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Islamic World News ( 18 Dec 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Caliphate Rule Is Not a Pillar of Islam, But Rather an Organisational Option, Scholars Say
















Police look on at a Surabaya shopping centre as centre staff signs a document promising not to DRESSemployees in Christmas apparel. Photo: Robertus Pudyanto

 

Caliphate Rule Is Not a Pillar of Islam, But Rather an Organisational Option, Scholars Say

Emboldened Islamic Hardliners Seek To Enforce Fatwa on Christmas Costumes

Ummah’s Silence against Cruelties on Muslims Condemnable: Pakistan Ulema Council

Turkey to Reorganize Terrorists Expelled from Aleppo

'Diversity Brings Strength': Halifax Welcomes Growing Muslim Population

 

Arab World

Caliphate Rule Is Not a Pillar of Islam, But Rather an Organisational Option, Scholars Say

Over 100k Iraqis Displaced Since Mosul Operation Began: IOM

'Liberated' Mosul civilians not safe from violence, casualties rise

Lebanon gets new government led by Saad Hariri

Syria state TV: evacuation deal reached for Aleppo and Shi'ite villages

Saudi Star Pays off Pakistani Man’s ‘Blood Money’

Russia says will not back French-proposed resolution on Aleppo

Syrian Authorities Grant Amnesty to Hundreds of Wanted People in Damascus Province

Syrian Gen.: ISIL's Victory in Palmyra Indebted to US Sensitive Aid

Syria: Terrorists Attack Buses Heading towards Fua'a, Kafraya to Evacuate Civilians

ISIL Operations Commander for Western Mosul Killed in Airstrike

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Southeast Asia

Emboldened Islamic Hardliners Seek To Enforce Fatwa on Christmas Costumes

Diversity, Religious Tolerance Highlighted At Celebration In Bandung

Malaysia calls for ASEAN to lead push for end to Rohingya crisis

Muslims more highly educated than non-Muslims in Malaysia, survey shows

Jamil wrong over royal consent for shariah amendment

In Indonesia, Christian governor rejects blasphemy charge

Domestic Helpers in Singapore Have Been Investigated for Suspected Islamic Radicalism

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Pakistan

Ummah’s Silence against Cruelties on Muslims Condemnable: Pakistan Ulema Council

Pakistan to Protect Holy Mosques, Saudi Territory

Five Daesh militants shot dead in DG Khan

Ahmadi place of worship may see court case following mob attack

Muslims tend to have fewest years of formal schooling, says Pew Research

 ‘ISI should be in reach of people’

Iran shelling reportedly kills one, injures two in Balochistan

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Mideast

Turkey to Reorganize Terrorists Expelled from Aleppo

Saudi Foreign Minister: Iran’s meddling in Region Must Be Stopped

GCC rejects Iranian officials’ threats against countries in the region

Yemeni government requests new road map for peace

Aleppo liberation shows West support for terror failing: Shamkhani

Iran, Russia defense ministers urge firm fight against terrorism in Syria

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North America

'Diversity Brings Strength': Halifax Welcomes Growing Muslim Population

Now Google, Apple Won’t Help Trump Build Muslim Registry

Man running for state representative calls for boycott of Muslim-owned businesses

Muslim Americans new black kids: Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson

The Mosque Next Door: City Law vs. Houses of Faith

Canadian tourist killed, 2nd injured in shootout between police, gunmen in Jordan

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Europe

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri Banned In Pakistan Is Preaching In UK Mosques

Marine Le Pen promises to drive the Machos from the Mosques

France spurns war-zone refugees, but welcomes their art treasures

Arson attack on Muslim prayer hall in eastern France

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South Asia

Pressure Mounts on Myanmar as State Crimes against Muslims Documented

Taliban Failed To Capture Strategic Cities in Kunduz and Helmand: Habibi

Taliban publicly execute mother of two in Badghis province

Russia’s support in Taliban talks necessary and effective: Karzai

Afghan VP faces probe over claims of sex assault, torture

Witness to history: Bangladesh's oldest jail opens to public

BGB sends back 40 Rohingyas

NATO coalition commits $390 million for Afghan forces

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India

Uttarakhand: Muslim Government Employees Get Special Break for Friday Prayers

Muslim Groups Pitch For 12% Quota to Go Forward

Russia throws its weight behind China-Pakistan corridor, keeps India on tenterhooks

Combating terrorism an important area of cooperative engagement with Tajikistan: PM

Pathankot terror attack: NIA names Jaish chief Masood Azhar, his brother in chargesheet

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Africa

We’ll Plant Shari’ah Court in Every Town If Christians Get Proposed Court – MURIC

Religious Chaos: CAN Fires Back At Muslims over Sharia

Suicide bomber kills seven in Libyan city of Benghazi

Rwamagana Muslim youths cautioned against radicalism

Buhari, Boko Haram's Shekau Make World’s Most Powerful Muslims List

Boko Haram still carries out attacks in Madagali, Adamawa – Lawmaker

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/caliphate-rule-is-not-a-pillar-of-islam,-but-rather-an-organisational-option,-scholars-say/d/109421

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Caliphate Rule Is Not a Pillar of Islam, But Rather an Organisational Option, Scholars Say

December 18, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Islam is all about justice, equality and peace; it is not about forms of rule.

It teaches that human beings have a moral obligation to live in harmony with one another, according rights to all human beings regardless of race, colour or creed and requiring its followers to show respect and tolerance even to those who do not share their faith, scholars said yesterday (Sunday).

Scholars told the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies held in Abu Dhabi that caliphate rule is not a pillar of Islam, but rather an organisational option.

“Islam did not set a rigid form of government, but rather fundamentals that, once followed, the governance becomes good,” Dr Mokhtar Juma, Egypt’s Minister of Islamic Endowments, told the forum in its third edition.

Juma stressed the issue of the Caliphate not being a religious fundamental but rather a sheerly organisational process.

Abbas Shoman, the deputy shaikh of Egypt’s Al Azhar institute, agreed and said the people of Sunnah believe that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had not named a specific person to succeed him as Caliph, but rather left it to his companions.

The scholars’ remarks come as Daesh escalates its battles in several parts of the Middle East with the declared goal of establishing what it calls an Islamic Caliphate, claiming to copy the system of government succession that followed the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in 632AD.

Abdullah Bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, said the Prophet recognised and praised Negus (Najashi), the king of Abyssinia (Ethipia). The Prophet never asked the King of Ethiopia to come under Islamic rule.

Bin Bayyah said the main piece of political literature inherited from the Muammadan period is Al Saifah, the document often known as the constitution of Madinah, the text of which is attributed mostly to the Hijrah episode of 622 to 624 AD.

This constitution speaks of the believers as forming one ummah (community), which also includes the Jews of Madinah. Although composed of tribes, each of which is responsible for the conduct of its members, the ummah as a whole is to act collectively in enforcing social order and security and in confronting enemies in times of war and peace.

Bin Bayyah said the most pressing need for scholars, intellects and politicians is to collaborate and address the need for peace. “There is no other option whilst we see the ongoing spread of destruction, death and sectarianism,” he added. The world is facing a wave of extremism, sectarianism and violence as a direct result of our failure to promote Islam’s culture of peace and mercy.

This year’s forum seeks to explore the best ways to find peaceful solutions to rectify the negative and distorted image of Islam in some parts of the world. In addition, the forum is a ground-breaking initiative that will serve as an intellectual endeavour to refute extremist ideologies with a culture of peace and tolerance, which has been a driving force of Islam.”

“The importance of the third forum is to continue our efforts in crystallising the primary narrative of Islam, so that our religion is not hijacked by extremist voices,” Bin bayyah said.

He added incorrect ideas have always posed a threat for Islam. “However, the forum will promote a positive change through the use of Islamic legal methodology and create awareness about Islamic values and guidelines which has always been subject to criticism and conflict,” Bin Bayyah said.

Given the limited nature of political stipulations in the Quran and the Hadith, Muslims have had to borrow and to improvise in developing their political systems. These systems, however, have been inspired by Sharia (Islamic law), as represented in the Quran and the Sunnah; by Arabian tribal traditions; and by the political heritage of the lands Muslims conquered, especially the Persian and Byzantine traditions. The influence of the first source was more noticeable during the era of the first four rashidun (rightly guided) caliphs (632–661AD), the second during the Umayyad dynasty (661–750 AD), and the third during the Abbasid (749–1258 AD) and Ottoman (1281–1922 AD) dynasties.

The Minister of Egypt’s Islamic Endowments stressed that not all Muslim caliphs were good, citing the example of the Abbasid Caliph Abdullah, infamously known for the killing of Umayyad people for their identity.

Dr Mohammad Mattar Al Kaabi, secretary-general of the forum, said it was high time that all Muslims reconciliate with their nation states.

Earlier, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, told the forum a successful nation state is founded on strong institutions, good governance, social justice and the principle of citizenship.

Highlights of the forum

The forum focuses on seven topics of discussion:

The concept of nation state in the Islamic history; past and present

The Islamic nature of a state

The concept and context of a nation state,

The state’s sovereignty in an age of globalisation

The nation state’s role in strengthening and promoting peace

The UAE experience,

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/caliphate-rule-not-an-islamic-fundamental-scholars-say-1.1948146

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Emboldened Islamic hardliners seek to enforce fatwa on Christmas costumes

DECEMBER 19 2016

Jakarta: Indonesian police have been accused by mainstream Muslim groups of weakening the rule of law by providing security for Islamic hardliners who visited shopping centres in the nation's second-largest city urging them not to ask Muslim shop assistants to wear Christmas costumes.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) - the vigilante group that spearheaded three mass protests in Jakarta calling for the city's Christian governor to be jailed for alleged blasphemy - were guarded by police when they went to seven shopping centres in Surabaya on Sunday.

Jakarta's Christian governor defends himself against accusations he insulted the Koran during a trial seen as a test of religious freedom in the world largest Muslim-majority nation.

The hardline group told managers at the centres of a fatwa issued by Indonesia's top Muslim scholarly body, the Majelis Ulema Indonesia (MUI), banning Muslims from wearing Christmas apparel such as Santa hats.

But police have been criticised by Indonesia's largest Islamic civil organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), and human rights groups for providing security at the shopping centre visits, which some say gives legitimacy to radical fringe groups.

National Police spokesman Rikwanto said Surabaya police had persuaded the FPI to restrict numbers to 35 rather than the hundreds planned and to explain the fatwa outside the seven malls rather than going inside.

"We did not provide an escort to them, we safeguarded their action so it wouldn't go wild beyond their original plan of promoting the MUI edict," he told Fairfax Media.

But NU Supreme Council General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf said the fatwa was not legally binding and he did not understand why police guarded the FPI when they carried out "anarchic actions".

"The police keep doing this over and over," Mr Yahya told Fairfax Media.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/islamic-hardliners-warn-shops-of-fatwa-on-muslims-wearing-christmas-costumes-20161219-gteak9.html

Members of  FPI, the Islam Defenders Front, take to the streets in Jakarta.

Members of FPI, the Islam Defenders Front, take to the streets in Jakarta. Photo: Michael Bachelard

Earlier this month the Islamic Group Ahlus Sunnah Defenders (PAS) forced the closure of a Christmas service in Bandung, West Java, claiming it was illegal to hold a religious service outside a designated place of worship and the participants lacked a permit.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/islamic-hardliners-warn-shops-of-fatwa-on-muslims-wearing-christmas-costumes-20161219-gteak9.html

Female protesters against Ahok gather at the national monument in Jakarta.

Female protesters against Ahok gather at the national monument in Jakarta. Photo: Dewi Nurcahyani

Mr Yahya said the Islamic group's actions in Bandung were unlawful but instead of enforcing the law, police brokered a mediation between the Ahlus Sunnah Defenders and the church organisers, which ended in the event being closed.

"This is absurd … the police never act to enforce the law," he said. "They are helping radical groups to force the minorities to comply with whatever the radicals want."

http://www.theage.com.au/world/islamic-hardliners-warn-shops-of-fatwa-on-muslims-wearing-christmas-costumes-20161219-gteak9.html

A Muslim protester displays a banner depicting Jakarta governor Ahok behind bars outside court on the day of his trial ...

A Muslim protester displays a banner depicting Jakarta governor Ahok behind bars outside court on the day of his trial hearing. Photo: AP

Mr Yahya said the Christmas costume controversy was "actually meaningless". "It's been happening all the time that shop workers in malls wear Christmas costumes. People just keep shopping - they don't care that much."

The Jakarta-based Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy said providing the FPI with an escort in Surabaya was a blunder on the part of police that weakened the supremacy of the law of Indonesia.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/islamic-hardliners-warn-shops-of-fatwa-on-muslims-wearing-christmas-costumes-20161219-gteak9.html

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok",  during his trial at the North Jakarta District Court.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok", during his trial at the North Jakarta District Court.  Photo: AP

"The police should actually have prevented and banned the intimidation," the Setara Institute said in a statement.

Grand City Mall marketing manager Yudhi Saharudin said the FPI saw for themselves when they visited on Sunday that Grand City Mall did not have any staff wearing Christmas costumes.

We did not have anything they complained about. We only have decorations. We have some big Christmas trees at the entrance and at other locations at the mall. And it seems that they don't have a problem with them."

The thuggish FPI, which wants to see a rigid interpretation of Islamic practice implemented in Indonesia, is notorious for attacking religious minorities and conducting sweeps of bars during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Last year the FPI also visited Surabaya shopping centres - where many of the store owners are ethnically Chinese - to ensure Muslim employees were not being forced to don Christmas apparel.

But many believe the group has been emboldened by the sheer number of protesters at rallies calling for the imprisonment of Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok.

The third rally, on December 2, attracted an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 people.

"The fact they got (President) Jokowi to come and pray with them at the second rally is also a huge sign of their clout," says Tim Lindsey, the Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at Melbourne University.

Ahok's court case for allegedly insulting Islam has been expedited, with the second day of the trial to be held on December 20.

But religious intolerance and anti-Chinese sentiment continues to simmer in Indonesia. About 1 to 4 per cent of Indonesia's 250 million people are ethnically Chinese, the majority of whom are also Christian.

Their relative affluence has fomented resentment for centuries in Indonesia.

