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Islamic World News ( 29 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How a Hindu Temple Was Renovated By A Muslim And A Sufi Shrine Revamped By A Sikh In Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: How a Hindu temple was renovated by a Muslim and a Sufi shrine revamped by a Sikh in Pakistan

 

Indonesia Says Seized Islamic State Propaganda Likely Used By Children

Terrorists in Syria Plan Chemical Weapons Provocation in Dara'a Province

UK Muslim Victim Says Acid Attack Was Islamophobic

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Pakistan

How a Hindu Temple Was Renovated By AMuslim And A Sufi Shrine Revamped By A Sikh In Pakistan

Trump Effect? Pakistan Bans Hafiz Saeed-Backed Terror Outfit

More attacks feared as ‘battle-hardened’ militants come back from Syria

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Says Seized Islamic State Propaganda Likely Used By Children

Indonesian Muslim leader calls for Starbucks boycott over LGBT support

Some suggested that there is an “Islamophobia regime” within the corporation because of its pro-equality stance.

Two police officers attacked at mosque

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Arab World

Terrorists in Syria Plan Chemical Weapons Provocation in Dara'a Province

Iraq Claims A Slightly Premature Victory Over Islamic State

Islamic State under pressure in Iraqi and Syrian strongholds

Syrian Army Hits Terrorists' Positions Hard in Golan Heights

ISIL Sustains another Heavy Defeat in Battle against Syrian Army in Southern DeirEzzur

Rouhani Congratulates Liberation of Iraq's Mosul from ISIL

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Europe

UK Muslim Victim Says Acid Attack Was Islamophobic

London Mosque Targeted In Terror Attack Now Receiving Death Threats

Study: Muslims Responsible for Disproportionate Amount of Anti-Semitic Attacks in Many European Countries

Muslim football star speaks out on UK terror attacks

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North America

'Business As Usual': Trump's Travel Ban On The Majority Of Passengers From Six Muslim Countries Takes Effect With Less Chaos Than Expected And Muted Protests

US Rep: Muslim ban order is illegal

US slams Damascus as chemical weapons monitor says sarin used in April Syria attack, silent on blame

Muslims Are Sharing Photos of Their "Dangerous" Grandparents Affected By Trump's Travel Ban

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South Asia

ISIS Militants Suffer Casualties in US Drone Strike in KunarProvince of Afghanistan

‘Afghanistan’s security is our security’, says NATO SG while reaffirming enduring support

Contracts worth 4 billion Afghanis approved in NPC meeting chaired by Ghani

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India

Man Lynched By Mob For Allegedly Carrying Beef In Jharkhand

No atmosphere of fear or insecurity among minorities: Naqvi

No religious angle linked to lynchings: Venkaiah Naidu

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Mideast

Qatar working with US, Kuwaitis on response to Gulf demands

Qatar 'Could Yield to Concessions' in Syria amid Arab Diplomatic Standoff

Riyal Boycott: Saudi Arabia Turns Screws on Qatar With Currency Blockade

Palestinian fined $200 for wearing underpants instead of bathing suit on Israeli beach – media

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Africa

Somalia Islamist Insurgency Splits AsLoyalty Of Key Commander Wavers

Twin suicide blasts kill 3 near N. Cameroon mosque

Egypt Marks Anniversary of June 2013 Protests Against Islamist Rule

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/how-a-hindu-temple-was-renovated-by-a-muslim-and-a-sufi-shrine-revamped-by-a-sikh-in-pakistan/d/111727

 

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How a Hindu temple was renovated by a Muslim and a Sufi shrine revamped by a Sikh in Pakistan

 

These ancient places of worship offer an alternative and more syncretic view of history.

The long turret of a temple rises unexpectedly amid tall minarets and round green domes in a busy area. It stands like a reminder of an unwanted past, a memory we would like to bury deep within our communal subconscious, afraid it might challenge how we want to see ourselves. The top of the turret carries a scar of battle that has been fought several times, between two groups locked in perpetual conflict.

The latest round of this battle roar its ugly head on a cold December morning in 1992, when passionate supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami and others not attached to any political party surrounded this temple, determined to bring it down to avenge the demolition of the Babri Masjid about 1,000 kilometers from here in a country they fought tooth and nail to separate from, but one that continues to be an obsession. The temple, however, stood its ground. It was not willing to concede the space it had occupied for several centuries. It was not ready to hear that it did not belong in this new country. It eventually won the battle – the mob lost interest and left, while the residents of the area who had evacuated the temple upon the mob’s arrival returned to their homes.

Brick by brick

Bheru da Sthan or the abode of Bheru is one of the oldest standing temples in Lahore, an ancient city believed to have been founded by Lav, one of the twin sons of Ram and Sita. The temple was built on the spot to which Godar, Prince Dara Shikoh’s treasurer, was brought after being rescued from the dungeons where he had been kept after he was caught deceiving the prince. Godar was visited in the dungeons by a man who later identified himself as Bheru. The man asked him to shut his eyes and brought him here. A free Godar started living in Shah Alami area in Lahore and constructed a small temple here at the spot he had last seen Bheru.

The temple was given its contemporary shape (including a vast complex and several rooms) during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule over the Sikh Empire in the 19th century. The Maharaja’s Muslim concubine, Mora, gave Rs 1,400 for the temple’s construction. When Mora’s mother had taken seriously ill, all the hakims and healers failed to cure her. She was then informed of a man who lived in this temple, a descendant of Godara and a magician, who exorcised the djinns from Mora’s mother. As a reward, Mora summoned bricks from all the 100 villages that had been granted to her by the Maharaja for the construction of this temple and donated money.

The mob in a frenzy to bring this temple down may not have known that it was constructed thanks to the generosity of a Muslim. Even if they were made aware of it, the story would have been rejected as an anomaly because it would not have fit the framework that they use to understand history. In this framework, Muslims can only destroy Hindu temples and Hindus do the same to Muslim shrines.

In post-Partition Lahore, it emerged as the most important shrine in the city. In the new state, with increased symbolic significance came political patronage. From ZA Bhutto to General Zia, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, all made multiple visits to the shrine and contributed to its extension. A vast courtyard was constructed around a small shrine, including a basement for qawwali, a madrassah and a library. The tall minarets of the mosque behind the shrine are a part of Lahore’s iconic skyline that includes Badshahi Masjid, Lahore Fort, Minar-i-Pakistan and the smadh of Ranjit Singh.

Data Darbar did not always enjoy this social and political significance. For much of its long history, it was only a modest structure even as state patronage was extended to other Sufi shrines of the city, including that of Mian Meer, believed to be the patron saint of Dara Shikoh.

Once again defying popular perceptions, it was during the tenure of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that shrine began to grow. A library was built here, the first of its kind, with a vast collection of handwritten copies of the Quran. The religious texts were donated by Maharani Jind Kaur, RanjitSiingh’s youngest wife who, after his death, briefly served as her young son Maharaja Duleep Singh’s Regent. This rare collection of handwritten Qurans brought many admirers to the shrine, gradually increasing its significance.

Today as thousands of devotees pay homage to the patron saint of Lahore every day, it is conveniently forgotten that a Sikh Maharani played a crucial role in the development of this shrine, just as the fact about a Muslim concubine of the Maharaja renovating a Hindu temple has faded from memory.

Haroon Khalid is the author of three books – Walking with Nanak, In Search of Shiva and A White Trail.

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Indonesia says seized Islamic State propaganda likely used by children

 

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police displayed on Friday scores of notebooks inscribed with Islamic State propaganda seized during a raid on the home of suspected militant and said some appeared to have been used by children.

Police found hundreds of notebooks containing Islamic State propaganda in Indonesia during the raid in connection with the stabbing death of a policeman in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province on June 25.

At the top of every page of the books read the inscription: "You are all obliged to go to war".

Authorities believe Islamic State has thousands of sympathizers in Indonesia and are increasingly worried about the group trying to get a foothold in Southeast Asia as it loses territory in the Middle East.

"We're still investigating who funded the printing of these books," police spokesman Rikwanto told a news conference.

The material was displayed at the national police headquarters, alongside an air gun and other items.

The front covers of the notebooks had a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and quotes attributed to him as made at Friday prayer,

"Tell all the apostates in the Muslim countries, these are their last days. And tell every infidel, we're not playing anymore," a quote attributed to Baghdadi read.

Russia has said it believes it might have killed the Islamic State leader in an air strike in Syria on June 17.

Indonesia has the world's largest population of Muslims but is officially a secular country. Most Muslims practice a moderate form of the religion.

Children's handwriting was found in some of the books, including notes about the solar system, which police said could mean the books had been used by children to take notes in school.

Police shot dead one suspect and arrested another man after the attack in Medan. The wife of the arrested man told police her husband had spent six months in Syria in 2013, authorities said previously.

Police believe the men were part of Jemaah AnsharutDaulah, an umbrella organization on a U.S. State Department "terrorist" list which supports Islamic State and has hundreds of Indonesian followers.

Islamic State sympathisers have carried out a series of mostly low-level attacks in Indonesia over the past few years, and there are fears about the return of hundreds of battle-hardened Indonesians who have gone to Syria to support the group.

in.reuters.com/article/indonesia-security-idINKBN19L1DD?rpc=401&

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Terrorists in Syria Plan Chemical Weapons Provocation in Dara'a Province

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorist groups in Syria are preparing a provocation with use of chemical weapons in the country's Dara'a province on analogy with May attack in Idlib, a diplomatic source said.

"Terrorists will blow up multiple ammunition filled with poisoning materials in near future in one of the regions in Dara'a province. The provocation will be carried out on analogy with the situation in Idlib in the beginning of 2017," the source told Sputnik.

The information about the plans was reportedly obtained from authorized sources in the political and military leadership of Syria. The recent statements by the White House concerning a potential chemical attack and a warning that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad conducted another chemical attack on civilians, both "he and his military" would pay a heavy price, has become an essential motivation for the terrorists, the source added.

According to the source, the Russian side warned the US-led coalition against the ISIL terrorist group on June 29 about terrorists' plans to stage provocation with the use of chemical weapons in Syria's Dara'a.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960409000254

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UK Muslim victim says acid attack was Islamophobic

30.06.2017    

A Muslim man who recently suffered “life-changing injuries” when he was sprayed in the face with acid in East London has described the incident as a hate crime.

