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Islamic World News ( 20 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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At U.N., Obama Calls Islam ‘Great Faith,’ Defends Prophet Muhammad













US Lawmakers Move Bill To Declare Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism

Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy in India

Turkey's Erdoğan Urges World to Act against Gülen

 

North America

At U.N., Obama Calls Islam ‘Great Faith,’ Defends Prophet Muhammad

US Lawmakers Move Bill To Declare Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism

‘Jihadi Rehab’ Centre to Open In Rural French Town

Nothing comforts them more than the prospect of an easy victory.

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India

Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy in India

Pak Must Stop Terror or Bear Heavy Loss: Muslim Groups

Attack Pakistan, Get Back PoK: Vishwa Hindu Parishad

Muslims Barred From Garba Events in Bharuch

Lok Sabha Speaker discusses terrorism with New Zealand PM

Muslims to back Maratha rally in Kolhapur

Have all qualities to be PM, except that I am a Muslim: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan

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Mideast

Turkey's Erdoğan Urges World to Act against Gülen

30 Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia's Caliber Missile Attack in Aleppo

Turkey will not move on Raqqa alone: Erdoğan

Erdoğan slams EU's failure to keep promises to Turkey

Gov’t submits motion to parliament for military operations in Syria, Iraq

Running away not a solution to terror: Turkish PM

Erdogan Repeats Calls for No-Fly Zones North of Syria at UN Speech

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South Asia

Tribal Leaders Say IS Regrouping in Afghan-Pakistan Border Areas

Myanmar: Illegal Mosques to Be Demolished In Rakhine

Suicide attack organizer held with a would-be bomber by Afghan intelligence

Ghani calls Modi after militants attack left 18 soldiers dead in Kashmir

Afghanistan launches probe into alleged US airstrike on policemen

Bangladesh Identifies Financier of Café Attack

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Southeast Asia

Rare Centuries-Old Quran Copies Housed In Mosque In Singapore

Indonesia on alert as ‘Daesh members’ return from Syria

The real facts on religion in Indonesia

Push to block ethnic Chinese Christian Ahok from running Jakarta

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Africa

ISIS's West Africa Affiliate Claims 40 Troops Killed In Nigeria

Eight Christians killed leaving church as violence escalates in Nigeria

Islamic Movement in Nigeria celebrates Eid Ghadir amidst tears

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Arab World

Top IRGC Commander Warns US Navy to Return to Bay of Pigs

Iran's Naval Parades Response to US Threats

Iranian Navy to Unveil New Jamaran-Class Destroyer

ISIL Militants Execute 3 Local Residents in Syria's Raqqa

Syrian Army Wins back More Points in Al-Ramouseh

Rouhani Stresses Iran, Turkey's Role in Fighting Terrorism

France Sending Artillery, Aircraft Carrier to Join Fight against ISIL in Mosul

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Pakistan

CTD Arrests 'IS Man' In KP

Sindh Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution against MQM Chief Altaf Hussain

Police asked to bring Imran, Qadri to court

India-Pakistan tension spooks business community

Pakistan backs safe, dignified return of Afghan DPs, says PM

Nawaz Sharif wants dialogue with India over Kashmir?

Nawaz Sharif raising Kashmir with all leaders amid isolation fears

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Europe

Refugee crisis breeds Islamophobia in Eastern Europe

Is Pope Francis an unwitting minion of George Soros?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/at-un,-obama-calls-islam-‘great-faith,’-defends-prophet-muhammad/d/108627

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At U.N., Obama Calls Islam ‘Great Faith,’ Defends Prophet Muhammad

20 Sep 2016

President Obama at the United Nations Tuesday said the greatest threat to the world is not the increasingly global reach of jihad — but rather the anti-globalization political movement sweeping Europe and the United States.

While Obama had plenty of criticism for populists during his address at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, he had few negative things to say about Islam, which he referred to as a “great faith.”

That same year, he told a crowd in Egypt that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story,” and in 2015 he said that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Despite the fact that the weekend before his U.N. address saw multiple Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Obama was silent on the issue. Instead, he criticized a generic “religious fundamentalism” — which he lumped in with an “aggressive nationalism” and “crude populism” from the “far-right” — as a threat to his beloved global order.

The president’s Islamic sympathies were exposed when he discussed some of the cultural unrest which inevitably develops in a globalized world. “We see protests responding to western newspaper cartoons that caricature the Prophet Muhammad,” Obama said.

His use of the honorific “prophet” is telling. Indeed, while Obama has made frequent references to “the Prophet Muhammad,” throughout his administration, a quick search does not turn up even one reference to “Jesus Christ, the Son of God” or “Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.”

Astonishingly, despite leveling strong criticism at a "discriminatory" and "persecutory" mindset which Obama said "we see … in too many parts of the Middle East," the president steadfastly refused to identify the root cause of that mindset: Salafist Islam.

Instead, he blamed the fact that vast swathes of Middle Easterners think it's permissible to throw homosexuals off of buildings and stone to death female rape victims on a "collapse in order … fueled because leaders sought legitimacy by … resorting to persecuting political opposition."

Full report at: lifezette.com/polizette/un-obama-calls-islam-great-faith-defends-prophet-mohammed/

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US lawmakers move bill to declare Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism

September 21, 2016

WASHINGTON: Two United States lawmakers moved a bill in Congress seeking designation of Pakistan as a 'state sponsor of terrorism' on Wednesday.

The bill titled the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act was introduced by Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism Ted Poe and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in the US to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Congressman Poe termed Pakistan an "untrustworthy ally" which he alleged "has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years".

"From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cosy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s," Poe said.

"It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism," the lawmaker said.

He added that US President Barack Obama must issue a report within 90 days of passage of the bill detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for 'international terrorism'.

"Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation," he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1285165/us-lawmakers-move-bill-to-declare-pakistan-state-sponsor-of-terrorism

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Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy In India

21,September, 2016

The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is getting the final touch in before setting up office in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, a move that will usher Islamic finance for indigenous startups and fund Indian exports to many African and central Asian Muslim countries. Islamic finance is currently one of the fastest growing industries and is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2018 but it is still in an incipient stage. But with the an estimated 180 million Muslims living in India 'Islamic Banking' or 'Interest Free Banking' can prove to be very effective if it is looked at through the broad economic kaleidoscope and not a narrow religious prism.

The idea behind adopting Islamic Banking in India

India is a country with a 15 per cent Muslim population, highest in a non-Islamic country and second highest in the world offers huge opportunities to exploit. Broadly speaking, if in the Indian market Hindus & other people of other faiths are 100 crore, Muslim population itself is about 15 crore and stands in majority of them.

There are so many people who are looking for interest free banking and finance in the name of religious faith and it is quite feasible to have a parallel banking system based on Sharia along with a conventional one.

This is more important after the fall of the titans like Lehman Brothers because it reflects the economic downturn in the west and the need of alternative sources of FDI for the Indian economy. India needs to provide a congenial economic environment to attract the financial inducement from the Gulf region. Another opportunity is mutual fund which is based on 100% equity.

For example, Tata Mutual Fund made a pioneering attempt when, at the instance of the Barkat and some other Islamic financial group. This specially tailored scheme surprised many when they were able to raise Rs.230 million from the public in 1996 as a large number of Muslims who were considered unworthy of credit by commercial banks welcomed the idea of Islamic Banking in India. Full report at: businessworld.in/article/Islamic-Banking-Will-Strengthen-Democracy-In-India/21-09-2016-105898/

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Turkey's Erdoğan urges world to act against Gülen

September 21, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 20 called on world leaders at the United Nations to take measures against U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen’s “terrorist network” that he said threatened their security.

“I am calling, from this podium, to all our friends, to swiftly take the necessary measures against the Gülenist terrorist organization for their own safety and the future of their nations,” Erdoğan said. “It is evident from our experience that if you do not fight the Gulen network at this stage, it may be too late later.”

Gülen is accused of orchestrating Turkey’s failed coup in July 15. Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup attempt.

Accusing Gülen of building up a network of followers inside the armed forces and civil service to take over Turkey over the last number of decades, authorities have asked the United States to extradite or detain the cleric.

In an interview with Reuters on Sept. 19, Erdoğan said the United States should “not harbor a terrorist” like Gülen, adding that his activities around the world should be banned.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-erdogan-urges-world-to-act-against-gulen.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104086&NewsCatID=338

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North America

At U.N., Obama Calls Islam ‘Great Faith,’ Defends Prophet Muhammad

20 Sep 2016

President Obama at the United Nations Tuesday said the greatest threat to the world is not the increasingly global reach of jihad — but rather the anti-globalization political movement sweeping Europe and the United States.

While Obama had plenty of criticism for populists during his address at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, he had few negative things to say about Islam, which he referred to as a “great faith.”

That same year, he told a crowd in Egypt that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story,” and in 2015 he said that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Despite the fact that the weekend before his U.N. address saw multiple Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Obama was silent on the issue. Instead, he criticized a generic “religious fundamentalism” — which he lumped in with an “aggressive nationalism” and “crude populism” from the “far-right” — as a threat to his beloved global order.

The president’s Islamic sympathies were exposed when he discussed some of the cultural unrest which inevitably develops in a globalized world. “We see protests responding to western newspaper cartoons that caricature the Prophet Muhammad,” Obama said.

His use of the honorific “prophet” is telling. Indeed, while Obama has made frequent references to “the Prophet Muhammad,” throughout his administration, a quick search does not turn up even one reference to “Jesus Christ, the Son of God” or “Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.”

Astonishingly, despite leveling strong criticism at a "discriminatory" and "persecutory" mindset which Obama said "we see … in too many parts of the Middle East," the president steadfastly refused to identify the root cause of that mindset: Salafist Islam.

Instead, he blamed the fact that vast swathes of Middle Easterners think it's permissible to throw homosexuals off of buildings and stone to death female rape victims on a "collapse in order … fueled because leaders sought legitimacy by … resorting to persecuting political opposition."

These big, bad dictators are guilty of "narrowing the public sphere to the mosque where in too many places perversions of a great faith were tolerated," Obama said.

The president would have the world believe that the problem with the Muslim world is not radical Islam, but the secular governments of places like Syria and Egypt.

Obama's words may be appalling but they can hardly be called surprising. Since he was elected, the president has never missed an opportunity to defend or promote Islam — while sidestepping the growing threat posed by Islamic extremism.

In 2009, Obama told the Turkish Parliament that "we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country."

That same year, he told a crowd in Egypt that "Islam has always been a part of America's story," and in 2015 he said that "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding." Obama has never specified what exactly Islam has done to shape the U.S., or how it has been a part of the country since its inception.

One could fill a book with the comments Obama has made as president in reverence to Islam. "Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality," Obama said in 2010, apparently unaware of Muslim Arabs' central role in facilitating the European slave trade.

"Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace," Obama said in Cairo in 2009. "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance," he added

Islam has a history of incredibly violent jihad more than a tradition of tolerance, proud or otherwise, but President Obama has certainly made a tradition of singing Islam's praises.

Source: lifezette.com/polizette/un-obama-calls-islam-great-faith-defends-prophet-mohammed/

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US lawmakers move bill to declare Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism

September 21, 2016

WASHINGTON: Two United States lawmakers moved a bill in Congress seeking designation of Pakistan as a 'state sponsor of terrorism' on Wednesday.

The bill titled the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act was introduced by Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism Ted Poe and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in the US to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Congressman Poe termed Pakistan an "untrustworthy ally" which he alleged "has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years".

"From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cosy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s," Poe said.

"It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism," the lawmaker said.

He added that US President Barack Obama must issue a report within 90 days of passage of the bill detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for 'international terrorism'.

"Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation," he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1285165/us-lawmakers-move-bill-to-declare-pakistan-state-sponsor-of-terrorism

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 ‘Jihadi Rehab’ Centre To Open In Rural French Town

21 Sep 2016

The French government plans to open a rehabilitation centre for young Muslims who have been radicalised by Salafists, but critics are wary of the programme.

