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Islamic World News ( 26 Aug 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘I See a Drone, I Remove My SIM Card’: Afghan Villagers Live In Constant Fear of US Airstrikes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo:  Afghan policemen inspect a destroyed police checkpoint, which a NATO aircraft had mistakenly attacked during a clash between Afghan special forces and a group of Taliban fighters at the checkpoint, at the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province, August 1, 2013 © Parwiz / Reuters

 

Musa's New Terror Group Calls for Pan-India Jihad

Bikini-Clad Cabin Crew- “No” For Flights to Muslim Country

Your Sins Are Exposed': Islamic Preacher Slams Muslims Who Show Their TATTOOS - But Still Pray To Allah

Whistle-Blower: Ex-Saudi Crown Prince Kept Under Arrest in Unknown Place

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South Asia

‘I See A Drone, I Remove My SIM Card’: Afghan Villagers Live In Constant Fear Of US Airstrikes

Deadly Airstrikes Target Taliban Insurgents In Helmand Leaving Several Dead

4 Uzbek ISIS militants blown up by own explosives in North of Afghanistan

Mosque attack carried out by foreign hands: Karzai

UN mission slams deadly attack on Shi’a mosque in Kabul

NATO reaffirms support to Afghanistan after Kabul mosque attack

Development plan of security, defense forces to be implemented with all force: Ghani

New political coalition seeks broader role as US announces new strategy

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India

Musa's New Terror Group Calls for Pan-India Jihad

An Initiative That Aims To Empower Muslims Economically, Create More Entrepreneurs

Hyderabad: Muslim Makes Ganesha Sweets

Uniform Civil Code: How RSS and Hindu swamis fought tooth and nail the Hindu Code Bill

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Southeast Asia

Bikini-Clad Cabin Crew- “No” For Flights to Muslim Country

Thousands of Non-Muslims Evacuated As Violence Flares In Northwest Myanmar

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Europe

Your Sins Are Exposed': Islamic Preacher Slams Muslims Who Show Their TATTOOS - But Still Pray To Allah

N.H. Mosque Defended After Extremism Claim

Muslim Heritage Day celebrates Calgary's diverse community

Islamic State claims Brussels knife attack on soldiers

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Arab World

Whistle-Blower: Ex-Saudi Crown Prince Kept Under Arrest in Unknown Place

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar centre, citadel from ISIS

Homs: Syrian Army Purges 2,000sq/km of Badiyeh of Terrorists

More Militants Join Peace Agreement with Syrian Army in Aleppo Province

Army Regains Control of More Areas in Homs

Syrian Army Using Modern Home-Made Electronic Jamming Systems

Saudi-led coalition admits killing civilians in airstrike in Yemen ‘by mistake’

Syrian Army Tightens Noose on Terrorists in Heights at Border with Lebanon

Mossad Officer Leading ISIL as Mosque Imam Arrested in Libya

Islamic State submits to ceasefires in Syria-Lebanon border fight

Lebanon’s army declares pause in fighting against Islamic

Lebanese army begins talks with Islamic State - security source

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Mideast

Turkey Opposition Chief Challenges Erdogan with ‘Justice’ Congress

Imam Khomeini taught us boldness against foreign threats

Iranian Shiite Muslims Set Out on World’s Longest Arba’een Pilgrimage Walk

Iran President, cabinet members pay tribute to late Imam Khomeini

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Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif Files Review Petition Challenging Panamagate Verdict

Pakistan Court Quashes Corruption Case against Zardari

Senator Babar points to ‘invisible roadblocks’ in Fata-KP merger

Audit reveals billions in irregularities in 2016 Haj operation

JIT entrusted with Lahore's Outfall Road blast

Pakistan FM to visit China, Russia, Turkey after US adopts tough stance in new strategy

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Africa

27 Dead after Boko Haram Attacks on Nigerian Villages

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North America

US Aware Of Afghan Taliban's Presence In Peshawar And Quetta: Gen John Nicholson

Jamaican cleric charged in New York with recruiting for Islamic State

'US Has to Change Strategy on Afghanistan' and Think in 'Different Terms'

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘i-see-a-drone,-i-remove-my-sim-card’--afghan-villagers-live-in-constant-fear-of-us-airstrikes/d/112346

 

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‘I See A Drone, I Remove My SIM Card’: Afghan Villagers Live In Constant Fear Of US Airstrikes

Published time: 27 Aug,

‘I see a drone, I remove my SIM card’: Afghan villagers live in constant fear of US airstrikes

Afghan policemen inspect a destroyed police checkpoint, which a NATO aircraft had mistakenly attacked during a clash between Afghan special forces and a group of Taliban fighters at the checkpoint, at the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province, August 1, 2013 © Parwiz / Reuters

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Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province has been one of the hardest hit by US airstrikes, which target Islamist militants but also hit civilians. In a video by RT’s Ruptly agency, locals shared what it was like to live under the constant risk of being bombed.

As a stronghold of both the Taliban and the emerging presence of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, Nangarhar province saw 358 airstrikes by US forces in July alone – half of all the airstrikes in Afghanistan over the month. On August 11, the Afghan government said that at least 16 civilians, including women and children, had been killed in one bombing in the Haska Meena district, which the US military claimed was targeting militants.

rt.com/news/401027-afghans-fear-us-airstrikes-nangarhar/

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Musa's New Terror Group Calls for Pan-India Jihad

Aug 27, 2017

Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul member had to quit the terror outfit recently after he threatened to kill militants

Al Qaida linked Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, which announced Kashmiri terrorist Zakir Musa as its chief last month, has now made a call to spread jihad across India. The statement lays out the group's objective of targeting Indian Army and security forces or anyone else oppressing Muslims in Kashmir and other parts of India. The group also said that it is not regional in nature and its activities won't be limited by man-made borders; this has alarmed the security establishment.

Intelligence agencies are identifying its supporters in Kashmir, and according to a review the group has made inroads in Tral, slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani's and Musa's home town, sources said.

Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul member had to quit the terror outfit recently after he threatened to kill militants. While Hizbul ranks have made it clear that they don't comply with Musa's views, intelligence reports indicate that even after quitting, he enjoys some support within Hizbul.

Intelligence agencies are wary of Musa's reach outside Kashmir. "Since he did his higher education in Chandigarh, he does have links with people from other parts of the country who he could use to gather support," said an intelligence source.

The new group has said in its statement that it rejects polytheism and idol worship. It also said that it rejects every system that is non-Islamic — including democracy.

Officials say terror outfits in Kashmir have instructed their cadres to not get swayed by the call for jihad being advocated by the group and continue with their movement for Kashmir. "They might not be able to make an impact in Kashmir but its objectives say that they want to spread across India. This cannot be taken lightly and we are watching their activities and identifying links outside the state also," an intelligence official said.

dnaindia.com/india/report-musa-s-new-terror-group-calls-for-pan-india-jihad-2540922

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Bikini-Clad Cabin Crew- “No” For Flights to Muslim Country

Sun, 2017-08-27

Vietnamese airline VietJet has promised that all flight attendants on their soon-to-be-opened route from Ho Chi Minh City to Jakarta will be fully clothed after Indonesian authorities raised concerns.

The budget airline shot to prominence in 2012 when it hosted a mid-flight dance by bikini-clad beauty pageant contestants on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal resort of Nha Thang in east Vietnam.

The airline was fined 20 million Dong, around US$880, for the unsanctioned PR stunt. It has since become synonymous with bikini wearing flight stewards and regularly uses them in advertising campaigns.

Because of this reputation, when the carrier announced that it was opening a route to the capital of Indonesia, officials in the conservative Muslim country raised concerns.

The airline’s Deputy Director for Commercial Affairs, Jay L Lingeswara, however, has confirmed that all VietJet employees will be fully clothed on all flights to Indonesia.

“We strongly believe and are committed to offering the best and suitable services to the Indonesian market,” he said, adding that Vietjet Air had learned from its experience with the opening of a route to Malaysia. The airline also confirmed it will provide halal food for Muslim passengers, the Jakarta Post report.

Indonesia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Ibnu Hadi, explained to Indonesian news program Liputan 6 that the bikini incident will not be repeated: “I’d like to explain that the bikini [stunt] was only for one event. It was for the airline’s launch of their new route to Nha Trang, which is a resort city so that’s why they wore bikinis.”

VietJet started flying in 2011 and flies to 53 destinations. Its CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, quickly became Vietnam's first self-made female billionaire.

asiantribune.com/node/90895

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Your Sins Are Exposed': Islamic Preacher Slams Muslims Who Show Their TATTOOS - But Still Pray To Allah

27 August 2017

An Islamic preacher has slammed Muslims who show their tattoos in public.

Nassim Abdi, a Sunni morals campaigner from Sydney's west, had some harsh words for Muslims who seek forgiveness for their sins only to expose their ink patterns.

'A person who gets a tattoo, and then he repents to Allah. He starts to pray and he starts to ask Allah for forgiveness but he's always showing his tattoos,' he said.

The fundamentalist Muslim from the hardline Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association was particularly stern about Muslims who post images of themselves on social media without covering up their tattoos.

'For example on his Facebook, or social media, all of his sins are still exposed,' he said.'

'Him at the club, him here or him there, all of his sins are still there.

High-profile Muslim converts Anthony Mundine, a boxer, and Sonny Bill Williams, a New Zealand rugby union All Blacks star, continue to post images of their tattooed arms on Twitter.

In May Mr Abdi, criticised Muslim men who had beautiful, supermodel wives, which would also see Williams fall short of his fundamentalist standards.

The preacher who delivers sermons at Auburn also believes it is sinful for women to wearing hijabs in public without covering up their ears.

Men with tattoos are also advised to do the same thing on the streets.

'You need to feel regret for what you have done and cover it up as much as you can,' Mr Abdi said.

His 29-minute lecture, posted on YouTube, was titled, 'The Best Days of the Year.'

Muslim convert boxer Anthony Mundine (left) also shows his arm and neck tattoos in public

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4826824/Islamic-preacher-slams-Muslims-tattoos.html#ixzz4qwIEDyVz

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Whistle-Blower: Ex-Saudi Crown Prince Kept Under Arrest in Unknown Place

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, revealed that dethroned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who was forced to resign and placed under house arrest by the king's son several months ago has been moved to an unknown place.

"Mohammed bin Nayef has been transferred to another place to be kept. Also, Mohammed bin Salman (the new crown prince) has started a new wave of arrests against those officers affiliated to bin Nayef," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Saturday, without elaborating on bin Nayef's current place.

Elsewhere, he confirmed earlier reports saying that prince Turki bin Moqren has fired at Mohammed bin Salman on July 3, adding that the crown prince's left hand had sustained small injuries.

Mujtahid said Turki was arrested right on the shooting scene that was said to be an assasination attempt on bin Salman's life, adding that no one, even his father, is aware of his fate.

Sources in the Saudi royal guards had revealed in June that new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered them to keep the ousted crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, under house arrest.

"The Saudi royal guards have been ordered to permanently deploy at the palace where Mohammed bin Nayef, the former Saudi crown prince, resides in Riyadh," informed royal guards sources told al-Khalij al-Jadid news website.

They added that the order means bin Nayef is house arrest.

Also, al-Ahd al-Jadid news website reported on its twitter page that Mohammed bin Salman has ordered to put 5 Saudi princes and a number of interior ministry officers under house arrest for their continued contacts with bin Nayef after he was dethroned by the Saudi king Salman.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960604301500

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South Asia

Musa's New Terror Group Calls for Pan-India Jihad

Bikini-Clad Cabin Crew- “No” For Flights to Muslim Country

Your Sins Are Exposed': Islamic Preacher Slams Muslims Who Show Their TATTOOS - But Still Pray To Allah

Whistle-Blower: Ex-Saudi Crown Prince Kept Under Arrest in Unknown Place

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Deadly airstrikes target Taliban insurgents in Helmand leaving several dead

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 27 2017

A series of airstrikes targeted the Taliban insurgents in at least two districts of the restive Helmand province in the South, leaving several fighters of the group dead.

