New Age Islam
Thu Oct 01 2020, 04:00 PM

Islamic World News ( 8 Dec 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Haifa Deputy Mayor: Zionist Movement Did ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Like Islamic State














Photo: Israeli-Arab activist Raja Za'atara and Haifa University Professor Assad Ghanem present British diplomat Patrick Haughey with a letter on November 7 2017

Jesseca Manville/i24NEWS

 

‘Muslims in Europe Must Detoxify Prevailing Opinion about Themselves’: Award-Winning British Author

Afghan Speaker: US Killing Innocent People for Money

US Forces, Allied Militias Plundering Artifacts from Northeastern Syria

Mideast

Islamic Theologian Blasts Head Of Top Religious Body For Kowtowing To Turkish Leader

Europe

France Caught In Its Own Trap of Hostility against Refugees, Islam, Says Erdoğan

South Asia

Nangarhar Border Forces Seize Weapons Being Smuggled From Pakistan

Arab World

More US-Backed Militia Commanders Killed in Occupied Regions in Northern Syria

India

Bulandshahr Violence: In UP's Nayabans Village, Muslims Feel 'Terrorised' By Hindu Activists As Religious Tension Surges Ahead Of Election

India and UAE agree to trade in local currencies

Southeast Asia

Malaysia Muslims Rally in Kuala Lumpur to Protect Ethnic Privilege

Pakistan

FM Qureshi to Visit Kabul On Dec 15 To Hold Peace Talks With Afghan Leadership On US Request

Africa

Catholic Monks Beatified In Algeria, First In A Muslim Nation

North America

Retired Soldier Educating South About Islam

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/haifa-deputy-mayor--zionist-movement-did-‘ethnic-cleansing’-like-islamic-state/d/117107

 

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Haifa deputy mayor: Zionist movement did ‘ethnic cleansing’ like Islamic State12/09/20182:28:00 PMUPDATED ON12/09/20182:31:47 PMWritten byi24NEWSIsraeli-Arab activist Raja Za'atara and Haifa University Professor Assad Ghanem present British diplomat Patrick Haughey with a letter on November 7 2017

Jesseca Manville/i24NEWS

Haifa’s new deputy mayor, Raja Za’atara, who reportedly refused to call Hamas a terror organization in the past, has sparked further controversy by claiming the Islamic State uses the same tactics of “ethnic cleansing” as the Zionist movement did when Israel was formed in 1948.Speaking to Israel’s 103FM, Za’atara responded to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s calls to block his appointment: “I was democratically elected to the Haifa City Council. I will represent the Arab and Jewish residents of the city in order for them to live with dignity, true partnership, social justice, and clean hands.”

“Only my voters and constituents can judge my actions. I intend to represent them and work for them, with or without pay,” Za’atara said, referencing a law which stipulates the deputy mayor of a municipality is subject approval from the interior ministry.Za’atara is an Israeli-Arab member of the Hadash party and serves under EinatKalischRotem, the first female mayor of Haifa.Za’atara has led and participated in several demonstrations over the years calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, the deaths of Palestinian demonstrators at the Israeli border, and Israel’s policies of “oppression and intimidation,” according to an interview given to YediothAhronoth several months ago.

In the same interview, Za'atara reportedly refused to condemn Hamas as a terror organization instead saying it is the right of "a people under occupation" to "resist their oppressor."AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (AFP/File) Thousands of Iraqis from the Yazidi community were forced to flee in 2014 when the Islamic State group stormed across swathes of Iraq and Syria

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (AFP/File) “I’m not an IS person, not a Hezbollah - I am a Hadash [socialist, part of the Joint List]. I never said I would join Hamas,” Za’atara told 103FM.When asked about his past comparisons of Zionism to the Islamic State, he responded: “The Zionist movement did ethnic cleansing and so has the Islamic State. In 1948, there were crimes against my people and there are Israeli historians who wrote about them.”In another controversial move, Za’atara has expressed support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which has been accused of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians since war broke out between the government and rebel groups in 2012.“I am disturbed by any violation of sovereignty, whether in Lebanon or in Israel,” he said in response to a question on his position regarding recently discovered cross-border tunnels created by Lebanese Hezbollah.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/politics/190571-181209-haifa-deputy-mayor-zionist-movement-did-ethnic-cleansing-like-islamic-state

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‘Muslims in Europe Must Detoxify Prevailing Opinion about Themselves’: Award-Winning British Author

 

The far right in Europe has been on the rise since the fatwa against Salman Rushdi.

This was stated by an award-winning British author and playwright of Pakistani descent, HanifKureishi, at the ThinkFest held at the Institute of Business Administration’s City Campus, Karachi, on Saturday.

His keynote address was titled, “Where now?”

“We writers have to pause to ponder as to where and what’s gone wrong,” said Kureishi. “People who call themselves Muslims shooting people and causing bomb blasts are causing this.”

“We now know that the fatwa was disgraceful. The Western world is now turning to the right because of Muslim militancy,” Kureishi said. Race and religion, he said, would now fuel totalitarianism.

He said that after 1989 some of the young people today were turning to militant revolutions. Muslims, he said, were the “new Jews” of Europe. “We have to detoxify the prevailing opinion about ourselves,” he said.

Fortunately, he said, there was the generation of young Muslims who were seeing things objectively and could well be instrumental in bringing about secular radicalism. This could give us all something to look forward to, he said, adding that that while the attitude of the European majority could not be defended, the Muslims also had to indulge in introspection.

Speaking from the point of view of his own family, he said his father migrated to Britain seeking security, education and progress. However, he said racism was there and further waves of immigrants fuelled this feeling all the more as they tried to preserve their racial and cultural identity. They were totally alienated.

Speaking next, Azeem Ibrahim of the US Army War College and a senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy in Washington, said there were 1.2 billion Muslims in the world but there were only a miniscule number of radicals yet they were so militant that we seemed to be losing the battle against them.

Quoting the Global Terrorism Index prepared by the University of Maryland in the US, he said that thus far there had been 150 cases of terrorism in 163 countries. He named Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, and India as the centres of terrorism and said there were 274 known groups most notable among these being the ISIS, Daesh and Boko Haram. Nigeria and India, he said, were not Muslim majority countries. “That goes to show why the West has this negative impression of us,” he said. The majority of the ISIS militants, he said, were from Tunisia.

Wahhabism, he said, was an extremely conservative form of Islam and they viewed Shias and Sufis unfavourably. “Terrorists cannot be defeated militarily,” he said.

Next to speak was Dr Flagg Miller from the University of California at Davis, CA, USA. He said his research had been based on 1,500 audiotapes he had got from Afghanistan.

Tracing Laden’s rise to primacy, he said he was at the bottom of his career in 1996. Then he used the global media to attain the position that he did by 2011.

He said what was really responsible for this was the US global ambitions after the end of the Cold War. “Al-Qaeda has a history on which the US empire has a bearing.”

Imtiaz Gul, head of the Centre for Research and Security Studies at Islamabad, and author of “Pakistan: Before and after Osama Bin Laden”, said that there were 120 active groups in 60 countries. These active groups, he said, shared an ideology and did not recognise national boundaries.

The year 1979, he said, was decisive as regards what we are seeing today and cited the Soviet entry into Afghanistan and the consequent mobilisation of radical groups from all over the world by the US. There were even volunteers from the West, he said. However, he said, we should not mix radicalism with religiosity.

He cited the case of his own brothers who, he said, offered their prayers five times a day but were anything but radicalised. He said the graph of radical violence in Pakistan had gone down over the last five years.

Earlier, DrMiftah Ismail, chairman, ThinkFest; DrFarrukh Iqbal, Executive Director, IBA; YaqoobBangash, Founder, ThinkFest; and FaizaMushtaq, Co-Founder, ThinkFest, Karachi, welcomed the guests. Dr Iqbal outlined the aims and activities of the IBA and how the institute was much more than just a business institute and was attaching pivotal importance to social sciences. YaqoobBangash said that social sciences were the building blocks of a harmonious society.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/403503-muslims-in-europe-must-detoxify-prevailing-opinion-about-themselves

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Afghan Speaker: US Killing Innocent People for Money

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Afghan Parliament Speaker AbdolraoufEbrahimi blasted the US for violating the international laws and treaties, saying that many innocent people have been killed by Washington for financial benefits.

The US has never been committed to its international undertakings and laws and "when they are provided with money, they kill innocent people", Ebrahimi said, addressing the second edition of an international gathering of parliament speakers from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, China and Russia on fight against terrorism and expansion of inter-regional ties in Tehran on Saturday.

"Afghanistan is the only country which has turned into an arena for massacre of innocent people," he added, alluding to the US killing of Afghan people on the pretext of fight against terrorism.

Ebrahimi also underscored the necessity for regional cooperation to find effective solutions to fight against terrorism.

The US-led forces have increased their air raids against civilian areas in Afghanistan in recent months.

US drone strikes in Afghanistan are highly controversial as they have claimed many civilian lives so far.

An Afghan official said in June that six civilians were killed in a US drone attack in Northeastern Nuristan province.

Hafiz Abdul Qayum, provincial governor, said that six civilians were killed in the drone strike in Waygal district.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000682

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US Forces, Allied Militias Plundering Artifacts from Northeastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US forces and allied militias continue excavating historical sites in several-year-old Manbij region in quest for more artifacts in the ancient region, a militant-affiliated media outlet reported on Saturday.

The Arabic-language Zaman al-Wasl news website reported that the US-backed militias have continued excavating operation in historical sites in Manbij.

