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Islamic World News ( 26 Aug 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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About 300 Sufi Sect Leaders in East Africa Pledge to Fight Extremism















People ride past a digital billboard showing a sketch of the main suspect in the Erawan shrine bombing. Photo: Reuters


Africa

Sufi Sect Leaders in East Africa Pledge to Fight Extremism

Dozens Killed As Al-Shabab Militants Ambush Somali Government Convoy

44 Dead in Migrant Tragedies off Libya Coast

U.N. envoy confident Libya factions can seal deal around Sept. 10

Nigeria: Muslim Herdsmen Helping Jihadists

South Sudan peace deal welcomed with caution

Boko Haram suspects on trial in Chad over twin attacks

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Southeast Asia

Bangkok Bombing: New Theories Turn To Turkish Travellers, Grey Wolves

US Urges Maldives to Free Jailed Ex-Leader, Mohamed Nasheed

Jihadism in Maldives: Impact on Vital Tourism Industry – Analysis

Indonesia: A challenge to tradition

Indonesia and Turkey Pushing Islamic Bank Cooperation

Temples at Kuala Lumpur urged to welcome rally goers who keep politics out

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Arab World

FBI Warns U.S. Art Dealers about Antiquities Looted From Syria, Iraq

ISIS Bomber Kills Two Iraqi Generals in Anbar

Peshmerga Gains Control of 10 Villages in Kirkuk

Iraqi Forces Liberate 3 Villages in Salahuddin

Two killed in renewed clashes in south Lebanon refugee camp

Syrian army, militants agree on Zabadani ceasefire

ISIS takes 5 Syrian villages near Turkish border

Two dead in truce breach at Lebanon Palestinian camp

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South Asia

Four Senior Taliban Commanders Killed In Nangarhar Airstrike

Mojadedi Announces the Establishment of a New Political Council

NATO forces casualty update in Helmand insider attack

Attack on BGB: Youth ‘linked to’ Arakan army held

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India

Religion Data Released With Little Warning, No Context

Mangalore Moral Policing: Competitive Mind Control

A Mosque Visit PM Finds Hard To Pull Off

‘Glaring Errors’ In MHA’s Dossier on Dawood

‘LeT may benefit from India-Pakistan tensions’

India’s dossier contained loopholes in Pak’s 26/11 probe

More Muslims, Christians Living in Urban Areas

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Pakistan

Muslims Join Hands with Hindus in Cleaning Pond at Temple in Pakistan

Brahamdagh Bugti Willing To Negotiate With Govt: BBC

Altaf Summoned As UK Starts Money Laundering Trial

US assures all support to Pakistan in fighting terrorism

Arrest Warrants Issued For Senior PPP Leaders Gilani, Amin Fahim

Pro-govt tribal elder killed in Bajaur; TTP claims responsibility

Three terrorism cases to be withdrawn from military courts

World Bank approves 75 million dollars for FATA refugees

Pakistan cancels narcotics chief’s visit to India

Taliban say two commanders fatally poisoned

BB murder case: Mark Siegel refuses to record statement

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North America

Three US Marine Veterans Heroically Fight the Islamic State

Kurdish Activist Wants Canada to Keep Fighting Islamic State

Deen Squad Finds Fame in Halal Melodies

Toronto city councillor says Muslim-only subsidized housing is acceptable

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Mideast

HRW Urges Coalition to Stop Using Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Turkey: Car Bomb Kills Free Syrian Army-Linked Commander

Russia Asks for Iranian Drone Technology

Iran Underlines Strong Support for Palestinian Hamas

Yemeni Scud Missile Hits Strategic Power Plant in Southern Saudi Arabia

Iran, China Stress Enhanced Cooperation on Peaceful N. Technology

Al-Assiri says allies don’t eye territorial gains in Yemen

Turkish Scholar Warns of “Jediism”

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Europe

Russia, Egypt Call for International Anti-Terror Coalition

France Deplores Mosque Arson

Bayern Muslim Players Refuse Glasses of Beer

Russia ‘urges Iran to revoke S-300 suit’

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Australia

Australian Man to Stand Trial over Recruiting Militants for Syria Battles

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/about-300-sufi-sect-leaders-in-east-africa-pledge-to-fight-extremism/d/104396

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Africa

 

Sufi Sect Leaders in East Africa Pledge to Fight Extremism

Mohammed Yusuf

August 26, 2015

NAIROBI—

About 300 Muslim scholars and imams from eastern African countries said they would join their respective governments in combating terrorism.

The scholars, from the Sufi sect of Islam from Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, vowed to fight extremism teachings and terrorist activities after meeting for two days at a conference in Kenya's coastal county of Kwale.

U.S.-based Somali scholar Mohamud Elmi said there has to be a counternarrative to fight extremist views in schools.

“There are issues that help people to be misled. For example, if they do not get a job, social justice, they have to get proper education, the syllabus must be corrected and removed from doctrine that believes extremism," Elmi said.

“We have to put [in place] a religious syllabus that supports the people of different faiths and values," he added.

Elmi called on Muslims in the region to work with their governments to squash terrorism, which has claimed the lives of thousands in Somalia and neighbouring countries.

Alleged plot foiled

The end of the two-day conference comes just a day after Kenyan security forces recovered weapons and arrested dozens of terror suspects believed to be planning an attack in Garissa town.

In April, five gunmen stormed Garissa University College, killing more than 140 people, mostly students.

Sheikh Omar Mohamed of Tanzania said such acts of violence create rifts and divisions among people.

Mohamed said Muslims have been able to perform their religious duties peacefully and their governments have given Muslims freedom of worship. He said Muslims should not allow sectarian violence and unrest in their countries.

The Somali-based Sufi sect known as Ahlu-Sunna Wal Jamaa consists of moderate Sufis opposed to radical Islamist groups such as al-Shabab.

http://www.voanews.com/content/sufi-sect-leaders-in-east-africa-pledge-to-fight-extremism/2933184.html

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Dozens killed as al-Shabab militants ambush Somali government convoy

27.08.2015

Islamist al-Shabab militants killed dozens including a regional official and local police commander in an attack on a government convoy in southern Somalia on Wednesday, officials and the group said.

The insurgents launched attacks on the army convoy near the village of Tulo-Barwao in the southwestern Gedo district of Somalia, a region bordering Ethiopia and Kenya, sparking intense gun battles.

The al Qaeda-allied group frequently launches attacks on officials in its bid to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam on the nation, which is struggling to rebuild after two decades of war.

Government officials put the death toll at 32 al-Shabab fighters and 11 government soldiers, while the Shabab said the only casualties were 19 government troops. Local elder Abdulahi Halane said around 30 people were killed in total.

"The fighting was very heavy and 32 enemy Shabab fighters, including senior commanders, were killed," said Nur Mohamud Burale, a government official. "We lost 11 soldiers, and 16 others were wounded." Al-Shabab often cites higher numbers for those killed than official figures.

The group now controls increasingly smaller patches of territory since an African Union force and Somali troops drove it out of major strongholds in an offensive launched last year, targeting Shabab strongholds in southern Somalia.

Senior Somali police officer Elmi Nur said that police "have been launching operations to eliminate al-Shabab from the region. More police and military were sent after the ambush to chase the fighters hiding in the forested areas."

http://www.dw.com/en/dozens-killed-as-al-shabab-militants-ambush-somali-government-convoy/a-18676736

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44 dead in migrant tragedies off Libya coast

August 27, 2015

ROME - At least 44 people were found dead on Wednesday on three overcrowded migrant boats found drifting precariously off the coast of Libya.

The bulk of the victims were found in the hold of a wooden boat which was intercepted by the Swedish coastguard vessel the Poseidon. Swedish coastguard spokesman Mattias Lindholm told AFP the Poseidon had been able to pluck 439 people to safety from the wooden boat and put the number presumed to have suffocated in the hold at around 40.

The Italian coastguard, which coordinates rescue efforts in the area, estimated the number of dead at 50 and said four other bodies, including those of three women, were found on two crowded rubber dinghies later in the day. The Swedish ship was in the area as part of the EU border agency Frontex’s search and rescue mission known as Triton.

Just before the discovery of the bodies, the Poseidon had picked up 130 migrants from a rubber dinghy, Lindholm said. A spokesman for the Italian coastguard said a total of just under 1,900 people had been rescued by mid-afternoon but that figure was expected to rise. MOAS, a Malta-based private organisation, said in a tweet that its boat the Phoenix was taking part in a complex rescue operation.

“Phoenix are working with Italian and Swedish vessels to assist thousands,” it said. On August 15, the Italian navy discovered the bodies of 49 migrants asphyxiated in the hold of a people smuggler’s boat. Survivors later testified that the victims had been locked below deck and constrained to stay there by force.

Calm weather has encouraged the smugglers to get as many people as possible out to sea, they will be picked up by Italian boats.

nternational boats and taken to southern Italian ports. The Italian coastguard coordinated the rescue of nearly 5,000 people at the weekend and the latest operations will lift to more than 110,000 the number of migrants to have landed at Italian ports this year. A further 160,000-plus have arrived in Greece, triggering a crisis for which the European Union is struggling to find a solution.

http://nation.com.pk/international/27-Aug-2015/44-dead-in-migrant-tragedies-off-libya-coast

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U.N. envoy confident Libya factions can seal deal around Sept. 10

27 August 2015

The United Nations special envoy to Libya said he was optimistic that the country’s two parliaments will be ready to agree on forming a unity government by mid-September, a vital step towards ending the political crisis and military conflict.

The United Nations has been trying to persuade the country’s warring factions for months to form a unity cabinet and end fighting across the country four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Militant groups allied to each of the two administrations have brought the country’s oil-dependent economy to its knees, and most of Libya is lawless and run by armed groups attached to neither government.

“I continue to believe that around Sept. 10 we will be in a position to have a final agreement,” Bernardino Leon told France 24 in an interview aired late on Wednesday.

Leon is scheduled to hold a new round of talks in Morocco on Thursday to push the factions to agree on a deal, but the parliament based in Tripoli has so far refused to sign it.

The elected House of Representatives, based in the east with the official government which fled Tripoli a year ago, signed a preliminary deal last month, but the head of the Tripoli delegation quit the talks on Wednesday. [ID: nL5N1114I4]

Both sides face divisions and pressure from hardliners.