A street banner in Magelang in Central Java this month urged people to fight Chinese and foreign imperialism and only support indigenous Indonesian shops.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/islamic-hardliners-warn-shops-of-fatwa-on-muslims-wearing-christmas-costumes-20161219-gteak9.html

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Ummah’s Silence against Cruelties on Muslims Condemnable: Pakistan Ulema Council December 19, 2016

Arabic language promotion centres in main cities named after JJ to be set up

Islamabad

A joint declaration issued as conclusion note of ‘Language (Lissan) Rehmatul-el-Alameen Conference’ emphasized that usage of Arabic Language can play pivotal role for unity of Muslim Ummah and stressed for promotion of Arabic language at all front to contain menaces of extremism and terrorism from Muslim world. Pakistan Ulema Council hosted a seminar, titled, ‘Language Rehmatul-el-Alameen Conference’ here on Sunday in ISLAMABAD HOTEL and clerics and representatives from diplomatic community of different Islamic countries addressing the conference eulogized importance of Arabic language stating that Arabic language is the major language being spoken in majority of Muslim countries.

Pakistan Ulema Council also announced on this occasion to establish ‘Arabic language promotion centers’ in all major cities of the country including and all these language centers will be named after to Junaid Jamshed. Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council addressing the conference suggested that as per Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, learning the Arabic language should be made compulsory during course of secondary schools education in Pakistan. Commenting on brutal atrocities at Syrian Muslims in Aleppo and on Muslims of Palestine and Kashmir, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Ashrafi said silence of Muslim Ummah against these cruelties is condemnable.

After prevailing sequel of atrocities in Aleppo and Syria, conspiracies are also being hatched to create disruption in Bahrain and Yemen, which is very alarming and concerning for entire Muslim world. Amidst prevailing scenario in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain, Muslim countries leadership from Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should bring their unanimous strategy to contain ongoing atrocities on Muslims of Aleppo. Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Walid Abu Ali addressing the conference said that people of Pakistan and Palestine are associated in relation of faith and brotherhood. World Human Rights Organizations are demonstrating a criminal negligence on atrocities of Muslims of Palestine and Syria.

Atrocities and cruelties are being carried out in Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq and Kashmir with sole objective to strengthen Israel and to shackle unity of Muslim world. Egyptian Ambassador to Pakistan Muhammad Kamaul –ud-Din Shaheen in his key note address stated that Jamiat-ul-Azhar of Egypt has been playing key role for promotion of Arabic language in Muslim world adding that Arabic is the language of Quran and more than one and half billion Muslims across the world read Quran in Arabic.

Egypt will keep continue its efforts and coordination to educate Pakistani youth with Arabic language and to rescue against false propaganda of extremist organizations. Islamic Centre will also be established in Pakistan with cooperation of Jamiat-ul-Azhar to ensure training workshops for Clerics, Ulemas and scholars of Pakistan. The conference also adopted a resolution and demanded of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and Arab world for the cause of Syrian Muslims and to ensure aid for Muslim refugees in Syria. Another resolution adopted at the conference expressed solidarity with Martyrs of plane tragedy and pray was also observed for martyred of plane crash tragedy.

The conveyed text of UNESCO’s special ambassador for Arabic language was also read out at the conference. Other notable clerics and office bearers of Pakistan Ulema Council including Maulana Abdul Haq Mujahid, Hafiz Muhammad Amjad, MAulana Anwar-ul-Haq, Maulana Abdul Hameed Sabri, Maulana Nauman Hashir, Maulana Ashfaq Patafi, Maulana Tahir Aqeel, Maulana tanveer Awan, Maulana Abdul Saboor, Maulana Hafiz ur Rehman and Maulana Naib Khan Subhani also addressed on this occasion.

http://pakobserver.net/ummahs-silence-against-cruelties-on-muslims-condemnable-puc/

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Turkey to Reorganize Terrorists Expelled from Aleppo

Dec 18, 2016

ARA News close to the Kurds quoted a dissident source in Gaziantep city as saying that the ringleaders of most militant groups who have left Eastern Aleppo are now in Idlib at the request of a high-ranking Turkish intelligence official.

"The high-ranking official from Turkey's intelligence ministry has demanded that the situation of these grouplets goes under study after their transfer to the bordering city of Idlib in the presence of the Syrian dissidents' coalition council," the source said.

Noting that Turkey seeks to reorganize the grouplets and prepare them for merger with the Euphrates Shield Operation forces, the source said that serious consultations have started among more than 15 militant groups to form a new front to be called The Islamic Board of Syria with its headquarters is in Idlib and even the names of ringleaders for leading the board have been declared.

4,000 militants who were preparing to evacuate Aleppo under an internationally-negotiated ceasefire deal on Thursday opened fire on residential areas in Eastern Aleppo again as tens of buses arrived in their region to start their relocation to Idlib, after Turkey demanded to take them out to Northern Aleppo province to take part in the Euphrates Shield Operation.

Syria's state TV reported on Thursday that terrorists restarted artillery attacks on residential areas in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city, breaching the truce once again.

The terrorists had also in a similar case earlier jeopardized the agreement on Tuesday night after they received some messages from Ankara about Turkey's increasing pressures on Damascus through military intervention in Northern Aleppo province combined with the western states' mounting pressures on Syria and its allies that accused the latter of war crimes in Eastern Aleppo. The ceasefire agreement that was reached on Tuesday went off after the terrorists violated its terms, making the warring sides to initiate a new round of talks that resulted in an agreement on Wednesday.

The Syrian army and popular forces have almost completed the liberation of Aleppo, with militants having surrendered most of their remaining territory. Hundreds of foreign-backed militants have laid down arms in Aleppo in the past 24 hours. Thousands of terrorists along with their families have left militant-held districts of the Northwestern Syrian city over the past few days.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950928001132

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'Diversity Brings Strength': Halifax Welcomes Growing Muslim Population

December 18, 2016

HALIFAX -- When nine-year-old Zia Khan arrived in Halifax in the late 1970s, the boy was something of a novelty to newfound friends who knew little about his Muslim heritage or his distant homeland.

Khan and his family immigrated to Canada's east coast from Pakistan, answering a call for families and well-educated foreigners interested in settling in less populated parts of the country under then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

For the Khans in 1978, that meant finding their way in a province that was predominantly Christian, anglophone, and more than 90 per cent white.

"I was an oddball," Khan, the imam and director of the Centre for Islamic Development, says with a laugh. "I had very good friends and they were mostly all Christians. We had a very small pocket of Muslim communities and an even a smaller pocket of Arab communities."

Khan, who co-founded the mosque about 17 years ago, has WATCHED that change over the last few decades, and has been part of a demographic shift that is slowly changing the complexion of a largely uniform province to include a richer mix of languages, religions and cultural practices.

The numbers appear to bear that out.

The most recent census in 2011 listed Arabic as the third most commonly spoken language or mother tongue in Nova Scotia -- at roughly 6,700 people -- and second in Halifax, ahead of Mi'kmaq and Chinese.

Many of the Arabic speakers are part of the province's Lebanese population, much of which is Christian, but a rising number are from other countries like Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

About 1,500 Syrian refugees also arrived in the province this year, boosting the number of Muslims and Arabic-speaking people in communities that many say are responding to the unique demands of a changing population when it comes to language, food and religion.

Gerry Mills, executive director of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, has overseen the arrival of many of the Syrian refugees in Nova Scotia since late last year, and says there have been visible gestures aimed at accommodating the growing Arabic-speaking population, which peaked in the 1990s as people fled conflict in the Middle East.

"In Halifax, I'm starting to see welcome signs and instruction signs and organizations ... doing their pamphlets in Arabic, especially this year when we've seen a lot of people at one time speaking one language coming into the province," she said, adding that some sports facilities, libraries and banks are now posting signs in Arabic.

"If you go into the banks and the grocery stores, you'll begin to see people who clearly don't have English as their first language. I don't think you used to see that 15 years ago, but you do see that now and that's wonderful."

Hijabs are no longer an uncommon sight in the city's core. And most Nova Scotians are learning to see immigrants as a solution to the aging province's demographic crisis.

When Khan arrived there was one mosque in Halifax. Now, there are at least five, along with several halal grocery stores, markets and restaurants.

The rise in the number of people who speak Arabic in the city attracted the attention of Montreal-based radio station, Radio Middle East, an all-Arabic channel which began broadcasting remotely in Halifax in April, with plans to open offices this spring.

Oudai Altabbaa, who came to New Brunswick from Syria in 2009, is overseeing the development of the Halifax station, which features a mix of local, national and international news, along with weather, horoscopes and music in Arabic. His focus is to connect Canadian businesses with the Arabic-speaking population, something he says local companies like a well-known resort and car dealership have twigged to as they recognize the community's spending potential.

"The reason we started in Halifax is because we got a lot of calls from here to Montreal telling us, 'It's time for you guys to open up shop and become part of the community,"' he said.

"We are filling a need -- people requested it. There's a big community here that was worth us investing in ... And it means Canadian businesses are able to target a completely new audience that they've heard about, but were never able to reach."

Still, there are growing pains for many in the Arab and Muslim communities, who say acceptance in the province has been marred by a lack of understanding and outright racism.

Mohamad El Attar, a Palestinian who grew up in Halifax, says he has experienced subtle and overt displays of "ignorance" that he chalks up to a lack of exposure to his Muslim faith. Both he and his sister have faced abuse from strangers, who have called her a terrorist and told both to "go back to where you came from."

El Attar tries to laugh it off, usually responding with a smile and a question -- "I'm from here, so do you want me to go back to Halifax or Dartmouth?"

"Some people think, 'Oh this is the guy I saw on the news,' and it is misreported that we're violent crazy terrorists who have come to take over and I'm just like, 'Man, I'm just looking for a job. I'm just paying off tuition fees and just here working and trying to pay rent,"' says the 22-year-old accountant.

"Not everyone has encountered an Arab or Muslim, especially in Nova Scotia, and some people may not have ever had a friend who wasn't white."

His frustration over the way Muslims are portrayed in the news and in his own encounters grew to the point that El Attar decided to challenge the stereotypes in satirical and irreverent videos he posts on YouTube under the name, That Muslim Guy. In one episode, he explains Arabs are not necessarily Muslim and vice versa as he points to a man wearing a turban.

"If you think all Muslims look like that guy, then I got news for you -- you're a racist," he says in a tongue-in-cheek post. "This man is not even Muslim. This man is India's prime minister and he's Hindu."

Khan too says he and his congregants have endured their fair share of racism, citing incidences of bus drivers closing their DOORS to passengers wearing the hijab, a man throwing hot coffee on a woman wearing a hijab and some being told they won't be served in certain stores.

Khan's mosque was itself subjected to hateful online comments in October after it filed a noise and litter complaint against a neighbouring brew pub, a dispute centred on public urination and trash, not faith.

But Khan says acceptance is growing and Nova Scotia is catching up to larger, more ethnically diverse cities like Toronto.

Others say Nova Scotians' overwhelming response to the plight of Syrian refugee families fleeing their war-torn country highlights a more typical attitude to the province's growing diversity.

Immigration Minister Lena Diab said she was stunned by the generosity of residents who dropped off thousands of bags of CLOTHES, furniture and other items when the call was put out to help arriving Syrians late last year.

"I tell you, the last three years in my Immigration portfolio I have never seen Nova Scotians so welcoming and so open-minded and kind-hearted in all of my life -- they get it, they really get it," said Diab, whose father immigrated to Canada from Lebanon.

"Diversity brings strength and we welcome that."

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/diversity-brings-strength-halifax-welcomes-growing-muslim-population-1.3208461

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Arab World

 

Over 100k Iraqis displaced since Mosul operation began: IOM

Dec 18, 2016

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says over 100,000 people have been displaced amid an operation by Iraq's military and volunteer fighters to drive the Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of Mosul.

The IOM said on its displacement tracking webpage on Sunday that since October 17, 103,872 people had been displaced, mainly from Nineveh province, whose capital is Mosul.

Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff, the Iraqi minister for displacement and migration, earlier said 118,000 people had been displaced since the operation started in mid-October.

Aid organizations had already warned that one million or more people could be displaced by the operation to retake Mosul.

On October 17, Iraqi army soldiers, supported by fighters from Hashd al-Sha’abi or the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched a joint operation to retake Mosul from Daesh.

The photo taken on December 16, 2016, shows displaced Iraqis from the city of Mosul buying and selling items at a camp for internally displaced persons near the village of Nahia. (Photo by AFP)

Forces from Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service have advanced deep into eastern Mosul over the past few weeks.

The advance of Iraqi forces has, however, been slowed down due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of whom are prevented from leaving Mosul by Daesh.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/18/499468/Iraq-displaced-Mosul-operation-IOM

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'Liberated' Mosul civilians not safe from violence, casualties rise

December 18, 2016

Seven-year-old Anas lies in a hospital bed in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, his little body wrapped in bandages following four surgeries to remove shrapnel that shredded his intestines.

He is considered lucky for being alive. Two of his brothers did not survive the Islamic State mortar attack three weeks ago on their family's home in Mosul. One boy died immediately, the other after reaching the emergency room.

"I saw them and then I fell to the ground and fainted," Anas said in a strained whisper, sometimes wincing from pain.

At the time of the attack, Anas and his family may well have believed they were finally safe after 2-1/2 years of deprivation and cruelty under the Islamists' hardline rule.

Their house was in an eastern neighborhood the Iraqi government had declared "liberated" by its forces in their battle to recapture Mosul, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq. But the military's advance has been slow and punishing, and nine weeks in they have retaken just a quarter of the city.

When elite army troops arrived in their districts and the jihadists beat a retreat, many residents fled towards the relative safety of camps outside the city. But a growing number of civilians, like Anas and his brothers, are being dragged back into violence at the moment of their supposed deliverance.

Iraqi authorities do not release statistics about those killed or wounded in the Mosul campaign in an apparent effort to maintain morale, but a month ago the United Nations warned that civilian casualties were overwhelming the capacity of the government and international aid groups operating in the area.

Since then, the situation seems to have deteriorated.

Iraqi security officials at the Erbil hospital where Anas is being treated say dozens of wounded people from the Mosul area arrive each day, and that the majority are civilians. A Kurdish medical official said military personnel make up the larger portion. Reuters could not verify either account but patients at the Emergency Medical Center hospital include both civilians and members of the armed forces.

Relatively peaceful Erbil, just an hour's drive from the frontline, lies in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. Its own peshmerga forces have pushed back Islamic State across the north, expanding its territory and becoming a haven for evacuees.

SURVIVING ON PAINKILLERS

Nour, a little girl with blonde hair, sits in a wheelchair at the far end of a ward for women and children. Her left lower leg, concealed by a blanket, is held together by metal pins that stick out several centimeters.

