New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 06:50 PM

Islamic World News ( 3 March 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Bangladesh Considering Abandoning Islam as Its Official Religion Following Extremist Attacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Demonstrators protest against an extremist-related attack in Bangladesh. The country is now considering dropping Islam as the state religion

 

Dictators Did More for Islamisation Of Laws In The Country: Pakistan CII

Over 130 ISIL Militants Killed in Aleppo

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South Asia

Bangladesh Considering Abandoning Islam as Its Official Religion Following Wake Of Extremist Attacks

24 Militants Killed, 20 Wounded During Counter-Terrorism Operations: Mod

10 Militants Affiliated With ISIS Terror Group Killed In Nangarhar

Religion should not be used as a political tool: Hamid Karzai

Kabul-Islamabad ties spoiled by mistrust: Afghan envoy

Taliban prisoner disguised in women’s dress in failed bid to break jail

Afghanistan to give China military equipment wish list

Russia agrees to turn debts payable by Afghanistan into non-refundable grants

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Pakistan

Dictators Did More for Islamisation of Laws In The Country: Pakistan CII

Pakistani Jailed For 13 Years for Posting Religiously Offensive Material on Facebook

Musharraf may testify in Benazir murder, treason cases

Pakistan, Afghanistan to revise transit trade agreement

MQM holds ‘peaceful demonstrations’ after Kamal outburst

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Arab World

Over 130 ISIL Militants Killed in Aleppo

76 Terrorists Killed In Raqqa before Crossing Turkish Border

Nusra Front Militants Killed in Strategic Kurd Village

Yemen Fires another Ballistic Missile Strikes Saudi-Led Forces

ISIL Targets near Maheen City Pounded by Syrian Fighter Jets

Syrian Army Repulses ISIL Aggression near Deir Ezzur Airbase

Syria: Militants Retreat from More Positions in Central Province of Homs

Nearly 30 Militants Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in Deir Ezzur

Top Militant Commander in Aleppo Killed in Syrian Airstrike

Army Continues Advances in Multiple Fronts

UN envoy: Syria cease-fire is holding despite some fighting

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Mideast

Turkey Car Bomb Attack Kills Two Police, Wounds 35

Turkish Court Jails 2 Syrians over Drowning Of Toddler Aylan

Istanbul hit by 3 more armed attacks Thursday

Turkish justice minister says release of journalists ‘violation’ of constitution

Turkey ‘protects & supplies’ Al-Nusra camps at its border – Syria’s YPG to RT

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Europe

Spain Seizes 20,000 Uniforms Meant For IS, Nusra Front

Paris Tells London Migrants Will Flow to UK After EU Exit

Denmark to expand anti-ISIS military mission to Syria

Record 1.25mn asylum seekers arrive in EU in 2015

Russia: Militant Groups Violating Cease-Fire Agreement with Syrian Government

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Africa

East Africa’s Al-Shabaab ‘Can Survive For 30 Years’

2 Italian hostages freed in Libya – source

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North America

US Group Studying Religious Freedom Denied Visa to India

Donald Trump: US needs to stay in Afghanistan to protect Pakistani nuclear weapons

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Southeast Asia

Exploring the Right Context for Authentic and Progressive Interfaith Dialogue in Malaysia

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India

Opposition protests govt's 'interference' in Aligarh Muslim University affairs

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/bangladesh-considering-abandoning-islam-as-its-official-religion-following-wake-of-extremist-attacks/d/106552

 

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Bangladesh considering abandoning Islam as its official religion following wake of extremist attacks

3 March 2016

Bangladesh could drop Islam as the country's official religion following a string of extremist attacks against people of other faiths.

The supreme court in the South Asia nation has began to hear arguments which challenge Islam's status as the official state religion.

It comes after a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi'ites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists.

When Bangladesh was formed in 1971 after the nation split from Pakistan, it was declared a secular state.

However, in 1988 the country's constitution was amended with Islam declared as the state religion.

But this is now being disputed as illegal in the latest court battle and is being supported by religious minority leaders.

Meanwhile the US has also warned that ISIS is stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh, even though the government says the extremist problems are home grown.

There have been a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi'ites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists

One Bangladesh police official told Breitbart: 'We have made arrests on each and every so-called ISIS-claimed attack.

'The attackers have confessed their crimes in court. They have also confessed being a Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh member, and denied any linkage with ISIS.'

However an American director of National Intelligence has insisted attacks were the work of terrorist groups.

In a written testimony to the U.S. Senate James Clapper noted the claims of responsibility from ISIS for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, and claims from the Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been in political ferment since the run-up to January 2014 elections.

They were boycotted by opposition parties, and over war crimes prosecutions brought against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders over alleged involvement in atrocities during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions—including Buddhism and Christianity—make up the rest.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3473136/Bangladesh-considering-abandoning-Islam-official-religion-following-wake-extremist-attacks.html#ixzz41w57AFr1

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Dictators Did More for Islamisation Of Laws In The Country: Pakistan CII

March 4th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) noted on Thursday that only dictators had worked towards the ‘Islamisation’ of laws in the country, whereas democratic governments – especially the PML-N – had been working against Islamic norms.

