New Age Islam
Sat Nov 28 2020, 01:02 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 March 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

‘Bangladesh Armed Group Al-Badr Comprised Of Madrasa Students, Biharis’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Muslim Scholars in Indonesia issue fatwa to protect wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Asia

Bangladesh Armed Group Al-Badr Comprised Of Madrasa Students, Biharis’

Bangladesh Restrictions End Da`wah Works

10,000 illegal NWA settlers return to Afghanistan

Release of Afghan prisoners exposes root of rift with US

Law minister: Attackers on minority to face trial

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Muslim clerics issue fatwa protecting endangered animals

 “Huge support” for Halal certification, says Islamic Ministry

Conflicting reports deepen Malaysia jet mystery

Jetliner Voodoo Rituals Irk Malaysia Scholars

Islamic militants in China could be linked to missing Malaysia Airlines flight

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Europe

‘Trojan horse’: Radical group ‘aims to convert’ UK schools to strict Islam

Activists Petition for Spain's Islamic History

British Muslim charged with Syria-related terror offences

Muslim group: 3 Russians unlawfully kept out of US

Could Muslim extremists move into disputed Crimea?

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Pakistan

18 killed in two Pakistan bomb blasts

Blast targeting police kills seven, wounds several in Peshawar

Taliban peace process enters ‘decisive phase’

Scholars adopt charter of peace, support coexistence

Treason case: Court reserves order on Musharraf's appearance

Pursuing peace through committees

Lyari mourns gun and bomb attack victims

Govt mulling freeing non-combatant Taliban

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Arab World

Seven dead in Bombings in and around Baghdad

Egypt-brokered Truce Ends Tension in Gaza

Saddam-era agents among 7 executed

Abbas questions rival's role in Arafat death

Syrian rebels claim Alawites' kidnapping

Continuing Syria refugee crisis 'unconscionable': UN

Iraqi bill to legalise child marriage criticised

Saudi Arabia loans Pakistan $1.5b

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Africa

Gunmen kill at least 69 in northwest Nigeria: lawmaker

Gambia to drop English as 'colonial relic'

Sudan rebel leaders sentenced to death

Leaders hold South Sudan crisis summit as fighting rages

S. Africa Muslim Parties Unite For Polls

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North America

Religious beliefs of American Muslims influence attitudes toward organ donation

Muslim American group seeks bigger role in American politics

Blasphemy law use on rise, led by Pakistan: US group

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India

Muslim IDPs 'systematically sidelined' in Indian Housing Project

Bengal’s politics flocks to Muslim preacher

Students Islamic Organization of India’s manifesto for political parties

Mohammad Kaif takes fresh guard under new skipper Rahul Gandhi

Muslim bodies in Gautam Budh Nagar consider NOTA

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 Mideast

Iran Launches “Islamic Nobel Prize”

Iran general: ‘Our hands are on the trigger’ to destroy Israel

Tayyip's tapes: Muslim democracy, sleaze and bribery

Turkish military steps up measures for tomb in Syria amid al-Qaeda presence

Gaza strikes draw Abbas call for Israel to halt ‘escalation’

Iran ‘not open for business,’ Kerry tells senators

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘bangladesh-armed-group-al-badr-comprised-of-madrasa-students,-biharis’/d/56144

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South Asia

  

‘Bangladesh Armed Group Al-Badr Comprised Of Madrasa Students, Biharis’

March 14, 2014

The defence of top war crimes suspects Motiur Rahman Nizami yesterday claimed that armed group al-Badr had been formed by Razakars, non-Bangalees and madrasa students, not those from Islami Chhatra Sangha.

During the closing arguments at the International Crimes Tribunal 1, defence counsel Mizanul Islam claimed that Nizami, former chief of the Chhatra Sangha –Jamaat- e-Islami’ student wing at the time, had no involvement with the group.

Apara militia force, al-Badr sided with the Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 War of Independence and is blamed for the systematic abduction and killing of pro-liberation people, especially noted intellectuals.

The prosecution in their arguments said Nizami masterminded the formation of al-Badr with members of Islami Chhatra Sangha.

Mizanul pointed out discrepancies in the prosecution’s argument claiming they had identified both Nizami and convicted Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed as top leader of al-Badrat the same time.

He claimed that in reality the al-Badr force comprised of Razakars, people from non-Bengali communities especially the Biharis, and madrasa students.“Nizami had no involvement with that.”

The defence lawyer said: “The investigation officer of the case admitted during cross-examination that Nizami was a civilian during the whole nine months of the war. So how can a civilian be the chief of an armed group like al-Badr?”

Terming the case “politically-motivated,” he said the case had been planned at the Prime Minister’s Office and that they had proof. Prosecution witness Shams ul Haque Nannu had unveiled the conspiracy but the tribunal did not take it as evidence.

The defence counsel sought adjournment just before lunch break. The tribunal accepted the plea and set March 19 for the next hearing. It also asked the defence to finish its arguments by March 20.

The prosecution in this trial concluded their arguments on Wednesday, identifying the Jamaat chief as the ringleader, deserving of capital punishment.

Nizami was indicted on May 28, 2012 on 16 counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape, and arson and inciting violence.

Both the prosecution and the defence are taking part in closing arguments for a second time. A verdict was due on November 13 last year, but the tribunal is hearingthe arguments afresh, as the former chairman went on retirement before delivering a verdict in the case.

Meanwhile, tribunal 2 deferred the hearing in the trial of war crimes accused Syed Md Qaisar until March 19 upon a defence plea, since conducting lawyer AbdusSobhanTarafder has been sick.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2014/mar/14/al-badr-comprised-madrasa-students-biharis

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 Bangladesh Restrictions End Da`wah Works

13 March 2014

DHAKA – Seeing Da`wah as part of every Muslim duty towards his faith, Bangladeshi Muslims have been calling for resuming Da’wah to Allah works in the southern eastern Asian country, banned since the Awami League government took helms of power in 2009.

“I have been attending and lecturing hundreds of ‘Waj Mahfil’ throughout the Bangladesh every year. Thousands of people were taught about Islam and Islamic teachings, values and sprits through the ‘Waj Mahfil’ (Dawah conference),” Maulana Abdus Sobhan, president of Jamiat ul Mufassireen Bangladesh, an organization of Mufassireen, told OnIslam.net.

“But 95 percent ‘Waj Mahfil’ was stopped due to government restrictions over the recent years,” he added.

For decades, Da’wah activities flourished in Bangladesh where mass gatherings (known as Waj Mahfil) were attended by thousands of Muslims interested in getting Islamic education, values and spirits.

The situation has changed after Bangladesh’s secular Awami league took the helms of power in January 2009, deciding to stop Da’wah activities in mosques across the country.

One of the key events stopped over the past five years was the 5-day Waj Mahfil, organized annually by the Islamic Social Welfare Council Chittagong since 1977.

The event used to draw tens of thousands of attendants, including Muslims and non-Muslims, every year.

“Due to the government restrictions, we didn’t organize the 5day long ‘Waj Mahfil’ in Chittagong since 2007,” advocate Nasir Uddin Ahmad Chowdhury, secretary of Islami Samaj Kalayn Parisad Chittagong (Islamic Social Welfare Council Chittagong), told OnIslam.net.

“Local and police administration didn’t permission to organize the ‘Waj Mahfil’ since 2007,” Faruque Ahmad Sahin, office secretary of the council, told OnIslam.net.

Jailed Preachers

Along with banning Da’wah activities, many preachers accused the Bangladeshi government of putting hundreds of scholars and preachers in jail.

“In Bangladesh, winter is a season of  ‘Waj Mahfil’, but this type of ‘Waj Mahfil’ could not be held due to local police restrictions,” principal Abdus Samad, a retired teacher and preacher of Islam, told OnIslam.net.

He added that a large number of Muslim scholars were put behind jail bars by government authorities.

Maulana Abdus Sobhan, preacher of Islam, added that hundreds of Ulema and preachers of Islam were arrested by the secular government over the past five years.

“Due to government restrictions large number of Da’wah conference didn’t held in Bangladesh recent years,” Rashed Newaj Bhuiyan, a young entrepreneur, told this OnIslam.net.

Advocate Nasir urged the government cooperation to restore the key Da’wah event.

“We want government co-operation for holding the ‘Waj Mahfil’,” he added.

Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.

The current Awami League government has been facing accusations of trying to of “de-Islamize” the country and turn it into a secular state.

Bangladesh has been in turmoil over the trial of Islamist leaders on alleged war crimes during the 1971 independence war.

Tension further escalated over postings by bloggers seen as defaming Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

The turbulence also followed constitutional amendments that eliminated the state principles of absolute trust and faith in Allah the Almighty.

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/470221-bangladesh-restrictions-end-dawah-works.html

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10,000 illegal NWA settlers return to Afghanistan

March 14, 2014 SIKANDER SHAHEEN 0

ISLAMABAD - Some 10,000 Afghan settlers are reported to have left North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and other parts of FATA to go back to Afghanistan in the backdrop of the displacements triggered due to the launch of surgical strikes in the northwest.

These Afghans are among the foreigners who had moved from across the border in the recent years and were illegally staying in the tribal region. An overwhelming majority of these people is believed to be militants associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Although, any accurate or official figures regarding the number of Afghans and other foreign settlers in the NWA and other parts of FATA are not available, the officials at FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) cite rough or tentative estimations based on respective surveys conducted by the FDMA, FATA Secretariat, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the security agencies which suggest around or over 100,000 illegal Afghan settlers including women and children might have moved to Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan from the NWA's Miranshah, Mir Ali, Razmak and Spinwarm areas since last month following the launch of aerial strikes.

