New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 06:00 AM

Islamic World News ( 3 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Health Fears Question Arab Tradition of Cousin Marriages

 

Arab World

Health Fears Question Arab Tradition of Cousin Marriages

Saudis Warm to Muslim Brotherhood, Seeking Sunni Unity on Yemen

40 Terrorists Killed in Yarmouk Refugee Camp Clashes

Iraqi Airstrike Targets ISIL Terrorists in Mosul, killed several terrorists

ISIS Threatens Teachers In Raqqa: Asks To Repent, Teach In Islamic State Schools

73 percent of expansion work at Grand Mosque completed

Decisive Storm: Imams praise KSA’s bold move

Syria says 15,000 antiquities at risk in militia-run Idlib

Iraq’s Tikrit, free of ISIS, is a city in ruins

Rare Christian manuscripts saved from ISIS in Iraq

 

Pakistan

Pakistan Army Battles Taliban For Strategic Tirah Valley

Six Militants Killed In Ziarat Operation

Five Suspected Militants Killed In Airstrikes In Tirah

Will press charges against Altaf if PTI workers harmed: Imran Khan

Military courts’ secrecy unnerves experts

Use of force cannot bring peace in Balochistan: Former Balochistan CM

Pakistan, Turkey pledge to stand by Saudi Arabia

 

Mideast

11 Dead in Fresh Saudi-Led Raids near Sana'a

Palestinian Groups Start Operations to Purge Takfiri Terrorists

Israel dismisses Iran nuclear framework as detached from reality

Turkish man denies terror charge in landmark ISIL case

Yemen’s Saleh may possess chemical weapons

Iran president: Nuclear deal is start of new relationship to world

 

Africa

Somali Militants Vow To Turn Kenyan Cities ‘Red With Blood’

Two Egyptians killed in shelling in Libya

Explosive detonates in Mali's capital, killing 2

Buhari told to ‘win peace’ against Boko Haram

Police hunt teacher Islamist terrorist mastermind behind attack that killed 147, putting £145,000 bounty on his head

 

Europe

Fury Of Muslim Father After Catholic School Orders Islamic Students To Shave Off Their Beards

Romania to expel seven for recruiting for Al-Qaeda, ISIS

In Russia, the Struggle to Un-Recruit ISIS Followers

Isis ‘tentacles’ spreading in Muslim community, warns Rochdale imam

UK police say arrest six at port on Syria-related offences

Muslims to make up 10% of European population by 2050: Pew study

Sales of books on Islam rocket after France attacks

 

Southeast Asia

It’s not even Islamic Hudud, it’s PAS Hudud, says Dr M

Thailand: Army Secretly Detaining 17 Muslim Activists

Air Evacuation Bid for Indonesians in Yemen Stalls

 

South Asia

Suicide Attacker among Seven Killed By Afghan Security Forces

Awami League: Khaleda’s conspiracy cannot foil city polls

 

North America

Obama Invites Arab Leaders To Discuss Security Concerns

Michigan Man To Recite Muslim Call To Prayer In 50 States

Calgary imam counters Christian vs. Muslim narrative after deadly attack

'Halal in the Family' Takes Online Swipe at Anti-Muslim Bias

 

Australia

Hundreds Protest Islamic Law in Australia

 

India

2 SIMI men killed in encounter in Telangana; 1 cop killed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/health-fears-question-arab-tradition-of-cousin-marriages/d/102286

 

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Arab World

 

Health Fears Question Arab Tradition Of Cousin Marriages

 4 April 2015



Marriage between cousins has been part of the culture in Saudi Arabia and other Arab societies for centuries, and it is still common place. (Shutterstock)


Before the wedding, and ideally before getting engaged, young couples have more than honeymoon destination, wedding halls, and furniture for their love nest to think about.

A major concern, especially among Arab couples, is the health of their future children. Pre-marital screening for certain genetic diseases should be done way ahead of picking out the white wedding dress, and it is mandatory in Saudi Arabia prior to obtaining a marriage certificate, and for valid reasons.

Marriage between cousins has been part of the culture in Saudi Arabia and other Arab societies for centuries, and it is still common place.

The result has been an increase in the number of what scientists call ‘autosomal recessive’ diseases. What this means is a genetic disease that only appears when a child receives the faulty gene from both parents; it is a recessive gene and it manifests as an illness only if the child inherits the abnormal gene from both parents.

Both parents are healthy, but they both carry the abnormal gene and could pass it on to their offspring. Genetic screening is the only way of knowing if the parents are carriers or not.

If both parents are carriers, there is a 25% chance of a child inheriting both abnormal genes and the child will develop the disease.

There is a 50% chance of a child inheriting only one abnormal gene and of being a carrier, but he/she will be disease-free, like the parents.

There is a 25% chance of the child inheriting both normal genes and the child will be healthy and also a non-carrier of the abnormal gene.

In a report in the Middle East Journal of Family Medicine, Dr. Aida Al-Aqeel, pediatric geneticist and endocrinologist at Riyadh Military Hospital, wrote, “ In Saudi Arabia like other Middle Eastern countries, first cousin marriages account for 60 - 70% of all marriages, leading to uniquely common disorders which are either rare by Western standards or are unknown.

A review of the files of the Armed Forces Hospital and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, over 10 years period, documented more than 150 varieties of neurodegenerative disease among 2,000 children. Some autosomal recessive disorders are common, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassaemia. Others are unique.”

Al-Aqeel further states that prevention of many genetic disorders is possible through pre-marital genetic screening. Equally important is early diagnosis of certain metabolic genetic disorders in infancy, because often early intervention and following a treatment plan can give this child a chance to a normal, healthy life.

If left unrecognized and untreated, even for the first few months of the baby’s life, the disease may cause lasting physical, neurolgoical, and behavioral development.

For example, Maple Syrup Urine Disease is a rare, inherited disorder in which the body lacks the enzymes that process two of the essential amino acids.

If untreated within the first week or two of the infant’s life, the condition may lead to seizures, mental retardation, coma, and death.

If, however, it was spotted early enough by the family or physician, with a strictly modified diet, the child can lead a normal, healthy, and active life.

Another genetic disorder, which is common in Saudi Arabia, is PKU (phenylketonuria). The affected individual is unable to metabolize phenylalanine, an amino acid, a building block of proteins.

For someone with PKU, phenylalanine builds up in the blood to high, toxic levels and it can cause intellectual disability and other serious health problems.

The signs that a baby is born with PKU are subtle; it requires that physicians be trained to look for such signs, and neonatal screening for any baby born to a couple whose pre-marital screening showed a high risk of genetic disorders.

Without early treatment, these children develop permanent intellectual disability. Seizures, delayed development, behavioral problems, and psychiatric disorders are also common.

