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Islamic World News ( 18 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Halal Food Is A $20 Billion Hit In America









The Halal Guys food cart on West 53rd Street in New York. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Halal Food Is A $20 Billion Hit In America

All India Muslim Personal Law Board Has Launched the First Shariat Court in AP

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North America

Halal Food Is A $20 Billion Hit In America

'Ridiculous To Say US Created Islamic State': A Senior US State Department Official

Ormond teen, family offer glimpse of being Muslim in America

Florida mosque arsonist shared extreme pro-Israel propaganda

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India

All India Muslim Personal Law Board Has Launched the First Shariat Court in AP

Uri Attack: Modi’s Global Image Is Futile If He Is Unable to Strike Pak, Says Sena

Youth Thrashed By Hindutva Activists for Embracing Islam

Muslim Leaders Blame RSS, BJP for the Bijnor Clashes

Uri attack: Tell-all map in Pashto exposes plotters

Now, Gau Ayog proposes cow varsity in Haryana

Gujarat ATS nabs accused in RDX landing case in which Dawood was involved

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Arab World

Jeish Al-Fatah Preparing for Large-Scale Operation against Syrian Army in Aleppo

Jeish Al-Islam Leaders Split over Ceasefire in Syria

Syrian Army Fends off ISIL's Offensives in Energy-Rich Regions in Homs

ISIL's Centers in Deir Ezzur Receives Sever Blow in Russian, Syrian Air Attacks

Terrorist Groups Readying for Raid in Aleppo

ISIL Fuel Tankers Targeted in Syrian-Russian Airstrikes in Deir Ezzur

Iranian Parliament Advisor: US Attack on Syrian Army's Military Positions Proved US Ill Intention

Saudis accuse Iran of supplying weapons to Yemen rebels

Iran Able to Target Enemies' Vital Interests from Inside, Outside Borders

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South Asia

5 Pakistani Terrorists Killed, 2 Suicide Vests Seized In Southern Afghanistan

7 Taliban Insurgents Killed In Airstrike in South of Afghanistan

President Ghani condemns attack on Indian base in Kashmir

Jihadism grows roots in Bangladesh

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Mideast

Turkey-Backed Rebels Could Push Further South In Syria, Erdoğan Says

Turkish Jets Hit ISIL Targets in Northern Syria

No Cyprus deal if no rotating presidency

President Erdoğan to call for joint global stance against terror at UN meet

Governors from eastern, southeastern Turkish provinces called to Ankara for security meeting

Governor’s office bans rallies, protests before controversial mine hearing in Turkey’s north

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Pakistan

Govt Accused of Ignoring Mohmand Mosque Attack

Pak Govt Expected To Table Hindu Marriage Bill This Month: Report

Human Rights Watch urges govt to halt hanging of mentally-ill man

Rao Anwar challenges suspension in SHC

Rangers unimpressed by Waseem Akhtar’s apology

Kidnappers belonged to Al Qaeda Punjab: Ali Haider Gilani

PTI’s march on Raiwind: PML-N to stick to ‘carrot approach’

Islamic State, Pakistani Taliban Claim Responsibility for Killing Three Army Men in Pakistan

Sharif arrives for UNGA amid renewed tensions with India

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Africa

Islamic Living Legends Contributions Must Also Count In Ghana

Libyan forces renew push to oust I.S. from Sirte

Central African Republic rebels kill 26 villagers

Nigerian govt. reveals reason Sheikh Zakzaky still in detention

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Southeast Asia

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Receives Harvard Award as Students Protest

Three Indonesians freed by militant Abu Sayyaf group in Philippines

Political parties rail against Rakhine State commission

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Europe

France Remembers Victims of Terror Attacks in Paris Ceremony

Georgian Muslims demand recognition

24pc of French Muslims oppose secular laws: study

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/halal-food-is-a-$20-billion-hit-in-america/d/108603

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 Halal Food Is A $20 Billion Hit In America

September 19, 2016

NEW YORK – Bloomberg reports that sales of Halal food, prepared according to Islamic law, are surging in the United States, and not just among the fast-growing U.S. Muslim population.

“At every level of the U.S. food chain, Halal already occupies a small but rapidly expanding niche,” the news source writes, citing Nielsen estimates that sales of Halal food in grocery and convenience stores and similar outlets reached $1.9 billion in the 12 months through August, a 15% increase from 2012.

And according to the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, Halal sales overall are projected to reach $20 billion this year, up by one-third since 2010. Among the grocers that have been ahead of the trend is Whole Foods Market, which ranks Halal among its fastest growing categories, with double-digit sales growth in each of the last five years, writes Bloomberg.

Pew Research Center notes that there are about 3.3 million U.S. Muslims, which is projected to grow to 8.1 million by 2050. However, the surge in Halal foods is not necessarily being driven by consumers who follow Islamic law. Adnan Durrani, chief executive officer of American Halal Co., told Bloomberg that as many as 80% of consumers who buy his Saffron Road brand are just food lovers who want better frozen meals.

The news source notes that some of the credit in consumer demand for halal foods goes to Halal Guys, which started as a street cart in New York City. The company is now planning to open 300 sit-down restaurants across the United States in the next three years.

“The Halal Guys have tapped into something that transcends demographics: taste,” writes Bloomberg, noting that during a recent Friday lunch hour, about 20 people, a mix of office workers and tourists, waited in line to order at the original Halal Guys food truck in New York.

Source: nacsonline.com/Media/Daily/Pages/ND0919164.aspx#.V9_Qv4h97IU

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All India Muslim Personal Law Board Has Launched the First Shariat Court In AP

Sep 19, 2016

VIJAYAWADA: All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has launched the first court (Darul Khaza) in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh to resolve matrimonial disputes of Muslim couples as per the Shariat (Muslim personal law) here on Sunday. The court with power to issue decree will function from Masjid-e-Halima at Autonagar in the city. AIMPLB has appointed renowned Islamic scholar, mufti and Quazi Abdul Raheem as Quazi -e-Shariat (magistrate). Similarly, Darul Iftaa, a civil court, will be run under the guidance of mufti Syed Mohsin. The Islamic courts under Shariat law function autonomously under AIMPLB.

Announcing the decisions at a meeting here on Sunday, AIMPLB member Maulana Mufti Quazi Khalid Saifulla Rehmani said that local Shariat court and scholars' board would start functioning with immediate effect. He, however, expressed displeasure at the Muslim couples seeking divorce and separation for simple reasons.

Maulana said that Muslims are already living in abject poverty and separation of couples would further deteriorate their condition. "Islam never supports separation for simple reasons. The couples should try to settle small issues themselves keeping in view the future of children as well as of their immediate families," contended Rehmani. He said that they have decided to set up the Darul Quaza in the city to resolve matrimonial disputes amicably. Emphasising upon providing education to all Muslim children, he said that illiteracy is the root cause of poverty among Muslims.

Telangana Mulsim Personal Law Board member Maulana Jaffer Basha, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Moulana Mujahid, Tabligh Jamaat representative Khaja, Ahlehadees Jamat representative, Fataulla, Ahle-Sunnat-ul Jamaat representative Muqtar Ali and Farooq Shubli were also present. About 2,000 Muslim scholars, religious heads and representatives of mosques attended the session.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/Now-Shariat-court-in-city/articleshow/54399199.cms

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North America

Halal Food Is A $20 Billion Hit In America

September 19, 2016

NEW YORK – Bloomberg reports that sales of Halal food, prepared according to Islamic law, are surging in the United States, and not just among the fast-growing U.S. Muslim population.

“At every level of the U.S. food chain, Halal already occupies a small but rapidly expanding niche,” the news source writes, citing Nielsen estimates that sales of Halal food in grocery and convenience stores and similar outlets reached $1.9 billion in the 12 months through August, a 15% increase from 2012.

And according to the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, Halal sales overall are projected to reach $20 billion this year, up by one-third since 2010. Among the grocers that have been ahead of the trend is Whole Foods Market, which ranks Halal among its fastest growing categories, with double-digit sales growth in each of the last five years, writes Bloomberg.

Pew Research Center notes that there are about 3.3 million U.S. Muslims, which is projected to grow to 8.1 million by 2050. However, the surge in Halal foods is not necessarily being driven by consumers who follow Islamic law. Adnan Durrani, chief executive officer of American Halal Co., told Bloomberg that as many as 80% of consumers who buy his Saffron Road brand are just food lovers who want better frozen meals.

The news source notes that some of the credit in consumer demand for halal foods goes to Halal Guys, which started as a street cart in New York City. The company is now planning to open 300 sit-down restaurants across the United States in the next three years.

“The Halal Guys have tapped into something that transcends demographics: taste,” writes Bloomberg, noting that during a recent Friday lunch hour, about 20 people, a mix of office workers and tourists, waited in line to order at the original Halal Guys food truck in New York.

Source: nacsonline.com/Media/Daily/Pages/ND0919164.aspx#.V9_Qv4h97IU

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'Ridiculous To Say US Created Islamic State': A Senior US State Department Official

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hyderabad: The Islamic State (IS) is a direct threat to US and to suggest that US created the group or is supporting it is "preposterous", said a senior US State Department official, noting the US is doing everything it can to defeat IS, in coordination with 66 countries.

"That is absolutely ridiculous. ISIL is a direct threat to our own national security. To suggest that we support ISIL is preposterous," Jared Caplan, director of the Department of State`s London Media Hub, told IANS during an official visit here.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was the name earlier used by the IS before it started boasting of a wider global reach.

Asked to react on allegations in various quarters that US created IS, funded and armed it, Caplan, who is also the State Department`s Arabic spokesperson, said US was not only carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq but is also stopping flow of foreign fighters, checking radicalisation, turning off flow of finance and working to defeat its ideology.

"We are trying to expose their true nature as a group of thugs and terrorists who have hijacked religion in the name of their own goals," he said.

On whether IS is a bigger threat than Al Qaeda, he said it was not helpful to compare them.

"Terrorism knows no borders. We have seen ISIL metastasized into international franchises," he said referring to the terror attacks in Libya, France, Belgium and other countries.

"ISIL is a real threat not just to Syrians and Iraqis but to neighbouring countries, to our allies in region, to Europe and ultimately a threat to US and that is why President (Barack) Obama said despite the long term nature of campaign, we are committed to win war however long it takes."

The US official described winning the war against IS, the situation in Syria, and threat from its Bashar al-Assad regime as long-term challenges before the US.

Terming the situation in Syria as "very complicated" given the number of players and the amount of external factors involved, he said at the end, it is the Syrian people who have to decide their future.

Caplan believes that the seven-day cessation of hostilities agreed by the US and Russia could be the most promising way to end the war, as this could lead to partnering with Russians through Joint Implementation Centre to launch joint operations against IS.

He is of the opinion that if the plan succeeds, they can move forward on the political track to solve the Syrian crisis. US wants United Nations to be involved in the negotiations to find a solution.

He reiterated the US stand that Assad has lost legitimacy and agrees with the Syrian opposition that there is no room for him in the country`s future.

"One of the most complicating factors is that Bashar al-Assad created a power vacuum in much of the country... ISIL and terrorist organisations have occupied that. Syrian people are caught between a dictator and terrorist organisations."

Stating that US is extending all assistance to moderate opposition, he said Obama was not in favour of sending troops on ground, apparently guided by previous experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Caplan said Obama`s foreign policy guided by diplomacy helped in stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon to threaten US allies in Middle East. He claimed that US relationship with the Arab world and at large with Muslim majority countries was better than what it was after 9/11.

He pointed out that after the 9/11, US tried different ways to communicate with Arab world and to tell its story directly. He believes the Arabic language television channel, radio stations and magazine was the important measure US took to fix the perception gap.

Noting that the number of students from Muslim majority countries studying in US far exceeds than what it was before 9/11, he said this indicate that US corrected lot of problems. "They come to our country, understand our system go back and tell that media portrayals, caricatures and stereotypes are not accurate. That helps sharing the real American story very effectively."

