New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 02:16 PM

Islamic World News ( 10 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Indonesia's largest Muslim group joins battle against radical Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Photo: Members of Nahdatul Ulama (NU), the biggest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, hold a mass prayer session in Jakarta. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry)

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesia's largest Muslim group joins battle against radical Islam

Minister challenges scholars to elucidate concept of Indonesian Islam

PAS open to anyone who promotes Islam and nation, says Hadi

A prominent Indonesian politician wants a Trump investment ban—unless Muslims get an apology

It’s Umno betraying Malays, Islam, says Zairil

DAP-led Pakatan Harapan a ‘perception terrorist coalition’, Umno delegate says

West’s ‘rights’ demands would put humans on par with animals, JAWI says in sermon

Indonesia joins world to fight cyber-terrorism

Government still failing to promote pluralism in basic education

Police committed most human rights violations in 2015: Kontras

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India

India will have largest Muslim population in world by 2050: Research

Indian Oil Corporation manager in Jaipur arrested for ‘Islamic State links’

Terrorists of all affiliations must be countered: Manohar Parikkar

Muslim group evacuates US headquarters after getting white powder in mail

David Headley is pardoned, turns 26/11 approver

Home minister urges Muslims in MP to exercise restraint

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Mideast

Iran claims groups linked to IS are at Riyadh talks

No place for terrorists in Syria's future: Iran

IS oil going to Assad, some to Turkey: US official

Saudi-led coalition bombed schools in Yemen strikes: Amnesty

35 years jail sought over refugee toddler’s death

Sadr Movement Warns of Iraq's Crushing Response to Turkish Aggression

Blackwater Commander Killed in Yemen

Israel arrests ‘Hamas operative’ after car ramming attack

Erdogan: Turkish troops not leaving Iraq yet

3 Israelis injured in W.Bank car ramming attack

Iran president decries U.S. ‘terrorism’ after Trump remarks

Turkey urges citizens to leave Iraq, excluding Iraqi Kurdistan

Zuckerberg’s defense of Muslims floors Erdogan

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Europe

Media ignores UK anti-ISIL Muslim march

Swiss police raise terror-threat alert

UK police smash fraud network linked to Syria

Russia omits own UN envoy's Iraq remarks from transcript

Germany asks Egypt to explain journalist arrest

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Pakistan

Lal Masjid cleric moves SC for Sharia in country

Police find no terror-related evidence against Asim

Pakistan successfully test-fires Shaheen-III missile

Pak-India talks hinge on terrorism caveat

250 Hindus on yatra in Pakistan

Health care: a basic human right or plain good luck?

Pakistani Shias fighting for Iranian militia in Syria: report

Imran leaves for India today

Humans on Rights Day

US, Pakistan move for early restart of Afghan talks

Sikhs still rue blunder to annex Eastern Punjab with India

Security experts raise concern over ISIS spread

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South Asia

Bangladesh Muslim Clerics Criticize Attacks on Shi'ites, Church Leaders

Bangladesh lifts ban on Facebook

Afghan spy chief quits in protest of Ghani’s Pakistan visit

Nine injured in attack on Hindu temple in Bangladesh

Masoud Andarabi confirmed as acting Afghan intelligence chief

UNAMA condemn Kandahar airport attack as death toll climbs to 54

Bangladesh war crimes trial standard worth following

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Arab World

IS finance chief killed in Iraq air strike: US

Over 50 Terrorists Killed in Syria's Hama

Assad must leave or be forced out, says Saudi FM

ISIL Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Homs

Syria: Army Hits Militants Hard in Aleppo amid Airstrikes

Former ISIL Hostage: Jordanian Pilot Still Alive

Grand mufti lauds soldiers for protecting Saudi borders

Syrian Forces to Cut off Terrorists' Supply Routes from Jordan

Germany sends first troops, Tornados to back anti-ISIS battle

Syrian Army Forces Advancing towards Deir Hafer in Eastern Aleppo

Terrorists Killing Civilians in Reprisal for Army Advances in Aleppo

Hezbollah Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL in Northeastern Lebanon

Army Destroys Nusra Militants' Strongholds in Homs

Egypt to try 9 policemen for death in custody

Syrian opposition to meet govt for talks in early January

GCC leaders slam ‘hostile, racist’ rhetoric against Muslims, refugees

Government film on terrorism wins award

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North America

One in four Americans support Trump’s Muslim ban in US

UNSC calls for enlisting youth to counter extremism

Examining the role of Islam in radicalization

Connecticut seeks to ban arms sales to US terror suspects

Muslim group CAIR evacuates US HQ after getting white powder in mail

First Canadian plane with Syrian refugees arrives

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Africa

Tunisian Nobel Laureates call for Palestinian state

Libya rivals meet for U.N.-brokered talks

Algerian minister supports for UN solution in Libya

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesia-s-largest-muslim-group-joins-battle-against-radical-islam/d/105573

 

Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia's largest Muslim group joins battle against radical Islam

By Sujadi Siswo

10 Dec 2015

JAKARTA: Never in its 90-year history has the Nahdatul Ulama (NU) come out so forcefully to explain the brand of Islam it propagates in Indonesia.

In its 90-minute documentary film The Divine Grace of Islam Nusantara, NU explains how Islam has spread in the archipelago through local wisdom and culture.

And the teachings of the nine saints in mainland Java - popularly known as Wali Songo - is at the heart of this Islamic tradition that promotes peace and tolerance.

NU wants to promote this practice here, as radicalism takes root.

“Our primary target is our common Muslim people, because we know they need a bright line. They need this bright line that separates radical Islam from the true Islam,” said Yahya Cholil Staqful, NU secretary general. “What we need is a consensus among the societies - societal consensus - that can marginalise those radical ideologies.”

Several global organisations who supported the film's production have pooled their resources to counter the extremism being spread through popular media.

“This film was created to use technology in order to function as a loudspeaker and to easily propagate the traditional teachings of Islam that is a characteristic of not only Nusantara, or Indonesian Islam, but also the characteristics of the vast majority of Muslim population throughout the world,” said C Holland Taylor, chairman and CEO of LibForAll Foundation.

“Other organisations must also start to engage this ideological battle,” said Noor Huda Ismail, director of the Institute for International Peace-building. “Since 2002, we’ve seen a silent majority. We let the fringe minority of Muslim radicals grab the microphone and dictate the discourse.”

2002 was the year the Bali bombings shook Indonesia, and the country realised it was home to regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Jemaah Islamiyah has been decimated structurally, but its teachings and spirit are far from dead. While the JI was more of a regional phenomenon, Indonesia is now dealing with the threat and global appeal of Islamic State.

By latest estimates, 700 Indonesians have joined IS in Syria and Iraq - the largest contingent of foreign fighters from Asia. What is more worrying is that more than 160 of them are back in Indonesia.

As the face of moderate Islam in Indonesia, NU wants a bigger part in the ideological battle.

“Nahdatul Ulama has already set in motion to build a cooperation with the University of Vienna in Austria to produce counter-narratives to radical Islamic ideologies,” said Yahya Cholil Staqful.

Home to the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia can play an important role for moderate Muslims looking for good role models, as they fight the spread of radical ideas.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-s-largest/2336104.html

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Minister challenges scholars to elucidate concept of Indonesian Islam

December 11 2015

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has challenged Sunan Ampel Islamic State University (UINSA) in Surabaya and other Islamic scholars throughout the nation to formulate a concept of Islam Nusantara or Indonesian Islam.

“We have 55 State Islamic universities and 415 professors, but Indonesianist Martin van Bruinessen has questioned if Indonesia has any great works concerning Indonesian Islam,” Lukman said on Thursday at the UINSA campus in Surabaya as quoted by Antara news agency.

The minister said that Bruinessen had claimed that Indonesia could be the world’s model of an Islam that was moderate, peaceful, able to accept democracy and accommodating of human rights.

Regrettably, however, according to Bruinessen, the concept of Islam Nusantara had yet to be fully elucidated. Lukman called on professors, including those at UINSA, to conduct research in order to produce a great work on Islam Nusantara for the world.

According to Lukman, religion in Indonesia has a special status and therefore the world recognizes Indonesia as a religious nation.  He said that the existence of the Religious Affairs Ministry was a testament to the fact that the government had to pay close attention to religious issues in the nation.

He stressed the ministry’s role was to support religious practices and the development of religious knowledge as well as maintain harmony between different religions. He expressed his hopes that UINSA would help the government in these tasks.

UINSA Rector Abdul Ala Mag said that the university was currently in the process of improving its facilities to reach the standards of other world-class universities. “However, we realize that the improvement of human resources is no less important,” said Abdul. (liz/bbn)(+)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/11/minister-challenges-scholars-elucidate-concept-indonesian-islam.html

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PAS open to anyone who promotes Islam and nation, says Hadi

11 December 2015

Hadi, however, said any new development in the party’s political direction would be evaluated, discussed and decided upon by the various internal processes, including the central committee, to reach collective consensus.

This comes after Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday offered PAS the chance to work with Umno to build a “perfect Malaysia”.

In his policy speech at the Umno general assembly, Najib, also prime minister, said the party was relieved and happy that PAS was no longer with the opposition coalition.

“With an open heart and independent soul, we offer them a relationship (tali silaturrahim), we offer brotherhood (ikatan ukhuwah) towards building a perfect Malaysia,” Najib said.

Hadi said in a statement this was the right time for Umno to return to the path of Islam and to practise the religious way of life in its political, social and economic pursuit.

“For more than six decades, PAS’s struggle has been for Islam and religious law.

“The party has taken various opportunities to make the people, including political leaders, realise the importance of placing religion as the foundation for rule and to unite the Muslim brotherhood for a peaceful nation.

“PAS is also against political disobedience, abuse of power and administration and corruption.”

He stressed, however, that for now, PAS was friends with PKR and committed to this arrangement based on the decision reached at its muktamar and Syura Council.

In response to Najib’s speech yesterday, former PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the Umno president’s offer to PAS smacked of desperation and showed that Umno was no longer concerned about the non-Muslim vote.

Instead, he said, Najib and Umno wanted to pursue the Malay-Muslim vote through cooperation with PAS. – December 11, 2015.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pas-open-to-anyone-who-promotes-islam-and-nation-says-hadi

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A prominent Indonesian politician wants a Trump investment ban—unless Muslims get an apology

December 10, 2015

In August, the Trump Organization announced a deal with one of Indonesia’s largest investment groups, MNC, to manage an upcoming “six star” resort and golf property in Bali “atop the incredible southwest coast and set against the Indian Ocean and renowned Tanah Lot temple,” which dates back to the 16th century.

The prime piece of land, on a sheer cliff along the coast, reportedly cost MNC 1 trillion rupiah ($72.3 million). Trump and MNC plan a second resort in West Java, due to open in 2019.

But Donald Trump’s presidential run, and particularly his recent statement that Muslims should be barred entry from the US, is raising questions about these deals.

Today (Dec. 10), a prominent member of Indonesia’s United Development Party (PPP), HM Romahurmuziy, issued a statement (link in Indonesian) that if Trump doesn’t apologize for saying Muslims should be barred from the US, then the Indonesian people should reject his investments in the country. “The PPP calls for the rejection of Trump’s investments in any form in Indonesia,” he said.

The PPP, with a handful of other parties, is part of the nation’s ruling Outstanding Indonesia Coalition. While the Trump Organization will manage both of the upcoming Indonesian resorts, the investment is coming from MNC, local news reports say, so it is unclear what the impact of this statement could be.

Indonesia is a secular country, but nearly 90% of its 250 million people are Muslim. Trump’s comments have angered local religious groups and activists as well. The Trump Organization has long courted wealthy Muslims as tenants and customers, and businesses in the Middle East and elsewhere helped build the presidential candidate’s empire.

The PPP is not alone in denouncing Trump in Indonesia, but it appears to be the first group to bring up his business deals there.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, a group of local Islamic clerics, accused Trump (link in Indonesian) of having “no brain” and making “primitive statements.”