Ministry of SAFRON (States and Frontier Regions) Spokesman Aqdas Shaukat on Wednesday last had confirmed to The Nation that Afghans in significant number moved to their homeland and their exact number was not known. "The Afghan settlers have direct ties with their relatives or kith and kin across the border which made it easy for them to return back."

To a query, he said some Afghans might have moved to Bannu and other areas along with the locals who relocated mainly from the NWA due to the surgical strikes. "This is also possible but the reports and information suggest that majority of the Afghans has returned to the other side of the border where they have family members who are facilitating their stay."

So far, the FDMA figures suggest, 25,500 locals from the NWA have relocated to Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar as the government makes arrangements to facilitate their stay at Kasho Bridge near Bannu.

"The issues like foreigners including Afghans moving across the border are being dealt with security forces. The civilian federal and provincial authorities are taking steps to recognise the relocated people as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and facilitate their stay in the IDP camps," Shaukat said.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesperson in Pakistan Duniya Aslam Khan, the FATA does not have any registered (UNHCR-assisted) Afghan refugees. "The Afghan refugee camps in the FATA were closed back in 2005. There are no refugee camps or registered Afghan refugees in the NWA or FATA," she told this correspondent when asked on Thursday.

Sources in the FATA Secretariat believed it was not fully possible to check the illegal movement of the people to and from Afghanistan due to porous Pak-Afghan border. "The security pickets have been set up across the border but still you never know how many people and who enter into Pakistan's territory from Afghanistan and vice versa, everyday. This is a major reason of the largely unrestricted militants movement," they commented.

The Secretary Law and Order FATA Jamal Nasir on Wednesday admitted that complete border surveillance was not possible and the penetration of militants was hard to tackle. "It is true that porous border has adverse implications. But we are the ones to have suffered the most from this situation. The militants from the other side cross border to unleash terrorism in Pakistan. We take stringent security arrangements and preventive measures to avert cross-border terrorism but dealing with this kind of situation gets extremely difficult."

He also confirmed that Afghan settlers, in a unspecified number, have returned to their country in the backdrop of the relocation of the people from NWA due to security forces' action.

Refusing to comment whether the returned Afghans were mostly the militants, the secretary said,  "I am not in a position to confirm that they were militants but I think its good for us that the Afghans who had unlawfully penetrated here have returned. Efforts would be to make sure they do not get here again."

Asked about the steps taken to stop the Afghans from re-entering Pakistan, Nasir said, "The cross-border infiltration has lately been minimum owing to the steps our security forces have taken in connection with the targeted actions taken against the TTP. But, as I said, the border is porous so there is always a room for the loopholes. But on our part, we are doing our best and the situation is different from the past."

http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/14-Mar-2014/10-000-illegal-nwa-settlers-return-to-afghanistan

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Release of Afghan prisoners exposes root of rift with US

March 14, 2014

SAYED ANWAR AMANI AND MIRWAIS HAROONI 0

US military commanders believe Sardar Mohammad is a dangerous Taliban bomb-maker who has attacked foreign and Afghan soldiers. In April last year, US and Afghan forces captured Sardar and placed him in a military prison.

The Afghan government ordered Sardar and 64 other men to be released last month. A quiet man who says he is in his late teens, Sardar headed back to his village in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. There, dozens of relatives and villagers paid respects to him outside his mud home. Sardar was never a Taliban insurgent, his family and neighbors say. But thanks to his imprisonment and release, he is now a hero. “I hate what the Taliban stands for,” Sardar said. President Hamid Karzai’s decision last month to release the disputed 65 prisoners is a sign of his growing eagerness to assert his independence from his Western backers. Twelve years after Washington and others helped him seize power and with just a few months left in his final term, the Afghan president seems to want to distance himself from his once-closest ally at every opportunity.

But the story of the released prisoners also illustrates just why the gap between Washington and Kabul has opened up so much. The conflicting allegations about Sardar and another detainee whose case Reuters examined show how Afghanistan and the foreign military forces stationed there so often speak past each other. As the US and Nato forces wind down their combat mission, it’s not just that the different sides disagree on the facts, but that they sometimes seem to be talking about different wars altogether. The prisoners were part of a much larger group of more than 600 detainees transferred to Afghan authority last year, in what was seen as a milestone in the US and Nato withdrawal. Afghan officials later released some of those prisoners without US objection. But the United States believes the 65 who were released in February should be tried or investigated further. The Afghan government and Afghan judicial officials say the 65 had been wrongly imprisoned on charges that did not stand up to examination.

Abdul Shokor Dadras, a member of the Afghan Review Board, a government body set up to examine the cases against detainees transferred from US to Afghan custody, said the board, the attorney general and the country’s intelligence agency conducted investigations into the US allegations.

“All three organizations repeatedly determined that there was no evidence to (adequately) prove these men’s guilt. So why do the Americans keep saying they have proof?” Dadras asked.

But US military officials say they have piles of evidence tying the 65 men to the Taliban, whom foreign and Afghan forces have fought since 2001, including forensic material and evidence of phone contacts. The officials say they provided the Afghan Review Board, the attorney general’s office, and the intelligence agency with “hundreds of pages” of “hard evidence”. US officials said the information either implicated the men or showed their cases warranted further investigation.

Neither side was willing to share the full details of their evidence, though the Americans gave basic details. “With no legal consequences, these individuals may return to the same criminal behaviour that led to their original capture,” US forces in Afghanistan said in a statement referring to the 65 prisoners.

Washington believes the decision to release the men is a sign of Kabul’s cosiness with the Afghan Taliban, with whom both the United States and Kabul have sought to open peace talks.

Rejecting US criticism of the mass release, Karzai warned the United States to “stop harassing Afghanistan’s procedures” and judicial independence. “I hope the United States will now begin to respect Afghan sovereignty,” said Karzai, who after more than a decade in power is to step down after April elections.

Aimal Faizi, Karzai’s spokesman said: “Any decision on the Afghan detainees is related to the Afghan sovereignty and the basic rights of the Afghan people. Therefore only the Afghan judicial authorities have the final say on the Afghan detainees.”

AMERICA’S CASE

A summary of allegations against Sardar, prepared by US military forces in Kabul and seen by Reuters, states that he was “a Taliban IED (improvised explosive device) specialist who builds and emplaces IEDs used in attacks against” Afghan and foreign forces in Kandahar Province. “(Sardar) was reported to be heavily involved in IED operations against coalition and Afghan forces.”

In April 2013, the summary states, “reporting” indicated that Sardar had buried an improvised bomb that exploded as coalition and Afghan forces approached. It is not clear who reported that, or what evidence they based it on.

Among evidence the US military summary said it had against Sardar was a cell phone with Taliban contacts stored in its memory. The summary also said Sardar tested positive for residue of explosive materials. “In a sworn, thumb-printed statement he admitted to having contact with Taliban commanders,“ the summary reads.

But Sardar told Reuters he didn’t understand the statement he signed. He said he had a contract to truck fuel and gravel to a US military base in Kandahar before his arrest, and felt betrayed after foreign forces raided his home last year. “They rifled through our things, and searched the whole house. They didn’t find anything to prove I was guilty, but they still arrested me,” Sardar said several days after his release.

After being taken to the same base he had once made deliveries to, Sardar said foreign troops questioned him about others from his village and then brought him a document he could not read. “I denied everything ... they told me that I had already confessed. I told them the truth - that I never confessed anything.”

The US military declined to share additional information about the specific allegations against Sardar or the circumstances in which he was captured. They did not confirm he had worked as a US contractor in Kandahar.

Police in Kandahar say Sardar had no record prior to his arrest by the US military.

SUSPICION BY ASSOCIATION?

Another prisoner to be released last month was Sher Mohammad, also a native of Kandahar. Sher said that one night in late 2012 he awoke to the sound of a loudspeaker outside his home in the village of Seya Joi. A member of a military squad warned him that he was surrounded. “The Americans handcuffed me, tied a black cloth around my eyes and put a sack on my head,” he told Reuters.

Sher believes he came under suspicion because he spent time at a madrasa, or Islamic religious school. Some Afghan and NATO officials believe madrasas in Afghanistan attract Taliban sympathisers.

According to the US military summary of allegations against the freed prisoners, Sher was arrested in December 2012. US forces biometrically matched him to a bomb discovered the previous month by foreign forces in his home district. Biometric matching is usually done via fingerprints or DNA. Investigators often look at places inside a home-made bomb where DNA may have been left during construction. Bombmakers often use packing tape, and the sticky side of the tape can capture fingerprints, skin secretions, or hair.

The US document alleges that Sher specialised in bombs that explode when stepped on or are driven over, and taught others how to use them. Sher rejected those allegations. He also said he was treated roughly during his imprisonment, first at the Kandahar military base and then in Parwan, as the detention facility on the US-run military base at Bagram is also known. Confined at first in a dark room on his own, he was later taken to an area where around 30 people were housed, he said.

A US military official said that detainees like Sher had numerous opportunities to register complaints with US or Afghan officials about their treatment, but Sher had not done so.

Haji Ghulam, a police commander for an area that includes Sher’s village, said that before forces pushed the Taliban out, Sher had been associated with the group through an uncle who was a Taliban member. That uncle, Hafizullah, was arrested by foreign forces and is now in Bagram prison, said Mahsoon Khan, police chief for Zhari district. Another uncle, Naqibullah, was also part of the Taliban and on the run. But Khan said he knew Sher, and was confident that he was not an insurgent.

Back in his village, Sher said he was happy to be reunited with his family. “I am an innocent man. I farm my land and live an area that is under government control,” he said. “Anyone who is part of the Taliban has already fled from here.”–Reuters

http://www.nation.com.pk/international/14-Mar-2014/release-of-afghan-prisoners-exposes-root-of-rift-with-us

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Law minister: Attackers on minority to face trial

March 14, 2014

The law minister yesterday said the cases filed in connection with the attacks on the minority communities in the wake of the 10th parliamentary polls will be tried under Speedy Trial Tribunal Act.