Al-Aqeel said, “The practicing physician must be aware of these disorders. The awareness of these disorders is important to facilitate early diagnosis and initiation of treatment, to prevent neurologic crippling. Prevention of these disorders by premarital genetics screening is possible.”

Another leader in genetic research, Dr. Jumana Al-Aama, has founded the Princess Al-Jawhara Center of Excellence in Research of Hereditary Disorders.

The center is dedicated to conducting research in hereditary disorders, focusing on patients’ needs, etiology, and prevention of diseases.

The center aims to utilize this research in order to improve the services provided to patients with hereditary disorders and their families.

The center also offers genetic screening and counseling services for healthy individuals interested in prevention.

“The philosophy of PACER-HD can be summarized in the fact that the patient is at the heart of our attention and at the center of all our activities.

This philosophy is in line with the global view of medical research. This view stems from knowing the needs of a specific society first, then trying to find proper solutions,” said the director of the center, Dr. Jumana Al-Aama.

Now, several centers in Saudi Arabia offer pre-marital genetic screening. In addition to the blood tests, the bride and groom to-be also receive genetic counseling during which the results are explained and different options are explored.

If results show that there is a high possibility for the couple to have a genetically abnormal child, the genetic counselor can help give advice in a number of areas:

• The couple, based on medical advice, may decide not to get married.

• If the couple decides to get married, they may not wish to have children.

• If the couple wished to marry and have children, genetic counseling can help determine risks for specific diseases, and the baby will be closely monitored and tested immediately after birth to identify and treat any existing disease.

• The couple can also do prenatal screening of the fetus at an early stage of pregnancy.

• Couples must understand the option of termination of the pregnancy, if approved by an Islamic scholar for their particular condition.

• Couples must understand the social, emotional, and economic perspectives of having children with genetic disorders.

The introduction of mandatory pre-marital screening in Saudi Arabia has shown positive outcomes in curbing high-risk marriages, and consequently decreasing the incidence of some genetic disorders.

Researchers at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh evaluated the outcome of the six-year national pre-marital screening and genetic counseling program for sickle cell anemia and thalassemia in Saudi Arabia.

During the implementation of this program, blood samples of young men and women with the intention of getting married were collected and tested for sickle cell disease and thalessemia.

Test results were shared with the couples, and genetic counseling was offered. Following medical advice was voluntary, and couples were free to make their own decisions whether to tie the knot or call it off.

During the period between 2004 and 2009, the frequency of voluntary cancellation of high-risk marriages showed a 5-fold increase.

This was coupled with the finding that between 2004 and 2009, the prevalence of thalessemia decreased from 32.9 to 9.0 per 1,000 examined persons.

The author of the study, Dr. Ziad Ahmed Memish concluded, “Six years of premarital screening in Saudi Arabia markedly reduced the number of at-risk marriages, which may considerably reduce the genetic disease burden in Saudi Arabia in the next decades.”

The statistics may seem rare to some optimistic couples eager to get married, thinking nothing bad could happen, but genetic disorders do occur.

High-risk couples can tie the knot, but at least they are informed and can request adequate screening for their newborns in the future, to avoid tragedy like what happened in my family, twenty-five years ago.

My whole family rejoiced at the birth of the fourth child, a little baby boy, Omar. We had been two girls and one boy and were all perfectly healthy, energetic, and playful kids –too playful my mom used to complain! So our parents had no reason to suspect that Omar would be any different.

He was four days old when we checked up on him in his crib and found him to be literally dark blue in color, motionless, and not breathing.

I can still remember my dad put his tiny body on the kitchen table and performing CPR while calling the emergency department at the same time.

My mother was hysterically wailing when the ambulance arrived and whisked the baby and my dad away. Everyone at the hospital said that he would not make it; he was in coma, and none knew what had caused it.

After a couple heart-wrenching days, an amazing physician conducted rigorous testing and detailed analysis of family history; my parents were first cousins.

The doctor discovered that Omar had a rare genetic disorder, MSUD. Omar survived, but his recovery and the learning process of the management of the disease was a long and painful one. Throughout the years, my mom has shared her story to increase awareness and to help other families cope with living with MSUD.

Scheduling pre-marital screening is not some annoying task to check off of a busy bride and groom’s to-do list; it may be a life-saving measure.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/art-and-culture/2015/04/04/Health-fears-question-Arab-tradition-of-cousin-marriages-.html

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Saudis Warm to Muslim Brotherhood, Seeking Sunni Unity on Yemen

04 April, 2015

Ever since the Arab Spring began four years ago, Saudi Arabia waged a two-front campaign against its Shiite nemesis Iran, and against the Sunni Islamists—led by the Muslim Brotherhood—whose rise across the region had challenged the kingdom’s legitimacy.

The unexpectedly broad Sunni coalition that Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman managed to assemble last week against pro-Iranian Houthi forces in Yemen heralds the end of this balancing act.

In this new pivot, the Saudis decided that Iranian expansionism has turned the kingdom’s regional fight with the Brotherhood into an unaffordable distraction—especially now that the Brotherhood appears too feeble to imperil the monarchy and its allies. Contributing to this shift is Riyadh’s existential fear of Iranian-fostered unrest within the kingdom’s own Shiite minority.

“The Yemen issue is very central for the Saudis. They fear that if there is a government in line with Iranian foreign policy there, it may give a strong voice for the Shiites inside Saudi Arabia,” said Khalid Almezaini, coordinator of the Gulf studies program at Qatar University.

“The Houthis have military capabilities, weapons, and represent a serious threat. The Muslim Brotherhood is much weaker, and the Saudis now are in a much better position to control the brothers wherever they are,” he added.

The Saudi shift doesn’t mean the end of the rift over the role of political Islam that divided the Middle East’s Sunni powers ever since Egypt’s then military chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, in 2013.

Since then, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates portrayed the Brotherhood—which professes nonviolence and advocates elections—as a terrorist group akin to al Qaeda and Islamic State, or ISIS.

By moving from the region’s anti-Brotherhood vanguard closer to the middle ground, Saudi Arabia has managed to rally all the Sunni countries that matter around its Yemen campaign—from Turkey, Mr. Morsi’s key backer, and maverick Qatar to Mr. Sisi, now Egypt’s president, and the staunchly anti-Islamist U.A.E.

While Turkey isn't participating in the actual fighting, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan endorsed the Saudi campaign and in recent days adopted much harsher language against Iran—something he had avoided until now. By contrast, Oman, the only Gulf monarchy not ruled by a Sunni, is staying away from the Yemen intervention.

“The Sunni parties now are more worried about Iran, and they have been able to close ranks,” said Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of a book on the Brotherhood.