Full report at:

http://qz.com/570566/a-prominent-indonesian-politician-wants-a-trump-investment-ban-unless-muslims-get-an-apology/

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It’s Umno betraying Malays, Islam, says Zairil

11 December 2015

Zairil Khir Johari said apart from the fact that almost all public institutions, including the police, armed forces and judiciary, were controlled by the race, Malay rights could not be challenged from a political and legal standpoint given that any amendment to it required the approval of a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the consent of the Malay rulers.

He said instead, it was Umno which betrayed the Malay race and Islam, pointing to several financial scandals recently brought to light.

“Who is responsible for the Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim) scandal, where the funds contributed by the people were used to fund a Wanita Umno leader and her family?

“And what about claims that money from Tabung Haji was used to save 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad)?

“Not forgetting the Mara scandal where millions of ringgit worth of property were purchased abroad at hiked-up rates,” the Bukit Bendera MP said in a statement today.

Najib, in his policy speech at the Umno general assembly yesterday, warned Umno members that the opposition coalition would reject the Islamic, Malay and Bumiputera struggle if they came to power.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/its-umno-betraying-malays-islam-says-zairil

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DAP-led Pakatan Harapan a ‘perception terrorist coalition’, Umno delegate says

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

December 11, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 ― An Umno delegate called Pakatan Harapan today a “perception terrorist coalition” on the basis that the opposition pact criticised and insulted the government.

Negeri Sembilan Umno delegate Mustapha Nagoor said in a speech at the Umno general assembly here that the federal opposition worked hard to produce a “chain of lies” to cast negative perceptions against the Barisan Nasional (BN) government until such perceptions were accepted as reality.

“This opposition coalition dominated by DAP should rightfully be declared as ‘Pakatan Pengganas Persepsi’ (perception terrorist coalition),” Mustapha told delegates here.

“Why? Why ‘perception terrorist coalition’? This is because they have no mercy and only criticise and insult. Their goal is only one, to see the fall of this party,” he added.

Mustapha accused Pakatan Harapan of not having a culture of check and balance, claiming that the federal opposition pact was not interested in the truth.

“They play up their perception via all media without any censorship,” he said. “That's how evil the opposition is”.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dap-led-pakatan-harapan-a-perception-terrorist-coalition-umno-delegate-says

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West’s ‘rights’ demands would put humans on par with animals, JAWI says in sermon

December 11, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The human rights idealised by Western countries would render people incapable of differentiating right from wrong and no different from animals, the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI) said in today’s’ sermon reading.

In its weekly sermon available on its web site, it also said Islam was the first religion to recognise and sanctify the concept of human rights during pre-Islamic Arabia, when women and female children had been brutalised and killed, but “Islam came and changed it all by uplifting a woman’s status in the society”.

“The concept of ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom’ as championed by the west, is akin to putting mankind on the same level as animals.

“Just look at animals which are without reason, for they do not know rules and laws and cannot differentiate between halal and haram. They would do whatever they want, based on their nature of existence,” the sermon read.

JAWI also contested claims that Muslims’ conduct in their own privacy was not the business of religious authorities, in apparent response to the pro-moderation G25 group’s plans to review unconstitutional state Shariah enactments and laws that violate personal privacy, such as khalwat laws, and to recommend repeal or amendment.

The Islamic authority said that such calls were interference with Muslims’ constitutional right to practise their religion as they saw fit.

“It is therefore very clear that they are going against the Shariat of Islam, especially when Shariah criminal laws are already applied in this country.

“Remember, fellow members of congregation, that the laws of the country, including Shariah criminal laws, must be protected, followed and respected by all citizens,” it said.

Muslims both here and abroad view portions of human rights demanded by secular nations as incompatible with Islam, primarily the freedom of apostasy or atheism; In Islam, apostasy is punishable by death and the sentence is carried out in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/wests-rights-demands-would-put-humans-on-par-with-animals-jawi-says-in-serm

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Indonesia joins world to fight cyber-terrorism

December 10 2015

The government has joined the world in the fight to curb the spread of radicalism through the internet because terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) have intensified the online dissemination of their propaganda to lure recruits.

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said transnational cooperation was necessary to closely monitor cyberterrorism.

"We will cooperate with other countries to closely monitor websites. This is important because not all internet service providers are located here," BNPT deputy for international relations Insp. Gen. Petrus Reinhard Golose told thejakartapost.com.

Petrus said the agency had attempted to counter online propaganda through an internet platform called "Peaceful Year in Cyberspace.”

Quoting Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJII) data, the BNPT said there were 81.1 million internet users in Indonesia in 2014, of which 49 percent were young people and children who were vulnerable to IS influence through social media.

A similar statement was made by Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) legal attache Joseph Callahan, who said counterterrorism attempts should focus on the internet as terrorist groups used it as a propaganda machine to radicalize people online.

Callahan said terrorist groups also used the internet to raise funds for their organizations, of which all countries needed to be aware.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/10/indonesia-joins-world-fight-cyber-terrorism.html

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Government still failing to promote pluralism in basic education

December 10 2015

The government needs to push all educational institutions to actively promote values of tolerance and diversity because education plays an important role in encouraging the basic foundation of pluralism, experts say.

According to Rafendi Djamin, the Indonesian representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), one approach would be to include elements promoting diversity in the national curriculum, which the government has so far failed to do.

“Education, particularly in schools, plays a significant role in countering intolerance and radicalism because it is the place where students can learn tolerant attitudes,” he said on Monday.

He said, however, that the country’s education system, particularly the formal system, still promoted intolerance and could spread fundamentalism.

Federation for Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) secretary-general Retno Listyarti acknowledged that pluralistic values at schools were fading, shown by the obligation to read the holy book every morning in state schools.

She added that religious radicalism and extremism had entered the education sector through extracurricular activities, such as Islamic spirituality organizations.

“However, many teachers and stakeholders at schools often turn a blind eye, acting like everything’s fine with their students,” Retno said.

Ismail Hasani, research director at pluralism watchdog the Setara Institute, said that the government should be more serious in educating teachers, such as training them in how to promote tolerance in class.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/10/government-still-failing-promote-pluralism-basic-education.html

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Police committed most human rights violations in 2015: Kontras

December 10 2015

The National Police (Polri) committed the highest number of human rights violations this year, according to a recent finding by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

During 2015, there were at least 238 human rights related violations throughout the country and 85 of them were committed by Polri. Violations included the forced dissolution of actions or events, apprehension and persecution and the prohibition of reportage, explained Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/10/police-committed-most-human-rights-violations-2015-kontras.html

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India

 

India will have largest Muslim population in world by 2050: Research

December 10, 2015

New Delhi: A research has suggested that India will have the largest population of Muslims in the world by the year 2050.

A study by Pew Research Center suggests that India will have over 30 crore (300 million) Muslims by 2050.

At present, Indonesia has the world’s single largest Muslim population, Daily Mail reports.

The research also found that Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world at present. They are all set to overtake Christians by the end of this century.

The study also concluded that 10 percent of the European population will be Muslim by the year 2050.

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/india-will-have-largest-muslim-population-in-world-by-2050-research_1833089.html

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Indian Oil Corporation manager in Jaipur arrested for ‘Islamic State links’

by Mahim Pratap Singh

Dec 11, 2015

The Rajasthan ATS Thursday arrested a marketing manager of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in Jaipur on charges of “working for the Islamic State”, publicising its ideology online and via social media, and “instigating youth to join IS”.

Thirty-year-old Mohammad Sirajuddin, from M B Nagar in Gulbarga, Karnataka, was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Posted as Marketing Manager (Sales) at the IOC office, Sirajuddin had been living in Jaipur since April 2014.

According to the ATS, he was using Internet groups and forums to instigate Muslim youth to join the IS. The ATS said it had “solid information” on Sirajuddin’s activities which were “confirmed” following an interrogation and data analysis of his online activity.

“You could say he was recruiting people for the IS. He had created several groups on WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and other social media platforms to publicise IS ideology,” Alok Tripathi, Additional DGP (ATS), told The Indian Express.

“He has confessed he was working for the IS. We are investigating the case further to find out if he had links with anyone else in Rajasthan,” Tripathi said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/indian-oil-corporation-manager-in-jaipur-held-for-islamic-state-links/

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Muslim group evacuates US headquarters after getting white powder in mail

Dec 11, 2015

A Muslim advocacy group evacuated its national headquarters on Capitol Hill on Thursday after receiving a letter containing white powder, but staff were later allowed to re-enter after authorities conducted preliminary tests and deemed the substance harmless.

The letter received by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also contained a note that read, “Die a painful death, Muslims,” according to CAIR staff attorney Maha Sayed. “Our fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on,” said Sayed.

In California, a CAIR branch office in the Bay Area city of Santa Clara, was also evacuated on Thursday after receiving an envelope with an unknown powder inside, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. Further details were not available because local authorities could not immediately be reached.

Law enforcement authorities and Muslim communities around the United States have braced for a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after two Muslims shot dead 14 people in California last week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism.

The presence of white powder in the letter sent to CAIR was reminiscent of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17.

The FBI has taken possession of the letter, and will test it further, according to FBI spokesman Andrew Ames. About three CAIR employees came into contact with the powder and were quarantined in the building while police and firefighters investigated the scene, said group spokesman Hooper, adding that the rest of the office staff waited outside on the sidewalk.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/muslim-group-evacuates-us-headquarters-after-getting-white-powder-in-mail/

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David Headley is pardoned, turns 26/11 approver

Dec 11, 2015

David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani American who scouted targets for the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008 by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, was granted pardon by a Mumbai special court and made an approver and a witness in the case against plotter Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.

Headley was pardoned on the condition that he make full disclosure of the criminal conspiracy behind the attacks as well as his role and those of others in it. His statement will be recorded by a TADA court on February 8, 2016.

With pleas for his extradition repeatedly denied, Headley (55) appeared before the court through video-conference from an undisclosed location in the United States where he is serving a 35-year jail term for his role in the attacks.

In the court, TV screens were mounted on opposite walls on either side of the judge’s dais. From Arthur Road Jail, Ansari occupied one screen while the other screen had two views — a yellow table where Headley would take his place, and a conference room in Washington where Mark Tellitocci, from the Office of International Affairs at the US Department of Justice, watched the proceedings with Nandkumar Mishra, minister at the Indian Embassy in Washington and J S Parmar, an attache at the embassy.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni was in attendance as were policemen in plainclothes.

Wearing a cream half-sleeve shirt, Ansari appeared on the screen first and Judge G A Sanap asked him if he could hear and see the court proceedings. “Ji sir,” he replied. Those would be Ansari’s only words all evening.

Sanap then addressed Headley, asking him his full name, age and address. “My name is Dawood Geelani. Also I go by David Headley,” he said. The address would not be disclosed.

Read Also: The Headley Plan

The judge told Headley that he faced charges of hatching a conspiracy with the LeT, waging war against the government of India, intentionally aiding and abetting (LeT) knowing that it would kill 166 innocent persons and injure 237 between November 26 and November 28, 2008, as well as under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Headley was wearing a black short-sleeve coverall, and was flanked by his attorneys, Robert Seeder and John Theis, Assistant US Attorney Sarah Streicker and FBI agent Raymundo Nagera. He announced his readiness to answer questions of the court if he was given a pardon.

Headley read out a prepared statement after Sanap read out the charges levelled against him by the Mumbai Police crime branch and asked if he had anything to say.

“I have reviewed the charging documents filed against me in this court. It charges me with the same conduct for which I was charged in the United States. I have pleaded guilty in the past to the charges in the United States and I admitted I was a participant in the charges. I accepted responsibility for my role in those offences in my plea agreement. I also agreed to make myself available as a witness in this court. I appeared here ready to answer questions regarding these events if I receive a pardon from this court. That’s it. Thank you,” Headley said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/2611-david-headley-appears-in-court-via-video-video-link-agees-to-become-witness-if-granted-pardon/

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Home minister urges Muslims in MP to exercise restraint

Dec 10, 2015

Protests by Muslims across the state against Kamlesh Tiwari, a Hindu Mahasabha leader from Uttar Pradesh who allegedly made derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed, seems to have alarmed the Madhya Pradesh government. However in Indore, a saffron brigade organised a demonstration demanding sedition charges against the people who allegedly raised slogans in favour of Pakistan.