Nour's aunt said her niece was hurt in an air strike two months ago on their village south of Mosul. Both the Iraqi military and a US-led coalition backing Baghdad are bombarding Islamic State in the region.

The international coalition, which is also bombing in Syria, has acknowledged killing 173 civilians since strikes started in 2014, significantly lower than estimates made by other groups.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Dec-2016/liberated-mosul-civilians-not-safe-from-violence-casualties-rise

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Syria state TV: evacuation deal reached for Aleppo and Shi'ite villages

December 18, 2016

Syrian state television reported on Sunday that there was a deal between the government and rebels to evacuate people from east Aleppo in return for the evacuation of people from al-Foua and Kefraya, two villages besieged by insurgents.

According to al-Ikhbariya TV news, about 1,200 civilians would initially be evacuated from east Aleppo and a similar number from the two villages in Idlib province.

Once evacuees from the villages have safely arrived in government areas, Aleppo fighters and more of their family members will be allowed to leave in return for other batches of people departing al-Foua and Kefraya.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Dec-2016/syria-state-tv-evacuation-deal-reached-for-aleppo-and-shi-ite-villages

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Saudi star pays off Pakistani man’s ‘blood money’

19 December 2016

Prominent Saudi actor Fayiz Almaliki appeared in a video this week paying off a Pakistani offender’s blood money in an attempt to save him from jail.

The Pakistani had been involved in an accident in which a Saudi was killed. He was ordered to pay what is known as “blood money,” a compensation paid by an offender to the family of the victim.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2016/12/19/Saudi-star-pays-off-Pakistani-man-s-blood-money-.html

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Russia says will not back French-proposed resolution on Aleppo

Dec 18, 2016

Russia says it does not support a UN Security Council resolution drafted by France that calls for the deployment of international observers to Syria's Aleppo to monitor the evacuation of civilians and protect those who remain.

"We cannot support it, we cannot allow it to pass because this is a disaster," Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters on Sunday.

He said Moscow would submit its own proposal for the monitoring process, though he did not elaborate.

"But there could be another thing which could be adopted today by the Security Council which would accomplish the same goals," Churkin added.

The photo shows a general view of a UN Security Council session. (Photo by AFP)

Diplomats said Russia had circulated a draft resolution to address the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo during a closed-door meeting on Sunday ahead of a planned vote on the French-proposed draft.

The Russian proposal reportedly urges the UN to make "arrangements" to "monitor the condition of civilians remaining in Aleppo." The deployment of observers to Aleppo was not mentioned in the draft resolution.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/18/499455/Russia-French-resolution-Aleppo

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Syrian Authorities Grant Amnesty to Hundreds of Wanted People in Damascus Province

Dec 18, 2016

According to reports, 250 out of 600 wanted people, were militants who had earlier turned themselves in and handed over their weapons to the authorities.

The militants pledged not to carry out any acts that might harm peace and security in the country.

Media sources said on Tuesday that relevant government officials started studying of amnesty requests of over 1,000 militants in a small town in the Western Damascus province.

The Arabic language al-Mayadeen news network reported that over 1,000 amnesty application forms of militants, who laid down arms in the town of Kanakar, were under investigation by relevant officials.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950928001090

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Syrian Gen.: ISIL's Victory in Palmyra Indebted to US Sensitive Aid

Dec 18, 2016

Fateh Darboli, a retired Brigadier General of the Syrian army, said "the intelligence that the US provided to the ISIL about the positions and the number of Syrian soldiers deployed around Palmyra, assisted the terrorist group to occupy the historic city".

Yet, he stressed that the ISIL may not be able to come forward any further, as it will soon be faced with crushing attacks by the Syrian army.

"Since T4 airbase and its nearby regions are safe, there will be no worries about the field situations in Homs countryside," the expert added.

He went on to say that the ISIL terrorists that stormed and occupied Palmyra were the militants that had fled Mosul battlefields in Iraq towards Syria and then towards Homs to undermine the Army's victories against Jeish al-Fatah in Aleppo.

The Syrian expert underscored that the desert NATURE of Homs province will be a great advantage for the army and popular forces, facilitating their advance against the terrorists, specially from al-Sukhnah region in Eastern Homs to Deir Ezzur province.

The ISIL kicked off a large-scale operation on December 8 with thousands of forces in Homs province to take control of Palmyra that was liberated by the Syrian Army in March 2016.

The ISIL took control over some energy fields and strategic heights and approached Palmyra.

The terrorist group finally entered the city of Palmyra on December 10, but the Russian and Syrian forces could repel their attacks, killing hundreds of them. Yet, the terrorists could take the city on late a day later.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950928001284

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Syria: Terrorists Attack Buses Heading towards Fua'a, Kafraya to Evacuate Civilians

Dec 18, 2016

The terrorist groups deployed in Northern Idlib attacked the convoy of buses on way to Fua'a and Kafraya and set them ablaze to prevent evacuation of the injured and patients.

The move by the terrorists came as tens of buses had also arrived at the militant-held regions of Eastern Aleppo to take them out of the city in return for the evacuation plan in Fua'a and Kafraya.

Reports also said that heavy infighting erupted between Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) and Ahrar al-Sham near Fua'a and Kafraya. Several buses that were on their way towards Fua'a and Kafraya to take civilians out of the towns were burned in the infighting.

As their friends set the buses in Idlib on fire, the pockets of militants that are still in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city and plan to evacuate the region are insisting on their rapid relocation from the war-hit city.

Elam al-Harbi news website that operates as the Syrian Armed Forces' media center said the terrorists in Eastern Aleppo are preparing to set fire at their bases and arms depots, something which had also earlier been done by their comrades who left the city on Thursday and Friday.

Reports said earlier today that evacuation of militants from Aleppo city in return for the concurrent transfer of civilians from Fua'a and Kafraya is most likely to restart in the next few hours as tens of buses have arrived in the two regions.

The Aleppo agreement that was suspended on Friday due to the violation of the truce and the terms of the evacuation agreement by Jeish al-Fatah terrorists, who shelled al-Ramouseh corridor in Southern Aleppo and blocked exit of civilians from Fua'a and Kafraya, will go operational again in the next few hours.

A field source said that due to the Damascus officials' lack of trust in the terrorists' full implementation of the Aleppo agreement, evacuation operation of terrorists from the city will be done in several stages.

Simultaneous with the arrival of buses to evacuate militants from the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city, a number of buses have entered Fua'a and Kafraya to start transferring the injured and patients from these two besieged towns.

In the meantime, severe differences have erupted between Fatah al-Sham Front and Ahrar al-Sham over the exit of civilians from Fua'a and Kafraya.

Local sources privy to the terrorist groups reported that a number of militants intend to prevent exit of people from Fua'a and Kafraya.

The buses for evacuation of militants have gone through al-Ramouseh corridor under the supervision of the International Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and have entered the Eastern neighborhoods of the city to transfer the remaining pockets of militants and their families to the Southwestern countryside of the city.

The militants have left their positions in the Eastern neighborhoods and gathered around a square, waiting for the green buses.

A military source underlined that evacuation operation of the militants and their families in Aleppo will be carried out concurrent with the exit of civilians from Fua'a and Kafraya.

Meantime, reports say buses and the vehicles of SARC have arrived at the main checkpoints of the towns of Fua'a and Kafraya in Northern Idlib.

A security official of the Aleppo operations room disclosed on Saturday that evacuation of the militants from Eastern Aleppo came to a halt after the terrorists insisted on keeping the PoWs and played around with releasing the residents of Fua'a and Kafraya.

The security official reiterated that the lack of commitment by the remaining terrorists in Eastern Aleppo to the evacuation agreements was the main reason for halt to evacuation operation in the region.

The source noted that the Al-Nusra Front terrorists despite agreeing to set free the Syrian army's PoWs were refusing to do so and insisted on taking the PoWs with themselves during evacuation from Eastern Aleppo.

The Syrian security source reiterated that the al-Nusra Front was shrugging off implementation of evacuation the injured people from Fua'a and Kafraya in Idlib.

The source noted that after the al-Nusra hindered evacuation of residents of al-Fua'a and Kafraya, about 2,000 popular armed men moved to al-Ramouseh and prevented the exit of the remaining terrorists and their families from the region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950928001409

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ISIL Operations Commander for Western Mosul Killed in Airstrike

Dec 18, 2016

"The ISIL commander for military operations in Western Mosul was killed in an airstrike in al-Saqafeh street West of Mosul," the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen satellite TV CHANNEL quoted unnamed security sources as saying on Sunday.

Meantime, the Iraqi forces continued their Mosul liberation operations and entered al-Afereh district located between al-Vahdeh and al-Entesar regions in Western Mosul where fierce clashes erupted between the Iraqi army and the ISIL.

The Iraqi army also repelled ISIL's large-scale offensive near al-Shari'a village in Western Tal Afar.

At least two bomb-laden vehicles and nine special-purpose vehicles of the terrorists were also destroyed in the Iraqi army's military operation.

In a relevant development on Sunday, a senior commander of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) disclosed that the ISIL's supply routes were being disconnected one after another from the West of the city of Mosul to the Syrian border.

"The Iraqi joint military forces are planning to cut all the supply routes of the ISIL terrorist group from the Western flank of Mosul towards Syria's border regions where Tal Afar region plays a strategic role," Mohammad al-Basri told FNA.

He reiterated that the ISIL has been surprised by Hashd al-Shaabi's military operations in Western Mosul.

"The Iraqi volunteer forces has started its operation to win back villages and towns located in the Northern part of Tal Afar airport and advance towards Iraq-Syria border after seizing back Tal Abta Westward of Tal Afar," al-Basri added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950928001382

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Southeast Asia

 

Diversity, religious tolerance highlighted at celebration in Bandung

December 12, 2016

Amid growing religious tensions countrywide, a commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, held by the Daarut Tauhid Islamic Boarding School in Bandung, West Java, on Monday, highlighted the importance of respect for diversity and religious tolerance. 

At least 20,000 students of the Islamic boarding school, which is led by prominent ustadz (Islamic teacher) Abdullah Gymnastiar, attended the event at Gasibu Square, Bandung.

National Police chief Gen.Tito Karnavian said he appreciated the celebration, which ran smoothly although it was attended by a large number of people. “Islam is rahmatan lil’alamin [a blessing for the universe]. It does not differentiate between people based on ethnic, religious, racial or intergroup affiliations,” he said.

Ahead of Christmas celebrations on Dec. 25, the police chief asked all groups to respect and allow Christians to perform religious services peacefully. “If Bandung is safe, West Java and Indonesia will be safe as well.”

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil reminded leaders to always be careful about what they said. “Please pray for us so that as leaders, we can continue to restrain ourselves from saying anything that could offend someone else,” he said.

Tito and Ridwan were among the prominent figures who attended the celebration, which coincided with the 26th anniversary of the school.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan and his deputy Deddy Mizwar, Siliwangi Military District Command commander Maj. Gen. Muhammad Herindra, West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Bambang Waskito and Indonesian Ulema Forum head Athian Ali were also present. (ebf) http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/12/12/diversity-religious-tolerance-highlighted-at-celebration-in-bandung.html

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Malaysia calls for ASEAN to lead push for end to Rohingya crisis

December 19, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said on Monday the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was a regional concern and called for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to coordinate humanitarian aid and investigate alleged atrocities committed against them.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said progress in improving the human rights of the Rohingya people in Rakhine state had been "rather slow" and reports of arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and rape by soldiers were continuing.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Dec-2016/malaysia-calls-for-asean-to-lead-push-for-end-to-rohingya-crisis

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Muslims more highly educated than non-Muslims in Malaysia, survey shows

December 19, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — Muslims have more formal schooling in Malaysia compared to those of other faiths, a Pew Research Centre study showed.

The survey by the global pollster found that Muslim men had the most education, but also found that younger Muslim women in Malaysia are now more likely to have post-secondary degrees compared to young Muslim men, as Muslim women globally close the gender gap.

“In higher education, the gender gap among Muslims has narrowed by 3 percentage points over generations,” said the survey  released last week.

“Not only that, but in some countries, the gender gap has reversed among the youngest Muslims  — meaning that young Muslim women are now more likely than young Muslim men to have post-secondary degrees,” it added, naming Malaysia as an example.

Muslim men in Malaysia receive on average 10.6 years of formal education and significantly above the national average, compared to other male adherents like Buddhists (10.4 years), Hindus (10.3), Christians (9.6), and those unaffiliated to the four major faiths (8.2).

Similarly, Muslim women in Malaysia receive longer formal education at 9.8 years, compared to other female adherents like Buddhists (9.2 years), Hindus (9.1), Christians (8.4), and the unaffiliated (8.2).

The average period of schooling in Malaysia is 9.9 years  — 10.4 years for men and 9.4 years for women.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslims-more-highly-educated-than-non-muslims-in-malaysia-survey-shows

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Jamil wrong over royal consent for shariah amendment

December 19, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Umno minister Jamil Khir Baharom is wrong to suggest that amending the present shariah act through a private member’s bill can be done without the consensus of Malaysia’s 14 states and the Conference of Rulers.

Lawyer Zaid Ibrahim said Jamil was also wrong to think that the government could work its way around these prerequisites simply by adopting PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).

“Whether it is tabled by Hadi or Prime Minister Najib Razak, the same set of requirements apply.

“Islamic laws are under the purview of the states and the Malay rulers. So, their consent must be obtained before any amendment to Act 355 can be done,” he said in a video clip posted on his Facebook today.

Speaking at the Umno Overseas Club Alumni assembly yesterday, Jamil said the government had not originally tabled the amendments to Act 355 because doing so would require the approval of all 14 states.

However, he said a private member’s bill could be tabled by an individual, and thus would not need the rulers’ consent.

This came following a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman, who had earlier said the government would pick up Hadi’s bill once it reaches the second reading at the March 2017 parliament session.

In October, former finance minister and long-serving Umno lawmaker, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, said the Malay Rulers should have been consulted, and their express approval obtained, before the tabling of any shariah law amendment in Parliament.

Tengku Razaleigh said the Malay Rulers, are custodians of the Islamic faith in their respective states, hence, they have full jurisdiction over any matter pertaining to Islamic law as well, he was reported to have said.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/12/19/jamil-wrong-over-royal-consent-for-shariah-amendment/

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In Indonesia, Christian governor rejects blasphemy charge

December 18, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia- The Christian governor of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, could face stiff penalties if convicted of insulting the Quran - a charge he strongly denies.

