields’ as Iraq forces close in

9 December 2015

As Iraqi forces close in on the western city of Ramadi, thousands of civilians are effectively being held hostage inside by ISIS militants who want to use them as human shields.

Iraqi forces cut the hardline group’s last supply line into Ramadi in November, surrounding the city and making it almost impossible for the militants to send in reinforcements.

But for thousands of residents who remain trapped inside the mainly Sunni city, life has become even harder as the militants grow increasingly paranoid, residents said.

Reuters spoke to five residents inside the city and three who recently managed to get out. All said conditions inside had deteriorated to their worst since Islamic State overran it earlier this year.

“Daesh fighters are becoming more hostile and suspicious. They prevent us from leaving houses. Everyone who goes out against orders is caught and investigated,” said Abu Ahmed. “We feel we’re living inside a sealed casket.”

Ramadi, a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates valley just a short drive west of Baghdad, was ISIS’s biggest conquest since last year, and reversing it would be a major victory for the Iraqi government and its spectrum of allies that include both the United States and Iran.

The description of harsh rule by ISIS fighters could also indicate disquiet among Sunni Muslim residents, some of whom switched sides to help U.S. forces defeat a precursor of ISIS in the city during the American occupation nearly a decade ago.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/09/Ramadi-residents-trapped-as-ISIS-human-shields-as-Iraqi-forces-close-in.html

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Army Takes Strategic Grain Silos back from Terrorists in Central Syria

Dec 09, 2015

"The Syrian army troops seized back Mansoura Grain Silos in al-Ghab Plain, Western Hama," an army officer present in the operations in the region told FNA.

According to the source, the terrorists lost, at least, 17 members and a good number of vehicles and weapons in the clashes.

The source said establishing security across the region surrounding the silos would be the next step of the army.

Also, yesterday, the Syrian strikers pounded terrorist targets in the province of Hama, and destroyed a tunnel that was used by the terrorists while several of them were inside.

The Syrian airstrikes destroyed a tunnel and three machine gun-equipped vehicles on al-Salamiyeh-Aidoun road in the Eastern countryside of Hama on Tuesday.

The air raids also killed at least 16 terrorists and injured 19 others. Several of the terrorists' casualties happened when the tunnel was destroyed as they were using it.

Earlier reports said Russian warplanes bombed the positions of the terrorist groups across Hama province as the Syrian ground troops launched large-scale attacks on the Takfiri militants.

On Tuesday, Russian warplanes targeted terrorists' positions in al-Qahera village in al-Ghab plain in the Western countryside of Hama.

Two more Russian airstrikes hit the villages of Jana al-Albawi and al-Dakila in the Eastern countryside of Hama.

Also, a military source said the army launched a military operation against the positions of terrorists of "Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement" in Kafr Zita Town, 38 km North of Hama city. At least 10 terrorists were killed in the military operation.

Faisal al-Hassan and Abdul Karim al-Fadel were identified among the terrorists killed in the raid. Three vehicles were also destroyed along with the weapons and ammunition inside them.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000434

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Syrian Army Destroys Terrorists' Military Hardware in Idlib Province

Dec 09, 2015

The army units destroyed the terrorists' military vehicles and machineguns in an area located between Sinjar and Tal Halawa in Idlib province.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured in heavy clashes with the Syrian army.

On Tuesday, some 20 terrorists were killed in Syrian army attacks on the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Idlib province.

Field sources said the Syrian army conducted military operations against positions of al-Nusra Front terrorists in Khan Sheikhoun town, killing 4 terrorists, including Khaled Adnan.

Thirteen other terrorists were also killed in al-Najia town and Jisr al-Shughour city.

Notorious terrorists Ahmed Abdul Ghafour, Abdul Karim Shaniqan and Jihad Abu al-Fida were identified among the dead.

The army also killed 3 terrorists, including Khaled Ayyoub, in military operations against militants' positions in al-Tamanna town in the Southern countryside of Idlib.

On Monday, the Syrian Army and the country's National Defense Forces (NDF) stormed the militant groups' concentration centers in the province of Idlib, and killed at least 15 terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000429

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Syrian Army Destroys Militants' Positions in Damascus Countryside

Dec 09, 2015

The army units killed 10 militants and destroyed a number of their machinegun-equipped vehicles.

Meantime, the Syrian troops also destroyed the military positions of Takfiri terrorists in several regions in Douma, Zamalka and Daraya, and killed more than 14 terrorists and destroyed their weapons and munitions.