On Thursday, home minister Babulal Gaur in Bhopal appealed to the members of the community to “exercise restraint.” The minister said the statement was made in Uttar Pradesh, not in Madhya Pradesh.

“They must understand that Madhya Pradesh has nothing to do with the reported remarks against Prophet Mohammad. It all took place in Uttar Pradesh. Hence, I would like to make an appeal to Muslim community members to maintain peace and order in the state,” Gaur said.

His appeal comes a day after a law and order review meeting with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several senior officials.

Gaur told Hindustan Times over the phone that there was “no propriety behind Muslims protesting in Madhya Pradesh for something that took place in another state, especially when action had been taken against the person who made the remark.”

Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested by Lucknow police on December 3 after his statement against Muslims and Prophet Mohammad led to widespread spontaneous protests in UP and elsewhere in the country. The Hindu Mahasabha also distanced itself from Tiwari, claiming that he was not a member of their organisation and that their name had been misused by him.

On December 8, hundreds of Muslims gathered at Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal demanding action against the leader of a fringe Hindu outfit.

Similar protests were organised by members of the community in Indore, Dhar, Raisen, Harda and a few other parts of the state. In Indore, a section of protestors pelted stones on shops and vehicles on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/home-minister-urges-muslims-in-mp-to-exercise-restraint/story-4hH6eZ3xjNrBjLkczlfnML.html

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Mideast

 

Iran claims groups linked to IS are at Riyadh talks

Dec 11 2015

ANKARA: Iran claimed on Thursday groups linked to militant Islamic State (IS) group were involved in talks on forming a delegation for negotiations on the future of Syria, the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars reported.

Delegates from Syrian opposition and rebel groups agreed in Riyadh on Thursday to bring together political and armed factions in a single body in preparation for possible peace talks with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran is a crucial ally of Assad in Syria's four-year-old civil war.

"Some of the terrorist groups linked to IS are involved in the (Riyadh) talks ... these terrorist groups will not be allowed to decide Syria's future," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, according to Fars.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225683/iran-claims-groups-linked-to-is-are-at-riyadh-talks

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No place for terrorists in Syria's future: Iran

Dec 10, 2015

The Islamic Republic has dismissed a Saudi-hosted conference attended by Syria militant groups and so-called opposition figures, warning that terrorists will not be allowed to decide about the future of Syria.

“We do not approve of the Riyadh meeting," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Tehran on Thursday. "Terrorists will never be allowed to present themselves as moderate opposition and formulate the future of Syria and the region.”

Stressing that some groups linked to Daesh Takfiri terrorists attended the conference, he said the United Nations is responsible for identifying who constitutes opposition or terrorist.

The two-day Riyadh event started on Wednesday in an attempt to unify so-called Syria opposition groups before potential negotiations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a statement issued at the end of the Riyadh meeting, the participants agreed to negotiate with the Damascus government but insisted President Assad must step down at the start of a political transition set out last month in Vienna.

The participants are ready to negotiate with representatives of the Syrian government “within a specific time frame that would be agreed on with the United Nations,” the statement read, adding, however, that the Syrian President and his aides must “quit power with the start of the transition period.”

Last week, Amir-Abdollahian had warned against any "sideline talks" outside the provisions of the recent agreement reached in Vienna on the crisis in Syria.

Division in Riyadh talks

Separately on Thursday, Ahrar al-Sham, a terrorist group operating in Syria, announced that it had withdrawn from the Riyadh conference, citing "the fundamental role... given to personalities” linked to the government of President Assad at the event.

The militant group, which is allied with the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, further stressed that it "rejects the outcomes" of the meeting.

The move came as two rounds of international talks on the conflict in Syria, attended by Iran, were held in the Austrian capital, on October 30 and November 14.

At the end of the mid-November round of the Vienna negotiations, the participants agreed to meet again in “approximately one month” to review progress toward a ceasefire and the start of a political process in Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/10/441166/Iran-Syria-Saudi-Arabia-Riyadh-Hossein-AmirAbdollahian-

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IS oil going to Assad, some to Turkey: US official

Dec 11 2015

LONDON: The militant Islamic State (IS) group has made more than $500 million trading oil with significant volumes sold to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some finding its way to Turkey, a senior United States (US) Treasury official said on Thursday.

The US, France, Britain and Russia have vowed to defeat IS which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

A US-led coalition is bombing the militant group, as is Assad's only big-power supporter Russia, in an attempt to kill its leaders and cripple the oil wells which the group uses to finance its rule and attacks abroad.

In one of the most detailed public explanations of IS's oil trade, US Treasury Department official Adam Szubin said militants were selling as much as $40 million a month of oil at the installations which was then spirited on trucks across the battlelines of the Syrian civil war and sometimes further.

"ISIL is selling a great deal of oil to the Assad regime," Szubin, acting under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence with the Treasury, told an audience at Chatham House in London.

"The two are trying to slaughter each other and they are still engaged in millions and millions of dollars of trade," Szubin said of Assad's government and IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The "far greater amount" of IS oil ends up under Assad's control while some is consumed internally in IS-controlled areas. Some ends up in Kurdish regions and some in Turkey, he said.

"Some is coming across the border into Turkey," Szubin said when asked for details on the money trail.

"Our sense is that ISIL is taking its profits basically at the wellhead and so while you do have ISIL oil ending up in a variety of different places that's not really the pressure we want when it comes to stemming the flow of funding it really comes down to taking down their infrastructure," he said.

Szubin said it was unclear whether the $40 million a month estimate could be multiplied over a year. But in remarks prepared for delivery, he said IS had made more than $500 million from the oil trade, but did not give a more specific time period.

'Secure the Turkish border'

After Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had intelligence that large amounts of oil and petroleum products were moving across the border from IS territories to Turkey.

The son of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has denied Russian allegations that he and his family were profiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from IS-held territory.

"There is no question that better security, closing the Turkish border to flows is a key component right now and we are looking to the Turks to do more in that respect," Szubin said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225506/is-oil-going-to-assad-some-to-turkey-us-official

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Saudi-led coalition bombed schools in Yemen strikes: Amnesty

Dec 11 2015

DUBAI: Amnesty International said Friday that a Saudi-led coalition had bombed schools in Yemen, violating international humanitarian law and denying access to education for thousands of children.

The London-based rights group called on "all states who supply arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, including the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK), to suspend all transfers of weapons which are being used to commit violations of international law".

Riyadh and its allies launched air strikes in Yemen in late March to support forces loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels overran much of the country.

Rights watchdogs have accused the coalition of breaking the laws of war and killing civilians, but it has repeatedly denied targeting them.

In a report titled "Our kids are bombed", Amnesty said it investigated five air strikes on schools between August and October, killing five civilians and injuring at least 14, including four children.

"In some cases the schools were struck more than once, suggesting the strikes were deliberately targeted," the group said.

Students were not inside the schools during the attacks, but the strikes caused serious damage that has disrupted the education of more than 6,500 children in Hajja, Hodeida and Sanaa provinces, it said.

"No evidence could be found in any of the five cases to suggest the schools had been used for military purposes," it added.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225682/saudi-led-coalition-bombed-schools-in-yemen-strikes-amnesty

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35 years jail sought over refugee toddler’s death

December 11, 2015

ANKARA - Turkish prosecutors Thursday demanded 35-year jail terms for two alleged people-smugglers blamed for the death of a three-year-old boy whose beached corpse came to symbolise Syria’s refugee crisis, local media reported.

The suspects, both Syrians, stand accused of “causing death by deliberate negligence” and “migrant smuggling” after five Syrian refugees including Kurdish toddler Aylan Kurdi died when their boat sank in September while on its way to Greece, state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

The sight of Aylan’s body, face down in the sand on a beach outside the southwestern resort of Bodrum, caused an outpouring of anger across the world, pressuring European leaders to begin to tackle the refugee crisis.

Aylan’s mother and brother, who were in the flimsy boat seeking to cross the Aegean Sea for the Greek island of Kos, died in the same accident. His father, who survived, returned to the Syrian town of Kobane to bury his family.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/35-years-jail-sought-over-refugee-toddler-s-death

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Sadr Movement Warns of Iraq's Crushing Response to Turkish Aggression

Dec 10, 2015

"If the Turkish forces don’t withdraw from Iraq, the Islamic resistance will target them with new and advanced technics," Safa al-Tamimi told FNA on Thursday.

Noting that the Sadr movement assumes any foreign force in Iraq as a legitimate target for the Islamic resistance's attacks since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, he said that the Sadr movement's resistance against aggression takes place in several phases, including political negotiations, issuing ultimatum and confrontation.

"If the Turkish government doesn’t withdraw its forces, Iraq will show a more serious reaction," Tamimi warned.

Turkey deployed hundreds of personnel to a camp in Northern Iraq's Bashiqa region, located near the city of Mosul, currently controlled by the ISIL. Ankara has called it a routine rotation to train Iraqis to retake Mosul.

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi gave Turkey 24 hours to withdraw its troops from Iraq to avoid the matter being reviewed by the UN Security Council. Turkey has refused to do so.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000302

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Blackwater Commander Killed in Yemen

Dec 10, 2015

Baikenbah, a Mexican national, intended to reach al-Amri military base near Bab al-Mandab region with the support of Sudanese mercenaries but was hunted by the Yemeni army and popular forces, al-Ahd news website quoted a military source as saying on Thursday.

"Several other Argentinian and British mercenaries were also killed during the operations and their corpses were transferred from al-Anad military base by a US chopper," the source added.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Yemeni army and popular forces killed over a dozen Blackwater militias in an attack on a military base in the province of Ta'iz.

A sum of 14 Blackwater mercenaries, including a British, a French, an Australian and six Colombians were killed in an attack on al-Amri military base in Zobab region in Ta'iz province near the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

After pulling out its troops from Yemen, the UAE recruited and sent Colombian forces to Yemen to replace its regular troops.

Yemeni Army Spokesman Sharaf Luqman has said that the Blackwater forces dispatched to Yemen comprise Al-Nusra, the ISIL and Al-Qaeda terrorists.

The UAE had previously sent mercenaries from Latin America, specially Colombia, to Yemen without prior coordination with Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates has quietly built an army of Latin American mercenaries to fight for Yemen’s deposed government in a proxy war.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000388

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Israel arrests ‘Hamas operative’ after car ramming attack

11 December 2015

Israeli forces have arrested an alleged member of the militant group Hamas on suspicion of running over four Israeli soldiers, leaving one in serious condition, the army said on Friday.

“Overnight, in a joint operation... forces arrested the attacker who yesterday rammed his vehicle into soldiers near Beit Aryeh, injuring four,” an army statement said.

The statement identified him as Mohammed Abdel Hamid Salam, an operative with Hamas who was previously known to security sources.

Thursday’s attack, at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, left one soldier severely wounded and three others with light injuries, Israeli rescue services said.

The incident took place near the Jewish settlement of Beit Aryeh.

The suspect’s vehicle was later found with an assault rifle belonging to one of the targeted soldiers inside, Israeli police said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Israel-arrests-Hamas-operative-after-car-ramming-attack.html

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Erdogan: Turkish troops not leaving Iraq yet

11 December 2015

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said it was “out of the question for the moment” that Turkish troops would withdraw from Iraq, after Baghdad accused Ankara of sending them in without permission.

The row has badly soured relations and saw the Turkish ambassador to Iraq summoned on Saturday to demand that Turkey immediately withdraw hundreds of troops deployed in recent days in northern Iraq, near the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul.

Iraq’s foreign ministry said Turkish forces had entered Iraqi territory without the knowledge of Baghdad, which viewed their presence as a “hostile act”.

Speaking at a news conference, Erdogan said the troops were there to train Kurdish peshmerga fighters and not for combat purposes. He reiterated an earlier statement that they had been deployed following an invitation by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last year.

“The number of our soldiers (in northern Iraq) might increase or decrease depending on the number of peshmerga being trained,” Erdogan stated.

“Withdrawing our soldiers is out of the question for the moment.”

Erdogan said there would be a trilateral meeting between Turkey, the United States and Kurdish northern Iraqi authorities on Dec. 21 but made no mention of talks with Baghdad.

Later on Thursday, prime ministerial sources said PM Ahmet Davutoglu had at the request of U.S. officials spoken to Vice President Joe Biden.

