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In IS Camp, Beheading Lessons Start with Doll and Sword

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Jul 2015

In this April 19, 2015 picture, Syrian boy Ahmad, 7, whose parents went missing in Syria, attends a class of religious lessons at an Islamic teaching centre designed to counter Islamic State group indoctrination, near the Turkish-Syrian border city of Sanliurfa, southern Turkey. "They are planting extremism and terrorism in young people's minds," said Abu Hafs Naqshbandi, who runs the classes. "I am terribly worried about future generations."


Arab World


 In IS camp, beheading lessons start with doll and sword

 Yemen rebel fire kills 57 civilians as Aden battle rages

 Iraq officials say Islamic State bombs Ramadi sports stadium

 Four brothers arrested for playing cards in the Prophet’s Mosque freed

 France delivers first batch of fighter jets to Egypt

 Prince Muhammad visits southern-based armed forces

 Hydra-headed Monster Called Islamic State

 Saudi crude oil exports fall to lowest in five months in May

 War strategy reviewed by Deputy Crown Prince and US Defense Secretary

 Syria’s army says battles rebels near president’s homeland

 Saudi singing sensation wows Capital audience





 Indian Muslims Please Don’t Import Gulf Culture, Your Islam Is Beautiful: Khaled Almaeena

 Muslims Offered Eid Prayer in a Mandir Compound in Lucknow

 Israel offers to help clean Ganga

 Pakistan targets posts in Poonch district





 No more Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons, says Charlie Hebdo editor

‘IS buying land in Bosnia

 David Cameron launches 5 year-plan to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain

 UK "Must Put Troops On The Ground To Beat Isil"

 German official urges Iran to rethink Israel stance

 8,000 HIV Patients at Risk in Eastern Ukraine: UN Envoy





 At least 10 dead, scores injured as blast rips through Turkish town on Syrian border

 Palace accused of trying to block formation of coalition gov’t

 Turkish troops detain 514 at illegal Syrian border crossings

 UAE ambassador’s 2-year absence sign of deterioration in ties with Turkey



South Asia


 Afghan Officials Say 14 Soldiers Killed in US Airstrike

 Iran foreign minister criticizes US, Israel over threat of military action

 'Hamas Members' Held Over West Bank Murder: Israel

 Flash Floods Kill 11 People In North Iran





 Pakistan's sedition sweep in Gilgit-Baltistan

 Altaf to start hunger strike in protest



North America


 Pentagon Chief Says Iran Nuclear Deal Does Not 'Prevent Military Option'

 Family says Tennessee gunman suffered from depression

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Arab World


In IS Camp, Beheading Lessons Start with Doll and Sword

SANLIURFA (TURKEY), July 20, 2015 AP

The children each received a doll and a sword. Then they were lined up, more than 120 of them, and given their next lesson by their Islamic State group instructors: Behead the doll.

A 14-year-old, who was among the line of abducted boys from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, said at first after he could not cut it right, he chopped once, twice, three times.

“Then they taught me how to hold the sword, and they told me how to hit. They told me it was the head of the infidels,” the boy, renamed Yahya by his IS captors, recalled in an interview last week with The Associated Press in northern Iraq, where he fled after escaping the IS training camp.

Even elders butchered

When IS extremists overran Yazidi towns and villages in northern Iraq last year, they butchered older men. Many of the women and girls they captured were given to IS loyalists as sex slaves. But dozens of young Yazidi boys like Yahya had a different fate: the group sought to re-educate them. They forced them to convert to Islam from their ancient faith and then tried to turn them into Jihadi extremist fighters.

It is part of a concerted effort by the extremists to build a new generation of militants, according to a series of AP interviews with residents who fled or still live under the IS in Syria and Iraq. The group is recruiting teens and children, using cash, gifts, intimidation and brainwashing. As a result, children have been plunged into the group’s atrocities.

Young boys have been turned into killers, shooting captives in the head in videos issued by the group. Last week, for the first time, a video showed a child involved in a beheading — a boy who appeared younger than 13 decapitating a Syrian army captain. Children also have been used as suicide bombers.

Pitting them against parents

In schools and mosques, the militants infuse children with their extremist doctrine, often turning them against their own parents. Fighters in the street befriend children with toys. IS training camps for children churn out the Ashbal, Arabic for “lion cubs,” young fighters for the “caliphate” that the IS has declared across the regions its controls. A caliphate is a historic form of Islamic rule that the group claims to be reviving, though the vast majority of Muslims reject its claim.

“They are planting extremism and terrorism in young people’s minds,” said Abu Hafs Naqshbandi, a Syrian sheikh in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa, where he runs religion classes for refugees to counter IS ideology. “I am terribly worried about future generations.”

The indoctrination mainly targets the Sunni Muslim children living under IS rule. But the abduction of the Yazidis, whom IS considers heretics ripe for slaughter, shows how the group sought even to take another community’s youth, erase its past and replace it with IS radicalism.

Seeks anonymity

The camp where Yahya and other Yazidi boys were taken was the Farouq Institute for Cubs in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which serves as the extremists’ de facto capital. The boys were given Muslim Arabic names to replace their Kurdish-language names. Yahya asked that the AP not use his real name because of fears of retaliation against himself or his family.

Yahya, his little brother, their mother and hundreds of Yazidis were captured when the extremists overran the town of Sulagh in northern Iraq last year. They were taken to Syria, where the brothers were separated from their mother and put in the Farouq camp, along with other Yazidi boys aged between 8 and 15, Yahya told the AP.

“I was forced to do that. [The trainer] said that if I didn’t do it, he’d shoot me,” he said. “They ... told us it would make us tougher. They beat us everywhere with their fists.”

In an online IS video of the Farouq camp, boys in camouflage do callisthenics. Some repeat back religious interpretation texts they have memorised justifying the killing of prisoners and infidels. An IS fighter sitting with a line of boys says they have studied the principles of jihad “so that in the coming days God Almighty can put them in the frontlines to battle the infidels.”

Military fatigues

IS videos from other training camps show young boys in military fatigues marching with weapons, crawling under barbed wire and practicing shooting. One child lies on the ground and fires a machine gun; he’s so small that the recoil bounces his whole body back a few inches. Other scenes show boys undergoing endurance training. They stand unmoving as a trainer punches them or hits their heads with a pole. They lie on the ground as a trainer walks on them.

Most of the children look stony-faced, their only emotion a momentary flicker as they try to remember texts they are told to recite.

“By God, Obama and all those allied against the State, we will kill you. Who will? We lion cubs of the caliphate,” proclaims one boy who looks younger than 10, holding an automatic rifle as he addresses the U.S. president.

Many such camps

The IS has claimed to have hundreds of such camps, though the true number is not known nor the number of children who have gone through the training. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain—based organisation that follows the Syrian war, said it documented at least 1,100 Syrian children under 16 who joined the IS so far this year, many of whom were then sent to fight in Syria and Iraq. At least 52 were killed, including eight who blew themselves up in suicide attacks, the organisation said.

The effects of the indoctrination are chilling. In an IS video released last month, 25 young boys with pistols take position between 25 captured Syrian soldiers brought into the ancient Roman amphitheatre in the Syrian city of Palmyra. Unflinching, each boy shoots a soldier in the back of the head. Previous videos have shown boys killing what the IS alleged were an Israeli spy and two Russian agents.

Propaganda videos

Often, recruiting starts on the streets of IS-held areas at outdoor booths called “media points,” where militants show young people propaganda videos. Militants hold outdoor events for children, distributing soft drinks, candy and biscuits, along with religious pamphlets and CDs. Bit by bit, the idea of jihad as a duty is drilled into young minds. The IS group’s acolytes distribute toys in the street and tell children to call them if they want to join, according to an anti-IS activist who recently fled Raqqa.

“They tell [adults] ... ‘We have given up on you, we care about the new generation,’” the activist said, speaking on condition of anonymity to preserve the safety of relatives living under IS rule.

One Raqqa resident told AP of his neighbour’s 16-year-old son, Ahmed, who spent long hours at his local IS-run mosque. Ahmed began picking fights with his family, telling his older brother and parents they were bad Muslims because they did not pray.

Turning them against kin

In November, when he told his family he wanted to join the IS, his mother wept, while his father told him his family would never take him back. The teen vanished 10 days later. His father was told by IS members that his son was fighting for the group in eastern Syria and he should be proud of him.

“They turned him against his family. They convinced him they were apostates,” said the neighbour, a friend of the parents who also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Ahmed’s family members refused to speak to the AP, fearing the IS might punish their son for anything they say.

Some parents in IS-run areas take their children out of schools to avoid IS brainwashing.

In Eski Mosul, a town in northern Iraq recently liberated from the IS, residents showed the AP a book the militants used to lecture children titled “The Clear Evidence of the Heresy of Those Who Support the Crusader Campaign against the Islamic Caliphate.”

“America is the head of the infidels, atheism and the central base of corruption and moral decay. It is the land of shame, crime, filth, and evil,” the book says.

