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Islamic World News ( 27 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian Family Values Act as Deterrent to ISIS, Says Home Minister Rajanth Singh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Rafeeque had recently said that covering of face with purdah in public should be avoided as it was used by many as a hide for immoral activities.

 

India

Indian Family Values Act as Deterrent to ISIS, Says Home Minister

Kerala: Video Production Studio Set on Fire over Muslim Owner’s Purdah Remark

Discrimination of Muslim youth contributes to their radicalisation

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North America

What Happened To This Muslim Family in America Will Melt Your Heart

Terror Groups Trying To Infiltrate Muslim Charities in U.K.: Watchdog

Salon Reports: Young Muslims Asking ‘Why Are Muslims Considered the Worst by Americans?’

Mary Sanchez: Americans should know more about Islam

America’s anti-Muslim hysteria comes to a Virginia school

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Arab World

Seized Documents Reveal ISIS’s Dept of ‘War Spoils’

Scores of Suquour Al-Ghab Terrorists Killed, Injured In Syrian Air Attacks

Militants Sustain Heavy Death Toll in Aleppo

SAMA Tightens Rules on Funding Of Mosque Construction

Three Killed and 11 Injured In Egypt Explosion

Saudi grand mufti: Islamic alliance aims to defeat ISIS

Army Continues Destroying Terrorists' Positions across Syria

Syrian Forces Fend Off Militants' Offensive East Of Damascus

Syrian Warplanes Bomb Nusra Positions South of Idlib Province

Iraqi army declares first major victory over Islamic State in Ramadi

Islamic State chief Baghdadi challenges US, allies in new audio message

ISIL Military Convoy, Oil Tankers Destroyed in Syria's Sweida Province

Key Aleppo Village Captured by Syrian Forces

Syrian Artillery Shells ISIL Convoy of Oil Tankers East of Homs Province

Homs: 2nd Phase of Wa'ar Militant Evacuation Plan Starts

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Mideast

Syria Anti-ISIS Documentary Maker 'Assassinated' In Turkey

Iran’s President Says It’s up To Muslims to Correct Islam’s Image

Two Palestinians shot dead after stabbing Israeli soldier

Haniyeh Underlines Palestinians' Fortified Resistance in 2016

Hackers Launch Massive Cyber Attacks on Israeli Server, Websites

Hamas: Egyptian border guards shoot and kill disabled Gazan

Yemen solution should serve nation interests: Iran

Tehran dismisses as hackneyed Erdogan's anti-Iran claims

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Southeast Asia

Jakarta Acts to Curb Hate Speech by Muslim TV Preachers

Work with Police to Stop Spread of IS, State Islamic Depts Told

Perkasa rep says never called G25 ‘deviant’

Christians, Muslims celebrate Christmas together in Miri

Zahid Hamidi raps DAP over Perak man’s criticism on Israeli athlete ban

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Pakistan

Islamabad, Kabul Agree Upon Steps for Taliban Talks

Where There Is Love, There Are Fights: Rahat Fateh Ali Says Pak-India Tiffs Are Only Natural

Most pilgrimage operators defrauding people, claims FIA

Zardari to become president of PPP Parliamentarians

UN panel on Benazir murder worked within mandate: Ban

Modi’s visit to Pakistan a business trip, says JI

Show of solidarity on Christmas

Mirza Ghalib remembered

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Africa

Boko Haram Attacks in North-Eastern Nigeria Kill 15

Ambush By Militants Kills Two Policemen in Northeast Kenya

Nigeria arrests Boko Haram bomb makers

CAR Muslims hopeful over landmark polls

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South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban Car Bomber Targets NATO Convoy near Kabul Airport

Officials Say Only Suicide Bomber Killed In Helmand Explosion

One person killed as suicide car bomb strikes near Kabul airport: officials

Taliban offensive enabled by sanctuaries in Pakistan: Ex-US defence official

MP Zahir Qadir says Daesh’s oppression is not tolerable anymore

Islamic State in India’s neighbourhood

7,000-strong Afghan security force to guard Tapi gas pipeline: minister

Bangladesh police raid militant hideout, explosives found

Armed motorcyclists shot dead polio vaccinator in Kandahar

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Europe

Are British Muslims boycotting UK’s anti-terror programme?

Germany recruits 8,500 teachers for child refugees

German finance minister censures Greece for refugee policy

British comedian, wife give $1m for Syrian refugees

Denmark seeks revision of UN refugee convention

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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India

 

Indian Family Values Act as Deterrent to ISIS, Says Home Minister Rajanth Singh

By Lalmani Verma

Lucknow       

Dec 28, 2015

Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh Sunday said that while all countries face the Islamic State threat, the organisation could not dominate in India due to the country’s “life values” and “family values”.

“Today the IS is being discussed a lot. But in the capacity of the Home Minister of India, I say that India is the only country where Muslim families stop their children when they get deviated from the right path. Only Indian Muslim families do this,” Rajnath said.

He was speaking at a conference, Taleem ki Taquat, organised by Maulana Azad National Urdu University of Hyderabad in Lucknow, on Sunday.

University Chancellor Zafar Sareshwala, who said there was lot of positivity in the country but people “unnecessarily raised negativity”, he claimed. “It was the first time in 65 years that a Union home minister had directly addressed an event of Muslims.”

Citing an example to show why the IS couldn’t flourish in India, the Union minister said, “A Muslim youth got caught in radicalisation in Mumbai and his parents came to me with the request to save him. Such are the values of our country. I have full faith that the IS can never have supremacy in India.”

Rajnath also pointed out that thousands of Indian imams had recently taken out a procession against the IS. “If this culture of the country can be saved, no one can stop India from becoming the most powerful nation with maximum knowledge in the world,” he said.

With the conference theme being how education helps empower and energise communities, the Union minister said education should “develop tolerance”. “The education system and culture of India develop tolerance among us. I believe that such education and culture should be kept alive,” he said.

The country had never discriminated on the lines of caste, religion and sects, Rajnath said, noting that the Parsi and Jewish communities have written about the respect and affection they got in India. India is the only country where all 72 sects of Muslims live together, he added. “It does not happen even in any Islamic country.”

Rajnath added that only education could help people get rid of problems such as terrorism, Maoism, extremism and insurgency. “But knowledge of only alphabets and any particular subject is insufficient. Knowledge of certain life values and commitment to these values is also necessary. Not only towards human beings, there should be love and affection towards animals and birds also,” he said.

Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other religions could jointly work towards making Lucknow a heaven, the minister added.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/islamic-state-can-never-have-supremacy-in-india-rajnath-singh/

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Kerala: Video Production Studio Set on Fire over Muslim Owner’s Purdah Remark

By Shaju Philip

Dec 28, 2015

A video production studio owned by a Muslim man in Kerala’s Kannur district was allegedly burnt down on Saturday, a few weeks after he made a ‘provocative’ comment in a WhatsApp group on the use of Purdah, police said.

P Rafeeque, who owns the studio Obcura in Taliparamba in Kannur, was the admin of a WhatsApp group called ‘What is Islam’, said the police. A Left sympathiser, Rafeeque had allegedly said on the group that covering faces in public should be avoided and many people use Purdah as cover for immoral activities.

Rafeeque said soon after, he began to feel the heat from orthodox elements in the community. He said his comments were widely shared in the Muslim community in Kerala and the Gulf countries. “Many advocated boycotting my studio and asked community members not to give me any work. A few days ago, I received threatening calls over the internet,” said Rafeeque.

He said he does not suspect any particular organisation as every Muslim outfit has conservative believers who can carry out such attacks. “My intention was only to expose the misuse of the type of Purdah covering the face,” he said.

Rafeeque said he had incurred a loss of Rs 10 lakh in the fire and has little option but to give up the studio. In his complaint to the police, he said that before setting the recently-renovated studio on fire, the assailants had damaged the equipment and furniture.

Officers said extremist elements could be behind the incident, but they did not know yet if any organisation was involved.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-muslim-owners-studio-burned-down-after-provocative-comments/

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Discrimination of Muslim youth contributes to their radicalisation

Dec 27, 2015

The Telangana director general of police’s observation that random arrests of the Muslim youth whenever there is a terrorist attack and the community’s socio-economic regression have much to contribute to their radicalisation squares with what many civil society organisations have been saying over the years.

It is surprising that such an observation has come from the head of the police of a state when it is common knowledge that the Indian police have not always behaved with impartiality in cases of communal riots. In the book The Politics of India since Independence, the academic Paul Brass has observed that during communal riots police firings have been disproportionately targeted at Muslims.

Even when there has been no disturbance, the police do not always dispense even-handed justice. In 2000, when a Muslim boy had been beaten to death in the presence of his father in Delhi, the commissioner of police of the city then had nothing better to say than “Muslims cannot trust us”.

There are two aspects to Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma’s observation — one is the haste with which the culpable are identified in the case of terrorist attacks, and the other is the backwardness of the Muslim community. On both counts he is right. In several cases after arrests and after having spent years in detention, young Muslims have been set free by courts for want of evidence.

But in the process they lost precious years of their lives and have little scope to rebuild them. This failing of our criminal justice system is seen in other cases also. For example, in the killing of Muslims in Meerut in 1987 and the Dalit massacre in 1996 in Ara district of Bihar, the accused were found to be blameless though in the Bihar case some of them had been given the death sentence by a subordinate court.

As regards the socio-economic backwardness of the Muslims, the Sachar Committee report bears it out beyond doubt. When a community feels the odds are heavily stacked against it, it no doubt becomes alienated.

The police are in many cases a microcosm of society and the prejudices of society do find expression in the behaviour of the police. So what is referred to as ‘police brutality’ is often a manifestation of malignant sentiments embedded in our social DNA. If the police go wrong correctives can be applied. But what about society at large?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/discrimination-of-muslim-youth-contributes-to-their-radicalisation/story-Iuab3R7gkZ40Z8vrz304OK.html

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North America

 

What happened to this Muslim family in America will melt your heart

28 DEC 2015

Violent acts fuelled by racism and Islamophobia have tarnished how the world looks at America’s Deep South.

However what happened to Eslam Mohamed and his family defies that stereotype in the most beautiful way.

Mohamed, along with some family and friends, visited an Olive Garden restaurant in Augusta, Georgia on Christmas day.

Mohamed shared on Facebook it was clear they were Muslim since the women accompanying them wore Hijabs

When he asked to pay the bill, the waitress brought him a receipt with the message “Paid. Merry Christmas Beautiful Family.” handwritten over it.

Post by Eslam S. Mohamed on Friday, December 25, 2015.

The meal had been paid for by a complete stranger.

Mohamed, who is an Arab Muslim, shared how touched he was by the gesture on Facebook.

The post has now reached viral status earning almost 17,000 shares and over 250 likes on his personal wall.

“Among all the bad things happening to Muslims,” he wrote, “and the hate speech that the presidential candidate has made lately, there is still light in the dark, there is still hope in the frustration. All I can say to who did that: Merry Christmas to you too and God bless such a beautiful heart you have.”