The council also formally rejected Punjab’s recently-passed Protection of Women bill, as well as the draft of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Domestic Violence bill for encouraging Western norms in society.

Following the conclusion of the two-day CII meeting, Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani and several council members denounced subsequent democratic governments for failing to ensure that all laws of the country are formulated in accordance with Islam.

“Pakistan was established on the basis of the two-nation theory and one of those nations are the followers of Islam. Therefore, all laws and principles in the country have to be in accordance with Islam,” Maulana Sherani said, adding, “But nearly all efforts to bring all laws under the ambit of Sharia have been undertaken in undemocratic eras.”

CII rejects Punjab, KP’s women protection laws; considers bills an attempt to draw women ‘out of the home’

He said that while the CII was established in 1962, six laws – including the Hudood Ordinance and the blasphemy law – were formulated on the recommendations of council in 1983, while the Objectives Resolution of 1949 was incorporated into the Constitution in 1985.

“These milestones towards Islamisation were achieved in undemocratic eras, but the PML-N, which carries the name ‘Muslim League’, is trying to undo all Islamic structures in the country,” Maulana Sherani maintained.

He was referring to the two bills scrutinised by the council on Thursday. While the Punjab Assembly has already approved the Protection of Women bill, the KP draft bill is unique in that this is the first instance in Pakistan’s history where a province has asked the CII to whet a law.

“Both the bills – the Punjab law and the KP draft – are contrary to Sharia, our culture and the norms of our society,” the CII chief said.

Both bills, he claimed, aimed to undo ‘family values’ as there was no mention of respectable relations such as mothers, sons/daughters, husbands and wives.

“The bills contain the terms ‘male/female child, persons etc’, which discourages relations based on family values – promoting the way they live in the West,” Maulana Sherani said, as other clerics belonging to the Shia, Deobandi and Barelvi sects nodded in appreciation. The lone woman in the CII, Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, was also among them.

The CII chairman said that another conspiracy to break the family structures was bringing women out of the protection of their homes.

“Now they want to encourage women to kick their husbands out and see them in chains – eventually the state and authorities will be in a position to control society,” he added.

The CII chief was asked if there were any alternative solutions for the issues and problems that had led Punjab t pass the bill.

“The solution is that Punjab should undo this Bill and then forward a formal request to the CII to suggest ways and means for the protection of women from domestic violence,” he said, adding that laws against domestic violence were already present in the Pakistan Penal Code.

Incidentally, the CII did not recommend any alternate Sharia-compliant solution for the KP government even though the draft bill against domestic violence was officially forwarded to the council for its opinion.

dawn.com/news/1243422/dictators-did-more-for-islamisation-says-sherani

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Over 130 ISIL Militants Killed in Aleppo

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL's offensive on the Syrian army and popular forces in Aleppo backfired and inflicted a heavy toll on the terrorist group.

"The ISIL attacked the Aleppo-Khanaser-Ithria road on Thursday but it was pushed back by the Syrian army forces and lost 130 members," a military source said today.

Wednesday reports said that the Syrian army troops and their allies deployed in Southeastern and Northeastern Aleppo and Hama provinces respectively are preparing to launch a joint anti-terrorism operation to free more lands in ISIL-held Raqqa province.

The Syrian soldiers, deployed in Ithriya in Hama province, are going to assault the Western countryside of Raqqa province and they are going to lead the operation to liberate the Tabaqa Military Airport from ISIL.

Since the Khanaser-Aleppo road is now free of danger, the army troops and their pro-government allies in Southeastern part of Aleppo are preparing for what is likely to be the largest military operation launched during this brutal conflict.

The pro-government forces have been given direct orders from Syrian Army’s Central Command to redeploy to the desert-city of Ithriya and await further instruction.

The desert-city of Ithriya is strategically located in the Hama province's Northeastern countryside; it borders the Aleppo province to the North and it is situated 15 km West of Raqqa axis.

On Tuesday, a senior military strategist and expert underlined that the recent military gains of the Syrian army in the Northern part of Raqqa paved the way for raiding Raqqa city in the coming days.

"The seizing back of Khanaser and Ithriya-Khanaser road and several villages near there is highly important because in this case the Syrian army will be able to take control of other towns in Aleppo," Major General Sabet Mohammad told FNA.

He reiterated that Ithriya-Khanaser road is highly strategic because it links Aleppo city to neighboring provinces.

General Mohammad pointed to Turkey's support for the terrorist groups, and said, "The government of (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan has shown that it is still continuing its support for the terrorist groups in Syria and it was just three days ago that Turkey sent over 200 terrorists from its soil to the town of Tal Abyadh in Aleppo province."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000648

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South Asia

Bangladesh considering abandoning Islam as its official religion following wake of extremist attacks

3 March 2016

Bangladesh could drop Islam as the country's official religion following a string of extremist attacks against people of other faiths.

The supreme court in the South Asia nation has began to hear arguments which challenge Islam's status as the official state religion.

It comes after a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi'ites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists.

When Bangladesh was formed in 1971 after the nation split from Pakistan, it was declared a secular state.

However, in 1988 the country's constitution was amended with Islam declared as the state religion.