Umm Ali, a woman from the predominantly Kurdish Syrian town of Afrin who worked in fields held by the extremists in Aleppo province, said her sons were approached by IS members several times, and she hated that children saw beheadings and other punishments carried out in public squares.

“I saw one man hanging from a pole, his body badly tortured. Children were taking photographs. It’s horrible, horrible,” she said, crying. She spoke at a health clinic in Gaziantep, Turkey, where she had fled with her six children.

Even in refugee camps, children are not out of IS reach. Often under the guise of humanitarian organisations, the IS organises religious lessons to recruit people, said Naqshbandi, the Syrian sheik. The militants would pay students who enrol 300 Turkish liras ($110) a month, said Abu Omar, a field worker at the camps.

They taught us to hate

“They taught us to hate,” said a 15-year-old former refugee camp resident who witnessed IS indoctrination, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect himself and his family. “This is what they teach” and he moved his hand sharply across his throat.

Yahya, the Yazidi boy, escaped the IS training camp in early March, when IS fighters left to carry out an attack. As the remaining guards slept, he said he and his brother slipped away, telling the other children he was going to throw out the garbage. He asked one friend to come with them, but the friend chose to stay. He was Muslim now, the friend said. He liked Islam.

Yahya knew his mother was staying in a house nearby with other abducted Yazidis, since he had occasionally been allowed to visit her. So he and his brother went to her, and then travelled to the IS-held northern Syrian city of Minbaj with some fellow Yazidis. There, they stayed with a Russian member of the IS, Yahya said. After that, he contacted his uncle in northern Iraq, who negotiated to pay the Russian for the two boys and their mother. A deal was struck, the Russian sent them to Turkey to meet the uncle and they made their way to the city of Dohuk in the Kurdish autonomous zone of northern Iraq.

Relieved, at last

Now in a house in Dohuk rented by the uncle, Yahya and his brother spend much of their time watching TV, grateful to be back with their mother and away from the terrifying camp, where they were forced to watch videos of beheadings.

“I was scared,” Yahya said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to behead someone like that. Even as an adult.”



Yemen rebel fire kills 57 civilians as Aden battle rages

AFP | Jul 20, 201

ADEN: At least 57 civilians were killed today when Shia rebels bombarded Yemen's second city Aden, where Saudi-backed pro-government forces have made gains against the insurgents, a health official said.

The bloodshed came two days after Prime Minister Khaled Bahah declared the city to be "liberated", although Iran-backed rebels continued to resist in some districts.

Local health Chief Al-Khader Laswar told AFP that the death toll had risen to 57 from 43, and that 12 children and six women were among the dead.

More than 215 people, also including women and children, were wounded when the Dar Saad neighbourhood in the north of the port city was targeted, Laswar said.

Backed by air support from Saudi-led warplanes and troops freshly trained in the kingdom, forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi have managed to wrest back control of most of Aden.

Two ministers from the government exiled in Saudi Arabia returned to Aden this weekend, and on Sunday they toured the southern city devastated by four months of ferocious fighting.

Fighters from the pro-Hadi Popular Resistance today advanced towards the rebel-held district of Al-Tawahi, a military source said.

Aden's presidential residence is in the district, where Hadi took refuge after escaping house arrest under the rebels in Sanaa in February, before then being forced to flee for Saudi Arabia.

Warplanes from a Saudi-led Arab coalition have pressed an air campaign launched in March in support of Hadi and against the Houthis and renegade troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Since late yesterday, around 15 air strikes targeted rebel positions in Al-Tawahi and on the northern outskirts of the city where the rebels had brought in reinforcements, military sources and witnesses said.

There was also fighting in the Crater district where some rebels remain holed up, according to pro-Hadi fighters.

Nine rebels were killed in a raid on Khormaksar neighbourhood, witnesses said.

The interior and transportation ministers headed a delegation from the exiled government that landed in Aden on Friday night.



Iraq officials say Islamic State bombs Ramadi sports stadium

By VIVIAN SALAMA, The Associated Press, July 20, 2015

BAGHDAD — Iraqi security officials say that militants from the Islamic State group blew up a sports stadium in Iraq's western Anbar province.

The stadium, near the militant-held city of Ramadi, had never been used for sports. In recent months, it was used as a military base for Iraqi security forces and allied militia groups. Security and military officials said Monday the 30,000-capacity stadium was empty when it was destroyed Sunday.

Also in Anbar, officials say the Sunni militant group ambushed a military unit near the city of Fallujah, killing the group's commander, Ali Ahmed, and four of his men.

The officials spoke anonymously as they are not authorized to brief journalists. Iraqi security forces last week announced the launch of a large-scale operation to retake Anbar province from the militants.



Four brothers arrested for playing cards in the Prophet’s Mosque freed

Saudi Gazette Saudi Gazette – July 20, 2015

Four brothers, arrested for not respecting the sanctity of the Prophet’s Mosque here by playing cards (baloot), were released according to Okaz Arabic daily.

The four were caught playing cards in the holy Haram during the last few days of Ramadan. But concerned authorities in Madinah released the four brothers after a brief detention.

Baloot is a popular trick card game played in Saudi Arabia, which is similar to the French game Belote.

Their release came following the directives of concerned authorities after they had been detained in the correction home here. They had been referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP) to determine the reasons for them not respecting the sanctity of the place.

The police arrested the four following the circulation of pictures on the social media showing them playing cards (baloot) inside the Prophet’s Mosque. The cards were found in their possession, Brig. Gen. Fahd Amer Al-Ghannam, spokesman of Madinah region police, said.

Al-Ghannam said after a search, the four were apprehended within a short time. They are four Saudi brothers and their ages range between 10 and 17 years. The cards were found in their possession.

Preliminary investigations showed that they were not among the worshipers observing Itikaf (meditation in seclusion) in the Prophet’s Mosque.

They were waiting for their relatives during the period between Fajr (dawn) prayer and sunrise. The youngest brother was carrying the cards. All the four were then referred to the authorities for further measures, Sabq website said.



France delivers first batch of fighter jets to Egypt


France signed a deal earlier this year to provide 24 Rafale combat jets to Egypt

Istres (France) (AFP) - Egypt on Monday took delivery of three Rafale fighter jets from France, the first of 24 warplanes sold in a 5.2 billion euro ($5.6 billion) deal earlier this year.

Egyptian authorities took charge of the planes at an air base in southern France, and they will be flown to Cairo by specially trained pilots on Tuesday.

Cairo is hoping to boost its military presence as it faces an unstable Libya to the west and threats from militants linked to the Islamic State group in its Sinai Peninsula to the east.

For Egypt, the agreement is also a show of support for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and wants to break a US monopoly over arms sales to Cairo.

The deal is a much-needed boon to cash-strapped France and Paris hopes that by showcasing French military technology it will prompt more orders for its premier combat jet, which it struggled for years to sell.

The overall deal also includes contracts for missiles and for a FREMM multi-mission frigate from naval group DCNS.

However, the deal has sparked concern from campaign groups worried about Cairo's human rights record.

The head of Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the warplanes, thanked the French military "without whose support this success would not have been possible."

Planes were diverted away from the French military base for the handover ceremony.

In a further coup for French military exports, India in April ordered 36 Rafales in a multi-billion-euro deal that took years to clinch.



Prince Muhammad visits southern-based armed forces

Saudi Gazette Saudi Gazette – 20 July, 2015

Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, on Saturday visited armed forces based in the Kingdom’s southern region on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. Prince Muhammad was pictured with the ground troops, currently engaged in intense battles on the Yemeni border. In recent months, several troops based in the south have been killed.

The deputy crown prince was briefed on military operations in the area, also visiting the army’s rapid response unit and artillery and rocket launcher units. Prince Muhammad has been overseeing a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen launched in March earlier this year targeting Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

© Copyright 2015 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (



Hydra-headed Monster Called Islamic State

By The New Indian Express Published: 20th July 2015

Promising respite from a blazing Iraqi summer heat, a suicide bomber with an ice truck attracted over 100 people to their deaths on Friday. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the bombing in Khan Bani Saad, a crowded marketplace in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province, making it one of the single deadliest acts of terror in the country in the past decade. Khan Bani Saad is a predominantly Shia town located about 35 km north of the Iraqi capital, underlining an “ugly sectarian chord” in the volatile province, where a number of towns were captured by the IS last year. Iraqi forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have since wrested those turfs, but fighting between the militants and security forces still rage.

In August last year, at least 64 people were killed in a brazen onslaught on a Sunni mosque in Diyala, in what locals believed was a retaliatory strike against Diyala tribes who refused to announce loyalty to the terror outfit. The Sunni militant group that currently controls about a third of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared caliphate has been behind many similar massive attacks on civilians and military checkpoints as it seeks to expand its empire. The fact that the duplicitous plot was carried out on the eve of Eid al-Fitr — one of the most joyous Muslim holidays marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan — shows that the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group is not guided by any ideology or a desire to undo perceived injustice to the Muslims themselves. The carnage of innocent fellow Muslims exposes the barbaric face of Islamic terrorism and the need for a holistic approach to the threat to world peace it poses.