Speaking in an emotional interview with broadcaster Channel 4, Jameel Mukhtar said: “I believe it was something to do with Islamophobia or maybe he’s got it in for Muslims because of what’s been going on lately.”

Mukhtar, 37, was in a car with his cousin Resham Khan who was celebrating her 21st birthday when they were sprayed a corrosive substance.

Police have released the image of 24-year-old John Tomlin in connection with the attack and appealed for information about his whereabouts. A police statement warned the public not to approach Tomlin.

“Both victims received life-changing injuries,” according to police. Horrific pictures of the injuries received by Resham Khan have been shared on social media.

More and more people have been taking to social media to share emergency medical procedures in case of an acid attack.

Islamophobic incidents in the U.K. have seen a spike since the deadly terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge, according to security officials.

'I will always be scarred'

In the harrowing Channel 4 interview, Mukhtar recalled “screaming like a baby” when he was hit by the acid.

“I am never going to be the same again, I will always be scarred… I had been on a life support machine for two days… I am emotionally wrecked,” he added.

Mukhtar told Channel 4 the reaction to the incident had not been enough.

“If this was by an Asian guy like myself, going up to an English couple in a car and acid attacking them, I know for a fact that the whole country knows; it’d be straight away classed as a terrorism attack,” he said.

Various social media posts have suggested that a Bengali man was also injured on Thursday in a separate acid attack in the Commercial Road area of East London.

However, police told Anadolu Agency they held no information on such an incident.

In a separate development, a man who abused two Muslim women in north London was jailed after “admitting to religiously/racially aggravated assault,” according to a police statement issued on Friday.

Alex Chivers, 36, made abusive, Islamophobic comments, calling the victim who was walking with her mother "ISIL scum" and shouting "You deserve this," before striking one of them in the face with a packet of bacon, police said.

aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-muslim-victim-says-acid-attack-was-islamophobic/851787

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Pakistan

How a Hindu temple was renovated by a Muslim and a Sufi shrine revamped by a Sikh in Pakistan

 

These ancient places of worship offer an alternative and more syncretic view of history.

The long turret of a temple rises unexpectedly amid tall minarets and round green domes in a busy area. It stands like a reminder of an unwanted past, a memory we would like to bury deep within our communal subconscious, afraid it might challenge how we want to see ourselves. The top of the turret carries a scar of battle that has been fought several times, between two groups locked in perpetual conflict.

The latest round of this battle roar its ugly head on a cold December morning in 1992, when passionate supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami and others not attached to any political party surrounded this temple, determined to bring it down to avenge the demolition of the Babri Masjid about 1,000 kilometers from here in a country they fought tooth and nail to separate from, but one that continues to be an obsession. The temple, however, stood its ground. It was not willing to concede the space it had occupied for several centuries. It was not ready to hear that it did not belong in this new country. It eventually won the battle – the mob lost interest and left, while the residents of the area who had evacuated the temple upon the mob’s arrival returned to their homes.

Brick by brick

Bheru da Sthan or the abode of Bheru is one of the oldest standing temples in Lahore, an ancient city believed to have been founded by Lav, one of the twin sons of Ram and Sita. The temple was built on the spot to which Godar, Prince Dara Shikoh’s treasurer, was brought after being rescued from the dungeons where he had been kept after he was caught deceiving the prince. Godar was visited in the dungeons by a man who later identified himself as Bheru. The man asked him to shut his eyes and brought him here. A free Godar started living in Shah Alami area in Lahore and constructed a small temple here at the spot he had last seen Bheru.

The temple was given its contemporary shape (including a vast complex and several rooms) during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule over the Sikh Empire in the 19th century. The Maharaja’s Muslim concubine, Mora, gave Rs 1,400 for the temple’s construction. When Mora’s mother had taken seriously ill, all the hakims and healers failed to cure her. She was then informed of a man who lived in this temple, a descendant of Godara and a magician, who exorcised the djinns from Mora’s mother. As a reward, Mora summoned bricks from all the 100 villages that had been granted to her by the Maharaja for the construction of this temple and donated money.

The mob in a frenzy to bring this temple down may not have known that it was constructed thanks to the generosity of a Muslim. Even if they were made aware of it, the story would have been rejected as an anomaly because it would not have fit the framework that they use to understand history. In this framework, Muslims can only destroy Hindu temples and Hindus do the same to Muslim shrines.

In post-Partition Lahore, it emerged as the most important shrine in the city. In the new state, with increased symbolic significance came political patronage. From ZA Bhutto to General Zia, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, all made multiple visits to the shrine and contributed to its extension. A vast courtyard was constructed around a small shrine, including a basement for qawwali, a madrassah and a library. The tall minarets of the mosque behind the shrine are a part of Lahore’s iconic skyline that includes Badshahi Masjid, Lahore Fort, Minar-i-Pakistan and the smadh of Ranjit Singh.

Data Darbar did not always enjoy this social and political significance. For much of its long history, it was only a modest structure even as state patronage was extended to other Sufi shrines of the city, including that of Mian Meer, believed to be the patron saint of Dara Shikoh.

Once again defying popular perceptions, it was during the tenure of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that shrine began to grow. A library was built here, the first of its kind, with a vast collection of handwritten copies of the Quran. The religious texts were donated by Maharani Jind Kaur, RanjitSiingh’s youngest wife who, after his death, briefly served as her young son Maharaja Duleep Singh’s Regent. This rare collection of handwritten Qurans brought many admirers to the shrine, gradually increasing its significance.

Today as thousands of devotees pay homage to the patron saint of Lahore every day, it is conveniently forgotten that a Sikh Maharani played a crucial role in the development of this shrine, just as the fact about a Muslim concubine of the Maharaja renovating a Hindu temple has faded from memory.

Haroon Khalid is the author of three books – Walking with Nanak, In Search of Shiva and A White Trail.

-----------

 

Trump effect? Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed-backed terror outfit

ShailajaNeelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 30, 2017

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has banned terrorist Hafiz Saeed-backed outfit Tehreek-eAzadi-Jammu & Kashmir, a group that is essentially a rebranded Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which in turn was the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan has now put this JuD proxy on the list of proscribed organisations, as of June 8, according to the web site of Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority. JuD, though, still remains only 'under watch'.

In late January, Pakistan put Saeed under 'house arrest'+ and the JuD on the 'under watch' list. In fact, TOI reported that Saeed - likely having gotten wind of action against him - began moving some of JuD's India-targeted operations to the Tehreek-e-Azaad-e-Kashmir as early as January 14.

Pakistan banning JuD's proxy outfit could well be seen as a response to the Donald Trump administration hinting a harder line against Islamabad.

Reuters reported 10 days ago that Trump's administration is contemplating amplified drone strikes+ on terror camps in Pakistan. This was even before the stern talking-to Trump and India jointly gave Islamabad this week via the Indo-US joint statement.

The banning also comes ahead of the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) scheduled to update its assessment of ``high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions'' next month, which the Associated Press (AP) reported about earlier this June. FATF was set up to implement legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats.

Earlier this month, AP reported that Pakistan recently froze the accounts of as many as 5,000 suspected militants+ , ahead of the FATF updating its list. And TOI reported+ in February that it was the threat of international sanctions by the US, under FATF, that prompted action by Pakistan against Saeed. A senior US government official reportedly conveyed to Pakistan it would be put on the FATF's blacklist if Islamabad did not take action against JuD and other similar outfits and their funding mechanisms.

India, Afghanistan and even many US lawmakers have said many times that Pakistan fosters terror safe havens. The very fact that it allows outfits like the JuD to operate with impunity is a clear sign Pakistan is culpable in stoking terror, say analysts.

Consider that the JuD itself arose from terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, (LeT) which Pakistan was forced to ban in 2002 after the US declared it a terrorist organization in 2001. Saeed is the man who founded LeT as well, to focus on attacks on India.

The LeT morphed into the JuD, and with the JuD put on an 'under watch' list, arose Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir+ .

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/trump-effect-pakistan-bans-hafiz-saeed-backed-terror-outfit/articleshow/59381790.cms

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More attacks feared as ‘battle-hardened’ militants come back from Syria

June 30th, 2017

KARACHI: The emergence of a new militant outfit — Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan — has posed a serious challenge to the country’s security establishment, which believed that an unknown number of “battle-hardened Syria-returned” militants could launch major attacks in Pakistan after the announcement of the group’s formation on social media, it emerged on Thursday.

Well-placed sources in the police’s Counter-Terrorism Department said: “It is actually the Pakistan chapter of the Ansar-ul-Sharia that had been fighting in Syria.” As the group had been operating under the umbrella of Jabhat al-Nusra, its loyalty was to the traditional Al Qaeda leadership under Ayman al-Zawahiri rather than militant Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

No one can exactly tell how many militants have returned from Syria, but according to some intelligence estimates a significant number of both Shia and Sunni militants have come back.

The group claimed on social media that a large number of individuals, specifically from Karachi and south Punjab, who had travelled to Syria to fight alongside IS, were returning home after they had become ‘disillusioned’ with the message and practices of IS. But based on the current situation in Syria, the CTD official believed that so far the militants had not come back home in large numbers.

Serving and retired security personnel are prime targets of terrorists

Even if a small number of militants had arrived they were ‘battle hardened’ and had greater experience than local militants, the official said, explaining that they could act as a ‘force multiplier’ enabling small splinter groups such as Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan to launch major targeted attacks.

Since April the Ansar-ul-Sharia had carried out three attacks targeting police officials and an ex-army officer. Retired Col Tahir Nagi was sprayed with bullets near Baloch Colony bridge in April, followed by the killing of two policemen in New Town in May and four policemen in SITE on June 23. Although the group claimed responsibility for two of the attacks, a forensic examination of spent bullet casings found that the same weapon — a 9mm pistol — was used in the killing of the two policemen in May.

The CTD official said that evidence collected from the three crime scenes indicated that the acts of terrorism were carried out by a small but proficient group. Six shots were fired within 10 seconds in the April attack and 28 shots were fired in last Friday’s attack, indicating that the gunman had ‘professional battlefield experience’.

