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Islamic World News ( 1 Nov 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Documents Show Islamic State Obsessions: Beards and Concubines

















An Iraqi soldier shows a pamphlet which reads ''Wearing beards is compulsory, shaving is prohibited'' along a street of the town of al-Shura, which was recaptured from Islamic State (IS) on Saturday, south of Mosul, Iraq October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

 

Isis Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi ‘Hiding In Mosul’ As Iraqi Forces Reach City

Prevent Spread of ‘Saudi-Style Islam’ By Curbing Foreign Funding, Indian MP

Anti-Terror Group Leader Says Linking Terrorists to Islam Helps Their Cause: It’s Not the Islamic State; it’s the ‘Devil State’

 

Arab World

Documents Show Islamic State Obsessions: Beards and Concubines

Isis Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi ‘Hiding In Mosul’ As Iraqi Forces Reach City

Militants in Four More Region End Fight against Syrian Gov't

Iraq forces fight way into Mosul

Iraq: ISIL Commanders Allow Withdrawal from Mosul

Long Convoy of Terrorists' Vehicles Destroyed in Syrian Airstrikes in Idlib

Iraqi Forces Striking ISIL's Positions in Mosul City Centre from 3 Flanks

Terrorists' Largest Operation in Syria Fails to Push Back Gov't Forces from Positions in Aleppo

Syrian Army Destroys Terrorists' Long Tunnel in Eastern Damascus

Syrian Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Advances in Aleppo City

Syria in Past 24 Hours: Terrorists in Damascus Receive Army's Ultimatum

Saudi king stresses unity with Lebanon

Prison terms for citizens involved in terror, criminal acts

OIC chief quits after mocking Egypt president

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India

Prevent Spread of ‘Saudi-Style Islam’ By Curbing Foreign Funding, Indian MP

Govt Set to Cancel Foreign Funding Licence of Zakir Naik’s Foundation

ISI spy ‘reveals bigger ring at Delhi mission’

Choose Your Enemy, Hindu or Muslim Migrants: Assam BJP Minister

J&K: Pakistan shells hit civilian areas, 8 killed

Pak may recall diplomats ‘named by spy’

Muslim Leaders Decide To Go Ahead With AIMPLB Conclave with or Without Kolkata Government Nod

Bhopal encounter: ‘Trial was about to conclude, everything was turning in their favour,’ says defence lawyer

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North America

Anti-Terror Group Leader Says Linking Terrorists to Islam Helps Their Cause: It’s Not the Islamic State, It’s the ‘Devil State’

What Makes America So Great For Sunni and Shiite Muslims?

US Muslims Cringe at How Presidential Nominees Portray Them

NYPD settlement on Muslim surveillance not 'sufficient', judge rules

Arab-Americans shout ‘Yalla Vote,’ but will they make a difference?

US envoy denounces “unacceptable rhetoric” against Muslims

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia Offers To Help Europe Reform Terrorists

Candidates Turn Pious to Lure Jakarta’s Muslim Voters

Duterte eyes joint operations with Malaysia vs. Abu Sayyaf

Indonesia on edge as jihadists urge violence at Jakarta rally against governor

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Africa

Unravelling Boko Haram and Rebuilding North-East Nigeria – Yemi Osinbajo

US extends sanctions on Sudan

Romanian held by al-Qaeda affiliate demands release

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South Asia

Egyptian Militant among 19 Killed In Kunar Province Of Afghanistan

7 killed as explosion targets wedding-bound vehicle in North of Afghanistan

Attack on Hindus planned: NHRC

More Schools Reopen in Myanmar’s Maungdaw Township

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Mideast

Turkey Seeking to Escape Domestic Problems through Adventurism in Syria

Houthis accuse UN envoy of fuelling war in Yemen

Iran court issues verdict for suspects in Saudi embassy attack

Abadi warns Turkey as Ankara deploys troops

Leader's Top Military Aide: US Building Military Bases Near Iran to Foment Insecurity

Turkey denies rights group’s allegations of post-coup abuse

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Pakistan

Qadri Sees No Outcome of Probe by Commission

Muslim students find acceptance at Webster

Christian boy, mother claim they were tortured in Pakistan on accusations of burning Quran

Political parties see Imran’s decision as surrender

Qaeda suspect gunned down in Khushab

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Europe

Resumption of Syria Peace Talks Delayed Indefinitely: Russia

British gymnast Louis Smith banned for two-month for mocking Islam

Russia raises diplomatic profile with Syrian intervention

WJC thanks Putin for 'combating anti-Semitism' in Russia

Freedom of Religion in Morocco: The Silent Minorities

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/documents-show-islamic-state-obsessions--beards-and-concubines/d/108988

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Documents Show Islamic State Obsessions: Beards and Concubines

Nov 1, 2016

After Islamic State conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves.

Islamic State documents and posters, obtained in villages captured by Iraqi forces, highlight a tight and comprehensive system of rule by the militants, who went to great lengths to explain their extremist philosophy.

The documents and other materials, printed with Islamic State logos, were found by Reuters in offices used by the group until a few days ago. Members of the Iraqi forces told Reuters the documents originated from Islamic State, although this could not be independently verified.

Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have seized several villages and towns during an offensive against the northern city of Mosul, Islamic State's last stronghold in the country.

When Islamic State swept through the north in 2014, it announced a self-proclaimed caliphate, which appealed to some fellow Sunnis who felt marginalized by the Shi'ite-led central government.

But that appeal faded as Islamic State enforced its medieval thinking with brute force, beheading anyone deemed an opponent.

Slick, colorful posters, pamphlets and documents highlight Islamic State's intense focus on dictating what it called proper Islamic behavior for the citizens of its caliphate.

Violations of its rules meant punishment such as public whipping or being hauled off to Mosul for execution, according to several villagers who recently escaped from Islamic State areas.

A green wallet-size insert lays out guidelines for how to pray properly. It shows a young boy undertaking ablutions. "Wash your feet from the direction of your toes down to your heels," it said.

GOLD BRACELETS

A five-page pamphlet with pictures of gold bracelets, diamond rings and wheat on the front spelled out instructions on how to give alms, an obligation under Islam. Failure to do so would mean a penalty.

In the village of Shura, where seven Islamic State suicide bombers were recently shot dead as they rushed toward Iraqi forces, militants kept meticulous records of who had given alms. Entries showed whether an individual owned gold, property or a car. Monthly salaries were also noted.

Unlike al Qaeda, its predecessor in Iraq, Islamic State made its name in the jihadi world by becoming the first militant group to capture significant amounts of land in the Middle East, hold it and then set up an administration.

But air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State's leaders and its sources of income have dealt a major blow to the caliphate.

Islamic State's inclination to codify its system of rule extended to what it called the spoils of war.

A pink and red pamphlet includes 32 questions and answers on how to deal with female captives.

A senior Islamic State cleric has the authority to distribute female captives among its fighters, it said.

"Non-Muslim women can be taken as concubines," according to the leaflet.

Militants can own two sisters as concubines but only have sex with one.

"Pre-pubescent girls can be taken as concubines. You cannot have penetrative sex but you can still enjoy them," the leaflet added.

One question in the pamphlet asks whether a group of militants can share a concubine. The answer: only a single owner can sleep with a concubine.

After blazing through northern Iraq, Islamic State took hundreds of women from the Yazidi minority as sex slaves.

Under Islamic State's rules, women were required to largely stay at home or wear head-to-toe black coverings if they ventured out. Men wore short pants which were deemed Islamic along with beards of appropriate length.

One of the pamphlets begins by defining a beard as "hair that grows on your face and your cheeks".

There were few forms of entertainment under Islamic State, which banned the internet and music along with cell phones.

A ban on satellite dishes deprived Iraqis of news of the outside world. In a huge slick poster, entitled "Why I Should Destroy My Dish", the jihadists provided 20 reasons, revolving mostly around the immorality of satellite television programs.

Reason 8: "Because satellite channels show stories of love and naked women and inappropriate language."

Reason 10: "Because satellite channels normalize men being effeminate and sissies."

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-mosul-islamicstate-idUSKBN12W4KR

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Isis Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi ‘Hiding In Mosul’ As Iraqi Forces Reach City

November 2, 2016

The Iraqi Army has entered Mosul for the first time in over two years at the start of a battle which is likely to end in a decisive defeat for Isis. The significance of the fight for Mosul will be all the greater for Isis because its self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is believed to be still inside the city, a senior Kurdish official has told The Independent.

Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, said in an exclusive interview that his government had information from multiple sources that “Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [Isis] system.” Isis would have to choose a new caliph in the middle of a battle, but no successor would have the authority and prestige of Baghdadi, the leader who surprised the world by establishing the caliphate after capturing Mosul in June 2014.

Baghdadi has kept himself concealed for the last eight or nine months according to Mr Hussein, who added that the caliph had become very dependent on Isis commanders from Mosul and Tal Afar, a city just to the west of Mosul. Other senior and better known figures in Isis, particularly those from Syria and other countries, have been killed since their initial triumphs in the summer of 2014 when they took over much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

The presence of Baghdadi in Mosul may complicate and prolong the battle for Mosul as his surviving adherents fight to the death to defend him. Mr Hussein said that “it is obvious that they will lose, but not how long this will take to happen.” He said that Kurdish Peshmerga forces had been impressed by the extraordinary number of tunnels that Isis had dug in order to provide hiding places in the villages around Mosul.  

Iraqi Special Forces advanced into Mosul, which once had a population of two million, on Tuesday seizing the state television on the east bank of the Tigris River that divides the city in half. Mr Hussein said that the speed of the fall of Mosul would depend on many factors especially whether or not Isis “is going to destroy the five bridges over the river.”

Iraqi army units backed by US-led air strikes have been attacking across the Nineveh Plain to the east of Mosul, capturing empty towns and villages from which the inhabitants have almost entirely fled. Where Christians and other minorities have tried to return to their old homes in towns like Bartella and Qaraqosh, they have found them looted and often burned by retreating Isis fighters.

Iraqi troops entered Gogjali, a district inside Mosul's city limits, and later the borders of the more built-up Karama district, according to Major General Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces. Under an agreement reached before the offensive began on 17 October, Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia-militia paramilitaries known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, will not join the attack into Mosul, which is a largely Sunni Arab city.

As night fell, a sandstorm blew up cutting visibility to only 100 yards making air support for Iraqi forces more difficult and bringing the fighting to an end. “Daesh (Isis) is fighting back and have set up concrete blast walls to block off the Karama neighbourhood and [stop] our troops' advance,” General Aridi said. He added later that the troops had taken the nearby state television building, the only one in Nineveh province, but there had been heavy fighting when they tried to move further into built-up areas. They are still some six miles from the city centre.

The anti-Isis offensive is dependent on US-led air strikes and the presence of US Special Forces. “I assure you that the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga do not move one millimetre forward without American permission and coordination,” said one Kurdish observer. He did not think that the battle for Mosul would necessarily go on a long time. But it is increasingly difficult for the 3,000 to 5,000 Isis fighters in Mosul and the 1,500 to 2,500 on the outskirts to escape, even if they wanted to. The Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga encircle the city to the north, east and west and the Hashd are moving in from the west, cutting the last routes to Syria.

US spokesman Colonel John Dorrian said that the US-led airpowers had noticed that Isis forces could no longer move in large numbers. “And when we see them come together where there are significant numbers we will strike them and kill them,” he said during a televised press conference. Some 1,792 Iraqis of whom 1,120 were civilians were killed in October according to the UN, though the total probably does not include Isis fighters.

Eyewitnesses inside Mosul, where Isis is reported to have killed 40 Iraqi prisoners at the weekend and thrown their bodies into the Tigris, say there are few fighters to be seen in the streets. “There are mostly just teenagers with guns,” said one Mosul resident reached by telephone. Part of the city is shrouded in smoke because of air strikes and artillery fire, but also because Isis fighters are lighting fires to produce a smokescreen which will make observation from the air more difficult.

It has been reported that Isis commanders were divided on whether or not it was better for them to make a last stand in Mosul or withdraw, after inflicting the maximum number of casualties on its enemies, and revert to guerrilla warfare. Last month 100 Isis fighters staged a spectacular raid on the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk. An advantage for Isis in fighting in Mosul is that it would be more difficult for the US and its allies to carry out air strikes because there may be up to 1.5 million civilians still in the city. Isis has been preventing them leaving though the number is increasing as the anti-Isis forces move forward and it becomes clear that they intend to assault the city.

Isis has never been popular in Mosul according to local residents who detest its extreme violence, religious bigotry and subjugation of women. But it found more support in Sunni Arab villages around the city and among the Sunni Turkman of the nearby city of Tal Afar, who have always been notorious for their religious extremism and hatred for Shia and Kurds. Some observers believe that Isis might want to fight here against the Shia paramilitaries of the Hashd, because the US-led air coalition has not been providing air cover for the Hashd on the grounds that they are sectarian and under Iranian influence.

The fighting is so far on the eastern side of Mosul that traditionally had a Kurdish and Christian population while, if Isis has local support, it will be in the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab west of the city. Life here is said to be still relatively normal with markets open and people in the streets. In addition to the indigenous population of Mosul, there are believed to be several hundred thousand Sunni Arabs, many of them Isis supporters, who fled there from Iraqi provinces such as Anbar, Diyala and Salahudin where Isis has already been defeated.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-mosul-latest-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-leader-hiding-defeat-iraq-offensive-assault-a7392016.html

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Prevent Spread of ‘Saudi-Style Islam’ By Curbing Foreign Funding, Indian MP

Nov 1, 2016

NEW DELHI: Independent Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekar has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to undertake a crackdown on Salafist organizations that he alleged have "created dangerous pockets of radicalism and fundamentalism" using foreign financial contributions made by dubious organizations.

In a letter to the Home Minister dated October 25, Rajeev called for audits and investigations into the use of foreign funds by radical Salafist organizations, some of which he claimed posed a threat to the nation through their propounding of 'Saudi-style Islam'. He has also called for an overhaul of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which regulates the receipt of foreign funding by Indian organizations.

