New Age Islam
Mon Oct 19 2020, 04:48 PM

Islamic World News ( 16 Sept 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Hizb-ut-Tahrir Leader Told University Of Sydney Crowd Ex-Muslims Deserve Death












Photo: Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar says ex-Muslims should be killed in an Islamic state

@c AAPIMAGE

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Australia

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Leader Told University Of Sydney Crowd Ex-Muslims Deserve Death

Islamic Group Wants Taxpayers to Fund Muslim Hotline for Parents Worried About Youths Being Radicalised

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Europe

Protesters Gather in Paris to Condemn Persecution in Myanmar

Muslims in Athens Condemn Genocide in Myanmar

Russia Fighting Terrorists in Syria Not to Secure a Foothold in Region - Envoy

Russian Ship Leaves Black Sea for Syria with Huge Volume of Arms, Munitions

Russian Security Official: US Plans to Destabilize Central Asia

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India

Rohingya Muslims: Don't Send Us Back, Say the Nowhere People

Union Minister Mukhtar A Naqvi’s Sister, Anti-Triple Talaq Activist, Gets Death Threats

Pakistan will waste time by raising Kashmir issue in UNGA: India

Iraqi PM says fate of Indian workers unknown

Indresh Kumar accuses Mamata of ploying to create rift between Hindus, Muslims

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Pakistan

Why Pakistan Army Pushed Political Role for Terrorist-Linked Groups

NA-120: Tehrik Labbaik Pakistan Aims to Enforce Sharia

Four teachers held responsible for Christian boy’s death

Pak-Afghan border crossing at Torkham reopened

Nisar chides Asif for remarks about banned outfits

Benazir murder case verdict not acceptable, says Bilawal

‘Breakthrough’ in Sino-Pak FTA talks

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Arab World

Army Nearing Complete Liberation of Central Syria from ISIL Occupation

UN May Vote Soon To Help Iraq Collect Evidence against Islamic State

Assassins Kill Islamic State’s Chief Vigilante in Hawija

Islamic State Suicide Bombers Attack Coalition Base In Iraq

Syrian Soldiers Keep Marching on ISIL's Positions in Eastern Hama

US-led Coalition Airstrikes Kill At Least 12 Civilians near Syria's Deir ez-Zor

Saudi-led airstrike kills 12 civilians in central Yemen

Syrian army, allies close in on Islamic State in Deir Ezzor

Iraqi Forces Continue Rapid Advances against Terrorists in Western Anbar

Syrian Army's Elite Forces Ready to Cross Euphrates River to Face ISIL in Eastern Deir Ezzur

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South Asia

Bangladesh PM Seeks Help for Rohingya Crisis at UN As Exodus Tops 400,000

Taliban and ISIS Infighting Leaves Several Dead in Nangarhar Province

Taliban suffer heavy casualties in air and ground operations in Faryab

Top Taliban leader killed by Pakistani Taliban militants in Kunar

Abdullah says formation of political coalitions a legitimate move

Bangladesh warns Myanmar over violating air space

Islamic Development Bank to support Kabul Ring Road project with $74m loan

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Mideast

Palestinian Fundamentalist Group Hamas Takes Steps to Rejoin Secular Rival Fatah

Iran Claims to Have ‘Father Of All Bombs,’ Overshadowing American ‘Mother’

Erdogan, Kofi Annan discuss Rohingya Muslims over phone

Iran recruits Afghan and Pakistani Shia to fight in Syria

UAE’s $144bn Islamic bank assets ‘will boost Halal sector’

Qatari emir meets Merkel, Macron in first trip since crisis

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Southeast Asia

Philippines Captures Command Centre of Islamic State Supporters in Marawi

Fleeing Violence at Home, Rohingya Muslims Face Difficulties in India, Nepal, Bangladesh

Philippines: Govt Troops Retake Historical Mosque

Myanmar army chief urges unity over Rohingya 'issue'

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Africa

Egyptian Court Sentences Mursi to 25 Years in Qatar Spy Case

Nigeria: Muslims Reject Attacks by Igbo 'Secessionists'

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North America

Canada to Speak Up For Rohingya at UN: Freeland

CIA wants to expand its drone strike authority in Afghanistan despite Pentagon concerns

US-Led Coalition Accuses Russia of Striking US-Backed Forces Near Deir ez-Zor

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/hizb-ut-tahrir-leader-told-university-of-sydney-crowd-ex-muslims-deserve-death/d/112553

 

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Hizb Ut-Tahrir Leader Told University Of Sydney Crowd Ex-Muslims Deserve Death

17 September 2017

An Islamist extremist group leader told a university crowd ex-Muslims should be killed under Sharia law during a debate with an atheist who feared for his safety.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar clarified his position on apostates who leave Islam at the University of Sydney.

His atheist opponent Dr John Perkins, who is also Secular Party of Australia president, diverted from the debate topic about the existence of God to ask Mr Badar about his position on killing ex-Muslims.

'I would like to again ask Uthman about the killing of apostates and whether he does support it or whether he does renounce it?,' Dr Perkins said.

He had told Daily Mail Australia before the debate he feared for his safety and had needed security during a previous debate with Mr Badar.

Rather than renounce his support for killing ex-Muslims, Mr Badar used weasel words at the University of Sydney debate to confirm his view they should be given the death penalty where Sharia law applied.

'The idea that I have called for ex-Muslims in Australia to be killed is a fabrication of tabloid media,' he said.

'As a matter of principle or a penal code that is part of Islam, I'm not calling for it to be applied because it's not an Islamic state.'

Hizb ut-Tahrir wants a global Islamic caliphate based on Sharia law and has a draft constitution for the khilafah state which says ex-Muslims should be killed.

'Those who are guilty of apostasy from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam,' Section 7c of this draft constitution says.

At Bankstown library in Sydney's west in March, Daily Mail Australia caught Mr Badar on camera confirming his support for giving ex-Muslims capital punishment.

'The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that,' he said.

Daily Mail Australia did not infer in March that Mr Badar wanted ex-Muslims killed in Australia.

Despite that, the Pakistani-born extremist accused Dr Perkins of relying on an inaccurate Daily Mail Australia story.

'On the question of apostates, the point here is John's information is from the Daily Mail,' Mr Badar said.

'I don't know why anyone reads the Daily Mail in the first place. It used to be The Daily Telegraph, and this was the worst of the worst.'

After that Thursday night debate, organised by the Sydney University Muslim Students' Association, Dr Perkins called out Mr Badar for evading the question.

'He didn't really answer the question,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Dr Perkins, an economist, defended his decision to participate in the debate at the University of Sydney's Footbridge Theatre.

'I believe in freedom of speech, we should give them enough rope,' he said.

A range of Muslim-majority nations impose capital punishment for leaving Islam.

Atheist activist John Perkins said the Koran incited violence and asked about killing ex-Muslims

They include Iran, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Perkins said the Koran was an incitement to violence.

'You can argue that the Koran is an incitement to violence because it calls for violence and all Muslims are supposed to follow the words in the Koran,' he said.

Secular-minded Muslims, who accept the separation of religion and state, reject Sharia law and any fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is so extreme it is banned in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, along with other Islamic nations including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

It is also illegal in The Netherlands and Germany.

However, Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis has declined to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir on the grounds it hasn't committed any violent acts in Australia.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891918/Hizb-ut-Tahrir-leader-tells-uni-ex-Muslims-deserve-death.html#ixzz4svFy3uDq

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Protesters gather in Paris to condemn persecution in Myanmar

Sun Sep 17, 2017

Protesters gather in Paris to condemn the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, urging the activists and lawmakers to condemn violence against the Muslim ethnic minority and provide humanitarian support.

presstv.com/Detail/2017/09/17/535420/-Protesters-gather-Paris-condemn-Persecution--Myanmar-

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Rohingya Muslims: Don't send us back, say the nowhere people

September 17, 2017

It was late one night in the summer of 2012 that Noorul Islam's life changed for ever, sealing his family's fate as refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Noorul was then just seven, but remembers in detail how militants attacked their home in Rakhine. He also remembers their escape from death and the early days of struggle in Bangladesh from where they were turned out and made their way to India.

"Our situation was really bad because my father didn't have enough money to support us. We went hungry for days until we arrived in India and my father started selling fish to earn a living,? he said, tears welling up at the memory.

Noorul's family is one of the 70 staying in a camp in Shaheen Bagh, tucked away in a corner of south Delhi.

They are the nowhere people, the Rohingya Muslims, considered by the UN to be the most persecuted minority in the world.

There are about 1,200 Rohingyas in the national capital, some in Shaheen Bagh and the others in a camp in Madanpur Khadar.

With hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, mostly Muslims, being forced to flee from Rakhine this month and take refuge in Bangladesh, their plight has hit global headlines. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has said the Rohingya Muslims are facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation.

But those in India face their own share of anxieties with the government threatening to deport them.

All of 12, Noorul talks with the wisdom of someone much older when he says he would never want to go back to his homeland.

For him, home is a small makeshift tent next to huge piles of garbage and school is the nearby government one in Jasola.

"I am happy here and I love going to school. I would never like to go back to my homeland because the military kills children there. I want to request the government not to send us back to Myanmar," he said.

The others in the camp are equally fearful at the thought of returning to the country that was once their home.

"I dont want to live as a refugee my whole life. But even if I think of going back to my village in Myanmar, those nightmarish memories of military attacks haunt me,' said Sabikun Nahar.

"They burnt our house and forced us to follow Buddhism. We were even banned from going to the local mosque and we were so scared that we wouldn't sleep at night,' she said.

The 21-year-old had left her village in 2012 and moved to Bangladesh with her relatives. She lived with her parents in the camp for a year but extreme poverty and no employment avenues drove her to India.

In 2013, Nahar found herself in the Shaheen Bagh camp. She is now married to Mohammed Zubair, 30, a fellow refugee in the camp who works with an NGO in the city.

He earns about Rs 12,000 every month and the couple finds it difficult to make ends meet. But Nahar shudders at the thought of being sent back.

"The situation has worsened since 2012. I want the whole world to support us. I wanted to call my parents who are now in Bangladesh to Delhi but with the government here thinking of deporting us how will I call them," she asked.

Constant worry -- about their present, their future and the well-being of their families in Myanmar or in Bangladesh -- is the subtext of all their lives.

Abdul Rahim, 35, who runs a small grocery shop in the camp and earns about Rs 300 a day, has been desperately trying to get in touch with his brother back home.

"There are many relatives who are still stuck in the country. I am worried about my brother and his family because they havent reached Bangladesh yet," said Abdul, who fled from Myanmar nine years ago.

He said he is shocked by the government's plan to deport them. "I would rather die here than go back to my country where people are facing atrocities and violence."

Hoping for some intervention, Shabeer, who works with the Rohingyas Human Rights Initiative (ROHRIngya), has written a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"We wrote a letter to the foreign minister on August 23 and are waiting for a reply. I want to ask the government here why they want to deport us,' he said.

He speaks for thousands of other Rohingyas who dread the prospect of being sent back from India.

The government told Parliament on August 9 that more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, are at present staying in India.

However, activists estimate that around 40,000 Rohingyas are living in India illegally, mostly in Delhi-NCR, Jammu and Hyderabad and parts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had earlier said the Rohingyas were illegal immigrants and stand to be deported.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear a plea challenging the governments decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants back to Myanmar.

indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rohingya-muslims-dont-send-us-back-say-the-nowhere-people/1/1049800.html

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Why Pakistan army pushed political role for terrorist-linked groups

Reuters | Sep 16, 2017

LAHORE: A new Pakistani political party controlled by an Islamist with a $10 million US bounty on his head is backing a candidate in a by-election on Sunday, in what a former senior army officer says is a key step in a military-proposed plan to mainstream terrorist groups.

The Milli Muslim League party loyal to Hafiz Saeed - who the United States and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people - has little chance of seeing its favoured candidate win the seat vacated when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed from office by the Supreme Court in July.

But the foray into politics by Saeed's Islamist charity is following a blueprint that Sharif himself rejected when the military proposed it last year, retired Lieutenant General Amjad Shuaib told Reuters.

Three close Sharif confidants with knowledge of the discussions confirmed that Sharif had opposed the "mainstreaming" plan, which senior military figures and some analysts see as a way of steering ultra-religious groups away from violent jihad.

"We have to separate those elements who are peaceful from the elements who are picking up weapons," Shuaib said.

Pakistan's powerful military has long been accused of fostering terrorist groups as proxy fighters opposing neighbouring India, a charge the army denies.

"Patriotic people"

Saeed's religious charity launched the Milli Muslim League party within two weeks after the court ousted Sharif over corruption allegations.

Yaqoob Sheikh, the Lahore candidate for Milli Muslim League, is standing as an independent after the Electoral Commission said the party was not yet legally registered.

But Saeed's lieutenants, JUD workers and Milli Muslim League officials are running his campaign and portraits of Saeed adorn every poster promoting Sheikh.

Another Islamist designated a terrorist by the United States, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, has told Reuters he too plans to soon form his own party to advocate strict Islamic law.

"God willing, we will come into the mainstream - our country right now needs patriotic people," Khalil said, vowing to turn Pakistan into a state government by strict Islamic law.

Saeed's charity and Khalil's Ansar ul-Umma organisation are both seen by the United States as fronts for terrorist groups the army has been accused of sponsoring. The military denies any policy of encouraging radical groups.

Both Islamist groups deny their political ambitions were engineered by the military. The official army spokesman was not available for comment after queries were sent to the press wing.

Still, hundreds of MML supporters, waving posters of Saeed and demanding his release from house arrest, chanted "Long live Hafiz Saeed! Long live the Pakistan army!" at political rallies during the past week.

"Anyone who is India's friend is a traitor, a traitor," went another campaign slogan, a reference to Sharif's attempts to improve relations with long-time foe India that was a source of tension with the military.

'Deradicalisation' plan

Both Saeed and Khalil are proponents of a strict interpretation of Islam and have a history of supporting violence - each man was reportedly a signatory to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwa declaring war on the United States.

They have since established religious groups that they say are unconnected to violence, though the United States maintains those groups are fronts for funnelling money and fighters to terrorists targeting India.

Analyst Khaled Ahmed, who has researched Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity and its connections to the military, says the new political party is clearly an attempt by the generals to pursue an alternative to dismantling its terrorist proxies.

"One thing is the army wants these guys to survive," Ahmed said. "The other thing is that they want to also balance the politicians who are more and more inclined to normalise relations with India."

The military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency first began pushing the political mainstreaming plan in April 2016, according to retired general Shuaib, a former director of the army's military intelligence wing that is separate from the ISI.

He said the proposal was shared with him in writing by the then-ISI chief, adding that he himself had spoken with Khalil as well as Saeed in an unofficial capacity about the plan.