As the US and Iraqi leaders rushed to condemn the bombing, which the White House said “purposefully and viciously targeted Iraqi civilians” celebrating a religious holiday, the incident has also brought to the fore the inner contradictions within the US-led coalition that is trying to challenge the IS in Iraq and Syria. The US-backed offensive against the IS is wavering as hundred militants holed up in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, have withstood sever air strikes and held off a larger force of Iraqi troops on the ground. The contradictions revolve around a 1,400-year-old enmity between Shias and Sunnis. The divisions of its many enemies have been one of IS’s great advantages.  The US must realise that the anti-IS forces have no option but to unite if they are to win the war on terror.



Saudi crude oil exports fall to lowest in five months in May

REUTERS, 20 July, 2015

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell to their lowest in five months in May despite near-record production, as the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) kingpin turns itself into a major refined-fuels power and as domestic consumption rises.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil exporter, shipped 6.935 million barrels per day (bpd) on average in May, down from 7.737m bpd in April and the lowest since December, official data showed on Sunday.

As crude exports slide, the Opec producer is offering customers millions of barrels of diesel from new refineries as it turns itself into a major supplier of refined oil products, potentially triggering a price war with Asian competitors as its exports feed into a glut.

Saudi Arabia's massive refineries are now processing more of its crude at home, moving the country into a tie with Royal Dutch Shell as the world's fourth-largest refiner and enabling it to export more fuel products than ever before.

Domestic refineries, including a 400,000-barrels per day plant which opened in Yanbu in April, processed 2.423m bpd in May, up 9 per cent from 2.224m bpd a month earlier, figures supplied by Riyadh to the Joint Organisation Data Initiative (JODI) showed.

Crude oil directly burnt by Saudi Arabia to generate power rose to 677,000 bpd in May from 358,000 bpd in April, the data published on JODI's website showed.

JODI compiles data supplied by oil-producing members of global organizations including the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Opec.

Saudi Arabia's crude production for May stood at 10.333m bpd, slightly above the April figure of 10.308m bpd.



War strategy reviewed by Deputy Crown Prince and US Defense Secretary

Arab News Arab News – 3 hours ago

Arab News - Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. (Agencies)

 Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a telephone call from US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during which they discussed regional developments. He also called on Sunday Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Sidqy Sobhi to offer him Eid greetings.

Prince Mohammed, who has been overseeing the Saudi-led campaign launched in March in Yemen, also visited the armed forces front units on Saturday where he was briefed on military operations in the area. He visited the army’s rapid response unit at the southern border.

He paid a visit to the artillery units and rocket launchers, where the latest military operations carried out by the units in accordance with the plans formulated by the Operations Center were discussed.

He later moved to King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushayt to meet the 55th Aviation Squadron and review air operations of the coalition supporting the legitimate government of Yemen. Prince Mohammed met the coalition’s pilots and highlighted their professionalism in fulfilling missions.

During his visits, he conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif to the soldiers.

Earlier, he inspected the operation centre at Al-Thualia post in the southern border, where he chaired a meeting to discuss the current situation and military operations.

Copyright: Arab News © 2015 All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (



Syria’s army says battles rebels near president’s homeland

July 19, 2015, Sunday/ 19:09:00/ REUTERS / BEIRUT

Syria's army said on Sunday it had stepped up air strikes and retaken villages in a new offensive on Islamist insurgents in areas close to President Bashar al-Assad's ancestral homeland in the north-eastern coastal province of Latakia.

Aerial bombardment had intensified over the past 48 hours in a bid to cut rebel supply lines in rugged territory close to Turkey's border, an army source was quoted as saying on state media.

Latakia province - home to Syria's biggest port and a stronghold of Assad's Alawite sect - has been a key battleground of the conflict, which is now in its fifth year.

Sunni Muslim jihadists, include al Qaeda's Syrian offshoot the Nusra Front, control many villages in the borderlands north of the government-held Mediterranean port city of Latakia and other areas dominated by Alawites, who follow an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

The army said five villages and hilltops, including Beit Khadour, Beit Zaifa, Tel alKhadar, and Jabal al Rahmaliya, had been wrested back from the insurgents, bringing it closer to the border areas.

The army had stepped up its campaign in the province since insurgents took the strategically located town of Jisr al Shughour in April, strengthening their position in a mountain range that overlooks Alawites villages and close to Qardaha, hometown of the Assad family.

The rough terrain and heavy forests has allowed the Sunni jihadist rebels to resist heavy Syrian army shelling and withstand heavy aerial bombing, defence analysts say.

A Syrian army officer said the aim of the latest operation was to cut rebel supply lines from the Turkish border to the rebel held villages, including the town of Salma, that has been held by Nusra Front since 2012.

"These armed men are weaker than to try to dare get close to Latakia," a senior army officer was quoted as saying in a report from the area by Lebanese Hezbollah's television al-Manar's correspondent.

Last year, the Syrian army wrested back control of the Christian town border town of Kasab, a gateway to Turkey, nearer the coast in Latakia, after less than three months of control by Islamist fighters, including Nusra Front.

The Syrian war has taken on a starkly sectarian character, with the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim rebels backed by Sunni Gulf Arab powers fighting to overthrow Assad who is backed by Shiite Iran.



Saudi singing sensation wows Capital audience

Khaleej TimesKhaleej Times – 20 July, 2015

Mohamed Abdo enchanted a packed du Forum, with an emotional Eid Al Fitr performance as part of the Abu Dhabi Summer Seasons series of shows.

Saudi singing sensation Mohamed Abdo enchanted a packed du Forum, with an emotional Eid Al Fitr performance as part of the Abu Dhabi Summer Seasons series of shows on Saturday night.

Widely regarded as the 'The Artist of the Arabs,' Abdo has been exciting his audiences with his infectious music and charismatic stage persona for the past 50 years. Both of these unique elements were seen and felt during his show last night.

Building on the momentum of Abdo's performance was a young and enigmatic Emirati singer, touted for his nightingale-like voice, Habib Elyasi, who also performed at the du Forum in Yas Island on Sunday.

Also, Sunday saw the performance of renowned Palestinian speed-painter Mohammad Al-Dairi, who wowed crowds through his remarkable artistic gift. Al-Dairi gained popularity after his appearance on the TV show Arab's Got Talent. Abu Dhabi Summer Season has been running from June 11 and will continue until September 5. Tickets for the remaining shows are available at and all Virgin Megastore outlets across the UAE.

Copyright © 2015 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.






Indian Muslims please don’t import Gulf culture, Your Islam is beautiful: Khaled Almaeena

July 20, 2015

I think hardliners and extremists, opportunists, Deobandis and   some Kebab Wallas in the sub continent are towing the line of their paymasters from abroad. Islam spread in India through good behaviour

,Sufis, saints and Hadrami businessmen..It did so in the Far East where no Muslim soldier ever set foot   Zakir Naik Saheb whom I know too well and who used to frequent my office at the Arab News when I was the Editor in chief and specially in Ramzan where I would greet him with a Khuda Hafez should know better

.Indian Muslims please don’t import Gulf culture. Your Islam is beautiful..

Jeetay Rahoe

Khaled Almaeena,



Muslims Offered Eid Prayer in a Mandir Compound in Lucknow

Lucknow, 19 July 2015: In a rarest of the rare event of communal harmony the Hindu neighbours of Eidgaah Aish Bagh locality in Lucknow opened the compound of Shiv Mandir for Eid prayers to their Muslims neighbours.

Amid the sharp grow of communal hatred and hateful campaign like Ghar Wapsi this heart rendering event of communal harmony was witnessed in the city of Nawab yesterday.

According to a report published in news portal ‘when the Muslims of the locality couldn’t find enough space in Eidgaah Aish Bagh to offer Eid prayer the Hindus of the locality offered them the space of a Mandir compound adjacent to Eidgaah.

Sensing the difficulty of Muslims the Hindu brethren who had earlier cleaned the Mandir compound for the same purpose offered the space in the Mandir compound for prayer to their Muslim neighbours.

After the prayer the Muslims embraced the Hindus who were standing outside the Mandir and offered them Eid Greetings.



Israel Offers To Help Clean Ganga

NEW DELHI, July 19, 2015

Israel, one of India’s biggest defence partners, wants to offer its expertise in water management and help the government with its ambitious Ganga cleaning project.

Israel’s water management, desalination and recycling techniques, which helped it overcome a water crisis following years of drought, have been emulated by several countries. Israel has also set a template for reusing wastewater for irrigation. It treats 80 per cent of its domestic wastewater, which is recycled for agricultural use, and nearly 50 per cent of the total water used for agriculture.

Experts to visit India

Armed with these water management techniques, Israeli officials have met their counterparts in the Union Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, headed by Uma Bharti, to offer help in water conservation and the Ganga cleaning programme.

A delegation of experts from Israel will be in India in August to assess the areas of Ganga cleaning that the country can contribute to.