Saudi officials often stress the supposed continuity between King Salman and his predecessor King Abdullah, who died in January. But on the issue of how to deal with the Brotherhood, their differences have become increasingly clear.

“In the last couple of years, Saudi officials and media used Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS almost interchangeably,” said Fahad Nazer, a Saudi analyst at JTG Inc., an intelligence contractor in Virginia, and a former staffer at the Saudi embassy in Washington. “Now, there is change coming for sure.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal signaled this change by telling Saudi newspaper Al Jazirah in February: “We don’t have any problem with the Muslim Brotherhood.” He said the kingdom is opposed only to a “small segment affiliated with the group.”

Eager for a lifeline after a vicious crackdown in its Egyptian cradle and setbacks elsewhere in the region, the Muslim Brotherhood has reciprocated to that opening. Following Saudi airstrikes in Yemen last week, Brotherhood leaders throughout the Middle East have by and large cautiously sided with Riyadh on the controversial intervention.

“We hope that the recent military alliance, led by Saudi Arabia, reflects a new stance of the new administration of the kingdom to support the will of the people in Yemen and elsewhere,” said Amr Darrag, head of the political bureau of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in exile who served as minister of planning and international cooperation under President Morsi. “I support any action that would restore democracy in Yemen and ensure security” of the Gulf monarchies, he added.

The resulting Saudi coalition in Yemen is united by a clearly sectarian bent, fitting the kingdom’s narrative of fighting to repel a Shiite expansion across the region. Amid rising religious strife throughout the Middle East—fueled in part by fears about Iran’s nuclear program—that could be a potent glue.

“This is a sectarian-based alliance and because of that, it may last longer than people expect,” said Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi Shiite dissident who runs the Institute for Gulf Affairs think tank in Washington.

What gets lost in this treatment of the Yemen conflict as yet another battlefield in the Sunni-Shiite regional war is the fact that, until not so long ago, it was anything but.

The Houthis, Yemen’s former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the royal family that ruled Yemen for centuries all belong to the Zaidis—a Muslim sect long viewed as theologically closer to Sunni rather that Iranian-style Shiite Islam.

In the 1960s, the Saudis had no problem backing the Zaidi rebels against Egyptian occupation troops.

It is only in the recent decade that the Houthis, a Zaidi rebel movement from northernmost Yemen, have forged close links with Iran and its allied Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon, embracing a more distinct Shiite identity.

“Our Shiites are not real Shiites, and our Sunnis are not real Sunnis. We are all Yemenis,” said Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni political activist and chairman of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies. “What the Saudis are doing is creating a sectarian model for tension and conflict for the first time in a country where the conflict was not sectarian in the past.”

Yet, when viewed through this sectarian prism, it is clear why Saudi Arabia would be courting the Muslim Brotherhood again.

With Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi exiled in Saudi Arabia and lacking a serious power base of his own, the Brotherhood’s Yemeni affiliate, Islah, represents the Saudis’ most feasible Sunni ally on the ground. Islah was once close to Riyadh, and Thursday welcomed the Saudi bombing campaign.

With its long history of conflict against the Houthis and a prominent role both under President Hadi and his predecessor President Saleh, it is also the main loser of the recent Houthi takeover of much of the country.

“The Saudis really need to work with Yemeni locals,” said Hassan Hassan, a political analyst in Abu Dhabi and author of a recent book on Islamic State. “In the new Saudi administration, there is a sense that the Muslim Brotherhood can be a partner—and Islah will be the first test of that.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudis-warm-to-muslim-brotherhood-seeking-sunni-unity-on-yemen-1427967884

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40 Terrorists Killed in Yarmouk Refugee Camp Clashes

04 April, 2015

Forty militants were killed in clashes between ISIL Takfiri terrorists and armed Palestinian refugees inside the Yarmouk camp near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIL terrorists engaged members of a Palestinian faction called Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis in the camp on Friday, press tv reported.

The Britain-based group further noted that the fierce clashes have denied the residents of the camp access to water pumps and food distribution points over the past 48 hours, and they are suffering from a severe shortage of water and food.

The ISIL terrorists stormed the Yarmouk camp on Wednesday. They were expelled a day later but re-entered the camp on Friday.

Once a very thriving place hosting tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees as well as Syrians, Yarmouk has turned into a ghost town as a result of violent attacks by anti-government militants over the past four years of turmoil in Syria.

Around 20,000 people still remain in the camp, a tiny portion of the initial 160,000 Palestinian refugees residing in the area.

ISIL was in control of the camp until 2014, when a deal with the Syrian government saw the group withdraw. The Syrian army has since then besieged the camp as it has turned into a major bastion for spreading anti-government militancy.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940115000249

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Iraqi Airstrike Targets ISIL Terrorists in Mosul, killed several terrorists

04 April, 2015

An Iraqi airstrike killed several terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, and injured a senior ISIL commander in Southern Mosul in Nineveh province on Saturday.

The Iraqi air force conducted an airstrike against the ISIL terrorists in al-Qiara district in Southern Mosul, and killed many of them, a security source said, adding that the so-called commander of Southern Mosul was severely injured.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940115000720

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ISIS Threatens Teachers In Raqqa: Asks To Repent, Teach In Islamic State Schools

04 April, 2015

Many teachers and university graduates living in the Syrian city of Raqqa have fled the ISIS stronghold in fear of losing their jobs, salaries, properties or worse -- their lives. The Islamic State group is forcing the city's educators and college graduates to choose between repentance and death, according to anti-ISIS activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The graduates and teachers also fear the militants will turn them into fighters or force them to teach in ISIS schools, preventing them from receiving pay.

There are thousands of education workers in Raqqa, most of whom still receive their salaries from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. But many have vacated the Syrian city out of fear that they will lose their jobs and salaries if they are forced to pledge loyalty to the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Full report at:

http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-threatens-teachers-raqqa-college-graduates-educators-syrian-city-forced-repent-1869204

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73 percent of expansion work at Grand Mosque completed

04 April, 2015

Construction work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah is in full swing and the projects are expected to be completed before the Holy month of Ramadan.

The projects administration director, Sultan bin Aati Al-Qurashi, said 73 percent of the work has been completed.

The mega projects, ordered by the late King Abdullah, include expansion of the Grand Mosque, which is in the third and final stage.

He said the work is being carried out in coordination with Abdulrahman Al-Sudias, chief of the Presidency of the Holy Mosques Affiars.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/727646

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Decisive Storm: Imams praise KSA’s bold move

04 April, 2015

Imam and Khatib at the Grand Mosque Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb said Operation Decisive Storm launched by the Kingdom, with the support of many other countries, has returned hope to the Ummah to successfully unite against its enemies.

He said in his sermon at the Friday congregation at the Grand Mosque that the King’s decision to launch the operation against Houthi militants in Yemen was a bold and wise decision that came at the most needed time.