This comes after US Presidential Candidate and Republican Frontrunner Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the US in response to recent terrorist attacks by ISIS.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/12/28/what-happened-muslim-family-america-will-melt-your-heart

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Terror groups trying to infiltrate Muslim charities in U.K.: watchdog

December 27, 2015

To promote violence, recruit young people for jihad and steal money to fund terrorism.

Terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate Muslim charities in Britain in order to promote violence, recruit young people for jihad and steal money to fund terrorism, a government watchdog has warned.

The risk from terrorism and extremism was “one of the most deadly threats faced by some charities today,” said William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission.

Syrian crisis heralds greater risk

“The crisis in Syria has evoked a generous public response, but with this comes a greater risk of charities being subjected to abuse,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

It said that some aid workers, who travelled to Syria and Iraq, have been recruited by terrorist groups, while other charities have seen their goods stolen and staff kidnapped.

Increasing fears

The commission warned that there are increasing fears that extremists are infiltrating Muslim charities in Britain in order to promote violence, recruit vulnerable young people for jihad, and steal money to fund terrorism.

Latest figures show that the commission, which regulates the operation of charities in the U.K., has seen a significant increase in the number of serious incidents and reports about charities being targeted by extremists and terrorists in the past year, the paper has said.

“The number of formal legal disclosures of information between the commission and the police and other agencies over charities caught up in alleged Islamist activities more than doubled between 2014 and 2015,” it said.

80 inspection visits

The paper said the watchdog officials carried out 80 inspection visits of charities which were believed to be vulnerable to terrorists and extremism, either because they operated in Syria and other high-risk areas or because of their activities, such as inviting radical speakers to events.

Full report here:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/terror-groups-trying-to-infiltrate-muslim-charities-in-uk-watchdog/article8034162.ece

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Salon Reports: Young Muslims Asking ‘Why Are Muslims Considered the Worst by Americans?’

27 Dec 2015

In an article titled, “‘Why Islam? Why are Muslims considered the worst by Americans?’ The questions young Muslims ask me about Donald Trump and America,” Professor Brian T. Edwards of Northwestern University writes that Trump has crafted a nasty international image of the United States thanks to his supposed Islamophobia.

Edwards says the news about Trump’s temporary ban on Muslim immigration hit while he was teaching in Morocco – an absolute monarchy currently cracking down on Islamic radicals to ensure its own power base. Of course, Moroccans in general are not nearly as pro-Western as the monarchy; a 2006 poll showed that 68 percent of Moroccans approved terrorist attacks against US troops in Iraq, 61 percent supported such attacks in Afghanistan, and 76 percent wanted strict shariah law in every country. Nonetheless, Edwards writes:

To young Moroccans — whose country is 99 percent Muslim and long friendly to the United States — Trump’s anti-Muslim comments were the latest sign that American culture has become increasingly hateful toward them. The global effects of speech such as Mr. Trump’s are profound here and will be long-lasting.

Edwards quotes students lamenting the Trumpian perception of Islam:

“I have a question,” one female student asked me. “Why Islam? Why are Muslims considered the worst by Americans?” This is a question that matters here. The student wore a black hijab. Her face was open and friendly. She looked personally wounded.

Another student followed with a related point: “Most people in the U.S. have guns. Here in Morocco we don’t have guns. We are peaceful.” The students nodded and seemed distressed that they might be thought otherwise.

The exceptional reach and uncontrolled speed with which the worst of our cultural products spread means that the ideas by which America was attractive during the last century are no longer reflective of the present one.

Well, let’s see. Why would Westerners have a negative perception of global Islam? Perhaps because in 2015, 32,700 people were killed in terrorist attacks, more than twice as many as in 2013, and the vast majority of those killings came from Islamic terror.

Perhaps it’s because Islamic countries have a rotten record with regard to treatment of those of minority faith – if they’re even permitted in their countries at all – and a worse record with regard to human rights generally.

Perhaps it’s because Muslim immigrants to Europe have caused skyrocketing crime rates, and many of those Muslim immigrants are French Moroccan; a 2011 report from the Dutch Ministry of Interior, for example, showed that forty percent of all Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands had been accused of criminal activity between ages 12 and 24. That’s not exceptional. Muslim immigration to Sweden, France, Belgium, and other areas of Europe have created cultural rifts and increased criminal activity.

But Edwards pretends that anti-Western sentiment among Muslims is a newfound notion springing from America’s invasion of Iraq, despite all evidence to the contrary – and despite the uptick in terrorism globally since the onset of the more radical Islam-friendly Obama administration. In fact, Edwards still blames that idiotic YouTube video “The Innocence of Muslims” for Muslims rioting all over the world on the eleventh anniversary of September 11.

What hogwash. It’s always the West responsible for perceptions of Islam, not large swaths of the Islamic world enmeshing themselves in barbarity, cruelty, and war. The irony: while Edwards and his ilk are always prepared to ask about the Muslim world, “Why do they hate us?,” they’re never ready to ask why Westerners might dislike Islamic civilization. And there’s a far easier answer to that one.

Full report here:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/12/27/salon-reports-young-muslims-asking-muslims-considered-worst-americans/

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Mary Sanchez: Americans should know more about Islam

Mary Sanchez

December 28, 2015

Since the slaughter of 14 innocents by two radicalized Muslim terrorists in San Bernardino, California, common sense has been a collateral casualty. Leading a wave of hysteria has been Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, with his harebrained ideas for denying various civil liberties to Muslims.

None of them would pass constitutional muster, thank goodness, and while his diatribes have found fertile ground among his party’s base, the Republican establishment has begun to push back against Trump.

That’s good sign, because we do have a terrorism problem that requires clear thinking and sober judgment. Our actions and policies must be grounded in accurate and detailed information. A report that received relatively little press at the time of its release in early December deserves a spotlight.

It’s far from comforting. The main message is that there is no snapshot profile to identify the jihadi on the block. That fact alone renders much of the blather we’re hearing about restrictions on this group or that beside the point.

“ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa” is the result of a six-month study by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. It studied online chatter, arrest data and other information in the cases of the 71 people arrested since March 2014 for crimes related to support of the Islamic State, along with counterterrorism research. Fifty-six were arrested in 2015, a record number in a single year since the 9/11 attacks.

The report asks a crucial question, in the context of students and others caught heading to Syria, intending to join the Islamic State: “How could these seemingly ordinary young American men and, in growing numbers, women, be attracted to the world’s most infamous terrorist organization?” The answer is that we don’t know, “as each individual’s radicalization has its own unique dynamics.”

Average age of those studied was 26, but they ranged in age from 15 to 47; 86 percent were male, and most were U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Another point that might surprise those who obsessed with Islamic immigrants: Converts to the faith were 40 percent of the people arrested.

In some ways, the study proved to be a bit prophetic about San Bernardino. It noted a decrease in the numbers traveling to join the Islamic State overseas, which raises the possibility that homegrown terrorists will increasingly focus on U.S. targets.

At less than 1 percent of the total adult population, Muslims in America are at a disadvantage with respect to public perception. Many Americans literally don’t know a single one of the estimated 1.8 million adults in the U.S. who are Muslim.

Assimilation and acceptance, as opposed to isolation, the report notes, are key to blocking radicalization. That’s actually a hopeful point we can look to. Despite the caustic debates about Islam playing out in our media of late, America’s Muslims are far more integrated than their coreligionists in many European countries. That’s a huge strength – and one that should not be undermined.

Full report here:

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/dec/28/sanchez-americans-should-know-more-about-islam/

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America’s anti-Muslim hysteria comes to a Virginia school

DECEMBER 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — In the midst of World War I, and at war with the Kaiser’s army in Europe, the United States contended with waves of anti-German hysteria, often provoked by the specter of the German language itself.

Iowa and Nebraska tried to ban instruction at schools in the tongue of Schiller and Goethe. Elsewhere, there were efforts to find new names for dachshunds, sauerkraut, hamburgers — even German measles.

A similar xenophobic panic, in this case directed at Muslims and Islam, is emerging lately — especially since the carnage in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. — incited by the irresponsible rhetoric of some politicians, most notably Donald Trump. A spike in vandalism, arson, threats and violence has been directed at mosques and Muslim homes and businesses. [Two weeks ago], in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the target of intolerance was a public school where, in a world geography class on Islamic culture, a teacher assigned her students to try their hand at Arabic calligraphy by copying the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith recited in daily prayers.

For her trouble, the teacher, Cheryl LaPorte, and the school, Riverheads High School in Augusta County, west of Charlottesville, became the target of vicious threats, emails and invective, including from some parents. The venomous outpouring, along with threats of disruption, prompted Schools Superintendent Eric Bond to cancel classes [Dec. 18], thus starting winter break a day early.

LaPorte might have chosen a more secular bit of Arabic calligraphy for her students to copy; henceforth, the school system announced, that will be the case. But the overreaction — some emails suggested putting the teacher’s head on a spike, and many accused the school of anti-Christian indoctrination — was wildly out of proportion to the assignment itself.

LaPorte, who is not a Muslim, did not have the students recite the shahada or even offer the usual translation: “There is no god but God (or Allah, depending on the translation). Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Indeed, the assignment focused not on religion but on the intricacy of Arabic calligraphy and its importance in Islamic art. Copying it “should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy,” the assignment noted.

Full report here:

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/opinion/washington-post-americas-anti-muslim-hysteria-comes-to-a-virginia-school-20151228

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Arab World

 

Seized documents reveal ISIS’s Dept of ‘War Spoils’

28 December 2015

ISIS has set up departments to handle "war spoils," including slaves, and the exploitation of natural resources such as oil, creating the trappings of government that enable it to manage large swaths of Syria and Iraq and other areas.

The hierarchical bureaucracy, including petty rivalries between officials, and legal codes in the form of religious fatwas are detailed in a cache of documents seized by U.S. Special Operations Forces in a May raid in Syria that killed top ISIS financial official Abu Sayyaf. Reuters has reviewed some of the documents.

U.S. officials say the documents have helped deepen their understanding of a militant group whose skill in controlling the territory it has seized has surprised many. They provide insight into how a once small insurgent group has developed a complex bureaucracy to manage revenue streams - from pillaged oil to stolen antiquities - and oversee subjugated populations.

"This really kind of brings it out. The level of bureaucratization, organization, the diwans, the committees," Brett McGurk, President Barack Obama's special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition, told Reuters.

For example, one diwan, roughly equivalent to a government ministry, handles natural resources, including the exploitation of antiquities from ancient empires. Another processes "war spoils," including slaves.

"ISIS is invested in the statehood and Caliphate image more so than any other jihadist enterprise. So a formal organization, besides being practical when you control so much contiguous territory and major cities, also reinforces the statehood image," said Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum think tank and an expert on ISIS's structure.

The documents also show how "meticulous and data-oriented" ISIS is in managing the oil and gas sector, although it is not a sophisticated operation, said Amos Hochstein, the State Department's top official for energy affairs.

U.S. officials said the documents have helped the anti-ISIS coalition to pinpoint vulnerabilities. The United States and its allies have been using air strikes to degrade the group's oil infrastructure and target key officials.

