New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 05:37 PM

Islamic World News ( 27 Dec 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Euro-Islam: New Religion to Break Migrants in EU















Photo: An American Isis fighter appearing in a propaganda video released on 27 December

 

American Isis Fighter Says 'War on Islam' Has Made US More Vulnerable To Attack in Video Message to Donald Trump

Hate Displayed In Quetta Attack Has No Place in Islam

Al-Wefaq: Death Penalties in Bahrain “Sentences of Defeat”

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Europe

Euro-Islam: New religion to break migrants in EU

Immigrant to Israel from Belarus Convicted For Trying To Join Islamic State

Russian Missile System Tracked US Fighter Jets in East Syria

Putin Declares Explosion in St. Petersburg a 'Terrorist Attack'

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North America

American Isis Fighter Says 'War on Islam' Has Made US More Vulnerable To Attack in Video Message to Donald Trump

PLO: Guatemala Faces Arab, Muslim Boycott after Jerusalem Announcement

Guatemalans Unhappy about Decision to Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

‘They isolate themselves.’ Islamic leader discusses Modesto terror suspect

Islamophobia even worse under Trump than after 9/11 attacks, says top Muslim activist

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Pakistan

Hate Displayed In Quetta Attack Has No Place in Islam

Osama Bin Laden Moved To Afghanistan to Supervise Plot To Assassinate Benazir Bhutto, Say Reports

Pak anti-graft body gives nod for case against Sharifs

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Mideast

Al-Wefaq: Death Penalties in Bahrain “Sentences of Defeat”

7,000 Palestinians Face Torture in Israeli Prisons

Arabs won’t be led by Turkey, UAE diplomat says in retweet feud

Turkey: 38 Islamic State group suspects detained in raids

Israeli Army Detains More Palestinians in West Bank Raids

'Tremendous Firepower': Netanyahu Sends Stark Warning to Iran, Hamas

Omani Society for Fine Arts takes part in Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival

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Arab World

Letter from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Dead Militants' Fingerprints Found in Turkish Raids against ISIL Terrorists

A Massive Price Tag to Rebuild Iraq after Islamic State

‘Absurd War’: Saudi-Led Air Raids Kill 68 Yemen Civilians in One Day – UN

Arab Parliament Called on to Block Israel’s Bid for Security Council Seat

Yemenis Turn to Rubbish Dumps for Food amid Saudi War, Blockade

Jamaat Victory In Dir LG By-Polls Stayed Over Disenfranchisement

Paramilitary troops repulse Islamic State attack on Iraqi-Syrian borders

Senior Pakistani Taliban leader blown by own explosives in Kunar province

It is time that Afghanistan and the US do more for Pakistan: DG ISPR

One police volunteer killed, two injured as assailants open fire in Rawalpindi

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Southeast Asia

Christmas Largely Peaceful In Muslim-Majority Indonesia

Myanmar Court Extends Detention of Two Reuters Journalists over Rohingya Reporting

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India

I Thank Allah, Others for Supporting the Bill: AIMWPLB Chief

'Pakistan made Jadhav's wife, mother appear as widows to him', says Sushma Swaraj in Parliament

How Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother foiled Pakistan's crooked plan

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South Asia

At Least 40 Killed In Attack on Cultural Centre in Kabul

Islamic State claims blasts at Afghan Shi'ite center, news agency that kill dozens

Ghani orders probe into deadly Kabul attack left almost 40 dead

NATO condemns Kabul attack as death toll rises 40 people

Six children killed in an explosion in Balkh province of Afghanistan

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Africa

Banque Misr’s Islamic Finances Hit 6 Bln Pounds in FY2016/17

Dubai Customs builds mosque in Niger

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/euro-islam--new-religion-to-break-migrants-in-eu/d/113728

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Euro-Islam: New Religion To Break Migrants In EU

Syrian Muslim and Islamic scholar Bassam Tibi developed a new version of Islam - Euro-Islam, an adapted version of Islam for refugees who want to settle in the countries of the European Union, but seem to be unable to integrate into European life because of a number of religious principles.

In particular, Euro-Islam proposes separating religion and politics, rejecting jihad and Sharia law, accepting democracy and tolerance, in which people of different faiths are equal, rather than subordinated to each other. Euro-Islam also envisages renunciation of superiority of Muslims over people practicing other religions.

Only an unbeliever could make such proposals which in general do not hold water, chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Mufti KhadzhimuradGatsalov, told Pravda.Ru.

"I believe that only a stupid and sick man could propose this," he said.

"There is no arrogance in Islam - there is tolerance in Islam instead. Islam has all the things that the Western world has been propagandizing for long already. As for the rejection of Sharia - Sharia is the basis of Islam, the legal justification of Islam, this is Islam as it is. There is no Islam without Sharia. Only a non-believer could come up with something like this. I cannot give any assessment to this, because those proposals do not hold water.

"Basic principles of Islam are good for all mankind. There is no jihad in Islam in the understanding that exists in the world today. Genuine Islam does not have all the negative things that some Muslims have contributed to it.

There is mercy, kindness, perfection of the human soul. Therefore, any person who adheres to Islam, is good for any society. If a person does not adhere to it and calls themselves a Muslim, such people are a problem for any society, including for the Islamic one.

"What kind of European democratic values does this person speak of? For me, there are absolutely no democratic values in Europe. My values are here in Russia, and they are above all European values, because in Russia, there are such things are humanness, kindheartedness and morality. There are no such things in the West.

"When someone starts telling me that Europe is a territory of democracy, it sounds ridiculous to me. There is no place for religion, including Orthodoxy, in the place, where people propagate gay marriage, trample upon morality and destroy the very essence of morality.

pravdareport.com/society/stories/27-12-2017/139560-islam-0/

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American Isis fighter says 'war on Islam' has made US more vulnerable to attack in video message to Donald Trump

African American Isis fighter appears in propaganda video saying Islamophobia will help fuel support globally

Lizzie Dearden @lizziedearden 22 hours ago

has claimed Donald Trump’s “war against Islam” is making the US more vulnerable to terror attacks while calling for further atrocities.

In a propaganda video released on Wednesday, an African American Isis fighter using the war name Abu Salih al-Amriki delivered a message to the President.

“You entered into the White House on the back of your crusader rhetoric, which the fake media has pressured you to tone down,” he said.

“Your feelings and hatred towards Islam has already been revealed… you are now witnessing your fake victory.

“Your war against Islam has only made your homeland more vulnerable and your society is cracking into chaos.”

The American Isis fighter, whose true identity was not immediately known, was shown attaching a prosthetic leg and walking on crutches amid the ruins of buildings that appear to have been hit by air strikes.

Wearing battle fatigues and carrying a pistol, he repeated calls for Isis supporters to “rise and strike the kuffar [disbelievers]” and claimed the Isis flag would be “raised over the White House”.

The propaganda message suggested that rising Islamophobia and terror attacks in the US could help drive supporters to Isis’s cause, with the fighter saying: “Take advantage of the fact you can easily obtain a rifle or a pistol in America and spray the kuffar with bullets so that their fear of Muslims rises, and they continue to reveal their hatred towards Islam for the ummah [community] to rise.”

Isis has continually sought to exploit political tensions across the West to fuel its narrative of a holy war between its supporters and anyone, including Muslims, who oppose its brutal interpretation of sharia law.

The group’s message to Mr Trump came as activists told The Independent American Muslims were more vulnerable to Islamophobia under Mr Trump’s presidency than in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s not just Americans Muslims [who feel anxious],” said Ibrahim Hooper, a founder of the Council On American-Islamic Relations. “We have seen white supremacists emboldened under Trump.”

Experts have warned of the danger of “reciprocal radicalisation”, where Islamists and far-right extremists feed off each other to boost their own popularity.

The President has been heavily criticised for what critics labelled a “Muslim ban” on travel from selected countries, as well as his wider remarks on Islam and alleged failure to confront white supremacism.

Isis’s latest video, released via its main propaganda channels, incorporated footage of the aftermath of terror attacks including those in Las Vegas and Orlando, which were both claimed by the group.

Isis also claimed responsibility for a vehicle attack that killed eight people in Manhattan on Halloween, but remained silent over a failed suicide bombing in New York’s subway system earlier this month.

Investigators said the suspect, AkayedUllah, had been radicalised by materials including Isis propaganda from 2014 onwards and had watched a video instructing supporters unable to travel to the group’s territories to carry out attacks at home.

Shortly before the blast on 11 December, he posted a statement on Facebook reading “Trump you failed to protect your nation”, as well as a declaration that the attack was carried out in the name of Isis.

As the terrorist group’s self-declared state in Syria and Iraq has dwindled, it has been increasing its calls for attacks around the world, issuing detailed guidance on how to obtain firearms, make bombs or use knives and vehicles to inflict mass casualties.

Another propaganda video released by Isis’s affiliate in Somalia on Christmas Day, incited attacks on New Year’s Eve celebrations, Christmas markets, bars and the Pope.

It also featured an English-speaking Isis militant, who called on the “brothers who live among the kuffar” to commit atrocities until the group’s black banner “rises from Washington to Moscow, from Europe to China”.

British security services have warned that the risk of Isis-inspired terror attacks continues to grow and evolve despite the group’s huge territorial losses, with the “battle of ideas far from won”.

Military officials say the group’s remaining fighters are regrouping in the desert border between Syria and Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya.

On Wednesday, US Central Command said there had been a series of raids targeting cave networks used by Isis militants in Syria’s Hamad desert.

A spokesperson said coalition forces and US-backed rebel group Maghawir al-Thawra conducted “ground clearance operations” on 23 December.

It followed previous operations in a fledgling deconfliction zone recognised by the US-led coalition, Syrian government and its Russian backers.

Major-General James Jarrard, Commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s special operations joint taskforce, said they had disrupted Isis fighters’ movements by clearing caves historically used to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment.

“Isis was using the area to transit from the Euphrates river valley, where they have enjoyed relative freedom of movement while fleeing the coalition’s successful Syrian Democratic Forces partners,” a statement added. “Isis has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad desert.”

independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/isis-attacks-new-york-us-african-american-fighter-donald-trump-message-war-islam-vulnerable-a8130671.html

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Hate displayed in Quetta attack has no place in Islam

December 27, 2017

few years on, in Pakistan, history repeated itself this month. Sadly, news broke of nine killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State on a church in Quetta on Dec. 17. Those innocent victims, who were attending pre-Christmas services, were attacked by two suicide bombers. Many, including children, were injured in the attack.

When I see the images of those terrified children, I feel the burden of hatred they have to grow up with. This terror ultimately has no place in Islam. Those misguided terrorist groups have no place in a humane, peaceful society.

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, our worldwide spiritual head, His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad is working tirelessly on promoting global peace. Speaking to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Oct. 17, he said that there is a need for tolerance and mutual respect in society displayed by all people and communities, and that people must be able to practice their religion freely with no coercion. These are the true teachings of Islam, which will benefit all people. Islam further teaches that causing disorder in society is a great sin.

chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/ct-quetta-attacks-islam-islamic-state-20171227-story.html

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Al-Wefaq: Death Penalties in Bahrain “Sentences of Defeat”

Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:24

“Through these sentences, the regime is covering up its failures and resorting to punitive and oppressive measures against Bahraini people,” Al-Daidi said, Al-Manar reported.

He denounced accusations handed against the six citizens as an “incoherent” farce that lacks reality in every detail.

“When they fail in politics they resort to judiciary,” Al-Daidi added.

Meanwhile Al-Daidi stressed that such measures won’t force Bahraini people to abandon their rightful demands and halt peaceful protests.

He stressed that the major opposition group has information that Al-Khalifah regime is going to go ahead with such fabrications, arrests, trials and death sentences against Bahrainis.