It further said that the US forces have started excavating operation in several areas in the town, including Um al-Sarj, Qala (citadel), the town's historical Wall and the Old Bazaar that enjoy a large number of artifacts.

In the meantime, the US-backed militias have also dug up some of the old graveyards in the Eastern part of the town near the Industrial Zone and in the Ancient Church of Syriac people, it said, adding that some of the artifacts have completely been destroyed.

Al-Wasl further said that the US forces plan to set up positions in regions that are said to be rich with antiques and metal mines.

Manbij is among the oldest towns in Syria with over 4,000 year antiquity record.

Orient news website reported last month that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were excavating in Manbij region's historical sites in Northeastern Aleppo to find and steal artifacts.

It further said that the SDF excavated a historical site know as Romanian Qanat (water canal) near the town of Manbij, adding that the SDF has dug two tunnels near the Qanat in Jablat Um al-Sa'an region under the supervision of SDF Commander Jamil Mazloum and unnamed another commander.

The news website went on to say that the SDF utilizes the Kurdish members for such operation as it does not believe in the Arab members.       

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000908

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Mideast

Haifa deputy mayor: Zionist movement did ‘ethnic cleansing’ like Islamic State12/09/20182:28:00 PMUPDATED ON12/09/20182:31:47 PMWritten byi24NEWSIsraeli-Arab activist Raja Za'atara and Haifa University Professor Assad Ghanem present British diplomat Patrick Haughey with a letter on November 7 2017

Jesseca Manville/i24NEWS

Haifa’s new deputy mayor, Raja Za’atara, who reportedly refused to call Hamas a terror organization in the past, has sparked further controversy by claiming the Islamic State uses the same tactics of “ethnic cleansing” as the Zionist movement did when Israel was formed in 1948.Speaking to Israel’s 103FM, Za’atara responded to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s calls to block his appointment: “I was democratically elected to the Haifa City Council. I will represent the Arab and Jewish residents of the city in order for them to live with dignity, true partnership, social justice, and clean hands.”

“Only my voters and constituents can judge my actions. I intend to represent them and work for them, with or without pay,” Za’atara said, referencing a law which stipulates the deputy mayor of a municipality is subject approval from the interior ministry.Za’atara is an Israeli-Arab member of the Hadash party and serves under EinatKalischRotem, the first female mayor of Haifa.Za’atara has led and participated in several demonstrations over the years calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, the deaths of Palestinian demonstrators at the Israeli border, and Israel’s policies of “oppression and intimidation,” according to an interview given to YediothAhronoth several months ago.

In the same interview, Za'atara reportedly refused to condemn Hamas as a terror organization instead saying it is the right of "a people under occupation" to "resist their oppressor."AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (AFP/File) Thousands of Iraqis from the Yazidi community were forced to flee in 2014 when the Islamic State group stormed across swathes of Iraq and Syria

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (AFP/File) “I’m not an IS person, not a Hezbollah - I am a Hadash [socialist, part of the Joint List]. I never said I would join Hamas,” Za’atara told 103FM.When asked about his past comparisons of Zionism to the Islamic State, he responded: “The Zionist movement did ethnic cleansing and so has the Islamic State. In 1948, there were crimes against my people and there are Israeli historians who wrote about them.”In another controversial move, Za’atara has expressed support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which has been accused of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians since war broke out between the government and rebel groups in 2012.“I am disturbed by any violation of sovereignty, whether in Lebanon or in Israel,” he said in response to a question on his position regarding recently discovered cross-border tunnels created by Lebanese Hezbollah.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/politics/190571-181209-haifa-deputy-mayor-zionist-movement-did-ethnic-cleansing-like-islamic-state

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Islamic theologian blasts head of top religious body for kowtowing to Turkish leader

Liberal Islamic theologian İhsanEliaçık blasted the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs directorate for his comments on children who don’t study the Quran, accusing him of delivering religious rulings on the order of the state leader, T24 reported.

‘’The Quran clearly states who is with the devil, and that is a religious scholar who delivers a decree on the order of the king,’’ Eliaçık said on Twitter, in an apparent reference to Turkish President RecepTayyipErdoğan.

R. İhsanEliaçık

@ihsaneliacik

Kur'ankiminşeytanlarlaberaberolduğunubirçokyerdeyazar.Bunlardanbiri de kralınisteğineuygunfetvaveren din alimitiplemesidir.Ayet "Onlaraşeytanatabiolan o adamıanlat..." diyebaşlar. (bkz. A'rafsuresi 175-176)

Eliaçık’s statement is a response to Turkish Religious Affair Directorate head Eli Erbaş, who on Friday said, ‘’Children who are not with the Quran will be with Satan and devilish children.’’

Eliaçık pointed to Chapter 7 (Surah 'A'raf) verses 175-176 of the Quran, which begin with:

‘’And recite (O Muhammad) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat but he threw them away, so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.’’

The exegesis of the verses explains the story of a scholar who gained knowledge, but chose to throw it away to side with power.

Eliaçık, in April of this year, was sentenced to six years and three months in jail for “conducting propaganda for an armed terror organisation” for a speech delivered during a conference in the majority-Kurdish city of Diyarbakır, has been a vocal critic of Turkey’s state-run Religious Affair Directorate, which employs all of Turkey’s imams.

https://ahvalnews.com/islamists/islamic-theologian-blasts-head-top-religious-body-kowtowing-turkish-leader

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Intelligence Minister: US, Israel, Regional States Support Terrorists against Iran

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi revealed that the US, Israel and certain regional states render support to the terrorist groups to act against Iran.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the second edition of an international gathering of parliament speakers from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, China and Russia on fight against terrorism and expansion of inter-regional ties in Tehran on Saturday, Alavi condemned the Thursday terrorist attack in Chabahar city in Southeastern Iran which killed at least 2 people.

"Eventually, the regional security services are present and unfortunately, the Zionist regime and the US support these terrorist streams by their policies and strategies," he said.

Alavi blasted the US, Israel and certain regional states for making an instrumental use of terrorism to achieve their goals, and said, "In their view, the terrorism which serves their goals is not condemned."

He underlined the necessity for the regional states to increase their intelligence superiority to prevent formation of terrorism in their countries, adding that the terrorists use sovereignty vacuums to be deployed in the region.

The Thursday terrorist attack in Chabahar in Sistan and Balouchestan province killed at least 2 and wounded tens of others.

Ansar al-Forqan terrorist group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the suicide blast near a police station.

Head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Public Relations Department and Spokesman General Ramezan Sharif warned supporters of the terrorist group responsible for the Thursday attack in Chabahar city of the IRGC's crushing response.

"Most terrorist grouplets are linked to foreign security services of countries like Saudi Arabia and they always attempt to foment insecurity at our bordering areas," General Sharif said on Thursday.

In June 2017, the IRGC Ground Force killed the ringleader of Ansar al-Forqan terrorist group, JalilQanbarZehi, in clashes in the heights of Qasr-e Qand region, Southeastern Iran.

IRGC's public relations office announced in a statement at the time that the IRGC Ground Force destroyed a Takfiri terrorist team in Qasr-e Qand in the Southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan.

Several terrorists were killed and wounded in clashes with the IRGC forces in Qasr-e Qand region, including the ringleader of Ansar al-Forqan, it added.

The statement said that after being tipped off about the presence of a Takfiri terrorist group in Qasr-e Qand region, several units of IRGC ground troops were dispatched to the scene and attacked the terrorists.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000561

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Israeli soldiers patrol the northern Israeli-Lebanon border

© AFP 2018 / JACK GUEZ

Israel Kicks Off Op to Thwart Hezbollah Attack Tunnels on Lebanese Border - IDF

On November 14, Lieberman resigned as defence minister and also announced the withdrawal of his right-wing YisraelBeiteinu party from the ruling coalition headed by Netanyahu.

Earlier, he refused to support the government's decision to cease hostilities with Hamas militants, criticising it as a "capitulation to terrorism." Lieberman, instead, called for a more decisive blow against the Hamas movement, the enclave's de facto government.

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Iran: Ahvaz Steel Workers Confront Oppressive Measures by the Mullahs’ Regime

08 December 2018.

While Ahvaz steel workers are on the fourth week of their strike and protests, the anti-labor and plunderer regime of the mullahs tries to break down and end their strike through repressive measures and deception. However, the catastrophic livelihood of the workers and their families continues.

On December 8, "Public Relations of Ahvaz Steel Factory" tried to create division among the workers by giving some false promises through a statement. However, immediately after holding their "general assembly" on that same day, the vigilant workers announced that they have heard such words more than enough and these are the very false promises they have heard from the Khuzestan General Labor Office since the first days.

Workers also wrote in their statement that they will continue to protest and strike until they achieve their goals, including the return of the company to the government main structure, the establishment of all production lines and the provision of necessary equipment and parts, solving the problem of workers' insurance, and regular and timely payment of salaries.

On the other hand, following government’s deceptive promises to workers to end their strike, the infamous intelligence office in Ahvaz summoned a number of workers and threatened them to be arrested if the strike continued. In another yet roguish attempt, the mullahs’ intelligence has sent some mole elements among the workers in a bid to deviate their slogans and protests.

The NCRI Labor Committee urges all oppressed workers, guilds, educators, and employees as well as the rising youth in the country, especially in Khuzestan, to support the leading workers of the National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz.