He also claimed that the rise of 'puritanical, Saudi-style Islam' in India has been among the factors behind the ongoing unrest in Kashmir.

He said Rs 134 crore had been received by Salafist NGOs from Islamic countries over the past three years, which were supposed to be used for the construction and expansion of buildings such as schools, orphanages and madrasas. "However, of the funds received by organisations in India for such expansion, many are run on core Salafist beliefs, which are against Sufi Islam as practiced in the Indian subcontinent," Rajeev said in his letter.

He pointed out that a whopping Rs 36.5 crore had been received by three Salafist NGOs in Karnataka's Shimoga - Madeenath Ul-Uloom Educational Trust, Rabiya Basri Rahamat-Ulla-Hi-Allayha Charitable Trust and Sadiya Educational and Charitable Trust. Rajeev said the Rs 36.5 crore remittances had been made by one organization - the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) - which has been accused of ties to Hamas and other radical organizations.

Referring to a media report, Rajeev said, it "raises questions of the extensive work being done inconsistent with official remittances, which also suggest that there are Hawala channels being used as the main conduit of funding, with official FCRA remittances provided as the legitimate cover for the various projects."

"These organizations with foreign influenced ideology represent a threat also to all peaceful Indian Muslims and indeed the whole Nation," Rajeev said in his letter. "This has gone on unchallenged for so long and has created dangerous pockets of radicalism and fundamentalism," he added.

He called for a complete overhaul of the FCRA, suggesting that all contributions to religious institutions be banned. He also suggested contributions be allowed only under specific purposes that are verifiable and credible, such as health and skill development.

He also urged Rajnath Singh to "undertake audit and investigation of FCRA funds received and the bona-fides of the recipients of these funds so far, and the identification of Salafist NGOs amongst these and conduct a thorough inquiry into the end use of these funds at the earliest so that these are not misused for activities that pose a threat to the Nation."

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Prevent-spread-of-Saudi-style-Islam-by-curbing-foreign-funding-Rajya-Sabha-MP-Rajeev-Chandrasekar-tells-Rajnath-Singh/articleshow/55185578.cms

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Anti-Terror Group Leader Says Linking Terrorists to Islam Helps Their Cause: It’s Not the Islamic State; it’s the ‘Devil State’

November 1, 2016

By calling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) by that name, the media and others advance the terrorists’ goal of a caliphate in the Middle East and help recruit people to embrace their ideology, the Iraqi-born head of an anti-terrorist non-profit group said Tuesday.

“Sometime[s] the media do the negative things when they call them Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Ahmad Kubba, founder and president of the Global Alliance for Terminating al-Qaeda/ISIS (GAFTA), said at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“It’s not Islamic,” he said. “It’s [the] devil state.”

He blamed the media and others for helping advance ISIS and al-Qaeda’s ideology in the United States and the West by linking the terrorists to Islam.

“They are cultivating the land for ISIS and al-Qaeda to implant their seeds of evil,” Kubba said. “The dream of ISIS and al-Qaeda [is] to see there’s a war from the West against Islam.”

“So please help us,” he urged those present. “Help us recruit more people to tell America and the West [the terrorists] are … enemy No. 1 to Islam.”

“The media plays a big role,” Kubba said. “Anyone who calls them the Islamic State, he is helping ISIS and al-Qaeda.”

GAFTA’s website says its aim is “to rid this world of terrorist groups throughout the world by educating those who are involved in or are on the brink of joining terror groups, understanding the psychology behind these murderers, working with media outlets to inform people that these extremists do not represent the religion they claim to follow.”

“These terrorists will not stop till that day comes when we see our loved ones killed at their hands,” it states. “Christians, Jews, Muslims and anyone who stands in the way of their murderous rampage will be deemed lawful to kill.”

Kubba fled his native Iraq more than three decades ago after speaking out against Saddam Hussein. In 2005, he was recognized by Florida Governor Jeb Bush at his State of the State address.

Last June GAFTA controversially hosted a U.S.-sanctioned, close associate of and advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at an event at the National Press Club. It has also praised Russia for tackling terrorists in Syria – although U.S. officials say the Russian military intervention is aimed more at bolstering Assad than a genuine effort to defeat ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group.

Other speakers at Tuesday’s event included former Iraqi Minister of Communications Mohammed Allawi and Imam Husham Al-Husainy, director of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Both spoke out against al-Qaeda and ISIS.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/anti-terror-group-leader-says-linking-terrorists-islam-helps-their-cause

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Arab World

 

Documents show Islamic State obsessions: Beards and concubines

Nov 1, 2016

ZARQA/SHURA: After Islamic State conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves.

Islamic State documents and posters, obtained in villages captured by Iraqi forces, highlight a tight and comprehensive system of rule by the militants, who went to great lengths to explain their extremist philosophy.

The documents and other materials, printed with Islamic State logos, were found by Reuters in offices used by the group until a few days ago. Members of the Iraqi forces told Reuters the documents originated from Islamic State, although this could not be independently verified.

Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have seized several villages and towns during an offensive against the northern city of Mosul, Islamic State's last stronghold in the country.

When Islamic State swept through the north in 2014, it announced a self-proclaimed caliphate, which appealed to some fellow Sunnis who felt marginalized by the Shi'ite-led central government.

But that appeal faded as Islamic State enforced its medieval thinking with brute force, beheading anyone deemed an opponent.

Slick, colourful posters, pamphlets and documents highlight Islamic State's intense focus on dictating what it called proper Islamic behaviour for the citizens of its caliphate.

Violations of its rules meant punishment such as public whipping or being hauled off to Mosul for execution, according to several villagers who recently escaped from Islamic State areas.

A green wallet-size insert lays out guidelines for how to pray properly. It shows a young boy undertaking ablutions. "Wash your feet from the direction of your toes down to your heels," it said.

Gold bracelets

A five-page pamphlet with pictures of gold bracelets, diamond rings and wheat on the front spelled out instructions on how to give alms, an obligation under Islam. Failure to do so would mean a penalty.

In the village of Shura, where seven Islamic State suicide bombers were recently shot dead as they rushed towards Iraqi forces, militants kept meticulous records of who had given alms.

Entries showed whether an individual owned gold, property or a car. Monthly salaries were also noted.

Unlike al-Qaida, its predecessor in Iraq, Islamic State made its name in the jihadi world by becoming the first militant group to capture significant amounts of land in the Middle East, hold it and then set up an administration.

But air strikes by a US-led coalition targeting Islamic State's leaders and its sources of income have dealt a major blow to the caliphate.

Islamic State's inclination to codify its system of rule extended to what it called the spoils of war.

A pink and red pamphlet includes 32 questions and answers on how to deal with female captives.

A senior Islamic State cleric has the authority to distribute female captives among its fighters, it said.

"Non-Muslim women can be taken as concubines," according to the leaflet.

Militants can own two sisters as concubines but only have sex with one.

"Pre-pubescent girls can be taken as concubines. You can't have penetrative sex but you can still enjoy them," the leaflet added.

One question in the pamphlet asks whether a group of militants can share a concubine. The answer: only a single owner can sleep with a concubine.

After blazing through northern Iraq, Islamic State took hundreds of women from the Yazidi minority as sex slaves.

Under Islamic State's rules, women were required to largely stay at home or wear head-to-toe black coverings if they ventured out. Men wore short pants which were deemed Islamic along with beards of appropriate length.

One of the pamphlets begins by defining a beard as "hair that grows on your face and your cheeks".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Documents-show-Islamic-State-obsessions-Beards-and-concubines/articleshow/55189826.cms

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Militants in Four More Region End Fight against Syrian Gov't

Nov 02, 2016

The Center declared in its latest statement that militants in two regions in Lattakia and two more regions in Hama have joined the nationwide reconciliation plan.

The statement further added that the total number of the cities, towns, regions and villages that have joined the reconciliation process now stands at 887.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000416

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Iraq forces fight way into Mosul

November 02, 2016

BARTALLA, Iraq - Iraqi forces fought their way into militant-held Mosul on Tuesday, the military said, as a top commander declared the "true liberation" of the city from the Islamic State group had begun.

Just over two weeks into the massive offensive to retake Mosul - IS's last major stronghold in Iraq - soldiers managed to push within city limits.

Troops had "entered the Judaidat Al-Mufti area, within the left bank of the city of Mosul," said the Joint Operations Command.

Mosul is split by the Tigris River, with the eastern half of the city known as the left bank.

Judaidat al-Mufti is on the southeastern side of the city.

Elite Iraqi forces had also recaptured the key village of Gogjali and taken control of a television station building belonging to a local affiliate of Iraqiya state TV on the eastern edge of the city.

Fighters from the US-trained Counter-Terrorism Service had pushed into the area amid heavy fighting on the eastern front in the past two days.

"Now is the beginning of the true liberation of the city of Mosul," Staff General Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani, the commander of the CTS, told Iraqiya from Gogjali.

"We are working with army units to secure the area and advance on Mosul together," Muntathar Salem, a lieutenant colonel with CTS told an AFP reporter near the front line.

Backed by air and ground support from a US-led coalition, tens of thousands of Iraqi fighters have been converging on Mosul.

Some 4,000 to 7,000 militants are believed to be in and around Mosul, where IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a cross-border "caliphate" after the group seized control of large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria two years ago.

Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesman for the US-led coalition against IS, said it had targeted the militants with "nearly 3,000 bombs, artillery shells, rockets and missiles" since the operation began.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Nov-2016/iraq-forces-fight-way-into-mosul

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Iraq: ISIL Commanders Allow Withdrawal From Mosul

Nov 02, 2016

"ISIL's field commanders have ordered their elite fighters to leave Mosul for Syria," Hesamulddin al-Abar said.

"Mosul streets are empty of ISIL terrorists and the capture of the TV building and other districts of Mosul by the Iraqi Army soldiers have devastated ISIL's morale and capabilities," he further added.

"Based on army intel, ISIL commanders have ordered their members to leave Mosul via the two left and right banks of the Tigris river for Syria," the Iraqi official said.

Army sources said on Tuesday that the Iraqi Army managed to fully liberate two strategic districts on the Eastern edge of the Northern city of Mosul from ISIL terrorists, a day after they entered the major Iraqi city that has been under the control of terrorists since 2014.

"The Iraqi Army managed to fully liberate districts of 'Kokjeli' and 'Al-Sameh' and inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists," the source said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000703

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Long Convoy of Terrorists' Vehicles Destroyed in Syrian Airstrikes in Idlib

Nov 02, 2016

The Syrian fighter jets pounded tens of terrorists' vehicles in Idlib province heading towards Aleppo battlefield to join their comrades in the Great Epic Operation.

Informed sources said that the Syrian Air Force has concentrated its attacks on the supply routes of the terrorists, adding that "the very good coverage of Syrian warplanes and reconnaissance flights have not allowed logistical supplies and fresh forces to Aleppo".

In relevant developments in the province last week, the Syrian Air Force conducted precision airstrikes on terrorists' gathering and their convoys in at least two locations South of Idlib province and inflicted loss and damage on the militants, local sources said.

"The Syrian warplanes targeted the terrorist groups' gathering and convoys of their vehicles on the move in two villages of Tara'a and Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib, killing scores of militants and destroying their military vehicles," the sources said.

In the meantime, the Syrian jets bombed terrorists' positions in Mara'a al-Misrin in Northern Idlib and destroyed the terrorists' military equipment and several heavy machine-gun mounted pickup trucks, with local sources reporting casualties on the militants as a result of the aerial attacks.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000840

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Iraqi Forces Striking ISIL's Positions in Mosul City Center From 3 Flanks

Nov 02, 2016

"The entire first defense lines of ISIL in the Southern flank of Mosul city have been devastated," the police chief wrote on his face book.

"We have annihilated the entire first defense lines of ISIL in Southern Mosul, and our military units, backed up by the army's artillery units and Iraqi fighter jets, are advancing towards center of Mosul," Shaker Jowdat said.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman said earlier today that the Army troops have killed 778 ISIL members in the "Southern fronts" of the operation to liberate the Northern city of Mosul, while Iraqi warplanes dropped bombs on 375 militants.

"Iraqi security forces recaptured hundreds of miles of land and killed over 1,100 ISIL fighters as their advance against the ISIL stronghold from the South continued," said Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman, Col. Sa'ad Moen, Iraqi News reported.

The spokesman said 778 ISIL members were killed in operations by ground forces in the "Southern axis," while 375 others were killed as Iraqi warplanes dropped bombs on their positions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000763

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Terrorists' Largest Operation in Syria Fails to Push Back Gov't Forces from Positions in Aleppo

Nov 02, 2016

"The Great Epic Operation was the largest offensive of terrorists on government troops' position since the start of the crisis in Syria," the sources said.

Jeish al-Islam terrorists launched a fresh round of attacks on government positions in Western part of Aleppo city on Tuesday afternoon.

The Syrian army repelled the terrorists' attacks in Jam'iyat al-Zahra and Assad Military-Engineering Academy, inflicting tens of casualties on them.

The terrorists used bomb-laden suicide vehicles in their attacks but army soldiers targeted most of them before they could approach their positions.

The Syrian army also fended off militants' offensive in Menyan region.

The army troops clashed with militants in Zahiyeh al-Assad district and ineaby areas and are now pushing back the terrorists from the district.

Earlier today, sources in Syria refuted the terrorists' claims about their advances in two large residential complexes in the Southwestern part of Aleppo city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000614

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Syrian Army Destroys Terrorists' Long Tunnel in Eastern Damascus

Nov 02, 2016

A 160-meter-long tunnel with 14 meters of depth used by Jeish al-Islam to carry arms and transfer forces between the battlefields in Harasta region was detonated by the Syrian army.

The tunnel branched into several paths ending up in positions used by the terrorists for attacking army positions in the region.

Meantime on Tuesday, the Syrian Army gave the terrorists of Jeish al-Islam and their allies a final ultimatum to fully surrender in Eastern Ghouta.