“There are important questions (remaining) for all parties, but I think we have never been as close as we are now, and it would be tragic that at a time when Libya is so close and the positions of both sides are so close that we are not able to conclude this accord.”

The U.N. proposal calls for a one-year unity government in which a council of ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have executive authority.

Libya’s security has rapidly deteriorated as ISIS and other armed groups not linked to either government exploit the power vacuum.

“The priority is to conclude a political accord. Libya’s main weapon against Islamic State is unity,” Leon said, when asked whether there should be an international intervention to fight the group.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/27/U-N-envoy-confident-Libya-factions-can-seal-deal-around-Sept-10.html

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Nigeria: Muslim Herdsmen Helping Jihadists

August 26, 2015

The killing of Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's middle belt has become part of a jihadist movement to both steal the region's natural resources and displace its Christian population.

According to Morning Star News, Muslim herdsmen working with jihadists groups have attacked and killed more than 1,500 Christians last year in the middle belt states of Kaduna, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa. These attacks were not only in pursuit of resources, but were inspired by Islamist ideology, i.e., Fulani Muslims are using the conflict to kill Christians and intimidate any survivors into recanting Christianity in favor of Islam.

The overwhelming number of victims in land and other disputes between Christians and Muslims have always been Christians. In Taraba state, 70 percent of the victims of non-Boko Haram violence were Christians and seven percent Muslims; in Benue state, 88 percent of the victims were Christians and two percent Muslims and in Nasarawa state, 75 percent were Christians and 15 percent Muslims, according to a report subtitled "Non-Boko Haram violence against Christians in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria" .

John Danfulani, a Christian leader from southern Kaduna state, said that since 2011 Muslim Fulani attacks had killed 614 Christians, wounded about 1,200 others and destroyed 1,000 Christian-owned homes.

Danfulani said Christians in southern Kaduna were being killed by Muslims with impunity and that Christian casualties increased with each new Muslim attack.

“Everything points to the fact that our people are being used as sacrificial lambs.”

http://www.worthynews.com/21511-nigeria-muslim-herdsmen-helping-jihadists

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South Sudan peace deal welcomed with caution

27 August 2015

A deal signed by South Sudan's president aimed at ending 20 months of civil war was given a cautious welcome Thursday, with both sides in the conflict urged to show good faith.

At least seven ceasefires have already been agreed and then shattered within days or even hours since war began in December 2013.

African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Thursday the deal was "a critical step in the efforts aimed at ending the conflict" but said the agreement must be implemented.

"Seize this unique opportunity to open a new chapter," she said, calling on all sides to "scrupulously abide by its terms and faithfully implement its provisions."

Serious concerns remain. President Salva Kiir signed the peace accord on Wednesday at a ceremony in Juba, but he annexed a list of reservations that would have to be addressed for the agreement to take hold.

Both sides traded blame Wednesday for attacking each other. Under the deal, a permanent ceasefire must come into force by nightfall on Saturday.

The UN Security Council has given Kiir until September 1 to get fully behind the agreement or face possible sanctions, and the United States has circulated a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on those who undermine peace efforts.

Key aid agencies, that are struggling to stem a humanitarian crisis in the devastated nation, said in a joint statement that even if implemented the deal was "only the beginning of a long, hard journey towards peace and reconciliation."

Tens of thousands of people are thought to have died in a war marked by ethnic killings, gangs rapes and child soldier recruitment.

"The value of the peace deal will only be seen on how it is implemented on the ground," the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said.

 - 'More than words' -

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/163637/south-sudan-peace-deal-welcomed-with-caution

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Boko Haram suspects on trial in Chad over twin attacks

Aug 27, 2015

N'Djamena (AFP) - Ten suspected Boko Haram members went on trial in Chad on Wednesday over their alleged roles in twin attacks that killed 38 people in the capital N'Djamena in June.

It was the first Chadian trial involving the Nigeria-based Islamist group, which has in the past months stepped up attacks and suicide bombings in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

They are accused of criminal conspiracy, killings, wilful destruction with explosives, fraud, illegal possessions of arms and ammunition, as well as using psychotropic substances, city prosecutor general Bruno Mahouli said.

The closed-door hearing is expected to last eight days.

The accused include Nigerian national Mahamat Mustapha, also known as Bana Fanaye, who according to Chadian authorities was the mastermind behind the June 15 suicide attacks that struck a school and a police building in N'Djamena, killing 38 people and injuring over 100.

Shortly after Fanaye's arrest in late June, Chad's top prosecutor Alghassim Kassim said the suspect was the "ringleader of a network smuggling weapons and munitions between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad".

Fanaye was also responsible for procuring weapons and "recruiting and managing Boko Haram members", Kassim added.

The June attacks in the Chadian capital were followed by another suicide blast at a market in July that killed 15 people.

Full report at:

http://news.yahoo.com/boko-haram-suspects-trial-chad-over-twin-attacks-172311939.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Bangkok Bombing: New Theories Turn To Turkish Travellers, Grey Wolves

August 27, 2015

Bangkok: Investigations into the bombing of a shrine in the Thai capital earlier this month have swung to more than 20 Turkish nationals who entered Thailand in the 15 days before the attack.

Police and immigration investigators are focusing on the personal data and backgrounds of the Turkish visitors, including any ties to an extremist group, according to sources quoted in the Thai media.

They are also examining photographs of the Turkish nationals arriving at Thai airports to see if they match a police drawing of a key suspect who left a backpack at the Erawan shrine on August 17.

Demonstrators set fire to a Chinese flag during a protest against China near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in July.

Demonstrators set fire to a Chinese flag during a protest against China near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in July. Photo: Reuters

A blast tore through a crowd at the shrine soon after, killing 20 people and injuring more than 120 others in the largest attack in Thailand in years.

There has been no shortage of theories on the perpetrators of the attack, including the possibility of the attack having been revenge for the deportation of 109 Uighurs to China, the work of disgruntled domestic political opponents or the escalating tactics of southern militants.

The Bangkok Post reported a meeting of investigators on Wednesday focused on the theory that the man captured on CCTV footage at the shrine might be a Turkish national.

People ride past a digital billboard showing a sketch of the main suspect in the Erawan shrine bombing.

People ride past a digital billboard showing a sketch of the main suspect in the Erawan shrine bombing. Photo: Reuters

Anthony Davis, a veteran security analyst with IHS-Jane's, has suggested that the most likely perpetrators were ultra-nationalist members of a far-right Turkish militant group called the Grey Wolves.

Full report at:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/bangkok-bombing-new-theories-turn-to-turkish-travellers-grey-wolves-20150827-gj90m5.html

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US Urges Maldives to Free Jailed Ex-Leader, Mohamed Nasheed

27 August 2015

COLOMBO: The United States pressed the Maldives Wednesday to release former leader Mohamed Nasheed after he was returned to prison despite an order commuting his 13-year term to house arrest.

US assistant secretary for South Asia Nisha Biswal said Washington was concerned about a move away from democracy in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular tourist destination.

Her comments echoed a call by the United Nations on Tuesday for Nasheed’s early release.

“It is a concern to us that rather than strengthening democratic institutions and processes, the government of Maldives seems to be moving away,” Biswal said while on a visit to neighboring Sri Lanka.

“We have called upon the government of the Maldives to respect due process.”

Police and prison officials clashed with supporters of Nasheed as they removed him from his home in the capital Male and took him to the high-security prison island of Maafushi on Sunday night.

Nasheed’s lawyers said the authorities were now disputing a letter hand-carried by a member of the Maldivian Correctional Service to Nasheed commuting his jail term to house arrest from July 19.

Despite wide publicity both locally and abroad a month ago around the commuting of his sentence, the authorities have sought to dispute it only in the past week, Nasheed’s MDP said.

Maldivian police have launched an investigation into what the authorities have described as a “fake” document.

The US State Department said Nasheed’s trial in March had been conducted contrary to local laws as well as the country’s international obligations.

“We renew our call on the government of Maldives to release former President Nasheed, end politically motivated trials and take steps to restore confidence in its commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” said spokesman John Kirby.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/world/news/797426

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Jihadism In Maldives: Impact On Vital Tourism Industry – Analysis

August 27th, 2015

There has been in recent years a disproportionate number of Maldivian fighters in Syria amid increased grassroots radicalisation in the Maldives, traditionally a religiously-relaxed Muslim country. Effective domestic and regional counter-extremism measures can reverse these trends.

By Iromi Dharmawardhane*

Jihadist activity and a radicalised community have been visibly growing in the past decade in the Maldives, traditionally a religiously-relaxed Muslim country. Maldives experienced a terrorist attack in 2007 wounding 12 foreigners towards the end of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year administration.

Mohamed Nasheed’s administration (2008 – 2012) saw a huge increase in violent extremism and the spread of radical ideology among the population. The present administration of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is contending with an increasing number of Maldivians participating in transnational terrorist activity and an actively radicalised community.

Maldivian fighters in Syria and Iraq

The exact number of Maldivians fighting for terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq today is not known. However, various reports point to a figure of over 100 Maldivian fighters. It is known that at least seven Maldivians have died in Syria and Iraq to date. Until recently fighters have included students, those convicted or accused of terrorism-related or other crimes in the Maldives, religious figures and former military personnel.

In 2015, departures to Syria have mostly been young men who belong to criminal gangs in Male, the capital of the Maldives. Maldivian jihadists travel through Sri Lanka, India or Thailand (popular holiday destinations for Maldivians), then travel to Pakistan for training or Turkey to cross into Syria.

Most Maldivian fighters have joined the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra (JN) terrorist group, although Maldivians also fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and other groups. The Islamic State of Maldives (ISM) group, which claims to be a local group affiliated to ISIS, emerged in July 2014.

While the younger population is more socially liberal (60% of the Maldivian population of approximately 394,000 are under the age of 25), there is a growing radicalised community in the Maldives. For example, there was a protest conducted by about 200 people on 5 September 2014, some carrying ISIS flags, calling for the full implementation of the Shariah and an end of secular rule in the Maldives.

Radicalisation and recruitment of Maldivians to fight in Syria occur online and offline and are conducted in conjunction with the collecting of funds. On the ground, there is a Maldivian network of recruiters working with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan and operatives in India as well as other terrorist groups. Radicalisation also occurs as a result of jihadist preaching carried out in certain mosques in the Maldives.