Considering the losses made by water utilities across the country and high volume of non-revenue water, Israel has also offered to streamline the water management and distribution services. “The advantage we have is that we have a wide range of solutions for problems; there are specific problems in different States and our experts have solutions. We are pushing for more government-to-government agreements,” the spokesperson of the Israeli Embassy, Ohad Horsandi, says.

Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon recently called on Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu to offer his country’s assistance in water management to meet the challenge of water scarcity in the burgeoning urban areas. Water management through reuse, recycling and distribution management will be a component in the Smart Cities and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation ‘Amrut’ programmes flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June.

The Ambassador has extended an invitation to Mr. Naidu to attend a conference on water-related issues in Tel Aviv in October.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Horsandi said: “Israel’s work in water desalination has been widely accepted and used. We are keen to help India meets its water needs for drinking as well as agriculture.”

India and Israel have already signed agreements for agriculture partnership and 28 centres of excellence have been set up in Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. These centres offer training to agriculturists on how to increase their produce and on effective means of irrigation.



Pakistan targets posts in Poonch district

JAMMU, July 20, 2015

No loss of life or injury reported.

Pakistani troops on Monday targeted several Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Pakistani troops resorted to small arms firing on several posts along the Line of Control in Poonch district at 2245 hours last night,” an Army spokesman said.

Our troops retaliated, resulting in exchange of fire that continued till 2330 hours. There was no report of loss of life or injury from the Indian side, he said.

In July, there have been 11 ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army.





No more Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons, says Charlie Hebdo editor

DAWN.COM, July 20, 2015

Six months after hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) and killed at least 16 people including staff members and two cops, the incumbent editor, Laurent Sourisseau, has said in an interview that more cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) will not be drawn, according to a report published on the Deutsche Welle website.

The editor told the Hamburg-based news magazine "Stern" that, "We have drawn Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. It is a bit strange though: we are expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to."

Sourisseau, who survived the massacre carried out by two Muslim brothers, said the magazine had done what it set out to do.

"We've done our job. We have defended the right to caricature," he said.

"We still believe that we have the right to criticise all religions," said the editor who owns 40 per cent of the company's shares.

In the interview, he also said that Islam is not the only religion the magazine was critical of. "The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions," the editor of the weekly satirical magazine further said.

Many people around the world had defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in the wake of the massacre by Islamic extremists at its Paris offices and subsequent attack on a kosher supermarket in which three gunmen killed 17 people earlier in January this year.

Both attackers of the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris were killed in a subsequent shootout with France's elite police personnel.

Charlie Hebdo initially gained notoriety in Feb 2006 when it reprinted sacrilegious cartoons that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons set off a wave of violence in the Middle East which claimed 50 lives.

Its offices were fire-bombed in Nov 2011 when it published an objectionable sketch. Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the weekly continued to publish controversial cartoons.

While the attack in Paris had sparked had global outrage, dozens of people in Afghanistan and Peshawar had also paid tribute to the brothers who carried out the murders.

Muslims believe all images of the prophet (PBUH) are blasphemous.

The Vatican and four prominent French imams had also issued a joint declaration that denounced the attacks but also urged the media to treat religions with respect.

In a statement issued after the attacks Pope Francis had said there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone's faith.



‘IS Buying Land In Bosnia

PTI | Jul 20, 2015, 06.22 AM IST

LONDON: The Islamic State terror group is secretly buying land near an isolated village in Bosnia in the heart of Europe which could be a base for devastating terror attacks on the West, a media report said on Sunday.

At least 12 IS fighters trained in the village of Osve have left for Syria in recent months and five are reported to be dead, a Sunday Mirror investigation said. Crucially, the location gives IS a key strategic position due to its proximity to the Mediterranean, which is used by extremists from Syria, Iraq and North Africa, the report said.

Security services think the area in Bosnia is used for IS training camps and could be a base for devastating terror attacks on the West. Counter-terrorism expert Dzevad Galijasevic said: "From this village a large number of people went to Syria and are going constantly. The chosen location of some of the properties is on a hill, where there is no possibility to approach without being seen. It is clear that the source of the terrorist threat is right there," Galijasevic said.

The newspaper said the hilltop village is not mapped by GPS and is only accessible by steep and winding roads barely wide enough for cars to pass. A number of houses there appear to have been abandoned or only half built and it is not overlooked by any other settlement.

It is understood that notorious IS supporter Harun Mehicevic is among fanatics who bought land in the area. He has purchased two hectares, it said. Mehicevic fled Bosnia during the 1990s Balkan wars and settled in Melbourne, Australia, where he is considered one of the country's most dangerous men.



David Cameron launches 5 year-plan to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain

OLIVER WRIGHT 20 July 2015

Young Muslims are drawn to fundamentalist Islam in the same way young Germans were attracted to fascism in the 20th century, David Cameron will suggest today, as he sets out a five-year strategy to combat Isis-inspired radicalisation.

In a speech in Birmingham, Mr Cameron will say Islamic extremist ideology is based on the same intolerant ideas of “discrimination, sectarianism and segregation” that led to the rise of Hitler and that still exist in the far right.

He will also reject suggestions that Western foreign policy has contributed to the rise of Isis and its popularity among Muslim populations in the West, arguing that such extremism existed long before the Iraq war.

The Prime Minister will also announce details of a new drive to promote integration led by the Government’s “tsar” for troubled families, Louise Casey. This will include addressing issues around integration, language and employment and learning from “past mistakes” where government funding was “simply handed” over to “self-appointed ‘community leaders’” who “sometimes used it in a divisive way”.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron was determined to make tackling Islamic extremism in Britain a central priority over the next five years with a comprehensive strategy that involved not just the police and the criminal justice system but also “softer interventions” to tackle the root causes of radicalisation.

However he is likely to face criticism for the tough language in the speech from some in the Muslim community who have warned it could play into the hands of extremists.

Addressing the threat posed by radical Islam in Britain Mr Cameron is expected to say that for “all our successes as a multiracial, multi-faith democracy” Britain faces the “struggle of our generation” to counter extremist ideology.

“What we are fighting in Islamist extremism is an ideology,” he will say.

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“It is an extreme doctrine and like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. [It] subscribes to intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.

“Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation. Ideas – like those of the despicable far right – which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Mr Cameron will argue that such a “warped world view” leads to conclusions that 9/11 was “actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan” and that the British security services knew about 7/7, but “didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash”.

He will say that extreme views can gain traction – especially with the young. “Like so many ideologies that have existed before – whether fascist or communist – many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it,” he will say. “So we need to understand why it is proving so attractive.”

Mr Cameron will reject claims that support for Isis is formed on the basis of “historic injustices and recent wars, because of poverty and hardship”. Instead he will argue that the “root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself”.

“Like any extreme doctrine, it can seem energising, especially to young people,” he will say. “They are watching videos that eulogise Isil (Isis) as a pioneering state taking on the world that makes celebrities of violent murderers.

“So people today don’t just have a cause in Islamist extremism in Isil, they now have its living and breathing expression.”

Mr Cameron will add that “adherents” of radical Islam are “overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, especially those trying to challenge it”.

“There are so many strong, positive Muslim voices being drowned out,” he will add.

Mr Cameron will suggest that if the ideology is tackled then the “right approach for defeating this extremism follows”.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron would use the speech to set out his “blueprint” of how to achieve this.



UK "Must Put Troops on the Ground to Beat Isil"

By The Daily Telegraph Published: 20th July 2015

LONDON: Britain must accept that "sooner or later" ground troops and tanks will have to be sent into combat to overcome Isil a former chief of the Armed Forces has said.

Lord Richards said David Cameron had to get the country on a "war footing" and rethink its military strategy to extinguish the threat posed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants.

He said that "tanks would have to roll and there's going to have to be boots on the ground", as he took a swipe at the existing approach, describing it as "dribbling, not clouting".

Mr Cameron's current strategy against Isil, based on training Iraqi forces and moderate Syrian rebels was "woefully insufficient", Lord Richards said. He made the intervention as the Prime Minister prepared to warn today that the fight against extremism is now the "struggle of our generation".

Mr Cameron will give a major speech on how he plans to tackle the menace of Islamic extremism after giving the clearest signal yet that Britain will officially join air strikes against targets inside Syria. Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to "do more" to destroy Isil and hinted he would soon ask Parliament to authorise strikes in Syria, in addition to the British air campaign already under way in Iraq.

His Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, is today expected to explain to MPs why British pilots embedded with the US military are already flying bombing raids inside the country, despite a clear parliamentary vote against action in Syria.

Lord Richards warned that the current lacklustre strategy was "firing up" the situation and not working.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he said: "The current strategy won't work in the time I think we've got available. The current strategy is essentially one of equipping and training others to do the hard stuff for us. I think that could work, but the scale of effort going into it is woefully insufficient." He added: "If we really want to get rid of them... we need to effectively get on a war footing."

Lord Richards said he "utterly agreed" with the Prime Minister that Isil had to be removed, because their self-styled Caliphate was acting as "a lure and an attraction on all those others that may just be tempted to do things that we all abhor".