Source: zeenews.india.com/news/india/ridiculous-to-say-us-created-islamic-state_1931010.html

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Ormond teen, family offer glimpse of being Muslim in America

Sep 18, 2016

ORMOND BEACH — While most Americans are accustomed to removing shoes, belts, keys and loose change at airport security, the process invariably is more complicated for the Afridi family.

For Saleem Afridi, 52, a pharmacist with CVS, it’s not if, but when he will be singled out for a random security check when his family flies to visit relatives in New York. Often, such clearances necessitate hours of waiting for his wife, Fariya, and their two children — Abdullah, 16, and Alisha, 14.

The experiences inspired Abdullah, a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at Spruce Creek High School, to write about his frustrations of being Muslim in America in a newsletter for Breakaway Trails, the gated community where the family lives.

“I understand that all airports and their security have the best intentions at heart,” wrote Abdullah, a competitive chess player and Science Bowl captain whose academic interests also include math. “I would rather be inconvenienced than have the safety of the airport be compromised. But I also feel that these random checks are only an extension of the prejudice Muslims are facing today.”

In the family’s living room, Abdullah talks about the reasons he wrote the essay, his lanky frame perched upright in perfect posture, long slender fingers intertwined.

“It presents an issue to the public that most of them wouldn’t encounter on a daily basis,” Abdullah said. “It’s helping other people relate to what it’s like.”

For Muslims, the reality of discrimination and even hostility is “an issue we deal with every day,” said Rasha Mubarak, Orlando regional coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida. In the wake of 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, instances of Islamophobia tracked by CAIR have increased by 500 percent, Mubarak said.

“It’s the highest it’s ever been at any time since there’s been documentation, including post-9/11,” Mubarak said. “It has moved from the fringes of American society to mainstream.”

The Afridis emphasize that they have faced little overt hatred, although Alisha, a freshman at Spruce Creek, recalls being labeled a “terrorist” by some classmates during her middle-school days. The family’s neighborhood is diverse and feedback to Abdullah’s essay has been positive, they say.

Full report at: news-journalonline.com/news/20160918/ormond-teen-family-offer-glimpse-of-being-muslim-in-america

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Florida mosque arsonist shared extreme pro-Israel propaganda

18 September 2016

The man accused of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida a week ago is an ardent supporter of Israel who labeled all forms of Islam as “radical.”

Joseph Michael Schreiber, a 32-year-old messianic Jew, was arrested at his home in St. Lucie, Florida, on Wednesday and charged with arson and a hate crime. Police say he confessed after his arrest.

His attack is part of a spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes since the start of the current US election season.

The mosque he set ablaze has been regularly attended by the father of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen and the crime was committed on 11 September, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The attack was also the night before the Islamic center was due to hold a community celebration for Eid al-Adha.

An affidavit by the St. Lucie County Police Department describes Schreiber as “a habitual felony offender,” meaning that if convicted he could face up to life in prison due to Florida’s mandatory sentencing laws.

The affidavit also notes that Schreiber’s Facebook page was littered with “anti-Islamic postings,” “posts related to pro-Israel propaganda” and “negative propaganda related to Muslims.”

Police estimate damage to the Islamic center in excess of $100,000. As of Friday, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce reported it had received more than $30,000 in donations from well-wishers to help it repair the extensive damage.

A hate crime enhancement was added to the charges after police discovered the social media posts.

Media outlets were quick to publicize Schreiber’s anti-Muslim postings, but few mentioned his promotion of pro-Israel propaganda or his admiration for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two great champions of the anti-Muslim far right.

Schreiber’s postings showed he turned to Islamophobic hate sites, official Israeli sources and Israel lobby groups for information.

According to Schreiber’s Facebook page, he is also a fan of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, IDF Women, the Israeli American Council of Florida and the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.

Islamophobia network

In a 12 July Facebook post, Schreiber wrote, “ALL ISLAM IS RADICAL , and should be considered TERRORIST AND CRIMANALS [sic].”

With such rhetoric, Schreiber was echoing the anti-Muslim messages emanating from organizations and high-profile individuals who have been spewing anti-Muslim hatred for years.

Full report at: electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/florida-mosque-arsonist-shared-extreme-pro-israel-propaganda

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India

All India Muslim Personal Law Board Has Launched the First Shariat Court In AP

Sep 19, 2016

VIJAYAWADA: All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has launched the first court (Darul Khaza) in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh to resolve matrimonial disputes of Muslim couples as per the Shariat (Muslim personal law) here on Sunday. The court with power to issue decree will function from Masjid-e-Halima at Autonagar in the city. AIMPLB has appointed renowned Islamic scholar, mufti and Quazi Abdul Raheem as Quazi -e-Shariat (magistrate). Similarly, Darul Iftaa, a civil court, will be run under the guidance of mufti Syed Mohsin. The Islamic courts under Shariat law function autonomously under AIMPLB.

Announcing the decisions at a meeting here on Sunday, AIMPLB member Maulana Mufti Quazi Khalid Saifulla Rehmani said that local Shariat court and scholars' board would start functioning with immediate effect. He, however, expressed displeasure at the Muslim couples seeking divorce and separation for simple reasons.

Maulana said that Muslims are already living in abject poverty and separation of couples would further deteriorate their condition. "Islam never supports separation for simple reasons. The couples should try to settle small issues themselves keeping in view the future of children as well as of their immediate families," contended Rehmani. He said that they have decided to set up the Darul Quaza in the city to resolve matrimonial disputes amicably. Emphasising upon providing education to all Muslim children, he said that illiteracy is the root cause of poverty among Muslims.

Telangana Mulsim Personal Law Board member Maulana Jaffer Basha, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Moulana Mujahid, Tabligh Jamaat representative Khaja, Ahlehadees Jamat representative, Fataulla, Ahle-Sunnat-ul Jamaat representative Muqtar Ali and Farooq Shubli were also present. About 2,000 Muslim scholars, religious heads and representatives of mosques attended the session.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/Now-Shariat-court-in-city/articleshow/54399199.cms

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Uri attack: Modi’s global image is futile if he is unable to strike Pak, says Sena

September 19, 2016

Mumbai: Needling Narendra Modi over the Uri terror attack, Shiv Sena on Monday said the situation has become worse than that under the previous Congress regime and if the Prime Minister is unable to strike Pakistan and eliminate terrorists, his exercise of building a global image will prove futile.

The Sena also called for dissolution of the government in Jammu and Kashmir and imposition of martial law in the state to sternly deal with the terrorists and pro-Pakistan elements.

Striking a hawkish posture, Sena said Pakistan has waged an open war against India with this attack and our attempt to gather proof of its involvement will yield no result internationally.

“One has to accept that the situation today is worse than what was during the Congress regime. At a time when pro-Pakistan sloganeering is on in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistani flags are being hoisted there, the Centre should dissolve the state government and impose ‘martial law’ there as President’s (Governor’s) rule wouldn’t suffice,” Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

“Pakistan has waged an open war against India now, while we cannot do anything except issue warnings. The probe into the Pathankot terror attack too did not result in any action against that country,” it said.

“Why are we searching for proof of Pakistan’s involvement in this terror attack? This proof has no value at the international level. If you (Modi) do not have the courage to strike Pakistan like the US did to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, there is no use of building an international image,” it added.

Stating that foreign nations would not do anything to help India on the issue, it said that if Pakistan could use four terrorists to wreak havoc why India cannot use its security forces to strike Pakistan.

The Sena said that merely decorating coffins of martyred soldiers or accepting condolences from foreign nations would not serve the purpose. Instead, giving credence to our security forces is the need of the hour.

“Terrorist attacks have become regular in Jand K. Whose failure is this? Modi may continue to issue warnings but the question is how much and when would Pakistan pay heed to them?” the Sena said.

Heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM had stormed an Army base in Kashmir’s Uri on Sunday, killing 17 jawans.

India had reacted strongly to the deadliest attack on the Army in Jammu and Kashmir that sparked an outrage with the Prime Minister strongly condemning it.

Source: siasat.com/news/uri-attack-modis-global-image-futile-unable-strike-pak-says-sena-1023440/

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Youth Thrashed By Hindutva Activists for Embracing Islam

September 19, 2016

Mangaluru: A group of miscreant belonging to Hindutva organizations thrashed a youth for embracing Islam.

24-year-old Satish Acharya from Sullia in Dakshina Kannada (Mangaluru) district has accepted Islam on his own will more than a year ago when he was working in Kerala.

Following his four-month stay at Therbiyathul Islam Sabha of Kozhikode, he was issued a certificate from the Sabha on April 15, 2015 stating Satish had changed his name to Muhammed Mustakim.

Few local Hindutva leaders who came to know about his change of faith reportedly threatened him of returning to Hinduism. They also staged a protest demanding a probe into his conversion.

On Thursday, when a local politician planned a visit to Satish’s home, he decided to avoid meeting and left home in his Maruti Omni.

Some local Hindutva activists chased and waylaid his vehicle near Murooru Bridge and threatened and reportedly thrashed him.

The local police make an effort to settle the issue amicably and admitted him to KVG hospital in Sullia.

However, no case has been registered.

Source: siasat.com/news/youth-thrashed-hindutva-activists-embracing-islam-1023394/

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Muslim Leaders Blame RSS, BJP for the Bijnor Clashes

Sep 19, 2016

Bijnor: Ittehad-e-Millat Council president Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan on Sunday said RSS and BJP are responsible for the Bijnor clashes. Raza Khan and the secretary of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind and former member of Rajya Sabha Maulana Mahmood Madni met the people injured in the clashes at the district hospital here on Sunday. Both leaders condemned the incident.

Addressing media persons, Maulana Madni said, "This incident is highly deplorable. The people who are guilty of triggering this incident should be arrested soon. Police should have nabbed all the accused so far."

The two Maulanas, however, did not visit Peda village but said, "The victims who had been killed in the clashes were very poor. Their kin cannot afford to fight the case. Our outfits will help them financially and fight for their rights."

Addressing media persons, Taukir Raza said, "In west Uttar Pradesh, RSS and BJP are responsible for the riots. The incident which occurred in Peda is a repeat of the Muzaffarnagar riots. The state government has failed to maintain law and order." Raza demanded that the administration should arrest all those who have led the clashes.

Meanwhile, Jat Mahasabha's leaders, led by state president Shoorveer Singh, visited Peda on Sunday. Singh said, "We had gone to Peda and found many houses locked. We checked a few of these houses but there were no people inside. In some houses, there were women but no man. Some people fled leaving behind their cattle. After visiting the village we met the SP and demanded that police security should be provide to theses families and ensure that people can return to their homes."

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/Muslim-leaders-blame-RSS-BJP/articleshow/54396297.cms

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Uri attack: Tell-all map in Pashto exposes plotters

Sep 19, 2016

NEW DELHI: The suicide squad that attacked the Army camp at 12 Brigade headquarters in Uri+ carried along with their arms and ammunition a mission plan which was annotated in Pashto, highly placed sources said.

The map retrieved from the terrorists revealed that they were to kill unarmed troops, then storm a medical aid unit near the brigade administrative block and blow themselves up in the officers' mess.

Sources said the map deciphered by military experts indicated that the terrorists were drawn from the banned terror group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) that recently started working under Jaish command and calls itself "Guardians of the Prophet". The SSP cadre directly operates under Jaish-e-Mohammad+ chief Masood Azhar, sources said.

Azhar has publicly likened JeM's goals to that of the SSP, a Sunni Muslim terror group affiliated to Pakistani Deoband. Taliban draws its inspiration from the Pakistani Deoband.