The high level of internet penetration in the Maldives (about 43% of the population), makes its population of active social media users susceptible to the radical jihadist ideologies propagated online. Extremist Maldivian NGOs and radical Maldivian preachers have thousands ̶ some tens of thousands ̶ of supporters on Facebook, their primary online medium of communication. Both groups have a presence across the social media platform on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and other sites.

Full report at:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/27082015-jihadism-in-maldives-impact-on-vital-tourism-industry-analysis/

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Indonesia: A challenge to tradition

Avantika Chilkoti

August 26, 201

With roofs swooping to the sky like the horns of a buffalo, the traditional homes of the Minangkabau people in West Sumatra are among the world’s most distinctive buildings. They have another distinctive feature, too: the houses are passed down from mother to daughter.

Despite being staunchly Muslim, the Minangkabau are one of the largest matrilineal communities in the world. In the 700-odd years since Islam arrived in this part of Indonesia, such contradictions have been worn lightly. But as a wave of piety has swept through the country in recent years, the Minangkabau homeland has become a hotspot for orthodoxy and intolerance.

In the regional capital of Padang, many schoolgirls who would have sported scruffy pigtails with their smart school uniforms a decade ago now parade through the dusty streets in starched cotton headscarves. It is one of several sharia bylaws enforced since 2005 by the former mayor, Fauzi Bahar, who also introduced Koran reading tests in schools and banned unmarried couples from frolicking in public.

“The principle of religion is good behaviour,” he explains, a smile on his face and a Rolex on his wrist. “With time those values were gradually eroded, then people started to leave religion, they got involved in free relationships and promiscuity — I’ll bring them back to the good that existed in the past.”

There are signs of rising religiosity throughout Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, where strict Islamic laws have been enforced in several provinces and a growing number of women wear the veil.

With President Joko Widodo, below, focused on flagging economic growth and political infighting, these outward signs of piety are feeding concerns that Indonesia’s tolerant brand of Islam is at risk. The anxiety has been compounded by the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as Isis or Isil, which has drawn some Indonesians to its vision of a “caliphate”.

The worries about Indonesians waging war in Syria are particularly potent in this country. Returning fighters threaten to revive local extremist groups and undo years of counterterrorism efforts by Jakarta, just as veterans of the Afghan war in the 1980s formed the al-Qaeda-sponsored Jemaah Islamiyah network that has carried out savage attacks, including the bombing of a Bali nightclub in 2002.

In July, authorities began investigating two former pilots in Indonesia who pledged allegiance to Isis. And this month local police foiled Isis supporters who planned an attack during the country’s Independence Day celebrations.

Sweeping changes

Yet analysts say there is little to link violent extremism with the social and political changes sweeping through Indonesia. “What people need to realise is the importance of symbolism and theatre in Indonesian life and politics, so what we’re getting is a lot more outward display of piety,” Ms Pisani says. “I don’t think there’s been particular change in the intensity of the people’s religious devotion and belief.”

Full report at:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e2915158-4a42-11e5-9b5d-89a026fda5c9.html#axzz3k0Wj5GLp

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Indonesia and Turkey Pushing Islamic Bank Cooperation

Naveed        

26th August 2015

The Indonesian government is pushing for the formation of a new Islamic bank through the merger of four domestic banks. Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Tabungan Negara have been prompted to merge their Islamic finance operations and form the new institution with capital of $1.12 billion and combined assets of more than $8 billion reported Nikkei.

The push comes as Indonesia strengthens its Islamic finance industry domestically and promotes it internationally with the aim of forging multilateral relationships with Turkey and the Islamic Development Bank. Previously Indonesia and Turkey have said they were ready to put up $300 million each for the creation of an Islamic mega bank.

Turkish financial authorities plan to treble Islamic banking assets as a percentage of total assets within the domestic banking sector from the present 5.2% over the next 10 years, in a bid to nurture the country’s Islamic finance market.

Full report at:

https://www.islamicfinance.com/2015/08/indonesia-turkey-pushing-islamic-bank-cooperation/

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Temples at Kuala Lumpur urged to welcome rally goers who keep politics out

August 27, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: A Hindu authority and his Buddhist counterpart have urged temples in the city to keep their doors open to Bersih rally participants seeking refuge or rest, as long as they leave politics outside the gates.

The Star Online today quoted Malaysia Hindu Sangam adviser A Vaithilingam and Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple chief monk B Sri Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thera as saying that no one should be denied entry into the temples if they observed decorum.

Vaithilingam said he would appeal to management committees of Hindu temples to allow properly behaved rally goers into their grounds.

“It is okay if they merely use the temple compounds to rest and take temporary shelter,” he said. “However, they must not bring their politics into the temple.”

Sri Saranankara said anyone “behaving with dignity” would be welcome to his temple.

“There should not be anyone making a lot of noise, such as shouting or holding a protest on the temple grounds,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/08/27/temples-urged-to-welcome-rally-goers-who-keep-politics-out/

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Arab World

 

FBI warns U.S. art dealers about antiquities looted from Syria, Iraq

27 August 2015

The FBI on Wednesday urged art dealers in the United States to be careful when buying antiquities from the Middle East, saying there is evidence collectors have recently been offered artifacts plundered by Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq.

The looting of ancient artifacts across Iraq and Syria and their sale on the black market has become a source of funding for ISIS militants, and there is growing concern those items are showing up in the Western marketplace, the FBI said in a press release.

“We now have credible reports that U.S. persons have been offered cultural property that appears to have been removed from Syria and Iraq recently,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI’s Art Theft Program.

Magness-Gardiner urged collectors and buyers to be vigilant checking importation, provenance and other documents.

“What we’re trying to say is, don’t allow these pieces that could potentially support terrorism to be part of the trade,” she said.

ISIS, a hardline Sunni Islamist group, has ransacked some of the greatest archaeological sites in northern Iraq and Syria, posting photos and videos of fighters destroying pre-Islamic monuments and temples they consider idolatrous.

On Tuesday, the group published photos purporting to show the destruction of the Roman-era Baal Shamin temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, an act the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO has called a war crime.

Before the city’s capture by ISIS, Syrian officials said they moved hundreds of ancient statues to safe locations out of concern they would be destroyed by the militants.

Last month, the United States handed back to Iraq antiquities it said had been seized in a raid on ISIS fighters in Syria, saying the retrieval was proof the group was attempting to sell the items to raise cash.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/27/FBI-warns-U-S-art-dealers-about-antiquities-looted-from-Syria-Iraq.html

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ISIS bomber kills two Iraqi generals in Anbar

27 August 2015

Iraqi military officials say an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suicide bomber has killed two army generals as they led forces against ISIS positions in turbulent Anbar province west of Baghdad.

They say the bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle into advancing troops north of Anbar's provincial capital, ISIS-held Ramadi on Thursday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Infographic: ISIS bomber kills two Iraqi generals in Anbar

(Design by Farwa Rizwan/ Al Arabiya News)

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/27/Two-Iraqi-army-generals-killed-in-ISIS-suicide-bombing.html

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Peshmerga Gains Control of 10 Villages in Kirkuk

Aug 27, 2015

The assault began at dawn in the Daquq area, around 175 kilometers (110 miles) North of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. By evening, Kurdish forces had taken an area of around 250 square kilometers, Kurdish military sources said Wednesday.

An aide to a top Kurdish commander taking part in the offensive said five peshmerga had been killed, most of them by improvised explosive devices.

"This area (near Daquq) posed a danger to the main road from Kirkuk to Baghdad and the Kurdish and other villages adjacent to the areas occupied by Daesh (ISIL)," Brigadier General Aras Abdel Rahman said.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000181

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Iraqi Forces Liberate 3 Villages in Salahuddin

Aug 27, 2015

Samara Operations Command managed to regain control of three villages in security operations on Wednesday.

Some 14 Improvised Explosive Devices were also defused in Al-Lain area in Samara city in Salahuddin.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000460

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Two killed in renewed clashes in south Lebanon refugee camp

Aug 27, 2015

At least two people have lost their lives during renewed clashes between members of two armed groups in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

Skirmishes erupted late Wednesday between gunmen from the Jund al-Sham extremist group and the supporters of the Palestinian Fatah movement in the Ain al-Hilweh camp near the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the capital, Beirut.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday that a Fatah official and a civilian had been killed in the firefight.

The development came only hours after armed rivals in Ain al-Hilweh agreed to a ceasefire following several days of clashes.

On August 25, at least three people lost their lives and 36 others were injured in clashes between Jund al-Sham militants and Fatah advocates in the northern part of the Ain al-Hilweh camp. Two days before, two Fatah members had been killed as Jund al-Sham sought to assassinate Ashraf al-Armoushi, Fatah’s security chief, inside the camp. Armoushi escaped the attack unscathed. According to local medical sources, a total of at least 15 people, civilians and non-civilians, were wounded, some critically.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/27/426543/Lebanon-clashes-gunmen-Palestinian-refugee-camp-Ain-alHilweh

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Syrian army, militants agree on Zabadani ceasefire

Aug 27, 2015

Government forces and militants in Syria have agreed to a ceasefire in the southwestern town of Zabadani following indirect negotiations between the two sides.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said guns fell silent and rocket fire stopped across Zabadani, located approximately 45 kilometers (27 miles) northwest of the capital, Damascus, in line with a 48-hour ceasefire agreement that came into force at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Thursday.

The ceasefire between the Syrian army troopers and the foreign-backed extremists also restored calm in the villages of Fuaa and Kafraya.

The development comes as Syrian army soldiers backed by fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement had already made some advances in Zabadani, clearing the militants from key areas in the town.

They mounted a joint operation early last month to take Zabani back from the militants.

Also on Thursday, a total of 46 terrorists were killed during intense clashes with Syrian troops in the al-Sayyed Ali neighborhood of Aleppo, situated 355 kilometers (220 miles) north of Damascus, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

In this file photo, Syrian army troopers are seen at al-Habaria Village in the southwestern province of Dara’a. (Photo by Xinhua)

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/27/426554/Syria-Zabadani-48hour-ceasefire

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ISIS takes 5 Syrian villages near Turkish border

27 August 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized five villages from Syrian rebels in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday, advancing in an area where Turkey and the United States are planning to open a new front against the group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Reuters on Monday that the two NATO allies would soon launch “comprehensive” air operations to flush ISIS fighters from the border region.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/27/ISIS-takes-5-Syrian-villages-near-Turkish-border-.html

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Two dead in truce breach at Lebanon Palestinian camp

27 August 2015

Two people were killed when gunmen briefly opened fire in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, breaching a tense ceasefire, Palestinian sources said on Thursday.