The sources said this group was likely to assume a similar target pattern as that of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

The group was targeting retired and serving officers of the law enforcement agencies to create a ‘shock value’ as the victims appeared to be a ‘soft target’, the sources added.

According to intelligence estimates, with IS having suffered significant territorial losses in Syria and Iraq in recent months, it would be paramount for the IS to retain as many militants as possible to continue the fight. However, the number of returnees is likely to surge in the event of the collapse of the so-called caliphate of IS as in that case all surviving foreign fighters will attempt to return to their home countries to establish militant networks there.

This scenario would be reminiscent of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan when a large number of foreign fighters left the war-torn country and returned to their homelands between 1989 and 1993 and used violence as a tool to implement their agendas and forcibly impose their school of thought.

The sources said that the CTD had sent its analysis of Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan to the Sindh home department and other stakeholders on June 14 and had forewarned about the threats posed by the newly established outfit.

Meanwhile, Additional IG CTD DrSanaullahAbbasi told Dawn that the law enforcers had ‘neutralised’ militant outfits which had been carrying out targeted killings of policemen and other terrorist acts in the West and South zones of police in recent past except one group that has been ‘active’ in the East zone of police.

He said the same outfit might have become ‘active’ in the West zone and targeted four policemen in SITE on Friday.

DrAbbasi believed that the CTD was working on some “positive leads” in the case. He said the footage of the crime scene obtained from a CCTV camera could ‘help’ police investigators to ascertain the identity of the killers.

The CTD chief claimed that “some suspects” had also been detained in the policemen’s killing case for interrogation.

dawn.com/news/1342170/more-attacks-feared-as-battle-hardened-militants-come-back-from-syria

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia says seized Islamic State propaganda likely used by children

 

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police displayed on Friday scores of notebooks inscribed with Islamic State propaganda seized during a raid on the home of suspected militant and said some appeared to have been used by children.

Police found hundreds of notebooks containing Islamic State propaganda in Indonesia during the raid in connection with the stabbing death of a policeman in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province on June 25.

At the top of every page of the books read the inscription: "You are all obliged to go to war".

Authorities believe Islamic State has thousands of sympathizers in Indonesia and are increasingly worried about the group trying to get a foothold in Southeast Asia as it loses territory in the Middle East.

"We're still investigating who funded the printing of these books," police spokesman Rikwanto told a news conference.

The material was displayed at the national police headquarters, alongside an air gun and other items.

The front covers of the notebooks had a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and quotes attributed to him as made at Friday prayer,

"Tell all the apostates in the Muslim countries, these are their last days. And tell every infidel, we're not playing anymore," a quote attributed to Baghdadi read.

Russia has said it believes it might have killed the Islamic State leader in an air strike in Syria on June 17.

Indonesia has the world's largest population of Muslims but is officially a secular country. Most Muslims practice a moderate form of the religion.

Children's handwriting was found in some of the books, including notes about the solar system, which police said could mean the books had been used by children to take notes in school.

Police shot dead one suspect and arrested another man after the attack in Medan. The wife of the arrested man told police her husband had spent six months in Syria in 2013, authorities said previously.

Police believe the men were part of Jemaah AnsharutDaulah, an umbrella organization on a U.S. State Department "terrorist" list which supports Islamic State and has hundreds of Indonesian followers.

Islamic State sympathisers have carried out a series of mostly low-level attacks in Indonesia over the past few years, and there are fears about the return of hundreds of battle-hardened Indonesians who have gone to Syria to support the group.

in.reuters.com/article/indonesia-security-idINKBN19L1DD?rpc=401&

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Indonesian Muslim leader calls for Starbucks boycott over LGBT support

30th June 2017

A Muslim leader in Indonesia has called for a boycott of coffee giant Starbucks over its CEO’s support for LGBT people.

Anwar Abbas, a senior figure in the second largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah, urged followers to boycott Starbucks.

Abbas also leads the semi-governmental Indonesian Ulema Council which is responsible for Halal certification in the country.

On Thursday he said that the government should revoke the operating licence of Starbucks because of CEO Howard Schultz’s support for the LGBT community.

In a statement, he said: “We as a nation clearly do not want our attitudes and character as a religious and cultured nation broken and messed up by their presence.”

Many have called for the boycott of Starbucks on social media.

pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/30/indonesian-muslim-leader-calls-for-starbucks-boycott-over-lgbt-support/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Pinknews+%28Pink+News%29

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Some suggested that there is an “Islamophobia regime” within the corporation because of its pro-equality stance.

Sbux, LGBT and #BoikotStarbucks trended on Twitter in Indonesia on Friday.

Back in January 2016, Starbucks Indonesia was targeted by terrorists linked to the so-called Islamic State, leading to one store being closed in Jakarta.

Starbucks joins a long list of multinationals including Microsoft, McDonald’s, Google and Twitter, and many more, to state support for marriage equality.

When same-sex marriage was legalised in all 50 states back in 2015, Starbucks released a statement saying: “Being open, inclusive and forward-thinking is at the core of what Starbucks is about. Starbucks has been a longtime advocate for the LGBT community and marriage equality.”

It opened in Indonesia back in 2002 and as of last year had 260 stores in Indonesia.

Amnesty International earlier this year urged Indonesia to stop the caning and arrests of LGBT people in Indonesia.

Anti-LGBT discrimination is said to be costing Indonesia as much as $12 billion every year, according to a recent study.

The losses are a result of barriers to employment, education, healthcare, as well as “physical, psychological, sexual, economic and cultural violence” suffered by LGBT citizens.

France has been urged by human rights groups to put pressure on Indonesia to do more to protect the rights of LGBT+ people.

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Two police officers attacked at mosque

Jakarta | Fri, June 30, 2017

Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers heighten security measures at the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan on Sunday. Two terrorist attacked a checkpoint post at the headquarters and stabbed one policeman to death earlier that same day. (Antara/IrsanMulyadi)

An unknown assailant reportedly attacked two police officers at a mosque near the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Friday evening.

“An attack on two police officers occurred tonight,” the National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. MartinusSitompul told reporters on Friday.

The victims have been identified as Adj. Comr. DedeSuhatmi and First Brig. M. SyaifulBakhtiar.

According to the police, the two police officers were completing their prayers at Falatehan Mosque, across from the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta, when the assailant suddenly stabbed the officers using a bayonet. The suspect stabbed the officers after shouting, “Thogut!”

Thogut is an Arabic word for those who worship anything other than God.

From the mosque, the suspect ran to the nearby Blok M bus station. When another police officer fired a warning shot, the assailant turned around and ran toward the officer and tried, but failed to stab him while shouting, “Allahuakbar!” He was reportedly shot dead.

The wounded officers were treated at the nearby Central Pertamina Hospital. (kuk/ary)

thejakartapost.com/news/2017/06/30/two-police-officers-attacked-at-mosque-.html

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Arab World

Terrorists in Syria Plan Chemical Weapons Provocation in Dara'a Province

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorist groups in Syria are preparing a provocation with use of chemical weapons in the country's Dara'a province on analogy with May attack in Idlib, a diplomatic source said.

"Terrorists will blow up multiple ammunition filled with poisoning materials in near future in one of the regions in Dara'a province. The provocation will be carried out on analogy with the situation in Idlib in the beginning of 2017," the source told Sputnik.

The information about the plans was reportedly obtained from authorized sources in the political and military leadership of Syria. The recent statements by the White House concerning a potential chemical attack and a warning that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad conducted another chemical attack on civilians, both "he and his military" would pay a heavy price, has become an essential motivation for the terrorists, the source added.

According to the source, the Russian side warned the US-led coalition against the ISIL terrorist group on June 29 about terrorists' plans to stage provocation with the use of chemical weapons in Syria's Dara'a.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960409000254

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Iraq claims a slightly premature victory over Islamic State

Jun 30th 2017

IRAQ’S prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has claimed victory over Islamic State (IS), after his army captured the ruins of Mosul’s 12th-century al-Nuri mosque, where IS’s leader declared his “caliphate”. It has been an arduous campaign. Previous battles for the city have been short-lived. In 1918 and 2003, opposition melted away when British and American forces marched into the city. But IS’s defence of Iraq’s second city against an overwhelmingly more powerful coalition has lasted for over eight months. Obstacles and trenches have cut up the approach roads into and all over the city. Even now two small pockets in the city remain, including several main streets in the heart of the Old City adjoining the Tigris River. Some 75,000 in the city, military sources say, remain under IS control.

The longer the fighting has continued, the more it appears to have intensified. With no escape routes, IS fighters scorched the earth as they retreated. With the same zeal they applied to ancient pagan churches, they blew up iconic mosques, including the city’s leaning minaret of al-Nuri, which residents affectionately called “the hunchback”, and the old university library. Having shown remarkable caution and taken heavy casualties to avoid hitting civilians in the first months of the campaign, Iraqi forces adopted a “take no prisoners” approach to the fighting after moving west across the Tigris River. In parts of the old city and neighbourhoods just to the north, the destruction has been near total. Some 20,000 houses, which which were already crumbling in Mosul’s Old City, have been flattened, according to one UN official. Thousands have been killed, including many thought to lie under the rubble. Almost half of the city’s 2m population have been displaced, according to the UN, of whom 80% have come from the western part. “Worse than Dresden,” said a senior commander when he toured the city.

The task of rebuilding is immense. Many of the city’s hospitals, schools and its prestigious university have been devastated. The electricity grid, water supply and road network are all in ruins. Barely a house in the west is unscarred, say residents. Particularly in the Old City, many displaced people have no homes to return to. Al-Nuri’s minaret, which has stood since Crusader times, is reduced to a stump. Residents from areas regarded as hotbeds of jihadist support, like the old city, have no homes to return to, prompting fears that they will spread their grievances in other areas. With Iraq’s economy deeply in deficit, thanks to low oil prices and the costs of the war, no one yet knows where funding will come from to begin reconstruction. Gulf states have yet to contribute substantially to the stablilisation of any of Iraq’s Sunni areas.