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/iran-protests/25621-iran-ahvaz-steel-workers-confront-oppressive-measures-by-the-mullahs-regime

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Hezbollah deputy leader: Israel is deterred by the Islamic resistance in Lebanon12/09/20181:13:43 PMUPDATED ON12/09/20182:12:30 PMWritten byi24NEWSLebanon's Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh NaimQassem gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Beirut's suburbs, May 21, 2015. Lebanon's Hezbollah says the Middle East is at risk of partition and sees no end to the war in Syr

REUTERS/Aziz Taher TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-generalNaimQassem on Saturday reportedly claimed Israel has been deterred from fighting in Lebanon since 2006 due to the “ability of the Islamic resistance.”Hassan Nasrallah’s second-in-command told Iranian newspaper Al-Vefagh that the militant group’s deterrence has made it impossible for “the Zionist enemy to carry out military action against Lebanon” in recent years.

"The rules of the game created by Hezbollah in Lebanon and the deterrence rules created in Israel have created great difficulty for Israel to imagine launching a war against Lebanon," Qassemsaid.Qassem also claimed that Israel in its entirety is vulnerable to Hezbollah missiles, alleging, "there is no point in the face of the Zionist entity that is not within range of Hezbollah missiles."

He did not comment on Israel’s Operation Northern Shield, which has been in progress since Tuesday, when the IDF announced it had discovered a cross-border tunnel built by Hezbollah.IDF Spokesperson A picture of the inside of what Israel says is an underground attack tunnel dug by the Hezbollah terror group that crossed into Israeli territory from south of the Lebanese village of KafrKila, December 4, 2018.

IDF Spokesperson The operation’s stated goal is to discover and destroy all tunnels dug under the blue line.The IDF has since announced its discovery of two more tunnels, neither of which are operational but both of which extend into Israel’s northern territory where civilians live.Lebanese media reported on Sunday that Beirut had sent armed reinforcements to the border in response to increase Israeli military activity across the blue line.The IDF declined to comment on Lebanese troop movement.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/190565-181209-hezbollah-deputy-leader-israel-is-deterred-by-the-islamic-resistance-in-lebanon

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Europe

‘Muslims in Europe Must Detoxify Prevailing Opinion about Themselves’: Award-Winning British Author

 

The far right in Europe has been on the rise since the fatwa against Salman Rushdi.

This was stated by an award-winning British author and playwright of Pakistani descent, HanifKureishi, at the ThinkFest held at the Institute of Business Administration’s City Campus, Karachi, on Saturday.

His keynote address was titled, “Where now?”

“We writers have to pause to ponder as to where and what’s gone wrong,” said Kureishi. “People who call themselves Muslims shooting people and causing bomb blasts are causing this.”

“We now know that the fatwa was disgraceful. The Western world is now turning to the right because of Muslim militancy,” Kureishi said. Race and religion, he said, would now fuel totalitarianism.

He said that after 1989 some of the young people today were turning to militant revolutions. Muslims, he said, were the “new Jews” of Europe. “We have to detoxify the prevailing opinion about ourselves,” he said.

Fortunately, he said, there was the generation of young Muslims who were seeing things objectively and could well be instrumental in bringing about secular radicalism. This could give us all something to look forward to, he said, adding that that while the attitude of the European majority could not be defended, the Muslims also had to indulge in introspection.

Speaking from the point of view of his own family, he said his father migrated to Britain seeking security, education and progress. However, he said racism was there and further waves of immigrants fuelled this feeling all the more as they tried to preserve their racial and cultural identity. They were totally alienated.

Speaking next, Azeem Ibrahim of the US Army War College and a senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy in Washington, said there were 1.2 billion Muslims in the world but there were only a miniscule number of radicals yet they were so militant that we seemed to be losing the battle against them.

Quoting the Global Terrorism Index prepared by the University of Maryland in the US, he said that thus far there had been 150 cases of terrorism in 163 countries. He named Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, and India as the centres of terrorism and said there were 274 known groups most notable among these being the ISIS, Daesh and Boko Haram. Nigeria and India, he said, were not Muslim majority countries. “That goes to show why the West has this negative impression of us,” he said. The majority of the ISIS militants, he said, were from Tunisia.

Wahhabism, he said, was an extremely conservative form of Islam and they viewed Shias and Sufis unfavourably. “Terrorists cannot be defeated militarily,” he said.

Next to speak was Dr Flagg Miller from the University of California at Davis, CA, USA. He said his research had been based on 1,500 audiotapes he had got from Afghanistan.

Tracing Laden’s rise to primacy, he said he was at the bottom of his career in 1996. Then he used the global media to attain the position that he did by 2011.

He said what was really responsible for this was the US global ambitions after the end of the Cold War. “Al-Qaeda has a history on which the US empire has a bearing.”

Imtiaz Gul, head of the Centre for Research and Security Studies at Islamabad, and author of “Pakistan: Before and after Osama Bin Laden”, said that there were 120 active groups in 60 countries. These active groups, he said, shared an ideology and did not recognise national boundaries.

The year 1979, he said, was decisive as regards what we are seeing today and cited the Soviet entry into Afghanistan and the consequent mobilisation of radical groups from all over the world by the US. There were even volunteers from the West, he said. However, he said, we should not mix radicalism with religiosity.

He cited the case of his own brothers who, he said, offered their prayers five times a day but were anything but radicalised. He said the graph of radical violence in Pakistan had gone down over the last five years.

Earlier, DrMiftah Ismail, chairman, ThinkFest; DrFarrukh Iqbal, Executive Director, IBA; YaqoobBangash, Founder, ThinkFest; and FaizaMushtaq, Co-Founder, ThinkFest, Karachi, welcomed the guests. Dr Iqbal outlined the aims and activities of the IBA and how the institute was much more than just a business institute and was attaching pivotal importance to social sciences. YaqoobBangash said that social sciences were the building blocks of a harmonious society.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/403503-muslims-in-europe-must-detoxify-prevailing-opinion-about-themselves

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France caught in its own trap of hostility against refugees, Islam, says Erdoğan

 

Turkish President RecepTayyipErdoğan on Saturday expressed his concern regarding the chaos caused by the 'Yellow Vest' protests in Paris, while pointing to France’s discrimination against refugees and Islam, independent news site T24 reported.

The Turkish president, in his first remarks on the ongoing street clashes, while delivering a speech in Istanbul,  stressed he is against the chaos caused by the protesters, as well as the disproportionate use of force by French police.

‘’The picture that has emerged shows us that Europe has failed in the lessons of democracy, human rights, freedoms,’’ Erdoğan said, adding, "Those who provoke hostility against refugees and Islamophobia have been caught in their own trap."

Last week, hundreds of people were arrested and scores injured in violence on the streets of Paris, some of the worst clashes to take place in the French capital for decades, in the fourth weekend of anti-government protests which have turned violent. Four people have been killed as yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes continue to take the streets.

Around 31,000 people were taking part in Saturday's demonstrations, according to France’s junior interior minister, of which 8,000 were in or around Paris.

https://ahvalnews.com/france-protests/france-caught-its-own-trap-hostility-against-refugees-islam-says-erdogan

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Muslim-convert threatened pub-goers with metal bar after street attack

9 DEC 2018

Daniel Flint has been beaten up and had stones thrown at his home since converting to the Muslim faith three years ago

Muslim-convert Daniel Flint armed himself with a metal bar and returned to a pub to confront a man after being attacked in the street.

The 32-year-old saw red after storming out of The King William pub, in Talke Pits, and being attacked on his way home.

He responded by grabbing a metal trolley jack handle from his flat and trying to get back inside the boozer.

But the landlord locked the door for everyone's safety and the defendant was arrested outside.

Now Flint – who says he has been subjected to a catalogue of harassment and abuse since converting to the Muslim faith three years ago – has been handed a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 20 days at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

The court heard Flint became angry after being told to leave the pub at around 9.50pm on June 7.

Prosecutor Ruth Bentley said: “The licensee told the defendant to keep the noise down and if he did not control his mouth he would have to go home.

“The defendant threw the contents of a pint glass towards the bar and it smashed on the floor. He then left very quickly by the main door causing the glass to crack.

“The licensee was later outside when he heard someone shouting, ‘He has got a weapon’. The defendant was chasing after them with a red bar. He was waving the bar and hit the door with it.

“The police were called. They attended and the defendant was arrested.”

Flint, of Queens Gardens, Talke Pits, pleaded guilty to criminal damage, using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence, and possession of an offensive weapon in public.

The court heard Flint has received lots of support from the Muslim community since converting to the Islamic faith.

But the court heard he has also been beaten up and had stones thrown at his home. His flat was also searched on suspicion that he was connected to ISIS and that had caused him a lot of stress.

Lesley Barnett, mitigating, said: “He was assaulted on his way home by someone. Instead of going to his flat, locking himself in and calling the police he grabbed a trolley jack handle, went over to the pub, banged on the door and caused fear for those inside the pub. He was in the street in a public place in possession of a metal bar.”

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/muslim-islam-isis-daniel-flint-2304872

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Muslim chaplain, 49, is arrested at prison gates after 'trying to smuggle £60,000 worth of Spice into Belmarsh'

9 December 2018

Chaplain arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle £60,000 worth of illegal drugs into Belmarsh prison in London

Mohamed Rawat, 49, was caught at Belmarsh jail allegedly carrying more than 60 sheets of paper soaked in the highly addictive synthetic substance spice

A Muslim chaplain has been arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle £60,000 worth of illegal drugs into one of Britain’s most notorious prisons.

Mohamed Rawat was caught at Belmarsh jail allegedly carrying more than 60 sheets of paper soaked in the highly addictive synthetic substance spice.

The 49-year-old imam was dramatically detained at the prison gates after a secret probe by the anti-corruption unit at the Category A jail in South East London.