Bahrain's top military court sentenced six individuals to death on Monday after convicting them over charges including plotting to assassinate the Persian Gulf state's armed forces chief.

The court also sentenced seven other people linked to the case to seven-year jail terms and deprived them too of their citizenship, while five men were acquitted.

Ten of the alleged defendants appeared in the court, while, authorities claimed, eight are at large in Bahrain or abroad, while it was not clear which of the absent eight were sentenced to death and which to jail.

It was the first official mention of any plot against the life of Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, who is a member of the ruling family, but the Bahrain News Agency gave no further details of when or where it was alleged to have taken place.

"The defendants were accused with the formation of a terrorist cell, attempting to assassinate the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Commander-in-Chief and committing other terrorist crimes," a statement read.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society described recent death sentences against six anti-regime activists as “null and void”.

"The sentences are null and void,” al-Wefaq said in a statement on Monday, stressing that they were based on false accusations and forced confessions.

Al-Wefaq further called on the international community to “bear its historical responsibility and save the Bahraini majority which has been oppressed” by the ruling regime.

Bahraini human rights organizations, including Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Persian Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, had issued a report under the title of "Death or Confession", a report that monitors the violations due to secret military courts that tried civilians whose confessions were extracted under torture.

Al-Wefaq had called on the Manama regime to halt the military trial of a group of civilians, slamming the military trial as a violation of both domestic and international laws.

The case is the first of its kind since Manama altered the country's constitution, granting military courts the right to try civilians, after Bahrain in March approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al-Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. In mid-March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al-Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001633

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Europe

Euro-Islam: New Religion To Break Migrants In EU

Syrian Muslim and Islamic scholar Bassam Tibi developed a new version of Islam - Euro-Islam, an adapted version of Islam for refugees who want to settle in the countries of the European Union, but seem to be unable to integrate into European life because of a number of religious principles.

In particular, Euro-Islam proposes separating religion and politics, rejecting jihad and Sharia law, accepting democracy and tolerance, in which people of different faiths are equal, rather than subordinated to each other. Euro-Islam also envisages renunciation of superiority of Muslims over people practicing other religions.

Only an unbeliever could make such proposals which in general do not hold water, chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Mufti KhadzhimuradGatsalov, told Pravda.Ru.

"I believe that only a stupid and sick man could propose this," he said.

"There is no arrogance in Islam - there is tolerance in Islam instead. Islam has all the things that the Western world has been propagandizing for long already. As for the rejection of Sharia - Sharia is the basis of Islam, the legal justification of Islam, this is Islam as it is. There is no Islam without Sharia. Only a non-believer could come up with something like this. I cannot give any assessment to this, because those proposals do not hold water.

"Basic principles of Islam are good for all mankind. There is no jihad in Islam in the understanding that exists in the world today. Genuine Islam does not have all the negative things that some Muslims have contributed to it.

There is mercy, kindness, perfection of the human soul. Therefore, any person who adheres to Islam, is good for any society. If a person does not adhere to it and calls themselves a Muslim, such people are a problem for any society, including for the Islamic one.

"What kind of European democratic values does this person speak of? For me, there are absolutely no democratic values in Europe. My values are here in Russia, and they are above all European values, because in Russia, there are such things are humanness, kindheartedness and morality. There are no such things in the West.

"When someone starts telling me that Europe is a territory of democracy, it sounds ridiculous to me. There is no place for religion, including Orthodoxy, in the place, where people propagate gay marriage, trample upon morality and destroy the very essence of morality.

pravdareport.com/society/stories/27-12-2017/139560-islam-0/

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Immigrant to Israel from Belarus convicted for trying to join Islamic State

December 28, 2017 5:32am

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli immigrant from Belarus who later converted to Islam was convicted for trying to join the Islamic State.

Valentin Vladimir Mazalevsky, 40, a married father of five who lives in the Arab-Israeli town of Shibli in northern Israel, was arrested in February for trying to join the jihadists.  He was convicted on Wednesday by the Nazareth District Court of contact with a foreign agent, attempting to travel to an enemy country, and obstruction of justice.

Mazalevsky purchased a one-way ticket to Turkey in order to cross the border into Syria and join the organization as a fighter, according to the Israel Security Agency, or  Shin Bet, which said he was active in an online Islamic State support group and coordinated his trip to Syria with it.

He reportedly converted to Islam four years after making aliyah, in 2000 during his military service, after having met his wife, a resident of Shibli.

Mazlevsky reportedly told the court that he was not planning to join the Islamic State, but was traveling to Syria in order to live under its newly formed Islamic Caliphate, the Nazareth District Court’s decision said, according to the Times of Israel.

Police knew of Mazlevsky’s support for Islamic State since at least July 2016.

He wll be sentenced in February 2018.

jta.org/2017/12/28/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/immigrant-to-israel-from-belarus-convicted-for-trying-to-join-islamic-state

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Russian Missile System Tracked US Fighter Jets in East Syria

Thu Dec 28, 2017

"As part of its military operations, US Air Force strategic reconnaissance planes and bombers were multiple times detected and automatically followed," Lt. Gen. Leonov told Russia’s Izvestiya newspaper in a piece published Thursday.

The general said the surface-to-air system was deployed to Syria in October 2016 year to "expand control over the eastern Syrian airspace, prevent enemy airstrikes at the Hmeymim airfield and the Tartus logistics base."

He added that US warplanes operating in Eastern Syria were multiple times in crosshairs of a Russian S-300V4 air defense system.

He stressed that US planes reacted "nervously" to being tracked by Russia’s air defense unit from the distance of 200 to 300 kilometers (124 to 186 miles).

The system and its personnel were withdrawn to their permanent deployment site in June this year.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961007000312

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Putin Declares Explosion in St. Petersburg a 'Terrorist Attack' © Sputnik/ GrigoriySisoev

28.12.2017

On Wednesday, a blast occurred in a store in St. Petersburg, injuring 13 people.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared the explosion in St. Petersburg a "terrorist attack," ordering to act in accordance with law when detaining those responsible for the crime.

The president said that if there is a threat to the lives of law enforcement officers, they need to "act decisively, not to capture anyone, to kill on the spot."

An explosion occurred on Wednesday at a grocery store in Putin's home city of St. Petersburg, leaving at least 13 injured. According to the Russian Investigative Committee, preliminary data shows that a device stuffed with damage agents is likely to be the cause for the explosion. While the investigation is underway, all versions are being considered.

The Russian leader has reminded that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had recently averted another terrorist attack in the city.

Earlier in December, Putin held a phone coversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump to express gratitude after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) provided intelligence data that terrorists were preparing attacks in St. Petersburg. The Kremlin has described the help in foiling the attack as an "exemplary model of the bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism."

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) detained a cell of Daesh supporters in a special operation on December 13-14 that had been planning to commit "high-profile attacks" in St. Petersburg, including targeting the Kazan Catheral, aiming to kill people by detonating explosive devices in crowded places, adding that "a significant amount of explosives, components of improvised explosive devices, automatic weapons, ammunition, extremist literature were seized from them.

sputniknews.com/russia/201712281060372889-putin-explosion-terrorist-attack-st-petersburg/

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North America

American Isis fighter says 'war on Islam' has made US more vulnerable to attack in video message to Donald Trump

African American Isis fighter appears in propaganda video saying Islamophobia will help fuel support globally

Lizzie Dearden @lizziedearden 22 hours ago

has claimed Donald Trump’s “war against Islam” is making the US more vulnerable to terror attacks while calling for further atrocities.

In a propaganda video released on Wednesday, an African American Isis fighter using the war name Abu Salih al-Amriki delivered a message to the President.

“You entered into the White House on the back of your crusader rhetoric, which the fake media has pressured you to tone down,” he said.

“Your feelings and hatred towards Islam has already been revealed… you are now witnessing your fake victory.

“Your war against Islam has only made your homeland more vulnerable and your society is cracking into chaos.”

The American Isis fighter, whose true identity was not immediately known, was shown attaching a prosthetic leg and walking on crutches amid the ruins of buildings that appear to have been hit by air strikes.

Wearing battle fatigues and carrying a pistol, he repeated calls for Isis supporters to “rise and strike the kuffar [disbelievers]” and claimed the Isis flag would be “raised over the White House”.

The propaganda message suggested that rising Islamophobia and terror attacks in the US could help drive supporters to Isis’s cause, with the fighter saying: “Take advantage of the fact you can easily obtain a rifle or a pistol in America and spray the kuffar with bullets so that their fear of Muslims rises, and they continue to reveal their hatred towards Islam for the ummah [community] to rise.”

Isis has continually sought to exploit political tensions across the West to fuel its narrative of a holy war between its supporters and anyone, including Muslims, who oppose its brutal interpretation of sharia law.

The group’s message to Mr Trump came as activists told The Independent American Muslims were more vulnerable to Islamophobia under Mr Trump’s presidency than in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s not just Americans Muslims [who feel anxious],” said Ibrahim Hooper, a founder of the Council On American-Islamic Relations. “We have seen white supremacists emboldened under Trump.”

Experts have warned of the danger of “reciprocal radicalisation”, where Islamists and far-right extremists feed off each other to boost their own popularity.

The President has been heavily criticised for what critics labelled a “Muslim ban” on travel from selected countries, as well as his wider remarks on Islam and alleged failure to confront white supremacism.

Isis’s latest video, released via its main propaganda channels, incorporated footage of the aftermath of terror attacks including those in Las Vegas and Orlando, which were both claimed by the group.

Isis also claimed responsibility for a vehicle attack that killed eight people in Manhattan on Halloween, but remained silent over a failed suicide bombing in New York’s subway system earlier this month.

Investigators said the suspect, AkayedUllah, had been radicalised by materials including Isis propaganda from 2014 onwards and had watched a video instructing supporters unable to travel to the group’s territories to carry out attacks at home.

Shortly before the blast on 11 December, he posted a statement on Facebook reading “Trump you failed to protect your nation”, as well as a declaration that the attack was carried out in the name of Isis.

As the terrorist group’s self-declared state in Syria and Iraq has dwindled, it has been increasing its calls for attacks around the world, issuing detailed guidance on how to obtain firearms, make bombs or use knives and vehicles to inflict mass casualties.

Another propaganda video released by Isis’s affiliate in Somalia on Christmas Day, incited attacks on New Year’s Eve celebrations, Christmas markets, bars and the Pope.

It also featured an English-speaking Isis militant, who called on the “brothers who live among the kuffar” to commit atrocities until the group’s black banner “rises from Washington to Moscow, from Europe to China”.

British security services have warned that the risk of Isis-inspired terror attacks continues to grow and evolve despite the group’s huge territorial losses, with the “battle of ideas far from won”.

Military officials say the group’s remaining fighters are regrouping in the desert border between Syria and Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya.

On Wednesday, US Central Command said there had been a series of raids targeting cave networks used by Isis militants in Syria’s Hamad desert.

A spokesperson said coalition forces and US-backed rebel group Maghawir al-Thawra conducted “ground clearance operations” on 23 December.

It followed previous operations in a fledgling deconfliction zone recognised by the US-led coalition, Syrian government and its Russian backers.

Major-General James Jarrard, Commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s special operations joint taskforce, said they had disrupted Isis fighters’ movements by clearing caves historically used to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment.

“Isis was using the area to transit from the Euphrates river valley, where they have enjoyed relative freedom of movement while fleeing the coalition’s successful Syrian Democratic Forces partners,” a statement added. “Isis has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad desert.”

independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/isis-attacks-new-york-us-african-american-fighter-donald-trump-message-war-islam-vulnerable-a8130671.html

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PLO: Guatemala Faces Arab, Muslim Boycott after Jerusalem Announcement

Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:53

“We’ll be conducting an overall assessment of all our alliances, and will evaluate our relations based on mutual interests, with a clear eye as to who is genuinely supporting the cause of peace in Palestine and who is against our national interests,” AneesSweidan, head of external relations at the PLO, told Arab News.