“The prime minister has asked us to ensure justice as soon as possible and the process is going on,” he said while speaking at a programme titled ‘uprooting communal violence: role of the government and civil society’ organised by Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee at a city auditorium.

Law Minister Anisul Haq said that all the cases filed in connection with the attacks on the minorities by Jamaat-BNP men are in investigation stages.

The Law Ministry has requested the Home Ministry to complete the investigation quickly and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Personally, I think that the Special Powers Act should be enforced in this regard and thus maximum punishment can be ensured,” the law minister opined.

The speakers at the programme said that the minority people had fallen victim to violence since the Pakistan rule. They should be empowered socially, economically and politically to root out violence against them, the speakers added.

To protect the minority people, they said, the country needs to enact separate law, form designated commission and set up new ministry for the minority community.

“The victims always allege that the police do not arrest the accused and if arrested, they are released on bail. The existing laws can’t prosecute these offenders because the communal attacks are not simple murder, rape, torture, arson or looting. There are ulterior motives behind these attacks,” said Shahriar Kabir, acting president of Nirmul Committee.

He compared the ‘continuous and pre-planned attacks on the minority people especially the Hindus with ethnic cleansing. The present laws cannot try such kind of offences.

“Besides, the existing act cannot ensure justice for the victims. The offenders get released from the jail because of weak charge sheets and attack the plaintiffs,” he explained why a new act is necessary.

Former Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque said the perpetrators of the attacks on minority community can be punished under the penal court.

“Enacting a law is a complicated process. The problem is that the law is not enforced properly. If it is enforced properly, no new law is needed,” he said.

He criticised the investigation agencies for incomplete investigation, weak charge sheets as causes of no or partial justice.

“They press charges so poorly that the courts cannot but grant bail to serious offenders. Now-a-days we see the offenders get bail either from the lower court or the Higher Court whatever their crimes are,” he said.

“So, everyone should be accountable. The IOs, Public Prosecutors have to be liable if an offender of communal attack get bail,” he said.

State Minister for Social Welfare Promod Mankin, Advocate Rana Dasgupta and Aroma Dutt also spoke on the occasion.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2014/mar/14/law-minister-attackers-minority-face-trial

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Muslim clerics issue fatwa protecting endangered animals

By David Piper

 March 08, 2014

Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body is using its influence over the estimated 200 million Muslims in the country to try to save local wildlife, including the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger.

The religious fatwa issued by the Indonesian council of Ulema urges Muslims in Indonesia to protect endangered animals by conserving their habitat and curbing illegal trade.

The word "fatwa" can have negative connotations to some but it is merely a call to action for Muslims.

“All activities resulting in wildlife extinction without justifiable religious grounds or legal provisions are Haram [forbidden]. These include illegal hunting and trading of endangered animals,” Asrorun Ni'am Sholeh, secretary of the Ulema Council's commission on Fatwas, told the news agency AFP.

“Whoever takes away a life kills a generation," he said. "This is not restricted to humans, but also includes God's other living creatures, especially if they die in vain.”

The council’s fatwa called on the Indonesian government to protect the environment, review permits granted to companies which have been accused of damaging the environment and to prosecute illegal loggers and wildlife traffickers.

Indonesia is home to many of the world's most endangered animals including the tigers, elephants and orangutans.

Indonesia's wildlife is trafficked by international networks in the same way that drugs and arms are by smuggling them over borders.

And it's big business with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network estimating its worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here in Thailand, they are trying to break the networks which use this country as a hub to move the animals from Indonesia to China to be used as ingredients for traditional medicines or to be eaten.

Last month, for instance, five tiger cubs were rescued by police from the back of a pick-up truck which had been stopped in northwest Thailand.

They were part of a massive haul which also included over 300 monitor lizards, 174 turtles and 11 turtles.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature is welcoming the religious fatwa, saying the use of religion is a positive move to help wildlife.

“It provides a spiritual aspect and raises moral awareness which will help us in our work to protect and save the remaining wildlife in the country such as the critically endangered tigers and rhinos,” WWF Indonesia communications director Nyoman Iswara Yoga told the Jakarta Globe.

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/08/indonesian-muslim-clerics-issue-fatwa-protecting-endangered-animals/

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“Huge support” for halal certification, says Islamic Ministry

March 13th, 2014

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ has claimed that the new halal certification program for local fish products is receiving “huge support” from local fish processing companies, the ministry has said yesterday.

Denying reports published in local news outlet Haveeru of a lack of support for the programme , the ministry said that issuing halal certificates for five different products from ‘Felivaru’ company is in it’s final stages.

The ministry also stated that “famous Maldivian fish processing companies such as MIFCO” are also in the process of submitting necessary documentation in order to acquire the halal certificate

Training of halal assurance officers to inspect factories has begun, and ministry teams have made visits to “successful” halal industry countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

The Haveeru article in question – published yesterday – quoted Permanent Secretary of the Islamic Ministry Mohamed Didi as saying that Felivaru was the only company to have shown an interest in acquiring the certification.

Didi was reported as saying that the reason for this could be that such a certificate is not important for their export markets.

According to the article, a team from the ministry had travelled to the Felivaru fish processing factory to check if the process and ingredients used are ‘halal’, with Didi saying that certification would open doors to export Maldivian fish products to middle-eastern markets and would increase the value of such products.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/society/huge-support-for-halal-certification-says-islamic-ministry-79851

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Conflicting reports deepen Malaysia jet mystery

March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR/HO CHI MINH  CITY, Vietnam  - M alaysian authorities said on Thursday there was no evidence that a jetliner missing for almost six days flew for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers and continued to transmit technical data. The Wall Street Journal said that US aviation investigators and national security officials believed the Boeing 777 flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from its Rolls-Royce Trent engines as part of a standard monitoring programme. (http://r.reuters.com/ruw57v)

“Those reports are inaccurate,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference. “As far as both Rolls-Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate. The last (data) transmission from the aircraft was at 01:07 a.m.(local time) which indicated that everything was normal.” Boeing and Rolls-Royce have yet to comment.

Reuters has previously reported that the plane’s transmission of the so-called ACARS technical data ceased after it lost contact with air traffic control.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were no reports of bad weather or mechanical problems.

It is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation - there has been no trace of the plane since nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of over a dozen countries across Southeast Asia.

“It’s extraordinary that with all the (satellite and telecommunication) technology that we’ve got that an aircraft can disappear like this,” Tony Tyler, the head of the International Air Transport Association that links over 90 percent of the world’s airlines, told reporters in London.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/international/14-Mar-2014/conflicting-reports-deepen-malaysia-jet-mystery

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Jetliner Voodoo Rituals Irk Malaysia Scholars

13 March 2014

CAIRO – Leading Malaysian Islamic organizations have blasted the voodoo rituals performed by "bomoh", or shaman, to solve the mystery of Flight MH370′s disappearance as anti-Islamic, as opposition leaders demanded an investigation onto the case as a national embarrassment.

“Anyone going against shari`ah principles and fatwa will be asked to disperse and if they refuse, we will arrest them,” Zaifullah Jaafar Shidek, Sepang district enforcement chief of Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), was quoted by Star Online on Thursday, March 13.

"This is to avoid people from becoming syirik (deviant)," he added.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am Saturday.

Last Monday, news broke about a bomoh (shaman) claiming to be able to help locate the missing jetliner.

During the rituals, the bomoh, Ibrahim Mat Zain, who calls himself Raja Bomoh Sedunia Nujum VIP with the title of Datuk Mahaguru, brought along zam-zam water, two coconuts, a “magical” walking stick and a “magic carpet” that served as a “boat” for him and his assistants.

The session at the Anjung Tinjau of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) attracted a crowd of people.

Returning to the airport yesterday, the bomoh practices ignited Muslim scholars anger, rejecting it as shirk.

"As a Muslim, I believe in honest prayers as the way to appeal to Allah for intervention,” Ahmad Fazrin Yahaya, chief executive officer of Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia (Malaysian Scholarly Organization), said.

"These nonsensical rituals embarrass the Malaysian Muslims and seem to make a mockery of proper Islamic teachings," he told reporters at The Everly hotel on Thursday.

Investigation

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/470225-ritual-prayers-anger-malaysia-scholars.html

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Islamic militants in China could be linked to missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Mar 09, 2014

The largely Muslim ethnic minority group the Uyghurs could be linked with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

Just last week the group was blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.

On Saturday flight MH370 disappeared around 100 miles north of the Malaysian coast carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew.

The plane is presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast after losing contact with air traffic controllers.

The plane was last detected on radar at 5.30pm UK time on Friday.

An airline tracking website suggested it plunged 650ft and changed direction before it vanished.

Who are the Uighurs?

The north-western region on Xinjiang, which borders central Asia is home to the Uighurs, an ethnic Muslim minority.

The region was brought under Chinese control in 1949 and since then the Uighurs has battled for independence.

The minority group - who have known terrorist links - are again being looked at as the hunt for clues on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight begins.

Why have they been linked to the missing flight?

Two passengers appeared to have been travelling on stolen passports and there was no distress signal before the plane lost contact with air traffic control.

The possibility of it being a terror attack has not been ruled out at this stage.

Time magazine reported at least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.

But fears of an escalation in violence have grown since the knife attack at a station in Yunnan province last week - which left 29 dead and 140 injured. No one has yet taken responsibility for the stabbings.

If they were responsible for the bloody attack, it marks a chilling rise in violent actions as they fight for autonomy from the Chinese state.

News outlets report the Uighurs has been subjected to harassment since the train station attack.

