New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 08:56 AM

Islamic World News ( 23 Oct 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

A Modern Mosque without Minarets Stirs Controversy in Tehran

















The Vali-e-Asr mosque in Tehran has been criticised by religious hardliners. Photograph: Deed Studio

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Israel Sold Arms to Myanmar during Violence against Rohingya: Israeli Report

ISIS ‘Executed’ 128 in Revenge Campaign in Syrian Town of Qaryatain

Move Against Taliban Or Face Consequences: US To Pakistan

Infighting Erupts among Saudi-Backed Terrorists in Yemen

Muslim Outfits to Hold Massive Rally In Support Of Rohingyas in Kolkata Today

Report Suggests Qatar Transferring ISIS Militants from Iraq and Syria to Libya

 

Mideast

A Modern Mosque without Minarets Stirs Controversy in Tehran

Infighting Erupts among Saudi-Backed Terrorists in Yemen

Israel Said To Carry Out Airstrike on IS-Linked Group in Syria

9 killed in Qaeda attack on Yemen military base

Suspected Al-Qaeda-Linked Terrorists Kill 4 UAE-Backed Forces In Southern Yemen

Hamas Official Underlines Settlement of All Differences with Iran

Russian Senate urges US Congress to sustain Iran nuclear deal

Anti-Daesh fighters waiting for nobody’s order: Zarif

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South Asia

Israel Sold Arms to Myanmar during Violence against Rohingya: Israeli Report

Taliban’s Father Maulana Samiul Haq Vows Support for Afghan Peace

Hardline Buddhists Protest to Urge Myanmar Not To Take Back Rohingya Muslims

20 ISIS suicide bombers among those killed in US airstrike: Silab Corps

13 militants killed in Helmand military operation

CIA conducting ‘hunt-and-kill’ operations in Afghanistan: report

Go home, Bangladesh tells nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslims

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Arab World

ISIS ‘Executed’ 128 in Revenge Campaign in Syrian Town of Qaryatain

Elections in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region Delayed as Parties Fail to Present Candidates

US warplanes kill at least 14, injure 30 in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr

Scores of Bodies Are Found in Syrian Town after ISIS Retreats

ISIL Suffers Heavy Losses in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Deir Ezzur

Tens of Civilians Killed by ISIL Terrorists in Homs Province

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to ‘go home’

Syrian army makes new advances on Daesh lines south of Dayr al-Zawr

Saudi Arabia pledges $20m for Rohingya refugees

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Pakistan

Move Against Taliban Or Face Consequences: US To Pakistan

Religious Ministry Organises Event Today To Celebrate Diwali

General elections will be held on time next year, says Pakistan PM Abbasi

‘Specific’ requests made to Pakistan to undermine militants, says Tillerson

Qandeel murder case: Court extends Mufti Qavi's remand in police custody

No casualty as Quetta IED blast hits police vehicle

JI chief asks NAB to take up 150 mega corruption cases

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India

Muslim Outfits to Hold Massive Rally In Support Of Rohingyas in Kolkata Today

Bonanza for Muslims: Tech Corridor, Subsidy Announced by Telangana CM

Tipu Sultan Descendant Demands Apology from Union Minister

Zakir Naik to be charged this week in terror funding case

2013 ‘Terror’ Case: Key Witness Turns Hostile

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Africa

Report Suggests Qatar Transferring ISIS Militants from Iraq and Syria to Libya

14 Killed After Three Bombers Blow Up Explosives In Northeast Nigeria

Jordan Queen Urges International Community to ‘Do More’ For Rohingya Muslims

Egypt bombs militants smuggling weapons from Libya

C. Africa clerics urge review of UN strategy ahead of Guterres visit

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North America

US ‘Considering Sanctions’ Against Myanmar

Areas Freed From Islamic State Will Test U.S. Policy on Limiting Overseas Role

FBI Agent Reveals Life Infiltrating Extremist Groups in America

Religious Literacy Can Fix the Faulty Foundation beneath Trump’s Muslim Ban

Ex-CIA chief warns Trump of violating JCPOA

US apologizes for refusing Indonesian army chief entry

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Europe

London Newspaper Recognises Arab And Muslim 'Heroes'

French Parents Who Named Their Child 'Jihad' Are Reported To Police by Alarmed Registrar

Kill British Daesh members in Syria to prevent attack on UK: Minister

Russian soldier kills four colleagues in Chechnya

Human Rights Watch urges France to end 'disgraceful' approach to Egypt

Israel to participate in US military ‘counterterrorism’ conference for 1st time

‘British Shia tool against true Islam for political interests’

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Southeast Asia

ISIS Threat in Philippines Spreads in Remote Battles

Get Into Islamic Debate, Non-Muslim Leaders Told

Could Anti-Chinese Violence Flare Again In Indonesia?

Two N. Sumatra men arrested as suspected IS sympathizers

Australia expands security assistance to Philippines to combat Islamist militants

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/a-modern-mosque-without-minarets-stirs-controversy-in-tehran/d/113003

 

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A Modern Mosque without Minarets Stirs Controversy in Tehran

Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran correspondent

Monday 23 October 2017

When the Tehran authorities commissioned the construction of a mosque near the City theatre – one of Iranian capital’s most distinctive buildings – it was always going to be a tricky balancing act for the architects to design something unique that did not eclipse the adjacent structure.

The theatre, which was built before the 1979 revolution, has a spectacular tiled circular structure with external pillars and is the largest exclusive space in Iran for performing arts. The new mosque next door is a modern building that sits in harmony with it, sweeping from the ground towards the Qibla (the direction of Mecca), allowing sunlight through windows embedded in a wave-like structure.

But the Vali-e-Asr mosque, designed by the Iranian architects Reza Daneshmir and Catherine Spiridonoff, is stirring controversy in a country that hosts some of the world’s most glittering places of worship. Iranian hardliners are refusing to recognise it as a mosque, complaining that it does not have a minaret or proper dome, and that it is dwarfed by the theatre.

The conservative Mashregh News said: “A mosque sacrificed for the City theatre,” adding that it had been “decapitated in the honour of the theatre”. It was “an insulting, postmodern design” that is “empty of any meaning”, it said.

The mosque was due to be officially inaugurated this summer, nearly 10 years after the couple’s Tehran-based architecture firm, Fluid Motion, was commissioned to design it. The building is almost finished, but controversy has led to its funding being cut, meaning that the interior design has not been completed. Its fate remains in doubt. Some media reports suggest that the authorities intend to turn it into an Islamic cultural centre, with possible physical alterations.

The mosque is located in “one of the most culturally sensitive places in Tehran”, according to its architects. It is at a point where the Enghelab (Revolution) Street crosses the tree-lined Vali-e-Asr, the most important junction in the city, not far from Tehran University and its surrounding bookshops.

“We tried to create an interaction between the mosque, which has a cultural essence, and the City theatre. We wanted to make it a cultural project that would be in harmony with its surroundings – the mosque should respond to the needs of its own time,” the architects said.

Built over an area of 3,855 sq metres (4,600 sq yards), the seven-floor mosque is 32 metres high, only 20 metres of which is above ground. It has big prayer halls, cultural centres, an imam’s residence and parking spaces.

The mosque was proposed 14 years ago when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was mayor of Tehran. Theatre directors strongly opposed an initial design by a different architect because the building was 52 metres high and threatened the theatre’s fragile foundation.

When Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf became mayor, the design was given to Fluid Motion. The couple are experts in designing contemporary buildings. Daneshmir’s 2008 Pardis Mellat cinema is in many ways responsible for starting a new wave of modern structures in Tehran. A new generation of Iranian architects are following in the footsteps of a pre-revolutionary avant gardewho pushed the boundaries of traditional Persian architecture by using traditional elements in modern designs.

“Our biggest source for this project was the Qur’an itself,” the architects said. “We tried to design this mosque with modesty, simplicity and good faith, and not a mosque which would get its pride from its structural height. The Vali-e-Asr mosque is located near the students’ park and the City theatre. We wanted it to connect better with the younger generations.”

The couple said they were inspired by the Quba mosque, the oldest in the world dating back to the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad. “Simplicity was a main feature of the first mosques,” they said. They thought about the one-room concept and designed it so that “the general outline of the mosque is a gentle dome”.

Mehran Gharleghi, the director of Studio Integrate in London, said: “The building has been designed carefully to respect the City theatre and coexist with it. Its height is lower than the City theatre; its platforms dissolve into the surrounding plaza as it gets closer to the City theatre. Its main public platform is also facing the City theatre to allow the visitors to enjoy views towards the theatre.”

An alternative design in the traditional mosque typology with towers and large domes would have dominated the City theatre and could jeopardise its existence, he said. Creating novel religious spaces is not an unusual practice in the world of architecture, Gharleghi said, and unusual mosques even exist in Tehran, such as al-Ghadir mosque in Mirdamad Avenue, which won the Agha Khan award for architecture.

“Whilst there are examples of humble religious spaces … religious buildings are often created from grand atriums, domes and towers which stand high to dominate the visitors,” Gharleghi said. “These typologies metaphorically refer to the grand nature of God. Breaking this tradition is in contrast with the religious beliefs of many. The geometry of Vali-e-Asr mosque doesn’t follow this logic. It dissolves into its surrounding context. Its ascending planing even suggests that people can climb over it and reach the top. This makes the mosque an accessible and a humble religious space … most important purposes of the mosque which praying and gathering people in a public space have been fulfilled.”

Daneshmir and Spiridonoff said: “The Vali-e-Asr mosque doesn’t have a minaret, nor a dome; neither did the first mosque. A mosque is a place for worship, and the Qur’an doesn’t dictate a special structure for it. It’s what it contains that is important.”

Source: theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/23/a-modern-mosque-without-minarets-stirs-controversy-in-tehran

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Israel sold arms to Myanmar during violence against Rohingya: Israeli report

Oct 23, 2017

The Israeli regime has continued to sell advanced weaponry worth tens of millions of dollars to Myanmar even after a deadly government-sanctioned military campaign against Rohingya civilians in the Southeast Asian country came to light, an Israeli report has revealed.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that Tel Aviv supplied “Super-Dvora MK III” navy boats to Myanmar as recently as April, “when the Myanmar... army was already being accused of war crimes.”

The report said pictures of the boats released by the Myanmarese army also revealed the weapons that had been installed on the vessels. “There’s a remote weapon station, made by [Israeli] Elbit Systems, which allows the firing of a heavy machine gun or cannon of up to 30 millimeters.”

The patrol boats, the report said, “are only part of a larger transaction signed between Israel and Myanmar. The Ramta division of Israel Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Super Dvora, is meant to transfer at least two more boats to the local military.”

It cited “sources in the Israeli weapons industry” as saying that the value of the arms deal “is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.”

Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, has been accused by the United Nations of engaging in “textbook ethnic cleansing” of the minority Rohingya Muslims.

Even before horrific violence by military soldiers and Buddhist mobs forced hundreds of thousands of the Rohingya fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh, the Muslims already constituted a small percentage of Myanmar’s population and were only concentrated in a western state, Rakhine.

That state has been under military siege since late last year. Access is denied to journalists and rights activists, but the Muslims who have managed to flee to Bangladesh have told of horrendous violence being carried out in Rakhine. They say soldiers have been killing and raping the Muslims and have even been shooting at fleeing civilians, including women and children, at random.

Medics attending to the Muslims who arrive in Bangladesh have confirmed that injuries on their bodies correspond to their accounts of violence in Myanmar.

Covering up the mess?

The Haaretz report said Myanmar has “in the past” purchased Israeli air-to-air missiles and cannons as well.

“An Israeli company, TAR Ideal Concepts, has noted on its website that it has trained Myanmar military forces. Now the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only to Asia,” it said.

Attempts to expose the Israeli military ties to Myanmar by Attorney Eitay Mack, “who is active in increasing transparency of Israeli arms exports to countries that violate human rights, have so far been unsuccessful,” the report said. “Last month the High Court of Justice issued a ruling in response to a petition he filed with other human rights activists against the sales, but the ruling was kept classified” at the Israeli regime’s request.

Rohingya Muslims, recognized by the UN as the world’s most persecuted minority group, are denied Myanmarese citizenship as the country’s leadership brands them illegal “Bangladeshi immigrants.”

While some reports have said Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, may not have an influence over the military leaders to stop the violence, she has adopted a stance that most resembles theirs. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, she has taken almost no meaningful action to end the abuses against the Rohingya.

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539591/Israel-Myanmar-advanced-weaponry-tens-of-millions-ethnic-cleansing

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ISIS ‘executed’ 128 in revenge campaign in Syrian town of Qaryatain

23 October 2017

ISIS killed 128 people it suspected of collaborating with the Syrian regime in al-Qaryatain this month before losing the desert down to government forces, a monitor said Monday.

"ISIS has over a period of 20 days executed more than 116 civilians in reprisal killings, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

The Observatory later put the death toll at 128.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/10/23/ISIS-executed-128-in-revenge-campaign-in-Syrian-town.html

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Move against Taliban or face consequences: US to Pakistan

OCTOBER 24, 2017

BAGRAM AIR BASE: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday said he is traveling to Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to reinforce President Donald Trump administration’s demand that Islamabad move against the Taliban and other extremists based inside its borders or face the consequences.

“We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support the Taliban receives and other terrorist organizations receive,” he told a brief news conference after his meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during his unreported visit to Afghanistan.

“US policy toward Islamabad will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward for both creating opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan but also ensuring a stable future for Pakistan,” he continued. Islamabad needed to “take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside” the country, he said. “We want to work closely [with] Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well.” Tillerson said he would then travel to India to discuss a request that it expand its economic and development assistance to Afghanistan.

Tillerson spent almost three hours in a heavily guarded building in the main US military facility in Afghanistan, most of the time in talks with President Ashraf Ghani and other US and Afghan officials.

A small group of US media accompanying the former ExxonMobil CEO on his first official visit to Afghanistan were prohibited for security reasons from filing dispatches, photographs and video until they returned to Qatar.

While there have been no recent attacks on the airbase by Taliban insurgents, the sprawling facility north of Kabul has been regularly hit since the 2001 US invasion by rockets, mortars and explosives-laden vehicles.

A recent visit to Kabul by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was greeted by a rocket attack on the city’s main airport.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/129504/move-taliban-face-consequences-us-pakistan/

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Infighting Erupts among Saudi-Backed Terrorists in Yemen

Oct 23, 2017

Local sources in Ta'iz confirmed that the armed clashes erupted in Beir Basha region in the Western parts of the province when the forces affiliated to Islah party weren’t allowed to take control of a security center in Ta'iz.

Islah party is one of the branches of IKhwan al-Muslimoun in Yemen which was supported by Saudi Arabia but media outlets recently reported gaps between them.

During the clashes, the financial official of Hamoud al-Mekhlafi was killed.

Relevant reports said in July that infighting has intensified between the Takfiri terrorist groups in the Southern parts of Yemen after the ISIL executed a senior Al-Qaeda commander.

Qassan al-Assadi, a senior Al-Qaeda leader, was executed by the ISIL in Abyan province in Southern Yemen which triggered heavy clashes between the two terrorist groups, the Arabic-language media outlets reported.

This is the second time that the ISIL has executed a senior Al-Qaeda commander. Earlier this year the ISIL had executed Al-Qaeda's senior commander Abu Hajar al-Adani.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960801001300

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Muslim outfits to hold massive rally in support of Rohingyas in Kolkata today

Oct 24, 2017

Kolkata: As many as 14 Muslim organisations will hold a massive protest march in support of Rohingyas on Tuesday.

According to ANI, the rally will be held from Park Circus to the Myanmar Consulate at 12 noon.

No big leaders or influential imams are participating in today's rally.