The “Centre for Prevention, Reintegration, and Citizenship” is a new project designed by the French government to aid in the deradicalisation of young Muslims who have been flagged as showing sympathies for the extremist Salafist ideology or terror groups like Islamic State.

The centre has been built in an area of rural France, but many locals aren’t happy about a gathering of known radical Islamists in their hometown, reports Kurier.  Some have even referred to the centre as a “summer camp for Islamists.”

Local prefect Louis Lefranc claims that the men who will be attending the centre are all young Muslim men aged 18 to 30-years-old who have rejected Salafism and are seeking help to pry themselves from the radical Islamist scene. “It’s about young people who are radicalised and want to get away from it,” he said claiming that the men had all broken off ties from their family and social circles in order to deradicalise.

The centre itself resembles a mix of a wellness retreat and a prison. The rooms look like college dorms, though the windows are barred in order to prevent any of the young Muslims from escaping. They also have access to a large garden at the rural Pontourny castle where the centre is based near the city of Tours.

The days for the men are strict and regimented. Each man must be up at 6:45 in the morning, and all are made to put on uniforms adorned with symbols of the French republic like the French tricolour flag. The men are instructed in various classrooms on the subjects of religion, philosophy, and history, supervised constantly by a team of social workers, doctors, and psychologists.

The local residents of Beaumont-en-Veron, where the castle is located, are much less enthusiastic about the centre believing that having a large contingent of self-admitted radical Islamists may pose a danger to their town. Authorities have tried to assuage public fear by saying that all of the men will be screened to ensure they have no ties to groups who have committed or plan to commit attacks in France.

The radicalisation of young Muslim men has become a top concern for authorities across Europe as more underage Muslims have carried out attacks and acts of terror in Germany and elsewhere. Police see the influence of Islamic State via the internet as a key challenge in the near future along with an increasing number of underage Muslim migrants who may be angered that Europe isn’t the paradise they were previously promised by people smugglers.

An Islamic scholar in France recently warned that the third generation of young Muslim men could be even more dangerous calling them “generation Jihad”, and saying that left unchecked they could lead Europe down the path of civil war.

Source: breitbart.com/london/2016/09/21/french-open-jihadi-rehab-centre/

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Nothing comforts them more than the prospect of an easy victory.

September 21, 2016

In her infamous lecture about “smart power” in 2014, Hillary Clinton said that American leaders must “understand” and “empathize” with Islamic terrorists. She has the empathy down but not the understanding.

She still can’t grasp the obvious theological motivation of the Islamic terrorists, which comes not from what they read in American newspapers but from what they read in the Koran and the Hadith. Whether American leaders are praising or condemning Islam is irrelevant to them. For almost sixteen years, America’s feckless political class, which Hillary epitomizes, has fostered the delusion that if leaders just spoke more soothingly about Islam its militancy would dissipate. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama fatuously declared that America is not at “war with Islam” even as it leading imams declared war on America. Bush and Obama talked endlessly about Islam as a religion of peace. Meanwhile, the terrorist tentacles of Islam just grew longer and longer.

After every eruption of Islamic terrorism, Americans have been instructed by the ruling class’s propagandists not to see it as evidence of a “religious war.” But it is a religious war, with the exception that only one side is fighting it. In Hillary’s flailing and stale claim that rhetorical intemperance is provoking Islamic terrorism, ISIS can take true comfort, insofar as it signals yet another white flag in the war. Nothing encourages an enemy more than the prospect of victory against a weak opponent.

In a warbling Hillary, clinging desperately to the clichés of a failed political class, Americans see little “resolve” and a lot of “fear.” Anybody wondering what her administration would look like just had to watch the pathetic response of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and New York governor Andrew Cuomo to last weekend’s terrorist attack. Looking like a tranquilized giraffe, de Blasio surveyed the scene and concluded that it revealed evidence of “intentional” behavior but not terrorism, while a casually dressed Cuomo bumptiously asserted that it did not point to “international terrorism.” Anybody wondering what the priorities of her administration would be just had to read the New York Times on the day of the attack, which featured a story about “hate crimes against American Muslims.”

Accompanying the story was a picture of a funereal scene, with the caption: “People waited for the coffin of one of two men, an imam in Queens and his assistant, who were shot dead last month.” Given that those murders haven’t been declared hate crimes, it was an absurdly biased photo to select to illustrate the story. The Times just reports breezily near the second half of the piece: “Last month, an imam in Queens and his assistant were shot and killed execution-style on the sidewalk. The authorities have charged a 35-year-old man in the attack but have not determined a motive or whether it should be treated as a hate crime.”

The story is full of biased hedges, sources, and information so incomplete as to be meaningless. It is a story about an “apparent increase” in hate crimes that are “apparently fueled by terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad and by divisive language on the campaign trail,” with “some scholars” believing that Donald Trump is responsible for it. The story has all the objectivity of a press release from CAIR.

Straining to make this supposed spike in Trump-fueled hate crimes sound menacing, the Times reports that somebody back in May claimed that a Trump supporter once “reportedly poured liquid on a Muslim woman” in Washington, D.C. We’re not told what the liquid was (water?) or if there was any proof or resolution to the complaint. On such shaky and fragmentary information, the Times alleges a “problem” and then tells us that “researchers say” the lack of proof of hate crimes is itself proof of them and even proof that the problem is greater than anyone can fathom, since “victims are often reluctant to report attacks for fear of inflaming community tensions, and because it is sometimes difficult for investigators to establish that religious, ethnic or racial hatred was a cause.”

Such are the preoccupations of Hillary’s envisioned America, where the ruling class extends empathy to every culture except its own. No sooner had the Islamic terrorist been caught on Monday than she and her supporters resumed their babble about cultural relativism. Cuomo hit the airwaves to warn against the loss of “American values,” as if the founding fathers shared his blindness to the militancy of Islam. Hillary surrogates criticized Trump for not appreciating the terrorist’s right to the best hospitals and attorneys. And then there was the usual prattle about “partnering” with Muslim leaders who renounce violence. When Trump did, meeting with the Egyptian president at the United Nations this week, that was dismissed too.

All of the spinning was designed to distract the public from the fact that Islamic terrorism spread under Obama’s policies and Hillary promises more of the same. It is in the porousness of political correctness that Islamic terrorists see their path to America and find their greatest comfort — the comfort of knowing they can actually win.

Source: spectator.org/and-he-walks-with-me/

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India

Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy In India

21,September, 2016

The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is getting the final touch in before setting up office in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, a move that will usher Islamic finance for indigenous startups and fund Indian exports to many African and central Asian Muslim countries. Islamic finance is currently one of the fastest growing industries and is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2018 but it is still in an incipient stage. But with the an estimated 180 million Muslims living in India 'Islamic Banking' or 'Interest Free Banking' can prove to be very effective if it is looked at through the broad economic kaleidoscope and not a narrow religious prism.

The idea behind adopting Islamic Banking in India

India is a country with a 15 per cent Muslim population, highest in a non-Islamic country and second highest in the world offers huge opportunities to exploit. Broadly speaking, if in the Indian market Hindus & other people of other faiths are 100 crore, Muslim population itself is about 15 crore and stands in majority of them.

There are so many people who are looking for interest free banking and finance in the name of religious faith and it is quite feasible to have a parallel banking system based on Sharia along with a conventional one.

This is more important after the fall of the titans like Lehman Brothers because it reflects the economic downturn in the west and the need of alternative sources of FDI for the Indian economy. India needs to provide a congenial economic environment to attract the financial inducement from the Gulf region. Another opportunity is mutual fund which is based on 100% equity.

For example, Tata Mutual Fund made a pioneering attempt when, at the instance of the Barkat and some other Islamic financial group. This specially tailored scheme surprised many when they were able to raise Rs.230 million from the public in 1996 as a large number of Muslims who were considered unworthy of credit by commercial banks welcomed the idea of Islamic Banking in India. And these opportunities can prove to be safe havens for people who have collected crores in interest-free deposits, but they do not have any avenue to invest that money.

Since, the Indian banking sector has opened up considerably in the past decade or so and openness to interest-free banks is a logical next step. By 2020, the global Islamic banking industry profit pool is expected to reach $30.3 billion.

Why RBI finds it inevitable for India?

Full report at: businessworld.in/article/Islamic-Banking-Will-Strengthen-Democracy-In-India/21-09-2016-105898/

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Pak must stop terror or bear heavy loss: Muslim groups

Sep 21, 2016

MUMBAI: Condoling the martyrdom of Indian soldiers in the Uri terror attack, Muslim groups on Tuesday said it's high time Pakistan stopped cross-border terrorism or it would have to bear heavy loss.

A group of activists, under the banner of Bharat Bachao Andolan, held a silent mourning for the martyrs at Azad Maidan on Tuesday. "We share the grief of the families that lost their loved ones in the Uri attack," said activist Nooruddin Naik.

"We don't support war against Pakistan, but at the same time, ask Pakistan to dismantle its terror camps, stop cross-border terror activities and punish the mastermind of the Uri attack as soon as possible. India's patience cannot be tested eternally and Pakistan has repeatedly failed to prove that it is serious about punishing those guilty of terror acts. War is not in the interest of either country but if such cowardly acts of terror don't stop, India will be forced to attack its enemies militarily," said M A Khalid of the All India Milli Council.

Many of the activists demanded creating international pressure on Pakistan to force it to desist from sponsoring terror acts. "It is the responsibility of international community to ensure that Pakistan stops anti-India terror activities. Terrorism has made Pakistan almost a pariah state and it will be in its benefit too to crack down on the terror ideologues and their foot soldiers who mount suicide attacks against India," said activist Salim Alware.

Meanwhile, cleric Allama Bunai Noimi of All India Ulema Board dashed off a letter to some Paksitani dailies appealing to the people of Pakistan to stand up to the destruction their political and military leaders are pushing them too. "The people of Pakistan must stand up to the misguided jingoism and rhetoric of their military and political leaders. Pakistani ulema should uphold the message of Islam which teaches us to live peacefully with our neighbours," said Noimi.

A Muslim group which had planned to protest the Uri attack with "burning of Pakistan flag" at Azad Maidan on Tuesday postponed its protest due to heavy rains.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Pak-must-stop-terror-or-bear-heavy-loss-Muslim-groups/articleshow/54434424.cms

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Attack Pakistan, get back PoK: Vishwa Hindu Parishad

September 21, 2016

New Delhi: Vishwa Hindu Parishad today asked the government to attack Pakistan and get Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir back, saying now is the opportune time to fulfill the resolution passed by Parliament on the issue.

“India should attack Pakistan and capture PoK. It is our legitimate right. It belongs to us and Parliament has also passed a resolution to this effect,” VHP international Joint General Secretary Surendra Kumar Jain said today.

The Uri terror attack has drawn all-round condemnation and international opinion is against Pakistan, he said, adding that it is the right time to invade the country.

Source: siasat.com/news/attack-pakistan-get-back-pok-vhp-2-1024783/

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Muslims barred from garba events in Bharuch

September 21, 2016

The organisers of two garba events in Gujarat’s Bharuch district have decided not to allow Muslims at the venue after protests from the VHP. The Bharuch unit of the VHP opposed two garba events which also have Muslims as their organisers. The VHP members handed over a memorandum to district collector, seeking to ban Muslims at the event over “security” and “law and order” issues. The organisers of the first event, a real estate group which also has a Muslim partner, Tuesday said it will check the identity of ticket seekers for the event which is scheduled to be held in October. The real estate group’s partners include: Jaydeepsinh Raj, Jasu Patel and Asif Patel. They are organising a mega garba event at Dudhara dairy ground in Bharuch. Among those invited to the nine-day event, “Raas-e-Bharuch”, include actors Jackie Shroff and Zarine Khan.

The second event is being organised by Shehzada Shaikh, a social worker, in partnership with two others from the majority community whose names he did not disclose. This event is scheduled to be held at Sonal party plot on College Road.