But this is now being disputed as illegal in the latest court battle and is being supported by religious minority leaders.

Meanwhile the US has also warned that ISIS is stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh, even though the government says the extremist problems are home grown.

There have been a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi'ites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists

One Bangladesh police official told Breitbart: 'We have made arrests on each and every so-called ISIS-claimed attack.

'The attackers have confessed their crimes in court. They have also confessed being a Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh member, and denied any linkage with ISIS.'

However an American director of National Intelligence has insisted attacks were the work of terrorist groups.

In a written testimony to the U.S. Senate James Clapper noted the claims of responsibility from ISIS for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, and claims from the Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been in political ferment since the run-up to January 2014 elections.

They were boycotted by opposition parties, and over war crimes prosecutions brought against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders over alleged involvement in atrocities during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions—including Buddhism and Christianity—make up the rest.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3473136/Bangladesh-considering-abandoning-Islam-official-religion-following-wake-extremist-attacks.html#ixzz41w57AFr1

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24 militants killed, 20 wounded during counter-terrorism operations: MoD

By Khaama Press - Fri Mar 04 2016

At least 24 anti-government armed militants were killed 24 others were wounded in the latest counter-terrorism operations conducted by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

The operations were conducted in various provinces of the country to clear the areas where the anti-government armed militants are active.

A statement by MoD said at least 10 militants were killed and 5 others were wounded in Achin district of Nangarhar province.

The statement further added that 9 militants were killed and 6 others were wounded during an operation in Khanshin district of Helmand.

In a separate operation in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province, at least 3 militants were killed and 2 others were wounded, the statement added.

3 militants were killed and 7 others were wounded in separate operations in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz and Geru district of Ghazni province, MoD said, adding that the Afghan security forces also confiscated various types of weapons, ammunition and explosives during the same operations.

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier also lost his live during the clearance operations, MoD added.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the operations so far.

khaama.com/24-militants-killed-20-wounded-during-counter-terrorism-operations-mod-0244

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10 militants affiliated with ISIS terror group killed in Nangarhar

By Khaama Press - Fri Mar 04 2016

At least ten militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the ongoing operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office said the operations are being conducted in Achin district and at least five militants were also injured.

According to an official statement, the operations are being conducted jointly by the Afghan army, Afghan border and public order police, and Afghan intelligence operatives.

The Afghan forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations against the loyalists of the terror group amid concerns that the group is attempting to establish a regional base in Nangarhar.

The US Forces in Afghanistan have increased air campaign against the terror group in this province, carrying at least 20 airstrikes between late January and early February.

At least seven militants of the terror group were killed in the latest airstrike by coalition forces in Achin district last week.

The coalition officials estimate around 1,000 to 3,000 Islamic State fighters are stationed in in eastern Afghanistan and are trying to establish a base of operations in the rugged mountains of Nangahar Province.

khaama.com/10-militants-affiliated-with-isis-terror-group-killed-in-nangarhar-0242

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Religion should not be used as a political tool:Hamid Karzai

Mar 4, 2016

KANPUR: Religion should not be used as a political tool as it causes immense harm, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai has said, asking Pakistan to turn a new leaf so that there is peace in the region and the countries can progress.

The people of Afghanistan were "misled" in the name of religion, he said while interacting with IIT-Kanpur students during the annual technical festival 'Techkriti' last evening.

Karzai, who recalled his student days in India, said when he returned to Afghanistan, the environment had considerably deteriorated as "on one hand there was Soviet Union which wanted to impose communist ideology and on the other hand there was Pakistan indulging in religious extremism. Afghanistan was caught in the middle and completely destroyed as a result".

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Religion-should-not-be-used-as-a-political-toolHamid-Karzai/articleshow/51253360.cms

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Kabul-Islamabad ties spoiled by mistrust: Afghan envoy

March 4th, 2016

PESHAWAR: Afghan ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal has said the atmosphere of mistrust and fears has marred the relations between his country and Pakistan and therefore, concrete measures should be taken to build mutual trust.

“There is no dispute between the two countries except distrust. Both the countries should take serious steps for building trust,” he said during a brief chat with media here on Thursday.

When a journalist asked that Pakistan was asking for action against outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah but the Afghan government was hesitant, the envoy said Kabul would not allow terrorists to operate from the areas under its control, as such activities were not in the interest of Afghanistan.

He, however, didn’t elaborate on how much area was under the Afghan government’s control and if Pakistan’s claims were correct that the outlawed militant commander was hiding in Afghanistan.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1243435/kabul-islamabad-ties-spoiled-by-mistrust-afghan-envoy

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Taliban prisoner disguised in women’s dress in failed bid to break jail

By Khaama Press - Fri Mar 04 2016

A Taliban prisoner disguised in women’s dress and burqa in a bid to break jail in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan was arrested by the security forces before he manage to pass through the final exit gate of the jail.

According to the local security officials, the failed attempt by the prisoner was made in Sherbarghan city, the provincial capital of Jawzjan province.

The prisoner was identified as Mohammad Nader who was serving in the jail for having links with the Taliban group, Gen. Dil Agha Adil, head of Sar-e-Pul jail told RFE/Radio Liberty.

