New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 12:02 AM

Islamic World News ( 4 May 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Celebrities Boycott Brunei-Owned Hotels over Sharia Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Masked pro-Russian demonstrators march to storm the military Prosecutor's Office in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, May 4, 2014.

 

 

 

Arab World

Celebrities boycott Brunei-owned hotels over Sharia law

Brotherhood students storm Cairo University legal affairs building

El-Sisi meets Sufi delegation, vows to defend Islam

62 killed, villages emptied as Syrian rebels clash

More than 100 schools in EP achieve 100% nationalization

Terror duo captured in Pakistan brought to Saudi Arabia

Egypt militants claim responsibility for 2 attacks

Abbas, Hamas chief to hold first talks since unity deal

Hamas won't recognise Israel, accept Quartet terms

Syria’s rebels admit they are unable to govern

Egypt investigates suspected MERS coronavirus death

UN: Syrian regime holding up aid access

Church not for any candidate in Egypt's presidential polls: Coptic pope

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Pakistan

Pakistan forces kill 10 separatist militants in Baluchistan

Tirah Valley declared free of terrorists

Khyber Agency: NATO trucks attacked, two killed

Taliban commander killed in Waziristan blitz

Sindh Assembly passes resolution against illegal SIMs

Ceasefire top priority: Prof. Ibrahim

PPP files adjournment motion against violence against protesters

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Mideast

Suicide blast kills 6 Yemen soldiers; 37 militants dead

Palestinians smuggling sperm out of Israeli jails so wives can have babies

Yemeni colonel shot dead in Aden; 2 hurt in bomb attack

Palestinians reclaim Gaza 'buffer zone'

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Southeast Asia

11 terrorists with links to al-Qa'ida arrested in suspicion of MH370 disappearance

Impact of AEC on Indonesia’s Islamic banks

Islam liberates from man-made liberty – Norzila Baharin

Jokowi listens to VP candidate advice from Muslim leaders

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Europe

Deadly battles rage on fringe of east Ukraine town

British Candidate Resigns over Anti-Islamic Tweets

Prime Minister applauds 'so inspiring' Muslim Scout leader

Head teachers raise 'serious concerns' over Islamic school take-over

European states 'should recognize Islam'

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India

Kashmiri students beaten, forced to shout anti-Pak slogans in Greater Noida

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Africa

Boko Haram wants war between Christians, Muslims in Nigeria – Jonathan

Nigeria's Boko Haram claims abduction of over 200 schoolgirls: AFP

Kenya: Police Kill Two Al-Shabaab Members in Mandera

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North America

FBI chief: more Americans joining Syrian war

Alabama, Islam, and the Founding Fathers’ Belief in Religious Tolerance

Obama speaks out in support of press freedom

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South Asia

The meteoric rise of a fanatic outfit in Bangladesh

Qaumi Watan Party chief for Pakistan’s pro-active policy on Afghanistan

Kabul observes mourning day for victims of landslide

Khaleda blames govt for killings

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/celebrities-boycott-brunei-owned-hotels-over-sharia-law/d/76879

 

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Arab World

 

Celebrities boycott Brunei-owned hotels over sharia law

AFP | May 5, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Celebrities including Virgin group founder Richard Branson have vowed to boycott a hotel chain linked to Brunei's sultan after he introduced a controversial Islamic penal code in his country.

Brunei's all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced last Wednesday that he would push ahead with the sharia law that will eventually include tough penalties such as death by stoning.

Branson said on the weekend that Virgin employees would not stay at the Dorchester Collection luxury hotel chain, which includes The Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

"No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights," the British billionaire posted on Twitter.

Others who have called for a boycott include comedian Stephen Fry, TV host Sharon Osbourne and comedian Ellen DeGeneres.

The US group Feminist Majority Foundation said it had also pulled its annual Global Women's Rights Awards, co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno, from the Beverly Hills Hotel in protest.

The Dorchester Collection is reportedly owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, a sovereign wealth fund under the oil-rich sultanate's Ministry of Finance.

Brunei government officials could not immediately be reached for comment today. The Dorchester Collection also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sultan's move has sparked rare domestic criticism of the fabulously wealthy ruler on the Muslim-majority country's active social media, and international condemnation including from the UN's human rights office.

But the sultan has defended the implementation of the law, meant to shore up Islam and guard the Southeast Asian country against outside influences.

"We have never thought ill of others. We have never relied on them to accept us or agree with is but it is enough if they respect us the way we respect them," he said last week when announcing the law's implementation.

The initial phase introduces fines or jail terms for offences including indecent behaviour, failure to attend Friday prayers and out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

A second phase covering crimes such as theft and robbery is to start later this year, involving more stringent penalties such as severing of limbs and flogging.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Celebrities-boycott-Brunei-owned-hotels-over-sharia-law/articleshow/34682602.cms

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Brotherhood students storm Cairo University legal affairs building

5/05/2014

Al-Masry Al-Youm

Muslim Brotherhood students at Cairo University on Monday broke the glass facade of the legal affairs building and stormed it.

Witnesses said that a Brotherhood student, who was accused of recent violent acts on campus, was being interrogated inside by a legal affairs investigator and clashed with him, prompting the investigator to beat him.

They said the student ran out of the building and called 20 of his friends, who smashed the glass facade, stormed the building and fired fireworks, all in the absence of the administrative security.

After storming the building, the students marched around campus to demand the release of their colleagues.

Meanwhile, a bomb squad defused an improvised explosive device found on Monday close to Al-Azhar University's main gate in Nasr City.

Security forces have stepped up their presence outside campus in anticipation of any violence.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/brotherhood-students-storm-cairo-university-legal-affairs-building

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El-Sisi meets Sufi delegation, vows to defend Islam

4 May 2014

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has met with Sufi representatives and vowed to protect all Egyptians and Islam if he is elected.

El-Sisi acknowledged Egypt was currently going through hard times, but promised to tackle the crisis of children living on the streets. 

He said he could not remain silent when he witnessed the fears induced by Muslim Brotherhood rule.

The delegation showed its support for El-Sisi at the end of the meeting.

It also expressed awareness of the economic and the political issues facing Egypt.  

El-Sisi resigned from his post as head of the military and defence minister to compete with leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi for the presidency. Sabahi finished third in the 2012 presidential race.

In Egypt, there are around 74 Sufi orders or turuq. The best known of the Cairo turuq are the Al-Rifa’ya and the Al-Hamdiya Al-Shazliya. The most popular in Alexandria is the Al-Naqshabandiya.

There is no official information about the number of Sufis in Egypt, however, reports have said that they range between 10 and 15 million.