Davutoglu told Biden that Turkey co-ordinating with Iraq in its efforts to tackle ISIS, and that a letter to the Iraqi prime minister laying out the Turkish position was being delivered by a high-level delegation which included Turkey’s spy chief, Hakan Fidan.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Erdogan-Turkish-troops-not-leaving-Iraq-yet.html

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3 Israelis injured in W.Bank car ramming attack

10 December 2015

Israeli emergency medical services say three Israelis have been injured after a Palestinian driver rammed into them near the West Bank settlement of Beit Arieh.

Emergency services spokesman Yonatan Yagodovsky said on Thursday that one Israeli was badly injured in the attack.

It's the latest incident in nearly three months of Palestinian shootings, stabbings and attacks using cars.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says Israeli forces are searching for the attacker, who escaped into the nearby Palestinian village of Luban. The village is close to the border between Israel and the West Bank.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/3-Israelis-injured-in-West-Bank-car-ramming-attack.html

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Iran president decries U.S. ‘terrorism’ after Trump remarks

10 December 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has accused the United States of having “created terrorism” as he reacted to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

During a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rowhani said “Islam is the religion of goodness and peace”.

“Unfortunately certain people around the world claim that Muslims should be barred from entry in order to fight terrorism,” he said.

“These are particularly bizarre remarks because they (the United States) themselves created terrorism... with their money and their men, and plant the seeds of terrorism in the region.”

On Monday, Republican frontrunner Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States, saying the ban should remain in place “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/Iran-president-decries-us-terrorism-after-Trump-remarks-.html

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Turkey urges citizens to leave Iraq, excluding Iraqi Kurdistan

10 December 2015

Turkey on Wednesday called on its citizens to leave all areas of Iraq, excluding Iraqi Kurdistan, due to increased security risks, the foreign ministry said.

“The scope of our travel warning to Iraq has expanded to include all provinces except for Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniyah,” all of which are in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

The foreign ministry warned against non-essential travel to several provinces in Iraq including Basra, Najaf, Anbar and Kirkuk and said: “We strongly advise those whose stay is not essential to leave those provinces as soon as possible.”

Ankara cited increasing threats targeting Turkish companies recently, as well as declarations encouraging violence, abduction and attacks.

The foreign ministry also called on citizens living in the Iraqi Kurdish region to stay away from areas where operations are taking place against the ISIS group and to obey warnings and guidance from the Iraqi Kurdish administration.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/Turkey-urges-citizens-to-leave-Iraq-excluding-Iraqi-Kurdistan.html

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Zuckerberg’s defense of Muslims floors Erdogan

11 December 2015

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for emphasizing the difference between Islam and terror, after the billionaire posted a message defending Muslims against discrimination.

Erdogan, who once threatened to ban Facebook in his country, used his official page on the website to respond to Zuckerberg both in Turkish and in English.

“I highly value Mark Zuckerberg’s message for pointing out the profound difference between Islam and terrorism since these two concepts are often mentioned in the same breath these days,” he wrote.

“As I always express on different platforms, Islam is a religion of peace. Murderous networks that abuse Islam for their self-serving goals are massacring innocent people every day, particularly Muslims.”

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said that the Muslim community should not have to fear being “persecuted for the actions of others” following attacks in Paris and elsewhere carried out by extremists.

“If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/848796

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Europe

 

Media ignores UK anti-ISIL Muslim march

10 December 2015

Thousand's of people took part in a massive anti-ISIL march on Sunday, however mainstream media outlets failed to cover the event, coordinated coordinated by the Husaini Islamic Trust UK.

"This year we had hundreds of placards which were basically saying 'no' to terrorism and 'no' to ISIL. A very direct message," organiser Waqar Haider said.

"For us it was a controversial move to go political. Normally we don’t mix politics with mourning. However with what's happened recently, we thought we had to make sure we as a community totally disassociate ourselves with what's happening elsewhere in the world," he added.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167244/media-ignores-uk-anti-isil-muslim-march

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Swiss police raise terror-threat alert

10 December 2015

Swiss police have raised the threat level in the capital after receiving reports that suspects linked to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks might be in the area .

The Geneva Department of Security said in a statement on Thursday that police “were actively looking for people whose description was provided by the Swiss authorities”.

Additional police have deployed in the Geneva area, the authorities added.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167247/swiss-police-raise-terror-threat-alert

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UK police smash fraud network linked to Syria

11 December 2015

Britain convicted nine men in a case of “industrial-scale fraud” on Thursday after a terrorism investigation uncovered suspect payments into an account of a person who had travelled to Syria.

In a £1 million (1.4 million euro) scam, the men targeted elderly and vulnerable people in the south of England by pretending to inform them of bank fraud, then persuading them to hand over cash to “keep it safe”, police said.

“We uncovered this fraud after a separate terrorist investigation found suspicious payments into a bank account of an individual who is now believed to have travelled to Syria,” said Richard Walton, head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit.

Police identified Makzhumi Abukar, who directed the frauds from a north London address, as being the main organizer of the network.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/11/UK-police-smash-fraud-network-linked-to-Syria.html

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Russia omits own UN envoy's Iraq remarks from transcript

11 December 2015

Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations has removed its ambassador's remarks from the official transcript about why Moscow raised a row between Iraq and Turkey in the UN Security Council.

At a press conference Tuesday, following a closed-door meeting of the Security Council on the deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was asked why he raised the issue and whether Iraq made a request that the issue be taken up in the Council.

"Come on! They sent a letter to the Security Council. This is something which triggered our request to hold informal consultations. There were complaints to the Security Council," he responded.

His remarks, however, did not make it into the official transcript, which was published on the mission's website.

Instead, the transcript quotes only the ambassador as saying that “Iraq did complain! There were public complains [sic] by the Prime-Minister of Iraq and other officials so it was not our invention."

Churkin’s Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, also denied Tuesday that his country had sent a letter to the 15-member council.

"We are working on this bilaterally between Baghdad and Ankara, and when we need, we have letters available to the Security Council, but they have not been issued by Baghdad yet," he said, adding that the letter Churkin referred to might be a letter sent by Iraq on June 25, 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167257/assange-warns-world-has-lost-privacy-battle

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Germany asks Egypt to explain journalist arrest

10 December 2015

Berlin has asked Cairo to explain why prominent Egyptian journalist Ismail Alexandrani was arrested on his return from Germany last month, AFP learnt Thursday.

In a reply to queries from lawmaker Franziska Brantner over the arrest, deputy foreign minister Maria Boehmer wrote: "The government is following this case closely and has sought clarification from the Egyptian embassy."

It remained unclear whether Alexandrani had been detained over information provided by the Egyptian embassy during his trip here, Boehmer added in the letter seen by AFP.

The journalist's lawyers had said that he was detained on November 29 on charges of publishing false information and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

A security official confirmed Alexandrani's arrest but refused to comment on any charges.

Thousands of activists, as well as several journalists, have been detained since then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew his first ever democratically elected predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167252/germany-asks-egypt-to-explain-journalist-arrest

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Pakistan

 

Lal Masjid cleric moves SC for Sharia in country

December 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Red Mosque cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz on Thursday filed a writ petition in Supreme Court for the imposition of Sharia in the country.

The petition asked for amending the constitution, if needed, for the early promulgation of Sharia and added that the government is violating Article 5 of the Constitution by no imposing Sharia. In his petition, Abdul Aziz stated that the articles related to Islam in the constitution should be immediately implemented along with the recommendation of Islamic Ideology Council. President, National Assembly speaker, Islamic Ideology Council chairman and all the four governors were made respondents in the petition filed by Maulana Abdul Aziz through his counsel, Advocate Tariq Asad.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/11-Dec-2015/lal-masjid-cleric-moves-sc-for-sharia-in-country

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Police find no terror-related evidence against Asim

IMRAN AYUB

Dec 11, 2015

KARACHI: In what appeared to be a rejection of Pakistan Rangers’ allegations against former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain, police said on Thursday it had found “no terror-related evidence” against the senior PPP leader and aide to its co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari.

According to officials, the development may lead to Dr Hussain’s release on bail more than three months after his arrest.

The disclosure by the Karachi police authorities came three days after the former minister told the administrative judge of anti-terrorism courts that he was being tortured to make a bogus confession. He denied all allegations against him.

Also read: SHC seeks reply from MQM's Waseem Akhtar in Rs500m Rangers libel case

Following the end of his 90-day preventive detention on Nov 25, the Rangers had handed over Dr Hussain to police after lodging a case against him for allegedly treating and harbouring terrorists at the North Nazima­bad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of leaders of the MQM and the PPP.

“We have completed our investigation,” SSP (investigation) Arab Maher told Dawn. “The IO [investigation officer] has sent me a report which says that the police have not found any evidence so far in support of terror-related charges levelled against Dr Asim Hussain. So we are dropping those charges from the FIR.”

Asked about the fate of Dr Hussain after the charges of terrorism were dropped, the official said he could be released on bail under Section 497-B of the Criminal Procedure Code because no cognisable offence was left to keep him in custody.

The arrest of Dr Hussain, Chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, came on Aug 26 and was described as the first major action against PPP leaders during the ongoing Karachi operation.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1221620/nab-to-seek-custody-of-dr-asim-hussain

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Pakistan successfully test-fires Shaheen-III missile

Dec 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan conducted a successful test launch of the medium-range Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile, according to a statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The missile is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 2,750 km.

The ISPR statement added that the test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.

The impact point of the flight test was in the Arabian Sea, validating all the desired parameters.

The test was witnessed by senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Strategic Forces, Scientists and Engineers of Strategic Organisations.

Read Sound bytes: 'Pakistan is engaged in nuclear competition'

Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Mazhar Jamil, congratulated the Scientists and Engineers on achieving a significant milestone in complementing the deterrence capability. He asserted that Pakistan desires peaceful co-existence in the region for which nuclear deterrence would further strengthen strategic stability in South Asia.

Lt Gen Mazhar Jamil appreciated the technical prowess, dedication and commitment of scientists who contributed whole heartedly to make this launch a success.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225688/pakistan-successfully-test-fires-shaheen-iii-missile

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Pak-India talks hinge on terrorism caveat

BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

Dec 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan-India agreement on resumption of dialogue on bilateral disputes may have provided an opening for a thaw in an otherwise frosty relationship, but an inbuilt caveat and the unspoken subtext could make progress towards the start of talks challenging.

The two countries, helped by US, UK and Germany, made quick progress in the past 10 days from the ice-breaker in Paris to an agreement in Islamabad on resuming dialogue after a hiatus of nearly two years.

Also read: Pakistan, India agree to restart ‘comprehensive’ dialogue process

The statement — issued on Wednesday following Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz — said that there was an agreement on engaging in a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ for which foreign secretaries would work out the modalities and schedule. Ms Swaraj was in Islamabad to attend the Heart of Asia ministerial conference.

Foreign secretaries likely to discuss modalities in January

But a clearer picture of how the process would play out emerges from a closer reading of the second and third paras of the joint statement on the resumption of talks.

“The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial. Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue…” the statement read.

A source privy to the negotiations and the drafting of the agreement pointed out the centrality of the insertion of the word “accordingly” in the statement and noted that the commencement of the process was predicated on Pakistan fulfilling its commitment regarding the speedy conclusion of the trial of Mumbai attack suspects.

The snail-paced trial by a Pakistani court of the seven men accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack has been one of the major sticking points in the relationship, with New Delhi regularly accusing Islamabad of insincerity.

The inclusion of the condition regarding conclusion of the Mumbai trial, the source explained, was done under international pressure.

“This would be a major obstacle, let’s see how it is addressed,” the source observed.

In the meantime, the Pakistani government has already begun to face domestic backlash for the omission of Samjhota Express from the joint statement – an issue that it had, in the past, always flagged alongside Mumbai.

The two terrorism incidents could not be kept together because of their different contexts, the source said, adding that there was more on cooperation against terrorism than is apparent in the statement.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225594/pak-india-talks-hinge-on-terrorism-caveat

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Health care: a basic human right or plain good luck?

Dec 11, 2015

KARACHI: “A poster, a simple, arresting image combined by a powerful piece of text, can be a force for change,” believes Poster For Tomorrow, a community of artists who came together in 2009 to make visual displays, in specific posters, a primary medium of activism.