“Thank Almighty Allah for enabling Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to take this historic decision, to which the Arab and Muslim leaders responded quickly to unite with him,” Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/727686

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Syria says 15,000 antiquities at risk in militia-run Idlib

04 April, 2015

Around 15,000 antiquities locked away in safes around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib are at risk of being sold on the black market, the head of antiquities and museums Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters on Friday.

The al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and other insurgents took the provincial capital on Saturday for the first time in the four-year conflict against President Bashar al-Assad.

“What has happened in Idlib is a true disaster. The worst catastrophe that has happened until now against the culture of Syria,” Abdulkarim said.

The 15,000 antiquities were crafted throughout Syria’s rich history, stretching back millennia. Pottery and statues are kept around the city, including in the main museum, Abdulkarim said.

“The armed groups kicked out the employees of the museum,” he said, adding that Syria’s treasures could be smuggled and sold abroad in neighboring Turkey.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/art-and-culture/2015/04/03/Syria-says-15-000-antiquities-at-risk-in-militia-run-Idlib.html

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Iraq’s Tikrit, free of ISIS, is a city in ruins

4 April 2015

In Iraq’s Tikrit, liberation from the Islamic State group comes at a heavy price, both in loss of life and in the sheer devastation the militants leave in their wake.

Much of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown and once a bustling city north of Baghdad, now lies in ruins.

Islamic State extremists captured it during a blitz last June that also seized large chunks of northern and western Iraq, along with a huge swath of land in neighboring Syria.

After a nearly 10-month ISIS occupation, it took Iraqi forces and their allies, including Iranian-backed Shiite militias, a month of ferocious street battles to win the city back.

They declared victory in Tikrit on Wednesday, and U.S.-led coalition airstrikes also helped turn the tide in the final weeks of the battle.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/04/04/Iraq-s-Tikrit-free-of-the-Islamic-State-is-a-city-in-ruins.html

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Rare Christian manuscripts saved from ISIS in Iraq

4 April 2015

As militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) advanced toward this monastery perched on a mountain in northern Iraq, the monks rushed to protect a cherished piece of their heritage: Their library of centuries-old Christian manuscripts. Dozens of the handwritten tomes were spirited to safety in nearby Kurdish-ruled areas.

There they remain, hidden in a non-descript apartment in the Kurdish city of Dohuk where Christians who have fled the extremists’ onslaught are living and watching over them.

The Associated Press was allowed rare access to the library, a collection of copies of Bibles and biblical commentaries, mostly written in Syriac - a form of the ancient Semitic Aramaic language - and mostly dating back 400-500 years.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/art-and-culture/2015/04/04/Rare-Christians-manuscripts-saved-from-ISIS-in-Iraq-.html

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan Army battles Taliban for strategic Tirah Valley

04 April, 2015

PESHAWAR: High in the mountains along the Afghan border, Pakistan's fight against Taliban militants is focusing on their last, fearsome redoubt — the notorious Tirah Valley, home to renegades and rebels for centuries.

The military has mounted a series of air strikes and ground assaults in Tirah in recent weeks that it says have captured key passes in a remote region that has never before come under full government control.

The operation in Tirah, part of Khyber tribal area, aims to build on the army's offensive against strongholds of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups in nearby North Waziristan that began in June last year.

Last month the army said it killed at least 230 militants in Tirah, which has long been a hideout for TTP ally Lashkar-e-Islam (LI).

Security officials in the northwest told AFP that the so-called Khyber II operation to shut down LI's hideouts in Tirah began in earnest on March 18, and ground skirmishes are continuing.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173892/pakistan-army-battles-taliban-for-strategic-tirah-valley

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Six militants killed in Ziarat operation

04 April, 2015

QUETTA: Six suspected militants, two suicide bombers among them, were killed and several others injured during a clash with security forces in Sanjavi area of Ziarat district on Friday.

Officials said the militants killed during the operation belonged to a banned organisation involved in attacks on security forces, kidnapping for ransom and targeting people in Loralai and Ziarat districts.

They said Frontier Corps personnel cordoned off Sanjavi on a tip-off about the presence of suspected militants in the area. About 450 FC troops took part in the operation.

The armed militants hiding in nearby mountains opened fire at the troops, who took positions and returned fire. The heavy fighting continued for several hours.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173821/six-militants-killed-in-ziarat-operation

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Five suspected militants killed in airstrikes in Tirah

04 April, 2015

PESHAWAR: At least five suspected militants were killed and 10 others were injured on Saturday in air strikes in Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley.

Officials said the targeted militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The aerial strikes, launched by security forces, were part of Operation Khyber-II.

On March 25, 30 suspected militants belonging to the LeI were also killed when security forces carried out airstrikes on militant sanctuaries in Tirah Valley.

Read: 30 suspected militants killed in airstrikes in Tirah

A statement issued by the army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed the military action on March 25 said two arms and ammunition dumps were destroyed in the strikes.

According to Reuters, LeI spokesperson Salahuddin Ayubi was also killed in the strikes.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/864282/five-suspected-militants-killed-in-airstrikes-in-tirah/

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Will press charges against Altaf if PTI workers harmed: Imran Khan

04 April, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan used strong words against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, saying that his party has a team of lawyers in London ready to press charges against Hussain if any PTI member is harmed during the NA-246 election campaign.

In three tweets posted Saturday, the PTI chief called Hussain out by asserting that he "first terrorise[s] the hapless citizens of the city and then play[s] the victim".

Khan added that he "cannot forget" what the family of a murdered MQM leader told him in 2007.

The PTI leader — who addressed the MQM chief as "Adolf Altaf" in an apparent reference to Hitler — went on to say that a team of lawyers is ready to press charges against Hussain if PTI members are mistreated in the NA-246 election campaign.

Khan's statement comes ahead of a forthcoming by-election in Karachi's NA-246, an MQM bastion which was left vacant after the resignation from the National Assembly of MQM leader Nabeel Gabol.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173896/will-press-charges-against-altaf-if-pti-workers-harmed-imran-khan

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Military courts’ secrecy unnerves experts

04 April, 2015

ISLAMABAD: As a full bench of the Supreme Court prepares to take up challenges to the 18th and 21st amendments to the Constitution on April 16, the sudden sentencing of six Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants has sounded alarm bells among the country’s legal and political circles.

For most critics of the military courts, the primary concern is the mystery surrounding the trials; no-one knows who the convicts were, what the specific charges against them were or what their defence was.

While no-one opposes the awarding of exemplary punishment to terrorists or militants who have slaughtered innocent people or attacked security forces, retired Justice Tariq Mehmood, a former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president, believes that the constitutional guarantee of a fair trial under Article 10A should not be trampled upon at any cost.