The documents show the ISIS is not immune to the rivalries and personality clashes that typify bureaucracies everywhere. A Nov. 21, 2014 letter from the Diwan of Natural Resources emphasizes that Abu Sayyaf is in charge of handling antiquities.

"The reason being is that he is very knowledgeable in this field and that Abu Jihad al-Tunisi is a simpleton who can't manage the division," it says.

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/28/Seized-documents-reveal-ISIS-Dept-of-War-Spoils-.html

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Scores of Suquour Al-Ghab Terrorists Killed, Injured in Syrian Air Attacks

Dec 28, 2015

On Sunday, Syrian airstrikes destroyed two vehicles and a command post of "Suquour al-Ghab" terrorists in Kafr Nabouda in Hama.

Scores of Takfiri terrorists were killed and injured in the air attacks.

The Chechen terrorist, Atid Dodi, was identified among the dead.

on December 21, provincial officials said "The Syrian army troops carried out a special operation and targeted the militant groups' strongholds near Kafr Nabouda town."

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000216

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Militants Sustain Heavy Death Toll in Aleppo

Dec 28, 2015

Syrian army destroyed positions and supply routes of militants in the villages of Tal Jebin, Tal Meseybeen, Shwehene, Maaret Artiq and Shimaeya in the Northern countryside of Aleppo on Sunday.

The army killed and injured most of Takfiri terrorists inside the positions.

Militants' machine gun-equipped vehicles were destroyed in the army's attacks.

The news came as the Syrian government forces took full control of a strategic village and its surrounding farms in the Eastern part of Aleppo as the army troops continue to purge the Northern Province of terrorists.

The Syrian army regained full control over Sharba' village and its surrounding farms in the Eastern part of Aleppo on Sunday.

The army destroyed ISIL's gathering centers and military vehicles and weapons, killing and injuring scores of militants during the liberating operation.

The Syrian army's engineering units seized mortars, explosive devices and mines planted by the ISIL terrorists before flee their positions in the area.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000491

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SAMA tightens rules on funding of mosque construction

28 December 2015

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has instructed local banks not to issue ATM or credit cards to accounts specific for the construction, renovation or expansion of mosques, as this is considered a violation, and any exchanges should only be made via checks and joint signings after the source of funds has been identified and verified.

If the source is a collection of donations, an authorization of the relevant authority must be attached.

According to a source, SAMA’s move puts into effect official rules related to opening bank accounts, and general rules to operate these accounts in Saudi commercial banks. These rules set a number of requirements and standards that permit the opening and maintenance of accounts specific to construction, renovation and expansion of mosques.

The rules require obtaining a letter from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, or one of its branches in the specific location, with a request to open an account, with specific details of the objective of the account, as well as a copy of the approval of the ministry to carry out these operations.

“A committee will be tasked to follow up on these operations, personally headed by the director of the ministry’s branch, and with membership of two officials of the branch,” said the source.

Full report here:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/856716

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Three killed and 11 injured in Egypt explosion

28 December 2015

A senior Egyptian judge died on Sunday of wounds he sustained in an explosion that also killed two people and injured 11 others in the city of Giza, Al Arabiya News Channel and local media reported.

Vice president of the Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority Rashwan Hussein Rashwan was passing by in Giza's Faisal neighborhood when the explosion, believed to have been caused by a gas leak in an unused apartment, occurred

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/28/Two-killed-and-11-injured-in-Egypt-explosion-.html

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Saudi grand mufti: Islamic alliance aims to defeat ISIS

28 December 2015

Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh said on Monday that the newly formed Islamic Military Alliance, led by the kingdom, aims to defeat ISIS.

In a telephone interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Asheikh said that the members of ISIS are tarnishing the image of Islam and Muslims.

“They cannot be considered as followers of Islam. Rather, they are an extension of Kharijites, who rose in revolt against the Islamic caliphate for the first time by labeling Muslims as infidels and permitting their bloodletting.”

Referring to a recent threat by ISIS leader against Israel, the grand mufti said: “This threat against Israel is simply a lie. Actually, Daesh is part of the Israeli soldiers,” he said using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/28/Saudi-Grand-Mufti-Islamic-alliance-will-defeat-ISIS-.html

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Army Continues Destroying Terrorists' Positions across Syria

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian troops razed down the strongholds of the terrorists in the key provinces of Hama, Homs, Deir Ezzur, Idlib, Aleppo and Dara'a.

Tens of the ISIL terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured in the Syrian airstrikes in the Syrian army's military operations across Syria.

Hama

The Syrian Army, in a rapid attack, hit the Takfiri militants' strongholds in the Northwestern part of Hama province hard, killed 20 terrorists and inflicted large damage on their military hardware.

"The Syrian army troops attacked the militants' defense lines in the mountainous regions of Hama province near the Height 1112 in the Southern part of al-Sermaniyeh village," provincial sources said, adding, "At least 20 terrorists were killed and many more were injured in the attack."

"The Syrian army also destroyed a large number of the militants' machinegun-equipped vehicles," the sources added.

Homs

The Syrian Army's artillery units shelled heavily a long convoy of the ISIL terrorists' oil tankers near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and destroyed most of the column.

"The ISIL's oil tankers were on the Northern road of Palmyra in the Central Homs province, when the army's intelligence units in the region traced them and called for the artillery units' heavy fire on the convoy," battlefield sources said.

"The artillery and rocket-launching units of the army later shelled the convoy and destroyed most of the oil tankers," they added.

"The convoy's guards also were killed or wounded in the shelling," the sources said.

"Long column of smoke could be seen from far distance after the explosions of oil tankers," the sources said.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets destroyed ISIL command posts in several regions in the Central Province of Homs as airstrikes have intensified.

The Syrian warplanes targeted ISIL command posts in the town of Maheen and the villages of Salam Gharbi and Salam Sharqi in Homs.

Several ISIL concentration centers and positions were destroyed in the air raids along with weapons and munitions inside them.

Field sources said, "Senior commanders were killed in the air raids."

The Syrian army announced that its soldiers and popular forces, backed up by the country's' Air Force, have launched heavy attacks against the ISIL concentration centers near the strategic towns of Maheen and Quaryatayn.

"The Syrian army troops, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah fighters are now engaged in very heavy battles with the ISIL terrorists in the battlefields near Maheen," the army said.

"The government forces have thus far inflicted a heavy death toll on the militants and have destroyed many of their military equipment," the army added.

The second phase of an agreement between the militant groups and the government to evacuate militants from their last stronghold in the city of Homs started on Sunday, Governor Talal al-Barazi declared.

Based on the agreement between the Syrian government and the militants signed early in December, all militants will evacuate al-Wa'ar region in the western part of Homs city.

Barazi said on Sunday that the first phase of the agreement completed as planned and the second phase started today.

Full report here:

terrorists' military grid and inflicted severe casualties on them," the sources added.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000336

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Syrian Forces Fend off Militants' Offensive East of Damascus

Dec 28, 2015

"The Takfiri terrorists' infiltration attempts to break through the defense lines of the government forces in Marj al-Sultan region was thwarted by the Syrian army troops and the National Defense Forces (NDF)," the sources said, adding, "Scores of the militants were killed by the heavy fire of the pro-government forces."

"The militant groups left behind their dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield to evade more casualties," the sources went on to say.

"The army also seized a large volume of the militants' ammunition," the sources said.

The Syrian government forces have passed good weeks of battle against the terrorists in the last three months and have won most of the battles, killed several senior militant commanders and have captured a good number of terrorists across the strategic province of Damascus.

Military sources said on Sunday that the militant groups' positions in different parts of Damascus province were under the massive attacks of the Syrian army, air force, and artillery units, adding that the attacks caused chaos among the terrorists.

"Tayibeh axis near Jobar in the Eastern part of Damascus province witnessed heavy clashes between the Syrian government forces and the terrorist groups," the sources said, adding that the terrorists sustained tens of casualties in the fight.

"The Syrian government forces also engaged in heavy clashes with the terrorist groups in Darayya in Western Ghouta, which ended in the killing and wounding of many terrorists," the sources added.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000168

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Syrian Warplanes Bomb Nusra Positions South of Idlib Province

Dec 28, 2015

"The Syrian fighter jets tracked and targeted a large gathering of the Takfiri terrorist in the Eastern side of Ma'arat al-Nu'man town," the sources said.

"The Syrian air force was informed by the intelligence sources about the gathering of a large number of the Nusra militants in Ma'arat al-Nu'man," the sources added.

"The militant groups sustained a heavy death toll and their military hardware was destroyed in the air attacks," the sources said.

Reports said on Sunday that Mohammed Khaled al-Sheikh aka Abu al-Bara, a senior al-Nusra commander, was killed in the air attack that destroyed his command post in Idlib's Jarjnaz village.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000246

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Iraqi army declares first major victory over Islamic State in Ramadi

Dec 28, 2015

Iraq’s army declared victory over Islamic State fighters in a provincial capital west of Baghdad on Sunday, the first major triumph for the US-trained force since it collapsed in the face of an assault by the militants 18 months ago.

The capture of Ramadi, capital of mainly Sunni-Muslim Anbar province in the Euphrates River valley west of the capital, deprives Islamic State militants of their biggest prize of 2015. The fighters seized it in May after government troops fled in a defeat which prompted Washington to take a hard look at strategy in its ongoing air war against the militants.

After encircling the city for weeks, the Iraqi military launched a campaign to retake it last week, and made a final push to seize the central administration complex on Sunday.

“By controlling the complex this means that we have defeated them in Ramadi,” said Sabah al-Numani, a spokesman for the force leading the fight on the government side. “The next step is to clear pockets that could exist here or there in the city.”

State television broadcast footage of troops, Humvee vehicles and tanks advancing through Ramadi streets amid piles of rubble and collapsed houses. Some districts appeared to have been completely destroyed by the advance. A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US-led campaign against Islamic State was unable to confirm at this point whether the militants had been cleared out of the the government complex. Television also showed nighttime celebrations in mainly Shi’ite cities south of Baghdad for the victory in Anbar, with people dancing in the streets and waving Iraqi flags from cars. Officials did not give any immediate death tolls for the battle. The government says most civilians were able to evacuate before it launched its assault. Anbar provincial council member Falih al-Essawi called on the government to restore services to Ramadi quickly and start rebuilding the city to allow the return of the displaced. “It will not be easy to convince families to return to a city that lacks basic human needs,” he told Reuters. Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, swept through a third of Iraq in June 2014 and declared a “caliphate” to rule over all Muslims from territory in both Iraq and Syria, carrying out mass killings and imposing a draconian form of Islam. Its rise was aided by the swift collapse of the Iraqi army, which abandoned city after city, leaving fleets of armoured vehicles and other American weapons in the fighters’ hands. Since then, the battle against the group in both countries has drawn in most global and regional powers, often with competing allies on the ground in complex multi-sided civil wars. A US-led coalition is waging an air campaign against Islamic State, but rebuilding the Iraqi army to the point that it could recapture and hold territory has been one of the biggest challenges. In previous battles, including the recapture of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s home city Tirkit in April, the Iraqi government relied on Iran-backed Shi’ite militias for ground fighting, with its own army mainly in a supporting role. Complete control Ramadi was the first major city recaptured by the army itself, without relying on the militias, who were kept off the battlefield to avoid sectarian tension with the mainly Sunni population. The government, led by a Shi’ite Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, said Ramadi would be handed over to local police and a Sunni tribal force once it was secured, a measure meant to win over the community to the fight against Islamic State. “We have trained hundreds of tribal fighters, their role will be holding the ground,” said Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the joint operations command.