Prosecutors in the Muslim-majority nation charged that he insulted Islam by misusing a particular Quranic verse that suggests Muslims should not be ruled by non-Muslims.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who goes by the name Ahok, was in tears as he denied the allegations in court.

The governor insisted that his use of the verse was aimed at politicians who were misusing the verse against him. He cited his relationship with his adoptive parents, who are Muslim.

“I am very saddened that I have been accused of insulting Islam because this accusation is the same as saying that I am insulting my adoptive parents and siblings,” Purnama said at a December 13 hearing, according to Reuters.

He has repeatedly apologized for his comments but denied charges of blasphemy.

The governor could face up to five years in jail if convicted.  Almost all blasphemy cases in Indonesia have ended in convictions.

Hundreds of protestors gathered in the streets outside the court to call for the governor’s immediate imprisonment.

A smaller crowd of the governor’s supporters also gathered. His supporters have said that a popular video of his remarks was edited and subtitled to make it seem he was criticizing the verse, rather than political opponents who misuse it.

The trial has been adjourned until December 20.

Massive crowds estimated at more than 150,000 people had twice previously demonstrated against the governor. The group Islamic Defenders Front is playing a major role in the protests. It engages in protests and sometimes violence against Christian and Ahmadiyya and Shia Muslim groups and congregations.

Full report at:

https://cruxnow.com/cna/2016/12/18/indonesia-christian-governor-rejects-blasphemy-charge/

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Domestic Helpers in Singapore Have Been Investigated for Suspected Islamic Radicalism

Dec 19, 2016

The news follows reports that one helper had been groomed by an ISIS-affiliated cell to be a suicide bomber

Singaporean authorities say they have investigated five foreign domestic workers for suspected radicalism over the past two years, adding to heightening fears that ISIS and affiliated groups could be expanding their reach in Southeast Asia.

The women were among 70 foreign suspects under investigation, Channel News Asia (CNA) reports. Most of the suspects were reportedly radicalized by propaganda spread on social media, and some were said to have radicalized others, as well.

“None of them had any plans to carry out acts of violence in Singapore at the time they were investigated, but as they were in various stages of radicalism, their presence posed a security concern for Singapore,” CNA said, citing a statement released by the city-state’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The suspects were later deported.

The announcement follows reports last week that a domestic helper who had worked in Singapore and Taiwan was successfully radicalized by a terrorist cell in Indonesia, and had been convinced to carry out a planned bomb attack on the presidential palace in Jakarta. In that case, the 27-year-old woman reportedly said she was “inspired” by jihadists’ Facebook profiles. She and six accomplices were arrested.

Full report at:

http://time.com/4606023/singapore-domestic-helpers-terrorism-isis/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan to protect Holy Mosques, Saudi territory

19-Dec-16

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on Sunday.

The COAS is on a three-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Saudi king and the COAS agreed that both the countries share great history of cordial relations and deep spirit of brotherhood which has transformed into an enduring partnership.

It was also acknowledged that both Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are vital players in regional stability, “with significant responsibility towards the entire Muslim ummah”.

Both leaders re-emphasised on the need to continue working to eliminate the menace of terrorism and reinforce the mechanism to roll back extremism with even greater vigour.

The crown prince and foreign minister were also present in the meeting.

The chief of army staff also held meetings with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman to discuss matters related to mutual interests and bilateral security cooperation.

The defence minster reassured the Pakistan Army chief that the kingdom supports peace and stability in Pakistan in every way. The chief of army staff reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the security and protection of the Holy Mosques and also the territorial integrity of the kingdom.

During a meeting with the Saudi defence minister in January 2016, former COAS Gen (r) Raheel Sharif had also reasserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan. Raheel had said that Pakistan holds its defence ties with Saudi Arabia in highest esteem. He had said further Pakistan enjoys close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and attaches great importance to their security. The Saudi defence minister had said the kingdom attaches great importance to Pakistan and its armed forces and appreciates their successes in the fight against terrorism and efforts for regional stability. He had also reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s full support to Pakistan’s position on all matters.

Later, General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Chief of General Staff of Saudi Forces General Abdul Rehman bin Saleh Al Bunyan to discuss military to military relations, defence cooperation and regional security situation. Both leaders agreed to boost military cooperation and collaboration.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as the chief of army staff. The general has extensive experience of handling affairs in Kashmir and the Northern Areas of the country. As a major general, he led the Force Command Northern Areas. He also served in the 10 Corps as lieutenant colonel, where he was GSO.

Despite his extensive involvement with Kashmir and Northern Areas, he is said to consider extremism and terrorism a bigger threat for the country than India.

General Bajwa has served with a United Nations mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief Gen Bikram Singh, who was also there as a division commander.

Previously, he has also remained the commandant of the Infantry School in Quetta. His military colleagues say he is not attention-seeking and remains well-connected with his troops.

In March, former chief of army staff General (r) Raheel Sharif also visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Raheel and Nawaz Sharif were invited by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to witness the military exercises, as well as hold talks on the regional and bilateral issues.

A number of leaders from other allied countries had also been invited to witness the ongoing military exercise and its closing ceremony. Troops from 21 countries, including Pakistan, had participated in the exercise, in the northern region of Saudi Arabia. The main aim of the exercise was to improve training to respond to threats posed by terrorists.

Earlier Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership decided to expand its engagements with Saudi Arabia and will offer military training to the Saudi troops, provide it military hardware and share intelligence.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/19-Dec-16/pakistan-to-protect-holy-mosques-saudi-territory

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Five Daesh militants shot dead in DG Khan

December 19, 2016

LAHORE - Five terrorists belonging to the self-styled Islamic State group were killed in a shootout with counter-terrorism personnel in Dera Ghazi Khan, a remote district in Southern Punjab.

A provincial counter-terrorism department official yesterday told The Nation that a CTD team raided a hideout of militants in a village, Mouza Rakh Rojhani, located on Choti Bala Road in DG Khan during the small hours of Sunday.

The Multan CTD team raided the place shortly after the department received “actionable intelligence” indicating that some eight to nine terrorists belonging to proscribed organisations Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and Daesh or ISIS were hiding in Choti Bala area.

Two of the five dead were named by police as Malik Tahseen and M Kamran. The identification of the other three dead was yet to be ascertained. It was not clear yet how the suspects were identified as affiliated with the Islamic State group.

The raiding team asked the terrorists to surrender but they stared indiscriminate firing on the team, the CTD official said. “The shootout continued for some time. When the firing was stopped, five terrorists were found dead. (They were) killed by firing of their accomplices while three to four terrorists escaped getting the benefit of darkness.”

The CTD team also seized four hand grenades, four rifles; two 9MM pistols, and ammunition, according to a spokesperson of the provincial counter-terror agency. Tahseen and Kamran earlier had escaped from the police custody with the help of some other terrorists, the spokesman said. Both the terrorists were wanted by the police.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Dec-2016/five-daesh-militants-shot-dead-in-dg-khan

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Ahmadi place of worship may see court case following mob attack

NABEEL ANWAR DHAKKU

Dec 19, 2016

CHAKWAL: Built in 1860, a historic mosque in Dulmial village was rechristened a ‘place of worship’ in 1974, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslim.

The building, which saw mob violence on Dec 12 that left two dead and three injured, may now become the scene of a legal battle between the village’s Ahmadi community and its Sunni residents.

The place of worship has been sealed by judicial magistrate Chaudhry Zaffar Iqbal, based on an application by Mohammad Nawaz, the station house officer of the Choa Saidan Shah police station. Both parties have been asked to submit their responses to the court on Jan 3, 2017.

The order issued by the magistrate states that Darul Zikr, the religious site in question, is a bone of contention between “Sunni Muslims and Ahmadi sect. Both these sects are in a tug-of-war since long which resulted into carnage,” the order observed.

Dulmial’s Muslim residents have claimed ownership of a religious site built by ancestors of local Ahmadis

It went on to say that the dispute would likely break the peace within the limits of the court’s territorial jurisdiction, and directed the concerned parties to attend court hearings in person or through their pleader on Jan 3. Both the parties have been asked to submit written statements of their claims about the possession of Darul Zikr.

According to members of the local Ahmadi community, the place of worship was built by their ancestors in 1860.

“We belong to the Awan tribe, and our tribe laid the foundation of Dulmial. The minaret of the mosque was built in 1927, and the mosque was known as minar wali masjid. After we were declared non-Muslim by the Bhutto government in 1974, the mosque remained in our possession but was renamed Darul Zikr, because according to the law we could not refer to our places of worship as mosques,” explained an Ahmadi resident of Dulmial who left the village in the wake of the Dec 12 attack.

Some of the Awans of the village became Ahmadis in the early 20th century. Until 1974, Dulmial had been a stronghold for the Ahmadi community, which made up around half the village population. After they were declared non-Muslim, Ahmadi Pakistanis began leaving the country to escape attacks against them, many moving to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The resident added that the Muslims of the village did not make any calls for the possession of the mosque. However, in 1997, some Muslim residents of the village asked the Ahmadis to vacate Darul Zikr, claiming it was founded as a mosque and should be returned to the Muslim community. The demand led to a brief and vague legal dispute that ended without resolution.

“The Muslims filed a civil case with a local court over Darul Zikr’s ownership. The civil judge sealed Darul Zikr and it remained sealed for a few days. In those days, we had to worship in the street,” an Ahmadi resident from the village recalled. He said the building was unsealed after the Ahmadi community appealed against the civil judge’s order before a sessions judge.

The Muslims filed an appeal with Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench. According to local Ahmadis, the Muslims did not follow the case in the LHC while local Muslims said the case file got lost in the court.

Former Choa Saidan Shah tehsil nazim Hafeezur Rehman said: “The case file was deliberately lost in the LHC thrice. That was why we gave up the legal battle.” Mr Rehman is a suspect in Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1303199/ahmadi-place-of-worship-may-see-court-case-following-mob-attack

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Muslims tend to have fewest years of formal schooling, says Pew Research

Dec 19, 2016

Pakistani Muslims, who form one of the largest adult Muslim populations globally, have 3.8 years of schooling on average, a recent Pew Research Center study found.

Released on Tuesday, the study stated Muslims tend to have the fewest years of formal schooling. Jews, on the other hand, it said, are more highly educated than any other major religious group around the world.

The report's findings were based on data collected from 151 countries, which according to Pew, represented 95 per cent of the 3.6 billion people in the world who were over the age of 25 in 2010.

It focused on adherents of five major world religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism as well as those who identified as being religiously unaffiliated.

Researchers did not measure the quality of education the adherents had received. Instead, they focused on the number of years the adherents had spent while enrolled.

Theism, gender gap and education

The Muslim gender gap in educational attainment worldwide has narrowed, the report found.

However, it also stated that Muslim women around the world lagged behind Muslim men in average years of schooling by a year and a half (4.9 years vs 6.4 years).

It further stated that Muslim gender gaps were larger than the gaps for non-Muslims. Globally, non-Muslim men on average had 8.7 years of schooling compared with 7.7 years for women.

Researchers did not find any educational gender gap among Jews.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1302528/muslims-tend-to-have-fewest-years-of-formal-schooling-says-pew-research

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 ‘ISI should be in reach of people’

19-Dec-16

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa in his INQUIRY report said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) should be accessible to citizens.

The Supreme Court formed the commission led by Justice Isa in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Civil Hospital Quetta. It has been revealed in the media reports about the INQUIRYcommission report that even the people, who wish to convey information to the spy agency about suspicious activities, have no means to contact it.

According to 110-page report, the premier intelligence agency neither has a website nor an email account. When the commission checked whether the spy agencies of other countries too were inaccessible, it found out that almost all the important agencies had made their contact details, such as telephone numbers and email addresses, public.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States have all provided their contact particulars on their publicly reachable websites, the report read.

The Military Intelligence Section 5, Secret Intelligence Service, National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Counter Terrorism Command of the United Kingdom have also provided their contacts on their websites, according to the report.

"It wrote letters to the government functionaries, seeking information and answers to certain questions," the commission said. Subsequently, responses were received from the Establishment Division, Finance Division, ministries of interior, religious affairs, states and frontier regions, Federal Investigation Agency, ISI, National Counter Terrorism Authority and the national security adviser. But none of the responses was on a letterhead. All of them were on plain pieces of paper which didn't mention any address, email account or even a post office box number.

The responses from the governments of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh followed the same pattern. The report said the commission faced considerable difficulty in ascertaining the whereabouts of the ministries, government departments and agencies. The report added that one could only sympathises with the poor citizens who might have to interact with these organisations.

"If such nebulousness serves a purpose it could only be to remain aloof and unapproachable and therefore unquestionable and unaccountable," the commission regretted. Expressing surprise on the FC's role, the commission said it was not clear exactly what its role in Balochistan was and whether it had policing powers.

The report also revealed the "confused response" at the highest level, as the chief secretary and commandant of the Ghazaband Scouts of FC said the FC had policing powers whereas the federal interior secretary said that no such powers had been given to the FC.

The commission said it wrote letters to Wafaqul Madaris-al-Salfia, Wafaqul Madaris-al-Arabia, Wafaqul Madaris-al-Shia Pakistan, Tanzeemul Madaris Pakistan and Rabitaul Madaris-al-Islamia and their association Ittehad Tanzeem Madaris. The commission asked them about any mosque or seminary having direct or indirect links with the Jamaatul Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami or any other organisation banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/19-Dec-16/isi-should-be-in-reach-of-people--

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Iran shelling reportedly kills one, injures two in Balochistan

December 18, 2016

Iranian border guards Sunday reportedly fired mortar shells into Pakistani territory, killing one person and injuring two others.

A district administration official declining to be named said Iranian border guards reportedly fired nine mortal shells that hit a vehicle in Panjgoor district of Balochistan near Pak-Iran border.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/18-Dec-2016/iran-shelling-reportedly-kills-one-injures-two-in-balochistan

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Mideast

 

Saudi Foreign Minister: Iran’s meddling in Region Must Be Stopped

 18 December 2016

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, that any agreement in Yemen must be based on the Gulf initiative and the decision of the United Nations.

Jubeir added that Saudi Arabia calls for the world to take tough action to stop Iran’s interventions in the region.

Kerry announced that ISIS is on its way to defeat.

The Secretary of State said the US condemns the terrorist attacks, that took place in the Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday.

He added that the world must end the war in Yemen in a way that will protect the security of Saudi Arabia, urging all Yemeni parties to return to the negotiating table.