Among the prominent organisations which are participating in today's rally are - Bangiyo Imam Parishad, Jati Jagran Manch, Bhasa-o-Chetna Samity, Sankhyalaghu Parishad.

Since Myanmar Consulate falls under the high-security zone, a heavy security blanket has been put in place there.

The local police has also set up barricades at the Rani Rashmoni Avenue in view of the protest march.

Earlier on September 12, a similar protest march was organised by the Muslim bodies in support of Rohingyas.

At least 25,000 to 35,000 protesters marched from Park Circus to Rani Rashmoni Road - a distance of about 5 km - and paralysed traffic.

The slogans, banners and posters condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to raise the plight of the Rohingyas with the Nobel laureate, Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

The rally ended in a mega meeting at Rani Rashmoni Road where the event took on a further political twist.

A team of protesters even went to the Myanmar Consulate in Kolkata and submited a memorandum of demands.

http://zeenews.india.com/kolkata/muslim-outfits-to-hold-massive-rally-in-support-of-rohingyas-in-kolkata-today-2051654.html

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Report suggests Qatar transferring ISIS militants from Iraq and Syria to Libya

23 October 2017

ISIS militants have allegedly begun to regroup in south Libya with Qatar’s help after the Gulf state was accused of transferring hundreds of fighters from Syria and Iraq to Libya, a UAE-based newspaper reported on Saturday.

Military sources told Alittihad newspaper that the move is an effort to turn the south into a hotbed for extremists after ISIS took severe blows in Syria and Iraq,

According to Libyan military officials speaking to the newspaper, ISIS fighters began to leave fighting areas through Turkey and are headed to Libya.

The newspaper added that Doha, which is accused by the anti-terror quartet of supporting terrorist groups including groups in Libya that suffer from political divisions, is behind this activity.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/10/23/Report-suggests-Qatar-transferring-ISIS-militants-from-Iraq-Syria-to-Libya.html

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Mideast

 

A Modern Mosque without Minarets Stirs Controversy in Tehran

Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran correspondent

Monday 23 October 2017

When the Tehran authorities commissioned the construction of a mosque near the City theatre – one of Iranian capital’s most distinctive buildings – it was always going to be a tricky balancing act for the architects to design something unique that did not eclipse the adjacent structure.

The theatre, which was built before the 1979 revolution, has a spectacular tiled circular structure with external pillars and is the largest exclusive space in Iran for performing arts. The new mosque next door is a modern building that sits in harmony with it, sweeping from the ground towards the Qibla (the direction of Mecca), allowing sunlight through windows embedded in a wave-like structure.

But the Vali-e-Asr mosque, designed by the Iranian architects Reza Daneshmir and Catherine Spiridonoff, is stirring controversy in a country that hosts some of the world’s most glittering places of worship. Iranian hardliners are refusing to recognise it as a mosque, complaining that it does not have a minaret or proper dome, and that it is dwarfed by the theatre.

The conservative Mashregh News said: “A mosque sacrificed for the City theatre,” adding that it had been “decapitated in the honour of the theatre”. It was “an insulting, postmodern design” that is “empty of any meaning”, it said.

The mosque was due to be officially inaugurated this summer, nearly 10 years after the couple’s Tehran-based architecture firm, Fluid Motion, was commissioned to design it. The building is almost finished, but controversy has led to its funding being cut, meaning that the interior design has not been completed. Its fate remains in doubt. Some media reports suggest that the authorities intend to turn it into an Islamic cultural centre, with possible physical alterations.

The mosque is located in “one of the most culturally sensitive places in Tehran”, according to its architects. It is at a point where the Enghelab (Revolution) Street crosses the tree-lined Vali-e-Asr, the most important junction in the city, not far from Tehran University and its surrounding bookshops.

“We tried to create an interaction between the mosque, which has a cultural essence, and the City theatre. We wanted to make it a cultural project that would be in harmony with its surroundings – the mosque should respond to the needs of its own time,” the architects said.

Built over an area of 3,855 sq metres (4,600 sq yards), the seven-floor mosque is 32 metres high, only 20 metres of which is above ground. It has big prayer halls, cultural centres, an imam’s residence and parking spaces.

The mosque was proposed 14 years ago when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was mayor of Tehran. Theatre directors strongly opposed an initial design by a different architect because the building was 52 metres high and threatened the theatre’s fragile foundation.

When Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf became mayor, the design was given to Fluid Motion. The couple are experts in designing contemporary buildings. Daneshmir’s 2008 Pardis Mellat cinema is in many ways responsible for starting a new wave of modern structures in Tehran. A new generation of Iranian architects are following in the footsteps of a pre-revolutionary avant gardewho pushed the boundaries of traditional Persian architecture by using traditional elements in modern designs.

“Our biggest source for this project was the Qur’an itself,” the architects said. “We tried to design this mosque with modesty, simplicity and good faith, and not a mosque which would get its pride from its structural height. The Vali-e-Asr mosque is located near the students’ park and the City theatre. We wanted it to connect better with the younger generations.”

The couple said they were inspired by the Quba mosque, the oldest in the world dating back to the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad. “Simplicity was a main feature of the first mosques,” they said. They thought about the one-room concept and designed it so that “the general outline of the mosque is a gentle dome”.

Mehran Gharleghi, the director of Studio Integrate in London, said: “The building has been designed carefully to respect the City theatre and coexist with it. Its height is lower than the City theatre; its platforms dissolve into the surrounding plaza as it gets closer to the City theatre. Its main public platform is also facing the City theatre to allow the visitors to enjoy views towards the theatre.”

An alternative design in the traditional mosque typology with towers and large domes would have dominated the City theatre and could jeopardise its existence, he said. Creating novel religious spaces is not an unusual practice in the world of architecture, Gharleghi said, and unusual mosques even exist in Tehran, such as al-Ghadir mosque in Mirdamad Avenue, which won the Agha Khan award for architecture.

“Whilst there are examples of humble religious spaces … religious buildings are often created from grand atriums, domes and towers which stand high to dominate the visitors,” Gharleghi said. “These typologies metaphorically refer to the grand nature of God. Breaking this tradition is in contrast with the religious beliefs of many. The geometry of Vali-e-Asr mosque doesn’t follow this logic. It dissolves into its surrounding context. Its ascending planing even suggests that people can climb over it and reach the top. This makes the mosque an accessible and a humble religious space … most important purposes of the mosque which praying and gathering people in a public space have been fulfilled.”

Daneshmir and Spiridonoff said: “The Vali-e-Asr mosque doesn’t have a minaret, nor a dome; neither did the first mosque. A mosque is a place for worship, and the Qur’an doesn’t dictate a special structure for it. It’s what it contains that is important.”

Source: theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/23/a-modern-mosque-without-minarets-stirs-controversy-in-tehran

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Israel said to carry out airstrike on IS-linked group in Syria

Oct 24, 2017

BEIRUT — At least 10 members of a small jihadist faction linked to the Islamic State terror group were killed Monday in air strikes in southern Syria, a monitor said, blaming Israel but offering no evidence.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit the town of Sahm al-Jolan in the west of Daraa province.

The monitor said 10 fighters from the Jaish Khaled Bin Walid group were killed, along with two women believed to be the wives of fighters from the faction.

The strike hit a base belonging to the group, which has pledged allegiance to IS but was never formally incorporated into it.

The Observatory offered no evidence that Israel carried out the strike. It relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.

The Israel Defense Forces said it had no comment on the report.

Israel has acknowledged several strikes in Syria, almost always at shipments of arms, or on facilities producing weapons for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

In other cases it has retaliated for rockets and shells fired into Israel.

Five rockets were fired at the Golan Heights in Israel over the weekend. Defense Minister Avidor Liberman blamed Hezbollah, but the IDF said it was still not clear who had fired the rockets. Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers, in response to the rocket fire, and warned that further fire would prompt a more intensive response.

The Observatory said Monday’s strike came several months after 16 fighters from the group were killed in suspected Israeli air strikes in the same area.

Jaish Khaled Bin Walid was formed in May 2016, and is an alliance of several jihadist groups, the largest of them the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which was listed by Washington as a terrorist group.

In November 2016, Israel’s army said it had targeted members of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade after they fired at an Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights.

The Observatory said Jaish Khaled Bin Walid is estimated to have some 1,200 fighters, and controls territory in western Daraa province, along the border with the Golan Heights.

Israel captured 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

The two countries are still technically at war.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-said-to-carry-out-airstrike-on-is-linked-group-in-syria/

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9 killed in Qaeda attack on Yemen military base

Oct 24, 2017

ADEN - Four Yemeni soldiers and five assailants were killed in an Al-Qaeda attack on a military base in the southern province of Abyan on Monday, a security source said.

A car rigged with explosives carrying five Al-Qaeda militants pulled up to a military base in the district of Mudiya in Abyan, the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Four men wearing explosive belts ran out of the car towards the base, but were all shot dead before they could blow themselves up, the source said. The vehicle then exploded outside the base, killing the driver and four soldiers from a UAE-backed contingent in the Yemeni army. Nine soldiers were also wounded. Yemen's southern provinces, including Abyan, have seen a long-running US drone war against Al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has flourished in the chaos of Yemen's civil war pitting the Saudi-backed government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Huthi rebels.

The United States, the only government to operate drones over the impoverished country, considers AQAP to be the radical group's most dangerous branch and backs the UAE-trained contingent in southern Yemen.

The United Arab Emirates is a key component of a Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in the war to support Hadi's government in 2015.

More than 8,600 people have since been killed in Yemen, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, over 11 million Yemeni children need humanitarian aid as a result of a war raging since March 2015, the UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA said on Monday.

A Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-backed Huthi rebels forced him into exile.

OCHA, which described the conflict as "devastating" said children are facing "the largest food security crisis in the world and an unprecedented cholera outbreak". "Deprived of access to basic health and nutrition services, children are unable to fulfil their potential," it said in a statement.

Children in Yemen are dying of "preventable causes like malnutrition, diarrhoea, and respiratory tract infections," it said. "The education system is on the brink of collapse, with more than five million children at risk of being deprived of their right to education."

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with seven million people on the brink of famine and a cholera outbreak that has caused more than 2,000 deaths.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/24-Oct-2017/9-killed-in-qaeda-attack-on-yemen-military-base

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Suspected al-Qaeda-linked terrorists kill 4 UAE-backed forces in southern Yemen

Oct 23, 2017

At least four UAE-backed forces, loyal to Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, have been killed and several others have sustained injuries after a number of terrorists launched a bomb attack against their military camp in southern Yemen.

According local sources, five suspected militants of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Takfiri terrorist outfit, driving an explosives-laden vehicle, approached a military base in the district of Mudiyah in Abyan province on Monday morning.

Four of the assailants, wearing explosive vests, then ran the vehicle towards the base to detonate their explosives but were all shot dead by guarding mercenaries before they had time to accomplish their terror mission.

The remaining assailant then blew up the vehicle, causing a massive explosion, which killed the driver and four mercenaries. The blast also wounded at least nine other UAE-backed mercenaries.

Last month, Hadi’s militia managed to capture Mudiyah, a stronghold of al-Qaeda militants in southern regions.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it has the hallmark of the AQAP terror outfit, which alongside its rival, the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, has exploited more than two years of Saudi Arabia’s war against the Yemeni nation, trying to deepen its influence in the impoverished country by launching bombings and shooting attacks.

Since March 2015, the Saudi regime has been heavily bombarding Yemen as part of a brutal campaign against its impoverished southern neighbor in an attempt to reinstall Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is in control of large parts of Yemen including the capital Sana'a. The Saudi campaign, however, has failed to achieve its goals.

Hadi, who initially fled the country to Riyadh, managed to capture Aden in July 2015 with the military help of the regime in Riyadh after it fell into the hands of Houthis in September 2014. He has since taken some other regions of Yemen, including parts of Abyan.

Since then, Hadi, along with his supporters and militiamen, has turned the port city into their base, calling it Yemen’s temporary capital, and has gone hand-in-hand with the Saudi war machine against the nation, trying to capture more areas in the country.

Over the past two years, Houthis have been running state affairs and defending Yemeni people against the Saudi campaign.

Latest figures show that the imposed war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more. The Saudi aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539618/Yemen-car-bomb-attack-UAE-Saudi-Arabia-Abyan-Mudiyah-Hadi-houthis

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Hamas Official Underlines Settlement of All Differences with Iran

Oct 23, 2017

"The era of differences between Tehran and Hamas has ended and we move within the framework of strengthening confrontation against the occupying regime of Israel which is a danger to all the regional states," Qadoumi was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language al-Rasalah news website on Monday.

"Tehran has always supported us and we are partners in fighting the occupier regime and we have taken positive steps to expand ties with Tehran," he added.

Meantime, Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri declared that the Palestinian resistance group could fix the gaps created with Tehran in the past few years, adding that relations with Iran have returned to the normal conditions.

"Ties with Tehran benefit the resistance front and the Palestinian cause and Iran's position on supporting the resistance is clear," Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying by the Palestinian SAMA news agency.

"Hamas is an ally of all sides which support Palestine, including Iran, and these ties have returned to normal in line with supporting the resistance project," he added.

Abu Zuhri said that the recent visit by a Hamas delegation to Tehran was in line with supporting the resistance and political consultations on political issues related to Palestine and other regional developments.

A high-ranking Hamas delegation began a visit to Iran on Friday to inform Tehran about reconciliation efforts with rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

The group led by Deputy Head of Hamas political bureau Saleh al-Arouri will meet senior Iranian officials over the next several days.

The two Palestinians factions have agreed a landmark deal to end a decade-long split and are seeking to form a unity government along with other parties.

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati praised Hamas for insisting on continued armed struggle against the Israeli occupation.

"We congratulate you for declaring that you will not set your weapons aside and for describing it as your redline," Velayati said in Tehran.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960801001158

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Russian Senate urges US Congress to sustain Iran nuclear deal

Oct 24, 2017

Lawmakers in the upper house of Russia’s parliament are set to call on their colleagues in the US Congress and other Western legislatures to do all in their power to help protect the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, which they say is under threat by US President Donald Trump.

The Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee has prepared a draft statement to remind US congress members and Western parliamentarians of the importance of the 2015 nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and its significant contribution to the global regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, RIA Novosti reported.

According to the draft, “the Federation Council addresses the US Congress members with an urgent request to use all available resources and prevent” the collapse of the deal, which it said could lead to an “extremely dangerous situation.”

The Russian senators also called on their US and Western counterparts “to use the influence on political leaders of their countries in order to keep in force the historical deal concerning the Iranian nuclear program.”

“At present time the implementation of this agreement is under threat of complete failure because of US President’s Donald Trump’s declared strategy concerning Iran that stipulates Washington’s unilateral actions that violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action up to full cancellation of US participation in it,” the draft statement read.

The draft statement will be put to vote at the parliament on Wednesday, according to the report.

The deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

Trump, who rose to the US presidency a year after the implementation of the deal had begun, has been opposed to it.

On October 13, the US president refused to formally certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and warned that he might ultimately terminate the deal.

While Trump did not pull Washington out of the JCPOA, he gave Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the agreement in exchange for Iran applying certain limits to its nuclear program.

Elsewhere in its statement, the Russian Senate warned that the US withdrawal from the pact would very likely prompt Iran to take reciprocal actions and undermine Tehran’s trust in the Western powers’ ability to honor agreements.

Trump’s hostile comments against the JCPOA drew strong criticisms from Iran and the five other parties to the accord. Even the staunchest allies of the US, according to Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have voiced their opposition to Trump’s policies against the deal.

In an October 11 interview with the American broadcaster PBS, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said Washington’s possible withdrawal from the Iran deal will send a message to the international community that the US is not trustworthy when it comes to deal making.

Mogherini chaired the P5+1 states during the negotiations in the lead-up to the agreement.

