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Islamic World News ( 29 Jul 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indonesian Council of Ulema Declares National Health Insurance Program Haram



The Indonesian Council of Ulema has declared the nation's universal health insurance system forbidden to Muslims. (Antara Foto/M. Risyal Hidayat)


 

Southeast Asia

Indonesian Council of Ulema Declares National Health Insurance Program Haram

The unprotected whistleblower protection law — Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia

Alor Police Arrest Two for ‘Promoting Radicalism’

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Arab World

Egypt Defends Syria's Territorial Unity After Turkey Moves Against ISIS

Iraqi Militia Leader Says U.S. Not Serious About Fighting ISIS

Suicide Attacks Kill At Least 12 Iraqi Troops near Ramadi

Syria: Takfiri Terrorists Attack Residential Areas of Besieged Towns with Gas Cylinders

Syrian Army, Popular Forces in Control of 95 Percent of Hasaka

Senior Al-Nusra Commander Killed in Lattakia Province

ISIL's Treasury Minister Killed in Fallujah

Egypt seizes property of 78 Muslim Brotherhood members

Kuwait uncovers ISIS network

Fierce clashes rage at air base near Aden

Syrian jets bombard plain after rebel attack

Ansarullah Wins Back Large Parts of Lahij

Activists Demand Int'l Campaign in Support of Al-Zahra, Nabl Besieged Residents

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India

India’s Home Ministry Rubbishes Islamic State Document That Calls for Jihad against India

Tech to Help Fortify Punjab's Riverine Areas from Pakistan Infiltrators

Madhya Pradesh: High Court pulls up judge for denying bail to Muslim youth

Yakub Memon's body handed over to family

Punjab terror attack: GPS data shows two routes of slain terrorists from Pakistan

Condolence Message by Urdu Scientific Society, Lucknow on the sad demise of Dr. Abdul Kalam

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South Asia

Taliban Capture District in Afghanistan's Helmand Province

Drone Strikes Kill 20 Insurgents in Nangarhar

Rocket explosion leaves five children killed in Helmand

Bangladesh, India in historic land swap after 70 years

Ministry of Defense: Security forces tactically stepped back in Nawzad District of Helmand

Traffic accident leaves nine dead on Kabul-Kandahar highway

India says soldier killed by Pakistani fire on border

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Pakistan

Militant Commander Killed, 7 Terrorists Arrested In Balochistan

Mullah Omar ‘Died’ In 2013 in Karachi

LeJ Chief Killed In Police Shootout

Three 'militants', two security personnel killed in Bannu check post attack

43pc decrease in target killing after Karachi operation: Nisar

Protesting ASWJ leader among 17 held

Law, order not purely home-grown problem, says Balochistan IG

COAS vows to defeat designs of enemies stoking terror

Two terrorists shot dead in Gujarat

Fazl meets PM today to remove 'irritants'

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North America

Canada Muslims Target Myths about Converts and Extremism

Group Sues Muslim Free-Zone Gun Shop

This Is What It’s Like to Be a Muslim-American Gun Owner

America welcomes Christians, Jews; atheists, Muslims not so much

Muslim attacks labelled more often as ‘terrorism’ in US

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Mideast

Iran Chief of Staff: Turkey's Bombing Campaign against Kurds Means Direct Aid to ISIL

Yemen to Merge ‘Resistance’ Fighters with Army

Israeli plane strikes pro-Syrian Palestinian militia

Kurds slam Turkey ‘safe zone’

Syria ‘doubts Turkey’s intentions in anti-ISIS effort’

Israel authorises force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners

U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ on new Israeli settlements

Some Arab states allies of Israel: Israeli official

Saudi warplanes bombard areas across Yemen

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Africa

Saving Niger’s Uranium before Boko Haram Gets It

Our Brother’s ‘Violence Begets Violence’ Utterance Can Beget Boko Haram

Kenyan experts call for new tactics to degrade Al-Shabaab

Kenya: Three Al-Shabaab Killed, Five KDF Soldiers Injured in Basuba, Lamu County

Joint forces in Somalia free additional areas from al –Shabaab

Jordan jails 8 for terrorism

Does Boko Haram have the upper hand?

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Europe

Venice Sued Over Biennale Mosque Closure

In Morocco, Muslims and Jews Study Side-By-Side But For How Long?

Germany warns of possible attacks on public transport in Istanbul

From “Asian” to “European”: Russia and its Muslim minority

Muslim Kazakhstan Dreams to Host First Olympics

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesian-council-of-ulema-declares-national-health-insurance-program-haram/d/104097

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Council of Ulema Declares National Health Insurance Program Haram

Jul 29, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia’s highest Islamic clerical body has issued a fatwa, or edict, denouncing the government’s universal health insurance program, claiming it fails to comply with Islamic precepts.

The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) said on its website that the National Social Insurance (JKN) program, administered by the Social Security Organizing Body (BPJS), was Haram, or forbidden, to Muslims because it contained elements of uncertainty (gharar), gambling (maisir) and usury (Riba).

“The implementation of the BPJS, especially provisions that involve cross-party agreements, is not in line with Shariah principles because it contains the elements of gharar, maisir and Riba,” the MUI wrote on Wednesday.

Specifically, it stated that it opposed the 2 percent administrative fine imposed by the BPJS for the payment of premiums into the JKN.

Ma’ruf Amin, the head of the MUI’s fatwa council, confirmed the main reason for the Haram edict was the interest system that the BPJS uses in maintaining and managing the JKN.

“The reason is because the BPJS uses the term ‘bank interest,’” Ma’ruf said on Wednesday, without elaborating.

The MUI demanded that the government establish another scheme to provide health coverage for Indonesia’s Muslims.

“We’re suggesting the government establish a social insurance service that is based on shariah principles and that provides primary services in its implementation,” it said.

“The government must form a Shariah insurance system that is implemented in accordance with Islamic principles,” Ma’ruf added.

The MUI’s Fatwas are not legally binding, serving more as a moral guideline.

Said Aqil Siraj, the chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organization, deplored the MUI’s decision to issue a fatwa against the JKN.

“The MUI issues these Fatwas too easily,” he said as quoted by Kompas. “They can issue up to 11 Fatwas a year. In Egypt, they only issue three Fatwas a year.”

However, Vice President Jusuf Kalla appeared amenable to discussing the MUI’s demands.

“I haven’t read the fatwa. Yet in Islam, as we know, anything that isn’t Halal is Haram, and vice versa. However, the question is, what is it exactly that is forbidden in the BPJS system?” Kalla said on Wednesday. “That is open to further discussion.”

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/mui-declares-national-health-insurance-program-haram/

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The unprotected whistleblower protection law — Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia

July 30, 2015

JULY 30 — Over the past few months, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue has received a great amount of attention from the different backgrounds in Malaysian society.

The entire saga of 1MDB was heading towards the end with the culprit almost identified after the former Premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and several opposition leaders including Non-Governmental Organisations relentlessly criticised the Malaysian government over the operation of the debt-ridden company.

The greater highlights by online media in Malaysia and beyond has put the company and the government in a defenceless state.

However, the story now seems to be prolonged when the issue has been dragged to another episode to bring the show towards a different ending. Instead of having the case probed into transparently by the authorities, they are now more interested to identify and criminalize the whistle blowers. As far as the matter is concerned, the authorities claimed the action is for the sake of upholding Official Secrets Act 1972 -Act 88 (OSA 1972).

The explicit example of statement from the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar that “police will investigate the leak of confidential documents pertaining to Lembaga Tabung Haji’s purchase of land from 1Malaysia Development Berhand (1MDB) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)” had spoken for itself.

Official Secrets Act

Official Secrets Act 1972 was enacted to replace the Malay States Official Secret Ordinance 1950 and based on UKs OSA 1911 and 1920. It was originally intended to protect the government secrets on the grounds of national security.

After more than 40 years in existence, the public view the legislation as nothing more than a shield to refrain the people from accessing any information relating to improper action or misconduct of the government.

Worse still, the legal definition of official secrets itself is not precise. Section 2 of OSA 1972 defined official secret as “any document specified in the Schedule and any information and material relating thereto and includes any other official document, information and material as may be classified as “Top Secret”, “Secret”, “Confidential” or “Restricted”, as the case may be, by a Minister, the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister of a State or such public officer appointed under section 2B;”

Instead of putting the limit only on the documents that would pose a serious and demonstrable risk to national security, the act stipulated a general term reflecting that any document can be classified as secret.

Furthermore, the classification of any document as secret can be made by the appointed public officer without any safeguard against unnecessary and improper classification.

Section 16A of OSA 1972 stated that “A certificate by a Minister or a public officer charged with any responsibility in respect of any Ministry, department or any public service or the Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister of a State or by the principal officer in charge of the administrative affairs  of a State certifying to an official document, information or material that it is an official secret shall be conclusive evidence that the document, information or material is an official secret and shall not be questioned in any court on any ground whatsoever.”

High Court Judge Justice K N Segara in the case of Mohammad Ezam Mohd Nor v. PP had a critical view on the provision. In this case, the judge had held that:

“The provision of s. 16A of the Act that a mere certification would render conclusive any official document as official secret is inconsistent with the interpretation of official secret in s. 2 of the Act. Section 16A appears to be creating a new category of official secret and making meaningless the official secret under s. 2. A provision such as s. 16A is obnoxious,draconian and oppressive. Section 16A is, therefore, void to the extent it is in conflict with s. 2 on the interpretation of official secret.”

Moreover, this provision has put the government less accountable to the public when the public will easily be criminalized if they intend to be a watchdog by scrutinizing certain documents including transactions and concession agreements that are related to the interest of the people.

Having used the OSA 1972, it is contrary to the spirit of democracy where the government should be answerable to the people since the formation of that particular government is from the people’s choice. It is neither the government to decide everything without any concern from the people, nor the people to surrender everything to the government to decide whatever deemed proper.

One illustrated example is when the Minister defended a toll hike as unavoidable as it was an expressed condition in the concession agreement between the Government and highway concession companies. As far as the matter was concerned, the public should have had the rights of information to exercise check and balance on any conduct by the government since the toll hike affected the public who used the facility. But, what is the mechanism for the people to monitor the conduct of the government if the concession agreement is classified as secret under Official Secrets Act?

Whistle-blower Protection Act 2010

Besides, the statement made by the IGP reflects the Official Secrets Act 1972 as paramount and it prevails over other statutes including legislation concerning the protection of the whistle blowers.

In June 2010, the Parliament had passed the Whistle blower Protection Act 2010-Act 711 (WPA 2010) with the objective, as enshrined in the act, to combat corruption and other wrong doings by encouraging and facilitating disclosures of improper conduct in the public and private sector, and to protect persons making those disclosures from detrimental action.

Indeed, the Whistle blower protection is one of the Malaysian Government’s efforts towards tackling corruption and promoting good governance under Government Transformation Programme (GTP) with the objective to give protection to the whistle-blower in the form of confidentiality of their information, immunity from civil and criminal action and protection from detrimental action being taken against them.

However, the protection has its own limitations, particularly when it clashes with laws that may criminalize the whistle-blower i.e. the Official Secrets Act 1972.

Section 6 (1) of WPA 2010 stated that “A person may make a disclosure of improper conduct to any enforcement agency based on his reasonable belief that any person has engaged, is engaging or is preparing to engage in improper conduct:Provided that such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by any written law”.

To make it clear, the whistle blowers, either public servants, non-profit organisations or individuals – will not be allowed to reveal any documents classified under the Official Secrets Act 1972, even if the purpose is to disclose acts of corruption, misuse of power or criminal activities.

Thus, this provision weakens the efficacy of the WPA 2010. It is proposed that immunity should be extended to whistle blowers who may be at risk of violating the OSA 1972, Financial Services Act 2013, or section 2013A Penal Code, or other secrecy laws.

The purpose of the WPA is therefore defeated if the threat of OSA and other secrecy laws hang over potential whistle-blowers. The Official Secrets Act in particular is the biggest threat in exposing the whistle blower to a criminal charge or penalty or forfeiture.