Inmates there have included extremist preacher Anjem Choudary, and Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the jihadi killers of soldier Lee Rigby.

Volunteer chaplain Rawat has been banned from going back to the prison while he is under investigation.

The audacious plot to allegedly use a trusted cleric as a mule shows the determination of criminal gangs to sell drugs to inmates.

Dealers have recruited dozens of prison officers to smuggle in drugs while others have used drones to fly contraband over the walls.

Spice is particularly sought-after behind bars because it cannot be detected in drugs tests and can be sprayed on to sheets of paper.

All prisons now seize letters and books sent to inmates and give them photocopies, in case the originals are saturated in spice.

The drug causes similar reactions to cannabis but is far stronger and causes some users to become violent and delusional.

Earlier this year Prisons Minister Rory Stewart warned: ‘There are many drivers of prison violence – the greatest is probably the surge in the use of spice and other mind-altering drugs.’

Its widespread use in prisons puts a huge strain on the NHS as ambulances have to be sent to inmates who have overdosed, and it has been linked to suicides and violent deaths in cells. Last year guards at Belmarsh fell ill after accidentally inhaling the drug.

The jail now has sniffer dogs, a body-scanner machine in the reception area and an ‘itemiser’ that can test for drugs in the post room.

But this year’s independent monitoring board report said drugs continue to get inside which ‘directly contributes to the levels of violent incidents’.

Born in the Midlands, Rawat now lives in North London. He describes himself as an ‘active religious leader’ for his local community ‘in various capacities’, adding that these include working voluntarily ‘as a public school governor, mentoring young boys in football, as well as promoting peace and community cohesion with the Metropolitan Police and other local religious leaders of different faiths’.

In a short piece entitled A Day Of Sorrow that he provided for a book on Muslim perspectives on the 7/7 terror attacks, he wrote: ‘On the whole, Muslims will be treated differently, particularly if they see themselves as different.’

Scotland Yard confirmed: ‘On Wednesday, November 28, police arrested a man at Belmarsh Prison on suspicion of possession with intent to supply an illegal substance. He has since been released under investigation. Enquiries continue.’

A quarter of Belmarsh’s 900-strong population are Muslim and they have access to several chaplains, including Rawat.

Last night a spokesman for the Prison Service told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Drugs fuel instability and violence behind bars and we are determined to do everything possible to stop them from entering our prisons.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment further while this police investigation is carried out.’

But a source confirmed to this newspaper: ‘A volunteer chaplain at Belmarsh has had their prison access suspended.’

Whitehall insiders say the Government is spending £70 million on new measures to keep drugs out of prisons, including X-ray machines and phone-blocking technology.

The Mail on Sunday could not reach Rawat for comment last night.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6475273/Muslim-chaplain-49-arrested-trying-smuggle-60-000-worth-Spice-Belmarsh.html

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South Asia

Afghan Speaker: US Killing Innocent People for Money

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Afghan Parliament Speaker AbdolraoufEbrahimi blasted the US for violating the international laws and treaties, saying that many innocent people have been killed by Washington for financial benefits.

The US has never been committed to its international undertakings and laws and "when they are provided with money, they kill innocent people", Ebrahimi said, addressing the second edition of an international gathering of parliament speakers from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, China and Russia on fight against terrorism and expansion of inter-regional ties in Tehran on Saturday.

"Afghanistan is the only country which has turned into an arena for massacre of innocent people," he added, alluding to the US killing of Afghan people on the pretext of fight against terrorism.

Ebrahimi also underscored the necessity for regional cooperation to find effective solutions to fight against terrorism.

The US-led forces have increased their air raids against civilian areas in Afghanistan in recent months.

US drone strikes in Afghanistan are highly controversial as they have claimed many civilian lives so far.

An Afghan official said in June that six civilians were killed in a US drone attack in Northeastern Nuristan province.

Hafiz Abdul Qayum, provincial governor, said that six civilians were killed in the drone strike in Waygal district.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000682

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Nangarhar border forces seize weapons being smuggled from Pakistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Dec 09 2018, 2:02 pm

The Afghan security forces seized at least 26 various types of weapons being smuggled from Pakistan into this province, the local security officials said.

The commander of the border forces in the East Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Husain Khel said the border forces of sixth Kandak seized weapons being smuggled to Dur Baba district from Pakistan.

Gen. Hussain Khel further added that the weapons were being smuggled inside a Toyota Corolla type vehicle which was stopped during an operation by the border security forces.

According to Gen. Hussain Khel, the smuggler who was attempting to take the weapons to Nangarhar province was also arrested during the same operation.

He said two PKM machine guns, eight Ak-47s, and sixteen pistols were seized by the security forces.

Gen. Hussain Khel also said that it is yet not clear forwhat purposes the weapons were being smuggled to Nangarhar but added that an investigation is underway in this regard.

https://www.khaama.com/nangarhar-border-forces-seize-weapons-being-smuggled-from-pakistan-02898/

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4 Taliban militants blown up by own explosives in Kunduz province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Dec 08 2018, 2:24 pm

At least four Taliban militants were blown up by own explosives in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan, the Afghan military said Saturday.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the incident has taken place on Kunduz-QalaZal highway.

The statement further added that four Taliban militants who were looking to plant an Improvised Explosive Device on the highway were killed after the explosives went off prematurely.

According to 209th Shaheen Corps, an Improvised Explosive Device expert of the group was also among those killed.

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

Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in North of Afghanistan but the security situation of has deteriorated more during the recent years.

The Taliban militants are active in some districts of Kunduz and often conduct terrorist related activities against the government and security institutions.

https://www.khaama.com/4-taliban-militants-blown-up-by-own-explosives-in-kunduz-province-02893/

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Arab World

US Forces, Allied Militias Plundering Artifacts from Northeastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US forces and allied militias continue excavating historical sites in several-year-old Manbij region in quest for more artifacts in the ancient region, a militant-affiliated media outlet reported on Saturday.

The Arabic-language Zaman al-Wasl news website reported that the US-backed militias have continued excavating operation in historical sites in Manbij.

It further said that the US forces have started excavating operation in several areas in the town, including Um al-Sarj, Qala (citadel), the town's historical Wall and the Old Bazaar that enjoy a large number of artifacts.

In the meantime, the US-backed militias have also dug up some of the old graveyards in the Eastern part of the town near the Industrial Zone and in the Ancient Church of Syriac people, it said, adding that some of the artifacts have completely been destroyed.

Al-Wasl further said that the US forces plan to set up positions in regions that are said to be rich with antiques and metal mines.

Manbij is among the oldest towns in Syria with over 4,000 year antiquity record.

Orient news website reported last month that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were excavating in Manbij region's historical sites in Northeastern Aleppo to find and steal artifacts.

It further said that the SDF excavated a historical site know as Romanian Qanat (water canal) near the town of Manbij, adding that the SDF has dug two tunnels near the Qanat in Jablat Um al-Sa'an region under the supervision of SDF Commander Jamil Mazloum and unnamed another commander.

The news website went on to say that the SDF utilizes the Kurdish members for such operation as it does not believe in the Arab members.       

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000908

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More US-Backed Militia Commanders Killed in Occupied Regions in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Two senior commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed in two operations by unknown raiders in Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo and in Southeastern DeirEzzur, media activists reported on Saturday.

The sources said that a notorious security commander of the SDF was killed in a booby-trapped blast in Saba'aBahran in the town of Manbij on Friday.

They further said that the region is in panic after the blast, causing the SDF to put fighters on alert.

In the meantime, unidentified attackers opened fire at the SDF gunmen's vehicle in the small town of Abu Hardoub, killing Mohsen Howejah, one of the SDF local council and wounding several more.

Attacks on the SDF members and commanders have recently gone high in occupied region in Eastern and Northeastern Syria.     

Arab tribes, in a statement last week, declared their opposition to continue forced recruitment by the SDF in Manbij region in Northeastern Syria.

The Arab tribes issued a statement and firmly condemned the SDF's forced conscription of young men, saying that they will not allow their sons to join the militia.

The tribes also demanded a general strike to grow more united against the SDF.

A fresh wave of anger has covered the Arab tribes in the region as the SDF casualties in battle with ISIL includes 98 percent Arab fighters and only 2 percent Kurdish gunmen.

The Arab tribes' opposition rose after the SDF announced that young men between the ages of 18-30 have to join the militia, or will be legally prosecuted.   

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000809

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US Fighter Jets Bomb, Destroy Hospital in Eastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US-led coalition warplanes pounded a hospital in a small town in Southeastern DeirEzzur, local sources reported on Saturday, adding that a sum of 8 civilians were killed and several more were wounded in the US air raid on residential areas in the province.

The warplanes fired several missiles on the town of Hajin in Southeastern DeirEzzur, leveling a medical center to the ground.

In the meantime, 8 members of a family, including 2 children and 3 women, were killed and several more were sounded in another case of airstrike on residential areas in Hajin.

Last week, airstrikes by the US-led coalition warplanes killed many more civilians in the Eastern part of DeirEzzur, informed sources said.

"The US-led coalition warplanes struck the homes of civilians in the town of al-Sha'afah in Eastern DeirEzzur, killing at least 14 civilians from a family most of them children and women," battlefield sources in Eastern DeirEzzur said.

The sources noted that many other civilians were also injured in the US airstrikes on the residential areas.

"A large number of houses were destroyed and the region's infrastructure was extensively damaged in the US warplanes' raids," the sources added.