Sufism in Egypt can trace its origins to the third or fourth Hegira centuries (ninth and tenth in the Gregorian calendar).

Each order or tariqa has its own sheikh, who is the supreme guide, its own rites or initiation, and its own code of conduct. Every tariqa has a path of evolution drawn for its disciples to follow, and every path is made up of maqamat (stations) and ahwal (conditions).

In last year`s presidential election, Sufis supported Ahmed Shafiq over Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi.  

In January 2014, Sufi orders launched a campaign to support the newly drafted constitution that passed with a majority 'Yes' vote.

This year's presidential election will take place on 26-27 May.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/100447/Egypt/Politics-/ElSisi-meets-Sufi-delegation,-vows-to-defend-Islam.aspx

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62 killed, villages emptied as Syrian rebels clash

4 May 2014

BEIRUT, Lebanon: Fighting between Al-Qaeda’s Syria branch and a splinter group in eastern Syria has forced more than 60,000 people to flee their homes, emptied villages and killed scores of fighters, a monitoring group said.

Infighting among rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad has undermined the three-year-old uprising against his rule and killed thousands of people since the start of the year.

The conflict has pitted hard-line Islamists against more moderate insurgents, but disputes over turf and resources have also turned radical factions against one another, most recently in the oil-producing eastern province of Deir Al-Zor.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late on Saturday that Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, had taken over control of the town of Abreeha from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a former Al-Qaeda affiliate formally disowned by the group this year.

At least 62 fighters had been killed in around four days of clashes in the area, which have emptied Abreeha and the towns of Al-Busayrah and Al-Zir, whose populations total over 60,000, the Observatory said.

The Observatory, an anti-Assad group which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources, said Islamist fighters had burned houses a young girl had been killed by mortar fire during the fighting.

ISIL and the Nusra Front have clashed repeatedly over oilfields and strategic positions in Deir Al-Zor, a desert province bordering Iraq. ISIL is a rebranding of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and has fallen out with the global organization over its role in Syria.

Al Qaeda’s global leader Ayman Al-Zawhri has said ISIL’s entry into Syria’s civil war caused a “political disaster” for Islamist militants there and urged the group to redouble its efforts in Iraq instead.

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565466

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More than 100 schools in EP achieve 100% nationalization

5 May 2014

More than 100 schools in the Eastern Province have achieved full nationalization, announced sources at the Department of Private Education in the Eastern Province.

Several schools also claimed a lower employee turnover compared with previous years.

“Our goals were aligned with the objectives set out by the Labor Ministry and the Human Resource Development Fund (HADAF),” said one source. “Indicators show that more women are willing to enter the workforce thanks to higher salaries and more lucrative incentive packages.”

“The door for employment is still wide open at many private schools”, Abdullah Al-Oumi, a private education supervisor at the department, told a local newspaper.

“Many private schools that are situated in buildings still suffer a lack of services to compensate for the high salaries given to staff,” he said. “We do, however, have plans to improve services during the summer vacation.” “Schools are obliged to improve their services after many increased their tuition fees,” he said.

Many female headmistresses and owners recently lamented the limited resources provided for maintaining their school premises and the halting of subsidies more than two years ago.

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565851

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Terror duo captured in Pakistan brought to Saudi Arabia

5 May 2014

Saudi security authorities have identified and arrested two citizens figuring on the most wanted list for their involvement in terrorist activities.

Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, security spokesman at the Ministry of Interior, said there was extensive coordination between Saudi and Pakistani security officials to capture them.

The two are Adel Faleeh Salim Al-Anazi, who is listed among 85 most wanted by security officials in the Kingdom released by the Ministry of Interior in February 2009, and Mohammed Hamed Al-Juhani, who is among the 47 most wanted individuals announced in January 2011.

Al-Turki said that security officials took the two for medical tests immediately upon their arrival in the Kingdom on Saturday.

He added that the detainees will be treated in accordance with regulations in the Kingdom. On behalf of the ministry, he called on all wanted individuals who have been fooled and brainwashed into acts of corruption to come back to their senses and stop following those who wish to use them as tools to achieve their goals of harming religion and the homeland.

Al-Turki added that the arrest of these two represents the heightened efforts of authorities to identify wanted individuals outside the Kingdom, and their commitment to ongoing coordination with special authorities in brotherly nations to arrest such individuals and arrange for their return to the Kingdom.

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565966

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Egypt militants claim responsibility for 2 attacks

4 May 2014

EL-ARISH, Egypt: An Egyptian militant group claimed responsibility Sunday for twin suicide bombings that targeted a military checkpoint and a tourist bus, killing at least one solider and wounding nine in the southern Sinai Peninsula two days earlier.

In a statement posted on militant websites, the Al-Qaeda inspired group Champions of Jerusalem warned the Egyptian army: “We will not rest until we achieve retribution for the blood and honor of the Muslims.”

The group has been behind the deadliest attacks against military and police installations in Egypt since a spike in violence last summer following the military overthrow of Islamist President Muhammad Mursi. Another new group, known as Egypt’s Soldiers has claimed responsibility for several smaller bombings targeting individual police officers.

The violent campaign was at first concentrated in the lawless northern Sinai, where a slew of militant groups have found refuge since the Egypt’s 2011 uprising. But the attacks moved closer to the capital as security forces intensified a security crackdown on supporters of the ousted president, leaving hundreds killed and thousands behind bars.

Security officials fear the attacks on troops would intensify ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled for later this month, where Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former military chief who oversaw Mursi’s ouster, is the front-runner.

Friday witnessed a series of attacks in Cairo and southern Sinai, a tourist destination that has seen so far four suicide bombings since Mursi’s ouster, including one in February that killed three South Korean tourists in the bus they were riding. On Friday, a bomber blew himself up near a tourist bus carrying Egyptian workers in el-Tor, in southern Sinai, killing only himself and wounding four, security officials said. The health ministry initially said a civilian was killed. It was not clear if the bomber was aiming to target foreign tourists, or the Egyptian workers. So far, besides the South Koreans, the group has mainly targeted security forces, and has largely stayed clear from targeting Egyptian civilians.

On the same day, another attacker blew himself up at an army checkpoint also in el-Tor, killing a soldier and himself, and wounding five others, the officials said. Initially, a civilian was also believed to have been killed in the attack. In Cairo, a homemade bomb planted at a police post killed an officer, while a car used usually by military officers exploded, killing a civilian. No one claimed responsibility for these two attacks.

In its statement, the group urged the Egyptian people to “rebel against this oppressive and tyrannical regime” and to not resort only to peaceful opposition.