Sources said the suicide squad attacked the administrative block where unarmed soldiers were refilling diesel in barrels from fuel tanks. The terrorists lobbed 17 grenades in three minutes, which ignited the dump and resulted in a massive fire burning barracks and tents in a 150-metre radius. Thirteen soldiers were burnt alive instantaneously and 32 soldiers were critically injured with severe burns.

With the diesel dump ablaze, due to smog and subsequent explosions, the terrorists got disoriented and headed straight towards soldiers' barracks. One terrorist was gunned down in the barracks by a 19-year-old Dogra soldier, who, while challenging the other three, sustained a severe head injury when a bullet hit his helmet, sources said.

Since the barracks were vacant, the terrorists took a defensive position in the side barracks of two floors and 16 rooms. Later, four commandoes stormed the building and eliminated the other three terrorists.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Uri-attack-Tell-all-map-in-Pashto-exposes-plotters/articleshow/54398406.cms

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Now, Gau Ayog proposes cow varsity in Haryana

Sep 19, 2016

CHANDIGARH: Haryana government's Gau Seva Ayog has proposed a "cow university" to conduct exhaustive research on the domestic animal, its milk, urine and dung. The state had earlier drawn flak for the recent biryani policing in Mewat and the construction of a gaushala (cowshed) at Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Sonipat district.

Haryana Gau Seva Ayog chairman Bhani Ram Mangla told TOI on Sunday that he would meet chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on either Monday or Tuesday in connection with the proposal.

He said they would need 500 acres of land for the proposed university. "We will look for a village panchayat willing to offer land for the university," said Mangla, who had recently visited Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to study the functioning of its Kamdhenu University , established in 2009 by the then Narendra Modi-headed BJP state government for research in veterinary and animal sciences, inclu ding dairies and fisheries.

Mangla said the proposed university in Haryana will deal with issues related only to cows. "We want to conduct research on urine and dung of the cow," he said, adding that he wants the university to be able to offer diploma courses.

According to Mangla, opening the university in the state will boost the production of cow milk and create job opportunities for unemployed youth.

Earlier this month, the Ayog had ordered police to pick up samples of biryani from vendors in Muslim-dominated Mewat just ahead of Eid to check whether beef had been used. Criticism from locals, activists and opposition forced the CM to order an end to the food raids.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Now-Gau-Ayog-proposes-cow-varsity-in-Haryana/articleshow/54399335.cms

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Gujarat ATS nabs accused in RDX landing case in which Dawood was involved

September 19, 2016

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad has nabbed an accused in the 1993 Gosabara RDX and arms landing case, in which fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim has been named as a key conspirator, from Mumbai.

Based on a tip-off, the ATS team arrested Abdulsattar Batliwala in suburban Khar in Mumbai on Saturday and brought him to Ahmedabad on Sunday, it said in a release.

Batliwala was a part of the conspiracy whereby Dawood Ibrahim sent a huge cache of RDX and arms, including AK-47 rifles to Gujarat from Karachi via sea route in 1993, ATS said. The objective was to take revenge for the Babri masjid demolition.

The contraband landed on Gosabara coast in Porbandar district of Gujarat in 1993, and was distributed to Dawood’s associates and other conspirators in Mumbai, Surat and Uttar Pradesh, it said.

According to the ATS, Batliwala was present at a meeting called by Dawood in Dubai to plan out the landing at Gosabara.

Police had recovered five AK-47 rifles, an AK-56 rifle, 43 hand grenades and 3,011 cartridges during the probe.

Till now, around 40 persons have been arrested while 16 accused are still at large, including Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Anis Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel.

 Source: siasat.com/news/gujarat-ats-nabs-accused-rdx-landing-case-dawood-involved-1023470/

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Arab World

Jeish Al-Fatah Preparing for Large-Scale Operation against Syrian Army in Aleppo

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The September 9 ceasefire plan in Syria is being observed by only government troops whereas the terrorist groups, including the Jeish al-Fatah coalition, are using it to get prepared for large-scale combat operations in Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

"Militants are using the ceasefire to lick wounds, recuperate and prepare for resumption of combat operations," the spokesman said. 

He further added that our reconnaissance channels spotted movements of militants and concentration of armored vehicles and cars both in Aleppo’s Eastern part and its countryside.

"Such facts only prove our apprehension of regrouping of terrorist groups and their preparing for large-scale combat operations," he said, adding that civilians leaving Aleppo’s Eastern neighborhoods confirm these reports.

Reports said earlier today that the Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups violated the September 9 nationwide truce plan and stormed the Syrian government forces' positions in the Southwestern districts of Aleppo city.

"Jeish al-Fatah, a coalition of 22 terrorist groups, attacked strongholds of the Syrian Army troops and popular forces in Housing Project 1070 from al-Hikmah neighborhood, but the government forces opened retaliatory fire on them and blocked their advance in the battlefield," military sources said.

The terrorist groups continue to violate the ceasefire all throughout the province.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000841

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Jeish Al-Islam Leaders Split over Ceasefire in Syria

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Leaders of Jeish al-Islam terrorist group have split over commitment to the ceasefire in Douma as they have received promises of support from Saudi Arabia if they disregard the truce.

"The ringleaders of the terrorist group believe that even though they are not fully satisfied with the ceasefire agreed with the Syrian government, they should decrease the clashes and therefore, they have accepted the truce," an informed source in the countryside of Damascus told FNA on Monday.

"This is while a number of lower-level commanders of the terrorist group in al-Ghouta believe that the ceasefire will further strengthen the Syrian army's positions, specially after their capture of Housh al-Farah and al-Rayhan farms," he added.

The source said that a number of Jeish al-Islam commanders are attempting to convince their forces that Saudi Arabia will not allow the collapse of Douma and continues supporting them and Riyadh is merely killing time until the US presidential election. "They have told their forces that they have received solumn promises for continued support from Saudi Arabia if they disregard the ceasefire," he added.

On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State announced a new peace plan to address the five-year conflict in Syria that called for a ceasefire to come into force.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000611

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Syrian Army Fends off ISIL's Offensives in Energy-Rich Regions in Homs

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers repelled ISIL's attacks on their positions in the oil-rich region in Eastern Homs after fierce clashes on Monday.

ISIL's attacks from two directions on government positions in Jazal oilfield failed, and ISIL suffered a heavy death toll in its unsuccessful attacks.

Russian fighter jets played a crucial role in repelling ISIL's attacks in Jazal.

In the meantime, Russian and Syrian fighter jets, in a joint attack, pounded ISIL's centers in the village of al-Shandakhiyat and Jubb al-Jarrah in Eastern Homs.

Syrian Air Force's bombardments also destroyed a number of ISIL positions and vehicles in the Eastern side of Tadmur, al-Sukhnah and al-Sha'er oilfield.

Meantime on Sunday, Syrian Army soldiers, backed up by the Russian military helicopters, repelled ISIL's attacks on the government positions near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).

Syrian army soldiers clashed fiercely with ISIL terrorists and did not allow them to advance near grain silos in Eastern side of Palmyra.

Russian combat helicopters, for their part, opened heavy fire at ISIL's vehicles and members and inflicted major casualties on the Takfiri group.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000753

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ISIL's Centers in Deir Ezzur Receives Sever Blow in Russian, Syrian Air Attacks

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian and Russian Air Force fighters launched fresh rounds of joint combat sorties over ISIL's positions in Deir Ezzur, inflicting major losses and casualties on the terrorists.

Syrian and Russian warplanes bombed ISIL's sites in the districts of Khasarat and al-Huweija in the Southeastern part of the city, destroying an arms depot in al-Hamidiyeh neighborhood and another one in Huweija al-Mari'eiyeh neighborhood.

In the meantime, ISIL's gatherings in al-Baqaliyeh and al-Hosseiniyeh, Huweija Kate' and al-Jneineh in Northwestern side of Deir Ezzur were bombed heavily in Syrian and Russian fighter jets' attacks.

Syrian and Russian bombers also targeted ISIL's centers in Hatleh in Eastern countryside of Deir Ezzur city.

Also on Sunday, Syrian and Russian warplanes launched coordinated bombing strikes over ISIL's supply lines to the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur, inflicting major damage on a key bridge controlled by the terrorists.

ISIL's supply line from al-Mayadeen to Deir Ezzur was bombed heavily by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes also bombed al-Siyasiyeh bridge in the Northern side of Deir Ezzur city to cut off ISIL's line of arms and ammunition supply to the terrorist-held regions and districts.  

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000728

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Terrorist Groups Readying for Raid in Aleppo

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorist groups have reinvigorated their combat capabilities near the Northern and Southern districts of Aleppo city, military sources said Monday, adding that Syrian government forces are ready to defend the city against the terrorists' attacks.

"The Syrian Army troops have been monitoring any movement of Jeish al-Fatah since September 9. Jeish al-Fatah is gathering more fighters in the Eastern side of Castillo road and in the Southern side of al-Ameriyeh. It seems that Jeish al-Fatah has a plan to launch large-scale operation in the Northern and Southern districts of Aleppo," the sources said.

"The Syrian army soldiers and their popular allies have been fortifying their positions in recent days and are ready to confront any terrorists' attack," they added.

A senior commander of the military operations in Aleppo underlined on Saturday that the Syrian army troops' preparedness to show tough reaction to the terrorists' violation of the ceasefire.

"Terrorists have violated the ceasefire in certain areas, specially in Housing Project 1070, Jam'eiyat al-Zahra region and Castillo road," Colonel Fater Maihoub told FNA.

He also said that the Fatah al-Sham terrorists brock the truce in the military academy region of Aleppo in the past few days.

"The Syrian army and its allies are fully prepared to repel the terrorist attacks and will give a crushing response to any violation of the ceasefire by the militants," Maihoub stressed.

His remarks came after Deputy Chief of the Russian reconciliation center in Syria Sergey Kapitsyn said that the Syrian government forces, who based on the September 9 ceasefire plan had withdrawn from the Castillo road, returned to their previous positions due to the terrorist groups' movements, reinvigoration of the militants' combat abilities and violation of truce in the region.

"Last night, the terrorist groups shelled the Syrian army troops' positions with several mortar rounds and light machineguns, leaving two Syrian soldiers seriously wounded," Kapitsyn said on Saturday.

"After several attacks by terrorist groups on the strongholds of the Syrian army and in order to prevent militants' raid and capture of the government forces' previous positions in Castillo, the Syrian military decided to redeploy forces to three positions in Castillo region," the Russian commander said.

The Castillo road should serve as a humanitarian corridor to deliver much-needed UN aid to the civilians in the besieged city of Aleppo and the neighboring regions, according to an agreement brokered by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, in Geneva on September 9.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000689

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ISIL Fuel Tankers Targeted in Syrian-Russian Airstrikes in Deir Ezzur

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian and Russian fighter jets bombed a convoy of ISIL's oil tankers in the Northeastern territories of Deir Ezzur, destroying most of the tankers.

A long column of ISIL's tankers of Syria's smuggled crude was destroyed in a joint combat operation of the Syrian and Russian warplanes, leaving most of the tankers completely damaged and their guards dead or wounded.

Several traders of smuggled oil cargoes were also injured in the attack.

On Sunday, Syrian and Russian warplanes launched coordinated bombing strikes over ISIL's supply lines to the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur, inflicting major damage on a key bridge controlled by the terrorists.

ISIL's supply line from al-Mayadeen to Deir Ezzur was bombed heavily by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes also bombed al-Siyasiyeh bridge in the Northern side of Deir Ezzur city to cut off ISIL's line of arms and ammunition supply to the terrorist-held regions and districts.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000621

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Iranian Parliament Advisor: US Attack on Syrian Army's Military Positions Proved US Ill Intention

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Advisor to the Iranian Parliament Speaker Hossein Amir Abdollahian slammed the US government for not remaining committed to its undertakings concerning the ceasefire in Syria.

"The attack by the US fighter jets on the Syrian soldiers who are fighting against the terrorist groups unveiled Washington's intentions clearer,” Amir Abdollahian said on Sunday.