A spokesman for the 215th Maiwand Corps of the Afghan Army in the South General Nawab Zadran confirmed the airstrikes were carried out in the outskirts of Lashkargah city and in Nawa district.

Gen. Zadran further added at least 6 militants were killed and 7 others were wounded in the first airstrike carried out late on Saturday night in Bolan area of Lashkargah city.

He said the second airstrike was carried out in Nawa district leaving at least 7 insurgents dead besides destroying their weapons, ammunitions, and vehicles.

In the meantime, another official said at least 8 Taliban insurgents were killed and several others were wounded during a clash with the police forces on Helmand-Kandahar highway.

According to Gen. Zadran, the airstrikes were carried out jointly by the Afghan and foreign forces based in the country.

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

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where numerous deadly attacks have been carried out by the Taliban insurgents during the recent months.

The Afghan security forces with the support of the foreign forces also conduct regular operations to suppress insurgency of the Taliban.

khaama.com/deadly-airstrikes-target-taliban-insurgents-in-helmand-leaving-several-dead-03359

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4 Uzbek ISIS militants blown up by own explosives in North of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 27 2017

At least four foreign insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khorasan were killed in an explosion in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the incident took place recently in the vicinity of Qosh Tapa district.

District administrative chief Aminullah Amin confirmed the incident and said the militants killed in the explosion were originally hailing from Uzbekistan.

He said the incident took place as the militants were busy in the making of an improvised explosive device.

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

The anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.

However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)  in its latest reported highlighted that 40 per cent of all civilian casualties during the six-month period were killed or injured by anti-government forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices, which were responsible for the deaths of 596 civilians and injured 1,483.

khaama.com/4-uzbek-isis-militants-blown-up-by-own-explosives-in-north-of-afghanistan-03358

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Mosque attack carried out by foreign hands: Karzai

August 27, 2017

AT-KABUL: Former President, Hamid Karzai strongly condemned Friday’s terrorist attack against the people in Imam Zaman grand mosque, saying the attack was carried out by the foreign hands.

“The enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan want to reach their ominous goals by carrying out such attacks, but they should know that the people of Afghanistan are united against the conspiracies and will not let them harm their unity and brotherhood,” Karzai said in a statement.

He wished paradise for the martyrs of Imam Zaman mosque attack, patience for their dears and quick recovery for the injured.

afghanistantimes.af/mosque-attack-carried-out-by-foreign-hands-karzai/

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UN mission slams deadly attack on Shi’a mosque in Kabul

August 27, 201739

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 27 (APP): The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned the attack during Friday prayer at Imam Zaman mosque in Kabul that killed at least 20 civilians including seven women and one child and injured more than 30 others.

app.com.pk/un-mission-slams-deadly-attack-on-shia-mosque-in-kabul/

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NATO reaffirms support to Afghanistan after Kabul mosque attack

 

NATO reaffirms support to Afghanistan after Kabul mosque attack

 The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan reaffirmed the alliance’s continued support to Afghanistan and the Afghan security forces as the alliance condemned the deadly attack on a mosque in Kabul city by ISIS terrorists.

“Once again, ISIS-K terrorists chose to attack a mosque during Friday prayers, killing innocent women, children, and police officers,” the commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission General John Nicholson said.

He said “We stand with Afghanistan in the pursuit of peace. We are firmly committed to support ANDSF against terrorists.”

The security sources confirmed that the death toll from the attack on Friday has climbed to more than 30 people.

The attack took place in the vicinity of Khair Khana area of the city, targeting a Shi’ite mosque, Imam Zaman mosque.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Public Health officials said the death toll has surpassed twenty people but did not confirm the exact toll.

The officials further added that over 40 people have also sustained injuries in the attack.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish earlier confirmed that over 50 people were killed or wounded in the attack. Danish further added that at least ten civilians including women and children, a personnel of the Afghan police special forces, and two personnel of the public order police forces were among those killed.

He said at least thirty civilians, 7 personnel of the special forces of the police forces, and a personal of the public order police forces were among those wounded.

thekabultimes.gov.af/index.php/newsnational/14829-nato-reaffirms-support-to-afghanistan-after-kabul-mosque-attack.html

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Development plan of security, defense forces to be implemented with all force: Ghani

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 27 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said the four-year security plan mainly, mainly consisting of the development national defense and security forces, will be implemented with all force.

He made the remarks during his speech at the cabinet of the ministers meeting, the Office of the President, ARG Palace said in a statement.

ARG Palace in its statement further added that President Ghani briefed the meeting participants regarding the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

President Ghani expressed optimisms that the strategy will help to ensure and achieve a lasting peace in the country, insisting that the main reasons and motives behind the ongoing conflict in the country have been thoroughly analyzed.

According to President Ghani, it is clear that the ongoing violence in the country is not a civil but has deep regional roots.

He insisted that the national strategies belongs to the Afghan government and nation and it is their responsibility and all force will be used to implement the four year security plan.

The Afghan president also added that the government has managed to improve relations with all the regional countries apart from one of them and no ambiguities exist regarding the future of the country, insisting on a nationwide unity among the people to achieve the goals and strategies for the development of the country.

khaama.com/development-plan-of-security-defense-forces-to-be-implemented-with-all-force-ghani-03357

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New political coalition seeks broader role as US announces new strategy

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Aug 26 2017

The new political coalition consisting leaders of Junbish-e-Millie, Jamiat-e-Islami, and Wahdat Islami parties are seeking broader role for the implementation of the new US policy for Afghanistan.

Junbish-e-Millie party led by the First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum in a statement said the new strategy of the United States consists policies resembling those of Junbish-e-Millie for which the party has been campaigning since last thirty years.

The statement further added that Junbish-e-Millie and other political leaders involved in the establishment of the new political coalition had major role in toppling the Taliban regime during the US-led invasion, pointing towards the latest US strategy to defeat the terrorism in the country.

The party leaders also called on the US and Afghan governments and international community to utilize the experiences and capabilities available with the coalition members for the elimination of terrorism and maintaining peace and stability in the country.

They also warned that sidelining the coalition members will have a negative impact and will neutralize all the efforts aimed at defeating terrorism and ensuring peace in Afghanistan.

The new political coalition informed regarding its existence nearly three months ago and comprises of Generla Abdul Rashid Dostum, Ata Mohammad Noor, Mohammad Mohaqiq, and Salahudddin Rabbani.

khaama.com/new-political-coalition-seeks-broader-role-as-us-announces-new-strategy-03356

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India

Musa's New Terror Group Calls for Pan-India Jihad

Aug 27, 2017

Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul member had to quit the terror outfit recently after he threatened to kill militants

Al Qaida linked Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, which announced Kashmiri terrorist Zakir Musa as its chief last month, has now made a call to spread jihad across India. The statement lays out the group's objective of targeting Indian Army and security forces or anyone else oppressing Muslims in Kashmir and other parts of India. The group also said that it is not regional in nature and its activities won't be limited by man-made borders; this has alarmed the security establishment.

Intelligence agencies are identifying its supporters in Kashmir, and according to a review the group has made inroads in Tral, slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani's and Musa's home town, sources said.

Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul member had to quit the terror outfit recently after he threatened to kill militants. While Hizbul ranks have made it clear that they don't comply with Musa's views, intelligence reports indicate that even after quitting, he enjoys some support within Hizbul.

Intelligence agencies are wary of Musa's reach outside Kashmir. "Since he did his higher education in Chandigarh, he does have links with people from other parts of the country who he could use to gather support," said an intelligence source.

The new group has said in its statement that it rejects polytheism and idol worship. It also said that it rejects every system that is non-Islamic — including democracy.

Officials say terror outfits in Kashmir have instructed their cadres to not get swayed by the call for jihad being advocated by the group and continue with their movement for Kashmir. "They might not be able to make an impact in Kashmir but its objectives say that they want to spread across India. This cannot be taken lightly and we are watching their activities and identifying links outside the state also," an intelligence official said.

dnaindia.com/india/report-musa-s-new-terror-group-calls-for-pan-india-jihad-2540922

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An initiative that aims to empower Muslims economically, create more entrepreneurs

Written by ZEESHAN SHAIKH | Mumbai | Published:August 27, 2017 5:11 am

Dharavi: Shop for quality leather goods at cheap ratesDharavi: Shop for quality leather goods at cheap rates

While a slew of efforts has been undertaken over the years for the educational upliftment of Muslims, a new initiative being planned aims at the economic upliftment of the community. Behind the initiative is a group of young Muslim professionals, who under the aegis of the Association of Muslim Professionals met in Mumbai on Saturday to work out a time-bound plan for the economic empowerment of the Muslim community.

“Over the last 20-odd years, a lot of work has been done for the educational upliftment of the Muslim community. We feel it’s time to take the next step to ensure their economic upliftment as well. Our idea is, enchain the educated Muslims to this project whereby we can create a facilitating body to create social entrepreneurs within the community,” said Aamir Edresy, convenor of the Association of Muslim Professionals and the brain behind the project.

Over the past two decades, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the Muslim community to get itself educated. Between 2001 and 2011, the total number of graduates in India increased by 64 per cent from 3.76 crore to 6.2 crore. At the same time, the total number of Muslim graduates increased by 98.8 per cent, from 23.9 lakh to 47.52 lakh.

In spite of this, Muslims remain one of the most poor and deprived sections of society. The average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) for Indians stands at Rs 1,128. It is, however, the lowest for Muslims at Rs 980. There is, however, a wide social disparity within the community, which also has a substantial number of successful and wealthy entrepreneurs.

The group, which included senior Muslim professionals from the corporate world, brainstormed to set an economic agenda for the community. “The community has no voice when it comes to help formulate economic policies. Our idea is to create a system whereby the community’s entrepreneurs can play some role in making themselves useful in facilitating the drafting of economic policies. We are also seeking to create an environment whereby fledgling Muslim entrepreneurs are provided both mentorship as well as economic support if required,” Edresy said.

The group plans to hold meetings in this regard across the country and in the coming years wants to come up with a concrete roadmap. “We are planning to come out with a roadmap, which we plan to submit to the government by next year on steps that can be taken to help in the economic empowerment of the community. We will also create a plan of action for the community itself, which can be used to facilitate its own economic growth,” Edresy said. Businessmen Suhail Khandwani said the initiative was to help create a sustainable network within the community to help entrepreneurs.

“We are looking at creating a system which will facilitate not only business-to-business ties but also business-to-consumer ties. The whole aim is to create an environment for social entrepreneurs who uplift the community and help in creating a better and prosperous society,” said Khandwani, CEO of Khandwani Group and who is a part of the initiative.

indianexpress.com/article/india/an-initiative-that-aims-to-empower-muslims-economically-create-more-entrepreneurs-4815465/

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Hyderabad: Muslim makes Ganesha sweets

Published Aug 27, 2017

Hyderabad: There is something special about Huma Sweet House in Old City’s Chandrayangutta. During the 10 day Ganesh festival, the confectioners here make big laddus which are offered to Ganesha by devotees.

The family of Sayeed Bin Mohammed Bahbela, owner of the sweet store, makes the special laddus on every Vinayaka Chathurthi. “Many Hindus from far away areas place orders with us weeks before the Ganesh festival. The laddus are offered to Ganesh idols and kept for 10 days before being auctioned,” says Sayeed Bin Mohammed Bahbela, son of Mohammed Bin Salam.

Huma Sweet House use to prepare laddus for  even  the Balapur Ganesh idol years ago. “We had supplied it to several idols in the city. Only a few big idols were installed earlier whose patrons used laddus between 10 and 15 kilograms. Now things have changed and of course the orders have increased,” says Mr Mohammed Bahbela.

Mr Bahbela says that though there is not much profit in the business due to the mushrooming of shops, they  still continue it.

“We had set an example of communal harmony. We will continue with it as long as it is possible,” he says.