"After the recapture of Tal (hill) Kurdi and Tal al-Sawan, Syrian government forces are to storm Jeish al-Islam's strongholds in the towns of al-Shifouniyeh and al-Reihan to pave the ground for the liberation of the city of Douma," the sources said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000314

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Syrian Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Advances in Aleppo City

Nov 02, 2016

"Jeish al-Fatah has not advanced in the 3,000-Unit Housing Complex and Housing Project 1070," a senior army officer underlined and rejected reports on terrorists' affiliated websites about militants' control over the two residential complexes.

"The Syrian army and its allies have repelled attacks of the terrorists on the 3,000-Unit Housing Complex and forced them to retreat from the battlefield," he said, and added, "The terrorists have launched repeated attacks to seize control over Housing Project 1070 but the army has thus far maintained its control over most of the project," the sources said.

"The army is fortifying its positions, while the terrorists continue their assaults to break through the government positons in Housing Project 1070 and open their way into the 3,000-Unit Housing Complex," they added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000473

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Syria in Past 24 Hours: Terrorists in Damascus Receive Army's Ultimatum

Nov 02, 2016

Aleppo

Syrian Army soldiers repelled an attack of an ISIL-affiliated group of terrorists to block a main supply line of government forces to Aleppo province in the Northeastern side of the town of al-Salamiyah in Hama province, killing the entire members of the militant group.

The army soldiers fended off terrorists' offensive on its positions in Wadi al-Adhib region along the al-Saboureh-Ithriya road, killing the entire militants and destroying their arms and equipment.

Also in the past 24 hours, Commandos of the Desert Hawks Brigade along with a supply of TOW missiles and several T90 tanks arrived in the Northern province of Aleppo to join other army units in the fierce battle against the terrorist groups in the region, military sources said.

"This is the second convoy of the Syrian Special Forces, also known as Liwa Suqour al-Sahra, that has arrived in Aleppo this week," the sources said.

"The Deseret Hawks Brigade forces will join their comrades to strengthen the army forces' combat capabilities," they added.

"Simultaneous with the arrival of the Syrian Special Forces, a number of the Syrian Army's T90 tanks arrived in Aleppo battlefields," the sources said.

Damascus

Syrian army troops and National Defense Forces continue to hit the positions of Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as the al-Nusra Front) in Western Ghouta, and Jeish al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000528

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Saudi king stresses unity with Lebanon

2 November 2016

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz congratulated the president of Lebanon Michel Aoun in a phone call on Tuesday, extending his support to the newly elected president.

King Salman stressed the kingdom’s unity with Lebanon, wishing the President Aoun success in bring stability to Lebanon in his new post.

Lebanese President expressed his gratitude for the Saudi king’s support.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/02/Saudi-king-congratulates-Lebanon-s-new-president-.html

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Prison terms for citizens involved in terror, criminal acts

2 November 2016

JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh issued four separate sentences on Tuesday, giving varying prison terms to four citizens for involvement in criminal activities and support for terrorist groups.

Two citizens received 10 years each for having traveled to Iran, where they met with a criminal wanted for carrying out terrorist acts in the Eastern Province and got weapon training.

The criminal, currently detained, had instructed the two Saudis to undergo military training in an effort to later act to destabilize the security of the Kingdom.

The two defendants also traveled to Iraq, at the behest of the said criminal, and joined training camps where they learned how to assemble machine guns and pistols. They then returned to the Kingdom, where they were apprehended.

The court sentence starts from the date of arrest; after being released, the two will be forbidden from traveling abroad for another 10 years.

Another verdict was issued against a Saudi national who fell under the influence of terrorist organizations and wanted to go to Syria to join Daesh.

He was indicted base on online statements critical of the state and its policies, as well as for consuming drugs.

The court sentenced him to 80 lashes for consumption of drugs, and to seven years in prison, counted from the date of his arrest. He will also be forbidden from traveling abroad after his release from jail for another seven years.

The cellular phone that was in his possession at the time of his arrest was confiscated.

A fourth verdict was pronounced against a Saudi citizen who showed support for the Houthi militias, questioned religious principles, and questioned and criticized the validity of the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions.

He had posted his abusive statements on different social media accounts.

In punishment, the court gave him six years in prison, starting with the date of his arrest, fined him SR30,000, closed his Twitter account and banned him from ever using it again, as well as banned him from traveling abroad for six years after his release from prison.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution completed the list of indictments against 13 women accused of instigating demonstrations in support of Al-Qaeda, in preparation for prosecution by the Specialized Criminal Court, due in the coming days.

Sources close to the case told the Arab News that the charges brought against the women include incitement to demonstrations and sit-ins in the cities of Riyadh and Buraidah even after they and their relatives had pledged not to carry out such activities that violate Saudi laws prohibiting demonstrations.

Some of the women had participated in demonstrations in Buraidah in 2003, where they were arrested, but after the intervention of several elders and dignitaries from the city, they were released upon orders from Prince Mohammed bin Naif, on condition that they desist from further such acts.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1005596/saudi-arabia

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OIC chief quits after mocking Egypt president

November 02, 2016

JEDDAH -  The world's largest pan-Islamic body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said its Saudi chief resigned Monday, days after infuriating Egypt over a remark that mocked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

OIC Secretary-General Iyad Madani "has resigned for health reasons," the Jeddah-based organisation said in a statement, two days after Cairo condemned the comment that provoked outrage among Egyptians.

"The OIC General Secretariat takes this chance to express its utmost appreciation and respect to all member states," the 57-member bloc said.

The former Saudi minister made the comment last week after he mixed up Sisi's name with that of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at a conference.

"Mr President Beji Caid al-Sisi.

Essebsi sorry.

This is a big mistake.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/02-Nov-2016/oic-chief-quits-after-mocking-egypt-president

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India

 

Prevent spread of ‘Saudi-style Islam’ by curbing foreign funding, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekar tells Rajnath Singh

Nov 1, 2016

NEW DELHI: Independent Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekar has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to undertake a crackdown on Salafist organizations that he alleged have "created dangerous pockets of radicalism and fundamentalism" using foreign financial contributions made by dubious organizations.

In a letter to the Home Minister dated October 25, Rajeev called for audits and investigations into the use of foreign funds by radical Salafist organizations, some of which he claimed posed a threat to the nation through their propounding of 'Saudi-style Islam'. He has also called for an overhaul of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which regulates the receipt of foreign funding by Indian organizations.

He also claimed that the rise of 'puritanical, Saudi-style Islam' in India has been among the factors behind the ongoing unrest in Kashmir.

He said Rs 134 crore had been received by Salafist NGOs from Islamic countries over the past three years, which were supposed to be used for the construction and expansion of buildings such as schools, orphanages and madrassas. "However, of the funds received by organisations in India for such expansion, many are run on core Salafist beliefs, which are against Sufi Islam as practiced in the Indian subcontinent," Rajeev said in his letter.

He pointed out that a whopping Rs 36.5 crore had been received by three Salafist NGOs in Karnataka's Shimoga - Madeenath Ul-Uloom Educational Trust, Rabiya Basri Rahamat-Ulla-Hi-Allayha Charitable Trust and Sadiya Educational and Charitable Trust. Rajeev said the Rs 36.5 crore remittances had been made by one organization - the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) - which has been accused of ties to Hamas and other radical organizations.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Prevent-spread-of-Saudi-style-Islam-by-curbing-foreign-funding-Rajya-Sabha-MP-Rajeev-Chandrasekar-tells-Rajnath-Singh/articleshow/55185578.cms

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Govt set to cancel foreign funding licence of Zakir Naik’s foundation

Rajesh Ahuja

Nov 01, 2016

Controversial television evangelist Zakir Naik’s Mumbai-based outfit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) will no longer be allowed to receive foreign funding.

“We have initiated the process of cancellation of foreign funding licence of the IRF,” said a senior home ministry official. The MHA issues foreign funding license for all NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Earlier the MHA had put Naik’s organisation in prior-permission category under the FCRA, which meant all foreign funding of the NGO was to be vetted by the government before it went into the IRF’s bank account.

The MHA is also putting another outfit of Naik’s -- The IRF Educational Trust --in the prior permission category. “We are issuing a notice to the trust for putting it under the prior permission category. We want to vet all foreign funding of the trust before it is deposited in outfit’s bank account,” said the official.

Besides, the government is almost ready with a cabinet note on the IRF to declare it ‘unlawful’ under section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Final vetting is being done.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-cancels-foreign-funding-licence-of-zahir-naik-s-islamic-research-foundation/story-sZWfXviYlR1fcKJOSMb1KL.html

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ISI spy ‘reveals bigger ring at Delhi mission’

Nov 2, 2016

NEW DELHI: The Pakistan high commission official detained last month for spying+ is believed to have revealed that he was part of a bigger espionage ring operating from the mission.

Sources said that ISI officer Mehmood Akhtar+ had admitted as much during questioning after he was detained by the Delhi Police crime branch. They claimed that apart from the four high commission officials he specifically mentioned, Mehmood said that there were at least 10 others tasked with sourcing information from Indians.

Akhtar, a former soldier with the Pakistan army's Baloch regiment, told police that he was merely following instructions issued by his seniors in the ISI and at the high commission. He has identified some of his seniors at the mission as Syed Farrukh Habib, counsellor (trade); Khadim Hussain, first secretary (visa); Muddasir Iqbal Cheema, first secretary (press); and Shahid Iqbal.

Akhtar, who could not be interrogated in custody on account of diplomatic immunity, was sent back to Pakistan soon after he was detained. Police are now trying to extract information from the Indian agents arrested as part of the investigation into the espionage ring to corroborate Akhtar's claims. Crime branch officials said they were yet to verify certain details.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ISI-spy-reveals-bigger-ring-at-Delhi-mission/articleshow/55193694.cms

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Choose Your Enemy, Hindu or Muslim Migrants: Assam BJP Minister

November 2, 2016

STATING THAT it is his party’s policy to differentiate between Hindu and Muslim migrants, Assam Minister and convenor of the BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday asked the people of the state to choose their enemy — “the 1-1.5 lakh people or the 55 lakh people?”

While he did not elaborate on the figures, Sarma seemed to be referring to Hindu and Muslim migrants as he was replying to queries on the opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam.

Although there are no official figures of Hindu or Muslim migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, political groups often claim that the state has about 55 lakh Bangladeshi migrants. The reference to “1-1.5 lakh” people, however, does not match any known figure.

“The whole thing is that we have to decide who our enemy is. Who is our enemy, the 1-1.5 lakh people or the 55 lakh people? The Assamese community is at the crossroads. We could not (save) 11 districts. If we continue to remain this way, six more districts will go out (of our hands) in the 2021 Census. In 2031, more (districts) will go out,” said Sarma, pressing for the Bill.

While Sarma referred to “11 districts”, the 2011 Census identified nine districts as areas with Muslim majority, up from six in 2001.

He asked those opposed to the Bill to find out which community threatened to reduce the Assamese to a minority. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Parsis facing persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh and entering India without any valid document.

Asked if it was the BJP’s policy to differentiate between Hindu and Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Sarma said, “yes, we do”. “We clearly do. After all, the country was divided in the name of religion. Thus it is not a new thing,” he said.

“There has been no analysis about whether we are becoming a minority from the linguistic aspect or religious aspect, or from a combined attack of both language and religion. That is why we must now decide who to go with in order to save ourselves,” said Sarma.

“When we go to Dibrugarh or Tinsukia (districts) we feel very good, because we are in a majority there. But do you feel good when you go to Dhubri or Barpeta (districts)?” he asked. Both Dhubri and Barpeta are among the Muslim majority districts.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/choose-your-enemy-hindu-or-muslim-migrants-bjp-assam-minister-himanta-biswa-sarma-3733080/

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J&K: Pakistan shells hit civilian areas, 8 killed

by Arun Sharma

November 2, 2016

Stepping up their attacks, Pakistani troops Tuesday shelled Indian civilian areas along the border from Samba to Poonch, leaving eight persons dead and at least 20 others injured. Among the dead were two children and four women. Officials said Pakistani troops were raining 82 mm and 120 mm mortar shells on civilian areas including Mendhar town, sharply escalating the situation on the border where troops on either side have been trading fire ever since India announced its surgical strikes on terror launch pads along the Line of Control on September 29.

Six of the eight deaths took place in the Arnia sector of Samba district while two deaths were reported from the Tarkundi area of Rajouri district. At least ten injured were admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu. The shelling has led to an exodus from nearly 20 villages along the border in the Arnia sector. While many shifted to the homes of their relatives, a large number of people turned up at camps set up by the state government. In view of the escalation in hostilities, the J&K government has ordered closure of all schools near the border in Jammu.

Official sources said Pakistani troops appeared to have increased the range of the shelling, targeting Mendhar town for the first time. Three persons — Rukhsana Akhtar, her mother Javeda Begum and one Tahir Iqbal — were injured when 120 mm shells struck the boundary wall of the Mendhar police station. The shelling led to panic in Mendhar and its bustling bazaar shut down almost immediately as people fled to safety.

In Arnia sector, people were taken by surprise when shells started landing in the morning. The shelling was so intense that within the first two hours, six persons were killed and a dozen others injured. The damage to civilian property was widespread and a large number of cattle too perished in the shelling.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/shells-land-in-mendhar-exodus-from-border-villages-schools-shut-down-3732706/

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Pak may recall diplomats ‘named by spy’

Nov 2, 2016

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is considering pulling out four top officials from its mission here following the recent spy scandal, Pakistani media reported on Tuesday. The names of the officials were disclosed during the investigation against a Pakistan high commission official, Mehmood Akhtar, expelled from India for spying+ .

"This is under consideration. A final decision would be taken shortly," the Dawn quoting a source at the Pakistan foreign office as saying. Indian officials said they had no knowledge about the reported move.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-may-recall-diplomats-named-by-spy/articleshow/55193700.cms

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Muslim leaders decide to go ahead with AIMPLB conclave with or without Kolkata government nod

November 2, 2016

by Arshad Ali

CONFUSION PREVAILED over the proposed convention of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Kolkata as the state government is yet to give permission for the three-day meet. Now, Muslim leaders in the city have decided to hold the programme even if they do not get clearance from the government.