A source from the Fatah Palestinian faction said a Fatah official and a civilian had been killed in fire by “unidentified gunmen” overnight in Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon.

The breach threatened a ceasefire that ended several days of clashes between Fatah and an Islamist group in the camp.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/08/27/2-dead-in-truce-breach-at-Lebanon-Palestinian-camp.html

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South Asia

 

Four senior Taliban commanders killed in Nangarhar airstrike

Aug 27 2015

Four senior Taliban commanders have been killed in an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province, a security official said on Thursday.

Colonel Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, spokesman for the police headquarters of Nangarhar province said that the airstrike was carried out in Kotikhil area of Shirzad District yesterday.

Colonel Mashriqiwal identified those killed in the airstrike as Zarwali, Sifatullah, Ghondi and Zargai.

According to the police spokesman, the deceased were commanders of Taliban’s Jaipur group.

Also, security forces have detained Qudratullah alias Bilal the shadow governor of Taliban for Shirzad District.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/four-senior-taliban-commanders-killed-in-nangarhar-airstrike-3831

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Mojadedi announces the establishment of a new political council

Aug 27 2015

The former Afghan President Sebghatullah Mojadedi announced the formation of a new political party – Council of Jihadi and National Political Parties, during a gathering in capital Kabul today.

Mojadedi said the new party – council of the parties has been formed with an aim to urge for reforms in government sectors under the leadership of the government of national unity.

While admitting the unity government’s good performance during the past months, Mojadedi said the government has also committed numerous mistakes.

He also added that the party will continue to work and put efforts in bringing peace and stability in the country amid deteriorating security situation.

In the meantime, the Former Vice President Karim Khalili, said the coalition is comprised of eight separate political parties who have merged into a new political party – Council.

Khalili further added that the party will continue supporting the government and civil movements in a bid to ensure better governance.

However, he said the party will strongly oppose with any movements or decision by the government that are considered wrong.

He said the party is completely independent and has no links with the government or any foreign country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/mojadedi-announces-the-establishment-of-a-new-political-council-9607

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NATO forces casualty update in Helmand insider attack

Aug 27 2015

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said Wednesday that the attack on Resolute Support service members was carried out by an individual in Afghan forces uniform.

“Two Resolute Support service members died early this morning when one individual wearing an Afghan National Defense and Security Force uniform opened fire on their vehicle at an ANDSF compound in Helmand province,” a statement by Resolute Support said.

The statement further added that Resolute Support service members returned fire, wounding the shooter as well as another individual wearing an ANDSF uniform.

“Afghan and Resolute Support officials are reviewing the incident and further information will be released as available and appropriate,” the alliance said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-forces-casualty-update-in-helmand-insider-attack-9606

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Attack on BGB: Youth ‘linked to’ Arakan army held

August 27, 2015

Police today detained a youth who is allegedly linked to the Myanmar rebel group Arakan Army from Rangamati after yesterday’s attack on Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB).

The detainee, who was identified as Aung Nu Young, 25, was held from Rajasthali upazila, our Bandarban correspondent reports quoting the police.

He was detained from a house owned by one Dr Ranaiju Rakhaine, “who is directly linked to the Arakan Army”, said Wahidullah Sarker, officer-in-charge of Rajasthali Police Station.

Cameras, laptops, motorbikes, army uniforms and three horses were seized from the property, said Sarkar.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/attack-bgb-youth-linked-to%E2%80%99-arakan-army-held-133465

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India

 

Religion data released with little warning, no context

MEHBOOB JEELANI

RUKMINI S.

VIJAITA SINGH

 August 27, 2015

No inkling till MHA put out a press release.

The events leading to the release of Census data on religion on Tuesday were a departure from the norm and marked by secrecy, sources in the census office said.

The 2011 data had been ready since late-2013, as the office worked on releasing the data far more quickly this time. First, the United Progressive Alliance, in the final year of a stormy second term and faced with a resurgent BJP, got cold feet about releasing the data, a senior Home Ministry official said.

When the BJP came to power, it too waited. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry selectively leaked the key findings. Even after the leaks, the census office could not promise when the data would be released. “It is fully ready with us. We are only waiting for Home to okay,” a senior census official had repeatedly told The Hindu.

On Monday, the Registrar-General of India made a presentation to the Home Ministry on the findings. On Tuesday, there was no inkling that the numbers were expected until the Home Ministry put out a short press release coinciding with the uploading of the data on the census office website.

The press release gave no historical context, and the data on the census website were mere numbers, with no explanation.

Census officials told The Hindu on Wednesday that they had been barred by the Home Ministry from speaking to the media about the religion data.

However, off the record, senior officials said the reason for the delay in the release of the 2011 data was the “large volume of data”, and the absence of a press conference was on account of “our policy of only releasing data online henceforth”. The lack of historical context was intentional, officials said. “You can perceive the data from so many angles. It’s perfectly fine. We have left it open so that people can interpret it the way they want to,” Kameshwar Ojha, Additional Registrar-General, told The Hindu.

In sharp contrast was the manner in which the religion data were released the last time around. The 2001 census data on religion was released in 2004. A press conference for its release was held by the then Census Commissioner, J.K. Banthia, at Vigyan Bhavan, and was widely attended, a long-time staffer at the census office told The Hindu. The details of the press conference were confirmed by senior journalists who attended it on September 6, 2004. Mr. Banthia released the report and presented a copy to the then Minorities Commission Chairperson, Tarlochan Singh. Noted demographer Ashish Bose was also invited as a panellist to the press conference and helped to put the numbers in context. Mr. Banthia presented the findings, and took questions from reporters, clarifying some of the key points of contention, chief among them being that Jammu and Kashmir and Assam had not been counted in 1991, thereby artificially depressing the figures.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/religion-data-released-with-little-warning-no-context/article7583485.ece

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Mangalore moral policing: competitive mind control

By Johnson T A | Bengaluru

August 26, 2015

The struggle between tradition and modernism, conservativeness and liberalism is a perpetual feature of all societies but when vigilantes set the standards for moral behaviour, it is a clear sign that free spirits have retreated and control freaks have established a firm grip on society.

That it happens so often in Mangalore, despite all the public hue and cry, is an indicator that radical groups and their leaders believe deep down that moral policing helps them to set standards for social behaviour in the community.

The latest incident on Monday saw a young Muslim man stripped for speaking to a Hindu woman.

Radical groups in Mangalore, cutting across religious lines, have in the last two decades or so established a competitive culture of conservativeness in the hearts and minds of people.

A 2009 attack by vigilantes on women at a pub in Mangalore in the guise of protecting Hindu culture and the 2013 attack by Hindu vigilantes on a private birthday party attended by Hindu girls and Muslim boys hit the headlines. However, hundreds of other similar incidents have also occurred. According to data collated by the Mangalore unit of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum there were 45 moral policing incidents in Mangalore in 2013 of which 23 were carried out by right wing Hindu groups and 16 by Muslim activists; in 2014 there were 39 moral policing incidents reported in the region with 25 involving the Hindu fringe and 14 the Muslim fringe. While the moral brigades primarily frown on cross cultural relationships, the Muslim brigade also focuses on ensuring that Muslim girls wear burqas and hijabs in public. In 2015 as many as 10 incidents of moral policing have been reported so far. A Muslim boy who posed playfully on the laps of a bunch of his female classmates in a photograph clicked by a mobile phone was hounded and pursued by Hindu vigilantes earlier this year. Last month an educational trip to Bengaluru by political science students of a local college had to be called off after vigilantes objected to Hindu, Muslim and Christian boys and girls going together. Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/mangalore-moral-policing-competitive-mind-control/

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A Mosque Visit PM Finds Hard To Pull Off

August 27, 2015

VARGHESE K GEORGE

A proposed visit of the Prime Minister to India’s oldest mosque, the Cheraman Juma Masjid, is in limbo as Kerala Tourism’s Muziris Heritage Project brushes uncomfortably against the Sangh Parivar’s construct of history.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi — within weeks of speaking about India’s Islamic heritage during his tour of Central Asia — was widely interpreted as a recalibration of his approach towards Islam, but repeating that gesture within the borders of the country appears difficult for him.

A proposed visit of Mr. Modi to India’s oldest mosque, the Cheraman Juma Masjid in central Kerala’s Kodungallur, is in limbo as Kerala Tourism’s Muziris Heritage Project that he was to inaugurate during the visit, brushes uncomfortably against the Sangh Parivar’s construct of history. Mr. Modi had accepted Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s invitation to inaugurate the project, but Sangh Parivar leaders opposed to the project registered their protest with the PM who subsequently developed cold feet, a BJP source told The Hindu. “We are waiting for a date from the PMO,” a senior functionary of the Kerala government said.

Cultural overtones

At the heart of the debate is the ongoing excavation at Pattanam near Kodungallur, which historians increasingly believe is the remains of Muziri Patanam, the lost port on the south-western Kerala coast that fostered intense trade contacts between the subcontinent and regions in Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia, between third century BC and fifth century AD. Kerala tourism developed a heritage tourism project around it. Indian Ocean trade contacts are a subject close to Mr. Modi’s heart, but the cultural undertones that accompany them make for complicated politics, and in Kodungallur, it is striking.

It is here that Christianity and Islam possibly made their first contacts with the peninsula, alongside trade, much before they arrived in other parts of India through invasions and colonialism. The Syrian Christian tradition claims — though without much historical evidence — that St. Thomas reached Kodungallur in the first century AD along with Jewish traders. A synagogue still exists in the town, and is part of the proposed tourism circuit. The exact date of the founding of the mosque is also not an established historical fact though the local legend cites AD 629. “What is certainly clear is that cultural exchanges accompanied trade,” said P.J. Cherian, Director, Pattanam Excavations, and Director, Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR). Though the current excavation site suggests decline by the fifth century, contacts of the region with Arabia continued during the advent of Islam. “Excavation has no preconceived notions,” said K.N. Panikkar, Chairman, KCHR, on the possible impact that emerging finding may have on local legends.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-mosque-visit-narendra-modi-finds-hard-to-pull-off/article7583972.ece

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‘Glaring errors’ in MHA’s dossier on Dawood

SUHASINI HAIDAR

VIJAITA SINGH

August 27, 2015

Home Ministry officials could not confirm that the alleged addresses of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan were actually in the dossier.