Jaydeepsinh Raj, organiser of “Raas-e-Bharuch”, said, “We partnered with Asif Patel because he has good relations with Bollywood celebrities. Because the VHP is opposing the event, we removed our original banners (for the event) and put up new ones which do not have Asif’s name on them. We have also contacted two private security agencies — one from Bharuch and another from Ahmedabad — for deployment of security personnel on the garba grounds. We will not issue or sell passes to Muslims and the tickets will be given to participants only after they show an identity card. We have also applied for police permission and it will come shortly.”

Viral Desai, VHP joint secretary (south Gujarat), who is based in Bharuch, met Bharuch District Collector Sandip Sagale, along with other VHP members, and handed over a memorandum, demanding not to give permission to Muslim organisers of the garba event in the town.

Asif Patel, who also is a choreographer and runs a local newspaper, said, “We decided to organise a big Navratri event by inviting Bollywood celebrities. The proceeds from the funds raised through this event will be used in building steps and infrastructure for pilgrims going to Chitra Mata temple on the banks of Narmada river. Our motive was to build communal harmony by orgnaising this event.” However, after the VHP protests, Asif Patel said he will not allow Muslims. “After the VHP’s opposition, we have decided that Muslims should not enter the ground. We will not sell passes or tickets to Muslims. I’m director of the company and my name on the banner was obvious. But since they have objected, we have decided to remove my name. If they demand that I should not enter the ground, I will not be at the venue,” said Asif Patel, adding that the the passes for the event are available at Rs 1,200 (for all nine days).

Desai, in his memorandum, cited the Uri terror attacks on Army headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir and said that Gujarat was always on high alert. He also cited the murder of BJP leaders Shirish Bengali and Pragnesh Mistry last year, detected by the NIA as an operation by the underworld. The memorandum further said, “Garba festival is important and our religious feelings are attached to it. Some Muslims have taken this festival as a business opportunity and with the help of Hindu partners, they have organised two such events in Bharuch. The motive is clear as they wanted to earn money by organsing it and have thus invited Bollywood celebrities.”

Talking to The Indian Express, Desai said, “Through the memorandum, we have demanded that such event should not be orgnaised as it will damage the peaceful atmosphere of the Bharuch town. If Muslims are organising such an event, many Muslims will enter which will lead to eve-teasing. Our religious feelings will be hurt that’s why we have demanded that the collector should not give permission for such events.” Bharuch District Collector Sandip Sagale could not be reached for his comment.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/gujarat-muslims-barred-from-garba-events-in-bharuch-3041473/

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Lok Sabha Speaker discusses terrorism with New Zealand PM

September 20,2016

Auckland: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, on an official visit to New Zealand, raised the issue of state-sponsored terrorism with acting Prime Minister of New Zealand Bill English, an official statement said.

Mahajan, who is leading an Indian parliamentary delegation to New Zealand, called on English on Tuesday.

During the meeting, she raised the issue of state-sponsored terrorism, stating that India has long been a victim of the dastardly attacks by cross-border terrorists.

The Lok Sabha Speaker urged that all the peace loving countries in the world should come together to fight terrorism and stressed that it is time to isolate the countries which harbour terrorists.

She added that India is historically and traditionally a follower of non-violence, which believes in living together in harmony to promote prosperity, friendship and peace across the world.

In her meeting with Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives David Carter, Mahajan noted that both India and New Zealand have a healthy tradition of parliamentary exchanges and cooperation.

The Speaker said this has added to the friendship and goodwill between the two countries and India looks forward to sustaining this momentum.

She also commended the Indian diaspora for playing a constructive and meaningful role in strengthening the bilateral relationship.

Source: siasat.com/news/lok-sabha-speaker-discusses-terrorism-new-zealand-pm-1024606/

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Muslims to back Maratha rally in Kolhapur

Sep 21, 2016

KOLHAPUR: Around 50,000 Muslims will participate in the Maratha Mukt Morcha to be taken out in the city on October 15.

Announcing this on Tuesday, Mohamedan Education Society chairman Gani Ajrekar said, "Around 15 lakh people will participate in the rally. We consider the Marathas as our older brothers and support their demand for reservations and action against the culprits in the Kopardi rape-murder incident."

Maratha organisations have been in touch with leaders of other communities since the last few days for support for their rally. Earlier, Ambedkarite organisations extended their support to the Maratha community's demand for reservations. However, a few outfits are still firm on their decision to take out a rally against the Maratha protest.

Representatives of several communities turned up for a meeting of Maratha leaders of all political parties a few days ago. The Muslim representatives assured to help the Maratha organisations in planning the rally and providing water and snacks to the protesters.

Ajrekar has called a meeting of prominent community leaders on Wednesday to decide ways in which the help can be extended.

The Maratha community has taken out rallies in almost every district centre in Marathawada and North Maharashtra. While other communities did not participate in these rallies, they have assured to take part in the Kolhapur rally and the one in Sangli next week. In Sangli, members of the Jain, Lingayat, Brahmin and other communities have extended their support for the rally to be held on September 27.

The Maratha organisers say they have managed to convince people that the rallies are not against dalits as was perceived when the agitations started from Aurangabad. The rallies were earlier seen as anti-dalit as they focused on the demand to scrap the SC and ST Atrocities Act. The demand was later toned down to making changes in the Act to avoid its misuse.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/Muslims-to-back-Maratha-rally-in-Kolhapur/articleshow/54439720.cms

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Have all qualities to be PM, except that I am a Muslim: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan

September 21, 2016

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Wednesday said he has all the “qualities” to become the Prime Minister though his being a Muslim could be a “shortcoming”. Azam, who is known for his controversial remarks, said, “Make me the Prime Minister of the country and I will show how the country is run. I have all the qualities of being the Prime Minister, I have experience and education.”

“Barring the fact that I am a Muslim, there is no other shortcoming,” Khan said in sarcasm-laden remarks. He was asked as to what policy needs to be adopted by the Centre in the wake of the Uri terror attack. “No policy will be made on the basis of what I say to deal with the situation like Uri,” the UP minister said, adding that he will press SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav to pitch for making him the Prime Minister.

Asked about his detractors, Khan said they are “barking dogs” who have no effect on him as he continues to do his own work. When asked about an “outsider” in his party, he reiterated Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s statement that Samajwadi family is “united”.

“When the family is united and strong, outside forces will be ineffective,” he said, in an apparent reference to Amar Singh being appointed as SP General Secetary by the party supremo. Azam’s bete noire Amar Singh, who is often described as an “outsider” in the Samajwadi Party, was yesterday appointed the party’s General Secretary by Mulayam, in a decision that may be seen as yet another snub to son Akhilesh.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/azam-khan-samajwadi-party-prime-minister-muslim-3042220/

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Mideast

Turkey's Erdoğan urges world to act against Gülen

September 21, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 20 called on world leaders at the United Nations to take measures against U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen’s “terrorist network” that he said threatened their security.

“I am calling, from this podium, to all our friends, to swiftly take the necessary measures against the Gülenist terrorist organization for their own safety and the future of their nations,” Erdoğan said. “It is evident from our experience that if you do not fight the Gulen network at this stage, it may be too late later.”

Gülen is accused of orchestrating Turkey’s failed coup in July 15. Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup attempt.

Accusing Gülen of building up a network of followers inside the armed forces and civil service to take over Turkey over the last number of decades, authorities have asked the United States to extradite or detain the cleric.

In an interview with Reuters on Sept. 19, Erdoğan said the United States should “not harbor a terrorist” like Gülen, adding that his activities around the world should be banned.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-erdogan-urges-world-to-act-against-gulen.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104086&NewsCatID=338

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30 Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia's Caliber Missile Attack in Aleppo

Wednesday,September 21 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian warships stationed in Syria's coastal waters targeted and destroyed a foreign military operations room, killing over two dozen Israeli and western intelligence officers.

"The Russian warships fired three Caliber missiles at the foreign officers' coordination operations room in Dar Ezza region in the Western part of Aleppo near Sam'an mountain, killing 30 Israeli and western officers," the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted battlefield source in Aleppo as saying on Wednesday.

The operations room was located in the Western part of Aleppo province in the middle of sky-high Sam'an mountain and old caves. The region is deep into a chain of mountains.

Several US, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and British officers were also killed along with the Israeli officers. The foreign officers who were killed in the Aleppo operations room were directing the terrorists' attacks in Aleppo and Idlib.

Earlier in September, the Syrian army units launched a preemptive strike on the terrorists of the so-called Aleppo Operations Room in their gathering centers near Castello road in the Northern areas of Aleppo and Mallah farms, foiling their plots to attack the region's supply route, a source said.

The source said that the army's artillery units attacked the terrorists' gathering centers near Castello and Mallah farms in Zahra Abdo Rabbah, Kafar Hamra and Hurayatyn which killed and wounded dozens of militants.

Also, the Syrian air force attacked the terrorists' supply route in Northern Aleppo towards Hayyan and Adnan as well as the supply roads in Western Aleppo towards the North and smashed the terrorists' convoys in al-Aratab, Urom Kobra and Ma'ara al-Artiq which thwarted the terrorists' plots and forced many of them flee towards the Turkish borders.

Informed media sources disclosed earlier that the Syrian army has continued its advances in the Southern part of Aleppo, and regained control over several strategic areas in the town of Khan Touman.

"A number of key warehouses of Khan Touman are now under the Syrian army's control," the Arabic-language media quoted an unnamed informed source as saying.

The source noted that the Syrian air force and army's artillery units also targeted the gathering centers and fortifications of the terrorists in Khan Touman.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000607

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Turkey will not move on Raqqa alone: Erdoğan

September 21, 2016

Turkey supports plans to drive the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) out of its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa and it would not act alone in any such operation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.

Talking to Reuters in New York, where he will attend and give a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Erdoğan said Turkey supported plans to drive ISIL out of its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa together with the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition forces.

“Turkey will not act unilaterally to liberate Raqqa. We will get involved in actions taken by the [U.S.-led] coalition forces,” said Erdoğan on Sept. 20.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour on Sept. 20 that the Syrian city of al-Bab, an ISIL stronghold 40 kilometers south of the Turkish border, and Raqqa, the militant group’s self-declared capital, would be the next targets to recapture from ISIL.

One day prior to Çavuşoğlu’s remarks, Erdoğan had said al-Bab was the next target within the scope of the anti- ISIL operation that Turkey launched around one month ago.

Çavuşoğlu noted the significance of retaking Raqqa in the fight against ISIL, saying that if the terror group is cleared from those areas - which correspond to nearly 5,000 square kilometers - a “safe zone” could be established for Syrian refugees.

Turkey has long argued for the need for a “safe zone” or a “no-fly” zone along its Syrian border, with the aim of clearing out ISIL militants and stemming a wave of migration that has fuelled tensions in Europe.

But Western allies have so far balked at the idea, saying it would require a significant ground force and planes to patrol, marking a major commitment in such a crowded battlefield.

Çavuşoğlu said European leaders supported this proposal but the U.S. was still considering it.

Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation on Aug. 24, with its own troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). It aimed to rid northern Syria, with which Turkey has a long border, of ISIL, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), which Ankara says are terrorist offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Daesh and the YPG ... are the main source of threat,” Erdoğan told Reuters, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

“We have been patient ... We have not deployed all of our troops to Syria ... with the moderate opposition Jerablus was freed,” he added, referring to the liberation of Jarablus from ISIL in the first two days of the Euphrates Shield operation.

‘Al-Assad cannot be part of transitional period’

Commenting on the Syrian war, Erdoğan said no lasting peace could be achieved in Syria without the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. Turkey is one of the main supporters of rebels fighting to overthrow al-Assad and hosts around 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

“The future of Syria should be determined by its own people ... Why is this killer [al-Assad] being backed by some states?” Erdoğan said.

“Al-Assad cannot be part of any transitional period ... the world should find a solution that does not involve al-Assad ... Syria’s territorial integrity should be respected by other countries,” he added.