Meantime, the Orient Base affiliated to militant groups reported that the US-led coalition fighter jets also targeted and pounded the village of Abu al-Hassan on the outskirts of the city of Hajin in Eastern DeirEzzur, leaving at least 21 civilians dead and many others wounded.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000159

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Iraqi warplanes kill 3 Islamic State militants in Anbar

by  MohammedEbraheem

Dec 8, 2018

Anbar (IraqiNews.com) – Three Islamic State militants were killed Saturday in an air raid by the Iraqi Air Force on a terrorist hotbed in Anbar, a security source from the province’s operations command was quoted as saying.

Speaking to the privately-owned Almaalomah news agency, the source pointed out that Iraqi warplanes targeted three Islamic State militants riding two motorbikes and trying to sneak into Wadi al-Shaib, which leads to al-Kasrat area, west of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

“The three terrorists were killed and their motorbikes were destroyed in the airstrike,” the source said, adding that a large cache of weapons were found at the scene.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS had declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-warplanes-kill-3-islamic-state-militants-in-anbar/

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President: US, West, Israel Support Terrorist Groups in Iran

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted the US, western states and Israel for supporting the terrorist groups which act against his country, and called on Pakistan to double efforts to free the border guards abducted in Southeastern Iran in October.

"The big powers have created and supported the terrorist groups. The US, West and the Zionist regime are supporters of terrorist groups' activities in Iran," Rouhani said in a meeting with Pakistani Parliament Speaker Assad Qaiser in Tehran on Saturday.

He underlined the necessity for serious steps by Iran and Pakistan to fight against terrorism, saying, "Unfortunately, some grouplets misuse the borders between Iran and Pakistan which should be the borders of brotherhood and friendship between the two countries."

President Rouhani also expressed the hope that "the 7 Iranian border guards who are still in captivity in Pakistan after they were taken hostage by the terrorist groups will be freed as soon as possible through the Pakistani army's more serious actions and return to Iran safe and sound."

12 Iranian border guards were abducted on Oct. 16 by the so-called Jaish al-Adl terrorist group, which is based in Pakistan.

Five of the abducted border guards returned home on November 22, a statement by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said.

Thanks to “hard work and interactions with the Pakistani side” five of the 12 forces, who were kidnapped in October by the so-called Jaishul-Adl terrorist group, are back home, the statement said.

It also stressed that efforts would continue to secure release the remaining Iranian captives, appreciating the patience of the abductees' families.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917001107

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Turkish Soldiers Killed in Clashes with Kurdish Militias in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several Turkish Army forces were killed in a Kurdish militia attack in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo, a Kurdish media outlet reported on Saturday.

The Arabic-language website of Hawar news agency reported that the Kurdish units targeted the positions of the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants between Shera and Shirawa region in Afrin, killing 3 Turkish soldiers.

In the meantime, other Kurdish units attacked a base of Sultan Murad in Rajou region, killing 2 Ankara-backed gunmen, Hawar news further said.

Meanwhile, a militant-affiliated source said that the Kurds attacked Turkey-backed militants in the village of Kabashin in Jandaris region.

It further said that the militants repelled the Kurdish attack, killing 3 of them. 

Hawar news reported last week that the Kurdish militia blasted a military vehicle of Ankara-backed Firqa al-Hamzah militants in Afrin on a road between the center of the town and the village of Basoutah in Shirawa, killing 4 terrorists and severely wounding 2 others.

They also targeted a vehicle of al-Shamiyah Front terrorist group in the village of Koubleh near Afrin, destroying the car and killing one militant inside.

Meantime, the Kurds' operations against Faylaq al-Sham terrorists on the road linking BorjHeidar in Shirawa region killed two militants.

Also, field sources in Afrin reported that heavy clashes erupted between the Kurds and Turkey-backed militants in the village of al-Malekiyah near Afrin after the former attempted to infiltrate into the latter group's positions and was targeted.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000641

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Army Discovers American, British, Israeli-Made Arms in Terrorists' Positions Again

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Damascus Army found a large volume of weapons and military equipment, including American, British and Israeli-made arms and medicines, in cleansing operations in terrorists' former positions in Damascus and Quneitra provinces.

The units continued their mop-up operations in Southwestern Damascus and Northern Quneitra, discovering a large volume of weapons and ammunitions, including different missiles, anti-tank missiles, machineguns and wireless telecommunication devices in regions that once were under terrorists' control, a field source reported on Friday.

Meantime, the Syrian army continued its military advances in other parts of Syria over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army's operations in provinces across Syria.

Damascus-Quneitra

The Syrian army found a large volume of weapons and military equipment, including American, British and Israeli-made arms and medicines, in cleansing operations in terrorists' Damascus and Quneitra provinces, a field source reported on Friday.

The units continued their mop-up operations in Southwestern Damascus and Northern Quneitra, discovering a large volume of weapons and ammunitions, including different missiles, anti-tank missiles, machineguns and wireless telecommunication devices in regions that once were under terrorists' control.

British, American and Israeli medical equipment, medicine and food cans were among the discovered items.

A field source reported last month that the engineering units of the army discovered the arms and equipment which included the US-made TOW missiles, RPGs and its ammunition, machine-guns, grenades, mortars and other ammunitions in a farm between the towns of Babbila and Beit Saham near the capital Damascus.

Meantime, the army forces also found a network of tunnels near Damascus used by the terrorists for transferring goods and weapons in their purging operations in the towns of Yalda, Babbila and Beit Saham in Southern Damascus.

Also, at least 100kg of explosives and 75kg of mines and grenades were discovered in the wells near the farms of the two towns of Beit Tima and Beit Saber.

Aleppo

A number of Turkey-backed militants, including two notorious commanders, were killed in the Kurdish militia attacks in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo, a Kurdish media outlet reported on Friday.

The Arabic-language website of Hawar news reported that the Kurdish militias conducted an offensive on the positons of the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants in al-Mahmoudiyah neighborhood in Central Afrin, killing HamzahQarhah, a commander of Sultan Murad militants.

The militants' military hardware also sustained damage in the attack.

It further said that the Kurds targeted a vehicle of the Ankara forces in Rajou region, killing several militants, including Abdullah al-Zarabah, a commander of Liwa al-Shamal.

It went on to say that the Kurds staged an assault on a base of Faylaq al-Sham in Jandaris region, killing or wounding 5 militants. 

DeirEzzur

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) managed to seize control over several key areas in the town of Hajin in Southeastern DeirEzzur after ISIL retreated from more positions, an Arab media outlet reported on Friday.

The Arabic-language website of al-Manar news reported that the SDF captured al-Havamah neighborhood in Hajin after ISIL retreated.

It further said that the SFD has also captured Ferdown mosque and a part of Hajin's bazaar.

The SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, captured Raqqa city in Northeastern Syria after an agreement on safe expulsion of ISIL from the city, the website said, adding that thousands of civilians were killed in the US air raids in Raqqa city at the time.

Hama

A series of fierce firefights broke out between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Northern Hama, a field sources said.

The source said that the army's 4th Armored Division opened fire on a group of FSA fighters from the Jeish Al-Izzah faction after they were seen moving between the towns of Massasneh and al-Latamina, massdar news reported.

No casualties have been reported by either party yet.

The military source added that both sides are using machineguns and heavy artillery against one another in this part of the demilitarized zone.

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US-Backed Militias Engage in Fresh Infighting in Northeastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Two groups of the US-backed militia exchanged fire in Raqqa city in Northeastern Syria on Saturday amid severe tensions between the Washington-backed gunmen and civilians in the region.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their security units engaged in clashes in the Youth Housing neighborhood in the Northern part of Raqqa city and security agents arrested a member of the SDF.

Militants from both sides sustained injuries in the clashes.

Reports said the Military Intelligence Units of the SDF eventually were dispatched to the region to end the clashes.

In the meantime, a number of Raqqa province's residents engaged in fighting with the SDF members after the latter looted people's assets in the small town of al-Karamah.

Also, media activists pointed to the detention of a number of civilians in Western Raqqa, including the small town of Hanidah, over alleged cooperation with the Syrian Army, and added that severe tensions have covered the region.

A militant-affiliated website reported last month that Arab tribes in Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria demanded the Syrian Army to deploy its guards at border with Turkey after the Ankara forces' threats to launch an imminent large-scale operation against the Kurds on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Zaman al-Wasl reported that the Kurdish militias try to hold different meetings with Arab tribes in Hasaka, Raqqa and Aleppo provinces to persuade them to join them in battle against the Turkish troops.

It further said that the Kurds had several meetings with Arab tribes in al-Safir region in the town of Ra'as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka, adding that all tribal elites called on the SDF to hand over border control to the Damascus force to deter a Turkish invasion.

In the meantime, local sources in Hasaka province pointed to the Kurdish concerns about the Turkish troops' operation, and said that the Kurds have transferred prisoners and detainees from their Alaya jail in the town of Qamishli in Northeastern Hasaka to their central jail in Hasaka city.

The sources further said that the Kurds have turned residential units in al-Mahatah and al-Abrah neighborhoods in Ra'as al-Ein in Western Hasaka to military bases, adding that differences have also been increasing among the Kurdish militias in Northern Syria after the SDF arrested one of its commanders on charges of cooperation with the Ankara-backed Free Army.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000490

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Turkish Army Reinvigorating Observation Posts in Occupied Regions in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army forwarded a long military convoy to Northern Syria to further enhance its observation posts in Northern Hama amid the Syria Army's preparation to kick off a major operation against terrorists.

A long convoy of Turkish Army vehicles entered Northern Syria after crossing KafrLusin border passageway.