Alternative solutions

Genuine concerns over national security can be addressed without compromising the purpose and strength of the Whistle blower Protection Act.

Alternatively, the Act could put in place specific mechanisms to ensure that certain sensitive informations are not leaked to the public – such as making sure whistle blower complaints go straight to a judicial officer.

Besides, there should be defences in law available in the WPA 2010 for the whistle-blower if the disclosure contravenes any written law.

The defences are significant as the law will recognize the rights of a whistle blower of protection from any criminal charge if certain reasonable conditions are met.

Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz

Secretary General

Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia  / Advocate & Solicitor

*This is the personal opinion of the organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/the-wnprotected-whistleblower-protection-law-muslim-youth-movement-malaysia

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Alor Police Arrest Two for ‘Promoting Radicalism’

By Jakarta Globe on 02:11 pm Jul 30, 2015

Jakarta. Police in East Nusa Tenggara’s Alor district have apprehended two locals for allegedly promoting radical Islamic ideology after returning to their hometown last week, an officer said on Thursday.

Adj. Sr. Comr. I Made Sugawa, chief of the Alor Police, said that the two, who are identified as S.B. (40) and Z. (40), had been arrested in Blangmerang village of West Pantar subdistrict on Wednesday.

He added that officers confiscated several documents with radicalism-related content.

“They had just returned from Bekasi on July 23 and tried to influence the locals by saying those who take part in the general elections are infidels,” Sugawa said, as quoted by news portal Kompas.com.

Sugawa said that the two had yet to name them suspects as they would be turned over to the East Nusa Tenggara Police for further investigation.

“We’re transferring them because this is a special case. We’re not sure when we will do it because we still need to coordinate with the East Nusa Tenggara Police,” Sugawa said.

Sugawa also urged the people of Alor district to remain vigilant.

“We call on the people of Alor to maintain peace among the different religions and not be easily influenced by radicalism,” he said.

Violence in Papua’s Tolikara district on Idul Fitri a few weeks ago forced the National Police chief, Gen. Badrodin Haiti, to instruct his officers across the archipelago to counter the spread of provocative messages that were circulating in the aftermath of the incident.

The riot erupted after members of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) — the largest religious group in the district — complained about the use of loudspeakers during the Idul Fitri mass prayer and called for the event to be canceled.

Police opened fire at protesters, killing one and injuring 11 others. The exact nature of the shooting has been widely contested by the GIDI, security officials and witnesses. But there is no dispute that the shooting led to the riot.

Scores of officials and religious groups, both Muslims and Christians, immediately called for calm out of fear that violence might spread to the rest of the Muslim-majority country, which saw a brutal string of sectarian conflicts between 2000 and 2005.

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/alor-police-arrest-two-promoting-radicalism/

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Arab World

 

Egypt defends Syria's territorial unity after Turkey moves against ISIS

29 July 2015

Egypt said that Syria's territorial integrity must be preserved - an apparent sign of its disapproval of Turkey's intervention against militants in Iraq and Syria.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Cairo supported combating what it called terrorist groups in Syria.

But this effort must happen "within the context of preserving the unity and integrity of Syria's territories...in accordance with international legal norms and decisions," it said.

Turkey last week began bombarding targets in Syria linked to ISIS and granted access to its air bases to a U.S. led-coalition -- ending a policy which avoided direct intervention in the Syria conflict.

It also struck militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq in recent days in response to attacks against its security forces.

Washington and Ankara also announced plans to sweep ISIS fighters from a strip of land along the border, possibly providing a safe haven for civilians.

The Egyptian statement did not elaborate nor mention Turkey.

Political analyst Hassan Abou Taleb of Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies said Egypt's message was a "condemnation and rejection of Turkey's unilateral moves".

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is fighting an Islamist militancy in the Sinai, has stressed the need to maintain Syria's unity in the past.

Various countries, including the United States, support rebels fighting to bring down President Bashar al-Assad. But the conflict has seen a proliferation of jihadist groups opposed to both Assad and the West, and the fragmentation of the country.

Four years into a war that has killed more than 220,000 people, Assad can no longer defend the whole country or hope to regain lost territory and his forces are retreating and fortifying their core strongholds, from the capital Damascus up to the coastal strip in northwestern Syria.

At the same time, the main blocs of insurgents - ISIS in the east, a rival Islamist alliance in the northwest,  nationalist rebels in the south and Kurds in the north - are carving out their own fiefdoms.

Sisi is also worried about Islamist militants in neighboring Libya, which has descended into chaos since autocrat Muammar Qaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Egypt intervened in Libya in February when it bombed ISIS targets there after the militant group beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Egypt-defends-Syria-s-territorial-unity-after-Turkey-moves-against-ISIS.html

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Iraqi militia leader says U.S. not serious about fighting ISIS

29 July 2015

The head of one of Iraq's fiercest Shi'ite militias called the U.S.-led coalition's campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ineffective and accused Washington of lacking the will to uproot radical Sunni jihadis controlling large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Qais al-Khazali, leader of Iranian-backed paramilitary group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, said the anti-ISIS campaign had failed because of an American agenda to redraw the map of the Middle East along new borders.

"We believe the United States of America does not want to resolve the crisis but rather wants to manage the crisis," he told Reuters in an interview.

"It does not want to end Daesh (ISIS). It wants to exploit Daesh to achieve its projects in Iraq and in the region. The American project in Iraq is to repartition the region."

Khazali said the U.S.-led coalition had failed to ramp up the number of air strikes over time as he said it had pledged to do.

Asaib, along with the Badr Brigades and Kataib Hezbollah, are at the forefront of the Popular Mobilisation Committee, or Hashid Shaabi, the official Iraqi government entity organizing volunteers in the battle against Islamic State.

The Hashid Shaabi has become the most powerful military force in Iraq since the near collapse of the national army a year ago. Yet many paramilitary groups have come under fire for alleged abuses in Sunni areas reclaimed from ISIS.

Khazali said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was under U.S. pressure to limit the presence of Shi'ite fighters in the campaign to retake the mostly Sunni province of Anbar from ISIS.

"Now the American project is trying at least to limit the presence of the Hashid Shaabi to the borders of Fallujah and not reach Ramadi. This is the magnitude of the pressure from the American leadership now on the Iraqi prime minister," he said.

Washington and its Sunni Arab allies fear that involving Iraq's Shi'ite militias in battles to drive out ISIS militants from Anbar could lead to even more sectarian violence.

In the past few months, there have been reports of violations including killings, looting and burning of Sunni homes. Khazali denied the accusations.

"Despite the media whirlwind and exaggeration, no media outlet has been able to accuse the Shi'ite Hashid Shaabi of one (act of) genocide or of killing one innocent citizen," he said.

Mutual mistrust

Khazali was among the thousands of militia fighters, armed and wearing green camouflage military fatigues, who flocked to northern Iraq to battle ISIS last June after it seized swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq.

The 41-year-old Iraqi donned the robe and white turban of a cleric when he spoke to Reuters at his office in the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf.

His militia started as a splinter group of the Mahdi Army, a paramilitary force formed by anti-American Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr during the U.S. occupation. Under his leadership, it gained notoriety for its attacks against U.S. forces.

In 2007, Khazali was arrested by American forces for his alleged role in an attack on an Iraqi government compound in Karbala in the Shi'ite heartland of southern Iraq, which left five American soldiers dead.

He is now one of the most feared and respected Shi’ite militia leaders in Iraq, and one of Iran's most important allies in the country.

Khazali said mutual mistrust made it impossible for his group to coordinate with the United States.

"We do not agree to participate in any area where there are American strikes. We will place full responsibility on the American administration for any strike that happens under the guise of being a mistake," he said.

"The Americans do not trust us because we resisted them during the occupation. There is no prospect (for cooperation)."

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Iraqi-militia-leader-says-U-S-not-serious-about-fighting-ISIS.html

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Suicide attacks kill at least 12 Iraqi troops near Ramadi

29 July 2015

Iraqi officials say back-to-back suicide attacks targeting security forces near the ISIS-held city of Ramadi have killed at least 12 troops.

The two officials - one with the Iraqi army, the other with the country’s elite counterterrorism forces - say the suicide bombers rammed explosives-laden Humvees into forces deployed outside of the University of Ramadi complex on Wednesday morning.

They say eight troops were wounded in the assault. Both spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Two-suicide-attacks-kill-at-least-12-Iraqi-troops-near-Ramadi.html

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Syria: Takfiri Terrorists Attack Residential Areas of Besieged Towns with Gas Cylinders

Jul 29, 2015

The Al-Nusra terrorists hit Al-Zahra and Nabl towns with over 70 rockets, missiles and even gas cylinders over the past 24 hours.

It is for over one week now that the Takfiri terrorists have resumed their heavy artillery attacks on Nabal and Al-Zahra towns.

The terrorists' attacks were mostly concentrated on the residential areas of the towns to incur maximum casualties and losses on the population.

The terrorists hit Mayer, Zahreh al-Qareh and Tamoureh districts of al-Zahra town with mortar shells and gas cylinders more than other areas.

In retaliation, the Syrian air force targeted the terrorists' gathering centers in the surrounding areas of the towns which resulted in the destruction of terrorists' gathering centers from where mortars and missiles were fired.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001248

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Syrian Army, Popular Forces in Control of 95 Percent of Hasaka

Jul 29, 2015

The Syrian army and the Kurdish popular forces seized back over 95 percent of Hasaka city.

The Syrian forces took back al-Layla, al-Dhohour, al-Shababi residential area, al-Filat, football stadium, Eastern al-Nahsva, Western al-Nahsva, Eastern Ghuweiranesh and Western Ghuweiranesh regions from ISIL's control.

The army and Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces managed to mop up Al-Layla district in the Northeastern part of Hasaka from the terrorist groups.

Following the tough resistance shown by the army and popular forces in the past few days, Al-Layla district was taken back and the ISIL terrorists retreated.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001361

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Senior Al-Nusra Commander Killed in Lattakia Province

Jul 29, 2015

Abu Abdul Rahman al-Madani, the Al-Nusra Front commander in Lattakia, was killed in Jabal al-Torkman region in the Lattakia province, Western Syria.

The army units, meantime, thwarted an attempt by the Takfiri terrorists to penetrate into a Syrian army base in Jabal al-Rahmalia region in Northern Lattakia.

In March 2013, the Northern Lattakia was attacked by the Takfiri terrorists most of whom were Chechens and Turkmens backed by Turkey.

The most important goal of the Takfiri terrorists from attacking Northern Lattakia has been finding a sea route to the outside world.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis gaining access to the international waters has been a dream of the terrorist groups, including the Al-Nusra Front and the ISIL.

Earlier this month, dozens of foreign-backed Takfiri militants were killed in military operations targeting their positions in the Syrian province of Lattakia, Western Syria, on Friday, FNA dispatches said.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001491

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ISIL's Treasury Minister Killed in Fallujah

Jul 29, 2015

The Commander of volunteer forces, Jom'e Jamili, announced minutes ago that Iraqi snipers killed Jassam Fazah in the city of Fallujah in Anbar province on Wednesday.

The ISIL's self-proclaimed governor of Fallujah, Nawfal al-Tikriti, and two of his aides were also killed in an Iraqi air force airstrike in Anbar province on Sunday.

According to FNA dispatches, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces have recently made advances in the heart of Al-Anbar province.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001020

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Egypt seizes property of 78 Muslim Brotherhood members

29 July 2015

Judge Mohammed Yasser Aboul Fotouh, the Secretary General of the committee tasked to manage funds belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, has said that the committee has decided to seize the properties of 78 new members, Rassd.com reported on Tuesday.

In a statement, the judge said that the committee decided to confiscate the funds of six companies and the properties of their owners since they belong to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Full Report at:

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/20097-egypt-seizes-property-of-78-muslim-brotherhood-members

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Kuwait uncovers ISIS network

30 July 2015

Kuwait said on Thursday it had uncovered a network of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group including five Kuwaitis and referred them to judicial authorities for prosecution.