He reiterated that the White House takes any measure to weaken Syria and strengthen the terrorist groups.

"The US military presence in Syrian airspace is in violation of the international law which which has taken place with no coordination with the Syrian government," Amir Abdollahian added.

General Command of the Syrian army said on Saturday that the US-led coalition bombed the Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzur, killing some 80 soldiers and injuring dozens more.

According to Syria’s official SANA news agency, the bombing took place on al-Thardah Mountain in the region of Deir Ezzur and caused casualties and destruction on the ground.

Eighty Syrian soldiers were killed and over 100 injured in the airstrike by the US-led coalition, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said, citing information received from the Syrian General Command.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the aircraft which carried out the bombings had entered Syrian airspace from the territory of Iraq. Four strikes against Syrian positions were performed by two F-16 jet fighters and two A-10 support aircraft, it added.

Even if the bombardment of the Syrian government troops was a mistake, it’s still a consequence of Washington’s unwillingness to coordinate its anti-terror efforts with Moscow, the ministry said.

The Defense Ministry also confirmed a report by SANA that an ISIL offensive began right after Syrian Army positions were hit from the air.

The actions of the coalition “clearly paved the way for ISIL terrorists to attack the position and take control of it,” the agency said citing the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces.

The General Command called the bombing a “serious and blatant aggression” against Syrian forces, and said it was "conclusive evidence" that the US and its allies support ISIL terrorist group.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000566

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Saudis accuse Iran of supplying weapons to Yemen rebels

September 19, 2016

UNITED NATIONS: Saudi Arabia accused Iran of supplying weapons to Shia rebels in Yemen and urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Tehran for violating an arms embargo.

Saudi Ambassador Abdal­lah Al-Mouallimi said in a letter to the council obtained late on Saturday that the smuggling of arms to Houthi rebels violates council resolutions and constitutes “a direct and tangible threat” to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the region and international peace.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally recognised government launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 against Iranian-backed rebels known as Houthis who are allied with army units loyal to a former president.

Bombing by the US-backed coalition, comprising nine Arab nations, has pushed the Houthis out of southern Yemen but they still control the capital, Sanaa, which they seized in 2014.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284703/saudis-accuse-iran-of-supplying-weapons-to-yemen-rebels

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Iran Able to Target Enemies' Vital Interests from Inside, Outside Borders

September 19, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed Iran's military capabilities, and said the country has grown so powerful that it can now target all enemies' vital interests from inside and outside its borders.

"We are so powerful that we can target all the vital interests of the enemies in the region from either inside or outside Iran with any desired intensity and power," Salami said in an interview with the state-run TV on Sunday night.

Noting that the enemies are merely aware of a part of Iran's military power, he said, "The hidden parts of our military power are always more than the overt parts of our power."

Salami also underlined that Iran's military and deterrence power forced the world powers to sit to the negotiations table with the country on the nuclear issue.

In relevant remarks in June, Deputy Chief of Staff of Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri said the US and its allies will be deeply surprised to see Iran's secret military achievements.

"The enemies of the Islamic Republic, headed by the Americans, the Zionists and the British, are (only) aware of a part of the Islamic Republic of Iran's power in different defensive and missile fields and fortunately, since we are self-reliant in this area, our enemies aren’t aware of certain parts and will not be aware any time soon unless something happens," Jazzayeri said.

"In such a case, we might need to display a part of our capabilities in the battlefield and I believe that if such a thing happens, they will be much surprised to suddenly see how much progress the Islamic Republic has made in defensive fields," he added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950629000385

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South Asia

5 Pakistani terrorists killed, 2 suicide vests seized in southern Afghanistan

Mon Sep 19 2016

At least five terrorists hailing from Pakistan were killed during a special military operation conducted by the Afghan intelligence operatives in southern Zabul province.

Taliban killed in Afghanistan_censoredThe National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Monday that the operation was conducted to dismantle the Al Qaeda terrorist network cell which was operating in this province.

A statement by NDS said at least two terrorists were arre,sted and several weapons and explosives including 2 suicide vests were confiscated during the raid.

The statement further added that a Dshk and a PKM machine gun wre also seized along with hand grenades and pistols.

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

Source: khaama.com/5-pakistani-terrorists-killed-2-suicide-vests-seized-in-southern-afghanistan-01906

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7 Taliban insurgents killed in airstrike in South of Afghanistan

Mon Sep 19 2016

At least seven Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. (Afghan Air Force Photo By 438th Air Expeditionary Wing)

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Monday that the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of the provincial capital of the province.

According to a statement by MoD, a compound belonging to the Taliban insurgents was also destroyed in the airstrike.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Uruzgan is among the relatively volatile provinces in souther Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to other militant groups are actively operating in its various provinces and often carry out insurgency activities.

The Taliban group launched a coordinated attack on the provincial capital Tarinkot city earlier this but the attack was repulsed before the group manage to seize it’s control.

Several units of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces were deployed to push back the Taliban offensive besides the prominent police chief of Kandahar General Abdul Raziq visited the city to coordinate attack against the group.

Source: khaama.com/7-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-airstrike-in-south-of-afghanistan-01905

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President Ghani condemns attack on Indian base in Kashmir

Mon Sep 19 2016

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack on an Indian military base in the Indian-administered Kashmir, insisting that fight against terrorism will require joint efforts.

He said terrorism a threat to the security of the region and the world and a joint regional and international strategy is needed to fight the menace of terror.

President Ghani called terrorism a grim phenomenon against the humanity insisting that terrorism has no respect to any religion or law.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed punishment for those involved behind a deadly attack on army base in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Strongly condemning the attack on the army base in Kashmir, Modi said ” I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished.”

At least 17 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the attack on Indian army brigade headquarters near the de factor border with Pakistan on Sunday, killing 17 soldiers in one of the most deadly attacks in the northern region of Kashmir in a quarter-century-old insurgency.

Source: khaama.com/president-ghani-condemns-attack-on-indian-base-in-kashmir-01903

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Jihadism grows roots in Bangladesh

19-Sep-16

Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Awami League (AL) chief and Bangladesh’s incumbent prime minister, has long sold herself as a regional bulwark against Islamic extremism. Critics even accuse Wazed of scaremongering the general public to pry votes away from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by her political nemesis, Khaleda Zia. And yet on her watch, Bangladesh has emerged this year as South Asia’s most vibrant jihadist factory. Some commentators suggest Wazed’s missionary zeal in prosecuting Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) patriarchs for “war crimes” is fuelling the jihadist problem by tipping incensed JI partisans towards radicalism to embarrass her government, if not topple it. On September 5, Mir Quasem Ali became the fifth party leader to be executed by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal.

Moreover, despite US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent assertion that self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militants in Bangladesh had verifiable links to Syria and Iraq, Dhaka’s stock response to incidents of domestic terrorism has been to outright rubbish these foreign ties. Episodes of violence bearing the mark of foreign jihadist cults have either been swept aside by the AL government or quickly blamed on the BNP, the country’s main opposition group, and its hard-right ally, the JI. Behind the long-running political theatre of the “battling begums” -- the local media’s sobriquet for Wazed and Zia — global terrorist organisations, namely IS and al-Qaeda, have quietly set up shop.

Since 2013, the AL government has refused to accept that seemingly random attacks on minorities, freethinkers and foreigners by machete-wielding assailants or drive-by shooters that have left more than 40 dead were the handiwork of IS or al-Qaeda affiliates in Bangladesh. Instead, it pinned them on homegrown militant groups, backed by the BNP and JI of course, particularly the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Full report at:dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/19-Sep-16/jihadism-grows-roots-in-bangladesh

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Mideast

Turkey-backed rebels could push further south in Syria, Erdoğan says

September 19, 2016

Turkey-backed rebels may extend their zone of control in northern Syria by pushing south and were now focused on heading toward the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-held town of al-Bab, Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 19.

Speaking at a news conference before departing for New York where he is due to address the United Nations General Assembly, Erdoğan said Turkey’s “safety zone” in the region could eventually span an area of 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles).

Turkey last month launched its operation in northern Syria, dubbed “Euphrates Shield”, aimed at clearing ISIL from Turkey’s Syrian border and stopping the advance of  the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). So far, Turkey has secured a narrow strip of land along its border.

“As part of the Euphrates Shield operation, an area of 900 square kilometers has been cleared of terror so far. This area is pushing south,” Erdoğan said.

“We may extend this area to 5,000 square kilometers as part of a safe zone.”

Erdoğan also said the Turkey-backed rebels - a group of Syrian Arabs and Turkmen fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army - were now targeting the ISIL-held town of al-Bab.

“Jarablus and al-Rai have been cleansed, now we are moving towards al-Bab... We will go there and stop (ISIL) from being a threat to us,” he said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-backed-rebels-could-push-further-south-in-syria-erdogan-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104004&NewsCatID=352

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Turkish jets hit ISIL targets in northern Syria

September 19, 2016

Turkish jets hit Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in northern Syria late on Sept. 18, destroying three targets including a weapons depot, a shelter, and a local headquarters in the Baragitah/Sandarah regions, Anadolu Agency has reported, citing anonymous military sources.

Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, opened up a new line of attack in northern Syria on Sept. 3, with Turkish tanks crossing the frontier from the Kilis province, opening a western front in an operation to remove militants from its border.

The Turkish army and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24, taking the northern Syrian town of Jarablus from ISIL militants. The army and the rebels have continued to expand their operation to rid the area of both ISIL fighters and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey says is a terrorist organization as it is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-jets-hit-isil-targets-in-northern-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104003&NewsCatID=352 

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No Cyprus deal if no rotating presidency

September 19, 2016

If there is no rotating presidency between the two founding states of a perspective Cypriot federal state, for which accelerated negotiations are being conducted, there will be no peace deal, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots on the eastern Mediterranean island has said.

“A rotating presidency is one of the indispensable topics for the equality of the Turkish Cypriot nation. If the Greek Cypriot side says that ‘the rotating presidency will never be a parameter of the solution,’ then this means there will be no deal,” Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı said on Sept. 18 in Nicosia, freshly out of a marathon of eight meetings with Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades and the U.N.’s special advisor to the island, Espen Barth Eide.

“This means that the Turkish Cypriot leader will in no case sign this [deal] and put it before his nation.”

Akıncı said that the discussion could only be held on “which intervals the rotating presidency can be implemented.”

“But if in principal the point of ‘a rotating presidency will not happen’ continues, this means there will be no deal,” Akıncı reiterated. 

The half-century-old Cyprus problem erupted after the island was granted independence from Britain in 1960, soon followed by an outbreak of inter-communal clashes in 1963. The island was ethnically divided between a Greek south and a Turkish north when the Turkish military intervened in 1974 under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee after diplomacy failed to end unrest on the island and a coup on the island aimed at unification with Greece.

Efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict were relaunched after previously failed peace talks were opened once again in May 2015 following the election of Akıncı as the new president of Turkish Cyprus.

In a Sept. 15 interview with local journalists, Akıncı had said a peace deal could be reached on Cyprus within 90 days if both sides of the divided Mediterranean island were willing and decisive about the issue.

Akıncı and Anastasiades are scheduled to meet U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 25 in New York in a tripartite meeting, while the United Nations General Assembly is held.

Akıncı said Sept. 15 that negotiations would continue after the meeting in New York with Ban and a multi-partite conference, including the guarantor states, would be held on a later and unspecified date.

Britain, together with Turkey and Greece, is one of the guarantor states of Cyprus under the 1960 treaty.

Citing the possible rise of agriculture due to the Northern Cyprus Water Supply project, which carries water from Turkey’s southern province of Mersin to the Turkish Cypriot administration, Akıncı said that if a deal would not be reached, then the Greek Cypriots could become neighbors with Turkish citizens as Turkish people would possibly move to the Turkish Cypriot side due to the flourishing agriculture.