She also spoke in defense of the JCPOA following Trump’s mid-October speech, reiterating the European Union’s commitment to the agreement.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/24/539686/Russia-Federation-Council-US-Iran-JCPOA

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Anti-Daesh fighters waiting for nobody’s order: Zarif

Oct 23, 2017

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says those forces who are fighting against Daesh terrorists have never been waiting for anybody’s order to defend their homeland.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the 13th meeting of Iran-South Africa Joint Commission in Pretoria on Monday, Zarif made the remarks in reaction to earlier comments by US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in Saudi capital Riyadh.

Tillerson was speaking at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday. He said "Iranian militias" in Iraq should leave the country now that the fight against Daesh was coming to a close.

“Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control," the US state secretary said.

In response to Tillerson, Zarif noted that the anti-Daesh fighters “are already in their homes and have not been waiting and will not wait for anybody’s order,” adding, “If they had waited for orders from Tillerson and US government, today, we would have had Daesh in Baghdad and Erbil.”

He emphasized that the anti-Daesh fighters have only acted in line with orders from religious authorities and defended their own homeland.

“Unlike the US that sees its interests in division and discord, the Islamic Republic of Iran sees its interests in cooperation and collaboration with regional countries,” Zarif said.

Zarif also put a relevant post on his Twitter account on Monday, in which he reiterated Iran's policy to meet its interests through positive collaboration with regional states.

On Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister also slammed Tillerson’s remarks, saying they had been uttered under the influence of petrodollars of certain states.

“Exactly what country is it that Iraqis, who rose up to defend their homes against ISIS, [should] return to?” Zarif said in a tweet late on Sunday, using an alternative name for Daesh. “Shameful US FP (foreign policy), dictated by petrodollars,” he added in his tweet.

Upon his arrival in the South African capital on Sunday, Zarif also denounced the policies of US President Donald Trump’s administration as “isolated in the world.”

“Unfortunately, the Americans do not want to rectify their viewpoint that Iran is a source of stability and peace as well as a campaigner against terrorism in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Iran-South Africa Trade Forum, Zarif stressed the importance of improving mutual relations and said, “South Africa has a special significance for Iran in economic ties.”

He added that Iran enjoyed a good level of security for investment, particularly following the implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the lifting of sanctions against the country in 2016.

Zarif noted that the removal of sanctions had greatly improved the prospects for relations with Iran.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539623/Iran-South-Africa-US-Pretoria-Mohammad-Javad-Zarif-Rex-Tillerson-Daesh-Lindiwe-Zulu-JCPOA

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South Asia

 

Taliban’s father Maulana Samiul Haq vows support for Afghan peace

Oct 23 2017

The leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Samiul Haq who is also famous the spiritual father of the Afghan Taliban, has vowed support to Afghan peace and reconciliation processs.

According to the local media reports in Pakistan, Maulana Haq made the commitment during a meetign with the Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal.

Darul Uloomi-i-Haqqania led by Maulana Haq in a statement confirmed the two-hour long meeting between Maulana Haq and the Afghan Ambassador.

The statement further added that the Afghan Ambassador met Maulana Haq and the two sides discussed matters related to peace in Afghanistan.

The statement further added that the Afghan ambassador urged the Maulana to play his role for restoration of peace in the war-torn country.

Maulana Haq quoted in the statement said peace in Afghanistan was need of the hour, as it was also in favour of Pakistan.

“The western powers don’t want to resolve the Afghan problem and they have been hindering restoration of peace,” he said, adding that “They have created a war-like situation and disturbance in the whole Ummah.”

He also added that that the Islamic countries and specially Pakistan should join hands with Afghanistan to restore peace in the region, as people had rendered unprecedented sacrifices against both America and Russia.

http://www.khaama.com/talibans-father-maulana-samiul-haq-vows-support-for-afghan-peace-03696

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Hardline Buddhists protest to urge Myanmar not to take back Rohingya Muslims

Oct 23, 2017

Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists protested Sunday to urge Myanmar’s government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

The protest took place in Sittwe, the state capital, where many Rohingya lived before an outbreak of inter-communal violence in 2012 forced them to flee their homes.

Aung Htay, a protest organizer, said any citizens would be welcome in the state. “But if these people don’t have the right to be citizens ... the government’s plan for a conflict-free zone will never be implemented,” he said.

Myanmar doesn’t recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group, instead insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. Rohingya are excluded from the official 135 ethnic groups in the country and denied citizenship.

More than 580,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar’s government has said it was responding to attacks by Muslim insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate.

Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government said earlier this month that it was willing to take back Rohingya refugees who fled to southeastern Bangladesh. The government has agreed to form a joint working group to start the repatriation process.

On Sunday, protesters, including some Buddhist monks, demanded that the government not take back the refugees.

“The organizers of the protest applied to get permission for a thousand people to participate in the protest, but only a few hundred showed up,” said Soe Tint Swe, a local official.

Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered Sunday in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, to show support for Suu Kyi and the government’s handling of the Rohingya crisis.

Colorful crowds of people, some wearing T-shirts with Suu Kyi’s photo and some holding photo frames of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party flag, took part in the rally.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/hardline-buddhists-protest-to-urge-myanmar-not-to-take-back-rohingya-muslims/story-5hC52H0tdNIGbNfPazBoXL.html

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20 ISIS suicide bombers among those killed in US airstrike: Silab Corps

Oct 23 2017

The Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army in the East has said at least twenty suicide bombers were among the several ISIS militants killed in US airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province.

The 201st Silab Corps in a statement said the airstrike was carried out in Pekha area of Achin district, targeting a compound used by the terror group to train the suicide bombers.

The statement further added that two trainers of the terror group were also killed besides the raid left 20 suicide bombers dead.

According to Silab Corps, the training facility of the terror group was totally destroyed in the airstrike.

This comes as the provincial police commandment in a statement said Sunday at least 40 people including two trainers of the terror group and several suicide bombers were killed in the airstrike.

The statement further added that the training camp was located in Pekha area of Achin.

The two ISIS trainers killed in the attack have been identified as Qari Quran and Qari Fida, the police commandment added.

Several weapons, ammunition, and explosives belonging to the terror group were also destroyed in the airstrike, the police commandment said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/20-isis-suicide-bombers-among-those-killed-in-us-airstrike-silab-corps-03698

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13 militants killed in Helmand military operation

Oct 24, 2017

Afghanistan: Thirteen militants were killed and five others wounded in southern Afghan province of Helmand, local police said Monday.

"Afghan army, police and intelligence agency personnel launched a cordon operation against Taliban in Garmsir district on Sunday. As a result, 13 insurgents were killed and five others wounded," provincial police spokesman, Abdul Sallam Afghan, told a news agency.

The joint forces also defused 20 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and landmines in the district.

http://nation.com.pk/international/23-Oct-2017/13-militants-killed-in-helmand-military-operation

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CIA conducting ‘hunt-and-kill’ operations in Afghanistan: report

Anwar Iqbal | Masood Haider

October 24, 2017

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: The CIA has launched a new “hunt and kill” mission in Afghanistan, targeting Taliban militants across the country, the US media reported on Monday.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said last week that the United States wants to beat the Taliban in the battlefield first to force them to negotiate peace with the government in Kabul. This is also a key component of the policy US President Donald Trump announced in his address to the American nation on Aug 21.

“President (Trump) has made it very clear. We are going to do everything we can … to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Afghanistan with the Taliban having zero hope that they can win this thing on the battlefield,” Mr Pompeo told a US think-tank in Washington last week.

The New York Times was the first to report that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country. Other media reports added that these teams will operate with official Afghan forces but may not have official US troops with them.

The reports claim that US President Donald Trump has decided to give CIA an “increasing integral” role in his efforts to end the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, which is already America’s longest military engagement ever.

The reports noted that while the agency was involved in drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the ground it primarily focused on combating Al Qaeda and helping the Afghan intelligence service but now Washington has decided to give it a greater role.

The US military, the reports added, would focus on conducting large-scale operations and the CIA’s paramilitary division will perform these “hunt and kill” operations. The agency is already fighting the militant the Islamic State group in Afghanistan.

“The expansion reflects the CIA’s assertive role under its new director, Mike Pompeo, to combat insurgents around the world,” NYT observed.

“The agency is already poised to broaden its program of covert drone strikes into Afghanistan; it had largely been centered on the tribal regions of Pakistan, with occasional strikes in Syria and Yemen,” the newspaper added.

The report also said that the new CIA mission is a tacit acknowledgement that to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, the United States will need to aggressively fight the insurgents.

In his Aug 21 speech, President Trump also vowed to loosen restrictions on hunting terrorists. “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms,” he said. “Retribution will be fast and powerful.”

Mr Pompeo not only supported this strategy but also criticized Pakistan for not helping the US in eradicating militancy from the Pak-Afghan region.

In his remarks at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Washington, he urged the Trump administration not to have high-expectations from Pakistan.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1365832/cia-conducting-hunt-and-kill-operations-in-afghanistan-report

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Go home, Bangladesh tells nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslims

23 OCTOBER 2017

Geneva - Bangladesh called on Myanmar on Monday to allow nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees to return home under safe conditions, saying that the burden had become "untenable" on its territory.

About 600 000 people have crossed the border since August 25 when Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a counter-offensive by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state which the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.

"This is an untenable situation," Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told a U.N. pledging conference. "Despite claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine state has not stopped. Thousands still enter on a daily basis." Vital humanitarian aid must continue, Ahsan said, adding: "It is of paramount importance that Myanmar delivers on its recent promises and works towards safe, dignified, voluntary return of its nationals back to their homes in Myanmar."

Bangladesh's interior minister was in Yangon on Monday for talks to find a "durable solution", he said.

But Myanmar continued to issue "propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh", Ahsan said, adding: "This blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling block."

Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be stateless, although they trace their presence in the country back generations.

Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, later told journalists that the two countries had begun talks on "repatriation".

Conducive conditions have to be "recreated" in Rakhine, he said. "This must include a solution to the question of citizenship, or rather lack thereof for the Rohingya community," Grandi said.

Khaled al-Jarallah, deputy foreign minister of Kuwait, called on Myanmar authorities to "cease the practice of stripping the Rohingya minority of their right of citizenship, which as a result deprives them of the right to property and employment".

Jordan's Queen Rania visited Rohingya refugee camps on Monday and called for a stronger response from the international community to the plight of the Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape "systematic persecution" in Myanmar.

"One has to ask, why is the plight of this Muslim minority group being ignored? Why has the systematic prosecution been allowed to play out for so long?" she asked after touring the camps.

The United Nations has appealed for $434 million to provide life-saving aid to 1.2 million people for six months.

"We need more money to keep pace with intensifying needs. This is not an isolated crisis, it is the latest round in a decades-long cycle of persecution, violence and displacement," U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the talks.

An estimated 1 000- 3 000 Rohingya still enter Bangladesh daily, William Lacy Swing, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. He called them: "these most rejected and vulnerable people in the world."

Joanne Liu, president of the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders, described them as "the walking dead".

There are only 210 hospital beds for 1 million refugees, malnutrition is on the rise and latrines are lacking to prevent contamination, she said. "The camp is a time-bomb, ticking towards a full-blown health crisis."

Full report at:

https://www.iol.co.za/news/world/go-home-bangladesh-tells-nearly-1-million-rohingya-muslims-11675301

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Arab World

 

Elections in Iraq’s Kurdistan region delayed as parties fail to present candidates

Oct 23, 2017

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has decided to postpone elections for the region’s presidency and parliament as political parties still grapple with the aftermaths of a controversial independence referendum held in the semi-autonomous territory nearly a month ago.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Kurdish MP said on Monday that political parties in Kurdistan had failed to focus on the elections and present candidates because of turmoil that followed the September 25 referendum.

The deadline to present candidates expired last week and was extended until Monday.

Iraq, along with neighbors Iran and Turkey, opposed the vote, warning that the referendum would further complicate the security situation in the Arab country that has been grappling with foreign-backed militancy in its north and west for the past three years.

Following the vote, the central government in Baghdad shut down flights in and out of the region and ordered a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

The Kurdish region further slipped into political uncertainty after Iraqi forces captured the disputed city of Kirkuk last week. The city and its surroundings, rich in oil and populated by Kurds, Arabs and Christians, have been at the heart of a long-running row between Erbil and Baghdad.

Political parties have criticized KRG President Massoud Barzani for the deepening stand-off with Baghdad that they blame on the Kurdish leader’s ill-timed decision to hold the referendum.

The KRG’s paramilitary forces, known as Peshmerga, have helped Iraqi government purge Daesh Takfiri terrorists from key urban areas. However, the cooperation seems to have turned into a fierce rivalry after the controversial referendum.

Gorran, the main opposition party to Barzani, issued a statement on Sunday, calling for the resignation of the Kurdish leader who has held the region’s presidency since 2005. The opposition party said Barzani was responsible for the turmoil that followed the referendum.

Sources in the Kurdish electoral commission said Monday it was now up to the Kurdistan region’s parliament to announce a new date for presidential and parliamentary elections. The current presidency and parliament would continue to function until new elections were held in the region.

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539612/Kurdistan-elections-delayed

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US warplanes kill at least 14, injure 30 in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr

Oct 23, 2017

At least 14 Syrian civilians have been killed and 30 more injured in a US airstrike in the city of Dayr al-Zawr.

According to Syrian new sources on Monday, the strike was launched on the government-held region of Qusur.

"Fourteen civilians were killed and more than 30 others injured in air strikes by coalition planes on the Al-Qusor neighborhood in Dayr al-Zawr city," one of the sources said.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the death toll at around 22 without confirming the origin of the strikes.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

The US-led air raids also resulted in the injury of hundreds of civilians, some of whom suffered permanent disabilities and had to have their limbs amputated.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539670/syria-us-civilians-airstrike-fighter-jets-attack

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Scores of Bodies Are Found in Syrian Town After ISIS Retreats

By ANNE BARNARD

OCT. 23, 2017

BEIRUT, Lebanon — As pro-government troops drove Islamic State fighters from a central Syrian town over the weekend, the retreating militants killed scores of civilians, dumping some bodies into wells and leaving others in the street, local residents and the Syrian state-run news media said on Monday.

The apparent mass killing is the latest example of the brutal reprisals that have taken place when territory changes hands in Syria’s multisided war, with civilians often bearing the brunt of the pain.

The carnage showed how the Islamic State can still spread havoc even as it loses major parts of its territory that once included large areas of Syria and Iraq.

At least 67 bodies had been identified in the town, Qaryatayn, northeast of Damascus, the capital, by Monday afternoon, according to local activists who posted an online list of the victims’ names.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said that as many as 128 civilians had been killed in Qaryatayn in the past several weeks before the Islamic State fighters retreated.

The militants had accused the victims of collaborating with the government, according to residents, who disputed that claim. Local residents said the dead appeared to include many townspeople who had tried to keep their heads down as the town changed hands several times in recent years.

“I knew most of these people — farmers and electricians and teachers,” said Abdullah Abdulkarim, a resident and citizen journalist who fled to the northern province of Aleppo a few years ago but keeps in close touch with contacts in Qaryatayn.

“I know for a fact that most of the victims were not involved in anything against ISIS,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “Just 10 of them were collaborators with the regime, but this doesn’t justify executing them.”

Mr. Abdulkarim said that the youngest victim was in his teens and the oldest was 57, adding, “Some of the bodies were dumped in wells, which makes it harder to find them.”

Several were members of his extended family, he said, including five of his father’s cousins, one of whom was a local mukhtar, or leader. “They were all shot and left on the streets for others to take as an example,” he said. “They all were accused of collaborating with the regime.”

Qaryatayn, like many places in Syria, has been through many phases of war. Local youths formed makeshift rebel groups early in the uprising, which began in 2011 after the government cracked down violently on largely peaceful political protests.