In 2015 a basic human right was once again selected to be addressed in their annual exhibition, and thousands of entries from over five continents saw posters designed to depict the right to health care. The T2F on Thursday opened its doors for the public to view the top 100 posters shortlisted this year.

In previous years the themes have varied; from the abolition of the death penalty, the right to education, as well as the universal right to fair employment, all have aimed to create awareness of injustice around the world.

This year’s exhibition raises awareness of the necessity of health care and the unfortunate reality of the limits of its accessibility.

The exhibit had several colourful posters, however, the message they delivered was very bleak. With health care a basic human right, the reality on ground is far from ideal. Harrowing statistics highlight the disparity between the haves and the have nots with regards to medical services, sanitation, adequate food to eat and clear water to drink.

The minimalistic backdrop allowed the message about lack of access to health care to be further amplified and be a commentary on society by highlighting uncomfortable truths.

Sanctions and wars was one such truth that was depicted in several posters. Representing Iran, Dariush Allahyari’s poster was among the top 10 from 4,980 original submissions. With Iran at the receiving end of sanctions for several decades, the simple statement of Allahyari’s poster reads “Sanctions are silent war.” The image of two white pills attached to ammunition used in warfare is hard-hitting.

Eva Chan from Belgium, also among the top 10, designed a poster of a maze with the emergency department of a hospital smack in the middle. “We’re Not All Well-Born in the Maze” is the accompanying statement, as if mocking those who design health care services similar to a never-ending maze that the disadvantaged cannot escape from.

And who constitute the disadvantaged, one may ask? According to Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, World Health Organisation Regional director for Europe, “the differences within and between countries — in income levels, opportunities and health status — are greater today than at any time in recent history.”

She also shared how the contributions of Poster for Tomorrow are pertinent in today’s era. “These posters excellently illustrate the inequalities in health and delivery of health services. It has become necessary to undertake a joint effort involving all government sectors, international organisations, professionals, civil society and individuals to achieve health and well-being for all.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225527/health-care-a-basic-human-right-or-plain-good-luck

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Pakistani Shias fighting for Iranian militia in Syria: report

December 11, 2015

BEIRUT: For years, websites linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have posted articles eulogizing Shia fighters who die in Syria. But two men heralded last month for dying to defend a shrine near Damascus were different from most martyrs given such treatment in the past: they were Pakistanis.

The men were part of the Zeinabiyoun, a unit of Pakistani fighters named for a granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) buried in the shrine, the latest contingent in an Iranian drive to recruit Shias from the region to fight in Syria.

The increase in the number of “martyrdom” notices of fighters from the group this year indicates they are taking a more active role in the conflict. A posting in mid-November on a Twitter account bearing the group’s name displayed the pictures of 53 men, described as fighters killed in battle.

While there has been no official announcement of their total numbers, a regional source familiar with the issue said there were hundreds of Pakistanis fighting in Syria, many stationed around the shrine of Prophet Mohammad’s (pbuh) granddaughter Zainab.

Iran’s recruitment of the Pakistani fighters adds yet another international dimension to Syria’s 4-year-old civil war, which has deepened sectarian divisions across the Muslim world and drawn in most regional and global powers.

Shias in Pakistan are helping to defend the government of Tehran’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad, who is also supported by Russian air strikes and fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, against an array of Sunni rebels backed by Turkey and Arab states. The United States, Turkey, Arab and European powers are also participating in a coalition bombing Islamic State.

A Facebook page bearing the name of the Zeinabiyoun showed pictures of what was described as a funeral in Iran in late November, with members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard standing next to men in shalwar kameez, the traditional dress worn in Pakistan.

“The Zeinabiyoun are a Pakistani Shias’ outfit that’s run by the IRGC,” said Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland and adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has done extensive research on Shia groups fighting in Syria, using an acronym to refer to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“They’ve put together their own imagery, their own recruitment type material. They really became more of a marketable element toward the end of the summer of 2015. That’s when they became more of a centered group.”

Sectarian Identity

“There is a large pool to draw from,” said Alex Vatanka, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington and the author of a book on relations between Pakistan and Iran.

“There are pockets within that Shia community that have been willing to pick up arms to fight for their Shia identity, their sectarian identity. And that’s what the IRGC is tapping into.”

They are only the latest Shias recruited by Iran to fight in Syria, after Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, members of Iraq’s Shia majority and members of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara Shia minority. All have been deployed to support Assad, whose own Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/pakistani-shias-fighting-for-iranian-militia-in-syria-report

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Imran leaves for India today

December 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan is leaving for India today (Friday) on a two-day visit to participate in a conference on Pak-India relations.

PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq said that Khan would deliver his keynote address on Friday evening in India Today Conference on Pakistan India relations organized by Indian paper the ‘India Today’.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Dec-2015/imran-leaves-for-india-today

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Humans on Rights Day

December 11, 2015

LAHORE - People have questioned the authorities’ commitment to defend their rights, on the Human Rights Day.

Carrying out a rally at The Mall yesterday, people belonging to the most marginalised segments of the society including labourers, brick kiln workers, transgender people, differently-abled and religious minorities demanded immediate measures to ensure fair treatment, equal opportunities in education, jobs and other matters of public life.

The rally, held under the auspices of Centre for Human Rights Education-Pakistan, Civil Society Network, and PAHEL Pakistan in collaboration with other civil society groups and organisations, also called for the right to justice, quality education, proper health facilities, safe drinking water and clean and safe environment.

The participants chanted slogans against the discrimination on various grounds and against the government’s failure in defending their rights.

Speaking on the occasion, Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education- Pakistan Mr Samson Salamat said: “International Human Rights Day is a reminder for our government and the state institutions that the implementation of human rights standards and principles is a key for a better society.

“Therefore human rights should be given a priority to make our society a human rights friendly society where all citizens are treated equally without any discrimination.

Mr Salamat regretted that the situation of human rights was getting worst day by day which is a matter of grave concern.

“The fundamental freedoms including the freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, association and freedom of religion and belief are under threat in Pakistan,” he said.

Mr Abdullah Malik, the president of Civil Society Network, said that it is the constitutional responsibility of the government and the state institutions to provide equal rights to all the citizens without any discrimination on the basis of cast, colour or creed.

“The government and the state institutions are duty-bound to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities and end all forms of discriminations from the society and ensure equal treatment, especially with the persons belonging to the religious minorities who are frequently attacked and persecuted,” he stated.

Mr Deedar Ahmed Mirani, chief executive of PAHEL Pakistan, said that the attitude and policies of the current government towards the civil society organisations and human rights defenders was quite disturbing, which has direct impact on the civil liberties of citizens.

“We urge the government to introduce the policies friendly towards the civil society,” he said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/11-Dec-2015/humans-on-rights-day

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US, Pakistan move for early restart of Afghan talks

December 11, 2015

Maqbool Malik

Islamabad - The United States and Pakistan yesterday pushed for a swift resumption of Afghan peace talks despite Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s saying he would not rush into negotiations. US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif yesterday to build on the momentum for peace after Afghanistan agreed to talk to all Taliban factions and re-establish intelligence sharing and security cooperation with Islamabad.

The announcement by Afghan Foreign Minister Salahudin Rabbani at the Heart of Asia Conference on Wednesday followed meetings with the American, Chinese and Pakistani officials and was widely welcomed. The US and Pakistan moved quickly to capitalise on the new mood amid signs of dissent within Afghanistan as the head of Kabul’s NDS intelligence service Rahmatullah Nabil resigned the same day, blaming Pakistan’s alleged interference in Afghanistan and pressure from President Ashraf Ghani for his decision.

Rahmatullah opposed not only talks with the Taliban but also bitterly resisted signing of intelligence sharing agreement with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI.

The Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor also dampened hopes of a rapid return to talks in an audio message posted on the group’s official website shortly before President Ghani arrived in Islamabad for talks on the country’s future.

While he did not rule out dialogue he said it would be on the group’s terms. “We will make political maneuvers together with our military efforts only when we deem it necessary. It will not be done because of signals by others or pressure or force,” he said. His reluctance was reiterated when Taliban fighters laid siege to Kandahar Airport during the Heart of Asia conference on Tuesday in an attack which lasted 27 hours and left more than 50 dead.

Despite these challenges, Afghanistan’s foreign Minister Salahudin Rabbani on Wednesday said a high level Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan in the coming days to discuss arrangements for the talks.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/11-Dec-2015/us-pakistan-move-for-early-restart-of-afghan-talks

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Sikhs still rue blunder to annex Eastern Punjab with India

December 11, 2015

Tahir Niaz

Islamabad - Sikhs still rue the moment when Master Tara Singh rejected the blank cheque offered by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to annex the Eastern Punjab with Pakistan in 1947.

Punjabis of both Indian and Pakistani Punjab bore the brunt of the partition that split them. With the benefit of the hindsight, you can say that Pakistani Punjabis have an edge on the Indian Punjabis who are deprived of their due rights and have become subject of worst state torture many times in history.

Dr Sajid Awan, former head of the National Institute of History and Cultural Research (NIHCR) and editor of Journal of History and Culture, has a deep insight into history and cultures of the sub-continent, particularly of Punjab. Actually his personal romance with Punjab has spotlighted his academic focus on this land of love, its antiquity, diversity and profundity. Talking to this scribe, he said both the Punjabs are the bread baskets of India and Pakistan. Admitting that farmers are wronged by the government in Pakistan, Dr Awan said that their plight is nothing compared to Indian Punjabi farmers, who are so much exploited by the anti-people government of Delhi that they are committing suicides. He said Modi is giving India death and destruction and ultimately pushing his country towards darkness. Enlightened and educated Indian Punjabis do not buy his warmongering and still find heroes in some pro-Pakistan characters of history, he added.

Baljit Singh Cheema, a PhD student at Punjabi University Patyala, is doing his doctoral thesis on Sir Fazal-e-Hussain. Sir Fazal-e-Hussain had founded the Unionist Party in Lahore in 1923. Following demographic and secular patterns, the party had its president a Muslim, general secretary a Sikh and joint secretary a Hindu. Within no time, it became a popular party and took hold of the politics of Punjab. This party was a unique model of pluralistic polity accommodating the interests of all the three communities in the province i.e. Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, said Dr Awan.

After partition Baljit’s family migrated to India from Sialkot. He named his village and Dr Awan, being familiar with the place, described to him its scenic beauty, traditional well and other things. Dr Awan said that Dalir was quick to match the description with accounts of the village his forefathers had told him. He says that Baljit wanted to come here and see the place but the Indian government has put in place excessive visa restrictions.

Dr Awan has many other such stories to share. For example, Dr Jaspal Kaur Dhanju, a professor and head of the Department of History at Punjabi University Patyala, traces her origin to a village in Faisalabad. She and her husband were lucky enough to get through all visa restrictions and see the place where their ancestors lived. There is a well in the village in which her parents name is still carved because it were they who dug it in their own land. Dr Awan said that on this Independence Day on August 14, Kaur sent her a historic message in the form of a Punjabi couplet: “Lali ankhan de pai dasdi ai, Roy tusi we ho roy assi we han (Redness of eyes tells; you and us both have wept).”

Another such glaring example is that of Prof Sardara Singh Johl, the Chancellor of Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, India. An Internationally acclaimed agriculture economist, policy-adviser and Padam Bhushan Awardee, Dr Sardara Singh Johl was born in a village in Lylpur (now Faisalabad) in 1928. He got his early education in his village school and still remembers his primary school Muslim teacher master Din Muhammad whom he declares his mentor. Dr SS Johl told Dr Awan that he managed to visit his native town in Faisalabad, traced his teacher, visited his school and announced ten scholarships after the name of his teacher — Din Muhammad Scholarship — for the students of that school every year. This scholarship is still open regularly. Countless such examples can be found scattered on both sides of the border.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/11-Dec-2015/sikhs-still-rue-blunder-to-annex-eastern-punjab-with-india

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Security experts raise concern over ISIS spread

December 11, 2015

Islamabad - Security experts have raised concern over dangerous spread of ISIS across globe and said that lone wolf terrorist phenomenon has been a new addition in the tactics of ISIS.