“If there is no resolution, then the Greek Cypriot side may become neighbors with Turkey on the island,” said Akıncı.

Upon a question of whether he meant that the Turkish Cypriot administration would actually become a part of Turkey, Akıncı said, “I cannot know how the structure would develop after many years. In case of no solution [to the island’s dividedness] we would of course want for the continuation of the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - Turkish Cyprus] but the Greek Cypriot side should carefully think where the unrecognized [state of northern Cyprus], embargoes and the deadlock that accompanies [the whole process] will lead the issue to,” said Akıncı.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akinci-no-cyprus-deal-if-no-rotating-presidency.aspx?pageID=238&nID=103999&NewsCatID=351

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President Erdoğan to call for joint global stance against terror at UN meet

September 19, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will call on world leaders to pursue a joint stance in the fight against terror without distinguishing between terror groups and to act in solidarity in addressing growing refugee problems during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend the 71st U.N. General Assembly meetings to be held in New York between Sept. 19 and 22,” his office said in a written statement over the weekend. The Turkish delegation under Erdoğan’s leadership will depart to New York from Istanbul early Sept. 19.

The official kick-off of the U.N. General Assembly will take place on Sept. 20 as the main theme will be “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World.” Erdoğan will attend the meeting on the occasion of the first anniversary of the launch of the sustainable development goals and the approval of the Development Agenda for 2030.

He will later attend the opening of the General Assembly and will then address the world leaders from the U.N. podium on Sept. 20. Erdoğan is expected to urge world leaders about the need to adopt a common stand against terrorism regardless of where they come from and to inform about the failed coup attempt on July 15. Ongoing turmoil in Syria and Turkey’s recent offensive into northern Syria to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will also be on his agenda.

Leaders’ summit on refugees

The president’s New York itinerary will include another very important meeting, according to the statement. Erdoğan will attend a special summit of leaders to be held under the leadership of United States President Barack Obama and co-hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, as well as leaders from Canada, Germany, Sweden, Ethiopia, Mexico and Jordan, where participants will discuss the growing problem of refugees in the world.

Erdoğan is also expected to make a statement and inform world leaders about how Turkey has been coping with around 3 million refugees in its territories since the civil war broke in Syria. He will focus on Turkey’s active humanitarian diplomacy in responding to humanitarian crises in the world, read the statement.

Erdoğan will also participate to a reception to be given by Obama while holding bilateral meetings with some world leaders attending the General Assembly. On this occasion, Erdoğan is also planned to come together with U.S. business and investment circles, prominent representatives of Turkish and Muslim communities in the U.S. and to hold interviews with the world media.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/president-erdogan-to-call-for-joint-global-stance-against-terror-at-un-meet.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104000&NewsCatID=510

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Governors from eastern, southeastern Turkish provinces called to Ankara for security meeting

September 19, 2016

Governors from a total of 22 provinces in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey have been called to the capital Ankara for a security meeting. The call came from the Turkish Interior Ministry, Anadolu Agency reported on Sept. 18.

Governors from the eastern and southeastern provinces of Adıyaman, Ağrı, Ardahan, Batman, Bitlis, Bingöl, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Iğdır, Kars, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Mardin, Muş, Siirt, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Tunceli and Van were called to the meeting held under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

In addition to the governors and the minister, Deputy Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk, Interior Minister Undersecretary Muhterem İnce, Turkish Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Yaşar Güler, Turkish Police Chief Selami Altınok, Public Order and Security (KDGM) Undersecretary Muhammed Dervişoğlu, Migration Management Director General Atilla Toros and General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality General Director Ahmet Sarıcan participated in the meeting, as well as high-level security officials.

The meeting started at around 10 a.m. and was closed to the public. It started with a speech from Soylu and continued with briefings from related institutions regarding counter-terrorism.

The ongoing security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the eastern and southeastern regions were discussed during the meeting, as well as the struggle against other groups listed as terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Violence in Turkey’s east and southeast has flared up in recent months, with the PKK increasing its attacks. Security operations in a number of provinces have been ongoing with aerial support.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/governors-from-eastern-southeastern-turkish-provinces-called-to-ankara-for-security-meeting-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=103979&NewsCatID=338

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Governor’s office bans rallies, protests before controversial mine hearing in Turkey’s north

September 19, 2016

The Artvin Governor’s Office has banned rallies and protests in the Black Sea province for a month in the wake of an announcement that a hearing for a controversial mine construction will be held on Sept. 19.

A company’s efforts to extract mine in the Cerattepe region in Artvin has created massive tension in the district, with the governor’s office imposing a ban “as a precaution.” The decision was made possible by the ongoing state of emergency, Doğan News Agency reported.

“In order for the current peaceful situation to continue and prevent harm against public peace, all rallies, press releases, meetings, sit-in protests, distributing notices and similar activities were banned due to violent activities that can emerge before, during or after them,” the statement released from the governor’s office read.

Massive protests erupted earlier in 2016 over a controversial gold mine plan in the Cerattepe area.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/governors-office-bans-rallies-protests-before-controversial-mine-hearing-in-turkeys-north.aspx?pageID=238&nID=103982&NewsCatID=339

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Pakistan

Govt accused of ignoring Mohmand mosque attack

September 19, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Accusing the government of turning a blind eye to last week’s terrorist attack on a mosque in Mohmand Agency, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khurshid Ahmed Shah criticised the rulers on Sunday for what he called their failure to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.

“Despite having reservations, the opposition supported the government over NAP and it will continue to support every action against the terrorists in future, but time has come for the government to take some practical steps to curb the menace of terrorism in the country,” Mr Shah said in a statement issued by his Parliament House office.

Mr Shah said NAP’s main purpose was to completely eliminate the menace of terrorism, but the government had “completely failed” in its implementation. He assured the government that the opposition would not do politics on the issue of terrorism.

Opposition leader calls for implementation of NAP

A suicide bomber attacked the mosque in Mohmand’s Payee Khan village during Friday prayers, leaving at least 35 worshipers dead and over 30 injured. Several children were also among the dead or wounded.

Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing and said the target were members of pro-government tribal lashkars. The organisation had also claimed responsibility for the Sept 2 attack on a court in Mardan, which left at least 14 people dead and 50 others injured. The group also said it was behind the Aug 8 attack on lawyers in Quetta, which killed 73 people, as well as the Lahore Easter bombing that left 75 dead in what was the deadliest attack to hit the country this year.

Terming the mosque attack a “huge tragedy”, Mr Shah said the incident could not be ignored simply because it had occurred in a far-flung area.

Politicians and rights activists have also been raising their voice against the mainstream electronic media for ignoring the mosque attack. Instead of providing updates on the attack, it ran non-stop reports about the arrest of MQM leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan in Karachi.

Only two Peshawar-based Pashto TV channels reportedly telecast complete details of the mosque attack.

Mr Shah said the opposition would not let the government ignore such a huge national tragedy, adding that the attack on the innocent worshippers was a clear proof that terrorists had nothing to do with Islam. In fact, they were fulfilling the agenda of anti-Pakistan forces, he added.

He regretted that by dividing terrorists into “good and bad Taliban” the “hidden hands” were strengthened while the opposition’s true stance on the issue of terrorism was put on the back burner. “Now time has come to put chains on the hidden hands.”

Mr Shah asked the government to take the Mohmand incident seriously and provide full help and support to the victims of the attack. He said he would soon visit the area to condole with the relatives of those killed in the attack and enquire after the health of the injured.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284720

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Pak Govt expected to table Hindu Marriage Bill this month: Report

September 19, 2016

Islamabad :After decades of delay and inaction, Pakistan government is expected to table the much-debated Hindu Marriage Bill at the next session of Parliament later this month, a media report said on Sunday.

The landmark legislation, which seeks to give a legal framework to the marriages in minority community, is expected to address key issues of the Hindu community, including matters relating to the registration of marriages, divorce and forced conversions, Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael said.

Michael is likely to table the bill at the next session of Parliament, Express Tribune reported.

“It will be a historic day… and the credit goes to (both the) opposition and ruling parties which are on the same page on the draft (bill),” Michael said.

He had tried to move the bill on September 9, but a few minority lawmakers were not present in the house and the matter was deferred to the next session which will be held in the last week of September.

On August 17, the National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice tabled its report on bill which had been pending with the panel since March last year.

The draft law was originally moved by two minority lawmakers Ramesh Lal of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Asiya Nasir of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) JUI-F. The draft bill was later supported by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party which is headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A large number of Hindu community members, especially women, do not have basic documentation to prove their marital status. They are also deprived of legal rights, such as inheritance, remarriage, separation, adoption of children and annulment of marriage; they also face problems while travelling abroad.

The bill is expected to put an end to the practice of abduction of married Hindu women.

The legislation is expected to institutionalise all legal rights relating to marriage. All Hindu marriages will be registered in accordance with the provisions of this act. Such registration shall take place within 15 days of a marriage.

Similarly, Hindu widows will now have the right to remarry of their own free will six months after the death of her husband, according to the provisions of the bill.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s minority lawmaker Lal Chand Malhi appreciated the bill and said, “I believe the government and the opposition (parties) must focus on such legislation to protect (the rights of all) marginalised communities”.

Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have consented to the federal government formulating a Hindu marriage law that they would then adopt, while Sindh had formulated its own Hindu marriage registration law.

Source: siasat.com/news/pak-govt-expected-table-hindu-marriage-bill-month-report-1023250/

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Human Rights Watch urges govt to halt hanging of mentally-ill man

September 19, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Human Rights Watch urged Pakistan on Monday to halt the imminent hanging of a prisoner declared insane by government doctors, saying the execution would violate its international legal obligations.

Imdad Ali, who is aged around 50, was sentenced to death for the murder of a religious cleric in 2002 and is set to be hanged early Tuesday.

HRW opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, its country representative Saroop Ijaz told AFP.

“But in this case it also violates Pakistan's international legal obligations,” Ijaz said, referring to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Islamabad ratified in 2011.

“Imdad (Ali) has no insight into his punishment or condition or the idea of penalty. Executing someone who does not understand the punishment he or she is being awarded is simply harrowing and serves no criminal justice aim.”

Separately, a psychiatrist who examined Ali over several years and declared him insane in 2012 said he was shocked at news of the imminent execution.

“He is a declared insane person,” said Tahir Feroze Khan. “To hear about his death warrant is shocking news for me.”

A medical report seen by AFP said Ali's speech was incoherent, he frequently spoke and laughed to himself, and he suffered from paranoia and delusions of grandeur.

Despite being officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, the Lahore High Court last month rejected arguments that Ali should not be executed because of his illness.

“His killing would signify in a grim way all that is wrong with the Pakistani justice system,” added Ijaz.

Pakistan reinstated the death penalty and established military courts after suffering its deadliest-ever extremist attack, when gunmen stormed Peshawar's Army Public School in 2014 and killed more than 150 people — mostly children.

Hangings were initially reinstated only for those convicted of terrorism, but later extended to all capital offences.

The country has executed over 400 people since resuming hangings in December 2014, according to new research by Reprieve, a British anti-death penalty campaign group, although only a tiny fraction have been for terror charges.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284739/human-rights-watch-urges-govt-to-halt-hanging-of-mentally-ill-man

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Rao Anwar challenges suspension in SHC

September 19, 2016

KARACHI: Suspended Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar on Monday approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) to challenge his suspension, which was ordered after he raided MQM leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan's house without the permission of the Sindh Assembly speaker.

Anwar said in his petition that the raid was conducted in accordance with the law. He pleaded to the high court to declare his suspension orders illegal.

"All legal formalities were fulfilled while raiding the house of Khawaja Izhar," he stated in the petition.

Barrister Salahuddin told Dawn that the petition has been filed on behalf of Anwar, seeking reinstatement of the officer.