Also on Sunday, security officials said masked gunmen shot dead a retired intelligence officer in el-Arish, the capital of northern Sinai, after he dropped his children at school. The retired officer was heading a local prominent charity organization, and the motive for his killing was not immediately clear.

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

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565536

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Abbas, Hamas chief to hold first talks since unity deal

5 May 2014

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to hold talks with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Doha on Monday for the first meeting since their rival movements signed a surprise unity deal.

"Abbas will meet Meshaal today (in Doha) but the timing is not clear," a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told AFP.

The Palestinian leader flew to the Qatari capital on Sunday and was to meet with emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Monday morning before attending a family wedding.

He would then meet with the exiled Hamas leader who has been based in Doha for more than two years after leaving his previous base in Damascus due to the bloodshed gripping Syria.

The last time the two leaders met face-to-face was in Cairo in January 2013.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/100497/World/Region/Abbas,-Hamas-chief-to-hold-first-talks-since-unity.aspx

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Hamas won't recognise Israel, accept Quartet terms

4 May 2014

Hamas will never recognise Israel and will not accept the conditions laid out by the Middle East peacemaking Quartet, according to the Islamist movement's deputy leader.

Speaking late on Saturday, Mousa Abu Marzuq said Hamas, which recently signed a reconciliation deal with the Western-backed Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank, would never agree to recognise Israel.

"We will not recognise the Zionist entity," he said at a press conference in Gaza City.

Under terms of the deal, Gaza's Hamas rulers and the Palestine Liberation Organisation of president Mahmoud Abbas are to work together to form a new unity government which will prepare for national elections.

But Israel reacted furiously, saying it would not negotiate with any government backed by Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, effectively putting the final nail in the coffin of the latest round of US-brokered peace talks.

Recognising Israel is one of the key conditions laid out in the 2003 peacemaking roadmap of the Middle East Quartet, which brings together the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

The other two key demands are a renunciation of violence and acceptance of all prior agreements with Israel.

Abbas, who is to head the new government, to consist of political independents, has insisted it will abide by all three principles.

But Abu Marzuq said Hamas would never accept the Quartet's conditions.

"Hamas rejects the Quartet's conditions because it denies some of our people's rights," he told reporters.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/100455/World/Region/Hamas-wont-recognise-Israel,-accept-Quartet-terms.aspx

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Syria’s rebels admit they are unable to govern

May 05, 2014

The Syrian border is just a few miles north of the processing station for refugees in Rabah al-Sarhan. Syrian rebel commanders had invited me to travel with them inside their country through a crossing point near there, but the Jordanian government emphatically said no. So this account is based on interviews with Syrians I met in Jordan or talked with inside Syria by phone.

My Syrian contacts described a bitter stalemate: President Bashar Assad holds on to power, but he has lost control of major parts of the country. The rebels fight bravely, but they lack the organization and heavy weapons to protect the areas they have liberated. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda extremists fester in the shadows. The opposition remains so fragmented that some rebels frankly admit they aren’t ready to govern, even if Assad should fall.

“We still need to find a leader,” concedes one rebel commander. “We are headless inside the country.”

Rebel fighters spoke honestly about three key issues: First, their military wing remains diffuse and disorganized; the southern front has more than 55 brigades but lacks a unified command-and-control structure. Second, Muslim extremists are gaining a foothold in the south, just as they did two years ago in northern Syria. The Nusra Front, linked with Al-Qaeda, has set up checkpoints on some roads just north of the Jordan border. Finally, Assad’s forces have regained control of many Damascus suburbs, essentially by starving the residents into submission.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/May-05/255180-syrias-rebels-admit-they-are-unable-to-govern.ashx#axzz30xuzyHIj

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Egypt investigates suspected MERS coronavirus death

5 May 2014

ISMAILIA, Egypt: Egyptian authorities are investigating whether a 60-year-old woman who has died in the city of Port Said had the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). If confirmed, it would be Egypt’s first death from the virus.

The woman had recently returned from an Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, where the MERS coronavirus emerged in 2012, Helmi El-Efni, a Health Ministry official from the city on the Suez Canal, said.

The MERS coronavirus is from the same family as the SARS virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. MERS can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.

Authorities recently reported Egypt’s first MERS case, a man who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia and was being treated at a hospital in Cairo.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/566001

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UN: Syrian regime holding up aid access

5 May 2014

BEIRUT: The head of the UN said on Sunday that “bureaucratic resistance” by Bashar Assad’s government was preventing aid getting to millions of Syrians in need due to the three-year-old conflict.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television channel he was no longer in direct communication with Assad after months of the Syrian president “not keeping his promises.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565806

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Church not for any candidate in Egypt's presidential polls: Coptic pope

4 May 2014

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II said on Sunday that the church would not support either candidate in the country's upcoming presidential race.

"I ask each citizen, Christian or Muslim, to read each candidate's electoral program and choose who he wants to be president," Tawadros said during an interview with Hamel El-Resala, a newspaper issued by the Catholic Church in Egypt.

The elections, scheduled for 26-27 May, will feature two candidates – ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.

Last March, an interview with the pope was published in a Kuwaiti newspaper in which he urged El-Sisi to run for Egypt's presidency. A few days later, Tawdros vehemently denied having given any interviews in "the past two weeks."

In Sunday's interview, he further defended his decision to support a "yes" vote in January's constitutional referendum, explaining that his stance was only normal given that the church was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the national charter.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/100461/Egypt/Politics-/Church-not-for-any-candidate-in-Egypts-presidentia.aspx

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan forces kill 10 separatist militants in Baluchistan

Reuters | May 5, 2014

QUETTA, Pakistan: Pakistani forces killed at least 10 separatist militants in the volatile province of Baluchistan on Monday, paramilitary officials said.

Baluch rebels have waged a decades-long insurgency in the remote, sparsely populated and mineral rich southwest province, bordering Iran.

The Frontier Corps, the main state security force in Baluchistan, said it launched an operation against militant hideouts in the mountainous Panjgur district on Monday morning.

"Ten militants were killed in heavy exchange of fire this morning," said Frontier Corps spokesman Wasay Khan. "Several militant hideouts were destroyed and three soldiers were also wounded."

It was impossible to verify official accounts as journalists and independent observers are not allowed to operate freely Baluchistan.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-forces-kill-10-separatist-militants-in-Baluchistan/articleshow/34693114.cms

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Tirah Valley declared free of terrorists

May 05, 2014

Peshawar : Once violence-inflicted Tirah Valley, an area of Khyber Agency, has now been cleared of terrorists, local media quoting officials reported Sunday. According to security sources, the internally displaced persons of Tirah Valley will now start returning to their native place from May 7. The migration will take place in four different phases. The affectees will return home after the gap of three years, sources said.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/05-May-2014/tirah-valley-declared-free-of-terrorists

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Khyber Agency: NATO trucks attacked, two killed

May 05, 2014

Peshawar- Gunmen attacked three container trucks carrying NATO supplies to Afghanistan through the north west of Pakistan. Two people were killed, said officials.