An interior ministry statement carried by the official KUNA state news agency added that the individuals had been active in neighbouring Iraq and also in Syria.

The individuals admitted receiving lessons in the "science of a terrorist organization" and military training, the statement said. "They were involved in fighting operations in both Syria and Iraq."

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/30/Kuwait-says-uncovers-ISIS-network.html

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Fierce clashes rage at air base near Aden

30 July 2015

Fierce clashes are reportedly ongoing at a strategic air base north of Yemen’s Aden as resistance forces seek to expand their territorial gains and recapture the site from Houhti militia, Al Arabiya News Channel reported Thursday.

Fighting raged on the road to Lahj, where the al-Anad base is situated, 50 km from Aden. Several fighters among the ranks of the Houthis and forces loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh were reportedly killed and wounded.

The resistance forces - also backed by the Yemeni army - said they besieged al-Anad base from all sides with the help of Saudi-led coalition warplanes. Witnesses said large explosions were heard in the area.

The Iranian-allied Houthis, backed by army units loyal to Saleh, have been waging a four-month-old war against a Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been seeking to restore to power exiled President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi.

Additionally, a car bomb exploded outside an Ismaili mosque in Yemen's war-damaged capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing four people and wounding six, health authorities and a security source said.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/30/Fierce-clashes-rage-at-air-base-near-Yemen-s-Aden.html

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Syrian jets bombard plain after rebel attack

29 July 2015

The Syrian air force bombarded a plain in the northwest of the country overnight, a group monitoring the war said, after insurgents launched an offensive to advance deeper into government-held areas vital to President Bashar al-Assad.

The insurgents are seeking to drive into the Sahl al-Ghab plain, an area crucial to the defence of the western coastal mountains that are part of the heartland of Assad's Alawite sect as well as lying close to Hama city to the southeast.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the conflict using contacts on the ground, said Syrian warplanes had carried out more than 160 air strikes on the plain and in the nearby Idlib countryside to try to disrupt the insurgents' progress towards key Assad territory.

The insurgents, who have entered at the northern tip of the plain, can use their anti-tank missiles to target Syrian army tank positions, giving them some advantages over flat ground, a diplomat tracking Syria said.

Most of Idlib province was captured earlier this year in a major advance by the insurgent grouping “Army of Conquest” against government forces.

On Tuesday, supporters of the “Army of Conquest”, which is involved in the Sahl al-Ghab offensive, said fighters had seized a power station in the area and listed a total of 16 locations captured from government forces in the attack.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Syrian-jets-bombard-plain-after-rebel-attack-.html

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Ansarullah Wins Back Large Parts of Lahij

Jul 29, 2015

The popular forces, along with the army, seized control over a major portion of Lahij, mainly residential blocks after killing over 200 Al-Qaeda and pro-Hadi militias in the city during the week.

Lahij province has been a hotbed of fierce clashes between the Ansarullah and army troops and the Al-Qaeda and pro-Hadi joint forces in the last several weeks.

According to reports, most parts of the Yemeni city are under the control of Ansarullah now, although Saudi warplanes have pounded and flattened the city infrastructure and residential areas.

Residents of Lahij accuse Al-Qaeda and pro-Hadi militias of demolishing bakeries, drug stores, medical centers and hospitals and schools in the city.

The clashes between the Ansarullah fighters and the Saudi-backed al-Qaeda terrorists as well as the pro-Hadi militias continue in the Southern parts of the country as Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 126 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,313 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001542

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Activists Demand Int'l Campaign in Support of Al-Zahra, Nabl Besieged Residents

Jul 29, 2015

The activists urged the world community to launch the campaign on social networks to take the oppressed and famine-stricken population of the two towns to the world center-stage to help them have their voice heard at international bodies after, at least, two years of global inaction and indifference to their painful siege by the Al-Nusra terrorists.

"The siege of the Shiite towns of Al-Zahra and Nabl has faced the silence of the international bodies and a boycott of the Western media outlets who may run a several-month-long hype for homosexuals' right of marriage, but would never give an iota of attention to the slaughtering of the innocent civilian population in these two towns," activist George Smith said.

The situation in the two Syrian towns has been deteriorated due to the Takfiri terrorists' intensified siege which prevents the residents' access to foodstuff and medicine.

The Al-Nusra terrorist group continued its heavy shelling of Al-Zahra and Nabl with mortar shells and gas cylinders on Wednesday to cleanse the entire population as the Takfiri terrorists have failed to conquer the two towns after more than a two-year-long siege.

The Al-Nusra terrorists hit Al-Zahra and Nabl towns with over 70 rockets, missiles and even gas cylinders over the past 24 hours.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001437

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India

 

India’s Home Ministry rubbishes Islamic State document that calls for jihad against India

July 29, 2015

BENGALURU: India’s home ministry has rubbished an Islamic State (IS) document, confirmed by multiple intelligence agencies as authentic, that calls for an attack on India by combining all terrorist forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Joint Secretary of Internal Security, MA Ganapathy said, “It’s rubbish”. He also added that “The document, if reports are to be believed, is the handiwork of senseless IS men.”The news of the document was reported by USA Today, and says: The undated document, titled “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,” it proclaims.

Full Report at:

http://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2015/07/29/indias-home-ministry-rubbishes-islamic-state-document-that-calls-for-jihad-against-india/

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Tech to help fortify Punjab's riverine areas from Pakistan infiltrators

July 30, 2015

NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of the Gurdaspur attack, the riverine areas of the Punjab border are up for some major fortification. The government has taken serious note of the Dinanagar attackers entering India through the Punjab border and believes its riverine areas need major investment in terms of technology for foolproof security against infiltration.

Until now much of the focus had remained on the Jammu border where not only have security forces been positioned more densely but even the vulnerable riverine areas have seen technological fortification in the form of thermal imaging cameras and laser walls. This was done in view of as many as four attacks by terrorists in Jammu region in the past two years. In all these attacks, Jammu border's riverine areas were suspected to have been exploited by infiltrators.

Sources said similar arrangements may now have to be made for the Punjab border given that terrorists have trained their eyes on its vulnerability. BSF DG DK Pathak was on Wednesday in Punjab to survey the border and is expected to file a report with the home ministry regarding this.

Among the new technologies being discussed are also aluminum alloy fences that can be erected in water without the fear of corrosion or damage. As of now there are no fences in the riverine areas of the border.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Tech-to-help-fortify-Punjabs-riverine-areas-from-Pakistan-infiltrators/articleshow/48277998.cms

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Madhya Pradesh: High Court pulls up judge for denying bail to Muslim youth

by Milind Ghatwai

July 30, 2015

A lower court judge’s reasoning behind denial of bail to a Muslim youth, accused of molesting a Hindu woman, has earned the wrath of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which now wants the bail order placed before the Chief Justice of High Court “for suitable directions”. In his order on June 20, Alirajpur Additional Sessions Judge J L Rathore had observed that the “(molestation) accused knew that the victim is a Hindu and does not belong to his religion. Despite being a Muslim he has indulged in the act of sexual harassment. This act has the potential to increase communalism (sampradayikta)’’.

The Muslim youth, a minor student, was arrested on June 24 after he allegedly caught hold of a woman, dragged her to a computer centre and tried to molest her, as per the complaint filed against him. Challenging the lower court’s order, advocate Zishan Ali submitted before the high court that the judge invoked a communal reason that was not part of the chargesheet. Ali argued that there was no allegation under Section 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the IPC, and prayed that “serious action should be taken against the judge because due to the extraneous ground taken by him the applicant suffered unlawful detention while he was otherwise entitled to be released on bail”. In his July 27 order, Justice Alok Verma said the lower court judge used “extraneous grounds for rejecting the application, especially in the view of the statement of the victim under Section 164 of CrPC. Full Report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/madhya-pradesh-high-court-pulls-up-judge-for-denying-bail-to-muslim-youth/

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Yakub Memon's body handed over to family

July 30, 2015

NAGPUR: The body of Yakub Memon, who was hanged at the Central Prison here this morning for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, was handed over to his family and it will be flown to Mumbai for burial.

Memon was hanged till death in the 'Fansi Yard' under supervision of jail superintendent Yogesh Desai.

"Yes Yakub Memon has been hanged at 7 AM sharp and his body is being handed over to his family," Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis informed PTI in a text message.

Yakub's brother Suleman and cousin Usman, who were camping in city since yesterday, received the body which was being flown to Mumbai.

A team of doctors declared him dead after about half-and-hour of the scheduled hanging, when his body was brought down.

Chief Judicial Magistrate of Nagpur M M Deshpande was present in the Fansi Yard.

She read out the operating part of the TADA court order which awarded capital punishment to Yakub before he was made to stand on a stool and the lever pulled by the hangman.

Memon, who was the lone convict sent to gallows in the serial blasts which claimed 257 lives across the financial capital of country in 1993, lost a series of legal battles for stay on his execution over a period of time.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Yakub-Memons-body-handed-over-to-family/articleshow/48278209.cms

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Punjab terror attack: GPS data shows two routes of slain terrorists from Pakistan

Bharti Jain & Deeptiman Tiwary

Jul 30, 2015

NEW DELHI: Analysis of data from two GPS sets recovered from the Punjab attackers has actually thrown up two routes that the terrorists were supposed to take to reach Dinanagar in Gurdaspur. While both originate from Pakistan, they indicate different points of entry into India through the Punjab border. Both the routes, however, merge a few kilometres before Dinanagar.

Border Security Force (BSF), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and other intelligence agencies are now saddled with the difficult task of ascertaining which route the terrorists actually took to reach Dinanagar.

Sources said the two GPS sets were fed with two different routes on July 21 at Sargodha near Faisalabad. One of the GPS sets shows a route originating from Mastgarh in Pakistan's Gujrat near Jammu border and then crossing the Jammu-Punjab-Pakistan tri-junction to enter Pathankot after crossing a rivulet merging into Ravi river. It then moves southwards to Dinanagar.

Another route shows Malowal in Pakistan's Gujrat as the starting point and then shows Dorangla, 170 km south of Malowal, in India's Punjab. The next marked place is the same as the first GPS set. Going by this route, agencies believe that entry could have been made through Narowal in Pakistan. Here too the terrorists are suspected to have crossed a tributary of Ravi to enter India.

Curiously, the two entry points mentioned in the two sets are 40 km apart. It is important to ascertain the gap exploited by the terrorists so that a pattern of infiltration is established and the gaps plugged accordingly.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Punjab-terror-attack-GPS-data-shows-two-routes-of-slain-terrorists-from-Pakistan/articleshow/48276155.cms

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Condolence Message by Urdu Scientific Society, Lucknow on the sad demise of Dr. Abdul Kalam

30 July, 2015

The sad demise of Dr. Abdul Kalam, ex- president of India, is not only the loss of a reputed Scientist, a perfect human being, a protector of human dignity, an embodiment of simple living, a crusader of peace but also a great advocate of Scientific Temper in the Society. All through his life, by speeches, talks and actions, he pleaded for the creation of Scientific Temper in the society without which no nation can prosper since, according to him, the absence of scientific temper creates conflicts, hatred, bigotry and all the ills responsible for blocking the progress and prosperity. His only vision was to see India a truly Modern Scientifically Advanced Country of the world where there would be no poverty and no exploitation. Dr. Kalam, a true follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru indeed.

Dr. M.I.H. Farooqi

(Dr. Mohammed Iqtedar Husain Farooqi

Secretary, Urdu Scientific Society, Lucknow

Mobile: 9839901066

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South Asia

 

Taliban capture district in Afghanistan's Helmand province

July 30, 2015

LASHKAR GAH: Afghanistan's Taliban have captured a district in the southern province of Helmand that foreign troops struggled to secure for years, in the latest setback for Afghan government forces now largely battling the militants on their own.

News of the fighting came a day after the government said elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died in Pakistan around two years ago.

Read more: Mullah Omar died in Karachi in April 2013: Afghan govt

Officials in Helmand said the Taliban has Now Zad district on Wednesday after two days of fighting.

