New Age Islam
Fri Sep 25 2020, 03:43 PM

Islamic World News ( 28 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

French Jews, Muslims Join Forces to Defend Ritual Slaughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: French Jews, Muslims join forces to defend ritual slaughter

 

NIA Busts Islamic State Module in Hyderabad, Detains 11

34 Per Cent Muslim Children in India Have No Access to Pre-School: UNICEF Report

Ukrainian, Iranian among 36 People Killed In Istanbul Airport Attack: Officials

Nearly 90 ISIS Fighters Killed, Wounded In Nangarhar Clearance Raids: MoD

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Europe

French Jews, Muslims Join Forces to Defend Ritual Slaughter

London Muslim Mayor Wants to ‘Do More to Protect’ Jews

Germany Girds for Potential Spike in Islamic State Attacks in Europe

Luxembourg set to take over London’s Islamic finance hub position in Europe

Anti-Muslim attacks surge in Britain

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India

NIA Busts Islamic State Module in Hyderabad, Detains 11

34 Per Cent Muslim Children in India Have No Access to Pre-School: UNICEF Report

Nirbhaya Rapist Sparks Intel Alert, Police Suspect Juvenile In Touch With Islamic Radicals

‘Muslim-Hater’ Among 3 Held for Quran Sacrilege at Malerkotla, Punjab

Bengal Madrasa Board Wants Vocational Courses

Shiv Sena activists try to disrupt Pak-India cultural exchange event in Mumbai

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Mideast

Ukrainian, Iranian among 36 People Killed In Istanbul Airport Attack: Officials

Terror Shakes Istanbul Hours after Turkey’s Big Diplomatic Campaign to Mend Russia, Israel Ties

2 Soldiers Killed in Separate PKK Attacks in Turkey’s Southeast

Flights begin at Istanbul Atatürk Airport after deadly attacks

US calls on citizens in Istanbul to contact families via social media after terror attack

Turkey to send technical team to Gaza

World condemns terror attack at Istanbul airport

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South Asia

Nearly 90 ISIS Fighters Killed, Wounded In Nangarhar Clearance Raids: MoD

Atmar to Discuss Moscow’s Support to Afghan Forces during Russia Visit

Taliban commander involved in robbery arrested from Charikar city

Ghani calls for joint action against terrorism while condemning Istanbul attack

District chief judge shot dead by gunmen in Kabul city

Bashabo monastery priest gets death threat

Catholics live in in fear in Bonpara after Sunil Gomes’s murder

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Pakistan

Pak Says Will Probe China Decision to Ban Fasting For Muslims in Xinjiang during Ramazan

Pakistan Can't Conquer Kashmir through War: Hina Rabbani Khar

Pak intends to promote friendly relations with Muslim world

Hindu reporter in Pak. asked to drink from separate glass

India stalling dialogue to avoid negotiation on Kashmir: Aziz

‘Pakistan has become isolated and needs to change its foreign policy’

Military officer linked to banned HuT secures early release

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Arab World

Syrian Army, Allies Capture over 60 Percent of Al-Malaah Farms in Aleppo

Syrian Army Smashes Al-Nusra Terrorists across Dara'a Province

Iran's Ex-Deputy FM Warns Regional States against Ties with Israel

ISIL Withdraws from Key Airport near Euphrates River East of Syria

Syrian Artillery Units Shell Terrorist Centers in Darayya

Intense Street Battle Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Darayya

Iran Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Istanbul

Rouhani Stresses Iran's Decisive Defensive Power

29,995 Tons of Polymer Exchanged in Tehran Security Exchange

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Africa

Islamic Movement in Nigeria Will Never Engage In Arms Struggle

Sierra Leone News: Africa Muslim Agency Feeds 15,000 families in Sierra Leone

South Sudan Says New Rebel Group Has Formed; 43 Said Killed

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North America

Donald Trump’s ‘Improved’ Muslim Ban Proposal Still Won’t Stop Terrorists

Sanford Muslim Leader Defends Mosque Visit by Controversial Cleric

American Muslims Show Humanitarian Islam

Witness at Ted Cruz Hearing Accuses Congress’ Two Muslim Members Of Muslim Brotherhood Ties

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Govt to Involve Ex-Terrorists in Renewed De-Radicalization Program

Philippines to let Indonesian military enter its waters to free hostages

New Philippine defence chief says militant threat more pressing than S. China Sea

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/french-jews,-muslims-join-forces-to-defend-ritual-slaughter/d/107802

 

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French Jews, Muslims join forces to defend ritual slaughter

June 29, 2016

French Jews and Muslims announced the formation of a joint commission to defend against attacks on ritual slaughter that one Jewish community leader said is making some Jews question the viability of their futures in France.

The announcement about the establishment of the new body came on June 23 during an joint appearance in the National Assembly, the French parliament, by a Muslim community leader and Joel Mergui, president of the French Consistoire – the community organ responsible for providing religious services. They came to parliament to address lawmakers’ questions about ritual slaughter.

Anouar Kbibech, the president of The French Council of the Muslim Faith, said the joint committee will be “tasked with reviewing and working on the challenges common to both religions” in the face of attempts to limit the custom.

The session in parliament, which is one of several critical discussions on the subject held recently at the National Assembly, was convened at the request of lawmakers following the release of videos showing animal abuse and suffering at slaughterhouses that perform neither shechitah, Jewish ritual slaughter, nor dhabiha, the Muslim variant of the practice. In the framework of reviewing existing practices, lawmakers sought to revisit ritual slaughter at a session to which they invited Merguy and Kbibech.

Religious laws in Islam and Judaism require animals be conscious when their necks are slit, though some religious leaders from both faiths allow stunning immediately after the cut. Judaism has stricter rules on slaughter, including the length and sharpness of the knife. It is usually performed by a shochet, a qualified slaughterer with special equipment. The more liberal approach to slaughter of Muslim communities has made joint lobbying difficult in Europe.

As with the non-medical circumcision of boys, ritual slaughter of animals is facing opposition across the continent by far-right politicians who view it as a foreign element to their culture imported mainly by waves of Muslim immigrants, and by liberals who believe it is inhumane to animals.

Taking aim at the latter argument, Mergui said ritual slaughter in Judaism results statistically in less suffering to animals because, unlike regular slaughter, it is not automated and has lower fail rates.

Shechitah is performed on approximately 200,000 animals annually, constituting 2.2 percent of approximately 9 million animals slaughtered in the country in total, Merguy said.

“Fail rates in slaughter with stunning, which is actually the piercing of the skull before the actual slaughter, range between 17 percent to 20 percent, which means the animals exposed to suffering in non-ritual slaughter techniques practiced today is far greater than the total number of animals slaughtered through shechitah,” which Merguy said “conforms to our society’s concerns on animal welfare.” He said he has come to this conclusion “as a physician and man of science.”

Merguy added that the repeated questioning of the acceptability of shechitah is a relatively new phenomenon that compounds how some Jews are questioning the viability of living in France because of rising levels of anti-Semitic violence.

“Defending kosher slaughter didn’t used to be a priority for the Jewish community,” Merguy said, adding that now it is the second-most important priority after providing security for members. “French Jews are questioning their future in France in light of the events that hit the Jewish community,” he said of the slaying of eight people since 2012 in two shootings by Islamists, “and the issue of religious freedoms, like the one we’re here to discuss.”

Without kosher food, Merguy said, “there is no future for a Jewish community in any given country.” The fact that French Jews know that they are “regularly questioned on this issue,” coupled with security threats, “creates certain behaviors and makes some Jews want to leave France.”

israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214218#.V3OlANJ97IU

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NIA busts Islamic State module in Hyderabad, detains 11

June 28, 2016

The National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Wednesday busted an Islamic State module in Hyderabad based on inputs from Intelligence Bureau (IB), reported CNN-News 18. According to ANI, 11 people linked to the terror outfit have been detained so far.

“Raids are going on at three to four places in the old city are. NIA is doing it. The local police is assisting them. Searches are being conducted over some suspected terror activities that were planned to be carried out in the city,”  The Finincial Express quoted a senior intelligence officer as saying.

In major anti-terror swoop across the country ahead of the Republic Day this year, the NIA had taken into custody 14 suspected  Islamic State sympathisers.

According to Firstpost, in November 2015, a report prepared by the intelligence agencies revealed that the 150 people, mostly from South India, are believed to be attracted to the IS and sympathetic to the group's activities.

Over the past couple of years, the IS — despite having no presence in the Indian subcontinent — has acted as a strong luring factor for the youth.

The NIA raids come at a time when advocates and lawyers have intensified a strike that has been on for over three weeks, reported Deccan Chronicle.

Prohibitory orders are in place in the entire area and search operations are still going on.

firstpost.com/india/nia-busts-islamic-state-module-in-hyderabad-11-detained-so-far-2862012.html

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34 per cent Muslim children in India have no access to pre-school: UNICEF report

June 28, 2016

Out of 74 million children, in the group of 3-6 years in India, around 20 million did not attend pre-school and most of them belonged to disadvantaged and marginalised sections of the society, a UNICEF report said on Tuesday.

According to “State of the World Children Report-2016”, released globally by UNICEF, around 34 per cent children from Muslim families, 25.9 per cent from Hindu families and 25.6 per cent from Christian families did not attend pre-school.

“Lack of access to pre-school education has a long-term impact on learning capabilities of a child. It is a continuum.

When children enter primary school without going to pre-school they are likely to drop early and will not be able to fulfill their potential,” UNICEF India representative Louis-Georges Arsenault said while releasing the report.

According to the government’s National Survey for Estimation of Out-of-School Children conducted in 2014, more than 60 per cent of children dropped out before completing grade 3, he added.

The study also found that implementation of Right To Education (RTE) Act has led to a drop in the number of out-of-school children, aged 6-13 years, to six million in 2014 from eight million in 2009.

However, 36 per cent of children drop out before completing elementary education and about half of them are from marginalised and deprived groups, it said.

Highlighting lack of quality education, the report citing the National Achievement Survey (2014), said “less than half of Class V students correctly answered reading comprehension and mathematics question posed to them.”

Expressing the hope that the new education policy will address these lacunae, Arsenault said “New Education policy with its vision for India as a knowledge superpower really calls for building the goal of Right To Education Act and moving beyond elementary education and extending it to include pre-schooling and also competition in secondary education.”

Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, HRD Ministry, S C Khuntia said “we are formulating a new education policy and have formed a committee in the ministry to look into these issues.”

Apart from education, the UNICEF study also pointed at rise in numbers of neo-natal deaths (probability of dying during the first 28 days of life) in 2015 in India, which accounted for 45 per cent of total child mortality.

The report suggests that this can be addressed by ensuring maternal educational, which contributes to a child’s chances of survival.

“Across much of south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children with mothers who received no education are almost three times as likely to die before age of 5 as children of mothers with secondary education.

“Education enables women to delay and space births, secure access to maternal and child health care and seek treatment for children when they fall ill. If all mothers achieved secondary education, there would be 1.3 million fewer annual deaths of children under age 5 in South Asia,” it said.

The report also stressed that poverty was a huge obstacle in ensuring literacy among women as marriage often cuts short their pursuit for education.

“Girls from the poorest households–-and those living in rural areas-–face twice the risk of being married before turning 18 as girls from the richest households or those living in urban areas.

“With no progress, almost 950 million women will have been married as children by 2030, up from more than 700 million today. And by 2050, almost half of the world’s child brides will be African,” it said.

indianexpress.com/article/education/34-per-cent-muslim-children-have-no-access-to-pre-school-unicef-report-2881978/

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Ukrainian, Iranian among 36 people killed in Istanbul airport attack: Officials

June 29, 2016

One Ukrainian and one Iranian citizen were among 36 people killed by three suicide bombers in an attack at Istanbul's Atatürk airport on June 28 night blamed on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, officials from the two countries said on June 29.

Around 150 people were wounded in the attack and Saudi media reported that among those hurt were seven Saudis, who were in good condition.

hurriyetdailynews.com/ukrainian-iranian-among-36-people-killed-in-istanbul-airport-attack-officials.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101042&NewsCatID=341

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Nearly 90 ISIS fighters killed, wounded in Nangarhar clearance raids: MoD

Wed Jun 29 2016

Daesh in NangarharNearly 90 militants fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed or wounded in the clearance operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Wednesday that the operations were conducted in Kot district of Nangarhar covering Bandok, Zara Bandok, Jajal Ghondi, Sepa Ghondi, Bahadur Baba villages and its surrounding areas.

According to a statement by MoD, over 40 ISIS militants were killed in the operations and around 44 others were wounded.

The statement further added that the hideouts of the terror group were destroyed and the mentioned areas were cleared from the presence of ISIS militants.

MoD also added that the local residents did not suffer any casualties in the operations.

The Ministry of Defense earlier said at least 37 ISIS loyalists were killed and around 40 others were wounded during the operations launched in response to a major attack launched by the terror group on Friday.

The major attack by ISIS loyalists on police check posts followed as the Afghan and US forces stepped up raids against the terror group in Nangarhar province.

The Afghan forces as well as the US forces are regularly targeting the loyalists of the terror group in this province in a bid to curb their activities.

The increased raids against ISIS loyalists followed amid concerns that they are attempting to expand foothold in the country besides attempting to consolidate operations with the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

khaama.com/nearly-90-isis-fighters-killed-wounded-in-nangarhar-clearance-raids-mod-01372

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Europe

French Jews, Muslims join forces to defend ritual slaughter

June 29, 2016

French Jews and Muslims announced the formation of a joint commission to defend against attacks on ritual slaughter that one Jewish community leader said is making some Jews question the viability of their futures in France.

The announcement about the establishment of the new body came on June 23 during an joint appearance in the National Assembly, the French parliament, by a Muslim community leader and Joel Mergui, president of the French Consistoire – the community organ responsible for providing religious services. They came to parliament to address lawmakers’ questions about ritual slaughter.

Anouar Kbibech, the president of The French Council of the Muslim Faith, said the joint committee will be “tasked with reviewing and working on the challenges common to both religions” in the face of attempts to limit the custom.

The session in parliament, which is one of several critical discussions on the subject held recently at the National Assembly, was convened at the request of lawmakers following the release of videos showing animal abuse and suffering at slaughterhouses that perform neither shechitah, Jewish ritual slaughter, nor dhabiha, the Muslim variant of the practice. In the framework of reviewing existing practices, lawmakers sought to revisit ritual slaughter at a session to which they invited Merguy and Kbibech.