From his part, Kerry stressed that, like Saudi Arabia, his country rejects Iranian interference in Yemen.

Prior to the conference, King Salman received Kerry whose trip, come ahead of the inauguration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

Kerry held as well meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and other royalty in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

“In turbulent times, it’s good to have solid friends,” Kerry told journalists Sunday night.

“That’s why the United States’ partnership with Saudi Arabia is rightly so valuable.”

Kerry earlier joined diplomats from Britain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates to speak with Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations special envoy to Yemen.

(L-R) Britain's MP Tobias Ellwood, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, and U.N. special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed pose for a group photo in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2016. (Reuters)

The UAE is part of the Arab coalition fighting Houthis, while Oman has served as an interlocutor for them.

According to AP, on Twitter, British Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said the meeting discussed a political process to end Yemen’s war, something he described as “the only way to bring peace.”

Kerry said he hoped to have parties involved “within two weeks” to agree to terms earlier set out by the UN But he and the Saudi Foreign Minister offered few specifics on how that would be accomplished, especially as the UN has proposed sidelining Saudi-backed

President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi and giving the rebels a share of power — concessions the kingdom strongly opposes.

“You can see from the humanitarian situation, which is dire and deteriorating rapidly, that it is urgent that we try to bring this war to a close,” he said. “But we also need to bring it to a close in a way that protects the security of Saudi Arabia.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/18/Jubeir-Tough-actions-needed-to-stop-Iran-s-interventions.html

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GCC rejects Iranian officials’ threats against countries in the region

18 December 2016

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has rejected threats by some Iranian officials against the GCC and other regional countries, considering them violations of diplomatic norms.

In a statement released by the Council, GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said threats by the Iranian officials contravene principles of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, as stated by the UN Charter. He added that Iran continued to interfere in affairs of the GCC and regional countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/18/GCC-rejects-Iranian-officials-threats-against-countries-in-the-region.html

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Yemeni government requests new road map for peace

17 December 2016

Yemeni foreign minister and head of the government’s peace talks delegation, Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi, met on Saturday in Riyadh with UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

During the meeting, Mekhlafi explained that the government is expecting the UN envoy to provide a new road map to achieve peace.

Mekhlafi stressed that the implementation of Security Council resolution 2216 (emphasizing the need for a peaceful, orderly, inclusive and Yemeni-led transition process) is the only viable option to save the Yemeni people from the ravages of war. All opposition militias should abide by this resolution, he said.

He also reiterated the government’s keenness on peace and harmony to get Yemen out of strife and push the legitimate authorities towards dealing positively with all international efforts aimed at achieving peace and implementing international resolutions. Meanwhile, the US State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Saudi capital on Sunday to hold talks with Saudi leaders on several topics in the Middle East.

Mark Toner, assistant spokesman for the ministry said that Kerry will discuss during his visit, regional developments, including the situation in Yemen and the efforts of his counterparts to resolve the crisis on a political level.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2016/12/17/Yemeni-government-requests-new-road-map-for-peace.html

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Aleppo liberation shows West support for terror failing: Shamkhani

Dec 18, 2016

A senior Iranian official says the liberation of the strategic Syrian city of Aleppo from the grips of foreign-backed militants once again indicated the failure of the policy pursued by the West and its regional allies in supporting terrorism.

In a meeting with Russia's special envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, in Tehran on Sunday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said the Syrian army made valuable achievements by liberating the northwestern city from militants, adding that the gains were the outcome of initiatives by Iran, Russia, Syria and the resistance front.

The liberation of Aleppo once again exposed to judgment of the world public opinion the policies of Western countries and their regional allies in creating and sponsoring terrorism and their full political, media and military support for defeated terrorist and Takfiri groups, he added.

The SNSC secretary stressed the IMPORTANCE of establishing a permanent ceasefire in Aleppo and driving out terrorists from the city.

He also hailed the cooperation among Iran, Russia and Syria in the fight against terrorists and their sponsors.

“Given the increasing political and military complications of the Syria crisis and the necessity of adopting common strategies to manage the conditions faced, the expansion of consultations among the three countries’ officials at different levels is inevitable,” Shamkhani said.

Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, was fully liberated this week, less than a month after the Syrian army started to drive foreign-backed militants out of their stronghold in the eastern side of the strategic city.

Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement on Friday that the Syrian military had wrested full control of eastern Aleppo, scoring a major victory against terrorists in the strategic city.

Tehran and Moscow support the elected Syrian government and have been assisting Damascus in its fight against terrorism.

Russia has been carrying out airstrikes on positions of Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria since late September 2015, while Iran has been providing military advisory assistance to the Arab country.

US, Israel failed to divide Syria: Leader’s aide

Meanwhile, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the United States and Israeli regime have failed to implement their plots in Syria and partition the Arab country.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/18/499430/Iran-Russia-Syria-Aleppo-US-Israel-Ali-Shamkhani-Alexander-Lavrentiev-Ali-Akbar-Velayati

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Iran, Russia defense ministers urge firm fight against terrorism in Syria

Dec 17, 2016

The defense ministers of Iran and Russia have stressed the IMPORTANCE of proceeding with a firm fight against terrorism in Syria, following the liberation of the strategic city of Aleppo from the foreign-backed militants.

In a telephone conversation on Saturday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu discussed the latest developments in Syria, particularly after the liberation of Aleppo.

The two ministers emphasized that the Syrian town of Fua'a and the village of Kefraya, which are besieged by the terrorists, must be liberated at the earliest.

Dehqan and Shoigu also called for a firm and all-out battle against Takfiri terrorists in Syria until the full establishment of security in the war-stricken country.

The Iranian and Russian defense ministers underlined the need for constant consultations on the fight against Takfiri terrorists.

Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, was fully liberated this week, less than a month after the Syrian army started to drive foreign-backed militants out of their stronghold in the eastern side of the strategic city.

Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement on Friday that the Syrian military had wrested full control of eastern Aleppo, scoring a major victory against terrorists in the strategic northwestern city.

It further noted that more than 9,500 people, including over 4,500 militants and 337 wounded, had been taken out of eastern Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/17/498319/Iran-Russia-Syria-Aleppo-Hossein-Dehqan-Sergei-Shoigu

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North America

 

Now Google, Apple won’t help Trump build Muslim registry

December 19, 2016

Soon after Facebook and Twitter clarified that they will not help US President-elect Donald Trump’s idea of developing a Muslim registry, tech giants like Google, Apple and global cab-hailing app company Uber also said they will also oppose such an effort.

“In relation to the hypothetical of whether we would ever help build a ‘Muslim registry’ — we have not been asked, of course we would not do this and we are glad — from all that we have read — that the proposal does not seem to be on the TABLE,” Buzzfeed quoted a Google spokesperson as saying on Saturday.

But if it’s ever asked to participate, “of course (Google) would not do (it),” the spokespserson added.

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An Apple spokesperson also noted that the company “thinks people should be treated the same no matter how they worship, what they look like, who they love”. “We have not been asked and we would oppose such an effort,” the Apple spokesperson added.

Uber also clarified with a “No,” stressing that it would not help Trump build a Muslim registry.

On December 4, US-based news website Intercept reported that of the nine major tech giants, including Facebook, Apple and Google, only Twitter declined to help if US President-elect Donald Trump seeks to create a national Muslim registry.

According to the report, the firms were asked if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry — an idea recently refloated by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team — and only Twitter said no.

Nearly 10 days later, Facebook broke the silence and said that it would not help US President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to create a list of Muslims present in the US.

In a statement to the Intercept, Facebook said: “No one has asked us to build a Muslim registry, and of course we would not do so.” Facebook broke its silence after 22 different advocacy groups petitioned those companies to respond.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/now-google-apple-wont-help-trump-build-muslim-registry-4435119/

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Man running for state representative calls for boycott of Muslim-owned businesses

Dec 19, 2016

A Louisiana man who is running for elected office has defended a Facebook post calling for a boycott of Muslim-owned businesses.

Michael “Duke” Lowrie wrote in November 2015 that people who follow the Islamic religion “seek to kill us and make us submit to their false religion and god”.

“I for one will no longer knowingly go to or do business with any establishment that has someone who I know is a follower of Islam working there. I will challenge every Islamist (sic) I see to denounce their false god and religion. Those Islamist (sic) here walk among us in stores and we act as if they're no different than any of us. Well I'm sorry they are different. Their religion demands you to convert or die.”

Mr Lowrie, a firefighter and paramedic who is running for the state’s House of Representatives District 8, will participate in the election on 25 March.

He cited a so-called “kill list” that surfaced on social media last year and included Shreveport, the 113th largest city in the country.

The Republican defended his Facebook post and the call for a boycott.

“We are a Christian nation,” he told the Shreveport Times.

“The threat of Islamic terrorism is real. Too many times, politicians are sometimes so afraid to speak the truth because of the PC culture in which we live. I'll call it how I see it. We must tackle Islamic extremism head on. I believe President Trump will do that.”

Mr Lowrie could not be immediately contacted for comment by The Independent.

His comments come as Donald Trump has been condemned for appointing people to his cabinet who have openly expressed Islamophobic views. This includes Michael Flynn, his defense secretary, who said fear of Muslims is “rational” and described Islam as a “cancer”. Fox News’ KT McFarland, who will join Mr Trump’s national security team, insisted that followers of Islam were determined to "destroy western civilisation".

The population of around 3.3 million American Muslims have faced record high levels of discrimination and hate crimes since the presidential campaign began. Hate crimes grew 67 per cent in 2015, according to the FBI, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that Muslims faced a higher level of threats since the 9/11 attacks.

IMr Lowrie was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2012 and served as a statewide delegate for Mr Trump in July.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/michael-duke-lowrie-boycott-racist-muslim-facebook-post-louisiana-baton-rouge-state-representative-a7483066.html

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Muslim Americans new black kids: Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson

December 18, 2016

Dubai: Actor Samuel L Jackson says Muslim Americans are the new black kids in his country as people perceive them as a threat before even saying hello.

The actor, best known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino’s movies such as “Hateful Eight”, “Django Unchained” and “Pulp Fiction”, attended the Dubai International Film Festival here to receive a lifetime achievement award.

Talking about diversity, Jackson said HBO’s show “The Night Of” was amazing but average Americans would call it a black show, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Muslims are getting arrested like black kids get arrested; Muslim Americas are the new black kids in America. Suspect as we are for the dominant culture, people don’t understand them. People perceive them as a threat before even saying hello.

“But the Muslim community is present in our country. They are a vital part of our country and interestingly enough they have less crime, more education and their businesses thrive more so than any other group in the country. You tell people in the Rust Belt that, and they’re like, ‘Get out of here’.”

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/muslim-americans-new-black-kids-samuel-l-jackson-1089010/

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The Mosque Next Door: City Law vs. Houses of Faith

By LISA W. FODERARO

DEC. 18, 2016

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Mohammad Ali Chaudry, a retired financial officer, has lived in this prosperous town for 40 years. It is where he raised his three children and where he served as mayor, and before that, as a member of the school board. It was also where Mr. Chaudry, an observant Muslim, always wanted to pray.

But Mr. Chaudry and some 70 fellow Muslims have been stymied for years in their quest to build a mosque on a four-acre plot of land in Basking Ridge, a genteel community here that is as proud of its old oak trees as its old homes. A year ago, after 39 public hearings in which local officials and residents picked apart every aspect of the proposed mosque, the planning board rejected the proposal, citing issues like storm water management and pedestrian safety in the parking lot.

Now, the federal Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Bernards Township, arguing that its decision violated federal law and discriminated against the applicants purely because of their Muslim faith. The complaint, filed last month, follows a lawsuit brought by Mr. Chaudry’s Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, which has been subjected to anti-Muslim fliers and social media posts and even vandalism.

During the protracted application process, someone stomped on the group’s mailbox and later superimposed “ISIS” over the society’s initials on the mailbox. “This was unprecedented,” said Mr. Chaudry, the society’s president, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Tufts University and teaches a course at Rutgers University on Islam. “No other house of worship in the township’s history had ever been treated the way we were.”

Across the country, more and more towns have used local zoning laws as barriers to new mosques and Islamic schools, underscoring what civil rights advocates say is a growing wave of intolerance that has been amplified by the victory of President-elect Donald J. Trump. In response, the federal government has been increasingly turning to the courts, using a law passed unanimously by Congress in 2000 that prohibits municipalities from discriminating against religions in land-use decisions or treating religious groups differently than secular ones.

While the law, with the arcane name Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, was intended to protect all religious faiths, 11 of the last 13 cases brought by the Justice Department — including three in the last month — have involved Muslims.

“The law, by its very nature, deals with particularly vulnerable populations,” said Mark Goldfeder, a senior lecturer at Emory University’s School of Law and a senior fellow at the university’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. “It’s so easy for towns to hide discrimination behind layers of land-use procedure.”

But Muslim advocates and experts on religious freedom worry that Mr. Trump’s impending inauguration leaves the future of the powerful religious freedom law in doubt. The man the president-elect has nominated to lead the Justice Department, Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, has endorsed Mr. Trump’s call for a temporary ban on immigration from Muslim countries.

As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Mr. Sessions might be less sympathetic to pursuing investigations involving the rights of Muslims. There are now 13 open land-use investigations under the law, though a spokesman for the department declined to say how many of those involved mosques.

Ross K. Baker, a distinguished professor of political science at Rutgers who has studied the federal law, said it was “entirely possible” Mr. Sessions could choose to dial back on the investigations. “It is within the province of the attorney general-designate to decide whether to proceed with a lawsuit,” he said.

Another recent case brought by the department involved a proposed mosque in Virginia. The lawsuit argued that Culpeper County violated the religious land-use law in denying a sewage permit application. The complaint noted that since 1992, the county had considered 26 applications and never before denied such a permit to either a commercial or religious group.

In a speech this month at a Virginia mosque, Loretta E. Lynch, United States the attorney general, talked about the department’s response to a surge in hate crimes, highlighting enforcement of the land-use law. “Members of the Civil Rights Division have heard repeatedly about more overt discrimination in both the tone and framing of objections to planned religious institutions, especially mosques and Islamic centers,” said Ms. Lynch, who sent a letter to state and local officials on Thursday reminding them of the law and their obligation to respect religious freedom.

In the case of Bernards Township, the Islamic Society bought land that was in a zone that permitted a house of worship. Raising money from various sources, Mr. Chaudry oversaw the purchase of four acres, aware that the zoning code required at least three acres for a house of worship.