Mohammed Kamruzzaman, general secretary of All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, said: “Over 350 leaders will come to Kolkata for the convention. We had earlier written to the state government seeking permission to hold the delegate session at Madinatul Hujjaj at New Town and the mass meeting at Park Circus Maidan but the state government is yet to give its permission. So, in a meeting yesterday it has been decided that we will go on with the programme as per schedule.” Trinamool MPs such as Sultan Ahmed and Idris Ali were also present at the meeting.

Kamruzzaman added that while the federation had written to both the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the state minority department regarding permission for the venues, they have not received any reply. “Leaders present at the meeting yesterday said while the last AIMPLB convention in Kolkata was held during the Left Front regime at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra and Park Circus ground, the current regime, which appears to be a patron of the minority community, is against us,” he added.

Maulana Niyamat Hossain, president of Milli Ittehad Parishad echoed similar views. “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is befooling Muslims for a long time now. She was never a wellwisher of Muslims. She had learnt communal politics from the BJP, with which she had been in an alliance earlier,” he said. Hossain claimed either Mamata was under pressure from the Centre not to allow the convention or she would give nod to the convention at the last moment and earn brownie points.

When contacted, Sultan Ahmed and Idris Ali said that they were optimistic that the government would give permission for the con. “I am hopeful that the government would relent. I had also suggested that the AIMPLB should be vocal on several issues. For example, it had kept quiet when there was a controversy over Dr Zakir Naik and his TV channel,” Ali said.

Ahmed, also the chairman of AIMPLB organising committee, claimed a solution would be reached on Wednesday. “We will find a solution to it. God willing, the convention will take place here without any trouble,” he said.

Sources said the government would either allow the public meeting at Park Circus Maidan or Mohammedan Sporting Club ground.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/muslim-leaders-decide-to-go-ahead-with-aimplb-conclave-with-or-without-kolkata-government-nod-3733062/

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Bhopal encounter: ‘Trial was about to conclude, everything was turning in their favour,’ says defence lawyer

November 2, 2016

Bhopal: The defense lawyer Thahavur Khan called the gruesome killings of SIMI undertrials by Bhopal police a huge conspiracy.

“The trial was about to finish. I have visited the jail several times. It is highly guarded. One cannot escape easily from there. The trial was going on and there are only 18 to 20 witnesses remaining.

Being their lawyer, I can say that there was no ample evidence against them, factually or legally. There is no reason for them to break the jail. The court judgement was expected to come out in weeks, most probably in their favour, Thahavur Khan said,” while speaking to South Live.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/bhopal-encounter-trial-conclude-everything-turning-favour-says-defence-lawyer-1055465/

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North America

 

Anti-Terror Group Leader Says Linking Terrorists to Islam Helps Their Cause: It’s Not the Islamic State; it’s the ‘Devil State’

November 1, 2016

By calling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) by that name, the media and others advance the terrorists’ goal of a caliphate in the Middle East and help recruit people to embrace their ideology, the Iraqi-born head of an anti-terrorist non-profit group said Tuesday.

“Sometime[s] the media do the negative things when they call them Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Ahmad Kubba, founder and president of the Global Alliance for Terminating al-Qaeda/ISIS (GAFTA), said at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“It’s not Islamic,” he said. “It’s [the] devil state.”

He blamed the media and others for helping advance ISIS and al-Qaeda’s ideology in the United States and the West by linking the terrorists to Islam.

“They are cultivating the land for ISIS and al-Qaeda to implant their seeds of evil,” Kubba said. “The dream of ISIS and al-Qaeda [is] to see there’s a war from the West against Islam.”

“So please help us,” he urged those present. “Help us recruit more people to tell America and the West [the terrorists] are … enemy No. 1 to Islam.”

“The media plays a big role,” Kubba said. “Anyone who calls them the Islamic State, he is helping ISIS and al-Qaeda.”

GAFTA’s website says its aim is “to rid this world of terrorist groups throughout the world by educating those who are involved in or are on the brink of joining terror groups, understanding the psychology behind these murderers, working with media outlets to inform people that these extremists do not represent the religion they claim to follow.”

“These terrorists will not stop till that day comes when we see our loved ones killed at their hands,” it states. “Christians, Jews, Muslims and anyone who stands in the way of their murderous rampage will be deemed lawful to kill.”

Kubba fled his native Iraq more than three decades ago after speaking out against Saddam Hussein. In 2005, he was recognized by Florida Governor Jeb Bush at his State of the State address.

Last June GAFTA controversially hosted a U.S.-sanctioned, close associate of and advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at an event at the National Press Club. It has also praised Russia for tackling terrorists in Syria – although U.S. officials say the Russian military intervention is aimed more at bolstering Assad than a genuine effort to defeat ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group.

Other speakers at Tuesday’s event included former Iraqi Minister of Communications Mohammed Allawi and Imam Husham Al-Husainy, director of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Both spoke out against al-Qaeda and ISIS.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/anti-terror-group-leader-says-linking-terrorists-islam-helps-their-cause

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What Makes America So Great For Sunni and Shiite Muslims?

November 1, 2016

The two presidential contenders suffer through low approval ratings not only from Americans but also from jihadis.

Radical Islam’s supporters are burning up social media commenting on Republican Donald Trump versus Democrat Hillary Clinton. Although jihadis dismiss democracy as a Western defect, they like to exercise free speech about America’s every-four-year ritual. Not surprisingly, jihadis do not like either candidate — not Mr. Trump, who vowed to ban Muslim immigrants as an anti-terror move, nor Mrs. Clinton who advocated the Libya invasion and increased military involvement in Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/1/radical-islamic-jihadists-weigh-us-presidential-el/

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US Muslims cringe at how presidential nominees portray them

November 02, 2016

NEW YORK –  Many Muslim Americans cringe at the way they have been portrayed by candidates during the presidential campaign — either as potential terrorists or as eyes and ears who can help the government's counterterrorism efforts.

Those descriptions, offered by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively, are troubling to Muslims who complain they are being pigeonholed and their concerns on other issues ignored.

"I think that there is some level of dismissiveness about Arab-Americans and American Muslims that allows candidates to talk about us, not really to us," said Omar Baddar, a political analyst and media producer based in Washington.

Chaumtoli Huq, a lawyer from the New York City suburb of Yonkers, agreed.

"We're not able to talk about issues that impact us as citizens — education, jobs, things that any other voter would care about," she said. "It's a really demoralizing way to be seen to be part of this country."

One of the campaign's more memorable moments for Muslim Americans unfolded at the Democratic National Convention in July, when a grieving Khizr Khan addressed delegates about his son, Humayun, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq. The GOP candidate soon pushed back against Khan's anti-Trump comments, setting up an almost unprecedented episode in which a presidential nominee criticized a military family that lost a loved one in a war zone.

Huq and others said Trump's campaign has clearly been the more negative one, starting with his call to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States as an anti-terrorism measure.

In the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Trump answered a question about how to stop Islamophobia in America by saying American Muslims must report other Muslims who are engaging in dangerous behavior. He also repeated the false claim that neighbors of the San Bernardino, California, shooters saw bombs all over the floor in the shooters' home last year but did not report it.

That led to a widely retweeted comment from Brooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi, who posted, "I'm a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri." By the time the debate ended, his retort had been retweeted more than 32,000 times and "liked" more than 43,000 times.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Bayoumi said Muslim Americans "get exceptionalized to such a degree that their average Americanness disappears in the wind."

But Hillary Clinton did not escape censure from Muslim Americans, who said that the Democratic nominee's public remarks have primarily revolved around recognizing them for what they could do to support counterterrorism efforts.

At that second debate, in answering the same question as Trump, Clinton said: "We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I've worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I've met with a lot of them, and I've heard how important it is for them to feel that they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security, and that's what I want to see."

Nour Eidy, a freshman at the University of Michigan, grew up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, which is heavily Arab and Muslim. She was troubled by the call to root out radicals, mainly because she has not come across any.

"I don't know anything about terrorism. I don't know their game plans, their strategies," she said. "We're just as victimized by them as anybody else."

Hussien Kazwini does not object to calls for Muslims to identify dangerous extremists. The college student in Toledo, Ohio, whose parents were born in Lebanon, said it's what every U.S. citizen should do.

"We, at the end of the day, are around more Muslims at a mosque or an event," Kazwini said. "Maybe we do have an ability to more easily see if someone is going over to the extreme side."

Frustration with the race is enough to make Ramah Kudaimi want to skip voting altogether.

"People are so shocked by what Trump is saying, that he's — and he's so openly racist — that they are giving Hillary Clinton a pass," the Washington, D.C., organizer said. "The Democrats, frankly, have not necessarily done what is needed to also earn my vote as a Muslim American."

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/11/02/us-muslims-cringe-at-how-presidential-nominees-portray-them.html

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NYPD settlement on Muslim surveillance not 'sufficient', judge rules

1 November 2016

A judge has rejected the settlement of a lawsuit triggered by the New York City police department’s surveillance of Muslims, on the grounds that the terms did not go far enough.

The settlement ruled upon was a January resolution of two cases, which stem from 2011 revelations that the NYPD was conducting widespread surveillance of Muslims that plaintiffs argued had violated their rights.

January’s settlement resulted in Mayor Bill De Blasio agreeing to appoint a civilian monitor of the NYPD’s counter-terrorism units, pending approval by a judge.

The presiding judge in the case, Charles S Haight Jr, agreed with the overall structure of the settlement but found that the powers of the civilian representative agreed upon in the settlement did not go far enough.

“The proposed role and powers of the civilian representative do not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights of those law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city,” Haight wrote in his ruling.

This means that a new settlement will have to be negotiated by the parties involved or take the matter to court.

Haight’s main contention in the negotiated settlement was the power and appointment of the civilian representative. The settlement stipulates the representative should report violations to the police commissioner, who is only obligated to investigate the incident, but Haight argued the representative should rather file quarterly reports to the court.

He also rejected provisions that the mayor should appoint the civilian representative and have the power to eliminate the position after five years.

The lawsuits arose following 2011 revelations that the NYPD, with help from the CIA, was using undercover informants to spy on Muslims throughout New York and New Jersey in mosques, religious bookstores, hookah bars and other places.

In his ruling, Haight also cited a recent report by the NYPD’s inspector general, an oversight body. The report examined the compliance by the department’s intelligence unit of the Handschu guidelines – a set of provisions designed to ensure the NYPD does not overreach when investigating political or religious groups. The report found the department has consistently violated several regulations by continuing investigations and using informants for extended periods without authorization. The report also highlighted in a footnote that 95% of investigations were launched against Muslims.

According to some watchdog groups and the OIG report, NYPD’s targeting of Muslims has continued despite the disbanding of the demographics unit, which was created in the wake of 9/11 and focused on monitoring Muslim communities.

The judge said the report described a near systematic failure on the NYPD’s to comply with these particular guidelines. NYPD officials characterized the report findings as vindication that they were complying with guidelines.

Haight was also the judge who ruled in favor of expanding the NYPD’s powers to allow it to act with less oversight post-9/11.

The plaintiffs in the cases are represented by several civil liberties groups, including the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union, all of which received Haight’s ruling positively.

“The ruling is an opportunity to put stronger safeguards in place and we very much look forward to discussing the court’s suggestions with the NYPD and with the city,” said Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at CUNY School of Law, where he directs the Clear project. “Because we believe that this is in the interest of all New Yorkers, we hope that the reforms are implemented as soon as possible.”

The city law spokesman Nick Paolucci said they were disappointed the settlement was not approved.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/01/nypd-muslim-surveillance-lawsuit-settlement-rejected

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Arab-Americans shout ‘Yalla Vote,’ but will they make a difference?

2 November 2016

WASHINGTON: As the US Presidential race heads into the final stretch less than a week before the vote on Tuesday, excitement and organizational strengths are reshaping the Arab-American vote. However, the question remains if they could tip the balance in the race between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in key battleground states.

From phone banking to canvassing and participating in state, and legislative races, the Arab-American vote is no longer a dormant block in US politics. The “Yalla Vote” (Let’s Vote) campaign, “Ammu Sam” (Uncle Sam) wearing a Kaffiyah poster, and a signature “Arab American” logo from the Clinton campaign embody the level of organization and turnout push among more than a million and a half Arab-Americans living the US today.

High visibility and participation

The visibility and increased participation by Arab-Americans in this election is no surprise for James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute that has launched the “Yalla Vote” campaign in 1998, with repeated successes in 2008, 2012 and today. Zogby tells Arab News that percentage of Arab-Americans voting and getting involved in the election is “higher than the average population as a whole.”

This year especially, Zogby points out to a robust effort in Michigan where Dearborn could get its first Arab-American state representative. He says that with Arab-Americans making 5 percent of the population in Michigan, and in a tight race between Clinton and Trump in the state, the participation and turnout could tip the scale for either candidate on Tuesday.

Illustrating the significance of the Arab-American vote in Michigan, a giant billboard in Arabic taunting Trump with the words “Donald Trump can’t read this, but he’s afraid of it anyway” is over a major Dearborn highway. In an election that was interjected by the Republican nominee Donald Trump’s suggested ban on Muslims and incidents of discrimination and rising anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiment, the community sees a lot at stake in the outcome.

Advantage Democrats

Zogby who has closely studied the Arab-American vote over the last three decades, sees the shift from voting Republican (2000 and prior) to a ratio of 2-1 for Democrats today as the most interesting phenomena when discussing the community’s impact in 2016.

In a survey conducted by Zogby Analytics earlier this month, this shift toward Democrats is evident. Hillary Clinton tops Donald Trump among likely Arab-American voters 60 percent to 26 percent. Zogby reads these numbers as consolidating the trend for Democrats in the community and that “it is not a fluke” after the Obama years. In the same poll, 88 percent of Arab-American millennials say they are planning to vote, favoring Clinton to Trump in a 57 percent-26 percent ratio.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1005546/world

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US envoy denounces “unacceptable rhetoric” against Muslims

November 2, 2016

New Delhi: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma today reached out to Muslims here, denouncing “unacceptable rhetoric” against the community, particularly during the ongoing Presidential campaign in US, and in pockets of “intolerance”.