Take a look: Military courts announce death sentences of six convicts

“No-one should have any sympathy for the militants and the death penalty can be awarded to them, but the nation must know,” he said, adding that a tweet by ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asim Bajwa was not enough.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173841/military-courts-secrecy-unnerves-experts

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Use of force cannot bring peace in Balochistan: Former Balochistan CM

04 April, 2015

QUETTA: Former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani on Friday said that peace in Balochistan cannot be restored through use of force or deployment of Frontier Corps personnel.

Talking to DawnNews in an exclusive interview, the former chief minister said peace cannot be brought in Balochistan through the barrel of a gun, rather all-out efforts should be made for meaningful dialogue to address the grievances of people.

"I was not given the mandate to resolve problems in Balochistan or talk to disgruntled Baloch leaders," Nawab Raisani said when asked about initiating dialogue with exiled-Baloch leaders as chief minister.

Raisani however termed solution of the Kashmir issue integral for peace in Balochistan.

"Resolve the Kashmir issue, the Balochistan issue would be automatically resolved," Nawab Raisani said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173891/use-of-force-cannot-bring-peace-in-balochistan-raisani

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Pakistan, Turkey pledge to stand by Saudi Arabia

04 April, 2015

ANKARA: Pakistan is concerned by the overthrow of Yemen’s government and will stand by Saudi Arabia as it leads a campaign against Houthi rebels there, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday.

“We agreed that we will stand by Saudi Arabia in its hour of need ... [and] agreed to extend all possible support in the defence of Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the prime minister and his Turkish counterpart Ahmed Davutoglu told a joint press stake out following their meeting. “We are concerned at the overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by use of force by non-state actors,” he told the news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, where he is on an official visit. The two leaders were critical of the use of force by non-state actors in Yemen that led to the overthrow of its government.

Prime Minister Nawaz termed the situation in Yemen as grave’ and cautioned the crisis might endanger unity of the Muslim Ummah and said it also has implications for the whole region. He said the security situation in the country has been deteriorating.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/04-Apr-2015/pakistan-turkey-pledge-to-stand-by-saudi-arabia

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Mideast

 

11 Dead in Fresh Saudi-Led Raids near Sana'a

04 April, 2015

At least eleven people were killed on Saturday in fresh Saudi-led airstrikes near the Yemeni capital of Sana'a.

According to reports, the Saudi monarchy continued its raid campaign against Yemeni people, and claimed the lives of more eleven people near Sana'a.

Earlier in the day, the Saudi airstrikes also pounded a residential area in Sana'a, and claimed the lives of nine civilians, including six children.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for ten days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. According to a report recently released by the United Nations, two weeks of Saudi-led aggression against Yemen has killed at least 539 people, hundreds of women and children among them. Another 1,700 people have also been wounded over the past two weeks.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940115000570

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Palestinian Groups Start Operations to Purge Takfiri Terrorists

04 April, 2015

The Palestinian groups inside the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus started fresh operations to drive out Takfiri terrorists.

The Palestinian groups' operations came after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front terrorists entered Yarmouk refugee camp on Wednesday.

Clashes erupted between the Takfiri terrorists and the militant groups inside the camp on Wednesday.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian troops staged a series of operations against the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group of al-Nusra Front in Homs province, which has border with Lebanon and the key province of Damascus.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940115000429

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Israel dismisses Iran nuclear framework as detached from reality

04 April, 2015

JERUSALEM: Israel dismissed celebration of a nuclear framework deal between major powers and Iran on Thursday as being detached from reality and vowed to continue lobbying to prevent what it called a bad final agreement.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said after the announcement in Switzerland that “the smiles in Lausanne are detached from grim reality in which Iran refuses to make any concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East.

“We will continue with our efforts to explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad (final) agreement,” Steinitz said in a written statement.

Steinitz later told Israel’s Channel 2 television Israel was “worried” Iran had won removal of economic sanctions “without making significant concessions,” but Israel hoped to improve the terms before a final deal was reached in June.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/region/04-Apr-2015/israel-dismisses-iran-nuclear-framework-as-detached-from-reality

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Turkish man denies terror charge in landmark ISIL case

04 April, 2015

A Turkish man who is accused of joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has told court in a landmark case that he went to Syria not to fight, but "to live in a place governed under Sharia law."

The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office filed a court case in Ankara April 4 against Musa Göktaş for allegedly joining a terrorist group in Syria, according to Anadolu Agency.

The 38-year-old suspect, the first Turkish citizen who was arrested for joining ISIL, went to Syria along with his two children in October 2014 and later returned to Turkey after a four-month long stay.

Prosecutor Derda Gökmen pleaded with the court to punish Göktaş on charges of joining a terrorist group.

Göktaş, however, denied all charges and said that he only went to Syria "to live in a place governed under Sharia law," and not to fight alongside any terrorist group, the report said.

Turkey shares an 800-kilometer long border with Syria. Thousands of people from all over the world are believed to have joined militants, including those of ISIL, in Syria and Iraq.

Göktaş reportedly returned to Turkey to sell his house and take his wife to bring her to northern Syria. His 15-year-old twin sons stayed in an ISIL-controlled town of Turkey's war-torn neighbor.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-man-denies-terror-charge-in-landmark-isil-case.aspx?pageID=238&nID=80575&NewsCatID=509

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Yemen’s Saleh may possess chemical weapons

4 April 2015

The spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition forces, did not rule out the possibility that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh may be in possession of chemical weapons, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said that Saleh is an unpredictable man from who any behavior can be expected to preserve his position.

Asiri made the remarks during a daily briefing session in Riyadh on the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/04/Ousted-Yemen-president-may-have-weapons-of-mass-destruction.html

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Iran president: Nuclear deal is start of new relationship to world

Apr 4, 2015

Iran's president said on Friday that a framework for a nuclear deal was just the first step toward building a new relationship with the world, after his countrymen greeted the announcement of the accord with celebrations in the streets.

U.S. President Barack Obama also hailed an "historic understanding", although diplomats cautioned that hard work lies ahead to strike a final deal.

The tentative agreement, struck on Thursday after eight days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, clears the way for a settlement to allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/126820/World/Region/Iran-president-Nuclear-deal-is-start-of-new-relati.aspx

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Africa

 

Somali militants vow to turn Kenyan cities ‘red with blood’

4 April 2015

Somali militants vowed on Saturday to wage a long war against Kenya and run its cities "red with blood" after the group's fighters killed nearly 150 people during an assault on a Kenyan university.

In the worst bloodshed in Kenya in nearly two decades, four al-Shabaab gunmen went on a killing spree on Thursday, hunting down and executing students in a campus in Garissa, a northeastern town 200 km (120 miles) from the Somali border.