Extreme care is taken to ensure that the sentiments of the devotees are not hurt. As there is a lot of devotion attached to the laddus, we ensure that outmost cleanliness is maintained in our kitchen. “People have faith in us. So they place orders caring little about our religious identity. We have never thought that we are making laddus for another community,” Mr Mohammed Bahbela said.

deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/270817/hyderabad-muslim-makes-ganesha-sweets.html

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Uniform Civil Code: How RSS and Hindu swamis fought tooth and nail the Hindu Code Bill

Aug 27, 2017

The BJP and Sangh Parivarhave been celebrating Talaq judgment of Supreme Court and claiming credit for liberating Muslim women from the male dominating Muslim society. But there was no evidence that they took any initiative for empowering Hindu women. On the contrary they took every possible step to stall a major initiative taken by our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nahru and our first law minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

It may be recalled that a draft Hindu code bill was introduced in the constituent assembly which incorporated several measures to empower Hindu women including their right to divorce. The moment they came to know the contents of the bill,RSS with the cooperation of other likeminded organisations launched a vicious campaign against Nehru and Ambedkar. What that campaign was and how they maligned both great leaders is described by eminent historian Ram Chandra Guha in his book India After Gandhi. Relevant contents from the book are being reproduced here:

Outside the Assembly the cries against the bill grew louder. Already in March 1949 an All-India Anti-Hindu-Code-Bill Committee had been formed. This held that that the Constituent Assembly has 'no right to interfere with the personal laws of Hindus which are based on Dharma Shastras'.

The Anti-Hindu-Code-Bill Committee was supported by conservative lawyers as well as by conservative clerics. The influential Shankaracharya of Dwarka issue an 'encyclical' against the proposed code. Religion, he said, 'is the noblest light, inspiration and support of men, and the State's highest duty is to protect it'.

The Anti-Hindu-Code-Bill Committee held hundreds of meetings throughout India, where sundry swamis denounced the proposed legislation. The participants in this movement presented themselves as religious warriors (dharmaveer) fighting a religious war (dharmayudh). The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threw its weight behind the agitation. On 11 December 1949, the RSS organized a public meeting at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi, where speaker after speaker condemned the bill. One called it 'an atom bomb on Hindu society'. Another likened it to the draconian Rowlatt Act introduced by the colonial state; just as the protests against that act led to the downfall of the British, he said, the struggle against this Bill would signal the downfall of Nehru's government. The next day a group of RSS workers marched on the Assembly buildings, shouting 'Down with Hindu code bill' and 'May Pandit Nehru perish'. The protesters burnt effigies of the prime minister and Dr Ambedkar, and then vandalized the car of Sheikh Abdullah.

The leader of the movement against the new bill was one Swami Karpatriji Maharaj. We know little of this swami's antecedents, except that he was from north India and appeared to be knowledgeable in Sanskrit. His opposition to the Bill was coloured and deepened by the fact that it was being piloted by Ambedkar. He made pointed references to the law minister's caste, suggesting that a former Untouchable had no business meddling in matters normally the preserve of the Brahmins.

In speeches in Delhi and elsewhere, Swami Karpatri challenged Ambedkar to a public debate on his interpretations of the Shastras. To the law minister's claim that the Shastras did not really favour polygamy, Swami Karpatri quoted Yagnavalkya: 'if the wife is a habitual drunkard, a confirmed invalid, a cunning, a barren or a spendthrift woman, if she is bitter-tongued, if she has got only daughters and no son, if she hates her husband, [then] the husband can marry a second wife even while the first is living.' The swami supplied the precise citation for this injunction: the third verse of the third chapter of the third section of Yagnavalkya's smriti (scripture) concerning marriage. He did not, however, tell us whether the injunction also allowed the wife to take another husband if the existing one was a drunkard, bitter-tongued, a spend-thrift, etc.

For Swami Karpatri, divorce was prohibited in Hindu tradition, while 'to allow adoption of a boy of any caste is to defy the Shastras and to defy property'. Even by the most liberal interpretations, the woman's inheritance was limited to one-eighth, not a half as Ambedkar sought to make it. The bill was altogether in violation of the Hindu scriptures. It had already evoked 'terrible opposition', and the government could push it through only at its peril. The swami issued a dire warning: 'As is clearly laid down in the Dharmashastras, to forcibly defy the laws of God and Dharma very often means great harm to the Government and the country and both bitterly rue the obstinate folly.'

Of course, not all Hindus were of the liberal party either. The reservations of the orthodox, as expressed in Parliament, were carried forward in the streets by the cadres of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. They brought batches of volunteers into New Delhi, to shout slogans against the Hindu Code Bill and court arrest. Among their larger aims were the dismemberment of Pakistan and the unseating of Jawaharlal Nehru – as they shouted, 'Pakistan tod do', 'Nehru:Hakumat Chhod Do'.

The main speaker at these RSS-organized shows was usually Swami Karpatriji Maharaj. Addressing a meeting on 16 September 1951, the swami challenged the prime minister to a debate on the proposed bill. 'If Pandit Nehru and his colleagues succeed in establishing that even one section of the proposed Hindu Code is in accordance with the Shastras', said Karpatri, 'I shall accept the entire Hindu Code'. The next day, in pursuance of this challenge, the swami and his followers marched on Parliament. The police prevented them from entering. In the ensuing scuffle, reported a Hindu weekly, 'police pushed them back [and] Swamiji's danda [stick] was broken, which is like the sacred thread, [the] religious emblem of the sannyasis.' 

milligazette.com/news/15839-uniform-civil-code-how-rss-and-hindu-swamis-fought-tooth-and-nail-the-hindu-code-bill

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Southeast Asia

Bikini-Clad Cabin Crew- “No” For Flights to Muslim Country

Sun, 2017-08-27

Vietnamese airline VietJet has promised that all flight attendants on their soon-to-be-opened route from Ho Chi Minh City to Jakarta will be fully clothed after Indonesian authorities raised concerns.

The budget airline shot to prominence in 2012 when it hosted a mid-flight dance by bikini-clad beauty pageant contestants on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal resort of Nha Thang in east Vietnam.

The airline was fined 20 million Dong, around US$880, for the unsanctioned PR stunt. It has since become synonymous with bikini wearing flight stewards and regularly uses them in advertising campaigns.

Because of this reputation, when the carrier announced that it was opening a route to the capital of Indonesia, officials in the conservative Muslim country raised concerns.

The airline’s Deputy Director for Commercial Affairs, Jay L Lingeswara, however, has confirmed that all VietJet employees will be fully clothed on all flights to Indonesia.

“We strongly believe and are committed to offering the best and suitable services to the Indonesian market,” he said, adding that Vietjet Air had learned from its experience with the opening of a route to Malaysia. The airline also confirmed it will provide halal food for Muslim passengers, the Jakarta Post report.

Indonesia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Ibnu Hadi, explained to Indonesian news program Liputan 6 that the bikini incident will not be repeated: “I’d like to explain that the bikini [stunt] was only for one event. It was for the airline’s launch of their new route to Nha Trang, which is a resort city so that’s why they wore bikinis.”

VietJet started flying in 2011 and flies to 53 destinations. Its CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, quickly became Vietnam's first self-made female billionaire.

asiantribune.com/node/90895

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Thousands of non-Muslims evacuated as violence flares in northwest Myanmar

 

YANGON/COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) - Myanmar government has evacuated at least 4,000 non-Muslim villagers amid ongoing clashes in northwestern Rakhine state, the government said, while thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled across the border to Bangladesh.

The death toll from the violence that erupted on Friday with coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents has climbed to 98, including some 80 insurgents and 12 members of the security forces, the government said. The clashes, the worst since at least October, have prompted the government to evacuate staff and thousands of non-Muslim villagers from the area.

Fighting involving the military and hundreds of Rohingya across northwestern Rakhine continued on Saturday with the fiercest clashes taking place on the outskirts of the major town of Maungdaw, according to residents and the government.

The attacks marked a dramatic escalation of a conflict that has simmered in the region since last October, when a similar but much smaller Rohingya attack prompted a brutal military operation beset by allegations of serious human rights abuses.

The treatment of approximately 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya in mainly Buddhist Myanmar has emerged as the biggest challenge for national leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi on Friday condemned the raids in which insurgents wielding guns, sticks and homemade bombs assaulted 30 police stations and an army base.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been accused by some Western critics of not speaking out for the long-persecuted Muslim minority, and of defending the army’s counteroffensive after the October attacks.

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar’s minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, told Reuters late on Saturday that 4,000 “ethnic villagers” who had fled their villages had been evacuated, referring to non-Muslim residents of the area.

The ministry is arranging facilities for non-Muslims in places including Buddhist monasteries, government offices and local police stations in major cities.

“We are providing food to the people cooperating with the state government and local authorities,” said Win Myat Aye.

He was unable to describe the government’s plans to help Rohingya civilians.

“It is very difficult to say - this is a conflict situation so it is very difficult to say who is right or wrong,” he said.

Panic-stricken Rakhine residents in ethnically mixed or non-Muslim towns have readied knives and sticks to defend themselves. Many were stranded in their villages located in Muslim-majority areas as clashes continued and some roads had been mined, residents said.

“The clashes continued all day yesterday on the main road, there are a lot of landmines. I don’t think local authorities have enough food for all the people. The price of commodities is rising day by day,” a local journalist from Maungdaw town said on Sunday.

Bracing for more violence, thousands of Rohingya - mostly women and children - were trying to forge the Naf river separating Myanmar and Bangladesh and the land border as gunfire could be heard from the Myanmar side, Bangladesh border guards said.

Around 2,000 people have been able to cross into Bangladesh since Friday, according to estimates by Rohingya refugees living in the makeshift camps on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

Bangladesh's foreign ministry said it was concerned that thousands of "unarmed Myanmar nationals" had assembled near the border to enter the country.

Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh since the early 1990s and there are now around 400,000 in the country, where they are a source of tension between the two nations who both regard them as the other country's citizens.

in.reuters.com/article/venezuela-politics-idINKCN1B701X?rpc=401&

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Europe

Your Sins Are Exposed': Islamic Preacher Slams Muslims Who Show Their TATTOOS - But Still Pray To Allah

27 August 2017

An Islamic preacher has slammed Muslims who show their tattoos in public.

Nassim Abdi, a Sunni morals campaigner from Sydney's west, had some harsh words for Muslims who seek forgiveness for their sins only to expose their ink patterns.

'A person who gets a tattoo, and then he repents to Allah. He starts to pray and he starts to ask Allah for forgiveness but he's always showing his tattoos,' he said.

The fundamentalist Muslim from the hardline Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association was particularly stern about Muslims who post images of themselves on social media without covering up their tattoos.

'For example on his Facebook, or social media, all of his sins are still exposed,' he said.'

'Him at the club, him here or him there, all of his sins are still there.

High-profile Muslim converts Anthony Mundine, a boxer, and Sonny Bill Williams, a New Zealand rugby union All Blacks star, continue to post images of their tattooed arms on Twitter.

In May Mr Abdi, criticised Muslim men who had beautiful, supermodel wives, which would also see Williams fall short of his fundamentalist standards.

The preacher who delivers sermons at Auburn also believes it is sinful for women to wearing hijabs in public without covering up their ears.

Men with tattoos are also advised to do the same thing on the streets.

'You need to feel regret for what you have done and cover it up as much as you can,' Mr Abdi said.

His 29-minute lecture, posted on YouTube, was titled, 'The Best Days of the Year.'

Muslim convert boxer Anthony Mundine (left) also shows his arm and neck tattoos in public

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4826824/Islamic-preacher-slams-Muslims-tattoos.html#ixzz4qwIEDyVz

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N.H. mosque defended after extremism claim

August 26. 2017

Buy this Image Hala Hamapishdary of Manchester, right, gathers with Muslims to worship during the Friday midday prayer at the Manchester Islamic Center. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - Inside the second floor of a nondescript, office space in a South Willow Street strip mall here, 300 men of diverse cultures and one faith stand, squat and kneel in unison Friday afternoon while their religious leader counsels the flock of the Islamic Society of New Hampshire.