Full report at: khaama.com/taliban-prisoner-disguised-in-womens-dress-in-failed-bid-to-break-jail-0245

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Afghanistan to give China military equipment wish list

By Khaama Press - Fri Mar 04 2016

Afghanistan is preparing a wish list of military equipment for China to assist the Afghan national security forces, the defense officials have said.

Deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Mohammad Radmanish told RFE that a committee has been established to identify the needs of the Afghan forces.

He said the work of the committee is expected to conclude by the end of this week and a wish list of the military equipment will be prepared.

Full report at: khaama.com/afghanistan-to-give-china-military-equipment-wish-list-0241

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Russia agrees to turn debts payable by Afghanistan into non-refundable grants

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

Russia has agreed to turn a long-standing debt payable by Afghanistan into a non-refundable aid, the Afghan finance officials said Thursday.

Finance Minister Eklil Ahmadi Hakimi welcomed and hailed Moscow’s commitment to strenghten and expand trade, economic and social relations between the two nations.

Mr. Hakimi further added that postive developments have been made to resolve the oustanding debts payable to Russia as Moscow has agreed to turn the outstanding payments into non-refundable grants.

Full report at: khaama.com/russia-agrees-to-turn-debts-payable-by-afghanistan-into-non-refundable-grants-0240

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Pakistan

Dictators Did More for Islamisation Of Laws In The Country: Pakistan CII

March 4th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) noted on Thursday that only dictators had worked towards the ‘Islamisation’ of laws in the country, whereas democratic governments – especially the PML-N – had been working against Islamic norms.

The council also formally rejected Punjab’s recently-passed Protection of Women bill, as well as the draft of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Domestic Violence bill for encouraging Western norms in society.

Following the conclusion of the two-day CII meeting, Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani and several council members denounced subsequent democratic governments for failing to ensure that all laws of the country are formulated in accordance with Islam.

“Pakistan was established on the basis of the two-nation theory and one of those nations are the followers of Islam. Therefore, all laws and principles in the country have to be in accordance with Islam,” Maulana Sherani said, adding, “But nearly all efforts to bring all laws under the ambit of Sharia have been undertaken in undemocratic eras.”

CII rejects Punjab, KP’s women protection laws; considers bills an attempt to draw women ‘out of the home’

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1243422/dictators-did-more-for-islamisation-says-sherani

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Pakistani Jailed For 13 Years for Posting Religiously Offensive Material on Facebook

AFP | Mar 3, 2016

LAHORE, Pakistan: A Pakistani man was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Thursday for allegedly posting religiously offensive material on his Facebook page, lawyers in the case said.

Rizwan Haider, 25, was convicted in an anti-terrorism court of three charges including promoting sectarian hatred, after he supposedly published a post referring to Prophet Mohammed.

"This case... was registered against Haider, who is a Shiite Muslim by faith, in January for posting objectionable material against the belief of Sunni Muslims," Adeel Chattah, public prosecutor in the case, told AFP.

He was also fined 250,000 rupees ($2,500), Chattah said, adding that he denied the charges and has the right to appeal.

His lawyer dismissed the accusations.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-jailed-for-13-years-for-Facebook-post/articleshow/51244099.cms

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Musharraf may testify in Benazir murder, treason cases

Mar 4, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf is expected to testify in two important cases - one relating to Benazir Bhutto's murder and the other concerning high treason charge - in the coming weeks.

He was implicated in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's murder case in 2010 and high treason case in 2013, Dawn online reported on Friday.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) of Rawalpindi and the special court seized with the high treason case may summon Musharraf to defend himself and counter the evidence produced by prosecutors in the two cases.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Musharraf-may-testify-in-Benazir-murder-treason-cases/articleshow/51249907.cms

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Pakistan, Afghanistan to revise transit trade agreement

March 4th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed on a facilitation package to boost bilateral trade to $5 billion in the next few years.

An official of the commerce ministry told Dawn that in the first step the two countries would exchange revised draft transit trade agreement, by March 15 at the latest. “We are expecting to receive the draft from Kabul within the deadline,” the official added.

Draft amendments would then be deliberated at the 7th meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) to be held in last week of this month, the official added. “Kabul will host the crucial meeting to finalise the revised treaty.”

According to the Article 50 of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), the provisions of the present agreement shall be revised and amended appropriately to facilitate transit trade.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1243372/pakistan-afghanistan-to-revise-transit-trade-agreement

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MQM holds ‘peaceful demonstrations’ after Kamal outburst

March 4th, 2016

KARACHI: To express solidarity with their party chief Altaf Hussain after former Karachi mayor decimated him in a press conference Thursday afternoon, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers and activists launched peaceful protest rallies at several locations in Karachi on Friday.

Kamal had criticised Altaf Hussain for “deception” and what he called ‘poor running of one of Karachi’s strongest political parties.’

In a speech that lasted nearly two hours, Kamal also announced the formation of a new political party, which he said is yet to be named. He raised a Pakistani flag and said it is the official emblem of his newly launched organisation.