"Fazlur Rehman Khalil was very positive. Hafiz Saeed was very positive," Shuaib said. "My conversation with them was just to confirm those things which I had been told by the ISI and other people."

Saeed has been under house arrest since January at his house in the eastern city of Lahore. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction over the Mumbai attacks.

Then-Prime Minister Sharif, however, was strongly against the military's mainstreaming plan, according to Shuaib and three members of Sharif's inner circle, including one who was in some of the tense meetings over the issue.

Sharif wanted to completely dismantle groups like JuD. Disagreement on what to do about anti-India proxy fighters was a major source of rancour with the military, according to one of the close Sharif confidants.

In recent weeks several senior figures from the ruling PML-N party have publicly implied that elements of the military - which has run Pakistan for almost half its modern history and previously ousted Sharif in a 1999 coup - had a hand in the court ouster of Sharif, a charge both the army and the court reject.

A representative of the PML-N, which last month replaced him as prime minister with close ally Shahid Khaqi Abbasi, said the party was "not aware" of any mainstreaming plan being brought to the table.

Religion and politics

Some analysts worry that mainstreaming such controversial groups would be a risky strategy for Pakistan.

US President Donald Trump's administration has threatened sanctions against members of Pakistan's military and even raised the spectre of declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

"It will send a wrong message," said analyst Zahid Hussain, who nevertheless thought that Saeed's new party would have a "negligible" effect on Pakistani elections because religious parties have never won more than a few seats in parliament.

Others are not so sure.

Sheikh, the MML candidate in Sunday's by-election who says he was handpicked by Hafiz Saeed, vowed to establish strict Islamic rule and "break" liberalism and secularism.

Analyst Ahmed warned that few existing religious parties have a charismatic leader like Saeed, and Pakistan may find itself unable to control a rising tide of Islamist sentiment.

"If Hafiz Saeed comes into the mainstream, it's not that he is going to be politicised," he added. "It's that he is going to make politics more religious."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/why-pakistan-army-pushed-political-role-for-terrorist-linked-groups/articleshow/60710930.cms

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Australia

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Leader Told University Of Sydney Crowd Ex-Muslims Deserve Death

17 September 2017

An Islamist extremist group leader told a university crowd ex-Muslims should be killed under Sharia law during a debate with an atheist who feared for his safety.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar clarified his position on apostates who leave Islam at the University of Sydney.

His atheist opponent Dr John Perkins, who is also Secular Party of Australia president, diverted from the debate topic about the existence of God to ask Mr Badar about his position on killing ex-Muslims.

'I would like to again ask Uthman about the killing of apostates and whether he does support it or whether he does renounce it?,' Dr Perkins said.

He had told Daily Mail Australia before the debate he feared for his safety and had needed security during a previous debate with Mr Badar.

Rather than renounce his support for killing ex-Muslims, Mr Badar used weasel words at the University of Sydney debate to confirm his view they should be given the death penalty where Sharia law applied.

'The idea that I have called for ex-Muslims in Australia to be killed is a fabrication of tabloid media,' he said.

'As a matter of principle or a penal code that is part of Islam, I'm not calling for it to be applied because it's not an Islamic state.'

Hizb ut-Tahrir wants a global Islamic caliphate based on Sharia law and has a draft constitution for the khilafah state which says ex-Muslims should be killed.

'Those who are guilty of apostasy from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam,' Section 7c of this draft constitution says.

At Bankstown library in Sydney's west in March, Daily Mail Australia caught Mr Badar on camera confirming his support for giving ex-Muslims capital punishment.

'The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that,' he said.

Daily Mail Australia did not infer in March that Mr Badar wanted ex-Muslims killed in Australia.

Despite that, the Pakistani-born extremist accused Dr Perkins of relying on an inaccurate Daily Mail Australia story.

'On the question of apostates, the point here is John's information is from the Daily Mail,' Mr Badar said.

'I don't know why anyone reads the Daily Mail in the first place. It used to be The Daily Telegraph, and this was the worst of the worst.'

After that Thursday night debate, organised by the Sydney University Muslim Students' Association, Dr Perkins called out Mr Badar for evading the question.

'He didn't really answer the question,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Dr Perkins, an economist, defended his decision to participate in the debate at the University of Sydney's Footbridge Theatre.

'I believe in freedom of speech, we should give them enough rope,' he said.

A range of Muslim-majority nations impose capital punishment for leaving Islam.

Atheist activist John Perkins said the Koran incited violence and asked about killing ex-Muslims

They include Iran, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Perkins said the Koran was an incitement to violence.

'You can argue that the Koran is an incitement to violence because it calls for violence and all Muslims are supposed to follow the words in the Koran,' he said.

Secular-minded Muslims, who accept the separation of religion and state, reject Sharia law and any fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is so extreme it is banned in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, along with other Islamic nations including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

It is also illegal in The Netherlands and Germany.

However, Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis has declined to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir on the grounds it hasn't committed any violent acts in Australia.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891918/Hizb-ut-Tahrir-leader-tells-uni-ex-Muslims-deserve-death.html#ixzz4svFy3uDq

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Islamic group wants taxpayers to fund Muslim hotline for parents worried about youths being radicalised

17 September 2017

A Muslim group wants taxpayer funds to set up a hotline for parents worried about their children being radicalised.

The Islamic Council of Victoria is asking the Turnbull Government for $3.5 million to establish a Muslim Crisis Support Service.

The 24-hour hotline would also cater to Muslim parents concerned about their children turning to violent or anti-social behaviour.

The proposal would also fund a crisis team to give emotional support to Islamic families, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

The Islamic Council's spokesman Adel Salman says he would prefer to have trained counsellors and social workers from a Muslim background answer the hotline.

'Our preference would be Muslim and that is simply because we are targeting Muslim youth,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday.

'They typically respond better when people from a similar background are talking to them about issues they are experiencing.

'A lot of Muslim youth feel disenfranchised: their identity as Muslims, their religion that they practise is often ridiculed, called into question, made to feel it doesn't belong in Australia.'

Mr Salman said the hotline counsellors would report any confessions of terror plots to police in a 'very small minority' of cases.

'If it gets to the stage where someone's calling up, maybe a parent, and is saying their child is involved in imminent terrorist activity, clearly that matter would have to be referred to the appropriate authorities.'

He added that migrant parents who knew of a terror plot would feel more comfortable talking to a Muslim counsellor than contacting the Australian Federal Police. 

'Parents themselves are crying out for another option,' Mr Salman said.

The Australian National University in Canberra is backing the Islamic Council of Victoria's proposal.

The council has also separately met members of a parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration.

The inquiry into migrant settlement schemes, made up of politicians from the House of Representatives and the Senate, is accepting submissions until September 29.

The Islamic Council said migrant parents often struggled to understand why their teenage children were turning to extremist groups.

'Without adequate support structures, many marginalised and disengaged Muslim youth growing up in Australian society are becoming increasingly at risk of falling into negative social circles or being influenced by harmful social media or internet activity,' their submission for a hotline said.

The proposal comes as teenagers travel to Syria to join ISIS.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891778/Islamic-group-wants-taxpayers-fund-Muslim-hotline.html#ixzz4svGTQNjb

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Europe

Protesters gather in Paris to condemn persecution in Myanmar

Sun Sep 17, 2017

Protesters gather in Paris to condemn the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, urging the activists and lawmakers to condemn violence against the Muslim ethnic minority and provide humanitarian support.

presstv.com/Detail/2017/09/17/535420/-Protesters-gather-Paris-condemn-Persecution--Myanmar-

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Muslims in Athens condemn genocide in Myanmar

Athens, Sep 17, IRNA – Muslims residents in the Greek capital city of Athens together with non-Muslim Greek citizens staged huge rallies on Saturday and denounced killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Large number of protestors chanting slogans called for an 'immediate' and 'unconditional' halt of Muslims massacre in Myanmar.

The government of Myanmar began “clearance operations” against the country's Rohingya Muslims since August 25 under the pretext of insurgency.

According to media reports, the fleeing Rohingya said security forces shot indiscriminately, burned their homes and threatened them with death. The government says hundreds died, mostly Rohingya, and that 176 out of 471 Rohingya villages are now abandoned.

Myanmar's Muslim community has long faced discrimination in that country and is denied citizenship, despite the fact that many of them have lived there for generations.

The Greek protesters slammed silence of the international communities and that of certain Muslim countries towards the ongoing genocide of Muslims in Myanmar.

Noting that the massive killings in Myanmar are another example of the Zionist Regime's plots against the Islamic Ummah, the Greek protestors urged Islamic countries to sever ties with the Zionist entity.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on September 13 described violence against Rohingya as “ethnic cleansing” — a term that describes an organized effort to rid an area of an ethnic group by displacement, deportation or killing.

In another development, the Amnesty International said one day later (Thursday) that it has evidence of an “orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings” by Myanmar's security forces targeting dozens of Rohingya villages over the past three weeks.

Moreover, Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in an address on September 12 urged world Muslim states to take 'practical measures' to end the genocide in Myanmar.

'The Muslim countries should put more political and economic pressures' on the government of Myanmar, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

irna.ir/en/News/82667316

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Russia Fighting Terrorists in Syria Not to Secure a Foothold in Region - Envoy © Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov

16.09.2017

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow is conducting the operation in Syria not to consolidate its position in the Middle East, but to eliminate terrorist groups, which are potentially dangerous for Russia, Lavrentiev said Saturday.

"I want to stress it again that what we are doing now, the Russian side, we are not pursuing any strategical goals to secure a foothold in the region [in Syria]," Lavrentiev told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

Lavrentiev said that Russian observers had been stationed in the de-escalation zones in Syria's Eastern Ghouta and to the north of the Homs province.

Troops of the Syrian 5th Army Corps join Syrian army units in the south of Deir ez-Zor following the breaking of the ISIL blockade at the main entrance to the city in the south

Speaking about the fourth de-escalation zone in the Syrian province of Idlib, the official said that military police units or affiliated troops of the Turkish and Iranian Armed Forces will take part in observing the ceasefire in the province. Lavrientev added that the details of the deployment process and the positions of the observation posts will be defined in the near future at the expert level.

Moscow hopes that the ceasefire regime in conflict-torn Syria will become impossible to reverse, the official noted, adding that the Syrian opposition sees Russia as a partner ready for a dialogue.

"We hope that the ceasefire regime will become truly irreversible," Lavrentiev added.

The Syrian civil war between the government forces and various opposition and militant groups has been raging since 2011. The international community has taken a number of actions aimed at the conflict settlement through talks on various platforms including those in Geneva and Astana. The sixth round of talks on the Syrian settlement in the Kazakh capital was held on Thursday and Friday.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201709161057454781-russia-syria-terrorists/

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Russian Ship Leaves Black Sea for Syria with Huge Volume of Arms, Munitions

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A large cargo ship of the Russian naval fleet in the Black Sea, carrying a large volume of ammunition, left the region for Russia's base in Syria's Tartus port on Saturday.

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, RT, quoted media websites as reporting that the large cargo ship known as Yamal operating under the Russian naval fleet in the Black Sea has crossed the Turkish strait and entered the Mediterranean Sea.

The Arabic RT reported that the Yamal cargo ship that is carrying a large volume of arms and ammunition has crossed the Bosporus strait towards Tartus port.

RT said this is the eighth time that Yamal cargo ship has headed to Syria.

The Russian Navy's logistic and cargo ships have been engaged in an operation codenamed Syrian Express to transfer munitions for the Russian Air Force in Humeimim airbase and the Syrian Army.

Another Russian media outlet reported earlier today that a series of Su-25SM3 fighter jets, a modern Russia-made warplane known as Supper Grach, will soon join the Russian air fleet in Syria to intensify war on terrorists.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian state news agency, Sputnik, reported that the Russian Air Force in Syria will receive Su-25SM3 fighter jets before the end of 2017, adding the Su-25SM3 is the modern model of Su-25 known as Grach.

The Arabic Sputnik underlined the specific capabilities of Su-25SM3 and added that the modern fighter jets enjoy Sulet-25 electronic optical system that can track and target objects independent from pilot navigation.

It added that the Sulet-25 has enabled the Su-25SM3 fighter jets to attack any objects in any weather condition and any time.

Sputnik went on to say that the Su-25SM3 fighter jet can stand against attacks by different models of anti-aircraft missile systems via utilizing a fits-back system.

It pointed out that the SU-25SM3 fighter jets will participate in war missions in Syria once their pilots accomplish their training.   

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625001283

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Russian Security Official: US Plans to Destabilize Central Asia

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Russian security official warned that the US plans to foment instability in the Central Asia with the help of terrorists in Afghanistan following the Syrian army's recent victories against the terrorists in cooperation with Moscow.

"In reaction to Moscow's successes in Syria, the US plans to take revenge by creating instability in Central Asia via Afghanistan," First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security and Leader of the Russian Union of veterans of Afghanistan Franz Klintsevich said on Saturday.

Noting that the terrorists' failure in Deir Ezzur has angered the US, he said that 22 key ISIL leaders have recently been transferred by the US helicopters from Syria to Afghanistan along with their family members.

"Such measures are parts of the United States' new project to destabilize Central Asia," Klintsevich said.

Media reports said earlier this month that military helicopters of the US-led coalition carried out another heliborne operation in Deir Ezzur to evacuate a number of foreign members of the ISIL terrorist group from the region.

Media outlets affiliated to the terrorists reported that after the heliborne operation in Kab al-Mala region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, the US-led coalition conducted a second heliborne operation near al-Rahba region in Badiyeh (desert) areas of al-Mayadeen city.

They added that the operation was carried out by several helicopters, noting that the US forces took away 8 foreign ISIL members from the region.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625000742

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India

Rohingya Muslims: Don't send us back, say the nowhere people

September 17, 2017

It was late one night in the summer of 2012 that Noorul Islam's life changed for ever, sealing his family's fate as refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Noorul was then just seven, but remembers in detail how militants attacked their home in Rakhine. He also remembers their escape from death and the early days of struggle in Bangladesh from where they were turned out and made their way to India.

"Our situation was really bad because my father didn't have enough money to support us. We went hungry for days until we arrived in India and my father started selling fish to earn a living,? he said, tears welling up at the memory.

Noorul's family is one of the 70 staying in a camp in Shaheen Bagh, tucked away in a corner of south Delhi.

They are the nowhere people, the Rohingya Muslims, considered by the UN to be the most persecuted minority in the world.

There are about 1,200 Rohingyas in the national capital, some in Shaheen Bagh and the others in a camp in Madanpur Khadar.

With hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, mostly Muslims, being forced to flee from Rakhine this month and take refuge in Bangladesh, their plight has hit global headlines. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has said the Rohingya Muslims are facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation.

But those in India face their own share of anxieties with the government threatening to deport them.