Religious laws in Islam and Judaism require animals be conscious when their necks are slit, though some religious leaders from both faiths allow stunning immediately after the cut. Judaism has stricter rules on slaughter, including the length and sharpness of the knife. It is usually performed by a shochet, a qualified slaughterer with special equipment. The more liberal approach to slaughter of Muslim communities has made joint lobbying difficult in Europe.

As with the non-medical circumcision of boys, ritual slaughter of animals is facing opposition across the continent by far-right politicians who view it as a foreign element to their culture imported mainly by waves of Muslim immigrants, and by liberals who believe it is inhumane to animals.

Taking aim at the latter argument, Mergui said ritual slaughter in Judaism results statistically in less suffering to animals because, unlike regular slaughter, it is not automated and has lower fail rates.

Shechitah is performed on approximately 200,000 animals annually, constituting 2.2 percent of approximately 9 million animals slaughtered in the country in total, Merguy said.

“Fail rates in slaughter with stunning, which is actually the piercing of the skull before the actual slaughter, range between 17 percent to 20 percent, which means the animals exposed to suffering in non-ritual slaughter techniques practiced today is far greater than the total number of animals slaughtered through shechitah,” which Merguy said “conforms to our society’s concerns on animal welfare.” He said he has come to this conclusion “as a physician and man of science.”

Merguy added that the repeated questioning of the acceptability of shechitah is a relatively new phenomenon that compounds how some Jews are questioning the viability of living in France because of rising levels of anti-Semitic violence.

“Defending kosher slaughter didn’t used to be a priority for the Jewish community,” Merguy said, adding that now it is the second-most important priority after providing security for members. “French Jews are questioning their future in France in light of the events that hit the Jewish community,” he said of the slaying of eight people since 2012 in two shootings by Islamists, “and the issue of religious freedoms, like the one we’re here to discuss.”

Without kosher food, Merguy said, “there is no future for a Jewish community in any given country.” The fact that French Jews know that they are “regularly questioned on this issue,” coupled with security threats, “creates certain behaviors and makes some Jews want to leave France.”

israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214218#.V3OlANJ97IU

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London Muslim Mayor Wants to ‘Do More To Protect’ Jews

June 29, 2016

London Mayor Sadiq called for the rooting out of anti-Semitism in his city and in his party.

Khan said he wants “to send a message around the world by being the London mayor of Islamic faith who does more to protect Jewish Londoners from anti-Semitism than any mayor in this city’s history.”

Khan, a Labour Party member who was elected May 5 and is the first Muslim to lead a European capital city, made his remarks in an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post Monday.

Noting that he has signed the American Jewish Committee’s Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism pledge, Khan called the recent rise in anti-Semitism “alarming” and said, “We need to send the message far and wide that anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified.”

“We must work together to root out anti-Semitism wherever we find it – and, yes – that includes within the Labour Party,” he added.

In explaining his commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, Khan noted: “As a British Muslim, I am no stranger to prejudice. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against just because of your background or religion.”

Khan spoke out against anti-Semitism throughout his mayoral campaign and has attended numerous Jewish communal events since becoming mayor. His first public act as mayor was to attend a Yom Hashoah Holocaust commemoration ceremony on May 8. He has also said he plans to visit Israel as mayor.

Accusations of anti-Semitism have roiled the Labour Party in recent months, with dozens of members suspended in the past few weeks allegedly for making anti-Semitic remarks. London’s former Labour mayor, Ken Livingstone, was suspended for anti-Semitic remarks in late April following a series of interviews in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism.

Developed by the American Jewish Committee in July 2015 and launched in Europe later that year, the mayors pledge received its first European cosignatory in Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, followed by her counterparts in Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Copenhagen. In all, 150 mayors from 30 European countries have signed, along with more than 300 mayors from 50 American states.

forward.com/news/breaking-news/343769/london-muslim-mayor-wants-to-do-more-to-protect-jews/

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Germany girds for potential spike in Islamic State attacks in Europe

June 29, 2016

The German government voiced concern on Tuesday that Islamic State could step up attacks in Europe as it loses territory in Iraq and Syria, and said its domestic intelligence agency is training to respond to a large-scale assault.

Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere welcomed gains made by a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, but said they were not diminishing the risk of attacks in Europe.

"On the contrary, we fear that Islamic State will externalize, transfer its activities to Europe, especially because of military losses in the region," the minister, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic party, told reporters.

Germany has been on high alert for possible large-scale militant incidents - potentially including militarystyle weapons - since the IS attacks in Paris last November and Brussels in March, Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of the BfV domestic intelligence agency, told the same news conference.

He said the agency had carried out several exercises to prepare for such events, and several attacks had already been thwarted. Three Syrian men were earlier this month suspected of planning large-scale attacks in Duesseldorf.

Maassen said the agency was also vigilant for potential lone-wolf attacks, self-radicalized individuals, and possible militants smuggled in under the cover of over one million mostly Muslim refugees that have entered Germany over the past year.

He said authorities had identified clear evidence against 17 individuals who had entered Germany disguised as refugees, and most were either dead or had been arrested. "We must keep a particularly close eye on this group of people," he said.

Authorities were checking tips about a total of 400 potential Islamists among the refugees, but most of those had turned out to be false claims made by other refugees, he said.

De Maiziere said the rate of Islamists leaving Germany to join Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had slowed, but remained troubling. A total of 820 such people were now believed to have departed Germany for the region, up from 780 at the end of December, with about one-third estimated to have returned.

About 60 of those who had tried to reach the region were under the age of 18, and 20 of those that actually succeeded were girls, Maasen said.

At the same time, Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathizers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials said.

De Maiziere said it was important to reintegrate the so-called "foreign fighters" who returned to Germany, some of whom were highly radicalized, while others were disillusioned.

reuters.com/article/us-germany-security-idUSKCN0ZE291

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Luxembourg set to take over London’s Islamic finance hub position in Europe

June 29, 2016

The small European nation of Luxembourg, known as a financial centre within the eurozone with a particular expertise in fund management and investment structures, is expected to threaten and possibly take over London’s role as European hub for Islamic finance in a post-Brexit world, experts say.

London and Luxembourg before where more complementary than competitive in the financial market, according to Nicolas Mackel head of “Luxembourg for Finance,” the promotional agency for the development of Luxembourg as a financial centre, but the Brexit could change that on many levels, including in the niche segment of Islamic finance.

The big hit the UK is suffering politically and economically by the June 23 “Leave” vote will result in years of uncertainty and the risk of thousands of job cuts or at least relocations to mainland Europe within the finance industry, including Islamic finance, which over the past years has gained a strong foothold in London and served as a gateway for Arab investors to Europe.

Now that the UK voted to quit the European Union, London’s dominance of the finance industry is severely threatened, the majority of financial analysts say. While the country was attractive to international investors, including from the Arab region, due to its deregulation of financial markets since the 1980s – which helped propel the City of London into one of the world’s major financial centres –, after the Brexit an exodus of those investors is expected as they fear tighter regulations and higher taxes looming, and the prospect of losing easy access to the EU financial market paired with an at least two-year long period of uncertainty over future relations between the UK and other markets.

Looking for alternatives for Islamic investors in Europe, Luxembourg comes quickly to mind. It has shown readiness for innovation over the past years, not only by developing Islamic finance services, but also by inviting financial technology businesses to bring new products and services to the market.

“Luxembourg’s financial centre will continue to improve its competitiveness and establish itself as the destination of choice in the European Union for international investors,” Mackel said, adding that this target is outlined in the LuxFin2020 initiative, a programme that lines out the country’s plans to become the leading financial hub in Europe. The growth plan includes the promotion of technological innovation as well as inviting businesses from emerging financial sectors, including Islamic finance, as well as renminbi operations.

Mackel gets support from a recent study by consultancy EY which found that Luxemburg is already the leading non-Muslim domicile for Shariah-compliant investment funds and third largest globally behind Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. The small nation is a popular location for listing sukuk on the primary market and a preferred location for international investment structures of sovereign wealth funds from the Arab region. The May 2016 report, entitled “Luxembourg: The gateway for Islamic finance and the Middle East” points out the Luxembourg was “perfectly equipped” to address the needs of Shariah-compliant investment funds, including traditional sukuk, no-tax and low-tax alternative investment funds and securitisation vehicles, as well as investment structures, namely financial holding companies. Preferred Shariah-compliant Islamic finance arrangements used in Luxemburg are murabaha, mudaraba, musharaka and ijara.

To underpin the country’s targeted growth in the Islamic finance industry, Luxembourg was also the first European country that joined the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM), an institution seeking to create and issue Shariah-compliant financial instruments with co-members such as Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Malaysia and the Islamic Development Bank.

Luxemburg’s central bank is also member of the Islamic Financial Services Board (ISFB), a Kuala Lumpur-based entity that sets international standards in Islamic finance and whose members comprise 190 banks, financial institutions and regulatory bodies with relations to Islamic finance. The Luxembourg Stock Exchange listed its first sukuk in 2002. Since then, issuers from Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, South Africa, US, Hong Kong and Europe listed sukuk in Luxembourg. In September 2014, Luxembourg also issued the first sovereign sukuk in the eurozone and is soon expected to host its first fully-fledged Islamic bank on its territory.

gulf-times.com/story/499742/Luxembourg-set-to-take-over-London-s-Islamic-finan

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Anti-Muslim attacks surge in Britain

June 29, 2016

LONDON // Incidents of anti-Muslim hatred in the UK increased by more than 300 per cent in 2015, according to a report by an organisation that monitors Islamophobia in collaboration with police.

The report comes less than a week after Britons voted by a narrow majority to leave the European Union following a Brexit campaign accused of stoking mistrust of immigrants and other minorities. Since the vote, there has been a sharp increase in hate crimes and incidents of racial abuse.

Muslims in Britain now find themselves in “uncharted territory", said Shahid Malik, chairman of the organisation Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which supports victims of Islamophobic hatred.

The 2015 statistics paint “a profoundly bleak picture of the explosion of anti-Muslim hate [in the UK] ... both online and on our streets with visible Muslim women being disproportionately targeted by cowardly hate-mongers", said Mr Malik, a former Labour minister for race, faith and community cohesion.

Tell Mama — which documents incidents of Islamophobia across the UK by collating data independently and in collaboration with 15 police forces — recorded a 326 per cent increase in anti-Muslim incidents on the streets of Britain in 2015. In many cases, it said, victims reported that “they did not see bystanders challenging abusive perpetrators, which compounded the insecurity and alienation that they felt".

The organisation received direct reports of verbal and online harassment and abuse from more than 1,100 Muslims the same year, and collated details of a further 1,400 incidents recorded by the police.

Tell Mama fears the Brexit referendum result may have emboldened anti-Muslim bigots.

Jo Cox, the British MP who was stabbed and shot dead days before the Brexit vote, was working on the report before she was killed, according to British media. She was preparing to present the findings to parliament later this month.

“There are already post-Brexit cases coming to us, such as people saying to Muslim women ‘We voted you out, you shouldn’t be here’," Fiyaz Mughal, founder and director of Tell Mama, told The National.

Since Thursday’s vote, the organisation has been alerted to 30 Brexit-related incidents of abuse and online harassments. In the first, which took place the day after the vote, a Muslim local councillor in Wales was told to pack her bags and leave.

Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council said there has been a 57 per cent increase in reported hate crimes in the four days following the vote compared to a month ago.

“If our society was already polarised, clearly it is going to be more so after Brexit. I think perpetrators will now feel far more emboldened to vocalise their prejudice after the vote, which has given a kind of credibility to their viewpoint," Mr Mughal said.

The most prolific abusers were young people between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, the report found, which was “worrying considering that many opinion polls demonstrate that those in this age group are less likely than older people to harbour racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiments". The findings suggested that “some teenagers are being radicalised and are moving away from the mainstream views of their age group".

Tell Mama has called on social media providers and search engine services such as Google to do more to tackle the problem online, as 45 per cent of people responsible for anti-Muslim tirades on the internet were found to be “verifiably supportive of far right extremist groups". It said that “far right extremism, like Islamist extremism, is promoted using social media".

On Twitter, 88 per cent of recorded incidents featured abusive language or harassment, but a worrying 11 per cent also involved “violent threats either directed at an individual or institution, such as a mosque, or indirect threats to Islam and Muslims in general".

thenational.ae/world/europe/anti-muslim-attacks-surge-in-britain

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India

NIA busts Islamic State module in Hyderabad, detains 11

June 28, 2016

The National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Wednesday busted an Islamic State module in Hyderabad based on inputs from Intelligence Bureau (IB), reported CNN-News 18. According to ANI, 11 people linked to the terror outfit have been detained so far.

“Raids are going on at three to four places in the old city are. NIA is doing it. The local police is assisting them. Searches are being conducted over some suspected terror activities that were planned to be carried out in the city,”  The Finincial Express quoted a senior intelligence officer as saying.

In major anti-terror swoop across the country ahead of the Republic Day this year, the NIA had taken into custody 14 suspected  Islamic State sympathisers.

According to Firstpost, in November 2015, a report prepared by the intelligence agencies revealed that the 150 people, mostly from South India, are believed to be attracted to the IS and sympathetic to the group's activities.

Over the past couple of years, the IS — despite having no presence in the Indian subcontinent — has acted as a strong luring factor for the youth.

The NIA raids come at a time when advocates and lawyers have intensified a strike that has been on for over three weeks, reported Deccan Chronicle.

Prohibitory orders are in place in the entire area and search operations are still going on.

firstpost.com/india/nia-busts-islamic-state-module-in-hyderabad-11-detained-so-far-2862012.html

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34 per cent Muslim children in India have no access to pre-school: UNICEF report

June 28, 2016

Out of 74 million children, in the group of 3-6 years in India, around 20 million did not attend pre-school and most of them belonged to disadvantaged and marginalised sections of the society, a UNICEF report said on Tuesday.

According to “State of the World Children Report-2016”, released globally by UNICEF, around 34 per cent children from Muslim families, 25.9 per cent from Hindu families and 25.6 per cent from Christian families did not attend pre-school.