The society hired an architect who took pains to design a mosque that would blend in with the neighborhood, where a fire station stands across the street from the site. The 4,400-square-foot mosque, the size of a large house, would forgo the traditional dome and would include minarets that mimic the chimneys on neighboring houses.

“The mosque proposal met with vociferous public opposition,” the Justice Department wrote in its recent complaint. “Fliers, social media and websites denounced the mosque and were filled with anti-Muslim bigotry and references to terrorism and the 9/11 attacks.”

The federal lawsuit concluded that the planning board had used different requirements in denying the society’s application than it “had in evaluating previous applications.”

The language in the society’s own lawsuit was more blunt: “What should have been a simple board approval for a permitted use devolved into a Kafkaesque process that spanned an unprecedented four years.”

Nearly three dozen religious, legal and civil rights groups have supported the society’s lawsuit by signing amicus briefs, said the society’s lawyer, Adeel A. Mangi, of the firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.

Bernards Township officials deny that the applicants’ faith played any role in their decision. The mayor, Carol Bianchi, declined to respond to the allegations. But a statement by the township after the Justice Department filed its lawsuit asserted that the planning board’s denial was based on “legitimate land-use and safety concerns which plaintiffs refused, and to this day, refuse to address.”

The township’s most forceful response was reserved for the Justice Department, which it accused of a conflict of interest because one of its investigators served on the same board at Drew University’s Center for Religious and Cultural Conflicts as Mr. Chaudry. The township also claimed that the department’s communication with the Islamic Society before bringing the federal complaint suggested an “inappropriate collusion.”

The United States attorney for New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, a Democrat, looked into the township’s allegations and declared them baseless.

In July, the Justice Department released a report on its enforcement of the federal law since 2010, which detailed the growing proportion of cases involving mosques. It also found that while 84 percent of non-Muslim investigations were resolved without a lawsuit, only a fifth of cases involving Islamic institutions were similarly resolved.

In Bernards Township, much of the initial resistance to the proposed mosque centered on parking. According to the federal complaint, the local ordinance required 50 parking spaces for houses of worship based on a 3-to-1 standard ratio, or an average of three people arriving in one car. But a traffic engineer enlisted by opponents of the mosque recommended 107 spaces.

The planning board insisted the mosque meet that goal, which, in turn, raised new issues, like visual impacts and storm water runoff. The society’s complaint stated that applicants “dutifully revised their site plan and brought back professionals to testify time and again, only to find that the board had generated yet more requirements.” Mr. Fishman said the township “kept moving the goal posts.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/nyregion/us-says-new-jersey-town-that-denied-mosque-discriminated-against-muslims.html

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Canadian tourist killed, 2nd injured in shootout between police, gunmen in Jordan

December 18, 2016

Jordanian security forces freed tourists trapped inside a medieval castle on Sunday after storming the building where armed men had taken shelter following a shoot-out with police that killed at least 10 people, security sources said.

A Canadian woman, two other civilians and seven police officers were among the 10 killed during the exchange of gunfire between the assailants and security forces.

A second Canadian was among the 29 people who were taken to hospital, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told Global News.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of all the victims, including the Canadian killed and the Canadian who was injured in the heinous attack in Jordan,” Global Affairs spokesperson John Babcock said in an email.

Police in the mountainous city of Karak had earlier freed 10 people, including foreign tourists, but some were still being held in the Crusader-era castle from where the gunmen shot at security forces who were surrounding it, a security source said.

The identity of the assailants was not immediately clear.

A former government minister from Karak city, Sameeh Maaytah, said there were signs Islamist militants may have been behind the attack but the government has so far steered away from saying this.

“The operation is continuing, it has not ended and the criminals are still inside the castle … This was a group that was plotting certain operations inside Jordan,” Maaytah told pan-Arab news channel al-Hadath.

WATCH Gunfire heard in police and gunmen shootout in Jordan

Video footage on social media showed security forces taking groups of young Asian tourists up the castle’s steep steps to its main entrance as gunshots were heard overhead.

After the attack, the Canadian embassy in Jordan tweeted a warning to Canadians, advising them against all travel to Karak until further notice.

Global Affairs Canada told Global News that government officials “in Amman are actively working with local authorities to gather additional information and provide consular assistance at this difficult time.”

“The Government of Canada stands ready to assist Jordan in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice,” Babcock said.

The castle is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.

Prime Minister Hani al Mulki told parliament “a number of security personnel” had been killed and that security forces were laying siege to the castle. The Canadian government confirmed one of its nationals had been killed.

Police and witnesses said gunmen had earlier gone on a shooting spree aimed at officers patrolling the town before entering the castle, perched on TOP of a hill. They used one of the castle’s towers to fire at a nearby police station.

Police said the gunmen had arrived from the desert town of Qatraneh nearly 30 km northeast of Karak city, a desert outpost known for smuggling, where many tribal residents are heavily Full report at:

http://globalnews.ca/news/3134051/canadian-tourist-shooting-in-jordan/

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Europe

 

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri banned in Pakistan is preaching in UK mosques

December 18, 2016

A Pakistani Muslim cleric who celebrated the murder of a popular politician is in Britain on a speaking tour of mosques. The news has alarmed social cohesion experts who fear such tours are promoting divisions in the Muslim community.

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri has been banned from preaching in Pakistan because his sermons are considered too incendiary. However, he is due to visit a number of English mosques, in heavily promoted events where he is given star billing.

Qadri publicly praises Mumtaz Qadri who in 2011 murdered his employer, Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani politician who spoke out against the country’s blasphemy laws. Qadri was executed earlier this year but to his tens of thousands of supporters he remains a hero who defended their interpretation of Islam.

Mumtaz Qadri was a key influence on Tanveer Ahmed, the Bradford taxi driver who in March stabbed to death Asad Shah. Shah, a member of the Ahmadi Muslim community who ran a convenience shop in Glasgow, was targeted after messages he put out on social media including an Easter greeting to Christians.

His was one of several recent high profile murders in which a Muslim from one community was killed by a Muslim from another community for holding what they considered to be “blasphemous” views. In February, a former Sufi imam in Rochdale was murdered by two Islamic State supporters whom they claimed was practising “black magic”. In May, a Sufi Muslim leader was hacked to death near the north Bangladeshi town of Rajshahi in what police said was an attack by Islamic extremists.

Qadri, considered by many scholars to hold moderate views except on blasphemy, was due to speak at the Falkirk Central mosque in Scotland, but his invitation was withdrawn after a public outcry. However, the Observer has established that he is due to appear at several mosques in England.

The Sunday Post in Scotland reported that Qadri has been labelled a “firebrand”by the authorities in Karachi and barred from preaching his incendiary sermons. He was accused of acting in a manner “prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order”. He was banned from addressing crowds in October, according to a legal document seen by the Post.

Video footage on social media sites shows Qadri telling crowds that the killing of Taseer was lawful.

Irfan al-Alawi, international director at the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, a US thinktank, said Qadri received large sums of money for his UK tour and accused him of increasing tensions among different Muslim sects.

“Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri and the likes of him should not be allowed to enter the UK or Europe because he incites hatred and he claims to be a Sufi, but the message of Sufism is love all and hate none,” Alawi said.

“The Sunni Muslims do not need Pakistani or Indian imams to enter the UK and preach hatred. Just as Zakir Naik was banned, the government should be hard on these preachers of hate and also with the people and mosques which invite them.”

Naik was an extremist Islamist preacher barred from preaching in the UK by Theresa May, when she was the home secretary, in 2011.

Flyers promoting Qadri’s appearances in the UK, obtained by the Observer, confirm that he is due to preach on Sunday in Leicester, in Woking on Boxing Day and in Bolton on New Year’s Eve. It is believed he will also make appearances at other mosques.

None of the three mosques responded to requests for comment.

Haras Rafiq, chief executive of the Quilliam Foundation, said Qadri was the type of preacher who presented new challenges for promoting cohesion in Britain’s Muslim community.

“These are people who may not be extremist in the way that we know Isis or Boko Haram are extremist,” Rafiq said. “But when they apply the blasphemy law to justify the killing of other Muslims for not being the right Muslims then we have a huge challenge. Anybody who supports the murder of another person is dangerous.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Dec-2016/syed-muzaffar-shah-qadri-banned-in-pakistan-is-preaching-in-uk-mosques

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Marine Le Pen promises to drive the Machos from the Mosques

Gavin Mortimer

18 December 2016

The National Front were out in force at my local Parisian market on Saturday. A coterie of volunteers handing out leaflets with suitably festive bonhomie. I took one from a smiling middle-aged woman. It was titled ‘Au Nom Du Peuple’ and there was a photograph of the party’s leader, Marine Le Pen, looking pensive. She’s dropped the surname for her election campaign. It’s deemed too toxic, what with her reptilian father’s reputation for playing down the holocaust and playing up the sins of homosexuality.

There’s a message from Marine at the TOP of the page, an extract from a speech she gave in September this year. ‘Nobody should ignore that this presidential election is about an inescapable choice,’ she said during an address at Frejus on the Côte d’Azur. ‘Either a France with her sovereignty, her identity, her values, her prosperity, or a country that we no longer recognise, in which we will become strangers.’

Beneath the QUOTATION Le Pen expands on her major campaign issues. The European Union is firmly in her sights, with her reiteration to put France’s membership to the vote if elected, and she also vows to ‘break with mass immigration’. There’s mention of ‘reconquering’ urban no-go zones, lowering taxes and what she calls ‘economic patriotism’.

One of the most eye-catching pledges is near the foot of the page. If elected president, Le Pen promises to ‘defend the rights of women, their freedoms and their dignity, put in danger by fundamental Islam.’

It’s a clever strategy. On a train back to Paris recently from eastern France I fell into conversation with the woman sitting to me, a chic, forty-something, who was head of human resources for a large company in the French capital. Having a broad English accent in France has some advantages, one of which is a lowering of the Gallic guard, leading people to reveals secrets that they might not tell one of their own for fear of being judged.

That’s what this woman said, having just told me she’ll be voting for Le Pen. When I asked why, her reply was immediate. ‘Islam.’

She’s frightened for the future of France, frightened for her two young daughters. ‘If something’s not done, then by the time they’re my age, they will be wearing the veil,’ she said.

Alarmist? Not judging by a report broadcast on the primetime French news last Wednesday. Entitled ‘Quand Les Femmes sont Indésirables’ [When the women are unwanted], the report began with two Muslim members of a Women’s Rights group, carrying a CONCEALEDcamera, attempting to order a coffee in Sevran, a north-eastern suburb of Paris.

The men in the bar aren’t in traditional Muslim dress; they’re dressed in jeans and tracksuits, and wearing their misogyny like a badge of honour. The women are curtly informed this is a cafe for men. One of the women asks a customer what his wife or cousin would do if they came into the cafe in search of a drink. They wouldn’t, he replied. They’re at home. The other woman reminds the men that they’re in France. No, they retort, here it’s the ‘Bled’, a word of North African origin meaning a small village in the sticks.

On leaving the bar the two women explain to the CAMERA that in the last decade Islam in France has become a ‘penal code’ with an increasing list of interdictions, many aimed at subjugating women. As the pair talk a car full of men pulls up. The occupants say nothing; their gaze does the talking. Clearly intimidated, the women stop the interview.

In the same report the journalist experiences similar misogyny in parts of Lyon, with one young mother telling the camera as she pushes a pram that she DRESSES ‘sombrely’ and forgoes wearing make-up when she goes out. Why? asked the journalist. ‘We’re scared,’ says the mother.

Marine Le Pen wants to harness this fear in the forthcoming presidential election in the hope it will win her the female vote. It could do, although François Fillon, the centre-right candidate will challenge her for it. The same can’t be said of the French left who, like their British counterparts, are still trying to pretend there’s nothing to see as far as the Islamists and their treatment of women goes.

In the wake of the summer burkini row, Marianne, a weekly French magazine, interviewed several prominent Francophone Muslim women, and asked what could be done to combat the growing misogyny within Islam in France. One, the Algerian-born essayist Djemila Benhabib, complained that while some non-Muslim feminists supported them, many sided with the Islamists, in particular over the right of women to wear the veil ‘in the name of individual liberty’. In doing so they had lent ‘respectability and legitimacy to these dubious characters’. Benhabib had this message to those feminists: ‘From now on, I put you on the same level as the Islamists. I make no distinction, because you’re knowingly colluding with them.’

Full report at:

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/marine-le-pen-promises-drive-machos-mosques/

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France spurns war-zone refugees, but welcomes their art treasures

December 18, 2016

PARIS — While Europe balks at offering asylum to Syrians, Iraqis and other migrants fleeing war-torn countries, one of its TOP museums plans to provide a haven for their art treasures.

The Louvre is preparing to offer asylum to artifacts endangered in war zones around the world. The treasures will be stored in a preservation center scheduled to open in two years in the northern French town of Liévin.

The move is a response to the skyrocketing looting and destruction in conflict zones, said Louvre President-Director Jean-Luc Martinez.

"Faced with such an emergency, we asked ourselves, ‘What can a museum do?’” Martinez asked at this week's opening of an exhibition of ancient treasures at the Grand Palais. “We need an exceptional mobilization.”

French President François Hollande and leaders from 40 governments and institutions approved a $100 million plan during a Dec. 3 conference in the United Arab Emirates' capital, Abu Dhabi. American representatives at the conference included the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian.

“There had never been such an IMPORTANT summit bringing together so many heads of states,” said Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute in Paris and a former French minister of culture.

The Islamic State and other Muslim extremists have destroyed much of the cultural heritage in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Mali on the grounds that non-Islamic art and antiquities are blasphemous.

Why extremists destroy ancient treasures

In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State bulldozed a colossal, ancient Assyrian gateway on the banks of the Euphrates that featured eighth-century lion sculptures. In the ancient city of Palmyra — which the militant group recaptured this week after being driven out nine months ago — the Islamic State destroyed a 1,900-year-old Phoenician temple. In Iraq, the group destroyed parts of the ancient city of Nimrud dating to the 13th century B.C., and likely is plundering art treasures in nearby Mosul.

“What we have witnessed in the past few years is the highest level of destruction since World War II,” said archaeologist Regis Vallet of the French National Center for Scientific Research. “When (the Islamic State) arrives in Palmyra or in Nimrud and blasts them with dynamite, it's exactly as if the Acropolis of Athens was raided or the Parthenon blown up. It's of the same magnitude."