Full report here:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/iraqi-army-declares-first-major-victory-over-islamic-state-in-ramadi/#sthash.ZJY1uRym.dpuf

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Islamic State chief Baghdadi challenges US, allies in new audio message

Dec 27, 2015

The Islamic State has released a new audio message purportedly of its leader challenging the US and its allies to confront his extremist group on the ground in Iraq and Syria, while telling his followers to persevere despite major recent battlefields setbacks.

In the 24-minute audio, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said the US won’t come to fight the extremists because “their hearts are full of fear from the mujahideen”.

The message was Baghdadi’s first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks that ISIS has recently faced.

The authenticity of the recording could not be confirmed. It appeared to be Baghdadi’s first public address since May, and it followed reports that he had been either killed or gravely wounded by airstrikes. The speech was released on jihadist social media accounts after a string of defeats for the Islamic State in Iraq and amid intensifying bombardment by an American-led military coalition in both Syria and Iraq. In the message, Baghdadi acknowledged escalating pressure on the Islamic State but framed it as worldwide attack by “disbelievers” against Muslims. “America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen, and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, until they recently declared the Salouli (Saudi) alliance that was falsely called Islamic,” US media quoted Baghdadi as saying. Baghdadi gave a stern warning to the nations participating in airstrikes against ISIS. “We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against the Islamic State will pay the price dearly.” “Soldiers of the Islamic State be patient because you are on the right path,” Baghdadi said, adding “Be patient, because God is with you.”

Full report here:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/baghdadi-challenges-us-allies-in-new-islamic-state-audio-statement/

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ISIL Military Convoy, Oil Tankers Destroyed in Syria's Sweida Province

Dec 28, 2015

"The long convoy of the ISIL oil tankers was targeted by the Syrian government forces in the Northeastern part of Shath village," the sources said.

"Most of the tankers were set ablaze in the attack, and many of the convoy's guards were killed," the sources added.

"In the meantime, the army forces tracked and targeted a convoy of the Takfiri terrorists' military vehicles loaded with ammunition and weapons in Rajm al-Dawla village," the sources said.

"In addition to the destruction of the military vehicles, the militant group sustained a heavy death toll too," they added.

Military experts believe that one of the best ways of putting the militant groups under pressure is cutting their supplying lines through sporadic attacks on their convoys.

"The militant groups do not have discipline of an army with a chart of military duties. A unit of them might be used as a combat group and in the same time as a supplying or engineering unit. So, they are vulnerable. They are not expert in their job. One-two regular attacks on their supplying convoys can face them big problems," experts say.  

Last week, The Syrian army and popular forces intensified their military operations against ISIL terrorists in the province of Sweida.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000371

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Key Aleppo Village Captured by Syrian Forces

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian army regained full control over Sharba' village and its surrounding farms in the Eastern part of Aleppo on Sunday.

The army destroyed ISIL's gathering centers and military vehicles and weapons, killing and injuring scores of militants during the liberating operation.

The Syrian army's engineering units seized mortars, explosive devices and mines planted by the ISIL terrorists before flee their positions in the area.

On Saturday, the Syrian army managed to win key regions near the recently-captured Kuweires military airbase in Aleppo province as they try stretch their control over the terrorist-held lands Southeast of Aleppo.

The Syrian forces gained control of Tal Sherba' (hill of Sherba') and Juruf village near Kuweires military airport in the Eastern part of Aleppo.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000389

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Syrian Artillery Shells ISIL Convoy of Oil Tankers East of Homs Province

Dec 27, 2015

"The ISIL's oil tankers were on the Northern road of Palmyra in the Central Homs province, when the army's intelligence units in the region traced them and called for the artillery units' heavy fire on the convoy," the sources said.

The artillery and rocket-launching units of the army later shelled the convoy and destroyed most of the oil tankers," they added.

"The convoy's guards also were killed or wounded in the shelling," the sources said.

"Long column of smoke could be seen from far distance after the explosions of oil tankers," the sources said.

The Syrian government forces have targeted most of the ISIL supplying, military and oil convoys near Palmyra in the recent weeks to put the terrorist group's members inside Palmyra under more pressure.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000416

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Homs: 2nd Phase of Wa'ar Militant Evacuation Plan Starts

Dec 27, 2015

Based on the agreement between the Syrian government and the militants signed early in December, all militants will evacuate al-Wa'ar region in the western part of Homs city.

Barazi said on Sunday that the first phase of the agreement completed as planned and the second phase started today.

According to the governor, the second phase includes evacuation of light weapons and dealing with the case of those who have gone missing and those who have been captured.

He also added that facilitated supply of food to the residents of the region is one of the issues to be dealt with in the second phase, and ensured that al-Wa'ar will be declared a safe zone soon.

The militants of al-Wa'ar district in Old Homs City reached an agreement with the Syrian government on December 1 on their gradual exit.

In the first phase of the plan, militants began evacuating Homs city in Central Syria on December 9 under the UN supervision.

Fifty armed men, who were not involved in Syrian bloodshed, turned themselves to the Syrian authorities in Al-Wa'ar in a first phase.

A large convoy of retreating rebels along with their families left Homs City for Idlib in Northwestern Syria later in the day.

Based on the agreement, militants can take their light weapons with themselves, but their semi-heavy and heavy weaponries are all surrendered to the UN officials.

Ceasefire treaties to launch evacuation and relocation plans have started across Syria during the last month.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006001344

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Mideast

 

Syria anti-ISIS documentary maker 'assassinated' in Turkey

27 December 2015

A Syrian activist who produced documentaries hostile to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group was assassinated in Turkey Sunday, according to the group with which he worked, “Raqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.”

“Film maker Naji Jerf, father of two children, was assassinated... today in Gaziantep”, on the border with Syria, with a silencer-equipped pistol, the group said in a statement on Twitter.

RBSS is a group of citizen journalists who work to expose human rights abuses in Raqa, the northeastern city that ISIS uses as its de facto capital in Syria.

A friend of Jerf’s said he had been “supposed to arrive in Paris this week after receiving, along with his family, a visa for asylum in France.”

Jerf was also editor in chief of Hentah, a Syrian magazine that reports on the “daily lives of Syrian citizens”, said the publication’s website.

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/27/Syria-anti-ISIS-documentary-maker-assassinated-in-Turkey.html

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Iran’s President Says It’s up To Muslims to Correct Islam’s Image

Dec 27, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Muslims must improve the image of their religion, which has been tarnished by the violence of hard-line groups such as Islamic State,

“It is our greatest duty today to correct the image of Islam in world public opinion,” Rouhani told a conference on Islamic unity in Tehran in a speech broadcast by state television.

His remarks were rare for a leader of Iran, which considers itself an authority in the Islamic world and often blames the “enemies” of the religion for problems in the Middle East.

“Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?” Rouhani said.

Full report here:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/irans-president-hassan-rouhani-says-its-up-to-muslims-to-correct-islams-image/

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Two Palestinians shot dead after stabbing Israeli soldier

December 28, 2015

JERUSALEM : Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians who stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the army said, the latest attack in 12 weeks of heightened violence.

Almost daily Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks have killed 20 Israelis and a US citizen, raising fears of a wider escalation a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.

Since the start of October, Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 130 Palestinians, 81 of whom authorities described as assailants.

Most of the others have been killed in clashes with security forces.

In the latest fatal incident, the Israeli military said two Palestinians stabbed a soldier in the village of Hewara, near the West Bank city of Nablus.

"Forces on site responded to the imminent danger and fired towards the attackers, resulting in their death.

An initial inquiry suggests an additional soldier was injured as a result of the fire directed towards the attackers," the military said in a statement.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the two Palestinians were relatives, one aged 17 and the other, 23.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a soldier near Jerusalem's main bus station.

Full report here:

http://nation.com.pk/international/28-Dec-2015/two-palestinians-shot-dead-after-stabbing-israeli-soldier

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Haniyeh Underlines Palestinians' Fortified Resistance in 2016

Dec 28, 2015

"Resistance will spread in the West Bank and will be reinvigorated in the Gaza Strip in 2016, and the Quds Intifada will continue," Haniyeh said on Sunday.

He underlined that the Palestinian resistance has not yet shown all its power and the real Intifada to the Zionist enemy.

"The Intifada has deprived the Zionists of security and it will continue until liberation of all Palestinian territories," Haniyeh underlined.

His remarks came after a public opinion poll showed in November that more than half of the Palestinians support a third intifada against Israel.

The poll, which was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, also found that 48 percent of respondents would like to see Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas quit.

The poll, conducted between November 12 and 18, covered some 1,000 Palestinians.

Almost 50% of respondents said that the current wave of violence paves the way for a third intifada.

Thirty-two percent described that violence as an intifada.

Forty-two percent of respondents support an armed intifada, as opposed to 30% who want it to be “peaceful”. Another 29% said they were completely opposed to any Intifada against Israel.

More than half of the respondents said that they were in favor of a third intifada – an increase of 20 percentage points from a previous poll conducted by the same center.

A large majority of 62% of respondents said they were opposed to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000276

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Hackers Launch Massive Cyber Attacks on Israeli Server, Websites

Dec 28, 2015

According to al-Nashrah news website, the cyber attacks were launched following Hezbollah Leader Seyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech on Sunday, 7 days after Israel's assassination of the resistance group's senior member Samir Qantar.

Based on the report, the hacked server supported 1,600 internet websites which failed to give service after the cyber attack.

Nasrallah said on Sunday that Israel miscalculated by killing Samir Qantar in Syria earlier this month, saying that retaliation for his death was inevitable, whatever the consequences.

He warned that Israelis should brace themselves for a response either inside or outside Israel.

"The Israelis should be justifiably worried... They should be worried along the border, inside and outside," Nasrallah said.

Full report here:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000363

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Hamas: Egyptian border guards shoot and kill disabled Gazan

27 December 2015

The spokesman of Hamas' police in Gaza says Egyptian border guards opened fire last week, killing a mentally disabled Gazan who tried to get across the border between Egypt and the coastal strip.

The spokesman, Eyad al-Bozom, says the shooting occurred Thursday and accused the Egyptians of killing the Gazan in "cold blood." He says the man, Hasan Izhaq, was harmless and naked and was trying to cross the coastal border.

Al-Bozom says Palestinian policemen on the Gaza Strip's side of the border shouted at the Egyptian soldiers not to shoot but were ignored.

The spokesman urged Egyptian authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the shooting. Egypt maintains a blockade on its border with Gaza.

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/27/Hamas-Egyptian-border-guards-shoot-and-kill-disabled-Gazan.html

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Yemen solution should serve nation interests: Iran

Dec 28, 2015

A senior Iranian official says Tehran supports dialog among Yemeni groups aimed at agreeing on a solution to the months-long conflict in the impoverished country, stressing that such an agreement needs to serve the interests of the Arab nation.