“Lack of access to pre-school education has a long-term impact on learning capabilities of a child. It is a continuum.

When children enter primary school without going to pre-school they are likely to drop early and will not be able to fulfill their potential,” UNICEF India representative Louis-Georges Arsenault said while releasing the report.

According to the government’s National Survey for Estimation of Out-of-School Children conducted in 2014, more than 60 per cent of children dropped out before completing grade 3, he added.

The study also found that implementation of Right To Education (RTE) Act has led to a drop in the number of out-of-school children, aged 6-13 years, to six million in 2014 from eight million in 2009.

However, 36 per cent of children drop out before completing elementary education and about half of them are from marginalised and deprived groups, it said.

Highlighting lack of quality education, the report citing the National Achievement Survey (2014), said “less than half of Class V students correctly answered reading comprehension and mathematics question posed to them.”

Expressing the hope that the new education policy will address these lacunae, Arsenault said “New Education policy with its vision for India as a knowledge superpower really calls for building the goal of Right To Education Act and moving beyond elementary education and extending it to include pre-schooling and also competition in secondary education.”

Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, HRD Ministry, S C Khuntia said “we are formulating a new education policy and have formed a committee in the ministry to look into these issues.”

Apart from education, the UNICEF study also pointed at rise in numbers of neo-natal deaths (probability of dying during the first 28 days of life) in 2015 in India, which accounted for 45 per cent of total child mortality.

The report suggests that this can be addressed by ensuring maternal educational, which contributes to a child’s chances of survival.

“Across much of south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children with mothers who received no education are almost three times as likely to die before age of 5 as children of mothers with secondary education.

“Education enables women to delay and space births, secure access to maternal and child health care and seek treatment for children when they fall ill. If all mothers achieved secondary education, there would be 1.3 million fewer annual deaths of children under age 5 in South Asia,” it said.

The report also stressed that poverty was a huge obstacle in ensuring literacy among women as marriage often cuts short their pursuit for education.

“Girls from the poorest households–-and those living in rural areas-–face twice the risk of being married before turning 18 as girls from the richest households or those living in urban areas.

“With no progress, almost 950 million women will have been married as children by 2030, up from more than 700 million today. And by 2050, almost half of the world’s child brides will be African,” it said.

indianexpress.com/article/education/34-per-cent-muslim-children-have-no-access-to-pre-school-unicef-report-2881978/

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Nirbhaya Rapist Sparks Intel Alert, Police Suspect Juvenile In Touch With Islamic Radicals

June 28, 2016

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has issued a fresh alert over suspected Jihadi links of the youngest perpetrator of 2012 fatal gang rape in Delhi who was released in December as he was a minor when the crime was committed, sources told Mail Today.

Authorities in Uttar Pradesh have been advised to keep a close watch on his movements as the man, now 21, hails from the state's Badaun district.

He ended his three-year term in a reform home six months ago after being held guilty along with five others for the brutal attack on a 23-year-old woman, dubbed Nirbhaya, in a case that prompted nationwide revulsion and turned global spotlight on crimes against women in India.

"Recently some activity was noticed and we informed the local authorities," said an intelligence official, without saying anything about the man's present whereabouts.

TERROR CONNECTIONS

Before his release in December 2015, the IB flagged his proximity at the juvenile home to a Kashmiri inmate who was involved in the 2011 Delhi high court bombing. The two shared the same room for over a year and the cellmate allegedly indoctrinated him and prompted him to take up the cause of Kashmiris.

"There is no specific input but whatever assistance is required will be provided by us," said Sunil Saxena, senior superintendent of police, Badaun.

CALLS FOR ARREST

Hundreds of people, including Nirbhaya's parents, had staged protests in the Capital against the convict's release with the campaign spurring Parliament to pass legislation lowering to 16 the age at which someone can be tried for serious crimes. His radicalisation was also pitched as one of the reasons to stop his release. The convict himself expressed fears that he may be lynched once he is set free.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also approached the Delhi high court but the judges rejected his plea saying the sentence complied with existing law.

"Having regard to the fact that the maximum stay that can be directed in the Special Home under Section 15(1) of the Juvenile Justice Act is three years and that the convict would be completing the period of three years by December 20, 2015, there cannot be any direction to continue his stay in the special home beyond December 20. Hence, we decline to issue any direction as prayed by the petitioner," the bench said while allowing the convict to walk free.

The Intelligence Bureau in its report prior to his release last year said that taking advantage of his proximity to the rape convict, the Kashmiri youth brainwashed him and motivated him to join jihad in Kashmir. As per the instructions of the union home ministry, the rape convict went through counseling sessions for de-radicalisation.

A trial court awarded the death penalty to the four adult accused in the Nirbhaya gangrape case for the gruesome act. The woman was sexually assaulted on a moving bus and sustained serious internal injuries after being violated with an iron bar during the attack.

The Delhi high court upheld the sentence and the matter is now pending in the Supreme Court. One of the five accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in the city's Tihar Jail three years ago.

indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nirbhaya-juvenile-rapist-intel-alert-islamic-radicals-jihad/1/703299.html

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‘Muslim-Hater’ Among 3 Held for Quran Sacrilege at Malerkotla, Punjab

Jun 28, 2016

A businessman who is known to be a Pakistan-basher is among three men under arrest on the charges of burning Islamic holy book Quran at Malerkotla, which sparked violence in Punjab’s only Muslim-dominated town on June 24. Police say the trio wanted to start a communal riot for “avenging” the Gurdaspur and Pathankot terror attacks by Pakistani intruders in July 2015 and this January 2, respectively.

Main accused Vijay Kumar of Jind in Haryana is Canada-returned and his alleged accomplices Nand Kishore Goldy and his son, Gaurav, are from Begowal village in Taragarh area of Pathankot district. “Vijay is a self-styled radical activist not affiliated with any Hindu group as such,” said Patiala range inspector general of police Paramraj Singh Urmranangal.

READ I 8 injured as mob clashes with police after Quran ‘sacrilege’ at Malerkotla

Vijay is claimed to have been behind similar violence at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. “He is full of fundamentalist opinion and spite for Muslims. A bachelor, now based at Palm Colony in Delhi, he has made a lot of money in the bio-fertiliser business, of which he has nearly 150 agencies in Punjab and Haryana. We are looking deeper into his background,” said the IG. Vijay also faces criminal charges of cheating his business agents.

“In custody, he is talking plain nonsense such as Muslims are going to overpower India and their population is going to explode. He even administers a Pakistan-bashing Whatsapp group,” said the police officer, adding: “The other two are poor men whom he lured into his network by exploiting their anger against Pakistan after the twin terror attacks. The Patiala police caught them at Sanaur before they could enter Haryana on a new Mahindra jeep.”

Police claim to have recovered the lighter that Vijay had allegedly used to set the sacred text ablaze. They have seized three pairs of surgical gloves, a 50-gram-gold coin, a gold chain, and a white-gold-bead chain.

After the sacrilege on the night of June 24, Muslim mobs had damaged a dozen-odd vehicles, tried to burn down the house of Malerkotla’s Akali legislator Farzana Nissara Khatoon, and even injured two senior police officers.

hindustantimes.com/punjab/muslim-hating-businessman-among-3-held-for-quran-sacrilege-at-malerkotla-wanted-to-start-riot-avenge-pathankot-dinanagar-terror-attacks-by-pak-intruders/story-I476aweIbSdprSa873tOaI.html

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Bengal madrassa board wants vocational courses

June 29, 2016

Kolkata : The West Bengal Board of Madrassa Education has proposed to the state government to start ‘vocational madrassas’ for students class eight onwards, an official said.

“The vocational madrassa would run parallel to the general education imparted in these institutions. From class eight students would be provided vocational training so that they can take up a suitable means of livelihood. We have just sent a proposal to the state government,” Fazle Rabbi, president of the state madrassa education board, told IANS.

Rabbi said the board runs ‘English medium madrassas’ and 48-hour ‘bridging courses’ where students who have had no education are brushed-up on basics in reading and writing in two days before joining mainstream madrassa curriculum in class five.

“Many students who join in class five do not know how to read and write. The teachers will complete the syllabus in time but then the students will suffer as they don’t know basics. So in 48 hours we try to expose them to the basics and take them to a standard level before they jump into the mainstream,” Rabbi added.

siasat.com/news/bengal-madrassa-board-wants-vocational-courses-979859/

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Shiv Sena activists try to disrupt Pak-India cultural exchange event in Mumbai

June 28, 2016

MUMBAI: Activists belonging to hardliner Indian political party Shiv Sena on Tuesday attempted to disrupt an event hosting Pakistani photographers at the Mumbai Press Club and chanted slogans against Pakistan, reported Times of India.

The activists were stopped by police and escorted out of the venue. Police arrested five workers for protesting without permission but later released them on bail.

The function organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) as a part of its Mumbai-Karachi Friendship Forum invited five Pakistani photographers to share their experiences in the city. As part of the programme, the Karachi-based photographers arrived in Mumbai for a 10-day long tour on June 20.

The Mumbai-Karachi Friendship Forum aims to organise cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Under the photography exchange programme, the Pakistani photographers' visit is to be reciprocated by a team of Indian photographers in July. Photographs captured on both tours will be exhibited mid-August as the two nations celebrate their respective independence days.

Chairman ORF Sudheendra Kulkarni condemned the Shiv Sena workers for their protest. "We will not succumb to pressure by those who think they alone are patriots. I am a proud Maharashtrian and a patriot and will continue to promote Indo-Pak friendship," he said.

Kulkarni was on the receiving end of a Shiv Sena protest in October 2015 when activists, angry at the launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri's book, doused him with black ink in Mumbai.

In the same month, Sainiks also stormed the headquarters of the Indian cricket Board in Mumbai, shortly before Indian cricket officials were scheduled to meet their Pakistani counterparts to discuss the revival of cricket ties between the two countries.

In January this year, members of the hardliner group also attacked a Pak-India exhibition in the Indian city of Dehradun. They stormed the exhibition, closed the doors and chanted slogans against Pakistan.

dawn.com/news/1267996/shiv-sena-activists-try-to-disrupt-pak-india-cultural-exchange-event-in-mumbai

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Mideast

Ukrainian, Iranian among 36 people killed in Istanbul airport attack: Officials

June 29, 2016

One Ukrainian and one Iranian citizen were among 36 people killed by three suicide bombers in an attack at Istanbul's Atatürk airport on June 28 night blamed on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, officials from the two countries said on June 29.

Around 150 people were wounded in the attack and Saudi media reported that among those hurt were seven Saudis, who were in good condition.

hurriyetdailynews.com/ukrainian-iranian-among-36-people-killed-in-istanbul-airport-attack-officials.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101042&NewsCatID=341

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Terror shakes Istanbul hours after Turkey’s big diplomatic campaign to mend Russia, Israel ties

June 29, 2016

Another terror attack shook Turkey late on June 28, just as the country has launched a multifaceted diplomatic move to mend its broken ties with both Israel and Russia following major disputes.

At least 36 people were killed, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, in the attack on Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, the biggest in the country, by at least three militants.

Less than a day before the attack, Turkey and Israel inked a deal to normalize ties after six years of mutual distrust stemming from an Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in May 2010 that killed 10 pro-Palestinian Turkish activists who were attempting to breach Israel’s Gaza blockade. Officials from both countries said both sides would benefit from the deal.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on June 27 to express his deep sorrow over the downing of a Russian warplane last year for violating Turkish airspace during operations in Syria. Russia responded positively to the efforts, and tour operators from both countries hailed the discussions which appear set to be bear fruit.

Moreover, also just a day before the attack, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that the country was ready to normalize ties with Egypt which deteriorated after a military coup staged by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013 against President Mohamad Morsi. The overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood member drew strongly worded statements from Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time.

Analysts have already started to compare the airport attack with several ones in the past year, including the deadliest one in the country’s history, the Ankara bombing carried out by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants on Oct. 10, 2015, at a peace rally in the nation’s capital.

The timing of the June 28 bombing not only overlaps with Ankara’s diplomatic campaign to mend ties with the region’s other powers, but also some other major moves against the jihadist ISIL, which is a threat to the country’s borders.

A total of 36 suspects in the deadly ISIL bomb attack in Ankara last year are facing up to 11,750 years in jail, according to an indictment finalized by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on June 28.

The indictment listed ISIL militant Yunus Emre Alagöz and an unnamed Syrian militant as the suicide bombers who committed the attack. Alagöz’s brother, Abdurrahman Alagöz, committed an attack in Suruç in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on July 20, 2015, killing 33 young activists.

Turkey also recently changed its military rules of engagement to allow NATO allies to carry out more patrol flights along its border with northern Syria against ISIL, Reuters quoted a Turkish official as saying on June 28.

Analysts have not ruled out the possibility that such a large attack could also be carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), citing the recent military campaign against the outlawed group in several provinces in the southeast.

Regardless of the identity or goals of the terrorist group behind the airport attack, it leaves no room for doubt that the bombing targets Ankara’s peace efforts – if it is not a direct response to it.

hurriyetdailynews.com/terror-shakes-istanbul-hours-after-turkeys-big-diplomatic-campaign-to-mend-russia-israel-ties.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101038&NewsCatID=341

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2 soldiers killed in separate PKK attacks in Turkey’s southeast

June 29, 2016

Two soldiers were killed in two separate attacks by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants late on June 28 in the Lice and Bismil districts of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

Specialized Sgt. Ayhan Kaya succumbed to his injuries after being wounded in a PKK rocket projectile attack during an operation in rural Lice. Three other soldiers were wounded in the attack and were being treated in hospital, sources said.

In a separate attack by PKK militants in Bismil, Specialized Sgt. Erdem Ünal was killed in front of his house close to the Diyarbakır-Bitlis highway.

Meanwhile, Turkish jets hit PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Kandil region on June 28, destroying three shelters used by the militants.

According to military sources, some 38 militants were also killed and seven were wounded in an aerial operation carried out in Kandil on June 27.

hurriyetdailynews.com/2-soldiers-killed-in-separate-pkk-attacks-in-turkeys-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101043&NewsCatID=341

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Flights begin at Istanbul Atatürk Airport after deadly attacks

June 29, 2016

Some flights have begun at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport hours after simultaneous suicide and gun attacks killed at least 36 people late on June 28, although the backlog resulting from the attacks means travelers are still facing significant delays.