"The way we do it is with action and kindness, promoting goodness and love," said Imam Sherif Shabaka.

"We have to show ourselves; let our neighbors know they are safe around us."

But one author, who claims to have a dossier about this holy place maintains the temporary mosque is anything but a safe haven and his explosive report touched off plenty of push back from many quarters in Manchester.

"On a scale of 1 -10, with 10 being the most extreme, I rate this mosque a 10," wrote David Gaubatz, who says he travels extensively investigating mosques. He says he visited Manchester's Islamic center on June 30.

ISNH Chairman Mohammed Ewiess said these unsubstantiated charges are "full of lies" and have spread distrust of his community.

"When people insist and go the extra mile to harm you in this sneaky way, why do I have to defend myself when all I do is come and pray, I pay taxes, I am a good businessman," Ewiess said.

Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard said his detective embedded in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has no information that corroborates Gaubatz's claims.

"What he wrote in this piece of paper is slanderous. I do not believe the mosque is a hotbed for terrorism. I don't trust this gentleman's research. I think he is trying to sell a book," Willard said.

"I think the guy is a crackpot and I don't believe we have those issues in this city."

'Hate talk has no place'

Gaubatz is the author of "Muslim Mafia," an undercover story in 2009 about the Council on Islamic Relations that ended up in a protracted lawsuit and a judge's order that he turn back over to the court thousands of documents he had obtained.

During a telephone interview, Gaubatz said he's worked in the Middle East since 1978, has visited more than 280 mosques here and that many of those mosques get a 1 or 2 rating from him.

He also claimed Manchester's mosque is more extreme than others.

At the last Manchester Board of Aldermen meeting, when former Ward 2 Republican State Rep. Greg Salts brought Gaubatz's report to their attention, several rose in protest of it.

"Personally this hate talk has no place in this city, that's just my opinion," said Alderman Chairman Patrick Long.

Alderman-at-Large Dan O'Neil said having this read aloud gave it too much legitimacy.

"There is no need in the city of Manchester for hatred," O'Neil said. "I know this board won't stand for it; our citizens won't stand for it."

Gaubatz said he's not surprised Manchester police and others would reject his work.

"I get that same reaction a lot of the time. They don't want to admit they have a problem in their area and it took an outsider to find it and identify it," Gaubatz said.

ISNH President Ewiess questions if Gaubatz ever really came here.

"I do not think this guy physically visited our mosque. We are always there, the imam is there, the board members go there daily. I do not know when he went or how or who he spoke to if he did," Ewiess said.

There's no question these stunning conclusions had an impact after the report went viral on social media, he said.

"We got a lot of emails that said people were scared for their kids that this was in the neighborhood," Ewiess said. "Now we have to pay attention to extra stuff that's full of lies."

Imam Shabaka said Islam and Muslims, 1.5 billion strong worldwide, are a popular target.

"If you want to be famous, say something about something that is big and make it outrageous," Shabaka said.

And he told the congregation Friday that they all bear an obligation to reject these assaults with a firm but loving response.

"A lot of people defame certain works of faith from things they see and hear of while we sit here not showing who we really are," Imam Shabaka said.

"We don't want people to have a bad opinion of us but we have to show them what the prophets of Allah are all about."

Chief Willard agreed these attacks must be answered.

"He stokes the flames of fear, but he does so through hatred, bigotry and intolerance," Willard said of Gaubatz.

"His islamophobia has no place in our country and certainly no place in the fine city of Manchester that embraces diversity of all levels to include freedom of religion."

unionleader.com/religion/NH-mosque-defended-after-extremism-claim-08272017

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Muslim Heritage Day celebrates Calgary's diverse community

Aug 26, 2017

Muslim-Albertans invited all Calgarians to learn about their religion and dispel misconceptions surrounding Islam at the 10th-annual Muslim Heritage Day celebrations.

Hundreds gathered to take in some Muslim culture at Olympic Plaza on Saturday, including food, art, performances and even installations teaching the history of the Islamic faith.

White House says Trump's condemnation of Virginia clashes includes white supremacists

There have been a number of anti-Muslim rallies in Calgary this summer, but Imrana Mohiuddin, president of the Islamic Circle of North America Calgary (ICNA), says Muslim Heritage Day is a chance to strengthen the ties between communities in Calgary.

"It's been good discussions and lots of misconceptions have been cleared," Mohiuddin said. "It's been wonderful. People are so open."

Clearing the air

Mohiuddin said the most common questions she is asked are about women's rights in Islam and the religious head coverings worn by some Muslim women.

Imrana Mohiuddin Muslim Heritage Day

Imrana Mohiuddin, president of the Islamic Circle of North America Calgary (ICNA), says Muslim Heritage Day is a chance to dispel misconceptions about Islam. (Mario De Cicco/CBC)

"We are proud Canadians like each and everyone of us and we are so happy and grateful to be in this beautiful country of ours," Mohiuddin said.

Racist death threats linked to Charlottesville violence aimed at Calgary school trustee candidate

Shadi Sakr, a volunteer at the Muslim school Horizon Academy, said the event is a chance to show the greater community that Muslims are just like the "average Calgarian" who "like poutine" and  "like playing hockey."

Even with recent incidents of racial violence making headlines, like when a white supremacist killed a 32-year-old woman when he allegedly drove a vehicle into a crowd of anti-Fascist protesters in Virginia, Mohiuddin said she feels safe and secure holding pro-Muslim events in Calgary.

"We are a religion of peace. We promote peace. It's basically about bringing everyone together and living in this world as fellow Canadians, fellow human beings," Mohiuddin said.

Muslim Heritage Day Calgary

Shadi Sakr, a volunteer at the Horizon Academy, said Muslim Heritage Day is an outreach event to show the people of Calgary that Muslims "are peaceful, fun loving folk." (Mario De Cicco/CBC)

Sakr said the rise in racial tensions is troublesome but Calgary's Muslim community are determined to "break down barriers and build bridges."

"Anything related to Nazis or swastikas…it's unfortunate but it's also on the border of hate crimes. So I think I'll let the law makers that care of that," Sakr said.

 "But as a community we believe in equality and justice and I think that's where we stand."

'We can push back'

Education Minister David Eggen attended as part of the province's strategy to combat racism in schools and across the province.

"We know that just a few weeks ago we had hate groups organizing here at Olympic plaza," Eggen said. "Calgarians are coming together to celebrate Muslim culture, show their allegiance and support."

David Eggen Muslim Heritage Day

Alberta's Education Minister David Eggen has met with "more than 60 community organizations" for a report being submitted to the province this fall to better combat racism in Alberta schools. (Mario De Cicco/CBC)

On Friday, Eggen said in a Facebook post he has met with more than 60 community organizations at the request of Premier Rachel Notley "to gather their ideas and discuss the challenges they face."

Eggen will be submitting a report to the province in the fall and said the government "will take some practical steps that will demonstrate a positive direction for our province."

Serious threats against Calgary council mostly target Nenshi and Farrell, city statistics show

"I think it's important for all of us to stand up to it. People will use hatred or discrimination for their own political gain or their own gain of power," Eggen said.

In addition to attending Muslim Heritage Day, Eggen met with a group of parents and educators from Calgary's Chinatown Lion's Club and the Asian Heritage Foundation on Saturday to discuss race-related issues students face.

"So if you use that sense of empathy, that sense of putting yourself in other people's shoes, we can push back and build something we can be proud of here in Alberta."

cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/muslim-heritage-day-calgary-racism-1.4264098

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Islamic State claims Brussels knife attack on soldiers

26 August 2017

The knifeman in Brussels, who hurt a soldier on Friday in what authorities said was an "attempted terrorist murder", was shot dead, while police in London overpowered a man who injured three unarmed officers outside the royal residence with a metre-long sword.

"The executor of the stabbing operation in Brussels is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for attacks against coalition states," the militant group’s propaganda agency Amaq said, referring to a US-led coalition fighting the Sunni militant group.

The 26-year-old man in the London violence has been arrested under the Terrorism Act, which allows for 14 days of pre-charge detention, and is being held at a police station in the British capital.

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The two attacks come as much of Europe is on high alert following a string of deadly assaults over the past two years - most of which have been claimed by militants.

Last week, Spain was hit by twin vehicle attacks that left 15 dead, and two people were killed in a stabbing spree in Finland.

Belgian prosecutors said the attacker yelled "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) during the assault before being shot by a soldier in the centre of city, which has been on high alert since last year's carnage at the airport and on the metro.

One of the soldiers was slightly hurt in the attack that Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said had been carried out by a "lone individual".

Overnight, police raided the suspect's home in Bruges, northwest Belgium.

"The man was hit and died shortly afterwards in hospital from his wounds," the prosecutors' statement said. As well as the knife, police found a replica gun and two copies of the Koran on him.

The assailant was a Belgian national of Somali origin who was born in 1987, authorities confirmed. He arrived in the country in 2004 and was granted Belgian nationality in 2015.

Although not known for any terror-related activities, he had an assault and battery charge on his record from February, the statement said.

Two attacks

Less than two hours later, a man drove his car at a police van outside Buckingham Palace.

The attacker "repeatedly shouted Allahu akbar", reached for the sword and had to be incapacitated with CS gas, police said in a statement on Saturday.

Three officers were slightly injured in the incident.

No members of the royal family were in the residence at the time of the attack.

The man's identity has not been disclosed but police said he was from Luton, a city 50km north of London.

"Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command are now investigating and searches are being carried out in the Luton area today," the police said in a statement.

"We believe the man was acting alone and we are not looking for other suspects at this stage."

The Brussels attack happened on a boulevard near the Grand Place central square, one of the "sensitive" areas of the capital where armed soldiers are on patrol because of the terror threat.

"I heard yelling and straight away two shots," a witness called Yohan told AFP. He did not wish to give his surname.

As he approached, he said he saw "a soldier bleeding from his hand and a man on the ground," who had a beard and was wearing a hood.

Soldiers have been deployed at railway stations and landmark buildings in the Belgian capital since the November 2015 attacks on Paris, when investigators found the assailants had a clear link with Brussels.

Patrols have been stepped up since suicide bombers struck Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek metro station in March 2016, killing 32 people and wounding hundreds.

The carnage in Paris, which left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded, was claimed by the IS, which also said it was behind the bombings in Brussels.

middleeasteye.net/news/islamic-state-claims-brussels-knife-attack-soldiers-668543003

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Arab World

Whistle-Blower: Ex-Saudi Crown Prince Kept Under Arrest in Unknown Place

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, revealed that dethroned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who was forced to resign and placed under house arrest by the king's son several months ago has been moved to an unknown place.

"Mohammed bin Nayef has been transferred to another place to be kept. Also, Mohammed bin Salman (the new crown prince) has started a new wave of arrests against those officers affiliated to bin Nayef," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Saturday, without elaborating on bin Nayef's current place.

Elsewhere, he confirmed earlier reports saying that prince Turki bin Moqren has fired at Mohammed bin Salman on July 3, adding that the crown prince's left hand had sustained small injuries.

Mujtahid said Turki was arrested right on the shooting scene that was said to be an assasination attempt on bin Salman's life, adding that no one, even his father, is aware of his fate.

Sources in the Saudi royal guards had revealed in June that new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered them to keep the ousted crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, under house arrest.

"The Saudi royal guards have been ordered to permanently deploy at the palace where Mohammed bin Nayef, the former Saudi crown prince, resides in Riyadh," informed royal guards sources told al-Khalij al-Jadid news website.

They added that the order means bin Nayef is house arrest.

Also, al-Ahd al-Jadid news website reported on its twitter page that Mohammed bin Salman has ordered to put 5 Saudi princes and a number of interior ministry officers under house arrest for their continued contacts with bin Nayef after he was dethroned by the Saudi king Salman.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960604301500

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Iraq recaptures Tal Afar centre, citadel from ISIS

AFP | Aug 27, 2017

TAL AFAR: Iraqi forces were today on the verge of fully recapturing the city of Tal Afar after driving Islamic State group jihadists from the centre of one of their last urban strongholds in the country.