The trucks were attacked in the Wazir Dhand area of Khyber, one of seven districts that make up thesemi-autonomous tribal belt of Pakistan, as they were on their way to Afghanistan. Pakistan is a major transit supply route for the NATO mission in the landlocked Afghanistan.  "The three container trucks were on their way to Afghanistan when seven to eight gunmen opened fire at them in the Wazir Dhand area, killing two drivers and wounding two others," a senior local administration official, Ali Sher told.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/05-May-2014/khyber-agency-nato-trucks-attacked-two-killed

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Taliban commander killed in Waziristan blitz

May 5, 2014

DI KHAN: A local Taliban commander is said to have been killed in fresh fighting in the Ladha sub-division of South Waziristan Agency, an intelligence official told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

The official claimed that Irfan Mehsud, a local Taliban commander, was among the seven militants who were killed in an operation by the security forces in the Babor mountains of Ladha on Friday – the news of his death, however, surfaced on Saturday.

Irfan Mehsud is said to be the son of Azam Tariq Mehsud, a key member of the Political Shura of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/703916/taliban-commander-killed-in-waziristan-blitz/

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Sindh Assembly passes resolution against illegal SIMs

May 5, 2014

KARACHI: A resolution was unanimously passed in the Sindh Assembly on Monday against illegal Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) used in the country, DawnNews reported.

The resolution was submitted by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s MPA Seema Zia.

National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) would issue SIMs based on a biomentric system from June 1st onwards, according to the resolution.

Zia said unverified SIMs were used in terrorist activities.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1104340/sindh-assembly-passes-resolution-against-illegal-sims

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Ceasefire top priority: Prof. Ibrahim

May 05, 2014

Peshawar- Professor Ibrahim, member of Taliban negotiation committee, has said Taliban should not become impediment on the way to permanent peace in Pakistan.

“If the government demands for permanent peace in the country during direct talks with Taliban, I will side with government. I will persuade the Taliban Shoora to enter into a treaty on permanent peace with government,” he said this while talking to a private TV channel today. He went on to say that no venue for holding second round of direct talks between the government and Taliban Shoora could be decided. ‘I am continuing consultations with government committee and Taliban Shoora in this respect,” he added. It is hoped that they would soon agree on the venue for peace talks and the members of both the committees will head towards the set venue within three to four days, he said. He was of the view that interior minister meeting with the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is their internal matter. “We will continue to strive for making the negotiations a success. Ceasefire between the both sides is our top priority, “he said.

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/05-May-2014/ceasefire-top-priority-prof-ibrahim

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PPP files adjournment motion against violence against protesters

May 05, 2014

Islamabad- Pakistan Peoples Party has submitted an adjournment motion against violence and crackdown on protesters of ‘Missing Persons" with the Senate secretariat today.

The motion was moved by Senators Raza Rabbani, Aitazaz Hassan, Haji Adil, Afrasiab Khattak, Robina Khalid and Sughra Imam. The adjournment motion seeks to discuss the “harassment, intimidation and violence used against protesters of missing persons at D-chowk last week."

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/05-May-2014/ppp-files-adjournment-motion-against-violence-against-protesters

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Mideast

 

Suicide blast kills 6 Yemen soldiers; 37 militants dead

5 May 2014

ADEN: Yemen said 37 Al-Qaeda militants were killed in the southern province of Shabwa on Sunday as the army intensified an offensive to root out foreign and local fighters holed up in some of the country’s most impenetrable areas.

The report by state news agency Saba came shortly after a military source told Reuters a suicide bomber killed six soldiers by their outpost in Shabwa, one of two provinces where the army has been fighting Al-Qaeda and its allies.

The source, speaking from the battlefront, also told Reuters that 20 soldiers were wounded in the bombing.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565816

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Palestinians smuggling sperm out of Israeli jails so wives can have babies

4 May 2014

ASKAR REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank: Suad Abu Fayed and her husband have had no physical contact for more than 11 years. That is how long he has been in an Israeli prison.

And yet on a recent day, Abu Fayed cradled the couple’s 9-day-old baby, Hurriyah — a daughter whose birth earned her a place in an unusual but growing group: Infants conceived over the past two years by in vitro fertilization, using sperm from Palestinian prisoners that has been smuggled out of Israeli jails.

The aim of the clandestine process, those involved say, is two-pronged: To help prisoners’ wives have children while their husbands are behind bars and to chip away at one facet of Israel’s control over Palestinian life.

Hurriyah’s father, Samir Abu Fayed, 37, is serving an 18-year sentence for involvement in terrorist activities. He is a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Israel does not allow conjugal visits to Palestinian prisoners, and carefully screened relatives can meet with them only through glass dividers.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565291

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Yemeni colonel shot dead in Aden; 2 hurt in bomb attack

4 May 2014

ADEN: Unidentified gunmen shot dead an army colonel in his car in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden late on Friday and two soldiers were injured when a car bomb exploded in another major southern port on Saturday, security sources said.

The attacks follow dozens of others directed at security targets in the US ally in recent months, killing hundreds. The army is conducting a big operation against militants in the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.

On Saturday the army seized control of the Al-Mahsad area in Abyan, a militant stronghold, killing four of its defenders and injuring a number of others, a military source was quoted as saying.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565301

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Palestinians reclaim Gaza 'buffer zone'

05 May 2014

Umm an-Naser, Gaza Strip - Last year, Mahmoud Abu Madek was not a farmer. Sitting on his knees between newly planted potatoes and beans, 27-year-old Abu Madek expertly ensured that water from the irrigation system reached the seedlings. He carefully selected these two types of crops so their harvest seasons would overlap, guaranteeing him an income for a longer period.

"I haven't had a job before. This is the first opportunity I've had to work on land," Abu Madek told Al Jazeera. "For me it's a way to make an income and cover the needs of my family."

Before he began farming, Abu Madek was among 65 percent of residents in Umm an-Naser who were unemployed. With a population of about 5,000, the Palestinian-Bedouin herding community sits in northern Gaza Strip, only a few hundred metres from a tall concrete wall, part of the Israeli barrier that surrounds the besieged Palestinian territory.

Umm an-Naser is in one of the poorest and most food insecure areas of Gaza. Bound by the wall from the north and Gaza City's expanding urban areas from the south, residents are cut off from grazing areas for their flocks.