Airline officials urged customers to follow updates on flight information.

“Our airport re-opened for departures and arrivals as of 2:20 a.m. and air traffic has returned to normal,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced at a press briefing at 3 a.m. on June 29.

Meanwhile, Doğan News Agency (DHA) quoted Turkish Airlines officials and said flights began after 5 a.m. and that flights from Taipei, Manila and Seoul were the first to land at the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States also lifted a ban on flights between Istanbul and the United States, soon after the airport became operational.

Authorities started to free passengers who were on board planes that landed as the attacks were occurring between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. only after 4 a.m., while Turkish Airlines officials said some 1,500 passengers were still waiting in the transit section of the airport.

“We have informed all stations not to send in transit passengers today. We will restart once current transit passengers are sent away over the next two days,” DHA quoted officials as saying.

Turkish Airlines took additional steps to relieve passengers as customers are now permitted to freely make changes to all flights to or from Istanbul Atatürk Airport scheduled between June 28 and July 5.

“Refunds will be made free of charge for all tickets where travel has not been completed or has been partially completed. The validity of the tickets will be extended until July 31 without additional pay or fines,” an official statement said, adding that passengers could obtain flight information from the company’s website or call center.

hurriyetdailynews.com/flights-begin-at-istanbul-ataturk-airport-after-deadly-attacks.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101039&NewsCatID=341

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US calls on citizens in Istanbul to contact families via social media after terror attack

June 29, 2016

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs called on the U.S. citizens via its twitter account to inform their families and friends about their condition.

“If in Turkey, contact family/friends & check in on social media to let them know you are safe,” the statement read.

In a separate message around 15 minutes later, tnhe U.S: bureau said: “No new updates at this time. If in #Turkey, continue reaching out to family/friends to let them know you are safe.

U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump also tweeted on the attack.

“Yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey. Will the world ever realize what is going on? So sad,” he said.

“We must do everything p

hurriyetdailynews.com/us-calls-on-citizens-in-istanbul-to-contact-families-via-social-media-after-terror-attack.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101037&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey to send technical team to Gaza

June 29, 2016

A Turkish technical team will be heading to Gaza this week to provide aid and begin work on establishing electricity and water infrastructure for the Palestinian people living in the enclave, immediately after Turkey and Israel signed a deal to normalize their strained relationship, a senior Turkish official said late June 28.

“A first aid ship will depart [for Gaza] on Friday [July 1]. The Gazan people will feel the concrete outcomes of this agreement [between Turkey and Israel] in their lives. Of course this is not going to be the only ship. After this one, first aid supplies will be sent to Gaza at certain intervals,” İbrahim Kalın, the chief foreign policy advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and presidential spokesperson, told reporters late on June 28.

“Also, work to increase the electricity and food volume will be conducted. Action will be taken for the work that will be done after the technical work of the committee, who will be departing to Gaza this week and relieve the Gazan community,” he said.

The technical team will start initial works to establish infrastructure for generating electricity and supplying water to the Gazan people in line with the Turkey-Israel agreement.  

The agreement signed by the two countries will first have to be approved by their respective cabinets, Kalın said, adding the process of exchanging ambassadors would begin after this process without delay.

Kalın said the agreement signed with Israel did not mean Turkey would change its posture on the Palestine issue, saying, “Our position on subjects like the liberty of Palestine, a two-state solution and improving the living conditions of the Gazan community is clear and it won’t change. The commencement of diplomatic relations with Israel will maybe strengthen Turkey’s hand in resolving the Palestine issue. We are planning to turn this into an opportunity.”

Kazakh and Azeri leaders mediated

On efforts to normalize ties with Russia, Kalın hailed the roles of the leaders of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Ilham Aliyev, respectively, as mediators between Ankara and Moscow.

“There were mediators and those who took initiative [on finding a] solution to the issue in the past three-four months. I want to mention that among them, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan were there. I won’t go into details that much because maybe Mr. President [Erdoğan] would like to explain. But we would like to inform that they have [made a] critical contribution,” he said.

On a question about restoring relations with Egypt, Kalın said “There are relations [with Egypt] that are maintained on a certain level. There is no foreseeing a big change in that matter.”'

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-send-technical-team-to-gaza-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101047&NewsCatID=510

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World condemns terror attack at Istanbul airport

June 29, 2016

Leaders from around the world condemned the terror attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport which left at least 36 people dead and 147 others injured on June 28.       

The United States condemned the attack, calling it “heinous,” while also pledging “steadfast” support for the country.

“Ataturk International Airport, like Brussels Airport which was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind us together,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism,” he added.   

State Department spokesman Mark Toner also said the attack was “only the latest in a series of attacks aimed at killing and maiming innocent civilians.” 

“Such attacks will only reinforce our determination to work with the government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism and support all those across the region who are working to promote peace and reconciliation,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass also said he was horrified by the terror attack.

“Horrified by tonight’s attack at Ataturk airport. We mourn with the families of those lost, and pray for speedy recovery for those wounded,” a tweet from the Embassy’s Twitter account read, quoting the ambassador.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in a statement that “all Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence.”   

“Today’s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world,” she added. “And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat.”  

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, said the threat of terrorism “has never been greater.”  

“We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe,” he said in a statement.

British Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore also condemned the attack.

“I condemn the brutal attack in Istanbul and offer my condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. [The] U.K. stands by Turkey,” Moore tweeted.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also shared the country’s support for Turkey.     

“Appalled by attack in Istanbul tonight. Thoughts and prayers with all those affected,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was shocked by the attack in a tweet, adding: “Thoughts are with those affected. We stand ready to help.”

Minister for Europe David Lidington’s tweet read: “Another horrific terrorist attack in Istanbul. It’s in our interest to intensify work with Turkey to defeat terrorism.”

In addition, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was shocked when he heard the news. “Our thoughts go out the people of Turkey. Germany stands by them.”

The foreign minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, also tweeted that he was shocked, adding that the French consulate in Istanbul was ready to work with Turkey.       

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the attack, calling for increased cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Ban “condemns today’s terrorist attack” and “expresses his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Turkey,” his spokesman said in a statement.

The U.N. chief “stands firmly by Turkey as it confronts this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism,” it added.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attack.

"I condemn the attacks at #Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. My thoughts are w/ the families of the victims, the injured and the people of Turkey," Stoltenberg tweeted.

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland wrote via Twitter that the EU stands by Turkey.      

“Our member state Turkey [has suffered] another deadly terrorist attack. We stand by you in these troubling times,” he said.       

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the deadly attack as “another tragic terrorist attack in Turkey. The EU stands by the Turkish people. Our heart is with them all.”  

The head of the EU Delegation in Ankara, Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, also condemned the attack in Twitter message which read:  “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims, we wish a speedy recovery to the injured. This was an attack on the gateway of Turkey, and hence on EU-Turkey relations as well. But this will not work. We stand together in fighting terrorism.”

Tthe President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Pedro Agramunt also condemned the attack in a letter to Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

“This act of violence follows on the heels of recent attacks in Ankara, Diyarbakir, Gazientep, Istanbul, Suruç and elsewhere in Turkey and across the globe. The attack comes at a time when Turkey is working on the international stage, to tackle the scourge of terrorism, which undermines the foundations of our democratic societies. This vile act, at an international airport reminds us that terrorism has no borders, and that only through mutual cooperation, solidarity and support can we combat this threat to our common values and peaceful  living –together,” Agramunt said.

“We cannot let terrorism infect our lives with fear and hatred. The Assembly will continue to advocate its anti-terrorism initiative #NoHateNoFear and I can assure you that the Turkish Government, Parliament and people can count on the Assembly’s full support,” he added.

Belgium, which recently suffered a terror attack, also condemned the deadly attack and empathized with the victims.       

“Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul’s airport. We condemn these atrocious acts of violence in Istanbul,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry also shared its support for Turkey. “Disgusted and appalled by the new terrorist attack in Istanbul. We stand by our neighbors, our friends, against terror,” it said.       

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the attack as well and called for a global fight against terrorism.     

 “Terror rears its ugly head yet again in our friend and neighbor’s airport. Extremist violence is a global threat; we must confront it together,” he tweeted.      

Canada condemned the attack through Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion’s Twitter account, saying it “stands with Turkey.”       

On Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud expressed his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.       

Posting a message on its official Facebook site, the Israeli Embassy in Ankara said: “Israel harshly condemns the hideous terror attack on Istanbul Atatürk Airport yesterday that claimed the lives of many innocent people. We extend our condolences to the Turkish government, the Turkish people, and the families of those who lost their lives; and we wish a speedy recovery to those who are injured.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/world-condemns-terror-attack-at-istanbul-airport.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101041&NewsCatID=359

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South Asia

Nearly 90 ISIS fighters killed, wounded in Nangarhar clearance raids: MoD

Wed Jun 29 2016

Daesh in NangarharNearly 90 militants fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed or wounded in the clearance operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Wednesday that the operations were conducted in Kot district of Nangarhar covering Bandok, Zara Bandok, Jajal Ghondi, Sepa Ghondi, Bahadur Baba villages and its surrounding areas.

According to a statement by MoD, over 40 ISIS militants were killed in the operations and around 44 others were wounded.

The statement further added that the hideouts of the terror group were destroyed and the mentioned areas were cleared from the presence of ISIS militants.

MoD also added that the local residents did not suffer any casualties in the operations.

The Ministry of Defense earlier said at least 37 ISIS loyalists were killed and around 40 others were wounded during the operations launched in response to a major attack launched by the terror group on Friday.

The major attack by ISIS loyalists on police check posts followed as the Afghan and US forces stepped up raids against the terror group in Nangarhar province.

The Afghan forces as well as the US forces are regularly targeting the loyalists of the terror group in this province in a bid to curb their activities.

The increased raids against ISIS loyalists followed amid concerns that they are attempting to expand foothold in the country besides attempting to consolidate operations with the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

khaama.com/nearly-90-isis-fighters-killed-wounded-in-nangarhar-clearance-raids-mod-01372

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Atmar to discuss Moscow’s support to Afghan forces during Russia visit

Wed Jun 29 2016

Russian helicopters AfghanistanThe National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar is due to visit Russia in the near future to discuss Moscow’s support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDS) besides holding talks on other issues of bilateral interest.

The Office of the National Security Adviser has said Atmar will hold talks with the Russian officials regarding the supply of military equipment to Afghan forces.

Tawab Ghorzang, spokesman for National Security Adviser, has said the specific needs of the government of Afghanistan will be shared with the Russian officials during Mr. Atmar’s visit to Moscow.

No further details have been given regarding the exact date of Mr. Atmar’s visit to Russia.

This comes as the Russian officials earlier said the Afghan government is thinking to purchase aircraft and other military equipment from Russia.

The Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexandar Mantytskiy has said the Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil

Karzai has shared the issue with his Russian counterpart Igor V. Morgulov.

Karzai during his meeting to Moscow nearly two weeks ago said “We sent a request to the Russian Security Council for expanding cooperation [in the military field], including for the deliveries of helicopters to Kabul.”

In the meantime, the Afghan and Russian defense officials agreed to establish a military-technical cooperation committee nearly two months ago in a bid to jointly combat international terrorism.

The Ministry of Defense officials in Kabul confirmed that a meeting was organized between the Afghan and Russian officials to discuss military cooperation between Kabul and Moscow.

The meeting was organized on the sideline of the 5th International Security Conference in Moscow late in April which was attended by over 500 politicians and military leaders of the world.

khaama.com/atmar-to-discuss-moscows-support-to-afghan-forces-during-russia-visit-01375

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Taliban commander involved in robbery arrested from Charikar city

Wed Jun 29 2016

A commander of the Taliban group involved in robbery, extortion and other criminal activities was arrested from the northern Parwan province of Afghanistan.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Abdul Manan who is also famous as Wazir was arrested from the vicinity of Charikar district.

According to a statement by NDS, another companion of Manan was also arrested by the intelligence operatives.

The statement further added that Manan was involved in robbery, roadside bombings and harassment of the local residents and a Ak-47 rifle along with a pistol were also confiscated from him.

NDS said the detained militants were long involved in terrorist activities and Manan spent three years in prison who rejoined the Taliban group after he was released.

According to NDS, Manan was operating under the command of Hashmatullah together with his other companions.

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

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

khaama.com/taliban-commander-involved-in-robbery-arrested-from-charikar-city-01374

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Ghani calls for join action against terrorism while condemning Istanbul attack

Wed Jun 29 2016

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has condemned a terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport that left scores of people dead and dozens of others wounded.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said “President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani was deeply saddened by the terrorist attack at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey that killed and injured a number of innocent people last night.”

“Condemning the terrorist attack, the President said that the people of Afghanistan feel the pain and suffering of the people of Turkey more than others as we have been the victim of terrorism for years,” a statement by ARG said.

The statement further added that the President considers terrorism a great threat for the security of the region and the world, and reiterates joint action by all countries against this heinous phenomenon.

“President Ghani offers his deep condolences and sympathies to the people and government of the Republic of Turkey, families of all the victims, and wishes speedy recovery for those injured,” the statement added.

The Turkish officials had earlier said at least 37 people were killed and over 140 others were wounded after a group of suicide bombers attacked the airport last night.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack but the Turkish officials are saying that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group could possibly behind the attack.

khaama.com/ghani-calls-for-join-action-against-terrorism-while-condemning-istanbul-attack-01373

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District chief judge shot dead by gunmen in Kabul city

Tue Jun 28 2016

A senior judiciary official was shot dead by unknown gunmen in capital Kabul earlier today, the security officials said.

The assassination of the senior judiciary official in Kabul comes as the Taliban group vowed to target the court officials following the execution of a group of militants by the Afghan government last month.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Chief Fraidonn Obaidi confirmed that an individual was shot dead by unknown gunmen in the 5th police district of the city.

He said the identity of the slain individal has not been ascertained so far and an investigation is underway regarding the incident.

In the meantime, another security official, said the incident took place this afternoon in Dehwan Begi area of the city.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that the slain individual was serving as a judge in the appellate court of southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

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

This comes as at least 7 people were killed and over 20 others were wounded after the Taliban militants stormed the provincial judges’ and prosecutors’ compound in Pul-e-Alam earlier this month.