The SHC issued notices to the provincial chief secretary and Inspector General (IG) of Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja, directing them to file their respective comments on the petition by September 27, 2016.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had asked the Sindh inspector general to suspend Anwar on Friday for arresting Hasan without “taking the government into confidence”.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar, who was also present on the occasion, had alleged that Anwar refused to show arrest warrants before taking Izhar into custody.

Following his suspension orders, Anwar had clarified before the media that permission from the speaker of the Sindh Assembly was not needed before arrest of any lawmaker.

“We need to inform in writing the speaker of the national or provincial assemblies after the arrest is made,” he said at the time.

He said Hasan had pending FIRs against him. “If there was FIR registered against anyone, a sub-inspector has powers to arrest such persons nominated in the FIR and he has no need to seek permission from anyone.”

“I have adopted a legal procedure for his arrest,” he had claimed, adding that he was placed under suspension in haste and it was wrong to do so.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284728/rao-anwar-challenges-suspension-in-shc

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Rangers unimpressed by Waseem Akhtar’s apology

September 19, 2016

KARACHI: A somewhat ‘forget and forgive’ statement given by jailed Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar following his court appearance on Saturday was apparently not taken well by the Sindh Rangers as the paramilitary force considered it an attempt to cast a shadow on its “impartial” actions in the city.

Mr Akhtar, who was brought to an anti-terrorism court from the Karachi central prison for the hearing of his bail applications, directly addressed the director general of Rangers, Major General Bilal Akbar, during his media talk on Saturday, asking him “for God’s sake” move on and forget whatever happened in the past.

“DG-Rangers is our elder and I would ask him to forget [our] mistakes... I am sorry if he is furious on any matter,” the mayor had said, while appealing to the authorities not to ‘implicate him in false’ cases and allow him bail to serve the people of the metropolis as their representative.

However, a statement issued by the paramilitary force on Sunday suggested that the Rangers chief did not take his apology seriously and instead considered Mr Akhtar’s media talk as an attempt to make the ongoing Rangers-led operation controversial.

Without mentioning his name or his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a spokesman for the Rangers said that the statement of a “prominent leader of a political party in which he addressed the Rangers director general and tried to give an impression that a particular person or a party is the target of the Karachi operation” was factually incorrect.

The spokesman said the Rangers were conducting the operation against criminals and terrorists only, and not against any particularly party or group, for restoring a durable peace in Karachi.

The Rangers’ statement, however, disappointed the Dr Farooq Sattar-led MQM, as they believed that the impression the Rangers got from the Karachi mayor’s statement was not correct.

“It was a reconciliatory effort from Waseem Akhtar as he denounced whatever happened on Aug 22 in the same press talk,” a senior MQM leader said, adding that Mr Akhtar did not express any apprehension on the actions of the paramilitary force against criminals and terrorists.

He said that the Rangers misconstrued Mr Akhtar’s words.

During the Saturday media talk, he paid tribute to the army but sarcastically said that “our prime concern is to keep Waseem Akhtar behind bars”.

Mr Akhtar was arrested on July 19 after an ATC rejected his pre-arrest interim bail plea in a case — lodged on the complaint of a Rangers official — pertaining to the treatment of alleged terrorists in Dr Ziauddin hospitals. Later, he was remanded in police custody and booked in seven more cases pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem. He had contested and comfortably won the Aug 24 mayoral election from prison and took oath of his office on Aug 30.

He has been booked in over two dozens cases — most of which pertain to listening to a provocative speech of the London-based MQM supremo.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284616/rangers-unimpressed-by-waseem-akhtars-apology

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Kidnappers belonged to Al Qaeda Punjab: Ali Haider Gilani

September 19, 2016

MULTAN: Ali Haider Gilani, a son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, said the nation would have to unite to combat terrorism.

Talking to the local media at the spot from where he was abducted three years ago, Ali said here on Sunday the country had improved in terms of security as compared with three-and-a-half-years ago. He said his freedom was not his victory alone, but credit went to the masses also, as his secretary Ghulam Mohiuddin and security guard Ameen had died while attempting to save him.

He made it clear that his kidnappers were Pakistani who had later told him they belonged to Al Qaeda. He also disclosed that his kidnappers and their facilitators belonged to ‘Al Qaeda Punjab’.

He further said his party would decide about him contesting the next general elections.

“We all will have to work together and strengthen to fight terrorism so that there is no more killing and no more abductions,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Yousaf Raza Gilani called on the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, at a lunch hosted by the latter in Paris.

A press release issued here on Sunday stated that Mr Gilani met Mr Jagland on Thursday.

“The leaders discussed the current situation of peace and security and peace in Pakistan and South Asia and Mr Jagland admired the efforts of Pakistan regarding encountering terrorism,” it added.

It further said Mr Jagland congratulated the Mr Gilani on the achievements and work done on the issue in his tenure as well.

“He also admired the efforts of last governments in sustainability of democracy in a country like Pakistan that faced long periods of dictatorship. Mr Jagland who also served his country Norway in the same capacities that Mr Gilani has served for Pakistan — prime minister and speaker of the National Assembly wished his Pakistani peer the continuation of the process of peace and sustainability in his country and ensured every possible cooperation at any level for the efforts. He was of the view that a sustainable and prosperous Pakistan is need of the hour for a peaceful and strong Asian region,” the press release concluded.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284677/kidnappers-belonged-to-al-qaeda-punjab-ali-haider-gilani

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PTI’s march on Raiwind: PML-N to stick to ‘carrot approach’

September 19, 2016

LAHORE: Immediately realising the backfire potential of the “Danda Force” policy, the Punjab government plans to “softly” handle Imran Khan’s Sept 30 rally at Raiwind, treating it as yet another “meaningless” protest.

“There’s no plan to repeat any Model Town-like situation as this does not suit the government whom peace suits the most,” a senior official said on Sunday.

The media had shown PML-N workers flexing their muscles and brandishing batons on Saturday, threatening to “see” the PTI if it dares come close to the Raiwind estate of the Sharif family. In response, a “(cricket) Bat Force” of the PTI activists emerged on television screens on Sunday to handle the “Danda Force.”

Later in the day, PTI chairman Imran Khan announced in Islamabad that the party would march on Raiwind on Sept 30.

The party had earlier announced that it would hold the rally in front of the Raiwind residence of the Sharif family. But later it changed the venue to Adda Plot, some 5km from the residence in view of the objections from political circles.

The allied PPP and the PAT of Dr Qadri had also refused to join the protest rally.

And government officials took the announcement calmly on Sunday. A senior official said the government would handle the rally softly. He said right now there was no specific plan on how to tackle the rally. But there should be one at the official level to regulate the rally and provide security to its participants and the PTI leadership.

“Special meetings will be held to define the route of the rally and to contain it to Adda Plot,” he said.

Another official said like in the past the PTI leadership would be requested to refrain from taking so many people on the road in view of the threat of terrorism. Or, responsibility of any eventuality would lay squarely on it.

And under the cover of this caution, there would be a security plan for the route of the rally and its culmination plan which would also ensure protection of public life and property from the participants. They would never be allowed to move an inch ahead of Adda Plot.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said the show of the “Danda Force” was the act of some emotional PML-N workers. The government would handle the rally dispassionately, allowing the PTI to use its democratic right of protest.

Nevertheless, he expected the PTI leadership to sit with the administration to decide the route of the rally and its culmination point, and abide by the security plan necessary in view of terrorism threats.

“This is going to be another Imran Khan rally. At least we will make it so,” he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284691/ptis-march-on-raiwind-pml-n-to-stick-to-carrot-approach

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Islamic State, Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility for killing three army men in Pakistan

September 19, 2016

Three Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday, militants said, in an attack for which both Islamic State and a Pakistani Taliban faction claimed responsibility.

Militants said they ambushed an unmarked vehicle ferrying soldiers on Sunday morning near the congested Daudzai area of Peshawar. Military sources confirmed the attack but said the killed men were army employees and not soldiers.

The Pakistan army often uses unmarked vehicles for transportation of soldiers and other employees in volatile areas around Peshawar to avoid being identified and attacked.

"They were travelling in a civil van when unknown armed men opened fire at them," said a security official who declined to be named. "Three of them died on the spot."

ATTACK RESPONSIBILITY

Pakistan's military this month declared that it had foiled Islamic State's attempts to establish operations in the country. But the group's Amaq news agency said Islamic State was behind the ambush, also claimed by Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, an offshoot of the Islamist militant Pakistani Taliban group.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, which carried out the Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore in which 70 people were killed, at one time swore fealty to Islamic State's Middle East leadership, but later switched back to the Taliban.

The two groups also both claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta that killed 74 people last month.

Pakistan's military said on September 1 it had arrested more than 300 Islamic State militants and sympathisers, thwarting the ultra-hardline group's attempts to expand there.

But concern has been growing that Islamic State - which controls parts of Iraq and Syria and is known for especially brutal treatment of religious minorities - might replicate their model in Pakistan, especially after Islamic State loyalists seized small pieces of territory in neighbouring Afghanistan.

On Friday, Pakistani authorities said they arrested four Islamic State militants plotting attacks in the city of Lahore. The four men had 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) of explosives as well as fuses and detonators, officials said.

Most Islamic State recruits in the region are believed to be Pakistani or Afghan defectors from other Islamist movements.

Pakistan is home to several militant groups including the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, giving Islamic State both a rich pool of potential recruits but also fierce competition.

Islamic State last year declared Afghanistan and Pakistan as the state of "Khorasan", part of its self-declared global caliphate, and appointed longtime militant Hafiz Saeed Khan as its regional leader.

A US drone strike killed Khan last month in eastern Afghanistan.

Source: indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pakistan-islamic-state-taliban-army-men/1/767707.html

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Sharif arrives for UNGA amid renewed tensions with India

September 19, 2016

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in New York on Sunday to attend the 71st UN General Assembly where he plans to highlight gross human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir.

Relations between India and Pakistan, already at a record low, worsened on Sunday when suspected militants attacked an Indian military base in held Kashmir and killed 17 soldiers.

Although Pakistan strongly condemned the attack, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh immediately put the blame on Islamabad.

“Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such,” he tweeted.

A Pakistani diplomat at the United Nations called it “a very reckless statement” and drew attention to India’s “ruthless military campaign” in the Valley where Indian security forces had killed 104 civilians and injured more than 10,000 since early July.

Despite these atrocities, the popular uprising against the Indian rule, which began in early July, has continued. Almost daily protests against the Indian rule and India’s ruthless use of force to stop the protests have drawn international attention, causing almost every major human rights organisation to demand access to the Valley. India, however, has rejected all such demands.

Prime Minister Sharif is likely to devote a large part of his address to the UN General Assembly for exposing Indian human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir. He will also urge the world body to intervene in Kashmir to enforce UN resolutions that promised a plebiscite in the disputed territory back in 1948 but were never implemented.

India is expected to raise the Baloch issue to counter Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, claiming that Pakistan too is guilty of similar human rights violations in the province.

Pakistan is likely to respond by asserting that India is responsible for promoting militancy in Balochistan.

The General Assembly is the United Nations’ principal representative body and it brings together all the 193 members on one platform to discuss all pressing issues, including those that could lead to war if left unattended.

And Kashmir is top on the list of such issues, along with Palestine, but has remained unresolved since 1948, when the world body pledged to resolve it.

The 71st session of the UNGA commenced on Sept 13 but the general debate will begin on Sept 20, when US President Barack Obama will also address the world body.

Other world leaders will follow, highlighting the issues that they consider important enough for a global platform.

The agenda for the 71st session includes issues relating to: refugees and migrants; sustainable development goals and anti-microbial resistance in the context of the Zika crisis.

The UNGA will also review issues that have been on its agenda for some time, such as the call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and Security Council reforms.