Verma said that any form of discrimination was “unjustifiable” and stressed on the need to embrace diversity, which he said was the real promise in the shared values of India and the United States.

Delivering a lecture at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, Verma said Indo-US relation was at the central level, crediting the leaderships at New Delhi and Washington for the upswing in ties, which he said will continue “well into the future”.

“Strains to the international order, compounded by globalization and economic inequality, are also bringing to the fore voices who seek to exploit our fears and build barriers to cooperation.

“We see this in many parts of the world, with growing pockets of intolerance and anti-immigrant sentiment. This has included instances of unacceptable rhetoric against Muslims, including in the United States, and particularly during this Presidential campaign season,” Verma said.

Responding to a question on the anti-Islam sentiments in US, Verma said no explanation can justify discrimination against any individual, while underlining that a broad swathe of the population was not discriminatory.

He called for the coming together of “like-minded partners” to overcome challenges like terrorism and asymmetrical warfare, cyber threats, environmental degradation and climate change in the 21st century.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/us-envoy-denounces-unacceptable-rhetoric-muslims-1055371/

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia offers to help Europe reform terrorists

2 November 2016

SINGAPORE: Malaysia is willing to share with Europe its deradicalisation module which has successfully deradicalised some 240 detainees over the past 10 years, said the De­­puty Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Ha­­mi­­di, who announced this, said the country has a 97.5% success rate with the module.

“We have applied our extensive knowledge in countering subversive elements learned during our fight against the communists to come up with the highly effective programme,” he said in his keynote address at the Asia-Europe Counter-Terrorism Dialogue here yesterday.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was one of the key speakers, sharing the stage with Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior Dr Gunter Krings MdB.

They spoke on the topic “New Threat Landscape in Asia and Eu­­­rope”.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the deradica­lisation of terrorists programme was developed by the ministry, Prisons Department and po­­lice.

“It is being used by us to deradicalise apprehended terrorists in Malaysia.

“This is a crucial time for us to strengthen our cooperation and friendship with Europe to counter the IS (Islamic State) threat.

“What Asia and Europe have done so far are only preventive measures, and these have yet to yield results in determining the root causes of terrorism,” he said.

To a question from the floor on when and how the IS threat could be resolved, he said the root causes must first be identified.

“Why is terrorism happening? Why does Islamophobia exists? Islam promotes peace. Anything against it, is not the way of Islam,” said Dr Ahmad Zahid who read out a specific verse in the Quran about peace.

The Deputy Prime Minister also highlighted that Singapore, as a non-Muslim country, treated Mus­lims well.

“The Singapore government is taking good care of the mosques here,” he said.

He said Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country, had a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society living together in peace.

Speaking to reporters later, Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia had “nurtured a balanced relationship” with China and the United States.

He added that people-to-people and business ties were flourishing.

“I think it is very subjective for anyone to regard relations as cold or warm. We prefer a balanced relationship with both,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid had been asked if Malaysia had a “warmer relations” with China than the United States.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/11/02/kl-offers-to-help-europe-with-is-malaysia-offers-to-help-europe-reform-terrorists/

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Candidates turn pious to lure Jakarta’s Muslim voters

November 2 2016

In a long white shirt, kopiah (cap) and with a green scarf over his shoulder, deputy governor candidate Sandiaga Uno climbed the narrow wooden stairs to the second floor of an old house belonging to a local cleric named Saman in Cengkareng, West Jakarta.

Followed by his entourage, he performed wudhu (ablutions) and joined the front row with dozens of people to recite the dzuhur (midday prayer). Shortly after the prayer ended, the businessman-turned-politician took the microphone and introduced himself to the congregation. With soft-spoken words, Sandiaga began his campaign by asking the audience to vote for number three in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, the ballot number assigned him and his running mate, governor candidate Anies Baswedan.

It was important for Muslims to remain calm in the face of people who were trying to undermine the religion, Sandiaga said in his speech on Tuesday.

“Don’t hate him or even be angry at him. Just don’t vote for him as your governor,” he said in an apparent jab against incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

Saman’s house was the second place Sandiaga visited after a nearby pesantren (Islamic boarding school), where he vowed to pay more attention to the teachers and students if he and Anies were elected to the capital’s top posts.

A recent survey by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) showed that the majority of Jakarta’s residents did not care about race and religion when choosing a leader. Still, Muslims voters are to play a significant role in the capital’s election, which is slated to take place in February.

The capital’s Muslims, who make up 90 percent of the total population, are a game changer in the election, said Siti Zuhro, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

“There is no better moment than now to elicit votes from people in pesantren or Muslim clerics. They are still hurt by Ahok’s comment and their votes are there to grab,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/02/candidates-turn-pious-lure-jakarta-s-muslim-voters.html

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Duterte eyes joint operations with Malaysia vs. Abu Sayyaf

November 02, 2016

MANILA, Philippines –  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will discuss possible joint military and police operations with Malaysia to quell Abu Sayyaf militant kidnappings of sailors along the countries' sea border, saying that the brazen attacks have paralyzed trade and commerce.

Addressing the "deteriorating peace and order" in those waters will top the agenda when Duterte meets Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other top officials in Malaysia next week, Duterte told reporters late Tuesday.

Duterte said the attacks embarrassed him because the Abu Sayyaf perpetrators are based in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, an impoverished, jungle-clad region where the militants hold their hostages for ransom.

"There is a need for us, the three countries Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, to talk about this seriously and to put a stop because it has somehow paralyzed the trade and commerce in that area," Duterte said.

He said his talks will cover border control, border crossing, "and, maybe, joint military and police operations."

During a recent visit to Indonesia, Duterte said he discussed possible security strategies with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the Indonesia leader was "OK with everything." Duterte did not specify the security steps.

Despite initial talks by the three countries about ratcheting up security, Abu Sayyaf gunmen and allied militants — part of a wider Muslim rebellion that has been raging in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades — have continued attacks at sea this year, kidnapping Malaysian and Indonesian crewmen of slow-moving tugboats mostly pulling coal barges.

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/11/02/duterte-eyes-joint-operations-with-malaysia-vs-abu-sayyaf.html

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Indonesia on edge as jihadists urge violence at Jakarta rally against governor

NOVEMBER 2 2016

Jakarta: Jihadists in Syria are urging violence at a massive rally planned in Jakarta on Friday by Islamic hardliners calling for the city's Chinese Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, widely known as Ahok, to be jailed for insulting the Koran.

Former terrorist Nasir Abas, now a consultant to Indonesian police, showed a forum a photo of armed members of the Syrian-based jihadist group Jabhat Fatah al-Sham holding a sign that said: "Punish Ahok or our bullets will."

Mr Abas, once one of the most wanted jihadists in South-east Asia, warned there was a risk that both supporters of Islamic State and al-Qaeda's regional affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah, would attend the November 4 demonstration.

"In Syria, those two groups are rivals," he said. "But in Indonesia they can be united because there is a common enemy. In their view, it is Ahok."

Authorities are bracing for the demonstration to turn ugly, with about 20,000 police and military personnel recruited from all over the country to provide security.

National police spokesman Agus Rianto told Fairfax Media that Indonesia's paramilitary police, BRIMOB, had moved to their highest security level, known as "Siaga Satu", "to make things easy for moving personnel if needed".

A clearly spooked Indonesian President Joko Widodo is urging Muslim leaders and even his former rival in the 2014 presidential election -  Prabowo Subianto - to help maintain calm and ease tensions ahead of the rally.

Terrorism expert Sidney Jones said radical groups sent an instruction through messaging service Telegram urging followers to emulate a suspected supporter of IS who wounded three police officers last month in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

"The instruction says something like: 'Follow the example of the brave young man in Tangerang. Take advantage of the thousands of police deployed during the protest'," Ms Jones said.

Full report at:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/indonesia-on-edge-as-jihadists-urge-violence-at-jakarta-rally-against-governor-20161102-gsggx6.html

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Africa

 

Unravelling Boko Haram And Rebuilding North-East Nigeria – Yemi Osinbajo

NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Unravelling Boko Haram And Rebuilding North-East Nigeria, By Yemi Osinbajo

In the last seven years, North-Eastern Nigeria has been ravaged by the violent Islamist jihadi group nicknamed Boko Haram. [The name originated from a decree issued by its leader earlier Mohammed Yusuf, that Western education, government schools, (Boko) and working for the Nigerian government are forbidden (Haram)].

It’s real name “Ahl al-Sunna li’l-Da’wa wa’l-J’had’ala Minhaj Al-Salaf” (Association of the people of the Sunna for the missionary call and the armed struggle according to the method of the Salaf), speaks more directly to its ideological provenance. The group broke away from the Ahlus Sunna, a Nigerian group established by graduates of the Islamic University of Medina, who propagated the Wahhabi da’wa (missionary call) against the mainstream scholars and the Sufi orders. [Note that the call of the Ahlus Sunna did not include an armed struggle (Jihad)].

The group operated mainly in and out of Maiduguri, Borno State. Its founder Mohammed Yusuf, who had been a foremost member of Ahlus Sunna in Maiduguri and a preacher of Wahhabi da’wa clearly indicated in the new name of his faction that this was Ahlus Sunna for the missionary call and the armed struggle.

Boko Haram, like other Salafi sects, sees itself as the custodian and successor to the “pious predecessors”, authentic Muslims, who regard foundational Islamic scripture as rigidly applicable today. In keeping with classic Salafi-jihadi tradition, Boko Haram regards most mainstream Muslims and even Sunni leaders as apostates, rejecting the authority of states on the grounds that believers should not be subject to infidel systems.

Boko Haram ideology rests on two constructs.

First, an absolutist theology that rejects every other, including rival Islamic iterations, and the socio-political and value systems that are ostensibly based on them. Thus democracy, the rule of law, constitutionalism, and western education are rejected largely on account of their judeo-Christian origins.

“Democracy”, said Yusuf, “is the school of infidels, following it, having dealings with it or using its system is unbelief.” [quoted in Alex Thurston’s The Disease Is Unbelief: Boko Haram’s Religious and Political Worldview).

Second, a strong notion of victimhood that asserts that true Muslims are and will always be subjected to persecution by the state and its law enforcement apparatus. Both Yusuf and his successor Abubakar Shekau often cite well-known Christian/Muslim riots in Nigeria, and somehow conclude that these evidenced state aggression. Connivance between Christians and the state to oppress Muslims was also alleged and used to justify the bombing of churches, especially in the North-West and North-Central States of Nigeria.

There appears to be scholarly consensus that the militant violent radicalisation of the BH originated from its bloody and often fatal encounters with Nigerian law enforcement at various times. As far back as 2002, a group of youth, associated with the Alhaji Ndimi mosque, the religious centre of Ahlus Sunna in Maiduguri, had established a salafist purist self-governing commune outside the city.

Over the years, it clashed frequently with the police who apparently became aware that the group was amassing arms. The final and fatal clash was in 2004, with the police killing almost all members of the group, including its leader. It would appear that Mohammed Yusuf and other members of the Ahlus Sunna though, not members of this Salafist-jihadist splinter group, embraced its members after the fatal encounter with the police. Yusuf and his group were later to suffer the same fate.

Yusuf had initially collaborated with the government of the North-Eastern state of Borno in its Sharia implementation programme. He later repudiated the programme, arguing that the Sharia could never be faithfully implemented by a non-Islamic government structure. In 2009, after several clashes with the police and the Borno State government, he launched an uprising which spread to four other Northern Nigerian states. Over 1000 people died. Mohammed Yusuf was arrested and killed while in police custody. His extra-judicial killing and the law enforcement brutality which pervaded the handling of the uprising and its aftermath is frequently cited as a milestone in the ultra-violent radicalisation of Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau cited the incident as evidence of state brutality: “everyone knows the way in which our leader was killed. Everyone knows the kind of evil assault that was brought against our community. Beyond us, everyone knows the kind of evil that has been brought against the Muslim Community of this country periodically…”

In the aftermath of this uprising, leadership of the BH fell on the hands of Abubakar Shekau who was a long-standing preaching compatriot of Yusuf. It is to Shekau’s leadership that the egregious violence for which BH is notorious is attributed. From 2009, Boko Haram undertook a campaign of brutality. Most of its objectives seemed short term, vengeful, and a reaction to real or perceived hostility, but was in almost every case egregiously brutal.

In 2011, its activities mainly revolved around hunting down Borno State politicians who were perceived as complicit in Governor Modu Sheriff’s alleged betrayal of the sect. Mid-year, it extended its reach to the capital, Abuja, bombing the Nigeria Police Headquarters and the United Nations Headquarters, killing and maiming scores of people in the process.

In the same period, it simultaneously bombed seven police stations and the immigration headquarters in the North-West state of Kano.

On Christmas Day 2011, a coordinated bombing of churches resulted in 41 fatalities. In January 2012, another three churches were attacked on the same day in Kaduna State. 2015 was probably Boko Haram’s year of most brazen infamy. The group, using female suicide bombers, many who were mere children, attacked 28 different religious events, mostly mosques and Islamic gatherings. It was obvious even then that Boko Haram had lost the capacity to sustain military attacks in the way it had previously done. Perhaps to shore up its image it declared its allegiance to ISIS.

Governance

Although former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government escalated its crackdown on Boko Haram from 2011 onwards and declared a State of emergency in the North-East, it neither seemed determined nor focused on routing Boko Haram. Several factors may explain the government’s attitude.

First, a politically convenient narrative of the ruling party was that Boko Haram was actually sponsored by a Northern Muslim political elite determined to discredit the government led by a Christian, and which had its main support base in the predominantly Christian South-South and South-East. When the opposition parties finally came together to form the current ruling party, the APC, the then ruling party’s publicity organ was quick to describe the party as the “janjaweed” party, and worked hard to paint it as the political wing of the Boko Haram.