The attack by the Taliban militants followed by the execution of a number of the Taliban, Haqqani network and Al-Qaeda militants by the Afghan government earlier last month.

The Afghan government executed at least 6 militants over the terror offences which followed by a deadly attack on VIP protection unit in Kabul city earlier in April.

khaama.com/district-chief-judge-shot-dead-by-gunmen-in-kabul-city-01370

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Bashabo monastery priest gets death threat

June 29, 2016

The high priest of Bashabo’s Dharmarajik Buddhist Monastery, which is known for its generous gesture of serving iftar to Muslims during Ramadan, has received a death threat by mail.

The letter was signed by a person who identified himself as AB Siddique from Kishoreganj. Although the letter mentioned no affiliation with any militant outfit, a similar threat from the so-called Islamic State of Bangladesh to Dhaka city’s Ramkrishna Mission earlier this month was also signed by a person named AB Siddique.

Addressing the high priest, the letter read: “You will be brutally hacked or shot to death. The golden statues of Gautama Buddha will not be able to save you.”

The sender also mentioned that the high priest would be killed within one month unless he stopped preaching Buddhism.

Terming the Buddhist religion an enemy of Islam, the sender added: “I become a true Muslim by killing Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.”

The monastery authorities filed a general diary with Sabujbagh police station yesterday, OC (investigation) Mostafizur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune. Law enforcers have beefed up security surrounding the monastery.

The high priest, Shuddhananda Mahathero, is currently out of the country.

Buddhapriya Mahathero, assistant high priest of the monastery, said a person who regularly delivers official mails brought the letter in the afternoon. It was addressed to “High priest, Mayakanon Bouddha Bihar, Bashabo.”

The sender’s address was mentioned as “Kishoreganj, Gazipur, Dhanmondi.” There was also a phone number included.

When the Dhaka Tribune called the phone number, a garment worker named Nazrul picked up.

“I do not know what happened. My mobile phone is in my hand. How could this be? I have no involvement in this,” said Nazrul, who said he works in a factory in Mirpur.

DMP Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sabujbagh zone, Mohsina Begum, also told the Dhaka Tribune that they suspect the phone number mentioned in the letter was fake.

She added that additional security measures like CCTV surveillance, Ansar guards and police patrol were already in place around the monastery.

Mohsina said they suspected that this AB Siddique might be the same person who sent Ramakrishna Mission the threat earlier this month.

Since September last year, at least nine members from Hindu- Buddhist-Christian communities have been killed by militants, while many more have received death threats. Several temples, including Dinajpur’s Isckon and Kantaji temples, have also been targets of bomb attacks.

Since 2010, the Dharmarajik monastery has been serving iftar to local Muslims during Ramadan in a unique example of religious harmony.

dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2016/jun/29/bashabo-monastery-priest-gets-death-threat

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Catholics live in in fear in Bonpara after Sunil Gomes’s murder

June 29, 2016

NATORE: Bonpara is a village in Natore District, in the Diocese of Rajshahi. Since the death of Sunil Gomes, a 71-year-old man Catholic grocer who was murdered two weeks ago by unknown attackers, local Catholics live in fear.As a measure of self-defence, younger members of the community have organised night watches to ensure the security of the parish and its residents.Despite a claim of responsibility by the extremists of the Islamic State group, police are still in the dark and for now have only arrested two people who rented a place from the grocer."What did my beloved brother do wrong? Why did he become a victim?” said the victim’s brother, Fr Proshanta Gomes, a priest in the diocese of Dinajpur.  “We live in a country where there is no justice. I want the killers arrested and justice done,” he said.In the past few months, Bangladesh has seen a wave of deadly Islamist attacks against students, bloggers, professors, and members of the LGBT community targeted for their liberal ideas.In response to the situation, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has launched a campaign against terrorism that saw the arrest of 14,000 suspected terrorists, but few are actually linked to Islamic extremism.Bonpara is home to 75 Christians who belong to a larger parish of some 4,000 people. Sunil Gomes was attacked on 5 June after Sunday Mass and left to die in a pool of blood.So far, there have been no developments in the investigation into his murder, local Catholics said.“After my father’s killing, police came to the house to ask questions for only three days,” said the victim’s daughter, Shopna Gomes.Two people have been arrested in connection with the crime, she noted, but not the perpetrators, who are still at large.As a security measure, local Catholics have decided to organise night patrols to watch over their houses, which are possible targets for criminals.Younger members of the community go around at night, armed with sticks. Leonard Gomes is one of them."It is up to us to ensure our security,” he said. “This is why we do not sleep at night and are always ready to defend our community.""We live in fear because we do not feel safe,” said Benedict Gomes, vice president of Bonpara’s Catholic community. “And we feel frustrated because the police are unable to find out who killed Sunil Gomez."The Catholic grocer was much loved in the parish, for whom he had worked as a gardener for years. As a sign of mourning, his fellow parishioners and friends have draped their windows with black flags.

heraldmalaysia.com/news/catholics-live-in-in-fear-in-bonpara-after-sunil-gomess-murder/30085/2

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Pakistan

Pak says will probe China decision to ban fasting for Muslims in Xinjiang during Ramazan

June 29, 2016

Islamabad: A Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs delegation has left for China to determine the reported reason for the Chinese authorities to ban fasting in Muslim-majority Xinjiang province during Ramazan.

A ministry official was quoted by the Express Tribune, as saying that Beijing has formally requested Islamabad to send a delegation to Xinjiang to ascertain the facts.

The delegation includes the Director General (Research), Noor Islam Shah, and Faisal Mosque chief cleric Ziaur Rehman. They will ascertain facts regarding the reported ban on fasting.

It was earlier reported that Chinese authorities had marked the start of Ramazan with a customary ban on civil servants, students and children in the mainly-Muslim region to fast, the report clearly rejected by Chinese government as baseless.

Chinese officials refuted the reports saying the country’s constitution guarantees religious freedom.

Approximately, China has 20 million-strong Muslim population, and the far-western region of Xinjiang is home to 10 million Uighur Muslims.

siasat.com/news/pak-says-will-probe-china-decision-ban-fasting-muslims-xinjiang-ramazan-979818/

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Pakistan can't conquer Kashmir through war: Hina Rabbani Khar

June 28, 2016

Pakistan's former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan could not "conquer Kashmir through war" and the only way out was dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi.

DIALOGUE CRUCIAL BETWEEN ARCH-RIVALS

Khar, in an interview with Geo News, said that the contentious Kashmir issue could only be discussed in an environment of mutual trust.

"I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue, and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust," she said in the interview earlier this week.

Khar, who was Pakistan's foreign minister from 2011 to 2013, opined that if there was continuous talks on Kashmir between India and Pakistan, it was likely that the arch-rivals would reach somewhere at some point.

MILITARY PERSPECTIVE ON ISSUES SIGNIFICANT?

Khar also said that some people believed that the Kashmir issue could only be resolved "if there was a BJP government in India and a military government in Pakistan".

Responding to a question on the military's influence on the country's Pakistan foreign policy, she said that it was a diplomat's job to carry forward the military's perspective on issues where the military was a relevant stake holder.

PPP TRIED ITS BEST TO RESOLVE KASHMIR ISSUE

Khar claimed that despite being in a coalition government, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had tried its best to normalise ties with India.

She said visa rules were relaxed and trade ties were normalised for the purpose.

Khar further said that because Pakistan Muslim League enjoyed majority, the Prime Minister could do much more when it came to relations with neighbouring countries, particularly India.

"The issues between the two countries cannot be resolved in a hostile environment," she added.

indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pakistan-cant-conquer-kashmir-through-war-hina-rabbani-khar/1/702932.html

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Pak intends to promote friendly relations with Muslim world

June 29, 2016

Islamabad—Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf Tuesday said that Pakistan was striving hard for promoting cordial relations with the Muslim world. Talking to Secretary General of The World Islamic League (Rabita al-Alam al-Islami) Sheikh Abdullah Bin Al-Mushin At-Turki in Makkah Mukarma, the minister stressed the need for enhancing and strengthening relations with Saudi Arabia.

The minister said that Pakistan was not oblivious to ground realities and playing effective role for integration of Muslim Ummah. Religious Ministry has constituted Ulema and Mashaikh council with the mandate to achieve the target of interfaith harmony, said a message received here.

Both the leaders discussed further strengthening of Pak-Saudi relations and prevalent situation at Middle East. Sheikh Abdullah Al Turkey said Pakistan was the centre of the hopes of Islamic world. Pakistan role in strengthen-ing the relations among Muslim world could not be ignored. Pakistan could play effective role in resolving the issues of Muslim world.

Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Hafiz Abdul Karim, MNA Sahibzada Muhammad Yaqoob, MPA Mian Ziaur Rehman, Maulana Abu Turab and Jameel Ur Rehman Farooqui were also present in the meeting.

pakobserver.net/2016/06/29/pak-intends-to-promote-friendly-relations-with-muslim-world/

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Hindu reporter in Pak. asked to drink from separate glass

June 28, 2016

Karachi : A Hindu reporter in Pakistan has been allegedly forced to drink water from a separate glass at his workplace after his colleagues found out that he belonged to the scheduled caste.

Sahib Khan Oad works as a senior reporter with government news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

The discriminatory attitude reportedly started after his younger son, Raj Kumar, visited his office and everyone in the office found out that he was Hindu.

“Actually my name contains the word ‘Khan’ so everyone in the office initially thought I was Muslim.The bureau chief asked me to separate my drinking water glass in the office because some colleagues had reservations,” the Express Tribune quoted him, as saying.

According to reports, since Ramazan started, Oad’s work environment worsened and he is not even allowed to sit at the same dining table at the time of Iftar.

His senior colleagues have suggested him to bring his own plates and glasses if he wants to eat in the office.

“I have now bought a separate glass and plate for the office,” he said.

Associated Press of Pakistan’s Karachi bureau chief Parvez Aslam has denied making any such request.

“He was suffering from flu so we suggested he arrange a separate glass,” he said.

Aslam instead pointed out that he supported Oad when he was transferred from Hyderabad and called the discrimination charges ‘total propaganda’

Meanwhile, the managing director of AAP, Masood Malik said that they have started inquiry into the matter.

Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), an organisation that works for labour rights, has also written a letter to Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid against the discriminatory attitude.

siasat.com/news/hindu-reporter-pak-asked-drink-separate-glass-979498/

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India stalling dialogue to avoid negotiation on Kashmir: Aziz

June 28, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Satraj Aziz, on Wednesday said India was avoiding dialogue with Pakistan because that meant issues such as Kashmir will have to be negotiated, reported Radio Pakistan.

Contradicting Indian premier Narendra Modi's recent statement in which he placed the onus of stalled talks on Pakistan, Aziz asserted Pakistan was not refraining from talks with its neighbour.

He said Pakistan had plans for extensive talks with India on issues such as Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, economic cooperation, trade, visas and the detainment of fishermen, amongst others.

Aziz went on to say the Indian Army had rejected an earlier agreement regarding Siachen between the two governments, as they had “stakes” in the glacier.

The adviser had earlier said he was doubtful of progress towards the normalisation of ties between the two south Asian rivals, and suggested that the situation be managed to prevent tensions.

He had also credited Pakistan's diplomatic efforts for India’s failed membership bid of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG).

In a recent interview, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that due to his diplomatic efforts, the world had seen India was not reluctant to engage with Pakistan.

“Our approach has created difficulties for Pakistan, and they find it hard to respond on the matter in the international community,” said Modi.

Modi claimed there are “different types of forces operating in Pakistan”, and asked rhetorically if one has to draw a line or set conditions for dialogue, will it be “with the elected government or other actors?”

After Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan in December last year, the Pakistani and Indian foreign secretaries were scheduled to meet to discuss modalities regarding the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue agreed upon during Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference in December.

The dialogue was to take on matters related to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.

dawn.com/news/1267997/india-stalling-dialogue-to-avoid-negotiation-on-kashmir-aziz

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‘Pakistan has become isolated and needs to change its foreign policy’

June 28, 2016

ISLAMABAD: During a seminar on Tuesday, senior journalist Zahid Hussein said Pakistan is lagging behind economically and has become isolated which is why there is a need for re-examining the country’s foreign policy. However, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi disagreed with Mr Hussein’s observation and said the current foreign policy is relevant to the needs at the time.

Speaking at a seminar titled “Is Pakistan Isolated? Regional Challenges and Opportunities’, which was hosted by the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR), Mr Hussein said Pakistan has to change its course and gave the examples of India and China, saying the two countries have progressed and that they have focused on their economies.

“The current government has made policies for economic development, but they are yet to be implemented because Pakistan’s foreign policy is driven by national security. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor could be a game changer,” he said.

PM’s adviser disagrees,says foreign policy drafted according to needs of the country

The journalist said Pakistan’s economic growth rate has been 3pc for the last 10 years and compared this with that of India the economy of which has been growing by 8pc, while China’s economic growth rate has been 7pc over the same time.

“Pakistan has been left far behind, even by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he said.

To this, Mr Fatemi said no foreign policy can be called a complete success or failure.

“The PML-N’s manifesto said that the foreign policy will focus on the economy. We have tried to have good relations with Afghanistan because we believe there will be no peace in Pakistan until there is peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

He added that a project of building a motorway from Peshawar to Central Asia is underway and that another motorway will be established between Peshawar and Chabahar. He said relations with Iran are also being focused on as the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project is also important.

He said Pakistan wants good relations with India and that the PML-N led government wanted to resume relations from how they were in 1999. However, he said, the sentiment has to be reciprocal for this to work.

“We have good relations with Arab countries and 100,000 Pakistanis will be sent to Qatar for employment. As far as the Nuclear Supplier Group is concerned, Pakistan has been working on this for months and though the application was given at the last moment, 11 countries supported Pakistan. This was all because of diplomacy,” he said.

He added that for the first time, Pakistan has an agreement for buying sophisticated weapons from Russia.

Also speaking at the event was eminent historian and author of ‘Pakistan, a Hard Country’, Prof Anatol Lieven who said the breakdown of Afghan peace talks has increased US animus and that during his visit to Washington, he heard questions about the justification of Pakistan’s position in the Afghan peace talks.

He said that though US hostility has increased, China continues to support Pakistan and warned that this support must not be taken as a carte blanche.