The groups withdrew in late 2013 to spare the town from the government shelling that had befallen many rebel-held areas; Mr. Abdelkarim, an online advocate for the rebels, fled with them to rebel-held areas farther north.

Full report at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/world/middleeast/syria-isis-mass-killing.html?mtrref=www.google.co.in&gwh=7D564586D3C7954F344CC7BAF95204EC&gwt=pay

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ISIL Suffers Heavy Losses in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Deir Ezzur

Oct 23, 2017

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in al-Sina'ah neighborhood in Deir Ezzur city, killing or wounding a number of them.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and aircraft pounded ISIL's positions and command posts in the neighborhoods of Sheikh Yaseen, Sowq al-Hal, Fo'ad cinema street, al-Huweiqa, al-Jabileh, al-Roshdiyeh and al-Arzi, killing and injuring a large number of terrorists and destroying their military hardware.

Earlier reports said that ISIL retreated from the strategic town of al-Qouriyeh in Eastern Dier Ezzur.

A field source reported that the army has killed over 20 ISIL terrorists and destroyed five vehicles thus far en route to liberating several areas in and around Al-Qouriyeh.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960801001141

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Tens of Civilians Killed by ISIL Terrorists in Homs Province

Oct 23, 2017

The army men found the bodies of 45 civilians in al-Quaryatayn after the pro-government forces recaptured the town yesterday, the sources said, adding that ISIL had executed the civilians in 20 days of control over the town on charges of betrayal and spying for the Syrian government.

Other reports said that the victims were those locals that had returned to the town after its liberation by the army men in April 2016.

The reports further said that some of the civilians were executed in a massacre a couple of days ago and some others were killed several weeks ago, adding that the death toll will rise up since bodies of a number of the dead are scattered across and outside the town.

The Syrian Army troops imposed full control over al-Quaryatayn on Saturday, inflicting major losses on ISIL terrorists.

The army men engaged in a tough battle with ISIL and prevailed over their defense lines around the town of al-Quaryatayn, pushing the terrorists back from the entire neighborhoods in the town.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960801000941

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Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to ‘go home’

23 October 2017

The Iraqi government has dismissed a call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed paramilitary units that helped Baghdad defeat ISIS to end operations in Iraq.

Speaking after a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Tillerson said it was time for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militias and their Iranian advisers to “go home”.

Washington, which backed Baghdad against ISIS, is concerned Iran will use its expanded presence in Iraq and in Syria to expand its influence in the region.

But Abadi showed unwillingness to meet Tillerson’s demand.

“No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters,” the statement from his office read. It did not cite the prime minister himself but a “source” close to him.

Trained and armed by Iran, the Iraqi PMU militias often supported Iraqi government units in the fight against the militants who were effectively defeated in July when a US-backed offensive captured their stronghold Mosul.

They are paid by the Iraqi government and officially report to the prime minister, but some Arab Sunni and Kurdish politicians describe these militias as a de facto branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp.

Iraq’s Sunni neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, share Washington’s concerns over Shiite power Iran’s influence in Iraq, where the population is also predominantly Shiite.

But the office of Abadi, himself a Shiite, said the forces were under the authority of the Iraqi government. “Popular Mobilization are Iraqi patriots,” it said in the statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/10/23/Iraqi-PM-Tillerson-comments-on-PMUs-interference-in-internal-affairs-.html

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Syrian army makes new advances on Daesh lines south of Dayr al-Zawr

Oct 23, 2017

The Syrian army has advanced deeper into the southern outskirts of the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr, which is partially held by Daesh terrorists, pushing the Takfiri outfit further toward total defeat in the oil-rich province, a monitoring group reports.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday, Daesh terrorists are increasingly losing ground across the province to advancing Syrian troops and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is a US-backed group of Kurdish and Arab militants.

The developments came a day after Syrian ground forces, backed by pro-government fighters, managed to liberate the strategic town of Khasham, located in the northeastern countryside of Dayr al-Zawr city, from the grips of Daesh.

Daesh overran large parts of Dayr al-Zawr province, including its many oil fields, in mid-2014 as it seized swathes of land in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

By early 2015, the Takfiri terrorists were in control of some parts of city of Dayr al-Zawr and besieged the remaining parts, which were under government control. It is estimated that 100,000 people remain in the government-held parts of the city.

Backed by the Russian military and fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, the Syrian army has managed to break Daesh’s three-year siege on Dayr al-Zawr province, though the total elimination of the group is yet to come.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539633/Syria-Dayr-alZawr-Daesh-SDF-Khasham-US

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Saudi Arabia pledges $20m for Rohingya refugees

24 October 2017

GENEVA: Saudi Arabia pledged $20 million in aid to Rohingya refugees at Monday’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis Pledging Conference in Geneva.

The conference was co-hosted by the EU and Kuwait, and organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

It reportedly aimed to raise $434 million to provide life-saving assistance to more than 1 million displaced people who have fled violence in Myanmar in the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

Dr. Yahya Alshammari, director of Public Partnerships and International Relations at the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief), said the Kingdom’s donation would help “alleviate the pain and suffering of the Rohingya minority, especially the most vulnerable groups like women and children.”

He called on the UN and all peace-loving countries around the world to pressure the government of Myanmar to respect its commitment to human rights, end the forced displacement of the Rohingya, and allow refugees a safe and dignified return to their homes.

Alshammari said that Saudi Arabia was among the first countries to intervene in the current crisis by sending a team from KSRelief to support refugees in Bangladesh and by collaborating with IOM to provide urgently needed aid.

But, he added, the Kingdom has a long history of supporting the Rohingya, donating $66 million over the past 10 years, and welcoming more than 300,000 Rohingya in the last 40 years, which he claimed made Saudi second only to Bangladesh in the number of Rohingya refugees taken in.

“Since its unification by King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia has always been keen on supporting needy communities and countries and providing them with aid,” Alshammari said.

“The Kingdom has become a leading global supporter of humanitarian and development work, and the Rohingya crisis has received the attention and generous support of Saudi Arabia throughout history.

“Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia receive free education and free health care and none of them lives in refugee camps,” he added.

He also commended Bangladesh for receiving around 600,000 refugees from Rakhine State in the last two months.

Education aid

In Riyadh, the King Abdullah International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works announced the launch of an $11.5 million initiative — in partnership with UNICEF and the Islamic Development Bank Group — that will help educate more than 76,000 Rohingya children in refugee camps over the next five years, at least.

Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, executive chairman of the foundation, stressed that education is a fundamental right of all children.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1182321/saudi-arabia

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Pakistan

 

Religious ministry organises event today to celebrate Diwali

By Sehrish Wasif

October 24, 2017

ISLAMABAD: While a controversy is raging in India in the wake of a fatwa against Muslim women for celebrating Diwali, Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony is organising an event in Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights.

High officials of the religious affairs ministry as well as parliamentarians and representatives from the Hindu community are expected to attend the event which is going to be held at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).

Speaking to The Express Tribune, an official of the religious affairs ministry who wished not be named said the aim of organising Diwali celebrations was to send out a message to the masses that “all minorities, including the Hindus, enjoy full religious freedom in Pakistan”.

For the past few years, the official said, the ministry had started celebrating such religious festivals at the national level in order to promote interfaith harmony, love and peace among the people.

According to the official, the ministry organises six festivals of different religions every year.

Diwali celebrations under way in Multan

Recently, Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, India had issued a fatwa against Muslim women who offered prayers to Lord Ram on Diwali in Varanasi. It said that they could no longer be considered Muslim if they worshiped other gods.

According to some religious scholars, celebrating the festivals of other religions is akin to committing ‘shirk‘ or considered ‘Kufur’.

According to Scholar Mufti Saeed Ahmed, “A Muslim should not and cannot celebrate festivals of the other religions. It is equal to committing shirk because a Muslim cannot worship other gods. No matter its Christmas, Diwali, Holi or any other religious festival, Muslims are not allowed to celebrate them.”

“However every Hindu, Christian, Sikh or any person belonging to any faith, belief or sect has a full right to celebrate his religious festival in Pakistan with full zeal and freedom, and no Muslim has a right to stop them or interfere in this,” said Mufti Ahmed.

Earlier this year, Nawaz Sharif had to face a lot of criticism from religious scholars for celebrating Holi with the Hindu community in Karachi, as he was dubbed as the country’s first prime minister to do so.

Cleric Allama Ashraf Jalali, the Sunni Ittehad Council’s secretary general, while criticising Sharif’s speech at the event, said that he had not only committed blasphemy but also demeaned the ‘ideological foundations’ of Pakistan by participating in the event.

Jalali, while issuing a fatwa against Sharif, demanded “an open apology from the premier for the violation of his oath.”

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1539467/1-religious-ministry-organises-event-today-celebrate-diwali/

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General elections will be held on time next year, says Pakistan PM Abbasi

Oct 24, 2017

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said the next general election will be held on time next year and advised his political opponents to wait patiently till the PML-N completes its term.

“I am 100% sure that elections will be held in 2018,” he told PTV in an interview on Monday, Dawn news reported.

Expressing his amazement as to how certain political proponents were expecting early polls, Abbasi maintained that the strength of democratic system was linked with its continuity and completion of tenures by the elected governments.

Responding to a poser,the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) government would accomplish all its development projects.

“We will complete our developmental schemes and set a sound future course and direction for the next government,” Abbasi said, adding the PML-N government would leave a better, prosperous and secure Pakistan in 2018 when it completes its term.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/general-elections-will-be-held-on-time-next-year-says-pakistan-pm-abbasi/story-H8gRPsglZIXRuhLsrbzX2O.html

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‘Specific’ requests made to Pakistan to undermine militants, says Tillerson

Anwar Iqbal

October 24, 2017

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the United States has made “some very specific requests” to Pakistan to undermine the Taliban and would discuss those requests with the Pakistani leadership when he arrives in Islamabad on Tuesday (today).

Talking to journalists at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Mr Tillerson said the US wanted to work with its “regional partners” to ensure that there were no threats of terrorism in South Asia. This regional effort, he said, was also elaborated in the new US strategy for South Asia that President Donald Trump announced on Aug 21.

“So we’re demanding others also deny safe haven to terrorists anywhere in the region. We are working closely with Pakistan in that regard as well,” a transcript released by the State Department in Washington quoted Mr Tillerson as telling the journalists. Asked what actions could the US take against Pakistan if it did not accept Washington’s demand for destroying the alleged safe havens from its soil, Mr Tillerson said: “…we have made some very specific requests [to] Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan.”

“And we’ve said in this whole strategy this is a conditions-based approach, and so our relationship with Pakistan will also be conditions-based,” he added.

Mr Tillerson said the US relationship with Pakistan was “based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward of both creating the opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan, but also ensuring a stable future Pakistan”.

The top US diplomat insisted that those conditions were not to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan but were equally important for Pakistan as well.

“In our conversations with Pakistani leadership, we’re as concerned about the future stability of Pakistan as we are in many respects here in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they’re confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside of Pakistan,” he said. “We want to work closely with Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well.”

In reply to a question about Indian role in Afghanistan, he said: “That’s certainly something we’ll be talking about during the [Pakistan] visit tomorrow.”

AP adds: Mr Tillerson said there is a place for moderate elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan’s government as long as they renounce violence and terrorism and commit to stability.

Earlier, he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other senior officials at the airbase.

He said the Taliban must understand that they would never win a military victory and should prepare to negotiate with the government.

“Clearly, we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory,” Mr Tillerson said.

“And there are, we believe, moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever. They don’t want their children to fight forever. So we are looking to engage with those voices and have them engaged in a reconciliation process leading to a peace process and their full involvement and participation in the government.”

“There’s a place for them in the government if they are ready to come, renouncing terrorism, renouncing violence and being committed to a stable prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1365776/specific-requests-made-to-pakistan-to-undermine-militants-says-tillerson

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Qandeel murder case: Court extends Mufti Qavi's remand in police custody

Taser Subhani

October 23, 2017

A judicial magistrate in Multan extended the remand of Mufti Abdul Qavi in police custody after recording the statement of the cleric in an ambulance on Monday, DawnNews reported.

Judicial Magistrate Pervaiz Khan granted a four-day extension in the remand of Mufti Qavi who was arrested last week in connection with the model Qandeel Baloch murder case.

Earlier in the day, the police failed to produce Mufti Qavi before the magistrate and instead presented a medical report of the accused. But the judicial magistrate rejected the report and ordered the Inquiry Officer Asif Shahzad to produce the accused before the court within an hour.

The police complied with the court's orders and brought the accused to the court in an ambulance under the supervision of Superintendent of Police Cantonment Dr Fahad.

After recording the statement, Mufti Qavi was again shifted to Pervaiz Elahi Institute of Cardiology, where he is being held under observation.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1365728/qandeel-murder-case-court-extends-mufti-qavis-remand-in-police-custody

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No casualty as Quetta IED blast hits police vehicle

October 24, 2017

Quetta - A police vehicle was targeted with an IED near Hazarganji Fruit Market gate in Quetta on Monday. However, there was no loss of life.

According to police, the vehicle of Station House Officer (SHO) Shalkot Maqbool Ahmed was attacked with an improvised explosive device (IED) near Harzarganji Fruit Market.

The attack, however, inflicted no casualty. The blast smashed vehicle’s glasses causing minor injuries, police said.

The IED was placed in a garbage dump which exploded with a powerful bang when the vehicle was passing through. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The police and Frontier Corps contingents reached the site, cordoned off the area and started a search operation.

Hardly four days back on Oct 18, a suicide attack on a police truck killed one civilian among six police constables at Sariab Road while 25 others had sustained serious injuries.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/24-Oct-2017/no-casualty-as-quetta-ied-blast-hits-police-vehicle

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JI chief asks NAB to take up 150 mega corruption cases

October 24, 2017

LAHORE  - Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has said that government’s failure to initiate accountability of other people named in the Panama Papers after the Sharif family clearly shows it does not want to continue the accountability process. 

Addressing the central leadership of the JI at Mansoora, he called upon the NAB chairman to dig out the files of around 150 cases of mega corruption pending with the NAB and bring the culprits to the dock without further delay. 

The meeting attended by JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch, deputy chiefs of the JI and deputy secretaries general of the party resolved to continue the movement for accountability with full vigour until plunderers of public wealth and those devouring bank loans are hauled up and made to return their ill-gotten wealth to the public exchequer. 

At the meeting, the JI chief called upon the government to take up Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s issue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his visit to the country and press for her immediate release. Dr Aafia Siddiqui has been in solitary confinement in the US jail for the last fifteen years. 

Sirajul Haq said that after the opening of the cases against the Sharif family it was the responsibility of the government to raise its voice for the accountability of the others but its attitude showed that it was obstructing the process by itself. He said that on one hand the country was burdened under a huge foreign debt and the general public was facing crippling price spiral while on the other corrupt elements had been given a free hand to plunder the public money. 

The JI chief said that Pakistan had rescued an American couple and their three children in a successful operation and a mere expression of goodwill from the US president was not enough. He said if the US president truly desired good ties with this country he should stop the “Do More” mantra and release Dr Aafia Siddiqui. He however said there were reports that the US Secretary of State was coming here mainly for the release of CIA agent Shakil Afridi. 

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/24-Oct-2017/ji-chief-asks-nab-to-take-up-150-mega-corruption-cases

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India

 

Bonanza for Muslims: Tech Corridor, Subsidy Announced by Telangana CM

Oct 24, 2017

HYDERABAD: An exclusive industrial estate and IT corridor for Muslims in the state, 100% subsidy for units worth up to Rs 2.5 lakh by self-employed minority youth and Rs 41.7 crore for repairing drinking water pipelines in eight assembly constituencies in Old City were among the big measures announced by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao here on Monday .