Full report at:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/missing-malaysia-airlines-flight-who-3222758

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Europe

 

‘Trojan horse’: Radical group ‘aims to convert’ UK schools to strict Islam

March 08, 2014

Birmingham City Council is investigating allegations that a group of radical Muslims is trying to oust head teachers and secretly turn schools into Muslim academies based on Salafi Islam principles, British media reported.

A letter passed to Birmingham City Council outlines a plan dubbed ‘Operation Trojan Horse,’ aimed at taking over at least four schools in areas of the city with large Muslim populations

In the plan, hardline parents were to rebel against head teachers; they would claim the schools were corrupting their children “with sex education, teaching them about homosexuals, making their children pray Christian prayers and mixed swimming and sports,” the Guardian reported.

Allegedly written from one Islamic fundamentalist to another, the letter says the operation is part of a long-term plan and that a number of schools in Birmingham have already been “taken over” in this way.

“Whilst sometimes the practices we use may not seem the correct way to do things you must remember that this is say jihad and as such using all measures possible to win the war is acceptable,” the letter is quoted as stating.

However, Tahir Alam – a former chairman of the education committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, who is accused of being one of the plotters – told the Guardian that the letter was “a malicious fabrication and completely untrue.”

The police also said that it was not a matter for them and decided not to open an investigation.

“The assessment is that the allegations in the letter were for further investigation by Birmingham city council and [the] Department for Education and were not a matter for the police,” said Superintendent Sue Southern, head of West Midlands' prevent and protect counter-terrorism unit.

Full report at:

http://rt.com/news/radical-islam-uk-schools-678/

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Activists Petition for Spain's Islamic History

13 March 2014

MADRID – Spain's Catholic Church bids to annex the centuries-old Cordoba mosque has been vehemently criticized by rights groups demanding the recognition of the Islamic rich history in Spain.

“Over the past few years, the Diocese of Cordoba has erased the term 'mosque' from all the information leaflets of what is recognized worldwide as a symbol of cultural harmony,” reads ‘Save the Cordoba Mosque’ petition, cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday, March 13.

This “offers millions of tourists a distorted historical account, which crudely adulterates the essence of a complex building and an emblem of diversity,” the petition adds.

According to Spanish campaigners, the Catholic Church has been trying to blackout the Islamic history of Cordoba mosque, established centuries ago.

At the historical religious site, visitor's leaflets include misleading information by ignoring reference to the 500-year-old history of the mosque.

Moreover, the entry tickets to the historical site include a statement that read, “Welcome to the Santa Iglesia Cathedral”.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba was built between 784 and 786 during the reign of caliph Abd al-Rahman I.

Serving as a place for Muslim prayers for five centuries, the mosque was consecrated as a church since Ferdinand III, the king of Castile, took Cordoba from the Muslim rulers in 1236.

However, the place is still being called by both Spaniards and tourists as mosque, not cathedral.

The mosque became the center of debates recently after Catholic Church efforts to take it out of public hands were made public.

The church has announced its control over the religious site since 2006 without informing the government which had granted the church the right to run the site earlier.

Fierce debates erupted after it emerged that the local archbishopric is in the process of registering itself as the owner of the entire building – which is public property – a move that will be irreversible by 2016.

Many in the city believe this is part of an effort by the Córdoba Catholic authorities to suppress the monument’s Islamic identity.

Pressure

Campaigning for the petition, a secular group has collected about 156,000 signatures demanding the reorganization of the mutual Islamic and Christian history of the religious site.

“For the citizens of Cordoba, what has hurt our feelings is that they have cut off the name and the memory of the monument,” said Antonio Manuel Rodriguez, a law professor at Cordoba University.

The petition was also signed by many Spanish writers and scientists and moderate Catholics along with the acclaimed British architect Norman Foster.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/470243-activists-petition-for-spains-islamic-history.html

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British Muslim charged with Syria-related terror offences

March 13, 2014

London: A 29-year-old British Muslim was on Thursday charged with terror offences linked to Syria following a series of arrests during counter-terrorism raids in the UK.

Jamshed Javeed, from Manchester in northern England, was charged with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism and engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention.

Javeed today appeared at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court. He was remanded in custody and will next appear at the Old Bailey court in London on April 4.

Javeed was one of four people held after counter-terrorism raids on Tuesday.

An 18-year-old man, from Levenshulme, and a 21-year-old woman, from Trafford, were also held in Manchester. British police officers arrested another 29-year-old man from Oxford.

All three were detained on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and remain in police custody and a?number of properties were also being searched.

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/british-muslim-charged-with-syria-related-terror-offences_917762.html

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Could Muslim extremists move into disputed Crimea?

March 11, 2014

The possibility of Ukraine’s Muslim minority community radicalizing may become reality if Russia takes a stronger position in the disputed Crimean peninsula, according to a foreign policy expert.

In an interview with Fox News’ Jonathan Hunt, Soner Cagaptay explained the dynamics of what could happen if Russia remains in Crimea. Cagaptay serves as director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute.

Crimea is home to a large community of Crimean Tatars, who are ethnic Turks, according to Cagaptay. Tatars have had a tough history in Ukraine; a majority of them were deported by the Soviet Union from Crimea after World War II.

“They [Soviet officials] didn’t let the Tatars come back because they wanted to Russify the area, [make] Russian the ethnicity,” Cagaptay said. “The Tatars only since the fall of communism have been able to come back to Crimea and now form 10 to 15 percent of the population.”

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/11/could-muslim-extremists-move-into-disputed-crimea/

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Pakistan

 

18 killed in two Pakistan bomb blasts

MEENA MENON

March 14, 2014

A bomb fitted on a bicycle exploded killing at least 10 persons and injuring over 30 at Prince Road near Science College in Quetta on Friday.

The powerful remote controlled bomb went off hitting nearby vehicles and sending a plume of smoke, apart from shattering nearby glass windows. News reports said the bomb missed a vehicle carrying security personnel which had a narrow escape.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/18-killed-in-two-pakistan-bomb-blasts/article5784808.ece

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Blast targeting police kills seven, wounds several in Peshawar

2014-03-14

PESHAWAR: An explosion took place on Friday in Sarband, an area in the suburbs of Peshawar killing seven persons and wounding 15 others according to police sources, DawnNews reported.

Those killed in the attack included policemen whereas the wounded persons also included women and children and the Station House Officer of a police station.

DSP (city) Banaras Khan talking to Dawn said that the blast appeared to have targeted a police mobile van and was carried by a suicide bomber.

Rescue and security teams reached the blast site situated in Sarband's Battatal area. The victims were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital where an emergency was imposed whereas security personnel cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway.

Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lies on the edge of Pakistan's tribal areas which have been labelled by Washington as the main sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1093091/blast-targeting-police-kills-seven-wounds-several-in-peshawar

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Taliban peace process enters ‘decisive phase’

March 14, 2014

* Taliban committee reaches Miranshah to discuss with TTP leadership place and time for future round of direct talks with the government negotiating committee * Meeting will review progress made so far in dialogue and evolve future course of action

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui said on Thursday that the-two member Taliban talks committee would give a report about its talks with the Taliban leadership after its return from Miramshah, North Waziristan within two days.

Talking to newsmen, he said the talks had entered a crucial stage and after the report from the Taliban committee, a decision would be taken on how to take forward the talks process. Irfan Siddiqui said after the report it would be clear whether the Taliban would hold direct or indirect talks. The Taliban would make some demands and some demands would come from the government, he explained. The indirect talks between the government and Taliban had regained momentum after a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/14-Mar-2014/taliban-peace-process-enters-decisive-phase

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Scholars adopt charter of peace, support coexistence

March 14, 2014

LAHORE: Representatives of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhs and Baha’is unanimously adopted the charter of peace during an interfaith consultative conference, in which they urged clerics of all religions to include the message of peace and social harmony, brotherhood, acceptance and coexistence during prayer sessions, especially in Friday prayers and Sunday mass.

“We call upon all people to restore interfaith harmony as ignorance is at its peak today. To end duality and adopt values from different religions so that we may be able to create an atmosphere where everyone might have religious freedom, the religion must be use to end differences among different religious communities,” according to the charter.

Punjab Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs MPA Tariq Masih Gill also addressed the conference.

The speakers stressed the need for adopting value education for students of seminaries, and said that peace education must be an essential part of the curriculum of educational institutions at all levels.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/14-Mar-2014/scholars-adopt-charter-of-peace-support-coexistence

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Treason case: Court reserves order on Musharraf's appearance

2014-03-14

ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former military ruler General retd Pervez Musharraf for high treason reserved its decision on Friady over the non-appearance of the former president, DawnNews reported.

A three judge court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, was hearing the case relating to treason charges against the ex-army strongman.

Musharraf's counsel, Anwar Mansoor, submitted an application in the court requesting for the former president's exemption from today's hearing in which he is likely to be indicted.

He said background checks were being conducted of security personnel deployed for Musharraf's security which would take six-eight weeks.

Mansoor also contended that orders issued by the court to summon Musharraf were illegal, adding that the Dec 13 order was also illegal.

He said the court should revisit its order.

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh said Musharraf's absence from hearings was an attempt to disrupt court proceedings.

Justice Arab remarked that if Musharraf did not appear for the hearing, his lawyer would be indicted instead.

The court would announce its decision over the appearance of Musharraf later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the capital police has reached Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) (where Musharraf is undergoing cardiac treatment) in order to escort him to the court for today's hearing.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1093087/treason-case-court-reserves-order-on-musharrafs-appearance

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Pursuing peace through committees

2014-03-14

THE old committee is dead; a new one, stuffed with bureaucrats and one holdover from the previous committee, is born — and no one appears sure what any of it means for the prospects of a deal with the TTP.