The $65 million Liévin center also would house a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, Egyptian mummies and other artifacts out of public view in the Louvre’s basement.

The effort would draw public attention to the conflict-torn countries, Martinez said. "Great museums such as the Louvre are directly affected,” he said. “We preserve archives from these areas and also because we must show solidarity to our Syrian and Iraqi colleagues."

The Louvre's latest exhibit takes visitors on a virtual tour of legendary sites such as Palmyra and the Great Mosque of Damascus using life-size, three-dimensional projected images.

Hector Feliciano, author of the 1997 book The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art, applauded the French government's initiative.

"Once it's lost, it's lost forever, and that's what's terrible," he said. "When artworks are destroyed, they end up disappearing altogether from our memory. We talk about the Mona Lisa because it still exists, but we no longer talk about other Da Vinci paintings, which are gone."

Full report at:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/12/18/france-louvre-refugees-art-treasures/95396968/

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Arson attack on Muslim prayer hall in eastern France

18-12-2016

Unknown assailants have launched an arson attack on a Muslim prayer hall in eastern France, local officials said on Sunday. Firefighters extinguished the blaze but are in no doubt it was set deliberately.

Fires were set at about 1.00am at five different places in the women's room of a prayer hall in a residential area of Château-Thierry a town of 15,000 residents between Paris and Rheims, sources said on Sunday.

Firefighters intervened before the blaze seriously harmed the building, police told the AFP news agency, but furniture and carpets were damaged and smoke stained the walls both in that room and in the adjoining men's prayer room.

Burnt Korans were found and appeared to have been used to start the fires and other damage, such as blocking sinks with toilet paper, was also inflicted.

'Criminal act' condemned

Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux condemned "intolerable and criminal acts".

There was no doubt that the fires were deliberately caused, according to public prosecutor Jean-Baptiste Bladier.

Full report at:

http://en.rfi.fr/france/20161218-arson-attack-muslim-prayer-hall-east-france

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South Asia

 

Pressure mounts on Myanmar as state crimes against Muslims documented

Dec 19, 2016

An international rights group has warned Myanmar that its widespread military crackdown on the Rohingya community may amount to crimes against humanity, as a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers convenes in the country to discuss means of ending the plight of the ethnic Muslims.

In a report released on Monday, Amnesty International documented a campaign of violence by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya since October 9, 2016, when a siege was imposed on the northern Rakhine State, where the Muslims are concentrated.

The 59-page report, named “Myanmar: ‘We are at breaking point’-Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh,” has collected numerous accounts of violence against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

‘Callous and systematic’

Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, raped women and girls, torched whole villages, and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men and given no information about their whereabouts or charges, according to the report.

The military moves, mass murders, lootings and rapes have been a form of collective punishment targeting Rohingya in Rakhine and may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said.

The rights group has condemned Myanmar for its forces’ systematic crackdown on the Rohingya.

“The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence,” said Rafendi Djamin, the Southeast Asia director for Amnesty International.

“The deplorable actions of the military could be part of a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population and may amount to crimes against humanity,” he reiterated.

Amnesty’s report came after similar documents by other humanitarian organizations were released, and the United Nations confirmed it was receiving daily reports of rapes and killings of members of the Rohingya community in the country.

“Myanmar’s handling of northern Rakhine is a lesson in how to make a bad situation worse,” UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in Geneva on Friday, adding, “The results have been catastrophic.”

Members of the Rohingya community had already been the target of constant, brutal attacks by majority Buddhists in the country since 2012. A military siege that was imposed on Rakhine in October seems to have added an official, military component to the violence.

Amnesty urged Myanmar to immediately cease all forms of violence against the Rohingya. The group advised the country to grant access to Rakhine so humanitarian organizations and journalists can carry out their duties in the area.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is CHAIRING a meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, who are pushing for an end to the violent crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, who was speaking at the meeting of the 10-nation bloc in Yangon said, “The situation is now of a regional concern and should be resolved together.”

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman arrives to attend an ASEAN ministeria meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, December 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Progress in resolving the Rohingya crisis had been “rather slow,” he said, noting the stream of reports about abuses being committed in Rakhine State.

World bodies, including the United Nations (UN), have called on Suu Kyi to fulfill her responsibility in the crisis. Suu Kyi has done little to address the issue. A task force that she ordered to investigate the situation in Rakhine concluded earlier that military forces were acting “within law.”

The siege on Rakhine was launched when unidentified elements staged a deadly raid on a police post. The Myanmarese government blamed the attack on militants whom it said were linked to the Rohingya.

Myanmarese Rohingya migrant Nur Begum reacts after the death of her six-year-old son in a refugee camp in Teknaf, in Bangladesh, November 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The government denies full citizenship to the members of the Rohingya community despite their long-time presence in Myanmar. Myanmar’s population is mostly comprised of Buddhists. Hundreds of the Muslims have been killed in the violence they have faced since 2012.

The UN says the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world.

Large numbers of them have been displaced to neighboring Bangladesh, where they also face hardships in ramshackle refugee camps.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/19/500513/Myanmar-Rohingya-Amesty

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Taliban failed to capture strategic cities in Kunduz and Helmand: Habibi

Dec 19 2016

The Taliban militants failed to capture strategic cities in northern Kunduz and southern Helmand province of Afghanistan despite launching major attacks repeatedly, the Minister of Defense Adullah Habibi said Monday.

BRIEFINGthe lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga, Minister Habibi said the Taliban militants used all force to capture the two strategic cities besides aiming to capture several provinces.

Habibi further added that three major attacks on Kunduz city and two large attacks on Lashkargah city in Helmand were carried out by the militants but the Afghan forces managed to repulse their offensive.

According to Habibi, the Afghan forces conducted over one thousand operations to suppress the militants activities and the reinforcement and EQUIPPING of the Afghan forces continue.

He said hundreds of armored personnel carriers and weapons of different types were delivered to the armed forces during the year and the recruitment of the Afghan army continues smoothly.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-failed-to-capture-strategic-cities-in-kunduz-and-helmand-habibi-02502

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Taliban publicly execute mother of two in Badghis province

Dec 19 2016

The Taliban militants brutally executed a woman in northwestern Badghis province of Afghanistan in public after she was forced to divorce her husband. (Photo: File photo)

A local official said the incident took place in Ab Kamari district late on Sunday night after the Taliban militants stormed into her father’s house in Maida Qul village.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that the woman was forced to shift to her father’s house after Taliban militants forced the woman to divorce her husband whom she had married after divorcing her first husband.

According to the official, the Taliban militants forced the woman to divorce after the first husband of the woman returned from Iran and lodged a complaint with the Taliban insurgents.

The official also added all those involved in the public trial and execution of the woman has been identified but there are no reports if the perpetrators have been arrested.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as numerous incidents involving murder of women have been reported during the recent months across the country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-publicly-execute-mother-of-two-in-badghis-province-02500

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Russia’s support in Taliban talks necessary and effective: Karzai

Dec 19 2016

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has Russia’s support in peace talks with the Taliban is necessary and effective as he insisted on the IMPORTANT role of the neighboring and regional countries for the Afghan peace talks.

Karzai made the remarks during a meet with the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy.

The former President warned that the menace of terrorism is dangerous not only for Afghanistan but for the region as the two sides held talks regarding the ongoing situation.

In his turn, the Russian Ambassador reaffirmed Moscow’s support in different sectors with Afghanistan and reiterated efforts to bring peace and stability in the country.

Reports emerged earlier suggesting Moscow’s increased contacts with the Taliban group, a move which sparked furor among the Afghan officials.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/russias-support-in-taliban-talks-necessary-and-effective-karzai-02499

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Afghan VP faces probe over claims of sex assault, torture

December 19, 2016

KABUL - Afghanistan has launched an investigation into allegations that the country's vice president sexually assaulted a rival, in the face of mounting criticism from Western allies and activists over a pervasive culture of impunity.

Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former warlord who has a catalogue of war crimes attached to his name, is accused of abducting Ahmad Ishchi last month during a traditional game of Buzkashi, or polo with an animal carcass, in northern Jowzjan province. Dostum allegedly kept Ishchi hostage in his private compound for five days, where he was said to be tortured and sodomised.

"The attorney general's office has begun its impartial and transparent investigation regarding the incident," Afghanistan's top prosecutor said in a statement late Saturday. "The investigation will be carried out neutrally and independently."

Officials are scrambling to gather evidence after the United States, European Union, Australia and Canada on Tuesday joined the chorus of calls for a thorough probe. Ishchi has undergone a medical examination since his release earlier this month at the American air base in Bagram, north of Kabul, local media reported.

Dostum has denied the allegations, but his office said he would cooperate with any investigation. It added, however, that it prefers to "resolve" the matter by the traditional mediation of tribal elders rather than through conventional courts. Observers are sceptical the government will sack or bring charges against Dostum, who has survived all previous allegations of abuse.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Dec-2016/afghan-vp-faces-probe-over-claims-of-sex-assault-torture

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Witness to history: Bangladesh's oldest jail opens to public

December 18, 2016

Many of Bangladesh's most significant political prisoners have been incarcerated within the walls of the two-century old Dhaka Central Jail.

Now the prison that has borne witness to much of the country's brutal history has opened to the public as a museum.

The last inmates of the 228-year-old prison in the capital's old Mughal quarters were relocated in July this year, and the gates of the 35-acre (14-hectare) facility opened, allowing people to explore the jail for a 100 taka ($1.25) ticket rather than being arrested first.

Over the last two centuries, the jail -- the biggest in Bangladesh until it closed -- has been a central stage for much of the country's history.

Scores of mutineers were hanged and their bodies left to rot in the 1860s following a rebellion against the British, which became known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

After the British left in 1947, thousands of political leaders who stood against the new rulers were detained in the prison.

Bangladesh's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- whose daughter Sheikh Hasina is the current prime minister -- spent years in one of the jail's cells, leading the country's budding separatist movement from there until the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

In November 1975, just months after Rahman was assassinated in a coup, army officers stormed the jail and killed four top political leaders, plunging the country into prolonged military rule.

Hasina and her sister -- the only members of Rahman's family who survived the coup -- were among the first visitors to the newly opened jail.

The premier, who regularly visited her jailed father during the 60s, appeared overwhelmed with emotion as she visited the tiny cell where Rahman spent years.

She spent some quiet time in there reminiscing about her father.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said there was a plan to turn the old jail into a "historical and entertaining place", with schools, shopping centres, a park and museum.

Jail official Ashraful Islam said logistical problems prompted the authorities to shift the jail to a new compound just across the Buriganga River.

"The number of inmates were almost tripled than its capacity, the authorities therefore built the new jail and transferred them," Islam told AFP.

"The jail lies at the centre of Mughal Dhaka. It is a key witness to our history, right from the British Raj to the recent execution of the war criminals," historian Muntasir Mamun said.

"It's an important symbol of the independence struggle. It has housed thousands of state prisoners and saw the hangings of thousands of them," said Mamun, who spent time inside the jail as political prisoner.

'A nightmarish place' -

The British-era scaffolds, where the political prisoners were executed -- including most recently the leaders of the country's top Islamist party who were hanged this year -- are closed off to the public and heavily guarded.

But the cell where four of the country's former leaders were kept in solitary confinement and then killed are open to the public.

The room's yellowish walls still bare the marks of the bullets that felled its one-time inhabitants.

"We needed to see these (rooms) to learn about their sacrifices," said Taufiq Hasan, who travelled 220 kilometres (136 miles) from the central city of Faridpur to visit the prison.

Former inmate Fayzur Mia, a 35-year-old flower seller, choked back tears as he showed his two daughters the tiny cell where he spent nearly a year after being caught up in a political riot in 2014.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Dec-2016/witness-to-history-bangladesh-s-oldest-jail-opens-to-public

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BGB sends back 40 Rohingyas

December 19, 2016

Abdul Aziz, Cox's Bazar

BGB personnel intercepted the trespassers at different points of the Naf river and Ukhiya border early Monday

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members have sent back 40 Rohingyas who were trying to enter Bangladesh to flee persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

BGB personnel intercepted the trespassers at different points of the Naf river and Ukhiya border early Monday.

Cox’s Bazar BGB 34 Battalion Commanding Officer Lt Col Imran Ullah Sarker said: “At least 28 Rohingyas were sent back while they were trying to intrude into Bangladesh territory through Ukhiya’s Palongkhali border.”

Teknaf 2 BGB Commander Lt Col Abujar Al Zahid said: “We conducted a drive near Naf riverfrom 5am to 9am and pushed back at least 12 Rohingyas boarded on a boat.”

Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims tried to cross into Bangladesh illegally after Myanmar troops launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state in response to attacks on three border posts on October 9 that killed nine police officers.

Bangladesh has stepped up security along its border with Myanmar to prevent influx of Rohingyas fleeing violence in the Rakhine state that has killed at least 86 people and displaced 30,000 others.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2016/12/19/bgb-sends-back-40-rohingyas/

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NATO coalition commits $390 million for Afghan forces

Dec 19 2016

A board of NATO partner countries reaffirmed their commitments to the Afghan National Army this week, approving about $390 million for projects advancing the wellness and capabilities of the Afghan force.

According to a statement by the alliance, the 2017 NATO ANA Trust Fund Implementation Plan will fund more than 37 projects for critical sustainment of the Afghan Army, including salaries and incentive pay, infrastructure sustainment, logistic sustainment and more.

“NATO welcomes the adoption of the 2017 Afghan National Army Trust Fund implementation plan. This highlights the continued commitment of NATO Allies and Partners to support the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” said Marion Aubry, spokesperson for the NATO Senior Civilian Representative. “This also complements other efforts, including the sustainment of the Resolute Support mission throughout 2017.”

The statement further added that funding also covers medical supplies and training, along with gender programs such as pediatrics and women’s wellness clinics. It also covers scholarship programs for women in the ANA, among others.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-coalition-commits-390-million-for-afghan-forces-02501

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India

 

Uttarakhand: Muslim government employees get special break for Friday prayers

December 18, 2016

A special 90-minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in Uttarakhand for Friday prayers, official sources said. A cabinet meeting on Saturday, chaired by Chief Minister Harish Rawat, decided that a special break from 12:30pm till 2:00pm will be given to the employees from the community, they said.