"Right now our security forces are still on the outskirts of the district and fighting with the Taliban," said provincial police chief spokesman Obaidullah Obaid.

Obaid declined to comment on casualties but residents of the area, speaking to Reuters by telephone, said the bodies of members of the government security forces and Taliban were lying in the streets after the battle.

The Taliban confirmed the capture of the district centre, saying weapons and ammunition had been seized. Helmand has been a Taliban stronghold and centre of opium production for years.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197334/taliban-capture-district-in-afghanistans-helmand-province

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Drone strikes kill 20 insurgents in Nangarhar

Jul 30 2015

20 insurgents have been killed in two different drone strikes in eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Thursday.

Ahmad Zia Ahmadzai, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province said that the drone strikes were carried out in Haroun Baba area of Haska Mina District late yesterday.

He said the militants were changing their location when came under the drone strikes.

Ahmadzai confirmed no civilian casualties in the attacks.

Full Report at:

http://www.khaama.com/drone-strikes-kill-20-insurgents-in-nangarhar-3674

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Rocket explosion leaves five children killed in Helmand

Jul 30 2015

Five children have been killed after the rocket they were playing with exploded in Nad Ali District of southern Helmand province.

Omar Jan Haqmal, police chief of Nad Ali District said that the incident took place in Loy Manda area yesterday.

He said children had found an old rocket in the area and were playing with it when it exploded, leaving five children killed.

This is not the first time children immaturely lose lives in the explosion of an old explosive device.

Full Report at:

http://www.khaama.com/rocket-explosion-leaves-five-killed-in-helmands-nawzad-3673

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Bangladesh, India in historic land swap after 70 years

July 30, 2015

DAHALA KHAGRABARI: Bangladesh and India will this week finally swap tiny islands of land, ending one of the world's most difficult border disputes that has kept thousands of people in stateless limbo for almost 70 years.

At one minute past midnight on Friday, some 50,000 residents along the border will light candles and celebrate their "new found freedom" following a historic deal sealed between the two countries' prime ministers.

"The 68 candles mark our 68 years of endless pain since 1947 and the agonies and poverty we faced living in no-man's land," said Golam Mostafa, who lives in an Indian enclave in the Bangladesh district of Kurigram. Mostafa and other residents of the 162 enclaves small pockets of one country's territory surrounded by the other lack basic services such as schools, clinics, power and water because they are cut off from their national governments.

Read more: India, Bangladesh to swap 162 enclaves

Under the agreement finalised in June and coming into effect Friday, the "islands" will effectively cease to exist, as each country will assume sovereignty over all enclaves in its territory.

Residents can choose to live in India or Bangladesh and will be granted citizenship. They can stay put or choose to move across the 4,000km long border.

With the land swapping less than 48 hours away, excitement has gripped the enclaves, with villagers holding feasts, rehearsing their new national anthem and preparing for celebrations including traditional games.

"It's like Eid day here. It's like a new found freedom," Rabbul Alam, who lives in the Indian enclave of Dahala Khagrabari, some 400km north of Dhaka, told AFP.

One of the weirdest enclaves, Dahala Khagrabari is situated in Bangladesh's northernmost district of Panchagarh, is surrounded by a larger Bangladeshi enclave, which is circled by an even bigger Indian one.

"For an outsider, it is difficult to know who is a Bangladeshi or who is an Indian here. Even we get confused. Only some concrete pillars mark which part is Bangladesh and which is India," Alam said.

The enclaves date back to ownership arrangements made centuries ago between local princes. Local legends say the enclaves were the result of 18th-century chess games by two competing princes.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197339/bangladesh-india-in-historic-land-swap-after-70-years

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Ministry of Defense: Security forces tactically stepped back in Nawzad District of Helmand

Jul 30 2015

General Afzal Aman, the army chief of staff for operations during a press conference in Kabul on Thursday accepted the Taliban advancement in Nawzad District of southern Helmand province but insisted that security forces have tactically stepped back there.

The fall of Nawzad District into Taliban hands was reported by Ataullah Afghan, member of the provincial council of Helmand province yesterday.

Afghan said after heavy clashes Taliban took control of this district but General Afzal hailed latest advancement of the Taliban a short time success.

Full Report at:

http://www.khaama.com/ministry-of-defense-security-forces-tactically-stepped-back-in-nawzad-district-of-helmand-3671

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Traffic accident leaves nine dead on Kabul-Kandahar highway

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL -

Jul 30 2015

Traffic accident has left nine people including children and women killed on Kabul-Kandahar highway.

Mohammadullah Ahmadi, Traffic Police Officer in Ghazni province says that the incident took place in Rozi Kotal area this morning.

He said a ‘303’ model passenger bus was heading from Kabul to Kandahar that crashed with a ‘Saracha’ vehicle coming from the opposite side.

Ahmadi added that all passenger of the ‘Saracha’ vehicle totaling nine people lost lives in the incident.

Full Report at:

http://www.khaama.com/traffic-accident-kills-nine-people-on-kabul-kandahar-highway-370

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India says soldier killed by Pakistani fire on border

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Jul 30 2015

India says that Pakistan again violated the border ceasefire last night by firing on their side.

India’s NDTV reports that a soldier sustained serious injuries after shot by Pakistani sniper who later succumbed to his injuries in Poonch District of their side of the Kashmir.

The soldier killed is identified as Rachpal Singh belonging to 22-Sikh unit.

Full Report at:

http://www.khaama.com/india-says-soldier-killed-by-pakistani-firing-on-border-3689

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Pakistan

 

Militant commander killed, 7 terrorists arrested in Balochistan

July 30, 2015

QUETTA: A militant commander of a banned outfit was killed and seven terrorists arrested today in two separate operations by Frontier Corps (FC) security personnel in Panjgur and Khuzdar areas of Balochistan province.

According officials, FC personnel carried out a search operation in Tasp area of Panjgur in which seven suspected terrorists were arrested. Weapons and explosive material was also recovered from the militants according to FC officials.

Full Report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Jul-2015/militant-commander-killed-7-terrorists-arrested-in-balochistan

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Mullah Omar ‘died’ in 2013 in Karachi

July 30, 2015

KABUL - Taliban supremo Mullah Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, Afghanistan said on Wednesday, after unnamed government and militant sources reported the demise of the reclusive warrior-cleric.

The insurgents have not officially confirmed the death of the supreme leader of the Taliban, who has not been seen publicly since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban government in Kabul.

Rumours of Omar’s ill-health and even death have regularly surfaced in the past, but the latest claims - just two days before fresh peace talks with the insurgents - mark the first such confirmation from the Afghan government.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban died in April 2013 in Pakistan,” a statement from the presidential palace said.

“The government of Afghanistan believes that grounds for the Afghan peace talks are more paved now than before, and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process.

Haseeb Sediqi, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, told AFP that Omar died in a Karachi hospital “under mysterious circumstances”.

Omar’s death would mark a significant blow to an almost 14-year insurgency, which is riven by internal divisions and threatened by the rise of the Islamic State group in South Asia.

The official announcement comes after unnamed government and militant sources told media, including AFP, that the one-eyed leader died two or three years ago, and after the Afghan government said it was investigating reports of the death.

“We can confirm that Mullah Omar died two years ago.

 “He was buried in Zabul province (in southern Afghanistan),” said the official, citing Afghan intelligence sources.

Omar’s death could trigger a power struggle within the Taliban, observers say, with insurgent sources claiming that Mullah Mansour, the current deputy, and Omar’s son Mohammad Yakoub are both top contenders to replace him.

The Taliban’s regular spokesman could not be reached for comment through normal channels.

President Ashraf Ghani is keen to broker a settlement with the insurgents, who have been gaining territory in pockets of the country and intensifying attacks on military and political targets.

The Taliban are already split between senior figures who support talks with Kabul to end the 13-year war and others who want to continue to fight for power.

A senior Afghan Taliban commander based in neighbouring Pakistan said Omar had died of natural causes, although he did not specify when.

“We are at a crossroads, and it will take some time to resolve this (leadership) issue,” the militant said.

He added that a faction within the Taliban wanted one of Omar’s sons to take over, while another favoured the promotion of political leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who has been among those who support peace talks.

The insurgents in April published a descriptive biography of the “charismatic” supreme leader in a surprise move apparently aimed at countering the creeping influence of the Islamic State group within their ranks.

The Taliban have reportedly seen defections to IS in recent months, with some members expressing disaffection with the low-profile leader Omar.

The biography, posted on the Taliban’s official website to commemorate Omar’s apparent 19th year as supreme leader, described him as being actively involved in “jihadi activities” - trying to dispel speculation that he had died.

Earlier this month in a message released in Omar’s name, the leader was quoted as hailing the peace process as “legitimate”.

The comments, the first reputedly made by Omar on the nascent dialogue, eased concerns at the time that the process lacked the leadership’s backing.

But a member of the Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s governing council, voiced doubt over whether that message - released just before Eidul Fitr - was from Mullah Omar himself.

“For the last few years he has not attended any big gathering, neither has he sent any audio message to his followers,” the member, who requested anonymity, told AFP on Wednesday.

“That gives us reason to believe that he has died.”

Waheed Muzhda, a Kabul-based analyst who served in the 1996-2001 Taliban regime’s foreign ministry, said any confirmation of his death from the militants would bode ill for the unity of their movement.

“It would mean that messages sent out in the name of Mullah Omar in the last two years were all lies and deception,” Muzhda told AFP.

Afghan officials sat down with Taliban cadres earlier this month in Murree for their first face-to-face talks aimed at ending the bloody insurgency.

They agreed to meet again in the coming weeks, drawing international praise, but many ground commanders openly questioned the legitimacy of the Taliban negotiators, exposing dangerous faultlines within the movement.

Afghan officials are set to meet Taliban militants later this week for a second round - expected to take place in Pakistan - with the government pledging to press for a ceasefire.

The split within the Taliban between those for and against talks has been worsened by the emergence of a local branch of IS, the Middle Eastern jihadist outfit that last year declared a “caliphate” across large areas of Iraq and Syria that it controls.

The Taliban warned IS recently against expanding in the region, but this has not stopped some fighters, inspired by the group’s success, defecting to swear allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi instead of the invisible Mullah Omar.

Talking to Reuters, Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said Omar’s death would explain his silence when NATO troops withdrew and when Ghani’s government took power.

“These death confirmations and rejections are all part of a big pitch for power within an increasingly fractured and rudderless (Taliban) organisation,” he said, speaking before the palace issued its statement.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Jul-2015/mullah-omar-died-in-2013-in-karachi

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LeJ chief killed in police shootout

July 30, 2015

MUZAFFARGARH - The leader of an anti-Shia militant group behind some of Pakistan’s worst sectarian atrocities was killed in a shootout with police early Wednesday along with 13 others, including his two sons and a deputy.

Police said Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) chief Malik Muhammad Ishaq was taken into custody along with five others including his sons, Muhammad Usman and Haq Nawaz, on July 24 by Multan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Police said a convoy taking the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) detainees to Muzaffargarh for identification of arms was attacked by Ishaq’s aides near Shahwala Jungle in a bid to get him released, sparking a shootout in which six cops were also wounded.

The dead militants included Ghulam Rasool Shah, a hardline LeJ leader who acted as the group’s leader when Ishaq was behind bars, suggesting that the extremist group has suffered a serious blow as most of its top leadership has been eliminated.

The militant organisation founded by Ishaq has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of civilians, mostly Shias.

Ishaq’s death, after decades during which he appeared to have been untouchable, could mark an important shift in the way Pakistan deals with militants, analysts said.

“We have received 14 bodies for post-mortem but I am unable to identify them,” said Dr Mushtaq Rasul, Medical Superintendent of Muzaffargarh DHQ Hospital.

Muzaffargarh DPO Awais Ahmed Malik said it was a case of Multan Counter Terrorism Department and he was unable to explain the details of the encounter.

Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada and Superintendent of Police of Multan CTD, Abrar Khalil, confirmed the killings.

The SP said Malik Ishaq, his two sons and three other associates were arrested six days ago for targeted killings of eight people.