Indeed it was not until President Muhammadu Buhari, then the presumptive leader of the opposition, was nearly killed in a deadly Boko Haram attack on his car in Kaduna, that the false narrative began to lose credibility.

Second, the ruling party also somewhat cynically seemed to have considered that since BH attacks were actually in the heartland of the opposition, it was not necessarily an unwelcome development as it could only weaken the opposition.

Third, extensive corruption in arms procurement, estimated at about USD15 billion, ensured that the military remained poorly equipped and demoralised. A number of well-publicised mutinies occurred and troops involved were taken through widely unpopular court-martials.

As the government dithered and equivocated, Boko Haram proceeded to realise its objective of occupying territory and establishing Islamist states in Nigeria and in the Lake Chad basin. In Borno State alone it occupied and hoisted its flag in 20 of the 27 local governments that constituted the state. In Adamawa, Boko Haram took Mubi, and also villages in Yobe State.

It was probably not until the abduction of more than 200 secondary school girls from their dormitories in the sleepy, largely Christian town of Chibok that public outrage against the government’s inept handling of the the insurgency reached a crescendo, even on a global scale.

The government of the day then incurred widespread anger when it denied that an abduction had taken place and suggested that the opposition had simply invented the story. As the heart-rending stories of the girls’ parents emerged, the credibility and sincerity of the government became severely questionable.

Boko Haram continued to occupy most of the territories it had seized until two weeks to the general election, when the Federal Government, in a move widely perceived as designed to gain some time within which it may be able to turn the tide in its favour, postponed the elections for six weeks, ostensibly to flush out Boko Haram from the North East.

Although it recorded some successes, Boko Haram’s hold remained largely intact. It’s suicide bombing campaign was stepped up and in the first quarter of 2015 alone, there were several cases of suicide bombings resulting in deaths and maimings.

Enter President Buhari’s Administration

Clearly one of the strongest reasons for President Buhari’s victory in the March 2015 Presidential election was the expectation that going by his reputation as a no-nonsense soldier he would defeat Boko Haram and restore peace to the North-East. He moved quickly to realise this objective, announcing a relocation of the Command and Control Headquarters of the army to Maiduguri, right in the heart of the insurgency. He changed all the military service chiefs, some of who were indicted in the arms procurement scandal.

With more effective leadership, command and control, improved logistics and intelligence, better equipment and motivation of the troops, the tide soon turned. The quick procurement of critical equipment and platforms, prompt payment of allowances and effective welfare greatly improved troop morale. In the fortnight after he was sworn in, he visited the Heads of States of the Lake Chad Basin countries and Benin Republic, all crucial allies in the defeat of Boko Haram. The active cooperation of these countries and the collaboration of several G7 nations, especially in intelligence, significantly impacted the effort.

Within six months, Boko Haram had been effectively dislodged from all the local governments they once held and had retreated into Sambisa Forest and the Northern border towns and villages. Their military capacity had been severely degraded, their supply lines effectively blocked. However, by the very nature of asymmetric warfare, Boko Haram was still able to do some damage and gain some attention by its suicide bombings of markets, mosques, churches and commercial bus parks. It’s ability to find willing suicide bombers remained a mystery, although some of the bombers were mere children who would have had no idea what would happen when they pulled the detonator of the baggage they carried. In the past several months, there has hardly been a single case of suicide bombing.

Costs of the Insurgency and the Humanitarian Crisis

The years of the Boko Haram insurgency have been costly for Nigeria and our neighbours in the Lake Chad basin. Well over 20,000 people have died. There are over 50,000 orphans in Borno State alone. There are close to two million internally displaced persons, some in IDP camps but most in host communities. With the freeing of starved Boko Haram captives in the forests and border villages, fresh problems of severe manultrition in children have emerged.

That most of these agrarian States of the North-East have not been able to farm for years has meant food shortages and deepening poverty on account of joblessness. Many farmlands have been mined by the terrorists. Roads, bridges, power assets, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure have been severely damaged. The challenge today is how to turn this monumentally tragic story around.

First is dealing with the surviving human casualties of the insurgency. Providing adequate food, shelter and medical care for IDPs, educating thousands of out of school children and young people; dealing with radicalised men, women and sometimes children; caring for sexually assaulted women and girls [some of whom have reportedly been abused in IDP camps].

Second is trying to understand the scourge of violent Islamist extremism better, in order to equip ourselves for the future.

The Federal Government and State governments in the North-East, as well as local and foreign development partners have worked extremely hard to handle the huge humanitarian situation in the area. Expectedly, coordination of the numerous efforts has been a problem given the sheer number of humanitarian actors.

Just before I left Nigeria, President Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiatives (PCNI), to coordinate all humanitarian and development interventions in the region. The committee is also meant to coordinate the Buhari Plan.

The Plan is an integrated blueprint that harmonises the various initiatives of the region’s major stakeholders, which include the following:

• The state governments of the North-East, who developed a common framework and strategy to address the crisis – the North East States Transformation Strategy (NESTS);

• The previous administration’s Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), which developed the Emergency Assistance, Social Stabilisation, Economic Reconstruction and Redevelopment (EA-ES and ERR) plans to address the humanitarian crisis and reconstruct the region;

• The North East Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA), which provides collective strategy for peace building and recovery, as well as a framework for coordinated support to the victims of the insurgency in the region. The assessment, which was concluded in March 2016, was led by the Office of the Vice President with the active participation of the six affected states and supported by the World Bank, United Nations and European Union;

• Other assessments and humanitarian response plans by local and international NGOs and donor partners, including the Victims Support Fund (VSF);

The overall objective of the Buhari Plan is to develop a structure and process capable of providing leadership, co-ordination and synergy in achieving its targeted goals, which are to:

• Restore peace, stability and civil authority in the North-East region;

• Co-ordinate the mobilisation of targeted resources to respond to the humanitarian crisis and jumpstart the region’s economies, while strategically repositioning the region for long-term prosperity;

• Provide equal access to basic services and infrastructure;

• Promote a civic culture that integrates zero tolerance to sexual and gender based violence, with peaceful co-existence as the success indicator;

• Accelerate equal access to quality education for girls, as well as boys, and building social cohesion;

• Target social and economic development and capacity building that reduces the inequalities affecting the poor, particularly women and youth;

• Address environmental degradation through sustainable measures to halt desertification and protect the Lake Chad resources;

• Physical reconstruction of infrastructure, especially schools, hospitals and dwellings in areas considered safe for residents to return.

Regarding the treatment of abused women and girls, although the scale of interventions that needs to be made to make a significant impact can sometimes be daunting, the government, in collaboration with local and foreign partners, is establishing special programmes and shelters for abused women and girls. Ultimately we realise that the most important long term therapy is the assurance that the state has the capacity and will to protect the most vulnerable.

Poverty, Governance Failure and Terrorism

In understanding the etiology of Boko Haram and other strains of such violent extreme (Islamist) terrorism, it will be important to interrogate the theory that poverty and governance failures were responsible for the emergence of Boko Haram. There is no question that extreme poverty and illiteracy easily provide a pool of recruitable youth, especially if the pay is attractive. Here, ideological indoctrination may not always be at play. However, while the argument that poverty and governance failures spawned Boko Haram is attractive, it is inadequate.

First, although it is true that prevalence of poverty is much higher in Northern Nigeria than the South, with the North-East faring worse than all other zones, yet Borno State where Boko Haram has its most prominent footprints is one of the more affluent States in the North and places a respectable 19 of 36 states in GDP ranking. The poorest states – Sokoto and Kebbi – both in the North-West and predominantly Muslim North have been free of violent extremist groups.

As for governance issues, there is no question about the correlation. The impunity of the extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram leaders and members, especially between 2004 and 2009, demonstrated grave institutional weakness.

The mind-boggling corruption in arms procurement towards the war against Boko Haram terrorism which inexorably impaired the FGNs ability to bring the insurgency to an end earlier, clearly demonstrates the impact of these failures of governance. But governance failures affected every part of the country and many more than even the North-East without resulting in the birth of a deadly terrorist group.

Since 2013, the Federal Government has been developing a comprehensive strategy to counter violent extremism, coordinated by the Counter Terrorism Centre. The programme has three core streams: the Counter-radicalisation and De-radicalisation programmes, and the Strategic Communication programme.

The De-radicalisation programme is essentially custody-based, catering for convicted terrorists, suspects waiting trial, and aftercare for convicts upon release. The strategic communication platform is designed, inter-alia, to mobilise our history and culture and reaffirmatory narratives to address the identity/intellectual deficit that may in some ways account for the radicalisation of young people.

The notion that Boko Haram ideologues would one day see the light, renounce their ideology and follow the path of peace is unlikely. Rather it is our view that a more realistic objective will be to diminish its attractiveness to potential recruits by presenting counter-narratives that delegitimise violence against Muslims or people of other faiths in order to gain the ascendancy of one set of ideas. So also is the support for and promotion of the ideas and teachings of mainstream Islamic thought leaders, not as apologists for western thought but as forceful advocates of authentic Islamic teachings.

There is no question at all that greater official attention must be paid to human rights observance. The use of excessive force or extra-judicial or unlawful force, fatal or non-fatal, has been the subject of considerable attention by the Buhari government. The correlation between law enforcement brutality and violence by its targets and others under its care is too stark to be ignored. Part of the reason for respect for law enforcement is that they are fair and even-handed keepers of the peace. Crossing the line would almost always lead to a loss of confidence.

The argument is sometimes made that asymetric warfare of the sort deployed by terrorists must be met with lower standards of human rights observance or at worst much more nuanced rules of engagement. The problem, of course, is that any discretionary observance of human rights is a slippery slope that is probably best not undertaken.

The commitment that the Federal Government has made is to be consistent and there is no distrust for the political leadership in Nigeria today, and for good reason, this has promoted the easy embrace of dissenters of all shades by the people. Nigeria has a great opportunity to change the perception of leadership as being corrupt and unreliable, with President Buhari, who is widely acknowledged as being forthright and honest, Mai gaskiya (the truthful one, as he is known in the North).

Transparency in government, social investments, provision of education and healthcare could improve the government’s image as being responsive.

I like to end with two stories: the one courageous, the other joyful, and both hopeful.

You may have heard the story of a teenage girl, Aishat Ali Kaka, in Borno State, Nigeria. About 18 years old, she was recruited alongside other young women to wear a bomb around her waist, and detonate it at an IDP camp in the town of Dikwa. The mission was set for February 9, 2016. She decided that not only would she not carry out the evil assignment, knowing that many including her own father could be killed, but that she would even try to convince the other two potential suicide bombers to abandon the mission. But they refused.

So she decided that she would put her own life on the line, by going to the targeted camp early on the day before the planned bombing, to sound an alarm before the bombers arrived. But by the time she got there, the terrible deed had been done.

The second story. Earlier this month, on Thursday October 13, 2016, my wife, Dolapo and I received and welcomed back to freedom in Abuja, twenty-one (21) of the schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram insurgents from Chibok over two years ago.

After the trauma and deprivations of captivity, on the day of their release they looked frightened, malnourished and unkempt. But such is the power of freedom that a few days after the release, the girls were seen dancing and rejoicing heartily at a thanksgiving service where their parents reunited with them for the first time in over two years!

What the stories of the Chibok girls and that of the converted suicide bomber point to is the certain defeat of Boko Haram insurgency and the waning resonance of its underpinning ideology. While we had to put troops on the ground to liberate occupied territories and free captive people in the North-East, we would have to continue the battle for the minds of the radicalised many, so that we can have more Aminas of Dikwa saying no to terrorist propositions of death, despair and destruction.

Yemi Osinbajo (GCON), a professor of law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, is vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

https://www.360nobs.com/2016/11/unravelling-boko-haram-rebuilding-north-east-nigeria-yemi-osinbajo/

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US extends sanctions on Sudan

November 02, 2016

KHARTOUM - President Barack Obama has extended US sanctions on Sudan for another year, saying Khartoum's policies remained an "extraordinary threat" to the national security of the United States.

Sudan has been subject to a US trade embargo since 1997 for its alleged support for Islamist groups.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996.

In recent years, the Sudanese government's scorched earth tactics against ethnic minority rebels in Darfur have been cited as a reason not to lift the sanctions.

On Monday, Obama ordered the sanctions extended for one year starting from November 3.

"The actions and policies of the government of Sudan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," he said in a statement.

There had been speculation that the sanctions might be eased after repeated visits to Khartoum in recent months by US special envoy Donald Booth.

In a statement released late Monday, the US embassy said the one-year extension was purely "technical" and the sanctions could still be eased.

It was "part of a routine, annual process that does not prejudice the ability of the president to provide sanctions relief at any point in the future," the embassy said.

The United States - which has also blacklisted Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993 - intended to continue its policy of engagement, it added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Nov-2016/us-extends-sanctions-on-sudan

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Romanian held by al-Qaeda affiliate demands release

2 November 2016

A Romanian mineworker kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate last year has appeared in a video urging his government to secure his release as soon as possible.

Iulian Ghergut, then a security officer, was taken on April 4, 2015, when five armed men attacked a manganese mine in Tambao in northeast Burkina Faso, officials said at the time.

Monday’s video is the first occasion in more than a year that Ghergut has appeared since being taken by al-Murabitoun, led by one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

The group, which has since affiliated itself with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has claimed responsibility for several spectacular and bloody attacks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ghergut, heavily bearded and squinting slightly, says he is in good health in the video he dated to September 21 of this year.

Speaking in a thick accent in French, he says he thinks of his family, while pressing the Romanian government “to do everything possible to free me and get me back to my family and my country as soon as possible.”

The director of Al-Akhbar, the Mauritanian news agency which regularly carries jihadist statements, told AFP that as the new video was released by AQIM, the Romanian must be presumed to be in Belmokhtar’s hands.