If the existing strategy - with no British and allied troops on the front line - was not effective within a year, "then I think we need to look at it again", he said. "Properly brought together with proper leadership and proper command and control it is a very doable proposition. But I worry that - what we call in the Army 'dribbling' instead of 'clouting' - if we dribble, which is really rather what we are doing at the moment, it is simply firing up the problem rather than dealing with it."

Asked if sooner or later, ground troops would be needed on the front line, he said: "I suspect my bones are telling me that."

But any escalation of Britain's commitment in Syria is sure to meet resistance. Mr Cameron's indication he wanted Britain to join air strikes in Syria led one senior Tory MP to accuse him of making up his policy "on the hoof".

Julian Lewis, the chairman of the defence select committee, called on the Prime Minister to present a more considered strategy to Parliament.

In his speech on tackling extremism, Mr Cameron will today say in Birmingham that society must first understand what makes extremist ideology so attractive, before it can be defeated. He will set out new measures the

Government will take over the next five years to try to stop alienated and isolated young people being drawn to the extremists "sick world view".

A new review will look at how to boost opportunity and integration "in some of the most isolated and deprived communities in the UK", he will say. It will consider how to ensure people can learn English and how more women can get jobs.

Mr Cameron is expected to say: "The root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself.

"You don't have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish. Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation."

Warning that Britain must integrate more as "one nation" to stop the attraction of extremism, he will say it is "a tragic truth" that there are people born and raised in this country who do not identify with Britain and feel little or no attachment to other Britons.

"Indeed, there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds.

"So when groups like Isil seek to rally our young people to their poisonous cause, it can offer them a sense of belonging that they can lack here at home, leaving them more susceptible to radicalism, and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance."

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Britons have been killed overseas, official figures suggest, with more than 400 deaths since 2010 and the Tunisia terror attacks likely to make this the bloodiest in recent years.



German official urges Iran to rethink Israel stance

Monday, 20 July 2015

Germany believes Iran should rethink its stance on Israel as last week's nuclear deal means it must "bear new responsibilities, at home and abroad", a top German official said Monday.

The comments from Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's economy minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel's deputy came during a trip to Tehran aimed at rebuilding badly affected trade ties.

Gabriel, the most senior Western official to visit since last week's nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers including Germany, said the deal had laid a foundation for better cooperation but differences remained.

"With the nuclear agreement and the economic recovery that will surely come after it, Iran will also bear new responsibilities, at home and abroad," he told delegates at a conference in the capital.

"You must understand that for us Germans, the security of the state of Israel is also of great importance.

"I understand how difficult the debate is, and we in Germany also believe that the Palestinians have a right to their own state. That must be our shared international goal."

Iran does not recognize Israel as a state and officials routinely refer to its leaders as "the Zionist regime".

On July 10, as negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 powers sought to conclude the nuclear deal, tens of thousands of people gathered in Tehran for annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day demonstrations in support of the Palestinians.

As is customary at such gatherings the crowd chanted "Down with Israel" and carried placards that declared "Zionist soldiers kill Muslims". They also burned Israeli and US flags.

However, Gabriel said differences over Israel should not affect efforts to improve Iran-German relations after the nuclear deal, which has given hope to a major economic revival in the Islamic republic when sanctions are lifted in coming months.

"The test of true friendship is when you can discuss difficult issues openly, in a spirit of partnership and respectfully -- that shows how close the friendship is," Gabriel said.

"Nothing needs to change in that friendship, even if we hold different views."

Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham also sought to isolate the disagreement about Israel, saying such differences were not new and had not affected other "constructive contacts".

"We have completely different positions on regional issues with Germany, and over the last 35 years we have expressed on many occasions, in negotiations, our positions very clearly," she said, according to the ISNA news agency.

"The main part of the dialogue is about the prospect of bilateral cooperation and naturally we will express our concerns about the region, including existing threats, including threats of the Zionist regime and the roots of the crises in the region."



8,000 HIV Patients at Risk in Eastern Ukraine: UN Envoy

By AFP Published: 20th July 2015

VANCOUVER: Some 8,000 people with HIV in war-torn eastern Ukraine face a critical shortage of medicine and their supply will run out in mid-August unless a blockade is lifted, a UN AIDS envoy has warned.

Speaking to AFP ahead of the International AIDS Society (IAS) conference, which opened Sunday, Michel Kazatchkine called on key nations to intervene as soon as possible.

"I am calling on the United States, Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia to do something," said Kazatchkine, the UN Secretary General's special envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

He said 8,000 patients are "caught in the political crossfire between the Ukrainian government and Russian-supported fighters" because they need both antiretroviral treatments and opioids, which are now blocked at border check points.

The looming crisis is centered in the mostly Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk regions.

The area once housed 25 percent of Ukraine's HIV-positive population, but thousands have ready fled, said Kazatchkine.

The 8,000 who remain are mainly injection drug users whose addictions are being treated with opioid substitution therapy (OST), and who are also taking antiretroviral drugs to keep their HIV infections under control.

He said the treatments are already paid for and the aid group Doctors Without Borders has pledged to deliver and oversee treatment.

But Ukraine will not allow the drugs to be shipped and argues the opioids require armed convoys, said Kazatchkine.

Russia bans the use of opioids to help wean addicts off drug addiction.





At least 10 dead, scores injured as blast rips through Turkish town on Syrian border

ANKARA — At least 10 people died when an explosion hit the Turkish border town of Suruc near the border with Syria on Monday, local television reported.

The cause was not immediately clear.

A Turkish government official confirmed to AFP that the blast took place in the garden of a culture centre in Suruc -- which lies opposite the Syrian flashpoint town of Kobane. But he declined to provide any toll.

Several media reported fatalities and NTV said at least 10 people had been killed. — AFP



Palace accused of trying to block formation of coalition gov’t


As Ahmet Davutoğlu, leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), prepares to start the second tour of his rounds to forge a coalition government, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been criticized for conducting a strategy aimed at preventing the formation of a coalition government.

According to Özer Sencar, head of the MetroPOLL polling company, Erdoğan -- who believes the AK Party could form a single party government by slightly increasing its votes in an early election -- favors a failure in coalition talks.

“If you have the chance in about 15 provinces to win back a deputy by getting several thousand more votes [in an early election], then you would mobilize all your resources for the provinces in question. Erdoğan is acting with such a game plan,” Sencar has told Today's Zaman.

In the June 7 general election, during which the AK Party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since coming to power in 2002, no single party got enough votes to form a government alone. Noting that some AK Party voters, as much as two percent of all voters, did not vote as they were angry with the AK Party's discourse, while another one percent of AK Party voters were snatched away by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Sencar said: “If the AK Party manages to win back these voters, then it will come to power as a single party government.”

Erdoğan, who is still a very influential figure in the AK Party, headed AK Party governments for several years before being elected president in August last year.

“It is not possible [for the AK Party] to forge a coalition without Erdoğan's consent. The first partner in an [AK Party coalition] would be Erdoğan,” Sencar said.

Davutoğlu, who completed his first round of visits to leaders of opposition parties represented in Parliament last week, is to pay a second visit to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) this week as part of his efforts to find a coalition partner. A party which tries to impose a condition for the coalition that would attempt to leave Erdoğan out of the equation should know that it will not be possible to forge such a coalition, according to Sencar.

Erdoğan has been accused by the opposition of transgressing the limits of his power by intervening in the affairs of the government.

Sencar also warned that Erdoğan's game plan may backfire and the AK Party could also see its votes decrease in case of a snap election. As per the Constitution, the president can call for an early election if a government cannot be formed within 45 days after the election of all members of the speaker's council of Parliament. The 18-member Parliament Speaker's Council formed on July 9.

Felicity Party (SP) leader Mustafa Kamalak, speaking to Today's Zaman, agreed with Sencar, saying that Erdoğan constructs his dreams based on his belief that the AK Party could regain the majority in the parliament in a possible snap election. “The palace [Erdoğan] might conduct public surveys. He might construct his dreams on 276 deputies. No one can restrict the nation's will. If the public is convinced that a coalition government is being prevented by the palace, the results of the possible snap election might be very different. Our nation does not appreciate the political plots and it will publish those who engage in such plots severely. The good will win.”

Saying that the delay in establishment of the coalition government hurts the country, Kamalak further added that the government must be formed in accordance with what the nation decided in the June 7 election. “The palace has to accept regardless of whether he [Erdoğan] wants the government to be established or not. Yes, he will no longer be able to direct the executive, legislation and judiciary bodies according to himself under the new coalition government, but he has to accept this.”

The AK Party and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) have 258 and 132 deputies, respectively, while the MHP and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) each have 80 deputies.

Should the AK Party succeed in getting 18 more seats than it currently has, it will have the chance to form a party without needing a coalition partner.

Speaking also with Today's Zaman, Democratic Left Party (DSP) Chairman Masum Türker said that he finds Erdoğan's snap election strategy very wrong, adding that he believes that the AK Party will lose many more votes incase of a snap election. “If I predict this, both the AK Party and the palace are also aware of this possibility. Their voting rate might fall to 30 percent.”