The raid has put Kenya on heightened alert and spooked Christian congregations, who were horrified by survivor testimonies recalling how the Islamist militants had sought out Christians to take hostage and kill, while sparing some Muslims.

In the message directed at the Kenyan public, the al Qaeda aligned group said the raid was retribution for Kenya's military presence in Somalia and mistreatment of Muslims within Kenya.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/04/04/Somali-militants-vow-to-turn-Kenyan-cities-red-with-blood-.html

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Two Egyptians killed in shelling in Libya

04 April, 2015

Two Egyptians were killed late Friday in a random shelling in Libya’s Benghazi, Egypt's MENA state news agency reported.

Their bodies were transported to Benghazi’s medical centre and are expected to be repatriated to Cairo soon.

Benghazi has become a war zone as two rival governments and a host of militias are competing for power in Libya, with heavy clashes occurring almost daily between Islamist fighters and forces of the internationally recognised government.

Egypt has repeatedly issued travel warnings to Egyptians against heading to Libya, which shares a border with the country, since violence erupted in the country in 2011.

According to official statements, 800,000 to 900,000 Egyptian expats work and live in Libya.

Egyptian authorities have been evacuating Egyptian workers who opt to leave the war-torn country.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/126837/Egypt/Politics-/Two-Egyptians-killed-in-shelling-in-Libya.aspx

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Explosive detonates in Mali's capital, killing 2

04 April, 2015

An army spokesman says an explosive went off, apparently by accident, in a house on the outskirts of Mali's capital, killing two people.

Commander Modibo Nama Traore said the explosive detonated Friday while a man was handling it. He and a woman were killed. Malian and U.N. troops have surrounded the house, which is close to a mosque. Burn marks could be seen on its walls from afar.

This is the second violent incident in Bamako in recent weeks. In March, masked gunmen killed five people at a restaurant popular with foreigners.

Most violence is concentrated in Mali's north, which was overrun by Islamic militants following a 2012 coup. French forces led a military operation in 2013 that largely expelled the al-Qaida-linked extremists, but clashes and attacks continue there.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/126821/World/International/Explosive-detonates-in-Malis-capital,-killing-.aspx

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Buhari told to ‘win peace’ against Boko Haram

04 April, 2015

LAGOS: Nigeria’s president-elect Muhammadu Buhari needs a comprehensive, not just military, plan to defeat Boko Haram, experts said on Thursday, after the former army general vowed to crush the Boko Haram militants.

“Military force alone is not enough to annihilate the movement,” Nigeria researcher Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, from the Chatham House international affairs institute in London, said.

Boko Haram may be “backed into a corner” but “is not clinically dead”, he added.

The group’s attacks and suicide bombings in northeast Nigeria have claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2009, with the insurgency — and the government’s handling of it — a key election issue. Boko Haram has moved beyond northeast Nigeria, attacking Cameroon and Niger, which were for long considered operating bases, giving the impression of an unstoppable force.

But the involvement of both countries, and notably Chad, in Nigerian border areas south of Lake Chad, alongside Nigerian troops operating further inside the northeast, seems to have stopped their advance.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173854/buhari-told-to-win-peace-against-boko-haram

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Police hunt teacher Islamist terrorist mastermind behind attack that killed 147, putting £145,000 bounty on his head

04 April, 2015

A manhunt is under way for the terrorist who masterminded the murder of 147 people in Kenya.

The country’s most wanted man has been identified as Mohamed Mohamud, a former teacher who has a £145,000 bounty on his head for orchestrating the massacre at Garissa University College.

The attack on the university by al-Shabaab terrorists, acting on Mohamud’s orders, was the deadliest on Kenyan soil since the bombing of the American embassy in 1998.

Mohamud, who is a Kenyan national of Somali heritage, is a former teacher with three wives and is thought to be in his mid-40s.

He has been linked to a number of previous attacks and is thought to have been the key figure in the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, where 67 shoppers were killed in 2013, a Somali security source told The Guardian.

Full report at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3024249/They-forced-lie-floor-recite-Islamic-creed-prove-not-Christian-Survivors-Kenyan-university-massacre-reveal-terror-al-Shabaab-gunmen-calmly-murdered-147-victims.html#ixzz3WN3ywmZ2

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Europe

 

Fury of Muslim Father after Catholic School Orders Islamic Students to Shave Off Their Beards

04 April, 2015

A Muslim father stormed into a Catholic school and launched a tirade of racial abuse at teachers after two teenage pupils were banned from lessons for refusing to shave their beards.

Mohammad Liaqat even assaulted the headmaster during the rampage in which he hurled insults at white teachers in front of shocked parents as they picked up their children.

The 34-year-old objected to the strict uniform policy at Mount Carmel High School which stated that pupils could not have beards.

 Liaqat launched into a 'racist tirade' at white members of staff after 14-year-old boys were told they could not keep their facial hair, police said.

After being arrested, Liaqat was told to stay away from the school, so went to another school nearby where he continued his rant.

When Jeff Brown, headmaster of St Oswald's Roman Catholic Primary School, asked him to move on, Liaqat shoulder barged him, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Full report at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3024406/Muslim-father-facing-jail-racist-tirade-teachers-Yorkshire-school-barred-Islamic-students-lessons-refusing-shave-beards.html#ixzz3WN4BPWAR

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Romania to expel seven for recruiting for Al-Qaeda, ISIS

4 April 2015

Romania will expel seven foreign nationals accused of recruiting members for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda and propagating their ideas in the eastern European country, officials said Saturday.

The Bucharest court of appeal this week ruled in separate cases that the seven should be prohibited from returning to the country for between three to seven years, Romania's interior intelligence agency SRI said in a statement.

Six of the foreigners made up a group “affiliated to radical ideologies of the Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorist groups” and carried out “Islamic extremist propaganda... (and) recruitment for religious and military training in conflict zones affected by terrorism,” the statement said.

The seventh, a Tunisian national, expressed “a wish to become a martyr” for a terror group and made “constant steps to attract new supporters.”

Hundreds of foreign fighters, many of them from Europe, have joined the ISIS that has grabbed control of large swathes of war-torn Syria and Iraq.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/04/04/Romania-to-expel-seven-for-recruiting-for-Al-Qaeda-ISIS-.html

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In Russia, the Struggle to Un-Recruit ISIS Followers

04 April, 2015

DERBENT, Daghestan, Russia — Sevil Navruzova, a young woman with long shiny black hair who boldly wears a leopard print dress and high heels (no hint of hijab of niqab), spends her working hours on Skype interviewing Russian citizens who are fighting for ISIS.