This is because Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui, the head of a faction of Al-Murabitoun, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State since appearing in a video in May 2015 confirming Al-Murabitoun was holding Ghergut hostage.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/11/02/Romanian-held-by-al-Qaeda-affiliate-demands-release-.html

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South Asia

 

Egyptian militant among 19 killed in Kunar province of Afghanistan

Nov 01 2016

At least 19 militants including an Egyptian national leading the group were killed during the operations in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan (MoD) said Tuesday the militants were killed during the separate operations conducted in Asmar and Dangam districts.

MoD further added that 4 militants were killed and 4 others were wounded during a separate operation conducted in center of Ghor province.

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

This comes as at least 19 militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group were killed in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Sunday the airstrike was carried out in Dangam district and at least 8 militants of the terrorist group were also wounded.

Lashkar-e-Taiba also known as Army of the Righteous, is one of the largest and most proficient of the Kashmir-focused militant groups.

Kunar is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

http://www.khaama.com/egyptian-militant-among-19-killed-in-kunar-province-of-afghanistan-02193

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7 killed as explosion targets wedding-bound vehicle in North of Afghanistan

Nov 01 2016

At least 7 civilians were killed in an explosion triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, a wedding-bound vehicle struck an IED in Syed Khel district of Parwan.

The district administrative chief Ahmad Lemar Osmanyar confirmed the incident and said the civilians were on their way to a wedding party when their vehicle was targeted in roadside bomb explosion.

Osmanyar further added that an investigation is underway regarding the incident but the officials usually blame Taliban group for the IED attacks.

No group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces but the ordinary civilians are often targeted in such attacks.

This comes as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released the latest civilian casualties report late last month which stated at least 3726 civilians were killed or wounded between January and June of this year.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/7-killed-as-explosion-targets-wedding-bound-vehicle-in-north-of-afghanistan-02192

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Attack on Hindus planned: NHRC

November 02, 2016

The National Human Rights Commission today said the attack on Hindu community in Nasirnagar of Brahmanbaria was deliberate and carried out in a planned manner.

Enamul Haque Chowdhury, the chief of the NHRC’s fact finding committee, told The Daily Star while visiting the area today that he found the attacks coordinated.

The three-member committee led by NHRC member Chowdhury reached Nasirnagar around 10:35am and spoke to temple priests and eyewitnesses over Sunday’s incident.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/attack-hindus-nhrc-team-visiting-bbaria-temple-1308190

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More Schools Reopen in Myanmar’s Maungdaw Township

01 Nov 2016

Nearly 50 schools reopened in Rakhine state’s restive Maungdaw township on Tuesday, three weeks after local authorities ordered them shut following deadly attacks on guard stations close to the Bangladesh border, a local education official said.

Authorities reopened 49 government-run schools for Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in various villages which had been closed since Oct. 10, said Khin Aung, Maungdaw township’s education officer.

Officials had restarted classes at other schools in Maungdaw and neighboring Buthidaung township on Oct. 24.

Maungdaw is a majority-Muslim area in a state that has experienced bloody sectarian clashes in recent years pitting majority Buddhists against Rohingya, a mostly stateless group of Muslims.

“We have reopened 49 schools today as the second step,” Khin Aung told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

About 100 schools still remain closed for security purposes, he said.

Security guards have accompanied teachers, who had fled violence that ensued after the Oct. 9 attacks, back to the villages where they work, he said.

The Rakhine state government plans to replace female teachers who teach in Muslim villages with male teachers, he said.

“We will reopen Bengali schools that have male headmasters as the next step,” Khin Aung said, using a derogatory term for Rohingya Muslims used by Myanmar’s Buddhists who view the Muslims as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Searches and arrests

After a Muslim group raided three border guard stations and killed nine guards on Oct. 9, authorities immediately shut down hundreds of government-operated schools, and many teachers fled the area.

Full report at:

http://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/more-schools-reopen-myanmar-s-maungdaw-township

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Mideast

 

Turkey Seeking to Escape Domestic Problems through Adventurism in Syria

Nov 02, 2016

"What Turkey is doing in Syria and Iraq can merely be described as a risk," Colonel Reza Shariqi told FNA on Wednesday.

"Turkey seeks to export its internal problems to outside its borders by misusing the conditions ruling Iraq and Syria," he added.

Noting that Ankara's acts will not change the situation on the ground, Shariqi said the allies of Damascus will not allow any foreign side to intervene in Syria and disintegrate it.

His remarks came after a Lebanese daily wrote on Tuesday that Turkey, supported by the US, continues occupation of lands in Northern Syria within the framework of the Euphrates Shield operation, disclosing that Ankara is setting up a military base in the region.

According to al-Safir newspaper, Turkey is implementing the scenario played in Iraq's Bashiqa now in a village in Northern Aleppo.

The suspicious moves of certain Turkish army units near al-Zareh village in the Southern parts of al-Rae'i town (near the Syrian-Turkish border) show that Ankara is seriously pursuing establishment of a military base in Northern Syria.

According to the newspaper, the goal of such moves is setting up a military base, airbase or camp by the Turkish army under the pretext of the Euphrates Shield operation.

Informed sources said on Sunday that Ankara had dispatched more soldiers and military equipment to the Northern territories of Syria to strengthen its Euphrates Shield Operation.

"The Turkish Army has sent more forces to Jindris region at the Turkish border with Syria in Northwestern Aleppo," the sources said.

News sources, for their part, said on Monday that Ankara has dispatched reinforcement to two border regions of Qarqmish and Ugozeli in Gaziantep in Southern Turkey.

Ankara has also forwarded a number of tanks, military vehicles and equipment to its borders.

Turkey has deployed its forces in the Northern Iraqi town of Bashiqa despite Baghdad's objections.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said last month that Turkish troops will remain in the camp.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000377

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Houthis accuse UN envoy of fuelling war in Yemen

2 November 2016

Houthi militia leaders slammed the UN special envoy for Yemen, accusing him of being biased and not impartial, the Arabic website of Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

A spokesman for the Houthi militias, Mohammed Abdul Salam accused the UN envoy of fabricating evidence against them, specifically when he condemned their attempted attack on Makkah – stating that the allegation was false.

Salam’s comments came a day after Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Security Council at a briefing on the situation in the country that the deterioration of the economic situation threatens to worsen the humanitarian crisis, calling on Yemeni actors prioritize national interest.

“After 18 months of horrific fighting, thousands of deaths, injuries and unspeakable human suffering, we all need to ask how long will Yemenis remain hostages to personal and reckless political decisions,” Ahmed said.

In response, Salam stated that the UN envoy lacked impartiality and overstepped his role as a mediator.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/02/Houthis-accuse-UN-envoy-of-fueling-war-in-Yemen.html

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Iran court issues verdict for suspects in Saudi embassy attack

November 02, 2016

BEIRUT - Iran’s judiciary has issued verdicts for 20 people accused of storming Saudi diplomatic missions in January and will announce them in the near future, an official was quoted as saying by the judiciary news agency on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran after protesters stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shia cleric.

The Iranian government condemned the assault and President Hassan Rouhani, keen to improve Tehran’s long-strained relations with its neighbours and the West, asked the juiciary to punish the protesters and prevent further attacks.

The Mizan news agency quoted a judge as saying that the verdicts for 20 defendants had been issued and “will be announced soon.

” He did not give the names of the 20 and did not say whether they had been convicted or not.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Nov-2016/iran-court-issues-verdict-for-suspects-in-saudi-embassy-attack

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Abadi warns Turkey as Ankara deploys troops

2 November 2016

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday warned Turkey against provoking a confrontation while saying he does not want war, after Ankara deployed tanks and artillery near the border. Turkey has insisted that it will play a role in the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS militants, but Baghdad has rejected this assertion and repeatedly called on Ankara to withdraw troops it has deployed near the city.

“The invasion of Iraq will lead to Turkey being dismantled,” Abadi said at a televised news conference. “We do not want war with Turkey, and we do not want a confrontation with Turkey,” he said. “But if a confrontation happens, we are ready for it. We will consider (Turkey) an enemy and we will deal with it as an enemy,” Abadi said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/02/Abadi-warns-Turkey-as-Ankara-deploys-troops.html

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Leader's Top Military Aide: US Building Military Bases Near Iran to Foment Insecurity

Nov 02, 2016

"Today, the NATO and the US are after developing military bases and fomenting insecurity in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of the Islamic Iran," Rahim Safavi said, addressing the inauguration ceremony of the 9th congress of the Iranian Association of Geopolitics (IAG) in Tehran on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, he stressed the need for understanding the trend of changes in the world's geopolitical situation, and said it can help gather a precise understanding of enemies' strategy.

In relevant remarks in May, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani warned of the Americans' extensive presence in the regional states in the forms of military, security and political institutions.

"Today, we are witnessing that the Americans have the largest volume of presence and attention to the region and in the current conditions, the highest number of the US political and security institutions are stationed in the region. The highest number of the US armed forces, equipment and weapons are in this region and the US diplomats make the most visits and the highest number of countries dependent on the West are in this region and we should realize its reason," General Soleimani said, addressing a forum in the Central city of Qom.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000606

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Turkey denies rights group’s allegations of post-coup abuse

2 November 2016

ISTANBUL: Turkey denied allegations by a human rights group Tuesday that police have tortured or abused detainees following a failed coup in July.

A joint Justice and Interior Ministry statement criticized a Human Rights Watch report detailing 13 alleged abuse cases since the July 15 coup attempt as “one-sided and baseless,” saying the country has “zero tolerance to ill-treatment and torture.”

The 43-page report published last month, entitled “A Blank Check,” said a state of emergency adopted after the coup attempt has weakened safeguards against torture. The report described cases involving sleep deprivation, severe beatings, sexual abuse and rape threats.

The ministries said only two of the abuse claims included concrete information and argued that the facts were misrepresented in the Human Rights Watch accounts.

For example, the ministry rejected allegations that one detainee was hospitalized after being beaten, insisting he lost his balance and fell down stairs because he had been fasting. The man was detained for alleged links to the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the government accuses of masterminding the coup. Gulen has denied the accusation.

The rights group did not approach the authorities for comment before it published its findings and may have prepared the report “under the influence of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization,” the ministry statement said.

The statement also noted that many suspects were detained after clashes with security forces and may have sustained wounds during the struggle. At least 270 people were killed and more than 2,000 people injured during the coup attempt.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1005486/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Qadri sees no outcome of probe by commission

02-Nov-16

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri said on Tuesday that he expected the probe into Panamagate issue to take a long time.

He was talking to a TV channel. Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had said that its November 2 lockdown would instead be marked as a day of thanksgiving in Islamabad. The announcement came after the Supreme Court announced the formation of a judicial commission to probe the allegations against the Sharif family in the Panama Papers.

“I feel as if everything has vanished. I have no right to comment on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s decision, as it is Imran Khan’s right to decide this. However, the nation will remember this for a long time,” he said.

“The government has always been in the process of playing with every institution. The current chief justice will retire this month. The new chief justice will pursue [the issue] with his own mechanism and it will take a long time,” he said.

He said that a lot of things about the commission were yet to be finalised.

“It can also take upto two years to complete,” he said.

The PAT leader said that political parties had failed to agree on terms of reference (ToRs) in seven months. “How will these parties agree on ToRs now?” he questioned.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/02-Nov-16/qadri-sees-no-outcome-of-probe-by-commission

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Muslim students find acceptance at Webster

November 1st, 2016

Muslim students Sajeda Issa and Zubair Meo have found Webster University to be a welcoming campus. Both students said people in the United States have been friendly to them.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world according to Pew Research. Over three million Muslims live in the United States. A 2015 Gallup poll cited that 43 percent of Americans harbored some degree of prejudice against Muslims.

During the three presidential debates, terrorism related to ISIS and al Qaeda was mentioned 132 different times according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). Bigotry and racism were only mentioned 20 times according to the same report.

Issa’s family emigrated from Palestine during the 1980s. She was born and raised in St. Louis.

“I live in North County so it is pretty diverse,” Issa said. “I never had any problems facing racism or prejudice myself.”

Issa is an art major who is scheduled to graduate next spring. She said there is not a big Muslim population on campus compared to other local campuses such as St. Louis University and Washington University. Issa said she has made several close friends in the art department.

“Webster is very accepting,” Issa said. “What I notice is that places where there is activism of feminism, homosexuality and African Americanism is that everybody who has been oppressed knows what it feels like to be oppressed. That is the beauty of oppression is that it brings vulnerable people together to unite.”

Meo was born in Pakistan, but spent most of his childhood in Oman. Pakistan is located in central Asia west of India, and Oman is on the Arabian peninsula south of Saudi Arabia. He later moved back to Pakistan to obtain his bachelor’s degree in information technology and business. Meo’s parents eventually reunited with him when they moved back to Pakistan in 2010.

In late 2015, Meo came to Webster to obtain his master’s degree in human resources management. He said that people in the United States have been friendly to him.

“It’s a good place to live,” Meo said. “Especially for me coming from Oman, then going to Pakistan, then coming to America. So I’m pretty happy with my life over here at the moment.”

Full report at:

http://websterjournal.com/2016/11/01/muslim-students-find-acceptance-webster/

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Christian boy, mother claim they were tortured in Pakistan on accusations of burning Quran

November 01, 2016

Human rights activists and politicians in Pakistan have banded together to successfully secure the release of a 9-year-old Christian boy and his mother who were jailed last week and could have faced the death penalty after they were accused of burning the Quran.

According to the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, 9-year-old Izhan was at school in the town of Quetta on Oct. 20 when he was accused of burning a copy of Islam's holy book.

The next day, he and his mother, Shakil, who works as a nurse at a nearby hospital, were arrested without the police conducting an investigation into the allegations provided by a Muslim witness.

Full report at:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/11/01/christian-boy-mother-claim-were-tortured-in-pakistan-on-accusations-burning-quran.html

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Political parties see Imran’s decision as surrender

AZFAR-UL-ASHFAQUE

November 2, 2016

KARACHI: With one leader calling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan a “defeated captain” and another likening him to the general who surrendered in East Pakistan in 1971, major political parties saw the former cricketer’s decision to withdraw his Islamabad “lockdown” plan as a complete surrender.