Material reconstruction is only part of the task. More perturbing than the children who shriek at the bombardment around them are those who barely flinch. Food and medicines are back in the city. But in the east, which was liberated over five months ago, the authorities have been slow to resume services, and salary payments remain patchy. Schools quickly reopened, but teachers still complain they have not been paid, draining their initial enthusiasm for a fresh start.

Even with political will and money from donors, re-establishing a political presence will not be easy. Iran and Russia claim that IS’s self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is dead. But together with its Syrian holdings IS still occupies an area the size of Belgium. And in Iraq, the jihadists still hold enclaves east and west of Mosul, at Huwaija and Tel Afar respectively, as well as much of the Iraqi border down to the Euphrates. In liberated territory, sleeper cells are already awakening, including inside Mosul itself. IS fighters recently released drone footage of a counter-attack on Iraqi forces in the western governorate of Anbar. Some speak of a return to the low-level insurgency that plagued Mosul before IS swept into it in June 2014.

But IS’s remnants may be one of the lesser problems facing Iraq. Victorious armies and militias occupy the ground. A new generation of Iraqis are now earning a living from fighting. For now, they can be employed advancing against the shrivelling reach of IS. But thereafter they may develop ambitions of their own. There are as many contenders for IS’s mantle as there are sects and ethnicities in northern Iraq. And behind them are the region’s heavyweights. Having held fire and even co-ordinated action while they were assaulting IS, in the aftermath America and its allies and Iran are already coming to blows just over the border in south-eastern Syria. The aftermath of the war could be just as dangerous as the war itself.

You’ve seen the news, now discover the story

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economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21724496-only-couple-pockets-remain-iraq-claims-slightly-premature-victory-over

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Islamic State under pressure in Iraqi and Syrian strongholds

 

Members of the Counter Terrorism Service pose for a picture with an Iraqi flag in front of the ruins of Grand al-Nuri Mosque at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces pressed Islamic State fighters holding out in Mosul's Old City on Friday, while in Syria the militant group launched a counter-attack against an alliance of militias trying to oust it from its de facto capital of Raqqa.

In Iraq, dozens of civilians poured out of Mosul, long held by IS, and fled in the direction of the Iraqi forces, many of them women and children, thirsty, tired and some wounded.

Iraqi authorities say they are only days away from a victory over militants in their remaining redoubt in Mosul, though commanders of counter-terrorism units fighting their way through the narrow streets of the Old City say die-hard IS fighters are dug in among civilians and the battle ahead remains challenging.

Across the border in Syria, parts of which the IS says fall under its self-proclaimed caliphate, the picture was more complex.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the group had retaken most of the industrial district of Raqqa after mounting a fierce counter-attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias.

But west of Raqqa, the Syrian army put the group under more pressure, driving it from its last territory in Aleppo province, a Syrian military source said, in a strategically-important move that relieves pressure on a government supply route.

Even though the IS group is under pressure in these urban strongholds in Iraq and Syria its fighters still occupy an area as big as Belgium across the two countries, according to one estimate.

THOUSANDS DISPLACED, KILLED

In Iraq, grinding warfare in Mosul has displaced 900,000 people, about half the city's pre-war population, and killed thousands of civilians, according to aid organizations.

Major General Maan al-Saadi, of the Counter Terrorism Service, told Reuters it could take four to five days to capture the insurgents' redoubt in Mosul by the Tigris River which was defended by about 200 militants.

Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the city in desperate conditions, with dwindling supplies of food, water or medicine and no access to health services, according to those who have managed to flee.

The capture of the city would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, holding sway over hundreds of thousands of people.

Those who escaped on Friday streamed through alleyways near the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in 2014 and which Islamic State fighters blew up a week ago rather than see it fall to the Iraqi army.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of the caliphate on Thursday after CTS units captured the ground of the ruined 850-year-old mosque.

A Reuters correspondent on Friday saw smoke billowing over the riverside districts amid artillery blasts and burst of gunfire. Western troops from the U.S.-led coalition were helping adjust artillery fire with air surveillance, he said.

BATTLE FOR RAQQA

The SDF, the U.S. backed alliance in Syria, took the industrial district of Raqqa this month in its biggest gain so far in its fight for IS's Syrian capital and if, as the Observatory has reported, IS has regained control there it would be a setback.

The SDF, on its social media feed, acknowledged there had been intense clashes, but added that the whole industrial district was still in its hands and the attack had been thwarted.

China sanguine as Trump-Xi 'bromance' sours over North Korea, Taiwan

Equally, IS appeared to have suffered a setback in Syria with the army taking the last stretch of the Ithriya-Rasafa road, part of the highway from Hama to Raqqa, forcing IS fighters to withdraw from a salient it held to the north, a Syrian military source and the Observatory said.

Islamic State had used that salient, an area containing a range of hills and a dozen villages, to mount frequent attacks on a different road linking Ithriya to Khanaser, part of the government's only available land route to Aleppo.

The capture of the Ithriya-Rasafa road also shortens the Syrian army's route to its battlefront with Islamic State south of Tabqa, a possible route for its multi-pronged offensive to relieve the government's enclave in Deir al-Zor.

On Thursday, the Observatory said the SDF had managed to take the last stretch of the Euphrates' south bank opposite Raqqa, completely encircling Islamic State inside the city.

Since all Raqqa's bridges were already destroyed, and the U.S.-led coalition was striking boats crossing the river, the city had already been effectively isolated since May.

The secretive Baghdadi, who has scarcely been seen publicly since proclaiming the caliphate, has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is believed to be hiding on the Iraq-Syrian border, according to U.S. and Iraqi military sources.

He has often been reported killed or wounded. Russia said on June 17 its forces might have killed him in an air strike in Syria. But Washington says it has no information to corroborate such reports and Iraqi officials have also been skeptical.

reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-idUSKBN19L25P?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

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Syrian Army Hits Terrorists' Positions Hard in Golan Heights

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops struck back against the terrorists in the occupied Golan Heights, following a powerful assault that was launched by the latter near the town of al-Ba’ath.

Led by their rocket battalions, the army rained several rockets and artillery shells on the enemy defense lines West of al-Ba’ath, scoring many direct hits in the process.

As a result of this barrage of rockets and artillery shells, the army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) were able to retake a checkpoint near al-Ba’ath’s Western perimeter.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday Terrorists' defense lines collapsed as the Syrian army started clashes with al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in Quneitra.

The Syrian army soldiers engaged in heavy clashes with al-Nusra terrorists who had attacked the army positions near al-Ba'ath city in the outskirts of Quneitra.

Simultaneous with Israeli fighter jets' attacks against the army positions in Quneitra, the Al-Nusra could advance in the region again but the Syrian troops regained control of the lost areas in counter attacks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960409000326

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ISIL Sustains Another Heavy Defeat in Battle against Syrian Army in Southern Deir Ezzur

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army's ground and air forces launched a major anti-ISIL operation in Southern Deir Ezzur, and pushed the terrorists back after a heavy battle.

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL terrorists near Brigade 137 region, Talat al-Barouk and Panorama in the Southern and Southwestern parts of Deir Ezzur city.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets launched heavy air assaults on ISIL moves and positions in al-Roshdiyeh, al-Huwaiqeh, Hawijeh Sokr, the old airport, al-Jafreh, al-Sana'ah, al-Arafi, Ayash, al-Hajif and al-Bu Lail regions as well as areas near the airport, killing and wounding a number of terrorists and destroying their weapons and military equipment.

Also, Syrian airstrikes on ISIL positions in al-Hawijeh-al-Jafreh in the Northern parts of Deir Ezzur airbase blew up 4 vehicles and inflicted a hundred percent casualty on the terrorists traveling in the vehicles.

Local sources said on Wednesday that the ISIL has started replacing senior field commanders in Deir Ezzur after sustaining repeated defeats in the battle against the Syrian army troops and reported death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The sources said that the ISIL is replacing a number of its notorious commanders in the Eastern province of Deir Ezzur to regroup its forces after heavy defeats the terrorist group has suffered in clashes with the army.

The sources further added that Abu Bin Laden Iraqi has been appointed by the ISIL as the chief commander of the terrorist group in Deir Ezzur, while Abu Tofiq Iraqi was appointed as Security Commander and Abu Aref Iraqi as the financial official responsible of the group in Deir Ezzur. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000582

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Rouhani Congratulates Liberation of Iraq's Mosul from ISIL

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the Iraqi government and nation on the liberation of the country's city of Mosul from ISIL occupation after three years.

The Iranian president in a message to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday, extended his congratulations to him and the Iraqi nation over the “liberation of the biggest ISIL-controlled city in Iraq and also breaking free from the “yoke of crime and violence” that had been unprecedented in the recent centuries.

President Rouhani said that the major victory “shows the significance of a genuine fight against those criminals who cruelly displayed violence and murder in the name of Islam.”

He voiced Iran’s readiness to continue with the all-out fight against the ISIL terrorists across the Middle East.

In a statement on Thursday, the Iraqi premier announced an end to ISIL's "state of falsehood" following the recapture of the historical Grand al-Nuri Mosque at the heart of Mosul.

"The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood," Abadi said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960409000918

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Europe

UK Muslim victim says acid attack was Islamophobic

30.06.2017    

A Muslim man who recently suffered “life-changing injuries” when he was sprayed in the face with acid in East London has described the incident as a hate crime.

Speaking in an emotional interview with broadcaster Channel 4, Jameel Mukhtar said: “I believe it was something to do with Islamophobia or maybe he’s got it in for Muslims because of what’s been going on lately.”

Mukhtar, 37, was in a car with his cousin Resham Khan who was celebrating her 21st birthday when they were sprayed a corrosive substance.

Police have released the image of 24-year-old John Tomlin in connection with the attack and appealed for information about his whereabouts. A police statement warned the public not to approach Tomlin.

“Both victims received life-changing injuries,” according to police. Horrific pictures of the injuries received by Resham Khan have been shared on social media.

More and more people have been taking to social media to share emergency medical procedures in case of an acid attack.

Islamophobic incidents in the U.K. have seen a spike since the deadly terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge, according to security officials.

'I will always be scarred'

In the harrowing Channel 4 interview, Mukhtar recalled “screaming like a baby” when he was hit by the acid.

“I am never going to be the same again, I will always be scarred… I had been on a life support machine for two days… I am emotionally wrecked,” he added.