Al-Assad is supported by Russia, Iran and Arab Shiite militias, while Sunni rebels seeking to unseat him are backed by Turkey and Gulf Arab states.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-not-move-on-raqqa-alone-erdogan.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104046&NewsCatID=352

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Erdoğan slams EU's failure to keep promises to Turkey

September 21, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 20 the EU has let down his country in terms of its commitments under a refugee deal.

In his speech at a leaders summit on refugees on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, Erdoğan said Turkey had successfully fulfilled its commitment to the EU under the refugee deal inked in March.  

“As a response to this, the promises made by the EU to Turkey were unfortunately not been kept,” the Turkish leaders said.       

The deal aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for Syrian refugees in Turkey.      

“Turkey was left alone since the beginning of Syrian conflict and once again I think we are facing the same consequence,” he added.       

Turkey is going to overcome the refugee burden, he said, but according to Erdoğan, the EU can never “account for the inconsistency they have displayed in the face of such a fundamental humanitarian crisis.”       

The deal included a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) aid package for Turkey to care for millions of refugees it is hosting.      

Turkey hosts the maximum number of refugees worldwide, Erdoğan said, sharing Turkey's plans about what to do for refugees in future.       

"As Turkey, with a humanitarian-centered approach, we have kept our borders wide open to those fleeing tyranny and oppression,” he said.       

Thenumber of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey has already reached 3 million.      

According to Erdoğan, Turkey has allocated $25 billion in total, $12 billion from the government's budget, while the rest came from non-governmental organizations and municipalities in the country.       

The country has received only $525 million from the international community, Erdoğan said.       

ddressing the challenges Turkey faces amid the refugee crisis, the president said there are about 835,000 Syrian children in the country who have reached schooling age and about 310,000 of them have been enrolled in school programs through non-governmental organizations and other civilian initiatives.      

He called on the world to share the burden and contribute to the education of the victims of the Syrian civil war.       

The Turkish leader also criticized the international community for its failure to address conflicts going on in the world.       

“In a world, where babies are murdered, no one can remain innocent,” he said.

“We should immediately, promptly and resolutely take action to stop this crisis, otherwise we won't have the opportunity to explain to the future generations why we were delayed in our actions.”

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-eus-failure-to-keep-promises-to-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104085&NewsCatID=338

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Gov’t submits motion to parliament for military operations in Syria, Iraq

Wednesday,September 21 2016

The government submitted a comprehensive motion to parliament on Sept. 20 to extend the one-year mandate authorizing the deployment of the Turkish army into Iraq and Syria and allowing the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil, providing the necessary legality for Turkey’s contribution to the international coalition’s efforts to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The motion, based on Article 92 of the constitution, gives permission for the use of Turkish troops in Iraq and Syria for cross-border operations against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while also allowing foreign forces to be deployed in Turkish military bases and to transit through Turkish territory in operations against ISIL. 

In 2014, the government merged two existing motions on Syria and Iraq into one, arguing that the threats posed by terrorist organizations were based in both countries’ territories.

“Developments in the neighboring regions of Turkey’s southern land frontiers, and threats derived from ongoing clashes, have increased,” read part of the motion signed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

The proposal also recalled that PKK elements are continuing their presence in northern Iraq, stressing that both ISIL in northern Syria and the PKK have carried out attacks against Turkey. The motion underlined the continuation of Turkey’s activities as part of the international coalition that was established for the struggle against ISIL and other terrorist organizations.

The mandate will be extended on Oct. 2 after a parliamentary debate on Oct. 1.

Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, opened up a new line of attack in northern Syria on Sept. 3, as Turkish tanks crossed the frontier from the Kilis province, starting a western leg in an operation to remove militants from its border.

Launching the Euphrates Shield operation on Aug. 24, the Turkish army and Ankara-backed Syrian opposition forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), took the northern Syrian town of Jarablus from ISIL and continued to expand their operation to rid the area of both ISIL fighters and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey says is a terrorist organization as it is an offshoot of the PKK.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/govt-submits-motion-to-parliament-for-military-operations-in-syria-iraq.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104062&NewsCatID=352

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Running away not a solution to terror: Turkish PM

Wednesday,September 21 2016

Fear is not the correct response to terrorism, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sept. 20 while addressing the 26th Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul.

“You cannot be safe by running away from terrorism. You cannot get rid of it by fearing it. No spot in the world is safe,” the prime minister said. 

Some circles were engaged in shifting the venue of the congress from Turkey to another place after the failed coup attempt in the country on July 15 despite the fact that the decision was made four years ago, Yıldırım said.

However, the determined stance of the UPC and the righteous struggle of the Turkish PTT ensured the meeting was still held in Istanbul.

“If you make terrorism afraid, then you are safe,” the prime minister said. “We, all together, will not be afraid of it, but it will fear us. Then both Turkey and the world will be safe.”

Yıldırım also praised the congress for its nature-friendly stance, as all documents were shared digitally.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/running-away-not-a-solution-to-terror-turkish-pm-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104069&NewsCatID=338

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Erdogan Repeats Calls for No-Fly Zones North of Syria at UN Speech

Wednesday,September 21 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, once again called for declaring no-fly zones in Northern Syrian, claiming the move is crucial for the reestablishment of stability in the region.

"In order for reestablishment of stability, peace and prosperity to be possible in Northern Syria, officially made safe zones should also be declared as no-fly zones, and we have to have a very firm stance so that a no-fly zone will be possible for the protection and security of the region," Erdogan said, Vestik Kavkaza reported.

He also reaffirmed his commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity, claiming the military operation in Northern Syria only aimed to bring peace to the region.

"We have no expectations whatsoever with regards to the territory of Syria. Syria belongs to the Syrian people. Nobody should ever have any plans whatsoever for the Syrian territory," Erdogan said,

Turkish president also repeated the assertion that the 'Euphrates Shield' operation, which saw driving ISIL militants out of Syria’s Jarablus, had been initiated to help Syrian opposition forces.

"It is of crucial significance for the reestablishment of stability, peace and prosperity in a region of despair," Sputnik cited Erdogan as saying during his General Assembly speech.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000787

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South Asia

Tribal Leaders Say IS Regrouping in Afghan-Pakistan Border Areas

September 20, 2016

Local leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan say they are seeing a resurgence and regrouping of Islamic State fighters in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

Afghan forces, aided by U.S. bombers, reportedly intensified attacks on remote mountainous IS positions Tuesday. More than two dozen IS fighters were killed in air raids in the Achin and Kot districts, according to a spokesperson for the provincial governor and the Afghan defense ministry.

Afghan and U.S. coalition forces recently cleared many areas of IS militants in a number of districts in eastern Nangarhar province. But IS has recaptured several remote villages in Achin and Kot, which border Pakistan, tribal leaders told VOA.

"The government has not built any check posts in remote areas that lie far from the district center, and people in those areas live under IS control," Malek Kamin, a tribal elder in Achin, told VOA.

Malek Kateb, a Kot district tribal elder, said the areas that once were cleared of IS militants have come back under IS's control after Afghan troops pulled back from the remote region. He added that around 250 IS fighters are present in the area. According to the tribal elders, IS militants are oppressing the local residents and limiting their movements.

Provincial officials say they are bulking up Afghan Local police forces to work under the ministry of interior to provide more enforcement and protect remote areas where IS is regenerating. Afghan Local Police, with around 30,000 members across the country, mostly protect remote villages.

Full report at: voanews.com/a/tribal-leaders-islamic-state-regrouping-afghan-pakistan-border-areas/3517981.html

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Myanmar: Illegal mosques to be demolished in Rakhine

21st Sep 2016

YANGON, (AA): A senior government official in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine State has pledged to tear down all illegally constructed buildings including mosques and Muslim religious schools, according to a report Wednesday.

More than 3,000 structures including 12 mosques and 35 madrasas (religious schools) built without permission from local authorities in the majority Muslim townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung in Rakine’s north are facing demolition, the local Voice Daily newspaper reported.

Rakhine’s security and border affairs minister, Col. Htein Linn, was quoted as saying, “we are working to bring down the mosques and other buildings constructed without permission in accordance with the law.”

The plan to demolish religious buildings has led to concern among residents, with Muslim leaders indicating that such moves could create unnecessary tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in the western state, Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported.

“This plan could result in religious violence and other undesirable problems,” an unnamed Muslim leader from Maungdaw was quoted as saying. “This is not constructive and creates a dilemma for local people.”

The western state has seen a series of communal violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims since 2012, leaving nearly 100 people dead around 140,000 displaced, mostly members of the stateless Rohingya Muslim community.

Rohingya, described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minority groups, have officially been referred to as “Bengalis” in Myanmar — a term suggesting they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

During a meeting with residents in the state capital Sittwe on Tuesday, the security and border affairs minister said Rakhine’s government would issue an official announcement in the near future with a time set for the demolition, the Voice Daily reported.

“It’s a must to crack down on the growing illegal buildings,” said Htein Linn.

According to the state government, there are currently 2,270 illegally-built buildings including nine mosques and 24 Muslim religious schools in Maungdaw, and 1,056 illegal buildings — among them three mosques and 11 madrasas — in Buthidaung.

As Muslims make up over 90 percent of the total population of the two townships bordering Bangladesh, most of the buildings to be demolished are owned by Muslims, according to the DVB report published Monday.

Since the National League for Democracy’s victory in the Nov. 8 election, leader (and now State Counselor) Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under tremendous international pressure to solve problems faced by the country’s Muslim population, but has had to play a careful balancing act for fear of upsetting the country’s nationalists, many of whom have accused Muslims of trying to eradicate Buddhist traditions.

Suu Kyi has, however, enforced the notion that many of the issues causing religious tensions in Rakhine — the area at the heart of the problem — are economic, and is encouraging investment in the area, which in turn her party hopes will lead to reconciliation between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.

Source: muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-east-asia/myanmar-illegal-mosques-demolished-rakhine/

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Suicide attack organizer held with a would-be bomber by Afghan intelligence

Wed Sep 21 2016

The Afghan intelligence operatives foiled a deadly suicide attack plot by arresting a suicide attack organizer along with a would-be bomber in southeastern Khost province.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the group was looking to target the government officials during Eid-ul-Adha.

No further details were given regarding the exact time of the operation that led to the apprehension of the group but the raid was apparently carried out ahead of Eid holidays.

A statement by NDS said the attack organizer has been identified as Nasratullah son of Abdullah Hangam and the would-be bomber has been identified as Ijaz-ul-Haq son of Gul Parast.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

Khost is among the relatively volatile provinces in southeastern Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are operating in a number of its districts.

Source: khaama.com/suicide-attack-organizer-held-with-a-would-be-bomber-by-afghan-intelligence-01916

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Ghani calls Modi after militants attack left 18 soldiers dead in Kashmir

Wed Sep 21 2016

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a deadly attack by militants that left 18 Indian soldiers dead in Indian administered Kashmir.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister Office of India, President Ghani condemned the “cross border attack” in Uri while expressing solidarity with India to eliminate the threat of terrorism.

“Mr. Ghani strongly condemned the cross-border terror attack and conveyed Afghanistan’s solidarity and support with India for all actions to eliminate the threat of terrorism,” the statement said.

Heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM had stormed an Army base in Uri in Kashmir on Sunday, killing 18 soldiers.

Earlier the National Security Council of Afghanistan called for the isolation of the perpetrators and those orchestrated the attack.

“Terrorism is a common threat to the entire region&world;thus,requires joint fight to eliminate terrorists&isolate those who sponsor them,” the Afghanistan National Security Council (NSC) said in a statement.

The statement further added that “the people of Afghanistan been long victims of terrorism, so we can feel the pain of those who have lost their loved ones in today’s attack at Uri.”