Ishaq had given police the location of other militants and an arms cache there, Muzaffargarh police spokesman Adnan Shehzad told Reuters.

But a group of men on motorcycles ambushed the police convoy as it arrived in the early hours of Wednesday, he said.

“Twelve to 15 terrorists attacked the police party .

.

.

freed the accused and fled away on motorcycles,” a police spokeswoman, Nabila Ghazanfar, quoted a policeman in the area as saying in a message.

Police further along the road attacked the gunmen as they fled, killing Ishaq, his two sons, and 11 others, Nabila cited the policeman as saying.

“The gang was also in league with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda groups operating in the area,” the police message said.

Police also claimed to have seized three water coolers full of explosive material, four hand grenade, three pistols, one Kalashnikov rifle, 600 rounds, one built magazine, one remote control and 12 batteries of 12 volt each.

The LeJ, which has a reputation as one of Pakistan’s most ruthless militant groups, was long seen as close to al-Qaeda but more recently it reportedly developed links with the Islamic State group.

Police sources said Ishaq, who had been in and out of police custody in recent years, was also allegedly involved in planning and supporting sectarian killings and terrorism activities.

In recent years it carried out some of the most violent attacks on Shia Muslims, who make up around 20 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million majority Sunni Muslim population.

The brutalities of Ishaq and his cohorts were equally condemned by mainstream Sunni population of the country.

An official told that police on different times charged Ishaq with a total of 70 murders in 44 different cases but every time he escaped conviction because of lack of evidence against him.

Ishaq had been in detention for involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, on the statement of one of the suspects, Zubair Maitla.

The LeJ chief – designated a global terrorist by the US State Department last year – was also allegedly involved in attack on Iranian Cultural Centre in Multan on February 21, 1997 in which eight people - including a diplomat Muhammad Ali Rahimi - were killed.

Analysts said Wednesday’s killings are the latest blow to militancy in Pakistan, where in the past year authorities have cracked down hard on the myriad insurgent groups that have plagued the country for a decade.

Full Report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Jul-2015/lej-chief-killed-in-police-shootout

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Three 'militants', two security personnel killed in Bannu check post attack

ALI AKBAR

July 30, 2015

PESHAWAR: Three suspected militants and two security personnel were killed in an exchange of fire Thursday in Bannu's Daryaba area.

Security sources say suspected militants attacked the Khadim security checkpost, adding that security personnel killed three 'terrorists' in responsive firing.

Following the attack, security forces launched a search operation in the area.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197327/three-militants-two-security-personnel-killed-in-bannu-checkpost-attack

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43pc decrease in target killing after Karachi operation: Nisar

July 30, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Ministry Chaudhry Nisar in a detailed briefing to the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday said that the ongoing operation in Karachi against crime and terrorism has resulted in a 43 per cent decrease in target killing, 37pc decrease in incidents of murder, and a 6.7pc decrease in incidents of terrorism, DawnNews reported.

Nisar said that along with 713 terrorists, 58,603 suspects have been arrested during the operation so far. Of this number, at least 731 were suspected of murder, while 517 were suspected of involvement in extortion cases.

The Interior Minister told the NA that 14,253 arms were recovered, and that the number of fugitives increased by 9.4pc during the operation.

He said that there had been a significant decrease in crime following the Karachi operation.

Training for security forces

The Interior Minister emphasised the need for security agencies to provide security training to their employees, and urged them to conduct a security clearance of all their employees.

He said training including weapons training should be provided at least once a year. "Police, civil armed forces are ready to provide training free of cost."

The federal interior minister also spoke of the need to compensate employees of security agencies fairly. "Security is a very important problem for Pakistan, and clients spending so much money should be provided with good service," he said.

Nisar also highlighted the need to implement policies that allowed security agencies and civilians to "supplement and complement" each other.

He said that there should be standardisation among policies followed by the provincial and federal government regarding policies concerning non-governmental organisations (NGOs), arms, and security agencies.

The Interior Minister also said his department was working on new policies concerning the Exit Control List, arms licenses, security agencies and the visa policy.

Rehabilitation of beggars

The Interior Minister said that beggars found stealing are caught 'respectfully' by police. "We determine if they are needy. If it is the case, we hand them over to NGOs."

"We give these people a first warning, after which they are detained in a police station, and then they are sent to jail. We also try to determine who backs them, we have also taken action against them."

"We want to create a policy in all cities for all those who are needy, there should be arrangements for food and shelter, which can be done easily through collaboration with NGOs.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197340/43pc-decrease-in-target-killing-after-karachi-operation-nisar

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Protesting ASWJ leader among 17 held

SALEEM SHAHID

July 30, 2015

QUETTA: Police arrested Haji Rafiq Mengal, provincial leader of a faction of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), along with 16 other activists when he was leading a demonstration organised here on Wednesday to protest the killing of Malik Ishaq, chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, earlier in the day in a police encounter in Punjab.

Haji Rafiq, who had been a close associate of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the late founder of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, was expected to address a press conference at the Quetta Press Club and lead a demonstration outside the premises but heavy contingents of police deployed on Iqbal Road did not let him reach the venue.

He reached near the district courts along with activists of his group, among them 10 wearing shrouds.

Police and personnel of other law-enforcement agencies stopped them from going towards the press club and took Haji Rafiq and 16 others into custody.

SSP Abdul Waheed Khattak said the men had been arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order law.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197232/protesting-aswj-leader-among-17-held

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Law, order not purely home-grown problem, says Balochistan IG

July 30, 2015

QUETTA: The Inspector General of Police, Mohammad Amlish Khan, has said that law and order situation in the province is not purely a home-grown problem because criminal elements from Iran, Afghanistan and Sindh often penetrate into Balochistan.

He said that police with the help of other law-enforcement agencies had recently made a breakthrough by eliminating the provincial leadership of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The development has had a positive effect on the law and order situation in the province.

Talking to journalists, he said: “Balochistan police have been confronting the challenge of terrorism for years. The province has borders with Iran, Afghanistan and Sindh from where terrorists, militants and criminals enter Balochistan. Because of limited financial sources, police cannot monitor the entry of all such people into Balochistan.”

He said top leaders of LeJ in the province, including Osman Saifullah, had been killed and their accomplices arrested in the recent intelligence-driven joint operations of police and other law-enforcement agencies.

He said that banned militant organisations such as Jaish-i-Islam had stepped up their activities in the province after the signing of an agreement to build China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which would pass through the province. “Several militant organisations have formed a joint network to carry out terrorist activities in the province.”

However, the IG said, a senior leader of Jaish-i-Islam, Mehmood Rind, had been killed and some of his accomplices arrested in a recent operation.

He said five members of a militant group involved in targeted killing of settlers and Shia Hazaras in Quetta had also been arrested.

“We have traced the network of the organisation and hope to arrest its more members soon,” he said.

Full Report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197233/law-order-not-purely-home-grown-problem-says-balochistan-ig

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COAS vows to defeat designs of enemies stoking terror

July 30, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday reaffirmed his resolve to defeat designs of the enemies stoking terror to destabilise Pakistan.

General Raheel Sharif, who is on an official visit to Italy, stated this in his talk he delivered on Wednesday at the Center of International Study, Rome to give Pakistani perspective on international security.

According to ISPR, the Army Chief said for the world, terrorism is a conflict but for Pakistan it is war for survival.

He said operation Zarb-e-Azb is a comprehensive concept against terrorism and it will ensure terror-free Pakistan and the region. He said the operation has progressed well and now last few pockets are being cleared.

He said that Zarb-e-Azb will ensure peace in Pakistan and beyond, terrorist will not be allowed to re-establish again, adding that comprehensive resettlement and rebuild plan are in place for these areas. "Better Border coordination mechanism with Afghanistan will be ensured," General Raheel Sharif said.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan are uniquely and inseparably placed and peace in one country is not possible without peace in the other.

He said Pakistan is making sincere efforts for reconciliation but there is a need to beware of detractors and spoilers who challenge both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Army Chief said that terrorism has attacked our common roots. Global threat needs global response and support. "Only together we can win this war against terrorism," he concluded.

While giving Pakistan perspectives on international security, COAS said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are uniquely, inseparably placed.

Peace in one country is not possible without peace in another. Pakistan has shown sincere efforts for reconciliation. General Raheel Sharif appreciated that International community acknowledges Pakistan's efforts for reconciliation.

Full Report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Jul-2015/coas-vows-to-defeat-designs-of-enemies-stoking-terror

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Two terrorists shot dead in Gujarat

July 30, 2015

GUJRAT - Two terrorists were killed and at least two policemen were injured in a clash in Gujarat on Wednesday night, reported a private TV channel.

District Police Officer (DPO) Gujarat Zameerul Haq said unidentified gunmen ambushed Goteriala police checkpost, injuring two policemen deployed there.

In retaliation, two terrorists were gunned down by the policemen, he added.

DPO Zameerul Haq said exact number of attackers was difficult to ascertain due to darkness.

However, he added that the exchange of fire lasted for some time.

Full Report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Jul-2015/two-terrorists-shot-dead-in-gujrat

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Fazl meets PM today to remove 'irritants'

July 30, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman would likely to be having a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif today with the aim to remove the irritants and bring the relations between the two estranged coalition partners to normal.

Sources aware of the development informed The Nation on Wednesday that Moulana Fazlur Rehman has sought time for the meeting from the prime minister during the parliamentary party heads meeting here on Wednesday. The request was duly accepted by the latter to sort out the longstanding differences between the two sides, which touched its zenith in the Senate elections a few months back when JUI-F rubbed its shoulders with main opposition party Pakistan People's Party to embarrass its senior coalition partner PML-N.

The sources in JUI-F informed that Maulana Fazlur Rehman wanted to mend fences with Premier Sharif and that was the reason he had shown flexibility on the issue of PTI MNAs de-seating and most likely after his meeting with Premier Sharif he would withdraw the motion moved by the party in National Assembly.

The sources further informed that the JUI-F leadership still had reservations over the PML-N ditching them at the time of passage of 21st Constitutional Amendment while on a number of other key issues his party has divergent view point to its senior coalition partner PML-N.

The sources in the ruling PML-N informed The Nation that in their previous meeting a couple of months back Premier Sharif had told the JUI-F chief about his limitations and compulsion at the time of the passage of 21st Constitutional Amendment and given him assurance as the matter was now sub judice, so the government would not oppose if the apex court.

decision came against the military courts.

Full Report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/30-Jul-2015/fazl-meets-pm-today-to-remove-irratants

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North America

 

Canada Muslims target myths about converts and extremism

July 29, 2015

A group of Muslims in Ottawa are seeking to change the conversation around conversion.

Muslim Link hosted a public meeting at city hall last Saturday to discuss the stigma they said is attached to new converts to Islam because of a few radicalized converts — and to come up with possible ways to better understand and support converts.

Prof. Scott Flower of the University of Melbourne is leading the first academic study in Canada, funded by Public Safety Canada, to look at the reasons behind why people convert to Islam.

Stories of converts like Ottawa’s John Maguire, who joined ISIS in Syria, have created an extremely negative perception around converting to Islam, Flower said during a panel discussion at Saturday’s meeting.

But it’s a perception that simply doesn’t hold up, he said.

“A very, very small number of converts become politically active, let alone radicalized,” Flower said.

He added the actions of a few radicalized converts mean the religion has been put under the microscope in Canada.

It’s an experience Chelby Marie Daigle, who converted to Islam more than 10 years ago, said she knows all too well.

‘We’re a double minority,’ says convert to Islam

“When people hear I’m a convert, they go, ‘you chose this? There’s something wrong with you. What rational modern person chooses this religion?'” she said.

“There’s a suspicion of converts and what we actually believe. You do see good converts, you just don’t notice them.”

Muslims at the panel discussion hope to not only change the perception of converts amongst the broader Canadian population, but by the Islamic community as well.

“We’re a double minority,” Daigle said. “We’re not understood by the public community and we’re not understood by Muslims either. Studying the convert experience is beneficial for both the Canadian public at large and the Muslim community.”