Mukhtar told Channel 4 the reaction to the incident had not been enough.

“If this was by an Asian guy like myself, going up to an English couple in a car and acid attacking them, I know for a fact that the whole country knows; it’d be straight away classed as a terrorism attack,” he said.

Various social media posts have suggested that a Bengali man was also injured on Thursday in a separate acid attack in the Commercial Road area of East London.

However, police told Anadolu Agency they held no information on such an incident.

In a separate development, a man who abused two Muslim women in north London was jailed after “admitting to religiously/racially aggravated assault,” according to a police statement issued on Friday.

Alex Chivers, 36, made abusive, Islamophobic comments, calling the victim who was walking with her mother "ISIL scum" and shouting "You deserve this," before striking one of them in the face with a packet of bacon, police said.

aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-muslim-victim-says-acid-attack-was-islamophobic/851787

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London mosque targeted in terror attack now receiving death threats

By Hind Hassan on Jun 30, 2017  

After receiving a stream of hate mail and death threats, the leader of a London mosque hit by a terror attack earlier this month now fears his place of worship faces further violence. The attack on June 19 left one man dead and 11 others injured after a van veered into worshipers outside the mosque.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park mosque, told VICE News that the severity of the threats have left him worrying another attack is on the horizon. One anonymous letter, which has since been reported to the police, read: “The attack using the van was only the beginning. The fun will continue this august. There will be rivers of blood flowing down the streets — I will make sure of this. None of you vermin will survive. I mean who would survive being gassed, or beheaded, or blown up.”

One of the threatening letters sent to the Mosque. Credit - Hind Hassan.

Another message demanded the mosque pay £18,445.17 [$23919.70] to repair any damage the van suffered when it mowed down victims. The postcard reads: “Mr Osborne was not insured unfortunately and in these times of austerity we all need as much cash as possible.”

The Imam of the mosque, Mohammed Mahmoud — who was praised for saving the suspect from an angry crowd — is also referred to as a ‘cloth head’ in a letter, a racial epithet used to describe those of Middle Eastern origin.

“When you receive something like that it is not a threat to an individual, it’s a threat for the whole community.” Kozbar told VICE News, adding that not enough was being done by the U.K. government to protect Muslims from hate crimes.

“When the Prime Minister came here we expressed our concern — not just us, even leaders from different faiths mentioned that Islamophobia is a big issue now and we have to tackle this disease. She promised that she would do whatever they can to to do something about it. We hope that this would be the case… We want action to protect our community.”

Kozbar, who has been chairman of the London mosque for six years, says he has seen hate crimes against Muslims increase year over year, and tells VICE News a number of local worshipers have reported being verbally and physically attacked. “We haven’t seen this issue of Islamophobia and Muslim hate crimes taken seriously by the government in the last few years… we hope that after this attack things will change.”

The Finsbury Park mosque, which has received death threats after a terror attack. Credit - Associated Press.

Tell Mama, a group which monitors anti-Muslim hate, reports that attacks against Muslims are on the rise in Europe and the U.S. After the bombing of a Manchester concert in May, Islamophobic incidents went up fivefold.

Founder Fiyaz Mughal told VICE News that over 116 mosques have been targeted in the U.K. since May 2013. “They are just the ones that have reported threats to us, but we believe that there are many more which are not recorded because some mosques have told us they often throw away threats and hate mail. Mosques are targeted because they are a visible simple of Islam in the community.”

As recently as Thursday, a man was arrested after attempting to drive into a crowd of people outside a mosque in Paris. Nobody was injured in the attack — the suspect was thwarted by barriers erected in front of the building.

Despite the hate mail received, Mohammad Kozbar says the mosque has been overwhelmed by the “unbelievable” messages of support and solidarity from the local community and around the country.

news.vice.com/story/london-mosque-targeted-in-terror-attack-now-receiving-death-threats

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Study: Muslims Responsible for Disproportionate Amount of Anti-Semitic Attacks in Many European Countries

June 30, 2017

Authors of a study on anti-Semitic incidents in Europe reached a number of conclusions that confirm the fears of conservative skeptics of Muslim immigration and also question the liberal narrative that right-wing natives are behind the increase of attacks on European Jews.

Commissioned by the University of Oslo’s Center for Research on Extremism and the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, the authors examined the perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence in contemporary Europe.  Specifically, the study looked at data from seven countries, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia.  The UK had the lowest number of attacks, while France the highest.  Since 2000, worldwide violence against Jews has increased dramatically.

“Available data on perpetrators suggest that individuals of Muslim background stand out among perpetrators of antisemitic violence in Western Europe,” the authors wrote.  They also added that this data supports the notion that “antisemitic attitudes are far more widespread among Muslims than among the general population in Western Europe.”

An anti-Israel protest in Budapest, Hungary. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK

The exception to this conclusion was Russia, “where right-wing extremist offenders dominate.”  Russia still had a “very low number of incidents,” despite having a “relatively large Jewish population.”  Russia was also one of the only nations in the study that did not accept a large number of refugees during the European migrant crisis.

When victims of violence were asked who the perpetrators were, those living in France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK all overwhelmingly responded that “someone with a Muslim-extremist view” were behind the incident.  In all four countries but Germany, individuals with “a right-wing view” (who the study’s authors say “are often associated with antisemitism) were the clear minority by a significant margin.  With the exception of Germany, leftists were the second highest perpetrators.  In Sweden, leftists constituted 25 percent of all the violence against Jews.

A pro-Palestinian protest in Berlin, Germany. ADAM BERRY/AFP/Getty Images

Even in cases where proponents of right-wing positions were blamed by local governments in Sweden for acts of vandalism or violence, the authors write, one shouldn’t necessarily trust these numbers.

“The use of the swastika and similar symbols does not necessarily mean that the perpetrators is a “classic” right-wing extremist.”  Many individuals who use these classic symbols of hate are Arabs, motivated by the Israel-Palestine conflict.  While many anti-Semites use conflicts in the Middle East as a foil for their hatred of Jews, the authors point out that increased attacks are not necessarily correlated with flare ups in the region, nor with the actions of the Israeli government — delegitimizing the common left-wing talking point that Israel is the cause of tensions between Jews and Muslims in Europe.

In short, this latest study should give pause to those who believe Muslim-European integration is going smoothly.  Not only are anti-Semitic incidents on the rise — and directly correlated with rising Muslim populations in Western Europe — but many individuals in the mainstream press seem unwilling to discuss the culprits.

Instead, cable news stations and newspapers discuss the so-called “disturbing” rise of populism or nationalism while making comparisons to 20th century tyrants.  Unfortunately for those behind these irresponsible talking points, the facts don’t make the rhetoric.  While right-wing extremism should be routinely condemned, we shouldn’t ignore the real threats against Europe’s most vulnerable population just because it’s politically inconvenient.

heatst.com/culture-wars/study-muslims-responsible-for-disproportionate-amount-of-anti-semitic-attacks-in-many-european-countries/

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Muslim football star speaks out on UK terror attacks

30.06.2017    

Recent terror attacks which have blighted the U.K. should not be linked to religion, one of the country’s top footballing stars has said.

In an interview with Esquire magazine Frenchman Paul Pogba, who transferred to one of the biggest teams in the English Premiere League last season from Italian giants Juventus, described the spate of bombings, stabbings and vehicle attacks as “a very difficult moment”.

Referring to the Manchester concert bombing which killed 22 people on May 22, Pogba -- a Muslim -- said: “This is not Islam and everybody knows that. I won't be the only one saying that."

“To kill a human being… it's something crazy, so I don't want to put religion on it,” he added.

The French international, who was born in 1993 to Guinean parents, previously played for Manchester United for a season in 2011-2012 after spending two years in the youth team.

aa.com.tr/en/europe/manchester-uniteds-muslim-star-paul-pogba-speaks-out-on-uk-terror-attacks/851804

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North America

'Business as usual': Trump's travel ban on the majority of passengers from six Muslim countries takes effect with less chaos than expected and muted protests

30 June 2017

A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump's travel ban has taken effect, drawing limited protest and creating little chaos at airports compared to the original entry rules imposed in January.

Protesters and civil rights lawyers who descended eager to help any wronged travelers were outnumbered by news cameras at many airports, where border officials rolled out the new rules at 8pm Thursday with little fuss.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected 'business as usual at our ports of entry,' with all valid visa and green card holders still being able to travel, unlike the original travel ban in January.

Trumps' temporary plan, which stops people from six Muslim majority countries from entering the US unless they have specific ties to it, isn't so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies. The six nations impacted are Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Iran.

Travelers from those countries who aren't immediate family members of a US legal resident and who don't have close business or educational ties to the US could be barred from obtaining visas and entering the county.

Parents, children, siblings and spouses will be granted visas and can still enter the country as can travelers or refugees with a 'bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States'. On Thursday, the official list of bona fide relationships expanded to include fiancés.

The rules led Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad JavadZarif, to blast the rules as targeting 'Iranian grandmothers', calling the ban 'a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians'. 

Grandparents and grandchildren are excluded from the list of close family relationships exempted from the ban.

The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the ban against those relatives - including grandparents, aunts or uncles - not included in the State Department's definition of 'bona fide' personal relationships. US District Court Judge Derrick Watson has set a timeline for the motion.

In Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly.

'For tonight, I'm anticipating few issues because, I think, there's better preparation,' he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night.

'The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time,' Feuer said.

Much of the confusion in January, when Trump's first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States.

Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

Nevertheless, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing challenge the new requirements.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules 'would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.'

It's unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas. 

Much of the confusion in January, when Trump's first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country.

WHO IS ALLOWED INTO THE US UNDER NEW RULES:

New visa applicants from the six listed countries need to prove they have a 'bona fide relationship' with someone or an entity in the US.

Relationships that ARE acceptable include a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, fiancé, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling.

Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, or other extended family members are NOT considered to be close relationships.

Same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the US.

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the US are exempt.

Visas that have already been approved will NOT be revoked.

A legitimate business link must be formal and documented.  Hotel or car rental reservations do NOT count as a legitimate relationship.

Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump's campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a 'bona fide relationship' with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines.

The State Department has said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, fiancé, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles.