“No country wants Pakistan to cross the line between sheltering the Afghan Taliban and arming them. Pakistan will forfeit all goodwill if this were to happen. It is desirable to revive the peace talks,” he said.

dawn.com/news/1267947/pakistan-has-become-isolated-and-needs-to-change-its-foreign-policy

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Military officer linked to banned HuT secures early release

June 28, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Brigadier Ali Khan, a senior army officer who was court-martialled over links his suspected with a banned outfit, was released from Adiala Jail on Monday night.

Ex-Brig Ali Khan was awarded five years rigorous imprisonment by the Field General Court Marshal (FGCM) in 2012. He was also accused of being involved in a conspiracy to topple the government, trying to instigate a mutiny within the army and planning an attack on General Headquarters (GHQ).

The former official has been released less than four years after he was convicted, even though he was facing “serious allegations” which would lead to capital punishment if proven.

He was caught for ‘planning ground and air attacks on top military and civil leadership’ with the help of banned outfit Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT) in 2011 after the US raided Abbottabad, where Navy SEALs found and killed the most-wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

Since most of the charges levelled against him were not proved in the court-martial proceedings, he was sentenced to five years in prison and was scheduled to be released in August 2017. However, he got the benefit of a remission in his sentence and was released on June 27.

Ex-Brig Ali Khan’s co-accused have already served out their sentences

This relief was granted by the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on January 27, 2016, which is usually granted to convicts in the form of a reduction of their sentence on different occasions, including the two Eids and national holidays, while they are in custody during the course of an investigation and trial.

According to retired Brig Wasaf Khan Niazi, a former member of the army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch, Ex-Brig Ali Khan had been in custody for over one year before he was convicted of being linked to the banned organisation, and the under the court’s order, the officer got some relief as his period of detention prior to the sentence was also included in the total imprisonment.

Earlier, Brig Ali had challenged the court-martial proceedings before the LHC in 2012. His case was heard by 14 different single-member benches at different times. Finally, the petition was dismissed and he was asked to face court-martial proceedings.

The investigation report of the military’s Special Investigation Branch claimed that Brig Ali, with the help of his military and civilian accomplices, wanted to attack a large gathering, such as a dinner for formation commanders hosted by the president, the prime minister and the army chief.

They also planned air strikes on corps commanders’ or formation commanders’ conferences. According to the investigation, between August 2008 and April 2011, ex-Brig Khan met a number of senior army officers. In these meetings, he expressed disappointment with the political and military leadership, proposing a “caliphate” in their place and referring to his intimate connections with the HuT.

Brig Ali was detained just days after US Navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, reviving disturbing questions about the ignorance or complicity within Pakistan’s powerful military.

The court martial proceedings against ex-Brigadier Ali Khan, Major Inayat Aziz, Maj Iftikhar, Maj Sohail Akbar and Maj Jawad Baseer, who were facing charges of having links with a banned outfit, were completed in August 2012 and all five were convicted.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) officially announced their conviction on August 3, 2012.

The FGCM awarded Major Sohail Akbar three years, Maj Jawad Baseer two years, and Major Inayat Aziz and Major Iftikhar one year and six months of rigorous imprisonment each.

Jail sources said that the other accused had already been released after the completion of their respective sentences.

In March 2013, the wife of the detained officer wrote a letter to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) alleging that her husband had been facing the ordeal simply because he had asked for a justification of the Abbottabad raid during a conference held at the GHQ on May 4, 2011.

She had claimed that Brig Ali Khan had suggested that he and the entire top brass surrender all their plots, agricultural land, perks and privileges availed from military service because they had all failed to deliver.

According to the letter, Brig Ali had retired from service on July 11, 2011, before the trial, but he had been tried as a serving brigadier on the basis of a backdated notification, purportedly issued by the defence ministry.

dawn.com/news/1267955/military-officer-linked-to-banned-hut-secures-early-release

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Arab World

Syrian Army, Allies Capture over 60 Percent of Al-Malaah Farms in Aleppo

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and popular forces have pushed the terrorist groups back from over 60 percent of al-Malaah farms in the Northern side of Aleppo city and are resolved to cut off the only supply line of the militants to the city, sources said.

"The Syrian Army men and Hezbollah fighters have fortified their positions in the Northern and Eastern farms of al-Malaah region and access to Dibo Shamiyeh, the last farm in the region," the sources said.

"Now the Castillo road, the only supply route used by the terrorist groups in the Northern districts of Aleppo is under the heavy attacks of the Syrian government forces, who are only two kilometers away form Hraytan and Castillo road now," they added. 

"The Castillo road is under the heavy shelling of the Syrian artillery units now," they continued.

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the Syrian soldiers alongside their popular allies, backed up by the country's warplanes, continued to strike the positions of the terrorist groups in al-Malaah region.

The Syrian government forces, in a coordinated operation with the Syrian fighter jets, pounded the militants' strongholds in the Southern farms of al-Malaah region, which claimed the lives of tens of the terrorists and destruction of their military hardware.

The Syrian army's artillery units, for their part, opened heavy fire at Castello supply line of militants and cut off the road.

In the meantime, the Syrian army deployed more fresh forces to eight villages in Southern Aleppo getting ready for an imminent operation there.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000505

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Syrian Army Smashes Al-Nusra Terrorists across Dara'a Province

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces struck the strongholds and gatherings of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Dara'a districts and across the province, inflicting major losses on the militants, city sources said.

"Al-Nusra positions in al-Naimah were massively attacked by the Syrian army men, leaving several militants dead or wounded," the sources said, adding, "The Army artillery also opened fire at newly-built strongholds of al-Nusra in Dara'a al-Mahatta, Dara'a al-Balad, refugee camp and Sajad Seida company and inflicted major damage on them."

"In the meantime, an army unit penetrated into the positions of al-Nusra fighters near grain silos and destroyed them, which also claimed the lives of several terrorist," the sources said, adding, "In an ambush operation, the Syrian army killed or wounded several al-Nusra terrorists in Southern side of the town of Atman."

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, a newly-built large stronghold of the militant groups in the Southern neighborhoods of Dara'a city was completely ruined in the Syrian Army troops' heavy offensive.

"The Syrian army's heavy fire and continued attacks did not allow the militant group to fortify a newly-built stronghold in the Southeastern side of Seida Carpet Company in al-Makhayam neighborhood," the sources said, adding, "The militants' site was destroyed and most of terrorists in the site were killed in the attacks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000764

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Iran's Ex-Deputy FM Warns Regional States against Ties with Israel

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian described certain regional states' attempts to establish relations with Israel as a strategic mistake with dire repercussions.

"Zionists are enemies of the Islamic countries and establishing ties with Tel Aviv is a mistake," Amir Abdollahian, who is now serving as a top advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, said on Wednesday.

Stressing that certain countries which have established secret relations with Israel will eventually be the victim of their strategic mistake, he said, "Today, Takfiri terrorism and the illegitimate Zionist regime are the two blades of a pair of scissors and they are at the service of the hegemonic system."

Amir Abdollahian, meantime, reiterated Tehran's continued strong support for the resistance front, calling it a vitality for regional peace, stability and security.

His remarks came after Turkey and Israel reached an agreement to normalize ties, according to Israeli and Turkish media.

The agreement was reported on Sunday, six years after an Israeli raid that killed 10 Turkish activists as an aid flotilla sought to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Both sides have been pushing to complete the deal in recent months. The United States has also pushed for the two countries to resolve the dispute.

This is while certain regional Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have secret relations with Tel Aviv. They have even cooperated in assisting the terrorists in Syria with financial and arms aid.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000226

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ISIL Withdraws from Key Airport near Euphrates River East of Syria

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL terrorist group pulled the remaining pockets of its forces back from a strategic airport in Eastern Deir Ezzur under the heavy offensive of the pro-government forces and after sustaining large casualties.

The anti-terrorism fighters stormed the ISIL strongholds around al-Hamdan airport five kilometers to the West of Albu Kamal near the border with Iraq and captured the airport following hours of non-stop battle.

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the Syrian Army troops, backed up by the country's warplanes, repelled ISIL's offensive on government forces' positions in the Southern side of the city of Deir Ezzur, forcing them to retreat.

The Syrian soldiers fended off ISIL's attacks to break through the government forces' defense lines in al-Tharda mountain, which inflicted a heavy death toll of the terrorists.

The Syrian army aircraft, for its part, played very crucial role in defeating the ISIL. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000842

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Syrian Artillery Units Shell Terrorist Centers in Darayya

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's artillery units opened heavy fire at the strongholds of the terrorist groups in the town of Darayya in Southwestern Damascus, while other army units raided the militants' supply lines near the town, battlefield sources said.

"The militant groups positions in Southwestern districts of Darayya have been under heavy shelling of the Syrian artillery units in the past hours," the sources said, adding, "In the meantime, Syrian soldiers have launched a fresh round of offensives to cut off the terrorist groups' supply routes coming from al-Mo'adhamiyeh to put the militants in Darayya under more pressure."

"The Syrian Special Forces, engaged in street battle with militants in Southwestern districts of Darayya, have penetrated over 500 meters into depth of militants' defense lines and are now very close to Nour al-Din mosque," they further added.

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the Syrian Army troops targeted the militants' strongholds in Western Ghouta and took control over more lands in the region.

The Syrian soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorist groups in Southwestern side of the town of Darayya and pushed the militants back from six residential building blocks near Nour al-Din mosque.

The militant groups left behind scores of the dead and wounded members and fled the battlefield to evade more casualties.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000695

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Intense Street Battle Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Darayya

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian army soldiers stormed the defense lines of the terrorist groups in the different districts of the town of Darayya in Southwestern Damascus, forcing the militant groups to pull forces back from more positions in the town.

The Syrian Special Forces advanced significantly against the terrorist groups in the Southwestern districts of Darayya and capture several key building blocks used by the terrorist snipers for targeting Syrian government forces.

Scores of the terrorists were killed or wounded in the army attacks.

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the Syrian Army troops targeted the militants' strongholds in Western Ghouta and took control over more lands in the region.

The Syrian soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorist groups in Southwestern side of the town of Darayya and pushed the militants back from six residential building blocks near Nour al-Din mosque.

The militant groups left behind scores of the dead and wounded members and fled the battlefield to evade more casualties.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000573

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Iran Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Istanbul

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday deplored the Tuesday terrorist blasts in Istanbul which killed over 30 innocent people and wounded more than 140 others, including foreign tourists.

Zarif condemned the Tuesday's triple bomb blasts in Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, and extended his condolences to the Turkish people and bereaved families of the victims.

"Terror shows its ugly head yet again in our friend and neighbor's airport. Extremist violence is a global threat; we must confront it together," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

Three deadly explosions rocked Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul on Tuesday night leaving at least 36 dead and 147 injured.

No group of individual has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks so far.

Late on Tuesday night, three terrorists blew themselves up as security forces were trying to block their progress into the airport.

According to Turkish officials, police forces started firing at suspects when they tried to pass the international terminal's entry, before the security check.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000186

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Rouhani Stresses Iran's Decisive Defensive Power

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that the Islamic Republic will by no means use its military power to occupy other countries, but it will decisively defend itself against potential aggressors and enemies.

"Iran's Armed Forces have never thought of and will never think of violating others’ rights but are determined to defend (the country) decisively,” President Rouhani said, addressing a group of senior Iranian Armed Forces commanders attending an Iftar (Fast breaking) ceremony in Tehran on Tuesday night.

The Iranian president reiterated that his administration will do its best to help enhance the country's defensive power.

President Rouhani hailed the country’s armed forces for their preparedness, and said, “While maintaining our preparedness to powerfully defend the country, we have never been thinking of aggressive move against others."

In Mid-April, Rouhani lauded the Armed Forces for increasing the country's deterrence power, and reiterated Tehran's preparedness to help the neighboring and Muslim states to fight against the threat of terrorism and Zionism.

"I declare explicitly, as I did some days ago in the presence of Islamic countries' leaders (at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Turkey) that the military, political and economic power of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not against our neighbors and the Muslim world states. We assume the power of Islamic countries as our power, and our power also belongs to the Muslim states," Rouhani said, addressing the Army Day Parades in Southern Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic’s Armed Forces are firmly standing against the enemies, and will always maintain their readiness,” he said.

"Also, I said there (at the OIC conference) if your (Islamic countries') capitals are endangered by terrorism or Zionism, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be the only power which will give you a positive response in case you seek help," he added.

Rouhani underscored that the Iranian Armed Forces' power is not against its neighbors and has a defensive nature, adding that "our power means active deterrence".

"Of course, we will cut the hands of aggressors if facing aggression but we have logic of peace and brotherhood," he stressed.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000297

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29,995 Tons of Polymer Exchanged in Tehran Security Exchange

June 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Oil and Petrochemicals Hall of the Tehran Securities Exchange on Wednesday witnessed exchange of 29,995 tons of polymer.

According to Shana, 29,995 tons of polymers were exchanged in the Tehran Securities Exchange.

Amir Kabir, Aria Sassol, Bandar Imam, Tabriz, Tondguyan, Polynar, Jam, Shazand, Marun, Polypropylene Jam, Polymer Kermanshah, Mehr, Mahabad, Laleh, Ilam, Arvand and Navidzar Shimi petrochemical companies offered their products in the hall for sale.

Moreover, 7,917 tons of bitumen, 2,000 tons of light cut lobes and 4,100 tons of vacuum batum were exchanged there.

Meanwhile, 10,140 tons of bitumen was traded in the exports hall.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950409000923

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Africa

Islamic Movement in Nigeria will never engage in arms struggle

June 29, 2016

AhlulBayt News Agency - The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) will never take up arms in the name of avenging the incessant killing of its members by the Nigerian Army in Zaria last December.

This declaration was made by the representative of the Katsina center of the IMN, Sheikh Yakubu Yahya while revealing plans by the authorities to mischievously instigate some people into arms struggle in the name of the Movement.

He explained that the movement is aware of plans to arm some people in the name of the movement with the intention of blackmailing it and destroying its hard earned peace records.

Sheikh Yakubu stated that it is not possible to use force in establishing the Islamic system adding that it is only through enlightenment and exemplary behaviors that victory would come.

He explained that taking of arms is never a part of and will never be a part of the policy of the IMN calling on those who think otherwise to wade off the wrong thoughts.