Counter terrorism units have taken control of the centre of the city, which includes its historic Ottoman citadel.

"They raised the Iraqi flag on the citadel," General Abdulamir Yarallah, commander of military operations in the battle for Tal Afar, said in a statement.

The advance, less than a week into an assault on the strategic city, comes after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in July over the jihadists in Iraq's second city Mosul, where IS declared its "caliphate" in 2014.

Iraqi forces now hold "94 percent of the city, 27 out of 29" districts including the centre and citadel, according to the Joint Operations Command (JOC) which coordinates the anti-IS operation in Iraq.

The announcement yesterday came as the French foreign and defence ministers visited Baghdad to announce a loan of 430 million euros (USD 512 million) to help the Iraqi economy in the face of low oil prices and the cost of battling the jihadists.

On Saturday, units also battled IS around Al-Ayadieh, 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Tal Afar and strategically located on the road between the city and the Syrian border, Yarallah said.

In the whole Tal Afar region, "1,155 square kilometres of 1,655 square kilometres, or 70 percent of the area, have been taken" the JOC said.

Columns of smoke could be seen rising over the city after the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary coalition fighting alongside government troops seized the Al-Khadra and Al-Jazeera districts.

Abbas Radhi, a Hashed al-Shaabi fighter, said IS had resisted the advance mostly with sniper fire.

"There are also booby-trapped cars, mortars. But they've been defeated, God willing," he said.

Government troops and units of the Hashed al-Shaabi, backed by a US-led coalition against IS, launched the assault last Sunday after weeks of coalition and Iraqi air strikes.

Tal Afar sits on a strategic route between IS-controlled territories in Syria and Mosul, 70 kilometres (40 miles) further east.

Progress in Tal Afar has been far more rapid than in Mosul, which fell to Iraqi forces only after a gruelling nine-month battle.

Officials have said they hope to announce victory by Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday set to start in Iraq on September 2.

Until its takeover by IS, Tal Afar was largely populated by Shiite Turkmen, whose beliefs are anathema to the Sunni jihadists.

Most of the city's 200,000-strong population fled after IS seized it.

Some members of Tal Afar's Sunni minority joined jihadist ranks, forming an IS contingent with a particular reputation for violence.

Pro-government forces faced an obstacle course of roads blocked with earth embankments and strategically parked trucks, as well as sniper fire and mortar shelling.

Troops also said they discovered a network of underground tunnels used by IS to launch attacks behind lines of already conquered territory, or to escape.

timesofindia.indiatmes.com/world/middle-east/iraq-recaptures-tal-afar-centre-citadel-from-isis/articleshow/60241248.cms

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Homs: Syrian Army Purges 2,000sq/km of Badiyeh of Terrorists

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army units have purged ISIL from 2,000sq/km of land in Badiyeh (desert) after their recent advances against terrorists and imposing control over 25 regions in Northeastern Homs, military sources reported Sunday.

The sources said that the army soldiers continued to hit ISIL's defense lines in Northeastern Homs and took control over the regions of Wadi al-Kabir, Wadi al-Fayej, Khirbet al-Refa'ei, Souh al-Abdah, Joubeh Saleh, Ba'ar Kahfin, mount al-Yusefiyeh,  mount al-Qal'ah, Tal al-Rowzeh, Jabal al-Sha'arah, Khirbet al-Sha'arah, Khribet al-Refa'ei, Khirbet al-Mataweh, Raba'a al-Hawa, mount Abu Rajmin, Wadi al-Osyan, Wadi Sayah, Mount al-Asabeh, al-Akhiz hills, Khirbet al-Buyzeh, Wadi al-Mazid, Wadi al-Qanax and Ba'ar al-Majroudeh.

The sources added that the army has now cleansed an area as large as 2,000sq/km from the West of the town of al-Sukhnah to al-Sha'er region in which the ISIL was under the army siege.  

Relevant reports said on Saturday that the army soldiers managed to impose control over several strategic positions West of Manoukh and North of the town of al-Sukhnah after heavy fighting with the militants.

In the meantime, the army men engaged in fierce clashes with terrorists in Western Homs and repelled their attack aimed at prevailing over the pro-government forces' positions in several safe villages from al-Houleh direction.

The terrorists were backed up by artillery fire in the attacks.

The militant groups suffered heavy casualties in Western Homs.

Also, the army's artillery units opened heavy fire at terrorists' positions in Kafar Laha, al-Tayebeh and Tal Zahab regions in al-Houleh in Western Homs, destroying a depot of arms and ammunition in al-Tayebeh.   

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960605000451

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More Militants Join Peace Agreement with Syrian Army in Aleppo Province

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of gunmen laid down arms in Aleppo province and applied for government amnesty, well-informed sources said Sunday.

The sources said that a 120-member group of militants laid down arms and surrendered to the Syrian army in Aleppo province as part of the national reconciliation process.

The militants have been sent to a security committee for studying their amnesty requests, the sources added.

The Russian military police moved to government controlled area as the gunmen surrendered.

The sources added that the militants decided to lay down their arms after continued efforts by the governor and the mufti (religious leader) of the province.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement earlier this month that the militants in more regions handed over their weapons to relevant officials and joined peace agreement with the Syrian Army.

The ministry's report said that 2,168 regions joined nationwide reconciliation plan after militants in more regions ended fight with the Damascus government.

Reconciliation talks between the Damascus official and militants are underway in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Damascus, Hama, Homs and Quneitra.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960605000605

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Army Regains Control of More Areas in Homs

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army continued its advances in Homs, and captured more strategic regions in the province.

The army units drove the ISIL terrorists out of key areas and their surrounding areas in Homs province.

The Syrian troops inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists in fierce clashes over controlling of strategic regions. They also destroyed military equipment of the terrorists.

The Syrian army also continued its advances in other key provinces across Syria.

Homs

The Syrian Army troops drove ISIL out of more lands in their push towards the strategic town of Aqayrabat in Eastern Homs on Friday.

The army men took control of the strategic village of Salba after they pushed ISIL back form the towns of Salibeh and al-Makiman al-Shamali yesterday.

The pro-government forces are now deployed only 17km far from the town of Aqayrabat.

In the meantime, the army units clashed fiercely with Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) and repelled terrorists' large-scale offensive in al-Satahiyat region in Western Hama.

Terrorists left behind a number of dead members and retreated from the battlefield.

Meantime, the ISIL terrorists retreated from more than 15 more regions under the heavy offensive of the Syrian Army troops in Badiyeh (desert) Northeast of Homs province on Saturday.

The Syrian soldiers imposed control over the regions of Harth, Rowz al-Wahash, al-Asfouriyeh, Jabal al-Manshar, Khasham al-Manshar, Khashan Noyo, al-Qavir hill, al-Seideh, Wadi al-Jaraf, Wadi al-Sahal, Khasham al-Hamezeh, Jabal al-Labedeh, Wadi Qatqat, Thniyeh al-Safreh mountain, Mount Huweiah al-Ra'a, Khirbet al-Mosawarah and Mount al-Satih, tightening noose on ISIL in Badiyeh.

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

Military sources confirmed earlier on Saturday that the army troops captured several regions in Badiyeh (desert) after laying siege on ISIL terrorists in Northeastern Homs.

The sources said that the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists that were under the siege of the pro-government forces in Northeastern Homs and managed to take control of Taloul al-Kouriayt, Wadi al-Rabahiyeh and Ba'ar al-Aboud regions West of the town of al-Sukhnah.

They added that the army soldiers continued their advances against ISIL Northwest of al-Sukhnah and imposed control over Wadi al-Haraf region.

Deir Ezzur

A senior Saudi commander of the ISIL terrorist group was killed in the Syrian Army troops' attacks on the terrorist group's positions in Western Deir Ezzur, field sources said on Saturday.

The sources reported that the army soldiers engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in the Southern and Southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzur city and in areas surrounding the city's airbase, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The sources went on to say that the Syrian Air Force and the army's artillery units targeted the positions and movements of the ISIL in the villages of al-Shamitiyeh, Ayyash, al-Khariteh, al-Baqaliyeh, Huweija Sakar, Ein Bu Joma'ah and al-Omal neighborhood.

They further added that a number of terrorists, including their Saudi national commander of ISIL's Hasaba (security-monitoring forces) in the town of al-Qasbi, were killed in Western Deir Ezzur.

ISIL's military hardware sustained major damage in the attacks.

Syria-Jordan Border

The Syrian Army troops continued their anti-terrorism operation in Southeastern Damascus and seized control over a key passageway at border with Jordan on Saturday.

The army soldiers took back control over Qadir Mahmoud and Wadi Mahmoud regions in Southeastern Damascus after heavy clashes with terrorists near the border with Jordan.

A military source said that Wadi Mahmoud was an illegal and important passageway used by terrorists to smuggle arms and ammunition from Jordan into Syria's Badiyeh (desert) and Damascus province.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960605000172

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Syrian Army Using Modern Home-Made Electronic Jamming Systems

 

TEHRAN (FAN)- The Syrian army is utilizing the state-of-the-art 'Sayyad (Hunter) 3' electronic jamming systems manufactured by the country's experts, media sources reported on Saturday.

According to the Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency, Sayyad 3 is the latest model of Syria's home-made electronic jamming systems which are used for downing the terrorists' drones.

Sayyad 3 is different with other models of jamming systems in design and easy application, and could be operated even by one person.

Also, earlier this month, the same news source had reported that the Syrian Army was using T-90 Tanks equipped with Chitora-1 Noise System to protect its forces against terrorists' guided missiles.

Chetora-1 Noise System, mounted on T-90 tanks, enjoys an approximate Automatic Navigating System to protect the tank against guided missiles.

The Chitora-1 system jams laser guided systems of the anti-tank missile via giving them false signals, forcing the missile to divert.

Meantime, the Wistinik Mordafi website reported that Chitora-1 Noise System has been used in the Syria war for the first time in the Middle East.

A military source confirmed in mid-July that the army's artillery units were using the long-range model of a new artillery system with an effective range 44km for targeting ISIL's defense lines in Eastern Hama.

The source said that the army was using the M-46 long-rang moveable artillery that was stronger that the other models used by the Syrian army for targeting ISIL's positions in Eastern Hama.

The 130mm caliber M-46 cannons can hit the targets from a 44km distance.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960604301345

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Syrian Army Tightens Noose on Terrorists in Heights at Border with Lebanon

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters drove ISIL out of more heights and hills in Western Qalamoun region on Sunday and tightened noose on the terrorists at border with Lebanon on the eighth day of their joint operation.

The Syrian pro-government forces stormed ISIL's positions and took back Shamis- Tam al-Mal height near the border with Lebanon.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units pounded ISIL's positions and concentration centers in Halimeh Qareh strategic height in border region.

Field sources reported that a number of ISIL militants have surrendered to the army and their remaining pockets have retreated from the first lines of battle amid rapid advances of the government forces.

The sources further said that ISIL terrorists are now trapped in the circle of the army soldiers and Hezbollah combatants in an area as large as 30sq/km in Western Qalamoun.

Relevant reports said on Friday that the Syrian pro-government forces captured al-Fakhriyeh heights, Wadi al-Hamam heights and areas around the Zohour al-Khashen and Sarj al-Qavami'a heights in the Western Qalamoun.

Also, the army men and Hezbollah imposed control over the regions of Sahal Mar Tiseh, Khirbet Mar Tiseh and Sahal al-Fakhouriyeh West of al-Brij heights at Syria-Lebanon common borders.

The army soldiers and the resistance fighters also pushed ISIL back from Qarna Tam al-Maal height South of Qalamoun that overlooks al-Shahout passageway.

The government forces also captured Zahra al-Ariz heights and Tal (hill) Vatid Southeast of French checkpoint in the region.      