Pakistan will also watch the debate on refugees with keen interest. For the last 35 years, Pakistan has hosted more than three million Afghan refugees and it now wants the world body to help resolve this issue.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284721/sharif-arrives-for-unga-amid-renewed-tensions-with-india

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Africa

Islamic living legends contributions must also count in Ghana

Sep 19, 2016

Of late Muslims in Ghana have lost great men who were noted for contributing towards development of Ghana and the advancement of Islam. The latest of these men to depart this earth to eternity was Late Alhaji Major Mohammed Easah (rtd). He died at Tema near Accra and was buried on September 12 in accordance with Islamic tradition.

This gentleman who died at the age of 74 played many useful roles as a soldier, a public servant and genuine promoter of Islamic affairs in Ghana and the world at large.

According historical accounts he was a brilliant student for scoring high marks in his chosen subjects such as English and literature and also as a good school prefect at his “alma Mata” TI Ahmadiya Secondary School in Kumasi .

No wonder that when he later found himself as a military man he displayed a high level of brilliance leading his becoming a leading soldier who was recognized as a potential leader when the late col Kutu Acheampong came to power in 1972. He found himself in many positions including occupying a desk at the bank of Ghana after being promoted to the rank of Major in 1975, where he represented the government of the day. He later helped in setting up the Coalition of Muslim organizations in Ghana (COMOG) in 2002 after his return from exile in Nigeria.

Before then he had helped in setting up the Ghana Muslims representative council (GMRC) while he was in active service when he helped in the constructing the Abossey Okai Mosque as head of the Mosque Committee. All those who have come in contact with major Easah would have a lot to say about him as good public speaker, counselor and a man of discipline and self-control who is good at keeping to his times of prayers and public meetings. He is said to have led many delegations to Hajj pilgrimage and to nations like Libya and Iran where he met leaders like late col Muammar Gaddafi and of Libya President Ahmadinejad of the Republic of Iran among many.

The question to ask is why do we wait without recognizing and recording the good deeds of leaders like late Major Easah only after they are dead and gone?

Apart from major Easah the late Alhaji Adamu Iddrisu was one person who would not be forgotten by his family, the Muslim Ummah in Ghana and the nation as a whole. He died on July 27th but he left behind a legacy that is likely to be built on by his successors that include his children and workers. From nothing or very little assets this man who died at the age of 72 has left behind a flourishing business empire including global haulage company made up of a large number of haulage vehicles that convey large percentage of our cocoa through the ports of Tema and Takoradi.

His vehicles also ply the West Africa sub region nations conveying goods to merchants and governments of those nations. Alhaji Iddrisu Adamu has set up a foundation through which he has built mosques, and donated bore holes and other social amenities in all parts of the country. He also supports the airing of many Islamic programs on many radio and television stations in Ghana. Apart from other establishments, he has left behind a bank known as Royal Bank and created direct and indirect job openings for more than 12,000 people in and outside the country. As a result of the recognition given him Alhaji Iddrisu has won many national awards and another academic award an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University Science and technology.

Full report at:newsghana.com.gh/islamic-living-legends-contributions-must-also-count-in-ghana-1/

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Libyan forces renew push to oust I.S. from Sirte

Sep 19, 2016

Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government on Sunday battled Islamic State militants in their last hideouts in the city of Sirte, in a renewed push after a break in fighting for the Muslim celebrations of Eid.

At least two were killed in clashes after pro-government forces shelled neighbourhoods inside the city, targeting militants who have been holding on in a last section of Sirte after months of street-to-street fighting.

U.S. air strikes and helicopter raids along with small teams of Western special forces have helped the Libyan troops advance in Sirte and losing the city would be a major blow for the militant group depriving it of its North African stronghold.

“Our forces targeted on Sunday hideouts of Daesh in Neighbourhood No.3’s 600 block area and Geza Bahriya with heavy artillery shelling,” said Mohamed Ghasri, a spokesman for the forces, said using an Arabic term for militants.

Akram Gliwan, a spokesman for Misrata central hospital, told Reuters two fighters had been killed and six more were wounded and were brought to the hospital.

Mostly from Misrata city, 230 km (145 miles) to the north west, the government-allied forces say some commanders from Islamic State and fighters may have escaped and fled south or to the Tunisia border before Sirte was encircled.

But Ghasri said two Islamic State commanders, Hassan Karami and Walid Ferjani, had been killed in fighting inside the city, without giving details. Misrata commanders have said in the past Karami had been killed, but they have not indicated whether any body had been positively identified with DNA.

Western governments are supporting the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli as the best option to bring together Libya’s rival armed factions to stabilise the country, end Islamist State threats and stop illegal migrant smugglers.

But it has faced opposition from hardliners, especially in the east, where Gen. Khalifa Haftar has been carrying out his own campaign against militants in Benghazi. Haftar’s forces a week ago took control of major oil ports.

Source: africa.tvcnews.tv/2016/09/19/libyan-forces-renew-push-oust-i-s-sirte/#.V9_MeYh97IU

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Central African Republic rebels kill 26 villagers

Sep 18, 2016

Bangui: Rebels have killed 26 villagers in Central African Republic, a spokesperson for the presidency said on Saturday, the worst bloodshed in recent months in a country trying to draw a line under years of religious violence and political turmoil.

Albert Mokpeme said the killings took place in the village of Ndomete, not far from the town of Kaga-Bandoro, about 350 km (220 miles) north of the capital Bangui. He blamed fighters from the former Seleka rebel coalition.

“There were 26 victims. The Seleka (rebels) went door to door ... The village chief was among the victims,” said Albert Mokpeme said. “It was a massacre.”

Seleka representatives were not available for comment.

Violence pitting the mainly Muslim Seleka fighters against rival Christian anti-Balaka militia members started on Friday in Ndomete before spreading to Kaga-Bandoro.

Central African Republic’s UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, dispatched troops to the area and separated the two groups. It said in a statement that it was reinforcing its positions in and around Kaga-Bandoro and stepping up patrols in an effort to protect civilians and prevent further violence.

The mission declined to give a death toll.

“MINUSCA regrets the loss of human life and the wounded that were recorded and also denounces attacks against the humanitarian community and United Nations personnel,” it said, without elaborating further.

Central African Republic, which holds reserves of uranium, gold and diamonds, suffered the biggest crisis in its half-century of independence in early 2013 when Seleka toppled then-president Francois Bozize.

Christian militias responded by attacking Muslims. A fifth of the population fled their homes to escape the violence, leaving the impoverished nation even more divided along ethnic and religious lines.

Former prime minister Faustin-Archange Touadera won a presidential election in February that was meant to help the country emerge from its bloody past. However, rebels and militia fighters still stalk much of the country outside the capital.

Source: deccanchronicle.com/world/africa/180916/it-was-a-massacre-central-african-republic-rebels-kill-26-villagers.html

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Nigerian govt. reveals reason Sheikh Zakzaky still in detention

September 19, 2016

The Nigerian Government on Friday gave a reason for the continued detention of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN.

Speaking during a press briefing at the UN secretariat in New York, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the Muhammadu Buhari administration is not willing to disrupt the process of inquiry initiated by the Kaduna State government and has decided to allow the full process of the law prevail in the case.

The Kaduna State government recently released the report of a panel its set up to investigate the clash which led to the massacre of over 300 members (some reports say more than 700) of the Islamic Movement by Nigerian soldiers.

Mr. Onyeama, responding to a question, said the federal government would study the report.

“Government will study it, the Attorney General will look at the report and whatever measure needs to be taken will be taken,” he said in New York.

Over 700 peaceful members of the IMN were brutally killed between December 12 and 14 after the Nigerian army accused them just for blocking a road which the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai wanted to cross it.

Hundreds of members of the movement including its leader, Mr. El-Zakzaky, and his wife, were subsequently arrested.

For several weeks, Mr. El-Zakzaky was prevented from seeing anyone include his doctors, lawyers or family members.

On April 5, the Islamic cleric’s lawyer who was finally allowed to see him, confirmed public rumours that the army had damaged Mr. Zakzaky’s eye.

“As a result of the brutal attack, Sheikh Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one,” the lawyer, Femi Falana, said.

On Friday, Mr. Onyeama claimed that the IMN leader was getting the required medical attention.

“He (Mr. El-Zakzaky) is getting all the medical attention he requires. This I can say with certainty,” the minister claimed.

A Federal High Court in Abuja in July denied an application for bail by Mr. El-Zakzaky.

According to the court, Mr. El-Zakzaky and his lawyers failed to seek the leave of the court to hear the application during the vacation period.

Massacre of Islamic Movement members, mostly Shiite Muslims, has been condemned by local and international organizations around the world.

Source: en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/19/780001/story.html

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Southeast Asia

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Receives Harvard Award as Students Protest

19th Sep 2016

The Harvard Foundation named Nobel laureate and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi its 2016 Humanitarian of the Year in a ceremony Saturday, while students from the Harvard Islamic Society stood outside to protest what they consider her silence toward the country’s persecuted Muslim minority.

Suu Kyi, elected head of Myanmar’s government in April, was placed under house arrest in 1989 for protesting against the country’s dictatorship and served 15 years in detention. During her early years, Suu Kyi was held in solitary confinement and could not see her husband Michael V. Aris—at the time a visiting professor at Harvard—or her two sons. In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her "non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."

In her speech to a packed Science Center lecture hall, Suu Kyi discussed overcoming fear and the need for national reconciliation in Myanmar.

“I believe that fear is at the root of all division. Because fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to division,” she said.

The Harvard Foundation bestows its Humanitarian of the Year honor to “an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of our lives and have inspired us to greater heights,” according to its website. Past award recipients include Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

“She has dedicated her life to peace and reconciliation,” Harvard Foundation Director S. Allen Counter said at the event.

Diana L. Eck, faculty dean of Lowell House and professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, took to the lectern to reflect on the years Aris, a Tibetan scholar, was part of her department and lived with his sons in Quincy House.

Eck also acknowledged the protesters—a group of about 10 people standing silently outside the Science Center while the event occurred—saying “no one more than [Suu Kyi],” a lifelong protester herself, would appreciate and empathize with their protest “on behalf of the Rohingya,” which the United Nations considers among the most persecuted minorities in the world.

The protesters, some of whom were undergraduates, carried posters urging Suu Kyi to “earn” and “live up to” the award by “stand[ing] up for the Rohingya.” The Harvard Islamic Society had last week criticized the Harvard Foundation for its selection of Suu Kyi as its Humanitarian of the Year.

Master’s student and Harvard Islamic Society member Mushfiqur Chowdhury, one of the protesters at the event, said, “What we want is for Aung San Suu Kyi to come away from this event thinking about the principles that she stood up for—the reasons that she got the Nobel Prize—and be able to speak for the populations and the marginalized groups that she claimed to represent before she was elected.”

“We’ve heard a lot of silence from her, and I think in the same way that she’s given us a lot of silence, we’re trying to silently protest this event,” he added.

In a statement issued before the event, Counter wrote that a protest would be “hurtful to our Burmese/Myanmar students and improper.”

Chowdhury called the decision to protest “complicated” because the students did not want to disrespect the Foundation, given that it supports the Islamic Society. Minutes before doors opened to the event, students decided against disrupting the speech.

Both Counter and Eck directly referenced the Rohingya in their speeches, but Suu Kyi did not. In May, she asked a U.S. ambassador to not use the term, and banned its use among her officials, supposedly to support the reconciliation process in Myanmar that she is overseeing.

“I’m very proud of the fact we are a nation of many peoples, and of many religions, and I’m sad that in latter years we have had communal problems in our country such as we have never had before,” Suu Kyi said, citing the nation’s 135 ethnic groups.

Hundreds of people attended the event, which was also simulcast in a lecture hall next door.

Source: thecrimson.com/article/2016/9/19/suu-kyi-humanitarian-award/

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Three Indonesians freed by militant Abu Sayyaf group in Philippines

19th Sep 2016

Three Indonesian fishermen held by Islamic State-linked rebels in the Philippines have been released, a Philippine military spokesman said on Sunday, just hours after the militias freed a Norwegian man after a year-long ordeal.