The convoy that included several military vehicles, personnel carrier vehicles and logistic equipment moved towards Turkish observation posts in the town of Morek in Northern Hama.

Turkey's move come as the Syrian Army is preparing for a large-scale operation in the region.

The Syrian army dispatched fresh forces and equipment, deployed in Eastern Qalamoun in Damascus province, to the small towns of al-Zalaqiyat and Halfaya in Northern Hama, the village of Kansaba and Jabal al-Akrad region in Northeastern Lattakia and other army positions in Western Aleppo. 

Militant-affiliated sources reported on Wednesday that the Ankara-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) started preparing its gunmen to counter any possible attack by the Syrian Army troops in the Northern part of the country amid other terrorists' provocative measures in the demilitarized zone in Idlib, Hama, Aleppo and Lattakia provinces.

The sources disclosed that NLF Spokesman Naji Mustafa urged the group's fighters to be on alert to counter the army's possible operation in Northern Syria.

In the meantime, military sources said that that the army forwarded a large number of forces and military equipment from the newly-freed regions in Southern Syria to Jabal al-Turkmen and the Northern part of al-Ghaab Plain.

Also, more army units left their bases in Southern Raqqa and Eastern Aleppo for contact lines with terrorists in Southern Aleppo, the sources said, adding that the army's Tiger Forces and the 5th Division that ended their mission in Sweida Desert were forwarded to al-Ghaab Plain, Northern Hama and Abu al-Dhohour in Southeastern Idlib.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970917000450

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India

Bulandshahr violence: In UP's Nayabans village, Muslims feel 'terrorised' by Hindu activists as religious tension surges ahead of election

Dec 09, 2018 10:18:32 IST

Nayabans (Uttar Pradesh): Nayabans isn’t remarkable as northern Indian villages go. Sugar cane grows in surrounding fields, women carry animal feed in bullock carts through narrow lanes, people chatter outside a store, and cows loiter. But this week, the village in Uttar Pradesh state became a symbol of the deepening communal divide in India as some Hindu men from the area complained they had seen a group of Muslims slaughtering cows in a mango orchard a couple of miles away.

That infuriated Hindus, who regard the cow as a sacred animal. Anger against Muslims turned into outrage that police had not stopped an illegal practice, and a Hindu mob blocked a highway, threw stones, burned vehicles and eventually two people were shot and killed, including a police officer.

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

The events throw a spotlight on the religious strains in places like Nayabans since prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the national level in 2014 and in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. Tensions are ratcheting up ahead of the next general election, due to be held by May. The BJP said it was “bizarre” to assume the party would benefit from any religious disharmony, dismissing suggestions that its supporters were largely responsible for the tensions. “In a large country like India nobody can ensure that nothing will go wrong, but it’s our responsibility to maintain law and order and we understand that,” party spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal said. “But people are trying to politicize these issues.”

Nayabans, just about three hour’s drive from Delhi, has about 400 Muslims out of a population of 4,000, the rest are Hindu. Relations between the communities began deteriorating around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2017 when Hindus in the village demanded that loudspeakers used to call for prayer at a makeshift mosque be removed, local Muslims said. “For 40 years mikes were used in the mosque, calls for prayer were made five times a day, but no one objected,” said Waseem Khan, a 28-year-old Muslim community leader in Nayabans. “We resisted initially but then we thought it’s better to live in peace then create a dispute over a mike,” he said. “We don’t want to give them a chance to fan communal tensions.”

Reuters spoke with more than a dozen Muslims from the village but except for Khan, no one else wanted to be named for fear of angering the Hindu population. Several among a group of Muslim women and girls standing outside the mosque said they have been living in fear since the BJP came to power in the state in 2017. They said that Hindu groups now hold provocative processions through the village during every Hindu festival, loudspeakers blaring, something that used to happen rarely before. They said they felt “terrorised” by Hindu activists. “While passing through our areas during their religious rallies, they chant ‘Pakistan murdabad’ (down with Pakistan) as if we have some connection to Pakistan just because we are Muslims,” Khan said.

The subcontinent was divided into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu-majority India at the time of independence from British colonial rule in 1947. During the violence on Monday, many Muslims in Nayabans locked themselves in their homes fearing attacks. Some who had attended a three-day Muslim religious congregation some miles away stayed outside the area that night to avoid making themselves targets for the mob.

Muslim villagers say they are particularly fearful of the top elected official in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is a Hindu priest and senior BJP figure. Hindu hardliners started asserting themselves more in the village after he was elected, they say. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the lower house of parliament, the largest of any state in the country. Considered the county’s political crucible, it has also been the scene for spiralling Hindu-Muslim tensions. Adityanath said the lead up to the rioting in Nayabans was a “big conspiracy”, but did not elaborate.

In the only statement from his office on the incident, Adityanath ordered police to arrest those directly or indirectly involved in the slaughter of cows and made no mention of the death of the police inspector. He announced 1 million rupees ($14,110) as compensation for the family of the other dead man, a local who is among those accused by police for the violence. Both men were Hindus and died of bullet wounds, although police said it was not yet clear who shot whom.

Police say they have arrested up to five people for the cow slaughter but have not given their religion. Locals say all the arrested people are Muslims. Four Hindu men have been arrested for the violence leading to the deaths. “All invidious elements who may have conspired to vitiate the situation will be exposed through a fair and transparent investigation,” Anand Kumar, the second highest police official in Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters.

Asked if there was any bias against Muslims, Uttar Pradesh government spokesman SidharthNath Singh — who is also the state’s health minister — told Reuters: “We believe in equality and our motto is sabkasaath, sabkavikas”, using a Hindi phrase often used by Modi that means “collective effort, inclusive growth”.

Relative Harmony

The two communities in Nayabans have lived in relative harmony for years, residents from both groups said. But now Hindus in the village, who mostly say they support Yogi, accuse the Muslims of trying to turn themselves into the victims when they weren’t. “Can’t believe they are raising our processions with journalists!” said Daulat, a Hindu daily wage labourer who goes by one name. “They are making it a Hindu-Muslim issue, we are not. Their people have been accused of killing cows, so they are playing the victim.”

At a middle school, metres from the police outpost near where the two men got killed, two women teachers, sitting on a veranda soaking in the winter sun, said its 66 students stopped coming for classes in the first few days after the violence. “We worship cows and their slaughter can’t be accepted,” said one of the teachers, Uma Rani. “Two Hindus died here but nothing happened to the cow killers.” Both teachers were Hindus.

Political analysts say relations between the two communities are likely to stay tense ahead of the national vote, particularly in polarised states such as Uttar Pradesh. The BJP made a near-clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh in 2014, helping Modi win the country’s biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades, but pollsters predict a tighter contest next year because of a lack of jobs and low farm prices. “Facing economic headwinds and lacklustre job growth, Modi will rally his conservative base by selectively resorting to Hindu nationalism,” global security consultancy Stratfor said in November.

Muslims say they increasingly feel like second-class citizens in their own country. “The BJP will definitely benefit from such incidents,” said Tahir Saifi, a Muslim community leader a few miles from the area of violence who supports a regional opposition party in Uttar Pradesh. “They want all Hindus to unite, and when religion comes into the picture, other issues like development take a back seat.”

https://www.firstpost.com/india/bulandshahr-violence-in-ups-nayabans-village-muslims-feel-terrorised-by-hindu-activists-as-religious-tension-surges-ahead-of-election-5698461.html

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India & UAE agree to trade in local currencies

9 Dec, 2018

New Delhi and Abu Dhabi have inked a currency swap agreement to boost trade and investment without involvement of a third currency like the US dollar.

The swap is for an amount of two billion UAE dirham or 35 billion Indian rupees (US$495 million), according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“The bilateral currency swap agreement between India and UAE is expected to reduce the dependency on hard currencies like the US dollar,” the embassy said.

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Raveesh Kumar

@MEAIndia

 Institutional mechanisms guiding the multifaceted cooperation

Two documents signed during the visit of EAM @SushmaSwaraj to #UAE : Agreement on Currency Swap and MoU for Development Cooperation in Africa. Details available at: http://mymea.in/dnm

“It is also expected to give a push for the local currencies of the two nations and may reduce the impact of volatility in exchange rate arising from the dependency on a third currency. It is also expected to reduce the transmission costs arising from exchange rate risk,” the embassy added.

The sides also discussed cooperation in energy, security, trade, investments, space, defense, and so on.

With more than $50 billion in bilateral trade, the two countries are each other’s largest trade partners. India’s foreign direct investment into the UAE was $6.6 billion in 2017, while the UAE’s investment in India stood at $5.8 billion.

UAE is the sixth-largest oil exporter for India, with non-oil trade between them accounting for $34 billion.

Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and an Indian consortium led by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) signed a 10 percent offshore concession agreement giving Indian companies the opportunity to develop Abu Dhabi’s offshore oilfields, which produce about 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

Adnoc is also investing in India’s $44 billion Ratnagiri petrochemical complex in cooperation with Saudi Aramco. It is exploring the possibility of storing its crude oil at Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL)’s underground oil storage facility at Padur in Karnataka.

https://www.rt.com/business/445987-india-dollar-free-agreement/

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J&K Hindu village elects lone Muslim as panch

Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Dec 9, 2018

For those who preach hatred, this should serve as an eye-opener! A Hindu-dominated village in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda has set a new example of communal harmony when they unanimously elected the lone Muslim villager as their Panch.

Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain, 54, was elected unopposed as the panch of Bhelan-Kharothi village in the Hanga Panchayat of Baderwah block in the seventh phase of Panchayat polls on December 4.