A two days international conference was held in National University of Modern Language on ‘Emergence of ISIS in Middle East and its Impacts on South Asia’ while speaker spoke on various prospects of Islamic State.

Dr Matthew Nelson from SOAS University London explored how Pakistan moved from Islamic politics to Islamic state. He talked about role of Islamic political parties and their role in Pakistani politics. He stressed that ISIS is a threat to Pakistan but state can coup with it.

Pakistani academician Qamr Cheema talked about sectarian dimension of ISIS. He correlated the sectarian agenda of ISIS with sectarian faultiness in Pakistan. Pakistan is vulnerable place and can be prey to sectarian terrorism. More than 4000 people got killed on basis of sectarianism in Pakistan since war on terrorism started. He further elaborated that middle class in Pakistan is getting radicalized and that can take country more chaotic as middle class is backbone of any country. Self-radicalized members of middle class are working on their own without patronage of any terrorist group.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/11-Dec-2015/security-experts-raise-concern-over-isis-spread

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh Muslim Clerics Criticize Attacks on Shi'ites, Church Leaders

Shaikh Azizur Rahman

December 10, 2015

KOLKATA, INDIA—

Muslim religious leaders in Bangladesh say local extremist groups and the Islamic State group, which have claimed responsibility for death threats and violent attacks on minorities, are indulging in activities antithetical to the teachings of Islam.

At a conference in Dhaka, leaders of Bangladesh Jamiatul Ulama (BJU), a national body of Islamic scholars, said Islam offers protection to all non-Muslims.

“Those who are resorting to terrorism and targeting Shi’ites and church leaders in Bangladesh are un-Islamic. ... By launching terrorist attacks in the name of Islam, IS is also jeopardizing the lives of Muslims in pluralistic societies across the world,” a BJU statement said.

Maulana Fariduddin Masoud, chairman of the BJU, said that ensuring the safety of religious minorities is the duty of the majority community.

“By sending death threats or attempting to kill the church leaders, they are aiming to kill their brothers and committing un-Islamic acts," Masoud told VOA. "All those who are indulging in such activities are not just the enemy of Islam, but are also enemies of Muslims.”

This is the first time the Islamic leadership in Bangladesh has come out heavily against the extremist attacks and threats that church leaders, Shii’te Muslims and others have been facing.

'Attackers will be cornered'

Nirmol Rozario, secretary general of the Bangladesh Christian Association, told VOA the statement was heartening.

"If they continue such a stand against the attacks on us in the same spirit in the future, I am sure the attackers will be cornered in the society and will not get the chance to resort to such subversive activities,” Rozario said.

In recent weeks, more than 30 Christian clergy members and aid workers in Bangladesh have received death threats. At least three pastors have escaped attempts on their lives.

Those who sent the threats claimed they belonged to Islamic State and the banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh. IS also claimed responsibility for wounding an Italian priest last month in a gun attack.

In October, a bomb attack hit a Shi’ite religious procession, killing two people; police said JMB was responsible. In November, gunmen killed the muezzin of a Shi’ite mosque 200 kilometers from Dhaka.

Political party blamed

Masoud said Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamic political party in the country, was organizing the attacks.

“Supported by Jamaat, IS and local Islamist militant groups, like JMB and ABT [Ansarullah Bangla Team], are terrorizing people, including the minorities, and killing them. The groups are wrongly presenting Islam as a ruthless and terrorist religion,” Masoud said.

Dhaka University professor Syed Hussainul Banna said attacks against religious minorities were related to the ongoing war crimes tribunal, which is hearing cases tied to the country's war for independence in 1971.

“Jamaat was involved in war crimes. Now, as this party is becoming politically weak in Bangladesh, it is trying hard to scuttle the process of the war crimes trials and stall the hangings of the war criminals, by resorting to violence and triggering a chaos,” Banna said. “Attacks on the Christians and Shias are targeted to create a deeper religious divide and chaos in the country.”

Full report at:

http://www.voanews.com/content/bangladesh-muslim-clerics-criticize-attacks-shiites-church-leaders/3097675.html

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Bangladesh lifts ban on Facebook

December 11, 2015

DHAKA - Bangladesh on Thursday lifted a ban on Facebook, three weeks after it was imposed for security reasons in the tense country, but mobile messaging apps remained barred, the telecoms minister said.

The government ordered Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber blocked last month after two opposition leaders lost their appeals against the death penalty for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence conflict.

The pair were hanged days later, hiking fears of opposition unrest in a country already reeling from deadly attacks by suspected Islamist militants.

Telecoms minister Tarana Halim said although Facebook could now be accessed, bans on WhatsApp and Viber would continue for “security reasons”.

“As per recommendation from the home ministry, we have given directives to all the telecom service providers to unblock Facebook immediately,” Halim told reporters in Dhaka.

Bangladesh temporarily barred messaging services Tango and Viber in January after they became a popular way of mobilising large numbers of activists for anti-government protests.

The minister thanked Internet users for “keeping patience” during the current ban after hundreds of youths protested on the streets last week, branding the move a suppression of freedom of expression.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/bangladesh-lifts-ban-on-facebook

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Afghan spy chief quits in protest of Ghani’s Pakistan visit

December 11, 2015

KABUL - The head of Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, resigned yesterday over disagreements with President Ashraf Ghani, laying bare divisions that have hindered efforts to fight the growing Taliban insurgency.

The resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil follows a series of setbacks in recent months including the fall of the northern city of Kunduz to the Taliban and a raid on Kandahar airport in the south on Tuesday in which 50 civilians, police and security personnel were killed.

Relations between Ghani and the NDS have been strained since at least the fall of Kunduz, which an inquiry last month blamed on poor leadership.

Later, Ghani dismissed some NDS officials including the provincial chief of the agency who he said had neglected their duty to defend Kunduz.

In the letter, Nabil said that over the past few months, there had been “a lack of agreement on some policy matters” and the president had imposed unacceptable conditions on his ability to do his job.

He said Ghani’s “repeated verbal summons” had put him under impossible pressure and forced his resignation.

Ghani later issued a statement saying he had not wanted Nabil to resign because of the difficult security situation but he respected the decision.

The resignation raises fresh questions over the leadership of Afghanistan’s security apparatus, which has struggled to contain a Taliban insurgency that has gained momentum since international forces ended most combat operations last year.

Already without a permanent defence minister, due to disagreements between partners in Ghani’s national unity government, the country now has no spy chief just as the raid in Kandahar underlined the Taliban’s ability to inflict serious damage on government forces.

The Taliban, which also seized the important district of Khanishin in Helmand province, said in a statement that the operation had succeeded in “humiliating” the government “by sending a message that the Mujahideen are able to reach the most secure enemy locations undetected.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Dec-2015/afghan-spy-chief-quits-in-protest-of-ghani-s-pakistan-visit

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Nine injured in attack on Hindu temple in Bangladesh

December 11, 2015

DHAKA - Two people suffered gunshot wounds and seven others less serious injuries in a bomb and gun attack on Thursday at a Hindu temple in northern Bangladesh, a senior police official said.

Humayun Kabir, deputy inspector general of police for the northern region, told Reuters that three unknown attackers had arrived at the temple in Dinajpur district, 415 km (260 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, by motorbike. They detonated several homemade bombs and then shot at people who were fleeing the building in panic, he said. About one hundred people were gathered in the temple.

Two people with gunshot wounds were taken to hospital. Kabir said two people had been detained following the incident, which he said was similar in nature to a bomb attack on Saturday on a Hindu religious gathering in the same area in which at least six people were injured, three critically.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/nine-injured-in-attack-on-hindu-temple-in-bangladesh

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Masoud Andarabi confirmed as acting Afghan intelligence chief

Dec 11 2015

The Presidential Palace confirmed late on Thursday evening the appointment of Masoud Andarabi as the acting chief of the Afghan Intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS).

A statement by the Palace said the decision was taken during a security meeting arranged by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani following the approval of Rahmatullah Nabil’s resignation.

The meeting was attended by Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and deputies of the Afghan Intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Nabil resigned from his position on Thursday afternoon after issuing an unusual statement on his official Facebook page, slamming the leadership of Pakistan for their interference in Afghanistan and the Afghan leadership for their approach towards Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/masoud-andarabi-confirmed-as-acting-afghan-intelligence-chief-1799

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UNAMA condemn Kandahar airport attack as death toll climbs to 54

Dec 10 2015

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan condemned a coordinated attack on Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan as the death toll has climbed to at least 54 people.

“The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the Taliban’s attack at Kandahar Airport, which reportedly killed 39 civilians, including four children, and injured at least 23 civilians,” UNAMA said in a statement.

The statement further added “The Taliban initiated the complex attack on 8 December with fighting continuing over a 24-hour period, during which time they intentionally targeted civilian areas of the base. Initial reports indicate that Taliban fighters dismounted their vehicles in the bazaar and opened fire, killing and injuring civilian shopkeepers and customers. The fighting reportedly continued in the residential areas of the base accommodating the families of Afghan security forces and airport staff.”

“UNAMA has documented preliminary findings of 54 deaths and 42 injured. Those killed in the attack include 39 civilian males, of whom at least four were boys, 13 Afghan National Army and two Afghan National Police,” the statement said, adding that “The majority of the deceased appeared to be civilian shopkeepers working at the bazaar and civilian customers. Of the 42 injured, at least 23 are civilian, including a woman and a girl.”

The UN mission reiterated that international humanitarian law, which applies to all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, prohibits attacks against civilians at any time and in any place.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/unama-condemn-kandahar-airport-attack-as-death-toll-climbs-to-51-1796

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Bangladesh war crimes trial standard worth following

December 11, 2015

Criticising the detractors of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a law professor yesterday said Bangladesh had set a new standard in conducting the trial of international crimes, so the process should be followed by other courts dealing with such crimes.

Prof Muhammad Rafiqul Islam, who teaches law at Macquarie University, Australia, said, “None of the courts that conducted trial of international crimes were purely national. Bangladesh is the first one. There should not be any logic to follow standard of international or mix tribunals' standards.”

“Its [ICT] achievement has to be looked at in ending impunity and delivering justice to victims that international community has failed for decades,” he said in a lecture on "Importance of the National Trials of International Crimes In Bangladesh: A legal Response to Critics".

The Liberation War Museum hosted the lecture at its Segun Bagicha office.

Mentioning the shortcomings of international and hybrid courts, Rafiqul Islam showed that many of these tribunals stumbled due to financial crisis and failed to deliver justice to victims speedily.

He said Bangladesh had provided a valuable lesson for harmonious functioning of complementarity with international jurisdiction and effective forum for victims to seek justice, witnesses to give evidence where impunity prevailed for decades.

He, however, criticised the tribunal for giving lesser punishment to war crimes mastermind Ghulam Azam, former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He said the tribunal lessened his punishment taking the example from International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where the punishment of a criminal was mitigated because of old age and that criminal "displayed profound remorse" to the community.

“Ghulam Azam never expressed remorse to Bangladeshis. That is why his age alone should not have been decisive criteria for the reduction of his punishment,” he opined.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/bangladesh-war-crimes-trial-standard-worth-following-185632

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Arab World

 

IS finance chief killed in Iraq air strike: US

Dec 11 2015

WASHINGTON: A coalition air strike killed militant Islamic State (IS) group's finance chief in Iraq last month, the United States military said Thursday, hailing it as another scalp in its bid to blow apart the extremists' financial network.

Abu Saleh was killed in late November, US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said in a video conference from Baghdad, calling him "one of the most senior and experienced members" of the group's nefarious financial system.

"Abu Saleh was the third member of the finance network that we have killed" recently, Warren added, likening him to a finance minister for the extremist group, which grabbed swathes of Iraq and Syria in a brutal offensive of beheadings and forced religious conversions.

Abu Saleh was killed along with two associates as part of the US-led coalition's campaign to destroy the extremists' financial infrastructure, Brett McGurk, Washington's envoy for the anti-IS fight, said on Twitter.

Real name Muwaffaq Mustafa Muhammad al-Karmush, the US State Department's terrorist blacklist describes him as a 42-year-old Iraqi.