Türker further predicted that the MHP and HDP will increase their voting rates, but the CHP and the AK Party will decrease their votes in a snap election.

If the parties fail to forge a coalition government by August 24th, the president can call for an early election after consulting with the speaker of Parliament.

Generally speaking, a total of 276 seats, representing an absolute majority in the 550-seat Parliament, are required to form a government.

Ahead of the beginning of the second round of coalition talks, there are indications that the AK party and the CHP may join forces in a coalition. “The two parties should, despite their differences, be able to search a common path not to leave the country without a government,” CHP spokesperson Haluk Koç told the Bugün daily on Sunday.

Davutoğlu, who is acting prime minister, is not expected to pay visits to the MHP which practically ruled out any coalition option with the AK Party. As for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Davutoğlu has several times expressed that he does not consider the party to be a potential coalition partner.

Koç' remarks imply that the two parties will seriously work to hammer out a coalition. He said: “The attitude of the CHP and the AKP [AK Party] in the first round of talks has been positively perceived by a very large portion of the population.” Following coalition talks between the two parties last week, both sides affirmed that an understanding had been reached to continue with talks to achieve a coalition.

A leading AK Party figure, Mehmet Ali Şahin, also signaled on the weekend that it is only with the main opposition party that the AK Party could forge a coalition. “At the moment, there is the possibility, although little, of forging a coalition with only the CHP,” Şahin, who is AK Party deputy chairman, was quoted by the Doğan news agency as saying on Saturday.

At the grassroots level, the right-wing MHP is seen as the best coalition partner for the AK Party. But a significant number of AK Party officials reportedly think that it would be easier to make a coalition work with the CHP as the MHP has a rather unbending attitude about its declared prerequisites for being part of a coalition.

Şahin also criticized the attitude of the MHP which has called on the AK Party to try first to strike up a partnership with the pro-Kurdish HDP which the MHP sees as a separatist party.



Turkish troops detain 514 at illegal Syrian border crossings


A total of 514 people were detained on Saturday by Turkish border troops trying to cross the Syrian border illegally, the Turkish military has said in a statement on Sunday.

According to a statement released by the military on its website on Sunday, border troops detained 488 people trying to enter into Turkey from Syria and 26 people attempting to cross into Syria via illegal crossings.

Turkey is a frequently used transit route for foreign fighters heading into Syria to join extremist groups, most notably the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Hundreds of foreigners suspected of traveling to Syria to join ISIL have been deported from Turkey, while thousands were put on a no-entry list, according to Turkish officials.



UAE ambassador’s 2-year absence sign of deterioration in ties with Turkey


Relations between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been poor for some time, and the UAE's reaction to Turkey's foreign policy in the immediate region is expressed most significantly in the long, unofficial absence of its ambassador to Turkey, a situation that is seen as unusual.

The UAE ambassador to Turkey, Khalid Khalifa al-Mualla, has reportedly not been at his post since the summer of 2013, though he is still officially assigned to Turkey. Diplomatic sources told Today's Zaman that al-Mualla's absence is officially spoken of as “a long vacation”; however, it is likely that leaving the ambassador's office vacant for such a long period is intended to demonstrate the UAE's reaction to Turkey's foreign policy on regional issues, and particularly policies regarding developments in Egypt since July 2013. Several sources in Ankara confirm that the UAE's highest-level diplomat in Turkey has not returned for nearly two years.

The diplomatic tension between Turkey and the UAE was first seen when then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by a military coup d'état in early July 2013. Turkey's response differed from that of the UAE as well as all the other Arab Gulf states, with the exception of Qatar, which sided with Turkey in support of Morsi. A period of coolness in Turkish-Emirati relations has existed since.

An ambassador who leaves the country he is assigned to and does not return is a clear sign of poor relations between two countries. The UAE Foreign Ministry has neither instructed al-Mualla to return nor appointed a new ambassador, a very unusual siutation.

The rift in Turkish-Emirati relations has only widened with new developments that have occurred in Egypt. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was behind the coup in Egypt, became president on June 8, 2014. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a speech in late September 2014 at UN headquarters, criticized al-Sisi with what many considered strong language. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs was then quick to release a statement describing Erdoğan's speech as “irresponsible” and “a flagrant violation of Egypt's internal affairs.” The statement also accused Erdoğan of “abusing the UNGA [UN General Assembly] for an assault on [the] Egyptian [government's] legitimacy.”

Similarly, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has publicly condemned the UAE on two separate occasions. When Turkey failed to secure a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) election that was held in mid-October 2014, analysts saw Turkey's small number of votes as a strong message of disapproval of the country's foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. Çavuşoğlu, who probably saw it the same way, was quoted during a parliamentary session in November of the same year as saying, “The Arab Gulf countries, especially the United Arab Emirates, worked against Turkey during the [UNSC] election due to Turkey's [negative] relations with Egypt.” Similarly, while Çavuşoğlu was giving a press conference during a visit to Malta in early March, he was asked about Turkey allegedly supplying arms to the Libyan civil war through the island state. Çavuşoğlu was quick to condemn the UAE by saying “This is a completely false claim. … To tell the truth, this slander is coming from those who intervene in Libya and send arms assistance. Let me be clear on this. This slander is coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.”

Erkan Ertosun, a prominent political scientist at Turgut Özal University, commented on Turkey's poor relations with the UAE while speaking to Today's Zaman. Ertosun explained that the standoff between Turkey and the UAE is rooted in the UAE's ideological views against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), of which Morsi was the leader. “Turkey's support for the Ikhwan [Arabic term for the MB] is against Turkish interests in the region,” said Ertosun, who also suggested that Turkey needs a more rational foreign policy. Ertosun said, “Turkey needs a reformulation of its policies, taking the regional context into account, in order to have a more logical foreign policy.”

Turkey unexpectedly sided with Saudi Arabia -- despite previous disagreements between the two, including over the developments in Egypt -- when it announced in early April that it would form a coalition against the Yemeni insurgency that is allegedly backed by Iran. Ertosun described Turkey's stance as “the most realistic and the most rational move” of recent years. Nevertheless, a high-level UAE official still criticized Turkey for its “vague and contradictory stance,” referring to Erdoğan's amicable visit to Iran just a few days after the Turkish announcement that it would side with Saudi Arabia. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash was quoted on April 11 by the Khaleej Times as saying, “Tehran seems to be more important to Islamabad and Ankara than the Gulf countries.”

Answering a question about Gargash's remarks, Ertosun said, “Certainly, Turkey's positive stance on one occasion was not enough to improve relations.” While noting that relations have continued to be distant due to Turkey's failure in reconciling with Egypt, Ertosun emphasized the need for a rational foreign policy in order to restore ties with the UAE, rather than “an emotional” one.

 Economic relations in decline

 Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) also indicates a decline in trade relations between Turkey and the UAE after 2013, when the two countries disagreed on the change in the Egyptian government.

The most recent data show that in the first four months of 2015, Turkish imports from the UAE were worth approximately $647 million, whereas imports during the same period in 2014 and 2013 were recorded as $812 million and $2.209 billion respectively. With regard to exports, although the data for 2015 show a small increase, with $2.159 billion between January and April, compared to $1.883 billion in the same period of 2014, annual exports from Turkey to the UAE still declined overall between 2013 and 2014. Total exports in 2013 were around $4.965 billion; that figure dropped to $4.655 billion in 2014.

After the government of the UAE expressed its displeasure with the Turkish leadership's comments on the events related to Morsi's imprisonment in the summer of 2013, an Emirati company also cancelled an investment project in Turkey, resulting in Turkey losing an important deal in energy cooperation.

In early 2013 the UAE's state-run Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) signed an agreement with Turkey's state-owned Electricity Generation Co to invest $12 billion in the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Turkey's southern province of Kahramanmaraş. A few weeks after the military coup in Egypt in July 2013 and Turkey's quick criticism of it, TAQA announced it would delay its investment. Later, the company cancelled the investment plan altogether. Though Qatar, Turkey's only close ally at the time, showed an interest in the project, negotiations still continue with no concrete results.

Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, particularly the UAE, a prominent member, began discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in May 2005. A strategic dialogue agreement was signed in 2008 and the parties have been negotiating the technicalities of an FTA between Turkey and the GCC, but with all the major GCC members except Qatar disagreeing on Turkey's alignment with the MB, particularly since 2013, the negotiations for the important deal stalled, further contributing to the freeze in relations between Turkey and the UAE.



South Asia


Afghan Officials Say 14 Soldiers Killed in US Airstrike

By AFP Published: 20th July 2015

PUL-E ALAM: At least 14 Afghan soldiers were killed in a US air strike early Monday on an army checkpoint in a Taliban-infested province south of Kabul, officials said.

"At 6:00 am today, two US helicopters attacked a checkpoint in Baraki Barak district of Logar province," district governor Mohammad Rahim Amin told AFP.