"The stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran vis-à-vis Yemen has always been [adopted] in line with safeguarding the nation’s interests, and [Iran] supports negotiations between different Yemeni sides and a political solution to the crisis in Yemen,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

The Iranian official made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with a visiting delegation of the Political Council of Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement in Tehran.

Amir-Abdollahian said that attacks on Yemen’s infrastructure and residential areas will only complicate the crisis and pave the ground for terrorist groups to take advantage of the situation for their own gains.

He underlined the need for the non-interference of foreign parties, establishment of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire and removal of economic and humanitarian siege on Yemen.

Full report here:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443515/Iran-Yemen-AmirAbdollahian-Bukhaiti--Saudi-Arabia/

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Tehran dismisses as hackneyed Erdogan's anti-Iran claims

Dec 28, 2015

Iran has dismissed as hackneyed the recent allegations by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the Islamic Republic over Tehran's policies in Syria.

“This is not the first time that such rhetoric are used against the Islamic Republic of Iran with specific political objectives and in the frameworks of the ongoing conflicts in the region,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said during his weekly press briefing on Monday.

He added that Iran has adopted a "transparent" policy regarding the developments in Syria and the region.

Erdogan had a day earlier accused Iran of adopting "sectarian" policies in Syria by putting its weight behind Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Jaberi Ansari said that Iran’s policies regarding the crisis in Syria is based on “the legitimate" right of the Syrians to decide their own future.

The Iranian official further expressed the Islamic Republic’s opposition to employing terrorism as a tool for achieving political objectives.

Pointing to the third round of international talks on the Syrian crisis which was held in New York earlier this month, Jaberi Ansari said that the Iranian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, managed to block the inclusion of a number of Iranian bodies in the list of terrorist groups present in Syria during the meeting.

He said that certain Iranian institutions and organizations were proposed to be added to the list, which had been prepared by Jordan during the previous round of Syria talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The Iranian foreign minister reacted to the proposed list, saying that if the list was to be released, Iran could introduce many other institutions and organizations to be included in the list, Jaberi Ansari said.

He noted that following Iran’s protest, the list was abolished and a working group consisting of Iran was formed, adding that certain members of the group will now decide about a list of terrorist groups.

Full report here:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443508/Iran-Foreign-Ministry-Jaberi-Ansari-Erdogan-Syria/

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Southeast Asia

 

Jakarta acts to curb hate speech by Muslim TV preachers

DEC 28, 2015

Indonesia plans to require Islamic clerics who preach on television to have "blessings", a form of certification, from an Islamic organisation amid rising complaints against intolerant views spread on air.

The Indonesian Islamic Ulema Council (MUI) has been asked by the government to draw up guidelines that official Islamic organisations like Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah - Indonesia's largest and second-largest respectively - can use for drawing up their own criteria on recognising clerics who preach on TV.

NU and Muhammadiyah have a combined membership of more than 80 million across Indonesia, which has a population of 250 million people, more than 85 per cent of whom are Muslim.

Local television stations - the number of which has been mushrooming in the past few years - have been the biggest target of new complaints, according to the national counter terrorism agency BNPT.

Such stations cover a city, regency or a whole province. There are 34 provinces and 500 cities and regencies in the country.

As of last year, there were more than 390 television stations across the country, according to the press council.

A few new TV stations were set up every week last year. There are no figures available for this year yet. Of the more than 390 TV stations, more than 10 are national stations.

TV preachers first appeared on national television networks in the 1990s and began to gain popularity more than a decade ago. They started appearing on local stations more than five years ago.

Intolerant views by TV preachers began surfacing a few years back.

BNPT has been encouraging local community leaders and non-governmental organisations which operate within their respective communities to help counter ideas of intolerance spread on television.

"Now, we are going to try to clean this up. Next year, we hope it will be clean," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan told The Straits Times in his office last week.

"It is not a licence, but a blessing from MUI," Mr Luhut said of the guidelines, stressing that they were not a form of government control. He added that religious preaching should, to some extent, also touch on nationhood.

Indonesia needs laws and regulations that allow the authorities to prosecute anyone for hate speech, terror analyst Mardigu Wowiek Prasantyo told Pikiran Rakyat daily.

Now, anyone in the country can get away with insulting religions other than his own and provoking others to do violent acts in the name of a religion, he added.

Banten province's police chief, Brigadier-General Boy Rafli Amar, agreed, noting that hate speech can encourage an act of terror.

Full report here:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/jakarta-acts-to-curb-hate-speech-by-muslim-tv-preachers

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Work with police to stop spread of IS, state Islamic depts told

December 27, 2015

SHAH ALAM: All state Islamic religious departments should work closely with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) in using the social media to check the spread of the Daesh (Islamic State) militant ideology in the country.

Chief assistant director of the Counter-Terrorism Division, Bukit Aman Special Branch, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said only religious departments would be able to clearly explain the teachings of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni) practised in this country and disseminate widely information on the deviant militant ideology through the social media.

He said this was because tackling the problem at the root needed to be intensified due to the seriousness of the militant group in recruiting members, especially among the young worldwide, through the social media.

“In fact, there is a bai’ah (pledge) to join the IS which could be made through the social media and without having to meet face-to-face with members of the militant group.

“This method is seen as making it easier for the IS ideology to spread to members of society and influence the young whose religious knowledge is still shallow,” he said at the ‘Dakwah Series 5 Talk: Extremism and Terrorism, New Challenges of Muslim Youth’, here, today.

Ayob Khan was a panellist at the programme organised by the Malaysia Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) and Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).

He said monitoring by police showed how active IS militants were in using social media as about 100,000 pieces of information on their activities were uploaded daily including on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Full report here:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/27/work-with-police-to-stop-spread-of-is-state-islamic-depts-told/

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Perkasa rep says never called G25 ‘deviant’

BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID

December 27, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — Malay rights groups Perkasa has denied labelling the G25 “deviant”, but  insisted that the pro-moderation group is anti-Shariah due to its continued criticism of Malaysia’s Islamic agencies.

Perkasa Islamic affairs bureau chief Dr Amini Amir Abdullah dismissed news report that Perkasa had formally declared the group as deviant, saying it was only highlighting what it felt was improper criticism of the country’s religious laws.

“We never called them deviant. There was never any formal decision. We only criticised the manner of their criticism against Shariah laws.

“They should not be doing it openly, but instead go through the proper channel: like raising their concerns with the Malaysian Islamic Development Institute (Ikim) or the Shariah Courts Department,” Amini told Malay Mail Online.

Amini’s remarks contradict, however, a resolution passed during Perkasa’s annual assembly last week in which it wanted Putrajaya to declare the G25 as a deviant group for propagating liberalism and pluralism in Islam.

G25 spokesman Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, in an interview with Malay Mail Online, responded by calling Perkasa and its other critics extremists whom she said behaved like the Islamic State terrorist group in their intolerance of dissenting views.

Like the IS, Noor Farida said G25’s critics had the tendency to arbitrarily declare those with different opinions as apostates, and that her group’s objective was to reform Shariah laws and not change the religion entirely.

But Amini rubbished the comparison with the IS and insisted that Perkasa was a group that believed in the concept of wasatiyyah (moderation).

“How can we be like [IS]? We have declared them as un-Islamic because we have always believed in the concept of wasatiyyah.

Full report here:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/perkasa-rep-says-never-called-g25-deviant

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Christians, Muslims celebrate Christmas together in Miri

December 28, 201

PETALING JAYA: Christmas in Miri is like no other, especially in Peninsula Malaysia, as Christians and Muslims from a church and mosque sitting side by side on the same street, come together at the church compound for a festive gathering.

This year’s Christmas celebrations was held at the Good Shepherd Church and was attended by Muslims who regularly go for Friday prayers at the Masjid An Naim in Lutong as well as Christians from the Good Shepard Church and Catholics, SIB and Methodist churches.

So precious is the bond between the Christians and Muslims here that both share each other’s car park space every Sunday during mass and every Friday during Muslim prayers and when Christmas and Hari Raya come around, followers of both faiths, come together for joint gatherings.

Yesterday gathering, in which halal food was served, was attended by imam Mohd Zulkifli Mohd Adnan, the mosque management and mosque leaders as well as Pastor Donald Jute and church leaders.

Full report here:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/28/christians-muslims-celebrate-christmas-together-in-miri/

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Zahid Hamidi raps DAP over Perak man’s criticism on Israeli athlete ban

BY KAMLES KUMAR

December 28, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 ― Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today criticised the DAP over a junior leader’s attempt to stir controversy in Putrajaya’s decision that led to the withdrawal of two Israeli windsurfer champions from a competition here.

Ahmad Zahid said the criticism was unfounded and stemmed from a failure to grasp local sensitivities as well as the country’s position on Israel as a nation.

“We know that we have a clear policy on the diplomatic relations with Israel and DAP's action beyond those policies,” he told reporters during a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) today.

He added Perak DAP economic development bureau chief Chong Zhemin’s remarks has even turned the party’s allies hostile, pointing out that these have come out to criticise the party.

“I do not want to mention the name of the parties but I feel DAP shouldn't just look at it from their aspects and element only,” he said.

Chong has come under criticism for his statement on Saturday chiding Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin for not allowing the two Israeli athletes to compete in a world youth windsurfing competition this week.

Pakatan Harapan ally Parti Amanah Negara yesterday urged for the withdrawal of Chong’s statement on the ban while the Perak chapter of the DAP Socialist Youth also disavowed the junior leader’s comments.

The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday the chairman of the Israel Sailing Association, Gili Amir, as saying that Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan will not take part in the international surfing competition here, as both athletes had yet to receive their visas 24 hours before their scheduled departure.

Full report here:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/zahid-hamidi-raps-dap-over-perak-mans-criticism-on-israeli-athlete-ban

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Pakistan

 

Islamabad, Kabul agree upon steps for Taliban talks

BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

Dec 28, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Sunday to take first formal steps towards the resumption of reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and Taliban by convening a meeting in the first week of next month under the recently formed ‘quadrilateral framework’ that also involves China and the United States.

The venue and the level of representation will be decided by the four countries.

According to one source, there will be a series of quadrilateral meetings in January, leading to resumption of the reconciliation process that was suspended on July 30 after it became public that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been dead for over two years.

The decision about the next steps towards revival of the peace talks was taken during Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif’s long-awaited visit to Kabul for discussions on the reconciliation process, border management and other security matters.

During his daylong trip, Gen Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Campbell.

“First round of quadrilateral meeting will be scheduled in January to work out a clear and comprehensive roadmap for a meaningful peace process,” military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, who accompanied the army chief, tweeted after landing back here in the evening.

COAS discusses a plan in Kabul for January meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and China

The quadrilateral framework was announced during President Ghani’s visit to Islamabad this month. It was also agreed that a steering committee of the framework would oversee the process.

An official here did not discount the possibility of the Afghan reconciliation talks getting under way next month. Both sides realised the urgency of reaching a political settlement that could end violence in the country, he said.