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960605000550

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Mossad Officer Leading ISIL as Mosque Imam Arrested in Libya

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Libyan authorities arrested a leader and mosque preacher of the ISIL terrorist group who later confessed to be a Mossad officer.

According to the Libyan authorities, preacher Abu Hafs' real name is Benjamin Efraim, an Israeli national operating in one of Mossad's special units which conduct espionage operations in Arab and Islamic countries.

The Libyan authorities said the Mossad spy has started his career in Libya by leading a 200-member ISIL-affiliated group and moved to Benghazi in disguise as a preacher.

According to them, Abu Hafs had attempted to infiltrate Egypt, adding that the group, under his command, is among the most barbaric terrorist groups which had threatened to export war to Egypt.

The report came in the backdrop of a number of reports that said ISIL Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also a Mossad agent although no credible evidence has yet been presented to substantiate the claim.

When the terror outfit attacked Iraq and conquered Mosul some three years ago, numerous reports have surfaced the media disclosing that tens of Mossad agents are leading ISIL fighters.

The report came as speculations are increasing within the ranks of ISIL over the possible successor of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the recent reports about his death.

According to last month reports, ISIL's leader in Libya Jalalulddin al-Tunisi and ISIL's leader in Syria Abu Mohammad al-Shamali are the main two picks to lead the terrorist group after al-Baghdadi.

Jalalulddin al-Tunisi, whose real name is Mohammad Bin Salem al-Oyoni, was born in 1982 and is a resident of the town of Masaken in Souseh province in Central Tunisia.

Al-Oyoni has also acquired the French nationality after his trip to the European country before joining terrorist groups in Tunisia in 2011-2012.

Al-Oyoni joined ISIL in Iraq and Syria in 2013 and 2014.

American and Iraqi sources claimed that six commanders of ISIL, including a Belgian-Algerian and a French member of the terrorist group are read to be the successor of al-Baghdadi. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960604301530

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Islamic State submits to ceasefires in Syria-Lebanon border fight

Aug 27, 2017

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A ceasefire took effect on Sunday in an Islamic State pocket straddling the Syria-Lebanon border, where the militants have been fighting the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah with the Syrian army on the other, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said.

The Lebanese army announced its own ceasefire took effect at 7:00 a.m. (0500 BST) to allow for negotiations over the fate of Lebanese soldiers who are in Islamic State captivity.

The military statement did not mention a ceasefire on Syria’s side of the frontier.

Soon after, the Syrian army and Hezbollah announced a ceasefire in their offensive against Islamic State in Syria’s west Qalamoun region near the border, al-Manar said.

The fighting began a week ago when the Lebanese army, and the Syrian army and Hezbollah, began separate but simultaneous offensives against the Islamic State enclave.

Northeast Lebanon saw one of the worst spillovers of Syria’s war into Lebanon in 2014, when Islamic State and other militants briefly overran the border town of Arsal. The fate of nine soldiers that Islamic State took captive then remains unknown.

The Lebanese army offensive is near the town of Ras Baalbek.

Any coordination between the Lebanese army and either the Syrian army or Hezbollah would be politically sensitive in Lebanon and could jeopardise the sizeable U.S. military aid the country receives.

Last week, Lebanon and Hezbollah each announced they had made significant gains against the Islamic State militants, driving them back into a smaller part of the arid hills on the border.

uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-lebanon-syria-idUKKCN1B7056?rpc=401&

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Lebanon’s army declares pause in fighting against Islamic StateLebanese military stops offensive in order to negotiate for troops held by IS; Hezbollah also announces halt to combat BY AFP August 27, 2017, 8:33 am   

Aug 27, 2017

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s army on Sunday announced a pause in its offensive against Islamic State terror group militants along the border with Syria to allow for negotiations on troops held hostage since 2014.

The armed forces launched their campaign against IS fighters entrenched in the mountainous Jurud Ras Baalbek and Jurud al-Qaa areas on Lebanon’s eastern border on August 19.

“The army command announces a ceasefire beginning at 7:00 a.m. to make way for the last phase of negotiations linked to the fate of the kidnapped soldiers,” it said in a statement.

Nine troops are believed to still be held by IS after militants overran the town of Arsal along the Lebanese border in August 2014 and kidnapped 30 soldiers and police.

Four were killed by their captors and a fifth died of his wounds while 16 were released in a prisoner swap in December 2015.

The army has said the remaining missing troops were its “top concern” in its offensive against an estimated 600 IS fighters in the hilly border region.

The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah launched its own simultaneous attack against IS from the Syrian side of the border in an area known as west Qalamun.

Hezbollah’s War Media channel also announced a freeze in fighting on Sunday.

It said the unilateral pause was “in the framework of a comprehensive agreement to end the battle in west Qalamun against Daesh (IS).”

Lebanon’s army has insisted it is not coordinating its assault with Hezbollah.

timesofisrael.com/lebanons-army-declares-pause-in-fighting-against-islamic-state/

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Lebanese army begins talks with Islamic State - security source

 

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese army began mediated talks with Islamic State on Sunday as a ceasefire took effect in its offensive against the militants at the northeast border with Syria, a security source said.

The ceasefire started at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) to allow for negotiations over the fate of nine Lebanese soldiers who have been in Islamic State captivity since 2014, the army said.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Syrian army also declared a ceasefire in their own assault against Islamic State on the other side of the border, in Syria’s west Qalamoun region, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said.

Under the ceasefire, Hezbollah members have entered an area of west Qalamoun to confirm that Lebanese soldiers held by Islamic State are buried there, the source said.

in.reuters.com/article/lebanon-islamic-state-idINKCN1B707U?rpc=401&

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Mideast

Turkey opposition chief challenges Erdogan with ‘justice’ congress

August 27, 2017

ANAKKALE: Turkey’s main opposition leader warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday that the whole country has a “thirst for justice”, opening an unprecedented four-day meeting protesting alleged violations under his rule.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), is hoping the “justice congress” in the western Canakkale region will keep up the momentum of a month-long march highlighting judicial abuses in Turkey amid the crackdown that followed last year’s failed coup.

In a mass rally at the opposite eastern end of the country, meanwhile, Erd­ogan compared the defeat of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt to key events in Turkish history, including a 1071 triumph by Turkic tribes over the Byzantines in Anatolia.

Political jousting is already heating up in Turkey even two years before the next elections, with Kilicdaroglu accusing the Turkish strongman of behaving like a tyrant, and Erdogan not giving any quarter.

“Eighty million have a thirst for justice,” Kili­cdaroglu said, referring to Turkey’s population. “It is my duty to seek justice. It is my duty to stand by the innocent and be against tyrants,” he told the gathering of about 10,000 people.

‘The last straw’

More than 50,000 people have been arrested under the state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt, and almost three times that number have been dismissed from their jobs, including teachers, judges, soldiers and police officers.

This summer Kili­cdaroglu walked 450 kilometres from Istanbul to Ankara to protest against the sentencing of one of his MPs, Enis Berberoglu, to 25 years in jail for leaking classified information to an opposition newspaper.

Under the simple slogan “Justice”, the march culminated in a huge rally in Istanbul last month that attracted hundreds of thousands, the biggest event staged by Erdogan’s critics in years.

Kilicdaroglu condemned the crackdown as a “civilian coup” and said that the jailing of Berberoglu “became the last straw”. Referring to the jailing of journalists after the coup bid, Kilicdaroglu said: “You cannot talk about law, rights and justice in a country where more than 150 journalists are in prison.”

In a relaxed atmosphere, supporters pitched tents under shady woods for the four-day congress, which will have sessions on different kinds of rights abuses.

Coup defeat and medieval battle

At the rally in the eastern Mus province, Erdogan compared the defeat of the coup to historical events including the defeat by Seljuk Turks of the Byzantines in the 1071 Battle of Malazgirt.

He said that Turkey was facing a similar struggle not just against the coup plotters but against outlawed Kurdish militants and IS group.

“The game is the same, the aim the same. Only the script, the extras are different,” Erdogan said, speaking on the 946th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt.

He was surrounded by men dressed in period costume as Seljuk fighters holding spears, wearing chain mail and boasting impressive handlebar moustaches.

In a sign of the rancour between Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, a photo depicting the CHP leader wearing a white undershirt while dining in a trailer during the justice march drew a sharp response from Erdogan.

The mildly spoken Kilicdaroglu is sometimes compared by supporters to the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and Erdogan took particular offence at a newspaper headline describing him as “citizen Kemal”.

Kilicdaroglu responded that Erdogan needed to address the “country’s problems” instead of “bothering with my vest from morning to evening”.

dawn.com/news/1354128/turkey-opposition-chief-challenges-erdogan-with-justice-congress

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Imam Khomeini taught us boldness against foreign threats

Sun 27 August 2017

TEHRAN, Aug. 27 (MNA) – President Hassan Rouhani said Iranians do not fear any foreign threats and conspiracies because Imam Khomeini has taught the nation not to fear aliens.

Rouhani made the remarks on Sunday in a ceremony to renew allegiance to the late Imam Khomeini, accompanied by his cabinet members.

"Imam Khomeini taught us to move the government forward through the referendum and with the votes of the people set out the representatives of the Assembly of Experts; after the formulations of the Constitution by the nation’s representatives he put it to the vote again," said Rouhani..

Imam Khomeini introduced the ballot box for the continuation and strengthening of the democratic system, he added.

"If we lacked the free elections and the comments of Imam Khomeini, “the measure of a nation is its vote”, perhaps we were not today on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution" Rouhani said.

He stressed Iranian nation, after experiencing four years of 11th government, once again chose the same president; "today there is no time for trial and error, and we have to take the key measures for the future with the strongest will."

“Leader’s guidelines, along with Iranian nation’s support, encouragement and support, will surely help us overcome problems,” he noted.

Rouhani, emphasizing that we are not afraid of foreign threats and conspiracies, said “we don’t fear foreign threats, because we learned that from Imam; Imam did not bat an eyelid during the 8-year war, where all the powers supported the aggressors against Iran, and he taught us how a nation with strong will can stand against all kinds of conspiracies.

The president expressed his hope that the new government, along with the support and presence of people on the scenes, could overcome the great problems it would face.

Rouhani said the presence and endeavors of the Iranian people in the presidential elections of May 19th and the support and guidance of Imam Khomeini’s grandson led to such a major political epic in Iran.

en.mehrnews.com/news/127296/Imam-Khomeini-taught-us-boldness-against-foreign-threats

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Iranian Shiite Muslims Set Out on World’s Longest Arba’een Pilgrimage Walk

August 27, 2017

Iranian Shiite Muslims Set Out on World’s Longest Arba’een Pilgrimage Walk

A huge number of Iranian Shiite Muslims have set out on the world’s longest Arba’een pilgrimage walk to the city of Karbala, 62 miles southwest of Baghdad, after a farewell ceremony was held on Friday to mark the beginning of the religious march.

The farewell ceremony of the world’s longest mass pilgrimage walk of Arba’een, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein – the third Shiite Imam – was held in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.

According to a Farsi report by the Azad News Agency (ANA), the ceremony was attended by a number of the province’s people and officials.

Arba’een marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following the day of Ashura, Muharram 10, 61 AH (October 10, 680 AD), on which Imam Hussein as well as his 72 companions sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islam in the Battle of Karbala, which took place in the Iraqi city on the same day.

En route to Karbala, the caravan will pass through five Iranian provinces and some 13 cities including Torbat-e Heydarieh, Bajestan (both located in Khorasan Razavi Province), Ferdows and Tabas (both in South Khorasan Province), Khur and Biabanak County, Nain, Shahreza, Varzaneh, Dehaqan (all located in Isfahan Province), Borujen and Lordegan (both in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari) as well as Izeh and Ahvaz (both in Khuzestan province). It will enter the Iraqi territory from Shalamcheh border checkpoint in western Iran and will arrive at Imam Hussein’s Holy Shrine on Arba’een.