Also in Damascus province, tens of terrorists were killed in fierce clashes between the Syrian army and the militant groups along the Damscus-Homs highway on Tuesday.

"The Syrian army expanded its control on the Eastern side of the Damascus-Homs Highway in Harasta," sources living in nearby regions said.

"The army took full control over the farms along the road connecting Nour al-Sham school and Douma at the end of the clashes," they added.

Meantime, military sources said tens of dead bodies have been left behind by the terrorist groups, while dozens more have been wounded or captured.

On Sunday, the Syrian army won back new areas in Marj al-Sultan village in another phase of its growing mop-up operations in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus province on Sunday.

Dozens of Takfiri terrorists were killed in the military operations as the Syrian soldiers regained control over new areas in Marj al-Sultan village.

Prior to the ground operation, the Syrian air force conducted 6 bombing raids over the region. Dozens of Takfiri terrorists were killed in the air force and ground operations.

On Saturday, the army units captured all farms to the North of Marj al-Sultan village and headed for the villages of Harasta al-Qantara and Nuleh.

The Syrian army also destroyed at least three military positions of Takfiri terrorists in the surrounding areas of Marj al-Sultan Airport as the Syrian troops still continue their advances in Eastern Ghouta.

Also on Sunday, reports said the Syrian army staged artillery attacks and a ground raid on Ajand al-Sham (Army of the Levant) terrorist group in the city of Daraya in Western Ghouta of Damascus province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000380

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Militants Start Retreating from Homs

Dec 09, 2015

Last week Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi announced that militants of al-Wa'ar district in the city of Homs have reached an agreement with the Syrian government for their gradual exit.

"The militants and the government in a meeting on Tuesday agreed on gradual retreat of all militant groups from al-Wa'ar district," al-Barazi told FNA on Wednesday.

He noted that the UN representative also attended the Tuesday meeting.

Al-Wa'ar is the only remaining base of the militants in the city of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000409

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Syrian Troops Seize Back Key Heights in Lattakia

Dec 09, 2015

On Tuesday night, the Syrian forces liberated Rweiset Ya'qoub in the Northeastern countryside of Lattakia from the control of the terrorist.

Dozens of militants were killed and injured in the army's attacks.

The Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard has gotten off to a fast start this week, capturing several key regions from the Al-Nusra Front, the Free Syrian Army’s “Liwaa Suqour Al-Ghaab”, and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham terrorist groups in regions Northeast of the Lattakia province.

On Monday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Qurdaha, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), and Muqawama Souri (Syrian Resistance) – began their large-scale assault in Jabal Al-Akrad (Kurdish Mountains) by imposing full control over Burj Al-Qasab; this paved the way for the pro-government forces to capture several sites after taking control of this village.

Following the capture of Burj Al-Qasab, the Syrian Armed Forces launched a massive assault on the strategic village of ‘Ikko, striking militants' defenses from two different flanks before imposing full control over this mountaintop site located near the town of Kabani.

Not long after capturing ‘Ikko, the Syrian Armed Forces seized the small villages of Bouz Al-Khirbat, Beit Fares, and Al-Mughayriyah after a series of skirmishes with the terrorists near the Idlib province’s western border with Lattakia.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000266

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Qatar Supplying Tens of TOW Missiles to Terrorist Groups in Syria

Dec 09, 2015

Militant groups said that Qatar has delivered 20 American TOW missiles to the Al-Qaeda's official branch in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front to help the embattled terrorist group that has been sustaining heavy defeats in the war with the Syrian army and its allies across the country, specially in Northern provinces.

Meantime, other terrorist groups have also been reported to have received similar cargoes in a bid to intensify campaign against the Syrian government and stop the advances of the Syrian army and its allies before the next round of Syria talks.

The terrorist groups have been retreating in several provinces, including Aleppo, Lattakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus and Daraa in the last two months, giving President Bashar al-Assad an upper hand in any talks with international actors and opposition groups. Ever since the recent defeats, the sponsors of militant groups have boosted their supply aids to reverse or, at least, stop the trend of the Syrian army victories.

In mid October, a Saudi official announced that his country has supplied the militants in Syria with a new batch of TOW antitank missiles as the Syrian army forces backed by Russian warplanes continue to gain ground in the Arab country.