Source: khaama.com/ghani-calls-modi-after-militants-attack-left-18-soldiers-dead-in-kashmir-01915

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Afghanistan launches probe into alleged US airstrike on policemen

Tue Sep 20 2016

Afghanistan has launched an investigation into the alleged airstrike by the US forces on Afghan policemen that left at least 8 policemen dead.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan (MoI) said an investigation is underway regarding the alleged airstrike that took place in southern Uruzgan province.

The Ministry further added that the circumstances surrounding the alleged airstrike will be ascertained once the investigation concludes.

MoI also added that the findings of the Ministry will be shared with the people once it is completed.

The investigation has been launched a day after the commander of the highway forces on Kandahar-Uruzgan highway said the airstrike by US forces left at least 8 policemen dead.

The airstrike was launched amid deteriorating security situation in Uruzgan province.

The Taliban militants earlier launched a coordinated attack on the provincial capital Tarinkot and put the strategic city on the verge of collapse.

In the meantime the US forces in Afghanistan have resumed airstrikes against the Taliban insurgents under the new broader role granted by the Obama administration earlier this year.

Source: khaama.com/afghanistan-launches-probe-into-alleged-us-airstrike-on-policemen-01914

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Bangladesh Identifies Financier of Café Attack

September 20, 2016

Officials have identified the funders of a terrorist attack at a Dhaka café in July, police said Tuesday, adding that the money arrived in Bangladesh via an informal money transfer from the United Arab Emirates.

“We have identified the financier of the Holey Artisan café attack. The suspect whose name was used for funds transfer is also known. Efforts continue to arrest them,” Sanwar Hossain, an additional deputy commissioner of the Bangladeshi police counter-terrorism and transnational crimes unit, told BenarNews. He did not reveal the names of the suspects.

A day earlier, police said that money that helped fund the July 1 attack was sent to Bangladesh via an unregulated international monetary transfer instrument known as Hundi.

“The money used in the attack came through hundi. The amount is 1.4 million taka (U.S. $17,850),” Monirul Islam, head of the police’s counter-terrorist unit, told reporters on Monday.

He said the money was transferred from a Middle Eastern country. A senior official in the police department told BenarNews that the money came from the United Arab Emirates.

Militants used the money to pay their rent and acquire weapons that were used in the attack, he said. Investigators believe the weapons came to Bangladesh through India.

But, according to Islam, “the arms used in the attack bear no country of origin.”

The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and released photos of the attackers. Government officials blame homegrown terrorists linked to Neo-JMB, a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Bangladesh organization that nurtures IS ideology in Bangladesh.

Islam said that 60 percent to 70 percent of the JMB had been destroyed.

“The commanding level leaders, coordinators and trainers of the Neo-JMB were killed. Many of them have been arrested. Some of them have been under police surveillance. Now we are searching for their financiers,” Islam said.

Since the Holey Artisan attack, Bangladesh police have killed at least 20 suspected militants linked to a series of attacks or planned attacks in the country.

A police source told BenarNews that slain militant suspect and former army Major Zahidul Islam helped finance the Neo-JMB. Another slain suspect, former banker Tanvir Qadri, sold his flat in Dhaka’s Uttara and donated the money to the organization, the source said.

Audits needed

Abul Barkat, an economics professor at Dhaka University, told BenarNews that fundamentalist organizations should be audited to detect whether they are funding militants. Fundamentalists own 231 trusts and foundations in Bangladesh, he said.

A former president of the Bangladesh Economics Association, Barkat said, “The fundamentalists have invested in nine big sectors such as education, health, the bank, insurance and other financial institutions. There should be a third-party audit of these institutions.”

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/bengali/terror-attack-funding-09202016172928.html

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Southeast Asia

Rare centuries-old Quran copies housed in mosque in Singapore

September 21, 2016

One of the three glass cabinets at Ba’alawie Mosque housing rare Quran copies (Yahoo Singapore photo: Safhras Khan)

Inside a mosque in Singapore, there is a sanctuary of rare Quran copies dating back to the powerful Ottoman Empire in the early 15th century.

Meticulously crafted and handwritten in Turkey, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China, the copies of the holy book have been progressively stored in a small room in Masjid Ba’alawie for more than three decades, Habib Hasan Al-Attas, the mosque’s Imam, told Yahoo Singapore.

One Quran from Turkey, belonging to Habib Muhammad Al-Attas, the Imam’s late father, is 600 years old, with the borders of each sheepskin-made page intricately drawn in gold. The other Quran copies in the mosque at Lewis Road were also made using various unique materials.

“It is more than just a display of the Quran as it also tells the story of the holy book (where it is from). The Quran (copies) were produced using different type of materials, some were written on sheepskin while others were written on mulberry leaves,” said Habib Hasan.

The holy books written on mulberry leaves were made in China and Mongolia while those written on sheepskin were mostly from Saudi Arabia, he added.

The task of ensuring that the books are carefully preserved in three tall glass cabinets in the mosque is undertaken by a group of curators.

“They are doing it pro-bono and each of the display cabinets are treated with chemicals to ensure that the books are well-maintained. They also come down regularly to check on the condition of the books,” said Habib Hasan.

One of the curators, M Razali Mahat, said he has been working with Habib Hassan on the rare Quran collection over the past 10 years. “I hope that the Quran exhibit will benefit the next generation,” he said.

Rare Islamic manuscripts

Apart from the Quran copies, there is also a collection of Islamic manuscripts housed in the mosque. Habib Hasan pointed to one manuscript from Turkey that was translated from Arabic to Jawi. Another manuscript from Indonesia was written on tree bark and made 350 years ago.

Source: sg.news.yahoo.com/rare-centuries-old-quran-copies-housed-in-mosque-052919350.html

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Indonesia on alert as ‘Daesh members’ return from Syria

21.09.2016 

Indonesia’s defense minister announced Wednesday that the country is on alert against any possible terror attacks as dozens of its citizens suspected of joining Daesh have returned from Syria.

Ryamizard Ryacudu was quoted by detik.com as saying that his ministry is tracking 23 suspected Daesh sympathizers who returned from the war-torn country over the last three months.

"They're [back] from Syria since two or three months ago. I've been wary of them," he stressed, adding that those suspected reportedly mingled with other citizens to reduce the suspicion of security officials.

According to the National Counter Terrorism Agency, around 500 Indonesians have traveled to Syria citing a variety of reasons as of the end of May, with many believed to have joined Daesh.

The minister expressed hope that a revised anti-terrorism law currently being discussed in parliament would be better suited to dealing with the influence of Daesh in Indonesia -- including detailing penalties for nationals who join the terror group.

Putting the number of Daesh members in the Middle East at “no more than 30,000”, Ryacudu underlined that the group was nonetheless able to spread terror in many countries -- meaning that Indonesia needed to exert serious efforts to prevent its influence in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

"The number of Muslims in Indonesia is very big, making it a recruitment target," he said.

"There are 200 million Muslims here. If one percent of those were radicals such as ISIS [Daesh], then there would be 2 million extremists. Then the world would be finished.”

Suhardi Alius, National Counter Terrorism Agency chief, also confirmed the return to Indonesia of some nationals who had joined Daesh, but refrained from providing a figure.

He said that of the hundreds of Indonesians fighting with terror groups, 69 have died in Syria.

He stressed that related ministries are now coordinating to prevent the spread of radical thinking, including among inmates and nationals who returned from Syria.

"We must be able to anticipate [the spread of radical thinking]... Because they've got militants’ ability," he was quoted as saying by kompas.com, warning that such suspects’ children and families could have potentially been radicalized.

Indonesia has been on alert against extremist activities over the past year, further heightening security measures after an attack in Jakarta left eight people -- including four Daesh-linked suspects -- dead in January.

Source: aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/indonesia-on-alert-as-daesh-members-return-from-syria/649625

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The real facts on religion in Indonesia

21st Sep 2016

THE letter from Glenda Carroll, Bundamba on Indonesia (QT 19/09) contains some glaring errors and some even more glaring omissions.

There is no such thing as a understanding of Islam, Islam Nusantara, that is unique to Indonesia.

It is simply a convenient Indonesian term, Islam of the Archipelago, coined for the 2015 conference of Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, Nadhlatul Ulama, describing the variety of understandings of Islam that occur in the country.

These understandings are found, to some degree, in every Muslim nation in the world.

Java has a religion, variously called Kebatinan, Kejawen, Agama Jawa or Kepercayaan, which is an amalgam of Islam and the pre-existing Javanese Hindu/Buddhist religion.

It is practised by a small minority only in Java. It is not recognised as being part of Islam by government and Islamic religious authorities.

The provincial law of Aceh contains some elements of sharia.

Such laws are not and cannot be contrary to either Indonesian national law or to the Constitution.

There are no laws in any province that are contrary to national law or the Constitution.

Several have been attempted but have been overturned by the Constitutional Court. Every provincial government including Aceh's is elected every 5 years by a very vigorous democratic process.

Ms Carroll also failed to mention that the 20 churches pulled down in Aceh were illegally constructed without a permit.

The same thing has happened to buildings in Ipswich.

Source: qt.com.au/news/letter-the-real-facts-on-religion-in-indonesia/3091753/

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Push to block ethnic Chinese Christian Ahok from running Jakarta

September 21, 2016

In the race to govern Jakarta a new imperative has emerged for the Indonesian capital’s vast ­Islamic constituency — Muslims must not vote for non-Muslims.

The decree came on Sunday during a meeting of senior politicians and conservative Islamic groups at the Istiqlal Mosque, amid a barrage of sectarian epithets against incumbent governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, and ethnic Chinese Indonesian.

At No 4 on the nine-point manifesto for Muslim voters ahead of next year’s guber­natorial elections is that it is “haram” (forbidden by Islamic law) for Muslims to vote for a kaffir, or non-believer.

The edict was rejected by ­Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, but comes after months of manoeuvring by political and ­Islamic groups seeking to block Ahok from a second term.

The brash deputy was elevated to the governorship in 2014, after Joko Widodo used the job as a springboard to the presidency.

He has inspired strong sentiments from detractors and supporters for his bulldozer approach to problems, including a string of slum demolitions he says are needed to end flooding that regularly brings Jakarta to a halt.

This month, the Luar Batang mosque in north Jakarta rejected a gift of two sacrificial cows from the Governor because its residents felt “oppressed” by his “policies and words”.

Tobias Basuki, political researcher with Jakarta’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said while the capital ­remains essentially pluralist, there has been a worrying “escalation” in the use of religion to fan ­tensions.

Of particular concern is the willingness of mainstream politicians to team with extremist groups, such as the Islamic ­Defenders Front, which are “riding on the waves of the Jakarta election” to increase their constituencies.

“They’re sharpening their knives for different reasons and that’s a problem,” Mr Basuki told The Australian. “There are a lot of pragmatic politicians who have an eye on the prize and are willing to tag along with extreme ideological groups. That is generating animosity and cleavages.”

The race for the Jakarta governorship has never been so fierce. The job has suddenly taken on greater political significance since Jokowi’s (as the President is known) meteoric rise.

Political analyst and pollster Djayadi Hanan said identity politics is not a new phenomenon in Indonesia.

Mr Widodo was dogged by it in the 2012 gubernatorial race, and again in the 2014 presidential campaign, when opponents claimed his mother was a Christian.

But the environment is “fertile for this kind of identity politics because now there is a clear separation between Ahok and the other candidates”.

“Ahok is a double minority — he is ethnically Chinese and he is a non-Muslim, and people can be rallied around those issues,” Mr Hanan said.

“According to our surveys, around 45 per cent of Jakarta’s Muslims agree Muslims should not be led by non-Muslims.” Muslims make up more than 80 per cent of the city’s voters.

In its favour, more than 70 per cent of Jakarta’s voters are at least high-school educated, and the city has a “lot of early-warning systems” against further ­religious or ethnic violence.

But Mr Basuki said the way the race for Jakarta governor is run would be a critical pointer to where the country is headed — towards greater social cohesion or destructive sectarianism.