Even the three allies of Mr Khan — Dr Tahirul Qadri, Shaikh Rashid of the Awami Muslim League and Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q — were not so happy with the PTI chief’s unilateral decision to turn his protest call into a Yaum-i-Tashakkur, to be observed on Wednesday in Islamabad.

While the Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement gave a somewhat balanced reaction to the PTI chief’s decision, leaders of the PPP and PML-N did not miss a chance to take a swipe at the cricketer-turned-politician.

“One more Niazi surrendered in November,” said senior PPP leader Senator Saeed Ghani in a thinly veiled reference to the surrender by Gen A.K. Niazi in East Pakistan in December 1971.

In a statement issued in Karachi, he said that workers of the PTI faced state oppression but Mr Khan did not come outside his hilltop residence in Islamabad.

In a clear reference to the PTI chief, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari tweeted “U-turn Khan”.

Another strong criticism against Mr Khan came from a former associate.

Veteran politician Javed Hashmi, who parted ways with the PTI in 2014, told reporters in Multan that instead of celebrating a day of thanks Mr Khan should observe “a day of humiliation”.

He said that politics needed workers and not players and the PTI chief could not spend one day in prison.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1293734/political-parties-see-imrans-decision-as-surrender

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Qaeda suspect gunned down in Khushab

November 02, 2016

KHUSHAB:- Police on Tuesday gunned down a suspected terrorist in an alleged encounter in Khushab.

The encounter took place in Katwai area of Khushab, within the remits of Naushera police station, officials said.

The suspect reportedly belonged to Al-Qaeda.

Police shifted the body of the deceased to hospital for medico-legal formalities.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/02-Nov-2016/qaeda-suspect-gunned-down-in-khushab

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Europe

 

Resumption of Syria peace talks delayed indefinitely: Russia

November 02, 2016

MOSCOW - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday a Western failure to rein in violent Islamists in Syria had indefinitely delayed the resumption of peace talks.

Shoigu said that rebels backed by Western governments had been attacking civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo, despite a pause in Russian and Syrian air attacks.

"As a result, the prospects for the start of a negotiation process and the return to peaceful life in Syria are postponed for an indefinite period," Shoigu said.

Separately, a Kremlin spokesman said that a temporary pause in Russian and Syrian government air strikes on Aleppo was in force for now, but could not be extended if the rebels in the city did not halt their attacks.

Insurgents launched an offensive last week against government-held western Aleppo, more than a month into an operation by the army to retake the city's rebel-held eastern districts, which it had already put under siege.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that all sides fighting over Aleppo may be committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas.

Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, and its military operation in Syria, now in its second year, has shored up Assad's position.

That has put Moscow on a collision course with Washington and its allies who want Assad removed from office.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Nov-2016/resumption-of-syria-peace-talks-delayed-indefinitely-russia

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British gymnast Louis Smith banned for two-month for mocking Islam

November 2, 2016

Gymnastics: Britain’s Smith gets two-month ban over Islam ‘mockery’

London: Olympic medallist Louis Smith was given a two-month ban by British Gymnastics on Tuesday for appearing to mock Islam.

Online footage that appeared last month showed Smith, 27, and former gymnast Luke Carson laughing whilst pretending to pray and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).

This year’s Olympic Games in Rio saw Smith win a silver medal on the pommel horse, with British team-mate Max Whitlock taking gold.

Smith has since apologised for hs conduct, with the four-time medallist also visiting mosques rather than taking part in the London victory parade and subsequent Buckingham Palace reception for Britain’s Rio medallists that took place last month.

“Louis Smith admitted his behaviour was a breach of the Standards of Conduct,” said a British Gymnastics statement.

“The (disciplinary) panel upheld the allegation and taking into account a previous breach of the Standards of Conduct heard in June this year (where it also was made clear to Louis the consequences of any further breach), the panel determined a cumulative penalty was appropriate and ordered a two-month period of suspension.”

Carson was given a reprimand.

British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen added: “It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high profile members in breach of our standards of conduct.

“Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and

communities.”

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/british-gymnast-louis-smith-banned-two-month-mocking-islam-1055676/

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Russia raises diplomatic profile with Syrian intervention

NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Russia has been looking for right opportunities to regain its lost status as super power by resorting o all sorts of combinations and permutations with some success. President Putin could not make much of his open support for the USA over Sept 11. Later, Russian actions in Crimea further complicated its relations with USA wanting to control entire Europe as the winner of World war and Cold war.

Syrian war has now provided Moscow with the much needed edge and prestige plus the anticipated advantage to Russian foreign policy as it supported the ruler Assad by selling terror goods and guidance.

Russia hopes the position it has assumed now would help increase its diplomatic profile in Mideast and elsewhere. But whether or not USA and Russia plays a joint war in Syria is not very clear as yet

For years since the collapse of mighty Soviet Union, Russia has been trying to stay an equal power to US super power and made policies to appease US capitalist system without much success in coming closer to Washington, except a few “adjustments” with regard to attack on Muslim nations like Syria. Nothing could help Moscow to come to the close position it sought because USA denies that comfort zone not only to the Kremlin but, for that matter, to any nation, including its closest ally UK. Once it became apparent that It cannot be an equal power to equally “share” profits globally, Moscow adopted confrontational cum cooperative policy towards USA but even that could not make Americans trust Russians.

Apparently, Russo-US relations are strained, presumably, forever. USA remembers the Cold war more than Russia for its negative consequences as Russia boldly threatened the US supremacy and dominance.

However, the mindset of Cold war animosity in which they almost “missed” a nuke-missile war, is too strong for both to completely get away from that “proxy” mindset.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted a “fresh” start in bilateral ties when secret “terrorists” attacked New York as per the preplanned Sept-11 agenda, but supporting the so-called War in Terror” but which in fact means a permanent war on Islam until perhaps the religion of God (Prophet Muhammad’s Islam) is gone – factually many Muslim nations also lend support to the anti-Islamic war. That only reveals the faith deficit among global Muslim rulers and leaders, mainly in Arab world.

When Russian strongman Vladimir Putin met US President Barack Obama in 2015 at the World Climate Change Conference in France the temperature between the two was less than warm. Mutual suspicion and hatred is rampant. Later, on the sidelines of a recent conference in Brussels, media asked a Russian diplomat to explain their strategy in Libya, where Moscow has been cozying up to a former Qaddafi-era general with strongman ambitions who opposes an UN-backed unity government. His response was Kremlin boilerplate, claiming a "balanced" policy dovetailing with national interests and national defense. For Moscow national defense means playing very tactfully with US-NATO moves to contain the Kremlin and breach the Russian borders at some points with the help of their allies. This is a standard line trotted out by Russian officials when it comes to foreign policy under President Vladimir Putin.

As USA, owing mainly to Israeli problem, is fast losing its traditional influence world over, Russia is trying to occupy the spaces left over by Washington maybe in order to stabilize the war torn zones. President Putin's way of dealing with the world has jangled nerves in many quarters as he seeks to tip regional balances of power in Europe, the Middle East and beyond to Moscow's advantage.

Putin is in his third term and likely to have fourth term as well as president of an aspiring super power in Eurasia - by far the longest-serving leader in the G20 - and Putin's confrontational approach to diplomacy - accompanied by a military iron fist in Ukraine and Syria - have won him fans at home while causing alarm abroad, particularly in Europe and the USA.

Russians seek to revive the old Soviet or Russian Empire and Putin fits the Russian bill for a strong presidency to challenge the USA and EU. In an address to Russia's parliament in 2005, Putin famously declared the collapse of the Soviet Union as a "major geopolitical disaster" and it is this notion - regret for what was lost and frustration over what he and his compatriots see as the subsequent loss of international standing for Moscow - that drives his thinking on foreign policy.

Russians are indeed proud of their president. Russia's annexation of Crimea, and its war in the Donbas region of Ukraine, etc have resurrected security anxieties in Europe not seen since the Balkan conflicts in the 1990s but Russians feel safe and secured and equally proud of their president because nobody can even think of attacking Russia. In that sense Russia is a super power in its own security rights, though its economy has been wrecked by the western sanctions. Since it is rich nation traditionally, Russia is able to withstand all pressure tactics of NATO-USA.

Moscow's military intervention in Syria - including devastating air strikes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo which have killed many civilians - shifted the momentum in favour of its long-standing ally in Damascus Bashar al-Assad who considers his own presidency the most important factor and would see Syria in ashes in order to stay in power. Though his regime is still mired in a vicious, multi-faceted five-year-old war Assad doesn’t think he should step aside and save Syria and its people. His own life more precious than thousands of Syrians who have been slaughtered by his military, USA, Russia and other anti-Islamic forces.

In Egypt, where USA and Arab allies successfully planned to oust an elected government of Mohammad Mursi representing Muslim Brotherhood, the military replaced the first ever elected government. Now the general Sisi regime has been increasingly at odds with allies like the USA, Moscow has stepped in offering military cooperation.

Kremlin officials announced this month that Russia is hoping to re-open its Cold War-era naval base on the Mediterranean coastline near the border with Libya. Some European diplomats believe Russia's meddling next door in Libya - where it has discussed weapons supplies with forces opposed to a unity government despite the UN arms embargo - is aimed at maintaining enough instability there to ensure the country remains enough of a headache for Europe to the north.

Full report at:

http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1855:russia-raises-diplomatic-profile-with-syrian-intervention&Itemid=480

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WJC thanks Putin for 'combating anti-Semitism' in Russia

01/11/16

Moscow held its first international conference against anti-Semitism, and the WJC thanked Pres. Putin – but the Russians may have failed their first test.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, speaking on Tuesday at the first Moscow International Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, thanked Russia for its efforts to make Jews feel welcome in the country, after a long history of hostility and hardship.

Lauder expressed his appreciation for the Russian attempts to crack down on anti-Semitism. “At a time when global terrorism singles out Jews around the world, when we see the impact of intolerance and hate on every continent," Lauder said, "here in Russia, the Jewish community is thriving. Jewish kindergartens and Jewish schools are filled to capacity, synagogues are crowded on Shabbat."

He contrasted this with the situation in Western Europe, "where Jews are seriously thinking of leaving.”

Lauder's remarks were not timed perfectly well, as it was reported that a Jewish teacher in Moscow was being investigated by her employers for distributing a questionnaire to students asking how they feel about Jews.

It was learned that the vice principal of the Moscow State Education College said the teacher should be “punished” for conducting such an experiment on her 16-year-old students and "[putting] her own ethnicity at the center of a classroom exercise.”

The questionnaire asked the students about their personal backgrounds and general attitudes “toward people of other ethnicities.” The last three questions focused exclusively on Jews, asking how the students "feel about the Jews who live in Moscow," how willing they would be to "interact with these people?" and if they feel that the "Jews [are] involved in the nation’s current crisis."

Notwithstanding this local mishap, Lauder praised President Putin for having "made Russia a country where Jews are welcome. And that’s not just a good thing for Jews. It is good for Russia as well... We [the WJC] want to be able to count on Russia as a solid friend.”

“However," Lauder said, "just two weeks ago, at the United Nations, UNESCO erased thousands of years of Jewish history from Jerusalem. Unbelievably, they renamed the Temple Mount, the same temple built by King Solomon, solely by its Muslim name. I was even more surprised, and frankly disappointed, that Russia supported this resolution, a resolution that helps no-one. That’s like trying to deny any Russian connection to St. Basil’s. That’s ridiculous."

Full report at:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/219656

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Freedom of Religion in Morocco: The Silent Minorities

November 1, 2016

This is being widely seen as a huge behavioral shift inside a religious community outside of Sunni Malikite Islam. This video is the first instance of Christian discontent with social and societal considerations ever witnessed in Morocco. There have been a few notable exceptions in other parts of the region, such as so-called “Brother Rachid,” host of an evangelical Christian television program in Europe, who has been very vocal in the media about his conversion from Islam to Christianity since 2010.

Just how many Christians in Morocco share the feelings expressed in the video is hard to determine in a country where 99% of the population is Sunni Muslim, while just 1% is comprised of Jewish (Judaism being recognized), Christian, Baha’I and even atheist and nonreligious people. Also complicating matters is the fact that many of this 1% tend keep their religion private, making it extremely difficult to take a thorough census of this population, which is not legally recognized.

As a result, the annual report from the U.S. State Department on human rights in Morocco remains one of the few reliable statistical perspectives available to track this issue. The 2014 report estimated the Jewish population, primarily seniors, at 3000 -4000 nationals, 2500 of them based in Casablanca alone, with the remainder living across the country. The same report placed the number of  Moroccan Christians at 4000, most of them ethnic Amazigh, who practice their religion in churches. Some estimates count the number of Moroccan Christian churchgoers at 8000. According to the report, there are also 400 Baha’is, 8000 Shiite Muslims from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and a few Moroccans.

During my investigation titled “the defectors of State religion in Morocco,” published in the Moroccan newspaper Al Massae on February 10, 2013, I had the opportunity to encounter a number of Moroccans who decided to convert to Christianity, Baha’I faith or Shi’ism. In the course of speaking with these people, it appeared to me that while the State recognizes the freedom of religion for Jewish people, the rest of these minorities have nowhere to practice their beliefs.  In addition to not being able to declare their belief, they’re also not allowed to convert to any other religion other than Sunni Malikite Islam.

Additionally, the Scientific Board, the highest religious authority in the country, made its position clear in a 2013statement stipulating that anyone who changes their religion will be punished like an apostle should be, stressing that “… whoever left the religion of their fathers and forefathers is considered an apostle in Islam, therefore deserving of punishment, unless they atone, or else all their deeds become null, and they lose both in this life and the hereafter and they should be punished accordingly.”

Vincent Landel, the presiding chief of the Catholic Church in Rabat had already stated that the church refuses “the conversion of Moroccan citizens to Christianity… That’s what the law says and we have to respect it.” This adherence makes it difficult for the Christian Moroccan community to get to churches in Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakesh.

Full report at:

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2016/11/200271/freedom-religion-morocco-silent-minorities/

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/documents-show-islamic-state-obsessions--beards-and-concubines/d/108988

 

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