Business or professional links must be 'formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading' the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules.

Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the US has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won't apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

The travel ban may have the largest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion's share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year.

White House denies Trump tweets are undermining travel ban

WHEN CAN OFFICIALS GRANT EXEMPTIONS?

If the applicant has previous significant contacts or business obligations in the US.

Exemptions can also be granted for infants, adopted children or those in need of urgent medical care.

If an applicant is traveling for business with a recognized international organization or the US government

If they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in Canada

American journalist Paul Gottinger, said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents' home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa.

Now, he expects they will have to delay again.

'Every twist and turn of the courts, we're holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor,' he said by phone from Turkey.

The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked.

'I would love for them to be at this wedding, and unfortunately, they aren't going to be able to be here,' she said, adding that the ceremony would be postponed.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4654624/Less-chaos-expected-Trump-travel-ban-takes-effect.html#ixzz4lUxKf82Q

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US Rep: Muslim ban order is illegal

New York, June 30, IRNA - The ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie Thompson termed US Muslim ban order as illegal, saying White House has brought no response on the order, Western Media reported.

The Hill quoted Thompson as saying “the Trump administration is not answering questions about the travel ban scheduled to go into effect at 8 p.m. Thursday night.”

“Just hours before the President’s unconstitutional and misguided travel ban takes partial effect tonight, administration officials briefing Congress were unwilling or unable to provide meaningful answers about how they determined whom the ban would affect, why the ban would apply to certain family members, including grandparents, or whether they will share implementation guidance.”

“This apparent lack of preparation and transparency does not inspire confidence that the Administration has learned its lesson after the chaos the first travel ban created at airports around the world in January.”

“It is imperative that the Trump Administration avoid repeating past mistakes by immediately providing clear guidance to DHS and State Department personnel, travel industry partners, and the public.”

According to dispatches, US President Donald Trump’s travel ban took effect at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

The new rules tighten visa policies affecting citizens from six majority Muslim nations: Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. People from those countries who need new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the United States.

Citizens of those countries who already have visas will be allowed into the US as usual.

In December 2015, after a deadly militant attack in Paris claimed by the ISIL group, then-candidate Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.

When Trump signed a 27 January executive order banning the entry of citizens from Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya, including permanent US residents, it was seen as an implementation of his campaign promise.

But when challenged in courts on grounds of religious discrimination, the administration denied that the executive order is faith-based.

irna.ir/en/News/82581328/

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US slams Damascus as chemical weapons monitor says sarin used in April Syria attack, silent on blame

30 Jun, 2017

US slams Damascus as chemical weapons monitor says sarin used in April Syria attack, silent on blame

A general view shows damage at a site hit by airstrikes on Tuesday in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Syria April 5, 2017. © Ammar Abdullah / Reuters

The US State Department is scolding the Syrian government, as the OPCW has reportedly determined that sarin, a banned nerve gas, was what killed dozens of Syrians in northern Idlib province on April 4.

Members of the UN’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), reviewed the fact-finding mission (FFM) report at The Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday, but it was not released to the public, Reuters reported.

The news outlet obtained a copy of the report that relied on eyewitness interviews and samples previously collected from the site of the alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The FFM was reportedly unable to make it to the location in question because of security issues.

“A large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance,” the summary of the report said.

Now the United Nations and OPCW’s Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, goes into effect, to determine responsibility for the use of a banned chemical weapon.

The US State Department released a seemingly contradictory statement in response to the FFM, first noting that the FFM would be handed over to the JIM, in order "to determine who is responsible for the attack." However, the department also said, "The facts reflect a despicable and highly dangerous record of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime. Through its continued use of chemical weapons and its failure to destroy its chemical weapons program in its entirety, Syria continues to fail to comply with its legal obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and UN Security Council Resolution 2118."

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said she looks forward to the JIM investigation, “so we can find justice for the victims.”

The US State Department also applauded the work of both the FFM and the JIM, “which have been pursued in an impartial and highly professional manner,” the department said in its statement.

The OPCW report comes on the heels of a White House statement this week alleging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing for "another" chemical weapons attack.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it is “very likely a warning sign of an intervention.”

“The story will be the same: an incident happens on the territory controlled by the terrorists; civilian casualties follow. The so-called opposition – de facto the same jihadists, not very different from IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and Al-Qaeda, but who are still getting help from the US and allies – announce yet another ‘crime by the regime,’” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

She went on to single out potential locations for probable incidents – Sarrakab and Ar-Riha, where Moscow “believes that such a staged [chemical weapons] attack is being prepared.”

JIM has previously found fault with Syria for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015, according to Reuters. The joint mission also blamed the Islamic State for mustard gas use.

The results of the OPCW FFM did not come as a surprise, as OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu had already said not long after the attack that test samples showed sarin or a similar agent was used.

An estimated 74 to 100 or more civilians were killed and hundreds were injured in the attack, according to various reports.

Washington rushed to blame Damascus based on open-source intelligence. Two days after video emerged of the April 4 attack, President Donald Trump authorized the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, from where US intelligence said the chemical attack was launched.

Damascus strongly denied responsibility for the April 4 incident. It said it did not possess or use chemical weapons, and that the Syrian Air Force destroyed a facility where the militants apparently stored nerve gas.

#Trump ignored intel, launched Tomahawks in Syria based on media – Pulitzer winner Seymour Hersh t.co/iOIA4W7Fun

— RT (@RT_com) June 26, 2017

rt.com/usa/394737-opcw-syria-chemical-weapons-sarin-haley/

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Muslims Are Sharing Photos Of Their "Dangerous" Grandparents Affected By Trump's Travel Ban

June 30, 2017

Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court granted the Trump administration permission to partially implement the controversial travel and refugee ban.

The Supreme Court order only exempted those who they said had a "bona fide relationship" with people or organizations in the US. Following the order, the Trump administration set new guidelines to define what constitutes a "close" family relationship: a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the US.

That meant the travel ban would apply to grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family members. The administration initially said fiancés would not be considered close family members but reversed the decision late on Thursday before the ban went into effect.

 Follow

 Adrienne Mahsa @AdrienneMahsa

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses if you have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S. #MuslimBan

8:48 PM - 26 Jun 2017

  549 549 Retweets   1,042 1,042 likes

Twitter Ads info and privacy

The travel ban puts a 90-day halt on travel from six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. As the ban went into effect Thursday night, Muslims inside and outside the US have been expressing their anger.

Many people are pointing out how ridiculous it is that their grandparents are considered a threat.

Following the outrage over the definition of a "close" family relationship, the state of Hawaii on Thursday filed an emergency motion, asking a federal judge to determine whether the Trump administration had interpreted the Supreme Court's decision too narrowly.

In a court filing, Hawaii said the US government had misinterpreted the Supreme Court by banning people who ~actually~ have a close family relationship with US citizens.

buzzfeed.com/anupkaphle/muslims-are-tweeting-about-their-grandparents-who-cant?utm_term=.ep0L2jw2V#.ptMl8KL8W

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South Asia

ISIS militants suffer casualties in US drone strike in Kunar province of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Fri Jun 30 2017

The militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group’s offshoot in Afghanistan, ISIS Khurasan, suffered casualties in a drone strike conducted in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the airstrike was carried out late on Thursday in the vicinity of Manogi district.

Provincial police spokesman FaridullahDehqan said the US forces based in Afghanistan conducted an airstrike using unmanned aerial vehicle, targeting the ISIS militants in Manogi district.

Dehqan further added that the information they have received indicates that three ISIS loyalists were killed and another one was wounded in the airstrike.

He said the local residents have not suffered any casualties in the airstrike.

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

This comes as the US forces based in Afghanistan have stepped up airstrikes against the anti-government armed militants in Afghanistan.

The airstrikes were increased particularly after the former US administration granted broader role to the US forces to resume counter-terrorism operations, a step that was taken after growing instability in the country, mainly due to the insurgency led by the Taliban and ISIS militants.

khaama.com/isis-militants-suffer-casualties-in-us-drone-strike-in-kunar-province-of-afghanistan-03044

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‘Afghanistan’s security is our security’, says NATO SG while reaffirming enduring support

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the alliance’s enduring support to Afghanistan, emphasizing that ‘Afghanistan’s security is our security’.

In his speech after the conclusion of the meeting with the NATO-led Resolute Support operational partner nations, Stoltenberg said

“Today, Afghan security forces are fully responsible for security across the country. Every day they demonstrate bravery and resilience, leading the fight to defeat terrorists and protect their people,” he said in his speech after the conclusion of the meeting with the Resolute Support operational partner nations and while noting the alliance’s support to the country.

The Secretary General further added that “This has allowed us to shift from a large-scale combat force of over 100,000 NATO troops to our current training mission of around 13,000.”

However, he said the security situation on the ground remains extremely challenging. “We have recently seen brutal attacks in Kabul. In recent months, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed. This is exactly why our presence is so important. So today, we reconfirmed our enduring commitment to Afghanistan. We will sustain our Resolute Support Mission beyond 2017.”

“In support of Afghanistan’s four-year roadmap for addressing key military shortfalls. Our military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for the Mission and today, I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan,” he added.

The Secretary General also added that “At a force generation conference earlier this month, fifteen nations pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support. We also got some more announcements and pledges during the meeting today.”

Stoltenberg said the alliance will also continue funding the Afghan Security Forces through 2020 and will continue to strengthen the alliance’s political partnership and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.

However, he said NATO alone cannot bring lasting security to Afghanistan, emphasizing that “We count on our Afghan partners to make good on their commitments, including: key reforms on good governance and the rule of law, fighting corruption and protecting the rights of women and girls. Together we are determined to build on the progress we have made and together we will preserve the gains we have fought so hard to achieve. Because Afghanistan’s security is our security.”

khaama.com/afghanistans-security-is-our-security-says-nato-sg-while-reaffirming-enduring-support-03042

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Contracts worth 4 billion Afghanis approved in NPC meeting chaired by Ghani

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017

The Afghan government has approved a total of twelve contracts worth around four billion Afghanis during a meeting of the national procurement commission chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the meeting of the national procurement commission was organized in the presidential palace on Wednesday evening.