Flower agreed, saying the lack of understanding of new converts is part of a “complex problem” in modern Islam.

Full Report at:

http://muslimvillage.com/2015/07/29/111814/canada-muslims-target-myths-converts-extremism/

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Group Sues Muslim Free-Zone Gun Shop

30 July 2015

FLORIDA – A leading American Muslim advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, July 29, against a gun shop that had proclaimed itself a Muslim-free zone.

“We just can’t let segregation rear its ugly head in Florida again,” Hassan Shibly, the chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Reuters.

The Florida gun shop occupied headlines after its owner, Andy Hallinan, announced that he would "not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots" at his Florida Gun Supply in Inverness.

He made the declaration that he had "a moral and legal responsibility" to take action days after a US Muslim man went on a shooting rampage at two Chattanooga, Tenn. military facilities by a gunman that left four Marines and one Navy sailor dead.

According to CAIR, the lawsuit was a trial to prohibit the gun shop from discriminating against Muslims as targeting people on the basis of religion.

Before the lawsuit, the civil rights group called Hallinan for a meeting with its chief executive director, Shibly.

Despite of initial approval, Hallinan rescinded the invitation to Shibly, saying he was warned against the group.

Full Report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/490743-group-sues-muslim-free-zone-gun-shop.html

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This Is What It’s Like to Be a Muslim-American Gun Owner

BY KATE MASTERS

July 29, 2015

Last week, a Florida gun shop owner named Andy Hallinan declared his store a “Muslim-free zone” in response to the deadly attacks carried out by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The policy outraged many, but it wasn’t the first time a gun dealer or range has attempted to exclude Muslims: At least one other gun store announced a similar policy after Chattanooga, and in January, an Arkansas gun range owner was praised by the firearm-advocacy group Gun Owners of America for instituting a similar ban.

After hearing about Hallinan’s proclamation, Hassan Shibly, the chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR-FL), asked him to rethink his Muslim ban. The two men engaged in a measured debate on a local news channel; a kind of peace summit was scheduled, but Hallinan pulled out at the last minute. On July 29, CAIR-FL filed a discrimination lawsuit against Florida Gun Supply. “American Muslims have a right to browse and purchase guns, take classes on gun safety, and shoot guns at a range without having to be profiled and discriminated,” said Shibly in a statement.

For Shibly, the suit is not just a professional matter but also a personal one: Along with being a Muslim activist, he’s a proud Florida gun owner. The day before the suit was filed, he spoke with The Trace about his experiences navigating gun culture, and why defending his identity as a gun owner is so important to his civil rights work. A lightly edited transcript of that conversation appears below.

I personally own two firearms. They’re both rifles. At least once a year, if not more often, I go to a range and shoot. I like outdoor sports, regardless of what they are: horseback riding, archery, jet skiing — you name it. I’m very visible at shooting ranges: I have a beard; I wear a kufi cap out in public.

I don’t believe I’ve been treated in a negative way at a gun range. But I did go to a gun show in Tampa once with a friend, and I wore a plaid shirt and replaced my normal hat with a cowboy hat. We didn’t want to deal with all the baggage that some people associate with us because we’re Muslim, so we thought it was best to go appearing almost overly American, like farmers or cowboys or something. I’m glad I did that, because one of the gun sellers there wore a shirt that said ‘Infidel’ in Arabic. Well, it supposedly said it — they mistranslated it, so it didn’t actually say infidel. But it was clearly an anti-Muslim shirt that he was sporting.

Growing up in Buffalo, it was not strange for my friends and I to go out shooting at a gun range, even in high school and college. It was never zealous, it was just something we did along with skiing and other outdoor activities. It was a competition, right? But what I started noticing was this double standard applied to the Muslim community when it comes to guns, even back in our high school days.

Full Report at:

http://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/muslim-gun-owner-america-chattanooga/

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America welcomes Christians, Jews; atheists, Muslims not so much

July 29, 2015

Americans are all for religious freedom — but disagree on who can claim it.

Diverse religious groups are recognized — but Christians and Jews are significantly more welcome than atheists, and many don’t see a welcome mat for Muslims. And not everyone means the same thing when speaking of a “Christian” nation.

So finds a new look at Americans’ religious self-image, detailed in a LifeWay Research survey released Wednesday.

The survey finds overwhelming agreement on the meaning of religious freedom. More than 9 in 10 say Americans are free to choose their religious beliefs, to practice their faith in daily life, to build a house of worship and to tell others about their beliefs.

But there is a big gap in views on whether business owners should be free to “run a business in accordance with their beliefs.”

While 78 percent overall said this is an “American right,” that fell to 62 percent among those who don’t identify with any particular religious group.

The LifeWay survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted in September 2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that the evangelical owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain did not have to offer insurance coverage for contraception. While the high court did not legalize same-sex marriage nationwide until June, when the survey was being conducted there were already nationally publicized state court cases involving wedding vendors refusing service to same-sex couples.

And people hear the same question in different ways, said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, an evangelical research firm based in Nashville.

“When we ask people about what America thinks, what America is like, their answers are influenced by what is flashing in their minds. The news. The people they know. What they’ve seen themselves or what their friends experienced,” he said.

Take the question of whether the United States is a “Christian nation.” Only 19 percent say it is, even though Christians make up 70 percent of the population.

McConnell says answers to the survey depend on people’s frame of reference. “Do they define ‘Christian nation’ by population or by ideology — by whether they think Christianity is driving the thinking, driving the culture of the nation?”

Full Report at:

http://national.deseretnews.com/article/5331/america-welcomes-christians-jews-atheists-muslims-not-so-much.html

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Muslim attacks labelled more often as ‘terrorism’ in US

29 July 2015

The Buffalo News examined how the coverage of different attacks in U.S. media changes if it is related to Muslims.

The headline of Los Angeles Times article about 25 July mass shooting in Lafayette read "Mental illness probed in Louisiana shooting". Thus, refering to mental illness and makinf it the main story line, although the story mentions that the shooter had shown interest in white power and neo-Nazi causes. The word "terrorism" was not used.

Full Report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/162563/muslim-attacks-labeled-more-often-as-terrorism-in-us

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Mideast

 

Iran Chief of Staff: Turkey's Bombing Campaign against Kurds Means Direct Aid to ISIL

Jul 29, 2015

"The mistake that the Turkish government has made in recent days and attacked the Kurds - who resisted against the ISIL - under the cover of assault on ISIL terrorists will facilitate the access routes of Takfiri terrorists to the Turkish borders," Firouzabadi said on Wednesday.

He described the Turkish government's attack against the Kurdish population and fighters as a strategic mistake, and warned Ankara to show more care and tactfulness when choosing friends.

"The Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments shouldn’t count on their alliance with the ISIL; the ISIL wants to rule over the Islamic countries, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are no exception," Firouzabadi stressed.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said on Monday that the Turkish tanks shelled their fighters near Kobani in Northern Syria.

Turkey said it was investigating the claim but insisted that its forces were not targeting Syrian Kurds.

Full Report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940507001184

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Yemen to merge ‘resistance’ fighters with army

29 July 2015

The exiled Yemeni government has issued an order for militiamen fighting alongside loyalist troops against the militia Houthi group be merged into the armed forces, as clashes raged Wednesday in the country’s south.

The supreme defense council, which met in Riyadh Tuesday, decided to “assimilate members of the Popular Resistance into the units of the armed forces and security forces,” the government-run news agency said.

The meeting, headed by President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, took the decision to reward them for their “brave contribution to defending the homeland.”

Popular Resistance units were formed when the Iran-backed Houthis and their allies advanced on southern regions after they had overran the capital in September.

Meanwhile, clashes raged in the south, where pro-government forces expanded their area of control after recapturing the port of Aden, Yemen’s second city, after four months of fighting.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Yemen-to-merge-resistance-fighters-with-army-.html

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Israeli plane strikes pro-Syrian Palestinian militia

29 July 2015

An Israeli plane attacked a military base along the Syrian-Lebanese border on Wednesday belonging to a pro-Syrian Palestinian faction, wounding six people, Syrian state television said.

In a newsflash, state television quoted a military source as saying Israeli planes had at 3:15 p.m. (1215 GMT) struck a base belonging to the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), a faction that backs President Bashar al-Assad.

Asked about the reported strike, an Israeli military spokeswoman in Jerusalem declined comment.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Syrian-army-Israeli-planes-strike-pro-Syrian-Palestinian-militia.html

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Kurds slam Turkey ‘safe zone’

29 July 2015

A "safe zone" Turkey and the U.S. are creating in Syria is an attempt by Ankara to stop Kurds from forming their own territory, the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party has told the BBC.

Chairman of the People’s Democratic Republic (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas has called on Turkey and the PKK to return to peace negotiations – follow a series of recent clashes between the two sides.

The so-called safe zone was announced after ISIS-linked militants carried out attacks on Turkish border towns – including a recent attack on Suruc last week where 32 people were killed – the BBC added.

Now the U.S. and Turkey have been working on plans to create a buffer zone in northern Syria which would be cleared of ISIS militants.

But Demirtas told the BBC: “Turkey doesn't intend to target IS with this safe zone. The Turkish government was seriously disturbed by Kurds trying to create an autonomous state in Syria,”

He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would ensure that such a state was never formed.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Kurds-slam-Turkey-safe-zone-.html

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Syria ‘doubts Turkey’s intentions in anti-ISIS effort’

29 July 2015

Syria’s foreign ministry said Wednesday it was skeptical about Turkish efforts to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, in its first official reaction since Ankara began air strikes against the militants.

“It is better late than never, but are Turkish intentions to fight the terrorists of Daesh (ISIS), Al-Nusra Front, and Al-Qaeda-linked groups genuine?” the ministry asked in a letter to the United Nations.

The ministry said Syria “rejects the Turkish regime’s attempt to paint itself as a victim that is defending itself”, accusing Ankara of supporting “terrorist” groups.

The letter made no direct mention of Turkish air attacks in northern Syria, which began early Friday after Ankara claimed a Turkish soldier was killed in cross-border fire by ISIS militants.

Turkey also gave formal approval Wednesday for the United States to use a southern air base for raids against ISIS in Syria.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Syria-doubts-Turkey-s-intentions-in-anti-ISIS-effort-.html

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Israel authorises force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners

30 July 2015

Israel's parliament on Thursday passed into law the ability to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike, a move that has met vehement opposition from the country's medical association.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightist coalition weathered a lengthy parliamentary debate and the law passed with 46 lawmakers in favour and 40 opposed in the 120-seat Knesset.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/30/Israel-authorises-force-feeding-of-hunger-striking-prisoners.html

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U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ on new Israeli settlements

29 July 2015

The United States said it was "deeply concerned" about Israel's decision to build 300 new homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"Settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel's commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict," the State Department said in a statement.

Additionally, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday condemned Israel’s approval of new settler homes in the  West Bank and called on the government to reverse its decision.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the “immediate” construction of the 300 homes in Beit El and planning for another 504 homes in annexed east Jerusalem, his office said.

Ban reiterated that “settlements are illegal under international law, an impediment to peace and cannot be reconciled” with Israel’s “stated intention to pursue a two-state solution,” his spokesman said in a statement released in New York.

Ban urged Israel “to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace” his spokesman said.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Israel-approves-new-homes-in-settlement-after-demolishing-two-buildings.html

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Some Arab states allies of Israel: Israeli official

Jul 30, 2015

A high-ranking Israeli official says some Arab states in the Middle East share the Tel Aviv regime’s hostile stance toward the recent nuclear conclusion between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

Speaking at a presentation on the agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in New York, the United States, on Wednesday, Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold described those Arab nations as “Israel’s allies,” using the term twice in his speech.

Gold also talked about what Israel should do if the JCPOA is approved in the US Congress, despite objections by certain Congressmen, saying that Tel Aviv and Washington would find ways together to address the practical challenges that the agreement would allegedly cause.

Representatives from Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany succeeded in finalizing the JCPOA text in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14 after 18 days of intense negotiations and all-nighters that capped around 23 months of talks between Iran and the six powers.