According to the PLO, Guatemala exports annually $300 million worth of cardamom to Arab and Muslim-majority countries.

The Guatemala Export Association sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry calling on the president to rescind his Jerusalem decision, according to the PLO.

The PLO has urged the Arab League to initiate an economic boycott against every country that moves its embassy to Jerusalem.

Former Guatemalan Vice President Edward Stein has warned of the negative repercussions of a boycott on some 45,000 cardamom farmers in his country.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales has announced that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first country to follow the lead of US President Donald Trump in ordering the change.

Guatemala was one of nine countries that voted with the United States and Israel when the UN general assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

No other country has their embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, though the Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move.

US President announced early December that Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, stressing that the United States would relocate the embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN, world leaders from Europe to the Middle East to Australia, and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement issued following an extraordinary summit in Turkey's Istanbul, declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine "under occupation" and urged the US to withdraw from the peace process and back down from its Jerusalem decision.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning US President’s decision and called on states not to move their diplomatic missions to the sacred city. Only nine countries voted directly against the resolution, while 56 others either abstained or did not cast a ballot. The UN resolution passed overwhelmingly in the body's General Assembly with 128 countries voting in favor of it. The UNGA vote followed the US veto of a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution. All other UNSC members voted in favor of a motion to rescind Trump’s move.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961007000523

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Guatemalans Unhappy about Decision to Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:56

It said several major media outlets in Guatemala have begun to focus on the angry reactions to the decision of President Jimmy Morales to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which entails recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in spite of the fact that 129 countries have voted in the United Nations General Assembly against the earlier US move and considered it a violation of international law, WAFA reported.

Guatemala was one of nine members who voted against the UN resolution.

The Department of Expatriates Affairs said it heard from members of the Palestinian community in Guatemala and other organizations that following the decision by Morales concern was expressed among political, economic and media circles regarding the consequences of such a move on the county’s economy.

Guatemala is the main exporter of cardamom pods that are used with coffee to Arab and Islamic countries with more than $300 million dollars of exports a year. When former President Ramiro J Leon Carpio (1993-1996) made a similar decision to move his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he was forced to quickly rescind that decision when Arab and Islamic countries closed their doors to the Guatemalan market.

Former vice president of Guatemala, Eduardo Stein (2004-2008), warned of the negative consequences of the decision by Morales, who is facing impeachment on corruption charges.

He said in a statement published in various media that this decision will have great economic implications for Guatemalan society and will affect more than 45,000 small-scale cardamom farmers, thus affecting the country’s economy and hurting more than 400,000 Guatemalan citizens assuming that every small-scale farmer employs 10 workers.

The president of the Union of Guatemalan Exporters also warned in an urgent letter to the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the consequences of this move on the local economy, particularly since the Islamic and Arab countries are one of the largest markets importing cardamom pods from Guatemala, and therefore any potential boycott by these countries and the closure of their markets for Guatemalan products will result in major economic shocks that will directly affect hundreds of thousands of families in Guatemala.

The Department of Expatriates called upon the Arab League to seriously consider imposing an economic boycott on any country that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel or move its embassy to it.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has openly called in its recent summit held in Turkey on member states to resort to economic boycott as an effective measure against any state that recognizes occupied Arab Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001457

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‘They isolate themselves.’ Islamic leader discusses Modesto terror suspect

December 27, 2017 05:27 PM

The Modesto man accused of plotting a Christmas Day terrorist attack in San Francisco professed his faith to Islam at the Islamic Center of Merced two years ago.

The imam (Islamic leader) there declined to comment about Everitt Aaron Jameson and his involvement with the mosque, but Imam Ahmad Kayello of the Islamic Center of Modesto said, “This person didn’t become radical from the mosque that he attends. Something common between all these radicals and terrorists is that they isolate themselves from the communities and the mosques.”

For those people Kayello said, “The imam will become Google, YouTube, the internet search engine. The internet is contaminated by these (terrorist) ideologies.”

“Islam, just like other religions, came to earth to spread peace, not to spread evil and terrorism,” Kayello said.

Jameson, 26, was arrested Friday and charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization after multiple communications with an FBI informant he believed was an ISIS leader.

He will make his second appearance in federal court in Fresno on Thursday for a detention hearing to discuss the conditions of his release.

Jameson was brought to the attention of the FBI by an informant who reported Jameson ‘liked’ and ‘loved’ pro-ISIS and pro-terrorism posts on Facebook and posted a GIF of a crowd giving a standing ovation to an article discussing the Halloween Day terror attacks in New York that killed eight people, according to an FBI affidavit.

In October the informant messaged Jameson and asked if he is an Islamic “revert,” according to the affidavit.

“Yes I am. That is what will make me more useful. I can blend in. Or shock and awe,” Jameson said, according to the affidavit.

He told the informant he took his Shahada two years ago at the Islamic Center of Merced.

Kayello said the Shahada is the first of five pillars of Islam and a declaration or testimonial of faith.

“It doesn’t mean (because) I took my Shahada I have completed everything,” he said. “There is the other acts of worship. The Shahada is the key that opens the door.”

And one who does not continue to worship under the guidance of an imam might be led astray and become radicalized. Kayello said it is his job at the Imam to warn his congregation, particularly the youth, “of these terrorist ideologies and at the same time encouraging them to be very effective individuals in their community.”

He said leaders in the mosques around the Central Valley keep in contact.

Kayello said he knows little of Jameson but that he and other imam would not hesitate to report to law enforcement any potential threats and cooperate with investigations.

Jameson had plans to attack Pier 39 by modeling a combination of the Halloween day attack in New York in a which a man drove a truck onto a bicycle path, killing eight, and the 2015 terrorist shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 dead. He also wanted to use explosives to ‘tunnel’ or ‘funnel’ people into a location where he could inflict casualties,” according to the affidavit.

When the FBI searched Jameson’s Modesto home last week they found a last will and testament, a letter explaining his reasons for the planned attack, as well as firearms and ammunition.

Kayello praised the FBI’s work not only for having “truly saved San Francisco and the county from true evil,” but also saving “the Muslim community in Merced and Stanislaus counties from the evil reaction and backlash.”

As news of Jameson’s arrest broke on Friday, Modesto Police increased patrols in the area of the Mosque on Carpenter Road and the Woodland West Neighborhood Watch offered to provide security, Kayello said.

modbee.com/news/local/crime/article191878524.html

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Islamophobia even worse under Trump than after 9/11 attacks, says top Muslim activist

Thursday 28 December 2017 02:31 GMT

Muslim in America are more vulnerable to bigotry and Islamophobia as a result of Donald Trump’s behaviour and actions than they were after the 9/11 attacks, according to a leading Muslim activist.

As the country approaches the anniversary of Mr Trump’s first year in office, Ibrahim Hooper said such was the level of anxiety and apprehension, many Muslims were fearful to public display signs of their faith. A number of Muslim women, for instance, were deciding not to to appear in public wearing the veil.

“It’s not just Americans Muslims [who feel anxious],” Mr Hooper, a founder of the Council On American-Islamic Relations, told The Independent. “We have have seen white supremacists emboldened under Trump.”

Mr Hooper said many people of colour and members of minority communities had been deeply dismayed by a large number of Mr Trump’s actions, including his Muslim travel ban and his administration’s crackdown on undocumented migrants.

He said the President’s failure to speak out against white supremacism and extremism – as in the aftermath of neo-Nazi-led violence in Charlottesville in August which left one woman dead – had the impact of allowing such views to become mainstream.

Many white supremacists, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, praised the way Mr Trump responded to the violence, claiming that there was blame “on all sides”.

“It’s worse now than even after 9/11. He has empowered and mainstreamed white supremacy and bigotry,” he said. “After 9/11, bigotry was under the rocks and hidden. Now these bigots are out in the open and saying they are proud of their bigotry.”

Asked if he believed the alleged increase in Islamophobia was the result of Mr Trump’s presidency, he said: “There is no other

Mr Hooper said several episodes of anti-Muslim violence had made international headlines. Among them was an incident in May, when two men were killed and a third badly injured, after they tried to intervene on a train in Portland, Oregon, when a man started screaming anti-Muslim insults at two women. In Quebec City, Canada, six people were killed and 10 others injured after a lone gunman opened fire.

Mr Hooper’s organisation said it had been collating details of other alleged hate crimes and incidents of Islamophobia that did not always get widespread media coverage.

Between January and September 2017, the organisation recorded 1,656 so-called “bias incidents” and 195 hate crimes. That represented a 9 per cent increase in bias incidents and a 20 per cent rise in hate crimes compared to 2016.

“Based on preliminary estimates, it’s fair to say that 2017 is gearing to be the worst year on record for incidents of anti-Muslim bias since we began our current system of documentation,” said research and advocacy coordinator Zainab Arain.

“Additionally, this year we’ve noted a disturbing trend of perpetrators invoking Trump to express racial and religious animosity.”

independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-islam-muslim-islamophobia-worse-911-says-leader-a8113686.html

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Pakistan

Hate displayed in Quetta attack has no place in Islam

December 27, 2017

few years on, in Pakistan, history repeated itself this month. Sadly, news broke of nine killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State on a church in Quetta on Dec. 17. Those innocent victims, who were attending pre-Christmas services, were attacked by two suicide bombers. Many, including children, were injured in the attack.

When I see the images of those terrified children, I feel the burden of hatred they have to grow up with. This terror ultimately has no place in Islam. Those misguided terrorist groups have no place in a humane, peaceful society.

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, our worldwide spiritual head, His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad is working tirelessly on promoting global peace. Speaking to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Oct. 17, he said that there is a need for tolerance and mutual respect in society displayed by all people and communities, and that people must be able to practice their religion freely with no coercion. These are the true teachings of Islam, which will benefit all people. Islam further teaches that causing disorder in society is a great sin.

chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/ct-quetta-attacks-islam-islamic-state-20171227-story.html

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Osama Bin Laden moved to Afganistan to supervise plot to assassinate Benazir Bhutto, say reports

Dec 28, 2017, 04.56 PM (IST)

Al-Qaeda's slain chief Osama bin Laden had shifted to Afghanistan to supervise a plot to assassinate Pakistan's former premier Benazir Bhutto and then military dictator Pervez Musharraf, a media report said today.

Citing intelligence gathered by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the News reported that the explosives to execute this plot were provided by the courier of bin Laden.

Bhutto was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack during an election campaign rally on December 27, 2007, outside the LiaquatBagh in Rawalpindi. The revelation comes exactly on the 10th anniversary of Bhutto's assassination.

This information was provided to the Interior Ministry in December 2007 by the Army and the ISI in three reports and the letters obtained from the bin Laden's residence.

In these secret intelligence reports, the ministry was warned that bin Laden had issued orders to kill then-President Musharraf, Pakistan People's Party's chief Bhutto and JamiatUlema-e-Islam-Fazl chief FazlurRehman, the paper said.

The most important letter by the ISI to the Interior Ministry was written on December 19, 2007; the letter was directed to the Interior Ministry’s then-director coordination of the Crisis Management Cell Colonel Muhammad Imran Yaqub, the paper said, citing the documents.

The letter, titled 'President Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and FazlurRehman's murder plan', signed by Lt Col (retd) Zaigham Islam Butt for DG Intelligence said bin Laden has issued the order to kill Musharraf, Bhutto and Rehman.

"He (Osama bin Laden) has planned to send his courier, who is a national of Pakistan and a resident of Multan, named Musa Tariq, through Waziristan with explosives to be used in executing the murder plots. On coming Sunday — which is December 22 — this person will be in the area of Dera Ismail Khan," the letter read.