A statement by ARG Palace said the contracts approved during the meeting includes the economic and technical feasibility study for the new tunnels to be built in Salang, first phase construction of road having a length of 23 kilometers from Doshi to Bamyan, modification of the consulting project for the construction of substations in Bamyan, contract for the supply of pesticides for various agricultural projects, construction of agricultural farm in Enjil district of Herat, project for the provision of health services in Farah and Nimroz provinces.

Other contracts approved during the meeting includes procurement of fuel for the public protection forces and the security industry of the ministry of interior, extension of construction of agricultural farms project for KhasPakh of Balkh and Kham Kalan of Parwan, and extension of the expenses of the governmental scholarships for Turkey, Malaysia, and India.

The presidential further added that the meeting also rejected the project for the procurement of the IT equipment for the ministry of labor, social affairs, and martyred and further decisions were taken that the project should be announced once again for the bidding.

khaama.com/contracts-worth-4-billion-afghanis-approved-in-npc-meeting-chaired-by-ghani-03041

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India

Man lynched by mob for allegedly carrying beef in Jharkhand

PTI | Jun 29, 2017, 09.39 PM IST

RAMGARH: On the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that killings in the name of cow protection won't be tolerated, a man was beaten to death by a mob on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his vehicle.

A case has been registered on the basis of a video footage of the lynching, police said.

The incident took place just a couple of days after a mob attacked and injured a man in Giridih district on suspicion that he had slaughtered a cow.

SP Kishore Kaushal told a press conference that around 30 people surrounded the van bearing a West Bengal number plate in the Bazaar Tand area of Ramgarh police station.

They dragged out the driver of the vehicle, MohdAllimuddin, a resident of neighbouringHazaribagh district, and thrashed him injuring him seriously.

The police on getting information rushed to the spot and took Allimuddin to a hospital where he was declared "brought dead" by doctors, a police officer said.

The mob also set the vehicle on fire, he said.

According to Kaushal, a case was registered on the basis of the video footage and asserted the guilty would be arrested soon.

Ramgarh deputy commissioner Rajeswari B, who was also present in the press conference, said additional forces have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ranchi/man-lynched-by-mob-for-allegedly-carrying-beef-in-jharkhand/articleshow/59374586.cms

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No atmosphere of fear or insecurity among minorities: Naqvi

PTI | Jun 29, 2017

NEW DELHI: Amid reports of alleged lynching attacks targeting minorities, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said there was no atmosphere of fear or insecurity prevailing among the community.

Suspecting the role of some "hostile forces" behind such incidents, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs said such "tactics" will not be allowed to succeed.

He, however, stressed that the incidents cannot be justified and pitched for tough action against the perpetrators.

Naqvi reiterated the Modi government's commitment for inclusive growth and creating an atmosphere of trust among the communities.

He said safety of every section of the society was "equally important for" for the Centre.

"I do not think there is fear or insecurity among minorities. But whatever incidents are taking place, be it small or big, be it a criminal conspiracy, in no way it is justified. Action should be taken as per law against them," Naqvi said after attending the 76th meeting of Central Waqf Council here.

On asked which forces were behind such incidents, Naqvi did not name any.

He, however, added that be it political organisations or individuals, the state governments (given law and order is a state subject) concerned were taking "immediate and effective" action against the people involved.

"The governments of Rajasthan, Haryana and Jharkhand have without wasting any time taken action against such people. I myself had spoken to the chief ministers and officials of these states," he said.

Speaking during the meeting, the Union minister said his ministry had been working towards socio-economic-educational empowerment of all the notified minorities -- Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Jain -- effectively as a "mission and commitment".

The minister said the measures the Centre had taken during the last three years of its rule were a reflection of its "empowerment without appeasement" policy, which he added, has created an "atmosphere of development and trust".

Naqvi said his ministry had been successful in enabling the poor, backward and weaker sections of the minorities to get their share of mainstream development through "3Es: education, employment and empowerment."

He also listed a range of schemes the government had been implementing for the welfare of the minorities.

Earlier this month, 17-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death onboard a train between Delhi and Mathura. The group of attackers had allegedly hurled communal slurs and attacked the victim after an altercation over seats.

A few days ago, over a 100-strong mob attacked a Muslim man on the suspicion of slaughtering a cow after finding the carcass of a bovine near his house in Giridih district of Jharkhand.

In April, 55-year-old Pehlu Khan was killed allegedly by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar while he was transporting cows for his small dairy farm.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/no-atmosphere-of-fear-or-insecurity-among-minorities-naqvi/articleshow/59368180.cms

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No religious angle linked to lynchings: Venkaiah Naidu

Jun 30, 2017

NEW DELHI: Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday dubbed incidents of lynchings in the country as "barbaric" and said they should not be seen from a religious angle.

Law enforcement agencies at the district and the state level must take effective steps to prevent such incidents in future, the minister said, a day after a man was killed in Jharkhand for allegedly transporting beef.

"It has been condemned by and one all. The Prime Minister also, for the second time, spoke about it. It is happening in different parts of the country and it is barbaric and atrocious. No religious angle is linked to it," he told reporters here.

The latest incident of lynching has been reported from Ramgarh in Jharkhand where the victim, identified as AlimuddinAsghar, was intercepted by a mob on suspicion of transporting beef in his van.

Asghar's lynching on Thursday came even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned acts of violence in the name of cow vigilantism. Addressing a gathering at Sabarmati Ashram, Modi had said that "killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' (cow worship) is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/no-religious-angle-linked-to-lynchings-venkaiah-naidu/articleshow/59383743.cms

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Mideast

Qatar working with US, Kuwaitis on response to Gulf demands

 

Qatar said on Thursday it was working with the United States and Kuwait to respond to a list of demands presented by Arab states who have accused Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation that ignited a regional crisis between the US allies.

The feud erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel links with Qatar, accusing it also of courting regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The four countries have sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including closing the state-funded Al Jazeera television station and reducing ties to Iran, an official of one of the four countries said. They gave Doha 10 days to comply.

The deadline is expected to expire on Sunday. Kuwait, which retained ties with Qatar, is trying to mediate in the dispute with the support of the United States.

In Washington on Thursday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters that Qatar, together with the Americans and Kuwaitis, was preparing responses.

"We have to set the conditions first in order to pursue these negotiations," Sheikh Mohammed said.

At a later event, Sheikh Mohammed said the future of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council could be at risk. The security group comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

"We believe this is a big question mark for the future of the GCC," the foreign minister said in response to a question.

The group was formed to guard against external threats, he said, adding: "When the threat is coming from inside the GCC, there is a suspicion about the sustainability of the organisation."

Sheikh Mohammed has called the demands by the four Arab countries "unreasonable" and said setting a deadline impinged on Qatar's sovereignty.

Doha was ready to discuss "legitimate issues" with Arab states to end the crisis but some demands were impossible to meet because the underlying accusation was untrue, the foreign minister said in a statement earlier on Thursday.

"We cannot 'sever links with so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah' because no such links exist," the statement said.

"And we cannot 'expel any members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard' because there are none in Qatar."

The director of Qatar's World Trade Organization office, Ali Alwaleed al-Thani, said Qatar was considering a complaint at the WTO against a "blockade" by the Arab states.

The UAE ambassador to Russia has said Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands. The Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or Doha, he said in a newspaper interview.

Nato ally Turkey has backed Doha in the rift. Qatar's defence minister is due to visit Ankara on Friday and will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart, sources at Turkey's defense ministry said.

A new contingent of Turkish forces had arrived in Doha, Al Jazeera reported.

dawn.com/news/1342335/qatar-working-with-us-kuwaitis-on-response-to-gulf-demands

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Qatar 'Could Yield to Concessions' in Syria Amid Arab Diplomatic Standoff © REUTERS/ NaseemZeitoon

30.06.2017

Amid the diplomatic row in the Persian Gulf, Qatar could yield to certain concessions in Syria to be able to embrace full-fledged cooperation with Russia and set up sound ties with Iran and Turkey, VitalyNaumkin, a Russian adviser to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, told Sputnik.

"We could expect Qatar to yield to certain concessions in the Syrian conflict and give up on its active support of the most persistent and unwilling to reach a compromise radicals," VitalyNaumkin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, the Chair at the Faculty of World Politics at the Moscow State University and the Russian adviser to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, told Sputnik.

Saudi Arabia 'Simply Unable to Open a Military Front Against Qatar'

Naumkin talked to Sputnik on the sidelines of the International Forum "Primakov Readings", held in Moscow in memory of Yevgeny Primakov, Russian outstanding politician, journalist, and academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Forum, which brings together politicians, diplomats, journalists, and, above all, members of the academic and expert communities, have entered the top ten on an international rating of the most prestigious conferences on foreign policy issues.

The expert suggested that Doha could stop spoiling the peace process and impeding Russian attempts of peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict and opt for cooperation with Moscow. It is also interested in setting up sound ties with Iran and Turkey.

However he noted that sooner or later the Persian Gulf monarchies will start searching for ways to end up the current diplomatic crisis. With regards to Russia, Naumkin reminded that Moscow has taken up an equi-distant position in this conflict.

"If we look at the key players in this conflict, we will see that we have pretty constructive relations with a number of participants. We are not interested in any polarization in the region, in the split into warring and antagonistic blocs,  and we should not side with anyone, as the US has been doing," he said.

Turkish APC drives at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 18, 2017. Picture taken June 18, 2017

He further described as short-sighted the openly anti-Iranian position of Donald Trump, which he took up right after his trip to Saudi Arabia, thus siding with one of the parties to the conflict.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with the tiny Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East. The Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritania, Comoros, Somaliland, the Aden-based government of civil war-raged Yemen, and the Tobruk-based Libyan government soon joined them, with Jordan, Djibouti, Senegal and Chad lowering diplomatic contacts with or recalling their ambassadors from Doha.

Moscow has been watching the diplomatic crisis very closely, and has stressed the need to resolve the conflict peacefully, offered emergency food supplies to Qatar, and called for direct negotiations between Doha and the other Arab states to resolve the crisis.

Saudis Won't Resort to Intervention in Qatar While Turkey is There, in Fear of NATO Response

However on June 23, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt handed a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar. The list contains demands Doha needs to meet in order to restore ties with other Arab nations.