The ex-nazim went on to say that Hussain had been ‘receiving funds from Indian spy agency RAW’ and that his policies had ‘ruined two generations of Urdu-speaking people.’ He claimed the MQM chief is a ‘drunk’ who ‘addresses gatherings while intoxicated.’

The MQM had termed Kamal’s presser a conspiracy in a press conference after Kamal’s diatribe, terming all allegations against Altaf Hussain ‘an insult to the intelligence of those who vote for the party.’

“The return of Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani is part of a conspiracy but MQM stands by Altaf Hussain,” said party leader Farooq Sattar.

In a statement released by the party, it said peaceful protest demonstrations will be organised in Landhi, Korangi, Malir, Shah Faisal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Lines Area, Defence, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Surjani, Qasba Aligarh, Orangi Town, Federal B Area, and Nazimabad.

dawn.com/news/1243535/mqm-holds-peaceful-demonstrations-after-kamal-outburst

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Arab World

Over 130 ISIL Militants Killed in Aleppo

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL's offensive on the Syrian army and popular forces in Aleppo backfired and inflicted a heavy toll on the terrorist group.

"The ISIL attacked the Aleppo-Khanaser-Ithria road on Thursday but it was pushed back by the Syrian army forces and lost 130 members," a military source said today.

Wednesday reports said that the Syrian army troops and their allies deployed in Southeastern and Northeastern Aleppo and Hama provinces respectively are preparing to launch a joint anti-terrorism operation to free more lands in ISIL-held Raqqa province.

The Syrian soldiers, deployed in Ithriya in Hama province, are going to assault the Western countryside of Raqqa province and they are going to lead the operation to liberate the Tabaqa Military Airport from ISIL.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000648

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76 Terrorists Killed in Raqqa before Crossing Turkish Border

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army forces blocked the ISIL terrorists' entry into Syria from Turkey by killing 76 of them.

The Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) killed the terrorists when they were attempting to cross the Turkish border towards Tal Abyadh in Raqqa province in Northern Syria.

According to field sources, the clashes have now ended in the region as curfew was established by the army.

Battlefield sources said on Wednesday that tens of ISIL terrorists were killed or wounded in fierce clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the YPG in the Northern part of Raqqa province near the border with Turkey.

"A vast area between the border town of Tal Abyadh and al-Kantari and near the Raqqa-Turkey highway was the scene of heavy fighting between the Kurdish fighters and the Takfiri militants," the sources said, adding, "The ISIL left behind tens of the dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield to find safer positions."

Report said earlier on Wednesday that the Syrian army troops and their allies deployed in Southeastern and Northeastern areas of Aleppo and Hama provinces respectively are preparing to launch a joint anti-terrorism operation to free more lands in ISIL-held Raqqa province.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000589

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Nusra Front Militants Killed in Strategic Kurd Village

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army killed several al-Nusra Front terrorists in a strategic village in Lattakia, mostly resided by the Syrian Kurds.

"4 militants from al-Nusra Front and their allies were killed in conflicts with the army in the strategic village of Kabani inside Jabal al-Akrad (Kurds Mountain) in the Northern countryside of Lattakia," a battlefield source reported on Thursday.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000773

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Yemen Fires Another Ballistic Missile Strikes Saudi-Led Forces

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A missile strike conducted by OTR-21 Tochka mobile missile launch system hit a Saudi-led coalition base in the eastern city of Ma’rib on Thursday.

The strike took place Thursday in less than 24 hours after another ballistic missile hit the same base. No casualties have been reported yet. 

In a relevant development last month, a Yemeni Tochka missile hit the Saudi-led coalition's military base in Ma'rib province, killing tens of coalition servicemen, including 8 senior Saudi and UAE officers.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000798

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ISIL Targets Near Maheen City Pounded by Syrian Fighter Jets

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian air force launched airstrikes against the ISIL headquarters East of the strategic city of Maheen, Southeast of Homs province.

The Thursday airstrikes killed and wounded tens of terrorists and destroyed their vehicles, weapons and ammunitions.

Earlier today, the Syrian warplanes carried out several sorties in different parts of Homs targeting the ISIL positions which killed and wounded dozens of terrorists.

A series of sorties were carried out by the Syrian air force targeting ISIL Takfiri terrorists’ sites in al-Qaryatayn city in the Southeast of Homs city, destroying militants' strongholds, weapons and ammunition and killing tens of them.

More ISIL positions were destroyed, along with their vehicles equipped with machineguns, in army airstrikes in the villages of Um Sahreej, al-Shendakhiyeh al-Janoubiyeh, al-Shendakhiyeh al-Shamaliyeh, al-Msheirfeh al-Janoubiyeh, Unq al-Hawa and in the Eastern parts of Jeb al-Jarrah town.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000731

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Syrian Army Repulses ISIL Aggression near Deir Ezzur Airbase

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops and their popular allies inflicted tens of casualties on invading ISIL militants after their positions in the Eastern parts of Deir Ezzur airbase came under attack by the terrorist group, sources said on Thursday.

According to provincial sources, the ISIL used different types of light and heavy weapons in their offensive launched from the Eastern parts of Deir Ezzur airbase and al-Sarda Mountain.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000351

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Syria: Militants Retreat From More Positions in Central Province of Homs

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and their popular allies continued to advance against the ISIL terrorists Southeast of Homs province and seized one more key village in the region.