For years, as a result of these restrictions, the villagers relied largely on foreign aid for food and basic necessities. Frustrated by this aid dependency, the mayor of the village, Zeyad Abu Freiya, requested help from the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in October 2011 to make the community more self-sufficient.

"We wanted to create jobs for people so they could cover their needs and not depend on others," Abu Freiya told Al Jazeera.

The village's agricultural land previously consisted of only sand dunes. But with funding from the Dutch government, that land was levelled, a well and irrigation system was built, and clay was added to enrich the soil with minerals. In the fall of 2013, the farmers planted their first crops.

"Before, it was hard to get food. This is a different and real source for food access and income generation," Abu Freiya said. "It's a dream that has become a reality."

Abu Madek is one of 83 new farmers from Umm an-Naser who leases two dunums of land (one dunum equals 1,000sq m). When the farming project is complete, another 42 farmers will also have a plot of land. In total, including agricultural access roads, the village will regain access to 271 dunums of land.

This new farming area allows not only for the production of food for domestic use, but also for selling at nearby markets. It has increased the income of the families by an average of $2,000 per household, per year.

But farming in this area is not without risk.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/palestinians-reclaim-gaza-buffer-zone-20143281519860884.html

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11 terrorists with links to al-Qa'ida arrested In suspicion of MH370 disappearance

May 05, 2014

The mystery surrounding the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 deepened after officials arrested a group of 11 terrorists with links to al-Qa'ida on suspicion of involvement in the jet's disappearance.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 55, were arrested in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Kedah last week, the Daily Mail reported.

Investigators, including the FBI and MI6, are said to have called for the militants to be questioned. They are alleged to be members of a new terror group and include students, odd-job workers, a young widow and business professionals.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/11-terrorists-with-links-to-al-qaida-arrested-22788

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Southeast Asia

 

Impact of AEC on Indonesia’s Islamic banks

May 05 2014

Within less than a year to go until its establishment, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will merge the economies of the 10-member ASEAN regional bloc into a unified production, trade and investment area. Statistically, the bloc will have a combined population of approximately 600 million, with an aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) of at least US$2.2 trillion and trade of more than $2.4 trillion.

As explained in the AEC blueprint, the integration will create an ASEAN single market and production base comprising five core elements, namely the free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor.

According to the blueprint, the banking industry in each ASEAN country will have to face challenges, adapt to demand and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the banking industry can take advantage of a number of new opportunities.

As a key player in Indonesia’s banking industry, the country’s Islamic banks will certainly be influenced by the AEC. There are two questions that need to be answered: To what extent are Indonesia’s Islamic banks fulfilling their role? And what measures do they need to take to face the upcoming competition?

Islamic banking in Indonesia assumes three forms of banking institution: Islamic commercial banks, Islamic business units and Islamic rural banks. Data from Bank Indonesia (BI) shows the growth of these three types of institutions in the last three years. There is no single approach to handling potential problems ahead of the launch of the AEC. There should be at least three approaches, namely systematic, capital and communication. In a systematic approach, there should be an effort to raise public awareness that problem-solving cannot be carried out purely at a personal or institutional level. Systematically speaking, it is not right that responsibility should be assumed by one particular group or party.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/05/05/impact-aec-indonesia-s-islamic-banks.html

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Islam liberates from man-made liberty – Norzila Baharin

MAY 05, 2014

I am appalled and astonished after having read the letter by Futile Democracy to Abdullah Zaik, an Islamic scholar and leader of Isma.

Having quoted his words, “Islam is Islam. Ideologies are not part of Islam and all these ideologies are from the west... liberalism, liberty, equity and human rights are all agenda of the atheists”, the writer then went on to find faults with his statements according to his/her definition and played with words and ideas which at times looked childish to say the least.

If the writer had read the whole speech and tried to understand it, he/she would have a better idea of what he meant instead of only focusing on a certain paragraph and giving your opinion about it. Probably one can also make use of the Google translator if one is not competent in Bahasa Malaysia.

sma has always been and will continue to be talking about Islam guided by two main sources, the holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and not any other sources such as the Jewish scripture. Isma is committed to its principles of advocating only Islam as a way of life, separating it from other ideologies and principles, preserving the sanctity of Islam and upholding Islamic laws (Shariah).

Furthermore, Ustaz Abdullah Zaik continued to say in his speech that Islam is Islam, blasphemy (kufur) is blasphemy, belief in Allah is belief in Allah, atheist is atheist, no two ways about it, all can never be the same and exists in the same person, let alone practised by the same person. This is as clear as glass, there is no mixture of ideologies and beliefs. This is what Isma is all about, pure, plain and simple, Islam and Islam only.

This speech was made recently at Konwanis, the Muslim Women Convention,  organised by Wanita Isma and attended by more than 3000 participants, with the theme, “Women are held in high esteem because of Islam”.

Going back to Futile Democracy, firstly, I think he is confused between Islam and ideology.

“It is He who has sent his Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth in order that He shows its superiority over all other religions even if the idolators detest it.” (Quran 9:33)

Islam is Allah’s final message to humanity, revealed through the Prophet Muhammad through revelations more than 1400 years ago.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/islam-liberates-from-man-made-reality-norzila-baharin

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Jokowi listens to VP candidate advice from Muslim leaders

May 05 2014

Presidential candidate from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Joko “Jokowi” Widodo continued his tour of cities in East and Central Java over the weekend.

Jokowi courted support from influential Muslim clerics and discussed with them the hot topic of his partner for the July 9 election.

On the last leg of the two-day trip, Jokowi and his entourage visited clerics in Rembang, Central Java, the stronghold of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), where he listened to advice on his running mate.

“I proposed the name [of a vice presidential candidate] to him [Jokowi] but I won’t elaborate here,” head of the Al Anwar Islamic boarding school, Maimun Zubair, said after a one-hour closed door meeting with Jokowi in Rembang on Sunday.

Despite his own leaning, Maimun said, Jokowi would have the final say over the vice presidential candidate.

“It all depends on Pak Jokowi [...] because that person will be his partner. But I hope [if he is the next president] he can unite Muslims and nationalists in this country,” Maimun told reporters.

The respected Muslim cleric also predicted that Jokowi would get overwhelming support in Central Java

“Pak Jokowi is a member of the PDI-P. And the PDI-P is an absolute winner in Central Java,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/05/05/jokowi-listens-vp-candidate-advice-muslim-leaders.html

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Europe

 

Deadly battles rage on fringe of east Ukraine town

AFP | May 5, 2014

SLAVYANSK, Ukraine: Several people died in intense fighting on Monday on the fringes of Ukraine's rebel-held town of Slavyansk, interior minister Arsen Avakov told reporters in the combat zone.