BBC correspondent Frank Gardner tweeted that a Saudi official confirmed the delivery of 500 TOW antitank missiles to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The delivery of the TOW missiles — which have also been provided by the CIA — will allegedly increase the capabilities of the militants.

TOW missiles, as Popular Mechanics notes, are guided missiles that could thoroughly damage tanks, armored carriers, and other vehicles. And, unlike other projectiles used against armored targets, such as RPGs, TOW missiles can be used from a considerable distance.

Then one month later in mid November, the Al-Nusra Front Takfiri terrorists posted a video on the Internet to thank the so-called moderate terrorist group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for supplying them with the US-made anti-tank TOW missiles.

The video shows an Al-Nusra Front field commander thanking the FSA commanders for giving his forces TOW missiles.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940918000288

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People exit rebel-held Homs in Syrian peace deal

9 December 2015

Dozens of people left the last insurgent-held area in the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday under a local peace deal between the government and insurgents, a group monitoring the war said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the first bus had left the area and that around 750 people were expected to leave the western city during the day.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/09/People-exit-rebel-held-area-in-Syrian-peace-deal.html

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Iraqi talks with Turkey to end row ‘going well’

9 December 2015

Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations has appeared to down play a dispute between Baghdad and Ankara over the deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, saying bilateral talks between the neighboring states to end the row were proceeding favorably.

“We are solving it between Baghdad and Ankara bilaterally,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told reporters after Russia raised the issue of Turkey’s deployment during a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

“We have not yet escalated it to the Security Council or to the United Nations.”

“For us, what is helpful is the bilateral discussion going on right now between Baghdad and Ankara, and it’s going extremely well,” he said, adding that Moscow had not consulted with Baghdad before raising the issue in the council.

But Alhakim reiterated that Iraq wanted the Turkish troops withdrawn from its territory immediately, saying the deployment was “illegal,” and a violation of the United Nations charter.

Turkey has said the deployment was previously agreed with Iraq, a position U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters was also her understanding. Ankara says its troops are training Iraqi soldiers to fight ISIS militants, who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

Russia is still seething over a Nov. 24 incident in which Turkey shot down a Russian plane near the Syria-Turkey border. Relations between Moscow and Ankara have nosedived since that incident, which diplomats said was the real reason Moscow raised the issue of the Turkish troops in Iraq.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/09/Iraq-Talks-with-Turkey-to-end-row-going-extremely-well-.html

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Peaceful Syrian transition stressed

RODOLFO C. ESTIMO JR.

9 December 2015

RIYADH: The two-day Syrian opposition meeting kicked off on Tuesday here with participants saying they were committed to a political solution to the crisis.

Hisham Marwa, vice-president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, said the Riyadh meeting would help the opposition create a unified vision to ensure a peaceful transition for the country.

He said the opposition had agreed that there would be a political solution to the crisis, with the formation of a transitional governing body to counterterrorist groups, reconstruct the country, and provide a solution for refugees to return.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir discussed the situation in Syria with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, according to an online report.

During the phone talk, Lavrov expressed his country’s willingness to participate in the talks to be held in New York on Dec. 18 and 19 to discuss the Syrian crisis, after getting an invitation from his American counterpart.

However, Lavrov has made it a precondition for his participation that all sides should agree on the classification of terrorist organizations and moderate groups, which might play a role in the transition process, the report stated.

Iran has said the meeting is aimed at harming the Vienna peace talks and would cause their failure.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/847811

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Accused will have fair trial regardless of their faith

9 December 2015

RIYADH: Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani reassured a fair trial to all those accused of crimes, including terrorism and those who are accused of being involved in destabilizing state security.

He said, all their rights are guaranteed by Shariah regardless of their ethnic and faith affiliation.

Speaking to the local media here, the minister said the charges against them (terrorists) are being handled by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) under independent judges.

No authority can influence them except Islamic law, the minister said, stressing that the accused is entitled to legal assistance to fight his case.

The minister was responding to reports in the foreign media questioning certain provisions in the Saudi judicial system with reference to human rights.

“The independence of the judiciary in the Kingdom is a constitutional principle. It is the right of a sovereign which does not accept any attempt to influence it,” the minister said, adding that it is independent and seeks to protect human rights and provides guarantees to litigants in the interests of the individual and society.

He said legal provisions do not look at the ethnic or intellectual affiliations of parties or sectarian conflict. They are dealt with in a fair and even-handed manner.