"Osama bin Laden is personally supervising this entire plan and for this reason, he has shifted to Afghanistan," read the last three lines of the letter.

The ISI had requested the interior ministry to make urgent security arrangements, the paper said, adding that this information was so important that the copies of this letter were also dispatched to the Military Intelligence Directorate, GS Branch and General Headquarters, Rawalpindi.

After receiving the letter, the General Staff Branch of the Military Operations Directorate of General Headquarters, on the next day — December 20, 2007 — sent a lette to then- interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah.

Six days before Bhutto's assassination, another letter was issued with the signature of then-chief of the general staff Lt-Gen SalahuddinSatti's Lt-Col Staff KhurramShahzad, warning about the terror plot.

Following the assassination of Bhutto, a short letter was sent to bin Laden after two days.

"We have taken revenge for our brothers and sisters of JamiaHafsa and Lal Masjid," read the letter which was recovered from bin Laden's home.

Bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in a covert raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

wionews.com/south-asia/osama-bin-laden-moved-to-afganistan-to-supervise-plot-to-assassinate-benazir-bhutto-say-reports-27963

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Pak anti-graft body gives nod for case against Sharifs

PTI | Dec 28, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's anti-graft body has given the nod for launching a corruption case against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Javed Iqbal yesterday approved registration of the corruption case during an executive board meeting.

NAB officials said the case was related to alleged loss of over Rs 120 million to the national exchequer over the construction of a two-way road in 2000 from Raiwind to the Sharif family home in JatiUmra in the suburbs of Lahore.

The Sharif brothers have so far not reacted to the new allegations of corruption.

Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, son-in-law Muhammad Safdar, and sons Hassan and Hussain, are already facing three NAB cases filed in September on the basis of the Supreme Court's decision of July 28 in the Panama Papers case that led to Sharif's ouster as premier.

However, the new case also includes Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who has been tipped as a future prime minister if Nawaz's PML-N party wins the election next year.

Officials said the NAB in the same meeting also approved filing of six corruption references, complete four pending inquiries, and 11 investigations against different politicians and officers.

The meeting also decided to probe former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who as minister for water and power from 2008-2011 caused a loss of Rs 113 billion to the national exchequer by delaying a key energy project.

NAB will also launch investigations into alleged corruption by another former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani who was disqualified by the apex court in 2012 and replaced by Ashraf.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-anti-graft-body-gives-nod-for-case-against-sharifs/articleshow/62282002.cms

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Mideast

Al-Wefaq: Death Penalties in Bahrain “Sentences of Defeat”

Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:24

“Through these sentences, the regime is covering up its failures and resorting to punitive and oppressive measures against Bahraini people,” Al-Daidi said, Al-Manar reported.

He denounced accusations handed against the six citizens as an “incoherent” farce that lacks reality in every detail.

“When they fail in politics they resort to judiciary,” Al-Daidi added.

Meanwhile Al-Daidi stressed that such measures won’t force Bahraini people to abandon their rightful demands and halt peaceful protests.

He stressed that the major opposition group has information that Al-Khalifah regime is going to go ahead with such fabrications, arrests, trials and death sentences against Bahrainis.

Bahrain's top military court sentenced six individuals to death on Monday after convicting them over charges including plotting to assassinate the Persian Gulf state's armed forces chief.

The court also sentenced seven other people linked to the case to seven-year jail terms and deprived them too of their citizenship, while five men were acquitted.

Ten of the alleged defendants appeared in the court, while, authorities claimed, eight are at large in Bahrain or abroad, while it was not clear which of the absent eight were sentenced to death and which to jail.

It was the first official mention of any plot against the life of Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, who is a member of the ruling family, but the Bahrain News Agency gave no further details of when or where it was alleged to have taken place.

"The defendants were accused with the formation of a terrorist cell, attempting to assassinate the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Commander-in-Chief and committing other terrorist crimes," a statement read.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society described recent death sentences against six anti-regime activists as “null and void”.

"The sentences are null and void,” al-Wefaq said in a statement on Monday, stressing that they were based on false accusations and forced confessions.

Al-Wefaq further called on the international community to “bear its historical responsibility and save the Bahraini majority which has been oppressed” by the ruling regime.

Bahraini human rights organizations, including Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Persian Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, had issued a report under the title of "Death or Confession", a report that monitors the violations due to secret military courts that tried civilians whose confessions were extracted under torture.

Al-Wefaq had called on the Manama regime to halt the military trial of a group of civilians, slamming the military trial as a violation of both domestic and international laws.

The case is the first of its kind since Manama altered the country's constitution, granting military courts the right to try civilians, after Bahrain in March approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al-Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. In mid-March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al-Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001633

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7,000 Palestinians Face Torture in Israeli Prisons

Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:11

“The number of sick prisoners has now reached nearly 1,500,” Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs IssaQaraqi said, Yenisafak reported.

Qaraqi added that scores of Palestinian prisoners are likely to die because Israeli guards deliberately refuse to give them medicine, stressing that “Israeli prisons have turned into their graves.”

In a meeting with members of the press, Qaraqi revealed that 400 Palestinian children are among the 7,000 currently in detention in Israeli jails.

The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the West Bank on the pretext of searching for "wanted" Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump announced early December that Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, stressing that the United States would relocate the embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN, world leaders from Europe to the Middle East to Australia, and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Washington's decision in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

Over 600 Palestinians were detained by the Israeli forces since Washington’s move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported on Tuesday, 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured people, have been arrested during the three weeks since US President Donald Trump made his announcement.

15 Palestinians were also killed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during three weeks of protests against the Washington declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, according to reports.

Also, thousands of Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli army's fire during demonstrations against the US President Donald Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinian ministry of public health in Gaza has also announced that the Israeli occupation forces use unknown gas bombs which caused cases of stress, convulsion, vomiting, coughing and rapid heartbeat among the Palestinian civilians. It stressed that the Zionist forces fire bullets directly on the Palestinian protestors.

The Israeli regime forces use brutal and excessive force against the civilians and the rescue teams as well as the medics, according to the Palestinian ministry which called for denouncing the racist actions of the Israeli authorities.

People in different countries have also hit the streets to denounce Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

Th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement issued following an extraordinary summit in Turkey's Istanbul, declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine "under occupation" and urged the US to withdraw from the peace process and back down from its Jerusalem decision.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s decision and called on states not to move their diplomatic missions to the sacred city. The UNGA vote followed the US veto of a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution Monday. All other UNSC members voted in favor of a motion to rescind Donald Trump’s move.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961007000684

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Arabs won’t be led by Turkey, UAE diplomat says in retweet feud

ReutersUpdated December 28, 2017

DUBAI: A senior UAE diplomat said on Wednesday the Arab world would not be led by Turkey, the Gulf State’s first comment on Ankara since a quarrel broke out last week over a retweet by the Emirati foreign minister that President Tayyip Erdogan called an insult.

Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said there was a need for Arab countries to rally around the “Arab axis” of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“The sectarian and partisan view is not an acceptable alternative, and the Arab world will not be led by Tehran or Ankara,” he wrote on his official Twitter page.

Last week, Turkey summoned the charge d’affaires at the UAE embassy in Ankara, after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan shared a tweet that accused Turkish troops of looting the holy city of Madina a century ago. Erdogan himself lashed out: “Some impertinent man sinks low and goes as far as accusing our ancestors of thievery ... What spoiled this man? He was spoiled by oil, by the money he has,” the Turkish leader said at an awards ceremony.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu newspaper reported on Saturday that Turkey planned to rename the street where the UAE embassy is located in Ankara after Fakhreddin Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman Turkish troops at Madina in 1916.

dawn.com/news/1379321/arabs-wont-be-led-by-turkey-uae-diplomat-says-in-retweet-feud

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Turkey: 38 Islamic State group suspects detained in raids

By Associated Press December 28 at 3:29 AM

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says anti-terrorism police have detained 38 suspected Islamic State group militants in the northwestern province of Bursa.

Anadolu Agency says the suspects, including several Syrian nationals, were apprehended in simultaneous raids of homes early Thursday. The agency reports that police broke down doors with battering rams.

Turkey has suffered a series of deadly attacks blamed on IS militants, including a New Year’s attack at an Istanbul nightclub by a gunman that killed 39 people.

The country is stepping up security measures ahead of the new year. Authorities have canceled several large-scale New Year’s Eve street celebrations in Istanbul.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

washingtonpost.com/world/europe/turkey-38-islamic-state-group-suspects-detained-in-raids/2017/12/28/3588cc06-eba9-11e7-956e-baea358f9725_story.html?utm_term=.803eb3708675

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Israeli Army Detains More Palestinians in West Bank Raids

Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:2

In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the village of Niilin, while detained one Palestinian each from the districts of Hebron, Jenin, and Jerusalem, Ma'an News Agency reported.

The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the West Bank on the pretext of searching for "wanted" Palestinians.

According to Palestinian official figures, more than 6,400 Palestinians, including 62 women and 300 minors, are currently held in detention facilities throughout Israel.

US President Donald Trump announced early December that Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, stressing that the United States would relocate the embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN, world leaders from Europe to the Middle East to Australia, and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Washington's decision in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

Over 600 Palestinians were detained by the Israeli forces since Washington’s move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported on Tuesday, 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured people, have been arrested during the three weeks since US President Donald Trump made his announcement.

15 Palestinians were also killed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during three weeks of protests against the Washington declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, according to reports.

Also, thousands of Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli army's fire during demonstrations against the US President Donald Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinian ministry of public health in Gaza has also announced that the Israeli occupation forces use unknown gas bombs which caused cases of stress, convulsion, vomiting, coughing and rapid heartbeat among the Palestinian civilians. It stressed that the Zionist forces fire bullets directly on the Palestinian protestors.

The Israeli regime forces use brutal and excessive force against the civilians and the rescue teams as well as the medics, according to the Palestinian ministry which called for denouncing the racist actions of the Israeli authorities.

People in different countries have also hit the streets to denounce Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement issued following an extraordinary summit in Turkey's Istanbul, declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine "under occupation" and urged the US to withdraw from the peace process and back down from its Jerusalem decision.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s decision and called on states not to move their diplomatic missions to the sacred city. The UNGA vote followed the US veto of a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution Monday. All other UNSC members voted in favor of a motion to rescind Donald Trump’s move.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961007000739

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'Tremendous Firepower': Netanyahu Sends Stark Warning to Iran, Hamas © REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

28.12.2017

Describing the situation in the region as extremely tense and unstable, Netanyahu said Israel will use its right to protect itself against any threat. In particular, he spoke against Iran’s military presence in Syria, a claim repeatedly denied by Tehran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Iran and Palestine’s movement Hamas against threating Israel’s security, saying that Tel Aviv is capable of defending itself with its "tremendous firepower," including the strongest air force in the region.

"The air force is as its peak today, with the best tools, technologies, planes and pilots in the world. With defensive and offensive capabilities and tremendous firepower, the air force has the ability to reach short distances and faraway destinations as required," Netanyahu said Wednesday during a graduation ceremony for new Israel Air Force (IAF) pilots.

The prime minister underscored the situation in region continues to remain dangerous due to the threats of "radical Islam."

"We are an island in this stormy region and have a clear policy of protecting our security," Netanyahu said.

Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a press conference after meeting with his German counterpart on June 30, 2014 in Berlin.

He also once again voiced concern over Tehran’s policy in Syria, saying, "Our policy is clear; we will not allow the Iranian army to entrench itself in Syria to harm us and we will take strong action to prevent the development of high-precision, deadly weapons pointed at us."

Earlier in December, Netanyahu had said that Israel would not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria. His statement came shortly after Israel carried out an airstrike on a target in Syria, which some media outlets speculated to be an Iranian base.