“It is clear to everyone that there is a narrow window of opportunity and sincerity is required to get the warring factions on the table and take the process forward.”

It was agreed during Gen Sharif’s talks with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah that ‘reconcilable’ Taliban elements would be engaged, while the others would be dealt with in “a mutually agreed” manner.

The official said it was a clear message to all Taliban factions to choose peace or be ready for the consequences.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229136/islamabad-kabul-agree-upon-steps-for-taliban-talks

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Where there is love, there are fights: Rahat Fateh Ali says Pak-India tiffs are only natural

Dec 28, 2015

From Shiv Sena's hostility towards Pakistanis working in India to Modi's surprise visit to Lahore, Pak-India relations have seen its share of ups and downs this year.

Also read: The lowdown on Modi's trip to Pakistan, as narrated by social media

And qawwali singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan puts it down to a case of squabbling brothers.

"Where there is love, there are fights too," he said to The Statesman. "Take for instance, a home where two brothers live together. They argue and fight... So, little fights, arguments, and tensions are a part of life... It doesn't mean that it will end all relations, feelings and emotions. Yes, families might part ways into separate homes but love never dies between them."

The qawwal went on to say that music and sports can create harmony between the two countries:

"Sport [...] is going through a downturn. But it should be started again. India and Pakistan should play again. Both the nations should set the balls rolling and face each other on the playground once again."

Full report here:

http://images.dawn.com/news/1174531/where-there-is-love-there-are-fights-rahat-fateh-ali-says-pak-india-tiffs-are-only-natural

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Most pilgrimage operators defrauding people, claims FIA

Dec 28, 2015

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has said that most operators of Haj, Umrah and other pilgrimage services are defrauding people and called for introducing amendments to the Emigration Ordi­na­nce, 1979, to keep a check on their activities.

In a letter to the Ministry of Interior, the FIA said that there were a number of complaints against consultants/tour operators involved in immigration/facilitation of people for studies, immigration, business and visit visas.

“Most of the operators of Haj, Umrah and other pilgrimages have been found involved in defrauding and looting innocent people under the garb of such visa categories,” the letter said.

The FIA noted that the Emigration Ordinance, 1979, dealt especially with immigration for ‘employment and self-employment’.

“Agents, human traffickers and smugglers have changed their modus operandi with the passage of time. The issue has thoroughly been analysed on the basis of complaints and interrogation of deportees and it has been found that intending immigrants are sent abroad on such visa categories as business, study, immigration, Haj, Umrah and ziarat, etc. Human smugglers have established businesses under the title of consultancy services, travel and tour operators, etc.

Emigration Ordinance 1979 lacks stringent provisions to nab such culprits causing hardships to complainants.”

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229147/most-pilgrimage-operators-defrauding-people-claims-fia

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Zardari to become president of PPP Parliamentarians

Dec 28, 2015

NAUDERO: The central executive committee of PPP decided on Sunday night to install Asif Ali Zardari as president of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP).

Mr Zardari already enjoys the status of co-chairman of PPP.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the CEC presided over by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the Naudero House.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, PPP General Secretary Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Qamar Zaman Kaira said the decision was unanimous.

Know more: Zardari weighs option to take charge of PPP-P

They said the matter was not on the agenda, but the proposal came in from provincial presidents of the party. It was welcomed and unanimously adopted.

The CEC meeting was exclusively held to pay tribute to Benazir Bhutto.

The meeting paid tribute to the leadership of Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who was the PPPP president, and said he remained committed to the party till his last breath. The meeting observed one-minute silence for the departed soul.

They said the CEC discussed the Rangers powers issue and it was decided that no-one should be “hurt”. It observed that the tense situation would weaken the provinces.

The PPP leaders said the prime minister himself had said that the Sindh chief minister would be the captain of the operation and the province had been assured that it would be taken into confidence.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229144/zardari-to-become-president-of-ppp-parliamentarians

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UN panel on Benazir murder worked within mandate: Ban

SYED IRFAN RAZA

Dec 28, 2015

ISLAMABAD: “I am satisfied that the UN commission did not exceed its mandate set out in the terms of reference. I stand by the report,” said a letter written by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 9, 2010, brushing aside the PPP government’s concern over the world body’s inquiry report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The letter had been kept secret by the then and present governments for five years.

The UN commission had also offered to provide Pakistan material and details of the sources on the basis of which it had prepared the report.

In the letter, a copy of which is with Dawn, the UN chief had supported the commission and said it had worked within its mandate.

The former prime minister was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack soon after her public meeting at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.

The UN commission had conducted the inquiry into facts and circumstances leading to the assassination. It cost the government $5 million.

Mr Ban wrote the letter in reply to Islamabad’s reaction in June 2010 to the report prepared at its request.

Pakistani authorities had rejected the UN report and alleged that it had maligned national institutions. They sought information from the UN about the commission’s methodology and a list of its sources.

Secretary General’s 2010 letter kept secret by PPP, PML-N govts

“I would like to thank you for your letter of June 14, 2010, regarding the commission of inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former prime minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” the UN chief said in the letter.

He said: “The comments and observations attached to your letter raise concerns regarding the work of the commission. The letter states that the commission exceeded its ToRs (terms of reference) because of references to the Pakistan army and other institutions, that it should have sought more information from governments other than Pakistan, and that the commission did not provide adequate information regarding its methodology or list of sources of information which is affecting the Pakistani criminal investigation.

“I wish to express my strong support for the commission, and I believe that the commissioners carried out their work professionally and produced a report in fulfilment of its ToRs under difficult circumstances.”

Mr Ban said the ToRs of the commission, agreed between the government of Pakistan and the UN secretariat and noted by the Security Council, called for the commission to conduct an inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of Ms Bhutto. “The report painstakingly sets out the facts regarding the assassination and provides an extensive description of the circumstances around the crime. The latter is a broad mandate that called for an inclusive approach to the inquiry. I am satisfied that the commission did not exceed its mandate as set out in its ToRs,” he added.

Responding to the concern expressed by Pakistan about international sources, the UN chief said the commission had contacted all international sources they were referred to by the Pakistani authorities, directly and indirectly, and rigorously obtained all information relevant to the inquiry that was available from them. “The investigation was indeed international in its scope and composition,” he added.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229132/un-panel-on-benazir-murder-worked-within-mandate-ban

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Modi’s visit to Pakistan a business trip, says JI

Dec 28, 2015

KARAK: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief of Jamaat-i-Islami Prof Mohammad Ibrahim has claimed that the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan was just a business trip, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mr Modi have friendship based on business interests.

He was addressing the Seeratun Nabi (PBUH) conference on Sunday at Mithakhel here.

He claimed that Mr Modi used foul language against Pakistan in Afghanistan which manifested that his visit to Pakistan was not based on a gesture of goodwill.

Prof Ibrahim says Islamic states alliance based on conspiracy

The JI leader alleged that the military alliance of 34 Islamic countries was based on a conspiracy, adding that the alliance formed at the behest of US had no future.

He said that they could not support any such alliance until they announced that attack on any Islamic country would be considered as an attack on the entire Muslim Ummah.

Prof Ibrahim demanded a probe into the Peshawar’s Army Public School incident and added that those found responsible for the security lapse should be punished.

He said that those who chanted the slogan of ‘Pakistan first’ saved neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan was the country most affected by the war on terror.

He said that the JUI-F and JI would have the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today had the former agreed on seat-to-seat adjustment with them in the last general election.

He said that they had joined the provincial government on the request of PTI chairman Imran Khan.

NAP IMPLEMENTATION: Awami National Party’s parliamentary leader in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Sardar Hussain Babak, has demanded implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), saying that all political parties have already given their consent to this.

He was addressing a ceremony held at the Government Higher Secondary School, Karak, on the eve of retirement of Malgari Ustazan leader Qudrat Ali here on Sunday. He said that the discussion over good and bad Taliban should end now and indiscriminate action should be taken against all terrorists.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229114/modis-visit-to-pakistan-a-business-trip-says-ji

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Show of solidarity on Christmas

December 27, 2015

LAHORE - Christians celebrated Christmas with traditional fervour and zeal in the provincial capital on Friday.

Muslims and other communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have joined the celebrations to show solidarity with Christians.

Politicians and religious leaders cut cakes and addressed the ceremonies at different places of the city. Boys and girls went from house to house while singing carol singing.

Services were held at all churches every hour. People distributed sweets and freshly baked rich plum cakes among the fellow Christians, while Santas brought presents for children.

Christmas trees lit with small decorative electric lights, small bells and miniature models depicting the angels, Christmas Father and other symbolic figures related to the season were placed at different places.

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.

Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, including Pakistan because it coincides with the birthday of the country’s founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Christians make up the largest religious minority in Pakistan. The total numbers of Christians in the country were estimated at 2.5 million in 2005, or 1.6% of the population. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant.

Lawmen have already mounted one of the biggest security operations in Lahore to provide foolproof security to the Christians.

DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf said the other day that the police were put on their toes to maintain peace and harmony in the city. “We have taken all possible security measures to protect Christian community and to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-state elements,” the operations police chief said.

The DIG said that there was no specific security threat to the Christian community in Lahore. However, police are taking concrete measures to protect the community.

“Hundreds of police commandoes will guard churches on the eve of Christmas and we will do everything possible to protect our Christian community,” the senior officer said.

The DIG said that there will be three-layer security around churches and every person will be allowed entry only after frisking and proper body search at the checkpoints. The field officers are directed to use metal-detectors and walkthrough gates for physical-checking around sensitive places while snap-checking was intensified at the entry and exit points of the metropolis.

Full report here:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/27-Dec-2015/show-of-solidarity-on-christmas

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Mirza Ghalib remembered

December 28, 2015

LAHORE - Legendary Urdu poet of sub-continent, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was remembered on his 218th birth anniversary on Sunday.

Mushahiras and other ceremonies in connection with birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib, dubbed as greatest poet of Urdu literature were held across the country during which the speakers paid rich tributes for his contribution which gave a new direction to Urdu literature.

Ghalib was born on December 27, 1797 in Agra, which is now part of India, while he died on February 15, 1869 in Delhi.

His Delhi house is now called as Ghalib ki Haveli and hosts permanent Ghalib exhibition.

He descended from the family of Aibak Turks who originally hailed from central Asian countries and started poetry at a very early age of 11.

The great poet initially used pen name “Asad” meaning lion but later replaced it with Ghalib which means superior.

Later on, in his lifetime Ghalib witnessed the downfall of Mughal dynasty in India and arrival of the Britishers.

His ghazals and letters also carried a history of events of those times.

Mirza Asadullah was depicted in famous Bollywood movie “Ghalib” while his ghazals have been sung by legendary singers like Mehdi Hassan, Fareeda Khanum, Abida Perveen, Tina Sani and many others.

Ghalib was laid to rest in Nizamuddin area near mausoleum of renowned saint Nizamuddin Auliya.

7th Mir Punjabi Mela today

In recognition of Ali Arshad Mir's efforts for Punjabi literature, 7th Mir Punjabi Mela is going to be held today.

The Mir Punjabi Mela will be held at 5pm at Punjab Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAAC), Qaddafi stadium Lahore.