The minister said the Kingdom has an independent and impartial judiciary which builds its provisions on objective criteria and is governed by the rules of Islamic law. It does not differentiate between litigants on the basis of race, religion or any particular affiliation.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/847776

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Africa

 

Central Somalia fighting kills 20, displaces 90k, UN says

Dec 8, 2015

Over two weeks of clashes between rival militiamen in central Somalia have left at least 20 people dead, 120 wounded and forced some 90,000 from their homes, the UN says.

"Relative calm has returned... armed forces from both states have started to withdraw from the frontline," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement warned that the clashes had affected many people already struggling and in need of aid.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/08/440859/Somalia-fighting-UN-OCHA-Galkayo

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Kenyans speak out against extrajudicial killings

08 December 2015

Angry Kenyans are using social media to express outrage at their government’s response to increased cases of extrajudicial killings, following the discovery of mass graves in the Muslim-majority North Eastern Province.

A search for a missing mother-of-five on Sunday in the Mandera East constituency led locals to discover shallow graves containing the fresh corpses of 12 people.

Kenya's security forces said on Tuesday that they are waiting for a court order to exhume more bodies from the site.

Disturbing pictures from the mass graves were circulated on social media, sparking heated talk of extrajudicial killings. Immediately the hashtag #StopKillingSomalis and #MuslimLivesMatter began trending in the East African country.

A Twitter user going by the name Ahmed Mohamed posted: “This is not a war on terror, its war against humankind. War against a community #StopKillingSomalis.”

Much of the population in the region has Somali ethnicity, making the north east one of Kenya's most Muslim-populated areas.

Prominent Kenyan journalist Mohammed Ali also turned to Twitter, raising concerns that extrajudicial killings, which have been on the rise since 2012, were slowly coming back to Kenya.

“Early this year it was Wajir, now Mandera. The poachers of men are back. Inshaallah,” Mohammed said.

Khalif Abdi, another Twitter user, claimed that the government had been known to kill Muslim clerics on the Kenyan coast, a trend he fears will spread throughout the country if not put to a stop.

“The extrajudicial killings did not spare our Muslim Swahili brethren in Coast!  #MuslimLivesMatter #StopKillingSomalis,” the Twitter user posted.

-Kenyan forces stand accused

The killings have taken place amid accusations of human rights abuses leveled at the country's security forces.

As Kenya tries to tackle extremist violence, Human Rights Watch earlier this year claimed such anti-terror operations had been "marred by ongoing patterns of serious human rights violations by Kenyan security forces, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and torture".

One of the deceased was positively identified as 48-year-old Isnina Mohammed; her neighbors say that she was arrested by Kenyan police officers four days ago.

“The corpse was mutilated, raped and was shot,” Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow told reporters on Monday, accusing the Kenyan military of being behind the extrajudicial killings.

“They [locals] counted over 25 other fresh graves in the same vicinity and we totally, wholly blame this on our Kenya Defense Forces. The vicinity where these mass graves were found is where our military frequents and has an army camp there,” he added.

The senator called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to take action to end extrajudicial killings.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167154/90000-flee-somalia-clashes-un

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Europe

 

Third bomber at Paris’ Bataclan music hall identified

9 December 2015

A 23-year-old man from the eastern French city of Strasbourg has been identified as the third bomber involved in the attacks at Paris’s Bataclan music hall, police sources said on Wednesday.

Foued Mohamed Aggad went to Syria with his brother and a group of friends at the end of 2013, according to a source close to the investigation.

Most of the others were arrested in spring last year upon their return to France but Aggad stayed on in Syria, the source said.

Ninety people died in the Bataclan attacks on Nov. 13. The two other bombers have been identified as Omar Omar Ismail

Mostefai, 29, and 28-year-old Samy Amimour.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/09/Third-bomber-at-Paris-s-Bataclan-music-hall-identified.html

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France urges EU to act faster against extremist finances

8 December 2015

France is urging its European Union partners to speed up efforts to cut off funds to extremists groups.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Tuesday that “every country is under threat of terrorism, and every country has to do what is needed to fight terror financing.”

Sapin and his EU counterparts are set to debate in Brussels ways to better track financial transfers, control prepaid bank cards, freeze assets and limit movements of cash and precious metals.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/08/France-urges-EU-to-act-faster-against-extremist-finances.html

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Russia censures Turkey's troop deployment to Iraq as 'reckless'

Dec 9, 2015

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has slammed Turkey’s controversial troop deployment to Iraq as ‘reckless and inexplicable.’