At the review meeting where these decisions were taken at the request of Hyderabad MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief minister also directed officials to develop Charminar and its surrounding areas on lines of Golden Temple in Amritsar so that every tourist visiting Hyderabad is drawn towards the historic monument. Besides, the Telangana government will construct a Hyderabad International Islamic Cultural Convention Centre in 10 acres area in Kokapet.

The CM made it clear that minorities' development and welfare is top priority of his government. KCR said minorities will be given 10% quota in double-bedroom houses being constructed by the state. Necessary measures will also be taken to strengthen the Minority Development Corporation, Urdu Academy and Wakf Board, he said. Within 2 hours after the meeting, a government order (GO) was issued, releasing `41.7 crore related to water works in eight assembly constituencies of Old City .

Owaisi, who was present at the meeting, said minority residential schools are doing very well and hoped that in next 10 years, they would bring about a social revolution in society.He said, several Muslim families are eager to send their children to residential institutions because the facilities, including teaching, food and accommodation in hostels are good.

CM also reviewed development of a 42-km stretch along Musi river on the lines of the Sabarmati riverfront in Gujarat. He directed officials to make arrangements for plying Metro and Nano rail along the Musi riverbank and appoint a special officer to oversee Musi River front development.

He also asked the official to prepare programs for the minorities living in rural, semiurban, urban and cities and fill up vacancies of Urdu teachers in minority educational institutions.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/bonanza-for-muslims-tech-corridor-subsidy/articleshow/61195520.cms

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Tipu Sultan Descendant Demands Apology from Union Minister

October 23, 2017

A descendant of Tipu Sultan today demanded an unconditional apology from Union minister Anantkumar Hegde for describing the 18th century Mysore ruler as a “mass rapist” and “brutal killer”. Bengaluru-based businessman Sahabzada Mansoor Ali Tipu said he would meet Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy tomorrow and may also file a complaint with the police.

“On behalf of the descendants of Tipu Sultan, I am lodging a complaint against Hegde for calling our forefather a mass rapist and brutal killer,” he told PTI here. Ali said he would seek necessary action for Hegde’s “uncalled for” comments on Tipu, who fought against the British.

“Being a Union minister, he should not have made such irresponsible comments against a ruler who is revered as a hero in Karnataka. I seek an unconditional apology and necessary action against Hegde for his comments,” he said.

Alleging that Hegde’s comments could stoke “communal sentiments”, he demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi drop him from his council of ministers. “The tweets of Hegde are distasteful and hurt not only family sentiments, but also the sentiments of the country. Modi should sack him as Union minister,” he said.

Ali, who said he was a 7th generation descendant of Tipu Sultan, added that he was in touch with others in the family, including Bakhtiar Ali in Kolkata, who is contemplating taking legal action against Hegde.

Hegde had stirred a hornet’s nest after he requested the Karnataka government not to include his name in programme invitations for Tipu Jayanti celebrations. “(I have) conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to the shameful event of glorifying a person known as a brutal killer, wretched fanatic, and mass rapist,” Hegde said in a Tweet on October 20.

The BJP leader had also written to the Chief Secretary and Uttara Kannada deputy commissioner, asking them to direct the state government not to include his name in the programme invitations to mark the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. In 2016, Hegde had flayed the state government for celebrating Tipu Jayanti, claiming that the ruler was “against Kannada language and anti-Hindu”.

Subsequently, Hegde was arrested for threatening to disrupt celebrations in the Uttara Kannada district. The government’s decision to celebrate the day on November 10 last year had been criticised by the BJP and RSS, who termed the act of the Congress as “minority appeasement”.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/tipu-sultan-descendant-demands-apology-from-union-minister-anantkumar-hegde-4903337/

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Zakir Naik to be charged this week in terror funding case

October 23, 2017

The formalities to file the chargesheet against Naik have been completed

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik will be chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) this week for his alleged role in terror funding and money laundering cases in the country, officials said.

The formalities to file the chargesheet against Naik, who left the country in July last year, have been completed and it will be submitted before a special court this week, they said.

The 51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, is being probed under terror and money-laundering charges by the NIA. He fled from India on July 1, 2016, after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches.

The NIA had on November 18, 2016, registered a case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His Mumbai-based NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has already been declared an unlawful association by the Union Home Ministry.

Naik has repeatedly denied all the charges.

The passport of Naik was also been revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs at the request of the NIA earlier this year.

The NIA had thrice issued notices to Naik, asking him to join the investigation, but he did not appear before it.

Full report at:

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india/zakir-naik-to-be-charged-this-week-in-terror-funding-case

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2013 ‘terror’ case: Key witness turns hostile

by Abhishek Angad

October 24, 2017

A key witness in a 2013 case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) turned hostile during his testimony in court. Delhi Police’s Special Cell had charged five people under UAPA for allegedly conspiring terrorist activities in the Capital.

The prosecution had based its case on the claim that one of the accused from Mewat had procured mobile phonaes and SIM cards, which were allegedly used to talk to Pakistan-based Javed Baluchi, “known LeT terrorist”. Prosecution contends they allegedly conspired to abduct a rich person for ransom to be used for terror activities.

While the police had presented witnesses to support its case, key witness Javed Khan, during his testimony on October 16 and 17, told Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma that the other accused had not taken any SIM cards in front of him. He said that he had gone to Gulpada village in Rajasthan along with another accused to attend Mehmood Asad Madani’s conference.

Khan told the court that two people had come to meet the accused. “Accused Subhan had not taken SIM cards from them. The police told me that he had taken SIM cards. It is incorrect to suggest that accused Subhan had taken SIM cards from them in my presence,” Khan’s testimony read.

Khan said the Special Cell asked him to join the probe in Mewat on December 19, 2013 after one of the accused named him in his statement. He said when he pressed further, the police told him that the accused had “not named him” but he would have to visit Nagina police station in Mewat where the “ACP will brief him of some plan”. However, he was absconding for the next 10 months “because of the atmosphere of fear”.

“When we lost all means of livelihood and our family members remained tensed and under fear, we decided to come to the police station… at the cost of any consequences, including our killings,” the witness said in court on October 16.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/2013-terror-case-key-witness-turns-hostile-4903611/

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Africa

 

14 killed after three bombers blow up explosives in northeast Nigeria

Oct 23, 2017

A triple bomb attack in northeastern Nigeria has left 14 people dead and more than a dozen others injured, authorities say.

The casualties occurred on Sunday evening, when three female bombers detonated their explosives in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

"So far, we have 14 people killed and 18 injured in the triple suicide bombings last night," said Ahmed Satomi, from the Borno state emergency management agency.

No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the deadly attack; however, an anonymous militia source said the blasts came "hours after reports of sighting of a lot of Boko Haram members outside the city."

Last month, at least 15 people were killed after suspected members of the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group targeted an aid distribution point in Borno state.

The group claimed an attack on August 16 in Konduga, during which three female attackers blew up their explosives outside a camp for displaced persons. It killed at least 28 people and left more than 80 others injured.

Boko Haram has been largely pushed back out of its main strongholds in northern Nigeria, according to the country’s military and government. The group, however, is still active in its Sambisa Forest enclave in Borno state and launches sporadic attacks on civilians and security forces there.

The Nigerian military launched renewed counter-insurgency offensives after the end of the rainy season in northeastern Nigeria in September. Those offensives have clearly caused attacks by Boko Haram to drop, but the government warns that the group can still attack civilians at “soft” targets, including mosques, markets and camps for displaced people.

Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced as a result of eight years of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has also affected Nigeria’s neighbors, including Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539644/bomb-attack-Nigeria-Maiduguri-Borno-state-Boko-Haram

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Jordan queen urges international community to ‘do more’ for Rohingya Muslims

Oct 24, 2017

Jordan’s queen said on Monday that the international community must respond effectively to end the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution by Myanmar authorities.

Queen Rania, who visited a refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district on Monday, spoke of the “shocking escalation of violence” against Rohingya and urged the international community to step in.

Since August 25, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh amid a global outcry for an end to the violence. The United Nations (UN) has termed Myanmar’s actions a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh has been hosting hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled Myanmar dating back to 1978. The UN said some 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are now living in temporary settlements there, about 58 per cent of them children up to 17 years old.

The UN says it needs more assistance to handle the crisis.

“One has to ask, why is the plight of this Muslim minority group being ignored?” Rania said in a statement on Monday. “Why has this systematic persecution been allowed to play out for so long?”

The queen said she was shocked by the limitations of basic services to health care and other lifesaving support.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/10/23/jordan-queen-urges-international-community-to-do-more-for-rohingya-muslims/

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Egypt bombs militants smuggling weapons from Libya

Oct 23, 2017

Egypt says a convoy of suspected militants smuggling weapons from neighboring Libya has been neutralized as the military steps up operations to hunt those behind a recent deadly attack on police forces in the southwest of the capital Cairo. 

The Egyptian army spokesman, Tamer el-Rifai, said in a statement on Monday that eight vehicles were also destroyed in airstrikes on the country’s western border earlier in the day. 

Rifai said the bombardment was part of operations to track down “terrorists” who killed 16 policemen in a high-profile attack in the region last week.

Security sources say more than 50 were killed when militants ambushed Egyptian police forces some 135 kilometers outside Cairo on Friday night. The attack sparked huge public anger in Egypt, with many questioning President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s success in fighting militants across Egypt.

Egypt’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that the anti-terror operation in the Western Desert, some 135 kilometers southwest of Cairo, began after security forces received tip-offs about militants “hiding, training, and preparing to carry out terrorist operations” in the area.

The Egyptian Air Force said the vehicles destroyed in the air raids were carrying "large quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosive material” for “a new infiltration attempt.” Another military statement said scores of militants were killed while traveling onboard the vehicles.

Sisi convened a high-profile security meeting Sunday to discuss last week’s ambush attack. He said the attack had failed to dent his government’s resolve to fight terrorists.

Various militant groups, including a branch of the Daesh Takfiri group, have been launching attacks on security forces and civilians since 2013 when Sisi, the then army chief, led a coup against then president Mohamed Morsi, which ousted him from power.

Many blame the current insurgency in Egypt on Sisi’s large-scale crackdown on dissent, including followers of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539635/Egypt-Libya-border-militancy

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C. Africa clerics urge review of UN strategy ahead of Guterres visit

24.10.2017

Christian and Muslim leaders in Central African Republic (CAR), speaking ahead of a visit by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, have urged the UN to overhaul its strategy for the strife-torn country.

Guterres is expected on Tuesday, ahead of a requested renewal in November of the UN force in CAR, called MINUSCA, which has been accused by some of passivity.

“If they’re just television spectators of the conflict, that won’t do,” Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the Catholic archbishop of Bangui said in a joint interview on Saturday alongside the country’s Muslim and Protestant leaders.

“A revision of strategy” has to go hand-in-hand with a mandate for UN troop renewal, said Protestant leader Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou.

Poor but mineral-rich, CAR has become a byword for conflict and misery.

Thousands have lost their lives and half a million people have been displaced, according to the UN, out of a population of roughly 4.5 million.

In their interview with AFP, the religious leaders pleaded with the world not to see the conflict as a matter of religion, but of gangs who often exploited faith to further their own goals.

In 2013, CAR’s then president Francois Bozize, a Christian former army chief, was overthrown by a pro-Muslim Seleka rebel coalition.

Militias known as “anti-balaka” launched a counter-offensive in the name of defending the Christian majority population.

– ‘Not religion’ –

“The religious stance has been used only for political ends, for looting and for making off with the (mineral) riches beneath the soil,” said Oumar Kobine Layama, head of the Islamic Conference in CAR.

“This is not a religious conflict.”

In the southeastern town of Bangassou, where anti-balaka forces unleashed a new wave of violence in May, MINUSCA troops “made all the Muslims come to the mosque and abandoned them,” Kobine said.

“If the cardinal and the bishop hadn’t come to protect them, what would have become of them. Who would have been responsible?”

The imam added: “Christians and Muslims are now together at the displaced persons’ site. If this was really a war of religions, would they be in the same place?”

Those who kill in the name of Christianity are beyond the pale, said Guerekoyame-Gbangou.

At Kembe in the southeast, the anti-balaka in October attacked “a place that’s a sanctuary in usual times, a mosque,” he said.

“They can’t say they’re Christians and go on to kill. All those with such ideas in their heads are outside their faith.”

In 2013, the three leaders set up a “platform of religious confessions” in a show of inter-faith unity and to act as a mediator in the conflict.

The “platform” earned the UN Human Rights Prize in 2015, but at some personal cost to their founders. Kobine has been forced to move house and relatives of Guerekoyame-Gbangou were killed in 2015.

– UN mandate –

Guterres’ four-day stay in CAR will be his first visit since taking office on January 1, although he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

He will go Bangui and Bangassou and also meet victims of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers as part of his effort to address damaging allegations that have hit the blue helmets in several missions.

The secretary general’s visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United States pushes for cost-cutting measures in peacekeeping.

The international body has maintained some 12,500 troops and police on the ground in CAR since September 2014 to help protect civilians and support the government of Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected last year.

Full report at:

https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/1700818/centrafrique-religion-conflict/

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North America

 

US ‘considering sanctions’ against Myanmar

Oct 24, 2017

The United States says it is considering sanctions against parties responsible for the atrocities against minority Rohingya Muslims in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

“We express our gravest concern with recent events in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the violent, traumatic abuses Rohingya and other communities have endured,” the US State Department said on Monday. “It is imperative that any individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes, be held accountable.”

“We are exploring accountability mechanisms available under US law, including Global Magnitsky targeted sanctions,” it added, referring to a US law that allows penalties against perpetrators of human rights violations.

Rakhine State, where Rohingya Muslims have lived for generations, has been under military siege since late last year. Access is denied to journalists and rights activists, but the Muslims who have managed to flee to Bangladesh have told of horrendous violence being carried out there. Soldiers have been killing and raping the Muslims and have even been shooting at fleeing civilians, including women and children, at random, according to witnesses.

The brutal atrocities have been deemed “ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations and have sent more than one million Rohingya Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh, creating a humanitarian emergency there.

The US State Department said some minor measures have already been taken against Myanmar, including ending travel waivers for current and former members of the Southeast Asian country’s military.

“We have rescinded invitations for senior Burmese security forces to attend US-sponsored events; we are working with international partners to urge that Burma enables unhindered access to relevant areas for the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, international humanitarian organizations, and media,” the statement said.

In addition, Washington is “consulting with allies and partners on accountability options at the UN, the UN Human Rights Council, and other appropriate venues,” it said.

The US seems to be attempting to divert blame away from Myanmar’s government, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, and pin the blame specifically on the country’s military.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday the United States held Myanmar’s military leadership responsible for the crackdown on the Rohingya.

But as leader of Myanmar, Suu Kyi has taken almost no meaningful action to end the abuses against the Rohingya. While some reports have said she may not have an influence over the military leaders, she has taken a stance that strikingly resembles theirs.

Washington maintains close ties with her government.

During an urgent meeting on Monday, the UN Council for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief in Geneva described the Rohingya refugee crisis as a “shocking humanitarian emergency.”

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Director General William Lacy Swing warned that “the speed, scope and scale of the Rohingya refugee crisis requires a massive humanitarian response from the international community.”

The IOM has estimated that since August 25, more than 90 percent of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine have fled their ancestral homes amid the government-sanctioned violence.

Pope weighs in

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has expressed sorrow over the plight of the Rohingya in Bangladesh.

“Two hundred thousand Rohingya children in refugee camps. They have barely enough to eat, though they have a right to food. Malnourished, without medicine,” he said.

The pontiff is scheduled to visit Myanmar at the end of November before moving on to Bangladesh.