The respected scholar said that the authorities are mischievously working to create a group within the movement that will resolve to taking up arms against military and police installations across the country claiming that they are avenging the killing of IMN members.

He called on members of the IMN never to give those mischief makers a chance to achieve their devilish machinations while he advised them to ponder because taking up arms is against the entire interest of the movement and its leadership.

Sheikh Yakubu called on the IMN to continue in the line of prayer as success is certainly close-by and never to engage in anything that will destroy the reputation of the movement.

en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/06/29/762972/story.html

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Sierra Leone News: Africa Muslim Agency Feeds 15,000 families in Sierra Leone

June 29, 2016

As part of their every year fast breaking food provision to Muslims and non-Muslims families across the country the Africa Muslim Agency (AMA) has distributed food items worth Nine Hundred and Twenty-Four Million Leones as their support to those who cannot afford it.

The food items include three thousand bags of rice, seven hundred and fifty cartoons of cooking oil, three hundred bags of 50kilograms of sugar, six hundred thousand cartoons of sardine, and four thousand five hundred cartoons of dates (tarmaroo).

This year food donations came at a time when the country’s Economy according to many has been described as ‘stiff’ and many beneficiaries described the gesture as ‘timely’ and ‘significant.’ The food items are part of gifts from the Agency headquarters in Kuwait through the Sierra Leone office.

The Country Director of Africa Muslim Agency Kemamine Ahmed said the dry fast breaking food items are gift for people in Sierra Leone that are fasting with particular reference to the aged, poor, the needy and vulnerable people across the country. He said the mission has been in the country since 1985 to date and that, they have been providing health care services, and that they are also running an orphanage in Kossoh Town, Kenema and Lungi.

The Country Director said AMA had constructed over eight hundred (800) hand pump wells across the country as part of their intervention to address the daily needs of water for locals in the country and that they have also constructed lots of Mosques in the country. He said even when their Agency is a Muslim Organization most of their gifts are targeting both Muslims and Christians pointing that apart from the Mosques and sending of pilgrimage to Mecca, all other facilities are for everyone.

The Chief Imam for Makeni Central Mosque Alhaji Mohamed Lamin Koroma thanked the Agency and its donor partners for their relentless efforts in feeding the needy and vulnerable people in the country during every holy month of Ramadan. He said the best time for every Muslim to engage in doing good is during the holy month of Ramadan because according to him it is the period of giving alms and sharing of food with the poor in particular.

The National Secretary General for Africa Muslim Agency Abu Bakarr Jabbie said this year nationwide dry fast breaking food is targeting beneficiaries in Kenema, Kailahun, Lungi, Port Loko, and Kossoh Town in the Western Area, Kono, Bombali and Tonkolili. He disclosed in Makeni that a total of four hundred and fifty beneficiaries will benefit in Bombali district from this year’s Ramadan food.

The National Secretary revealed that their Agency was to ensure through their contributions to wipe off illiteracy and improve on health of people in Africa in particular which according to him was the more reasons their activities are targeting all denomination. He said their education, health and hand pump water wells projects are for everybody except their Haj and Mosques, which are benefited mostly by Muslims.

An aged woman Mammy Yeabu Thullah, chairlady of Makump Bana village in the outskirts of Makeni revealed to Awoko that since she was a school girl they have been enjoying facilities from AMA unto her present age. She expressed gratitude to the mission saying their gifts are ‘timely’ and ‘important.’

awoko.org/2016/06/28/sierra-leone-news-africa-muslim-agency-feeds-15000-families-in-sierra-leone/

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South Sudan Says New Rebel Group Has Formed; 43 Said Killed

June 29, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — A new rebel group has formed against the South Sudanese government months after a peace deal was signed with another band of rebels to end a deadly civil war, a senior official said Tuesday.

The new group, led by veteran politician Ali Tamim Fartak, has fought with government troops in the remote Wau region in the past few days, leading to the reported deaths of about 39 civilians and four police, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters.

The government has not yet confirmed the deaths in Wau, which is located about 650 kilometers northwest of the capital, Juba, the minister said.

Fartak could not be reached for comment.

Lueth said the new rebel group has an Islamic fundamentalist agenda and includes former government troops, fighters from the Ugandan-led rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army and a Sudanese militia called the janjaweed.

Relief agencies are providing emergency assistance to displaced people in Wau following intense fighting on Friday and Saturday, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Since Friday, an estimated 12,000 people have fled to the U.N. peacekeeping mission's base in Wau and are sheltering in an adjacent area adjacent, the group said in a statement Tuesday.

The fresh fighting is a blow to efforts to pacify South Sudan, which descended into deadly violence in December 2013 as government forces battled rebels led by a former vice president.

The rebel leader in that conflict, Riek Machar, has since been re-installed as vice president following the signing of a peace deal with President Salva Kiir in August.

nytimes.com/aponline/2016/06/28/world/africa/ap-af-south-sudan-new-rebels.html

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North America

Donald Trump’s ‘Improved’ Muslim Ban Proposal Still Won’t Stop Terrorists

June 29, 2016

If Donald Trump believes that banning immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism will improve U.S. national security, then he faces a tough sell with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Stephen Miller, Trump’s policy director, told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that the presumptive GOP nominee believes that the “best way to prevent continued radicalization from developing inside America is to suspend temporarily immigration from regions that have been a major source for terrorists and their supporters coming to the U.S.”

Delivered a fortnight after the Orlando nightclub massacre — perpetrated by New York-born closet case and/or ISIS-inspired extremist Omar Mateen—this was meant to contextualize Trump’s earlier comment, made last December after the terror atrocity in San Bernardino, that as president he would implement “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S. until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” It’s a policy prescription his surrogates in the press, notably campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, insisted he never made.

Leaving aside the fact that Miller’s elaborated definition of an immigration moratorium would, in theory, affect all citizens from Ireland, France, Germany, Spain and a host of other countries with a history of non-Islamic terrorism—not to mention also snare those Western countries that have for decades suffered from Islamist radicalization problems of their own—what, exactly, would such a controversial policy do for mitigating the ISIS menace to the American homeland?

Not much, as it turns out.

Three FBI agents specializing in counterterrorism, speaking on background to The Daily Beast, all shook their heads “no” when asked if a temporary immigration band would make their jobs any easier. Most of the credible ISIS cases the bureau has investigated, or the plots it’s been able to disrupt, have come from American-born suspects, one special agent told me.

A study of aspirational or successful ISIS attacks in the West between 2014 and 2015, most of them in the United States, certainly bears out this assessment.

Terrorism specialist Robin Simcox, formerly at the London-based Henry Jackson Society (where I also used to work) and now at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, counted a dozen ISIS plots in the United States between 2014 and 2015 (albeit before San Bernardino), some of them involving multiple suspects and all of them “inspired” by the jihadist organization rather than directly coordinated by it.

In only one instance, Simcox found, was a suspected terrorist not born in America, and in that instance she was longtime a U.S. citizen. Many of the alleged terrorists weren’t even born Muslim, much less did they have Arab or Middle Eastern ancestry. Rather, they were white converts to Islam.

Zale Thompson, for instance, a 32 year-old American convert, attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet, injuring two, in October 2014 before he was shot and killed.  He had a history of criminality allegedly connected to domestic disputes and had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2003. As best authorities can tell, all he ever knew of jihad came from the Internet; he’d never gone to Syria or Iraq, nor had he ever expressed a desire to do so.

In January 2015, Christopher Lee Cornell, another American-born convert from Cincinnati, had no prior scrapes with the law but was arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and shoot people inside. He was only caught because his would be co-conspirator, whom he met via Twitter, turned out to be an FBI informant.

In March 2015, two cousins, Hasan and Jonas Edmonds, were nabbed while attempting to send the former from Chicago to Egypt, where he’d then smuggle himself into Syria. Their contact was an undercover FBI agent masquerading as an ISIS fixer. Unlike most suspects in Simcox’s database, Hasan Edmonds did indeed have combat training: he was a Specialist in the Illinois Army National Guard, and Jonas was apparently going to attack the facility at which he trained, using his cousin’s military uniform. Jonas was also an ex-con; he served five years for armed robbery in Atlanta.

In April 2015, former roommates Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas were arrested in Queens for plotting to convert propane gas tanks into bombs, following the instructions of The Anarchist Cookbook, al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine and YouTube. Velentzas was from Florida and of Greek and Puerto Rican descent; she was also homeless and may have begun her flirtation with Islam while sheltered at the Islamic Circle of North America. Siddiqui, however, was born in Saudi Arabia but was a longtime U.S. citizen.

Tennessee-born John T. Booker, another convert, enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 2014. A month later, he started posting scary messages to Facebook indicating his desire to be “to be killed in jihad.” He was interviewed by the FBI and confessed that he joined the army to wage holy war against the United States. He lost his military clearance but there wasn’t enough evidence to indict him with any crime; instead, federal informants later approached him and he expressed an interest in blowing up Fort Riley in Kansas. He rented a storage locker and kept bomb-making supplies there. He was arrested on April 10, 2015. He’d wanted to travel to Syria and Iraq but never got that far.

How about the guys who tried to shoot up that Mohammed cartoon event in Garland, Texas in May 2015 but were killed by police not long after getting their first rounds off?

Thirty year-old Elton Simpson was born in Illinois; 34 year-old Nadir Soofi was born in Garland. They were at one point roommates in Phoenix, Arizona. Simpson, who had been under FBI surveillance for almost a decade owing to his ties to another famously pledged loyalty to ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi using Trump’s favorite medium Twitter, under the hashtag “texasattack”.

Usaamah Rahim, his nephew David Wright and Nicholas Rovinski, whom Wright met on Facebook, all conspired to behead anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller. Rahim, who was shot by police he’d allegedly approached wielding in a knife in Roslindale, Massachusetts on June 2, 2015, was originally from Brookline. Rovinski grew up in Rhode Island.

Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni, both American-born New Yorkers, were arrested in June 2015, along with a third unnamed coconspirator, for trying to build a pressure cooker bomb. All three tried to stab their surveilling or arresting officer or FBI agent with knives. Saleh was enrolled in the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, in Queens. Mumuni was studying to be a social worker at the College of Staten Island.

That same month, Justin Nojan Sullivan, from Morganton, North Carolina, had lots of ambitious schemes, including conducting “minor assassinations” before waging a “big attack.” He was contacted by an undercover FBI agent who offered to send him a homemade silencer for the assault rifle Sullivan intended to buy at a gun show, which weapon he intended to use to shoot up a bar or concert. When the silencer arrived in the mail, Sullivan was collared.

Sheffield Lake, Ohio resident Amir Said Abdul Rahman al-Ghazi converted to Islam in prison, where he did time for drug-related offenses. He claimed to have been inspired by the Boston Marathon bombers and purchased an AK-47 from an undercover FBI agent.

Alexander Ciccolo, the mentally unbalanced son of a Boston police captain, was also inspired by the marathon attackers, so much so that he intended to detonate pressure cooker bombs at local colleges. When he was arrested in July 2015, he’d kept Molotov cocktails and knives at his apartment.

Finally, 23 year-old Harlem Suarez told an FBI informant that he was going to bury a bomb in the sands of Key West and kill beachgoers. The bomb he received was a dud constructed by the FBI. He was arrested in July 2015.

True, the San Bernardino attack was perpetrated in part by the Pakistani-born Tashfeen Malik, but she came to California on an H1-B visa, pegged to her marriage to her Chicago-born husband and co-assailant Syed Rizwan Farook.  Moreover, Enrique Marquez, Jr., the man accused of supplying the rifles used by the Bonnie-and-Clyde of American jihad to shoot up 14 people at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015, was also a natural-born citizen of the United States. He is thought to have been introduced to radical Islam by his fellow American and former neighbor, Farook.

thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/29/donald-trump-s-improved-muslim-ban-proposal-still-won-t-stop-terrorists.html

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Sanford Muslim leader defends mosque visit by controversial cleric

June 29, 2016

Muslim leader in Sanford says his mosque has never preached violence against gays, despite a recent visit from a controversial scholar who has said homosexuality should be punished by death.

The Husseini Islamic Center has become the target of vandalism and verbal attack since a gunman pledging allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“This anger was stoked further by widespread misinformation and false allegations that a guest speaker at our center fanned the flames of homophobia and inspired the attack at the Pulse nightclub,” center president Inayat Walli wrote in a guest column for the Orlando Sentinel.

The Pulse shooter, Omar Mateen, was not a member of the Husseini Islamic Center and never visited, Walli wrote.

However, the center in March did invite a visit from Muslim cleric Farrokh Sekaleshfar, who was recorded in a 2013 lecture saying “death is the sentence” for homosexuality. Sekaleshfar spoke at the center on religion and sexuality, according to Walli.

“The session focused on a scientific explanation of sexual orientation in children and promoted open communication in families on topics of sexual identity and gender,” Walli wrote. “Participants were specifically encouraged not to isolate LGBTQ or gender-fluid youth within our community.”

Following the Pulse shooting on June 12, the Islamic Center immediately condemned the attack and took action by giving blood, organizing prayer vigils and raising funds. Walli said that the mass shooting was carried out by a “disturbed individual” and that his congregation rejects violence or hate against any group of people, including the LGBTQ community.

But the mosque has faced criticism in the wake of Sekaleshfar’s visit, and someone recently vandalized the mosque by painting “#stopthehate” on an outside wall, the center president wrote.

Instead of letting the incident further alienate them from their neighbors, the Muslim community is determined to strengthen ties, Walli added.

He invited people of any race, nationality or sexual orientation to visit the mosque and learn more about the congregation.

“[W]e invite the Orlando community and all of America to stand up with us and stop the hate together,” he wrote.

orlandosentinel.com/features/religion/religion-world/os-sanford-muslim-leader-defends-mosque-visit-by-controversial-cleric-20160628-story.html

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American Muslims Show Humanitarian Islam

June 29, 2016

Texan Senator, and former Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz held a congressional hearing today, Tuesday, June 28th, examining federal agency responses to “radical Islam.” The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando revived debate about the terminology we use to describe violent extremism.

Uncomfortable with religiously charged language – like “radical Islam,” “Islamic terrorism” or “violent jihad” – American Muslims argue that such phrases stigmatize their faith that is tragically associated with death, destruction and violence. And, a number of national security experts and government officials (including CIA Director John Brennan) claim that such terminology actually helps our enemies by legitimizing terrorism as divinely sanctioned.