All of 12, Noorul talks with the wisdom of someone much older when he says he would never want to go back to his homeland.

For him, home is a small makeshift tent next to huge piles of garbage and school is the nearby government one in Jasola.

"I am happy here and I love going to school. I would never like to go back to my homeland because the military kills children there. I want to request the government not to send us back to Myanmar," he said.

The others in the camp are equally fearful at the thought of returning to the country that was once their home.

"I dont want to live as a refugee my whole life. But even if I think of going back to my village in Myanmar, those nightmarish memories of military attacks haunt me,' said Sabikun Nahar.

"They burnt our house and forced us to follow Buddhism. We were even banned from going to the local mosque and we were so scared that we wouldn't sleep at night,' she said.

The 21-year-old had left her village in 2012 and moved to Bangladesh with her relatives. She lived with her parents in the camp for a year but extreme poverty and no employment avenues drove her to India.

In 2013, Nahar found herself in the Shaheen Bagh camp. She is now married to Mohammed Zubair, 30, a fellow refugee in the camp who works with an NGO in the city.

He earns about Rs 12,000 every month and the couple finds it difficult to make ends meet. But Nahar shudders at the thought of being sent back.

"The situation has worsened since 2012. I want the whole world to support us. I wanted to call my parents who are now in Bangladesh to Delhi but with the government here thinking of deporting us how will I call them," she asked.

Constant worry -- about their present, their future and the well-being of their families in Myanmar or in Bangladesh -- is the subtext of all their lives.

Abdul Rahim, 35, who runs a small grocery shop in the camp and earns about Rs 300 a day, has been desperately trying to get in touch with his brother back home.

"There are many relatives who are still stuck in the country. I am worried about my brother and his family because they havent reached Bangladesh yet," said Abdul, who fled from Myanmar nine years ago.

He said he is shocked by the government's plan to deport them. "I would rather die here than go back to my country where people are facing atrocities and violence."

Hoping for some intervention, Shabeer, who works with the Rohingyas Human Rights Initiative (ROHRIngya), has written a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"We wrote a letter to the foreign minister on August 23 and are waiting for a reply. I want to ask the government here why they want to deport us,' he said.

He speaks for thousands of other Rohingyas who dread the prospect of being sent back from India.

The government told Parliament on August 9 that more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, are at present staying in India.

However, activists estimate that around 40,000 Rohingyas are living in India illegally, mostly in Delhi-NCR, Jammu and Hyderabad and parts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had earlier said the Rohingyas were illegal immigrants and stand to be deported.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear a plea challenging the governments decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants back to Myanmar.

indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rohingya-muslims-dont-send-us-back-say-the-nowhere-people/1/1049800.html

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Union minister Mukhtar A Naqvi’s sister, anti-triple talaq activist, gets death threats

Piyush Rai | TNN | Updated: Sep 17, 2017

Mukhtar Abbas NaqviUnion minister Mukhtar A Naqvi’s sister, anti-triple talaq activist, gets death threats

BAREILLY: Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's sister, a prominent social activist who runs an NGO working for women affected by triple talaq, was on Saturday afternoon waylaid by three men in a car in the middle of the city, and given death threats.

Farhat Naqvi, 35, who runs the Mera Haq Foundation, was on her way back home when the alleged incident happened, metres from the Chowki Chauraha police outpost here at 12:30 pm.

"I boarded an e-rickshaw near Choupla and was on my way towards Chowki Chauraha when I first spotted a car following me. The car soon pulled over and an unidentified man started hurling abuses at me. The car then closed in further, and the man threatened to kill me. There were three men in the car. The police outpost was close by, and I tried raising the alarm, but the men fled," said Farhat.

"I am not certain why I was threatened, and the men did not give any details. About a month ago, I was stalked in the court premises. I had dismissed it back then as a minor incident, and chose not to report it to the police. But this time around, there was a brazen attempt to intimidate me, and it is most likely that I am stepping on the toes of some people," Farhat added.

"We are looking into the possibility that people who objected to Farhat's work with triple talaq-affected women, or one of the families involved, could have done this," said a police official.

While investigations have begun, Chowki Chauraha police discovered that CCTV cameras, which could have captured the incident, were not operational because there was a power cut in the area at the time, and no power backup was available. "We are trying to trace the car through CCTVs installed at other places in that stretch," said Preeti Pawar, Chowki Chauraha police outpost in-charge.

In a recent initiative, CCTVs were installed at all major crossings in the city to help improve security for women in public places. The move had been dubbed a game-changer by officials. However, the matter of non-functioning CCTV cameras questions the impact of the initiative.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/-union-minister-mukhtar-naqvis-sister-gets-death-threat/articleshow/60714381.cms

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Pakistan will waste time by raising Kashmir issue in UNGA: India

ANI | Sep 17, 2017

NEW YORK (USA): With Pakistan mulling to raise Kashmir issue in United Nations General Assembly in New York, India on Sunday pulled up the Islamabad and said it is wasting its time by raising an old issue.

Syed Akbaruddin, India's permanent representative to the United Nation, said that Pakistan is planning to raise Kashmir issue which has not been discussed in UNGA for around last 40 years.

"In UNGA there has been no formal debate on Kashmir since 40 years. So, if such issues are raised on which no debate has been done ever then they (Pakistan) are wasting their time," he told to ANI in an exclusive interview.

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Since 40 yrs it was never discussed formally at UN. If someone raises it they're wasting time-Syed Akbaruddin on if Pak raises Kashmir issue pic.twitter.com/VemWEtNxUb

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He further said that India's main issues are global and future centric unlike Pakistan's.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is set to attend the UN General Assembly on Monday and will raise Kashmir issue in the United Nations General Assembly.

The Pakistan foreign minister said that they will continue its engagement at the UN to protect national interests, including on core issues such as Jammu and Kashmir, reform of the Security Council, counter-terrorism, human rights, peacekeeping.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-will-waste-time-by-raising-kashmir-issue-in-unga-india/articleshow/60716640.cms

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Iraqi PM says fate of Indian workers unknown

AP | Sep 17, 2017

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the fate of 39 Indians captured by the Islamic State group when the extremists initially overran Mosul three years ago is still unknown.

Al-Abadi says the situation is "still under investigation at the moment. I cannot comment any further," in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday.

India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had told relatives of the workers in July that they might be held in a prison in Badush, northwest of Mosul, which Iraqi forces have taken back from IS.

The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by an Iraqi construction company. Thousands of Indians worked and lived in Iraq before IS swept across the country's north and west in 2014.

Iraqi forces declared victory over IS in Mosul in July after a gruelling nine-month fight.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iraqi-pm-says-fate-of-indian-workers-unknown/articleshow/60718178.cms

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Indresh Kumar accuses Mamata of ploying to create rift between Hindus, Muslims

Updated: Sep 17, 2017

Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) [India], September 17 (ANI): In response to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's warning of not doing politics in the name of festivals, Rashtriya Samajsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar on Sunday said that the former, herself, was politicising festivals to create a rift between the Hindu and the Muslim communities by giving such an advice, and added that her statement was "laughable, uniformed, and full of violence."

"Her statement is laughable, uniformed, and full of violence," said the RSS leader, and added that Mamata has become a "ridiculous joke".

"Her advice is her political ploy. She herself is doing the biggest politics to create a rift between both communities," Singh further added.

The RSS functionary also said that both the Muslim and the Hindu Communities, if left on their own, will celebrate Muharram and Dussehra respectively with peace and brotherhood.

In a warning against creating violence during festivities, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that "politics should not be done in the name of festivals."

Stating that communal violence may occur on Muharram day as it coincides with the day following Vijayadashmi when idol immersions are usually carried out, the West Bengal Chief Minister has barred idol immersion after 6:00 p.m.

aninews.in/newsdetail-Mg/MzM1MDE0/indresh-kumar-accuses-mamata-of-ploying-to-create-rift-between-hindus-muslims.html

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Pakistan

Why Pakistan army pushed political role for terrorist-linked groups

Reuters | Sep 16, 2017

LAHORE: A new Pakistani political party controlled by an Islamist with a $10 million US bounty on his head is backing a candidate in a by-election on Sunday, in what a former senior army officer says is a key step in a military-proposed plan to mainstream terrorist groups.

The Milli Muslim League party loyal to Hafiz Saeed - who the United States and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people - has little chance of seeing its favoured candidate win the seat vacated when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed from office by the Supreme Court in July.

But the foray into politics by Saeed's Islamist charity is following a blueprint that Sharif himself rejected when the military proposed it last year, retired Lieutenant General Amjad Shuaib told Reuters.

Three close Sharif confidants with knowledge of the discussions confirmed that Sharif had opposed the "mainstreaming" plan, which senior military figures and some analysts see as a way of steering ultra-religious groups away from violent jihad.

"We have to separate those elements who are peaceful from the elements who are picking up weapons," Shuaib said.

Pakistan's powerful military has long been accused of fostering terrorist groups as proxy fighters opposing neighbouring India, a charge the army denies.

"Patriotic people"

Saeed's religious charity launched the Milli Muslim League party within two weeks after the court ousted Sharif over corruption allegations.

Yaqoob Sheikh, the Lahore candidate for Milli Muslim League, is standing as an independent after the Electoral Commission said the party was not yet legally registered.

But Saeed's lieutenants, JUD workers and Milli Muslim League officials are running his campaign and portraits of Saeed adorn every poster promoting Sheikh.

Another Islamist designated a terrorist by the United States, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, has told Reuters he too plans to soon form his own party to advocate strict Islamic law.

"God willing, we will come into the mainstream - our country right now needs patriotic people," Khalil said, vowing to turn Pakistan into a state government by strict Islamic law.

Saeed's charity and Khalil's Ansar ul-Umma organisation are both seen by the United States as fronts for terrorist groups the army has been accused of sponsoring. The military denies any policy of encouraging radical groups.

Both Islamist groups deny their political ambitions were engineered by the military. The official army spokesman was not available for comment after queries were sent to the press wing.

Still, hundreds of MML supporters, waving posters of Saeed and demanding his release from house arrest, chanted "Long live Hafiz Saeed! Long live the Pakistan army!" at political rallies during the past week.

"Anyone who is India's friend is a traitor, a traitor," went another campaign slogan, a reference to Sharif's attempts to improve relations with long-time foe India that was a source of tension with the military.

'Deradicalisation' plan

Both Saeed and Khalil are proponents of a strict interpretation of Islam and have a history of supporting violence - each man was reportedly a signatory to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwa declaring war on the United States.

They have since established religious groups that they say are unconnected to violence, though the United States maintains those groups are fronts for funnelling money and fighters to terrorists targeting India.

Analyst Khaled Ahmed, who has researched Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity and its connections to the military, says the new political party is clearly an attempt by the generals to pursue an alternative to dismantling its terrorist proxies.

"One thing is the army wants these guys to survive," Ahmed said. "The other thing is that they want to also balance the politicians who are more and more inclined to normalise relations with India."

The military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency first began pushing the political mainstreaming plan in April 2016, according to retired general Shuaib, a former director of the army's military intelligence wing that is separate from the ISI.

He said the proposal was shared with him in writing by the then-ISI chief, adding that he himself had spoken with Khalil as well as Saeed in an unofficial capacity about the plan.

"Fazlur Rehman Khalil was very positive. Hafiz Saeed was very positive," Shuaib said. "My conversation with them was just to confirm those things which I had been told by the ISI and other people."

Saeed has been under house arrest since January at his house in the eastern city of Lahore. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction over the Mumbai attacks.

Then-Prime Minister Sharif, however, was strongly against the military's mainstreaming plan, according to Shuaib and three members of Sharif's inner circle, including one who was in some of the tense meetings over the issue.

Sharif wanted to completely dismantle groups like JuD. Disagreement on what to do about anti-India proxy fighters was a major source of rancour with the military, according to one of the close Sharif confidants.

In recent weeks several senior figures from the ruling PML-N party have publicly implied that elements of the military - which has run Pakistan for almost half its modern history and previously ousted Sharif in a 1999 coup - had a hand in the court ouster of Sharif, a charge both the army and the court reject.

A representative of the PML-N, which last month replaced him as prime minister with close ally Shahid Khaqi Abbasi, said the party was "not aware" of any mainstreaming plan being brought to the table.

Religion and politics

Some analysts worry that mainstreaming such controversial groups would be a risky strategy for Pakistan.

US President Donald Trump's administration has threatened sanctions against members of Pakistan's military and even raised the spectre of declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

"It will send a wrong message," said analyst Zahid Hussain, who nevertheless thought that Saeed's new party would have a "negligible" effect on Pakistani elections because religious parties have never won more than a few seats in parliament.

Others are not so sure.

Sheikh, the MML candidate in Sunday's by-election who says he was handpicked by Hafiz Saeed, vowed to establish strict Islamic rule and "break" liberalism and secularism.

Analyst Ahmed warned that few existing religious parties have a charismatic leader like Saeed, and Pakistan may find itself unable to control a rising tide of Islamist sentiment.

"If Hafiz Saeed comes into the mainstream, it's not that he is going to be politicised," he added. "It's that he is going to make politics more religious."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/why-pakistan-army-pushed-political-role-for-terrorist-linked-groups/articleshow/60710930.cms

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NA-120: Tehrik Labbaik Pakistan Aims to Enforce Sharia

 

A candidate, who knew from day one that he faces the toughest challenge in NA-120 by-election, is Sheikh Azhar Hussain Rizvi, fielded by Tehrik Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

TLP is a newly established political party, a torch-bearer of upholding the honour of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Besides, it is striving to enforce Islamic system of Shariah in the country. TLP is patronised by one of the noted religious scholars in Punjab, Dr Allama Khadim Hussin Rizvi.

Azhar Hussain Rizvi is the most inexperienced candidate and facing tough rivals of experienced parties like the PML-N, PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami. Hailing from a religious family of inside Texali Gate, Sh Azhar Hussain Rizvi received religious education from Jamia Nomania, and at present he is serving his institution as its secretary. He is a businessman and earns his livelihood from importing and supplying wood furniture polish.

Talking to The News, he said TLP emerged from the movement Tehrik Labbaik Ya Rasoollah (TLYR) as its political arm a few months back and is among the youngest of the political entities in the country like Milli Muslim League.

He said that basic reason for contesting NA-120 by-election was to struggle for establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa in the country and protect Islamic laws against the western-backed conspiracies. He said both the PPP and PML-N had been taking turns to rule the country over the last thirty years, but instead of serving the people, they plundered public wealth and amassed huge money abroad in shape of properties, luxury flats, off-shore companies and business empires. He said even relatives of Nawaz Sharif like Ishaq Dar had become billionaire by establishing huge businesses in Dubai and Europe.He said TLP wanted to bring an end to the victimisation of religious people in the country in the garb of anti-terrorist operations. He said thousands of prayer leaders were booked under the terrorism laws and Amplifier Act, and put under fourth schedule. Besides, loudspeakers of mosques were removed in the name of anti-sectarianism and extremism measures. He said the nation had got fed up with Nawaz Sharif for his betrayal with regard to enforcement of Islamic laws.