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/24/539690/US-State-Department-Myanmar-Rohingya-sanctions

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Areas freed from Islamic State will test U.S. policy on limiting overseas role

Oct 24, 2017

As U.S.-backed forces succeed in driving Islamic State militants from territory in Iraq and now Syria, the Trump administration has difficult choices — and divided opinions — about how the heavily devastated region can recover in an era when U.S. policy is to take a back-seat role.

The administration has stated unequivocally that it is no longer in the “nation-building business.” But the desire to avoid getting enmeshed in rebuilding civilian institutions conflicts with the need to reconstruct towns that forces backed by the United States fought so hard to liberate and the hope of avoiding conditions that would allow Islamic militants to regain a foothold, as they have done before.

Some of Trump’s advisors are arguing for a longer U.S. presence in Syria, according to a person familiar with the debate who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The goal would be to guarantee deliveries of humanitarian aid and oversee repatriation of the displaced, the start of rebuilding and the setting up of local governments.

Others, however, want to hew more closely to the “no more nation-building” doctrine.

Current policy is that "we will restore basic services,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, ticking off tasks such as removing rubble, clearing mines and connecting electricity, “not the nation-building that the U.S. government previously engaged in other countries."

The administration plan is for nations like Saudi Arabia to fill the void.

But Saudi Arabia’s mission has not always been what Washington considers constructive. In the aftermath of the Balkans wars in the 1990s, foreign policy experts note, it was Saudi Arabia that used the distribution of aid and the building of mosques and housing to spread radical Islam in Bosnia, where until then a moderate, secular form of the faith was observed.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a mission to begin building alternatives to U.S. leadership in the region, presiding over the first meeting of the new Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Council inaugurated in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We urge you to expand this vital partnership,” Tillerson told Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the prime minister of Iraq, Haider Abadi, in an elaborate signing ceremony. “The growing relationship between the kingdom and Iraq … will be vital to Iraq’s reconstruction efforts.”

Tillerson said the signs look good: He pointed to the first commercial air traffic between Baghdad and Riyadh resuming last week after decades.

Most important for the Trump administration is the bulwark that Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab neighbors can form against Iran, the Saudis’ hated regional rival. The Shiite-dominated government in Tehran has steadily expanded its military, economic and political influence throughout Iraq, Syria and as far as Yemen and Afghanistan.

Iranian-backed militias that have been active in Iraq “need to go home,” Tillerson said. “It will strengthen the relationship again of Iraq with the Arab world,” which suffered in recent decades of conflict.

Whatever the difficulties in Iraq, the situation in Syria represents a far greater challenge.

On Friday, U.S.-backed forces declared Raqqah, the city in eastern Syria that was the Islamic State capital, “totally liberated.” Tillerson described the Raqqah offensive as a “critical milestone.”

Iraq, at least, has a recognized central government that the United States can work with. Syria is still trapped in civil war; the U.S. has several unappealing choices, including the ceding of control to the reviled government of President Bashar Assad or allowing Russia — or even Iran — to take over.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, which the U.S. backed in ousting Islamic State from Raqqah, is predominantly Kurdish, with few ties to the local population.

As a start, the U.S. has joined in the formation of a Raqqah Civil Council made up of tribal leaders, but it is not yet clear how much authority they will wield in a community that has been torn asunder, hundreds of thousands of Raqqah’s residents having fled.

Those who want a greater U.S. role, including a number of members of Congress, argue that failure to follow through could allow a backslide and a return of Islamic State militants.

“The United States must play a leading role in working with our partners to ensure that post-[Islamic State] areas and communities receive appropriate support,” Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said last week, with emphasis on the word “appropriate.”

He is in talks with the State Department, he said, to “bring the full scope of its diplomatic and development expertise to bear” in Iraq and Syria.

James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and senior State Department official, testified to Congress earlier this month about the need to keep a robust U.S. military presence in the area.

“The ostensible purpose” would be “to protect enclaves and U.S. partners from a resurgence of terrorism, but it would also implicitly put military pressure on Damascus and Iran to negotiate seriously” in the search for a political solution to Syria’s civil war, he said.

With the fighting still fresh, the Pentagon has not yet revealed its next steps. The U.S. has roughly 7,000 American troops in Iraq and about 500 in Syria. In Baghdad, Prime Minister Abadi has shown willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq even after the battle against Islamic State concludes.

But the Syrian Kurds most responsible for the liberation of Raqqah are already planning for a future without the United States. They watched warily as Washington seemed to abandon its long-time allies, the Kurds in Iraq, who were instrumental in driving Islamic State from the militants’ largest city in Iraq, Mosul.

Iraqi Arab forces moved in recent days to take back areas long dominated by the Kurds, centered on the oil-rich Kirkuk region. The Trump administration said it would remain neutral but also voiced support for a united, federal Iraq, one without major autonomy for the Kurds.

Randa Slim, a conflict-resolution expert at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank, said Syrian Kurds “are already casting a wider net” in search of partners and support.

Losing the Syrian Kurds as allies may be inevitable: Supremely pragmatic, they have never completely cut ties with Assad and Russia.

“The Americans were useful to them, but they were not in dreamland, thinking that the Americans were ever anything more than occasional, useful partners,” said Paul Salem, senior vice president for analysis and research at the Middle East Institute.

As with Iraq, the administration is turning to Saudi Arabia for help in Syria. Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy to the 73-nation coalition against Islamic State, quietly toured enclaves around Raqqah last week, with a guest in tow: Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer Sabhan. They met with the Raqqah Civil Council, among others.

Full report at:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-us-isis-next-steps-20171023-story.html

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FBI agent reveals life infiltrating extremist groups in America

23 October 2017

An active FBI undercover agent has revealed details of his work infiltrating Islamic extremist groups.

Tamer El-Noury - one of the agent's many false identities - talked to the BBC about his covert attempts to gain the trust of those planning attacks.

He was instrumental in foiling the plot to derail the New York City to Toronto train route four years ago.

He has published a book about his work, saying he wants Americans to understand his work as a Muslim operative.

"The fact is that these jihadists - these radicals that are popping up - are lost souls," he told the BBC in an interview. "They latch on to hatred, and an evil that seems to give them purpose."

"I am a Muslim and I am an American, and I am appalled at what these animals are doing to my country while desecrating my religion," he said.

'Chance encounter'

The son of Egyptian immigrants to the US, Mr El-Noury joined the police in New Jersey, where he worked to break up drug distribution networks.

Later, he was recruited by the FBI who realised they were desperately short of Arabic speakers.

One of his undercover operations involved a plan to kill as many people as possible by derailing the New York - Toronto rail route.

Tunisian migrant Chiheb Esseghaier, one of the key figures in the plot, was befriended by Mr El-Noury in a "chance encounter" arranged by the FBI.

He was eventually recruited by Esseghaier, becoming a part of the plot.

He posed as a wealthy American of Arabic origin who held a deep personal grudge - a persona, he said, he tried to keep close to the truth.

"None of my legends - none of my cover stories - have ever really drifted far from reality," he said.

"When you're travelling the world with an ideological extremist individual, and you're spending days - weeks - along with them, your true colours eventually come out when you get exhausted."

The long weeks spent with extremists, acting as confidant and close friend, "is the hardest part," he said.

"My job is to put my arms around a bad guy. And of course, all these atrocities that we are planning are sickening to me."

"The only way that I can be good at my job and have it believable is I try to latch on to whatever part is human... how well he speaks to his mother, how well he financially takes care of his siblings."

During a trip to New York Esseghaier began planning a future attack on Times Square in New York City on New Years' Eve, to take place after the train derailment, El-Noury told the CBS Sixty Minutes programme.

During the same trip, the pair visited the site of the Twin Towers, where Esseghaier said the US "needed another 9/11". El-Noury told CBS he "saw red" and almost blew his cover over the remark.

But none of the schemes ever came to fruition - both Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, a Canadian resident of Palestinian descent, were arrested in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison in 2015 on the back of El-Noury's investigation.

Canada rail plotters get life in prison

Mr El-Noury's story offers an extraordinary insight into the dark and dangerous world of going undercover as an agent, says the BBC's Security Correspondent Frank Gardener.

The FBI initially insisted on listening in on the telephone interview to ensure its active agent was protected, he said.

The nature of the agent's work is deceptive - but he said that any accusation of being a traitor was something he considered a badge of honour.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41718964

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Religious literacy can fix the faulty foundation beneath Trump’s Muslim ban

By Maha Elgenaidi

Oct 24, 2017

(RNS) — The judicial system has dealt a third legal defeat to President Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, instituting a temporary restraining order and injunction to block its implementation. The courts brought up the question of intent by noting public statements by then-candidate Trump about a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The real intent is still as clear today as it was nearly nine months ago when the current administration announced the first travel ban. The everyday Americans who turned out to spontaneous airport protests across our nation knew the ban was wrong. The courts have consistently agreed.

The organization I lead, Islamic Networks Group, has ample experience to show that increased religious literacy at all levels of society can weaken the foundation that supports discriminatory intent before it becomes policy.

Legal proceedings revolve around intent. Intent is the difference between involuntary manslaughter and murder. Intent is the difference between a harmless literacy test and robbing people of the right to vote. Intent matters because intent shows us the naked truth behind what people do and say.

The first executive order in January made its discriminatory intent crystal clear by providing that people from the banned countries could enter the U.S. if they were of “minority religions” — i.e., Christians — in their home country. Only people of the majority religion — Islam — were banned.

But where does this discriminatory intent come from? And why can politicians count on support for such discriminatory policies from a substantial segment of the public?

For the past 25 years, in our work with diverse audiences across the country, we’ve found an answer: ignorance of Muslims and their faith. A 2017 Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey found that relatively few Americans regularly interact with Muslims, with 62 percent saying that they seldom or never engage in conversation with Muslims.

We’ve delivered tens of thousands of educational programs about or involving American Muslims, so we’ve seen first-hand how impactful those basic conversations can be in dispelling negative stereotypes.

That same PRRI survey showed that 67 percent of people who talk with Muslims at least occasionally agree that Muslims are an important part of the American religious landscape versus 45 percent of those who have never spoken with a Muslim in the last year. This carries over into the rest of public life.

According to a 2017 Pew Forum poll, while perceptions of all religious groups have improved in recent years, Americans view Muslims most negatively with an average rating of 48 out of 100, compared to: Atheists at 50; Mormons at 54; Hindus at 58; Buddhists at 60; Evangelical Christians at 61; Catholics at 66; and Jews at 67.

Education and positive interaction can turn things around. Our audience surveys show that after 45 minutes of education and engagement about and with Muslims the percentage of those who believe that American Muslims are “Islamists” hostile to the United States falls by 50 percent; the percentage believing that American Muslims are insular and foreign falls by 75 percent.

Our surveys almost always include feedback like, “I had no idea Islam was so closely tied to Judaism and Christianity” or “I used to view Muslims as some kind of foreign group, but they’ve been in America since the Revolutionary War.” All it takes is honest dialogue and exchange.

In 1924, Atlantic magazine wrote that Americans “have convinced ourselves by repeating to each other, that we are still as we were: a liberty-loving people who make no invidious distinctions between men of different race and religion … We still look with the same scorn as formerly upon the poor European countries where anti-Semitism is so great a factor, and Catholic wars upon Protestant.”

But in the late 1930s, as thousands of German Jews fled their homeland for safety abroad, we slammed our gates shut for the same arguments: they could be spies, they carry diseases, they steal jobs from loyal Americans. Those arguments — and the clear intent behind them — are no more viable today.

Now, decades later, we still want to believe that we are better, that we’ve moved past the old divisions and prejudices that so negatively affected our ancestors. The current situation has proven that the demons of religious prejudice and xenophobia still haunt us. It’s up to us to quell their influence.

Fortunately, our Constitution itself speaks out against such discriminatory attitudes, promising us the freedom to exist without fear of government persecution based on how we look or how we choose to pray. Travel bans loosely based on nationality to obscure their true, religiously-hostile intent violate that promise and seek to divide us against our fellow Americans.

Full report at:

http://religionnews.com/2017/10/23/religious-literacy-can-fix-the-faulty-foundation-beneath-trumps-muslim-ban/

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Ex-CIA chief warns Trump of violating JCPOA

Oct 23, 2017

Leon Panetta, the former US secretary of defense and CIA chief, says the world countries “cannot trust America as a partner,” if President Donald Trump violates the Iran nuclear deal.

“In foreign policy, in many ways, your word counts for a lot and when you tell someone you’re going to do something, if you fail to stick to your word, it sends a clear message to others ... that you cannot trust America as a partner,” Panetta said during a Hudson Institute forum in Washington held on Monday. “We ought to continue to enforce that agreement.”

Speaking from the White House earlier this month, Trump said he would not recertify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

'US Congress can't find its way to the bathroom'

The president is required by US law to certify every 90 days whether or not Iran is complying with the nuclear deal. He has certified the deal twice since coming to office.

The US Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran, removed under the accord.

Panetta voiced regret that the Congress is in charge of handling the deal for the US.

“Congress is having a hard time sometimes finding its way to the bathroom much less dealing with issues that involve an area ... far better for the administration, for the president to deal with,” said the former Pentagon chief. “Congress should hopefully develop a way to increase the enforcement of that agreement ... but in the end, to make clear that we’re going to continue to enforce that agreement.”

He further argued that even if the Trump administration wants to pressure Tehran further it should not violate the international deal.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539668/Panetta-warns-Trump-of-breaking-Iran-nuclear-deal

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US apologizes for refusing Indonesian army chief entry

 23 October 2017

The U.S. embassy in Jakarta on Monday apologized to the Indonesian government after its army chief was denied entry to the United States.

Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo was scheduled to attend a conference to be held on Monday and Tuesday in Washington D.C. upon an invitation from Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Nurmantyo and his wife, who had obtained a visa from the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, were supposed to depart on Saturday afternoon.

However, shortly before departure, there was a notice from the Emirates airline that Nurmantyo and his wife had been refused entry by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

US deputy ambassador to Indonesia, Erin Elizabeth McKee, said the U.S. government regretted and apologized for the incident, hoping it will not happen again.

"We deeply regret the inconvenience that this incident caused and we apologize," McKee told reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

U.S. ambassador Joseph Donovan, who is not in Jakarta, also offered an apology to Marsudi, according to a statement on Sunday from the embassy.

McKee emphasized that the problem had been solved and Nurmantyo could travel to the United States with no restrictions.

Nevertheless, McKee did not elaborate as to why Nurmantyo could not enter the U.S. last weekend. "The U.S. embassy is working hard to understand what is happening," McKee said.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/195255/us-apologizes-for-refusing-indonesian-army-chief-entry

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Europe

 

London Newspaper Recognises Arab and Muslim 'Heroes'

Oct 24, 2017

London's Evening Standard newspaper included a list of 12 unsung heroes of the UK capital in its Progress 1000 report, with Arab and Muslim citizens making the list.

The newspaper looked at events that shook London this year and with a panel of editors, critics and experts in various fields, they selected 12 individuals who have made their mark on the city.

Some of those chosen helped keep the hope and unity alive in London after tragic events like Grenfell Tower and a number of militant attacks made 2017 a heart-breaking year for the UK capital.

"On critical days and those that followed, many Londoners went beyond the confines of their jobs and lives for the welfare of their neighbours and fellow citizens," Evening Standard Editor George Osborne said.

"None had high public profiles and most did not expect this year to be one that was so affecting and significant. On the critical days and those that followed, many Londoners went beyond the confines of their jobs and lives for the welfare of their fellow citizens."

He said the 12 people represented wider groups who all pitched in with emergency and relief efforts during London's recent tragedies.

On the list were two brothers - Mohammed and Muaz Mahmoud - who were at Finsbury Park, when a van deliberately rammed into a group of Muslims close to a mosque and urged the crowd to show restraint and protected the attacker.