The questions abound. To begin with, does the formation of a new government negotiating committee suggest the previous one had failed? Rahimullah Yusufzai, a member of the now-lapsed committee, believes that having chalked up three successes, the committee he had been a part of had run its course:

“One, we facilitated the establishment of contacts with the TTP. Two, they accepted that the talks must take place under the constitution. Maulana Abdul Aziz had opposed that position and he was side-lined after one meeting with the consent of the TTP shura. Three, the TTP agreed to a ceasefire.”

Privately, committee members past and present and individuals close to the voluble committee members tell a different story.

According to an analyst close to several of the seven government-appointed committee members, the original committee was wracked by tensions and disagreements between its members, particularly Maj Amir and Irfan Siddiqui.

But a committee member who declined to be named suggested that the more pertinent reason for wrapping up the old committee was the army leadership’s reluctance to engage with it — stalling any further progress.

“The committee requested a meeting with the army chief and the ISI chief. They never responded,” the member said. “Perhaps the public profile of some of the members made the army uneasy talking about sharing sensitive information with it.” Why though was the army’s reluctance to engage the previous committee so problematic? “Because so much of what has to be decided is in their [the army’s] hands,” a member explained.“ Dr Usman of the GHQ attack, can he be released? Will there be an exchange of prisoners or will they simply be released? Do they release or kill the prisoners they have?”

The committee member continued: “What about the future role and presence of the army in Fata. Withdrawal is out of the question, but relocation is possible. What about foreign militants? Cross-border militancy? Compensation and local administration after a deal? So much is in the army’s hands.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1093013/pursuing-peace-through-committees

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Lyari mourns gun and bomb attack victims

March 14, 2014

KARACHI: Lyari on Thursday mourned the victims of gun and bomb attacks, which claimed 16 lives in Jhatpat Market.

At least 16 persons were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday during clashes between two rival gangs in the violence-hit locality. The entire area was gloomy and shops and other businesses were closed in Kalakot, Chakiwara, Aath Chowk, Singu Lane, Jhatpat Market and adjacent areas to mourn the victims. Police and Rangers stepped up patrolling in the area. Moreover, Rangers’ men conducted raids in various areas of Karachi and detained several suspects. In a targeted operation in Old Golimar, Rangers personnel arrested two suspects with arms and drugs.

The force also conducted raids in Haji Murid Goth and Ilyas Goth in Gulbahar police jurisdiction and arrested several suspects. In Gulistan-e-Jauhar two men tried to rob a man who had drawn cash from an ATM. Policemen in a van tried to arrest the criminals, who opened fire at them. A robber was injured in the firing and was taken to hospital where he died. His accomplice fled from the scene. Sources said that the suspects killed by Rangers were affiliated with Baba Ladla group of a Lyari gang.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sindh/14-Mar-2014/lyari-mourns-gun-and-bomb-attack-victims

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Govt mulling freeing non-combatant Taliban

March 14, 2014

ISLAMABAD - The government is considering releasing non-combatant Taliban prisoners, but it would not accommodate any unconstitutional demand from the militants.

This transpired Thursday during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a 10-member delegation of Pakistan Ulema Council led by Allama Tahir Ashrafi.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the government does not want any bloodshed in the country and is serious in resolving issues through dialogue and reconciliation.

In addition to the dialogue with Taliban, matters relating to the Karachi operation and the overall law and order situation were also discussed in the meeting.

Both sides agreed that the entire nation is facing challenges and an agreement was made to continue working for peace.

On the occasion, the prime minister said all matters should be settled amicably without the use of force. The prime minister reiterated that the government is serious in talks with Taliban with a clear objective of restoring peace to the country.

He said demands of Taliban for peace are under consideration which will be discussed by the new government committee. However‚ no demand against constitution or law will be met, he added.

The prime minister urged the ulema (religious scholars) to play a positive role in improving Pakistan's credibility.

The prime minister told ulema that he was devoted to overcoming the challenges faced by Pakistan. Nawaz said the government was playing its role for peace and harmony and ulema from all sects should do the same.

Talking to media after meeting with the prime minister, Maulana Ashrafi said the Ulema Council lauded the PM's initiative for peace and elimination of terrorism. “We have demanded the government release non militant prisoners as this would give a positive message.”

Ashrafi quoted the PM as saying that the government is considering releasing non-combatant Taliban prisoners.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/14-Mar-2014/govt-mulling-freeing-non-combatant-taliban

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Arab World

 

Seven dead in Bombings in and around Baghdad

2014-03-14

BAGHDAD: Bombings in and around Baghdad on Friday, including blasts near two markets, killed seven people, the latest in a year-long surge in violence that authorities have failed to quell.

The bloodshed, at its highest level since 2008, came a day after a suicide car bomb went off in the middle of a wedding party convoy in the western town of Rawa, killing 15 people, including women and children.

The unrest, which comes barely six weeks before parliamentary elections, is driven principally by widespread discontent among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

A car bomb Friday at a market in Baghdad's predominantly Shia neighbourhood of Shuala killed three people, while another blast near a market in Rashid left one dead, security and medical officials said.

Bombings in Taji and Tarmiyah, just north of the capital, killed three others, including two soldiers.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1093116/seven-dead-in-baghdad-area-attacks

-----

 

Egypt-brokered Truce Ends Tension in Gaza

13 March 2014

GAZA CITY – Putting war drums on hold for a while, the Egyptian government managed to broker a ceasefire agreement between Gaza and Israel, a day after Israeli attacks targeting the besieged coastal enclave.

“Following intensive Egyptian contacts and efforts, the agreement for calm has been restored in accordance with understandings reached in 2012 in Cairo,” Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader, wrote on Facebook, referring to a truce that ended an eight-day Gaza war two years ago, Reuters reported on Thursday, March 13.

The agreement followed a heavy military operation by Israeli in which at least 29 air strikes hit Gaza strip overnight on Wednesday.

The Israeli air strikes came in retaliation for dozens of rockets which targeted south Israel.

No reports on of causalities on either side were available so far.

The Islamic Jihad's armed wing, the Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on Israel.

The Jihad group said that its rockets were in retaliation for the killing of its members last Tuesday in Israeli air strikes.

The flare-up of rocket attacks between the two sides is the heaviest since November 2012.

Hamas accused Israel of prompting attacks on Gaza strip.

“Our mujahedeen responded to the Zionist aggression by firing tens of rockets,” Hamas spokesman told BBC.

“The rockets fired today came in response to the occupation aggression against us and does not mean the collapse of the ceasefire agreement [with Israel].”

Halt Escalations

In the wake of the spate of Israeli air strikes on Gaza, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Israel on Thursday to halt its escalation.

Abbas demanded Israel to “put an end to its military escalation in the besieged Gaza Strip,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded “reoccupying” Gaza strip.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/middle-east/470245-egypt-brokered-truce-ends-tension-in-gaza.html

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Saddam-era agents among 7 executed

14 March 2014

BAGHDAD: Iraq executed seven people Thursday, including three men convicted of the 1994 killing in Beirut of the father of a current MP, despite international condemnation over Baghdad's use of the death penalty.

The executions, carried out by hanging, were the first to be confirmed since January 23 and brought to at least 44 the total number of people put to death so far this year.

Among those executed were three men — Hadi Hassuni, Abdul Hassan Al-Majid and Farukh Hijazi — who were convicted in April 2011 over the April 1994 murder of Sheikh Taleb Al-Suhail Al-Tamimi, and termed agents of the ousted Saddam regime.

Tamimi's daughter, Safia Al-Suhail, has been an Iraqi lawmaker since 2005.

She was elected to the Council of Representatives in March 2010 polls as part of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's slate, but is now an independent MP.

Tamimi, head of the Banu Tamim tribe, fled to Beirut with his family after a Baath Party coup in 1968 and later attempted his own coup against Saddam Hussein, but was gunned down outside his home in the Lebanese capital on April 14, 1994.

Lebanon severed its ties with Iraq in the aftermath of the killing, and it arrested five Iraqi diplomats and one Lebanese accomplice over the assassination.

All but one of those arrested were released without charge, while one of the diplomats died in prison in Lebanon.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/539831

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Abbas questions rival's role in Arafat death

13 Mar 2014

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has accused one of his main Fatah rivals, Mohammed Dahlan, of involvement in six murders, and questioned his role in the death of former leader Yasser Arafat.

Abbas made the accusations against Dahlan, who is regularly cited as a possible future president, during a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council on March 10 in Ramallah, with his comments later released to media.

Abbas said an investigation was carried out into Dahlan, for years Fatah's most powerful man in the Gaza Strip, during the rule of former President Arafat. "It was found out that six people were killed by orders from Dahlan," the president said, but added that Arafat did not release the report.

Abbas, who turns 79 this month, said he did not have any proof that Dahlan was involved in the death of Arafat, but he read out several statements in which his 52-year-old rival had allegedly criticised Arafat.

Arafat died in a French military hospital in 2004 after a sudden illness, and Palestinians had long suspected Israel of poisoning him, a claim it denies.

An Al Jazeera investigation asked scientists from France, Switzerland and Russia to find out if radiation had played a role in his death after his body was exhumed last year. The scientists differed in their findings on whether the leader had been deliberately poisoned.

"Who killed Yasser Arafat? This is not evidence, but indications that deserve consideration," said Abbas.

Dahlan was removed from the group in 2011 following earlier claims that he had murdered Arafat and accusations of corruption. He denied the charges and remains a powerful figure on the sidelines, forging ties with numerous Arab leaders and maintaining links with the splintered Fatah.