The Indonesians - identified as Lorence Koten, Teo Doros Kofong, and Emmanuel Arakian - were released by the Abu Sayyaf group on Saturday night at an undisclosed place in Sulu in the Southwest Philippines, said spokesman Major Filemon Tan. They were taken on July 9 this year from the Malaysian state of Sabah, he said.

The Indonesians were set free just hours after the same group notorious for kidnappings, beheadings and extortion released Norwegian captive Kjartan Sekkingstad, who met President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on Sunday evening.

Sekkingstad was taken from an upscale resort on Samal island in Davao del Norte along with a Filipina, who has already been freed, and two Canadians, whom the militants later executed.

While it is widely believed that no captives are released by the Abu Sayyaf without the payment of ransom, the Philippine government said it did not pay the group and was unaware of any payment made by other parties for the release of the victims.

"I would like to reiterate that the government maintains the no-ransom policy," Communications Minister Martin Andanar said. Now if there was a third party who made the payment, if it's the family (of those kidnapped), we are not aware of that."

The Philippine military insists the release of the kidnap victims was a result of the ongoing intensified military operations against the Abu Sayyaf, with the assistance of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), one of the two major Muslim rebel groups based in the south of the mainly Catholic nation.

In a media briefing in Davao City, Duterte lauded the efforts of his peace adviser Jesus Dureza, former Sulu Governor Abdusakur Mahail Tan, and MNLF leader Nur Misuari.

Dureza confirmed the release of the Indonesian captives.

Duterte told Sekkingstad and the Norwegian government that justice would be sought for his abduction.

"I am very happy to be alive and free," Sekkingstad said at the briefing.

A new round of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Maoist-led rebels resumed in Norway in August to end nearly five decades of conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Source: in.reuters.com/article/philippines-militants-indonesia-idINKCN11O0C8

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Political parties rail against Rakhine State commission

Monday, 19 September 2016

Further buttressing complaints about the Rakhine State Advisory Commission, 11 political parties put out a joint statement calling for the disbanding of the “illegitimate” new body.

On September 16, the political parties – including the former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and the Arakan National Party – met in Yangon to discuss objections to the newly formed commission.

Eleven of the 13 parties present at the meeting agreed to support the Rakhine State parliament’s vote to reject the committee, a symbolic decision made last week.

The commission was formed by the state counsellor last month as an impartial body with a mandate to propose concrete measures for improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine State. The crux of opposition to the nine-member commission, amplified by nationalist protests, has hinged on its inclusion of three foreigners, including former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

U Khin Yi, a spokesperson for the USDP, said the political parties had resolved to urge the government to respond to mounting concerns over the advisory commission. He added that they also staunchly oppose self-identifying Muslim Rohingya being given their own state, an idea which has not been proposed by the government, the commission or members of the Rohingya community.

“We are concerned the commission will agree to give them their own state in the country,” he said.

Two of the parties present at the meeting – the Democratic Party (Myanmar) and the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) – declined to sign the joint statement.

But the New National Democratic Party, the National Unity Party, the National Democratic Force, the National Democratic Party for Development, the Wa Democratic Party, the Kayin State Democracy and Development Party, the Wunthanu National League for Democracy, the Modern People’s Party, the People’s Democracy Party, and the Democratic Party for a New Society joined the USDP and the ANP in supporting the statement.

Commission member U Aye Lwin told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the commission convened on September 17 to formulate a response to the joint statement.

“We want them to know we will be working together with people from all communities. Our commission will only be offering advice to the government,” he said.

The commission has been tasked with recommending solutions to the protracted inter-communal divide between Buddhists and Muslims since violence between members of the two religions wracked the state in 2012, leaving more than 100,000 Rohingya displaced. Members of the commission, will operate out of a Yangon headquarters with a field office in Sittwe, have already pledged to keep in mind a development-centred approach and will be submitting recommendations to the government in the second half of 2017.

Responding to the political parties’ statement while on a visit to the United States, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she found it “very upsetting” that political organisations would try to interfere with the commission.

“The commission is trying its best to benefit the people, but there are some who do not want it to be successful in its aims,” she said at a September 17 meeting with Myanmar citizens at the Myanmar consulate in New York.

She added that those opposing the commission stand in the way of attempts at national reconciliation.

Members of the advisory commission toured Sittwe at the beginning of September and were greeted at the airport by protesters. Mr Annan, who heads the commission, welcomed a dialogue with the objectors and pledged that his team would not be looking to conduct a “human rights investigation” in the state.

Source: mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/22589-political-parties-rail-against-rakhine-state-commission.html

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Europe

France Remembers Victims of Terror Attacks in Paris Ceremony

SEPT. 19, 2016

PARIS — A ceremony in memory of all victims of terror attacks has been held in Paris as France is still under a state of emergency.

The names of the victims of attacks carried out by Islamic extremists last year in Paris and in July in Nice have been read on Monday during the ceremony, which also remembered those killed in attacks in Brussels, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali.

The ceremony, organized by associations of victims, gathered hundreds of families and people injured in the attacks, in the presence of President Francois Hollande.

"Our country had never been attacked to this extent, with such destructive rage, with such barbarian cruelty. That's why it was so important for names, all names to be evoked," Hollande said.

He insisted on the need for support, protection and help for survivors and their families. Medical and psychological care must be provided for free, he said.

Hollande promised to reform the system of state indemnities for survivors, but didn't give any details.

"You've been through a tragedy, yet you want to live, you're fighting for it, and you will stand up again. Your energy is an example," Hollande told survivors attending the ceremony, praising their force and courage.

Last year's attacks in Paris, carried out on Nov. 13 on the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and the national stadium by assailants with links to the Islamic State group, killed 130 people.

The Nice attack, carried out on July 14 by an Islamic extremist who drove a truck into crowds gathered for Bastille Day celebrations, left 86 dead.

Yasmine Marzouk, a Muslim woman who survived the Nice attack, said "these barbarians have no law, no faith, no religion. These criminals attacked that day a republican symbol, especially children who represent France's future, and families — symbols of tolerance, cohesion and love."

Marzouk, who lost three members of her family in the tragedy, called on the president and his successors to make terror cease so that "the flames of hatred stop fanning between the different religious communities. Lets' be one single community with our shared values and our differences," she said.

Security and the fight against terrorism are major issues ahead of France's presidential election in April-May 2017.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, both competing to be the conservative candidate at the election, were also attending the ceremony.

Source: nytimes.com/aponline/2016/09/19/world/europe/ap-eu-france-attacks-commemoration.html

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Georgian Muslims demand recognition

September 18, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Muslim community in Georgia´s Black Sea resort of Batumi had been asking the authorities to build a second mosque for many years, but to no avail.

Frustrated over a perceived lack of interest form the state, a group of Muslims decided to take matters into their own hands.

A group founded in January had within a month had collected 12,000 signatures in support of building a new mosque in Batumi, Georgia´s second largest city and capital of the country´s southwestern Adjara Autonomous Republic.

The signatures were then forwarded to the president, prime minister and other senior officials.

A dedicated fund was also created, and on September 7 the group purchased a plot of land. They are now awaiting permission to start building a new mosque.

Community members say that the issue reflects wider concerns over the status of Muslims in this predominately Christina Orthodox country.

According to the Mufti of Georgia, Beglar Kamashidze, the necessity of building a mosque had been under discussion for more than 15 years.

"The faithful should have a place so they can pray under a roof,” he said.

"This topic has long gone beyond the question of the construction of the mosque as a place of worship,” Tariel Nakaidze, a member of the initiative group and chairman of the Union of Georgian Muslims, told IWPR.

"Ignoring the demands of the Muslims for years is already a measurement of democracy in the country,” he said.

According to the 2014 census, every ninth person out of Georgia’s population of 3.7 million is a Muslim.

In Adjara, an area of the country occupied by the Ottoman Empire between the 17th and 19th century, the vast majority of Muslims are ethnic Georgians whose ancestors converted to Islam during that time.

But while the overall population of Adjara decreased from 376,000 in 2002 to 334,000 in 2014, the number of Muslims living there has increased. In 2002 they made up 30 per cent of the population, which by 2014 had grown to 40 per cent.

When fundraising for the Batumi mosque began, the Mufti met with Archil Khabadze, then head of Adjara´s local government. Khabadze promised that he would consult with Georgia´s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili about the construction of the mosque and their petition would be answered without fail. However, Khabadze later resigned on July 6, and the issue has remained unsolved.

"This is a good demonstration of the indifference of the state,” Nakaidze said.

In 2014, the previous Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili created the State Agency for Religious Affairs for the purpose of better communicating with religious organizations and providing them with assistance.

Full report at:en.abna24.com/service/europe/archive/2016/09/18/779895/story.html

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24pc of French Muslims oppose secular laws: study

September 19, 2016

PARIS: Around one in four French Muslims supports the wearing of the full-face veil, but the vast majority accept France’s strict secular laws, a study showed on Sunday.

The Ifop survey carried out for a major study of French Muslims by Institut Montaigne, a liberal think-tank, showed that the vast majority of people who identify themselves as Muslims accept curbs on religion in public.

But 60 per cent felt girls should nonetheless be allowed to wear the headscarf in school, 12 years after it and other religious symbols were banished from the classroom, the survey published in Le Journal du Dimanche weekly showed.

And around one in four — 24 per cent — supported the wearing of the burqa and niqab, the full-face veils that were banned in public places in 2010.

The survey of 1,029 people aims to inform the government’s plans to overhaul French Muslim bodies in the wake of several militant attacks, most of them the work of French extremists.

It was carried out between April 13 and May 23, before this summer’s furore over the banning by several towns of the full-body burkini swimsuit, which has made Islam an important topic eight months before the next presidential election.

Institut Montaigne’s report grouped French Muslims into three categories: “completely secular”, devout but accepting restrictions on religion in the public domain, and a more reactionary group that uses Islam for the purposes of “revolt”.

Those in the secular category, which made up 46 per cent of the total, did not reject Islam but demonstrated their religious feeling mainly by eating halal meat.

The second group (25 per cent) was “proudly Muslim” and wanted a greater role for religion in the workplace but opposed the burqa and polygamy.

Most “problematic”, according to the report, was the third group which was composed of “mostly young, low-skilled people with low levels of participation in the labour market” living on the outskirts of cities.

“Islam is for them a way of asserting themselves on the margins of French society,” the report found, noting that most people in that group approved of the burqa and of polygamy, which is permitted by Islam.

Around half of under-25s fell into this category, compared to around 20 per cent of over-40s, revealing a generational gap between moderates and younger hardliners, the report found.

Headscarf and halal food

Two issues — the right to wear the headscarf and access to halal food — emerged as enjoying support among all Muslims, whether practising or not.

Two-thirds of all respondents said they supported the right to wear the headscarf, even though two-thirds of the women questioned said they themselves did not wear the garment.

And eight out of ten people believed that public school canteens should offer halal options — a demand that has been rejected by several town councils who see it as an encroachment of religion in schools.

The survey also showed that, contrary to commonly-held perceptions, French Muslim women are more conservative than men on some issues.

Only 56 per cent of women said they would attend a mixed swimming pool, compared with 75 per cent of men.

The study also showed that, while most respondents consider their religion as important to them, most do not regularly attend a mosque, with only 29 per cent of attending a mosque on a weekly basis.

France has Western Europe’s biggest Muslim population.

The study estimated the number of French people identifying as Muslim to be far smaller than often thought, at around 3.7 million, or 5.6 per cent of the population of over 15 years.

Source: dawn.com/news/1284707/24pc-of-french-muslims-oppose-secular-laws-study

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 URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/halal-food-is-a-$20-billion-hit-in-america/d/108603

 

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