"There have been deaths," Avakov said at a checkpoint held by troops six kilometres (four miles) from the gunbattle, which had gone on for nearly two hours.

He did not immediately say what toll each side suffered, but an AFP reporter there saw ambulances rush by carrying eight soldiers commanders said had been wounded.

Rebels told AFP that fighting was also under way at the southern entrance to the city, where the military was using helicopters and rockets, according to one rebel.

One Ukrainian military commander said the shooting involved automatic small arms and heavy weaponry, believed to be from armoured vehicles the rebels captured last month as well as other big-calibre weapons and mortars.

The commander also said "there are Chechens" with the insurgent gunmen, confirming information from the rebels themselves that they had been reinforced with fighters from Russian-controlled Crimea and Chechnya.

"They are waging a war on us, on our own territory," Avakov told reporters.

"My mission is to eliminate the terrorists."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Deadly-battles-rage-on-fringe-of-east-Ukraine-town/articleshow/34686373.cms

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British Candidate Resigns Over Anti-Islamic Tweets

5/5/2014

A British Tory council candidate has been forced to resign from the party after posting anti-Islamic comments on Twitter, the BBC reported on Sunday.

David Bishop, a candidate in Brentwood South, Essex, apologized after retweeting messages, including one that claimed Islam was the religion of rape.

"I have let myself and my party down," Bishop said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

The statement comes after a UKIP council candidate, who tweeted that Islam was "evil", was suspended from the party.

One retweeted message on April 27, two days after Bishop was named as a Conservative council candidate, cited the arrest of four Muslim men over the rape of a 14-year-old girl and added: "#Islam 'the religion of peace' & rape."

According to the Al Arabiya network, another message posted by Bishop included the sentence, “It’s good to be anti-Islam.”

Bishop apologized in the statement "for the real offence caused" and said he would "not be asking anyone to vote for me on May 22".

"I recognize that someone standing for public office should show leadership and seek to unite communities, not divide them. I hope the residents of Brentwood South can forgive my lack of judgment in time," he said, according to the BBC.

The resignation comes as UKIP council candidate, Harry Perry, who was seeking election in the Offerton ward in Stockport, was suspended by the party on Friday after tweeting that Islam was "evil", the network reported.

Just last week, a British Conservative member of parliament resigned ahead of a damning report on his behavior, which included saying that an Israeli female soldier "looks like a bloody Jew.”

Full report at:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/180263#.U2lrZ4FdUqM

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Prime Minister applauds 'so inspiring' Muslim Scout leader

04 May 2014

A Muslim Scout leader who has brought together hundreds of young people from different faiths and backgrounds has won an award from the Prime Minister.

Amir Cheema has spent the past 11 years dedicating his spare time to encouraging Muslim boys and girls, as well as young people from other backgrounds, to join the Scout Association. Yesterday the Muslim Scout Fellowship, part of the wider movement, announced a 13.5 per cent increase in its members and a rise of 85 per cent in the past five years.

David Cameron has given Mr Cheema, an engineer and father from Bristol, the Points of Light award for his outstanding commitment to volunteering and transforming people's lives. Points of Light is an idea borrowed from the United States. It was set up by George Bush Snr and continued by his successors in the White House, to recognise people who make a difference to their community and inspire others.

Mr Cheema has been praised for improving community cohesion by bringing young people from different backgrounds and faiths together as leader of a group in Brunel Scout District. He volunteered after seeing his son flourish as a Beaver Scout. Mr Cheema travels across the UK to set up Scout groups, particularly among young people who would not automatically think of joining the movement.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/prime-minister-applauds-so-inspiring-muslim-scout-leader-9321360.html

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Head teachers raise 'serious concerns' over Islamic school take-over

 02 May 2014

Schools across Britain are likely to have been targeted in an alleged Islamist plot to take over classrooms, head teachers have warned.

The National Association of Head Teachers said it had found “concerted efforts” to infiltrate at least six schools in Birmingham.

But the union also said that the scandal had “connections” to other large cities.

The Telegraph understands that there are growing concerns about the possible infiltration of schools in Bradford, Manchester and parts of east London.

The acknowledgement from the professional body follows a series of exposés by The Telegraph which disclosed how a “Trojan Horse” plot in Birmingham had put schools under pressure illegally to segregate classrooms and change teaching to reflect radical Islamic beliefs.

On Friday, Ofsted confirmed that its investigation had spread from 18 to 21 schools in the city. The three additional schools are primaries.

In a statement, the head teachers’ association said attempts had been made to “alter their character in line with the Islamic faith”, including sidelining parts of the curriculum and attempting to influence the appointment of Muslim staff.

Russell Hobby, its general secretary, warned that the action was unlikely to be “limited to Birmingham”, adding: “I think it is connected into the large cities around the country.”

It is the first time a major teachers’ organisation has confirmed that such concerns exist. The plot involves the alleged takeover of secular state schools and the removal of secular head teachers by radical Muslim staff and governors.

Five non-Muslim heads have left their posts in a tiny area of the city over the past six months. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has ordered an inquiry into Birmingham schools.

An inspection report by the Department for Education, leaked to The Telegraph, found that girls at Park View school were made to sit at the back of the class, GCSE syllabuses were “restricted to comply with a conservative Islamic teaching” and an extremist preacher was invited to speak to children.

Last week it emerged that Tahir Alam, the alleged ringleader of the plot and chairman of governors at Park View, wrote a detailed blueprint for the “Islamisation” of state schools in 2007.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10804289/Head-teachers-raise-serious-concerns-over-Islamic-school-take-over.html

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European states 'should recognize Islam'

05 May 2014

Islam should be legally recognized in all European countries to end hostility against Muslims, a religious affairs leader has said.

Speaking at a conference about hate crime, Austrian Religious Affairs Director Fuad Sanac told Anadolu Agency that Muslims faced problems related to wedding ceremonies, funerals and other Islamic traditions not being legally accepted.

Sanac said: "We demand the same rights offered to Jews, Catholics, Protestants and the Buddhist communities."

Government officials, police, NGOs and Muslim community representatives were attending a conference called ‘Enhancing Community-Law Enforcement Relations in Combating Hate Crimes against Muslims’ held in Vienna last week.

"It is not fear of Islam in Europe; it is hostility to Islam"

Claiming that the term “Islamophobia” was not being used correctly, Sanac said: "A phobia is a fear of someone. However, it is not fear of Islam in Europe; it is hostility to Islam."

He pointed to the significance of education in dealing with hate crimes and said students should be trained on love, respect and tolerance to end hostility to Islam.