Source: theaustralian.com.au/news/world/push-to-block-ethnic-chinese-christian-ahok-from-running-jakarta/news-story/079ee1ffd101631f80067ce7dc0555a1

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Africa

ISIS'S WEST AFRICA AFFILIATE CLAIMS 40 TROOPS KILLED IN NIGERIA

Sep 21, 2016

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) affiliate in West Africa said Tuesday that it had killed more than 40 troops from a coalition force in northeast Nigeria.

ISIS’s West Africa Province, otherwise known as Boko Haram, claimed that it had destroyed “a convoy of the African Coalition Crusader forces” in the town of Malam Fatori in Borno State, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

It added that the attack “resulted in killing more than 40 and wounding dozens” of troops from both Nigeria but also the coalition force battling insurgents in northeast Nigeria, which includes Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The affiliate made the claim through a statement posted on social media. It did not say when the attack occurred nor which specific countries had lost soldiers.

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The Nigerian military is yet to comment on the claim but it continues to face a deadly insurgency in the country’s northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. It is the fourth attack in three days, a surge in militant action after a dispute within the ISIS affiliate as to who was leading the group.

It is the first attack claimed by the ISIS faction since August. In that month, the radical Islamist group named its new caliph in the country, via its al-Naba newspaper, as Abu Musab al-Barnawi.

The decision caused a leadership tussle between Barnawi and longtime Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who initially pledged allegiance to ISIS in March 2015, making the group’s first sub-Saharan affiliate. Shekau has now converted his faction to its old moniker, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, or “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad.”

The Nigerian military has claimed on several occasions to have killled or severely wounded Shekau but he continues to appear in video footage to send threatening messages to the Nigerian authorities.

The ISIS group has lost much of the territory it had held 18 months ago in the face of a bolstered Nigerian military offensive against it in the majority-Muslim north. But during that time, Boko Haram has still waged attacks that have killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds.

Source: newsweek.com/isis-affiliate-claims-40-troops-killed-nigeria-500969

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Eight Christians killed leaving church as violence escalates in Nigeria

Sep 21, 2016

Mexican prosecutor says two murdered priests knew their attackersOn feast day, Carmelite nuns pray for conversion of ISISHindu Assisi participant: ‘Pope Francis is moral conscience keeper of the world’Pope Francis concludes World Day of Prayer for PeaceFailure of ecumenism diminishes Christian worship,’ says Archbishop of CanterburyGWOZA: Islamic extremists said on Tuesday they killed more than 40 troops from a multi-national force in an attack on a convoy in north-east Nigeria — the fourth attack in three days following a lull as Nigeria’s home-grown insurgency confronts a leadership struggle.

There were three earlier attacks on Sunday and Monday that led to the deaths of 18 people. Eight Christians were gunned down leaving a church service on Sunday, while there was also a further ambush on a convoy and a village leader and his son were beheaded. No one has claimed responsibility for these killings.

Analysts are warning that the leadership struggle could lead to more violent attacks that will kill more people in a seven-year-old Islamic uprising started by Boko Haram that has killed more than 20,000 people, forced 2.6 million from their homes and spread to neighbouring states.

On Tuesday, ISIS’s West Africa Province annihilated “a convoy of the African Coalition Crusader forces” in the town of Malam Fatori, the SITE Intelligence Group reported, translating an ISIS communique posted on social media. There was no way to independently verify the claim and no word from Nigeria’s military late on Tuesday night.

The attack was the first Nigeria attack claimed by the ISIS group since August, when it named a new caliph in Nigeria and provoked a struggle with the longtime leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

Shekau pledged Boko Haram’s allegiance to ISIS in 2015, giving it its first sub-Saharan franchise. ISIS said it replaced Shekau in August, in a dispute that revolved around his indiscriminate killings of Muslims.

Many more Muslims than Christians have been killed in attacks targeting mosques, churches, marketplaces and schools.

Tuesday’s ISIS communique did not say when the convoy was attacked but claimed it “resulted in killing more than forty and wounding dozens” of troops from Nigeria and neighboring countries. The multi-national force is also battling Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic insurgents who have spread their extremist uprising to Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Analysts from IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre warned the recent lull and drop in fatalities likely will be followed by increased cross-border attacks.

In the leadership struggle, Shekau has reverted to the old name for his group, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, meaning “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” They are commonly called Boko Haram, a nickname that means “Western education is forbidden or evil.”-

Source: heraldmalaysia.com/news/eight-christians-killed-leaving-church-as-violence-escalates-in-nigeria/31930/1

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Islamic Movement in Nigeria celebrates Eid Ghadir amidst tears

September 21, 2016

This year Nigerian Army have ruin the celebration by arresting the leader of the movement and his wife, killing of his 3 sons, shooting him and his wife with numerous bullets which is still not given a proper medication and makes his health condition more worsening, killing of 1000+ members of the movement, destruction of the centre where the Eidl Ghadeer and other remarkable events were been carried out...

We have been celebrating this great historic event of Islam for a long time. But this year the celebration comes amidst mourning.

Eidl Ghadeer (Ghadir) is a greatest Eid in Islam which is intentionally hidden to most of the Ummah. It is annually celebrated on 18th Dhul_Hajj since the well known 'Farewell Hajj' by the holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad (S) where he appointed Ali (AS) as his successor conforming to the divine command of Allah (T).

Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) have been commemorating this great feast annually at Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah Zaria in a colourful and delightful ways, where brothers and sisters gather and listen to the poems from the poets and the full recitation of the farewell sermon and it's translation from the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), fun fair were also organised for children all to mark and celebrate the auspicious Ghadeer feast. All these have been conducted for some years and there are so many improvements and developments in the recent years.

As part of the celebration, brothers and sisters use to take an oath of promise between themselves that if one is opportune to enter paradise one will not enter unless his brother or sister were also granted to enter the paradise with him or her.

This year the Nigerian Army have ruin the celebration by arresting the leader of the movement and his wife, killing of his 3 biological sons, shooting him and his wife with numerous bullets which is still not given a proper medication and makes his health condition more worsening, killing of 1000+ members of the movement, destruction of the centre where the Eidl Ghadeer and other remarkable events were been carried out (Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah Zaria), detaining 200+ members of the movement illegally and abduction of 50+ sisters of the movement and hundreds of brothers.

I could remember some of the brothers we celebrated the event together at Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah Zaria and took the oath of promise which most of them are either been killed or imprisoned illegally or kidnapped by the Nigerian Army in December 2015.

I will never forget the good memories and stories you gave me during the last year's Ghadeer fun fair, your smiling face, I can see us sitting under the tent and discussing different issues which I can never forget. Martyr Sayyid Hammad Ibraheem they killed you innocently in front of your parents. How I wish I am with you my dear Leader.

I could remember my sister Fatima coming back to Zaria from Gusau to attend the event, while on her way we keep on communicating until she reached I also remember we took the oath with her, she was shot by the Nigerian Army at Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah Zaria, she is no where to be found since then.

We were together with Martyr Muhammad Rabi'u Shu'aibu also during the last year's celebration, we catch fun, rejoice and share happy moments with him and also take the oath as well.

Can you here me Nusaiba Yaquob? What of you Mu'azu? Muhammad Mustafa I have been missing you and your encouraging words, Ali Mu'azu and Muhammad Mu'azu, the great memories shared with you guys are unforgettable.

Muhammad Auwal Darazo, Zahraddeen (commander), Anas.... I can not mention all your names in this short piece, my heart still burns, tears falling from my eyes, I can not describe the pain I feel missing you, I really miss you all, you are such a wonderful friends everyone will like to spend his life together with.

I wish our friendship will continue even in the hereafter, please help me with your prayers so that I can reach you soon.

To the enemies and their masters, I repeat, killing of our brothers and sisters will never make us to live in fear, ney! you are making us feel more and even more strong! We neither regret nor surrender! We never forget! And we never forgive! Revenge is always constant! You will never make us to do it now! But surely the pains you implicts on us will never be healed and we will put more of that to you soon by His grace.

Source: en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/21/780429/story.html

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Arab World

Top IRGC Commander Warns US Navy to Return to Bay of Pigs

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari described the US Navy behavior as a source of concern, and cautioned Washington to withdraw its naval forces from the vital waterway.

"The Americans have incurred costs on themselves and certain countries as a result of their unbalanced attitude and lack of control and intelligence superiority," General Jafari told reporters in the Southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday on the sidelines of the nationwide parades.

He referred to earlier remarks by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei who had called for the US return to its territorial waters, and said, "The Americans had better avoid any further waste of the US citizens' capital and wealth through their evil and harmful presence in the Persian Gulf and go back to the Bay of Pigs to show off their power and adventurism."

"The Persian Gulf is our home and we are highly sensitive to the enemies' prowling around our home," General Jafari said.

In relevant remarks in May, Ayatollah Khamenei had also blasted the US military presence in the Persian Gulf region and interference in Iran's internal affairs, and said Tehran would powerfully continue its military drills in the region irrespective of Washington opposition.

"Today, the enemies utter words bigger than their mouths; for instance they develop plans to bring to a halt Iran's military wargames in the Persian Gulf, what a foolish remark," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large gathering of Iranian teachers and professors on the occasion of Teachers Day in Iran.

Warning that the Iranian nation has the needed capability to respond to the enemies' excessive demands, he said, "The Persian Gulf is the Iranian nation's home and the Persian Gulf and a large section of the Sea of Oman belong to this powerful nation; therefore, we should be present in the region, hold wargames and display our power and it is the Americans who should say why they have come from that side of the world and stage drills in here. What are you doing here? Go back to the Bay of Pigs. Go and hold exercises there. What are you doing in the Persian Gulf? The Persian Gulf is our home."

"The excessive demands of the powers should be confronted this way," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000830

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Iran's Naval Parades Response to US Threats

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi underlined that the Wednesday military parades held in different parts of Iran, specially in the Persian Gulf waters, should be seen as a response to the US threats.

"This year the parades have a fundamental message: given the fact that the US has focused on threatening the Islamic Republic of Iran in the sea, we have today displayed our defensive and offensive power, and of course only a part of our power," Rear Admiral Fadavi told reporters in the Southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday on the sidelines of the nationwide parades.

He said that almost 450 home-made vessels of the Islamic Republic's army and the IRGC naval forces have participated in this year's annual parades in the Persian Gulf region.

Various units of the Islamic Republic Army, IRGC, Law Enforcement Police and Basij (volunteer) forces staged nationwide parades in Tehran and other cities across the country on Wednesday morning.

In Tehran, the ceremony took place at the mausoleum of the Founder of the Islamic Republic, the Late Imam Khomeini, South of the capital.

The parades mark the start of the Sacred Defense Week, commemorating Iranians' sacrifices during the 8 years of the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s.

Different units of Iran's military forces marched in uniform before top Army and IRGC commanders in a show of military might and defensive power.

The ceremony was participated by senior military and government officials, including Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, as well as foreign diplomats, military attaches and reporters.

Typical units of the Islamic Republic Army, the IRGC, Basij forces and the Islamic Republic of Iran's Law Enforcement Police participated in the parades.

Foreign delegates as well as military and civilian officials were also present in the ceremony. Ranking commanders of the Armed Forces also took part in the ceremony.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000769

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Iranian Navy to Unveil New Jamaran-Class Destroyer

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced plans to unveil a new destroyer soon.

"We will unveil a new destroyer in Jamaran-class in the near future in addition to Sahand", another vessel to be unveiled soon, Admiral Sayyari told reporters on Wednesday.

The Iranian Navy commander pointed to the Iranian Armed Forces' preparedness to defend the country against the enemies, and said, "Our Armed Forces are serious in defending the country and we are ready for all-out defence in accordance with the international rules and upon the order of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khemenei."

In relevant remarks in mid-June, Admiral Sayyari said "we hope to unveil new destroyers and submarines this year (started March 20, 2016).

Also in June, Sayyari underlined the Iranian experts' capabilities to design and build different vessels, including destroyers, and said, "We can design destroyers from point zero and the designing of Damavand destroyer was fully indigenized and our Jamaran destroyer has the capability to carry helicopters and torpedoes."