Full report here:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/28-Dec-2015/mirza-ghalib-remembered

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Africa

 

Boko Haram attacks in north-eastern Nigeria kill 15

Dec 28, 2015

At least 15 people have been killed after Boko Haram Takfiri militants carried out gun and bombing attacks in a key city in north-eastern Nigeria, reports say.

The militants attacked Jiddari Polo, an area located on the outskirts of Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri, on Sunday evening.

Locals who were attending prayers at a mosque in the area said they heard the sound of gunfire and artillery rounds following evening prayers.

Residents also started to flee their homes to other areas in the city after the attacks, according to reports.

The death toll from the attacks is expected to rise.

"We have to wait until the morning to have a good picture of the aftermath of the clash, because it happened in the dark," said Babakura Kolo, a civilian assisting the Nigerian military.

The attacks, which were the first to be carried out in Maiduguri in recent months, ended after the Nigerian military responded with artillery fire. The terrorist group has been trying to regain control over Maiduguri, which is the group’s birthplace.

On Christmas day, Boko Haram militants also killed at least 14 people after storming Kimba village in Borno.

Full report here:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443512/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Maiduguri-Muhammadu-Buhari/

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Ambush by militants kills two policemen in northeast Kenya

Dec 27, 2015

An ambush by suspected al-Shabab militants, who are originally based in Somalia, has claimed the lives of at least two policemen in northeast Kenya.

The casualties were caused when gunmen believed to be members of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group targeted a convoy of Kenyan security forces in Mandera County, close to the border with Somalia, on Sunday.

The Kenya Red Cross confirmed in a statement that two policemen were also wounded in the deadly assault.

Kenyan border cities and towns have witnessed numerous cross-border attacks by militants from al-Shabab.

Last Monday, at least two people were killed and several others sustained injuries when al-Shabab gunmen opened fire on a bus in Mandera. In early April, at least 148 people, mostly students, were killed when al-Shabab militants stormed the Garissa University in northeastern Kenya and opened indiscriminate fire on the people there.

On September 21, 2013, at least 67 people were killed during a four-day-long siege by al-Shabab militants at the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Al-Shabaab militants (file photo)

Al-Shabab is headquartered in Somalia, where it is fighting to overthrow the government in Mogadishu. The internationally-backed government in Somalia receives military assistance from a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) task force, which includes Kenyan soldiers.

Full report here:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/27/443447/Kenya-Mandera-alShabab-Somalia/

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Nigeria arrests Boko Haram bomb makers

28 December 2015

The Nigerian military says it has arrested seven Boko Haram bomb-makers following what an army spokesman called "painstaking surveillance".

Sani Usman, in a statement on Sunday, said the arrests had been made in northwestern Kaduna state, but did not specify when.

"From all indications, the suspects were in Kaduna to conduct suicide bombings, kill and maim innocent citizens in the state and other surrounding areas during the festive period," Usman said.

Usman claimed the arrests would assist in Nigeria's fight against terrorism, as militants have resorted to launching bomb attacks on soft targets following what the military calls a "technical" defeat of the insurgents.

Nigeria has claimed "technical victory" over Boko Haram militants ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline from President Muhammadu Buhari to crush the insurgents.

However, the administration added that isolated attacks and suicide bombings by the militants cannot immediately be ruled out.

The effect of the arrests on the militant group cannot be verified independently because of its secretive nature.

Full report here:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167839/morocco-delays-opening-of-huge-solar-plant

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CAR Muslims hopeful over landmark polls

27 December 2015

Made homeless and jobless by conflict, young Muslims displaced by sectarian violence who are now sleeping out in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui see Wednesday's elections as their only salvation.

The onetime drivers, mechanics, merchants and electricians found refuge in a mosque in Bangui's flashpoint Muslim PK-5 district after a September spike in violence drove them from their homes.

Their homes located by Christian neighbourhoods were looted and burnt down -- as were many Christian homes in tit-for-tat sectarian violence that month that killed 61 people and wounded more than 300 people.

Eager to vote in elections seen as turning the page on almost three years of such violence, the men this weekend turned up at the Koudoukou school to pick up voter cards ahead of the vote.

"I'm going to opt for an upright man as president, someone who doesn't steal. Someone who can ensure peace and security in the country, so we won't hear the sound of weapons," said Hissein Sale, an electrician.

Everyone agrees that reconciliation is the need of the hour.

"It is our duty to vote," said Mohamed.

Wednesday's much-delayed legislative and presidential elections follow a December 13 referendum that delivered a resounding 93 percent vote in favour of a new constitution -- signalling how much people yearn for a return to normalcy.

After more than two years of fighting that forced 10 percent of the population to flee their homeland, the vote will show whether the mineral-rich but dirt poor nation -- wracked by coups, dictatorships and endemic unrest since its 1960 independence from France -- can close the door on bloodshed.

- Fear still prevails -

But many PK-5 residents say they remain confined to the area as it is too dangerous to venture out.

"The Christians can come here but we cannot go to their areas. They decapitate us, they cut us up into pieces," said Mohamed Moustapha.

Moustapha, a driver, lost his licence during the latest upsurge in violence but does not dare try and get a new one as "it means venturing into the city centre where there are too many enemies."

Bachir Hissein meanwhile has tucked a formidable looking dagger in his belt but hastens to say he "does not cross the border" -- that is leave PK-5.

"We want a president who loves his country, works for reconciliation, reduces unemployment and raises the GDP" of one of the world's poorest countries, he said.

Almost 70 percent of people live in poverty, and in 2014 the World Bank estimated per capita income at $320 (295 euros).

UN peacekeepers have beefed up their presence in the district and Muslim troops from the country's 8,000-strong armed forces have been deployed here.

At the exit of PK-5, motorcycle taxis are lined up for clients near a barricade which leads to the 5th arrondisement, or district, inhabited mainly by Christians and patrolled by Christian vigilantes.

Full report here:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167830/morocco-delays-opening-of-huge-solar-plant

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan: Taliban car bomber targets NATO convoy near Kabul airport

Dec 28, 2015

A Taliban bomber detonated an explosives-packed vehicle near Kabul airport today in an attack on a NATO convoy, killing one civilian a day after Pakistan’s army chief visited the Afghan capital in an effort to revive peace talks. Four other civilians were wounded in the early morning attack, which comes amid a worsening security situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban step up their nationwide offensive.

“The bombing occurred near Kabul airport… We are finding out more details,” Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul deputy police chief, told AFP.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter: “One civilian killed and (four) civilians wounded in today’s car bomb explosion.” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents were behind the suicide attack on a foreign forces convoy, claiming that “several invading forces were killed and wounded”. The Taliban are known to exaggerate battlefield claims. In a brief statement, NATO said it was investigating the incident. The attack comes a day after Pakistan’s powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Kabul in a bid to prepare the ground for fresh peace talks with the Taliban. “Both sides agreed that the first round of dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China will be held in January to lay out a comprehensive roadmap for peace,” the Afghan presidential palace said in a statement. There was no immediate reaction from the Taliban to the announcement of the four-party talks.

Full report here:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/suicide-car-bomb-strikes-near-kabul-airport-casualities-feared/

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Officials say only suicide bomber killed in Helmand explosion

Dec 28 2015

A suicide bomber has been killed in the explosion of his own explosives in front of a district police HQ in southern Helmand province.

The incident took place in Gerishk District around 0830 (local time) on Monday after police fired at the suicide bomber attempting to enter to the police HQ.

Shah Mahmood Ashna, spokesperson for Helmand police said there was information about the attempts being made to send a suicide bomber into the district police headquarters among the visitors.

He said as the suicide bomber arrives at the gate this morning and police fire at him after recognition, the suicide bomber then blasts his explosives.

According to Ashna, only the bomber has been killed in the explosion and there are no casualties to police or civilians.

Full report here:

http://www.khaama.com/suicide-bomber-kills-himself-in-explosion-in-helmand-4435

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One person killed as suicide car bomb strikes near Kabul airport: officials

Dec 28, 2015

KABUL: A suicide car bomb attack targeting a Nato convoy struck near Kabul airport on Monday morning, killing one civilian, Afghan officials said.

Four other civilians were wounded in the attack, interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter. "One civilian killed and (four) civilians wounded in today's car bomb explosion," he said.

However, Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi confirmed one person was killed and 13 others wounded, according to Afghanistan's Tolo News.

"The bombing occurred near Kabul airport... We are finding out more details," Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul deputy police chief, told AFP.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents were behind the suicide attack on a foreign forces convoy. The Taliban are known to exaggerate battlefield claims.

In a brief statement, Nato said it was investigating the incident.

The attack comes a day after Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif during a visit to Kabul on Sunday held meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Campbell.

During the meetings, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to take the first formal steps towards the resumption of reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and Taliban by convening a meeting in the first week of January under the recently formed ‘quadrilateral framework’ that also involves China and the United States.

The Taliban carried out another suicide attack a week earlier in which six American troops were killed and two others along with an Afghan were wounded near Bagram Airfield just north of Kabul.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229150/one-person-killed-as-suicide-car-bomb-strikes-near-kabul-airport-officials

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Taliban offensive enabled by sanctuaries in Pakistan: Ex-US defence official

Dec 28 2015

A former top American defense official has said the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan is enabled by the group’s safe havens situated in the neighboring Pakistan besides an internecine struggle among different Taliban factions playing a role in the growing violence.

“At the hands of the Taliban. This offensive is enabled by sanctuaries in Pakistan. And it has also been enabled by an internecine struggle among different Taliban factions and with a new factor in Afghanistan, Da’esh, the Islamic State, which is seeking inroads there as well,” David Sedney told PBS during an interview published on Sunday.

Sedney has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia from 2009 to 2013.

He said the insurgency activities by the Taliban group should be halted, insisting on peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Sedney also warned that violence will persist and more will die if the Afghans are not assisted in their fight against the Taliban-led insurgency.

“The Afghan forces have done very well. But we built a large Afghan army. And the numbers are there. And the Afghans are willing to fight. The big problem is, is, we didn’t put in the enablers that Defense Minister Stanekzai was talking about, air support, helicopters, intelligence. We ripped those out of Afghanistan before the Afghan forces were ready to operate on their own,” he said.

Full report here:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-offensive-enabled-by-sanctuaries-in-pakistan-ex-us-defense-official-1883

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MP Zahir Qadir says Daesh’s oppression is not tolerable anymore

Dec 28 2015

A powerful lawmaker Haji Zahir Qadir who is currently heading a group of armed volunteers against the terrorist group of the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in eastern Nangarhar province says oppression of Daesh is not tolerable anymore.

He said terrorists need to face the same fate, adding that government has not assisted the uprising civilians therefore it should not stand in front of them.

Qadir’s comments come after the uprising civilians under his command beheaded four members of Daesh to revenge.

Daesh had earlier cut off heads from four civilians in Achin District provoking others to do the same to the group.

According to Haji Ghalib Mujahid who is governor for Achin District, two of the four militants beheaded belonged to Tirah valley while the two others were from Orakzai Agency of Pakistan.