In a possibly embarrassing development for the Centre, some of the alleged addresses of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan that found their way to the media last week from a dossier prepared by the Home Ministry seem to have glaring errors.

The list was part of a file prepared by the Ministry for National Security Advisor Ajit Doval ahead of talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz. A copy of it is with The Hindu. The most “glaring error”, as reported by Pakistani newspapers, is the listing of an address similar to that of the Pakistani diplomat Maleeha Lodhi. A senior official told The Hindu that the list with the media was not an official one. “To think that this document has anything to do with what the NSA planned to give Mr. Aziz is absurd,” he said.

Ministry officials say addresses were collected over two decades

Home Ministry officials could not confirm that the alleged addresses of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan were actually in the dossier Mr. Doval had planned to hand over to Mr. Aziz.

According to the document on Dawood Ibrahim (called Agenda Point 2) in the dossiers quoted by The Hindu and other national dailies on August 23, “Indian agencies initially located addresses in Pakistan as the hideout of Dawood Ibrahim,” listing nine addresses on one page — seven in Karachi and two in Islamabad.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/glaring-errors-in-indias-dossier-on-dawood-ibrahim/article7583489.ece

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‘LeT may benefit from India-Pakistan tensions’

August 26, 2015

SUHASINI HAIDAR

The terror outfit looking to "get things going", says Professor Stephen Tankel, an expert on the LeT.

Sounding a warning over the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s plans to “indigenise” its operations in Jammu and Kashmir, a U.S. expert on the LeT says the group responsible for the Mumbai 26/11 attacks could benefit from tensions between India and Pakistan. “Even when I had spoken to members of the LeT earlier, they had confirmed that they were looking to “get things going”.

“I do not believe we are going to see a return to the levels of violence we saw in Kashmir during the 1990s or post-2000. What we might see and what we are seeing is a rise from a few years ago,” says Professor Stephen Tankel, who has written a book on the LeT’s rise, and was appointed senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Defence for 2014.

Significantly, Dr. Tankel says he has seen “no evidence” of a “strategic shift” in the Pakistani establishment’s support for the LeT and its leader Hafiz Saeed after the Peshawar massacre in December.

In the aftermath of the brutal attack that saw the death of more than 140 schoolchildren, Islamabad had drawn up a “National Action Plan” vowing to crack down on all terror groups.

“LeT has uses for the Pakistani state both externally and internally,” Dr. Tankel told The Hindu in an interview, explaining why no crackdown has occurred on the LeT.

“LeT doesn’t support attacks on Pakistan, it provides intelligence about the other militant groups, it has been used to attack other groups such as the TTP [Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan]. It has internal utility as a result.” However, he does feel there is a “debate within the establishment” over whether groups such as the LeT should be cut off by the state, while the Army was clearly going after groups such as the TTP and the LeJ [Lashkar-e-Jhangvi] in recent months. The Pakistani government has always denied that it provides any support to the LeT and its off-shoot, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, claiming that it had banned the organisations on several occasions.

“U.S. can’t wave a magic wand”

Dr. Tankel rejects the idea held by many in India that the U.S. has focussed more on Pakistani action against the Haqqani network that attacks its troops in Afghanistan than it does the LeT that targets India. “The U.S. can’t wave a magic wand and get Pakistan to take certain actions,” Dr. Tankel replied to a specific question about the ease of mobility for Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, and a lenient plea bargain to 26/11 conspirator David Headley in the U.S.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/let-may-benefit-from-indiapakistan-tensions-professor-stephen-tankel/article7579879.ece

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India’s dossier contained loopholes in Pak’s 26/11 probe

Bharti Jain

Aug 27, 2015

NEW DELHI: India had planned to confront Pakistan at the NSA-level talks on the loose ends in 26/11 probe conducted on its soil, particularly the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) failure to examine Lashkar mastermind Hafiz Saeed's role as exposed by American terrorist David Headley's ex-wife Faiza Outalha.

Citing the findings of the FBI investigation into Headley's links to the Mumbai attacks, NSA Ajit Doval's dossier to Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz had sought examining of Outalha by FIA to corroborate her claims regarding Saeed's involvement in planning the attack and overseeing training and preparation of the 10-member LeT attack module.

After her divorce, Outalha claimed to have met Hafiz Saeed at a Lahore mosque frequented by Headley as she tried to find out more about her ex-husband. She had sensed that Headley had links with terror outfits and was possibly connected to the Mumbai attacks. In fact, they had visited Taj hotel and Oberoi-Trident, both targeted in 26/11 attacks, as a newly-married couple before the 2008 strikes and taken pictures of the two hotels and other sites. At that time, she had no idea about Headley's terror reconnaissance mission.

Later, however, she got an inkling of Headley's terror links. She had even briefed NIA on his trips to various Indian cities post-26/11, purportedly to scout Jewish synagogues for future LeT strikes. Incidentally, the emails exchanged between Headley and his LeT handler Sajid Majid had documented that the conspiracy to attack various Indian cities was approved by Saeed.

India's dossier for NSA-level talks would have insisted that Outalha be examined by FIA to get evidence against Saeed.

The dossier also faulted FIA for confining the probe to the period 2007-2008, when the conspiracy to commit terror acts in India was hatched between 2005 and 2008. India believes recee of the targets, done by Headly and handled by Sajid Majid, Abdur Rehman Pasha and Pak Army officers Major Iqbal and Major Samir, is an aspect that was never investigated.

Also, FIA probed only the Karachi part of the conspiracy, overlooking the links to Muzaffarabad, Muridke and Lahore. The role of ISI, the dossier underlined, was not looked into, even though it is needed to prove the chain of evidence.

Moreover, the probe neither covered the background of the10 terrorists nor their facilitators, who arranged their stay, training and movement from Lahore to Karachi, covered by the probe.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indias-dossier-contained-loopholes-in-Paks-26/11-probe/articleshow/48690428.cms

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More Muslims, Christians Living in Urban Areas

27th August 2015

Data from Census 2011 shows that in Tamil Nadu, more Christians and Muslims live in urban areas, whereas their percentage is smaller in rural areas.

While 3.72 crore (51.6%) of the State’s total population of 7.21 crore live in rural areas, 3.49 crore (48.40%) reside in urban areas.

Among Hindus, the rural population is 54.68 per cent (3.45 crore) as 2.86 crore live in urban areas.

Among Muslims, the rural population is 23.5 per cent (9.93 lakh) and the urban population 76.5 per cent (32.35 lakh). The stats for Christians in rural areas is 36.18 per cent (15.98 lakh) while 63.82 per cent (28.19 lakh) live in urban areas.

Commenting on this, Bernard D Sami of Loyola College said, “Tamil Nadu is one of the more urbanised states, with nearly 50 per cent people living in cities and towns. Literacy level is high among Christians and many of them are found in the teaching profession. In the last two generations, many of them have found places in the IT and media sectors. These jobs are found more in urban areas. That could be why the urban population of Christians is higher.”

Even in the past, Muslims and Christians were mostly concentrated in urban areas, pointed out N Audinarayana, former Head of the Department of Sociology and Population Studies, Bharathiar University.

Full report at:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/More-Muslims-Christians-Living-in-Urban-Areas/2015/08/27/article2995671.ece

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Pakistan

 

Muslims join hands with Hindus in cleaning pond at temple in Pakistan

Yudhvir Rana

Aug 27, 2015

AMRITSAR: Taking a cue from "Mission Clean Ganga", Hindus of Pakistan have begun cleaning of the sarovar (sacred pond) and adjoining hilly brooks of Mata Hinglaj temple situated in Hingol National Park in Baluchistan province.

Setting an example of religious tolerance, Muslims are equally rendering voluntary service to clean the brooks considered holy by Hindus. While talking to TOI over phone from Hinglaj National Park on Wednesday, president of Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust (PHSWT) Sanjesh Dhanja said that an advance party of seven persons, including two of their Muslim friends, arrived in the temple on Wednesday and began cleaning of the pond. Besides, he said they would also carry out a survey of the region to make the entire park free from debris and garbage, mostly left behind by tourists.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/Muslims-join-hands-with-Hindus-in-cleaning-pond-at-temple-in-Pakistan/articleshow/48689304.cms

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Brahamdagh Bugti willing to negotiate with govt: BBC

August 27, 2015

Brahamdagh Bugti, the separatist leader of the outlawed Baloch Republican Party (BRP) on Wednesday said that he is willing to negotiate with the government over the Balochistan issue, according to an interview given to BBC Urdu.

“If our friends, companions, political allies and finally the people are in favour of this, then we are definitely ready to live with Pakistan,” said Bugti.

“We want to resolve all issues politically and peacefully,” added Bugti.

Bugti had always rejected negotiations in the past and remained firm in his stance for an ‘independent’ Balochistan.

Read: 400 militants in Balochistan lay down weapons on Independence Day

Referring to Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who is currently in London, Bugti said, “We are ready to meet him as we want a political solution to the problem.”

Bugti, who currently resides in Switzerland, elaborated by asking what difference has been made by torture, killings and arrests in the last ten to fifteen years.

He also stated that the negotiating environment must be conducive.

When asked about assistance from India, Bugti said he will not deny it, as it is usual for people to ask for assistance when they are defending themselves.

“Development in Balochistan is irrelevant, as a democratic government is not present in the province and the Baloch people were not included in the decision,” said Bugti.

Chief Minister Balochistan welcomes Bugti's statement

Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has welcomed the statement from Brahamdagh Bugti and termed it a positive step towards restoration of normalcy in the province.

“Flames of conflict must be extinguished in Balochistan, the province needs to heal after 15 long years of violence,” said the chief minister.

The chief minister stated that the civil and military leadership were on the same page with regards to issues relating to Balochistan.

“It has been our stance to resolve all issues faced by Balochistan through political means,” added Baloch.

Full report at:

 

http://www.dawn.com/news/1202981/brahamdagh-bugti-willing-to-negotiate-with-govt-bbc

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Altaf summoned as UK starts money laundering trial

August 27, 2015

LONDON - The proceedings of a highly anticipated money laundering case kicked off here in London on Wednesday with a magistrate issuing summons for Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain along with other suspects.

Altaf Hussain was arrested in April on suspicion of money laundering by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as thousands of people in his home city of Karachi staged a sit-in calling for his release. He was later freed on bail, which was extended afterwards.