Tehran has repeatedly denied reports of having a base in Syria as well as conducting military operations there, while however, stressing its cooperation with Damascus in the fight against various terrorist groups, including Daesh, and is as one of the guarantors of the ceasefire in the war-torn country, jointly with Russia and Turkey.

On Hamas

Commenting on the situation in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel would not allow or tolerate an escalation from Hamas.

"We will use all means to defend Israel’s sovereignty and security," Netanyahu said.

Israel has launched dozens of airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza recently, in response to a spike in violence after US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Trump’s move has exacerbated tensions between Israel and Hamas, leading to an intensified trade of fire. The Israeli military has enforced its presence in Jerusalem and has been conducting operations against Hamas, mainly destroying their military tunnels in the Gaza strip. Palestinians have been protesting against Trump’s decision all over the country and on December 12, Hamas announced a third "intifada" against Israel.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201712281060374701-netanyahu-israel-iran-hamas/

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Omani Society for Fine Arts takes part in Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival

Thu 28-12-2017 14:17 PM

SHARJAH, 28th December, 2017 (WAM) -- The Omani Society for Fine Arts, OSFA, is currently taking part in the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, which is being organised by the Sharjah Department of Culture.

"OSFA is being represented in the festival by the Calligrapher Sami bin Zain al-Ghawi, who will organise a workshop under the title 'Ottoman Calligraphy' at Sharjah Centre for the Art of Arabic Calligraphy and Ornamentation," said Oman News Agency.

Running until 23rd January, Islamic Arts Festival is considered as an Islamic artistic event, which includes several activities, in addition to hosting artists, calligraphers, craftsmen and lecturers on various Islamic arts.

The annual Islamic Arts Festival began in 1998 under the supervision and organisation of the Directorate of Art in the Department of Culture and Information, with the intention of exhibiting various kinds of traditional and contemporary Islamic arts.

Over its consecutive editions, the festival was able to display different vibrant styles of Islamic Art through a selection of art projects illustrating the authenticity of Islamic Art and its ability to keep up with current artistic changes.

The event is one of the most renowned Islamic Art events in the region, and its events include local and international exhibitions, intellectual programmes, and interactive activities.

wam.ae/en/details/1395302657067

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Arab World

Letter from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Dead Militants' Fingerprints Found in Turkish Raids Against ISIL Terrorists

Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:18

The operation in Kirsehir was one of three operations against the group, which remains a dire threat against Turkey and the rest of the world, Daily Sabah reported.

A report by Anadolu Agency said two "safe houses" raided by police were occupied by suspects captured in earlier operations and along with the letter and fingerprint molds, police found "many marriage certificates", while the certificates bear the stamp of ISIL's so-called "caliphate."

Nine molds of fingerprints found next to $60,000 indicates that the militants used the fingerprints of dead militants to transfer money in an attempt to avoid detection.

In the letter apparently signed and sealed by al-Baghdadi, the ISIL leader denounces those leaving the terrorist group, saying they would be "condemned to hell", encouraging the group's members to "reach out" to more people for new recruits.

Turkey has been targeted by many deadly ISIL attacks since 2015. Ankara has deported more than 5,000 ISIL suspects and 3,290 foreign terrorists from 95 countries in recent years and has dismantled several terrorist cells that provided logistical assistance in Syria and Iraq and for plotting attacks inside the country.

The country's efforts against ISIL made it a primary target for the terrorist group, which has carried out numerous gun and bomb attacks targeting security forces and civilians. This includes the country's deadliest terrorist attack, which killed 102 people and wounded 400 others in a twin suicide bombing at a peace rally in Ankara in October 2015.

In yesterday's operations against the terrorist group, 12 suspects were detained in the Southern city of Adana while another 29 suspects were captured in operations in Istanbul and the Eastern province of Batman.

Another suspect was apprehended in Akcakale, a Turkish town bordering with Syria. Security forces also detained 13 suspects of Iraqi origin in the central city of Cankırı in operations against ISIL while a search was underway for two fugitive suspects.

Those captured in Adana include two Syrian nationals and they were allegedly plotting to carry out attacks during New Year celebrations. Media outlets reported that the suspects would carry out "lone wolf" attacks made popular in Europe by the group's members.

Some suspects are also accused of recruiting for ISIL.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001612

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A massive price tag to rebuild Iraq after Islamic State

MOSUL, Iraq — Dec 28, 2017, 2:14 AM ET

 It will take years to haul out the rubble that weighs down Mosul's Old City. More than 3,000 tons cover every acre, and much of the shattered concrete and twisted metal that once made up people's homes and shops is laced with explosives and unexploded ordnance.

The debris field marking the district where the Islamic State group made its last stand extends for nearly 2 ?miles along the western bank of the Tigris River and is more than a mile wide — and throughout, hardly a singly building is left unscathed. The Old City has the densest wreckage, but nearly every neighborhood in the western half of Mosul has entire blocks in ruins, and all five bridges crossing the Tigris have been disabled by airstrikes.

This is just one corner of the destruction that three years of war wreaked across northern and western Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces defeated IS militants , but the cost of victory is nearly incalculable. Baghdad estimates $100 billion is needed nationwide to rebuild. Local leaders in Mosul say that amount is needd to rehabilitate their city alone.

So far no one is offering to foot the bill. The United States has told the Iraqis it won't pay for a massive reconstruction drive. Iraq hopes Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries will step up, and Iran may also take a role. U.N. projects are repairing infrastructure in nearly two dozen towns and cities, but funding is a fraction of what will be needed. As a result, much of the rebuilding has come from individual Iraqis using personal savings.

In the meantime, many of those who fled IS or the fighting remain uprooted. While 2.7 million have returned, more than 3 million others cannot and they languish in camps. Worst hit is Mosul ; the U.N. estimates 40,000 homes there need to be rebuilt or restored, and some 600,000 residents have been unable to return to the city, once home to around 2 million people.

Corruption and bitter sectarian divisions make things even harder. The areas with the worst destruction are largely Sunni, while the Baghdad government is Shiite-dominated. The fear is that if Sunni populations feel they've been abandoned, resentment will feed the next generation of militants.

If Mosul is not rebuilt, "it will result in the rebirth of terrorism." said Abdulsattar al-Habu, the director of Mosul municipality and reconstruction adviser to Nineveh province, where the city is located.

Mosul, overrun by IS in 2014, was declared liberated in July, after a months-long battle that inflicted its greatest destruction on its western sector. An Associated Press investigation found at least 9,000 civilians died in the assault to retake Mosul.

The enormity of the task ahead can be grasped by what has — and hasn't — happened in Ramadi, which was liberated from IS two years ago. More than 70 percent of the Anbar provincial capital remains damaged or destroyed, according to the provincial council.

Nearly 8,300 homes — almost a third of the houses in the city — were destroyed or suffered major damage, according to UN Habitat. Repairs have begun on only three of the five damaged bridges over the Euphrates River. Three-quarters of the schools remain out of commission. The Anbar provincial council holds its meetings in a small building down the street from the pile of rubble that was once its offices.

Ahmed Shaker, a council member, said, "When we ask the government for money to rebuild, they said: 'Help yourself, go ask your friends in the Gulf" — a reference to fellow Sunnis.

HalaylSharqii, 75, and his wife Hanna borrowed money from extended family and got some help from a Qatari aid organization and managed to rebuild their destroyed two-room house. All around, other houses are in similar states of semi-repair, some still missing walls. Weeds are thick around abandoned homes.

Most of Ramadi's pre-IS population of around a half million has returned. But like many, the Sharqiis' returned out of desperation, not hope. Their savings were drained. "We had no other choice," Halayl said.

The main engine for rebuilding has been the U.N. development agency, known as UNDP, which runs a stabilization program rehabilitating infrastructure and some homes.

But funding is far lower than what Iraq says it needs. So far, stabilization has received some $392 million. The United States and Germany are the top two donors, at $115 million and $64 million respectively.

Overall, Washington has contributed $265 million to reconstruction since 2014, on top of $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance — compared to $14.3 billion it spent in fighting IS in Iraq and Syria.

Baghdad had expected American money would flow in after the defeat of IS, said a senior U.S. official who regularly meets with Iraqi leadership. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the United States is no longer in the business of "nation-building."

"We just tell them, no, it's not going to happen," the U.S. official said.

The official said many in Washington believe past efforts in Iraq didn't yield adequate returns and there is little appetite for large international reconstruction projects. After the 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. pumped $60 billion over nine years into Iraqi reconstruction. Critics say the money did little to prevent political disarray and the rise of militants in Iraq.

Douglas Silliman, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, blamed destruction squarely on IS fighters.

"Had they not been here, had they not conducted a completely brutal and inhumane campaign against the Iraqi people, this destruction would not have happened," he said.

Amar Ismail Brahim, one of the few in Mosul's Old City who have managed to reopen a shop, also blames the militants. But he says the U.S. and the West have an obligation to back rebuilding.

"We fought Daesh on behalf of the whole world," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. "Now is the time for them to stand with Mosul."

abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/massive-price-tag-rebuild-iraq-islamic-state-52021376

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‘Absurd war’: Saudi-led air raids kill 68 Yemen civilians in one day – UN

Published time: 28 Dec, 2017

In just one day 68 people, including eight children, were killed and dozens more injured as two air strikes were carried out by the Saudi-led coalition, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen said on Thursday.

The Riyadh-headed coalition of nine countries has been conducting air strikes against Shia Houthi rebels since March 2015. The campaign has claimed thousands of civilian lives. Over 80 percent of Yemen’s population lacks food, clean water, healthcare and fuel, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Airstrikes on a crowded popular market in Al Hayma sub-district in Attazziah district, Taizz Governorate resulted in at least 54 civilians killed, including eight children, and 32 others injured including six children,” the statement from the UN’s Jamie McGoldrick reads, referring to Tuesday’s Saudi-led coalition airstrike.

On the same day a further 14 people were killed in the bombing of a farm by the coalition in Attohayta District, Al Hudaydah Governorate, the statement added.

@RT_com

In Yemen 18 million people need humanitarian aid: medicines, access to food, access to clean drinking water – ICRC on.rt.com/8vq0

4:45 AM - Dec 28, 2017

Yemen crisis: ‘Unacceptable that people die from totally preventable reasons’ — RT World News

The world needs to respond to the urgent humanitarian situation in Yemen, otherwise millions won‘t be able to provide the basic necessities of a decent life for their families, said Ralph El Hage,...

 14 14 Replies   146 146 Retweets   79 79 likes

This brings the total number killed by airstrikes in the last 10 days throughout Yemen to 109, according to the UN.

“These incidents prove the complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led Coalition, continue to show in this absurd war that has only resulted in the destruction of the country and the incommensurate suffering of its people, who are being punished as part of a futile military campaign by both sides," the statement said.

The UN also urged the parties to the conflict to “spare civilians and civilian infrastructure and to always distinguish between civilian and military objects” and emphasized the futility of pursuing a military solution.

rt.com/news/414425-saudi-airstrikes-kills-yemeni-civilians/

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Arab Parliament Called on to Block Israel’s Bid for Security Council Seat

Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:45

The Committee discussed as well other issues including US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian areas as well as Israeli detention of Palestinian minors, WAFA reported.

It called on the head of the Arab Parliament to follow up on Israeli violations against the Palestinian people with the UN Secretary General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001438

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Yemenis Turn to Rubbish Dumps for Food Amid Saudi War, Blockade

Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:24

The Saudi-led coalition has imposed a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen under the pretext of blocking alleged arms supplies to the Ansarullah fighters. The siege, however, has caused severe shortages of food and medicine, endangering the lives of millions of aid-reliant Yemeni citizens, World News reported.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 15,300 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia's deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.