The head of the Center for Countering Extremism in Dagestan knows her job well, and is well-known for her skills. Even the most senior experts in Russian security agencies respect her opinion on methods and tactics “to bring home the boys and girls” of Russia. But there are days when Navruzova feels she is “facing a black wall,” and losing her fight against the international recruitment of Russian citizens to join the jihad of the so-called Islamic State.

Hundreds of young men and women are leaving Dagestan these days to join the jihadist wars: Russian special services and Navruzova’s center are mostly concerned about three destinations for Dagestan’s Muslims: Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are inspired to attack in other venues, like the Tsarnaev brothers, whose roots were in Dagestan, and who allegedly carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/03/in-russia-the-struggle-to-un-recruit-isis-followers.html

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Isis ‘tentacles’ spreading in Muslim community, warns Rochdale imam

04 April, 2015

An imam in Rochdale has warned that the “tentacles of Isis” are spreading far and fast through the Muslim community as it emerged that a local Labour councillor’s son was among nine people from the town arrested on the Turkish-Syrian border.

It is not yet clear why Manchester University politics student Waheed Ahmed, the 21-year-old son of Rochdale councillor Shakil Ahmed, had travelled to Hatay province in Turkey. He was detained by Turkish authorities on Wednesday as part of a group believed to include his aunt, Zadia Bi, two of her sons, one of the son’s wives and children aged one, three, eight and 11.

But Irfan Chishti, an imam from the Rochdale Council of Mosques, who has worked for the government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent, said he was very worried about young people in Rochdale being radicalised by Islamist hardliners.

Full report at:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/03/isis-muslim-rochdale-islamic-state-syria

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UK police say arrest six at port on Syria-related offences

4 April 2015

British police said on Saturday they had arrested six people at the southern English port of Dover on suspicion of terrorism offences related to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

The five men and one woman, all aged in their 20s, were detained on Friday morning in the departure zone of the port, West Midlands police said.

The group were now in custody in central England and searches were underway in Birmingham where the men lived. The suspects did not pose any immediate risk to the public, police added.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/04/UK-police-say-arrest-six-at-port-on-Syria-related-offences.html

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Muslims to make up 10% of European population by 2050: Pew study

04 April, 2015

Muslims in Europe will make up 10 percent of the overall population by the year 2050, and will outnumber Christians worldwide by 2070, according to a forecast issued by Pew research centre on Thursday.

A report by the US-based organisation aimed to predict the future makeup of the world's population in terms of religious identity between the years 2010-2050.

“Muslims have an average of 3.1 children per woman—the highest rate of all religious groups," said Conrad Hackett, the author of the study.

Christians are second, with 2.7 children per woman, Hindus have 2.4 children per woman, and Jews have an average of 2.3 children per woman, the study shows.

The report also forecasts that Muslims will become the second-largest religious group in the United States by 2050, as Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/126817/World/International/Muslims-to-make-up--of-European-population-by--Pew.aspx

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Sales of books on Islam rocket after France attacks

04 April, 2015

Books on Islam are selling out in France after deadly extremist attacks in the capital raised uncomfortable questions about Europe's fastest-growing religion.

A special magazine supplement focused on the Quran has flown off the shelves, and shops are selling more books on Islam than ever after the Paris attacks in January that left 17 dead.

"The French are asking more and more questions, and they feel less satisfied than ever by the answers they're getting from the media," said Fabrice Gerschel, director of Philosophie magazine, which published the supplement.

Sales of books on Islam were three times higher in the first quarter of 2015 than this time last year, according to the French National Union of Bookshops.

Mathilde Mahieux, of La Procure chain of bookshops that specialises in religion, said people want a better understanding of the religion that the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) group claims to represent, so that they can make up their own minds.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/sales-of-books-on-islam-rocket-after-france-attacks#sthash.3yZnzMo8.dpuf

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Southeast Asia

 

It’s not even Islamic hudud, it’s PAS hudud, says Dr M

04 April, 2015

The hudud that is proposed by PAS is not Islamic, and the Kelantan Umno assemblymen who had voted for it were not even aware of what they were supporting, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The former prime minister said PAS's hudud law was unjust because it created two sets of laws, one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims, and included the punishment of stoning to death, which was not even included in the Quran.

He added that PAS's intention to implement hudud was not to uphold Islam, but for politics and to win elections.

"The hudud that is proposed by PAS is not Islamic hudud. It is PAS hudud.

"If you are not just, you are not Islamic. If you have political intentions, it's not Islamic. So the people in Kelantan Umno who supported this don't even know what they're supporting," said Dr Mahathir at a forum in Cyberjaya today.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/its-not-even-islamic-hudud-its-pas-hudud-says-dr-m#sthash.NpYIIGpb.dpuf

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Thailand: Army Secretly Detaining 17 Muslim Activists

04 April, 2015

(New York) – Thai military authorities should immediately confirm the location of 17 student activists who were arbitrarily arrested on April 2, 2015, in Thailand’s southern Narathiwat province, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists should be freed unless they have been charged by a judge with a credible offense.

Soldiers conducted a warrantless search at about 5 a.m. on April 2 at four student dormitories in Muang district of Narathiwat province. They forced at least 17 activists from the network of ethnic Malay Muslim students at Princess of Narathiwat University to give DNA samples and then took them into military custody. Human Rights Watch has learned that the activists are being detained without charge in Pileng, Buket Tanyong, and Chulabhorn Camps in Narathiwat province. The military authorities have provided no explanation for the students’ detention or said when they would be released.

Full report at:

http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/04/03/thailand-army-secretly-detaining-17-muslim-activists

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Air Evacuation Bid for Indonesians in Yemen Stalls

04 April, 2015

Jakarta. An Indonesian Air Force plane sent to evacuate thousands of Indonesians from Yemen failed to reach the conflict-wracked state, landing instead in the neighboring country of Oman, officials said on Friday.

More than 4,000 Indonesian are trapped in Yemen, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Tuesday, and Indonesia’s understaffed embassy in the capital Sanaa has so far been unable to cope.

ndonesian Armed Forces (TNI) chief Gen. Moeldoko announced on Thursday that an Air Force plane, carrying a 14-person-strong “advance team” from the Foreign Ministry, flew out that evening.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/air-evacuation-bid-indonesians-yemen-stalls/

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South Asia

 

Suicide attacker among seven killed by security forces

Apr 04 2015

A suicide attacker was among seven insurgents killed by security forces in past 48 hours across the country, statement issued Saturday morning by security agencies stated.

The statement issued by the Ministry of Interior states that police killed a suicide attacker before he could reach to his target in Wazir Manda area of Nahr-i- Saraj District in restive Helmand province where.

Also, a statement issued by the media office of Maidan Wardak province states that four Taliban including a senior commander of the group were killed during security operation in Jalriz District last night.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/suicide-attacker-among-seven-killed-by-security-forces-3105

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Awami League: Khaleda’s conspiracy cannot foil city polls

04 April, 2015

Awami League senior leaders yesterday said BNP Chief Khaleda Zia cannot foil the elections to city corporation polls in Dhaka and Chittagong in the name movement.