With a population of 450 people, Chowdhary family is the only Muslim household in the village. When panchayat elections were announced, villagers held a meeting and decided to field Chowdhary as a unanimous candidate of the village for Panch seat.

"I am originally from Jora-Punthal, but for the last 15 years I have been putting up here. I bought some land here 15 years ago and have been living here ever since. My family is the only Muslim one living in the village. When elections were announced, they (other villagers) told me to file nomination as unanimous candidate of the village. They (Hindus) have 260 votes and I have only three. I won unopposed from the village," Chowdhary told DNA.

This village has been the epitome of the communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir. When Chowdhary's daughters were getting married, it was his Hindu neighbours who oversaw the arrangements.

"I have five sons and four daughters. All the four daughters and one son have been married. When my daughters were getting married, fellow villagers were here to take care of the arrangements," said Chowdhary.

For the villagers, Chowdhary's election is a message of communal harmony that they wanted to send to the countrymen.

"Chowdhary has been living with us for the last 15 years and he has proved his mettle as a doer. Since he is the only Muslim here, we felt that he should be our unanimous candidate so that he does not feel alone. Therefore the villagers sat together and decided to elect him unopposed," said Duni Chand, a local villager who is a Tehsildar of Bela Tehsil.

Villagers say that Hindu Muslims are living like a one family and sharing joy and sorrows together like a mini-India.

"There has never been tension between two communities. We are like a family which share joy and sorrows together. We join each other in festivals and our brotherhood is exemplary", said Chand.

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jk-hindu-village-elects-lone-muslim-as-panch-2693777

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Accept new rents or face eviction: Delhi Waqf Board to Fatehpuri mosque complex shopkeepers

December 8, 2018

Delhi Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah Khan said that around 120 shops were paying meagre rents for years. They are required to pay revised rents as per the new lease rules, but they have failed to do so.

Sabarimala protests HIGHLIGHTS: Amid Nilakkalstand off, BJP secretary K Surendran detained by police

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The Delhi Waqf Board has given an ultimatum to shopkeepers in the Fatehpuri mosque complex, warning of eviction if they do not accept new rentals by December 20. Delhi Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah Khan said that around 120 shops were paying meagre rents for years. They are required to pay revised rents as per the new lease rules, but they have failed to do so, he said.

“I met the shopkeepers on Friday and tried to convince them. If they do not agree to new rent agreement, they will be evicted after December 20,” Khan said.

A Waqf Board official said that according to Section 54 of the Waqf Act, the chief executive officer of the panel can direct area SDM to evict occupants of its property. Shops in Chandani Chowk are currently paying rents as low as Rs 200-Rs 600 per month whereas the existing rate in the area is around Rs 2-3 lakh, the official claimed.

If the new lease rules are implemented, the shopkeepers will have to pay revised rents — around Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 per month, he said. The Waqf Board plans to renovate the shops and auction them through open bidding, he added.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/accept-new-rents-or-face-eviction-delhi-waqf-board-to-fatehpuri-mosque-complex-shopkeepers-5484511/

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J&K: Three militants killed in overnight encounter outside Srinagar

December 9, 2018

While the firing was stopped for the night, the forces had cordoned off the area to stop the militants from escaping. Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in the city as a precautionary measure, the official added.

A cordon-and-search operation near Srinagar-Bandipora road in Mujgund area on Saturday evening. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

Security forces killed three militants Sunday on the outskirts of Srinagar — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — during an encounter, the Army said.

“Three terrorists have been killed in the Mujgund operation,” an Army official said.

He said weapons have been recovered from the site of encounter.

Security forces had launched a cordon and search operation near Srinagar-Bandipora road in Mujgund area on the outskirts of the city here Saturday evening.

Chinar Corps - Indian Army

@Chinarcorps_IA

#OpMujhgund (Ganderbal). Three #terrorists killed. Bodies, weapons and warlike stores recovered. Operation over #IndianArmy #Kashmir @adgpi @NorthernComd_IA

The search operation turned into an encounter after the militants fired on the search party.

While the encounter had stopped during night, the security forces continued to maintain a tight cordon in the area to stop militants from escaping. The encounter resumed Sunday morning and in the gunfight, three militants were killed, the official said.

Their identity and group affiliation is yet to be ascertained.

Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in the city.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/j-k-encounter-three-militants-killed-outside-srinagar-5485158/

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Entire world knows Pak link to 26/11: General BipinRawat

December 9, 2018

The Army chief's comments came when asked about reported remarks of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that the 2008 Mumbai attack was "an act of terrorism" and that resolving the case was in Pakistan's interest.

To stay with India, Pakistan must become secular state: Army chief

bipinrawat on imran khan comment, 26/11, 26/11 attack, 26/11 mumbai attack, 26 11 mumbai attack, general bipinrawat on 26/11, indian express

General BipinRawat. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh/File)

Army Chief Gen. BipinRawat Saturday said the international community knew about the role of Pakistani terrorists in the Mumbai terror attack and that India did not want anyone’s acknowledgement about it.

The Army chief’s comments came when asked about reported remarks of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that the 2008 Mumbai attack was “an act of terrorism” and that resolving the case was in Pakistan’s interest.

Khan’s comments during a media interview was seen as an indirect acknowledgement of involvement of Pakistani terrorists in the attack.

“International community knows who did it…but even without it, we knew who did it,” Gen. Rawat said on the sidelines of an event when asked about Khan’s reported comments.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/entire-world-knows-pak-link-to-26-11-general-bipin-rawat-5485200/

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia Muslims rally in Kuala Lumpur to protect ethnic privilege

By Eileen Ng

9 December 2018 — 2:22pm

Kuala Lumpur:  Tens of thousands of Malaysian Muslims have rallied in Kuala Lumpur against any attempt to strip the ethnic Malay majority of its privileges.

The rally on Saturday is the first massive street gathering since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's alliance won a historic vote in May.

The rally, backed by the country's two largest opposition Malay parties, was initially aimed at protesting a government plan to ratify a UN treaty against racial discrimination.

Critics say that ratifying the treaty would end Malay privileges under a decades-old affirmative action policy. The plan to ratify was eventually abandoned, but organisers decided to proceed with what they called a "thanksgiving" rally.

Racial clashes have been rare in multi-racial Malaysia since deadly riots in 1969.

A year later, Malaysia instituted a preferential program that gives Malays privileges in jobs, education, contracts and housing to help narrow a wealth gap with the minority Chinese. Ethnic Malays account for nearly two-thirds of the country's 32 million people, with large Chinese and Indian minorities.

Saturday's rally came less than two weeks after more than 80 people were arrested in a riot at an Indian temple in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur. The government was quick to stress that the violence was due to a land dispute and was not a racial riot. Still, the government warned Saturday's rally-goers not to make any provocative statements that could fan racial tensions.

Mahathir said the government allowed the rally as part of democracy, but warned against any chaos. The rally was held under tight police security, but ended peacefully after rain started to fall.

Former Prime Minister NajibRazak, who has been charged with multiple counts of corruption, was among opposition MPs at the rally.

Police said there were at least 55,000 people on the streets. Many wore white T-shirts and headbands with the words "Reject ICERD", referring to the UN treaty - the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/malaysia-muslims-rally-in-kuala-lumpur-to-protect-ethnic-privilege-20181209-p50l5i.html

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Pakistan

FM Qureshi to visit Kabul on Dec 15 to hold peace talks with Afghan leadership on US request

Dawn.comUpdated December 08, 2018

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said he will visit Kabul on December 15 to take up the matter of "political reconciliation and durable peace" with Afghan leadership in wake of the United States seeking Pakistan's cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Addressing a ceremony in Multan, Qureshi said it was the robustness of Pakistan's foreign policy that the US requested for assistance in Afghan issue, Radio Pakistan reported. He said Pakistan was committed to an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process”.

The minister was of the view that Pakistan's foreign policy was moving on a positive trajectory based on national interest and self-reliance.

On Tuesday, Qureshi had reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace process in his meeting with US Special Envoy for Afghan reconciliation ZalmayKhalilzad — the United States special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year old war.

“Pakistan will continue to cooperate with sincerity for a political settlement in Afghanistan. Long-lasting peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interest,” Qureshi had tweeted after his meeting with the visiting US special envoy.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with The Washington Post, expressed his desire to have "a proper relationship with the US" akin to Islamabad's ties with China rather than the one "where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun".

Furthermore, Qureshi said the prime minister has expressed satisfaction over the performance of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the first hundred days of the PTI government.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450272/fm-qureshi-to-visit-kabul-on-dec-15-to-hold-peace-talks-with-afghan-leadership-on-us-request

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Salman Sufi selected as member of international council tackling violence against women

Dawn.comDecember 09, 2018

International public policy and gender reforms specialist Salman Sufi announced on Sunday that he has been chosen as an inaugural member of the international Vital Voices Solidarity Council (VVSC).

The VVSC "is a unique endeavour bringing together men who are allies in the fight to raise global awareness on behalf of women and girls around the world."

The VVSC seeks to focus on "human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual violence and harmful practices, and engaging boys and men in meaningful conversations about masculinity."

Additionally, the council seeks to identify and nominate men to receive the annual Solidarity Award which will be presented in New York City on International Human Rights Day.

Sufi, the former director general of the Punjab Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit and a former member of the Special Monitoring Unit (SMU), tweeted the news, saying that he was honoured to have been chosen as one of 12 men from around the world who will work to end violence against women.

"In the conservative Pakistani society, women experience the world differently," Sufi was quoted as saying on the VVSC website.