Every year, millions of Shiite Muslims take part in Arba’een pilgrimage walk, one of the biggest marches worldwide. This year, Arba’een will fall on November 9.

ifpnews.com/exclusive/iran-muslim-world-long-pilgrim-walk/

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Iran President, cabinet members pay tribute to late Imam Khomeini

August 27, 2017

Tehran, Aug 27, IRNA – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his new cabinet members paid homage on Sunday to the Founder of the Islamic Republic the late Imam Khomeini at his mausoleum in southern Tehran.

Iran President, cabinet members pay tribute to late Imam Khomeini

President Rouhani and his new cabinet members who won vote of confidence from the parliament last week attended the mausoleum of the late Imam to renew allegiance to the Father of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the country.

The visit took place on the fourth day of the national Government Week (August 23-30) which marks the martyrdom anniversary of top Iranian government officials during a terrorist bombing in 1981.

President Rouhani and his ministers paid tribute to the late Imam by laying a wreath at his tomb and later at the tombs of the martyrs of the 1981 which are located in the nearby cemetery of Tehran known as Behesht-e Zahra.

On August 30, 1981, a number of top Iranian officials including the then president Mohammad Ali Rajaei and prime minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar, were killed in a huge explosion which was caused by a member of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).

irna.ir/en/News/82644979

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Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif files review petition challenging Panamagate verdict

PTI | Aug 26, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday submitted another review petition in the Supreme Court challenging his disqualification in the Panamagate case.

Sharif, 67, stepped down after an apex court bench disqualified him on July 28 from continuing in his office for possessing a work permit at the firm of his son in the UAE.

The fresh review petition has been filed against the verdict of the apex court bench on July 28 and Sharif has asked the court to declare its verdict void.

Sharif argued that he cannot be disqualified for not declaring his salary which he had not drawn, as neither the company was mentioned in the petitions against him nor it could be termed as a salary under Pakistan's income tax laws.

In the fresh review petition, Sharif said he was not bound to declare it in papers submitted with the election commission as under income tax laws only such a salary is declared which has been received by the filer.

Sharif also expressed reservations that his objections against the joint investigation team (JIT) were dismissed without properly hearing them.

He also objected the court orders to complete trial in six months after the court in its July 28 verdict set time line for anti-corruption courts against Sharif and his family.

Sharif filed three review petitions against the five-member bench verdict of April 20, when a split decision let to formation of the JIT.

Separately, Sharif's children Hussain, Hassan and Maryam, and son-in-law retired Captain (Retd) Mohammad Safdar challenged the July 28 verdict of the court on Friday.

Also, Finance minister Ishaq Dar filed a review petition against the verdict on August 21.

The court had ordered National Accountability Bureau on July 28 to launch corruption cases against the Sharif family and Dar.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/nawaz-sharif-files-review-petition-challenging-panamagate-verdict/articleshow/60235443.cms

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Pakistan court quashes corruption case against Zardari

PTI | Aug 27, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former president Asif Ali Zardari has been acquitted by an anti-corruption court in an old corruption case in which he was accused of possessing illegal assets.

Zardari's counsel Farooq H Naek requested for acquittal of Zardari and Justice Khalid Mahmood Ranjha National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court accepted it.

He said that the most of the documents presented against 62-year-old Zardari were in photocopies and unacceptable. He also said that most of the witnesses said that they did not remember most of the details as it was an old case.

Finally, the judge quashed the case and acquitted the former president yesterday.

The case was launched in 1999 but quashed in 2007 along with five more such cases against Zardari after a political deal between his now slain wife Benazir Bhutto and former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.

However, the Supreme Court rejected the deal and consequent amnesty in 2009 and ordered a probe but it could not start a case against Zardari as he enjoyed immunity as president.

The case was again started in 2015 and finally decided in favour of Zardari. It was last of the six corruption cases against Zardari and he has been now acquitted in all of them.

Zardari's daughter Bakhtawar took to social media to celebrate the verdict: "While IK (Imran Khan) and NS (Nawaz Sharif) hide from NAB, my father Asif Ali Zardari's last pending case has just been acquitted. Faced 11+ years without a single conviction".

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-court-quashes-corruption-case-against-zardari/articleshow/60241721.cms

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Senator Babar points to ‘invisible roadblocks’ in Fata-KP merger

August 27, 2017

PESHAWAR: The implementation of reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and its imminent merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have become one of the great mysteries for parliamentarians, politicians and academicians who grope in the dark as what causes the delay despite their approval by the cabinet and apparent support by the civil-military bureaucracy.

Speaking at a national dialogue on “Delaying Fata Reforms?” here on Saturday, speakers pointed the finger at civil-military establishment for creating hurdles to the implementation of report of the committee on Fata reforms that was unveiled in Aug 2016.

“We must find out causes for the delay in Fata reforms despite approval by the cabinet, support of the General Headquarters (GHQ), political parties, parliament and judiciary,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar in his keynote address at the dialogue.

Suggests steps for the merger at a dialogue on Fata reforms

Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, a think tank of Pakistan Peoples Party, had organised the one-day dialogue on the fate of reforms in tribal areas. Former KP governor Barrister Masood Kausar, Awami National Party central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Prof Sarfaraz Khan and women rights activist from Fata Shahida Shah spoke on the topic, which was followed by the question-answer session.

The outspoken senator who had served as spokesman to former president Asif Ali Zardari said that opposition by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, both allies of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the centre, was the “visible roadblock” in the implementation of Fata reforms.

“Bu there are invisible roadblocks too,” he insisted and said that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif had issued a message to stop reforms package in the tribal belt because of Panama Papers case.

“The first casualty of Panama Papers case was Fata reforms and the government had to roll the process back,” said Senator Babar who believed that civil-military bureaucracy did not want reforms in tribal region despite announcement that they wanted reforms.

He said that absolute control of the Presidency over the tribal people and the draconian FCR were colonial instruments to keep the people subjugated. He said that the roadblocks in empowering the people were the civil-military bureaucracy, lack of political will and those political parties who feared an erosion of their political power base if Fata was brought into the national mainstream.

He suggested extension of jurisdiction of the superior courts to tribal areas, empowerment of local people under the KP local bodies’ law, strengthening of the Levies Force, giving share in the NFC award and audit of the development expenditure during the last 10 years as steps to merge tribal areas with the province.

Senator Babar called for a review of the country’s Afghan policy otherwise there would be no peace, no development and no mainstreaming of Fata. He condemned President Trump’s one-sided tirade against Pakistan, saying that ‘it should not prevent us from some soul-searching’.

”We must condemn and denounce Trump for blaming Pakistan for the US failures in Afghanistan. But let us also look inwardly,” he said, proposing a mutually agreed mechanism for verification of cross-border allegations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain apprehended that after the Panama leaks the recent statement of President Trump could be another impediment in the implementation of reforms in Fata. He observed that the geo-political discourse had changed in the wake of the US president’s statement.

He criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for postponing the reforms process in Fata and asked the sitting prime minister to go for merger of Fata with KP. He said that his party wanted complete merger of the tribal area with the province and that the ANP would organise a conference on this topic in Islamabad on Sept 14.

Prof Sarfaraz Khan said that despite consensus among the stakeholders reforms had been delayed in Fata. He said that certain quarters argued that lack of funds and legal matters were the bottlenecks in the reforms.

“Such arguments are lame excuses,” he said, adding that delay in reforms could create more complications.

Barrister Masood Kausar said that supporters of the status quo always deprived people of their fundamental rights in Pakistan in general and Fata in particular. He said that PPP wanted to bring Fata to the mainstream, but certain forces opposed it. He said that proposed Riwaj Act was in conflict with the Constitution and the Supreme Court or high court could reject it if its jurisdiction was extended.

“Merger of Fata with KP is the only answer,” said the former governor and maintained that the government had to bring amendments to the Constitution if the area was merged with the province.

Fata Lawyers Forum president Rahim Shah advocate blamed the army for delaying the Fata-KP merger. He said that Inter-Services Public Relations had introduced the term “mainstreaming” of tribal area and warned that such tactics might delay the process.

dawn.com/news/1354223/senator-babar-points-to-invisible-roadblocks-in-fata-kp-merger

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Audit reveals billions in irregularities in 2016 Haj operation

Kalbe AliUpdated August 27, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Auditors have found gross mismanagement and financial errors worth billions of rupees in the 2016 Haj operation, and uncovered a move by the Ministry of Religious Affairs to grant illegal favours to banks that collected Haj fees from applicants.

“Audit is of the view that non-adjustment of advances was [a] violation of rules and may lead to misappropriation,” said the auditor general of Pakistan’s (AGP) report on the ministry’s finances.

The most serious audit objection relates to the ministry’s failure to provide documentary proof of expenditures made in regard to a Rs4.94 billion advance, paid to the Director General Haj, Jeddah from the Haj account and the Pilgrim Welfare Fund for the 2015 Haj operation.

Through an unauthorised change in MoUs, Ministry of Religious Affairs allowed banks to pocket interest on Haj fees

Most damning, however, is the revelation that while the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony was informed about the audit requirements August 18, 2016, it submitted no reply to the AGP office.

Apart from not producing vouchers and other documentary evidence related to Haj expenditure, there are 10 other serious allegations of mismanagement against the ministry, most of which are related to the Haj operation.

One audit objection related to the ‘illegal change in the MoUs to favour banks’, which allowed banks to keep the profits on the amounts submitted by unsuccessful applicants.

The audit report pointed out that before Haj 2015, the profit made by banks on Haj fees submitted by applicants was forwarded to the ministry.

However, an amendment was made by the ministry in its contract with the banks, without the approval of the Ministry of Law and Justice, stipulating that banks would pay the profits on fee amounts paid by successful applicants.

Due to this amendment, banks did not pay interest to the ministry on the amounts submitted by unsuccessful applicants, which were retained for 60 days or more.

The ministry also did not extend any support to the auditors in determining the financial implication of this change, the report stated.

Besides, the ministry did not provide a record of bank accounts where Haj fees were deposited by applicants – both successful and unsuccessful ones. In one case, ministry officials even retracted a statement regarding the details of one bank, which was earlier submitted to the audit team.

The ministry has also not recovered around Rs89.16 million in interest from the banks, in connection with late payment of Haj dues pertaining to previous years.

In another objection, auditors pointed out that the ministry had failed to recover Rs83.49 million from the banks in terms of interest from fee deposits made by successful applicants.

Ministry officials allegedly also gave another benefit to the banks by not making a term deposit of 12.50 million Saudi Riyals – the balance amount – after closing the 2014 Haj operation. This, it was estimated, caused a loss of around Rs34.02 million. Auditors have suggested strict action against the relevant officers in this regard.

Referring to changes in the MoU with banks, the audit report states: “Every government officer should realise fully and clearly that he/she will be held personally responsible for any loss sustained by [the] government through fraud or negligence on his part and that he/she will also be held personally responsible for any loss arising from fraud or negligence on the part of any other government officer to the extent to which it may be shown that he/she contributed to the loss by his own action or negligence”.

The ministry also seemed to have favoured the airlines taking pilgrims to Saudi Arabia by not recovering 50,875 Saudi riyals that was not utilised, against the total expenditure of 60.11 million riyals made by airlines.

The audit report also highlighted unnecessary expenditure of Rs38.91 million for rent of an office building, which could have been avoided by shifting to E- Block of the Pakistan Secretariat, where office space has been reserved for the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Auditors maintained that the ministry also caused financial losses to other government departments by charging them around Rs27.72 million for seasonal Haj duties, to serve pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan.

It revealed how the ministry deputed 192 of its own employees for seasonal duties, as well as 99 employees of other ministries.

However, these ministries were charged for the services of the seasonal staff, instead of being paid from the Pilgrim Welfare Fund, as stated in the 2014 Haj Policy.

dawn.com/news/1354205/audit-reveals-billions-in-irregularities-in-2016-haj-operation

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JIT entrusted with Lahore's Outfall Road blast

August 27, 2017

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Saturday constituted a five-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the Outfall Road truck blast.