"Killing him and his predecessors exhausts the knowledge and talent needed to coordinate funding within the organisation," Warren said, adding that two other henchmen in IS fundraising networks also were killed in coalition air strikes in Iraq in late November.

They were identified as Abu Mariam, an enforcer and senior leader in IS group extortion networks, and Abu Waqman al-Tunis, who Warren said coordinated IS's transfer of people, weapons and information.

Abu Mariam appears on the State Department terrorist list as Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal, a 32-year-old Tunisian.

"These strikes are an example of how we are able to decimate networks," Warren said.

The coalition has been targeting IS leaders in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to try to pick apart its command structure.

After the attacks in Paris last month, the US said it was deploying a special operations unit in Iraq that will be able to mount raids into Syria to capture or kill IS leaders.

"We want this expeditionary targeting force to make ISIL and its leaders wonder when they go to bed at night: who's going to be coming in the window," US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a Senate hearing.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225684/is-finance-chief-killed-in-iraq-air-strike-us

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Over 50 Terrorists Killed in Syria's Hama

Dec 10, 2015

A military source said the army killed more than 53 terrorists in Maakar al-Shamali and al-Rahajan village in Hama.

Ten of the militants' machine gun-equipped vehicles were also destroyed in the military operations.

Also on Thursday, Syrian fighter jets pounded terrorists' positions in the towns of Kafr Zeita and al-Lataminah and the village of Lahaya in Hama.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000262

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Assad must leave or be forced out, says Saudi FM

Dec 11 2015

RIYADH: Syrian President Bashar Assad has two choices, “either to leave through negotiations” or be forcibly removed from power, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday, arguing that the Syrian people would not accept any other outcomes.

Speaking to reporters during a two-day meeting of Syrian opposition groups taking place in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Adel al-Jubeir said he hoped the various factions can come up with a common vision for Syria.

The meeting, which ends on Thursday, aims at forming a unified front ahead of proposed peace negotiations with Assad’s government. A peace plan agreed last month by 20 nations meeting in Vienna set a Jan 1 deadline for the start of talks between Assad’s government and opposition groups.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at a climate conference outside Paris on Thursday, said the talks in Riyadh have been “very constructive”.

“I think everybody is moving in the direction that they want to rapidly get to a political process and get it under way under UN auspices. So we made progress but we have some tough issues to get over,” he said.

Kerry said that he spoke to al-Jubeir and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to organise the next Syria meeting, tentatively set for Dec 18 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225525/assad-must-leave-or-be-forced-out-says-saudi-fm

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ISIL Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Homs

Dec 10, 2015

The Syrian army on Wednesday destroyed two ISIL armored vehicles in the Northern foots of Hayal Mountain and to the Northeast of Sanit al-Rajma in the Eastern countryside of Homs.

The Syrian troops also hit ISIL movements and strongholds in al-Dabour area and between Hwadid and Unq al-Hawa villages, 82 East of Homs city.

Terrorists' weapons were also destroyed.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Syrian army engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists in several regions across the Central Province of Homs.

The Syrian army clashed with ISIL terrorists in Telal al-Rumailah area in the vicinity of the strategic city of al-Qaryatayn in Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000142

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Syria: Army Hits Militants Hard in Aleppo amid Airstrikes

Dec 10, 2015

Heavy clashes resumed between Syrian army and terrorists in the vicinity of Bashkoy village in the Northern countryside of Aleppo, informed source said.

Reports also said the Syrian airstrikes hit terrorists' positions and movements in Jarouf, Ein al-Beida, al-Bab and Anadan in Aleppo province.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army killed a senior commander of the "Thuwar al-Sham Brigades" terrorist group in a strategic town surrounded by the government forces in Aleppo province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000398

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Former ISIL Hostage: Jordanian Pilot Still Alive

Dec 10, 2015

"Until I was freed from the ISIL jail, Kasasbeh was still alive," Ibrahim al-Shimr, the goalkeeper of a Syrian football team who was in an ISIL jail in Raqqa, was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language channel of Russia Today on Thursday.

Al-Shimr who has been released from prison at the direct of ISIL leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdad made the remarks orignally in an interview with an Arabic-language media outlet affiliated to the Syrian dissidents.

"One month after the footages of the Jordanian pilot's burning to ashes was released, I was freed from jail and Kasasbeh was alive at the time," he added.

The ISIL released a video, purportedly showing al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. The Jordanian government had pleaded with ISIL to release the hostage in exchange for a captured terrorist.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000453

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Grand mufti lauds soldiers for protecting Saudi borders

11 December 2015

RIYADH: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh has commended the nation’s soldiers for not only guarding the Saudi borders but also protecting the Islamic religion.

“The soldiers positioned at the Saudi borders are protecting religion, the country and the Ummah and fighting for the sake of Allah,” Al-Asheikh said.

The grand mufti made the statement during a campaign organized by King Saud Medical City (KSMC) recently to donate blood for the soldiers.

The campaign was in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Ulema (Scholars) under the slogan “The valiant soldiers, we are all with you.”

Al-Asheikh, also the head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas, advised the troops “to fear Allah because you’re a Mujahideen fighting on Allah’s behalf.”

For his part, Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, adviser at the Royal Court and member of the High Council of Ulema, told the soldiers, “You, at the border areas, are better than the world we live in now.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/848741

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Syrian Forces to Cut off Terrorists' Supply Routes from Jordan

Dec 10, 2015

The Syrian army made huge advances in the city of Dara'a, field sources said.

The sources added that the soldiers are in a striking distance of the old Dara'a border crossing with Jordan which is commonly referred to as the Al-Jamrak crossing.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000196

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Germany sends first troops, Tornados to back anti-ISIS battle

10 December 2015

The first batch of German troops and aircraft took off Thursday for Turkey as part of a deployment in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria.

Forty soldiers and two Tornado reconnaissance jets left from the Jagel military airbase in northern Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state.

An A310 MRT aerial refueling jet left separately from Cologne-Wahn base for the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey.

German lawmakers last Friday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 personnel and the aircraft to join international military operations against the ISIS, in support of France after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.

Underlining the significance of the deployment, Schleswig-Holstein's state premier Torsten Albig said at the send-off ceremony that “the future of Europe depends on this friendship” between France and Germany.

Berlin had swiftly answered France’s call for help in the fight against militants, even though post-war Germany has been traditionally reluctant to send troops into military missions abroad.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/Germany-sends-first-troops-Tornados-to-back-anti-ISIS-battle.html

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Syrian Army Forces Advancing towards Deir Hafer in Eastern Aleppo

Dec 10, 2015

Field sources said the Syrian army, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah crushed the defense lines of the terrorists in the Eastern parts of Aleppo province and made remarkable advance in the Deir Hafer region.

The Syrian army and its allies are now closing in on the terrorists' positions in the town, approaching Deir Hafer from several directions.

Also other reports said that the Russian strikers heavily pounded the terrorists' gathering centers in Darat Izza, Bashkoy, Keshtaar, Kafarina and Azaz regions Northwest of Aleppo province, killing dozens of militants and destroying a large number of their weapons and equipment.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000469

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Terrorists Killing Civilians in Reprisal for Army Advances in Aleppo

Dec 10, 2015

On Wednesday, the terrorists fired mortar shells at neighborhoods in Aleppo city, killing at least 30 people. The mortar attacks came after the Syrian army purged parts of western Aleppo city from the terrorists.

The terrorists have warned to intensify attacks on residential areas if the army continues advance in militant-held neighborhoods in the city.

Meanwhile, the terrorists fired rockets at Basofan village in the countryside of Afrin town in the Northern countryside of Aleppo today, leaving several people injured.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000392

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Hezbollah Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL in Northeastern Lebanon

Dec 10, 2015

The conflicts between Hezbollah forces and the ISIL terrorists started in Jaroud al-Raas in Baalbak region, Northeastern Lebanon.

"The Hezbollah forces killed several armed ISIL members who intended to infiltrate into al-Qa heights from Raas Baalbak region," al-Manar TV reported on Thursday.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, over 100 militants from the Al-Nusra Front and several other terrorist groups were killed in clashes with the Syrian army, popular forces and Hezbollah in the Southern parts of Aleppo province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000422

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Army Destroys Nusra Militants' Strongholds in Homs

Dec 10, 2015

The Syrian forces destroyed positions and vehicles of al-Nusra Front terrorists in Karaj al-Darwish area in Talbiseh town in the Northern countryside of Homs on Wednesday.

A large group of terrorists were killed in the army's attacks, field sources said.

Earlier, the Syrian army engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists in several regions across the province of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940919000150

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Egypt to try 9 policemen for death in custody

10 December 2015

Egypt on Thursday ordered nine policemen to stand trial for the beating to death of a man in custody, prosecutors said, after authorities vowed a crackdown on police abuses.

The nine, including three lieutenants and a captain, were arrested last week as part of a probe into the death of the 47-year-old at a police station in the southern city of Luxor in November.

Their arrests came amid at least two investigations into deaths in police custody, and after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last week warned that police officers found guilty of "committing mistakes" would be punished.

"The prosecutor general ordered the nine policemen to face a criminal trial," an official at Luxor prosecutor's office told AFP.

He said the start date had yet to be fixed.

The policemen are accused of either participating in the beating, approving it or not preventing it, a judicial official said.

If found guilty, they face a prison term of up to 15 years.

The man had been arrested on November 26 at a cafe in Luxor and taken to the police station where he died an hour later.

A forensic report revealed that he had been beaten on his neck and back, the official MENA news agency reported last week.

Another police officer has been detained in a separate case of a veterinarian who died in police custody last month in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.

Rights groups regularly accuse Egyptian police and members of the secret police of abusing and torturing detainees.

Police abuses under former president Hosni Mubarak were a key factor for the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/Egypt-to-try-9-policemen-for-death-in-custody-.html

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Syrian opposition to meet govt for talks in early January

10 December 2015

A joint team of Syria's political and armed opposition will meet the government next month for talks seeking a political solution to nearly five years of conflict, the chairman of a Saudi-hosted opposition conference said on Friday.

More than 100 members of Syria's opposition parties and rebel fighting groups agreed at the end of two days of talks in Riyadh to work together to prepare for peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government.

But the final hours of the meeting, which excluded Islamic State and Nusra Front fighters as well as the main Kurdish force controlling large parts of northern Syria, were overshadowed by protest from the powerful insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham.

In a statement, it said it had withdrawn from the Riyadh meeting, objecting to what it said was a prominent role given to the mainly Damascus-based political opposition group, the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, which it said was closer to Assad than to the opposition.

It also said rebel fighters had been under-represented at the talks and their voices largely ignored. However a copy of the final statement, seen by Reuters, had been signed by the Ahrar al-Sham delegate.

Nevertheless, its withdrawal - however brief - highlighted enduring rifts among Assad's enemies which have bedevilled Western and Gulf Arab efforts to rally enough political and military pressure on the president to force him to step down.

Abdulaziz al-Sager, a Saudi academic who chaired the Riyadh talks, said the opposition would meet government officials in the first 10 days of January, the first such talks in two years

aimed at ending a bloody civil war which has drawn in forces from the United States, Russia, Europe and the Arab world.

"There will be a meeting decided by (United Nations envoy Staffan) de Mistura in January. A meeting between the opposition and the Syrian regime to go to a transitional period," he said, in comments translated at a news conference.

"This will take place in the first 10 days of January."

A statement at the end of the two-day conference said Assad should leave power at the start of a transitional period, and called for an all-inclusive, democratic civic state. It also committed to preserving state institutions.

The opposition was willing to enter talks with Syrian government representatives and to accept a U.N.-supervised ceasefire, the statement said.

Confidence-building

The meeting came amid escalating conflict in Syria, pitting the army and allied militias including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters backed by Iran and Russia against competing rebel and jihadi fighters, who include Arabs and Kurds.

The Riyadh meeting called on the United Nations to pressure the Syrian government to make a series of confidence-building moves before peace talks start, including suspending death sentences against opponents, releasing prisoners and lifting sieges.

Monzer Akbik, a member of the National Coalition opposition group, said the conference agreed to set up a 32-member secretariat to oversee and supervise peace talks. The statement said that body would select the negotiating team.