Full report here:

http://www.khaama.com/mp-zahir-qadir-says-daeshs-oppression-is-not-tolerable-anymore-4434

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Islamic State in India’s neighborhood

DECEMBER 28, 2015

While the Islamic State was top of agenda at the recent DGPs conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some experts have argued that India’s primary terror threat comes from Lashkar and others in Pakistan and not the Islamic State. This fine distinction in the Islamist threat to India came after recent remarks by Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister, on whether India would join a UN sanctioned military operation against ISIS in Syria-Iraq.

So is the Islamic State a threat to India or not and if so how much of a threat really is it ?

DGPs Conference on Islamic State threat

Terrorism, ISIS and the threat they pose through radicalisation of youths were the key issues discussed on the second day of the annual conference of DGs and IGs of police.  The police officers discussed ways to stop radicalisation of youths and the concrete steps needed to prevent the spread of dreaded terror group ISIS. The expansion of ISIS and the threat it poses to the country through radicalisation of country’s youths are topmost on the minds of police officers who have gathered here for the annual three-day conference organised by the Intelligence Bureau. There was a marathon four-hour-long session about the past and present terrorism situation in the country where the data about all the major terror strikes of the last ten years was placed before the top cops for deliberations.

Hyderabad Youth wanting to join the Islamic State

Last week three Hyderabad-based youths, suspected to have links with the ISIS, were arrested from Nagpur Airport by the ATS. According to ATS sources, the trio planning to go to Srinagar was apprehended this morning here following inputs from Telangana Police. The youths, who were allegedly attracted to the ideology of the terror outfit, were readying to board a flight for Srinagar via Nagpur when they were caught.

Nagpur arrests follow recent cases in Pune and Jaipur.

Islamic State in Bangladesh

The Islamic State terrorist group last saturday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at a packed mosque of minority Ahmadi community during Friday prayers in northwestern Bangladesh, in which 10 people were wounded. US-based monitoring group SITE reported that Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for many recent attacks in Bangladesh, said it targeted worshippers at the mosque in Bagmara town, some 250 kilometres from Dhaka, according to bdnews24 online. The monitoring group quoted Islamic State as saying that the bomber detonated an explosive belt at a mosque of the “polytheist Qadiani sect,” a derogatory term for Ahmadi Muslims, the report said.

SITE had reported Islamic State claiming credit for several previous militant attacks. Yesterday’s attack came as Muslim-majority Bangladesh celebrated the birth anniversaries of Prophets Mohammad and Jesus Christ amid festivity and tight security. The attacker had exploded the bomb he had concealed under his garments. In recent months, homegrown militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State have claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on a shrine and a mosque of minority Shia Muslims in northern Bangladesh.

Full report here:

http://www.niticentral.com/2015/12/28/islamic-state-in-indias-neighborhood-339034.html

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7,000-strong Afghan security force to guard Tapi gas pipeline: minister

Dec 28, 2015

KABUL: Afghanistan will raise a 7,000-member security force to guard the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project, Radio Pakistan reported.

Afghan Mines and Petroleum Minister Daud Shah Saba told the country's Upper House of Parliament that the force will provide security during the implementation of the project and demining the route of the pipeline.

Saba said procurement for demining will be complete by next month and the work on the clearing of the pipeline passage would begin in April 2016.

Construction on the $10 billion Tapi pipeline began earlier this December some 25 years after the inception of the project. The pipeline is to be completed by December 2019, the Turkmen president said at the groundbreaking ceremony in Ashgabat.

Earlier this month, Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov ordered state companies Turkmengaz and Turkmengazneftstroi to begin building the isolated republic's section of the pipeline.

Full report here:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229154/7000-strong-afghan-security-force-to-guard-tapi-gas-pipeline-minister

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Bangladesh police raid militant hideout, explosives found

December 28, 2015

DHAKA - Police said on Sunday they had detained three suspected members of a banned militant group and found a sniper rifle, ammunition, explosives and military suits in a hideout in southeastern Bangladesh.

The raid came days after police busted a militant hideout in the capital Dhaka as security forces stepped up a hunt for Islamist militants behind a spate of recent attacks in the Muslim-majority nation.

Police searched an apartment in the port city of Chittagong based on information from the three members of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen organisation who were caught in an earlier raid, Chittagong city police commissioner Mohammad Abdul Jalil Mondal said.

“A sniper rifle, ammunition, explosives, detonators, army uniforms and bomb-making materials were found in the apartment,” he told a news conference.

The group was believed to be behind a series of recent attacks, including bombings of a Shi’ite shrine and the shooting of three foreigners, two of whom have died.

Bangladesh has suffered a wave of Islamist militant violence in recent months, including a series of attacks on mosques, Christian priests and Hindu temples.

Full report here:

http://nation.com.pk/national/28-Dec-2015/bangladesh-police-raid-militant-hideout-explosives-found

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Armed motorcyclists shot dead polio vaccinator in Kandahar

Dec 28 2015

Unknown gunmen riding on a motorcycle have shot dead a polio vaccinator in southern Afghanistan.

Samim Khpolwak, spokesperson for the governor of Kandahar province said the incident took place in 4th PD of Kandahar city, the provincial capital, this morning.

Khpolwak said two female vaccinators were targeted in the attack, “one died on the spot and another sustained injuries,” he added.

The wounded vaccinator has been taken to hospital where doctors have expressed concern over her health condition.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Gunmen fled the area following the attack but security forces have launched a search operation to find them.

Full report here:

http://www.khaama.com/armed-motorcyclists-shot-dead-polio-vaccinator-in-kandahar-4435

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Europe

 

Are British Muslims boycotting UK’s anti-terror programme?

Dec 28, 2015

A fraction of referrals to a key British Government anti-terror scheme are being made from within the Muslim community, leading to widespread distrust and threats of a national boycott, according to reports.

ess than 10 per cent of referrals to the Prevent programme, a central plank of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, come from within the Muslim community.

The collapse in referrals means the bulk of tip-offs are originating from public services, such as schools or doctors, breeding distrust and disillusionment among some Muslim communities, it is claimed.

According to The Times, data reportedly released by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) revealed that of the 3,288 referrals to prevent in the first half of the year, just 280 – or 8.6 per cent came from within the Muslim community, or from family, friends and faith leaders.

Nearly 2,200 referrals were made by public bodies outside policing, such as social services, the NHS and education sectors. The rest were said to have come from within prisons or from police investigations.

Separate figures for the Channel scheme, a section of Prevent which handles the most serious cases, revealed that 1,355 children under 18 were referred to the service in the year to the end of October, compared to 466 the previous year.

One north London faith group that represents tens of thousands of Muslims is said to have called for a boycott of Prevent, while Muslim leaders in East London have also raised concerns that the programme is spying on youngsters.

Both campaigns have urged mosques and Muslim groups across the country to join the boycott.

Full report here:

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/12/27/foreign/are-british-muslims-boycotting-uks-anti-terror-programme/

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Germany recruits 8,500 teachers for child refugees

28 December 2015

Germany has recruited 8,500 people to teach child refugees German, as the country expects the number of new arrivals to soar past the million mark in 2015, Die Welt daily reported Sunday.

With some 196,000 children fleeing war and poverty entering the German school system this year, 8,264 “special classes” have been created to help the new arrivals catch up with their peers, Die Welt said, citing a survey carried out in 16 German federal states.

“Some 8,500 additional teachers have been recruited nationwide,” the daily said.

According to Germany’s education authority, 325,000 school-age children reached the EU country in 2015, amid Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II.

Germany expects over a millon asylum seekers this year, which is five times more than in 2014 and has put a strain on its ability to provide services to all the newcomers.

“Schools and education administrations have never been confronted with such a challenge,” Brunhild Kurth, who heads the education authority, told Die Welt.

“We must accept that this exceptional situation will become the norm for a long time to come.”

Full report here:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/28/Germany-recruits-8-500-teachers-for-child-refugees-.html

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German finance minister censures Greece for refugee policy

Dec 28, 2015

The German finance minister has censured Greece for its handling of an influx of refugees from violence-torn countries into Europe.

In an interview published in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday, Wolfgang Schaeuble said Athens has for years ignored the European Union (EU) rules that require refugees to file for asylum in the first member state of the union they arrive in. Greece is the main entry – and mainly a passage – point for most of the refugees bound for wealthier nations in Europe. At least 800,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece from Turkey via the Aegean Sea in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Greece, already strained under an economic crisis of its own, has repeatedly called on richer EU members to do more to help with the crippling refugee influx.

“Greece is a country in economic crisis, and it faces a major humanitarian crisis within a crisis,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in August, adding, “These dimensions exceed our country’s capabilities, they are European dimensions.”

Schaeuble said, “The Greeks should not only blame others for their problems, they should also consider how they can improve themselves.”

He said German courts had decided some time ago that refugees were not being treated humanely in Greece and, therefore, could not be sent back there.

Also on Sunday, Joachim Herrmann, the interior minister for the southern German state of Bavaria, echoed Schaeuble’s remarks.

“What Greece is doing is a farce,” Herrmann said in an interview with German weekly Die Welt am Sonntag, warning that any country that does not meet its commitment to secure its external borders should leave the Schengen zone, which groups a number of countries without internal border controls.

Full report here:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443518/Germany-Greece-refugee-crisis/

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British comedian, wife give $1m for Syrian refugees

 27 December 2015

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife are donating $1 million (900,000 euros) to help Syrian refugees, the charities receiving the money announced Sunday.

The "Borat" star and actress wife Isla Fisher are giving $500,000 to Save the Children to pay for measles vaccinations for children in northern Syria.

They are also donating the same amount to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries, particularly women and children, with health care, shelter and sanitation.

More than four million refugees have fled conflict in Syria for the relative safety of the neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.

Millions more have been forced to leave their homes for other parts of the country.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said the money would "save many thousands of lives and protect some of the most vulnerable children".

"By allowing us to make their generous donation to Syrian children public, Sacha and Isla are helping highlight the tragedy of the issue today," he added.

Full report here:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167835/denmark-seeks-revision-of-un-refugee-convention

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Denmark seeks revision of UN refugee convention

28 December 2015

Denmark's centre right-wing prime minister on Sunday said he would seek a revision of the UN Refugee Convention, as Europe faces its worst migration crisis since World War II.

"If this continues or gets worse... we will get to the point where we'll have to talk -- and Denmark won't be able to do it alone -- about adjusting the rules of the game," Lars Lokke Rasmussen told TV2 television.

The Danish premier, whose Venstre party rules with the backing of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP) in parliament, said the 1951 treaty should be revised in order to clarify the rights of refugees in the first country they fled to.

"If someone seeking shelter from war has lived for two or three years in Turkey, should he then go to Europe and seek asylum there? As they stand today, the rules allow people to do that, but we are going to have a discussion about that," he told the Danish television channel.

The prime minister believes the European Union, of which Denmark is a member, should lead an effort to modify the convention, which came into law just six years after World War II ended.

Full report here:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167841/denmark-seeks-revision-of-un-refugee-convention

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indian-family-values-act-as-deterrent-to-isis,-says-home-minister/d/105766

 

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