Two men were killed and 48 others injured in an explosion in a truck at a parking lot on Outfall Road on Aug 7. The blast damaged more than 100 vehicles in and around the place. Some of the cars went hurtling down due to the impact of the blast and the roof of a school and a building wall collapsed.

According to a notification, “in pursuance of request from Provincial Police Officer, Punjab and in exercise of powers conferred under section 19(I) of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is hereby constituted to conduct probe and finalize investigation in Case FIR NO. 19/17 under section 302, 324, 427, 109, 120-B of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 3/4 ESA, 7-ATA of police station CTD Lahore.

“The JIT shall comprise officers including Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Regional Officer Senior Superintendent of Police Muhammad Iqbal, representative of ISI Lahore, representative of Intelligence Bureau Lahore, CIA Inspector Tariq Ilyas Kiyani and PS CTD Lahore Investigation Officer Inspector Muhammad Siddique.”

Another team has yet to complete Ferozepur Road attack probe

The PS CTD Lahore investigation officer, Inspector Muhammad Siddique, would be the investigating officer of the police for the purpose of submission of the report under section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 as required section 19(1) of ATA.

The notification was issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) retried Maj Azam Suleman Khan.

Earlier, the government had constituted a JIT for the suicide blast outside Arfa Kareem IT Tower in which 26 people including nine policemen were killed and 58 others injured.

An investigator, who requested anonymity, told Dawn that the JIT had not yet completed its investigation into Ferozepur Road blast. “There were developments but not at the stage of sharing with the media, he added.

The Outfall Road blast was heard in several areas within the radius of four to five kilometres and it damaged high-voltage wires (132kV) from Saggian Grid Station leaving the area in darkness for hours. A 10 to 15 feet crater developed on the spot and reports suggested that more than 100kg explosive was dumped into the mini truck laden with fruits and vegetables.

dawn.com/news/1354259/jit-entrusted-with-lahores-outfall-road-blast

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Pakistan FM to visit China, Russia, Turkey after US adopts tough stance in new strategy

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Aug 26 2017

The foreign minister of Pakistan Khawajah Asif is expected to visit China, Russia, and Turkey after the United States adopted a tough stance against Islamabad in its latest strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office of Pakistan Nafees Zakaria has said the decision regarding the visit has been taken during the meeting of the national security committee which was organized to discuss the new US strategy.

Zakaria further added that Asif will hold consultative talks with the officials of the three countries, focusing at development of regional consensus for Afghan peace efforts.

He said the trip will also send a strong message to the US that Pakistan cannot be coerced and that the country enjoys broad support in the region.

The US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled the new US strategy outlining the approaches for Afghanistan and South Asia as he harshly criticized Pakistan for harboring the terrorist groups  besides he vowed continued support to Afghanistan and war against terrorism.

President Trump said  “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.  The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict.  And that could happen.”

He said the next pillar of the new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan, emphasizing that we can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond, emphasizing that Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.  It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.

khaama.com/pakistan-fm-to-visit-china-russia-turkey-after-us-adopts-tough-stance-in-new-strategy-03355

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Africa

27 dead after Boko Haram attacks on Nigerian villages

AP | Aug 26, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Boko Haram extremists killed at least 27 people by shooting them and slitting their throats as they attacked several villages in northern Nigeria's Borno state in the past week, residents said.

Such deadly attacks in recent months have pressured Nigeria's government to increase its efforts against a homegrown Islamic extremist group it last year declared to be "crushed."

Boko Haram fighters entered villages in the Nganzai area on Wednesday, slitting throats and using guns to kill at least 15 people while injuring two others, said Modu Jialta, a member of a local self-defense group. The attackers also burned homes.

Residents weren't able to get to the bodies for burial until Friday, Jialta said.

Suspected Boko Haram fighters also attacked in the Guzamala local council area on Wednesday, killing 12 people and injuring at least four, said Mai Abatcha Monguno, the commander of the council's citizen defense forces.

Northern Borno state is the birthplace and stronghold of Boko Haram. Bunu Bukar, secretary of the hunters' association there, said more government support and better equipment is needed to combat the extremists.

Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency has displaced millions in Nigeria and neighboring countries and killed more than 20,000 people.

In a speech to the nation on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to "reinforce and reinvigorate the fight" against Boko Haram, which he accused of "attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/27-dead-after-boko-haram-attacks-on-nigerian-villages/articleshow/60234518.cms

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North America

US aware of Afghan Taliban's presence in Peshawar and Quetta: Gen John Nicholson

August 27, 2017

Gen John W. Nicholson, the top United States commander in Afghanistan, claimed on Saturday that the US was aware of Afghan Taliban leadership's presence in Peshawar and Quetta, adding that the military would continue to put pressure on Taliban sanctuaries inside and outside Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with Tolo News, the top commander discussed US President Donald Trump's recent speech in which he revealed his long-awaited policy on the Afghan war.

Trump, in his first address as the commander-in-chief, called for greater troop deployment and Indian involvement in Afghanistan while lambasting Pakistan for offering safe havens to “agents of chaos”.

According to Gen Nicolson, the matter of the alleged sanctuaries for terrorists was being addressed "in private" by the governments of US and Pakistan.

“The Quetta shura, Peshawar shura — these shuras are identified by cities inside Pakistan; we know Afghan Taliban leaders are in these areas,” said Gen Nicholson in the interview. “Support for terrorists and insurgents has to be reduced — [it] has to be stopped.”

The top commander said that Washington's new policy in the region was not time-based; rather, it relied on the fulfillment of certain conditions.

“It is our mandate to put military pressure on the Taliban," Gen Nicholson said, adding that Washington was seeking a peaceful solution in Afghanistan. “Taliban need to know they cannot win militarily."

Hoping that the Taliban would enter the peace process with Washington, the top commander said that the military would continue to put pressure on their sanctuaries inside and outside Afghanistan.

The top commander said that while it was possible to find a diplomatic formula in Afghanistan, the US would continue its military efforts in the country and help Afghan forces improve their capabilities.

By increasing their territorial control and continuing to put pressure on the 'safe havens', Gen Nicholson was hopeful that the Taliban would be forced to enter a peace process.

Following Trump's speech last Monday, relations between Islamabad and Washington have become tense.

A day after Trump accused Pakistan of duplicity, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned Pakistan that it could lose its status as a privileged military ally if it continues giving 'safe haven' to Afghan militant groups.

Tillerson had claimed that Washington has "leverage" over Pakistan, "a non-Nato ally" that has been receiving US aid.

US Ambassador David Hale held separate meetings with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to brief them on the new policy.

"We are not looking for any material or financial assistance from the US, but trust, understanding and [an] acknowledgement of our contributions," the COAS had told Hale.

A day after the policy was unveiled, the Foreign Office had rejected the allegations made against Pakistan.

dawn.com/news/1354273/us-aware-of-afghan-talibans-presence-in-peshawar-and-quetta-gen-john-nicholson

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Jamaican cleric charged in New York with recruiting for Islamic State

August 27, 2017

New York state prosecutors on Friday charged radical Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal with seeking to recruit people to join Islamic State.

El-Faisal, 53, was arrested the same day in Jamaica, and New York authorities will seek to have him extradited to face charges in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to a U.S. law enforcement source.

El-Faisal, born Trevor William Forrest in St. James, Jamaica, was previously convicted in the United Kingdom in 2003 of soliciting murder and imprisoned. He was deported to Jamaica in 2007 after being released.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Friday that el-Faisal used lectures, a website and videos to incite followers to join Islamic State, which is designated a terrorist organization by U.S. authorities.

“A charismatic leader, the defendant’s rhetoric has been cited by several convicted or suspected terrorists in New York, London, and beyond,” Vance said in a statement.

Friday’s indictment follows a year-long investigation by the New York Police Department’s intelligence bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office’s counter-terrorism program, according to the announcement from Vance’s office.

Prosecutors said that beginning in December 2016, el-Faisal began communicating remotely from Jamaica with an undercover NYPD officer. He urged the officer to view Islamic State propaganda materials online, and offered to help him travel to the Middle East to fight for the organization, prosecutors said.

NYPD members ultimately did travel to the Middle East, and once they arrived, el-Faisal put them in touch with a contact in Raqqa, Syria, according to prosecutors.

El-Faisal is charged with soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

CategoriesAsia & AmericasEurope & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSyriaUKUS

middleeastmonitor.com/20170827-jamaican-cleric-charged-in-new-york-with-recruiting-for-islamic-state/

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'US Has to Change Strategy on Afghanistan' and Think in 'Different Terms' © AP Photo/ Musadeq Sadeq

27.08.2017

President Trump pledged to increase the US military presence in Afghanistan and "fight to win" in the war-ravaged Asian country. In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Alon Ben-Meir, a New York-based expert on the Middle East, said this wouldn’t really change much at ground level.

“The Taliban occupies nearly one-third or even half of Afghanistan, and the central government has no influence on the situation in those areas. Moreover, terrorist activity has been escalating in the past few months and there is no reason to assume that this situation will change any time soon,” Dr. Ben-Meir said.

He added that fighting terrorists, plotting to attack America and its allies is one thing, but it does not mean that the US should maintain a heavy military presence in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces and Afghan commando are seen in the Achin district, Afghanistan. (File)

“The 4,000 US troops President Trump plans to send there are not going to change the overall picture at all. At the height of the US involvement in Afghanistan, we had 140,000 American and allied troops in that country, but we haven’t seen any significant changes, and the additional 4,000 troops are not going to make the situation there any better.”

Alon Ben-Meir also said that while President Trump’s new strategy of not being engaged in nation building is generally correct, the US should withdraw from Afghanistan leaving behind a limited military contingent there to deal with terrorists, and provide financial support to the Afghan government.

“The US has to change strategy on Afghanistan and think in entirely different terms,” he added.

He also mentioned Pakistan’s role in harboring terrorists who cross the border into Afghanistan to attack government forces and then retreat back into Pakistan where the US can’t attack them.

This means, he added, that Pakistan is not really interested in any peace deal between the Taliban and Kabul.

Afghan security forces arrive during gun fire at the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 31, 2017

Afghanistan Wants Russia, Not US to Help Restore Peace in Country - Ambassador

“The US will have to put significant pressure on Pakistan to stop providing sanctuary to the Taliban. Aside from Pakistan, there are other elements engaged in Afghanistan. Iran is a destabilizing factor and also India, which has a great deal of interest in what is going on in Afghanistan. There are other players, including Russia,” Dr. Ben-Meir noted.

When asked what resolution he saw to the 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, Dr. Ben-Meir said that there is no military solution to this longstanding conflict, and if the US realizes this, it would be able to seek negotiated solutions with moderate Taliban forces.

Such agreements will heavily depend on the local tribes’ support for such negotiations.

“The Afghan tribes are ready to fight for their country to end this outrageous foreign intervention. I think the US should deal with and provide financial support to these tribes to the tune of perhaps some $500 million, which is a trickle compared to what the US is now spending in Afghanistan,” Dr. Ben-Meir emphasized.

President Donald Trump outlined his new strategy in Afghanistan in his address to the nation on Monday.

He vowed to increase the US military presence in Afghanistan, contrary to his initial campaign promises. He also pledged that US forces will stay and "fight to win," arguing that withdrawal of troops from the war-torn country would create a vacuum for terrorists to fill.

President Trump also underlined that US support was aimed at fighting terrorism and that Washington would not engage in nation-building in Afghanistan.

He also accused Pakistan of providing sanctuary to extremists and warned that Washington would not turn a blind eye to the problem.

The United States has been engaged in Afghanistan since 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks making it America’s lengthiest war. The conflict has claimed lives of tens of thousands of people.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201708271056826264-us-afghanistant-strategy/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘i-see-a-drone,-i-remove-my-sim-card’--afghan-villagers-live-in-constant-fear-of-us-airstrikes/d/112346

 

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