The Congress government made other decisions like consent for a detailed project report for metro which has been given to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The state government also posed a penalty of Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.5 crore for PG doctors for violating bond of 5 years with the state for essential service. The state goes to poll next year.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttarakhand-muslim-govt-employees-get-special-break-for-friday-prayers-4433763/

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Muslim groups pitch for 12% quota to go forward

Dec 18, 2016

CHARMINAR: The Telangana State Backward Classes Commission (TSBCC) on Saturday received thousands of representations from political parties including the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Majliss Bachao Tehreek individuals, non-governmental organisations and socio-religious groups on the last day of its hearing on reservations for Muslims.

The MIM, led by legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, requested the commission to provide socially and educationally backward Muslims between 9 percent and 12 percent reservations even as it urged the panel to visit states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu and study the reservations for minorities. He said that the government should make sure that the proposed quota did not face any legal hurdles and end up meeting the same fate as the 4 percent reservation announced by the previous government.

"It may be pointed out that the reservations are provided for the entire Muslim community (excluding the creamy layer) in Kerala and Karnataka. Reservation on the basis of backward castebiradari is provided in Tamil Nadu where most of the groups comprising 95 percent of Muslims are covered. In Bihar, reservations are provided in two categories: Backward Classes (BCs) of Muslims and Most Backward Communities (MBCs) among Muslims," an excerpt from the MIM representation reads. Siasat Daily news editor Amer Ali Khan, a staunch advocate of quota for Muslims too submitted his re presentation along with around 10,000 online representations.He urged that commission to tour villages and towns, to collate primary source information on the backwardness of Muslims across the state. "The Sudheer Commission has submitted a good report on backwardness of Muslims. The commission has given only four days for hearing of reservations for Muslims.This is inadequate. It is very important that Muslims get 12 percent reservations," Khan said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/muslim-groups-pitch-for-12-quota-to-go-forward/articleshow/56046162.cms

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Russia throws its weight behind China-Pakistan corridor, keeps India on tenterhooks

Sachin Parashar

Dec 19, 2016

ussia's nebulous public position on its growing ties with Pakistan continues to give sleepless nights to Indian policymakers who have sought to isolate Islamabad on the issue of terrorism.

After it officially denied reports+ that it had shown any interest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Moscow has not just declared strong support for the China-funded project but also announced its intention to link its own Eurasian Economic Union project with CPEC.

CPEC, which will link Gwadar in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province to Xinjiang in China, remains a major bugbear for Indian foreign policy as it passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan administered Kashmir claimed by India. Beijing has shown scant regard for India's concerns despite PM Narendra Modi himself having taken up the issue of Chinese involvement in the disputed territory with President Xi Jinping.

Moscow last month emphatically denied Pakistan media reports that it was looking to involve itself in CPEC by acquiring access to the port built by China at Gwadar+ . Russia's ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y Dedov has now been quoted as saying that Russia and Pakistan have held discussions to merge Moscow's Eurasian Economic Union project with the CPEC.

Dedov said Russia "strongly" supported CPEC as it was important for Pakistan's economy and also regional connectivity.

The mixed signals emanating from Moscow, as strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney said, are injecting uncertainty in the direction of the Russia-India relationship whose trajectory long epitomized constancy and stability.

"It is as if Moscow no longer sees India as a reliable friend or partner. Indeed, by seeking common cause with India's regional adversaries — including by supporting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through internationally disputed territory and engaging with the Pakistan-backed Taliban — Russia is challenging India's core interests," said Chellaney.

India continues to officially maintain that it doesn't see any "downward trend" in relations with Russia even as it works behind the scenes to convince Moscow that Pakistan remained the fountainhead of terrorism in the region. For India though, Russia further queered the situation in Afghanistan by declaring that it regarded Afghan Taliban as a national military-political movement. Russia is looking to engage the Taliban apparently to defeat IS but, as the MEA spokesperson warned last week, India wants any engagement with Taliban to respect the internationally recognized red lines, including giving up violence and severing ties with al-Qaida.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/russia-throws-its-weight-behind-china-pakistan-corridor-keeps-india-on-tenterhooks/articleshow/56053869.cms

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Combating terrorism an important area of cooperative engagement with Tajikistan: PM

December 17, 2016

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that combating terrorism is an important area of cooperative engagement between India and Tajikistan as both nations continue to face multiple security challenges and threats in this regard.

In a statement issued after Tajikistan President Emomali’s state visit, the Prime Minister said, “President Rahmon and I had fruitful discussions earlier today. We assessed the broad progress achieved under different pillars of our bilateral engagement, including our partnership in defence and security.”

The statement said that India and Tajikistan live in an extended neighbourhood that continues to face multiple security challenges and threats. It casts a long shadow of violence and instability over the entire region.

The Prime Minister appreciated Tajikistan’s role in the Central Asian region as a mainstay against forces of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism.

Highlighting, the mutually agreed priorities to strengthen action to combat terrorism, the Prime Minister said, “We will do this on multiple levels.”

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/combating-terrorism-important-area-cooperative-engagement-tajikistan-pm-1088586/

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Pathankot terror attack: NIA names Jaish chief Masood Azhar, his brother in chargesheet

Dec 19, 2016

The National Investigation Agency filed a chargesheet in the Pathankot airbase terror attack on Monday, naming Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and three others as the accused.

In a comprehensive chargesheet filed at Panchkula Special Court about a year after the attack, the NIA has highlighted the role of terror group Jaish in spreading terror in India and referred to the nefarious plans of the outfit, a source said.

The chargesheet, which also named Azhar’s brother Rauf Asghar as the accused, alleged that immediately after the Pathankot incident, he had hosted a video message claiming responsibility for the terror strike and glorified the role of Azhar, who was released in exchange for passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.

The chargesheet is likely to be used by India at international platforms to highlight the role of Masood Azhar in the Pathankot terror strike carried out on January 2 this year.

The launch of a diplomatic offensive against Jaish-e-Mohammed and its chief Masood Azhar has become imperative after China continued to stonewall India’s efforts to get UN sanctions against the him and his group.

Read | How Pakistan’s response to Uri and Pathankot attacks differed

The home ministry had given sanction to NIA to file the chargesheet against Azhar, his brother and the two handlers -- Qashif Jan and Shaid Latif -- of the four militants, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The four militants, after entering India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur, had carried out the strike at Pathankot IAF base, killing eight people including seven personnel of IAF and NSG.

The chargesheet named four terrorists involved in the attack.

According to the NIA, the terrorists, who were killed after two days of gunfight, were identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum and they were residents of Vehari (Punjab), Gujranwala (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Sukkur (Sindh) of Pakistan respectively.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pathankot-terror-attack-nia-names-jaish-chief-masood-azhar-his-brother-in-chargesheet/story-3cdsvvdcM2jVQB5nVK1XdI.html

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Africa

 

We’ll Plant Shari’ah Court in Every Town If Christians Get Proposed Court – MURIC

December 18, 2016

The Director of Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, has described the proposed Christian court as an attempt to copy Shari’ah.

He declared that the existing courts in Nigeria were already Christian courts.

He said, “It is an attempt to copy Shari’ah. Why must the Christian Association of Nigeria be a copycat? Why must it always seek to do whatever Muslims do?”

Akintola was speaking in an interview with the Punch where he claimed that Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, had always wanted to copy whatever the Muslim did.

He added, “Take the pilgrimage issue for example: Muslims are deeply committed to it. They have been going on pilgrimage from Nigeria by trekking to Saudi Arabia even before the advent of aeroplanes.

“Suddenly, CAN found it FASHIONABLE to demand its own pilgrimage commission, even though pilgrimage is not mandatory for Christians.

“CAN appears stuck to one dogma, namely, to oppose anything Muslims want to do even if it will benefit Muslims or Nigerians in general. But if Muslims succeed in bringing such an idea to fruition, CAN will demand parity.

“Can you remember the Islamic bank imbroglio? On that issue the Christian group made a mountain out of a molehill.

“It claimed Nigeria was about to be Islamised. It threatened hell and brimstone. One popular bishop from the South-East even led his congregation in a public demonstration against the proposal.”

According to the MURIC director, the Christians should be always bold enough to tell the government what they wanted instead of blocking Muslims’ proposals.

“I have always maintained that Christians should tell the government what they want instead of blocking proposals made by Muslims.

“The sky is wide enough for all birds to fly without their wings touching one another unless we have hidden agenda. What is next after Christian courts? (I think) CAN should demand Christian banks.”

Akintola pointed out that MURIC shared the opinion of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs that the proposed ecclesiastical courts bill was an invitation to chaos, adding that existing courts in the country were all Christians

“What is the NATURE of the existing law courts: the magistrate, high court, appeal court and perhaps the Supreme Court? Who laid the foundation of those courts? Was it not the British colonialists?

“Were the British Muslims? Nigerian law courts have always been Christian courts and setting up Christian courts is sheer duplication and a waste of energy. That is the chaos NSCIA is referring to.

“They should go ahead and get Christian courts. But we should be given our Shariah courts in all states and cities – including Otuoke (former President Goodluck Jonathan’s home town).

“Muslims will not be a dog in the manger. Have you also thought of the implication of canon law on the current law courts and lawyers? Somebody out there must be looking for another job soonest.”

http://dailypost.ng/2016/12/18/well-plant-shariah-court-every-town-christians-get-proposed-court-muric/

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Religious chaos: CAN fires back at Muslims over Sharia

Dec 19, 2016

The General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake, has stated that Muslims have no right to kick against a proposed bill to establish Christian courts across Nigeria, since they have their Sharia court.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja passed for second reading, a bill to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal in the country.

Following the development, many persons, especially the Muslim have community kicked against it.

Reacting to the attacks and criticisms trailing the bill, Asake said if the Muslims were not comfortable with the bill, they should also abolish Shariah.

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the rising case of abduction, forced conversion to Islam and forced marriage of Christian girls in the north.

According to Leadership, the Archbishop particularly called on the president to quickly address the rising cases of incessant lynching of Christians in the north due to religious intolerance.

Full report at:

https://www.naij.com/1078208-religious-chaos-can-fires-muslims-sharia.html

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Suicide bomber kills seven in Libyan city of Benghazi

19 December 2016

At least seven people were killed and eight wounded when a suicide bomber targeted forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government in Benghazi on Sunday, medical and security officials said.

ISIS said it carried out the bombing, in the besieged district of Ganfouda. The area is one of the last pockets of resistance holding out against the Libyan National Army (LNA), a self-styled force loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar has been waging a military campaign in Benghazi for more than two years against Islamists and other opponents. The fighting is part of a broader, low-intensity conflict in Libya, which splintered into multiple political and armed factions after the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

This year the LNA has made major gains in Benghazi, though fighting and attacks have continued in parts of the city.

All those killed in Sunday’s bombing were from the LNA, a medical source from Benghazi’s main hospital said.

The attack came after the latest advance on Saturday by the LNA, which said following heavy clashes that it had taken control of buildings along the seafront west of Ganfouda, encircling its opponents.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2016/12/19/Suicide-bomber-kills-seven-in-Libyan-city-of-Benghazi.html

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Rwamagana Muslim youths cautioned against radicalism

By: KELLY RWAMAPERA

December 19, 2016

The youth, especially Muslims in Rwamagana District, have been tasked to be on the lookout for those that could prey on their naivety to sway them into radicalism and terror activities.

The call was made by religious leaders from Rwanda Muslim Association (AMUR) at the Kigabiro Islamic School in Rwamagana District on Friday.

Addressing hundreds of youths, Sheikh Moussa Sindayigaya, the spokesperson of AMUR, said the is grappling with acts of terror propagated by people with selfish ends in the name of Islam.

The most gullible in these evil activities that have been rampant in North Africa and the Middle East are youths who are first radicalised before they are recruited into terror networks.

Sindayigaya told the youth that they are determined to meet all Muslims, especially the youth, around the country to share with them the true meaning of Islam.

“Unfortunately, the mind is hidden from the public, we cannot know who plans to do what; that’s why we chose to reach out to every Muslim and tell them to avoid deceptions that come in the name of Allah but to profane Allah,” said Sindayigaya.

Sindayigaya challenged the youths to use the opportunities the country has availed for every citizen to improve their livelihood instead of being misled by “anti-peace organisations that want to destabilise countries and shed innocent blood.”

“Our country has a lot of opportunities especially for youths and women like you. Choose from them and change your lives for the good of your country and your relationship with Allah,” Sindayigaya added.

One of the participants, Mariam Umubyeye, called on parents to be on the lookout for the their children, especially the youth, so that they are able to track any behaviour of terror in them before it is too late.

Full report at:

http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-12-19/206384/

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Buhari, Boko Haram's Shekau Make World’s Most Powerful Muslims List

18 December 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari alongside elusive leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, have been named among world’s most powerful Muslim leaders.

President Buhari, in the 2017 edition of ‘The Muslim500’, was identified as the 17th most influential Muslim leader in the world.

Other Nigerian Muslims who made TOP 50 in the latest edition include Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar III, Sheik Ibrahim Saleh and Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

According to The Muslim500, there are 1.7 billion Muslims all over the world, making up approximately 23% of the world’s population, it claimed.

Full report at:

https://thewhistler.ng/story/buhari-boko-haram-s-shekau-make-world-s-most-powerful-muslims-list

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Boko Haram still carries out attacks in Madagali, Adamawa – Lawmaker

December 18, 2016

Despite the efforts of soldiers, Boko Haram member still carry out sporadic attacks in Madagali, Adamawa State, a lawmaker has said.

The lawmaker who represents Madagali/Michika Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Adamu Kamale, also said that Madagali Local Government Area is the worst affected by insurgency in the state.

Mr. Kamale told journalists in Yola on Saturday that Madagali is now a ghost of its former self and needed urgent government attention, particularly in areas of more security and relief supply.

“The situation in Madagali calls for the attention of Mr President; in fact, the view of the people of Madagali is that the president will do them a favour by visiting the area to boost their morale and that of the military.

“Madagali is still experiencing sporadic attacks and kidnappings by the insurgents and needed urgent attention,” Mr. Kamale said.

He lauded the effort of the Presidential Committee on North East and other intervention groups for their effort in rebuilding areas affected in Adamawa, and urged for priority to be given to Madagali, being the worst hit.

“Madagali should have the highest percentage of any intervention coming to Adamawa, then Michika”, Kamale said.

Full report at:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/nnorth-east/218362-boko-haram-still-carry-attacks-madagali-adamawa-lawmaker.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/caliphate-rule-is-not-a-pillar-of-islam,-but-rather-an-organisational-option,-scholars-say/d/109421

 

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