The ultimatum demands that Qatar, among other things, cut its ties with Iran, close a Turkish military base on its soil and shut down the Al Jazeera media network and its affiliates. The countries are also demanding that Doha publicaly denounce relations with Islamist groups, end its suspected financing of terrorism and hand over persons that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Moreover, the countries are demanding that Qatar provide financial compensation, although the sum was not reported.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706301055105929-qatar-concessions-syria-crisis/

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Riyal Boycott: Saudi Arabia Turns Screws on Qatar With Currency Blockade © REUTERS/ Tom Finn/File Photo

30.06.2017

Residents of Qatar are having problems exchanging their riyals after exchange services worldwide stopped accepting them, following the economic blockade announced by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies.

A man rides a camel through the desert oil field and winter camping area of Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015

The Qatari riyal has fallen to its lowest trading value against the dollar in 12 years as a result of the boycott of Qatar by a group of Arab countries.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Libya cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, alleging that the Gulf nation supports terrorists and militant groups with ties to Iran.

Saudi Arabia closed the crossing at Qatar's only land border, which Qatar uses to import about 40 percent of its food supplies. Qatar's Arab neighbors also denied permission for the national carrier Qatar Airways to use their airspace, and airline carriers from the UAE canceled all flights to Doha.

Iran, with which Qatar shares a natural gas field in the Persian Gulf, and Turkey, which has a military base in Qatar, have sent deliveries of food and other supplies to Qatar by sea.

While the Qatari riyal has been officially pegged at $3.64 to the dollar since 2005, offers for the currency have fallen below the fixed rate amid a fall in demand. According to Bloomberg data, the spot exchange rate for the riyal dipped to 3.79 on June 26, before recovering to 3.72 on Friday.

Financial traders said the two percent decrease in the riyal's spot exchange rate, despite the peg, is a result of low liquidity resuling from the sanctions, which have disrupted financial operations. The sanctions have led many banks in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to stop trading with Qatari institutions, while international banks have cut back on trading with Qatar because of political risk.

Most exchange houses in the Gulf have also stopped accepting Qatari riyals, and foreign exchanges in many countries have followed suit, citing a lack of demand for the currency.

"I'm in (Los Angeles) and I tried to exchange Qatari riyals at multiple banks (US Bank, Bank of America, Chase etc.) and they've informed me that a directive was sent out to all US banks not to accept Qatari Riyals at all," one Qatar resident told Doha News.

Yes!!! I'm in Pakistan and the money exchangers are giving me trouble. Will be back in Doha soon and will transfer home from there.

— atharkamal (@athar2222) 27 ???? 2017 ?.

?In the UK, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) confirmed that they were not buying riyals from customers "as there was no market for selling them."

??According to Arab News, the Post Office, one of the UK's main currency exchanges, "temporarily" stopped trading in riyals on June 5 because banks refused to trade in the currency.

"Banks we utilize to dispose of excess Gulf currencies informed us at the outset that they were no longer buying (Qatari riyals)," a Post Office spokeswoman told the news outlet.

Russia Ready to Supply Food, Freshwater to Qatar If Needed - Official

Last week, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt presented Qatar with a 13-point list of demands that it must fulfil in order to have the blockade lifted.

The ultimatum demands that Qatar, among other things, cut its ties with Iran, close the Turkish military base on its soil and shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliates. Other demands call on Doha to publically denounce relations with Islamist groups, end its suspected financing of terrorism and hand over persons designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Moreover, financial compensation is demanded of Qatar, although the sum was not reported.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706301055106152-qatar-blockade-riyal-exchange/

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Palestinian fined $200 for wearing underpants instead of bathing suit on Israeli beach – media

30 Jun, 2017

Palestinian fined $200 for wearing underpants instead of bathing suit on Israeli beach – media

HakamHabash decided to go to the Herzl beach in the Israeli city of Netanya since he had a travel permit to be in Israel in day hours during the holy month of Ramadan. After he arrived at the Herzl beach with three friends, the group was eventually asked to show their entry permits by a municipal inspector.

However, it was not the permits that left the men with fines of 730 shekels ($207) each. “The above-mentioned came to the sea without a bathing suit,” says a copy of Habash’s ticket, which also cited “paragraph 99.”

Palestinian factory worker is afraid he'll never get to see the sea again as he doesn't have money to pay the finet.co/D2azYtIcp8

— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 29, 2017

“The complainant was on the beach in underpants and not in regular clothing. Enforcement on the seashore takes place with the aim of preserving public order and the safety and wellbeing of the beach-goers, and we reject any attempt to attribute racist behavior or discrimination to the municipality and its employees,” a spokesperson for the Netanya Municipality told Haaretz in a statement.

Habash, a 36-year-old worker at a jeans manufacturing factory in the West Bank, has four children, the newspaper reports.

“I guess I won’t be able to see the sea again, because I can’t make the payment, unless I use my pension or give up eating and drinking,” said Habash, who earns some 950 shekels a month.

The man claimed that Israelis wearing underpants at the Herzl hadn’t been issued a fine.

“I showed the copy of the fine to Jews I know in Samaria and they were amazed,” he said, while a Tel Aviv beach inspector called the fine “illogical.”

rt.com/news/394738-palestinian-fined-israeli-beach/

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Africa

Somalia Islamist insurgency splits as loyalty of key commander wavers

By Feisal Omar | MOGADISHU

Somalia's insurgency suffered a significant split after government officials confirmed on Friday that they had sent troops to repel Islamist fighters seeking to capture one of their own commanders.

The U.S. had offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, known universally as "Robow", once the spokesman and deputy leader of al Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency that wants to overthrow Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government.

Robow fell out of favor with the insurgency in 2013 yet remained outwardly loyal. Earlier this month, the U.S. quietly removed him from their list of sponsors of terror after five years.

"There was and is, negotiation going on between Mukhtar Robow and the Somali federal government but still there is no guarantee that he will defect," Colonel Aden Ahmed, an officer in the national military, told Reuters on Friday from southwestern Hudur town, near Robow's stronghold.

A split would further weaken al Shabaab following years where the insurgency has steadily lost ground. It withdrew from the capital in 2011 and has lost control of most of the major towns in south-central Somalia since.

It still maintains a significant presence in the countryside and the Juba region near the border with Kenya and is mounting increasingly large and deadly bombings in the capital.

If Robow defects, it would give pro-government forces more freedom to operate in the regions of Bay and Bakool, slicing al Shabaab's operational territory in two. Robow is from the large Rahanweyn clan, which dominates many of Somalia's most fertile areas.

"We understand al Shabaab fighters plan to attack and capture Robow but this will not be easy for he has well-trained and well-armed...fighters who will die for him. Yesterday, we prepared about 300 military soldiers with military cars to defend Robow," Ahmed said.

"Those troops are now in the outskirts of the town. We cannot send them directly for many reasons. Al Shabaab may ambush us, Robow himself may ambush our forces. We shall give reinforcement to Robow only after we confirm that fighting between al Shabaab and Robow breaks out."

Residents said Robow was holed up in a village with about 400 fighters about 18 km (11 miles) from Hudur, the capital of Bakool region in southern Somalia.

Two residents said they saw two helicopters and a drone but it was unclear to them if the aircraft were connected to Robow.

Despite hacking charges, U.S. tech industry fought to keep ties to Russia spy service

"We understand al Shabaab decided to disarm Robow after they heard he was removed from U.S. wanted list," local elder Mohamed Nur said.

Al Shabaab and Robow could not be reached for comment.

Mohamed Abdi, governor of Bakool, told Reuters that al Shabaab fighters were advancing towards Robow.

"We have prepared many troops to reinforce Robow in case they begin fighting him. Your enemy’s enemy is your friend," he said.

(Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh; editing by Ralph Boulton)

reuters.com/article/us-somalia-security-idUSKBN19L255?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

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Twin suicide blasts kill 3 near N. Cameroon mosque

30.06.2017    

At least three people, including two suicide bombers, were killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack near a mosque in Kerawa city of Cameroon’s Far North region on Friday.

"Two women suicide bombers wanted to enter Kerawa mosque, where Muslims were gathered for morning prayers. The bombers blew themselves up when they noticed that members of a vigilance

committee had spotted them," Mohamed Bamsi, an Imam of the mosque said.

"The bombers died in the explosion, while a faithful, who was about to enter the mosque, was also killed," Bamsi added.

A military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said security forces were expecting an attack from Boko Haram -- a Nigerian militant group.

"There is at least one attack perpetrated by Boko Haram in the region every Friday. So this Friday should not be the exception," he added.

More than 20 civilians were killed in Boko Haram attacks between January and June 2017 in Northern Cameroon, according to the country's Ministry of Defense.

Around 26 million people in the Lake Chad region have been affected by Boko Haram violence and more than 2.6 million displaced, according to the UN.

Cameroon is part of a regional task force that aims to eradicate the militant group that has so far killed more than 2,000 Cameroonians, according to government officials.

aa.com.tr/en/africa/twin-suicide-blasts-kill-3-near-n-cameroon-mosque/851737

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Egypt Marks Anniversary of June 2013 Protests Against Islamist Rule © AP Photo/ Amr Nabil

30.06.2017

On Friday, Egypt marks the fourth anniversary of the beginning of mass protests that led to the coup d’etat and overthrow of then president Mohamed Morsi.

A general view is seen as Egyptians gather by a Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017

Six Militants Detained in Egypt Over Plotting Attacks on Christian Churches

CAIRO (Sputnik) – Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood (outlawed in Russia as a terrorist organization), became the president in 2012 after Hosni Mubarak’s resignation amid the Arab spring uprising.

In July 2013, amid the wave of public discontent over the Muslim Brotherhood rule, the Egyptian army ousted President Morsi and declared a transition period in the country. Morsi supporters staged mass protests, demanding his reinstatement. Hundreds of Egyptians were killed in the subsequent riots and clashes. Morsi and many of his supporters were imprisoned.

On May 26-28, 2014, an early presidential election took place in Egypt, which was won by former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Sisi with 23.7 million votes, or 96.3 percent of the turnout.

sputniknews.com/africa/201706301055104994-egypt-protests-anniversary/

 

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