The Syrian army, Liwa Suqour al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) imposed full control over the village of al-Bayarat after a violent battle with the ISIL militants.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941214000267

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Nearly 30 Militants Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in Deir Ezzur

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL left behind nearly 30 dead and many more wounded members and retreated after their attempts to prevail over the government forces' lines of defense near Deir Ezzur were thwarted by the Syrian Army's strong defense and Russian air force's bombardments.

The Syrian army, backed up by the Russian fighter jets, repelled the ISIL offensives near the strategic Deir Ezzur airbase, which ended in the killing of nearly 30 terrorists and wounding of 30 more.

The Russian warplanes did not leave any chance for the ISIL to regroup and targeted their convoy of fresh forces before reaching to the battlefield.

In relevant developments in the Eastern battlefield of the country on Thursday, the Syrian army troops and their popular allies inflicted tens of casualties on invading ISIL militants after their positions in the Eastern parts of Deir Ezzur airbase came under attack by the terrorist group.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941214000235

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Top Militant Commander in Aleppo Killed in Syrian Airstrike

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The top Emir (leader) of the ISIL terrorist group was killed in the Syrian fighter jets' combat flight Northeast of Aleppo.

Omar al-Absi (AKA “Abu al-Athir) was reportedly killed by the Syrian Air Force inside the village of Touman in al-Bab Plateau.

On Thursday, the ISIL's offensive on the Syrian army and popular forces in Aleppo backfired and inflicted a heavy toll on the terrorist group.

"The ISIL attacked the Aleppo-Khanaser-Ithriya road on Thursday but it was pushed back by the Syrian army forces and lost 130 members," a military source said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941214000282

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Army Continues Advances in Multiple Fronts

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army backed by the country's air force destroyed terrorists' positions and inflicted heavy casualties on different militant groups in several provinces.

The army hit the militants' positions in Homs, Lattakia, Deir Ezzur, Aleppo and Sweida over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and many more were wounded in the Syrian army's military operations across Syria on Thursday.

Homs

The Syrian air force launched airstrikes against the ISIL headquarters East of the strategic city of Maheen, Southeast of Homs province.

The Thursday airstrikes killed and wounded tens of terrorists and destroyed their vehicles, weapons and ammunitions.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941214000175

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UN envoy: Syria cease-fire is holding despite some fighting

AP | Mar 3, 2016

GENEVA: A US-Russia-brokered cease-fire in Syria, now in its sixth day, is largely holding despite sporadic clashes in some cities and areas, a UN envoy said on Thursday, raising expectations ahead of next week's planned resumption of peace talks in Geneva.

Staffan de Mistura spoke as he convened a group monitoring the truce amid hopes of a breakthrough that could pave the way for regular humanitarian aid deliveries to remote and besieged areas that have been cut off by the fighting.

It was the third meeting of a task force of the International Syria Support Group, made up of world and regional powers under the leadership of the United States and Russia, which is monitoring the "cessation of hostilities'' that began on Saturday. The meeting was taking place behind closed doors.

De Mistura said the cease-fire has "greatly reduced" violence in Syria and laid out hopes to resume peace talks between Syrians, which were called off last month after a spike in fighting.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UN-envoy-Syria-cease-fire-is-holding-despite-some-fighting/articleshow/51244709.cms

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Mideast

Turkey car bomb attack kills two police, wounds 35

March 04, 2016

A car bomb and rocket attack by Kurdish militants killed two police officers and wounded 35 people in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin on Friday, security sources told Reuters.

The attack was carried out around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) by terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the town of Nusaybin, near the Syrian border, they said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A ceasefire between the PKK and the state collapsed last July and attacks on Turkey's security forces have since increased amid a surge in violence in the predominantly Kurdish southeast that has killed hundreds of people.

Full report at: todayszaman.com/national_turkey-car-bomb-attack-kills-two-police-wounds-35_413969.html

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Turkish court jails 2 Syrians over drowning of toddler Aylan

March 04, 2016

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced two Syrians to four years in jail over the drowning of five people including toddler Aylan Kurdi, the image of whose dead body sparked global sympathy last September over the fate of migrants, Doğan news agency said.

Three-year-old Aylan, whose body washed up on a beach in southwest Turkey, drowned along with his mother and brother among a group of migrants trying to reach Greece by boat.

The two Syrians were each sentenced to four years and two months in jail for smuggling, Doğan reported. They were acquitted of a charge of causing death through conscious neglect.

Full report at: todayszaman.com/national_turkish-court-jails-2-syrians-over-drowning-of-toddler-aylan_413994.html

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Istanbul hit by 3 more armed attacks Thursday

March 03, 2016

A service bus carrying judicial personnel, an armored police vehicle and the official car of a university rector were attacked by unidentified assailants in separate incidents in İstanbul on Thursday evening, following an armed assault targeting a suburban police station which resulted in the killing of two female militants.

The service bus was attacked along the TEM highway in the Tekstilkent neighborhood at around 7:15 p.m. No casualties were reported, although the bullets did hit a police car escorting the bus.