President Obama has consistently refused to use such phrases for these reasons. Most recently, in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, he referred to the Pulse shootings as “an act of terror and an act of hate.” Presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, immediately launched an attack. Referencing President Obama’s “disgraceful” omission of the phrase, “radical Islam,” he demanded that President Obama “step down.”

This controversy occupied news media attention, from CNN to The New York Times.  The American public is well acquainted with “radical Islam.” 

Humanitarian Islam is less familiar, however.

I’m referring to an intriguing phenomenon that has emerged among American Muslims in the past decade. In the wake of mass shootings and criminality by perceived co-religionists, and amid increasing levels of anti-Muslim violence, American Muslims have increasingly responded with philanthropy consistent with traditional Islamic teachings.

Unlike the death and destruction of “radical Islam,” selfless volunteerism and charitable giving make for humanitarian Islam.

In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, for instance, American Muslims launched a crowd-funding campaign for the victims and their families. The campaign, Muslims United for Victims of Pulse Shooting, cites a Quranic verse and Hadith, or saying of the Prophet Muhammad (P). In less than two weeks, they raised more than $75,000.

On the West Coast, last December, American Muslims again responded to an attack on a center that serves those with special needs with philanthropy. The fundraising campaign, Muslims United for San Bernardino Families, cited a Quranic verse and hadith. It collected more than $200,000 within seven days – the equivalent of $1,000 an hour.

This humanitarian side to the world’s second largest religion also emerged in Tennessee last July after an American Muslim with a history of mental illness murdered five victims in Chattanooga. In response, the local Muslim community raised $20,000 for their families.

Significantly, humanitarian Islam is not limited to such tragedies.

Consider efforts in New Jersey, ranking among the top five states with the largest Muslim populations across the nation. On July 4th, as Americans celebrate our country’s birthday at barbeques, parks and beaches, American Muslims – observing a Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset – will gather at one of the state’s largest mosques to prepare 600 meals for the poor and homeless.

Or contemplate local efforts in Michigan, with perhaps the largest Muslim community. The American Muslim response to the water crises in Flint – including more than $300,000 and 1,000,000 bottles of water in donations – made local, national and international news. Now, fasting Muslims are also volunteering at local food banks and collecting food for community food drives at their local mosque.

Similar humanitarian Islamic initiatives can be found in San Francisco, Baltimore, New York, and other cities across the United States.

Most practicing Muslims will tell you that giving charity is central to Islam. One of the Five Pillars, zakat or almsgiving, is an obligatory social responsibility. In the American Muslim context, it’s usually used to feed the poor and homeless.

The crowd-funding campaigns above, however, used religious injunctions that don’t mention zakat or charity.

Rather, in Orlando and San Bernardino, campaign organizers used the following verse from the Quran, an authoritative source for Muslims seeking moral and, to a lesser extent, legal guidance, “Repel evil by that which is better.”

A closer look at the text reveals that it states in its entirety,

“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” [41:34]

According to the Quranic exegesis or interpretation from 14th century Sunni scholar Ismail Ibn Kathir, the verse means that evil is distinct from good. And, if one responds to mistreatment with kindness, it will lead to empathy, love and friendship.

So, what evil are American Muslims repelling?

In an interview, one of the San Bernardino organizers explained,

“We’re tired of being grouped together with extremists and people who commit these monstrous acts…We wanted to show that American-Muslims are active contributors to society and that we want to build what the extremists are trying to destroy.”

American Muslims are repelling the evil of violent extremism that often exacerbates Islamophobia (in addition to other factors). According to a recent study from Georgetown’s Bridge Initiative, anti-Muslim violence increased last year and during this presidential election season, reaching its highest levels since 9/11.

Still, if worsening Islamophobia has a silver lining, it may be that it has helped to revitalize humanitarian Islam as American Muslims counter anti-Muslim prejudice, reclaim the narrative about themselves from violent and other extremists and fulfill religious commandments.

Of course, some might argue that humanitarian Islam doesn’t exist and that American Muslim philanthropy simply exemplifies Islam, in its purest, unadulterated form.

huffingtonpost.com/entry/american-muslims-show-humanitarian-islam_us_5772a6f3e4b0fa01a140aac4?section=india&utm_campaign=Religion+062716&utm_content=Religion+062716+CID_494f2dbf0f5a8a23a89d0bad94199e21&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=American+Muslims+Show+Humanitarian+Islam

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Witness At Ted Cruz Hearing Accuses Congress’ Two Muslim Members Of Muslim Brotherhood Ties

June 29, 2016

In explosive testimony Tuesday, a witness before a Senate panel about Islamic terrorism accused the two Muslim members of Congress of having attended an event organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The charge was leveled by Chris Gaubatz, a “national security consultant” who has moonlighted as an undercover agitator of Muslim groups that he accuses of being terrorist outfits, and it was directed at Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.). At the heart of his accusation is the attendance by those two members at a 2008 convention hosted by the Islamic Society of North America — a Muslim umbrella group, which Gaubatz claims is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I attended a convention in Columbus, Ohio, in 2008, organized by Muslim Brotherhood group, ISNA, and both the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons had recruitment and outreach booths,” Gaubatz said in his testimony. “Both Congressman Keith Ellison, MN, and Andre Carson, IN, spoke at the Muslim Brotherhood event.”

Allegations that Ellison and Carson are secret Muslim agents with extremist leanings are usually found among fringe groups online, often discussed in dire tones on poorly designed websites. Rarely, if ever, do such sentiments get read into congressional testimony, with the imprimatur that offers.

Responsibility for this rare instance lies with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who oversaw the hearing as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts and whose staff likely saw the testimonies of the witnesses.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) later addressed Tuesday’s hearing and defended Ellison.

“He is my congressman. He is a man of great patriotism,” she said, adding that he has advocated for additional funding for efforts to detect what attracts young people to join terrorist groups.

An aide to Ellison confirmed that he did attend the 2008 ISNA convention. He’s gone to a few of the group’s conventions, in fact. Carson’s office didn’t return a request for comment. But news reports show that both he and Carson led a discussion at the 2008 convention on how to mobilize Muslims politically. President Barack Obama has addressed the group as well, though only via a video recording.

Critics of ISNA have insisted that these politicians have either turned a blind eye to — or explicitly embraced — the group’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, an affiliation that is based on ties some of the founding ISNA members have allegedly had to the hard-line religious organization. ISNA has long insisted that no such connection has ever existed.

“I can definitely tell you we are not Muslim Brotherhood. We are not affiliated with them at all and never were,” said Faryal Khatri, an official with ISNA. “That much I can reassure you.”

ISNA is not the only group targeted by Gaubatz. In 2009, he told Talking Points Memo that he obtained an internship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations as part of an effort to secretly collect evidence against the group to be used in a book written by his father. The book, “Muslim Mafia,” alleged that CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group that works to combat Islamophobia, was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cruz’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Gaubatz’s allegations against Ellison and Carson or whether it had given either member a chance to respond. But the senator has displayed a tolerance for these kinds of conspiracy theories in the past.

Before he suspended his presidential campaign, Cruz appointed known Islamophobe Frank Gaffney to his team of national security advisers. Gaffney, now head of the Center for Security Policy, has objected to Ellison and Carson serving on the House Intelligence Committee because he believes their Muslim faith could compel them to leak information to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has also accused Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and conservative heavyweights Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan of being closeted Muslim Brotherhood members.

When asked about his controversial selection, Cruz defended Gaffney as a “serious thinker” focused on “fighting jihadism across the globe.”

huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-muslim-brotherhood_us_5772b615e4b0352fed3e0372?section=india

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Govt to Involve Ex-Terrorists in Renewed De-Radicalization Program

June 29, 2016

The government will facilitate former “big fish” terrorists who have repented and are determined to take part in the country’s de-radicalization programs, say Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan.

Many ex-militants are now promoting moderate views of Islam. Jumu Tuani, a former commander of the Laskar Jihad paramilitary group in Ambon, Maluku, and the 2002 Bali Bombing convict Ali Imron are among those prepared to join the effort.

"I think it is great. I actually have invited them to my office alongside Yenny [Wahid] to draft the program [...] It is certainly an effort that we have to work on together," Luhut said in Jakarta on Tuesday, referring to Yenny Wahid the director of the moderate Islam NGO the Wahid Foundation.

Aside from the NGO -- founded by the daughter of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, the de-radicalization program will include Islamic civil society groups such as Nahdlatul Ulema and Muhammadiyah, he said.

Meanwhile on the government's side, the Religious Affairs Ministry and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) will be involved in drafting the new de-radicalization program, Luhut said.

Through the involvement of various stakeholders in the program, including the former militants, it is hoped to maximize the de-radicalization efforts and to maintain peace in Indonesia so that the country will not turn into a war-zone like Syria, he added.

thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/29/govt-to-involve-ex-terrorists-in-renewed-de-radicalization-program.html

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Philippines to let Indonesian military enter its waters to free hostages

June 29, 2016

AKARTA – Manila has given approval for Indonesian military forces to enter Philippine territory in efforts to free seven Indonesian sailors taken hostage by two militant groups last week, an Indonesian Cabinet minister said Tuesday.

“They approved us to enter into Philippine waters and land,” Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told reporters, saying that the arrangement was decided on Sunday during his meeting with his Philippine counterpart, Voltaire Gazmin.

The move is possible under a 1975 agreement between the two countries that enables Indonesian forces to hunt terrorists and pirates across the border.

Gazmin said the accord “allows Indonesian security forces, in coordination with ours, to conduct the hot pursuit of lawless elements on the sea across the maritime borders shared by our countries.”

The defense ministers discussed in their weekend talks the repeated kidnappings of Indonesian sailors by militant groups in the southern Philippines, including Abu Sayyaf.

In the meeting, the Philippines also decided to allow Indonesian soldiers to escort Indonesian vessels sailing to and from the Philippines so they can take quick action if the ships come under attack.

In the latest kidnapping incident, the tugboat Charles 001 was towing a barge in the Sulu Sea on June 20 when its 13 crew members were kidnapped. Six of them were later released.

It is the third such case in three months targeting Indonesian sailors in the southern Philippine area.

In the two previous incidents, in March and April, the kidnapped sailors were released unharmed. It has not been confirmed whether ransoms were paid.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement Tuesday that, based on information she had received, the condition of the seven hostages was good.

Although they were initially taken hostage by two different groups, Retno said they were being detained together, although they were sometimes moved to a different place and divided into two groups.

“They keep moving, but they are still in or around Jolo Island,” she added, referring to the primary island of the Sulu Archipelago in the southwestern Philippines.

Indonesian Defense Force Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo has said the military believes the two groups are Abu Sayyaf and al-Habsy Misaya, a faction of the Abu Sayyaf group operating on Tapui Island in the southern Philippines.

“We are also still verifying the request of ransom, which is said to be 200 million pesos,” Gatot said late Monday.

Abu Sayyaf claims to promote an independent Islamic state comprising part of Mindanao Island and the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines.

Besides kidnappings for ransom, it has engaged in bombings, assassinations and extortion, making it one of the Philippines’ most serious security threats.

japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/29/asia-pacific/philippines-let-indonesian-military-enter-waters-free-hostages/#.V3OfwtJ97IU

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New Philippine defence chief says militant threat more pressing than S. China Sea

June 29, 2016

MANILA (Reuters) – Crushing Islamist militants in the Philippines will take precedence over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the incoming defence minister said on Wednesday, and spending on military hardware would reflect that.

Ongoing kidnappings and the recent beheading of Western hostages by Abu Sayyaf rebels were hurting the country’s reputation, and incoming president Rodrigo Duterte was frustrated by the failure to rein in the group, Delfin Lorenzana told Reuters.

He said the military would invest in more speed boats and helicopters to help flush out the group based on southern Jolo island, rather than divert funds into maritime security amid rising tensions and militarisation in the South China Sea.

“These illegal activities, including kidnapping, must stop,” Lorenzana, a former army general, said in his first interview with foreign media since being named defence minister. He is formally appointed on Thursday, along with Duterte.

“I share the frustrations of the president and our people. We have to end this once and for all. This problem is giving us a very bad image abroad.”

Abu Sayyaf is believed to be linked to al Qaeda, and has also claimed it has ties to rival jihadi movement Islamic State, although in the latter case, authorities say there are no proven operational ties.

FOREIGN PRESSURE

Despite years of military offensives, the Philippines has made little concrete progress towards defeating Abu Sayyaf, since the group started operating in the 1990s.

Experts say that its network is funded in part by ransom money worth tens of millions of dollars, which it has used to buy modern boats, technology and weapons.

Manila is under renewed pressure to tackle Abu Sayyaf following the recent decapitation of two Canadian hostages and the kidnapping of Indonesian sailors which led to the suspension of coal shipments from the Philippines’ main supplier.

The militants are holding at least 14 hostages to ransom – one Dutch, one Norwegian, five Filipinos and seven Indonesians.

Lorenzana’s comments about his defence priorities will add to uncertainty about Duterte’s position on the Philippines’ sometimes bitter dispute with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea, a key global trade route.

Relations between the countries are particularly sensitive now, with an international tribunal in The Hague preparing to rule in a case brought by Manila that could undermine Beijing’s claims to the disputed waters.

Duterte has been accused of flip-flopping, saying he would confront Beijing but also saying that he would engage through dialogue.

China claims almost the entire sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Lorenzana said the defence budget should be spent on winning security at home rather than buying fighter jets to protect its waters, as the Philippines would not be going to war with any country. However, he said sovereignty was still a key issue.

“We cannot ignore the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) because that is in our mandate,” he said. “It’s both a resource and a sovereignty issue.”

Lorenzana, a Mindanao-born former special forces commander, said a plan was in place to take on Abu Sayyaf, although he declined to give specifics. He said the military would also assist Duterte’s crime-fighting agenda.

“Our focus will be the Abu Sayyaf issue. Next will be to support the police in their all-out war against crime and drugs,” he said.

euronews.com/newswires/3213434-new-philippine-defence-chief-says-militant-threat-more-pressing-than-s-china-sea/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/french-jews,-muslims-join-forces-to-defend-ritual-slaughter/d/107802

 

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