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems, including destroyers.

Iran's first home-made destroyer, Jamaran, was launched in late February 2010. The Mowdge Class vessel has a displacement of around 14,000 tons and is equipped with modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities and is armed with a variety of anti-ship, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.

'Damavand' destroyer joined the country's fleet of warships in the Caspian Sea in March 2015.

The second-generation and highly-equipped Iranian destroyer joined the country's Northern fleet in a ceremony participated by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Secretary of Iran's National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani, Rear Admiral Sayyari and Head of the Self-Sufficiency Jihad Department of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Ali Qolamzadeh.

In an interview with FNA at the time, Qolamzadeh elaborated on the features and specifications of Damavand, and said, "The 7-story destroyer is 90 meters in length and armed with advanced anti-surface and anti-subsurface weapons and air defense systems to defend itself."

Noting that the home-made 'Asr' phased array radar system, capable of detecting and identifying targets with a radar cross section of 4 meters in a 200km distance, has been mounted on the destroyer, he said, "Base-controlled radars, a highly advanced propulsion and command-and-control systems which enjoy high power and capability are only a few of the systems mounted on Damavand destroyer."

Qolamzadeh said in addition to combat operations, Damavand could also be used for training and naval missions, adding that it has been equipped with systems to be used for electronic warfare.

"The operational radius of Damavand is so vast that it can sufficiently be used for all naval missions in the Caspian Sea," he underlined.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000687

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ISIL Militants Execute 3 Local Residents in Syria's Raqqa

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- ISIL militants executed three residents in the terrorist group's stronghold city of Raqqa in Syria, a local source said.

"Today, ISIL terrorists crucified three Raqqa residents," said the source, RIA Novosti reported. 

According to the source, these people were accused of helping local residents to flee Raqqa and go to the Northern part of the Raqqa province, which is not under ISIL control.

Syria, along with neighboring Iraq, has been suffering from the presence of ISIL terrorist group, as the radical group has become notorious for its brutal acts of terrorism and human rights atrocities.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000850

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Syrian Army Wins back More Points in Al-Ramouseh

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army regained control of several points South of the flashpoint city of Aleppo after delivering heavy blows to the terrorist groups during clashes just outside the city, military sources said.

"The Syrian Army forces and their allies are now in control of several structures in al-Ramouseh, including the municipality buildings and premises of a chemicals factory, after they managed to kick out terrorists from the area," the sources said.

The Syrian Army success came as fighting rages between army forces and the terrorist groups in the area after militants started targeting the army men with sniper fire and rocket propelled grenades.

In recent weeks, the Syrian army troops repulsed several assaults by Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group on the military academy and the municipality buildings in the contested area.

The Syrian Army declared end of ceasefire across the country on Monday night, regretting that militants did not adhere to any of the provisions stated in the truce agreement, however it reaffirmed commitment to fight against terror after the end of truce.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000680

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Rouhani Stresses Iran, Turkey's Role in Fighting Terrorism

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York on Wednesday morning underlined the important role that Tehran and Ankara can play in combatting terrorism and insecurity in the region.

"Terrorism is a threat to all of us and the role of the two countries in fighting regional terrorism and insecurity, specially in Syria and Iraq, is important," Rouhani said.

He said that the Turkish government and nations are brothers and Tehran is resolved to strengthen all-out relations with Ankara.

"Terrorism endangers both the world and the region," President Rouhani added.

The Iranian president also pointed to the two countries' economic relations, and said, "The two countries' private sectors should be supported to further boost their mutual cooperation."

President Rouhani said that Iran is ready to develop ties with Turkey in all areas, energy, transportation and industry in particular.

The meeting between the Iranian and Turkish presidents took place on the sidelines of 71st United Nation General Assembly in New York on Tuesday night (New York's local time).

The Turkish president, for his part, thanked the support by the Iranian government and nation during the recent coup in his country, and said, "I am assured that Iran will not cease its support for Turkey in future."

He described Iran and Turkey as two Muslim and big countries that can play a determining role in confronting the ongoing crises and establishment of stability in the region, including Syria and Iraq.

In late August, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi underlined that Tehran and Ankara are resolved to further broaden their relations in different areas.

"Iran and Turkey share a great deal of commonalities, and that the viewpoints of the two neighboring countries may gradually converge on several current issues of disagreement," Qassemi told reporters.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, meantime, pointed to a recent visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Tehran, and said, "Iranian and Turkish officials exchanged viewpoints on several issues, including the Syrian conflict, during the visit."

Also in August, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a meeting with Cavusoglu in Ankara underlined the need for the further expansion of mutual cooperation in different areas, specially in the war on terrorism.

"Iran and Turkey are important role players in the region, and they should boost cooperation on fighting terrorism," Zarif said during the meeting in the Turkish capital.

Zarif's recent visit to Ankara was the first by a high-ranking Iranian official to Turkey since the July 15 failed coup attempt in the country. Iran was the first country to condemn the coup.

After holding talks with Cavusoglu, Zarif said at a joint press conference with him that they had discussed the removal of impediments to mutual cooperation, but said differences remained between Tehran and Ankara. He said more talks were needed to resolve those differences.

The Turkish foreign minister, for his part, thanked the Iranian government and nation for supporting the legitimate Turkish government after the failed coup and said Iran had been the first country to condemn the putsch.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000777

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France Sending Artillery, Aircraft Carrier to Join Fight against ISIL in Mosul

September 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- France's military announced it would deploy artillery forces and an aircraft carrier to support Iraqi security forces in their fight for the city of Mosul against the ISIL terror group.

"We decided to bolster our support of the Iraqi forces this autumn, with the aim of recapturing Mosul," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a meeting of military officials in Paris, UPI reported.

Le Drian also said the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier "will leave for the Middle East soon." France was the first nation to join the United States in carrying out airstrikes against the ISIL in 2014.

The French military has also supported the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, recently delivering missiles, ammunition, hand grenades and other equipment to the Kurdish forces.

The ISIL launched an attack in Paris in November in which 130 people were killed. Previously, the attacks carried out in the name of the ISIL targeting French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a supermarket in January 2015 killed 17 people.

Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the ISIL in March, supported by US-led coalition airstrikes.

Mosul is considered one of the most important battles in the fight against the ISIL in Iraq. US President Barack Obama said he expects the city of Mosul to be retaken by the Iraqi government by the end of the year.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950631000557

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Pakistan

CTD arrests 'IS man' in KP

September 21, 2016

PESHAWAR: The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested suspected members of the militant Islamic State (IS) group from Peshawar's Qazi Kaley area on Wednesday, less than a month after Inter-Services Public Relations chief Lt Gen Asim Bajwa announced the army had 'foiled Daesh designs in Pakistan'.

CTD Senior Superintendent of Police Dr Mian Saeed confirmed the arrests in what is the first time captured 'militants' have been termed IS suspects by the CTD in the province.

SSP Saeed claimed that a man called Muhammad Farid, who recently joined the IS, was arrested during a raid in the area. Farid was allegedly involved in plotting large-scale terror attacks and target killings.

The SSP said Farid was involved in 32 target killings, including including those targeting police officials in various parts of Peshawar, and had also killed five women over allegations of prostitution in the city.

He added that the arrested suspect had been trained in the Taba Toba area of Afghanistan in 2008, and that his brother was also arrested in Afghanistan over his links to IS. Another brother of Farid's was killed in an encounter with security forces, he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1285168/ctd-arrests-is-man-in-kp

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Sindh Assembly unanimously adopts resolution against MQM chief Altaf Hussain

September 21, 2016

KARACHI: Sindh Assembly lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously accepted a resolution against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain which calls for action under treason laws against those who issue anti-Pakistan statements.

The resolution condemns incendiary anti-Pakistan statements raised by Altaf Hussain on Aug 22 after which the ARY News office was attacked.

"The house condemns all sorts of crimes, torture, terrorism, and anti-Pakistan slogans and activities carried out by any side, and the most strict action should be taken against those responsible as per law and Article 6 of the Constitution," a copy of the resolution states.

It added that house expresses solidarity with the parliament, armed forces, media, judiciary and all democratic institutions in Pakistan.

This is the first Sindh Assembly session since Altaf's Aug 22 speech. The house took up three resolutions demanding trial of the MQM supremo and his supporters under Article 6 of the Constitution, which pertains to treason.

The move comes a day after the MQM's Pakistan leadership removed Altaf's London-based coterie from the top decision-making forum of the party as Coordination Committee convener Nadeem Nusrat asserted that Altaf was still the party's uncontested chief.

MQM's Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan was emotional as he addressed the house.

After Altaf's speech, "what options did we have?" Izhar wondered.

"Like others, we could power off our cellphones and thinking about saving our lives and leaving the country. We could have changed our party within the hour. Everything would have been resolved and the nation would appreciate our actions."

Instead, the party's leadership opted for a third option To deliver the party from the pressure and the shame it faced after the chief's speech.

"We took this decision without any dictation, without listening to anyone. This was the most difficult decision... But I couldn't leave my people or let [the party] be ruined."

We have decided to walk this difficult path so our people can find peace at the end of this ordeal, he said.

"We received a long wishlist after Aug 22. It's been a month since then, but we still can't get away from this wishlist," he said, referring to demands being made of MQM party leadership to dissociate from the MQM supremo.

"Stop giving us wishlists. Either you believe in us, or you shut the party down," Izhar said. "Workers become emotional. Sloganeering happens," he said.

"I think we must keep an eye on those who say Pakistan zindabad and continue looting Pakistan."

Source: dawn.com/news/1285164/sindh-assembly-unanimously-adopts-resolution-against-mqm-chief-altaf-hussain

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Police asked to bring Imran, Qadri to court

September 21, 2016

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday directed SSP Islamabad to take PTI chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri into custody and produce them before the court in the SSP Asmatullah Junejo attack case.

The directions came in response to a report filed by the Secretariat police SHO, Inspector Muhammad Yaseen Bhutta, which says that the arrest warrants for Khan and Qadri could not be executed as the accused were not available at their respective residences.

The court expressed displeasure over the report and directed the SSP to appear in person before the court. The court remarked that the suspects were publically addressing rallies but the police could not find them.

Earlier, the ATC had issued arrest warrants for Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri with directions to the police to produce them before the court on next date of hearing.

The SSP was brutally beat up by protesters on Constitution Avenue on Sept 1, 2014, less than 24 hours after assuming the job as SSP Operations of the capital police.

The Secretariat police had registered the case against several PTI and PAT workers for their alleged involvement in vandalism and attacking SSP Junejo.

In November 2014, ATC had declared Khan and Qadri as proclaimed offender in the case and directed the police to produce them before the court.

Source: dawn.com/news/1285077/police-asked-to-bring-imran-qadri-to-court

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India-Pakistan tension spooks business community

September 21, 2016

KARACHI: Escalating tension between Pakistan and India has caused anxiety in the business community of the country’s industrial and commercial hub Karachi.

They wished a better sense prevailed on both sides and instead of fanning war hysteria, leaders showed restraint and resolve to settle current conflict and outstanding issues through negotiations.

The worsening relations between the two countries, however, have not impacted the bilateral trading activities so far.

Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Zahid Saeed said the business community stands by the nation and the armed forces. But the role of the government in building a good image of Pakistan has been weak, he added.

“Partially our economic woes relate to adverse global perception of Pakistan. The government has not been able do much to change that,” Mr Saeed said referring to India’s propaganda.

“Despite multiple problems in India, it has managed a positive image to a point where every country wants to invest there. Its huge consumer base adds to the attraction,” he added. He said it is high time the leaders gave serious attention to the issue.

In case the situation between the two nations worsen, he said, Pakistan stands to lose more because of India’s effective media management.

Mr Saeed thought that the government was more concerned about the internal opposition than countering the build-up across the border.

Federal B Area Association of Trade and Industry President Abdullah Abid blamed India for creating a war-like situation every few years.