Full report at: todayszaman.com/latest-news_istanbul-hit-by-3-more-armed-attacks-thursday_413950.html

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Turkish justice minister says release of journalists ‘violation’ of constitution

March 04, 2016

A decision by Turkey's top court last week that led to the release of two prominent journalists from jail is a "clear violation" of the constitution, the justice minister said on Friday.

Bekir Bozdağ made the comment in a live interview with the Habertürk television channel.

The constitutional court ruled last week that the detention of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül was "unlawful" and violated their individual freedom and safety. The two, who had been arrested in November on charges of intentionally aiding an armed terrorist organization and publishing material in violation of state security, were subsequently released.

todayszaman.com/national_turkish-justice-minister-says-release-of-journalists-violation-of-constitution_413993.html

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Turkey ‘protects & supplies’ Al-Nusra camps at its border – Syria’s YPG to RT

4 Mar, 2016

Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists have pitched their camps right next to the border and receive regular supplies from the Turkish side, Syrian Kurdish forces told RT’s Lizzie Phelan, who traveled with YPG to investigate suspicious activity there.

An RT crew has filmed a number of vehicles coming through the Bab al-Salam crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border, on the outskirts of the northern town of Azaz, which is partially controlled by Al-Nusra, according to reports.

“We can actually see here the important border town of Azaz, that Turkey is determined to prevent YPG from taking. Just a little beyond that you can see the Bab al-Salam border crossing and a heavy flow of vehicles coming from Turkey into Azaz,” the RT correspondent said, reporting from the Turkey-Syria border, an area that TV crews rarely gain access to.

“When we zoom in we can see Turkish military vehicles, probably around a kilometer away, maybe less. And just in front here's another small village that YPG say Al-Nusra uses for training,” Phelan said.

Full report at: rt.com/news/334483-turkey-nusra-ypg-exclusive/

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Europe

Spain seizes 20,000 uniforms meant for IS, Nusra Front

AP | Mar 3, 2016

MADRID: Spain's Interior Ministry has announced the seizure of 20,000 military-style uniforms being sent to fighters from the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front.

The ministry says that police conducted a counterterrorism operation last month in the port cities of Valencia and Algeciras, where officers opened three shipping containers. Authorities found the uniforms and other military accessories.

A ministry statement released Thursday said that police arrested seven people on suspicion of providing logistical and financial support to IS and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's branch in Syria.

The police operation "neutralized a very active and efficient business network whose primary purpose was to supply, maintain and strengthen" IS, according to the statement. The uniforms were declared as "secondhand clothing" in a bid to avoid raising suspicion while passing through customs.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Spain-seizes-20000-uniforms-meant-for-IS-Nusra-Front/articleshow/51246258.cms

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Paris tells London migrants will flow to UK after EU exit

March 03, 2016

France warned Britain on Thursday it would end border controls and let thousands of migrants move on to Britain if voters backed leaving the European Union.

It also said it would open its arms to British-based banks wanting to flee an non-EU Britain and stay in the bloc.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron echoed comments by Prime Minister David Cameron that a migrant camp known as the "Jungle" in the northern French coastal town of Calais could move to southern England in the event of a British EU exit.

Speaking ahead of a Anglo-French security summit in Amiens, Macron said a British exit would scupper a border deal that halts migrants in France but that Paris would be happy to accept bankers fleeing London.

"The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais," Macron told the Financial Times newspaper, adding that rules allowing British-based banks to operate across the EU would be lost.

Full report at: todayszaman.com/world_paris-tells-london-migrants-will-flow-to-uk-after-eu-exit_413908.html

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Denmark to expand anti-ISIS military mission to Syria

4 Mar, 2016

Denmark’s government will draw up proposals to expand its military mission against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to Syria, the prime minister’s office said on Friday. The campaign will include airstrikes, and as many as 400 soldiers on the ground, pilots and support staff may take part in it, Reuters reported. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposals soon. Politicians from the main political parties voiced support for the proposal in a cross-party committee. Denmark contributed seven F-16s in 2014 to the US-led coalition’s airstrikes against IS in Iraq, but pulled them back for maintenance last year.

rt.com/news/line/

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Record 1.25mn asylum seekers arrive in EU in 2015 – Eurostat

4 Mar, 2016

A record 1.25 million asylum seekers arrived in the European Union in 2015, AFP reported, citing official figures published on Friday. This is more than double the figure from the previous year. Syrians were the largest group at nearly 363,000, followed by 178,200 Afghans and 121,500 Iraqis, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

rt.com/news/line/

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Russia: Militant Groups Violating Cease-Fire Agreement with Syrian Government

Mar 04 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the terrorist groups have breached 14 times the newly-agreed cease-fire across six provinces of the crisis-hit Syria in one day.

"14 breaches of truce were observed, 3 in Damascus, 2 in Quneitra and Lattakia, 1 in Hama, 1 in Dara'a and 5 breaches in Aleppo, said a statement by the Russian Center for Coordinating and Observing the cessation of fighting acts.