Mohammed - imam at the local Muslim Welfare Centre - and his brother Muaz - are of Egyptian descent, and both helped instil calm following the attack, along with helping the wounded.

"I ran out straight away and when I got there the driver was already on the floor being restrained by three men. Others were tending to the injured Bengali man, who has now been announced dead," Mohammed told The New Arab.

Just minutes later, a large crowd began to gather and people started attacking the suspect.

"I shouted 'don't touch him, we'll hand him over to police' and because people know I'm the imam in the area, others joined in and helped me push people away from him."

Also on the list was Zain Miah, who was among the many peopled who responded to Grenfell Tower fire and played a key role in the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit, which providing help for families affected by the fire.

He works for the National Zakat Foundation and committed to help everyone regardless of their race or religion.

"It does not matter what skin colour we have no matter where we come from," he said.

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2017/10/21/london-newspaper-recognises-arab-and-muslim-heroes

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French parents who named their child 'Jihad' are reported to police by alarmed registrar

23 October 2017

A couple in the South of France has been referred to the public prosecutor after naming their son 'Jihad'.

Authorities in the Toulouse suburb of Leguevin were immediately alerted after the child, who was born in August, was given the Arabic name.

The name is likely to cause controversy in France, which has suffered from a series of Islamic terrorist attacks by jihadists in recent years.

A couple in the South of France has been referred to the public prosecutor after naming their son 'Jihad'.

Authorities in the Toulouse suburb of Leguevin were immediately alerted after the child, who was born in August, was given the Arabic name.

The name is likely to cause controversy in France, which has suffered from a series of Islamic terrorist attacks by jihadists in recent years.

The word 'jihad' translates as 'struggle' and has various meanings.

It can mean struggling against oneself in an attempt at moral improvement, struggling peacefully to better one's society, or - most commonly - struggling in a military sense.

Historically, it was understood as an armed struggle against non-Muslims, but more modern scholars have associated it with defensive warfare.

In 2013, French mother Bouchra Bagour sent her son - named Jihad - to school wearing a jumper featuring the words 'I am a bomb' ont he front.

Full report at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5008215/French-parents-sent-prosecutor-naming-child-Jihad.html

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Kill British Daesh members in Syria to prevent attack on UK: Minister

Oct 23, 2017

British citizens who have headed to Syria to join the Daesh terrorist group should be killed before getting a chance to return home, says a UK government minister.

“These are people who have essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British government,” Rory Stewart, international development minister, told BBC on Sunday, noting that converts to the terror group believed in an “extremely hateful doctrine.”

“So I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them,” he said.

The minister’s remarks came after Brett McGurk, a top US envoy for the Western coalition purportedly fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, said his mission was to ensure every one of the group’s foreign fighters in Syria dies in Syria.

Britain has been targeted by several Daesh-claimed terrorist attacks over the past months.

Authorities warned last year that around 850 UK nationals had traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the terror groups that are wreaking havoc in those countries.

In early September, the European Union’s top terror official Gilles de-Kerchove warned that Britain was home to up to 25,000 Takfiri extremists who could pose a terrorist threat to the country and the rest of Europe.

According to Kerchove, about 3,000 of the suspects are considered a direct threat by MI5 – Britain’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in September that fear of terrorist attacks in the UK was going to stay at its second highest rate for five more years because the risk posed from terrorists was "an unknown threat in our midst."

Stewart said Sunday that there were “very difficult moral issues” to killing Brits who had joined Daesh but it was the only way to curb the threat.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539593/UK-Daesh-Stewart-McGurk-Syria

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Russian soldier kills four colleagues in Chechnya

Oct 24, 2017

MOSCOW - A Russian soldier shot four colleagues dead Monday at their base in Chechnya, before being gunned down, the National Guard they were members of said in a statement.

The soldier, a lieutenant, opened fire at around 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) in a barracks near the village of Shelkovskaya in the mainly-Muslim Chechnya region in southern Russia, the Interfax news agency cited the National Guard as saying. A group of officers have since been rushed to the area to investigate.

President Vladimir Putin created the National Guard security force last year, a move analysts said could be aimed at warding off unrest over the country’s economic crisis. The National Guard answers directly to Putin and is tasked with tackling terrorism and organised crime as well as maintaining order.

But armed attacks on authorities and forces are frequent in the Russian Caucasus.

The leader of Russia’s Islamist rebels, Doku Umarov, has been seeking to impose an Islamist state throughout Russia’s mainly Muslim Northern Caucasus region and has for years been waging a deadly insurgency against Russian security forces there.

In early October, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an attack that left two policemen dead in Dagestan, the volatile region neighbouring Chechnya.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/24-Oct-2017/russian-soldier-kills-four-colleagues-in-chechnya

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Human Rights Watch urges France to end 'disgraceful' approach to Egypt

Oct 23, 2017

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged French President Emmanuel Macron to end France's "disgraceful policies of indulgence" towards his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ahead of a meeting between the two heads of state.

HRW France director Benedicte Jeannerod said in a statement on Monday that Paris should "stop ignoring serious abuses" and pressure the Egyptian president by making future economic cooperation and military support conditional on improvements in human rights.

"President Macron should refuse to continue France's disgraceful policies of indulgence toward el-Sisi's repressive government," HRW official said.

France's main human rights groups have also called on Macron not to tolerate Egyptian authorities' "repression" of the North African country's civil society.

Meanwhile, Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International's campaigner on Egypt, said that activists and journalists "are regularly jailed and are subjected to unfair trials. Protests are met with brute force and sometimes with French weapons, the internet is undergoing surveillance and censorship."

"All of this is happening in the name of counterterrorism," he added.

This comes as Sissi is to meet Monday with French Defense Minister Florence Parly. Macron will welcome Sisi to the Elysee Palace on Tuesday for talks set to be focused on security.

According to a statement from Macron's office, the talks would focus on security and regional security "but also the human rights situation to which France is particularly attentive."

Egypt is a major buyer of French military equipment with orders worth more than 5.8 billion dollars since 2015 including for 24 Rafale fighter jets.

International rights organizations have repeatedly accused former army chief and now President Sisi of repressive policies that stifle dissent in the media and politics, as well as the use of torture by security forces.

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the opposition since the country’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a military coup in July 2013 led by Sisi, the then army chief.

The controversial ouster sparked many protests by supporters of Morsi and the country’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement.

According to HRW, Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged probably at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, given preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, and tried thousands of civilians in military courts since the 2013 coup.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/23/539661/France-Egypt-US-HRW-Sisi

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Israel to participate in US military ‘counterterrorism’ conference for 1st time

Oct 24, 2017

The Israeli military's chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, is set to attend a so-called "counter-terrorism" conference hosted by the United States, marking the first time the regime is partaking in the event.

“During the visit, the chief of staff will hold working meetings with US security and military officials, as well as a series of meetings with foreign chiefs of staff, in which they will discuss shared challenges, regional and security developments in the Middle East and military cooperation,” an Israeli military statement read on Sunday.

This is the first time Israel participates in the conference, which was attended last year by the chiefs of staff of 43 states and the commanders of US combatant commands.

The visit comes at a time of increased military cooperation between the US and Israel. In September, the US Army for the first time opened a permanent base in Israel and in August Washington announced it is purchasing Israel’s Trophy active protection system, to be installed on American M1A1 Abrams tanks.

The US, which is the biggest arms producer and exporter in the world, has also announced that apart from the Trophy system, it is also considering the purchase of another protection systems, the Iron Fist.

Eisenkot is also scheduled to visit a joint exercise carried out by the Israeli military and the US Cyber Command on electronic warfare.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/24/539673/Israel-terrorism-Gadi-Eisenkot

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‘British Shia tool against true Islam for political interests’

Oct 24, 2017

A group of Shias who persist on bloodletting for the mourning of Imam Hossein in the Islamic months of Muharram and Safar, are supported by the British government and are given funds to have their office, satellite channel, and missionary school in London. Central missionary schools of Shia clerics and authorities in Qom, Najaf, and Beirut have repeatedly denounced the bloodletting practice. Rituals during which participants cut their scalps with machetes to draw blood are labeled as practices of British Shia by the Shia scholars of the world.

Meanwhile the western media show particular interest in rolling out the photographs of blood-covered mourners as shocking subjects for drawing attraction. The issue has been addressed in an interview released by Taqrib News Agency (TNA).

Here comes the full text of the interview:

Introduction

Massoud Shajareh, head of Islamic Human Rights Commission in an interview with Taqrib News Agency (TNA) detailed his views on the British-style Shia, the plot of the Zionists to expand the ideology and their contributions for the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy of the British government targeting Muslim world.

Please elaborate on what British Tashayu or British-Style Shia means. What are their objectives in general?

I think when we say British Islam or British Shia, we are talking about hijacking the pure ideology of true Islam and diverting it for political interests of colonial powers to loosen rather than empower the Muslim community in order to enslave them. There are different tactics which are being used currently.

How have they expanded their ideologies through the society?

In many ways we see them in Britain. There are different groups being set up to serve that particular purpose. One group of these people are going through roots of liberal so-called Islam, liberalism, and they are basically trying to create a group of people to say we should move away from traditional angel and perspective of Islam and Shia and become liberal and we should, through that process, become supportive of British agenda and implement their foreign, cultural and economic policy and look up to British government and British project internally and externally and see that as a salvation for the Muslim community and Shia community and humanity. That is one aspect which is one trap which has been set up for the young Shia Muslim.

Because they want to cover every aspect then they set up another trap and that is for those traditionalists and what they do is to start looking thinking in an angel that the progressives of Shia which is revolutionary is unacceptable and they are trying to create a Shia who are only involved in cultural aspect and then go extreme in the cultural aspect by using knives and chains with knives at the end of it and eventually reject revolutionary concepts of true Islam brought by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which actually considered every aspect of one’s life accommodated within the  social and political and economic aspects; therefore, what they say is “we should not be political” and what we should do is to go into these cultural things into extreme to the extent that.

How has this British Shia divided the Muslim community?

Now the enemies use the bloodletting as a mean aspect of these guys’ Islam and then they also promote at the same time a very sectarian concept of Shia when the identity of Shia becomes not a positive identity but becomes a negative identity of “they are Shia because they are against Sunnis ” and not a Shia because of teachings of Ahlul Bayt (AS) and logical conclusion that comes from learning about Ahlul Bayt (AS) rather it turns into ‘they are Shias because they are anti-Sunni’ and then at the time of Muharram or any other time all  the focus is on bloodletting and anti-Sunni motifs to the extent that they go into different arenas; one comes and talks about the three Caliphs were terrorists and that is why all Sunnis are terrorists or having celebrations on the death anniversary of wife of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and ignoring the Qur’anic verses that Allah commands not to say anything bad about the family and particularly the wife of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Then they use these to create conflict and what they do is both of these groups is what they have in common they are anti-revolutionary anti-resistance of the oppressors be it the issue of Palestine be it the issue of being against injustices that are taking place in our lives racism or anything else or against Zionism they actually are Zionist friendly, both of these groups.

Has any other party made contributions for the British Shia to undermine Islamic unity?

What we have seen recently and very clearly is that both of these groups are trying to bring Shia in connection with Zionism. We see through Muharram that they are leading a joint function with the Zionists and say that we share these things with Zionism inviting the outrageous Zionists to talk about Imam Hussein (AS)   and the justice of Imam Hussein (AS) then giving the message that the Zionists are standing for justice and Ahlul Bayt but Sunnis and Palestinians are all Nasabiyah and against Ahlul Bayt (AS) because they are all named as Omar and Yazid.

What we saw over these combined functions for Muharram and Ashura is they bring in the fellow Zionists legitimizing them within the Islamic circles and Ahlul Bayt (AS) circles so they will make sure that the youths of today and youths of tomorrow are not going to be involved in boycotting or standing up against injustices of Zionism or going to al-Quds demonstration.

How and to what extent are these anti-Shia groups supported across the globe?

What has happened last week is very telling that Shirazis group that have purchased a 5 million pound center and this center is in the heart of a very prominently Jewish area and therefore some Jewish community members started campaigning against this huge Shia center in London to be established there but that Zionists movements both in Israel, through Zionist media, are actually supporting them and actually speaking against those minority Jews who are trying to stop them establishing their center and that small Jewish campaign against them has tried in Britain to get some articles of support and campaign against them in the Zionist papers.

Thinking of here it is going to be very easy because it is against Muslims and Zionists are always there as forefront campaign against Muslims but here they refused to do so and when these groups tried to finance themselves to do some adverts against establishment of this within the Zionist papers Zionist papers refused even to accept adverts which is paid for by these people so it shows the extent of support that the people are getting while the rest of the Shia community those who standing up for justice those who standing up for Palestinians through al-Quds Day we get 6-8 months of vigorous campaign both in Israel and London by the same papers against us so this actually exposes in reality those who are supporting these groups exposing the ideology of these groups and actually shows very clearly what is happening and indeed what the plan is what the plot is if we as Muslims who follow Ahlul Bayt (AS) and true Islam do not understand what the plot of the enemy, those arrogant powers, is then we would never be able to find ways to be victorious and stop them in their plots.

Unfortunately now we are getting, very clearly, groups of people who have been financed and promoted to support this Zionist identity and destroy the very fabric of Islamic concept which is more prominent within the Ahlul Bayt (AS) teaching than anywhere else, the very concept of standing against injustice the concept of empowering the Momenin (pious believers) the concept of trying to bring a change within this world which is creating a better just society for all and as God Almighty says that we need to stand up for those who are oppressed “how you could not rise for the sake of those oppressed “ men, women and children who are praying and say “Allah, send us from yourself a protector  and how could you not rise and fight for them ”.

What are they pursuing in doing so?

They want to completely undermine those commands and they are trying to create in reality what would become a Muslim Zionist and a Christian Zionist. We have some articles from some Muslims who are Muslims and proud to be Zionists and now they want to create a Shia Zionist people who actually promote Zionism and trying to undermine the fabric of our religion. Why is that so? They say we will promote you we are gate keepers and have access to power; we will open up those for you.

Can you elaborate on the relation between these British Shia on one side, and Wahhabism, Daesh, and Takfirist groups on the other side (those who are financially supporting them)?

I think there is one thing that all these groups have got in common. Outwardly, they say they are against one another Takfirists are against people who are abusing the companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), household of Prophet (PBUH) in somewhere they have an excuse to kill or bomb and destroy Shia Mosques and say that the reason is because these people have said X Y and Z and those liberal groups who say that they are against these people using knives  this and that and they are liberals and this is against liberal Islam but the reality is that they all have got one thing in common from the Takfirists to these people who abuse the companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and a third group which is these liberal home office Muslims and Shias, they are all against revolution, they are against creating an Islam which will bring a change against arrogant powers, a change against colonialism, bring a change against world order which is destroying the lives of people, taking money from everyone and resources from everyone and getting them fight one another.

What is the final achievement for those who follow this British Shia?

They are actually against that concept of bringing change, standing as resistance  and I put it to you that we know every single Imam was a part of the resistance and they stood up against the tyrants of their time be it Muslim or be it not they would dare to bring a change to create a better and just society for all as Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was blessing for the whole world and they were involved in that and in that resistance and indeed this is why they were martyred if they wanted to behave like this people to be friendly with the oppressors with Zionists or the British government then they would become ministers and representatives.

Full report at:

http://en.mehrnews.com/news/128902/British-Shia-tool-against-true-Islam-for-political-interests

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Southeast Asia

 

ISIS Threat in Philippines Spreads in Remote Battles

By FELIPE VILLAMOR

OCT. 23, 2017

DATU SALIBO, Philippines — The leader of the Islamic State in the Philippines, Isnilon Hapilon, is dead. The city his forces seized, Marawi, on the island of Mindanao, is all but completely back in government hands after months of scorched-earth combat.