Tarafa Baghajati, chairman of the Austrian Muslim Initiative, also said Islam should be legally recognized adding that the headscarf issue was affecting employment for Muslim women.

"Those women wearing headscarves especially face more difficulty in finding appropriate jobs," he told AA.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/135490/european-states-should-recognize-islam

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India

 

Kashmiri students beaten, forced to shout anti-Pak slogans in Greater Noida

M Saleem Pandit,TNN

SRINAGAR, May 5, 2014: Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday instructed senior IAS officer posted as J&K's resident commissioner Lokash Kumar Jha in New Delhi to ascertain the facts about the alleged harassment of Kashmiri students at various Uttar Pradesh universities.

Three Kashmiri students were allegedly beaten up by a group of local students for not shouting slogans against Pakistan in a university in Noida on Saturday last.

The latest incident comes two months after over 60 Kashmiri students were expelled from a Meerut university after cheering for the Pakistan cricket team during an Asia Cup match against India.

A Kashmiri student, who is studying at the Nodia International University, said that a group of five-six drunken boys allegedly thrashed and abused them.

"Some five to six local students under the influence of liquor knocked at my door late night Saturday. When I did not answer, they barged in. They started abusing us and then asked me whether I was Kashmiri."

The student alleged that the fellow students asked them to say 'India Zindabad' (long live India) and 'Pakistan Murdabad' (death to Pakistan). "When I asked them why I should do it, they abused us again and called me a terrorist," the student alleged.

The Kashmiri students studying in various universities in UP usually stay in rented houses in Nodia, UP, the reports said.

Soon after the incident on Saturday night, around 100 Kashmiri students protested against university officials for their failure to provide them security.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Kashmiri-students-beaten-forced-to-shout-anti-Pak-slogans-in-Greater-Noida/articleshow/34679534.cms

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Africa

 

Boko Haram wants war between Christians, Muslims in Nigeria – Jonathan

May 5,2014

President Jonathan said he has enlisted foreign support to tackle Boko Haram.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said the objective of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, is to ignite a war between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

Speaking Sunday at his seventh presidential media chat, Mr. Jonathan said when Boko Haram started launching attacks at Christian worship centres, many Nigerians thought the group had a religious agenda.

But when Mosques were later attacked and several people killed, the misconception that the group was fighting against Christians changed.

“When the crisis started, many thought that they were fighting against Christians. But when they also attack Muslim places of worship, it was clear that they were out to cause a war between Christians and their Muslim brothers,” he said.

He said unlike the Niger Delta militancy which was based on a clear objective of drawing government’s attention to the problems of the region- with some pockets of criminality, he said the Boko Haram insurgents have no clear-cut agenda.

Besides, he argued that the Niger Delta militants had leaders who were willing to come out and engage in dialogue but noted that the leaders of Boko Haram are faceless people who are bent on destroying Nigeria.

“This is an activity by a few people who are bent on taking the country and the world backward,” he said.

“You cannot dialogue with people you don’t know. Even the spokesperson of Boko Haram has not come to tell us they are responsible for the kidnap of the Chibok girls.

“I was involved in resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta. Right from the beginning of my political career, I had been involved in every attempt to resolve the issue.

“When I was the deputy governor and later governor of Bayelsa State, President Obasanjo usually invited me to come and help in resolving the matter.

“I met Asari Dokubo for the first time in Abuja. The Niger Delta militants didn’t go out to the market to kill people. They had something they were fighting for.”

The president recounted an instance when he went to the creek to dialogue with the militants and his security detail wanted to accompany him with arms.

Mr. Jonathan said he convinced the security aide to drop his arms on the grounds that the militants would overpower and kill them because of their large number and their cache of arms.

He insisted that Nigerian security agencies are capable of contending insecurity in the country but noted that previous administrations did not pay adequate attention to equipping the military.

Full report at:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/160135-boko-haram-wants-war-between-christians-muslims-in-nigeria-jonathan.html

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Nigeria's Boko Haram claims abduction of over 200 schoolgirls: AFP

Reuters | May 5, 2014

ABUJA: The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained.

"I abducted your girls," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in the video, according to AFP. It did not immediately give further details.

Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in the village of Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon.

The brazenness and sheer brutality of the school attack has shocked Nigerians, who had been growing accustomed to hearing about atrocities in an increasingly bloody five-year-old Islamist insurgency in the north.

Full report at:

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Nigerias-Boko-Haram-claims-abduction-of-over-200-schoolgirls-AFP/articleshow/34691208.cms?

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Kenya: Police Kill Two Al-Shabaab Members in Mandera

BY DOMINIC WABALA AND MANASE OTSIALO

3 MAY 2014

Mandera Town — Police on Thursday night killed two suspected Al Shabaab members and thwarted twin terror attacks planned in Wajir and Mandera by the Al Qaeda linked group.

The militia had planned to execute simultaneous attacks on Kenya Power stations in Mandera and Wajir towns but were repulsed by police.

In the first incident, two suspected Al Shabaab terrorists, who were part of a gang of 30 planning to bomb the station in Mandera were shot dead after they fell into a police ambush at about 2am on Friday.

The attackers said to be aged between 18 and 24 years are said to have crossed into Kenya to disable the station and cut power supply to the border town before conducting more random attacks on unspecified targets.

Regional directorate of criminal investigations Musa Yego said two of the attackers were killed and several others escaped with injuries. He said an AK47 rifle with five magazines and 145 bullets, and two Improvised Explosive Devices were recovered.

He said police waited until the suspects entered the power station.

"I suspect the two groups had planned to strike Mandera and Wajir power plants simultaneously but we thwarted the attacks. We waited for them to enter the zone before ambushing them. The Mandera attack would have caused a total black out in the town. We are ready for them and will get them whenever we have information of their planned attacks," Yego said.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201405050038.html

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North America

 

FBI chief: more Americans joining Syrian war

03 May 2014

he flow of foreign fighters into Syria has grown in the last few months, with dozens of Americans joining the country's civil war alongside thousands of Europeans, the director of the FBI has said.

Speaking to reporters at FBI headquarters on Friday, James Comey said he was "determined" to keep any scenario similar to the September 11 attacks arising out of Syria, as more foreign fighters join the conflict.

Comey compared the civil war in Syria to Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s, when fighters there eventually formed al-Qaeda and declared war on the US, leading to the New York attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/05/fbi-chief-more-americans-joining-syrian-war-20145221539486269.html

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Alabama, Islam, and the Founding Fathers’ Belief in Religious Tolerance

By Craig Considine

May 3, 2014

Recent comments made by the Chief Justice of Alabama shows that much work needs to be done in educating some of America’s most powerful figures on the history of religious tolerance in America, especially as it pertains to Muslims.