66 breaches of cessation of fighting acts have been observed since the start of applying the process at the midnight of last Friday-Saturday.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941214000289

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Africa

East Africa’s al-Shabaab ‘can survive for 30 years’

March 04 2016

NAIROBI — On a Sunday afternoon in late February, a car exploded outside a crowded restaurant in Baidoa, Somalia, and moments later a suicide bomber blew himself up among fleeing survivors.

At least 30 people died in the attack, the latest by al-Shabaab, a Somali-led al-Qaeda group in East Africa that continues to defy repeated predictions of its demise.

Two days before the Baidoa bombings 14 people were killed when two bombs exploded outside a hotel and a public park in the capital Mogadishu.

One was a 200kg homemade bomb, only the second time al-Shabaab has used such a large device. The first was in July and the explosion tore the side off a six-storey hotel. Five weeks earlier, 19 were killed in a bomb and gun attack on a restaurant on Mogadishu’s Lido Beach.

Full report at: bdlive.co.za/africa/africannews/2016/03/04/east-africas-al-shabaab-can-survive-for-30-years

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2 Italian hostages freed in Libya – source

4 Mar, 2016

Two Italian civilians held hostage in Libya since last July have been freed, a source close to the matter said on Friday. The announcement came a day after two other captives were reported to have been killed in the North African state, Reuters said. The source said the two freed men were in good health, without giving further details. The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that their two companions, who were kidnapped with them last July in Libya, had probably died in a firefight near the western Libyan city of Sabratha. The four employees of the Italian construction company Bonatti were kidnapped near a compound owned by the oil and gas group Eni.

rt.com/news/line/

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North America

US group studying religious freedom denied visa to India

PTI | Mar 4, 2016

WASHINGTON: A US commission scheduled to visit India to discuss and report on the conditions of religious freedom in the country has been denied visa by the Indian government.

A three-member delegation of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wanted to make a one-week visit starting Friday to meet with government officials, religious leaders and activists in India.

"We are deeply disappointed by the Indian government's denial, in effect, of these visas," said Robert P George, chairman of USCIRF in a statement.

"As a pluralistic, non-sectarian, and democratic state, and a close partner of the United States, India should have the confidence to allow our visit," he said.

This is not the first time the USCIRF members have not been issued visas. The members, who prepare an annual report on religious freedom in countries across the globe, were denied the visas for the first time in previous UPA regime.

USCIRF has been able to travel to many countries, including those that are among the worst offenders of religious freedom, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China and Burma, George said.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-religious-commission-denied-visa-for-India-visit/articleshow/51249565.cms

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Donald Trump: US needs to stay in Afghanistan to protect Pakistani nuclear weapons

Agencies | Mar 4, 2016

WASHINGTON: The US needs to stay in Afghanistan because its immediate neighbour Pakistan has nuclear weapons which have to be protected, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has said.

"I think you have to stay in Afghanistan for a while, because of the fact that you are right next to Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons and we have to protect that. Nuclear weapons change the game," he said.

Trump was responding to a question on Afghanistan during the Republican presidential debate on Thursday.

Last year, Trump had called Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world. In an interview, he had indicated that Pakistan needs to be denuclearise.

"You have to get India involved. India's the check to Pakistan," he said in a radio address in September last year when asked what he would do if Pakistan "the most dangerous country in the world other than Iran" became unstable.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Donald-Trump-US-needs-to-stay-in-Afghanistan-to-protect-Pakistani-nuclear-weapons/articleshow/51252802.cms

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Southeast Asia

Exploring the Right Context for Authentic and Progressive Interfaith Dialogue in Malaysia

Thursday March 3, 2016

MARCH 3 — The importance of context in interfaith dialogue

The setting of an interfaith committee consisting of 35 members on February 14th 2016 by Prime Minister Najib Razak to promote understanding and harmony among religious adherence (JKMPKA) seems to be in the right direction. Interfaith dialogue is vital in multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysia where issues would be better resolved through dialogue rather than going to courts that is adversarial in nature. While the initiative reflects a positive approach questions remain on what basis such dialogues will take place and whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Party have the political will to create the right context to promote understanding. There are various situations in the past and also currently that would make interfaith dialogue a strenuous process which I would like to highlight.

Political expediency overtakes principles

Full report at: themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/exploring-the-right-context-for-authentic-and-progressive-dialogue-m.-kula#sthash.vb6oRwam.dpuf

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India

Opposition protests govt's 'interference' in Aligarh Muslim University affairs

PTI | Mar 4, 2016

NEW DELHI: Opposition parties led by Congress and SP on Friday created a storm in Rajya Sabha over alleged government interference in the autonomy of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), forcing adjournment of the House till noon.

Opposition members trooped into the well, raising slogans against alleged threat to the minority status of the university and government interference.

Deputy chairman PJ Kurien asked members to return to their seats and give notice if they wanted a discussion on the issue but as none relented, he adjourned the House till noon.

Javed Ali Khan of SP, through a Zero Hour mention, raised the issue of human resource development Minister Smriti Irani declaring offsite centres of the university illegal and threatening to stop financial aid.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Opposition-protests-govts-interference-in-Aligarh-Muslim-University-affairs/articleshow/51253249.cms

 

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