Sufi is responsible for the establishment of a survivor service model which has gained international attention – the Violence Against Women Centres (VAWC) — as a part of the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act.

The VAWCs offer first aid, medical and forensic assistance, police reporting and investigation, legal aid and post-trauma rehabilitation. According to Sufi, the VAWC must be seen as "a statement from Pakistan to its women that violence is no longer acceptable".

"Our women’s lives shall no longer be outlined by the atrocities committed against them, but through their achievements as empowered and equal citizens of Pakistan," he had said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450409/salman-sufi-selected-as-member-of-international-council-tackling-violence-against-women

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Africa

Catholic monks beatified in Algeria, first in a Muslim nation

 

The Catholic church beatified 19 clergy men and women killed in Algeria during the country's 1990s civil war.

The Catholic Church has beatified in Algeria seven French monks and 12 other clergy killed during the country's civil war, the first ceremony of its kind in a Muslim country.

Papal envoy Cardinal Angelo Becciu read the official decree on Saturday stating that the 19 men and women would "from now on be called blessed" at an event in the coastal city of Oran.

Faithful attend the beatification ceremony for seven monks and twelve clergy [Reuters]

Some 1,200 people, including pilgrims, relatives and friends of the beatified, filled the Chapel of our Lady of Santa Cruz as the service was held under tight security.

The 19 Roman Catholic clergy were killed between 1994 and 1996 as Algeria was in the grips of a decade-long civil war between government forces and rebel groups that left up to 200,000 people dead.

Those beatified included seven French Trappist monks, who were murdered after being kidnapped by gunmen from the Notre Dame de l'Atlas monastery in Tibhirine in 1996.

The Armed Islamic Group of Algeria claimed at the time that it had slit their throats, but responsibility for the murders has never been conclusively established.

Only the heads of the men, aged between 45 and 82, were ever found.

Also beatified was former Bishop of Oran Pierre Claverie, who was killed with his driver on August 1, 1996 when a remote-controlled bomb exploded at his residence.

The five other religious men and six women honoured, including citizens of France, Spain, Belgium and Malta, were gunned down in 1994 and 1995.

Opening the ceremony, Archbishop Paul Desfarges of Algiers paid tribute to "the thousands and thousands of victims of the Algerian civil war" from 1991-2002, describing them as anonymous heroes.

"We did not want a beatification between Christians, because these brothers and sisters died among tens and tens of thousands of Algerian" Muslims, Desfarges said.

Beatification is the first step on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood.

An undated file photo shows the seven French Trappist monks of the Tibhirine Notre-Dame de l'Atlas monastery of Medea [File:AFP] 

Fraternity and solidarity

Pope Francis himself spoke of the beatification in prayers at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican on Saturday. "May this beatification be an incentive for all to build a world of fraternity and solidarity together", the pope said.

Priest of Oran Father Thierry Becker said a prayer in Arabic for the Virgin Mary during the beatification ceremony in Algeria.

Local Muslim dignitaries received the families of the 19 beatified clergy at the Ibn Badis Grand Mosque, in the presence of Cardinal Becciu and Algeria's minister of religious affairs.

"We Muslims associate this event with much joy," Imam MostaphaJaber said at the mosque.

"These Christian martyrs killed during this national tragedy ... had a good mission - (they were) determined to spread peace," he added.

The murders of the clergy garnered widespread attention both in Algeria and abroad.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/catholic-monks-beatified-algeria-muslim-nation-181209072606299.html

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North America

Retired soldier educating South about Islam

BY DREW BROOKS

DECEMBER 09, 2018

When Jason CrissHowk's Army career came to an end in 2015, he thought he'd spend his days teaching and fishing.

But a wake-up call at a Pinehurst library changed those plans. And while Howk does teach, he's found a new mission, too: Explaining the Middle East, Islam and Muslim culture to a population that has little experience, but strong opinions on those topics.

At times, it has been a combative undertaking.

Howk has spoken at small rural churches across the Southeast and has, on occasion, had to be escorted to his car by church leaders at the end of the night.

But that hasn't stopped his one-man mission to better educate America and, in the process, help promote tolerance.

"It just hit me when I got out," Howk said, "that Americans know nothing about Islam."

His efforts have expanded since he retired. In 2017, he published "The Quran: A Chronological Modern English Interpretation" through Old Stone Press. The book is intended for audiences that have little familiarity with Islam, the Quran or Muslim culture.

And earlier this year, he launched a podcast called "We're Just Talking About It."

Howk's interest in Islam is tied to his experiences as a soldier.

He served as an enlisted paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in the 1990s and returned as an officer a decade later.

Howk, a retired major, finished his Army career as a foreign area officer with expertise in the Middle East and southwest Asia.

But his first experiences in that part of the world came as a paratrooper on a training mission to the United Arab Emirates in 1996.

"That was really the turning point," Howk said.

His interest in the Middle East became a career focus. But Howk quickly learned that while the Army has been heavily invested in the Middle East and southwest Asia in recent decades, the majority of America had done little learning about those parts of the world.

Once he retired, Howk volunteered to speak at the Pinehurst library. He talked about his career, but afterward, those who attended the event had few questions about the Army. Instead, they wanted to know about Islam and Muslim culture.

"Americans had no clue," Howk said. "All they knew was myths and misconceptions."

That event launched other speaking engagements, often with church groups and with troops at Fort Bragg.

Howk balances those speeches with several courses taught at Sandhills Community College and lectures to members of the intelligence community.

"It's really taken over the second half of my life," Howk said, referring to his retirement.

But it's the small-town speeches that Howk looks forward to most. Often his audience has never met a Muslim and has formed their worldviews on what they've seen on television.

Some label him a traitor.

"I choose to go to skeptical audiences," he said. "It's about getting everyday people out to talk in everyday language."

The country doesn't talk about Islam, he said. And when it does, quotes are often taken out of context.

Howk, who was raised in a Baptist family, said he just wants to set the record straight and help the public understand.

"When I grew up, I didn't know anything about Catholics," he said. "You don't usually study someone else's religion."

"I'm not there to defend or degrade," Howk said. "I just want to answer questions and bring a better understanding."

Howk said misconceptions about Islam have only grown since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Government leaders have largely avoided the topic, he said. And that empty space was filled "by every bomb thrower and loudmouth in America."

He said soldiers tend to be better educated, due to their time overseas or their interactions with Muslim soldiers. But rural Americans often don't have access to those types of experiences.

In his speeches, Howk gives an overview of Islam and Muslim culture. He defines vocabulary words. And he patiently answers any question, so long as it isn't hateful.

"I try to keep it nonpolitical," Howk said. "I explain this big concept, and I take questions."

Many of those questions have to do with terrorism, he said. And Howk is quick to knock down anything that might suggest Islam is more violent than other religions.

"Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of war," he said. "It's just a religion. Start there."

Howk said a Muslim is no more likely to commit a crime than a Christian. That's what he stresses. There are no good or bad Muslims, he said. There are good and bad people.

Some people are receptive to his speeches.

"I've had people in their 70s and 80s who say I've changed their mind," Howk said. But others are unwilling to listen.

"I think this is all about education," he said. "I just want people to understand and make their own decisions . . . That's the best we can hope for."

https://www.islandpacket.com/news/state/north-carolina/article222795450.html

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Do not recommend leaving Afghanistan, says US mly chief

Anwar IqbalUpdated December 09, 2018

WASHINGTON: With­drawing US troops from Afghanistan would create instability in South Asia and give terrorists the space to plan another attack on the American people, warns US military chief General Joseph Dunford. That’s why he recommended maintaining US military presence in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to stabilise the war-torn country.

When asked at what point he would recommend withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a video interview with The Washington Post on Friday, replied: “I have not recommended we leave Afghanistan, because again in my judgement leaving Afghanistan would not only create instability in South Asia but … would give terrorist groups the space to plan against the American people, the homeland, and our allies [as they did on Sept 11, 2001].”

He agreed with The Post’s editor David Ignatius that the death of five US soldiers in Afghanistan in the past two weeks had caused many Americans to raise this question. But “it’s my judgement that the presence that we’ve had in Afghanistan has, in fact, disrupted the enemy’s ... ability to reconstitute and pose a threat to us”, he said explaining why he opposed withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

“They have, today, the intent and they, in the future, would have the capability to do what we saw on 9/11.” General Dunford reminded those, who “don’t pay close attention to Afghanistan” that there were 20 trained groups still operating south of the area. “So, the question to me is not when we should leave. I believe we have enduring interests in South Asia and we will have an enduring economic presence, an enduring diplomatic presence in South Asia.”

Reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, he said, was also the ultimate US objective in Afghanistan. And this could only be achieved by bringing sufficient political, social and military pressure on the insurgents to accept a negotiated settlement. And this strategy would not work if the US did not retain its capability to bring “military pressure” on the insurgents to accept the deal, he added. He noted that Nato and other US partners were willing to provide resources to support the Afghan security forces through 2024 while the US strategy of bringing diplomatic pressure on the Taliban was also moving in the right direction.

“For the first time certainly in many, many years, we were seeing some opportunities to initiate Afghan-owned, Afghan-led reconciliation process.”

In the interview he also talked about how China’s efforts to build port facilities in Pakistan and Djibouti threatened US military dominance. “[Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] was very clear last year … where he wants China to be a global power with global power-projection capability.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450360/do-not-recommend-leaving-afghanistan-says-us-mly-chief

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/haifa-deputy-mayor--zionist-movement-did-‘ethnic-cleansing’-like-islamic-state/d/117107

 

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