“I think our leaders are not presenting Pakistan’s case properly,” he said.

“Our leaders talk hard but lack capacity or the will to walk their talk,” he said, adding that the wars of future will be won on the economic front.

He ruled out armed conflict but said in war of words the world will side with India. He feared that the situation may worsen if trading partners under Indian influence trim their economic interaction with Pakistan.

“They might refrain from signing free and preferential trade agreements with Pakistan,” Mr Abid said.

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry President Syed Iktida Ali said he expects mounting tension between India and Pakistan will have a bleak impact on business activities. He said the war-like situation has emerged at a time when law and order along with the overall level of confidence in the economy was improving.

Fresh investments by foreign and local businessmen will halt if the tense situation persists between the two South Asian countries, Mr Ali said.

Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers Chairman Mohammad Sabir Shaikh said India will lose more than Pakistan in the case of a prolonged conflict because India has a larger industrial and trading base than Pakistan.

A leading automobile assembler, who asked not to be named, said the current business environment is normal so far. But in the case of rising tension, he expects “severe damage” to both economies.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284985/india-pakistan-tension-spooks-business-community

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Pakistan backs safe, dignified return of Afghan DPs, says PM

September 21, 2016

UNITED NTIONS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reminded the world that for nearly four decades, Pakistan has served as a generous host to millions of Afghan refugees.

In his address to a high-level meeting on large scale movement of refugees and migrants on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Mr Sharif reminded the international community that this was the largest protracted refugee situation in the world.

“Even today, we are hosting over 2.5 million Afghan refugees,” he said.

“While financial support from the international community has waned, Pakistan’s hospitality has not.”

The prime minister said that Pakistan supported the safe and dignified return of all Afghan refugees to their homeland in a sustainable manner.

To achieve this objective, he said, Pakistan “counts on the active support of our Afghan brothers and international partners in creating a conducive environment to achieve this outcome”.

“We hope that the international community will step forward and provide necessary resources to UNHCR in a timely manner to support the sustainable return and reintegration of the Afghan refugees.”

The prime minister noted that the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes had now reached a record high and human suffering at an unprecedented level.

Much of the displacement had neither been voluntary nor orderly as people had been fleeing from desperate conditions of conflict, war or poverty, said Mr Sharif, adding that these “hapless people on the move deserve compassion and humane treatment”.

The prime minister said the large influx of refugees and migrants to Europe had brought renewed focus to their plight but the true scale of this crisis lay beyond these headlines.

“It is the developing countries, including Pakistan, that continue to be at the forefront of bearing the burden of large-scale global human displacements,” Mr Sharif said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1285120/pakistan-backs-safe-dignified-return-of-afghan-dps-says-pm

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Nawaz Sharif wants dialogue with India over Kashmir?

September 21, 2016

Islamabad: Is Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif likely to unveil at the UN steps to de-escalate the tension with India and launch a dialogue on Kashmir, a media report suggested on Wednesday.

Nawaz Sharif spoke to army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif on telephone on Tuesday night regarding the tensions with India in the wake of the Sunday terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, Dawn reported.

“The Prime Minister and the army chief are believed to have discussed proposals the former intends to make during his speech (at the UN General Assembly) for de-escalating the situation and moving to a dialogue on the Kashmir dispute,” it said.

It said the two men discussed the prevailing regional situation. Sharif is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session.

This was the first conversation between the two since Sunday’s terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri that left 18 soldiers dead and pushed India-Pakistan relations to a new low.

Sharif’s speech at the UN on Wednesday is likely to focus on the Kashmir issue and Pakistan-India relations, the report said.

Source: siasat.com/news/nawaz-sharif-wants-dialogue-india-kashmir-1025232/

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Nawaz Sharif raising Kashmir with all leaders amid isolation fears

September 21, 2016

United Nations: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has raised the Kashmir issue with almost every world leader he has held talks with on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, but his efforts to internationalise the dispute with India appeared to have gained no traction.

Sharif raised the issue with the leaders of the US, the UK, Japan and Turkey and sought their intervention to resolve the matter. He met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan here on Tuesday.

“PM Sharif briefed Japanese PM about the grave turn that the situation in occupied Kashmir is taking. Reminded him about UNSC resolutions,” Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi tweeted.

“PM Nawaz Sharif also apprised his Japanese counterpart of the human rights violations being committed by Indian occupation forces in Kashmir,” Lodhi said in another tweet. Erdogan and Sharif “agreed that OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) Comm on Human Rights should send a fact-finding mission” to Kashmir, Lodhi said. On Monday, Sharif held bilateral talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

According to a readout of his meeting with Kerry by the Pakistan mission, Sharif told him that more than 107 people have been “assassinated” in Kashmir, thousands injured and “worst human rights violations are being committed at the state level.”

“I still remember President (Bill) Clinton’s promise that US will play its role to help out in resolving bilateral disputes and issues between Pakistan and India,” Sharif said, according to the release.

“I expect US Administration and Secretary Kerry to use his good offices to help in resolving bilateral issues between Pakistan and India,” he added. In his meeting with May, Sharif urged her to play her role in convincing India to stop the use of force against the people in the region.

He said Pakistan’s support for Kashmiri people “in their legitimate struggle for self determination and its commitment to the Kashmir cause are non-negotiable.”

However, Sharif’s repeated calls to the UN to help resolve the Kashmir dispute appeared to be gaining no traction as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made no reference to Kashmir in his final speech to the UNGA as the UN chief.

At the opening session of the General Debate on Tuesday, Ban touched upon a cross-section of global issues including the Syrian crisis, the Palestinian issue, the refugee and migrant movements and tension in the Korean Peninsula. Kashmir will be the focal point of Sharif’s address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Tension have heightened between India and Pakistan in the wake of the attack by heavily-armed militants, suspected to be from Pakistan, on an army base in Uri in which 18 jawans died.

Ban has repeatedly said his “good offices” are available to help resolve the Kashmir dispute only if both India and Pakistan request for it, a clear indication that the issue is bilateral and should be solved by the two countries only.

Source: siasat.com/news/nawaz-sharif-raising-kashmir-leaders-amid-isolation-fears-1024874/

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Europe

Refugee crisis breeds Islamophobia in Eastern Europe

September 21, 2016

PRAGUE // The police had been patient under the broiling sun. But when the make-believe Haj worshippers draped a black cloth over a mocked up Kaaba, Islam’s holiest symbol, their patience finally snapped.

They moved swiftly to stop the deeply offensive portrayal of the pilgrimage to Mecca after the watching local officials ruled that it broke statutes against defaming religion.

The contentious scenes were the climax of an anti-Islam demonstration provocatively staged outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Prague, the Czech capital, 10 days ago. It was the latest in a series of stunts by a fringe far-right group designed to cause the maximum shock.

While the scene drew just a few onlookers and made barely a ripple in the national news, it came at a time when Islamophobia has entered the political mainstream in the Czech Republic and other eastern European countries following the migrant crisis that has seen more than one million refugees from Syria and elsewhere flood into Germany over the past year.

Political leaders in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland have all rigidly opposed a quota system proposed by the European Union to disperse refugees among members, as advocated by Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the European Commission, the EU’s ruling executive.

The commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has tried to push through a proposal to distribute 160,000 asylum seekers around the 28-nation bloc, to ease the burden on Italy and Greece, where many refugees first arrive from the Middle East and North Africa after perilous journeys across the sea. But opposition from eastern European nations has threatened to torpedo the scheme, prompting the commission last May to threaten to levy €250,000 (Dh1.03 million) per indiviaul migrant on countries which refused to accept refugees.

Still the issue remains in limbo. Although Poland has agreed to accept 7,000 asylum seekers, Slovakia and Hungary have mounted a legal challenge against the quota plan in the European Court of Justice.

Robert Fico, Slovakia’s Left-wing populist prime minister, declared this year that Islam "has no place in Slovakia", adding that Muslim migrants would "change the face of the country". True to that belief, Slovakia has so far offered refuge to only around 50 Christian migrants from Iraq.

Hungary’s premier, Viktor Orban, is also mobilising anti-Islamic sentiment in a bid to win support in an October 2 referendum, which asks voters whether they support the EU’s quota plan. Mr Orban, who has called migrants "poison", recently announced that the country would build a border barrier to reinforce the razor-wire fence it constructed along its southern frontiers with Serbia, Croatia and Romania in 2015, after more than 177,000 refugees sought asylum in Hungary, although only 146 were accepted.

Yet, eastern European Islamophobia is "an artificially trumped-up issue" used by politicians in societies with little direct contact with Muslims, according to Professor Jan Urban, a political commentator at the University of New York in Prague.

"With the exception of Hungary, none of these countries has any direct experience of the refugee flow," he said. "You can see the same trend in the former East Germany. There are far fewer refugees there than in the west, yet it’s the number one issue there.

"[But] the consequences are much more serious than in the west because it’s so unreal. It’s turning democratic Czech politics upside down and leading to the rise of populist parties. Mainstream politicians have realised that the refugee scare is something the electorate will react to and are scared of losing support to more radical voices. So they are competing to be in the front line of this issue."

Source: thenational.ae/world/europe/refugee-crisis-breeds-islamophobia-in-eastern-europe

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Is Pope Francis an unwitting minion of George Soros?

September 20, 2016

Being a religion journalist is crazy. Every day, it seems, I come across something I can hardly believe is real.

Today I came across an item on the website of The Remnant, a traditionalist Catholic newspaper. Under the headline, “DCLeaks Bombshell: The Soros/Francis Alliance Confirmed,” a news article purports to give evidence for the claim that Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are going along with a sinister plot by billionaire George Soros to abolish national borders and repopulate Europe with as many Muslims as possible.

I was especially struck by the photoshopped image accompanying the article, which depicts Pope Francis under a United Nations logo washing the feet of Soros, who is sitting on a large pile of dollar bills.The article strongly implies that Soros masterminded Laudato Si’, an encyclical letter on the environment promulgated by Pope Francis in 2015. Here’s a typical passage about the migration crisis, complete with a link to Breitbart.com:

In the face of the massive Muslim migrant invasion of Christian Europe, Pope Francis remains largely silent about European Christian values and brutal Muslim attacks on Christians. He prefers the political language of the UN and the Soros’ new world order.

Breaking news: Francis states that welcoming Muslim refugees is the greatest protection against terrorism. Really, Holy Father? Ask the people of France and Germany if they are safer after the Muslim refugee invasion.

The article also complains that “the USCCB is remaining coyly mute during the presidential election, despite Clinton’s rabid pro-abortion stance” as though the bishops should be actively advocating Donald Trump’s election.

Another bizarre claim: “Soros’ team tracks and applauds every move of his papal ally.” I wonder what George Soros and the organizations to which he contributes think of Pope Francis’ and the Catholic Church’s views on marriage, sexual morality, and abortion.

Now, a lot of people know I have been fascinated by the spate of anti-Francis commentaries by conservative American Catholics. I find people like Ross Douthat, Michael Dougherty, and Matthew Schmitz to be quite thoughtful and provocative, even when I disagree with their conclusions and cringe a little at what sometimes comes across as slightly cavalier attacks on the integrity of the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. At the other end of the spectrum, sites like The Federalist and Breitbart regularly publish vapid, nasty anti-Francis screeds.

I usually don’t even comment on fringe stuff. But I found the photoshopped image to be really alarming. It’s pretty easy to imagine Pope Benedict XVI’s response to the migration crisis to be a lot like the current pope’s. But I can’t imagine the folks at The Remnant making an identical image, except with Benedict instead of Francis.

I grew up thoroughly Protestant. But even I know it’s insulting to Catholics to slander the pope. I wouldn’t push the analogy too far, but everyone is talking about how Trump has emboldened the alt-right. I wonder if unhinged hatred of Pope Francis is gaining a broader hearing in certain Catholic circles.

Source: patheos.com/blogs/jacoblupfer/2016/09/is-pope-francis-an-unwitting-minion-of-george-soros/

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