Claims denied

Dahlan, who lives in exile in Dubai, hit back on his Facebook page, saying Abbas's speech was full of "lies ... stupidity and ignorance of the Palestinian reality." He added that he would also "unveil the lies" surrounding the death of Arafat, calling it "the most important and most dangerous issue of our modern history".

In an indication of growing sensitivity over Dahlan, Abbas's government earlier this month cut the salaries of nearly 100 security men still loyal to him in an apparent effort to undermine his popularity.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/abbas-questions-rival-role-arafat-death-2014313162523278652.html

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Syrian rebels claim Alawites' kidnapping

14 Mar 2014

Opposition fighters in Syria claim to have kidnapped at least 94 women and children belonging to President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect, according to a video obtained by Al Jazeera.

In the video, broadcast by Al Jazeera on Thursday, the rebels said they were holding the hostages to secure the release of opposition supporters from government detention.

The civilians were abducted in August from villages in

The civilians were abducted in August from villages in rural Latakia, Assad's coastal stronghold.

Thousands of people are thought to be imprisoned by both sides in the increasingly sectarian civil war, which enters its fourth year this month.

The video said the rebels were ready to swap the civilians for 2,000 prisoners who have been detained for more than a year.

It stipulated that most of the freed prisoners be from coastal areas of the country and that half of them be women and children.

In one scene, three women wearing headscarves and simple clothing address the camera.

Another scene shows dozens of women and children standing outdoors in a walled-in area.

Syria's Sunni Muslim majority has largely joined the revolt against Assad, while minority sects have mostly stood behind him in a conflict that has killed more than 140,000 people.

Both sides in the civil war have targeted citizens and attracted foreign fighters and financial support from across the region.

A rare prisoner swap was achieved last week, securing the release of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns detained since December by fighters from the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/syrian-rebels-claim-alawites-kidnapping-2014313203354698105.html

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Continuing Syria refugee crisis 'unconscionable': UN

March/14/2014

Syria's civil war has forced more than nine million people from their homes, creating the world's largest displaced population, the UN said on Friday, describing the continuing conflict as "unconscionable".      

"It is unconscionable that a humanitarian catastrophe of this scale is unfolding before our eyes with no meaningful progress to stop the bloodshed," UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

With more than 2.5 million Syrians currently registered or awaiting registration as refugees in neighbouring countries, Syrians are expected to soon overtake Afghans as the world's largest refugee population.

In addition, more than 6.5 million people have been displaced inside the country.

The total number of people who have fled their homes in Syria now exceeds 40 percent of the war-ravaged nation's pre-conflict population, UNHCR said, stressing that at least half of all those displaced are children.

"No effort should be spared to forge peace. And no effort spared to ease the suffering of the innocent people caught up in the conflict and forced from their homes, communities, jobs and schools," Guterres insisted.

The conflict, which began with a brutal government crackdown on protests in March 2011, is estimated to have killed more than 140,000 people.          The impact on the surrounding region has also been devastating.

The number of refugees in Lebanon alone is approaching one million and predicted to swell to as many as 1.6 million by the end of the year.      

"Lebanon already has the highest per-capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history," UNHCR said, pointing out that there were now nearly 230 registered Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/continuing-syria-refugee-crisis-unconscionable-un.aspx?pageID=238&nID=63572&NewsCatID=352

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Iraqi bill to legalise child marriage criticised

2014-03-14

BAGHDAD: A contentious draft law being considered in Iraq could open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would require wives to submit to sex on their husband's whim, provoking outrage from rights activists and many Iraqis who see it as a step backward for women's rights.

The measure, aimed at creating different laws for Iraq's majority Shia population, could further fray the country's divisions amid some of the worst bloodshed since the sectarian fighting that nearly ripped the country apart after the US-led invasion.

It also comes as more and more children under 18 get married in the country.

''That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood,'' prominent Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar told The Associated Press.

''Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering.

Iraqi law now sets the legal age for marriage at 18 without parental approval. Girls as young as 15 can be married only with a guardian's approval.

The proposed new measure, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of a Shia school of religious law founded by Jaafar Al Sadiq, the sixth Shia imam.

Iraq's Justice Ministry late last year introduced the draft measure to the Cabinet, which approved it last month despite strong opposition by rights groups and activists.

The draft law does not set a minimum age for marriage. Instead, it mentions an age in a section on divorce, setting rules for divorces of girls who have reached the age of nine years in the lunar Islamic calendar.

It also says that's the age girls reach puberty. Since the Islamic calendar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, that would be the equivalent of eight years and eight months old.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1093092/iraqi-bill-to-legalise-child-marriage-criticised

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Saudi Arabia loans Pakistan $1.5b

March 14, 2014

ISLAMABAD  - Saudi Arabia loaned $1.5 billion to Pakistan last month to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects, Pakistani officials have told Reuters.

The Saudi assistance has contributed to a sharp recovery of the Pakistani rupee, which rose to a nine-month high of 97.40 from 105.40 against the dollar between March 4 and 12, its strongest rally in 30 years. "On a personal guarantee of the prime minister, Saudi Arabia has given $1.5 billion, which has helped bail out the rupee," one senior government official close to the deal told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to disclose the source and purpose of the funding.

The governor of the Saudi central bank declined to comment, and officials gave no details of the loan terms.

Another top official who is based in Lahore said the money went into an account known as the Pakistan Development Fund set up to channel money from "friendly countries" like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"We have a promise of a total $3 billion, of which $1.5 billion has been received so far," the second official said. "Most recently, we got $750 million from the Saudis."

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has long enjoyed close relations with the Saudi royal family. After his second term as prime minister was ended by a military coup in 1999, he was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi financier and member of the House of Saud, has described Sharif as "Saudi Arabia's man in Pakistan".

Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar confirmed on Wednesday that $1.5 billion was received under the development fund but declined to comment on the source. "Why do you want to expose our friends?" he told reporters. "The countries who have helped us don't want us to disclose the source."

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/14-Mar-2014/saudi-arabia-loans-pakistan-1-5b

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Africa

 

Gunmen kill at least 69 in northwest Nigeria: lawmaker

March 14, 2014

KANO: Gunmen on motorbikes in northwest Nigeria’s Katsina state killed at least 69 people and torched several homes in attacks on four villages, a local lawmaker told AFP Thursday, amid rising communal tension in the region.

The state’s police chief, Hurdi Mohammed, who gave a lower toll of 30 dead, told AFP the violence was perpetrated by ethnic Fulani herdsmen who have been blamed for scores of deadly raids.

“So far, 69 bodies have been recovered from the attacks carried out by a large group of gunmen riding on motorcycles,” said Katsina lawmaker Abbas Abdullahi Michika of the violence which first broke out late Tuesday.

“The victims include men, women and children. Rescue teams are still combing nearby bushes in search for more bodies,” he told AFP.

He specified that 47 people were killed in the village of Mararrabar Maigora while seven deaths were recorded in both Kura Mota and Unguwar Rimi.

Another eight people were killed in Maigora, according to Michika.

Fulani leaders have for years complained about the loss of grazing land which is crucial to their livelihood, with resentment between the herdsmen and their agrarian neighbours rising over the past decade.

Most of the Fulani-linked violence has been concentrated in the religiously divided centre of the country, where rivalries between mostly Muslim herdsmen and mostly Christian farmers have helped fuel the unrest.

While there is no religion element to the conflict in Katsina, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, tensions between the Fulani and ethnically Hausa farmers have worsened in recent months. Residents have blamed the Fulani for several violent robberies this year.

Three people were killed earlier this month in Katsina when suspected Fulani gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/foreign/14-Mar-2014/gunmen-kill-at-least-69-in-northwest-nigeria-lawmaker

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Gambia to drop English as 'colonial relic'

13 Mar 2014

Gambia will drop English as an official language soon because it is a colonial relic, President Yahya Jammeh has said, without indicating which language the tiny West African country would use in its place.

"We no longer believe that for you to be a government you should speak a foreign language. We are going to speak our own language," Jammeh said in an address in English last week that was broadcast on Tuesday.

Gambia's 1.9 million people speak several African languages including Mandingo, Fula and Wolof, the most widely spoken language of Senegal, its only direct neighbour.

The country gained independence from Britain in 1965.

English is the main language of education, but Jammed said that was no reason to keep it.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/03/gambia-drop-english-as-colonial-relic-2014313141814734996.html

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Sudan rebel leaders sentenced to death

13 Mar 2014

Two leaders from the main rebel alliance fighting Sudan's president and 15 members of their group were sentenced to death in absentia, their lawyer said, a move that will raise the stakes in fighting in southern regions.

Malik Agar, who was governor of Sudan's remote Blue Nile state before taking up arms, and Yassir Arman, who stood against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in the 2010 elections, both received death sentences, lawyer Altujani Hassan told Reuters on Thursday.

"The judge Abdelmonem Youness sentenced (them) over staging a war against the state... and terrorism," Altujani Hassan said.

Agar is now the head, and Arman the secretary general, of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N), which is particularly active in southern Blue Nile and oil-producing South Kordofan regions.

Talks adjourned

The movement is part of a rebel umbrella group, also covering strife-torn Darfur in the west, that says it is fighting to bring in democratic reforms and topple Bashir. Khartoum has branded its members terrorists.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/03/sudan-rebel-leaders-sentenced-death-201431319916386507.html

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Leaders hold South Sudan crisis summit as fighting rages

March 14, 2014

ADDIS ABABA: East African heads of state met in Addis Ababa Thursday in the latest push for peace in war-torn South Sudan, where almost three months of raging conflict has left thousands dead.

Leaders from the East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), were hosted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to “deliberate on the current situation” in the troubled fledgling nation, a statement read.

The one-day meeting comes as South Sudan’s army spokesman reported fresh clashes in the strategic oil city of Malakal, one of the hardest fought battlegrounds in the conflict, and which has switched hands several times.