“We believe that Turkey has acted recklessly and inexplicably, carrying out additional deployments on the territory of Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government,” Vitaly Churkin told reporters following a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, adding that he had raised the issue during the meeting.

“They gave explanations saying basically that all that was in the interest of fighting against ISIL (Daesh) and in the interest of Iraq,” Churkin said, adding, “So if that is the case, why not ask for the permission of the government of Iraq?”

The Russian official called Turkey’s action a reflection of the “lack of legality” in the airstrikes in Syria by the so-called US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh.

Turkey ‘now on UN Security Council radars’

Churkin expressed regret that the Council failed to agree on Russia’s proposal to issue a statement reaffirming the need to respect international law and sovereignty.

“But now the situation is within the focus of the attention of the Security Council, so we hope it will help resolve the situation to the satisfaction of the Iraqi government, whose sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence will be respected,” Churkin said.

Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, who also attended the meeting, seemed to downplay the row between his country and Turkey, saying that bilateral talks between Ankara and Baghdad over the issue are going on “very well.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/09/440932/Russia-UN-Turkey-Iraq-Churkin

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Russia recovers black box of downed jet

9 December 2015

Moscow has recovered the black box of the Russian jet downed by Turkey last month and will analyse it with foreign specialists, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

“I ask you not to open it for the time being,” Putin told defence minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting during which he was presented with the black box, Russian news agencies reported.

“Open it only together with foreign experts, carefully determine everything.”

Moscow and Ankara are locked in their worst crisis since the Cold War over the November 24 downing of a Russian jet on Turkey’s border with Syria, sparking fury and economic sanctions from the Kremlin.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/09/Russia-recovers-and-to-analyze-black-box-of-downed-jet.html

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Australia

 

Religious Revolution, Tony Abbott Says Islam Must Change

09/12/2015

CANBERRA – Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has opened up a new controversy over Islam, calling for a "religious revolution" inside Islam, declaring "all cultures are not equal" and Australians should stop apologising for Western values and culture.

Muslim leaders have reacted with dismay and are “cringing” over his claim that Western culture is superior to Middle Eastern culture, but Abbott has been backed in by supporters within the Liberal Party.

abbott turnbull

The now Liberal backbencher has continued his prominent run in the media since being ousted from the top job by Malcolm Turnbull in September, giving an interview to Sky News and writing a provocative opinion piece for Sydney tabloid, the Daily Telegraph, headlined ”Islam Must Reform.”

Abbott said changes need to be made, warning some, but not all Muslims were, “All too ready to justify death to the infidel.”

“We can’t remain in ¬denial about the massive problem within Islam,” he wrote a week before the first anniversary of the deadly Lindt Café siege in Sydney.

After earlier calling for Australian boots on the ground in Syria fighting against Islamic State, Abbott is now urging a “hearts and minds” campaign within the Australian Muslim community.

“Islam needs to delegitimise the urge to behead all those who insult the Prophet, but only Muslims can do this.”

“Islam has never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment or a consequent acceptance of pluralism and the separation of church and state.”

Muslim leaders are urging the former Prime Minister to listen to Muslim voices.

“Islam does not need to change, “the CEO of the Muslim Women's Association, Maha Abdo told Huffington Post Australia. “What needs to change is the rhetoric of those people like him, where he doesn’t listen or open his heart.”

“He needs to stop being selective in who he listens to.”

“Islam is not a stagnant faith, it’s a very fluid faith. The problem is with the followers of Islam, it is not the faith itself.”

But Liberal backbencher and Abbott supporter, Craig Kelly has defended former Prime Minister’s words and said they should not be misinterpreted.

“We do have to admit that there is a problem with this perverted interpretation of the Islamic texts which is causing this terrorism which we are seeing throughout the world,” he told the ABC.

“There’s two options we have. Either sweep this all under the carpet and we pretend it is not happening and pretend there is no issues, or we try to work together set the problem out and we try to sort this out and all work together to try to come up with a solution.”

Labor frontbencher and only federal Muslim MP, Ed Husic said everyone should be careful with their language.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/12/09/abbott-islam-reformation-revolution_n_8753302.html?ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in

 

URL:

http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/70,000-indian-muslim-clerics-issue-fatwa-against-terrorism,-15-lakh-indian-muslims-support-it/d/105553


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