The ruling party leaders made the statement while addressing separate programmes in the capital yesterday.

Health Minister and Awami League presidium member Mohammad Nasim said Khaleda Zia could never be able to thwart the city corporation polls by hatching conspiracy and burning people alive. Public will give a befitting reply to such anarchism through their verdicts in the polls, he said.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a discussion at the auditorium of Institution of Engineers.

Urging Khaleda Zia not to create any anarchy or plot over the city polls the AL leader said: “The government is determined to hold a free and fair polls.”

In another programme, Awami League Advisory Council member Suranjit Sengupta said BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia is the main barrier to creating a level-playing field in the city corporation polls.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/politics/2015/apr/04/al-khaledas-conspiracy-cannot-foil-city-polls#sthash.1C2c6nec.dpuf

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North America

 

Obama invites Arab leaders to discuss security concerns

04 April, 2015

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has invited leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council to Washington to discuss their security concerns over a framework agreement reached with Iran.

The five permanent members of the United Nations — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — and Germany concluded a plan of action with Iran on Thursday, which places widespread restrictions on the country’s nuclear programme.

Take a look: Fram

In return for Iran’s acceptance of these restrictions, the arrangement relaxes crippling international sanctions on Tehran.

While negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland, were still relaxing from the fatigue of the marathon talks that led to the framework agreement, President Obama started calling world leaders to remove their concerns about the new arrangement with Iran.

In his call to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia he reaffirmed “our commitment to the security of our partners in the Gulf”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173789/obama-invites-arab-leaders-to-discuss-security-concerns

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Michigan man to recite Muslim call to prayer in 50 states

04 April, 2015

Auburn Hills man learned how to recite the call to prayer as an 11-year-old boy in Ann Arbor. Hoping to spread a message of peace, he intends to recite it in 50 states across the U.S. in 35 days

Holding his hands over his ears, Jameel Syed stood in front of the congregation at a Farmington Hills mosque, calling the faithful to prayer.

"God is the greatest," the Auburn Hills man recited in a melodious voice in Arabic that extended the vowels. "There is no god but God ... Come to prayer."

The scene inside the Tawheed Center mosque on Thursday night is similar to what happens five times a day at mosques around the world, a resonant voice that cries out to remind believers that it's time to worship God. Called the "adhan," the Muslim call to prayer is one of the more familiar parts of Islamic life, and one that Syed, 40, has become known for in metro Detroit. He's been the main muezzin – the name for the man who gives the call to prayer – at three big mosques in Michigan, currently at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills.

Full report at:

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/04/03/muslim-call-prayer-states/25273397/

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Calgary imam counters Christian vs. Muslim narrative after deadly attack

04 April, 2015

A local Muslim leader is calling for solidarity with Christians after a deadly terrorist attack in Kenya.

Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy is dedicating his Friday sermon to countering extremists’ narrative that Christians and Muslims are at war.

“We are going to show our solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters who are all victims, and offer our condolences and express our sympathy,” said Soharwardy, who founded both Muslims Against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a Thursday assault on Garissa University that killed 147 Christian students in Kenya. The university sits 145 kilometres from the border with Somalia, where the al-Qaeda group is based.

“People are committing such horrible things in the name of Islam. One guy’s name was [the Prophet] Muhammed? What kind of person does that?” said Soharwardy. “This is a horrible crime in Islamic law.”

Full report at:

http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/calgary-imam-counters-christian-vs-muslim-narrative-after-deadly-attack

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'Halal in the Family' Takes Online Swipe at Anti-Muslim Bias

04 April, 2015

Aasif Mandvi is bringing the satire he's honed on "The Daily Show" to a sitcom parody with a serious goal: unraveling anti-Muslim prejudice.

The four-episode "Halal in the Family," starring Mandvi as the patriarch of an "all-American Muslim family," debuts April 9 on the humor website Funny or Die, the actor and writer said Thursday.

The episodes, five minutes each, use sitcom conventions to address issues including FBI surveillance of Muslims in America, cyberbullying and hate groups, and media bias, Mandvi said. Problems facing the Halal clan will be resolved, in classic sitcom fashion, by each episode's end.

Full report at:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/halal-family-takes-online-swipe-anti-muslim-bias-30094990

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Australia

 

Hundreds Protest Islamic Law in Australia

04 April, 2015

Sydney. Protesters waving Australian flags and carrying signs such as “Yes Australia. No Sharia” rallied around the country on Saturday in events organisers said were against Islamic extremism.

The “Reclaim Australia” events drew hundreds of supporters but also triggered counter-rallies from other groups who criticised them as racist and called for greater tolerance.

“We are pro-Australian values and anti-extreme Islam, but we’re not anti-Muslim,” Reclaim Australia spokeswoman Catherine Brennan told AFP, adding there was no racism behind the rallies, which she said had attracted people from diverse backgrounds.

“Since when is it being racist to love your country and to love the values and culture that you’ve been brought up with?”

Reclaim Australia’s John Oliver told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the group was “not against any particular race or any particular religion”.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/international/hundreds-protest-islamic-law-australia/

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India

 

2 SIMI men killed in encounter in Telangana; 1 cop killed

P Naveen & Syed Akbar,TNN | Apr 4, 2015

NALGONDA/ BHOPAL: Two SIMI members, who had fled from a jail in Madhya Pradesh in 2013, were shot dead during an encounter in the Nalagonda district of Telangana on Friday night.

The police have identified the armed assailants as Mohammad Ejazuddin and Mohammad Aslam. They had escaped from Tantya Bheel Jail in Khandwa town of Madhya Pradesh on October 3, 2013 along with five other SIMI men.

In the exchange of fire a police constable, Naga Raju, died on the spot. A police inspector, Bala Gangi Reddy, and a sub-inspector, Siddaiah, received critical injuries. They were rushed to a corporate hospital in Hyderabad.

The two men were reportedly involved in a shootout at a bus station in Suryapet town in Nalgonda district two days ago in which two policemen were killed.

According to reports, a police party went to Sitarampuram village in Nalgonda district late on Friday night following information that the gunmen were taking shelter in the village. On seeing the police, they opened fire and escaped from there. They then went to Arvapalli village and when the police reached there, they fled into hillocks at D Kothapalli village. The police surrounded the hillocks. The assailants, however, managed to escape to Janakipuram, where there was exchange of fire for the second time leading to the death of the constable. The assailants died in the police firing.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/2-SIMI-men-killed-in-encounter-in-Telangana-1-cop-killed/articleshow/46802606.cms?

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