The magistrate had also legally bound Sarfaraz Merchant, Iftikhar Qureshi, and Tariq Mir to produce themselves before the court. Among the respondents only Merchant appeared before the court in the first hearing, which was turned in-camera in the middle of the proceedings.

Reports have it that on the behest of MPS, the magistrate barred the media and other members of the public from attending the hearing any further.

Merchant was questioned by New Scotland Yard at a London police station in April in the same case –a day after Altaf’s five-hour long grilling. After hours of interrogation, Merchant’s bail was extended till July 2015.

On the other hand, Altaf Hussain and Tariq Mir have begged the court for some time to respond to charges in person.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/27-Aug-2015/altaf-summoned-as-uk-starts-money-laundering-trial

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US assures all support to Pakistan in fighting terrorism

August 27, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Acknowledging the role played by Pakistan Armed Forces in fighting the menace of terrorism, US Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin on Wednesday assured Pakistan of the support US will extend to its friends and partner.

General Austin who led a high-level defence delegation held out these assurances to the military leaders of Pakistan in separate meetings.

He met with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at the GHQ and discussed the matters of mutual interest and regional security.

The Director General ISPR in his tweets said, the visiting dignitary acknowledged the Pakistan Army sacrifices and efforts in the war on terror and in bringing peace in Pakistan and the region.

General Justin paid homage to the martyrs and laid a floral wreath. The Commander US Centcom also called on General Rashad Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and during the meeting, both the dignitaries discussed the matters related to mutual interest.

Later, General Lloyd Austin and Lt General Anthony Rock, US ODRP Chief, alongwith the defence delegation also called on Secretary Defence Lt General (Retd) Muhammad Alam Khattak in his office at the Ministry of Defence.

During the meeting, Commander CENTCOM Gen Lloyd Austin acknowledged that Pakistan is a stabilising factor in the wake of US/ISAF drawdown.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/27-Aug-2015/us-assures-all-support-to-pakistan-in-fighting-terrorism

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Arrest warrants issued for senior PPP leaders Gilani, Amin Fahim

SHAFI BALOCH

August 27, 2015

KARACHI: A federal anti-corruption court here on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

The order against the former prime minister and the senior PPP leader was issued after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented a challan (charge sheet) with 12 cases — relating to multi-million rupee scandal in the Trade Development Authority (TDAP) — registered against the two before the court.

Cases against the two PPP leaders, some former and serving senior officials of the TDAP and others were registered by FIA for their alleged involvement in approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies of millions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and backdated cheques.

The court had previously issued notices to Gilani and Faheem, requiring them to appear before it. However, the notices went ignored.

Approving the FIA challan during today's hearing, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the arrest of Gilani and Fahim and directed the police to arrest the accused and present them before the court in the next hearing.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1203171/arrest-warrants-issued-for-senior-ppp-leaders-gilani-amin-fahim

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Pro-govt tribal elder killed in Bajaur; TTP claims responsibility

ALI AKBAR

August 27, 2015

PESHAWAR: A pro-government tribal elder was killed on Thursday in a blast in Bajaur tribal agency's Chamarkand tehsil.

According to security sources, the blast was caused by a planted improvised explosive device (IED) which led to the demise of tribal elder Malik Gul Rahim.

Banned militant outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the responsibility for the killing in a statement issued by its spokesman Khalid Khurasani.

The attack comes days after two tribal elders were killed in Bajaur Agency's Uthmankhel tehsil. Tribal elders Malik Dawa Khan and Malik Gul Kareem Khan were travelling to the region's main town of Khar along with their relatives when a remote-controlled bomb blew up their vehicle.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1203159/pro-govt-tribal-elder-killed-in-bajaur-ttp-claims-responsibility

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Three terrorism cases to be withdrawn from military courts

INTIKHAB HANIF

August 27, 2015

LAHORE: Three terrorism cases, including that of the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team, are reportedly being withdrawn from military courts due to insufficient evidence and technical reasons, Dawn learnt on Wednesday.

The Punjab government had sent seven terrorism cases to military courts for trial.

Officials said the cases were found unfit for trial by these courts, asking the Punjab government to transfer them to anti-terrorism courts.

The request was discussed and accepted by the provincial Apex Committee headed by the chief minister. As a result, the provincial home department wrote to the Interior Ministry to withdraw the cases from military courts.

Officials said Dr Usman, who was one of the principal accused in the Sri Lankan team attack on May 3, 2009 in Lahore, had been executed. Another main accused Malik Ishaq who was on bail was killed along with 13 others in Muzaffargarh last month. Of the remaining nine accused, five were on bail and the remaining three in jail.

The provincial government had agreed to a request of the military courts to withdraw the case on the grounds that ordinary courts could not cancel bail of the five accused. And that the military courts were unable to deal with their cases.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1203085/three-terrorism-cases-to-be-withdrawn-from-military-courts

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World Bank approves 75 million dollars for FATA refugees

August 27, 2015

Islamabad: The World Bank (WB) on Wednesday approved a credit of US$ 75 million to support the early recovery of families affected by the militancy crisis, promote child health, and strengthens emergency response safety net delivery systems in the affected areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

According to press statement issued on Thursday said that the beneficiaries of the FATA Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) Emergency Recovery Project were the families from five FATA Agencies, namely North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Orakzai, Khurram and Khyber.

The aim of the project was to support the early recovery of approximately 120,000 displaced families from FATA through two cash grants: (i) a one-time Early Recovery Grant of Rs 35,000 per family; and (ii) a Livelihood Support Grant of Rs 16,000 per family in four monthly installments of Rs 4,000.

These two cash grants provide complementary interventions to help the displaced families from the five targeted Agencies cover the initial expenses needed to restart their lives and livelihood. The Government of Pakistan is committed to supporting the early recovery and sustainable rehabilitation of all 340,000 displaced families from FATA affected areas.

“The safety net delivery systems built through this project will enhance the capacity of the government to better respond to future crises, by strengthening the emergency response safety net delivery systems in FATA in a sustainable manner”, says Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

FATA was lagging behind in terms of child health indicators compared to the rest of Pakistan. In the aftermath of the militancy crisis and with the return of displaced families, the already inadequate child health outcomes are expected to deteriorate further. The project would also pilot the provision of a basic health services package to 64,000 families with children aged 0 to 24 months in up to four Tehsils of the targeted areas.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/27-Aug-2015/world-bank-approves-75-million-dollars-for-fata-refugees

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Pakistan cancels narcotics chief’s visit to India

August 27, 2015

Islamabad/NEW DELHI - Pakistan Wednesday decided against sending head of its anti-narcotics agency to India but confirmed the annual meeting of chiefs of border security forces of the two states will be held next month.

The bilateral ties are running low after high-level talks between the two countries were cancelled recently amid a flurry of accusations from both sides. The border in Kashmir and the Sialkot Working Boundary remains tense for last few months where ceasefire violations have become a daily feature.

Pakistan Rangers director general and inspector general of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) will be having a “usual annual gathering” on September 9 to 13 in New Delhi, a Rangers spokesman said on Wednesday.

Ahead of the high-level meeting, representatives of Rangers and BSF also held a meeting to set the agenda. The two sides are expected to discuss the situation on the Line of Control in Kashmir and the Working Boundary.

The decision to cancel a meeting on illegal narcotics trade comes days after the scheduled talks between the national security advisers (NSAs) of the two neighbours were called off just hours before Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s adviser of national security and foreign affairs, was set to fly to New Delhi.

The meeting of South Asian countries on illegal narcotics trade is to be held in September under the Colombo Plan. The Pakistani delegation was to be the first to reach India after the scheduled NSA-level talks.

“Pakistan has sent a terse note, simply expressing regret over not being able to make it for the meeting on September 9-11,” Indian officials said. India invited Pakistan after the latter had conveyed its keenness to be a part of the former’s effort under the 26-member Colombo Plan, the officials added.

“The withdrawal has come after the cancellation of the NSA talks. It’s significant because this is, otherwise, a routine regional meeting,” a senior Indian official, who did not wish to be named, was quoted as saying.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/27-Aug-2015/pakistan-cancels-narcotics-chief-s-visit-to-india

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Taliban say two commanders fatally poisoned

August 27, 2015

PESHAWAR - The Pakistani Taliban Wednesday claimed two of their commanders including a former spokesman of Swat chapter have been fatally poisoned while in custody of the security forces. In a statement issued to the media, The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said the two commanders were arrested in Peshawar along with five other members when they visited the city for peace talks with the government in 2009. “Our members were kept in different prisons and tortured till August 25 this year (when two of them were) poisoned to death,” the statement said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/27-Aug-2015/taliban-say-two-commanders-fatally-poisoned

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BB murder case: Mark Siegel refuses to record statement

August 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Mark Siegel, a Washington lobbyist and a friend of late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has excused from recording his statement before the ATC due to illness.

Judge Rai Muhammad Ayub at the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Rawalpindi resumed hearing of the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

 During the case proceedings, Foreign Office officials informed the court that Seigel was expected to record his statement through a video link but he is suffering from a kidney disease, thus, he has refused to record his statement today.

Seigel, a key prosecution witness, earlier cited security reasons for his refusal to appear in person to record a statement against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir assassination case.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/26-Aug-2015/bb-murder-case-mark-siegel-refuses-to-record-statement

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North America

 

Three US Marine Veterans Heroically Fight The Islamic State

Aug. 26, 2015

What’s your definition of a hero?

My definition is someone who carries out a selfless act above and beyond what they are obligated to do and in the process, exhibits courage far outside of what is normally expected.

The definition of a hero in the dictionary is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

Whichever definition you choose, there are at least three men, in my opinion, who truly epitomize what it means to risk life and limb for a noble cause and deserve the title of hero.

The three men are all members of the same family who are risking their lives to fight the enemy in a foreign country.

Screenshot: Fox News

Screenshot: Fox News

Harry M., a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a civilian police officer and a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army National Guard, his son Josh, a 29-year-old veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and former gunner who served two tours in Afghanistan and finally, his brother, James, 23, who also served two tours in Afghanistan as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps, have decided they are through with doing nothing about threats coming from the Islamic State.

They are determined to turn the tables on the terrorists.

“ISIS has threatened our nation and us individually. They came out and said every military member needs to watch out because we are coming for you. We are Marines. We are going to bring the fight to them,” James said.

“Every day we’re not there, people are dying. I know I can make a difference. I know he can make a difference and I know he can,” Josh said of his brother, James and father, Harry.