The cholera outbreak in Yemen which began in April, has also claimed over 2,200 lives and has infected about one million people, as the nation has been suffering from what the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as the “largest epidemic in the world” amid a non-stop bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia. Also Riyadh's deadly campaign prevented the patients from traveling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.

According to reports, the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which is the subject of a Saudi Arabian war and total embargo, is the largest recorded in modern history.

Aid officials have also warned of the spread of diphtheria in war-torn Yemen, as WHO and officials with the international medical charity Doctors Without Border, announced that the diphtheria spread is inevitable in Yemen due to low vaccination rates, lack of access to medical care and so many people moving around and coming in contact with those infected.

The United Nations had described the current level of hunger in Yemen as “unprecedented,” emphasizing that 17 million people are now food insecure in the country.

A recent survey showed that almost one third of families have gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consume foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat, while the humanitarian food aid is reaching only a third of Yemen’s population.

Aid agency CARE also declared that more than 22 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian aid, 7 million people face famine-like conditions.

More than 3 million pregnant and nursing women and children under 5 need support to prevent or cure malnutrition.

The United Nations has also warned that 8.4 million people in war-torn Yemen are “a step away from famine”, as Saudi Arabia and its allies are ceaselessly pounding the impoverished country.

"The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, shelter and nutrition support," Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said in a statement on Monday.

"The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines, dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help," he added.

The United Nations had warned that millions of people will die in Yemen, in what will be the world's worst famine crisis in decades, unless the Saudi-led military coalition ends its devastating blockade and allows aid into the country.

Aid agency CARE warned, as the country marks 1,000 days since conflict began, Yemen risks sliding into famine and further disease outbreaks unless all the country’s ports are fully reopened.

“The situation is appalling,” CARE’s Country Director in Yemen Johan Mooij said, adding that “Today millions of Yemenis are facing multiple crises of war, hunger, disease outbreaks and recent blockades on fuel and commercial imports”, Reliefweb reported.

Mooij stressed that while some land, sea and air ports had recently reopened, the country’s main ports remained closed to commercial imports.

International aid agency Oxfam warned that Yemen was pushed ever closer to famine after 1,000 days of a brutal war, exacerbated by a crippling blockade of its key ports which is starving its people of food, fuel and medicine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that on average, some 5,000 people were falling ill daily, with children under 15 accounting for 41 percent of all suspected cases while people over 60 represented 30 percent of fatalities. Currently, a child under the age of 5 dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) described the war in Yemen as a “war on children”, given the extensive damage that the conflict has caused to children in Yemen.

It also stressed that 2017 was the worst year for the children in Yemen.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also pointed to massive starvation across Yemen on its Twitter page, warning that “Yemen is starving to death.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961006001334

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Jamaat victory in Dir LG by-polls stayed over disenfranchisement

Waseem Ahmad ShahDecember 28, 2017

PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench has issued a stay order temporarily stopping the Election Commission of Pakistan from notifying the Jamaat-i-Islami candidate’s victory in the recent by-elections for a tehsil council seat from Shahikhel area in Lower Dir district over the alleged disenfranchisement of women.

Justice Arshad Ali issued notices to the respondents, including the chief election commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial election commissioner and the successful candidate, Gul Hakeem Khan, asking them to file written replies to the petition against the alleged denial of voting right to women in the Dec 21 by-polls.

The bench fixed for Dec 29 (Friday) the next hearing into the petition jointly filed by by-election candidates InayaturRehman, Dilawar Khan, Manzoor Ahmad, FazalWahab and Hisamuddin, and women voters Bakhtmina, BaitulMiraj, HaseenZeba, Khaest Begum and Miraj Bibi.

Candidates, voters had moved PHC alleging women were barred from casting vote

It also asked the ECP not to notify the winning candidate’s name until the next hearing.

The petitioners requested the court to declare the election of tehsil councillor in union council and ward Shahikhel held on Dec 21 void and illegal and order the holding of re-election.

The respondents in the petition are the chief election commissioner; provincial election commissioner; returning officer for the by-elections Gul Hakim Khan; provincial finance minister Muzaffar Said, and Timergara tehsil nazimRiaz Khan.

In some tehsil councils of Upper and Lower Dir districts, women didn’t cast votes resulting into a public outcry with the civil society groups demanding of the ECP to declare the by-polls void.

The petitioners’ counsel, Muzzamil Khan, said ahead of the by-polls, finance minister Muzaffar Said had begun pre-poll rigging for his party’s candidate, Gul Hakim, and launched Rs300 million worth of development works in the area.

He added that cash payment was also made to the voters in the said locality and as such, the entire by-election was manipulated.

Muzzamil Khan claimed that on the day of polling when women voters came to the polling station, only two of them managed to make their way inside, whereas other women were stopped from stepping in.

He added that the doors of polling stations were closed by local nazimFazalQadir and Jamaat candidate Gul Hakim.

The lawyer said the two women voters, who had entered the polling station, were detained there for some time before being allowed to leave from the back door.

He said four of the petitioners, who were candidates, had repeatedly requested the local administration to ensure voting by women, but to no avail.

The lawyer said the right to vote was an inalienable right of every citizen of the country whether it was general elections or local body elections and that the Elections Act 2017 recently enacted in this regard was applicable to all polls.

He said Section 9 of that law provided that if the turnout of women voters was less than 10 per cent of the total votes polled during elections in a constituency, the Election Commission of Pakistan might presume that women voters were restrained from casting votes through an agreement and therefore, it might declare polling at one or more polling stations or across the constituency void.

The lawyer Gul Hakim of the Jamaat-i-Islami was actively involved in stopping women voters through his agents along with the nazim of Shahikhel and local administration and that as such, he had practically manipulated votes inside the polling station, which warranted the high court’s intervention for necessary action.

dawn.com/news/1379290/jamaat-victory-in-dir-lg-by-polls-stayed-over-disenfranchisement

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Paramilitary troops repulse Islamic State attack on Iraqi-Syrian borders

Dec 28, 2017, 2:10 pm | Nehal Mustafa

 Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have repulsed an attack by Islamic State militants on borders between Iraq and Syria, the media service said.

In a brief statement, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said troops of the first brigade repelled on Thursday an attack by IS members and burnt their vehicle in south of Tal Sufuk region, on Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Despite declaring the victory over IS in Mosul, the group’s former bastion in Iraq, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared, in July, victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016.

Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Since then, forces took back the group’s former capital, Mosul, the town of Tal Afar, Kirkuk’s Hawija, and each of Annah, Rawa and Qaim in Anbar.

The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people. Thousands of others fled toward neighboring countries including Syria, Turkey and other European countries, since IS emerged to proclaim its self-styled “caliphate”.

iraqinews.com/features/paramilitary-troops-repulse-islamic-state-attack-iraqi-syrian-borders/

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Senior Pakistani Taliban leader blown by own explosives in Kunar province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Dec 28 2017

A senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was killed in an explosion triggered by own explosives in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Army said the Taliban leader Jan Wali who was also famous as Ahmad Sheena was killed in Shaltan district on Wednesday.

A statement by Silab Corps said Sheena was killed as a number of insurgents were busy planting roadside bombs and one of them went off prematurely, leaving the senior Taliban leader dead.

The Silab Corps further added that the enemies of Afghanistan have lost the capabilities to confront the security forces in the battlefield and therefore they are attempting to harm the peopel by placing IEDs on the roadsides.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

In the meantime, the local reports in Pakistan say Sheena was a dangerous terrorist affiliated with the TTP and was shot dead by unknown gunmen.

According to the Pakistani officials quoted by the local media outlets, Sheena was involved in multiple acts of terrorism and wanted in various cases.

khaama.com/senior-pakistani-taliban-leader-blown-by-own-explosives-in-kunar-province-04142

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It is time that Afghanistan and the US do more for Pakistan: DG ISPR

Dawn.comUpdated December 28, 2017

"It is time Afghanistan and the US do more for Pakistan," Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor remarked on Thursday while addressing a press briefing on the national and regional security situation.

Referring to the United States' (US) demands to act against the alleged presence of terrorist elements in Pakistan, Maj Gen Ghafoor clarified again that: "No organised infrastructure of any banned organisation is present in Pakistan. We have fought an imposed and imported war twice in Pakistan and now we cannot do any more for anyone."

"Whatever we are doing, and we will do, is solely for the people of Pakistan. The aid we received (from the US) was reimbursement for the support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda. Had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaeda," he added.

"There are no facilitators [of terrorist groups] in Pakistan and we have gone a long way towards supporting peace in the region," Maj Gen Ghafoor insisted, reiterating Pakistan's stance on the US's repetitive demand for the country to "do more".

Discussing measures taken by Pakistan to stop cross-border infiltration of terrorists, Ghafoor said: "We have started the construction of forts and posts on the Afghan border for effective border management — what more does the US and Afghanistan want from us?"

"No country is more interested in Afghan peace than us, as we know that peace there [Afghanistan] means peace in Pakistan," the DG ISPR stressing, adding that the US needs to check India's role in the Afghan region.

"No amount of coercion can work — it is only trust-based cooperation that can bring enduring peace to the region," he said

"What kind of friends are we that we are being given notices [by the US]?" he asked, adding that while Pakistan Army was willing to work with its friends, it cannot compromise on its respect.

Moving on to the Indian army's recent claims that it infiltrated Pakistan's borders, Maj Gen Ghafoor said: "India recently claimed that 10 of their soldiers came in Pakistan's territory and killed Pakistani soldiers. But this is all false propaganda for their domestic audience to take the focus off the effective political struggle they are facing for Kashmir's freedom."

"You cannot lure us into such unprofessional undertakings," the DG ISPR said.

He also thanked all media outlets for not giving in to Indian propaganda and running the "false" story regarding Indian infiltration into Pakistan.

Regarding India's complaints on KulbushanJadhav's meeting with his mother and wife, Maj Gen Ghafoor said: "India always looks to reduce the relevance of any gestures that Pakistan makes. However, every effort that anti-Pakistan elements make, we will counter."

"The Foreign Office has given a detailed response [to the Indian accusations]. Even if we do something as a good gesture, the Indian media will colour it in a negative light. We allowed Jadhav to meet his family as a responsible state — if we were irresponsible, we would have given in to Indian pressure and allowed consular access to him," the DG ISPR said.

He concluded: "This will not impact the case at all."

Talking about the army's presence on the borders, "We have fought well on western borders despite the threats that linger on the eastern border, but danger has not subsided yet."

"When we started action in Fata, the troublemakers turned to Balochistan," he observed.

"[However,] the army took the situation in Balochistan into account and the army chief presented the KhushalBalochistan programme on November 15," he said.

He added that the purpose of the programme was to provide resources to help speed up development, provide security, carry out action against terrorism, and cleanse the region of separatist elements.

"As a result of the programme, over 2,000 Baloch nationalists have given up their arms," he stated.

While answering a question regarding Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif's continuous tirade against the armed forces, Maj Gen Ghafoor said, "We will maintain our silence on the matter as Pakistan's armed forces are well aware of the threats and challenges we are facing and our achievements against them; thus we will not be distracted."

He added: "Political activity is ongoing. It is for the people to decide for themselves if there is a conspiracy in the country, and if they believe there is one, they should tell us what it is."

Discussing Minister for Railway SaadRafique's remarks regarding junior officers' apparent lack of commitment to the army chief's orders, the DG ISPR said, "The statement was extremely irresponsible and unwarranted, as it targets the chain of command. The Pakistan Army is a disciplined institution and the army chief's orders are followed without question."

He added: "The army takes pride in its discipline. These remarks should not have been made."