“There has been fighting between our forces and the rebels in and around Malakal town for the last two days,” army spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir was at the meeting, but no direct talks between his government and the rebels were due to take place until next week.

The two sides signed an IGAD-brokered ceasefire agreement on January 23, but heavy fighting has continued.

IGAD and the African Union will “work on how best to implement the cessation of hostilities” agreement, AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has sent in troops to back Kiir’s forces and fight rebel troops, was also present.

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, whose nation is heavily dependent on the oil from landlocked South Sudan which transits through Khartoum to the coast, was also at the meeting.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/foreign/14-Mar-2014/leaders-hold-south-sudan-crisis-summit-as-fighting-rages

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S.Africa Muslim Parties Unite For Polls

12 March 2014

CAIRO – As South Africans charge their batteries for next May's general elections, two Cape Islamic parties have joined forces to unite South Africa Muslim voters under one banner and rise as a new political force in Western Cape province.

“Both parties will remain independent for now, but will campaign the national and provincial elections jointly under the Al Jama-ah,” Al Jama-ah Community Party leader Ganief Hendricks said, Independent Online reported on Tuesday, March 11.

Preparing for next May 7 elections, Al Jama-ah Community Party and the Africa Muslim Party announced that they would campaign together under the banner of Al Jama-ah Community Party.

The unity decision followed complaints from South Africa Muslims about deciding which party to vote for.

Accordingly, Al Jama-ah party was expected to be the only Islamic party competing in the Western Cape Province elections.

After the unity decision, the Islamic parties were expected to gain enough votes to be the kingmakers in the province.

Al-Jaamah is not the first Islamic party to jump into the election fray in South Africa.

When the first democratic elections took place in 1994, the Africa Muslim Party (AMP) contested the National Assembly and the provincial legislature while the Islamic Party (IP) contested the provincial legislature.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/africa/470191-safrica-muslim-parties-unite-for-polls.html

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North America

 

Religious beliefs of American Muslims influence attitudes toward organ donation

March 13, 2014

American Muslims who interpret negative events in life as punishment from God are less likely to believe that donating organs after death is ethical than those with a more positive outlook, according to a survey conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago's Program on Medicine and Religion.

The study points to a complex relationship between attitudes toward organ donation and the Islamic faith. Previous research has shown that Muslims are less likely than other religious groups to believe organ donation is ethically justified, and suggests that religious values may be an obstacle to donation. This study, however, published online March 13, 2014 by the journal Transplantation, found that overall levels of religiosity among American Muslims did not influence attitudes toward organ donation.

"We need to unpack the theology and understand why certain people believe that God is punishing them and how that impacts their health behaviors," said study author Aasim Padela, MD, director of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago. "The medical community can't do that alone. The Muslim religious community has to be involved and work with researchers and clinicians to explore and intervene upon these ideas," he said. "As we see in this study, it affects organ donation attitudes and may impact other health behaviors."

Padela and his colleagues surveyed a group of 97 adults recruited from mosques about aspects of their religious beliefs and opinions about organ donation after death. Of this group, only race and ethnicity were associated with organ-donation attitudes; sex, country of origin, duration of residency in the United States, educational level and health insurance status did not matter. Arab Americans were more likely to believe that organ donation is justified than South Asian or African American Muslims.

Survey respondents who had higher levels of negative religious coping— the belief that negative events like sickness are punishment from God —- were much less likely to agree with organ donation after death.

Full report at:

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-religious-beliefs-american-muslims-attitudes.html

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Muslim American group seeks bigger role in American politics

March 13, 2014

In a joint press conferences held in Washington DC Wednesday, leaders of  several  national Muslim organizations announced the formation of a new umbrella organization to empower the Muslim-American community and  to enhance Muslims political participation in the U.S.

The new organization, called the US Council of Muslim Organizations  will be based in Washington D.C. and  will work to advance American Muslims political participation.  A statement issued by the new group said that “The new national council’s first priority will be to build on Muslim citizenship rights by conducting a census of American Muslims to create a database that will be used to enhance political participation in upcoming elections. “

Oussama Al Jammal the secretary General of the new group told the Arab Daily News that the new organization seeks to take advantage of the political climate in the country that courts minority votes which would in turn help minority groups, Muslims among them, attain better standing and influence within the American political system.

‘The republicans lost the last presidential elections because they lost the minority Latino vote” said Al Jammal. Based on that understanding and  on the changing American political system, Al Jammal’s group hopes to become the main driver of Muslim political participation  that will eventually place the community  in a position to play the same role Latino’s did in 2012.

brahim Hooper the National Communication director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, told the Arab Daily News that the main goal of the new organization, when it comes to politics, is “ mobilization” and “ get out to vote” campaigns, and not necessarily endorsing particular candidates. He said that this idea has been floating for three years on how to organize the local and regional Muslim communities, Mosques, organizations ,and Shura Councils across US cities.

Full report at:

http://thearabdailynews.com/2014/03/13/muslim-american-group-seeks-bigger-role-american-politics/

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Blasphemy law use on rise, led by Pakistan: US group

March 14, 2014

WASHINGTON: Governments around the world are increasingly invoking blasphemy laws, with Pakistan by far the country that jails the most citizens for allegedly attacking religion, a US report said on Thursday. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government advisory panel, voiced fear that the rise in laws banning blasphemy was leading to punishment of people who merely express different religious views or who have been falsely accused. The report found Pakistan used its controversial law at a level “incomparable” to anywhere else; listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for alleged blasphemy against Islam. Pakistan has never carried out the death penalty for blasphemy, but the report charged that the law – and the lack of procedural safeguards – has contributed to an alarming number of mob attacks and vigilante violence against minorities.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/foreign/14-Mar-2014/blasphemy-law-use-on-rise-led-by-pakistan-us-group

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India

 

Muslim IDPs 'systematically sidelined' in Indian Housing Project

13 March 2014

The Indian Housing Project currently underway in the Northern Province is sidelining the region’s Muslim community, and the Indian Government needs to take measures to ensure that all ethnicities are treated equally when providing houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a Muslim religious organization said today.

The organization, Northern Provincial Majlisul Ulama Board, made this allegation in a letter addressed to Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Singha, after handing over an appeal to the Indian High Commission on behalf of 100, 000 Muslim IDPs in the country’s Northern and Eastern provinces. The IDPs were those who were forcibly evicted from the north and east by the LTTE, and were displaced in such districts as Puttalam, Kurunegala and Colombo, the organization said. 

While expressing gratitude to the Government of India for undertaking the housing project, which aims to construct 50, 000 houses for IDPs in the north and east, the organization claimed Muslims were being ‘systematically sidelined’ during the process of allocating houses.

“In this programme formulated in the Northern Province, in Mannar district, 49 Tamil villages, 27 Muslim villages, 01 Sinhala village and 08 mixed villages are selected as beneficiaries and it is formulated stage by stage as Stage 1, 2, and 3. It should be borne in mind that the Muslims are being systematically sidelined in a planned manner in all 03 stages,” the Ulama Board alleges in the letter.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.lk/edition/breaking-news/item/26867-muslim-idps-systematically-sidelined-in-indian-housing-project.html

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Bengal’s politics flocks to Muslim preacher

March 14, 2014

Last Friday, it was Biman Bose, Left Front chairman and CPM state secretary. On the following two days, he was followed by Mukul Roy, Shubhendu Adhikary and Sultan Ahmed of the Trinamool Congress, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury of the Congress, CPM rebel Abdur Rezaq Mollah, and even the BJP’s Joy Banerjee, the actor.

In election season, they were seeking the blessings of a Muslim leader of growing influence in West Bengal. The political leaders have pledged various kinds of support, not only for the 14th-century shrine where he preaches but also for the people living around it.

Toha Siddique is Mukhya Nirdeshak (chief instructor) at Furfura Durbar Sharif at Sreerampore in Hooghly, considered a holy place all over West Bengal. Every year during Isale Sawab, a three-day religious congregation in early March, the shrine sees 30 to 35 lakh visitors — Muslims, Hindus and devotees of other faiths from all over the state and outside.

When Joy Banerjee met him for blessings, Siddique asked, “Are you a man or a BJP member?” “I am first a man and then a BJP member,” replied the actor, who is contesting from Birbhum. “In that case, I will pray to Allah for your well-being,” the religious leader said.

Siddique says he dislikes those who uses religion to meet their political ends. “All leaders have come for the blessings of Malik (God) and I pray for all of them. I can not make any discrimination there,” he says. “But I don’t like those who come here with the narrow objective of Muslim support during elections.”Siddique attacks the ruling Trinamool Congress for failing to deliver on its promises to Muslims. “Looking at Mamata Banerjee’s promises, my Hindu brethren may think whatever welfare measures her government is taking are all for Muslims.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/bengals-politics-flocks-to-muslim-preacher/

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Students Islamic Organization of India’s manifesto for political parties

Rakhi Chakrabarty

 Mar 14, 2014

NEW DELHI: The Students Islamic Organization of India, students' wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, announced a 25-point demands charter for political parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Releasing the manifesto, SIO president Ashfaq Ahmed told reporters, "History in our textbooks is being distorted. Secular fabric of the nation is under strain with the kind of content being put in textbooks taught to students."

Referring to BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi, he said, "Muslims are not against development. But there is no inclusive development in Modi's politics. Modi does not have a specific development model. His talks mean nothing."

Ahmed hit out at the Congress-led UPA government, too. "The Congress government has not fulfilled the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. There are various recommendations that are yet to be implemented," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/specials/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/Students-Islamic-Organization-of-Indias-manifesto-for-political-parties/articleshow/31979731.cms?