Sh Azhar Hussain also clarified a vicious campaign against him that spread a false news and photographs on social media claiming that he had retired in support of PML-N candidate Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. He termed the reports baseless, aimed at damaging his political campaign and alleged that the ugly campaign was the work of the PML-N media cell.

When asked if his candidature would divide the religious votes in the constituency since there are three candidates of Islamist parties contesting for the seat, he said every party had its own unique agenda. He said TLP was ready to join hands with any party having a common agenda and which agreed to support the cause pursued by the TLP.

thenews.com.pk/print/230457-NA-120-new-party-aims-to-enforce-Sharia

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Four teachers held responsible for Christian boy’s death

September 17, 2017

VEHARI: A two-member committee looking into the murder of a Christian boy in the Burewala school has recommended departmental action against four teachers of the school, holding them responsible for the death of the student.

On Aug 30, Sheron Masih had died from fatal blows from class fellow Ahmed Raza in the classroom of the Government MC Model High School, Burewala.

The inquiry report negates police report that the cause of the dispute between the two students was a mobile phone. The education department inquiry committee states Raza had not allowed Sheron to leave the classroom.

The inquiry team, consisting of Bashir Ahmed (headmaster of the Islamia High School in Vehari and Muhammad Asim (deputy district officer), submitted the report to the district education office on Saturday.

The report recommended that action be taken against class teacher Nazir Mohal, headmaster Saleem Tahir and physical education teachers (PETs) Ramzan and Dildar Ahmed.

According to the report, the four teachers were guilty of showing poor school and classroom management, violating government rules and demonstrating least interest in their duty. The report added that class teacher Mohal’s absence from the classroom during the incident had been proved while both students -- deceased Sheron and suspect Raza -- were not enrolled on the day of the incident.

The four teachers have already been suspended from service after the incident. The inquiry committee recommended compulsory retirement of class teacher Nazir Mohal under the the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006. Headmaster Saleem Tahir faces forfeiture of one-year service whereas PETs Ramzan and Dildar face forfeiture of one-year increment.

The report confirmed that Sheron was killed by the torture of Raza in the school. The inquiry team recorded the statements of teachers, students and family of both Sheron Masih and Raza.

Education Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Shaukat Ali Tahir told Dawn that show-cause notices had been issued to the four teachers and further action would be taken against them after one week as per the recommendation of the inquiry team.

dawn.com/news/1358211/four-teachers-held-responsible-for-christian-boys-death

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Pak-Afghan border crossing at Torkham reopened

September 17, 2017

LANDI KOTAL: The border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham, which was closed on Friday, was reopened on Saturday following a flag meeting attended by military and civilian officials of the two countries.

The meeting lasted for several hours and thorny issues relating to security were discussed in detail, sources said.

Pakistan had closed the crossing after two grenade attacks from Afghanistan on Frontier Corps (FC) check posts near the border. Six FC personnel and three civilians had been injured in the explosions.

Officials told Dawn that Afghan delegation was shown closed-circuit television footage of the two blasts which clearly showed that the grenades were hurled from the Afghan side.

The Afghan delegation was reminded that Pakistan was making all-out efforts to facilitate the Afghans, including students studying in Pakistani educational institutions, to cross the border in a smooth manner.

The Afghan officials were told that Pakistan would further improve its security situation by expediting the fencing of the border, building concrete walls where necessary, increasing the number of surveillance cameras along it and establishing more security posts, the sources said. It was learnt that for its part the Afghan delegation objected to what it called “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani border guards at Afghan check posts near the border.

The Pakistani officials rejected the allegations and insisted that their personnel had always reacted to Afghan forces’ aggression with a fair degree of restraint.

The sources added that members of the Afghan delegation expressed displeasure over repeated closure of the border crossing because doing so caused monetary losses to traders on both sides of the border. Sick and elderly Afghans also suffered as a result.

The Pakistani delegation comprised Sector Commander Brig Arshad, Khyber Rifles Commandant Farrukh Humayun, Lt Col Mubashir, Assistant Political Agent Niaz Muhammad and retired Col Iftikhar of the National Logistics Cell.

From the Afghan side Col Qasim, Col Nisar and Gate Commander Ghorghande attended the flag meeting.

dawn.com/news/1358183/pak-afghan-border-crossing-at-torkham-reopened

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Nisar chides Asif for remarks about banned outfits

September 17, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan assailed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday over his remarks about banned outfits, saying that comments on sensitive and important matters must be based on facts and record and not on assumptions and riddles.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Chaudhry Nisar pointed out that 26,000 people laid down their lives while over 70,000 sustained injuries in the war on terrorism. He said that Pakistan also suffered a loss of over $100 billion as a frontline state in the war.

Mr Asif in a recent TV interview had stressed the need “for putting our own house in order” and keeping tabs on banned organisations, including Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, admitting that the groups were operating from within Pakistan. In another interview he said that he stood by his words.

Chaudhry Nisar regretted that despite the sacrifices, some people not only criticised and pointed fingers at Pakistan, but also made it a target of derision. “The reason is that we provide the world an opportunity to ridicule us and put the blame of their failures on us, due to our irresponsible attitudes and statements,” he noted.

In an interview, the foreign minister had called for setting ‘our own house in order’

He said it was quite strange that at a time when the army chief was asserting that Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices and the world must acknowledge this and should ‘do more’, the foreign minister and the interior minister were taking the position that Pakistan should do more.

He said that these two persons had been ministers for the past four and a half years. “Did they ever express these views in the meetings of the cabinet or National Security Committee? Does the minister realise how much his statement was played up and publicised in India and how it was used by that country to substantiate its baseless claim that the problem is with Pakistan?” he asked.

“This is also a fact, unfortunately, that such statements are made to criticise our intelligence agencies and armed forces. But if this is the case then one should have the moral courage to do plain talk rather than asking riddles,” Chaudhry Nisar said.

He said that of course there were some weaknesses and shortcomings vis-à-vis national security but these issues should be addressed through consultation, hard work and consensus. “One should not make fun of it before the entire world through statements. National security issues are very sensitive and one should consider national interest before speaking about such matters.”

He asked if there was not a visible improvement in the internal security situation today as compared to the one that the country faced in 2013-14. “What made this possible were joint efforts and not under any coercion or help from outside.” Federal and provincial governments, arm-ed forces, civil armed forces, and intelligence agencies contributed to the joint efforts, he added.

The former interior minister said if the defence minister saw any weakness or shortcoming, he should have taken remedial measures or should have raised the issue at the cabinet or National Security Com-mittee level. Ministers should come up with solutions rather than making statements, he remarked.

Referring to a claim made by an anchor of a private TV channel, putting his own words into the mouth of Kulsoom Nawaz, Chaudhry Nisar said it was totally ridiculous, baseless, provocative and a total lie. What was most surprising was why he recalled such a thing after almost 17 years. This is a matter of serious concern that Ms Nawaz was unwell these days and she was not in a position to comment on such news.

He said any attempt to make Ms Nawaz controversial, especially when she was not well, was inappropriate.

A prominent TV anchor had recently quoted Ms Nawaz as saying that Chaudhry Nisar was not with her when she had launched a campaign against former dictator retired General Pervez Musharraf while her husband was under incarceration.

dawn.com/news/1358202/nisar-chides-asif-for-remarks-about-banned-outfits

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Benazir murder case verdict not acceptable, says Bilawal

September 17, 2017

DADU: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that he and his family have not accepted the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

Addressing a public meeting here on Saturday, he said those who were accused in the case had been acquitted. The main accused was abroad and others had been acquitted. He said that Benazir Bhutto was not only his mother but also a former prime minister as well as a great leader.

He said the decisions had never been announced in their favour in the past too.

He said the people of Dadu district were killed by the dictator because they had resisted him and wanted to establish democracy in the country.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said owing to the wrong policies of the PML-N government, 50 million people were living below the poverty line in the country.

He said Nawaz Sharif had not only been proved unworthy for the post of prime minister but he had also left an ineligible team behind him.

He said the country was facing an energy crisis and in the name of ending load-shedding money was misused. He said over four years of the PML-N government had passed but load-shedding was still there.

He said because of the flawed foreign policy of the PML-N government, Pakistan faced diplomatic crises. He said the situation would improve be­cause the nation was united.

The PPP chief said no action was taken by the federal government against banned organisations.

He said instead of visiting Sindh PTI chairman Imran Khan should visit Peshawar where people were dying of dengue.

He said there were corruption scandals against the KP chief minister and his ministers. He said that former and current chief ministers of Sindh were free from corruption charges.

He said Imran Khan had no base in Sindh.

He said both the PTI and PML-N had failed politically and they were doing politics for their interest.

He said wrong propaganda was going on against Sindh and the PPP government in the province.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the federal government had not given Sindh’s share in the NFC award but the PPP government paid attention to development.

He said development was also carried out in Karachi. He said Asif Zardari had provided jobs to the people of Sindh and other provinces.

He said that he had directed the Sindh chief minister to rehabilitate Manchhar lake.

The PPP chief said that he needed power for poor people to improve their lives and appealed them to support him.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah claimed in his speech that in the next general elections, the PPP would secure major seats from Dadu and Jamshoro districts.

Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah also attended the rally.

Earlier, PPP information secretary Moula Bux Chandio said his party was not eradicated but those who talked about its demise had themselves died politically.

He said the party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was in the hearts of the masses.

He said the PPP had majority in Sindh and it would prove its majority in Punjab. He said not a single institution was against the PPP but a few people opposed it.

He said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was paying attention to development of Sindh. Only the PPP leadership could bring change in the country.

PPP leader Nafisa Shah said the country would be developed under the leadership of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

PPP ladies wing Sindh president Shagufta Jumani said Nawaz Sharif was removed from the Prime Minister House because he had not delivered to the public honestly.

dawn.com/news/1358197/benazir-murder-case-verdict-not-acceptable-says-bilawal

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‘Breakthrough’ in Sino-Pak FTA talks

September 16, 2017

KARACHI: China agreed to address major concerns of Pakistan about the preference erosion of its exports and meaningful market access during the latest round of negotiations over the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) held in Beijing on Sept 14-15.

The negotiation hit an impasse in the last few rounds, but the eighth meeting of the second phase of negotiations over the FTA concluded with a ‘breakthrough’, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Friday.

The meeting was co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha and Chinese Vice Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen.

In the last seven rounds, Pakistan pleaded the case for the restoration of its preference under the FTA that had been eroded due to subsequent FTAs of China. Mr Dagha pointed out that the preference on 79 per cent of Pakistan’s exports to China had been eroded. Pakistan has also shown concern about not being able to get meaningful market access during the first phase of the FTA.

Also read: Chinese ‘rigidity’ rattles Pakistani businesses

Pakistan had been raising this issue with the Chinese side time and again during the previous rounds without any consensus to address these concerns.

Pakistan shared a list of around 70 high-priority items of its export interest for immediate market access. The Chinese side agreed to consider the list favourably. These tariff lines constitute more than 80pc of Pakistan’s current exports to China.

dawn.com/news/1357937/breakthrough-in-sino-pak-fta-talks

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Arab World

Army Nearing Complete Liberation of Central Syria from ISIL Occupation

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued to advance against ISIL in the Eastern territories of Homs and Hama provinces on Saturday, paving the ground for the full liberation of Central Syria after almost four years of terrorists' occupation.

The army soldiers captured the village of al-Hanouteh South of the town of al-Mab'oujeh after they captured the town of Qalib al-Thor in Eastern Hama.

In the meantime, the Russian and Syrian fighter jets and the army's artillery units pounded the positions and movements of ISIL in regions that are still under the control of the terrorists in Eastern Hama, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

Relevant reports said on Friday that the army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in areas surrounding of Qalib al-Thor, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units targeted ISIL's gathering centers in Qalib al-Thor region, destroying a number of terrorist positions. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625001037

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UN may vote soon to help Iraq collect evidence against Islamic State

The Security Council is putting the final touches on a resolution that would authorise UN investigators to help Iraq collect evidence to prosecute extremists from the Islamic State

United Nations: The Security Council is putting the final touches on a resolution that would authorise UN investigators to help Iraq collect evidence to prosecute extremists from the Islamic State group for possible war crimes.

A council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations are private, said yesterday the council hopes to vote next Thursday.

The draft resolution would ask Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish an investigative team to assist Iraq in preserving evidence “that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” committed by IS.

Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari wrote to Guterres last month saying it was working on a draft resolution with Britain. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney had urged Iraq’s prime minister in March to send a letter seeking UN assistance.

livemint.com/Politics/qX28NXC656w3uGKsD99EpK/UN-may-vote-soon-to-help-Iraq-collect-evidence-against-Islam.html

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Assassins kill Islamic State’s chief vigilante in Hawija

by  Mohamed Mostafa

Sep 17, 2017

Hawija (IraqINews.com) Unknown attackers have killed a senior Islamic State vigilante in Kirkuk and humiliated his corpse, an intelligence source said Sunday.

An intelligence source told Alsumaria News that unknown attackers killed Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, Islamic State’s Hisbah (vigilantism) chief in Hawija, the group’s stronghold in southwest Kirkuk, and stuck a donkey’s poster on his dead body, understandably an action of humiliation.

The corpse was found with gunshot marks in the head, according to the source.

Islamic State militants have held Hawija since 2014, when they proclaimed an “Islamic caliphate” in large parts of Iraq and Syria.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said in August it had completed preparations to invade the town and eliminate IS fighters.

Since the Iraqi government launched a wide-scale offensive to retake IS-held regions in 2016, occasional reports have told of instances when unknown attackers assassinated senior group members. Those were coupled with other reports telling of divisions within the group’s ranks as Iraqi forces made progress on the ground.

iraqinews.com/features/assassins-kill-islamic-states-chief-vigilante-hawija/

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Islamic State Suicide Bombers Attack Coalition Base In Iraq

 

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.S.-led coalition says several Islamic State suicide bombers have attacked one of its bases in northern Iraq, without causing any Iraqi or foreign casualties.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, the coalition spokesman, says all the attackers were killed.

Dillon says Sunday's attack occurred in the area of the northern town of Hawija, one of the last pockets of IS control after the extremists were driven from Mosul earlier this year.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have retaken all the major urban areas the extremists once held in Iraq, but IS remains capable of carrying out attacks on civilian and military targets.