Full Report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/07/30/422499/Israel-Arab-states-JCPOA-Dore-Gold

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Saudi warplanes bombard areas across Yemen

Jul 30, 2015

Saudi military aircraft have carried out a new round of attacks against several areas across Yemen as Riyadh presses ahead with an atrocious military campaign against its impoverished neighbor.

On Thursday morning, Saudi fighter jets launched seven airstrikes against the al-Mahjam district in the mountainous and northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Ahed news website reported.

There were no immediate reports of possible casualties and the extent of damage the assaults may have inflicted.

The development came only hours after Saudi warplanes carried out four aerial attacks on Dam of Ma’rib as well as al-Hilan and adjacent regions in Yemen’s central province of Ma’rib. No reports of fatalities were immediately available.

Separately, on Wednesday, at least ten al-Qaeda-linked militants were captured by Yemeni forces as they were advancing toward the al-Jaolah region, which lies northwest of the strategic southern port city of Aden. A number of vehicles belonging to the militants were destroyed, and a considerable amount of military equipment seized.

Full Report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/07/30/422524/Saudi-jets-Yemen-Mahjam-Saada-Qaeda-militants-Aden

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Africa

 

Saving Niger’s Uranium Before Boko Haram Gets It

July 30, 2015

Since February, Niger’s army has been battling Boko Haram in its Diffa region. It borders Nigeria’s northeastern region where Boko Haram is trying to establish an Islamic state. This terrorist organization has killed more than 15,000 people and created 1.5 million refugees, some 100,000 of which are in Niger.

Niger’s government has declared a state of emergency in Diffa. If Boko Haram could establish a base there, it would be within striking range of Niger’s Agadez region. The country’s uranium output is produced from three Agadez mines. Boko Haram, which has declared allegiance to the Islamic State, must not be allowed to control one of the world’s largest reserves of uranium ore.

In Van Hipp’s recent book, The New Terrorism, he proposes we help Niger deplete its uranium reserves before terrorists can get them. The author is a friend and his efforts to bring attention to this issue are commendable.

This idea may take years to complete and Hipp believes we should coordinate with the French since French companies work in two of the main uranium mines. The third is run by the Chinese. The Chinese should be cooperative due to their long-term demand for energy.

We must also work with other G7 countries to push for economic aid to Niger in order to get them to extract as much uranium as possible. Intelligence cooperation against Boko Haram from Nigeria and potential Tuareg separatists in the north will also be crucial. Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries. Uranium is its leading export. Our allies and we must make sure it’s sold to the right people and that Niger has a way to safely keep the proceeds.

When Uranium One, a U.S. company. was sold to Rosatom, a Russian company (with the Obama Administration apparently asleep at the switch), we potentially lost control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production. Some of Niger’s uranium output could make up the difference.

Full Report at:

http://spectator.org/articles/63620/saving-niger%E2%80%99s-uranium-boko-haram-gets-it

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Our Brother’s ‘Violence begets violence’ utterance can beget Boko Haram

30th July, 2015

The Interior Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo is reported as saying, ‘…I’m aware there were a few isolated clashes and it is across the political divide; it wasn’t just on one [side]. NPP people were attacked; NDC people were also attacked so it cut across the political divide.” He said, “Violence begets violence”; the Azorka Boys would not mete out violence if they were not provoked. The other side also brought in some people; the ‘invisible forces’ and the ‘Bolga Bull Dogs’, so violence begets violence’. He said the ‘Azorka Boys’ were just protecting themselves which is only human. The assertion that, there were few isolated clashes seeks to show his attempt to minimise the problem when injuries were recorded and individuals traumatised as a result. Seemingly, Mr Woyongo is aware of the existence of these groups alleged to be causing violence, yet his outfit allowed them to flourish. If this trend continues, more and more of similar groups would be formed to counter each other rendering the national security impotent. The long term effect is mercenaries/terrorist developing out of them to disturb the peace of the entire nation. - See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2015/07/30/our-brothers-violence-begets-violence-utterance-can-beget-boko-haram/#sthash.Vx3eKzdx.dpuf

Nasara UK condemns in no uncertain terms the unfortunate and reckless remarks from the Honourable Minister. We find it particularly worrying and disturbing when such an utterance is coming from a high ranking governmental official with the sole mandate of keeping and ensuring peace and calm in the country. We were in the middle of our Holy month of Ramadan when our brother made this statement. We therefore couldn’t comment as we were keen on focusing on the observance of the third pillar of Islam. ‘Insha Allah’ we have had a blissful ‘Eid-Ul-Fitr’ and as part of our ‘Baraka da Sallah’ presents, it seems fitting for us, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write out for you in the appropriate order, most beloved Brother Woyongo. Our Brother sadly endorses the formation of Boko Haram in Ghana Dear Brother, Uncle and Father (whichever is applicable) Woyongo. Kindly be reminded that the origins of the group Boko Haram lie in a youth group at the Alhaji Muhammadu Ndimi mosque in Maiduguri in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria in the mid-1990s. Muhammad Yusuf assumed leadership of the group at that time. Yusuf was a student of Ja‘far Mahmud Adam, a prominent Ahlus Sunna cleric based in Kano, and for some time, was considered a potential successor to Adam. Yusuf and Adam apparently fell out around 2002, and Yusuf began to withdraw from the Ndimi mosque to establish his own community around a new compound in Maiduguri from where he launched what became known as Boko Haram. At the height of public polemical exchanges between Yusuf and Adam, the latter was gunned down in 2007 during early morning prayers inside a mosque in Kano, apparently on the orders of Yusuf. Both federal and national politicians under Sani Abacha, Abdul Salam Abubakari and Olusegun Obasanjo saw this ‘baby dinosaur’ growing but turned a blind eye. To the extent that some of these politician, like you, Brother ‘Boko-minded’ Woyongo, made careless statements in support of Mohammed Yusuf’s terrorist activities in Maiduguri. Woyongo-like politicians in Nigeria who were only interested in being seen in suits rather than connecting more with their kith and kin encouraged  Muhammadu Yusuf who continued to mobilise and consolidate his group until July 2009, when following a confrontation with police, the group’s compound and Mosque in Maiduguri was razed to the ground. Yusuf himself was captured by the military and handed over to the police, who by all accounts, executed him. Several members were killed and some escaped into neighbouring Niger and Cameroun. Others went to Algeria and Somalia for training in militant camps. Abubakar Shekau, Yusuf’s second-in-command, assumed leadership, and from 2010 started a wave of brutal attacks apparently to avenge Yusuf’s death. Today what do we see? We demand an answer, dear brother. Northern Ghana is all that we have so spare a thought for posterity in this volatile area of Ghana the next time you have such an opportunity to. You are a minister for all and not an NDC minister or the patron of Azorka boys. We know you know this- this is just a reminder. Imagine what would have happened in Ghana on 29th August 2013 if the Insha Allah, President in waiting, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, in his response to the disgraceful Atubiga verdict, had stated ‘violence begets violence’ or ‘bad judgement begets bad judgement’ ‘so my dear Kukrudites go out there on the streets and exhibit activities of bad judgement’.  However, Nana, in an unparalleled display of astuteness, opted to think about Ghana first. Believe it or not, it is Nana’s utterance after the Supreme Court verdict that is winning him the presidency in 2016. In other words, Nana won the Presidency on 29th August 2013. It is quite reasonable to conclude that, your ‘violence begets violence’ utterance will switch all level headed NDC supporters, especially those from the North, to consider voting for NPP rather than the NDC. Why not? Yes, they will, because you reason like Abubakari Shekau, the Boko Haram leader. We think it is important to remind you at this point that, Boko Haram’s ideology has four main features; the 4th feature is the use of violence (militant jihad) to achieve their goals. Thank you Brother ‘Boko’. ‘Violence begets violence’ indeed.  Some politicians said something similar to the then infant Boko Haram a few years ago. Now they are out there growing from strength to strength, executing terror upon terror on innocent girls, women and innocent future leaders all over Africa. - See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2015/07/30/our-brothers-violence-begets-violence-utterance-can-beget-boko-haram/#sthash.Vx3eKzdx.dpuf

Dear Brother Minister, we the Northerners live in a glass house Nasara is particularly concerned about your statement because in our part of Ghana, the only place we have has a history as well as several ongoing violent conflicts. The North, the Zongos and the settler communities have often been targeted and its vulnerability exploited by politicians like you who have nothing to offer but to whip ethnic sentiments to win elections. With high youth unemployment and unprecedented poverty on the rise in these communities, your statement offers a disgraceful ‘carte blanche’ for unprecedented violence. It is therefore with regret to learn that, one of our own, paid by the tax payer (Ghanaian citizenry), could make a statement that suggests that violence is acceptable. To make matters worse, the statement is said to be coming from a minister entrusted with the peace and security of the nation. There is no excuse or need for such statements to be made by anyone. We, the Nasara NPP believe in being our brother’s keeper so we wish to provide just a few hotspots in the North for your reflection: Dear Honourable Brother Minister, among the Nanumba of the Northern Region, two persons from the royal gate of Gbugmayili lay claim to the position of the Bimbilla Na, the king of the Nanumba people. We know you are aware of the delicate nature of this conflict but we will touch on this again in another paragraph. Keep reading. Similarly, in the West Mamprusi District the rejection of a candidate selected to be the paramount chief of Wungu by his competitors and the youth of the town resulted in a decade-long dispute that frequently turned violent.  There are countless documented succession conflicts involving persons from the same ethnic group, clan or extended family among the Wala, the Gonja and what have you. There is this inter-ethnic conflict between the Mamprusi and the Kusasi in Bawku. We are still counting the cost and not forgetting the dispute between the Nawuri and the Gonja about who has sovereignty over Kpandai. In 1981 there were inter-ethnic conflicts between the Nanumba and the Konkomba and the life lost was unimaginable. We are yet to forget the so-called “guinea fowl war” of 1995 between the Konkomba, Nawuri, Nchumuru, and Basare on the one hand, and the Dagomba, Nanumba, and Gonja on the other. Some of us had a ring-side view of this war and can confirm how violent this war was. Several studies have analysed conflicts in Northern Ghana and the unforgivable role politicians like you, Mark Woyongo have played in exploiting this just to satisfy their selfish interest while these conflicts unfold. We sincerely want to believe that you meant no harm by your ‘violence begets violence’ utterance. We however are struggling to justify our belief given that you haven’t as yet demonstrated any remorse whatsoever. Reality Check It has come to our notice, sadly though, that you tried the other day to compare your ‘violence begets violence’ statement to Nana Addo’s statement which he has since regretted for having said it. How could you think of this comparison? Well, time for reality check has dawn and we want you to be sincere; kindly conduct  a cursory check at Bimbilla and tell us the number of souls lost within 24 hours of your careless talk. Again, in all sincerity, tell us the number of souls lost since Nana Addo made his statement about 3 years ago.

Full Report at:

http://citifmonline.com/2015/07/30/our-brothers-violence-begets-violence-utterance-can-beget-boko-haram/

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Kenyan experts call for new tactics to degrade Al-Shabaab

July 30, 2015

NAIROBI: The international community must employ new and innovative strategies to degrade Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab, Kenyan security experts told Xinhua.

The Al Qaeda allied militant group has in the last four years waged a fierce battle with Africa Union and Somali forces over control of a large swathe of the Horn of African nation. The militant group has also exhibited a profound capacity to mutate and carry out attacks inside Somalia and neighboring countries despite a combined military offensive to degrade its infrastructure.

During the holy month of Ramadhan, Al-Shabaab intensified attacks against civilians and African Union troops in Somalia. In retaliation, the AU forces backed by U.S. drones attacked Al-Shabaab strongholds in southern parts of Somalia. A two-week military offensive against Al-Shabaab has led to the death of 72 militants, among them, key leaders, according to AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Despite the loss of its military commanders, Al-Shabaab’s resilience came to the fore on Sunday when it dispatched a suicide bomber to attack the heavily guarded Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu. So far, 15 people, including a Chinese Embassy staff, have been confirmed dead after the attack on the luxurious hotel that is frequented by foreign nationals and senior Somali officials. Security analysts agreed both the Somali government and the international community must brace for a prolonged battle with Al- Shabaab militants.