The father and sons have asked that their last names not be used for security reasons and although the U.S. State Department doesn’t endorse them going to fight in Iraq with the Kurds against the Islamic State, they also don’t forbid it.

When asked if there was any message that the three men wanted to convey to America before they left to courageously take up arms against the Islamic State, each man seemed to have his own reasons for going.

“I think one thing that is important is try not to get wrapped around the edges of why we are doing this,” Harry said. “Try to understand that there are men in this country who are willing to go one step beyond and confront whatever threat is there, whether here at home or overseas. I love my country, I love the ability to debate, I love the ability to worship as I want, I love the ability to pursue happiness and I’m willing to put my life on the line, not just for his country but for complete strangers.”

“I want them to know that we are not out for bloodlust,” James said. “We are out there to protect and serve, and not just serving the United States, but people, humanity. Being a good person. We have the capabilities to protect others and that is what we are about.”

Josh explained his reason for going in simple terms.

“I’m an American and this is what we do,” he said. “This is what I do…”

I recently interviewed G.M. Davis, author of “House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World,” on my radio show Stand For Truth Radio and asked him to explain the beliefs of those, like the Islamic State who follow the teachings of what President Barack Obama has referred to as the “religion of peace.”

Full report at:

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/three-us-marine-veterans-heroically-fight-the-islamic-state/

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Kurdish activist wants Canada to keep fighting Islamic State

August 26th, 2015

Like other voters, Canadians of Kurdish origin will have their own reasons for making their choice in the October 19 federal election.

Although activist Nissy Koye underscored that she doesn’t speak for the entire Kurdish community, she acknowledged that it’s not going to be an easy decision for many people.

According to her, it doesn’t follow that Kurdish voters will support the ruling party simply because Stephen Harper’s Conservative government moved to join the U.S.–led military campaign and help Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria fight the Islamic State (IS).

Koye noted that although members of her community applaud Canada’s military mission against IS, many do not approve of the way Conservatives govern here at home.

“You have one foot in Kurdistan, and you have one foot in Canada, right?” Koye told the Straight at a Vancouver protest calling on western countries to support Kurds combating IS. “You cannot ignore the issues that are in your front door—right?—because there are a lot of issues within Canada.”

Although the NDP and the Liberals opposed the military mission during deliberations in the House of Commons, she suggested they would have done the opposite in a different set of circumstances.

Full report at:

http://www.straight.com/news/517321/kurdish-activist-wants-canada-keep-fighting-islamic-state

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Deen Squad Finds Fame in Halal Melodies

26 August 2015

ONTARIO – Offering Muslim youth a halal alternative to rap songs, two Canadian Muslim youth have shot to social media stardom with their "halal" remixes of popular rap tracks.

"We do our music to show the world who we are," Jae Deen told CBC News on Wednesday, August 26.

"I am proud to be a Canadian. I'm proud to be a Canadian Muslim ... My music is showing that 'Hey, I'm like you, but I go to a mosque and pray.'"

Deen and Karter Zaherhave set out to create a virtuous voice for their generation by tapping into what their rap-loving peers already listen to and remixing the lyrics to reflect their faith.

Wearing caps, and speaking Arabic, the Ottawa-based Muslim hip-hop duo “Deen Squad” have offered Muslim youth the image of a typical rapper, though with a beard and halal lyrics.

Lebanese-Canadian Zaher and Ghanian-Canadian Deen shot to social media fame this year as several of their online music videos went viral.

“Muslim Queen”, originally Fetty Wap's chart-topping Trap Queen, was posted to Facebook on June 7 and has already received more than 4 million views.

Posted on April 23, “Friday (Halal Remix)”, a play on iLoveMakonnen’s "Tuesday," has already been viewed more than 5.5 million times.

The duo also turned OMI's hit Cheerleader into a quest for a fellow female Believer to pray with.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/492641-ontarios-deen-squad-finds-fame-in-halal-melody.html

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Toronto city councillor says Muslim-only subsidized housing is acceptable

August 26, 2015

WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto city councillor sees nothing wrong with a policy that allows the exclusion of non-Muslims from a subsidized building in the city. As Sean O’Shea reports, the policy — approved by city council — has elicited outrage.

TORONTO — A Toronto city councillor says a provision that allows only Ahmadiyya Muslims access to a city-subsidized apartment building is not unfair.

“We want people to live in a culturally-appropriate setting,” said Councillor Joe Cressy, of Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.

This week, about 11,000 people looking for subsidized housing were removed from the waiting list at Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace, a 14-storey apartment building on Finch Avenue West. About 100 of the 166 residential rental units are designed as rent-geared-to-income.

On Jan. 1, the city of Toronto entered a five-year agreement with Ahmadiyya. City council agreed to establish a mandate to restrict tenancy to “members of the Muslim Jama’at.”

Austin Lewis, 21, is among those who received letters informing him that if he is not a member of the designated group, and is not Muslim, he can’t remain on the list.

READ MORE: Toronto man denied subsidized housing for not being Muslim

“We don’t like you, you can’t share our religion, you can’t live here — it doesn’t make sense,” said Lewis, who is physically-disabled and requires the use of a wheelchair.

The Ahmadiyya property is among those that is accessible for his needs.

Lewis’s mother is outraged that her son, among others, has been taken off the list.

“It’s wrong on every single level. This goes ahead everything Canada represents to me,” said Laura Whiteway, 50, of Brampton.

“This does not include people, it excludes people.”

After the Global News story, dozens of viewers and readers agreed.

“Shameful,” read one Facebook post. Another said: “this is wrong — and this insanity needs to stop”. “Sickening” wrote yet another.

One Facebook poster, claiming he is Muslim, wrote: “I am an Ahmadi and I fully agree that this is wrong.”

While many attacked the idea that a subsidized residence could be restricted to Muslims only, it’s not the only location in Toronto that selects tenants based on religion or age.

The McClintock Manor on Pape Avenue is geared to “Christian seniors.”

Under the “mandate” adopted by Toronto city council in 2002, a total of eight residences are geared to targeted groups, including buildings that house those of Macedonian, Chinese, Lithuanian and Greek backgrounds.

In a statement defending its practice, the city says the provisions do not violate human rights laws.

Full report at:

http://globalnews.ca/news/2187517/toronto-city-councillor-says-muslim-only-subsidized-housing-is-acceptable/

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Mideast

 

HRW Urges Coalition to Stop Using Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Aug 27, 2015

The New York-based watchdog said dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in at least seven such apparent attacks in the Northwestern province of Hajja between late April and mid-July, World Bulletin reported.

"Cluster munitions are adding to the terrible civilian toll in Yemen's conflict," said HRW Researcher Ole Solvang.

"Coalition forces should immediately stop using these weapons and join the treaty banning them."

HRW said its researchers had visited four of the alleged attack sites and found unexploded submunitions or remnants of cluster munition rockets.

"Although the evidence is not definitive, several factors indicate that the Saudi-led coalition carried out the seven attacks," it said.

It said it had identified the weapons used in the seven attacks, which struck within 19 kilometers (12 miles) of the Saudi-Yemeni border, as US-made M26 cluster munition rockets.

"I saw a bomb exploding in the air and pouring out many smaller bombs," Muhammad al-Marzuqi, a resident from the village of Malus, was quoted as saying.

"Then an explosion threw me on the floor. I lost consciousness and somebody transferred me to the hospital with burns and wounds on the heels of the feet and fragmentation wounds on the left side of my body."

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000405

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Turkey: Car Bomb Kills Free Syrian Army-Linked Commander

Aug 27, 2015

Hatay Governor Ercan Topaca told Anadolu Agency that 44-year-old Cemil Radun was a commander in the Sukur El-Gap group, which is linked to the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Topaca said that Radun died of his injuries in Antakya State Hospital on Wednesday.

He claimed Radun had served as lieutenant-colonel in the Syrian army before joining the anti-Syria militants. Topaca said Radun came to Turkey one year ago.

Topaca also claimed that this was the latest attack on Radun, stating that another device was planted in the Syrian man’s vehicle in April in Reyhanli town, also in Hatay, which is close to the Syrian border.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000138

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Russia Asks for Iranian Drone Technology

Aug 26, 2015

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as an advanced country in the field of (building) drones," Manteqi told FNA on Wednesday on the sidelines of the MAKS 2015 air show in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow.

He underlined that the Russians plan to transfer the technology of building one of Iran's drones to their country, but he declined to reveal any further details.

"We are discussing this issue now," he just said.

Iran has made huge progress in building different types of weapons and military equipment, including drones.

The Islamic Republic has so far unveiled various domestically produced drones, including Ababil, Fotros, Hazem, Karrar (long range attack drone), Mohajer, Sarir, Shahed 129, Yasir and Zohal.

A senior Iranian commander announced in October that the IRGC Ground Force is finalizing manufacture of a new homemade drone armed with the RPG (rocket-propelled grenade).

Commander of the IRGC Ground Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said at the time that the combat drone would carry the RPG with no Backblast.

Pakpour also noted that the drone has passed the tests and will be completed in the near future.

Iran unveiled its first homemade fighter drone that carries air-to-air missiles last September.

The Iranian media outlets reported that the drone is capable of destroying all types of aircrafts including fighters, small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters.

The country unveiled its first domestically manufactured long-range UAV named Karrar in 2010. The first Iranian medium-altitude long-endurance UAV, the Shahed-129 was unveiled in September 2012, which is capable of carrying out combat and reconnaissance eight missions for 24 hours and has a range of 1,700 km.

The country also unveiled its largest yet homemade UAV, titled 'Fotros' in 2013. Fotros has a range of some 2,000 kilometers and is capable of launching air-to-surface missile strikes. The drone can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of 16 to 30 hours.

Iran started mass production of the "Yasir" UAV in September 2013. Yasir can fly at an altitude of 15,000 ft., be in flight for eight hours, cover the distance of 200 km, and does not need a runway. The UAV is equipped with light powerful modern cameras, and can precisely control the target.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000921

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Iran Underlines Strong Support for Palestinian Hamas

Aug 26, 2015

"Iran's support for all resistance groups continues similar to the past," Afkham told reporters in her weekly press conference in Tehran on Wednesday and in response to the question if Tehran's supportive policy on Hamas has changed.

She underlined that supporting members of the resistance front and those who stand against the Zionist regime is a principle of Iran's policy.