On Thursday, an IS attack on a checkpoint and restaurant in southern Iraq killed more than 80 people and wounded dozens more.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_IRAQ?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-09-17-04-44-11

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Syrian Soldiers Keep Marching on ISIL's Positons in Eastern Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops drove ISIL terrorists out of more hills and villages and managed to tighten their circle of forces around the remaining terrorist-held regions in the Central part of the country on Saturday.

The army men engaged in intense battle with the ISIL in Eastern Hama and imposed control over al-Nubeh hill and the villages of al-Khalaya, al-Moshrefeh and Khalid Hilal.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties and its military hardware sustained major damage in the clashes.  

Relevant reports said earlier today that the army troops stormed ISIL's defense lines in Eastern Hama and forced the terrorists to retreat from a small but key town, tightening noose on the militants in the Central part of the country.

The army men hit ISIL's defense lines in Eastern Hama heavily and seized control over the town of Qalib al-Thor.

The army units inflicted heavy casualties on ISIL and seized a large volume of its arms and ammunition.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625001455

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US-Led Coalition Airstrikes Kill At Least 12 Civilians Near Syria's Deir ez-Zor © Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy

17.09.2017

A Syrian state news agency reported that the airstrikes of the US-led coalition in Syria have claimed lives of 12 civilians.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — At least 12 civilians were killed near the Syrian citiy of Deir ez-Zor by airstrikes that were carried out by the US-led coalition fighting against Daesh terrorist group in the country, local media reported on Saturday.

According to the Syrian Sana news agency, the US-led coalition aircraft carried a series of strikes on residential neighborhoods in Al Mayadin city, located 29 miles southeast of  Deir ez-Zor. The attacks also targeted neighborhoods in the town of Mahkan near Al Mayadin city. Most of the victims were women and children.

Smoke billows as Syrian government forces advance in Al-Shula on the southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzor on September 8, 2017

The airstrikes reportedly caused damage to nearby houses and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, media reported that 22 civilians in the Syrian cities of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor were killed by airstrikes of the US-led coalition.

Although last week the three-year Daesh siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor was broken the fighting to fully liberate the area is still underway.

The successful Deir ez-Zor operation was the biggest breakthrough against Daesh since the terrorist group first launched an offensive in the province. The terrorists had been blockading Deir ez-Zor since 2014, with food and other supplies only being airlifted into the city. The group also took control over a large swath of the province of Deir ez-Zor and cut off roads to government-held districts.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201709171057457739-usa-coalition-airstrike-kill-civilians/

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Saudi-led airstrike kills 12 civilians in central Yemen

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-17

SANAA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- A fresh Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed 12 civilians travelling in a bus in Yemen's central province of Marib on Saturday evening, rescuers and a local official said.

The 12-member family, including six women and two children, were hit when travelling in a bus to escape fierce battles between rival Yemeni forces in Serwah district in Marib, the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Xinhua by phone.

Rescuers also confirmed that all the family members were killed on the spot.

It is the latest in a series of airstrikes targeting civilians in the war-torn Arab country since the war erupted two and a half years ago.

Earlier this month, a similar airstrike killed a six-member family in Alsadah village in the northwestern province of Hajjah.

In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition launched a large-scale air campaign to back the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Iranian-backed Houthis, who invaded the capital Sanaa and seized most of the country's northern provinces.

More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the war that also displaced over 3 million others, according to UN agencies.

Yemen is now also on the edge of a mass famine.

news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-09/17/c_136614916.htm

Syrian Army Defeats Daesh in Southeast Deir Ez-Zor Districts, Reaches Euphrates © AFP 2017/ George OURFALIAN

17.09.2017

Syrian government forces continue to press forward with Russian air cover in the offensive against Daesh jihadists: two districts in the southeast of Deir ez-Zor have been liberated from terrorists.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Syrian government troops and their allies liberated two southeastern districts of the city of Deir ez-Zor from Daesh terror group and reached the Euphrates river, a source in the operation headquarters told Sputnik on Sunday.

"The army reached the Euphrates, having liberated [two] districts… On the east side, the militants were forced to retreat from the airbase at a distance of more than five kilometers [over three miles]," the source said.

According to the source, the terrorists retreated to the city of Al Mayadin while some of them crossed the Euphrates and sheltered in the northern part of Deir ez-Zor.

Troops of the Syrian 5th Army Corps join Syrian army units in the south of Deir ez-Zor following the breaking of the ISIL blockade at the main entrance to the city in the south

Although last week the three-year Daesh siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor was broken the fighting to fully liberate the area is still underway.

The successful Deir ez-Zor operation was the biggest breakthrough against Daesh since the terrorist group first launched an offensive in the province. The terrorists had been blockading Deir ez-Zor since 2014, with food and other supplies only being airlifted into the city. The group also took control over a large swath of the province of Deir ez-Zor and cut off roads to government-held districts.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201709171057458595-syria-army-defeat-daesh-euphrates/

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Syrian army, allies close in on Islamic State in Deir Ezzor

Sunday 17 September 2017

Syrian troops seized a suburb of the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria on Sunday, tightening the noose around Islamic State militants, a military source said.

Oil-rich Deir Ezzor province, which borders Iraq, is Islamic State’s last major foothold in Syria.

The Syrian army pushed into Deir Ezzor city this month, with Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, breaking an Islamic State siege of an enclave that had lasted three years.

Russia’s RIA news agency cited an unnamed source as saying that the Syrian army cut Islamic State’s main supply line in the city on Sunday after taking control of the al-Jafra district.

The Syrian military source said the army and allied forces captured al-Jafra on the western bank of the Euphrates. Islamic State militants could only escape across the river.

“They have no outlet except crossing the Euphrates towards the eastern bank and fleeing towards the desert, or (the towns of) al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin,” the source told Reuters.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and its allies took al-Jafra and other villages near the city’s air base overnight.

Islamic State militants still hold nearly a third of the city, the war monitoring group said. Russian jets pounded movements across the river as Islamic State fighters tried to escape in ferries, it added.

Many civilians, including families of the militants, had also tried to flee through the river in recent days, the monitor said.

Separate air strikes by Russia and by the US-led coalition had killed more than 30 people across Deir Ezzor province over the past day, it said.

Islamic State has fallen back on towns downstream of Deir Ezzor and controls much of the desert region around the city, near the border with Iraq. Its fighters have also come under attack there from a separate US-backed offensive.

An alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias is battling Islamic State in the northern parts of Deir Ezzor province, with jets and special forces from the US-led coalition.

The Syrian Democratic Forces alliance said it had taken 14 villages and farms, two large towns, and some factories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates since launching its assault last week.

The two offensives have advanced from opposite sides of the river, which bisects Deir Ezzor province and has often served as a dividing line between Russian and US battles against Islamic State in Syria.

middleeasteye.net/news/syrian-army-allies-close-islamic-state-deir-ezzor-1434624039

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Iraqi Forces Continue Rapid Advances against Terrorists in Western Anbar

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi pro-government forces have made rapid gains in their joint anti-ISIL operation in the strategic Akashat region in the Western part of Anbar province near the border with Syria, military sources confirmed on Saturday.

The sources said that the Iraqi forces have purged the road towards Akashat of terrorists and are advancing rapidly in the region.

They added that the Iraqi pro-government forces have entered Akashat region and attacked the residential complex in Akashat.

The sources went on to say that the army and popular forces are hunting terrorists in the residential complex.

In the meantime, an Iraqi security source said that ISIL terrorists have fled towards the town of al-Qa'em, the last bastion of the terrorists in Anbar province, after news was released about the start of the Akashat liberation operation by the Iraqi military.

Deputy Commander of the Special Forces' Operation Maj. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah said in a statement earlier today that the Iraqi pro-government forces have launched a joint anti-ISIL operation in Akashat region West of Anbar province along the border with Syria.

The Iraqi commander said that the Army troops, under the command of the Anbar operations, the country's volunteer forces of Hashd al-Shaabi and border forces are taking part in the operation to capture Akashat in Western Anbar.

General Yarallah said that the Iraqi pro-government forces' operation is aimed at restoring security to international borders North of Akashat region and reopening a road connecting Akashat to the international highway.

He further said that there are a number of arms depots, garrisons, bomb-making workshops and command centers of ISIL in Akashat region.

In the meantime, Hashd al-Shaabi announced that it has launched a large-scale operation to drive ISIL out of the Akashat region from four flanks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625001510

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Syrian Army's Elite Forces Ready to Cross Euphrates River to Face ISIL in Eastern Deir Ezzur

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's Tiger Forces are preparing to cross the Euphrates River to join other units of the pro-government forces on the Eastern bank of the river, a Russian media outlet reported a few minutes ago.

The Arabic-language website of the state-run Sputnik news agency reported that the army units had previously deployed on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River and are now expecting arrival of more soldiers.

Sputnik said that Tiger Forces that are under the command of Brigadier General Suheil al-Hassan are to shoulder the mission, adding that al-Hassan is one of the most experienced field commanders of the army.

It added that the Tiger Forces have been equipped with heavy military transport vehicles, including Grad and Solnetsibuck, to have a faster and safer move towards the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

The news agency said that the army's engineering battalion is building military bridges over the Euphrates River for the Tiger Forces. 

A well-informed local source said earlier today that a number of ISIL terrorists laid down arms and surrendered to the Syrian Army troops in the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur after the devastating advances of the pro-government forces in the region.

"A number of ISIL terrorists have surrendered to the government forces," the source said, without specifying why the surrender took place.

The source added that the terrorists that are still holding parts of the city have been significantly weakened and are unable to continue resistance against the army offensive. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960625001379

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South Asia

Bangladesh PM seeks help for Rohingya crisis at UN as exodus tops 400,000

September 16, 2017

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina headed for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Saturday to plead for global help coping with the Rohingya crisis, as the numbers seeking refuge in her country following a crackdown in Myanmar topped 400,000.

The PM left a day after her government summoned the Myanmar envoy for the third time to protest over its neighbour's actions. Her office said Hasina would demand more pressure on Myanmar during talks in New York.

Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya Muslims since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar's Rakhine state on August 25.

The UN said Saturday that the total number of people to have entered Bangladesh having fled the unrest had now reached 409,000, a leap of 18,000 in a day.

Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox's Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 300,000 people from earlier refugee waves.

“Sheikh Hasina will raise the Rohingya issue during her speech at the UNGA. She will seek immediate cessation of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar and ask the UN secretary general to send a fact-finding missing to Rakhine,” a spokesman for the prime minister, Nazrul Islam, told AFP.

“She will also call the international community and the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar,” he said.

The prime minister is to address the UN assembly on Thursday.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali earlier told reporters: “We will continue international pressure on the Myanmar government to immediately end its ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,” he added.

Backlash fears amid Myanmar tensions

Amid mounting tensions between the two, the foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Myanmar charge d'affaires in Dhaka to protest alleged violations of its airspace by Myanmar drones and helicopter.

The ministry warned that the three encroachments between September 10 and 14 could lead to “unwarranted consequences”. Myanmar did not immediately comment.

The Bangladesh government has also protested to the embassy over the planting of landmines near their border, which has killed several Rohingya, and the treatment of the refugees.

UN leader Antonio Guterres has also said Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya could amount to ethnic cleansing.

UN agencies and other relief groups have warned that the refugee crisis could get out of control.

The World Health Organisation and UN children's agency on Saturday launched vaccination campaigns against measles rubella and polio. They estimate that 60 per cent of the new arrivals are children.

Most Rohingya, who spent more than a week trekking cross-country from Rakhine to reach the Bangladesh border, have found existing camps overflowing and have instead settled on muddy roadsides.

Many families do not have a shelter over their heads and refugees have been fighting for food and water deliveries.

“The needs are seemingly endless and the suffering is deepening,” said Unicef spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.

Outside the giant Balukali camp, Jamila Khatun, 60, sat under a blue plastic bin bag held up by bamboo poles with her children and grandchildren as she recounted her journey to Bangladesh.

She said she handed over her jewellery to a Bangladesh boatman two days ago to get across the river frontier from Myanmar.

“We walked by night for three or four days to avoid the military and then came over by boat. We don't know what we will do or where we will live but if people here feed us we will stay. We don't want to go back,” she told AFP.

Nur Khan Liton, a respected Bangladeshi rights activist working with the refugees in Cox's Bazar, told AFP: “Refugees are still pouring in. But there is no attempt to bring discipline and order in the aid management.”

Liton said the Rohingya “have become victims of muggings and extortion” and that cases of diarrhoea are spreading. “I heard that one Rohingya boy has died of diarrhoea.”

The government has put the army in charge of ferrying foreign relief aid from airports to Cox's Bazar.

It also plans to build 14,000 shelters, which it hopes will be enough for 400,000 people. Each shelter can house six refugee families.

Hasina has ordered the shelters erected within 10 days, Bangladesh's disaster management secretary Shah Kama told AFP.

The authorities have sent police reinforcements to Cox's Bazar to protect Buddhist temples in case of a radical Muslim backlash.

dawn.com/news/1358079/bangladesh-pm-seeks-help-for-rohingya-crisis-at-un-as-exodus-tops-400000

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Taliban and ISIS infighting leaves several dead in Nangarhar province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Sep 16 2017

Several militants belonging to the Taliban group and ISIS offshoot, ISIS Khurasan, were killed during infighting in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Saturday.

The officials further added that the incident took place in the vicinity of Chaparhar district on Friday.

The provincial government media office in a statement confirmed the incident and death of five militants during the clashes.

The statement further added that the clash broke out in the vicinity of Ghulam Dak area.

At least three ISIS militants and two Taliban insurgents were among those killed, the provincial government said.

The statement by the provincial government also added that a Taliban insurgent has joined peace process by handing over a pistol, a AK-47 assault rifle, and three hand grenades.

According to the officials, the Taliban insurgent joined peace process in Dur Baba district.

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

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the recent years.

Both the Afghan and US forces conduct regular operations and airstrikes against the militants operating in this province, specifically the ISIS terrorist group which attempts expand their foothold in the restive and remote districts of Nangarhar.

khaama.com/taliban-and-isis-infighting-leaves-several-dead-in-nangarhar-province-03454

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Taliban suffer heavy casualties in air and ground operations in Faryab

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Sep 17 2017

The Taliban insurgents have suffered heavy casualties during the air and ground operations in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.

The 209th Corps of the Afghan national army in the North said the operations were conducted in the past several hours in pashton Kot district.

The Shaheen Corps officials said at least twelve Taliban insurgents were killed and nineteen others were wounded during the operations.

The officials further added that the militants were targeted in the vicinity of Barghan, Toimast, Bidaki villages.

At least twelve vehicles belonging to the insurgents were also destroyed during the operations, the officials said, adding that a landmine planted by the militants was also discovered and defused.

In other operation conducted in Qaramqol district, the Afghan security forces arrested a seminary lecturer for having links with the anti-government armed militant groups.