Speaking at the Pastor for Life Luncheon, which was sponsored by Pro-Life Mississippi, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court claimed that the First Amendment of the Constitution only applies to Christians because “Buddha didn’t create us, Muhammad didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures” who created us. Chief Justice Moore added, “They didn’t bring the Quran over on the pilgrim ship… Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.”

Chief Justice Moore’s comments on American history are ironic considering that the tolerant and pluralist vision of America’s founding fathers does not reflect his anti-Muslim bigotry.

George Washington, the first president of the US, stated in 1783, “the bosom of America is open to receive… the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges… They may be [Muslims], Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be atheists.”

Washington’s idea of America was that the country should be founded upon religious freedom, liberty, and justice for all, principles that Chief Justice Moore wants to apply only to Christians.

Full report at:

nal principles of religious freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/alabama-islam-and-the-founding-fathers-belief-in-religious-tolerance/0020167

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Obama speaks out in support of press freedom

 04 May 2014

The US President Barack Obama has spoken in support of press freedom in countries including Egypt, where four Al Jazeera staff have been imprisoned by authorities.

Obama was speaking at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner in Washington DC on Saturday, which coincided with World Press Freedom Day.

"Our thoughts are with those who are in places like Ukraine and Aghanistan and Syria and Egypt who risk everything and in some cases their lives to report the news," Obama told 2,000 guests at the event.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/05/obama-speaks-out-support-press-freedom-20145481636637919.html

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South Asia

 

The meteoric rise of a fanatic outfit in Bangladesh

Julfikar Ali Manik, May 5, 2014

The outfit’s fanatic face became clear after it staged atrocities in the capital on May 5 last year during a rally that was organised to press home its 13-point demands.

The overnight rise of the fundamentalist Islamist organisation Hefazat-e-Islam is a frightening tale.

The outfit’s fanatic face became clear after it staged atrocities in the capital on May 5 last year during a rally that was organised to press home its 13-point demands.

The Qawmi madrasa-based outfit was launched on January 10, 2010, to oppose the education policy and amendments brought to the constitution to give it back its original 1972 outlook.

However, the little know group till then announced its presence loudly by staging a major rally on April 6 last year at the Shapla Chattar in Motijheel, the capital’s commercial hub.

It grabbed a lot of spotlight then by not only mobilising a huge number Qawmi madrasa students to the capital city, but also by the way its supporters behaved like fanatics, attacking many male and female journalists.

The Hefazat men intimidated and brutally beat up a number of female journalists because they believed that women should stay at home and wear burqa (Islamic veil) if they come out.

Nadia Sharmeen, a female television journalist who was assigned to cover Hefazat’s April rally, described to this correspondent how Hefazat men harassed her.

“You are a woman; why are you here? Get out of here right now!” – That was what one of the Hefazat fanatics told her while assaulting. Another one told her,

“Do not you know about our 13-point demands? Why are you here, being a woman? Just get out of here!” she was told.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2014/may/05/meteoric-rise-fanatic-outfit#sthash.dAVHH7qm.dpuf

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Qaumi Watan Party chief for Pakistan’s pro-active policy on Afghanistan

May 05, 2014

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan government should adopt a pro-active approach on Afghanistan by giving the policy statement that Islamabad has no favourite in the run-off presidential elections in the war-torn country.

Talking to The Nation about the presidential elections in Afghanistan, Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said it was heartening to note that for the first time Pakistan was not blamed by Kabul for its covert role in the elections. He praised Nawaz Sharif government for implementing its policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring Afghanistan.

Sherpao said it was high time for government of Pakistan to go beyond than just praising the Afghan nation for holding such a fair and transparent elections and come up with clear policy to work and support whosoever would be elected as president of Afghanistan.

To a question, Sherpao said the turnout of voters in the presidential elections was quite encouraging and by and large the elections were considered as fair and credible by all and sundry, which would go a long way in strengthening the democratic norms in the country.

Recalling the allegations of mass-scale rigging in the 2009 presidential elections in Afghanistan, Sherpao said had those elections been held in transparent fashion, the scenario of Afghanistan would have been quite different today.

He further said that despite serious threats from Taliban the Afghan nation came out in droves to use their right of franchise in favour of their candidates in the presidential elections, which was a great achievement of Afghan people.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/national/05-May-2014/sherpao-for-pro-active-policy-on-afghanistan

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Kabul observes mourning day for victims of landslide

 5 May 2014

AAB BAREEK: Afghanistan held a national day of mourning on Sunday for the victims of a landslide that entombed a village in northern Afghanistan.

Much of Aab Bareek village in Badakhshan province was swallowed on Friday by a fast-moving tide of mud and rock that sweep down the hillside and left almost no trace of 300 homes.

President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences on Sunday to those who had lost loved ones.

Government officials have put the current death toll at 300 people and warned it could rise by hundreds more, after initial reports suggested that as many as 2,500 people may have died.

Large crowds gathered at the remote disaster site, where the volume of deep mud covering houses made rescue efforts hopeless.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/565801

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Khaleda blames govt for killings

 May 05, 2014

BNP chief Khaleda Zia yesterday alleged that the government had formed a “special force” comprising police and Rab officials of a particular region to abduct people, make them disappear and kill them.

“This special force is being operated from the very top. This government is using the special force to carry out abductions and killings of youth across the country like it was done during the post-Liberation War period,” she said at a hunger strike held at the Jatiya Press Club yard.

The BNP's Dhaka city unit organised the eight-hour-long hunger strike from 9:00am as part of the party's protest against filing “false” cases against Khaleda and her son Tarique Rahman, and incidents of abductions, disappearances and killings.

Top leaders of the BNP-led 19-party alliance, Bikolpodhara Bangladesh and other parties expressed solidarity with the programme.

In her 30-minute speech, Khaleda called upon the civil society, professional bodies and political parties to take to the street to “save the country's people and democracy”.

She claimed that the people were prepared and had been demanding tougher programmes to oust Sheikh Hasina's government.

“But we are giving time to the government hoping that good sense will prevail and they will hold a free, fair and inclusive election through discussion,” Khaleda said.

The former premier warned that if peaceful programmes like human chains, hunger strikes, rallies and processions failed [to stop ongoing abduction and disappearances], she would resort to tougher programmes.

Referring to tearful Hasina Begum and Miss Ruma, who during the hunger strike appealed to the government to bring their missing son and husband back, Khaleda said, “We don't want to see tears anymore. Now we will have to wage resistance against the government's criminal activities.”

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/khaleda-blames-govt-for-killings-22769

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/celebrities-boycott-brunei-owned-hotels-over-sharia-law/d/76879

 

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