When asked about former president Pervez Musharraf's recent statements regarding "rogue elements" being responsible for Benazir's death, the army spokesman said, "I am the spokesperson for the sitting army chief and the media should ask Musharraf to defend his own statements. As of now, I can say that there are no rogue elements within the Pakistan Army."

dawn.com/news/1379345/it-is-time-that-afghanistan-and-the-us-do-more-for-pakistan-dg-ispr

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One police volunteer killed, two injured as assailants open fire in Rawalpindi

Tahir NaseerDecember 28, 2017

One police volunteer was killed and two constables were injured when three men on a motorcycle opened fire upon being asked to stop at a check post in Rawalpindi's DhokeHassu area in the early hours on Thursday.

While talking to DawnNews, City Police Officer (CPO) IsrarAbbasi said that the check post had been established to to prevent crimes in the area. The officials stopped the motorcycle over suspicion after which the assailants opened fire.

Police officials said two bullets in the abdomen proved fatal for volunteer Shamsher while three bullets each hit constables Sajid and Makhdoom on their legs. They said Shamsherhad four daughters and a son. His body has been handed over to his family following postmortem examination.

RattaAmral Police said the assailants were aged between 25 and 35 years and their sketches were being prepared while CCTV cameras were also being used to identify the attackers.

CPO Abbasi further stated that a first information report (FIR) of the incident has been registered and a police team has been tasked with arresting the accused.

dawn.com/news/1379333/one-police-volunteer-killed-two-injured-as-assailants-open-fire-in-rawalpindi

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Southeast Asia

Christmas Largely Peaceful in Muslim-majority Indonesia

December 28, 2017 5:08  |KrithikaVaragur

JAKARTA, INDONESIA —

The former Chinese Christian governor of Jakarta got an unusual Christmas present: a 15-day reduction on his two-year prison term. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was imprisoned in May for blasphemy for allegedly insulting the Quran while campaigning in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election. He lost the election in April and was sentenced shortly afterward.

His sentence was slightly commuted, along with 9,000 other Christian prisoners in Indonesia, as part of a policy that rewards inmates for good conduct on Indonesian independence day and major religious holidays. Those who have served at least six months in jail are eligible for sentence reductions. It’s reportedly a cost-saving measure for the country’s overcrowded jails.

Ahok’s Christmas present was the biggest piece of news from the holiday week in the world’s largest Muslim country, which was peaceful overall despite some unrest in the days leading up to the Christian holiday.

Indonesia typically increases security measures in December in case of unrest or terror attacks; this year it deployed 180,000 security personnel, an increase from last year’s 150,000. Heightened security is in place until January 3, according to the Home Affairs Ministry, and includes preparing 24-hour community health clinics and hospitals.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo posted a Christmas greeting on Twitter, writing, “To all Christians in Indonesia, I wish you a Merry Christmas. The country’s religious diversity is a blessing for us all.” The heads of the national police and the Indonesian military also visited Jakarta Cathedral at its midnight Christmas mass.

Minor unrest

The only major Christmas-related protest took place in Aceh, an ultraconservative province in Western Indonesia ruled by sharia law. On December 20, militant Islamists protested at the capital of Banda Aceh against Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, in hopes of prompting a fatwa against those holidays from the local clerics.

“There are no Christmas signs at all there this year,” said Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher with Human Rights Watch. “It is more repressive than in previous years.”

There are about 50,000 Christians in Aceh, but they have kept their celebrations quiet in recent years. Nine churches in the province were demolished in 2016 because of building code violations.

Bakery wars

Another controversy came from the port city of Makassar, in South Sulawesi, when a bakery refused to make a “Merry Christmas” cake for a longtime customer, citing religious principles.

The Chocolicious bakery offered an apology on social media, writing, “It’s not that we do not appreciate anyone’s religion. But with all due respect this is how we must act based on the principles of our religion. Once again we apologize with most sincere hearts and mutual respect as fellow Indonesians.”

The incident, an interesting parallel to bakery-related culture clash in the U.S., elicited a critical op-ed from the Jakarta Post, and a mix of approving and disapproving commentary from Indonesian citizens.

Interfaith initiatives

Although Indonesia is often depicted as being on the verge of sectarian breakdown, the pendulum of tolerance typically swings back following periods of unrest, like that of the Jakarta election. Since then, the government has cracked down on hard-line Islamist groups and the Constitutional Court has made some progressive rulings, including one on religious tolerance that allows citizens to list indigenous faiths on their national ID cards.

This year, as in previous years, members of NahdlatulUlama, the Indonesian Sunni group that is the world’s largest Muslim organization, guarded churches on Christmas in what has become an annual interfaith tradition. Ansor, NU’s youth “militia” wing, mobilized 2 million members across Indonesia, said YaqutCholilQoumas, chairman of Ansor.

“Ansor did this because of the belief that taking care of the church is the same as taking care of Indonesia,” Qoumas said. “Ansor realized [decades ago] that Indonesia could not be independent without the struggle of people of all religions, including Christians. In Indonesia’s history, many heroes have been Christian. … Now, as the majority, in Ansor’s opinion, Muslims must protect the minority in their worship. … Maintaining diversity is Indonesia’s strength.”

“This year’s Christmas celebrations were no different from those of recent years,” said Bonar TigorNaipospos of the Setara Institute, a religious affairs think tank. “Safe and orderly.”

voanews.com/a/christmas-muslim-majority-indonesia/4182404.html

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Myanmar Court Extends Detention of Two Reuters Journalists over Rohingya Reporting

Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:52

Judge OhnMyint extended the remand period for Wa Lone, 31, and KyawSoeOo, 27, until January 10, telling the court "the interrogation is still ongoing", World News reported.

The journalists, U Wa Lone, 31, and U KyawSoeOo, 27, were arrested while reporting on Rakhine State, where Myanmar’s military has taken part in a campaign of killings, rape and arson that has sent over 655,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh.

The two were first arrested December 12 and ordered to be held for two weeks as prosecutors investigate allegations that they acquired "important secret papers" from two policemen. They were charged with violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act, a broad colonial-era law that carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Wa Lone and KyawSoeOo appeared briefly in court in Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital, on Wednesday, as they were allowed to meet their families for the first time since their arrests.

The arrests came just weeks after a judge sentenced two other foreign journalists, their interpreter and their driver to two months in prison on charges of filming with a drone without official permission.

US, European Union and UN officials were among those calling for the journalists to be released.

More than 655,000 of Myanmar's Muslim minority have fled across the border to Bangladesh since late August when the Myanmar army launched a sweeping crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Northern Rakhine state.

The UN has already described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world, calling the situation in Rakhine similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The Myanmarese government, however, denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya people and has even rejected UN criticism for its “politicization and partiality.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ZeidRa‘ad al-Hussein stressed that attacks on the Rohingya had been “well thought out and planned” and he had asked Myanmar’s de facto leader to do more to stop the military atrocities.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961007000503

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India

I Thank Allah, Others for Supporting The Bill: AIMWPLB Chief

Updated: Dec 28, 2017 16:16 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 28 (ANI): All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) president Shaista Amber on Thursday welcomed the Triple Talaq Bill proposed in parliament.

She thanked the government for the initiative which will improve the living standards of Muslim women in the country.

"On this historical day, I thank Allah and the government, the Supreme Court, the Law Commission of India and all the parliamentarians who took necessary measures for Muslim women," said Amber.

She also claimed that the day was a very big and important one for all those women who have been oppressed by the evil practice and who have been banging doors for justice.

Earlier in the day, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad proposed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq, in Lok Sabha.

"This law is for women's rights and justice and not regarding any prayer, ritual or religion," Prasad said while tabling the Bill for debate amid noisy scenes from those opposed to it.

However, several from the opposition, including All India Majlis-e-IttehadulMuslimeen (AIMIM) president AsaduddinOwaisi and BJD MP BhartruhariMahtab, contended that it violated fundamental rights and was flawed.

Taking a dig at those opposing the bill, Amber questioned, "What had they done for our rights?"

The Bill draft says "any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal".

There is also a provision of imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and fine for violators.

The draft bill also envisages entitling divorcee Muslim women for maintenance and has a provision for them to have the custody of their minor children. The offenses under the purview of this bill will be cognisable and non-bailable.

The Bill shall extend to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.

It, has, however, been opposed by the AIMPLB, which requested the Central Government on Sunday to withdraw and withhold the bill, claiming that it is against women and children, and if implemented, would destroy many families.

Earlier in August, the Supreme Court had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is "void", "illegal" and "unconstitutional". (ANI)

aninews.in/news/national/general-news/i-thank-allah-others-for-supporting-the-bill-aimwplb-chief201712281614540004/

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'Pakistan Made Jadhav's Wife, Mother Appear As Widows To Him', Says Sushma Swaraj In Parliament

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Dec 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: "Pakistan made KulbhushanJadhav's wife and mother appear as widows to him, by forcing them to take off their mangalsutra, bindi and bangles," said Union minister Sushma Swaraj today in her report to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, about the hostile and humiliating meeting on Christmas day.

Pak foreign ministry ‘thanks’ journos for heckling Jadhav’s wife and mother?

This was done deliberately, said Swaraj, and was part of the condemnable intimidation by Pakistan of Jadhav's wife and mother. The external affairs minister also called "an absurdity beyond measure", Pakistan's allegation that there was a chip or a camera in Jadhav's wife Chetankul's shoes.

"Thank God they didn't say that there was a bomb in her shoes," exclaimed the minister.

How KulbhushanJadhav's mother foiled Pakistan's crooked plan

On Monday, the ministry of external affairs external affairs minister revealed details of the Christmas day meeting of Jadhav - who's on death row in Pakistan for alleged espionage - with his wife and his mother. The ministry detailed the hours of humiliation faced by Avanti Jadhav and ChetnakulJadhav, the mother and wife, respectively, of Jadhav.

Swaraj also told the Rajya Sabha today that she spoke with Jadhav's mother Avanti this morning and she explained, her voice choking with tears, how they made her remove her "suhaagkinishani", or "symbols of marriage".

"I begged them saying I've never taken off mangalsutra ever, but they said I have to," said Jadhav's mother to Swaraj, the minister recounted.

"The first thing Kulbhushan said to me, when I went in to meet him is 'How is baba', because he thought something had happened when he saw me without mangalsutra, bindi and bangles," Avanti explained to Swaraj.

"A meeting of a mother with her son and a wife with her husband was turned into a propaganda tool by Pakistan," said Swaraj as she mentioned the further humiliation of Avanti by Pakistani officials.

"She (Avanti) wears only saree and she was forced to wear salwar kurta, this was insulting," explained Swaraj to the House, as it erupted with cries of "shame, shame".

Jadhav's wife and mother were both forced to change their clothes.

"The meeting was started in absence of the Deputy High Commissioner, if he would have seen how clothes of the family members were changed, he would have registered protest there and then," explained Swaraj in the Lok Sabha.

As for Pakistan confiscating the footwear of Jadhav's wife Chetnakul, because "there was something in it", Swaraj ridiculed it as an "absurd" allegation.

"She went on two international flights wearing that footwear, none of them found a recorder or a camera like Pakistan is alleging at different times. How is it possible that airlines' extensive safety checks didn't find these things?" asked Swaraj.

"Now they're spreading such lies, like we knew they would, like we suspected they would when they confiscated the shoes. This is an absurdity beyond measure," said Swaraj.

The minister also called Pakistan's actions with the shoes an "act of cruelty".

"If for security reasons she was made to take off shoes, they should have returned them when she was leaving but no, they had to commit some sort of cruelty," said Swaraj.

The minister reiterated what an MEA spokesman revealed on Monday, about Pakistan breaking an agreement with India to shield the Jadhav family members from the media.