"The checkpoint caught fire... and 14 Afghan army soldiers were killed," he added.

An American military official said he was "aware of an incident involving US forces in Logar province this morning".

"This incident is under investigation," he added.

Din Mohammad Darwesh, the Logar provincial governor's spokesman, confirmed the strike and gave a similar death toll.

Amin said the targeted checkpoint was "not a suspicious area".

"The Afghan flag was waving at the checkpoint in Baraki Barak when the Americans launched their attack," he said.

Civilian deaths in air strikes have been one of the most emotive and high-profile issues of the 13-year Afghan war.

A NATO air strike in December killed five civilians and wounded six others in the same district of Baraki Barak.

NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle the Taliban alone, but a residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.



Iran foreign minister criticizes US, Israel over threat of military action

AP | Jul 20, 2015, 03.49 PM IST

TEHRAN: Iran's foreign minister on Monday criticized the United States and Israel for not taking the threat of military action against Tehran off the table following the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Iran's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as saying the military option remains a very hazardous idea.

``Applying force ... is not an option but an unwise and dangerous temptation,'' he said. Yet, Zarif added, ``there are people who talk about illegal and illegitimate application of force'' for their own purposes.

He called the nuclear deal reached last week a ``victory of diplomacy over war and violence.''

Zarif did not single out any specific country but his remarks came a day after US defense secretary Ash Carter said during a visit to Israel that the accord imposes no limits on what Washington can do to ensure the security of Israel and US Arab allies.

Carter also said the deal ''does nothing to prevent ... the US military option.''

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been harshly critical of the deal, asserting that it clears the way for Iran to build nuclear weapons that would threaten Israel's existence and ultimately diminish U.S. and global security. He has also strongly hinted that military action remains an option.

Also Monday, the UN security council is set to endorse the nuclear deal and adopt a series of measures leading to the end of UN sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy.

Under the agreement, Iran's nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of relief from international sanctions.



'Hamas Members' Held Over West Bank Murder: Israel

By AFP Published: 20th July 2015

JERUSALEM: Palestinians from a "Hamas military network" that allegedly killed an Israeli in the occupied West Bank last month have been arrested, the Shin Bet internal security service said Sunday.

It named seven Palestinians suspected of organising and carrying out the June 29 West Bank shooting in which Malachi Rosenfeld was killed and three others in a car with him were wounded.

Four suspects were being held by Israel, while Ahmad Najjar, a Hamas militant freed in a 2011 prisoner swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, orchestrated and funded the attack from Jordan where he still is, a Shin Bet statement said.

Two more suspects, including Maath Hammad who allegedly pulled the trigger, were being held by the Palestinian Authority but questioned by the Shin Bet, it said.

Six members of the group were from the town of Silwad northeast of Ramallah. The seventh, the father-in-law of one of the suspects and not identified as a Hamas member, lives in nearby Kusra, the agency said.

Rosenfeld, 25, was shot while returning from a basketball game to the Kochav Hashahar settlement where he lived.

Shin Bet said the same group of suspects also shot at an ambulance and other Israeli vehicles two days earlier without causing any casualties, and had also planned another attack that did not take place.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon praised the security forces for apprehending the suspects, while accusing Turkey of hosting a senior Hamas leader actively planning attacks.

Attempts to activate Hamas cells in the West Bank originate in "Hamas headquarters in Gaza and Istanbul, from where Salah Aruri plans severe attacks against us by proxies in the West Bank and in neighbouring countries," he said in a statement.

"Salah Aruri is acting from Turkey -- a NATO member, which at the same time allows a terror base on its territory," Yaalon charged.

Rosenfeld's killing took place during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which saw an increase in Palestinian violence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Another Israeli, Danny Gonen, was shot dead in the West Bank on June 19.

The Shin Bet said the suspect in that case, whose arrest was announced last week, belonged to an armed group linked to Fatah, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's party.




Flash Floods Kill 11 People In North Iran

By AP Published: 20th July 2015

TEHRAN: Iran's state media say heavy rains triggered flash floods that killed 11 people in a mountainous area in the country's north.

State TV says authorities fear more casualties from the Sunday evening floods in the provinces of Tehran, Alborz and Qazvin. It says a Chinese national was among those killed.

The official IRNA news agency on Monday quoted local officials as saying two women were among those killed and that at least 20 cars were swept away by the water, many with people inside them, including one with a just-married couple.

The area has been without electricity and rescue workers are still working, despite heavy rains overnight.

Authorities attribute the rising number of deadly flash floods in this part of the country to improper construction near river beds and deforestation.





Pakistan's sedition sweep in Gilgit-Baltistan

Al JazeeraBy Umar Farooq | Al JazeeraJuly 20, 2015

Gilgit, Pakistan - The Pakistani government appears to be cracking down on dissent in Gilgit-Baltistan, a mountainous region of vital importance to Pakistan's alliance with China.

Since last October, more than 50 activists have been charged with sedition for calling for greater self-rule in the region, which is controlled by Pakistan but claimed by India.

Gilgit-Baltistan, which borders China, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, has not been granted full constitutional status by Islamabad - meaning that it is not an official province, and that its residents cannot vote in national elections.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was given a red-carpet welcome when he visited Pakistan this April.

The two countries signed a series of memoranda to build highways, power plants, gas pipelines, and an expansion of the port of Gwadar on the Indian Ocean, which Beijing hopes will become a major outlet for its burgeoning manufacturing industry.

China is expected to pour more than $46bn into the projects, which are the largest foreign investment that cash-strapped Pakistan has ever seen. 

Islamabad and Beijing have had a military alliance since the 1960s, when the countries' armies built the Karakoram Highway connecting China's western Xinjiang province with Gilgit-Baltistan, which was called the Northern Areas until 2009.

Pakistan has used the region to launch several offensives in an attempt to wrest control of Indian-held territory in neighbouring Kashmir.

In 1963, Pakistan ceded part of the region to China - much to the chagrin of India, which has fought a war with Beijing over control of the area.

India maintains that Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Kashmir, and belongs to it. Several United Nations Security Council resolutions have called for a plebiscite in Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir to determine their political status, and a small contingent of international military observers maintain a presence in Gilgit and Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

A trade route for China

Throughout its conflict with India, Pakistan has found China to be its only local ally, and India has long accused the two countries of building the Karakoram Highway to allow the movement of troops in the region.

The highway will become the main artery for the planned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a network of roads for transporting Chinese goods through Pakistan.

These development plans, argue activists in Gilgit-Baltistan, is why Islamabad is anxious to squelch dissent from residents of the region.

"China wants to send its goods through here, and Pakistan is looking for its own benefits," claimed Baba Jan, one of hundreds of political activists in Gilgit-Baltistan who have found themselves at the centre of the government crackdown in the region.

Last year, Jan was among 12 people who were given multiple life sentences by a special anti-terrorism court, which was set up to prosecute the Taliban and al-Qaeda, for charges that include sedition against the state.

The sentences came in response to protests that took place in the town of Aliabad in 2012, which criticised Islamabad for not following through on promises to provide aid to those displaced by a landslide a year earlier.

Police killed two men trying to disperse the protesters, triggering riots in which residents burned down dozens of government buildings in the region. Jan and more than 100 others were arrested, and Islamabad initially threatened to prosecute all of them in anti-terrorism courts for sedition.

"There is a fundamental right to protest in Pakistan, but it is not being given to us," Jan told Al Jazeera from his prison cell in the city of Gakuch, where he is awaiting a ruling in an appeals court.

"We were never violent. We just stood in the road and talked to people," Jan said.

This June, Jan ran his election campaign for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly from his prison cell, coming in second place.

The polls drew criticism from India, which called them "an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the region".

Pakistan, in turn, levelled the same charges against India, saying troops maintained an "illegal hold" on its portion of neighbouring Kashmir, and that polls there were "sham elections" held "at gunpoint" that violated UN resolutions maintaining the region was disputed territory.

More than 400 candidates stood for election last month to the 24-seat assembly, which has no powers to legislate important matters like how the region's natural resources are used, or how trade with neighbouring China is conducted.

A central issue was the new China corridor, which Jan, along with a handful of other activists who ran for the assembly, see as a slight to locals.

"They should have asked people what they want," said Jan. "Our environment will be destroyed. The local people were not given any option to give their input."

Naeem, a truck driver in Gilgit, was also unhappy about the plan. "What are we going to get from this deal? We can't even control our own border. Pakistan will collect customs from China, and it will go to Islamabad."

'Making chutney'

In the lead-up to the polls, more than 50 activists were arrested and charged with sedition, said Israr-ud-din Israr, the local representative of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan .

Israr argued that the charge of sedition itself makes no sense in Gilgit-Baltistan, since Pakistan's constitution makes no mention of the region, and in international foray Islamabad maintains that the region is part of the dispute with India over Kashmir.

Because of its disputed nature, Giglit-Baltistan has not been made a province, so the only laws that apply there are those extended by the prime minister.