But the Islamic State’s influence in the Philippines is far from over, and communities on Mindanao are bracing for the next battles.

“I don’t like to fight. But this is our land and we will not let them take this like they destroyed Marawi,” said a veteran Christian militia fighter who goes by the nom de guerre Commander Ilangilang. (She named herself after the tree blossoms that bloom densely around her hometown.)

She says it is only a matter of time before the Islamic State’s black flag flutters in the mountainous periphery on the outskirts of Kauran, the farming community where she grew up and where she talked to Times journalists recently, about 90 miles south of Marawi.

“That’s why I have these,” she said, gently tapping her .45-caliber pistol and a separate revolver, both holstered loosely around her thin waist.

That separatist movement, and the sectarian and political resentment that drove it, never really went away. It evolved into Muslim militant groups that fought the government for decades, and in recent years proved to be fertile ground for the Islamic State ideology and recruiters, as that Middle East-based movement sought to extend its influence around the globe.

That the old and resilient militant cells here are now being strengthened by the brand and resources of the Islamic State’s international network has people worried all over Mindanao — including even some of the Muslim militants whose former comrades joined the Islamic State.

In a twist that would have been unimaginable even after they signed a peace deal with the Philippine government three years ago, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF, are now leading their former enemies in the army against what some believe could become the next big Islamic State uprising.

They are fighting in the forbidding marshlands of the town of Datu Salibo, about a 130-mile drive south from Marawi.

Local Islamist groups claiming to represent the Islamic State have been trying to recruit the young with promises of cash and adventure, according to Commander Asiong. He is the self-appointed spokesman of the same Christian militia unit that Ilangilang belongs to: Red God’s Army.

Asiong, 60, a former soldier turned community leader, said that even with the militants in Marawi close to total defeat, the Islamic State’s reach on Mindanao has spread. It has been aided by operatives in the Middle East who have posted well-produced videos of the so-called religious war, he said, and particularly by how the Islamic State loyalists in Marawi managed to fight off the government for months.

Navy Special Forces patrolling a lake near the main battle area in Marawi in September. Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

Marawi after airstrikes against an Islamic State position in September. Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

“They may be close to being defeated in Marawi, but they can spread out,” Asiong said in his tiny shed in Kauran.

His years of army service, spent fighting Muslim militants, have left him with deep scars in his neck and torso, and his left leg was all but cut away to save it after several bullets hit him there.

“They can regroup, join other I.S. allied groups here,” he said, using the initials for the Islamic State. “While we have guns, our community is no match for them. So we pray that the government finishes them in Marawi. If not, there is nothing we can do except to protect ourselves and fight to the death. We will defend our land until troops arrive.”

(On Monday, the Philippine defense secretary declared an end to the fighting in Marawi, saying that the “last group of stragglers” in the siege there had been killed.)

Asiong and Ilangilang spoke to journalists for The New York Times over goat meat stew in Asiong’s hut. As we talked, the sound of explosions kept coming across the distance — mortar fire from an army camp targeting local rebels in a swampy region miles away.

On Christmas Day two years ago, a breakaway faction from the MILF called the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, or BIFF, attacked several areas, including Kauran, and killed 11 Christian farmers, Asiong said.

While BIFF says it is not officially affiliated with the Islamic State loyalists who fought in Marawi, the local authorities think otherwise.

The body of an Islamic State fighter killed in a firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Datu Salibo. Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters traversing a swamp to fight Islamic State-inspired militants in Datu Salibo. Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

The rebel force has welcomed the Marawi offensive and has helped divert the army’s attention by attacking nearby civilian communities. In June, as heavy fighting was going on in Marawi, BIFF militants briefly held more than 30 students in the remote town of Pigkawayan, about 50 miles south, forcing the military to spread its forces even more thinly.

A spokesman for the group, Abu Misry Mama, said in a brief telephone interview: “The fighting in Marawi is a good distraction. All I can say is, they do not belong to our group, which continues to fight for a separate homeland. But the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Another of those jihadist friends, a group that has explicitly pledged loyalty to the Islamic State, is fighting government and MILF forces in the marshlands near Datu Salibo.

The Islamic State militants here are headed by the militant commander Abu Turaipe and are believed to number a few hundred. He was once allied with MILF, but broke away in protest over the peace deal with the government.

The swamp battle with the Islamic State militants has been going on since August, but has gotten little press coverage, largely because the area is inaccessible and much of the attention has been focused on Marawi.

Von al-Haq, the MILF’s military commander, said that his fighters were “swimming while attacking, because the swamp waters are very deep.”

But the MILF and army alliance has slowly been winning, and in one offensive last month reported that it had recovered at least 20 improvised bombs and a number of black Islamic State flags.

Nassrolah Gani, a 35-year-old police officer whose unit is helping the military in recovering casualties from the crocodile-infested marshland, said his men would be easily lost in the swamps were it not for their MILF guides.

Boots get sucked off by the mud, and thorny bushes are a natural impediment to moving faster. Their assault rifles often get wet, making them less reliable.

“It’s an open mostly flat marshland, where you are open to sniper fire,” Mr. Gani said. “When you enter the swamps, you’ve already dug your own grave.”

Mr. Gani said the latest intelligence data they received indicated that there were several Malaysian fighters who had joined Abu Turaipe’s group.

Whether they had escaped from Marawi to this new front was hard to tell, but he believes their presence has bolstered the enemy force.

“We used to fight the MILF, but they are now fighting alongside us. So what is the bigger enemy? It is the Daesh-inspired groups,” he added, using another name for the Islamic State.

Rommel Banlaoi, a security analyst who heads the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, says that other southern cities are at increased risk of attack by energized Islamic State loyalists.

“They have won the battle strategically, as they have proven how long they can endure the fight against government forces,” he said, adding that the Marawi battle will stand as an example of “martyrdom that can inspire others.”

After the spectacle of the Marawi siege, more foreign fighters will be attuned to the fight on Mindanao, where past government efforts had aimed at ousting Muslims in favor of the Christian majority.

“Mindanao will continue to suffer the challenges of armed conflicts and violence because of many issues associated with the struggle of the people there for self-determination” being advocated by the Muslim forces, Mr. Banlaoi said. “It has simply become the new land of jihad.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/world/asia/isis-philippines-mindanao-marawi.html?mtrref=www.google.co.in&gwh=E541D3983CCC7DA49DA701111C3297F7&gwt=pay

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Get into Islamic debate, non-Muslim leaders told

October 24, 2017

PETALING JAYA: A former deputy minister has lent his support to a call on non-Muslim leaders to participate in public discourse on matters relating to Islam.

It would be wrong for such leaders to distance themselves from debate on Islamic issues, especially when non-Muslim rights were at stake, said Gan Ping Siew, who was deputy youth and sports minister from 2010 to May 2013.

Speaking to FMT, Gan indicated his agreement with social activist Marina Mahathir, who said at a recent forum that non-Muslims would not necessarily be interfering in matters that didn’t concern them if they were to speak on public policies drawn from Islamic sources.

Gan said religion should not be seen as a sensitive issue in a country that has pride in the diversity of its cultures. “It merely needs to be handled sensitively, sincerely and in good faith.”

Issues that have raised concern among non-Muslims include PAS’ intention to enhance the powers of the shariah courts through a private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

The issue of child marriage has also been the subject of heated debate, with Pakatan Harapan’s women leaders urging Putrajaya to set the legal marriage age of Muslims, whether male or female, at 18.

Gan said questions raised by non-Muslims regarding such issues often concerned only the practice of Islam, not the fundamental beliefs of Muslims.

“When a certain religious practice of Muslims raises the eyebrows of non-Muslims, and when such practices may well affect the overall interests of our nation, inquiry into them may be done in good faith and for the common good,” he said.

It was especially important, he added, that such issues be raised by elected representatives whose constituents came from various religious communities.

“Raising the relevant questions is merely part and parcel of their duty,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/10/24/get-into-islamic-debate-non-muslim-leaders-told/

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Could Anti-Chinese Violence Flare Again In Indonesia?

By Jeffrey Hutton

22 OCT 2017

At the Orion Plaza in the North Jakarta suburb of Glodok, Along Jenggot solders a connector onto a satellite dish cable. He has worked here since before 1998, when rioters stormed the mall, looted its shops and set it ablaze. The ceiling fell in, Jenggot recalls. The walls are still charred in places.

Now the owner of a small electronics repair shop at the mall, Jenggot worries whether the same strife will erupt again. “It can happen,” the 50-year-old said. “They are using race and religion now. We know the capacity of the politicians now.”

After a toxic election campaign that centred on race and religion, many in this sprawling city had hoped tensions would ease. But for many, those hopes were dashed this week when the capital’s newly minted governor, Anies Baswedan, during his inaugural address appeared to pit the country’s majority against ethnic Chinese and other minority groups.

In remarks that triggered a barrage of criticism on social media, Baswedan called on the Muslim majority “pribumi” – a loaded term to refer to anyone not a visible minority – to become “masters of an independent country”. For some the comments underscored worries that Baswedan would not live up to earlier assurances that he would protect religious and ethnic minorities.

“Anies has promised to respect minorities and be a governor for all residents of Jakarta. However, his attitude is often the opposite,” said Soe Tjen Marching, an ethnic Chinese activist and writer.

What if Ahok’s loss in the Jakarta election wasn’t all about Islam?

“He consciously or unconsciously emphasises division and discrimination. Although he promised to respect minorities, this seems like just lip service.”

Baswedan, a former academic and education minister in the cabinet of President Joko Widodo, owes his election to the support from hardline Muslim groups targeting the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

Better known as Ahok, Purnama ran afoul of Muslims when a doctored video circulated on social media that appeared to depict him insulting the Koran. He did not, but groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) ran with it, in part because they objected to being governed by a non-Muslim.

“The most important thing for us is to have a Muslim governor,” said Sugito Atmo Pawiro, the FPI’s chief lawyer.

Late last year, the Islamic group and their allies mobilised hundreds of thousands onto the street in a successful effort to force police to charge Purnama with blasphemy. Purnama was jailed in May. “This was a very big struggle and God willing we prevailed,” said Sugito.

As Purnama’s case went to trial during the election campaign earlier this year, Baswedan, a moderate Muslim in step with the country’s secularist traditions, allied with the FPI, which supports the introduction of sharia law, in a bid to secure a big chunk of the Muslim vote. It worked and Baswedan, who had never held elected office before, swept to victory with nearly 60 per cent of the vote.

But Baswedan has already needed to back pedal on his promises after meeting resistance from the central government. For now, he has shelved a programme that would offer low-income housing loans without a deposit. The central bank has warned that this violates lending regulations but Baswedan has said he can find a way around those rules. His promise to stop a land reclamation project in Jakarta Bay also seems likely to come up against resistance from President Widodo’s administration, which favours the plan as a way to hold back a rising sea from a city that is sinking about 15cm every year.

Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese leader is gone, is it Widodo next?

But it’s Baswedan’s implicit promises that have some analysts worried. Yenny Wahid, director of the think tank The Wahid Institute, said Baswedan, who does not have his own party to back him, will be under pressure to splash out on mosques, Muslim religious festivals as well as to appear at overtly religious events.

“There will be government funding for hardline causes,” said Wahid, who is the daughter of the former President Abdurrahman Wahid. “Once you give more space to them they will posture for more.”

Baswedan and his deputy, the private equity banker Sandiaga Uno, declined repeated requests for comment.

Baswedan’s transition from Muslim moderate to conservative marks a complete reversal of many of the beliefs he expressed in public. While campaigning for Widodo during the presidential election in 2014 local media quoted him saying: “Indonesia is built on a foundation respecting diverse ethnicities and religions. The FPI is a radical group that forces Islamic values that will tear down that building.”

The about-face may be understandable given what was at stake. The governorship is widely viewed as a launch pad to the presidency. Widodo, a former mayor of Surakarta, generated a national profile after winning the office in 2012 by kick starting badly needed infrastructure projects and extending health and education services to the poor. Purnama became governor when Widodo won the presidency in 2014.

While deals with the devil are nothing new in politics, in Indonesia, where democracy is barely two decades old, fanning the flames of sectarianism and interethnic strife risks throwing progress off track.

Ethnic Chinese were driven from their homes from angry mobs in Medan, Jakarta, and elsewhere after the fall of former dictator Suharto on rumours Chinese were hoarding rice and driving up the price. Hundreds of thousands of suspected leftists and ethnic Chinese were slaughtered after the abortive coup in 1965 that helped bring Suharto to power.

Full report at:

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2116288/could-anti-chinese-violence-flare-again-indonesia

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Two N. Sumatra men arrested as suspected IS sympathizers

October 23, 2017

North Sumatra's Labuhan Batu Police have arrested two men over the weekend on suspicions of being sympathizers of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

The two men, AK, 28, and FG, 27, were arrested Friday evening in the Sigambal area of Labuhan Batu regency, said the Labuhan Batu Police's head of criminal investigation Adj. Comr. Teuku Fathir Mustafa.

The arrests resulted from a traffic operation conducted in the area. The police suspected AK of being an IS sympathizer as he reportedly sent a text message to a friend when he was netted during the raid that said: “I was arrested by thogut”. Thogut is derived from an Arabic word meaning people who disobey God’s regulations, or infidel.

Not long after the message was sent, FG arrived at the location of the raid, demanding the police to release his friend. The police then decided to apprehend the two and take them to the Labuhan Batu police station for questioning. 

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/10/23/two-n-sumatra-men-arrested-as-suspected-is-sympathizers.html

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Australia expands security assistance to Philippines to combat Islamist militants

24 October 2017

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Philippines: Australia on Tuesday announced the expansion of its security support to the Philippines, which will involve training in urban counter-terrorism, to fight the rise and spread of Islamist militancy in the region.

The announcement follows the end of the 154-day battle for Marawi city which stunned the Philippine’s military inexperienced in urban combat, and fueled concerns Islamic State loyalists wanted to use the southern island of Mindanao as a base for Southeast Asia activity.

The battle for Marawi ended on Monday. Philippines authorities said 920 militants, 165 troops and police and at least 45 civilians were killed in the conflict, which displaced more than 300,000 people.

Australia, along with the United States, Singapore and China, provided weaponry and technical support, including surveillance aircraft.

“All nations must learn from the recent Marawi conflict and the Philippines’ experience,” said Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, adding Canberra and Manila will host a post-conflict seminar to learn from the five-month Marawi conflict.

About 80 soldiers from Australia’s mobile training team will be deployed in local bases in the Philippines to train army and marine units in urban counter-terrorism warfare, said Payne on the sidelines of an ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting in Clark, a former US air force base.

“The practical training the Australian Defense Forces (ADF) will provide will ensure the Philippines defense force is better able to counter the brutal tactics being employed by terrorists,” Payne told a news conference.

“The spread of Daesh-inspired (Islamic State) terrorism is a direct threat to Australia and its interests and we are committed to working with our partners and allies to ensuring Daesh cannot establish a geographic foothold in the region.”

Payne said Australia was concerned with Islamic State fighters returning from Iraq and Syria to home countries in Southeast Asia and was working closely with Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore to monitor militant movements.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in the same briefing the government had been provided by Kurdish intelligence, through Manila’s embassy in Baghdad, with a list of Indonesians, Malaysians and a few Filipinos who might return home.

Lorenzana said the Philippines and Australia are now reviewing the deployment of surveillance planes, which flew four times a week over Marawi since late June.

Apart from urban warfare training, Australia will also enhance provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, share information and intelligence and strengthen maritime security engagement and bilateral maritime patrols.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1182456/world

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/a-modern-mosque-without-minarets-stirs-controversy-in-tehran/d/113003

 

 

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