According to Shaheen Corps officials, the security forces also discovered an improvised explosive device, our rockets, four hand grenades, and eight thousand rounds of AK-47 rifle ammunition from his residence.

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

This comes as the security situation in northern Faryban province remains tense since the militants have increased their insurgency activities in key northern provinces.

khaama.com/taliban-suffer-heavy-casualties-in-air-and-ground-operations-in-faryab-03459

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Top Taliban leader killed by Pakistani Taliban militants in Kunar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Sep 17 2017

A top leader of the Afghan Taliban insurgents has been killed by the Pakistani Taliban militants in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, it has been reported.

The incident has reportedly taken place in the vicinity of Sarkano district with the slain Taliban leader identified as Ubaid.

According to the local media reports in Pakistan citing informed sources, Ubaid was killed two days ago by the militants of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Last week the Pakistani armed group allegedly killed an Afghan Taliban local leader Zabita Jalal that caused tension between the two sides in the area, according to Daily Times.

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

Ubaid was believed to be a prominent Taliban leader who was in the wanted list of the Afghan and American forces.

Kunar, located in eastern parts of Afghanistan, borders the tribal regions of Pakistan and is home to several terrorist groups.

The Afghan Taliban insurgents as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group’s offshoot, ISIS Khorasan, operate in some of the restive districts of the province.

khaama.com/top-taliban-leader-killed-by-pakistani-taliban-militants-in-kunar-03457

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Abdullah says formation of political coalitions a legitimate move

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Sep 16 2017

The chief executive of the government of national unity Abdullah Abdullah says the formation of the political coalitions is a legitimate move.

Abdullah endorsed the move for the formation of a new political coalition, coalition for salvation of Afghanistan, as he was addressing a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif city today.

In other parts of his speech he said such claims that there is no will to fight or eliminate terrorism are questionable.

The chief executive urged that we should not forget the culture of understandings among each other and negotiations as he called on the Afghans to keep unity as the country faces the menace of terrorism and conspiracies of the enemies.

This comes as former presidential advisor for good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud slammed President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani for the lack of will to eliminate terrorism and implement reforms.

Speaking during a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif to mark the week of martyrs, Massoud claimed the government has no will to bring reforms in the politics and other sectors.

He called on President Ghani to resign if he has failed to implement key reforms.

The former presidential adviser also harshly criticized President Ghani for having no trust to bring political reforms and other necessary reforms in the government.

He claimed that certain circles in the government are attempting to monopolize the power and bring it under the control of a specific ethnic group.

He said there is no sign of unity and partnership of all groups in the government of national unity as he accused the government that there is no will to eliminate the terror groups besides political and economic issues remain persistent in the country.

khaama.com/abdullah-says-formation-of-political-coalitions-a-legitimate-move-03455

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Bangladesh warns Myanmar over violating air space

September 17, 2017

DHAKA: Bangladesh has accused Myanmar of repeatedly violating its air space and warned that any more “provocative acts” could have “unwarranted consequences”, raising the risk of a deterioration in relations already strained by the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Bangladesh said Myanmar drones and helicopters had violated its air space three times — on Sept 10, 12 and 14 — and it had called in a top Myanmar embassy official in Dhaka to complain.

“Bangladesh expressed deep concern at the repetition of such acts of provocation and demanded that Myanmar takes immediate measures to ensure that such violation of sovereignty does not occur again,” the ministry said in statement late on Friday. “These provocative acts may lead to unwarranted consequences.”

A Myanmar government spokesman said he did not have information about the incidents Bangladesh had complained about but Myanmar had denied an earlier accusation.

The spokesman, Zaw Htay, said Myanmar would check any information that Bangladesh provided. “Our two countries are facing the refugee crisis. We need to collaborate with good understanding,” he told Reuters.

Three killed in refugee camp stampede

Two children and a woman were killed in a stampede for aid near a Bangladesh refugee camp, UN agencies said on Saturday amid widespread fights among Rohingya for food and clothing thrown from relief trucks.

The incident occurred on Friday at Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar district where tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have camped for weeks after fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“Two children and one woman were killed in a stampede during an unauthorised clothing distribution on the road in Balukhali Pan Bazar area,” said a report prepared by a group of UN agencies and two charities.

“Despite local regulations and the control room established, private distributions of relief items continue,” it said, highlighting chaotic aid management that has drawn flak from rights workers.

AFP correspondents have witnessed violent scrambles for aid at camps around Cox’s Bazaar. Refugee witnesses have also told of stampedes.

A local rights expert slammed the government for the chaotic relief management, saying fights were breaking out each time an aid truck arrived and when food sacks were thrown to the refugees.

Two police officials told AFP however that they were unaware of any deaths of refugees due to a stampede in the Rohingya camps. “We know two Rohingya have died on Friday at Balukhali area. They included a six-month-old baby who died of pneumonia,” local police chief Mohammed Kai-Kislu said.

A 70-year-old man died of natural causes, he said, adding that another Rohingya man died on Saturday in a different place.

Movement restrictions

Bangladesh restricted the movement of Rohingya refugees on Saturday, banning them from leaving designated areas in the country to which over 400,000 have fled from violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

As Dhaka struggled to cope with the scale of the “unprecedented crisis”, dozens of refugees were found in three towns hundreds of kilometres from the Myanmar frontier, stoking fears that thousands of Rohingya Muslims will move from the border region into the the mainland of Bangladesh.

Police said they have now issued an order banning the Rohingya refugees from leaving the areas and camps the government has designated for them in the border district.

“They should stay in the designated camps until they return to their country,” Sahely Ferdous, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement. She said Rohingya were also asked not to take shelter in the homes of their friends or acquaintances and locals have been asked not to rent houses to the refugees.

Police said they have set up check posts and surveillance in key transit points to make sure the refugees don’t travel to the other parts of the country.

The restrictions are announced as Bangladesh authorities said they faced an “unprecedented crisis”.

dawn.com/news/1358126/bangladesh-warns-myanmar-over-violating-air-space

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Islamic Development Bank to support Kabul Ring Road project with $74m loan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Sep 17 2017

An agreement for the loan of $74 million was signed between the Afghan government and the Islamic Development Bank for the construction of Kabul Ring Road.

Mustafa Arya, the director of the grants consolidation in the ministry of finance, told reporters in Kabul that the agreement has been signed between the national economic council led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Islamic Development Bank.

He said based on the agreement, the Islamic Development Bank will provide the amount on the basis of returnable loan so that the project can be implemented.

Arya further added that the ring road having a length of 95 kilometers will be completed over a period of five years.

According to Arya, other public welfare projects such schools and clinics will also be built along the ring road.

He said Kabul ring road will connect Kabul with certain provinces via Kabul-Kandahar, Kabul-Logar, and Kabul-Balkh highways.

In the meantime, the Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the agreement for the grant was signed by minister of finance and deputy chief of the Islamic Development Bank in the palace today.

According to the ARG Palace, the project is estimated to bear a cost of around $110 million.

khaama.com/islamic-development-bank-to-support-kabul-ring-road-project-with-74m-grant-03456

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Mideast

Palestinian Fundamentalist Group Hamas Takes Steps to Rejoin Secular Rival Fatah © AP Photo/ Adel Hana

17.09.2017

In 2007 a conflict between Fatah, then dominant Palestinian political party, and the Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas led to the split of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas taking over the Gaza Strip. The decision of Hamas to finally hold negotiations with Fatah may indicate the first steps towards reconciliation.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas has announced that it has decided to dissolve its administrative committee and expressed a readiness to launch talks with the Fatah movement.

According to the fundamentalist organization's statement, Hamas is also ready to hold general elections.

Earlier this week, Hamas already showed its readiness to dissolve the committee and to transmit its powers to the unity government.

Palestinian policemen loyal to Hamas stand guard as fuel tankers enter Gaza through the Rafah border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip June 21, 2017.

The conflict between Hamas and Fatah escalated in 2007, leading to a split and Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip. Repeated attempts have been made by regional forces to achieve a reconciliation between the two parties, but all efforts have so far failed.

In January, Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government after three days of talks in Moscow, however, no further success has been achieved so far.

In August, reports emerged that Hamas had unveiled a new initiative aimed at reaching reconciliation with the Ramallah-based Fatah. The initiative reportedly envisaged the dissolution of Hamas’ administrative committee, established in March to coordinate the work of Gaza's public institutions. Fatah has repeatedly criticized the committee, claiming that it prevents the unity government from operating in the area.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201709171057458719-hamas-agrees-talks-fatah/

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Iran claims to have ‘father of all bombs,’ overshadowing American ‘mother’

Published time: 16 Sep, 2017

A top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) claims that the country possesses the “father of all bombs” which overshadows the most powerful non-nuclear ordnance of the US.

The bomb was developed under a special request of the IRGC, the corps’ Aerospace Force commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said in an interview on Friday.

“Following a proposal by the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), [Iran’s] Defense Industries [Organization] manufactured a 10-ton bomb. These bombs are at our disposal,” PressTV cited the commander as saying.

“They can be launched from Ilyushin aircraft and they are highly destructive,” he added, without providing any further details on the capabilities of the ordnance.

The commander called the device the “father of all bombs,” comparing it to the US GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), commonly known as the “mother of all bombs.” Since the American device weighs 9.8 tons and yields 11 tons in TNT equivalent, the IRGC commander presumably referred to the weight of the new Iranian ordnance rather than its destructive potential.

The MOAB was developed in 2003 and first used in combat this April, when the US dropped the device in Afghanistan on a mountain tunnel complex used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

The new Iranian ordnance, however, might trigger a bomb paternity dispute, as Russia already possesses a non-nuclear ordnance known as the “daddy.”

The Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, known as the ‘father of all bombs’ (FOAB), was successfully tested by Russia in 2007, with impressive results for a non-nuclear device – a 44-ton yield when detonated. The bomb explodes midair, vaporizing its targets, collapsing structures, and leaving a moon-like scorched landscape.

rt.com/news/403554-iran-father-bomb-moab/

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Erdogan, Kofi Annan discuss Rohingya Muslims over phone

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation Saturday with former U.N. Secretary-General and the head of Rakhine Advisory Commission, Kofi Annan over the recent developments regarding the ongoingRohingya crisis.

According to presidential sources, Erdogan and Annan discussed ways to resolve the crisis and end the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as well as a recent report by Annan's commission calling for an end to the restrictions on movement and citizenship for the 1.2 million Rohingya minority in Rakhine.

Erdogan emphasized the need for urgent initiatives by the international community to stop the violence in Myanmar and deliver aid to the region.

The Turkish leader urged Annan to communicate with the Myanmar government to end the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine and told the former U.N. chief that he would raise the issue in the upcoming U.N. General Assembly in New York.

He also said the Turkish government is ready to work together with Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities to resolve the crisis.

dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2017/09/16/erdogan-kofi-annan-discuss-rohingya-muslims-over-phone

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Iran recruits Afghan and Pakistani Shia to fight in Syria

AP | Updated: Sep 16, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of Shiite Muslims from Afghanistan and Pakistan are being recruited by Iran to fight with President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, lured by promises of housing, a monthly salary of up to $600 and the possibility of employment in Iran when they return, say counterterrorism officials and analysts.

These fighters, who have received public praise from Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei+ , even have their own brigades, but counterterrorism officials in both countries worry about the mayhem they might cause when they return home to countries already wrestling with a major militant problem.

Amir Toumaj, Iran research analyst at the US-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said the number of fighters is fluid but as many as 6,000 Afghans are fighting for Assad, while the number of Pakistanis, who fight under the banner of the Zainabayoun Brigade, is in the hundreds.

In Afghanistan, stepped-up attacks on minority Shiites+ claimed by the upstart Islamic State group affiliate known as Islamic State in the Khorasan Province could be payback against Afghan Shiites in Syria fighting under the banner of the Fatimayoun Brigade, Toumaj said. Khorasan is an ancient name for an area that included parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

"People were expecting blowback,'' said Toumaj. IS "itself has its own strategy to inflame sectarian strife.''

Shiites in Afghanistan are frightened. Worshippers at a recent Friday prayer service said Shiite mosques in the Afghan capital, including the largest, Ibrahim Khalil mosque, were barely a third full. Previously on Fridays, the Islamic holy day, the faithful were so many that the overflow often spilled out on the street outside the mosque.

Mohammed Naim, a Shiite restaurant owner in Kabul issued a plea to Iran: "Please don't send the poor Afghan Shia refugees to fight in Syria because then Daesh attacks directly on Shias,'' he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

Pakistan has also been targeted by the Islamic State in Khorasan province. IS has claimed several brutal attacks on the country's Shiite community, sending suicide bombers to shrines they frequent, killing scores of devotees.

In Pakistan, sectarian rivalries routinely erupt in violence. The usual targets are the country's minority Shiites, making them willing recruits, said Toumaj. The most fertile recruitment ground for Iran has been Parachinar, the regional capital of the Khurram tribal region, that borders Afghanistan, he said. There, Shiites have been targeted by suicide bombings carried out by Sunni militants, who revile Shiites as heretics.

In June, two suicide bombings in rapid succession killed nearly 70 people prompting nationwide demonstrations, with protesters carrying banners shouting: "Stop the genocide of Shiites.''

A Pakistani intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said recruits are also coming from northern Gilgit and Baltistan. Recruiters are often Shiite clerics with ties to Iran, some of whom have studied in seminaries in Iran's Qom and Mashhad cities, said a second Pakistani official, who also spoke on condition he not be identified because he still operates in the area and exposing his identity would endanger him.

Yet fighters sign up for many reasons.

Some are inspired to go to Syria to protect sites considered holy to Shiite Muslims, like the shrine honoring Sayyida Zainab, the granddaughter of Islam's Prophet Muhammed. Located in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the shrine was attacked by Syrian rebels in 2013. Others sign up for the monthly stipend and the promise of a house. For those recruited from among the more than 1 million Afghan refugees still living in Iran it's often the promise of permanent residence in Iran. For Shiites in Pakistan's Parachinar it is outrage at the relentless attacks by Sunni militants that drives them to sign up for battle in Syria, said Toumaj.

Mir Hussain Naseri, a member of Afghanistan's Shiite clerics' council, said Shiites are obligated to protect religious shrines in both Iraq and Syria.

"Afghans are going to Syria to protect the holy places against attacks by Daesh,'' he said. "Daesh is the enemy of Shias.''

Ehsan Ghani, chief of Pakistan's Counterterrorism Authority, told The Associated Press that his organization is sifting through hundreds of documents, including immigration files, to put a figure on the numbers of Pakistanis fighting on both sides of the many Middle East conflicts, including Syria. But it's a cumbersome process.

"We know people are going from here to fight but we have to know who is going as a pilgrim (to shrines in Syria and Iraq) and who is going to join the fight,'' he said.