Spokespeople for the Pakistani prime minister's office and the foreign ministry did not respond to queries from Al Jazeera. The Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, which manages the region, refused to give a comment also, as did local officials, including the District Commissioner, the highest local officer.

"How can there be sedition here?" asked Israr.

"I hold a Pakistani ID card, but I cannot vote for people in parliament. I cannot become prime minister or a member of parliament. I do not fit the description of a citizen, according to the constitution," Israr stated.

Last October, Israr and nine others were charged with sedition after they led a march to the UN observer's office in Gilgit to deliver a letter calling for the organisation to look into the arrest of Bab Jan and other activists, whom they termed "political prisoners".

The case against Israr and the others was thrown out by an appeals court, but the campaign picked up steam.

This February, 19 people who spoke at a seminar in Gilgit entitled "Gilgit-Baltistan in Light of the Kashmir Dispute" were arrested and charged with sedition , because they referred to the region as a "disputed" territory. 

This June, eight activists were beaten and arrested  by police as they attempted to deliver a letter to the UN observers in Gilgit calling the planned elections "illegal", and demanding a plebiscite be held to determine the region's political status.

"India and Pakistan are making chutney with us," said Jan. "No one cares about the people here, their economy, their real problems."



Altaf to start hunger strike in protest


KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Rabita Committee late on Sunday night appealed to Altaf Hussain asking him to take back his decision regarding the hunger strike.

Earlier, Altaf Hussain on Sunday released a statement in which he announced his decision to go on a hunger strike unto death in protest.

The MQM chief has decided to go on a hunger strike against what he calls 'illegal' detention of his party activists by security forces.

According to the statement given, preparations are being made for the hunger strike, and it will commence once permission is received from the local administration in London.

“I have promised the people that I will die rather than bow my head in front of tyrants,” said Hussain on Sunday.

“Federal and provincial government, the army, rangers and other security agencies of the state are busy in targeting innocent people, due to which I have taken a decision to go on a hunger strike,” added Hussain.

Hussain further stated that he does not have any other option left except of going on a hunger strike in order to lodge protest at what he sees as victimisation of his political party.

“After my death, all party affairs will be handled by Rabita Committee, and it will be their decision whether or not to continue my political movement,” Hussain stated.

Earlier on Friday, a contingent of Rangers paramilitary force raided Nine Zero, the headquarters of MQM, in Karachi's Azizabad neighbourhood and detained two members of MQM's Rabita Committee. This is the second raid by Rangers on Nine Zero this year.

According to an earlier press release issued by Sindh Rangers, Qamar Mansoor and Kaiful Warah were arrested from Azizabad on the charges of "arranging and facilitating hate speeches against the peace of Karachi".

Rangers later announced the release of MQM Rabita Committee’s member Kaiful Warah on Friday evening on sureties till Eid ul Fitr.

First Information Reports (FIR) were also registered against Altaf Hussain at police stations in various regions of Sindh on the night between Monday and Tuesday for what the government has regarded as his "inflammatory remarks" against the military.

Further reading: Nisar slams Altaf for 'intolerable' remarks against security forces

During his speech earlier on Sunday, Hussain called upon the army chief to take notice of the alleged violation of the army’s code of conduct by director general of Sindh Rangers and other officials and urged him to do justice in the matter. The MQM chief had also accused Sindh Rangers of torturing and murdering party workers.



North America


Pentagon Chief Says Iran Nuclear Deal Does Not 'Prevent Military Option'

By AFP Published: 20th July 2015

"One of the reasons why this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option," Carter said. | AP Photo

TEL AVIV: The Iran nuclear deal does not mean military action is off the table when it comes to stopping Tehran from obtaining an atomic bomb, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said Sunday ahead of a visit to Israel.

"One of the reasons why this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option," Carter told reporters on board his flight to the Jewish state, the first stop on a Middle East charm offensive to ease concerns among US allies over the landmark accord.

"We are preserving and continually improving" such a military option should Iran violate the terms of the agreement, Carter said as he kicked off a trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to renew US security commitments in the region.

Israel has been strongly critical of the agreement struck this week between its arch-foe Iran and six world powers that would see Tehran curb its nuclear programme in return for a gradual lifting of sanctions.

The Pentagon chief will meet his Israeli counterpart Moshe Yaalon on Monday before holding talks Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called the deal a "historic mistake" and has hinted at a possible military response.

Carter's trip will also take him to Saudi Arabia, another country where the nuclear accord has been met with wariness, to reassure Gulf allies that the US intends to maintain a strong presence in the region.

Because of Iran's "potential for aggression and malign activities" as well as the fight against extremist groups such as Islamic State, "we are always looking for ways to strengthen our posture there", Carter said.

He added that there was "a whole host of things we are doing with Israel", including working "on their qualitative military edge, ballistic missile defence, counterterrorism activities".

As for Saudi Arabia and the five other Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Carter said the US wanted to bolster cooperation in the areas of "counterterrorism, special operation forces, maritime security" as well as air and missile defences and cyber security.

Carter is expected to meet with King Salman while in Saudi Arabia and with the king's son and defence minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In Jordan, Carter will visit a military base to meet colleagues of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by the Islamic State group.



Family says Tennessee gunman suffered from depression


As the families of four Marines and a sailor shot to death in Chattanooga grieved their losses onSaturday, the family of the gunman offered sympathy, condolences and prayers.

“There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief,” said the statement, provided to the AP by a lawyer representing the family of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who was killed by police. “The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. For many years, our son suffered from depression. It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence.”

The family added that they are cooperating with the investigation.

“We understand there are many legitimate questions that need to be answered,” the statement said. “Having said this now is the time to reflect on the victims and their families, and we feel it would be inappropriate to say anything more other than that we are truly sorry for their loss.”

That statement came hours after the deadly toll from Thursday’s attacks rose to five when a sailor died of his wounds.

As FBI agents served a warrant on the Abdulazeez home on Thursday, two women were seen being led away in handcuffs. But FBI agent Jason Pack said on Saturday that no arrests have been made in the case.

Authorities are looking into the shooting as a terrorism investigation and whether Abdulazeez was inspired or directed by any terrorist organisation. They still don’t know what motivated Abdulazeez.






US visit: Beware of Greek Gift, Islamic cleric cautions Buhari  print

Jethro Ibileke/Benin, July 19, 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria shakes United States President Barack Obama as Francois Hollande of France looks on

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria shakes United States President Barack Obama as Francois Hollande of France looks on

As President Muhammadu Buhari departs for Washington DC tonight on a four-day official visit to the United States of America, the Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdulfattah Enabulele, has cautioned Buhari against accepting any Greek gift that would compromise the cultural and religious heritage of the Africa people in desperation to end Boko Haram menace.

Buhari who is scheduled to be hosted by United States’ President, Barack Obama at his official residence on Monday morning, is expected to among other things, seek assistance and support for Nigeria’s war against the Boko Haram insurgency that is ravaging the country in the Northeast region.

The Islamic cleric who gave the warning Friday in Benin, capital of Edo when he led other Muslims to pay Eid-El-Fitri celebration homage to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole at the government house, noted that there was a new trend of civilization spreading in some parts of the globe.

“Sir, America and Europe seems to have found a new civilization in sodomy. They probably believe that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed either because they were not clever enough or they had no nuclear power with which to fight God.

“America is currently the champion of modern civilization. Whatever emerges from America is perceived as a trend of civilization which the rest of the world must keep pace. On June 27, 2015, America’s Supreme Court gave a split judgment of 5 to 4 that shocked the entire world to marrow. The judgment officially granted the citizens of that country the legal right to practice sodomy throughout the country in what is now seen as a token of civilization at higher pedestal.

“With the current institutionalization backed up by government authority, it is characteristics of the west to want to impose any newly invented idea by them and considered as civilization on others. This is where President Muhammadu Buhari has to be very careful when he travels to the United States of America,” Enabulele said.

The Chief Imam reminded President Buhari that the western imperialists have a way of attracting others to their folds with open carrots while hiding the stick, however noted that major vices like gay marriage, homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexualism which he said are contagious but will never have a place in the cultural and religious behavioural patterns of Africa and indeed the people of Nigeria.

“The Western imperialists have a way of attracting others to their traps with open carrots while hiding the stick. With them, there is no free lunch. Every gift that comes from them is a Greek one. President Barack Obama seems to be desperate in helping Nigeria to get rid of Boko Haram menace, and he has noticed desperation on the part of President Buhari in solving the same problem. No Nigerian interest can ever be a priority for an American president. It is all about self-interest,” he added.

He however prayed Almighty Allah to grant the President the strength, wisdom, courage, good health and determination to fulfill all his electioneering promises to the Nigeria people.

In his remark, Edo state Deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, who received the Muslim Ummahs on behalf governor Adams Oshiomhole, commended for the visit and also congratulated them on the successful completion of the one month Ramadan fasting and the Eid-El-Fitri celebration.

Odubu however urged the Muslims faithful not to relent in their prayers to President Muhammadu Buhari and Adams Oshiomhole led government at the federal and state level.