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Mohammad Kaif takes fresh guard under new skipper Rahul Gandhi

Mar 14, 2014

ALLAHABAD: Former Test cricketer and Congress nominee from Phulpur parliamentary constituency Mohammad Kaif was accorded a grand reception on his arrival to his hometown, on Thursday.

In a reminiscent to his return to the city after the heroic innings at Lords, supporters in thousands thronged Bamrauli Airport to join his procession that headed towards Anand Bhawan, where the cricketer-turned-politician went straight to offer floral tributes to Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the country and the winner from the Phulpur seat throughout his life.

Hailing the decision of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for fielding him from the prestigious Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, Kaif, who rose to stardom after his heroic knock at Lords in the final of the Natwest Trophy in 2002, said: "I am getting tremendous support and I am confident of my victory." He added modestly: "I never knew I am so popular. I had not expected such a huge crowd welcoming me."

Exuding confidence, Kaif, who has been sent to bat by the new captain Rahul Gandhi to bail out the team from trouble, said: "Congress would sweep the elections and form the next government. It was Rahul Gandhi's persuasion and drawing inspiration that I agreed to contest the election from Phulpur."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/specials/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/Mohammad-Kaif-takes-fresh-guard-under-new-skipper-Rahul-Gandhi/articleshow/31978570.cms?

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Muslim bodies in Gautam Budh Nagar consider NOTA

Mar 14, 2014

GREATER NOIDA: Tired of empty promises, Muslim committees in Gautam Budh Nagar and neighbouring districts have kicked off a drive to avoid voting against corrupt politicians and parties with many deciding to exercise the NOTA (None Of The Above) option.

Committee office-bearers said the poor performance of the UP government and the inaction against large-scale grabbing of Waqf land has forced committees to avoid political parties. Kadalpur, a Muslim-dominated village made headlines last year after suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal for allegedly demolishing the wall of an under-construction mosque when she was posted as a sub-divisional magistrate in the district.

Residents claimed that politicians had made a beeline for the village in the aftermath of the disputed incident but did not pay any attention later.

Full report at:

Sabha-poll-Muslim-bodies-in-Gautam-Budh-Nagar-consider-NOTA/articleshow/31973391.cms?

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Mideast

 

Iran Launches “Islamic Nobel Prize”

14 March 2014

By Rodolfo Calò: FinnBay-ANSAmed:

The presentation of what has been dubbed the ‘Islamic Nobel Prize’ for science and technology was held on Monday in the Iranian capital’s Pardis Technological Park.

The Mustafa Science and Technology Prize, in honor of one of the 201 names (”the chosen one”) of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), aims to encourage scholars from Muslim countries and those of the south-eastern Mediterranean to promote and elevate their works.

The prize intends to create a platform for scientists and specialists to present their latest works and to increase scientific and technological collaboration in the Islamic world.

The prize includes 500,000 dollars, a medal and a certificate, and will be given by Pardis in three sectors: life sciences and medicine, nanosciences and nanotechnology, and information and communication technologies. A fourth prize, for the Best Muslim Scientist, will also be assigned.

For the first three categories, the candidates will have to be citizens of a Muslim country, while to compete for the fourth the scientist must simply be a Muslim. There will be 257 universities, academies, research centers and technological parks conducting the pre-selection, a list of which is available on the prize website.

The deadline to submit candidatures to these institutes for the first edition of the prize is June 14. The awards ceremony will take place between January 4-9 and will be flanked by a series of events, including a five-day ‘Islamic Nations Festival of Science and Technology’.

The label ‘Islamic Nobel Prize’ was used on Monday by Pardis director Mehdi Safarinia, who underscored that Muslim scientists are often underestimated but deserve recognition for their "excellent work”.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/health-and-science/news/470227-iran-launches-islamic-nobel-prize.html

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Iran general: ‘Our hands are on the trigger’ to destroy Israel

March 11, 2014

The air force commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps was quoted by Iran’s Fars news agency as saying Tuesday that Iran’s military has its finger on the trigger to destroy Israel as soon as it receives the order to do so

In an article headlined “IRGC Commander: Iran’s Finger on Trigger to Destroy Zionist Regime,” Fars wrote that Brigadier General Hossein Salami had declared that Iranian military commanders are prepared to attack and destroy the Zionist regime of Israel as soon as they receive such an order. “Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Fars quoted Salami as telling a conference in Tehran Tuesday on “The Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power.”

Iranian leaders regularly issue threats against Israel and the United States, but the wording ascribed to Salami on Tuesday was particularly aggressive.

“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400 kilometers away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he was also quoted saying in the speech.

The comments came a day after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a shipment of what he said were Iranian arms intercepted at sea last week, which he charged were intended for terror groups in Gaza. Netanyahu castigated the West for clinging to the illusion that Iran had changed, and said it remained relentlessly committed to fostering terrorism and advancing a nuclear weapons program.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-general-our-hands-are-on-the-trigger-to-destroy-israel/

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Tayyip's tapes: Muslim democracy, sleaze and bribery

Dr. Can Erimtan

March 11, 2014

The Turkish corruption saga, which also appears to be the chronicle of a behind-the-scenes power struggle, gets more convoluted by the day.

Even though the graft probe started on December 17, new developments and more and more shocking revelations are ensuring that the rift between the opposing parties becomes bigger and bigger, solidifying the already-existing polarization in Turkish society. And now, the recent alleged sound recordings of telephone conversations between the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son Bilal have really brought the whole situation to a head. On the one hand, the opposition, led by the CHP-leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu, is calling for the beleaguered PM to stand down, while his supporters defend his soiled reputation as a sound Muslim who lives in fear of Allah.

Late on Monday, February 24, a veritable bombshell, or the "mother of all bombs" in the words of the Turkish commentator Mustafa Akyol, hit the Turkish internet: audio recordings in which Erdogan can be heard instructing his son, Bilal, to get rid of enormous sums of money, were posted on YouTube.

Quite naturally, the public's immediate reaction was outrage and disgust, although some appeared more phlegmatic, stating that it was to be expected. Yet the government kept its cool, denouncing the recordings, funnily enough called tape (pronounced tah-peh) in the Turkish media, as fakes and presenting them as yet another attempt of the “Parallel Structure” arguably headed by the US-residing Fethullah Gülen, to discredit the AKP government and its charismatic leader. On February 26, a second recording was uploaded to YouTube and announced on Twitter by a shadowy collective calling itself Haramzadeler – this one involving a businessman Sıtkı Ayan, and the offer of $10 million.

These taped recordings are an embarrassment to Erdogan, who has always prided himself with being squeaky clean. As I wrote some time ago, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been at pains to portray itself as a pure and clean political entity. Hence, defending his leader's reputation, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag stated that the release of illegal sound recording was nothing but a “dirty game” and that "[t]here is an investigation into this [affair]; when that finishes the truth will come out, but we know this is fabricated. It is not possible to harm the AK party with corruption allegations; people know very well how we [have] served this country.”

Full report at:

http://rt.com/op-edge/turkey-corruption-erdogan-scandal-158/

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Turkish military steps up measures for tomb in Syria amid al-Qaeda presence

March/14/2014

The Turkish Army is preparing measures regarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah in Syria’s Aleppo province, after clashes between opposition groups the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) intensified in the region and the al-Qaeda affiliated organization took control of Karakozak town.

There has been no attack to the tomb yet, but the Turkish Armed Forces are readying necessary plans to respond to any intervention at the tomb of Suleyman Shah, according to Turkish military sources.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-military-steps-up-measures-for-tomb-in-syria-amid-al-qaeda-presence-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=63573&NewsCatID=352

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Gaza strikes draw Abbas call for Israel to halt ‘escalation’

March 14, 2014

GAZA CITY: Israel pounded nearly 30 targets in Gaza overnight after militants fired scores of rockets into the south, prompting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to demand Thursday that it halt its “escalation.”

The rocket barrage, which was the heaviest since an eight-day conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers in November 2012, sent thousands of Israelis fleeing for cover across the south on Wednesday afternoon. So far, there have been no reports of casualties on either side of the border.

And experts said Israel was not interested in a major confrontation with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The latest tit-for-tat violence was sparked by an incident on Tuesday when militants of the hardline Islamic Jihad group fired a mortar round at troops allegedly trying to enter southern Gaza, prompting an Israeli air strike which killed three of them. In retaliation, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Quds Brigades, fired scores of rockets over the border on Wednesday, with the group putting the number at 130.

Israel responded with air strikes on 29 targets across Gaza, hitting bases used by Hamas as well as those of Islamic Jihad, which has so far claimed all of the rocket fire.

The army said more than 60 rockets had struck southern Israel, five of them hitting populated areas. Another three were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system.

“In response to the massive rocket attack that hit Israel earlier this evening, the Israel Air Force targeted 29 terror sites in the Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed,” it said.

Security sources in Gaza said there were no casualties in the air strikes as all the sites had been evacuated.

Early Thursday, militants fired another five rockets but only one struck Israeli territory, the army said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/foreign/14-Mar-2014/gaza-strikes-draw-abbas-call-for-israel-to-halt-escalation

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Iran ‘not open for business,’ Kerry tells senators

 March 14, 2014

WASHINGTON  - US sanctions against Iran remain undiluted and Washington has sent a clear message to other countries that Iran is not open for business, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

Kerry told US senators on Capitol Hill that Washington’s tough sanctions regime against Tehran has not been weakened by an initial agreement late last year between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear ambitions.“We have made it crystal clear that Iran is not open for business,” Kerry said at a US Senate subcommittee hearing. “They have accepted that. They are not cutting deals.”

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/international/14-Mar-2014/iran-not-open-for-business-kerry-tells-senators

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URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘bangladesh-armed-group-al-badr-comprised-of-madrasa-students,-biharis’/d/56144

 

 

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