Pakistan's many intelligence agencies as well as the provincial governments are involved in the search, said Ghani, explaining that Pakistan wants numbers in order to devise a policy to deal with them when they return home. Until now, Pakistan has denied the presence of the Islamic State group in Pakistan.

Nadir Ali, a senior policy analyst at the U.S.-based RAND Corp., said Afghan and Pakistani recruits also provide Iran with future armies that Tehran can employ to enhance its influence in the region and as protection against perceived enemies.

Despite allegations that Iran is aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ali says battle-hardened Shiite fighters are Tehran's weapon should relations with an Afghan government that includes the radical majority Sunni religious movement deteriorate.

"Once the Syrian civil war dies down Iran is going to have thousands, if not tens of thousands of militia, under its control to use in other conflicts,'' he said.

"There is a potential of Iran getting more involved in Afghanistan using militia because Iran is going to be really concerned about security on its border and it would make sense to use a proxy force.''

Pakistan, too, has an uneasy relationship with Iran. On occasion the anti-Iranian Jandullah militant group has launched attacks against Iranian border guards from Baluchistan province. In June, Pakistan shot down an Iranian drone deep inside its territory.

In Pakistan the worry is that returning fighters, including those who had fought on the side of IS, could start another round of sectarian bloodletting, said the intelligence official.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-recruits-afghan-and-pakistani-shiites-to-fight-in-syria/articleshow/60709801.cms

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UAE’s $144bn Islamic bank assets ‘will boost Halal sector’

17.09.2017

The UAE’s Dh528.6 billion ($144 billion) Islamic banks’ assets will help fuel the growth of the country’s Halal sector, according to research conducted by Orange Fairs and Events, organisers of the Halal Expo Dubai, which opens tomorrow (September 18).

Seven Islamic banks out of the 23 registered commercial banks in the UAE represent nearly a fifth of the country’s banks assets, it said.

Islamic banks’ assets grew 6.9 per cent year-on-year to Dh528.6 billion in July 2017 compared to Dh494.5 billion in July 2016, according to the latest UAE Central Bank statistics. However, the Conventional banks assets grew only at 4.1 per cent year-on-year to Dh2.1 trillion in July 2017, up from Dh2.02 trillion in July 2016.

This shows that the Islamic banks assets grew more than 59.42 per cent faster year-on-year than the Conventional banks’ assets between July 2016 and July 2017, according to the UAE Central Bank’s latest statistical bulletin.

Gross credit of the Islamic banks in the UAE recorded an 8.2 per cent growth year-on-year to Dh354.6 billion in July 2017, up from Dh327.6 billion recorded in July 2016 – or nearly four times the rate of 2.3 per cent year-on-year growth rate of gross credit of the Conventional banks to Dh1.24 trillion in July 2017, up from Dh1.21 trillion in July 2016.

Similarly, domestic credit of the Islamic banks also rose 6.8 per cent to Dh331.1 billion in July 2017, up from Dh311.9 billion in July 2016 – or four times the rate of 1.7 per cent year-on-year growth rate of domestic credit of the Conventional banks to Dh1.12 trillion in July 2017, up from Dh1.10 trillion in July 2016.

“Higher assets and credit growth rates empower the Islamic banks to fund the Halal industries and help fuel the growth of Halal or Islamic economic activities,” said Raees Ahmed, director of Orange Fairs and Events, organiser of the Halal Expo – Dubai, 2017. The event gets underway on September 18.

By nature, Islamic banks engage in ethical finance and asset-based lending – that eliminates speculation-based high-risk financial activities and insulate the sector from economic crises – witnessed during the 2008-09 global financial crisis – when the asset-based ethical finance emerged stronger and helped Islamic banks to overcome the stress tests by a wider margin compared to the Conventional lenders – many of whom collapsed and had to be bailed out by governments.”

Islamic banks’ credit to individuals recorded a 5.3 per cent year-on-year growth to Dh128.6 billion in July 2017, compared to 1.5 per cent year-on-year growth in the Conventional banks’ credit to individuals that reached Dh225 billion in July 2017.

“This means Islamic banks’ personal finance, Islamic credit card sector is growing at a higher rate than that of the Conventional banks’ personal finance and credit card segment. A comparison between Conventional and Islamic banks indicates that the growth in Islamic financing is much stronger than that for the Conventional banks’ loans. This effectively means that lending in the Halal sector is going up at a much higher rate than that of the non-Halal sector, as was evident in the first quarter of 2017,” Raees Ahmed said.

“Islamic banks’ credit to the business and industrial sector grew 6.5 per cent year-on-year to Dh154.7 billion in July 2017, compared to Conventional banks’ 2.1 per cent year-on-year growth to Dh574.7 billion in July 2017. This means that the credit growth to the Halal industries and business sector by Islamic banks remains higher compared to the non-Halal industries and services sector. This is also a reflection of the UAE’s growing importance as a centre of the global Halal economy.

“Besides, the growing global awareness on healthy food, consciousness on cleanliness and hygiene environment is helping the growth of the Halal sector – that promotes healthy, organic, clean and hygienic products and thus protects life from the ill-effects of food and consumables,” Ahmed said.

The 9th edition of the Halal Expo Dubai, will be held at the Roda Al Bustan hotel from September 18 – 19, 2017.

Halal Expo Dubai is the largest and most comprehensive Business-to-Business (B2B) halal exposition in the Middle East for the $2.3 trillion global halal industry. The event, which attracted participation from 13 countries in its previous edition and registered 3,700 trade visitors from 40 countries, expect larger trade participation where buyers and sellers of halal products and services are expected to do brisk business.

Halal Expo Dubai focusses on a number of business verticals, including, halal food, halal beverage, halal fashion, halal cosmetics and personal care products, halal travel and tourism, halal hospitality, halal banking and finance.

This State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, 2016-17, estimates global Muslim spend across sectors at over $1.9 trillion in 2015, while the Islamic Finance sector has around $2 trillion in assets.

Food and beverage tops spend by the global Muslim population, at $1.17 trillion in 2015, followed by clothing and apparel at $243 billion, media and recreation at $189 billion, travel at $151 billion, and spending on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics at $133 billion.

The report estimated the revenues from Halal Certified food and beverage products to be $415 billion; while revenues from halal fashion clothing purchased by Muslim women to be $44 billion and revenues derived from halal tourism services to be $24 billion, in 2015.

“Financing of Halal industries and businesses are expected to get a solid boost with the stronger growth in Islamic banking sector in the UAE and the Halal Expo – Dubai 2017 will help global Halal businesses gather under one roof and explore business opportunities,” Raees Ahmed said.

“Interestingly, non-Muslims are also fast accepting halal products and services due to the scientific, hygienic benefits and ethical aspects. The term halal is gradually becoming a universal concept, more than an Islamic way of life.

“In this regard, Halal Expo is expected to play a crucial role in promoting halal, healthy, clean and green lifestyle movement across the Gulf region. We expect more than 100 business entities from 13 countries to participate at the two-day exhibition that will showcase the latest trends in halal products and services worldwide.”

The global halal products and services sector is growing at 8 per cent year-on-year to $2.3 trillion (Dh8.44 trillion) – higher than the GDP of more than 200 countries in the world, according to research conducted by Orange Fairs and Events.

Of this, about 67 per cent represents the food and beverage industry, worth $1.4 trillion (Dh5.13 trillion).

More than 100 companies from 15 countries Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Poland, Pakistan, Switzerland, India, UK, Brunei, Philippines, South Africa, China and many more are expected to join the show.  – TradeArabia News Service

tradearabia.com/news/IND_330353.html

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Qatari emir meets Merkel, Macron in first trip since crisis

September 16, 2017

BERLIN: Qatar’s ruling emir met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday on his first trip abroad since a diplomatic crisis erupted between the tiny Gulf nation and its neighbours, and the German leader voiced “great concern” that no end to the conflict is in sight.

Merkel, addressing reporters alongside the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said she hoped dialogue could lead to “fair compromises.” “It’s cause for great concern that after 100 days a solution to this conflict is still not in sight,” she said.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar in June over its close relations with Iran and its alleged support for extremists.

Qatar denies supporting extremism, saying the crisis is politically motivated.

In Berlin, the emir reiterated that his country is open to negotiations with its neighbours, saying through a translator that “Qatar is prepared to take a seat at the table to solve this problem.” He also said that fighting terrorism “is a big priority for us and we have to concentrate on the roots of terrorism.”

Germany has been supporting diplomatic efforts to try and defuse the crisis. Its foreign minister has said the country’s intelligence service would play a role in clearing up accusations that Qatar supports terrorist groups.

Following the meetings with Merkel, the emir went to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. He left the Elysee palace without speaking to the press.

On the first stop, the emir met on Thursday night in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s been a major supporter of his country during the three-month-old conflict.

Turkey has shown solidarity with Doha by delivering food and other supplies and boosting military ties, including sending troops to a Turkish base there.

Among demands the Arab nations made of Qatar in June is for all Turkish troops in the country to be expelled. Other demands include limiting diplomatic ties to Iran, shutting down the state-funded Al-Jazeera satellite news network and other media outlets and severing ties to all “terrorist organisations,” including the Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar has rejected the demands as violations of its sovereignty.

In Ankara, the two leaders “stressed the need for a resolution through diplomatic means” to the crisis, according to Erdogan’s office.

“We support a resolution of the crisis through a brotherly manner and through dialogue,” Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesman, told reporters. “This crisis only serves the enemies of this region.” But as the emir was in Ankara calling for dialogue, a Qatari exile held a conference in London that explored the possibility of a “bloodless coup” overthrowing the government in Doha.

The conference was organised by Khalid al-Hail. Analysts and experts have suggested al-Hail is supported by the Arab countries now boycotting Qatar, something he denies.

“We have a crisis, the government of Qatar has to admit it,” al-Hail said. “And I don’t believe the current regime in Qatar is acting for the good of my people.”

dawn.com/news/1358018/qatari-emir-meets-merkel-macron-in-first-trip-since-crisis

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Southeast Asia

Philippines captures command center of Islamic State supporters in Marawi

SEP 17, 2017

MARAWI, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine military said Sunday it had captured the command center of Islamic State group supporters who have besieged a southern city for nearly four months.

Security forces have engaged in ferocious street to street combat and launched airstrikes in their efforts to expel the fighters from the city of Marawi, in a conflict that has raised fears that IS is looking to establish a Southeast Asian base in the Philippines.

The military said it had captured the militants’ control centre in a deadly battle that began Saturday in a mosque and another building.

“This enormous (military) gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub,” military chief General Eduardo Ano said in a statement.

“As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight,” he said. “We are ready for that.”

Hundreds of armed extremists flying the black flag of the Islamic State movement in the Middle East occupied Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23.

More than 800 militants, government troops and civilians have since been killed in the conflict, which has forced thousands to flee their homes and destroyed large parts of the once-bustling city.

President Rodrigo Duterte has deployed thousands of troops and imposed martial law across the southern third of the country to deal with the crisis, while the military has launched a U.S.-backed air campaign against the militants.

japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/17/asia-pacific/philippines-captures-command-center-islamic-state-supporters-marawi/#.Wb4vlMgjHIU

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Fleeing Violence at Home, Rohingya Muslims Face Difficulties in India, Nepal, Bangladesh

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- There seems to be no end in sight to the plight of Rohingya Muslims as those members of the community who have fled persecution in Myanmar are now facing difficulties in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Indian government announced on Saturday that it would make a case to the country’s Supreme Court for the expulsion of up to 40,000 Rohingya Muslims who have arrived over the past 10 years, claiming that they are a security threat, presstv reported.

The move has faced strong opposition from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein and civil rights campaigners.

According to the UN, there are 16,000 Rohingya Muslims registered in India and many more are still undocumented. Officials say nearly 7,000 of the Muslims live in shanties in Jammu in the Indian Himalayas.

Reports say 47 families live in dilapidated structures at the Kanchan Kunj camp in New Delhi.

“I would rather have the [Indian] government kill us or put us in jail than have us deported back there (Myanmar),” a Rohingya residing in India said, adding that “If we go back there, they will cut us into pieces and stack us 10-15 people together and set us on fire.”

In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslims face death, torture, and rape by military forces and gangs of Buddhist extremists in the western state of Rakhine, according to reports and eyewitnesses. They have been fleeing bouts of violence in recent months.

Nepal

The government in neighboring Nepal, meanwhile, is also attempting to prevent the entry of more members of the Muslim minority to the country. Those who have arrived live in slums in northern Kathmandu.

“Nepal has increased surveillance at its border to stop more Rohingya from entering the country after the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar because we cannot bear any more crises,” Nepal’s Home Ministry spokesman Ram Krishna said.

The UN says more than 400,000 desperate Rohingya Muslims have so far fled the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh.

Bangladesh restricts movement of Rohingya

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi police said on Saturday that they had issued an order banning the Rohingya from leaving the areas and camps the government has designated for them in the southeastern border district of Cox’s Bazar, where the majority of refugees are living in squalid conditions.

“They should stay in the designated camps until they return to their country,” Sahely Ferdous, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement, adding that “They cannot travel from one place to another by roads, railways, or waterways.”

Rohingya are asked not to take shelter in the homes of their friends or acquaintances, while locals have been asked not to rent houses to the refugees, and bus and truck drivers requested not to transport the Rohingya, according to the spokeswoman.

Bangladeshi prime minister to urge probe in Myanmar

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday summoned the Myanmarese envoy for the third time to protest its neighbor’s actions.

Hasina then headed for the UN General Assembly in New York to plead for international assistance in a bid to cope with the mounting crisis.

“She will seek immediate cessation of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar and ask the UN secretary general to send a fact-finding mission to Rakhine,” Nazrul Islam, a spokesman for the premier, said.

“She will also call the international community and the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar,” he added.

Myanmar’s government brands the Rohingya Muslims in the country as “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh, launching a deadly and brutal crackdown on them. Rohingya Muslims, however, have had roots in Myanmar that go back centuries.

They are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”

The Myanmarese military has been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of alleged armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

There have been reports of massacres and ethnic cleansing by Myanmarese army and Buddhist mobs against the Muslim population in Rakhine.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960626000591

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Philippines: Govt troops retake historical mosque

17.09.2017

After nearly four months of fighting, Philippine government troops have retaken a historic mosque along with two other major strongholds of Daesh-linked militants in the war-torn Marawi City.

Military officials expect the battle in there to end soon as most of the remaining Maute terrorists' command and controlled areas have been seized by troops.

Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. General Carlito Galvez said in a statement issued Sunday that troops finally regained the Bato Mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation as well as the Jamaitul Philippine Al-Islamiyah buildings at past 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Bato Mosque is one of the major places of worship for Muslims in Marawi that had been held by Daesh-linked militants since they laid siege to the city on May 23.

Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez. "Before retaking the mosque from the Maute, a 5-hour intense gun battle ensued in the area, where four soldiers were wounded when an abandoned improvised explosive device detonated."

A Maute gunman was also killed in the offensive a day earlier, Sept. 16. Two marines were also killed this week in close quarter fighting in another area in the battle zone, said Galvez.

"The seizure of another historical mosque and key Maute strongholds is a big blow for the remaining members of Maute and Abu Sayyaf," he said.

As of this report, the military continues to press forward in the battle area to penetrate what it believes to be the final defensive stand of the militants. It has been pounding the battle area with air strikes throughout the week.

WestMinCom spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said the death toll among government forces has reached 149.

"About 600 soldiers were also reported injured," said Petinglay. "The Maute terrorists now force their hostages, especially the male hostages to fight with the troops."

More than 800 terrorists are also believed to have been killed since May 23, when the groups of the Maute brothers - Abdullah and Omar -- backed by Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon took over mosques, churches, some government facilities including including hospitals, schools, police stations, banks and other private buildings.

Armed Forces chief of staff General Eduardo Año told reporters in Manila that “This (retaking of Bato mosque) enormous gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile strongholds."

“As follow up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions," he added.

Año urged the remaining Maute gunmen, as well as former hostages turned fighters, to surrender "while they still have time."

Early last month, government security forces also regained control of the Grand Mosque located at the center of the battle zone in Marawi.

In a related development, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Sunday confirmed that Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob, who had been held by the Maute group since May 23, was rescued Saturday night.

In a text message, Dureza said Father Suganob was one of the hostages recovered by government troops near the Bato Mosque. However, he did not provide any further details citing "not to jeopardize the military ongoing operations."

Last May 23, Suganob, vicar general of the city's Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians in Marawi, who was abducted by the Maute group with several other parishioners and civilians. They surfaced on social media where he sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the offensive against the militants.

aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/philippines-govt-troops-retake-historical-mosque-/912228

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Myanmar army chief urges unity over Rohingya 'issue'

AFP | Sep 17, 2017

YANGON: Myanmar's army chief has urged the country to unite over the "issue" of the Rohingya, a Muslim group he says has no roots in the country, and which his troops are accused of systematically purging.

The military says its "clearance operations" in northern Rakhine state are aimed at taking out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25.

But the violence has engulfed the border region and triggered an exodus of more than 400,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, where they have told of soldiers slaughtering civilians and burning down entire villages.

UN leaders have described the campaign as having all the hallmarks of "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya, a stateless group that has endured years of persecution and repression.

The status of the Muslim minority has long been a explosive topic in Myanmar, where many in the Buddhist majority view the group as foreign interlopers from Bangladesh and deny the existence of a Rohingya ethnicity, insisting they be called "Bengalis".

General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar's globe-trotting army chief, trumpeted that view in comments posted on his official Facebook page Saturday.

"They have demanded recognition as Rohingya, which has never been an ethnic group in Myanmar. (The) Bengali issue is a national cause and we need to be united in establishing the truth," the post said.

The defence of his army's operations comes amid strident global condemnation of the violence, which has left Bangladesh with the overwhelming task of providing shelter and food to a rising tide of desperate refugees.

Myanmar's civilian leader, former democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has also been castigated for failing to voice sympathy for the Rohingya -- a group she has asked her government to refer to only as "Muslims of Rakhine state".

The Nobel laureate is set to address the nation on the crisis for the first time Tuesday, a high stakes speech that many outside the country hope will explain her near silence on the human tragedy that is unfolding.

Yet supporters inside the country, where she still enjoys saint-like status for championing Myanmar's emergence from junta rule, say the leader must tread carefully around a military that ran the country for 50 years and still looms large in the fragile democracy.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/myanmar-army-chief-urges-unity-over-rohingya-issue/articleshow/60717258.cms

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Africa

Egyptian court sentences Mursi to 25 years in Qatar spy case

September 17, 2017

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted president Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood to 25 years in prison in a final ruling over a case accusing him of spying for Qatar, judicial sources said.

Mursi, democratically elected after Egypt’s 2011 revolution, was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president, following mass protests against his rule. He was immediately arrested.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced Mursi’s sentence in the Qatar case to 25 years in its final ruling, from an original 40 years.

Mursi is already serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. Since toppling Mursi, Sisi has clamped down on dissent. Mass trials have been held for thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, and hundreds have received death sentences or lengthy prison terms.

In 2014, Egypt charged Mursi and nine others with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Egypt’s relations with Doha were already troubled by Qatar’s backing of Mursi.

Egypt is one of four Arab nations in a Saudi-led bloc that cut relations with the Gulf state on June 5, accusing it of backing militant groups and cooperating with their arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies.

dawn.com/news/1358119/egyptian-court-sentences-mursi-to-25-years-in-qatar-spy-case

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Nigeria: Muslims reject attacks by Igbo 'secessionists'

17.09.2017  

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Saturday called on the government and security agencies to rein in Igbo secessionists over their attacks on Muslims and non-natives in parts of southeast and oil-rich delta region.

Condemning the ‘campaign of rampage and indiscriminate violent attacks on Muslim communities especially northerners’, the NSCIA said it backs the government's categorisation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist movement and was banned by governors of the region.

“The door-to-door and vehicle-to-vehicle manhunt of Muslims for the kill in Umuahia and the unprovoked wholesome attack of Muslims in Rivers State demonstrate the extent to which IPOB can go in terms of viciousness and savagery against fellow peace-loving Nigerian citizens,” according to a statement by NSCIA deputy secretary general Professor Salisu Shehu.

“The NSCIA hereby condemns these acts of violence and rampage being perpetrated by IPOB and warns that unless IPOB is properly dealt with and its activities completely stopped, they portend great threat to peaceful coexistence in the country and its unity.

The NSCIA calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria, the State Governments in the South-East and all the State Governments in all the other five geo-political zones in the country and the security agents and forces to take proactive measures and to set all necessary machineries for responsive and effective interventions to forestall escalation of the violence and its spread to other parts of the country,” he added.

The NSCIA again warned against reprisals and called for calm over the incidents.

Their statement came as police confirmed four additional Muslims were killed in the oil rich delta state by the secessionists.

Tensions reached a boiling point in the southeast region as the army moved in to stamp out the violent agitation.

aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigeria-muslims-reject-attacks-by-igbo-secessionists/912234

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North America

Canada to speak up for Rohingya at UN: Freeland

 

TORONTO - Canada's foreign affairs minister says the government is very concerned about the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and plans to speak up on their behalf.

Chrystia Freeland says both she and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plan to "focus" on the issue at next week's United Nations General Assembly in New York.

She did not elaborate on the specific actions she or Trudeau plan to take.

Rohingyas living in no man's land collect water donated by Bangladesh Red Crescent members, near Cox's Bazar's Tumbru area, Sept. 4, 2017. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Freeland also told a Toronto rally in support of the Rohingya that she also discussed the issue with Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General who is currently leading a commission investigating the crisis unfolding in Myanmar.

She says another key focus for Canada is getting the ambassador into the area of heaviest conflict to report first-hand on the situation.

Myanmar's powerful military is accused of torching the homes of 400,000 Rohingya Muslims, forcing them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh as refugees. Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has come under harsh international criticism for failing to speak out against the violence, with some arguing she should be stripped of both her Nobel Peace Prize and her honorary Canadian citizenship.

ctvnews.ca/canada/canada-to-speak-up-for-rohingya-at-un-freeland-1.3592855

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CIA wants to expand its drone strike authority in Afghanistan despite Pentagon concerns

Eric Schmitt and Matthew Rosenberg | NYT News Service | Updated: Sep 16, 2017

WASHINGTON: The CIA is pushing for expanded powers to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones, a proposal that the White House appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon, according to current and former intelligence and military officials.

If approved by President Donald Trump, it would mark the first time the CIA has had such powers in Afghanistan, expanding beyond its existing authority to carry out covert strikes against al-Qaida and other terrorist targets across the border in Pakistan.

The changes are being weighed as part of a broader push inside the Trump White House to loosen Obama-era restraints on how the CIA and the military fight Islamist militants around the world. The Obama administration imposed the restrictions in part to limit civilian casualties, and the proposed shift has raised concerns among critics that the Trump administration would open the way for broader CIA strikes in such countries as Libya, Somalia and Yemen, where the United States is fighting the Islamic State, al-Qaida or both.

Until now, the Pentagon has had the lead role for conducting airstrikes — with drones or other aircraft — against militants in Afghanistan and other conflict zones, such as Somalia and Libya and, to some extent, Yemen. The military publicly acknowledges its strikes, unlike the CIA, which for roughly a decade has carried out its own campaign of covert drone strikes in Pakistan that were not acknowledged by either country, a condition that Pakistan's government has long insisted on.

But the CIA's director, Mike Pompeo, has made a forceful case to Trump in recent weeks that the Obama-era arrangement needlessly limited the United States' ability to conduct counterterrorism operations, according to the current and former officials, who would not be named discussing internal debates about sensitive information. He has publicly suggested that Trump favors granting the CIA greater authorities to go after militants, though he has been vague about specifics, nearly all of which are classified.

CIA director Mike Pompeo (Reuters file photo)

"When we've asked for more authorities, we've been given it. When we ask for more resources, we get it," Pompeo said this week on Fox News.

He said that the agency was hunting "every day" for al-Qaida's leaders, most of whom are believed to be sheltering in the remote mountains that straddle the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"If I were them, I'd count my days," Pompeo said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not resisted the CIA proposal, administration officials said, but other Pentagon officials question the expansion of CIA authorities in Afghanistan or elsewhere, asking what the agency can do that the military cannot. Some Pentagon officials also fear that US troops on the ground in Afghanistan could end up bearing the burden of any CIA strikes that accidentally kill civilians, because the agency will not publicly acknowledge those attacks. The military has also had to confront its own deadly mistakes in Afghanistan.

One senior Defense Department official said that the United States would gain little from having the CIA carry out drone strikes alongside the military, and that it raised the question of whether it was an appropriate use of covert action.

A former senior administration official familiar with Pompeo's position said that he views a division of labor with the Defense Department as an abrogation of the CIA's authorities.

Pompeo's argument seems to be carrying the day with Trump, who has struck a bellicose tone in seeking to confront extremist groups in Afghanistan, including al-Qaida, the Islamic State and the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban.

In Trump's speech last month outlining his policy for South Asia, including Afghanistan, the president promised that he would loosen restrictions on U.S. soldiers to enable them to hunt down terrorists, whom he labeled "thugs and criminals and predators, and — that's right — losers."

"The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms," the president said. "Retribution will be fast and powerful."

Pompeo may have a potentially important ally: Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the top commander in Afghanistan, who reportedly favors any approach to train more firepower on the array of foes of Afghan security forces and the 11,000 or so U.S. troops advising and assisting them.

Trump has already authorized Mattis to deploy more troops to Afghanistan. Some 4,000 reinforcements will allow U.S. officers to more closely advise Afghan brigades, train more Afghan Special Operations forces and call in American firepower.

Among the chief targets for the CIA in Afghanistan would be the Haqqani network, whose leader is now the No. 2 in the Taliban and runs its military operations. The Haqqanis have been responsible for many of the deadliest attacks on Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, in the war and are known for running a virtual factory in Pakistan that has steadily supplied suicide bombers since 2005.

Despite their objections, Defense Department officials say they are now somewhat resigned to the outcome and are working out arrangements with the CIA to ensure that US forces, including Special Operations advisers, are not accidentally targeted, officials said.

Beyond the military, critics see the proposal as another attempt to expand the CIA's drone wars without answering long-standing questions about whether US spies should be running military-style operations in the shadows.

"One of the things we learned early on in Afghanistan and Iraq was the importance of being as transparent as possible in discussing our military operations," said Luke Hartig, a senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

"Why we took the specific action, who all was killed or injured in the operation, what we were going to do if we had inadvertently killed civilians or damaged property," he continued. "I don't know what the Trump administration is specifically considering in Afghanistan, but if their new plans for the war decrease any of that transparency, that would be a big strategic and moral mistake."

"We broke the back of al-Qaida," Pompeo said at a public appearance in July, referring to the drone campaign inside Pakistan that decimated the militant network's leadership ranks.

"We took down their entire network," he said. "And that's what we're going to do again."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/cia-wants-to-expand-its-drone-strike-authority-despite-pentagon-concerns/articleshow/60711862.cms

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US-Led Coalition Accuses Russia of Striking US-Backed Forces Near Deir ez-Zor

16.09.2017

Following the reports of six SDF fighters injured in an air strike in Syria Pentagon blames Russian air forces.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) —The US-led coalition fighting against Daesh terrorist group in Syria has accused Russia on Saturday of attacking the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor.

Pentagon claimed that when Russia bombed a target near Deir ez-Zor it knew that the SDF units and coalition advisers were there.

"At approximately 12:30 a.m. GMT Sept. 16, Russian forces struck a target east of the Euphrates River in Syria near Dayr Az Zawr, causing injuries to Coalition partner forces. Russian munitions impacted a location known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisors. Several SDF fighters were wounded and received medical care as a result of the strike. Multinational Coalition troops advising and assisting the SDF were present but not wounded as a result of the Russian strike," the statement read.

Earlier in the day, a Kurdish source told Sputnik that at least six Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters were injured in a Syrian air force attack in eastern Syria.

Russian tactical group seen at Hmeimim aerodrome in Syria

The Russian Armed Forces have not provided any comments yet.

Member of the Russian upper house defense and security committee Alexey Pushkov said that Pentagon should remember its own airstrikes on the Syrian army and arms supplies to jihadists before accusing Russia of attacking the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“Before accusing Russia [of attacking the SDF], the Pentagon should remember how [the United States] bombed positions of the Syrian army and supplied jihadists with arms worth of $2.5 billion,” Pushkov wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday.

Moscow has repeatedly claimed that decisions about the airstrikes in Syria are made only after thorough verification of the intelligence data. Since the start of the Russian aerial campaign the West has been accusing Moscow of targeting so-called moderate opposition factions in Syria and civilians. Russia and Syria have continuously refuted these allegations.

The SDF is an alliance of Arab and Kurdish militias backed by the US-led coalition. The SDF units began their own operation against the Islamic State terrorist group in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, where the Syrian government forces are already conducting a successful operation with the support of the Russian combat planes. In November 2016, the SDF launched an Operation Euphrates Rage to retake Raqqa, located west of Deir ez-Zor, from Daesh with the support of the US-led international coalition.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201709161057456338-usa-accuses-russia-strike-sdf-syria/

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/hizb-ut-tahrir-leader-told-university-of-sydney-crowd-ex-muslims-deserve-death/d/112553

 

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