"It was specifically agreed upon by both sides that media will not be allowed to come close to the family but Pakistani press not only came close to them but also harassed them and hurled taunts at them," said Swaraj.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-made-jadhavs-wife-mother-appear-as-widows-to-him-says-sushma-swaraj-in-rajya-sabha/articleshow/62277976.cms

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How Kulbhushan Jadhav's Mother Foiled Pakistan's Crooked Plan

TNN | Updated: Dec 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: "But why are you saying all this? You were doing business in Iran from where you were abducted. You must tell the truth," an angry Avanti Jadhav interrupted her son Kulbhushan Jadhav on Monday when she and daughter-in-law Chetna were brought face-to-face with the Indian national held in Pakistan.

Live updates: Sushma Swaraj addresses Rajya Sabha on Pak treatment of Jadhavs

Jadhav had bizarrely greeted the two women by acknowledging that he was, as alleged by Pakistan and contested by India, indeed an Indian spy and had engineered a spate of terror attacks. Speaking as if he was programmed, Jadhav went on to regurgitate the details of Pakistan's sprawling charge-sheet against him.

Read also: At long last, KulbhushanJadhav gets to meet his wife and mother, but from behind a glass barrier

His remarks were so out of place in terms of reactions that might be expected on meeting his family after 22 months of captivity, they struck his mother as too surreal to digest. The 70-year-old woman managed to summon, despite being in an intimidating setting with Pakistani officers watching, the resolve to tell her son not to parrot the script handed to him by his captors - Pakistan Army-ISI.

Avanti's courage may have put a spanner in the works of Pakistanis who had planned, sources here suspect, to use the recording of Jadhav's "confession" to his wife and mother about him being a terrorist, to bolster their narrative against him and India.

The intervention also validated India's decision to insist that Jadhav's mother accompany wife Chetna. Pakistan had initially given a visa only to Chetna but relented when India pressed that mother Avanti should also be allowed access.

Read also: Shoes of Kulbhushan Jadhav's wife contained metal object, says Pakistan

The Indian side fears that Pakistan could still leak doctored versions of Jadhav's conversation with the women, but is relieved that Avanti's fortitude interrupted the plan and would force Islamabad to do a "scissor-and-paste" job.

Avanti's presence also ensured that Jadhav's wife retained her calm in the coercive atmosphere in which the meeting took place.

India was wary of what Pakistan might do during the meeting, and its fears were confirmed when the diplomat who was to accompany Avanti and Chetna from India was denied visa.

After the meeting, Avanti and Chetna were left exposed to a bullying bunch of Pakistani journalists. This was in complete contravention of an understanding on how the meeting was to be conducted.

In fact, India's deputy high commissioner J P Singh almost lost his cool when the vehicle to take them away took inordinately long to reach. Suspecting that it was a ploy to make them walk to a point where they would have been precariously close to the pack of hostile journalists, an exasperated Singh could be seen throwing up his hands in anger.

On Thursday, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to dwell on Pakistan's hostile conduct.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/how-kulbhushan-jadhavs-mother-foiled-pakistans-crooked-plan/articleshow/62274347.cms

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South Asia

At least 40 killed in attack on cultural centre in Kabul

AFPUpdated December 28, 2017

At least 40 people were killed and dozens more wounded in multiple blasts at a Shia cultural centre in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, in the latest deadly violence to hit the Afghan capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban was quick to deny involvement in the assault near the Afghan Voice Agency, a media outlet which earlier reports had suggested could have been the target.

Deputy interior ministry spokesman NasratRahimi told AFP the blasts were in fact aimed at the Shia Tabayan cultural centre.

“A ceremony was being held to mark the 38th anniversary of Soviet invasion in Afghanistan when the explosion went off,” he said.

“We have 40 killed, 30 wounded, but this is not the final toll. It might go up.” Rahimi said the main blast was followed by two smaller bomb explosions that did not cause casualties.

Kabul has become one of the deadliest places in war-torn Afghanistan for civilians in recent months, as the Taliban step up their attacks and the militant Islamic State group seeks to expand its presence in the country.

Friday's assault comes days after a suicide bomber killed six civilians in an attack near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the city, which was claimed by IS.

The militant group has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015 and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country's Shia minority.

A hospital official told local TV that 18 wounded had been brought to his facility.

“Five of the wounded are in critical condition and our doctors are working to save their lives,” Sabir Nasib, head of Istiqlal hospital, said.

A man attending the anniversary ceremony said he heard a “big boom”.

“We do not know the numbers (of casualties). When the explosion happened we immediately fled,” he told Tolo News.

Mohammad Hasan Rezayee, a university student also at the ceremony, told Tolo News he had suffered burns to his face in the blast.

“After the blast there was fire and smoke inside the building and everyone was pleading for help,” he said.

Photos posted on Afghan Voice Agency's Facebook page showed the inside of a compound with debris and bodies lying on the ground.

Security in the city has been ramped up since May 31 when a massive truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing some 150 people and wounding around 400 others — mostly civilians.

Afghan media has previously been targeted by militants, underlying the risks faced by journalists in the war-torn country.

In November an attack on Afghan broadcaster Shamshad TV in Kabul, claimed by the Islamic State group, left at least one person dead and two dozen others wounded.

dawn.com/news/1379336/at-least-40-killed-in-attack-on-cultural-centre-in-kabul

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Islamic State claims blasts at Afghan Shi'ite center, news agency that kill dozens

December 28, 2017 / 12:02 PM / Updated 24 minutes ago

KABUL (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Shi‘ite cultural center and news agency on Thursday in the Afghan capital that killed dozens of people attending a conference.

Ismail Kawosi, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, said 41 people had been killed and 48 wounded in the latest in a series of attacks on media organizations in Kabul.

The attack, which involved at least three explosions, occurred during a morning panel discussion on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Sunni-majority Afghanistan at the Tabian Social and Cultural Centre, with many of those attending students, witnesses said.

It was also the latest in a series of attacks on Shi‘ite targets by Islamic State, which claimed responsibility in an online statement.

The floors of the center, at the basement level, were covered in blood as wailing survivors and relatives picked through the debris, while windows of the news agency, on the second floor, were all shattered.

People running outside into the compound following an initial blast inside were caught by two further explosions which caused heavy casualties, witnesses said.

Photographs sent by witnesses showed serious damage at the building, in a heavily Shi‘ite area in the west of the capital, and a number of dead and wounded on the ground.

Deputy Health Minister Feda Mohammad Paikan said 35 bodies had been brought into the nearby Istiqlal hospital. Television pictures showed many of the injured suffered serious burns.

President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman issued a statement calling the attack an “unpardonable” crime against humanity and pledging to destroy terrorist groups.

Taliban spokesman ZabihullahMujahid issued a statement on Twitter denying involvement.

The bloodshed follows an attack on a private television station in Kabul last month, which was also claimed by Islamic State.

Backed by the heaviest U.S. air strikes since the height of the international combat mission in Afghanistan, Afghan forces have forced the Taliban back in many areas and prevented any major urban center from falling into the hands of insurgents.

But high-profile attacks in the big cities have continued as militants have looked for other ways to make an impact and undermine confidence in security. Islamic State, which is opposed to both the Taliban and the Western-backed government, has claimed a growing share of such attacks.

reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-blast/islamic-state-claims-blasts-at-afghan-shiite-center-news-agency-that-kill-dozens-idUSKBN1EM0F5?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

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Ghani orders probe into deadly Kabul attack left almost 40 dead

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Dec 28 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has ordered the relevant government officials to launch an immediate probe into the deadly Kabul attack that left at least 40 people dead.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the relevant authorities have been instructed to launch a probe in a bid to find the circumstances surrounding the incident and help the victims of the incident.

President Ghani condemned the attack in the strongest words as he offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack, the statement said.

ARG Palace in its statement also added that the terrorist groups must understand that the Afghan people are committed more than any other time to stand with the Afghan government as they are aware of the conspiracies of the enemies of the country.

The Afghan government reiterated that a clear strategy and will exists for the elimination of the terror groups as the Afghan forces are busy conducting operations against the terror groups across the country.

The Ministry of Interior says at least 40 people have been killed and around 31 others have sustained injuries in the attack.

However, another security official says the attack has likely left over 40 dead and around 100 others wounded.

The official further added that three back to back explosions took place in the area and it is believed two of the explosions were triggered by suicide bombers

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack which takes place days after a similar attack left nearly 9 people dead in ShashDarak diplomatic area of the city.

khaama.com/ghani-orders-probe-into-deadly-kabul-attack-left-almost-40-dead-04144

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NATO condemns Kabul attack as death toll rises 40 people

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Dec 28 2017

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan condemned the deadly attack on a cultural and media organization in Kabul that left nearly 40 people dead.

Resolute Support spokesman Lt. Col. Kone Faulkner said “Resolute Support condemns the heinous attack on the Tebyan Social and Cultural Center and the Afghan Voice Agency.”

Lt. Faulkner further added that cultural advancement and freedom of speech will not be deterred. “Our mutual enemies must know they will not win and the Afghan people will not be silenced.”

The Ministry of Interior says at least 40 people have been killed and around 31 others have sustained injuries in the attack.

However, another security official says the attack has likely left over 40 dead and around 100 others wounded.

The official further added that three back to back explosions took place in the area and it is believed two of the explosions were triggered by suicide bombers

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack which takes place days after a similar attack left nearly 9 people dead in ShashDarak diplomatic area of the city.

khaama.com/nato-condemns-kabul-attack-as-death-toll-rises-40-people-04143

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Six children killed in an explosion in Balkh province of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Dec 28 2017

At least six children were killed in an explosion in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan as the local officials are saying that the blast was triggered by a roadside mine explosion.

The incident took place in Dawlatabad district after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted on a roadside went off, targeting the children aged between eight to ten years.

The district administrative chief of Dawlatabad Mohammad Karim confirmed that six children aged eight, nine, and ten years, were killed in the blast.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

The anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.

However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.

At least two Taliban insurgents were killed while planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan nearly three weeks ago.

khaama.com/six-children-killed-in-an-explosion-in-balkh-province-of-afghanistan-04141

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Africa

Banque Misr’s Islamic finances hit 6 bln pounds in FY2016/17

Published Thursday, 28 December 2017 13:07 | Written by Mohamed Hamdy

Egypt’s second-largest state bank, BanqueMisr says its Islamic financing portfolio has grown to 6 billion Egyptian pounds ($336.9 million) for the2016/2017 financial year, from 4 billion pounds the previous year.

The bank’s Islamic branches reached 35 at the end of June, it added in a statement on Wednesday.

en.amwalalghad.com/business/banks/61763-banque-misrs-islamic-finances-hit-6-bln-pounds-in-fy201617.html

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Dubai Customs builds mosque in Niger

Thu 28-12-2017 14:06 PM

DUBAI, 28th December, 2017 (WAM) -- Dubai Customs has concluded the Year of Giving with an agreement with Dar Al Ber Society to build a Martyr Mosque in Niger. The building will be financed from donations of Dubai Customs’ employees, which reflects the UAE community's noble values.

The agreement was signed by Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department of Dubai Customs, and Hisham Ali Al Hashimi, Deputy Executive Director of Dar Al Ber Society.

Under the agreement, Dar Al Ber will carry out the building of the mosque and deliver it in a year and half time to Dubai Customs. The mosque’s will be across an area of 2,500 sq.m. and will have room for 800 worshippers.

Commenting on the agreement, bin Gharib said, "By implementing these initiatives we follow the wise vision of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Values of giving and selflessness are part of the Emirati culture and history, and we are giving this chance to our employees to be part of this noble deed."

Dubai Customs has carried out more than 40 charity and voluntary initiatives that targeted 30,000 people in Dubai. All these initiatives focused on the vision and pillars of the Year of Giving which are social responsibility, volunteering, and serving the nations.

wam.ae/en/details/1395302657064


URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/euro-islam--new-religion-to-break-migrants-in-eu/d/113728


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