Participants also committed to a political system which "represents all sectors of the Syrian people", and would not discriminate on religious or sectarian grounds - in a gesture towards minority Alawite, Christian and Kurdish populations.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/10/Syrian-opposition-calls-for-goodwill-measures-before-talks.html

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GCC leaders slam ‘hostile, racist’ rhetoric against Muslims, refugees

GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN & HUSSAM AL-MAYMAN

11 December 2015

RIYADH: Gulf Arab leaders condemned “hostile, racist” remarks against Muslims and Syrian refugees in a statement issued on Thursday, days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a US ban on the entry of Muslims.

“The supreme council expressed its deep concern at the increase of hostile, racist and inhumane rhetoric against refugees in general and Muslims in particular,” the Gulf Cooperation Council said.

The condemnation figured prominently in the final communiqué issued by the GCC after the concluding session, which was chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The summit leaders concluded their deliberations, adopting a spate of key decisions including approval to activate the joint military command that would strengthen the bloc’s defense capabilities amid growing regional challenges.

The GCC leaders also lent their support to form a regional police force by welcoming the signing of the accord for establishing the GCC police headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

“The GCC heads of state endorsed the decision of the GCC Defense Council to activate the unified military command and approved the allocation of the needed budget and human resources,” said the final communiqué.

To this end, the GCC leaders also renewed their call to intensify efforts to restore peace in the Middle East, the most militarized region in the world.

Plans for establishing the unified military command were announced at the 34th GCC summit, held in Kuwait City in December 2013. During that meeting, GCC leaders tasked the organization’s Joint Defense Council to take “all necessary measures” to maintain the security and stability of member states and build a unified defense system. Similarly, the GCC, in one of its summits, decided to form a regional police force called the GCC-Pol based in Abu Dhabi.

In an apparent reference to the urgent need to support resolution of regional conflicts, the communiqué called for “providing necessary protection to the displaced people and refugees, who are fleeing the twin fires of unjust rule and terrorist groups.”

Referring to the catastrophic situations in several countries of the region including Syria and Yemen, the GCC leaders reiterated their calls for “a political solution to the wars in Yemen and Syria.”

Referring to the urgent need to restore peace in war-torn Yemen, the GCC states called for holding an international reconstruction conference for Yemen after a deal to end its civil war is reached. The conference will be a logical step because the war in Yemen has so far killed thousands of people and caused widespread damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure, said the GCC communiqué, called “The Riyadh Declaration.” It was read out by Abdullatif Al-Zayani, GCC secretary general. Al-Zayani and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also briefed the media on the outcome of the GCC summit.

Yemeni warring parties are due to gather in Switzerland next week for UN-sponsored peace talks. “The GCC member states have called for an international conference for Yemen’s reconstruction after the parties reach the aspired political solution,” Al-Zayani said in the statement, broadcast on Saudi TV. He said that Yemen has been ravaged by months and years of civil war.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/848816

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Government film on terrorism wins award

11 December 2015

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Interior has won an award for the best film on countering terrorism at an event in Tunisia recently.

The competition was organized by the General Secretariat of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council on how terror groups operate, buy arms and recruit young people through social media.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/848771

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North America

 

One in four Americans support Trump’s Muslim ban in US

Dec 11, 2015

Majority of Americans oppose Donald Trump’s controversial plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States, but one in four supports it, according to the first major national poll since the furore erupted.

The frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the White House triggered an outcry on Monday with the proposal, which was lambasted at home and abroad.

Fifty-seven percent of adults in the US are against the idea, while 25 % are for it, according to the new survey by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Eighteen percent did not know or had no opinion.

Among Republicans the views are mixed: 42 % of Republican respondents back Trump’s Muslim ban, while 36 % oppose it.

Three-quarters of Democrats stand opposed.

The poll also found that 41% of Americans believe Trump’s bombastic campaign statements in general are frequently insulting.

Twenty-two percent say Trump is telling it like it is and has the correct approach.

The survey also showed that Americans have a favourable opinion of Muslims -- 59% positive compared to 29 % negative -- upholding a relatively stable position on the question since 2002.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/one-in-four-americans-support-trump-s-mulsim-ban-in-us/story-nIxKQVO71FsnxNwI5DlrkN.html

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UNSC calls for enlisting youth to counter extremism

December 11, 2015

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Security Council Wednesday adopted a historic resolution on youth, peace and security that urges greater representation by young men and women in the prevention and resolution of conflict amid “the rise of radicalization to violence and violent extremism amongst youth, which can be conducive to terrorism.”

Along with positioning youth and youth-led organizations as important partners in the global efforts to counter violent extremism and promote lasting peace, the resolution also gives impetus to the youth-led peace building and conflict-prevention interventions to build peaceful communities and underpin democratic, inclusive governance.

By the text, the 15-member Council “urges Member States to consider ways to increase inclusive representation of youth in decision-making at all levels in local, national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict…and, as appropriate, to consider establishing integrated mechanisms for meaningful participation of youth in peace processes and dispute-resolution.”

The resolution, introduced by Jordan during its presidency of the Security Council in April, also covers the protection of youth in armed conflict, including asking “all parties to armed conflict to take the necessary measures to protect civilians, including those who are youth, from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Reacting to the Council’s action, Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, haled the text as “a major breakthrough” in collective efforts to change the predominantly negative narrative on youth and recognize the significant role of young people in peace building.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/unsc-calls-for-enlisting-youth-to-counter-extremism

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Examining the role of Islam in radicalization

December 8, 2015

KUSA - Muslims who've been radicalized justify violence with verses from the Islamic sacred book called the Quran. Experts say those verses are being taken out of context.

The imam, or leader of the mosque, in Northglenn said American Muslims are coming under scrutiny after multiple terror attacks from people claiming Islam.

"Muslims are now the boogeyman in our society," said Shemsadeen Ben-Masaud of the Metropolitan Denver North Islamic Center.

He said people in his community are being called "terrorists" and children are bullied at school for being Muslim.

The Quran contains religious doctrine and social laws believed to be the literal translation of the word of God. While many passages teach peace, there are some violent verses that extremists are using to their advantage.

"If you don't have a sense of ethics before you pick up a sacred text, then the likelihood of you coming up with an interpretation that is unethical is very high," said Professor Nader Hashemi, the director for the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Denver.

Hashemi says verses taken out of context aren't limited to Islam.

"There are passages in the Quran just as there are passages in the Bible and passages in the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, that are explicitly violent in nature and can be read by anyone to justify acts of violence," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2015/12/08/how-do-muslims-become-radicalized/77009738/

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Connecticut seeks to ban arms sales to US terror suspects

Dec 11 2015

NEW YORK: Connecticut announced plans on Thursday to ban sales of weapons to terror suspects, in what would be the first such measure in the United States (US) as it seeks to fight a scourge of gun violence.

“Like all Americans, I have been horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris,” Governor Dan Malloy said in a statement.

“They have been and should be a wakeup call to our nation. I am taking this common-sense step with this executive order simply because it's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225671/connecticut-seeks-to-ban-arms-sales-to-us-terror-suspects

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Muslim group CAIR evacuates US HQ after getting white powder in mail

Dec 11 2015

WASHINGTON: Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) evacuated its national headquarters on Capitol Hill on Thursday after receiving a letter containing white powder, but staff were later allowed to re-enter after authorities conducted preliminary tests and deemed the substance harmless.

The letter received by CAIR also contained a note that read, "Die a painful death, Muslims," according to staff attorney Maha Sayed.

"Our fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on," said Sayed.

In California, a CAIR branch office in the Bay Area city of Santa Clara, was also evacuated on Thursday after receiving an envelope with an unknown powder inside, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

Further details were not available because local authorities could not immediately be reached.

Law enforcement authorities and Muslim communities around the United States (US) have braced for a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot dead 14 people in California last week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism.

The presence of white powder in the letter sent to CAIR was reminiscent of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17.

The FBI has taken possession of the letter, and will test it further, according to FBI spokesman Andrew Ames.

About three CAIR employees came into contact with the powder and were quarantined in the building while police and firefighters investigated the scene, said group spokesman Hooper, adding that the rest of the office staff waited outside on the sidewalk.

CAIR staff attorney Sayed said on the group's Facebook page that the organisation receives hate messages daily.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225676/muslim-group-cair-evacuates-us-hq-after-getting-white-powder-in-mail

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First Canadian plane with Syrian refugees arrives

11 December 2015

A plane carrying 163 Syrian refugees has arrived in Canada, kicking off a drive to take in thousands from the war-torn country.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at Toronto’s airport to greet them. The government hopes to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

Two Syrian refugee children pose while their family undergoes medical screening before the beginning of an airlift to Canada, in Beirut. (Reuters)

“We will all remember this day,” Trudeau said shortly before greeting the refugees, many of them women and children.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/11/First-Canadian-plane-with-Syrian-refugees-arrives-in-Toronto.html

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Africa

 

Tunisian Nobel Laureates call for Palestinian state

10 December 2015

Representatives of Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet, who on Thursday picked up their Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, called for the creation of a Palestinian state as a way to fight “terrorism.”

“Today, we need to accelerate the elimination of hot spots all over the world, particularly the resolution of the Palestinian issue,” Houcine Abassi, the secretary general of the Tunisian General Labour Union, said in an acceptance speech on behalf of the Quartet.

This would be done by giving “the Palestinian people the right to self-determination on their land and (to) build their independent state,” Abassi said to thunderous applause in Oslo’s City Hall just moments after being handed the prestigious prize.

Abassi said the world was on the one hand “in a great need of dialogue between civilizations, and peaceful coexistence,” and on the other it needed "to make the fight against terrorism an absolute priority.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/10/Tunisian-Nobel-Laureates-call-for-Palestinian-state.html

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Libya rivals meet for U.N.-brokered talks

11 December 2015

Libya’s rival parties met in Tunisia Thursday for talks on a disputed U.N.-brokered deal backed by the international community to set up a unity government in the conflict-ravaged country.

The talks were to focus on moving the process forward ahead of an international meeting on Libya scheduled for Sunday in Rome, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said.

The U.N. envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, and representatives of rival parliaments took part in the discussions at a hotel in a Tunis suburb, with foreign diplomats invited as observers.

Kobler, who only took over from his predecessor last month, said he felt “very encouraged” by what he heard in the talks, adding that the parties would meet again on Friday.

“I’ll go with big confidence in our meeting tomorrow because we are going to define the messages for the meeting in Rome,” he told reporters.

“The international community is very interested in this process, in particular the threat emanating from terrorism,” he said.

“There must be a legitimate government very soon.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will co-chair Sunday’s talks in Rome with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.

Representatives from Russia, Britain, China and France will also attend the conference, which comes at a time of growing international concern that the ISIS militant group has been exploiting the chaos in Libya to take root in the country.

Libya has had two administrations since August 2014, when a militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the recognized government to take refuge in the east.

On Tuesday, ambassadors to Libya from several EU countries and the United States warned against attempts to derail the U.N.-brokered deal, which was proposed in October, insisting it was the only way forward.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Libya-rivals-meet-in-Tunis-for-U-N-brokered-talks-.html

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Algerian minister supports for UN solution in Libya

10 December 2015

Algeria’s Minister for Maghreb Affairs, African Union and the Arab League Abdelkader Messahel has emphasised his country’s support for the UN peace efforts in Libya, ignoring an agreement signed between the Libyan House of Representatives and the General National Congress earlier on Sunday, Algeria’s APS news agency reported in a report in Middle East Monitor.

Messahel said that the UN efforts in Libya would guarantee the formation of a national unity government that would face the many political, security and economic challenges and fight terrorism in all its manifestations, saying that "it is based on the respect for the sovereignty of this country, its territorial integrity and unity as well as the cohesion of its people."

However, a former political adviser to the Libyan salvation government Mohammed Hussein Omar criticised Messahel’s position in remarks to Quds Press said that his words  “reflect Algeria’s official support of the UN proposals which aim to fail the Libyan revolution”.

Omar said he believed some Western countries are working to pass the federal solution through the United Nations in order to re-gain control of Libya and its resources.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167219/us-calls-for-end-to-violence-in-burundi

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesia-s-largest-muslim-group-joins-battle-against-radical-islam/d/105573

 

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