Fred Nyabera, a Kenyan peace and security expert, noted that previous efforts to eliminate Al-Shabaab had minimal success hence the need for a paradigm shift. “Somalia’s fragile status for the last two decades is to blame for widespread terrorism that has spilled over to neighboring countries. Militias and warlords have thrived since the collapse of Somalia’s nation state,” Nyabera told Xinhua Monday.

The expert blamed geopolitics and competition for natural resources for fuelling conflicts in the Horn of Africa nation. He said the international community has failed to devise effective strategies to diminish the capacity of Al-Shabaab to wage war against a legitimate Somali government and civilians. Nyabera also faulted the West for its over-emphasis on hard power to eliminate Al-Shabaab and its affiliates.

“The West has in some ways contributed to the failure of Somalia state largely because of imposing military solutions that are not workable. As a result, groups like Al-Shabaab have sprung up to resist what they view as Western domination in terms of thought, ideology, economy and culture,” said the expert. He regretted that a feeling of marginalization among Somali youth has exposed them to the false grandeur promised by Al-Shabaab and other radical groups.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/foreign/30-Jul-2015/kenyan-experts-call-for-new-tactics-to-degrade-al-shabaab

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Kenya: Three Al-Shabaab Killed, Five KDF Soldiers Injured in Basuba, Lamu County

By Galgalo Bocha By Fred Mukinda

July 30, 2015

Three members of the Al-Shabaab were killed near Basuba area in Lamu County on Wednesday in a battle with Kenya Defence Forces.

KDF spokesman Colonel David Obonyo said five soldiers were injured in the 10 am confrontation.

Two AK 47 rifles and 17 rounds of ammunition were found.

Col Obonyo said one of their vehicles was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), seven kilometres from Basuba area.

He said the troops, who were on patrol, engaged the Al-Shabaab in a fight killing three of them.

Full Report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201507291781.html

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Joint forces in Somalia free additional areas from al -Shabaab

July 30, 2015

The joint operation by Ethiopian defense forces under AMISOM and the Somali National Defense intensified its strike on the Somali Jihadist group Al-Shabaab, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on Wednesday.In a statement on Wednesday, AMISOM said the joint force has freed additional areas from the fundamentalist group and 30 terrorists have been captured with their arms.

Days have gone by since the Joint operation by Ethiopian defense forces under AMISOM and the Somali National Defense force, otherwise called Operation Juba Corridor, launched a massive strike against the Al-Shabaab which poses instability in the horn of Africa region.

AMISOM’s statement indicates that the third phase of the operation drove the radical group out of parts of South west Somalia including Bay, Bakool and Booksa.

The report states that over 30 members of Al Shabaab have been killed, one detained and lots of arms have been captured by the joint force.

Full Report at:

http://en.starafrica.com/news/joint-forces-in-somalia-free-additional-areas-from-al-shabaab.html

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Jordan jails 8 for terrorism

30 July 2015

AMMAN: Jordan handed down jail sentences Wednesday against seven of its citizens and a Syrian for planning attacks on US soldiers in the country and on the Israeli Embassy, a judicial source said.

The plots in question would have involved “terrorist acts” against the US service personnel at a Jordan military base in Al-Moaqar in 2006 and against the Israeli Embassy in Amman in 2008, the source said without elaborating.

The charges included “plotting to commit a terrorist act, and possession of weapons and explosives for use” in those acts.

Full Report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/783641

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Does Boko Haram have the upper hand?

29 Jul 2015

Relations between Nigeria and Cameroon have been strained for years. Territorial disputes - especially over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula - have not helped.

Now the neighbours are uniting in a desperate fight against Boko Haram fighters and their campaign to impose strict Islamic law.

Amnesty International says about 17,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last six years.

The United Nations says almost two million people have been forced from their homes.

Suicide bomb attacks have risen dramatically recently.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in March, campaigned on a promise to protect the people by defeating Boko Haram.

So, why does Boko Haram appear to still have the upper hand?

And is Nigeria's president failing in his election pledge to eradicate the group?

Presenter: Hazem Sika.

Full Report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/07/nigeria-cameroon-boko-haram-upper-hand-fight-150729181311659.html

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Europe

 

Venice Sued Over Biennale Mosque Closure

29 July 2015

CAIRO – The closure of a mosque art installation at a building that used to serve as a church in Venice only two weeks after opening it has sparked criticism, as the art center seeks immediate reopening of the installation and compensation for the artist. "It is not for the city of Venice to decide what constitutes art and what doesn't," Bjorg Stefansdottir, the director of the Icelandic Art Centre (IAC), told the Telegraph.

Stefansdottir added that the group was appealing the decision by the city of Venice to "censor" his work.

The art installation called ‘The Mosque’ was added to Iceland’s 56th Venice Biennale, which will take place in a 10th century monument in the picturesque Italian city.

The design was created by Icelandic artist Christoph Buchel with the help of Muslim communities in Iceland and Venice.

The Mosque, exhibited inside the renowned Santa Maria della Misericordia in Cannaregio, houses Islam’s main icons such as the minibar (used to call for prayer), mihrab (prayer room) and qibla (direction to Kaaba) wall as well as a large prayer carpet facing towards Makkah.

Opened to visitors last May, the Mosque presenters also put on educational and cultural programs during the event.

Nevertheless, the city of Venice authorities shut down the project only two weeks after it opened.

Full Report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/490715-venice-sued-over-biennale-mosque-closure.html

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In Morocco, Muslims and Jews Study Side-By-Side but For How Long?

July 29, 2015

For many people, Judaism in the Middle East conjures images of discord. But the Islamic nation of Morocco is an exception — it’s a place where Jews are not just tolerated but embraced in some circles as an important part of the country’s history and culture.

Even before the arrival of Islam in Morocco, Jews called this North African coastal nation their home. About 400 years ago, the Moroccan Jewish community forged a strong connection and alliance with the country’s ruling dynasty, the Alaouites.

In the 20th century, persecutions across Europe brought new waves of Jewish immigrants to Morocco seeking safe haven. Their hope was not in vain — in 1940, when the Nazi-controlled French government in Morocco issued anti-Semitic decrees, the Alaouite Sultan Mohammed V rejected the racist laws.

In one oft-repeated story, he refused to ask his Jewish subjects to wear the yellow stars. “There are no Jews in Morocco,” he reportedly said. “There are only subjects.”

Today in Morocco, Jews enjoy equal rights and privileges. One of King Mohammed VI’s senior advisers, André Azoulay, is Jewish. Morocco also has state-funded Jewish schools and Jewish religious courts.

At the Jewish courts, called Bet Din, civil cases are heard and adjudicated by rabbis. Morocco’s Bet Din is the only such Jewish court system outside Israel, officially recognized as an alternative legal body and housed within the same complex as Muslim courts.

Despite the tolerant atmosphere, Morocco’s Jewish population is steadily decreasing. Although Moroccan Jews are largely free from the persecution and animosity that they may face in other Muslim nations, there was a series of suicide bombings on May 16, 2003 in Casablanca that targeted sites of Jewish life and killed three Jews.

Moroccan Jews have been flowing to Israel, Europe and the Americas for religious reasons, fear of persecution and to better their economic situation. At its height in the 1940s, Morocco’s Jewish population exceeded 250,000; today, only about 4,000 remain. The Jewish community has mostly abandoned its formerly vibrant existence in Moroccan cities like Tangier, Fez, Salé and Tetouan. Only the city of Casablanca maintains a significant population and is now the center of Moroccan Jewish life.

Full Report at:

http://netnebraska.org/node/984521

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Germany warns of possible attacks on public transport in Istanbul

29 July 2015

The German foreign ministry warned on Wednesday about possible attacks on Istanbul's underground rail network and bus stops in the wake of Turkey's assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

“There could be increased attack activity by the PKK,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party.

“Beyond that there are indications of possible attacks on the underground rail network and bus stops in Istanbul,” the ministry added.

Full Report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/29/Germany-warns-of-possible-attacks-on-public-transport-in-Istanbul.html

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From “Asian” to “European”: Russia and its Muslim minority

30 July 2015

There is a wealth of material about Islam in Europe and North America, about the experiences of its followers and their current intensive development. There is much less about Russia. Moreover, there are very few attempts to compare the development processes of its Muslim minority with what is happening in other regions of the world.

Regarding Russia’s relationship with its internal Muslim community, which, according to a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, numbers approximately 20 million people, it should be compared not with Europe, as is often the case, but rather with Asia, more specifically, with Asian states which have significant Islamic minorities. In addition, the experience of Muslims living alongside other religions in Russia cannot be considered unique, regardless of what Russian officials may say on the matter. In general, it is the same experience as that of non-Muslim Asian countries with significant indigenous Muslim populations.

Some of these states were once Muslim themselves. The history of how they relate to their Islamic citizens spans the full range of human emotion including war, friendship, hatred, integration, apathy and a desire to know each other. Today, they, including Russia, are trying to develop an appropriate policy towards Islam.

However, here the similarities end. As for Russia, in the future it may not be considered "Asian". The only question is what it will be.

"Asian" Muslim minorities

The experience of western Muslim minorities, despite their short history, appears to be far better researched than similar processes in Asia. The reason for this is that experts seem to be far more interested in what is happening at the supposed center of the academic universe (ie. the West) than anywhere else.

Nevertheless, it is certainly extremely important to know how Islam developed and what its current state is in countries such as China, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and, to some extent, Vietnam. The same can be said of the following European countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Romania and Lithuania.

Full Report at:

http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/articles-and-commentary/1673-from-asian-to-european-russia-and-its-muslim-minority

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Muslim Kazakhstan Dreams to Host First Olympics

29 July 2015

ALMATY – Competing against China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, Kazakhstan aims to be become the first Muslims country to host the Olympics in the its largest city, Almaty.

"We would like to hold such Olympic Games so that the names of Kazakhstan and Almaty ring out worldwide," Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev told state television, Reuters reported on Tuesday, July 28.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hold a secret ballot on Friday, July 31, in Malaysia to decide whether the event goes to Almaty or Beijing.

With natural snow and low air pollution, the central Asian republic is seen as a better place for the winter games after co-hosting the 2011 Asian Winter Games with the capital Astana and will host the 2017 Winter Universiade.

For Kazakhs, the global sports event will put their country firmly on the map and help upgrading the capital's infrastructure.

Heavily backed by president Nazarbayev, plans to host the Winter Olympics were met by pessimism among many Almaty residents.

"The Olympic Games are needed only for those in power to demonstrate to the world that the country lives according to democratic standards, while in fact it has nothing to do with democracy," said Saken Bektiyar, a painter aged 54.

"The authorities and the people exist in parallel worlds, and the Olympic Games will be just an extra bonus for those in power."

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was in power for more than two decades, undertook a state asset sale program in the 1990s.

Last April, Nazarbayev has been elected for a fifth term after a landslide victory of 97.7%.

"As an Almaty resident and patriot of my city, I would certainly want the Games to be held here," political analyst Aidos Sarym said.

"But there are concerns over corruption which exists here.

"In most of Kazakhstan's gigantic projects, we see mainly marginal interests of a small group of people or officials," he continued.

Human Rights Crisis

Ahead of Friday's voting, human rights campaigners called for rejecting China’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Games due to the country’s ongoing human rights crisis.

Rights activists warned that in Case IOC voted in favor of china, it will give the country an “undeserved second chance” in the wake of crackdown on dissent.

China was facing “a human rights crisis with a scale of violations that is unprecedented since 2008,” an open letter signed by dozens of high-profile dissidents including blind campaigner Chen Guangcheng, exiled writer Liao Yiwu, and civil rights lawyer Teng Biao, read, the Guardian reported.

Full Report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/490731-muslim-kazakhstan-dreams-to-host-first-olympics.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesian-council-of-ulema-declares-national-health-insurance-program-haram/d/104097



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