Afkham expressed the hope that the groups which stand on the frontline of war against the Zionist regime would maintain their unity and integrity.

Her remarks came after certain media reports claimed that a member of the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, has criticized Iran for what he called as weakened support.

He made the comments after Hamas politburo member Mousa Abu Marzouk hailed Iran for its long-term and permanent support for the resistance group and the Palestinian people.

"In fact, Iran's various supports for Palestine have been precious, abundant and greatly influenced the Palestinian resistance," the Arabic-language Palestinian news agency Sama quoted Abu Marzouk as saying late July.  

He expressed the hope that Iran would further help establishment of regional stability, and said, "Iran can play a positive role in this regard."

In March, Deputy Politburo Chief of Hamas Movement Ismail Haniyeh underlined that the Palestinian nation and resistance movement are determined to consolidate their good relations with Iran.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604001262

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Yemeni Scud Missile Hits Strategic Power Plant in Southern Saudi Arabia

Aug 26, 2015

The Yemeni forces hit Jizan Power Plant in Southern Saudi Arabia with a Scud missile today.

"The army fired a scud ballistic missile at the power plant of Jizan, and the missile precisely hit the target," the Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Sharaf Qaleb Luqman said on Wednesday.

He complained that the Saudis' continued aggressions against Yemen's innocent people have faced the silence of the international community which is itself a big crime, adding, "For the same reason the Yemeni army and the popular forces are needed to show tough reaction."

Earlier today, Yemen's Ansarullah revolutionary movement said it is now focused on capturing three strategic provinces of Saudi Arabia in the Southern parts of that country.

The strategy of Ansarullah is now to take control of Jizan, Najran and Asir provinces in Southern Saudi Arabia.

The three provinces were part of Yemen before they were occupied by the Saudi kingdom in 1934.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604001299

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Iran, China Stress Enhanced Cooperation on Peaceful N. Technology

Aug 27, 2015

The issue was raised in a meeting between Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and senior Chinese officials, including Chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority Xu Dazhe.

During the meeting, the two sides underlined development of cooperation to utilize peaceful nuclear energy.

The AEOI is willing to develop cooperation with Chinese Atomic Energy Authority on construction of small new power plant with the capacity of 100 megawatts with cost-effective expenses in light of the capability to generate electricity for limited area, produce industrial steam plant and desalinate water.

Salehi and Xu underlined the construction of such power plants to generate a total amount of 1,000 megawatts electricity to supply to the national grid.

The two officials assigned related experts of both countries to consider necessary grounds for the development of cooperation.

Salehi and his accompanying delegation arrived in Beijing on Wednesday morning.

In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Salehi said Tehran was conducting negotiations with Beijing to construct two 100-MW nuclear power plants.

"We are in talks with the Chinese over the construction of two 100-MW power plants," Salehi said, addressing AEOI staff in Tehran.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000278

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Al-Assiri says allies don’t eye territorial gains in Yemen

27 August 2015

RIYADH: Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman and Saudi Defense Ministry adviser and consultant, said that Saudi forces and the coalition don’t have any territorial ambitions in Yemen.

“The Saudi-led coalition’s incursions into Yemeni territories is a tactical move. The coalition has no ambitions as far as Yemeni territories are concerned,” Al-Assiri told Al Jazeera.

He said the move is to prevent the Houthi militias and their cohorts from consolidating their forces in their continued support for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who still has followers among Yemeni troops.

Al-Assiri added that the move is not also new as the Saudi-led coalition had been doing this since the start of the conflict early this year.

Stressing the coalition’s success in its campaign against the Yemeni rebels, Al-Assiri said that the Houthis and their cohorts were now facing difficulties as they had suffered heavy losses in various fronts.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/797536

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Turkish Scholar Warns of “Jediism”

26 August 2015

CAIRO – Turkey's top religious body has warned of the spread of the religion of “Jediism,” followed by the Jedi warriors in the Star Wars series, saying that thousands of westerners are embracing the “war-promoting” religion.

“Jediism … is spreading today in Christian societies. Around 70,000 people in Australia and 390,000 people in England currently define themselves as Jedis,” Marmara University Assistant Professor Bilal Yorulmaz wrote in the Directorate of Religious Affairs’ (Diyanet) monthly magazine, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Yorulmaz was talking about the nontheistic movement of Jeddism which is mainly based on the depiction of the Jedi in Star Wars.

Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form.

With no official doctrine of scripture, the Jedi church notes on its website that it “recognizes that all living things share a living force and that all people have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and the Jedi church celebrates this like no other religion.”

Stressing that it is not compatible with Islam, Yorulmaz warned that Jediism is growing among the Christian societies.

The professor’s warning came four months after thousands of Turkish students launched an online campaign that called for building Jedi and Buddhists temples at campuses.

At that time, students cited a government decree that mosques be built in 80 campuses, including a "landmark mosque" in Istanbul Technical University.

Yorulmaz’s warning was played down by other Muslim scholars who believe that the Star Wars serious doesn’t promote violence.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/492633-turkish-scholar-warns-of-jediism.html

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Europe

 

Russia, Egypt call for international anti-terror coalition

Aug 26, 2015

During his second visit to Moscow in the last two months, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. They discussed a wide range of topics, including an international anti-terrorism coalition.

“We underline the fundamental importance of the formation of a broad anti-terrorist front involving key international players and regional countries, including Syria,” Putin said after the meeting with Sisi in Moscow on Wednesday.

Putin added that both countries share “common views” on the importance of stepping up the war on terrorism, especially against the Daesh Takfiris.

“The Egyptian people hope to see improvements in the cooperation between us and Russia in different fields, including the economy... [and] the fight against terror in a region suffering from terrorism,” said Sisi. “It has an impact on our region’s stability and security. Not just in some countries, but in the entire region and possibly the whole world.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi shake hands after their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on August,26 2015. (AP)

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/26/426483/egypt-russia-putin-sisi-daesh-coalition

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France Deplores Mosque Arson

25 August 2015

CAIRO – Deploring soaring Islamophobia in France, President Francois Hollande has vehemently condemned an anti-Muslim attack that targeted a mosque in the southwestern French city of Auch, stressing that Muslims “should be able to practice their religion freely and safely.”

France "strongly condemns an act such as this which undermines the values of our Republic and our respect for beliefs,” a statement by the president was cited by the Local on Tuesday, August 25.

The president was condemning the arson attack that targeted Salame D'Auch Mosque in Auch on Sunday, August 23.

About 70% of the mosque was burned down when flames gutted the building and destroyed two prayer rooms and large parts of the roof.

No one was injured in the attack that has been ruled as arson by investigators.

Reassuring the Muslim community after the attack, Hollande said that "everything was being done" to ensure the perpetrators were caught and punished.

"Muslims in France should be able to practice their religion freely and safely," he added in the statement.

On his part, Prime Minister Manuel Valls wrote on Twitter that he condemned the attacks "with full force”.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/492611-france-deplores-mosque-arson.html

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Bayern Muslim Players Refuse Glasses of Beer

27 August 2015

CAIRO – Two Muslim players in German football giants Bayern Munich have refused to hold glasses of beer in a promotional photoshoot earlier this week, holding onto their religious beliefs.

In the photo, Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola joined his players in holding a glass of beer while donning traditional lederhosen, Daily Mail reported.

The only exceptions were French Muslim mid-fielder Frank Ribery and Moroccan Mehdi Benatia who refused to hold beer in their hands.

The players refrained from posing with the alcoholic beverage as it goes against Islamic religious beliefs.

The photoshoot came as part of the German club's sponsorship deal with Paulaner brewery after the team won its first two Bundesliga matches.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is believed to have reverted to Islam in 2006 after marrying a Muslim woman of Moroccan origin.

Though he rarely speaks about his faith, Ribery recently told Le Paris Match magazine that he felt “safe” with Islam.

In 2012, Ribery opened an alcohol-free bar that would serve fruit juices, in an effort to fight alcohol addiction.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/492695-bayern-muslim-players-refuse-glasses-of-beer.html

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Russia ‘urges Iran to revoke S-300 suit’

Aug 26, 2015

Moscow says it has urged Tehran to revoke a lawsuit previously filed over Russia’s failure to meet contractual commitments to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Iran.

A source in the Russian military technical cooperation establishment told TASS news agency that fresh talks were currently underway to supply S-300 missiles to Iran; however, differences over the timetable for revoking Iran’s lawsuit against Russia for not honoring the previous contract remain a bone of contention.

“Iran says it will revoke the lawsuit regarding the previous contract when it gets the first batch of products under the new contract, while Russia insists the lawsuit should be revoked before it takes any action under the newly-concluded deal,” the source said.

Under the 2007 contract, Moscow pledged to deliver to Iran five battalions of the S-300 air defense system, worth 800 million dollars.

Moscow, however, reneged on the agreement with Tehran in 2010 under the pretext that the agreement was covered by the fourth round of the UN Security Council sanctions against the country over its nuclear program. The resolution bars hi-tech weapons sales to the Islamic Republic.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/26/426477/Russia-S300-Iran-lawsuit

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Australia

 

Australian man to stand trial over recruiting militants for Syria battles

Aug 27, 2015

A man in Australia will stand trial over recruiting individuals in the country to join Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria, after a court dismissal of his request for the case to be dropped.

On Thursday, the New South Wales’ Supreme Court ruled that Hamdi Alqudsi should be put to trial for recruiting seven men to join the ranks of the al-Nusra Front and other Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria.

Alqudsi had asked the court to drop the charges, saying the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 – the law according to which he has been charged – is unconstitutional.

Justice Christine Adamson, however, rejected his appeal.

The law stipulates that “a person shall not enter a foreign state with intent to engage in a hostile activity in that foreign state,” adding that anyone who facilitates this process is also guilty and will be given a 7-year prison term.

The photo shows Takfiri terrorists in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 28, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

The court accuses Alqudsi of arranging the travel of seven men to Syria between June and October 2013, saying it has access to some telephone intercepts that prove that the 41-year-old was giving instructions to the Takfiri terrorists on how to go to the conflict-hit Arab state.

Alqudsi’s lawyer, Zali Burrows, denies the charges, saying his client was only providing “innocuous” travel advice.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/08/27/426544/Australia-Hamdi-Alqudsi-Nusra-Front-Syria-Zali-Burrows

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/about-300-sufi-sect-leaders-in-east-africa-pledge-to-fight-extremism/d/104396



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